Everyone is wrong about Apple’s Podcasts app

30 Jun

Apple released a podcast app this week that has been met with a fair amount of criticism by the podcast listening community.  Most of these people appear to have already tried many different apps or have been using iTunes podcasting abilities.  I don’t think that this app is targeted toward them.

This app appears to try and turn all of the podcasts that Apple hosts into the content needed for an internet radio.  I have used podcasts in the past, but thought that it was too much effort to keep them all synced when the content quality was just so so for most.  I instead would listen to the radio or listen to an audiobook.  The first was current and the latter was usually great content with very good production.

I believe this app is designed to not focus on individual podcast streams.  It minimizes the “subscription” aspect of a podcast. The main goal I believe is to just pick the topic that interests you, such as history, and then start listening.  After doing this you are presented with the latest podcast in a series that Apple curates for that topic.

This has left me able to pic my genre and start listening to  podcasts with good quality and very little discovery time. If I don’t like it then I skip and go to the most recent episode of the next podcast. It is a much less difficult way to get good content on your phone. I think that is Apple’s biggest goal with this app.  The people that will want to invest a lot of time into maintaining a list of their subscribed podcasts are the minority.  People really just want better radio and this app delivers it in my opinion.


Why Android Doesn’t Have Volume

10 Dec

Eric Schmidt made a comment that developers would begin to develop for Android because it has more volume than the iPhone.  But with all of the different manufactorers of Android phones there is no volume.  No one phone from Android compares to any iPhone. For tablets Android can’t even claim a group volume success. Soon they may be able too, but it will be the same scenario of different manufacturers making different form factors and performance decisions. If this is what Schmidt truly believes then I think it is a very telling disconnect with the concerns of developers and designers.

Schmidt doesn’t understand how freeing it is to sit with an iPhone or iPad and think of design. The screen dimensions, size, and product quality is known to every designer. Most designers have dealt with creating web sites.  They have thought through a design, but it is very difficult to get that across to users consistently.  We all have different browsers and view them at different sizes.

Designers, developers, and users all love the iPhone and iPad.  They love them because the designers are able to focus on exactly how the user will interact with their creation.  They love them because the developers are able to focus on exactly the device that they will be using. They love them because Apple has focused on giving them the best experience.

With the iPhone and iPad designers, developers, and users have the most consistent interaction in the digital world.  In this respect Android has no volume. This is why people will be buy an App from the App Store. Because they know that it was made for them.


The really hidden feature of git

02 Apr

I think I just realized my biggest benefit of git.  I have the freedom to commit things that don’t work.  I have been journaling while programming for the past month or so .  Who knows if it would have actually stuck any other way though.

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Posted in git, Web/Tech


UIImagePickerController Example

27 Jan

I was having a hard time finding recent information on using the UIImagePickerController for iOS.  With iOS 4.2 the camera appears to use more memory and quite frequently causes memory warnings to fire.  When these warnings fire your view and all outlets are set to nil and viewDidUnload are called.  If you were setting an outlet UIImageView’s image property in your the UIImagePickerDelegate method then nothing was actually being saved.  The Picker would be dismissed and you would have a blank UIImageView.  This is how the first version of this code behaves and closely mirrors many examples on the web.
To fix this you need to store the image sent to the UIImagePickerDelegate in a variable that will not be removed when memory gets low.  That is what is done with the current version of the software.  A UIImage variable is set and then used as the image in the UIImageView.  This now appears to fix the problem and is in the most simple form that I could think of to illustrate the point.  Any pointers are welcome.

The code can be found at


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Posted in iOS


Up Late

05 Nov

I’m up late trying to get a server moved over to using rvm.  Once I have this finished then it should be easy to just choose the version of ruby I would want for a site.  This may be a bit of overkill though as 1.8.7 should be able to run rails 2.3.4 and 3.0 just fine.  I would feel more comfortable about our setup though if this was in place.


Helpful Applescripts to add and remove the current track from a playlist

13 Aug

I use these scripts, slightly modified versions of Doug Adam's, along with Quicksilver to maintain a few of my iTunes playlists. I can just type Ctrl+Cmd+c and the currently playing song is added my coding playlist.  I can similarly type Ctrl+Opt+c to remove the currently playing track from the coding playlist.

The shortcuts are done by using Quicksilver triggers to run these scripts.  I just put their path in it's path for discovery of applications.  If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Another neat trick is to change out the icon for the script.  You can set Quicksilver to show this icon for a second when an add or remove script is ran, which is useful.

The scripts are available here


Rails Nested Forms with jQuery

29 Jul

If you've gone through the "Complex Forms" railscast by Ryan Bates then you may be interested to know that the latest version of the code is on github.  Something that wasn't immediately obvious, but was very helpful for me was that Ryan has many branches that use different technologies.  A branch using jQuery helped me a lot, since I was removing prototype from my project and most of the examples of complex forms use prototype.

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Posted in Ruby


Easy way to remove files from git index after deleting from the file system only

14 Apr

The easiest way I have fixed this is using git commit -am “your commit message here”


Coding Presentation Tips

14 Feb

Last night I presented an implementation of a calendar in ruby with Grant. I reviewed Grant’s code while he reviewed mine.

It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the experience. Almost like a roast, but with code. I struggled a bit through the presentation with how things were being implemented and with relaying the problem that we were solving to the audience.

Afterwards Scott informed me that a better way to begin this presentation would have been to start with the client code, the use of the solution. What is your code allowing to happen. How is it being used. This information will at least let people up front know what is up and why you have written your code. Tests can do this for you, but if you could show this in the context of a real world example it will stick in their mind.

I thought about this and think that it is how I will begin technical demonstrations for the foreseeable future. Give people the reason, give them the why and then show the how. Otherwise the audience will lose patience and just start twittering.

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Posted in Ruby


ZenTest autotest is now autospec for rspec

14 Nov

I spent a long time tonight trying to figure you why I couldn’t make autotest work with rspec.  I was eventually able to make it work, but when reading the rspec changelog I noticed this tidbit. 

Version 1.1.5 / 2008-09-28
IMPORTANT: use the new ‘autospec‘ command instead of ‘autotest’. We changed
the way autotest discovers rspec so the autotest executable won’t
automatically load rspec anymore. This allows rspec to live side by side other
spec frameworks without always co-opting autotest through autotest’s discovery

This of course means that the rspec gem distributes autospec and that you should use that to find your _spec files. Anyone using this in their terminal “RSPEC=true autotest” should now use “autospec”.

Posted in Ruby