Monument Valley – Falling in love with Ida

I have to make a confession: I’m in love with Ida. It was love at first sight, when I guided her through the first path of an adventure we both were just about to start. Ida, that’s the silent princess you have to lead through a world of beautiful architecture in the recently published game Monument Valley for iPone and iPad.

The incredible attention to details you can find in the whole game and the well thought balance of the game will bring you a lot of joy and leaves me sometimes just starring at the screen, watching the world itself instead of taking any action.
It looked like the developer studio USTWO might have predicted such behavior, as they let you capture a screenshot of the game at any time with the app itself and the possibility to share it directly to Instagram or Twitter.

Moving on

Hello, XING

I’m happy to tell you that I’ll join the awesome team at XING at the beginning of April, where I’ll work on the premium products.

After 9 exciting months with all the ups and downs in a young startup like MyGassi, I’m very much looking forward to take the next step as a Product Manager and am glad about the possibility to work with a lot of talented people at XING.

Say hi to Coffeelog 1.1(.1)

A bumpy start

We were pretty happy to release version 1.1 of Coffeelog last week, as it included some requested features like additional ways of preparation, an expanded location feature and some minor fixes.

Coffeelog New Ways of Preparation

Unfortunately, we almost immediately got some feedback that the update seemed to replace all existing images with the placeholder image. Looking into the code we found out that we had overlooked a small bug that caused this behaviour.

Thanks to Philipp we were able to fix it very quickly. But just before we wanted to submit it, Apple released iOS 7.1. Though a lot of users were looking forward to it, 7.1 caused us some new headaches. Our expanded location feature was “perfectly” crashing under iOS 7.1. That’s why it took us a little bit longer to ship version 1.1.1.

Thankfully, the update made it very quickly to the App Store, thanks to an expedit review, so the buggy version could be very replaced within a few days.

Coffeelog Location

But we definitely want to celebrate the launch of version 1.1 anyway and will therefore give away 11 promo codes for the App Store over this weekend. Just keep an eye on @Coffeelogapp to grab one and spread the word!

Goodbye, Alertify

tl;dr Michael and I decided to open source everything that has been done so far for Alertify because we haven’t managed to launch it for almost a year.

As our current developer, Hans, won’t have any further ressources to work more on Alertify, the alarm clock idea Michael Doleîjs and I developed a year ago, we decided to make everything we have so far publicly available on github.

Instead of starting to search for a new iOS developer a third time and pursuing the project further with too little focus, we’re honest with each other and have the feeling that we just won’t be the ones which will realise Alertify.

That beeing said, we’re excited to see what somebody out there might makes out of it, as we still believe in the idea. You can find the iOS code here and the code for the website here.

I’ll erase the domain out of the account at my domain registrar and delete the twitter account in the coming days so they’re available for everybody to grab. If you subscribed to our mailing list, you won’t receive mails any longer after a final goodbye letter.

Goodbye, Alertify. It’s been a pleasure.

Best,
Mike & Tim

Media Queries and Apple Mail.App

Media Queries

tl;dr It looks like Apple Mail.app (iOS and OS X) ignores background images you change through media queries unless you define them for every device width on its own.

During the last days I was working on a responsive newsletter for MyGassi to prepare an upcoming mailing campaign. I used INK by ZURB to have a solid base to work on. Of course we wanted to use media queries to provide a good usability on all devices.

After some early testing it looked like Mail.app would ignore the media queries that should deliver smaller background images below a device width of 600px.

Here’s an example for a with the id “smalldogs” I wanted to use to display a smaller image on mobile devices:

But whatever I tried, Mail.app only displayed the original background image for every device width. What confused me even more was, that it worked perfectly in every browser when I resized the windows. My friend and experienced web developer Ludwig Weise then pointed out that Mail.app may prevents the change of an image through media queries because of potential security issues. He recommended that I should define the background image for devices above 600px device width also with an own media query.
That solution worked just perfectly for me. This may helps you to avoid a similar mistake, even if I haven’t found the true reason for this behaviour yet (if you do, please let me know.

Say hello to Coffeelog

Hello Coffeelogtl;dr I wanted to keep track of the coffees I purchased for brewing at home but didn’t find the right solution. So I designed an iPhone App and realised it with the help of Philipp Waldhauer. You can get it here.

Idea

Some months ago I dropped my Nespresso machine for making coffee. I can’t really remember what exactly made me stop using it, but I turned to real “tools” like FrenchPress, Coffee Dripper or Espresso Machine to brew my daily dose of caffeine at home.
As Hamburg offers a huge variety of great coffee roasters, I soon had bought and tried more beans than I could remember. But instead of just writing my purchases down in Evernote or something, I felt like there should be a tool that’s truely dedicated to coffee.

Design

During that time I got my first deeper hands-on experience with Photoshop and started to play around with great templates like the ones from Teehan+Lax to produce first results. The more I was thinking about some kind of coffee app, I saw a real need for it.
At first I created a truely reduced MVP in Photoshop to validate my idea and described it to Philipp Waldhauer, a friended iOS developer. I wanted to start with a real minimum of features and expand the idea step by step once it got live and feedback from users would roll in.

I kept the design close to iOS 7 standard elements because my skills in Photoshop where pretty limited (meanwhile I switched to Sketch) and I wanted to make version 1.0 fast to develop. If the app would become successful, I could add the fancy stuff later on.
In addition I asked Ludwig Weise to create initial icons for displaying the different ways of preparing coffee and he provided some really cool ones.

Development

Thankfully my thoughts where right and the estimated efforts to create version 1.0 of Coffeelog where very reasonable.
During the development stage I tried to stick with my initial design ideas and avoided new adjustments to not delay development at any point. I put my ego and enthusiasm back everytime I discovered some new inspiration which I could imagine for an adapted design of Coffeelog.

Shipping

Thanks to Philipp we where able to submit Coffeelog for review just before the holidays. Unfortunately, we didn’t made it to the App Store before the freeze and so we had to wait some more days until we have been published by Apple.
I put together a very simple and small landing page in the meantime. As Coffeelog itself isn’t overly complex, I felt like a very reduced website would be the exactly the right thing for it.
So while we technically went live on December 27th, we wanted to fix some small bugs with a minor update before we started to talk publicly about Coffeelog.

Summary and Forecast

This version is of course just the beginning for Coffeelog. We already have a lot of stuff in mind that could be added to the app. But we want to refine the app based on your needs and feedback to make it a better product for you above all!

So check out Coffeelog in the App Store and grab a nice deal while it’s 50% off and let us know what you think on Twitter.

Timelog Changes 17/12/2013

Ludwig and I proudly present the last changelog for Timelog in 2013 we shipped last night:

  • “Add Label” button is now disabled until you actually type something in
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes the “Delete Summary” button appeared, even if your summary was empty
  • Tim has now access to our FTP server

To show you what we’re already working on for Timelog in 2014, we want to give you a little sneak peek below (you can also find the shot on dribbble).

Timelog Changes 12 Dec