Tides 1.0 on iPhone App Store

The first version of my iPhone/iPod Touch tide and current prediction app is now on the Apple App Store. It’s a very simple app, just an interface to David Flater’s Xtide prediction software running on a server. But it was an interesting experience to work with the iPhone specific APIs and get a finished (free) product out for distribution.

My submission timeline:

  • Late Wednesday afternoon July 30: submitted to the App Store for review.

  • Late Friday afternoon: server shows Apple testing the software.
  • Saturday evening: server shows first end user usage.
  • About midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning: received email notifying my app is now “Ready for Sale”.
  • Sunday afternoon: first two user reviews appeared in the App Store.

I had version 1.1 done and ready to post before 1.0 was available. I’ve made a couple of changes to 1.1 based on user feedback, and will probably jump straight to 1.2, to be submitted tomorrow/Monday.

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AIS used to vector fishing vessel in rescue attempt

AIS was used by the Coast Guard in the rescue attempt yesterday after two F-15C’s collided over the Gulf of Mexico today. This pilot was recovered, but unfortunately did not survive.

From http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/20/jetcrash/index.html:

Capt. Jim McPherson of the Coast Guard told CNN the crew of a Coast Guard aircraft on a training mission spotted a parachute dropping into the Gulf Wednesday afternoon.

The crew used radar and an automated identification system to detect a fishing boat in the area and directed that boat to the area where the parachute landed.

SkunkTracker 0.9 posted: AIS for Mac OS X

I have just posted SkunkTracker prerelease version 0.9 at http://www.mobilegeographics.com/skunktracker/.

I’m fairly pleased with the search capabilities. Right now I’m working on making the launch and the graphics faster, and on improving the graphic “fit and finish” and basic workflow.

There’s a sometimes live map of Seattle area shipping, produced by the KML export feature of SkunkTracker, at http://www.mobilegeographics.com/skunktracker/seattle.html.

Let me extend special gratitude to all of my classmates at Big Nerd Ranch, the gang at Seattle Xcoders, and especially Aaron Hillegass and Rocco Bowling, for helping me get this far.

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DHS may target small boats for RFID

DHS may target small boats for RFID: “The nation’s 18 million recreational boaters may need to register their crafts in a national database and place radio frequency identification tags on their vessels under plans put forth by a stakeholders group convened by the Homeland Security Department.”

(Via http://www.macsailing.net/.)

All in the name of security of course. Since the government is behind it, it will make us safer. So it must be worth it. Right? Right???

new Yahoo AIS/ham radio group

PROJECT ARMARAIS is a special interest group of interested people including amateur radio operators who enjoy tracking the wereabouts of ships and other vessels on the Great Lakes.

This is a pretty strong group. Discussions are polite and focused, and the people are knowledgeable and helpful.

If you’re interested in AIS in general, and not focused on one particular piece of software, this is a useful group for you, even if you’re not on the Great Lakes.

noteworthy marine blogs

I’ve found 4 first-class blogs of interest to recreational and professional mariners, especially those in the vicinity of Puget Sound.

Captain Richard Rodriguez follows marine issues (including the current fiasco with the Washington State Ferry System) from Friday Harbor and Anacortes in his blog Bitter End. He is a rescue tug skipper, and certified instructor for USCG Master’s License. He’s very good at finding instructional situations from the news, and has some great videos and photos on the site–great as long as you weren’t involved in the incidents that generated them.

Navagear, written by Aaron Tinling and Tim Flanagan, follows new gadgets, gear, and toys for boats, especially cruising boats. They also do a nice job of picking up on interesting websites for boaters. It was Navagear that pointed me to the Bitter End blog mentioned above.

Patrick’s Sailing Blog does a nice job of keeping up with local Seattle happenings, particularly the local cruising spots, yacht clubs, and marina construction.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog tracks marine electronics, software, and websites. They are sponsored by several major print magazines, but seem to do a good job of independently finding interesting products anyway. A particular thanks to Panbo for turning up this $40 DVD set with all of the NOAA nav pubs and electronic charts. I just ordered my copy today.

I’ve added all four of these to http://www.seattlesail.info/.