Monday, November 6, 2017

Connect with illumineX on LinkedIn

image of blogger and illumineX logos on black background
Connect with illumineX on LinkedIn

Are you a freelance developer specializing in mobile iOS or Android programming? Do you love Cocoa/Swift, or Java? 

Are you looking for unique opportunities and challenges? 

Follow illumineX on LinkedIn and connect with illumineX CEO Gary W. Longsine on LinkedIn, too. 

We'd like to get to know you. Start a conversation, today!

  

Monday, October 30, 2017

illumineX Announce email list

illumineX is conducting our first email campaign—ever in the history of our company—to our customers. We want to let you know that we are migrating our software products to the Mac App Store, beginning with the popular games from our GamePaX series, HextriX, BabelBloX, HoppiX, and RuniX

Some aspects of our first-ever email campaign seem (to us) a bit unusual, so we thought we should take a moment to let you know a little about what we're doing, and why. 

All of the people on our email list provided their email address when they purchased one of our products. However, our current email list has a few special characteristics: 
  • This is the first time that we have attempted to contact our customers. In 19 years of operation, we have never sent an email to our list, previously.
  • We have acquired a few companies & products over the years (including Softchaos and Freshly Squeezed Software), so customers may not recognize our brand.
  • Some of those products have been discontinued.
  • We don’t have “opt-out” information for all of our customers (it appears for some products our customers were not asked for their email preference).
  • Our customer list spans a period of 19 years.
Once we get through the first announcement our email list will be pretty clean, since we are giving people the opportunity to opt out.

We have included a link to our Email Policy at the bottom of the email we are sending. You may review it, here:


If you receive an email from "illumineX Announce" and you don't wish to receive future announcements, please click the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email.

We intend to contact our customer typically less than once a month, and probably no more than 4 or 5 times per years, to announce product updates, new products, and sale pricing on the App Store.

Thank you!

image of illumineX logo with GamePaX announcement text
illumineX Announce email header

Thursday, October 26, 2017

As many as 5% of iOS apps still not ready for iOS 11

A month into the #iOS 11 update, our surveys show the typical #iPhone user has seen from 1% to 5% of their apps become unavailable (because the app hasn't been updated for iOS 11). Just prior to the release of iOS 11, about 10% of apps were not ready. Users with large numbers of apps on their phones (more than 100 third-party apps) seem to see a higher rate of abandoned apps. Presumably users with fewer apps are generally using only the most popular apps, which are more likely to be updated.  There are exceptions. Some abandoned apps are products of big name brands, including media companies, Fortune 500, Universities, and governments. What's going on, here? We have some guesses, based on issues we've seen over the years.  Organizations may not yet be committed to carrying their app forward for several reasons: 1. Not satisfied with the market reach or ROI;  3. project at risk due to creaky codebase & a pile of urgent backlog feature requests; 4. app created as an experiment with unclear goals; 5. app not reaching other business goals (viral marketing). Contact illumineX today.

We'd like to talk to you about possibilities for the future of your app, including a deeper look at viral marketing, community building, gamification, and the business model.


image showing illumineX game icons and slogan
Contact illumineX today:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

RuniX is now available on Mac App Store

illumineX has been working closely with Alex Cone of CodeFab (NYC) to migrate our suite of consumer software products to the Mac App Store. RuniX, the first game from our Infinity GamePaX Series just hit the App Store, today. 

Our illumineX Infinity GamePaX is a series of several games including BabelBloX, MarbleX, RoX, HoppiX, and HextriX, which were among the very first games to appear on the Mac OS X platform in the early 2000s.  

The games were much loved by fans but the Mac market at the time was pretty small, with fewer than 2 million people using Mac OS X in the early days of the platform. (Many Mac users at the time remained on Mac OS 8 or 9). 

Including our free illumineX Screen Saver PaX, at one time we estimated that 10% of all users of Mac OS X were using some of our software!

The GamePaX continued to run fine on newer versions of Mac OS X over the years, so not much maintenance was required. Then along came a new release which didn't break the games themselves, but broke the software stack that we had built our own e-commerce system on.  We elected to update the GamePaX and migrate it to the Mac App Store. 

If you have products that need updating, we have recent experience!

Contact us today. We would love to help you modernize your iOS and macOS software.

illumineX:  the App Store is our resume. 

You can download RuniX on the Mac App Store.

Screenshot of RuniX a game for macOS by illumineX
RuniX - Game Options

Monday, October 23, 2017

EyeSpy 2.0.7 available now on Mac App Store

EyeSpy 2.0.7 is available on the Mac App Store today.

This update slightly changes the design of the app in order to work around a fascinating "bug" in macOS High Sierra (10.13).

When switching between characters using the Command-RightArrow or CommandLeftArrow keys, EyeSpy on macOS Sierra (10.12) would correctly shrink the character down to a pinpoint, swap in the new character, then grow the character back to full size. This was a fun animation effect.

Unfortunately High Sierra (10.13) optimizes the graphics drawing a little too aggressively. The graphics subsystem doesn't swap in the new character until after the animation sequence is complete. We tried about a dozen different tricks to try to convince it that, yes, we really do want to swap in a new image before animating the character growing from a pinpoint to full size.

So, on High Sierra the animation sequence we want never does the right thing. Instead, it always does a clunky shrink/grow/swap-character (which looks odd).

We've replaced the shrink/swap-character/grow animation with a shrink/swap-character-pop-into-place animation. This is less clunky. It's not what we want, but at least it looks intentional rather than accidental.

We'll report this issue to Apple. With any luck we can bring back the intended animation, at some point.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on @illumineX on Twitter. We'll be dropping a few promo codes out there over the coming weeks. First come, first serve! These promo codes will let you get a free character via the In-App Purchase store in EyeSpy.

If you like our fun little cartoon toy, be sure to rate EyeSpy at the Mac App Store! Thank you!

illumineX is in the process of migrating our GamePaX to the Mac App Store!  Keep an eye on this space for further details!
illumineX consulting services
Contact illumineX for your mobile, desktop, and cloud development needs.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

EyeSpy 2.0.4 available now on Mac App Store

This release improves the stability of the EyeSpy application.

  • EyeSpy 2.0.3 would sometime crash when attempting to share on social media from the button in the About panel. This has been fixed.
  • The About and Character Preferences panels are closed when the user clicks on the “Share” button, so that the sharing panel isn’t accidentally hidden behind them.
illumineX makes fun and quality software for macOS and iOS including integration with cloud based services. We can help you with your project. Does your business or government agency need assistance with updating your apps for iOS 11? We can help you do more than update the software.

If you want to rethink the user experience to make it more modern, add gamification or social graph features to help build your user community, or viral marketing features to help your app reach more people, contact us today.

Send email to: support@illumineX.com



Monday, September 4, 2017

Updating for iOS 11 - a chance to rethink your app?


Roughly 8% of the apps on the iOS App Store are not ready for iOS 11, according to Sensor Tower, an app intelligence firm. Our (illumineX) own informal survey indicates that for users with more than 50 apps on their device, around 15% of those apps are not yet ready for iOS 11 (it varies quite a bit, clustering between 10% and 20%). The technical challenges of updating for iOS 11 are perhaps non-trivial, but they're well within the reach of the typical iOS development team. So, why are so many apps on the verge of being abandoned? Some vendors might be waiting for the release of iOS 11 to update their app. But that might not be the only reason, or even the main reason, given that roughly 90% of app vendors have updated, already.

Something else might be at work.

I suspect some app owners/vendors aren't sure about how to move their app forward—not due to technical updates needed for 64-bit iOS, but because their app isn't performing as well as they would like in the market.

I'd like to know more about the challenges faced by organizations trying to update their apps for iOS 11.

If you have an app and would like to talk about the business and marketing aspects which will help you decide whether or not to update your app, feel free to contact me, directly via email: gary@illumineX.com any time.

Let's chat about your original goals for your app, changing technology and market conditions which affect your app performance, and whatever else you see as a factor in your decision to maintain or abandon your app. Maybe there's a better exit strategy, than simply abandoning an underperforming app with a great concept. Maybe our conversation will help you identify opportunities to refresh your app and meet your objectives.

Feel free to like, share, and comment on this post if you have thoughts about this. It strikes me as odd that so many apps are on the brink of being wiped off the app store. I won't accidentally shame anybody here by naming apps, but some of these apps were clearly intended as substantial marketing efforts of major organizations, including radio stations, universities, large companies. Others look like really good app ideas that might not be fully realized (suffer from poor UX (User eXperience) or which suffer issues with the monetization / business model.

Anyway, I'd love to chat with some folk who are wrestling with the question of whether or not to update their apps for iOS 11. Let's chat and see if we come up with a good idea for your team. This might be a great opportunity to deeply rethink your app, and boost your app performance.

More than 180,000 iPhone apps won't be compatible with iOS 11 by Avery Hartmans of Business Insider.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

EyeSpy 2.0.3 update available now on Mac App Store

We've released the latest update to EyeSpy on the Mac App Store. This release improves the user experience for the purchase process and improves the robustness of the icon badge which shows the available updates for your In-App Purchases. All EyeSpy customers are encouraged to update to EyeSpy 2.0.3.


This release improves the robustness and user experience of the EyeSpy update process for In-App Purchase downloads (ArtPaX characters).

  • New fireworks display upon in-app purchase
  • Fixes the spurious focus ring bleed-through on the purchase view
  • Fixes available character update count on the App Icon badge (a small red circle) which displays the number of available updates). In the previous release, this badge would sometimes indicate one or more available updates when there were no new updates available.

Got apps that need updating for iOS 11? Contact illumineX. We can help you update for 64-bit iOS and help you update the user experience for modern iOS devices. Send us an email: sales@illumineX.com


Saturday, July 15, 2017

EyeSpy - now available on Mac App Store

This week illumineX shipped an all-new version of EyeSpy to the Mac App Store. Remember the fun little toy where cartoon eyes watch your mouse cursor as it move around the screen? The concept goes back to the earliest days of graphical windowing computer systems, at least as early as 1986. We made our first version of a toy like this on the first developer pre-release version of Mac OS X many Moons ago (in turn it was based on a version that one of our team had built on NeXTSTEP in the 1990s). This week we released a brand new version built in Apple's Swift programming language and taking advantage of modern Cocoa API including SpriteKit and CoreAnimation.

Working with Alex Cone of CodeFab, we did more than bring EyeSpy up to date. We started from scratch, by asking what makes EyeSpy so much fun that people keep asking for an update, over 15 years after the first (and until now, only) release?

Our teams have collective many decades of experience helping our clients ask questions like this about their markets. We decided to apply our enterprise software solutions practices to the very simplest toy in our collection of software and see what happens. The result is born as the brand new EyeSpy, available on the Mac App Store for the first time, and bringing you fun original cartoon artwork by a variety of professional artists.


EyeSpy

We've introduced a variety of subtle features to make the simple toy feel playful and fun. A free download, EyeSpy is a pleasant distraction, like playing with a rubber band while talking on the phone. (Try grabbing the cartoon character and throwing it off the edge of your screen.)

After you download EyeSpy, simply double-click the EyeSpy Guy character to open the Character Settings panel. Click the "Characters" pop-up button, where you can select a character from your list, download additional free characters, and purchase characters from the integrated In-App Purchase Store.

  • All new artwork by professional artists and graphics illustrators
  • A playful cartoon soundscape (why were disembodied cartoon eyes always completely silent, before?
  • Boing! (Try tossing the character off the edge of the screen)
  • Easy sharing of EyeSpy characters via Twitter, Facebook, Messages, Mail, and any platform supported by macOS

One of the new twists on EyeSpy is a variety of fun new cartoon characters, which you can easily share with your friends from inside the EyeSpy app. You can freely share any of your EyeSpy characters using Twitter, Facebook, Messages, Mail, and any other social media sharing service supported by macOS (Sierra).

The new EyeSpy is silly and fun. You can't make us take it more seriously than we already do.


Working with Alex Cone of CodeFab (New York City)

illumineX has worked with Alex Cone, founder and CEO of New York City based CodeFab , on a variety of commercial/consumer and enterprise projects since he and illumineX founder Gary Longsine first met at the last NeXTSTEP Expo in San Francisco, back when we were puppies! We've been friends and colleagues ever since. Over the years we've collaborated on a wide variety of projects from consumer software like EyeSpy, to scalable enterprise network security software (FireBreak by Intrinsic Security) to an energy commodity market trading system which manages a non-trivial fraction of the global economy (Royal Bank of Scotland - RBS).

illumineX and CodeFab are available to help your enterprise, government, or non-profit organization build new mobile, desktop, and cloud solutions.

Contact us today to talk about your project.

Be sure to download and play with EyeSpy. The App Store is our resume.


EyeSpy Guy
ⓔⓨⓔⓢⓟⓨ
EyeSpy by illumineX
Download on Mac App Store!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gamification is a big, big deal

Number of the day: By 2010, people had spent a combined 5.93 million hours playing World of Warcraft. See this fascinating TED Talk by Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. Game playing builds optimism and social bonds. The World of Warcraft wiki at the time was the world's second biggest wiki.

We're witnessing what amounts to no less than a mass exodus to virtual worlds and online game environments.
—economist Edward Castronova