Posts for 'Tech'


try! Swift and Japan!

March 28, 2016 •

Whew! I’m back home from Japan and settled back in. What an amazing trip that was! Before it becomes too much of a distant memory, I figured I’d write a wind-down blog post on it. :)

So late last year, I was invited by Natasha Murashev (Better known as @NatashaTheRobot) on recommendation of my colleague JP Simard, to come and present at a conference she was organizing in Japan for March of 2016. The conference, known as try! Swift was going to be a 3 day conference consisting of a stream of 25 minute talks, specializing in Swift, Apple’s new programming language but also including iOS development in general.

A trip to Japan (one of my favorite places), to hang out with iOS developers and talk about app development (one of my favourite things)? I couldn’t say ‘hell yes’ fast enough!  :D

Continue reading

TOWebViewController – An open source web viewer for iOS

July 27, 2014 •

Here’s a neat little thing I’ve been working on lately. :)

When it comes to building apps for iPhone and iPad, there’s often a design requirement in quickly displaying web pages to users, without needing to kick them out to another app in the process.

One example of this is social media apps; ones that deals with massive amounts of user-posted content, often with links attached. One of my most favourite apps on iOS, Tweetbot, handles this incredibly elegantly.

Continue reading

Living in Japan with my foreign iPhone

July 12, 2014 •

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post on the quickest and easiest way I knew of to get your international iPhone working in Japan. And, after one of my friends traveled to Japan late last year, I can confirm that renting a Japanese SIM card from JCRCorp is STILL a quick and viable option, with unlimited voice, and unlimited data.

That being said however, while JCRCorp is really good, their rates start to get quite expensive the longer you stay in Japan. It’s probably fair to say that this is a service that is geared mainly towards tourists of Japan; those only staying for a short while before promptly leaving.

So last year, when I went to go work at pixiv, something I knew that I would be doing in upwards of 7 months, I figured I’d have to do something else. I also figured that since I would be going to Japan on a working visa, I could most likely pop into a telco shop and just grab a pre-paid SIM card.

So, armed with my carrier-unlocked iPhone 5 (Bought outright from Apple), I traveled over to Japan!

Unfortunately, when I got there, a few of my friends who had traveled over there a few months early, broke the news to me; apparently a ‘pre-paid SIM’ as we know and understand it in Australia, doesn’t really work in Japan.

Continue reading

Using my non-US smartphone in America

March 7, 2014 •

Over the last two years, I’ve been incredibly lucky in being able to attend a number of tech conferences over in the Bay Area, San Francisco. In all of those trips, I found there was one thing that turned out being ABSOLUTELY essential every single time. That thing was having access to a smartphone with proper data access.

Whether it was to co-ordinate with my mates who traveled to America with me, online networking with people I met around the conferences, or even to simply look up anything that suddenly came along (such as ‘how do American tips work?’, and ‘how do I get out of the Tenderloin?’ ^_^’), there were many times where being able to access the internet at the drop of a hat was EXTREMELY useful (née life-saving. XD).

That being said, if you’ve never been to America before, and have no idea on even where to start, hopefully this blog post will help you. This post is the culmination of experimentation by myself and quite a few of my mates over multipe combined trips to America, so hopefully it’ll save you some trouble doing the same thing (as well as some money).

Continue reading

Disabling Timer Coalescing in OS X Mavericks

January 25, 2014 •

If you’re an iOS developer, and you’re still developing apps that support iOS versions below iOS 7 (Like I am), then you might have noticed after upgrading to OS X Mavericks that the iOS 6 Simulator runs absolutely terribly. EVERY single animation in there runs at an incredibly choppy frame-rate, which makes most kinds of app testing relatively useless.

Today, I learnt from a little birdie that the reason for this issue is due to the new Timer Coalescing feature, introduced in Mavericks:

In OS X Mavericks, Timer Coalescing groups low-level operations together, creating tiny periods of idle time that allow your CPU to enter a low-power state more often. With its activity reduced up to 72 per cent, the CPU uses less energy, giving your battery a break too. This happens so fast you won’t notice a thing. And your Mac still gets just as much done just as quickly.

Apple – OS X Mavericks – Advanced Technologies (January 2014)

It would seem to make sense that as a result of Timer Coalescing, the timers that power the iOS 6 Simulator animations are getting coalesced themselves, and this is resulting in the strange behaviour (Curiously enough, the iOS 7 Simulator is fine though!).

In any case, apparently there is a console command that lets you disable Timer Coalescing across the system:

Continue reading

iOS 7

September 11, 2013 •

Since we’re only a few hours away from Apple’s new announcement, I thought now would be the best time to post my reflection on iOS 7.

Just before WWDC, myself and a few friends were speculating on what iOS 7 would look like. We’d heard the rumours that it would be ‘flatter’, but we were guessing that that would probably mean a reduction in all of the glossy elements, and the removal of the over-the-top skeuomorphic design elements in apps like Notes and Game Center, and that would be about it. What we actually got though… we totally did not see that coming.

So at this point, what do I think of iOS 7? It’s NOT BAD, but definitely needs TONNES of refinement.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree that iOS was definitely in need of a redesign. It’s gone through 5 years of looking basically exactly the same. But on the same note, I think Apple could have gone about it in a bit more of a subtle way.

On the whole, I like the design approach and directions its adopted. The unified status bar is a stroke of genius, and I love all of the new animations. Overall, the system looks really clean. But… there are a few things that bother me:

  • Making it so buttons convey their tappable nature via colour instead of a bordered edge can be extremely limiting, and sometimes messes with design pretty badly.
  • The thin typography can get pretty hard to read in places (especially in some places of iComics where bold text was prevalent).
  • Making heavy use of Retina pixels in design while there are still non Retina devices supported (iPad 2 + iPad mini) feels somewhat dodgy.
  • The elements in the status bar feel way too small.
  • ALL of the stock app icons. Yeesh. XD

After cruising around Dribbble for a bit, I personally find this design to be what I’d been hoping iOS 7 would have turned out as; a nice hybrid design that adopts some of the major new points of iOS 7, but still retains the major familiarity of iOS 6.

As it stands, I think the ‘flat’ motif of iOS 7 needs to be revisited a bit more. At the moment, it feels overly simple to the point where the UI feels like it’s wasting the build quality of the screen it’s being rendered on. And with the design of the current app icons, I feel like the experience may be at risk of losing its premium feel.

In any case, I have faith that Apple will fine-tune the system before iOS 7 makes the final drop.

I will most definitely be supporting iOS 7 in iComics, but I’ll also be continuing to develop it on iOS 5 and 6 to ensure all current users can continue to enjoy it.

And if worse comes to worse, there’ll always be iOS 8. XD