The Graphing Calculator Story

An amazing story that has apparently been around for years, but is new to me. Definitely worth a read if it's new to you as well.

I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.

I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.

Top Four #2: TV Shows

I'm really liking this podcast so far. The process of picking favorites and ranking subjective topics has always fascinated me, and Marco and Tiffany have a really fun rapport.

My wife and I tried to rank our top four TV shows, and it was definitely not easy. Here's the list that I came up with, though numbers 3 and 4 are likely to change depending on what day of the week it is.

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Arrested Development
  4. Parks and Recreation

Logo Image Positioning

I've hated how my "logo image" (as Squarespace calls it) is positioned on mobile devices for a couple of months now. I think that the theme that I'm using (Avenue) doesn't handle navigation items being hidden as well as it could, and it's really been bugging me that there's hardly any spacing between the logo and the top of the screen.

Ew gross

Ew gross

I had tried playing with Squarespace's layout adjustment GUI several times, but hadn't been able to figure out the right incantations to adjust the logo positioning for only "phone width." So stand back everybody! I'm doing CSS! 

@media only screen and (max-width: 750px) {
   #logo {
    padding-top: 40px
Ahhh... that's much better.

Ahhh... that's much better.

It's possible that nobody else even noticed or cared about the positioning before, but now that it's fixed I feel like I can rest easy. And if you're on a desktop browser right now, I'd appreciate it if you would adjust your window width a bunch and bask in the responsive logo image positioning greatness. 

Techdown #46 - Liquid Snakes

Evidence just keeps continuing to mount that the new Apple TV is coming, and it's going to be everything I've ever wanted it to be. I'm still making an effort to temper my excitement, but it felt good to spend a good chunk of time talking with Aaron about what's coming.

Apple TV NFL Channel Updated to Add Game Pass Support

How do you ask an Apple TV app to be the last to be updated before a proper SDK is released?

I actually use Game Pass - and consider it the best way to watch NFL football. But this update is worthless to me right now because Game Pass "Isn't Available" in the United States. Now, if only Apple TV had a VPN app that would allow me to route my traffic through another country...

Instagram Adds Rectangle Support

I guess this was kind of inevitable, but it feels like the end of an era.

I follow some photographers who use workarounds to letterbox the photos they post into the aspect ratios that they desire. Which isn't ideal for them as the poster, or for me as a consumer. In that sense, I guess this is a kind of a Desire Path update.

(If you're planning on reminding me that squares are technically rectangles, keep it to yourself, nerd.)

The Martian "Viral" Video

The marketing for The Martian has been great so far, and this video is no exception. It gives us some background and sets the tone of the movie without giving away any spoilers. It also feels like an episode of Cosmos, but that's just icing on the cake.

Funny though, that we don't have a good way of describing an advertisement like this (calling it a "Viral Clip" is stupid). Maybe if more movies start doing this sort of thing we'll come up a better name for them.

Swift Addiction

It's been fun following Brent Simmons' Swift Diary, where he documents his journey of learning Swift after doing Objective-C for, like, 20 years. Mostly he's been writing about the difficulties he's faced, but this latest post is quite a bit more positive. 

But here’s what happens now. Sometimes I go to write some Objective-C code and I sigh at the effort — because I know the Swift version is half as long. I sigh at jumping to the top of the file and adding an import, and I sigh at switching to the .h file and adding a method.

And that’s where I am now — starting to feel that boost in productivity with Swift, and getting a little bit addicted to it.

When to Avoid Libraries

There's a lot of sage advice in this post by Ben Sandofsky:

At scale, life is easier when you rely on as few third-party libraries as you can get away with. Fortunately, you don’t need that many. Out of the box, you’ve got frameworks for animation, networking, persistence, and everything else you need for most apps.

Speaking of networking, I used NSURLSession for the first time recently and was really pleased with how smooth the implementation went. It was way better than the old NSURLConnection delegate approach that I remembered from back before I started using AFNetworking in all my projects.

But on the flip side:

Apple makes mistakes, like the iOS Keychain, or the overly complicated Address Book API. The former justifies a wrapper, and the latter was fixed in Apple’s new Contacts.framework.

One of the few libraries that I'm using in my current project at work is a Keychain wrapper. I wrote the C code for hitting the Address Book and it sucked. But I knew I'd be replacing it with the new Contacts.framework stuff soon enough.

And finally, I couldn't agree more with this bit:

Setting up the Core Data stack takes a bizarre 20 line incantation just short of animal sacrifice. You could use a Core Data wrapper’s one-line setup, but I just copy and paste the boilerplate. That’s right, I copy and paste.

In your first year coding you learn “Don’t Repeat Yourself.” After you waste hundreds of hours debugging excessively DRY code, you realize there’s a difference between repeating yourself and being explicit.