Dec 2008

It Sucks to Throw Away New Code

Nick Bradbury: “I almost didn’t make the change since the idea of throwing away hundreds of lines of freshly-painted code was too painful, but in the end I convinced myself that making the feature more usable was more important than saving my fragile programmer ego.”

I kind of like throwing away new code, too. But I know I’m weird.

Heterogeneous cells in a UITableViewController

Cocoa with Love: “The design pattern of separate CellController implementations to simplify a UITableViewController should apply, in a more generalised way, throughout your programming: you shouldn’t have multiple conditionals switching on the same piece of data.”

Acorn 1.5 Beta

Gus Mueller: “The big new feature of 1.5 is a new brush tool, along with the ‘Brush Designer.’ The designer lets you make new brushes and change existing ones.”

Sounds pretty cool. I’ll be downloading it myself. (I’ve been using Acorn a ton lately.)

Touch And Go Pricing

Red Sweater Blog: “Attempting to understand the App Store, and how customers relate to it, is the first step in speculating about what tweaks might be made to improve the situation for everybody.”

The App Store Effect

Paul Kafasis, Inside iPhone: “When price is no longer tied to a developer’s costs, however, the market is unstable.”


Mike Ash: “All that horrible boilerplate just flies right out the window. Code flow suddenly becomes completely logical, you can read it top to bottom, and you can access any local variables you please.”

The Re-Rise of Open Source

Brad Feld: “Given the range of established open source projects, the opportunity to do this today is much more extensive than it was seven years ago. In addition, most software companies — especially Internet-related ones — now have robust APIs and/or open source libraries that they actively encourage third parties to work with for free.”

Textcast: The Story “Textcast is a deceptively simple app. It’s aim is simple, but it unifies many disparate technologies and applications which leads to lots of complexity under the hood. It’s one of those projects where you can get the basics working inside a weekend, but it takes months to make it a real Mac app.”

Best information tools

Macworld: “There’s a big wide world out there. Fortunately, your iPhone can help you stay on top of things, courtesy of apps that keep you up to date on the latest news, help you connect to radio stations around the world, and let you take chunks of the World Wide Web with you wherever you go.”

NetNewsWire is on the list, along with some very cool apps I already know about — Instapaper and Pandora — and some apps that are new to me.

State of the Twittersphere - Q4 2008 Report

HubSpot: “Twitter is dominated by newer users - 70% of Twitter users joined in 2008. An estimated 5-10 thousand new accounts are opened per day.”

iPhone beats Storm in satisfaction survey

iPhone Central | Macworld: “First reactions from buyers of Research in Motion’s newest BlackBerry Storm smart phone have been ‘lukewarm,’ and nowhere near the satisfaction ratings of Apple’s iPhone, a market research analyst said Tuesday.”


Textcast 1.0

Bit Maki: “Textcast turns any text — documents, web pages and entire blog feeds — into personal podcasts you can listen to right on your iPod and iPhone.”

Looks very cool. Works with NetNewsWire. From Dave Dribin and Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch. (Congratulations, guys!)

Darkslide 1.5 Post-Mortem

Fraser Speirs: “Darkslide was already a fairly complex app and I felt that putting upload into that app would lead to a lot of fumbling around with the UI to get to the camera. Users almost unanimously disagreed with that view, though, and who am I to argue?”

Podcast with me

Mobile Orchard: “Brent talks about adapting a desktop app’s UI for iPhone, has advice for indies making a living selling iPhone apps, describes how he successfully split MarsEdit from NetNewsWire, gives some examples of cool iPhone apps, describes his ‘anti-packrat’ compulsion, and chats about the complexity of syncing iPhone and desktop apps.”

I haven’t listened to it yet, so I don’t know if I come across nutty or not — but I’ll elaborate slightly on my anti-packrat thing: it’s a personality flaw. It’s useful, but it’s still a thing I have to deal with, constantly reminding myself no, you can’t throw that out yet.

A Signature Cadence

Rands In Repose: “You have a complex set of analytical mental muscles that help you make critical snap emotional judgments. Whether it’s a mail, a website, or a person, your brain can instantly look at 12 imperceptible aspects of a thing to determine how you should feel.”

App Store Glitches

Paul Kafasis, Inside iPhone: “After many months, we’re very happy to have finally shipped. Doing so, however, has highlighted a few glitches in the App Store that developers face.”

CGPoint, CGRect to NSString and back

Erica Sadun, Inside iPhone: “...there are a few absolutely lovely and usually overlooked UIKit calls that support these structures and provide easy conversion to and from NSString objects.”

Xcode debugging script

#343358 - Pastie: “Script to turn on Cocoa debugging options for the active executable of an XCode project.” By Jonathan Wight.

Trek’s First Lady: An Appreciation

Sci Fi Wire: “Often referred to in fan circles as the ‘First Lady of Star Trek,’ Barrett-Roddenberry was best known for appearing in or giving voice to roles in every incarnation of Trek, from the unaired pilot for the original series straight through to J.J. Abrams’ upcoming reboot Star Trek movie — the only thespian with such a Trek lineage.”


One Juicer: alerts for new iPhone apps

Mashable: “One Juicer works essentially like Google Alerts, allowing you to track new applications by keyword and receive e-mail notifications as soon as new apps matching your keywords hit the App Store.”

SmartSleep “SmartSleep.prefPane is a preference pane that dynamically sets the sleep state of your machine.”

(Via Daniel Jalkut.)

Wake Up Your Mac Faster

Mike DiPetrillo: “When my Mac goes to sleep I have to wait for it to write most of the 4 GB of RAM to disk. A fellow engineer just showed me a faster way to make the Mac sleep - adjust the hibernatemode variable.”

(Via ongoing.)

‘Mac Mingle’ party planned for Macworld Expo

Macworld: “Mac author, consultant and radio personality Deb Shadovitz is planning another Mac Mingle party for the week of Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif.”

More on Apple and Macworld Expo

Andy Ihnatko: “So this is a straightforward business decision for Apple. They certainly see this as a Win. They get to do their big product announcements and strategic whoop-de-dos at times and places of their choosing, and in venues that they can control as tightly as Kim Jong Il controls the May Day parade in Pyongyang.”

On Apple pulling out of Macworld Expo “Apple doesn’t want to talk to you. Apple has never wanted to talk to you.”

I’ve been using and developing for Apple computers since before there were Macs, and I have no intention of switching. (I’d probably just find another line of work. Beetle-tagging, cloud-counting, feline-persuading, something like that.)

As much as I adore Apple computers and phones and so on, and as much I like and respect so many Apple employees, it’s also true that Apple the company is a large corporation, and this is how large corporations often are, or try to be. It’s important for us (Mac users, Mac developers) to have no illusions.

People are human; corporations are not.

NewsGator Social Sites 2.5 released

NewsGator Daily: “NewsGator Social Sites lets you activate a ‘Facebook for the Enterprise’ that delivers measurable business results and gives you powerful new ways to work smarter and solve business problems faster.”

BBEdit 9.1 improves FTP performance

Macworld: “Bare Bones Software released an update for its HTML and text editor, BBEdit, on Monday, adding a new font and improving the performance of FTP.”

Radioshift Touch (new iPhone app)

Rogue Amoeba: “With Radioshift Touch, you can listen to internet radio streams anywhere you like, over Wifi, EDGE, and 3G. We’ve got support for thousands of streams, and the built-in guide makes it easy to find old favorites and great new stations as well.”

Geek blogger worship “There’s so much high-quality content being published that you can afford to delete the inferior information sources from your feed reader.”

(Via Justin Williams.)

Fast Scrolling in Tweetie with UITableView

Fast Scrolling in Tweetie with UITableView: “Scrolling is the primary method of interaction on the iPhone. It has to be fast. It has to be fast. More than a few developers have asked me how I do it in Tweetie, so I figured I would share a really fast and really clean technique people can adopt in their own apps.”

(Via Justin Williams on delicious.)

Ads in FeedDemon

Nick Bradbury: “Very few people are willing to pay for software anymore, so we had to look at other sources of revenue. Which is why I want to hear from you about anything we might be overlooking.”

NetNewsWire on Time magazine top 10 list

NetNewsWire made Time magazine’s top 10 list for iPhone apps. Very cool.

It’s in great company. Pandora — super-well-loved chez moi — is #1. Wikipanion is #5. Instapaper is #7.

The flying office: Wi-Fi will soon be available on flights

Glenn Fleishman, Seattle Times: “My burning question was simply: can I Twitter? Yes. Also instant message, blog, e-mail, and download files; those around me were streaming video like mad.”

I rely on airplane flights as the one time I’m not connected. I never work on airplanes; I sleep. It’s like a mini-vacation for me. But I understand that people need their digital things all the time these days.

Thoughts on AVFoundation

Erica Sadun, Inside iPhone Blog: “I’m really happy that AVFoundation has appeared, even though it appears to offer just a single basic playback class.”

Advertising in Applications

Venture Chronicles: “We’ve just gone through a period of time where you could reasonably make the argument for free as a business model but given the economic realities of right now and what 2009 is looking like, you simply have to rethink everything.”

FastScripts Is A Team Player

Red Sweater: “FastScripts continues to be a project of love for me, and I am always gratified when I find that love reflected back from users who try it and discover it ‘fits the bill’ for them.”

TopStyle Acquired by Stefan van As

Nick Bradbury: “I have some good news for TopStyle customers: we’ve reached an agreement with long-time Windows developer Stefan van As to acquire TopStyle, ensuring the future of the product.”

Though you can’t really compare MarsEdit and TopStyle as products (they do different things for different audiences), they were in similar situations. The MarsEdit acquisition by Red Sweater has worked out wonderfully, and I have every reason to believe Stefan von As’s acquisition of TopStyle will work out as well.

Congrats to all involved!

What have you tried?

Matt Legend Gemmell: “The thing is, there’s a disease in the software development world; a sort of sickness. It’s an unusual sickness in that it’s often not something you acquire once you actually join the industry (like greying hair, caffeine addiction and an ulcer), but rather it’s something that new recruits already have when they arrive.”

(Via Gus.)

HTTP Client - Mac Developer Tool for HTTP Debugging

Todd Ditchendorf: HTTP Client is a “Mac OS X Leopard developer tool for debugging HTTP services by graphically creating & inspecting complex HTTP messages.”

Looks quite useful — great for folks doing any kind of hybrid apps.

Instance variable to synthesized property (an Xcode user script)

Cocoa with Love: “Xcode user scripts take the repetition out of many aspects of programming. To show you how this can work, here’s a script I wrote to turn an instance variable into a property (complete with declaration and synthesis) just by selecting the variable and invoking the script.”

LaunchBar 5 beta brings Quick Look, clipboard, more integration

Ars Technica: “A virtual landslide of new features and functionality across every aspect of the application make this an appealing upgrade.”

A Pleasant Elsewhere

Rands In Repose: “When I have headache, I read and the headache goes away. When I’m pissed at the world, I find a book and a dark cave and chill in a pleasant elsewhere. Forget about the knowledge and ideas passed along via the written word, reading a book brings a calm to my crazy NADD-driven world.”

300 million iPhone apps downloaded

iPhone Central: “In addition to the 300 million apps download, Apple also confirms that the App Store also passed the 10,000 app mark in the store.”

What’s New In Python 3.0 “Python 3.0, also known as ‘Python 3000’ or ‘Py3K’, is the first ever intentionally backwards incompatible Python release. There are more changes than in a typical release, and more that are important for all Python users. Nevertheless, after digesting the changes, you’ll find that Python really hasn’t changed all that much — by and large, we’re mostly fixing well-known annoyances and warts, and removing a lot of old cruft.”

(Via Gus.)

Tumblr Comes Through

Red Sweater Blog: “Marco made a round of changes in Tumblr as I experimented with the new features via MarsEdit. In the end, Marco was able to fix all of the critical shortcomings in the blog service’s interface, and added some additional goodies to boot.”

Real Advice Hurts

43 Folders: “You should and will consume the web however you please, and if scanning lists of tips is a relaxing pastime for you, I’m the last person to begrudge you your fun. But, it’s time to stop pretending that practical expertise at anything can take place in an RSS reader.”

Would it surprise you to know this RSS reader author agrees wholeheartedly? After all, you don’t get good at writing Mac and iPhone apps — RSS readers or any other apps — just by reading tips: you have to work. Alot. Alot alot. Crazy alot.

DF Paraphernalia

Daring Fireball: “Every item listed is of my choosing. Some are things I either own or have used, and recommend.”

You might as well shop there.

Disney’s Fairies Fly - iPhone Game

Joe Heck: “I’m very pleased to see Disney’s Fairies Fly (iPhone/iPod Touch game) available on iTunes. While you won’t find my name in any credits on the application, I was responsible for the underpinning of some of it — one of the few things that I’ve done within Disney that isn’t ‘just plumbing’.”

Eddy Winner: Airfoil 3.1

Macworld: “Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil unshackles you from iTunes, so you can send audio from any application on your Mac to your remote speakers. With its help, you can watch videos, play games, and even have voice chats with audio streamed to any pair of external speakers — no wires necessary.”

Congrats to the cool cats at Rogue Amoeba!

NewsGator Launches Related Content Widgets

NewsGator Widget Blog: “Every day we add 8.5 million new articles to our database, indexing and aggregating 3.6 million different feeds and archiving 4 years of content! This huge database of content — in fact, the industry's largest such repository of free content — a result of our pioneering RSS reading/delivery services, is offered to publishers who wish to supplement their own content with related stories from 3rd parties.”

Eddy Winner: BusySync

Macworld: “BusySync lets you sync calendars across your LAN or across the Internet, complete with password protection, and it also syncs with Google Calendar.”

Congrats to our pals at BusySync! Well-deserved.

Price and Popularity: The iPhone App Store’s Data Show Who’s Making The Most Money

MobileOrchard: “Mobile Orchard’s Dan Grigsby recently found an interesting way to analyze the data given out by the iPhone App Store - particularly in the areas of popularity and price. With this information, we’re going to derive a few conclusions about the economy behind iPhone applications as well as come up with some speculations.”

Interesting info — looking forward to more. Also a great reminder that revenue is not just popularity.

Promo Copies of iPhone Apps

Mac Rumors: “Once an application has been accepted to the App Store by Apple, developers can issue up to 50 promotional codes. The codes allow the recipient to download a full copy of the application for free.”

There is More Than One Mobile Context

Fraser Speirs: “Decide which you’re interested in.”

Very cool post. Fraser lays out the three mobile contexts, including the one where the iPhone might just be a fricken’ miniature laptop after all. At least sometimes, for some people.


Craig Hockenberry: “Seeing the work of other developers whose work I respect and admire acts as an inspiration. Looking at how other developers tackle a problem domain often adds insight into solving similar issues with my own code.”

It’s a great post on competition and on iPhone and Twitter client design.

RAOperationQueue, an open-source replacement for NSOperationQueue

Rogue Amoeba: “Whether you can live with the limitations is of course something only you can decide, but we’re making very good use of this code internally, and we hope that you can too.”

Lessons to Be Learned From Pownce’s Demise

Mashable: “First of all, less is sometimes more.”

Sample Chapter from “The Creative Habit”

43 Folders: “While it doesn’t capture the clear-eyed usefulness of the book nearly as satisfyingly as each subsequent chapter does, it will give you a feel for why this book’s different from your garden-variety aspirational artist porn — this woman does not believe in ‘natural genius,’ and she damned well expects you to work your ass off, every day.”

Help Me Fill My Red Kettle

Jeff Nolan: “I started a Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign with a modest goal of raising $125 for the Salvation Army this Christmas season. Please pitch in a few dollars to help me reach this goal.”


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