Bike Share Buddy 1.3 Update

Today I am launching a pretty big update to Bike Share Buddy, version 1.3.

  • Added support for over 450 new networks across 45 different countries
  • Bug fixes

Overall there’s not much in UI changes here but the market expansion is huge. This update takes it from 6 networks across 2 countries to really being worldwide. This was done using an API from which is free to use. It seems like they keep adding networks on their own so support for new networks should come for free when the source data changes.

I am actually really happy with this update. Due to the way the application was written it was easy for me to change just the services and some slight changes to the models and the UI layer just worked. It really validated the choices I made when doing the initial design of the application.

Podcast Update

Since the original post over two years ago, Podcasts have gained an even higher level of importance in my day to day life. I find myself listening to more overall and found that its a great way to keep up with things during my daily commute and doing stuff around the house.

Here is an updated list of all the podcasts that I now listen to. It’s a little bit bigger then the 6 I originally posted.

  • Accidental Tech Podcast
  • Analog(ue)
  • Canvas
  • Cortex
  • Debug
  • Do By Friday
  • Liftoff
  • Mac Power Users
  • Reconcilable Differences
  • Refresh
  • Thoroughly Considered
  • Top Four
  • Under the Radar
  • Upgrade
  • Welcome to Macintosh
  • The West Wing Weekly

Now while most of these have to do with Technology (and more specifically Apple) it’s amazing to me how over the last two years it seems like the podcast community has just exploded. It seems like a new one is popping up every couple weeks and that means that it’s turning into a real business.

Moving Down to Macbook (Adorable)

While most of my tech and gadgets I update at a predictable rate (which is always a little bit too fast from my wife’s point of view) one item that has been lagging behind has been my laptop. I switched to a MacBook Air back in 2011 and for usage it has been just fine over the last five plus years. Even when I started pushing into iOS development I was surprised how well the MacBook Air faired. In the last few months though things seemed to take a turn. I am sure part of the change was me pushing the system a bit more but some of the blame is probably on the macOS Sierra update as well.

I have been on the outlook for that mysterious MacBook Pro update that the entire Mac community has been waiting for but just kept slipping and slipping down the calendar. Finally, last month we got the MacBook Pro refresh we were waiting for and to be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed. I think the TouchBar is good step forward and I am all for the new USB-C based world but nothing on the machine jumped out at me to say “I need that”. So that caused me to look around a bit and really evaluate what I needed in a new machine.

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Bike Share Buddy 1.0

I always have a couple little side projects that occupy the little spare time I have. There is one that I have been working on and off for a year now but it’s now finally time to pull the trigger. Today I published my first app to the App Store.

Introducing Bike Share Buddy

Bike Buddy 1.0
Bike Buddy Stations List

I wanted to create an app that was not only interesting for me to build but that other people would find useful. After doing some research I found that Bixi was an umbrella company that runs a lot of the bike sharing programs around the US (as well as Canada and the U.K.) and it just so happens that they have an API that’s pretty standard across their deployments in different cities. I thought it would be a fun experiment to see if I could create an app that worked across many different cities so that users wouldn’t have to download a new app for every city they wanted to visit. The idea and the app was simple but all the extra things it takes to get an app launched the right way really blindsided me.

I had the basics of the app ready to go within a couple weeks or so, mostly work done at nights and on weekends. As usual life gets in the way but I would always find at least a little time to move things forward. Eventually I was able to get a version out to a few testers via TestFlight and I felt like the finish line was close. But then going through the final motions of App Store submission slowed things down. I needed to have a website for the app, support/contact email accounts, and a few other things that normally you wouldn’t think about. Overall it was long road to get here but I have learned quite a lot.

Do I expect this app to set the world on fire, not a chance. But I am proud that I took something from concept to reality and I really hope I can use it to learn more and more about iOS.

Download on the AppStore

New Site Setup

As usual I got bored with my site’s setup and decided to change everything around rather then writing new posts again :/

I found myself not liking the WordPress backend and admin tools as compared to what I like to work in for developing. On top of that I wanted to make just tiny tweaks to my layout but due to the complex WordPress system (not to mention that it’s also all PHP based) it was just tough to maintain. So I went off searching for a new setup and around the same time Jekyll had just released their 3.0 version. Being that its really just text and a Git repo I was hooked right away. All I have to do is check in a change and my site is updated? Perfect!

I got to moving all my posts over to markdown files and started by hosting at GitHub Pages. Overall its a great resource for simple hosting but as usual I wanted something a bit more custom. After hearing good things about DigitalOcean I then happened upon an awesome example setup and from there it was easy.

So now at this point all I have to do is make a post, check it in to this GitHub repo and it auto deploys to my DigitalOcean droplet. All of this for just $5 a month. Don’t know how to beat that given the flexibility I now have.

Ninja edit (Feb 2023): The repo name/url has changed since moving to GitHub pages and has been updated to reflect this.