Why I look forward to Amazon making mistakes

This might sound weird, but I actually look forward to Amazon screwing up. I have a Prime membership, and I’ve found that they’re usually quite agreeable to pushing out my membership by a month as part of the compensation for their mistakes. Sometimes they offer to do that, and sometimes they’ll offer me a $5 credit to my account. I’ve learned it always pays to ask, though. My membership was supposed to expire last January, but so far I’ve been able to get it extended a year, and just now got another month for something that took me quite a bit of time to resolve.

When they promise a package will show up on Sunday and it arrives on Monday, I don’t usually care, and often expect the delay to happen. Sometimes a package will sit and sit and finally head out and then be a day late. Sometimes I’ll have problems with something on their site. Whatever it is, I contact them and have found it’s pretty easy to get them to give me a month’s credit on my Prime membership. From a financial standpoint, it’s worth about $8.25 to them, so it’s not that big of a deal.

Next time Amazon makes a mistake on your account, think “YES!” and see if you can’t get an extra month added to your Prime membership. Let me know how it goes for you. 😉

Welcome Back!

“Welcome back my friends
to the show that never ends.
I’m so glad you could attend.
Come Inside! Come inside!”

All of my WP sites were getting bombarded with nonstop attacks from places all over the world trying to break-in. This is a huge problem and it affects everybody’s blogs. I feel sorry for the hosting companies as I’m sure that 80% or more of their incoming traffic are these probes trying to access non-existent files. Most of them are using paths common to IIS, Microsoft’s Windows Server. This is a Linux host. You’d think they’d make a tiny effort to figure that out (it’s pretty easy) and not waste resources hammering away at stuff that’s just not there.

Anyway, I got tired of reading my logs and traffic patterns and seeing so much traffic from these hackers and so little from regular visitors, so I just shut down the site. I tend to post a lot on Facebook anyway, although most of it is political junk. (I’m not one to document my life in social media, or anywhere online for that matter.)

But someone just contacted me about some links he had on his blog pointing to some articles back here and I decided to go ahead and reactivate the blog. So here we are! I’ll make a renewed effort to post more here instead of just on FB.

Apple to Open-Source Swift Programming Language

At Apple’s World-Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) this week, Apple made a bunch of interesting announcements. Everybody seems to have focused on their Apple Music announcement. Yawn. This was their DEVELOPER’S CONFERENCE. As a “developer”, I’m not sure what the big deal is behind that, although it’ll certainly appeal to a lot of “regular Jane’s and Joe’s”.

But as a DEVELOPER, the most significant announcement I heard was this: Apple announced Swift 2.0, and that they are making the Swift language and programming platform OPEN-SOURCE. WOW!

Why is that significant? Because it turns out that Swift has been experiencing the fastest up-take of any programming language and platform in the history of programming! Not only that, there are more people learning Swift today than any other programming language, and it’s not even being formally taught in any schools yet. WOW!

Check this out:

June Headline: TIOBE Index for June 2015: Objective-C to Swift migration process at full speed.

For the first time ever, Swift entered the Top-20 list of TIOBE’s programming languages list, after less than one year since it was introduced to the world. This is AMAZING! I’ll probably start spending some time learning Swift because it’s growing so quickly.

As an aside, I’m seeing ads for Swift Devs who’ve got 3+ years of experience with Swift, which is indicative of how silly so many job reqs have gotten. Who the heck writes these ads? Swift is barely 4 years old, and nobody but the dev team inside of Apple has been aware of it for more than 2 years. But, hey, you can be assured that there are plenty of folks applying for jobs claiming they’ve got 3+ years of Swift experience! The sad part is, you cannot get interviewed by these companies if you don’t check the boxes with experience that they’re looking for.

(My favorite language, Delphi/Pascal has also moved up in the list. Between Delphi and Pascal, they’re at 2.7%, which is just below PHP. I don’t see any evidence of people hiring more Delphi developers, but this index suggests it’s happening … somewhere.)

Tesla’s New Battery Biz + The Future of Energy in America

I noticed this article on redef.com:

Tesla Isn’t An Automaker. It’s A Battery Company

I tend to agree with this for several reasons. Here’s my thinking.

The use of batteries in our power grid has some HUGE economic potentials and benefits. They’ll fundamentally transform our utilities from businesses built around power generation to business built around power distribution and management, and they’ll significantly reduce the need to build any more power plants for a couple of decades, if ever. (I say “if ever” because as renewable power sources come online, they’ll offset the need for centralized power generation at a rate similar to the adoption of batteries.)

Here’s why:

Continue reading

Interesting Marketing Dilemma

I’ve been working on turning idea that originally came to me 20 years ago into an app. In the process, it’s taking some interesting twists and turns.

It all started out 20 years ago while I was at a sound healing conference. Some of us were sitting around talking about different things, and we got onto the topic of guided meditations (GMs). At one point, someone complained about the fact that GM tapes and CDs tend to be expensive ($15-$30) and you only listen to them two or three times.

Now, there are some really interesting reasons why that’s the case that I’m not going to get into here, but it highlighted a problem. After a little while, I mentioned that I was a software developer, and someone suggested I come up with a way to generate randomized GMs via software.  Continue reading

Apologies on light posting

A friend recently asked me why I don’t post more here on the blog. Hmmm…. I guess because I post a lot on Facebook instead. Actually, a large portion of my FB posts are political in nature, and the vast majority of them are replies to other posts or shares of other posts.

A blog requires one to come up with original content — in my mind, anyway. I tend to be fairly opinionated, but it’s usually in relation to things others say, either pro or con. Without reposting the original material here, there’s no context for my reply, which seems to defeat the purpose.

Oh, well. I’ll see what I can do about coming up with some original content.

That also needs to include more stories about Delphi, so if anybody has any Delphi-related questions that I can address, please feel free to ask!

45dB Boost on Quiet Track Sounds GREAT!

I recently upgraded some equipment I use for ambient live recordings, and wanted to share how it worked out in a recent session.

I replaced some aging equipment with a TASCAM DR-60D mk II recorder and a 3DiO binaural mic over the holidays. I used them to record a live event recently (a meditation session) and used an AT PRO 8HEx headset mic to record the facilitator’s voice. I forgot to bring an extension for the mic cable, so the facilitator was only about 6 feet from the recorder and 3DiO mic. Continue reading

Outsourcing

A friend of mine recently suggested I check out ODesk and Freelancer as a way to market my Delphi skills. I tried to sign up on ODesk once and they have you take this so-called “proficiency test”. It seemed to me like a bunch of “trick questions” designed by folks more interested in your “hacking” skills than whether you understand programming design and efficiency. About 1/3 of the way through, I quit and sent a nasty email to their support desk. I haven’t been able to login since then.

There’s a small middle-tier php app I’ve been trying to get developed since August of last year.
It’s not all that complicated, in my mind. Continue reading

I’m an Embarcadero MVP!

I was recently nominated to become a member of Embarcadero’s MVP program (click here for more info), and was invited to join last week! WOO HOO! It’s truly an honor to be recognized for the technical chops I’ve developed around Delphi  — I’ve been working with it since it was released nearly 20 years ago now. In fact, Delphi’s 20-year birthday is coming up on Valentie’s Day next month. Continue reading

Uber, Lyft, and Market Disruptions

To make a little extra money, I decided to check out Uber and Lyft, a couple of ride-sharing services here in Phoenix. I’ve been driving for Uber since the beginning of September, and Lyft since the beginning of October. Overall, I spend about 20 hours driving each week and typically pull in over $400 net (after they take out their 20% commissions).

I find these services fascinating on several levels. Continue reading