A bugfix release version 1.1.2 has just hit Android Market!

Thanks to PackRat’s awesome users, I can fix bugs even when I don’t find time for major development work. One such user sent in crash log, which shows that PackRat crashes on certain book searches.

The bug is actually quite embarrassing — enough so that I should explain it a little. See, Google Base allows one to specify the number of pages a book has, but does not require it. Apparently in all my tests, I only searched and found books where the number of pages is not specified.

The crash is due to a silly typo when pages are specified. Ugh. Well, I’m glad that with the help of you guys I can figure out things like that!

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I just pushed 1.1.1 to the Android Market and AndAppStore. Updates should hit your phone Very Soon (TM).

One of PackRat’s users, Sean Glass, was nice enough to provide me with a crash log that let me analyze a crash he was experiencing — and by the reviews I read, he was not the only one. It turns out that some of the people publishing data in Google Base enter URLs for images that are just valid enough to be parsed as URLs, but just break the downloading code. That’s just one of those bugs that are easy to fix but hard to find if you don’t search for the right stuff. So thank you Sean for helping me find this!

Also in this release are Chinese translations, provided by the nice people behind this website, where PackRat should be available soon.

Update: PackRat is now available from 91.com as well.


I hope you have a great holiday season, and I wish you all the best for the new year!

Disappointingly, the christmas release I was hoping to finish was not to be. It’s going to sound like a lame excuse at this point, but other things kept interrupting.

But fear not, I’ve made a bit of progress with the next release nonetheless. At this point I’m not entirely sure when it’ll be done exactly, but expect an update early next year!

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After a bit of hacking at Google’s offices, I’ve managed to confirm what helpful users reported: the Droid Scanner Issues are fixed, and that warrants a new release!

Unfortunately, the fix requires me to drop support for Android 1.5. I’m sorry! This is a side project, and I don’t really have the time/resources to support every Android version out there.

But for you Android 1.6+ users, that means that I can also include support for the Quick Search Box, which allows you to search for media in your collection right from the desktop’s search bar.

In order to benefit from that, you’ll need to head to your phone’s Settings > Search > Searchable items, and check “PackRat Search” in that list.

Head over to the downloads page for a link to this release.

There should be another release fairly soon, with some features added that I haven’t had time to complete yet. Who knows, it might turn into a small christmas present from me to you!


I’ve received a few comments that Droid users can’t scan any barcodes with PackRat. I don’t have a Droid, but when I tried out PackRat on a borrowed device, it seems to have worked just fine. That makes debugging this issue pretty hard for me.

Here are a few ways you can help me if you’re affected, though:

  1. First, please make sure you’re not suffering from the Droid autofocus bug. The best way to make sure that’s not the case is to download ZXing Barcode Scanner, and see whether you can read barcodes with that. The scanning code is the same in both apps. If you can’t scan barcodes with this app, it’s not PackRat’s fault, and I can’t help you.
  2. If you see crashes/”force close” scenarios when you try to scan, you can help me by sending me log files from your phone. This applies to any crashes with PackRat, not just scanning related ones. The easiest way to do so is to download Log Collector. First, do whatever it takes to make the crash happen. Then, start Log Collector and send the log to my email address jens AT finkhaeuser DOT de.
  3. Finally, if you’re a Droid user, not afraid of installing apps manually (i.e. not through Android Market) and willing to help, I could send you an updated version of PackRat to try out. With a bit of luck, that’ll resolve the issue.

Thank you for your help!

Update 2009-12-07: I think this is now solved. Expect a new release soon. Many thanks to Domenic Padula and John L. Galt for their help!

This morning’s post about the current issues surrounding integration of Android apps via Intents got a few more responses than I had expected. The good news is that Google is aware of the issue.

The bad news is that that doesn’t help right away, of course. But there are some things we can do in the community.


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Today’s post on the Android Developers Blog annoys me. Titled Integrating Application with Intents, it describes pretty awesome mechanism by which one app can re-use parts of another app’s code, provided both are structured properly.

If you’re technically inclined, head over to that blog for the nitty-gritty of things. It’s pretty well done — and obviously not the part that annoys me.



Hot on the heels of version 1.0.2 I’ve just published a new version.

Before you get too excited, there aren’t any major new features in this release. It also does not fix any bugs1.

The reason for this new release is simply that a lot of you have given me suggestions in any form imaginable but via the suggestions forum.

Now any and all feedback is much appreciated, and I will continue to add suggestions you make to the forum. But in order to give you a better overview of what’s planned — and in what stage of development each feature is — I’ve decided to integrate the forum better into the app.

Integration is far from perfect, but at least you’ll get to see the current list of suggestions at the click of a button or two.

I’m looking forward to future suggestions from you. Thank you for using PackRat!

  1. I don’t know of any in v1.0.2 []

Yay! I’ve just pushed PackRat’s first release to the Market.

While ADC2 didn’t quite end as I’d hoped, all of you wonderful people who voted PackRat into the top 25% of entrants deserve to use it on a daily basis1. Thank you very much for your votes!

So I pushed out a release as fast as I could — this release does not contain any new features over what I submitted to ADC2, but does contain a few usability tweaks. Nothing major, but this new version’s user interface should be a bit more responsive, amongst other things.

You can download the app by just scanning or clicking on the QR code below.

PackRat on Android Market

PackRat on Android Market

  1. Assuming that’s a good thing, and not punishment. []
stored in: ADC2 News and tagged: ,

So, it seems that while ADC2 is not over exactly, it’s the end for PackRat. Here’s what I got in the mail a short while ago:

Thank you for developing your Android application ‘PackRat’ and participating in ADC 2. Unfortunately, your application was not selected by Android users as one of the top 20 in its category.

According to the scores submitted by users, your application ‘PackRat’ ranked in the top 25% of all applications submitted.

We appreciate your taking the time to develop and enter your application. We strongly encourage you to continue working on it and submit it to the public Android Market, where it can be downloaded and enjoyed by Android users all over the world.

Thank you again for your participation in ADC 2.

ADC 2 Support