#35 What I Learned in the Old Soviet Union

Hello All,
Just a little bit of business this week and then on to some thoughts for the week. This week’s post is inspired by correspondence I’ve had with Denny, one of the subscribers to this list. It’s the basics of using gestures in your own applications, where I’ll cover taps, pinches and rotations. 

I also had a lot of problems with Xcode this week. First the beta iOS on my phone won’t work with the non beta Xcode I was using. Then the latest beta wouldn’t work. Kept getting a cryptic error message in the build. Turns out that a lot of fatal errors that have cryptic error messages when using devices occur due to corrupted or invalid provisioning profiles. Took me till Friday to clear the problem and get real work done this week.
I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from people writing me this week for posts. Someone from Twitter wants me to follow up my notification posts with one on Notification actions, which will be next week.

Updating Frames in Autolayout

For those of you about to tear your hair out about auto layout, Apple made a change that makes me want to scream. They changed where Update Frames is, deleting the original selections in the resolver. You’ll find it as an icon next to the left of the stack view icon.

Why they had to delete it from the resolver, I have no idea. What it means is  I have another round of revisions to Practical auto layout to do that I don’t have time for. I’ll have an errata in the website about it shortly.

Thoughts for the Week

I’ll end the post this week with some more thoughts. Due to some letters I received last week, and a movie I saw over the weekend, I want to relate some memories from a long time ago. When I was in college I spend a mini-semester touring the Soviet Union for a very cold, dark December, but one that was very enlightening. I had some interesting adventures like getting interrogated by the KGB if I had any contraband. Besides being patted down and having them try to see if I had a false compartment in my boots nothing else exciting happened.  Then there was tour bus leaving without me and my roommate at the Moscow Circus. We made it back to our hotel using the Moscow metro with no problem. But that’s not the two memories I remember most. I had an idea that started jelling a few days into the trip, and kept getting stronger as the  trip continued. As foreign nationals we were  almost always escorted everywhere by the Soviet tourist agency Intourist and of course given the party line about everything. I stopped counting the times our guide mentioned that Russia got invaded by some other nation — until I saw the bullet holes in Leningrad, now St Petersburg. Bullet holes were in buildings everywhere, from when the Nazis tried to capture the city. There were still bombed out buildings in the outskirts of the city from World War Two. On the plane home, after my second best memory of that trip (I’ll talk about that next week) I formulated my trip in a very simple idea.  There’s people who risk and people who want to be safe. As a large social unit, the People of the Soviet Union, and I suspect still much of Russia today, want to be safe more than anything else. On the other hand,  there are those who want to risk to become better, are willing to work hard, and willing to get very uncomfortable just to grow and succeed. In 1986, I believed that was what forged the United States and made it great. The U.S.  with two exceptions is an immigrant nation. People risked everything to come to America. These people worked hard and innovated hard to succeed, and the incredible growth of the U.S. Has that in its DNA.  That was my idea at the time. It gave me great framework to understand the true cultural clash of the USA and the USSR, why we both spent so much money pointing missiles at each other during the Cold War. One wanted to be safe, one was all about risk and success.
In the decades since then, I made a few changes to this. One that got reinforced big time in the last few weeks is the idea that as one moves from the initial immigrant generation, risk changes to safety. To be protected and acknowledged as part of society becomes more and more seductive. What form that safety takes changes, but it is there. Not just in America, but around the world this idea of being safe above all else is growing.
Over the Weekend I saw Disney’s new movie Moana. It is at its core, a Hero’s Journey movie. The hero’s journey is a pattern that shows up worldwide in Myth. Its the story of a person taking a fantastic journey and become something new by the end of it, often saving everyone else by their actions. The first Star Wars movie was a hero’s journey.  Farm Boy Luke Sywalker goes through a series of adventures and trials ending up making the shot that destroys the death star. My other favorite Disney movie Mulan, is a similar hero’s journey of a girl who’s supposed to get married, but ends up running away to enlist in the army and ends up almost singlehandedly wiping out an invading army. Moana was like that, but without much in spoilers her choice was to stay safe on her island or risk death outside it. Turns out if Luke, Mulan or Moana hadn’t  taken that risk,  everything would have died. That’s one of the core ideas of the Hero’s journey. To stay safe is guaranteed death.
That brings me back to those risk-loving hard working types, who think by their own hand they can bring success. Creative indies are among these, willing to try something new, burning the midnight oil, or in my case getting up at 3:00 in the morning. These are the people who work 20 hour days to improve their lot. They come up with the most amazing things. Apple’s classic commercial, and one of my favorite quotes sums them best.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

That’s you. Some might call you crazy, I’ll call you heroes or creative indies. I’m blessed to have such people as my audience. I’ve been corresponding with many of you and are blown away with your creativity and grit. More than once last week,  I heard a variation of a phrase “instead of getting depressed I got coding.”  For example one reader, Denny, is writing apps to change how electrical contractors do their job.  I just blows me away how innovative and without a doubt revolutionary his work is. I think many of you have similar ideas and dreams, working your way to learning Swift and API’s to make your work come true. I wanted to thank all of your for your efforts. Wherever you are, your work matters. You are my heroes.

With that said, I can think of only one more thing, which means more to me this week.

Keep coding.

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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