The Railroad: January 2017 Update

January 15, 2017

Time off from work or school has long brought with it the promise and the pressure of making something cool – making progress with my projects. More often than not these breaks have yielded somewhat disappointing results in terms of productivity, and so exceptions like this past winter break stand out brightly.

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The Railroad: Planning

August 11, 2016

We moved last summer, and with that move came an opportunity to build a new layout in a new space. I built three layouts at the old house (none of them got past track-on-plywood benchwork). The space in the new house is 32 feet long by 13 1/2 feet wide – wonderfully large, but it proved to be quite a challenge to design for. I think that smaller rooms have fewer options, especially with a larger scale like O. With a large (for me) room like this, the possibilities multiply.

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The Next Chapter

September 2, 2015

I’ve just begun work at Ritual Development Group, Inc.. Ritual is a product-oriented software company. I’m serving as the CTO and will share more about what we’re building as time goes on. For now, suffice it to say that this is a huge step for me; It is the realization of a dream I’ve had for quite some time.

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A Quick Fix for Fuzzy SKShapeNode Lines

February 16, 2015

I’ve been using Apple’s SpriteKit for the train game. It’s gone fairly well, except there have been a few unpleasant surprises with SKShapeNode, which strokes/fills a bezier path. The internet is filled with folks complaining about buggy behavior from it and I’ve definitely had more than a few moments where I daydreamed about dusting off my OpenGL chops.

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iBeacon At The Arcade

February 18, 2014

A few years ago I got involved in pinball software development in a pretty big way. It’s faded over the past year, but it’s still one of my favorite cranial playgrounds for software ideas. I continue to be passively obsessed with contemplating new ways of writing pinball software (“Could you write good pinball software in Lua? What about Haskell? How would that look?”). Mercifully for my family they remain mental exercises.

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Another Octopress Blog

September 9, 2012

I made the transition from WordPress to Octopress. I’d been a WordPress user since sometime in 2003, when I started my 1128 blog. WordPress was incredible: the installation was remarkably painless and the features (admin interface, layouts, etc.) were top notch as well. Over the years WordPress has improved quite a bit, too. But WordPress has also grown somewhat notorious for performance issues (under heavy load, anyway), and there were occasional security problems as well.

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Launch at Login Implementors Support Group

September 6, 2012

I’ve had a number of improvements in the pipeline for SwiftText 1.1.0 for quite some time, and finally submitted it to the Mac App Store tonight. One of the most difficult features to get right was Launch at Login. This was a feature that was in 1.0 and was fairly easy to implement at the time. However, in this brave new world of sandboxed apps, launch at login is a bit of a beast. If you’re thinking about adding it to your application, or perhaps you’re struggling to make it work, perhaps this post will help.

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Xcode Snippets

July 25, 2012

Xcode’s snippets feature is rather handy. It’s what drives many of the autocomplete templates. For instance, if you type init on a new line and hit return, Xcode will create a template for an -init method.

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Briefly on Sparrow et al.

July 21, 2012

Beautifully designed 3rd party apps are part of what makes the Mac platform such a great platform. We can be fairly emotional about our beloved Mac ecosystem. So it’s natural to feel injured when we learn that one such app has suddenly become encased in ice. Matt Gemmell is right, however, when he says:

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A Raindrop for Acorn

January 17, 2012

CloudApp is one of my favorite tools for sharing images quickly, and I also use Acorn quite a bit for quick image editing tasks. I’ve been wanting a quick way to upload a snapshot of what I’ve got in Acorn using CloudApp, so tonight I wrote AcornRaindrop.

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All Too Familiar

September 19, 2011

There was a post on The Guardian’s Technology Blog by Matthew Baxter-Reynolds last week. The piece couches itself as an overview of mobile platforms for the developer looking to get his or her feet wet.

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From Blender to iPhone

February 10, 2011

My first iPhone game, Shufflepuck, was written in the dark ages – before the iPhone SDK was even available – and I modeled the 3D world using the tools I had: basic geometry equations applied to generate all of the vertices programmatically. And it worked! For a good while it was the sexiest table shuffleboard game on the App Store.

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Inheritance and Xcode Data Formatters

January 1, 2011

If you’re using data structures in your Xcode project and you’ve had to do any level of debugging, perhaps you’ve experimented with setting up Xcode Data Formatters. Data formatters determine what appears in the summary column of the debugger’s data outline view.

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Ripe for Domination: The Mac Twitter Client Market

August 17, 2010

I remember my excitement when Tweetie for Mac was released. On the Mac my Twitter client of choice was the website itself. I used Tweetie on the iPhone, but none of the available Mac clients matched my mental model of what a Twitter client should be. Tweetie for iPhone however was a perfect match. So when Tweetie for Mac became available and I saw that it had the same organization and similarly excellent visual treatments as Tweetie for iPhone, I wasted no time in purchasing my license.

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Tip of the Hat

June 28, 2010

I saw (via Kottke) that Steve Carrell says he will be leaving The Office at the conclusion of the seventh season. As someone who was a fan of the original The Office (the British one, you know) and who was dismayed to learn that The Office was coming to NBC (Are there no good, original ideas for shows waiting to be made? Are we so devoid of creativity that we have to adapt every hit BBC show?), and who, after several years, came to have a certain level of respect for the new adaptation The Office, I am happy to read this news. Not that I had reason to suspect otherwise, but I’m glad somebody over here knows how to quit when you’re ahead.

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Fun with Blocks (in Objective-C)

June 28, 2010

I’ve been working on a Mac application recently that’s 10.6-targeted, which has afforded me a multitude of opportunities to use blocks (Apple’s C language extension introduced in Mac OS X 10.6) to get some tricky features written with a level of grace that previously wouldn’t have been possible.

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NSBackgroundStyleRaised Rx

May 12, 2010

I was having quite a bit of trouble getting NSBackgroundStyleRaised to work on my NSView subclass’s label, creating the NSTextField programmatically. I tried fiddling with the background color, I tried disabling my drawRect:. Really hard.

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Introduction to pyprocgame

December 7, 2009

Gerry Stellenberg’s P-ROC became available today and I thought this would be a good time to write about the open source software that’s written to work with it. First, though, I want to talk about what P-ROC is and what makes it so cool.

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Driving a Pinball DMD with an Arduino Microcontroller

December 6, 2009

For quite some time now I’ve been interested in developing my own pinball machine. Obviously this is a massive endeavor. Before I happened across the P-ROC project, over the course of several days in April of 2007 I did some work on driving a pinball dot matrix display (DMD) with an Arduino microcontroller. Here’s what I made; read on for the details of how.

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