Hands-On: Building iOS and Android Apps with C#

Hands On with Xamarin

Last night I attended a great .NET Mobile Developer meet up at Microsoft’s NYC offices entitled “Hands-On: Building iOS and Android Apps with C#“. It was hosted by Greg Shackles, author of “Mobile Development using C#“. Greg also presented at Xamarin’s Evolve conference in Austin, TX this past April. At this meetup he conducted a hands-on demo on how to build a simple iOS and Android app using Xamarin Studio and C#.

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WWDC 2013 Keynote

The stakes were high for Apple to reinvent itself at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, with the tech world holding its breath to see its response after its recent stock and popularity slump. At yesterday’s Keynote address, Apple made several much-needed major new announcements. Ironically, many of the changes in OSX Mavericks and iOS 7 are copied directly from Microsoft, Google, and Palm (!), but that’s nothing new. Remember that Apple is not about being the first, but being the best. Take the iPod, iPhone, and iPad: MP3 players, cell phones, and tablet computers existed long before Apple refined them. Apple removes, refines, simplifies, and then raises the bar. In comparison to Android’s fast, splintered development, Apple can be perceived as slow. This may be why it has fallen out of favor with the tech media in the era of the 24-hour news cycle.

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Tech Legend Monty Widenius, Founder of MySQL, Speaks About MariaDB

Monty Widenius

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of hearing tech legend Michael “Monty” Widenius, founder of MySQL, give a presentation on MariaDB at the AppNexus headquarters to an audience of 300+. MySQL is the world’s pre-eminent open source database, and Monty’s contributions still make up 60% of the current source code!

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How to Rock Windows Azure Mobile Services

Azure User Group

Last night I attended a meetup at Microsoft‘s NYC headquarters entitled “How to Rock Windows Azure Mobile Services.” The presenter was Jim Priestley, a Technical Solution Specialist at Microsoft. Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform that competes with Amazon Web Services and other similar offerings. At the time it was launched in 2011 Azure was unique because it was the first to offer a “platform as a service” (PAAS) model, which allowed developers to deploy and manage their applications without having to configure individual virtual machines. Since then Amazon and others have responded with similar offerings.

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Brella: A Free iPhone Weather App for Commuters


Download on the App Store

Today I released Brella, my new free iPhone weather app for commuters! In the App Store now. This app checks NOAA data for rain probability in two locations: where you live and where you work. If the chance of rain exceeds your threshold for the hours that you are out of the house, it tells you to grab your umbrella.

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Theory vs. Practice: Delivering Real World Software

Theory vs. Practice: Delivering Real World Software

On Friday I attended a panel discussion titled “Theory vs. Practice: Delivering Real World Software” at the New York Law School put on by CUNY TAP (Tech Apprenticeship Program). The event featured 6 speakers from the software industry who spoke about their career experiences to an audience of 100+ students and software practitioners. I was expecting a lively debate on competing methodologies and theories used in the industry (i.e. Waterfall, Agile, TDD, Scrum, Kanban, etc.). Instead, each panelist spoke from the heart about their most painful experiences that defined who they are today:

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iOS Training: Your Second iOS App

iOS Training - Your Second iOS App

Yesterday I conducted my second after-work training session at IIN for developers looking to learn XCode and Objective-C. Everybody walked out of there with a working Note Taker app! Here’s what we covered:

  • Table views and UITableViewController
  • UITableViewDataSource protocol
  • Prototype cells
  • NSMutableArrays
  • UINavigationController
  • Segues
  • Delegates
  • Reading and writing to NSUserDefaults

Thanks to those who came! Next week I’ll do a repeat of this week’s session for those who couldn’t make it. After that, we’ll keep working on the Note Taker app to delete and reorder rows, and using model objects to store our data. See you then!

The Future of NoSQL

Future of NOSQL

Last night I went to a NYC MySQL Group meetup entitled “Future of 21st Century Databases: CEO/CTO Discussion among Database Superstars“. Originally scheduled at AOL‘s offices, it was moved to AppNexus‘ headquarters due to overwhelming demand — it was packed with over 600 attendees (they expected 300). That speaks volumes about the growing interest in NoSQL (Not Only SQL) databases. The guest panel of the evening featured executives from 3 major NoSQL database vendors: Barry Morris of NuoDB, Bob Wiederhold of Couchbase, and Eliot Horowitz of MongoDB. There was little if any debate among them, as the focus seemed to be on the unique features of NoSQL as compared to traditional relational data stores.

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How to Identify the Calling Method in iOS


Recently I was troubleshooting multithreading issues in an iOS app. Here is some code that can identify what method and class called a given method. Useful for logging and debugging race conditions.

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NY Tech Day 2013

NY Tech Day

Earlier today I attended the second annual NY Tech Day at Pier 92 in Manhattan, billed as the “largest startup event in the world,” hoping to network and recruit some iOS developers for IIN. I was blown away by the sheer size of the event. It took hours to see all 400+ booths, weaving through a crowd of thousands of people. Plenty of big names were there, including Microsoft, Box, Shutterstock, Zipcar, Seamless, TheLadders, and General Assembly. A few of the interesting ones that caught my eye were:

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