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Empoc, LLC today, released an update for QR Encode adding QR scanning functionality. You can read all about the features of QR Encode below:

Create and Scan QR codes for any need quickly and easily with QR Encode.

QR Encode is a QR code generator that makes creating QR codes a snap. Select the QR code you wish to create, fill in the information and click on preview.

QR Encode is now also a QR code scanner that uses your Macs built-in iSight camera for scanning. You can also use images of QR codes and drag them into QR Encode.

QR Encode comes feature packed. You can generate the following QR codes:

- Free Form Text
- E-Mail Address
- Website URL
- Phone Number
- SMS Message
- vCard
- meCard
- bizCard
- vCalendar
- Android Market Links
- WiFi for Android
- Google Maps Location

QR Encode will recognize the following QR codes for scanning:

- E-Mail Address
- E-Mail Message
- Website URL’s
- Phone Numbers
- SMS Messages
- VCard
- meCard
- bizCard
- vCalendar
- Google Maps

QR Code Scanning offers an import option for each of the QR types listed above to import the information into QR Encode

E-Mail Addresses and Messages have an additional option of being opened with your default e-mail client and will auto populate the To, Subject and Body fields if available.

Website URL’s have an additional option for opening the URL in your default browser.

VCard, meCard and bizCard have an additional option of being added to the Address Book.

VCalendar has an additional option of having the containing event added to your Calendar

Google Maps has an additional option of opening your default browser to the location within the QR code.

QR Encode supports exporting your are code in PNG format. QR Encode also supports full screen mode in Lion.

QR Encode uses an embedded Google Map to help you easily and interactively search for locations to encode within your QR code.

Additional features also allow you to change the foreground and the background color of the QR code as well as setting the size and the quality of the QR code.

Get QR Encode from the Mac App Store

Swipe Lock, released today by Empoc, LLC is a new app for Mac OS X 10.6 and later that allows you to lock and unlock your Mac in a similar way to the way you lock your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

You can grab a copy of Swipe Lock at http://swipelock.empoc.com

From there you can download the Demo of Swipe Lock as well as purchase the full version for only $4.99.

Swipe Lock, is not just a screen locking app but also allows you set various options. For instance, you can set which widgets you want to show on your screen when its locked, such as; a clock widget, an airport signal strength meter, a battery meter and a button to put your Mac to sleep.

You can also choose from various pre-made themes that change the look and feel of your locked screen as well as set your own image as a background image. What’s also cool is that for those of us with multiple monitors, you can choose which monitor the lock screen should be displayed on.

Further options include setting custom lock and unlock sounds. Setting passwords, automatic startup on login, and many more. Give Swipe Lock a try. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Core Data iOS Essentials is quite possibly the best book I’ve read so far on Core Data. Core Data can be a tricky thing to master especially if you’re so used to using SQLite. The author, B.M. Harwani does a wonderful job at taking your through the world of Core Data as it related to iOS development. The book starts off by giving you a brief history of the Enterprise Object Framework (EOF) and Core Data followed by an entire chapter devoted to understanding Core Data. This books leaves very little to be desired with topics covering what Core Data is and how it works, how to build full featured data=driven applications for iOS devices, searching with Core Data, displaying your data, etc…

The book assumes some knowledge of iOS programming and encourages some tinkering with Core Data. If you don’t know what Core Data is and why you should use it in your application and you are needing to build an app that needs to store data in some format then this books is for you. If you have a need to store data, then you have a need to use Core Data and this book will teach you what you need to know to use it efficiently and successfully.

I’ve really enjoyed the section on Implementing UITableViewDataSources protocol methods. This section walks you through the basics of setting up a UITableView and using it with Core Data to display your data within your iOS app. The code examples are easy to follow and appear to be very accurate.

If you are planning on developing an app that needs to store data or are currently working on an app with data storage needs then please consider giving Core Data a try, together with the Core Data iOS Essentials book from Packt Publishing you should be able to build a pretty solid app.

Purchase from Packt Publishing

Have you purchased this book? What do you think about it? Is there anything you think that this book lacks that should have been added? I’d like to hear your comments

I’ve recently been able to read another book entitled Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook. I must say, I am really starting to enjoy the Cookbook series from Packt Publishing. The Cookbook series provide you with quick and simple solutions to common tasks and issues. I particularly enjoyed this book since I am actively developing apps for Max OS X using Cocoa and Objective-C. There are many great books out there that teach you the fundamentals and there are plenty available that also teach you some of the more advanced programming skills. These books are great but are not very useful for everyday reference. Books such as the ones I just mentioned are often within the 500 page range and make it difficult for you to reference back to certain materials.

With the Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook I found it very easy to refer to some of the simple every day tasks. It also does a very good job at taking you beyond just the basics and introduces you to some of the more advanced topics, such as, Core Animation, Pinch and Swipe, Keychain API, MySQL, SQLite and a few advanced debugging techniques and tools.

Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook is written  in a straightforward easy-to-follow format and provides a selection of the most important tasks and problems with well organized instructions for solving problems efficiently. With right at 200 pages packed full of helpful hints, tutorials and code samples, I find that this is not a book that will stay on my book shelf collecting dust.

It’s a little difficult to explain who this book might be for, you may think, “I already know everything”, well, that may be true but its the little things that we forget. For instance, I know how to use NSTableView very well but when I started developing my application I totally forgot how to set the datasource. Well, with this book in hand, I was able to quickly find a page with an easy to follow example that got me up and running fast.

There are also a few things I didn’t know how to do, for example, I’ve never before used any of the pinch and swipe features. This book has a whole chapter that is devoted to Handling Events and explains the pinch and swipe very well. All in all, if you are a developer using Cocoa and Objective-C, you should own this book.

Purchase from Pack Publishing

Have you purchased this book? What do you think about it? Is there anything you think that this book lacks that should have been added? I’d like to hear your comments

It’s been a while since I’ve put up a tutorial regarding anything dealing with XBox360. There is a reason for that… Quite simply, God of War III came out on the PS3 as well as Gran Turismo 5 so I had no choice but to ditch the 360 and get a PS3. In my opinion it was a good move. I don’t want to make this post about comparing the 360 to the PS3, so with that in mind, I would like to post up a quick tutorial on how to burn Xbox 360 backups using a new app I developed called isoBurn. isoBurn, simply put is an app that burns ISO’s and DMG’s for the Mac. It is the only app that I am aware of that can correctly burn backups of 360 games using native Mac OS X API’s, better yet, I have tested this app on OS X 10.7 (Lion) the next release of Apple’s operating system and it works flawlessly.

Tools you will need for a successful Burn:

  • isoBurn 1.0 (Available at the Mac App Store – Link) NOTE: As of 10/4/2011, Version 1.2 has been submitted to the Mac App Store with support for XGD3
  • abgx360 for Mac (Available on the abgx website – Mirror 1)
  • Blank Dual Layer Verbatim Media (All the others suck in my opinion and will not constantly burn a working game)
  • A Mac running at least OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • A good DVD burner. The ones that come with the Mac’s are not the best and you would be better off with a good external burner.
  • A backup of a 360 game that you would like to burn
  • A modded Xbox360 running firmware iXtreme LT + for best compatibility

Ok, so now that you’ve got everything you need, fire up abgx360. We use abgx360 to verify the ISO and make sure that everything is properly patched and to generate a .dvd file if there isn’t one already. At the end of the tutorial I will cover briefly how you can use isoBurn to verify your disc to ensure that it has been burned properly. This is a good way to check some discs that you may have burned previously that don’t work, at least you will be able to know why they don’t work.

Verify your ISO with abgx360:

Open abgx360 and then open up your ISO file of the game by clicking on the blue folder icon to the right of the text input field. You should have something similar to the below illustration.

Now click on the AutoFix tab and copy the settings below.

When you have everything set correctly you can click on the blue Launch button at the very bottom it should turn green when you hover over it with your mouse.

After clicking on the Launch button, a Terminal window should open and you should start seeing a bunch of text similar to the below. DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS PROCESS. Let it do its thing.

Notice the lines in Red, the game I am working with has a blank DMI, a blank PFI and my Stealth check has failed. These are all bad things and fortunately are all things that abgx360 will fix for us.

You will notice that towards the bottom you’ll see some nice green lines of text. PFI, DMI, Video and Stealth have all been fixed, now it just needs to verify the CRC of the ISO. Let it finish, be patient this could take a few minutes. Finally we know that the program has finished when we see the line AutoFix was successful!

You can now close the Terminal and abx360. We can now move on to burn our game using isoBurn… Do me favor, when you get a chance, please rate isoBurn on the Mac App Store.

 

Burn your ISO with isoBurn:

Go ahead and open up isoBurn, if you haven’t downloaded it yet you can get it here from the Mac App Store. The interface of isoBurn is pretty simplistic which makes it a very easy tool to work with.

Opening isoBurn should present you with an interface as shown below:

Let’s quickly go over the interface. The big square on the top left is where you drag your ISO or DVD file into. Tip: If you drag your DVD file into the square, isoBurn will automatically set the correct layer break for you. If you drag in the ISO you have to set the layer break manually. To the right of the square you have File Name, File Type and File Size, these should all be obvious.

The Drive drop down will allow you to choose which burner you want to use if you have more then one. The speed allows you to select your burn speed, which should be 2x. isoBurn displays some general information about your chosen burner below the drive selection and speed pop ups. There is also a button that allows you to eject your disc if you need to.

The last section of the Burn interface is Burn Settings, this is where you would manually set your layer break if you used the ISO instead of the DVD file. From here you have the option of selecting to eject the disc or mount the disc after burn. Last but not least, we have the Burn button, when you’re ready to burn, click it. Now for the tutorial with a few screen shots.

With isoBurn opened, drag your DVD or ISO onto the big square on the left hand side, you will know that it worked when isoBurn shows you the File Name, File Type and File size of your image. See the screenshot below for an example:

If you used the DVD file you should have noticed that the layer break was automatically set for you, please reference the screen shot above.

If you used the ISO file you will need to enter the layer break manually, the proper layer break is 1913760. You should enter this into the layer break text field under Burn Settings.

Select your burner if you have more then one.

Select the Burn speed, IMPORTANT: Do not burn faster then 2x, it does not produce consistent results and may very well leave you with coasters.

Click the burn button. Wait about 45 minutes and your game should be ready.

 

Verify your burned disc with isoBurn:

isoBurn, is not just an ISO / DMG image burner but is also a tool that can provide you with useful information about any of your discs. One thing I’ve noticed with coasters is that for the most part, either the layer break was incorrect or the session was not properly closed. isoBurn can verify this for you, with the Media Info tab.

With isoBurn opened, go ahead and click on the Media Info Tab and put a burned 360 game in your burner. isoBurn will immediately analyze the disc and give you a few important pieces of information. See screen shots below for a game that has been correctly burned and one that will never play in a 360.

Screen Shot A

Screen Shot B

If you’ll notice on screen shot A, the key pieces of information are the layer break, Sessions and Appendable. A correct layer break should be 1913760 and there should be 1 session and Appendable should be No.

Now if you’ll look at screen shot B, you’ll notice that the Appendable is set to yes and that there is no session. This is an example of a disc that will never play on a 360.

This feature adds a valuable troubleshooting ability to your tool set. This will allow you to rule out if there is anything wrong with the burn itself or if there is another issue. How many times have you asked yourself after a burn and finding out that it doesn’t play if its because of a bad burn or because of outdated firmware that doesn’t support Wave ‘X’

Well with this tool at least you will know that the layer break is correct and that the session is closed and if abgx360 verified before you burned then there must be an issue with your 360 or the firmware you are using.

Please don’t forget to rate isoBurn on the Mac App Store, it only takes a minute, do it while your waiting for a burn to finish :)

Tutorial Disclaimer: This tutorial or the software isoBurn does not claim that it is able to produce working backups of Xbox360 games. This tutorial is only based from my own experiences and does not guarantee results. Use this tutorial and isoBurn at your own risk.

Legal Disclaimer: Copying or downloading games that you have not legally purchased or own is illegal in all countries. This violates not only laws in your own country, but international copyright laws as well. The purpose of this turoial is for making backup copies of games that you legally own. Software piracy is illegal carries a huge penalty if convicted, is ethically wrong, and hurts the game companies. Support the game developers by purchasing the games you play. You wouldn’t work for free would you? I am offering a SERVICE to those who cannot make backups of the games they legally own. Chris Fletcher is not affiliated with ANY of the companies, Microsoft, Xbox 360 or any others.

First and foremost, loving the new Mac App Store. The Mac App Store makes it very easy to find new apps at great deals and also makes it easy to keep track of updates, etc…

The Mac App Store is a great tool not only for consumers but even more so for developers. Being a developer myself I find it very simple to have a central location that I can submit my Mac applications to and not have to worry about any of the backend processing such as merchant accounts, refunds, updates, etc…

The downside is when a consumer has an issue downloading one of your apps. There isn’t much you can do short of telling them they must contact Apple. Well, if I was a consumer and had an issue downloading an app after I had already paid for it, then I would expect the app developer to help me with the issue. I have recently encountered an issue with a consumer that tried to download an update to one of my apps. After attempting the download the consumer was greeted with the very generic error message, An Error has occurred…

In this post I am going to show you how to fix this error message. In my opinion this error occurs because of some Meta Data issue.

There are 2 possibilities for fixing this issue, one of which involves deleting all the content from the AppStore folder and the other involves the terminal and running a command line tool to enable debugging for the Mac App Store.

Solution Number 1: Deleting all content from the AppStore folder

  • Sign out of the Mac App Store by clicking on Store->Sign Out from the App Store Menu
  • Quit the Mac App Store App
  • Open Finder and browse to ~/Library/Application Support/AppStore/ (Where ~ is your home folder) If you don’t know how to get to your home folder you can open up Macintosh HD double click on the Users folder and then double click on your username and then follow the rest of the path or you can from the Finder menu click on Go and then click on Go To Folder and copy and paste the above path.
  • Once you are within the AppStore folder, select everything and move it to the Trash
  • Start the Mac App Store App
  • Sign into the Mac App Store by clicking on Store->Sign In from the App Store Menu

After signing in, you should see your downloads resuming and hopefully everything will go smoothly and you will not have to witness the “An Error has occurred” error message.

Solution Number 2: Enable Debugging for the Mac App Store

  • Open Terminal either by navigating to Applications/Utilities/Terminal or by pressing Command+SpaceBar and typing Terminal into Spotlight
  • At the prompt type the following: defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true
  • Relaunch the Mac App Store
  • Choose the menu item Debug Menu->Reset App
  • Choose the menu item Debug Menu->Check for Available Downloads

Solution 2, seems like a much cleaner way to fix the issue, especially moving forward. With Solution 2, you only have to set the debugging once and then if you experience the problem again you can just do Reset App and Check for Available Downloads.

Did you find this post useful? Did this fix your issue? Do you have any alternate fixes to the same problem? I’d like to hear from you, please comment below. Have a great weekend everyone..

Coming soon to the Mac App Store is my new application, ISO Burn. The main reason I created ISO Burn is to have an app similar to imgBurn for Mac OS X, I’m hoping to have many of the features that are available in imgBurn available in ISO Burn. Most notably with ISO Burn you can set a layer break for your image files which will make it simple to set where on the disc the second layer will begin. Another reason for building this app was so that everyone would have a simple intuitive application to build and burn image files for the Mac. I know Apple has an app called Disk Utility, and I know its awesome, etc… but for the average user, I think its a bit too much and doesn’t have some of the core functionality that will be present within ISO Burn

ISO Burn is the successor to ISOX360 which was an application I developed about 2 years ago for Mac OS X. ISOX360 was built mainly to support burning XBOX360 backups but otherwise didn’t have any other features. ISO Burn will not be a direct replacement of ISOX360 and will not feature verification or patching of XBOX 360 images. However, ISO Burn does support the burning of XBOX 360 images 100% as well as many other types of disc images. Some of the disc image formats that are supported are listed below:

  • .DVD
  • .ISO
  • DMG
  • IMG

ISO Burn also supports multiple burners. If you’ve got an external burner connected you can choose between that and your internal burner. This is a feature that was lacking in ISOX360 that I have been asked countless times to implement.

As soon as ISO Burn is available on the Mac App Store, download links to ISOX360 will be removed and the application will no longer be supported. ISO Burn will be an active project as are many other apps that I have developed that are now on the Mac App Store. I will offer free support for ISO Burn and implement feature requests as long as they are within reason.

The expected date for ISO Burn to be released should be sometime around mid-July depending on how quickly the review process goes. Sometimes its quick and sometimes it can take up to a month or so.

Ideas? Specific Feature Requests? I’d like to hear from you.

UPDATE 6/23/2011 – isoBurn has been submitted to the Mac App Store, to read more about it and see some screen shots please visit http://empoc.com/isoburn

 

I’m sure many of you have seen the recent E3 event either from a live feed or if you were lucky enough, you were there. I really enjoyed Nintendo’s conference and am really excited about the new Wii that will be coming out. The one thing I think that the conference lacked is the amount of information and visuals about the new console. It seems that the conference was centered mostly around the new controller which in my opinion is great but should not have been the highlight of the new console. Being curious like I am, I started looking around for more information on the console.

Nintendo actually has all of the technical specs as well as an image of the new console on their site. The image below is what I am guessing the new console will look like, according to the image on Nintendo’s own site.

 

A lot of people are wondering if the Wii U is just a new controller that will work with the old console but that is untrue based on the above image as well as the tech specs I’ve listed below. These have been copied and pasted from Nintendo’s website.

  • Launches: 2012
  • Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.
  • New Controller: The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
  • Other Controls: Up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii™ controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk™ controller, Classic Controller™, Classic Controller Pro™ and Wii Balance Board™.
  • Media: A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.
  • Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
  • Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
  • Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
  • CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.
  • Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.

All in all the tech specs appear vague at best. Video up to 1080p is supported but it doesn’t specify what type of graphics adapter the new Wii will be using. All we know about the CPU so far is that it will be a Power-based multi-core processor from IBM. I’m thrilled that they are finally giving us 1080p. Gaming on the Wii will finally be in HD like the rest of the competition.

The only game they have listed with pictures is Super Mario Bros Mii, which I’m not sure will be an actual release based on the E3 conference. It would be a fun game to play and it would be great if they decide to release it. If anyone has any more information about upcoming games, feel free to comment. Here are some images of the game:

All in all, this looks like a winner and I think that Nintendo has once again done a tremendous job designing a great console and being innovative. I will probably be one of those people pre-ordering the new Wii because that’s just how I am when new things come out. I’m a tech geek at heart…

What do you guys think about the new Wii? Pre-Order or not? Ideas? I’d like to hear from you…

I’ve been doing quite a few book reviews lately and I will soon be adding 2 more. I am waiting for 2 books to arrive in the mail one of them is Core Data iOS Essentials and the other is Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook. As soon as I get them in and get a chance to read through them, I will be adding reviews for each of the books. They are both published by Packt. I’m really excited about the Core Data iOS Essentials book and I’m sure it will be a great reference as core data seems to be such an integral part these days. I’m sure that the Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook will be a great reference as well.

So be on the look out for these 2 reviews within the next few weeks. Until then you can get a sneak peek at the publishers site by going to the links below.

Cocoa and Objective-C Cookbook

Core Data iOS Essentials

If anyone has had a chance to read either of these, I’d like to hear from you and let me know what you thought about them. How about reading in general, do you guys prefer to read e-books or traditional paperback. As for myself I prefer reading paperback books, it just feels more natural then having to stare at a monitor for hours and hours. I don’t know about you guys but staring at a monitor all day does not sit well with my eyes at all.

In the last few months I’ve been really busy with many different projects and sometimes I’m not sure that there is enough time in the day. It would be wonderful to have 30 hour days instead of 24, that would give me an extra 6 hours to get things done. So, anyways I just wanted to write a quick post to share what’s been going on in my life lately, nothing to personal or detailed but just a high level overview of what’s been going on.

Here’s a short list:

  • Getting Married
  • Book Reviews
  • Technical Reviews
  • Empoc Media
  • Designing New Apps
  • Updating Existing Apps
  • Learning 3D ( Anatomy, Modeling, Animation, etc… )
  • Learning Unity and Torque, not sure yet which one I like better.
  • Planning a new iPhone / iPad game
  • Planning a new Mac game

The list looks short but I can tell you that these are very time consuming tasks. So… I’m getting married in July on the beach in Hawaii :) could it get any better? That’s all I’m sharing about that. You may have noticed an abundance of book reviews on the blog lately. This has been keeping me pretty busy and is going to become more frequent. A while ago I was asked by a publisher if I would write reviews about certain technical books and post them on my blog, and in return I would receive a copy of the book. This sound like a pretty nice deal and in return I can provide my readers with reviews for books that might interest them.

I’ve also signed up with a publisher to be a technical reviewer for books dealing with Objective-C / Cocoa / iOS / C++ / PHP / ASP / pretty much anything web related or mac related and anything to do with 3D gaming. I have just received and reviewed my first 2 chapters of an upcoming title. They have already sent me the next 3 chapters to review. I’m hoping to be doing many more of these type of reviews.

Empoc Media, a company I started for app development for iOS and Mac apps is moving at a quick pace. It’s still a one man operation and will probably be like that for a little while longer but my hopes are to one day turn this into a fully operational game development company.

I’ve been designing quite a few apps that are currently present on the Mac App Store, all of which you can read more about on http://empoc.com, I will continue to develop innovative apps for the Mac App Store, provided I find the right amount of time :)

It’s great to have a lot of apps in the App Store but that also means supporting and updating each one of them. This has become my number 1 time consumer. Sometimes it can take a while to roll out new updates or provide bug fixes for new issues.

I have recently had the opportunity to revisit a subject that I had originally explored about 2 years ago when I wrote a tutorial on starting out with Unity 3D. When I first started looking into Unity 3D I thought to myself that this doesn’t look so complicated and I should be able to easily make a game. Well, that was not the case and I was in way over my head. Not having any 3D modeling, lighting, terrain, anatomy, animation, etc… knowledge there was no way I could have pulled that off. I am now taking a different approach and I’m planning on becoming a Blender guru and learn everything there is to learn about 3D modeling before I ever move back into Unity 3D. Unity 3D is powerful gaming engine and with the right 3D experience and creativity, it should be possible to produce a great game.

I’ve got some great ideas for a new iPhone / iPad game as well as a game for the Mac. I’m not ready though to share any information just yet, but will be posting info here and on Empoc when I’m further along.

Well, so that’s what’s been going on in my life lately and what will likely continue for quite some time. Hopefully I haven’t bored you guys too much. Take care and have a great week.