Being First

Apple users are ordering more iPhones than they need. Not because they need one in each pocket, but because they want to resell the phones for profit.

Android users too are rushing to pre-order the new iPhones 6. Not because they’re switching to Apple, but because they too know that they can turn a profit by reselling these phones.

Recently, my friend told me about how people are offering to buy the new iPhones 6 at a premium over Apple’s prices.

These buyers offer the highest prices for your iPhones 6 on launch day. Then, the offer price decreases with each passing day. How strange it is that the same, exact iPhone 6 is worth a few hundred dollars more than it will be a week later.

When you think about it, it’s crazy that an entire market can not only exist, but thrive, by preying on consumers’ desire to be the first to own something.

I too tried to pre-order the iPhone 6, but to no avail because of problems with my telco’s system.

Hundreds of pages of forum posts have spawned discussing the availability of (or more like the lack of) the new iPhones.

In them, angry customers have rubbished the telco and its staff, and spewed expletives at them.

When you think about it, it’s crazy that we’re losing sleep, losing cool, just because we’re getting the phones a few days later than others.

Locking focus and exposure on iOS5’s camera

Since the iPhone 3GS, you could tap on any part of the image in the Camera app to lock focus and exposure. The exposure and focus however shifts as you recompose your image.

New in iOS5, you can finally lock focus and exposure on a spot and keep it locked even as you recompose the frame. But it’s not entirely easy to figure out how.

Tap and hold on the spot for 2s until the focus box animates. The words ‘AE/AF Lock’ appears at the bottom of the screen as you let go of your finger.

Starting Objective-C for iOS development

Some people have been curious as to what are the resources that I’ve used to pick up Objective-C in a relatively short amount of time (about 3 months, including the time taken to develop and ship the first release of Due in September 2010). There are two books have been indispensable in my learning that I’d recommend to anyone picking up iOS development:

Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (3rd Edition) by Stephen G. Kochan

Best introduction to Objective-C. Mostly command-line (so it can be quite boring), but that takes away the distraction from learning the language as the learning curve is really steep (mostly in memory management). If you’ve some programming background, you don’t need to go through the entire book, and you’ll know which to skip.

iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition)

This runs you through the graphical user interface development (the fun part) on the iPhone. But I really recommend to start with Kochan’s book first as the language learning curve is steep. Having the GUI stuff coming in can be even more confusing for someone new to programming or Objective-C.

Updated both title and and links with newer 2011 editions.

Bragging about stuff that doesn’t matter

Joshua Topolsky for Engadget:

In a post-PC world, the experience of the product is central and significant above all else. It’s not the RAM or CPU speed, screen resolution or number of ports which dictate whether a product is valuable; it becomes purely about the experience of using the device.

Ever notice it’s always the anti-Apple and pro-Samsung/HTC/Android/Nokia friends always bragging about RAM, CPU, etc? Stuff that don’t matter, basically.

Numbers and Opt+Arrow Keys

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

If there’s a set of keyboard shortcuts you absolutely must know, it is the Command (⌘) + Arrow Keys and the Option (⌥) + Arrow Keys.

They are bread and butter when it comes to writing and editing long documents on the Mac, because they allow you to move your text insertion point (caret) around the document in a flash.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, here’s a description of what they do:

  • ⌘ + ←: moves caret to the start of the sentence
  • ⌘ + →: moves caret to the end of the sentence
  • ⌘ + ↑: moves caret to the start of the document/text box
  • ⌘ + ↓: moves caret to the end of the document/text box
  • ⌥ + ←: moves caret one word before
  • ⌥ + →: moves caret one word after

If you add the Shit Key to them (⇧), you could select say the last three words you were typing in record speed by holding down ⇧+⌥ and hitting ← three times. Select whole sentence from the end? ⇧ + ⌘ + ←

No more aiming your mouse cursor at the correct alphabet, clicking and dragging. Your hands will always be on the keyboard. Sounds good?

Now, most self-respecting Mac apps support this form of editing. Even your iPhone and iPad support all these shortcuts when you hook up your Bluetooth keyboard to it.

The problem comes in Numbers, the Excel equivalent made by Apple. By default, ⌥ + ← and ⌥ + → are mapped to insert new column to the left and right respectively.

As you can imagine, trying to move between words ends up inserting new columns (horrors), and that basically makes editing Numbers document super painful.

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Thankfully, you can change all that easily on the Mac by mapping the add-columns shortcuts to another set of keys from within System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Since I don’t really need to add columns as frequently as I need to move around various parts of the spreadsheet quickly, I’ve since mapped them to a more obscure key combination involving Control (^) + Option (⌥) + Command (⌘) + Arrow key.

This restores my sanity when it comes to editing Numbers document, which I’ve been working on a lot when collaborating with my translators for my iPhone reminder app—Due.

The new iMac 27″ display

This is the 27″ iMac display. Check out how little adjustment is needed out of box and the gamut.

The New iMac 27-inch Display

The New iMac 27-inch Display

iPhone/iPad Calendar Bug Report

Always irks me that the Mac OS X, iPhone and now iPad thinks that Singaporeans start their week on Sunday instead of Monday. I was finally motivated enough to submit a bug report last week, and in less than 2 days I received a reply from Apple for a followup on the issue. Pretty impressive for a big company like Apple. The last time I got a direct response from a tech company for a bug report was from Omni Group for their OmniOutliner software.

If you’re keen to read the report, see: Bug Report for Calendar in iPhone & iPad