WWDC 2018 Social Recap

I just got back from my WWDC 2018 Social trip and it was a lot of fun. I figured I’d do a quick recap of the social side and leave room to talk about the tech stuff as I get deeper into the session videos in the weeks to come.

Costs

With a nod to Manton’s lead I thought I too would share my costs in order to help others understand what is possible despite WWDC generally being a large cost these days.

  • Plane fare (Southwest, Philadelphia to San Jose Roundtrip taking the early and late times to save a little bit extra): $564.00
  • Hotel: ($125/night, 4 nights + taxes & early checkin fee). Booked early on event date assumptions, was cancelable.: $642.00
  • Airport cab fair: $25 each way.
  • WWDC conference ticket: $0 (Big savings here obviously. If you can get value from the labs, the $1700 ticket cost can pay for itself but if you just want to watch the sessions, enjoy the free video streams on delay).
  • AltConf conference ticket: $0 (I’ve bought the $300 Hero ticket in the past but held back this year since I’m on my own again and trying to keep costs down. Kind of feel bad considering how well I enjoyed the talks there this year.)
  • Food and drinks: ~$300 Made a point to get some supplies at a grocery store early in the week so I could supplement eating out with some in-room breakfast mornings and snacks.
  • Podcast and other event tickets: ~$50

Total: ~$1600

TL;DR: Make your decision about WWDC early and keep an eye on the rumored dates. Book early with hotels that are cancelable. If you need some more help, find a roommate to split hotel/cab costs with.

Events

On Sunday night I attended the sjMacIndie party and saw a lot of conference friends. Venue was a little on the warm side but plenty of space so it didn’t get too stuffy. I did not recognize much of San Jose from my earlier WWDC trips (2002-2004) but I did recognize this venue as the previous pool hall where the student scholarship winners once had a party. In fact it was at said party where I won an iPod which I later sold to help cover my plane fare back in the day.

You can check out some of the old WWDC 2002 Student coverage we did via Wayback Machine and this video, with footage from the pool hall, I was able to find and re-upload.

On Monday I watched the Keynote and State of the Union with friends at the hotel. We had to jump wifi networks a few times but overall was very successful. Afterwords I headed to the live recording of ATP podcast which was a lot of fun.

On Tuesday I took in a few AltConf talks and also attended the Micro.Blog meetup. Really enjoyed the Setapp talk about their growth/recommendations and the detailed talk on improving app startup times. I also took some time on Tuesday to work on my own project, finally breaking down a long list of tasks into a new Pivotal Tracker project so I can start to track things better.

On Wednesday did more AltConf stuff. Really enjoyed Paul Hudson’s review of new iOS 12 additions. Also had a good time in the Finding Product Fit lab. At night I attended the Relay FM podcast recording which went great. Afterwords I went to the Breakpoint / AppCampForGirls event. I didn’t stay too long though, place was really dark and loud. Also kind of irked me that there was a separate VIP section. I really dislike the social cliques that pop up at industry conferences and seeing the VIP thing put a bad taste in my mouth.

Aside: I’d love to see some options for non-bar night events at conferences. A 24 hour hacking lab with whiteboard grouping around ideas; maybe with room corners for Mario Karting or boardgames/poker. I like hanging out but I don’t like drinking too much and I can’t hear people over the crowds. I miss MacHack in many ways. Maybe I’ll lead by example some day should I ever dawn my event organizer hat again.

On Thursday I got to attend a few morning talks at AltConf before heading home. Of them I really enjoyed the review of what Firebase is offering these days. I’ve been watching them since before they were bought by Google. Like any third-party component you have to accept some risk but I welcome the opportunity to use them to bootstrap a new idea some time in the future.

The journey home took a long while. I didn’t sleep much but did enjoy a bunch of podcasts.

Overall WWDC 2018 Social was a great success. It was awesome to say hi to some internet/conference friends and hear how everyone is doing. Now that I’m home it’s time to jump into the technical content and see what the WWDC sessions have to share. I’ll post more on that as I experiment.

Say Hello at WWDC!

A short message to say, yes I will be in San Jose for WWDC next week. No, I will not be in the conference itself but I will be hanging around AltConf and other events. If you see me, please say hi.

Gaming Update, May 2018

From April trends, I continued to play Stardew Valley into early May. It kind of died off over the last few weeks though since I don’t have much left to do, beside more and more money.

I also finished April pretty heavy into the new Hearthstone expansion. It was fun to see the new cards and decks. Nothing ground breaking, fun times and good fodder while I also listen to podcasts.

What’s new for me is my second attempt at Zelda on Switch. I’ve made it much further than my first attempt (~ 15 hours in) and am getting better with the controls (though some mistakes still happen in the heat of battle). Exploring is fun though if I’m honest I feel like I would benefit from a little more direction. In my last play session I was tasked to fetch some arrows on a hill. There is a mob up there who I attempted to kill. I say attempted cause he kicked my ass repeatedly. I’ve been trying to avoid walkthroughs for this game but I wanted to take a peek to see if I was suppose to be here later in play, with more hearts and armor — turns out you are suppose to be stealthy and avoid this mob. We’ll see how that goes.

Second big update for me is Civilization 6! I bought the game when it first came out but never got too deep into it. I think I tripped over a YouTube video or something which put it back in my mind but yeah, I’m really enjoying it. It’s my first ever Civ game and the rules are overwhelming but fun to learn. The games last forever and it’s hard to put down so be prepared to dump major hours into game sessions. I’ve been playing standard games but it does have a lot of scenarios for a quicker experience I want to try out.

What’s next? Probably more Civilization 6 and Zelda. I also did purchase via pre-order Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors for Switch. I never got to play them on the WiiU but they look like fun. Also getting excited for E3 in June. There have been some Pokemon leaks for the Switch game and I’m a little nervous about the Go integration rumors but we’ll see how it turns out.

Micro.Manton

Long time Apple developer Manton Reece is broken, sources in the Reece household have shared. After embracing a micro format with Micro.blog and now microcasts, Manton has now instituted “micro” all over his household, from Micro.bed to Micro.dinner.

“Dinner is now severed on these little Barbie-sized plates. It’s a sick joke. I’m starving.”

Apparently the family is looking into a Micro.therapist for assistance. Manton could not be reached for Micro.comment.

Right to Repair

Via phoneArena:

It has been reported that iOS 11.3 has disabled some iPhone 8 touch displays. The devices affected are those who have had third party displays installed. These displays are typically installed by local repair shops and are not affiliated with Apple.

I’ve been a supporter of the Right to Repair movement and Apple once again disappoints. Perhaps the issue is a anomaly but if the past is pattern and without providing comment, then it feels like spite.

Louis Rossman has a good breakdown video you can watch for more info.

UPDATE: Another relivent story today: FTC: Warranty-voiding language like Nintendo’s and Sony’s is illegal

Hello from Linode

If you are reading this, then the DNS gods have shown you to my new Linode web server!

Not really sure if I’m happy with WordPress in the long term, but I wanted to move this blog off my old server asap so I stuck with it through the migration. This was the last site to be moved off that old server and now I can close up that account and save $40 a month.

Feels great to be back on Linode too. We used to use Linode back in the day during a old startup I was in (had a few app server nodes, node balancer, db node). I really like the raw access we get on Linode and that it feels like a real computer (unlike AWS which feels like witchcraft for me).

Gaming Update, April 2018

So last month I explained how I recently unsubscribed from WoW, somewhat because of it’s addictive nature and somewhat due to an interest in catching up with my growing game backlog. A few weeks in what do I do but replace it with new crack in the form of Stardew Valley.

I remember buying and playing Stardew Valley when it first came out (along side when I built my current PC gaming rig) and while I thought it was neat at the time it didn’t grab my attention from WoW.

A few years later, one of my let’s player subs starts doing a series with it and it got me really hooked. It shares a lot of the “build” feelings I get from Dragon Quest Builders (which has sadly died down since I started my farm) but adds a lot of personality with it’s pixel art style and unique town characters. The realtime day cycle and never ending things to do makes it extremely addictive to play for me. (Just one more day…)

So yeah, I’m in Year 3 of my farm. It’s pretty much end game content and achievement stuff now. I am contemplating doing my own Let’s Play (with a new farm) with it but we’ll see.

In other game news, I have been continuing to play Secret of Mana. I probably have 2 more sessions before that one will be done. I think I’m going to finish the story but leave the grind-y achievements be and move on.

Last month I mentioned Pokemon Ultra Moon and I didn’t get too far. I finished the first island but not feeling it at the moment so put it down. (This despite catching a shiny Zorua too!)

I did fire up Hearthstone for a few play sessions at the end of the month. Wanted to make sure I got my card back for the month’s season. Also looking forward to the new expansion which should land mid-April.

One nice thing they are doing right now is rewarding full packs with quest completion. The cost to own cards is something that makes it hard for me to recommend Hearthstone to new players. Let’s hope their generosity continues in the year to come.

Up next? I’d really like to give Zelda: Breath of the Wild a second chance. I put in like 5 hours when I first got it but nothing since.

Gaming Update, March 2018

Things have been pretty quite here so I thought I’d update you all on some things, you know the important stuff — like gaming!

First, what I’m not playing, World of Warcraft. I still love WoW. I think the Legion expansion went very well. I do however find myself playing it too much. As an example, I can sit down for a WoW play session and it will go on for hours, sometimes filling up most of the day. Whereas when I play other games I usually cap out at a healthy 90 minutes or so. Thats what I need to do so I can keep up with my work side projects as well as get into a pile of games I’ve bought over the last year but haven’t gotten into. I’m sure I’ll be back to WoW in time but I’m due for a good break.

So what am I playing? First up, I’ve been enjoying Dragon Quest Builders on the Switch the last two weeks or so. It’s a mix of Minecraft and live action RPG gameplay. It plays in the Dragon Quest 1 world and oozes nostalgia in it’s monsters, music and lore.

Next up is the Secret of Mana remake on PS4. This was one of my top games growing up and has an OST that I still listen to on a weekly basis while I work. The remake has been very controversial in gaming circles, mostly for the new music not living up to expectations. Overall I still prefer the SNES music as well but I don’t hate the remake at all. I find it a fun revisit to a classic game with a new flavor. And if you want the original music, it is included as a option.

Finally we have Pokemon Ultra Moon. I didn’t get too far into this remix version Generation 7 when it first came out. At the time I had just finished collecting the regional dex for Pokemon Sun so I ended up taking a break. Having been a few months out, it’s nice to be back. Despite the repetitive nature of the “remix” I still have fun. I even was lucky enough to get a Shiny Zorua for my early team.

What you playing? Ping me on Micro.Blog or email with your own gaming update.

2017 Retrospective

I’ve been kind of heads down with client work the last few months but wanted to say hi to those who still follow me here.

2017 was a bit of a sucker punch for me, but I survive.

After losing my job and having a neck surgery to open the year I was able to reboot my self employment under a new LLC. It took a few months but I finally landed some client work and have things pretty stable these days.

As for side projects I put a lot of time into OwlDeck in the spring but sadly it took a backseat to client work and revenue once summer rolled around. There is a good chance of it finding a second wind in 2018 as I have a bunch of teaching planned and it would be a great tool to have onhand.

I also decided this year to hand off my Philly CocoaHead responsibilities. I had been lead organizer for about 7 years and figured it was time. I still plan to be an active member but hope the extra hours can be put towards side projects in 2018.

Finally I’ve been learning new tech! I really want to get back into some web development and dedicated a fair amount of 2017 to relearning the web, from HTML5, to modern CSS (Flex, Grid, etc.) as well as new languages like Elixir and Elm.

My first Elm site is underway and I’ll share more as it comes together.

Thanks for checking in. Be sure to follow me on Micro.Blog as well. Have a great 2018!