It's been way too long since I last wrote a blog entry; over a year if you don't include any writing I've done for App Rewards Club and even those have been sparse. This is actually pretty upsetting to me because I wholeheartedly believe in blogging and frequently advocate the practice to friends. In any case, it's time to reignite the fire!

Shorter posts, more frequently

Historically I think I've made the mistake of trying to write too much in any given entry and made more work for myself than is necessary. As a result, I've got tons of draft status posts that will never see the light of day because I didn't find the time to finish them. So in an effort to break the habit of 'giving up' on half-written entries, I will strive for brevity.

A quick year round up

In an attempt to record the events of the last year or so I will do a quick round up of what has kept me busy and what has changed.

July 2012 - Last July I chose to leave my job as iOS Developer at TC Media after about 8 months working with them. Unfortunately, it was a poor decision to work there. I would have had to become a manager much faster than I wanted to be or made redundant anyway. I love to code, and their business direction was to start outsourcing.

August 2012 - After leaving TC, I decided I wanted to work as a contractor. Within 2 weeks I was contacted by a relatively young startup, CrowdRiff and ended up spending 6 months on contract with them developing information architecture as well as interfaces to some of their products. It was a tremendous experience.

Their co-founder and main back-end developer, Abhi, is a tremendously intelligent person who I learned a lot from. His influence changed a lot about how I develop projects now. To name a few:

  • I'm over PHP and CakePHP -> Python and Django all the way
  • I'm over jQuery in most cases -> Angular.js is my jam as of lately. We actually made this decision together but I hadn't even heard of Angular before starting at CrowdRiff.
  • I do all of my development on virtual boxes through Vagrant

September 2012 - Ken Carpenter launched App Rewards Club for iOS. We have had some moderate success with this program but issues with our rewards suppliers made it tremendously difficult to keep users happy and/or expand for several months. We are looking at making some changes to the program this summer.

February 2013 - After finishing up my time with CrowdRiff, I started working on an educational web game contract with Ken Carpenter, my business partner for App Rewards Club. This project isn't quite complete yet and I'm under a NDA so I won't say much else. However, we aren't using CakePHP or jQuery.

I also made an attempt at making some drastic changes to this website, a complete redesign, fully responsive and coded from scratch. I was ultimately dissatisfied and threw the whole thing away after a good 40 hours or so of work. It was a bit upsetting at first but I take solace in the idea that being a good designer is never being 100% satisfied with your work. It was better to just say NO in the end.

May 2013 - This past May I once again attended the Toronto Game Jam for my second attempt at making a game under extreme deadline pressure. I'm proud to say I properly finished this time. It's an asynchronous 2 player game called "RPG Blackjack" where players take turns trying to have a better blackjack hand than their opponent, with the loser suffering a hit point loss. If you've got a friend to play with, give it a shot. It works on both mobile and desktop in any modern browser. There are some bugs, like if you hit the end of the 52 card deck before game over, but I'm still quite proud of the effort. The entire code base is on Github too, should it strike your curiosity.

Present day - My educational game development contract will be ending soon and I'll be spending a lot of time this summer working on my next big iOS App. I will slowly be revealing details about this app as the weeks progress. For now I will just say that it is a social networking utility app.

That's a wrap!

Now that we're all caught up on what's happened in the last year I can comfortably move forward without feeling like there's a gaping hole in the middle of my blog. This is a slightly longer post than I expect to be writing on average in the coming months but it seemed justifiable, just one more time.