Archive for the ‘apple’ category

WWDC 2009

June 1, 2009

>I will be attending Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference again this year.  Last year Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 3G at the keynote, I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us this time.  WWDC is a pretty good event for developers.  I look forward to digging into some of the iPhone SDK 3.0 features that I have not yet had a chance to dig into.  The developer NDA doesn’t allow me to talk about 3.0 here, so for now I’ll just say that it looks like its going to be a pretty significant update.

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Using the Cloud

March 31, 2009

>Over the years I’ve started countless projects by myself or with friends that have never been fully realized.  I’m still waiting for that one great idea that really drives me to create something from nothing.  In the mean time I am pretty happy bringing other people’s ideas to light, most of the time.

Without giving away too much detail, one of my current client projects is a pretty cool combination of technologies.  We are building an iPhone application with Amazon Web Services back-end.  As we’ve been building this it has occurred to me how many of my ideas in the past died because we would get bogged down in the details about where and how we were going to host it rather than just building it.

It’s thrilling to see all these cloud computing services springing up that really level the playing field for anyone with an idea to deploy, and more importantly scale if they find success.

I still don’t have that one great idea, but I feel like the roadblocks that existed in years past have lessened.

My Top 5 iPhone Applications Redux

February 6, 2009

>Back in july I posted about my top 5 iPhone applications.  I figure it’s been about 6 months and it would be a good time to revisit this topic as my top 5 have since changed.  So in no particular order, here they are…

I managed to pick this app up when it was initially released for free, now it runs $2.99, but I would still pay for it. Zenbe is a pretty straight forward list tracking app that allows you to create multiple lists, assign due dates and organize your items. It has the added bonus of having a pretty decent web front end that stays in sync at lists.zenbe.com

I continue to find Yelp very useful when looking for new restaurants and bars, the iPhone app is a nice compliment to the website.

I am pretty much addicted to iPhone solitaire, this version is great. They have a free version as well, but I think its worth the price for the added game variations you get.

I kinda hate to admit it, but I check Facebook on my phone way more than I probably need to be.

Mint is a great tool for tacking your expenses and investments, the iPhone application makes it even more useful.

Honorable Mentions…

I still thing Evernote is a great tool, I just don’t use is at much as I should.

Shazam is one of the most clever apps I’ve seen. It has been able to identify songs in some pretty poor audio situations.

GasBag crashes way more than a public application should, but I do like the MPG tracking component of the application.

Remote is still a great app for controlling your music from anywhere in your house, even if your house is really only about 750 sq. feet.

Connecting to iPhone Applications via Peer-To-Peer Networking

October 15, 2008

>I recently found myself wanting to copy some documents to the AirSharing application on my iPhone but I was not able to connect to a Wi-Fi network at the time.

As it turns out, this is really easy to do using peer-to-peer wireless networking, enabling applications like AirSharing or the Apple Remote to connect to your machine regardless of if there is an available wireless network.

Note: This can be done on Windows as well, however, I will only be covering the process on a Mac.

  1. First you need to create a new network on your Mac by selecting your AirPort menu item and choosing “Create Network…”.
  2. Choose a name for your network, and optionally require a password (I would suggest adding a password to restrict access to your machine).
  3. On your iPhone, tap Setttings then Wi-Fi.
  4. Your phone should find the network you just created, tap it and enter your password if you chose to set one up.
  5. Now open AirSharing.
  6. Back on your Mac, from the Finder menu, select “Connect to Server…” (this can also be opened by pressing Command+K on your keyboard).
  7. Enter the address specified by AirSharing for connecting and click “Connect”.
  8. A finder window will open with the AirSharing share and a mounted disk will appear on your desktop.

As I mentioned above, this tip is not limited to the AirSharing application.  Any iPhone application that uses wireless connectivity to interface with your machine, such as the Apple Remote, should work with this method.

My Top 5 iPhone Applications

July 19, 2008

>So of course I picked up a shiny new iPhone 3G on launch day.  I was lucky to be in Hillsboro Oregon at the time which meant my line was not too long and I got to take advantage of no sales tax.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted (I’m going to correct that in the next few weeks), so I thought I’d do a round-up of my top 5 favorite 3rd party applications.  In no particular order here they are…

This is Apple’s fantastic iTunes remote.  I don’t have an Apple TV yet, but I have been playing with this with my iTunes library on my laptop and it works flawlessly.  I can’t wait to get my condo all setup so I can take full advantage of this tool.

This has to be one of the less polished games in the iTunes store, but it is addicting. The basic goal is to fly your little ship through a minefield of cubes, if you hit a cube, you die. You pretty much just compete against yourself for high score. The game could use stages, so you don’t just end up playing the same first level over and over again, but short of that, it is an awesome first showing for a casual game.

Evernote is a great desktop tool for knowledge capture.  It works on Mac and Windows, and with their latest release they have included an iPhone client.  This comes in handy so often in my life when I have meetings where lots of white boarding occurs.  All I have to do is open Evernote and take a picture of the whiteboard and the image is automatically synced with my laptop.  On top of that, Evernote has fantastic OCR technology allowing you to then search all of your content, even my aweful whiteboard chicken scratch gets properly indexed.

I always have a terrible time picking a restaurant when it comes time to go out to eat.  This tool solves that problem in a fun way.  Using location based services, Urbanspoon will zero in on your city.  You then lock in your options, be it neighborhood, cuisine or price.  Then simply shake your phone and Urbanspoon will randomly pick a place for you, if you don’t like it, shake it again!

Tie: Pandora and Last.fm

Both of these applications do very similar things. Based on the same technologies of their respective web sites, you can get a customized radio station based on your music tastes. Pandora is based on the Music Genome Project, which uses a more scientific approach to matching tunes. Last.fm relies on social networks and listening patterns to do something very similar. I am a Last.fm user, so I like this app for that reason, however, I believe Pandora streams much more reliably with less waiting for buffering.

WWDC 2008 Keynote

June 9, 2008

>I got to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2008 keynote this morning, it was a lot of fun. Luckily for me I didn’t have to get there at 6am like my colleges who held a spot for me. I got to see Steve Balmer speak at Mix ’08 back in March, he was good, but doesn’t hold a candle to watching Mr. Jobs.

On the left is a picture I took from line, so may nerds, myself included.

Learning Cocoa

March 22, 2008

>With the recent release of the iPhone SDK I’ve gotten pretty excited about trying my hand at building some custom iPhone applications. Since I pay the bills writing software using Microsoft technologies I rarely write anything that isn’t in C# these days. I took plenty of C and C++ centric courses in college, but frankly I’ve gotten rusty.

Coding for the Mac and the iPhone means working with Apple’s Cocoa libraries which is done in Objective-C, a language I have never spent any time with, in Xcode, an IDE I’ve probably opened a handful of times but never built anything in.

So in the last week or so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on both of these subjects. Like most things there is a wealth of information out there that can be found with a simple Google search. In my hunting I’ve found a couple of resources for Cocoa, Objective-C and Xcode that I found to be the most helpful:

Programming Mac OS X with Cocoa for beginners

Programming Mac OS X with Cocoa for beginners is a book I found on Wikibooks. This source does a good job of explaining what Cocoa and Objective-C are and especially does a good job explaining some of the unique syntax of Objective-C that at first glance might make someone who is familiar with C, C++ or C# rub their eyes in an comically exaggerated manor indicating bewilderment.

Long Pointers – Xcode 3.0 Tutorial

The Xcode 3.0 tutorial on the Long Pointers blog does a great job of walking you through how you would build a windowed application in Cocoa with the Xcode tool. It is specifically very good at outlining how you build the interface in Interface Builder and wire it up to your controller code.

I am still early in my journey to become a Mac developer, but these resources definitely helped me feel like I am moving forward as I learn more. I’m sure there are more Mac and iPhone development posts coming in the future.