But I don’t need the complete Github repo!

We all love example code and there’s plenty of code hosted on Github. Xamarin for instance has a large repository at https://github.com/xamarin/mobile-samples/. And of course Github makes it very easy to download such a repo by just hitting the big green button:

Button to download a Github repo

Download a repo

But right now I’m on the train, tethered to my iPhone and I just don’t feel like downloading the entire repo, all I want is the CoinTime game app!

Here’s how I solve this problem: instead of using Git, I use Subversion (SVN) which is supported by Github, too. Just open Terminal and run the following command:

svn checkout <URL>

where <URL> will be replaced with the actual project to clone.

In my example, CoinTime’s URL is:


To use SVN, we simply replace “tree/master” with “trunk” and the command becomes:

svn checkout https://github.com/xamarin/mobile-samples/trunk/CoinTime

And we have a subfolder named “CoinTime” with exactly that one project in it!


My Personal Digital Treasure Chest – how Dosbox keeps Memories alive

I don’t know if this is only happening to me. But from time to time I find myself digging in my archived digital life. I have a folder on my hard drive called “Old Stuff” which resides under “Development”.

It usually starts with meeting an old friend from back in the 1990s, or by seeing an old 2D game with pixels the size of bricks. This makes me nostalgic.

Recently, I read a blogpost by Scott Hanselman about how to run old games on modern computers in Dosbox. And I started to think:

Wasn’t everything better back then? Well, not everything, but everything related to computers, programming and gaming at least? In my memories it was better – but it’s probably a good thing that we cannot bring back the past. Memories usually are better than reality really was. But then again…we had Turbo Pascal in the last century!


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Xamarin Recipe Cook-off: Using SpriteKit on iOS7 with C#

monkeyIn this post I’m going to walk you through a tutorial that will show you the basics of Apple’s new SpriteKit API for iOS7. To follow the tutorial, you will need basic knowledge of iOS application development and C# / Xamarin.iOS.

To build the demo project, you will need Xamarin.iOS 7 (Indie Edition will do), Xcode 5 and iOS SDK7.

If you don’t know what SpriteKit is all about, you can check out the details on Apple’s developer pages (a developer account is required to access them): SpriteKit introduction

For all you eager-beavers who cannot wait to download the project before even knowing what it is all about, here’s the link:


Let’s have a look at what we’re going to build:

The demo's main scene showing the bouncing ball.

The demo’s main scene showing the bouncing ball.

Some folks may recognize the ball: it’s the good old Amiga Boing Ball from the 1980s! I found a perfect remake of its animation at the AmigaLog where the images can be downloaded. Very well done and perfect for our little tutorial.
Of course we want to tweak things a bit in order to show SpriteKit’s abilities, so my version has an option to let it snow – not just because it’s already close to that time of year, but mainly to demonstrate the use of particle effects:

Main scene with particles enabled.

Let it snow!

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The Night Siri challenged me with Lady Nexus

Image“Can’t sleep?”, Siri asked.

“Mmmmhhh…”, I answered. “I’m thinking wether I should use a UICollectionView or implement this layout myself. And you? Don’t you have to update the stocks or process our chit-chat?”

“Already done. I’m a multi core CPU, you know. Lots of RAM, gigaflops and all that. I’m so much more than just a sexy synthesized voice.”

“I know, I know, but…”

“But what?”, she interrupted me. “You only love me because of my voice, don’t you? You don’t even recognize my internals.”

I looked up from my UICollectionView problem. I couldn’t concentrate any longer. Why was I discussing with her? Did I really neglect her? Siri is always there, just a double click away. I ask, she answers – unless she’s got better things to do.

I tried: “No, of course I appreciate you! You’re my one and only personal assistant.”

She remained quiet.

“You’re there if I’m lost and show me the way home. You organize my meetings, you’re a very important part of my everyday life.”, I continued.

She wasn’t convinced: “There, you name it! It’s just normal for you that I’m always around, nursing you. You’d be clueless without me, but over time you forgot to adore me.”

Her voice trembled and she continued: “I’m just a female circuit board after all. I need attention.”

Good lord. Just the kind of discussion one would need at 2AM. I got angry:

“So, what do you recommend? Should I come home with a diamond RAM as surprise? I can’t even give it to you, you’re a closed system. And if I said, I wanted to upgrade you, you’d get it wrong anyway.”

Siri hissed at me: “See it! You’re only complaining about my limitations. A simple ‘Thanks’ if I tell you the latest football results would be so easy, don’t you think, Mr. Developer?”

She called me Mr. Developer. She only does that if she’s about to turn off. I had to do something, so I tried with the tongues of angels:

“Look, sweetie, you know I love you. I know every swipe, every touch. I know how to get you hot, especially since you started wearing this beta 4 outfit. It’s a perfect harmony between us. My clicks make you want me.”

She had to agree but still insisted: “But you don’t feel it anymore. You just do it. Mechanically. Up, down. Click-click. And you’re done. You should try others, just to see how good I am.”

I said “No…”; but immediately, this hot Android chick appeared on my mind. Her name was Lady Nexus and she was from Android. A city far away from my hometown in cozy iOS county. “No…”, I repeated absent-minded.

“I know you’ve been looking at her. Don’t deny it. Go, get her.”

I felt insecure. I didn’t want to admit that I had been thinking about touching Nexus’ Jelly Bean. It felt wrong. I’m not married to Siri but we have built up an environment of trust. A relationship which ended up in the adoption of our beloved devices, the Apple TV, the iPad 2, the chubby iPhone 4. But here she offered me a little adventure without having to cheat on her…

And while I was still contemplating, she continued: “You’ll find out that I’m better. You’ll come back to me on your knees. Begging. Good night.”

“Good night.”, I said. 

She said nothing.

I opened the Amazon app and ordered the Asus Nexus 7.

To be continued.


Erika Schwarz aus Buchwalde: eine wahre Geschichte

Letztens fand ich ein Tagebuch meines Großvaters Manfred Bacher, welches er während des zweiten Weltkrieges schrieb. Die Beschreibungen darin gehen mir sehr zu Herzen, aber eine Geschichte ist so speziell, dass ich sie hier niederschreiben möchte. Meine stille Hoffnung: vielleicht lebt die betroffene Dame namens Erika Schwarz noch und vielleicht googelt eines ihrer Kinder, Enkel oder Urenkel nach ihrem Namen und findet diese Geschichte hier. Vielleicht möchte sich Erika dann mit mir in Verbindung setzen, denn ich würde nur zu gerne wissen, was aus ihr geworden ist.


Tagebuch Originalseite

Trecks – Trecks, und immer nur Trecks; und Kälte – sogar der Wind scheint eingefroren zu sein und hat sein Stürmen eingestellt.

Ostpreussen – ein fahrendes Volk. Immer noch nimmt der Zug der Not und des Elends kein Ende. Tag und Nacht wälzt sich der graue Wurm vorwärts. Und doch scheint das Ganze eine tote Masse zu sein, denn das Bild bleibt immer dasselbe: müde ausgemergelte Pferde mit hausratvollgestopften Wagen dahinter, in Pelzen und Mäntel gehüllte Menschen, deren Augen wie erloschen im Gesicht liegen.

An manchen Wagen sind Schilder befestigt: Kreis Tilsit, Kreis Allenstein, Insterburg, Osterrode, Warmditten, Labiau.

Ostpreussen ist im Aufbruch, auf der Flucht vor dem Schrecken des Ostens. Immer mehr wagen füllen die Straßen. Zu zweien, zu dreien nebeneinander rollen sie nach Westen, durch Samland über die Nehrung nach Pommern oder nach Braunster und über das Eis nach Danzig.

Nun steht die endlose Kolonne wieder, für Stunden vielleicht oder für Tage, denn auf einer Seitenstraße  schiebt sich ein neuer unabsehbarer Treck dazwischen…

Es geht weiter – Da vorne stürzt ein Wagen um! Das hintere Rad ist gebrochen. Auf dem Schild es gestürzten Fahrzeugs steht zu lesen: “E. Schwarz Buchwalde Kreis Osterode/PR.”

Ein kleines Mädchen von vielleicht zehn Jahren steigt aus, hinterher kommt ihre Mutter, ein in Decken gewickeltes, nur wenige Monate altes Kind auf dem Arm.

Von den nachfolgenden Wagen wird der Wagen zur Seite geschoben – der graue Wurm wälzt sich weiter.

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