Posts Tagged ‘startups’

A few days of Android development – Java

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

My latest project is written entirely in Java* (Java and JavaScript). While they aren’t the same by any stretch of the imagination, the project has been quite a learning experience.

From concept inception on Jan 11, 2012 and the first byte of code written that evening, I dreaded the Android App. Matthew Housden wrote a quick framework of it that had some bare functionality used for testing and I spent the last three days doing a headfirst dive into Java which I haven’t used in 9+ years.

The first problem I encountered was the tutorials on the Android SDK site don’t work in a 2.2 or 2.3 emulator nor on my phone. The documentation is littered with half-truths, but, when you read it carefully, you can tell that the person that wrote it was a programmer and not a technical documentation writer.

The application is quite simple – three screens, two of which POST to a remote server. However, I spent a ton of time debugging an issue where sending extra data to an Intent causes the OnActivity callback to have a null intent. I can see the security implications behind this, but, the documentation doesn’t allude to this.

Roughly 700 lines of Java (most are try/catch autogenerated blocks, declarations, etc) to get an app which is 22k until packaged for the market which balloons it to 290k. Dealing with the Camera was by far the heaviest code, dealing with the fact that the context isn’t available globally, I had to pass a number of parameters around rather than have a method that could be called.

It really didn’t take long to sink back into Java as it is just OOP and language is mostly syntax. Since I had been working heavily with Async Javascript with node.js, the event driven code structures required by Android weren’t that difficult to transition to.

Overall impressions: I was quite pleased how quickly I could write an app to do a few things and interact with my Node.js app. I really regret not doing more Android development with a few other projects I had in mind, but, there are only so many hours in the day. This weekend I’ve got a live beta test planned for the entire project – 17 days from inception to a real test.

Then we’ll see if this thing is worth launching.

What is a startup?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

All this talk about startups, and I often wonder if people really understand what a startup is.

A bakery is not a startup. A consulting company is not a startup. Anything that requires multiplying the number of people in the business to scale, is not a startup.

A startup is a company that has an idea where doubling income does not require doubling staff. It is a business where scaling to add another 1000 clients requires very little additional hardware.

A software company is a startup. After writing that first copy, selling 1000 more has only slight incremental costs. Selling 10000 more requires only slightly more resources than that. A subscription web site is a startup. The difference between 10 paying subscribers and 1000 paying subscribers in terms of the labor to produce the site is minimal.

If you start a business and you are primarily responsible for earning the income through your direct efforts, you are an employee, not a business. A consultant is not running a business, s/he is a contracted employee with many employers. A software developer that sells his product and can take three days off without materially affecting his income is a business.

Incubate Miami Demo Day, May 6, 2011

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Incubate Miami sponsored Demo Day:

The event marks the official launch of the next wave of new technology companies from the Incubate Miami 12-week Technology Accelerator Program. Each company will give a demo presentation, showcasing technologies which range from advances in video and television, to healthcare and mobile applications.

Apologies for missing’s picture – they dealt with NFC and had a pretty good presentation as well.

Met quite a few great people from South Florida, talked with a number of the people involved in quite a few of the startups.

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