Monthly Archives: September 2015

iOSDEVUK – My Favourite Bits!

So last week was the fifth @iOSDEVUK and what a brilliant week it was. Its always good to meet up with everyone in Aberystwyth and to share ideas and experience so that as a developer community we can learn to build better apps that surprise and delight our users.

I thought I would do a brief roundup of my highlights of the week and share one or two things that I learnt along the way.

Creating Usable Apps – Maxim Cramer (@mennenia)

This was by far one of my favourite sessions. Maxim looked at how developers should engage users in the development process and how that feedback can be used to improve apps. The session was very hands on and it was great opportunity for us to get some feedback on the new @chestersu app that we’re building and also to input and provide feedback on the Capital One iOS app. Great learning and incredibly useful.

#TopTip, get a user to test your app today – go up to someone in a coffee shop and ask them to do something on your app and watch what they do! Remember to tell the user that we are testing the product though; and not them!

iOS top trick – Chris Ross (@darkrock)

This just goes to show that you can always learn something new about the platform you use everyday. I can’t believe I didn’t know this before Chris featured it in his lightning talk – if use the panorama feature on your iphone you’re used to taking panoramas left to right. Did you know you can take a panorama right to left just by tapping the arrow to change direction?


Doing Mobile at facebook – Simon Whitaker (@s1mn)

I’ve seen Simon talk a number of times and he never fails to disappoint. His talk on facebook explored a whole myriad of things from development practices, how Facebook handles scale and the problems associated with this and not forgetting the fact that the facebook mobile app is over 100Mb because it contains 18000 classes. Brilliant value and great talk!

Selfie Ideas – Chris Wilson (@abitofcode)

Who knew that if you take a selfie through a loo role you would look like the moon! #toptrick and great lesson! #tryit


Magic Transitions – Shawn Welch (@shawnwelch)

This really is useful; the library developed by square allows users to create magic transitions similar to keynote. Once this is open sourced I think we’ll start to see some really cool transition effects coming to iOS apps #cantwait.

Core Data Multithreading – Marcus Zarra (@mzarra)

Marcus is always fantastic value; I’ve seen him talk about core data 3 or 4 times and I always come away having learnt something new. This year the talk was all about multithreading and how it is now possible to create multiple Persistent Store Co-Ordinators across multiple threads. If you need to know more about Core Data read his books! #Brilliant

So that was my favourite moments from @iOSDEVUK – as always I could have written about so much more; from the new friends made at the conference dinner to the annual Rummers reunion that must surely be about to enter mythical legend.

Huge big up to everyone involved with organising the event; can’t wait for next year!

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A perplexing keynote

So Apple held there September Event on Wednesday and I’ve got to be honest; I’m a little perplexed. If you haven’t seen the keynote you can watch it here 

The rumours by en large proved true; the new Apple TV complete with SDK is definitely a welcome addition to the line up; and the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6SPlus isn’t exactly a revelation. I laughed when Tim played the iPhone video as I genuinely believe they could have used the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in place of the new devices on screen and no-one would have noticed.

There were 2 things in the keynote though that left me wondering why.

First off; MICROSOFT! What were they doing? I had visions of the Steve Balmer Developers, Developers, Developers moment being repeated – surely Microsoft don’t believe that if Mohammad won’t go to the Mountain then Microsoft must go to the developers?

Its more than that though – I can accept the argument of the two companies “burying the hatchet, and Microsoft not feeling the need to compete; but in allowing Microsoft to present Office on the iPad Apple in my eyes have effectively acknowledged that the Office suite is a superior product to iWork and in some ways have abandoned Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

The second why moment in my view relates to the new Apple Surface …. sorry iPad Pro. That thing is huge and well expensive! I may well come to eat my words, but why would you want to have a tablet that size? For me I’d have preferred them to keep the existing overall size of iPad but introduce a thinner bezel to maximise screen real estate.

Then, there is the Apple Pencil – need I say more than to quote Steve Jobs “If you see a stylus, they have got it wrong” – #notconvinced; that said I’m sure some artists and graphic designers may find it useful, I just don’t believe its right for the mass market.

So there you have it; Apple have gone mad – well maybe not mad, but it strikes me that they are once again struggling to innovate.

I believe they don’t really know what to do next with iPad and are floundering for its next big success. For me they just need to slow down a little; there isn’t a need to have a brand new iPhone every year, and certainly not a brand new iPad – I’m not saying never refresh the product again; just take some time out and then introduce something new and innovative to the market.

Its time for them to take a risk and I fear if they don’t perhaps we are going to see that they have already ridden the crest of the wave and are about to watch the wave break over cupertino and the apple campus.

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Social Media: Does it complement or detract from life?

Social media is key part of all of our lives and everyday it seems that something happens to reinforce its impact on our lives. It is estimated that the average person in america spends upwards on 37 minutes per day social networking and that 46% of web users are influenced by social media when making a purchase (

During the social media boom around 2006 the younger generation (18-30) were by far the quickest to adopt the technology; but recently the largest growth has been seen amongst 45-50 year olds. I think its impressive how older generations are adopting the technology and making use of it in ways that I wouldn’t have even imagined.

Personally, what I find most interesting is that as older generations come on board it seems that the technology is being used more as an extension of social activity that is already taking place offline. One of the most vibrant Facebook groups that I am a member of is the `Consett and District Heritage Initiative. Consett has always had a large number of individuals interested in local history and groups such as this are extending activities that already take place offline to allow a greater number of people to get involved with the conversations and really bring history to life.

With social media being used in this way I wonder if critics ever had anything to be worried about when arguing that online social interaction was going to have a negative impact on real life social interaction. I find that my online life compliments and enhances my actual life and far from becoming more of a recluse it actually causes me to interact with a much greater range of people some of whom I would otherwise not have the opportunity to interact with.

Whats your experience of social media? Does it enhance or detract from your “real life”?

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