Mac and iOS Developer Podcasts

  • Jul 09 2014

About the time I got into iOS development I also started listening to podcasts. There are many great podcasts out there but for an Apple developer there are some really exception ones.

For general tech news:

  • The Accidental Tech Podcast is a tech podcast accidentally created while Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa were attempting to to do a car show called Neutral I discovered Marco and John while listening to there respective podcasts on the 5by5 network. I enjoyed their weekly take on tech news and development so much I was genuinely sad when they ended their respective shows. Thankfully they started podcasting again and were joined by Casey who I wasn't familiar with but I have found adds a great balance to the strong opinions of Marco and John and usually keeps them on topic.

  • John Gruber's The Talk Show is probably the most well known of these. He's been writing for many years on Apple and each weeks brings in interesting guests to discuss that weeks news topics of note.

There are several great interview format podcasts that focus on interesting aspects of software history and current projects around the Apple world:

  • Debug is a conversational interview show between Guy English and various developers in the community. He is joined by Rene Ritchie from iMore who I believe produces the show and seems to serves as moderator incase Guy and their guest get too off track. It bills as being about developing software and services, primarily for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and gaming. However what I've experienced is wonderful conversations with developers about how they got started programming and their journeys through software development. In many cases fascinating historical accounts of the creation process behind many of the apps and tools I know and love.

  • The Record is a similar show to Debug hosted by Chris Parrish and Brent Simmons. I only recently started listening to it but the episode with Mike Lee was amazing! The journey he took to becoming a developer and helping to ship Delicious Library 2 was truly inspiring. I have a greater appreciation of why they call him the worlds toughest programmer. I look forward to more excellent historical interviews and going through the backlog of this one.

  • Bitsplitting is another interview podcast from Daniel Jalkut that focuses on the personal backgrounds of each guest. Like Debug and the Record each talk is an interesting walk through history and I always love listening to each persons discovery story of computers and eventually coming around to writing software. He ended season 1 back in August of 2013, while Debug and the Record have filled the gap of interesting historical conversations I certainly hope he picks up again and does more interviews in the future.

  • Saul Mora's NSBrief is also an interview based podcast but it focuses more on current projects of note and the people behind them. I have learned about many cool projects from this podcasts as well as enjoyed hearing the developers behind some of my favorite servies like HockeyKit speak about them.

For more general Apple Software topics and developer discussion with occasional interviews:

  • Core Intuition is a regular conversation between Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software and Manton Reece. They discuss indy Mac development, recent news and occasionally have guests on as well. I admittedly do not listen to this one as much as I used to but I've always enjoyed there conversations and insite into various topics.

  • iDeveloper features Scotty and Jon Fox. This was actually one of the first podcasts I ever listened too and I discovered many of the others through listening to them and their guests. They talk about indy development and have great interview guests as well.

  • Developing Perspective is a great short podcast about iOS Development that is never longer than 15 minutes. David Smith shares his thoughts on development and some of the processes he goes through in shipping his many apps.

These last two are not about development but I find them both richly rewarding to listen to:

  • Back to Work is podcast with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin who ostensibly talk about various issues relating to productivity. However in practice you'll be entertained with talk about comics, parenting, personal hygiene and deep inside jokes. In the end they eventually come around to discussing aspects of work. All in all a joy to listen to weekly.

  • Roderick on the Line is a weekly candid Skype call between Merlin Mann and John Roderick of the Long Winters. This show is all over the place, but in a good way. Discussions on Fatherhood, philosophy, music, culture, politics. These two friends have a great dynamic, I actually have laughed so hard during this that I have had to pull over while driving. John's story telling is sheer joy to listen to.

I'm sure there are many other great developer podcasts out there that I haven't discovered yet, but these have been some that I regularly enjoy.

Playing games has taught me a lot

  • Jun 28 2014

A topic came up on the accidental tech podcast about gaming, what the average age of a "gamer" is, does one grow out of it? and gaming being a rich experience in many cases more engaging than a movie or novel. I won't rehash the discussion here but if you are curious checkout the after show of episode 62 and more discussion in the follow up of episode 63 and 64. These discussions got me thinking a lot about gaming and how it has effected my life.

I grew up with games, my father was a gamer and we had hundreds of board and video games around the house. Family board game nights were a regular thing, Talisman and Illuminati were regular favorites but we played so many I couldn't list them all. Euro games didn't seem to be as popular at the time, or at least they weren't in our local game shops and before the internet that basically meant they didn't exist for us. This meant there was lots of late night dice rolling, whether it was were adventuring in Talisman, expanding our train empires in Rail Baren or blowing up ships in Modern Navel Battles. They were all challenging for my young mind and engaging. I think I even learned how to form and deliver an argument thanks to vague rules in certain games. I wasn't always right and didn't always win but I learned a lot and had great fun doing it.

Video games were no acception, in the early years it was hot seat games of empire rotating between two computers. I had to learn how manage my building resources and have enough forces to crush my brother and maybe if I was lucky challenge my father for control of the map. Later we setup a null modem and took our military strategy real time with RTS games like Warcraft and Command & Conquer. Resource management and quick reaction times were key, I learned how multi tasking that way. I had to juggle the competing priorities of resource gathering, base defense and mobilizing an offense all at the same time. If you didn't you lost plain and simple.

Playing video games also landed me my first programming job. I had moved to Chicago on a whim during the late 90s with no guarantees. My best friend's brother at the time was working for a firm there and had some idea's for a personal project and figured I could help him out with it. So moved to Chicago with nothing but a laptop. My first week there I was hanging out at their offices at night playing RTS games like Age of Empires with the developers there. I remember we were deep into a multi game session and in walks the CEO fresh from a Duran Duran concert. He walks over to me and says they are looking bring on some more programmers and would I like to be a part of that. I was a little taken aback I had build my schools web site and had learned a little bit of Perl CGI but by no means felt I was a professional programmer yet. I was honestly a little scared, I remember saying that I didn't want any pressure but I would love to try. He offered to give me a shot with a very modest hourly wage to start. I was thrilled! It wasn't a lot of money but it was a opportunity of a life time right in the middle of the dot com boom!

I took to it right away. We had a CMS built in Perl that we customized for each client. There were many talented engineers there that taught me a tramendous amount about writing software the intricacies of the Perl language. I layout out interfaces with tables and spacer gifs and explored more rich interaction using DTHML.

Before long I was given a substancial raise and was working with larger more strategic clients. I even took on the role of a lead developer and helped coach junior programmers when they came on board.

Many of these skills are basically archaic by today's standards but they helped lay a solid foundation in a rich career in software development that I still enjoy doing to this day. Looking back on it all I'm not sure it would have happend if I wasn't playing video games and developed a love of working with computers to solve problems.

Strange Gatekeeper Error

  • Feb 15 2014

I just downloaded EVE Online again for the first time in a long time. I when to launch the game and I received an error message I had never seen from any other app before:

"EVE Online.app is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the trash."

Wait what? this looks strange. I downloaded and extracted the app again to the same result. After poking around for some time it turns out this is a cryptic gatekeeper error.

Usually you are prompted to allow an app to install from Settings -> Security & Privacy or change the setting from "Mac App Store and identified developers" to any source.

Despite the strange error, allowing any app to run does remove the "damaged" error message and the EVE client launches just fine.