25th March 2019

This is a guide related to my app, Text Case. It’s a utility app that lets you transform text into various different formats. You can find all the guides in one place, and Text Case on the App Store.


Title Case is the term people use when referring to the format in which titles should be capitalised. However, this isn’t an entirely objective format, as there are multiple standards that different writers use, and also some choose to customise them even further.

In Text Case, I’ve chosen to support four different standards of Title Case:

These standards are much bigger than just rules on how titles should be capitalised, but it is, of course, the only relevant part for Text Case.

AP

AP format is commonly used by news organisations, as the Associated Press offer style guides for a wide arrange of writing, and it can be easy to use one entire standard.

With AP format, the first and last words are always capitalised, along with all verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Any prepositions or conjunctions that are four characters or more are also capitalised.

APA

APA format is very similar to AP format, in that it uses the same base rules, except that the last word isn’t capitalised by default.

MLA

MLA format is commonly used by academic writers when writing papers. It is a rather simple standard to follow, with all words being capitalised, except for a specific number of conjunctions.

CMOS

CMOS is one of the more popular standards that I’ve seen among bloggers, and it’s one that I use myself. In CMOS, all words are capitalised except for any preposition or conjunction. It’s commonly used when doing comprehensive, in-depth writing.

Changing Title Case Style in Text Case

You can change the Title Case style by navigating to the Settings page, choosing “Text Case Style”, and then selecting the style that you wish you use.

You can also tap on the Info icon on any of the styles, to find out more information on how they are used, and also a link to read more about them.

When you’re using the Title Case format, you can see the style that is being used on the top right of the formatted result. For example, the app in the screenshot is using APA style.


You can download Text Case on the App Store.

22nd March 2019

It’s taken a while, but I’m very glad to announce that Text Case 2.0 is finally available!

The reason why it wasn’t a simple update, is that The app has been completely rebuilt. This includes a new way of organising individual formats into groups, and a new design that fits.

There are four new formats to use: Emoji, Rot13, Base64 Encoded, and Base64 Decoded. This means that there are now 23 different formats to use in Text Case!

The app now has a few extra customisation options, you can switch between a Dark and Light theme, change the order of the groups, enable/disable formats, and also choose between 22 different app icons.

You can get Text Case on the App Store!

And if you’re interested, you can check out the new Text Case website.

P.S. A series of guides focussed around getting the most out of Text Case will be published regularly. So watch this space!

18th March 2019
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Apple Newsroom:

Apple today introduced the all-new iPad Air in an ultra-thin 10.5-inch design, offering the latest innovations including Apple Pencil support and high-end performance at a breakthrough price. With the A12 Bionic chip with Apple’s Neural Engine, the new iPad Air delivers a 70 percent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability, and the advanced Retina display with True Tone technology is nearly 20 percent larger with over half a million more pixels.

Apple today also introduced the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, a major upgrade for iPad mini fans who love a compact, ultra-portable design packed with the latest technology. With the A12 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini is a powerful multi-tasking machine, delivering three times the performance and nine times faster graphics. The advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide color support is 25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density of any iPad, delivering an immersive visual experience in any setting. And with Apple Pencil support, the new iPad mini is the perfect take-anywhere notepad for sketching and jotting down thoughts on the go. The new iPads are available to order starting today and in stores next week.

I guess this is Apple clearing out a few announcements before the big event on March 25th.

15th March 2019
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So, Apple have now posted their response to Spotifys long list of complaints against them.

It’s pretty huge, and they go against nearly every point they made. I’m hugely biased as I’m an Apple fan, but to me, everything they said makes a lot of sense.

Here are some of the sections that I found the most interesting:

What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

That’s a dig at Spotify already, and they also go a bit further than their complaints, by mentioning their relationship with artists.

One thing that surprised me, was their response to Spotifys claims about Apple restricting them from platforms such as the HomePod or Apple Watch:

  • When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
  • Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
  • We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.

That all sounds like Spotify have actually been working with Apple successfully already.

They then went into detail on the number of free apps in the App Store, how different apps make money while Apple not taking a cut (free, ad-supported, external subscriptions, and physical good sales). They turned this at Spotify by stating that only a small fraction of their subscriptions are going through their payment platform, and that their target is to reduce that to zero. So in effect, reducing their contribution to the platform to zero.

They end with a statement about what it means to music, and also how Apple’s approach is to help grow opportunities for artists, businesses, and every person with a big idea:

We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.

Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.

Apple’s approach has always been to grow the pie. By creating new marketplaces, we can create more opportunities not just for our business, but for artists, creators, entrepreneurs and every “crazy one” with a big idea. That’s in our DNA, it’s the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it’s better for customers.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success — after all, that was the whole point of creating the App Store in the first place.

This is going to be really interesting to watch play out. Especially the EU court case.

There is one thing that I agree with Spotify on, and that’s the 30% cut Apple take. But I wouldn’t class that as being anti-competitive, as it’s a rule for the entire App Store. I just want it to be lower.

In general, I’m against Spotify on this one. I was unsure on a few things after the complaint was published, on things like the App Store rejections, their claim that Apple dismissed their Apple Watch app proposals, and Apple apparently not letting them on the HomePod. Apple cleared a lot of this up. And while both sides of the argument will include biases, I feel that Apple have quashed a lot of Spotifys claims.

14th March 2019
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Ben Sandofsky, the developer of the popular app Halide, and now Spectre, shared an update on how the Spectre launch went, and also their plan for future releases:

He also shared some photos taken on Spectre, which look amazing. The hashtag they’re using is #SpectreShot, so I may have to share some myself.

The section I found most interesting was about the initial release:

To say our launch was a success would be an understatement. On day 1, Spectre instantly rose to the first place in the App Store. We had features on The Verge, The Daily Mail, Lonely Planet, Macstories, CNet, Macrumors, 9to5Mac, Uncrate and more.

It was a bit too much success: We rose up the charts so fast that one of Apple’s fraud detection systems kicked in. For a half a day, we were missing from the charts. Yikes! We were panicking and got in touch with Apple.

Fortunately, after Apple’s fine people verified we weren’t gaming the system, we were back at #1, where we stuck it out for almost a whole week.

I had never heard about these “fraud detection systems”, but the people at iA (iA Writer Developers) wrote about it last year. It’s a huge piece of writing, and there’s a ton of great investigation as well, but essentially they found that an increase in traffic to the App Store, can negatively affect the apps ranking. That sounds pretty weird to me.

Fortunately/Unfortunately for me, none of my apps have managed to be affected by the fraud detection systems.

13th March 2019

Twitter have announced (on Twitter) that an updated camera interaction is on its way. So you’ll be able to access the camera with just one swipe:

This is a really good improvement. I’ve even downloaded the official Twitter app again, so I’m ready to try it out.

12th March 2019
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Photo Credit: Royal Mint

BBC:

Prof Stephen Hawking has been honoured on a new 50p coin inspired by his pioneering work on black holes.

The physicist died last year at the age of 76, having become one of the most renowned leaders in his field.

He joins an elite group of scientists to have appeared on coins, including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Designer Edwina Ellis said: “I wanted to fit a big black hole on the tiny coin and wish he was still here chortling at the thought.”

I’ve always liked the fact that we place very important people on our money, such as Charles Darwin, James Watt, and Michael Faraday. It signifies their reverence to the entire world.

It also reminds me of a talk that Neil Degrasse Tyson made at The Tanner Humanities Center, where he spoke about what some countries place on their money, from the perspective of America not having a lot of scientific achievements on theirs.

12th March 2019

Laurie Voss, a Co-founder and Chief Data Office of NPM(A package manager for JavaScript, and a huge database of public and private JavaScript packages), had an interesting story to tell on Twitter:

My first reaction was something akin to "How the hell do you do this by mistake?". Surely publishing a package to NPM has just enough friction that you don’t publish private IP to a public repository.

You have to also keep in mind thatNPM have supported private repositories since 2014, and also offer a full enterprise solution already, NPM Enterprise.

11th March 2019

So, there’s been a ton of new information shared about the upcoming Harry Potter AR game, Wizards Unite. And it’s certainly shaping up to be an incredible game!

Here’s the back story:

A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artefacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these “Foundables,” and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes.

Your journey begins as a new recruit of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, established by the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards for the purpose of investigating and containing The Calamity.

From the story alone, there’s a massive scope for what the game could turn out to be. On one side of the scale, it could have been a simple rip-off of Pokémon GO, but essentially a hide-and-seek game with a Harry Potter theme. But instead, what we’re getting is a much more all-rounded role-playing game!

Image

Of course, at it’s an AR game, one of the key mechanics will be exploring the world, finding some of the “Foundables”, casting spells, and also Portkeys that offer a full 360 AR experience out in the real wold. That already feels to me a more immersive experience than Pokémon GO (And I’m a big Pokémon GO player!).

Where I think the richness of the game will come from, is the things like potion making, challenging other wizards and foes in Wizarding Challenges, and developing your Wizarding skills while specialising in certain professions.

It sounds like a game with many ways to play. You can simply explore the world, while finding “Foundables”, Portkeys, potion ingredients, etc. You can compete with other players by battling with them at Fortresses, but you can also team up with them and compete Wizard Challenges together. And at the same time as all of that, you’re developing your own character, gaining new skills, and just taking your own route through the game.

One thing I’m unsure about though, is the “Spell Energy”. I’ve never found a mobile game that has some kind of perishable energy source to be that great. As there’s usually long waits to refill, mostly with the aim for players to spend money on in-app purchases. You can find food and drinks at “Inns”, which will be in certain places around the world, and will replenish your Spell Energy. Hopefully there’s enough of them so it doesn’t inhibit gameplay.

My other worry is that the game will be too rich. Sure, I wrote earlier that it’s one of the reasons why I like the sound of this game, but maybe other people won’t appreciate it. As not everyone is as well versed in the Harry Potter universe as others (me), and a steep learning curve for a mobile game may not work out well.

But despite how anyone else finds it, I can already tell I’m going to be really addicted to this game.


You can find out more about Wizards Unite on the website, and also find more of the details I mentioned on their blog.