I Want a Job

After getting laid off last year and getting depressed, and then looking around the job market for a bit, I’ve decided I want a new job.

Specifically, I want a job where:

Senior Management is actually involved in the company; other than trying to decide who to lay off. They actually have a vision for the company, and not a ‘mission statement’ full of business school buzzwords.

I want a job where:

Project Managers/Project Leaders actually have a plan. They know something about the project they are managing. They have design specs or requirements for the project; more than some notes scribbled on napkins or a database schema hand-drawn on a sheet of 11 x 17 chart paper.

They understand what a relational database is, what primary keys are for, and why users should never see them. They know that some of the people who work for them are experts, and should be listened to.

They don’t have ‘scrum’ meetings every morning where they all sit around a table for an hour or so. They actually know what ‘agile development’ means.

They spend more time with their staff working on the project than they do in meetings.

I want a job where:

My co-workers have a decent level of competence. They understand their jobs, so most of them understand basic software engineering principles. They know what terms like ‘version control’, ‘unit test’, and “resolution” mean. And they’re more interested in doing a good job than backstabbing their co-workers or brown-nosing management. They understand that they are at work, and don’t spend the whole day on the phone, or reading travel magazines, or looking at porn on the internet.

They don’t take naps at their desks in the middle of the day!

I want a job where:

The company takes quality seriously; they aren’t just interested in shipping a piece of crap to the customers. They have coding standards, conduct code reviews, have a testing process, employ competent QA staff, and conduct meaningful beta tests.

I want a job where:

Hell, at this point I could be wishing for unicorns.

I guess I need to find something else to do.

(P.S. All of the above is true, and happened at least once.)

Bad Customer! No iPhone for You!

I decided to let the fuss die down a bit, so the week after the iPhone launch I phoned around until I found a Rogers outlet that had iPhones in stock. I drove down, waited a few minutes in line, and gave the salesperson my phone number.

He pulled up my existing Rogers account, looked at the screen, and said, “You’re not eligible.”

“Wha?”

“You got a new handset last September. You’re not eligible for a hardware upgrade yet.”

“I don’t want a hardware upgrade. I want to buy an iPhone, and put it on my existing plan. And pay more for the data plan.”

“Well, you can’t. I can’t sell it to you.”

“That’s crazy. You’re saying you won’t sell me the phone? Isn’t there some sort of penalty I can pay to get the hardware?”

“Nope. I can’t sell it to you. There’s nothing I can do.”

I went home, and called Rogers “Customer Service”. The first call ended abruptly as the agent put me on hold and I got disconnected. The second agent repeated what I heard in the store and said that the only thing I could do would be to cancel my existing contract, pay the $200 early termination fee, and start over from scratch. Oh, and lose my existing cell phone number in the process.

Now, I’ve been a Rogers customer for almost seven years. Any other business that had you as a paying customer for that long would be failing over themselves to keep your business. Anyone serious about customer retention would have offered existing customers first dibs on the iPhone. But not Rogers. They seem much more interested in signing new customers than keeping old ones.

I’ve had better treatment from credit card companies. Now that’s saying something.

Daring Fireball Sponsorship

I’ve joined with a number of other Mac Indie developers to sponsor the Daring Fireball blog for the next week.The press release is here. As part of the sponsorship, we’re each offering 20% off our respective products with the coupon code ‘DF2008’. If you don’t already have a license for Horizon now would be a good time to pick one up, and make sure to check out the other applications, too.

iMovie and iLife, Kicking and Screaming

I’ve been using iMovie to assemble the screencasts and the intro movie in the ‘Welcome’ panel. I haven’t tried the new version yet; I’ve been sticking with iMovie-HD most because I’m more familiar with it, and I like having a time line. The problem is, iMovie is rotten at doing slideshows. There are two slideshows in the intro movie; one at the beginning and one at the end.

The problem is that, although the slideshow looks fine in iMovie, it somehow gets messed up on the export to QuickTime. I finally found a solution that involved almost all of the iLife suite. I assemble all the images I need in an iPhoto album, and import my narration track into iTunes. Then I create a slideshow in iPhoto, and add the narration track as the ‘music’ from iTunes. I set the slideshow to run for the duration of the audio track, and disable the ‘Ken Burns’ effect. (Apple, or more precisely, Steve Jobs, must love that ‘Ken Burns’ effect. It’s set as the default in iPhoto and iMovie-HD.) Finally, I export the slideshow to QuickTime, and add it to my iMovie project.

Although it seems like a lot of steps, it’s actually rather quick, and gives you more precise timing. I really must learn the new iMovie sometime soon, though.

Funky Feeds

Since upgrading to Leopard, I’ve noticed that Safari will sometimes stop getting RSS feeds. I’ve traced this problem (I think) to the system-wide feed daemon that provides RSS feeds to Safari, Mail.app, and any other process that wants to subscribe.

The fix seems to be to go into Activity Monitor and Stop the ‘PubSubAgent’. This daemon seems to restart itself automatically, and all the RSS feeds suddenly appear. I haven’t noticed any side effects with stopping the PubSubAgent, so this seems as good a solution as any until Apple fixes the problem.

StartupCampToronto

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending StartupCampToronto, at a bar called ‘No Regrets’ in Toronto. There was a keynote speech by serial start-up founder Albert Lai, and then five start-ups had five minutes each to present their product or service; followed by 15 minutes each for audience questions. I was most interested in Defensio, a product that claims %99.79 accuracy in combating comment spam. I’m definitely going to install it on this blog and give it a try.

After the presentations, a number of companies, including mine, set up demo stations at ‘pods’ in the room below. I think I was the only person actually demonstrating a desktop app, as opposed to a web app or web service. I had a lot of people stop by, and just about all of them ‘got it’ after a quick demo. A number of people independently suggested that Horizon would make a great iPhone app, so I’m more excited that ever to get my hands on the iPhone SDK in February. The was also discussion of a web app, and integration with different on-line services, like banks.

All in all, it was a great experience, I met a number of really nice people, and learned an awful lot about being a start up. I hope to attend more events like these in the future.

Meeting Steve Jobs, kinda

But not really. Instead I met the writer of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. He was in town to meet his fans, and I’ve been a fan of that column for a long time. For those of you who don’t know, “Fake Steve” is really Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes Magazine. He has a new book out, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody, and he is doing a book tour for it.

So, I trudged up to the Madison pub in Toronto, and met Daniel and a few of his co-workers from Forbes. I gave them all CDs of Horizon, and hopefully someone at Forbes will say something nice about Horizon sometime soon. I also met a number of like-minded Mac fans, and had a good time chatting and drinking beer. I gave out a number of Horizon demo CDs, so I hope we’ll have some new users on board.

Old Videos

This is an off-topic, weekend post. Since I got my new development machine, one of the things I planned on doing was digitizing a bunch of old video tapes. The ATI USB All-In-Wonder plue EyeTV, makes this pretty easy. Here’s one of the first things I found; some video I shot at Toronto International Airport a few years ago.

First Print Review

MacUser UK has given Horizon a rather positive review. I know MacUser is widely available in the UK, and some Chapters and Indigo bookstores in Canada carry it. I don’t know about distribution in the States, but I’m sure any book or magazine store with a reasonable international selection would carry it.

Of course, there’s always the online version, which you can read here. And I’m already working on some of the issues the reviewer addressed near the end of the article. Stay tuned for more developments.