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Small Chair and Subscriptions
E-books and Library
McSweeney’s Accounts and Multiple Devices
Downloads and Network Connections
Q. What is new in version 2.5?
A. A full list of changes can be found here.
- App is now free, with a one-month subscription to the Small Chair,
- System of Space and Time, an interactive art installation by Scott Snibbe,
- Added more custom-typeset e-books, including Touch Sensitive, an exclusive comic by Chris Ware,
- McSweeney’s Accounts are now optional,
- E-books and some Small Chair items may now be navigated by single-tapping the screen edges,
- Newly available e-books are indicated on the main menu,
- Library items now ordered by purchase date,
- Fixed display bug with three-digit unread counts,
- Improved layout and usability of McSweeney’s Accounts screen,
- E-books may now be updated without deleting user’s progress and bookmarks,
- Fixed a problem where updating an e-book while viewing, would result in a blank screen,
- Minimum required iOS version now 4.0 (was 3.1.3),
- Other minor interface tweaks and improvements.
Q. Why am I being asked to log in to a McSweeney’s Account? Why isn’t my email address recognized?
A. A McSweeney’s Account lets you share your purchases across all your digital devices and keeps them safe should you lose or upgrade a device. It is optional and may be skipped.
Note: If you are upgrading from version 1.x of the iPhone app, please register a new account or log in with your McSweeney’s Store details. Your existing subscriptions will be automatically added to your McSweeney’s Account. Simply tap the ‘Register a new account’ link on the app launch screen, enter your name and email, and your purchases will be transferred.
For more information see the FAQ section on accounts.
Q. When was version 2.5 released?
A. On September 20, 2011. If you purchased the app before this date, then you should update for free via iTunes or the App Store app.
Q. I bought the original iPhone app a long time ago. How do I get the iPad version?
A. The app is now a universal binary, meaning there is just one version that runs on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Just install or update the original app on your iPad — there is no need to purchase it again.
Q. Why is there no version for Android?
A. Unfortunately, we have no plans to make an Android version of the app at the moment. Apps written for the iOS and Android operating systems cannot quickly be ported to one another — they have to be re-written from scratch. Developing an app takes a long time and because we are a small company, with an even smaller technical department, we just do not have the resources to support multiple platforms. There is no subterfuge, corporate bias or underhand dealings — Apple’s platform was simply the most mature when we first decided to make an app. We would love to have an Android version, but we’re just too busy right now. Sorry.
Q. What was new in version 2.0?
A. Version 2.0 was a significant update. A full list of changes can be found here.
- Universal binary supporting iPad, iPhone and iPod touch,
- New multi-orientation iPad user interface,
- Retina Display support,
- New e-books Store and Library section,
- Share Internet Tendency articles via email, Facebook or Twitter,
- Synchronize subscriptions and purchases via a McSweeney’s Account,
- Dynamic art installation,
- New Push Notification jingles,
- Cycle-font-size button changed for increase-font-size and decrease-font-size buttons,
- Optimisations to download system including better support for resumed downloads,
- Improved Wi-Fi network detection,
- Download-on-demand when restoring a large number of Small Chair items,
- Support for new iOS 4.0x video player, including portrait orientation on iPhone,
- Headphone remote can be used to control audio items,
- Support for AirPlay in iOS 4.2 and above,
- Audio background image now works on iOS 3.2 and higher,
- Support for Fast App Switching as well as background downloading and audio,
- Google Analytics removed,
- New page-turn animation,
- Improved page-scrubber performance,
- New image viewer with support for double-tap-to-zoom,
- Rewrite of server system and move to new infrastructure for increased performance,
- A multitude of interface tweaks and improvements.
Q. How often will I receive new content?
A. There are new Internet Tendency things almost every day. There are no Push Notifications for Internet Tendency articles.
Q. This article I’m reading has brightened my daily existence in some way. How do I tell my friends about it?
A. You can send them an email with a direct link to the website version. You can also post the link to your Facebook wall or Twitter profile. For all sharing options, tap the icon at the bottom-right of the article overlay menu. You will be required to log in to Facebook and Twitter the first time you choose those services. If you wish to switch user accounts at a future date, then log out from the application preferences.
Q. Why do some Internet Tendency articles reappear at the top of the list even if I’ve deleted them?
A. Sometimes the larger, list-based sections are updated with new content. If this happens, the old version is removed from your device and the new version appears at the top again. This happens even if you have deleted a previous version.
SMALL CHAIR AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
Q. How often will I receive new content?
A. There will be a new Small Chair piece once a week.
Q. How do I know when new content is ready?
A. When a new Small Chair item is available, you’ll receive a Push Notification: the badge count on the McSweeney’s app icon will increase, and you might hear a little sound. Launching the app will download the new content. Check the Downloads section (accessible via the Store section) to see the progress of any current downloads.
Q. Why are the Push Notification sounds different every week? What do they mean?
A. There are several different jingles that you might hear. They were exclusively composed for the app by Nick Thorburn of Islands and Mister Heavenly. Whether or not they are significant is entirely random.
Q. How do I navigate through Small Chair items?
A. The weekly item might be a short story, a film, an interview, some audio, a collection of photos or something else. The pieces are usually made up of a sequence of different things. To navigate onwards try swiping up/down or left/right, or tapping the forward arrow on the overlay menu.
Q. I'm using an iPad and the content is too small to read! Help?
A. While landscape orientation is generally better for quickly switching between menu items, most text-based content is designed to be consumed in portrait mode. However, for wider items — such as movies and some art things — landscape might be preferred. For these situations, there is be a full-screen toggle on the overlay menu that will hide and show the sidebar. In short: rotate your device!
Q. Why are some of the items marked ‘OLD’ on the iPad?
A. An iPhone-only version of the app existed for a year before the iPad version was released. These marked items are older ones that have not been optimized for the larger iPad screen. They are still viewable, but will be smaller or in a lower resolution.
Q. Can I exit the app while an audio item is still playing?
A. Yes. If your device supports multitasking, then audio items will continue playing even after you exit the app. You may control the audio by either relaunching the app, or by using the iOS software or headphone remote. Movies and other content will pause when you exit.
Q. I’m not yet a subscriber, but I want the thing you just sent out. Am I too late?
A. You are not too late — new subscribers will automatically receive the current week’s Small Chair content.
Q. Can I get past Small Chair content from before my subscription began?
A. No, sorry.
Q. Is the Small Chair content also available online?
A. Nope, almost never. This is special material, from our print issues and other sources.
Q. How do I extend my Small Chair subscription?
A. A further six months can be added to your subscription from within the app through In App Purchase technology. Simply navigate to the Subscription tab in the Store section (network connection required) and tap the price tag twice. Purchasing an extra subscription works in the same way as buying music from iTunes or other apps from the App Store on your device, with all payments going through your Apple iTunes account.
Q. When can I buy an extra subscription period?
A. You can buy extra periods at any time; the extra days will be appended to whenever your current subscription is due to expire. If you buy a new period when your old subscription has completely lapsed, it will start right away.
Q. What happens if my subscription expires?
A. If your Small Chair subscription expires, then you’ll simply stop receiving new content. All existing content will remain accessible on your device, and you will continue to receive updates from the Internet Tendency and be able to access the e-book store.
An alert icon will be shown at the top of the Small Chair section when you have fewer than 14 days remaining and you’ll receive one Push Notification alert when there are fewer than 24 hours to go.
E-BOOKS AND LIBRARY
Q. There’s a new Library section and it’s empty! What is this for?
A. Version 2.0 introduced full-length e-books, designed and typeset specifically for your digital device. You can purchase these individually from the Store section. Once purchased they will be available from your library.
Q. "Specifically for my digital device"?
A. Rather than delivering a stream of text and expecting you to layout your own book via a bewildering choice of fonts, sizes and colors, we used humans to professionally design and typeset every page, specifically for your screen. There are versions optimized for both iPad and iPhone, including support for the Retina Display. In addition, many of our e-books feature new and exclusive artwork.
Q. What books are available?
A. Some will be digital versions of existing McSweeney’s titles, some will be exclusive to the app. The available titles are listed in the Store section of the app. There may also be a list on the e-books page of this website. Further books will be released periodically, in tightly curated batches.
Q. Do you have a drastically discounted e-book that I can purchase to get a feeling of what these are like?
A. Your wish is our command: McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue 32 is available for just $0.99 (or local equivalent.)
Q. Do I have to buy a separate copy of a book for each device I own?
A. No. If you own multiple devices — such as an iPhone and iPad — then you only need to purchase it once. To download on your other devices either restore library items from the application preferences, or simply purchase again from the Store (you will be told that the this download is free and not charged again.)
Q. Why am I being told a book has been updated?
A. Very occasionally we may update a book to fix a formatting mistake or other minor error. This will probably never happen, but if it does — and you have purchased that book — you will be told that an update is available and given the opportunity to update your copy.
McSWEENEY’S ACCOUNTS AND MULTIPLE DEVICES
Q. I'm upgrading from version 1.x of the iPhone app. What is a McSweeney’s Account? What has happened to my existing subscription?
A. If you are upgrading from a previous version, you should register a new account or sign in with your details from the McSweeney&rssquo;s Store. Your existing subscriptions will be automatically added to it. Simply tap the ‘Register a new account’ link on the app launch screen, enter your name and email, and your purchases will be transferred.
Q. Why should I use a McSweeney’s Account?
A McSweeney’s Account lets you use the same subscription and e-books across multiple devices. Even if you only have a single iOS device, your account will keep your purchases safe should you upgrade or get a replacement device. This is why it is recommended. You may use the app without registering by tapping ‘skip this.’
Q. How do I get a McSweeney’s Account?
A. Accounts are free and require just your name and e-mail address. You can also use your details from the McSweeney’s Store. There is a register link on the log-in screen when you first run the app. Alternatively you may create one at: accounts.mcsweeneys.net.
Q. Can McSweeney’s Accounts be used for anything else?
A. Accounts are supported by our iOS app and web store. Eventually you’ll be able to sign into other McSweeney’s digital services too.
Q. How will you use my data?
Q. What happens if I delete the app and reinstall?
A. If the app is removed from your device, then all your existing content and preferences are also deleted. If you then reinstall at a later date, and log in with the same McSweeney’s Account, the app will download your available e-books and Small Chair items again. Note that subscriptions continue to run even if the app is removed and you will not receive a second inclusive period if you remove and reinstall.
If you restore your device from an iTunes backup then your content and preferences will also be restored.
Q. What happens if I install the app to a second device, upgrade or get a replacement device?
A. Make sure to sign in with the same McSweeney’s Account and your Small Chair subscription and e-book purchases will be available on both.
Q. Can I change the McSweeney’s Account associated with a device?
A. Yes, you can sign out of your account via the application preferences. Note that all content will be deleted and you will be returned to the Accounts log-in screen. In addition, signing out will make all subscriptions purchased on that device unavailable on other connected devices.
Q. What do I do if I forget my password?
A. You can retrieve lost passwords by going to accounts.mcsweeneys.net and choosing the appropriate link.
Q. How do I update my email address or change my name?
A. You can manage your account details by going to accounts.mcsweeneys.net and logging in.
Q. Is there a McSweeney’s Account-specific FAQ I can read?
A. Yes, there is!
DOWNLOADS AND NETWORK CONNECTIONS
Q. Why do I need a network connection when I first run the app? Do I need to be online to view the content?
A. The first time the application is run, we need to register your device with our servers. This is so we can allocate you the subscription period included with the original purchase and give you access to future content. After the app has been run once, a network connection is no longer required. New content will only be downloaded if one is present, but you will be able to view existing content offline.
Q. How do I stop very large content downloads taking place over 3G?
A. Most of our Small Chair items will be between 2 MB and 10 MB, although films and some e-books may be larger. There is a 3G threshold setting in the application preferences (accessed by tapping the small (i) at the top of the main menu.) This will stop any item larger than the threshold from being downloaded while connected via 3G (including an EDGE connection). The default setting is 6 MB.
Q. What does it mean when an item is grayed-out and says ‘Connect to Wi-Fi to download’?
A. This item is larger than the current 3G download threshold setting. Either connect to a Wi-Fi network or change the threshold from the application preferences.
Q. What does it mean when an item is grayed-out and says ‘Tap to download’?
A. New downloads usually start automatically, but if you haven’t used the app for a while or are reinstalling to a new device, some older items will be set to download on demand. This gives you more control over the order things are available. Simply tap the item you want to see and it will be added to the download queue.
Q. Does the app download things in the background?
A. Yes! If your device is capable of multitasking then downloads will continue even after you exit the app. (Note that you must still launch the app to start new downloads.) If you do not want downloads to continue, then make sure you quit the app completely by removing it from the iOS Fast App Switcher.
Q. Why is there a tiny Small Chair at the top-left of my screen? Why is it pink?
A. These are two good questions.
Q. Can I delete content to save space?
A. You can delete Internet Tendency articles, Small Chair items and e-books by swiping along the row and tapping ‘Delete.’ If you later decide you want something back, you can restore all deleted items by choosing the appropriate option from the application preferences. Note that deleting an item will remove any associated progress and bookmarks.
While all Small Chair items and e-books are retained indefinitely (until deleted by you), the Internet Tendency section has a maximum number of articles that are kept. Once the count reaches this point, old content will automatically be deleted. The default setting for this 50 articles, but that too can be changed in the preferences.