Sunday, December 28, 2008

Canada Blog updates coming soon

Hi all,

Things have been super busy over the December break here in Canada, and I'll post some photos soon of my antics over here. It's been super snowy, then rainy, then foggy, and apparently soon it'll be back to snowy!! This country is nuts!

All is well, Chanukah has been awesome and going to see some old school OSSSA friends tomorrow night which is going to be AMAZING!!!!!

More details soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

iMenorah international crash / wrong number of candles: FIX

NOTE: For international (non-USA) customers of iMenorah:

We have just (12/23/2008) realized that due to SDK internationalization problems, iMenorah may be crashing on load or displaying the incorrect number of candles if your Region Format is not set to USA. Please accept our apology for this bug.

Please do the following before running iMenorah:
iPhone -> Settings -> General -> International -> Region Format.

Set this to "United States" and the app will work as expected, with the correct candle number for the current date.

I don't expect our fix will be available until after the holidays.
Please use this as a workaround until we can update our app.
We hope you have a very Happy Chanukah!

Mike and Matt
Developers, iMenorah

"How to prevent the App Store from becoming the Crap Store"

Interesting article from iPhone developer Tap Tap Tap, discussing trends on the App Store and how they think the market needs to change to prevent an overrun of 99cent "crapware".

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An iMenorah holiday story to warm your heart :)

Environment Canada was calling yesterday "Snow-mageddon" due to huge gusts of wind, snow storms and some insanely bad weather. I'd seen reports of hundreds of flights being delayed and canceled... but who could have ever guessed that this could lead to a beautiful iMenorah story!

We really wanted to create more than just software with our first app. Our original goal was to create a meaningful cultural experience:

“We wanted to make something culturally relevant... we wanted to provide a ritual experience, rather than just a piece of software... we wanted it to feel like you’re really lighting a menorah."

-Matthew Parrott, quoted from our interview for the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California

Now this is amazing. THIS is why we created the app. I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that we would be getting in stories like this. :)


Our flight was delayed out of Newark & we missed our connection to Cabo, so we ended up in Atlanta overnight. As our menorah is in our still-checked luggage, we dimmed the lights in our airport hotel room and lit our menorah with the app & sang the blessings together; what a memorable Hanukkah! Thanks so much!
A kind thank-you to Dan Cohen for his support, and for his help in creating this amazing Chanukah moment. :)

Oy-Bay giving us props for the ZDNet article :)

Thanks to Tomer at for giving us some props for the article on us in ZDNet. :) We are so excited, and it's so mind-bogglingly amazing to be in ZDNet, I can hardly talk.

iMenorah posted on ZDNet! This is nuts!

The press train continues!

Tonight we were graced with an article from the famed - part of CBS Interactive. I believe way back in the day, these used to be combined companies with Ziff-Davis, such a legendary and highly respected publisher. Ziff-Davis Publishing rocks, and also owns PC Magazine and PC Computing, 2 magazines I used to read as a nerdy teenager who was quite obviously obsessed very early on with computers and going to the University of Waterloo. :)

This is so, so cool.

We are getting in lots of stories of people who are enjoying our app - I'll post some of those if I get permission from the authors. This is why we created the app. As Larry Smith once told me, "Remember, the ultimate goal of entertainment is to inspire!" I feel like we've hit the nail right on the head, and it makes me SO happy.

iMenorah press for today!

Lots of press today!

Happy Chanukah!

To all my family and to my J-Crew peeps:

My best wishes to you and your family for the festival of lights. May the candles on your menorah burn brightly and bring light, warmth and happiness into your home.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

iMenorah now #36 in Top 100 Lifestyle Apps

We're movin' on up on the Top 100 Lifestyle Apps list on iTunes!

This is glorious. Lots of fantastic press for our app, and we're going to be able to make a nice donation to the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. (More details on our website). Awesome!

Thank you to everyone who is sending in personal comments and stories and to everyone who is downloading and enjoying our hard work. Best wishes over the Chanukah holidays (which start tomorrow night!)

More details on iMenorah here:

I'm "dorky-cute", apparently :)

This is SO hilarious.

Dallas Morning News just linked to a review on which is soooooooooooo funny. They call Matt and I "dorky-cute guys" hahahahaha. It's a really great review and I love it. And I love that she noticed my shirt.

Small excerpt from Geek Out! article:
This graceful application actually does what I want an iPhone menorah app to do—and who knew I wanted one? Judging from its explanatory video, the two young developers are dorky-cute guys well-versed in the Apple way of doing things (one is wearing an “Everyone Loves a Jewish Boy” T-shirt).

Vancouver Sun article on iMenorah

Great article putting iMenorah (and the iPhone Menorah Apps in general) in a historical context. Pretty sweet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

iMenorah posted to Oy-Bay!

Great article on Oy-Bay this morning!

MTV: What the Flip - collaborative student videos

This is a cool campaign by MTV - they give 100 camcorders to 100 students around the country with open-ended themes, and then cut together all the work to make a pretty cool, cross-country video collaboration. Check it out.

From MTV:
The companies gave 100 Flip camcorders to 100 college students around the country and told them to get inspired and surprise us. Different themes guided them, some were open-ended, others were scavenger hunts and others were questions only they could answer. At the end, MTV cut together the clips to make 8 video episodes that air on MTV as well as the MTV website. These films were created by aspiring film makers from all over the US and we are hoping to get them some publicity for their hard work.

Episode 4: Last Dream I Remember

Pixar intern trip to Big Sur == stock footage :)

This is hilarious. My Pixar intern friends and I are now famous in the Canada-USA student visa circuit. :)

A picture of us is on the front page of the CDS International website. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Article on Matt and I in Jewish News Weekly of Northern California

Matt and I were just profiled by the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California for our work on iMenorah. This is a great article and covers our intentions and goals for the app, as well as describing our charitable donation efforts! Great article, thanks Stacey!

(Copied from

Wick-thinking duo designs a menorah for iPhone users
by stacey palevsky
staff writer

If you see someone staring intensely into their iPhone during the evening commute next week, maybe they won’t be reading the latest news on or watching a video podcast.

Maybe they’ll be lighting the Chanukah candles.

A new program called iMenorah allows users to download a virtual menorah, light its virtual candles and watch them virtually burn down.

And if the iPhone user you’re observing seems to be mouthing “lehad’lik ner shel Chanukah,” don’t be surprised — the program allows him or her to listen to the blessing over the candles through their earphones.

The iMenorah application was created by two San Francisco residents, Mike Jutan, who is Jewish, and Matthew Parrott, who is not. The 20-somethings both work as software developers for Lucasfilm in San Francisco.

“We wanted to make something culturally relevant,” said Parrott. “The magic of Apple in general is that it can engage culture in meaningful ways.”

The menorah in the program is bronze, shiny and quite realistic-looking — even at 3 1/2 inches by 2 inches — which the designers said sets their menorah application apart from other similar programs available from the iTunes store.

The candles are lit by dragging the shamash across the touch screen with your finger. The blue and white candles flicker and burn down within eight minutes, so you can watch them in one sitting.

“We wanted to provide a ritual experience, rather than just a piece of software,” Parrott said. “We wanted it to feel like you’re really lighting a menorah.”

The iMenorah can be downloaded for $1.99 from the iTunes store. A video detailing how to use the application can be viewed at http://imenorah.

A minimum of 10 percent of the proceeds (in multiples of $18) from iMenorah will be donated to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, the designers say.

“The JCC does so much for the community, and I’ve been really impressed with how they reach out, how they bring Jews and non-Jews together to share in the love of learning and the spreading of knowledge,” said Jutan, who grew up in a small Jewish community in London, Ontario. “That’s what Judaism is all about.”

iMenorah giveaway contest

Thanks to Dan Cohen from

iMenorah now #44 in Top 100 Lifestyle Apps

Great news!

Check us out here if you haven't seen it yet:

Also please note the details of our charitable donation have now been posted to the website and iTunes store app description.

A minimum of 10% of the proceeds (in multiples of $18) from iMenorah will be donated to the San Francisco Jewish Community Center (JCCSF).

Q: Why did we choose the JCCSF for our donation?

A: The JCCSF has a real sense of the importance of spreading knowledge, of learning, study and discussion. They are incredibly well organized, and they are doing great things for San Francisco (and for SF's Jewish Community, too). We'd like to support their outstanding efforts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

iMenorah 1.2 Released! Our iPhone Menorah App no loger requires WiFi to download

iMenorah 1.2 is now available on the iTunes App Store!!

This is really exciting because now anyone with an iPhone can now download it with less fuss. The installation is now compact enough to be downloaded over the EDGE or 3G cell phone networks, so if you have an iPhone you no longer need to be connected to a WiFi network to download iMenorah!

Please tell your friends, and when you tell them... now they don't have to wait until they get home to their apartments to download it. ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

iMenorah in Macworld!

The fantastic press today continues!

A mention of iMenorah in Macworld's online magazine, and a shout out to our charitable donation. Awesome.

Also looks like a mention on iPodNN as well!

AMAZING review of iMenorah!!!

THIS is why we made the app.

Holy moly, this review makes me feel really proud of our work.

We wanted to make something special, something sacred, something that would be fun and kitchy but also high quality, and something that would have a strong personal meaning for Jewish people around the world.

Based on this review, our app is a slam-dunk.

I am SO proud of our effort. And it's SO cool to see someone who really "gets" it too. Things have been really busy lately so this review comes at the perfect time. I'm over the moon with excitement about what our app means to people. This rocks the house.

Also posted here with our video, too:

Quick Take

Value: High
Would I Buy Again: Yes
Learning Curve: Low
Who is it for: Anyone who will belighting the Hannukah menorah and has an iPhone
What I like: Well done. Teaches without being heavy handed.
What I Don't: Nothing

Final Statement: A well done, religious-oriented app.


New Dave Matthews Band album announced

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man I have been waiting for this!!!!!!!!!! First studio album in 4 years, and apparently it's so, so, so, so good - like a lot more older Dave style and I am really excited.

It was just announced and I think it's coming out in April. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!

Apartment is somewhat back to normal

Still got clothes everywhere but 90% of the bleach smell is gone and got the "DampAid" moisture absorber thing in the closet now which is good.

Getting packed for my Canada trip which is soon, and also gotta clean up a few more things, but it's looking pretty good after the huge effort yesterday.

Busy day today! Anyway great times and looking forward to some relaxation over the break.

I said "Brr, it's cold in here"

San Francisco is freezin'!!!!!!!!

It literally hailed last night (really? really?!?!) and it was nuts.
It's cold as a beast today but... even more so because I have to leave all my windows open. Yep. :)

I figure it's better to be somewhat frozen that to be breathing in all the chlorine bleach smell that I sprayed in my closet yesterday. :)

So I'm still airing out this place, but oh mercy it's chilly. These fleece pants can only do so much! Anyway I figure this is good practice for my trip to Canada soon where it will be snowy and I'll have to remember what the "real winter" is like. :) Presumably it's still "good for building character" - i.e. cold as a beast.

Monday, December 15, 2008

iMenorah sortof indirectly in Time Magazine

Haha, well I wouldn't call it "press" but sortof.,8599,1865221,00.html

iMenorah was indirectly mentioned in Time Magazine's article:
See, too, the many iPhone-ready talking Christmas books and games; Christmas trees and menorahs that really light;
There are actually only 2 other Menorahs, so we are kinda in Time Magazine! ;)

Review of the Reactor submerged computer

Great review and demo of this insane computer. Haha this is SO ridiculous. 3 video cards?!

Liquid-submerged PC

This is INSANE!

Just in case fast wasn't fast enough. :)

ILoveSketch: 3D sketching technology from UofT

This is amazing!!

ILoveSketch from Seok-Hyung Bae on Vimeo.

There’s Gold In Them iPhones

Great iPhone App article here:

This talks about the iPhone App "Gold Rush" - the rush to get into the market before it gets crowded with applications (which is already happening to some extent), and how some people are doing incredibly well (multiple millions of dollars?!??!?!) on their ventures. Insane!

Exciting times, that's for sure.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Moldy Business

Alright everyone, laugh it up!

Haha. Actually this is so insane it's sortof hilarious. (And if it's not funny, check out the picture of me "Haz-Mat" style. :)

Anyway had a mold problem in the apartment due to lack of air circulation and natural sunlight in here. Spent some time spraying it down today and took some major extra precautions - face masks, safety goggles, gloves, the works. It was probably overkill (and so was spraying the entire closet), but it seemed a better idea to go fierce once and try to take care of everything rather than do it in incremental steps.

So I totally SWAT-teamed the mold in my apartment today... IN, SPRAY DOWN, OUT.

Then let the apartment air for a couple hours before coming back to wipe down all the walls. Now that's all done and it's pretty good. The apartment is still an insane mess but this gives me an opportunity to throw out a bunch of stuff I don't need and do some general cleaning. Oy gevault!

The aftermath of completely emptying the closet

Me ready to obliterate this mold

Saturday, December 13, 2008

iMenorah: iPhone Menorah Application: Smaller download, no WiFi needed

Smaller version coming this week, that won't require WiFi to download.

Installing a Media Reader in a Dell XPS 630... a LOT easier when Dell sends you the right cable, and when you know how to open your computer!!!!

Managed to get my Media Reader installed finally. Looks like Dell originally sent me the wrong cable, the missing pins were in the wrong location. Tonight I opened the computer and had it installed in 3 or 4 minutes, and it works. Rockin'.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

iMenorah: Charitable Donation details

When deciding to write iMenorah, my co-developer Matt and I discussed lots of details about our approach. One of the first items we discussed is that no matter how commercially successful or unsuccessful iMenorah is going to be, one thing is certain: we want to donate a portion of the proceeds to our community.

We have made our decision and would like to share it with you now...

By downloading iMenorah, you are also supporting San Francisco's local Jewish Community.

A minimum of 10% of the proceeds (in multiples of $18) from iMenorah will be donated to the San Francisco Jewish Community Center (JCCSF). The JCCSF has a real sense of the importance of spreading knowledge, of learning, study and discussion. They are incredibly well organized, and they are doing great things for San Francisco (and for SF's Jewish Community, too). We'd like to support their outstanding efforts.

These donation details have been posted to our website ( and to our iTunes purchase page for iMenorah.

Matt and I thank you for supporting our development efforts, and for supporting San Francisco's Jewish Community.

Wall-E on The Simpsons - on YouTube

Sorry folks in Canada. I forgot that you can't see Hulu videos in Canada.

Reposting the Wall-E video from yesterday in a Canada-friendly YouTube format. Enjoy!

Wall-E on The Simpsons

iMenorah articles!

There have been several very kind reviews of our App, and I am so happy to hear from all these people who love our work.

Jewschool just posted some very kind words about our app! The opening line to the article: "Come on, you all wish you’d thought of it first" is just sooooo nice. We were really jazzed up when we came up with the idea, and we're really glad that people around the world are feeling our excitement too. :)

The article also mentions some more specific details about our choices for the charitable donations we will be giving. Once we finalize those choices, we'll post the details to our website.

For more information, or to download iMenorah... please check out our website!

"Wall-E" on The Simpsons!!!!!!!

This is just so freakin' hilarious.

A Wall-E look-alike was on The Simpsons last Sunday. Amazing!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

iMenorah - iPhone Menorah App: Video now on YouTube!

Check out iMenorah - our iPhone (and iPod Touch) Menorah App!
Video is now on YouTube.

Finally watching "Lost"

Nick told me that I need to be ready to start Lost Season 5 in January, so I gotta play catch-up now. Started on Season 1 tonight, this is NUTS! Lots of crazy/random stuff going on, and you can see how they are setting it up with lots of strong characters with strong personalities so the sparks will fly in later episodes. Pretty intense so far!!

John Oliver's Literature Rodeo: Apocalypse Edition

Rob Kutner, Daily Show writer and chief legend of awesome has a new video out of John Oliver (from The Daily Show) doing a few important/noteworthy things:
1. Being really British
2. Pining after the siren sauce of Applebee's boneless chicken wings (haha?!??!!)
3. Giving some love to Rob's hilarious new book, "Apocalypse How"

Check it out. Very Daily Show-y, and thus amazingly glorious.

John Oliver's Literature Rodeo: Apocalypse Edition

iMenorah has been Urban Kvetch-ed

iMenorah has been featured on the awesome blog "My Urban Kvetch"!
See the story here:

Best line ever:
You use your iPhone religiously, but do you really use it RELIGIOUSLY?
Haha, classic.

Thanks to Esther at My Urban Kvetch for a hilarious review and for giving us some sweet props.

Interactive Video Object Manipulation

Ans just sent me this, this is freakin' cool.

Interactive Video Object Manipulation from Dan Goldman on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

iMenorah - iPhone Menorah App now on the iTunes Top 100 Lifestyle Apps list!

Amazing news!!!!!!! In just 6 short days, iMenorah (our iPhone Menorah Application, also available for the iPod Touch) has made it onto the Top 100 Lifestyle Apps list on iTunes!

By downloading iMenorah, you are also supporting San Francisco's local Jewish Community. We will be donating a portion of the proceeds to a local San Francisco Jewish charity. Please stay tuned to our website - more details will be posted once we make the donation.

For more details and a link to the download on iTunes, please see the webpage here:

Matt and I thank you for your support, and for supporting San Francisco's Jewish community.

Muir Woods with Tim and Molly

Sunday was fun, I took Nash to the airport after a long day out at Muir Woods and in Sausalito and bootin' around a whole bunch, it was a lot of fun. We went to Muir Woods and Muir Beach and then to a great breakfast place in Sausalito (for lunch at 3pm) and then to a great lookout for the GG Bridge before heading back into San Francisco.

These 2 are self-proclaimed "eco-geeks" so it was awesome to hang out nature-wise with people who are really excited and knowledgeable about the forest, ecology stuff, "conservancies" (what that means, I'll never know), and other cool non-Computer Science stuff. It's also weird NOT to talk about Computer Graphics and Animated Films all day long. :)

I guess I balanced that by driving directly to Matt's place after dropping off Tim, picking up him and his computer, and going to my house to finish an update fix for iMenorah until 2am. Busy weekend!

Nash in his element

This was gorgeous


"The San Francisco Giants"


I love this one too

Awesome-o power

Ah buuuh!!!!!

Tim and Molly just lovin' it

We decided my house should be the one with the huge windows

Muir Beach

Tim and Molly

House boats?!!!

Haha, these are so weird. This one had a spiral staircase, and I really wished it had a spiral slide into the water instead!

Siiick 'ol school Masterati

Amazing Ferrari!!!!!!

Nash and I at the GG Bridge viewing area

Great times!!

I love this city!!

Thanksgiving 2008 Party!

On the Friday after Thanksgiving I threw a huge party at my apartment, it was nuuuuuuts!!!!!! R.Rose came over super early to help out which was nice cause I really needed a lot of help. We all cooked and cleaned the apartment for about 7 hours straight, and then people started to arrive around dinnertime. It worked out amazingly well, I somehow managed to have enough food for 18 people to eat dinner, which was insane but somehow we pulled it off. Great times, and great to see J-Kiz and A-Griz too. Funny to have so many Texans in one room!! :)

Me and Gabe-rielle

Me and Frizzle

Tim mashing the potatoes

And so the food begins


Molly, Suzie and Tim


Turkey is alllmost ready!

Everyone running for the food


Hip hop flava

Haha, A-Griz!!

Frank and Kurt... in a room at the SAME TIME?!

Cabernet giving the food a hearty thumbs up





Orion looking alluring

Hahahaha!!!!!! Matt eventually descended into absurdity and started making the sock monkey dance

Then K.C. the Cat and the sock monkey started doing square dancing with each other

Matt laughing at his own sillyness

Serious bongo times

Haha, Gabrielle looking mad about something

Thanksgiving Dinner at Nick and Jenn's place

On Thanksgiving evening, Kurt, Tim and I went to Nick and Jenn's place for some glorious, glorious, glorious, glorious food and some (almost) equally amazing Rock Band video gaming! Jenn and Nick were amazing hosts as always. It was great, and maaaaaan the food was amazing. I tried a Quorn Tur'key Roast too, which is some sort of mushroom-based Tofurkey kinda thing. It was good! The sweet potato stuff they had was SO AMAZING.

Kurt's here! And paying his bills!

Kurt making faces, and Tim fast asleep

Ready for food!

Sooo goood