Moon over cliff

by Steven Holland

Thoughts on programming, science, nature, and growth through willful change. Oh, and pop-tarts.


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Rating Rush Albums, a Descent into Nerdery

8 January 2024

While reading Geddy Lee’s My Effin’ Life, I was struck by his story of how Neil Peart listened to all of their albums while he was fighting cancer. It also reminded me of various rankings of Rush studio albums and how I agreed with some but differed with others. It was time to give the entire studio catalog another listen and come up with my ranking. That’s where the nerdery comes in.


Asian Jumping Worm

4 September 2023

While raking some leaves by the curb today, I kept seeing these wildly thrashing earthworms and remembered reading about the Asian Jumping Worm (Amynthas agrestis). We have them.


Hummingbird Clearwing

29 August 2023

Our lantana is in full bloom, attracting many kinds of butterflies. I saw what looked to be a very small hummingbird, but it proved to be a moth, the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thybe).


Deep linking from an iOS widget

20 July 2023

I’d made lockscreen widgets for a few of my iOS apps, but I had been butting my head trying to make them deep-link into an app so that I could take users to a particular part of the app. The answer turned out to be just a few lines of code.


Simple Music Videos

19 March 2023

I like to record my guitar playing to take a snapshot of where I’m at in my skills. The problem is that the sound from the iPhone’s microphone can be tinny, like it is coming through a can. This is solved by routing the sound directly from the amplifier into the iPhone, using the Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.


Creating Apple Watch Apps: The Missing Steps

12 March 2023

I recently uploaded an iOS app update, one that included an all-new Apple Watch app. I had a suspicion that the watch app wasn’t included in the archive uploaded to App Store Connect. I was right: when the app was released, the watch app was missing. Fixing this involved three steps, ones that took more sleuthing than I would have expected.


Spring Wildflowers

8 March 2023

An afternoon walk today in the UGA Botanical Gardens revealed the vanguard of spring wildflowers. Common Blue Violets were the most common and widespread, but I was surprised in the end how many species I saw. Flowers were most common in shady, moist, hardwood valleys and in the moist sandy areas along the levee of the Middle Oconee River. Hardwood ridges and the pine forests were nearly devoid of flowers.


Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface

29 January 2023

I got a Scarlett 2i2 audio interface for Christmas, and it has made recording so much easier. Focusrite has a great set of videos for getting set up. From those and my experiences, here are my notes for quickly setting up the Scarlett for 2i2 for recording in GarageBand.


Cobalt Crust Fungus

16 January 2023

Winter here is filled with various shades of brown and gray, so anything else stands out. While clearing some downed branches in my yard today, I came across a strikingly blue fungus, the Cobalt Crust Fungus.



31 December 2022

On an overcast hike yesterday at Standing Indian Mountain in North Carolina, the bright green of two small plants stood out against the dreary winter browns. Both are lycopods, minor players in today’s world, but the dominant plants millions of years ago in the Pennsylvanian Period.


Creating an R Package

5 September 2022

I’ve always shared my R code as source files, but have been wanting to share it as a package. Here’s what I’ve learned.


Writing Tips

14 June 2022

Here are a few useful articles I’ve found for improving your writing.


Taking Photos for Science

19 May 2022

A few simple guidelines can improve your photos, especially when you plan to use them in a scientific article.


Brown Bellytooth

24 April 2021

After a good hard rain, a snail search turned up the usual suspects on our street, with about four Common Buttons for every White-lipped Globe. Searching the leaf litter around one of our hickories revealed an empty shell of a species I haven’t found before, a Brown Bellytooth.


Two common snails

18 April 2021

With spring, snails are becoming more active, and you can easily find them on our street the morning after it rains. Two of these are common to the region, the Common Button and White-lip Globe. I have found a third snail in our neighborhood, but have seen it only once. I will post photos of it when I have more photographs and a better description.


Converting an app from UIKit to SwiftUI

21 February 2021

UIKit apps and SwiftUI apps have a completely different internal structure in Xcode. Building on Sam Khawase’s great guide, here is how I have converted my apps from UIKit to SwiftUI. My conversion is done in one step, instead of progressing through a series of steps where the app is a hybrid of UIKit and SwiftUI.


Minimal MVVM in SwiftUI

20 February 2021

Using SwiftUI effectively is made easier by choosing the right architecture for your app. Ever since Cocoa, Apple had emphasized a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, but SwiftUI works best with a Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) architecture.