Arriving Swiftly

Today, something cool happened, but it’s probably going to be remembered by very few due to the current freak-out surrounding recent events in a neighboring county to Los Angeles and how they’re adding to the very polarizing debate over whether or not firearms should have more sharply defined regulation. I’m not going to weigh in here about that.

No, instead, I wanted to focus on something I spotted today that helped give me a nudge.

It’s the news, released by Apple, that the Swift programming language is released as, and will be continuing development as open-source.

This language, which is a system-programming language, is used mainly to write application software for the operating systems of Apple, such as iOS and MacOS X. It can, of course, be used to write software for other platforms, as of today, with Linux (Ubuntu) as another place where Swift code can be compiled.

No, it’s not Earth-shattering news, but it is of interest to me because software development is interesting to me. Even though I’ve not completed a formal education plan related to it, I did spend some time in computer science programs, and did pick up a few languages, with the related languages of C, C++, and even some Java in there. I simply have not been practicing programming over the years. The rust is thick.

I never completely lost the itch to code, though, and this news feels like a gentle reminder that it might not be too late to at least put some effort into picking up another language, just in case it becomes useful to have in the techy tool belt.

So, I’m getting more interested now. Due to that spark, I downloaded the latest version of the official Swift book, and am going to fill in idle time with chunks of it. I’m hoping that it will be time well spent and that I’ll pick it up quickly. Swift code definitely appears, at first glance, to not be terribly hard to read.

There were a few unrelated game-related announcements as well, and even a game awards show, but the above is really what captured my attention enough that I felt like writing something about it. I sure hope some awesome stuff comes about as a result of this.


I already mentioned that my current iPhone and I are nearly inseparable, but where did my attachment begin? It started, for me, with the iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone 3GS was my first smartphone, and basically began what seems to be a long-term relationship with highly connected technology. Before I had it, my phone was a pretty basic flip-phone from LG. That phone was OK, not great (call dropped too easily and often), so I was finally fed up by the time the third generations of iPhone was released.

I’d seen a few of the first and second generation phones among friends, but could not quite understand how the apps available could justify such a steep cost jump for a communication device. Then, I played with one in a local Apple store. That’s when, I think, I “got it”. There weren’t just the dumbed-down apps many “feature” phones had, but, instead, you could have a solid web browser, “visual” voicemail (much easier to work with than regular), and some apps that just didn’t really do much on “dumb” phones (twitter, for example was originally something designed for text-only).

I’m not sure if I’m saying this right, but the iPhone felt more like a flexible communication tool than just a phone you could carry in your pocket. I could quickly(!) search for information, and have the answers while others were waiting for 411 to even pick up sometimes. I remember checking movie showtimes using the (now defunct) 777-FILM number for Moviefone (miss that voice), but an app (actually, multiple apps) did the job better, and, faster.

Without that iPhone, I probably would have waited even longer or even dabbled in the Android cloud of devices. Even back then, before Android was released, I often heard friends lament they had to reboot their phones again and again. I really wondered how instability could be tolerated, but it really came down to cost, in most cases. Paying for quality is sometimes a good investment. It means you usually buy less often. Even now, I usually skip at least one generation before thinking about an upgrade. A new phone every year still doesn’t make sense to me.

When did you get your first smart phone? What was it and why did you choose that one? And how has your opinion and perspective around mobile devices changed since that eventful day?

via Daily Post – 1.18.2015 – Daily Writing – Desk Community.

My iPhone

If you know me pretty well, you know I’m nearly inseparable from a single gadget. That gadget is my iPhone. I won’t say I can’t live without it, but nearly so. I’d be limited in much functionality without it. It’s mainly the small conveniences I’d miss.

For example, in a typical day, it’s my alarm clock (and sleep monitor, so I wake up at a good time.) Then, it’s good background for music while performing the morning rituals. Traffic hardly phases me with the handy navigation software. Work’s a rare location I’d barely miss it, but it’s still handy sometimes. Then, heading home, or on longer trips, it’s great to have other good listening materials, such as audiobooks and podcasts, handy.

When did I first discover this multi-function device? That was actually years before I first purchased one. This is surprising since I’m also an Apple fan. I knew about the device from the day it was first announce, on January 7, 2007, at MacWorld.

It wasn’t until the iPhone 3GS that I made the leap from a very basic flip-phone, to the device that is like a Star Trek tricorder. I’ve skipped a few generations due to the 2 year contract cycle (I’m grandfathered in on the unlimited plan), but I don’t feel I’ll be leaving the platform any time soon.

What is one gadget (tech or non-tech) that you can’t live without? Tell a story of how you first discovered it.

via The Desk Community