29. The final year of my twenties.

(This photo here is my birthday dinner with my parents, sister and grandmother. :) )

Whelp! There we go. I’m 29 now. The final year where I can say ‘I’m in my twenties’. Criminy. How frightening. Doesn’t time fly. XD

In any case, as I like to do every year, here’s a quick flashback of my previous year of existence. I like to do this just to reflect on what I spent my year doing, so I can better figure out what I’m going to do from here. :)

Hands-down, it’s been an absolutely ludicrous year; much more different, and much more transformative than I think I could have anticipated this time last year. So much has happened, so much has changed, and I’m really happy it turned out the way it did. :)

Here are some of the highlights:

Realm

Literally on the evening on my previous birthday, I delivered a presentation on Realm, a brand-spanking new database tech that I had adopted for iComics. In what I can only describe as the most ridiculous stroke of luck, Realm themselves found the video and offered me a position to join the company.

At first, I was really unsure whether joining this sort of company remotely would be a good idea or not, but after the encouragement from all my friends that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity, I took the plunge and joined Realm in March this year. 8 months later, I think it definitely turned out been one of the best decisions of my life, and the opportunities and experiences I’ve since been afforded thanks to it have been nothing short of amazing.

Working at Realm has allowed me to meet a lot of amazing, brilliant people, travel to other parts of the world, be directly involved in several prominent tech events, and above all, learn so, SO many more things than I was expecting (not just software, but business, culture and so much more!). And above all, it’s been incredibly rewarding and exhilarating to be contributing towards something that’s servicing literally millions of users now.

That all being said, I still feel I still have much to learn. I think I’ve only recently started to settle into a good routine for working remotely, and as I’m moving more and more to the OS X/Swift side of things, I’ve discovered there’s still a lot of code styles/practices that I need to study!

Travel

In both professional, and casual capacities, I ended up travelling a fair bit more than I had actually been expecting last year. In March, I visited San Francisco in order to see the main Realm office, and meet everyone. It was an incredible week, and thanks to all of the talks I attended, I learnt a great deal about Realm’s technology, and startup culture in Silicon Valley in general.

In April, I travelled to Japan with a group of friends. The goal of this trip was to introduce two friends who had never even left Australia before to as many amazing Japanese experiences as possible. As a result, it ended up being a much more exciting trip to Japan than most of my previous ones. :D

We were also lucky to get the chance to visit the Attack on Titan exhibit at Universal Studios in Osaka while it was being exhibited. Being a huge Attack on Titan fan, I made sure to take many memorable photos. XD

In June, I travelled back to San Francisco to work directly with everyone else at Realm during the WWDC week (As we were expecting Apple to announce at least one crazy thing we’d need to jump on!). Realm had also volunteered its services in helping run livestreams of all of AltConf’s presentations occurring over the road from WWDC, and I had a great time helping set up the equipment, and monitor the streams as they were broadcasting. It also made me appreciate moreso the crazy degree of work that occurs at conferences, out of the public’s view.

IT’S OVER. Blimey. That sure was something at the end there wasn’t it? XD #WWDC

A photo posted by Tim Oliver (@timoliver) on

Though incredibly tiring by the end (I slept SO well the following weekend XD), I had an absolutely fantastic week in San Francisco. One of the main highlights was definitely getting the unexpected chance to meet Marco Arment, one of the most prominent (and nicest) iOS developers out there. :D

Got a photo with @marcoarment. This trip was worth it. XD A photo posted by Tim Oliver (@timoliver) on

In September, I travelled to Denmark to visit the Realm’s main European office in Denmark. Denmark is a ridiculously beautiful country, and I definitely considered moving there for a brief moment. :)

I was too zonked to post a photo yesterday, but I’m in Copenhagen now! What an absolutely beautiful city!

A photo posted by Tim Oliver (@timoliver) on

In both August and October, I travelled to Melbourne. The first trip was to present at /dev/world/, and the second was to attend Melbourne’s video game week. I always enjoy visiting Melbourne. The weather is usually a reprieve from Perth weather, and the amount of talent in the tech scene there is positively obscene. XD

MelbourneMondays.jpg XD A photo posted by Tim Oliver (@timoliver) on

Finally, in October, I also travelled to Florence in Italy, in order to present at an event called #Pragma Conference. Coming from good ol’ flat, dry, brown Australia, seeing the rolling green hills of Tuscany was absolutely breathtaking for me. I’d really love to go back there soon (Especially now that it’s summer here!)

Wow. Italy. What a ludicrously beautiful country.

A photo posted by Tim Oliver (@timoliver) on

 

Conferences / Presentations

Thanks to my role with Realm, I ended up doing quite a few presentations over this year.

While we were in Japan, I departed from my friends for a bit to track down the first Kyoto iOS developers meetup and delivered a talk on Realm to them, in Japanese. :)
Realm in Kyoto

At /dev/world, I delivered a quick introduction to Realm.

In Italy, I delivered a presentation on App Store marketing tips and guidelines.

I thoroughly enjoy delivering presentations, but on reflection, I feel like I still have a long way to go in terms of perfecting it. Especially how fast I talk when I present.

Open Source

As a part of my work with iComics, and how custom-tailored I want its experience to be, I’ve ended up writing quite few custom libraries for it. Given the number of free libraries I’ve ended up using over the years, and wanting to contribute back to that community, I’m striving to modularise, and open-source as many of iComics’ components as possible.

Last year, I only opened sourced TOWebViewController 2.0. This year, I open-sourced:

  • TOCropViewController – A view controller that lets you crop images.
  • TOActionSheet – A custom version of UIActionSheet with more theming capabilities.
  • TOSMBClient – An Objective-C wrapper around libDSM, a library to allow downloading files from other servers via SMB possible.

I’m currently working on a new one for an upcoming feature of iComics: TODocumentPickerViewController, which I’m really excited about. :)

Open-sourcing one’s code is a very rewarding experience, and I’ve been really happy to see people since start adopting my libraries in their apps. That being said, I still feel like I have a lot to learn about the open source community, in terms of structuring how to handle bug reports and code contributions, not to mention handling support a bit better (Especially when certain users demand you add a feature for them. ^_^;;)

iComics

iComics…. iComics… where do I even start. This is the bloody thing responsible for all of this! XD

This time last year, I had just released iComics v1.1, a complete re-skin for iOS 7. After a bit of a rocky start (ie, I had to request an expedited review from Apple), the app was received really well, and daily sales sky-rocketed… and then scarily enough, they stayed there.

Without giving away actual figures, there was not a single day since I released iComics v1.1 where I sold less than 20 units (Except for Free Comic Book Day. Because it was free. XD). This has been really amazing (and somewhat puzzling) to see, but with an actual revenue stream, I’ve been able to justify buying additional hardware and software to help further its development. I realize this is a really REALLY good thing, and absolutely not the norm for apps on the App Store. I’m expecting it to disappear at some point, but until then, I’m incredibly excited to continue working on it.

The feedback has been universally positive, and a LOT of people even noticed that the app had become significantly more stable thanks entirely to Realm. I now look forward to add even more features to iComics, as well as a new, proper redesign for the next generation of iOS devices.

When I was over in Italy, designer rockstar man Michael Flarup told me that side projects are not a thing that should be underestimated. They let us show off our best work (our true passions), and more often than not, have the potential to bring entire new startups into existence. After iComics got me in touch with Realm, I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. :)


So yeah… all in all, it was a good 28th year of existence. At this particular point, I seriously doubt 29 can top this ridiculous list, but I love being proved wrong. Hopefully this year will provide even more challenges, more opportunities, and more experiences. :)

Thank you so much for reading!

  • Published November 20, 2015
  • Categories Personal