Stuart Breckenridge

Removing Over the Air Updates from The FFI List

Starting in version 1.3 of The FFI List, functionality that allows users to download updated FFI list databases will be removed. There are a few reasons for this, but it chiefly comes down to the following:

  • The FFI database barely changes from month-to-month
  • There is a small cost to hosting a new database file each month

The FFI List will continue to be updated through the App Store and, as part of those updates, receive updated versions of the database.1 The app will validate saved FFI’s GIINs against the newer database.

1.3 will be released in early September and will contain the August 24, 2016 FFI List. For those who have the in-app subscription, this has been removed from sale. To ensure you don’t miss out, there will be a 1.3.x that contains the September 24, 2016 FFI List.

Following the 1.3.x release, I plan to update the app each quarter. The next release will be in January.

  1. App Store updates are now approved in a timeframe of hours to a few days, instead of around a week. It makes this approach slightly more palatable. ↩︎

— Supported by —

Full Dualshock 4 Functionality Coming to the Mac and PC

From the PlayStation Blog:

We’re excited to announce that PlayStation Now is making the jump to Windows PC. The app launches overseas in parts of Europe soon and will come to North America shortly thereafter.


We’re also introducing a new device, the DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adaptor, which launches in early September for a suggested retail price of $24.99 ($29.99 CAD). This adaptor will let you connect a DualShock 4 to PC and Mac wirelessly, and will enable every feature of the controller you know and love: buttons, analog sticks, touch pad, light bar, motion sensors, vibration, and stereo headset jack – as long as the gaming application supports these features.

Vesper Discontinued

Brent Simmons:

We at Q Branch just released the final version of Vesper. It does one crucial thing: it allows you to export your notes and pictures. See the new Export section in the sidebar.

Sync will be turned off Aug. 30 at 8pm Pacific. We’ll destroy all the data, and neither we nor anyone else will be able to recover it.

The app will be removed from the App Store on Sep. 15. Until then, starting now, it’s free — since you can’t create new sync accounts, and it wouldn’t be fair to charge new users if they can’t sync.

I loved working on Vesper. It was one of the great software-making experiences of my life. We’d get on a roll and it was wonderful.

And now it hurts to turn it off, but it’s time.

To everyone who used the app: thank you so much.

This is such a shame. Vesper was one of my favourite note taking apps, but since Apple’s Notes app was drastically improved in iOS 9, I didn’t think Vesper would last long.

Host Migration

Since converting the content of this site from Wordpress to Jekyll, I’ve been using as web host. However, over the last few months I’ve been disappointed with certain aspects of the service.

First, there was downtime for the entire Surge network in January as a result of a DMCA takedown request. Second, their CLI generates some remarkably unhelpful error messages. For example, when uploading a new PEM file the error I received was as follows:

Error - something went wrong. the pem file was not applied

What are you meant to do with that?

So I decided to migrate to Netlify and this turned to be much easier than anticipated.

I signed up using my GitHub account and pointed the Netlify to this website’s repository. As I build the site locally on my Mac and then commit to GitHub, I simply had to set the public folder to the _site directory in the repository with no need to apply any build scripts. When ever I commit to GitHub, Netlify detects the commit and syncs the changes. I’ve been really impressed with the speed in which this synchronisation happens.

Using Netlify has also simplified my deploy script:

cd ~/pathtosite
bundle exec jekyll build
cp _redirects _site #Redirects needs to be copied to _site after build
git add .
git commit -m "Commit via Script"
git push

Overall, I’m very happy with the migration.

Improve Boot Camp Gaming Performance with an External SSD

Last year, I was playing Battlefield 4 on my 2013 iMac through Boot Camp. My iMac has a 3TB Fusion Drive which meant that the Windows partition (and Battlefield) were installed on the hard drive portion of the disk, rather than the flash storage. This precipitated in a situation where my eldest nephew wanted to see Battlefield 4 and had to wait over three minutes for a multiplayer level to load.

Short of buying a newer iMac with a flash drive, I’ve instead bought an external USB3 Samsung T3 250GB SSD. After connecting the drive to the iMac and formatting it, I uninstalled Battlefield 4 and reinstalled it on the SSD.

I expected a minor performance improvement. What I actually got was fairly incredible: loading time decreased from over three minutes to 19 seconds. This is more than acceptable and a much more cost-effective option than buying a new iMac!