Cocos2d and our iPad app

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


Cocos2d is a fantastic library that has helped us to create our first iPad app – an interactive companion book to Susie Cornfield’s Dekaydence series.

We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of this library and it’s friendly and helpful community – massive thanks to all the contributors that make it such a great library to use.

To give back to the community, We have offered up our office space to hold the next Cocos2d London User Group on March 3rd.  Information can be found on the Cocos2d forums and on lanyrd.

Heres a short video of The Lost Journal iPad app:


London Taxi Meter estimates 5,000 fares a month

January 3, 2011 § 2 Comments


A month ago we released an updated version of Conjure’s London Taxi Meter which has continued to go from strength to strength. We are very pleased to announce that during December, we helped over 5,000 people estimate the cost of their cab journey!

Semi-modal dialog views for iPhone

August 28, 2010 § 4 Comments

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Switching views using the modal dialog paradigm is fairly straightforward, but I had a modal dialog that didn’t require the whole height of the window. Having a full-height window for one control just looked stupid. I’d seen a few times modal views sliding up from the bottom (a bit like a UIActionSheet) and wanted to replicate something similar (see image left). After trawling the internet, I found this post which explained how to do what I wanted.

I used almost exactly the same technique, except the view I created in Interface Builder was only as tall as I needed (see image right).

In the view that I was going to cover, I also added a UIView with a black, transparent background that covered the entire screen and was on top of all the other components. I could then animate the transparency of this to create a “mask” that hid the components on the background view while the dialog was displayed.

The code from the post mentioned above was then used to hide and show the dialog:

- (void)showMyModalView {
	MyModalViewController *controller = [[MyModalViewController alloc] initWithNibName:@"MyModalView" bundle:nil];

	// move the modal view off the screen
	CGPoint viewCenter =;
	CGSize screenSize = [UIScreen mainScreen].bounds.size; = CGPointMake(screenSize.width / 2.0, screenSize.height * 1.5);;
	// add the modal view to the current window
	MyAppDelegate *delegate = (MyAppDelegate *)[UIApplication sharedApplication].delegate;
	[delegate.window addSubview:controller.view];

	// animate the showing of the modal view and show the mask
	[UIView beginAnimations:nil context:nil];
	[UIView setAnimationDuration:0.5]; = CGPointMake(viewCenter.x, screenSize.height-viewCenter.y);
	mask.alpha = 0.8;
	[UIView commitAnimations];

	[controller release];

- (void)hideMyModalView {
	CGSize screenSize = [UIScreen mainScreen].bounds.size;

	// animate the hiding of the modal view, and fade the mask
	[UIView beginAnimations:nil context:nil];
	[UIView setAnimationDuration:0.5]; = CGPointMake(screenSize.width / 2.0, screenSize.height * 1.5);
	mask.alpha = 0.8;
	[UIView commitAnimations];

Note: “mask” is just a solid-black UIView on top of the view which is usually transparent.

A little late on the fizz buzz problem

August 27, 2010 § 9 Comments

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My two cents in Ruby.  Extending the Fixnum class allows you to call .to_fizz_buzz_string instead of .to_s if you want the fizz buzz version of an integer rather than the usual string version.


class Fixnum
  def Fixnum.fizz_buzz_entities
      3 => 'Fizz',
      5 => 'Buzz',

  def to_fizz_buzz_string
    fb = Fixnum::fizz_buzz_entities.inject('') { |result, kv| result << kv[1] if (self % kv[0]).zero?; result }
    fb.empty? ? self.to_s : fb

(1..100).each { |i| puts i.to_fizz_buzz_string }

Inspired by The Fizz Buzz problem and diving in too soon and The Fizz Buzz Problem.

Strange problems with ruby-debug (rdebug) after installation of Ruby Enterprise (REE)

June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some of us had some troubles with ruby-debug after upgrading to Ruby Enterprise Edition.  One of the issues was with ‘debugger’ statements within the source code causing the debugger to break, but to report line numbers multiplied by two!

Continue reading Strange problems with ruby-debug (rdebug) after installation of Ruby Enterprise (REE) on my old blog.

Essential TextMate Plugins

June 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our development team has now got upwards of 20 man-years experience with TextMate so we thought it would be a good idea to share with you the most useful bundles we’ve come across so far. If you feel there are any glaring omissions, then please leave a comment!


If you have worked with TextMate for any period of time, you will come to realise that the Find in Project is woefully inadequate. Fortunately, the plugin architecture means that a much superior alternative is available. Most programmers will have come across Ack, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a technology that harnesses the power of Perls’ regular expressions and is very good at working with large trees of heterogeneous source code.

Once installed, the selected folder in the project drawer will be the root of the search and Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + F will open up the AckMate window. Results are displayed with a line above and below the matching text giving some context to the results.

See for more information on Ack.


RubyAmp adds a few productivity aids to TextMate. The most useful I find being the “Complete across tabs” (Ctrl + ; ). This works in a similar way to how pressing Escape will autocomplete within a file and provides the same functionality across multiple open files showing a popup list of possible matches, with the first 10 mapped to the number keys. Another really useful feature common amongst IDEs for statically typed languages is the ability to easily jump to method definitions, classes etc by using shortcuts.


This bundle adds a few bells and whistles to the project drawer in TextMate. Instead of the standard fly-out drawer, ProjectPlus gives you a pane which remembers the state of your project tree and open tabs between opening and closing projects. One key feature adds SCM badges to the files and folders in the project drawer giving a quick and clear indication of files and folders within your SCM. Other small features include: “Show folders at top” instead of the default alphabetical order, “Sort by filetype”, Finder colour labels and QuickLook.

Installing Bundles

To install a .tmbundle file, place it in ~/Application Support/TextMate/Bundles and then select “Bundles > Reload Bundles” from TextMate. If you use TextMate with multiple OS X user accounts then .tmbundle files can copied to /Application Support instead.

Final note

On the subject of TM additions, by far my favourite syntax colouring scheme is the one used by available from here. Also, if you use code within presentations, it’s often really useful to copy blocks of code whilst retaining their style when pasting into another application. This is easily achieved using “Copy with style” available from here.

Original article Essential TextMate Plugins.

Take care when writing to files using puts

February 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

For writing text files; especially line by line, it’s perfectly acceptable to use puts. But, be warned that this will append a line break after the data being written. This behaviour is not desirable when working with binary files, when IO::write is a better choice to avoid unwanted line break characters.
For example:

file ='temp.file', 'w+')
file.sync = true

while data = get_data
  file.write data


Original post: Take care when writing to files using puts.

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