The Remembary 2 launch has gone pretty smoothly - especially considering that the app has been almost entirely rewritten and the upgrade process does a lot of data changes under the hood.

First, a big thank you to all of the people who have submitted such enthusiastic reviews to the App Store. After all the hard work that went into this latest version, it's heartening to see that people are enjoying it.

Also, a big thank you to everyone who has written in, either to say nice things or to point out problems they've been having (or both!) - in the last few days I've managed to identify two annoying bugs:

Twitter access request / password loop

If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Remembary and have a password on your diary, but you tell the app that you *don't* want to give it Twitter access when it starts, you'll end up stuck in an endless loop of entering your password and then being asked to allow Twitter access over and over again.

I've confirmed that this is genuine problem, and a fix for this will be coming soon, but in the meantime please note that:

  1. Remembary only uses the Twitter accounts for *receiving* Twitter - it doesn't send anything, and certainly won't spam your followers or anything like that
  2. You can turn off your Twitter accounts (and all feed fetches for that matter) from inside the app from the Feeds popup (the top bar button with all the inward-pointing arrows); and finally
  3. You can turn off Twitter access at the OS level using the "Settings" app.

So, if you're finding yourself in this situation, just say yes to the Twitter account access for now so you can get into Remembary and then you can immediately turn off all Twitter access from the feeds popover if you don't want to be bothered with it.

Data Export to Mail Crash

If you try to send a "data" export of your diary in an email, the application will crash when it tries to pop up the mail interface. This doesn't happen with plain text exports, and also doesn't happen if saving the data export locally or to DropBox - just data exports going to email.

A fix for this is also on the way, but in the meantime you can save your data exports to DropBox or locally to your device, from which they can be copied to your computer the next time you plug it in.

Also note that Remembary saves a copy of the data export on your device before trying to send it in email - so your export hasn't been lost, you just have to plug your device into your computer and get the file out of iTunes.

I should have Remembary 2.0.1 ready to go early next week and it will hopefully be live in the App Store before Labour Day (depending on the approval process).

Thanks again to everyone for making this such a great upgrade and launch. Stay tuned - exciting things are coming soon!

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

Here are some notes about each of the fonts. Several of the fonts are licensed from the the excellent (not to mention erudite) collection at Pia Frauss.

  • Bradley Hand: The original default font for Remembary. Looks like handwriting while maintaining legibility.
  • Jane Austen: is from Pia Frauss and is exactly what it sounds like: it's based on the actual handwriting of the famous author herself. It looks especially good on the "Paper" and "Codex" themes
  • Tycho's Recipe: Another Pia Frauss production - it isn't the most legible font, but it's quite striking, especially with all of the flourishes. It's based on an actual recipe by 16th century scientist Tycho Brahe, copied as a gift to the queen of Denmark - a recipe for a medicine "against Plague, and all Morbos Epidemicos". It looks great with the stylized antiquity of the "Parchment" theme.
  • Mitre Square: is also from Pia Frauss and is a fine example of late Victorian steel-tipped pen handwriting. The name comes from the part of London where Jack the Ripper used to lurk - the original version of this font comes from a police report about the murders. I like to use it with the "Codex" theme:
  • Snell Roundhand: An old-fashioned cursive font that emphasises "restraint and proportionality".
  • Andrew: is a cheerful-looking free font from Andrew Vardeman. I don't have much information about him or his font - but it's cheerful and a bit child-like. It looks great on "Notebook" or "Kids".
  • Noteworthy: is a newer 'handwriting' font built into iOS. It looks like it will be the font for the iOS6 version of the "Notes" app, which has some font snobs already calling it the new "Comic Sans". It looks nice in "Heart" and "Notebook".
  • Hoefler Text: is an old favourite. It has a distinctive, slightly old fashioned look, while actually being very technically sophisticated in its use of ligatures and such. It looks quite nice at a large size on the "Platinum" or "Daybook" themes.
  • Times New Roman Italic: One of the original six fonts that came with Remembary 1.0, there's really not much to say about Times New Roman Italic. It's handsome but stays out of the way.
  • Didot: An elegant serif font that Wikipedia describes as "neoclassical" and "evocative of the Age of Enlightenment". Several people had asked about having more straight serif fonts in Remembary, and I hope this and Hoefler Text give them what they want.
  • American Typewriter: iOS' clean built-in typewriter font. If you think it's too clean, try...
  • Underwood Champion: A licensed font based on actual old typewriter text, with a much more realistic, gritty feel. It looks really great on top of "Platinum" or "Daybook" pages.
  • Marker Felt: A fun font built into iOS - notable as the "Notes" app font.
  • Helvetica: The only font here with its own documentary.
Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

After almost nine months, Remembary 2 is finally ready. It just passed the App Store review process and I will be flipping the switch to make it live in the store on August 22.

This update is such a big deal that it deserves a celebration! If you're in or near Halifax, Nova Scotia on Wednesday afternoon, come by the Hub Halifax (1673 Barrington, 2nd floor) after 5:30 for the Remembary 2 launch party. You can just drop by, but if you're on Facebook, check in on the Event page. If you can't make it, you can follow the action on Facebook or Twitter.

I was proud of the earlier versions, but I really feel that this new version makes it one of the best diary apps on the App Store - and over the next few weeks I'm going to work hard to get the word out. This party is a way to start with a bang.

There will be snacks and beverages, demos of the app on iPad and IPhone, promo code giveaways, and maybe a few surprises.

Not sure what Remembary is all about? Here's a quick overview of the app.

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

Remembary 2.0 has been submitted to the App Store and should be available in a week or two.

Remembary 1.4.2 came out almost nine months ago, and if you're used to that version you're in for a treat. Here's what's new:

iPhone / iPod Touch Version: All of the functionality of the iPad version has been shrunk down to fit in your pocket. Note that some elements have been rearranged to fit the smaller device. 

iBooks-style 3D page turn effects: you can still tap or swipe to move between diary entries, but the transition is a whole lot nicer.

Full Page Landscape Mode: The old 'split view' is gone - now Remembary gives you the full landscape width of the screen for reading and writing.

New and Redesigned Themes: All ten of the original themes from Remembary 1.4.2 have been redesigned for retina displays, the new 3D page flips, full-width landscape displays, and for the iPhone/iPod Touch. They take full advantage of the new iPad retina display, including paper textures, watermarks and photo-realistic backgrounds. There are also two new themes: the fun 'Kids' complete with doodles in the margins, and 'Lights Out!' which is designed for writing in your diary late at night.

New Fonts: Some new fonts have been added, including the cursive "Noteworthy" and the gritty typewriter "Underwood Champion".

Support for iOS' Built-In Twitter Accounts: Remembary automatically uses your device's built-in Twitter accounts and authentication. If you have multiple accounts set up in your device, Remembary will fetch tweets from all of them. This also means that Remembary can now support private Twitter feeds. You can download the entire available Tweet history for all of your accounts (up to 3500 Tweets each). You can still specify a Twitter feed manually if you want (although it will be cleared automatically if it's a duplicate of one of the iOS accounts).

Copy Feed Items to Your Diary: Each feed item now has a button that lets you copy the text and timestamp directly into that day's diary entry. This lets you quickly build up your diary without having to do any typing!

Feed Listing Filters: If you're a prolific twitterer or have a busy calendar or track busy RSS feeds, you can now filter your feeds listing by feed type from a segmented control at the top of the listing.

iCal Events: Remembary now searches through your device's iCal events and automatically includes entries in the appropriate day's feed listing. You'd be surprised how far back your events are stored in your device! This even works with iCloud sync, so (for example) if you add or change an event on your computer or iPhone, it will show up automatically in your iPad.

Better Facebook Feeds: Facebook status updates that have a location specified will now show up on the map interface. Also, Remembary doesn't anonymously import comments left on your wall by other people anymore (which can get confusing on your birthday!).

Photo Listing Filters: If you take most of your pictures with your iPhone or iPad and also use Photo Stream, you often end up with the same pictures showing up multiple times in your listing. Now you can filter the listing to only show pictures from the local photo library or from Photo Stream.

Auto Fetch Settings: Now that Remembary even works on the iPhone 3GS, all of the different fetches can slow down the app's performance, especially if you have a lot of photos or very busy feeds. You can now turn off any or all of the feed fetches if you want. Turn them all off and Remembary is still a really nice-looking diary app.

Calendar Interface: Instead of just a list of entries, Remembary now has a full browsable calendar view. Dates with diary entries show up in green, so you can easily see how well you've been keeping your diary. The calendar panel also includes buttons for jumping to the earliest or latest entry, one year forward or back, or even (very cool!) a random diary entry.

New Photo Interface: The new full-screen picture and video viewer is more responsive, showing a low-res version while the full version loads. You can now swipe left and right to move between your photos. If your photo / video is geotagged, you can see where it was taken on a full-screen map.

New Map Styles: All map displays now let you pick between street style, satellite imagery, or a hybrid of both.

Data Export and Import: You can now export your diary in a data format that can then be imported back into Remembary later on. This is especially handy if you're using Remembary on multiple devices - you can export and export through DropBox, for example.

Improved Performance: Extra indexes have been added to the database to dramatically improve feed item fetch speed. Processing-intensive operations like photo library lookups or RSS feed downloads now happen mostly in background processes so they don't interfere with browsing and typing. 

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke
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Well, the coding and testing for Remembary 2.0 are all wrapped up. Now I'm just putting the finishing touches on the built-in documentation for the app. I'll be posting all of this on the web as well. Here's the anchor of the first page: the quick guide graphic (featuring the 'Platinum' theme):

 

Here's the iPhone / iPod Touch version, showing the new "Underwood Champion" font and the new version of "Notebook".

 

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

I'm getting into the final stages of QA testing for Remembary 2, and am really hoping to have it submitted to the App Store within a week or so. While I've been testing, my genius friends at MindSea Development have been helping out with a new app icon and a UI makeover. Here's a sneak peek of what the new "today's feeds" popover looks like:

If you're new to Remembary, what makes it unique among diary apps is that it collects all sorts of context information from the internet and from your device, and organizes it by day. As you write your day's entry, you can tap on a button at the top of the page to see a list of things like Tweets and Facebook status updates which can help you remember what you did that day.

If you're already familiar with Remembary, you'll notice a few new things in this picture:

In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds, Remembary 2 will also check your iPad's calendar - any events, appointments, anniversaries, or other entries in your calendar for today will show up at the appropriate time. If you're syncing your calendar with iCloud, you can set an event on your computer or phone, and in a few minutes it will show up in Remembary as well.

It's now easier to identify the different kinds of feeds coming in, with little icons for each feed type

The segmented control at the top lets you filter which feeds you can see - handy if you're a prolific Twitterer and also have a busy calendar.

The button on the right side of each entry brings up the associated web page in a full-screen, taking you directly to Facebook or Twitter or the RSS source where you can navigate around all you want.

Last but certainly not least, the button on the left side copies the item content and timestamp directly into today's entry. If you're in too much of a hurry to write your own full diary entry, this lets you quickly copy over your day's highlights with just a few taps. You can then come back later and fill in more details. (I have to admit that I've been so busy finishing up Remembary over the last month or so that most of my diary is now just these copied tweets!)

More previews coming soon - and if everything goes well, everyone will be able to play with this in only a few more weeks. 

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

While Remembary 2 is getting closer and closer to ready, I took a quick break last week to go hiking in the spectacular Gros Morne National Park. I took a lot of geotagged pictures with my iPhone and my GPS-enhanced Canon SX230HS, and they've really helped me stress-test the picture and mapping features of Remembary 2.

Here's a sneak preview of the updated full-screen image view:

It's still full-screen and pinch-to-zoom enabled, and it now has nicer-looking retina-grade icons - but did you also notice the map icon at the top? Tapping that gives you this:

A full-screen map, available in Street, Satellite, and Hybrid versions. You can even use the forward and back buttons to move between pictures while the map is up, which simply moves the red pin and recenters the map on it. It turns out this is a great way to track a hike through the wilderness - or a day at a Theme Park, or a pub crawl, or whatever else you find worthy of taking pictures and following on a map in your diary.

(Also, Gros Morne is one of those places where the satellite pictures look as good as the photos taken on the ground.)

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

As mentioned in the previous post, Remembary 2 has been fully updated to work with the new iPad's retina display. Remembary 2 will also feature iBooks-style 3D page turn effects. However, to take full advantage of the retina display and the 3D effects, the existing themes have had to be reworked. Updating the themes to a new look has taken a lot of work, but the results are gorgeous. Old themes have been reworked - some completely redone from scratch - and some new themes have been added. I've tried to include a little bit of everything that people might like in a diary: professional, vintage, retro, romantic, cute, nautical - even a dark coloured theme for writing in your diary after the lights go out.

So here's a sneak preview of what shows up in the "Themes" menu in Remembary 2 - in full Retina display resolution:

(Looks like I'll need to fine-tune some of the layout - but I only just finished all of this and wanted to get it online for everyone ASAP.)

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

Remembary 2 is getting very close to ready - I'm aiming to have it live by mid July. This big update has been a very long time coming. So long, in fact, that this will be the first version that supports the new retina-screen iPad. I've got some new theme designs coming in the new version, and I've made sure to have those done in regular and retina sizes, but I've also been trying to get as many of the old designs sharpened as well.

The problem with retina graphics is that it's difficult to 'upgrade' lower-resolution images into higher-resolution ones. I've reached out to many of the designers who worked on the original theme designs, but over the last year or so some have become too busy, while others have moved to new jobs in new cities and have been very hard to reach.

Thankfully, many of the original themes were done as vector graphics, so those have been relatively easy to scale up. Unfortunately, several of the most popular themes were done as bitmaps, with lots of subtlety and texture, and needed to be rebuilt from scratch.

Luckily, my Pixelmator skills have improved dramatically over the last year, mainly due to almost daily exercise with my site Starships Start Here. I've also found some great source material in iStockPhoto that I've been able to rework into my graphics.

The retina graphics looked pretty good when I ran them on the simulator, but they look insanely great on the new iPad. All the extra texture details and edges are extra sharp. It's impossible to really show what this looks like without showing the device itself, but here's the original "Codex" theme:

... and here's a similarly-sized corner of the new one:

I'm really looking forward to getting these images out into your hands. Look out for the big launch in July!

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke

I've been working very hard over the last few weeks to get Remembary 2.0 out the door. This is going to be a major update with a whole lot of new features. If everything goes well, I plan to submit it to the store in early July. In leading up to the new release, I'll be posting previews of some of the cool new things that are coming.

Today: The New Calendar Popover:

(The final version will probably look a lot better than this - certainly the button spacing and alignment will be improved!)

Remembary 2.0 now has a real calendar view for browsing your entries. Dates that have a written entry now show up in green, while dates where you haven't written anything show are in grey. This lets you easily find gaps in your diary-keeping (and Remembary's automatic feeds and pictures and maps can help remind you what heppened so you can fill them in).

The buttons at the bottom are very interesting:

Today jumps you to today's entry from wherever you might be in your diary. 

1 Year Earlier and 1 Year Later let you jump forward and back from the current date. When browsing through my old diaries, I often enjoy seeing what I was doing on the same day in different years. Birthdays or holidays are obvious choices, but sometimes it's interesting to see what you were doing in mid-April every year. Instead of scrolling through big lists or searching for dates, you'll be able to jump by year just by tapping these buttons.

Earliest and Latest jump all the way to the very earliest entry or the very latest entry that you've written in the diary. For me that goes from April 1999 to today.

The most fun one, though, is Random. This picks a random entry from your diary and jumps you to it. It's a powerful way to reflect on your past, since you get a slice of your life without any preconceptions or context. If you have a lot of diary entries, hopping around your life can be quite addictive. Another fun way to use this is to pick a random date but cover the date label at the top of the page - and then try to guess the date from what you wrote. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing what people think of the new features. This is going to be an exciting update!

(By the way, the 'old style' entries listing with the search at the top is still available by tapping on the "Search" tab at the bottom.)

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke