If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll find that I take preserving our (my family’s) digital memories and history seriously.
However, if I were to die tomorrow, the app I made for my son and installed on his iPad this morning will stop working in one-hundred and ninety-two days. Not for any technical reason. Not because of future software incompatibilities. If his iPad remained in working order for another hundred years, it wouldn’t even matter. This digital heirloom will self-destruct as soon as my developer certificate expires.
And it’s all due to an arbitrary decision on Apple’s part.
I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say that future historians and even archaeologists are going to revisit our time and be furious at the direction our industry turned towards using consolidation, monopoly power, and artificial restrictions to protect profits at all costs.
After my post last week about the updates I made to my audio app Ears, longtime internet buddy @macrael asked:
@tylerhall Do you use libraries for the hotkey-setting UI or the start-on-launch stuff? I’m putting together my first Mac app and am looking into those parts rn.
I do, actually. In addition to replying to MacRae on the nightmare birdsite, I thought I’d post the two helper projects here for anyone else searching.
One of the best things that have come out of the pandemic for me has been my little Mac app, Ears. I had the idea for it and built it about a month into quarantine because I was in so many remote meetings throughout the day. And depending on the time of day, how much notice I had before the call, if my kids were around, all sorts of reasons – I found myself frequently switching my Mac’s audio between speakers, AirPods, headphones, etc. It was a pain, so I built Ears to make that easier.
Since that first release in June, I’ve been refining the app to fit my workflow even better. And tonight, I’m delighted to push out a new release with additional features for all the work-from-home-warriors out there jumping between calls.
A coworker and I have been working crazy hours since March on a huge new product feature – him on Android and myself on iOS. Quite frankly, it’s maybe the best work we’ve done in our careers. And work I, at least, wasn’t sure we were even skilled enough to pull off. When we first pitched it to the client, we asked for eight weeks of uninterrupted dev time to build an MVP. They gave us five.
If he and I had predicted these challenges upfront, I’m not sure if we would have pitched the work at all. But we missed them. And now I think that’s a good thing. Because, unfinished loose ends or not, we now find ourselves mere weeks from shipping the best work we’ve ever done.
Eighteen hours later, I’m here to write about the dumb, little toy of an app I made this morning just for Big Sur. I honestly don’t expect other people to use it. I’m not even sure if I’ll keep using it. It was more of a “I hate this. I wonder if I can fix it?” type of thing.