Category Archives: DownHouse Software

oDesk Contracting for Pushing Taoism

I had reminded myself to write a little about oDesk contracting. 

I say this because I, and I imagine many other people, turn to contracting sites like oDesk only for the access to programers / coders. However, one of the best experiences I have had with oDesk was in contracting an artist to create the art for the icon and main screen of the ‘Pushing Taoism’ app. I dealt with a fantastic artist named Catarina Garcia, located in Lisbon, Portugal. You can find her art at:

She worked with me to identify exactly what kind of final product I was interested in, provided several sample pieces and then produced a final work in just a couple weeks. I think it only took this long because our email communications were not always immediate – otherwise, I feel confident that she could have produced my art pieces in a matter of days.


This experience really opened my eyes as to a world of interesting possibilities working with professionals in a number of disciplines. I look forward to turning to oDesk again in the future for other art and design projects – I have even considered doing a small translation project as well.


So, why provisioning?

I answered the what about provisioning last time. As far as ‘why’, I just attributed that to Apple’s control issues. I wanted to clarify what that means. After all, how are they actually controlling this?

The easy answer is that Apple controls provisioning by only allowing each provisioning file to work with 100 devices. 100 may sound like a lot if you’re just one person writing code for your machine and maybe that of two or three friends that are serving as your testers, but 100 can run out quickly if you’re a larger operation or if you give one person permission and then they stop working with you for whatever reason.

But what it really does is provides a limit to the number of times you can ‘work around’ their system. If there was no limit, then you are free to leave the walled garden and sell your apps to anyone and just provide them with the provisioning file along with your app. I’m sure it doesn’t matter what the number is to Apple, they just agree that you need some way to test on real devices, but want your ability to share to be limited to a number that is high enough for you, but low enough to never be a practical way for you to escape their control.


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Pushing Taoism

Our second App, Pushing Taoism was a lot more difficult to make. Despite the simplicity of the app – it really doesn’t do much but act as a quote archive and occasionally drawing from that archive to provide a push notification that might be inspirational or something to reflect on – I went through three developers / contractors and probably spent about $500 total. Perhaps even a bit more when I think of it. It also took about two or three months to get into the app store and even now it has some problems that I need to solve.

Try it out by clicking on the graphic to get to the iTunes page. It’s also free, but it does have a premium component that will unlock a larger quote archive that I hope to be expanding soon.

I’m down to 6% power on my battery, so like it or not, I have to stop here. More on this app and where we would like this one to go in my followup post.


oDesk and our first apps

I have a minute that I can slip in a quick post before going in to the dentist’s office (not my favorite thing). I thought I’d use it to describe the process of getting our first two apps made.


DHS App#1: Kidskalc: I have to admit that this was a breeze. I conceived of kidskalc from my memory of a small plastic device that my mother used to let me keep track of our grocery bill with when I was probably about four years old. I wrote up a quick description of how it should work and drew out the device as modular pieces in powerpoint.

I spent about an hour working with Xcode before I realized that it was going to be a lot of work to learn programming and this new programming environment. My background in programming ended with half a year programming in COBOL and half a year programming in Pascal back in high school (around 1988). So, object oriented programming languages are quite foreign to me – to be honest, I still don’t know what that really means even.

My solution was to turn to oDesk, a contracting interface. There are good things to say about oDesk and bad: on the positive side, you can get bids for a contract very quickly after posting. Once you settle on a bid, everything runs very smoothly and it’s easy to pay contractors using paypal or a bank account and all the legal tax stuff is organized for you.

The bad is that there’s a reason why contractors are up at all hours combing through people’s job descriptions – most of them are not the ‘A Team.’

That said, I have met a lot of very nice people who have competently put together some material for me – and our first app, Kidskalc, cost only $60 to have done beginning to end.



OK – dentist time.


back later.


Starting Up is the hard part

Can I call this day one?

It’s not day one for much, but it is a first post. And I’m hoping not the last

What is this blog about?

I’m sure that it will be a number of things. I can imagine that I’ll complain about things here from time to time (perhaps even most of the time I’ll have a complaint about something – but I will try be be temperate). It’s meant to be the diary of a startup company though, that’s the main focus. What does it take day-to-day to start a company and get it going?

That’s why it’s difficult to call this day one. I conceived of this company about a year ago and starting working on it then, but not much has really happened other than a lot of ‘getting ready.’ Major objectives that have been:

1. I completed the launch of, a website containing links to our company information, products and ideas.

2. I designed and developed a couple of very simple apps  – this is a lot harder than it sounds, no matter how simple you think those apps are. Why is this?

         Well, Apple requires that you be a legal company (we are now: DownHouse Software LLC)