Sedona Vortex Views

To get the best views, you have to book a hotel stay at the Sky Ranch Lodge. This place is worth every penny as it will be an experience you will not forget. I chose to stay one night here because they offer a safe place to park your car, have incredible views, and are within walking distance to the infamous Airport Mesa Vortex

 

Airport Mesa Vortex    Sedona Vortex Hike

 

What Is the “Vortex”?

 

What is the Sedona Vortex?

 

How Does It Feel In Person?

 

My timing and experience with the vortex were short-lived. Although I was only in the vortex for what seemed like 30 minutes, it was enough to notice a difference in my energy. As I was climbing the rocks to get to the top, my heart was pounding faster, followed by a surge of energy that hit me like a couple of bricks. It was somewhat subtle but significant enough to notice something strange is going on. At first, it made me stop as it completely caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure if it was me getting out of breath from hiking or the vortex, or both. It had a beautiful 360 view from the top. Unfortunately, halfway to the vortex, it started raining, and by the time I reached the vortex, it was pouring rain. Here I am, in my pants, shirt, iPhone in my pocket, Apple Watch on my wrist, and no shade or cover from the rain. It is about a 15 to 20-minute hike back to my hotel. I can either enjoy the moment or head back, and both scenarios mean I’m soaked in the rain, so it didn’t matter. I decided to stay and experience it myself. I drove four hours, booked a hotel almost thirty days in advance for the cheaper rates only to arrive on a rainy day. Go figure.

 

What Are the Sedona Vortex Side Effects?

 

After the initial sensations, I didn’t feel anything else until after I left the vortex and the side effects linger for the next two days. 

  • Burning sensations on my right ear. Random times during the day for a few minutes.
  • Burning sensations on my right eye. Just felt this once the following day. 
  • Feel sluggish. Tired. I didn’t have enough energy to visit the vortex the next day before hotel checkout. Also, my shoes were still soaked from the rain the previous day.
  • I had a stomach bug that lasted one day. My body wanted to detox from something.
  • Felt peaceful. Calm. Happy. 

 

Anything Miraculous Happen Since Being Here?

 

Do you mean besides hiking on a narrow path while the rain was pouring down on me and walking through mud, rock, puddles, and rain runoff down the hill? I do feel a lot calmer and peaceful. Also, this could be a coincidence, but since I’ve been here, my app sales have increased by 200%, and my eBay store sales have set a new record of 24 orders in one day. I had those items listed over 30 days without a sale. I received eight more sales on the second day after visiting the vortex. I also received an unexpected refund from a loan that I paid off weeks prior. Coincidence? It seems as if I was blessed just by visiting Sedona. 

 

The experience I had will be a moment I won’t forget. I met tourists, enjoyed the views, and took a hike in the pouring rain. I look forward to revisiting Sedona very soon again. 

 

Did anything miraculous happen? I do not understand what happened, but yes, I feel like a new person.

Software Engineer

What does it take to stay healthy as a software engineer? While sitting in front of a computer doesn’t sound dangerous, it does have some adverse effects. The good news is there are easy steps to avoid them. From time to time it is good to unplug, travel, and free your mind.

 

Get Proper Sleep

 

Do you know how much sleep we need each day? Sleep Foundation recommends we get 8 hours on average. 

 

What happens to us when we do not get enough sleep? Are you planning on doing a 48-hour hackathon soon? According to Healthline, there is plenty of severe side effects that occurs when we lack sleep. I sure had my nights of losing sleep over coding sessions, but it doesn’t justify the risks as I age. At the end of the day, a well-rested person can outperform the sleep-deprived coder.

 

Exercise, Move Your Body

 

We should get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. One hundred fifty minutes a week means we should workout 21 minutes a day, seven days straight. I challenge YOU to give this a try for seven days and let me know how you feel afterward. 

 

It seems everyone has a secret to losing weight these days and want to charge money for it. Here is mine, for free. Maybe it could be beneficial for you, maybe not, who knows? The only way any diet will work is when you do. 

 

My workout is rigorous as I follow different methods and strategies that sound a bit woo-woo, but I have found these methods to bring results. I have weeks where I lose 0.7 to 3 pounds of fat every week. The secret is staying away from sugar. Red light therapy does wonder in helping with weight loss and skin repair. Nothing can make a person more productive than getting in shape physically.

 

Step 1: Ten minutes using red light therapy

I use a handheld device by Mito Red first thing in the morning. All it takes is ten minutes where I let this machine shine its red-light six inches away from my skin. I alternate different areas.

 

Step 2: Ten minutes using a whole-body vibrating machine

Right after using the red light device, I jump over to the Advenor Vibration Plate. While using this device for ten minutes, I use dumbells to work out my arms. 

 

Step 3: Thirty minutes working out on an indoor bike

Nothing fancy, just an indoor bike to break a sweat and push my limits. You do not even need an expensive bike. This one from Amazon has lasted me four years

 

Here is my theory and why I do these three steps. Supposedly red light penetrates deep into your skin, and this helps stimulate cell production and getting rid of stuff that shouldn’t be there. After red light sessions, the idea of using a whole-body vibration is to help shake out the gunk that shouldn’t be inside our body and thus helps our body detox it out. I know I sound a bit woo-woo, but that’s okay as it has been providing results for my body. As long as I follow my diet, I quickly lose a couple of pounds every week.

 

“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” – Unknown

 

Should I Sit or Stand?

 

If you sit too long, it is terrible for you. If you stand too long, it isn’t good for you. How do we know if we should sit or stand or for how long? Why are there so many conflicted answers to this question? Although I could not find a reliable solution to this question, the best scenario would be to take breaks often. Go for walks, stretch, switch from sitting to standing after each break. 

Need an idea on a viable standup desk? If you are like me, you need a lot of space. This sixty-inch wide desk should suffice. That desk has lasted me over 6 years and counting. It has wheels, can move up and down. Don’t forget about a comfortable and stylish chair to go with it. 

 

Diet, What To Eat, What Not To Eat

 

Food is fuel. Ever wonder how certain foods are harder to digest than others? Do you want to be more effective to work smarter and not harder? If so, finding light foods that you know your body can handle is the way to go. Foods like fruits and veggies let you focus more on your work and less on trying to stay awake after eating that pizza. I’d recommend eating salads during work hours for intense work schedules, and we can always eat junk after hours if you truly desire. 

 

Eating junk will start a vicious cycle of you trying to stay awake and productive when your body is too busy trying to digest that junk you just ate. Thus leading you to resort to more coffee and sugar. Or if it is out of hand can lead you to fall asleep at work. You will put your health at risk and your job since you are too tired and run down from all that processed foods. 

 

I use a home delivery service where I receive shipments of healthy smoothies every month. All I do is blend it. This experience of eating more fruits and veggies has woke me up to the difference in my body’s ability to process the food I eat. I also stumbled upon ways to optimize my daily energy to be more effective in my work. It is simple after you know what you are doing.

 

  • Start breakfast with a smoothie from SmoothieBox
  • Lunch, something light such as a chicken salad. Lighter means higher productivity.
  • Snack, water shakes from Kencko.
  • Dinner, a protein meal.

 

Food for thought. My intentions were to get you thinking about how diet, exercise, and proper sleep can enhance your daily abilities. Go make something happen.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

If you wonder which Mac to buy with the M1 chip, it doesn’t matter as the performance is about the same. In my opinion, the MacBook Pro 13-inch vs. Mac mini vs. iMac 24″ M1’s, are the same, just different exterior look and feel. I didn’t have a positive experience with the Mac mini M1, as I had Bluetooth issues, and it kept crashing, as noted in my last review here. I like the new iMac 24″ M1 in green design, but I cannot get past the fact that the border is white. I feel that the white screen border would distract me after long hours of reading/writing code. That leaves us with the last option. As you would have guessed, yes, I upgrade to the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch M1. 

 

Performance

 

The performance is about the same as the entry-level Mac mini M1 I previously owned. It is everything I’d expect a Mac to be. It’s fast, reliable, and the best part of all is, it’s a portable computer. I can take this anywhere. I am planning on traveling, so this is perfect.

 

The ports, or lack thereof

 

#DongleLife

 

Yes, I have officially joined the #DongleLife. It is not ideal, but I am learning to live with it. The only drawback of this hub is Xcode not recognizing iPhones or iPads when they are connected. They need to be plugged directly into the computer’s USB-C port, not through the hub. Other than that, it seems the USB-C hub has solved Apple’s issues of not providing us with enough ports to use the computer.

 

Touch Bar

 

After experiencing the touch bar for the first time, I fell in love with it. I like how we can listen to YouTube and pause/play while using another app. We can adjust the screen brightness, slide through the duration of videos and songs quickly, and so many other cool features you have to experience yourself. All these small features help users stay productive throughout the day. 

 

Does Apple Provide Power Adapter with MacBook Pro?

 

Yes! I am glad Apple still provides this power adapter. Unfortunately, they gave up on including one for new iPhones as I recently bought a new power adapter separately from the latest iPhone. I had this same question as I was deciding which Mac to purchase. The answer is yes, it does come with a power adapter.

 

For future iPhones, please provide power adapters to your customers, Apple. Thank you.

 

List of my accessories

 

 

Conclusion

 

No matter which M1 Mac you buy, I’d personally get one that is either an iMac or a MacBook Pro. Both of these are all-in-one computers. The Mac mini M1 is just as fast, but I think my external monitor was causing the Mac mini to crash for some odd reason. Apple has done a fantastic job at optimizing its software to work beautifully with its hardware. That is why I’d stick with either an iMac or MacBook Pro moving forward. The MacBook Pro M1 has been everything I expected. The only headache is we only have 2 USB-C ports available. 

Computer
Image from Unsplash
 

Wealth creation, financial freedom, and, eventually, generational wealth — that timeline sounds like a dream, right? Passive income refers to money that requires no effort to accumulate. It’s a wealth creation strategy that involves upfront investment and continued effort leading to eventual steady financial growth.

 

Maybe you make more than enough at your 9-5 job — passive income is still for you. It can make you money in your sleep, helping you reach your financial goals that much faster. With passive revenue streams you’ll have freedom, flexibility, and, most importantly, a fallback — because truly, anything can happen. COVID, unemployment, voluntary time off work? Passive income streams will have your back while granting you immeasurable financial security and peace of mind.

 

As a freelancer, you’re probably used to utilizing multiple streams of revenue. Ready to see that money flow in for years and years to come? Read on.

 

1. Stock Market Investing

 

A little goes a long way with stocks. What is essential here is time so that your investments mature through the power of compound interest. Warren Buffet swears by the buy-and-hold strategy. Buy your dividends, ETFs, and shares, and don’t sell until you absolutely have to. You’ll also make some additional cash each financial quarter through dividend payouts, which is always an added bonus.

 

2. Affiliate Marketing

 

This revenue stream is set to exceed the $8 billion mark by 2022, with exponential growth predicted. What is it? Essentially, you promote the retailer’s services or products, and they give you a commission for every sale. This is especially great for those with a built-up network on social media platforms but will work equally well for those wanting to monetize their blog, podcast, or email newsletters. Build up trust with your audience, promote items you genuinely love, and watch the affiliate money come flying in.

 

3. Print-on-Demand Items

 

E-commerce is the hot ticket, and one of the rising contenders in the passive income world is creating a print-on-demand store. With this option, you’re able to design custom graphics and get them printed on items like t-shirts, clothing, mugs, bags, and more. After building up a shop with a bunch of designs, you’ll get a percentage of the income every time one of your designs ships and sells. This opportunity is unique in that you can crank out all the work in a short period of time, never open the print-on-demand platform again, and still have revenue rolling in.

 

4. Dropshipping

 

The dropshipping model is similar to a standard business model except you’re outsourcing the manufacturing, production, and delivery to other sellers. Simply create a website, decide on a niche, and find sellers who will manufacture your products at a good profit margin. It’s then your responsibility to use ads and other means to get views and conversions to sales. Easily the most lucrative (yet demanding) option; you will need a backup for this one — or, at least, a very extensive skillset. Graphic designers, writers, developers, and product sourcers are all resources you’ll need to refer to, in addition to handling the overall business.

 

Hiring other freelancers for this work is ideal as it’ll keep you focused on the important bit: making profits. An online payroll platform like QuickBooks comes in handy when trying to organize your team of freelancers as it comes with intuitive features, including direct deposit. You won’t have to deal with paper checks, which is a godsend when working with folks remotely. It’s also the most efficient way to keep track of hours logged and ensure your hard workers get their money on time — just set up payroll early in the day and the funds will be waiting for them on the same day.

 

Want some more passive income ideas? Create an app, make an online course, sell your stuff, write an eBook, flip websites, sell your videos — with the internet at your disposal, the options really are endless! There’s no entry barrier or minimum payout standing between and your goal of financial freedom. So, get out there, get creative, and make some money. Future you will thank you for it. Take a look at JG’s app portfolio to see how it’s done.

Article was written by Lance Cody-Valdez.

 

Yuma Arizona

Although this may not be related to apps and tech, it is a personal experience that may be interesting to some readers. Why the big move to Yuma, you ask? It was a time for much-needed change. After being without electricity for seven days in Texas and experiencing bad storms, thoughts about life and purpose kept creeping up. What am I doing here? My productivity is interrupted during these intense storms in Texas with hail and tornado warnings. I had enough and have relocated to sunny Arizona on April 21st. Although it gets brutally hot here, at least I can sustain my daily productivity and not worry about tornadoes. Also, reliable weather means better productivity. It’s a win-win. For those curious about what to expect when relocating here, I have some tips for you.

 

Internet portrays Yuma as a horrible place to live. Is that true?

 

When I first arrived in Yuma, Arizona, I was shocked. Not in a bad way, but just shocked at how nice it is. My thoughts are maybe all those Karen’s who complain about it have a negative outlook in life and paint the picture as Yuma is all doom and gloom. I consider myself to be very optimistic. Everything is a block away from each other. The grocery stores, parks, Colorado river, fast food, and gas stations are all within a 5 to 15-mile radius. I do not need to drive on the freeway as everything is so close.

 

The people here are friendly, and I think this is a great small town to live in. One thing to consider is there is nothing to do here. Main attractions are going swimming, mini-golf, bowling, and shopping. Since my main focus is creating software and self-improvement, that does not bother me much. Another benefit of living here is, San Diego beaches are only a 2-hour drive. That will be beneficial when wanting to escape the 115-degree summer heat. 

 

The Yuma Snowbirds

 

They come from the north, and they seek warmth during the wintertime. They also like to drive very, very slow. We are talking 25 mph in 45 mph roads. Unfortunately, slow and bad drivers are everywhere. However, in Yuma, we have to pay a little more careful attention to these older drivers. Not much we can do about it. 

 

How to Stay Cool During Yuma Arizona Summers?

 

I have not experienced the summers yet, but I have come prepared. Rumor has it the brutal heat is June through August every year. The equipment I’m using to keep my place cold:

 

  1. Home central A/C.
  2. Cover windows.
  3. Fan for every room.
  4. Portable A/C.
  5. USB Humidifier.

 

What to wear to protect yourself from the brutal sun:

 

  1. Hat.
  2. Neck gaiters.

 

What about your car?

 

  1. Windshield sunshade.
  2. Get window tints on all back windows.
  3. Rain guards, aka vent visors.
  4. Auto insurance with zero down deductible for windshield replacement. 

 

If your curious why we need zero down deductible for windshields, that is because we have rocks and brutal heat. Open your car windows slightly to prevent windows from cracking when the temperatures get over 100. Rain guards will allow you to crack your windows slightly open, even when it rains. 

 

Are you planning on relocating to Yuma, Arizona? Want to come here for a vacation getaway? Whatever the occasion I hope this gives you some ideas on what to expect. 

 

If you are new here, be sure to check out all our available apps on our homepage.

 

 

 

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
2020 Mac mini M1

It has been a while since I wrote about my experience with the 2020 Mac Mini M1 computer. It has been about six months of owning this machine. The best part of it is the performance. Unfortunately, I have run into a very annoying issue. Well, there are two significant flaws in the machine that has caused more than headaches. 

 

Bluetooth does not work.

 

I do not know what the deal is, but the Bluetooth just isn’t working for me. To use external speakers, I have to use an aux cable or corded headphones. I just brushed it off, thinking Apple would release an update to fix this issue only to find no solution in sight. Bluetooth keyboard and mouse work but it won’t let me connect to Bluetooth speakers.

 

Mac Mini keeps crashing every time I put her to sleep.

 

I usually set my machine to sleep at night with my work open to continue the next day. Everything worked fine until a few weeks after owning the device. That was when it first started crashing. It constantly crashes when set to sleep mode or inactive past 15 minutes. I’ve sent over 30 debug reports to Apple regarding these crashes. Using the latest macOS Big Sur Version 11.3.1, it still crashes. Thoughts kept coming if I should return this device. That was until I found a solution that worked for me.

 

How to keep the 2020 Mac Mini M1 from crashing?

 

I am using an app from the App Store named, Owly. This app has made my experience with the Mac Mini so much better. 

 

Right-click to enable the app and set it for “Eternity” mode. This will keep your Mac on 24/7. 

 

Here I can set my Mac into sleep mode and continue my work without it crashing upon wake up. I have not had one crash since.

 

I hope that Apple has a fix for this, and I do not have the same experience when I upgrade to the next MacBook Pro that is rocking the M1X chip by end of 2021.

 

Other than those two big annoyances, this machine is solid.

Apple credit card

So you have an Apple credit card and want to learn the tips and tricks on attaining a higher credit limit? 

 

The Apple credit card has been great at helping my credit score and purchasing needs. However, the original amount granted to me wasn’t enough to purchase a maxed-out MacBook Pro until now. The same procedures I outline below are what I did to get approved for a $1,500 credit limit increase. 

 

Procedure:

  • Make 20 purchase transactions within 30 days.
  • Pay off the balance every month.
  • Then request for credit limit increase a business day AFTER the billing cycle ends. So, if you receive your monthly statement, request a credit increase the next business day after that.

 

The goal here is to show them that you are using the card and can pay it off. I’ve heard this technique can be used as often as you desire. 

 

One thing to remember is, those 20 transactions do not have to be a high purchase item, it can be 99 cents apps or songs if you truly desire. Just make sure if you choose to do this, you have the income to pay it off at the end of the month. 

 

Not sure what to buy to reach 20 transactions a month? Look no further than buying my apps. Let me help you gain a better future. You can see list of my available apps on our home page.

 

Good luck!

 

Read about our review of the Apple credit card.

Remote Work

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. After a few weeks, around 16 million workers in the United States switched to remote work to help flatten the curve. This means approximately one quarter of US knowledge workers had to work from home, and the number is still on the increase due to the restrictions imposed by states. 

Workers who were able to transition to remote work were part of the lucky ones. During the peak of the pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs, while others worked high-risk jobs to make ends meet. The tech industry was the first to consider remote work as a permanent solution post-Covid. This article will highlight new data on remote work during the pandemic and its effects on some tech job salaries.

 

What we know About Remote Work During the Pandemic

 

  • Experience matters when it comes to remote work: communication and productivity were difficult when remote work was new to workers. However, the months of experience have helped, and many workers have found strategies and tools to boost work satisfaction and collaboration. 
  • Professional connections were strained: remote workers experienced a strain in their professional connections at first. However, this improves over time.
  • Collaboration tools are essential: these tools not only help workers with productivity, but they also improve communication. The result is a greater sense of belonging in remote work.

 

How Did Tech Salaries Fare During this Period?

 

Web development and data science are the focus of the article. Both jobs did well during the pandemic, and the demand for employees skyrocketed. More non-tech businesses needed help with data and development of web services to cater to their now-remote business. This singular factor makes both jobs attractive for the future.

 

Web Development

 

Web developers are software engineers that focus on creating websites through coding. These engineers need to know programming languages to be able to build a functioning website. Some of their other roles include maintaining coding or fixing bugs after an update. 

There are three types of web developers, namely back end, front end, and full stack developers. As the name implies, a back end developer works on the company’s servers while a front end developer handles the customer-facing part of the app. This distinction of duties is essential to make sites run faster. When the responsibilities are split, data can be processed faster. 

Full stack developers are engineers who are skilled in both back end and front end development. Web developers make an average of $107,161 per year in the United States, according to Indeed. The demand for web developers rose during the pandemic, and it is expected to continue with a salary raise.

 

Data Science

 

The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot of things including consumer behavior. Therefore, organizations rely more on data insights to help them enhance cybersecurity, productivity, employee retention, recruitment, customer service, and more. Data scientists need to explain risks, opportunities, and trends to nontechnical people so they can make better business decisions. Data scientists also help software programs learn in a process known as machine learning. When computers learn about the data, it increases the speed of development of other new processes. Many non-tech businesses sought out data scientists to help them with such tasks and this is why the demand for them increased significantly.

Data scientists earn around $100,000 per annum and this rate is expected to increase with the rise in demand for their services. Python is the most common coding language data scientists use. If you desire a career as a data scientist, you must learn Python. Luckily, you can use web resources like Bootcamprankings.com. With a consistent study routine for a few hours a day, you could learn a new skill that positions you in the forefront for jobs of the future.

 

Conclusion

 

It is not clear whether remote work will continue after the pandemic, but companies may decide to keep some part of their workforce remote. The remote working policy was adopted within a short time, and its result was positive. There is still a lot of work to be done before the policy can stand. One consideration is the salary. Should salaries be slashed or increased since some determinants of salary rate are no longer in play? Some argue that the main determinant of salary should be experience and value rather than location.

 

Ufuoma Nora Ogono is a full-time freelance writer with over 4 years of experience in the industry. Over the years, she has produced high-quality content for Smartereum.com,  Hemecine.com , and many other reputable websites.

Texas Blackout

Life is full of experiences, mostly good, some bad; however, the best part of life is overcoming the obstacles stronger and smarter. February was one of those bad moments for me personally and millions of my fellow Texans as we all suffered without electricity in the bitter cold. Temperatures reached as low as -1 in my area of Bell County, Texas. My rental was without electricity for 6 days (about 153 hours). The electricity finally turned back on the 7th day at 1:41 PM. They had a crew of 6 or so trying to figure it out outside our duplex. As the lights came back on, the emotions that flowed through my body were just as exciting as hitting nitrous in a speeding race car down the road. Hell yes, no more cold showers, crappy sandwiches, dripping water faucets, worrying about if my family is warm in all our blankets, and worrying about our pipes from bursting.

 

What Was The Problem?

 

Relying on the electric grid is what went wrong. Being without power for almost 7 days made me realize how much we depend on the electric company. It’s making me think about how can I power my equipment when the power company fails the next time? How can I ensure I can provide heat for my family? 

 

The electric power grid in Texas seems to have a weakness, temperatures below 20 degrees. What happened in February 2021 was a repeat of the Texas blackout of 2011. 

 

“More than 4.5 million customers in Texas were without power during the peak of outages in the state this week, as freezing temperatures hit parts of the country.”

 

ERCOT back in 2011 told Texans to “conserve energy so as not to overburden the system.” 

 

As if the customer is the issue here. What we witnessed today in February 2021 and 2011 seems to be an ERCOT issue with their equipment. Telling the customer to “conserve” usage because they cannot provide reliable electricity is wrong. Get it together, ERCOT. It has been 10 years since the last blackout. If you cannot offer reliable service, then what good are you? 

 

“The system broke down this week when 185 generating units, including gas and coal-fired power plants, tripped offline during the brunt of the storm. Wind turbines in West Texas froze as well, and a nuclear unit near the Gulf of Mexico went down for more than 48 hours. Another problem emerged: Some power plants lost their pipeline supply of gas and couldn’t generate electricity even if they wanted to capture the high prices. Such mechanical problems might have been avoided if operators had chosen to equip their plants like those that operate in traditional cold-weather states.” 

 

When Did My Power Go Out?

 

It started Monday at 3:00 AM. The night before, I had no idea how just like that, my life would change. Not just for me but also for my family and kids.

 

Cancellations Galore

 

  • Schools shut down.
  • Government offices empty.
  • USPS mailbox wasn’t accessible due to covered in ice. No mail service.
  • Doctors couldn’t provide service.
  • No jobs to go to without electricity.
  • Loss of job pay.
  • No productivity.
  • Everyone was in survival mode, not knowing when the power will return.

 

What Went Right

Propane Stove

 

I already had a propane stove. I was able to cook food and boil water. We also had several instant lunch chicken flavored soup stocked up, bottled waters, LED flashlight lanterns, bread, and peanut butter. We barely had enough to survive. Thanks to the help of our neighbors we were able to help each other out. 

 

We charged our phones and iPads in the car. I had no way to charge MacBook Pro. The vehicle also provided much-needed heat at different parts of the day. It wasn’t until Saturday that the snow and ice cleared up to where we could drive. Before that, we were stranded at the house. Too dangerous to drive.

 

Saturday was the best as I ordered a double steak hamburger at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. I was finally able to have a real meal with protein.

 

What went wrong?

 

Since the power went out at 3:00 AM Monday by the time we woke up for the day, our food was spoiled. It’s incredible how fast heat gets inside our refrigerator when turned off. Had to be over $200 worth of food in our refrigerator, freezer, and backup freezer. 

 

Having a propane stove is invaluable, especially in times like this. However, most of our food was already thawed out, so the propane stove became almost useless. 

 

We tried to salvage what we could by putting food outside. The temperatures were in the single digits then. We should have acted sooner as soon as the power went out and placed everything outside, but of course, this was one of those, could of, would of, should of things you think about after the fact. At that given moment, there was no way of knowing what would happen to us for the next several days.

 

Blackout Snacks

 

What I Wish I Had – How To Be Better Prepared Next Time?

 

During these 7 days of bitter cold and suffering, I wish I had a battery-powered generator with solar panels. Something strong enough to charge my Mac, phone, and wifi modem. At least I’d be able to continue working and kids entertained.

 

I wanted a propane heater, that was until I did further research to find that is not safe for indoor use. A cool hack we did to stay warm in the house is to spend the day inside a tent inside our living room. Surprisingly with everyone inside, the tent keeps the heat inside and it was toasty to where I can to get out because it was so hot. We also had blankets covering all the windows, doors, and hallways. Wore jackets all day and bundled up. 

 

That would have made this whole blackout less of a burden.

 

Food Shortages at Stores

 

It took the stores a couple of days to restock and deliver fresh food in our town. As soon as the shelves were stocked it was emptied shortly after. The year 2020 and this power blackout is a warning to us all to be better prepared next time. That’s for sure.

 

Empty Shelves

 

Conclusion

 

The Texas electric grid seems to be vulnerable and must get fixed. What I experienced this past week was something I hope no one has to go through, as it was horrible. My heart and prayers go out to my fellow Texans who also suffered through this. We couldn’t have made it without our neighbors who came together. This was definitely a learning experience I hope we can all learn from and never repeat again. 

 

What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, right? 

Much like the American Dream, ever since people from around the world have experienced the App Store, it is as if a door was open for us that wasn’t before. The spark of hope and excitement at the opportunities that putting an app out could mean for us individually. Maybe it’s the thought of being apart of a lucrative business model that drives us. At times I feel like this is the digital version of the gold rush of our day. Everyone has a great app idea; the question is, what are you going to do about it?

 

Expectations – The Shiny Object Syndrome

 

It all happens to us, and the shiny object syndrome pulls us in, mostly when you read about independent app developers who become millionaires. Once in a while, there is another successful app developer in the news. All the success with rainbows and sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m all for reading about these successes and congratulate every one of them. I even had to congratulate one of my competitors who sold his company for $5 million. That was good as it validated I was on to something and a disappointment as I didn’t aim higher in my app features. The expectations of starting as an app developer are that everything is good, there are no troubles or obstacles, and it will be an easy path to go down on. Right?

 

Reality Check

 

Reading someone’s “overnight success” can be misleading. The good part is it outlines the successes the person or company was able to achieve. However, it doesn’t reveal how many years, the struggles, obstacles, and long hard work that was put in to achieve such an accomplishment. 

 

Being an independent app developer requires a particular type of person. It will challenge you to think differently. You will build patience as you handle obstacles in your code errors, Apple’s rejections, Microsoft headaches, Android entitled non-existent sales, and app reviews from people yelling at you for a $0.99 app. The developer puts in the sweat equity of long hours in front of a computer. Ensuring the software art project is a thing of beauty only to find it wasn’t good enough. Back to the drawing board to fix things and work harder next time. This vicious cycle has the benefit of becoming more polished in our craft. It helps us become more robust despite it not being easy. The more obstacles we can handle, the more effective we can become. 

 

There are some apps I’ve spent weeks developing only to have it rejected from the App Store. It is as if these various App Stores are the gatekeeper of who are allowed to publish apps and who isn’t. On one side of the coin, they are great as they handle all the traffic, logistics, and financials. However, on the other hand, they limit the app developer’s creativity side as we can only go so far, and if you think differently from them, they shut you down with a click of a button. 

 

The reality of being an indie app developer is that there are so many variables we must meet each month, quarter, and yearly. We have to comply with ever-changing laws and regulations and the more than yearly changes on every App Store we are on. If they release the latest gadget, you bet we have to own it to ensure our apps can run on them. It was easy at first, but it can be too much to buy new gear over time. 

 

Software changes continuously. Your app may work flawlessly now but might need adjusting after there’s an update to a new operating system of the year. Apple releases a new version every year, and Microsoft has its list of changes. Your app requires maintenance monthly or quarterly to run and stay in the game.

 

Not all app ideas are successful, nor is it a guarantee you will get one sale. The app must provide some value that the user wants and demands.

 

App ideas do not always pan out as you visioned them to be. Certain features can be rejected from the App Store. Governments can demand to shut you down. There are so many reasons that can go wrong and most likely will. On a positive note, if it were easy, then everyone would be successful, right? I think this is what drives us, our courage to want to make our stand against the odds and prove others wrong. Test our abilities to overcome challenges to see what happens.

 

Even if your app gets published, there are more hurdles to pass through next.

 

Top Reasons Why the End-User Won’t Try Your App:

 

  1. The app icon isn’t polished enough.
  2. The app isn’t free.
  3. The app costs more than its competitors.
  4. The app cost more than $0.99.
  5. UX / UI.
  6. The app is a slow website. Not native.
  7. You must create an account to use the app (I’m not too fond of these).
  8. App reviews.
  9. Bad screenshots.
  10. Slow to load.
  11. Requires user to type in the information. They want it done for them.
  12. Etc

 

Will Your App Be A Successful Hit?

 

There are so many variables at play when releasing a new app to the world. It is not up to me or you what becomes successful or not. It is up to the market. The end-user will decide who makes it and who fails. Our job is to listen and adapt to the best of our abilities hoping the market accepts our app. 

 

One thing to remember is, what was successful back then, will not be successful now.

 

Conclusion

 

Can indie app developers still make it today? To be successful, you must put in the work to provide results. There are no shortcuts, unfortunately.

 

We can view things from a different perspective here. In a 9 to 5 job, you trade your time for work. As an appreneur, as they say, you trade results for possibilities. No matter how many hours, weeks, months, years it takes, your results (app products) are the only metric that matters. There is no guaranteed salary here, but self-employment can be very fruitful if you work harder than traditional full-time employees and are consistent with what you do. My message is to reveal the ups and downs of this path. Is it worth all the effort? Yes. Is it easy? No. Will you become a millionaire doing this? It is possible, but there are no guarantees you will make a buck. I find being an independent app developer to be fulfilling as it has brought me experiences that are both enjoyable and horrible times. Looking back to how this all started, the only regret I have is not working harder and faster. It is the experience that makes this whole journey aspiring. 

 

The name of the game here is taking action. No matter how many obstacles we face, the ones closer to success are those who push forward despite the risk and challenges ahead. Don’t focus on complaining and setting up a non-profit organization like some fellow app developers are doing. Focus on improving your product instead. Doing the work generates results while complaining doesn’t solve anything.

 

The real question is, what actions will you take with this knowledge I’m passing onto you?

 

 

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