7th January 2020

I’ve been talking about this for a few years, but refining my App Store offerings has always been a target of mine. And today I’m taking another bit of action on that.

Which means my list of 8 products on the respective App Stores will go from 8 down to 5, by retiring Pretty Regular Expressions for macOS and iOS, and Tap Gap:

  • Text Case iOS/iPadOS
  • Text Case macOS
  • Pixels Sticker Pack (iMessage Sticker Pack)
  • SOLID – Wallpaper Generator
  • Qwiki
  • Pretty Regular Expressions iOS
  • Pretty Regular Expressions macOS
  • Tap Gap – Fast Paced Accuracy Game

The reasons behind the three of them are slightly different but are essentially due to a lack of focus from myself, and a desire to not have any lingering apps anymore. Especially if I feel like they’re offering a substandard experience.

Pretty Regular Expressions is an app that is arguably still useful, but I haven’t used it myself in quite some time, and it’s fallen way behind its competitors on both platforms. And it’s just in a good state, it hasn’t really been adapted to the new devices over the years, and there’s tons of work needed to bring it back to a good level. There’s still a chance that I’ll revive this in the future, as I plan on working on a fresh app this year, but I can’t make any promises.

And for Tap Gap, this is a really simple game that I made while at university. It’s wasn’t ever a great game, and it was last updated December 2016, so I’m not even sure it works on the new devices. That was an easy decision.

There’s also question marks over my solid colour wallpaper app, SOLID, and my Wikipedia Menu Bar app for Mac, Qwiki. However, these still function correctly and attract new users.

That leaves me with arguably one active product, Text Case, since the macOS app is built with Catalyst, meaning it’s essentially one codebase. And three passive products with the sticker pack, Qwiki, and SOLID.

14th July 2017

If you read the last issue of my Weekly Links newsletter, you may of seen my comment about my desire to expand the content. With this weeks issue, I’m going to take a step in that direction.

The past issues have simple been a list of links from all over the internet that I find interesting, it’s pretty simple and very minimal. I’m not saying I want to rich newsletter full of embeds, and images, but I’m going to be separating content into sections, which will lead me into including more content in general. For the beginning at least, it will still be a basic email containing hardly any formatting, but loads of links.

The sections that will be included from this week forward are:

  • Interesting Links
  • Videos
  • On the Blog
  • What I’m Up To

They’re pretty explanatory, but the basic idea behind the transition is that the simple list of links is a bit unorganised. And some weeks, it’s simply not very long. But I’ve got content that I post on the blog, there’s tons of great videos that I watch, and I’m always working on something random. So why not share it here?

In the future, I want to add a podcast section, because I sure do listen to a lot of those. But adding a list of everything I’ve listened to isn’t good for me or anyone reading it. So maybe this will be my favourite/recommended episodes, and probably will end up being a less regular section. I was thinking every month, but this is a weekly newsletter, so every 4 weeks is a good alternative.

Anyway, you can sign up for the newsletter right now, which means you’ll have access to the past (boring) issues, and one new one which goes out tonight. All issues are usually send out on the Friday evening, but occasionally I’m busy and it gets pushed to Saturday morning.

Also, for the sake of my sanity. I’ll be starting the new issues at #1.

10th July 2017

I’ve been getting more obsessed with these two things recently, and you may have already noticed it with the recent “redesign”, if you can call it that. Basically, the design has been simplified even more, and a higher focus (like everyone always says) has been put on the content.

I’ve had this mindset towards website sizes, and how fast they should load for quite a while. But it’s only the past week or so that I’ve put effort into sorting out my website.

It started with optimising the images on the website, which consisted of resizing every image so that the width didn’t exceed 1400px and height didn’t exceed 1200px. They’re not exactly small sizes, but we live in a Retina world, and I have to put up with that. On top of that, all PNGs were put through the highest compression in Squash 2, and any image that was currently on the front page (I really couldn’t be bothered to do this for every post), was converted to JPG.

It was a decent start, and it certainly made a noticeable change in the size, with it taking my home page from 6MB to 1.2MB. It’s a relatively big difference, but I still felt that it wasn’t near enough what I was aiming for.

My desire is to have my website show off the content really nicely, be measured in mere kilobytes, and load so fast it’s not even recognisable.

Fast forward to today, where both the size and load speed metrics have improved a lot. I’ve been playing around with a few static site generators, and thinking about doing a more custom approach to the website, but I realised that Ghost (what this site runs on) can be manipulated itself. So for now, nothing major has changed with the underlying blog engine.

I have done a few things though:

  • Removed Prism – this was the already small library that I used to style any embedded code, but it’s not really relevant.
  • Cleaned up and minified my CSS file (yes, I write basic css).
  • Removed all javascript, including Google Analytics!

Google Analytics was the hardest to remove, but I got down to a point a page showing a single text-only post, would be roughly 50KB. 29KB of that was Google Analytics. This was didn’t seem like nice ratio to me, so for now it is gone. Hopefully in the future, I can write something minimal myself to track basic page views, but I’m not worried about that just yet.

Here are a few examples of the website size and load speeds:

I’m really happy with the low page sizes, and it appears the only thing truly adding to the size now is the images, which I can deal with. I’ll just start to use them where the need to be used, and nowhere else. The load speeds varied across multiple attempts, so that’s why a range was given (caches were disabled).

My next step will be to try and further optimised the actual Ghost engine itself, to see if any speed improvements can be made there. And I guess maybe an improved cloud server would help also? Then there is the dream goal of custom web analytics.

So rest assured, for now, nothing is being tracked on this website.

I’d be very interested in hearing everyone else opinions on website sizes, and all the rubbish I’ve wrote here in this post. Because while I really want my blog to be under 10Kb in most scenarios, it probably doesn’t make a huge difference to the reader.