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iOS on Willem's Blog

For the love of mini

The unexpected greatness of iPhone Mini

Dec. 9, 2021
The iPhone Mini has intangible greatness that most folks don't know about: read along for the love of mini!

People regulary ask me why I have a small smartphone, a modern iPhone 13 Mini. Often I simply reply that I like it. The smaller size offers more than just an easier fit in your pocket. I have come to appreciate its intangible greatness, read along for the love of mini!

The value of notifications

How to setup your smartphone to save time

Feb. 22, 2021
It's easy to dismiss your phone's notifications as something that disturbs you, but if you take the time to set them up correctly, notifications can actually save you time!

It's easy to dismiss your phone's notifications as something that disturbs you, something annoying. But if you take the time to set them up correctly, notifications can actually save you time in the long run. Gain more focus by taking control over your online connection to the world. Read along for some tips!

Realtime service uptime monitoring

Discover problems before your customers do

Feb. 2, 2021
Downtime happens and it is nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you set yourself up to discover problems as soon as possible! Know about problems before your customers do!

Downtime happens and it is nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you set yourself up to discover problems as soon as possible! You can use realtime uptime monitoring to automatically keep an eye on your servers and services. Read along to find out how.

Free from the iCloud: Escaping Apple Photos

Using offline photo library management software

Aug. 31, 2020
Recently I freed myself from Apple Photos, using free software to manage my photo library. Read along to find out what software I use and how to make it play nice with your devices.

After encountering the umpteenth ‘magic’ bug while managing my iPhone’s photos, I was done with it. Apple came a long way since it launched iPhoto (the predecessor of iCloud Photos). But for something as valuable as my personal memories, I want to be in full control. Read along to learn how I migrated my photo library away from the iCloud, using free, open source software.

Some thoughts on touch screen user interface design

Creating intuitive natural interfaces

June 24, 2020
I am working on a new app involving personal health that requires a natural intuitive interface that works well on touch screens. It's good to check out some best practices for touch UI design

Past weeks I have been working on a new app involving personal health. The main challenge is to come up with an intuitive, natural interface that works well on small touch screen devices. But what is it that makes an touch screen interface any good? Read along for some best practices.

Scalable application design without magic

Leveraging client computing power for high performance with many users

May 11, 2020
I needed to design a scalable backend infrastructure that could handle lots of concurrent users. I did this by leveraging the client's computing power having it handle most of the user interaction workload.

As part of the online food ordering app I'm building, I needed to design a scalable backend infrastructure that could handle lots of concurrent users. Scalability is considered a hard problem to tackle. Often it's presented like it's something magical, done by million dollar companies using secret tools. But, there is no such thing as magic, or is there?

Multi-Window support in your iPad app

Native development for iPadOS

Oct. 7, 2019
Take advantage of the improved support for multiple windows on iPadOS by implementing new UI concepts enabling different use cases for your app.

Last month Apple released iPadOS, the first dedicated operating system for iPad. It differs from iOS with its support for the larger iPad screen, including multi / split screen windows. I develop apps and it was time to take advantage of these new possibilities that iPadOS offers.

The best bike computer app: Cyclemeter

Get advanced ride data with a flexible setup

Apr. 30, 2019
Collect advanced bike ride data using your smartphone connected to external Bluetooth sensors and a steer mounted display.

This month I have intensified my training to become fit for this year's Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM bicycle ride through Friesland. Over the years I have tested different kinds of bike computer setups: from dedicated (and expensive) Garmin Edge bike computers to no data at all. Eventually I came up with a flexible setup to gather advanced ride data using my smartphone, let me explain how this works.

Is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Testing the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life

Nov. 2, 2018
I tested the Apple Watch during my work in Frankfurt this week where I had to go inside an internet data centre.

This week I went to Frankfurt for business. I had to perform maintenance to servers in a data centre. This seemed like a great opportunity to test the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life (other than health and fitness). I wondered, is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Swimming and cycling with Apple Watch

Different activities in the workout app in watchOS

Sep. 27, 2018
This month I tested the newest watchOS while swimming and cycling.

This month Apple launched a new Apple Watch series and released an update to watchOS. The focus of the smartwatch is more and more gearing towards health and fitness. This made me curious, how well does Apple Watch work for different activities?

Tablet as main computer

Comparing the Microsoft Surface Pro to iPad Pro

Mar. 7, 2018
I have been using a tablet as my main computer for quite some time now. In this blog post I share you my experience on using Surface Pro and iPad Pro to get my work done.

For the past few weeks I have been using the Microsoft Surface Pro as my main computer. It's a modern tablet computer that can be used as laptop with the type cover. With the Surface Pen, it's a versatile PC that works in a lot of different ways. Time to find out if it's any good and how it compares to my other tablet computer, iPad Pro.

Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

The day I killed my LAN

Turned off my local network and went 4G only

July 31, 2017
I killed my office LAN and went 4G only. Saves a lot of clutter, energy and money.

Today I called my provider to quit my office's ADSL internet subscription, I don't need it anymore. I have turned off my local area network and switched my workflow onto mobile internet only. The simplicity and savings actually surprised me so much, that I made blog post for it.

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

iPad Pro next to my primary machine

Using it with Apple Pencil as a creative powerhouse

Jan. 30, 2017
Using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil next to my computer to form a create powerhouse

I wanted see if I can find something better than my old fashioned pencil and paper that I use for designing software as professional developer. I knew iPad Pro from my test last summer, figuring out if it could replace my primary development machine. While it may not be able to completely replace my thrustworthy ThinkPad, it turned out to be a totally different story when it comes to paper.

iPad Pro as primary computer

testing iOS as primairy development platform

Aug. 15, 2016
Is the time right to use an iPad as primary development platform to get some real work done?

The lack of physical clutter, distracting branding, or blinking LED's makes the iPad Pro a textbook example of minimal design. My despiction of distraction explains my interest in using the iPad Pro as only computer to test if it is up to the task. Is Apple's latest effort on iOS enough to enable it to do serious development work?

All blog posts
Quad Lock smartphone mounting system
Quad Lock smartphone mounting system
Using Cyclemeter as my bike computer to collect advanced ride data
Using Cyclemeter as my bike computer to collect advanced ride data
Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
Ken Ferry explaining the design of multiple window support for iOS during WWDC 2019
Ken Ferry explaining the design of multiple window support for iOS during WWDC 2019
One user interacting with one server
One user interacting with one server
Web development on iPad using Inspect and Blink side-by-side
Web development on iPad using Inspect and Blink side-by-side
Typical drawing I create when designing software
Typical drawing I create when designing software
A special URL returns a simple text response if a few common (internal) function calls succeed
A special URL returns a simple text response if a few common (internal) function calls succeed
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)
Feeling old already, my trustworthy old local area network (LAN)
Feeling old already, my trustworthy old local area network (LAN)
The Apple Watch is a tiny wearable computer
The Apple Watch is a tiny wearable computer
Steve Jobs introducing the original iPhone in 2007 as ‘ultimate digital device’
Steve Jobs introducing the original iPhone in 2007 as ‘ultimate digital device’
Batch converting HEIC image files to JPG using a VPS with a ton of CPU power
Batch converting HEIC image files to JPG using a VPS with a ton of CPU power
The Smart Keyboard has a very nice tactile feel, but lacks certain keys (like ESC, HOME, END)
The Smart Keyboard has a very nice tactile feel, but lacks certain keys (like ESC, HOME, END)
Programming on iPad Pro using VIM, Blink and a Linux VPS
Programming on iPad Pro using VIM, Blink and a Linux VPS
My computer in 2005: Windows XP, Nokia Communicator and MSN Messenger
My computer in 2005: Windows XP, Nokia Communicator and MSN Messenger
Smartphones (and tablets, PC's) have become more powerful over the years (image: Apple)
Smartphones (and tablets, PC's) have become more powerful over the years (image: Apple)
Controlling Snake using a Super Nintendo gamepad is awesome (using a SuperSmart-joy USB connector)
Controlling Snake using a Super Nintendo gamepad is awesome (using a SuperSmart-joy USB connector)

More iOS on Willem's Blog

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