Shoes Without Breaking the Bank

In today’s society tennis shoes appear to be the normal everyday shoe of choice. They are comfortable and come in various assortments of style and color. I never was a fan of wearing tennis shoes and felt that something a tad more presentable should be worn. In my opinion, nothing looks smarter than a nice set of shoes coupled with a pair of jeans and button down shirt. This past week I found myself looking for a new set of shoes. The shoes I had in mind were a set of light brown wingtips versatile enough to wear with a suit or casual attire.

A set of good quality shoes with proper maintenance will last for years, however buying nice shoes doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money. I typically only purchase things when there are sales or while shopping at outlet malls. I found the perfect set of Cole Haan wingtip shoes after browsing through a few stores at a particular outlet mall . Best of all the shoes were about $100 off of the original sale price.

Cole Haan Wingtip Shoes

If you have a limited budget there are some fairly inexpensive pairs of shoes that also look well. Here are a set of Wingtip shoes from DSW which look similar to the ones I purchased for even less (the color varies depending on selection).

DSW Wingtip Shoes

Final Thoughts

Dressing smart or dapper doesn’t have to be an activity limited to people who spend a lot of money on clothing. If you stick with with interchangeable classic items you won’t have to buy as many shoes, shirts, suits, etc. Always keep an eye out for deals and stores which offer quality clothing at a discounted price, any chance to save money should be taken advantage of.

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Speed Reading

I have always struggled with reading fast, and would say that I read slightly slower than the normal person. It has always been something I wish I could do better, but just dealt with. After embarking upon my literary journey this year, I have come to find that the main thing which holds me back from reading faster is mouthing words as I read them. This shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as something bad, because it also has its benefits. It has made me an efficient technical reviewer since I think about what is written while it allows my mind time to process. However if the goal is strictly to read fast, then it definitely hinders me.

About mid February I came across an article on the Art of Manliness website titled “How to Speed Read Like Theodore Roosevelt.” This article intrigued me for different reasons. Since I love learning about history, it appealed to my intrigue to learn more about a past president. Did you know he would read a book every day before breakfast? It is amazing to learn that Theodore Roosevelt read tens of thousands of books in his lifetime.

This brings me to the other reason, speed reading in an effort to increase my own reading pace. It’s quite interesting that the first point the article makes on vocalizing is exactly what slows my reading down. After reading the article I decided to give a few of the tips a go. By using my finger to pace my reading I have substantially increased my reading speed. This tip has also forced me to stop vocalizing the words I read. If you are interested in improving your reading speed then you should definitely read the article and try out the Spreeder website.

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UIGestureRecognizer Fix

I typically work on apps which replace a company’s paper forms. The transformation from a piece of paper with some blank lines, checkboxes and other non-trivial forms can have a breath of life blown into them and become something spectacular. One of the simplest things I do is have a text field, which a user taps, and it opens up a date picker. I recently had some issues with iOS 7.1 where the tap gesture on the text field wasn’t working. It turns out that I need to set the delegate for the tap gesture and override the gestureRecognizer:shouldRecognizeSimultaneouslyWithGestureRecognizer: method to return YES. Here is the what the solution looks like:

Add to your interface so the class conforms to the protocol.

UIGestureRecognizerDelegate

In your viewDidLoad method, Setup the gesture recognizer and add to to your text field.

UITapGestureRecognizer *recognizer = [[UITapGestureRecognizer alloc] 
    initWithTarget:self action:@selector(showTimePicker:)];
[recognizer setNumberOfTapsRequired:1];
[recognizer setDelegate:self];
[self.startDateTextField addGestureRecognizer:recognizer];

Override the delegate method to return YES.

- (BOOL)gestureRecognizer:(UIGestureRecognizer *)gestureRecognizer shouldRecognizeSimultaneouslyWithGestureRecognizer:(UIGestureRecognizer *)otherGestureRecognizer{
    return YES;
}

Link to Stack Overflow Question and Solution:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22319427/ios-7-1-uitapgesture-not-working-with-uipickerview

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More Dress Shirt Resources

In the last #menswear post I covered the basics of a men’s dress shirt. This post was an attempt to scratch the surface and give you the reader a basic understanding. I wasn’t planning on covering in-depth specifics, so I would like to pass along some useful links to help you find out more information.

Men’s Dress Shirt Measuring Guide

General Information

The White Shirt — Telling the Men from The Boys

 

Shirt Fit

How a Shirt Should Fit Infograph
How a Shirt Should Fit – The Principles of Fit

 

Cuffs & Collars

Collars & Cuffs Infograph
Men’s Dress Shirt Collar – An Overview
How to Choose the Best Collar Styles for Your Face Shape

 

Ironing

How to Properly Iron a Dress Shirt

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Past & future life lessons, are they different?

While reading I came across an interesting lesson from Epictetus. Here is the passage, which is found starting on page 152:

To you, all you have seems small: to me, all I have seems great. Your desire is insatiable, mine is satisfied. See children thrusting their hands into a narrow-necked jar, and striving to pull out the nuts and figs it contains: if they fill the hand, they cannot pull it out again, and then they fall to tears. — “Let go a few of them, and then you can draw out the rest!” — You, too, let your desire go! covet not many things, and you will obtain.

How is the lesson being taught any different from today? In today’s world you hear the term “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Are not these two life lessons the same? As the years pass, I find that life is nothing more than a series of cycles. The best example to illustrate this cyclical behavior is fashion. If you take a look at fashion in ten year instances, you will find that some things go out of style only to come back in every couple of decades. This may be the reason why some of the same lessons in the Greek and Roman periods find themselves being taught again in today’s society.

Final Thoughts

We can learn many things by studying the past. Armed with knowledge of the past, we can better prepare ourselves for whatever the future may bring us. Read the following article on issues with the middle class, then take a moment on how it relates to the passage above.

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Fixing Recent Errors with MagicalRecord

I recently was brought on to a project which uses MagicalRecord. I am well acquainted with the framework since I use it in every Core Data project I work on. However one feature that I never use is the “short hand.” By turning this feature on it allows you to skip the prefix of MR_ for all of the classes, objects and methods.

Here is an example with the prefix:

AnObject *anObject = [AnObject MR_findAll];

The same example using the “short hand” feature:

AnObject *anObject = [AnObject findAll];
I typically try to avoid anything that will magically convert itself from one thing to another, so I have always felt it better to leave the framework run as-is.

As it turns out, the project in question had the “short hand” feature turned on. I started seeing “unrecognized selector” errors preventing me from running the app on a device, however it would run fine in the simulator. With a little bit of troubleshooting and some time, I finally found the issue. It seems that the MagicalRecord cocoapod had been split. If you want to use short hand, then you’ll need to modify your pod file.

Here is the change I made to the pod file:

To fix this you will need to change your podfile to use this:
pod ‘MagicalRecord/Shorthand’, ‘~> 2.2′

More details:

https://github.com/magicalpanda/MagicalRecord/issues/665

Final Thoughts

The job of a developer is to produce a quality product with as few bugs as humanly possible. One way to do this is to simplify code. By turning on the “short hand” feature you are introducing additional points of failure to your product due to the nature of removing removing the three letter prefix from operable code. Do not use it. :]

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Dress Shirts: A Staple in Your Wardrobe

A dress shirt is one of the basic elements to wearing a suit or any other ensemble with a jacket. To have an interchangeable wardrobe you should have a couple of white and light blue shirts. By sticking with basic colors you allow ties, pocket squares, socks, and other accessories to change your look. Keep in mind those items are a significant amount cheaper and give you your best bang for the buck. I am no expert in textiles, however I have done basic research to determine what information is necessary. Before doing any research I had no clue as to terms and best practices, I would walk into a store and pick out what I thought would be best. Having some knowledge definitely goes a long way, so here is what I am able to share.

Fabric Weaves

Dress shirts have three basic types of fabric weaves. Each of these weaves have different patterns and textures which allow for a dressed down all the way to a formal look. Let’s start off with the least formal.

  1. Oxford: This fabric is used for more of a casual event. The shirt uses a heavy thread with a loose weave which makes it durable.
  2. Pinpoint Oxford: This fabric is similar to the Oxford, however the weave is tighter and a thinner thread is used.
  3. Poplin or Broadcloth: These fabrics are used for a formal event and have a tightly woven.

Fabric Weaves
Getting down to the details, Oxford and Pinpoint Oxford use a basketweave structure while Poplin/Broadcloth has an over-under structure to it’s weave. What does this really mean? The structure of the weave can determine the durability and the look of the shirt. The basketweave structure lends itself to being thicker and more durable, while the over-under structure is thinner and combined with appropriate material will produce a sheen.

Collar

Shirt Collars
There are three main types of collars, which will have variation for the spread of the collar. Taking a look at the images of the collars. You will see that Straight-Point is the narrowest, with Semi-Spread having the collar spread further apart, and Spread having the largest spread. Typically Semi-Spread is the one you want.

Cuffs

Shirt Cuffs
There are two types of cuffs, Barrel and French. It is very easy to determine the difference between the two. The French cuff are folded over and requires the use of cufflinks, while Barrel cuffs don’t require any folding and have buttons sewn on the shirt. As for the sizing, the length of the cuffs should align with the joint in your wrist. When wearing a jacket the cuff should stick out an inch past the end of your jacket.

More on Fit

One to two fingers should fit between your neck and the collar, anything more and it won’t look right. Often times the regular shirt off the rack will not fit you properly, so look for slim-fit shirts. Slim-fit shirts won’t have all the extra material around the chest and waist. If you have the money to spend, then I recommend a fitted dress shirt.

Pro Tip: Shirt Stays!

Shirt Stays
My first encounter with shirt stays was while serving in the US Marine Corps. At first glance, I thought what are these crazy contraptions? However once their purpose was explained, they made total sense. This is one of the tricks that help Marines look sharp! Here is how they work. One side of a shirt stay attaches to the bottom of the shirt, while the other side attaches to the top of your sock. You will wear two of these per leg, one in the front and one in the back. Once the shirt stays are attached and adjusted, they will keep your shirt neatly tucked in all day long! You can pick up some shirt stays from Sharp & Dapper or from a military supply provider.

Additional Links and Information

  1. http://propercloth.com/reference/dress-shirt-fabrics/
  2. http://www.ctshirts.co.uk/weaves-explained?cnt=weaves-explained
  3. http://www.bespokeshirtmakers.com/html/faq_fabric.asp
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Translations and More

While reading Plato I found myself thinking about word choices and how many things may have played a role in the translation. If anyone has spoken a second language they will agree that there are no 100% perfect translations. The next thing to consider are time periods. Some of these time periods can include when the original writing took place, when the translation happened, and finally the time period in which one reads the piece of literature.

A Sampling of Words

These are just a few of words, definitions, and origins which I found interesting:

Incredulous – Unwilling or unable to believe something (Of a person or their manner).
Latin origin (late 16th century)

Hobgoblin – A mischievous imp or sprite (In mythology and fairy tales).
English origin (mid 16th century)

Juxtaposition – The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
1655–65; < French < Latin juxt? side by side + French position position]

Centre – The point from which an activity or process is directed, or on which it is focused.
late Middle English centre, from Old French, or from Latin centrum, from Greek kentron ‘sharp point, stationary point of a pair of compasses,’ related to kentein ‘to prick.’

Hither – To or toward this place: to come hither.
Old English hider, of Germanic origin; related to he and here.

Thither – To or toward that place.
Old English thider, alteration (by association with hither) of thæder, of Germanic origin; related to that and the.

Hitherto – Until now or until the point in time under discussion.
hitherto early 13c., from hither + to.

Ascertained – Find (something) out for certain; make sure of.
Middle English (in the sense ‘assure, convince’): from Old French acertener, based on Latin certus ‘settled, sure.’

Without a side-by-side comparison of the original untranslated text, the curiosity for the use of these words is just that. If we were to to perform such in-depth analysis then we surely could discover interesting tidbits about the translation. If we take a high level approach and analyze the origin of words, like the ones listed above, we can determine the period in time which the translation most likely took place. From there we can ponder how that period in time might have influenced the translation.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the origins of the words we use can aid in the understanding of the text we read. When we read text that has been translated it offers insight and may provide clarity or question depending on the choice. It should never be enough to just accept whatever is placed in front of us. We should always have the curiosity to dig deeper and discover meaning and intent.

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Colorize a grayscale image

In the last tech post I wrote about using the same code base to target multiple apps. This post will cover a simple way to use a grayscale image and colorize it with code. One of the apps I created had the same UI layout, but the color of various UI elements changed. Instead of having multiple of the same images but with different colors, I had the artist create every image in grayscale. Now I was able to specify a specific colors for images of each app. One app had a blue theme, another a yellow, etc. Here is how I did it.

Any quick search on Google can produce a code solution to the issue or goal you are trying to achieve. I stumbled upon this post here. The code needed tweaked slightly because it wasn’t producing the exact result I was expecting. Instead of using a color burn, I used multiply. I also updated the code to account for the retina display.

I created a UIImage category for this code. Here is the method implementation:

+ (UIImage *)imageNamed:(NSString *)name withColor:(UIColor *)color {
    // Load the image.
    UIImage *image = [UIImage imageNamed:name];
    
    // Begin a new image context, to draw our colored image onto.
    // This also takes into account the scale of the screen non-retina/retina.
    UIGraphicsBeginImageContextWithOptions(image.size, NO, [UIScreen mainScreen].scale);
    
    // Get a reference to that context we created.
    CGContextRef context = UIGraphicsGetCurrentContext();
    
    // Set the fill color.
    [color setFill];
    
    // Translate/flip the graphics context (for transforming from CG coords to UI coords).
    CGContextTranslateCTM(context, 0, image.size.height);
    CGContextScaleCTM(context, 1.0, -1.0);
    
    // Set the blend mode to color multiply.
    CGContextSetBlendMode(context, kCGBlendModeMultiply);
    CGRect rect = CGRectMake(0, 0, image.size.width, image.size.height);
    CGContextDrawImage(context, rect, image.CGImage);
    
    // Set a mask that matches the shape of the image, then draw (multiply) a colored rectangle.
    CGContextClipToMask(context, rect, image.CGImage);
    CGContextAddRect(context, rect);
    CGContextDrawPath(context,kCGPathFill);
    
    // Generate a new UIImage from the graphics context we drew onto.
    UIImage *coloredImage = UIGraphicsGetImageFromCurrentImageContext();
    UIGraphicsEndImageContext();
    
    // Return the colorized image.
    return coloredImage;
}

To use this code, you will need to import the header file for the category and use it like so:

UIImageView *imageView.image = [UIImage imageNamed:@"Button" withColor:[UIColor greenColor]];

As you can see it is very easy to “colorize” a grayscale image!

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Tea with Carson

Two weekends ago I took my wife to a Downton Abbey themed afternoon tea event. The location of the event was at a Tudor style mansion which sits on 629 acres known as Hartwood Acres. A letter regarding the event arrived in the mail along with the tickets. It read “If so you desire…please dress in period attire.” Since I don’t own a tweed suit, I decided to dress more accordingly for today’s time period.

How should one dress for afternoon tea?

If I lived in a country such as England I might now the answer to that question, however I do not. Americans are more apt to relax at a local coffee shop which isn’t as formal of an event. Surprisingly there are plenty of websites which describe proper attire for ladies, but little instruction for a guy. Next I turned to searching for venues in London, in hopes for any insight. The Ritz in London requires men to wear a jacket and tie, whilst jeans are not permitted. After looking at a few other venues, it appeared that this was as much information as I would find. After much thought and some consulting with my wife, we determined the event was not going to be as formal as I imagined. In the end I felt it best to dress Smart Casual.

What is Smart Causal?

For this particular event it consisted of a white button down dress shirt, tan jacket, dark jeans, and brown dress shoes. The picture below was me at the event with a cardboard cutout of Carson from Downton Abbey.
Carson the Butler and Nicholas

Final Thoughts

After arriving at the event I knew it was the correct and appropriate choice! The people attending the event was mostly middle to older aged women, a handful in their 20 to 30s, and just one other male in his late 20s. For any event which you may attend in the future, it is best to do some research especially if you have never attended the type of event or you are unsure of what to wear. However you need to keep in mind the atmosphere of the event, and dress to your comfort level.

Links for Tea Etiquette and Attire:
The Ritz London
Top 10 do’s and dont’s
Proper Attire for a Tea Party

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