Archive for August 18, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Eulogy for Objective-C

Aaron Hillegass (comments: 1, 2):

The wonderful thing about Objective-C is that it’s so dynamic. As we start moving into languages that are a little bit more uptight about such things, it’s nice to take a moment and think about the huge benefits that we get from some of this.


Loose typing made a lot of things that were difficult in other languages much easier, or possible. It also made bugs that didn’t exist in other languages possible as well. And you embrace that as an Objective-C programmer. You’re like, “This is a language for smart, pedantic, uptight people. I’m going to be very careful and do the right thing when I’m typing in names.”


One of the things that made the performance of Core Data so great, and made this faulting mechanism so seamless, is the ability to do isa swizzling. Once again, this could be very dangerous, but in the right hands it was a really powerful mechanism.

Another thing that you could do was actually create classes at runtime. It was pretty rare, but this is actually what made key-value observing possible.


Here’s one that people take for granted at this point, but it’s something that at the time was crazy: categories. The idea that I could take a class that NeXT had sent me, add methods to it, and then use that inside my program - that was really, really weird in object-oriented languages at that time. And it really scared Java people. […] As a result, not everybody had to write their own NSString class. Which is a really common problem for a lot of languages.

The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work

James Archer:

Hamburger menus navigation operate under a simple principle. On the surface, it seems self-evident that if the user wants the navigation menu, they can just click on it. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll realize that users often don’t know quite what they want, and they rely on site navigation to nudge them in the right direction by telling them what their options are and what content they should be looking at.


Most people navigate based on what’s called “information scent.” When faced with a set of options, they’ll choose the option that gives the strongest indication that it’ll bring them closer to what they want, like an animal sniffing around for food. […] You know what never looks anything even close to what the user actually wants? A small three-bar icon tucked in the corner of a website.


Then, finally (as you can see on the promo at the bottom of the image above), [NBC News] gave up and redesigned the navigation to a more traditional horizontal menu style, which has worked well for them and remains the same basic design they use today.

Previously: Hamburgers and Basements, Ex-Microsoft Designer Explains the Move Away From Metro.

Restoring an Apple TV via iTunes


Connect one end of the micro-USB cable to the back of your Apple TV, and the other end to one of your computer’s USB ports.

From the Apple TV summary page in iTunes, click Restore Apple TV. This step might take some time, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

My Apple TV got stuck at the Apple logo boot screen, and this fixed it. I think it actually took longer to copy the OS over USB than for iTunes to download it over the Internet.

Steve Jobs’s Interview With Red Herring, 1996

Steve Jobs (comments, via Brian Webster):

The old way to look at computing was as a straight line between the desktop and the enterprise, with the primary focus on improving desktop productivity. That world, as we all know, is owned by Microsoft. But the Web is changing all of that. One way to view the Web is as the ultimate direct-to-customer distribution channel.


Microsoft is busy trying to kill Netscape. And it has a certain track record of being successful at those kind of things. So I wouldn’t write off Microsoft right now. But all I am trying to say is that no one is going to make money by selling browsers. I do think a lot of people are going to make money off the pipes, but that ain’t us.


But, as we’ve been talking about, the new Web set-up is just like the mainframe computing model, where all the apps will run off the server, and these will mostly be custom apps. […] Now you are constrained with the UI [user interface], but a lot of apps can be written in constrained UI.


It takes your request, parses it in WebObjects, grabs all the data, and dynamically builds it into a Web page for you to browse. The way we set up the car financing feature is that it actually sends an OLE call to another Windows computer that launches an Excel spreadsheet that does the calculation for you, and then OLE messages the information back and shoves it onto the Web page.


Well, I love Apple. I hope they make it.

Awful Behavior From QuickBooks Online

Matt Henderson:

I don’t want the “recommended” service, but there’s only two links on this screen, “Back” or “Next”.

Unbelievably, “Next” takes me back to the home screen of QuickBooks Online, giving the impression that nothing has happened, and STILL there is no way to cancel that giant damn “You have a task” block.

But here’s the kicker — An email from Intuit arrives confirming that I’VE JUST SIGNED UP TO QUICKBOOKS PAYROLL for $30 per month, and if I want to cancel I have CALL THEM.