WWDC 2018

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this year. This was my fourth time attending the conference, but was my first time attending WWDC in San Jose.

The conference for me had a rough start. It started at home with a four hour delay of my flight. This meant I didn’t get into San Francisco and then to my hotel until after 11pm (2am EDT).

Things got much better after that. The conference was great. I had a great flight home, being moved to an exit row and having an empty seat next to me.

Overall, the conference was great. I did forget much of what I had learned by the end of the week. So many great sessions and things started to blur together.

Favorite “Features” of Upcoming Releases

Apple announced a number of new features and technologies this year.

  • iOS Performance updates
  • Long-form audio on watchOS
  • Dark Mode on macOS
  • Update DND
  • Screen Time
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • CreateML
  • Shared App Platform (early preview)

Favorite Sessions

I watched a lot of sessions while I was at the conference. Here are some of my favorites. I haven’t seen all of the sessions from WWDC, so there may be a number of better sessions out there.

My favorite session was probably What’s New in Swift. I love using Swift. It’s such a great language. I enjoy seeing what’s new in it.

Labs

The labs are probably the largest benefit to coming to WWDC. You can watch the sessions anytime from the comfort of your home. But labs give you an opportunity to talk 1:1 with Apple engineers.

I spent a bit of time in the labs talking and discussing issues I (and my team) have had. We were able to work through most of the issues I brought with me. There was an issue that the engineers weren’t able to solve. I ended up speaking to four different engineers and we decided to create a bug report with as much details as I could give. Hopefully, they’ll come back with an answer at some point (and not just mark it as a dup) and weren’t just trying to get rid of me.

I’m glad that I went prepared with a list of questions and issues to take to the labs.

Most Anticipated Feature

My single most anticipated feature is the ability to have apps play long-form audio on watchOS. I take multiple long walks every day and listen to either books (using Audible) or podcast (using Overcast / Castro). I would love to ditch the phone and walk with my AirPods and Apple Watch.

This feature alone will make daily walks much more enjoyable. I cannot wait for the app developers to implement this new feature.

Overall

It was a great conference. It started out a little shaky, but ended great. I’m looking forward to playing with the new features.

Gaming Update

Photo by wu yi

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything other than lists of books I’ve been reading here. So I thought I would post something slightly different.

I posted about my gaming habits most recently in November of last year. Since then, not a lot has changed. I still play quite a bit of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. I’ve played less and less of Hearthstone, but I think I’m going to pick it up again.

Mobile gaming is just so accessible to me. My phone is always with me.

Since November, I’ve been slowly (and I mean slowly) making my way through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ve managed to get through two of the Divine Beasts (Divine Beast Vah Ruta & Divine Beast Vah Rudania). I’ve still got quite a ways to go to finish the game. I suspect that it’ll take me six more months to do so.

Other than that, I haven’t done much gaming at all. I was thinking of a list of games I’d love to get (back) to. Here are some of them.

And so many more!

There are so many good games out there. I just wish I had the time to play more. I used to finish a game every other week or so. Now, I’m lucky if I can play a console game once a week. I’m not saying I wish that would change. What’s occupied my time is my family. I just wish there was more time… But then I think we all wished that too.

May - Books

Photo by Nathan Wright

Look at me! I’m getting this post out before the end of the month. Sure, it’s the last day of the month. But that’s better than a month or two late, right? Right?

May was a pretty light reading month. I still managed to read 5 books. And one of them was a technical book, which always takes me longer. I’ve started on a 6th (technical) book, but haven’t finished it yet. That’ll be tracked next month.

Here are the books I managed to tackle:

Only one comic book this month. For some reason, I thought I had read more than that. Interesting. I wonder if I missed some in my GoodReads account.

What’s your favorite?

None… They were all just meh…

This may be one of the months where I didn’t have a clear favorite. They were all just OK. I really thought I would enjoy Darth Plaguis and I guess if pressed to pick a favorite, that would be it. But they were just OK.

Books Read in March/April

Photo by Benjamin Ashton

I missed posting the books I read in March and am really late in posting about April. It’s pretty bad that it’s only May and I’m already slacking on my commitment to myself to be open about the books I’m reading this year. I hope this was just a blip.

Books for March and April are:

I read a lot of comics books (graphic novels). I also went a bit heavy on the Star Wars stuff again.

I finally read through the Marvel Civil War graphic novel. I’ve been meaning to read through that for years. I finally got around to it. It was good. Not as good as other storylines, but still good.

Slower on Kindle

I’ve been reading on my Kindle a little slower than expected. This started right around the time I decided to read a technical book on it.

I can’t do this. I am a much slower reader when it comes to technical books. I also won’t read technical books before bed. I prefer fiction just before going to bed.

I finished the technical book last night. I think I need to stick with fiction on my Kindle and use my iPad to read technical books. I’ll try this out and see how it works.

Got a Favorite?

I think the best comic book I read this month was Aphra. I hadn’t known much about her character in the Star Wars universe outside of the Darth Vader comics I read previously. She’s a pretty cool character and I’ve got Vol 2 in her story arc queued up and ready to go. I’m looking forward to reading more about her soon.

As far as novels go, I really enjoyed both Shift and We Are Legion.

Shift is the second in Silo series by Hugh Howey. I absolutely loved the first in the series (Wool) and loved this one too. I’ve got the third one, I just need to read through it. It’s an excellent series and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys post apocalyptic fiction.

We Are Legion was great. I believe I got it on Audible on sale. It’s the first of it’s own series (Bobiverse). I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. I can’t wait to read the next in the series. It’s already on my wishlist.

What’s Next?

I’m already a few books into the May list. I’m trying to read a few more technical books. These take me much longer to read. Not sure if it’s the authors I’m reading, or I’m trying harder to retain the content I’m reading.

I think I’ll be trying to go forward with reading four books at a time. One comic book, one audio book, one technical book and one novel on my Kindle. It’s a lot to track and I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to track the various books. But I’m going to try it out. it’s probably the only way I’ll be able to read technical books.

HomePod

Photo by Natalie Perea

I had mentioned in a previous post that we’ve been playing with personal assistants like Google Home and Alexa. I also mentioned that I would probably be getting a HomePod.

I got one. About a month ago.

I really like HomePod. However, my use case for the HomePod is different than the Google Home products. I use it in my home office as a speaker. All I really ask it to do is play music and it sounds great.

I should probably ask Siri (HomePod) to do things other than play certain music. You know, for science. But I just haven’t yet.

My one gripe with having so many Siri devices in a small area is that whenever I would say “Hey Siri …” multiple devices would light up. Sometimes my Apple Watch or iPhone would respond. I fixed the issue (I think) by turning off the “Listen for Her Siri” option in settings (Settings > Siri & Search). It’s been working much better since then.

So far, I’m loving HomePod. It makes a great speaker for my office.