unleash your creativity

this past week SketchClub was part of Apple's "Unleah Your Creativity" promotion in the App Store! it was featured on the front page of the App Store worldwide and on sale too for the Chinese New Year celebration in Asia.

it was super cool to see the app and art by SketchClub artists SKYW4kR and Wendy promoted in the store and on social media. fun start to the new year!

twitter appstore banner

one year later

so it's been a year since i moved to my new house already! moving was such a pain but it's been nice since everything is done. i probably visited with my family more in just a few months than in the past 10 years combined.

my cats took some time to get used to the new place and divide the territory between them, but they've settled in nicely by now with their own favorite areas. there are side windows by my front door which go down to the floor and Scratchy likes to watch the neighborhood from there. when the UPS dude drops something off Scratchy comes to find me and let me know. Storm has found several choice spots for sun bathing and has taken to alternating between office chairs for her bed.

i also have two new pets now. i hatched these crazy chickens from eggs! that's Squeaky on the left and Dracula on the right. they turn out to be really nice pets and are super tame. i kept them in the laundry room during the winter and in summer they've been outside in a coop. i've gotten into a nice morning routine of getting up and letting the chickens out of their coop to run around while i make pancakes or eggs and eat outside with them and a book.

squeaky and dracula

i've got two offices set up, one with an iMac and one with a PC. i gave away all my desktop computer stuff before moving so it was fun to build a new PC for the new house. i mostly code on my laptop and pick an office based on which one Storm is sleeping in that day. the PC has been great for gaming (lots of VR, DOOM, and Overwatch) and monkeying with cross platform stuff with PaintBot and other experiments.

i7 4790k build

i still have three boxes left to unpack and a few things left to repair around the house but i'm pretty well settled in now which is nice. :)

infinimex zoomer

there i was just minding my own business when from some forgotten corner of my mind INFINIMEX called out to me once again. so this past weekend instead of writing a novel or sorting my sock drawer like a normal human being would do, i set out to work on some upgrades for it.

i rewrote most of it making it more general so it can splat new content wherever i want and automatically determine what region is available for cutting through based on current contents, patch size, and how many laplacian pyramid blend levels are being used. this got rid of some sneaky seams the old version had and made the code simpler too.

with its new found skills it made sense to go beyond scrolling and take things to the next level with some infinite zoooooom!

Sketch Club 2.2!

the Sketch Club 2.2 update is now out! iPad Pro support, brush upgrades, and lots of other nice improvements. check out the update vid for demos of some of the new stuff. :)

RIP 2015

goodbye 2015. now in 2016 year i'm looking forward to NOT moving. what a pain that is!! :P

one of my goals last year was to ship PaintBot... well i didn't make it. turns out to be quite difficult wrapping up a fun little experiment into a finished product.

i went through a bunch of iterations on the user interface - bouncing a few times between being too simple to get enough control over the output to being too complicated to expect any casual user to bother exploring.

one two three four

i think it's pretty close by now though. then again i still have lists of like 100,000 experiments with it i want to try. :) here's one where PaintBot could only use circles.

grumpy in dots

iPad Pro and Pencil

i've been loving the iPad Pro!

the speakers are fantastic. maybe it's because with the screen being bigger they are farther apart or perhaps magic from how they distribute sound between the four speakers but you can really hear stereo effects nicely. it sounds amazing in movies and games.

the pencil is great. you unplug the non-pointy end to get a lightning connector you connect to iPad Pro to pair and charge. like other styluses though it is pretty easy to lose. a find my Pencil app like the find my iPhone app would be nice.

iOS handles the palm rejection and it's pretty much perfect. this is a really great change from other styluses where it was up to each individual app to handle palm rejection and things were never quite perfect.

the pressure response is great. one interesting thing is the scale of pressure values is from 0 to 4 with 1 being "normal" pressure. this is unlike other styluses that always normalized pressure to the 0 to 1 range. i've found you have to press crazy hard to get anywhere near 4. the tilt is great too.

it's taken me longer to get a Sketch Club update out for it than i had hoped. i've done a pretty extensive overhaul of the internal brush system. not just to support Pencil and all the iOS changes around coalesced touches, predicted data, precise locations, etc but also for a ton of new features for the 2.2 update and for sharing brushes with PaintBot and some future apps.

hearthstone gold hunter progress


making progress on an important life goal! :)

halloween whiteboard weekend

this is a 150 artist co-op on Sketch Club's whiteboard with music from Phoenix!

it was maybe the most fun whiteboard weekend event yet! for these, people just hop into the whiteboard and doodle a bit on the theme then i render it all out as a fun music video at the end. the videos work a lot nicer now too that YouTube supports 60fps.

these are the latest three that are all 60fps: halloween 2015 / underwater / easter 2015


paintbot example

i'm hopefully nearing in on a first release for a fun graphics toy i've been working on periodically that turns photos into cool digital artworks.

it's called PaintBot and is a further evolution of my old strokerizer experiment (which itself grew out of glypherizer)

i made a website for it at paintbotapp.com so you can check out some early examples if you like and follow @paintbotapp on twitter for news as it approaches release! :)

iOS 9 and app store review time

as with iOS 7 and 8, iOS 9 caused a lot of problems with Sketch Club. ahead of its release i had been testing with early versions of iOS 9 and fixing up all the issues i could find. there were also some Sketch Club beta testers with prerelease iOS 9 who helped find issues.

i got a new version of the app sent off to Apple about a week before iOS 9's release hoping it would be reviewed, approved, and land in the store right on time. unfortunately the review times have been extra long and it wasn't until many days after that it did. in the meantime everyone who updated to iOS 9 right away were stuck with some major bugs and incompatibilities and all i could do was let them know an update was waiting review with Apple.

meanwhile new issues with the app on iOS 9 were being discovered that i and the beta testers hadn't bumped into yet. most were fixed by simple changes that just took a few minutes to appease the new OS version. before 2.1.1 made it through the review queue i had a 2.1.2 build with more fixes ready to go. and ..... just had to patiently wait.  ... and answer thousands of emails letting people know updates were on the way and we just had to wait. and wait.  and wait. and after 2.1.1 finally made it into the app store.... now the long wait for 2.1.2 to wait for review. ... and ... still waiting.

with so much waiting one can't help but think about why there is all this waiting and that there must be better ways to approach this! :)

here's my theory: Apple intentionally makes app updates sit in a long queue.

there are a lot of companies in this "internet age" that take approaches like Facebook's "move fast and break things." they aim for fast iteration and getting things out to customers as quickly as possible, getting feedback, and rapidly turning around with changes then repeating again and again to refine the product. this is not Apple. Apple instead holds onto a product a very long time to refine and perfect it before release. they believe in shipping something super polished that has already been through dozens of iterations before the public ever sees it. in attempt to instill this same discipline in the app store they artificially delay release of app updates.

the idea may be that knowing there's a long delay to get updates out developers should take greater care in polishing and testing releases because anything that goes out there people will be stuck with for awhile. Apple may hope artificial delays to help minimize churn and maximize fit and finish throughout apps in the store.

unfortunately it leaves us stuck with situations like a change to iOS breaking existing functionality that people depend on and even though fixes are accomplished within hours they must wait over a week to roll out. yuck!!

i'll propose a solution. for apps in good standing (pass some criteria like have been around awhile, have good reviews, lots of users, whatever) allow users to see and install updates for it that haven't been reviewed yet. so you can imagine going to the updates tab in the app store and seeing a new update is awaiting review for an app you have. you could choose to install it early or just wait for Apple to vet it and get the update normally. this would give a way for particular users affected by an issue to get a solution immediately while still providing a longer delay for it to reach the masses.

we're actually almost there with the TestFlight beta system Apple introduced but there are some big differences with what i am proposing. with TestFlight users must manually contact the developer, give them their Apple ID, wait for the developer to add them to TestFlight, be one of the first 1,000 people to do so, aaaaaaannnnnndddddd inexplicably WAIT A WEEK for the TEST version of the app to be approved for BETA TESTING!  LOL :P

okay, back to waiting. :)  :)