iPhone & Mac – the Marmite of electronics

Marmite - you love it or hate itIs it just me, or do iPhone users around the world find themselves in an inevitable argument about iPhone versus ANY other smartphone? Or Mac users find themselves under fire from PC users? It seems that Apple products are the Marmite of the computing world.

It always starts the same with a general discussion about technology. Then I drop in that I love my phone (or Mac) which always prompts the question “what’s so good about it?”. This is where the problems start because as everyone knows, there is no right answer! Of course, that doesn’t stop me listing all the things which I love about Mac or iPhone – nor does it seem to stop the other person listing the (usually few but repetative) things they hate. But where does it stop? A friend of mine brandished me an ‘iPhone evangelist’ on Facebook the other day because I counter-posted against someone who was slating the product. I did manage to see a certain irony behind that however. The more I speak about the products I love, the more people want to crush that belief. Does this make them anti-iphone evangelists?

The day that other manufacturers start making products which I find as intuitive and beautiful – I’ll perhaps give in and buy something else. But while the world of electronics follows in the wake of the inventive trail being set ablaze by Apple…. I think I’ll stay right where I am and be proud to speak up ‘as and when’ the need arises. In your face, rival products!

Review – Learning iOS Game Programming

For me – the biggest stumbling block in iPhone development was how games programming worked with object oriented programming (OOP). For some reason, my brain couldn’t make the jump from procedural programmingLearning iOS Game Programming to this new way of thinking which in turn made game programming very hard. I’ve bought a whole bunch of iPhone related books in the last two years, which included the obvious world-renowned ones such as Programming in Objective-C (Stephen Kochan) and Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (Aaron Hillegass) and some more obscure books. But I was still missing the crucial part of knowledge – how games all hung together in iOS.

So while searching the web I found lots of interesting articles and sites which were dedicated to this cause. Amongst them, I discovered 71Squared.com which housed a number of tutorials on building a game from the point of a non-professional developer. I loved it – just the kind of thing I was looking for, though never found the time to actually finish the tutorials. Anyway, to cut a long story short – Michael Daly then released a book presumably related to those articles called Learning iOS Game Programming, which I immediately bought and started working through. Continue reading

Making a count indicator

Count indicator exampleJust recently I wrote a list app for iPhone, so I could maintain lists with items in them.  I wanted to jazz it up a bit by using a count indicator similar to the one you see in the mail app, which shows you how many messages you’ve had from someone (you know the one… the little bubble with a number in it).  Anyway, turns out that Apple don’t provide a mechanism for this so I wrote my own one.  You can see it over there to the left (a little gray bubble with a count in it) and this post basically shows you how I achieved it (with code and an example project).

All it’s essentially doing is using Core Graphics to draw a line. That’s all. One line, except to get the rounded ends I’m using a cap as demonstrated in many of the Apple examples. I thought this was easier than figuring out how to round it off manually. Then I take the text and paste it as close to center as I can.

Now it’s not perfect I know… changing the font size doesn’t always vertically align the number properly – but it does look nice enough, and I’m sure someone can make use of this even if a little tweaking is required.  At around 14 point font size it looks good….

Continue reading

Welcome back to MaybeLost!

First of all, an apology for the disappearance of the site.  I was blogging the progress of my studies in iPhone programming but I ended up getting way too busy to do both.  Anyway, I decided to open up the site again and start posting stuff for other developers out there who may have got stuck on the same stuff – share the wealth and all that.

So in coming months, I’ll be working on a number of projects and posting any classes or snippets which may be useful.  As always – don’t shoot me if it’s wrong (and it probably will be) – but feel free to leave comments and suggestions.  Of course, you can use any of our classes or examples for free but perhaps you’ll give us a little nod in your applications by way of a thank you.

See you soon,
Simon