Monday, November 22, 2010

PDX Bus 5.1 is out now!

PDX Bus version 5.1 is out now.  I put this out quickly to fix a bug, but it also has some new features:

  • PDX Bus now uses TriMet's new location services API - this means that the "Stop Location Database" is no longer necessary as TriMet servers can tell you which stops are close to your current location.  This saves memory on the device and means the stops are always up to date.
  • I fixed a bug with bookmarks (found by a user who left a comment on this blog!).  It was not possible to add a stop ID to a bookmark if you entered the ID number.
  • I added new hi-res graphics for the iPhone 4.   Some of the icons are different but they look very crisp on the retina display.  Other devices have the old graphics.
Here is a picture of the new hi-res icons:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

PDX Bus version 5.0 is ready!

PDX Bus version 5.0 is now ready.  Lots of new improvements (mostly trip planner stuff) plus MAX colors, searching for stops and new colors.

Here is a list of what I've been up to:
  • Trips can now be bookmarked and then re-planned with a single touch. Check out the bookmark icon in the toolbar on the trip screen. Tip: bookmark a trip from the Current Location to your home and call it "Take me home!"
  • The Trip planner user interface has a new more intuitive flow, and the map has a previous/next button to step through the trip.
  • Trips are automatically saved to a new "Recent Trips" screen and can be viewed later without a network connection.
  • Trips can be texted to other cell phone users directly from inside PDX Bus (requires an iPhone with iOS 4.0).
  • Trips can be added as events to the calendar (iOS 4.0 required).
  • Trips planned using the GPS now show the location's name instead of 'Current Location'.
  • Added 'Search rail stations' screen.
  • Rail arrivals include a colored circle to indicate the line.
  • Stops can be sorted alphabetically.
  • Recent stops now have their own screen.
  • Added up/down arrows to the rider alerts and fixed fonts sizes.
  • Settings now update instantly in iOS4; added Color Themes and made it blue by default.
Have fun!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

PDX Bus is getting a new icon

Here is the stylish new icon for PDX Bus!  It was designed by Rob Alan, a designer I met at the Civic Apps Awards Ceremony.

I really like how it has some of the colors and design from an actual TriMet bus, and is much more dynamic and detailed than the old icons.  Compare to the previous icons below...

Here is the old one - I made it from a public domain image of a bus superimposed over a photograph of the sky over Crater Lake.   I'm no graphics designer!

The first one was really bad!  I was in a hurry and I forgot all about the icon until the end.

While I was there I also changed the template for the blog to something cleaner and better!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PDX Bus wins award!

Yesterday PDX Bus was awarded two awards at the Greater Portand Civic Apps Awards - Most Appealing App and Best in Show!  I'm still in a daze.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and offered helpful feedback to make the app better in the last two years - without the feedback PDX Bus would not have become the useful app that it is today.

Friday, July 2, 2010

PDX Bus 4.2 is finally available!

Lots of small changes - get it while it's hot!

- Support for iOS4 and fast switching between apps.  Regular features are designed to work on all models of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running OS version 3.0 and above.
- The current location "blue dot" is now shown on all maps.
- The tip planner map now shows the actual route of the busses and trains.
- Fixed usability issue with bookmarks - the bookmark icon can be used to edit or delete an existing bookmark was well as to add one.
- Routes, directions and stop names are cached until the end of each day (or optionally until the end of the week).  (TriMet tells me that routes only change at midnight - mostly they change weekly on Sunday but occasionally they change mid-week).
- Multiple bug fixes and tweaks (e.g.  fixed iPhone font issues introduced when adding iPad support, fixed different behavior of home button).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Version 4.1 available now - improved cancel button!

What's new:

- Cancel button now cancels immediately
- Fonts tweaked on iPad
- Fixed an occasional crash
- Updated the about page

Sunday, April 11, 2010

[UPDATED] TriMet arrival servers *were* down

[Update:  everything is working. Move along now, nothing to see here!]

The servers that supply the arrival times, route names and stop names are not working right now.  I have emailed TriMet about it, but it is a Sunday.

The trip planner does appear to be working - so you can use that to get your arrival times, or call 503-238-RIDE.

(This picture is from the simulator - there is an extra line there for the Streercar servers which do appear to be working).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rider Alerts & PDX Bus versions in the pipeline

I just noticed that the Rider Alerts page is broken for PDX Bus.  This appears to be because Apple's RSS reader page no longer works when it is used inside applications.  I have a fix for this, but it may be little while before it is released, but not too long I hope!

Version 4.0 is being tested now.  This includes:
  • - Improvements to the Streetcar features, adding location and map support for the streetcars.  This was quite a lot of work, having to "mash up" data from  Next Bus (who provide the Streetcar data).
  • - Complete support for the iPad, including a full screen display and full screen maps.
  • - Fixes for the issues with Rider Alerts.  This was fixed by using a custom page for the RSS feeds.
  • - Copy trip to clipboard - this enables a trip to be copied to the notepad or an SMS message.
FWIW - I didn't buy an iPad... I'm waiting for a 3G version at the end of the month!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

PDX Bus has been entered into the Civic Apps Challenge!

I've just found out about this challenge.  What is interesting is there is so much other public data out there that could be mashed up into other applications...

Here is my entry:

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Network problems?

Some users (including me!) are seeing very slow network updates, so slow that PDX Bus sometimes crashes.

As far as I can tell, the slowness is with the network.  The reason that PDX Bus crashes is that it is unresponsive while it accesses the network, and the iPhone OS thinks it has crashed and kills it.

I have a fix - the next version of PDX Bus has been significantly re-worked.  It will have a whirly thing on the screen, a progress bar, and all network access is done in the background.  This will not speed it up, but it will stop it from crashing.

Meanwhile - if it is very slow for you then try to access only one stop at a time, the new version of PDX Bus will be along very soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Portland Transport discussion & update on MAX arrivals

The MAX arrival times have all been scheduled and not real-time since the Green Line opened.  (PDX Bus shows them in grey).

On the Portland transit blog the comments have an insight into what's going on... it is interesting that they don't use GPS.  (I head heard that this was why the real-time info was bad downtown as the GPS receivers did not work.  This is not the case...)

I hope TriMet finishes testing soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Trip planner fixed!

The helpful people at TriMet labs got back to me today - the trip planner has been fixed - one of the servers was down so it couldn't handle the load. Anyway, it's all working again.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trip planner is suffering from intermittent downess

The trip planner is back now, but seeing as another user has seen it go down on other days, I can only assume it is suffering from some intermittent problem.  Let's hope it is fixed soon!

Trip planner is down :-(

The trip planner is currently not working.  Behind the scenes I can see the following error message is being returned.  I have asked TriMet about it.  I am also using this as an opportunity to update PDX Bus so this message can be displayed when it occurs.

Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat) Server at Port 80

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Version 3.7, a minor update, went live yesterday

Version 3.7 has a couple of small changes.

(1) The rail map has been updated to include the Free Rail Zone.
(2) Fixed some odd behavior that happens when location services are switched off.
(3) Tweaked some UI text in places.

Have fun!