Apple Core Labs Business Development Indie iOS Life

Into the Fray

I Have Failed

Will code for...Back in June I decided I’d jump back out into the Freelance iOS world and make a go of it. I had a couple contracts lined up so it seemed like a good time to make another run at it. Boy, was I wrong. About that time a number of well known Indie software developers were writing about their experiences in the App Store. The market for Indie work has kind of collapsed and I can tell you the Freelance market has bottomed out in many ways. It’s difficult to get folks to understand a mobile application is a real application. I hope someone is studying the psychology surrounding this phenomenon. I know every freelance developer has experienced this in their field. You give an honest estimation of time and an associated dollar value, and you never hear from them again. I hear fellow developers saying “Yep, been there, done that.” It’s just how things work.

Some of the contract work I’ve taken over the past couple of months are jobs I should not have taken. The pay was substantially less than it should have been and at least one of the applications was so substantial in size I really should have walked away, but I didn’t. That’s a big mistake on my part, something I regret, and a mistake I cannot make again. I took the work because I needed it. It’s a horrible position to negotiate from. You have zero power.

I also had a contract that went about as sideways as one could go. That is a cautionary tale and one I hope to tell someday, but not now.

All of this is, of course, a self made disaster. I chose to take the work, it’s something I’ll have to struggle out of, in the meantime I’m back out on the market, looking for a full-time gig.

What Do I Offer?

I’m a seasoned developer. You can call me old, that’s fine, I am not a 20-something. I have a wealth of experience shipping software. I’ve lead teams of developers and I’ve been an individual contributor. I know how to ship software. I’ve been there many times.

Most of my experience lies on the client side of the world. Windows desktop and iOS primarily. I’ve written code in C, C++, Objective-C, and C#. I have had a couple of stints writing software that ran on the server; Paramount Farms and LEVEL Studios come to mind. Both times the server side code was developed using a full Microsoft stack; C#, .Net, and SQL Server.

I believe connected services are the obvious thing to be doing. Along those lines I have experience developing and consuming services. REST and JSON based services are where it’s at today, but I’ve also consumed SOAP/XML based services. It’s all data, but I really do like the simplicity of REST/JSON.

I still like writing software but I’d also be more than happy to take on a Development Lead or Program Manager role. My last full-time position, with Pelco, was leading a team of 8-12 folks (it fluctuated in size and I’m counting contracted developers) developing a C++ and C# SDK for use with the Pelco VMS and I really loved what I was doing. I didn’t leave because I was unhappy, I left because iOS was calling me.

I’d love to continue working on iOS Applications, if possible, but I’d be equally happy working on desktop or server side software. I will warn folks up front. My SQL skills are pretty crude, but doing application logic and user interface isn’t a problem and is something I quite enjoy.

Career Highlights

I’m not much of a salesman. I don’t interview well (Whiteboard code? Instant fail, test anxiety.) I say this because I’ve had some of these moments recently. That’s the bad side of me.

I thought I’d share some things I have done and are in use by millions of people worldwide.

  1. Visio – I worked on Visio for over 10-years. QA, Setup Developer, Developer Support, and Visio Engine Development. When I left in 2003 Visio was used by over 9-million people worldwide.
  2. Pelco Endura – I worked on the Pelco line of Decoders for five years. This included the Workstation, VCD, and our shared pipeline component framework; MPF (Media Processing Framework.)
  3. Pelco SDK – I worked with a talented group of folks to create a reimagined SDK. We were able to design a new object-oriented C++ and C# SDK. I love creating code for others to use.
  4. LEVEL Studios – While at level I contributed to web services used by a large Android handset manufacturer. At the time the project was handed off our client it was supporting over 8-million people worldwide.
  5. Freelance – While freelancing I helped with a few applications, some are no longer in the store, and I have created a couple apps of my own (both in desperate need of a facelift, I know.)

If I were to sum up what I can offer I’d say this. I know how to ship software, how to make those tough decisions, and I can see the big picture. I know, and understand, that business needs play a big role in product development. I can lead or follow.


SmugMug’s use of The Mythical Cloud (A.K.A. network)

Don MacAskill: “Which brings us to fourth, we aren’t 100% cloud yet. We’re working as quickly as possible to get there, but the lack of a performant, predictable cloud database at our scale has kept us from going there 100%. As a result, the exact types of data that would have potentially been disabled by the EBS meltdown don’t actually live at AWS at all – it all still lives in our own datacenters, where we can provide predictable performance. This has its own downsides – we had two major outages ourselves this week (we lost a core router and its redundancy earlier, and a core master database server later). I wish I didn’t have to deal with routers or database hardware failures anymore, which is why we’re still marching towards the cloud.”

Something to remember when you put your data in the hands of someone else, they don’t care about it as much as you do.

Case in point, an ECG monitoring company had a life and death situation because of the failure. They should’ve been a bit better prepared, but I’m sure they thought “The Mythical Cloud” would never fail.

Bottom line: It’s still a network, they’re still just computers, they’re over used, humans are in charge, and you should have a backup plan.


GOP means Grand Old Pirates

The White House Blog: “This is the same agenda that caused the deepest recession since the Great Depression, costing 8 million jobs, wiping out trillions in family wealth and setting middle-class families back. Instead of a pledge to the American people, Congressional Republicans made a pledge to the big special interests to restore the same economic ideas that benefited them at the expense of middle-class families.”

The parties are so far apart. One is for America, one is for the rich in America. I’ll let you decide who is who.