Monthly Archives: December 2015

John Saddington on the MacBook

John Saddington: “I gave it a serious run through a typical work week. And then, I gave it one more week and it just didn’t perform like I wanted it to.”

RibbitThis shouldn’t surprise anyone doing development work on a Mac. The MacBook wasn’t built for developers, that’s why we have the MacBook Pro lineup and the Mac Pro for the super power crazed. I use a 15in MacBook Pro and love the performance. It’s extremely portable and more than powerful for all the development tasks I perform.

John points out some good and bad points of the MacBook so make sure you read the entire post. One other point that didn’t surprise me was the battery not living up to the specified hours of use. Once again, John is a Mac App Developer, he’s using tools that require a lot of power. Run Xcode and check your power usage. It sucks battery, and why shouldn’t it? I want it to use as much of the computer as it can during compilation or debugging. 

Anywho, I’m rambling. I’m sure the MacBook would be an excellent computer for most people and would most likely live up to its advertised battery specification.

Bottom line: not good for development, likely good for most uses.

Mac Apps I Use

If I had to choose one device to keep it would have to be my Mac. Not because I use it more than my trusty iPhone. I would pick it because it is how I make my living.

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.To that end we all have our very personal daily workflows. Some are way more complicated than others. Mine is fairly simple. 

There was a time in my life when I had to customize everything I possibly could on my desktop rig. These days I don’t bother.

Here is a list of software I use day to day.

Safari

Safari is a great browser that supports OS X extensions and browser plugins which gives me all the power I need to connect the web to my favorite desktop apps. I do not sync my opened sites between desktop and mobile.

Slack

Who doesn’t use Slack these days? We use it at work for most of our communication needs. Nuff said, it’s awesome. 

Evernote

I store quite a bit of information with Evernote. When I run across and interesting development article I clip the Simplified Article to Evernote as a reference. It is a great way to organize reference material. I do it through a combination of Notebooks and Tags. It’s a fantastic service and I love their native Mac and iOS Apps.

Wunderlist

I use Wunderlist to organize my personal project thoughts, so it mostly used on my home Mac and on my iPhone, but it’s a great app and service.

Reeder

I know RSS is dead, right? Not really. If you’re in the market for a beautiful, solid, easy to use RSS reader for the Mac or iOS, Reeder is a good choice.

Alfred

I only use Alfred for one thing, lunching apps. I keep my dock clean and find it easier to launch apps by smacking a shortcut and typing. I know I could do many more awesome things with it, but I don’t.

Dropbox

When I need access to a document or picture from many different places I use Dropbox.

Terminal

I use the built in terminal app. It’s used for git mostly.

SourceTree

I like using a nice application for git and SourceTree covers the bases for me. I split time between this app and the terminal. 

BBEdit

On occasion you have to edit something other than a file for the app you’re working on. BBEdit is more than capable. 

Xcode

This seems an obvious entry given the work I do. I develop iOS Apps. This is the best tool for the job.

I think that’s it, I’m composing this on my iPhone using the WordPress for iOS App, so I’m doing this from memory.

That brings me to this list.

Stuff I no longer use on my Mac

MarsEdit

At one point I used MarsEdit for all my blogging needs. The app is fine but I use iOS more and more for blogging. Like I said above, I’m using my iPhone to compose this post. Most of the time I use my iPad Mini on the weekends to catchup on all the stuff I pushed to Pocket. That usually results in a blog post right from the Mini. 

Fine software, great developer, no iOS App. For iOS I use the WordPress for iOS App.

Twitterrific

Unfortunately Twitter’s developer hostile token limits have all but killed off development of my favorite Twitter client. I have resorted to using the web site for my desktop browsing. If Twitterrific saw a renaissance on the Mac I would switch back in a heartbeat.  Thankfully Twitterrific for iOS is going strong. Here’s hoping Jack opens up Twitter to developers. 

The Donald’s Presidential Bid

The New Yorker: “What was really memorable about the event, though, was Trump’s response. Seated a few tables away from us magazine scribes, Trump’s humiliation was as absolute, and as visible, as any I have ever seen: his head set in place, like a man in a pillory, he barely moved or altered his expression as wave after wave of laughter struck him. There was not a trace of feigning good humor about him, not an ounce of the normal politician’s, or American regular guy’s “Hey, good one on me!” attitude—that thick-skinned cheerfulness that almost all American public people learn, however painfully, to cultivate. No head bobbing or hand-clapping or chin-shaking or sheepish grinning—he sat perfectly still, chin tight, in locked, unmovable rage. If he had not just embarked on so ugly an exercise in pure racism, one might almost have felt sorry for him.”

I feel like this is behind Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential ambitions. President Obama put him in his rightful place that night in 2011 and Trump didn’t learn a thing. He’s trying to prove he is more than a bully businessman. He wants to be known as a serious person, but more importantly he wants the most powerful job in the world.

It is pretty obvious he is making a mockery of the United States with his bluster and is not a serious person. He lives at the center of a one man universe; TrumpWorld, where he is king and all of us peons live to serve him.

He’s definitely not Presidential material.

On iPhone Battery Life

John Gruber: “After a few days using this case, my thoughts turn not to the Smart Battery Case itself but instead to my personal desire that Apple had made the 6/6S form factor slightly thicker. Not a lot thicker. Just a little — just enough to boost battery life around 15-20 percent or so.”

I don’t have battery life issues with my phone, but I think John nails it. It would be really nice if Apple made a slightly thicker phone. I don’t understand their obsession with thinner and lighter. In fact, my favorite phone design was the iPhone 4 and it must have been the heaviest phone Apple has ever built.

Core Intuition(@coreint) 209: We Need A Grand Gesture

I’ve been listening to Core Intuition with Daniel and Manton for a very long time. Being new to the Apple and iOS ecosystem it’s nice to hear from guys that have been around for a while. They have some pretty unique insights and experience to share with those of us new to community.

I feel like it’s time for me to give back a little. In Core Intuition 209, the talk a bit about Swift. With the advent of Swift, and Apple’s deep commitment to it, it’s tough as an old-time Objective-C developer to see and hear all the attention being given to the new baby. I’ve been in your shoes.

Back in the early 2000’s as Microsoft was making a big push with .Net and C# I was still hacking away on C++ applications written straight against the Windows API. Early on I had my doubts about .Net and C# becoming the development tool of the future on the Windows platform. Fast forward to 2015 and it is the dominant development tool. It just took a bit of time for people to become comfortable with the idea and, more importantly, it took time to people to trust Microsoft was all in with .Net.

I think something Apple has done a really good job of is convincing the development community they’re committed to Swift. It’s the only development tool at Apple that has really reached out to the community. They have a weblog and just this week released Swift to the open source community. Apple is committed.

Does it mean you should run out and rewrite everything in Swift? Probably not, but that is a choice you will have to make on your own. Apple has a huge investment in Objective-C and Cocoa and even if they stopped making huge advances to either it’s going to be years and years before writing code in Objective-C is not a good idea. In fact, Craig Federighi said as much this week in an interview with The Next Web.

“Objective C is forever. I don’t think anyone should fear for the future of Objective C. We’re going to continue to support Objective C for ourselves and the developer community.”

On Core Intuition the guys each said something that really stuck accord. Manton mentioned Swift’s syntax was a bit too punctuation happy, which I can agree with, and he says it reminds him of C++, which I also agree with. In my case I actually like the C++ language, whereas Manton said he’d rather not go back to it. I would never hold that idea against anyone. It’s an unforgiving language.

Daniel mentions his reluctance to add the Swift runtime to his products just so he can include a new class here or there. I had this same feeling when adding C#/.Net code to an existing C++/Windows API application. It just felt so weighty to get such little support. In those cases I’d say why change? Just keep hammering away in Objective-C if you’re good at it and you can move to release new product quickly. When building a new product give Swift a whirl.

Another great point discussed by Daniel and Manton was how people embrace new languages and find a way to over complicate things. Think about the Architecture Astronaut. Swift brings all kinds of interesting syntax sugar to the table, but it doesn’t mean you have to use it. Start simply, experiment. You’ll find things in the language you love and things you hate. It’s true of every language I’ve ever learned. Keeping your code readable and maintainable is way more important than any syntax sugar offered by the language.

I’ve been working in Swift for the past few months and we’re doing more and more at Agrian with it. All new features are being written in Swift. The language is expressive and once you get going I think you’ll find you can move pretty quickly. We still have large portions of code in Objective-C. We’ve been selective about moving bits of that code to Swift and other parts we leave alone.

If you’re an iOS or Mac developer I recommend you listen to Core Intuition. Daniel and Manton are thoughtful and very experienced developers. Listen and you’ll learn something new.