On Deep work: Rules for focused success in distracted world by Cal Newport

March 12, 2016
Author presents concept of deep work (state of flow). Long stretches of highly consecrated, focused work on cognitively demanding task. Ability to deploy all of ones mental capacity fully. It is deep work that accounts for considerable portion of value in knowledge economy. He then goes on to make excellent case for how contemporary workplace culture actively discourages deep work. Open plan offices, expectation of instant email replies, always on chat clients, social media, frequent meetings, constant noise and chatter. Our brains are conditioned to be distracted. Quick reply to email chain. Snarky tweet, post photo on Facebook, overhearing colleagues discussing a topic and joining in. We are addicted to consumption of small disruptive bites of information or to acting on small meaningless tasks and to the false sense of accomplishment that doing so provides. We end up with decision fatigue, cognitive overload, paying high price of context (more…)
#Blog posts, #Book club, #Improvements, #Productivity, #Science

Year of improvements

For few months now I have been focusing on getting better at variety of things. Overarching goal is to be more effective and productive in professional and personal life. Ultimate goal though is to develop and launch at least 1 product a year. One with relatively realistic chance of eventually generating at least half of my income. All the while still having full time job. It was obvious to me if I was going to pull that of I had to become more effective, disciplined and productive. I though I would start by reading a few books on productivity and business. I was shocked to realise that somehow I have managed to read 3.22 books a week. Mixture of audio(2/3) and written(1/3) books. Total of 29 books on variety of topics since January the 1st. Ashamed to admit that probably I haven’t read that many books in last 3 years combined. I ended (more…)
#Blog posts, #Improvements, #Productivity

SnowGlobe.framework iOS Xmas easter egg, shake iPhone to make it snow

November 11, 2015
I don’t see anything wrong with falling for spirit of the holiday season and getting bit cheesy. Last year I wrote SnowGlobe.framework. Its easy to use, open source iOS framework written in Swift. Now updated for swift 2.0 and added Jingle bells sound effect. It allows you to add delightful / cheesy Christmas easter egg to your awesome app for holiday season. When user shakes the device, your app “turns into a snow globe”. Leveraging CAEmitterLayer to create snow fall, snow globe like animation while device is shaken. I am a sucker for that kinda of thing ☺️. You can get it at github here. Or using CocoaPods (“SnowGlobe”) Read about how to integrate it in original post here. Watch how it works in few of my apps below You can now see in action in Memory game. Sadly both of these apps are still in review 😡. So you can’t see it in (more…)
#Blog posts, #Coding, #iOS Development, #Swift

Push / Pop modal SFSafariViewController (Hacking swipe from edge gesture)

October 11, 2015
In iOS 9 Apple introduced SFSafariViewController. In a nutshell it pretty much runs full Safari in your app. This is great as user gets all Keychain passwords, Safari extensions access, cookies, session data, etc. All of that done securely as the SFSafariViewController spins up a separate process, so that the app does not have access to SFSafariViewController’s content (More info here). That’s all great, however there is problem. Result of pushing SFSafariViewController in UINavigationsController is loss of default bar behaviour, which looks pretty bad. So really, only option is to present it modally. This has is own drawbacks. Apple has made unfortunate choice of placing the done button to top right corner. This makes it very difficult to dismiss when using the phone one handed. Although, I don’t really think positioning it anywhere else would solve the problem. Now standard swipe from the edge of the screen gesture really is the (more…)
#Blog posts, #Coding, #iOS Development, #Swift

Add iOS 9’s Quick Actions shortcut support in 15 minutes right now !

September 14, 2015
Apple introduced 3D touch (/force touch for iOS) functionality in iOS 9. API is divided into 3 parts. Quick actions, Peek and Pop, Pressure Sensitivity. This functionality will be available in iOS 9 at launch. Meaning you can already submit apps with support for it right now. I will only delve into Quick Action support which is most straight forward and no brainer. With a bit of luck it can all be done in 15 min. Let me however start by disclaimer, that at the time of writing of this article I have no way of testing any sample code as neither simulator in Xcode 7 nor 7.1 beta support 3D touch simulation and iPhone 6s is still over a week away. I will update this post as soon as I’m able to actually test it. If you’d like to hear about update, you can follow me here @stringCode. Without further (more…)
#Blog posts, #Coding, #iOS Development, #Swift

Adding your blog to iOS9 News.App

September 4, 2015
Apple will introduce new News.App in upcoming iOS9 release. News app is basically locked down, cleaned up RSS reader. It is to be sort of replacement for deprecated News Stand app. Some say it is response to Facebook’s native news articles. Is News.App going gain more traction then News Stand did ? Is it horrible for open web and publishers ? I don’t know, but I think it would be cool to get my little blog on it. It turns out to be surprisingly easy. Simply login to icloud.com/#newspublisher. Provide some simple info and logo image. Logo has to have height of 256 px and width up to recommend 2048 px or maximum 2560 px (hmm, wonder what would be the resolution of theoretical bigger iPad). Then wait for approval process. In my case it was about 2 weeks. If my very modest blog can make it on there, then any blog (more…)
#Blog posts, #Reviews, #Technology