Week 7 - The Unexpected Passenger
(Note that the Pebble watch is not the “Unexpected Passenger” mentioned in this post’s title)
I know I’m late by a day, but I was busy until yesterday finishing the latest touches before wrapping up. It doesn’t feel like it’s my first update since I held off from programming a full 7 Days, mainly because after a day I was completely into it again, and because right now it feels as if I never stopped, and that I completely did the right thing back then.
I have to warn you, though. There won’t be many pictures to showcase this time, mainly because I didn’t feel the need to draw a lot more, and because the project as it is right now is in an inconsistent state: the Engine is kind of disabled for timeframe refurbishments, so I can’t run the new code, and even if I did there’s nothing new to show. But some interesting work was done, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Week 6 - Rest and No Relaxation
(Cover art by mqken at DeviantArt)
Beginning to write this is getting harder than I thought, since to keep my 17” MBP comfortable to write (50-55 degrees Celsius) and without over-heating I’m watching last week’s episode of This Week in Tech on my iPad next to me and thus getting the closest thing of an idea to what it is to have a pair of Google Glass on and above your eyes.
So, what was it for this week? I guess I sounded pretty down seven days ago, needing a big break or something. To be honest, by Monday I was already feeling the “need” to get to work, but I told myself that was precisely the reason why I had to stop for a few days. Then a couple more days went on, and I started feeling like maybe stopping was not a good idea, that it’d get a bit hard to get back on the groove, but then I started really working towards the kind of problems I wanted to solve, and here I am with a big picture of what the Zealot Engine is missing.
So yes, no code this week. I read Ender’s Game, and I also put my eyes through multiple WWDC sessions on Grand Central Dispatch plus a few Apple Developer Guides on Objective-C, Concurrency, OOP, etc. What we’re going to do is quickly review again what was the main issue which brought me to a halt last week, and after that we’ll cover the main four features I believe are missing from our Zealot Engine concept.
Week 3.5 to 5 - Gap Technology (Part II)
This is the week where I’m going to admit to myself, and to you, that this little project has become a lot more than I thought it’d be, because it’s now a part of me. It no longer seems to be just “an exercise” or “a prototype”. It’s my work now; part of what I am. A channel through which I’m trying to give form to something entirely abstract (software) using what others judge to be “my experience”. Things got real this week, specially because I went through a hard time to get here, and it’s tough to admit, because in practice, all the hard work was done two weeks ago, before the “Android break” we came to know as my Facebook Newsfeed (yeah, I know it’s “News Feed”, but anyways) Sample code, and in reality it was too, but I crashed against a barrier that, as stupid as it sounds, didn’t even exist to begin with.
Android Detour: Facebook Newsfeed Sample
Right, so last Sunday I mentioned I’d be spending a few days doing Android code instead of following up with our project. I look forward to actually get going as soon as possible, so before that, I thought it’d be a good idea to write a bit about my first ever piece of open source code on the web.
The issue prompting me to write this code is that many companies like to see some code before they trust you enough to sign you or even for an interview: they want to know how good you are, and if you don’t have apps out there and you call yourself an “Android & iOS Developer with 3-year experience”, well, you’ve got to back it up with something. I’m not going to lie: I didn’t want to lose focus on what we were doing, but I took the chance to do something I hadn’t done since a very long time, which was working with Facebook’s API.
Week 3 - Gap Technology (Part 1)
Sunday. I’m back, and it’s honestly been a long week for me. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I seriously thought I would either not hit my goals or not dodo as much work as I wanted to. For the first time in the last 21 days, I failed my own expectations, but given how complicated everything came out to be, I’m really really glad about how things ended.
Are you ready? This might get long again. Just to be sure, I won’t be writing this in the Tumblr site itself but using iA Writer for the Mac :)
Week 2 - Laying down the keel
Let’s get right to it.
Week 2 was the week where I decided the occupation that’d keep me working on iOS for an unforeseeable number of weeks, or at least that’s the idea I was pursuing. I had a rough idea at the start of what I wanted to do, but again, I did not want to mark an “X” in the calendar saying “this has do be done by then”. No. It hasn’t proven to be a good solution for me in the past, and I won’t be able to change the outcome of things if I don’t change the process itself. Yes, there were goals for week 2, but there were very reasonable goals, and there were goals I knew I could do without rushing in. So let’s dive right in.
Week 1 - Password Protection
OK, time to fill you in on what’s been going on.
21 days after my last post, it’s time to bring you back up to speed. I have been publishing some photography, as you’ve seen from my Twitter and Google+ pages, and even though I’d normally be posting my own words next to all of them, I haven’t: something else has been eating into my writing, which is programming.
Up until two weeks ago, I’d been heavily working on picking up my iOS skills which had been pretty much left to dust since the Summer of 2011. Back then I was pursuing a very, very big project which was completely out of scope for the time I had available it even if I was unemployed back then (the primary reason why I took the chance to follow it). Now, I know things don’t count unless you finish them, so that scar has been on me since back then: a ghost telling me there’s something I set out to do, but failed to deliver.
The specific reasons why that project failed are not for today to discuss. What you should know though, is that it’s been a weight I’ve been carrying over me for a very long, long time, and perhaps I might sought out to lift it off my back now, step by step, correcting everything I did wrong that time, and not “running into” things, but eating the cake piece by piece: starting from the outside, and carefully running to the inside from all sides, not biting from different angles to eat it from different directions managing different goals at the same time. I’m going to take this slow, but in a very methodical manner.
Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider (2013) is born
I’m honestly having a hard time just coming up with a title for this post. Wait, I just figured it out.
Um. Honestly, I’m not really sure about where to start. My history with the Tomb Raider series began somewhere around 1999/2000 when Tomb Raider III came as part of one of those “magic CDs” filled with games of the Win98 era. Lara could gasp, shoot, kill and even dodge incoming boulders, but my (pirated) copy of the game had no music nor voices for Lara. I was also horrible at it. I played it again, and again, trying to solve it on my own to no avail. I did the third level with the bike many times, but I wasn’t really good. Just felt frustrated playing a game I liked very much but that I couldn’t really do much about.
El Teide under the snow
I’m currently more or less under a strict schedule when it comes to my time. This means I dedicate mostly weekdays to push forward on my aspirations such as (fully) picking up iOS development again and becoming comfortable with programming interview questions. But, there are a couple of things I did allow myself to creep into that schedule, like photography, driving, and photography. Not necessarily in that order.
The last time one of the most iconic views of the Canary Islands and Spain in general got completely covered in snow was in February of 2012. I was here with you at the time, but not into photography in DSLR format. Snow came again this February, but my schedule wasn’t exactly ready to take a 1-day hit like that, so I stayed at home. However, this very same month (yeah… like nothing’s been happening this month, and more) it happened again. And even though I was promised it’d happen again, I didn’t take the chance and went.
About the Polytron Machine and the Endianness Problem
This is going to be a bit of a long introduction, so please bear with me. While following tutorial 3.5 of Ray Wenderlich’s wonderful iOS tutorials, I hit a point where I needed images in my iOS Simulator. Easiest solution? Open Safari in the Simulator and start “saving images”. To accomplish that, I hit one of my daily sites, Ars Technica, and stumbled upon a recent article on Fez. I did get a picture out of that article, but the best part was really watching the video. Please do it; I cannot spoil it for you.