Beta Invite: BallAns, The Game of Life on Android

I’m about to publish my first Android game to Google Play. It’s a deceptively simple game with profound philosophical meanings.

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I’ve set up the Beta program through Google Play and would like to invite you to try out the game before I publish it to production in a few days. If you have an Android device (phone or tablet) that has an accelerometer (which most do), you’re hereby invited.

To join the beta program, hit me up at furuknap at gmail.com or through any other means of contact you know. I’m looking for 10-20 people at most and already have six of them. I’m looking for feedback on game balance; it seems most bugs are fixed.

The game has no ads and costs nothing. It will remain free of charge in production release as well.

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Need a Mobile App? I Might Develop It for Free

As you may know, I’ve left the SharePoint scene to do things I believe have a brighter future. Search the blog for more details and I’ll leave the ranting for now.

Regardless, the path on which I’m currently walking is mobile app development. I want to see whether it’s fun, which it currently is, and possibly whether I can make a living from it.

I’ve done a number of apps so far, and most of these are what I call grinding apps. It’s a term I started using during the days of USPJ Academy for exercises you use to get the basics of a task or task set into your blood, so to speak. Repeat the basics often enough and they get so familiar you can spend actual time on build great software rather than plumbing.

However, I’d like to start looking at more useful apps and while I’m doing so, I’ll work on an apprentice’s salary. That’s great news for you because that means you can hire a highly experienced and skilled developer at a fraction of the price you’d normally pay.

When doing SharePoint development, I invoiced $200 per hour because I was worth that much (and in virtually all my projects, I delivered way more value than $200 per hour). I still do that for SharePoint, but for mobile app development, you can currently hire me for a mere $50 per hour.

No, I don’t negotiate, but like I’ve always done, I charge only when I’m actually producing value or code for you. If I’m fumbling or have to learn new stuff to do tasks for you, that’s on my time, not yours. 

I do Android and Windows Phone development, and I can probably pick up iOS if it’s absolutely vital to you. I can build in Xamarin or native code and I’d be happy to offer advice on which options make sense.

Keep in mind, though, that although you will get production grade code, fully tested and verified, harnessing my over 20 years of professional and 30 years of hobby software development experience, I’m doing this to learn, so the calendar time taken may be longer than you expect.

But here’s the rub… I may even work for free for you. If you have a fun, interesting, or particularly worthy project, or you are an awesome person or work for an awesome organization, as judged solely by me, I may work for free for you. That may be the whole project or parts of it, for example to get to a proof-of-concept stage for funding or something like that.

So, what are you waiting for? Ah, yes, how to reach me.

You can email me at furuknap @ gmail.com, or use the contact form on http://furuknap.net/contact-me

So, let’s talk and see whether we can do something interesting together.

.b

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On the Current State of Microsoft

I wanted to write this post for a long time but I’ve been under the influence of Kool-Aid for many days. However, having calmed down, I’ll say this and probably cause a rift in the very fabric of the universe: Microsoft is doing almost everything right these days.

For the previous five years, I’ve been highly critical of Microsoft for a number of reasons, to a great extent because of how it worked with the SharePoint community. I was right, and history is proving that every day.

Since the end of the Ballmer era, however, Microsoft has taken an almost 180 degree turn, shifting from a focus on the nearest squirrel (FOCUS, MIKE! THERE IS NO SQUIRREL!) to getting back to the roots that made it great a decade or two ago, that of catering to the highly skilled IT professional as its core audience.

Microsoft seems to have realized once again that to build something great, you need an amazing foundation first. That foundation comes from its technical audience. Those people in return will be champions of Microsoft, either through promoting what they now perceive as a company that cares for their well-being (as opposed to just sucking the joy of life out of everyone for the sake of profits), or from building software and solutions that make Microsoft products and services valuable and the preferred option.

I’ve been doing a lot of development on multiple platforms lately. At my level, platform is about as relevant to what I do as the address of a pizza delivery. It’s something you look up, go there, do your job, and move on. One is pretty much the same as the next.

I thoroughly enjoy developing on the Microsoft platform. Visual Studio is leagues ahead of the rest. The maturity of .NET compared to Java (or heavens forbid Objective-C) is beyond description. Working with IntelliJ and Android Studio is like going back to the mid-90s; it’s slow, clunky, and feels like you’re developing with handcuffs. XCode is as pleasant as hanging upside-down from your testicles. I mean, who the f* comes up with the idea that in order to build software, you need a certain type of hardware? Apple does. And certain BDSM mistresses, I’m sure.

Microsoft’s challenge now is to keep a steady course. I don’t want to build Windows Phone (or Windows 10) apps, simply because there is no audience. The money isn’t there. The audience isn’t there. Build an iOS app, and the fanbois will buy it like it’s crack cocaine. Build a Windows app and it’s like a fart; only those closest to you will even notice, and it’s irrelevant a few moments later.

If Microsoft manages to keep it’s renewed focus on the foundations of its business, I’m confident that the audience will arrive. If it falters and goes back to its later Ballmer era ideas of sucking as much money as possible out of incompetent idiots, then they will fail.

Where does this leave SharePoint? I’m happy to say, I don’t care. SharePoint 2016 is coming out. I’ve been known for the previous decade as the person who dug into every single detail of upcoming versions. I barely know that it’s scheduled to arrive this year, and learning that is about as much attention as I’m going to give it.

SharePoint is dead or dying. It’s not part of Microsoft anymore. There are some ideas that just have a time and a place and you should move on after that, and SharePoint passed that time and place in early 2012. From then, it’s just a long hill down towards oblivion.

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