Amigo 1.1 – Now in iTunes!

Amigo 1.1 – Now in iTunes!

The next revision of Amigo (1.1) is now in iTunes, here.

This version has been tested with OS 3.0 and can now upload photos to FriendFeed.

Check it out!

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Everybody Has a Theory on Why X is Killing Y

Everybody Has a Theory on Why X is Killing Y

This morning, the running “theme” in my reading seems to be “x is killing y”; “free” online content is killing publishing, the “hacker” mentality is killing the American coder’s employability… you get the idea.

If there are common elements running throughout all of these articles in my stream this morning they are sustainability, or rather, the lack of sustainability – and the disappearance of value.

We have accustomed ourselves to the idea that we can get something for nothing.  Or for very little.

You want cheap development? Hire overseas or hire a student.  Better yet, have an intern do it, for free.

You don’t want to watch commercials? Set the DVR and fast forward to your hearts content.

Pretty soon we’re giving each other haircuts on IOUs and no one is paying for anything, because we have mistakenly placed our emphasis on what everything costs rather than upon the value returned.

My car’s battery died this weekend upon returning home from a long twelve hour drive.  I could have had AAA tow the car home and go out later and buy a $80-$90 car battery, or buy a $125 battery right off the AAA truck and be on my way.  From a cost perspective, the “better” alternative would have been to have someone take me to a parts store and pay a cheaper price; I opted to buy the more expensive battery off of the AAA service truck, because of the opportunity value of (a) getting out of the blistering heat sooner rather than later, (b) getting the ice cream I just bought home, and (c) having a new battery in 30 minutes rather than a couple of hours later.

By being shortsighted in our rush to minimize cost at the expense of value, we are wreaking havoc on the quality of the goods and services we receive.

I read in the local business journal where a prominent hotel has released an iPhone application.  The application was one that I was asked to quote upon last year, and I did so with an estimate of about 3-4 weeks of development and with a price commensurate with that effort level.  My pricing reflected getting the application to market in that 3-4 week period, production ready and in the App Store.

I was fairly roughly rebuffed for my estimate, despite my bona fides as a commercial iPhone app developer.

As it happens, the hotel had students create their commercial application.  For free, I’m assuming.

Of course, the opportunity value of taking six months to create the application versus having the application to market in four weeks is not zero.

The “cost” may have been infinitely cheaper, but the lost opportunity of having an app out six months earlier?  Ask the first iFart application dev how much money he made, versus the dozens of imitators who followed suit thereafter.  Is the business environment today better than it was six months ago?

There are times when I seriously question whether I’m in the right business.

But then I remember, we’re all really in the teaching business.  I need to obviously be a better teacher.

And remember: Those that can, Do.  Those that can’t, Teach.  And those that can’t Teach, Teach PE.

Cheap Gas! New Features

Cheap Gas! New Features

In addition to the “Tweet ‘Em!” button, I’ve totally revamped the SOAP client, so it should be faster getting data from GasBuddy.com (I had been using a proxy to assist with the SOAP calls, but bit the bullet and moved the SOAP client entirely on the handset – so, remove the intermediary proxy means a more responsive app).

I also optimized the scrolling so the UI experience should be a lot better… plus I prettied up some of the plain jane buttons.

I’m very hopeful this release gets approved quickly, because I really think people will dig the twitter option.  A lot.

Ageism in Professional Development

Ageism in Professional Development

I’ve been meaning to do a post on ageism and professional development for some time now.  Perhaps next week when I take a little off time with the family in Nashville.

Having been a professional developer (contractor, employee, manager, owner, entrepreneur) now for some twenty-five years, I have more than a few idle thoughts on the subject.

Part of my reticence on writing about the issue (which is very real) is not wanting to come across as just another bitter old guy crying about one thing or the other being better when I was a younger guy.  I’d rather write a heist novel – nobody’s ever done that, right?

Any way, trying to coalesce my thoughts into a semi-worthwhile take on the subject.  Meanwhile, if you have thoughts on the subject (or war stories), please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Video

Amigo Sorting Change

Some Upcoming Changes for Amigo

Some Upcoming Changes for Amigo

A few of the changes coming in the next revision of Amigo.

A Little More on NSDateFormatter

A Little More on NSDateFormatter

NSDateFormatter (as mentioned previously) is tremendously handy.

Unfortunately, it is rather sparsely documented.

I’ve had the opportunity to use it in a number of different projects; however, in each one, I’ve had to use a bit of trial and effort to actually get strings to decode into a valid NSDate object.  All the while wishing for better documentation.

Today, I ran across this blog post that does a good job of consolidating format strings for NSDateFormatter in one place.  I thought about adding my own comments to this post, but I believe the original does the topic enough justice.  Check it out, then see my version of a helper function which I use in the TweetPhoto iPhone App.

If you plan on writing an iPhone interface to any of the Social Media APIs (Twitter, FriendFeed, etc.), you’re gonna wind up (at some point) needing to implement some helper function for NSDateFormatter.