* Posts by AndyDent

47 posts • joined 22 Feb 2011

if developer_docs == bad then app_quality = bad; Coders slam Apple for subpar API manuals


Apple don't know what's been archived

It's telling about the disorganised state of the docs team that when you start with Apple's own *current* StoreKit docs (https://developer.apple.com/documentation/storekit) you are directed to https://developer.apple.com/documentation/storekit as Related Documentation: Receipt Validation Programming Guide.

I've been developing in the Apple world for around 30 years. I still have paper copies of Inside Macintosh to taunt me what quality docs look like (plus I do ports of old Mac code to modern Mac or Windows OS and the last time I did one, I couldn't rely even on the archives!)

With all the cash Apple have sitting around, I am utterly bamboozled as to why they don't see this as a problem needing fixing.

it's NOT a Swift vs Objective-C thing, it's an arrogant neglect syndrome.

Realm – a database you may not have heard of but app devs have – touts cloudy platform


Platform now works with Xamarin and React-Native

Things have moved on - React Native and now Xamarin support were launched in Feb 2017. See my guest blog article on https://blog.xamarin.com/shared-drawing-with-the-realm-mobile-platform/


Maybe there was an original image that was wrong or maybe you don't recognise code - now it is showing Swift, and I recognise a bit from the RealmDraw sample. (The CGPoint is a giveaway).

Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs


Saved by Xamarin Forms?

Wow, those articles on Enlightenment brought back some scary memories of very early GUI toolkits!

Something which may be a saviour of Tizen development is the announcement of .NET support with the GUI provided by Xamarin Forms. I'm a big fan of Forms and this sounds like the smartest leap forward they could have done to get a ton of developers on board. It means people developing cross-platform apps for iOS and Android will now consider Tizen a plausible platform.

There are a lot of Xamarin developers in India especially doing corporate work. (I am currently on the Xamarin SDK team for the Realm Database Platform, including doing tech support).


Apple cleans up iOS App Store after first big malware attack


Outright lies about behaviour?

The readme on the github repo https://github.com/XcodeGhostSource/XcodeGhost says that the app doesn't do anything malicious or collect private behaviour.

If all it did was act as an unwitting analytics package, then this is both true and a reason why it would have been incredibly difficult for Apple to detect its actions - analytics packages send data to servers all the time in legit apps.

However, I'm wondering if the developer has published a "sanitised" version of the XCodeGhost source to try to avoid probllems - without the reported fake iCloud password dialog?

CODING PEEP SHOW offers chance to hire devs as they program


Which screen?

I typically have 3-4 screens going at once with 2 computers, with multiple web browser windows going, a text editor into which I'm writing comments as I work, Evernote for occasional references and other side notes and 2-3 IDEs running with multiple tabs open in each. How is anyone live streaming going to make sense of that?

Court KOs irate Apple iMessenger woman's bid for class-action face off

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Re: Next Case...

Great detailed breakdown of the problem.

She's not an idiot - it was (is?) a real problem. I have family members who experienced it when one member had to start using a Windows Phone for work reasons, and everyone else's iPhones remembered them as being on iMessage.

Apple really screwed up this experience

(Informed opinion from mobile developer with 30+ years experience who struggled to explain how this problem happened and what Apple were thinking).

New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault


Quick Fix

We don't have to fix the math background, just the math requirements.

Yes you need math for some fields such as Graphics and core Computer Science.

However, the vast majority of business development and software engineering requires only simple algebra. Ironically, these fields are more about language skills and communication (so the courses should reflect that).

Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly high'


Re: Heat balance

I like the balance of figures but if they only just found out how much is being emitted under the ice, how can they have accurate estimates for how much is emitted in deep water?

Australia finds $1 BEELLION to replace No-SQL DATABASE


"The industry seems to be moving in the latter direction"

Weelll, according to Dave Thomas's presentation at the Yow West conference in Perth this week, that might change. He showed some very interesting figures about server affordability and performance from databases like KDB.

End-user programming is going to come back and when I commented to him that it sounds an awful lot like the Pick system, he grinned and said Yup!


Re: Non-relational != flat-file

I figured it was either ISAM, network or hierarchical but few of the kids nowadays understand that anything powerful existed prior to "relational" databases.

Metadata retention to cost AU$3.98 a year per customer


Re: Only keeping what they already keep

Has Brandis actually gone on the record to say that they just need to start keeping things for longer that they "already keep"?

That will simplify things - there's a ton of stuff in the list I've seen which telco's definitely do NOT keep and all that bollocks about being able to store chat details is a large part of that.

Another point - do the KEEP it or keep it and make it queryable? Those are two very different things.

Given the history of major IT projects in this country it is possible that he's being genuinely misinformed rather than being deliberately misleading.

Maybe they will do what they did with the outsourcing of employment and hide a lot of the costs in other budgets (hint, look at the cost of compliance auditing for providers and see if that ever gets sheeted home as a part of the "successful" outsourcing of CentreLink).

Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'


Re: The inside of the wrist isn't hairy

I have hairs over my pulse points on the thumb side and I know guys who are a lot hairier than me.

(Doing kung fu sparring on a muggy, hot day in Australia gives you a good appreciation of how hairy, sweaty and therefore slippery your colleagues' arms can get. The Belgian and Greek guys are a lot harder to block than the Chinese!)

Apple in 2007: Who wants a stylus? Apple in 2010: We want a stylus!

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That's not a stylus, this is a stylus

SJ didn't like a stylus for a PDA and I tend to agree, after years of replacing the wretched things when I lost them from my Palm.

I'm a big fan of alternative devices for input, owning an original IBM CrossPad and many others since.

This patent is interesting and if any of the 'wits above commenting had bothered to read it, explicitly calls out the need of other devices to use a special background tablet or paper.

The various pens I researched and blogged about in 2010 http://aussiedesignedsoftware.com/blog/?p=185 either used the Anoto paper (LiveScribe) or some kind of clipboard attachment from which the pen took its location.

Apple's patent talks about establishing the four corners of the working area then scribbling within.

I suspect it collides with the Lernstift from VibeWrite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nstzSSvZElU#t=29 but probably pre-dates them.

Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION


Air is lighter

I was having a similar conversation with my co-founder as I needed to replace my beloved but heavy and outdated MBP 17" (too old to run latest XCode). He invited me to pick up his Macbook Air 11" in one hand and my iPad in the other...

An iPad with a keyboard is noticeably heavier than an 11" Air which is a full computer, running both OSX and Windows and a range of dev tools, with a great keyboard.

I have enjoyed using Codea to play with graphics algorithms but can't bring myself to believe in the iPad or its Android rivals as a dev machine.

FWIW I went for a 13" Macbook Retina because I need Retina occasionally for design, having it lets me use a 1680x1050 screen on the 13" (with my reading glasses) and it had enough extra grunt that it will become my new Windows dev machine to replace the Dell D830 which still gives good service but weighs a ton.

Australia dumbs down: Chief Scientist says research performance lags the world


Re: Citations?

Except, AFAIK, academics are still largely measured by citations as a quality measure of their publications.

It may be the science equivalent of Lines of Code for programs but it's still a visible and easy metric.

So poor citation levels ARE a real cause for concern in a climate of change where your job is evaporating and local prospects thinning.

SUPER-SUEBALL heading IBM's way in Australia


Re: No one will remember CCTA...

"Never quite materialilzed" but you could hear a lot of noise associated with them?

love the Tardis imagery.

Influential scribe Charles Petzold: How I figured out the Windows API


Re: Borland's OWL was a much sensible approach than MFC

The funny thing is that most of the non-OO stuff in MFC was layered on by macros. Under the hood was a reasonably clean OO design. I took advantage of that with my PP2MFC product which mapped the lovely PowerPlant framework from Metrowerks to MFC, so you could cross-compile Mac GUI code.

The history of MFC is that it was supposed to be a much more OO design, informed by Apple's MacApp, but the "Advanced Framework" was deemed too hard for Win32 C programmers so was dumbed down. Hence the "AFX" prefix on many identifiers which lingers on like the NS prefix in Apple lingers as a reminder of NextStep.

Can do better: Tech industry report on Australia's tech curriculum


Blaming both sides means you don't know what you're talking about

Any time I see someone blame both teachers and the educational bureaucracy, I think, "well, that's someone who likes ranting and who understands nothing about education or learning."

I'm not a teacher but my daughter is and I've worked for years alongside ex-teachers on an education product for teacher support.

Firstly, Teachers have very little say in curriculum design, especially in this era of attempted nationalism.

I also agree with some of the other comments already on this thread - you don't get students to learn how to use tools by having a separate curriculum. Improving the digital tools and and techniques available for use within other subjects is key to adoption and developing the attitude that using these tools is useful and natural.

iOS phone phlaw can UNMASK anonymous users on social media


Re: There's no such thing as a secure platform...

"remotely exploitable by design" - I'm not sure I agree in this case.

As stated in a previous comment, a web view does NOT automatically follow links (that would be a flaw on Apple's part). The problem is the applications that contain the web views which have followed a bad practice. Apple could be blamed for not making it clearer that this is a bad idea.

This has already been thrashed out in other forums, as said there:


The article is misleading, if you do nothing your webview won't open any phone call. You have to implement a specific method to intercept links and explicitly open them in the device.

see `

- (BOOL)webView:(UIWebView )webView shouldStartLoadWithRequest:(NSURLRequest )request navigationType:(UIWebViewNavigationType)navigationType` method in official UIWebViewDelegate reference


Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'


Scarred but understanding now I'm an author too

I wrote "Getting Started with LevelDB" last year, for Packt. They too insist on using MS Word for two reasons. One is the collaborative markup with commenting and change control. The other is a strong style-based production pipeline.

They produce cheap 120 page, highly-focused books and have a production process that requires the author to use an exact range of MS Word styles that then map directly into their production styles (presumably using InDesign or similar).

The collaborative markup was both a blessing and a curse.

Some chapters went through 5 revisions with the technical editor (trying to write about Objective-C in 4.5 pages per chapter with multi-line wrapped source examples is a nightmare).

You need a way to have comments attached to specific points in the text, with anchoring that will survive editing by more than one party.

That is a non-trivial exercise, far more complex than any stylistic markup.

I would love to see an extension to Markdown which coped with editing markup or maybe a tool integrating Markdown with version control that offered at least the functionality of MS Word's commenting, for non-technical users.

I am NOT a fan of Word and the bubble comments don't scale - beyond two participants and multiple reviews they become a confusing morass. I would be very happy to hear that there's a better alternative.

PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

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Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all


More Uncertainty in Development Platforms? Thanks MS!

I'm a multi-platform developer. I was already pretty steamed at MS for effectively killing off WPF as it was a powerful product I could use to deliver UI's matching OS/X and use a common C++ core.

I put off getting into Windows Mobile 7/8 (bye bye to my CE skills) and picking a new direction for MS development because of all the floundering in the last couple of years.

Now we're trying to decide if it is worth targeting WP8 alongside Android and iOS and the last thing I need is more uncertainty about the technology. My immediate reaction is to again push WP8 down the priority list.

EU probe into Apple's taxes: It's NOT to do with double-Dutch-Irish anything sandwiches


Re: There'll never be a good solution for tax shenanigans.

"Corporations would be failing in their fiduciary duties towards their shareholders (i.e. you and me) if they voluntarily decided to give away more tax than is absolutely required by law. "

However, if Apple are keeping their profits overseas as a result of these shenanigans, the shareholders don't benefit because the money isn't brought home to be distributed as a dividend.

I read one interesting comment that the Beats purchase deal was effectively a money "laundering" scheme to spend a big junk of that untouchable money in order to have local royalty income without paying the hefty tax to bring the cash home first.

Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water


Ridiculous lack of consideration of physics & real fires

As many comments have already pointed out, the timber is already at ignition temperature.

Wood is a great insulator which also means it's hard to remove stored heat from wood.

Our worst fires happen when there have been days of hot weather 100F to 120F - there is already a scary fuel-air mix of vaporised eucalyptus oil over the trees. The really nasty wildfire days also combine those kind of temperatures and dry fuel with hot, dry winds of 20 to 60km/h which blow flamefronts terrifyingly fast. This is how people die when their trucks run out of water or the self-soaking safety mechanisms fail.

Once a hardwood tree has been burning for a while, it can take days to put it out.

I grew up in the South-West of Western Australia, have fought several fires and also worked for years with a senior volunteer firefighter with many war stories.

Wanna attend Apple's June developers' shindig? Ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?'


Sellout much faster

No, it was 2012 when they sold in under two hours.

In 2013 they sold in under two MINUTES


Microsoft's JavaScript challenger nears 1.0, wins Visual Studio love

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Re: So...

Webstorm is the dedicated Web editor version of Intellij (which can add Typescript via plugins).


"One of the new features in WebStorm 7 that cannot go unmentioned is access to TypeScript community stubs. They provide TypeScript definitions for a wide range of JavaScript libraries and help code completion


WebStorm provides powerful refactorings for TypeScript code


Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?


Add a bit of shine and open it up to devs

Take a lesson from Apple.

Release a new Wii with minor graphics improvements so it can do HDMI and open it up to developers. Get rid of all the gating that is in the way of indie devs and make it easy to port games across, starting with sponsoring a cocos2d-x kit so all the iPad games written to that can be easily ported.

I'm pretty sure theres also a Unity version already available for the Wii for 3D games but if not, make sure it's ported over already.

Australia's Silicon Beach is a wipeout


Lack of Aussie protectionism

From my local reading (I'm in Western Australia which often feels like yet another country) and occasional discussions, I'm pretty sure that we do NOT have a protectionist policy. One of the frustrations often voiced by people trying to sell local major IT products to government is that there's a distinct preference for US products over local, regardless of quality.

In the field of contracts to supply services, most are structured in such a way that only the multinational consultancies are able to tender.

MVNO misery will be pain for Oz mobile users as well


Bizarrely and lazily inaccurate

You took the time to write all those words and not bother looking up a few plans on the provider sites?

I am not doing your job for you beyond pointing out Telstra have been charging $10 for a 1GB data allowance as an add-on to a mobile plan for at least the last couple of years.

The following page shows a price for less coupled plans of $15 for 1GB



$10 for 1GB


$15 for 1GB

Couchbase relaxes NoSQL derrière into mobile seats


Conveniently forgetting LevelDB on iOS since 2011

Couch seem to be conveniently skipping over the fact that LevelDB has been available on iOS since 2011. It's a robust sorted key-value store which scales nicely and quite happily stores JSON data as values.

I've been giving it an intensive workout as part of the book I've been writing for Packt - "Getting Started with LevelDB", which uses OS/X and iOS examples. I started getting into LevelDB two years ago as a replacement for an ISAM backend. It offers the same dramatic performance but with more flexibility of content.

Apple’s iOS 64-bit iUpgrade: Don't expect a 2x performance leap


64bit misunderstandings and priapisms

"you need twice as much memory to store the same amount of information."


You need twice as much memory to store the same amount of integers if they are a type which becomes 64bit.

You don't find images or text or most data structures doubling in size.

Also, the big deal about having 64bit pointers is NOT about the physical RAM you can address but about the size of your virtual address space. That makes it a lot easier to write code processing images larger than 3GB, for example. Even having a 64bit OS increases the size of address space for 32bit applications. I'm not sure how OS/X does it but on Windows a 32bit app under 64bit Windows has a full 4GB address space instead of its normal 2GB (or 3GB with special OS setting) on 32bit Windows.

They WANT to EAT YOUR COMPUTER - welcome your ANT overlords

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Re: Solution???

"cross between a Jack Russell and a Tiger Tank..." Based on that description alone, I want one.

Can they live on anything other than these ants or do I have to import a colony too?

(Australian joke alert - we have a distinct wariness of importing species after a little thing called the Cane Toad was brought in to combat an annoying beetle).

Which petite model likes a fondle and GETTING WET? Sony's Xperia ZR

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Re: Why aren't all phone water ressistant?

Having just walked around Kuala Lumpur for a monsoonal week, I would have appreciated my iPhone being water resistant. I was nervous just about having it in my pocket of my increasingly damp shorts.

Being a skinny is much more unhealthy than being fat – new study


Re: I wouldn't have guessed

BMI is only valid for sedentary people, ie: people with no muscle mass beyond that acquired in an office lifestyle with no external exercise. Unfortunately in the UK it's been given way too much prominence in welfare and medicine.

The underweight stuff is also bollocks for people of different ethnic backgrounds.

My brother used to cycle about 250miles/week. He told me of walking into a doctor's office and have the doctor, without looking at him, start the conversation with "well, we'll have to do something about your weight", looked up at my skinny, short brother, looked down at report, drew a line through it....

Steve Jobs gets posthumous Grammy AND a bronze statue


Graphisoft are genuine

I worked to develop a building information system for a company using ArchiCAD, in the early nineties. At that time, the story of how much encouragement they had received was well known amongst ArchiCAD users. When they started, they were literally working out CAD software on paper and having it compiled outside the country.

I suspect you have to have worked closely with people from former communist countries, as I have, to understand how much this kind of support meant to them. I have no doubts that their sentiments are genuine.

If the statue had been erected in the USA, I'd be cheering on your sentiment but your cynicism is misplaced.

Angry Birds maker now aims at Asian IPO


Hong Kong - home of Angry Birds Merch mania

That seems very appropriate, certainly there's enough Angry Birds merch being flogged in the streets of Hong Kong, as I saw recently.

I'm sure that it is all as legitimate as the Angry Birds gameplay is deep and the Rovio guys will be right at home.

Mine's the one with the Gucci label on backwards and the red bird soft toy in the top pocket.

Apple requires Mac App Store candidates to be sandboxed


Getting out of the sandbox is the trick

Apple aren't relying on devs to implement sandbox protection. The changes needed are for apps to continue to work once the sandbox is in place.

In particular, for apps that need to do things like opening files - there is one protected way to put up a file selection dialog for a sandboxed app and if your app doesn't use that it will not work.

Hands on with the Windows 8 fondleslab

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Fitaly FTW

Fond memories of Fitaly on my many Palm models. A truly excellent piece of research translated into software and I loved the way it was available across most apps.

From my research into gestural interfaces, stylus-based interfaces are still very popular in Asian countries where the local language requires more precision than can be achieved with a finger. Having the choice would be fabulous on my iPhone and iPad for precision work even now.

Having said that, for a lot of sketching work, remarkably good UI refinements in smart alignment can go a long way to compensate - Nick Nallick did a great job with the usability of Intaglio Sketchpad. I wouldn't have believed a vector drawing app could be usable just on an iPhone until I tried it.

Neurogaming set to be launched by Disney


Forget waterboarding

Wonder how long it will be before the military version comes out. "It's not torture, Senator, it's a virtual environment."

The real reason most source is closed? Open is hard

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Abandoning (freed) code is easy, nurturing aint

Yes it is easy to throw some code up on one of the big sites and abandon it. It's like putting your old furniture out on the verge for a special rubbish collection - some people will fossick through it and get things they can recycle.

Putting code out to build and nurture a community is harder in open source than it is within many organisations because open source communities typically demand a messy open management style.

I've disagreed with a lot of this author's articles but this one makes a lot of sense.

BTW I've developed a lot of code in many oranisations in nearly 30 years of programming, including contributing to mid-size open source projects and releasing much of my own work as such. Even products which people were willing to pay for can fail to attract contributors and regular use.

There's also the "invisible success" phenomenon where you release something, people pick it up and use it but never become "community members". That happened to me with my XML layer expatpp - I didn't know Steam used it until I saw my name in a book and Dr Dobbs article! (Hey Valve, if you're listening, a free account would be something I could finally impress my teenage son with!).

Microsoft warns on support scams


Keeping them on the phone doesn't work

I was working at my mothers' farm one day when one of these regular callers rang and as I was working on something fairly undemanding, decided to spin them out and see what they did.

Their spiel is scarily convincing for anyone non-technical - they wallk people through a number of commands including showing actual error events in the event viewer that don't take much spin to sound scary.

I stopped it short of clicking on the web page link that was their GotoMyPC, and was doing that in a more secure environment than a PC browser.

Wasting their time for over an hour and telling them I just wanted to see their URL so I could report them didn't do anything to prevent the sods from continuing to call her.

Mentioning the word criminal fraud does make them hang up very quickly though ;-)

This is in the South-west of Western Australia and I suspect they are targeting a lot of the older residents in that area.

The New C++: Lay down your guns, knives, and clubs


new projects in C++, yup!

I just reviewed the options for coding a cross-platform GUI desktop app for OS/X and Windows with nine different programmers and the most common recommendation was C++ for core logic with native UI in Objective-C/Cocoa and C#/WPF.

Is Microsoft's Javascript chief killing his .NET creation?



I always thought some of the inspiration had to come from Dave Cutler and the VMS common language environment, fond memories from the 80's...


"OpenVMS itself is implemented in a variety of different languages (primarily BLISS, VAX Macro and C) (per comp.os.vms newsgroup postings from members of HP OpenVMS Engineering), and the common language environment and calling standard supports freely mixing these languages, and Ada, PL/I, Fortran, BASIC, and others. "

RAF Eurofighters make devastating attack – on Parliament


Aussie F18s?

If Australia is presumably adding decent avionics to the F18s we're buying, why can't the Queen just ask nicely for the package? Would make a nice wedding or coronation present for the boy who has everything including military training.

Mine's the one with the cracked-handle from the Charles and Di mug stuck in one corner of the pocket.

Sensis plans digital come back


Fixing a crap experience would help

They still seem to be in denial about the possibility that their massive fall in popularity was driven by a very poor online search experience. Yellowpages.com.au was the search of last resort.

Say it with pictures

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Go Go Graphviz

I'm a long-standing Graphviz fan. I'm also enjoying using Instaviz on iPad which is a pretty good finger interface to create Graphviz diagrams.

Glad to hear diagramming software getting a good going over.

Is Visio stable nowadays? My past experiences using it to create complex diagrams have been very underwhelming.


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