Developing Perspective

Show 6


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a near-daily podcast discussing the news of Note in iOS, Apple,

00:00:07   and the like.

00:00:08   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:10   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia.

00:00:13   This is show number six, and today is Thursday, August 4, 2011.

00:00:19   The format of Developing Perspective is that I'll cover a handful of links and articles

00:00:23   that I found interesting in roughly the last 24 hours, and then move on to a more general

00:00:27   discussion towards the end.

00:00:28   And the show will never be longer than 15 minutes.

00:00:31   Without further ado, let's get started.

00:00:34   All right, first link for today is over from the Otherworld

00:00:37   Computing blog.

00:00:38   And basically what they did is they

00:00:40   took one of those server configuration Mac minis

00:00:43   and put inside of it their fastest SSD, which is the OWC6G.

00:00:51   And they were seeing just how fast of a disk performance

00:00:55   you could actually push out of that.

00:00:57   And they did it both with one drive.

00:00:58   And then also, more interestingly,

00:01:00   they took advantage of the two drive configuration

00:01:04   to have two drives that are set to RAID 0.

00:01:08   And then the actual performance they could pull out of it

00:01:11   was kind of absurd.

00:01:13   In the RAID 0 configuration, they

00:01:14   were able to get 995 megabyte per second

00:01:18   for both read and write, which is kind of insane

00:01:22   if you consider that's roughly the speed of Thunderbolt

00:01:25   or I guess the PCI Express bus that you're

00:01:29   starting to run into limits of rather than being run

00:01:31   into limits of the drive itself.

00:01:33   And in a single drive configuration,

00:01:35   you get 500 megabytes per second read and 432 megabytes

00:01:40   write speeds.

00:01:41   So definitely, if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive,

00:01:46   super powerful machine, this is definitely--

00:01:48   the story is continuing beyond what I was saying a couple days

00:01:51   ago about the Mac Mini being such a great machine.

00:01:54   Because if you pull out one of these,

00:01:56   let's see, you can get-- if you've got two 120-gigabyte

00:02:01   drives that you could stripe in RAID 0,

00:02:04   so you have 240 gigabytes of capacity,

00:02:08   that would cost you just over $500.

00:02:10   So you're talking about-- and a Mac Mini is about,

00:02:13   let's see, about $1,000.

00:02:15   So for about $1,600 maybe, you could

00:02:18   get a pretty specced-out machine doing incredible data transfer

00:02:21   rates.

00:02:22   So just something to take a look at there.

00:02:25   Next, I just have an interesting article.

00:02:26   It's talking about Comex, who is this 19-year-old sort

00:02:32   of jailbreak legend, I guess you could call him.

00:02:35   And it's just kind of interesting

00:02:37   when you hear about someone who's so young,

00:02:39   but is so amazingly good at what he does.

00:02:42   It always kind of makes me think, wow, when I was 19,

00:02:45   I wasn't taking on Apple and their best security guys.

00:02:48   So just an interesting thing to take a look at.

00:02:52   Next, I just wanted to talk briefly about the latest

00:02:54   update to Tweetbot, which I think I've mentioned before

00:02:57   is my favorite Twitter application

00:02:59   for a variety of reasons.

00:03:00   And specifically, I was just saying something

00:03:02   that they added to their push notification systems,

00:03:06   where now there's what they call quiet hours.

00:03:08   So you can say, I don't want to get notifications

00:03:10   after this certain time or before this other time.

00:03:13   And I'm just saying that that is, I think,

00:03:16   an excellent feature.

00:03:16   I wish Apple would add that to the push notification

00:03:19   system in general.

00:03:20   I think that would be a huge plus.

00:03:22   Because it's great to have push notifications,

00:03:24   but there's nothing worse than being woken up

00:03:26   at 2 in the morning because someone favorited your tweet,

00:03:29   or whatever it was, or it's getting a sports score,

00:03:31   or whatever.

00:03:32   Push notifications are something that

00:03:34   should be able to be turned off in that way.

00:03:38   All right, next, there's a video over

00:03:42   on the promotional website for an app called Drunkify.

00:03:47   The app itself is fairly silly.

00:03:49   gets you type a message and it turns it into sort of drunk

00:03:52   speak, I guess you could call it.

00:03:54   But what's interesting is they have a How We Made It video

00:03:58   on their website as well.

00:04:00   And this is just kind of interesting

00:04:01   if you're a developer to kind of look

00:04:02   at some parts of development that I'm not especially

00:04:05   familiar with myself, specifically talking into how

00:04:09   they show how they created some of their visual effects,

00:04:12   their particle systems and things,

00:04:13   where they have an animation of opening a beer can

00:04:15   and having it sort of spray everywhere.

00:04:17   It was just kind of an interesting thing.

00:04:19   So pretty short watch, but definitely interesting

00:04:21   to take a look at.

00:04:23   Next, over on the Apple outsider blog.

00:04:26   So this is Matt Drance's blog.

00:04:28   He's talking about-- I think I mentioned it yesterday--

00:04:30   but how Facebook has started buying

00:04:33   all of some of the best design talent in the community.

00:04:38   They recently bought Made by Sofa,

00:04:40   and they just bought the guys who did Push Pop Press.

00:04:43   And the thing that's kind of strange--

00:04:45   he was kind of talking about, hey, in some ways

00:04:47   It's a good thing that they have good taste, and hopefully you put it to good use, and

00:04:52   it's not just sort of a defensive acquisition.

00:04:54   But the thing that he does mention, which is sort of it's the problem with all-star

00:04:58   teams, is just as if you put the best guys together in a room, it's often very complicated

00:05:02   and difficult to actually get the best work out of them.

00:05:05   You see this a lot, for example, in professional sports teams.

00:05:09   It's like the Miamiā€”I'm not too big into basketball, but if I remember right, it was

00:05:13   a big deal where the Miami Heat bought everybody, put them together on one team, and then they

00:05:19   didn't win. And it's because all of those players are used to being the stars, and they

00:05:25   want to be the stars. Whereas often you'll end up with the best team is the group of

00:05:28   people who is able to most effectively work together. And so just sort of buying all the

00:05:32   best guys and putting them together, you have kind of that Chelsea problem.

00:05:36   All right, and lastly, there's a little bit of just sort of an amusing thing to watch

00:05:43   it unfold.

00:05:44   But yesterday, Google had sort of launched this PR, I guess you could call it a PR campaign,

00:05:49   against Apple, Microsoft, all those kinds of companies, talking about how everyone's

00:05:55   using patents against us, and it's so anti-competitive and wrong and bad.

00:06:01   Which in addition to being hypocritical, was just kind of an amusing thing to watch unfold,

00:06:05   they have this big blog post talking about how this is happening and they're recommending

00:06:09   an antitrust investigation and all these types of activities. Specifically talking about

00:06:16   I think it was the Nortel patent auction, which recently finished work consortium with

00:06:21   Microsoft and Apple and a bunch of other companies, sort of all got together and bought it, which

00:06:27   Google was not part of that consortium. They had been sort of competing against it.

00:06:32   And then, of course, after Google publishes this, rather amusingly, the Microsoft Chief

00:06:37   Counsel, I think he had their own Twitter on their blog, posted a picture of the email

00:06:45   that he had sent or had received back from the Google Chief Counsel saying how they would

00:06:49   not be part of the consortium and they would instead be trying to buy on their own, which

00:06:53   sounds far more anti-competitive than trying to just be part of the consortium and essentially

00:06:59   taking down the risk of these patents.

00:07:03   If everyone has them, then no one has them.

00:07:06   And so it was just kind of an amusing thing

00:07:08   to see that unfold.

00:07:10   Taking a step back, though, the thing

00:07:11   that kind of makes me sad about that

00:07:13   is I remember when I was sort of a young software engineer,

00:07:17   Google was the place that everyone wanted to work at.

00:07:22   And I'm talking sort of probably early 2000s,

00:07:24   so maybe from 2000 to 2008 or so.

00:07:28   That was the place to be.

00:07:30   They were all-- all the fun and cool things happened there.

00:07:33   They were doing all the amazing things.

00:07:35   It's like back when they launched Google Maps,

00:07:37   and it was just like, oh my goodness,

00:07:38   this is just an amazing product.

00:07:40   Gmail was the hot thing, all these things.

00:07:43   But it seems like--

00:07:44   I'm not one of the people who'd say, oh, they've gone evil.

00:07:48   And it's sort of against their nature or whatever.

00:07:50   But I think it's more just the reality

00:07:52   of being a business whose revenue has entirely come--

00:07:57   or entirely, I think 90% or whatever it is,

00:07:59   so their revenue comes from advertising.

00:08:02   At some point, you kind of have to get creepy.

00:08:04   And you kind of have to push the limits of what you can get

00:08:10   or users to give you in terms of information, privacy,

00:08:13   attention.

00:08:14   And you have to push the limits of kind

00:08:18   of competitive practices, where they start giving away

00:08:21   Android for free and all these types of things

00:08:23   just because they want that ad space.

00:08:26   And it's just kind of a sad thing in general,

00:08:29   I think, when you are in that kind of a mindset

00:08:32   where you have to constantly-- in order to grow,

00:08:34   you can't just make your product better.

00:08:36   You need to put it in front of more people.

00:08:38   It's a volume game rather than a revenue game.

00:08:43   It's a classic thing, you say, in the app store where

00:08:46   it's relatively easy to get 100,000 people to use

00:08:49   a free app.

00:08:50   It's very difficult to get 100,000 people

00:08:52   to use a paid app.

00:08:54   But I would argue, and I think rightly so,

00:08:57   that having the latter situation on the paid side

00:09:01   is far, far better.

00:09:02   To have even a smaller percentage of that,

00:09:09   even if you only got half as many, or a third of the many,

00:09:12   or a tenth of the size, you're having a much better life

00:09:15   for both the developer, for the customer,

00:09:17   and for everyone involved.

00:09:21   All right.

00:09:21   And lastly, I'm just going to talk briefly about--

00:09:24   sort of my general discussion today

00:09:25   is going to be about distraction and interruption.

00:09:29   I got started thinking about this

00:09:31   after reading a article over on the Brooks Review

00:09:34   about digital interruptions was the title of the article.

00:09:37   And mostly, he was just talking about how interesting

00:09:40   it was when he recently went--

00:09:42   I think it was on a camping trip where he--

00:09:45   once he started going out on it, he put his phone

00:09:48   into airplane mode because he's off in the woods

00:09:50   and doesn't get good signal anyway, and part of the trip was to be a vacation. And how

00:09:56   impressive or how nice it made him feel to not have interruptions going, to be able to

00:10:03   make a fire and not be interrupted, to make breakfast, to go for a walk, to have a conversation,

00:10:12   and to just feel so detached. And I think the interesting thing that, which I couldn't

00:10:16   agree more. I think it's something that more and more is an important thing to try and

00:10:21   create those separations. I know for myself, I'm very much an admittance addict of my iPhone.

00:10:34   It spends its entire life probably within 50 yards, 25 yards of me every single day,

00:10:41   24 hours a day. Most of the day, probably 80, 90 percent of it, it's within two yards

00:10:45   of me. And so I definitely find myself, you know, how to catch myself, you know, sort

00:10:51   of in that recently and started doing things like, you know, leaving it in the corner,

00:10:55   sometimes even turning it off, you know, leaving it in my work bag and those types of things

00:10:59   when I'm at home because otherwise it's just you're constantly on and it just sort

00:11:04   of feeds on itself. It creates this addiction of, "Oh, what's going on? What's interesting?

00:11:08   Oh, I wonder if this happened.

00:11:09   Oh, did this happen?

00:11:11   And so it's definitely a tricky thing,

00:11:13   and it's something that it's good to work away from.

00:11:16   But I think even also more interestingly

00:11:17   is talking about interruptions during work.

00:11:21   And I think this is probably even more insidious,

00:11:23   where it feels like you're being productive by constantly

00:11:25   being-- keeping track of everything, being in your email,

00:11:29   being on Twitter, being in AIM, whatever it is.

00:11:32   And the thing that's so insidious about that

00:11:34   is really what you're ending up doing is getting nothing done.

00:11:37   you're kind of running around with your head cut off

00:11:40   in many ways, and it's just kind of sad.

00:11:44   When you kind of get through, get to the end of the day,

00:11:45   and you're like, wait, what did I do?

00:11:48   I feel like I did a lot of work, and I feel kind of tired,

00:11:50   and I feel like I'm worn out,

00:11:52   but I really didn't accomplish much.

00:11:54   And so in that respect, it's just an insidious

00:11:57   kind of dangerous thing to get into that habit.

00:12:00   And one thing that, I don't use it as much anymore,

00:12:03   but it's something that I would definitely recommend

00:12:04   if this is something you struggle with

00:12:06   for having focus at work is the Pomodoro Technique.

00:12:09   And it's something that I used for a while,

00:12:11   I used sort of actually as the specific technique.

00:12:15   At this point now, it's more like I've kind of graduated

00:12:18   beyond that.

00:12:19   And rather than using the technique itself,

00:12:21   it's using some of those principles

00:12:23   and applying them more generally.

00:12:25   Essentially, the concept here is when you're actually

00:12:27   going to sit down and work, what you do is you set an alarm.

00:12:31   It's typically 25 minutes.

00:12:33   And you say, for 25 minutes, I'm going

00:12:34   to do nothing but this one task.

00:12:37   When the timer goes off, I'll have a five minute break

00:12:40   where I can do whatever I want.

00:12:42   I can check my email, check my Twitter.

00:12:43   I can go for a walk, get some coffee, whatever it is.

00:12:46   But for that 25 minutes, everything's turned off.

00:12:49   My phone's on silence.

00:12:51   My email's off, so on and so on.

00:12:53   And what I found that's very, very powerful about that

00:12:57   is your mind knows that it can get

00:13:00   its fix of information later.

00:13:03   You've given it a very specific time.

00:13:04   It's 25 minutes from now, you can check your Twitter.

00:13:07   25 minutes from now, you can check your email.

00:13:10   So it's not like this amorphous sort of cold turkey.

00:13:12   I'm just going to turn everything off and go

00:13:14   into a cave.

00:13:16   It's I'm going to focus for right now.

00:13:18   And it's amazing what you can get done when you just

00:13:21   have a single-minded focus on one activity at a time.

00:13:24   This is what I'm doing.

00:13:26   I'm going to do it.

00:13:27   And then I can do something else.

00:13:30   And I think that has a very strong power.

00:13:33   And often what I found, now this is why I don't use that specific technique anymore,

00:13:38   but often what I'll find is if I set myself up and say, "Okay, I'm going to spend at least

00:13:43   25 minutes on this," and I'll do now is I'll just open up my iPhone, set a timer, 25 minutes,

00:13:48   put it in the dock, and then turn off the screen dimming so it's just always looking

00:13:53   at me.

00:13:54   There's a countdown timer going so I can see when it's happening.

00:13:57   Often when it gets to zero, the nice thing is I'm in the zone at that point.

00:14:00   After spending 25 minutes focused on one problem, I'm actually engaged.

00:14:04   I'm actually really enjoying this.

00:14:06   And so then I turn off the timer and keep working, and I'll get a lot more done that

00:14:10   way.

00:14:11   So it's definitely just an interesting thing that I've found to be helpful and would definitely

00:14:15   recommend.

00:14:17   In the show notes, there's a link to a book called The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated,

00:14:21   which was the best guide I've ever found for it, which is back over from the Pragmatic

00:14:26   Press.

00:14:27   All right.

00:14:28   That's it for today's show.

00:14:29   I hope you enjoy.

00:14:30   questions, comments, concerns, or thoughts,

00:14:32   hit me up on Twitter.

00:14:33   I'm @_davidsmith.

00:14:35   Otherwise, hope you have a good Thursday, and happy coding.

00:14:37   Talk to you tomorrow.