Here’s what’s happening in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs this week.

Monday, March 27

Tuesday, March 28

Tampa iOS Meetup is my Meetup group aimed at people new to software development or new to iOS development. Rather than study just a single aspect of iOS development, each Tampa iOS Meetup session is devoted to developing a complete app, and learning various things along the way.

On Tuesday, we’ll build a relaxation/mindfulness app at Tampa iOS Meetup, and in the process, learn about:

  • Error handling in Swift: responding to errors gracefully rather than having the app come to a crashing halt and annoying the user.
  • Playing sounds: Playing both short sound cues and effects, as well as longer recordings.
  • Auto layout: Building user interfaces that adjust themselves to the screen size, from the (relatively) tiny iPhone 4S all the way to the large iPad Pro.

Join me, next Tuesday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolters Kluwer office (1410 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa) in Westshore for Tampa iOS Meetup’s session on building a guided meditation audio app! We’ll provide food and drink — bring your Mac laptop, and be ready to code!

To register for this event, visit the event page. Registration is free! Please register by Monday, March 27th at 12 noon so that we can determine how much food and drink we’ll need.

 

Tuesday’s events:

Wednesday, March 29

Microsoft is hosting virtual bootcamps on building IoT solutions this week, where they’ll talk about Windows 10, Azure, and how they fit with IoT, complete with presentations and hands-on labs led by Microsoft presenters as well as these IoT industry speakers:

You can catch these bootcamps in the company of other Tampa Bay area people interested in IoT at Tampa Hackerspace — check out their events, which are taking place Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 

Wednesday’s events:

Thursday, March 30

Google has reached out to the TampaDev Meetup group and offered a free half-day seminar on the Google Cloud Platform. They’ll talk about the platform, Compute Engine, Kubernetes, Google data storage and data warehousing. This event will take place on Thursday morning and include breakfast.

 

Thursday’s events:

Friday, March 31

Saturday, April 1

Sunday, April 2

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In the coming weeks, I’ll be making a couple of presentations on developing two rather different types of mobile application development, for two rather different mobile platforms, for two rather different audiences programming in two rather different languages…

Tuesday, March 28: Building a guided meditation audio app for iOS

The “relaxation tape” came into being when the first personal music players — this was when cassette tapes were the most popular medium for playing music — became popular. These were recordings that featured soothing music and a narrator with a calming voice who would guide you through a relaxation or mindfulness exercise. As technology evolved, relaxation tapes became relaxation MP3s, and you can now find relaxation and mindfulness apps in the App Store, such as Take a Break (it’s free).

Tampa iOS Meetup is my Meetup group aimed at people new to software development or new to iOS development. Rather than study just a single aspect of iOS development, each Tampa iOS Meetup session is devoted to developing a complete app, and learning various things along the way.

This coming Tuesday, we’re going to build a relaxation/mindfulness app at Tampa iOS Meetup, and in the process, you’ll learn about:

  • Error handling in Swift: responding to errors gracefully rather than having the app come to a crashing halt and annoying the user.
  • Playing sounds: Playing both short sound cues and effects, as well as longer recordings.
  • Auto layout: Building user interfaces that adjust themselves to the screen size, from the (relatively) tiny iPhone 4S all the way to the large iPad Pro.

Join me, next Tuesday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolters Kluwer office (1410 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa) in Westshore for Tampa iOS Meetup’s session on building a guided meditation audio app! We’ll provide food and drink — bring your Mac laptop, and be ready to code!

To register for this event, visit the event page. Registration is free! Please register by Monday, March 27th at 12 noon so that we can determine how much food and drink we’ll need.

Wednesday, April 19: Android and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality — the overlaying of computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real world to provide an information-rich composite view — is a hot topic these days, what with enterprises getting excited about it, Gartner predicting that its mainstream adoption will happen in the next 5 to 10 years, and Apple’s apparent bet on it.

GDG Sun Coast is Tampa Bay’s Google developer group, run by Mike Traverso and Scott Thisse, and devoted to all matters related to software development for Google’s platforms. Mike’s invited me to speak at April’s GDG Sun Coast Meetup, where I’ll walk the group through building FaceSpotter, an Android app that adds cartoon-like features to people’s faces in real-time, in the style of Snapchat’s “Lenses”.

In the talk, you’ll learn about:

  • Incorporating the Face API into your own Android apps
  • Programmatically identifying and tracking human faces from a camera feed and getting their location and size
  • Identifying points of interest, such as eyes, ears, nose, and mouth on tracked faces
  • Drawing augmented reality text and graphics over images from a camera feed

Join me and the rest of the GDG Sun Coasters on Wednesday, April 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Tampa Bay WaVE (500 East Kennedy Boulevard, 3rd floor, Tampa) for GDG Sun Coast’s session on building an augmented reality app! Bring your laptop, and be ready to code!

To register for this event, visit the event page. Registration is free! Please register as soon as possible, so they can plan accordingly.

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Scan of a sidebar article from Harper’s Magazine: “The Elements of Guile”.

From Harper’s Magazine’s Twitter account. Click to see the source.

According to Harper’s Magazine’s Twitter feed, the list pictured above contains the sort of words and phrases that typically appear in work emails between “employees engaged in corporate wrongdoing.”

They were gathered by Ernst and Young in the process of developing their Fraud Triangle Analytics software, which “flags personal correspondence in which expression of ‘incentive/pressure’ and ‘opportunity’ coincide with ‘rationalization’.” Harper’s wryly observe that “In cases of corporate malfeasance, employees’ emails tend to rely heavily on terms like “want no part of this” and “deep shit.”

The words and phrases are listed below. The list is rather enlightening:

  • cover up
  • gray area
  • special payment
  • off the books
  • facilitation fee
  • bullshit
  • cash incentive
  • special service
  • under the radar
  • cookie jar
  • offshore
  • quid pro quo
  • adjust invoices
  • shady deal
  • hush money
  • friend fee
  • massage earnings
  • I’m the boss
  • for crying out loud
  • corrupt bastard
  • deep shit
  • want no part of this
  • hit the fan
  • It’s gonna be my ass
  • Everyone does it
  • too stupid to figure it out
  • fresh start
  • I don’t get paid enough
  • told me to
  • gambling problem
  • not a good idea
  • ticking time bomb
  • tired of this
  • It’s immaterial
  • treat me this way
  • part of my job
  • phony
  • divorce
  • girlfriend
  • medical bills
  • vacation home
  • wife is demanding
  • broke
  • charade
  • ploy
  • play ball
  • red tape
  • sweetener
  • Don’t worry about it
  • No one will notice

Thanks to Frank McGillicuddy for the find!

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Painting of a rock concert with a “Star Wars” twist: It’s Princess Leia on lead vocals, Darth Vader on bass, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo on guitars, Chewbacca on drums, and C-3P0 and R2-D2 on keyboards.

Click the image to see the nerd rock stardom at full size.

Techmeme in the spotlight

There are still times in a conversation with techies when I’ll mention Techmeme and they’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Simply put, Techmeme is the technology news aggregator, and BuzzFeed News has seen fit to write about it and its creator, Gabe Rivera (pictured on the right). “I’d say Techmeme is still really a niche site,” says Rivera, but when the heads of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn read it, it’s the kind of niche that you want to be in.

Using a combination of site-reading automation and human editorial, Techmeme provides people eager to follow the latest technology happenings with listing of current tech news articles. It’s an ever-updating “Page One” featuring breaking tech news stories and commentaries on those stories, from big tech news sites to tech blogs (ranging from big, corporate-funded ones to one-person developer blogs).

Better still, Techmeme leads you to interesting places. Not only do the big tech stories of the moment appear on Techmeme, but so do stories that link to that story. As a result, you get not just what’s going on, but also links to articles that follow up on, expand, provide context for and even counterpoint to that story, resulting in a rich tech news digest. This unique view into tech news is why tech reporter M.G. Siegler wrote that only three elements mattered in tech blogging: pageviews, scoops…and Techmeme.

This isn’t the first time that Techmeme’s been featured in an influential tech piece. In fact, it was due — every three years, the big news deal of the moment publishes a piece about it. Business Insider did it in 2014, The New York Times covered it in 2010, and TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington sang its praises in 2007.

Read the article, and then if you don’t already, read Techmeme regularly!

How to harness Techmeme for your own tech rock stardom

And now, the part you’re really interested in: how to get some of that Techmeme Googlejuice and readership for yourself.

The trick is a simple one: it’s to get Techmeme to mention your blog articles in the “Discussion” section for its stories, or better still, make one of your articles a featured article. Once that happens a couple of times, you’ll notice that your readership will grow from the “Techmeme bump” and if you play your cards right, all sorts of opportunities will follow. It’s worked for me at Global Nerdy, which often gets listed in “Discussion” lists for Techmeme articles and has had a few articles as feature articles, and it’s grown from zero readers in 2006 to over 8.7 million pageviews to date.

How do you get that? I gave away this secret back over a decade ago, all the way back in 2006, in an article titled Jason Calacanis Swiped Our 5-Step Plan for Becoming an A-Lister! It goes as follows:

  1. Go to Techmeme.
  2. Blog something intelligent about the top story of the day.
  3. Link to and mention all the people who have said something intelligent.
  4. Repeat for 30 days.
  5. Go to a couple of conferences a month.

That’s all there is to it: find featured articles in Techmeme, write something intelligent about it in your blog (don’t forget to link to the article!) and keep doing it. Like a lot of other things in tech, as long as you’ve got the threshold amount of smarts, it’s all about perseverance.

If you take on this challenge, let me know how it goes!

Are you looking for your next great hire?

I’m looking for my next great job! If you’re looking for someone with desktop, web, mobile, and IoT development skills who can also communicate to technical and non-technical audiences, or a marketer or evangelist who also has a technology background and can code, you should talk to me.

If you’d like to learn more, you can:

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Until his resignation yesterday, Jeff Jones was the second-highest ranking executive at Uber, where he held the title of President.

Here’s his full statement on his departure:

I joined Uber because of its Mission, and the challenge to build global capabilities that would help the company mature and thrive long-term.

It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business.

There are thousands of amazing people at the company, and I truly wish everyone well.

Jones had been with Uber a mere six months. His prior job was at Target, where Recode reports he was “its well-regarded CMO”, and in addition to being the president of its main ride-sharing business, his was the responsibility “to remake the company’s tainted image”. In order to get lured away from such a position at Target, Jones was probably offered a salary of considerable size and stock options of even greater potential value. Walking away from them — especially well before those options would’ve vested — wouldn’t have been a decision that he would take lightly. There’s also the fact that you can tolerate a lot when you’re one of the top dogs at a place that’s been valued as high as $70 billion.

Many of the stories that you’ll read about Jones’ departure will cite Uber’s problems as his reason for leaving, such as its “aggressive, unrestrained workplace culture” of “brilliant jerks”, bad driver relations, and its infamous discrimination issues as cited in engineer Susan Fowler’s blog entry about why she quit, as well as the firings of their SVP of engineering for not disclosing that he had to leave Google due to a sexual harassment allegation and their VP of product for sleazing at a company party. Accepting those reasons at face value requires assuming that he did no due diligence before taking the position, and read none of the stories about the problems at Uber that were circulating last year, and that he wasn’t explicitly hired to help improve Uber’s reputation.

If you’ve been on the internet over the past five or so years, you’ve likely heard the maxim that people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. This generally traces back to a 2008 article written by Jennifer Robison in Gallup’s Business Journal titled Turning Around Employee Turnover, whose conclusions are based on “Gallup research, which included a meta-analysis of 44 organizations and 10,609 business units, Gallup Polls of the U.S. working population, exit interviews conducted on behalf of several companies, and Gallup’s selection research database”.

“Most people quit for a few explainable reasons,” Robison wrote, and “at least 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers.”

She also observes that after a certain point, no amount of money will make up for a bad manager. I understand this completely — I once took a 25% pay cut by changing jobs to get away from a management team that was slowly turning the workplace into something like Italy around the time of the Borgias.

As the number two person at Uber, Jones would’ve had only one boss with no one above him: Travis Kalanick, an almost cartoonishly-stereotypical Silicon Valley Ayn Rand fan. Given Recode’s reports that Jones is conflict-averse, that Kalanick is scrappy, tenacious, and amoral, and that the organization takes its cultural cues from Kalanick, it’s hard not to see Jones’ departure through the “people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses” lens.

And once again, because it’s worth viewing if you haven’t seen this video yet:

Are you looking for your next great hire?

I’m looking for my next great job! If you’re looking for someone with desktop, web, mobile, and IoT development skills who can also communicate to technical and non-technical audiences, or a marketer or evangelist who also has a technology background and can code, you should talk to me.

If you’d like to learn more, you can:

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Here’s what’s happening in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs this week.

Monday, March 20

Tuesday, March 21

Wednesday, March 22

Thursday, March 23

Friday, March 24

Saturday, March 25

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Next Tuesday, Tampa iOS Meetup — Tampa’s gathering for people who are new to programming or new to iOS development — will walk through the development of building a guided meditation audio app. Think of it as the 21st century answer to the relaxation tape, CD, or MP3 (depending on what generation you’re in), where a narrator with a soothing voice guides the listener through exercises designed to bring about mindfulness, ease tension, and remove stress.

As we build the app, we’ll cover a couple of key topics in iOS development with the Swift programming language:

  • Error handling in Swift: responding to errors gracefully rather than having the app come to a crashing halt and annoying the user.
  • Playing sounds: Playing both short sound cues and effects, as well as longer recordings.
  • Auto layout: Building user interfaces that adjust themselves to the screen size, from the tine iPhone 4S all the way to the large iPad Pro

Join us, next Tuesday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolters Kluwer office (1410 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa) in Westshore for Tampa iOS Meetup’s session on building a guided meditation audio app! We’ll provide food and drink — bring your Mac laptop, and be ready to code!

To register for this event, visit the event page. Registration is free!

What’s Tampa iOS Meetup all about?

As I mentioned earlier, Tampa iOS Meetup is the Tampa Bay area’s meetup for beginning programmers and developers new to iOS development. Each meetup has two parts:

  1. The presentation, where we’ll cover the concepts you’ll need to write the app of the day, followed by
  2. The workshop, where we’ll actually code the app together.

The meetup works best if you bring a Mac laptop with the current version of Xcode (the tool we’ll use to develop iOS apps) installed. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; you don’t need one for the presentation part, and we can form teams for the workshop.

We use the presentation-followed-by-workshop approach because it’s our answer to a question that I’ve been asked again and again, and it goes something like this:

“I’ve been studying iOS development for some time, and I’m still having a problem writing apps. I know how to program specific features in iOS, but I don’t know how to turn a bunch of features into an app.”

It’s one thing to go through tutorials that show you how to program a specific feature. It’s a completely different thing to take the knowledge from those tutorials and then write an app. My goal for Tampa iOS Meetup in 2017 is to show you how to make that leap by walking you through the process of making apps.

Special thanks to our sponsor

Tampa iOS Meetup wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of Wolters Kluwer. They provide both the space in which to hold the meetup, as well as the food and drinks! Special thanks to John Wang, my go-to guy at Wolters Kluwer, and source of valuable feedback for my presentations.

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