Developing Perspective

#59: Good and Real Reasons


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

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing news of note in iOS development, Apple, and

00:00:07   the like.

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

00:00:09   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herne, Virginia.

00:00:12   Today is Wednesday, June 27th, 2012, and this is show number 59.

00:00:17   All right, Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's get to it.

00:00:22   So first topic, or minor note, I suppose, is I was going to say that it appears that

00:00:26   the transition of developing perspective to its news host has been successful, there are

00:00:31   a few little minor bumps along the way, but generally speaking, everything seems to be

00:00:35   working. But if you run into any problems, please let me know. But I think I've pretty

00:00:39   much got all the kinks worked out and everything seems to be working, which is great. And just

00:00:43   sort of a small plug for the tool that I'm using to do that, which is called Octopress,

00:00:47   which is a static blogging system. It's not really designed to do podcasts. But the great

00:00:52   thing about a system like it is it's basically just a collection of Ruby scripts with a little

00:00:57   bit of templating, it uses the liquid templating system on top of it. And basically it's just

00:01:02   a series of markdown files that you can sort of do anything you want in it. And so it's

00:01:06   pretty easy to just sort of hack it together to generate a podcast. So right now it even

00:01:11   does this great stuff where I take my MP3 files as I record them. After I record them

00:01:16   I drop it in, sort of run a script and it uploads it to S3, it sets up the new episode

00:01:21   correctly and all this kind of stuff and actually integrating it into the site was pretty straightforward

00:01:26   too. So that's just something that I just kind of recommend. If you're looking to do

00:01:29   either just a regular blog and looking for a good platform for that, I run my main blog

00:01:34   off of Octopress and now I run Developing Perspective on it too and in both cases it

00:01:39   was super easy. It's definitely geared towards sort of a hacker. So if you're looking for

00:01:42   something that's like totally pre-baked and maybe not perfect, but if you want the ease

00:01:47   inconvenience of a static site without having to code that manually or anything.

00:01:52   It's a great middle ground.

00:01:54   So just need to figure out how to mention that.

00:01:57   Number two, the podcast app that Apple shipped yesterday.

00:02:02   So now Apple has their own official podcast app.

00:02:06   I just wanted to mention it here because obviously if you're listening to this, you're a fan

00:02:09   of podcasts.

00:02:10   And it's an interesting thing.

00:02:12   I think it's interesting that Apple is releasing an app targeted at podcasts,

00:02:17   and especially because podcasts are kind of a funny thing for them in iTunes.

00:02:21   Because as best I can tell, it's the only area in iTunes

00:02:26   where they distribute and manage a lot of content.

00:02:29   I mean, they don't host the files themselves.

00:02:31   But in terms of-- they have this whole section where as best I can tell,

00:02:34   they don't make any money at all.

00:02:37   It's not like a lot of the things in iTunes

00:02:39   where they're making money on the back end or selling content.

00:02:44   There may be some free stuff.

00:02:45   Like in the App Store, there's free and paid content.

00:02:48   And I've heard some rumors about they may be bringing paid podcast content,

00:02:51   but that seems a little funny to me.

00:02:54   I don't know, it just seems odd, just given the nature of it.

00:02:57   I mean, I guess if they had this option where, oh, people

00:03:00   could have paid subscriptions to Developing Perspective,

00:03:02   maybe I'd consider it.

00:03:03   I'm not really sure.

00:03:05   But it seems kind of odd.

00:03:07   It's interesting that Apple is pushing all this time and energy into supporting things

00:03:13   like podcasts where they don't really make any money.

00:03:15   And obviously they developed this whole new app just for that purpose.

00:03:19   It seems kind of cool.

00:03:20   The app itself is pretty interesting.

00:03:21   I would say it's reasonably well done.

00:03:25   It's very good for the basics.

00:03:27   And I doubt I'll end up using it as my main thing.

00:03:31   It has a bunch of very odd limits.

00:03:33   you can only download a 50 meg file over 3G, which maybe other apps should enforce, but

00:03:40   they seem to be able to get by review without doing that.

00:03:43   And it means that every now and then you'll run these really annoying things where a podcast

00:03:48   is just over 50 megs and you won't be able to listen to it offline, even though you could

00:03:54   download it if it was 49 megs.

00:03:56   So it seems a little, it's all meant to be little arbitrary things and the design of

00:03:59   of it is a little funny in the sense of like there's a tape player inside of it, which

00:04:04   seems kind of funny. Just in terms of as a metaphor for podcasts, considering that I

00:04:10   don't think podcasts have ever been distributed on cassette tape. Just, you know, sort of

00:04:15   they were invented sort of post that era. So I don't know, maybe they should be CDRs

00:04:21   or something. But anyway, I mentioned it there. You can sign up for it. One thing that's kind

00:04:25   funny is if you click on the iTunes link on developing perspective dot com, it'll open

00:04:31   the podcast app but it fails to actually subscribe. There's some bug in the application that I

00:04:36   haven't been able to work around for. So just because of putting that out there, if you

00:04:41   want to subscribe, just go to the catalog and search "developing perspective" and it'll

00:04:44   work great. Alright, the next topic I was going to talk about quickly is the WWDC videos.

00:04:51   We've been out for about a week now, but a couple of notes I just wanted to add and a

00:04:55   couple of things I've been talking about on Twitter and things with people, but I just

00:04:59   wanted to mention it here.

00:05:00   So first, definitely try and make time to watch any or all of them.

00:05:05   It's always a little...

00:05:06   I always struggle with this myself, that I kind of be like, "Oh, I'm going to watch all

00:05:09   these videos.

00:05:10   Oh, they're so great.

00:05:11   Let me get this one, this one, this one, this one."

00:05:13   And it's really hard to actually motivate myself to actually watch them.

00:05:17   And so here's a couple of the things that I do for myself to try and sort of motivate it.

00:05:22   One is I use a... usually I listen in QuickTime 7 because it has a very easy playback speed control,

00:05:29   though I recently discovered you can actually do this in QuickTime X or QuickTime 10, whatever it's supposed to be called, as well.

00:05:36   But by allowing me to change the playback speed, so I usually listen at about 1 and 3/4 speed,

00:05:42   it speeds it up and lets me get through content a lot more quickly.

00:05:46   The nature of what it is, is usually what I'm trying to do with a lot of WWDC videos

00:05:51   is get a quick survey of a new technology and then have all these little nuggets that

00:05:57   I can pull out and use.

00:05:59   It's very rare that there's a whole...

00:06:02   But the new technologies, for example, in Iowa6, there's nothing that I'm like, "Okay, I need

00:06:05   to understand this in and out."

00:06:07   It's more like I want to sit down and listen to the past book presentations to get a sense

00:06:15   of that technology and to help me to be sort of more well-rounded.

00:06:19   And so by speeding them up and just kind of blasting through them quickly, you kind of

00:06:23   get a good flavor of it.

00:06:24   And if I ever need to go back, I certainly can, but it's not as big of a deal.

00:06:28   Another thing that I also try and do is, I don't know about you, but if you go through

00:06:32   a normal day, you'll often kind of have these cycles of energy.

00:06:35   You know, so say like the classic one is like about two o'clock, you know, you've had lunch,

00:06:39   it's kind of settling in, you kind of get a little droopy.

00:06:42   One thing that's probably a good choice is to pop in a WWDC video at that point and you

00:06:47   can kind of redeem that time in a productive way just by picking it up and like, "Okay,

00:06:52   you know, I'll watch a video."

00:06:54   If you listen at one and a half or two times speed, it's maybe half an hour, 45 minutes

00:06:59   to work through it, maybe even less because a lot of them seem kind of edited down, which

00:07:03   I think makes sense in terms of they're trimming them so that they're just the content that

00:07:08   matches the presentation.

00:07:09   There's none of the other ad libs or pauses or some of those things.

00:07:14   So I put this pretty good job of editing that down.

00:07:17   And you just work through them.

00:07:18   And you don't feel too guilty if you don't get to a lot of them,

00:07:21   but they're just definitely good resources.

00:07:23   One thing I always recommend is try and listen to every one of the what's new in.

00:07:27   Even if it's not necessarily that you're directly--

00:07:30   like what's new in the file system is always an interesting one,

00:07:33   or what's new in LLDB, what's new in LLVM.

00:07:35   There's always the sort of what's new ones.

00:07:37   find those to be the best kind of starting points.

00:07:40   Because often what they'll do is they'll give a very quick survey,

00:07:43   and then they'll give you pointers if there's other technologies that you're

00:07:45   interested in that you can then go and watch the full video on just that topic.

00:07:49   So just kind of a little tip there.

00:07:51   All right, so the main topic I'm going to talk about today

00:07:54   is the Retina MacBook Pro.

00:07:57   And specifically, this is the kind of I decided to buy one episode.

00:08:00   And so two episodes ago, I talked about the developer landscape

00:08:08   and the various options.

00:08:10   You can go MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro,

00:08:15   and I kind of worked through it all.

00:08:16   And in the end, I said, if you need to be very mobile, get a MacBook Air.

00:08:20   Otherwise, a Retina MacBook Pro is a really good, solid choice.

00:08:23   And at this point, I've decided to put my money where my mouth is.

00:08:26   I'm trying to buy one.

00:08:28   At this point, it looks like I'll be getting it through my local business rep at an Apple

00:08:31   store.

00:08:32   It seems the quickest way to get a hold of one.

00:08:33   But otherwise, you know, it's kind of, there's the old quote, and I've heard it attributed

00:08:38   to Mark Twain, but you never really know with these kind of things, that a man buys something

00:08:43   for two reasons, the good reason and then a real reason.

00:08:47   And I have a couple of good reasons to buy a MacBook Pro, and then maybe a couple of

00:08:50   real reasons as well to kind of balance that out.

00:08:54   It's definitely something where, on the good reasons side, I think there's a value in trying

00:09:01   to put yourself where Apple is heading and being very comfortable and familiar with the

00:09:07   technologies and approaches that Apple is pushing and directing the company towards.

00:09:14   Now, that's not to say that you necessarily have to spend a lot of money and get a lot

00:09:18   of technology to do that, but I feel like there's something ... It's like having a really

00:09:22   solid understanding of what a retina screen on a Mac is and how that looks and how it

00:09:27   feels is likely just sort of helpful as an Apple developer for being, it's almost like

00:09:35   being well-rounded or being very comfortable with the technology so that you can sort of

00:09:40   understand where they're heading with other technologies or things that they're doing

00:09:44   and just kind of being well-informed.

00:09:46   And it's a little bit funny, but it's also sort of like, when a retina iPad came out,

00:09:51   I made sure I had one right away, even though I didn't really need it.

00:09:54   It's this part of being a developer is being really comfortable on the platform in all

00:09:58   of its variations.

00:10:00   And so that's kind of a part of a reason.

00:10:03   Another reason, of course, is just that it's a ridiculously fast machine.

00:10:07   And that is always good in terms of productivity, in terms of getting work done, especially

00:10:11   with regards to disk I/O.

00:10:13   It's a pretty nuts machine in that regard.

00:10:15   And it just seems to be really well put together.

00:10:18   And so that's certainly a plus and a slinging in its favor.

00:10:22   The SSDs are finally large enough to handle a full complement of data,

00:10:27   which is kind of cool.

00:10:28   Probably not if you get the base model with its 256 gigabyte SSD,

00:10:34   but if you get either of the other two, the 512 or the 768 SSD options,

00:10:40   it's a pretty--

00:10:42   there's very few people who, unless they're doing a lot of probably video,

00:10:46   for whom that would be too small of a drive to do everything on.

00:10:49   So it means you don't have to play these funny games where you're

00:10:52   doing sim links to your iTunes media library or these things.

00:10:57   It's having a half to three quarters of a terabyte of data.

00:11:01   Storage is actually pretty good and will likely do you pretty well with that.

00:11:05   And so that's kind of nice that you can hit that point where you get the great

00:11:08   performance and it's all on one device.

00:11:12   For a long time I've been booting off of an external SSD

00:11:15   uh... because my mac is so hard to change internal drive for it

00:11:19   you know all these kind of weird things and think it's nice to do

00:11:21   be able to move back towards one big drive

00:11:24   every and i can back to time she needed super duper it now that but

00:11:28   i don't need external storage i can be totally self-contained and to be display

00:11:31   on the device is also

00:11:32   kind of resolution but i think it you know developing on it is that is pretty

00:11:36   good i've heard a lot of people

00:11:38   who used to a token of twenty seven inch display

00:11:41   that say

00:11:42   especially if you do the like more space option

00:11:45   that it's just as comfortable to work on as any single desktop

00:11:52   environment is to work in, which is kind of cool.

00:11:55   And then another sort of good reason

00:11:56   is in terms of Mac development.

00:11:58   So I do some of this right now.

00:12:00   I have applications like InstaBackup.

00:12:03   I have Five Live.

00:12:04   I have applications like that that are on the Mac App Store.

00:12:07   And actually, pretty much all my apps

00:12:10   are retina-enabled at this point,

00:12:12   most because they're graphically fairly simple.

00:12:15   But it's also kind of--

00:12:16   as I'm looking to do some more Mac development in the coming

00:12:19   months, and it's just one of those things of having

00:12:22   a native machine that I can do that development on and test

00:12:28   it and make sure my retina graphics look great on,

00:12:30   seems just a wise decision in the same way that I get--

00:12:33   I have a retina and a non-retina iPad,

00:12:36   even though I could just use the simulator

00:12:38   and look at the retina graphics on my old--

00:12:41   and then run it on my old device to get a sense of it,

00:12:44   it just seems wise and better to do that actually natively

00:12:47   on the device.

00:12:49   And then I guess you can kind of get into in the sort

00:12:52   of the jokingly kind of like the real reasons.

00:12:54   It's awesome.

00:12:55   It's just sort of gorgeous and beautiful.

00:12:57   And Apple does a great job of creating demand and desire

00:13:01   for new technology.

00:13:02   And I'm certainly not immune to that.

00:13:05   In some ways, I don't see that as a bad thing.

00:13:08   That's part of what makes my money and my living

00:13:11   is that Apple does that with their other technologies too.

00:13:14   They do a great job of making me and my customers

00:13:17   want to buy iPhones, and when they have an iPhone,

00:13:19   they want to get apps on it.

00:13:20   And that's what makes my living.

00:13:22   And so that's awesome that Apple can do that.

00:13:24   And it's kind of fun that they still can do that in me

00:13:27   as well with you look at this technology,

00:13:30   and you're like, wow, that's awesome.

00:13:31   I want to have that.

00:13:32   I want to play with that.

00:13:34   I want to see what that's like in reality

00:13:35   and in practical use.

00:13:38   And I think really why I'm getting it

00:13:40   is a combination of all of those.

00:13:41   I don't think it's necessarily just like, oh, it's cool.

00:13:44   It's kind of an expensive thing to get just because it's cool.

00:13:47   But I think a combination of all of the useful attributes of it,

00:13:51   doing Mac development, and just kind of feeling

00:13:53   like it's good to be there, has maybe just sort of pushed me

00:13:57   over in terms of, OK, that's definitely what I'm going to do.

00:13:59   Who knows?

00:13:59   Maybe next year I'll end up sort of relegating it to the side

00:14:03   when they come up with this new awesome-- the super Mac Pro

00:14:06   That's awesome and amazing.

00:14:09   But later next year is a long time from now.

00:14:12   And so in the meantime, I'm going to get one and probably

00:14:14   make it my main machine.

00:14:15   And I suspect I'll be pretty happy with it.

00:14:19   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:20   I hope that's interesting.

00:14:22   As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns,

00:14:25   hit me up on Twitter.

00:14:26   I'm @_DavidSmith on Twitter.

00:14:28   And I'll just reiterate it again that I think some of the best

00:14:32   shows I've done and a lot of the feedback I've gotten,

00:14:36   I've received confirms this.

00:14:37   The best shows are ones where people

00:14:39   are asking questions about things

00:14:40   that they're curious about, things

00:14:41   that they're struggling with, and I kind of address them.

00:14:44   So please send me questions, send me feedback

00:14:47   if you have things to discuss.

00:14:48   Because I think you get the best shows that way.

00:14:50   Otherwise, happy coding.

00:14:51   Have a good week.

00:14:52   And I will talk to you later.