movie-clue.jpg
Here is the murderously funny movie based on the world-famous Clue board game. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a gun? Miss Scarlet in the billiard room with the rope? Or was it Wadsworth the butler? Meet all the notorious suspects and discover all their foul play things. You’ll love their dastardly doings as the bodies and the laughs pile up before your eyes.

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  • Happy 4th of July

  • wwrite 2.1.2 and wwriteFree 2.1.2

    Both wwrite 2.1.2 and wwriteFree 2.1.2 have been released.

    300 pixels by 300 pixels wwrite icon

    wwrite 2.1.2 has a couple of minor changes. The new features include the addition of support via twitter and implementation of auto layout. The bug fixes include some text within the “About” section of the app. The full change log is here.

    wwrite.Free.Logo

    wwriteFree 2.1.2 has feature parity with wwrite 2.1.2. These items include iOS 7 features like Dynamic Text, support for retina iPads, 64-bit support, a new file format and more archive types. The full change log is here.

  • Happy Mother’s Day

  • My Coding History: AKA a long way to announce a new version of wwrite

    wwrite icon, that's 1024 pixels by 1024 pixels

    I’m not the best developer in the world, not by a long shot. I don’t have much formal training. I’ve been doing HTML/CSS coding since around 1997. I took a VB/C++ class in high school, and it was the sole reason I didn’t graduate in January. I didn’t really continue taking programming classes in college, but I didn’t stop programming. In 2001 or so, started working with “classic” Active Server Pages to be able to read Microsoft Access databases, that was around 2002/2003.

    In 2004/2005 I changed to PHP to be able to begin customizing a blogging platform to my liking. Which, now that I think about it, it’s been just over nine and a half years since I first started blogging. I’ve been doing PHP/MySQL/HTML/CSS/Javascript ever since. My biggest web-based programming project is actually an inventory/ticketing system for work. That started back in 2007 when we needed a way to keep track of all of our technology. It has grown to include more items than that. Almost every single aspect of the site is custom and works to the needs of my job. Sadly, that’s not my primary responsibility at work, even though it should be.

    I say I’m not the best coder for a reason. For instance, it took me over a year to just understand the basic concepts of Objective-C and to begin writing code with it. Most good programmers should be able to pick up the language within a month or so. Having done procedural programming for so long, and limiting my use of object-oriented items, with the inventory/ticketing system, the aspect of sending messages to objects just eluded me. I sat and read books, let those sink in, read some more, and let that sink in, and it finally didn’t really start to click until a year later, around March of 2010.

    My first “real” project with Objective-C was the original release of wwrite 1.0.0, I had hoped to keep releasing new versions that kept pace with new features. Sadly, this hasn’t happened. I did start off strong, continually adding versions. Each version added new features, re-worked things a bit, but it didn’t last. I got distracted by other things and easily discouraged when things aren’t working properly; (sadly, that’s a common theme in some, if not most, of my endeavors). The only motivation I had to re-write wwrite was the release of iOS 7 and its complete visual redesign. Instead of just adding updating the app for iOS 7, I opted to do a re-write to make everything easier on myself later on. This culminated in version 2.0.0. The re-working with 2.0.0 made it much easier for 2.1.0. Before we get into wwrite 2.1.0, let’s take a quick look at the history of wwrite.

    wwrite’s History

    wwrite has been a project I’ve been plugging away at, off and on, for the last four year. It was originally released on April 4th, 2010, one day after the release of the original iPad back on April 3rd, 2010. It would’ve been released on April 3rd, but I wanted to run it on an iPad first, just to make sure everything was working. This was a smart move since some bug was present on the device but not within the simulator. This is why I always test on a device before releasing. Since the initial release I’ve slowly added features. The last release 2.0.0 was back on October 10th, 2013. As mentioned above, version 2.0.0 was a complete re-write that made the code more manageable and would make adding features a lot easier.

    The original concept behind wwrite was to make an app that provided a text editor that incorporated templates. Back in 2010 I was still writing my Daily Run Down articles. That was my inspiration for the application. wwrite 2.0.0 was a somewhat ambitious undertaking, particularly when it came to re-writing a significant portion of the codebase. wwrite 2.1.0 was even more so, but more on that in a bit.

    In December of 2010 I opted to release an ad-supported version of my app, because I knew some people would not pay $1.99 for a text app. The app is called wwriteFree. Until version 1.6.0, the free version has had feature parity with the paid version. However, with the 2.0.0 version, I never could get the iAd banner to work well with my “Master-Detail” views. wwriteFree still sits at version 1.6.0 until I can figure out the iAd banner issues. Once I do, it will probably be the same feature parity as the latest version of wwrite. I have contemplated on having two different versions of the app, with wwriteFree being slightly behind wwrite, but I haven’t decided if I want to take this approach or not. I’ll have to sit and ruminate on this for a while.

    In September of 2010, I decided to release an iPhone Edition of the app, using iOS 4.2. wwrite – iPhone Edition was initially released as version 1.4.0. It had feature parity with wwrite. wwrite – iPhone Edition version 1.6.0 was released on March 23, 2011. Which is where it still stands. To give you some perspective as to how “old” that is. wwrite – iPhone Edition 1.6.0 does not support the iPhone 5, which was released in 2012, nor does it support Retina-level graphics which were released with the iPhone 4 in July of 2011. Just to give some perspective on that.

    Ever since I finished and submitted wwrite 2.0.0, there have been certain features I wanted to add. Some of them would be simple to implement, other would be more difficult. The balancing act of ambition versus time, versus ability always comes into play. The balance can sometimes be too much to effectively manage. Sometimes you have a great idea but cannot execute it. Other times you can execute the great idea, but just don’t have the time. It’s all a delicate balance.

    A couple weeks ago, sometime around April 15th or so, in anticipation of iOS 8 being unveiled at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2014, I started working on wwrite 2.1.0. wwrite 2.1.0 includes a bunch of new features, all of which are documented here. The biggest features are the ability to archive more than just the files, emailing of archives, and the ability to have more than five templates. All of these were features I had actually been planning on putting in 2.0.0, but just never did, again, due to time constraints.

    wwrite 2.1.0

    All of that is just a long-winded way of saying that wwrite 2.1.0 is now available. wwrite 2.1.0 is 33% large than wwrite 2.0.0, which I didn’t realize until I submitted the app. It sits at just around 1MB, up from 632K for wwrite 2.0.0. The biggest change to wwrite 2.1.0 is a brand new file format. It now separates the file contents from its meta data. This sounds like a “no duh” item, but it actually took a lot to accomplish.

    wwrite has not been a huge money maker for me. I don’t think I will ever recouped my costs of creation. If I were to estimate the total time spent writing code for all three of my apps, I would have to estimate it to around 600 or so hours. Of which, a good 7.5%, or about 45 hours (for those who don’t want to do the calculation), were just in the last couple of weeks to get wwrite 2.1.0 released. It sounds like a lot of time, and it is. When you’re app is only $0.99 or $1.99, it takes a significant number of sales to recuperate your costs. Even at minimum wage, 600 hours would come to approximately $4500. I’m no where near that amount in sales. I’m lucky if I’m even at 10% of that amount, total in four years.

    Other thoughts

    Regardless of the amount of time, I’m at somewhat of a cross-roads. Do I continue to put forth the effort of adding features to the app when I know I’ll never see a return on the investment. Do I do this just to say I have an app in the app store? I know I’ll continue to have an iOS developer account since I do want to be able to get the latest versions of iOS ahead of public release. But I’m not sure if I’ll continue to update the apps. If I ever do figure out how best to get the iAd banner to work correctly the “Master-Detail” for the wwriteFree, I may release that.

    To quote Steve Jobs, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backward”. And I know this is to be true. Maybe all of this work will just be a springboard for me to become a developer full-time at some point. I do not know. Maybe it will ultimately just prove to be an exercise in futility. I know not all developers aspire to have a breakout hit like Angry Birds, Flappy Birds, or any other moderately popular game, but some success is always welcome. Maybe it will come one day, but only time can, and will, tell.

    You can download wwrite , wwriteFree, and wwrite – iPhone Edition in the iTunes App Store.

    If apps aren’t your thing, I also have some e-books as well. All of their information is located here.

  • Call of Duty: A New Era

    A short 15 second video has been released that announces that “Call of Duty – A New Era” arrives on Star Wars day (May 4th). The video has a voice over from Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) of House of Cards. The line states: “Ideas don’t determine who’s right. Power determines who’s right. And I have the power, so I’m right”.

    Here’s the video.

  • 2013: In Review

    I could do a reflection on my 2013 but I felt this to be too mundane. Most Particularly because I didn’t manage to accomplish nearly as much as I wanted nor enough to take up an entire post.Instead, I leave you with this quote from Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, in order to reflect on everything.

    Short History of Nearly Everything

    “The fact that you have atoms and that they assemble in such a willing manner is only part of what got you here. To be here now, alive in the 21st century, and smart enough to know it, you also had to be the beneficiary of an extraordinary string of biological good fortune. Survival on earth is a surprisingly tricky business. Of the billions and billions of species of living thing that have existed since the dawn of time. Most, 99.999 percent are now longer around. Life on earth, you see, is not only brief but also dismaying tenuous. It is a curious feature that we come a planet that is so good at promoting life, but even better at extinguishing it.

    The average species on life lasts for only about four millions years. If you wish to be around four billion years, you have to be as fickle as the atoms that made you. You must be prepared to change everything about you; size, shape, color, species affiliation, everything, and to do so repeatedly. That’s much easier said than done. Because the process of change is random. To get from protoplasmal primordial atomic globule, as the Gilbert and Sullivan song put it, to sentient up-right modern human, has required you to mutate new traits in a precisely timely manner, over and over again for an exceedingly long while. For various periods over the last 3.8 Billion years, you have abhorred oxygen and then doted on it. Grown fins and limbs and jaunty sails, laid eggs, flicked the air with a forked tongue, been sleek, been furry, lived under ground, lived in trees, been as big as a deer and as small as a mouse, and a million things more. The tiniest deviation from any of these evolutionary shifts, and you could now be licking algae off cave walls or lolling walrus-like on some stony shore, or disgorging air from a blow-hole in the top of your head before diving sixty-feet for a mouthful of delicious sandworms.

    Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time in-memorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely, make that miraculously, fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 Billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your fore-bearers on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected by its life’s quest to deliver a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner, at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only sequence of hereditary combinations that could result, eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly, in you.”

  • Mario Cat

  • Daily Run Down: Final Edition

    Fireworks

    I have just finished going through my RSS feeds, for my Daily Run Down posts, for the last time. After many weeks of contemplation, I have decided to stop publishing the Daily Run Down. I have been publishing stories daily since October 20, 2009. You view the first one here. When I began following the news, I originally did my ‘Stories of the Week’, but this became problematic and began finding ways to automate the task and have done so. There really is not much for me to do, in terms of posting, it is all automated. The hardest part is going through my 1500+ items in my RSS feeds per day. It was this time last year that I added categories to the site for better organization. Last November, November 9th to be exact, I began publishing two Daily Run Down articles per day. On May 23rd, 2010 I added the “Historical Edition” of the Daily Run Down. These were published weekly, mostly because news on the weekends, and particularly Sundays, is quite slow. Both the Historical Daily Run Down and regular Daily Run Down will no longer be published.

    This decision is partly inspired by some comments Marco Arment made regarding why he sold Instapaper and then subsequently sold The Magazine. I think the comments were made on on the 5by5 show, Quit! Marco was on episode #21: Quit & Analyze.

    Over the years there have been stories of little consequence, like the “Antennagate” “scandal” revolving around the iPhone 4 and big stories, like Osama Bin Laden being killed and the death of Steve Jobs and Barack Obama being elected President. One thing I have learned is that no matter how much you try to keep up, there will also be more and more news.

    You could say the decision to stop publishing my Daily Run Down on July 4th is in the spirit of independence. To some degree you would be right. However, that is not the intent behind my decision. Sure, it does reduce the feeling of being compelled to keep up on the news and make sure to go through all of my RSS feeds just to make sure there were stories to be published, but the amount of time it takes to keep up was just becoming too much. I could have tried to reduce the number of feeds, but that would have only reduced the story load. It ultimately comes down to me not being into keeping up and publishing news on a daily basis. Sometimes, when your heart just isn’t into something, it may be time to let it go. This is completely the case, for me, with the news and thus, why I am no longer publishing my Daily Run Down.

    I know some people do use my Daily Run Down to keep abreast of the news but in all honestly keeping up with the news has become burdensome. In the last few months, and increasingly in the last few weeks, my heart is just not into keeping up with the news anymore. The same feeling became evident when I decided to stopp writing for Macgasm on a regular basis. I realized it was time to quit, which was two years ago now, because I was burned out. I was burned out on keeping up with the Mac news and always having to try and be first. When I realized that it was not working well for me anymore, I decided to stop writing for the site. I still do write a lengthy review of OS X Server, and am still planning on doing so again this year, but I do not regularly write for the site anymore. I had written for the site for over 3 1/2 years when I realized I had become burned out. The requested number of stories was two per week, which is not many, but sometimes there were some very slow news weeks and trying to find something to write became problematic.

    During my time reading the news, many of the stories were items that I picked just by the headline. There was no way that I would be able to read every single word of every single story that I shared, it would have been impossible to accomplish. The final “nail in the coffin” was when I recently realized that I was hitting “mark all as read” a lot more often than I had in the past, just to clear out the feeds and reduce the number of stories I had to read. This was when I really knew I was burned out on the news and it was time to stop publishing.

    I’m not saying that I will not be following the news, I will; it will just be a much lighter load. I will be able to reduce the number of feeds I follow and the feeds that I will read will most likely be targeted towards sites that I really want to read, absorb and digest in a more complete manner. If I do manage to come across an article that I must share, I will post it on the site, but it will only include parts of the article that I wish share, comment on, or elaborate on, instead of just a list, like it is now.

    In terms of the future of the site, instead of publishing a list of stories every day, I may try focusing on more specific, and thus more in-depth, stories and my thoughts behind them, along with implications. I have not fully decided on whether or not to do in-depth stories. In conjunction with that, I cannot say if I will resurrect the Daily Run Down at some point in the future.

    What I do know is that I will be focusing on some projects that will be very time consuming, including two e-books, and completely re-writing a webapp. As for the e-books, one will be on iOS 7 and the other will be on OS X 10.9 Mavericks. I also have my apps which have been severely neglected and are in definite need of an updates and complete rewrites. I would love to try and create a new application that utilizes the latest and greatest features of iOS 7, but I have not yet had a chance to come up with a good concept for an application.

    Now that I have finished reading the last of my feeds for the final post, I can begin reducing the number of feeds that I follow. It will definitely be difficult to adjust to to the change in my reading habits, However, the first thing I need to do is remove the “send to” options that I have on my RSS reader, just so I’m not tempted to share stories. I do hope you will continue to read the site to stay up to date on the goings on and look for the in-depth articles, should I decide to write them.

  • 50,000th Tweet

    twitter-bird-light-bgs

    If I have scheduled and calculated everything properly, this will be my 50,000th Tweet since joining Twitter on January 29th, 2007, or 2301 days. If I would’ve looked at the number of days yesterday, I would’ve made sure I hit 50,000 tweets yesterday. Alas, life This comes out to an average of about 22 tweets per day. A great many things have happened in my life since that time. Too many to go through in just this one post. However, if you’re really interested let me know I’ll go through them with you on a one-on-one basis. I’ve made quite a few friends during that time. Coincidentally, none that I have actually met in person. I hope to change that fact.

    To celebrate my 50,000th Tweet, I’ll be giving away one copy of each of my e-books (including the soon to be released Xbox e-book) to one lucky individual.

    In order to win you must have a valid email address (yes, weird requirement I know), be able to download books from iTunes AND have the best reply to the Tweet (as determined by me). The contest will run for one week from this posting, or May 25th, and 12:00 Central Time.

  • London 1927: In Color