iOS Mobile Design with Sketch at Big Nerd Ranch

I’ve wanted to get better at using Sketch for a while now and it looks like I might get my wish!

iOS Mobile Design with Sketch

At work we’ve revamped our mobile design class and it now includes learning Sketch alongside mobile design fundamentals. The class summary:

If you have basic design experience in UI, UX, web or responsive web design, this class will teach you to bring your designs to iOS in just five days.

In this intense week of learning about design for iOS devices, you will design an iOS app, from concept to delivery. With a focus on Sketch, you will learn a process that you can use in any future app design projects.

If this sounds interesting to you I highly encourage you to register and join us in January. I’m registered and really looking forward to the class.

Rebooting My Professional Side Projects

It’s been a little over two years since I put Clickable Bliss, the company name for my personal projects, then self-employment, on hiatus after taking a job at DmgCtrl (which then turned into a job at Big Nerd Ranch). Back then when I wrote about the change, I mentioned that team work was something I was really missing after my group startup Shindig ended. The good news is, in the last 2 years time I’ve gotten to work with some very talented people and have learned a ton from them. The sad news is, the yearning to work on something longterm, something of my own, something I can have a meaningful impact on does not go away. Today I’d like to share my intent to reboot my professional side projects.

I say “professional” side projects because I do want these to be serious projects that result in profitable products. I want to create software that people enjoy using, solve meaningful problems and people are willing to pay for. I’m not looking to quit my job but I don’t want that to be an excuse for lack of progression or service level, I want to make sure my customers are taken care of.

So what’s next? Well right now I’m working on breaking down some project ideas and otherwise trying to get up to speed with some tech stacks I’m considering using. I’m also trying to figure out the legal and branding side of things. Some questions on my mind:

  • Do I continue to do work under the name Clickable Bliss (which is a D.B.A.) or do I come up with a new company name that helps distinguish this new era and long term team intent (I do hope to bring on help for these new projects sooner than later).
  • If I do a new company name, do I run it as an LLC?
  • Do I promote these products under the company brand or just build brands around the project(s) themselves. (The two leading ideas I’d like to work on have fairly divergent audiences although longterm I’d say my interest is in providing tools for people who embrace technology to create things.)
  • I want to start to build up a newsletter as soon as I have some more concrete things to share. How do I migrate those people from the old Clickable Bliss mailing list? Should I?

So that’s what’s going on. Will share more when I have it. If you have any feedback or comments, please shoot me an email!

24 Hours with My iPad Pro

I’ve always been a big fan of the iPad. I’ve owned an: iPad 1, iPad 2 (which I sold to upgrade to an iPad 3), an iPad mini (retina), and now an iPad Pro.

I’ve been pretty antsy for an iPad Pro since I saw the original announcement. I can’t say I have any unquie plans for it (outside reading Big Nerd Ranch book drafts in PDF format on a much bigger screen). Mostly I just want to experiment with the all the new features like the pencil and multitasking.

As of right now I have the iPad Pro itself (I went with the high end, 128 GB with cellular) and the keyboard cover. The pencil has been a little harder to come by so until then I’m making due with the 53 Pencil I bought a while ago but never really got into due to the smallness of the iPad mini. So far, it plus the larger screen is working out well. I look forward to comparing this to Apple’s version.

There are lots of great iPad Pro reviews out there so I won’t go into major detail. The things I’m liking a lot: the huge screen, the sound system and the battery life. The things that got me down a bit: the removal of the split keyboard (it’s hard to type holding the iPad Pro in portrait mode), lack of 3D Touch and the lack of the newer thumbprint scanner.

All that said, when it comes down to it, it’s about the software. I think I’ve spent $100 in new software playing around with things. If you know of some must have iPad software let me know cause I want to see how hard I can push this thing. Tomorrow should be a great test as I fly down to Atlanta to visit the home office of Big Nerd Ranch.

Release Notes Conference Thoughts

This post is delayed due to a head cold I had last week, but considering the amount of effort and love that went into producing the Release Notes Conference I figured the least I can do is share my reaction.

In short, I think Joe and Charles have a really cool product here. Despite a somewhat saturated iOS conference space I think they have chiseled out a much needed and action-oriented event. The idea of an entire conference of content focused on building and growing your Apple-related business is great enough, but then consider you’ll end up mingling with similar minded people results in an incredible event.

I don’t want to understate the importance of actionable. There are a lot of tech conferences out there where you’ll see some very interesting talks that showcase some new language features or APIs but you can’t always come home and apply them to your current work right away. I think one of the best aspects of the Release Notes Conference is that no matter how young or old your business or product is, there were tons of actionable tasks to walk away with.

In many ways the conference reminded me fondly of the (pre-iPhone) MacSB (Mac Software Business) mailing list and IRC channel where a small group of us would hang out, post question and share notes. It was small, very welcoming and extremely helpful group.

My understanding is that the talks were recorded and will be published online, so if you are interested I highly recommend signing up for their mailing list for the announcement. Of course, if you aren’t subscribed already I’ll also recommend their weekly podcast which started it all.