Introducing Cue Up

Think about music in a movie for a moment. You can often anticipate what’s about to happen from the musical cues. Cue Up is an app that lets you put musical cues on a schedule—to give your day a sound track and you a way to know what part of the day or night it is by the music you hear.

And it’s a little more than simply playlists on a schedule. Each cue in your day can have a prelude which leads into the cue, so you can anticipate what’s about to happen before it actually does. Let’s say you want to wake at 6am. You may create a cue and set the time for 6am, adding the music you want to play starting at 6am to the playlist. But you can also add songs to a prelude. These songs will play leading up to 6am, ending just in time for your cue. And if there’s a volume difference in whatever’s on the schedule before 6am and your 6am cue, Cue Up will use the prelude to gradually adjust the volume. Want to play music softly overnight then gradually ramp up the volume as it’s nearing your time to wake? This can do it for you which may help you better anticipate when it’s time to wake.

And about that alarm thing: an obnoxious beeping? Maybe some sort of not as obnoxious chimes? Nah. How about a voice that delivers your cue. Don’t you think you’d respond better to a voice than to beeps? Write your own custom messages to hear spoken for your cues.

We think its a great way to wake up. Think about this: rather than waiting until it’s actually time to wake up to set off an alarm to jolt you out of sleep, give yourself a musical heads up to what’s coming next—then wake to a voice delivering your cue. We’re not making any claims for how it will work for you. People are all different; but we use it ourselves and have enjoyed waking this way ever since we got the first prototype working and found we loved it.

We’d love to hear about how you use it and your experience with it!


Disclaimer: we haven’t done any studies on whether this is a better way to wake and we’re not making any claims that it is or that it will wake you or that our little app will improve your life in any way. We are sharing our experience and our experience using it ourselves is a good one. And we provide it free for you to try—which we think is the best way anyway. We hope you try it and find that your experience is great!


Cue Up — The Prelude

Most mornings I am not conscious of the prelude, but I’m up by the first syllable of my morning cue message. I think the prelude helps me prepare to wake. That is what my experience has been virtually every morning for months now as I’ve been developing Cue Up. Here’s what I’ve found that I enjoy: I fill my prelude with ~20 minutes of songs that are not in my overnight playlist. Generally, they fall into the New Age genre. I start with slower tempo and build the tempo with each song, but it’s still music you would be more likely to relax to than work out with. But it’s the same every morning, and always leads up to my cue to wake. Like Pavlov’s dog, I think the consistent sound may help me anticipate and prepare for what’s next. Feel free to let me know how you use Cue Up. Enjoy!

Cue Up — Sharing Cue Up

It happens almost every morning in our house. I like to get up well before everyone else. So what if you both want to use Cue Up, but you and your spouse plan to get up at different times? There are more than one way you can do this. But here are a couple that we like:

Share a single device: Set up an overnight cue with great music to sleep to. Then set up a cue for each of you. When the first to wake gets up, they can switch off their cue in the schedule. Cue Up will then revert back to the overnight playlist until it’s time for the second cue. Don’t forget to turn the first cue back on before you need it again!

Using two devices: Two devices can both be plugged in and set up to wait quietly until it’s time for their respective cues, or the one with the later cue can play music overnight while the one with the earlier cue waits quietly until it’s time to cue. Pillow or bone conducting speakers may also help isolate the sound enough that each is able to have their own cues without disturbing the other.

Also, try putting your name in your cue message. You probably pay more attention to your own name that others do. Try using different music for each of your preludes and playlists, and messages that are easy to tell the difference from one another. If they sound different, you and your spouse will have an easier time hearing your own cues.

Cue Up — Playback Control

Did you know that you can control playback for Cue Up through Control Center (swipe up from bottom)? Even if Cue Up is not currently playing you can start playback. It can take a few seconds after you tap ‘play’ in Control Center to start if the app was closed, but this lets you start playing your schedule without needing to unlock the device or switch to Cue Up. I find this a convenient way to listen to music in my car. I plug in my phone as soon as I get in, swipe up to bring up Control Center and hit ‘play’, and that’s it! I don’t even need to unlock and Cue Up plays the music and speaks cues as I’ve scheduled. It’s a very convenient way to listen to my music. To appear in Control Center, Cue Up must be the last app to use Control Center for playback control and Control Center must be enabled in Settings.

Mathbeat is Free for a Limited Time!

Download it today and make sure you keep up your math skills over the break!

Mathbeat Free is no longer available

Mathbeat Free has received its last planned support and is no longer under development. I had originally planned a model where Mathbeat Free would be a ‘lite’ version, and would be ad supported. But theory and practice sometimes differ. While I was able to create the app, I didn’t end up finding an advertising solution that I was satisfied with (which is why, if you’ve been using it, all you’ve probably seen is my own banner linking you to Mathbeat). This has a lot to do with knowing that many of the users of the app will be children. While I’d love to find a way to support the development of this app and offer it for free, I don’t think advertising to children is the way to do it. And it’s not just the ads themselves–it’s also that advertisers want information on who’s viewing their ads. Mathbeat was designed to keep all its data in the control of the user. Everything is local to the device–it doesn’t transmit anything back to us or anyone else. This isn’t possible with an ad supported model.

So, although Mathbeat Free is no longer available on the App Store, I have decided to offer Mathbeat (the no ad version) for free for a limited time. I am excited that it has been under active development, and we’ve got an update for iOS 7 that should be available very soon. So go download your copy of Mathbeat as our Christmas gift to you!

Merry Christmas!