Another Working Year

Unlike most people, I don’t really celebrate New Year’s. Well, not when you’d expect, really.

For me the “year” ends at the beginning of August, when people go on vacation and things (usually) slow down to a crawl, meaning there’s enough time to review and reflect on what’s been going on throughout the rest of the year - a comparatively short breather before September comes round and madness reinstates itself all over again.

This year, as I battened down the hatches before heading out for some well-earned rest, the first thing I did was figure out what I wanted to do next year1. Guess what, I’m antsy about mobile again.

Since I’m not officially in the industry anymore (I’m more like a kid stuck on the wrong side of a candy store window), and doing cheapskate mobile apps isn’t my thing2, I decided I’d go fringe and (at least for a while) capitalize on my recent forays into Android.

I think of it as a sort of Summer school, although if anyone had told me four years ago that I’d be hacking C and Java and dealing with cross-compiler toolchains again, I’d tell them they were stark raving mad.

On the other hand, maybe I’m the odd one here - I can’t stop learning stuff, and OS-level stuff has always fascinated me. Since I can’t delve into iOS as easily and I can’t escape Android at work, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

So far, I’ve built working Android images for:

I’m also working on an MK802 device tree (and have put my Raspberry Pi kernel on hold until Broadcom releases their stuff), but working with unofficial ports is painful and a tremendous waste of time when people try to reinvent the wheel and hack the build system to do what works on their machine…

Building Android is a tremendous pain in the posterior, really, and although I find it a useful complement to my arsenal, it’s not that useful to my current responsibilities, so I’m zoning out on Big Data-related academic papers in the evenings and looking wistfully at a few collaboration tools.

The Irony Bit

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: I’m doing a tremendous amount of the above from my iPad - not the actual compiling obviously (that’s performed in a couple of boxes inside my closet), but all of the typing and tweaking.

A MacBook Air could do everything (and I’ve got a mind to get one sometime in the far future, when I sell the remaining machines), but using the iPad with an external keyboard is just as easy for remote builds, and a lot cooler when I have to tap out something on my lap in this blistering Summer weather.

  1. The second was a garage sale of most of my old hardware. I’m lowering my expectations as far as maintaining a home office is concerned, and going fully nomadic again for a while… ↩︎

  2. I’ve just renewed my iOS developer account, but I’ve yet to finish the app I started over a year ago - and the JavaScript ones I’ve done in the meantime are just not worth publishing. ↩︎