iCloud Photo Library (Beta) with iOS 8.1

iOS 8.1 was released today and iCloud Photo Library has been made available to the public as a beta. I'd recommend against using it for the time being.

From what I can tell, in beta form, iCloud Photo Library on iOS removes all offline synced photos (from Aperture, iPhoto, or PC) and it does not sync them to iCloud. However, it does sync Camera Roll photos across all iOS devices. Getting your Aperture/iPhoto snaps to the cloud will require Photos for OS X, which will be released next year.

Another issue to consider is iCloud storage space. By default, you get 5GB free and iCloud Photo Library will take up a considerable amount of that capacity (my iCloud Photo Library has 227 photos and 15 videos taking up 850MB). I anticipate that when Photos for OS X arrives and fills the iCloud Photo Library with my offline photos, 5GB will appear nothing more than punitive.

Impressed with the iPhone 6 Plus battery

This morning I started my marathon training program and it was the first opportunity I've had to go running with the iPhone 6 Plus.

I went for a 12.5km run with music playing, Bluetooth, GPS, and wifi enabled, and the run being tracked by Runkeeper.

It was a 1hr 9min run and under normal circumstances my iPhone 5s would have been down at around 80% battery life remaining. The 6 Plus only dropped 5% on this run - 95% remaining!

I'm impressed.

Destiny: I Don't Know Why

I've finished all the missions in Destiny and I have no idea what the story was actually about. There was The Traveller, the Vex, the Cabal, the Darkness, the Queen, the Fallen, the Speaker, the...you get the idea.

The story inexplicably jumped from Earth, to the Moon (where the Wizards live), to Mercury, to Venus, to the Reef, to Mars, and then it was finished.

Also odd is the fact that I'm still playing it and I'm not even sure if I'm enjoying it. There is such a gulf between the story and the storytelling that it's impossible to get engaged: the script is awful. Take your "Ghost", Destiny's AI equivalent of Cortana in Halo in the shape of a Monitor with zero personality: "Just so you know, there are more Fallen...and Hive on the way".

Ignoring the obvious storytelling gaffes and contextless battles, what Bungie have built is still remarkable. Balance and feel wise, it's a tremendous shooter and that's why I'm still playing. It just needs a story for me to enjoy it.

FATCA – FFI List – Version 2

I started rewriting FFI List pretty much the day after iOS 8 was announced. Version 2 is a significant release and I’d like to discuss a few of the bigger changes in this blog.

Swift

I am, along with many other developers, still learning Swift and it’s a challenge I am relishing. That being said, I am pleased (nervous!?) to say that FFI List is now entirely written in Swift with the exception of Apple’s Reachability code and the Parse 3rd Party library.

FFI List

In Version 1.x of FFI List, updated lists were only distributed with app updates. That wasn’t ideal for a variety of reasons:

  • There was a delay between an FFI list being released and it actually being available in the app; and,
  • Review scores were reset with every release of the app.

With Version 2, that’s changed. The app is seeded with an FFI List (August 25th 2014), and new lists can be downloaded when available. The September 24th 2014 list is available to download now.

This was a significant piece of work for the app. (I hope it works well.)

User Interface

The app UI now supports all devices from iPhone 4S to iPhone 6 Plus, iPad 2 to iPad Air, in both landscape and portrait orientations. What’s more, the app now supports dynamic text. So if you use larger text sizes, the app will display data in larger sizes as well. The Avenir font has also been replaced with Helvetica.

I also wanted to simplify searching. Instead of specifying what you're searching for (name, GIIN, or domicile), you just need to input your search text and the app will search all three. A small change, but one that reduces the number of taps.


FFI List can be downloaded here