Our DNA is written in Objective-C

Podcast #35 – “TapCaps”

Episode 35, recorded Saturday, 28th of April 2012. “TapCaps”

Alice Ning discusses the ins and outs of having a Kickstarter campaign for physical products versus software, we learn a bit about the magic behind capacitive touch screens and we learn what goes on behind the scenes of the TapCaps Kickstarter campaign.


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The big news this week of course have been the record sales of WWDC 2012 tickets. Most of the people at the US west coast missed out on tickets because the rush was over in just 2 hours. Compared to 10 hours last year.

This year Apple tried something new. Individuals could only purchase one ticket and company accounts could only purchase 5. Non-transferable, no refunds. Unfortunately the system to detect scalpers was a bit overzealous. Several people who used the same credit card and same IP address but different developer account received a cancellation notice from Apple.

The problem with starting too early was that some people tried to purchase multiple individual tickets like this because at that time they couldn’t get hold of the company account agent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Apple can work this out, it is a bit of an embarrassing situation. Apple – as usual – trying an engineering approach with technology to solve the problem of scalping, but them stumbling over a stupid bug.

Apple obviously wanted time the availability of tickets such that its early morning in the US, evening in Europe and before midnight in the far east. But what even surprised them was the speed at which the tickets went. Probably helped along very much by the WWDCalerts system that sent out messages to over 9000 people. I received my own such message about 10 minutes after the begin of the sales, that was 2:40 pm central european time. There where several people not so luck as SMS are known to be unreliable at times. Some received their notifications never or simply too late.

Now two hours still twice as long as Google IO, but hey, people get free hardware there. I think we can attribute the breaking of last years record mostly to twitter and the alert system. I got lucky myself as well. I had my phone on silent so I totally missed the starting bell. But fortunately for me some nice chap sent me a direct message on Twitter. Which only further solidifies my theory that when people organize over social networks then they will break any record.

Some other items, before we get to the interview.

Pro Tip by Cédric Luthi: You must use MyImage@2x~ipad.png NOT MyImage~ipad@2x.png when using the automatic process of imageNamed. You know, imageNamed can automatically give you the @2x version on iOS devices with a Retina display. But did you know that it can also give you automatically a different image for iPhones and iPads? Yes, it does! You just call imageNamed:@”MyImage.png” and if there is a ~iPad between the 2x and the extension then this will be returned on iPads. But the order matters. It’s Name, @2x, tilde device, extension. Remember this.

Shortly after being acquired by Facebook Instagram has opened up and nicely documented their API. You have an URL scheme to open instagram from your own app as well as web-based APIs to add and delete objects. In theory you could build your own Instagram client with that. Any takers? You probably won’t be purchased by Facebook though…

Peter Steinberger reminds us: “If Xcode 4.4 creates an entitlement with NSFileProtectionComplete and your app fails to start up, just delete it. Stuff isn’t ready yet.” and he references a developer forum thread discussing this. Well you shouldn’t be using Xcode 4.4 in product environments yet, making production apps with… but that doesn’t prevent many individuals from doing exactly that. This is apparently already in iOS 5 as the mentioned thread is in the Core OS iOS 5 beta archive. No longer under NDA. So I can mention the official responds from an Apple engineer:

One of my colleagues here in DTS discussed this issue with iOS engineering and the conclusion was that this stuff does not currently work.

App Review Weather: Both new apps and app updates have improved to 99% chance of being reviewed in under 5 business days.


Alice Ning, management consultant by day, inventor by night, from Washington DC.

Myth Busted: iPhones won’t work with Gloves

TapCaps Campaign on Kickstarter 

Alice Ning on Twitter, Homepage


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