Archive for September, 2011

APODViewer7 2.3 released

01 Sep

A new update is available today, version 2.3.  I wanted to get this out earlier this month but the new ad rotator I added ( see previous blog post on multiple ad providers ) was giving me some odd stability issues. It magically corrected itself which was a bit unsettling.  I’m starting to think it was Google AdMob not serving the ads correctly up until recently.  If it starts acting up I can remotely kill the AdMob adds without an update.  The most significant change with this version is the automated slideshow.  You need to see this, its pretty cool just to let the images automatically go through random images you haven’t seen before.  I found myself just letting this run at work and looking at the details of images I found interesting.   On to the new features/changes:

  • Added an automated slideshow option from the main menu.  The slideshow picks random images, downloads them, and then picks a random zoom (1 or .5 vertical scale) and panning path to scan through the image. A menu is available when the screen is pressed.  Menu options are to go to the previous image, skip to the next, view the images details and description, or save to your favorites. As its showing the image, its actively downloading the next one in the background. This slideshow has settings available in the settings page which gives you the option to enable/disable the title bar, enable/disable the lock screen, and set the delay time for each image to either 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.
  • Live Tile now has a ‘Titles’ option that overlay’s the images title over the live tile image.  This will only work with the Latest image of the day or the Multi App Latest Image Left tile, for now.
  • Added Vimeo video identification and internal video playing.   Occasionally APOD would feature Vimeo videos.  Previous versions of APODViewer7 just returned an error saying it could not find an image.  Now it will show a video link much like the YouTube videos.  Currently there is no support by Vimeo to to play videos on WP7 in the web browser.  There is an app called Vimeo Viewer for WP7 by Max2 available ( the developer helped me through a Vimeo play problem I had, thanks Maxim! ) but there is no means to directly load Vimeo Viewer with a video from my app.  I implemented an internal Vimeo player to play these videos.  Its somewhat unstable due to how I attempt to load the video, but so far it seems to work well.  There is also a chance this could cease working completely, so I provided an option to attempt to load the vimeo web page in the web browser in hopes Vimeo eventually supports WP7.   As of today this does not work as vimeo does not support HTML5 in both the desktop and WP7 version of Internet Explorer 9.  Vimeo developers do state they are looking into, but its low on their priorities.  I read this they will not address it until WP7 gets significant market share.
  • Added a Random pivot from the main page.  These random images are pulled down from a list on my web server that tracks what random live tile images were shown.  This way if you want to see more detail on the random live tile from the start screen you can go to this pivot to find it quickly and view its details.
  • Added location services support.  This is purely for loading location specific ads for the free and trail versions.  You can enable/disable from the main menu.
  • Corrected YouTube identification on certain days that it was/will be featured.
  • Bug corrected that made the description text size extremely small.  This was only seen on the Mango beta build, but future release builds of Mango would of ran into this.
  • Added crash handling code that asks the user on the next start up to email the exception text to myself.  Hopefully this can help me nail down those rare bugs I cant reproduce in my enviroments.


I plan to take advantage of Mango’s new live tile features, but that may be put on hold until a good portion of the user base has been upgraded to Mango.  Once I update APODViewer7 with Mango features I can no longer update pre-Mango version.  Hopefully carriers will upgrade their user base to Mango ASAP but this is unlikely based on the current pattern of Android and WP7 updates.

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