I like working with other people. I like having people to throw ideas off of, and having sanity checks for approaches I’m taking with things. I like the additional creativity that happens when you have another voice in the conversation and I like learning from people who know more about a topic than I do. This is generally pretty difficult with personal projects. And for whatever reason many of my projects start with me using a technology I’ve never used before.
I was walking to work this morning past a group of Facebook employees waiting for their bus. I wanted to say something to them. While I didn’t, it got me thinking, what if? What if I actually stopped to say something? Would it turn confrontational? Would they ignore me? What if I had an encouraging, positive, standardized statement that said “Hey, you’re really fucking good at your job. You have options.
If you look back at my recent 2018 Year in Review you know I was toying with the idea of updating my web site to use a static site generator. As you can see, I went through with it. Let me explain a bit of the process, and my rationalization behind it all. I last did a major refresh of my web site about 6 years ago where I went from self-hosting a Wordpress blog to moving everything over to Squarespace.
I figured enough has taken place this year, enough changes have taken place, and I’ve worked on enough projects that a post recapping things might be worthwhile. To start, here’s a playlist of my favorite songs of the year that you can listen to while reading this post. So what did I do with this year? It seems, looking back, I wrote a ton of code.
I've been very disheartened with the internet recently. Between Twitter's Nazis and Facebook's data collection, ad policies and democracy manipulation, I've begun to feel like the internet that I loved was gone. And as more people almost exclusively spend time using services that are run by corporate entities, these services are systematically killing off third party access to their contentin order to lock you into an experience that they control.
Recently I've received a lot of messages from recruiters looking for an iOS developer to build with React Native. And while I generally don't care what technologies people are selecting to build their products, I find this to be a subject that I think warrants a deeper dive. But a disclaimer up front: I have a bias, and I only speak for me, not for any team I'm currently or have been a part of.
It's no secret I've been frustrated with music discovery for a while. Ever since Rdio shut down I've listened to less music on mainstream services. While I do have a Spotify account, I tend to only use it to listen to old playlists and comfort music. Where music discovery has been successful for me, however, is with internet radio. Having a person with deep knowledge within a certain style hand-picking tracks for me every day has proven time and time again that it's a system that works.
tvOS isn’t getting the credit it deserves. I've found Apple TV the platform that I’ve had the most fun developing for in a long time. The television is the physically largest canvas currently available. What has been a central point of the living room has historically been the most difficult thing to break into. The number of people willing to build awkwardly horrible “Samsung apps”, for example, are very few.
Like everybody else, I felt like I had heard every song on Pandora by the time I discovered Rdio. I was user number 4075, a paid unlimited user, signing up on June 6, 2010. I was really happy to hear anything I wanted. I used the Rdio Desktop client to create a collection on the service with my local iTunes Library. I listened to it a lot.
After a year of development The Bat Player went live on Roku's Channel Store. The Bat Player first went public in September of last year. This means if you knew the right Roku Channel Code you could install it on your device. I put up a web site to make this easier, and shared it with a couple specific communities like the Roku forums and Reddit's Roku subreddit. My goal all along was to get it available in their mainstream directory.