Hangin’ with R2-D2 at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire

Joey deVilla, with his accordion, posing beside R2-D2.

I was at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire earlier today, and managed to get a shot with this little fella, who was incredibly popular with the kids.


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


One Serious (and One Not-So-Serious) Picture of the Evolution of iOS

Here’s a screenshot history of the default “home row” of icons in iOS, from version 1 all the way through version 7:

ios 1 through 7

And since iOS now looks more like Windows Phone these days, one wag has speculated how far this evolution will continue in iOS 8:

ios 8

Picture courtesy of “Tofutti Break”.


BarCamp Tampa 2013: This Saturday, September 28th

barcamp tampa bay

BarCamp Tampa is back, and I’m going to be there! BarCamp Tampa 2013 takes place this Saturday, September 28th in Tampa at USF’s College of Business (4202 East Fowler Avenue), with registration starting at 7:30 a.m. and the first session starting at 9:00 a.m.. Admission is free, but if you’d like to help sponsor the event, there are options for you as well — see the registration site for the details. If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now, before all the ticket slots run out!

Here’s a video that gives a quick run-down of what BarCamp is all about:

shareBarCamp is an “unconference”, which means that it’s a gathering that looks like a conference to the casual observer, but actually turns some of the basics of a conference upside-down. For starters, there’s no agenda until the morning of BarCamp. At the very start of the day, the agenda is blank, and it’s up to attendees who want to do a presentation to fill it. By filling in a spot on the agenda, you claim a room and a time slot. Non-presenting attendees can look at the schedule and choose which sessions they want to attend, and they are encourage to actively participate in the session, with questions, comments and points of information. Many presenters come in with a prepared topic and presentation, but impromptu ondes are welcome, and some of the best BarCamp presentations I’ve seen have been off-the-cuff, freewheeling discussions fuelled by the presenter’s knowledge and passion. As the BarCamp Tampa folks say on their site, “the day is what you make it, by choosing presentations to attend and deciding whether or not to present a topic.”

learnBarCamp topics are all over the map, but they’re usually of interest to people with an interest in technology, the internet, and community. If you’re a designers, developer, marketer, copy writers, SEO specialist, sysadmins or run a business with a web presence, you’re likely to find something of interest to you.

“The endearing quality of the unconference format is that you have options all day,” says BarCamp Tampa’s site, and it’s right. One of the most important rules of BarCamp is the Rule of Two Feet. If you’re in a session and it isn’t doing it for you, you are free — and even encouraged — to leave and check out another session. Or hang out in the hallway or other common areas, or visit the sponsor booths, or do anything else that interests you.

supportI’ll let the site do the talking here: “Barcamp is a community event, both in participation and in funding. It is made possible by the time and money donated by the crew of people running the event, the attendees and companies that support us. Thank you to all of you! Each year we have some fantastic companies that sponsor by donating time, money, facilities and supplies for the day. We’re also very lucky to get great support from attendees making donations in order to attend. We hope that everyone takes the time to check out the companies and people that support us!”

Once again, the details are:

  • When: Saturday, September 28th, 2013
    • Doors open/registration at 7:30 a.m.; first session starts at 9:00 a.m.
  • Where: USF College of Business, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa
  • How much: Free-as-in-beer. You can also pay if you’d like to help sponsor the event

See you there!

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


BlackBerry: “This is the Beginning of the End”

“This is the beginning of the end,” said analyst and finance journalist Felix Salmon about BlackBerry in an interview with CBC’s business news show, Lang and O’Leary Exchange. This was in response to their results for the second quarter of their fiscal 2014, where they announced:

  • An expected GAAP — that’s suit-ese for “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles — net operating loss of “approximately $950 million to $995 million”. $930 million to $960 million of this lost was the result of “the increasingly competitive business environment impacting BlackBerry smartphone volumes”, a phrase over which the people in BlackBerry’s PR must have expended much sweat and worry,
  • The laying-off of 4,500 employees, roughly a third of its workforce, and
  • A shift in focus to “enterprise and prosumer-centric” devices.

“I would say than losing $1 billion would count in most people’s books as serious decline, not to mention 4,500 [layoffs]. You can’t cut your way to growth, you can’t cut your way to adoption,” Salmon said. “Who would want to throw good money after bad? There’s a breakup value to the company, but as a going concern, I believe this is the beginning of the end of people walking around with BlackBerrys in their pocket.”

The Washington Post published this chart yesterday, in an article titled The decline of BlackBerry in one chart:

blackberry demise in single chart

Chart by Comscore; found in the Washington Post. Click to see the source.

BlackBerry’s renewed focus on enterprise is, in my opinion, a mistake. In the business of mobile devices, which are seen as “personal” in a way that desktop and laptop computers aren’t, and in the era of users either bringing their your own devices or choosing them from a selection offered by their employer, where Gartner is predicting that half of businesses will expect employees to use their own mobile devices for work, their decision to go back to their roots is the application of a 1999 solution to a 2013 problem. In CITEWorld, Nancy Gohring calls the move one of “desperation”, and I believe she’s right.

city of waterloo

With a lot of the 4,500 people who were laid off living in or near BlackBerry’s home base of Waterloo — a university town about an hour and a half drive southwest of Toronto — the mood in the city is grim. The impact on the community will be significant, and many people hope that the presence of several high-tech firms in the area, including Google and Intel, will help absorb these thousands of suddenly-unemployed techies.


Seems Legit…

gta pc verson

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


It’s Ugly, But it Got the Job Done

got the job done

Photo courtesy of Rich Leighton. Click to see the source.

Did a little bit of iOS programming today that was the software equivalent of this. It wasn’t pretty, but it does work.

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


Internet Traffic at 112% Above Normal; It’s Probably iOS 7’s Fault

Akamai’s Real-Time Web Monitor, as of this writing, is reporting that internet traffic is at 112% above normal. It more than likely has something to do with all those iOS users downloading iOS 7, which came out today. I expect it’ll shoot up even higher once the North American workday ends.

Here’s what network traffic looked like in Europe on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. Eastern (GMT-4):

akamai internet traffic europe 2013-09-18

And here’s what it looked like in North America at about the same time:

akamai internet traffic north america 2013-09-18

If you’re planning on upgrading your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch tonight, hop on a wifi network and either:

  • Do it straight on your iDevice by going to Settings, selecting General, and then selecting Software Update.
  • Do it by downloading and installing iTunes 11.1, and then connecting your iDevice to your iTunes 11.1-equipped computer.