Working in Tech

Best practices, new technology and products, and tips to help you stay on the cutting edge.

‘Swing Copters’ and the Danger of App Copycats

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.43.55 AM
Game developer Dong Nguyen has launched Swing Copters, a follow-up to his blockbuster Flappy Bird. Within a day of Copters hitting the iOS and Android app stores, rival developers released what seemed like dozens of clones, many of which made only the slightest alterations to Nguyen’s game—an altered color here, or a slightly different design there. Click here to find game development jobs. The same thing happened with Flappy Bird once that game became a raging success, and developers realized… continue…

Uber Opens Its API. But Will People Build With It?

Uber Logo
In the five years since its creation, Uber has grown to an $18.2 billion company that threatens to subvert the traditional taxi industry in many cities around the world. Uber’s popularity stems largely from its ease of use—with a few taps of a mobile app, anyone can order a car-for-hire to his or her location. Like many a tech company, Uber needs to grow by a healthy percentage every quarter in order to satisfy its investors and fend off competition.… continue…

Has Your Company Mastered Apps?

App Masters
Smartphones and tablets are now ubiquitous among companies, along with customized apps that monitor everything from customer service to shipping logistics. Despite that ubiquity, a new report from the Apigee Institute (PDF) insists that enterprise IT is broken, and that the majority of your average C-suite is unable to keep up with the technological changes sweeping pretty much every industry. At the heart of that brokenness, the report adds, is the inability of current data-storage practices and systems to keep… continue…

Why a Business Analyst’s Role Is So Hard to Define

Multiple Responsibilities
It’s common to see many organizations using business analysts in different ways, which is one reason a BA’s skill set has to be so versatile. But why is it BAs don’t always drop neatly into a single, pre-defined role? The nature of business analysis itself has a lot to do with it. Generally, business analysis comprises some parts of these three areas: Click here to find business analysis jobs. Strategic Analysis Because strategy is by its nature high-level, analysis is… continue…

Do IT Contractors Really Need to Carry Insurance?

Protecting Your Money
If you’re working as an independent contractor, do you need to carry professional liability insurance? For full-time workers, employers are typically responsible for indemnification against claims of intellectual property infringement or issues related to failed projects or dissatisfied customers. But for contractors and consultants, it’s a different story: They usually need to protect themselves through something called errors and omissions, or “E&O” insurance, which protects them from losses related to claims of negligence and other issues. It’s a cost of… continue…

SourceForge Interview: CMDBuild

CMDBuild
Over at SourceForge, the August “Staff Pick” project is CMDBuild, a software platform that allows developers to configure a custom database of assets and design-related workflow processes. The SourceForge editors sat down with one of the project managers, Fabio Bottega, to discuss the project’s purpose and direction. Tell me about the CMDBuild project. CMDBuild is an open source, enterprise Web application to model and manage your IT asset database. CMDB stands for configuration and management database but CMDBuild is more… continue…

Creating Random Access Text in C#

Contents of the Two Files
Back in April I looked at disk folders as a possible alternative to NoSQL or using a relational DB. My conclusion wasn’t encouraging—I was concerned about poor performance, especially on Linux. The use case I examined was for a server that had from 100,000 to 1 million users. I wanted to store and retrieve text files for any user. Those files could vary in length from a few bytes to a few KB. Back in the dark ages—before the Web… continue…

Are Python and Objective-C Worth Learning?

python example
Last week’s article on the five programming languages you’ll need next year (and beyond) didn’t include two important languages: Python and Objective-C. Python’s exclusion sparked a passionate response from some readers, to say the least, and led us to craft a follow-up to emphasize Python’s importance to the programming world. Python is mature (the first version, created by a computer scientist named Guido van Rossum, was released in 1991). Google, where van Rossum worked for several years, has embraced Python… continue…

SourceForge Interview: A New Game Engine

VASSAL Map
Over at SourceForge, the August Project of the Month is the community-elected VASSAL Engine, described as “a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board and card games.” Project manager Joel Uckelman sat down to talk about the project’s origins and future. (Editor’s Note: Here’s the link to the project. Hello, Hacker News folks!) Tell me about the VASSAL Engine project. VASSAL provides a virtual tabletop for playing board games live over the net and by email. It’s cross-platform… continue…

Why Your Mobile App Isn’t Making Any Money

mobile app graph
There’s a dream in the tech world—and not an uncommon one—that building a mobile app will translate into immense riches. That dream has led developers around the world to pour countless hours into conceiving, programming, and marketing everything from mobile productivity software to games. But while mobile apps have made a few companies and indie developers immensely rich (Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen reportedly earned more than $50,000 a day from his little game before pulling it from the iOS… continue…