Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh Happy Day!!

My first iPhone App is available in the App Store.

RADIO Dandelion is an audio streamer coupled with a content discovery engine. It plays the music from a radio station inspired by the late great John Peel. As it does so, it looks up info about what is playing, finding images, biogs, discographies, related artists, videos etc. etc.

It was a fun but challenging project.

The review process was more problematic than I expected. I sent it to Apple in late November, just after reading reports about single station radio apps being rejected, which was scary.

Actual review started two weeks later and it was almost immediately rejected.

The grounds for rejection were very vague and I cannot say I ever got a straight answer from them about what was wrong. It became almost Kafka-esque as they began to accuse me of trademark and content theft. Content that on even a cursory inspection you could see I was not using. I even told them at one point that it was not logically possible to prove that something did not exist. I was mildly rude a few times when I thought they deserved it, I was finding the process unhelpful and disrespectful, I even reminded them I had paid to be treated fairly by the review process.

Finally yesterday, out of the blue, someone wrote to say the process had moved on, thanked me for my patience and even left their name. Hours later it was on the App Store.

They do like their mystique.

So, quite a steep learning curve for me. This has got to be the most complex bit of software I have written.
It is heavily multi-threaded, something I had done little of before. Making it behave sensibly in very poor conditions was a challenge. Reproducing variable networking conditions for testing can be very difficult. Manual memory management is not fun at first. Migrating from the iPhone Simulator to a real device was more of a shock than expected.

My first update is in development, I hope to send that to Apple in a few days.

Lots of ideas about where to take this.

Loving the combination of design and coding.

Please take a look, tell me what you think, write glowing reviews, then hire me!!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Beta Testing started

I delivered the first distribution build, of my first iPhone App to my first beta tester today!!

I am really enjoying this platform, though some of the learning curve has been pretty tough.

Obviously coming direct from Java, Javascript, etc., the biggest headache is memory management, in Objective-C on iOS you have to do it manually. The last time I had to worry about stuff like that was when I used to program in 6502 Assembly back in the 1980’s!

There will be new issues to deal with I am sure.

I used to be a designer before I became a programmer, so I feel very comfortable with developing for this platform, the various skill complementing each other.

So what is my business plan?

Well at the moment, I do not expect to make money selling my own apps on the AppStore, it is just too crowded, I don’t expect to be able to invest enough in marketing etc.

What I do hope is that once I have my own apps in the store, they will help me find contract work.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I did applaud

Just in case you wanted to know, unlike his brother, I was one of those who did applaud the new Labour leader’s view that Britain getting involved in the Iraq war was a mistake.

XCode - turn off logging for Release

Welcome to my first tip for iPhone developers.

If you have logging statements in your project for testing and debugging, you’ll want a way to turn them off for released code.

I have seen many complex solutions requiring custom macros and preprocessor parameters, most of them overkill IMHO.

The simplest thing to do that I have found so far is to use this technique.
Place the code-snippet in your project’s *_Prefix.pch file, continue to use the standard NSLog() macro.

NSLog statements will be automatically left out of projects compiled for release.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Apology to the Workers?

The Governor of the Bank of England has just apologised to us, for the mess the policy makers and financial sector has put us in.

That’s what it sounded like in his speech to the Trade Union Congress, as reported by the BBC.

I am not currently a member of a union, but as a British worker, I feel it may have been extended to me too.

Maybe this will further encourage the redress the British people will bring upon those policy makers and financial sector he mentioned.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What I’d really like …

What I’d really like to see in the ‘Hardware' menu of the iPhoneSimulator, is all released Hardware.
i.e. the ability to run realistic, reduced CPU and memory simulations for all released devices, plus the ability to select simulations of networks conditions, i.e. Good Wifi, Bad Wifi, Good GSM, Bad GSM etc..
Not just get what 'Your Mac Can Do’.
I thank you.

(Oh, BTW Steve wants it)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Painful Politics

Two quotes I enjoyed during the election.

A BBC commentator after Gordon Brown’s post-results speech :

“He took it in the national interest”s

Ouch! Maybe it will become a new euphemism.

A Conservative spokesman on the BBC, after the Con/Dem government had been formed :

“We don’t know what the whipping arrangements are”

Public school boys … they never change.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I don’t know what led me to look this up tonight, but of course this old classic is on YouTube ;-)

I worked with QuickTime since version 1.0, when you only had postage stamp sized movies, we got the Dev CDs, I have managed to keep the original (120 x 160 px, 10 fps) on my series of computers since then.

And what is amazing is that the original file still plays!

Enjoy Spoonman, and good luck!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peace & Quiet

While I am sorry for all of the people caught up in airports etc. the closure of Britain’s air-space for the last few days has brought some welcome peace and quiet to my area.

We normally get planes flying over every few minutes, now they are gone, it is amazing what difference it makes.

Once things get back to normal again, I imagine people living under the really busy flight paths are going to realise even more strongly what a blight air-transport bring to their lives.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Where I’d like to live

I hear people around here saying house prices in Brixton will boom in the next few years as (The Council expects) the area to become the next Notting Hill.

Maybe that would be a good time to sell up and move?
I have lived in Brixton since the late 70’s, the place I grew to love has already changed beyond recognition.

So, where do I want to live?

  • no more than 10 minutes walk from the sea
  • but at least 30m above sea-level (thats not a flood plain)
  • within 5 minutes walk of the shops
  • in easy reach of a public swimming pool
  • in a place I don’t need to have a car
  • good public transport
  • at least semi-rural
  • in a building that is efficient enough not to need heating
  • with a workshop
  • with very fast broadband
  • where I can play loud music
  • where there is good cultural diversity
  • with a good local pub
  • and a few nice restaurants

Where am I going to find this combination?
Am I asking too much?

I have most of these already, apart from the efficient building and rural/coastal location.

I had better start looking …

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Best Tip Yet

The best tip I read for a while on was this one :

Select your “Inbox" and “Sent" mailbox at the same time, then turn on threading.

(you get a view of them both interleaved, even better than the GMail “All Mail” view)