Cultural and Unconscious Biases

This post by eevee is specifically talking about video games, but I think a lot of it is a good characterization of discriminating behaviors, why they persist, and what people who don’t get it (saying “other side” feels wrong), don’t get. This part kind of jumped out at me:

There are, of course, also cultural biases that tip the scales towards people who are white or male or cis or whatever. But even if you don’t buy that, it shouldn’t be a stretch to think that there really are overt cartoon sexists out there in the world who are just not vocal about it. Some of them might be judges or managers or politicians. Some of them might even make video games.

You might think of them as weighted coins that always come up heads. And therein lies the problem.

You have 100 coins. You flip all of them. 60 come up heads. How many are weighted?

10, you might think. And you’d be wrong, because 60 heads is entirely possible, so you can’t actually be sure any of them are weighted! But there’s a much bigger problem: which 10?

I pretty much refuse to believe there is any such thing as a “meritocracy”, because even people with good intentions have unconscious biases. Good intentions (we just want to hire the most qualified candidate) aren’t enough to do the right thing. You need to actively and conscientiously work against unconscious feelings that you may have never even been aware exist. It’s really hard and it takes a lot of practice.

Functions as Factories

Cocoa at Tumblr:

Factories are a fairly well understood design pattern in software development. The benefits of using factories include:

  1. Abstracting constructors away from clients.
  2. Encapsulating data that clients do not need to know about.
  3. Allowing for more testable code by enforcing the idea of passing objects into initializers instead of referencing singletons directly.

This post will show the power of a few Swift features as well as of first­-class functions.

The Growing iOS SDK

David Smith writes about how much the iOS SDK has grown over time. One thing that was interesting is that more “SDK elements” were added in iOS 8 than iPhone OS 2 (which is crazy).

The last paragraph echoes something I’ve felt for a while:

There was a time when I felt like I knew my way around pretty much every non-game SDK available on iOS. Now I often find myself stumbling across frameworks that are completely foreign to me, which is both kind of exciting but also extremely daunting.

I suppose that’s normal. I can’t tell you how often I find out about a “new” API only to realize it’s been around since iOS 5.

Acorn 5

It’s a couple of days back now, but Flying Meat has released a new version of their fantastic image editor: Acorn. I’ve used Acorn for my work and personal projects since version 1.0 in 2008, and it’s incredible to see how far it’s come while still keeping the simplicity that made it so appealing in that first version.

Gus is a friend — so don’t tell him I said this — but to me he’s always been the epitome of the one person indie who’s both a world class developer and also a fantastic designer. Check it out.

Answers Events by Crashlytics

I’ve used Crashlytics for beta testing my new app, including their lightweight analytics-thing Answers. It’s cool in that it shows you the most relevant data, but I was never going to be able to sell it as a replacement for Flurry or Google Analytics (which I loathe). Today they announced Answers can do event tracking, and on top of that it looks fabulous. The web UI makes it really easy to see and add the most common kinds of things I’d actually want to track, and the iOS SDK looks like it was made by people who have written Cocoa before.

Hopefully Twitter can keep from fucking this up.

Daniel Jalkut on Apple News

Apple News And The Open Web | Bitsplitting.org:

I’m optimistic that Apple’s News app will be a strike against centralized services such as Medium, Twitter, and Facebook. A strike against signing over content to a 3rd party mediator for the sake of a greater chance at connecting to an audience. Apple may not be the world’s best technology company when it comes to either storing data or building a social network around it, but they are damned good at building a captive audience of delighted users who trust the company to provide access to a variety of 3rd party content.

Calling iMessage an impressive social network is a bit of a stretch considering my messages still sync across devices in seemingly any order. I don’t know if the News app is going to pull anyone who’s dedicated to RSS away from it, but it might be great for those who aren’t.