Making Plans


I had planned to stay up tonight to watch Apple's Event.

"Late? The event's on at 10 am Pacific. Isn't that 1 pm where you live?"

Yes, but I'd planned on being in Bangalore, India today. With the time difference, the event would start at 10:30 pm.

Saturday a friend forwarded me an article about power outages in Bangalore. There is such a shortage of power that the power companies are rotating three hour power outages throughout the city every day. I was scheduled to teach a full-day class on Thursday and worried about us huddled around my laptop for three hours in the middle.

I wrote to Naresh, my host. He replied immediately that this happens every year and that the hotel has generators.

So calm. So accepting. So confident that people had made plans to avoid any difficulties. I have so much respect for Naresh. The hotel had made plans. No problems.

Great. I sent an email to all of the people registered for my class to remind them of what they needed installed on their laptop for the class. Mainly I wanted them to know that I expect Apple to release the GM of Xcode 7 today as part of their event and I didn't need the attendees to try to download and install this version the night before the class. We would use the current beta for the class. Mainly, I wanted to help them make plans.

I was supposed to fly to India on Monday.

"This isn't a very good story. We know you didn't go from the way you're telling it."

Anyway. I didn't sleep well the night before and at 3 am I reached over for my iPhone and checked my email. There was a message from my host for my next trip to India. She was concerned because my visa doesn't allow for multiple entries.

Suddenly, I was wide awake. I didn't want to get out of bed because I didn't want to wake Kim. I was pretty sure my visa does allow multiple entries. If not, I was in bigger trouble as I used it last year to go to a conference. I forwarded her note to Naresh.

No problems. Naresh assured me the visa allowed for multiple entries.

Thank you, I replied and told him I'd see him in a couple of days.

At 730 am I received a text from Lufthansa. My flight the next day from Frankfurt to Bangalore was cancelled.

I called United as my flight was booked through them and the other legs of the flight were on United. Susan was great. She looked at flights to Delhi, Singapore, and Turkey but couldn't find anything operated by Lufthansa that hadn't been cancelled. While she looked, I searched and found that Lufthansa was going on strike and had cancelled half of their flights for Tuesday. Thankfully they told me before I was on my way to Germany.

I had to contact Naresh and tell him that there was no way for me to get there. We would have to cancel. I offered to teach the class when I'm in India next month.

He was kind, supportive, and calm. His leading by example helped me.

We have to have plans. We have to be ready when life steps between us and those plans.

Maybe "ready" is the wrong word. Flexible, calm, adaptable, reasonable,... these are, perhaps, better words.

That said, here are my plans.

Today, I'm hoping to finish revising the Objective-C version of a class I teach for a client I'll be teaching soon. I've been updating this class for Xcode 7 and iOS 9. I love teaching for this client and they still prefer Objective-C to Swift. I find it refreshing to spend time in this language I spoke for so many years.

"Why today?

As soon as Apple releases the GM versions of Xcode and iOS 9, which I hope will be today, and another beta of El Capitan, I will install them all and spend the next few days doing a final polish on my Swift book. I spent the summer updating the book to Swift 2 and Xcode 7. As things changed during releases over the past couple of months I updated the book some more and retook screen shots. I'm hoping to have the book done and published by this weekend.

"Then what?"

My plan is to start on two projects.

The first project is a set of videos on Swift and iOS development. The first two series will essentially be a movie adaptation of my Swift book. I am a bit worried as I'm new to this medium. I hope I can finish these and that you'll like them. I'm very comfortable working in audio and I love writing books and articles. I don't know how I'll be at videos but I've spent over a year thinking about these and planning them.

The second project is a book that is for new programmers whose first language will be Swift. This is a book that I'm writing for kids based on the Turtle Logo-like playgrounds I've published on github. I'm also hoping the book will work for adults who are new to programming as well. I'm actually more worried about this book than the videos. Teaching kids matters a lot to me. It's an audience I like and respect and I don't want to let them down.

I've been thinking a lot about this book over the past year. I wrote a chapter and distributed it to friends. I now realize that it will have to be completely changed but I would have had nothing to change if I hadn't written it.

See, writing follows that same rule. Make plans. Be willing and ready to change everything.

I've been planning this kids book for quite a while. I've spoken publicly about the pedagogical issues the book needs to address and, thanks to Saul Mora, I workshopped the material with fifteen kids between 8 and 12 in Denver last month. It went well.

Those are my short term plans. I have long term plans too but they will certainly change before I get to them.

Make your own plans. You don't have to tell me what they are but write them down somewhere. Then be prepared to change them.