Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Insanity of San Francisco Real Estate

Curbed – San Francisco: ” Eventually, someone saw the potential for change in the modest two-bedroom home and bought it for $850,000. Flippers have completely transformed the house into a four-bedroom luxury abode listed for $5.25 million, asking more than six times the previous price and ushering it right into the Sextuple Club, a thing we just invented.”

Now that’s a flip.

Compare that to what $140k gets you in Detroit. With some time and a bit of money this Detroit home could look just as nice, if not nicer, than the San Francisco home.

Firewatch is coming!

Panic: “Have you heard of our upcoming game, Firewatch? (It’s a first-person mystery/drama/adventure set in the Wyoming wilderness. You’re Henry. You just got a job in a Firewatch tower. You make contact with another watcher who only exists on the other end of a handheld radio. And then… things happen.)”

I’m not much of a gamer, but this is a game I will purchase. It’s going to be really nice seeing it on a Mac running under Metal. The addition of the Playstation is quite exciting as well. Maybe those of us with an Xbox console will get a port later?

No matter. Firewatch looks like a keeper.

Yes, going Indie is difficult

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Jared Sinclair: “You cannot become an indie developer. Ask for your day job back. Do not proceed to Step 5 or 6.”

I’ve been there. You can feel the frustration in every word. He wants so badly to be a full time Indie, but can’t quite stack the deck in his favor.

Last November I decided I had to bail on my dream of running an Indie shop in favor of a full time job. I had taken an approach I thought would work, I failed to execute it properly. My post mortem of my failure is bitter and filled with anger. I made every mistake a person could make. It’s a tough business, and many great developers (like Jared) will struggle to make it work. You have to be part marketing, part sales, and part developer to give it a chance of succeeding. Oh, and most importantly you need a big break.

Jared has what I would consider a very successful run as an Indie with his beautifully designed and developed Unread RSS reader (now at Supertop), but it wasn’t enough to sustain a living. There’s the rub. If you’re not connected in this market it’s really tough to make it work. The Indies that have succeeded have either been around a very long time, hit the app store early with something unique, or have influential friends that give them an instant leg up.

When I decided I had to get a full time job it became obvious I was going to have to do the development I really want to do on the side, as a hobby. That means I’ll get to dabble a little bit, but never really get the chance to build the piece of software I want to build. That’s ok. I’ll tinker, RxCalc looks long in the tooth and Arrgly could use some love. I have ideas for both, and a bunch of code I’ve been sitting on for quite a while that needs to see the light of day. It feels like the right way to be an Indie today.

Given that I’d tweak Jared’s list a little.

  1. Do you have a day job that pays you a full-time salary? If yes, proceed to Step 2. If not, skip to Step 3.
  2. Good. Keep it, you’ll need the income.
  3. Find a full time job you will enjoy.
  4. Find a passion project. Something you’d love to do on nights and weekends.
  5. Open Xcode
  6. You are now an Indie Developer

I know a lot of folks don’t have much time on nights and weekends. My first iOS App was built an hour here an hour there until it was good enough to put in the store. It’s worth the effort and feels great when you can finally push out your code, even if it is a silly little application.

Hang in there Jared. I understand your desire, I really do. It’s what I want too.

Phil Schiller on The Talk Show

The Talk Show: “Recorded in front of a live audience at Mezzanine in San Francisco, John Gruber is joined by Phil Schiller to discuss the news from WWDC: OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, the new native app SDK for Apple Watch, Apple Music, and the 2004 American League Championship series.”

This is the bright side of the new Apple. They’re still secretive (which is good) but they’re opening up in many ways.

No

The New York Times: “Outside watchers of the company have looked at Anthony Noto, a former technology banker at Goldman Sachs and Twitter’s current chief financial officer, as another potential candidate for chief executive.”

The idea of an ex-Wall Street banker at the helm of the Internet’s best communication tool feels completely wrong.

Definitely not Steve’s Apple

AHHHHHH!Ben Thompson: “WWDC went in the other direction. The first 90 minutes were excellent: very tight, with excellent clarity and momentum, well-rehearsed speakers delivering mostly iterative announcements with the occasional surprise. The final 60, on the other hand — the “one more thing” — were the exact opposite: unclear and dragging, with unprepared speakers delivering…well, I’m honestly not sure what most of them were saying. If there was a surprise the lack of a coherent message has to be top of the list.”

Yeah, I know, the title is a bit sensational, I couldn’t help myself. I love Apple as much as the next fanboy, but I do see some flaws in their once highly polished veneer. Apple Keynote’s are important and for developers WWDC is very important. To have Jimmy Iovine stink up the stage like he did was disappointing.

You won’t hear Apple’s biggest fans talk about this disaster, they only focus on the positive, but it’s important to talk about this as well. To see the company you develop software for start to stumble a bit is worrisome. Some recent moves remind me of the Microsoft of the 90’s. Will we hear monopoly talk?

Do I think Apple is doomed? No, of course not. They’re just hitting a gawky teenage stage. They’re tripping over their own feet. I also believe this disastrous showing must have been due to a last minute cancellation. It was rumored we were going to hear about the new Apple TV. That didn’t happen. It would have been so much better if they had just ended the keynote. Painful.

That’s enough ranting. I need to go read about the new API’s and do my day job.

Jeff Hokit’s “Maven”

Jeff Hokit [via Medium]: “I usually reach for the Mac Dictionary application but that day I went for my iPhone, forgetting that there was not a house-made dictionary app there.”

Jeff is the real deal. He’s a long time Mac Developer and one time Apple Employee. He’s very talented and such a great guy. It is so nice to see him start writing about and sharing his code. If you want to learn how to do things the right way look no further, go check out his code base.

While you are at it go download Blossom. It’s a beautifully designed and executed app.

Thanks for sharing, Jeff. 

I’ve been doing it all wrong

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.I’ve given the Freelance thing a hearty try on a couple occasions. The first time was successful. I had a couple good clients that provided steady work, and eventually went to work for one of them full time. But, the itch to develop iOS Apps was so strong I made another attempt at Freelancing. That second round was an unmitigated disaster. I took on too much work for too little reward, there were other factors in the mix as well. 

Doing Freelance work, or studio work, is like being a hamster in cage on one of those wheels. You work your tail off and go nowhere. I know some folks are really good at it, but I failed at it because you need to hustle work all the time as well as work on your current obligations. It’s a tough balancing game. 

All that to say I’m doing it wrong. That became apparent when I read Brent Simmons weblog post about resigning from Q-Branch. In his post Brent says that he resigned because he is not working on the software he is passionate about.

I decided to leave because I wasn’t working on the software that I’ve been obsessed with for more than a decade.

That makes you think, doesn’t it? Why do something your heart isn’t really into? Paycheck aside. If you need to work on something at night and on the side it should be something you are deeply passionate about.

John Gruber followed up with these words, this really drives the point home.

Nights-and-weekends time is for your passions, not for obligations.

They’re right. I’m 47 years old, and closer to 48 as of this writing. Why should anyone spend time working on something they’re not absolutely passionate about?

I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve wanted to do a large project for years. My dear wife has been encouraging me to pursue it, for years. It’s time to reflect and make a choice; pursue that dream, or let it die, stop killing myself for others and just enjoy what I have.

Oh, and I need to read a book for fun once in a while. I started Stephen King’s 11/22/63 two and a half years ago and haven’t finished it. I have a stack of books beside my bed, just dying to be read. I should read them.