Archive for August 21, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New iTunes Affiliate Program


We’re introducing a new affiliate platform partner, PHG, which will support the Affiliate Program’s expansion to more countries and provide improved reporting tools. If you are currently participating in the Affiliate Program in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, you will now be supported by this new platform. To continue earning commissions without interruption, set up a new affiliate account and update all existing links by October 1, 2013. Join now or learn more.

David Smith:

Overall I think this is a massive improvement from the LinkShare system.

I never liked the LinkShare URLs, and I’m not really a fan of the iTunes ones, either. So I’ve been using an Apache .htaccess file to create friendlier links. For example:

RedirectPermanent /store/mac-app-store/eaglefiler

This redirects through LinkShare to the Mac App Store. Fortunately, this means that there’s a central place to update all the links. I also use this approach to create true permalinks in my apps for certain sites that often break their page URLs.


Tomer Shiri’s NanoProfiler let’s you “measure a function’s runtime without adding a single line of code to the original function” (via ManiacDev). It’s implemented using TheWrapper, his library that uses the Objective-C runtime to add pre-run and post-run blocks to a method. I like the idea, though his method of calling the original IMP does not seem correct for methods with different types of arguments and return values. At the moment, I can’t think of a fully reliable way to do that, though.

Long-Term Web Hosting


In his “Suicide Preface,” Manley wrote that he has prepaid Yahoo to host both his sites — “Martin Manley: My Life and Death” and “Sports In Review” — for the next five years, the longest amount of time for which he was allowed to pay in advance. He added, “Whether it gets extended beyond that is up to others.”

After his death, Yahoo took down the sites, citing a clause in the terms of service where the user agrees not to:

a. upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable;…

Leaving aside the controversial topic of suicide, a Slashdot commenter notes that:

The Yahoo terms of service clearly state that their hosting contracts are non-transferable and end upon death. With the contract ends Yahoo’s obligation to keep publishing the content.

It’s worth checking your hosting contract if you’ve written anything online that you would like to remain available after your death. Ideally, Web pages would remain available forever, as part of the historical record, but this does not seem to be simple, even if you’re willing to pre-pay.

Update (2013-08-28): Kirk McElhearn:

Apple’s iCloud Terms and Conditions do state that:

“You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death.”

From C Declarators to Objective-C Blocks Syntax

Nils Hayat:

In this post, I start with the simplest C declarator and build in complexity until we get to Objective-C blocks syntax. It took me a while to get block syntax but once you understand how it is organized and where it comes from, there is no looking in Google every time you need to declare a block anymore.

Update (2013-08-30): See also

Hollow Icons

Aubrey Johnson:

Icons without this empty core are processed as definite and only the outer lines are processed. Depending on the outline of the shape, this happens pretty fast. No matter the shape, though, the hollow icons take more time to process.

I’m not familiar with the science behind this, but it certainly rings true to me.

Update (2014-06-23): Curt Arledge (via Khoi Vinh):

As a graduate student in human-computer interaction and a UX intern at Viget, I saw an interesting opportunity to test Johnson's claim with evidence from real users. To find a definitive answer to the question of whether hollow icons require more cognitive effort for users, I created a web app that measures users’ speed and accuracy in selecting icons with different visual styles. By studying the data from more than a thousand test participants, I found that hollow icons are not necessarily less usable than their solid counterparts. However, the results are actually a bit more complicated.

See also the full paper (PDF).

CheatSheet Is Leaving the Mac App Store

Stefan Fürst (via Bradley Lin):

After one year and over half a million downloads CheatSheet has to be removed from the Mac App Store.

CheatSheet uses the Accessibility API to read the menus of the current application. To make this work the user has to turn on support for Assistive Devices.

The Accessibility API doesn’t work in the sandbox.

The Pumping Lemma, The Pigeonhole Principle, and Differentiating Languages

Robin Houston (via @CompSciFact):

I hate the Pumping Lemma for regular languages. It’s a complicated way to express an idea that is fundamentally very simple, and it isn’t even a very good way to prove that a language is not regular.


It’s easy enough to see that any derivative of a regular language is again regular: taking a derivative just corresponds to changing the start state in a deterministic automaton. By the same argument, any regular language has only a finite number of different derivatives.

Just Delete Me

Robb Lewis introduces

JustDelete.Me is a directory of urls to delete your account from web services. (Yes, I am aware how terrible that description is. If you’ve got a better one, let me know). Services are marked either easy, medium or hard depending on how difficult it is to delete that account. Those marked as hard have additional information on how to completely remove your account, such as Skype which requires you to contact customer services to do so.