Our latest app: Name Dice

Name DiceWe are happy to announce our latest release: Name Dice!

This free iOS app makes character naming easy by providing nearly a million unique names at your fingertips!

How does Name Dice work?

Name Dice randomly generates a first and last name pair from lists of hundreds of names.

Basically, Name Dice makes names. It does NOT make you more creative, write your story for you, make sandwiches, refill your glass, clean your room, or knit you a sweater.

If you are stuck on getting a story idea, or ideas for a main character, Name Dice can help you. Maybe you’re a spy and you need a new identity. Maybe you and your friend want to pretend to be someone else when you go out to lunch. Maybe you are having a sleepover and you and your friends are going to pretend to be celebrities and you need help coming up with a good name. Maybe you are a writing a novel about your mom and you want to publish it under another name so she doesn’t find out about it.

Whatever the reason, Name Dice can give you some ideas for just the right name!

Give it a try! It’s free!

True Confession of a Distracted Writer

“One reason I love this app is that it just feeds my imagination! I roll the dice, see the name, and my mind is immediately buzzing with activity creating a life story for the name. If I don’t like the name for whatever reason, I just roll again! Voila!”

How do I save my favorite name?

The easiest way is to take a screenshot by holding down the home button and the power button simultaneously. It’s a good idea to practice this before you need to use it. After you take the screenshot, you can find the photo in your iOS device’s Camera Roll. You can share the photo on Facebook or your blog.

We hope you enjoy this fun little free app! We’d love to connect with you on facebook and twitter and hear stories about your alter egos!





Lists for Writers 1.1 is Now Available

Our first update of Lists for Writers is now available in both the iTunes App Store and the Amazon Appstore for Android. The update adds some additional lists that users have suggested:

  • Emotions
  • Land forms – geographic features
  • People – relationships
  • Dialog verbs
  • World cities

The update also now supports iOS version 4.0 or higher. Previously only iOS version 4.3 or higher was supported but we heard from several iPhone owners that are still on 4.2 or 4.1.

Thank you for your feedback and we’re happy to hear any more suggestions from users!

Available on the iTunes App StoreAvailable at Amazon Appstore for AndroidAndroid App on Google Play

Lists for Writers is now available on Amazon

Lists for Writers icon

Today is an exciting day for Thinkamingo! Our first app is in the Amazon Appstore today!

We have completed the App Store Trifecta:  iTunes, Google, and Amazon.

Our experience getting apps approved with all three companies has been very positive and we are excited about our upcoming submissions!

Developing Lists for Writers

Our first published app, Lists for Writers, isn’t the most exciting, development-wise. It isn’t the first app we started but it’s the first one we “finished.” It seemed simple enough to develop quickly [hah!] and we needed to learn the app launch process.

The app really started with a collection of lists I had accumulated (instead of actually writing) during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). We liked the idea of having those all rolled into an app where it would be easy to quickly find a name for a character or look at Polti’s thirty-six dramatic situations. The result is this app.

The UI is not too much more than the iOS Master-Detail template. I added a “further detail” view for a few lists where the single tableview cell isn’t enough space, especially on the iPhone in portrait orientation. There were a few struggles like changing the background color of the section headers. That requires completely rendering the view for the section header rather than just setting a property on the table view. I also struggled with showing the master list table in portrait mode on the iPad. You can simply send a setHidesMasterViewInPortrait:NO message to the splitViewController to show the master view but that’s still a private API and Apple rejects plenty of apps for using it. So ultimately I pulled that and the master list is still a pop-over like the default template. There are several free alternative split view controllers and I’ll probably switch to one of those in a future version.

I also had an issue with Google Analytics. I initially had it in the app so we can see which lists were getting the most use, which devices were being used, and just to see how many people were using the app in general. But I read enough posts from people getting rejected from the store for using analytics that it wasn’t worth the risk. I’ll probably stick them into a future app update when a rejection won’t affect us as much.

The most development time was actually spent on our “About Thinkamingo” view. I went through about five iterations of it, starting with a table view then a few labels. Ultimately all the content is in a web view. That makes it easy for the text to flow smoothly, even when rotated. There is some complexity to the links because I used canOpenURL to check if they have the Facebook apps installed and will use the app to open our Facebook profile instead of using Safari. I had a similar Twitter link but removed it for space. (There is frustratingly little screen space in landscape mode on the iPhone.) The web view needed a little work. I had to track down a trick to prevent the view from “rubber band” bounce scrolling when touched, which is awfully ugly on an embedded web view. The last thing to go into the app was our icon. We were stuck waiting on a graphic designer but had to go ahead and drop in a flamingo sketch I did as a placeholder. Our next update will switch over to our new logo.

Other than that, we spent a bit of time on the lists – editing them, parsing them, removing a few philias and other terms that weren’t kid-appropriate. We have a few additional lists and ideas for more that we hope to add in the future.

Our first app is almost ready!

Lists for Writers icon

On this remarkable Leap Day, 2012, our first app, Lists for Writers, has been submitted to the iTunes store for review. We are very excited and can’t wait to share this writer’s tool with you!

Writing projects are near and dear to our heart when they are finished, but sometimes getting started really puts in a wrinkle in our disposition. Staring at an empty page with no ideas is nothing short of torture. Reduce your time spent on the blank page by browsing the lists in Lists for Writers and jotting down a few random items. (See what I came up with!)

This has been an exciting journey from the very moment we decided to start our own business! We hope you enjoy our first app and many more to come!