How Staring at Screens Resulted in the Iris: 20-20-20 App

Nowadays, most of us spend a good chunk of our time staring at screens. Whether it’s a computer monitor, a smartphone, the television, or even a smartwatch, our eyes are constantly getting put to work by all these screens. Too much of one thing is never good, and this definitely applies to looking at screens.

Prolonged exposure to screens can result in eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision or dry eyes. I have experienced this myself, especially since I work on the computer during my day job, and I usually end up staring at more screens at night: whether it be playing video games, watching some Netflix, or even working on my apps.

This is where my new app, Iris: 20-20-20 Rule Eye Strain Assistant & Helper, comes in. Since I’ve been experiencing minor headaches and eye fatigue due to too much screen time, I made it a point to try and follow the 20-20-20 rule. It’s a popular guideline often recommended by eye doctors for reducing eye strain and it goes something like this:

Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to look at something at least 20 feet away.

The Iris: 20-20-20 app helps you achieve this. Once the app is switched on, it will remind you to take a break every 20 minutes. When it’s time for a break, you then open the app, and tap on the timer to start a 20-second countdown. This is when you look at something that’s at least 20 feet away while holding your device; because when the 20-second timer is complete, it will vibrate, signaling you that your break is over. Rinse and repeat throughout the day (and night). It’s that simple.

I hope that you’ll find this app as useful as I (and our beta testers) have! It’s incredibly efficient and it has really made a difference in my daily workflow. Note that you can always get up and move around during your 2o-second break. It’s up to you what you do as long as you give your eyes a chance to look at something at a distance (20 feet or farther). I hope you’ll give Iris: 20-20-20 a try – your eyes will thank you for it!


iPhone Dev: UITapRecognizer iOS 5 vs iOS 6

Text Fortress‘ first update (v 1.05) went live yesterday and it fixes a nasty bug where all the buttons in the app seemed to be broken. In the process of fixing this problem, I discovered an interesting difference in the way iOS 5.x and iOS 6.x handles user taps.

First, I’d like to thank Text Fortress user, Vishal Patel, for kindly notifying me of this unintended function. Thanks to him, I was able to pinpoint the problem and fix it easily. Since I primarily tested this app using iOS 6.x, I did not experience the problems Vishal did. It turns out that UITapRecognizer’s property “cancelsTouchesInView” is set to YES by default in iOS 5, but it is set to NO in iOS 6.

This turned out to be a problem in my app because I had it set up to immediately look for taps when the app launched. In iOS 6, this wasn’t a problem, but in iOS 5, it prevented the users from interacting with the UIButtons since the system kept registering it as a tap. There are two ways to fix this problem.

One way is to manually set UITapRecognizer’s “cancelsTouchesInView” to NO. Another way, which is what I opted to do, was to check for taps only when necessary. For example, I was using the tap gesture to dismiss the on-screen keyboard. Instead of looking for taps right from the get go, I simply started looking for taps when the keyboard was present (the keyboard covered the buttons anyway). So there you have it, a little food for thought for beginner iOS devs.

Marketing “Text Fortress” – Facebook, Google, Twitter?

Text Fortress recently went live in the App Store and ever since then I’ve been brainstorming of ways to best promote the app. I’m an amateur marketer, using only Facebook and Twitter to promote my previous apps, so I really have no idea what I’m getting into. However, I do know that I want more exposure than what I achieved before, and that is why I am going to conduct an actual marketing campaign.

I plan to do both Facebook and Google Adwords advertising, but I’m going to start with the later because Facebook is more effective when I have the Facebook SDK integrated into the app (which I don’t).

As I learn more about these mediums of advertising, I plan to document my progress and share my experiences. Look out for my next post where I’ll talk about my initial experience with Google AdWords and how it can all seem so convoluted to someone who has never used it before.

How Do I Begin…

I never thought I’d purchase a domain with my name on it, but here we are. As I create and publish more apps, I wanted a place to showcase these creations. This site serves that purpose, but it also allows me to share tips, tricks, thoughts and opinions. I will mostly be writing about iOS development and tech stuff, but be you should be prepared for anything! In the coming weeks I’ll try to write about how Text Fortress came about from inspiration to concept to the actual product.

You should know that I love feedback and constructive criticism. So feel free to voice your opinion, whatever that may be, about this site, my apps, or anything on your mind.

p.s. If you’re into social media, you can find me on the big four. See below.