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iCHALKY Frequently Asked Questions

(Last updated February 21, 2009)

If this FAQ doesnít answer your question, you may email me directly at eric@metois.com and Iíll do my best to answer in a timely manner.

Will iChalky work on my iPod Touch?

Yes. The application is compatible with any iPod Touch device running OS 2.0 and above.

Can iChalky dance on an iPod Touch?

Yes but you will need an external microphone because the Touch doesn't have a built-in microphone. If you own a 2nd generation iPod Touch you can use Apple Earphones with Remote & Mic.

Another user was able to make iChalky dance on a 1st generation iPod Touch using a Macally iVoice III, which is an external microphone that plugs into the 30-pin dock connector of virtually any iPod model.

Can I play my iPod music in iChalky's background?

Yes. By default the application will attempt to connect to your device's microphone input when it launches (even if you're using an iPod Touch that doesn't have a microphone). This connection will interrupt any other audio session that may be active on your device and this is why your iPod music will be muted as a result.

You can still listen to your iPod music while playing with iChalky by either:

  • Double-clicking on the home button and selecting a track from your iPod application; or
  • Disabling the "Dance to microphone input" option in iChalky's settings. The application will remember that setting and on subsequent launches it will no longer try to connect to the device's microphone input and hence, no longer mute iPod music that you might be listening to.
In either cases however, iChalky will not dance to the tracks you are playing from the iPod application. The problem is not to let the music play in the background, but for Chalky to hear it. It appears that Apple's concept of an audio session is confined to its own application and I haven't found a way for iChalky to peek at the iPod audio output.

Why can't iChalky dance to music I'm playing from my iPod application?

I've always wanted Chalky to dance to the iPod music but after going carefully through the documentation and experimenting quite a bit I have never found a way to do it. Despite a few inquiries to Apple's dev support I've never heard back from them about this. This has been a source of frustration for me since iChalky's first version and in fact monitoring the microphone input was more of a plan B. I don't know whether this was intentional on Apple's part or whether it is a simple omission in the SDK but believe me when I say that I really tried.

The problem is not to let the music play in the background (you can already do that with iChalky) but to monitor it. It appears that Apple's SDK doesn't currently allow an application to monitor the audio stream or even the audio level of iPod music. One alternative would be to play the music file from within the iChalky application but that hits another restriction of the iPhone SDK, namely that it is forbidden for an application to get access to the device's music library.

iChalky doesn't respond to the accelerometers

Occasionally Chalky will appear to stand still and oblivious to your device's accelerometers. iPhones and iPod touches have known issues with the accelerometers getting "stuck" sometimes and this is not something specific to iChalky. You can google "stuck accelerometer iphone" and see that this has happened to a lot of people and it is not clear whether it is hardware or firmware related.

Most of the time re-launching the application is all it takes to recover but according to some of these blogs and forums it appears that some people have had to either power-cycle or reset their devices in order to bring the accelerometers back to life.

How do I use the thumbtack feature?

It takes at least two fingers to use this feature. Use one finger to grab Chalky and touch the beating thumbtack icon with another finger to place a pin at that location. To remove a pin you can simply touch it.