On Indie Software

I use a good number of apps from both large corporations and indie developers. I believe in buying and paying for software that you use and find value. After a couple of experiences with both types of companies, I believe in supporting indie development as the support they give is much better than from large corporations. I have some quick thoughts on software; indie software to be specific. Three quick stories.

I recently upgraded to a new M1 MacBook Air (my thoughts on it will come soon), so that meant reinstalling all my software and apps on the new machine. Rather than use Migration Assistant, I set it up as new and installed apps as I needed. Apps I got from the App Store were simple enough to install; just fire up the Mac App Store and download away. For others not on the App Store, I had to download and install from their respective websites. And since I installed the apps as I needed them, it took a couple weeks before I started running into these experiences. There are two indie apps that, after I installed them, I needed support from the developers to get up and running. The two apps were MarsEdit and Clicker for YouTube TV.

MarsEdit is an app that I use to post to my site. It’s great because I can work on a post that’s not on a web form within a browser. In my previous install of the app, I had old posts from other blogs that I wanted to bring over but did not see an export function. I reached out to Daniel Jalkut and he quickly responded and I was able to transfer over my previous install to my new computer.

dbk labs makes a number of apps that their sole purpose is to create a native viewing app in Mac OS for different streaming services. I bought apps to watch Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube TV on my Mac. When it came to install Clicker for YouTube TV, apparently I ran into the maximum limit of computers on which I could use my license. I emailed Drew Koch and explained how I ran into the limit and he sent me a new license code, no questions asked.

My son recently has become obsessed with Minecraft and I wanted to create a private server and play with him. I purchased Minecraft for our old iMac when my oldest one first became interested in Minecraft. That iMac has since been wiped and sold. I tried to download and reinstall and got a message saying that our license number was already used. I reached out to Microsoft explaining the situation and got an automated reply with a link to their support forum that was completely unhelpful. I’m still trying to figure out how to get a copy of Minecraft for the Mac and can’t find the proper channel for support.

I can’t speak enough about how much better my experience with independent developers has been. I reached out with a simple and probably common question and got the support I needed in no more than 48 hours. And I’m still frustrated with a piece of software from a multi-billion dollar corporation that does not need my money if I had to purchase another copy of Minecraft. I’m extremely grateful for the developers of MarsEdit and the Clicker family of apps, and all indie developers. They make super useful software and actually provide useful and timely support. Please support indie development and pay for software that you actually use.

Support Systems

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My good friend sent me a link to this YouTube channel (also available as a podcast). It’s called the Order of Man and on Fridays, the host, Ryan Michler, just riffs on random topics. On this episode, he tells a story about running into some young boys who are dressed in fantasy warrior costumes and are pretend fighting. He finds out that it’s called LARPing, which stands for Live Action Role Playing. He goes on and says a lot of men are just role playing their way through life and not living up to who they really want to be. It’s a good discussion. He toes the line of being too masculine, but never really crosses it. I thought he had some really good points. One of them being, you need to surround yourself with other men. It sounds weird at first but it makes sense and it really hit home for me.

We are social creatures by nature and we need social interaction with other human beings. We all need a support system. We need friends. I can speak from experience that when I got married and especially after I became a father, those friendships fell to the wayside. My priorities were my wife and my family. And there is nothing wrong with that. We are husbands and fathers and we are wired to protect and provide. There is also a downside to that. We tend to forget that we also have needs and if we don’t have social interaction, bonds with other men who are just like us, we start to break down. I know it sounds dramatic but that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t myself and everything else around me suffered. I wasn’t the best husband, father, or employee that I could be.

I think a lot of us fall into this hole of doing our jobs as husbands and fathers and forgetting who we were before all of that. It’s important to remember we can’t do it all alone and we need that support system. To ground us. To motivate us. To vent to. To joke with. To drink with. To be the guy to listen to things and say “oh yeah that happens to me too” so the other person doesn’t feel like they’re in this alone. Because they’re not. We’re all just here trying to figure shit out. And it helps to know that you’re not the only one.

Before the links, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has sent kind words and support. It’s cool that anyone reads this at all. And if it helps anyone, that’s awesome. Please share this with anyone who you might think would enjoy this.

YouTube

An Agent’s Mistake Cost an N.B.A. Player $3 Million. He Paid Him Back.

An awesome story of how someone made a mistake, owned it, and made it right.

ProRAW is Here

Austin Mann has the best iPhone camera reviews. With iOS 14.3, Apple has added ProRAW to the iPhones Pro. He dives into it.

The Vampire Test

This is the first I’d heard of this. Great test for figuring out who you choose to let into your life.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Turns 10

I don’t care for Kanye’s life outside of his music. It’s quite sad what he’s devolved to, but this album is almost perfection. Easily my favorite Kanye album and in my top 3 all time.

Tweet of the Week

What parent can’t relate hiding from your parental duties for just a few precious minutes of quiet downtime? We all do this. For me, it’s a grocery store run. I had to chuckle at this one. What’s your favorite excuse to duck away from your kids?

Your Move, iPad »

Becky Hansmeyer on the iPad when viewed against the new M1 Macs:

Francisco is right: Power and performance aren’t the bottleneck for iPad, and haven’t been for some time. So if raw power isn’t enough, and new display tech isn’t enough, where does the iPad go from here? Will it be abandoned once more, lagging behind the Mac in terms of innovation, or will Apple continue to debut its latest tech in this form factor? Is it headed toward functional parity with the Mac or will it always be hamstrung by Apple’s strict App Store policies and seemingly inconsistent investment in iPadOS?

I would love an iPad that could run iOS when in tablet mode then macOS when docked.

Thanks, Perspective, and YouTube

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Perspective

We’re into December now, can you believe that? Thanksgiving was only last week. As difficult as this year has been, my family and I have plenty to be thankful for. Having each other, our health, and moving back to southern California easily top the long list of things we are thankful for. Looking back, we definitely won’t forget this year.

I learned this year to always have a different perspective when unfortunate things happen. I’ve read and learned from other people that this is key in changing your outlook, and ultimately your attitude and quality of life. The other night, I was lamenting that our place was messy. I stopped and thought to myself, I’m so lucky to have a family, two kids, and a dog, that make this place look lived in. If not for my kids, the dining table wouldn’t have crayons and toys strewn all over it. It’s all about perspective.

YouTube

For me, YouTube is my “TV”. It’s what I like to browse on my down time, when I want to zone out. I’ve always liked vlog type channels, when they’re done well. Casey Neistat is the first that comes to my mind. I’ve always wanted to try to do something similar, but for me. I posted this a LONG time ago and I had fun making it and looking back at it (I lived a different life back then lol). I’ve started making little videos for myself and posting to YouTube. They serve two purposes: to capture moments with my family and as a creative outlet for myself. Go to my channel to see what I’ve posted and I’ll embed the latest one below.

Learn How to Appreciate What You Already Have – Another article talking about practicing gratitude but by “mental subtraction”. Basically, how much crappier would your life be if you took away something positive.

How to Be Rich, According to the Happiest Country in the World – Kind of going along with the happiness theme, what “rich” means in the happiest country in the world. tldr; “Do something active. Do something together with other people. Do something meaningful.”

An Oral History of ‘Marge vs The Monorail’ – Something that always makes me happy is when I watch this episode. Too bad Conan didn’t take part in this, but nevertheless, a great read.

Tweet of the Week

Pre-COVID Road Trip

We are, what, almost a year into this pandemic? Sometimes, I look at photos and things we did a year ago. I miss how much we were all care free back then. No worrying about rules, wearing masks, or being in close contact with other people.

We took a road trip last year to Orange County, when we were still living in Northern California. I took video, threw it together, and added music.

Back To School

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As you can tell from the title, the kids are back in school, and the youngest is physically back in school. I know, big deal. As the beginning of the school year approached, and as talks of sending kids back to school progressed, we were wary of sending our kids back to school. We are fortunate enough to live in a school district where they take science seriously and have taken every precaution possible to accept students back into school, which made us feel better. And as other families and parents have experienced, we were all ready for that separation of school and home. In the understatement of the century, this pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and after a month of distance learning for this school year, we were ready for our youngest to go back. I’m sure he missed the structure of school as well.

After three weeks of in-person school, everything seems to be going great. He gets to take the bus to school, which he loves. He comes home exhausted but has tons of stories to tell us from his day. And as parents, we get our peace and quiet back, during the day at least.

Our older one is not yet back at school as there are greater logistic issues with the middle school. But she seems to be doing fine for now with the remote set up. I’ve been impressed with her school’s curriculum especially for her French class. Every Friday they cook a French dish. It’s basically a cooking class. And we benefit from eating an impressive French meal she prepared herself. Of course, I’m eager to help her and watch over her shoulder and help when she needs it.

Nine months into this pandemic and it still wears on you, but we’ve adjusted to the move and now being back in school so I can’t complain in the grand scheme of things.

Now, on to some links…

Someday Our Kids Will Not Believe Us About Any of This

I think about this especially as I see my youngest one being more and more aware of what is going on around him. He freaks out when he touches something outside. He asks what would happen if he “fights the police”. And our oldest sees all the political ads and asks tons of questions. Good ones at that. And now that we are closing in on a year of living like this, I’d like to make an effort to remember and take note of everything going on around us.

How to Build a Better Dinner

Since we’ve all been working from home and staying in as much as possible, we are all cooking a lot more, ordering take out more, or a combination of both. This article by Kenji Lopez-Alt reminded me how kitchens are run and inspired me to have more cooking “building blocks” on hand to help you make meals by combining different blocks. One of the secrets to how a restaurant pushes out all those dishes for all those guests is the amount of prep that goes in beforehand.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Reviews

New iPhones came out last week (standard 12 and 12 Pro, we will have to wait for the Mini and Pro Max) and I upgraded my two year old XR. I got a iPhone 12 Pro in Gold, 128 GB on T-Mobile. The gold looks great in person. 5G is mostly a feature that’s been shoved down our throats. The speeds in my area are comparable to LTE. I’m enjoying the OLED screen and camera improvements the most.

I linked to Gruber’s review up top, but The Verge (iPhone 12 Pro) and MKBHD (iPhone 12) have great video reviews if you’d rather watch than read.

Tweet of the Week

I’ve probably mentioned it on Twitter, but Ted Lasso is probably the best show I’ve watched this year. Whatever hype you’ve heard, it is all true and you should probably watch it right now. Here’s a thread that tries to explain why it’s so great.

Vote

It seems like every election year is the most important of our time. That was definitely the case in 2016, but in all seriousness, that is the case again in 2020. It’s no secret how I feel about the current administration, but regardless how you feel about the current presidential candidates, there are a ton of other government positions and propositions that we are voting on.

For us in California, there are a number of propositions on the ballot. If you aren’t up to speed about what the propositions are about, CalMatters has great videos on each proposition. They are neutral in the way they explain them (unlike all the annoying commercials and ads you see on TV and YouTube), and they do so in a clear and concise way. Each video spends less than a minute explaining each proposition.

And once you have filled in your ballot, please make every effort to turn them in early. At an OFFICIAL ballot drop box or polling location. Not a fake one like those dirty California Republicans are setting up in different counties in California. You can find the closest, official one to you here.

You can also track your ballot from when they send it to you, to when it is received after you drop it off at ballottrax.

Please vote. You can make a difference.