Cocoalena Software iPhone


May 26, 2013
Just submitted Carburetor v2.0.4 to Apple's App Store. Should be available in a week or so.
A few months ago I was at a local TCOYD conference and bumped into a popular diabetes Blogger. I had never heard of her blog, but then again, I really don't follow bloggers. Among other things we discussed Carburetor. I gave her a demo and she seemed fairly interested. Not long after I noticed she posted a blog entitled "Don’t Be An Apphole." I'm not sure if she coined the Apphole term but pretty clever none the less. Anyhow, I can't help but thinking the blog was directed at me. So I submitted a response which, to date, hasn't been posted. Maybe she didn't post it because I mentioned Carburetor, but how can you respond to being called an Apphole without mentioning the App? Anyhow, I've included a summary of her App concerns in her blog post and my response, that wasn't posted. Enjoy...

Her wish list:

  • Automagically sucks the results from my meter and CGM and pump and stores them as one, single document that gives me all my numbers at a glance. And it would require nothing more than Bluetooth (or, at the very, very least, one single cord that worked with all three devices. A magical cord. A uni-cord [mega-hat tip to Scott and George for "unicord."])
  • Counted carbs for me by way of simply snapping a photo of the food on my plate. (CarboGRAM instead of Instagram?)
  • Synced up with my Dexcom and texted a loved one if my blood sugar dips into hypoglycemic range
  • Stored a list of my medications and kept track of interactions, keeping me safe from taking drugs that would interact dangerously with one another
  • How about one that rewarded me for good health habits, even when my numbers aren’t cooperating? I want big, inflatable arms to come shooting out of my phone every time I admit that I tested my blood sugar, and the arms could give me a big hug. Even if the number is shit, I’d still be given huggy props for testing, and for reacting to that number. Or if big, inflatable arms aren’t an option, I’d settle for a .gif of cats drinking iced coffee. (I did find a video, though. Go, Cuddles!) (And in a further aside, there are apps being developed along these "reward" lines, which I think is awesome. Positive reinforcement is at a minimum in daily diabetes, and all efforts are appreciated.)

My response:

There are several posters which I think articulated it well. Between product liability, FDA approval, and the time/money to develop the "end-all-be-all" app far exceeds the few dollars people are willing to pay. So yes, it's typically either a single developer who builds an app tailored for their needs or you get a big Pharma company providing a free app which works with only their device, their test strips and they mine your data to get a return on their investment.

For example, the new iBGStar. I love the teeny-tiny meter (most people have pet-peeves, mine is the meter size and the lancing device, these should be integrated in to one small device) but…….the app bites! Horrrible! Almost useless!

First off, I don't think it saves all that much time. Granted, if you only upload once/week, then yes, that's a lot of manual data entry. But why are you even bothering after one week? For me, the goal is to see the data now in order to grasp some idea of why I was low/high and what should I do differently.

Secondly, you still have to launch the app, plug the meter into your iPhone, along with the adaptor if you have an iPhone 5, and it still takes about 5 seconds before it's all there. So how much time does it actually save? I don't think the unicord is the answer either. Picture yourself at a restaurant. You pull out your meter, the oversized lancing device, you untangle the $40 unicord (there's a company selling a cord like this but it only works with meters and not pumps, CGMs, etc), you pull out your phone, launch the app, load the test strip, cock the big lancing device and proceed to test your blood glucose and then put it all back in some uni-bag. I think the answer is wireless and that's why it's on my priority short list of things to develop, for my specific needs, of course…..

But aside from all that. What are you going to do with the data? So woohoo!! my data was automagically uploaded to my wis-bang app! Now what? My point is, don't get bogged down and distracted on how the data got into the app if you're not going to garner some insight on how to gain better control once the data is there, and for me, the iBGStar app doesn't tell me anything more then what the meter tells me.

As far as being hugged by your app? I get it, aside from the product liability of poking your eye out, a little positive reinforcement never hurts. Maybe that's were the social aspect comes into play. Fitbit sends encouragement and congratulatory texts and emails. But I'm not sure how I feel about a fitbit bot mining my data. A fit-bit too big-brotherish for me…. (Maybe it's just me and another one of my pet-peeves. I spoke with a T2D recently who uploads all his data to some website and couldn't care less about who sees it and what done with it. He was just really thrilled he could upload all of it, but gave me a blank stare when I asked "what do you do with the data after it's uploaded?", then responded, "send it to my Endo!". I see my endo twice a year, so the other 363 days I either do nothing or interpret the data myself).

With that said, I totally agree there's a lot of appholes cranking out junk. They're not T1D or T2D but see a market to peddle they're poorly designed and ill advised app with cutesy little icons, endless navigation and data entry. As a T1D and an apphole, I don't want to spend a lot of time entering data either but given the choice I'd prefer to focus on how the data can help me rather then fretting over manually entering it. For now, a small amount of manual entry isn't all that bad. After all, for a brief moment you're faced with the question; "Why was I at 225?" or after recovering; "Why was I at 37??". If it's automatically synced up then it's easily ignored.

Lastly, those of you using a CGM and pump are exposed to mountains of data and you really don't need an additional app, hence why there's not much out there for you, but as a T1D apphole who prefers not to be tangled up in hoses and what not, I wrote my own app called Carburetor, to stream-line ALL the data entry and to primarily focus on what the data is telling me.


December 09, 2010
One of the new features of iOS4.2 is the ability to print from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an AirPrint supported printer. The latest release of PDF-It (v1.4) supports printing via AirPrint. The bad news is, unless you have a printer that supports AirPrint it will not work. The good news is, there is a workaround allowing you to print to a shared printer via your Mac or Windows computer. There are several sites that will walk you through installing the necessary software so I wont bother repeating it here.
DISCLAIMER ALERT! Although this is working for me, remember, this is unsupported software so use at your own risk and by no means am I endorsing this. Also, I haven't tried this on a Windows computer only on my Mac and these are the instructions I used.