Report: iOS and Android apps fighting for retention, not discovery Dominik Pietsch, 01.11.11, 01:40

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

The latest Flurry report has an interesting insight for app developers. Over the last few years, as apps have gained more and more attention and users, discovery has been one of the biggest issues developers face: Most devs spend a lot of their time post-release just trying to tell as many people as possible about their app, so they can actually find it in the store and buy it. But Flurry now says that because of the growing amount of tools out there for app discovery, the biggest problem faced by apps isn't getting found anymore. It's trying to get customers to stick around.

As you can see above, app user retention drops off sharply after the first month of usage, and only gets worse from there. Based on my own experience, I can agree with this assessment — while I probably use more apps than the average consumer, even my favorite apps really only hold my attention for a few weeks at the most before I find something else I really like and move on. That's not a judgment on app quality — there are just so many apps out there and apps always coming out and dropping in price and going free that there's always something shinier to move on to, no matter how great the app is.

Especially with models like freemium, app retention becomes more and more important for developers. Presumably, then, the next tools developers need should not only work towards discovery (things like Game Center and OpenFeint have helped immensely with this kind of thing), but also should be aimed towards keeping users interested in the apps they have. The new Notification Center may help with something like that, or maybe a "Recently Used" folder on your iOS device, that pushes you back to apps you've used lately. It's fascinating to see that as the app ecosystem grows and ages, developers are facing new and different problems reaching users.

Report: iOS and Android apps fighting for retention, not discovery originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 19:00:00 EST.

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App-Tipps: Podcast-Client Instacast und Kamera-App mit Dropbox-Anbindung Dominik Pietsch, 30.04.11, 10:45

via fscklog by Leo on 3/2/11

Zwei schnelle App-Empfehlungen bevor die iPad-Flut des heutigen Abends beginnt:
Instacast ist ein schön reduzierter Podcast-Client für iPhone und iPod touch mit einer zeitsparenden Einrichtungs-Funktion: Es werden die in der eigenen iPod-App bereits hinterlegten Podcasts erkannt und können dann unmittelbar auch in Instacast abonniert werden. Kostenpunkt: 1,60 Euro, iTunes-Affiliate-Link. Das iPhoneblog widmete sich gestern noch zwei weiteren Podcast-Clients.
“QuickShot with Dropbox” ist ein Ersatz für die Kamera-App und lädt geschossene Fotos unmittelbar automatisch (sowie auch im Hintergrund) auf den eigenen Dropbox-Account hoch. EXIF-Daten werden dabei ordnungsgemäß beibehalten und die Bilder landen gleichzeitig lokal am üblichen Ort in der Fotos-App. QuickShot kostet 80 Cent, iTunes-Affiliate-Link. Videounterstützung soll folgen.

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Second source suggests Apple purchased icloud domain Dominik Pietsch, 29.04.11, 16:51

via TUAW von Kelly Hodgkins am 29.04.11

Earlier this week, we reported on a circulating rumor that suggested Apple bought the domain name. Today, All Things Digital added to that rumor with a report of its own. According to AllThingsD, “sources in position to know” have confirmed to them that Apple did buy the domain name from Xcerion, a cloud computing company based in Sweden.

The original rumor suggested Apple paid up to $4.5 million for the domain name, but AllThingsD was unable to corroborate that figure with its source. Presumably, Apple will use this domain name for the rumored iTunes in the cloud and digital locker service it is supposedly gearing up to launch. Would you be excited to use your iCloud account to sync your iPhoto and iTunes content with your iPad while you’re on the iGo?

Second source suggests Apple purchased icloud domain originally appeared on TUAW on Fri, 29 Apr 2011 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Use AppleScript to open current Safari URL in Google Chrome Dominik Pietsch, 14.03.11, 16:01

via TUAW by TJ Luoma on 3/14/11

I’ve been using John Gruber’s suggestions from Going Flash-Free on Mac OS X, and How to Cheat When You Need It to avoid installing Adobe Flash by using Google Chrome (which includes its own version of Flash) whenever I run into a page that has Flash I want to see.

To make this easier, John suggested turning on the “Develop menu” in Safari’s “Advanced” preferences, which includes a sub-menu to “Open Page With” and a sub-sub-menu that shows all of your installed browsers. John suggested using System Preferences to create a keyboard shortcut for “Google Chrome” or “Google” depending on which one you saw in the menu.

Unfortunately, this failed for me quite often. Every time I launched Safari, the keyboard shortcut would not work until I had opened that menu manually using the mouse. I hate using the mouse. After opening the menu, the keyboard shortcut would work until I quit Safari again. That was mildly annoying, but things recently took a turn for the worse.

Here’s what the menu looks like for me now:

Notice that the browser listings now include version numbers. This means that a keyboard shortcut would have to include the version number, which means it would break whenever the browser is updated.

I asked a few folks, and it appears this changed in Safari 5.0.4. I haven’t been able to find a way to revert to the old behavior, so I started looking for another way.

Continue reading Use AppleScript to open current Safari URL in Google Chrome

Use AppleScript to open current Safari URL in Google Chrome originally appeared on TUAW on Mon, 14 Mar 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Neuer Reparaturmechanismus in Mac OS X Lion Dominik Pietsch, 27.02.11, 11:03

Laut bringt Mac OS X 10.7 Lion einen neuen Reparaturmodus mit. Wenn Lion installiert wird erstellt das System automatisch eine kleine Partition, um im Falle eines kaputten Betriebssystems dieses reparieren zu können oder eine Neuinstallation auszuführen. Der Grund dahinter ist, dass wohl in Zukunft immer mehr Macs ohne optisches Laufwerk ausgeliefert werden, so dass eine Neuinstallation nicht einfach möglich ist. Außerdem kön…

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Herald 1.3.1 – Notification plugin for (Free) Dominik Pietsch, 27.02.11, 10:55


Herald is a notification plugin for, Apple’s Mac OS X email client. Inspired by the excellent Mail.appetizer plugin, Herald shows you popup notifications whenever you receive new Mail. It also allows you to perform common actions directly from within the notification window, including deleting messages, initiating replies, viewing messages in Mail, or marking messages as read. Herald’s appearance is highly customizable, allowing you to change the background color, text color, size, shadow, transparency, and position of the window. Herald even provides a scrolling text view so you can read full messages without having to switch back to Mail. Herald is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Note: Mail plugins are not officially supported by Apple. While Herald has been thoroughly tested, it’s possible it may cause unintented conflicts with Mail or with other unofficial Mail plugins, especially after OS updates. It’s recommended that you backup your computer before installing Herald or any other Mail plugin, and always before installing any updates to Mail or OS X.

Version 1.3.1:

  • Support for Feb. 2011 MacBooks
  • Uninstaller now removes Herald preferences
  • Fixed an issue where Herald would fail to mark messages as read when Mail Act-On was installed

Mac OS X 10.6 or later

Download Now

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A Guide to Mac Diagnostic and Repair Utilities Dominik Pietsch, 22.01.11, 10:17


Back in the very old days almost every Mac user owned a copy of Norton Utilities, a name synonymous with fixing any Mac problem. “Have you run Norton on it?” was the first step in any repair routine. Today, no single program dominates the market. There are several different maintenance applications to choose from, and the one you end up using will depend on both the specific problem you’re encountering and your level of comfort and experience with Mac troubleshooting.

Apple Utilities: Your First Step

Regardless of what problem you’re having, your first step should be to try one of Apple’s own utilities. Apple provides several free Mac utilities in the OS. Apple Hardware Test (AHT) is included with every new Mac. The AHT boot CD bypasses your operating system and tests basic hardware such as your hard drive, memory, processing, and video. The tests are very basic and a passing  grade doesn’t always mean all is well. Apple sees AHT as a quick test to rule out obvious problems. If your Mac is just acting weird, AHT is a quick and easy place to start your troubleshooting journey.

Another Apple utility is Apple’s Disk Utility which can be found inside the Utilities folder (which is in your Mac’s Applications folder). The app is also on your OS X installation disc. Disk Utility’s is primarily for screening drives for serious problems like disk file structure errors (things are out of place), SMART failures (early warning signs of a problem), or permissions issues. For some repairs, you’ll need to boot from your installation disc. Apple’s provides extensive instructions on how to use Disk Utility on its support website.

General Disk Maintenance and Basic Repair

For basic hard drive checks and repair, the closest equivalent today to the power and simplicity of the original Norton Disk Doctor is Alsoft’s Disk Warrior ($99.95). Disk Warrior primarily does one thing and does it very well: it repairs disk directories.

All the cryptic and confusing errors Apple’s Disk Utility has problems with, Disk Warrior fixes with flying colors. Your disk’s directory is similar to a table of contents crossed with an index, and when it gets confused (usually due to program crashes or improper machine shutdowns), Disk Warrior rebuilds (instead of repairs) the directory, allowing the computer to operate normally.

Disk Warrior can’t repair the drive it’s installed on, so you’ll have to run it off of the installation DVD or another volume if you want to repair your boot drive.

Disk Warrior should be a part of any basic troubleshooting routine and I always run it before any system updates. It’s my most trusted and relied upon Mac Utility.

Data Recovery

At the first sign of disk failure, you need to consider whether or not you’ll be sending the drive off for forensic-style data recovery from a company like DriveSavers.  If you think you’ll be using professionals, then stop all recovery efforts and call them right away. Although these services often cost thousands of dollars, sometimes it could be covered by insurance.

If you want to go the do-it-yourself route, my first choice is Stellar Phoenix 4.1 ($79). The program is extremely powerful and deals best with volumes that won’t mount on your Mac. It pushes right through read errors and recovers data that other programs can’t find. Some recovery applications may give up if they encounter excessive read errors, which are common on dying hard drives, but Stellar Phoenix will keep trying until it recovers whatever data it can. Unfortunately, the interface is confusing and unintuitive like. In spite of the bad UI, however, the program itself is very reliable.

Hard Drive Optimization

Drive Genius 3($99) by Prosoft Engineering, has a comprehensive suite of hard drive utilities attractively packaged with a easy-to-use interface that lets you tweak every possible byte of performance from your storage device.

Drive Genius includes not only those functions covered by Disk Utility such as secure erasure, initialization and partitioning, but also adds a slew of maintenance and optimization routines. For those using a smaller hard drive, their proprietary DriveSlim algorithms removes unnecessary files to add space.

Although not necessary for the average user, Drive Genius also includes a defragmentation option, along with advanced functions for sector editing, benchmarking, cloning and an early warning system for potential problems called “Drive Pulse.” Drive Genius is used by Apple’s own Genius staff for yearly checkups. I recommend Drive Genius for more experienced users and geeks who want to really explore their hard drive.

Hardware Problems

TechTool Pro 5 ($99) by Micromat goes way beyond the AHT, doing more extensive testing of your memory, hard drive, audio and video. Apple includes a limited version of TechTool called TechTool Deluxe with the purchase of AppleCare that provides a limited subset of the full version’s hardware tests.

A unique part of TechTool is the “eDrive” feature, which creates a bootable partition on your current hard drive in order to run its utilities in case of emergency. More technical users probably would be more comfortable using an external hard drive, but rest of us will find this eDrive very useful for basic maintenance and testing. eDrive and most of TechTool’s other hard drive tools aren’t included with TechTool Deluxe, representing the major difference between it and the full Pro product.

Which should you buy?

Overall, every Mac user would benefit from owning a copy of DiskWarrior for periodic maintenance. If you aren’t fastidious about backing up (or work with others who aren’t), Stellar Phoenix can really save your data and I suggest it as your primary recovery tool, but you might be able to wait until something actually goes wrong. For the more technically inclined, I’d recommend TechTool Pro over Drive Genius because it includes both optimization and hardware testing. If all you want to do is occasionally optimize your hard drive and save space, owning just Drive Genius is a great choice.

While one program doesn’t do it all like in the days of good ol’ Norton, this list of programs will provide you the key to solving some of your own computer problems.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

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iTunes 101: Display exact duplicate songs using the Option key Dominik Pietsch, 23.12.10, 00:53

via TUAW by David Quilty on 12/22/10

Option KeyThis is a really useful iTunes 101 lesson for beginners and expert users alike. While iTunes makes it easy to remove duplicates in your song library, sometimes just because a few titles have the same name doesn’t mean that they are the exact same song. Because of this, it could take you a really long time to go through checking all your songs to make sure you are truly deleting duplicates and not songs that just happen to have the same name. Thankfully, a reader over at Lifehacker found a way to narrow down your search for duplicates to exact matches only, courtesy of the oft-used Option key. By holding down Option while navigating to File > Display Duplicates in iTunes, the "Display Duplicates" choice changes to "Display Exact Duplicates," thus enabling you to carefully delete only those songs which are exact matches and not just in title alone.

This couldn’t come at a better time for me, as I have recently finished loading every CD I own into iTunes, leaving me with some titles that match in name only. For example, I have a ton of bootleg and underground Led Zeppelin songs on my computer. While all songs titled “Black Dog” are by Led Zeppelin, there are different versions from different concerts and old recordings. Without using the Option key to search for them, iTunes might have thought they were all the same, and I might have deleted them if I wasn’t paying close attention.

If you have a similar situation in your music library, you may want to give this tip a shot. I certainly am glad I know it’s there now!

iTunes 101: Display exact duplicate songs using the Option key originally appeared on TUAW on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official Google Reader App for Android Now Available [Downloads] Dominik Pietsch, 02.12.10, 00:28

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Official Google Reader App for Android Now Available [Downloads]

Android: Google’s Reader webapp is pretty good, but we’ve longed for an official, native Google Reader app since we started using Android. Today, Google made that dream come true, with extras like volume-key navigation, multiple accounts, and sharing. More »

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iSyncr Syncs Your Android Device with iTunes Over USB or Wi-Fi [Downloads] Dominik Pietsch, 06.10.10, 07:34

iSyncr Syncs Your Android Device with iTunes Over USB or Wi-Fi [Downloads]

Android and Windows/Mac: We’ve featured many apps that sync your Android phone with iTunes, but iSyncr is the most lightweight, feature-filled, and dead simple method we’ve come across yet. More »

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