MacDrifter on Switching to BBEdit

MacDrifter:

It was worth the investment. I don’t mean just monetarily. I invested many hours into BBEdit and I’m sure there are many more to come. But it was worth it. I have an environment that I feel productive in.

It’s been my default editor for a couple of months now, and I thought this was a really good in-depth post about the pros and cons of BBEdit.

Still Using Siri

Marco Arment responding to Boris at The Next Web on Siri

But I still use Siri. My wife still uses Siri. Last night at dinner, my friend used Siri. I don’t think Boris and his friends are a representative sample.

Count me in as well. I use Siri all the time for setting timers, sending text messages and looking things up. A lot of times it’s just faster for me to talk than type. I’ve also seen nowhere near the 50% failure rate Marco reported. If I did, I’d probably use it a lot less.

Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces From Apogee and Universal Audio

Apogee Symphony 64 Thunderbolt:

The latest addition to the Symphony I/O module line-up, the 16×16 Analog I/O Module allows you to pack 32 channels of premium Apogee conversion into one Symphony I/O (two module spaces per chassis). No other audio interface delivers this much quality input and output or value in a single 2U rack space interface.

Apogee is well known in audio recording, so this is really exciting if you’re into that. Universal Audio also announced a new Thunderbolt audio interface called Apollo that looks awesome for project studios. Even if you have no interest in high-end audio gear, if you’re a Mac user, it’s exciting to see device makers of this caliber start using Thunderbolt.

(via The Loop)

xScope 3

I’ve used xScope whenever I’ve done user interface work for the past couple of years, and it’s indispensable. My favorite new part of xScope 3 is that it shows more of the info I want for iOS and Mac development (colors especially), without any conversion. The new iOS-centric templates in the Screens view look really useful also. If buy now you can get xScope on the Mac App Store for only $19.99.

Slender for Mac and iOS Developers

My friend Kyle Richter has released his new app, Slender. It’s a simple and attractive way for iOS and Mac developers to figure out things like which images in your app are unused, or are missing their 1x or 2x sized counterpart. It’s only $4.99 on the Mac App Store, and I can already tell I’m going to use it on every app I write in the future.

360|MacDev 2012

360|MacDev is in a few weeks, and if you write — or want to write — Mac software, you should be going. You may be more familiar with John’s other conference, 360iDev. These conferences are at the top of a short list of ones I never miss. John and Nicole work hard to get great speakers, make sure everything goes smoothly and create an amazing environment. I’m pretty sure they’re they’re the hardest working people in the conference business.

I’ll be giving a talk on making apps work better and be faster by using Core Data, GCD and using good app design. I’m also looking forward to the other talks: Brent Simmons is going to teach the secrets of creating successful Mac apps, Dave Wiskus will bring us inside the brain of a good designer, Kyle Richter will get all of the iOS developers up to speed and Mike Lee will once again do something amazing that I can never predict until it happens.

So join us in beautiful Denver Colorado, February 3rd & 4th — it’s a crazy amount of content for only $300. Register now if you haven’t already.

Why Brent is Trying Bing

It wasn’t the crap, it was losing trust:

Running a search at Google was starting to feel like walking through a minefield. I’ve trained myself to be careful where I click, because I might step on a +1 explosive or get blown to bits by surprise double-chevrons.

But I still used Google search, because I trusted the search. Now I don’t.

For any company, users trust is a hard thing to gain, and once lost nearly impossible to get back. I think if you’re a company who has it, you should do everything you can to keep it, and never assume your users have nowhere else to go.

Five Years Ago in San Francisco

Five years ago today, Apple announced the iPhone. I was living with my girlfriend at the time in Sacramento, and I was home from work before her. When she walked in, I already had the video ready on the Mac Mini I’d just bought her for Christmas.

I remember exactly what I said when she walked in the door:

“Do you want to see the most amazing fucking thing you’ve ever seen in your life?”

Learn and Work Hard

The Mac App Store turned one a couple of days ago, and it’s gotten me thinking about the past few years, where I am now, and where I want to be next. I’ve also been thinking about the path that led me to obsession with the Mac, later iOS, and eventually getting to make things for both.

The announcement of the iPhone SDK was, for me, what I imagine the original Macintosh was for people a generation older — huge. For me everything changed, because it let me start a career doing something I love. But before I could get a job making iOS apps — before there were iOS apps — I’d already been absorbing and obsessing over everything I could about Mac development. By 2008 I wanted nothing more than to be a Mac developer.

In high school (and a while after), I was more interested in practicing with my band than teaching myself C[1]. When the band broke up a few years later, I ended up the same place as many early twenties wannabe rockstars before me: Guitar Center. Even though I quickly learned to dislike the job[2], it’s lucky I was there, because it spurred my interest in Apple and the Mac. As part of the “Pro Audio” department, my work days were spent around other recording nerds — a generally Mac-oriented group. I started meeting people who loved their Macs, recorded using Logic, and were eager to talk about both. Within a few months I’d saved up and bought a used G5 tower.

Always a nerd, I started looking at what software was out there for my new Mac. I became enamored of apps like NetNewsWire, Delicious Library and Transmit. Maybe I’m coloring the past, but I feel like the sense came early of these not being just made, but crafted — the same way a great song or album was. Small groups of people — maybe one — had put time into thinking things through to make something great. It was the first time I knew software could be that way, that it could be made by one person who really cared — and that if I worked really hard, I could probably do it too.

As I got into learning Mac development, I found things like Late Night Cocoa (also just getting started), and got to hear indie developers talk about what they do. It didn’t seem to matter where someone came from if they could make cool things, and that was hugely inspiring to me. I didn’t know exactly what it would take, but I became progressively more driven to keep learning and eventually become an indie developer myself. No one could tell me “no,” I just had to learn and work hard.

The iPhone SDK was the opportunity I needed. I got a job shortly after it was announced, and became focused on iPhone apps. I still wanted to write for the Mac too, but since the places I was working were mostly interested in iOS apps, I didn’t know when that would happen. That interest came with the release of the Mac App Store, and this year I’ve gotten to work on awesome Mac apps in addition to ones for iOS. It makes me happy that the thing I got so excited about in the first place has continued to grow and thrive, and even more that I’ve had a chance to be a small part of it.


  1. I was still a pretty big nerd, and played around with programming on and off since I was young.  ↩

  2. At one Guitar Center staff meeting, our store manager told us about how he always wanted to be an artist or musician, but chose the less-risky life of retail management instead. He was very clear in saying that it’s better to not take chances, and that it was a lesson we should all remember. I’ve tried my best to remember to follow the exact opposite of that advice.  ↩

Coding Isn’t Necessary, But It’s Good to Know

I’ve been talking with friends and reading blog posts in the past few days over the idea of more people learning to code. The discussion was inspired by Code Year, a new online course created to help people learn programming. At the time of writing this, nearly a hundred and fifty-thousand people have signed up. Daniel Jalkut equated learning to code to literacy, as a basic skill that people will need in the future. Guy English disagreed with that, saying that coding is not the new literacy, but instead the new “tinkering with the engine, the new re-wiring the house.”

I agree and disagree with both for different reasons, I disagree primarily in that I think both positions are more extreme than I see it. On one side there’s an implication that everyone should learn to code, and that anyone who doesn’t may be left behind by society. On the other it seems that creating software is only for extreme tweakers, and that most people will find nothing of value. Both posts are well written and insightful, so please read both incase I’ve misrepresented either point of view in any way.

I think there’s a value in learning to code that does not equate to creating something as complex as web sites or apps. I also don’t think it’s as basic a skill as reading and writing, one that if you don’t learn will cripple your opportunities in life. Learning to write small scripts to automate tasks and control your computer can bring value — and possibly enjoyment – to a lot of peoples who are never going to write anything bigger than that.

So, instead, maybe learning to code is the new sewing your own buttons back on, or changing a tire on your car. Or, maybe it’s the new learning a musical instrument – there’s a lot of people who get a lot of enjoyment out of playing an instrument who are not artists, and will never develop mastery level skills. It still improves their lives.

In fact – maybe coding isn’t the new anything — maybe it’s just a good thing to know if you have time and interest to learn it.