Let us chat about nothing.

by Chris Forsythe

Now over here, if you’ll follow me, we have something rather special.

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Family Sharing is here, you must enable it developer. Or you are a jerk.

One thing that i do not see a lot of people talking about this week is the new Family Sharing that was introduced at WWDC. At first it seems like a neat way to just share some pictures and photos, locations and some content. However it is critical that you, the developer, pay attention to this.

YOU MUST ENABLE FAMILY SHARING

I cannot stress this enough. It’s an optional thing that you have to actually enable in itunesconnect, but in reality if you do not enable family sharing then you sir or madam are a grade a, section 7, 9th level of hell jerkface. Or at least that’s how you will appear to your customers. The reason is simple, this makes it easier to share content with your family. If you hate families do not enable this option.

i.e. you’re going to enable this. Go do it now, I’ll wait. When you get back I’ll explain my reasoning here.

Apple built this...

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Improving Road Safety Through Drivers, Volume 1

For a while now I’ve been thinking about how to improve the safety of drivers with existing infrastructure. Vehicles have a plethora of safety equipment in them now that add both cost and weight but do indeed save lives. However it’s behavior that ultimately causes accidents, which in turn cause injury and/or death.

There is a huge campaign going on right now with regards to texting and driving. MADD has been around for years along with other campaigns regarding drinking and driving. However I believe the people who would actually listen to these kinds of messages are not the people who are causing the accidents to occur. I believe some things need to change, so that’s what I’m going to be talking about here and in some follow up posts.

I would like to address texting and driving first. While it has increased in recent years, it does not appear to be as rampant...

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Let out your collective yawn

If you found the iPhone 5c/s presentation by Apple boring today, you’re not alone. A lot of people were expecting exactly what they presented and more. Nothing else showed up. You’ll see a lot of people talk about a lack of innovation for a while, and how Apple is dying without Jobs. Things like that don’t help anyone. Let’s talk about why people found today boring:

  1. They already knew about all of the things coming out. There were no surprises at all. Those who have been around apple product announcements for more than 10 years expect some kind of surprise. Rumor mills killed this more than anything else.

  2. These were all iterative changes. Nothing new, just additions to the existing. Think of this as a clay model you’re slowly removing bit from in order to make the end product come alive. Except you’re doing it in front of thousands of very critical...

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Tools should be simple

If you look at some software preferences and there is an advanced tab, sit and think about that for a minute. Think about the fact that most people will never see those preferences. Also, think about the fact that the advanced tab is a sign of failure.

It’s a failure to make a decision to cut something. To redesign it to work automatically in some fashion. A failure to figure out where a preference would fit in within the application in general. Too many options lead to confusing people. However, advanced preferences just scare people. The point of whatever you are working on is not to scare people off. Avoid the advanced feature creep at all costs.

When I worked on Adium I used to tell a few of the guys working on it that if the option was in the menu or was in advanced, it was just hidden. That was true 5 years ago, that’s true today. People just do not go into these...

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No child left behind

On my latest trip to San Francisco I was confronted with a situation that just seemed odd to me. A man was staring at the inside of a Subway sandwich shop, but not going in. I asked the guy behind the counter if he did that a lot, and the guy said every day. I bought 2 muffins and gave the guy both of them, and the man who was twice my age smiled with a toothless grin and literally broke down in tears. I had to run, I never saw the man in front of that sandwich place again.

I’m not used to seeing pure hunger. People down on their luck, sure, but the image of that man has stuck with me. That’s why this bothers me even more. In this interview with Stephen Colbert, Jeff Bridges explains how kids in the US go hungry during the summer because the schools are not open:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/427893/july-18-2013/jeff-bridges

Jeff explains how you...

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The Real Reason Google Killed Reader

In a post Google Reader world, the knee jerk reaction is to sit and list out the reasons to be angry at Google. There’s the fact the service is gone, the fact you can’t get your data easily from them, and a myriad of other things.

Another knee jerk reaction is to try to make a rival product for a now dead system. If this is you, you would spend between 3 and infinity months writing software for a somewhat crowded market, filled with parsing, interface and user problems. It’s sort of an interesting thing to work on, there’s a ton of room for innovation and improvement, but you’d still be working on an end user product and would have to deal with the whims of that user base.

A better thing to think about is why they dropped out of the Feed Reading market. I’ve come to the conclusion that the surface problem for most people is likely that they think...

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Skill: BBQ, revealing something more

I’ve seen a new trend on LinkedIn that I think is pretty subtle yet revealing. LinkedIn added a new feature to let others mark that you have skills in certain things. For instance if you know about Project Management, 4 people could indicate that you know that.

However, I believe I’ve seen a new trend for IT professionals, venture capitalists, etc. I’ve started to see skills that you wouldn’t think would be on a professional resume, but they fit well on a resume style website. The skill that most aligns with this is the BBQ skill. I’ve seen it usually ranked pretty low, but it’s there and it’s a glaringly obvious way to indicate someone is more than meets the eye. Heck two people even endorsed it on my profile this week.

I think anyone I see with the BBQ skill will in fact be someone I’d like to work with. I take it as someone who is...

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Fitness

Since the end of February I’ve changed a lot of things in the name of fitness. This is due in large part to a chance meeting on an airplane and a subsequent picture. I was on my way to Brainshare 2013 and caught a connecting flight. I sat down and had a pretty quiet and normal flight. At the end of it I spoke to the person next to me. She mentioned she had made it to Hollywood for American Idol. I thought it would be neat to take a picture with her in so I would know who to root for if I caught an episode (I never did, but Amber was eliminated in early May towards the end of the contest).

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After arriving in Salt Lake I looked back to the picture and realized that I was pretty embarrassed. I hadn’t looked at myself in a mirror in a while really other than to shave, and didn’t notice that I’d gained quite a bit of weight. I knew something had to change, much...

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Unspoken app store revenue

Every year we hear interesting statistics from Apple regarding the app store. It’s quite impressive really, and they have every right to tout them. Billions sold, billions deposited into the banks of app creators, etc.

One thing that isn’t discussed very much is how much gross revenue Apple receives from their memberships. That 99 dollar fee to get in the door is something that Apple collects yearly. It’s the equivalent of selling mining equipment during the Gold Rush.

The amount of developers this year at WWDC is 5000. So pretend they all pay the 99 dollar fee, and that means that Apple gets 495,000 from just those people. They all don’t, a lot of people are there on behalf of their company that pays once, but it’s an interesting thought.

Apple mentioned today that they have 6 million developer accounts. If that means a separate company per account with...

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How would you answer?

In my past I participated in an organization called the Boy Scouts of America. This group of folks have seemingly good goals, and in general I enjoyed my time as a boy scout. I even attained the rank of Eagle Scout, effectively the highest honor. I am proud of what I accomplished while actively participating. I learned a lot of skills that have stuck with me until this day, and a lot of the lessons learned truly shape who I am as a person.

In the last few years there has been a debate over membership, acceptance, and generally whether one group of people can exclude certain members based on a specific criterion. This is an issue that I have been following as I am an alumni.

I was not utterly surprised when in February the vote to allow certain groups was postponed at the national council meeting. The vote that would have been held was to allow or deny people who are attracted to...

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