As long time San Jose Sharks fans, we jumped at the chance when long-time season ticket holder Bob (who has been a season ticket holder for so long Sharks GM Doug Wilson calls him for advice) offered tickets to the Stadium Series Outdoor Classic at the semi-new Levi’s Stadium in San Jose (home of the San Francisco 49ers, who will certainly NOT be renamed the San Jose 49ers).
Because of the stadium venue, this was more of an event than a hockey game. And, because we are Green Bay Packers’ fans, since this is the venue for Super Bowl 50, this was a chance for us to preview where the Packers will win their next Super Bowl (GoPackGo!).
Hopefully in the year between now and SB50 the Levi’s Stadium folks will get a few things rectified. Below is a (hopefully) helpful list for the folks at Levi’s Stadium.
- John Fogerty: as surprise entertainment between periods 1 and 2, Fogerty and his band were awesome and had us (and most of the crowd) dancing, air guitaring and singing in our seats.
- Impressive stadium: it definitely had that new stadium smell and was clean. Even though the rink was away from the fans (see below) the view was good. It was a lot bigger than the Shark Tank (and any other hockey venue)…but that was the point. I’m assuming Levi’s had to have an event to show they could put 70.000+ butts in seats in order to test support for the Super Bowl.
- A plethora of food choices: Curry dishes. Seafood. Veggie dogs? In addition to the normal hot dog and popcorn selections, there were quite a few choices.
- Sitting outside with friends and family: what could be better? It was a bit chilly, but supposedly a bit too warm for the ice. But we had a great time throughout the event. It was like a short, outdoor John Fogerty concert with a hockey game wrapped around it.
- Traffic and crowd control: this is always an issue at any stadium, but it certainly appeared that someone at VTA missed the mark. Even on the way in (we parked at a friend’s house and took the train in a couple of stops) there was a lack of trains (supposedly they run every 10-15 minutes on game day – we waited longer). But on the way out, it was a large mess. Though my wife and I went out a different exit, the folks going to the front toward the transit lines (including the rest of our group) had to cross the mini bridge (see photo at right, from a Sharks subreddit member). And then there were no trains running…seriously, we walked the mile back to the place where we parked (slowly, as two in our party had bad knees) and only ONE TRAIN passed us (and it was jammed). This does not bode well for the Super Bowl.
- Jacking up the beer prices – Seriously? Beer prices were two dollars more than they were for regular 49ers games. Obviously the NHL or Levi’s Stadium saw this as a way to take money from loyal Sharks fans (and yes, I know I could have abstained, but hockey without beer is like a day without sunshine).
- No lids or straws? And long lines – Our friend Nani got a Pepsi with no lid and no straw. When she requested a lid, she was told they weren’t environmentally correct…and this explained the spilled Pepsi everywhere. They did give her a straw, after going into the back to search for one. Lines at the concession stands were long and slow. One gent told me that 10% of the people didn’t show up for work; the hockey flu or just poor planning?
- No seats near the glass – as you can see from the initial picture, there was lots of space between the ice and the fans. Hockey is meant to have fans banging on the glass. Without that closeness, this was more like watching hockey on TV with 70,000 of your closest fans. It looked like from other photos, that there were seats near the glass at the previous stadium series games.
- Melissa Ethridge – two of the folks with us were fans, but all agreed – something was off with Ms. Ethridge. Stadium acoustics are not built for a solo act with a guitar, especially when she is operating below her normal standard.
- Sharks lost to the Kings!: In spite of the carnival atmosphere, we were there for a Sharks game. I’m about to start agreeing with Bob – go ahead and miss the playoffs so we get a decent draft pick for a change. Or, since hope springs eternal, sneak in as a wild card and go on a streak to the Stanley Cup!
The website we have utilized for beta testing of apps, TestFlightApp.com, shuts down on February 26th, 2015. All app testing will be moved to the iOS8 TestFlight app and managed through Apple’s iTunes Connect.
As a developer, and a user there are many more PROs to this than CONs. The new TestFlight app for iOS8 radically simplifies the process of beta testing apps.
In the old TestFlight.com, a developer had to:
- invite users to TestFlight
- get the user to register a device on TestFlight
- take the UUID of the device and register it on developer.apple.com
- put the device ID into a provisioning profile
- use that profile to build
- re-upload the build (or the new provisioning profile if that was all that changed) to TestFlightApp.com
- distribute the build to designated TestFlightApp users
There were several places where that process could get stuck and could indeed go wrong.
With the new TestFlight iOS8 app, the steps are much simpler:
- developer submits app (there are several steps involved here for developers, but they are basically the same as submitting an app to the app store. After Archiving, you “Submit” the app to a version on iTunes Connect that is marked “Prepare for Submission”
- check the box for “TestFlightBetaTesting”
- select “External Testers” (this will not be visible until the app goes through Beta App Review)
- invite the test user via email (does not even have to be their iTunes email, as Apple will do the mapping)
- the users will be asked to download the TestFlight app (if they have not already done so)
- the app will then be available for install from the TestFlight app
- apps installed via TestFlight app will have orange dots beside them
- users will be notified when new versions are available
The device ID mapping is done by Apple. No changes in the provisioning profile are needed.
What else is different? Here are the cons:
- No Android. Obviously, since Apple acquired them, support for this has been dropped. It was an advantage to have all testers and testing in one web site.
- Beta builds only available for 30 days. After that time, the developer must submit another build.
- No TestFlight SDK. The developer could including TestFlight’s SDK and get more data on what parts of the app the users was testing. These feature has not yet been moved over to the new TestFlight app (if anyone has found it, please let us know).
- Wait for Beta App Review. Apps do have to be submitted for “Beta App Review”. The first time this is done, it can take a few hours to a couple of days. After that, it is quite quick, if the developer answers a question concerning the level of changes in this build (fewer changes do not apparently require an extensive review).
- Issues with Gmail invites. We’ve run across one issue with invites receive in Gmail that were not able to acknowledge the TestFlight invitation and thus allow the app to be run under the TestFlight app.
- Works only with iOS8. This is not as big an issue as it was. We assume Apple waiting until the adoption rate was high enough before discontinuing the Test Flight app web service.
- If this is an upgrade to an existing app store app by the same name, the Test Flight app will write over it. The user will be notified of this with a alert notification. The user can always get the production version back via the app store.
Overall, the PROs far outweigh the CONs, and hopefully some of the other pieces will show up in the future.
Existing users can be exported from TestFlightApp.com into CSV files for import as external users on Apple’s iTunesConnect web site (where user management is now controlled). Detailed instructions here.