Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tweet Library 2.6 has been “waiting for review” for 11 days now. I know Apple is busy, but these delays add up to a poor user experience for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus customers who want to get the most out of their new screens.

→ 2014/09/30 11:24 am

Omni gets Brent, and a SilverPine update

We are so lucky in the Mac and iOS developer community that there are a number of ways to be successful. The most common:

  • Work for someone else at their company.
  • Work for yourself as an indie developer.
  • Work for clients as a contractor or consultant.
  • Any mix of the above or all 3.

There’s no right answer. What works for one developer might be a poor choice for someone else. And throughout our careers, we may move between any of these different paths depending on what life and family require.

Today, Brent Simmons announced that he’s making one of those moves. He’s starting at Omni, and he’ll continue to work on Vesper as well:

“I love that I get to work on both Vesper and on Omni apps. Omni is one of the great Cocoa development companies, and they’ve grown slowly and steadily over many years. They write lovable productivity apps — not just great iOS apps but also great Mac apps.”

Also today, Jon Hays announced that his 6-month-old company SilverPine is doing great, and they’ve finished a bunch of client projects:

“To say that some days my hair feels like it’s on fire is an understatement. That being said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The work we do is creative, challenging, cutting edge and very rewarding.”

Congrats to both! Change is exciting. It’s great to see friends happy doing what they love.

Updated feeds

When I migrated to WordPress and started a microblog section on this site, the RSS feeds didn’t transition very well. While the old feed continued to work, WordPress’s new default /feed URL returned both full posts and snippet posts.

I’ve fixed that today. Here are the official feeds on the site:

  • /rss.xml: All the main posts (like the one you’re reading right now), but none of the microblog-style snippet posts.
  • /snippets.xml: Just the microblog posts. These don’t have a title and will (eventually) be more common than the main posts, so you’ll need to subscribe separately if you want to see them.
  • /feed: Now redirects to /rss.xml.

If you want to see everything I write here, subscribe to both the main feed and the snippets feed. If you want to see only the longer posts, just keep the main feed. Thanks for reading!

Core Intuition 156

Episode 156 of Core Intuition is out. Daniel and I discuss the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and what they might mean for the future of the iPhone product line.

I’m now convinced that Apple will have something like a 6C next year to maintain the 4-inch design. It will never have the best camera or longest battery life — that will be reserved for the larger phones — but there will be 3 fully supported sizes with some core modern features like Touch ID and Apple Pay.

We also talk about updating your app for the new screen sizes and iOS 8. My update to Tweet Library is still waiting for review, but hopefully will be approved soon.

NSDrinking is on for this Thursday night at The Ginger Man in Austin. Starts at 8pm, though I’ll be there closer to 9pm. All sizes of small and gigantic iPhones welcome!

→ 2014/09/24 4:31 pm

Maybe I do need a day phone and a night phone. In the evenings I’ll use the too-big-for-pockets iPhone 6 Plus, and when leaving the house I’ll take… the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S. The future is on the extremes.

→ 2014/09/17 4:31 pm

Microblog links

Brent Simmons points to my post on microblogs and asks:

“Is the web we lost gone forever? Was it a brief golden age before the rise of Facebook and Twitter and The Algorithms of Engagement?”

But he quickly follows with an alternate view: that it’s a blip and we’ll get back on track. And that’s what I believe.

Instead of accepting a common opinion that Twitter is slowly replacing RSS readers, we should flip that around. What kind of changes could be made to RSS readers to embrace microblogging and make Twitter itself less important? Because once we do that, we get back control of our own short-form content and at the same time encourage open tools that will survive independent of whatever happens with Twitter and Facebook in the future.

I received some other great feedback about defining what it means to be a microblog post. One question that I didn’t address is links. Noah Read writes:

“It has consistently annoyed me that Twitter and’s links count against my character count. It seems to run counter to what I love about microblogging, carefully chosen words communicating a succinct idea. I often have a pretty good tweet composed and then I paste in the link to a site or image and have to rework the whole thing.”

And David Ely says that a microblog post…

“Contains a single thought, a link with short commentary, or a photo with a caption.”

Whereas a full blog post would often contain multiple links. Certainly a lot of what is posted to Twitter and Facebook is just a single link with short commentary.

I also noticed recently that Dave Winer’s Radio3 includes links in the text when tweeting, but in the RSS feed the text and the link are split out. The URL goes in the RSS item’s link tag. While this is easy enough to support in tools, it’s surprising if you consider the link part of the content, not metadata. (I also expect inline HTML links to become even more common.)

Made it down to Houndstooth for Cafe Bedouins for the first time in months, maybe all year. Austin is getting a serious rain tonight, but it let up a little for the drive.

→ 2014/09/16 8:31 pm

Lost in the wilderness

Great post by Gus Mueller on losing your way in a project:

“Maybe you’ve been making foundational changes to your app. You’ve been spending time cleaning up your code, rewriting those hacks you’ve been wanting to fix for years now. Or you’re targeting a new SDK and there’s all these deprecated methods to replace. So while important change is happening, you don’t seem to be moving forward. You look up and all of a sudden notice this has been going on for weeks and you’ve been standing still all this time, and now you’re standing still for no reason at all. And you’re lost in the wilderness.”

I work on several apps throughout the week, evenings, and weekend. Most people would say: too many apps. The only way I can possible keep up is if every minute that I’m at the keyboard I’m productive, on the right path to finishing the project. Usually I can do it. But even so, I frequently fall into exactly the wilderness Gus describes, losing valuable time off in the weeds on things that just don’t matter.

The difference between those who can ship apps and those who indefinitely have a great idea that’s never complete often comes down to how much time we’re lost in the wilderness. By giving it a name we can recognize when it happens and hopefully recover more quickly.

I should stop writing this blog post complaining about people who complain about U2. Lots of real work to do.

→ 2014/09/15 5:17 pm

Defining a microblog post

I’m working on a new project around timelines and microblogs. It consumes RSS feeds, so I’ve been wondering how strict to be when accepting posts. What does microblog mean, anyway?

Wikipedia defines it this way:

“Microblogging is a broadcast medium that exists in the form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size.”

But that’s not quite specific enough. From my perspective, a microblog post has these qualities:

  • Must have an RSS feed.
  • Does not have an RSS item title.
  • Contains short post text, 280 characters or less.

Not having an RSS item title might take some getting used to for mainstream blogging clients and readers. Most RSS apps assume that all posts have a title, even though titles are technically optional in the spec. But I think this is an important distinction because if you think about Twitter-like posting, it should be fast and convenient; making up a title first interrupts the flow of posting.

I picked 280 characters instead of’s 256 characters because it’s slightly less nerdy, and feels right at exactly double Twitter’s 140. This should be thought of as more of a guideline than a rule, though — just something to shoot for.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback. Post to your own blog and then send me an email.

Fixed the RSS feeds. Turns out they were returning valid RSS but with an HTTP 404 header. After fighting with mod_rewrite, I ended up hacking the fix into WordPress.

→ 2014/09/11 4:12 pm

Transmit for iOS 8

Federico Viticci has the exclusive on Transmit coming to iOS:

“Considering the old limitations of iOS for inter-app communication and file management, using the Transmit extension feels like a major breakthrough and exactly the kind of experience that the app was meant to be on an iPhone and iPad.”

While traveling this summer, I used Panic’s Prompt to download and rename files on the Core Intuition web server. It’s going to be great to also have Transmit’s UI in my pocket.

Learning curve with Ember.js is a little greater than I thought at first. Not sure I’m doing everything “correctly”, but getting the hang of it. Very cool framework.

→ 2014/09/07 12:06 pm

I love Beats Music and have been a subscriber since early this year, but decided to cancel to save a few bucks. Switching back to iTunes and the new free Rdio.

→ 2014/09/06 10:17 am