Volitans Software

iPhone 3G- A decent upgrade

I had to buy a new iPhone last month- somebody stole my original one. Luckily it had a passcode, and nobody made any calls on it.

I did want to wait to upgrade for a couple of reasons- I wanted 32GB of space for all of my music and a few movies, I wanted a processor upgrade (like the new iPod Touch apparently has), and I wanted any other new, unexpected feature Apple would add on.

Nonetheless, I did need new a new iPhone. I like it. It feels good- lighter actually. Reception is definitely better. And the call quality is noticeably better as well- my fiance says I am much clearer now, even when driving. I like being able to use the internet and receive a call at the same time. I’ve missed calls because of that with the old one. The flush headphone jack rocks. I love being able to plug in any head phones and using them without a extra adapter. And of course with 3G I don’t get the “brrp, brrp, brrp” on speakers like I used to.

I don’t like the screen as much- its too yellow. The original had a much nicer white balance to it- which brought out the colors better. My home button also feels soft and mushy. It doesn’t have that nice click to it (it also doesn’t activate all the time either- maybe that’s related). I hate that all my old docks don’t work any more- at least not without some dremeling.

Overall I am happy with it. Still has some thing I don’t like, but its not a bad upgrade at all.


In the spirit of the holidays, Volitans Software is giving away one free hard drive to a lucky winner. The winner will have the choice between a 1.5TB desktop hard drive or a 500GB laptop hard drive. All you have to do to enter is fill out the following form. Rules and other fine print:

  • No purchase necessary to win, but try a copy of SMART Utility while you are here. It’s a great way to check out your current hard drive. Note that purchasing SMART Utility does not increase your chances of winning.
  • Entry period runs from 12:01 am EST on December 9th, 2008 until 11:59 pm EST December 24th, 2008.
  • Winner chooses between new Momentus 5400.6 SATA 500-GB Hard Drive (model ST9500325AS) or Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 1.5TB Hard Drive (model ST31500341AS), or equivalently priced drive if model is unavailable. Drive will be shipped free of charge to winner.
  • Winner will be selected at random on December 25th, 2008 from the email entries and notified by email. Winner will be posted on the website on or after January 15th, 2009.
  • Winner must respond within 7 days of being selected or a new winner will be chosen. Volitans Software will not be responsible for email delivery failures, including but not limited to power outages, server crashes, filtering technologies, or incorrect email addresses.
  • Only one entry per person, as multiple entries will be discarding. Entries will be monitored for cheating, and entrants may be disqualified if such cheating is discovered.
  • Friend’s email address will only receive a one-time automatic email about this giveaway. We will not add your friend to a mailing list.
  • Giveaway is open to individuals who are legal residents of the United States and 18 years of age or older. Individuals must also be legally allowed to participate in giveaways. Giveaway void where prohibited by law. While we appreciate all our customers in all states as well as in all countries across the world, laws very greatly and we cannot satisfy all legal requirements everywhere.
  • By participating in the giveaway, entrant agrees to not sue Volitans Software and not hold Volitans Software liable for mistakes or other violations.

New Software- ModBus Probe and ModBusKit

Volitans Software has joined a partnership with R Engineering, Inc to create modbusApps. Here is our first press release:

modbusApps is proud to announce modbusProbe, an application for the Apple OS X operating system to poll modbus(R) enabled control system devices. The application can poll either serially via a USB adapter or directly via TCP. There are a number of excellent Windows based programs that provide connectivity to logic solvers, but to date little development has been done with the Apple OS X operating system.

The application includes the ability to poll all four types of registers and display the results in decimal, hexadecimal, binary, or integer format. A help file has been developed to provide a basic understanding of the modbus(R) protocol. Future enhancements include the ability to monitor the data stream to and from the polled device(s) as well as providing the user to write to the device.

In addition to this application, the Cocoa Framework will be offered under the GNU License as a freedownload to give other Mac programmers the basic tools to develop modbus(R) tools for the Apple OS X operating system. The framework modbusKit may also be downloaded from the modbusApps website.

* TCP and serial protocol supported
* Reading of Coils, Discrete Inputs, Holding Registers, and Input Registers supported, writing coming soon
* Uses a connection list with name, type, and device ID (IP address or serial port) for maintaining connections
* Uses zero or one based addressing, with check box for toggling
* Displays data in integer, hexadecimal, decimal, with binary coming soon
* Displays number of polls and successful responses
* Displays register prefix (10000x etc)
* Displays Warning dialog box if it can’t connect to the modbus TCP server
* Checks for updates via Sparke Framework
* Basic application help book for the app and on modbus(R)
* This alpha release expires January 31st, 2008

Pricing and Availability:
modbusProbe is in Alpha release and is a free download. As the application matures, it will become shareware with an expected cost of approximately $100 (USD). Note that this Alpha release has a date stamp expiry.

New MacBook Brief Review

I had a chance to play with one of the new unibody MacBooks the other week. My school district purchased two to use as spares. The first thing I noticed was how solid they felt- not just compared to the old plastic MacBooks, but to the old MacBook Pro’s as well. The case did not flex at all- even the old MBP’s case flex a little bit. That certainly is very nice. One thing I do wonder is how well it will hold up in a drop.

The new trackpad was actually easy to use. I was worried how the buttonless “feature” would work, but I had no problem using it all all. It felt natural. I liked it better actually. I could not get the 4 finger swipe to work however- not sure if that was a bug or what. 

It didn’t feel any faster but then I did not have much time to play with it. I also did not get a chance to test out the screen- which really is my biggest fear. I am not a fan of the glossy screen. Hopefully, when they update the 17″ MacBook Pro, which is what I am waiting for, they will have an option for glossy. 

The only downside I could really see is the loss of FireWire, which is a huge mistake. Losing target disk mode is a giant loss- not only for the Migration Assistant and recovering data, but for booting other Macs with that Mac. The MIgration Assistant is the best thing that the Mac had and Windows didn’t. Now a stupid decision has cut that out. 

But other than that I would score it as a win. I would definitely get a MBP though- gotta have FireWire.

Finally: Volitans Software is now an iPhone Developer

I had meant to keep the blog updated with my progress, but with the Phillies post season run and World Series victory (I’m still on a high from it!) as well as being busy with the fiance, its been hard. I do post to my twitter apple4ever pretty often, so that is a way to keep up with what the company and I am doing.

But I finally got into the iPhone Developer program. With all the teeth nashing about it, I thought it was going to be harder than it was. It just took longer than it should. After the initial application online, I had to fax a copy of proof of my business, send them my corporate number (which they never called which surprised me), and then agree to terms before actually purchasing the program. Though I still am waiting for the email with instructions on how to activate my environment and phone. I’ll have to see how hard that actually is. 

I do have some interesting iPhone application ideas, which I am anxious to develop. However, I am a month behind on releasing 2.0, which is still in development- though it is coming along nicely. I also have a contract application I am working on as well. I figure as soon as 2.0 goes live, I can concentrate on the first iPhone application. I was worried my idea would be taken, and it was. But I think I can do it better and more according to my needs. 

That’s all for now, and I have another blog post coming on the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros that came out. I finally had a chance to see and use one, so I want to post my experiences and whether my fears were justified.

Mr. Jobs- TEAR DOWN THIS WALL (part 1)

And so he listened. The NDA is dead- finally. It was holding back developers and users alike. Apple received bad press because of it. Innovation was stifled due to it. And I don’t believe for a second that the NDA could protect any kind of IP. But you have to give Apple credit- they listened. Many people were angry and ready to jump ship. I know I was. This stops that- for now.

But it does not prevent it from occurring in the future. Apple still has a ways to go with the iPhone platform. The next biggest thing to kill the closed App Store. It is fine to have an App Store, but not the App Store. I can understand that users what to be sure applications to crash or kill their phone; that they would like some vetting of the applications. An App Store is perfect for that.

Nonetheless, keeping out all applications is harmful to the platform. There are many applications that Apple would not approve that could be useful. And on top of that, the process for submitting applications is horrible. A developer can work for months- months better spent on other task- only to have the applications rejected for some vague reason. That also stifles innovation. Developers will not risk writing the great applications, the game changing ones, for that reason. 

The next step is to change the application approval process. Developers should submit an idea proposal: “Our application will do <idea>. This is how it will work: <operation>.” Apple then gives preliminary approval to the idea. The developer writes the application and then submits that to Apple. Apple then can ONLY reject for bugs or features that obviously deviate from the submitted idea. That is how it should be handled.

Still, this is a good day. Apple listened (however long it may have taken them). That is a good thing. That shows they do care, and they do follow the news. It shows that developers and users can change problems with Apple- even if its only the big ones. They should be applauded for this. Granted it is not the first time we have seen them do it, but it shouldn’t be celebrated any less because of that. 

Thank you Apple, and thank you Steve.

iPhone Dev Program: Step 2

I’m on Step 2. I finally received an email to fax my information on my business to Apple to confirm my application to the iPhone Developer Program. I applied online about 3 weeks ago. I hate the lack of information Apple gives on your status. Why can’t they develop a nice little form that shows checkboxes. Applied: Check. Fax business form: Email sent, waiting for reply. And so forth.

The lack of transparency about the whole process is a big problem. And not only for applying to the program, but for submitting an application as well. They need the same type of form I suggested above for submitting an application. Application received: Check. Bug scan: Check. UI: Check. Application type: OK. And so forth. 

People can deal with waiting as long as they know where they stand. Having no way to find out causes a lot of needless consternation- and bad will on the side of Apple.

This looks new…

We’ve remodeled! Welcome to the new Volitans Software site. Its been a couple of weeks in the making. There might be a few issues here and there, but we’ll work it out as we go along. The only thing that still needs done is the store- but I figured I can get the main site and blog up and running and work on the store later.

I’ve moved from using iWeb for the entire website to a free template from Reddy Software for the main site and WordPress 2.6.2 for the blog. iWeb was great, and it certainly served its purpose- especially for a starter website. But it has its quirks, the blog part isn’t very good, and the biggest thing that I hate about is I can only upload to .Mac MobileMe directly from.

Its also hard for someone like me to design a website- I’m a programmer not a designer. So I had a friend (Ian Maffett) modify the free template for my needs. It looks a ton better than my old site. I also had a new logo done by OneToad Design– which is also a lot better than my hand made one. And of course using WordPress is so nice- especially because I can write a post on the web and not have upload it like iWeb.

So take a look around, and tell me what you think! Shoot me a email with any comments.

Thanks for stopping by.