Posts for 'Tech'

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WWDC 2012 – The Golden Tickets

June 21, 2012 •

Whew boy! What a week! I totally meant to write this before I went, but time as always, was a fleeting illusion. XD

Since it’s too much to cover in one post (And I’m writing this before work), I’m going to cover my trip to this year’s WWDC, including how I got in, the whole keynote experience, and then reflections of the conference itself. :)

Right after my trip to GDC, I received word that the AUC was opening up scholarship applications for staff and students of Australian universities to attend Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Aside from the pool of competitive scholarships, as luck would have it, this year my university had been allocated a scholarship for them to select one staff member for the trip. ^_^

Not wasting anytime, I sent off two applications; one for the competitive scholarships and one for my university’s allocated one. I was initially disheartened when I received word that I hadn’t made the cut for any of the competitive scholarships, but then I was thrilled to receive a phone call from my university’s AUC coordinator saying that I’d been selected for the allocated staff scholarship! ^_^

Now, given the way that Apple decided to roll with the selling of the WWDC tickets this year, simply getting a scholarship did not guarantee we’d all get to go. In the past, Apple simply allocated the tickets to AUC which were then forwarded onto the scholarship winners, but since this year, tickets were digitally tied to the Apple ID they were purchased with, that meant we’d have to see about securing our own tickets when they opened. And given last year the tickets sold out in less than 12 hours, it’s fair to say none of us knew what was coming. XD

When the ticket sales opened, I had JUST sat down in a cinema to watch The Avengers. Thankfully, one of my co-workers had noticed the sales had opened and sent me an SMS to tell me. Not wasting a second, I bought my ticket on my iPhone, in the middle of the cinema, right in the middle of the movie. By the time the movie ended, the WWDC tickets were sold out. So in hindsight, I’m VERY glad I didn’t wait until after the movie to sign up, and I’m pretty sure I owe that ticket to my co-worker.

But… sadly, as a result of that extremely small window, a LOT of the scholarship winners ended up missing out. And in addition to that, one new condition of buying a ticket that wasn’t really made clear before ticket sales opened up was that not only did you need a valid Apple ID, but it had to be an active developer account (eg, currently on the $99 subscription), which tripped up even a few more applicants.

So while I was extremely happy to have managed to secure a ticket to WWDC, it felt rather bittersweet seeing a lot of my buddies miss out at the same time. It was absolutely crazy how fast the tickets sold out this time around and I’m extremely scared to think about what it will be like next year.

Either way, right there I knew WWDC was going to be way more hardcore than GDC. Even getting your foot in the door requires you to be quick, and on the ball. XD

eWaste Recyling with Apple in Aus

February 2, 2012 •

Sooo much old stuff
Now this was a pretty cool thing. :)

It’s fair to say that over the past years, myself and my family have managed to amass a fair amount of computer… crap. XD Headphones have broken, computers have been upgraded, LCD monitors have died, somehow we ended up with 7 keyboards, a printer older than me; the list goes on. XD

It’s really hard to just throw this stuff out though. We’re a pretty environmental bunch in my house (at least, I like to think we are) and we’re all well aware of what happens if this stuff hits landfill. So we’ve been hanging onto this stuff, and while sometimes Perth does have eWaste drives, I haven’t seen one in over year.

Not wanting to REALLY have to pay to have this stuff recycled, I checked out Apple’s recycling program to see if there was anything they’d be able to do. And ‘lo and behold, they did. :D

Turns out Apple’s policy towards recycling changes on a per-region basis, but here’s how it goes down in Australia. If you purchase a new Mac from Apple, within 3 months of that purchase, you are eligible to have any of your old computer hardware recycled for absolutely free! And funnily enough, I recently made such a purchase. XD

Anyway, the process was really simple. After providing my new Mac’s serial number (just to prove I really do have one XD), all I had to do is fill out a form on the Recycling Program page that outlined all of the hardware that I wanted to dispose of.

About a day later, I was contacted by telephone by an Apple employee to confirm the best pickup time. After agreeing to Wednesday, all I had to do was place all of the hardware on my front porch and that was it! When I got home tonight, the hardware had been picked up; no fuss no muss!

Either way, I’m really happy about this. Proper eWaste disposal facilities are still near and far in Australia, and Apple is doing an amazing service with this program. :D

But yeah. If you just bought a Mac, and happen to have a pile of broken technology lying around, send it to Apple! :D

Zooming to a point in UIScrollView

January 14, 2012 •

(Updated March 2015) I’ve rewritten the code for zooming to a CGPoint in a UIScrollView to be even better in a new blog post. Go check it out!

If there’s one piece of functionality that has become basically boilerplate on iOS, it’s the concept of double-tapping a zoomable UIScrollView to quickly zoom in on a given point. When I was writing the code for displaying pages in iComics, I assumed that this would be a really simple thing to do. I mean, surely all you’d need is a UITapGestureRecognizer attached to a UIScrollView that passes the location of any double-taps to the scroll view… right?

Nope. XD

Turns out that although there is a UIScrollView method called ‘zoomToRect‘ (which lets you zoom to a specific CGRect region of a UIScrollView), out-of-the-box, there is no official way to procedurally zoom into a specific CGPoint. This actually surprised me greatly since I would have thought it would be a standard part of UIKit.

In any case, I did a bit of searching around on Google, looking for some code that would let me do this easily. I found a few bits of code here and there, however they were written in such a way that unless the minimum and maximum scales of the scroll view were set up in a specific way (Uh, which in iComics’ case, they weren’t), the zooming wouldn’t work properly at all.

So, cutting to the chase, I decided to just roll my own category for UIScrollView to add that functionality to it. All it does is take a CGPoint (relative to the bounds of the scroll view itself) and a scale, and translates those to a CGRect that can then be passed to UIScrollView’s drawToRect method. :)

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MacBook Air!!

November 25, 2011 •

Shiny...So, in my last post, I added a rather cryptic photo of an Apple product I received for my birthday. Now that I’ve spent a week breaking it in,  I can write a blog about it!

It’s a shiny new MacBook Air. Core i7. :D

Up until now, the 13″ MacBook Pro I’ve been using has been a loaner from work. And while that laptop has been absolutely fantastic, being absolutely invaluable in at work, not to mention being a great help with some of my side projects in helping further my knowledge of iOS dev, I figured that now that I’m actually starting to get requests for paid commissions, I’d be in a much better position if I bought my own hardware dedicated for that. It also means ensuring I have the proper licenses for all of the software I use is a lot easier too. ^_^;

So, after much research, and coming very close to buying a 15″ MacBook Pro, I decided to go with an Air.

Ultimately, when it came down to the tradeoff between power and physical weight, I decided that I’d rather go with a lighter laptop than a more powerful (but more heavy one) one. While the 15″ Pro is amazing, and from what I’ve seen, even runs rings around my desktop PC, I decided it was too big and too heavy for my liking. And going off the assumption that the Air would be at least as powerful as my 13″ Pro at that point, I figured it should handle everything perfectly.

And boy does it ever! :D

If you’ve had any doubts that the MacBook Air doesn’t really stand up to the Pro series (at least the lower end), you can put them to rest. This thing is extremely snappy in pretty much every case I tried, and the graphics processor can handle running at 2560×1600 at no trouble at all.

Obviously, it isn’t as powerful as most of the Pros can potentially be (eg 8GB RAM, truly quad core CPU etc), so if you’re looking to do really intense things like edit video or play games, I might recommend the Pro. But for my kind of daily usage, which consists mainly of Photoshop design, web code,  and/or iPhone app design, this thing is perfect on all counts.

I’m still wrapping my head around Lion here. There are quite a few new features to get used to. Also, I’m still trying to figure out what other apps I need to fully deck it out. I might write another blog later… XD

Alright. Here endeth the Apple fanboy post. XD


October 17, 2011 •

It still works.... kinda

(This is a Japanese translation of this blog post)

iOS 5の配達より、iずかんはもっとエラーが出て、ちょっと壊れちゃった。 残念ながら通信を停止しなきゃいけなかったから、もう直せない。 もし手伝いたかったら、この請願をサインください!


iOS 5がやっと出たね! 楽しみ! もうiPadを完全にアップデートして楽しんでる! いっぱい新しい機能があって、これから来る新しいアプリをよく楽しみにしてる! しかし、実はiOS 5が出る日をちょっと絶望的に待ってた。 なぜなら、iOS 5でiずかんがちょっと割れる事が分かってたから。 今まで、アップル開発の契約のとおり、iOS 5の機能は秘密で、何も言えなかった。

とにかく、アプリの本体はだいたい大丈夫みたいだね。 クラッシュとかは今まであまり見てなくて良かった。しかし、結構大変なバッグが現れたようだ。 もし、どこでもの「並べ替え」のボタンを押すと、普通のようにメニューが現れるが、終了とカンセルのボタンが消えてる。 実はそのボタンはまだあるが、上のメニューの下で表示されていて、もう押す事ができなくなっちゃった。 ^_^;


コード敵にはこれを直すのがとても簡単だが、前に株式会社ポケモンにアプリ配信をやめるようにお願いされたから、そのアップデートが出せない。 :(

これで、とてももうしわけございませんみんな。 これじゃもうなにもできない。 そしてこれからも、iずかんがもっと悪くなる可能性があって、心配してる。 ^_^;


とりあえず、僕らができるしかない事はただひとつがあると思う。 それはポケモン会社にどれほどポケモン図鑑アプリが人気な物を知らせる事だと思います。 とにかく、ネットで請願があって、もし暇な時があったらサインください。 :)

とにかく、iずかんをよく使っていたら、iOS 5にご注意ください。 そして、アップグレードの時に、iずかんをパソコンにバックアップしてください。 アップグレードではエラーがあったら、削除されちゃうから。 ^_^;


iPokédex and iOS 5

October 13, 2011 •

It still works.... kinda

TL;DR iPokédex has become slightly broken in iOS 5. No, I can’t fix it. If you want to help out, register your interest by signing this petition!
Hey guys! :)

iOS 5 is finally out! As I write this, I’m currently taking my iPad through the long backup and upgrade process. As excited as I am about iOS 5 (I can tell you, there’s some AWESOME new stuff in there :D), I’ve actually been dreading this day. Why exactly? Well I’ve known for some time that iOS breaks iPokédex in a pretty epic way. I probably could have mentioned it earlier, but I decided I should wait until the NDA is good and done with. ^_^;

Now, while the app itself is still stable, due to a bit of my dodgy coding and lack of foresight (this was my first major version upgrade as a developer!), an issue has arisen where if you press ‘Sort’, you’ll no longer be able to dismiss the sorting menu. While the ‘OK’ button and the ‘Cancel’ buttons are still being drawn, the code I’ve written that re-positions them to be placed under the scroller view has stopped working (so they’re appearing behind it right now, out of reach). At the moment, the only way to dismiss the dialog is to fully quit out of the app (ie, remove it from the multitasking bar) and start it up again. :(

As far as functionality and usability goes, this is a pretty bad thing, and if I had submitted the app to the App Store with a bug like this in it, it would have most certainly been rejected. ^_^;
I’ve already started receiving emails from users who have upgraded to iOS 5 and have found the error.

Code-wise, this is a VERY easy thing to fix (it’s like 1/3 of a line of code). I’ve already fixed it in the version I carry around on my iPhone. XD
Sadly, however, as I was requested by the Pokémon Company to take the app down, I am unable to distribute this fix to anyone else. :(

I’m really sorry about this guys. The user experience is going to start deteriorating and there’s nothing I can do about it. And I fear it’s going to become more frustrating to watch as time passes, and more emails from users start piling in. ^_^;

Either way, I’m not going to give up until the very end. The lawyer I talked to at TPCI was very kind to me and told me they might take iPokédex over to licensing to see if they might be interested in working something out. I haven’t heard back anything at all on that front in a while now, but as it’s most likely the final avenue, I’m more than happy to wait.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help out, there may be a way for you to do so. :) When Nolan Lawson’s app Pokédroid was pulled, a dedicated young lady named Amber set up a petition to try and convince TPCI otherwise. The petition goes on the record to state that since these kinds of apps are free, and that the information contained within is easily accessible on a multitude of sites, there shouldn’t really be a compelling reason for TPCI to want to shut these apps down. Now, while the lawyer from TPCI explained to me that it’s a pretty open and shut case in that TPCI has simply decided not to allow unauthorized apps, I think the petition is a good idea, if not to simply raise awareness on the amount of interest there is on having some kind of official Pokémon reference app.

At the moment, the petition only has a handful of signatures, so head on over there and sign it!

In any case guys, if you’re a heavy user of iPokédex, I’d recommend hanging off upgrading to iOS 5 as long as you can. ^_^;

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