Blog: May 2011

Refills 1.0.3 in beta

Tagged with Refills by Gavin McKenzie at 03:26 PM | Refills 1.0.3 in beta

I have just released a new version of Refills to a small number of beta testers. The beta addresses an issue, and includes a change to the way information is displayed. After a short beta period, this version will be submitted to Apple for review.

Issue with refill calculation

When a medication runs out, Refills automatically stops tracking consumption of the medication. However, there was a problem with this functionality in the previous releases of Refills, where sometimes a medication would continue to have its quantity remaining reduced below zero, even though Refills would display zero as the quantity remaining. As a result of this issue, when a medication had a quantity remaining of zero for a period of time, the quantity remaining might be miscalculated after the medication was refilled.

Improved at-a-glance display

A key feature of Refills is displaying the number of days, weeks, or months left on a medication, in a way that can be quickly reviewed. This at-a-glance feature works because Refills intentionally displays an approximation of the duration remaining. Instead of displaying "24 days" remaining, refills displays "3 weeks". This tradeoff for convenience works for two reasons:

  • The duration display becomes progressively more precise as duration decreases from months, to weeks, and finally days. A display of weeks will be more precise than a display of months, and Refills displays the duration remaining precisely as days when fewer than two weeks remain on a medication.
  • Refills also displays the always-precise "Order by" date for each medication, and alerts the user both on the order-by date, as well as five days earlier.

However, the previous versions of Refills always displayed the duration remaining as whole numbers -- a medication would either display as having "3 months" or "2 months" remaining, but nothing in between. To be safe, Refills always rounded down the display, choosing to display a medication with 89 days remaining as "2 months" rather than "3 months". The feedback on this was clear: while rounding down is safe, it can be alarming to see a new three-month medication display as "2 months" remaining after taking the medication for only one day.

To address this issue while retaining the at-a-glance convenience, Refills will no longer round down as aggressively as before, and it will display approximate durations to the nearest half-month or half-week, as shown in the screenshot above.

Blogging Again

By Gavin McKenzie at 05:09 PM | Blogging Again

My relationship with blogging is complicated.

In 2004 I was an Adobe employee, working out of my home office in Ottawa for a team anchored in the San Jose head office. Adobe, at the time, didn't have employees officially blogging about their work, unlike many of its peers in the commercial software business. Macromedia had a strong blogging culture, but it would be another year before Macromedia would become part of Adobe.

While my work at Adobe was focused on document metadata extraction and contributing to the W3C Semantic Web activity, I decided to take on the challenge of building an official Adobe corporate blogging initiative. After nearly a year of collaboration with great people from Adobe's legal, marketing, and IT departments, I published the first blog post on August 15th 2005. Between the launch date and the end of the year, when I left Adobe, I published only one other blog post.

Fast forward to 2008, and I was working with 4Point Solutions, delivering custom Adobe LiveCycle solutions to 4Point customers. Again, in addition to my regular work, I was helping to build another corporate blog. In September 2008, 4Point's Director of Marketing Sarah Samplonius made the first post to the 4Point blog. While a handful of people write regularly for the 4Point blog, you won't find any posts on the 4Point blog from me.

Thus, I have a history of helping other people blog, while publishing nothing of my own. It can only get better.

Angry Pumpkin Blog

One of the key differences between today and years past is that I now have my own company, focused on building mobile app solutions. In the past, all of my work was performed for other companies under non-disclosure.

While I am still performing mobile app development for others under non-disclosure, this blog will be a place for providing updates on upcoming releases of my own Angry Pumpkin branded products, and to share general information and links related to developing mobile applications.


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