Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why you probably don’t want to buy cheap Lightning Port cables on eBay

A few months back our household started transitioning from older iOS devices to fancy new Lightning Port enabled Apple devices.
It’s always fun to upgrade the tech toys but this of course meant we couldn’t make use of our old collection of iPhone / iPad cables.
Not wanting to spend $20+ per cable I thought I’d be smart and order a few low priced spares from eBay.  In retrospect – perhaps $0.99 including shipping was a bit too good to be true.
After about a week of use I noticed one of the cable’s end was warped:
I just assumed our terrier got at it and chewed it.
A few days later my significant other called me over stating that she couldn’t sync her new iPad Air with her laptop.  I took a look and sure enough – it wouldn’t sync and it was  flashing between charging and not charging. 
I pulled out the cable, turned it over and discovered this:
The cable literally had a hole burned into the housing, and I can only assume the other cable had warped due to heat.

So long story short – we quickly stopped using the bargain cables and I bought an expensive but fully working Apple branded Lightning Port cable the next day.
At least I can report that none of our iOS devices suffered any damage.

Monday, February 10, 2014

8 Things new Canadian C# developers should do today

I’ve been approached several times recently by new developers/recent grads asking what they should be doing to: “find a job”, “improve their exposure”, “start a software company”, etc. etc.
Being in Tech, and being in Canada means there is ALWAYS something for you to do.  To the point that it can be overwhelming.  Here’s a quick list to get you moving.  As the title suggests, it is targeted at C# developers in Canada but a lot of this content is relevant to other programming languages and locations.

1. Create a social presence: You’re probably already on twitter and LinkedIn, and if you’re not - go do it.  But also get going on tech focused social networks like GitHub and  Some tech companies won’t even consider developers who don’t have GitHub accounts.

2. Start coding now: Especially if you’re looking for a job. If you don’t already have a experience working as a developer or you want to show proficiency on a platform, having a completed app with source code is a pretty great way to show off your skills.  And you might even earn a little extra revenue.

3. Enrol in developer incentive programs: Nokia/Microsoft’s DVLUP program is now available in Canada.  If you create or port applications to Windows Phone you can get free stuff.  But it also means you’re on the email lists for new events and opportunities and maybe your cool new app will catch someone’s eye.
And if you’re working on on Windows Phone 8, Windows Store or Windows Azure Apps, you’ll want to register for the Canadian Developer Movement: For all of the same reasons above except it’s a faster track to free swag.  Note its only running until mid summer this year.

4. Register with WaveFront: WaveFront is an amazing resource for Canadian mobile developers.  They exist to help developers like you.  I could write an entire blog on WaveFront but they offer free seminars and training, they can be a conduit to government funding, and probably most importantly, they’re plugged into the Canadian wireless industry.  It’s free to register so go do it now … right now:

5. Get active on forums: For example, I’m a big fan of the tools and their forums have wealth of knowledge on the tools and development.  But it can also gives you direct access to key people within these companies. And the active members are going to be the people that are on the cutting edge of development and APIs – great people to be engaging.

6. Register as an Intel developer: It’s free and it gives you access to a lot of Intel resources.  Intel also looks to be aggressively engaging with developers this year so that could mean funding for apps in the future, access to hardware, events, etc. Plus I’ve personally always had great experiences dealing with Intel reps – good people.

7. Go To Events: This is probably the most important thing you can do it increase your exposure. But you’re going to want to do the above steps first to get connected and get on the mailing lists so you know what’s going on.  And don’t forget to search if you can’t find a local event or conference.  I strongly feel you’re better off engaging with people at events to find a job vs emailing resumes (but you can do both).

8. Go listen to Episode 9 on  This a bonus point but I just finished this podcast and it’s a fantastic listen for any developer.  John Sonmez covers the importance of building a personal brand in software development:  Get it playing while you’ll working on the above!