Digital PM Summit preview w/speakers Megan Wilker and Kurt Schmidt

This podcast is a conversation about digital project management with two leaders in the field: Clockwork COO Megan Wilker and Kurt Schmidt, Director of Project Management here at The Nerdery – both invited to speak at today’s Digital PM Summit in Austin, Texas – no spoilers in this preview. Kurt also talks with Megan about the growing community-of-peers she founded called the Twin Cities Interactive Project Management Meetup.

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How big data can help your business, big or small

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In recent years, you’ve probably heard a lot about “big data” or Apache Hadoop but little of it  has been enlightening or inspiring (maybe a bit mysterious like a good twist to a movie). Big data is really just a buzz  word for now, but it’s what we use when we’re talking about a collection of large and complex data sets that are analyzed to reveal patterns. Some say it’s solving big problems for big businesses like Google, US Bank, and other large enterprises out there. Some say it’s too complicated for “an ordinary developer” to do. We’ll try to answer some of these questions, dispel some of these myths, and most importantly, show you how you and your business can use big data to solve your problems… big or small.

“Try turning what you used to see as a trash can into real money for your business.”

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Why most thoughts of emerging tech are wrong – a MindSurf Conference preview

bell curve with adoption gap right after the early adopters and before mass adoptionWhen most people think of emerging technology they either thinking of flashy tech demos powered by smoke-and-mirrors or a rough pre-production prototype not quite ready for primetime. But emerging technology is past the prototype stage and at the tail end of the early adopter curve. The reason why we don’t see it everywhere is because it’s sitting on the edge of what analysts call the adoption gap.

My favorite example of emerging technology is Lasik corrective eye surgery and how for many years I heard people say, “Sure, I know it’s safe – but I’ll let some other people get lasers shot into their eyes for a few more years… because, well… lasers in the eye!” Even though it had over a decade of medical research, FDA approval, and a lot of success stories, it took years before Lasik crossed the adoption gap into being a mainstream procedure.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.01.10 AMYou can catch my presentation about emerging technology at the upcoming MindSurf Conference on October 9th at the Benchmark Learning Center.

I’ve given variations of this talk a few times – my presentation about looking forward to the emerging technology of tomorrow always opens peoples’ eyes once we start talking about current-day applications. Thinking about technology that we have access to today and giving people a chance to dream about possibilities is my favorite part. We’re moving into a world driven by contextual-awareness, and new technologies at our disposal can help create new meaningful experiences.






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Quality Assurance Pro Tips – Learn from Apple’s recent HealthKit bug


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Many of you already know the buzz going on with iOS 8 and some critical issues which occurred with Apple’s first iOS 8.0.1 software update on Wednesday, September 24th. A major bug with the HealthKit feature was discovered prior to the iOS 8.0 release, which resulted in Apple pulling all HealthKit enabled apps from the App Store ahead of the public release, leaving 3rd-party devs uncertain as to the fate of their Apps.

iOS Health app

The major issue that was reported is unknown, but Apple promised a quick fix for the major bug. One week after the iOS 8.0 release, iOS 8.0.1 was released to the public to fix the HealthKit issue and allow related apps back into the App Store. One hour and 15 minutes after the release, iOS 8.0.1 was taken down after critical issues were discovered with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners. This resulted in users losing cellular service and malfunctions with the Touch ID feature.

“How could a fix for the HealthKit feature that tracks your calories burned, sleep duration, nutrition and other features, be the cause for users being unable to make or receive phone calls?”

iOS 8.0.2 was released the very next day and contained fixes for the critical issues that came with iOS 8.0.1, as well as the HealthKit issue and other minor bug fixes. So you may be asking yourself, “How could a fix for the HealthKit feature that tracks your calories burned, sleep duration, nutrition and other features, be the cause for users being unable to make or receive phone calls?” Well, the answer is, there’s no real way of knowing for sure how it happened. Just that, it happened.

Whenever new code is implemented for a fix, there’s always a possibility of that fix causing new bugs to occur, which can be in a related area of the software or in a seemingly unrelated area from the original issue. That is why after re-testing the fix that was implemented, it is always best practice to perform regression testing around the affected area, to ensure no other issues were caused by the change.

In this particular case where the issue is related to a major firmware/software update which will affect millions of consumers. The best practice in this case would be to not only re-test the fix and perform regression testing around the affected area of functionality, but to also fully test all major functionality of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (as well as all other devices that support the firmware/software update) before releasing the update to the public. Making/receiving phone calls, sending/receiving emails, sending/receiving text/video messages, taking photos/videos, keyboard functionality, the notification center/alerts, wifi, syncing with iTunes, the locked screen, Siri and all other major functionality the iPhones are capable of performing.

There are a couple things we can take away from this situation. First is that more testing will always be better than less testing. If the budget allows for it, perform as much testing as you possibly can if a major update is ready (code complete) before releasing to the general public as well as continuing testing post deployment.

Also be sure to perform a full test sweep of all functionality a device/website/application is capable of performing to ensure nothing was affected by the update and after deployment. Never rush through quality assurance (QA) and always take your time when performing your test sweep, ensuring all critical and major issues have been discovered. The general public will thank you for taking the time to thoroughly test your software so that they don’t have to.








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Developing for Next Generation Touchscreen Computers

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More than just Mobile Devices: Where touch detection breaks down

When you think of “touch,” mobile phones and tablets may immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to overlook the newest crop of touch-driven devices, such as Chromebook laptops that employ both a touchscreen and a trackpad, and Windows 8 machines paired with touchscreen monitors. In this article, you’ll learn how to conquer the interesting challenges presented by these “hybrid” devices that can employ both mouse and touch input. In the browser, the Document Object Model (DOM) started with one main interface to facilitate user pointer input: MouseEvent. Over the years, the methods of input have grown to include the pen/stylus, touch, and a plethora of others. Modern web browsers must continually stay on top of these new input devices by either converting to mouse events or adding an additional event interface. In recent years, however, it has become apparent that dividing these forms of input – as opposed to unifying and normalizing – is becoming problematic when hardware supports more than one method of input. Programmers are then forced to write entire libraries just to unify all the event interfaces (mouse, touch, pen, etc). So how did mouse and touch events come to be separate interfaces? Going forward, are all new forms of input going to need their own event interface? How do I unify mouse and touch now?

Is this article for me?

The solutions in this article are specific in nature – only applications that require heavy user interaction (games, HTML canvas application, drag & drop widgets, etc) fall within the target application of the solutions discussed. Click driven interactions (ie. regular websites) do not necessarily need to worry about user-input methods, as click events will be fired regardless of the user’s input method.

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Overnight Web Challenge Founder Honored With Titans of Technology Award

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This podcast was recorded just days before Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge founder Mark Hurlburt was to be honored by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal as a Titans of Technology Award recipient in the Community Hero category.

Whether you’re a Web Challenge vet or you know very little about this 24-hour community service initiative, you’ll learn something from this podcast about the history and evolution of The Nerdery’s pro bono endeavor. Since 2008, Web Challenge volunteers have freely given more than $5 million in professional web development services to 144 nonprofits in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Kansas City.

Not (yet) included in this recording is a voiceover by James Earl Jones saying, “Mark Hurlburt. Technology Titan. Community Hero” (hopefully coming soon, budget permitting). But if I could be serious for a moment I’d say that it’s been the greatest among many pleasures of my Nerdery career to work with Mark on the Overnight Website Challenge from the humble beginnings of his idea. Congrats for this well-deserved honor.

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The ROI of Advocating for Accessibility and Quality Assurance Early and Often

A Podcast Discussion:

Bree and Adam are the keynote speakers for the 2014 QA Summit for Digital Marketing in Chicago on October 3rd.

There presentation will focus on how developing websites with the intent of making them accessible to people with disabilities is the right thing to do. But well beyond altruism, companies should understand the solid business case for accessibility.

Is there a business case for accessibility?

There are developers, designers, and quality assurance engineers who are passionate about how the Internet can help make the world a better place for everybody. But in order to make the Internet truly for everybody, web developers and app designers need to take into account the 60 million disabled users in the U.S. who cannot access many websites without issue due to visual, cognitive, or motor impairments. Websites fail to meet accessibility standards due to lack of planning, knowledge or awareness.  Read more

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Tech That Makes Social Media Less of a Guessing Game

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A Podcast Discussion

How has social media tech made life easier for a Community Manager?

With the growth in social media tools, there is a proportionate amount of noise within the networks. It’s almost necessary to leverage the tools now available to filter, combine, and collate the vast amounts of communication on the social sphere. We have a fruitful discussion around communities and groups within the social sphere and how they are a direct response to the amount of seemingly random conversations happening around the clock.

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The Ice Bucket Challenge Cometh

There are a number of good ways to raise money and awareness to fight ALS, but lately there’s this.
 

The Nerdery ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

I almost missed this refreshing experience. A couple hours ago – and 45 minutes before my fellow Nerds planned to pre-emptively get doused – I was working from home and just minding my own business when our friend Adam Best from Code 42 said this:
 

Are you talking to me?

Lou Gehrig was a great man who died of a horrible disease that we should all want to beat the living crap out of. Nerdery staff donated more than a thousand bucks today. Let’s keep this going. Who’s next?

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New iTunes Connect Analytics Will Revolutionize iOS App Marketing

iTunes Connect Analytics

Every marketing professional that works with iOS mobile apps will receive the gift that keeps on giving this fall – the gift of insight over their conversion funnel, granted by analytics data that you do not have access to today. Read more

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