App Store Developer Replies


Curtis Herbert, developer of Slopes, on dev replies in the App Store:

Apple gave us indies a great new opportunity yesterday: the ability to break the silence with customers.
[…]
This great power does come with responsibility though. Realtalk: we all feel the need to be “right” often. Especially when it comes to defending work we pour or souls into. I know I do. I want to warn you: the new reply capability is not the place for that. You need to check your “but someone on the internet is wrong!” really hard here. You will not convince people your app’s price is worth it via these replies, and in the mean time everyone checking out your app will see you arguing with customers.
To phrase it another way: these are as much replies to existing customers as they are PR statements to future ones.

Great post from Curtis, detailing how he will use this new feature to directly engage with his customers. Be sure to read it here.

As a consumer, I’ve often found frustration in trying to contact an app developer regarding any issues or feature suggestions for an app. This new functionality in the App Store will resolve a lot of that - especially with dedicated & engaged developers like Curtis.


Typed on ErgoDox Test Board

Night Shift in macOS Sierra 10.12.4


Night Shift is a lot like the third party software F.lux. I’ve been a big fan of F.lux for a while now. Since starting to use it (and Night Shift on iOS) I’ve noticed a significant reduction in eye strain at night.

I’m glad to see Apple bring this feature to macOS, as it’s been present on iOS for some time now. I’m sure I’ll switch over to using it.

[via MacRumors]


Typed on ErgoDox Test Board

Apple's VoiceOver Assistive Technology For The Blind


From David Pogue:

Joe [Danowsky] was born with cone-rod dystrophy. He can see general shapes and colors, but no detail. (Only about 10 or 15 percent of visually impaired people see no light or color at all.) He can’t read a computer screen or printed materials, recognize faces, read street signs or building numbers, or drive. And he certainly can’t see what’s on his phone.

Yet Joe spends his entire day on his iPhone. In fact, he calls it “probably the number one assistive device for people who can’t see,” right up there with “a cane and a seeing eye dog.”

The key to all of this is an iPhone feature called VoiceOver. At its heart, it’s a screen reader—software that makes the phone speak everything you touch.

I’ve known for some time that Apple has great assistive technology for the blind in iPhone. I was vaguely aware of VoiceOver, but always wondered how it was used. To see it in action is pretty incredible. Click through to the article & a video with Joe.

[via Daring Fireball & Yahoo]

Fit Headless Displayport Adapter


If you’re like me, you Remote Desktop into various computers all the time. At work I remote to a Windows 7 PC every day to access our ticketing software, at home I remote into my media server all the time. Both of these machines are ‘headless’ in that they don’t have a monitor connected.

A common issue with headless systems (especially on Macs) is that Remote Desktop won’t function correctly without a monitor connected. The Fit headless adapter solves this problem.

Priced for just $17 on Amazon, this small adapter plugs into a DisplayPort or MiniDisplayPort and functions as a dummy monitor. This is obviously useful not only in making Remote Desktop fully functional, but it also allows a remote computer to drive a higher resolution.

In the box, the FitPC contains the adapter itself, and a DisplayPort to minidisplayport adapter. Some 30 different resolutions are supported - up to 4K. No drivers or installation is required - simply plug the Fit Headless into your remote computer, and you’re finished.

I’ve been aware of these types of adapters for some time. Typically I see them priced from $40 up, so the mere $17 for the Fit Headless is a steal. I’ve been using it for a month or so and am completely satisfied with it. It’s a plug and play adapter that works like it says on the tin.

TL;DR - got a stubborn headless computer? Use this adapter.


Typed on Git2Go

Blog Theme

New Look, More Functionality

Today I’m going live with a new theme for the blog. I’m really excited about the new look, and even more excited about the new functionality that the new theme offers. I loved the old look and feel, but it was time for a facelift. There has also been a lot more I’d like the site to be able to do - the new theme can do it.

‘Theme’ is a misnomer in a lot of ways though - this is more like an entirely new site.

Since its inception 2 years ago, the blog has ran on Jekyll, hosted by Github Pages, running the theme ‘Beautiful Jekyll’. The new blog also runs Jekyll, and is based on ‘Feeling Responsive’ by Phlow. The core technology is the same, but there is a lot more going on under the hood with Feeling Responsive.

Feeling Responsive proved to be an excellent basis for the site. I’ve spent the past month making significant changes to the base Feeling Responsive theme, getting it dialed into something I’m really pleased with. By default, Feeling Responsive is a portfolio site with blog elements. I’ve spent many hours changing that default into a dedicated blog - including changes to the organization structure of the site, and how content is displayed and used. The theme as I have it now is suited to my workflow and how I want to blog.

I really enjoy digging into technical projects, getting down to the nuts and bolts of how something works, so this site refresh has been really enjoyable for me. If it weren’t for Open Source projects like this and services like Github Pages, I probably wouldn’t have a site. I’m thankful that developers are out there to build this stuff for weirdos like me to play with.

The new theme is significantly more sophisticated, with more an entirely new file structure, and significantly more powerful CSS driven by Foundation. The result gives the site many new ways to display content.

Layouts

The blog now has 3 different layouts for content. Posts listed on the main page all use the same formatting, but the page for each post can display content in different ways as needed.

  • Normal Page
    This layout is the default for most posts. It displays content in the same width as on the main page. If the page has a header image, that is displayed in fullsize. Example

  • Fullwidth Page
    This layout is just like it says on the tin - fullwidth. This layout uses more horizontal space on the page, and will be used for posts where I want to give more size and focus for the content, especially pictures. Example

  • Video
    While the first two layouts are just slightly different versions of eachother, the Video layout is something entirely different. The video layout uses a white-on-black colorway and displays a fullwidth video, with a thin column for text. The layout really emphasizes the video content, and looks just killer. Example

Headers

The old blog just displayed content the same way, whether on a post’s dedicated page, or on the main page. The new site has several different ways of playing with headers. If I choose to use a header, on the main page it is displayed a thumbnail, and as a full sized image on the post’s page. Backgrounds and colors can also be added behind the header image if needed.

Header as seen on homepage




Header as seen on post page

Better Typography

The site now uses better looking fonts, and can display it in more powerful ways. For headers, Volkhov is used. For post content, the sans-serif Lato.

Blockquotes

Blockquotes now support citations.

I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next. Steve Jobs

Inline Code Blocks

Rather than being limited to block code, the new site also supports inline code displays like this one.

Footnotes

I’ve long wanted footnotes on the site. With Feeling Responsive as a base, I can now include them. 1

Galleries

Something I’m really excited for (and what was the driving reason for building a new site) is Galleries. On most Jekyll based sites, one is limited to the features offered by Markdown and simple HTML. The new site uses Foundation to do great things, including galleries. I’m super jazzed to use this going forward.

Categories & Metadata

The site now supports categories and tagging. I’m not making use of tagging, but I will be using Categories.

Current categories:

Posts that are assigned to a category also have navigation at the bottom of their pages to other posts in the same category.


Posts now have enhanced metadata. Previously only the date was displayed, now pages can have authors as well. At the moment it’s just me writing for the site, but if I have any guest authors in the future, I will be able to cite & link to them more effectively.

Archive & Teasers

The site now has a dedicated archive of all posts on the site. The archive also includes teasers about each post’s content.

Other Functions

The Feeling Responsive theme also has a ton of other great functionality for displaying content. In preparing this new site, I needed to convert all the old posts for use with the new site. There is so much untapped functionality here. The existing posts use some of it, but I’m really excited to make use of as many of these new features as I can with future posts on the site.

  1. Made you look.