Spurs at the Olympics

I’m watching Spain vs. France basketball right now, and later today is Argentina vs. the United States. No question the United States are the favorites for gold, but there are some really good teams, most with great NBA players.

From the double-overtime win by Argentina a few days ago, to Boris Diaw sipping an espresso in his room, I’ve been more engaged in following basketball at the Olympics than usual. And I love that so many Spurs players are everywhere.

Spain has Pau Gasol; Argentina has Manu Ginobili, who helped defeat the United States in 2004; Australia has Patty Mills; and France has Tony Parker. Gives me something to root for throughout the tournament.

Mac App Store developer survey

DevMate surveyed 679 Mac developers to put together a report on who is using the Mac App Store vs. selling direct, what concerns developers have, which tools they use, and more. On why developers leave the Mac App Store:

If you’re thinking giving away 30% of your hard-earned revenue is the deal-breaker, you’d be surprised. Revenue share is not the main reason developers flee. The main reason is the long and unclear App Review process, closely followed by revshare and the absence of trial versions.

While sandboxing does show up on the complaint list, it’s ranked low as a reason to not use the Mac App Store, even though it was why I pulled my app Clipstart from the Mac App Store 4 years ago. And not much has changed since I wrote about Sketch and other apps leaving the Mac App Store last year.

For anyone who has been following blog posts and conference talks about the Mac App Store, there won’t be many surprises in this new survey, but I found the details interesting. The survey appears to be a good snapshot of how the Mac community is feeling about selling software.

Dogs barking at 6am, so took the opportunity to wake up early and get a few hours of coding in before the day really started. Finally cracked a couple bugs that needed significant time in the Xcode debugger.

→ 2016/08/16 10:11 am

Amazing double-OT win by Argentina over Brazil. These close games — including USA’s 3-point win yesterday — have me hopeful for some great matchups later in the Olympics.

→ 2016/08/13 3:01 pm

With her

I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter. I was in 2008, I was earlier this year, and absolutely I am now, as Donald Trump seems intent with each daily blunder to prove he’s the worst candidate the Republicans have fielded in quite some time.

Having said that, even leaving the politics aside, I think the new podcast “With her” from the Hillary campaign is fantastic. It’s exactly what a podcast should be: well-produced, yet informal, with just enough of a look behind the scenes to feel personal. You can subscribe in Overcast or iTunes.

Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid

I’ve written about IPFS before, but Solid (from Tim Berners-Lee himself, among other MIT folks) is another new proposal for a more distributed web. I wasn’t familiar with it until reading this article at Digital Trends, which first makes the case for independent content vs. the big centralized platforms:

Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated. This gives these companies unprecedented power over us, and gives them such a competitive advantage that it’s pretty silly to think you’re going to start up a business that’s going to beat them at their own game.

The article continues with the types of data you might share in a Solid application:

For example, you might keep your personal information in one or several pods: the sort of data about yourself that you put into your Facebook profile; a list of your friends, family, and colleagues; your banking information; maps of where you’ve traveled; some health information. That way if someone built a new social networking application—perhaps to compete head-on with Facebook, or, more likely, to offer specialized services to people with shared interests—you could join by giving it permission to access the appropriate information in your pod.

One of the showcase applications is called Client-Integrated Micro-Blogging Architecture, surely named mostly for its pronounceable acronym. From the CIMBA project site:

CIMBA is a privacy-friendly, decentralized microblogging application that runs in your browser. It is built using the latest HTML5 technologies and Web standards. With CIMBA, people get a microblogging app that behaves like Twitter, built entirely out of parts they can control.

Solid and CIMBA are built on the Linked Data Platform, which in turn is based off of RDF. I’m admittedly biased against RDF, because it often brings with it an immediate sense of over-engineering — too abstracted, solving too many problems at once. I’m glad to see this activity around a distributed web, and I’ll be following Solid, but I also continue to believe that the simple microformats and APIs from the IndieWebCamp are the best place to start.

AUS/USA basketball game at the Olympics right now shaping up to be a good one. Australia up 5 points at the half. 3-pointers: Patty Mills 4-4, Carmelo 5-7.

→ 2016/08/10 5:56 pm

Trump’s “2nd amendment people” comment seems like it could blow up much more than previous off-script blunders. Reading the text of his speech in context, and listening to it, multiple times… It’s clear what he meant. Terrible.

→ 2016/08/10 9:09 am

Posted Core Intuition 244. Daniel and I talk this week about Twitter verification, content filtering on social networks, and a 10-year challenge to become a successful indie developer.

→ 2016/08/04 5:24 pm

Finished some server consolidation that cut about $100 off my hosting bill compared to a couple months ago. Next up: cancel cloud backup services I don’t actually use.

→ 2016/08/03 11:33 am

Proving Marco’s 10-year plan

Erik Person wants to prove Marco Arment’s claim that indie success just requires working hard for 10 years:

Proving whether he is right or wrong is pretty hard to do. Maybe it’s all hard work. Maybe it’s pure luck. Hell, maybe it only takes five years of hard work, and Marco just kind of sucks at it. Either way, I’m going to try to prove it. And not by convincing you with some incredibly efficacious essay. Rather, I’m going to start my 10 years of hard work today.

In a follow-up post, 6 months later:

In the past six months, I’ve managed to change quite a few things. The biggest change was leaving my job at the end of May. After several months of trying to work on projects in the evenings and weekends, I decided it was necessary to go full-time on the projects if I wanted to see any real progress.

I’ve subscribed to Erik’s blog and look forward to following his progress. I hope he blogs more often about how it’s going. If you look at Marco’s blog even 5 years ago, he was usually blogging every day. (By the way, “blog more often” is my advice to nearly everyone, including myself.)

Taking my time reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Really like the format… If they’ve been able to capture this on stage, seeing it live must be great.

→ 2016/08/02 8:59 am

Reloading news web sites multiple times a day, I’ve had to blacklist the New York Times, Talking Points Memo, CNN, and a few others, to force myself to focus on real work. I’ll check on election news once a day and then use SelfControl to shut everything off.

→ 2016/08/01 8:51 pm

1 year indie

One year ago, I celebrated my first day without a boss. I had just written 2 weeks of daily blog posts about wrapping up work after 14 years at the same company. Today, I’m wearing the same Mac t-shirt and working from Whole Foods again to mark the anniversary.

So how has it gone, a full year as an independent developer? It depends who you ask. While I was leaving the best day job I’ll ever have, there’s still no substitute for the flexibility and freedom to work on my own projects. From that perspective, the last year has been amazing, with some great success on new revenue from Core Intuition and contracting too.

And I made a few decisions early on with how to manage the business that have proven useful to smooth over the bumps. For example, I pay myself a fixed salary on the 1st day of each month, and for 12 months straight I’ve always met that goal. This month, I gave myself a small raise.

On the other hand, I’m still bringing in less money than when I had a real job, and my wife might say that there’s a fine line between being self-employed and unemployed. We’ve let our credit card debt go unchecked. There’s been no slack in the high monthly expenses of the house, car payments, business costs like hosting, and everything else. My income from Riverfold has grown significantly, but not significantly enough.

Yet, I’m upbeat. I’m upbeat because of the potential for what I set out to do a year ago: ship Snippets.today and help revolutionize independent microblogging. That’s still the plan. That’s still why this experiment of working for myself is in its very early stages, even a year later.

Lightning headphones in the box

John Gruber has an article outlining the 5 (or 6) most likely options for what headphones Apple should include with the new Lightning-only iPhone. His hope is on wireless:

My hope is that they ship wireless ear buds. When Apple eliminates ports, they tend to do so in favor of wireless technology. Pushing wireless as the default would solve the problem of listening to audio while charging the device, too.

Maybe. I’m not in any hurry to see a Bluetooth-dominated headphone world, and I’m not sure Apple Support is either. Wired headphones work every single time you plug them in.

As Gruber points out, wireless headphones are also an upsell opportunity. While cheap Bluetooth headphones can be found, Apple’s Beats are $100 more expensive for wireless. Seems like this extra cost would unnecessarily eat into their margins.

Of course, I have no idea what Apple will do. I just know what I think they should do.

Apple should include Lightning ear buds in the box, and an adapter for older headphones. I don’t expect they will do this forever — the first year would be enough. But this small gesture of including an adapter would mostly erase the negative reviews and user frustration for Apple’s biggest repeat customers: not me, because I intend to keep my iPhone SE for a while, but for everyone who buys a new iPhone each year.

Removing the 3.5mm headphone jack will be the first time Apple has removed a major feature on the iPhone. They can spin Lightning as an improvement all they want; customers with existing headphones will be annoyed. Including an adapter would minimize the inconvenience at launch, without locking Apple in to any long-term technical compromise.

Reflecting on the convention, Democrats really pulled off an incredible week. Both a progressive platform and a patriotic theme. And Trump is playing right into their hands: Hillary’s “Stronger together” slogan was revealed weeks before Trump’s “I alone can fix it”.

→ 2016/07/30 10:50 am