Saturday, July 30, 2011

Virgin Australia Usage Meter

Virgin Australia Usage Meter downloads your call and data usage directly from the Virgin website and displays it in either an application format or a home screen widget. It also contains optional notifications that warn you when you're approaching the end of your cycle or data/call limit.

The must have app for those running Android on the Virgin network.

Change Notes for 3.2.2:
  • Fixed login issues

Current version 3.2.2

Alternate Mirror: Download Here

Troubleshooting Notes:
  • The data from Virgin can be up to 48 hours behind. Although in my experience it's never been this far behind.
  • Virgin can take up to to 48 hours to completely setup new accounts, until this time the app may not work.
  • If you are receiving 0 days remaining and you have a new account, you may have to wait up until your first bill for this to be corrected. This is a problem with Virgins expiry date data.
  • You cannot downgrade, to install a lower version you must fully uninstall and re-install.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Android Army, Series Two

After sadly missing out on series 1, I was determined to secure myself a box of Series 2 Android Mini's. So much so that I went to the effort of creating an account with DyzPlastic the night prior to the release so I'd be all ready if they went quickly. I even made sure to juggle my work schedule so I'd be on lunch just before the release.

With that in mind you could probably be forgiven if you thought I'd managed to secure myself a box of this awesome Android goodness... but you'd be dead wrong. That's right, even with the preparation and the shirking of work duties I was still unable to put a purchase through. The DyzPlastic online shop buckled under the pressure and by the time I got an order through there was no more stock. Luckily all was not lost, Mazza came to the rescue with some quick thinking and managed to secure a box from Plastic Heart.

While luck deserted me when purchasing, it was certainly there when opening. I managed to score all but two of the Android designs, both of which will be arriving any day now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1 Star Rating with Unhelpful Comments

This is a bit (a lot) of a rant so you have been forewarned.

My rant is about people who leave 1 star ratings with unhelpful or untrue comments without attempting to contact the developer. I have noticed this on other peoples apps but have only recently started receiving them. I generally try to ignore them as the comments don't provide anything to work from and I have no way to contact the author for clarification. However a couple of days ago I received a comment from a chap named Paul that went past the stage of ignoring. Apparently Paul has commented on my am that it "Has to be the worst support for a application ever". The problem is Paul has never actually contacted me for support. He even went to the effort to purchase my donate version so he can make the same claims there as well!

Well Paul here are some facts for you, I spend more than an hour a day on average answering clients support emails for an application that is free. That's everyday Paul, every single day. It doesn't matter where I am, at work, dinning out, shopping, I will answer a support email as soon as I see the flashing icon on my phone. Sometimes there may be a lag if I've got a back log or am swamped but I get to each email as quickly as possible. To me they are of the highest priority because there is somebody out there being inconvenienced by something I created. Although you wouldn't know it Paul because you never contacted me.

I admit there are times where I cannot fix the problem on some clients phones. In which case I am continually email them back trying different solutions or asking more questions. Sometimes they get frustrated and stop emailing back which, while I wish they'd continued with support a little while longer, I completely understand if they choose to leave a low rating. What I don't like nor understand is for people to make unhelpful or snide comments with 1 star ratings who have never bothered to seek support.

I put the Virgin Usage Meter on the market for free because I want people to have access to the functionality it provides. It allows me to give to the community which makes me feel good about myself and my work. The problem is when people like Paul leave 1 star ratings with bullshit messages they start to remove that good feeling. If there is no good feeling then I have to ask myself why do I bother at all. Luckly there are many many more people who have left kind and encouraging comments or emails which make that question rather rhetorical. Though the fact I have asked myself that question at all is the most maddening part.

The point of all this is, we as developers pour hours into these apps to give you the functionality you need. All we ask in return is you to show us a bit of decency and let us help you if you're having trouble using our apps. It makes for a much happier ending!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Virgin Usage Meter Tops 10,000 Downloads

A little while ago I wrote an update saying that the Virgin Usage Meter had just broken the 1000 active users mark. Well now I'm ecstatic to say that it has just topped 10,000 total downloads, 10098 to be exact. This is a milestone I never imagined I'd reach let alone in the small time it has been on the market.

Now I know what you're saying, that's a very impressive number but it doesn't really indicate anything of substance. I understand, I mean what's the point of a million downloads if only 100 are actively using it? Well, with that in mind I proudly present the active user count...

75% of downloaders are active users which equates to 7574 active users.

Lets put that number in perspective, I hit 1000 active users in September 28th 2010, which is approximately 5 months ago. Since that time the active user base has grown around 650% in 5 months, that's 130% user base growth per month on average. Now that's some perspective.

Before I sign off I'd like to say the usual thank yous.

A big thank you to all the users, espeically those who stuck through the bugs. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Virgin Australia who have been more than understanding when it comes to my barrage of tweets.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Virgin Members Site Back Online

As most of you probably already know the Virgin Member's Site is back up and running. I would advise people to login to the members area and just make sure all your data is correct. There have been a few people who have missing call and data usage. If you find anything incorrect on your account it'd be great if you could give Virgin a call on their support line and report the problem. The quicker they know about these things the quicker they can fix them.

The other good news is that the app is in perfectly fine shape so I can keep on chugging away at the promised upgrades.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Virgin Members Site Down

As per the title, the Virgin members area is now down for maintenance. If all goes well it should be up on the 22nd around lunch time. Although I have some good news, I fired off a tweet to Virgin Support and they have informed me that it's mainly just a hardware upgrade so hopefully the Virgin Usage Meter shouldn't be effected when the servers come back online, which is great news as I can continue to concentrate on improvements rather than fixes.

I have some good news and bad news, the bad news is that the techs over at Virgin are having trouble with the server upgrades and as of yet the servers are still down. I have been told they came online briefly for a short period of time, which luckily was long enough for Strafer333 to confirm over twitter that the Usage Meter still works after the upgrade. Hopefully the servers will come back online soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Little Teaser

There hasn't been as many updates to the Virgin Usage Meter as I would have liked in the last few months. With a new job and a few other projects I've been pressed for time. Well no more, I'm wiping the agenda list so I can put some good hard hours into bring some much needed improvements to the Virgin Usage Meter.

So what is it you can expect in the next couple of months? Well here is a small list of the most important ones.
  • New 2 x 1 customizable widget with 3 different views
  • Auto updating that is no longer be tied to the widget
  • Historical usage statistics
  • Better prepaid support
  • Multiple account support
  • Rollover account support
  • A few other bits a pieces
I can't promise you'll see all the above in the next release but they will appear throughout the next three or four updates.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Virgin System Upgrade

Virgin has notified users via it's members page that it will be doing a systems upgrade from the 19th of February 2011 to the 21st of February 2011. Some of you will recall that Virgin had scheduled the system upgrade for a little under a month ago but was delayed for unknown reasons. Obviously the Virgin Usage Meter won't work during this time. What is worse is that I don't know exactly what a "systems upgrade" for Virgin intails. If it is a website upgrade it's almost certain that my app will no longer work and I will need to release a fix. Depending on how much the webpage changes it could take a day to release a fix to a couple of weeks if they use delayed ajax calls.

I will be releasing an update for the app which will warn people of this and to avoid a market rating plummet I will be removing it from the market over the upgrade period. I hate to do this as it feels like I've left people in the lurch but the alternative is a 1 star rating that will be next to impossible to get back.

I appreciate your patience over this period and I want you all to know that I will be working hard to get a fix up as soon as I possibly can. I will amend and comment on this post when I have any further information on the upgrade itself or the progress on an app fix.