The alternative interview framework

Making a case against those textbook and mundane interviews. If you ask me the high stress technical interview process isn’t demonstrating anything but a hostile work environment.

John Montgomery from Microsoft shares insight into their process

…we were still asking the same interview questions we’d asked for the last decade or more. The questions didn’t make sense when we were trying to find people who’d bring different skills and viewpoints into the team.


Static Table View Containers

Static table views are the most straight forward way of laying out a list of items using Storyboards in Interface Builder. (You are using Storyboards by now right?) These type of table views are better suited for a static list of items like a menu or settings screen inside of your app. One of the limitations with this type of table view cell is that it requires a UITableViewController inside of your storyboard. This could be problematic because of how table view controllers intrinsically take over an entire screen worth of content.

An approach to get around this limitation is to use view controller containment within your storyboard. By doing this, you are essentially defining a content area for which your table view controller will be placed. Using a container gives the ability to layout your static cells alongside your parent view controller.

Start by dragging a container view onto your view controller where you want your table view to appear. Go ahead and delete the new ViewController that gets created and instead place a UITableViewController in your storyboard. Now control + drag in Interface Builder from your container view onto the new UITablVeiwController and click on the embed option.


If you do this correctly, your tableview will take on the dimensions of your container view giving you a good idea of its layout in relation to other views on the screen.


Now you have the flexibility of adding cells at design time without the need for boilerplate datasource logic associated with prototype cells.

Learn more about static table views from the WWDC session.


Apple Pay with iPhone 6 in a nutshell

With the announcement of iPhone 6 comes a unique way of paying for products using a combination of the NFC antenna and Touch ID. Apple accelerated the popularity of portable MP3 players with the introduction of iPod and in a similar fashion it appears as though Apple is well positioned to bring “contactless payment” into the mainstream. Due in part because of how the majority of iTunes accounts already contain a form of payment, it can be easily added as the default payment method in PassBook for owners of iPhone 6 or the Apple Watch beginning in early 2015.


Apple is actually fairly late to the game when it comes to this method of payment. Competitors like Google Wallet and PayPay already have a presence in this space but not without opposition from carriers who have been in favor of their own solution.

A cause of concern up until now has been the cost for merchants to update their card readers to accept NFC based payment technology. The timing of the Apple Pay announcement comes only a year before the new EMV requirements on card readers goes into effect in October 2015. It seems likely that merchants will choose to upgrade their readers to support both EMV and the NFC contactless payment method used in Apple Pay.

NFC Reader Logo

NFC Reader Logo


When you are authorized via Touch ID, a payment token is generated from the Secure Element inside your phone via the PassKit Framework that is used to complete the transaction by the payment processor. With Touch ID, your credit card and forms of identification never exchange hands.

When a credit card is added to PassBook, a device specific account number is stored in place of the credit card number in the secure element. If you were to misplace your phone, you can suspend payments from that device from the Find My iPhone web interface.


Of course for us developers there is a way of building Apple Pay into our iOS apps. The PassKit framework provides API’s for creating a payment token as well as presenting the payment sheet that contains shipping / billing info and shipping method.

The PassKit Framework Reference has details on the classes necessary to accept Apple Pay in your app.

Apple is adamant about how they are not in the business of collecting your information. They are simply providing us with a simplified purchase experience. Apple Pay will be available starting in October when 220,000+ stores across the US begin accepting it as payment.


My blog has a new look!

You can see the difference from how it was for the last three years.


Around a week ago I set out to update my blog’s theme and I was able to find a quality theme and customize it to my liking without much trouble. This speaks to the big advantage of using WordPress to power your blog. It has matured so much and has an enormous user base now that if you have a need for your blog, then chances are there is a plugin or article on ways to customize it to your liking.

However popularity doesn’t come without some risk. When a product becomes as big as WordPress, your likeliness of being hit with an attack increases dramatically. The automatic background update feature has been around since WordPress 3.7 and automates the process of patching your blog with the latest security fixes and then sends you an email confirmation when it has completed. Now I have the peace of mind that my blog is staying reasonably secure.

Automation is a beautiful thing.


Tasty coffee with AeroPress

When you just want one cup of damn good coffee your best bet is to give the Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker a try. The AeroPress makes cleanup quick and is portable enough to throw in your backpack or even take along on your next camping trip. The process, or ritual as some may refer to it as, makes for a much more enjoyable drinking experience as well.