All posts by Mike Meyers

I'm an Oracle developer living in London

iPhone application development

I’ve finally got my iPhone application developed and released to the Apple app store. It has been a bit of a long process: mostly because I have been a little distracted and doing other things, and partly because I’ve had to learn a lot to get to this stage.

It has been a good learning experience and has been very interesting working on my own after years of working in teams of people within companies. Now I just need to find a way of making money from this. Doesn’t seem very likely.

The app itself is only rather basic. It does a few GPS related functions including showing your location and saving locations for later reference. It can display current speed and as-the-crow-flies distance to a saved location. These are both functions that I wanted in an app and thought that maybe it was better to write it myself than using an existing app. I’m sure there are enough other ones out there that do similar things.

I’ve got a little more information on the page the I created about the app. Apple asks you for a URL for the app when you submit it to their store. You can also download the app directly here at the App Store.

Considering how basic the app is and how few people have actually read anything on this blog, I don’t expect a rush of people downloading the app.

Even so, I was pretty pleased that 15 people downloaded the app yesterday. And that was a significant increase on the 1 download on the first day. Even considering that two of those downloads were from people I know, 14 other downloads is great!


Russia has won this round of the Cold War

The current argument in Ukraine and Crimea seems like the Cold War is restarting and look like Russia has the upper hand this time.

The United States has intervened in so many countries over the years (or appears to have) that there can’t be many countries where the government hasn’t been taken down by the CIA. I’m probably exaggerating a little here but there is some truth to it, I’m sure. Despite the blatant intervention by the United States in so many countries, their public message is that democracy is the way to go and the will of the people must be heard.

Russia has heard that message and understood. In Crimea, they have decided that there needs to be a referendum to decide the fate of the area. Democracy! They have also decided that the president was taken down illegally and even claimed that the US was behind a coup the helped to change the government. Democracy undermined!

Russia is bringing democracy to the people of Crimea and helping to save them from the tyranny of neo-Nazis. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a propaganda war quite like this one for a long time.

Russia have come out with some good arguments on their position, although I’m pretty sure that it is all propaganda. Their arguments don’t hold up to much scrutiny.

It’s just not possible to have a free and fair election while there are foreign troops on the streets, the two options in the referendum both say that Crimea should revert to Russian control, and the final result has almost certainly been pre-determined.

It’s looking very likely that Crimea is heading eastwards in the next few days. Hopefully Ukraine isn’t following soon afterwards.

Programmers block

I’ve been trying to keep busy at home the past few weeks by writing an iPhone app to try and learn some new skills. This has been an interesting task after years of working as a database developer because of the need to learn a whole different style of programming.

I have got a nice simple app to work on that provides some useful GPS data in a simple format. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks now. There is probably only about one more week of work before I’m finished but I’m struggling to get that week of work done.

Last week I was investigating using the computer to generate BitCoins (well DogeCoin actually). That might’ve been a good idea a few years ago but now my computer can’t process anything fast enough. I even rented an Amazon server for a couple of days at $0.15 per hour to generate coins. I’m now the proud owner of 1900 DogeCoin (worth about $2) and an Amazon server bill of $5. I am no Satoshi Nakamoto!

The week before that I was mostly just distracted and didn’t get much done at all.

I’ve learnt a few things from my time spent trying to program:
1. Finding the focus to stay motivated without a boss telling you what to do is pretty hard. I have been good quite a bit of the time but am starting pretty late in the morning and wasting quite a lot of time.
2. Without a client setting the requirements it’s pretty hard to pin down the functionality that I require. I’ve got some features added and want a couple more but I’m having trouble actually designing them. Making progress but only slow progress.
3. My skills are pretty limited and being a one-man development shop requires a wide skill base. Even just simple things like designing an icon or doing other graphic design tasks are outside my usual skill set but I need to find a way of getting them done (without paying someone).

So? Where to from here? Next week I need to make a plan, decide what progress I need to make and actually complete this application. How hard can it be?

Everyday Sexism project

When writing my previous post about the Air NZ video, I found some information about the Everyday Sexism project.

It is an interesting project, attempting to change opinions on how men and women treat each other. This TEDx video from the site’s creator, Laura Bates, provides a good introduction to the reason for her starting the site, and what it has achieved.

There is also a Tumblr page showing some of the stories as well.

Interesting reading and something to make you think…


Controversy in Paradise

Over the past few years, Air New Zealand has made a habit of courting viral publicity with their on-board safely videos. I’m not sure when it first started, but I think it was probably with their “Bare Essentials” video from 2009. 

They are back in the news again this week because of their safety videos… this time because of swimsuit models. Possibly a bit more risqué than earlier episodes. Continue reading Controversy in Paradise

Basic photography lesson

I’ve got a friend who has just bought a DSLR and was wanting to know how to use it. I’ve just sent him an email with some basic information based on having done some photography courses over the past year and using my camera a lot. I thought that I might as well include the information here. The information would’ve been useful for me although that’s now a guarantee that it will be useful for you.

Anyway, this is what I sent him Continue reading Basic photography lesson

Earthquake tourism in Christchurch

Over the weekend I spent a few days in Christchurch. In 2010 and 2011 there were a series of large earthquakes in and around Christchurch that caused a lot of damage to the city. These were probably the most destructive earthquakes in New Zealand, at least since the Napier quake of 1931, if not earlier.

This was my first visit to Christchurch in a number of years and was a rather sobering experience. Continue reading Earthquake tourism in Christchurch

New Olympus OM-D E-M1

Almost three years ago, I bought a new Olympus E-PL2 camera. It was a big step up for me, after years of using various compact cameras.

At the time it was a good camera for me. It gave me many of the advantages of a DSLR in a smaller package. It also gave me a lot of the manual control that other cameras had never given me. Unfortunately I didn’t really understand a lot of the theory behind photography at the time so probably didn’t take the best photos that I could but I did learn a lot. Continue reading New Olympus OM-D E-M1

Free-range eggs and market confusion

Something a little different today. Went shopping today for some eggs. Needed to buy free range to avoid being excommunicated. But there is so much choice down in the supermarket to describe some egg where I’m sure the space per chicken can be measure in square centimetres.

Below are some photos of egg packets. Any idea what they mean? I don’t! Continue reading Free-range eggs and market confusion