New Theme, New Blogs

WordPress 2.5 / New Theme
I just finished updating this blog to use the new WordPress 2.5 engine. It’s really quite nice – everything on the admin side is much more refined that before. The upgrade process is amazingly simple – you just upload the new files, run upgrade.php, and in a minute or two (or longer if you have lots of posts) you’re ready to go. While I was doing the upgrade, I decide I would go ahead and update the theme as well. I liked the last theme, but I saw a new theme that looked a little better to me – so I just popped it in since I was already messing around with the site anyway. It is a bit more streamlined than the last one and more my style.

New Blogs
Over the last week or so, I’ve been planning out some topics that I want to blog about. I realize I haven’t been actively blogging for a while now, but part of that is because I can’t decide what I want to include on this blog. I’m always torn between putting all of my thoughts on this one blog or trying to keep them on different blogs so that each blog has a particular topic. The problem is that I would end up not posting at all. So, I have finally decided I’m going to dedicate time each week (and perhaps more often) to blogging in general and I have also decided I am creating more focused blogs going forward. At this point in time, I’m going to start maintaining three different blogs:

This blog will continue to be blog that is purely personal – more to
communicate with friends and such than anything else. If I have a topic that I want to talk about that doesn’t fit into either of the two new blogs, it’ll end up here.

New Personal Finance Site

I’ll announce the name later once I finish getting things setup and get the initial content loaded, but I’m creating a new site focused on providing personal finance advice / observations for Generation Y. My generation has the opportunity to do great things, but I keep hearing (and seeing) how so many in this generation can’t (or don’t want) to manage money. To me, this is one of the most important things someone can learn. Money isn’t the key to happiness, but it’s one of those things what you need to understand and learn to use to help you achieve your dreams. So I’m hoping my new site will prove useful to people that want to start learning about personal finance, but don’t want to get bogged down in the technical details of it.

New Software Development Site

I’ll announce the URL for this once it’s up and running as well, but this will be the place that all of my software development related ideas will go. At the end of 2007, I started a new job at a software startup and I’ve had many experiences there that I’d like to blog about (as far as what works, what doesn’t, and things I’m learning about). I’ve wanted to do a blog like this for a long time, so we’ll see how it goes, but I think it’ll be fun.

I Tweet
I have also started using Twitter. I seems like a nice way to stay on top of the latest happenings, particularly in the software world. I don’t tweet non-stop or anything, but I try to tweet every now and then. I have my latest tweets in the sidebar of this blog and you’re welcome to follow me on Twitter if you’ve like –

That’s all for now – more updates to come.

First Thoughts on iPhone SDK

I just spent a few hours working on a small iPhone app using the Beta 2 iPhone SDK and thought I would share my my initial thoughts. Keep in mind that this is the first time I’ve tried programming for OS X period and I spend 99% of my time programming in C# with Microsoft’s Visual Studio.

Xcode itself is not even comparable to Visual Studio (I realize VS isn’t free, but even the free Express Editions are much, MUCH better than Xcode). I found out how to turn on the autocomplete functionality in Xcode, but it’s so unhelpful that I may turn it back off since it seems to get in the way more than it helps. I’m so accustomed to intellisense in VS – if you know nothing about a library, you can use intellisense to get up and running in a flash (usually), but not in Xcode. In Xcode, if you don’t know the frameworks you’re using in and out, prepare to be checking out Safari constantly. The whole Interface Builder application doesn’t really make sense to me yet, so I won’t really comment on it yet. The error messages from Xcode have been fairly useful so far, so that’s a good thing. The editor is decent in that it color codes syntax for you and it does have the ability to jump directly to specific functions from a menu (very similar to VS on this one).

Perhaps the bigger issue for people coming from a non-OS X background is the knowledge of all of the frameworks. It’s not nearly as expansive as the .NET framework, but it’s quite different – so you’re not going to be able to just pick up the frameworks and hit the ground running. The documentation on Apple’s dev center isn’t terrible…it takes a little bit to find what you need, but it’s usually there somewhere. The naming convention does make it pretty clear what you’re doing when calling a method, however, this is realllllllly irritating without intellisense. I’m still trying to figure out which classes do what and how to structure the View/Controllers in my application. The sample apps are really helping out there. It does seem like I have to write quite a bit of code for even fairly basic stuff. I just feel really unproductive at this point..I know that’s mostly the learning curve that I’m working through, but I would have thought Apple would have a better developer toolset in this day and age. I don’t think the Objective-C language will be that hard to pickup since it seems pretty logical once you get the syntax for methods and method calls. The frameworks are going to take some time and I’m sure things will still be changing between now and June, but hopefully I’ll get this stuff figured out soon so I can have my little app up and running in the simulator.