Culling Code

Cull – verb – to control the size of a group (e.g., lines of code) by killing some

I love deleting code – probably even more than writing code. There is a sense of accomplishment that you get by removing code from a working piece of software and having it still work.

That code could be bad, or unused, or even was critical for a while; but now it’s unnecessary and in the way.

Software is a lot like constructing a building – you end up with a lot of scaffolding around the final product; and it’s not finished until the scaffolding is removed.

If you keep every line of code you write, you are either:
A) A perfect programmer; and likely a liar.
B) A bad programmer; and should seek to reduce your ignorance.


It’s sad it has come to this…

I can be a bit of a tech-snob. I have snickered at people whose browsers are laden with 3+ search bars; those who double click on links that are not double clickable; people who still use Internet Explorer.

There is one habit, however, that I have picked up from them: Googleing for URLs.

Sad, but true.
Sad, but true.

I do not do this for every URL, I have a lot of bookmarks that I utilize; but for infrequent websites I visit I do.

Why? It’s safer.

Years ago I had mistyped; and my browser merrily went on its way to – where I was greeted with an identical looking site asking for credentials. Being somewhat tech savvy, and knowing I should have just been immediately logged in, I double checked the URL before proceeding.

Thankfully, the site was rather innocuous, and did not attempt to download or install any malware – but the experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.

So now, if it is not a bookmark, I will Google it.

Wait, you expect me to pay for software?

Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal captures the sentiment of many people
Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal captures the sentiment of many people

People are generally ignorant about software and the amount of work that goes into developing it. Today, people are using more software than ever; and as the use of software goes up, the perceived value of all software goes down. The limitations within mobile application stores for publishing an application are not helping the situation, but are forcing developers to use unpopular methods to continue to receive payment for upgrading their applications.

Mobile Application stores are seemingly broken when it comes to major upgrades (not bug fixes, but full rewrites, massive UI overhauls, and novel features), and having developers compensated for such upgrades. Currently, a few common methods used to provide major upgrades to applications are:

  • Update the existing application, maintaining the application standing, download statistics and reviews – but not making any money off the people who already purchased
  • Release a new application, losing application standing, download statistics and reviews – making some money off the new application; but drawing the ire of some users who purchased the old application
  • Offer the new features behind an In-App-Purchase – which then brands your application as having such a feature, possibly alongside an initial purchase cost

People feel a sense of entitlement; that a $0.99 application purchased 2+ years ago should get free updates forever. If a developer does not do this, he/she is labeled as unprofessional for not wanting to support legacy software which no longer earns him/her money. These same people will complain about any new applications developed, by the same developer, which perform the same function; as if the new version suddenly invalidates and breaks the application they have purchased and have been using for 2+ years. If these new features are behind a pay wall, people will become outraged that they had to pay for an application, and it has in-app-purchases. A slew of low-ranking reviews will appear complaining about double dipping.

Paid upgrades have been the norm for software for decades. Microsoft Office, for example, is a suite of software that nearly everyone has interacted with at some point – potentially even purchased, and when they purchased the software there was a large barrier of entry (Microsoft Office 2000 was around $209 for an upgrade to $799 for a full retail copy), but people still bit the bullet. Now, however, when paid software is as cheap as it has ever been there is an unwillingness to purchase.

The solution is two part:

  1. People need to realize that software does not create itself. A lot of time and effort goes into the development of even the most simple of features. Some developers ask to be compensated for that – and they should be.
  2. Mobile Application stores need to be modified to allow for paid-upgrades for major releases. Allow the developer to convey the major new features and allow the user to decide whether that is worth the price to upgrade.


If an application is cheap, and you have been considering it for a while because you would use it everyday, just buy it; no need to consult your accountant.

I am a terrible blogger…

Seriously, I am a terrible blogger.

I have several (I think last count was 5) posts that I have written half way and figured that no one really cares about the subject but me, and have let it drop. Even my last year resolution to “do more”, which encompassed blogging more, did not happen.

I usually pay more attention to my blog around the New Year, because that is when the bill comes in – so I have to mentally justify the cost to myself. By always saying that I want to blog more lets me pay for one more year.

Hopefully this year I have more to say, however, it is unlikely – but you never know.

Our lives are changing, and I have a lot to think about. Maybe I will write my thought process down?

My Experiences with the Moto 360

Moto 360
This is indeed my hairy, hairy arm

It has been a few weeks since I first got my Moto 360, so I think that I have gotten a good feel for it.

Day to Day Use

I feel as if I am using Android Wear “as intended.” That is to say, I am using features of a watch/fitness band and nothing ridiculous. On any given day I will do the following:

  • Dismiss Alerts
  • Delete Emails
  • Track My Steps
  • Check My Heart Rate
  • Check the Time
  • Launch Features via Voice Actions

Things I am not doing:

  • Using the device like a smartphone
  • Using a Keyboard
  • Playing Games

By using it as a watch, and not as a smartphone on my wrist, I have had no problems with battery life. My first day, where I was using/playing with it far more than I do now, I ended my workday with 40+%.

Graph depicting the first day of battery statistics for my Moto 360Now I come home with around 60% – in addition to not playing with it as much, bug fixes and updates have also contributed to the improved battery life.

How has it affected my life?

Well, I am more aware of the time now, that’s for sure.

Also, it has caused me to want to walk more since I can see how many steps I have taken in a day and I want the number to be higher.

I am aware of it on my arm, and so I tend to protect my left side more now. I am also partially terrified that the back will crack if too much stress is put on it – so I wear it slightly loose. Perhaps the metal band will help.

On the technology side? I leave my phone on the desk more. When I get a notification I just delete it from my wrist (Bonus: it has made me realize that I need to unsubscribe from a lot of email lists).

Does my smartphone last longer now that I am not checking it as much? Not significantly – I use  my smartphone for far more than just notification checking; I still need a midday charge.

I think that using the watch to deal with notifications feels less rude than bringing out my smartphone when with company. So far no one has rolled their eyes when I glance, swipe and tap on my watch for a second.

Aesthetically, it is a nice looking watch, flat-tire screen and all. I like wearing it around, even if it tends to pull a few arm hairs out from time to time.

It is very much an augmentation device to my smartphone, and I am using it as such.

Overall Opinion

Overall, I feel that it is a nice convenience – but ultimately not a necessity. However, I felt that way when I first started using  the Motorola Droid in 2009 and now I use my Moto X  far more than any other device.

Maybe after a few more hardware/software revisions it will become as ubiquitous as smartphones and then a necessity.

Yes, I know I have listed a lot of Motorola devices above. I like the company and the stock/near stock Android builds they make. I think a Nexus 6 is also in my future.

Letting Google in, was it worth it?

Google Now? Maybe Later...

After a week of allowing Google to keep a history of my location I have an answer: not really, but maybe given time.

Prior to this experiment, Google Now would offer me weather information at “Home” and “Work” (two locations I explicitly setup within Google Now). When asking for “More” it would show me commute time either to or from work, depending on my current location.

After allowing Google to keep a history of my location, Google Now offered me little more:

  • Only one time, out of the five days, did it show me commute time prior to explicitly asking for it.
  • After the second day, it started to show me parking information while at work, in case I forget the general area where I parked my car – useful, if I didn’t park in the same place every day.

Granted, I only allowed Google a weeks worth of information. The results may be different if I allowed it a longer time period (to both gather data and generate trends). But, if allowing a vast amount of my location data to be aggregated gives me the sole benefit of not having to press the More button in Google Now to see my commute time?

I’ll stick with the More Button.

Google Now More

Letting Google in, is it worth it?


I have been an avid Android device user for about four years but I have kept the majority of Google tracking services at bay. I disabled Web and location history because where I have been, either physically or digitally, is my own business.

I often wonder how my experiences would differ if I were to switch them back on. What services become instantly more useful? How do I benefit from Google knowing more about me? I have been fine so far without them, should I even care?

I decided to find out, with the lesser (in my opinion) of the two, and have re-enabled location tracking. My device, and therefore Google, knows where I am at any given moment – what can they show me knowing where I have been over the course of a week?

I will be relying on Google Now to provide insight on my location data. I continue to hear wonderful information that Now provides.

Currently, when I visit Google Now I see:

  • Weather
  • Package Shipping Information
  • Commute Times To/From Work & Home

In a week, I will write an update on what Google Now decides to show me.

Let’s see some magic, Google.