Monthly Archives: April 2016

My Apple Watch

I’m still wearing it every day and I love it. Yes, I said I love it. Sure, it’s Just a Watchâ„¢, but it does everything I expect from a watch and a little more.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about the usefulness of the watch, but I still wanted one. I had decided I’d wait to buy one when the old version went on sale after the announcement of Watch 2.0, which hasn’t happened. In the meantime I was given a watch on Father’s Day by my daughters and wife. I was pretty darned excited to get it and haven’t gone a day without since.

How I use my watch hasn’t changed since I wrote about it in August 2015. It’s still a great watch, I love the taps for messages and phone calls, and the fitness features are a lot of fun. I’m surprised I like the fitness features as much as I do, but they’re actually quite good.

I’m not a big app user. I use a couple; Dark Sky and Beer Timer. Dark Sky is a beautifully designed app. I always use it by tapping on the complication to launch the app. As for Beer Timer I don’t use it that often, but when I do it’s quite handy, you can’t explode a beer in the freezer, right?

I think I’m also in the minority when it comes to watch faces and complication use. I have always enjoyed analog watch faces, so much so I’ve never owned a watch with a digital watch face (until now.) Since getting the watch I’ve only used two watch faces; Utility and Color. I like Utility because I can set a complication at the bottom center of the watch face and I like Color because I can set the color of the face to orange, my favorite color. I’m currently sporting the Color watch face.

What about complications? I like the Date and Dark Sky complications. That’s it. I love the way my watch face looks. I have the weather in the lower left corner and the date in the lower right of the Color watch face. As for the Utility watch face I have Dark Sky centered at the bottom of the display and the Date is next to three o’clock.

If you’re hesitant about purchasing an Apple Watch because you’re afraid it’s fragile, don’t be. I wear my watch all the time. It’s been submerged in water, muddy, and filthy when I work outside in the yard and continues to work as expected. Heck, it’s even fine in the ocean.

Rob's Apple Watch - Color Watch Face
There are not many things I’d change about the watch. I’d love to have an orange anodized aluminum Sport model and the ability for third-party developers to create custom watch faces. That’s all I need. I hope someone will create an app, or apps, I can’t live without, until then I’m completely happy with what I have.

Do I think the Apple Watch is doomed? No, not at all. I think it’s a great 1.0 product and it should only get better (you know it made $6 billion, right?)

WWDC 2016

It’s always interesting to read the WWDC tea leaves based on the imagery used on the web site. This year we got a poem and some Swift code.

WWDC 2016 Poem

The Swift in this picture is interesting because we can see they’re calling learnAbout with OSX, not macOS or MacOS as the rumor goes. I suppose they couldn’t give it away even if they were renaming it, could they?

WWDC 2016 Poem

Code is poetry

As much as I’d love to attend I won’t be able to. Dropping somewhere between $3-5K for a conference is tough to justify. I will say it is amazing and I’d love to be there all five days.

At this point I’m hoping to make it to The Talk Show Live once it’s announced, if I can manage to score a ticket.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

The App Store Reddit Client Takedown

MacStories: “What bothers me the most about this incident is how Apple implemented its policy change. There was no imminent threat or emergency that made Reddit clients any more a threat than they were twelve months prior, but nonetheless Apple summarily pulled them and offered to reconsider the apps if the developers resubmitted. The developers worked through the night, resubmitted their apps and many were back on the App Store by the next morning. As a result, the story barely got traction and, while Apple may have avoided an onslaught of bad press, the damage was done. Developers took note.”

This mess could have been completely avoided if Apple had picked up the phone and reached out to each developer affected. Why not call and say “Hey, this is Apple, we’d like you to turn the NSFW setting on by default and resubmit your app. You have x-days to make the change.”

How tough would that have been?

Mobile Cross Platform in C++

Will write C/C++ for foodPSPDFKit Blog: “PSPDFKit started in 2010 as an iOS-only project. Back then there was just one person working on it. 6 years later, we’re 28 people, have frameworks for iOS, Android and the Web, and our core framework even runs on OS X and Windows.”

Great piece on cross platform development using C++ and a tool from Dropbox called Djinni to help make things look native.

I’ve been toying with the idea of making RxCalc run on Android and the first thing I want to do is rewrite our Pharmacokinetics Math Library (PkMath) in C++, which ironically began life in C++ and was ported to Objective-C.

Rob’s 2016 Summer Blockbuster Must See List

There are a few things to point out about this years list. It’s a bit long, I started from mid-April (which is a bit short of May, the “traditional” blockbuster season), it runs through September, and all the trailers links are pointed at my new favorite site for watching movie trailers; Trailer Town.

The Jungle Book April 15
Green Room April 15
Criminal April 15
Captain America: Civil War May 06
Free State of Jones May 13
Money Monster May 13
High-Rise May 13
The Nice Guys May 20
X-Men: Apocalypse May 27
Alice Through the Looking Glass May 27
Warcraft June 10
The Conjuring 2 June 10
Central Intelligence June 17
Finding Dory June 17
Independence Day: Resurgence June 24
The Legend of Tarzan July 01
The BFG July 01
Ghostbusters July 15
Star Trek Beyond July 22
Genius July 29
Suicide Squad August 05
Ben-Hur August 12
Pete’s Dragon August 12
War Dogs August 19
Snowden September 16
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children September 30
Deepwater Horizon September 30

While I’d love to see all of these at theaters, I know I won’t. This is the shorter list I really hope to catch in theaters; Captain America: Civil War, Central Intelligence, Warcraft, Finding Dory, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, and Suicide Squad.

Prior years 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

Healthcare Systems stuck in 1980

Watch out! It's a blog fly!Healthcare IT News: “King’s Daughters’ Health officials told Indiana’s WSCH radio that patient data was secure and had not been compromised, and that it would restart its computer systems once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, KDH is using manual processes to continue operations.”

My brother and I were just talking about this yesterday. The article above puts a pretty face on a real problem. This does impact patient safety. It continually surprises me how far behind most hospitals IT system are. Most of these shops run on PC’s which is perfectly fine. The problem is most of those systems are many generations of OS behind. If your hospital is running Windows 7 today, it should be updated. Windows 10 is now the current OS, get in the game to protect your infrastructure. If you’re using software from third-party vendors that only operates on Windows 7, in an ancient browser, or relies on ActiveX controls (goodness, I hope you’re not using these) you should demand your vendor upgrade their software to work or find something better, something modern, something that’s maintained.

The bottom line is this: Crappy, out of date, software can impact patient care.

Parse for Azure

logo-build-smallMicrosoft Azure Blog: “We created a Parse Server implementation that uses fully-managed Azure Services and released it on the Azure Marketplace. With this template, Parse developers will be able to easily spin up a Parse Server v2.1.4 with a suite of pre-integrated Azure services.”

The closure of Parse has actually allowed the platform to blossom. The community has been amazing, the Parse team has been amazing, and now we’re seeing other platform vendors pick up where Facebook left off.

I think this would be my first choice for continued Parse deployments. I haven’t used Azure myself but I trust the opinions of some folks that have. I’ve heard the management console is much nicer than AWS, not to pick on AWS because I’ve actually used and like AWS, but the Azure team is continuing to build out incredible infrastructure that can run any operating system and service you’d like to host there.

This year at Build Microsoft seems to have really doubled down on services and Azure, along with announcing free Xamarin tools for Visual Studio, a plugin to Visual Studio that allows for building on Linux, and a native implementation of Bash on Windows. Those are just a few of my favorite announcements, I’m sure there are many others I missed.

We live in interesting times and Microsoft definitely isn’t sitting still. They are becoming the place for Services and Mobile Apps.