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Carlos Vega
Works at Chaotic Moon Studios
Attended University of Puerto Rico
Lives in Austin, TX
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Carlos Vega

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Looking forward to this talk.
 
Matt Wear is back to talk about writing Android Apps in Kotlin. Last time Matt spoke he showed us how to build an Android Wear app that called his mom (literally, her phone number was included in the sample code). Now he's coming to talk about Kotlin. This will be fun.

Description from the speaker:

"A few months ago I started a rewrite project for a client, and they agreed to let me use Kotlin despite the fact I had never written anything substantial in the language prior. I thought it would be fun to learn something new, but was surprised by how much more productive this new tool made me. In this talk you will learn about Kotlin, my experience writing a real production app in it, and why you should give it serious consideration.

Kotlin is a language developed by JetBrains for the JVM. It includes language features such as lambdas, data classes, extension methods and null safety, that will make even the best developer write more accurate, easier to read and maintain code. I plan to give everyone a working understanding of the syntax, features, risks and most importantly what I learned from building a production app in Kotlin. The only prerequisite for the talk will be a decent."
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Carlos Vega

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Great advice for junior developers!
 
My tips to junior developers

Every now and again, I get contacted by junior developers looking for tips on how they can become the awesome hackers they want to be.

My advice is usually this:

Code. The only way to take your technical skills to the next level is to code a lot, all the time. There's no way around it. Practice, practice, practice.

Read code. As a developer, you'll be reading code most of the time. Find efficient strategies to understand code written by other developers.

Write. The ability to clearly express and debate technical ideas is a hugely important skill in our craft. Again, practice is key. Write about your work.

Never settle. Join teams in which you'll be constantly pushing yourself to be a better developer.

And I think the best way to do these things is to contribute to open source projects :-)
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Great stuff! I hope to apply and interview at some places in summer 2015, so I'm gathering information like this and asking devs what I should study up on for interviews. 
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Carlos Vega

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Another very useful Android contribution from +Jeff Gilfelt​ :)
 
I forked the Asset Studio and added L style launcher icon support. It's not perfect, but all the material keyline shapes and a couple of shadow effects are available.

http://jgilfelt.github.io/AndroidAssetStudio/icons-launcher.html

#AndroidDev #AndroidDesign
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Carlos Vega

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I find some of the comments contradicting.  If they are so concerned about users' privacy and their customers are not a product then why bring Facebook and Twitter integration to Mac OS X?  These companies run the very same business model that Apple claims they don't operate by.
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my point is:
The food is free, girls dont pay and drinks have refills !!!!!! :D
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Carlos Vega

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Great continuation of +brian griffey discussion on how +HomeAway Android app is architected in terms of Views without Fragments.
 
No fragments, rich reviews. Development at HomeAway part 2.
Brian Griffey. {{link.name}}
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Great article, thanks for sharing.
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The best movie-watching experience in Austin!
 
Take a Tour of the Coolest Movie Theater on Earth
Here at Film School Rejects, we love the Alamo Drafthouse. We’re not sorry about it, either. When it comes to reviewing movies, we generally don’t play favorites. Objectivity usually wins the day and movies are judged on their own merits. When it comes to where we see those movies, all bets are off and the nearest Alamo Drafthouse location is at the top of our list. What’s not to love? They will serve us food and drink during the movie, they have...
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Carlos Vega

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Went with +Stephanie Flores today to Classic Game Fest (http://www.classicgamefest.com) and saw this custom built arcade setup. You can customize the color of the box, choose between 15 and 17" display as well as add the illuminated joystick/buttons. Comes with about 60 games (Galaga, Contra, Mario Bros, etc). Price is $400 so I'll have to do some shopping around to decide if its really worth that kind of money. 
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Not sure if the guy (Pat Lucas) has a local shop since his business card didn't have an address. They go by Alamo Arcades (alamoarcades@yahoo.com, 210-789-1496).
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+Michael Vogt​ They pushed a fix today. :)
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Carlos Vega

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One of the few developers out there that take their time to pro actively engage with his users about upcoming changes to one of his apps. Granted, I don't think developers have to go through all this trouble justifying their actions but given the many people who fill entitled to unlimited free upgrades (i.e. Monument Valley) I can understand why the post. Kudos to +Chris Lacy​​. Can't wait for the new app release!
 
Action Launcher 3 will release soon. It will be a paid upgrade.

Here's how it will work:
1). On release day (TBC), the existing Action Launcher Play Store entry (com.actionlauncher.playstore) will be upgraded to the new app, Action Launcher 3.
2). Also on this day, I will re-release Action Launcher 2 as a new app in the Play Store (com.actionlauncher.holoedition.playstore). This app will be the exact same version of Action Launcher 2 as is currently in the Play Store today.
3). Action Launcher Pro will only work with Action Launcher 2. People who bought Action Launcher Pro previously can still use all the functionality they paid for. You just have to install a different app to access it.

I realize I risk putting a few people offside by the decision to charge (full price) for Action Launcher 3's functionality, so please allow me to explain my thinking here with this mini-FAQ which will hopefully address the majority of questions people might have.

"Why is Action Launcher 3 a paid upgrade? Why aren't you releasing it as a free update like all other apps do?"
The answer is simple: Action Launcher 3 isn't a "app X gets an update for Material Design" release. In fact, it's not an update at all. It's an entirely new version. It is a total re-imagining. It is both a complete re-design and a complete re-write. Every feature from Action Launcher 2 that has been brought over has been rethought and polished. It has a headline feature new not just for Action Launcher, but all launchers. It is the culmination of many months of effort.

Considering the vast majority of Action Launcher 2 sales occurred over a year ago, and I make my living selling my apps, it's very tough to justify from a business perspective giving all this hard work away for free in an update. I feel very happy with how many updates Action Launcher 2 received over the previous 2 years (11 major updates, >100 in total), as well as the value for money Action Launcher Pro users have received for their $2-$4 purchase. But charging for Action Launcher 3 is the right move to ensure the product has the opportunity to grow as I want it to going forward.

"No seriously. I already bought Action Launcher Pro! You're telling me I have to pay again?!?"
Here's the good news: the app you previously bought, as well as all its previous functionality, will still available for you to use. And it works as well or better than the day you bought it. The only difference will be, this app has been renamed to Action Launcher 2: Holo Edition, and requires a separate install. If you want to use this version of Action Launcher, please feel free to do so. But yes, if you want to use Action Launcher 3's premium features, I am asking that you buy those features.

"You're being greedy charging for this upgrade. You posted recently that Action Launcher Pro had sold 100k copies!"
I'm immensely grateful to everyone who has bought the app to this point. But as I said above, the majority of those sales happened over a year ago. It would have been very tough for me to justify the months and months of Action Launcher 3 development time if I wasn't going to charge people for the upgrade. I hope/think once most people see/use Action Launcher 3, they will be very happy I spent this time developing it, and accept the decision to charge for it.

"What other options did you consider before deciding to charge for Action Launcher 3's upgrade?"
Pretty much everything I could think of. I almost went with an annual subscription, but I balked here because I had strong doubts the market at large would accept it.

"Will Action Launcher 3 have a free version to try out?"
Yes, Action Launcher 3 can be installed and trialled in a time-unlimited manner. Unlocking the premium features occurs via an in-app purchase.

"I get that you are charging for the upgrade, but why not release the new app as a separate app?"
The main reasons are:
* SEO. There are a lot of web articles that link to com.actionlauncher.playstore, and I want people following these articles to be taken to the best possible version of the app (Action Launcher 3).
* Action Launcher currently has a 6 figure active install count, and I want all of these users to have the latest version pushed to their device when it becomes available.

"What about the alpha/beta features in Action Launcher 2? Will you at least finish those?"
Sorry, but no plans to do this. Generally speaking, those features were labelled alpha/beta or put in Labs for a reason.

"You owe it to Action Launcher 2 customers to at least fix all the bugs!"
This depends entirely on how many Pro users keep using Action Launcher 2 once Action Launcher 3 releases. If as I suspect/hope, the vast majority transition to Action Launcher 3, it's tough to justify my spending the time on software rarely being used anymore, when instead that time could be spent making Action Launcher 3 better. There are a few bugs in Action Launcher 2 I'm not thrilled about. A few are AOSP bugs, but most are my fault. And to my knowledge, all are fixed in Action Launcher 3.

(For what it's worth, it's rarely as simple as taking a fix from Action Launcher 3 and bringing it to Action Launcher 2. That's kind of like taking a piece from one jigsaw puzzle and trying to make it fit in a different jigsaw puzzle (again, Action Launcher 3 is a complete rewrite)).

"I bought Action Launcher Pro recently! I want my money back!"
If you bought Action Launcher Pro in the last 30 days and find yourself wanting to refund this purchase in light of this news, please do the following: buy the Action Launcher 3 Plus in-app purchase when it releases. Make sure you use the same Google Account used to purchase Action Launcher Pro. Then email support@digitalashes.com with a subject of "Action Launcher 2 Refund". Once I verify that you have purchased the new upgrade in Action Launcher 3, I will refund the Action Launcher Pro purchase (be aware this won't happen instantly, but I will get to it assuming these steps are followed).

"Why are you telling us this now?"
I appreciate this is not a normal course of action, and I expect the idea will take a bit of getting used to for some. My hope is that by informing everyone about the decision and why I have made it ahead of time, people will have had time to process it by the time Action Launcher 3 releases. Hopefully on release day, the topic of discussion can (mostly) be the quality of the app itself and what it brings to the table, rather than pricing model of it.

"Are all features that are present in Action Launcher 2 present in Action Launcher 3?"
No, there have been features cut. I may bring some/most/all features back at some point, but the goal with Action Launcher 3 was to make the best experience possible, and if that means a few features that I tried in the past but never quite clicked are cut, then so I think that’s fair. When you see Action Launcher 3, hopefully it will make sense why certain features were cut.

"Can you tell us what is in Action Launcher 3?"
It contains the best features of Action Launcher 2, some great features of Google Now Launcher, and a new headline feature I'm immensely proud of.

"When is Action Launcher 3 releasing?"
As soon as it's ready to go. I can't be more specific, because I just don't know when I'll have all the bugs done. I've got 10 to go as of writing. Hopefully no more appear before launch.

”You know what, this is kind of like the way I buy a new Call of Duty every year. Or that fact that my having bought Captain America 1 on Blu-ray doesn’t entitle me to a free copy of Captain America 2. I was mad reading the headline of this post, but you've convinced me, and I'm actually fine with this move!”
Terrific! Thanks for your understanding!

"I've read all this, but I still think this is wrong. There's no way I'm paying for an upgrade."
I'm sorry you feel that way, but that is of course your right. Hopefully you'll check out the free component of Action Launcher 3 when it releases all the same.

To sum up, charging for Action Launcher 3's premium features will help ensure ongoing Action Launcher development remains a viable business proposition going forward. While there will no doubt be some Action Launcher Pro customers who remain upset at this decision, given making it will result in a far higher quality app in the long run, it is a decision I hope most will agree is the right one.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now it's back to work for me so I can get this app to you all ASAP.
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Carlos Vega

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Pretty neat list of time-saver Live Templates for Android Studio.
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Great tips to adjust to change and/or be successful at employing change in your life.
By Leo Babauta. The mind is a wonderful thing. It's also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives. Scumbag mind. I've had to learn to watch these rationalizations and excuses very carefully, ...
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Carlos Vega

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Having some fun with the awesome Fragment app (http://goo.gl/u5EsnJ) made by +Ryan Harter. Great way to make wallpapers... or cover art if you're in a rock band. Ha! Give it a try!
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Work
Employment
  • Chaotic Moon Studios
    Android Developer, present
  • Intel Corporation
    Design Engineer, 2007 - 2013
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Austin, TX
Previously
Isabela, PR - Poughkeepsie, NY - Burlington, VT - Rochester, MN
Story
Tagline
Android developer at Chaotic Moon, rock climber and outdoors enthusiast.
Education
  • University of Puerto Rico
    B.S. Computer Engineering, 2003
  • University of Puerto Rico
    M.S. Electrical Engineering, 2005
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