Our first Marble Jar app review is in.

It is not good.

I read it on my iphone on Sunday night when I was at a party with the family. Hosted at a log cabin, with great pot luck fare and a firepit it was a wonderful summer evening that sort of makes everything seem balanced. Friends food, family, and flambe– in the form of this review.

I’d like to tell you that my thick skin and I got through the evening uncharred, but I can’t. I  moped around and felt sad. I was generally a poor party guest.

I wrote my LA team to ask for the protocol in responding to bad press. They asked me to pass my response by them before I submitted but gave no particular feedback.  (‘Didn’t do’, as our British soccer coach would say (imagine the accent it helps)) My friend Nicole from PMG gave concise instructions (yet another reason she is great at her job)

  • Thank the blogger for taking the time to write the review and preview the product
  • Apologize for any negative experiences that they had
  • Reframe those experiences [so, here I would offer that while the ipad experience was not ideal, the iphone experience is flawless. talk about what your team is doing on the next round of updates for those with ipad apps, etc.}
  • offer a personal walk though of the product – if warranted
  • offer a link to other user reviews
  • re read before you post and answer any questions that she/he posed

I did some of that. Perhaps some of you will do all of that. It is a good formula.

Here is what I wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to review my app marble jar.

I was sorry to read that you were disappointed in your experience.

There are a few tips I can give you and your readers to make it better as I work to build an iPad optimized version of the app.
I would recommend hitting the 2x button to enlarge the app to the full size of the iPad screen, this is how my four year old uses it…it eliminated the black bars and makes the key board twice as large.

Additionally you can tap the “shake the refresh” button on the tips screen to see use tips and parenting suggestions. I will relabel the button with my first update next week. That should prevent anyone from shaking his/her phone so hard that it flies across the room!
I would love to hear whether of not you tried it with your kids. As I iron out the technical wrinkles I would be curious whether or not your kids respond to the app as much as mine have.

Last night at dinner my 6 year old proposed that we build a “donation” jar where we can add marbles for each dollar that he gives away to our local King Street Youth center here in Burlington Vermont. I liked the idea but thought he was finding a loop hole..(he would donate the money but at the end ask for a toy of his choice.) When I asked him what his celebration would be when the jar was full he replied: “You would buy me a star wars lego toy….to give to the kids there.”

It is as a framework for conversations like this one (initiated by my kid) that I find value in the app. Amongst our morning routine jars, and sleepover jars you will find “healthy choices”, “happy earth” and as of this morning: “donations.” What a great way to practice growing into the people that we hope to be.

I hope you and your readers give the app a try. I will let you know when it is optimized for iPad for sure!

Thanks again

I almost signed it “the mom who put her savings into this app so that you could use it with your kids but you didn’t cover that part at all.” However that didn’t seem to fit with the PMG protocol. I wish I could have virtually included a drop of blood or sweat or one of the 10,000 emails between the developer and I as we debated the “shake to refresh” feature amongst others.

Its tough for me to rebut the “its not for me” approach though. Letting everyone figure out what is for them is pretty much the theme of my life, and this app.

Here are a few technical tips, which may or may not be for you.

How to make an iPhone app fill your iPad screen

How to make an iPhone app fill your iPad screen

App can fill iPhone screen

App can fill iPhone screen if you prefer it to be larger...

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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