Archive for May, 2013

Account Tracker for Mac update #5

May 31, 2013 Comments off

I know you are expecting another sob story about me being too busy to make progress … etc. While that is always partly true (given my day job), PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE! In fact I have just released my first beta to a small number of users who offered to give me feedback. 🙂

Version 1.0b1 is a fully functioning Mac app that reads your latest backup file from either Dropbox or iCloud, and shows you all of your accounts, budgets, reports and transaction views (all transactions, reminders and recurring series). You can’t edit any of this just now, but I have broken the back of the app, and can now focus on ticking off the remaining functionality.

Next up: custom date editing, individual transaction views and exchange rate updates …

UPDATE: beta 2 has been sent to ~20-25 users. I don’t really need any more people now, as it takes quite a bit of my time per user (handholding, responding to comments and questions … etc). Perhaps as I get closer to releasing this (in a few months) I might open it up further. Thanks!

Meter Readings for Windows Phone video

May 27, 2013 Comments off

mrwpicon57 And they did one for Meter Readings too! See

Account Tracker for Windows Phone video

May 27, 2013 Comments off

Andras from Response Ltd (the developers who ported Account Tracker to Windows Phone) have posted an excellent overview video of the app. See

Many thanks Andras!

Getting started with my Meter Readings app

May 9, 2013 Comments off

Setting up your meters and rates can be a complicated business, not helped by your energy supplier! Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you get started …

1. From your last bill, simply enter your starting reading/date, and your ending reading/date.

2. Select the Readings row at the top of the main screen. You should see these two readings, with usage and cost figures between them.

3. Check the usage is calculated correctly (it should be your ending reading minus your starting reading). If it does not match your bill EXACTLY, you either need to set the conversion factor in the meter settings (common for gas meters), or you have changed the meter direction. Most meters count up, meaning your usage is calculated by subtracting one reading from another. However the app also supports counting down and/or assuming your readings themselves are your usage.

4. Once you have correctly got the app calculating your usage, take a look at the costs between these readings. Assuming you have entered your rates, the resulting amount in the app should be VERY close to your bill, within pennies. If not, chances are you haven’t entered your rates correctly. NOTE that it might be difficult getting an exact match. This is because the app is far more accurate than your supplier, not the other way round!

5. If you want to see how the app is calculating costs, go back to the main screen and select the Current row. This shows a breakdown for your most recent pair of readings.

6. Once things are working correctly for one pair of readings, you can start entering them as often as you like, the more frequent the better.

Note that the graphs screen shows usage and costs based on the CALENDAR, and not between any specific pair of readings. For instance a whole month could be calculated from many pairs of readings. By default your most recent usage and costs are extrapolated to the end of the graph. If you don’t want the app to do this, simply turn the extrapolate setting OFF.

If you are stuck, and the built in user guide or doesn’t help, please get in touch.

Account Tracker 3.9.3 now available

May 8, 2013 Comments off

A couple of fixes and a few improvements. Hope you like them!

FIXED a bug to do with multi-currency transfers when deleting one of the accounts.

FIXED a crash on the iPad when selecting the Reset button on the Advanced settings screen.

CHANGED the alerts to always fire at the time selected, even if you have already run the app that day. Previously alerts would only fire from the day after you last ran the app.

CHANGED the reports screen to show negative numbers in red (if configured to do so in the settings).

CHANGED the workflow when entering the details and category fields. A small number of users only set one of these, which is something I hadn’t really anticipated. The app now checks for this situation and in this case it doesn’t take you from one screen to the other automatically when entering these fields.

CHANGED the All transactions screen. This now shows both historical and future transactions, making the Scheduled transactions screen redundant (it has been removed, or rather replaced – see below). You can now scroll up and down the transaction list quickly, as well as scrolling to today. Also tap on the right arrow to step forward a month at a time (just like on the account screen).

ADDED support for a Recurring transactions screen. All of your transaction series are shown based on their frequency (daily, weekly, monthly … etc), and you can drill down to see each individual series. By default it only shows those currently active, but you can see older ones (in grey) by tapping on the Show/Hide button.

ADDED support for exporting splits properly in the CSV and PDF files.

More Apple restrictions

May 3, 2013 Comments off

In a rather bizarre move, Apple have recently prevented the use of unicode characters in app descriptions on iTunes. I can sort of see what they are trying to do here, i.e. prevent people from simply including 100s of smiley faces, or other such characters that quite frankly make an app description look unprofessional. However the consequence is that they now don’t allow text such as …

★ Apple “Staff Favourite” in the UK, Jul/Aug 2010


✔ Track multiple accounts: checking, current, savings, credit cards, loans/mortgages … etc
✔ Separate your accounts into groups, e.g. personal vs business accounts
✔ Enter your recurring transactions using calendar-based repeat intervals, e.g. every 2 weeks, the last Friday of every month … etc

Instead we have to remove these simple but effective ★ and ✔ characters, and replace them with very (very) basic ASCII text like * and -.

I have owned Mac computers since the late-1980s, and even back then there was a wider choice of characters! Hopefully Apple can find a way to accommodate conservative use of “special” characters while preventing their over use.

Peak Scanner app (review)

May 3, 2013 Comments off

If you like my Hill Lists app for tracking your Munros … etc, you might like to try out a relatively new app call Peak Scanner. It uses the same hills database as Hill Lists, and it lets you use your device’s GPS and compass to see what hills you can see around you. Works pretty well on my iPhone 5 and its definitely worth the £1.49 it costs. It is available on iTunes now.

BTW, their icon (not the screenshot below) is a photo of Mt Taranaki (also known as Mt Egmont) in New Zealand’s North Island. I climbed that in more or less the same conditions in about 1990!

Screenshot …