Chris' Blog.

My occasional thoughts on iOS development, developers careers, trying to make an income from the App Store, and updates on life in general.

Hi, I'm Chris Hulbert. I occasionally blog about life, contracting, and apps. If you're reading this, you probably find it interesting, or you never realised there's an unsubscribe link at the bottom ;)

Well, it's time for a new season! I walked out the door at work at 5(ish....) today, out of the old season. Here's a rundown of the old season:


I've been working at News Corp for the last year. It's been interesting, met lots of great people. The project had it's ups and downs, like any. It's about to ship, and my contract expired, so time to move on.

Unfortunately, can't really blog about the dayjob much. One piece of wisdom I learned today that can be shared is this: Become buddies with your boss's boss's boss, and keep him/her informed with what's going on in the project! They need eyes on the ground, and you'd be doing them a great service if you are those eyes for them.

Side projects

I've been working on an iPad app in my spare time called 'Divine Bible'. It's a combination of 260 gorgeous landscape photos and the text of the New Testament. You can see it on the app store here: Divine Bible

In the past, when I've made apps, I've written about how they've performed to inspire people to try too. Well, this was my favourite app to date, and it basically fell flat on its face in less than a week. There seems to be a lot of 'woe to the indie developers in todays app store' going on around the blogs lately - I can confirm this is true. Waste of time. I cannot even give the app away for free!

If anyone has any good ideas for how to market my app... let me know :)

So, in some ways, that's an end of a season too: The end of me investing time into app store apps as side projects. And I don't think i'm the only one out there doing similarly. And it's a shame too - the app store just isn't the same without the crafted-with-love indie apps any more. Oh well, Apple doesn't seem to care. I guess they're too busy counting their billions.

Next season

So what's in store for the next season? Well, I'll be starting next week at my next contract, at Dimmi, making their next iOS app. Exciting stuff, certainly a change of pace from working in a big corporate.

As for side projects, I'm toying with the idea of getting back into brainstorming a SaaS product. I have to learn how to do server stuff again though. I'm thinking of using Golang + Revel, I simply cannot wrap my head around Rails any more - it's just too big now. I just need to find a market and find some ideas for what to build now. I was thinking something in the construction industry, so I can partner with my brother-in-law.

Please get in touch with an email, say hi!

Hi, I'm Chris Hulbert. You may remember me from such blogs as 'I'm going to start an business making iOS apps', 'Oh wait, forget that, I'm actually going to become a contractor', and 'Oh crap - my home builder went broke and so did I'... ;)

The above was a Simpsons reference if you missed it.

Well, I haven't been able to blog publicly in a while. Which may explain why half of you have forgotten who I am, and have your fingers poised about the 'unsubscribe' link. The thing is, I had a few issues getting the house approved and didn't really want to talk publicly about it, in case someone from council reads my blog (I know, unlikely). But I can talk now, because: (drumroll...)

The house is finished, all officially approved (we got our 'Final Occupancy Certificate'), and we've moved in!

That's it - we're at the finish line!

Thanks everyone for all the encouragement over the years. Well, we still have to do the landscaping, but close enough. And financially we're still in some debt caused by the crummy builder, but that'll be solved sometime this year.

Anyway, it's been a while, but after all the emails of support I've received from everyone over the years, I figured I owed you all an update. I'll understand if you have forgotten who I am and unsubscribe.

Keep in touch, friends!

So I've written in the past about how nice WebP is. I'm currently working on a personal project that'll incorporate maybe ~260 full-screen retina images on the iPad - lots of pictures! I want them to be WebP to keep download sizes sensible. So i tried a cocoapod (iOS-WebP) that purported to decode WebP for me, but it didn't work. So here's my solution which is simpler, and works:

Header file:

//  UIImage+WebP.h
//  Created by Chris Hulbert on 9/02/2014.
//  Copyright (c) 2014 Chris Hulbert. All rights reserved.
//  This gives you methods for sync and async webp image loading.

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

typedef void(^WebpImageCompletionBlock)(UIImage *image);

@interface UIImage (WebP)

/// Synchronously loads a webp image. This can be called from any thread.
+ (instancetype)webpImageNamed:(NSString *)name;

/// Async decoding of a webp image on a background thread. Callback is on main thread.
+ (void)webpDecodeImageNamed:(NSString *)name completion:(WebpImageCompletionBlock)completion;


Implementation file:

//  UIImage+WebP.m
//  Created by Chris Hulbert on 9/02/2014.
//  Copyright (c) 2014 Chris Hulbert. All rights reserved.
//  This gives you methods for sync and async webp image loading.

#import "UIImage+WebP.h"

#import <WebP/decode.h>

@implementation UIImage (WebP)

+ (instancetype)webpImageNamed:(NSString *)name {
    // Load the source data.
    NSString *path = [[NSBundle mainBundle] pathForResource:name ofType:@"webp"];
    NSData *data = [NSData dataWithContentsOfFile:path];

    // WebP-decode it.
    int width=0, height=0;
    void *webpDecoded = WebPDecodeARGB(data.bytes, data.length, &width, &height);

    // Free the source data.
    data = nil;

    // Use the webpDecoded data to make a CG context.
    CGColorSpaceRef space = CGColorSpaceCreateDeviceRGB();
    CGContextRef context = CGBitmapContextCreate(webpDecoded, width, height, 8, width*4, space, (CGBitmapInfo)kCGImageAlphaNoneSkipFirst);

    // Convert it to a CGImage.
    CGImageRef cgImage = CGBitmapContextCreateImage(context);
    // Free the CG context and decoded data.

    // Convert the CGImage to a UIImage.
    UIImage *uiImage = [UIImage imageWithCGImage:cgImage scale:2 orientation:UIImageOrientationUp];

    return uiImage;

+ (void)webpDecodeImageNamed:(NSString *)name completion:(WebpImageCompletionBlock)completion {
    // Make the queue.
    static dispatch_queue_t queue;
    static dispatch_once_t onceToken;
    dispatch_once(&onceToken, ^{
        queue = dispatch_queue_create("com.splinter.webpdecoder", DISPATCH_QUEUE_CONCURRENT);

    // Decode it in the background.
    dispatch_async(queue, ^{
        UIImage *image = [self webpImageNamed:name];

        // Callback in the main thread.
        dispatch_async(dispatch_get_main_queue(), ^{


You'll need to include Google's 'libwebp' cocoapod for this to work.

You can see older posts in the right panel, under 'archive'.


New season 1 Aug 2014

House finished 17 Jun 2014

WebP decoding on iOS 9 Feb 2014

Moving on again 22 Jan 2014

Lossy images for retina iPads - JPEG vs WebP 30 Nov 2013

Career options I wish I knew about when I was younger 20 Oct 2013

Positivity and your friends 7 Oct 2013

Tactility 26 Jul 2013

WWDC-induced narcolepsy 15 Jul 2013

Back on rails 31 May 2013

Full circle 6 May 2013

Programmatic UI on iOS 3 May 2013

Screencasts and positivity 8 Apr 2013

Year of positivity 14 Mar 2013

iOS Dev State of the Union 6 Feb 2013

Adventures with IAPs 3 Feb 2013

No longer a Googler 23 Dec 2012

Localising iPhone apps with Microsoft Translator 8 Dec 2012

Fight back (app biz update 13) 12 Nov 2012

Sent to the backburner (app biz update 12) 25 Oct 2012

Lisi Schappi 7 Oct 2012

Today's happy plateau (app biz update 11) 26 Aug 2012

First week's sales of Today (app biz update 10) 19 Aug 2012

Today launch! And a difficult decision made... (app biz update 9) 15 Aug 2012

Approved! (app biz update 8) 5 Aug 2012

Creating a graph in Objective-C on the iPhone 3 Aug 2012

Hurry up and wait (app biz update 7) 30 Jul 2012

Today app marketing site 27 Jul 2012

Today app submitted 25 Jul 2012

UIAlertView input wrapper 24 Jul 2012

Mentoring 23 Jul 2012

This is too hard! (app biz update 6) 20 Jul 2012

Perspectives (app biz update 5) 9 Jul 2012

4th starting-my-own-biz update 1 Jul 2012

ScrumFox landing page 28 Jun 2012

Server Scope landing page 27 Jun 2012

Telstra Calls and Data Usage 26 Jun 2012

Service History + Dropbox 26 Jun 2012

Impromptu Presenter 26 Jun 2012

Fertility Tracker 26 Jun 2012

Baby Allergy Tracker 26 Jun 2012

Starting my own business, update 3 22 Jun 2012

Starting my own business, update 2 17 Jun 2012

Starting my own business - First update 10 Jun 2012

I must be crazy 6 Jun 2012

Finding your location on an iPhone 7 May 2012

A generous career 4 May 2012

Skeleton Key Cocoaheads presentation 3 May 2012

CHBgDropboxSync - Dropbox auto-sync for your iOS apps 1 May 2012

That book about that Steve Jobs guy 30 Apr 2012

Another app marketing idea 23 Apr 2012

Sweet grouped tables on the iPhone 17 Apr 2012

Skeleton Key App 11 Apr 2012

Another app marketing idea... 5 Apr 2012

Quickly check for any missing retina graphics in your project 3 Apr 2012

Skeleton Key Password Manager with Dropbox 2 Apr 2012

RC Boat motor finally mounted 2 Apr 2012

Promoting apps presentation slides 1 Apr 2012

How i just wasted a month on my latest app, and how you don't need to 26 Mar 2012

The Finishing Line 20 Mar 2012

Using Launchd to run a script every 5 mins on a Mac 20 Feb 2012

Generating AES256 keys from a password/passphrase in ObjC 20 Feb 2012

Indie iPhone app marketing, part 2 19 Feb 2012

My App Manifesto: Syncing + Dropbox + YAML = Awesome 15 Feb 2012

Indie iPhone App Marketing part 1 7 Feb 2012

Perspectives 2 Feb 2012

Accountability and Free Will 1 Feb 2012

Badassery 31 Jan 2012

Sacrifice 30 Jan 2012

Lead Yourself First 29 Jan 2012

How to ping a server in Objective-C / iPhone 26 Jan 2012

iOS Automated Builds with Xcode4 16 Jan 2012

Xcode 4 - Command line builds of iPhone apps 15 Jan 2012

Guest post by Jason McDougall 13 Jan 2012

Scouts, Games and Motivation 10 Jan 2012

2011 Re-cap 8 Jan 2012

Ruby script to increment a build number 4 Jan 2012

Turning 30? All ideas, no execution? 18 Dec 2011

CHDropboxSync - simply sync your iOS app's documents to Dropbox 14 Dec 2011

Deep-enumerating a directory on the iphone, getting file attributes as you go 10 Dec 2011

Getting a date without the time component in objective-c 6 Dec 2011

Memory management in Objective-C 4 Dec 2011

Starting small 29 Nov 2011

Dictionary Types Helper 29 Nov 2011

Observer Pattern in Objective-C 16 Nov 2011

Why you should give presentations 13 Nov 2011

How to get a programming or design job in Sydney 9 Nov 2011

Custom nav bar / toolbar backgrounds in iOS5 8 Nov 2011

Stuck 27 Oct 2011

Dead easy singletons in Obj-C 19 Oct 2011

JSON vs OCON (Objective-C Object Notation) 18 Oct 2011

In defence of Objective-C 16 Oct 2011

Update the MessagePack objective-c library to support packing 12 Oct 2011

Icons 11 Oct 2011

How to host a site on Amazon AWS S3, step-by-step 7 Oct 2011

Drawing a textured pattern over the default UINavigationBar 6 Oct 2011

Markdown Presentations 1 Oct 2011

More MegaComet testing: Ruling out keepalives 15 Sep 2011

MegaComet test #4 - This time with more kernel 14 Sep 2011

Building People 10 Sep 2011

Half way there: Getting MegaComet to 523,000 concurrent HTTP connections 5 Sep 2011

Making a progress bar in your iPhone UINavigationBar 22 Aug 2011

Hacker News Reader 20 Aug 2011

How to programmatically resize elements for landscape vs portrait in your iphone interface 16 Aug 2011

MegaComet testing part 2 3 Aug 2011

Australian Baby Colours 28 Jul 2011

Boat prop shaft 25 Jul 2011

Megacomet with 1 million queued messages 24 Jul 2011

Installed the strut and rudder 18 Jul 2011

Painted the inside of the boat 17 Jul 2011

Fuzzy iphone graphics when using an UIImageView set to UIViewContentModeCenter 13 Jul 2011

My 3 Data and Calls Usage 11 Jul 2011

Reading a line from the console in node.js 10 Jul 2011

Trim whitespaces on all text fields in a view controller 9 Jul 2011

Final finish 9 Jul 2011

MessagePack parser for Objective-C / iPhone 30 Jun 2011

Lacquering the starboard side 25 Jun 2011

What do do with EXC_ARM_DA_ALIGN on an iPhone app 23 Jun 2011

Lacquering the hull 23 Jun 2011

Staining the boat 22 Jun 2011

NSMutableSet with weak references in objective-c 20 Jun 2011

Iphone gesture recogniser that works for baby games 20 Jun 2011

Image manipulation pixel by pixel in objective C for the iphone 19 Jun 2011

Baby Allergy Tracker 12 Jun 2011

Power sanding the deck 10 Jun 2011

Planing the edge of the deck 2 Jun 2011

Figured out the deck 2 Jun 2011

Boat bulkheads 2 Jun 2011

Simulating iOS memory warnings 31 May 2011

Putting a UIButton in a UIToolbar 29 May 2011

How to allow closing a UIActionSheet by tapping outside it 29 May 2011

Finding the currently visible view in a UITabBarController 24 May 2011

Random Chef 17 May 2011

Centered UIButton in a navigation bar on the iphone 16 May 2011

Little Orchard 13 May 2011

Boat update 13 May 2011

How to get the current time in all time zones for the iphone / obj-c 12 May 2011

Design portfolio 10 May 2011

Tricks with grand central dispatch, such as objective-c's equivalent to setTimeout 9 May 2011

How to make an iphone view controller detect left or right swipes 5 May 2011

Centered section headers on a UITableView 5 May 2011

Christmas in may 4 May 2011

Finished trimming the boat (its floatable now!) and got some parts 29 Apr 2011

How to make a multiline label with dynamic text on the iphone and get the correct height 27 Apr 2011

Forcing an image size on the image in a table view cell on an iphone 20 Apr 2011

Git on the Mac 19 Apr 2011

Build a url query string in obj-c from a dictionary of params like jquery does 12 Apr 2011

Rendering a radial gradient on the iphone / objective-c 11 Apr 2011

Skinning the port side of the boat 8 Apr 2011

Skinning the side of the boat 5 Apr 2011

Sending a UDP broadcast packet in C / Objective-C 5 Apr 2011

How to talk to a unix socket / named pipe with python 4 Apr 2011

Skinning the bottom of the boat 31 Mar 2011

Service discovery using node.js and ssdp / universal plug n play 30 Mar 2011

Extremely simple python threading 29 Mar 2011

New rescue boat 26 Mar 2011

HttpContext vs HttpContextBase vs HttpContextWrapper 5 Nov 2010

Simple C# Wiki engine 30 Sep 2010

Simple way to throttle parts of your Asp.Net web app 29 Sep 2010

How to implement DES and Triple DES from scratch 4 Aug 2010

How to use sessions with Struts 2 30 Jul 2010

How to use Cookies in Struts 2 with ServletRequest and ServletResponse 30 Jul 2010

Using Quartz Scheduler in a Java web app (servlet) 27 Jul 2010

Javascript date picker that Doesn't Suck!(tm) 27 Jul 2010

Using Oracle XE with Hibernate 20 Jul 2010

A simple implementation of AES in Ruby from scratch 29 Jun 2010

Asp.Net Forms authentication to your own database 28 May 2010

AS2805 (like ISO8583) financial message parser in C# 7 May 2010

Ruby hex dumper 4 May 2010

Using Spring to manage Hibernate sessions in Struts2 (and other web frameworks) 13 Jan 2010

Emails in C#: Delivery and Read receipts / Attachments 12 Jan 2010

Using Java libraries in a C# app with IKVM 16 Dec 2009

Learning Java tutorial 27 Nov 2009

Using generic database providers with C# 17 Nov 2009

Scheduled task executable batch babysitter 29 Oct 2009

Working with query strings in Javascript using Prototype 30 Sep 2009

Still fighting with String.Format? 9 Sep 2009

How I'd build the next Google 24 Aug 2009

Getting IIS and Tomcat to play nicely with isapi_redirect 24 Aug 2009

Using the new ODP.Net to access Oracle from C# with simple deployment 11 Aug 2009

C# Cryptography - Encrypting a bunch of bytes 14 Jul 2009

Sorting enormous files using a C# external merge sort 10 Jul 2009

Reconciling/comparing huge data sets with C# 9 Jul 2009

Some keyboard-friendly DHTML tricks 10 Jun 2009

How to figure out what/who is connected to your SQL server 18 Mar 2009

Adding a column to a massive Sql server table 16 Mar 2009

Multithreading using Delegates in C# 10 Mar 2009

Using C# locks and threads to rip through a to-do list 6 Feb 2009

Using threads and lock in C# 3 Feb 2009

Setting a form name and onsubmit using form_for in rails 2 14 Jan 2009

Compressing using the 7Zip LZMA algorithm in C# beats GZipStream 14 Jan 2009

Bare minimum HTML that validates 22 Dec 2008

MS Sql Server 2005 locking 17 Dec 2008

Simple Comet demo for Ruby on Rails 19 Nov 2008

Geocoding part 2 - Plotting postcodes onto a map of Australia with C# 24 Oct 2008

Using evolutionary algorithms to make a walkthrough for the light-bot game with C# 20 Oct 2008

How to tell when memory leaks are about to kill your Asp.Net application 16 Oct 2008

C# version of isxdigit - is a character a hex digit? 15 Sep 2008

Geocoding part 1 - Getting the longitude and latitude of all australian postcodes from google maps 26 Aug 2008

Converting HSV to RGB colour using C# 14 Aug 2008

Opening a TCP connection in C# with a custom timeout 11 Aug 2008

Oracle Explorer - a very simple C# open source Toad alternative 31 Jul 2008

Linking DigitalMars' D with a C library (Mongrel's HTTP parser) 23 Jun 2008

Connecting to Oracle from C# / Winforms / without tnsnames.ora 16 Jun 2008

A simple server: DigitalMars' D + Libev 6 Jun 2008

Travelling from Rails 1 to Rails 2 9 Apr 2008

Rocketsale 9 Apr 2008

Online Rostering System 9 Apr 2008

DanceInforma 9 Apr 2008

Client Analyser 9 Apr 2008

How good is this??? 16 Dec 2007

Using RSS or Atom to keep an eye on your company's heartbeat 10 Nov 2007

Easy Integrated Active Directory Security in ASP.Net 24 Oct 2007

First post 17 Oct 2007