Apple Pay + HSBC UK by Paulo Fierro

Apple Pay launched in the UK last month and I’d been looking forward to it because now I’d be able to use contactless payment methods when in the US using my UK bank cards.

First available was American Express, and setting up this card was very straightforward. Simply complete the guided process and you’re done.

I had been using Amex’s fantastic Passbook integration for several months now and had grown accustomed to the notifications you receive when you use your card. Its lightning fast too and I’d often get a notification before the receipt had even been printed.

Thankfully this is another feature of Apple Pay so I promptly removed the pass from Passbook — renamed to Wallet in iOS 9.

Next up was HSBC. They were supposed to be ready at launch, but then got delayed until July 28. I tried the following day and it didn't work. Thinking there were probably teething problems on HSBC's side I decided to leave it for a few days.

So last week I try to add my HSBC card and it still wouldn’t work.

#really

#really

After some searching I came across an article with a solution to the problem and I could barely believe it. Then I realized it was HSBC after all — lets just say that our experiences with them have been less than impressive, so this is actually par for the course.

Turns out, you can't add an HSBC card to Apple Pay if you're outside of the UK.

Amazing. #amazing

You have to:

  1. Disable Location Services (so your location remains unknown).
  2. Use a VPN to tunnel in to the UK. I recommend TunnelBear.
  3. Add your card.
#finally

#finally

Good job HSBC. I guess I feel more secure?

Smart App Banners + Squarespace pages by Paulo Fierro

Smart App Banners have been around since iOS 6 and are an easy way for websites to link to apps on the App Store. As app promotion methods go, these are intelligent and not as obtrusive as other methods.

To add them to your page you have to add a meta tag to the head of each page where you want the banner to appear. I wanted to add a banner to our Avoid Town page but on Squarespace you don't have access to the raw HTML. However you can provide custom Javascript.

First go to the page you want the banner to appear on and click on the gear icon to access the page's settings.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 18.18.49.png

Now click on Advanced at the top right of the page and you'll be presented with a textarea where you can enter code to be injected into the page.

Next paste in the code below, replacing XXX with your app's ID and YYY with your iTunes affiliate ID (or leave it blank).

You can find your app ID using the iTunes Link Maker and if you haven't you should join the iTunes Affiliate Program.

Disabling callouts in WKWebView by Paulo Fierro

A few months back I wrote about disabling the ability of a user to zoom a web page presented in a WKWebView. This is custom HTML content being displayed in an enterprise app, not a web site, so its not as nefarious as it sounds.

Another wish was to disable callouts. That's the pop-over that shows up when you long-tap on elements in Mobile Safari. They let you copy text, define a word or share a snippet.

A callout on iPad

A callout on iPad

There's no property on WKWebView that lets us do this, but we can do this similar to how we disabled the ability to zoom the page.

We pass a custom WKUserScript to our web view which creates a style tag and adds some styling which sets both -webkit-user-select and -webkit-touch-callout to none on all elements except input fields and textarea elements.

As always, remember that these powers should only be used for good.

Enabling SSL on SQUARESPACE by Paulo Fierro

In 2014 Google made an announcement stating they would boost sites using HTTPS encryption in search results. Apart from that there are several other great reasons for using HTTPS. This site is hosted on Squarespace and while you could access this via a squarespace.com subdomain, I prefer using my actual domain that I own and control.

After some searching I came across this excellent blog post describing how to get SSL for your Squarespace site using CloudFlare. Its fairly straightforward to set up and doesn't cost a thing.

Introducing Avoid Town by Paulo Fierro

Today we launched Avoid Town for iPhone, which easily lets you know how busy downtown is going to be on a particular day based on the number of cruise ships and passengers that will be arriving.

Avoid Town was made for people living and working on Grand Cayman where lots of ships also means lots of traffic. Check the app before you leave and you’ll be surprised by how much time you save.

Building the app, shooting and editing the promo and putting everything together for launch has been great fun and we've learned a ton.

Hopefully you'll find the app to be as useful as we do :)