I have not had much inclination to write on my blog recently. I don’t thinks it’s because of a lack of possible content, but rather because of a lack of motivation. I did post that I released a new version of the Linkage program but that was a month after the previous post. This blog isn’t read by more than a few people, if that, so it’s to like there’s pressure to provide content.

For the last six months, I’ve been writing Swift code for an iOS app. I only really got proficient at it in December and January. Since I promised my boss a lot of results, I was writing swift code for more than 8 hours a day including Saturdays. Even a few Sundays were spent on that work, but only when the board game group couldn’t meet. I feel fairly confident that I could get a job writing Swift code just about anywhere it was needed.

One interesting thing I did with my new iOS programing knowledge was to write a first-player-picker app for the App Store. It’s called “shewsi” and it is essentially a glorified spin-the-bottle app. My board game group had been using “Chwazi” which requires that each player hold their finger not he phone or tablet to pick which one is first. It turns out that the novelty of that wears thin after a few session due to not everyone wanting to touch the phone at the same time. My app just takes taps for each player and any one person can handle that for the group. The app then just “points” to the player who is first.

The work app is a business app that is mostly about filing in forms while in the field and then having a delayed submit to the server if out of coverage. The app supports photos, signature gathering, barcode scanning, iBeacon detection, and a slew of other interesting features beyond just text fields and checkboxes. Forms can be dynamic so that they expand to expose new questions or fields if an answer directs the form to do so (like of you check “yes” to answer a question then see a new text entry field to explain why “yes”was picked). It’s all very nice most of the time. The requirements sent to me from the people running our company sometimes make life hard because of things they need that are not standard. For instance, many apps show a sort of help screen the first time they run. Our app will, once I get it working, show a sort of help screen when the app starts up but also after the user signs in. That way, the user sees the startup screen based on who they are. Of course, the stuff they see needs to be delivered to the app when they sign in and it needs to fit a specific format, etc., making it hard to make this help info look really col like it does with many other apps. Oh well. That’d the price of having this flexibility. Let’s hope the marketing people don’t over-do it with tons of text the no one will read (they tend to write way to much text).

The last update to the Linkage program included some minimal support for three-connection links. I was calling them “Assur Triangles” although that is really a description of a stable structure that has three points of stability. It’s sort of accurate though because any single moment in time in the simulation, the entire mechanism should be stable and inflexible – the Linkage program doesn’t support unstable/springy/gravity-affected mechanisms. And of course, as soon as I released it, I got bug reports from people who created borderline cases that failed sometime after the start of the simulation. They just discovered right off the bat, the things I did to make the code run faster and simpler. I wish I had time to fix those things but work is still taking app some of my after-hours time.

I’m just going to throw this out there: My dog got into a little fight with a neighbor dog and I’m a bit freaked out about it. I’m worried that the neighbor, who we were friendly with before, is going to freak out and try to get my dog killed. It’s not at all likely but people get weird about these things. Many years ago, we had a different dog and while playing in the woods while the dog was chasing a stick, a kid ran out from behind some bushes right in front of that dog. The dog snapped at him, him looking like a chew toy, and he needed stitches. In that case, the people were very understanding about how we were away from people playing with the dog and that it was an unfortunate accident. We paid their doctor bill and we were all okay about it. But I’ve heard horror stories about people trying to get other people’s dog’s put down and it freaks me out. How can anyone expect a person to kill a close family friend. A friend who sleeps next to me al night and wakes me with a wet nose just before I’m actually ready to get up? Could they do this? For some reason, I just don’t trust people not to make my life miserable at their convenience.

Board gaming has been going sort of ok. I keep wanting to spice things up with new games because buying board games is fun all by itself. But it’s not really necessary since there are more games in my collection than we will very play on board game day/night. We have a new guy who joined the group and he is rather interesting. He is very capable at winning most of the games we play. He also has a dry sense of humor that rubs me the wrong way, like grabbing extra money for the game and saying that his first move is to take all of the money. I try to just say “Sorry, that’s against the rules” as if I think he really means for that to be his move. he says “I’m kidding” and I throw back “so am I” just to show how lame his joke was. but he plays well and is acceptable as a member of the group. Heck, sometimes he’s even fun to play against (as are most members of the group most of the time). Interestingly, some players are not that great to play with sometimes. I’m probably one of them. We often have overzealous winners, sore losers, paralyzed-in-the-brain players who can’t take their turns quickly enough, distracted player who forget it’s their turn, and many others, and it’s always an adventure playing.

I want to build a new RBS. I saw one that used a magnet on a stick to pick up the ball and a little bit of material at the top of the sculpture would knock the ball off the magnet and onto the track. It was neat and I think I have some magnets that are perfect for this. lately, I’ve been trying to use plastic balls for their quiet operation, but the magnet trick seems interesting.

That’s about al I can think to post about. I should get into more detail about stuff in future posts. I certainly want to describe some of the Swift programming issues and tricks I discovered during my Swift learning experience. I also want to review some board games since I think it helps me develop better writing skills. We’ll see how it goes.