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Benjamin Oakes

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Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Liaison. Previously, I was a Developer at Continuity and Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Filtering for the month April, 2015. Clear

Apple Is Rejecting Some Apps From The App Store For Declaring Pebble Watch Support

by Ben

Apple Is Rejecting Some Apps From The App Store For Declaring Pebble Watch Support – Things Don’t Look Good For Android Wear On iOS.

Remember that report that claimed Google was preparing to make the Android Wear platform compatible with iOS? Yeah, that might not go down as smoothly as you had hoped. There’s still no official word on Wear for iOS, but the latest news out of the Apple camp has disturbing implications. According to one developer over on the official Pebble Watch forum, Apple is rejecting apps from its App Store simply for mentioning Pebble wearable support.

Yikes. That’s a scary precedent and very clearly anticompetitive.

Iowa primed to be first in nation for driverless cars

by Ben

Iowa primed to be first in nation for driverless cars | TheGazette.

IOWA CITY — Iowa is well equipped to become the first state in the nation with a roadway certified for driverless cars, and researchers this week met with government and transportation officials to discuss the possibilities.

Mark Nolte from ICAD has been a big proponent of this, and it’s a lot more likely than you might initially think…

Google seeks $1 billion expansion of Council Bluffs, Iowa datacenter

by Ben

Google seeks $1 billion expansion of Council Bluffs center | KCRG-TV9 | Cedar Rapids, Iowa News.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Google Inc. wants to expand its Council Bluffs data center spending an additional $1 billion and doubling the size of its staff to 70. […] Google’s total investment in Iowa will come to around $2 billion. […] Microsoft is spending about $2 billion to build two data centers in West Des Moines and Facebook has invested about $1 billion in two Altoona data centers.

It’s exciting that there’s lots of large datacenter growth in Iowa. I’d be interested in seeing a tour of these sometime.

How transit and bikes can pay for your home

by Ben

How transit & bikes paid for my home : TreeHugger.

In the latest report [on savings of transit vs car ownership], APTA comes up with a blended average of $9,238 per year, with a high of $15,873 per year in New York City (which also happens to be where the most people use public transit … by far). The estimated savings are based on many assumptions, of course, such as the price of gas and car maintenance, insurance, depreciation and finance charges, the price of parking, and the price of transit in the region. […] I dropped the car approximately 11 years ago. I haven’t lived in the cities APTA evaluates, and I haven’t closely tracked how much I would have spent if I had owned a car. But if we used an average of $9,500 a year, that would come to a savings of $104,500 [which is more than we paid for our condo].

We haven’t been in the exact same situation as the author, but our experience has definitely been that limiting our car usage and ownership has saved a huge amount of money. At least in the United States, there’s a huge amount of social pressure (in many forms) to own at least one car, but looking back I am very happy that we sold our second car when we did.

The case for a monolithic repository

by Ben

Gregory Szorc’s Digital Home | On Monolithic Repositories.
Gregory Szorc’s Digital Home | Notes from Facebook’s Developer Infrastructure at Scale F8 Talk.

I’ve seen a lot written about reasons why your organization should keep a monolithic repository instead of a collection of many smaller repositories, especially for internal code (non-OSS). I’ve had similar experiences to what is described in these posts.

And before you think “we’re getting too big for that,” keep in mind that these recommendations are coming out of big players like Facebook and Google.

15 Best Cities for Creative 20-Somethings Other Than New York

by Ben

15 Best Cities for Creative 20-Somethings Other Than New York.

Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City draws hundreds of aspiring writers to earn MFAs to the Midwest. Thanks to historic alums, professors and visitors — literary legends from Dylan Thomas to Robert Frost have walked the campus — the UNESCO City of Literature has a boast-worthy past and present.

If you get tired of playing around with words, the Iowa Arts Festival and Iowa City Jazz Festival bring hundreds of local and national artists to Iowa City each year.

Although I might not be what the author had in mind, I definitely consider programming to be a creative endeavor.