Posts Tagged ‘XBlaze’

To Clarify A Few Points About Jailbreaking iPhones

January 23rd, 2010 Jasarien No comments

I’ve received a few emails asking why apps crash more often on Jailbroken iPhones. So I’ve collected my thoughts and written down a number of reasons why Jailbreaking is a pretty bad idea.

  • Jailbreaking Allows Background Apps
    • Extra strain on the CPU
    • Extra drain on the battery
    • Heavy consumption of available RAM
    • Usage of your data connections (this might incur costs that you’re not aware of if you’re not on an unlimited data plan)
    • It’s impossible to know what the background apps are doing, if they request more resources and can’t get them because Xblaze is using the available RAM, maybe they’re written to kill other apps and take the memory for itself? No-one knows, except the developer of that app, and since Apple don’t approve these apps, they could be doing exactly that.

This reason alone is suspect enough to be a big cause of concern for people running Jailbroken iPhones. People forget that the iPhone is a mobile device, because it is so capable. It’s important to remember that the iPhone does have a very small amount of RAM compared to laptops and other computers. The iPhone was not designed to run many apps at the same time – this is why Apple restrict it to one 3rd part app at any time. They didn’t do it just to annoy people…

If there are several apps consuming vast amounts of RAM already running on the device (this include ssh servers, themes for springboard, notification apps, etc) then what hope does a legitimate app such as Xblaze have of surviving? Those not familiar with the iPhone SDK and how the iPhone works, may not know that the iPhone OS will kill an app if the device starts to run low on memory. Non official apps may be able to be coded in ways that ignore these warnings, forcing the OS to kill the legitimate apps that can’t ignore these warnings.

The result is that Xblaze will simply quit if there are low memory conditions on the iPhone it is running on, and since Xblaze only consumes a mere 4MB of RAM while running, the jailbroken iPhone would have to be using almost all the RAM before Xblaze is even started, which is actually quite likely considering some jailbroken apps such as themes that are rich in graphics and sounds.

  • Modified Frameworks
    • Changes the expected behaviour of the iPhone so that a legitimate app will crash while trying to access a function or class that has been modified by anyone but Apple.
    • May cause the app to not even launch if the required APIs aren’t available at launch time.

When writing an iPhone app, a developer is given a set of Frameworks which allow them to access the iPhone’s functionalities, user interfaces, etc. Think of them as hand grips on a climbing wall. You need them to hold onto to be able to reach the top. If you tried to grab as hand grip and it wasn’t there, you’d fall. This is exactly the kind of thing that can happen to an application that relies on a framework being in the state that it was originally in when released by Apple. Changing these frameworks simply breaks any app that requires them. And once again, since it’s impossible to know which frameworks have been changed or how they’ve been changed, developers simply can’t program their app to work in that environment.

  • Inter-Process Access
    • Jailbreaking an iPhone removes all restrictions. One app may be able to access the insides of another app.

If any malicious apps decide to snoop around the memory space of a legitimate app, anything could happen, ranging from the app crashing, due to memory corruption, to having something like your password and personal details stolen… Is that something you’re willing to risk? All restrictions are removed on a jailbroken iPhone – if you’re checking your online banking through Safari, what is stopping any malicious app from stealing your account details and forwarding them on to identity thieves? Are you happy with the possibility that your xfire password may not be safe when running Xblaze on a jailbroken iPhone, because there’s nothing I can do to protect it if it is. On a legitimate iPhone, Xblaze stores your password, encrypted using an SHA1 encryption algorithm, safely inside the iPhone’s Keychain (the same way passwords are stored safely on Mac OS X). The keychain can be accessed freely by any application when running on a jailbroken iPhone… Consider it carefully.

Unfortunately, due to the shady nature of jailbreaking iPhone devices, it is impossible to say whether any of this is 100% accurate, but I know I’d rather err on the side of safety, stability and security when it comes to my personal data, my entertainment and my overall mobile experience…

The truth to the question “Why does jailbreaking cause more crashes than normal?” is that I simply don’t know. If I knew, I’d be able to prevent it…

An Unfortunate Truth About Jailbroken iPhones/iPod Touches

January 22nd, 2010 Jasarien 3 comments

So Xblaze has been in the App store since the 12th of January, almost 2 weeks.

I have been following the stats and feedback very closely, and so far the response to Xblaze for the iPhone has been great! Xblaze has over 20 reviews worldwide, most of which are 5 star ratings! I can’t thank the people who left these reviews enough, it’s these users that make Xblaze what it is, and without them, Xblaze would float away quietly…

However, there is always a downside. Unfortunately the downside here is that some people are running Xblaze on a Jailbroken iPhone, and leaving bad reviews when it crashes.

For those who may not know, Jailbreaking is the process of “hacking” the iPhone’s OS to allow open access to the entirety of the phone. It allows 3rd party developers to write applications that don’t need to be approved by Apple.

Since Apple aren’t approving these Applications, they could be doing anything from gathering your personal information, running in the background using up your battery and data connections, installing malicious software such as worms — literally anything is possible.

Jailbreaking also allows users to install pirated applications, and get apps for free when they would normally have to pay. It is important to note, however, that not all Jailbreakers are pirates. About 38% of the Jailbreaking community have used pirated Apps, which is approximately 1.5Million out of 4 Million.

But piracy is not a problem for free apps, and we all know that Xblaze is free. So what is the problem?

Jailbroken devices have had their software “tampered” with. The iPhone OS running on a jailbroken iPhone is not the same as that installed on regular iPhones. For this reason, it is impossible to know exactly what has been tampered with, or how it will affect how the phone works.

A study has been done, using data gathered via the Pinch Media Analytics framework that shows how jailbreaking an iPhone can negatively affect application performance.

Specifically, “all jailbroken phones (whether the application is pirated or not) suffer from increased application crash rates,”. (

Jailbroken iPhones crash more often.

The very frustrating thing is that as a developer, I have no control over who runs Xblaze or what iPhone they run it on. And as a direct result, Xblaze will get run on Jailbroken iPhones, and the statistics show that it is likely to crash more often than if it was run on a normal, official iPhone OS.

It is impossible for me to code Xblaze to not crash on a jailbroken iPhone because it is written using the official iPhone SDK (software development kit), using the official APIs (application programming interfaces). In nearly ALL cases, jailbreaking an iPhone installs older APIs, or changes their behaviour to be more flexible and open, and in some cases, installs extra software at the system level that could affect how certain processes work.

Because of this fact, the application may expect an API to behave one way, but in fact comes up against an API that behaves completely differently to how it is programmed, and as a result, will crash. It is important to understand that this will not happen to every single application or on every single Jailbroken phone. It’s almost a “crash lottery”. You take your chances when you jailbreak and accept the risks.

It is also very important to understand that there is nothing I can do to fix it, because jailbreaking is not an officially supported development option.

At the end of all this, Xblaze suffers in the app store, receiving one star reviews for crashes that aren’t Xblaze’s fault.

You’re free to run Xblaze on any kind of iPhone you like – but please don’t leave a bad review if your device is jailbroken and the app crashes… If you want the most stable experience, don’t jailbreak your iPhone. If you don’t find that acceptable and you make the decision to jailbreak, please don’t make Xblaze suffer because of it.

Xblaze iPhone 1.0.2 Live on the App Store

January 20th, 2010 Jasarien No comments

Just got the email last night that Xblaze iPhone 1.0.2 is now live on the App Store .

New in this update:

  • Better support for Avatars
    • Xblaze iPhone will now download the same avatar that is shown on your Xfire profile page, regardless of whether it is a custom upload, a screenshot clipping, a gallery avatar or the default Xfire avatar.
    • Avatars are cached properly, Xblaze no longer relies on the system level cache, and the avatars are written to the filesystem for faster loading and to prevent unnecessary network access
  • A few UI tweaks, mainly using a grey selection style for the table cells and a new icon to dismiss the keyboard in the chat view.

Go grab it!

Xblaze iPhone 1.0.1 Update

January 15th, 2010 Jasarien No comments

An update for Xblaze iPhone has just gone live on the App Store.

This update fixes a timing issue where the app could get stuck on the “Connecting…” screen while attempting to log in. This seems to happen more often on very fast internet connections (so using Xblaze over 3G is more likely to work than on a super fast wifi connection).

This has been fixed now, so those of you with super fast wifi connections can rest assured.

I’ve also just pushed the 1.0.2 update into review, which includes better support for avatars and caching, and a few UI tweaks too, so there’s something to look forward to in a few days.

(Ps. I’m absolutely loving this new faster turnover with the App Store approval process! Hehe)

Categories: Releases, Xblaze iPhone Tags: , ,

Xblaze iPhone Approved!!

January 12th, 2010 Jasarien No comments

Very happy to announce that Xblaze has just been approved by Apple and should appear in the App Store very very shortly!

I’m really happy about this, and I’m really impress at how fast Apple worked through my submission. The app went into review at 9:15am EST, and was approved by 15:51pm EST. That’s just over 6 and a half hours! Excellent work Apple!

So everyone must go and download it, and don’t forget to leave a review!!

PS. I’ll have a page up soon where you can see a screen cast of the app…

Xblaze iPhone Submitted to Apple

January 10th, 2010 Jasarien No comments

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who signed up for the Xblaze iPhone Beta. Your input and feedback has been extremely useful throughout the testing period.

I would also like to announce that Xblaze iPhone has now been submitted to the App Store for review! I’m hoping the approval process won’t take that long, and Xblaze should be available to download very shortly.

Here are some screen shots to tide you over ;)

Xblaze Login Screen Xblaze Contact List

Xblaze Chat View Xblaze Options

Surprise! It’s Beta Time!

December 19th, 2009 Jasarien No comments

I know its been quite on the Xblaze front recently, and for that I apologise, but here’s a surprise to make up.

I’ve been hard at work since the release of Xblaze on a new project that a small number of you already know about. Here’s a sneak peek:

Xblaze iPhone

So if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch with OS 3.0 or later, and want to help beta test Xblaze for iPhone, all you need to do is send me an e-mail with your full name and the UDID of your device.

To get the UDID of your device, you can download and install a free iPhone app called UDID sender.  Alternatively, you can copy it from iTunes:

  1. Connect your iPhone/iPod Touch to your computer and wait for iTunes to open.
  2. After any automatic syncing has finished, click on your device in the source list on the left side of the iTunes window.
  3. There you should see some information about your iPhone/iPod under the summary tab. Click once on the Serial Number label and it will switch to show the UDID.
  4. When the UDID is showing, press CMD + C on your keyboard, or select Edit > Copy from the menu bar. This will copy the whole 40 character UDID string to your clipboard, which you can then paste into an e-mail to me.

Personally, I find it easier to use the UDID Sender app.

Once you’ve pasted the UDID into an e-mail, please ensure that it is exactly 40 characters long. I can’t do anything with a UDID that is missing a few characters.

When the beta starts, if you’ve sent me your UDID, you will receive an e-mail from me containing a Zip file and some instructions on how to install the App.

Xblaze 1.0.3

November 8th, 2009 Jasarien 5 comments

Xblaze 1.0.3 is available on the download page. Go grab it.

New in this version:

  • Fixed a bug that prevented Xblaze from connecting when Adium starts if you check the “Connect when Adium opens” option.
  • Fixed an issue where Friends of Friends were randomly bring shown in the contact list. Current solution is to not show any friends of friends at all. A friends of friends solution will be worked out in a later release.

Xblaze 1.0.1

November 7th, 2009 Jasarien No comments

Hey guys, just a heads up that Xblaze 1.0.1 is up on the downloads page. Go grab it!

  • Xblaze will now show typing notifications when your friends are typing, and send typing notifications to your friends when you are typing.
  • Plugged a few minor memory leaks

Burning The Midnight Oil

November 6th, 2009 Jasarien No comments

It’s 5:08am. I’ve just committed the typing notifications code to SVN. Sleeeepy.

I’ll release an update tomorrow at some point that will include the typing notifications support.

The incoming typing notes, (those that tell you who’s typing), were simple. A few short lines of code and they were working. But the outgoing typing notes, (those that tell your friends when you’re typing), were a lot more involved. The MacFire library didn’t have a packet to represent a typing notification, so I had to write one before writing the logic to send it.

I also learned something a little odd about the way Xfire handles typing notifications. According to all the documentation I’ve read about the Xfire protocol, the typing notification packet is the same packet that contains messages and message acknowledgments. The difference between these packets is the data structure within, their IDs are all the same.¬†With that said, the typing notification packet contains a field aptly named ‘typing’ which represents an integer.
The documentation says this is treated like a boolean, 1 for typing, 0 for not typing. So my initial inclination was to send the packet with a 1 when a user is typing, and then again with a 0 when they finish typing.
I was wrong. This caused the typing notification to keep being displayed even after a message was sent. My only guess is that Xfire (for Windows) ignores this boolean value, and just assumes that any typing note packet that arrives means that the user is typing… Either that, or the field isn’t intended to be used as a boolean. We shall most likely never know.

Good night.