April 2017

Here’s what’s happening for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area this week…

Monday, April 24

Tuesday, April 25

Wednesday, April 26

Thursday, April 27

Friday, April 28

Saturday, April 29

Sunday, April 30

 

 

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Click the graph to see it at full size.

How big is the mobile gaming market? About $46 billion, according to Newzoo, a market intelligence firm specializing in the global games and “esports” (I hate that word) industry. Their recent Global Games Market Report says that in 2017, 2.2 billion gamers worldwide will generate about $109 billion in game revenues, and mobile will account for 42% of that.

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself…

…and my answer would be:

Next Tuesday’s Tampa iOS Meetup will cover Apple’s SpriteKit framework, an excellent basis for building your own 2D iPhone and iPad games. We’re a group for people just getting started on their iOS programming journeys, so we’re going to keep it simple, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn how to write a blockbuster smash hit game. That’s because I’ll show you how to write…

Flappy Bird!

Dong Nguyen, an artist and developer, took this little sprite, a creature he’d designed for a game project that was cancelled in 2012…

…and over a period of several days, turned it into Flappy Bird. He released it in May 2013, and it unexpectedly enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in 2014. The game is incredibly simple; it doesn’t increase in difficulty or vary at all throughout its gameplay. Despite (or perhaps because of) its simplicity, and even though he released the game as a free app, it still made lots of money — as much as $50,000 a day, thanks to in-game advertising.

You may be surprised to learn that Flappy Bird isn’t made up of much more than 4 or 5 screens’ worth of code. I’ll introduce you to the basics of SpriteKit and game development for iPhones and iPads, and walk you through the Flappy Bird code. By the end of the meetup, you’ll understand the mechanics underlying the Flappy Bird game, and you might have even made your first step towards getting a piece of the $46 billion mobile gaming market!

Join me this coming Tuesday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m. at Tampa iOS Meetup, and learn how to make your own Flappy Bird game!

Food, drink and space for Tampa iOS Meetup is provided thanks to the generosity of:

Wolters Kluwer logo

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There are two ways to interpret this picture

by Joey deVilla on April 20, 2017

Because this is the real world in 2017, this picture says “Here’s Joey, who spoke at last night’s GDG Sun Coast Meetup about Android and Augmented Reality, with John, who attended and won the draw for the new Kotlin in Action book.”

(Thanks for attending my presentation, John, and enjoy the book! Kotlin’s a pretty nice programming language.)

If this were the TV world in 1977, this picture would say “We just started our own detective agency…in Hawaii!

This post also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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A new incentive to land a job, pronto!

by Joey deVilla on April 18, 2017

Finding myself in the same boat as 1 in 20 of my fellow Floridians, I’m doing  a couple of things:

  1. Working like mad to land a new job, and
  2. Applying to the State of Florida’s “Reemployment Assistance Program”. (I do like the positive-sounding name.)

The latter involves paying a visit to Connect, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s benefits site. Among the benefits you can get from visiting that site is a grand tour of late 20th century/early 21 century governmental website design, in all its Kafkaesque glory.

I kept getting stuck at one part of the process: the one where you provide a list of the prospective employers you contacted in a given week (you need to contact 5 to be eligible for benefits). For each prospect, you need to provide the usual contact info, including the URL of their website. The problem is that Connect doesn’t think that an URL is real unless preceded by a subdomain — in other words, it won’t accept example.com, but will accept the functionally equivalent www.example.com:

I’ve got to hand it to this motherless, godforsaken site: I now have an additional incentive to land a job pronto.

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The job search so far

by Joey deVilla on April 17, 2017

Click the graph to see it at full size.

The job search continues, and as you might expect, it’s had its ups and downs. I drew the graph above, inspired by the graph below, which has been making the rounds on LinkedIn and depicts the ever-changing mood entrepreneur:

I choose to view it as part of the adventure, and if you’re in the same boat as I am, I hope you see it the same way.

What I’ve been up to in the absence of work

Last week, I participated as a “trained brain” at a workshop at the Dali Museum’s Innovation Labs to help an area business come up with new ideas…

Upgraded the RAM on my ThinkPad to elevate it from TPS Report-writing tool to half-decent developer and multimedia machine:

Prepared my upcoming presentations for Google Developer Group Sun Coast (Android and Augmented Reality) and Tampa iOS Meetup (Learn how to write Flappy Bird):

Discovered that my LinkedIn Social Selling Index score had gone up by a couple of points:

Answered some Stack Overflow questions, updated my Stack Overflow Developer Story, and discovered that my reputation score puts me in the top 4%:

and puts me in Stack Overflow’s top 10% for Python and top 5% for Ruby:

I’ve also been working away on apps and articles, and of course, looking for work:

Want to know more about me?

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.

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It’s a busy week for techies in the Tampa Bay area! Here’s what’s happening for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs…

Monday, April 17

Tuesday, April 18

Wednesday, April 19

That’s right: this Wednesday, I’ll be giving a presentation for GDG Sun Coast on Google Mobile Vision, the Face API, and using them to create a Snapchat Lens-like augmented reality app! Space is limited, so if you’re interested in this one, register now!

Thursday, April 20

Friday, April 21

Saturday, April 22

 

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I’ve just announced the next session of Tampa iOS Meetup, Tampa Bay’s beginner-friendly gathering for people who want to learn how to write iPhone and iPad apps. It takes place on Tuesday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m., and we’re going to code Flappy Bird!

The best videogames are the ones that tap into that masochistic, addiction-prone part of your brain, the one that tells you to play just once more, because this time you’ve got it figured out. They are, to borrow a line from Atari/Chuck E. Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell, “easy to learn, hard to master”. In 2013, Flappy Bird met those criteria for 50 million frustrated-but-addicted players. It was a free iOS game where you tapped the screen to make a bird’s wings flap and give it lift as it navigated an increasingly maddeningly impassable field of Mario-esque tubes. Coded by 29-year-old Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen over the course of a few nights after work, it got millions of downloads and was making $50,000 a day just through advertising.

Click the graph to see the source.

“Games” is the most popular category in the iOS App Store, accounting over 25% of active apps. They’re over two and a half times as popular as the next-most-popular category, business apps. Look in any place where people are waiting these days — in line at the bank or grocery, at public transit stops and airports, cafes and restaurants — and you’ll see people passing the time with a mobile game. Gaming is a basic human activity — we’ve had them since our earliest days, and we’ve had computer games for almost as long as we’ve had computers.

Despite the fact that games are the most-used type of mobile app, there are far fewer game development tutorials than there are for “standard” apps. That’s a pity, because one of the best ways to learn programming is satisfaction, and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a game you created in action. While games can be complex, the concepts behind them are simple, and some of the most popular games are pretty simple as well. Why not try game development as a way to learn programming, Swift, and iOS?

Animated scene showing 'Flappy Bird' gameplay.

The Details

This is a hands-on workshop! It works best if you bring a Mac laptop, as you’ll build a simple game as I walk you through the project and explain game programming principles. At the end, I’ll show you where you can download files for the completed game, so you can learn from it and start coding your own!

(Yes, you can still come if you don’t bring a Mac laptop.)

What’s Tampa iOS Meetup all about?

Tampa iOS Meetup is the Tampa Bay area’s meetup for beginning programmers and developers new to iOS development. We take a hands-on 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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