Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

topic posted Fri, September 10, 2010 - 12:45 AM by 

I'm one of the developers behind Burning Man Earth and this year we released iBurn for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. I talked with people who I saw using it on the playa but would love some tribe feedback... ideally constructive, so it can be even better next year.

If you want to help too, please let me know.
posted by:
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Fri, September 10, 2010 - 9:23 PM
    I used iBurn and like it a lot. But the 'redownload on Monday at midnight' is completely useless for those of us who arrive early. I don't know how much of an edge case I am -- an early iBurner. It seems like there are a lot of early folks, but I don't know how many of them are also iBurners. If there is going to be a Monday midnight data release again next year, you could accomodate folks like me by adding a 'sync' function to the app that attempts to download the data from a local server on an access point at Playa Info (or somewhere), without needing an update of the app from the Apple Store. You of course probably know this, but some wireless access points can serve files directly off of a thumb drive, and with DNS masquerading you can seamlessly remap your Internet update domain ( to the local access point ( or whatever), and so the hardware for this on playa could be as simple as a single box that you plug in.

    I'm also a mobile developer, and have been in this niche for eight years (our first product was for the first BREW phone, which was black and white phone that had so little stack space that our function calls couldn't be more than about 6 deep), and am happy to help with this software, if you need more nerds.
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Fri, September 10, 2010 - 9:49 PM
    I tried to use iBurn but I had problems with connectivity and I have a iPhone 4. It did not get any WiFi connection although I could locate a few. It's just that could not connect to them. And I did not get any cellular coverage whether it be Edge, 2g or 3g.

    That said, I probably would not have relied on iBurn for the entire stay at Black Rock City. I was merely curious to see how it worked in the environment it was designed for. I wish I could have played with it a little bit but oh well. Maybe next year.
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Tue, October 12, 2010 - 11:27 PM
    This was my first time on the playa and I used iBurn on an iPhone3G extensively.

    Even with the Monday download I found several events out of date, but of course that's the nature of playa events.

    I kept the phone in airplane mode most of the time to conserve battery, and I never got a WiFi or AT&T signal when i turned airplane mode off. Still I was impressed that iBurn usually found my location pretty accurately when I had the GPS on. I did have some problems with it locating specific events though (e.g. the schedule would say a camp at 9 and Cairo was showing a movie, but the iBurn map would pinpoint it at 9 and Athens).

    A few ideas:

    1. On the schedule, if you select the current day, could it default to events starting at or after the current time?
    2. Would it be possible to see the schedule in calendar format (i.e. overlapping blocks of time)?
    3. Would it be possible to see all the events currently in progress arranged by distance from my current location?
    4. Option for larger typeface for us burners over 40
    5. I loved the map in Center Camp that color coded the playa art projects by type (e.g. green, light, sound, fire); could iBurn similarly code the art list?
    6. How about adding the art tour mp3s as links to the art projects in iBurn?
    7. It would be cool to be able to link photos on the phone with the map in iBurn. i.e. click on a location and see all the pictures you took at that location.

    And yes I would be cool with a basic app for free and a nominal charge for the fully featured app.

    Thanks for creating the app. As noted above, I used it all the time.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Wed, October 13, 2010 - 2:01 AM
    feedback for 2011... unrelated to the app (and mostly joking) from your 2010 neighbor..

    Dont hang your Burning Man Earth banner on your neighbors kitchen!

    We had people coming in asking if we were burning man earth all week and I didnt notice why until around thursday when I saw that it did indeed appear as if we were burning man earth, we had the banner to prove it!.

    yeah..... just amused me to see it done that way ;-)

    hope y'all had a great year! (i dont have any phones that could have run this app so im no help there) Meeting the little kid who was on burn #10 ? while being about 9 years old or so..... yeah that made me feel pretty lame.

    fun times!
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Fri, October 15, 2010 - 1:47 PM
    I took a hiatus from the playa this year, but enjoyed version 1.0 of the app to check out some of this year's camp themes and event schedule. Unfortunately, once I got the upgraded 1.1 version, it now consistently crashes on my iPhone 2g. Although I've never written an iOS app before, I'm thinking about downloading your open source and trying to debug this myself.
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Fri, August 17, 2012 - 11:27 AM
    OOH neat, that would be like having all of PLaya Info on your phone. Now if only it could actually update WITH playa info... :)

    I'm in the crotchety "why wear a tether on the playa" camp. but I take my iPhone with me for the camera, time, and once or twice, I check on the businesses. Ye, it's lovely to have whole days where you can be on "indian time" and wander and see or do what you like. But in reality, if you're in a large camp, odds are you also have days with responsibilities or places to be. In that case, a tether is necessary.

    Butt on the flip side of that coin, there are people who live and die by the Who What Where, and try to see a lot of specific things during the event. for those people I can see how iBurn would be SO much better.
  • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

    Thu, September 27, 2012 - 2:36 PM
    I loved being able to search for camps and events by keyword. If I wanted to find others interested in belly dance, I could search for it. I used iBurn and another similar app (Time to Burn?), and the other one didn't let me search, but more of the camps in that app had the location, so I'd find a camp in iBurn, then find its location in the other app.

    The other app I used there was Falcon, which gave me bearing and distance to the camps and other locations that I'd bookmarked. Made it much easier to find things at night.
    • Re: Did you use iBurn? If so, what did you think?

      Thu, September 27, 2012 - 3:45 PM
      Okay, the whole "You must enter burningman (where there is NO signal) to activate" was irritating. Just fully activate.

      Everything else was cool, I event used it to show people where they were and where they wanted to go. Nice.

      I think it could benefit from a "whats coming up" feature, where you pick an area (default "this one") and it shows what events are currently engaged, or are happening soon.

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