The Power of Social Media

Two recent events here in South Africa, both uploaded to YouTube, showcase the power of social media

The first video showed Australian surfer Mick Fanning’s brush with a great white shark during the final of the J-Bay surfing competition in South Africa. The video is embedded below in case you have not seen it.

You can hear the utter shock from the tv presenter and the announcer at the event.

The second video, taken at the Kruger National Park, shows two male lions take down a buck between cars. You can see how the video taker was surprised as he drops the camera at the critical moment.

The first video had 20 million views on YouTube and was featured on international TV. These two videos did more to market South Africa as a tourist destination than any marketing campaign.


A small Mac Project Management application: Insight V2

A recent post by Brent Simmons talks about the economic problems of developing iOS apps. Brent talks about the difficulty in making money if your primary focus is developing iOS apps for sale in the app store.

The quote that caught my eye is the following:

Write the apps you want to write in your free time and out of love for the platform and for those specific apps. Take risks. Make those apps interesting and different. Don’t play it safe. If you’re not expecting money, you have nothing to lose.

That has been pretty much the approach I’ve been following. I’ve been writing hobby desktop applications on the Windows platform for the last 15 years and iOS apps for the last 5. Many times it’s to solve a personal problem that I’ve been having. I’ve never published any of these applications. They usually are not polished enough for other people.

I’ve rewritten one application, in particular, many times. I called that application Insight, and I blogged about it way back in 2008 when I decided to rewrite it as Microsoft WPF application.This app has been my test bed of sorts.

Many things have changed since I wrote that post. For one, I no longer use Windows as my primary platform. I changed to OS X as my main platform five years ago. WPF has also not gotten much love from Microsoft. In fact, there are numerous debates as to whether WPF is dead. Windows 8.1 focusses on Metro style apps that have not appealed to me. And so, I use Insight in my Parallels Windows VM running on my Mac.

So I think it’s time for another rewrite. This time I thought I’d re-create Insight as an OS X desktop app written in Swift. Partly because I’ve never written or designed a Mac app but also because the best way to learn a language is to code something that’s useful to you.

I think it will be awesome!


Publishing my book notes

Amazon has started sending book buyers emails asking them to review books, that they have recently bought, as part of their new strategy to improve their book reviews.

I got one of those emails a couple of months ago and did not think much of it a time. Now, I buy a lot of kindle books. so I started get a request for review email after every kindle book purchase and I started thinking to myself “Why not?”.

As of January 2013 my kindle library has 238 book of which around half of those are non-fiction non-programming books.

I have a very specific way of reading these kinds of books:

  1. I have a quick read through the book to gauge the content and whether it impresses me of not.
  2. If it does impress me, I re-read the book, taking meticulous notes in my moleskine pad.

I’ve decide to publish these reviews on my site and maybe on the Amazon website as well. These reviews will only be for those books I think are worth reading and have impressed me in some way or another. In addition, I will post an amazon affiliate link to the book on the review page which means that if you purchase the book via that link, I will earn a commission from Amazon.

I will only review books that I have bought which I think are worthwhile and have made an impression on me.

Lastly, the book I’m currently reading will appear on the sidebar on the main page. If I like the book, I will publish my book notes.