Tag Archives: technology

Approved! Want a free app??

Apple was kind enough to approve our app last week after we made some minor tweaks to it. And Frypan is pleased to offer it up to you for free today.

The Minneapolis Skyway app, for the iPhone.

The approval process was pretty simple, and the dudes at Apple worked pretty quickly. Both times it took less than a week.

What I didn’t realize is that when it is approved, it goes straight to the App store, for free. Which is cool. But we wanted to dial in the last bit of Marketing, and release it a week later (today). Some of you have gone through the “Developer Removed From Sale.” Luckily it was pretty simple to put it back on the App Store. Here’s how we did it.

1) In itunes Connect, click Manage Your Applications

2) Click the App you want to put back in the App Store

3) Click Edit Information

4) Click Pricing Tab

5) Check all the stores where you’d like your app to be available. Mauritius was an important market for us, for obvious reasons.

And that’s it. In less than two hours it was available in the App Store, and at about 4 hours it was searchable in the App Store and online.

I’ve got to Thank our most awesome developer, Jane Mitchell of Rainbow Rabbit. She’s poured a whole lot into this thing, to make it very cool and to work beautifully! She’s a fantastic developer and designer, and an awesome human!

From day one, we wanted to make something that would be valuable to both the fine folks who call Minneapolis home, while promoting the wonderful merchants who make a living in the Skyway. I feel we really accomplished that, and hope you guys think its as cool as we do!

Oh, and it looks very fresh on the iPad.

Cool story done by my new friend Anthony Carranza of Examiner.com. Check it out here !!




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Image Is Everything

Isn’t that what Andre Agassi used to say, somewhere between Brooke Shields and a crystal meth habit?

Well, we needed to find an image. An image for which to build the Minneapolis Skyway App. Initial research left much to be desired, but gave us a building block. At the very least we needed a primitive guide to the eight mile maze in order to begin logging the hundreds of businesses…..and one public bathroom. Seriously, if you don’t want to have swing into Arby’s to buy a French Dip and Swiss Combo for $5.01 in order to get a bathroom token, you might want to check out the Minneapolis Skyway App. If not, you can pick up the App later and map your workout in order to burn off the 1100 calories you just slammed to get into the john. Back to the image, here is where we started. Our initial image we were running with was this one from the University of St Thomas.

Not exactly our everything, but free and good enough to get us logging some mileage and familiarizing ourselves with the belly of the beast.
We discovered the skyway has some maps of its own that were updated in July 2009. It really only complicates matters, especially when blocks are divided into buildings that aren’t clearly designated or marked. Where are you in that circle? Do they think you are the State Puff Marshmallow Man? Are you at the Orchestra Hall? Convention Center? or maybe you are somewhere at then end of the dotted line where it reads, “you are here.”

As we continued to log data through the skyway we stumbled upon Minneapolis Geographical Information Systems, or GIS. Destiny? I think so. They provided us with an image that is everything we needed to make a custom map fit and feel right for our mobile application. Check out our little preview of it below, and check the full version on the soon-to-be Minneapolis Skyway App.

Cost of Cartography: $135.79

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The Internet has Websites

When Al Gore invented the Internet in 1969, it was a jumbled mess of binary code, X.25 networks, bionics, and Google. At least that’s my understanding. In reality, the first internet “connection” was made through ARPANET on October 29th, 1969 between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute. There was one dude present to witness the event…and he looked like this:


1969 was full of historical moments; The Beatles perform their last live show, Phil Esposito becomes the first NHL Player to score 100 points in a season, Nixon becomes president, and Donald and Doris Fisher founded the GAP in San Francisco. I’m sure the importance of the ARPANET success fell somewhere between The Mayo Clinic’s first hip replacement and Seiko’s production of the first quartz watch.


The web didn’t really stumble along until about the 80s, with a website that many will remember as Cern.

Today, according to Royal Pingdom, there are almost 200 Million websites, with 31 Million new websites added alone in 2008. Well, the web just got one more (probably 35,321 more since I typed that last sentence).

Frypan Digital launched with probably the same fanfare as 1969’s Men’s Figure Skating Championship performance by Tim Wood. Obviously if you plan on building a product to sell, you must have a face for your business on the internet. I already own iWeb on the Mac, so all that was really needed was some time and $7.69 to secure a web domain from GoDaddy. I didn’t know how to use MobileMe to host multiple iWeb sites, but the fellas at New Mac User had excellent detailed steps on how to get it done.

Clearly a large company branding and marketing push is not in our budget, so I had to dig deep in the nether regions of my brain to pull out the design for the web site. The goal – a brief explanation of the business and contact information. Done.

And as you can clearly see, in comparison to Cern’s first website –


Frypan’s is way cooler –

Total Annual Expenses:


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Some Direction

I spent a lot of time researching before we made a real push to build a mobile app. One of the many sites that gave me great motivation, and was certainly inspirational, was from the fellas at GLSoft who put out Gifter. Gifter is a shopping app that allows you to send a gift (birthday, anniversary, etc) to almost anyone right from the phone. Pretty cool. But what was more interesting to me was how these guys built an iPhone app for $4873.92.

The transparency was insightful, and gave us a few things to think about. There were some cool links that led to details I hadn’t previously thought about; design, icons, hosting, etc. Now, they also happen to be excellent developers, so the only development cost was their time.

They did spend 62% of their “budget” on the Apple World Wide Developer Conference, which I’d like to think they probably could have done without. But maybe they can chime in here to expound on that decision. They probably could have titled the blog, “How We built an iPhone App for $1873.92” .

Either way, they went from this


to this


And that’s really the goal. There is clearly more than one way to do this. I hope to show you our way.

Now, first things first….a website?


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The First Step – Dream Big

Years ago, a friend and I sat down for a beer to discuss an idea for a product that would clean your feet in the shower. A brilliant idea , for obvious reasons. I can’t really tell you too much more about the product, because I’m sure it’ll be on Target shelves in a few short ten years. But what I can say is, we got together that day to dream.  We met many times for years after that, drawing up ideas on napkins like the rest of the dreamers. Our ideas were great, but too costly to produce. We decided to practice patience instead, and keep spitballing ideas. It’s good for your brain, and good for your psyche. Healthy.

For the past twelve months, we’ve drawn up a few dozen different ideas for the iPhone… all of which are completely awesome. And most of which were already in the App Store. We pressed on. I learned quite a bit from the world wide webs and the fantastic bloggers out in the blogosphere about the development process. Mostly development in fact. Most of the excellent bloggers (whom I will reference often) are developers. They know their shit. I don’t know what they know. Speedbump? Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just go find someone who does know what they know. We’ll see. We kept drawing on napkins till we had it. Our idea (which I will share once we submit to Apple).

That brings us to today. I’m staring at a desk full of loose pieces of paper with stupid drawings and numbers and roman numerals and letters; some completely ridiculous in nature, others… moderately ridiculous in nature. But the piece of paper on top is where we start this blog. Our idea. On a piece of paper. From dream to paper to reality. Hopefully, we can bring the dream to reality. And I’ll share what I learn every step of the way.

Max Fischer once said, “I guess you’ve got to find something you love to do and then…do it for the rest of your life.”

For Max, it was going to Rushmore. For me, its drawing on napkins.


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