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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Jack Baty on Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Jack Baty:

Almost lost me in the first 15 minutes. Way too silly for its own good. Felt to me like they took what they thought made the first film successful and just cranked up those bits. I enjoyed the middle portion, so stuck with it.

If I had written a review, this would be it.

Morning on Penn Avenue, Scranton, PA – August 2017

Published: August 31, 2017

I’ve been getting hit with comment spam. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

Pedometer++ 3.0

_DavidSmith:

I’ve been steadily working on Pedometer++ now for nearly four years. Over that time the core conceit of the app has remained the same, to motivate you to be more active. It has done this with colors, confetti, complications and streaks. Now I’ve added another tool to hopefully motivate, achievements!

Pedometer++ continues to be my favorite step counter*. I’m looking forward to trying out this latest release.

* Yes, I’m building Summit, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still use Pedometer++ and Map My Walk. Each of these apps play a different role. I hope to make Summit good enough to fill a role for others too. But not the same role as Pedometer++. Even though the number one feature request is that I add more stats – that isn’t what Summit is about.

I unsubscribed from ~60 RSS feeds this morning. I’ll be looking to refill those spots with fresh new perspectives, creativity, inspiration.

Bank Towers, Scranton, PA – August 2017

Published: August 30, 2017

Repost: Saron Yitbarek

👉 Saron Yitbarek on Twitter:

A lot of amazing people don’t speak at conferences because they think speaking requires being an expert. It doesn’t. At all.

I want a dual-camera, edge-to-edge screen, waterproof iPhone SE

I miss my iPhone SE. Everything I ever wrote about it here on my blog was awash with my overwhelming love of the device. I still believe it is the best phone Apple has made to date.

The only reason I use an iPhone 7 Plus is the camera. I said I wouldn’t switch from the iPhone SE but I did once I saw the dual-camera. It was almost as if I bought a new favorite camera and was forced to turn in my favorite phone to have it.

I was reminded of this topic by Manton Reece. He recently wrote:

The iPhone SE was an incredible value when it first shipped — a perfect balance of size, great camera, and nearly-flawless design. I still love mine. It’s arguably the best overall phone Apple has ever made.

The iPhone SE likely won’t see an update until next spring. At that point, the camera that was competitive at launch will be 2 generations behind. This isn’t a surprise; we knew this was coming. It’s just the more I see the photos from Traci’s iPhone 7 Plus camera, the more I’m pulled back to the cutting edge. The dual-camera approach is a major step forward.

Over 18 month’s ago I wrote:

I only have one feature request for the iPhone SE. Make it waterproof.

Now I have a few more requests. Make an iPhone SE at the exact same size with an edge-to-edge display, the dual-camera system, and make it completely waterproof. Oh, and you can throw in USB-C too. That would be the perfect iPhone.

LEVY, Penn Avenue, Downtown Scranton, PA – August 2017

Published: August 29, 2017

Finished The Great Gatsby today. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Hadn’t read it in youth.

Ben Franklin Techventures, Bethlehem, PA – August 2017

Published: August 28, 2017

18 year Anniversary today. Loving every second of it. 

Colin Walker on the Summit beta

Colin Walker:

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I’ve spent beta testing Summit and look forward to the new builds.

Colin has provided excellent feedback on Summit. So have so many of the beta testers. I too am looking forward to publishing new builds.

If you’re on the beta list (which you can get on by putting your email address in the form on this page) and you haven’t gotten Build 15 yet – please let me know. Build 16 is due mid-September.

The Carbondale Grand Hotel & Conference Center, Carbondale, PA – July 2017

Published: August 25, 2017

What I saw this week #49: August 25, 2017

Here are a few things that I think you should see.

I am getting inundated with spammy emails asking me to add links to my blog posts. Used to be one a day. Averaging 5 or 6 now.

Deep Learning and Siri’s voice

Apple:

The training speech data contains a minimum of 15 hours of high-quality speech recordings sampled at 48 kHz. We segmented the speech into half-phones using forced alignment, i.e., automatic speech recognition to align the input phone sequence with acoustic features extracted from the speech signal. This segmentation process results in around 1–2 million half-phone units, depending on the amount of recorded speech.

The entire methodology sounds very impressive.

While I’ve done some basic research on machine and deep learning in the recent past, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with this entire article. This is something I do often. I read an article and if there are large portions I simply cannot comprehend I’ll do research until I grok it. To that end, I plan to set aside some time in September to do enough research on DL and ML for me to understand posts like this at a basic level.

Just issued several invites to the latest build of Summit via Test Flight. I’ve already doubled the number of beta testers. Looking forward to the feedback streaming in.

Colin Walker on thinking out loud on his blog

Colin Walker:

It’s always a little weird glancing at my visitor stats and seeing that someone has read a post that no longer reflects my position.

100% agree. Most of my posts are out-of-date and my opinions have changed slightly since I’ve written them.

I love this bit:

This is why I always refer to the blog as an ongoing conversation with myself – it is the public manifestation of working things out in my head.

That is why I say that writing is how I think. See also.

Presenting at the August 2017 Lehigh Valley Tech Meetup

The Lehigh Valley Tech Meetup is an excellent community in the Lehigh Valley that meets monthly at the Ben Franklin Technology Partners incubator within the Lehigh University Mountaintop campus. The community around the meetup is excellent and the building is amazing*.

While the tail-end of my presentation walked through my experience building my first iOS app Summit, the majority of my presentation was focused on helping early stage companies think about their go to market strategies.

I’m currently advising several companies, a few of which are businesses built around mobile apps, and have heard about 11 other start-up pitches this year so far. And during that time I’ve noticed a trend. Entrepreneurs that are attempting to build a business around an app sometimes underestimate the amount of thought that should go into the marketing and sales strategy for the app. It is as if some feel that apps are less thought and work than products that you can touch. So during my presentation at LVTech I hoped to convey that the same “boring” (yet, tried and true) business practices that apply to products also apply to software.

A few questions I urged those thinking about building a business around an app were:

  • Does your idea service a large enough segment of the market? We hear the “scratch your own itch” mantra a lot. However, it won’t always lead to finding hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of customers.
  • How will you reach those customers?
  • Are there ways to expand your idea into other products or services that can be sold to the same segment?
  • How will you sell or package your idea?
  • What will the price be? (free, one-time payment, subscription, service contracts)
  • What channels can you leverage to sell your idea? (App Store, retail, online, conferences, distributorships, via a sales force)

By considering these, and may other questions, you can determine if your idea has enough layers to support an entire business or if you just have an app idea**.

I also briefly discussed three misconceptions I’ve been seeing over the last year dealing with very early stage start-ups. These misconceptions were:

  • Press-based launch strategies: some thing that by being covered by press will be enough to get them to profitability. They have no other strategy. On the contrary, getting press coverage early on will give you very muddy analytics which will make decision marking very difficult. Very seldom are the tech audience your real customers.
  • How long until profitablilty: More and more entrepreneurs begin with the plan of losing money for 3 or more years. I believe this stems from press coverage of other companies getting large rounds of funding. Most businesses should strive for profitability within the first quarter or year of business.
  • ”I’m not technical, I need a technical co-founder”: Don’t be this person. Anyone can learn to code. Geeks are not smarter than you. They’re just interested and relentless. Be the same.

We then did about 10 minutes or so of questions and answers. The questions I got were really great and I appreciate all those in attendance helping me with the answers to the questions I didn’t have much experience in.

Thanks to Tim Lytle for the invitation to speak and to Ben Franklin Technology Partners for the continued support.

* I worked in this same building for years while at Viddler. But when I worked there the back half of the building didn’t exist. In fact, Viddler started in Jordan Hall – the building just beside the new building. And now, they are extending it even further. The building is an amazing place to work and have a meetup of this kind. I’m jealous that our incubator in Scranton feels so dated when compared to this building. Especially comparing the meeting spaces.

** It it totally fine to “just have an app idea”. I do. And I’m loving working on it. But it is also good to have the proper perspective about your app idea.