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!

Speaking at 360iDev, Come Join Us.

I’m happy to report some recent talk proposals were accepted and I’ll be speaking at 360iDev this August in Denver. I was already going to go to 360iDev regardless of the talks, I’ve heard great things from recent years, so this just makes the week that much more exciting.

360iDev Logo

My Talks:

Overcoming the Stress Surrounding Code Review, for the Betterment of Your Project and Career

Code Review is a practice where before a change is made to a code base, the code is first posted somewhere for peer review and critique. Code Review is an extremely productive way to catch problems before they are delivered to users as well as help individuals mature as programmers. In this talk we’ll explore Code Review by documenting the responsibilities of those involved, the person posting the code, the person (or people) reviewing the code, and then again back to the poster, as they react to the feedback given. In addition to the raw process of these stages we’ll also review the very human side of Code Review using real world stories, the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll close with more general tips and tools that can help, as well as cover some of the how and why you might want to utilize these practices even in your own solo work. The best audience for this talk are people who are looking to improve their personal or team code processes. Those who attend will leave with very actionable strategies to execute productive code review on their own projects.

Starting, Growing and Running a Successful Developer Meetup

One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been attending and then helping to run my local Apple developer meetup group. Meetup groups provide great learning opportunities but more importantly they provide great relationship opportunities for its members. In this talk I’ll share the story and lessons learned from running my local CocoaHeads chapter. After a quick review of the benefits and challenges of running a local developer group we’ll jump into actionable items for people starting, growing or running their own group. From defining success, to time expectations, marketing, sponsorship, planning content, tools and more. To close the session we’ll invite a few other group leaders from the audience to the front for a broad question and answer session about your specific issues and concerns. This talk is targeted at those who are running or would like to run a local developer meetup. It may also be helpful to those who attend a current group that needs guidance and/or focus.

If you are an iOS developer you should consider joining us. It’s going to be a great conference. Per CocoaHeads, use the coupon code “cocoacommunity” for 15% off all tickets.

Meet OwlDeck, a New Mac Presentation App for Programmers and Markdown Geeks.

Today I’m launching the teaser site for my new app, OwlDeck.

OwlDeck is a new macOS presentation tool for programmers and geeks who need to display code and love Markdown.

If you are interested in OwlDeck I’d love for you to signup to its newsletter and email me your thoughts.

If you are interested in some behinds the scene stuff you can checkout the project journal I’ve been keeping over at Rested Experience. I hope to share more now that things are going public and timelines are set.

Really excited to be working on products again. 🙂

Introducing Zorn Labs LLC

As I alluded to after loosing my job at the end of January, I knew I’d take the majority of February to recover from my neck surgery and then get serious about work in March. We’ll it’s almost the end of March so I figured I’d do an update.

First, welcome Zorn Labs LLC, my new company. It will house my future consulting and product work.

Second, I am still looking for work. My goal is to find something 10-30 hours a week, doing iOS or iOS mentoring. To help express my skill set and goals I’ll point you to the new company site. I would appreciate all friends and followers to help spread the word.

Outside of setting up the new business and website, much of March has been spent towards marketing and planning. I had many lunches and coffees with prospects and friends. I even had a few offers but they sadly weren’t the right fit for me at this time. When I haven’t been marketing I’ve been trying to jumpstart some new web skills, refreshing my HTML5/CSS3 knowledge, getting deeper into Hugo template design for the new Philly CocoaHead website, and experimenting with Elixir and Phoenix.

For those interested in my Mac app project, you can also check out my project journal blog at: http://restedexperience.com. I’ve been trying to update that a little more often with my recent progress.

So that’s my March update. Thanks for the interest! More to come in April! 🙂

Neck Surgery Recovery Update

My neck surgery on Friday was a success.

It was more complicated than expected (2.5 hours under instead of the planned 45-60 minutes). The cyst had grown much larger than anticipated and was interwoven between lots of muscle and attached itself all over, including my spine. It was removed, unruptured, and the muscles rebuilt to hopefully fill in the void without too much of an indentation.

I have a large line of stitches but the hope is it should heal without too much of a scar. I’ll see the doctor in two weeks for a checkup and have been taking it easy with a lot of bed rest. Overall, the pain has been pretty manageable, the area is mostly just tight feeling.

Cabin fever is totally setting in and I’m looking forward to getting out of the apartment later this week. Plan to do IndyHall one day and then Side Project Saturday with the CocoaHeads.

I know I owe a bunch of people lunch and or happy hour drinks. If you want to get together let me know.

Fever Dreams

While I had hopes of doing more productive things, I ended up spending the last few days in bed fighting off a pretty lousy sinus / chest cold.

Between the medicines and the fever, I don’t think I had more than 90 consecutive minutes of sleep. The dreams were awful too. Not like vivid/scary but it was as if I’m trying to solve an algebra problem and the rules don’t make sense. Sometimes I had these really long dreams and then I’d wake up only to find I was asleep for an hour or so.

Nothing like being sick to help remind you to appreciate the importance of your health.

Anyways, I’m on the mend and taking some antibiotics to help make sure my system is clean for Friday’s neck surgery. I’m hopeful the recovery of that will be easier than this past weekend. I think it should be.

On Thursday we’ve got CocoaHeads! I’ll be there to MC but will probably take it easy at the bar afterwords for obvious reasons.

Finally, I want to take a quick moment to say thanks to everyone who reached out to me regarding my unemployment news from last week. I really appreciate the well wishes and leads. Getting that kind of response really helps put my stress at ease. Thanks so much.

“For the times they are a-changing”

I am no longer an employee of Big Nerd Ranch. The news came down on Monday. I can’t speak to any of the details but suffice to say I am disappointed. I really enjoyed working at BNR. My time there was productive, for my own personal growth as well as that of my students and clients. I wish them well, and continue to recommend them as a good source for iOS education.

So, what’s next for me?

On the immediate horizon, I’m a bit focused on my neck surgery, which is on Feb 10th. Its been scheduled since November. The goal is to remove a large cyst on the back of my neck. I will be put under for this surgery, so tomorrow I have to get a bunch of blood work and X-rays done.

For work, I open to ideas. Generally speaking I’m unlikely to make long term plans and would probably prefer to take on some smaller consulting work. I’d like to steep a bit on my long term options. If you have anyone who might be in need for an experienced iOS or Mac developer, let me know. Thanks for your help.

Dongle Emotions

After letting my bedroom / office get out of hand, I took some time today to clean up and get organized. I wrapped and grouped up my wires and even opened up some of the new USB3/Thunderbolt3 dongles I had ordered to go along with my new MacBook Pro order.

Now I don’t want to get into the current dongle drama surrounding the new MacBook Pro — but I do have a funny story.

A few years ago I worked as a self-employed contractor doing iOS work. I was at a meeting with a new prospective client. Overall the meeting went well and it looked like we’d be working together. At the end I was packing up all my gear and there was an accusation that I had taken their projector dongle. I was fairly certain I was in the right and this was a dongle from my laptop bag but did I really want to risk this multi-month contract for a $30 dongle? It was something out of a Seinfeld episode. Suffice to say, I left the dongle with the client that day to ease tensions.

Don’t mess with another man’s dongle.

These days I mark all my dongles (and I need a ton of them as a traveling instructor not knowing what a room will have) with “ZORN” to alleviate confusion.