Vittle’s 720p HD Letterboxing

by qrayon 12. May 2013 16:25

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Vittle produces letterboxed (actually pillar-boxed) 720p HD videos, with black bars on the sides. There's an interesting reason for this: It turns out that YouTube and other services will only enable the HD option if your video is 720p (1280x720 pixels) or higher. 720p is also a 16:9 ratio, and of course the iPad's screen has a 4:3 ratio.

YouTube 720p Letterbox

In designing Vittle, we considered the following options:
1. Stretch the visible canvas from 4:3 to fill 16:9. This will cause distortion.
2. Letterbox the 4:3 content with black bars
3. Fit a 16:9 canvas in 4:3, which would lead to a smaller (20% shorter) effective canvas for writing on.
4. Only show 4:3 on the iPad, but actually record more of the canvas for 16:9 (making the viewport harder to control).
5. Record in the iPad's native aspect ratio, but then HD won't work in YouTube.

We picked option 2 as the one we think most people will prefer. This allows a perfect 1:1 mapping of the image you see on your iPad and the pixels in the generated video, so there are no surprises. This also enables fast native recording, avoiding a lengthy video processing step.

What do you guys think of the pillar-boxes? Is there another option you would much prefer? Please let us know. If enough folks need it, we’ll consider adding an option for other output sizes.

Cropping with iMovie

In the meantime, if you absolutely must remove the black bars or wish to stretch your video to fill the screen, iMovie for the Mac does have a handy crop feature. This Apple support document describes how. Your favorite movie editing tool on other platforms probably has a similar feature.


Thanks for your feedback! Hope you guys are enjoying Vittle!

Introducing Inkflow: The App for Visual Thinking

by qrayon 12. May 2012 17:28

Inkflow banner

Inkflow is now available for Free download from the App Store. Go get it!

Inkflow: Thinking Tools

Visual Thinkers Rejoice!

Inkflow works like a word-processor for visual thinking. Capture your ideas as easily as with pen and paper, then arrange and reorganize them with your fingers.

If you're like us, you've been looking hard for the perfect (th-)inking App. Yet something always seems to be missing, be it speed, flexibility, or just plain elegance. Well, we think we've finally cracked it.

Ultra Smooth Ink
Inkflow's ink feels like a really smooth fountain pen. Great for expressive writing or sketching.

Fluid Resizing and Rearranging

Effortlessly scale or move anything you select. This will change the way you think about ink: Jot down a list of ideas or concepts then rearrange them to fit into the bigger picture. literally move your thoughts around the page, and assemble big ideas with your fingers. This works great for brainstorming and planning. It's also perfect for prototyping layouts, sketching, and drawing.

Full Resolution Zoom

Zoom and pan with two fingers. Inkflow's ink stays sharp no matter how much you zoom in, so you can add fine details at full quality. It's also lightning fast. No pixelation or lag here. This allows writing and drawing with incredible precision, with or without a stylus.


Did We Mention Free?

Rather than just read bout Inkflow, go ahead and try it out: We've decided to make the Basic Edition of Inkflow completely FREE. The Basic Edition is fully usable, and we intend to keep it that way. It comes with the Fountain Pen with black ink and all the features above. The only real limitation is that books max out at 20 pages each (but you can create as many as you like).

iPhone and iPod Touch Too: Inkflow is best used on the large iPad screen. However, it is a universal app so you can also view and edit books on the go.

If you're looking for more, there is...

Inkflow Plus Edition for iPad
iPad users can upgrade instantly at any time to the Plus Edition to get:

✓ A customizable, full color palette,

✓ Pencil, Eraser, and Paint Brush tools,

✓ Cut, Copy, Paste Ink and Page Management,

✓ Notebooks with unlimited pages.

✓ And more!

The Plus Edition lets you do even more things such as: Painting, cartooning, and brainstorming in full color. Email or Tweet your creations with a couple taps. Learn more in the in-App Quickstart Guide.


The Future of Creativity Software

We strongly believe that the iPad is not just a consumption device. It's a creativity device. Thanks for supporting us in our journey of building creative Apps like Inkflow. We hope you enjoy it!

Download Inkflow from the App Store.

Announcing Stickyboard 2!

by qrayon 8. October 2011 13:56

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Stickyboard has continued to be popular in the App Store, and we have received plenty of feedback from you guys on how to make it better. Thank you! We’ve been listening carefully, and have actually been hard at work on a completely new version for a while. Truth is, the original Stickyboard was among the very first Apps ever designed specifically for the iPad. We’ve learnt a lot since then, and have created a completely new release, rebuilt from the ground up.

With Brand New Features:

Board Gallery

Board management is completely redesigned around a gallery view. Flip through large thumbnails of your boards. You can now name your boards, and make copies of them easily.




undo redo buttonsStickyboard 2 supports unlimited undo/redo. Don’t worry about messing up your carefully arranged layouts again.


Cut Copy DeleteCopying notes is now a snap. Select multiple notes using our unique lasso-select, then tap to cut & paste. This also makes it easy to move notes across multiple boards.


ink scribbleThe ink system is based on a brand new OpenGL engine, and is much smoother than ever before.




And A Little Magic…

The most exciting feature of Stickyboard 2 is something we call Magic Arrange. One of the biggest pains of working with many sticky notes at a time is having to arrange and rearrange them. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just wave your hands and have them neatly arrange themselves? Well, with the magic of the iPad and Stickyboard 2, now you can!

Just select a bunch of notes, then swipe with 3 fingers to instantly arrange them into neat piles, or fan them out into a grid, columns, or rows. Here’s a video of Magic Arrange in action:


This is going to change the way you work with sticky notes, and you are never going to look at paper notes the same way again!

A Free Offer for our Fans:

Update: The Public Beta has now ended. Thank you for all your great feedback! Download Stickyboard 2 here.

Stickyboard 2 will soon be available for purchase from the App Store for the iPad and iPad 2. Because the code is literally all new, it will be released as a separate download. However, we wanted to reward our loyal users and readers of our blog, so are offering a very limited number of free download codes. To request one, just write in via our feedback form with a brief note on what you would use it for, and if you are an existing Stickyboard user. Preference will be given to those who have purchased the original Stickyboard (we’ll use the honor system here Winking smile). All that we ask in return is that you use Stickyboard 2 and let us know what you think about it in email.

Thank You for your Support!

We continued to be fascinated by the magical things you can do with the iPad, and are committed to bringing more and more innovative Apps to you. If you like what you see, please continue to rate our Apps in the App Store and tell your friends about them. We also appreciate your continued feedback on what else you would like to see in the future. There’s still lots more to be done!

Announcing Air Projector Free!

by qrayon 22. December 2010 15:49

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We’re pleased to announce that Air Projector Free has just gone live in the App Store, our little holiday gift to you and your friends. This app lets you project your recent photos from your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad to a browser on any computer on the same network.

Just fire up Air Projector Free and type in the displayed URL in your web browser. Then flip through the photos on your iPhone and the remote display updates automatically. Hook up your laptop to your TV to show off your latest photos to your friends and family on the big screen.

If you like Air Projector Free, also check out the Full Version, which also allows you to:

  • Project PDF files and photo libraries
  • Use a virtual laser pointer
  • And more!

Happy holidays from everyone at Qrayon!

Link: Air Projector Free in the App Store

Announcing Air Sketch 2.0, with PDF projection!

by qrayon 8. October 2010 17:34

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We have gotten lots of great feedback from our enthusiastic users over the past few months (thank you and do keep it up!). It’s clear that many people see the potential of the iPad as a powerful presentation tool. The iPad is the perfect size as a personal wireless whiteboard, and it’s even light enough to carry around in front of an audience.

We’ve taken all your feedback into account and are launching a major new version of Air Sketch today.

Air Sketch 2.0 takes presentations to the next level: You can now open multi-page PDF documents in Air Sketch to wirelessly annotate and project them. This works wonderfully with exported PDFs from all major presentation packages, such as PowerPoint and Keynote. Just email the PDFs to yourself, view them in the Mail app, and open them in Air Sketch. You can advance or flip through the pages in the PDF and draw over them, all of this being wirelessly projected as before.

Tip: Tap the page number on the new PDF controls to quickly jump to any page.

PDF prev next controls

You can also send PDF documents to Air Sketch from any App that supports the “open in…” feature, including 3rd party document managers such as Dropbox or Goodreader. Note that Air Sketch works with one PDF file at a time, and doesn’t store or manage PDF files directly.

 open in air sketch


Email Annotated PDFs

When you are done with your presentation, you can even email the complete PDF file with all your annotations right from Air Sketch using the Email as PDF option on the Send-To control. This makes it easy to share your notes with your audience right after a presentation.

email as pdf control

One thing to be aware of is that there appears to be a limit to the size of email attachments on the iPad. We’ve found that documents under around 10MB (or PDF files up to around 75 pages) tend to be sent ok, but sending larger ones may fail. This appears to be an OS limitation and happens in other Apps as well, which we hope will be addressed in a future upgrade.


Full Page Zoom

We’ve added a few more refinements to Air Sketch, including the ability to zoom out to see the whole page: Just pinch with 2 fingers from the default full-screen zoom level.


Switching in and out of PDF Mode

If you are in the middle of presenting a PDF and need to sketch on a blank page, just erase the annotations and background (if there are annotations, you need to tap the erase button twice). You can then return to where you were by tapping on the PDF button:

PDF button

This works the same if you need to load a snapshot, or a background image from the Photo Library.


Other Improvements

Air Sketch 2.0 comes with additional performance improvements, including smoother background image transitions. The short blank page “flash” between background image changes has been greatly reduced. Scrolling large lists of snapshots is now also much smoother.


Free Update for Existing Users

We have decided to release Air Sketch 2.0 as a free update to everyone who has already purchased Air Sketch v1. This is our little way of saying Thank You to all our early adopters. We are very grateful for your continued support! The update should be available in the App Store within 24 hours.


Please Rate this New Version!

If you like these new features, please consider taking a minute to rate this new version in the App Store. Ratings are per version, and your 5-star ratings go a long way towards helping support future free updates. We are committed to building great apps and earning your 5-star reviews.

If you have any questions or run into any issues, please contact us via the support form and we’ll respond as quickly as possible. Also, do keep your feedback and suggestions coming. We do try to answer all our emails in person, and take all of it into account for future releases.

Using Air Sketch with an Ad-Hoc network (no hotspot needed)

by qrayon 10. July 2010 14:24


Several users have asked if its possible to use Air Sketch when a WiFi hotspot isn’t available. It turns out the answer is YES! Air Sketch works just as well when connected directly to a computer running an Ad-Hoc network.

An Ad-hoc network is basically a private WiFi hotspot that runs off your notebook or desktop computer. All modern operating systems allow you to create one very easily in a couple minutes. This can be very useful when you are in a WiFi-less environment, or don’t want to risk connectivity issues on an unfamiliar network.

Here’s how to use Air Sketch on an ad-hoc network with Mac OSX Snow Leopard:


1. Start on the Mac. Click on the Airport (WiFi) icon in the menu bar and select "Create Network...". Give it a name, and (highly recommended) a password.

2. Go to network settings on your iPad, and join that new network. Wait for the WiFi icon to appear in the status bar. We found that it can take up a minute for the ad-hoc WiFi connection to be established.

3. Now launch Air Sketch. The IP address will be different, but everything else should work the same.


That’s it! On the first connection it may be necessary to manually refresh the browser a couple of times if the network hasn’t been fully established yet.

The steps for other operating systems should be very similar. Here are the steps for setting up an ad-hoc network on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Note that you can’t set up an ad-hoc network from the iPad itself.


But wait, there’s more!

Once you have your ad-hoc network set up, additional devices can connect to it and to Air Sketch as well, just like any other WiFi hotspot. You can even connect your iPhone, another iPad, or iPod Touch to the network and project Air Sketch to those. Before you go too crazy on this, remember to limit the number of Air Sketch clients (we recommend less than 4) to avoid performance issues.

We hope you find this tip useful. If you try it out, do let us know how it works out for you. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot us an email.

Apps We Love: Air Video

by qrayon 12. May 2010 00:41


If you have a large library of video on your computer and want to watch them on your iPad at home, you absolutely should get this app! Anyone who’s tried to convert video in iTunes knows that it takes a huge amount of time, and it takes even more time to carefully organize and synchronize them to the iPad.

Air Video promises to do the impossible (if not merely amazing) feat of streaming video files on your computer instantly to your iPad over Wi-Fi. You just need the iPad client, and a small, freely downloadable server that is installed and run on your Mac or PC. Virtually any non-DRM’ed file format is supported (mp4, m4v, mov, avi, wmv, asf, mpg, mpeg, mkv, 3gp, dmf, divx, even Flash flv). mp4 and other iPad-native format files start playing immediately. Non-native formats are converted on the fly, which takes a few seconds at startup, but then play seamlessly. Video quality is great, and doesn’t seem to be affected by the process.

The other benefit of Air Video is that without the need to sync large video files, you may not need more than the base-model 16GB iPad if you don’t travel extensively. Air video also supports experimental streaming over the Internet, though we haven’t had a chance to try that out yet.

There’s a free light version of Air Video you can try out, which supports the first few video files on your computer. At $2.99 for the full version though, it’s a real steal.

Get it here: Air Video (from the App Store)


Apps We Love | iPad

Under the Hood: Insight into App Crashes - It’s all about the Memory

by qrayon 10. May 2010 00:00

In building Stickyboard and Quarter Shuffle, we’ve had to work very hard to optimize dynamic memory (RAM) usage on the iPad. Dynamic memory is not the same as storage memory (i.e. the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB of flash ram), which is analogous to hard drive storage on your laptop computer. All versions of the iPad contain only 256MB of dynamic memory, the same as the iPhone 3GS (the iPhone 3G only has half as much). In comparison, a typical laptop computer has 8 or 16 times that amount of RAM.

Actually, it’s worse than that. The base operating system on the iPad takes up over 100MB of that memory, which leaves around 150MB for services and Apps.

What makes things interesting is that certain built-in apps, namely Safari, Mail, and iTunes, actually run in the background and take up memory even when not active! Here’s a snapshot of one of our test iPad’s memory usage (using the Instruments tool):


Here, those 3 apps take up another 50MB of memory. After subtracting out all the other miscellaneous services (e.g. Bluetooth, DRM, location services, etc.), Apps are only left with around 50MB of memory to use. If an App ever tries to allocate more memory than what is available, it crashes, usually without warning.

The problem is that because background memory usage can vary quite a bit, it’s very hard for App Developers to predict what a safe maximum available memory is. For instance, you can see above that Stickyboard is taking up around 27MB of memory as a baseline. However, this can spike when loading boards, drawing lines, etc. In our testing, we’ve made sure not to exceed around 40MB of memory to leave a safe buffer. But if someone were to have a lot of tabs and complex pages open in Safari, or a large email active, available memory could possibly be lower than what is expected.

Tip: If you ever find your Apps frequently crashing on your iPad, try doing a hard reset. Hold down the Home and Power buttons down simultaneously for around 15 seconds until you see the Apple logo. This should reset background Apps enough to free the maximum RAM available.


Jailbreakers Beware

While we haven’t done any testing on Jailbroken iPads, we know that one of the top features is the ability to run apps in the background. This is going to dramatically reduce available memory for the foreground app! If you are running J/B, be careful about monitoring available memory. While we wish running any app in the background were possible today, it’s pretty clear that the planned multitasking services in iPhone OS 4 are the right way to deal with the very limited memory on the iPad and iPhone.

Let’s hope that the next version of the iPhone and iPad come with much more dynamic memory. Especially if the rumors about higher resolution screens and cameras are true, this will almost certainly require double or quadruple the RAM needed, just in order to deal with higher resolution images.

Stickyboard v2.0 Sneak Peek: Drawing with the new Marker Tool, plus the Case of the Missing Done Button

by qrayon 8. May 2010 19:35


Stickyboard v2.0 is a major new release and is now in final review. If everything goes well, we hope to have it in your hands by next week. We are really excited about the new features, and believe they will take Stickyboard to the next level of usefulness.

The first thing you will probably notice about the new interface is the addition of a toolbar across the top:


There are 3 selectable tools: The Notes Stack (which you already know and love), the marker, and the eraser. When the Notes Stack is selected, tapping on the screen adds a note. You can also pan and zoom in this mode, and active Expose.

Select the Marker Tool to draw free-hand on the board, and select the Eraser to erase them. Pro tip: The Eraser tool erases a larger area when you are zoomed out, so use that to erase faster and zoom in if you need a little finer control.

We’ve found that the Marker adds a whole new dimension to using Stickyboard. It’s great for everything from simple written annotations, to brainstorming:






and even drawing prototype mockups:


We’ve been able to pretty much do anything with Stickyboard that we used to with our regular whiteboards.


Stickyboard also works great with a stylus

We’ve made sure that the marker is very finger friendly, and we’ve also tested it with a variety of styluses. If you are planning on getting a stylus, be careful to get one that has a smooth tip that is suitable for writing, not just tapping. Many earlier styluses sold for the iPhone have rubbery tips that have too much friction to be useful for writing or sketching. We’ve been really happy with the Pogo Sketch, which works great with Stickyboard.

Pogo Sketch

We’ve found that the stylus does make precise writing and drawing straight lines a little easier:

image image image

Building your own stylus

If you are more into DIY, you can try building your own home-made stylus. The iPad has a capacitive touchscreen, which detects the small electrical signal from your finger. This means that whatever you use needs to conduct electricity from your hand to the screen. We’ve built a cheap stylus using a wet cotton swab, tin foil, and ballpoint pen case using the simple instructions here. This works pretty well, but the downside is that you need to wet the cotton swab before you use it (it then works for quite a while though).

An alternative method that does not require regular re-wetting is to use a sock that has silver thread. These guys have apparently built one with pretty decent results.

UI Tweak: Removing the Done button

Remove an existing UI element??! That’s crazy! This was a decision that we debated quite a bit about. The problem with the location of the existing done button is that we’ve found ourselves accidentally hitting the backspace key when trying to tap Done. The iPad’s virtual keyboard appears to have a virtual strike-zone feature that dynamically expands the tap-zone for certain keys based on the input pattern. The zone for backspace seems to be expanded immediately after typing, and can overlap with the toolbar above.

We considered a variety of alternative solutions, including repositioning the toolbar to the top of the screen, or rearranging the buttons to the center. However, we found these alternatives to clutter up the screen too much.

In the end we realized that the iPad keyboard already has a built in Done button! It’s the “hide keyboard key” at the lower right:


This has the exact same effect has hitting the done button, and is much more consistent across different apps. So we decided to simply remove the done button altogether. We left the Font and Color buttons in the same locations because hitting them immediately after typing does not result in mistypes. However, you may still need to wait a (very) short while right after typing for them to register correctly.

This UI change has the potential to confuse existing users (who may not read this blog), so we are a little apprehensive. It also takes a few minutes to get used to hitting the hide-keyboard key instead, but once we did it is now second nature to us.

So, this is quite a risky design decision on our part, but in the end we believe that this will result in a better and more consistent experience.


Stickyboard v2 should be available soon!

We hope that you will enjoy the new features. Please do write to us and let us know what you think and how you are using Stickyboard. Our goal is to produce a tool that you will find useful for your daily work. Let us know if there are any other capabilities that you would find useful and would like to see in a future release.



Quarter Shuffle is the #4 Top Free Simulation Game!

by qrayon 7. May 2010 23:41
Quarter Shuffle top 5 simulation

Thank you everyone who downloaded Quarter Shuffle! Extra thanks to you guys who rated it! Apps live and die by their ratings, so thanks for taking the time to write them. It also means a lot to us personally to hear your feedback. We really love to read them. It’s a really rewarding feeling to know that people enjoy playing it as much as we do!

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