September 2007 – Stay N Alive

Jesse Stay is a Utah Facebook Developer and Consultant

Well, I’ve officially made the plunge! As of today I have announced my resignation at UnitedHealth Group and will very soon be completely self-employed, working on your business’s projects full time under my consulting business, Stay N’ Alive Productions. If you have a project of any caliber, I am giving short-term (that could become long-term) contracts first priority, but will consider anything.

I mentioned previously about my friend Thom Allen being a Facebook developer. Well, I’ve let him have the limelight for long enough and now it’s my turn! I am a Utah Facebook Developer. I currently have 4 applications written, one with near 10,000 users and growing. I also have been doing Facebook consulting since almost the launch of the Facebook platform. I have taught classes on Facebook and am definitely your man if you need some consulting or projects based on the Facebook platform.

So if you need any work, give me a ring via the GrandCentral “Call Me” button down on the right of this page and we can work on a bid or estimate for consulting work. You can also read through this blog to understand what I know and how I can help you. Feel free to blog or Twitter about me as well! I need all the help I can get to get this off the ground!

Thom Allen is a Utah Facebook Developer

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, and I’m really glad Thom blogged about it today. I’d like to introduce you to Thom Allen. Thom’s a great programmer and a good friend of mine that I met through the blogosphere and Twitter. Thom actually lives just down the road from me practically.

Thom reminded me the other day that he too is a Facebook Developer and is open to new projects. Thom’s very capable and I’m sure would do well for your next Facebook project. So if you need a Facebook Developer (I’m pretty booked right now, but hey contact me too!), Thom would be a great choice to get the job done.

If you are a Utah Facebook Developer and would like me to feature you on the site, give me a ring!

Public Schools the Demise of the LDS Church?

Okay I missed my Sunday school topic for yesterday so hopefully this makes up for it. Forgive me if I go on a little political rant here. I was thinking about going over “Mormons Exposed”, but Laura Moncur beat me to it. So I came across another ridiculous piece of “Mormon News” today.

It appears the Mormon-oriented “Sutherland Institute” is publishing advertising in the Deseret News and Tribune blaming the need for School Vouchers in Utah on helping to save The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Now I’m a huge fan of School Vouchers, but why did they have to go there? There may be some truth to what they are saying but the fact is there’s so much truth and statistics out there supporting School Vouchers that we don’t need to make up half-truths to argue the point. I mean their “truths” sound quite similar to the anti-Mormon rhetoric that us Mormons try to fight on a day-to-day basis! Sutherland Institute, I suggest an apology and sticking to full truths rather than a blame campaign.

You see, school vouchers, while I’m not aware of an actual school voucher program in the U.S., have statistics behind them to prove they will work. If you look at the test scores, student to teacher ratios, and overall college graduate ratio of Private Schools to Public Schools, you’ll find that despite what the critics say, Private Schools and competition works! The funny thing is the very conservatives that are for Capitalism and small government are the ones pushing the scare tactics on this new bill. You’ll see a lot of critical statements with absolutely no statistics to them – look up the statistics yourself and you’ll find record after record proving vouchers will be a good thing for the people of Utah. Also notice who’s backing the anti-voucher groups – you’ll find that most of them are Teachers Unions, the very people that want to protect the bad teachers we already have in the Utah public school system and keep competition from forcing them out!

So before voting for this referendum, I strongly suggest you do your research – Vouchers are good! Government needs to stay small! Oh, and to the Sutherland Institute, stick to the statistics!

My Blogging Station

Thom Allen inspired me to take some pictures of my blogging station. Looking at some of the others out there, mine’s not quite as simple. I guess when it comes down to it, the Mac in the middle is all I really use to blog, but everything else plays such a large part in the content of my blogs that I thought I’d include it. Some of the pictures are a bit blurry, but in them, you’ll see 3 laptops (a Linux, a MacBook, and a Windows laptop), a Windows Vista (64-bit) desktop, a Ham Radio station, a picture of my wife, an iPhone, 2 scanners, and a printer. I should have also included the Digital Rebel XT I shot the pictures with (that I forgot to turn on my flash or use a tripod obviously) as well, as that has been used in several of the posts I’ve written. For your enjoyment, here is my blog station – how many bloggers can say they have a Single Side Band Ham Radio Tranceiver as part of their set up?:

Facebook Using ReCaptcha

I was setting up a development account today for Facebook, and came across the below code. It looks like Facebook is adopting reCaptcha. I’m glad to see larger sites adopt this – it is a great way to give back to the community and I think will do wonders for the transcription of documents.

Facebook Using ReCaptcha

DigitalThom pointed out earlier today that you can’t comment on a mobile phone because of the ReCaptcha on this site. I’ll try to look at that and see if we can get that working so you can comment from your cell from now on.

How to Fix Your Personell Issues on the Sales Floor

I was in the Apple Store today, and was having a really hard time finding help just getting a copy of iWork I wanted for my laptop. I usually don’t ask questions at these stores and generally know what I want – I’m an easy sale. The thought came to me as I was standing in a really long line of customers that Apple could solve this with a simple solution.

Most of the customers taking up associates’ time were just asking simple questions about their Macs, or what type of Mac they should get, etc. What if Apple were to offer a commission to their customers for every sale brought to the Cashier resulting in a customer helping another customer? I would be happy to stick around longer personally just for a little bit to help other fellow customers if I was given an incentive to do so.

Using this method would ensure the easy sales like me were taken care of, and those with just questions can get their questions answered by those actually using the product. We had a whole group of fellow geeks standing around in the store today talking about our iPod hacking experiences – I’m sure we could have been put to good use. This solution could apply to almost any electronics store, and I’m sure could save thousands to millions of dollars in employment fees and customer satisfaction.

Apple – I Get It!

Many of my loyal readers recognize the strife I have with the iPhone. Its elegant, sexy interface is alluring, yet as it draws you in it immediately pushes you away like a magnet, turned the opposite direction in reverse polarity. My goal in buying an iPhone originally was to figure out how to write apps for it. With its AJAX browser interface it seemed not too complex an interface to actually use as a development platform. However, as I mentioned earlier, I bought it, and immediately returned it because I realized that first, I had no way of using my wonderful T-Mobile plan rather than being locked into a 2-year contract with AT&T, and second, the iPhone DOES NOT support 64-bit operating systems at the moment, and I’m not about to downgrade my OS for a simple phone.

So I just recently had the opportunity to buy a MacBook for my daily business efforts and Facebook development. I have owned Macs in the past, and find them ideal development desktop environments because I get the best of almost 3 worlds, the Mac, Unix, and Windows through Parallels. It’s an ideal testing environment for a web developer.

The same day I bought it (yesterday), it was announced that finally a free unlock solution was available to free yourself from AT&T. Finally, I was in an ideal situation to buy an iPhone, try it out, review it, hack it to my T-Mobile, without having to switch carriers or downgrade my OS to an inferior architecture. I know, I’m a hypocrite, but all along I’ve really just been trying to make this work and Apple just wouldn’t let me!

I’ve realized my belief in that is completely wrong. I now totally understand why Apple is locking people into AT&T (why no 64-bit support, I have no idea)! You see, Apple knew people would unlock their phone. They know us developers way too well. Yes, we would complain and gripe, but Apple knows we all secretly love their products.

The issue is, Apple needed carriers to embrace and support their phone to make it big and “cool” in the market. Scoble says all you need to be cool is a small group to promote the heck out of your product. Verizon actually turned them down in initial deals. GSM I belive is a better network worldwide, so I believe they started seeking out partners in the GSM market. AT&T was the biggest US partner so they worked out a deal with them, which was a huge bonus for Apple, as they had exclusive marketing rights at AT&T stores all across America.

You see, Apple knew people would complain about being locked into one provider. The thing most people are neglecting (including myself) is that Apple knows their customers. They knew developers would soon hack the OS – it is a UNIX OS after all, and while they would have to protect their agreement with AT&T and try to patch the hacks, developers would always get around that until AT&T caved and let them just leave it open to the hacks. The iPhone would expand into other markets, and voila, Apple has T-Mobile and other GSM providers without even trying!

I hacked my iPhone last night. I now run my iPhone on T-Mobile, no contract, and excellent customer service! I have a shell prompt into my iPhone. I can ssh and SFTP into my iPhone. It was actually unbelievably (with a few quirks) easy to set up! Will Apple update it in the future? Probably, but you can also bet hackers will quickly have a new hack to keep it unlocked – there is no way around it, and Apple knows this. They built the software to make working around the hackers hard! I find it very hard to believe this wasn’t part of their underlying business strategy.

Am I Still One of the Only Utah Facebook Developers?

I mentioned this earlier, and only learned about one other Utah Facebook Developer. Today the question was raised again as someone contacted me, looking for Facebook developers in Utah. I only had one person to refer them to. Are you a Facebook developer? If so, please comment below and I’ll send you referrals!

As for other alternatives, if you are a business owner looking to launch a Facebook application and are looking for a Utah-based Facebook developer, I suggest choosing a good developer, and having them learn Facebook as part of the spec for the project. Any good developer should be able to learn Facebook in not too much time. Frankly, most Facebook Developers I know are in entrepreneurial mode right now, as there is simply too much money in this area to pass up!

iPhoneSimFree Officially Begins Sale of iPhone Unlock Software

I have yet to see this on Techmeme or elsewhere – feel free to Digg it up! It looks like as of this morning, iPhoneSimFree has announced their list of vendors, which have begun to take orders for the iPhone unlocking software. This is a pure software unlock that is set to release your iPhone from Cingular to use on any Cellphone network.

The software begins in the US at $99 from Wireless Imports. However, from their T’s & C’s it says:

“Please be aware you are purchasing software that will be installed on your computer which will unlock your phone via wifi. In the event Apple comes out with a new firmware upgrade which will lock your phone again you hereby agree that Wireless Imports nor its vendor will be held liable or responcible for unlocking your handset again. If your handset becomes locked you will be charged to unlock it again. “

Hmmm…$99…for something that isn’t even guaranteed will work for much longer, I think I’ll pass for now. Based on the above text you will need to pay $99 each time they release an update to bypass any of Apple’s efforts to re-lock it. I’m willing to almost guarantee that will happen, too, so purchase at your own risk. It also looks like software that’s to be shipped – not sure if a downloadable option will become available.

You can see the list of vendors selling the software at:

For me, I think I’ll wait for a T-Mobile version (that supports 64-bit) iPhone.

My New iPhone…My…Precious…

I blogged in fury yesterday about my experience of buying an iPhone and not being able to even use it. That iPhone is now sitting on my desk, calling to me, “use me!…use me!”. I can’t turn away from it. So…pretty. So…alluring. Must…resist…temptation. I’m very tempted now to hold it until the unlocking software comes available for purchase. I’m also very tempted to downgrade my Vista to 32-bit so I can just use it. Apple – see what you’re doing to me! I’m entrapped in the throws of your merciless marketing schemes! What do you think? Is it worth my sacrifice just to use an iPhone? Or should I return it to the store on Monday?