Shooting Themselves In The Foot, Hopefully

The pace is escalating and I no longer care your politics, it is way past time to do something about gun deaths. I’m tired of the NRA fighting for our rights to all die by gunfire.

This morning it’s a shooting at Reynolds High School near Portland, Oregon. A couple of days ago it was two police officers stalked and shot near a Walmart in Las Vegas. Last week it’s Seattle Pacific University. Two weeks ago it’s Santa Barbara City College. Mother Jones has taken to creating a map of mass shootings, which was written three weeks ago and already woefully out of date.

And yet there is no movement on this issue, mostly because the NRA owns politicians.

I’m not anti-gun (although I don’t own any) and believe strongly in the Supreme Court who has decided, rightly or wrongly, that gun ownership is every citizen’s right. That’s the facts on the ground. But so is the facts that young and old people, citizens and police officers, are dying because we refuse to do anything about guns.

Don’t want to control gun sales and type of gun sales? Fine. What about wait lists, smart technology to keep the wrong people from using them, and registries? What about using technology to get on top of this issue? I know. Gun people don’t want to be tracked by the government. Well, I don’t either. So why doesn’t the NRA become active and the registry of choice? Don’t gun people trust the NRA? We can’t even have a discussion about it today since the NRA and a government bought and sold won’t let it.

The only consolation to all this is that the backlash will eventually be aimed the NRA’s way. I know police officers don’t like this. They don’t want to get shot for pulling someone over for speeding. Yes, the NRA has bought a big part of government right now but at some point all these shooting will come back to haunt the NRA and its no-control-at-all-costs stance. I hope it happens sooner than later, because I sure feel helpless to protect my family right now.

Doing What I Love

The last few years have been hard. I’ve been doing way more of the stuff I don’t like and far less of the stuff I do. I’ve struggled to motivate myself. Mornings kind of drag out. I wake up groggy and stay that way for hours. If I get in a groove it’s for a couple of hours straight, not the four-six hours it used to be. “Quitting time” never seems to come fast enough. Weekends are required just to recover from the week.

For a while I thought, well, I turned 40 this past fall and I must be slowing down. I can’t write code like I could when I was 24. I can’t work for 14 straight days, 16 hours a day. Heck a few days in a row of straight coding is wearing me out.

The last couple of months have really shifted. The code is more interesting. I’ve learned new stuff. And now Equals is functioning, the help documents are almost done and we are writing sample notes to help people out. We’ve started to talk about what’s next (feature-wise), something that has been taboo for too long because we weren’t certain we could get to the pains of completing what was already on our plates.

I spend all day writing code or writing help or whatever and can’t believe it when I look up and it’s 2 in the afternoon and I never ate lunch. I eat dinner with the family then either go back to the computer to finish something up or at least have thoughts rolling around in my brain. There has been more nights then I can count where I have been unable to fall asleep because of the excitement and desire to keep going.

Last week things moved to a new level. Watching Apple’s announcements at WWDC, reading and listening to other developer’s reactions, thinking about all the cool things we can do with iOS 8, now I am excited on multiple fronts. There isn’t enough of me to go around!

We have a vacation planned for late next week and, for the first time that I can remember, I really don’t want to go. Yes, I want to spend time with my family but we have momentum now on the products and I’m afraid to lose it.

I woke up this morning ready to go. Out of bed, dressed, ate some breakfast and here I am, sitting in front of the computer soon-thereafter, ready to fix bugs and write docs. Time to hit send on this and get to work.

Pretentious App Stores

We are now involved with multiple app stores due to Android and iOS versions of the app. Most of them perform some kind of review process. I understand the desire to do a review as it, to some extent, helps eliminate some of the app abuse *

Of all the ones who do app review, Apple does it the best. Yes, it takes them awhile but they have very specific guidelines and they test specifically for those guidelines. While Apple will report back if they discover a crashing issue or something that doesn’t work at all, short of making sure it adheres to the guidelines, Apple doesn’t tell us about “broken features.” Apple is looking primarily for things that could be bad for the customers.

We distribute through some other companies that like to “test the functionality” of our apps. They pretend they are a customer and report back “bugs” and opinions about how the app should function, rejecting the app and telling us to fix these issues before submitting again. Except these companies are not our customers and they have spent little time understanding how the product should work. What they think is a bug without really spending time with it is exactly how it is supposed to work.

I don’t need an app store to tell me how to design my products. That’s my job and my customer’s job to tell me when I’ve succeeded and failed.

But rather than pass it through testing and report that they found something they weren’t certain about and wanted to bring it to my attention, I get an email proclaiming that our app failed, resubmit if you want to try getting it through again. Even more insulting is that we have six versions of powerOne, all of which function off the exact same code base. A failure in one has to be a failure in all of them. Except they only ever reject one, and if they reject more than one it is for completely different reasons.

Frankly, reviews this way are insulting and their email rejections are pretentious. I wish they would all stick to what they are good at: making sure the apps adhere to security and safety concerns. Particularly on Android, this is a big enough problem as it is.

* Don’t kid yourself. Most of the review processes are security theater. A nasty developer could easily thwart any of these review processes and not even break a sweat trying.

Portrait of a Serial Winner

I don’t often share sports stories but this one goes far beyond sports. Luis Suarez is a national hero in Uruguay. He’s also a divisive figure in professional soccer, having bit two opposing players. When he was 15 it was believed he was suspended for head butting an official. From Wright Thompson at ESPN:

No soccer player in the world provokes such a strong emotional response as Liverpool’s striker, with less of an understanding of what lurks beneath the surface. His recent injury, which puts his World Cup fitness into doubt, makes him more intriguing. Yet knowing Suarez is difficult, since he seems to not know himself, and, regardless, he wouldn’t talk to me. The best path to that knowledge would have to be a journey through his past, looking for clues. That was the plan: talk to people who knew him and let their memories paint a picture. Those who met him during his early years, especially the first person he ever assaulted, might offer slivers of insight. So in addition to visiting Suarez’s mother, friends and neighbors, I wanted to sit down with the referee.

Only I couldn’t find him.

It’s a mystery story wrapped in a sports story wrapped up in a psychological drama. Go read it.

By the way, I heard about this story from Slugball, a daily email that sends me the best in sports stories. If you are interested in sports and haven’t signed up for the free newsletter yet, you should. Matt Hughes is a great guy and I look forward to helping him expand Slugball’s web presence and capabilities in the near future.

Confidence

The array of new features announced yesterday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote was, frankly, dizzying. Even more stuff was shown at private events later. I did intend to write on this today but haven’t figured out what to say. So I will link to Craig Hockenberry instead, who I think nailed it:

But all [the announcements] pales in comparison to the undercurrent for all these changes: Apple has a newfound confidence in itself. It’s at the top of its game, and it knows it.

Before yesterday I was worried about Apple keeping up with all the things we wanted as developers and all the things we wanted as users. Now, I’m worried whether I can keep up with Apple. Wow.