Thirty Three Bits

thirty three bits

I'm Jonathan Nigg : a programmer, writer, garden enthusiast, wine snob, Boston sports fan, and overall geek.

Short-term thinking in corporate America is strangling the economy - Vox →

October 4, 2016

Disclaimer: There are political members mentioned in this article. I am in no way posting this for a political backing of sorts. I am more interested in the subject matter.

If you are a corporate employee, you can attest to the frustrations of the short term forecast mentality. It is, without a doubt, one of the most contributing factors to stifled innovation. In the linked article Rachelle C. Sampson writes the following:

How big of a problem is a short-term business mentality? A significant one. The problem is masked because the US economy still ranks as the world’s largest, and among the most productive. But with short-term pressures on the rise, our future growth and productivity are threatened, with important implications for wages, standards of living, and our general well-being.

When firms focus on the short term, those firms steer profits to shareholders immediately instead of spending money to improve productivity, the greatest driver of economic growth for both companies and our economy. They spend less on research and development for the next great products and services, less on capital spending to improve manufacturing efficiency, less on employee training, and less on environmental and community stewardship. It’s fair to say that a short-term perspective has the potential to undermine the traditional growth engines of the American economy, and bankrupt our future.

The result? A giant pissing match measured by dollar amounts. Meanwhile, employees continue to be frustrated and great ideas are buried in the corporate graveyard. And this article does a good job on painting that exact picture. As a side note, I will likely write up my own thoughts on this since I am so passionate about it. Be on the look out for that.

Five Fascinating Facts From Beauty and the Beast’s Animators – D23 →

September 18, 2016

For anyone that knows me, they know that I am a huge Disney fan. Not for the reasons you may think though. I appreciate the way they (and I mean those involved in creating magic) respect their craft. Their attention to detail is unmatched and is something any buisiness should strive for. As a result, the amount of research, and the manner in which the research if performed, is nothing shy of fascinating. Whenever I get a behind the scenes look, you can bet I am there. Though short in content, I nevertheless find this article on the creation of Beauty and the Beast interesting. Especially as they talk about the creation of Gaston.

"There was a villain that was handsome—in a ‘cartoony’ way, but really well drawn—in the ‘Brom Bones’ section of Disney’s 1949 short The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” he explains. “And when I re-watched that footage, I thought, ‘Boy—physically, there’s something there… There’s a lot of weight there. I like the way the anatomy’s drawn. It’s simple, but it reads.’ So I studied that character quite a bit.” And as for Gaston’s “swagger,” Deja looked no further than some Los Angeles-area gyms! “You go and you workout and you look at these guys checking themselves in the mirror,” recalls Andreas, “doing this kind of ‘Yeah, looking good’ [routine]. It’s all in there… It’s actually real. That character is real—or at least, that aspect to him is real.”

I would also encourage you to pay attention to the manner in which they work together. That is team work any team would dream of.

Overcast trying ads, dark theme now free – →

September 11, 2016

For those of you who don't know Marco Arment , he is the creator and developer of Instapaper, The Magazine, and Overcast. He has, without a doubt, made an important mark in the field of iOS development. In any case, over the course of his iOS career, he has managed to do extensive research on the financial successes of the iOS market. Suffice it to say, he has tried just about everything as it pertains to app revenue. His latest model focuses on an ad based solution with ad removal when subscribed to an annual subscription. Most people frown on this model however, as Marco says:

Ads are the great compromise: money needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of people choose free-with-ads over direct payment. Ads need not be a bad thing: when implemented respectfully, all parties can get what they want. (emphasis added)

In his latest update to Overcast, he implements this model and I must say, he has done a superb job at maintaining a good user experience. So much so, that his care to detail almost forces you to want to give him money! Any who, the article linked above is worth a read. There is a lot of good information in there on the financial background of the indie iOS developer.

Mossberg: Apple, the king of tech taste and daring, takes a breather →

September 9, 2016

There is a lot to be said about the new iPhone announcements. After reading through the reviews, I will likely post a few thoughts of my own. In any case, the most discussed, and seemingly most interesting, of the topics, revolves around the timing and removal of the headphone jack and the lack of innovation as it pertains to design. Let me be clear, I do not agree with the latter, and I firmly believe the 2017 iPhone will take everyone's breath away. And Apple's ability to hold out, knowing good and well that their sales will slump, is something worthy of discussion. That said, long time tech analyst Walt Mossberg talked about this in the article linked above. In it, he states:

Apple officials insist this redesign delay is neither caprice nor complacency. While they share no details, they say the company decided that it could do something truly special if it took more time. They say that changing up the design this year just for the sake of change wasn’t the right way to go — especially when Apple sold record numbers of phones in this current form and the unspecified major new 2017 iPhone will be pretty amazing.

They give the appearance of believing that either the internal improvements will carry the day for the iPhone 7, or that Apple can weather a mild sales slump this cycle, or some combination of the two.

I have to admit, I am not exactly used to this Apple. I am used to the design hungry, innovation giant, changing the industry in all aspects Apple. Let me be clear, they are, in some ways, doing this by forcing wireless headphones, but that is about it; at least from my side of the fence. Maybe I need to stop expecting so much from a company that has provided so much to the modern tech industry. All said, I am left with a question I am not used to asking. Do I wait? Or is it truly worth the upgrade? Something tells me that this is being asked by far more people than would be in the past.

Does the iPhone 7 justify the hype, or is it just an iPhone 6s(s)? | 9to5Mac →

September 8, 2016

For those of you who are, like me, considering the new iPhone 7 (Plus), 9to5 has a great read on whether or not it is worth the upgrade. The most interesting part of the piece, I thought, was a reference to the circulating discussions on the new Jet Black model.

But whether anyone will ever get to enjoy that visual impact is another matter. What the headline giveth, goes the saying, the small-print taketh away. And Apple’s small-print in the tech specs of the iPhone 7 actually suggests that the finish is so delicate that you might want to keep it in a case! Effectively Apple is saying you can have a gorgeous-looking new iPhone, but don’t ever expect to actually see it

So the Jet Black model will show all the scratches in their glorious detail huh? I have to admit, that kind of bums me out. Not enough to avoid the Jet Black model though. You can bet that, when the time comes, Jet Black is the phone of choice for me!

Step 1: Don't Fail

September 4, 2016

I am not a failure. But I have failed.

Before I go any further, let me give you a bit of context. It is a bit dry, but hang in there with me. Over the last couple of years, I have been lucky enough to be involved in various “innovation” type projects. By this, I mean, projects that were born out of a mere idea and/or concept with which they culminate in a mass roll out within an organization and/or in the society at large. Not surprisingly, by working on these kinds of projects, I have learned a great deal about what it means to fail, and what guarantees failure. I must sadly admit, that I have also learned what it means to fail with grace; though that is a topic for another day. In any case, there is one thing that I have found to be absolutely critical in the success and failure of a project; whether it be within a team/organization or a personal venture. This is, the ability to remain focused.


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Apple’s little-known (and somewhat unsexy) secret to success →

August 31, 2016

But what really makes Cook and Apple stand out is that, when they design hardware, they only marginally look at what type of equipment they will use to make this product. Creating a product that is great, easy to use and extremely well-designed is the first priority.

Once that is in place, they get serious about how they can manufacture the product in mass quantities, and in the most cost-effective way. However, Apple stands above most in this area because if they can’t find the right equipment to make a product, they actually invent and/or create the equipment, either with the help of a partner, or they do it themselves.

I mean, this makes sense. If you strive to be the most "innovative" company in the world, you are undoubtably going to find yourself in circumstances that require new ways of creating hardware. The important part here however, is that Apple is not afraid to venture down this path. I can't even begin to fathom the amount of money wasted on machinery that never saw the light of day. Again, all part of the process I guess. Just another reason to love Apple.

Apple’s iPhone event will be on September 7 in San Francisco →

August 31, 2016

Regardless of leaked news, I am always excited to see what new in the world of Apple. What can I say... I am a fanboy at heart.

The NFL is putting tracking sensors inside its footballs →

August 31, 2016

It is fun to watch technology invade the sports arena. I can already hear the moans of those who want to keep the sport in its raw form.

IBM bets big on health care →

August 30, 2016

Massachusetts is already home to an estimated 260 companies in digital health — from startups to big firms like athenahealth Inc. in Watertown and Nuance Communications Inc. in Burlington — that develop software used in the health care industry. But many feel the sector is poised to grow as technology becomes more integral in health care. As health care payments continue to change, rewarding doctors and hospitals that keep costs under control while meeting quality scores, it is increasingly important for health care providers and insurers to track and mine patient data.

I have said it once and I will say it again. The Healthcare market, alongside the "living room" market, is the next to see a major overhaul. It is prime to be popularized and mined for data. I actually think it is coming sooner than many would think. However, it seems that many are still missing the point on exactly how to approach this problem. Nevertheless, I assure you, someone will figure it out soon. Watson is just the start.

Apple has published a great free learn to code course for Swift →

August 26, 2016

This is a good read on Apple’s new Swift focus for teachers written by John Weatherford. I have been holding back on learning swift for a number of reasons (time and uncertainty being the main ones) however, while at WWDC, it became clear to me that Swift is the future that Apple is focused on. Guess it is time to learn the future!

Judicious Use of Sh***y Code →

August 26, 2016

This is a short, simple, and yet elegant, post written by Jared Sinclair about how to approach writing a new app; especially if you are in the learning phase. I must admit, I am guilty of spending more time on writing “beautiful” code than I am bringing it to fruition. Sometimes you just have to let go and release the product. Any who, I’ll leave you with a quote by Jared Sinclair himself.

If your goal is only to learn, then write clean code. But if your goal is to build a successful business, then stop trying to impress your heroes. Learn as you go. Be messy. Don’t use new technologies. Don’t use new languages for their own sake. Don’t waste time trying to think of the most elegant way to break an egg. Just smash it on the counter and leave a FIXME: comment and move on. The only question that matters: is this app fun or what?