Thursday, 6 December 2012

if (Self-employed = good) ? Sole Trader First : Private Ltd Company;

Being self-employed is a rollercoaster.

I strapped into the fairground ride as a sole trader about 7 months ago during which time it feels like I nearly spilled out of my seat a couple of times.  There have been times during a quiet period that I wasn't sure if I was being dragged up the slope ready for the next wild ride or genuinely stuck at low-point.

When I first went self-employed I looked into the options (e.g. Ltd. LLP) and decided on sole-trading because there is little reporting and easy accounting.  One of the biggest drawbacks for me was that I wouldn't own a company, be a Director or have a cool name to trade under - pure ego strokes.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Quartz Composer Image Composition

I have used Quartz Composer to display messages from for example Twitter.  The raw data I am displaying includes the author's profile image, author's name, message content and the destination of any URL within that message.  I feed that data from a Mac OSX application written in Objective-C as a number of arrays.  This post explains how to take these constituent parts and arrange them within a single image that can then be easily manipulated.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Objective C Singletons

I was writing my first app in Objective C using Apple's wonderous XCode IDE.  I had two view controllers launched from the nib to control a couple of views.  I needed to send data from one controller to another and had real difficulty.  The problem was that I couldn't use accessors to pass data, as I would prefer, because the viewcontroller objects weren't aware of each other.  After much reading, googling and 'youtube tutorialing' I settled on using a 'Singleton' object.  This great youtube tutorial by barrowclough was particularly helpful.

A Singleton is a custom class you create that can be accessed by any other objects.  It is declared in such a way that different objects instantiate this class they all end up with the same object. This means that the variables/attributes/properties of the Singleton can be get/set by any of those objects.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Social media rss feeds

This post lays out how to access rss feeds of a number of social media sites.  I got the initial information from Digital Inspiration's post and some playing around myself.  The sites sometimes change the URLs so please let me know if any break so I can update this post.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

XCode: Renaming classes, variables, methods, files

More often than not I give my classes stupid names or use unconventional capitalisation when writing code.  I have painfully crawled through code changing names by hand before but not only is that time-consuming it's very error prone.  XCode has a facility to quickly fix bad names without breaking your build.  It's called refactoring.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Rotating video clips

It's very easy to forget the orientation of your phone when recording videos leading to clips you have to watch with your head cocked to one side or holding your screen at 90 degrees.  Like this example:

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Animata First Test

I have been looking into interaction of crowds with video and have just discovered real-time animation.  Animata is "an open source real-time animation software, designed to create animations, interactive background projections for concerts, theatre and dance performances".  I followed the first tutorial and found it very straight forward - here's the result:

Friday, 3 August 2012

More learning Cocoa

I've gone back to learning Cocoa properly so I can really get into the deeper functions I'll need to write something from scratch rather than wrap around a Quartz Composer composition.

I've found a really great book that explains Cocoa very thoroughly - and highly recommended if you know a bit of C and OO programming already like what I pretend to do.

Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

XCode Text and QC Visualizer

OK, hold the horses.  OpenGL may be a bit of a sledgehammer for this scrolling text nut.  I may have jumped too far out going straight for openGL.  I have no immediate need of 3D graphics.  Once again my enthusiasm to get going meant I didn't necessarily consider all possible solutions and select the best one.  If systems engineering has taught me anything it should be to consider the requirements and many possible solutions before jumping down (often) the wrong leg of the solution trousers.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Scrolling Text

I've been able to create some pretty cool stuff using Xcode and embedding Quartz Composer compositions within views.  Embedding QC on Xcode allows a standalone application to be created and parameters to be changed through a nice GUI.  I used such an application to drive a large billboard with scrolling text at an event in London recently.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Learning Xcode for OSX

My journey into Xcode for OSX continues...

I've been going through a load of online tutorials for Xcode.  Most of them are aimed at iOS developers which have some applicability to me however there are some excellent OSX specific tutorials out there.  I found youtube tutorials particularly useful.  My favourites in the order I wished I'd found them were:

These were really good but I ended up buying some books - sometimes you can't beat the old fashioned media.  The three books I bought all proved really useful to work through some examples and to be an easy reference:

Note: above images link to Amazon and as an affiliate any purchases via these links earn me a little money

The first book is a great dip in and out reference, the second a great learn-by-doing tutorial introducing some pretty advanced topics like testing and 'pimp my UI'!  The 4th takes a learn-by-doing journey but starts with an iOS app development which is then ported over to Mac OSX to cover some specific topics.  This latter book is perhaps more than I need but a great approach to teaching the core topics used when developing iOS or OSX apps.  I prefer the books comprehensively cover set of topics to a certain level to allow the reader to develop the required skills in a carefully designed learning curriculum.  Concepts and practice combine to build up a solid springboard to the skills required to get on with your app development.  The youtube videos are great and thanks to the creators but they lack the comprehensive coverage of topics given by the edited and honed paper-based publications.

You are not just paying for a hard copy you are paying for a whole team designing a great approach to learning these skills.

All good books that I recommend if you're getting into Xcode/Apple App development and don't have the time to wade through lots of online tutorials.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Xcode and Quartz Composer

I'm trying to figure out how to develop applications for Mac OSX.  To start with I found Xcode which is available free from the App Store and allows you to develop applications for Mac, iPhone or iPad.

Apple Developer has a Xcode page that gives an overview and links to the App Store.
There is a good youTube video that shows you how to download Xcode from the App Store and create you first app for OSX.

I'm chiefly thinking about graphics and animation related applications and I was pointed towards Quartz Composer part of the Xcode environment the allows visual programming using connected blocks.  Apple Developer has a graphics and animation page.  I have a feeling Quartz 2D or its functions available through Xcode would be enough I decided to go with Quarz Composer (QC) because it offers more options w/r/t interactivity/dynamism for the end user; this is just a gut feel at the moment and besides QC is much more intuitive for me.  For a great introduction this youTube video teaches you how to create something with Quartz Composer.  

To access QC I had to sign up as an apple developer and download some extension to Xcode - this is all free...

Monday, 28 May 2012

First steps into IoT

I've been looking into a few personal tech projects with renewed vigour recently and what I have found is genuinely exciting.  It feels like we are on the verge of a major technological revolution.  I'm so excited that I'm going to write about it.