DIY · design · bicycles · urban farming · cooperative communities · freelancing · technology

Setting the Title of a Navigation Item from a View Controller nested inside a PageViewController nested inside the Navigation Controller

Got that?

Yep, I’m still doing my one thing per day and lots of days, it’s about writing Objective C for the app I’m building.

I wrestled with this problem for a stupid number of hours so hopefully my solution can help someone else. iOS SDK 6.1, by the way.

The structure of the problem:

  • Navigation Controller has as its root controller a…
    • PageViewController, which displays an…
      • array of custom View Controllers, the first one being a different type of custom View Controller

I wanted to set the title of the Navigation Controller in the viewDidLoad or viewDidAppear methods inside each type of View Controller.


  • I had neglected to call the addChildViewController and the didMoveToParentViewController methods for both the navigation controller and the view controllers when they are created, as detailed in Matt Neuburg’s Programming iOS 6’s explanation of Container View Controllers and also vaguely referenced in Apple’s documentation
  • Then, I merely needed to call [[self parentViewController] navigationItem] to get a pointer to the navigation item within each View Controller’s viewDidAppear methods. (after trying every single permutation of [super navigationController], [self presentingViewController], etc)


Using “One Thing” to Get Myself Learning

As a designer who’s tried (oh my gosh have I tried) to create better ways for people to get stuff done, I’m always interested in new jedi mind tricks to get myself to just do things. New skills. Self-improvement stuff. New habits. Why is that hard? We all just love immediate, short term guarantees of dopamine hits watching funny internet videos (or, ahem, taking easy client work) over the promise of long-term, takes-work-but-will-be-worth-it projects.

Inspired by Karol’s recent One Thing Self Improvement structure essay, I’ve decided to adopt it to help me learn iOS development. Each morning I’ll wake up and pick my One Thing, the thing that I focus on getting done that day above all else. As Karol says, it could be a quick thing or something that would take several hours. It’s worth it to note that I’m starting from the basic programming I learned from the undergrad HCI classes at Carnegie Mellon and various hacky skills picked up since then, an HTML/CSS/finished-the-Codeacademy-javascript-tutorials sort of place.

I’m texting a close friend every morning with my One Thing. I’m not a huge fan of the forced accountability technique that encourages you to tell your friends what! you! are! totally! going! to do! but this way feels pretty lightweight and friendly. And I’m trying to get him to do the One Thing too. Sshhh.

Why now? Well, yesterday was a day I’ve been waiting for for a long time. After a lot of serious thought, I decided to leave my position with the social media company for what I feel are several excellent reasons (which may deserve their own post) but chiefly a culture and design process mismatch. Now I am a free woman, with savings in the bank, ready to strike out on my own. And learn things!

Today my one thing is to complete my first iOS app creation tutorial. Hello world!


In which I visit three festivals and two countries and fall in wuv


What? Where am I? How did I get on this blog?

Amazon ate my life. But it was fun! The people were great. But I chose to leave for other adventures and now I’m designing for a niche social network that has about a million users. It’ll be cool. And I work from home!

What happened between June and now?

I went to Critical Massive, Seattle’s regional Burning Man event and it was amazing. I met so many wonderful nice people. I played and drank and danced and cuddled and felt the most comfortably social I ever have in a crowd. The best part? I keep seeing the same people again at events! Huge boost to meeting friends in town, which is good because…

Sometime in there I ended my year+ Seattle relationship. And we stayed friends. We stayed friends AND roommates as it happens. And then he started dating a girl who is way better for him than I was and it’s a very good situation. I’m sad I don’t get as many hugs, but then I made up for lost time by jumping into dating again very happily. And enthusiastically.

I went to Burning Man even though I didn’t think I could get time off from work (I asked really nicely) and I didn’t have any time at all to make art or gifts (next year). It was beautiful. It was crazy. I only had 3 days to pack and prepare. Just my style.

All that time at Amazon I was biking 6 miles to work (and back again) as many times per week as I could. Which was a good thing because a boy I’d met at Critical asked me if I wanted to bike 200 miles to Pacific Fire Gathering with him. With 3 days to plan. Again! Just my style. And then I bought crotch-padded spandex shorts. And was very grateful for them.


We fell in goofy, mushy wuv and ended up biking a total of 400 miles down the Oregon coast past Tillamook, up over into the Mount Hood national forest to Breitenbush hot springs, and then down into the incomparable sexy bicyclist city of Portland. We lit things on fire and camped and at at roadside BBQ shacks and went to a rave. I learned to hit myself less in the head with my poi.

My thigh muscles got huge and crazy in the process.

Then I spent 2 weeks in Vancouver, BC starting my new job (they’re based up there). Sadly, I was kind of exhausted. And homesick. And it was Canadian thanksgiving.

But my college friend Max was spontaneously in town! We drank gin out of tea pot.

And then the weather broke and rain descended on the northwest, forever.

And I went back to Seattle.

But then I helped organize a silly bike ride. It was sunny and then it hailed on us and then it was sunny again! We got soaked.

Now I’m having an amazing but tiring time trying to balance work and dating and trying to get a few nights a week to myself.

And apparently now I have to sew Halloween costumes? The hell!

Life is really good.

A New Work Gig

Last week I started a new contract gig with Amazon’s Kindle mobile team, and I have to tell you, it is awesome. They have smart designers, an easy-going workplace, interesting challenges, enough time to get those challenges tackled, free coffee, and puppies right in my office. Puppies. Puppies.

Between that and my startup work, this means that suddenly I’m very busy… like, all hours of the day busy. Not a bad thing. AND I get to dig myself out of the credit card debt hole I’ve been in for more than a year, which is especially amazingly wonderful and I get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I remember that I’m being paid for the work I do. Choirs of butterflies singing, sparkles and unicorns. So much so that, with all we still hear about the unemployed, it makes me think about a job being just as much about being accepted as it is about being paid. I know for me recently, it’s been about both in equal measures.

I’ve been wanting to post more about design and the tech world and, if I can get a few minutes to spare, I bet I’ll be plenty inspired to talk about how I’m encountering an extended period of full-time work in the industry again.

In the meantime, I found this great essay by Christina Wodtke giving advice to new designers in which she says: consulting will make you a fox, and in-house will make you a hedgehog. And you should do them in that order. I completely agree. I feel so lucky that I, by complete accident, have followed this career path (more or less, kicking and screaming) and found it to be serving me really, really well.

Lessons for Life #1


To paraphrase Clay Shirky, age plus paying attention equals knowing stuff. So I thought this post was going to be about stuff I know. I had some really profound thoughts while riding my scooter to a meeting and boy, they were awesome. I was like, that’s good, I’m totally gonna write that on the blog. But I’m not going to. Because I forgot them. Oops.

I also like how I wrote in my canary post about how I was going to make this a personal blog and then was like, HA, TOTAL BLOG SILENCE. Silence is very personal to me.

Continue Reading →

Seattle Farmers’ Markets, on Land and Sea


Seattle is so cool, we have a farmer’s market on a boat. This post is in honor of the season and my discovery of the FarmBoat Floating Market held on an historic steamship in South Lake Union.

It’s an exciting time around Seattle right now; the seasonal farmer’s markets are starting to open up again. You can spot them by the crowds of strolling people and tall orange and purple banners at the end of closed-off streets in nearly every neighborhood of the city. Of course there are always the year-round markets on Saturdays and Sundays, but when you run out of fresh greens on Tuesday those are not so much help. In the summer with a bit of a flexible daytime schedule you can visit a farmer’s market every day of the week. Here’s how to find them.

FarmBoat Floating Market
An organization bringing fresh, local food and historic wooden ships together. The South Lake Union market is 11-3pm on Thursdays on a 125 foot steamship from the 1920’s. They also are proposing markets at downtown Seattle’s waterfront and in South Park on other historic vessels.

Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance
Operates 7 markets around seattle, including the Capitol Hill market (which got up and running last month) and my own dearest and closest, the Phinney Market that opens next week on June 1. Their website just got a much-needed design update making it much easier to read the information (woo!).

Puget Sound Fresh
Many, many markets all around Puget sound, including my year-round Sunday favorite, the Ballard Market.

For an uber list of all the land-based markets, visit the Washington State Farmer’s Market Association for maps, opening/closing times, whether they accept credit cards or SNAP benefits (many do), and more contact info.

Now I’m just waiting impatiently for cherry season.


Top ↑
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3