Monthly Archives: July 2014

California, times six?

89.3 KPCC: “The latest initiative to split up California is not the first. Or the 10th. Or even the 100th. There have been at least 220 efforts to hack California up into smaller states, with at least five just since 2000.”

I happened across this article on the Six Californias effort and appreciated the history lesson. The article goes on to outline a few of the prior efforts complete with maps representing the new states. I had no idea this has been attempted over 200 times. Wild.

Some articles on the subject are serious, others pretty funny.

“It just doesn’t seem fair,” San Anselmo’s Johnny Colla, a member of Huey Lewis and the News, emails from a tour stop on the East Coast. “When Draper got the map and the magic marker out and started carving up the state like a second-grader, why didn’t he include our county in the little empire he wants to call ‘Silicon Valley’? I mean, we’re affluent, opinionated and self-centered just like the ‘young Turks’ down there in the South Bay. And, shoot, I want to be a part of what would be the state with the highest per capita income in the nation, don’t you?”

On the serious side of the fence. I live in what is known as the Central Valley. It would become Central California in this scheme and would instantly become one of the poorest states in the union.

The gaps are underscored in California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the proposal. According to the report, the new state of Silicon Valley, which would encompass most of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County and parts of the Central Coast, would have the highest per capita income in the nation, out-ranking Connecticut (funny coincidence that Draper happens to reside here). Meanwhile, the neighboring state of Central California, encompassing mostly poor agricultural counties in the Central Valley, would be at the very bottom in per capita income, behind Mississippi.

The arguments for it claim it will make Government more accessible and more efficient. I doubt it, and I doubt we’ll see this effort succeed. It is, after all, the 220th attempt. Guess we’ll find out in 2016.

D&D

20140720-212226-76946260.jpgThe New Yorker: “For much of its existence, D. & D. has attracted ridicule, fear, and threats of censorship from those who don’t play or understand the game. It is surrounded by a fog of negative connotations.”

As teens my brothers and I played a metric ton of D&D with our friends. It wasn’t uncommon for our Mom to find us crashed on the floor in the morning after a long nigh of campaigning.

It’s been years and years since we’ve played but it’s something I will never forget, not to mention something that shaped my early teenage years.

Every once in a while I think about the game and the great times we had as teenagers and wish we could experience it again.

Day One, by Bloom Built

Day One App IconI’ve been using Day One, from Bloom Built, for a few weeks now. It is quite possibly the best pure writing tool I’ve used to date.

The UI is the thing I find most compelling. They’ve kept it simple. In both apps you add a new post by tapping, or clicking, a plus button, write what you are thinking, and hit Done. It’s that simple.

Another nice thing: your writing is kept in sync between the Mac and iOS clients using iCloud or DropBox. I’m using iCloud and it’s been flawless.

If you are a Mac user and would like a place to write, that isn’t public, and you like the experience of a nicely designed native client, consider Day One.

Bloom is one of those companies, on a very short list, I’d work for (not that I’m good enough to work there.) I know that probably doesn’t mean much, but I tend to really love or hate software. When I love it, I want to work for the company. When I hate it? Well… I could care less. The list of companies I’d love to work for is very short. Bloom Built just joined that list.

Work Note: UIButton and UITableViewCell contentView

I am not sure why I see this behavior but I am sure someone smarter than I am can explain it. I am creating a custom table view cell derived from UITableViewCell. In the viewDidLoad method I’m adding, amongst other things, a UIButton to the cell.

All of the UILabels I added to the cell were added to the contentView and display just fine, but the UIButton’s I added to it don’t work properly, you can see them, but no events fire.

Here’s how I’m doing it:

[self.contentView addSubview:self.fancyButton];

That doesn’t work. However, adding the button to the view, does work:

[self.view addSubView:self.fancyButton];

According Apple’s documentation for UITableViewCell contentView:

The content view of a UITableViewCell object is the default superview for content displayed by the cell. If you want to customize cells by simply adding additional views, you should add them to the content view so they will be positioned appropriately as the cell transitions into and out of editing mode.

If I add the button using Interface Builder, it works as expected, but in this case I’m building the cell in code. At some point I need to dissect a prototype Interface Builder based UITableViewCell to see what it does. I would imagine it places all subviews in the view, not the contentView.

Cut Quickly

Microsoft Cash Cow.Mini-Microsoft: “That’s why I hope that Cut Quickly happens. Without it, we’re back to our first layoff experience. If anything broke the back of this blog, it was the first big Microsoft layoff back in 2009. How? How could the realization of a step towards Mini-Microsoft do that? Because it was implemented so poorly, with constant worries and concerns and doubts about engaging in new ideas due to expectations those would be the easiest to trim during ongoing cut-backs. When was it over? When was the “all clear” signal given?”

Hey, welcome back, Mini! I used to love reading this weblog many years back. Can you believe it’s been around for 10 years? 10 years of begging Microsoft to focus and trim the fat. Anywho…

This is a pretty big deal. I have friends there and I hope they can stay, if that’s what they want to do. Now could be a great time for someone that wants to take some time off to smell the roses, or take a chance on a startup. Take the money and run, so to speak.

I wonder why they’re taking a year to implement this? It seems like a great way to absolutely kill a year of productivity in a business that changes day to day. Microsoft is just beginning to steer their large ship in a different direction, what if the target has moved by the time this RIF is complete? How do groups plan to ship product over the next year with the fog of a layoff hanging over their heads? Guess we’ll see.

Larger Phones

Jerry Fahrni: “The size. I’m not a fan of large smartphones. The Moto X has a 4.7-inch screen while the S5 has a 5.1-inch screen. This is more personal preference than anything else. It’s all about how well it fits in the left front pocket of my jeans.”

My brother recently had to replace his Moto X. He chose a Samsung S5 because, apparently, the Moto X is no longer available. It’s a really nice device, but like him I’m not a fan of larger devices. It really comes down to fitting in my pocket and how it feels in one hand.

I’m happy with the 4-inch screen on my iPhone 5C, and I could see going as large as 4.7-inch, Jay’s Moto X felt great in hand, but over 5-inches? Now we are approaching tablet size.

If you pay attention to Apple rumors, which I don’t, you’d hear talk of Apple releasing a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch device. This definitely doesn’t sound like something Apple would do, but Apple has been doing very un-Apple like stuff recently.

My hope? I hope they don’t go to a 5.5-inch device. That is extremely large. If you want something that big, buy an iPad Mini, it’s only 7.9-inches.

Mobile Apps are Real Applications

RibbitMartian Craft: “Do you want a one bedroom shack for $50,000 or a mega mansion for $2M+ similar to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? As with homes, many clients opt for a starter size for their first app. This allows them to build a solid foundation that will be setup to grow with them for years to come.”

This is another great article on the true cost of mobile app development. No, it’s not the first and probably won’t be the last. As a freelance app developer I have to share this kind of news with folks all the time. I’m sure other developers have these conversations, they go something like this…

Potential Client: “I’d like to build this application.”
Developer: “Ok, let’s talk about your application.”
Potential Client: “I would like this and this and this.” (Of course I’m paraphrasing, the client is obviously excited about their product, as they should be.)
Developer: “Great, what kind of budget do you have?”
Potential Client: “I don’t have a lot to spend, how much would you charge for everything I’ve outlined?”
Developer: “It will take X dollars to develop your app, just a ballpark figure. It could be more, it could be less.”
Potential Client: [Silence. Never heard from again.]

I don’t say this to embarrass anyone. I’m only sharing it because it is true. For every 10 people I speak with about developing an application I may only get one of them to talk to me past this point.

I’m not sure if there is some sort of psychological barrier because these are mobile applications and not taken seriously, or what? In the end this is serious software that takes time, and a lot of effort, to develop.

When you have an idea for a mobile application and need a developer, remember this: Mobile Applications are real software. Think of them as your web site, or that accounting software you use every day, or maybe a word processing package from your favorite software company. Maybe that will help with the sticker shock?

If you need an iOS Application for your business or need a developer to bring that app you’ve always wanted to life. Get in touch, I can help.