Mobile Support - Frequently Asked Questions
This page includes answers to some common questions about our Mobile Support - including our App for Apple and Android devices, and our web application available at http://www.mobile.renovationsf.org.
You can find general information about our Mobile Support, including download instructions and a list of supported devices on the Mobile Support Introduction page.
If you would like to leave feedback, report a bug or suggest improvements to the service, please use the Feedback Form. While we will not be able to make significant changes between now and Renovation, all feedback is valuable and will contribute to the long term development of the App for future conventions.
I don’t have an Android or iPhone – is there an option for Palm or Blackberry?
The App in the app store says it only works on iOS 4.3, does that mean it won’t load on other versions?
Does that mean that my older iPhone will be fine?
I have an older Android device. Will that work?
I don’t have an iPhone or Android device, and/or I don’t like going to the app stores. Can I still use the Renovation app?
Usage and Features
The app hasn’t sync’d properly or hasn’t updated – what do I do?
Does my phone need to have data access?
If the data access turns off do I lose all my data?
If I lose the connection and/or the app restarts and I can't sync, do I lose the saved My Program items?
Why is the Renovation app running very slowly?
Why is the app taking a long time to load?
Can this app lead to high data use?
I see social networking in the app! Will this drain my battery?
Does the app update automatically?
Why didn't you use Guidebook?
How does My Program work?
Can I use mobile.renovationsf.org in my browser?
What is App in Dothraki?
Feedback and Improvements
Q. I don’t have an Android or iPhone – is there an option for Palm or Blackberry?
A. We don’t have apps for Palm or Blackberry devices but the app is available as a Web App at http://www.mobile.renovationsf.org – this does everything the App does but it will need to be online to function.
Q. The Renovation app in the app store says it only works on iOS 4.3, does that mean it won’t load on other versions?
A. Short answer – yes. We have a version of the application in for approval with Apple that will work on Verizon iPhones and older iPhones and iPod Touches.
Q. Great! Does that mean that my older iPhone will be fine?
A. Not entirely. We’ve tested the app on some older devices and the performance is very slow. It should work well on everything since the iPhone 3GS. The older iPhone 3s will drag a bit as will the previous generations of iPhone.
Q. I have an older Android device. Will that work?
A. The Android version of the app is optimized for version 2.2. From our own testing we know that the app will also run on version 2.1, but performance will not be a good. There’s also a lot of variation in the quality and speed of Android hardware and some of the older and cheaper devices may struggle with the app.
Q. I don’t have an iPhone or Android device, and/or I don’t like going to the app stores. Can I still use the Renovation app?
A. Yes! Go to http://mobile.renovationsf.org in the browser on your phone and bookmark the page to your homescreen. This will work just like the actual app, except it will be running in the browser. Remember though, this will only work when you’re online. The database is pretty big and will have to reload every time you go back to the app. You can also use this link on the latest Blackberry and PalmOS devices. Android users will be able to get the app from the Renovation Web site.
Depending on your device, you may be able to view a PDF of Pocket Program. For example, you can store the current copy Pocket Program on your Nook.
Q. The app hasn’t sync’d properly or hasn’t updated – what do I do?
A. Like with any app these days, just put your finger on the screen and drag the screen down to refresh and the content will reload.
Q. Does my phone need to have data access?
A. Yes. One of things we wanted to ensure was that room, program, schedule and other changes were available to App users in real time. The only way we could do that easily was to have the app sync with the database. This means that you'll need to have a data connection.
Q. If the data access turns off do I lose all my data?
A. No, if you make sure to sync everything when you've Wifi or good access then the app will work fine off the local store.
Q. If I lose the connection and/or the app restarts and I can't sync, do I lose the saved My Program items?
A. No, these stay locally on the phone regardless, so you'll always have access to your saved program items and the Maps
Q. Why is the Renvation app is running very slowly?
A. The Renovation program is large, with over 900 items and over 500 participant profiles. Older hardware is going to struggle with the size of the event database. We accept that the performance can be poor.
Q. Why is the app taking a long time to load?
A. Renovation is a very big convention and there’s a lot to load. This will take longer if your connection is slow, and, we don’t really have a view on the quality of the wireless at the con – once things have loaded the app will speed up a little too.
Q. Can this app lead to high data use?
A. Yes it could! If you’re roaming, avoid roaming fees and only use the app on WiFi. We’d suggest that for all your data roaming because the roaming fees can be exorbitant.
Q. I see social networking in the app! Will this drain my battery?
A. No. The app is passive. We designed it so it does not sync without your permission. So the app is not pulling a billion tweets every five minutes – it only updates when you sync it.
Q. Does the app update automatically?
A. No. You need to exit the app completely or pull down the list you’re looking at and force it to resync. This works in the Twitter view, the Program Views, Upcoming and Changes.
Q. Why didn't you use Guidebook?
A. Guidebook (formerly Conventionist) is a commercial product that would cost the convention a lot of of money that could be spent in other beneficial ways. While there is a free version, it does not serve enough devices for a Worldcon. We've partnered with Viafo, who were able to give us a rich app in the fannish spirit of giving back to the community.
Q. How does My Program work?
A. When you view a program item you will see a plus sign at the top of the program details pane. If you click that plus sign the item is added to your "My Program." Any item in your program will have the plus sign changed to a cross (multiply sign?). Clicking on that will remove it from "My Program." You can also get the the program detail pane from "My Program."
Q. Can I use mobile.renovationsf.org in my browser?
A. Yes, though we recommend you view it from Chrome (release 13 or higher). It works erratically from Safari and some of the other browsers.
Q. What is App in Dothraki?
A. Davrakh - lit. "useful thing".
Q. I’ve noticed a bug, what do I do?
A. Check our List of known issues to see if it’s already been spotted and/or fixed. Submit new bugs using our Feedback Form and we'll see what we can do. Sadly it’s unlikely we’ll be able to update the iPhone app with any fixes after about August 10, but we’ll factor this in to the next app.
Q. Here is an idea for a cool feature! (or, Here's a better approach to this problem).
A. We’re very grateful for the suggestons. With the convention upon us, our focus will be on addressing the known issues. That said, we’ll save all suggestions and hope to get them into the next convention app.
Q. I've thought of a feature it doesn't seem to have, can I ask for it?
A. Realistically, we're too close to the convention to be adding features at this stage, but we've a list of the features we wanted to get into the app but ran out of time, or hit another problem that we couldn't easily resolve in the time available to us. The goal was to have a reference code for an application which could be used freely by other cons in the future, and that's what Viafo and the Renovation IT team have been working towards. So we're sorry if a specific feature didn't make the cut for this app. But we want to assure you that we tried to include a lot:
Features We Considered
"Search" - we intended to have search in the application but we ran out of time to get this into an app and tested. Plus we hit some problems of not wanting to do this on the phone/in the app but on the server, so we were worried about the experience with an unknown quantity like the availability of Internet connectivity at the Con
Remember, you can search the Pocket Program on the Web.
"Separate feeds for Movies, Art Show etc..." - once we started looking at this, we found that we could easily end up with a User Experience that was far too complicated just to include some specific things. We're going to look at this again for the future and probably come up with a fix.
"The Room Number hides the Item title" - while this sounds minor, as we tried to fix it, it created a bunch of other presentation problems that would have made us late on the app, so that has gone on the list to fix later.
"Could you have a "more" button on the options at the bottom, dragging the menu isn't obvious" - again, trying to fix that turned into a major task and ended up breaking the UI. Reluctantly we decided we had to leave that feature out.
"Could we have Wed/Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun rather than the dates in the program view" - there have been a number of requests for this alternative view of the program. While it is too late to implement this feature for Renovation, it is definitely a great suggestion for future versions of the app.
"The Participant Bios don't load in the Program Item Description" - no, we're afraid not. It was a compromise we had to make to get the database to load into the average phone. While this worked fine on the latest iPhones, it was killing most of the Android devices we tried on, so we decided that we'd have to leave out the bios from that view. We intend to revisit this point in the future.
Bios are accessible through the Appearing page on the Web.
"Pinch/Zoom on the maps" - Again, this sounds easy, but with the way the maps are handled, it turned out to be more complicated than we expected and we ran out of time. We intend to revisit that in the future.