Happy holidays, Parse a String to a Double.

Hello all.

This week, I’m writing on the website about converting strings into doubles. For some cases this is easy, but if the string is a time or a fraction, it’s not so simple. We’ll look at how to parse these strings into Doubles.  You’ll find a Swift Playground file there to experiment or use the functions I came up with to convert strings.

It’s the time of year for the holidays. Apple closes down just about anything a developer or author wants. I for one missed my deadline for updating books. All the updates will happen in January 2017. I’m scheduled for early January 2017 to record the next courses for Lynda.com, after I’m done there, it will be book concentration time.

Most people tend to go for a holiday special or do reruns over the holidays. I’ve never done a holiday special before, but I’d like to do one today. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, some of it works here, some does not. Sitting in Starbuck’s with the Christmas music blasting too loud has me thinking about the season

There’s one story that’s ancient. It was compiled into a biblical commentary called Avodah Zarah, a name that sort of translates into “dealing with idolators.”  It was compiled 1800 years ago, but I would venture to guess it is far older than that. The story I’m thinking of concerns Adam and Eve, just after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The days begin to get shorter, the nights longer. Not knowing the Winter Solstice is the way of the world, Adam is afraid this is the death God told him about. As the day get shorter and shorter, Adam and Eve begin fasting in repentance. After the Solstice, the days begin to get longer. Adam gives sacrifices in thanksgiving. He  made those days around the solstice into holidays.  People since then have always marked those days with feasting, some in holiness, some in idolatry.

The important part of this is darkness. This year especially so. The Jewish Calendar is a Lunar calendar adjusted for the seasons.  It means this holiday season has very little sun and very little moon — it is the darkest of the dark.  That’s why it is all lights festivals. The star of Bethelem, Christmas trees, Menorahs, and Yule logs are about light cutting through the darkness. They are all metaphors for the same thing: In times of spiritual and mental darkness, we must be the light cutting though the darkness, enlightening ourselves and others.

I go into this in a religious context a lot more in the one fable I’ve ever published on Kindle, The Tzaddik of Klaas.

My first publishing effort, the Tzaddik of Klaas.

It’s a bit of a Christmas origin tale, jewish folk tale and interfaith philosophical discussion. It’s one of the best writing I’ve ever done. But I want to look at this in terms of the creative indie, more than religion. Darkness is around us in many ways. Creativity and the creative chases away the darkness. The greatest creative act ever wether you believe the Bible or the Big Bang was “let there be light.”

We can enlighten, we can delight. Contrary to its detractors, Apple has rarely invented anything. They just took what was there and made it a delight. We can make our creative work a game that makes a bad day better, a course or book that makes a frustrating  problem simpler, or an app that gets a tedious job done. All can bring light into the world. All can have a user interface that makes intuitive  sense to our user, helping them do what they need to do. Your code can make the world a brighter place.

As I’ve spoken to may of you, I’ve learned you have knowledge and wisdom beyond code. Many of your projects are about your expertise translated into code for a mobile device. It may not be your programming as much as your content that bring joy and delight to your customers.

Whatever you celebrate this solstice, may you find joy and light. May you bring Joy and light to those around you. Remember all year round, the  joy and light your work brings is like the candles on those menorahs or candelabras. One candle can light many, but never lose its own light.

Happy Holidays and Keep coding,


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