Apple’s Billions at Work

Wondering what Apple might do with its billions of dollars of profit each quarter?

I think they’ve been telling us for a while, and it fits in really nicely with some of the concerns people have had about Apple for a long while.

the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is going to be building a data command center in Arizona in the husk of GT Advanced Technologies. Not a bad ending for that sordid affair.

Along with the data center itself, there are plans for a 70 megawatt solar array to be put on/near the site to provide power, much like the North Carolina data center they are also expanding. They also have data centers under construction in Oregon and Nevada.

It takes a lot of up-front capital to try to get these sorts of facilities off of the ground and Apple has cash.

Why the Mac App Store

The App Store (both Mac and iOS) has its fair share of problems.

However, it has allowed me to offload many problems I had to deal with in the past when it came to recommending, purchasing, and installing software. Mainly, it has to do with enabling others to do that part so that I don’t have to go and visit that person every time they have a question.

My mother records her piano students at various times during the year for Statewide Graduation with the Suzuki Association of Minnesota. Those files need to be converted to MP3s and then submitted for judging before a student can be accepted.

In comes Pro Audio Converter and the Mac App Store. I send her the link, she can purchase and download using her Apple ID with attached credit card information and I get an email back later that day saying that everything worked just fine.

In the past she never even purchases the software because she doesn’t like giving her credit card information out over the web if she doesn’t know the company. Apple, being a corporation that she knows, handles the trust issue and then OS X handles downloading, installing, and showing her where to find the software.

The added benefit is that I don’t see three mounted images on her desktop where she runs the programs out of the next time I visit.

So she gains some independence from me taking care of the software side of things and I gain time. That’s a win-win in that situation.

However, let’s not minimize the issues the App Store has. There are needs for resources to make App Review faster and better, better management to keep policies in-line across the company, and continued development to make sure that new apps can show up on the store as well. Those are real needs.

There are real wins, for real people, with the App Store as well … and that is really cool.

Stanford iOS 8 Course Now Available

The Developing iOS 8 Apps with Swift course from Stanford University is now available on iTunes U …

… and it is entirely in Swift! Obviously.

I’m done with the first lecture and half through the second. I’ve started a number of the old classes, but never finished since I ended up finding them after they had all of the materials available and my tiny little brain was too intimidated to stick with it.

This time I am hoping to keep up with the material as it is released. Hopefully that will help me push through. So far, so good.

Unsettled Conference “Kit”

For the┬ápast two conference I have attended, BrainShare 2014 and GusDay 2015, I have attended with my iPad as my “large” computing device. For BrainShare it was by necessity (my MacBook Pro wasn’t getting delivered until the Tuesday after I left) and for GusDay it was because of ease-of-carry (and being only a single-day conference, it wasn’t a huge deal).

One fun experiment has been to watch what others bring to these conference for their computing needs. Most people carry a smart phone with them and then it varies from individual to individual from that point forward. Some might have just a notebook and pen while others have a large laptop case with wheels, two laptops, and tablet … and a mini bar?

Both ends of that spectrum sound a little bit excessive to me but I still haven’t settled on my own “bag of tricks” when it comes to attending conferences.

I have a feeling this is partly because of my general “unsettled-ness” toward technology in general. If I am not trying to live off of an iPad away from work, I’m attempting to live within the confines of Linux or going all-in with Apple everywhere. Maybe I’m setting up a new file server at home to handle things or I’ve just thrown the towel in and setup a Time Capsule to handle backups.

Needless to say, this doesn’t make my decisions any easier when I have my brain actively fighting against me.

Couple that with the amount of time I spend every week with server operating systems and I get the feeling I should be switching to openSUSE so that I can get as close to “real” as possible even when I’m away from work. My brain is a mess when it comes to this.

Did I mention that I would like to get back into Ruby again along with learning Swift and iOS development? Well that doesn’t make any sense!

What I have decided is that I need to travel with a laptop with consistent VPN access. My iPad can get me by in a pinch, but when I need to dig into something even semi-technical, I need to be able to have a keyboard in front of me. I got caught in Salt Lake City needing to troubleshoot some file system corruption with only my iPad. While I was able to do it, I would have been able to do it faster (and better) with my laptop instead.

Yes, I sacrifice size in this instance, but it is worth the trade-off for the work that I do.

So, even though this will continue to be unsettled for a very long time, I have moved my 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display up into my “pack” the next time I go to a conference. There it will sit with my iPhone as the only two devices that I will need to bring with me to any conference. The iPad has moved into the nice to have category and will be brought along when it is warranted and I have space for it.

The wildcard in all of this is ebooks. The iPad is almost the perfect size for reading technical books and documentation. The Kindle and iPhone 6 are too small and a full laptop is awkward.

Maybe the iPad Air 2 is the answer for this, being smaller and lighter. It’s possible, but an expensive possible.

I don’t know … and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.