Hire Tim

Tim Mitra avatar

A few people have asked about hiring me on contract. So I put together this post:

I am and independent developer and designer working in iOS and web technologies. I have been involved in many app deployments on the AppStore, as the main idea guy or architect of apps; doing client work and some personal apps. Collectively we had over 500K downloads over the last 5 years, which I think it’s better than most. My background is in the graphic arts, print and publishing, and the IT work involved in those trades. However I have always made stuff and consider myself a solutions provider – my unique ability.

While I do wrangle developers, writers and artists, I spend the majority of my time actually writing code and assembling the apps. I am also the person who deals with the actual submission to the AppStore. So I can start an app from pen and paper sketches all the way to the App Store and analytics. While doing so I make stops to assemble copy, create graphics & UX, write the code, assemble the apps, localization, distribute the builds, wrangle git & branches, write server APIs, product management, as well as marketing and promotions. Soup to nuts as any indie IOS developer should be (and hiring out help on big projects).

I am located in Toronto Canada, where I try to run a small development company. I teach introductory courses on iOS development. I write for raywenderlich.com and I founded and host the More Than Just Code podcast.

Tim

resume and references available on request.

Replacing End of Life Xserve Internal Drives

After much head scratching and buying 2 different 1TB SATA Hard drives, I solved the problem of a dead Xserve drive. My server reported that the drive in Bay 2 was unresponsive and my Apple hardware RAID was in degraded mode. The original configuration used 3 Western Digital drives.

So I had a 1TB Seagate SATA drive, and put it into the drive chassis and slid it in. No luck! Disk Utility couldn’t see the drive. Worried that the server would fail, I plugged the Seagate drive into a USB port and started to clone the system drive. I then order a new Western Digital Black drive with similar specs to the original drives. A couple of days later the drive arrived and still no luck. (I even used an older sled from another server.)

Then I found the answer, the speed of the SATA interface in the Xserve is designed for SATA-150. I grabbed a jumper from an old drive, after checking the WD site for the jumper configuration. I popped the drive into the server. Initially it the drive didn’t show up. So I gave up, rebooted the server and walked away.

A while later, I checked again and the RAID Utility could see the drive running at the slower speed. So I marked it as a “Spare” and the RAID started to rebuild.

What are Premium Domain Names

A few of our clients looking for a domain name have seen Premium Domain names listed on the search results.
Below are a couple of videos to explain what those are.

Register on Manage your domain here!


Find your perfect web address! Register a .com or .ca name with iT Guy Technologies.
Enter
a domain, keywords, location, or name:

 

 

Customer Service – Fail!

Two words that don’t seem to belong together these days are “Customer” and “Service“. Recently I paid good money to buy a brand new version on Nuance’s diction software – MacSpeech Scribe. Scribe promises to allow you to use the Mac or iPhone’s audio source  to input your verbiage. (Their other apps require a special mike.) Great! So I sent them $80 USD for the digital download and got the software. However when I tried to install the software it asked for a “license.key” file. downloaded the license key from the web site, but the software doesn’t recognize the license. So I open my browser and went to the nuance.com site for support.

After about 15 minutes of thrashing about on circular links I found that there is no way send a simple email to them. Phone support is available Mon – Fri 9 – 5, but in 2012 who needs to call a person to ask a question. Come to think of it, if this company hides behind it’s web site and support forums, what is the likelihood that I would actually end up speaking with someone who works at the company? Since this company seems to like to hide they would most likely use a third party call center. By using a forum to get support, they are probably hoping that the end users would end up supporting each other.

Sure you are trying to keep costs down. That is no excuse for poor customer service. I regularly sell Apple computers to clients and lose money doing it – because it’s the right thing to do. I buy Macs from a distributor who eats up a large percentage of the sales margin and charge shipping to send us the Mac. More often than not my client will pay me by credit card. My credit card merchant supplier takes their percentage and I end up $10 in the hole. BUT my client is happy!!!

Additionally, if a client asks for a product or service that I don’t provide, I often refer them to another supplier who does. I will even help them make the decision about what is the best product to meet their needs. I have even taken clients into a competitors store to help them make the purchase. Apple often has a better deal than I can provide – so I refer the client to buy from Apple directly. Sure you can see that I’m losing money on this engagement, but the client is pleased because they get what the need and deserve.

Recently a client of mine, a expert photographer, referred me to another company where I could buy a “Red” DSLR camera as an Xmas present. The sales rep was helpful and made sure I left with what I needed to make sure that the Xmas day reveal was pleasant. Where the support failed was when I asked the sales rep point blank whether the camera would go on sale before Xmas or during Boxing Week. He told me not to worry, as I was buying the Extended Warranty I would get 30 days price protection. You guessed it! Three days later the camera went on sale for $50 off. Since it was the pre-Xmas week, I figured they would be busy, so I would follow up after Xmas… I had 30 day price protection after all. After Xmas, I contacted the sales rep, who had given me his card, and imagine my surprise when I was told that the price protection was only in effect while the camera was on sale… not before or after but “during”. WTF is the point of the “30 Day price protection” then?

If I tried to evade my clients or provide them with insufficient information I wouldn’t have any clients. In case you’re wondering, I would have called the client and told them to “get in here and get your discount”. I often will tell clients to go to another store, even Apple Retail, if there is a better deal to be had (ask my clients – they will tell you!) Also we don’t hide behind our website. There are several ways to get in touch with us by email, phone, through the Apple Consultant Network site, from Apple (1800 MY APPLE) and our online ticket system. If I don’t answer, leave a message I will get back to you.


Ah! Always read the Fine Print:

If your xxx warrantied product goes on sale at xxx OR any other Canadian retailer and is in stock we will gladly price match the product within 30 days of your purchase. The advertised item must be the same brand and model as the originally purchased product, must be new, factory sealed and subject to manufacturer warranty applicable in Canada. xxx does not price match a competitor’s advertised price for ‘time limited‘ or ‘minimum quantity‘ specials, including Boxing Week prices, nor does it apply to advertising errors,special package prices, restricted offers, manufacturers’ rebates, bonus offers, online auctions or photofinishing.

The Hidden Costs of Do-It-Yourself Hosting

The Total Cost of Ownership of having your own servers is higher than you think.
By Geoffrey James

Many companies rely upon Return on Investment (ROI) when making technology strategy decisions, but few take the time to actually determine how much that strategy will cost over time. That’s unfortunate, because without estimating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), ROI is meaningless. There’s no way of knowing how large an investment is actually being made.

That’s particularly true when companies decide whether to use an IT hosting provider or take the do-it-yourself route. Because managed hosting is presenting a complete solution, all costs are on the table from the start. By contrast, in-house hosting often involves hidden costs that aren’t surfaced until the do-it-yourself project is well underway.

To better understand the TCO for in-house hosting, let’s look at a hypothetical new division, XYZ, being launched inside a parent firm, ABC Inc. The XYZ business plan defines $10m in revenue in the first year of operation followed by a ten percent growth per year over the subsequent four years. All sales will come from e-commerce on the Internet and that the average customer, once acquired, will spend an average of $1,000 a year, in ten increments of $100 each, with an expected profit margin of 10 percent.

As it prepares to launch, XYZ’s management must decide whether to host the e-commerce application at ABC’s existing data center or hire an IT hosting provider to host and manage the application. ABC’s hardware vendor has proposed a five-year purchase agreement with yearly numbers comparable to the proposed cost of managed hosting, suggesting that ABC can simply fold the XYZ application into the existing IT infrastructure.
On the surface, the two strategies seem similar in terms of financial impact, but when one looks deeper, the do-it-yourself proposal neglects the TCO impact in four critical areas: staffing, facilities, stability and security.
The TCO of Staffing

There’s no such thing as a free resource, so even if ABC already has an IT infrastructure, assigning IT staff to the XYZ project means that they won’t be available elsewhere. Even with the existing staff, then, the do-it- yourself approach will require hiring at least two and probably three system administrators to ensure that key applications remain up and running.

Nationwide, systems administrators receive an average salary of about $85,000 a year, according to David Foote, president of Foote Partners, a company that publishes IT salary surveys. In addition, since talented systems administrators are in great demand, it’s not unusual for them to receive seven to fifteen percent of their base pay in bonuses or stock options.

In addition, there are numerous hidden expenses associated with employing technical personnel, including office space, personal computers, HR overhead, benefits and so forth. Foote estimates that such expenses account for an additional 80 to 100 percent of the engineer’s base pay. Therefore, the TCO impact of the two new-hires is approximately $340,000 the first year.

Assuming a seven percent raise each year for each administrator over the five years of the project, XYZ will end up
paying nearly $2 million in additional personnel costs.

The True Cost of Do-It-Yourself Hosting:
Personnel Cost…….$1,955,251
Facilities Cost………… $140,000
Stability Cost………….$387,674
Security Cost………….$100,000
TOTAL $2,582,925

Offsite Backup – Free 14 day trial

We have set up an installer for a free trial of Background Backup. You can access the installer here and try it out risk free for 14-days. If you’ve wondered what it does, give it a try it’s painless. If you like it you can keep it running for $15/month. More detail is here.

Free 14-day trial. Download the installer(s) and try Background Backup for fourteen days.

  

Contact Us to find out more.

Canto Road Show Postponed

UPDATE: Due to scheduling conflicts that could not be rectified, the events have been postponed until Spring, 2010. Further information will be published when available. The road show was originally scheduled on Wednesday, Oct 28, 2009.

Web site to connect clients with iPhone developers in Canada

iphone_icon_smI was discussing resources for iPhone developers on a LinkedIn group – because I need to quote some clients and wondered what others were doing.

Since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ways to connect coders with clients, I launched a web site: iPhone Apps Canada as a place where clients can get estimates from local developers. The rough plan is to have clients sign up securely and set out some requirements – then we could match the clients to skill sets available to the developers who are out there.

So far we have a handful of developers who have signed up – and we’re open to suggestions. The plan is to share insights on working with clients, quoting on development and getting paid. We are at the grass roots level now but if you are a developer and you’re interested go to the site and add your name to the list.

You provide your clients with a free iPhone app that extends your marketing message and improve your clients overall experience. If you are looking for a local developer with the skills you need – sign up at iPhone Apps Canada and we will do our best to connect you. Buy Canadian eh?