Pictomaphone 1.4 Submitted

Hey all, last night I pushed out the update for Pictomaphone 1.4 to Microsoft.

Here’s what coming down the pike:

  • A Save Dialog. Gone are the pop-ups, now you can choose between “Saved Photos” and “Camera Roll”, enter your own File Name, and choose the JPEG quality.
  • Slightly better EXIF handling. Almost every exception message I got was from people opening photos with bad exif data, so I’ve handled those errors better. No more crashing.
  • Intensity slider for Photo Filters. You can now do half-brawny if you want.
  • Little UI tweaks to make things line up better.
  • Display Settings page that lets you control how the Effect Lists look. You can change the background color and turn icons and descriptions on or off.
  • The Unhandled Exceptions message is now localized. I only speak English, so the grammar is probably horribly incorrect in other languages – but I tried :)


The other big change is…

Pictomaphone is now $1.99 USD. Unfortunately, developing apps for WP7 isn’t free. It costs $100 USD a year just to submit them to MSFT, and I’ve spent thousands of hours of my precious free-time working on the app.


There is a trial mode. It is fully-functional. You can use it for free as long as you want. You don’t have to pay, but I sure would appreciate it. The only difference in the trial mode is that there is a nag screen every 2 weeks.

I don’t think this will affect people who got the free version. My understanding is that downloading it while it was free counts as buying it. So, only new users will be affected. I consider it a thank you to all the people who gave my little photo editing app a chance and gave me feedback on how I could improve it.

P.S. Pictomaphone has more than 40,000 downloads world-wide. Awesome!



Pictomaphone 1.4 is Under Way

I’ve been working on the next version of Pictomaphone since the last one was submitted. This version won’t be quite as big and will hopefully be wrapped up this weekend or early next week (time permitting).

So far, I’ve added a real Save dialog that lets you control everything about how the image is saved. (Which isn’t much).  I’ve also had reports of a bug where some photos couldn’t be opened because they had bad Exif data. I’ve fixed that already. Also a few small UI things were changed here and there — and I added a Settings page that lets you control more of how the display looks. There is a little more clean-up left to do on this version, and a few more tweaks I need to squeeze in, but all-in-all, looks like it’ll be ready soon.

I’ve held off on adding any more big features for the moment – because I want to get the update out faster. The last update took 3 months, and I don’t want people to have to wait that long this time :)

Pictomaphone 1.3 Submitted

I’ve submitted the next update to Pictomaphone to the marketplace. It should be out to users by the end of the week! Pictomaphone is one of the most popular free photo apps for Windows Phone. Hopefully this update will push it closer to the top of the list…

What is new?

I’ve made some pretty good additions to the app :)

1) Crop. Everyone wanted it, now it is here — rule of thirds grid, predefined aspect ratios + free-form.

2) Resize. Because I was asked for it on Twitter and it was easy to do. Always keeps the original aspect ratio.

3) Color Balance. Because it makes fixing colors easier.

4) Lightness Mode in Posterize. Because sometimes it looks better and I knew how to do it.

5) View EXIF Data. It still can’t save it with the image – but you can at least see what it originally was.

6) About Page. Has some contact info for me.

7) More Filters: Country, Brawny, Sunday Morning, Summer Forest and Old New York. I made the names up.

8) And of course – a ton of performance enhancements to make the app run even faster.

Why did it take so long?

Well, for one, I do have other things going on – like a job that pays. Also, those performance enhancements took some research and fiddling around to get right. I pretty much rewrote the whole backend of the App – for the 3rd time. This is the last time, though. I don’t think I can squeeze any more noticeable gains unless Microsoft decides to allow custom Pixel Shaders.


Wait for the update. Then, if you haven’t rated it yet, or rated it less than 5 stars, fix that :)


What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

As performed by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

It is great to see some stars recognizing the awesomeness of the ukulele – and having fun playing a little song for the fans.

Zooey says:

I have known Joe Gordon-Levitt for going on 12 years. We first met in the summer of 2000 while doing a tiny movie called Manic, where we bonded over a mutual appreciation for Harry Nilsson and Nina Simone and I have been lucky enough to call him one of my dearest friends ever since. When we did 500 Days of Summer 8 years later, we spent every lunch hour dancing to Marvin Gaye in the hair and make up trailer; we had loads of fun. I hope to do a thousand more movies with him because he’s simply the best. But in the meantime, we made a little New Year’s duet for all of you! The original by Nancy Wilson. ENJOY!
Don’t forget to check out Joe’s website http://hitrecord.org/
New Girl is back January 17 (my birthday) !



Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing

Over at Coding Horror, Jeff Atwood has a new post about FFXA – a newish technique for anti-aliasing in game engines. If you at all interested, you should go read it.



I surprised that I didn’t read about this over the summer when I was researching anti-aliasing in games. But I’m glad to hear about it now! One day, I may get off my ass and write a game… but, for the time being, all my after-work programming hours are spent on Pictomaphone :)

Age of Over Parenting

I don’t have kids of my own, but I’ve spent plenty of time around them over the years. Although I don’t live near my family anymore, I’ve got 3 nieces and 2 nephews and I have to admit – I spend time thinking about them. I’m sure they’ll be raised just fine, but as the oldest sibling in my family, I can’t resist learning a little about raising kids so I can impart a little advice when I go to visit.

So, when articles like this cross my stream, I enjoy reading them. I consider them. I probably give them too much thought. But, it is so interesting!



In my nine years as a parent, I’ve followed the rules, protocols, and cultural cues that have promised to churn out well-rounded, happy, successful children. I’ve psychoanalyzed my kids’ behavior, supervised an avalanche of activities, and photo-documented their day-to-day existence as if I were a wildlife photographer on the Serengeti. I do my utmost to develop their minds and build up their confidence, while at the same time living with the constant low-level fear that bad things will happen to them. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if, by becoming so attuned to their every need and so controlling of their every move, I’ve somehow played a small part in changing the very nature of their childhood.

Turns out, you can over-do it and become so involved that you are taking away from your kids childhood, instead of adding to it.

I like the question asked of the parents later in the article, “think of your happiest moment as a child… were your parents there?” I can say that, for me, my parents weren’t there for all of my happiest moments. Because the best moments were when I accomplished something by myself. There is freedom and power in that.

Pictomaphone 1.2 Released

My first big update to Pictomaphone (version 1.2), has been released on the marketplace!

Inside this update were a bunch of small changes and some new features – the best being a somewhat limited levels control. Levels is a way better way to adjust the brightness and contrast in an image. Give it a spin!

If you already have it installed, then you should get the update notification on your phone. Otherwise, if you have a Windows Phone 7 Phone, what are you waiting for? Go download it.

Here is the link: http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=20bb9300-1ceb-43bf-a42c-68252675af65

The next update will probably be when new users have to start paying ($0.99). Updates will remain free. Its like an early adopter special!

Preview of features for version 1.3

  • Crop
  • Rectangular Selections
  • Some more filters (vintage styled stuff)
  • Rectangular Vignette
  • Faster Gaussian Blur
  • Very slight chance of some sort of noise reduction
    • I’ve been reading some research papers on the subject
I’ve also been drawing up preliminary plans for a tablet version (Pictomapad?). Due to the increase in screen space, there is so much more I can do with the program. It’s getting me all excited :)