Ready for Sale!

Inspire My Awesome App

This app development road wasn’t supposed to be this long, I mean, it started in late 2018. Finally, though, Inspire My Awesome is ready for everyone with an iPhone or iPad, and it’s even updated for iOS 13 with dark mode!

The journey began with my desire to get one of my older apps, Make Me Smile, updated. To do it I would have to learn the Swift programming language and convert the app over from Objective-C.

A Lot of Learnin’ to Do

Right off the bat I realized there was a lot of learnin’ I was going to have to do in order to get my little ol’ app updated.

To get there I hunted for a variety of places to learn Swift. The good news is there are a ton of resources out there if you want to learn on your own. The bad news is there are a ton of resources out there if you want to learn on your own.

I settled on a combination of printed material and some online courses.

My starting point was this big ol’ book called “Beginning iPhone Development with Swift: Exploring the iOS SDK.” I had the book lying around for years and knew some of it was outdated, but the concepts would be the core knowledge I would need so I finally cracked the binding. Apple had their “Everyone Can Code” series which I downloaded, I studied some of the Stanford classes on iTunes U, and even went the Udemy route with a course “iOS 11 & Swift 4 – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp.”

While the various “courses” took me through the learnin’, in the back of my mind was another thought, “Why don’t you make a new app and update Make Me Smile down the road?”

At the time I had no great inspiration for a new app, but the thought of creating something new sounded exciting!

Inspiration From a Lousy Inspiration List

Who knew a lousy system for inspiration would actually be part of the inspiration for a new app?

You see, for years I had kept this document simply called “Inspire Me.” I would add things to it that were supposed to help nudge me along in this life, but the list was just kind of “there.” I rarely looked at it except to add more tidbits of inspiration. It was kind of sad, really, as I would see the list and realize most of the things on it had been forgotten as inspirations.

What could I ever do with this list to remind me of the things in it to stay inspired?

Jar of Awesome?

Along with my crappy inspiration list was something not so crappy. During a couple episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show, I heard Tim talk about this thing called a “Jar of Awesome.” The jar of awesome was well, a jar. He was told by his ex-girlfriend to “write down the things that were awesome that happened that day, however small they might be, fold it up, put it in the jar of awesome.” Why? As Tim says, “When you get into a funk, when you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling uncreative, whatever it might be, go through and read these pieces of paper, these little self made fortune cookies of goodness from this jar.”

I found the concept kind of fun. I also thought it might be more fun being digital instead of a big ol’ jar on the counter, because, well, I do like clean counters even if I do let clutter occasionally creep in.

Better Inspiration Through Morning Pages

While my nighttime had become a time for studying and learning, part of my morning routine has been doing this thing called Morning Pages which I read about while reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The easiest way for me to describe Morning Pages, if you haven’t heard of it before, is that it is basically a brain dump before the day gets going. Part of it is kind of journaling, part of it might be getting things out of your head that are bothering you, and for me, sometimes new ideas or resolutions to problems present themself while I’m just writing down the thoughts in my head.

As it was, during a session, I went back to the idea of creating a new app instead of updating my old one, and a thought came to me, “Why don’t you combine your ‘Inspire Me’ list with a digital ‘Jar of Awesome’ and make an app that will remind you, during the day, of your awesomeness as well as things that inspire you?”

Who Doesn’t Like a Leprechaun?

I thought about it, liked the idea, and “Inspire ‘Me’ Awesome” was born. Something didn’t seem quite right about the name, so I ran things past my nephew. He liked the idea for the app but thought the name sounded kind of like a Leprechaun talking. So, I asked, “What about ‘Inspire My Awesome’?”

He thought that sounded better.

He’s a smart dude.

With much of the online classroom work completed, sketches were made of the flow of the app, initial concepts came and went, and things kept getting tweaked for a better user experience. With the learning taking place in late 2018, the coding finally started in early 2019. I had to add learning about Apple CloudKit so the app would share the things between devices, found a way to handle subscriptions for users who wanted to add unlimited entries (thanks RevenueCat!), and went through the sometimes nerve-racking submittals of the Apple app store.

Ready for Sale, Eventually!

Inspire My Awesome Ready for Sale

My first submission was rejected, as I write about in App Rejection Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure, but then it came, “Ready for sale.” It was just as exciting for me as when I launched that first app, Make Me Smile, some nine and a half years ago.

I had a new app on the App Store!

There were a couple of tweaks needed to tighten up the app experience, a few updates to make sure it would run on iOS 13 and be ready for dark mode, but I’m finally at a place where I can see Inspire My Awesome grow.

There are a lot of updates planned down the road, I will be revisiting my other app, Make Me Smile, and writing a lot of blog posts, but finally I can take a quick breath and be reminded of things that inspire me and of my awesomeness. My inspiration list is no longer just “there,” nor is it sad, in fact, it’s kind of awesome!

Don’t be like I was and put your inspirations and awesomeness in a list you will never revisit! Let Inspire My Awesome help you check in on them from time to time! Head to the Apple App Store. Inspire My Awesome is free for up to fourteen entries, and for the price of a couple of cups a coffee a year, or a few giant sodas, or a beer and a half at a ballpark, unlimited entries and the ability to add inspirational photos can also be yours.

Thanks for reading! Keep being awesome and inspired!

App Rejection Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure

Your iOS app is rejected. Rejection doesn't mean you fail.

My first blog post on “Inspire My Awesome” wasn’t supposed to be this. It was supposed to start, “Yay! My app was approved!” As you can guess my upcoming app was not approved, there was nothing but rejection. Boo.

At first I was upset, “Why was my ‘perfect’ app rejected?” Then I read the explanations. One reason appeared to be technical, the other semantic.

Submitting a new iPhone app to Apple for review is strange mix of excitement and nervousness, at least for me.  It begins with hitting the “Submit” button, and then waiting.

You wait.

Sometimes the wait is short, sometimes the wait is long, but then “In Review” day arrives.

Then guess what?

Yup, you wait some more.

And you wait.

You have no choice.

Tormenting My Wife

If you are obsessive, as I can get, you are constantly checking the web site or the App Connect App. Maybe you missed the notification and, “Yay, my app was approved!” Mostly, though, you just keep seeing the little, yellow dot, “In review,” and torment your wife with “It’s still in review.”

As it was, my app was “In review” for a few days, it was a Friday night, and I figured nothing would really happen until Monday. I went to bed content for a weekend of not worrying about the status.

Then I woke up to use the restroom as sometimes happens in the night, and I glanced at my phone. There it was! The notification from Apple! “Holy crap, I went to bed and my app was approved!”

You Lose!

Nope. Sound the “You lose!” buzzer as loud as you can.

The app status has changed to Rejected. What does "rejection" really mean?

I did my business, and then checked why Apple decided my app wasn’t so “perfect.” It’s like studying your butt off for the final exam, taking said exam, turning in the exam thinking you aced it, and then finding out that you failed.

“Guess I won’t be sleeping any more tonight.”


“What the hell does “your server needs to be able to handle a production-signed app getting its receipts from Apple’s test environment” mean?



Those were some of the things going through my head.

What to do?

Time to Meditate

It was 1AM, I really should get back to sleep, and there really wasn’t anything I could do about it right then. So I decided to meditate.

Sure, it was disappointing, but really, it’s just a slight setback. I Googled the technical reason for the rejection and found many others had the same thing happen to them. The technical reason appeared to be something I missed in development, and can be fixed. The semantic reason just needs a better explanation from me to Apple, so that can be fixed.

While the meditation wasn’t the greatest of sessions, it did calm me down, and shifted my “feeling like a loser” state to “rejection doesn’t mean I’m a failure.”

Timely Reading

As coincidence would have it, my reading of “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living” for today, June 22nd, was “The Definition of Insanity,” where Ryan Holliday explains, “Failure is a part of life we have little choice over. Learning from failure, on the other hand, is optional. We have to choose to learn. We must consciously opt to do things differently—to tweak and change until we actually get the result we’re after. But that’s hard.”

It’s not back to the drawing board, it’s back to tweaking and changing, hitting “Submit,” and then waiting to get the result I’m after…

“Ready for sale.”

Thanks for reading! Keep being awesome and inspired!