BiteofanApple Archive About Code Twitter
by Brian Schrader
Archive About Code Twitter


Posted on Mon, 18 Aug 2014

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-Thanks for reading,
      Brian Schrader

Book Recommendation: The Stormlight Archive

Posted on Sun, 17 Aug 2014

The StormLight Archive

I just finished Words of Radiance, book 2 of the Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson's ongoing Epic Fantasy series. If you haven't heard of this series, or its author you need to check it out. The planned 10-part series takes place in a war-torn land of failing kings, squabbling princedoms, and magical knights long thought to be gone forever.

When the king is assassinated by a mysterious man with powers no one should have, the kingdom goes to war with his employer. All the while a young surgeon, turned soldier, turned slave discovers his powers, and a young girl tries to steal from the most respected and hated scholar in the world.

If that little paragraph intro doesn't sell you, try a sample of the Audible version of the book. The narrators are amazing as they bring Sanderson's enormous world to life.

I listened to the books via Audible, and I'd highly recommend them. The books are long (it is Epic fantasy after all) clocking in at around 1100 pages (45 hours of audio). It's a significant investment, but one that you'll be hooked to for every page/minute.

If Audible sponsored, I'm sure that they'd give me a code for you to try the book, but I think you can try it via their 14-day trial anyway.

Give it a shot, the books were amazing. The bad thing is that, having finished them, I have to wait another 2 years to read the next one...

-Thanks for reading,
      Brian Schrader

Changing App Behavior Server-Side

Posted on Sun, 17 Aug 2014

We've all been there: you ship your app, it passes Apple's App Review, then it's in the Store... and then you find a bug. A small bug, but one you should fix ASAP. Whether it's some issue with download behavior, the color of some box, the font somewhere is too small, or your French localization of some text is overflowing some button (like what Daniel Jalkut talked about on Core Intuition this week), either way, it's a pain. You fix the problem locally, and submit a new build, but Apple still takes a week to review it. Meanwhile your users are having to deal with a bug that you've already solved. It's a common, frustrating and often a sales affecting problem.

On a recent episode of ATP, Marco mentioned that he could change quite a few features of the app from the server-side. Combine this with Brent Simmons' way of building Vesper (i.e. using plists to configure colors, fonts, item sizes, etc) and it seems to me that it should be entirely possible to make iOS apps that are mostly configurable from the server-side. This got me thinking. Why not build the app to download it's configuration file (i.e. plist, or Localization.strings file) remotely? Sure it's not as convenient as Apple's built in frameworks sometimes, but it would allow developers to fix features, colors, themes, and localization issues all remotely, and instantly.

I haven't looked into the technical issues with this, and there is an argument to be made that not all iOS devs want to run a server just to host their .strings files, but if you're already running a server for some other functionality in your app, it's basically cost free and avoids quite a few small but irritating problems.

My motto: If it can be on the server, it should be on the server. The client doesn't need to worry about it, it just needs to display it.

-Thanks for reading,
      Brian Schrader

Humans Need Not Apply

Posted on Sat, 16 Aug 2014

A fascinating video about the true nature of automation.

In the coming years, the automation revolution will completely change the nature of our society. People with skill based jobs will find themselves out of work almost as quickly as those in low-skill jobs. This isn't a bad thing, its something we've been trying to accomplish for millennia, making our lives easier. Truly the only bad thing is that our current system doesn't account for the case where most of society is unemployed. We require that all people work as of now, and soon that may not be the case. So how do people pay for things? Do we need to pay for things? All questions we need to consider.

We will survive it if we are prepared, but we aren't prepared.

Humans Need Not Apply

-Thanks for reading,
      Brian Schrader


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