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Jeremy Deats
Programmer | Writer | Musician | Tablet artist
Programmer | Writer | Musician | Tablet artist


Apple's announcements today makes it clear they are focusing all their innovation efforts on rewarding their customers who do full buy in to Apple's ecosystem (watch, TV, tablet, phone and mac). I view this as punishing those who enjoy a few Apple products but refuse to be forced to live digital life exclusively on Apple's offerings. It's ridiculous. Instead of taking the OS further, R&D is focused on making us buy Apple eveything.
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So I'm learning Swift and so far I've found it a mixed bag. I am very frustrated over certain aspects of the language. While the language is very straightforward the problem is all the refactoring Apple did between Swift 1 and Swift 2 (making hundreds if not thousands of how-to videos difficult to follow and likely dead-ends to many new comers). Yes xCode helps you refactor from Swift1 to Swift2, it's still unacceptable that the language went though such drastic change on it's second major release. I can find no white paper or interview where Apple has addressed the reasoning for the refactoring and many of the changes take Swift further from the "C languages" way of doing things. With no real reason other than to help distinguish Swift 2 with the adverse effect of making Swift developers lives more difficult. Why Apple, why?

My other gripe is with syntax decisions that are very hard to infer. I'll provide one example, there are others.

Consider this Swift code:

struct task{
    var name: String = ""
    var desc: String = ""

class TaskManager: NSObject {
    var tasks = [task]()
    // more verbose than it needs to be, but trying to make things clear
    func addTask(name_:String, desc_:String) {
        let newtask: task = task(name:name_, desc:desc_)

// Example usage:
// usage requires our desc struct attribute be explicitly defined while the name attribute does not

var t1: String! = txtTask.text;
var t2: String! = txtDesc.text;

// this is what you would use in java/c/c++/c#

// this is what the Swift 2 compiler wants       
 taskMgr.addTask(t1,desc_: t2)

// if the language is expecting developer to define the internal function variable names, logically you would expect
 taskMgr.addTask(name_:t1,desc_: t2)

/* Instead Swift's syntax requires the developer NOT assign an internal variable name to the first parameter (the above will produce an error) but it does require you to provide the variable name for all subsequent parameters following the first. */

// This is correct syntax according to Swift
 taskMgr.addTask(t1,desc_: t2)

Optionally you can use an "_" in the func definition to make the behavior more like the standard C way of doing things, but that should be the default and if internal variable labels are to be required it makes sense they would all require label.. It's very difficult to find any respect for a language when it's creators resorted to these sort of tactics that seemingly only serve to distant the language from otherwise standard form. Is this really the best you can do Apple?

#Swift2   #Apple   #iOS
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I've just released a small gateway app which enables the  R programming language to connect to Microsoft SQL Server or Analytic Services. Included are R package files for Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu. I've also put in place plug-in support so .NET developers can expose custom data providers.

It's licensed under the GNU GPL and includes all source code.
Available now on GitHub:

#R   #OLAP   #sqlserver  
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Of course we would all prefer not to have to offer Amnesty to undocumented workers. The problem is while the undocumented workers are not paying back into the system they are essentially an infection to the US economy. The reality is often the best option comes with consequences. For those who strongly oppose Amnesty I'd love to hear a workable alternative that doesn't take 20-years and cost US tax payers $400 billion. It's easy to say "round them up and send them back" but it's not a practical solution. We have to deal with securing the border at the same time. It's made our country sick. We have to seal the wound and heal the infection at the same time. Both are equally as important and yet it seems the Republicans and Democrats just want to debate over which should come first. 

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Don't Bury The Bones
original poem

When this road that I’m on finally reaches it’s ocean
And this case of skin releases my soul
Don’t bury the bones
Give them to the fire
And then give the ash to the ocean
Who are we to rob the earth for the dead?
When their time has come and gone
And to those worth my time
I can only hope that I've given enough
To be worth a memory or two, after
That's really all there is in the end
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Was I the only one underwhelmed with the WWDC 2015 unveils? What Apple showcased can be boiled down to a collection of technologies chasing existing market leaders... I'm surprised I'm saying this, but Microsoft's Build conference was much more interesting this year. 

#wwdc   #build   #microsoft   #apple   #microsoftbuild
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The Verge gives Microsoft a bit too much credit here and they have Apple's vision wrong. Both companies admit devices (plural) are the future and both want to claim their territory. Apple just wants all your devices to be Apple branded (an unrealistic strategy as we grow beyond the phone and wearables) meanwhile Microsoft continues to chase Apple (Zune, Windows Phone, Surface), Google (Bing, Windows Phone) and Amazon (Azure). But look at the marketshare of all of these Microsoft "chaser" products and services. Zune failed and we aren't really allowed to talk about it anymore. Windows Phone has been on the market for going on four years and has less than 3% market share. It's another catastrophic failure that keeps getting reinvented as Microsoft iterates on failure. With Surface (RT) Microsoft introduced a product then abandoned that product two years later, burning all the customers who put their faith in the Microsoft brand. In the search engine space, Bing has done slightly better, it holds around 18% market share, but it's a very distant second to Google which holds around 70%.

 If you look at the last decade of Microsoft the theme is follow other tech leaders then fail. In the markets that matter in technology today they lead none of them. So to get back around to the article. Why is the Verge giving them credit and assuming Microsoft's vision for the future is going to have any impact at all? It's likely because the hype machine around all things Microsoft that has been running non-stop the past month as the company tries to get the world excited about Windows 10. As it turns out Windows 10  is an all-encompassing brand that will not just be reference to the successor of Windows 8.1, but also Windows Phone, etc... Having studied the developer SDKs for Windows 10 from the previews and carefully reviewing all technical details I have to say I am underwhelmed.  Once again I'm reminded of that old Everclear song Everything to Everyone. If you aren't familure with it here is the bridge

...Spin around and fall down
Do it again
Come on now
Do that stupid dance for me
You do what you do 
You say what you say
You try to be everything to everyone 

The model for a success American Corporation is to always show growth and expansion. The end game is a company like a Walmart or what Microsoft became in the 90s. If you're a tech company, keeping that crown is very difficult in our system. Share holders demand justification for risk. Innovation often requires huge risk that are hard to justify on paper and being #1 in Technology is all about innovation. So how do you move forward if you're Microsoft? You put up the smoke and mirrors once again, you hype your new OS (Windows 10) and you market yourself though PR, conferences etc to try and make the world forget about you past decade of failures and loss of critical market share.

I have very little faith in the direction Microsoft is going or the new leadership taking them down that path. We need real innovation not another facade, but real innovation requires putting the company on the line and Microsoft can't really justify that to their investors, especially now after a five year string of products and services that have failed to lead their markets. So Windows 10 will come, it will not get customers to leave Android or iOS, it will manage to make Windows desktop users happy and may even prevent a few of them from buying an iPad or Android tablet. It won't increase Windows Phone market share or do anything grand for Enterprise.

 I believe the public is invested in Android and iOS ecosystems at this point, that mobile has superseded desktop (the data is available to validate this). Ecosystem implies smooth transition between devices, desktop and web. Microsoft has no ecosystem because they have no market share for devices or exclusive web offerings anyone is actually using outside Skype which still lives in it's own sandbox.

Microsoft's strategy of providing developers with the tools to port Android and iOS apps to Windows is flawed with pretension. Let's say I am business with successful iOS and Android store apps.  Microsoft only has been able to gain 3% market share in mobile. What is my incentive to invest thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of dollars in porting my app? It make no sense. So what's going to start the wave and make businesses begin a new trend to make Windows store apps relevant? I don't see a way Microsoft can do that. Microsoft has run a few promotions campagins where they actually paid developer to build store apps and have given away prizes, etc.. They've tried every fucking trick in the book and it's just not happened for them? Why? I suspect because the developers still on Windows are the conservative types who put value in legacy and desktop apps and aren't all that interested in mobile and device development. It's an near impossible nut to crack. For the business owners who want apps for their customers, It takes the risk off the Microsoft investors and puts it all of it back on them. With Windows 10 those business owners will once again reason that Windows store apps are not worth developing. I big part of Windows 10's success is going to be developers embracing the Microsoft app store. Under all the smoke and mirrors this is where one of the biggest cracks in their strategy is, there is nothing really innovative to compel mobile developers on other platforms to do that or for developers currently invested in Win32 and Win64 apps on legacy versions of Windows to do that.
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