Photo of Jamie & Lion

The personal site of Jamie Knight, a slightly autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

WWDC 214 - First Thoughts

Just some quick first reactions:

Surprises:

Swiftnew modern programming language. Looks pretty sweet, looking forward too some more under the hood information and deep dives. Really unexpected!

iCloud Drive – Was not expecting an open file system. Synced with Macs is a happy bonus. Effortless backup too.

SpotlightAlfred just got sherlocked :( it’s like Siri without the voice bit.

Expected but nice:

HomeKit – very excited about this, i have been contemplating a Phillips hue purchase for a while and this may just push me over the edge. Hoping API is open so other devices can be integrated.

Photos – iCloud camera roll is now up to 5gb for free, with extra storage sold as a monthly extra. iCloud already offered 5gb, but It now looks a reasonable cost to upgrade capacity.

Disappoinments:

No hardware announcement – Mac Mini is very long in the tooth was hoping for something. No mention of ARM powered Macs.

No Apple TV App Store – it really needs one.

No OS 11 it’s been almost 15 years since OSX first debuted. When will OS 11 come along, what changes will it bring?

Published: 2 June 2014 | Categories: , Permalink

Thoughts on "My Advice to Young Designers and Developers"

Andy Budd recently wrote about the advice he has for young designers and developers.

As a young(ish) developer, I took pretty much the path Andy describes; I wanted to share my thoughts on how its turned out for me.

My path.

When I finished college, I did university part time as I built up my own business (+ Lion). About half way through my degree, I jumped ship and took a job at the BBC where I have been kept busy, working on iPlayer and whatnot.

Roll on 2.5 years; I am a senior developer and I just purchased a little flat in London.

It’s been one hell of a ride. As I read Andy’s piece many things rang true. This peice is a response, with a reflection of the positives and negatives, based on my experiences. Hopefully, other young web folk will find it helpful.

The disadvantages.

“By comparison, the majority of people I know who went straight into a career ended up hating what they did for a living”

Yep.

Well I am getting there. The web does not excite me like it use to. I look at other developers around my age and I feel out of date. I work in a big organisation with big organisation technology adoption. Most recently, I have felt something is missing from my life, the excitement.

I feel somewhat old and tired. Many of my friends comment that over the last few years I have seemingly gone quiet. I am less bold, and I make less things. Settling down has got boring already.

I also feel massively disconnected with my peers. My boyfriend is a university student, sometimes he feels like a complete alien. I am not into music, I am not into much “youth culture”. I don’t find BBC Three funny.

I wonder if I sold my youth. Granted (as I will get to later) I was in a different position to most, but essentially I am doing now what I did when I was 19. That feels pretty bad sometimes. I didn’t explore the world, or learn to scuba dive.

I feel like I missed out on some stuff. Stuff I cannot describe. I cannot say I am that excited and enthusiastic about spending the next 40+ years doing what I do now.

But with all that said, there are some major advantages too.

The Pros. (it’s not all doom and gloom)

The biggest positive, is that I have financial stability. I live well within my means and always have. I saved my earnings and I brought an affordable flat I can live in for half my current income.

Andy mentions settling down:

“More importantly, travelling is a lot of fun. It’s also something that gets harder to do as you progress in your careers, buy houses, raise families and settle down.”

He is right about family, but I think that conflates the issue a little. Having a family happens to people even when they don’t go into early employment. So while I see his point, I think its a little weak when it comes to the family argument.

I don’t agree regarding buying a house. My flat is an asset, if I dont want to live it in, I can just rent it out. I already make back some of my costs by renting out the spare bedroom.

I have settled down, but I also have security and that security gives me options. I just need to be brave and take them.

Professionally I also feel I have grown a great deal since I joined the BBC. I am doing essentially the same thing as when I was 13 (making websites) but I am now doing it a completely different way. I have managed teams, built at insane scale and learnt so many lessons about how to build things that dont fall over and are flexable.

I feel like I have made the most of what I have been given. If the web bubble bursts tomorrow, I have set myself up for a secure future. (though writing that out feels like I’m being a right arse!)

On Balance.

On balance I think there is alot of truth in what Andy is saying. I am on the path too hating my job, and his article is one of the things which has really made that apparent to me.

But I have options and a secure base to operate from. I can fix it and I have invested in my future.

What would I say to young people.

My advice to young people basically falls down to “how secure are you”.

If like I was, your facing homelessness without a safety net, then I think profiting from your skills now is not a bad choice. In my opinion, the web is a bubble, and if you can make enough to give yourself a secure future then that is entirely what you should do. This means doing the work, earning well, but living like a hermit. Make the most of it.

If you have security, for example supportive parents then there is less risk. As Andy suggests, traveling looks mighty fine. I have seen people combine traveling with working to great effect.

One place where I do agree entirely with Andy is about appreciating money. If you’re a young web folk and you spend all your earnings on beer and cars, then I do feel you’re missing the point.

Final thoughts.

Thats about it for my thoughts. I would like to thank Andy for his post, I don’t fully agree with him, but I think he is touching on an important topic.

Technology has enabled a certain age group to jump the entry level jobs. That has social and personal consequences and discussing them is only a good thing.

Published: 20 March 2014 | Categories: , Permalink

Device Convergence Please.

I think the recent talk of iOS and OS X convergence is interesting. I think is also misses the point a bit. I don’t want a single converged OS, but I do want converged devices.

I find the idea of a single device which can run iOS and OS X appealing. A device which I can carry with me, then dock to use for basic computing taks such as word processing and perhaps software development.

This is not a new idea, Motorola did this with the Atrix. However, the Atrix did not offer me iOS and OS X… it only offered Andriod and Ubuntu which don’t appeal to me.

I think, my ideal combination would offer the following.

Combined Storage

If I had OS X and iOS on a single device; I would want a single storage pool for both systems. I would expect iTunes on OSX and iOS to share the same files / database.

Keep iOS file system free.

While I want the same databases (eg, photo library, iTunes library) I don’t want a file system. I want to keep file management outside of the UI.

All the power of OS X.

I would like OS X to offer the complete UNIX enviroment and to be able to run my regular apps*. I want to be able to dock my iPhone, do some work in Coda 2, then undock it to watch a movie on the train.

A light touch.

iOS and OS X are both best of breed. Even when on a single device they have to remain themselves. I want both, not a horrible mixture. Keeping OS X just when docked is fine by me.

Published: 23 February 2014 | Categories: , Permalink

Older Articles