Thursday, March 15, 2018

Overcast 4.1 and Smart Resume

Marco Arment (tweet):

Smart Resume is actually two features:

  1. It jumps back by up to a few seconds after having been paused to help remind you of the conversation.
  2. It slightly adjusts resumes and seeks to fall in the silences between spoken words when reasonably possible.


I was using an NSNumberFormatter to read the total [time saved] value from Overcast’s server as a double. My server always sends values with U.S.-style number formatting, using a period as the decimal separator (e.g. “1234.5”). But by default, NSNumberFormatter uses the device’s locale, so in countries that use a comma as the decimal separator (e.g. “1234,5”), it was interpreting the server’s numbers with periods as invalid and returning zero. So the Settings screen thought they hadn’t saved any time, and hid the time-saved label.

Fortunately, it was an easy fix: setting that NSNumberFormatter locale to en_US to match what the server was sending.

Macro Arment:

My first instincts were all surface-level UI issues: string localization, nil strings, and UILabel sizeToFit problems.

Ryan Jones:

Overcast’s new Smart Resume feature has allowed me to turn voice turn-by-turn directions back on in Google Maps. Driving is easier (and safer – I don’t look down for next turn). I swear I’m not just saying this either. Honest truth.

Very small wins make products.

It’s amazing how much better Overcast—from a solo developer—still is than Apple’s Podcasts app. If anything, its lead seems to be increasing.

Marco Arment:

Thanks for all of the Smart Resume praise and press coverage!

To be clear, skipping back a bit after being paused isn’t a new idea. I think Instacast was first to it, years ago.

I think adjusting those (and other) seeks to fall on silences is new, though.

Jake Achée:

Overcast feature idea:

SmartStop. When enabled, wait for a silence that would normally be SmartSpeed optimized THEN stop.

Marco Arment:

I actually tried this during the beta, but it’s much more complex to implement than seek adjustments, and I couldn’t get it stable enough to ship in time.

Update (2018-03-30): Marco Arment:

If there’s any doubt why I file trademarks…

(Didn’t for Smart Resume, unfortunately.)

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