A discussion near and dear to my software-developing, services-selling heart: the downward trend of pricing things with hidden complexity.  From the post:

…there is an underserved category of work between direct employment and fixed bids. Between every layperson that has a need and every cookie cutter project, there is a gap. A gap of missing expertise. To fill this gap, we require the foresight to determine what needs to be done, the strategy of the best way to do it, the well-honed ability to execute on an on-going basis, and, certainly, the experience of what constitutes good work.

Check it out: http://www.sidedolla.com/blog/experts-dont-fall-for-the-race-to-the-bottom

Phatness.com is the personal blog of Mike Wille

I'm a developer with a passion for building products.

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I wrote this post over at SideDolla.  It’s some advice for those starting out from my experience over the years.

http://www.sidedolla.com/blog/5-tips-for-surviving-client-work

#4 – Communication is the most important, with a close second, reputation.  The two are linked.

Also, is that photo at the top not the best thing you’ve seen all day?  I LOVE how mad that guy is!

Independent Incompetence

Before I go any further, I need to point out that the jerk-offs who come out to setup DirecTV are not employees of DirecTV. They are independent contractors who work for themselves. Hence, the above title.

Notice the carefully placed sticker.

If DirecTV’s business model depended on the quality of work of their installers, they would not exist. Luckily, their service is pretty good once you are up and running. I’m happy now that everything is over.

What started off as a happy move from Comcast turned into a sloppy mess. I put off writing this article because I got so pissed every time I sat down to transcribe my notes and crop pictures. Argh, even after all this time my blood pressure is rising. This install originally happened in December of 2010.
<Read on…>

These days, I often find myself at Step 1 of a very large project. How am I ever going to get it all done?

Let’s think about something different then software for a moment.

Here is my default thought process in the morning:

Alarm goes off. Groggy. I have to exercise. Think about getting up. Must exercise. Ugh, it’s so much work. I’ll just hit snooze one more time. Repeat for an hour.

Here is my new, revised thought process:

Alarm goes off. Don’t hit snooze. Just sit up. Swing feet off the bed. Stand up, put shorts on. Take a piss. Grab a shirt. Put on socks. Put on shoes. Go down stairs. Turn on the treadmill. Start running.

At each step of the process, I’m only thinking about one thing: the next item on my mental list.

Okay, now I’m putting my shoes on. I only have to put my shoes on right now. That is it. That is easy. Okay, time to go down stairs. One foot in front of the other, one step down at a time, that is it.

That process works a whole hell of a lot better than just thinking about everything I have to do. All at once. This isn’t a revelation, I’m sure. But doing it and really clearing your mind of everything except just the next step is something I found took practice.

Now, let’s jump back to software development. This is going to take 6 months and a hundred thousand lines of code. So how are we ever going to get it done?

“File > New Project…”

Our first piece of new artwork arrived the other day at the new Brilliant Chemistry office.  It’s a layered birch cutout with oil paint for color.  Totally awesome.  Check out the artist: Mitch McGee.

You have to see it from the side to really appreciate it.

Bonus points if you notice the abnormal placement of key electrical components…

As we are preparing to move into our new office, I’m looking at what my ideal bar would be stocked with. The most welcoming would contain a wide variety of “flavors.” After all, we must make sure visitors of all tastes are satisfied. So here is my first run at it:

  • Grey Goose
  • Kettle One (My preference, but some want the former)
  • Valentine Vodka (Support our locals!)
  • Stoli’s Fruity (Insert fruit of the month here)
  • Stoli’s Vanilla
  • Jack Daniels
  • Captain Morgan’s
  • Macallan 12
  • Macallan 18
  • Glenlivet 12
  • Johnny Blue
  • Bombay Gin
  • Noilly Pratt
  • El Tesoro Paradiso
  • Tres Generaciones Anejo
  • Patron Silver (For those who think they like Tequila)
  • Kahlua
  • Cointraeu
  • Chambord
  • Champaign (Several bottles)

I’m primarily a Scotch and Tequila kinda guy. Everything else is there for the visitors. What would you add?

Flowz just launched a handy app for checking the wait times at nearby border crossings. It’s puurty.

http://flowz.com/borderlines/

Oh yeah, and it’s free.

Submitted a fairly large iPhone app to the App Store. Look at this:

Hello Mike,

Thank you for submitting BounceOff 1.0 to the App Store.

We’ve completed the review of your application but this version cannot be posted to the App Store because it crashes when the user searches for a name or email without any contacts on their device. We have included additional details below to help explain the issue, and hope you’ll consider revising and resubmitting your application.

Using iPhone 3GS running iOS 4.0.2, here is how we found this crash:

Steps to reproduce:

1. Open the application
2. Select the “Buckets” tab
3. Select a Bucket
4. Select “Invite People”
5. If user has no contacts on the phone, and starts to type a name or an email, the application crashes.

We have attached detailed crash logs to help. If you need information on how to read crash logs, you may want to review the following TechNote: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/technotes/tn2008/tn2151.html

If you have any questions about this response, or would like to discuss it further, please feel free to reply to this email. We look forward to reviewing your revised app.

Sincerely,

App Review Team

That was the rejection email from the AppStore. I’m entirely exasperated at myself for missing this bug. (You idiot, you should know there are people with no contacts on the phone!)

I am completely taken aback and amazed at how detailed this report from Apple is. I don’t get this kind of detail from team members! I fully expected a crashing app to be simply rejected with a statement along the lines of “It crashes, you idiot.” So this is truly great. Even more impressive is that it only took them less than an hour to get back to us once the app went into review. I’m completely happy at how they handled that. Kudos Apple.

However, what is not impressive: IT TOOK 8 DAYS TO GO INTO REVIEW. Yes, I submitted on Thursday morning. On Friday afternoon of the next week, it was reviewed. I guess, having a gate keeper wouldn’t be as bad if they didn’t take so long to get your app into review.

We are on day four of our resubmission. I fear that it will take another 8 days to go into review again. All reports from the experts (aka, chockenberry: http://appdevmanual.com/ ) say that you go back to the end of the line. Instead, it would be nice if it was more of a sliding scale. Say once resubmitted on the first rejection, you get put right back in for immediate review. In the case of further rejections, you go back farther and farther back in the line for each rejection. Even some variation on that. First time, we let you slide back in. Every other time, back to the end of the line.

Google corporate infrastructure was hacked in mid-December. It looks like not that much information was stolen.

However, it has said that they will no longer be censoring search results for users in China because the attach originated from the Chinese government:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.

How awesome is that?

What that tells me though is that google.cn will stop operating in the next few months. We all know that there is no way in hell the Chinese government will allow google to provide results, uncensored.

Check it out: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html