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10 jul 2018 14:10:41 -0700

i don’t remember the opening day of the app store as well as i remember the july 4th before as i was frantically finishing up netnewswire 1.0 for iphone — so i could get it submitted in time.as peop...




inessential: twelve-bar blues

without the twelve-bar blues progression there would have been no rock-n-roll. without rock — the music of rebellion and of fun — every decade from the 1950s on would have been very different.on the theory that knowing something about how music works helps your appreciation — after all, musicians themselves understand music, and this enhances and does not dim their love — i figured i’d explain twelve-bar blues to people who don’t know about it.three groups of fourthere are many variations, but the basic progression looks like the below. we’ll use the key of c to illustrate. each note here represents a chord played for four beats.c c c cf f c cg f c cinstead of specifying the key, you could use roman numerals. the root chord ...




inessential: uncle whisky

when i was a kid we spent more time with my mom’s family than with my dad’s, but we still spent lots of holidays with my dad’s family.my dad is the oldest of four siblings. the youngest, his brother, is only 10 years older than me. i remember my uncle and his sisters when they were teenagers.the thing about the family was that everyone was constantly joking and laughing. i loved this.i wanted to join in, so i did, from an early age. and sometimes i even got laughs! but most of the time i didn’t.one day my uncle — who must have been about 20 then — gave me some advice about it. he said, “hey, you don’t have to say everything you think of. just the ones that are actually funny.”okay, i thought, so now it wasn’t enough to b...




15 jun 2018 14:38:19 -0700

om malik on blogging:they are incomplete and by nature more mysterious, more episodic, and thus more interesting. blogs are meant not to leave you with everything. the whole idea is to think to deliberate, and to come back again and again, to finish what was started a long time ago. but there is no end, just a pause, for a voice to start, talking again.i love that.i never became the hemingway or fitzgerald type of writer that i wan...




on not doing prepared talks any more

some time last year i decided to retire from doing prepared talks at conferences.i’ve been doing them for 15 years, and i’ve enjoyed some of them. eventually i started playing with the form, and that was kind of fun.the best talks i ever did usually had some story-telling parts, and those turned out to be the parts that people liked most. the only problem with that is that my stories usually didn’t have anything to do with the conference. i just like telling stories. stories about raccoons and squirrels. :)preparing a talk is a lot of work, and my standards for my talks kept goin...




inessential: fascism these days

i can write just about anything i want to on my blog for the simple reason that it doesn’t matter.times change. fascists learn. there’s no pressing need to cut off any websites.* * *fascists don’t leave so many fingerprints these days.example: there’s no actual agreement anywhere that makes twitter a de facto arm of the trump executive branch and all its unofficial partners — but it is.twitter bans the people who report abuse and it retains the nazis and russians. it amplifies the distractions and fills the pipe with lies and outrage. (and gives us special emoji as rewards.)the truth can’t be found in the ever-thickening fog.though twitter has been used for good, i’m more and more convinced that giving it anything just feeds i...




inessential: the easy target

the united states of america was the easy-to-choose target for the fascists.it was the richest and most powerful country in the history of countries. how could any fascist not want to take it over?it was the work of several decades.they built up a giant military/industrial partnership — mixing government and unaccountable corporations with secrets — with almost no resistance.sure, they faced some setbacks from time to time: the end of apartheid in former slave states, for instance. but they fought back by privatizing the prisons, instituting mass incarceration, and militarizing the police force — and ensuring that it remained a tool of white supremacy.they stoked fear of communism, as if adding just a penny of tax meant imminent soviet...




inessential: what i actually do

now that i’ve switched over to marketing, people — co-workers, even! — keep asking me what i actually do all day.fair question. since i’ll probably get asked the same thing in san jose next week, i figured i’d write it up.the teamour team could be a small software company on its own — we have engineers, testers, designers, and a person who makes movies. everything i do is part of working with that team.if you think i’m being paid to be a blogger and podcaster, you’re not too far off the mark, but that description misses some things.i’ve traded in xcode for bbedit and marked, since most of what i do is writing. i write for the blog and for the podcast, of course, and also lately i’ve written:inside omnifocus blog postsapp...




running ios apps on macs

i’ve heard more than once that at wwdc we’ll learn about how we can run ios apps on macs.i’m worried, of course, that this will lead to the further degradation of the mac ui, and even less incentive for developers to write mac apps.i’m agin’ it. b...




running ios apps on macs

i’ve heard more than once that at wwdc we’ll learn about how we can run ios apps on macs.i’m worried, of course, that this will lead to the further degradation of the mac ui, and even less incentive for developers to w...




inessential: delta blues

lately i’ve been trying to learn to play delta blues. i’m not ever going to play like robert johnson — nobody ever will — but i’d like to learn it as well as i can. well enough so that, if you like the blues, and you heard me at a coffee shop, you’d enjoy it.(not that i’m going to start playing at coffee shops.)i’ve been playing guitar for 38 years, and i’ve known the 12-bar blues progression and the blues scale for almost as long. but i always figured that learning to play like this would be way beyond my abilities.* * *the first thing to notice is that, in the hands of someone like robert johnson, it sounds like two guitars playing.roughly speaking: the thumb is doing a regular shuffle beat, often with two strings, while...




inessential: the developers union

some of the press coverage about the developers union uses words like “angry” and “fed up.” these aren’t accurate characterizations at all. nobody’s mad here!but here‘s the deal: apple controls the app store and its economics. the system could be set up better to support high-quality apps, by indies, that last for years.apple doesn’t have to, of course. but we can ask! it’s totally okay to ask, so we are.we think that an important first step would be a standardized, app-store-supported way of offering free trials. (and where, once purchased, family sharing works.)trial versions have worked great for years for indie mac developers, before the app store, and we think it would benefit indies on the ios and mac app stores.and t...




02 may 2018 14:12:08 -0700

omnifocus 3.0 for ios ships in four weeks.as marketing ...




making apps is harder than it needs to be

with the recent talk about electron and “marzipan” — or maybe amber or something, according to mark gurman — i’m reminded of a thing i think about kind of often: that making ios and macos apps is way harder than it needs to be.for most apps (except games, i suppose), a huge percentage of the code might as well be written in a scripting language. we absolutely do not need to be writing everything in swift, objective-c, c++, or c.“but brent,” you say, “what about performance?”consider the case where you set up an animation and then run the animation. the system does that animation. or consider core data — your choice of language doesn’t affect how fast it can read from sqlite. or think of networking — it’s bound by ...




inessential: godot.framework

i wouldn’t wait for “marzipan” or xkit or whatever it is.we don’t know what it is. but my guess — based on my 38 years of writing code for apple computers — is that it’s something you can use along with uikit and appkit, and not a wholesale replacement.maybe it’s a declarative api that helps make some things easier, and maybe you can make a cross-platform button more easily. maybe your table view code could be the same on ios and macos. great!but don’t expect macs to turn into large ipads all of a sudden. macs are gonna mac. apps are going to have multiple resizable windows and a menubar. targets will still be sized and designed for mice and trackpads.in other words, if you want to write a mac app, you’re still going to...




30 apr 2018 10:42:52 -0700

check out automation orchard, a new site by rosemary orchard that is the “place to find resources to help you automate...




inessential: evergreen/frontier status: odb work

for the past few days i’ve been working on adding frontier-like object database (odb) support to my database framework.it’s not finished yet — it doesn’t even build.what it is (or, what it will be)it’s hierarchical key-value storage. no schemas. tables can contain tables, with no limit.this implementation is the lowest level: the part that gets, sets, and deletes data from the database.it’s application-agnostic, at this level — it doesn’t know about all of frontier’s data types, for instance. a level on top of this will be needed for new-frontier.sqlite, my favorite hammeri’m not actually writing a new database — i’m using sqlite. and that’s because i’ve been using sqlite for 15 years, and i love it and know it we...




you’re practically a mac developer

say you write an ios app, and now you want to write the mac version.assuming there’s a data model, maybe a database, some networking code, that kind of thing, then you can use that exact same code in your mac app, quite likely without any changes whatsoever.that leaves the 20% or whatever that’s user interface. appkit is not the same as uikit, but it’s recognizable. same patterns and concepts, and often similar names (uitableview/nstableview).given that you’ve done the hard thing — learning uikit, xcode, and swift and/or objective-c — taking the next step and learning appkit seems like a very small thing. you’ve climbed the mountain already, after all.you might complain that appkit has some weird stuff. true. some of it, thoug...




you’re practically a mac developer

say you write an ios app, and now you want to write the mac version.assuming there’s a data model, maybe a database, some networking code, that kind of thing, then you can use that exact same code in your mac app, quite likely without any changes whatsoever.that leaves the 20% or whatever that’s user interface. appkit is not the same as uikit, but it’s recognizable. same patterns and concepts, and often similar names (uitableview/nstableview).given that you’ve done the hard thing — learning uikit, xcode, and swift and/or objective-c — taking the next step and learning appkit seems like a very small thing. you’ve climbed the mountain already, after all.you might complain that appkit has some weird stuff. true. some of it, thoug...




25 apr 2018 10:24:09 -0700

the latest episode of the omni show is a special episode — we talk about omnifocus 3 and flexible inspectors, enhanced repeating tasks, batch editing, and the interlea...