Technology

In general I thought WWDC was pretty lack luster. To be clear I also think MSBuild and Google I/O were also pretty lack luster. We are in some form of a lull right now in the tech industry. It is apparent Machine Learning is here to stay and there are a few different approaches between the big three right now. Augmented Reality is also here to stay but there needs to be better hardware to the market to make it a reality. The platforms continue to advance though. So what are my take aways from Apple’s presentation?

Well My first thought is iOS is stabilizing, watchOS is maturing, tvOS is growing, and macOS is getting more iOS like sprinkles on the top. The one thing Apple truly has over the competition is a unified platform. The seamless ways everything works together is a great selling point. The demos of taking a photo leveraging your iPhone to put a picture into a presentation or document shows how you can leverage your tools together. There really isn’t any way Windows or Google can approach this today due to the scattered nature of their experiences.

It was very interesting seeing Apple start off by talking about ARKit 2. I didn’t really expect that out of the gate. I would have expected more talk about other features like Siri Shortcuts or Machine Learning to keep up with the Google Factory. I still have a strong belief that Apple will solve the hardware problem through an accessory glasses that leverages wireless communication to your phone as the brain. We will have to wait and see though. To bad they are not showing any early hardware even yet. I don’t think the right approach is holding an iPad up to use it for AR.

Apple’s other big push I thought was note worthy is their continued pressure on being the platform for privacy. Apple can ride this for quite a while. Even their Machine Learning strategy is unique and focused primarily on device. Time will tell if they can continue to push their Machine learning platform. I’m hoping to get some time with it soon to see what it can actually do versus the other platforms.

Siri Shortcuts brings some options to the table to really allow App developers the opportunity to create new unique experiences, while putting the power in the hands of the users to do their own automation. I can’t wait to play with that either but I need to get another device to use so I have a primary device that is not running a developer build.

The rest of the presentations around animojis and memojis while entertaining don’t seem like something I want to use daily. Even FaceTime updates don’t scream out to me. My best hope now is new hardware later this year for the platform although I don’t think we will see much for Macs only iPad updates.

Image result for github images

So there has been a lot of media coverage as well as banter all over social media today regarding Microsoft Acquiring GitHub. I thought I would quickly post my thoughts on the topic.

I’ve been working in the tech industry formally since the late 90’s. I’ve been back and forth from an Open Source developer to a Microsoft .Net Developer to an Apple iOS Developer. I’ve leveraged tons of different open source platforms over the years. Most of the negative banter I hear is directly related to Microsoft taking this over. Some folks literally calling for an exodus from the GitHub platform. I don’t really get this stance since the Microsoft of today is nothing like the Microsoft of the past. I recently attended MSBuild and majority of the presentations I went to were literally ran on OSS or fully developed with OSS. The Microsoft of today doesn’t care if you use Microsoft stack. They primarily care that they enable you to leverage their cloud today.

The way I look at this is Microsoft is here to invest. They are a much more open company than they ever have been in the past. I actually see a lot of parallels to Redhat today for Microsoft more than Microsoft of old. At the end of the day the world revolves around $$$. We have to accept that. No Open Source solution or platform can live on forever without some version of financial influence. I for one hope to see GitHub grow into an even larger ecosystem with many more features.

What are your thoughts? Is Microsoft the devil to you? Do you think this is the end of GitHub? Are you running to Gitlab?

When I was in High School I happened to take a course in drafting and eventually Computer Aided Design. I even landed a job for a while learning and doing 3D CAD. Over the years I’ve dabbled in 3D from time to time whether it was creating something for a video intro for my kids theater performances I burned to DVD or for building a simple game. I’ve decided it was time to dust off my skills again. Especially with the project I’m working on my boys to create a digital game.

Wow the world has and hasn’t changed much.

The tools I’m using at this time range from Blender (Free) to ZBrush Core (Paid). I’m trying to focus on Blender which is a crazy tool that can do more than one trick. It can be a 3D Modeling tool or a Sculpting tool or even a game engine.

Blender

Blender 2.79b

Blender can scare people off really quickly. You need to come to it understanding it is in “Expert Mode” out of the gate. The tool is full of keyboard shortcuts you really need to memorize to improve your speed. The mouse will feel backwards off the bat but if you get used to it you will understand the thoughts behind it.

I’m going to start to make screencasts over the next few weeks covering everything from the basics to stuff I’m just playing around with. My goal is to force myself to learn the tool to share with others what you can do with it and how. Just like doing a presentation if I don’t have a deadline it won’t happen. So starting today I’m going to be posting a video 2-3 times a week. My first video will land by Wednesday this week.

See you again soon.

The Beginning

I have decided to start a project with my two younger boys Camron and Curtis. The journey we are going to go on is to create a digital game from ideation to completion. We will be doing this all while live streaming the experience. I am currently working on a schedule in which we will stream the different parts of the process.

This will be quite an experience. I just recently starting streaming on Twitch under my handle CorvusNite. I’ve already learned a lot and will continue to evolve my Twitch content between gaming myself and building the game my sons come up with.

The Game – Episode 0

What do I expect my boys to want to build? Well based on the fact that they love to play Minecraft I have a gut feeling that is where their ideas are going to start. I’m going to push them though to create something completely unique instead. My first session will be myself, and my boys sitting around a table and literally drawing up ideas on paper. We will have open discussion of our ideas and between the three of us we will land on the game concept. From there is where the creative process will really get going. We will have to do everything from game mechanics to design aesthetics. If the game has characters we will have to work through character design principles. Next we will have to discuss our strategy of how we attack building our first MVP.

Development Begins – Episode 1

The next step for us will probably be starting the rough game development. I’m not sure at this point where we will start. It will either be jumping right into a game development platform and starting basic game concepts in code, or it could be starting on the development of graphics for the game either way this will be more of a screencast. I’ll do commentary as I go. I will discuss the decisions I’m making and why. Occasionally I will have to consult with the game designers (My sons).

Crowd Participation

I am hoping to get a community around this project and they will have input as we move forward through the design of the game. This will come in the way of polls as well as just people contributing through chat in Twitch or commenting on the archived YouTube videos I post. If people would like to directly contribute we would find a way for them to join us. The goal though is that majority of the development of this project is streamed to show the process and the work that goes into building software.

Conclusion

I hope this project will be a success and that others will enjoy watching the process. Please feel free to give some suggestions if you have them as well as feedback.

Have you ever debated the amount of architecture needed? If you have began your career progression as an architect or a software engineer with the role of architect, you probably have questioned the appropriate level of architecture. Terms will be thrown around like explicit architecture versus intrinsic architecture. Maybe intentional architecture versus organic or emergent architecture. Either way you begin to question what is the right level of architecture for your solution.

If you have experienced things like I have in my career you go through waves where you think you have all the answers to find out they were all the wrong answer. The truth of the matter will become clear at some point that there is not a perfect architecture, there is only the architecture that meets the needs today. Eventually it will get broken. If not by use by time.

I feel the job of the architect whether it is role or whether it is a position is to minimize the risk of change. This means usually putting just enough architecture in place to make it easy to change later. This is more art than science. This is where the engineering brain you may have will beat you up. At some point you have to be able to work in the grey or you will not make it in your career.

I feel like I’ve reached the point in my career where I know how far to go without killing a business or killing the engineers that work on the project but I’m sure others may have different opinions. Either way I’ve learned to get out of the way more and not feel like I need to architect every aspect of the software. At the end of the day no one cares about the architecture except the architects and the engineers that have to change the system, unless you have a very technical product team that understands the trade offs. Your customers whether internal or external do not care as long as the software meets their needs. They will care if they are paying regular though whether you can add additional value and that is where the customer unintentionally will care about the architecture whether they know they do or not.

What are your thoughts? Is there a perfect architecture? Is there ever enough architecture? Does your organization care about architecture? Do they understand the need?

I’d love to have some conversations on this topic with others. Catch me around other meet ups and conferences if you get a chance.

So I started writing this on the last day of That Conference. Last week I had the opportunity to attend multiple Open Spaces sessions as well as a few topics while volunteering. The one common thing that still astonishes me is the way this community has came together. I missed the last couple years for one reason or another. This year I happened to work the registration desk a few days and time and time again people would turn in things left behind from others. Everything from purses to laptop bags with laptops still in them. It is amazing how well this community looks out for each other. The reactions of the folks picking up their belonging was just amazing.

The open spaces conversations I participated in or saw all were focused on helping each other. This just shows how much this community wants to give back to each other. No one really seems to ever show much of an ego. I was able to ask some first year attendees how their experience was. They were shocked at how much they were getting for their money as well as being able to find tons of content they wanted to see. In fact they stated it was hard to decide what to go too because there were so many good topics.

Clark, Carrie, and the “That Crew” have truly built a great community that I full heartedly expect to grow. It already has quite a bit and the say off season messages that go around show just how much of a community not just a conference they have built. I hope to be able to continue to be part of “That Crew” and help build this thing even bigger.

Stay tuned as I am about to get my blogging back on as well. I feel I have not contributed to the community outside my work in quite a while. I will also be looking to get back into the speaking circuit as well.