Third Times a Charm?


For the third time I have taken Aaron Hillegass’ Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X (from Big Nerd Ranch) off the shelf and started working through it. This is widely regarded as THE book to learn Cocoa/Objective-C programming from. And since iOS uses the same Cocoa/Objective-C base to develop for it, I feel it is a very good starting place.

Unfortunately, the first time I started this book, I only got through chapter 5, the second time through chapter 7. Both those times it had to compete with school, a competition it was bound to lose. I always thought the day after I completed classes, I’d dive deep into OS X/iOS programming. When I finally did complete classes, back in October of 2010, I made an attempt to do just that, as well as working really hard to get myself into a much needed exercise/diet routine.

It didn’t take too long to realize I was too burnt out from school to tackle two huge goals like that. Keep in mind that I also have a full-time job as a UNIX administrator, and am a full-time husband/father of two, another aspect of my life which had suffered under the weight of school. So, facing reality, I once again put my programming books back on the shelf, and focused on the exercise.

That’s been going well. I’ve really developed much better eating habits, am mindful of what I eat, as well as a good set of exercise routines I do at a local gym three to seven times a week. In fact, I’m getting to the point where I need to consider an entirely new wardrobe, and am not fully exhausted from my workouts all the time.

So I think that now I can finally pursue this life-long dream of mine, to not only learn to program, but to be good enough to do it for a living. I have, for the most part, accepted that it’ll be slow going, at least until I settle into a routine that doesn’t ignore everything else. I’ve also chosen a first project to create a tool I actually have a use for: an initiative tracker for table-top role-playing games.

Yeah, I know that’s a relatively easy thing to code up, but a guy has got to start somewhere, right? All the other projects in my list are progressively more complex. I’ve got some ideas for this one to make it stand out from the crowd, and I want to use it to learn how to create a single project which targets Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. I’m also thinking of how it could utilize the Apple TV.

This project may or may not see release as a stand-alone app. I certainly see many such things in the App Store, so it can’t hurt, I suppose. I have a vision of creating a whole iLife-like suite of apps for the table-top RPGer (possibly CCG & miniature players, too). It’s a niche market which hopefully, if I can actually create some quality products for it, can help me pay my school loans and give me experience needed to do this professionally.

But first things first: I’m up to chapter 9 this time, and am energized to see this book (and all the others on my programming shelf) to completion. I already have enough knowledge to start my initiative tracker. I’m running a Dungeons & Dragons Dark Sun game in about ten days and I’d like to have at least an alpha ready by then. The future is finally looking bright here, guess I need some shades…



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