I am a Hacker

Which is to say: I am a software engineer. I studied computer science at university, I write software for a living, and I even sometimes code for fun in my free time. Here, I talk about it.

Material Design and iOS

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are my own, not those of my employer, and that’s what this post is: opinions.

One of the complaints about Google’s iOS apps is that they look like Android Apps. Somewhat obligingly, Jason Snell recently published an article along these lines over at MacWorld (I picked this up via Daring Fireball, where John Gruber is also a big fan of this line of thinking). That’s generally what the complainants say, but not (in my opinion) what they mean. What they mean is that the apps follow Google’s Material Design guidelines (though

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So I made an iPhone App

Various things have kept me busy and away from this blog just recently. I've done a bit of traveling (both for business and pleasure), I've discovered Netflix (and Crunchyroll), and, somewhat more productively, I followed through on what started off as my "20% time" project.

There is, right now in the iPhone App Store, an app nominally by Google Inc which was written almost entirely by my own good hands. Obviously I wasn't entirely a one man band in this. I had a lot of help from designers and UX people, my code was reviewed by those who

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Now We're Blogging with Photos!

Fair warning: this is going to be a bit of a programming heavy blog post. It's also going to be quite Mac specific.

One of the things I wanted to change about the format of this blog was to make it more visual, specifically with pictures. This first part of this was to add pictures to the front page. There were a couple of options for doing so. I could just scan through an article, look for the first image tag and use this. Alternatively I could add a mechanism which allowed me to choose the image, in a similar

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Origin Story, Raspberry Pi, and the ZX Spectrum

One of the fun things about working for Google is that from time to time interesting people come into the office to give talks. We had Richard Dawkins a few weeks ago, who gave an interesting if… uncompromising talk. Yesterday we had one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi foundation. For those of you who aren't aware, the Raspberry Pi is an extremely small (exactly credit card sized) and cheap ($25), yet very capable computing platform. The foundation is the charity formed to produce this hardware.

Why is a charity building computer hardware? Because there is a need for

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New (ish) Year, New (ish) Blog

2011 was an interesting year for me. A lot changed. I turned 30. After 10 years of residency I moved away from Edinburgh, a city I love dearly, and took a job in London. With Google. As a result, I no longer work with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for a living. Instead I build web services. Quite the change, I'm sure you'll agree. In the early months of the year I finally completed the corrections to my PhD, and then in the summer: I graduated. It took 6 years (all together) but I am now Dr. Nick Johnson. I also lost

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