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Monthly Archives: August 2009

I just created a Distant Suns group on Facebook.

Stop on by and say hello.



As of 2/2010 this blog has been moved over to :

For those who have bought my iPhone app, Distant Suns, may a thousand blessings rain upon you as a fresh spring rain. For those who haven’t purchased it yet, I am very disappointed in you. But I can wait…..I’m waiting….

While I am waiting, consider this my support blog. I’ll take bug reports and enhancement requests here and hopefully build a little community around what I think is a great little app. Also, please make sure to leave a review on the app page. It bugs me to see a game with about 4 bazillion reviews, a GAME! Sheesh…

Also, DS has some nice website reviews:

You may fetch Distant Suns here and Grand Tour, over here.

Distant Suns

  • What are the main differences between the free version and the super sexy paid version?
    • The free version is effectively the 1.0 version of Distant Suns, with some UI tweaks. Its feature set will remain as it is, a tool to give you an instantaneous snapshot of the sky at your current time. So if you like that, knock yourself out!
    • On the other hand, the paid version gives you:
      • The ability to set the date and time and animate the clock at  hi-speeds
      • Much deeper data for the stars and deep-sky wonders.
      • All sorts of little extra tools to help you navigate and find things.
      • More landscape panoramas.
      • Monthly highlights
      • Tour Guide that will use the monthly highlights
      • Compass for 3GS owners. You can simply hold your iPhone up at any part of the sky and Distant Suns will automatically slew there.
      • Asterisms and other oddball objects
      • Smooth slewing from object to object
      • Historical notes on each constellation
      • Nightvision mode to preserve your dark adapted eyesight when using Distant Suns to identify the real constellations
      • Images of every object in the Messier deep-sky database.
      • Cool (or annoying) sound effects, depending on your taste.
      • And….more jokes.
  • The Tour-guide is showing me stuff that’s not up yet!
    • That’s because the Tour-guide is simply showing you the big things that are likely to be visible that night roughly between 8PM and midnight. So if you switch it on at  noon, don’t be too shocked that it’s aiming you towards the ground.
  • It shows me as being in San Jose when I am actually in Eastern Gilboa. What gives?
    • That means that it couldn’t get a GPS fix for you. Normally it should show a warning when that happens. It then goes to the default city of San Jose, home base for the worldwide Distant Suns empire. If you want it to try again go to Prefs and turn on Use Location Services.
  • Do you plan on having a version that drives a telescope?
    • Not currently. However at some point not only will it drive a telescope it will wash it, change the oil and parallel park it as well.
  • Your ^^#&%$ program keeps crashing!
    • Try deleting it and do a reinstall. It is known that sometimes apps can be corrupted during a download.
    • If that fails and you are not in the North American locale, go to your iPhone/iPod’s International preferences and set the locale to the US. One such crash had to do with the way Greek and Chinese handled time displays that Distant Suns did not anticipate.
  • Can I license your engine for a game I am working on.
    • Yes!
  • Why no constellation artwork?
    • Haven’t found a good source of it yet. But I’m working on it.

Weather Planet

  • Sometimes the clouds are messed up, showing half the earth covered with haze and the other half clear.
    • That is an occasional bug on part of the software that generates the cloud maps. It’s not my software, so there is nothing that I can do about it, I just fetch the cloud data every 3 hours and display what it gives me. It doesn’t happen very often thank goodness, but does give a bad impression if that’s the first thing you see.

I just got the happy news that Distant Suns 1.3.2 was finally unleashed and pushed to the appstore. So all you iPod/touch owners who haven’t upgraded to 3.0 should now be able to return to the Distant Suns fold.

Hope it really works!

Got a note from Apple on Weds. saying that they were looking at the right version of Distant Suns, but it still hasn’t been pushed. Grrr. You iPod/Touch guys are still outta luck.

  • AIM: lazyastronomer
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Update: Aug. 11:

I bugged Apple again last night for an expedited review of 1.3.2 and finally got a real honest-to-goodness hominid responding saying they did so. Trouble is, they pushed the WRONG application, Distant Suns-Lite, which does work fine on pre-OS 3.0 machines.

Grrr. No. Double-grr.

Update: Aug. 2:

Alert: Distant Suns 1.3.1 has been listed again in the Appstore but it will only work on 3.0 and above devices. 1.3.2 will work for pre-OS 3.0 thingies once it’s review and approval by Apple.

Sorry guys for the DS 1.3.1 issues. The problem was a really subtle one when going from OS 2.2.1, to an OS 3.0 build. It never showed up until the app was set free by Apple.

This problem has apparently hit a number of packages, and it is only worse considering how long now Apple takes to go over the apps.

In theory there’s a way to get Apple to expedite a review. In the “good ol’ days” (6 months ago), a review could easily be only a day or two. Now it’s up to about 2 weeks. But hopefully I have polished the art-of-the-grovel enough to get them to move quickly. Unfortunately there is no “rollback” system in the Appstore that would make something like this a little easier to tolerate.

1.3.2 has been submitted and at worse, should be out by the end of next week.

Another one of my avocations, besides staring up at night is vintage dancing. And as a result, made it into the New York Times on Sunday:

I am in the red British uniform.

Go to my other blog for details: The Lazy Way To Watch Meteors

Got a nice review in