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Comments

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Building Apps In Swift With Storyboards

seoras More worrying implication of devaluation (69 comments)

When I started writing iOS Apps it was at the same time as Interface Builder was released.
As a beginner being able to visualise what was going on made the learning curve a walk up a hill instead of mountaineering.
Even though I've been doing it a while now I still use Storyboards but 50% of the time I find myself removing a view and codifying it.
As a design tool it is wonderful for prototyping.

There was a lot of resistance from the established iOS developers to IB when it first appeared.
I remember being scolded on stockoverflow for using IB and told that I should learn the hard way like they had done.
With Swift I see some parallels, I don't want to have to learn a new language even though it might be simpler and compiles faster code (allegedly).
It raise my hackles because of the time and knowledge I have invested in the status quo to date (ObjC).
In addition to the prospect of Apple ceasing support for ObjC in future Xcode releases forcing me to re-write my Apps in Swift.
I'm sure Swift will make the learning curve easier as IB did for me when I started.

There's a much bigger problem with all this which goes beyond Apple, Xcode & Swift.
As App development and programming becomes simpler and more dumbed down it has the effect of increasing the number of people who are capable of producing a non-complex App.
That drives down the value of an App developer.
It's hard enough making anything from App's without lowering the value in them further.

2 days ago
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State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

seoras That tasty forbidden fruit. (334 comments)

More good news for Elon. Telling folks what they can't buy, and making it hard for them to get, just makes it all the more exotic and tempting.

No one enjoys the pressure and pain of car showroom shopping. It's just not consumer friendly.
Yet consumers don't have the right or ability to indicate their distaste.

Besides the electric card appeals to the renegades, the rebels at heart who would be more likely to buy those cars anyway.
So the more corporate backed legislatives try to ban them the more sales they are going to get.

If they really wanted to hurt Tesla they'd just ignore them and not give them air time.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

seoras Re:Don't do apps. (310 comments)

Rare doesn't mean jobs out there, rare can also mean specialised and, depending on where you live, hard to find alternative work when your current job disappears.
I know this from experience, an experience a lot of (soon to be ex) Cisco engineers are going to go through shortly...
Right now App's is where the programming action is. Don't be put off by the volume of Apps being created.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

seoras Support, Knowledge base & Plenty of free Code. (310 comments)

The problem with introducing a new language, no matter how good it is, is that a beginner will find limited online resources.
Stackoverflow.com has been a godsend for me getting into iOS App development.
So too has cocoacontrols.com for finding something I want, which I know someone else will have already written and made free.

Swift on the other hand hasn't been out long enough for there to be enough answers on the knowledge base websites to cover all issues that will arise in the learning curve.
Nor will there be an avalanche of re-writes of the free, object-c, code utilities that are available.
AFNetworking springs to mind, a fabulous effort that has saved so many so much time, bugs and frustration.
You can use a bridge between it and Swift but that's just added complexity and time.

4 days ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

seoras Why is this on Slashdot? (494 comments)

It's been bad enough with the BBC acting like Pravda (Irvine Welsh's own words in his recent "Time" article) without having to come to Slashdot and find propaganda here too.
"there will be no local banks, access to EU markets and the freedom of movement will be curtailed,"
Utter and total nonsense.
Scottish citizens are EU citizens regardless of how they vote.
EU will not give up access to the North Atlantic (Iceland & Norway are NOT in the EU).
If Scotland goes then it effectively removes the EU fishing fleet from the richest fishing grounds it has.
"Cutting their nose off to spite their face", would be the best way of describing the fear mongering, yes I used that phrase because it's all we ever get about Independence.
No local banks? Eh? So they will all up sticks just like Westminster has been spinning. Unlikely.

My parting word on this is this.
Regardless of the arguments for or against the "NO" campaign has been a campaign of negativity, fear and doom.
If you know anything about marketing you'll know that consumers don't listen to negatives only positives
and I quote "Pravda"'s Bio on the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in backing this up.

"It seemed Labour was on course to win the 2011 Scottish election, but Mr Salmond - never to be underestimated - launched into the contest with a positive campaign.
When he came up against Labour's negative, attacking style, Scots voters decided there was no contest - and the SNP was returned with a jaw-dropping landslide win."

Sound familiar?
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28835771

about two weeks ago
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MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

seoras Re:Military turn on (90 comments)

Delivery service won't work, someone will throw themselves under the dog and then get a slick lawyer.
Amazon's safer in the sky and knows it. ...and it's funded by DARPA, I stopped reading when I got to the video.
So it is military backed.

about two weeks ago
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MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

seoras Military turn on (90 comments)

I can just see the military getting hot and excited about a battle field robot that can run as fast as a cheetah, jump over obstacles, with either a bomb strapped to it's back or a gun of sorts.
Who's funding these guys?
It's great technology but I don't think I'm being too cynical in struggling to imagine any practical applications outside of defence.
Robot greyhound races?

about two weeks ago
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Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

seoras Dong's Formula (113 comments)

1. Make a game which is simple to understand but impossibly difficult.
2. Make it free with an iAd banner for revenue.
3. Withdraw the game as soon as the feeding frenzy begins and the media pick up on it.
4. Repeat.

Consumers love nothing more than a freebie in limited supply.
Dong's limited editions.

There's a new iPhone coming out and I'd like to upgrade.
My fingers are crossed that he pulls it so I can sell my current iPhone, with this latest game installed, for twice the price of the new iPhone 6 ;)

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

seoras Devaluation of my profession over time (548 comments)

Software Engineering is the only profession where your perceived value decreases with age.
If I'd chosen, Medicine (Human,Veterinary), Law, Accountancy, Business, etc the older I'd got the more valuable I'd be.
If I'd chosen any other type of engineering the same would apply.
Who's bridge would you want to cross - the civil engineering grads or the guy who's been doing it 20+ years?
There's a real problem with the non-technical populations perception of the value in software because it's beyond their comprehension.
Why would I hire a middle aged guy to write my App when I can pay a student party money to write me one?
Sure, why not get a law student to handle your divorce or your property purchase too?
Then add on top of that the universal nature of software.
You wouldn't get a guy in China or India, at $1 an hour, to advise or complete your tax returns would you?
However you'd happy pay him that to setup a bespoke website with web apps.

about a month ago
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

seoras Dumb paranoia (299 comments)

If the state wants to cut off your mobile phone access they don't need to brick your phone they just ask your carrier to turn off your services.
First its raging against the "Walled Garden" App store, now it's "we don't need no anti-theft kill switch".
Well maybe you don't, my techno friend, but you're in the minority.
The majority of smart phone users do want a device that they
a) can safely install non-trojan software from a verified & reviewed source
b) not be mugged for carrying an expensive toy

about a month ago
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

seoras Re: Lodsys has been very quiet of late (63 comments)

> Unless by innovative you mean dumbing down the user interface even more to appeal to the least common denominator. If so, then there's craploads of innovation.

Oh you mean like Tim Berners-Lee did when he simplified human interaction with shared data on the fledgling internet which had, until then, been useable only by CS academics and a few industrial techs?

Give me craps loads more my friend...

about a month ago
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Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

seoras Lodsys has been very quiet of late (63 comments)

Lodsys, of "in-app purchases" infamy, have been very quiet of late.
Is the tide finally turning in the favour of innovation and common sense?

about a month and a half ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

seoras Next Week: A change of name for Assange... (299 comments)

to Julian DotComDotAu and a quick, but dubious, rubber stamp to settle in NZ, he's packing his bags already!

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

seoras Why stop there? NSFW Tag badly needed! (131 comments)

I recently "Liked" a friends share from TheLadBible on Facebook and now my home page feed is NSFW.
Just can't bring myself to Un-Liking it. ;)

about a month and a half ago
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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

seoras Germans have been using ride sharing for years now (341 comments)

I don't get it.
What's legally different with Uber to the ride sharing websites so popular in Germany for at least a decade now?
7 years ago I was dating a German who was from Dresden, she regularly went back home to Berlin & Dresden for visits.
She never used public transport to go visit her parents, only a ride sharing website as it was much cheaper than the train/bus.
We even had a driver drop me off at the airport, after picking up another paying passenger, on their way to Dresden.
One thing I can say about Germans is that they are frugal with money and I'm Scottish which is saying something! ;)

about a month and a half ago
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

seoras Lessons from the Fashion Industry (249 comments)

From a course on business strategy I remember looking at the business model of the European fashion retailer Zara.

One thing that sticks in my mind was that their customers kept coming back to their stores to see "what was new".
Zara are very good at keeping their offering fresh.
They do so through excellent use of technology that gives them insights on what is/isn't selling, combined with JIT etc.

The current App Store lacks only 1 thing and that is freshness.
Ever day I check my App's rankings for particular keywords and I see very little movement.
I imagine its the same for the customers on the App store.

For some search terms there are 1000's of Apps.
Rather than allowing a stagnant top 10 club there should be daily rotation based on user submitted ratings and revenue earned.
With Apple doing more to make users rate apps.
If there's anything that says the user likes an App it's them voting with their wallet.

It pains me to suggest revenue ranking but following Googles example of putting money first in search results is the norm now.
Google's update 18 months ago screwed a lot of businesses who ranked on keyword search for their services.
Immediately after dropping services websites from the search results they bombarded them with AdWord sign up emails, I know I was one of them.
It was shake down pure and simple.

This idea of creating internal Apple reviewers is just plain stupid.
It's asking for corruption by assigning great power to individuals who will also have personal tastes, philosophies and expectations.
It needs to be cold and objective which humans are not.

about a month and a half ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

seoras Still using a 32 bit processor? How 80's... (220 comments)

Still no 64bit ARM processor?
Perhaps the metal casing is a new feature allowing you to throw it at the nearest wall in frustration. ;)

about a month and a half ago
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The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

seoras Another layer has solidified (145 comments)

I think would be a better way of looking at what this article is on about.
Back in the late 80's early 90's when I graduated and started my career in the Networking Industry the OSI 7 layer model (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model) was often referred to. You don't hear it mentioned much these days.
If you applied IT history and economics to it you'll find that each of those layers saw a period of fantastic growth & innovation (a few short years) before becoming IT commodities and having little value left to reap but at the same time becoming stable and allowing growth & innovation in the next layer above.
Cisco, the once darling of Wall Street, benefited from the growth & innovation in layers 3 to 5.
All 7 layers are now stable and "complete", there's no growth value left in them, Cisco as the example struggles when it once printed money.
I'd like to see someone attempt to define layers 8 ->12 with an attempt at extrapolating into the future with layers 13 and above.
On a related topic I've been reading a lot of articles around the hardships of making money as an independent App developer.
It occurs to me, taking this layered view of the economies of IT, that perhaps software itself has seen it's best days behind it.
That in fact to find value as a lone developer, or even as a company, software is just a commodity now which should be free with the money coming from the services you sell on top of, or a few layers above.
How long until machines program themselves after a short interview with their human "client" as to their requirements (layer 13)?

about a month and a half ago
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Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

seoras Shambles that once was Skype (267 comments)

I live in NZ and call my parent's landline in the UK with Skype (only because they're too deaf to hear their iPad ringing with FaceTime!).
Last weekend I called and got my mother. 10 seconds into the call it drops.
I get logged out of Skype with a pop up telling me it won't let me back in until I've manually downloaded the latest software, installed and rebooted my Mac.
Totally shit customer service and experience which has the all the stink & hallmarks of that abusive IT "has been" monopoly that sits in it's Seattle Kremlin.
Why the reboot? It's a fecking MAC!
Why let me place the call to family only to then rudely kick me off and enforce a software upgrade, why not warn me before hand?
The sooner MS is gone the better for humanity and technology.

about 2 months ago
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Is the App Store Broken?

seoras App Store bugs = Apple's lack of interest & fo (258 comments)

The USA App store appears to be the only one which is bug free and maintained.
Take for example the UK App store where I used to rank #1 on a keyword pair.
Great but there are only 2 other Apps with that keyword combo in the UK.

Then I recently changed my keywords and to my utter disbelief I've dropped off the search results for that keyword combo in the UK.
In the USA I'm #1 out of 37 for that keyword combo. Same for New Zealand, only 2 App's listed, but not mine, for that combo.
This would indicate that Apple just doesn't give a sh*t right now, they've no focus on the App store short of keeping the USA one running smoothly.
Otherwise I'm happy, I'm ranking really well on all the other keywords and combo's and I've seen an 10x increase in installs this month.

A fair system would rotate the top 10-15 App's dependant on a combination of factors like the average session length, un-install rate, feedback rating, total app revenue, etc
Don't let's get start on the broken rating system either....

I hope they don't do a Google and start favouring those who make them the most money.
The whole Google search is commercially "broken" with it's focus on delivering search results weighted in the interests of Google's "share holders".
Website's which Google's software deems as "able to pay to display" got chopped off the top keywords a while back.
A website of mine suffered that fate and in the same month Google bombarded me with emails about getting started on AdWords.
That move didn't favour the users of Google search, it favoured Google's bottom line.
If Apple's philosophy of "doing the right thing" still holds post-Jobs then they will (hopefully) come up with an algorithm which favours the best Apps being presented to the users in search results.
 

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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High School kid builds his own Iron Man costume. "...Google helped a lot"

seoras seoras writes  |  about a year ago

seoras (147590) writes "A teenager has told the BBC that his self-built Iron Man suit has led to offers from the US to create more.
Archie Whitehead, 17, told the BBC's Richard Williams that he spent 300 hours building the fibreglass suit for a school project.
However, he said he is now considering turning the one-off into a career in costume design."

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