Welcome back to another crazy part of the “What I…” series 😉 No dog this time.

… Did

The Jailhouse Dogs, Graz

Playing Piano for The Jailhouse Dogs
Because their regular pianist couldn’t make it, I had to jump in. We played the season’s opening for Clocktower, a Harley-Davidson dealer in Graz, Austria. I hadn’t played the piano since the last time I had to jump in for him, and that was in the summer of last year, so I was quite out of practice and I totally screwed up the intro of Status Quo’s “Rockin’ All Over The World”. No one noticed though, except the band of course, and we all had a good laugh about it. Laughing, we almost couldn’t play the song, but we pushed through. The rest went fine. I miss playing the piano regularly.

Yoink About Window

Working on an update for Yoink (click)
Besides a substantial update for ScreenFloat, I’ve been working on an update for Yoink, mostly bug fixing (for example, see this blog post about a curious bug that occurred with webarchives), performance and efficiency improvements (for example, Yoink will no longer try to create QuickLook previews for folders and apps, because those are just icons anyway. It’s not a big thing, but for a lot of dragging, it might make a small difference). Also, CPU usage shouldn’t rise to 100% anymore when accepting promised drags – another battery saver.
I’ve also included the new About window that I introduced in Glimpses and a new splash screen that’s similar to the one you can find in Glimpses as well.
I’m currently waiting for translations of the splash- and about window and then I’ll be able to release it, hopefully next week.

By the way, it’s been on the Mac App Store front page for a while, and it makes me very happy to see it there, in the “Get Stuff Done” category and is in great company – MindNode 2, OmniFocus and Evernote, to name a few.

Stationary Bike (click)
I’m not a sporty kind of guy, I’m not into sports of any kind – in short, I consider taking a brief walk working out. But it occurred to me that sitting in front of a computer all day and not doing anything to counter that could lead to a horrible, sudden death.
So I decided to use my girlfriend’s stationary bike and ride it for an hour every workday. It’s been going well so far (I started two weeks ago), cycling for 22km a session. It’s a good tempo for me right now and I feel better already.
Although they are quite pricey, I’d love to get a standing desk, as I hear good things about it. Perhaps one with a built-in walking thingy.

I don’t use any fitness trackers or anything like that, I just ride an hour and am done. If Apple sold its Apple Watch in Austria, perhaps I would have picked one up, but it’s the second time now Austria’s been dumped from their release list. Kind of annoying, in more than one way, considering I might want develop software for it.

… Downloaded

Alto's Adventure

Alto’s Adventure (click)
Admittedly, I downloaded this game for iOS not this month but about the time when it was first released, but it received a nice update recently and I’ve started playing it again. It’s a lot of fun and I can only recommend it.

… Read

The Reconstruction of Lara Croft – Rise Of The Tomb Raider (click)
A very interesting article about creating Lara Croft for her latest instalment of Tomb Raider.
At one point, they realized that Lara Croft was not Lara Croft anymore, but Camilla Luddington, the woman portraying her for motion capturing.

… Listened To

Welcome To Macintosh Podcast Episode 3: Trip to alphaSyntauri (click)
Guest starring Charlie Kellner, an Apple employee, mostly talking about the early days of computer audio.

… Watched

How To Get Your App Noticed By The Media (click)
A very good talk by Peter Cohen (Mac Managing Editor at imore, @flargh on twitter).

Broken Age Documentary (click)
Being a backer of the Double Fine Adventure (now known as Broken Age), I had access to all the videos when they were posted, but now they are also available publicly on their YouTube channel and I definitely recommend watching it if you’re at all interested in how a game is produced and comes to live.

… Ate

CurryChicken Curry with Rice, Roti bread and green salad

… Went to See

Us and Tom Cruise at the World Premiere in Vienna
Us and Simon Pegg at the World Premiere in Vienna

The World Premiere of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was at the Vienna Opera House and my girlfriend and I were lucky enough to win two tickets to the fan zone in front of it, and even luckier to get a spot in the first row, so we managed to take pictures with Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg and, of course, get their autographs. A very exciting day, something that definitely doesn’t happen every day, especially not in Vienna 😉

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Welcome to the 3rd instalment of “What I…” for June 2015 – again a little late this time. I blame having to dog-sit my girlfriend’s mom’s dog “Lucky” 😉

… Did

Dog Lucky

Lucky is with us every now and then, but having him here day and night for an entire week is a completely different experience.
For example, getting up at 5.45 sharp to take him out for a walk is something else compared to my typical routine.

ScreenFloat Update (click)
After successfully (and finally) releasing Glimpses, I’m able to move on to the next app that needs updating – ScreenFloat.
I have a couple of nice things planned. That will take some time, though, as I need to restructure some parts of the app, for example the storage of screenshots.
I don’t have an ETA yet and haven’t even started coding yet, I’m very much still in the planning stages and code-reviewing.

New App for Mac (and possibly iOS)
Another reason I haven’t started coding on the ScreenFloat update yet is that I’ve started working on a completely new app this month.
I like working on side-projects, it tends to restore my energies. Sometimes, working on an app that you’ve been working on for quite some time can become unexciting. At times, you want to do something else.
So projects I work on on the side are a good way to get my head out of what I should be working on and ‘reboot’ so I can return to, in this case, ScreenFloat with fully recharged batteries and a fresh eye at things.
Regarding the new app itself, it’s too soon to share anything about it, other than that progress is going quite well. I’ve been working on a custom UI for it and it has been taking a lot of time. It still is 😉

… Didn’t Do That I Had Planned

Post about ESSAudioWaveView
In my Mac app Glimpses, that turns your photos and music into stunning still motion videos, I use a piece of custom UI called ESSAudioWaveView, and it allows the user to select a portion of a song to be selected and used for the video.
I had planned to post about it this month but time wasn’t on my side.
It’s on my list, and perhaps I can do it in July. It will be a multi-part series.

Start coding work on ScreenFloat
Having gotten distracted with the new app I wrote about above, I didn’t get as much work done on ScreenFloat as I had hoped and wanted.
On the other hand, having updated Yoink to version 3, Transloader for iOS with a Today Widget and Action Extension, and Glimpses 2.0 in the last couple of months, I just needed some time to get away from my existing apps and do something else for a while.
A new app is always good therapy 😉 

… Downloaded

Gestimer Icon

Gestimer (click)
Developed by fellow Austrian Martin Nguyen, this Mac app sits in your menu bar and lets you quickly create short-time reminders (for example, take the dog for a walk in 30 minutes).
It has a great UI and I suggest you go check it out 🙂

LEGO Jurassic World Icon

LEGO Jurassic World (click)
As soon as it was announced, I knew I had to get it. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I played LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones and they were just plain fun and entertainment, with a unique style of humor.
The only thing that, “uhm, urr, staggers me” (inside joke here) is their use of in-movie-audio for dialogs. I often have a hard time understanding what is being said – perhaps they should have play-tested this a little longer and adjust the audio levels here.
Anyway, I’m at the beginning of the second movie now, ‘The Lost World’, and can’t wait to play again.

… Read

Link: The Process Behind Putting Firewatch On Stage At E3 (click)
Written by the Campo Santo team who are responsible for the game Firewatch which will be released some time in the future (in case you don’t know, the well-known Mac software company Panic, Inc. acts like a sort-of-publisher for the game), this blog post gives a look at what goes into a E3 demo. A very interesting read.

Link: An Oral History Of Deus Ex (click)
Fifteen years ago, Deus Ex was released. The girls and guys of Gamasutra sat down with the project director, lead programmer, composer and lead writer of the game, trying to “shed some light on how this seminal game was developed”.

Link: Postmortem: Blizzard’s Diablo II (click)
Also fifteen years ago, Diablo II was released – one of my (if not the) all-time favorite games I ever played. This is a post-mortem of Diablo II, written a couple of months after Diablo II was released, back in the year 2000.

We Don't Need Roads Book Cover

Book: We Don’t Need Roads – The Making of the Back To The Future Trilogy (click)
As the title says, a book about the making of the Back To The Future movie trilogy. Based on interviews with the people who made the movies, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Christopher Lloyd and countless others.
The cover looks great. I guess the way they figured, if you’re going to make a book cover, you better do it with some style!

… Listened To

Der Übercast Episode 32 (click)
A german podcast (alternatively with video). In this episode, the guest is Thorsten Lemke, the legendary developer responsible for Graphic Converter.

… Watched

WWDC Sessions (click)
Of course, as always with WWDC, there’s plenty of new stuff and with Apple posting the sessions as videos online, it’s very easy to get caught up with everything that’s coming.
My favorite sessions are:
– Session 102; Platforms Sate of the Union
– Session 506; Editing Movies in AVFoundation
– Sessions 603 and 607, 604, 606, 608; (What’s New in Metal, SpriteKit, SceneKit, GameplayKit) – Even though I don’t work on games right now, these sessions are always some of the first I watch
– Session 225; What’s New in NSCollectionView
– Sessions 704 and 715; What’s New in CloudKit and CloudKit Tips and Tricks


Jurassic World (click)
What Jurassic Park sequels have taught me is to go into these movies with very, very, very low expectations. So I did. And what happened? I actually found it enjoyable.
Please do not read on if you haven’t seen the movie yet but plan to, there might be spoilers from here on.
Spoilers to come…
Still to come…
One more for good measure…

Here we go:
Forget the ‘love story’ – it’s totally inconsequential and unnecessary.
Forget the ‘brother story’ – it’s completely tacked-on.
Forget the characters – they’re totally underdeveloped.
Forget the ‘dinosaurs as weapons for the army story’ – sucks.
Forget the ’training Velociraptors like dogs’ thing – sucks big time.

With all that, I still found it to be enjoyable and entertaining. I can’t exactly put my fingers on it, but it’s got some good action, suspense and dinosaurs.
Perhaps it’s enjoyable to me because it’s the first ‘Jurassic’ movie I’ve seen in the cinema.

Dil Dhadakne Do Movie Cover

Dil Dhadakne Do (click)
A very funny comedy about a dysfunctional Punjabi family on a cruise trip.
My girlfriend wanted to see it and she was not disappointed – and neither was I. She loved the songs and dance numbers.

… Ate

Lemon Curd Berry TrifleLemon Curd Berry Trifle

… Went to See

IMG 9986Carnuntum, an archaeological site near Vienna, Austria

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Welcome to the slightly belated 2nd edition of ‘What I…’
Due to the weekend and a lot of last-minute polishing that had to happen for Briefly 2.0, I had to delay this post a little 😉

Now, without further ado, here’s What I…

… Did

Transloader 2.2 (click)
I released Transloader 2.2 (for iOS, the Mac app remains unchanged for now) and it received a very nice response with a sponsorship on TekRevue, the release on ProductHuntBeautiful Pixels, and many others.

Received Eternal Storms Software & charity:water T-Shirts (click)
After a long wait, they finally arrived and they look awesome 🙂

Open Source: Animate a determinate NSProgessIndicator (click)
A category on NSProgressIndicator that makes it easy to animate its -doubleValue.

Briefly 2.0
I finished up Briefly 2.0 and submitted it to the Mac App Store, it will be available on June 8th.
Alexander Käßner, the designer who worked on the UI of the app, did a wonderful job and I can’t wait to be able to finally release it next week.

The functionality of the app was completed two, three weeks ago, so these last weeks went into making the app really shine, fixing bugs, polishing the interface and animations and testing all around.

… Downloaded

Sword of Xolan IconSword of Xolan (click)
Sword of Xolan is an action platformer game that includes the juice of pixel art style. Xolan is a young and brave man who fight for justice no matter what the cost.
A pretty awesome game and at $0.99 an absolute steal. Very entertaining and well worth the money.


Lara Croft: Relic Run IconLara Croft: Relic Run (click)
Lara Croft: Relic Run is the all new action adventure for nostalgic Lara Croft fans. When a shadowy conspiracy threatens the world, only Lara Croft is equipped to unearth the truth.
It’s not much different from other endless runners, but it’s well done with a couple of nice animations.

… Read

Beat Detection Algorithms (click)
Working on Briefly 2.0, I had this idea of automatically timing photos based on the beat of a given audio file. It didn’t make it into the upcoming release, but perhaps in a future upgrade. This is non-trivial stuff 😉

‘Big Indie’ Kickstarters are Killing Actual Indies (click)
An interesting article about how ‘Big Indies’ asking for less than they actually need kill actual indies who ask for what they need by ‘devaluating’ game development.

MacDevWeekly #9 (click)
a curated collection of OS X developer code, resources and tools – Issue #9 features NSView-ESSViewCategory by yours truly – a category on NSView to easily create zoom-transitions between two NSViews.

… Watched

My girlfriend is a fan of mangas and animes, so we watched

Nisekoi DVDNisekoi (click)
“Nisekoi follows high school students Raku Ichijo, the son of a leader in the yakuza faction Shuei-Gumi, and Chitoge Kirisaki, the daughter of a boss in a rival gang known as Beehive.”
It’s very funny, my girlfriend and I laughed throughout so if you’re a fan of anime and looking for a laugh, I suggest you give it a try 🙂

… Ate

Butter ChickenIndian Butter Chicken
We’re totally into indian food and butter chicken might be our absolute favorite.

… Went to See

View from the south tower of St. Stephen's CathedralView from the south tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
My girlfriend and I haven’t been up there in the longest time, so we decided to walk up the 343 steps – the view was definitely worth it.

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You know how they say it’s good to keep a journal of things you do to see how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved, where you’ve been, etc (the raison d’être for DayOne).

I’d like to try something new and decided to do just that here on my blog to keep a reference for my future self and for everyone else who’s interested.

What I…

… Did

Briefly 1.6 (or 2.0, haven’t decided yet; work in progress) (click)
I got a lot of work done on the next update for Briefly. Especially the new soundtrack option trimming (with a neat audio wave form) took a lot of time and only now is done. But I’m pretty proud of how it turned out and it was well worth the time investment.

Briefly's New Audio Wave Form

The Audio Wave Form View (aka ESSAudioWaveView, a separate blog post will follow) makes heave use of the AVFoundation framework for creating the audio wave form (AVAssetReader), playback (AVPlayer) and actual trimming of the audio asset (AVAssetExportSession) (which will not be used in Briefly, as the app already has a system in place for trimming and fading out the audio for the still motion video. Why implement it then? For completeness. I might use it in a different project and it might come in handy there. Plus, trimming is kind of the point of this view. In Briefly, however, I only use the range the user selected in ESSAudioWaveView and pass it into the system already in place).

Quartz 2D / Core Graphics (mostly NSBezierPath) is used to do its drawing, NSAnimation for the couple of subtle animations (fading in/out the timing information, moving the selection markers).

I also implemented Undo support, using NSUndoManager (a separate blog post will follow). It was far easier than I had anticipated – I only ever used it once in a private test project and it was a complete mess. But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. I’m sure there’s more complex scenarios, though. In ESSAudioWaveView, undo is supported for selections and zooming into them enabling more fine-grained selections. Undo comes in very handy when trying to find the right selection for later trimming. And because I had an animation system in place, all undos (except for zooming into/out of a selection) are animated, which makes it look more polished.

This upcoming new version is a major overhaul of the app, as it will also allow users to save their projects, opposed to the “one-shot” approach the app had until now.

Transloader 2.2 (Waiting for Developer Release) (click)
The next update for Transloader will bring a fix for iPhone 6 Plus and add a “Add to Transloader” button to Transloader’s Today Widget if a link is on the clipboard.


This will make the app even more useful (in addition to the Action Extension accessible from the browser, which was part of the 2.1 update).

Website Branding, Corporate Identity (blog post)
I redesigned my website, this blog and plan to update my apps so they have a great new About – window (see the blog post linked above). The first to have it will be the next update of Briefly, but it will roll out to all my other apps as well.

SPRITEplayer (private project for my brother)
My brother is dead-set on developing a 2D adventure game. He needed an app to test his sprites and backdrops together, so I whipped up this app for him. He can add backdrops and sprites, scale them, change the speed of the character animation and make it move around by dragging the mouse. Bare-bones, but it gets the job done.

SPRITEplayer playing a sprite

I wish I had had the time to do it in SpriteKit. It would have been a perfect fit. But as I didn’t have the time to dive into a whole new framework I am not familiar with, I simply used two CALayers (one for the backdrop, one for the character/sprite) that draw an NSImage into their bounds rectangle and NSTimer for the character animation (which basically only increases the index of the character image to be drawn). Not much to it.

Open Source Code: ESSProgressIndicator (blog post; github)
ESSSquareProgressIndicator animating
I already blogged about this, so I’ll be quick – I open sourced an indeterminate, square progress indicator, developed for the iOS game Reach ZEN.

Open Source Code: Zoom-Transition between NSViews (blog postgithub)


Another Open Source Project I already blogged about – this lets you easily transition between two NSViews with a nice zoom-animation as seen in OS X 10.10.3’s

… Downloaded

Torchlight 2Torchlight II (Mac)
I finally purchased Torchlight 2. I missed the release-sale when it was released for Mac so I waited for another sale, and sure enough, last week, it was on sale for $4.99 on the Mac Game Store. I loved the first game (although once you were done with the campaign, it got stale pretty rapidly), so to get the second game was a no-brainer for me. I don’t have a lot of time to play, but what I’ve seen so far, I like.

Review Times IconReview Times (Mac)
My fellow Austrian Frank Gregor (@thecocoanaut on twitter) recently released his app Review Times that puts a display of how long it’s currently taking Apple on average to review apps on the Mac- and iOS App Store (based on data from in the menu bar and Notification Center (which I prefer, as my menu status bar is terribly crowded).

OS X 10.10.3 with (Mac, duh)
I know, everybody downloads that one. But I thought I’d take the opportunity to quickly jolt down some notes on It’s especially interesting to me as I work on two photo-apps, flickery and Briefly. It’s very responsive, compared to iPhoto (I never used Aperture, aside from quickly testing flickery’s plugin for it from time to time). The interface is very clean with a clear, uncompromising focus on the content. I’ll be taking some clues from it for flickery 2.0 for sure.

What I didn’t like was the import process from iPhoto. I started off with a clean slate first for (it started downloading photos from the iCloud Photo Stream immediately – plus points). But for an app that’s supposed to replace iPhoto (and Aperture), it’s surprisingly obscure to import the iPhoto library. The Import… menu item doesn’t help, it’ll only import photo and video files as far as I could tell, I couldn’t select the iPhoto Library, which was very odd to me.

What you have to do is press the option-key on your keyboard during launch. Yes, that’s very user-friendly (not). Then it takes the iPhoto library and turns it into a library. And after that, you’re not done. Because for some reason, iCloud Photo Stream and iCloud features in general are disabled by default. You have to dig into’s preferences to finally see that you have to make your newly created library the default library for iCloud to work (why wouldn’t it be when I import all my iPhoto photos. And if it isn’t, why not ask me right away after the import?)

Borders around Buttons in Photos.appAlso, I find the borders around these buttons kind of weird. And they are only visible if there’s something blurred in the background.

Apart from that, I think the app is very well done and I haven’t had any trouble since. I like the icon, too. Would be nice if it imported Photo Booth’s photos, too.

… Read

The Gemini Program Book CoverBook “Das Gemini Programm”
In a fit of “I have to learn something about the Space Program”, I ordered a couple of books about Gemini and Apollo. The book is very interesting, albeit extremely technical, which I hadn’t anticipated.

Link: Writing a Great App Store Description (click)
App Store Descriptions are extremely important, without a doubt. I’m always trying new things to improve mine and this article has some interesting pointers of places of improvement.

Link: Create Space Invaders with Swift and SpriteKit (click)
Before I started work on SPRITEplayer for my brother (see above), I thought of implementing it on top of SpriteKit, as it definitely would be a perfect fit. However, for a side project that had to be done very quick (as I kept postponing for quite some time before actually doing any work) I didn’t have the time to learn a new framework. But if his game does make some progress and I do the programming, that link will come in very handy.

Link: Is Deus Ex Still the Best Game Ever (click)
I am a huge fan of (the first) Deus Ex and indeed think it’s the best game ever. I only played the first and the newest part (Human Revolution as of this writing).

… Listened To

Inquisitive Podcast #35 – Behind the App: Working with the Press (click)
I usually don’t listen to podcasts much, but this one interested me and is well worth 45 minutes of your time if you need to work with the press ;), featuring Federico Viticci (@viticci on twitter) of MacStories.

… Watched

PK Movie PosterPK (India 2014; Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma) (click)
My girlfriend turned me on to Bollywood and I must say, I enjoy it quite a lot. It’s something different for a change. PK is about an alien (Aamir Khan) coming to Earth. A stranger robs his space ship remote control without which he can not get back to his home planet. So he has to adjust to life on Earth to retrieve it. People tell him he just has to turn to God and pray and he will receive what he is looking for. Not having a notion of what God is, thinking God is a person, he goes around and starts handing out Wanted-signs. A movie that has a nice message to make you think, and funny songs with dance numbers.

Rosemarys baby posterRosemary’s Baby (USA 1968; Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes) (click)
I’m probably late to the party, but I finally watched it. I found it entertaining, but it’s not a horror movie by today’s standards. It’s very creepy, though. The neighbors, the house, the husband… The scene I cringed the most was where Rosemary eats raw chicken liver. Eew. I rented it on AppleTV (the first time I did that) and it works very well. No hassle what-so-ever. Very enjoyable experience.

… Ate

Chicken Curry with Rice, NaanChicken Curry with Rice, Naan. Not as spicy/hot as I had feared.

… Went to See

Kurpark Oberlaa FlowersKurpark Oberlaa, a nice park at the edge of Vienna

Simmering Water ReservoirWater Reservoir Simmering, a new project to combat floods

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