New edition of FAQ released, with Markdown support

MarkdownWe are happy to announce the release of “FAQ Markdown Email Composer“.

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This special version of our FAQ app is optimised to support the increasingly-popular Markdown text markup notation, allowing formatted text,  lists, code samples and embedded weblinks in your emails.

FAQ is a unique app that stores all the bits of text you use most often in your emails- opening phrases, answers to the questions you get asked most often, and closing phrases, along with any images and diagrams you may need. This allows you to create the perfect email in reply to a common question in just a few seconds- ideal for customer support, or handling questions from students or group members.

The new version interprets all Markdown formatting in your text, and includes the ability to easily preview your marked-up text.

FAQ will continue to be available in both versions- FAQ and the Markdown edition, so you can choose the one which suits you best.

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ShotList And FAQ Feature In New Book (Special Offer!)

hhhtopIts great to see our ShotList and FAQ apps featuring in Taz Goldstein’s new book “Hand Held Hollywood’s Filmmaking with the iPad & iPhone”. The book covers all stages of the filmmaking process, from script through to shoot (and after), with more than enough information to decide which apps and equipment are for you, and lots of useful tips and advice.

You can download the book from Amazon or direct from the publishers, who have also been kind enough to send us a 35% discount code to share with you. (Visit peachpit.com/hhh and enter “HHH” at the checkout). It is also available as a printed version.

The book also covers our unique FAQ app (which creates custom emails from reusable pieces) saying of it…

“FAQ was designed to be as productive as the people who use it, and for that reason it remains one of my favorite iOS utilities”

FAQ Email Composer 1.1- New Update (And A New Title)

We have just released an update for “FAQ“, our unique app that creates complete custom emails or text documents from your predefined text, in just a few clicks.

The new update adds iPhone 5 and iOS6 support, and the ability to duplicate entire topics, text and images. We have also retitled the app to “FAQ – Email Composer”- to give a clearer impression of what it does.

FAQ is great for customer support (and sees daily use here, answering user questions about our popular “MailShot” and “Shotlist” apps.) It is also fantastic for anything you may need to repeat often in email: such as instructions on how to reach your premises, boilerplate legal disclaimers, location details for grounds your team visits frequently, requests for donations, etc. It can really reduce the amount you need to use your device’s keyboard.

If you find it useful, as always, please spread the word. A review on the App Store is always much appreciated, especially after an update.

ShotList 4.0: New Version, New Features

Version 4.0 of  Shotlist is now released on the App Store.

This major new update adds a number of great features to Shotlist:

  • Print stripboard and details pages, via Airprint.
  • Shot details and notes for each shot in a scene.
  • Email .pdf updates of stripboard and details pages.
  • Import and export projects in a popular spreadsheet format.
  • Rearrange shot ordering with drag and drop.
  • iOS6 and iPhone 5 support

It also fixes a problem in the previous version when updating a project to Dropbox, and has various other optimisations to speed up data entry and navigation.

The Support page and User Guide are both being updated to reflect the new features.

If you encounter any problems please let us know by tapping the “Support” button in Shotlist, or using our support email address (shotlist at solubleapps.com) and I’ll look at it right away for you.

A lot has gone into this update and I hope you find it useful. If you do, a review on the App Store is always very much appreciated. Thanks.

Read on for more details of all the new features. Continue reading “ShotList 4.0: New Version, New Features”

MailShot 2.0- Exchange, Android and More!

MailShot and MailShot Pro 2.0 are now available on the App Store. These are the latest in a long line of free updates to be released for our unique group email app since its launch last year, adding useful features each time.

Among other things, this update allows control over where your MailShot contacts are saved and introduces a new additional email format for compatibility with other platforms.

Select which address book to save to.

MailShot now saves its special group contacts to your default address book.

TIP: The default address book for your device is set on the “Mail, Contacts Calendars” page of the Settings app.

If you need more control over where your contacts are saved, you can select which address book types to use.

You can find more information on our support pages.

Exchange, Android and Google.

You can now store MailShot contacts in address books that are synchronised with an Exchange server. This simplifies a few things that tripped new users up, and allows you to synchronise MailShot group contacts to Android, Google etc.

You can use these group contacts to send email from Android devices, or from Google’s web mail. These extended features are provided as a convenience for our users, and your results may vary. Please do let us know if you encounter any problems or restrictions on use or group size when using this feature, so we can advise others.

TIP See these links for tips on using Mac Mail,  iCloud.com and the GMail iOS app for other workarounds to send email to MailShot groups.

‘Standard’ email address format.

MailShot uses a special address format for compatibility with iOS Mail.

You can now also create an additional, “standard” email address for the group contact.  This is enabled on the MailShot page of the Settings app.

This additional format will allow you to use MailShot groups in more places (but probably not Outlook, despite the name). Please let us know what does or doesn’t work for you.

NOTE: Take care to choose the correct address when you have two of them available. iOS is always listed first.

iCloud-based upgrading.

We now store the upgrade status for the free version of MailShot in iCloud.

If you install it to more than one device, a single in-app purchase upgrades them all (on iOS 5.0 and above.)

NOTE: Each group should still be managed from one device, and the contacts shared to your other devices.

Edit manually-entered contacts.

Just tap the contact in the list to edit its name or email address.

200-contact warning.

As more people create iCloud accounts, ‘me.com‘ addresses are becoming more popular. We have added an additional warning pop-up when a group exceeds 200 contacts, as this is the limit per email from me.com.

TIP: Any warnings that don’t apply to your email provider can be disabled on the MailShot page of the Settings app.

Confirmation before sort

We now ask for confirmation before a sort, as a number of users reported tapping the “sort” button when they didn’t intend to.

Retina Display

Icon and title page graphics have been updated for the new iPad retina display.

Minimum iOS version 

The minimum iOS version has been raised from 3.0 to 4.0. We estimate that fewer than 1% of our existing users are still using iOS 3.0-3.2.

If you encounter any problems please let us know, as we are always very happy to help. Our Support page and User Guide are also always available for you whenever you need them.

If you find MailShot useful, a new or refreshed review on the App Store is always very much appreciated (this is really important to us after an update, as old reviews get pushed to other pages.) The “rate” button on the title page of MailShot is provided to make this easier for you.

MailShot Pro Sends Group Email Around The World

A new version of MailShot hits the app store today, adding support for French, Spanish and Chinese languages.

We are really excited to introduce MailShot Pro to a wider audience of French and Spanish speakers, and into China, one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. The worldwide reach of the App Store gives a small developer like us a global presence in markets that we simply couldn’t enter on our own.

You can now find localised support for MailShot in French, Spanish, Chinese and of course English.

This release also fixes an issue that a few users have experienced when naming their MailShot groups.

As always, if you find MailShot useful, a review on the App Store is always very much appreciated, as each new release tends to hide the fantastic reviews we have received so far.

MailShot 1.60 Brings Larger Groups For Many Users

As thanks for helping us reach over 50000 users, and to celebrate our first year on the App Store, we have just launched another update to our popular “MailShot Pro” and “MailShot” group email apps, bringing increased group sizes and a number of other exciting new features.

NOTE: We recently renamed the in-app upgrade for the free version of MailShot to “MailShot Upgrade”, because a few users were confusing it with the “MailShot Pro” app, and were downloading (and being charged for) both. The upgrade still includes all the same great features as “MailShot Pro”.

New features in version 1.60 include:

More Groups.
The number of groups you can create in the upgraded and Pro versions has now been doubled, to 100.

TIP: Groups can be sorted into any order using the “Edit” button on the groups page.

More Contacts.
We have changed our address format, which will now allow you to address as many contacts as your ISP permits from the group contacts created in the new upgraded and Pro versions of MailShot. In many cases this is now 100 contacts.

We also added a warning when you exceed 100 contacts, which can be turned off in the Settings app.

NOTE: you can send to groups with as many as 500 contacts through Google Mail by connecting to it using the “Exchange” instead of the “Gmail” protocol, Here are the instructions. (For simplicity we suggest you don’t enable contact sync over Exchange if you don’t need it,  just enable it for email). Be careful of the daily limits on Google Mail.

Use MailShot group contacts from a Mac.

Contacts that you create in MailShot on your iOS device can also now be used from Mail on your Mac, too. Note that you will need to tap “update” on each group in the new version before using this feature.

See here on our support page for more on this.

Removing Someone From A Particular Email

You can now exclude a particular contact, or contacts, from a group before you send it.

Just tap “Cancel”,  save your email to drafts, then reload it again. You can now see all the contacts in the group by tapping on the address line, and can select and then delete them individually from the email.

See our support page here for more details.


Better handling of in-app purchases.

We now provide a clearer indication to users when an in-app purchase is successfully processed.

A “Restore purchases” button on the title page also enables you to restore a previous upgrade to a new device without any fear of being charged twice.

Importing MailShot groups back into MailShot.
Attempting to add a MailShot-created contact will show a list of the contacts it contains, for you to select contacts from.

You can use this feature:

  • To combine groups into larger ones
  • To import and manage a MailShot group someone sent you
  • Or to rebuild groups in MailShot after a backup failure or similar disaster.At a pinch you could use this to manage a group from more than one of your devices, though it is not recommended for that purpose (TIP: if you do try this, use a different name for the new group on your second device to avoid deleting or overwriting the original group)

Note that this feature can’t name the first contact in a group, as that isn’t stored, but it will restore their email address.

*TIP: You can easily share a MailShot group contact to someone else using the “Share Contact” button in the Contacts app- they don’t need to have MailShot installed to use it themselves on an iOS device or mac. (though they’ll need to store the MailShot contact in an address book which isn’t synched with Exchange,  iCloud is fine for this)

Add contacts from a button.
There is a new “+” button provided at the bottom of the page that lists contacts in your groups. This allows you to easily add a single contact to a long list without needing to scroll all the way to the bottom of that list

If you have any questions, problems. or suggestions please check out our support page or drop us a line on support@solubleapps.com. We are always more than happy to help. We also run a mailing list which sends updates like this out to you every few months, simply send the word “Subscribe” to mailshotlist@solubleapps.com, and we will add you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

We hope you find the new features useful, and as always we really appreciate it if you can take the time to review MailShot on the App Store, or update an older review, as all of our fantastic reviews  are moved from  the main page whenever we update, and we depend on your reviews to keep developing MailShot. Here are links to the App Store for “MailShot Pro” and “MailShot” to make it easier for you to review us. As always, many thanks for those that do, it means a lot to us.


MailShot Sails Past 50,000 Users!


It’s great to hear that we have just passed another milestone for “MailShot Pro” and “MailShot”,  with over 50,000 users now enjoying our unique group email solution via the App Store.

We are celebrating with a new free update for both versions within the next few weeks, bringing larger groups for many users, better handling of in-app purchases, and more in-app help and error detection. We’ll let you know more about it when its available.

Thank you all for spreading the word about MailShot to others, its great to see how it has steadily grown more rapidly each month, and much of this has been by word of mouth.

If you need any assistance with MailShot, please see our support page or drop us an email,  we’ll do our best to help you.

ShotList 3.0 Hits The App Store

Version 3.0 of “ShotList”, our app for planning out your movie shoots scene by scene, arrives on the App Store today with a number of new features requested by our users- including easier navigation from strip to strip in your project, and a great new way to find all your scenes that match a particular criteria.

Fast Move Between Strips
You can now move directly between strips  from the Details page by swiping up or down with one finger, this moves to the previous or next strip in your current shooting order.

Accessing Notes
You can now edit or view notes by tapping them, just like the other panels on the Details page. On the Notes page you can scroll forward and back with a swipe, or tap to activate hot links for phone numbers or web addresses.

To edit notes, tap the button at top right.

Returning To The Stripboard
When you return to the Stripboard page from the Details page, the strip you were editing will flash briefly in blue to help you locate it.

Show Notes In Oneline Schedule.
You can now output notes with the oneline schedule if you wish. Simply enable the slider for “Include notes”, and any notes that exist for a strip will be added to the schedule output. We also fixed a bug where the total number of pages wasn’t displayed correctly for each day.

Filtering Scenes By Character, Location Or Time Of Day.
This will select all strips that match a chosen set of conditions. You can select combinations of characters, location, time of day or setting (interior, exterior, I/E or greenscreen). All strips that match are selected- ready to move or duplicate, or simply to review.

This allows you, for instance, to easily find “All scenes that involve your lead actor at night”,  “All scenes with your star and co-star together” or bring up “All daytime scenes at the BEACH or BEACHHOUSE locations”.

This is a great help when you have intially broken down the script and want to sort by location etc. to start planning your shoot and group similar scenes together. Once the shoot is underway it also provides a quick way for you to identify scenes that may need to be rescheduled when a problem occurs, such as losing a certain actor due to illness or injury. Continue reading “ShotList 3.0 Hits The App Store”

Welcome to our first 30,000 MailShot users!

We have just heard from Apple the fantastic news that we now have over 30,000 MailShot users. Whether you are using the free version of MailShot (which features an in-app upgrade to Pro) or the separate MailShot Pro app, we’d like to wish a very warm welcome to you all. If you have any suggestions or requests that would improve your experience, we’d love to hear them.

We rely on word of mouth for the success of MailShot so, if you get the chance, a review on the App Store is always really appreciated (just follow the links above)

On the other hand if you need any help with MailShot, please see our support page, or drop us a line. We always try our best to help (so much so, that we recently released an app to help with customer support !)

“FAQ” Makes Supporting Your Customers Easy.

FAQ, a unique new app to handle customer support on the iPhone and iPad was released today from Soluble Apps, developers of the popular “MailShot Pro” group email app.

The best apps are often those written to solve a need shared by their developer, as this means they can fully appreciate the problem they are trying to solve. “FAQ” is one such app, and was designed to answer user support questions quickly and efficiently (or for any other situation where you might want the elements you need to compose emails right at your fingertips.)

Since its original release at the beginning of the year, we have handled a fair bit of user support for our popular “MailShot Pro”  group email app, and I like to think that the way we have done so has contributed to the reputation, and probably the review scores, that we have gained in that time. We try to treat each customer as an individual. Each enquiry reveals differing levels of supporting information, and user expertise, or asks a slightly different combination of questions, so we wouldn’t feel entirely happy just sending out a stock reply. But we also found that we are also repeating ourselves a lot, and doing far too much typing on our iPhone and iPad keyboards.

So we created FAQ, which makes its debut today on the App Store.

FAQ makes customer support much less repetitive. You use it to hold answers to all the most common questions you receive, along with reusable elements like opening and closing phrases, and supplemental information you might need (including images or web links). The items you select can be quickly combined into a response, ready to mail out, or copied to the clipboard, ready to paste back into a reply.

FAQ can also be used in many other situations where you may need to repeat information to customers, colleagues or pupils- such as warnings and disclaimers, instructions for finding your offices, stating office hours etc.

See the app page or support page/user guide for more information. Or find us on the App Store

UPDATE: This New video walks you through using FAQ for your customer support, and shows you it in action!

MailShot and iOS5

Upgrading to iOS5 brings a number of great new features to your device, including iCloud contact sharingDocuments in the Cloud, iCloud backup and Siri Voice Recognition. iOS5 is a free upgrade for all iPads, and all iPhones more recent than the iPhone 3G.

This post is about how these new features interact with the current versions of MailShot and MailShot Pro.

Migrating to iOS5 from iOS4.

Don’t forget to backup your device to iTunes manually as a safety precaution. (iTunes should do this for you too, but a backup is sensible.) Make sure that you select “restore from iTunes” after the upgrade and not “restore from iCloud”, this step restores the data for MailShot and your other apps as your data is not yet in the cloud. Take care not to unplug your device from iTunes until the restore process is complete.

In some cases apps may take a while to sync to your device wirelessly. If this doesn’t happen and you need to manually reinstall MailShot, please take care to get the correct version between “MailShot” or “MailShot Pro“, as the AppStore regards them as different apps and charges for them separately. See this entry for more on upgrading if you want to know more.

If you see a message about “no suitable address book” after upgrading, try enabling iCloud for contacts on your device.

If you have any other problems when changing to iOS5 see our support page, or drop us a line if you still can’t solve it and we’ll do our best to help.

Siri 

Siri is the amazing new voice assistant (for iPhone 4s users only, at the moment) and, even more amazingly, we are happy to announce that you can use it to dictate and send an email to a MailShot group that you created. Simply say “send email to groupname” to Siri, using the MailShot group name just like a contact, and it will be sent to that group.

We are not aware of ANY other group email app on the Store that could work with Siri!

iCloud Contact Sharing

iCloud Contact Sharing will enable you to share MailShot contacts created on one device to others using the same iCloud account, wirelessly. Ensure that Contacts is enabled in the iCloud tab in Settings to use it

As everyone can now use iCloud.com to access their contacts, this makes it easy to create address book groups in the iCloud web apps if you have access via a PC or mac (something you could not do on your device with the default apps). If you create any groups in this way, you can quickly import them into MailShot using the “Import” button.

iCloud Backup

Once you have upgraded, your MailShot data will backup to the cloud automatically. The data itself is fairly small, so should not have much impact on the 5M of free storage that Apple give you.

Backup can be enabled and disabled from the Settings app under “iCloud”/ “Storage & Backup.”

Mail

Mail is gaining usability improvements such as the ability to format text using bold, italic and underlined fonts, and better control of indenting. You can still send mail to your MailShot groups from Mail, just as you did before, and take advantage of those new features.

Mail now allows you to drag contacts from one address line of an email to another (say, from “to:” to “bcc:”) this works with MailShot groups too, though you cannot move the individual contacts within a group around because the group is one person, as far as iOS is concerned.

Documents in the Cloud

Documents in the Cloud allows apps to sync data between multiple devices using the same iCloud account. However all apps need to be rewritten and have an update released to take advantage of it. Developer support is still scarce, but we plan to add support for this feature in an update before too long.

For now you can move data between devices manually if necessary using iTunes file sharing, but we still recommend that you only manage each group on one device, any contacts they create will synch to your other devices anyway.

Reinstalling Apps

The App Store makes it much clearer if you are reinstalling an app, as you can now bring up a list of the apps you have downloaded previously, and the button you would press to download in the App Store will also now say “install” instead of showing the price if you have already paid for an app. Hopefully this will prevent some of the confusion some users experience between MailShot and MailShot Pro, although it won’t help with in-app updates.

We have been using iOS5 for testing here for well over a month without too many nasty surprises, but please let me know of any changes, tips or problems you encounter with iOS5 with any of our products, and we’ll do our best to help you resolve your problem.