Should I build an app?

United Nations of smartphone operating systemsHaving helped develop an iPhone app and having my “techie-in-a-skirt” rep amongst my colleagues and friends, I often get asked “Should I build an app?” Last  week I was asked just that.

My answer always starts with “It depends”.

Delivering a mobile friendly service is not the question here. ComScore recently revealed that  75% of Canadians own a smartphone in their 2014 Canada Digital Future in Focus report which means you need a mobile friendly solution if you want to be relevant. The question is, which mobile solution is right for you?

Generally, you have three main mobile options: Web Apps, Native Apps, and Hybrid Apps. But before you get into these options, you need to determine the purpose behind your mobile presence. Continue reading

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While this book spiked my interest enough to pick it up from Book Warehouse, a small independent   bookstore in Vancouver on Main street, it never quite lived up to its potential. A historical fiction novel set in 1940 and focusing on  WWII on the home front, and in particular the evolving role of women during the period, it simply lacked the depth of character to seem even remotely realistic -I was disappointed. I found heroine Maggie Hope confusing with her inner dialog not always aligning with her actions, and often inconsistent altogether.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary does include does include cryptography, spies, murder, and intrigue, and of course a depiction of Winston Churchill himself, however you may find this is not quite enough to make this a memorable read without a greater depth of character development.


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Walls of Wind

Walls of WindWalls of Wind by J.A. McLachlan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What if males and females were completely different species from each other… Walls of Wind captivates you with a civilization where this is the exactly the case.

Bria Ghen, and the challenges they face as an evolving community, are masterfully illustrated through a series of relatable, and at times heartbreaking characters that speak to conflicts between security and truth.

The Goldfinch

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Donna Tartt writes in raw but artistically detailed style that allows you to easily enter Theo’s conscious an experience his loss first hand.

This book is written beautifully. Its depiction of how grief and guilt play out following tragedy is one of the most realistic I have read in a modern setting. Theo’s life takes a dramatic turn when a tragic event leaves him utterly alone.

Donna Tartt’s narration of the years that follow is a very realistic illustration of Survivor’s Guilt, which is recognized as a form of post traumatic stress disorder. While some may find Theo’s decision making outrageous, frustrating and inexcusable,  looking deeper you see that it is born out of deep sadness and a profound sense of guilt for both his parents deaths that drastically impacts his mental health.

Those, like myself, who experience Survivor’s Guilt, know that it often prevents you from believing you deserve to heal or deserve to be happy. I see this is Theo as well.

What is unfortunate is that Theo cannot bring himself to be honest with Pippa, who was injured in the same bombing and lost her grandfather “Welty”. She is one of the few who could have the capacity to understand. But Theo holds back.

I hope The Goldfinch can remind us to cherish those close to us. I hope it can prompt us to empathize with those who struggle to work through their grief. I hope it can make us look deeper into those we cannot understand.
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Mistaken Kimono

“Thank you Sir.”

“We appreciate you letting us know you picked up the wrong suitcase” the Air Asia service rep said.

His flat voice had the air of being rehearsed from a customer response guide. It came with a thick Malaysian accent and manufactured politeness.
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Shades of blue

A serene hue eases into the room. The morning layer of cloud pushes the blue tinge through the window slits.  The apartment is full of these cool tones, a reflection of last year’s grey painting frenzy.  She smiles at the awkward leftover painting taunting her from across the room. Why is it still there? It pleads pitifully from across the room while she daydreams all the ways she can mutilate it. Punishing it, but for what? Losing her affection?
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Sharepoint Branding

Microsoft SharePoint branding is one of those things that front-end developers love to hate and love to master. It is the inspiration for many blogs like SharePoint Makes Me Cry (which helps validate our frustration) and  Randy Drisgill’s blog which proves him to be no less than a SharePoint branding god.

When I first gained access to a SharePoint 2010 site a few months before its official release within the BC Government, I decided to challenge myself and test out the purportedly much improved branding capabilities by creating an a-typical sharepoint site.

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BC Health Service Locator iPhone App

Need to find a health service in BC? Use the BC Health Service Locator!

This is with out a doubt one of the best and most meaningful projects I’ve worked on as a public servant.

The BC Health Service Locator is an iPhone app that helps citizens find walk in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, immunization locations, and after-hours pharmacies near you. You can search for health services by city or keyword.

This video demos its functionality. It’s also my first debut as a hand model ;)

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Her porch light flicks off, and he trudges down the snow packed walk to the avenue. Enough she thinks. She’s had enough of him. She wonders if he’ll try to hitchhike again. Remembers that night: driving Katie from her dance class to Sarah’s house for a sleepover; she was on her way home when she saw him. He stood near the curb facing oncoming traffic, far enough away not to get splashed by the spray of tires, but close enough for drivers to see his upturned thumb. A ribbed shirt clung to his body highlighting the curves of dampened muscles. His skin is darkened from the re-occurring spray of road water. She pulls the Corolla over to the side of the road and watches him slowly start to make his way toward her car; his large strides purposefully avoid the water filled potholes. Why was she doing this? She could easily merge back onto the road and drive away. He reaches the door and looks through the glass at her. His eyes are solid gray, like the stones circling the path to the back porch. She unlockes the door.
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“And the bag boy gave me paper after I asked for plastic. It just shows you how much attention…” she stops mid sentence, her eyes staring into his unrecognizable face. The way his darkened eyes are glaring down at her sends a shiver through her spine. Immediately she chastises herself for complaining. As soon as he comes through the door he has me nagging at him; it’ s a wonder he comes home. Her stomach churns looking at him.

“I’m sorry Honey. How was your day?” she wills herself to smile up at him. His eyes narrow and darken. What is it? What have I done?
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