Sometimes things get "off".

If you know what I mean… But seriously, sometimes things aren’t quite right, and it can be disruptive to your normal daily workflow. Our daughter has been “off” for the last two weeks. She is getting better, but it started with her having a fever, and then she looked tired all the time. Turns out, she had a double ear infection. So after some antibiotics, and some rest, she’s slowly getting better. Having trouble sleeping still, but she’s getting there. Human problems like these often just require time, and usually some medicine.

I work in IT, and I don’t know if things are ever “right” in IT. We all learn to work with a certain level of chaos in this world. But things can sometimes be “off” as well. One day an application might start to run slower for seemingly no reason, or maybe that script you’ve run thousands of times before decides it doesn’t like something. We always immediately dive in to find a problem, and a lot of times we find it. Sometimes we don’t, and sometimes the problem magically disappears and everything goes back to normal.

In any case, you get conditioned to always expect something to happen. At least I do. But I’m new to this occurrence happening outside of work, so the disruption has been more so than normal. As a result, I have neglected my mission to post here more. And I have been slacking on my iOS development work.

Well this post is taking care of number one. And I am in the process of learning more coding fundamentals today. I am doing a deep dive into the MVC framework. As I wade further into the world of development, learning these basic frameworks is helping to make sense of a lot of things I’ve run into in the past. The frequency of “Oh, that’s how you’re supposed to do that” moments has been rising. As Selsun Blue used to say, “That means it’s working”.

Learning to Code. This might actually be fun!

I have now entered day 3 learning to code in Swift. As expected, there are quite a few parallels to PowerShell when it comes to the fundamentals. Loops, Data Types, variables, constants, it all works in much the same way.

I have been slugging through an iOS bootcamp, and have already made 4 apps, although very basic. In all of a few minutes, I was able to make a Magic 8-Ball App (which changes when you shake your phone!), and a very similar app that lets you roll two dice.

I also learned how to make a Lover Tester. It’s not as scientific as you might think…. And am now wading into the world of integrating API’s. It’s fast paced, but it’s working, I am starting to get into the brain of a developer. I’ve even started working through a series of math/programming challenges on a cool website I found in r/powershell over at https://projecteuler.net

I solved the first one in about 1 minute. Even I was shocked. And I did it without any googling! Seriously! Here’s all it took:

// Find the sum of all whole numbers that are divisible by 3 or 5, below 1000

var sum = 0

for number in 1..<1000 where number % 3 == 0 || number % 5 == 0 {
    sum += number
}

print(sum)

And it wrote back the correct answer of 233168

It’s very encouraging to make progress this quickly, and Swift is one of the easier languages I’ve attempted to learn. This one might stick.

Louis Cole is good. Learning Swift. What iOS App will I make

Louis Cole has posted a new video, this time it’s him playing a drum solo over a cool track. Louis Cole is an amazing drummer, on top of all the other things he is amazing at. So, everyone should check it out if they love good drummers.

I have started learning Swift, or Apple’s coding language, as well as XCode. I’ve been writing powershell scripts for some time, which has taught me quite a bit about fundamental coding skills. After watching the WWDC keynote, and all of the effort going into Swift, and Apple development, I’m taking the plunge. So far, I’m finding it to be remarkably intuitive, and I am building my way up by making Apps with slightly increasing features.

As I build my skillset with Swift, the big question remaining is, “What App do I make?”. I’m not sure I know the answer yet, but I have time to figure that out while I get comfortable with the language. It’ll probably be one of those things where now It’s on my mind, I’ll be more aware of things that I could make an app for. Kind of like when you start shopping for a new car, and suddenly you see that one model of car that you’re interested in everywhere you look.

This should be fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me.

Also, I need to create a software company. And it needs a name. I’m leaning towards DogCat Software, but only time will tell.

Podcasts and Merlin Mann.

It’s Friday! Which usually means I get to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, “Do By Friday”! I began listening to this podcast simply because Merlin Mann was one of the hosts. It also feature Max Temkin and Alex Cox, the former having founded the game Cards Against Humanity, the latter an employee of the same company.

This podcast is an absolute gem, and while the basis of the podcast is that they have to agree on something that all three of them will do that week, the topics span just about everything, and they are hilarious.

Merlin had an incredible rant about Twitter’s reaction to the Mac Pro this week that was amazing. Merlin has an uncanny ability to get to the core of most any controversy, and he does so in an amazingly efficient and comedic manner in all cases. One of many reasons that Merlin is a personal hero of mine. So here is that clip:




It goes on, I’d probably recommend subscribing to and listening to it anyways, this week’s episode was pretty amazing.

Merlin is one of the funniest people on the internet, and he’d probably hate to hear someone say that. I think he’s a genius, and because we are both former musicians who fell into the tech world, we have a lot in common. I would especially recommend his original podcast, You Look Nice Today. I will go back and listen through old episodes of that podcast on a fairly regular basis. And it’s been like 12 years since it was first recorded.

I swear this is the last time I write about the Mac Pro

At this point it probably seems like beating a dead horse, but this thing with the Pro Display Stand for $999 - well it’s not going away from the looks of things. And rightly so. Apple got it wrong this time, and there’s really no way around it. The Internet has been fruitful:

I read an article on Macworld’s site that made an excellent point (link) about the new Mac Pro. From the article:

“Instead, we have a monument to everything people think Apple is: overpriced luxury sold to people who don’t know better. And maybe they’re right. Apple is basically telling aspiring artists and developers that they can’t afford the best Macs and probably never will. That’s a tough pill to swallow.”

It’s true, Apple enabled the average person to become a “Pro” at an accessible price. You can learn to code on an iPad, you can make a hit single on Garage Band, or a pretty decent Movie with iMovie, even on the lowest end Mac. Once you get your toes wet, you get better, and you need more horsepower. Having that better machine available is a natural progression, and Apple has it, but the prices are climbing at a rate that is way out of proportion with the market. Apple has always been more expensive, but this is getting ridiculous.

I’ve been involved in Pro Audio in the past, and I do understand the need for a machine like the Mac Pro. The Avid machine they showed, with I forget how many channels of audio in Pro Tools, running DSP on every channel was insane. There are recording studios who will take advantage of this, and will be accepting of the price tag. I also fully understand that movie houses will jump on these machines in a heartbeat.

But they should have levels for these towers. They always did in the past. If you go back to the Power Mac G4 - a tower near and dear to my heart - They had a lower end model for $1500. This was in 1999, but inflation really doesn’t apply to tech. The PC Industry is the only evidence of that you need. There were then step up models at 2500 and 3500. The gain in performance and capacity was relatively in line with the price increase (still seemed a little pricey, but not totally out of control). This trend stayed pretty constant through every Pro Tower that Apple released - the G5, The Intel Mac Pro’s, even the Trash Can was fairly accessible at the base level.

But now, you can’t even sniff a Mac Tower as a home professional. It’s 6 Grand just to get the tower, with kind of poor specs for the price tag. I have to hope that they come to their senses and drop the price significantly for this machine before it’s release this Fall. I also know that they won’t. But remember the first iPhone? It was seemingly insanely expensive, and only a few short months later dropped in price by a 3rd. I’ll keep that in my back pocket, maybe they’ll come back to earth on this.