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Hello, World! Happy Pi Day

A hand-drawn crane in black ink, holding a calligraphy brush in its beak and finishing the last stroke in the phrase "Hello, world!" The Crane is standing on one foot with its wings outstretched for balance. Its neck is bent to reach the bottom of the word. It's other foot is resting on an ink well.

Hello there!

Thank you for visiting my site. It’s still a little rough, but it’s good practice to go against my perfectionist tendencies and just put something out there.

Anyway, this site is very different from my other sites in a lot of ways.

First, it’s just a normal WordPress theme. For my professional sites I use a site builder to save time and work faster. This personal site will let me experiment with code directly, and keep my skills sharp while trying new things.

Second, it’s a place to share personal projects, ideas, experiments, my lunch. There are a lot of stuff I play around with, thoughts I have, things I want to write about, that have nothing to do with work and don’t belong in my professional portfolio. This is my outlet for those things. From here, current friends and friends I have yet to meet can see what I’m up to and tell me what they think.

Third, I need to fill a whole in my heart that looks an awful lot like an “f” in a blue box next to an old fashioned, psycodelic camera. Both Facebook and instagram no longer make me feel connected, and their parent company has made it abundantly clear how it sees its users. I miss the connection I felt on social media of days gone by. I don’t think this site is the solution on its own. It’s more like my data’s home base. From here I can send my ideas out to wherever my friends are, and maybe try out some more open, user centered alternatives. If anyone wants to join me in trying these out, I will link to them and we can try them together.

That’s really it. By creating this site I have a place on the web I control where my data is my own and I can share it as I wish. Once again, I have a place where I can tell people who want to hear what I’m up to, what I’ve been working on, or thinking about. One that isn’t subject to another company’s financial success or latest data mining scheme. Only my ideas, imagination (and my ability to set up consistent backups 😂). I’m really glad you came to visit.

Please stop by anytime!

Sincerely,

Stephen

PS. I was going to talk about Pi Day, but this is already pretty long. I’ll link to my pie day post here.

How to Fix the Double “Done” Buttons in Apple’s “Working with UI Controls” Tutorial

Screenshot of Simulator showing the "Double Done Button" problem floating atop the page for Apple's "Working With UI Controls" Tutorial
Seeing double?

Apple’s tutorial for SwiftUI: “Working with UI Controls” has a small error that’s very frustrating, but also quite easy to fix. If you are like me, however, you will doubt your instincts, overthink it, and get frustrated before finding that solution. To save you time and self-doubt, I thought I’d share my solution.

As the tutorial stands today, it instructs you to create a custom “Done” button in the top left corner that saves changes to your profile. It then has you implement a standard “Edit” button using SwiftUI’s EditButton() class. I have not used previous iterations of this button, but my guess is in previous versions of this tutorial the default action for the edit button was different. Currently, EditButton() becomes a “Done” button while in edit mode, leaving you with a “Done” button in each corner with no clear sign which button will do what the user wants. Not only is this the result from completing the tutorial, Apple’s completed solution file also features this double “Done” problem. Simply dismissing the modal sheet leaves edit mode active when you return to the profile sheet.

According to Apple’s documentation (found here) struct EditButton is simply a toggle bringing the user in and out of edit mode. Since that is also what we designed our custom “Done” button to do, we can simply move this functionality to our “if statement” dictating what happens when edit mode is deactivated, then change our custom button to cancel any changes instead.

After changing our custom button’s functionality, update the button’s text to “Cancel”. I also changed the button’s color to red to better match apple’s guidelines for destructive actions. It also adds some extra visual clarity.

There you have it! When I get a minute, I might try my hand at fixing other issues to make the app more functional, like connecting the cards on the featured tab to the actual places or allowing users to dismiss edit mode by swiping away. If this interests you, please let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have your own method for fixing this, or adapted the tutorial code to do something cool. Feel free to link to your solution in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Screenshot of Simulator showing the fix for the "Double Done Button" problem floating atop the page for Apple's "Working With UI Controls" Tutorial.

Say hello to Scribbling Stickers: My App Store debut!

It’s after just one day shy of a month, my first app, Scribbling Stickers launched on the App Store. I’m so excited! 😊 It’s my hope that this will be the first of many. Like everything I’ve done lately, it was less about coding and more about design, art, and writing.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scribbling-stickers/

If you decide to buy it please leave a 5 star review! It really helps 😊

I want to say more, but I’m too tired. I’m also at a loss for words. I’ll update this post with more if I come up with things. Maybe post a pic or 2.

Until then, nap time!

— Stephen

Happy Birthday to Me!!! ☺️

I’ve been so busy with other things that it kinda snuck up on me. Today’s my birthday though. So far it’s been a pretty good, low-key day. Got to talk to some friends and family, will hopefully go out for some raids in Pokémon Go soon, and later I’ll have dinner with my parents.

Since it is my special day, I’ve tried to focus only on projects I’ve wanted to work on, but been too busy with actual work to make any progress. Ironically, giving myself this day to only focus on fun things started stressing me out. I keep worrying I’m not using my time to do what would make me happiest. This is silly, of course, but my brain likes to do silly things. I’m trying to remind myself there will be other fun days and not worry too much.

I’d also hoped by my birthday, my business would be further along (read: making any money at all) and I’d be less stressed. Unfortunately, keeping all the stress at bay has been a struggle at times. Still, I spent a lot of time leading up to my birthday planning and reorganizing so I’m in a better place than I might have been.

One of the things I did today that’s relevant to this site is I signed up for Mastodon, an open source social media platform similar to twitter. I look forward to giving it a go and letting you all know what I think. If you’re feeling adventurous in the meantime, I’m including a link so you can sign up and follow me automatically. Say “hi” if you do!

Hopefully, I’ll have time to do some other fun things before the day is up! I’m also pleased the weather is so nice!

Thanks for reading!

Stephen

Being a Team of One is Exhausting 😩

One of the things I underestimated when starting my own business is how many little tiny details I’d have to track and complete. I’m a 10 thousand-foot-level sort. The nitty-gritty just doesn’t come naturally. Programming has improved that skill but it’s definitely a learned skill.

It’s killing me with all these projects though. I’m starting to suspect the reason I rarely ever finish my own projects is the last 10% or so of any project is so grueling and tedious I just give up and promise myself I’ll finish it later at some forever-future date.

With all the pressure to produce and produce quickly I’m trying a new strategy: Kick things out the door with immutable deadlines whether they’re ready or not. It’s horrible. It’s painful. My inner perfectionist has filed a restraining order, but it’s the only way I can find to get used to getting things out the door. The deadline forces me to plow through as much of the tedious 10%, all the nastiness I put off, as possible and the project goes out into the world, one way or another. Of course this won’t cut it for clients, but I also can spend more time on client work. All these personal projects are squeezed into whatever free time and energy I can scrape together. I don’t have the luxury of time to make them perfect. Only to make them ship.

This site is a perfect example. I promised myself for years I’d rebuild scribbling ink from the barely formed ashes of a Squarespace account I could no longer afford. It never happened because I never had time to do it right. I still don’t have time to do it right. But at least now it exists. That’s a huge improvement.

Thanks for reading!

Stephen

Pi Day Love

A crane drawn in black ink with a ruler and rolled up piece of paper tucked under one wing, and holding up a pie with one foot. He is waving with his other wing. Behind him is a Pi symbol in a circle.

Happy Pi day everyone!

I hope you’ve taken the time to measure a few radii and calculate the area and circumferences of your favorite circular objects. Perhaps you’ve gone the extra mile and memorized a few more digits of pi. Regardless if and how you celebrate, I hope you’re having a great day!

My favorite thing about Pi Day is it takes an esoteric mathematical concept and makes it something approachable, lovable, human. We can question whether or not Pi is the most rational choice for this marketing miracle (hehe rational), but no other irrational numbers are so universally recognized or bring a smile to so many faces.

Also, I’m a sucker for less popular holidays. All the fun of mainstream special days with none of the baggage or expectations. All one needs for celebrating pi day is a pie (though if you take the time to calculate the area and circumference of your pie first, you get extra credit). Also if March 14th is too stressful one year, you can skip it with very little chance of scandal and ridicule by your peers. (Imagine what coworkers or classmates might say if you said you were skipping Thanksgiving, provided your country celebrates it). Even if you are having a bad day, a pie might just be the thing you need to turn things around.

If you’re celebrating Pi Day, please send me a pic of your festivities. If not, I promise not to publicly shame you.

Cheers and have a wonderful 3/14!

Stephen