What I… (March 2016)

Another busy month over. Time flies recently, doesn’t it? I feel like as soon as I’ve published the most recent “What I…” post, I have to sit down again and write another one, though an entire month has passed. Weird. And with the recent daylight savings time change here in Austria, I’ve become a little more messed up with my time. It always takes me a little while to acclimate to the “lost” hour. But damn, is it light out now at 7 p.m. I love that.

Enough talk. Here’s March 2016’s edition of What I…

… Did

Interviews for Contract Work
I had two interviews for contract work recently (none of which I’m allowed to talk about), but that was a first for me.
I’ve never done any work for people other than friends (I did some work for green&slimy) and family (I coded Reach ZEN, an iOS game my cousin came up with), so this was a first for me, going to meet people who determined if I was fit for a development job.
The first time, I was a little nervous and ultimately declined the offer, the second one I was more confident and I’ll be helping bring an awesome app to live soon.
Obviously, my own apps won’t come short because of it, that’s something I’ve considered very carefully.

Achievement Unlocked: 9to5mac Reviews Yoink (+ Video) (9to5mac)
I’ve never had an app of mine reviewed on 9to5mac before, so this is an important milestone for me. It’s a very favorable review, and the video that accompanies it is just great.
Thank you, Jeff (@jeffbenjam on twitter).

Optimizing Yoink (website)
I did a lot of optimizing and improved resource management in Yoink. I’ll go into detail in an upcoming blog post.
Suffice to say, I fixed an issue I’ve been battling a long time, where Yoink couldn’t hold more than a couple thousand files simultaneously and denied accepting more after that (in earlier versions, they didn’t even have to be in there simultaneously – it accumulated over time).

Mac Developer Tip: Simulate Memory Pressure (blog)
A short blog post about how to trigger a memory pressure event so you can test your apps under memory sensitive circumstances.

Sponsorship of Beautiful Pixels, The Platter and Digital Dojos (beautifulpixels, theplatter, digitaldojos)
I decided to sponsor a couple of sites again, get the word out about my apps (mostly about Yoink, see the Beautiful Pixels sponsored post and The Platter’s ad).
I usually wait for a good deal, and those sites currently had very nice ones.
It was all pretty spontaneous, except for Digital Dojos, that’s been in the making for a while (my fault, not theirs). Speaking of Digital Dojos, I’ve never sponsored them before, but they seem very enthusiastic about what they do and having me as a sponsor, so I’m very happy with them, too.
I’m very much looking forward to the result of these campaigns 😉

… Downloaded

Duck Tales

Duck Tales on the Apple TV (App Store)
I got it for the iPad some time ago, now they released it on the Apple TV as well (and it’s free for those who bought it already on the App Store).
I love it on the big screen, but the controls (via Siri Remote) are a little clunky and needs getting used to.

Tayasui Sketches+ Icon

Tayasui Sketches+ (App Store)
I guess this will really shine on one of those iPads Pro, but it was on sale, so I gave it a shot, because I’d heard good things. It’s really very nice.

The Executive Icon

The Executive (App Store)
I’m not really into fighting games, but it’s nice if you need to blow off some steam 😛

… Read

Disney Infinity 3.0 Not Getting Updates on Apple TV (toucharcade)
<sarcasm>They said the future of TV was apps, not games</sarcasm>
All joking aside, this is disconcerting. Seems like Apple TV app sales aren’t doing so well.

Mac Ransomware KeRanger Distributed Through Transmission (click)
Larger market share sadly means more creeps are interested in the platform…

Craig Federighi: The FBI Wants to Roll Back Security to 2013 (washingtonpost)
I’m a big fan of Federighi’s and this strengthens my opinion of him.

The Simple Rules That Could Transform How You Launch Your Product (launchkit)
Some interesting and potentially helpful tidbits.

How a $2.99 Recipe App Became a Top 2 Paid App in the App Store (medium)
“Launch into an existing community, or piggyback one”

Distributing Apps Outside of the Mac App Store (devmate)
If I were to sell my apps outside of the Mac App Store, I’d probably use DevMate.

The Most Important Apple Executive You’ve Never Heard Of (bloomberg)
A visit with Apple’s chief chipmaker, Johny Srouji.

An Indie’s Guide to the Press (curtisherbert)
“Getting the attention of the tech press can feel hard as an indie”

How the iPad Pro Changed My Illustrating Career (medium)
An open letter to Tim Cook by a 15 year old girl, Zoe, about how the iPad Pro made her a better illustrator and even landed her an illustrating job of a children’s book.

Apple Needs A Preferred Developer Program (medium)
Some good points are made here, but I don’t think creating a two-class-society on the App Store is a good solution to the problems the App Stores are facing.

Inside Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Fight With the FBI (time)
“There’s financial information. There’s your conversations, there’s business secrets. There’s probably more information about you on [your smartphone] than exists in your home.”
You can read the full transcript of the interview here.

… Listened To

Encryption Tightrope Apple / FBI Hearing (youtube)
The (lengthy) hearing of the two parties involved. Very insightful, so if you have some time, be sure to watch it.
I listened to it like a podcast, which you can do as well, it doesn’t need to be watched, imho 😉

… Watched

Columbo DVD Box

Columbo (itunes)
My girlfriend gave me the entire Columbo series for my birthday and we couldn’t stop watching. One of the greatest detectives – ahem, lieutenants, of course – of all time.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Encryption (youtube)
A fun take on the whole Apple / FBI thing.

… Ate

Spicy Bombay PotatoesSpicy “Bombay Potatoes”

… Went to See

Innsbruck, AustriaInnsbruck, Austria

The For a quick weekend getaway, my girlfriend and I took a spontaneous short-trip to Innsbruck.
In the three days we were there, we walked about 30 kilometers.

Mac Developer Tip: How to Simulate Memory Pressure

In iOS Simulator, you can, via a menu item, quickly simulate memory pressure for the simulated device to see if your app behaves correctly under low memory conditions (releasing caches, cleaning up resources, and so on).

Recently, I had the need for it on the Mac (where such a menu item is not available), while working on an XPC service for Yoink, to see if it terminated properly under certain conditions.

Meet the memory_pressure tool

OS X comes with the Terminal, and with the Terminal come some awesome tools. Among them is memory_pressure. Its man page says it all:

Apply real or simulate memory pressure on the system.

Usage of memory_tool

sudo memory_pressure -S -l critical

What this does is simulate (-S) a memory pressure of a critical level (-l critical).
sudo is needed, otherwise it will probably fail with an “Operation not permitted” error.

memory_tool’s options

-l:   Two levels of pressure are supported: ‘warn’ and ‘critical’.
-p:  For real pressure, this lets you define how much memory should remain free, in percent of total memory.
-S:  Simulate memory pressure, don’t really allocate memory.
-s:   If applying real pressure, this is the duration to wait before allocating or freeing memory.
       If it’s simulated pressure, the system will be maintained at an artificial memory level for this duration.

Opinion: Why the iPhone SE Should Have 3D Touch

iPhone SE, by Apple, Inc.

Before I tell you why I won’t be buying one, let me say this: I love the iPhone SE. I love its form factor, I love its power.
As a matter of fact, I’m still using – and loving – my iPhone 5s and I think, for me, the 4’’ screen is just perfect.

Why I Won’t Buy the iPhone SE

Personally, I want to keep to the 4’’ form factor, but I can’t. As a user, I probably could do without 3D Touch, but since I want to develop for it, I need some way to test it. While the simulator with Magic Trackpad (Force Touch) support is nice for initial development, I’ll have to test on a real device sooner or later (and better sooner rather than later).

So as a user, I’d probably purchase the iPhone SE, but as a developer, I can’t do it, so I’ll have to wait for the iPhone 7.

But let’s get on to the actual point of this post.

IPhone 6s Taptic Engine 3D Touch

Why The iPhone SE Should Have 3D Touch

It’s clear to me why Apple isn’t including it – it gives the iPhone 6s and Plus (and future “mainstream” iPhones) a USP and makes it more attractive for surely lots of users, while allowing to offer a slightly cheaper iPhone for those that don’t have as deep a pocket.
Still, I think it’s a mistake not including 3D Touch in the recently announced iPhone SE. Here’s why.

It “Cheapens” the Technology

To play a Live Photo, normally you’d Force Press. On the iPhone SE, you long-press to play Live Photos. The question then becomes, what do I really need 3D Touch for?
Live Photos kind of were presented together with 3D Touch (Live Photos on the Lock Screen), but a long press does this just as well, so, yeah, whatever.

IPhone 6s 3D Touch Quick Action

It remains useful for Peek & Pop and Quick Actions, of course. So not having that on the iPhone SE is bad for all involved:
– The User, because they can not use these functions on an iPhone SE
– The developer, because their apps could be perceived as less functional because of it
– Apple, because of those two reasons

It May Stifle Adoption and Innovation by Developers

Quick Actions as well as Peek and Pop are pretty easy to implement with the APIs Apple provides for it, but anything that goes beyond it does take a certain amount of work and effort.
With only the “premium” iPhones having 3D Touch, developers (especially indies, who have less resources) will think twice before taking what might turn out to be a couple of weeks to implement a unique or innovative use of 3D Touch, seeing as they might not reach the entire market with it and having to develop and maintain different code-paths for different devices.

TL;DR

The iPhone SE will probably be sold for years to come and seeing as it’s a lower-priced phone, its customers are (in my way of thinking) less likely to upgrade, say, every year, which means 3D Touch will not be available “everywhere”™ for too long a time to come for the technology to go “mainstream” among developers to do something beyond Peek & Pop or Quick Actions.