This blog has an RSS feed.
You can get it by clicking on this logo:
(Note: Andrew Burke's personal blog, with lots of travel pictures and such, is at www.andrewburke.ca.)
Punk Rock Software at Next Week's Halihax
Sep 20, 2023
I'll be giving an updated version of my "Punk Rock Software" talk at the "Halihax Frontend Meetup" on September 27 at 6pm
My New Ultra-Lightweight Personal Site
Aug 02, 2023
As social media is collapsing, I'm bringing back blogging. I rebuilt my personal site recently and it's extremely lightweight.
Halihax JS Meetup
Feb 16, 2023
Last night for the first time in ages I went to a tech event. In person. With pizza. And presentations!
Back at it
Feb 16, 2023
(tap tap) Is this thing still on?
My Expanded Twitter Thread about BurgerWeek 2021
Oct 17, 2021
Continuing my annual tradition, I put together a quick-search page for Halifax Burger Week 2021, scraping the official site for data. This time I tweeted about the whole process. I've collected the thread here.
This Is Nowhere: The Server Side
Oct 15, 2021
Behind every great mobile app is a great server CMS delivering data and managing traffic.
Building a React Native App Without Tears - Part 3
Sep 17, 2019
After all that configurating, we're ready to actually start writing some React Native code!
Building a React Native App Without Tears - Part 2
Sep 17, 2019
More details on how to set up and configure a React Native app
Building a React Native App Without Tears (Mostly)
Sep 16, 2019
React Native is wonderful to develop in - except for all the hiccups and twiddly configuration things that need to be done to get it to actually run on a device.
This Is Nowhere: The Memento Edition
Mar 21, 2019
Relive "This Is Nowhere" with the memento edition of the app.
This Is Nowhere: Aspects of Accessibility
Mar 12, 2019
The This Is Nowhere project had accessibility in mind from the start - and it led to some surprising insights.
Presentations About NowHere
Mar 09, 2019
Over the last year or so I've been working on a big software/theatre project called This Is Nowhere. Here are some presentations I've done about it.
This Is Nowhere: Head-First Into React Native
Jan 05, 2019
It was looking like I would be doomed to support multiple codebases for our mobile app requirements - but React Native saved the day. Mostly.
This Is Nowhere: Bloomsday Halifax
Oct 30, 2018
This Is Nowhere is more than just a one-off thing. It's supposed to be a platform and toolkit for building different kinds of projects. For example, I built an app guide to James Joyce's "Ulysses"
Oct 23, 2018
This Is Nowhere: GPS and Wayfinding and More UX
Oct 15, 2018
One of the keys to the This Is Nowhere app was helping the user find their way to destinations - but not being *too* helpful. GPS was important to this, but there were still many challenges.
This Is Nowhere: The Single-Button UX
Oct 12, 2018
The This Is Nowhere client app had some challenging usability requirements, but we came up with something that worked pretty well.
This Is Nowhere: Don’t Just Stand There!
Oct 11, 2018
The journey from idea to live is a long one, and takes lots of prototypes and false starts - which for me always have to be real working software.
This Is Nowhere: Finding My Duck
Oct 08, 2018
I’ve worked on my software projects over the years, but I also have two English degrees and was a drama club nerd back in High School and College. I think I may have found the perfect project for me.
Finding Burgers Fast: My DIY Halifax Burger Week Site
Feb 23, 2018
Every year, Halifax Burger Week comes out with a big fancy WordPress-based site with maps, slideshows, blog posts, and more. I just want to know where the burgers are, so I make my own light version.
"This is Nowhere" at PodCamp Halifax 2018
Feb 04, 2018
I'm doing a cool new project with Halifax's Zuppa Theatre. Here's a talk I gave about it at PodCamp Halifax.
The Diary Diaries: Fixing Remembary's Facebook Connection
Sep 18, 2016
I recently did a major update to my iOS "Connected Diary" app Remembary and had a lot of trouble getting properly connected with Facebook. Here's how I got it working.
Special Leap Day Edition of "Some Weird Things About Time"
Feb 29, 2016
Last year I created a conference talk called "4 Weird Things About Time" - in honour of Leap Day 2016, I've excerpted 2 of the weird things into their own abridged version and put it onto YouTube.
What's Up With Remembary
Jul 27, 2015
Can't get pg_dump To Work Now That Heroku Has Upgraded Postgresql to 9.4?
Apr 29, 2015
This caught me today and I couldn't find the fix for it mentioned anywhere else - so I thought I'd write it up to help anyone else out there having similar trouble.
The Best Thing I Ever Did To Promote My App
Jan 15, 2015
Got long-term impact for building awareness of my app with this One Weird Trick.
If You Build It, They WON'T Come
Jan 14, 2015
Why Field of Dreams is bad business advice
#deployaday, My Big Hairy Plan for 2015
Jan 11, 2015
My New Year's Resolution for 2015: get something new out into the world every day - no matter how small.
Extracting Plain Text from an NSAttributedString
Jun 19, 2014
Sometimes you want to get just the plain text out of a rich-text NSAttributedString in iOS or OS-X. Nobody seems to have written this down anywhere else, so here's how it's done.
My Year of "Hits" Part 2: Remembary Rolling
Feb 04, 2014
Part 2 of my presentation at PodCamp Halifax 2012, featuring many lessons learned from finally reaching cruising altitude in the App Store.
My Year of "Hits" Part 1: Remembary Rises (and Stumbles)
Feb 04, 2014
Part 1 of my PodCamp Halifax 2012 presentation, covering a very tumultuous 2011. Includes surprise fame and nerve-wracking bug hunts.
Handy Little Test Method to Check for Translations in Rails Apps
Sep 17, 2013
A handy snippet to help in testing multilingual Rails apps.
My Suddenly Slow-Waking MacBook Air
May 31, 2013
My 2011-vintage MacBook Air used to start instantly. Then it stopped. I fixed it - and here are some thoughts on it.
Indie App PR: Keeping Control of Your Tone
May 30, 2013
How to keep your cool while handling trolls - and just plain unhappy people.
A Quick Note on 'clone' in Rails 3.2
Feb 08, 2013
I recently upgraded one of my business apps from Rails 2.1 to Rails 3.2, and I discovered a sneaky and dangerous "gotcha": the 'clone' method doesn't.
Sep 12, 2012
Part 2 of my eBook series gets technical with three different languages.
My eBook Apps 1: Introduction
Sep 11, 2012
I've recently made two eBook apps for iOS. This is part 1 of a series of posts discussing how I built them.
Quick Tip: No Sound on Mountain Lion
Aug 12, 2012
Just upgraded to Mountain Lion and my computer's sound output stopped working. Here's how I fixed it.
My Upcoming Talk at PodcampHFX 2012: My Year of "Hits"
Jan 17, 2012
Come see me talk about what a crazy year I had in 2011.
starshipsstarthere.ca: Building at the Speed of Funny
Sep 13, 2011
What (little) went into the starshipsstarthere.ca site - and how it shows that simple apps and hosting are solved problems in 2011.
Jul 14, 2011
Some notes on things I've found helpful in making screencasts.
Remembary's Cool New Picture Support
Jul 14, 2011
Now that Remembary 1.4 is waiting for App Store approval, I'm ready to talk more fully about some of the new features in this release. The biggest new thing is a unique approach to pictures.
Indie App PR 2: Keeping On Top Of User Feedback
Jun 21, 2011
The App Store provides a place for your users to give you feedback - but your app page is the last place you want negative comments. Here are some ways to keep your users and your app page happy.
Indie App PR 1: How to Handle an App Disaster
Jun 20, 2011
When an embarrassing bug showed up in Remembary, fixing it was only the first step. I had to do some home-grown crisis PR.
Giles Bowkett Diary Project 2
Jun 03, 2011
Giles Bowkett gave a talk in Toronto. I introduced him with his diary entries from an alternate universe.
Mar 19, 2011
A quick video introduction to Remembary 1.3.5
Congratulations! Welcome to Your Nightmare!
Mar 11, 2011
I used to have neurotic worries about what would happen if Remembary got really popular and it turned out to have a terrible bug in it.
Then it happened.
How My iPad App Remembary Took Off
Mar 07, 2011
How, after a long period of very slow sales, Remembary finally got off the ground. Here's how I did it.
Why You Should Have an App in the App Store (Even If You Probably Won't Make Any Money)
Feb 28, 2011
On January 23rd, 2011, I gave a 45-minute talk at PodCamp Halifax about my app Remembary: The Connected Diary For Your iPad. This is the Coles/Cliff's Notes/TL;DR version, with links to the full text for the keeners.
PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation - Part 3
Feb 25, 2011
Part 3 of my PodCamp Halifax presentation on Remembary and the App Store: Learning from the competition, and concluding remarks
How I Used MailChimp Autoresponders to Promote Remembary
Feb 24, 2011
We're in a new world of email services. Services like MailChimp or CampaignMonitor allow you to organize and send out well organized and effective email campaigns. Here's how I set up a diary reminder campaign to help promote my iPad app Remembary.
PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 2
Feb 24, 2011
Part 2 of my PodCamp Halifax presentation on Remembary and the App Store: Some lessons I learned.
PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 1
Feb 23, 2011
Why You Should Have an App in the App Store, Even If You Probably Won't Make Any Money
Why AdWords Ads Don't Work for iPad Apps
Feb 21, 2011
You may have noticed there aren't many adwords ads for iPhone and iPad apps. There's a good reason for this.
Remembary is Sponsoring PodcampHFX
Jan 18, 2011
Remembary is proud to be a sponsor of Podcamp Halifax 2011. Full details are <a href="http://www.remembary.com/blog/remembary-is-sponsoring-podcamp-halifax.html">on the Remembary website blog</a>.
Why Can't I Resize my Views in Interface Builder?
Dec 04, 2010
A common problem with a not-very-obvious solution that caused me a lot of headaches when I was starting iPad development.
Momento and Remembary
Dec 03, 2010
Momento is the big app of the moment, and it is really similar to Remembary. Is this scary? A bit. It also validates the idea.
Nov 03, 2010
Remembary: The Connected Diary for Your iPad is my little lemonade stand at that intersection of Technology and the Liberal Arts. Cross posted from <a href="http://www.remembary.com">www.remembary.com</a>
iPad-Friendly eBooks of Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom
Oct 13, 2010
While my iPad app makes its way through the App Store approval process, here's something else for the iPad: free eBook versions of Balthazar Gracian's "Art of Worldly Wisdom".
Project Report: PTOS2
May 04, 2010
I just finished a complete rewrite of the Price Ticket Ordering System for the Beer Store. Here's the story.
A Quick Note on Encryption
Mar 02, 2010
One of my current projects requires a small message to be encrypted / decrypted. This turned out to be trickier than expected but I finally figured it out.
We're all LUsers
Feb 12, 2010
It's fun to laugh at the stupid people who don't know how to use a browser - but we're all stupid sometimes.
Thoughts on HAML
Feb 10, 2010
I've been using HAML in all of my projects for the last few years. While it makes it easier to build web pages, what I like most about it is what it makes harder: bad habits.
Friday Afternoon Hack - Getting Beyond the Basics
Nov 13, 2009
As part of the Halifax Friday Afternoon Hack, I've been typing in a BASIC adventure program from a 1983 book. Read on to get the code and run it - and get details about how I'm going to rewrite it in Ruby.
Halifax Friday Hack and Back to Basics
Oct 31, 2009
In Halifax, we're taking Friday afternoons to explore new technologies. I'm learning BASIC from 1983.
Quote from Wil Shipley
Aug 31, 2009
Great quote on 'heuristics' vs. technical programming from the creator of Delicious Monster
Aug 04, 2009
Last month, I went to the awesome FutureRuby conference. Here's what I thought.
Make Web Not War
Jul 30, 2009
A while back I went to Microsoft's "Make Web Not War" conference. It was pretty cool but felt a little ... odd.
Busy Week I: Toronto Ruby Job Fair
Jun 15, 2009
Last week I attended two interesting developer-related events in Toronto: Employment.nil?: The Toronto Ruby Job Fair, and Microsoft's Make Web Not War conference. This is part I - on the Job Fair.
Employment.nil - the Toronto Ruby Job Fair
Jun 01, 2009
This coming Saturday I'm going to have a booth at the First <a href="http://rubyjobfair.ca/" target="new">Toronto Ruby Job Fair</a>. Unspace breaks new ground again.
Code Count: Ruby on Rails vs. C#/ASP.NET
May 28, 2009
From my presentation in early May, the table comparing line and character counts between the C#/ASP.NET and Ruby on Rails version of the <a href="http://www.clearfit.com">ClearFit</a> application.
A Brief Note on Twitter
May 26, 2009
A quick thought on how non-committal Twitter is better than Facebook for conference / event connections.
The Hub Halifax and Mobile Tech for Social Change
May 26, 2009
This weekend I spent a beautiful sunny Saturday in Halifax indoors, but it was worth it. I went to the <a href="http://www.dalezak.ca/2009/05/inspiring-conversations-of-change-at.html">Mobile Tech 4 Social Change</a> unconference.
Deep Thoughts on Microsoft From The Accordion Guy
May 25, 2009
Joey deVilla is changing The Evil Empire from the inside, and <a href="http://www.globalnerdy.com/2009/05/25/mental-models-mantras-and-my-mission/">he's been doing a lot of thinking about it</a>.
The Two Kinds of Defensive Programming
May 14, 2009
A side note from last week's presentation: there's the good kind of defensive programming, and then there's the more common 'flinchy' kind. Read on for more details.
Presentation - Fixing Careerious: From C#/.NET to Ruby on Rails
May 12, 2009
Here are the slides and details on the talk I gave at last week's Ruby/Rails Project Night. I even managed to get some video. Follow the link to see the presentation
May 07, 2009
My talk went well, and one of the slides I made was pretty popular - follow the link to see the 'Enterprise Software' successories poster.
Presenting at Ruby on Rails Project Night - May 7th
May 05, 2009
I'll be presenting at the <a href="http://correlations.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/ruby-on-rails-project-night-may-7th-star-trek-may-8th/">next Ruby on Rails Project Night</a> this coming Thursday. Free beer!
New Name and New Look for Careerious/Clearfit
Apr 22, 2009
Last winter I rewrote the core application for Careerious. They're continuing their transformation and are now <a href="http://www.clearfit.com" target="new">ClearFit</a>, with a new look and a new website.
FutureRuby and More From Unspace
Mar 20, 2009
Toronto's <a href="http://unspace.ca/">Unspace</a> is awesome - two recent reasons: <a href="http://futureruby.com/">FutureRuby</a> and <a href="http://rethink.unspace.ca/2009/3/20/the-best-of-intentions">this post from Pete Forde</a>
Health Tips for Programmers
Feb 25, 2009
A few things that have helped me fight sitting-hunched-over-a-keyboard-all-day-itis. Hint: the progress bar can be your *friend*.
This tables meme won't die
Feb 10, 2009
I had a <a href="http://www.shindigital.com/site/blogpost/38">rant</a> a little while ago about how I'm no longer ashamed to say that I use tables for layout. <a href="http://giveupandusetables.com/">These people</a> did a better job at it.
Careerious - Ruby and Rails vs. C#/.NET
Feb 09, 2009
I recently finished a project translating a messy C#/ASP application into a cleaner Ruby/Rails application - and making it one fifth the size and up to fifty times faster.
Yeah I Use Tables For Layout, So Sue Me
Feb 02, 2009
"Hi, my name's Andrew Burke, and I, ... I use tables for layout."
"Hi Andrew. It's okay, we love you."
"I'm not alone? I though I was alone!"
The Different Kinds of Done
Jan 24, 2009
"Done" is a funny thing in the world of software. "Done" has different meanings for different people, and figuring out which "done" you're aiming for can be helpful.
Giles Bowkett's RubyFringe presentation
Oct 01, 2008
Giles Bowkett's presentation was one of the highlights of RubyFringe this summer. It's now available online - highly recommended!
OfficeTime: Great Time-Tracking App for OS X
Aug 07, 2008
I've built several of my own time tracking applications over the years, but I'm now using a fantastic commercial product: <a href="http://www.officetime.net/" target="new">OfficeTime</a>.
Back With A New Look
Jul 18, 2008
Shindig was down for a while but is back with a new layout and extra content.
May 22, 2008
Since this feed was added to the <a href="http://torontorb.ca">torontorb.ca site</a>, I've discovered some url issues in my feed. These have been fixed but some readers may get duplicates of older posts - sorry about that, but links should work now!
May 19, 2008
<a href="http://torontorb.ca/">torontorb</a> is a new site for keeping up with all the Ruby events that are happening in Toronto. They've included the feed for this blog, which means this post will trigger an endless loop of infinite cross-reference!
Keeping Your Sanity With The Command Design Pattern
May 14, 2008
On May 13th, I presented "Keeping Your Sanity With The Command Design Pattern" at the Toronto Ruby/Rails Project Night. Here are my slides and what I said.
shindigital Is All Grown Up! (according to the spambots)
May 14, 2008
I know this site is all grown up because I just got my first piece of attempted comment spam. It didn't work, since this site doesn't have comments, but it shows that at least the bots know about shindigital.com. I'm so proud!
Startup Stars? I'm so bored!
Apr 25, 2008
A recent article on O'Reilly Radar described <a href="http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/04/web2expo-sf-launchpad.html">six new Web 2.0 startups</a>. If these are the stars, then Web 2.0 is <em>over</em>.
The Magic Words for RMagick
Apr 13, 2008
I just upgraded to an Intel MacBook from a PowerBook G4 and everything went pretty smoothly - except of course for the ImageMagick/RMagick graphics tools. Here are the magic (without a k) words to make it work.
Jennifer from Operations
Apr 09, 2008
It has been my experience in building business software that everything is straightforward, except for that one step that's done manually by 'Jennifer in Operations'
You see? Naming is HARD
Apr 07, 2008
Even famous and insightful software bloggers can't figure out what to name their new dot com.
Business Software as Process Documentation
Mar 24, 2008
Great quote from <a href="http://weblog.raganwald.com/2008/03/process-is-to-software-as-software-is.html">Raganwald</a> about business processes.
Deployment note: 'execve failed'
Mar 21, 2008
Small technical note that might help someone else who had the same problem I recently had deploying on fastcgi and lighttp. Hint: check your shebang in dispatch.fcgi!
Steve Jobs on Market Research
Mar 09, 2008
A great quote from Steve Jobs on market research and marketing consultants, and what it implies about Apple and companies in general.
Why Canada Is Better for Entrepreneurs
Mar 05, 2008
While there isn't as much of an entrepreneur culture in Canada as in, say, Silicon Valley, there is much less risk in going out on your own - <em>since you don't have to worry about health care costs or insurance</em>.
"Program first and blog second"
Feb 28, 2008
Why haven't I been blogging lately? As <a href="http://gilesbowkett.blogspot.com/2008/02/never-complain-only-ever-code.html" target="new">Giles Bowkett says: </a> Always program first and blog second.
Toronto Tech Collage
Feb 16, 2008
<a href="http://www.joeydevilla.com/2008/02/16/ideas-to-steal-from-silicon-valley-and-seattle/">Accordion Guy has a post about Seattle's tech community</a> and includes a collage of Toronto tech people - and I'm in it!
The MacBook Air Is A Roadster
Feb 13, 2008
There's a lot of chatter on the web about the new MacBook Air being underpowered. It's actually just in a different category than more powerful machines. Nobody complains that a sports car doesn't seat six.
Feb 12, 2008
The geniuses at Unspace have a <a href="http://rubyfringe.com/">killer conference</a> planned for this summer.
Quote of the Week: Steve Yegge
Feb 11, 2008
The mighty Steve Yegge has a great opinionated posting called <a href="http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2008/02/portrait-of-n00b.html" target="new">Portrait of a N00b</a>. Like all good arguments, it confirms a personal prejudice I hadn't noticed before.
Starting Up: Cards
Feb 07, 2008
The last time I got business cards designed and printed was in early 2005 - and they were obsolete within three months. This time, I did better.
Great design tool: browsershots.org
Feb 01, 2008
Save yourself from having to dust off that old Windows98 machine to make sure your site looks okay in Internet Explorer 5. <a href="http://browsershots.org" target="new">Browsershots</a> will do it for you.
Starting Up: The Logo
Jan 31, 2008
I wanted something fun but also competent, personal but also professional. I think it worked out. The dudes, by the way, are named "Jack" and "Herman".
Quotes Of The Day: Hedge Fund Interview
Jan 24, 2008
<a href="http://nplusonemag.com/hedge-fund-interview.html">There is a great interview with an anonymous Hedge Fund manager in n+1 magazine</a> talking about the recent sub-prime collapse. Read on for some excerpts and lessons.
TSOT Ruby / Rails Presentation Night - Part 1
Jan 20, 2008
Last week, I gave the main presentation at TSOT's Ruby / Rails presentation night, announcing Shindig and the S.O.S. Here is Part 1.
Moneyworks: Accounting Software for Canadians on OS X
Jan 16, 2008
If you're starting a company, it's a good idea to have accounting / bookkeeping software. Being a Mac user in Canada makes one a double minority in this area. Read on for what I found.
Starting Up: The Name
Jan 13, 2008
Why "Shindig"? Why "shindigital.com"? It could have been "Penseroso" or "Borogrove" or "Semios" or "Sarabande". Or "groovycarrot."
Nice logo, but why is your site so bland?
Jan 10, 2008
You may have noticed that the site is kind of bland right now. Why did I go ahead and deploy it? Well, these days *something* with links is better than *nothing* - and it will be getting much better very soon.
Welcome to shindigital.com
Jan 10, 2008
Welcome to the home of Shindig Digital Constructions Inc.