Gif-ing my Way Out of a Rut

Pre-coronavirus, I was living the quarantine life.

I live alone, I work for myself (also alone), and I have no SO, meaning I’m really alone. All the time.

This works fine for me most days, as I find people largely needy and annoying. Not all but a lot. The only downside I see is its really easy to be lazy when you are responsible to nobody. The last few days have been like that, and I know why…

I was stuck.

I have been trying (“trying”) to learn iOS programing. I have some ideas that would be great app based businesses. I’m trying to learn programming, so I can prototype some Minimal Viable Products. From past experiences, its really difficult to sell folks on something new, when they can’t visualize it. This is true for both investors but also just supporters (for my last business, my dad never got it, until I launched it. Then he got it, and he was both very impressed and proud). Getting someone else to prototype can be expensive, so why not learn a new skill so I can rough these out myself?

The learning has been slow. I’m stuck on a big project, and I don’t know how to fix it. Worse, unlike other problems where Xcode puts up big red markers where there is an error, this one had no visible errors, but it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. I wasn’t sure how to even approach fixing it.

“You decided to do what?”

I needed to do something different. So I started creating Gifs.

Yes, I know this wasn’t probably the most productive thing to do. I was trying to engage my mind in a new way, and maybe gif’s would do the trick. So I opened YouTube, and started listening to my favorite list of “happy songs” looking for gif inspired inspiration. Strangely, as I started creating these random bits of entertainment, I started getting inspiration as to figuring out my programing problem.

First up was “Pop! Goes My Heart” one of the greatest songs that never was from the movie “Music and Lyrics”. It is also the most 80s video ever created, in my opinion. This gif was pretty easy to pick and make. The very rythmic butt shake worked perfectly.

There are two, two, two ways to set this up….

Looking at my handiwork, I remembered there were realized there are two ways to set up Table View Controllers. My code looked right, but maybe that was why I couldn’t create the outlet back to the view controller. The instructions implied the two ways were the same, but perhaps by pulling in the TableViewController, instead of a ViewController with a TableView, this is causing it to not work. I created a new View, using the other method, fiddled with the connections, and….

Success. Problem one down.

Next, on to Lizzo. I’ve been very fortunate that the local radio station here was a huge Lizzo supporter starting in 2014, and as a result, I’ve been able to see her several times, in smaller venues. It’s fair to say I have a small crush on her and her music. She is, to borrow her own song title “Good as Hell”. I love her expressions in this video, espeically her hand talking. The “wasting time” gesture made me think of a problem with the setup. This one wasn’t causing real problems, but it was certainly an inefficient way of setting up the buttons and views on every view controller. There had to be a better way.

There was. Thanks Lizzo!

Finally, I got caught up in a display issue. How to take the created images and display them, two ways. Like the gif, this was a tough problem. I spent a lot of time on this clip from “Gangman Style” trying to figure out what elements needed to be aligned. I could get PSY’s hands perfect, or the guy above him’s face, but not both. In the end, I decided to focus on his hips. They were the part that was moving most and drawing out attention; get that part right.

This led to me reframing the problem. I stopped looking at other code examples in the help section, and went back to my own and the central problem: why did this one connection not display an image? This focus actually took me to other discussion threads, and I think its a problem with this version of Xcode and Mac’s iOS. This looks like a problem beyond my control. Like the gif above, it might not be possible to have all parts perfect. I might have to accept the limitations and live with it the best I can.

Navigating the world with manners & civility