Subscribe to the New Blog Feed: Qreate

by qrayon 19. May 2014 15:14

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We are moving our blog to a new location, with a new name (Qreate) and a streamlined, cleaner look. Please update your RSS Feed subscription to the new feed location here. The old feed will be discontinued.

The very first article is a little introspective into what we do, and how we view the opportunities in building great digital tools. Check it out.

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Inkflow 3.6 with iOS7 Support

by qrayon 27. March 2014 16:41

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We’ve just released Inkflow 3.6 to the App Store, re-mastered with a native iOS7 UI and 64-bit support.

Yes, *finally*! :)

Inkflow Re-Mastered

I know a lot of folks have been patiently waiting for this. Why did it take so long? We wanted to be extra-extra careful. Unlike previous iOS updates, iOS 7 was more than just an interface change. It wasn’t a simple matter of just changing a few flags and re-compiling. A number of things had to be re-written just to work the same way.

It’s a non-trivial amount of work, and we had initially considered rolling this out as a paid upgrade. However, in the end we decided to make it a free update for everyone, for a couple of reasons:

1. Some folks really hate paying for updates, and

2. Our loyal customers don’t like big changes, especially loss of functionality.

Both of these are understandable. You guys depend on Inkflow to get your work done, and we want to make sure there are no disruptions.

So, with v3.6 you can expect two things: It’s a free update, and everything should work the same as before.

Of course, “work the same” doesn’t mean it can’t be a bit better:

Interface Improvements

You’ll notice a more streamlined UI with more emphasis on your content. No more plasticky bevels! :) Replaced with understated gray with thin & light icons.

palette

Even the palette is thinner, leaving more room for your canvas.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a few new animations here and there, but we’ve been careful not to go overboard with them (it’s tempting, believe me).

Note that Apple has discontinued support the original iPad 1 for iOS7. However, if you have one, you can still download the previous version with iOS 6 support. Inkflow still runs great, even on the original iPad.

Ok, Go Get It!

If you have auto-updates enabled in the App Store, you might already have the update installed by now. If not, just download it here.

I hope you like this update. Each version is rated separately. If you have a moment, please consider leaving us a rating in the App Store. It really means a lot to us!

Thanks.

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Inkflow

Introducing Presentation Recorder

by qrayon 3. March 2014 10:18

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Hey everyone, I hope 2014 has been a productive year for you so far. We’ve certainly been busy. I’m pleased to announce our first new App launch of this year: Presentation Recorder for iPad.

We think there’s one killer feature missing from Keynote, which is the ability to record videos of your slides. Presentation Recorder fills that gap.

PresentationRecorder

Using it is super easy:

1. Open a PDF deck from Keynote, PowerPoint, or elsewhere

2. Tap Record, and

3. Start speaking.

 

Everything you say and point to is recorded in sync with the displayed slides. The video is automatically saved the moment you are done, and you can immediately share it directly in Email, post it to YouTube / Vimeo, or upload it via Apps such as Dropbox.

 

Presentation Recorder is ideal for:

- Recording instructional videos,

- Sales and marketing presentations,

- Remote collaboration, and much more.

 

In many ways, the iPad is the ideal form factor for recording screencasts. It has all the necessary hardware built in, you can point directly to things, and can share videos even on the go. We believe video creation is a killer App on the iPad, and we hope that Presentation Recorder helps show folks just how easy and powerful this can be.

If you think Presentation Recorder might be helpful for your work or business, check it out here.

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Presentation Recorder

Announcing Classroom PDF

by qrayon 17. January 2014 14:46

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We have a lot of projects planned for 2014, and today I'm happy to tell you about the first major one, Classroom PDF: A PDF App for teachers.

 

Why Another PDF App?

There are a lot of PDF Apps in the App Store. Why do another one?

Classroom PDF has unique features to fit a teacher’s workflow, specifically for annotating worksheets and walking-through answers in class. Here's how we envision the typical workflow:

1. Open any PDF file from other Apps (“open in…" from Dropbox etc.).

2. Add covers over parts of a page (i.e. answers to questions), and tap to toggle them.

3. Use an AppleTV or physical connector to mirror the iPad's screen to a projector.

4. Use the virtual laser-pointer to call out parts of the page.

5. Annotate documents with smooth ink, and email annotated or graded files to students.


In addition, it has a color-coded category system for organizing files, e.g. for multiple classes.

Check out the 90 second video demo here to get a better idea of how it works.

 

I'm Interested, How Can I Get Classroom PDF?

Classroom PDF is currently in Beta, and we need your help to finish it.

Since Classroom PDF is meant to serve a fairly specific workflow, we want to be sure that it meets your needs, and deliver something that will actually be used quite often.

We're going to try something new. There are three ways to participate:

 

1. Tell Us What You Think

Does this App even make sense, or are we courting financial ruin? We need you to tell us.

Click here to fill in a brief survey. In particular, if you are a teacher who currently uses PDF files in class, what does your workflow look like, and what parts are missing?

 

2. Join the Beta Program

If the description above fits the kinds of things you are already doing with PDF files (albeit with a mishmash of Apps), and are willing to spend time giving us feedback, consider signing up for the Beta program.

Click here to fill in the survey, and indicate that you'd like to participate in the Beta Program.

In return for a free copy of Classroom PDF, we’re asking you to use it in your actual work and let us know what you think.

While we have a limited number of beta registration slots (they are controlled by Apple), we want to accommodate as many folks as we can.

If you think Classroom PDF is something you are interested in, but aren't able or willing to participate in the Beta, you can still…

 

3. Sign up for the Launch Special

When Classroom PDF goes on sale in the App Store, it will have a one-time introductory price. We haven't finalized the pricing yet, but it will be a great deal no matter what.

Click here to sign up to be notified right before launch time. The price will be in effect for 24 hours at launch, so definitely sign up if you are interested. We intend this to be a bit of reward for you guys, our fans, and your friends.

The launch date is going to depend on the outcome of the Beta program, but we expect it to be sometime this Spring.

 

We Need Your Feedback, Really

We experimenting to see if this can become a model for semi-custom App development that’s a win-win for everyone.

As an independent studio, we can't afford large in-person focus groups or hands-on field testing. We need you guys to tell us what works and what doesn’t (and you certainly do that :)).

If you look at the App Store, the successful Apps tend to be, not surprisingly, general purpose Apps that appeal to a wide audience.

That's fine, but what happens when you need features that are more specific to a particular profession or scenario? Existing Apps can only be extended so far before things break. It's also just not economically feasible for App Developers to risk investing in niche Apps, nor is it affordable to pay for custom built-software.

As a result, whole classes of useful Apps never get written.

So, here's an attempt at finding a way to make these Apps work. Think of it like a Kickstarter, but with zero risk and only upside for backers - instead of pledging dollars, you provide feedback and real-world insight. We'll invest in building the Apps, and you vote with your attention and wallets when the projects are complete.

If you like the things we are making, you can further help by telling your friends and colleagues about them.

 

Working Better Together

We care a lot about making Apps that people actually enjoy using, and we think this is a way to make better Apps.

This is new for us, and we're interested to see how things go. Do you like this approach to product development? Or have suggestions for improvement? Do let us know!

You can contact us anytime via the feedback form here.

Thanks for your input.

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Classroom PDF

Why is Vittle Named Vittle?

by qrayon 19. December 2013 11:51

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Dan Langendorf asked us what others have probably asked themselves too: “Why is Vittle named… Vittle?”.

The simple answer is: We had a couple internal brainstorming sessions, that that’s the name that came out of it. We actually started with “Viddle”, but found that it was too similar to a couple other products out there, so we tweaked it. “Vittle” is also an actual word, albeit an archaic one. It’s an old slang for “victual”, i.e. food. We thought it was a nice, somewhat wholesome (if obtuse) angle to an App for creating “nourishment for the brain”. Yeah, I did say it was obtuse. :)

Bonus backstory: The name may also have come from playing the miner level in The Cave. That game tends to sear the subconscious in more ways than one.

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Vittle

Introducing Resume Star

by qrayon 11. November 2013 20:49

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And now for something a little different:

 

Resume Star guides you through the steps to create a precision targeted and professionally typeset resume. You simply fill in your information, and Resume Star produces a cross-platform compatible PDF file that you email to employers or post online.

Why did we build this App? Aren’t we better known for building creative tools?

 

Honor-ware

First, Resume Star has a new and experimental pricing system: It’s completely free to download and use the full App. It’s not a limited trial. You can create and send as many resumes as you need. No ads. No gimmicks.

You only need to complete the purchase (in-app) when you get an interview.

It’s a system we’re calling “Honor-ware”. Instead of users taking a leap of faith on an unfamiliar product that may or may not solve their problem, we the developers are putting our faith in our users instead.

We haven’t seen this approach used widely in the App Store, and this is a little experiment to see how well it works. Will people actually pay us? Will they prefer this approach? We’ll find out.

Don’t expect us to roll this out to our other Apps anytime soon. :) However, it might prove to be a viable model for certain kinds of Apps.

 

Professional typesetting

We wanted to write a better Resume App, because frankly we think there’s room for improvement in this space. In the course of hiring for our own business, we’ve come across our fair share of poorly formatted or strangely styled resumes. When we dug deeper, we found that folks were getting tripped up in a couple of ways:

1. Some were using word processing software, and getting tripped up on the formatting options. It’s surprising how easy it is to mess them up.

2. Some were using Apps that pushed their users to use gaudy styles and colors, trying to make their resumes look more like a brochure. This may have been presented as a creative way to stand out, but unfortunately not always in a good way.

So, one of the design challenges we set for ourselves with Resume Star is to only allow you to create a professionally typeset resume. It’s been an illuminating study in the art of Constrained Design.

 

Precision Targeted

The final straw that led us down this path was noticing that many, in fact the vast majority of resumes are poorly targeted. Once, we had been looking for a “Software Quality Assurance Tester”, and received many resumes that were looking for “a position in Software Development”. It seems like a subtle difference, but the immediate question this raises is “did this person actually read the job description? Would he actually be interested in doing this job?”.

When you have a large stack of resumes to sort through (as is always the case), this usually results in the resume being put at the bottom of the pile.

So what started off as a bit of a pet peeve ended up as a little manifesto, in the form of the Resume Star Guide, How to Score That Interview With a Precision Targeted Resume. We wanted to write an App that encouraged users to do the right thing by default.

 

Want to Help Us?

I’m guessing that most of you reading this are already gainfully employed. You probably won’t need a resume generator anytime soon. But there are a couple ways you can participate in our experiment:

1. If you know someone, perhaps a graduating student or a friend who is looking for a job. Please recommend Resume Star to them. They just need an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. They have nothing to lose, and we really appreciate the feedback.

2. If you are interested in the design aspects of the Constrained Design Approach, it might be interesting to run through Resume Star to see what you think. We’ve learned a lot from this project that we hope to apply in future Apps. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

 

Either way, we hope you find this interesting. Find out more on the Resume Star homepage.

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Resume Star

Introducing Audio Notebook for iPad

by qrayon 24. October 2013 05:03

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Today, we are pleased to announce the worldwide release of Audio Notebook: The integrated audio recorder and note organizer for your iPad.

Audio notebook is perfect for:

- Students: To record all your lectures, and take notes on all your classes,
- Professionals: For every meeting and interview,
- Everyone else: To capture your thoughts and ideas for all of life's projects.

Advanced Audio Controls

Audio Notebook features advanced playback controls with an up to 2x speed playback, so you can zip through even the longest speeches in record time.

Recordings can be of unlimited length, and you can even record while the App is in the background. Audio is stored in a high quality MPEG-4 format that is compatible across a variety of devices.

Beautifully Designed

Audio Notebook was built from the ground up for iOS7, taking advantage of new features available on the latest OS. We've come to appreciate the clean new look in iOS7, and we think you will like it too.

It is designed specifically for the iPad, and takes full advantage of the wide screen to make typing a breeze, especially in landscape. Type using a large, legible font, so you don't have to squint.

Well Organized

You can color code your notes, and filter them, and handle multiple subjects or categories with ease.

When you are done, you can share your notes and audio over email with just a tap. Your classmates and colleagues who didn't take their own notes can thank you later.

AudioNotebook

Try it for Free

There's a Free Edition that you can try out first to see how it can help you in your daily routine. It can store 4 notes at a time, but has unlimited audio recording, and all the other features of the Full Edition.

You can buy the Full Edition today for an introductory price of only $2.99.

So, check it out, and please tell your friends and colleagues about it. We hope you find it useful in your work!

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Audio Notebook

Vittle 1.4 on iOS7

by qrayon 18. September 2013 19:04

Screen Blanking Bug

We discovered an issue with Vittle 1.4 on the public version of iOS7 today: After dismissing the Scene Viewer, the next line drawn may cause the rest of the canvas to go momentarily blank. While this doesn’t affect the video created, it can be annoying. A fix in v1.5 has been submitted to Apple, and should be available in a few days. Sorry about this!

 

Mic Permissions

Another issue with iOS7 to be aware of: The very first time you tap Record in Vittle, iOS will prompt you to grant permission to access the Microphone. This is a new privacy setting in iOS7. This prompt will cause a zero-second, empty scene to be created. Just delete this in the Scene Editor, or overwrite it in the Free Edition.

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Vittle

Inkflow 3.3: Making Life A Little More Colorful

by qrayon 16. September 2013 12:47

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Somewhat coincidentally with the iPhone 5C launch, we’re releasing Inkflow v3.3 today, which adds a couple colorful features for iPad Inkflow Plus users:

 

Multiple Color Palettes, Just a Swipe Away

Inkflow palette colors

For many users, 8 color pots is plenty, but some folks just can’t have enough color choices. You can now swipe the color palette left and right to access up to 4x more colors. That’s 32 color pots total. We picked additional palette colors to start you out:

Swipe to the right of the standard palette to reveal a new vibrant set, based on the bold iOS7 colors. Right of that is a retro-inspired palette, and finally a monochrome set, which is great for sketching or brushwork.

Of course, we don’t expect you to stick to our choices for long. As always, you can tap on the selected color to change it to whatever you want. You can now create multiple custom palettes and quickly switch between them.

 

New Eyedropper Tool

We know what it’s like to go hunting for just that perfect shade of green to match an existing drawing. Too bad you didn’t remember that #RGB code. Now you won’t need to. From the color customizer, tap on the new eyedropper tool. You can then tap on any existing ink on the page to copy its color exactly.

Eyedropper tool

 

Tip: If 32 color pots aren’t enough, or if you want to share your custom palettes, you can simply save an Inkflow file with swatches of the colors. Using the Eyedropper Tool, you can reload these back into your palette.

Here’s a file with the standard colors. You can open it directly on your iPad and select to “Open in…” Inkflow. You can also use it to restore the standard palette colors.

 

One More Thing: Paste from Vittle

Inkflow Plus v3.3 now supports copy and paste from Vittle to Inkflow. This is handy to export your Vittle projects to PDF or JPEG from Inkflow. You can also copy ink and photos (though not text boxes) from Inkflow to Vittle, and turn your sketches into movies. It’s a powerful way to share your visual ideas with others, no matter where they are.

 

Enjoy More Colors!

Both these features are available on the iPad only, and are a free upgrade for all existing and new Inkflow Plus users. Remember, you can update in-app from the Free Edition, or download the standalone Inkflow Plus App. They are both exactly the same.

Educators: Don’t forget that you can get an additional 50% off Inkflow Plus when ordering 20 units or more via Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. This is a great way to equip your classrooms for 1:1 programs. Check with your school’s Apple representative for details. There’s a similar program for businesses as well.

If you like these new features, please don’t forget to rate this version in the App Store. We really appreciate it. Thanks.

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Inkflow

Backing Up Inkflow and Vittle Files

by qrayon 16. August 2013 14:19

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Inkflow user Phil recently asked a question about backing up his over 200 (!) Inkflow books. We thought other users might want to know more about this too.

There are three ways to keep your files safely backed up:

1. If you activated your iCloud account and turned on iCloud backups, your device automatically gets backed up when you charge it. This includes the device settings and all App data (unless you individually turn them off). You can completely restore your device (or a new device) from the iCloud backup in case of a catastrophic failure. This is a good failsafe, but the problem is that it's an all or nothing proposition (i.e. you can't choose to just restore one or two Apps at a time).

2. iTunes backup works in the same was as iCloud backup, but it's to your computer. There's a WiFi backup option, so you don't need to physically connect your phone. This is a good idea, just to have a second backup available.

3. There's a new feature available in Inkflow 3 that activates iTunes File Sharing. This lets you copy individual Inkflow (*.inkflow) files to your computer. To use it, connect your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to your computer, and then:
    a. Select your device in the iTunes sidebar (View menu \ Show Sidebar).
    b. Navigate to the Apps tab, and select Inkflow.
    c. Copy the Inkflow files (all of them if you like) to your computer.

You can then copy these files to an external backup disk or cloud backup solution of your choice. To restore them, simply copy them back to the same Apps tab, or to a new device.

This is also a good way to “archive” older books that you don’t need to carry around on your device all the time. First backup the files, then delete them from the device.

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Vittle also supports iTunes file sharing. You can similarly copy project files (*.vittle) and their associated video clips to your computer, and back them up in the same way.

Bonus Trick: Backing up to Dropbox Directly

There’s one more way to backup individual files in Inkflow directly on your iPad or iPhone. In Inkflow 3, we added the ability to export the native .inkflow file. Tap the “Action” toolbar button, select “Export…”, then select the Inkflow format. If you have the Dropbox App installed, you can open .inkflow files with it. When you do, it will prompt you for a folder and then upload the file immediately.

This is a great way to save an important backup of a file when away from your computer.

Open Inkflow from DropboxYou can also open Inkflow files from the Dropbox App into Inkflow. First view it in the Dropbox App. It will say “Unable to view file”, but don’t worry. Tap the download button (top right on the iPad) and selecting Inkflow from the list. Just be aware that this will create a duplicate copy in Inkflow if a book already exists with the same name.

 

Create a Backup Plan that Works for You

When it comes to backing up data, having multiple levels of redundancy is a good idea. Pick the combination of options (or all three) that best suits you.

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Inkflow | Vittle | How-To | Tips & Tricks

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