Human Programming With If/When-Then Plans

Program
noun
1. a planned series of future events, items, or performances.
verb
1. provide (a computer or other machine) with coded instructions for the automatic performance of a particular task.
2. arrange according to a plan or schedule. 

How many productivity/time management systems can you name? The typical solutions that come to mind include Franklin-Covey planning systems, GTD, Bullet Journaling, Hobonichi, and the Pomodoro technique.

Most Professionals used solutions like Franklin-Covey's day planners prior to the digital revolution. When the world went digital, hundreds of digital mobile applications vied to replace the paper-based planners and systems. I wonder why Franklin-Covey has not been able to pull off a good, viable software vision of their systems and principles. In my view there is a gaping hole in all that is presently available, and I still wonder why they don't pursue this disruption avenue. But that's another matter.

The point is that people have long invested in improving their behavior. As long as we're psychologically healthy, people are on the lookout for ways to improve. And so this is where human behavior and programming come together. Programmers make use of if/then statement to program the behavior of physical and digital machines. For humans, It turns out there are some very interesting experiments that suggest that If/When-Then statements are an effective tool we can leverage toward our goals and achievements. Apparently it is so effective that it can result in a 2 to 3x increase in the likelihood of achieving our goals.

With If/When-Then planning, rather than relying merely upon the goal statement, such as "I intend to reach X", instead you essentially plant in your mind a trigger or an intention with a statement such as, "If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal‐directed behavior X." As author Robert Cialdini describes the technique, if the goal is to watch your weight, you would pick a cue and link an action to that cue such as, "If/when, after my business lunches, the server asks if I'd like to have dessert, then I will order mint tea."

 

references:

- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065260106380021

- http://www.businessinsider.com/robert-cialdini-if-when-then-planning-helps-you-achieve-your-goals-2016-9 

 

Todd Hopkinson
Pro Tip: Demo On-screen Using Real iPhone

This post actually contains two Pro-Tips. They are summarized by the boy scout motto: Be Prepared.

First, always carry a cable for your iPhone. Always. I was in an important meeting once and an associate was suddenly asked if he could show something from his iPhone. He couldn't because he didn't have his cable on him, therefore couldn't plug in and demo what he needed to from the iPhone. Fortunately, I had one coiled up in a pocket, swiftly shifted it to him, and he was able to present as expected. The day was saved... or at least the meeting. It turned what would have looked like bumbling inept bozos into pros.

This part is the meat and potatoes of this Pro Tip. One of the simplest ways to show your real iPhone on screen is to connect it to your computer via the cable you deftly fetched from your nerd-pocket and then start QuickTime Player. From QuickTime Player's File menu select File > New Movie Recording... and at the center of the screen a control will display with a red circle button, to the right of that button is a downward white chevron arrow, click that and select your iPhone. Now your iPhone's screen is streaming right onto your computer screen and you can share however you want at this point. 

Don't be caught in a meeting with your pants down - always expect to present what you're working on and have a way to do it. Yoda says "do or do not..." If you do not, it's probably because you didn't prepare.

Todd Hopkinson
Commandment #4: Create A Wienie

I'm convinced that "Mickey's Ten Commandments" are universally applicable to all staged experiences. Marty Sklar's One Little Spark offers an insight into Walt's term for "visual targets that lead visitors clearly and logically through an experience."

"Years ago, when the first exhibition of treasures form the tomb of Egypt's King Tut first traveled to American museums, the staff at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art asked John Hench to review their layout for the exhibit. According to Hench, they had placed one of the exhibit's true treasures, the boy king's exquisite golden mask, at the very beginning of the exhibition. John told me he immediately saw its location as a showstopper that would impede movement into the exhibition; so he moved it to the very end of the show--making it the visual wienie that helped move the audience into and through the presentation."

-- One Little Spark, pg. 35

Weenie.jpg
Todd Hopkinson
Thanksgiving Proclamations
washington-and-lincoln.jpg

On this Thanksgiving day, we recognize America's two most revered leaders for their profound and inspiring thanksgiving proclamations:

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation -- New York, 3 Oct 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanksfor his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation -- 3 Oct 1863 

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Todd Hopkinson
Pro Tip: Bluetooth Testing On The Cheap

Developing with bluetooth requires a lot of connectivity testing. You should invest in a high quality faraday bag in which you can place your bluetooth device in order to test various disconnect/reconnect states.

You don't always have your costly faraday bags with you, and you might need to run some tests. Say your IoT device needs to talk your app on your iPhone and you want to test how the app handles the device going away or suddenly coming into range... 

Using a microwave will hide your bluetooth device very well (no cooking needed!) Just toss the BT device into the microwave, shut the door -- DO NOT turn it on -- and walk about 10 feet away and your bluetooth connection will be severed.

If you don't have a microwave lying around, but you do have some tinfoil - just wrap that bad boy device in the tinfoil trying to make it watertight. If water can't escape your tinfoil wrapping job then your bluetooth signal probably won't either.

Lesson Learned: When in a pinch pull a MacGyver - a microwave or some tinfoil goes a long way. 

Todd Hopkinson
When You Want to Stop Using Beta OS X

Pro Tip - if you find yourself once having opted in to using a beta version of OS X, and you no longer want to, but you can't seem to convince App Store's Update section of this fact, here is what you do:

1. open terminal and type: sudo softwareupdate --clear-catalog

2. now attempt to update through App Store and you'll no longer see beta versions but the current version of OS X.

Todd Hopkinson
Reading Stack

A book stack worth reading is a book stack worth sharing. Here is the current stack on my desk right now:

Mastery by Robert Greene, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, Think Simple by Ken Segall, Uncertainty in Games by Greg Costikyan, Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini.

At the top of the stack and in progress right now: INFLUENCE by Robert Cialdini - fascinating book on the science of behavior, with lots of studies, anecdotes, and captivating material.

Todd Hopkinson
Pure Speculation: Suspect News About Apple

My healthy skepticism of "insider" news stories was validated and increased during my time at Nike. While there, I watched writers invent stories that were nothing more than lazy speculation, and I knew it based on my own direct knowledge of the actual matter - the product I worked on (FuelBand) and the people I worked with (FuelBand teams.)

I’ve long suspected and observed the same tendency with news media in general. And especially with Apple-related news stories it seems the amount of bad journalism is astounding.

Take this story from Financial Times today on how the departure from Apple of Yoky Matsuoka is "a blow to Tim Cook." What?! No evident source, even unnamed, substantiates the stupid byline. No substance. Pure clickbait. You don't have to be inside Apple to know what this is when you see it - bad reporting that reeks of speculative desperation. Publications should categorize this stuff under a section called Stupid-Lazy Speculation.

Todd Hopkinson
hello again... macintosh?

No. I don’t think that’s what’s happening. Tomorrow's hello again mystery will be revealed around 10am. The title seems to hint at the  original Macintosh ‘hello' ad from 1984, or perhaps back to 'say hello to iMac’ ad from 1998.

A certainty is the new MacBook Pro will be introduced. Anyone making a living using this tool has been looking forward to this for years. The touch strip is a sure bet. What about processor and battery power?

Many wonder if Apple will update the Mac Pro - that black garbage-can-looking computer. Frankly, this bad boy had two things working against it for me - despite the awesome concept of being a mac made in America. First, its price range was relatively high. Second, it looks just like the garbage can I owned at the same time it was announced.

Is hello again a reintroduction of the iMac. Is the iMac now touch screen and stylus ready? Is there a fancy zero-gravity hinge now? Microsoft has certainly upped their game and obviously aimed (this would have been planned years ago) right at the Pro users - and based on their Surface Studio, it might just work depending on what Apple unveils - or not - tomorrow.

How about machines that the VR hardware folks can target? I blame Facebook's purchase of oculus rift for this more than anything. Boo Facebook. But will Apple deliver on this front - the horsepower to compete with PCs again?

I can’t help but wonder if the 'hello again’ theme is actually much about Apple TV? Will the Apple TV just be renamed to the mac? There is no ‘mac' currently. But this doesn’t sit right for me - the Apple TV is certainly not the macintosh’s spiritual offspring in any sense is it? The only way it could be is if it got a voice, and perhaps some eyes and moved around - sorta like Wall-E. Wall-E was a mac, you know. But the TV isn’t, is it?

But, there does seem to be the possibility that under the shade of the ‘hello again’ umbrella is a full refresh of all the mac machines. All the desktop/table/lap/surfacetop devices - we meet them all again.

I wonder if the Siri Remote will be redesigned?

Will there be a culling of the MacBook air? A refresh of all the laptop lines into a streamlined culled set of simply MacBook and MacBook Pro. Will the pro take on the form factor of the air? Will there be new colors? New materials? Screenshot leaks don’t seem to indicate this - but then again, these could have been planted images to achieve a particular expectation and reaction.

Will any of the macOS machines include touch screen capability and stylus capabilities?

And… how am I going to hasten contextual assistance in Xcode without my escape key?!!! (MacBook Pro leaked images appear to show missing esc)

What is the Hello Again really all about tomorrow? Is Apple just toying around with its heritage for some trivial ad word play. Or is the gravity implied really merited & congruent with the substance of the event to which ‘hello again’ supposedly alludes?

That introduction - that ‘hello' - we all saw in 1984 with the introduction of the Macintosh was only a seed. What’s come from it is worth every ounce of anticipation we have. This is especially true for all those who make a living utilizing these marvelous creative machines - these macs, which many of us look forward to welcoming into our lives yet again.

Todd Hopkinson
See, I Told You So

At times we are compelled to tell off our skeptics after the fact. In this case the fact is a whopper that proves what should have been obvious back in February when Apple was being pressured by the FBI to build a tool to bypass iOS security measures.

In February I said:

Say the tool gets created. The tool is a digital file that will live on a computer system run by the government - the same institution whose agencies are constantly being broken into and plundered. It must be understood that if the tool is created, it will get into the hands of our enemies...


It's only a few months later now and the NSA has been hacked, digital tools stolen, and leaked on the internet:

NSA Hacking Tools Released Online - Washington Post
Who Hacked the NSA? - Popular Mechanics
Snowden docs prove NSA hack is real - Business Insider
Shadow Brokers claim to have hacked the NSA - NPR

The heart of the matter is not whether the NSA was hacked. What matters is that private digital tools have fallen into the wrong hands. Driving the point further home - those hands are now selling to the highest bidder. And because this story is public now, it is worth saying this again:

See, I told you so.

This could have been the iOS hack tool, had it been created as requested by the FBI. The pilfering of hacking tools is inevitable. It's why Tim Cook likened the creation of an iOS bypass tool to cancer. You don’t take chances with cancer. It spreads. 

As equally disturbing to me as the idea of the tool, is the FBI's demand in and of itself. The FBI lacks authority to require what they demanded. And so they engaged in a publicity battle to pressure Apple into behavior that was ultimately irresponsible (because as has been shown by the NSA hack - they wouldn't have been able to contain it) that would ultimately jeopardize the security and real safety of the hundreds of millions of iOS users.

It calls to mind Frederic Bastiat: 

We must remember that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force.
Todd Hopkinson
Apple's Pre-WWDC News

News from Apple leadership out prior to WWDC next week because, according to John Gruber (Daring Fireball), Phil Schiller told him, "We've got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we've got a busy enough keynote that we decided we're not going to cover those in the keynote."

The news shared so far:

- App Review process overhaul (most apps approved in 24 hours to 48 hours)
- App subscription model being added
- Ads being added to the App Store search results
- Enhanced share and search functionality to the App Store
- macOS is the new name for the operating system formerly known as OS X. (This appears to be an unintentional leak from some text spotted on the apple developer site)

via:
Daring Fireball, LoopInsider, and all the other Apple/Tech community sites

Todd Hopkinson
An Apple Keynote Imagined

 

"Oh, and one more thing..."

Steve Jobs made this the most anticipated phrase at Apple announcements. This year, let's imagine a one-more-thing moment that has nothing to do with Apple Music - or Drake (parody alert.) Apple's world-wide developer conference is five days away, so, this is how I imagine Apple's next "one more thing" -- Take it away Tim...
 

INT. BILL GRAHAM CIVIC AUDITORIUM STAGE - DAY

The Keynote speaker deliberately walks the stage, focusing intently on Apple's largest ever developer gathering (7000 seats.) The crowd hangs on every carefully crafted word of the closing message.

TIM COOK

"...and we've shown you some amazing things we think are really cool. We can't wait to see what you do with them."

"But you know, there is actually ...one more thing. Two years ago we announced the Swift programming language; This year we're thrilled to share with you it's perfect compliment:

 code

 code for macOS - a breakthrough reimagined IDE focusing first on Swift for full-scale software development.

"We think it's really cool, and we can't wait to see what you do with it."
 

"Oh, and there's one more one more thing..."

 code for iPad

"Develop apps directly from your iPad Pro with professional software tools designed to change the way you write great software at any scale. You've got a screaming processor, a touch-screen with amazing resolution, a great keyboard, outstanding battery-life, and the iPad Pro is a breeze to take wherever you are - just touch, code, and go.

Your project assets and files can be generated both locally and remotely, and are backed up and managed in the cloud and integrated into a continuous deployment solution (via Apple, your own mac server, or through other third parties of your choice.)

You compile and run apps right on the device, as well as remotely.

An integrated touch-based app design and asset production & management app suite affords you enhanced ability to literally conceive, compose, and build your UI/UX from start to finish, right on your iPad. It also supports importing external assets."

"We think  code is really cool, and can't wait to see what you do with it."
 

FADE OUT:

...and cut.

WWDC 2016 can't come soon enough. I've been waiting years for the ability to do real development directly on my iPad. Now that the iPad Pro is a real thing (four years after I predicted and mocked it up in 2011) I'm holding out hope for code. Even a tap of the puck in that direction with a Swift Playground App for iPad Pro would be great. 

 

Apple VS Big Brother

Apple has taken a public stand against the FBI's demand for a backdoor tool to circumvent the encryption which protects our data from friend and foe alike.

 

This isn't a hard scenario to see through to its natural conclusion.

Say the tool gets created. The tool is a digital file that will live on a computer system run by the government - the same institution whose agencies are constantly being broken into and plundered (just google 'government hack' for a rude awakening). It must be understood that if the tool is created, it will get into the hands of our enemies, at home and abroad.

Providing a backdoor is so shortsighted that it appears insidious - a mess of pottage in exchange for a birthright.

John Adam's warned:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
— John Adams, Notes for an oration at Braintree, Spring 1772

Apple's world famous Super Bowl commercial from 1984 becomes a prescient symbol for the currently unfolding drama. The protagonist is once again Apple, only this time Big Brother is literally a governmental entity striving for Orwellian powers.

"But this is for a good purpose, the phone belongs to a known terrorist!" So what? The good intent of a purpose means nothing if the actual consequence is evil.

John Adam's reminds us, “Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.”

Thank goodness that Apple still considers itself a uniquely American company. So do I, and in my view they are proving it now.

Update: Apple, please RE-RELEASE the 1984 ad!

If I was Apple I would re-air the famous 1984 commercial, replacing the ending title card teasing the Macintosh with an updated clip. Alternatively, I would shoot a narrative sequal to the 1984 commercial. No, not the Lemmings flop that Apple actually did at one point, but the actual story sequal. What happened to the hero? What happened to Big Brother? Show us why the future won't be 1984 again... or perhaps show us how what is happening now is in fact the prequel to the 1984 ad.

Todd Hopkinson
Swift Shortcut: ??

Before the ?? operator was added to Swift, you would use a ternary conditional operator and forced unwrapping to assign a default value if the expected value is nil.

let bossMonster = (monster != nil monster! : defaultMonster) 
// this code says that if monster is not nil then force unwrap monster to get its value, otherwise use defaultMonster

?? provides a shortcut to the above.

let bossMonster = monster ?? defaultMonster

Short and simple! The ?? is known as the nil coalescing operator.

Todd Hopkinson
Dedicated to the ideals, dreams, and hard facts that created America

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

- Walt Disney, July 17th 1955

Today marks the 60 year anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney's now world famous (and world changing) theme park, Disneyland.

The event was filmed (video). Ronald Reagan introduced Walt at the dedication (@ minute 12:18 in clip), who then read his dedication speech. Also notable were three military chaplains present to represent the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths. Following the dedication speech a prayer was offered, the governor spoke, bells tolled, a flag was also dedicated and raised. 

Chaplain:

I have known walt disney for many years and have long been aware of the spiritual motivation in the heart of this man who has dreamed Disneyland into being. Let us join with him then in dedicating these wonder filled acres to those things near to his heart and our hearts: to understanding and good will among men; laughter for children; memories for the mature; and aspiration for young people everywhere. And beyond the creeds that would divide us, let us unite in a silent prayer that this and every worthy endeavor may prosper at God's hand. Let us bow in prayer. <Silent moment, Walt, dignitaries, and attendees bow heads> Amen.

Governor Goodwin Knight: 

Today is a wonderful day as all of America is proud as we open Disneyland. This is a wondrous community with all of the charm of the old world and all of the progress and ingenuity of the new world. Yes this is a wonderful place for children and grown ups alike. There are replicas of every town and city in America. Stores, libraries, schools, just like your home town. All built by American labor and American capital under the belief that this is a God fearing and a God loving country and as we dedicate this flag now we do it with the knowledge that we are the fortunate ones to be Americans and that we extend to everyone everywhere the great ideals of Americanism, brotherhood, and peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

A flyover and parade ended the dedication ceremonies. The following day the doors were opened to the general public (though much of the park was still under development.)

The pace of the building of Disneyland is remarkable. For a variety of reasons, including our abundant regulations and red-tape bureaucracy, it would be nearly impossible to accomplish such a feat today, and it would be exceedingly more costly. The land was undeveloped in 1953. Opening day was in July 1955. The cost was $17 million (today that is probably over $150 mil. in 2015 dollars.)

Remember, Disneyland is more than the place. Even if the park itself and company were to disappear overnight - it is a way of thinking and the spirit to which the place was dedicated: the ideals, dreams, and hard facts that created America.

"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." - Walt Disney

 

References:

Read the Biography recommended by those that knew him best, including Walt's daughter: Walt Disney, An American Original.

Disneyland Opening July 17 1955
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuzrZET-3Ew

The Walt Disney Family Museum
http://www.waltdisney.org

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay,
My, oh my, what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine, headin’ my way,
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Ray Gilbert, © 1945 Walt Disney Music Company.

http://thehistoryofdisney.blogspot.com

Todd Hopkinson
iOS Debugging Skills
In the film Taken, Liam Neeson has a particular set of skills. Using said skills, Neeson deftly resolves his one major blocker (a kidnapped daughter). In like manner - minus the mayhem - a software developer's debugging skills pay off in the field - thus, the worthy developer will value what enhances his debugging powers.

Dancing in the Debugger covers potent debugging skills for the LLDB command line; the good stuff appears about 3/4 into the article.

To summarize: Have you ever wanted to pause your running iOS app in Xcode to manipulate and better understand all the visual elements on screen, or conveniently change variable values and see results without stopping, recompiling, and running the app again?

Chisel is the Bruce-Lee's-nun-chucks-compliment to your LLDB bug-fu. Some fine Facebook folk are sharing their commonly used LLDB debugging commands in the form of python scripts so that you can type (in the LLDB debugger command line)...

pviews” 

instead of 

"po [[[UIApplication sharedApplication] keyWindow] recursiveDescription]” 

...to see your app’s current UI hierarchical tree print to the console! 

BOOM!

Or, let’s say I have just run the above command and printed this big hierarchical list of UI elements. Instead of sorting through this big dump of objects for a UISegmentedControl I can just type...

(lldbfv segmented
0x7fd72ac3ba90 UISegmentedControl

Now just grab that address and go to town…

e id $mySegmentedControl = (id)0x7fd72ac3ba90

That just created the convenience variable $mySegmentedControl. Here is the current control:


Let's change a color...

(lldbe (void)[$mySegmentedControl setBackgroundColor:(UIColor *)[UIColor redColor]]
(lldbcaflush

...the background color changed to red without even resuming in the debugger!



A single tear runs down your cheek. Try it out! Just read the article and install Chisel - you’ll be glad you did.

By the way, to grab those controller images just above, all I did was type:
(lldbvisualize $mySegmentedControl
The Preview app opens up showing your snapshot of the object. BOOM!
Todd Hopkinson
Write The Code: Swift and the Xcode Playgrounds & WWDC
*

This week Apple surprised everyone by introducing Swift - a brand new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch - along with a tool called Playgrounds, which lets you to explore your code through realtime feedback, without having to build and run the app. These were the most unexpected WWDC reveals I've seen in 4 years of attendance and many more years of observation.

Months ago I was watching a video by Bret Victor, formerly of Apple, promoting paradigm changing ideas on programming with visual and realtime feedback.

When Apple introduced the Xcode Playgrounds feature, I thought I saw Brett Victor's signature all over it. Chris Lattner, who started working on the Swift language in 2010, put the puzzle pieces in place for me - his homepage states that the Xcode Playgrounds feature was heavily influenced by Brett Victor's ideas (among others). Lattner also explains that a personal passion of his is to make programming more interactive and approachable.

Swift is available right now in Xcode 6. It's an exciting time, for one, because Apple is totally invested in Swift, and in making things better for developers at a time when our developer community, in many ways, thought they already had it pretty good.

*As is often true with Apple, in hindsight things seem obvious. Before the WWDC Keynote, nobody expected a new language. The time leading up to WWDC always feeds speculation around what secret message lies hidden in the conference's branding imagery and tag line. With Swift's announcement, "Write the code" obviously becomes all the more clever.
Todd Hopkinson
The Science And Art Of Things That Move
I watched this fascinating talk on bionics given at TED by Hugh Herr who heads the Biomechatronics research group at MIT Media Lab.

Now I'm wanting some spring jumping stilts. Strap on a pair and you'll be running 20 mph and jumping over objects 6 feet high.


Robotics Unlimited's OutRunner remote controlled running robot gets 20 mph as well. Just remember, robots that run can chase.

Robots that can chase call to mind perhaps one of the coolest of all - Boston Dynamic's Cheetah will overtake you and your jumping stilts by at least 9 mph.

Syd Mead's illustration of huge robot dogs visualizes a future with very large running robots.
"Running of the Six Drgxx"
Swedish House Mafia's Greyhound video appears to have been inspired by Mead's well known illustration - these mechanical hounds appear much smaller than the 120 foot tall "drgxx."

Ray Bradbury's mechanical hounds were punishers programmed to enforce societal rules by violence, having been outfitted with poison-injecting four inch steel needles projecting from the snout.
glenn kim's depiction of Brandbury's mechanical hounds

Cross breeding various weapon systems with any one of today's real-world autonomous robots conjures up some mighty fearsome combinations:

Imagine the Boston Dynamics Cheetah saddled with an MK19 grenade machine gun

Something very similar (though fitted on a track-based robot) has been around since at least 2005 in the Talon robot with a Metal Storm grenade machine gun.

How about a Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System plopped on top of a Big Dog?


While we're at it, might as well integrate TrackingPoint style precision firepower technology into something like Atlas





For as much destructive potential as this stuff has, the productive potential of autonomous moving robots is at least as awesome!

Flight Assembled Architecture
Quadrotor drones are building a tower of bricks!
For a thought experiement, scale the size of these machines up or down to extremes and imagine what could happen! Apply the concept to space and underwater.

Speaking of extreme scale robots, the people that brought us Siri (and a ton more - SRI International) are working on Magnetically Actuated Micro-robots - watch them construct nano-tube structures:

Seeing these micro robots actuated by novel means of locomotion brings to mind another robot called Cubli, which achieves locomotion through a combination of jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling.

A conceptual cousin to Cubli is our favorite ball of commercially available robo-sweetness Sphero

To be continued...
Todd Hopkinson