Our speaker was Christopher Schardt, the creator of Moe's Notes for iPhone/iPod Touch, and Moe's Notebook for the iPad.
(Note from Dave: I am taking these notes with my iPad and Pages and a Freedom Pro bluetooth keyboard. Instead of my usual MacBook Pro, since I thought I might load my MacBook Pro to Christopher when he wanted to show his phone. Instead, he ran the phone emulator on his laptop, and showed off his iPad directly. It worked fine.)
Years ago, Christopher was with his 2.5 year old baby overnight at a hospital. His wife wanted to record ideas, she wanted an audio recorder with tags.
So Christopher started writing an app for that on the iPhone. He also noted that the iPhone has--in addition to a microphone-- a camera and geo location, so he put that functionality into the app: Moe's Notes. (Note from Dave: I should have asked where "Moe's" came from!)
Christopher did some audio recording with Moe's Notes. He showed the recording, the sound-wave-graph display while he was recording. Oh, there is a pause in the recording! He selected that pause region and deleted it. He also could select everything beyond a certain--um, frequency, was it?--to not record, getting rid of extraneous sounds he did not want. He sped up and slowed the playback, and played the recording in reverse. (Note from Dave: That did not sound like "Turn me on, dead man," or, "Lucifer is king," just gibberish. But backwards can sound funny.)
Uh oh, Christopher had no pictures in his iPhone simulator, so he could not demo what Moe's Notes did with that. He typed some text, get a phone number for an email address, and turned them into links. He could click the links to dial number or send the email.
You can add any number of tags to a note, and later view all notes with that particular tag. Tags as in, oh, a city name, food type, itchy, whatever. There are about ten tags already that you can use, like friends, parents, to-do, and so on.
Moe's Notes records the gps coordinates of every note you make, so you know later where you recorded it. Yes, you can later search Moe's Notes on that location. You can search to find the notes under a doctor tag, for notes under certain creation dates, and you can search geographically.
He can upload pictures or text in Moe's Notes to Facebook.
Christopher sold just a few hundred copies until a guy at Apple found Moe's Notes and blessed it. Then Christopher sold thousands. For a week, Moe's Notes was the number one selling app, and it was (is?) popular for sometime. People use it in different useful ways. A policeman in Montreal made a database of perps. Public radio in Austin likes the app, and made a spical version for citizen recording, so regular users can make news content. Now you can add to the news: "Wow, I see a robbery in progress!"
Will Moe's Notes run on an iPod Touch? You can use it, but you really need a microphone (you can plug one into the Touch).
The 2G version of the iPhone will not run videos (Moe's Notes can do videos). 2G apps had to do hacky things to do videos, and there is no API for that.
The current version might not run well on system 3, so wait for the next update. You could download now and see if it works, but the fix will be in in a few days. (Note from Dave: It was updated November 11, so it is likely fine to buy now. And really, it is only $3! Such a deal)
And for guys like me, there is the iPad version: Moe's Notepad. ($5)
Christopher said that what a lot of app writers do when going from the iPhone to the iPAD is just to make it really big.
But Christopher wanted to do something different, not just bigger. Moe's Notepad, rather than being just one big screen, uses splitter bars (in the API, he used the spitter bar class). Moe's Notepad has a list on one side, and space for audio, visual, text. Okay, in other words, for a note, audio, visual. Rather than go form one screen to another as yo udo on the iPhone, the iPAD version has several sub-screens (remember the spitter bars?). You can move the spitter bars how you like, you can expand any to take up the whole screen, like if you want to edit audio and you want more room. Christopher held up his iPad and showed how to hide the list on notes, he rotated the iPad. he filtered the list, like for location, WHEE, he got the location! (He needed and got on our WiFi for that). He filtered again and got just the notes he made at home.
You can save the audio using iTunes file sharing (Note from Dave: Like how I saved Pages documents from my iPad to my MacBook Pro last month). iTunes 9.1 has that new feature: file sharing. But Apple did not make it easy to find. Connect your iPAd to your MAc. Then in iTunes, go to the Apps tab, and scroll down to your app. In the Moe's Notes app, you see the raw data, a folder for each of its notes. Christopher dragged those folders into a Finder window (yeas, onto his MAc). Aw, sweet, in that note, he had a cute little video of his cute little daughter walking down a path.
Apple has a backup feature for you to restore your phone, but you have to blow away EVERYTHING on the phone to do it. (Note from Dave: I guess someone asked what happens if something gets screwed up on the iPhone or iPad, can you restore?)
Here is how the iTunes file sharing works. You have to store all the data in the Documents folder, and iTunes will back them up. (Note from Dave: Hmm, I wonder if that was before iOS 4?) Starting with iOS 4, you have that file sharing thing on the iPhone. (Note from Dave: I had file sharing before I got iOS 4 on my iPad.) Christopher was going do a sharing folder, but it made the documents folder be the shared folder. Either all the files were exposed, or you do not share at all. So you do not have some privacy, it is all or nothing.
Apple makes it impossible to charge for an app update. Christopher will add the ability to do multiple photos in a note. He will have an inside the app purchase feature (like you sell a game for free, but you pay to get past level 3, MOOO HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!! OK, Dave, that's me, added the evil laugh, actually this seems like a smart business model and I will likely want to try that if I write a good app where I am adding new content). To add a feature to Moe's Notes/Notepad, likely you would, pay 99 cents to add it. (Note from Dave: Yeah, this add-a-feature thing sounds like I want to do that for my book! I can add chapters!) Moms send hate mail about add-a-feature-for-money, fathers say, oh pay the money.
It is a crazy market, he does not make a huge amount of money on this. He is working on ways to edit a note's location, have more than one photo printout, sync between Moe's Notes and Notepad, etc.
Will there be an Android version? All of Christopher's code is in C++ and Objective C, not in Java and XML. Well, he could strip it down, but it is a lot of work. Also, Android cannot prevent piracy.
This stuff is his day job. He likes making these types of tools, he likes the praise (and the complaints). Christopher has been programming since 1975. He wrote Instant Artist and other neat stuff. He worked on Beatnik, audio stuff, Nokia phones have that. He then did Burning Man art for a while. He came back to his computer: you gotta pay the bills! He worked for Pixellight which was published through Broderbund.
(Note from Dave: I recommend Moe's Notepad for the iPad, especially since the iPad does not come with audio recording software built in. You do need to know how to nose around in the note folder to find the audio file, and I think it stores audio as.cab, but there are free programs that let you convert audio files to the more common formats like MP3.)
Notes compiled by Dave Strom, SMUG Vice President