Not Now!

by Gabrielle DeMarco on June 9, 2011

Just a little under two years ago, RPI undergrad Peter Hajas wrote on his blog, “I’ve been learning a lot about iPhone development recently. I bought a book, ‘Beginning iPhone Development’.”

Today, Peter’s MobileNotifier application has been downloaded by more than 250,000 iPhone, iPod, and iPad users around the world. Even Apple CEO Steve Jobs is talking notice, referring to the application on Tuesday in his speech introducing the new iCloud platform.

One of the annoying things about the current and still-exceptional iPhone software (known as iOS) is that its notification system can be pretty pushy. A text message will rudely interrupt your latest game of Angry Birds just before the last green pig is crushed! Or the ring of an incoming call will nearly rupture your eardrums while you are grooving to Lady Gaga (judge me if you want to). So, you are forced to either stop and immediately look at that text, tweet, Facebook update, or call, or push it aside and quickly forget all about its potentially important contents.

Hajas’ MobileNotifier helps solve some these issues with less obtrusive alerts. Instead of stopping everything when a notification has been received, a bar appears at the top of the screen with basic information on what is incoming. The bar takes up little screen space and can be quickly taken down and moved into the AlertDashboard until you are ready to take a look. Then, once you have finally posted your latest epic tweet, you can take a look at the dashboard and review all the alerts you received. Think of the AlertDashboard as the answering machine for modern times. A demo of the most recent version can be found here.

Hajas developed the completely open source application as part of the Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software (RCOS). The RCOS provides an outlet for exceptional student designers, hackers, and Web gurus like Hajas that are looking to spread their wings in software development. The RCOS includes faulty and student mentors that work with each of the student developers to hone their skills and improve their software. Professor Mukkai Krishnamoorthy leads the group. The mission of the RCOS is to develop software that is completely open source and strives to solve societal problems. Open source means that all the code behind the applications are free and available for other users to manipulate and improve upon on their own. It is an important way to build upon innovations within the computer science community.  Students within the RCOS are given pretty free rein to advance their ideas with the help of other members and mentors. Applications like MobileNotifier blossom in this open and exciting environment.

MobileNotifier does require your iPhone or iPad to be jailbroken, a process that unlocks all the features of the operating system allowing users to download unofficial software. But, this hasn’t stopped it from being downloaded by more than 270,000 users. Many Apple aficionados believed that the innovations of MobileNotifier would be incorporated into the upcoming Apple iOS 5 and those wishes appear to be coming true as Apple previews the new operating system. And, if the blogosphere is correct, our own Hajas may also be on his way to the vaunted technology company to continue to flex his app knowhow. Even if the rumors prove unfounded, we know Hajas has a great future in front of him.