18th March 2018

Some more work going on in Slate today.

The next area I’m going to work on is speeding up the conversion from a post’s content (which is html), into it’s rich text counterpart (NSAttributedString).

The way it used to work was, it converted all the content, including all the inline images. Which would dramatically decrease speed, as it downloaded them synchronously. It meant I had nearly zero control over how the content was transformed or presented.

So the obvious way to test this was to remove the images from the posts as I’m parsing them. I did this with a small bit of regex, and it’s so much better. It can of course still be improved, but this was a massive boost in the right direction.

Obviously I can’t just keep all images hidden in the timeline, but one of my plans was to try and separate inline images into their own section anyway. This would also allow me to add a tap to preview action, and just generally better support for additional media/attachments.

Along with a few extra changes to the style, and maybe support for themes, this is what will be in v0.2.

15th March 2018

As you may have realised, development on Slate, my Micro.blog client for iOS, hasn’t really been going anywhere recently.

I’ve been meaning to just get a very early build on TestFlight for a while now. Simply so people can have early access, and see how it feels for them as I progress.

However, since my first development log, I’ve spent most of the time trying to optimise the code and nothing that adds any features to the app. And at the same time, the only things I had left on my plan for the first beta version, was just some icons. So I’ve lost a long time, simply because I’ve been procrastinating about creating a few images.

Tab Bar

I’m sure everyone will be pleased that, I’ve created some icons for the menu, and the tab bar at the bottom of the app. I did also plan to make an app icon, but this is really going to hold the project back because I simply can’t be bothered to make one yet.

So, right now I’m going to start all the boring procedures for getting the app set up iTunes connect, and then getting a build to TestFlight.

If you want immediate access to the first beta, then all I’ll need is an email address. Feel free to email me, or find me on Twitter or Micro.blog. Everyone’s welcome.

You’ve just got to remember, that it is super in development.

01st March 2018

Matt Birchler has a pretty common request for Siri, and that is the ability to schedule requests.

While all of these assistants can turn things on, turn them off, move thing up and down, and such, they can only do those things now. I can turn on the lights now. I can open the garage door now.

It makes so much sense for this to be supported. Sure you might be able to schedule actions inside of an app. But if voice is an official method of input, you should be able to do everything with it.

There’s not even a particularly high barrier in creating a delay/schedule system. The simplest method I can think of, is that when a voice assistant hears a request with a related time, all it needs to do is store that exact request (even plain text is fine), along with the date/time. Then the system can set its own reminder, and at that time, it simply performs the request automatically, and deletes it from the queue.

01st March 2018

Recently, here in the UK, the chicken fast-food restaurant KFC were being forced to shut down restaurants for not having enough chicken. It’s completely laughable.

The way KFC dealt with the issue however, is pure brilliance.

They put an ad in the national newspaper:

And they also created website for the issue, named “Crossed The Road”. Where you can track the progress of your local store, and even sign up to their members club for a little reward for when your restaurant does open back up.

They’ve certainly made the most out of a bad situation.


26th February 2018

I’ve been playing Alto’s Odyssey (the sequel of Alto’s Adventure) a lot recently, and it’s quickly become my go-to game no matter my situation.

I’ve read some reviews about the game already, and it appears that everyone on the internet has something good to say about it. I can only add to that.

The whole game is quite a mix, in that it’s very relaxing, while requiring your complete focus. And also having a potentially very long game time, while offering short term goals.

I find it very easy to be sucked into, and it’s a great game to take your mind away from other things. The achievements and Game Center leaderboards help my own competitiveness, and I really want to move up in the Best Score category. As of the time writing this, I’m ranked 11,157 with 65,065 points. But at the same time, I also enjoy playing it when I short bursts of free time, such as commuting to work, or just between other tasks.

Apart from the gameplay, the game is a really immersive environment. With ambient music, relaxing sounds, and super colourful settings. It’s enjoyable to just look at the thing.

Alto’s Odyssey on the App Store.

21st February 2018

Jason Kottke, writing about a few experiments where totalitarian regimes were tested in some schools:

The nation’s youth, raised on The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, are reminding the baby boomers that considering what their own parents went through in the Great Depression and World War II, they should fucking know better than to slam the door on succeeding generations.

That was the bit I laughed at. But overall it’s an intriguing idea.

14th February 2018

You may have heard of the open-source framework, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It’s a framework for developers to create faster-loading mobile content on the web. Beyond simply loading pages faster, AMP now supports building a wide range of rich pages for the web. Today, we’re announcing AMP for Email so that emails can be formatted and sent as AMP documents. As a part of this, we’re also kicking off the Gmail Developer Preview of AMP for Email—so once you’ve built your emails, you’ll be able to test them in Gmail.

It just keeps getting worse.

05th February 2018

Matthew Cassinelli, previously a developer of the now Apple-owned Workflow app, has started blogging recently. And I thought I’d share one of his recent workflows, about quickly saving webpages to the Bear notes app.

I’ve been doing more research on iOS lately as my iPhone is the device I use the most, so capturing full web pages quickly saves me a lot of time. While I really like Apple Notes’ latest iterations, it’s not easy to clip websites there – so I adopted Bear for notes, which has support for Markdown, images, and a handy Get URL function.

Bear’s ability to download websites as a note is killer, but it’s usually easily available for most people via their Action Extension. Rather than limiting my access to the share sheet, I’ve been taking advantage of the Workflow action Get Bear Note From URL1 to save web pages from anywhere on iOS.

I never knew Bear had that feature, and that may push me into using it again in the future. But this workflow has a bit more complexity that most, in that it can be run from the today widget using the clipboard contents, from the share sheet, and from other apps like Launch Center Pro.

Seeing as he used to actually work on the Workflow app, his blog is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Read the full post.



Bear (iOS / macOS)