12
May
2010
 

WWDC 2010 T-Shirts

by Marcus Zarra

In celebration of the late notice of WWDC this year; CIMGF is offering late notice on our T-shirts!

In previous years I took orders and then delivered them to you at WWDC. I discovered something from that it. It was a huge pita for everyone involved. Therefore, this year I am going to do it differently.

I have created a storefront on SpreadShirt where you can order one of several different T-shirts (and a jacket) for this year’s WWDC. The new shirts include the new CIMGF logo which will soon adorn this beloved site.

I hope to see many of you wearing the T-Shirts this year in San Francisco!
WWDC 2010 T-Shirt

 
2
May
2010
 

My current Prefix.pch file

by Marcus Zarra

I have posted and discussed this file a few times but as with all things it has been touched, tweaked, and generally improved upon.

In this article we will discuss the latest iteration of my `Prefix.pch` file. As with anything I post, it is available for you to use as you see fit.

## The File

For those who don’t want to read the entire post, here is the file:

#ifdef DEBUG
  #define DLog(...) NSLog(@"%s %@", __PRETTY_FUNCTION__, [NSString stringWithFormat:__VA_ARGS__])
  #define ALog(...) [[NSAssertionHandler currentHandler] handleFailureInFunction:[NSString stringWithCString:__PRETTY_FUNCTION__ encoding:NSUTF8StringEncoding] file:[NSString stringWithCString:__FILE__ encoding:NSUTF8StringEncoding] lineNumber:__LINE__ description:__VA_ARGS__]
#else
  #define DLog(...) do { } while (0)
  #ifndef NS_BLOCK_ASSERTIONS
    #define NS_BLOCK_ASSERTIONS
  #endif
  #define ALog(...) NSLog(@"%s %@", __PRETTY_FUNCTION__, [NSString stringWithFormat:__VA_ARGS__])
#endif

#define ZAssert(condition, ...) do { if (!(condition)) { ALog(__VA_ARGS__); }} while(0)

This does not *replace* the Prefix.pch that comes with your project but it does go at the top of every project that I work on. The rest of this post we will review what this does.
(more…)

 
18
Feb
2010
 

Creating a NSManagedObject that is Cross Platform

by Marcus Zarra

An interesting question came up on Stackoverflow today so I decided to expound upon it in a short blog post.

A situation that I believe we are going to be seeing more and more often is one where application developers are writing multiple “versions” of their applications to be used on the desktop, their iPhone and now the iPad.

Because of that situation, it is becoming even more important that we write as much portable code as possible. Fortunately, our model can be completely portable between the two platforms.

(more…)

 
9
Jan
2010
 

The PragPub Magazine

by Marcus Zarra

Last month I was given the opportunity to write an article for The Pragmatic Programmers great magazine called “PragPub”. I am happy to say that the article I wrote for them was published in this month’s edition. The article, titled “Touching the Core”, is a walk through Apple’s great addition to the Core Data API for the iPhone.

Specifically this article walks through using the NSFetchedResultsController and some best practices in its use. The magazine is available for free on their website, [The Pragmatic Bookshelf](http://pragprog.com/magazines).

 
23
Dec
2009
 

Automatically save the dSYM files.

by Marcus Zarra

For those not aware, when you compile an Objective-C application, whether it be for the desktop or for Cocoa Touch devices, the debugging symbols are stripped out of the binaries. Therefore, unlike other languages such as Java, when a crash occurs, there is virtually no way to determine where the crash occurred. However, when the applications are compiled, a dSYM bundle is generated. This bundle allows us to match up the debugging symbols with the application’s crash log to help determine the cause of the crash.

(more…)

 
24
Jul
2009
 

Voices That Matter Conference

by Marcus Zarra

October 17th and October 18th of this year, the Voices That Matter conference will be occurring in Boston. I will be speaking at this conference on the subject of Core Animation. In addition to myself, there is a very nice list of speakers at this conference including Aaron Hillegass, Daniel Jalkut, Fraser Speirs and many others.

Voices That Matter

Early Signup

Currently, you can get $200.00 off the the price of the conference if you sign up before the 12th of September.

In addition, if you use the speaker code ‘PHASPKR’, you can receive an additional $150.00 off the price. That is a combined discount of $350.00 if you sign up before September 12th.

http://www.voicesthatmatter.com/iphone2009/

 
8
May
2009
 

MacBook Pro looking for a good home

by Marcus Zarra

Having finally decided that I prefer the 1920×1200 display of the 17″ Macbook Pros I am finally committing to one size of laptop. To help force myself into that commitment I am going to be selling my gently used late 2008 15″ Macbook Pro.

The specs are:

* 2.53 Ghz Intel Core Duo
* 4GB RAM
* 320 GB Harddrive
* 512 Nvidia Video cards (9400 and 9600)
* 2 USB
* 1 FW/800

All of the original hardware and equipment are included.

The asking price is $1,800.00 plus shipping.

The machine is in perfect condition as shown in these photos on flickr (http://tr.im/kQ11).

If you are interested in this machine please contact me at marcus at cimgf dot com.

 
3
May
2009
 

Core Data and Plug-ins

by Marcus Zarra

Thanks to the ability to have configurations in a Core Data Managed Object Model and being able to save data to multiple Persistent Stores, it is possible to have a Core Data Model that is constructed from not only an internal model, but from the models of all the plug-ins that are loaded into the application.

In this example we are going to build a basic application with the following requirements:

  • A plug-in framework
  • Plug-ins can extend the managed object model of the application
  • Removal of a plug-in should not corrupt the persistent store.

(more…)

 
3
Apr
2009
 

WWDC 2009

by Marcus Zarra

I am happy to confirm that I will be at WWDC this year in San Francisco. I am making this trip a little tighter, time-wise than I have in the past so I will be arriving on Sunday, June 7th and leaving on June 13th.

I normally post my nighttime plans on twitter (@mzarra) so if you are interested in having a chat then that is the best way to track me down. I will also be tweeting which sessions I am going to throughout the day.

I look forward to seeing everyone there, it should be very interesting as always.

 
26
Mar
2009
 

Don’t Blindly Trust D.E.B.B.

by Marcus Zarra

In some recent discussions I have been shocked to realize that many developers treat DEBB as gospel. This is a terrible idea. DEBB is written by people like me and I am a moron.

(more…)

 
26
Feb
2009
 

Don’t Screw Your Customers Over

by Marcus Zarra

As part of working with the print world I occasionally have to actually print something out. Publishers like to have paper copies of contracts, tax documents, etc. Its a pain in the rear and outdated but a necessary evil at this point.

One such occasion happened today and I needed to mail out a new signed contract to THe Pragmatic Programmers. As luck would have it, I lost my aging copy of Mail Factory, an app that prints nice mailing labels, since the last time I needed to print a label. No big deal, I went to their website and tried to download a new copy. Since the last time I used it, about a year ago, they have cancelled that product and rebranded it Labels & Addresses. Still no big deal, I downloaded the new application and recreated my label.

When I went to print the label I saw in the preview window that they printed “trial version” on the label. Ok, now this is starting to get annoying. If you are going to let me demo the software, let me demo it! Don’t put trial version on the very first label I try to print!

I took a deep breath, remembered that I have been using their software for many years now and decided to just buy a license. They even took my old license in and gave me a discount. Blood pressure dropped, things were fine. Then I ran into their payment processor — Digital River.

I am stunned, stunned, that anyone is still using these thieves! Immediately they try to charge me a “license backup” fee which is an Opt-Out. Annoyed, I opt out of that. On the payment page I have a choice for PayPal. Surprise, there is a $3.50 “manual processing fee” for PayPal. This is NOT 1998! Still, I wanted to print a pretty label so I back out, add a credit card and hit process. I am then presented with this:

SWREG - Error
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Did my order go through or not? Who knows? I check my credit card provider, no charge. But are they slow or did it fail?

I contact the software vendor but they are only open until noon EST. Guess I will find out tomorrow or the next day since their site claims they strive to respond within 1-2 days. A happy customer this does not make.

Advice

Do not do this to your customers. Stop using these payment processing services that charge you insane amounts of money and screw your customers over. Spend a day (yes it only takes ONE day) and write your own that links to Google or PayPal. Or just use E-Junkie like I do. This is a customer facing system. When you bend your customers over with additional fees, cryptic error messages and other junk, they are not going to come back to you and say “please sir I would like some more”.

Also, respond to customer email within 24 hours. Don’t let it sit. Don’t give your customers a 7 hour window per day that you handle email. This is just bad.

My Solution

I deleted their software, will be asking for a refund (IF they ever charge me) and I wrote the label by hand. I will not be going back to them any time in the future for any of their software unless they stop using Digital River.

 
28
Jan
2009
 

Don’t treat your customers like thieves

by Marcus Zarra

Every once in a while I run across a situation that just amazes me. While this topic is not strictly about software development it is about the subject of the business of software.

Our customers give us money for something we have already written.

This is an important point to grasp. We write software once and sell it many times over with no production costs other than initial development. Unlike almost every other industry in the world we only have to write the software once! We do not have to produce something new every time a customer wants to purchase something from us.

(more…)

 
1
Dec
2008
 

MacDev 2009 Christmas Offer

by Marcus Zarra

As most of you know, Scotty is hosting a developer’s conference next year in England. To make this event even more enticing, he has just announced a Christmas offer.

Sign up for MacDev2009 before the 24th of December and get FREE copies of both Code Collector Pro and Changes App together worth over £40.

There are going to be some great speakers at this event and I am looking forward to it.

 
4
Oct
2008
 

Announcement: Marcus will be a Panelist at O’Reilly’s iPhoneLive conference

by Marcus Zarra

Now that the NDA has been lifted we can all finally come out of the closet :)

If you have not heard, O’Reilly is hosting a conference on November 18, 2008 to discuss all things iPhone. I have been invited to attend the conference as a Panelist.

Please come and join the conference, if nothing else, to heckle me :)

iPhone Live

The list of speakers (as opposed to panelists), is quite impressive and definitely worth the trip.

Speakers