Motivation

A few years ago, my therapist told me I’m going to have just the right personality and temperament to enjoy my 40s when I get there. I wasn’t entirely sure how to take his comment then, but now that I’m well into my thirty-eighth trip around the Sun, I think it’s beginning to sink in.

Continue reading

Solving Problems on Systematic

If you need something to listen to this weekend or during your next commute, here’s a link to me prattling on for forty-six minutes about how and why I build the software I do.

Systematic podcast logo

Brett Terpstra was kind enough to invite me on as the guest of his Systematic podcast this week. And when he says I’m “on about the same level of geek frequency as” he is, well, that’s a heck of a compliment in my book.

Continue reading

Digital Heirlooms

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll find that I take preserving our (my family’s) digital memories and history seriously.

However, if I were to die tomorrow, the app I made for my son and installed on his iPad this morning will stop working in one-hundred and ninety-two days. Not for any technical reason. Not because of future software incompatibilities. If his iPad remained in working order for another hundred years, it wouldn’t even matter. This digital heirloom will self-destruct as soon as my developer certificate expires.

And it’s all due to an arbitrary decision on Apple’s part.

I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say that future historians and even archaeologists are going to revisit our time and be furious at the direction our industry turned towards using consolidation, monopoly power, and artificial restrictions to protect profits at all costs.

Continue reading

Don’t Let Experience Get in Your Way

A coworker and I have been working crazy hours since March on a huge new product feature – him on Android and myself on iOS. Quite frankly, it’s maybe the best work we’ve done in our careers. And work I, at least, wasn’t sure we were even skilled enough to pull off. When we first pitched it to the client, we asked for eight weeks of uninterrupted dev time to build an MVP. They gave us five.

If he and I had predicted these challenges upfront, I’m not sure if we would have pitched the work at all. But we missed them. And now I think that’s a good thing. Because, unfinished loose ends or not, we now find ourselves mere weeks from shipping the best work we’ve ever done.

Continue reading

Process

To keep myself sane while dealing with my work deadlines, I’ve found myself tinkering around with an idea I’ve wanted to try building for years now. Oddly enough, it’s not yet-another-app, but a website (web service, maybe?). And it’s actually something that’s designed to be self-hosted. I haven’t yet decided if it will (eventually) be open source, or if I might solicit feedback from friends (real and online) just in case it’s more useful than I think.

Sometimes the idea for something new comes in a flash of inspiration. And other times (as in the current case) it meanders around in the back of my head for years – just waiting for the right moment or combination of external factors.

For this project, it’s the result of the rebirth of the indie web movement, my long time interest in self-hosting and owning the tools and data I run my business with, and Apple’s WWDC announcements about Safari and their OS’s upcoming privacy improvements.

Continue reading