How much does an app cost?

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Logan Apps

I frequently get asked how much an app cost. Well, PTO Tracker is $1.99, and Simple Pricebook is $.99. And Quidbit is free. Oh, wait, they’re asking how much it costs to create an app.This is like asking how much it costs to build a house. The answer is going to vary depending on what you want. Here are some things that are going to influence the cost of an app:

Things the app does – Depending on what you’re having the app do is going to directly be related to the development time needed. Want an app that plays podcasts, has a built-in special calculator, a mini-photo editor, and has a fun mini-game to boot? Well, that’s obviously going to take more time. One thing that can keep development cost is to not reinvent the wheel. Is there an app that already does some of what you’re wanting to do? Ask yourself if recreating that functionality is worth it.

Complexity of functionality – Some things are more complex than others.  For example, let’s say you want to “Integrate your app with Facebook.” This can mean many things.  Want people to be able to “Share” something from your app and have it just open the Facebook app for people to post with? Or are you wanting to have the app deeply integrated with Facebook, such as interacting with friends within the app without having to leave the app?  That requires a lot more.

Data sources – If the app is pulling data or storing data to a server, does that server need to be created? Let’s say you want to have a “Message of the Day” type application. Not only does the app need to be able to pull the message from a server, but someone has to enter those messages into the server (and perhaps some scheduling stuff to go along with it).

Design – Do you have graphics or some design elements that you want to be used? A programmer can reuse some of those things for your app. If you don’t, the programmer needs to design those things from scratch. They may also need to subcontract out some graphic work to a designer.

Platforms supported – Is the app just going to be available on iPhone or do you also want to support Android? Leaving out either one and you lose a lot of marketshare. Android has a slightly larger marketshare overall. But I see people choosing one platform for the reason of “that’s what I use.”  If you’re getting an app developed solely for yourself, well…….that’s one way to spend your money. There’s a few things that can only be done on Android (like Screen Blocker). But for other things, try to target both. It will cost more, but you will have a larger customer base.  Adding iPad and tablet support also can increase the costs.

If you’re building a house and want a retractable roof to “bring the outdoors inside”, yes, that’s possible.  But I’ve seen some houses with large sliding exterior walls. While it’s not exactly the same, it’s probably much more economical.  Working with a developer, you can figure out what features might be driving the cost of your up unnecessarily. Now, there are some scenarios where it does make sense to pay a team of developers $50K to work on your app, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.

So yes, the answer is “it varies”, because like other custom built things (like houses), it’s going to depend on what you’re trying to achieve. I’ll try to discuss some other things to look for when working with a developer in future posts.

Do you have any other questions about app development?

Posted in Apps, Technology | 2 Comments

A professor and golf balls: How it should’ve gone

Note: Even if the story seems familiar, please go through it all the way.

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A professor stood before his class with some items. When the class began, he picked up an empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. One student asked, “Is this going to be on the test?”

“No,” replied the professor, who then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

Except for one student, who said, “Guys! Just 15 seconds ago we thought it was full and he put more stuff in! How about we think about it instead of mindlessly agreeing?”

The professor scorned at him.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. A few students responded with a  “yes.” Most remained silent trying to figure out what was going on. The one student spoke up again, speaking to the few that said “yes”, “Look guys, he fooled you twice. How about you just stop and think?” Another student spoke up, “What does this even have to do with US History?”

The professor scorned at both of them. The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. “I’m pretty sure this violates the university’s alcohol policy!” one student yelled. Many students nodded in agreement.

The professor let out a heavy sigh, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things — your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favorite passions — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

One student interrupted, “Didn’t we determine that the jar was not full at that point?”

The professor ignored him and continued, “The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.”

Another student chimed in, “Wait, you’re saying my life would be full if I was unemployed and homeless? I’m pretty sure there would be a void in my life.”

The professor ignored her and moved on, “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.”

“If you shake the jar while pushing down on the golf balls, you can get them to go in. With enough pressure, you could probably compact the core of the golf ball and create even more room.”

“You can’t shake the jar!” the professor snapped back.

“You shook the jar when you put the pebbles in.   Just sayin’,” responded the student.

“The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. Play another 18.”

“How is golf suppose to help my family? It requires I leave them for hours at a time. And it’s kind of expensive.  Do I have a job at this point or not? And if golfing can be a first class hobby, couldn’t anything be?”

“There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, -”

“OK, so we must not be homeless!”

“-give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

“Isn’t it sand and pebbles?”

One of the students raised her hand and asked, “What about the alcohol violation?”

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”

“No, I’m saying…..it would be really cool if we all got a perfect on the final for not telling the dean about you drinking during class…..you know, so we can focus on ‘golf balls’ or whatever.”

What “inspirational” story do you hate?

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

A better answer for Hannah

This is a post written for me (because my memory is faulty) and for Hannah. She’ll get to read it in the morning. Tonight, Hannah had questions for me. I answered them as fully as I thought to then, but as I reflected on them tonight, I realized that there was more that needed to be said.

So Hannah asked if Jesus called himself the Son of Man so that he wouldn’t have to rob a bank or something to be crucified.

At first, I thought that Hannah didn’t realize that the Son of Man was a Messianic title. I thought that she needed to know that Daniel had called the Savior the Son of Man. But, no, she knew that. So what she was wondering was: did He reveal himself as the Son of God so that the Israelites would charge Him with blasphemy and give Him the death penalty so that He would be killed for our sins.

I replied that no, He had revealed Himself as the Messiah because it was true. I didn’t mention John 18:37 where Jesus reveals that His purpose was to bear witness to the truth, but it fits. If Jesus’ purpose was to testify to the truth, revealing Himself as the Christ would certainly fit.

Then, I stated that they didn’t kill Him because of blasphemy. He had revealed Himself as the Son of God through His miracles many times before they arrested and killed Him. They killed Him, I explained because of God’s plan, God had hardened their hearts (because of unfaithfulness) so that they could not believe He was the Christ. And, they killed Him because of their jealousy and (I didn’t add this part to her, but I’ll add it now) because of their fear that He would cause a war with Rome that would cause more oppression and death. I mentioned God’s rescue plan for us and that God had used their hard hearts to further His plan to save us through Christ’s death and resurrection.

But, I have to say, as I sat and thought about it. I missed it. I missed a BIG thing, and that is this:

His death on the cross was never about what He had done. He did everything perfectly. He always was truthful and kind. His love was perfect. His anger was perfect. His death on the cross wasn’t about what He had said. The priests were amazed by His knowledge of the scriptures even in His youth. He answered all of the questions of his accusers. He even answered Satan well. It wasn’t about what He had done, it wasn’t about what He had said, it was about what we had done, all of humanity, from the beginning to the end. He was taking our punishment, a punishment that we caused through our sin, a punishment that was caused by humans very much like ourselves reacting in jealousy, greed, fear, betrayal, and ignorance to kill an innocent man. A man that had never done anything wrong. It was our sin and their sin, that we share, that killed Him.

Although His death was never about what He had done, it was all about what He was doing. The rescue plan of God has been promised from the time of sin. It arrived at just the right time. It continues until He comes again. Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Amazing. Grace.

So, do your kids make you think this hard before bed or am I raising tiny theologians? Tell me I’m not alone. Please.

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Appointments

We came home from vacation almost two weeks ago, and I decided it was time for me to schedule a lot of appointments that I had been putting off until a more opportune time. Except for swimming lessons, our schedule was pretty free for the next two weeks. Then, we added an insurance evaluation, a nurse visit for shots, a flooring estimate, eye exams, a Bible study, an outreach event, an elder board meeting, a call committee meeting, a late Father’s Day celebration, and the regular piano lessons. Plus, we had the regular regular stuff of school, cooking, cleaning, playing, etc to fit in.

So now your know why I’ve been slacking off in blog land here. Rest assured, though, I have several blog rants just waiting in the wing to be polished a bit, and I’m sure in the next few weeks I’ll be able to notice and enjoy more of the adorable and hilarious things my children are surely doing everyday. In the words of the Terminator, I’ll be back.

Until then, here’s a few kiddo pics.

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Code Taste Test

Some programmers like to brag that they “eat and drink” code.  This might be confusing for the non-programmers out there, so I decided to have a programming taste test.  I’ll sample various types of programming languages and describe the taste.

C – It’s a classic dish.  Extremely versatile and can be used in everything from a late-night embedded coprocessor snack to a full-fledged 10-course Italian dinner for 8. While not as pleasing to the palette, it does fill you up.

C++- It tastes like C, but has a more powerful flavor.  I know that many chefs prefer to cook with this because it allows them to make more complex dishes with less ingredients.  The result is a meal that’s has a very condensed and powerful flavor.

Java – While similar to C++, Java does have some things that really make it a choice ingredient.  The garbage collection removes the unused flavors, providing you with a bold, rich taste.  And no, despite the name, it doesn’t taste like coffee at all.

Objective-C – Apple fanbois are going to declare that this is the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not sure if they’re commenting on the carb count, but this tastes nothing like bread.  The high amount of square brackets provide a grinding against the roof of your mouth like Captain Crunch cereal.

Swift – Apple came out with this new language at the last WWDC. Shortly after it’s release, Apple fainbois were declaring that the smooth taste of Swift was everything people expected. While it’s too early to talk about it’s taste, we know that it does have chamfered edges and a lot less square brackets, so it should go down smoother.  Or should I say….swifter?

HTML - We brought out this next dish. And looked at it for a while.  We then asked ourselves: Why is HTML being brought out in a programming taste test? It’s a markup language.

Ada – Ahh….a programming language developed by the government. The bold, exciting flavors found in the other languages just aren’t here.  Meal is best prepared by committee.

Perl – One time I tried one of those “energy bars”.  It’s basically super compact protein, but hard to distinguish what it is.  This is Perl.

COBOL – This tastes old. Shag carpet tastes newer than this.

No matter what type of code you prefer, most code is low in calories, so you’ll probably need to supplement with something (Mountain Dew?).  Have fun!

What language do you prefer?

Posted in Humor, Random | 4 Comments

Happy Father’s Day!

All right chickies, I have one question for you today, “Why is Daddy so awesome?”

Emma: Because he’s funny and awesome and helpful and considerate and he helps us when we’re upset. And Daddy loves Jesus.

Hannah: Because he’s our daddy. He gives good tickles. He snuggles me. He sings and dances funny. He tells good jokes. And he makes me happy when I’m sad.

Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there, including mine and Bryan’s! You are irreplaceable!

How is your dad awesome?

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Spotback

I grew up with two brothers. One things we’d fight over is which part of the couch you got to sit and watch TV.  Before my parents got a sectional, the couch had two ends.  There are three boys.  You do the math. If you’re actually doing the math, take a look at the Pigeonhole principle, this basically states that one end of the couch will need to be shared by two people.  Of course, that’s not going to happen, so one person will have to endure the hardship of watching TV on the floor. This was our version of “The Hunger Games”.

The person on the floor would basically be like Gollum…..planning on when they could get a precious spot on the couch.  If someone of the couch (“a couchie”….we didn’t really call them that, but we could’ve) got up to go to the bathroom, they’d come back to someone sitting in their spot with a giant grin.

Eventually, the three of us held a summit and we agreed upon a convention.  If you declared “Spotback” before getting up, you could rightfully reclaim your spot on the couch. We had to tweak the rules a bit, because some people started abusing the practice by declaring “Spotback” and then going to take a shower.  We eventually instilled time limits. I don’t know if we clarified all the loopholes or not.  For example, sometimes you’d forget to call spotback.  You’re halfway to the bathroom and you realize your error.  You try to get back to your spot, but Gollum on the floor has already smelled your fear.  If your hand can get to the spot before theirs, you can retain it.  But how do we know if your hand was there first or simply slid under the person? That was always a gray area we never resolved.

But the great thing about this, it’s intuitive.  The first time I declared “spotback” at a friend’s house (because I’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dog), everyone knew it meant “Don’t take my spot on the couch.”  And it was obeyed.

Did you ever come up with weird stuff like this as a kid?

 

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

Do you have Frozen on your smartphone?

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[5-Year-Old] Daddy? [knocks]
Do you have Frozen on your smartphone?
Please bring it up and then hit play!
We never see it anymore
I’m really bored
I haven’t seen it in two days!

We used to watch it daily
But now we don’t
I think that I’m going to cry!

Do you have Frozen on your smartphone?
It doesn’t have to be a smartphone…

Okay, bye…

[9-Year-Old (knocks)]
Do you have Frozen on your smartphone?
Let’s get it, what do you say?
I think a new movie is what will do
We can watch it on Roku
Or stream from Google Play

It gets a little boring
All the stuff on YouTube
Just watching the same previews
(blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah)

[15-Year-Old (knocks)]
Daddy, c’mon I know you’re in there
The system is asking who I am
They say, “Authentication needed”,
And I’m trying to
I’m at the checkout too
Just give the PIN

We only have one account
It’s just you and me
Why can’t I have it too?

Do you have Frozen on your smartphone? [sniff]

Posted in Family Updates | 4 Comments

A Random List of Springtime Activities

In no particular order, here is an update of what we’ve been up to

1. Gardening. It’s been nice outside, so we’ve been out planting, mowing, pulling weeds. This always makes me think of my mother in law because she, unlike me, is an excellent gardener and actually enjoys being outside. Man, I wish they lived closer. On an unrelated note, gardening uses a lot of squat muscles, so I should have legs of steel by the end of summer.

2. Doctor’s appointments. I got the oldest and the youngest in for some regular check ups. Poor pale Emma Boo takes after her mama, so they checked her iron levels. Seriously people, we’re just pale. It’s gonna be OK. Micah moved up in the percentile charts to the 25%.

3. Micah started walking. If you don’t follow on Facebook, you didn’t get to see the totally adorable video of Micah walking. That’s sad for you. We’re pretty proud of him.

4. We went to the Mall of America so that Bryan and the girls could ride rides at the amusement park for part of Emma’s birthday present. We went on a Monday, and they were able to get a lot of riding in.

5. Hannah went to a birthday party on Saturday before Mother’s Day. While she was there, the girls got invited to another one the next day. I will never again let them do that. I missed them and was so sad that we weren’t together since for some reason the party lasted for 4 hours. I’m glad they are friends with the girls and enjoyed their time, but I missed being with them.

6. ALLERGIES. We are coughing and sneezing and having headaches and blah. I think things will ease up once the tree that overshadows our house stops dropping pollen. I hope. Until then, it’s all vacuuming and changing sheets and showering and drinking hot beverages with honey.

7. Father-Daughter Bingo. The girls’ American Heritage Girls troop had their annual Father-Daughter Bingo event. Bryan won a t-shirt and a Slim Jim. They really know what dads like :)

8. While the girls partied, I went to Mom’s Night Out, the movie. It was cute. A little fluffy, but fun.

9. We’ve been doing our annual standardized tests. I don’t love these. They stress out the kiddos. I guess I should be thankful we aren’t doing the constant testing required by Common Core.

10. Activities are winding down at church. I got asked to be on the committee to help solve our Wednesday night dinner problem. Problem being that 100 or so people come and eat every week yet it’s hard to get people to cook for that many. I think besides having more meals catered, I was the lone brainstormer on ideas to make it easier. My brain is always storming, though, so if you need ideas, hit up the Logan house. Just try to do it before 6 pm, otherwise it’s going to be hard to sleep with all those ideas marching through our brains. I should note that my meetings took place at 7:45 pm and lasted until 9.

11. The piano recital is coming up. There’s been lots of practicing going on. I must say, it’s nice that Emma has gotten to the level that I get to hear Tchaikovsky and Brahms played around the house.

12. We’ve been getting bids for remodeling some of the kitchen (floors and counters and maybe the island). I never understood why people on HGTV went over budget all the time and over budget by half or more. I’m still not going to, but now I get it.

13. I made some corn tortillas into hardshell tacos in the oven last week. It was delicious and much more filling than the storebought shells even though I did buy these tortillas from Trader Joes. Even though they are delicious, the smell of the lime and corn makes me queasy when they’re in the pantry.

14. Micah’s getting a lot more words. My friend says that it’s not really a word if he’s not saying all of it, but even though I love her, I don’t listen to that. Communication is communication. Whatever he says that I understand counts because that means less frustration which means less using his head as a weapon of mass destruction. Micah head butts like no one else. I think we’ve all been in tears over it except maybe Bryan because he’s tough.

15. Sometimes when people say that moms should do their hair and get dressed everyday, it makes me want to wear yoga pants and put my hair in a pony tail even though I normally try to dress nicely each day. What is wrong with me?

That’s as good a place as any to end this post. What have you been up to? Most exciting update is the winner!

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Bible study with kids.

We’ve really enjoyed being at homeschool conventions over the years. At one, I remember a dad talking about leading Bible Study with his kids. He stated that it wasn’t that hard, you just choose a passage of scripture, find three points to emphasize about it, look for an application point, ask your children three questions (these he had prepared) about it, and then pray with them. Easy, right?

Ummm….no. That’s basically a sermon. While I think it’s awesome that he is able to just write a mini sermon for his kids each day, I’m pretty sure that Bryan would not be excited to do that.

There are a TON of family devotion books. I’ve bought several myself. Some of them come with ideas for elaborate activities, but that just means that we rarely do them because it requires a lot of prep work. Beyond that, you always run the risk material being not applicable/too mature/too immature/boring/not in line with your theology. So, we don’t usually go this route either.

However, we have had regular family devotions for a few years now, so I thought I would share what works for our family.

Each night, we read a (or play an audio Bible) chapter from a book of the Bible. We read the entire book, but we don’t read sequentially. Sometimes we read something that they will be memorizing, but we just move through the Bible, a book at a time, a chapter a night. After this, everyone prays.

The best thing about it is the questions. We don’t need to write a sermon or a series of action points for the kids. If we are willing to listen to their questions, they let us know what they are wondering about. Sometimes, we will notice something in the passage that seems applicable to our family, and we’ll ask a question about it, but most of the time, they are asking the questions.

We’re currently reading through Proverbs. We’ve discussed interest on loans and PayDay loan scams. We’ve discussed foolish people, a lot. We’ve talked about diligence and being self directed. We’ve discussed why being argumentative is not a good thing. We’ve been able to talk at length regarding how God’s wisdom works for our good in the world. Related to that, we’ve talked about how the things in Proverbs are not “promises” but general principles.

We have some basic reference books that we use like a study Bible, a concordance, and a Bible dictionary. These help us answer harder questions that we may not have the answers to right off the top of our heads. We’ve also had the kids go to the pastor with questions. Once, Emma was curious as to when the 9th hour, 11th hour, etc were. Our pastor was happy to share with her that they counted hours during the workday which started at 6 am. We were happy to learn this as well.

This is it. It’s just read Bible (good quality children’s Bible when you have little tinies), answer questions, everyone prays. We don’t have a formula for reading. Sometimes everyone gets a chance to read, sometimes Bryan reads, sometimes I read, sometimes the phone reads. We let them interrupt with their questions. I interrupt my own Bible study with my questions, and I need to let them do the same. We let them pray about whatever is on their mind. We are modeling prayer to them when we pray, but they don’t have to pray how we pray.

Our goal for family devotions is that they might be able to:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

And that extends to us. My Biblical worldview has grown and developed as I work to rightly handle to word of truth when I’m handing it to my children.

How do you do family devotions?

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