My new podcast about… basketball!

It used to be that I would stay up until midnight working in Xcode. This year, it’s more likely that I’ll stay up until midnight watching late NBA games played on the west coast. I’ve loved this season, from Golden State’s record wins to being able to visit San Antonio a few times to catch Spurs games.

So why not do a basketball podcast? Today, Ben Thompson and I released the first episode of TECHnical Foul. From the show notes:

Welcome to the first episode of the TECHnical Foul, in which two wildly unqualified tech geeks geek out about the NBA. In this episode we debate 96 Bulls vs the 16 Warriors, Kobe’s final game, what makes the Spurs great, whether the Spurs can beat the Warriors, and a quick overview of the first round.

We had a lot of fun recording this. If you’re a basketball fan, or just need some variety in your podcast subscriptions, I hope you enjoy it.

Don’t give up on WWDC

There’s a nice sale going on across several smaller, regional developer conferences right now. I think any of these conferences would be a great experience, so if you’re considering one you could save $100 by acting now.

I wanted to comment on something Joe Cieplinski said about WWDC while linking to this promotion:

Folks say that WWDC is the one time where everyone in our community can get together, but frankly, the price of hotels in San Francisco has made that statement a bit disingenuous. Many—if not most—of us can’t afford to make it to this party, so maybe this is no longer the party for “everyone.”

Curtis Herbert also echoed some of these themes in a post:

While it’s a shame to end the WWDC tradition, it makes sense to follow all the other technical communities out there and rely on smaller, more accessible and distributed, community-run conferences throughout the year. It’s a sign that our community growing up and leaving the nest. One city can’t hold us all anymore.

I think it’s possible to go out to WWDC without spending a fortune. You can attend AltConf, find an Airbnb room for $150/night, and stay a few days instead of all week. I downgraded my expectations for WWDC and booked a cheaper hotel room a couple of months ago. It’s about how much you want to be there.

In fact, I’d still argue that it’s less expensive to “attend” WWDC now because it has been proven how much you can get out of AltConf and other events without the $1600 conference ticket. When I went to my first WWDC back when it was held in San Jose (and the same could be said for the early years in San Francisco), hotels and flights were cheaper but it was pointless to attend without a ticket.

I can’t go to every conference. This year I’ve picked 2: WWDC (probably without a ticket) and Release Notes (in September). I wrote about Release Notes last year and highly recommend it again.

But I stand by the opinion that WWDC is worth preserving as the best place for everyone to go — with or without a ticket, with or without a fancy hotel room — because there’s room for thousands of more developers than at a small conference. I hope that Apple’s change of venue for the keynote and Monday sessions means they are trying to expand the conference to even more developers.

I’m so excited about Monday’s new venue that I’m actually thinking about trying to get a ticket in the lottery, to experience what it’s like and what it means for the conference going forward. The main thing holding me back is that it seems wasteful if I’m not staying through Friday, when another developer — maybe someone who hasn’t attended before — could get that ticket instead.

Apple I history on Connected

There was a nice bonus at the end of Connected episode 86: an interview with Henry Ford Museum curator Kristen Gallerneaux by Stephen Hackett. On the small number of Apple Is in existence, Kristen said:

There are apparently 200 or so sold, and the locations today of about 46 of those 200 are known. What’s really special about ours is that is that’s one of the of the first 50 Apple Is that were ever sold, and out of that batch of the first 50, about nine of that batch are known to work. And ours works; it’s completely unmodified.

The transcript is also available. If you’re an Overcast user, you can jump to the interview segment at about 70 minutes in.

I love the venue change for Monday during WWDC. Sends a clear message that Apple is trying to accommodate more developers. Almost makes me want to get a ticket again.

→ 2016/04/19 9:23 am

Paid search and App Store profit

Reacting to a Bloomberg article about Apple adding paid search results in the App Store, John Gruber writes:

This sounds like a terrible idea. The one and only thing Apple should do with App Store search is make it more accurate. They don’t need to squeeze any more money from it. More accurate, reliable App Store search would help users and help good developers.

The Bloomberg article almost makes it sound like there’s a 100-person team working on paid search. I doubt that’s true. More likely, there’s a team working on several improvements to the App Store, including better search.

Daniel Jalkut is also very skeptical:

It’s hard to see how paid placement would consistently benefit either Apple or its direct customers. It’s unlikely that paid listings would be used to highlight apps that are in line with Apple’s other goals for the store.

He rightly points out that making money from the App Store is Apple’s secondary goal. It’s more important to have an ecosystem of apps that make the iPhone itself indispensable. As I argued in a blog post in 2011 about free apps and distribution, I don’t think the App Store should be a source of significant profit for Apple at all.

And if we’re keeping score with old posts where I write not what Apple should do but what I wish they’d do, see “I hope iAd fails” from 2010. iAd is shutting down in June.

I just can’t believe Apple would prioritize paid search over all the other App Store feature requests that developers have. So I prefer to ignore the paid search rumor and instead take away from this article just the good news: Apple has a new team focused on improving the App Store.

Libraries for 30 days wrap-up

After trying to work from a new coffee shop I had never been to before, every day for 30 days, I loved the routine of getting out of the house so much that I set on another challenge: visiting 30 libraries. This proved to be more difficult, mostly because of the extra driving required, but I wrapped it up yesterday.

I’ve put together a web page of all the libraries, with photos and links to the microblog posts for each day. The posts are also tagged with #newlibraries.

After wrapping up libraries, I thought I’d make it a trilogy of 30-day endeavors, with a final 30 days of working from city parks. This was a suggestion from Daniel Hedrick, who had worked from parks before, tethering to his iPhone since there’s usually no wi-fi. I loved the idea right away because it fit so well with the goal of getting out of the house and discovering something new in my own city. I even spent a couple hours earlier in the month researching parks and planning out whether I could do it.

But now that it has come to it… I am really burned out on commuting. Finding new coffee shops and libraries has been a great experience. There are several wonderful places that I know I will return to again, and I never would have found them otherwise. I just need a little break from the forced routine of driving somewhere new each day. Maybe I’ll pick up the parks idea next year.

Last of 30 days of libraries, working from the Architecture & Planning Library at UT. Thinking of Robert Rasmussen, because I think it was here that years ago he said he would come some days to work, to focus away from the usual routine of coffee shops or the office. Rest in peace, Robert.

→ 2016/04/17 1:53 pm

Taking the Apple Pencil with you

One of the best pieces of advice that I never followed very well is that if you want to be a better artist, always have a sketchbook with you. That’s why I’ve been so excited about the Apple Pencil, since it transforms the tablet you might already have with you into a great sketchbook too. There’s only one problem: you have to actual remember to bring the Apple Pencil everywhere.

Myke Hurley gave an overview on his blog about some of the additions he’s purchased to customize his Apple Pencil, like a clip, stickers, and this loop to hold it to the iPad Pro:

Wherever my iPad Pro goes, I want the Pencil to be with it. So to make sure I didn’t have yet another thing to remember, I decided that I had to find a way to attach the Pencil to the iPad. And that’s when I came across the Leuchtturm1917 Pen Loop.

And on the latest The Talk Show, Serenity Caldwell shares the tip of buying a $2 Micron pen and snapping off the clip to use on the Apple Pencil. See this tweet for what it looks like.

Lately I had been carrying the iPad Pro around without a bag. This also meant leaving my Apple Pencil at home. While I don’t use my Apple Pencil every day, I want to. With a bag I can carry the iPad more easily and also always have a spot for headphones and the Apple Pencil.

I ordered the Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase and I’ve been using it all week. You can see it in this photo I took while setting up to work at a library the other day. I haven’t used a messenger-style bag in a long time, maybe in forever. (Apple handed out one to WWDC attendees years ago before they transitioned to the jackets phase of WWDC of freebies, but I gave most of my bags away.)

So far I’m really enjoying having a bag that doesn’t feel oversized for the iPad Pro. It’s much smaller than my full backpack. I expect that it will be perfect not just around town but also for traveling light.

I guess the IFTTT channel for ADN was removed in the auth changes, since my cross-posting stopped working. Looking at Zapier again.

→ 2016/04/16 8:04 am

Siri and Core Intuition 228

We posted episode 228 of Core Intuition this week. From the show notes:

Daniel and Manton discuss the iPhone SE’s evident popularity, touch on the challenges of designing for extremes in screen size, and bemoan some of Siri’s shortcomings when compared to competitors. The two also discuss tax time as an indie software developer, weigh the merits of heading to SF for WWDC, and finally delve into some deep reflections about the psychology of not shipping in too long.

We talked a lot about Siri and the Amazon Echo — the problems with both and where voice software may be headed. After we recorded, Daniel wrote a great post with additional ideas for using Siri with distance-based reminders, for example the ability to ask Siri while driving “remind me in 15 miles to get gas”:

How would this be solved? By introducing a notion of distance-relative reminders in iOS and by extension in Siri. In the same way that Siri allows you set a reminder for a specific time or for a relative time from now, it should offer the same functionality for distance.

I hope you enjoy the podcast. I’ve been thinking lately that maybe the secret with Core Intuition is that it’s not actually a developer podcast. It’s a tech podcast with major tangents into software development and business.

Working from Terrazas Branch before lunch. I like that many Austin libraries are named in honor of a local Austinite. Henry Terrazas was a 20-year-old marine who died fighting a forest fire, 50 years ago this year. He was awaiting transfer to Vietnam.

→ 2016/04/15 10:53 am

View source on the decentralized web

Brewster Kahle has a post at the Internet Archive about getting back to the “view source” feature that made early web development so much more accessible than it is today. He thinks it can be achieved on top of a distributed web where all the HTML and JavaScript files are delivered to the browser:

The decentralized web works by having a p2p distribution of the files that make up the website, and then the website runs in your browser. By being completely portable, the website has all the pieces it needs: text, programs, and data. It can all be versioned, archived, and examined.

He mentions IPFS in particular, which I’ve written about before. The bottom line is that static HTML sites are more portable. They more naturally evolve not just from host to host as necessary, but also to a possible distributed future web. That’s why that — even though I still use and recommend WordPress — I have a static mirror of my site too.

Finally working on a project that is all Swift and storyboards, which I’ve long ignored. Feel like I’m relearning iOS development.

→ 2016/04/14 9:46 am

Switching back and forth between a few NBA games on an amazing night for basketball. Curry hits his 400th 3-pointer, Warriors reach 73 wins, and Kobe puts up 60 points for his final game. (Oh, and the Spurs rest 6 players and win anyway.)

→ 2016/04/14 12:10 am