HipStyles End Of Life

On August 15, 2014, HipStyles will be retired from the App Store.

I have decided to end the development of HipStyles, for good. In practice it was on hold for a long time due to other commitments, but after long last, version 2.0 was released in April 2014. Now it’s time to finally close the curtain on this act.

Since November 2012, HipStyles has tracked the new gear in Hipstamatic, and provided an easy way to find shots, or HipstaPrints, taken with a specific combination of lens, film, and flash. Some iPhoneographers have found it useful, since it provides a function Hipstamatic itself doesn’t.

Here’s a summary why I think HipStyles failed to make a dent in the universe:

  • Lack of initial validation of the product idea
  • Premium pricing probably alienated many potential customers
  • The execution failed by some accounts: too many or wrong features, with bugs

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Find the API and Use It

It all started with an idea, something to scratch a personal itch. I was learning elementary French, and realized that there is an algorithmic approach to generating the numbers. Not a very elegant algorithm, but one that could easily be turned into a computer program.

The idea turned into a function, and soon enough it turned into an iPhone app, now called Les Nombres and available from the App Store (and also for Windows Phone). My function takes a nonnegative integer and turns it into a French language string, which is displayed on the screen. It could be fed into a speech synthesizer, but in Les Nombres the numbers are recordings of a native French speaker, which I think is nice. (And I couldn’t use recordings of Apple’s “Virginie” voice from OS X anyway due to its license.)

To keep things simple, Les Nombres only deals with the numbers 0 to 100, even though my function could do up to 1,000 out of the box. It involves some 90 lines of Objective-C code, including two recursive calls. It was fun to write, and I learned something in the process, but ultimately I didn’t have to write it at all. Continue reading