In The Works- Exciting New Features For MailShot

I know a lot of you are enjoying using MailShot for group email within your favourite apps right now, but we still keep striving to make it an even better experience for you.

We thought you might be interested to hear about some of the fantastic additional features we have been working on for the next free update to MailShot (1.40), which is due to hit the App Store in a week or so’s time.

  • Fast selection of contacts with multiple email addresses (using checkmarks)
  • Import existing address book Groups into MailShot* (!)
  • Highlight redundant email addresses that no longer exist in your address book
  • Manage over 50 contacts in a MailShot group (with the upgraded version)

MailShot will remain free to try on the App Store until the update. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

App Store Reviews, Part 3 (in 3D!*)

Now that version 1.30 of MailShot has been out for a few weeks I thought it was time for another roundup of user reviews around the world’s App Stores.

In general they are fantastic, thanks to you all for your kind words. As usual we also include the few isolated negative ones we have had, with our responses- in most cases we could probably have solved their problems if they had contacted us on our support page.

If you are already a satisfied user please take the time to add your opinion and rating on the App Store. We need and value your support, especially each time a new version is released as this hides the previous good reviews on another page.

USA Store

FatherWarrior *****
Group emailing FINALLY!
It works perfectly on my iphone4. Upgrade to pro version is totally worth the $3.99, if you have large email groups like I do. iOS should have had this feature from the beginning. Apple will probably buy this app’s code and call it their own like they usually do.

PJ- I wish!

Well, they know where to find me…

Nashville JZ *****
Great
As promised. Simple. Easy to manage. Works like a charm.

Ddlj81 *****
Very useful
Does what it says. Just that the free version can only store 5 max on a group.

Bronzit *****
Excellent ‘Gap’ Filler!
Works very well. Easy to use, in The Mac Way. I expect Apple to make it obsolete, soon, though.

CatkissinAustin *****
Just what I needed
I’m not a tekkie and I don’t speak Mac altho I have a Mac and iPhone. This worked easily and quickly for me.

Dakota Roemer****
Well Done!
This sucker keeps me sane. A very well executed and much needed app. Woot!

Yptcn *****
GREAT !!!
The app that was missing . It does everything it says.Thank you :-)))))))))

pinki101 *****
Now Even Better

This is just about the most important app I’ve purchased. Lots of apps let you email to groups from their apps, but this is what you need to forward easily forward email to your groups from the mail app. It’s simple, it’s smart, and it works. I rated it five stars before the last round of improvements, and now with sort ability and both emails and names showing for edit, it’s that much better. Thank you!

EuRisk0 *****
Perfect iPhone add on
Great job

Schreibs1 *****
A must-have for productivity
This app works seamlessly when following the web support page. I now have email group function on my iPad. Previously, I was relying on my PC for emails to over 10 groups. I maintain my zero stars rating to Apple for not building in this function.

PJ- It was great to see a reviewer who only awarded us a single star in an earlier review because “the functionality should have been provided by Apple” come back and change it. Much appreciated, thanks.

Mkirse *****
Thank YOU!!

I’m thrilled to find this app!! This issue has been driving me crazy – can’t believe that apple didn’t include the ability to forward emails to a group themselves. Now my iPad is finally a functional tool for my business on the go. Thank you!!!

IncredulousAlien ** v1.20
Good effort, but . . .

This app has some potential, so I gave it a two rating. And yes, it does have the currently unique ability to use group lists for forwarding email. Unfortunately, there appears to be no method for “on the fly” deletion of addresses from a group (e.g., in the process of adding a group to the bcc: field when forwarding in Mail). This means that, in cases where the incoming “from” address happens to be included in the group selected for forwarding, the email will be sent back to the incoming “from” address. Not useful, and certainly not polite in an age of humongerous attachments and bulging inboxes. This may not be a flaw for some uses, but it is a fatal one for the way I use email. Bottom line: I wish I had my money back.

PJ- Slightly over-the-top criticism, perhaps, and the functionality IS actually provided for this if you are concerned enough about it to want to deselect people from an email. (Use the checkmarks provided in MailShot to temporarily deselect a person from the group, press UPDATE, send your email to the group, reselect the person and press UPDATE again.)

Bob Kroghs ***** v1.20
Great app.

Once I took the time to read instructions carefully it worked perfectly. Took a half hour to learn.

Craig Symons ** v1.20
Not bad but crashes constantly
After entering addresses and it crashing, I finally ended up entering one address and updating each time for a total of 25 updates. Then going back to find out how to send an email I noticed that nearly ALL of my entries were gone. Very frustrating!!

PJ- Always sorry to hear it when a user has an experience like this. From the description it sounds like an issue we have seen occasionally when adding badly-formatted contacts in the address book (often created in MS Outlook). Some code we added in 1.30 seems to have helped with this, but if this user had contacted support or read the support page I am sure we would have been able to help him.

bakerbear ***** v1.20
Free version gave me great idea of how it worked.
I will feel much better about emailing groups now… No one forgotten, no one included without need. App works smooth and has great help page (I had one contact w some nonstandard entries that were easily fixed). Didn’t take more than 1 minute to be fully working!!

Woogetybop ****
MailShot
Simple free app that is really $3.99 if it going to be functional. After paying the $3.99 it let’s you create 50 groups of 50 contacts that can be used with most other app’s. That’s the key here. Most other mail contact apps make you use their emailer, which I find unacceptable. 4 stars for being a simple program, needs more options like CC BCC in contact groups.

PJ- Actually you CAN place MailShot groups in the BCC and CC lines, just as easily as the TO line.

Also, apparent “simplicity” is actually an aim for mobile apps and one of the hardest things to achieve. We often work hard behind the scenes to hide the complexities from the user. I guess I’ll take it as a compliment, not a criticism :).

Penta Huang *****
Good 
I just download, very good embedded to iPad mail app

UK Store

Andrez_99 **
Poor
Incredibly frustrating that you can only add one contact at a time from the address list to a group. This app needs a tick box next to those address names with emails. You then want to add all of those ticked.

PJ- Actually this feature is already coded and will be added in the next update- (1.40)

DWoodthorpe ****
Great help

This app is just what I have been looking for. I can now email all my golfing group in one go. I would give it 5 stars if I could have had more than 5 members per group. 10 would have been more realistic for the free version.

This facility should have been part of the mail program from the start. Well done.

PJ- I do make my living from writing software, and it takes some considerable time for us to support users and add features to MailShot even now, months after the release. I needed to set the user limit to one which will let people try it out for free and see its advantages, but will also give them a reason to pay a small upgrade fee if they like it and want more. Around 20% of our users upgrade, so I think that means we have the balance about right, as it is a lot higher than figures I have heard for other apps.

Unfortunately I think people can interpret the “free” download icon as meaning completely free, rather than “free to try”. It would be nice if Apple could change that. 

Tim, Scotland *****
Brilliant App
This is a brilliant app and just what the iPad was waiting for. It enables you to create Groups in your Contacts list and access these from within the iPad’s email app. The Groups appear in your Contacts list as a single entry (say ‘Family’), but contain multiple email addresses. So, when you’re in the iPad’s email app, just select ‘Family’ from your Contacts list (remember, it looks just like a single email address in the contacts list) and your email will be sent to multiple recipients. Best of all, when you look at your sent mail, you’ll see all the recipients listed separately. You can edit existing MailShot groups from the app – say adding or deleting members individually.
The basic app is free to let you evaluate it for a few small groups, but an in-app upgrade (very reasonable) releases the full potential (up to 50 groups with up to 50 members per group). An absolute must-have.

David Hillyer *****
Wonderful x 2!

It’s great to see a new version created so quickly in response to user feedback. I stand by my earlier posting on v.1.13 even more:
I love my IPhone, and find I’m doing more and more emailing from it. To not
have a group email-send was a problem. So finding MailShot was great . But
in the v1.13, I had problems upgrading for 5+ names. I contacted Peter,
who then appeared to work night and day to fix the problem – I felt as
though I was at the cutting edge of app development! We got it sorted, and I
am very pleased.
I’ve seen a few negative comments from users – all I can say is that I guess
in the early stages apps may need a bit of tweaking; so my advice would be
to make contact with the designer, rather than moan about things online. And
as for criticising the cost: an app costs peanuts, and they can be very
powerful tools. MailShot certainly is one of my best buys!

Canadian Store

Sd37lafont *****
Mailshots

Amazing the way they organize the address book of contact from all sources.

garyludwig ***** v1.20
Exactly what it should be

I’ve been looking for an app that would let me make email groups on my iPhone I could use in all my other apps. This one is exactly right — just what I wish Apple had built in. Simple, intuitive, and versatile. The graphics make it look cartoonish but don’t be fooled.

PJ- Cartoonish? I was aiming for non-threatening :).

I am also a fan of Rene Magritte, and subconsciously had some of his recurring themes in mind. He had more than 72*72 pixels to work with, though.

Rest Of World

Florian Prelle ***** Germany
Super 

Fantastic app to create mailing lists

David BOULANGER **** France
Great

Great ! but expensive ….

JRK1 **** Australia
MailShot

Brilliant app and great support service, much appreciated.

* And if you are wondering why “in 3D?” its simply because this is a sequel to a previous post, and in eighties cinema the third part of a franchise was often in 3D, unlike now when it seems to be on nearly every new release, whether it needs it or not.

Mailshot 1.30 Update Released On The App Store

A new update for Mailshot hit the App Store this morning. Version 1.30 brings a number of improvements to the contacts screen, based on user experiences and your feedback:

  • We now show email addresses alongside the names for each contact, this will help distinguish them if a contact has multiple email addresses in a group.
  • Previously MailShot was unable to add a contact without an actual name being defined for them in the addressbook. We now use the contact’s email address as their name if there isn’t one set up.
  • We added a “sort” button to quickly alpha-sort contacts in a group (note that any contacts with an email address for a name will come last, as lower case letters are higher in the alphanumeric series than capitals).
  • Improvements to memory management and stability.

I have added some code which may prevent the occasional crashes experienced when adding “malformed” contacts to a group (we cover this issue in detail on the support page.) If it still occurs to you on the new version, please email to let us know. We would like to hope its gone, but confirmation either way will be useful. I’ll edit this post if we no longer need it.

And the next time?

We would love to hear your suggestions for the next update, I think among other things I will be looking at how we handle contacts with multiple email addresses next time, but I will be listening for your suggestions.

Is anyone using the “use semicolon as separator” feature we added with 1.20, or should we remove it?- it has been the source of a number of support calls from people with it enabled in Settings (they found only one person in their MailShot group was receiving their emails) Please let us know if you need it to stay, or its days are numbered.

A final request

As always, one of the problems with updating frequently is that we lose the good reviews people have been kind enough to leave, so if you get the chance we would really appreciate it if you would stop by the App Store and refresh your old review, or add a new one if you haven’t done so before. Thanks.

“Ultimate Charades” Released On The App Store Today

Our Suggestion Box app is getting great responses from those who have tried it, and it is finding all sorts of unforeseen uses (such as language teaching in Russia) due to its comprehensive customisation abilities. But it was always destined to be a fairly “niche” product, as it is aimed mainly at improvisers and drama students.

Ultimate Charades takes the customisation abilities of Suggestion Box, and applies them to one of the world’s all-time most popular party games – Charades. That customisation means you can remove any suggestions that aren’t relevant to you and your friends, and can add in the things you DO care about, such as the hit show or favourite celebrities of the moment, or even your friends and family themselves, making it a much more personal experience.

We have also put instructions for all sorts of game variations on the Ultimate Charades page, and answers to the most likely user questions on the support page.

Check it out on the App Store now.

Welcome To Our First 5000 MailShot Users.

Apple tells us that we now have over 5000 users of Mailshot out there from our first few weeks on the App Store. We do hope you are all finding the unique way you can now send mail to multiple people easily from within your applications useful. You should find that it is something you are able to benefit from whenever you need it, month after month.

We love to hear from you. Whether its to ask for help, to suggest features we could add, to pass on a tip for other users, or just to tell us how MailShot is working out for you- Please do get in touch.

Much of our success so far has come from people spreading the word through social networks and forums and contributing reviews to the App Store. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those that have done this already, its much appreciated,  and please let it continue so that we are soon welcoming the next 5000 to the fold.

Peter

Some Unusual Ways To Use MailShot

The unique way MailShot creates groups in your iPhone address book that act like single contacts brings a number of benefits. Don’t feel you can only use MailShot for large groups, there are a number of other uses out there you may not have considered…

  • Like me, you may have more than one way of communicating with the world in addition to email. I have this blog to feed, and both personal and commercial accounts for Twitter and Facebook. Most of these services offer an email address to allow you to post by email, so why not collect them in a MailShot group or two? Then you can post to all your work-related accounts, all your personal accounts, or both at once just by choosing the appropriate contact.
  • Some friends or colleagues can be difficult to get hold of, using different email addresses at work and at home.You can create groups for them that email all of their addresses at once to ensure that when its important, they get the message.
  • If someone doesn’t usually carry an email-capable phone you can still include them in a MailGroup.Most US carriers provide an equivalent email address that gets converted into an SMS text message for their users, and you can add those addresses into your groups too (first add them as an email address for your contact, then they are available to add in MailShot). You can find a list of email addresses for a number of carriers on Wikipedia here .
  • This one was inspired by a question on the Apple user support forums where a mother wanted to ensure that her daughter copied her in on all emails to her teacher. Use MailShot to create a contact containing both mother and teacher’s addresses, and delete the original teacher’s contact from the address book. Now whenever the teacher is selected as the addressee for an email, mum gets one too. (though obviously this won’t help if the daughter is replying to an email from the teacher)

These are just a few suggestions for you, we’d love to hear of any interesting or unique ideas for how you use MailShot- please drop us a line on suggestions@solubleapps.com

MailShot 1.13 Live on the App Store

A new update has just been released for MailShot on the App Store which should bring greater mail server compatibility for many people. To find out more about MailShot please visit its page here.

Meanwhile here is our handy guide for people updating from the first version:

It is a good idea to first delete your existing MailShot groups from your address book using the Contacts app. (Delete from Contacts and not MailShot, then you won’t need to rebuild them all in MailShot.)

You may find the quickest way to find them all is to search for “MailShot” in the contact search bar.

We delete the old contacts because we need to rewrite each contact group from MailShot to benefit from the update. to do this simply select each group in turn in MailShot and press UPDATE to rewrite it in your address book.

You will notice some changes in appearance of the MailShot groups – the first person in the group will now show the group name (or a version of their email address if you send from Contacts) in the email header. This change was necessary to increase compatibility for different mail servers as your message travels around the internet.

Generally we would now suggest that you should use Mail, or the many other apps that use its code, in preference to Contacts. MailShot has now been optimised for Mail because there are so many unique tricks you can do with it that you can’t do from Contacts, such as forwarding a mail direct to a group or using BCC to protect privacy.

You may find Contacts still works for you, in which case fine. If this changeover causes you a problem compared to before, please drop us a line and we’ll consider adding a switch for “contacts-only” behavior in a future version.

Another change is that the title screen now has buttons to reach this website for user support, and to make it easy tell people about the app by email or rating us on the App Store. If you enjoy MailShot please spread the word, but if you have a problem, please tell us and we’ll do our best to help. We have put lots of helpful information on our Support Page for you.

One last word is just to thank our “Test Pilots”, who helped test the app before release. Cheers guys (and girls.)

Suggestion Box update now on the App Store.

I know it’s been all “MailShot, MailShot, MailShot” around here for the past few weeks, but an updated version of our previous product, “Suggestion Box” has just gone live on the App Store.

It is an idea generator, intended for use as a rehearsal aid for improvisers and drama students. Uniquely it allows you to combine suggestions onscreen, and to customise the suggestion lists for your needs.

The update adds 20% more suggestion-y goodness, particularly in the “Objects” and “Emotions” categories.

MailShot version 1.1 is in test.

The next version of MailShot is coming very soon.

It features greatly increased compatibility with a range of mail servers, which will help a number of people who contacted us for support on this in the past week (thanks to all of you for your involvement.)

We cover the issue in more detail on our support pages, but if you should experience issues sending to your MailShot groups (such as server error messages, or certain people unable to “reply all”) on your system, please try using the Contacts app to send your group mail if you can, just as a temporary measure until the free update is available.

MailShot approved for the App Store

MailShot gets early release ahead of press launch

Apple approved “MailShot” last night, and we will be launching to the press next week- Hurrah!

It brings email distribution lists to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, so that you can easily email a group of friends or work colleagues without having to select them all individually from your contacts each time.

Even better, and unique, is that you can do this from pretty much any app on your device that has mail support, including You Tube, Google Maps etc.

It should be massive!

The first release is going to be free for the first few weeks, and will allow you to create a few groups of up to five contacts. An easy in-app upgrade boosts this to 50 groups of up to 50 contacts, which should be more than enough for most people. You can find it on the App Store from the link on the MailShot page.

MailShot is in submission

MailShot, our new app which I know that everyone who uses an iPhone for email will find indispensable, was submitted to the App Store today.

I’ll tell you more about it when it has been approved.

UPDATE: 20th Jan
I resubmitted it today, as a “universal” (i.e. iPad-friendly) app with enhanced support for different sync options under iOS4.