Time For a Change
August 23, 2021 | 1 min read

Photo by Chris Lawton

I’ve changed employers.

I’ve been working for Warner Bros. Digital Labs (which used to be DramaFever) essentially for 5 years. I took a small break there a few years ago, but almost immediately came back.

I’ve worked on a variety of projects over the last few years which have included DramaFever, Boomerang and DC Universe. The later two have both been featured on the app stores multiple times. These have all been on iOS and tvOS. I’ve been very proud of the work I’ve done.

The work environment at WBLD was also great. I enjoyed everyone that I worked with. But now, it’s time for a change.

I just started working for a new company. I’m now a Staff iOS Engineer for Slice. I started last Monday and I’m pretty excited about it.

This is going to present a new set of challenges for me. I’m moving away from entertainment based apps to an app that provides food to people. I hope to learn a lot while in my new role.

This is going to be exciting.

New iPad Air
August 4, 2021 | 2 min read

Photo by Sanjeev Mohindra

I recently bought a 2020 iPad Air. This new iPad Air is an upgraded from my (2016) iPad Pro 9.7”. That old iPad Pro was probably my favorite iOS device. I used it all the time. In the last few months, the iPad Pro was starting to slow down a bit. It was time for an upgrade.

I love the design of the this iPad Air. I think it looks great. It’s a much ‘flatter’ design compared to my old iPad Pro.

The home button is also gone, which means the bezel around the screen is smaller. There’s still a Touch ID sensor, but it’s now on the power button. I would probably prefer the Face ID capabilities of the new iPad Pros.

Why didn’t I get a new iPad Pro?

I use iPads a lot. I use them for most of my personal computing. The only thing I don’t use them for is writing code. Xcode is not on the iPad (yet?), so I still need to use my Mac writing code. The new iPad Pros were a bit outside of my price range and I’m not sure if I would need or use all of the features on the iPad Pro. I may regret all of this if/when Apple announces iOS development on the iPad Pros.

In the future I may go back to an iPad Pro. That decision will be for “future Ryan.” That new screen on the iPad Pro 12.9” looks amazing. But for now I am really happy with my choice.

Accessories

Along with the iPad Air, I also bought the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

The price of the Magic Keyboard was a bit steep, but I’ve been very happy with it so far. I’m using the Magic Keyboard to write this blog post. I think an external keyboard of some sort is a necessity for the larger iPads.

I’m still torn on the Apple Pencil. I had one with my old iPad and rarely used it. I think it will end up being something I use from time to time. I’m not sure it’s a necessity for me.

Moving Forward

I’ve been thinking with ways to use my iPad as a development machine. I haven’t figured it out yet.

I have Screens installed and am using that as a VNC client to my Mac. I’ve been trying that so that I can use Xcode. Yeah, I know that I could just use my MacBook Pro. I’ve been thinking of getting an M1 Mac Mini and using my iPad when I am not in my office.

I’ve tried a handful of editors for web development and just haven’t found one that I like yet. I would like it to do both text editing and git management, but haven’t been happy with any of the options.

I’m going to keep looking. I really want to make it work, I just don’t know if I can. Yet.

So far I am really happy with the new iPad Air.

Site Updates (Jul 2021)
July 16, 2021 | 1 min read

Photo by Daniel McCullough

I’ve just wrapped up a handful of changes to the site. The site mostly looks the same, but there have been pretty large changes under the hood.

This site runs on Jekyll. It’s a platform that takes Markdown and converts it to HTML. Previously, I was using a pre-built theme called Lanyon.

The theme looks great, but there were a few things that I didn’t quite like about it. The navigation was an issue for me. I am not a fan of hamburger menus on websites. I never liked the navigation, but I didn’t have much interested in changing it, until now.

I also wanted to take some time to add both a portfolio page and my resume.

Over the last week, I took the time to make these changes. I decided to remove the Lanyon theme entirely and roll my own “theme” using Tailwind CSS. What I have now isn’t much of a theme that can be packaged and distributed, but I built this myself. It still looks a lot like the Lanyon theme, but I know how it works and won’t have much issue adding and tweaking things in the future.

Now, the navigation is across the top of the site. And I’ve also added the portfolio and resume pages. I’ve made a handful of other minor changes throughout the site. Most of the changes were under the hood and will hopefully go unnoticed.

This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I finally got around to it and I am happy that I did.

Vacationing️
May 31, 2021 | 1 min read

I spent the last few days on vacation. We didn’t go anywhere (other than a soccer tournament - in the rain), the kids had school and my wife was working. So, what did I spend my time doing? Writing code. Obviously…

I’ve been working a big update to Beer Style Guidelines. The updates include a lot of “new” iOS features. These include:

All of this and I’m still trying to learn (and use) Combine and SwiftUI. I was very excited when those technologies were announced (almost) 2 years ago. I just haven’t had the ability to use Combine or SwiftUI at work. I’ve used them here and there in my side-projects, but not enough to feel proficient in them.

So, why am I spending my vacation time learning about these features and implementing them? Honestly, I don’t get an opportunity to learn and work on this during my day job. At work, we need to support iOS 11/12+ (depending on the app). That means that I don’t get to use the new hotness at work. So I need to do this learning and implementing using my side-projects.

Using my vacation time to learn “new” (well, almost 1 and 2-year old) technologies isn’t ideal. But I feel like this is something I need to do. It’s either this or continue to feel like I’m always behind in iOS development.

I’ve made a lot of progress on my update to Beer Style Guidelines. I hope that I can get this latest update out into the App Store before WWDC. That will give me the opportunity to start learning the next set of iOS features I want to implement over the Summer.

Running 🏃🏻‍♂️
May 22, 2021 | 3 min read

I started running a long time ago. The first run I logged into Nike Run Club was in August of 2006. I think I started running a year or two before that.

The reason that I started running was that I was fat. Seriously. Looking back at the photos, it looks like I ate one of my kids. I weighed roughly 60lbs more than I do now. I think I used to wear size 38 or 40 jeans (loose fit).

Getting started

I started by walking. That worked for a while, and then I decided that I wanted to run. I had never really run before this. But I decided that it was something I wanted to do. So one Saturday morning, I went to a local park (with a circular trail) and I ran one lap, and then walked a bit. Then I did it again. I think I did it three or four times before calling it a day.

Since that day, I have run miles and miles and miles. In Nike Run Club, I’ve logged over a thousand miles. I’ve also logged hundreds of miles in RunKeeper and hundreds of miles on my Apple Watch. This doesn’t include the miles and miles I’ve run without any sort of tracker.

5k(s)

I’ve run in countless 5k events. I used to sign up for a lot of these each year. My brother and I used to run these together all the time. At one point, I did well enough to finish in the top 5 (or 10) of my age group.

Half Marathon(s)

Then I started running in half-marathons. I think I ended up running in 3 or 4. I still have the medals for these in the basement somewhere. The best of these that I ran was under 2 hours for a half marathon. This was probably at my peak running. I loved running during this time and loved competing in half marathons.

Marathon

Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that I wanted to complete a full marathon. So my brother and I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon and started the training. I ran almost every day. It got to the point that if I was scheduled to run for less than 6 miles on a given day, it just wouldn’t feel worth it.

Finally, race day came and I felt great through about 13.1 miles. The halfway point was also the endpoint for the half marathon (duh). When I got there, I almost decided to end it there. But I continued.

We finished the race, I had to walk more than I wanted. I also finished slower than I wanted. I hated myself for the last 3 or 4 miles. But I finished, that’s the important point.

Life after the marathon

It’s funny. I loved running before the marathon. Since the marathon, I don’t really want to run to train for anything anymore.

I still run. Usually once or twice a week. I have a day where I’ll run for 10 minutes to finish my workout and another where the entire workout is a run. I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to, but it gives me time to listen to a book or catch up on podcasts.

I also run on vacation or while traveling. Running is an easy exercise to plan out. I don’t need to find a gym, or bring equipment, just a pair of running sneakers.

I have zero interest in ever attempting another (full) marathon again. A half-marathon was the sweet spot for me. There’s a part of me that wants to run another half-marathon, but I’m not sure if I have the conviction to see that through.

🏃🏻‍♂️

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