Just a few years ago, Greenpeace would regularly call out Apple for their environmental impact. In that time, they’ve managed to climb a few ranks, mostly on the back of their efforts eliminating toxic chemicals like PVC. Kudos to them.

Not to minimize the efforts of other companies high on that list. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Phillips, LG, Sony, Motorola, and Samsung, you guys rock for not polluting all over the place.

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Ars Technica:

ChangeWave queried 4,068 current and potential smartphone consumers last month and noted that a full 21 percent said that they would prefer Android on their next smartphones—a jump of 15 percentage points from the year before. Comparatively, 28 percent of respondents said they would prefer iPhone OS; this makes the iPhone the leader in this category, though this number dropped four percentage points year over year.

Many iPhone developers and Apple enthusiasts are quick to shrug off the Android platform, for a variety of reasons ranging from aesthetic and design, to functionality and developer tools. Many of these criticisms are certainly valid. But iPhone has its own share of problems, and certainly is deficient in many ways to the Android.

With Google’s press conference tomorrow, and CES for the remainder of the week, there will be a lot of focus on the Android platform. It will become a much stronger platform in 2010. It will be interesting to see how Apple responds with iPhone OS 4.0 (which history suggests they’ll probably talk about in March).

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Twitter uses OAuth as its supported form of authentication. This is fine for some apps like clients where users need to authenticate themselves, but it doesn’t work well for bots or scripts run by one person. If the bot needs an access token, it can be a real pain to obtain without writing the intermediate code.

This application, OAuthery, serves a simple purpose. You supply it the consumer key and secret for your OAuth application. It creates a request token and the URL for authorizing it. You complete the authorization in a web browser and get a PIN number. You then enter that PIN number back into the application, and it spits out your access key and secret. At this point, the user authentication is complete, and you can add those credentials to your script, and access API resources.

This is largely intended as a developer tool for people developing applications with Twitter’s OAuth impelmentation. It also provides code to show exactly how to perform the authentication process with OAuth and Twitter, so that developers who wish to implement such functionality in their own apps can use this as reference.

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OpenEmu is a Cocoa framework and application for running multiple emulators as plugins. Many popular open source emulators; such as SNES9x, Nestopia, and VisualBoyAdvance; are fully compatible with this system. As all the emulators are going through the same architecture, it can be tuned to use the latest Quartz and Core Graphics technologies to deliver screaming performance.

Most of my participation has been in fixing bugs and doing some application-side coding. My big task so far is an in-development ROM organizer powered by Core Data, with smart playlists, Quick Look for save states, and ratings.

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VillainousStyle is a drawing library for defining a visual style from a chain of individual drawing instructions. Each instruction modifies the drawing context to perform common operations; such operations include shadows, fills, borders, and shapes. It allows for multiple style sheets which can be used to theme an application in multiple visual contexts. VillainousStyle sits on top of CoreGraphics, and does not use WebKit for rendering at all. It is a fork of the VSStyle and VSShape classes, originally from the Three20 project.

Stylesheets

VSStyleSheet is an abstract superclass for a set of styles. Subclass it and add methods for each style you wish to add. You will likely want to create a protocol for your styles to implement, to ensure that your stylesheet implements all the necessary styles.

There is a global stylesheet, which can be thought of as the “active” stylesheet. Call +[VSStyleSheet setGlobalStyleSheet:] to change the active theme, which will fire a VSStyleSheetChangedNotification. When that gets fired, you’ll want to tell your views to update their styles and redraw.

Styles

Styles affect drawing and positioning. Most will affect the next VSStyle objects in the chain.

  • Fills

    • VSSolidFillStyle – Fills the current shape with a solid color
    • VSLinearGradientFillStyle – Fills the current shape with a gradient between two colors
    • VSReflectiveFillStyle – Fills the current shape with a glossy-style gradient between two colors
  • Borders

    • VSSolidBorderStyle – Draws a border around the current shape with a solid color
    • VSBevelBorderStyle – Draws a beveled edge border for a 3D effect around the current shape
    • VSFourBorderStyle – Draws a border around the current shape with four colors, one for each edge
  • Shadows

    • VSShadowStyle – Draws a shadow behind content with a given color, blur, and offset
    • VSInnerShadowStyle – Draws a shadow inside the content with a given color, blur, and offset
  • Positioning

    • VSBoxStyle – Adds a margin or padding to the content area
    • VSInsetStyle – Adds edge insets to the content area
  • Content

    • VSTextStyle – Draws text inside the current shape
    • VSImageStyle – Draws an image inside the current shape
    • VSMaskStyle – Clips the drawing area to an image mask
    • VSShapeStyle – Clips the drawing area with a VSShape object

Shapes

Shapes affect the fills and borders, but do not clip the content styles.

  • VSRectangleShape
  • VSRoundedRectangleShape
  • VSRoundedLeftArrowShape – a rounded rectangle with a left-facing arrow
  • VSRoundedRightArrowShape – a rounded rectangle with a right-facing arrow

Future Ideas

  • iPhone static library
  • Cappuccino library
  • File-based stylesheets that can be read/written from VSStyleSheet objects
  • GUI builder for styles
  • More styles!
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The templates that ship with Xcode are not the greatest. Some of them are inconsistent and don’t enforce good coding standards (e.g. missing a dealloc method). Other templates which would be useful just flat out don’t exist (e.g. an NSOperation subclass, or a protocol header file). This project aims to supplement or replace the built-in templates for Xcode to speed up coding and improve the quality of code.

Coding Standard

All files will be processed by Xcode. The generated source files must produce consistent, readable, commented code. The code must have these characteristics:

  • Each file must have a comment block at the top describing the file.
  • Each class must implement its superclass’ designated initializer and dealloc.
  • Stub methods must be organized by their purpose, class or protocol. — Each group must be organized by their class hierarchy, with protocol stubs following. — Each group must be prefaced by a pragma mark naming the class or protocol the methods were implementing. — Clusters of methods (such as relating to KVO) should be organized along the lines above, with a pragma mark.
  • All method implementations should contain a method call to their super implementation if needed.
  • All method implementations should contain a commented out stub line that will signify where to insert their code.
  • All comments must be in the form of two slashes //, and none using the /* */ form. This will allow developers to comment out large blocks of code as needed.

Wish List

  • Different people want different things in their template. For instance, someone may want to include an implementation of observeValue:… for every class. Would be nice to have a template generator application (yeah yeah, very meta) which would make templates customized to the developer.
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URL Shrink is a new OS X tool with a very simple purpose – converting URLs to shorter permalinks on various web services. As the internet has matured, and services like IM, IRC, and Twitter have forced us to write shorter messages, it was clear that a system was needed that was as ubiquitous as Quicksilver.

For now, the main service of URL Shrink is just converting a URL that is on the clipboard, although this will be expanding over time (including things like a system text service, a command line client, a Quicksilver plugin, etc.). To do this, there is a keyboard shortcut (option-shift-space) which will convert the URL in the background to a tiny URL using one of the services provided. If you’ve selected one as your favorite, it’ll choose that one. For example, I’m personally partial to is.gd, so all the URLs that are processed by URL Shrink on my machine go through is.gd.

At a low level, URL Shrink is a system where multiple shrinking engines can be added. It was designed to be extremely easy for developers to write just a little bit of code to integrate with other web services, including private URL services. For information on that, see the project page below.

URL Shrink is licensed under the BSD license. I encourage its adoption within other applications; I’ll be adding .framework and .a targets for building this into Mac and iPhone apps respectively. Indeed, the project was born out of the URL shrinking capacity of another app I’m working on.

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Right before the Super Bowl. One of the country’s biggest chicken producers filed for Chapter 11 in December. This reorganization has caused huge slowdowns of their production. Coupled with the looming Super Bowl, expect your wings to be pricey for the next couple weeks.

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This one is for all of those developers out there who scoff at JavaScript. This is a working neural network algorithm in JavaScript used for ripping apart CAPTCHA images (in this case, from Megaupload) and deciphering them. This is really sophisticated stuff, and even though Megaupload has some pretty easy CAPTCHAs, this should be pretty easily adaptable to other CAPTCHAs.

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Tim Cook, acting CEO of Apple:

We’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here. Goal is not to lead unit sales, but to build the world’s best phone.

Hopefully this kills the stupid iPhone nano rumors. Kills ’em dead. It’s not coming, people.

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Thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts’ gaffe during the presidential oath of office yesterday, President Obama (I still smile a bit at seeing that word pair) decided to err on the side of caution and retake the oath today.

Probably not necessary, but then again, I’m not Bill O’Reilly.

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South Park Studios:

On Wednesday March 11, 2009 at 10 pm EST South Park goes HD. We are really excited because, not only will the season premiere be in HD, but we have been working hard for over a year re-rendering previous seasons in native HD. We are not up-converting the episodes, but actually going into each episode and re-rendering every shot and frame at true HD.

South Park hasn’t been made with actual construction paper for years. The studio uses a sophisticated rendering farm with tools like Maya and Motion (made on Macs, of course). And recent seasons have been far more visually stunning. The jump to HD is great news and will make the show look even better.

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