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Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Meter Readings and rate changes

December 12, 2010 Comments off

In the UK, a lot of suppliers are increasing their rates just now (e.g. Scottish Power on 25th November, SSE on 1st December, British Gas on 10th December and npower on 4th January 2011).

To update your rates in the app, go to the Settings screen, select your meter then scroll to the bottom of the page. Tap on the row that says “Copy current to …. today”. This will create a copy of your current rates and add a new row that says “Rates to …. (today’s date)”. The app will then use your “old” rates up to “today”, and your current rates from “tomorrow” onwards. Once you have copied your rates, you are then free to edit your current rates to reflect what you supplier is now charging you.

Over time you could end up with multiple sets of rates, applying to different periods. You can edit the dates to which they apply (or even your old rates) by selecting the Previous Rates rows.

Meter Readings for usage-based meters

December 3, 2010 Comments off

Included in version 2.6 is a test meter type that assumes readings are actual usage. This could be very useful for tracking oil, fuel in your car, broadband data usage, weight … etc.

If you would like to try this and would be willing to provide feedback, please let me know.

Meter Readings and supplier switching

October 14, 2010 Comments off

For users in the UK, version 2.4.1 makes it very easy to compare what you are currently spending against energy supplier prices in your area. Once you have configured your postcode per meter, all it takes is a single tap to see how much you could save, something you could easily do once a month or so. And if you decide to switch suppliers, I have tried to make this as simple as possible by pre-populating most of the data you need.

Give this feature a try and let me know how much you can save!

Average saving per customer so far is £366.44!

Backups and iTunes

May 11, 2010 Comments off

Every time you sync your device with iTunes, your application data and settings are backed up to your computer. There is a good article from Apple about how this works – see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1766. However there are pitfalls, and it is easy to lose things.

The main issue is that only one backup is stored per device. You can see these in iTunes by going to iTunes->Preferences->Devices (or on Windows, Edit->Preferences->Devices). If you delete an application from your device, then do a sync, your backup will be overwritten and your data lost. Also if you have to restore your device completely and you set it up as a new device, your first sync after the restore will overwrite your previously backed up data.

There are a couple of things you can do to prevent this data loss. First of all is to make sure you back up your backups! These are stored in your home folder, under Libraries/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup (or on Windows XP, \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ and on Vista, \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\). To manually restore a backup, copy the one you want into this folder, then in iTunes, right click on your device and select Restore from Backup…

Secondly if you have to reset/restore your device completely, make sure you don’t set it up as a new device. Always select the restore from backup option.

To do a manual backup from iTunes, right click on your device and select Back Up.

If all of this sounds scary, there is a better option available in each of my apps (free in Account Tracker, and as an in-app purchase for Hill Lists and Meter Readings). The Backup and Restore feature is essentially a more reliable way of backing up and exporting your data than iTunes itself. Should the worst happen, it is very easy to import and restore this data.

For more information, please browse the application pages.

Meter Readings and historical tariffs

May 8, 2010 Comments off

Meter Readings icon One of the most requested features for Meter Readings is support for retaining historical tariff and rate information. The only way this is supported today is by adding a separate meter, but it would be far better if the app could cope with tariff and rate changes on the same meter. I am working on this now and hope to have it available in the next release.

In case you are wondering why it wasn’t supported from day 1, basically the app was originally designed to track usage, and the cost bit was only added to show what your usage was currently costing.