Monthly Archives: August 2015

Attention

I'm the Monster.My wife claims I have A.D.D. She means it. It’s not an insult, nor do I take it that way. It’s usually directed at my continuous stream of new app ideas. Apps that will never get written. 

I’ve never been a super coder. I’m not that smart. I didn’t do well in a classroom. I loved math, but not enough to be obsessed with it and continue to learn more after trigonometry —which I can no longer do. I got into computers because I was obsessed with making them do stuff. To this day I still love making them do stuff and I’m continuing to learn. I enjoy my work. I enjoy tinkering with code in my free time. I just wish I could be super coder.

All those ideas, written down, just a bunch of bits, rotting. I have a couple apps in the iOS App Store. One I built for my brother (RxCalc), with his help, see the math comment above, and one I built for myself (Arrgly) and put in the store for grins.

I have one new idea I would like to work on, but before I do that, I’ve been workin on a long overdue update to RxCalc. I hope to drop it in the store when the iOS 9 flood gates open. It’s not much of a change, small updates here and there, but it’s solid and looks at home on iOS 7 and newer OS’es.

I have plans to add In-App purchase to it in a future release. It’s been free for a few years now and I’d like to try to make some money back but at the same time want to keep it free. To that end all new features will be available via IAP.

We’ll see how it goes.

Wall Street is Bizarro World

Me Wall StreetMarket Watch [hat tip: Daring Fireball]: “The expected iPhone 6s so far sounds mostly like an incremental update, which could lead fewer users to upgrade. Jordan Edelson, founder and chief executive of Appetizer Mobile, believes that the new iPhones will have the same chassis as the current iPhone 6 models, with more memory, a better 12-megapixel camera and battery life improvements.”

The idea that Wall Street is Bizarro World holds true for any company, not just Apple. In this case Apple has a track record of releasing an updated design of the iPhone followed the next year by the same design with upgraded specifications that include the letter S following the version number. E.G. 6 followed by 6S. My point is, this should not be new to anyone following Apple. This pattern is not new.

I think it’s only reasonable to expect Apple’s run of year-over-year unit sales to drop off at some point. How can you expect those numbers to continue to climb? So maybe they won’t sell 183 million iPhones in the next fiscal year. They’re definitely not doomed.

The headline of the Market Watch article is click bait, pure and simple. I clicked the link, not because I believe it, but because it’s so ridiculous I had to read what the “experts” were saying.

The title is accurate in a way — “Don’t expect iPhone 6S to save Apple” — because Apple doesn’t need saving.

Open the Twitter API

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.
Twitter has been in the tech news a lot lately. They have a temporary CEO, Wall Street isn’t happy with their performance — I’d argue Wall Street is its own problem — and they still don’t allow developers to create the applications they’d really like to create.

Of those problems I believe the one that needs solving first is the developer issue. It’s the easiest to fix and it would allow Twitter to focus on figuring out what the heart and soul of Twitter really is; is it a marketing site, a place to follow the rich and famous, or a real time communication technology?

Opening up the API would allow the developer community to solve problems Twitter isn’t willing to solve. We all know mobile is king, so they need good mobile applications, but developer are also willing to create unique desktop applications. E.G. Under Twitter the Mac client has languished as well as third-party client Twitterrific. In the case of Twitterrific it is because of Twitter’s draconian limits of 100,000 tokens per application. If Twitter would remove these restrictions they would allow thousands of digital flowers to bloom.

I’m not Kim Kardashian, so this request will definitely fall on deaf ears, but please, Jack, open up the Twitter API.

Ranking My Apple Devices

I’ve been meaning to write this, as well as many other things, for some time. 

Back on Father’s Day my wife and our girls gifted me with an Apple Watch [Darth Vader model; black on black]. It was quite a surprise and I must say I’m thrilled to have this little piece of tech. 

First a little about the watch, then I’ll get to my Apple Device rankings by need of importance to me.

The Apple Watch, like everything else Apple, is beautifully designed. I’ve told many people I would not have spent $400 on this device for myself. It’s nice, but it’s something I’d feel guilty about buying for myself. Hey, $400 can be used to solve a lot of other problems. I was thinking id buy a 1.0 Watch when the 2.0 version came out and I could get the old one for $99. Keep that in mind if you want one of these and can handle a year old model — not that it will happen, but you never know.

Now that I’ve had the watch for a while I know I’m definitely not the target audience. It feels like the watch is for people obsessed with notifications. It’s for a younger generation, the millennials. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to own one, but I don’t take full advantage of it. I use it for five things.

  1. The Time – it’s a great looking watch!
  2. Message taps – I no longer miss text messages from my wife. This is actually a big deal.
  3. Phone taps – See #2. Missed phone calls are a thing of the past.
  4. Activity – I didn’t think I’d use this feature. Turns out I like it. It reminds me to get off my butt from time to time. That’s good.
  5. Slack – This is the one work related notification I allow to come through, but only if a message is directed at me, which is quite rare.

I have a bunch of apps on the watch I could probably remove at this point because I just don’t use them. In fact, I think the only other app I’ve used from time to time is blueHula’s Beer Timer.

Get your tools!On to the original intent of this post. Here’s how the four Apple devices I own rank in my life. Most important to least important.

  1. iPhone – To call this a phone is such a misnomer. It’s a computer in your pocket with a phone app. Seriously powerful and darned useful in everyday life. I’m composing this post on it.
  2. MacBook Pro – It’s almost a toss up between the phone and the laptop which should hold the number one spot. I use a MacBook every day to work on iOS Apps and I love the hardware and OS.
  3. iPad Mini – The distance between spot two and three is huge. I still use a first generation iPad Mini and I love it. I believe the Mini is the perfect size for a tablet. I use mine on the weekends to read my RSS feeds(Reeder), stuff I’ve stashed away in Pocket and Readibility, read Medium, and Twitter(Twitterrific). All using native device apps.
  4. Watch – Beautifully designed and a fine watch.

If push came to shove I could easily give up the iPad Mini and the Watch. In fact my Mini is on permanent loan to our youngest daughter so she can experiment with FiftyThree’s awesome Paper and Pencil.

That’s it. Opinions may vary. I’m still an Apple Fanboy and I can’t see that changing.

January 2017

It’s late. Inauguration Day is over as Donald Trump steps into a dark Oval Office and peers out frosty windows into the cold D.C. night.

He crosses the room, approaching The Resolute desk. Within feet of the desk he hears a creak as the large chair behind the desk turns.

A smiling Hillary Rodham Clinton looks at him and says “Thanks, Donald, I owe you.”

Fade to black.

OneDrive flaw in Windows 10

Jerry Fahrni: “However, I can see all OneDrive content on each machine regardless of setting; file and folder names appear in online-only status. This all disappeared with the Windows 10 update. Now you have to pick which folders you wish to sync, and if you don’t sync them they don’t show up in your folder structure. That really ticks me off. That was the best feature of OneDrive. Without it there’s no reason to continue using it. Why would Microsoft remove such a useful feature? It defies logic.”

Jerry is not the only person disappointed with this change Paul Thurrott mention this flaw a few weeks back on Windows Weekly. hopefully Microsoft will follow up with a nice patch to repair this regression.

As a software developer we have to deal with tough choices like this to make sure we ship a stable product on time. As bad as this omission feels it was probably done for the sake of shipping. With Windows 10 the idea is to patch the OS often, as a service. We will see how well this plays out, but this feels like a good candidate for patching sooner rather than later.