Archive for January 2020 - Page 1


    Commercials Chicagoans Know Well


    This post has been in "Draft" since mid-2018 and I figured I would post this, because why not. If you watched TV in the Chicagoland area during the '90s you have undoubtedly seen all of these commercials.

    I thought about the commercials that I remember seeing during the '90s. I thought I would post a few of my favorite commercials from when I was growing up.


    Upcoming Changes for Apple Developers


    When you sign up to be an Apple Developer one of the things that you do is agree to abide by App Store Review Guidelines. These guidelines change from time to time depending on technology, the needs of developers, and the limitations that Apple wants/needs to apply.

    Last June the guidelines were modified and two additions were made. These are regarding "HTML5 Apps" and "Updates in the Kids Category". There are some changes for both that will go into effect on March 3rd, 2020. Let us look at each of the changes.

    HTML 5 Apps

    Before there were native apps on iOS there were HTML5 apps, which was referred to as a "Sweet Solution". While this worked, it was not nearly as elegant as using a native application. A majority of applications in use today are built entirely with their native SDKs and do not require any external code. There are some apps that may require some code that is downloaded from another server. This is possible with Apple's platforms. However, there are some limitations regarding the code that can be downloaded.

    Specifically, HTML5 apps cannot contain or run code that provides access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations.

    Apps For Kids

    The next area to discuss is Apps for Kids. Any app that is within the "Kids" category, which means that it is intended to be used by kids. Due to the nature of these apps, there are some restrictions that developers need to comply with.

    "Apps published on the App Store must protect children’s data and provide only age-appropriate content. Apps must also require a parental gate in order to link out of the app, request permissions, or present purchasing opportunities. It’s critical that apps do not transmit personally identifiable information or device information to third parties, and that advertisements are human-reviewed for age appropriateness in order to be displayed."

    Besides being conscious of children's data, in some places this is necessary to comply with local laws.

    Closing Thoughts

    Developers have to keep up with the changes not only in tools and techniques, but also the changing landscape of building apps for Apple's platforms. One of those areas is complying with the App Store Review Guidelines. What may have been accepted previously, may no longer be accepted. If you are going to be uploading a new version of your application anytime after March 3rd, 2020, you will want to comply with the new rules; especially the one regarding privacy of kids' data. It would not be surprising if Apple begins outright rejecting apps that do not comply with protecting the data of kids starting on March 3rd.

    Source: Apple, Apple


    wwrite and wwriteLite 4.6.0 Now Available


    I have published updates for both wwrite and wwriteLite. Each app is now at version 4.6.0.

    Both wwrite and wwriteLite add that ability to import files from the Files app, including iCloud Drive, and any other third-party services that you have linked within the Files app. This is done by going to "+" -> Import Files.

    There is one bug fix for both apps. If you had tried to "Copy files" using a share sheet from another app, it would have failed. This has been fixed. There is one feature, specifically for wwriteLite.

    Removing Ads

    One of the features that I have wanted to add to wwriteLite is the ability to remove the ads. This is now possible through an in-app purchase. This is accessed by going to Tools -> In-App Purchases. Removing Ads will cost you $0.99. The reason I chose this amount is because $0.99 is the same price as wwrite, which does not have ads. Additionally, this is a way to support the development of both of the apps.

    Due to these changes, the Frequently Asked Questions and the Change Log for each app has been updated, so be sure to check those out. wwrite 4.6.0 and wwriteLite 4.6.0 are free updates and are available now in the App Store.


    Apple Arcade After Four Months


    Back in March of last year at their services event, Apple announced a new service that was focused on games. This service is Apple Arcade. At the time Apple announced that Apple Arcade would be available "in the fall". Ultimately, this ended up being mid September with the release of iOS 13. One of the selling points was the ability for it to be on all of Apple's platforms, iOS, macOS, and tvOS. This part in particular intrigued me, since I prefer playing games on my TV with a controller, which is also possible with iOS 13, tvOS13, and macOS Catalina, as opposed to touch gestures using my iPhone or iPad.

    When Apple Arcade became available I immediately signed up and played a few games. The ones I played included "What The Golf?", "Word Laces", "Frogger in Toy Town", "Mini Motorways", and "Skate City". I intended to play some other games, like "Overland" and "Over the Alps". These last two would probably be ideal for a bigger screen.

    I played a lot of two of these games, a little of a couple, and a moderate amount of one. The games I played only a little included Skate City and Frogger. I played Frogger to see how it would be in a modern game and Skate City reminded me of Tony Hawk, expect in 2D. I played Word Laces a bit, maybe 100 puzzles, but ended up stopping because it got to be a bit too repetitive.

    The two games that I played the most were What the Golf and Mini Motorways. I beat almost all of the What the Golf levels but there was one that I could not beat and eventually gave up.

    Last week I cancelled my subscription to Apple Arcade. I did this for a few reasons. The first is that I realized I did not play any games from Apple Arcade games for over a month and keeping the subscription was a waste of money. The second reason is that the games I enjoy playing on my iPhone and iPad are ones that can be done quickly. The last reason is that as much as I enjoyed playing Mini Motorways, which is my favorite out of all of them, I realized that I prefer to own my games and not rent them. The same can be said for my console gaming. I do not have a subscription to those games either, I purchased my console games.

    The final reason I opted to cancel my Apple Arcade subscription is the fact that I am not one who plays a whole bunch of different mobile games. Instead, I tend to stick with playing the same games over time. For instance, I play three games every day, Dissembler, Solitaire, and Word Search. These all have daily puzzles which keeps me coming back to the game. I have been playing these, particularly Solitaire, for a very long time; in fact since at least November 1st, 2014 when they introduced their daily challenges. I had intended on playing games on my Apple TV, but never ended up doing so.

    Cancelling Apple Arcade was the right decision for me and in no way is a reflection on my thoughts of the service overall. I think Apple Arcade is a great service which allows you, and the entire family, to play a ton of games for a very reasonable amount of $4.99 per month, and even less if you pay annually. If I feel as though I want to go back and play some of the games, or if a must-play title comes out, I can always resubscribe to Apple Arcade.


    One Downside to Streaming and Subscriptions


    The way that we consume media has greatly changed over the last twenty years. At the turn of the century, which seems just like yesterday, we listened to mix-CDs on our Sony Walkman CD players or had MP3s that were either ripped from CDs or obtained via other means. Movies were on DVDs, as Blu-Ray would not come to market until 2006. And there was no streaming media to speak of due to lack of bandwidth, both on the server and consumer sides. Basically, we purchased our media or borrowed it from others.

    There were some who had high-speed internet, but this was likely using a desktop that was not equipped with Wi-Fi. One of the most ubiquitous items that everyone has today is a cell phone. Yes, cell phones were available and had just started to become more and more popular, but they were still not as commonplace as today. If you did have a cell phone, you actually used it as a phone and if you were lucky you could possibly have a very basic game or two. Life has changed significantly in a mere twenty years.

    Today we have streaming media and subscription services. There seems to be a subscription for just about everything these days. Some of the types of subscriptions available include games, music, movies, apps, and tv shows. The two types of services that most users have a subscription to are for Music and Movies/TV Shows. For music, there are options like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, among others. For Movies and TV Shows, you can subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Disney+, along with other options.

    The shift that we have had over the last twenty years means that we have gone from owning our own media to merely being renters. Having a subscription can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, we are able to see shows that we may not have purchased. This results in us being able to consume more media, which creates more demand, which means more content will be created. Being able to subscribe to a service means that you can dip in and out, and you do not need to make a significant commitment to the service. To provide some perspective for the amount of content available, according to Variety, in 2019, Netflix alone had more new shows than the entire television industry did in 2005. And that is just one streaming service, so you can imagine how many new shows were created in 2019.

    With having subscriptions, on an intellectual level, we all know that we do not have perpetual access to media, yet is not always something that we fully understand. We have all had a show that we enjoyed on a service disappear because the rights for that program with that service have expired. This is quite common with movies and TV Shows. Whereas it is not as common with music. However, I have experienced, first hand, a song that gets pulled from a service, yet it does happen from time to time.

    I am one who subscribes to fewer streaming and subscription services than most. I have Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Apple Music, and This Old House. I used to subscribe to Apple Arcade, but I cancelled it, but that is another story. The service I use the most is Apple Music. This is because I listen to music throughout the work day.

    Now I have had songs that have not been playable, because they were singles and the album that contains the single has been released, so access to the single is removed. In these cases, I just re-add the song and continue one. However, I have not had a song just become completely unavailable before. I went to listen to the song "Never Told a Lie" by Noah Smith using Apple Music and I could not. At first I thought, maybe an album has been released with it on it, but that is not the case.

    Next, I was thought, I will go and buy the song. I searched the iTunes Store, could not find it. I then searched Amazon Music, could not find it in the U.S. It is not available on Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, or any other streaming service in the U.S. Even the YouTube video has been pulled. When I did some searching it is possible to purchase, just not in the U.S. You can purchase the song in the UK, Germany, Italy, and many other countries.

    While I am generally in favor of streaming services, the times when media is no longer be available, can be inconvenient. Suffice to say, if you want to be sure that some media remains available you will need to purchase it. You will likely want to purchase the items before it is too late.

    I do this with movies and some TV shows, but not as often with music. Due to not being able to listen to "Never Told a Lie" anymore, I have taken my own advice and purchased a number of songs that I did not own, but had added to my iTunes library from Apple Music. In all, I ended up purchasing 39 songs. Some of these songs were just singles, so I purchased the entire "album", while others were just songs on albums, so I purchased them individually.

    I understand that this is very much a first-world problem, but it is one that you may experience at some point and it is easily avoidable. If you would like to see the list of songs that I purchased, you can do so by browsing the Apple Music playlist.