A blog in desperate need of a new title
Shut Up Notch!Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Markus Persson (“Notch”) sold Mojang, the company that made Minecraft, to Microsoft for $2.5 billion last year. Now he's been tweeting about how hard life is as a billionaire. I say, shut the $%#& up, and I suspect I'm not alone.
Markus, I have about 25 projects and ideas I would like to develop, but I can't. Do you know why? Because I'm spending every waking minute trying to simply provide for my family, and maybe splurge on a vacation or something once in a while. I don't want a billion dollars, but I sure would like enough to hire a couple developers who can do the stuff my brain isn't capable of. I don't even need a million dollars, but I'd like enough money to be able to cover my bills for a year so I could spend that year building one or two of the projects I think could be awesome.
Just thinking about this has gotten me depressed. Thanks a lot.
Proofreading TipTuesday, June 16, 2015
Spell checker works great for catching a misplaced letter in a word. We’ve all seen the bright red squiggly underline; it’s hard to miss. But what is hard to miss is a correctly spelled typo. For example, you meant to type “customer” and entered “costumer” instead. Spell checker didn’t notice, and a read-through might not catch it either. I read through all of my posts and never catch every mistake, so I use a neat trick to proof read my posts to ensure they’re (mostly) error free. Macs and iDevices offer text-to-speech, so I have my laptop read my post back to me. Hearing my words read back, a misplaced word really jumps out. Also, I use the British voice so my words sound much smarter.
On the Mac, highlight a block of text, right click, and select “Speech”, then “Start Speaking”. On the phone (or iPad), highlight a block of text and tap “Speak”. (The iPhone requires a couple of steps to enable text-to-speech: open the Settings app, General > Accessibility > Speech, enable Speak Selection.)
Re: Redesigning Overcast's Apple Watch appThursday, May 14, 2015
I've previously talked about Overcast as my favorite podcasting app, and was excited about it being an early Apple Watch app. Since I primarily use Overcast while driving, it makes sense for it to be a frequently used Watch app. John Gruber mentioned on his podcast that Overcast was the best app on the watch so far, and I full heartedly agreed... until Marco Arment updated it. Both Jason Snell and John Gruber have praised the update, but I think the update is a major leap backwards.
Marco's post goes into a lot of detail about why he made the decisions he made on the updated watch app.
I'd arranged the play/seek controls in a spaced-out triangle to minimize accidental taps on the small touch targets. [...] My triangular button arrangement, which was very costly in screen space, proved unnecessary. Apple's media glance uses a three-across button layout and it's fine.
Except that it's not fine. I've been completely unable to start a podcast from the updated watch app since he moved the position of the play button. I can't tell if the touch target is too small or too close to the bottom of the screen, but I tried to start a podcast 10 times this morning, and finally had to pull out my phone to start it. Testing it further in a more controlled environment (i.e. not trying to navigate through San Diego traffic), I found I had a 33% success rate.
In practice, I just don't like navigation hierarchies on the Watch. They feel even slower than other WatchKit UIs, and tapping the tiny Back buttons or swiping back from the edge are frustratingly error-prone.
I never had an issue swiping or tapping the Back button. In fact, I feel that the swipe-to-go-back gesture is even more useful on the Watch than it is on the iPhone. But the revised setup is ridiculously frustrating and cumbersome. Force Touch brings up a menu with an option for “podcasts”. Tapping this provides a list of podcasts, and tapping a podcast name provides a list of available episodes. Logical so far... but once I'm in the list of episodes, there's only one option if I decide I want to go back: a Cancel button in the top left corner which dumps me back to the Now Playing screen. There is no Force Touch or Swipe option on this screen, which completely goes against Marco's argument about tapping the tiny buttons cause more errors.
One final (minor) annoyance with the update is the Up Next container. On the Now Playing and the Glances view there is space dedicated to showing two podcasts which are queued up to play after the current podcast. But since this only works if I'm using the smart playlist feature, all I ever see is blank space covering two-thirds of my screen.
This is a new platform, and I appreciate the work and thought that Marco is putting into his app. He closes his post admitting that there's a lot of learning to do, so I expect to see many more iterations of Overcast.
Did Jesus Discriminate?Thursday, April 16, 2015
Brian Klawiter, owner of Dieseltec:
I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)
While his explanation of why being gay is wrong is quite funny, it bothers me to think I am compared with this guy when I call myself a Christian. This is not at all what I was suggesting in my earlier posts on the topic.
A Christian by definition should follow Christ’s example. What was His example? Jesus fed 5,000 people and did not turn away anyone in the crowd that may have been dishonest or immoral. (Judas was there, remember?) When Jesus healed the paralytic, He first forgave him of his sins and then He healed him. That means Jesus knew the man was a sinner and still healed him. Most importantly, Jesus didn’t die for the moral and honest. He died for me.
Imagine if Jesus only did business with people who were perfect. Now I don’t know Klawiter, but I suspect he wouldn’t have made the cut.
Assuming Klawiter is sincere, he is doing more to hurt the rights of business owners than to help. There is a huge difference in what he is doing versus refusing to promote a cause you don’t agree with.
It’s simple really. If I make a game like Flappy Birds, anyone who wants to spend a buck has a right to download it. But if a gay bar requests that I make an app for their establishment, I should have the right to decide this is not the right project for my business. Same can be said for a marijuana distributor, a democrat presidential candidate, or even a mega-church. I wouldn’t just be selling a generic product or service, I’d be promoting their cause.
Frankly this isn’t uncommon. All the while they complain about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the blogs and podcasts doing the most protesting are actively being selective with who they will or will not allow to advertise on their site. They are not going to help promote a cause or business they don’t agree with.
While Jesus would feed or heal all who came to Him, He never promoted the causes of the Pharisees, the Scribes, or the sinner.
Apple Popup DictionaryWednesday, April 15, 2015
I've been using the Dictionary shortcut on my laptop since it was introduced in Mountain Lion. The three-finger-tap (tap, not click) shortcut on the trackpad is indispensable when you need to get the definition or a synonym up a word. (You can alternatively right click and select “Look up” from the context menu.) In the most recent OS X update, Apple changed the display a little. If you've never seen it before, it looks something like this: