Archive for May 11, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Now I Get It: Snapchat

David Pogue:

I don’t use Snapchat. And no wonder: Most people who use it are under 25, and 70 percent of them are female. I’m neither.

At the same time, I’ve been dying to understand Snapchat. I mean, it’s a major cultural force: 200 million people are using it. They send 20,000 photos a second and watch 8 to 10 billion videos a day. The company has yet to turn a profit, but it turned down Facebook’s offer of $3 billion; today, it’s valued at $20 billion.


First, you need to know that Snapchat is really three apps crammed in one.

New Instagram Icon

Armin Vit:

The skeuomorphic camera icon that has accompanied Instagram until today is a modern-day classic. Not because it’s good — it’s not, really — but because of its omnipresence in users’ phone screens. I bet it’s on the home screen of 99% of people who have the app and who tap it very regularly. When the iPhone first came out — if you’ll remember — skeuomorphism was the default aesthetic and now, for better or worse, it’s all about flat design with a dash of optional gradients so it’s no surprise that’s where Instagram has headed. If there was any surprise it’s that Instagram held on to the skeuomorphism for a relatively long five years.


About 75% of the negative reaction will be simply to the fact that it has changed and the other 25% will be to the not-quite-fact that there is a generic aesthetic to the new icon where it could be a “camera” icon for the upcoming smart microwave from Apple or whatever other user interface you would imagine. This is not to say it’s a bad-looking icon, no… as far as camera icons go, this is quite lovely and has the minimal amount of elements necessary to be recognized as a camera BUT not the minimal amount of elements necessary to be recognized as Instagram.

It’s interesting to compare with this hypothetical flattening of the old icon.

Update (2016-05-12): See also: John Gruber, Nick Heer, Dan Counsell.

Update (2016-05-18): See also: Eli Schiff.

No More Logs for Missing NSAutoreleasePool

Uli Kusterer:

So apparently Apple removed the “object autoreleased with no pool in place” error message.

Chris Nebel:

Not removed, but disabled by default. Set OBJC_DEBUG_MISSING_POOLS=YES to get it back. (Set OBJC_HELP=YES for more options.)

See also: What does “Autoreleased with no pool in place” mean?.

Update (2016-05-12): Greg Parker:

Note that the environment variable also changes behavior: it introduces leaks anywhere that the implicit pool would have worked.

Show TODOs and FIXMEs As Warnings in Xcode

Jake Marsh (in 2011):

Now just build and you’ll see all your //TODO: and //FIXME: comments have become warnings. I love this technique, it might not be right for everyone, but hope it helps someone.

Xcode parses the output of a shell script build phase looking for “warning:”.

Via Daniel Jalkut:

Since I complained yesterday about Swift’s lack of a counterpart to Objective C’s #warning directive, folks have been in touch to encourage another solution to this problem.

“Please Rate My App” Dialogs

Amy Worrall (tweet):

I used to really dislike the door-slam dialog boxes that many apps pop up when they’re updated, saying “Please rate my app”.


John Gruber encouraged his readers to rate apps that asked for ratings with one star. Now that the App Store is so hard to make money in, I’ve come up with an analogy for that:

Pressing “No Thanks” to the rating dialog is like refusing to give change to a beggar. Rating the app 1 star because of the dialog is like punching the beggar in the face to try and discourage people from begging.


I put a distinctive, attention-grabbing ratings prompt into the table view on the main screen of the app, three days after an update is installed. But it doesn’t stop you using the app. You can navigate to other screens without issue, and still use all the features. The prompt stays there until you press one of the buttons.

I’m not sure the analogy holds, but I am much more sympathetic to ratings requests these days—if they’re not modal dialogs.

Update (2016-05-20): Dan Moren:

Blackbox upends the usual iOS way of doing things in a number of ways, of which convincing users to rate the app is only just one. Ryan’s post is well worth a read, especially for developers trying to figure out how to get those reviews without raising users’ hackles.