What I Learned About Product, Design and Coding at the MCE Conference

Last week, along with a couple of colleagues I attended the Mobile Central Europe (MCE^3) conference in Kinoteka, a sprawling cinema complex in downtown Warsaw.

This year saw the third installment of the conference, focused on bringing designers, developers, and everyone in between together to share knowledge with people from around the world.

The number 3 in the name of conference had one additional meaning. There were three talk tracks, each one with a separate overarching theme: Engineering, Design−both of which we already know from prior editions of the conference−and a new one, introduced only this year, Product. I decided to leave my developer comfort zone and learn something new from all three tracks.

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Summer at the Q Branch – Solving the Problems of our Special Agents

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Every weekday, except for Fridays, somewhere around 13:37 the doorbell rings at the Macoscope offices. It announces the arrival of a very special person. Someone with the uncanny ability to unite the entire Macoscope staff, across floors and teams, for around half an hour. His name is Tadeusz and he’s our Chief Executive Lunch Delivery Guy.

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How Do We Hire the Best of the Best?

Last week I read a post by Laurie Voss (npm’s CTO) about the process of hiring good developers. There is some really good advice there, but the article also felt as if it described a world that was just a little bit too perfect. Maybe that’s the difference between the Apple universe and the Node universe, or maybe between the United States and Poland, but some bits and pieces of the article just didn’t stick. So I decided to write a few words on how we approach the process of hiring people. First of all, if you want to read what kind of questions do we ask at out technical interviews, Bartek wrote a good piece on it. Go ahead and read it, especially if you plan on sending your résumé our way. Here, I will try to concentrate more on the human and behind-the-scenes aspect of the process.

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Previous Experience

Before I joined the light side of the force and started working with Apple devices, I was a .NET developer. Most of us have prior experiences with other platforms and languages and there’s always an argument – whether we should take this new platform as it is or try to adapt it and morph it to what we already know. In my opinion it’s more a question of “how much” rather than “if”.

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How Do We Stream Movies to Apple TV in HUDTube?

One of the main features of HUDTube 1.5 is the ability to stream basically any type of movie to Apple TV. Unfortunately, Apple TV understands a very limited number of formats. In general, you could assume that if something plays in QuickTime Player (without any additional codecs installed, like Perian or Flip4Mac), it should also play on AppleTV. This basically leaves MPEG-2 and H.264 as the only supported formats. As a result, a lot of media created using codecs like DivX, XviD, etc. are not supported. The situation is a bit better with audio, because most movies use either MP3 or AAC. If you add to this mix many different containers (one of the most popular being AVI), you may have an Apple TV streaming problem with many types of media from outside of iTunes.

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