The Blog Lives



B-Rhymes Pro iPhone App: Rhymes and Slant Rhymes

By Mike Lin

I recently published a new app: B-Rhymes Pro iPhone app. The most frequent request I get from users of the standard B-Rhymes iPhone app is to make it not require internet access so that you can find rhymes on your iPod Touch, or when you have no service etc. So I did that and also threw in full rhymes as well as slant rhymes. Putting the full rhyme database in there was a bit tricky, but I managed to fit it in <50MB. Price is $2.99.



Toronto Bike Map

By Mike Lin

My new iPhone app is out:
Toronto Bike Map

It’s made using Toronto’s new bikeways data set that was released on July 15th. I completely didn’t realize this when I decided to make the app over the weekend of July 17th-18th. I just googled for it, found the data, and made the app! I don’t think I’ve ever been so timely in my life :P

With the help of some twitterers It’s been getting some decent buzz and it even got posted on Torontoist! Unlike my last app, which has potential users throughout the English speaking world, this one targets iPhone owners, in Toronto that also bike. With such a small demographic I’m reasonably pleased with the 160 downloads in the first day.

A confession to make. There were supposed to be ads on it. Feeling adventurous I tried to incorporate iAd, Apple’s new ad network, but it turns out they aren’t serving ads for Canada yet, so the app is currently ad free. I may switch to another ad network in the future.



Toronto Transit Directions on Google Maps!

By Mike Lin

Check it out! No more lame TTC site for me. This will be so great for newcomers. Anyway click to bigify the screen shot, or try it out on google maps directly ;)



iPhone: Splitting images into tiles for faster loading with ImageMagick

By Mike Lin

iPhone developers! I found an easy and automated way to cut an image up into tiles at different zoom scales for the purpose of UIScrollView image tiling as shown in Apple’s ScrollViewSuite sample code!

Just get imageMagick, a command line image editor you can get from MacPorts. I made a bash script to automatically resize and tile at 100%, 50% and 25% resolutions.

function tile() {
convert $file -scale ${s}%x -crop 256x256 \
-set filename:tile "%[fx:page.x/256]_%[fx:page.y/256]" \
+repage +adjoin "${file%.*}_${s}_%[filename:tile].${file#*.}"

If you run: tile.sh bigimage.jpg it’ll dump out 256×256 sized tiles called bigimage_100_0_0.jpg, bigimage_100_0_1.jpg etc for each tile at 100% scale, as well as bigimage_50_0_0.jpg et al at 50% scale etc.



Ramen Truth

By Mike Lin

I find this restaurant review of Ajisen Ramen amusing. It contains this quote of a vegetarian complaining about the lack of vegetarian soup in a ramen house. That’s like asking for vegetarian steak. If it’s not a meaty soup, it’s not ramen. There are some places where one can’t expect a lot of vegetarian options, like most Chinese restaurants, ramen houses and Alberta. It’s fun schadenfreude reading about people trying to fight these truths and not getting their way.

When I ask my server if the suspiciously milky broth that comes with Ajisen’s assorted vegetable ramen ($6.99) is vegetarian, she points at its picture on the menu. We’ll take that as a no.

A little background:

Toronto has no good ramen. I’ve searched. It doesn’t exist. This isn’t Vancouver people. The only ok ramen I’ve had here was from the uptown location of the previously dissed as non-vegetarian Ajisen, yet that place is Chinese run, and puts too much MSG in the soup. So I’d be ok with an unfavourable review if it were written from a position of authority. Unfortunately the reviewer brings up how much he loves Kenzo Ramen, a Korean run ramen place that I enjoy much less than Ajisen (eg tepid soup). I guess the problem is ramen experts seem to only migrate as far as the west coast… as it stands though, Ajisen is the place.