Developing Perspective

Show 0.11


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

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a near-daily podcast talking about what is new and interesting

00:00:06   in Apple, iOS, and related technologies.

00:00:09   I'm your host, David Smith.

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

00:00:13   This just shows 0.11, and today is Wednesday, July 27th.

00:00:19   The format of Developing Perspective is a... basically, I will cover a handful of links

00:00:23   and articles, things that I found interesting in roughly the last 24 hours.

00:00:28   And then I will move on to a more general discussion towards the end.

00:00:31   The show will never be more than 15 minutes or include third party advertising.

00:00:35   Without further ado, let's get started.

00:00:37   Alright, so first off I have a link to a GitHub repository by Matt Thompson.

00:00:42   This is for something called FormatterKit.

00:00:46   FormatterKit is a very interesting library that he's open sourced, which basically allows

00:00:51   for some fairly sophisticated string-with format-like operations.

00:00:57   So for example, you can combine arrays in interesting ways.

00:01:02   For example, adding commas between the first items and then an ampersand at the end, for

00:01:07   example, or formatting dates and times, formatting locations, formatting ordinal numbers, formatting

00:01:16   time intervals, URLs, those types of things.

00:01:19   It's a great little library that looks to dramatically increase the ease by which you

00:01:25   you can do some standard string formatting operations.

00:01:28   So worth checking out.

00:01:30   Next is a link that I found to the ultimate guide

00:01:34   for installing Rails on OS X Lion.

00:01:38   I recently had to go through this process myself.

00:01:41   I mean, done a clean install of Lion.

00:01:43   And so it was very nice to just kind of walk through this

00:01:46   with somebody who really had tried it and worked it through.

00:01:50   It's basically geared around using

00:01:53   Homebrew, which is an excellent package management tool.

00:01:56   I used to use MacPorts for the most part.

00:01:59   However, now I found Homebrew to be much more reliable,

00:02:02   is probably the better way to say it.

00:02:03   MacPorts works, but if I can get it with Homebrew,

00:02:07   I'd rather use that.

00:02:09   And this walks through installing RVM, PAL, MySQL,

00:02:13   all those kinds of things.

00:02:14   MySQL especially was a bit tricky,

00:02:16   and the guide was helpful to getting that set up

00:02:19   so I could recreate my development environment.

00:02:23   Next, I have a link to Seth Godin's blog.

00:02:27   And the title of the post is called "Defining Quality,"

00:02:31   in which he essentially differentiates

00:02:33   between two different kinds of quality.

00:02:36   There's the quality of design, which

00:02:38   is the thoughtfulness and processes that

00:02:40   lead to user delight and are likely to help someone seek out

00:02:43   a product.

00:02:45   And the other is the quality of manufacturer.

00:02:47   And this is removing any variation and tolerances

00:02:49   that users will notice or care about.

00:02:52   As a developer, it was just an interesting article

00:02:55   to think about and to discuss.

00:02:58   Whereas often you'll think of quality as a singular thing.

00:03:02   It was kind of an interesting thought exercise

00:03:05   to try and differentiate between the various different kinds

00:03:08   of quality that you may have.

00:03:12   And lastly, in the links department today,

00:03:15   there's a link over on TechCrunch.

00:03:17   talking about how ReadItLater, which is a service for saving bookmarks for websites

00:03:22   to read later, had a round of venture capital and raised $2.5 million. ReadItLater, if you're

00:03:30   not familiar, is just a very... It's almost in my mind, it's sort of an Instapaper clone,

00:03:35   though depending on who you talk to, one of them came first, whichever one came first.

00:03:39   The interesting thing here that I thought was, well, in and of itself isn't that important.

00:03:44   I mean TechCrunch isn't exactly a website that I frequent.

00:03:46   But what's interesting is here's a service who's competing with a, whose primary competitor

00:03:53   is almost certainly going to be Instapaper.

00:03:56   And Instapaper is a small one man shop run by Marco Arment who is sort of famous for

00:04:04   skewing this kind of thing and trying to go everywhere, do everything.

00:04:09   it later is cross-platform, does all these kinds of other sort of operations and things.

00:04:15   And what I find interesting here, and this was what I, my first thought when I heard,

00:04:20   okay, they've raised two and a half million dollars. What exactly are they going to be

00:04:24   doing with that? What does that gain them? And also really, how much is that in terms

00:04:30   of money? And what I looked at then was I took that amount of money and worked out roughly

00:04:35   how many, as a percent, of total iOS devices would need to buy a copy of Instapaper for

00:04:42   Marco to raise an equivalent sum of money.

00:04:45   And it turns out that it's 0.3%, which seems like a fairly small number.

00:04:52   It's about 700,000 users, which I'm not saying that's a small number by any means, but it

00:04:57   just seems as though a company like that is giving up a huge amount of flexibility and

00:05:03   control in their own business for something that is not necessarily all that much.

00:05:10   So for me, I'd rather have 700,000 customers than $2.5 million and a group of investors

00:05:19   who now control my destiny.

00:05:21   So just something that I thought was interesting to think about.

00:05:25   All right.

00:05:27   And so now I'm going to move into sort of our discussion for today.

00:05:31   And the basis for this discussion is an analysis that I did over on my blog talking about the

00:05:36   various sort of cost versus performance attributes of the current Mac lineup.

00:05:43   So essentially what I did is I went through every single Mac that the Apple currently

00:05:48   sells and then looked at every single CPU option for those.

00:05:52   I kept every other option as base, so for RAM, hard drive, those types of other things

00:05:58   are all just as they would ship.

00:06:00   And then I went over to Geekbench and found essentially what is a good measure of the

00:06:06   CPU performance for each of those machines.

00:06:09   I took the average of the most recent 5 64-bit Geekbench values.

00:06:16   And I only evaluated a couple of notes.

00:06:17   I evaluated only single processor Mac Pros, a couple of other things like that.

00:06:24   But at the end, let's see.

00:06:27   So then what I did is I took the cost of the various machines and compared it to the Geekbench

00:06:36   score, essentially working on how many US cents it is per Geekbench performance number.

00:06:43   So essentially I take the cost and divide it by the Geekbench score, which is just the

00:06:47   number that ranges, in this case, from about 5,000 to about 17,000, with a larger number

00:06:54   being more performant.

00:06:55   And the interesting thing here, and this is very consistent with the earlier analysis

00:06:59   I had done about the new Mac Minis, is that they absolutely blow the doors off in terms

00:07:05   of cost per performance.

00:07:08   The Mac Minis have a cost per performance by this measure of around 10 cents per benchmark

00:07:16   unit.

00:07:18   Whereas the next best machines, which are the iMacs, have that number is almost up to

00:07:23   15 cents.

00:07:24   almost 50% better in terms of performance for cost. And you start seeing how various

00:07:31   machines have very different values for something like this. You look at a sort of a tricked-out

00:07:35   MacBook Air, which is a 13-inch MacBook Air, and that value gets almost all the way up

00:07:40   to $0.26, so almost 2.5 times that of what you had for a Mac Mini. This obviously isn't

00:07:47   necessarily representative of total use for a machine, it's just a CPU and memory-oriented

00:07:53   benchmark, but it definitely gives you a sense of where they fall comparatively and helps

00:08:00   you understand what it is that you're giving up when you go from, for example, getting

00:08:05   a Mac Mini, getting a Mac Pro, getting a My Mac, getting a MacBook Air.

00:08:09   You can see those trade-offs in a very clear financial way rather than just looking at

00:08:14   them and having to decide just based on the other attributes.

00:08:19   Something else that's also kind of interesting that I found here is just how strongly the

00:08:28   various iMacs are starting to really catch up with the Mac Pros.

00:08:31   The Mac Pros are starting to really kind of look a little dated in their performance.

00:08:37   They still are certainly the top of the end, but you're really getting to a point now that

00:08:40   unless for the very, very most processor-intensive sort of actions, it's really not going to

00:08:47   matter.

00:08:48   The Mac Mini that if I was to get one right now, I'd get, which is the quad core i7 server

00:08:53   configuration, has a Geekbench score of around 9400, which compares very favorably to almost

00:09:02   all the other machines until you start getting into the Mac Pros with quad Xeon chips or

00:09:08   the absolute top of the line iMac, which has a Geekbench score of around 14,000.

00:09:16   But in order to do that you have to spend $2,200 whereas for the Mac Mini you're spending

00:09:22   $1,000.

00:09:23   So just an interesting thing.

00:09:25   Definitely worth checking out if you're in the market to buy a new machine.

00:09:29   And I think that's it for today.

00:09:30   Hope you have a good day.

00:09:32   Happy coding and I'll talk to you tomorrow.