I’ve decided to properly learn iOS programming. I’ve messed around with Objective-C, and even built a couple of simple calculator apps. Nothing too fancy. Starting today, I’m going to change that.

You can follow along as I attempt to clone Apple’s Notes app (I’m calling it Noot). And if you’re proficient in Objective-C and Cocoa Touch, you might even be able to lend me a hand!

“Based on a True Story”

I love how Christians are up in arms about Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, Noah. For the uninitiated, the story comes from the book of Genesis in the Bible, and talks about the flood that God sent because He was displeased with mankind’s sinful ways. It’s the story of how He punished us for wrongdoing. It’s also a story of God’s love for us, and how much he wanted his creation to be free from any wickedness. He asks Noah – a righteous man in God’s eyes – to build an ark (a large boat) to protect him and his family, as well as two of every living creature on Earth. God then sends a flood, but Noah, his family, and all the animals are saved.

While talking about the movie, a friend posted this on Facebook:

If you can resist, don’t go and see it. This movie was so unbiblical on so many different fronts. I know Hollywood isn’t particularly interested in being biblical but this movie was so far out there it made my stomach sick. If you are going to see it then make sure you read the account in Genesis before and even after. The movie made God appear very impersonal, Noah was cold hearted and believed he and his family were being judged and the rock creatures were fallen angels who were Noah’s protecters instead of God. We truly are living in an age of deception. Here is the sad thing. People who go to this movie who have little Bible Knowledge will believe this is the account of Noah.

I like the part where this person says that “Hollywood isn’t particularly interested in being biblical”. Hollywood isn’t particularly interested in anything that is not Hollywood. Entertainment always trumps hard facts. A production with a focus on entertaining will always earn more than one about the truth. There’s a reason why documentaries don’t normally get blockbuster earnings.

When I was at school, our teachers encouraged us to use creative licence in our writing. Basically, this meant that we should augment facts with our imagination. In an interview with David Letterman, Emma Watson said that the story in the Bible is only about two pages long, so Aronofsky had to build upon what’s written in order to produce a two hour long feature film. There’s nothing wrong with that. His interpretation might not be in line with the spirit of the story, but you can’t fault a man for his opinion.

Another friend’s beef with the movie is that, since it doesn’t accurately depict what the Bible says, it should be considered blasphemy. I couldn’t disagree more. At Sunday School (a special church for children), our teachers would often build upon Bible stories. They added colourful descriptions to make them more exciting for us, and used aids to help us remember them. These weren’t strictly from the Bible. For example, in all the pictures of the ark, it had a bow, and a streamlined hull. But in reality, this was probably the first time Noah had ever seen a ship. And as for the ark’s door, there’s a very important reason why Noah couldn’t very well close the door himself - the technology for a watertight door did not exist. But in all the graphics that we were shown, it looked watertight.

Then there’s the question of the animals arriving into the ark. In the stories, we were told about how Noah counted the animals entering the ark. That never happened. We were told that after all the animals had entered, Noah got inside, and God closed the door. But in the Bible, Noah and his family were the first ones to enter the ark, and the animals came to Noah and entered the ark. Isn’t this changing the Scripture too? Sure, the God of those stories was never portrayed as impersonal, and Noah never believed he was being judged, but then, we will never really know how Noah felt. All we know about Noah was the he was righteous among his generation, and that he was obedient to God’s command.

There are plenty of famous movies that are based on true stories which are not completely accurate. Titanic, and The Social Network come to mind. Both those movies are more fiction that fact, and yet people have no problem with them. There are even a few Christian movies, like Chariots of Fire and Amazing Grace, which are not historically valid. Yet because those stories aren’t in the Bible, Christians have no problem glossing over the inaccuracies. In fact, they are encouraged! My Christian friends have recommended movies that are completely fiction, just because they have good Christian teaching. If these movies – fictional albeit with a “Christian” message – are considered good enough, so should be all the others that don’t claim to be facts.

There will be people who will believe everything this movie depicts, but there will also be people who will be interested in knowing more about the subject. Covering our eyes and ears is not the way to protect ourselves. That’s like preventing children from knowing about violence in the world, that everyone doesn’t love their neighbour, and that there are people who might not share your opinions on certain matters. Sooner or later, they will find out, and they will begin to either have questions, or will be completely shocked and amazed. Instead of boycotting it, we should use this opportunity for good, and tell people what really happened.

Hypocrisy and petty arguments are what’s plaguing the church today and destroying its image. Instead of fighting over these, we should get back to preaching what God really wants us to - the salvation and forgiveness of sins that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters.

Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing
Wembley Stadium, 1988

The favourite version of my all-time favourite song. This was recorded when Dire Straits regrouped in 1988 for the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, and were joined by Eric Clapton for the gig.

Across the numerous renditions that exist, I’ve heard this song over 6000 times in the last three years, and I still cannot get enough!

Facebook’s Design Director, Julie Zhuo’s response to Dustin Curtis:

Here’s what we learned: the design we tested a year ago wasn’t better for the majority of people.

It turns out, while I (and maybe you as well) have sharp, stunning super high-resolution 27-inch monitors, many more people in the world do not. Low-res, small screens are more common across the world than hi-res Apple or Dell monitors. And the old design we tested didn’t work very well on a 10-inch Netbook. A single story might not even fit on the viewport. Not to mention, many people who access the website every day only use Facebook through their PC—no mobile phones or tablets.

So Facebook’s response is to dumb down the experience to support the lowest common denominator. I get the need to design for everyone. But that’s what progressive enhancement is all about. Responsive design is not just a buzzword; it involves building the best possible experience for everyone. Not just the chaps with the latest gear, or those still stuck with CRT-monitors. Everyone.

Facebook already has different apps for different devices. I’ve got an iPad, iPod touch, and a Nokia feature-phone, and have used the Android apps. They’ve all got their own distinct aesthetic, and they don’t share the same functionality (especially the Nokia app). The designers have designed these to provide the best possible experience, with the specific constraints in mind. Why can’t they do the same for the web?