Nov 2008

Method invocation formatting styles in Objective-C

Cocoa with Love: “While most traits of Objective-C follow consistent styles, method invocation formatting — arguably a defining characteristic of the language — does not. In this post, I’ll look at a handful of approaches that different programmers use to format their method invocations and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.”

Me, I go with style #1: soft wrapping.

How VoodooPad does its syncing

Gus Mueller: “In previous attempts I tried to be smart about how I did synchronization, or made server side components, or just other crazy things. What I got in the end wasn’t the fastest way to do things or the sexiest, but it seems work.”

Scoped Objects in Objective-C

Kickingbear: “It also means the programmer is less likely to accidentally leak an object since the scope will clean it up anyway. But we can’t do that in Objective-C.”

Live Mesh for Macs

TUAW: “Two things about the Live Mesh service that I really like are: (1) You have the ability to sync up to 5 GBs of data. (2) You can access your files anywhere with the website.”

Keeping an open mind is indicated. I’ll check it out. Very cool Mac software can come from unexpected sources sometimes.

More Bookmarklets from Web Resources Depot

NewsGator Technical Blog: “It’s a great collection that lists some that were mentioned here, plus a number of other ones I’ve never heard of!”

Smart Software Should Get Out of Your Way

NickB: “In the semi-perfect world I keep in my head, ‘smart software’ is software that gets the hell out of my way. It doesn’t try to guess what I’m going to do next, doesn’t constantly offer me ‘helpful’ tips, and doesn’t move things around on me in an attempt to suit my needs.”

I know Nick well enough to be frightened — truly, deeply terrified — of the things he keeps around in his head. That mad abyss of mentality, that bog of brains, that swamp of sense, it deranges me, leaves me looking up at the sky, asking the clouds why?, and knowing no answers are possible anymore — there is only the terror.

Except for this. He’s right about software.

PS I’m teasing. Nick’s normal. Really.

Dumbing Down the Cloud

Rands In Repose: “Dropbox is not dumb. In fact, Dropbox is quite smart because it lets me be dumb.”

Lifestreaming clients

Ted Leung on the Air: “Here’s a consolidation of the some of the things that I think are important in rich clients for Twitter and services like it.”

Leopards and monopolies and DRM! Oh, my!

The Macalope Weekly: “...snow leopards don’t pounce — they are amongst the deadliest but also the laziest of cats and kill their victims from a reclined position on the couch.”

Am I a Mac user purely for the code names? I can admit to a fondness for the felines.

PS Macalope equals Mac the Knife for the 21st century.

Network Bailout or Blow it Up?

Venture Chronicles: “Lost in the debate about the future of television is the fact that the average American is watching more television than ever, 142 hours per month. Parse those numbers a little more and it’s clear that while Americans are watching a lot of television per month, they are watching less broadcast network television.”

It Died

Glenn Fleishman chronicles the latest extinctions. It’s kind of fun reading, if only for the bits of webenfreude.

Subscribe to feed.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

What makes a blog post popular? Part II: subjectivity and polarity

mSpoke: “The items with a high NewsGator attention score tend to have a greater percentage of sentences identified as subjective. There’s still pretty wide variance, so subjectivity is a weak predictor at best.”

The Increasing Importance of Discoverability

Nick Bradbury: “When compared to software written a decade ago, today’s software is generally more usable, and I believe that’s due in part to the fact that discoverability has become more important.”

Favicon Hell: Small Feature, Big Code

Nick Bradbury: “The end result is that it took thousands of lines of code just to display favicons. And that’s often the case with features that seem simple at first glance.”

Nick uses favicons to make a point about software estimates — you don’t know what the weird issues will be until you start writing the code.

Automated user interface testing on the iPhone

Cocoa with Love: “This post will show you a way to run automated, scripted tests on an iPhone app’s user interface.”

Turning Ideas Into iPhone Applications

Raven Zachary, O’Reilly Inside iPhone: “The demand for iPhone developers exceeds the supply and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The going rate for iPhone developers, at least the developers I know and trust, is $125/hour and up.”

(Via Joe Pezzillo.)

Incredibly Useful Bookmarklets for Developers

The NewsGator Technical Blog posted a list of bookmarklets useful for anyone doing web development.

Sloshspot: iPhone App for drinkers

Mashable: “Sloshspot is an index of bars and nightspots, where users can leave reviews, post photos, and check out other ‘regulars’ of different locales.”

I sometimes wonder if we shouldn’t have a no-technology exception for things like bars. Not on moral grounds but for poetic reasons. If word-of-mouth was good enough for Dylan Thomas and Charles Bukowski, it should be good enough for us.

iPhone pirating app pirated

Ars Technica: “The Hackulous pirating site is dedicated to cracking and distributing iPhone applications without paying any money to their developers. In what can only be described as hilarious irony, a beta version of that application was itself pirated and released before it could enter a full open-source distribution.”

The Mobile Application Rush: Is the iPhone Really Leading the Way? “But are iPhone owners really interested in mobile applications any more than other Smartphone users, or is it just hype?”

iPhone 2.2 Software Enhances Maps, Tweaks Interface

TidBITS: “The iTunes app also gains the capability to download podcasts over either Wi-Fi or the cellular network.”

OpenCL team delivers spec, just in time for Snow Leopard

Ars Technica: “OpenCL was proposed so that programmers could write software in a way that would allow computing tasks to be best handled by whatever hardware resources are available to a given machine.”

More on Google Mobile and Private APIs

Ars Investigates: “Using unpublished APIs means that your applications can break at any firmware upgrade; Apple does not guarantee that routines will not change the way they stand behind the published APIs.”

Google Mobile Uses Private iPhone APIs

Daring Fireball: “So, (a) Google Mobile is using a private API, and (b) to my knowledge, there is no way to duplicate the behavior of Google Mobile’s ‘just lift the phone to your ear to trigger the voice prompt’ feature using only the public APIs in the iPhone SDK.”

Release day “Unless your Internet tubes are broken, you’re probably aware that we released Frenzic for the iPhone today... But let’s go beyond all of this self congratulation and look at some of the details about how to coordinate your App Store release.”

Mac devs take bugs into their own hands

MacUser: “Since Apple’s own database often contains protected information, Burks took a simple but clever solution: create a duplicate database into which developers could file the same bugs they’re reporting to Apple, but which allows for searching and other features that Radar doesn’t.”

Lemonade Stand

Maverick Software: Lemonade Stand is “a faithful remake of the classic Apple II game” with an “optional ‘Classic Graphics’ mode that shows the original Apple II graphics, for the full old school experience.”

I spent many hours playing this game, getting beat by my younger sister — who later got a master’s degree in economics.

How Safari 3.2’s Anti-Phishing Does, and Doesn’t, Work

TidBITS: “For the first time, Safari 3.2 includes two anti-phishing features designed to protect users from accidentally (or purposely) visiting fraudulent Web sites.”

VoodooPad 4 ships

Congrats to Gus on shipping VoodooPad 4! A big new feature is syncing, which I bet lots of folks have been hoping for. (Works via MobileMe or WebDAV.) Here are the release notes.

Versions 1.0 (Mac Subversion client)

Pico and Sofa: “Versions 1.0 is out now, so say hello to the fresh new look of your repository and start saying less to that command-line interface.”

Holy crap, [Scott] wrote a book

Blankbaby: “Scott McNulty watchers (and you know you’re one of them) might have been wondering, ‘What the heck has Scott been up to?’”

Scott’s been writing a book called “Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read.” Now you know what to give as gifts this year. :)

Today 1.5

carpeaqua: “Today 1.5 is now out. It’s the biggest update since 1.0 back in the spring and features alarms, past due notifications and Growl support.”

Star Trek trailer is online

Blankbaby: “...the Star Trek trailer was frickin’ awesome.”

Why developers prefer Macs

Macworld: “Visual Studio is running on Windows inside a Parallels virtual machine, which, in turn, runs on his Mac. He has a PC, a Mac, and a Unix development box all in one.”

Revisiting Hulu

Macworld: “Hulu’s target audience is the increasing number of people who don’t mind the existing model of ad-supported brodcast, but spend more time in front of their computer than in front of their TV.”

Free Idea: FullScreenKit

Fraser Speirs: “So, I propose a project - for some motivated person with more free time than I - to produce a UI framework based on Core Animation that visually mimics Front Row, but uses the conceptual design of UIKit from iPhone OS.”


Jeff Nolan: “For all of the benefits that web-based applications provide, user experience alone is generally not one of them. Small, high performance, persistent desktop apps can intensify usage which can then lead to broader adoption and with mobile apps, specifically the iPhone but eventually more mobile platforms, this goes to a whole new level.”

Singletons, AppDelegates and top-level data

Cocoa with Love: “Global variables is a term that invokes a sense of dread in experienced programmers... This post will be entirely about writing and using global variables.”

Open Radar

Wolf: “Sharing bug reports is very important for the indie community, and is the motivation behind things like Apple Bug Friday... For over a decade, external developers have been imploring Apple to open up Radar.”

Follow your own path

Code by Kevin: “One of the dangers of identifying too strongly with a community is drifting, almost unconsciously, into a kind of conformity.”

How to Price Your iPhone App out of Existence

Andy Finnell: “The problem that you’re likely to have, like most developers, is setting a price that you can live on. The temptation will be to price your app too low, such that developing the application isn’t sustainable. You might have the best of intentions, but in the end you’ll cause the premature death of your business before it even gets a chance.” (Via Daring Fireball.)

I’ve watched the software world long enough to know that competing on quality is a good idea. Price your software high enough so you can keep afford to keep working on it — and make sure your software is the best you can make.

The Space Shuttle Launch As Seen from My Driveway

Dan Benjamin: “Last night at 7:55pm EDT, the Space Shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. About a minute beforehand, I grabbed the camera...”

Comparing Five iPhone File Transfer Apps

TidBITS: “While iTunes makes it relatively easy to move photos, videos, and music from my desktop Mac to the iPhone, I want to have access to all the other data that I have on my desktop too.”

How To Prepare a Mac For Sale

Dan Benjamin: “Following these steps will let you sleep a bit better at night and has the added benefit of creating a great first-experience for the buyer.”

NewsGator iPhone App - free webinar

NewsGator Daily: “The latest iPhone has far exceeded sales expectations. A recent Bullish Cross blog post estimated that Apple sold 7 to 7.5 million iPhone units in Q3 2008 — 80% above plan. A November 2008 article on stated that ‘brisk sales of Apple’s iPhone have catapulted it to the No. 2 position in so-called smart phone sales, jumping ahead of the Blackberry.’”

On Microsoft and uncoolness

Inquisitr: “It is only recently though that I believe that the company is truly beginning to turn the battleship around.”

How I Use My Mac

Tim Bray: “I switched in 2002 and have written probably way too much on my relationship with Apple computers, including one piece grandiosely entitled How To Use Mac OS X. Well, I use one for several hours a day almost every day and while I feel a little humbler now, I still thought it would be worthwhile writing down the practices that serve this particular experienced and intense user well.”

NewsGator’s Star Shines Bright

Brad Feld: “The extended NewsGator team — including the product folks, sales folks, support, marketing, and executive team — are obsessed with their customers in a way that puts them far ahead of most other software companies.”

I love hearing this. I also love being a part of NewsGator — I like the people, I like our software, and the work gets more interesting all the time. And the best part is, as Brad says, the obsession with making software for humans.


Brandon Walkin: “BWToolkit is a BSD licensed plugin for Interface Builder 3 that contains commonly used UI elements and other useful objects. Using these objects is as simple as dragging them from the library to your canvas or document window.”

Includes “no code” preferences windows, tabbed sheets, transparent controls for HUD windows, button and status bars, and more. Looks good.

(Via Scott Stevenson.)

Cooking with gas

chockenberry: “So why is Erica’s exploration into the undocumented side of the [iPhone] API so helpful? Because it shows us what Apple is using in their own applications. And if we need similar functionality, we can file enhancement requests using this inside knowledge.”

Seattle Presentation on Objective-J/Cappuccino

Seattle Xcoders: “Scott Koon will be presenting this Thursday (Nov 13th) on Cappuccino — the Objective-J web framework for building applications.”

I’m looking forward to it. I’ve missed some meetings due to travel, and I’m quite interested in Cappuccino. Even if I never get the chance to use it, it’s quite a remarkable achievement, and worth learning more about.

Disable Mail’s data detectors in OS X 10.5

Macworld: “Or perhaps you just find the highlighting annoying and never use the feature, even if you use iCal and Address Book.”

I’m in that boat — I want to like the feature, but I find the highlighting gets in the way of my selecting text, so I was glad to be able to turn it off.

20 Essential Sources for Free HD Videos

Mashable: “HD Video isn’t just coming to every television screen, it’s making its way online as well. From well known video sites like YouTube to unknown upstarts like Vuze, many online video services are embracing the new standard.”

The Final Test “If you’ve submitted an application to the App Store, you know that sinking feeling of not being able to test your final build... But there’s a simple way around this problem and it’s called codesign. ”

KTUIKit 0.9.0

KATI: “KTUIKit currently includes the XS-Controllers, KTView, subclasses of many of the standard Cocoa controls, KTLayoutManager and KTStyleManager. The Interface Builder plug-in provides a GUI for the layout manager and style manager.”

The Value of Automated Error Reporting

Nick Bradbury: “I’ve been going over the past few months of error reports, and much to my surprise, I discovered that the top three most common problems were never reported in our support forums.”

Ambient Recommendation

Sci-Fi Hi-Fi: “I can think of a lot of other examples of how this sort of casual, ambient recommendation and discovery has worked far better for me than more formal systems designed for those purposes. Music recommendation services have always left me a bit cold, but I love the simple feature of that allows me to see what my friends are playing.”

PHP Markdown Extra + PHP SmartyPants Typographer Text Filter for MarsEdit “This MarsEdit text filter will run PHP Markdown Extra 1.2.2 and PHP SmartyPants Typographer 1.0 over your posts before displaying them in the Preview window.” The big thing is support for Markdown footnotes.

Objective-C Garbage Collector (AutoZone) released

bbum’s weblog-o-mat: “The source code for AutoZone, the Objective-C Garbage Collector found in Mac OS X Leopard, is now available... The garbage collector is not limited to Objective-C. It is actually a fairly generic scanning, conservative, generational, multi-threaded, language agnostic, collector.”

RSS Feed Reader Productivity with NetNewsWire on the iPhone

DIGTD: “The cool little feature is the ability to choose what feeds you show on the iPhone. Simply, swipe across the feed that you do not want to show on the iPhone and select delete. You now have the option to remove the feed for good, or to just remove it from the iPhone.”


Gus Mueller: “JSCocoaCodaLoader is a silly name, isn’t it?”

Thanks to Gus’s JavaScript loader, you can write plugins in JavaScript for the new version of Coda, which includes support for plugins.

Twisting my brain around Ruby

Joe Heck: “I’ve long been impressed with the Watir project — a ruby library that programmatically drives a web browser. With it, you can drive IE (and now FIrefox and Safari as well) through web sites, testing for content and verifying interactions.”

Simplifying your code using NSDictionary

Cocoa with Love: “In this post, I will show you a way of eliminating conditionals from your code that are based on program state by using an array of NSDictionary objects to maintain state.”

iPhone Debugging with Backups “If you’ve written an application for the iPhone, you’ll eventually encounter a customer problem that you can’t reproduce... Fortunately, things got much better last week with the release of Pádraig Kennedy’s iPhone Backup Extractor.”


Domain of the Bored: “The interface for OSAScript is the same as that of NSAppleScript, except larger: OSAScript is a superset of NSAppleScript.”

The Office of the President-Elect has an RSS feed. (Just one item so far, but I think we can expect more.)

Subscribe to feed.

What makes a blog post popular? Part I: Comparing popularity and reading difficulty

mSpoke: “While there is no correlation between the NewsGator attention score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, it is interesting that the middle 50% of feed items have a grade level ranging from 6.7 to 10.8 with a median grade level of 8.7.”

Build Anything

Rands In Repose: “Like any profession, software development is chock full of radically different personalities, but I want the optimists.”

Core Data Book goes beta, available now

Cocoa Is My Girlfriend: “While new Cocoa programmers will find it a great help to getting started quickly with Core Data, the book also covers some really interesting and advanced topics such as data versioning and migration, Spotlight/Quick Look integration, Sync Services, and multi-threading.”

I can’t remember the last time I bought a computer book — but I’m buying this one.


Daring Fireball: “Like the Mac, the iPhone has established UI conventions that aren’t just different, but contrary to the conventions of what has preceded it. Apple has sketched out a remarkably clear picture of what it means for an app to be ‘iPhone-like’.”

NetNewsWire Style AisleOne 2.5

AisleOne: “Version 2.5 of my NetNewsWire style is now available. The design is simple and clean with a great deal of focus on typography and legibility. In this new version I’ve made some improvements that will enhance the reading experience.”

Helpless Icon Carnage

Nick Bradbury: “Last week I went on a toolbutton slaughter, and this week the carnage has expanded to the icons in FeedDemon’s newspaper.”

Using libxml2 for XML parsing and XPath queries in Cocoa

Cocoa with Love: “NSXMLDocument is the normal tree-based XML parser in Cocoa. But if you’re writing for the iPhone, this class isn’t available. Even on the Mac, sometimes you want tree-based parsing without the full overhead of NSXMLDocument. Here’s how to use libxml2 to perform tree-based parsing in a Cocoa-friendly way.”

The Great ToolButton Slaughter

Nick Bradbury: “At the time I thought I was giving customers the features they wanted, but what I was really doing was scaring people away by overwhelming them with far too many choices.”


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