23rd October 2018

I visited the British Museum about 10 days ago, and my iPhone XS was super fresh in my hands, so I decided to take a bit more effort into the photos I took while I was there.

Well, after looking back at them, the three photos that I like the best have nothing to do with what the museum actually holds inside. But instead, people, and the inner architecture of the museum.

Also, you’ll noticed that all of them are black and white. I nearly always shoot in black and white, and if not I’ll usually apply the Noir filter afterwards. I just find everything looks a bit better without the distraction of colour.

23rd October 2018
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Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:

Essentially, Smart HDR was choosing the wrong base frame for HDR processing when you took a selfie. Instead of choosing a frame with a short shutter speed to freeze motion and preserve detail, it would sometimes choose a frame with longer shutter speed. The front camera also does not have optical image stabilization, so it takes blurrier shots at the same shutter speed as the rear, stabilized camera. The result is a loss of detail that looks like smoothing on the front camera.

I knew it was something to do with Smart HDR, but it’s interesting to know the exact detail of why it was happening. 



Maybe one of the main benefits of computational photography, is that it can be continuously improved, and sent out in regular software updates. It’s intriguing to think what the difference in the camera will be in a years time, compared to how good it is now, even with no hardware change.

18th October 2018
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This really looks incredible. Pep is one of, and could be the greatest football managers ever. He doesn’t just create success, but he does it with style.

His Barcelona team played the best football.

17th October 2018
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Eurogamer recently had an interview with two people from Game Freak, the main developers of Pokémon games. Junichi Masuda (executive director and head of game development) and Kensaku Nabana (designer). It’s a really interesting read, especially with all the changes they had to make when adapting the game to a different style of playing.

Two decades on from Pokémon Red and Blue’s arrival here in the west, we’re going back to Kanto once again.

Pokémon Let’s Go have made big changes – some proving more popular than others in the lead up to its release – but there’s still a lingering sense that, with just the first generation of Pokémon available, in the first region, we’ve seen it all before.

A couple of weeks ago, alongside an extended hands-on preview of Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, we talked to Junichi Masuda, executive director and head of game development at Pokémon’s main studio Game Freak, as well as fellow designer Kensaku Nabana, about some of the nitty gritty details fans are always after, including how that whole Meltan reveal came about, HMs, and those perpetual questions of difficulty, open worlds, and the series’ future.

It ends with a answer from Junichi Masuda, which is quite reassuring about their idea of how the main series of Pokémon games will be played:

I know that a lot of people and fans have spent a lot of time hatching eggs, they’ve hatched… a lot of eggs, but we want them to kind of discover new ways to enjoy Pokémon games, you know I’d be really sad to think that for them, Pokémon is hatching eggs, so with this one we’re trying to show them a different side of the game.

Pokémon GO is super popular, and I still play it quite a lot, but I wouldn’t want the main games to be simplified to match. So this is good news!

Read the full interview at Eurogamer.net

15th October 2018
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Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

At its annual Adobe Max conference, Adobe announced plans to bring a complete version of Photoshop to the iPad in 2019.

Photoshop CC for iPad will feature a revamped interface designed specifically for a touch experience, but it will bring the power and functionality people are accustomed to on the desktop.

I’m interested to see how Photoshop will actually work on the iPad. They do say it’s the full version, but will it include the automation that was available on the desktop, and how will it fit into the iOS environment? For example, will it have support for Siri Shortcuts, support for a Photo Editing Extension, and how are the toolbars going to be translated into iOS UI?

Then there’s the price. Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo are both priced at £19.99, Pixelmator is only £1.99, and there are apps like Polarr that are free. I’m guessing they’ll extend their Creative Cloud subscription to include the iOS version, but I think a cheaper solution is needed to be competitive on this platform. £9.98 per month is their cheapest individual plan in the UK, and that will deter a lot of people.

Another recent announcement of theirs, Project Gemini, is something that’s probably more suited to my uses. As that is a lot simpler, and focuses on drawing and illustrating.

12th October 2018

Another update to Text Case has just hit the store!



Just a small one this time though, to tie up a few things, before anything big can be planned or worked on. In fact it can be boiled down to three things:

  • A new text format, this time it’s KebabCase. And as usual it was requested, so I added it! There’s no chance that I can come up with every format possible, so if you want one added then please just let me know.
  • About section added (website links, App Store link, app version…)
  • And I’ve fixed a bug in the Action Extension. As the UI used to inherit some of the styles from the encompassing app, but it wouldn’t always look correct. I’ve fixed this by keeping it matching with the rest of the app, along with the chosen accent colour.

It’s not an extravagant update, but then again, they can’t all be.

Find Text Case on the App Store.

12th October 2018

I happened to stumble upon two super old articles of mine today, and then I discovered that I’d never moved the content to this blog.

They’re both extremely different, but it shows that the types of writing I

From Ideas To End Users This was published 3 years and 1 day ago (11th October 2015), and it’s about my experience with developing a game, and what it’s like to witness other people experience your creations.

The Heart of a Black Hole This was was even earlier, I published it on the 16th December 2013! From reading it back, I can tell it was inspired by a BBC special, The Science of Doctor Who, which actually featured Brian Cox. I still don’t understand why I decided to try and explain to everyone what a black hole is, how an event horizon works, the effects of time dilation, and also what’s at the heart of a black hole. All I can say, is that I’m pretty weird.

12th October 2018
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I just read one the funniest and accurate essays by Peter Welch, which was shared by Sarah Drasner on Twitter:

Every friend I have with a job that involves picking up something heavier than a laptop more than twice a week eventually finds a way to slip something like this into conversation: “Bro, you don’t work hard. I just worked a 4700-hour week digging a tunnel under Mordor with a screwdriver.”

They have a point. Mordor sucks, and it’s certainly more physically taxing to dig a tunnel than poke at a keyboard unless you’re an ant. But, for the sake of the argument, can we agree that stress and insanity are bad things? Awesome. Welcome to programming.

It was published over four years ago (April 27th, 2014), but it’s interesting to see how relevant all the points still are. If you have 10 minutes to spare, then I highly recommend giving this a read.

I’m definitely adding this blog to my RSS reader for future reading.

10th October 2018

It’s been in my head for a while, but I’m finally making my decision about Slate official. If you weren’t already aware of what Slate actually is (was), it’s an iOS app for the Micro.blog platform. I’ve spent quite a lot of time working on it, and I used to use it quite a lot myself, as it was good enough for reading posts, and also publishing text-only posts.

I always knew the next steps for the app. The main things I planned to work on next were:

  • Image uploading
  • Markdown preview when composing posts
  • Faster timeline parsing/scrolling
  • A caching mechanism for timelines
  • Support for non-Micro.blog micro blogs

These are totally achievable features, and it’s what I classed as being necessary before being able to release it as a public app (It’s currently been in TestFlight beta for months).

But about two or three months ago, I basically stopped using Micro.blog. I transitioned my posts over here, but I still planned on using the service but have it tied to one blog. I’m not sure what really made me stop using it, but it sort of faded over a long period of time, and I didn’t feel like missing anything, so I didn’t go back.

This all tied in with me slowing down on the development of Slate. Although I was still doing occasional small updates, and it was in my head that I would soon spend some time on the bigger features that I wanted to implement. But the time never came. And I became less interested in building an app for a service that I wasn’t using anymore.

It also combined with me starting to focus on good UX in my apps, and trying to really create great experiences. And as a user of Tweetbot (Twitter client for iOS and macOS), I didn’t think I would realistically be bale to put the time and effort into making a great app for Micro.blog.

So after a huge chunk of time (probably just over two months), I’ve decided that I will no longer work on Slate. And at least for the foreseeable future, I don’t see myself touching the code at all.

It doesn’t mean I’m completely over with Micro.blog, the platform, though. I’ve listened to the Micro Monday podcast, where Jean MacDonald, the community manager, talks to members of the Micro.blog community), pretty regularly. Even since stopping using the service. And it still sounds like Micro.blog is a nice place to be, with loads of interesting people. So there’s a possibility of me returning as a normal user, but very unlikely that I’ll work on Slate again!

If you want to find me on Micro.blog, I am still under the username chrishannah. However, the only content that gets posted there currently is the RSS feed of this blog. But that’s where I’ll be if I return.

09th October 2018
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Something no one imagined would be happening in 2018, people are talking about Google+.

As part of “Project Strobe”, Google have been going over third-party develop access to Google accounts and Android device data:

Over the years we’ve received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+. So as part of Project Strobe, one of our first priorities was to closely review all the APIs associated with Google+.

This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.

From this investigation, they found a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs:

Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

Basically, the API allowed third-party developers to a lot of your, and your friends information. Including things marked as private.

This sounds pretty bad. And if this was regarding Facebook or Twitter, there would be quite a level of outrage. However, this is Google+, the platform that no one uses.

Which is why I find this statement quite funny:

We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.

So no one took notice of the security flaws, because no one actually used the platform. Including developers.

But because of these security flaws, and the really low usage numbers. Google have decided to start the process of shutting down the platform.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.

To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.

My first thought is, when do we see Google’s next idea of a social network? It’s always funny to see what they think can actually complete with the already established platforms.