Just under a month ago I posted my Dave Walker / CartoonChurch iPhone app here on the blog, and said that I hoped to have a discount code for making apps on AppMakr, the site I used. Well, I now have such a code. It will get you a 50% discount on the $199 appmaking price, bringing it down to $99.50 (approx £65). The code expires at the end of March, so you have a month to do your appcrafting. Many thanks to AppMakr and in particular to Liz Terry who kindly agreed to my pleading. The code is: CARTOONCHURCH
Please be aware that making an app this way is not something you can just do in 10 minutes – I’d urge you to do some in depth reading first, including my making an app with AppMakr post and the Appmakr support site. There are two posts in particular that would have been very useful to me had the information been known at the time, Changes to Apple policy and Top-10 things to know before you publish an App.
I should probably add that I’m not on commission here – just passing this on as there was a lot of interest in the process the last time I posted about it.
[The cartoon in app above has nothing to do with this post but is for illustration purposes only. It is taken from my 'free cartoons for your blog' site, We Blog Cartoons, which as it 'appens is on my app.]
Posted by Dave at 5:26 pm on February 26, 2010 and filed under Technical, iPhone app.
This is a blog post about my cartoon in today’s Church Times. Unfortunately it would be unfair of me to post it here given that the Church Times have paid me to draw it and so it is right that they have exclusive first use of it. The link is here, but it is subscriber only, and I’m aware that the extract above will be too small to see as it is long and thin. Apologies, therefore, to those for whom this post will be meaningless.
This isn’t an apology (which was what I originally entitled it), more of an explanation. I felt in hindsight, having submitted the cartoon, that some clergy might feel that I am getting at them and criticising of the organising of lots of Lenten things. This was not my intention. The cartoon is perhaps saying something about the vast range of Lent resources and activities that are available – are there too many? But in truth the cartoon is probably more about how someone like me, whose job it is to think about Christianity all day every day, keeps their belief alive. The danger is that one becomes overwhelmed by worthy activities and spiritual messages. The suggestion is that, for me, the best Lenten fast is possibly to fast from Lent itself.
I don’t know, what do you think?
Posted by Dave at 10:48 am on February 26, 2010 and filed under Cartooning, Church, Religion, Spirituality.
The image is an extract from a cartoon I did to advertise Your SHAPE for God’s Service, a course that is being run in my local diocese. It is all about helping people to find the right things to be doing in church, life etc. A kind of ecclesiastical careers advice. Click here to see the whole thing. I haven’t done the course (that is why I blunder around not really knowing what I’m doing), but it looks jolly good.
Phil Ritchie is the person behind this in the Diocese of Chelmsford. You might know him from such micro blogging websites as Twitter. He is your man to talk to if you want to know more – contact info on the SHAPE page.
Posted by Dave at 12:10 pm on February 25, 2010 and filed under Cartoons.
The Digital Economy Bill is currently making its way through the UK legislative processes (official Parliament site). Photographers are up in arms about it. See for example these sites:
In summary, it seems that anyone will be able to use someone else’s work for free if they have tried and failed to find the original creator of the work. The main people to lose out, according to these sites, will be (1) amateur photographers, because their (usually unwatermarked) images will often be effectively usable for free, and (2) professional photographers, because there will be many more avenues to find free work.
On the websites I’ve linked to the ‘orphan works’ in question are photographs, but I imagine the same principles would apply to cartoons. I’m wondering, therefore, how this will affect cartoonists. In my own case many of the cartoons I post online have a website address included, but some of my work appears without a signature / web address, as that is included in the publication itself in some other way – in a heading or text attribution for instance. And what would happen if the work has a signature, but the person wanting to use the cartoon is still unable to trace the artist? I know of cartoonists who have had their work pinched by other people and later discovered it in use elsewhere, but this legislation would seem to add legitimacy to such occurrences.
I am, as you know, fairly laid back about personal reuse of my work on blogs if certain basic conditions are adhered to. I do, unfortunately, fairly regularly come across my work posted online without the website owner having applied the basic courtesy of posting a link to my site as I request on my (probably inadequate) copyright information page. Of course the reuse of cartoons by commercial organisations on websites or in print is another thing altogether.
I’m wondering whether writing a strongly worded letter or creating a small-to-medium-sized fuss might be in order. I’d be pleased to hear from anyone who has looked into this in greater depth and open to ideas as to the appropriate action to be taken. Perhaps cartoonists are already doing something about this, but if so a quick search didn’t reveal any such initiatives.
Posted by Dave at 12:17 pm on February 19, 2010 and filed under Cartooning, Politics.
This cartoon is of ‘week off’ quality.
This is in fact a working week off. I’ve decided that if I work during my week off then when it comes to a working week I’ll have less work to do, so I can have more time off. It is all very carefully thought through.
My working week off is not all work though. We went to Paris for one night for a family occasion, today we might go to the shops, whilst on another day there remains the possibility of some sort of escapade. If the details sound sketchy that is because they are. If anyone has escapade ideas with a starting point in the Basildon area then please do share them.
Posted by Dave at 10:39 am on February 19, 2010 and filed under Cartoons.
Thanks to Al Cutting (of General Synod blog fame) for this picture of a cartoonist grinning inanely. This is a highly illegal picture – photos may not be taken from the press gallery, and grinning inanely is frowned upon.
Things to note in picture: Small laptop with enough battery life for a day’s Church Times Blog updating, sheet of paper with cartoon ideas, and yellow sheet (at a jaunty angle) telling me what the debate is about. Oh, and the bath plug chain lanyard. Also the bishop not facing the front. Things you can’t see: Illegal cup of coffee, illegal chocolate chip cookie imported from the press room, stain on clothing from trying to eat chocolate chip cookie without being noted by the officials.
Whilst I’m here, a General Synod cartoon of mine is now on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. It is my one from the Church Times this time two years ago.
Posted by Dave at 3:08 pm on February 12, 2010 and filed under Cartooning, Church Times blog.
I’m fully aware that there are people logging into the CartoonChurch iPhone app and others clicking refresh on this blog wondering where all the great cartoon content they were promised has got to. My excuse this week is that I’m terribly busy being at General Synod at Church House in London. Those who like that kind of thing can see the in-depth analysis I’ve been writing about it on the Church Times Blog.
This, if it shows up, is an extract of a cartoon I did for the Church Times Blog – see full version here. I’m also gathering other material, so it will all be worth it in the long run. I also get to wear a special blue badge held in place by a bath plug chain.
Next week will also be a bit quiet owing to half term, but after that I have plans for a lot of new cartoon content. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.
Posted by Dave at 1:57 pm on February 11, 2010 and filed under Cartoons.
Regular readers will know that at the weekends the budget for this blog does not allow for the posting of cartoons or interesting anecdotes. Instead I focus largely on highlights from my filing system.
Today, a section from my bank file entitled ‘letters informing me of my idiocy’.
This is where I file letters that tell me that I have done something wrong in banking terms, generally whilst paying in my cheques at the automatic cheque machine. Usually it is because the amounts do not tally because somewhere along the line I have pressed the wrong button, either on my calculator or on the automatic cheque machine itself.
I have never been very good at pressing buttons correctly. If, at a future interview, I am asked “What are your weaknesses?”, I shall reply, “Pressing buttons correctly”. Unless the job largely relies upon the ability to press buttons correctly, in which case I shall make something up and this blog post will be quietly deleted.
Posted by Dave at 12:46 pm on February 6, 2010 and filed under Mundane, Photographs, Starting a Business.
I attempted to make two iPhone apps last month. I wrote about one of them yesterday (The Dave Walker / CartoonChurch.com iPhone app), but the second was to have been ‘The dullest app in the world’, an iPhone version of my Dullest blog in the world. The app was to have contained the latest up to the minute updates from the dullest blog along with mentions of @dullestblog on Twitter. Unfortunately this app was turned down by Apple, who said that it would not be of interest to enough people. Their full response:
We’ve reviewed your application Dullest App in the World and have determined that this application is not appropriate for the App Store because it is intended for a limited audience.
If you would like to share it with friends and family, we recommend you review the Ad Hoc method on the Distribution tab of the iPhone Developer Portal for details on distributing this application among a small group of people of your choosing.
If you believe that you can add additional user functionality to Dullest App in the World so that it can be accessible to a wider audience, we encourage you to do so and resubmit it for review.
iPhone Developer Program
As you might imagine this came as quite a shock. I have the option to resubmit the app (for a fee), but I don’t know whether I’m going to do so. Should I make the dullest app less uninspiring? It might depend upon the level of interest.
If you would like to see the dullest app in the world come into existence feel free to join my rather halfhearted campaign by posting this elsewhere. Thank you!
It should be noted, by the way, that the dullest blog was updated today. This is a preemptive strike to silence critics who say it isn’t updated that often.
[The dullest blog in the world is available as one part of my other app - see The Dave Walker / CartoonChurch.com iPhone app or search iTunes for 'Dave Walker' or 'CartoonChurch' (one word)]
Posted by Dave at 4:41 pm on February 5, 2010 and filed under Cartoons.
In my previous post I announced the new Dave Walker / CartoonChurch.com iPhone app (search for ‘CartoonChurch’ in iTunes).
I made my app using Appmakr and a few people have contacted me about doing the same. This is a summary of some of the positive and negative aspects of making an app this way in my experience. If you have no intention of making an iPhone app this post will be of no interest whatsoever.
1. The quality of the app is generally very good. My app has one bug (sometimes reverting to portrait dimensions when in landscape) but overall the quality is better than I was hoping for.
2. This is by far the cheapest way to get an iPhone app online that I have discovered.
3. The process is fairly easy to undertake, though I spent a few hours trying to find answers to questions in the support section. Editing the splash screen and header image were the most time consuming aspects for me.
4. Once you’ve paid that’s it – no ongoing costs unless you want to modify it, in which case you pay the whole fee again every time.
1. The price if you’re on a budget. Making an app is an expensive thing to do compared with setting up a website, which can be done for next to nothing these days. I took the option of a very generous discount code which several well-known bloggers were offering at the time, but unfortunately these aren’t available any more. The basic cost is now $199, a lot if you are a small operation. I was sent a discount code to reduce that by $50, but I later noticed that it had already expired when I got the e-mail. I have asked Appmakr for another code. [Message to Appmakr if you're reading: Please give us another code! It would be great if you could give a generous discount for my readers, many of whom are charity workers without a lot of money. Thank you!]
2. There is absolutely no guarantee that your app will be accepted by Apple. I made two apps – one was accepted and the other wasn’t. I’ll write more about the app that didn’t make it another time. I can resubmit it, but it will cost me an extra $49 and I’m not quite sure how I can improve it. There’s no refund of your initial outlay if your app is turned down, meaning it could be an expensive experiment with nothing to show for it.
3. Once you submit your app you can’t make any changes. That is it. Any change means paying the whole fee again. As far as I understand it if you have your own developer account you can make changes whenever you want, so for someone with the technological ability that would seem to be the better way to go.
4. In theory you can use Facebook feeds in your app, but I couldn’t make them validate. In hindsight I don’t think a Facebook feed would have added much.
5. It doesn’t display Twitter feeds very well – you get the first few words (cut off) as the title, and then a few more words (still cut off) as the body of the message. Probably not what you want to use if you app is centred around Twitter posts.
Other things to be aware of
1. The whole process takes a number of weeks. I submitted my app on 18 January and it went live yesterday, 3 February.
2. One question that took me ages to answer: Appmakr advise against making the app name different from the icon name. I did make them different and it has worked (in one case at least). You put the full name in the form you get after you submit and pay.
3. For other examples of Appmakr apps search in iTunes for Scobleizer or Seth Godin.
4. Other services are available. I suspect the price may come down over time.
5. If your app isn’t based around news feeds this isn’t the service for you.
Posted by Dave at 7:10 pm on February 4, 2010 and filed under Technical.
I’m pleased to be able to announce the Dave Walker / CartoonChurch app, enabling you to look at my cartoons on the iPhone and iPod Touch. If that link doesn’t work type ‘CartoonChurch’ or ‘Dave Walker’ into the search box on iTunes and you’ll find it. The app is free, and there are no advertisements. It was originally going to be called ‘CartoonChurch’, but that word is too long to fit under an iPhone icon so it shows up on the screen as ‘DaveWalker’. it is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch (2nd generation) and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later if that means anything to you.
So, what is on this app? Essentially it is the latest updates from five of my various projects, namely:
- The 10 latest posts from this blog
- The 10 latest CartoonChurch.com cartoons
- The 10 latest We Blog Cartoons cartoons
- The 10 latest Dullest blog in the world entries
- And, just to fill up the space, my latest Twitter posts (I’d say about 10). How interesting.
Good things about the app: I’m generally really pleased with the way the cartoons display. You can resize them, but if you tilt the screen 90 degrees into a landscape view you generally don’t have to. You can look at the sites in your browser, e-mail cartoons or post them to Twitter by clicking the icon in the top right hand corner. All marvellous innovations. When looking at an individual cartoon the up/down buttons make moving on to the next one really easy. Touch the screen to make the navigation bar at the top appear and disappear.
Not quite so good: There is an occasional bug when using the app in landscape mode and using the back button – it sometimes remains at the wrong width. If at any point you’re not getting the full width turning the app back into portrait mode and then back again into landscape always rectifies it. Clicking one of the other five categories sometimes does.
So, how did this app-making business come about? Well, I tend not to like to write about electronic purchases too often as it makes me sound rather materialistic (which I am, but no-one must know), but since Christmas we’ve been rather getting into the world of the iPod Touch. In the New Year a couple of well-known blogs (Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki) were offering special codes for discounted apps on AppMakr, so I thought I’d give it a go.
The process has not been without considerable complications – if anyone else is interested in making an app via this route please ask me and I will share some of the pitfalls in another post.
I also have a discount code (not as good as the one I used I’m afraid) to post, but I think I should write more before posting it so you know what you’re letting yourselves in for. [Update: Have noticed that the code I was sent yesterday expired at the end of January. have asked for another. Will write more about the process of making the app later this afternoon.]
In the meantime I hope those of you with the technology to do so enjoy the app. If you like it and felt like rating it favourably and/or writing a review that would of course help me. Apologies to those without iPhones or iPods – this is, I’m sure, a deeply irritating blog post.
Update: There is a FAQ page here: Dave Walker / CartoonChurch iPhone app
Below: Page in iTunes.
Posted by Dave at 1:57 pm on February 4, 2010 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Cartooning, Technical.
My Church Times cartoon ‘The Secularists’ is now on the Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ site. Comments have been enabled, so I’m standing by with my reinforced flameproof overalls and a slight sense of apprehension.
Posted by Dave at 1:35 pm on February 1, 2010 and filed under Cartoons, My cartoons elsewhere, Religion.