Monthly Archives: July 2018

Gowalla Imagery

Back when Gowalla was still around I just loved their style. I used to visit their website just to look at all the beautiful imagery they produced. I kept some of it and thought I’d share it below. I hope that’s OK?

Some of these may not be from Gowalla, but I’m sure most of them are.

Enjoy.

P.S. – It seems a real shame Facebook didn’t keep the old site up just as an artifact. That would’ve been really nice. If the Gowalla site is archived anywhere and I can link to it drop me an email at rob.fahrni@gmail.com or reach out on Twitter to @fahrni. Thanks.

Old Devices

I don’t like to install beta versions of iOS on my daily driver device so I tend to use old devices I have left around from years past. This year, however, I didn’t have a device capable of running iOS 12, so I bought a used one on Letgo.

For $60US I was able to purchase an iPhone 5s with a cracked screen that works just fine. I decided to pickup a new screen from iFixit for another $40US. All in, $100US and I have a great new test device. It actually runs iOS 12 really well.

So, if you’re short on cash, try a used device for testing.

New York – Before Air Conditioning

It's a real scorcher here in the San Joaquin Valley!The New Yorker (by Arthur Miller): “People on West 110th Street, where I lived, were a little too bourgeois to sit out on their fire escapes, but around the corner on 111th and farther uptown mattresses were put out as night fell, and whole families lay on those iron balconies in their underwear.”

We have an expected high of 105 today. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine living without air conditioning in the San Joaquin Valley.

Full Circle

I was cleaning up around my desk this afternoon, it’s a complete wreck most of the time and it’s been super bad for a while now, and I happened upon some notes I created somewhere in the mid to late 90’s.

Blue Skies PlaneEarly in my career, around 1988, I worked for a company called AgData and one of their offerings was a chemical tracking application called ChemTrak. It was a chemical use reporting tool for the State of California and I had a bit of a fascination with it. I always wanted to write a version for Windows.

That’s where the notes come in. I was writing down what I wanted it to do. It was a pretty simple list but it would’ve been a great little Windows app.

Now, Agrian, my employer, does all of that and a whole lot more.

Anyway, here are the notes.

The idea was to make it simple and extensible. I was going to create a plug-in architecture so someone would write a .DLL the main application would know how to load. On the database side I was going to use a standard dBASE file format so folks could write their own reports using standard tools at the time. Apparently — at the time — I thought Borland’s ReportSmith was a good idea for that.

After AgData I worked at Microsoft, then Visio for 10 years, then did video decoders for seven years. I made some other stops in between.

Now I’m back working on Agricultural solutions. Feels good.

Robbing Apple

Gizmodo: “On July 7, four thieves reportedly nabbed over $27,000 in iPhones and MacBooks from the Fashion Fair Apple Store in Fresno, California. Surveillance footage of the robbery shows the men hurriedly entering the store, walking up to display tables, and grabbing a bunch of devices as customers and employees stare on with placid astonishment.”

Sigh. This just had to happen in Fresno, didn’t it?

iPod Touch

Why doesn’t Apple improve on the iPod Touch every couple years? Why not take older chip sets — maybe a model from last years iPhone — and leave the form factor alone? Just keep stuffing updated tech into the existing design.

There are folks that can’t afford to buy their kids an iPhone but the iPod Touch may fit nicely into their budget.

Yep, it's a rooster.As a developer this is also a nice machine for testing. The only issue I see is it hasn’t been revved in a long time. It’s still using an A8 processor but it is still slightly ahead of the iPhone 5s which uses an A7. that’s important because the iPhone 5s is the lowest end iPhone that supports iOS 12. That means we could get another couple years use out of the current generation iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch with 128GB of storage sells for $299US.

Fingers crossed Apple updates it soon.

Just Code

Becky Hansmeyer: “For instance, I can take just about any Objective-C code and do a word-by-word translation to Swift that will compile and run, but it won’t be very “Swifty.””

The notion of being Swifty kind of bugs me. If you work in a language long enough you’ll naturally gravitate to language conventions or you won’t. If you’re an Indie, like Becky, I don’t think it really matters how Swifty your code really is. What matters is you’re willing to learn and adapt with the times and you can ship. If you don’t ship you don’t get paid.

I’m probably not very Swifty either, but I don’t really care. I can write code in Swift and it works just fine. During code review with my peers they’ll let me know of a more Swifty way of doing things so I can either make a change or get it the next time. I’m willing to do the new thing and I think that’s what we need to be willing to do if we’re going to survive as developers.

Be ready for change and adapt. That doesn’t mean you have to do it all on day one. Just be willing to make the change.

New Blogging System Update #1

I’d mentioned a few weeks ago that I was moving to Hugo. The motivation for me was simple. I’d not made my self-hosted WordPress blog secure enough so a not very nice person got into it and did mean things. I was not pleased.

Some of you may be asking yourself, why not fix it and keep using WordPress. Good question. Basically I’ve done that twice now. This time around required deleting my installation and reinstalling. It worked out quite well and I decided not to install a number of plug-ins I’d been using before, including Jetpack. My weblog is actually quite a bit faster now as a result.

ExpressoSo, back to the move. I’m moving to Hugo but I’m still trying to figure out some mysteries of Hugo — at least they’re mysteries to me. I’d like a ‘dirty’ directory structure and I want to make double-sure when I create a post the archive of the post shows up in its proper location, like this:

https://iam.fahrni.me/yyyy/mm/dd/post-title/

That is super important to me. All of my current WordPress posts, like this one, have that structure. My plan is to import all of my WordPress posts into my new Hugo site, so it needs to be backward compatible.

Anywho. Here’s how I plan to configure my weblog.

  • Use GitHub for storage – Posts will be edited locally as Markdown and pushed to GitHub.
  • Use GitHub for publishing – Once a post is pushed to GitHub it will cause a GitHub server trigger to run. That will pull the source on my host.
  • Run Hugo on the host – Hugo will live on my host and will be run when the GitHub server trigger executes.

Using those steps should allow me to easily update anywhere I can pull code from my GitHub account — even on iOS — and push changes. For now I plan on using BBEdit on my Mac for writing but in the future I hope to use my own Blogging Tool.

If anyone notices a flaw in that logic please get in touch. My email address is rob.fahrni@gmail.com.

Higher

Quora: “Total cost for creating Tinder-like app for one platform would be about $5k – $10K.”

Charging $5-10$K for a Tinder-like application is how you go out of business. I’m speaking from experience here.

Watch out for the blowfly.Back in 2014 I made my second run at freelancing. This time around I failed. I learned a lot about who I am and how not to  run a business. Two of the primary reasons were charging too little for my work and not being a blazing fast coder.

I’m going to step out on a limb here and park a Tinder-like app — a service really — at around $100,000.00, not 10.  Call me crazy, it’s fine. Let’s take a look at some estimates given by folks that have actually built some great software.

First up, Craig Hockenberry: “With such a short schedule, we worked some pretty long hours. Let’s be conservative and say it’s 10 hours per day for 6 days a week. That 60 hours for 9 weeks gives us 540 hours. With two developers, that’s pretty close to 1,100 hours. Our rate for clients is $150 per hour giving $165,000 just for new code. Remember also that we were reusing a bunch existing code: I’m going to lowball the value of that code at $35,000 giving a total development cost of $200,000.

Emphasis is mine.

In the same Stack Overflow post we find Jonathan Wight weighing in on the cost for the Barack Obama App: “The Barack Obama app took 22 days to develop from first code to release. Three developers (although not all of them were full time). 10 people total. Figure 500-1000 man hours. Contracting rates are $100-150/hr. Figure $50,000-$150,000. Compare your app to Obama.app and scale accordingly.”

Both of these guys are world class software engineers. I have no reason to doubt their estimates because they have the experience needed to build any application.

Here’s Kyle Richter of the excellent Martian Craft: “In February 2013, the average cost of a house in the US was $152,000. By our estimates inside of MartianCraft, the average cost of an app is approximately $120,000.

If you want a high quality application be prepared to pay for it. Sure, you might be able to get your Tinder-like experience for $5-10K, but it may behave and scale like a $5-10K application and service.

Know what you want and what you’re getting into before you talk to developers about building your dream application or service.