turing complete with a stack of 0xdeadbeef

Recently Updated

I mostly write about Swift, Objective-C, iOS, open source, and other software development topics. Sometimes I write about the ethics of tech, labor, and politics. I also write personal essays and notes on what I'm currently reading.

Hold it! Or, how to blame homelessness on the homeless in San Francisco

An essay on capital and compassion 19 July 2018
Updated: 06 November 2021

The mayor of San Francisco called out feces on the sidewalks as a core problem to address in the city and wants homeless folks to “at least have respect” and “clean up after themselves”. It’s an unfortunate response, but I’m sure a lot of folks agree with the sentiment. No one relishes walking through the dirty streets in this city and it certainly is a concern, but this kind of rhetoric is actively harmful. It deliberately shifts responsibility for the problem onto the victims and away from the system that produced it. Homeless folks are among the most vulnerable in our society. In addition to their lack of housing, persistent precarity, mental health issues, and emotional struggles, the city is now going to ask them for respect and cleanliness?

Continue…

What type is self in a Swift self-executing anonymous closure used to initialize a stored property?

The answer might surprise you 22 December 2020
Updated: 05 November 2021

In JavaScript, this pattern is called an Immediately Invoked Function Expression (IIFE) or a Self-Executing Anonymous Function. Swift doesn’t have an “official” name for this, but IIFE works as well as “immediately executed anonymous closure” or “self-executing anonymous closure”. (Thanks to folks on Twitter for helping with this.)

Continue…

How to start a blog or portfolio website, for developers

01 November 2021
Updated: 05 November 2021

Ever so often an iOS developer asks me how to get started with making their own blog or portfolio website. Or, I’ll see a software developer from another community on Twitter ask the same thing. Often they are earlier in their career, or unfamiliar with web development, or unsure whether to build from scratch or use a platform, or all of the above. I find myself consistently making the same recommendations to folks. For this post, I want to share what I think is a great approach to get started, and how you can dive deeper once you master the basics.

Continue…

Replacing Google Search with DuckDuckGo

And how to add a custom DuckDuckGo search box to your site 25 February 2018
Updated: 23 October 2021

I’m not interested in being an advertising product for Google to exploit. I’m also not interested in the company’s unsavory practices, in general. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now, and I’m incredibly happy with it as a replacement for Google Search — not only for personal usage, but also for implementing a custom search component for this site.

Continue…

Is SwiftUI ready?

01 July 2021
Updated: 08 October 2021

I’ve been following what’s going on with SwiftUI since it was released with iOS 13 at WWDC 2019 and have even taken extensive notes, but I have avoided using it. As I wrote before, I mainly wanted to avoid dealing with bugs and workarounds that might make me less productive compared to using UIKit, which I know quite well. I’m very interested in learning and using it, I’m just hesitant given some of Apple’s history, like early years of Swift. I have no doubt that SwiftUI will be the future of Apple platform development, the question is when that future will arrive. This year the framework is debuting its third major release in iOS 15. How far has SwiftUI come, and is it ready for building serious apps?

Continue…

Choosing a VPN service

24 June 2018
Updated: 08 October 2021

Net Neutrality is officially over in the US. As the EFF notes, it will likely manifest as a slow, painful decline of the Internet. We can call congress to demand that they reverse the decision and act in the interests of the people. But whether or not that succeeds, everyone should be using a VPN regularly now to fight against the growing threats of Internet surveillance and censorship. We know better than to trust corporations and governments.

Continue…

An iOS shortcut to show proof of vaccine

12 September 2021
Updated: 07 October 2021

Here in Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area, more and more restaurants, bars, venues, and various events are requiring that people show proof of vaccine before entering. (As it should be.) Thankfully, all businesses and events allow showing proof digitally rather than carrying around your physical COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card from the CDC. This means you can take a photo with your phone and present that instead of your singular paper copy. This is great, but the tediousness of tapping around my phone to find and display it has been annoying. So, I made an iOS shortcut to present it instantly.

Continue…

Quickly switching between Xcodes

07 July 2020
Updated: 22 August 2021

I try to have only one Xcode installed at a time for simplicity and tidiness. But such a setup is rare as we often must manage stable releases and beta versions simultaneously.

Continue…

Three months of Big Sur

01 June 2021
Updated: 09 June 2021

I upgraded to Big Sur three months ago. I know I’m (fashionably?) late to this party, but here I am. This is the longest I have ever waited to upgrade macOS. It feels weird, considering WWDC is next week where we will see what is next for macOS. Big Sur still feels new to me, and announcing the next major release already feels too soon. I was avoiding Big Sur based on various reports about bugs and instability. There were not any ‘killer’ features I was eager to have, thus the main reason I upgraded was because Xcode 12.5 required it.

Continue…

RSS feeds, Jekyll, and absolute versus relative URLs

06 June 2021
Updated: 09 June 2021

Lately I’ve been upgrading and making improvements to my website and blog. As part of that work, I was updating and refining how my RSS feed gets generated with Jekyll. And then I realized something that I had not given much thought to previously. When including the full content of blog posts in an RSS feed, if you link to other posts or pages on your site should you be using absolute URLs or are relative URLs ok?

Continue…

Linked Out

Or why I'm getting off of LinkedIn 13 August 2019
Updated: 04 June 2021

I deleted my LinkedIn account, well sort of. I kept my account open, which I will explain below, but I left it mostly empty. You could say I am now officially linked out.

Continue…

Returning to normal, Part 3

23 March 2021
Updated: 24 March 2021

After only five days, yet another mass shooting has happened in the US. This post follows Part 1 and Part 2 in this ongoing series documenting how the US is recovering from a life-threatening virus.

Continue…

Using pipes in Swift scripts

18 March 2021
Updated: 22 March 2021

I have a few Swift scripts to automate tedious tasks for maintaining my blog. I updated one today to use pipes. It took me a minute to figure out, because it did not feel very intuitive. I’m not sure if I feel that way because the interface is actually that clunky, or if I’m just inexperienced with Swift scripting. In any case, here’s how it works.

Continue…

Xcode UI testing reliability tips for iOS

17 March 2021
Updated: 18 March 2021

Xcode’s UI testing framework has had its ups and downs over the years. Most recently, it has been much more robust and reliable in my experience. However, tests still tend to flake sometimes. Here are some ways that I have been able to reduce flakiness in UI tests.

Continue…

Swift enumerations and equatable

Implementing equatable for enums with associated values 26 July 2015
Updated: 03 January 2021

Recently, I came across a case (pun intended) where I needed to compare two instances of an enum type in Swift. However, it was an enum where some cases had associated values. At first glance, it is not obvious how to do this.

Continue…

Building a site with Jekyll on NearlyFreeSpeech

My blog infrastructure, and migrating off of GitHub pages 10 September 2017
Updated: 07 October 2020

This site used to be hosted via GitHub Pages, but I decided to move to a dedicated host to have more control over how I develop and deploy the site, and how it’s configured. A number of limitations and quirks eventually drove me to migrate away from GitHub pages to my excellent and inexpensive bare-bones host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net. I was also interested in learning to do all of this on my own, rather than relying on GitHub Pages “magic”. If you’re looking to setup your own Jekyll-powered site, or if you’re looking to migrate off of GitHub Pages, hopefully this is helpful.

Continue…

How to fix the incomprehensible tabs in Xcode 12

24 July 2020
Updated: 06 October 2020

Xcode 12 was released and it includes a change to how tabs and navigation work. In Xcode 12, the tabs have their own tabs. It makes no sense to me. I know we are supposed to be nice to each other about software, but this new UI/UX is beyond incomprehensible. What made it worse is that this new “tabs within tabs” was the default setting (overriding preferences I had previously set) and I could not figure out how to restore the previous (desired) behavior.

Continue…

Overriding status bar display settings in the iOS simulator

26 September 2019
Updated: 28 September 2019

With version 11 of Xcode, the IDE ships with a new feature in the simctl tool that can override status bar values for iOS simulators. This allows you to take better screenshots for the App Store without having to worrying about the time, battery level, etc. It is a great improvement, but there are some significant shortcomings. I’ve written a script to fix at least some of those.

Continue…

How to run sysdiagnose on iOS

And on all the Apple things 08 February 2018
Updated: 05 January 2019

When you file a radar for a bug on one of Apple’s platforms, you should (usually) always attach a sysdiagnose. A sysdiagnose provides a lot of helpful information for the person who is trying to understand how the bug happened. Amongst other things, it contains logs from various parts of the OS, and all recent crash logs. Without it, the person on the other end of your report inside Apple may not be of much help. On macOS running sysdiagnose is somewhat common, but what about iOS?

Continue…

Swift documentation

Writing, generating, and publishing great docs in Swift 20 May 2016
Updated: 18 April 2018

The Swift community is ecstatic about Swift. There are so many new libraries being released each week that some have created package indexes — even IBM. But of course, a library is only as great as its documentation.

Continue…