Tag Archives: programming

Control Fun

I managed to get some bandwidth this Memorial Day Weekend to advance on my iPhone programming lessons. You’d think that I should spend my time enjoying the nice weather here in the Bay Area during this long weekend (which I did a little yesterday), but actually, this is what I really wanted to do now that I finally have some free time away from work.

iPhone app screenshot - Control Fun

Here’s a screenshot of the exercise on the basic iPhone controls. It was sort of tedious to go back and forth on the book and get all the code and settings right, but I’m starting to get how it all works, at least on the interface side. Pretty soon, I can make something practical!

Objective-C is pretty different from JavaScript or PHP, so it’s sort of a steeper learning curve, especially when I haven’t touched the stuff in the past month. But I have been watching iTunes U podcasts on programming methodology, so it’s not like I’m completely out of the loop.


Thank Goodness for iTunes U

I enjoy learning, and I’m glad that I don’t need to spend a fortune to “attend” lectures at famous universities around the world to do so.

Even though I would still have to find time to sit through the video lectures, which add up to a lot of hours, if I’m passionate enough about a certain subject, I would make time to watch them all.

Either that or watch something else (currently Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution) on my iPad.


Hello World and Button Fun

Hello World App

I started playing around with Xcode and going through the book Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche that I checked out from the library. I only went through two tutorials before I got busy again at work. I also only have a few more days left before the book expires, but I’ll probably renew it and perhaps buy the book if I find great value in doing so.

I also bought an Objective-C pocket reference book and try to get myself familiar with the language. So far, probably 30% comprehension; I need to do the actual coding as I’m reading the book to really understand what it all means.

The screenshots are from the two tutorials that I went through. Super basic, and I didn’t understand half of what they told me to do. But I’m excited of what I could do.

Button Fun App


What Am I Doing? (April 2010)


Obviously late to update, mainly because I’ve been very busy at work.

We’re working hard on PetVille and try to think of ways to make it better. Can’t specify, but I’m excited.


As you can tell from my previous post, I bought the new MacBook Pro on Tuesday, and it will arrive next week. I’m very excited but also a little intimidated by having to set up everything on the new computer, and really learn the inner workings of a Mac OS. I’ve worked on Macs before, but I’ve never owned one, so I’ve never really looked deep and figure everything out.

My next purchase will be the iPad 3G. That’s going to be even more intimidating as I know I will get sucked into playing with it for hours at a time and not have time to do anything else, OR, I get so busy at work that I don’t have time to play with it.

Pretty soon after that, I’ll be buying a couple books, related to the iPad. You probably have an idea what kind of books those are, and hopefully something good and useful will come out of it in about three months.


This isn’t design or creativity related, but it could be. A few weeks ago, I had the sudden desire to learn surfing. So I think I’m going to learn to surf this summer, just because. It should be an interesting change in my life if I happen to take it on.

I might also get Scuba certified this summer, for a trip later this year.

And, if the opportunity is there, I might learn to snowboard or ski next winter. That should be interesting as well.

I think all these new desires and goals arose from working so much lately. Sometimes, when you don’t get pushed to one extreme in life, you don’t see the other side. In the end, I’m glad I get to see this.


What Am I Doing? (August 2009)


I mentioned this many times in passing in previous posts, but I got an iPhone in mid-July and have been playing with it ever since. Before I even thought about getting an iPhone, I thought that people with their iPhones are just rubbing it in my face and it’s sort of obnoxious to talk about it so much. I still feel that way a little bit now, so I make an attempt to not mention it unless it’s necessary and appropriate. So if you don’t want to hear it, you can skip to the next heading. If you choose to continue reading, I’m going to try to talk about this from a product/branding design perspective as much as I can.

One of my first acts as an iPhone owner was to get a screen film and case for the phone. I had been researching different films and cases online before I even ordered the phone, and I couldn’t believe how many review videos there are of different models in the market. I settled on the Power Support Anti-Glare Film primarily for its matte quality and therefore smoother finger sliding, and the Agent 18 Slim Eco-Shield mainly for its semi-eco-friendly material and simple design.

I’m not going to do a full review on these products, but I just want to say that these are fine products and technically, I am satisfied with them. But one thing I noticed as I “installed” them onto the iPhone is how much of the sexy is stripped from the phone when I, ironically, put on its clothes. I miss the chrome around the edges of the phone, and the matte film actually distorts the pixels ever so slightly. (I also turn the brightness down to preserve battery power, so the screen not looking as radiant as before is partly my preference.)

Soon after I got the phone and set up the basic phone settings, I went on an app binge and have since maintained a decent nine-page home screen, though I’m beginning to realize how I don’t use about three-quarters of the apps on a regular basis, if ever.

At first, I was on a game app craze that I never realize existed. I was getting worried for a while that getting an iPhone might have been a bad idea because I had ended up using the iPhone more for games than for productive work. But I think it was only a novelty feeling where I was just easily amused with the simple powers of the iPhone. Since then, that novelty has worn off for the most part. I’ve deleted many apps, and have continued to do so in order to make my home screen lean and useful.

Now, about four weeks in, I’ve moved on to more of the productive side of the apps. Last week, I tried out many apps that allowed me to not only control the mouse and keyboard on my family’s computers with my phone, but also get remote desktop, boot up, and shut down capabilities with the computers.

I’ve also looked into apps that let users transfer files from iPhone to iPhone and iPhone to computer wirelessly, since I don’t think the Bluetooth in the phones can do that.

These apps, I realize, are powerful, but they might a bit too powerful, as they allow so much access to other people’s computers and lives. Just be careful, I suppose.


I mentioned in the last monthly review that I was going to “mobilize” my website and make it mobile-device-friendly and also look good on the small screen. Well, I haven’t gotten to that, yet. I have, however, continued to work on the undeveloped parts of my website in between doing my freelance work. I’m talking mainly about the About section, but I’m also starting to move back toward the home page, where a redesign to incorporate the rest of the site is in the works. I’m very excited about the content that I will be releasing, hopefully in the near future.


While working on the site, I’ve gotten to dig deeper into power of jQuery. In the past few days, I started exploring the jQuery UI, which seems twice as powerful as jQuery basic functions. So far, I’ve only done the drag and drop functions, but I’m already pretty impressed with the simple intuitive functions that the jQuery UI has built in.

Last night, I played with the jQuery ajax function for a personal project. My goodness, that was simple to use; way more simple than the traditional JavaScript setup. I guess it also helps to know the traditional JS setup to use the jQuery ajax with ease.

“Wide Calendar”

I know the Experiments section has been lacking regular posts lately, but I have a mini-project for the website home page that will involve many little scripting experiments, and I’m going to try to show post those in the Experiments section. I’m building a special calendar that I had been thinking about for years, and now I finally have a chance and a place to build it in. Let’s see how it turns out.


Of course, as I have talked about in a recent post, I took a Letterpress class and had a great time making my own prints with my own design. As I had said in the post, I really recommend design students (and professional designers) who haven’t touched a letterpress to learn to use one to get a better understanding of the history and the practice and the principles of graphic design. Do it for the good of the industry.


What Am I Doing? (July 2009)


After catching up with one of my friends from the Design Program a few weeks ago, I found out he is currently teaching a summer session course in Processing, a relatively new visual programming language. I remember reading blogs about it a year or so ago, and while I thought it seems like a cool thing to learn, especially for designers, I just didn’t have the time to take on a new language. Well, now I have more time with this type of stuff, especially after having set up a system to play with it using the Programming Experiments section.

One thing I notice pretty early on is how it’s similar to ActionScript and JavaScript in terms of syntax. But the syntax is also similar to C++ in some ways (which I’ll explain later). The process is pretty simple and relatively easy to use and learn.

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The iPhone Bandwagon

For the past two weeks, ever since the announcement of the new version of the iPhone, I have been thinking more and more about getting into this relatively new technology any way that I could. I looked into the different ways that I could get started, and while some stuff has gone over my head, I was surprisingly still determined and excited to follow through.


I think part of the my excitement to get into the iPhone world is from hearing about my friend Alan Wells’ involvement with the free app that he helped develop, EcoFinder (link opens in iTunes), which allows people in the San Francisco Bay Area find places where they can recycle their stuff or dispose their waste often for free.

EcoFinder App on iTunes Store

I’m not saying that building an iPhone app is easy (because I’m sure it involves a lot of planning and doing and troubleshooting and waiting), but I am confident that it is something that I can take on and enjoy very much.

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What Am I Doing? (June 2009)

Site and Experiments Section

If you couldn’t tell from my posts for the past month, I’ve been crazy working on my website, especially the Experiments section. I’m just about finished with that section before I move on to the remaining areas of this site.

Programming Experiments screenshot

My latest addition is the Programming Experiments section. This is really important for me as I want to share and document my mini-coding experiments as I work on this site and future sites. These experiments won’t have the tutorial type of posts, but they will show as much of the related code that I use as possible. It’s not perfect right now, but it can be.

I have to admit, it takes a lot of work and time to build this “complete” website that I had dreamed of for many years, a site that is supposed to be representative of the public side of my life, including my career as well as my passions. Even though it’s taking longer than I expected, I have enjoyed the journey. I wake up every day excited and wondering if I would be coding and designing that day. I even considered making a shirt that just says something like, “I would code all day if I could.” Programming for me evokes so many ideas and possibilities, it’s mind-blowing!

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Was Math Discovered or Invented?

I just listened to a podcast episode of the Design Matters with Debbie Millman, with guest Natalia Ilyin. This was a particularly interesting episode for me because of the amount of philosophical questions posed, like the time when Jonah Lehrer of Proust Was a Neuroscientist was the guest.


One of the topics they talked about in the beginning was whether humans discovered mathematics, or did they invent it? While there are arguments for both sides and the discussion would go on forever, they pointed out that humans point out relationships of things (such as seeing one planet next to another planet means that there are two planets, hence mathematics! But if you don’t see the relationships of those objects, no math occurs).

Symbols and Answers

Before they started talking about the mathematics topic, Debbie and Natalia discussed the theory that that are two types of people in the world, the kind that asks for meaning in everything in life through symbols and things, and the kind that are, I guess, more objective and follows a specific path and looks for the correct answer and that’s it.

This to me is sort of a left brain, right brain question, and it got me thinking, where do I fit? For a good chunk of my life, I’ve been dedicated to finding the right answer, because math, a favorite subject of mine, typically has one right answer. But at the same time, I’ve been told by some and have realized myself that I often have so many ideas in my head, and that’s where the creativity portion and the practice of graphic design come in.

So I often see myself as being in the middle: I enjoy the creative arts and graphic design, because of the enormous range of possibilities and opportunities, but I also get excited about math and programming, as I am comforted by the fact that following a particular set of direction gets me a particular answer or outcome.

So in situations where I am undecided, which happens often, I reach for the middle ground and ask, “Can’t I be both?” This is why I’m getting comfortable with where I stand right now: sort of one foot in the graphic arts, and the other in web programming. I’d love to do both at the same time, so let’s see how that works out.


Another topic that came up during the interview was the idea of perfection. Natalia believed that perfection is about completeness, and design is really good for people with OCD, because designers usually follow a grid created by modernists a hundred years ago dreaming of creating Utopian societies and no one has since figured out a better way to teach design. I just can’t help but agree and put myself within that group.

There are many other topics that they’ve covered that I do not have time to cover here, such as what “home” really means, and how semiotics affect us. So if you’re a neurotic, and/or math-loving, and/or philosophical type like me, this podcast is worth checking out. The Design Matters podcast is available on iTunes.


Portfolio Page Linked

Index aite with Portfolio link sctive

It’s sort of a milestone. For more than two months, I’ve been working on my portfolio page whenever I could find the time. Design, code, and test. There’s still a lot of testing to do… and coding… and designing. It’s not 100% done and not 100% good yet, but I have enough good stuff to show you what I have so far.

The first screen the visitor sees on page load.

This page may not look that complicated or that impressive (even to designers), but there’s more than enough happening in the backend that I am proud to have come so far in the past two months. In the process, I’ve learned a new programming language that is very powerful and opened a lot of doors for my creative outlet. I look forward to learning more PHP as well as the next step up, whatever that is.

Next entry will be very special. Another milestone. I haven’t decided what to do yet.


Will As Script

Has anyone looked at a will as a conditions-heavy programming document? For example in ActionScript:

var bob; //testator
var joe;
var sue;
var sam;
var x=200000; monetary assets

if (!bob){

    if (!joe){

        if (!sue){


I know I probably broke the script when i made joe=100000 but later conditioned that he doesn’t exist, but you get the idea. So many if’s.