8 Bits with Ben Buttigieg!
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Pj Metz 2:00
Brandon Minnick 2:02
we live in funny. hater said we couldn't do it. But I did or we are every week. My name is Brandon Minnick. Thanks so much for joining us on eight bits this week. We are graced again by the amazing PJ Mets PJ thanks for jumping into co host this week. Well close out today.
Pj Metz 2:23
That's right. I'm happy to come here anytime. Whether it's his guest or co hosts, maybe one time I'll do it by myself, but like no guests, it's just me talking,
Brandon Minnick 2:34
Pj Metz 2:35
I want for an hour or so. And it you know, that's what the people want really is a guy who's got one month of experience in the tech industry talking about whatever pops on his head.
Brandon Minnick 2:46
That's right. And yeah, if anybody missed it, two weeks ago, PJ was also on the show. And essentially celebrating his new job at Git lab. So first, congrats PJ. But also, if you missed the episode, check out our website, eight bits.tv download the episode listen to the podcast, because it was so good hearing from you. And Laredo is also on it. Well, yeah. Also former guests. So I love to see the the eight bits. Marvel Universe, I guess.
Pj Metz 3:23
The lore of it all.
Brandon Minnick 3:25
That's right. It's so awesome to see folks from non traditional backgrounds getting their first job in the tech, super proud of you. But other than that, how have you been?
Pj Metz 3:38
doing my best I got a I got a tattoo. Two weeks ago ish. I forget when I got this tattoo, but I got a cute little Gator from a great tattoo artist in Tampa. And what was great is I actually now that I have a job that lets me do the work I need to do on sort of my own hours. I was like, Hey, I'm gonna be out of the office this afternoon. I'm getting a tattoo. My manager is like, cool. Have fun, bye. And it was like, I couldn't do that. As a teacher I like I have to have a good reason. And I have to be though these hours and there's a reason school so structured. But for me, this is a It's a whole new life really this whole working from home and I've got like a stand up desk and everything like there's my mom. I think it actually it almost flew up as I released the handles on it. So I won't be doing that again.
Brandon Minnick 4:37
So I do have will say we'll call them a couple announcements. But really it's one big announcement before we introduce our amazing guests today. And what I want to share with everybody in case you missed it. There was a huge Microsoft conference last week called Microsoft build and everything was recorded. So all those live streams, if you missed them, don't worry, you can actually go to my build dot Microsoft comm and catch up on all the announcements. And for, for me, I'm I'm a dotnet developer, I make mobile apps for iOS and Android using Xamarin. All in C sharp. My biggest, biggest, biggest I guess thing I'm looking forward to biggest announcement favorite announcement was dotnet. Hot reload.
Pj Metz 5:30
So hot reload looks good. It really does.
Brandon Minnick 5:35
Right? And yeah, TJ, I know he can, he can sympathize as a ASP dotnet Website Builder. But yeah, so now for all of us dotnet developers, the time has finally come where we don't have to recompile our entire code base anymore, just to see what's changed. dotnet hot reload will allow us to essentially just save the file. There's even a little fire icon in Visual Studio now you can click, that'll just reload your app. So if you're working on a website, if you're working on a mobile app, and you've made a couple changes, because while you fix the bug, right, you want to make sure if you fix it properly, or maybe you're you're like me, and you do all your UI and C sharp instead of zamel or crazy languages like those, well, then you can just reload it. And I'm I can't wait. So it's available today, you can download the preview of Visual Studio on PC and play around with it. As soon as you can. It's gonna save. I know, hours, if not days, if not years of my life, just waiting for compiles compilations to finish.
Pj Metz 6:45
Imagine the teams that this is gonna affect, you know, the people going oh my gosh, finally.
Brandon Minnick 6:51
I know not now I have to figure out how to like, you know, take my coffee breaks when to go. before I'd be like, Okay, well, I just made that change. Let me go ahead and click Build. And then. Okay, that's gonna take a minute. So let me grab a drink. Yeah. That's right. So, yeah, we just won't tell our managers and they'll see
Pj Metz 7:15
Brandon Minnick 7:16
So they'll see our throughput just go through the roof. They'll think we're the best, most amazing developers in the world. And it's all just thanks to dotnet hot reload. And I love this even axios in the comments is saying, Go in Maui. I don't know. If you if you notice matters, but I do have a new hat on. And it's kind of tough to see. But I saw this in the Microsoft Store. It's a Microsoft hat. But it kind of looks like the sunset and reminds me of the new dotnet Maui logo. So as soon as I saw it, I said I got to have it. That's that's done at Maui if I've ever seen it, and the carpet. I'll also be going Maui gnaeus
Pj Metz 8:01
Yeah, all the all that build stuff, by the way is also on YouTube very conveniently chopped up into sections. I subscribe to the Microsoft developer YouTube channel. And my subscription page on YouTube is basically full of build videos. Because they they were great about first off like putting it into like the manageable pieces. And then they like an upload. So it's all there as well. So you can check it out there.
Brandon Minnick 8:26
Love it. Well see PJ any, any announcements from your side? Before we introduce our guests?
Pj Metz 8:33
No, I mean, I'm just excited to be working like Git labs doing a lot of great stuff where we're doing, we're releasing Git lab 14 this month, version 14. pretty stoked.
Brandon Minnick 8:47
Amazing. Make sure yeah, make sure you go check it out. But with that, we have a really cool guest all sorts of topics we'll be talking about today. But our guest today, he's is one of my favorite people. He's somebody I met when we used to work in Xamarin together, but can't wait to share his story because he's actually been in mobile since the beginning. So without further ado, let's introduce, then, welcome to the show. Great to be here. Oh, Ben. So before we get going, if for all of our American viewers, your last name might look familiar. Let's give them a quick explanation. And also probably let them know there's no relation. No.
Ben Buttigieg 9:38
I can confirm there is no relation. And yeah, if I don't pronounce my name the same as him. So it's not pronounced Buddha judge. At least I haven't been asked that that way for the for the last 43 years. But I did discover last year or the year before when I was traveling to Malta where the name originates that I've been pronouncing it wrong my entire life. So it was actually it's actually pronounced according to the Maltese buttigieg. But, yeah, after a lifetime of pronouncing it, but the G I'll stick with it. But it's fine,
Pj Metz 10:18
too. It's too late to change. Really? Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 10:22
When it's your last name so Can Can you really pronounce your own last name wrong?
Pj Metz 10:29
I guess. Other people can. You can't pronounce your last name wrong.
Ben Buttigieg 10:34
Um, I was literally corrected at passport control. To the gate basil. Literally told me no, it's buttigieg.
Brandon Minnick 10:44
Okay, I love it. Yeah. So Ben, for the for the people out there watching listening on the podcast. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? And what do you do?
Ben Buttigieg 10:57
Yeah. So I'm a senior software engineer on the modern apps. Customer advisory team. I think I pronounce that right. Because the name, the team name has changed several times used to be just called the mob cat team. But yeah, what we do is we support big name customers, we help them write mobile apps. Obviously, that's my background. So I've got a lot of experience. And so I help enterprises develop, you know, high quality apps that they can publish to the store. And yeah, be successful working with Azure and other Microsoft technologies.
Brandon Minnick 11:39
Yeah, that's great. And I know we've also had some of your teammates on the show, right. Ricky? And Alex, Alex Blount. Sophie, we're slowly making our way to the team, you'll have to send send some more folks our way because we love you. The team's awesome. And but anybody yet, for all everybody out there, feel free to go check out those shows as well. But then let's let's go way back. So today, Ben's a senior engineer at Microsoft. How did we get started?
Ben Buttigieg 12:15
Yes, well, we are going way back for me. Yeah, I mean, I guess it starts with my first computer. When I was about nine or 10. I was kind of disappointed. I really wanted a Hornby railway set. I don't know is that a thing in the US? Are you familiar with Home
Pj Metz 12:37
Warranty? railway? Nice. That's like a model train.
Ben Buttigieg 12:42
Yeah, it's like model train, sir. Yeah, like I've done or something grade set. But yeah, it was. I saw on a TV advert and that was what I thought I was getting for Christmas. And anyway, I ended up getting an Amiga 500, which I absolutely loved. And to be honest with that, that got me hooked on coding from then. So I used to get this magazine called Amiga format, and would try coding with it that have these long scripts of code that you'd have to write and you'd get the pixel art game, but just be the suckiest game ever. But you'd made it and it was like, wow, and I wonder what happens if I change this line and you make him jump higher and that kind of thing. So yeah, it was like, wow, this is super cool. So yeah, that got me hooked on, on computing. And yeah, I loved the Amiga. It's like for anyone who's chose had one that were amazing. The graphics were like the other time. They even use it for films, in fact, like the the Amiga 4000. They actually use it to make Babylon five, and we're going back too far for you guys. Have you heard about one to five years, so that was made on an Amiga using the Video Toaster? And yeah, so I was fortunate enough to get some work experience. A few years later, I was still at school, working for one of the Amiga offices, which happens to be set up just down the road from my hometown in North Wales. So yeah, that was kind of crazy because I loved the Amiga and thought that would be my dream job and you have two amazing mathematize got amigas
Pj Metz 14:33
and on Don't mind me, I'm looking at pictures of Amiga 4000s. Right.
Ben Buttigieg 14:39
I'm loving amazing tech. Yeah, yeah. So it was awesome tech. And yeah, they just happened to have an office there. So that was my first job. And this is what it means to do this. And especially 3d that was always my passion from then playing around with an app called Lightwave. 3d. Yeah, love that. And from there Obviously, I went to university, studying computer science and philosophy. Because as you do yeah, I'm not. I love the absolute answers that you get out of computer science. stuff, build.
Pj Metz 15:22
A demo inspired by the old retro style of Amiga demos is a comment from the chat fuels, navel gazing. Is that old tech?
Ben Buttigieg 15:34
Yeah, that the demo scene was huge. Back in the day, that was all the rage where people make these animated select Super screensavers with amazing music. And yeah, that was super cool. So yeah, so that's how it started out. I just loved the Amiga. And yeah, and then wanted to get an education in it, but was super super also interested in philosophy and the meaning of life and love Douglas Adams, and that kind of thing. So that made me think I need to try and understand this kind of thing as well. So yeah,
Pj Metz 16:08
I love the idea that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is what pushed you into philosophy?
Ben Buttigieg 16:13
Yeah. I was obsessed with that book. I absolutely loved it. And yeah, that my
Pj Metz 16:18
two never got the hang of Thursdays. Always take my towel with me as well. That's right. Yeah. You said something about how just changing a one line of code makes the guy jump higher. And seeing that, that changing something here makes a change over here, and how that that really sparks something for you. I think that's true for a lot of people who get into coding and development, no matter what age they start at realizing that you can create a thing right here. It's amazing. When I when I Brandon remembers when I was first writing code only a year ago, I was like, Oh my god, I just found out what a method is. And like you, there's parameters, and Brian was like, Yeah, dude, it's pretty neat, right? And I was like, anyway, I gotta go, I'm gonna go type some more, and you get very excited in a creative way. But there's the the exactitude of it as well as very exciting.
Ben Buttigieg 17:15
Definitely, yeah. Yeah, I definitely got the bug from seeing that. The immediate immediacy of your changes. And yeah, and that's just gone on throughout the years. Yeah. I've always loved that.
Brandon Minnick 17:30
Yeah. And so eventually, Ben, you, you entered the mobile world now. I, I've been a mobile developer for what feels like a lifetime. But really, it's only since about 2015. But your story goes even farther back. What did you get into the mobile space?
Ben Buttigieg 17:51
Yeah, so I guess, after university the first job I had was working for Motorola. So you may have heard of those guys that don't have as many of their phones still around these days? I think they
Pj Metz 18:07
did. They just rerelease a razor? Like a new version of the razor? The razor? That's right. No, that was the jam. That's the first time I saw Bluetooth logo was on a razor. Wow.
Ben Buttigieg 18:19
Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So I had one of those. The other time the V dot, I think it was called The reason dot. But I didn't actually work on the phones at that time, to be honest with you, I was working on the mapping application using a technology called calm, which I don't know if you guys are familiar with that. It was calm. Yeah. So that's, I can't know. But it's that common components, object model, something like that. It basically allows you to modularize your architecture. So a lot of Windows apps were based on comet 20 years ago. And it just allowed you to have these binary objects. So it's the pre version of dotnet. Basically, it was before dotnet came up.
Brandon Minnick 19:10
And I'm sorry to interrupt, but I remember back in the day, any USB or comm ports everywhere, like anytime I would plug something into the computer, it'd be a comm port or a really it was like calm errors. You'd have to figure out why your keyboard wasn't working. Is that is that the same calm? No.
Ben Buttigieg 19:35
No, nothing to do with it. It's Yeah, it's just yeah, that's just down to calm, calm ports as in the connectivity, communication, but uh, yeah. Yeah, completely different. But I just noticed in the chat, someone noticed that Amiga, though the CPU in an Amiga was the Motorola. Oh, wow. 68 Yeah, the 68 1000 series so yeah, there's they're all combined you see my my history, there's a lot of interconnecting bits and yeah the Motorola 68 ECM 20. And this is get up to 40. There we go. I'm going down a bit of rubbish. But
Pj Metz 20:14
so I looked up the specs on that it had a 32 bits CPU 16 bit data bus up to 20 megahertz, 16 megabytes of RAM, and zero IO ports. It had no i o port. Hmm. And,
Ben Buttigieg 20:33
yeah, that was amazing, though. Yeah. And the Amiga had 512k of RAM. And I actually was super excited to get the half Meg upgrade to get a four megabyte. Big news. Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 20:51
And now chrome within the dream alone uses six gigabytes of RAM. So that's right. There we are. Yeah, I will say it's funny how, yeah, back in the day, when, when space, Ram hard drive space was very, very limited. You had to get to really fine tune all of your programs. And I mean, that's more analogous to kind of sea level programming or even assembly level where you're, you're just eking out every bit of performance. And now it's like, Yeah, well, so what if our app uses a gig of ram?
Pj Metz 21:26
That's fine. space for it? Do you seen the story about the video game developers think it was Crash Bandicoot, who basically hijacked the PlayStation system to get more memory out of other chips inside of it? And that's the only way that Crash Bandicoot was able to run? No way. Oh,
Brandon Minnick 21:45
yeah. That's that's incredible story. Because, yeah, was it something like, everybody was just blown away by how good the graphics were. They couldn't figure out how the team did it. And turns out, yeah, jack is hacked into restricted spaces.
Ben Buttigieg 22:05
Yeah, I mean, to be fair, Game Dev is still always trying to eke out every last bit of the processes and the CPUs and the GPUs. So yeah, that yeah, that has not changed for game devs. Those guys,
Pj Metz 22:17
it's rough out there. Yeah. Listen, I gotta have my upscaled Horizon Zero Dawn for the PS five. Thank you very much. I need to be able to see those dinosaurs in beautiful millions and millions of bits. Thank you.
Ben Buttigieg 22:35
Yeah, definitely. I mean, the cyberpunk guys had their work cut out and
Unknown Speaker 22:40
yeah, didn't go well.
Pj Metz 22:47
cyberpunk got past it like Hell, yeah. Yeah. Like a sinking ship, like throwing buckets of water out while like nailing stuff to the wall. And they're like, here's another patch go. It's like fast iterations on it. And apparently, it's playable. Now. It's good now. And it's it was always a great story and exciting world. But now you can actually play it. You don't have to worry about like, t posing random characters or like clipping your car through the concrete and falling in empty space. So
Ben Buttigieg 23:17
you don't have to get a three grand 38 3080. That's right. Yeah, scalped graphics. Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 23:29
And so sorry about that. Yeah. So you were where were we were we still at Motorola?
Ben Buttigieg 23:37
Motorola? Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yes. So yes, I was working on common doing GIS mapping basically, for the base station. So the network's you know, cell networks, or that they had to have to calculate the best position for placing these, you know, the antenna based off obstacles. And you know, that they used to use this mapping technology called detailed, so digital terrain elevation data, which would be like, meter accurate elevation data for territories and regions, and so they could exactly work out what the interference is going to be based off, you know, where's that best point to place? Your antenna and your base station, so yeah, so that's what I worked on for for a while. And then I but my interest was always in mobile and client side development. So from there, I moved to Nokia, so and spent worked in my local town called Bristol, down in the southwest that if you've heard of Bristol, so yeah, that were there. Nakia purchased a company called od two, which is a music company that I joined and they was set up by Peter Gabriel for people.
Pj Metz 25:04
Peter Gabriel Sorry, go ahead.
Ben Buttigieg 25:08
Yeah, so he set up this company. So they did music streaming basically for they would like the one of the earliest music streaming companies. So they did streaming for like Coca Cola big brands who would want to have provide music streaming services, they would provide the service so they could say on Coca Cola, music, and it'd be provided by od to the company. I joined. And that company then got acquired by Nakia, who I worked for the next 10 years working on various music clients initially working on WTF desktop client. So if you had the the Nakia, any of the earlier Nakia devices, then 95 of them all the they had lots of they had a feature called comes with music where you could you got your phone, and you'd get unlimited music with that phone, which at the time was amazing. Like what free music you know, Napster because it's trying to compete against Napster and all that kind of stuff. So. So that's so yeah, I worked on the WTF desktop app for that. And then eventually, we moved on to actually writing the client side apps, which were for Windows Phone, so Windows Mobile, rather. So Silverlight, that kind of thing. So we were working on the Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 26:36
Yeah, you can't mention Silverlight with some without somebody on Silverlight.
Pj Metz 26:43
There's a wistfulness to the tone. Yeah.
Ben Buttigieg 26:47
It still lives on in a way. The zamel and all that kind of stuff. The evolution of it is is living on in, in Maui. Yeah,
Brandon Minnick 26:57
there you go.
Ben Buttigieg 26:59
That's something interesting that you kind of started on like, almost like a music based program. And so like I can thank you for being able to like listen to like, mp3 is on my phone. When I had space for like two mp3 is on my phone at the time. I won't take all the credit for it. So yeah, I'm gonna give you all the credit. Alright. Thanks. I know guy Ben. He invented music for phones, guys. Yeah, yeah, this isn't on the record, is it? So yeah, so Silverlight was working on that was, which is great for the really early Nakia mobile. And this is just before the windows acquisition. So we had Lumia devices. And then and then you had all the fun of the Microsoft acquisition. Which is, which was great. So that was my first time joining Microsoft. Where so we wrote the we had a huge rebrand. And we developed this application called mix radio. So I don't know if you either of you guys. Yeah. So that was a awesome team of people I worked with on this endeavor. It was creating a to the very foot. I don't know if you remember that. Nokia had an Android device they were they released the Nokia x. I do actually hold on. I think I remember it. And it was it was a Windows Phone, right?
Yep. Yeah. Yep. So there's the Windows Phone. But we had my first experiences Xamarin was developing for the very first Nakia Android device called a knock your ex. And yeah, so we develop this mix radio application for the knock your ex using Xamarin. And that's where I met Blount. He actually we had some help from him the Xamarin jetpack team. They flew in with Clancy and he gave him James Clancy. Yeah, amazing guy. So yeah, he helped us with his background in G music. He gave us some really useful insight into getting the first mix radio client working for the Nakia x device. So yeah, that was awesome. However, yeah, the the love story with Microsoft and Nakia didn't last terribly long, sadly. And mix radio parted ways we there was obviously an evolution of the of the company and yeah, so we ended up Becoming a startup. We got some investment. And it looked super, super awesome. We had about a year's of dev effort using Xamarin. And having this new Lumia client, as we actually developed dedicated Android and iOS client, using Xamarin Xamarin native. And we even had, we were going to be evolve to do a big presentation of the mixed radio client saying how great it was to develop it using Xamarin. Technology. And evolve is the or was the yearly Xamarin. Conference. Okay, so, so not only were you doing Xamarin development,
Brandon Minnick 30:40
but you're up for an award at the yearly samurai.
Ben Buttigieg 30:45
Yes, yes. So, yeah. Yeah, no, it was awesome. We were super, super proud of, of the application and the early beta tests, word had really positive reviews, and it was looking great. And then Apple Music got launched a couple of months. A couple of months. Yeah, I think it's around about January time, but few months before the evolve. presentation. And that was the writing's on the wall, basically, for the company. And the investment. We had some investment from a company called I can't remember the company's name is line line. Yeah, they're big.
Brandon Minnick 31:33
So it sounds like you're like you're an actor. They forgot their line line. Yeah.
Ben Buttigieg 31:40
Especially a huge competitor to WhatsApp. But it's really popular in the Asia's apparently not obviously not so popular in the US. But yeah, it's really anyway, the they suddenly we saw the writing on the wall, so they would no longer invest. And so we Yeah, we had to shut down the company. And that was literally weeks before evolve. And we were about to do this big presentation. So I Pedro it's one of my fellow MCs radio devs Yes, in fact, I
Brandon Minnick 32:18
do. Have the Nokia t shirt.
Ben Buttigieg 32:21
Yeah. This is an homage to the company. Hack week. T shirts.
Pj Metz 32:28
I thought you were super Zelda.
Brandon Minnick 32:30
I thought it was a Zelda thing too. So yeah. For anybody listening to the podcast Ben's wearing. What if you know what a Triforce is and Zelda? Exactly like a Triforce on his shirt.
Pj Metz 32:42
It's a Triforce fractal essentially.
Brandon Minnick 32:46
good description. Yeah, what does that mean that I have no idea it's the designer was a big fan. I guess.
Ben Buttigieg 33:00
Yeah, this isn't actually the mix radio logo by the way. It's that mix radio logo as was a smiley with headphones. Yes.
Pj Metz 33:09
I actually I saw that. I was I've been looking all this stuff up on like the internet before and I've been really enjoying it.
Brandon Minnick 33:16
Cool. Yeah, just catch up the comments real quick. Then. If Andrew McCollum saying that Nokia had a lot going on then he used to have or used to love the engage communicator Series II 90. And just Yeah, it's a shame because Nokia had so much potential. And Andrew goes on to say that basically, once Apple released the iPhone, everything changed. Just basically blew up a whole industry.
Pj Metz 33:47
Yeah, no, Nokia was like the name in mobile technology for most of the time that I remember there being mobile technology until a smartphone, that iPhone 2g happened. I remember being at a party. One person had one. And we all sat around and took turns holding it and like touching it and like playing one of the first games was that one way had to balance the phone to move a marble on a tract and not let it fall into like, holes. We were just passing this dude's phone around a party. This is what happened. We had nothing. We just passed around iPhones and one iPhone at a party.
Ben Buttigieg 34:27
Yeah, it was groundbreaking. It's funny because I actually joined the year, I joined Nakia, the year that the iPhone was released. And it was funny talking to a lot of people who had been in the company for for years. And were in absolute denial about what this new technology was. No, no, no one wants touch screens, just buttons buttons is what you want to keyboard physical. Yeah,
Pj Metz 34:52
you want to pop up your phone and have a physical keyboard
Brandon Minnick 34:58
view Good question is have either of you gone back and tried to use a blackberry or a similar keyboard like that, since my
Pj Metz 35:07
grandma has an old phone that you flip up to get a keyboard, and I did it and I looked at it and I just immediately closed and I was like, I don't want that I don't even even on my iPad, I use an iPad a lot teaching. There's a way with the iPhone keyboard where you can swipe out with your thumbs, and it splits the keyboard to the bottom corners. And it's supposed to make it easier even that I don't, I can't do that. I just, I'm just so used to my phone now like that size. It just makes sense. even further back, remember, like clicking five three times to get the letter H. t 999.
Brandon Minnick 35:45
Pj Metz 35:48
They used to have team nine text competitions to see who could text the fastest.
Brandon Minnick 35:53
I believe it. So yeah, for anybody who doesn't remember or maybe never had a phone back in the day. There was no keyboards, it was just the the numbers on the phone because phones were made for calling people. And so cell phones just had the dial pad on. And but if you ever look at those older phones, that Dialpad also has numbers associated or letters associated to each number. And so yeah, if you were texting somebody, you had to tap the number once like you would tap to one time to get the letter A, you would tap two, two times for the letter B, you tap it three times the letter C. And then you move on to three and tap that once for D. So it's very, very slow to type out anything on your phone. Nobody ever did it. And then eventually, yeah, this T nine technology came out where it was almost like predictive text. So you would just tap two ones if, say you wanted to type a B, and then you just move on to the next letter and tap the number for that one. And it would just kind of go off of like, well, you're probably typing the word the. And so it would guess that you're typing the word done. If you wanted the next one, you would kind of have to cycle through all the different combinations. But I still remember, I was in I was in high school back then. And I'm sure phones are still banned. There. They were back then at least. And I remember, I got so good at t nine that I could have the phone in my pocket. And I knew exactly which button to tap and how many times and how many? How many like next iterations of that those word combinations to click through to get the exact word I want? Yeah, you just you just kind of text your friends in class, but can't can't do that anymore. At least I can't.
Pj Metz 37:42
I found new ways. Don't worry about it. Oh, it's just literally like, like, every student I know. And this is something that I noticed among my teen students back when I was teaching. Because I was a teacher for 11 years for I got my job in tech this past month. So they all as soon as they sit down, pull out their phone and check their Snapchat. And then if a friend has sent them a picture, they immediately reply back with a picture. But it's just from like, here up. And it'll be like Hi. And so all they did was like their phone is like in their hand looking up at them. And it's the worst angle ever. And that's what they did. Like beginning of every class, every kid would sit down, pull up a phone check, snap, and then just like send back a picture of them being like, Hi, sup, I hate English. And I'm like, why do you guys know? And they're like, Well, I mean, kinda and we were also a school where everyone had iPads. So like, they were just talking to each other on iMessage on their iPads. And I didn't I was like, Look, as long as it's when it's class time you pay attention. What do I do yell at you for using tech when we're a school that makes every kid have an iPad? Makes no sense.
Brandon Minnick 39:01
All right, so back on
Pj Metz 39:03
track less about me, and Snapchat and teenagers because I don't like the way that sentence just came out of my mouth. More about Ben. Ben, we got you back to Microsoft again. You know, we still were at Nokia. Right and mix radio.
Ben Buttigieg 39:18
We are almost back at Microsoft. Yeah. So where was I? Oh, yeah. So the we were at the line, the Apple Music thing. So yeah, so once that happened, it was clear that we wouldn't get to compete. But we'd already got our tickets to evolve. And if we had to have the difficult conversation where we're not really gonna be there to do a presentation presentation talking about the app because it's not ever released now. So but yeah, we still have tickets. So we thought what the hell let's just go enjoy it. Have some fun. It's going to be a good Good event and oh my god, it was it was. We had so much fun. The evolve party. Just the best party ever. And it was at a theme park, which we've got to get in the theme park mentioned the right.
Pj Metz 40:18
Yes. Have you guys been consistent with that? mentioning theme parks every episode?
Brandon Minnick 40:23
I hope so. Well, I try to keep it up. Yeah, that's right. Xamarin Xamarin rented out. Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure. And so we had the whole park to ourselves. Probably just a couple. A couple 1000 conference attendees, and we could ride all these rides as much as we wanted. Like there's no loss of the Harry
Pj Metz 40:44
Potter right here already. No line. Yeah. Oh, yeah, there was a
Brandon Minnick 40:48
lot of people got for free to get too much.
Pj Metz 40:53
Especially the Islands of Adventure Harry Potter ride. It is a motion sickness nightmare. The one at Universal Studios, Orlando, the regular Universal Studios. Nice good escape from gringotts enjoyable, the other one whips you around with like, a weight on the bottom of a chair. You can't hear it on the podcast, but I am whipping my arm across.
Ben Buttigieg 41:18
Yeah, it's funny actually, I remember the Harry Potter ride because I remember having they were giving up free cocktails just all over the place. You know, there have stands these acrobats and they had these people on stilts, just handing out drinks and food. And we'd be walking, we'd be in the line. Holding cocktails and thinking, well, it's gonna be a while. Yeah. And no, you're straight to the start that drink
Pj Metz 41:43
this old fashion before I get on the exorbitant journey.
Ben Buttigieg 41:47
Yeah. And straight on the front of the right as well. So you've got the best seats on the on the right. It's like, wow, this is crazy.
Brandon Minnick 41:56
Back in the day.
Ben Buttigieg 41:57
Yeah. Kevin's comments. Kevin's Yes. Right. It's confirming. It's a shame. He can't confirm the pronunciation there.
Pj Metz 42:09
So we're at free parties. Studios working. Right.
Ben Buttigieg 42:16
Yeah. So looking for a job basically. So I, I had the foresight to print out some business cards, thinking, Oh, I'm going to be networking. I'm going to meet some developers there and I can introduce myself and hopefully get a job. Unfortunately, I only had one card on me at the the big networking event and and so I bumped into bouncy there who had met previously when he was jet packing for us, and my dream job would have been working for Xamarin. I thought, well, I can't see that happening, but it's worth a shot. So I spoke to Alex and gave him my card and said, I'm looking for workers. And, yeah, a month later, after, like, eight or nine interviews, I got the job. It was crazy. Because this was literally just as the Microsoft announcement has happened. I've literally just heard that Microsoft, we're gonna be acquiring Xamarin I thought, Okay, here we go again.
Pj Metz 43:24
Is it a good luck charm that you're constantly being acquired? Like, there's companies out there like we got to hire Ben, because
Brandon Minnick 43:34
I just think that like, if you ever want to go to a company that's going to be successful or get acquired. Follow bed? Yeah. No pressure for your next gig go bad.
Pj Metz 43:46
Ben Buttigieg 43:53
Yes, so. Yeah. So to be honest with you, I'll be perfectly honest, that was a concern of mine, that Xamarin would have suffered the same fate that Nakia did. So yeah, it was genuine concern. And that was something that I was asking during the interviews. And I mean, thankfully, they've been looked after really well. Xamarin has just gone from strength, strength to strength. We've now got Maui being integrated into dotnet. So that shows, you know, the commitment that companies had to Xamarin so yeah, definitely. It was a good cool second time around.
Brandon Minnick 44:33
But it's really what the haters are still gonna say, Microsoft's killing Xamarin. I can't tell you how many times I've been either asked that or told that at and as a Microsoft employee, I'm like, No, we're investing a ton of money like, yeah, future. And like, Yeah, but Microsoft's probably gonna kill it, right? No. And so
Pj Metz 44:54
that's living proof that they're not real. Microsoft.
Brandon Minnick 45:01
Yeah, with it. I think Dameron holding the dinette.
Pj Metz 45:06
Yeah, yeah, he's like the big like, when you say Microsoft is someone who has been around in tech for a long time, there's the Microsoft of the, you know, mid 2000s, early 2010s. Even. And it doesn't, it doesn't feel based on my interactions based on what I've seen. Doesn't look like that Microsoft anymore.
Brandon Minnick 45:27
No, and even it's funny, like, Ben, you mentioned having some say trepidations about the Xamarin acquisition being acquired by Microsoft. And same for me. I actually was not excited when Xamarin announced the acquisition, because like, I don't really want to work at Microsoft, because, yeah, in my head, PJ, just like you were saying, was the the old Microsoft is like, that doesn't really sound like a place I want to work at. And I was like, You know what, I'm gonna stick it out for at least a year. Can we give one solid year and then I'm sending out my resume? And here I am, what? Six years later?
Unknown Speaker 46:04
And I love it.
Brandon Minnick 46:04
I don't want to leave. So please don't fire me, Microsoft.
Ben Buttigieg 46:12
Yeah, I'm celebrating my fifth year as well. yesterday. Microsoft, so
Brandon Minnick 46:19
Pj Metz 46:20
Thank you. Really good. All right. So outside of work outside of this awesome, awesome history. You have a working in tech and in mobile. Um, what do you do for fun? I understand you do something with drones. Is that true?
Ben Buttigieg 46:36
Yeah, it's definitely one of my many interests outside of work. I tend to pick up a hobby and get obsessed with it. And drones is definitely one of those an example of one of those things. So initially started off with just one of those cheap drones which can fly around and have a camera can't do much with it.
Pj Metz 46:58
And why don't you just make like do a flip by pushing on opposite direction and it's exactly the Radio Shack and they're like, be very careful with this battery. There's nothing safe about it like literally that yes, I remember the battery and stopped bulging after a while. Yeah. Don't let it charge more than 30 minutes, because it will bulge. Thanks Radio Shack. Yep,
Ben Buttigieg 47:25
yep. But actually hang a GoPro off it just to see if I could get some footage. Yeah. But then I finally got saved up some money and got a maverick Pro. Wow, those things are amazing. And I've enjoyed taking it with me on holidays. My fiance and I've enjoyed lots of travels before the Panini as you guys call it.
Pj Metz 47:54
The parents era as it were.
Brandon Minnick 47:57
And also Ben's Ben's being very modest right now. Because he makes amazing videos. I'm gonna share Ben's YouTube channel here, because I've I've watched some of these videos and they're stunning. The the one you shared in, I think was Iceland. Just incredible. How do you how do you go about finding these locations and figuring out where to even start with these amazing drone shots.
Ben Buttigieg 48:27
That's funny, she asked that because Iceland was a fantastic destination to take the drone to. And I definitely have to do some research before going to these sites to make sure I'm legally allowed to use it and, and the restrictions are getting more and more and I've had to, like get a CIA license in the UK. It's it's about a fly drone, just basically around the UK. But in Iceland that the rules were fairly vague. And so I thought okay, it's fine. I can just take it wherever, essentially, at the time because they were still fairly new when we went to Iceland. And yeah, it was fine everywhere. We took it apart from one place where you can see a fantastic waterfall. It looks beautiful. I fly really close to it. And in the background. You can you can see a guy walking up to me and I take that down now that needs to go down now. Yeah, like stop what you're doing. Okay. So yes, and he was like, sure I was gonna get arrested or what but yeah, you do need to be careful. But yeah, generally speaking. I used to get some funny looks going through the airport through customs and getting checks and look at this things What on earth is this you know, batteries and all kinds of stuff loose and it's like okay, but yeah, but it's a monster took some great footage up in Malta in Greece as to protect some amazing stuff. shots. And recently I took it. I just got a new drone recently, which is super small. It's so called the maverick mini that was actually called the mini two. This one is the latest version which is tiny, but it has all of the set. Yeah, this this thing is amazing. It can go for kilometres literally can fly from you know,
Pj Metz 50:25
what do you need to fly a drone for four kilometers away for
Ben Buttigieg 50:30
if you see my son flustered, you see there's one bit what I do take it as far as I could possibly do it before when it starts complaining, and then it will just home. If it loses signal, it'll automatically head back home. So yeah, that's one good safety feature.
Pj Metz 50:44
That's I was gonna say you don't want to lose it four kilometers away.
Brandon Minnick 50:49
Exactly. Because then you have to go find it. Yeah,
Pj Metz 50:52
yeah, that's like a 5k. Just to almost a 5k just to find your drone. And that'll take me at least 45 minutes to go. I'll be honest, I'll be honest, I'm not the fastest kid.
Ben Buttigieg 51:06
Me to these days. Yeah. The days of me managing a 20 minute or 25 minute 5k long gone. Actually, that reminds me. So I just remembered that's how I met. Brandon was where my first day at Xamarin. Went to the the office. Where it was it in?
Brandon Minnick 51:30
Ben Buttigieg 51:31
San Francisco, of course. Just My mind went blank there for Yes. San Francisco office. And yeah. Brandon offered to take me for a run with his dog. Yeah, I thought I was quite fit until you run with him.
Pj Metz 51:53
embarrass anyone? Kirby a very strong dog.
Brandon Minnick 51:57
That's easy. If you're interested, Ben. There's the Napa Valley marathon coming up in March. So there's March 2022, plenty of time to train. Come hang out in Napa rollerblade. And we'll do the marathon.
Ben Buttigieg 52:13
There's a few things I'd like about going to Napa. But running is.
Pj Metz 52:19
That's right. There's quite a lot to do there. But don't run around in the valley and maybe through a mountain or I'm not into it not. I can grab some instead of water stations. It's wine glasses. Not
Brandon Minnick 52:33
very fancy wine lined up along the route. That's right. So that I know we chatted a little bit about game development earlier. But you also do a little bit there as well as the 3d modeling. Is that right?
Ben Buttigieg 52:48
Yeah, that is right. Yeah, I I, yeah, that's another one of my obsessions, or something I try and make time to learn. So I've been my end goal is to to write my own 3d game. And release it sit with me having created all of the assets and using unity, I think I've been playing around with the Unity and Unreal Engine. And I've watched loads of videos of people trying to duke it out. So Which is better? I think I'm gonna go with Unity. And just because of C sharp and yeah, it's really cool. It's a really good experience.
Pj Metz 53:26
So Justin, C sharp. That's my first language. And so it's got a special place in my heart. I'm not the typical brand new to coding person. Because my mentor was Brandon. He was like, well, you're gonna learn C sharp first. And I was like, Okay.
Brandon Minnick 53:41
Well, in all fairness, PJ asked me, or I offered to teach me how to code. And I said, I only know C sharp. We're gonna learn C sharp together. And I bet Did you have 3d models to show off? Yeah, just give me a sneak peek at the game. Yeah,
Ben Buttigieg 54:01
so one of the things I do is I do a live stream or tried to, as I'm learning, live stream my efforts. So I was gonna show you what I've been working on recently. So if I share my screen, you can see one of the things that are just going to show is that I use this as a tip for anyone who is interested in learning blender is if you steam you can get automatic updates. So that's something I discovered recently. So bizarrely, for some reason, the blender installer, they update it really frequently. So it's an open source 3d modeling application. It's and it's gone. from strength to strength over the last few years. It's incredible what what it's capable of, and I've followed loads of YouTubers, there's a guy called Blender guru, who, as the name suggests, knows Blender pretty well.
Pj Metz 54:55
He's pretty good at it. Yeah.
Ben Buttigieg 54:59
Yeah. All right, yeah, it could be said, it definitely could be said. And he's one of the things he does is it teaches you to make a doughnut. So a lot of the first things you do is make a doughnut and you make the sprinkles. He's a particle system, and you do all sorts of cool stuff. But the next thing you do is a chair. So that's
Brandon Minnick 55:18
what I've got here, as we're looking at here.
Ben Buttigieg 55:21
Yeah. So, so this is, yeah, you can see how this is a 3d model of a chair that I did this a couple of months ago, actually. And but I was super pleased with how it turned out. And you can see
Pj Metz 55:37
it looks great. Like it's got like wood grain and like the the screws are a nice little like visible detail in there. That's really cool. Yeah. All right. And then sometimes it doesn't respond and Blender does what Blender wants to do.
Ben Buttigieg 55:54
Great. Yeah. So for those who podcast that blenders just crushed.
Brandon Minnick 56:01
Oh, they don't know that though. So it looks amazing. It's working flawlessly.
Pj Metz 56:05
I can't believe that. It is talking and is the main character in the game.
Brandon Minnick 56:12
It's great. But But yeah, do do follow Ben on Twitch twitch TV slash or twitch.tv. Slash Ben btg. is in you also do right? Or what what do you stream I should ask the game development, 3d development,
Ben Buttigieg 56:27
mobile development. I'm trying to get into a routine I really that's definitely something I need to work on myself is getting a regular routine like you guys, like, you set it and you stick to it. And we every week, you say right, this is the day I'm gonna be doing it. And yeah, so I'm just trying to get everything in order so that I can say, yeah, I'll definitely commit to doing this. But at the moment, I've been doing it ad hoc, just like okay, when I have a couple of hours to spend, I'll share I'm going to be live streaming me 3d modeling blender. But yes, in the next few weeks. Yeah, I'll start doing it regularly. now. I'll share them on Twitter. Yeah, when I start,
Pj Metz 57:09
Twitch is great. Because it really is, it's when you've got the time you're like, I'm just gonna do it. It's the thing I'm gonna be doing anyway, I might as well do it in front of y'all. Because then people feel that connection through twitch or something really special about it. So yeah, if you're gonna be working on that chair, if you're gonna be working on like, models for that game, just get out there and do it and it creates a little accountability to is what I've noticed.
Ben Buttigieg 57:32
Without a doubt, that's without a doubt the thing I've learned from it, so I get support and the accountability to say, right, I'm committing to doing this. And yeah, that's Yeah, definitely. I agree with that.
Pj Metz 57:42
Well, I definitely went and followed you immediately once I saw that URL come up. So I'm following you, everyone else. You should go follow him. Once again. That's twitch.tv backslash Ben btg. Go follow him. It'll be great. Yeah, and scribe to give him money. Right, and drive. And
Brandon Minnick 58:06
go. We only have about a minute and a half left. So we know you've got this amazing twitch channel, Twitch. tv twitch.tv. Slash Ben. Ben btg. youtube channel youtube.com. Slash Ben btg. Where else can folks find you?
Ben Buttigieg 58:25
Anything with Ben btg. So any platform you're interested in? Chances are I've created an account on it. It's been btg. I try and get the earliest possible I got my Twitter account, like 10 years ago, whenever it first opened. And I've tried to follow that. Just grab that account as soon as possible.
Pj Metz 58:48
Right. It's nice to have the branding connect to everything. Yeah. But nobody else do that.
Unknown Speaker 58:56
No one else can.
Pj Metz 58:58
Go open up a Ben btg. On another platform. Leave it. Yeah, please.
Brandon Minnick 59:04
Just again. What's that new chat app where it's?
Pj Metz 59:08
Is it the audio? Only one?
Brandon Minnick 59:10
Yeah. There's like a preview on the iPhone. Ah, I'm blinking snap.
Pj Metz 59:15
That's the one that wasn't very accessible. I remember that.
Brandon Minnick 59:19
That's right. It's invite only. But let's see. So Ben, with about 30 seconds left. You mentioned you have a background in philosophy. What advice quickly would you give to folks in the tech community based off of your philosophy background?
Pj Metz 59:35
Let's go play it out.
Ben Buttigieg 59:35
Do Yeah, well, I would say don't be afraid to get out your comfort zone. So that is without a doubt. The thing that I've always embraced during this show, to be honest with you, it frightens the hell out of me. doing stuff stuff live is is really nerve wracking. But I love to be out of my comfort zone and it really pushes me and just makes you a better person. And you evolve and grow.
Pj Metz 1:00:04
That's right. Great advice. Growth only comes from discomfort.
Brandon Minnick 1:00:08
Well said, Well, thanks, everybody for joining us again this week on iPads. Tune in next week 1pm Pacific and we'll see you then. Bye bye