My blog, as is often the case with these things, has turned into an almost complete non-entity. It's gotten to the point where I only seem to blog about new releases of my app, Sunstroke. Well, unfortunately, now is not the time I will break that streak because, today, I'm incredibly excited to announce the release of Sunstroke 1.6, which makes Sunstroke into the app I've always wanted it to be.
This new version introduces a lot of new features and bug fixes, but the stand-out feature is full-text, saved searches. As of version 1.6, you can search across every feed and every article currently in Sunstroke's database. That includes all of your Kindling, everything belonging to any of your groups, and, most importantly, all of your Sparks. (For those of you who aren't using Sparks, you really, really need to start. I wrote a long article about how to use Fever to its full potential that you might find useful.) Not only can you use Sunstroke to search for something that interests you now, but, more importantly, you can save an unlimited (with in-app purchase…more on that later) number of searches. These saved searches update automatically every time Sunstroke syncs with Fever. Therefore, you'll never again miss any news related to your favorite football team ("Green Bay Packers"), your most-lusted-after consumer electronics device ("iPhone 5S"), or yourself ("Anthony Drendel"). Since Sunstroke searches across Kindling, groups, and Sparks, you could drastically reduce the number of feeds you subscribe to in Kindling or groups while remaining confident that you are not missing anything about any of the topics that interest you most. Remember, RSS shouldn't be a burden. Put most of your feeds in Sparks and use Hot Links and Sunstroke's new saved searches to read the hottest news about the topics you care most about.
Now, let's talk about this ugly in-app purchase business. Sunstroke, as all of my customers know, costs $5US and, as such, qualifies as an "expensive" iOS app. Therefore, the idea of me charging another $5US to unlock unlimited saved searches seems almost greedy. (Let me be clear, every user gets one saved search for free, and the in-app purchase button can be easily and permanently hidden in Settings.app > Sunstroke > User Interface > Hide In-App Purchase.) My intention is certainly not to be greedy, and I hope, by the end of this post, you won't see me as greedy. Up until July 2013, I had been treating Gone East LLC (my software development company) as a hobby. I had a full-time job that was paying the bills. Consequently, I didn't much care about earning a decent salary from my app sales. At the beginning of July my contract with my previous employer expired, and I decided to make a change and try to make a living off of my software development. Over the years, many of my users have said that they would love to give me more money (partially because of the huge improvements I've made to Sunstroke since I first released it). I added in-app purchase to Sunstroke in version 1.6 in order to give my users an opportunity to support me. I don't want to pressure anyone into giving me more money than they can comfortably give. So, all of my users get one saved search for free. Also, you can hide the in-app purchase button by going to Settings.app > Sunstroke > User Interface > Hide In-App Purchase. That being said, I appreciate the positive feedback and support my users have given me over the years.