Category Archives: General

Web site enhancements

Retina display

Retina display image from Apple

Just a note that I’ve been aware for a while that my site was not Retina display savvy, but now I’ve switched my trusty Mid-2011 iMac to a Retina MacBook Pro I’m very aware!

There should be changes on the way to spruce things up – when it’s done you’ll notice I’m sure.   😉

Compatibility with iOS 11

I know, I know, we’re all still on iOS 10 (even us developers), but it’s very likely that Apple will drop support for 32-bit apps in the next release of iOS.

64 Bit Apps Only

I’m happy to say that all my apps have been 64-bit ready since around 2014 so rest assured that all your Black Tablet apps will carry on working with iOS 11 (as far as I’m aware!).

If you have only a 32-bit device then all your apps will continue working but you may not be able to update some of them any more and it’s very likely that you will not be able to update to iOS 11.

Time will tell.

Further iOS 10 updates

I’m currently updating and enhancing Identicode and will be working through Dicewords and Pink Plaques too to ensure full compatibility with iOS 10.

Watch this space for further updates.

50 years of Thunderbirds and more

The Tracy family and each of their Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds

Who would have believed it!?

Thunderbirds, one of my favourite TV programmes ever from my childhood (and I still love it today) is having another three episodes made – with puppets, the same voices, in the same building as the original series, and clearly with the same love and care. Wonderful – and I can’t wait for them to be shown!

Not only that, but I recently came across the Operation Megaventures web site devoted to the TV Century21 comics that I read as a kid and which inspired me to create my Identicode app. These comics aren’t only about Thunderbirds, but cover pretty much all of Gerry Anderson’s creations and are great fun to read and of course contain lots of red/blue coded messages for you to decode with Identicode. The comics are not that easy to find today though individual issues are certainly available on eBay.

Preparing for iOS 9

I’m checking that all my apps will work fine with iOS 9 which is expected to be released in September.

All apps have had small tweaks, a few enhancements and even a new feature or two! Mostly though I’m happy to say that everything pretty much carried on fine without the need to do anything – I must be doing something right! 🙂

I’ll post again when they’re ready to release.

Apps are looking good for iOS9

I’m now running iOS 9 and all my apps are looking good except for Identicode which looks as though it was designed for a 3.5″ screen! It will be sorted before iOS 9 is released, have no fear.

I will be incorporating a few of Apple’s new features into some of the apps where it seems right.

Decisions on coding my next app

Geek Alert!

My next app will need a sophisticated database. I had planned to use Apple’s Core Data framework which seemed perfect for the job, but since then I’ve learned that there’s a relatively new kid on the block, namely Realm.

Core Data’s competence is not in question, but I’ve read a fair bit on it and many comments around the net and one thing that people seem to agree on is that it’s not straightforward to implement.

Realm, on the other hand, is very simple to implement, building, as it does, on the structure of the main code in a fairly straightforward manner. For example, a Swift code fragment using Realm might look as follows:

// Create a Person object

let author = Person()

author.name = “David Foster Wallace”

// Get the default Realm

let realm = Realm()

// You only need to do this once (per thread)

// Add to the Realm inside a transaction

realm.write {

realm.add(author)

}

I don’t have the comparable Core Data code, but trust me when I say it would be a lot more complex. The Realm code is simple to understand, if you understand this sort of thing!

However, my app needs a lot more than just a database to make it all work so I’d better get on with that first. This new app will be my first app written using Swift, Apple’s brand new programming language and I’m really excited by that. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

All apps are now compatible with iOS8

All the recent updates to Black Tablet apps have now been approved by Apple and all run just fine on the shiny new iOS8.

Dicewords will run on iOS 6 and upwards, but the others require iOS7 as a minimum.

Something quirky

A sequence of events recently prompted me to code up a quirky SciFi but retro inspired app. It’s just about done and I plan sending it to Apple no later than Friday. More will be revealed when it’s on the App Store.

In my continuing tradition, it’s nothing like any of my other apps …

🙂

Hypercard’s morphed child

Years ago, I helped start the Brighton LETS (Bright Exchange) along with four others and needed some software to run it. The only available software to run a LETS which everyone used across the country (and perhaps further afield) was written for DOS and was vile. I was unemployed at the time and thought maybe I could try something with Hypercard. I wrote a system to track everyone’s membership, keep their balances and handle their payments and it printed the monthly directory to be sent to all members just using Hypercard on a Macintosh IIci. Word got out and I was getting calls from Australia, Germany, France and the UK who wanted it. I sent it out to people free of charge asking for a donation but of course I soon realised that Hypercard was really not good to give out to others for storing data as if they had a problem I couldn’t give them an update as the code and their data were all in the same Hypercard document

Hypercard home

Recently RunRev in Scotland have made their take on Hypercard Open Source and freely available and it’s called LiveCode. It’s added loads of complexity to Hypercard’s original simplicity – it creates Windows, iOS and Android apps for starters – but then we’re in a different world from 1987. I’m trying it out at the moment but it’s something that may be of use to you – and it runs on Windows and Linux too.

Maybe this is the 21st Century equivalent of “Programming for the rest of us”. 🙂 Why not give it a whirl?