As most of you guys know, TestFlight was the best mobile testing and distribution platform for iOS developers. Well, that is now a thing of the past as Apple has shut down testflightapp.com in favor of their internal testing process. One of the biggest gripes with the internal process is your app must go through review in order to be deployed to testers.

After TestFlight went offline we had to pick another mobile testing platform. We tried out a few different ones, but overall found HockeyApp to be the most robust. Even-though it does have a monthly fee (TestFlight was free) it wasn’t too bad, basically $10/mo for the first 25 apps. One of the coolest features I found (so far) in HockeyApp is the ability to integrate crash reports and issue trackers. At PixelBit, we use JIRA and to our surprise that is one of the integrated options. After some setup on HockeyApp, configuring a WebHook in JIRA and throwing some errors to test the integration, its all set up and working. Took about 5 minutes from start to finish.

Here is how the integration works. When a crash happens in your app, a notification is sent to HockeyApp. Once the integration is configured this crash log can be sent to JIRA via a webhook and create (or update) a ticket. The crash log, link to the report and high-level information is created in the JIRA ticket. Here is an example crash:

hockey-app-jira-linked

 

Configuring the process

Basically all you have to do is in HockeyApp visit the App settings (Manage App > Bug Tracker). Log in to your JIRA account, pick your project and make sure you enable “Auto Create Ticket” otherwise a ticket will not be created. Once your project is selected, copy the WebHook URL at the bottom of the screen. Finally, click Save.

hokey-app-settings

Now in JIRA pick your project and go to (Settings > Projects > System). Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “WebHooks”. Click “Create a Webhook” and paste that URL from HockeyApp. Finally, make sure “created” is checked under Issues.

jira-webhook-settings

That’s it, now you should have integrated issue tracking with HockeyApp and JIRA. HockeyApp does have support for other issue trackers as well. This process is especially useful in multi-person team environments, it allows the developers to stay in sync with crash bugs and removes the tedious step of issue tracking for bugs.

Note: It only seems to alert on the first crash bug for a set, additionally if can exclude some bugs/categories/projects using JIRA JQL.



Not sure if it was just me, but it feels like I was just reflecting on 2013. This past year has had some lows and highs, but overall its been a great year. To start, rather than listing out those traditional New Years resolutions (as if a ball dropping marks some reset in productivity or bad habits). I like to take the start of a new year to reflect on the previous accomplishments and setbacks, learn from them and hustle harder in the year to come.

Things Never Go as Planned

Let’s start with what didn’t work or go as planned. I had set a goal of hiring a full time sales person last year, but due in part to timing I decided not to risk it. This was single handily the worst possible idea, we were really busy at year start, saw a lull in the mid-year and thankfully ended off strong. However, had we taken that sales risk, it would have been a much more profitable year. In addition, we let outreach and marketing take a back seat to client demands which in turn contributed to that lull during mid-year. Rather than sit and sulk (no point in that) we took this experience and set aside a plan to expand this year and continue to grow our service and market range.

Key takeaway: Don’t let fear and failure stop you from taking risks.

Focus on the Good

Thanks to amazing opportunities, PixelBit was able to work on and ship some great projects. If you’d like to see more of the work shipped last year, just head on over to our updated website, go ahead, i’ll wait. :) One of our clients had the great fortune to be featured on a TV show focused on bars. In addition, we were able to secure the trademark for PixelBit, which while not groundbreaking is a big step to expanding and validating our brand. We are already working on 2015 and will be sure to post updates. Of course if you want to follow our progress, you can do so on Twitter and Facebook.

Personal Updates

On the personal front I was able to achieve one of my goals, which was to buy a sports car, purely for fun and enjoyment. Not long after buying the car I joined the BMWCCA and was instantly exposed to autocross. I won’t go into many details (I have blog posts for that), but I will say it was an amazing experience. One i’m looking forward to attending in the coming year. In addition to autocross, I am hoping to make some track days.

Additionally, my wife and I finally were able to take some time off and took a road trip to Florida. We spent some days on the road, about a week in Disney, some time with family and then drove back again. It was quite the experience, compared to flying and one i’m excited to do again. Not sure our son enjoyed it as much, but next time we plan to stop more along the way. Hopefully make the trip the fun and the destination the cherry on top.

In all 2014 was a good year. It had personal and professional accomplishments, lots of growth and i’m excited for what 2015 offers. One thing for sure I know I am focusing on this year is family, friends and experiences. Of course i’ll still be working and growing, but money/success/growth isn’t the only thing in life. So, now that i’ve rambled on for a while, how is your reflection on last year?

The following 15 secrets of professional success are something I live by, its how i’ve continued to grow PixelBit and how we retain amazing relationships with our clients.

Some have been learned through experience and others i’ve adopted from fellow entrepreneurs.

  1. A brand is grown, not built.
  2. Keep your opinions away from your business.
  3. Never stop hustling/growing/learning/experimenting.
  4. Spend less time watching your competition and more time working.
  5. Talk less, listen more.
  6. Talk less, do more!! (show, don’t tell)
  7. Tailor your message (marketing/in-person) for the specific audience.
  8. NEVER agree to something you cannot do.
  9. Image/reputation takes years of hard work to grow and only seconds to ruin.
  10. Always be honest and true to your word.
  11. Never be afraid to talk about what you do, but don’t overdo it.
  12. Make sure all members of your company speak the “voice of the company”.
  13. Hire fast, fire quicker.
  14. NEVER make a client feel less important, takes years to perfect, but IMPORTANT!
  15. Specialize, don’t generalize.

Bonus secret: Work/growth is important, but don’t forget to live outside of working.

Finally was able to dust off the DSLR and shoot some photos. I remember when I would shoot 1000 photos a month, now i’m lucky if I get 100 a year. Between growing PixelBit, family activities and other hobbies, I never have time for photography.

After working out some kinks in how to shoot in low light, I was able to capture some pretty great photos. Here is one of them:

BMW in the rain

Shooting in less than ideal conditions (rain in this case) really can yield some great results. I love how the reflections and water drops glisten as the sun was setting.

Hope you enjoy. If you want to see more, head over to Flickr.

I have also been doing some quadcopter photography and will be posting those results soon, but here is a teaser.

BMW M3 from above

1553277_390493247771702_4854206251151703301_o
Photo Credit: Jesus Mendez

The following is a series of tips, tricks and observations i’ve noted from my previous autocross events. Note, I am a novice and have TONS of room to grow, i’m basically providing this insight as I progress and hope it helps others.  I will continue to provide more as I attend more events. The key piece is to keep an open mind, always be open to learning more and just have fun!

This past season was my first in autocross. After learning about some events run by the Boston chapter of the BMWCCA I was hooked. I’ve made some great friends and met a lot of very helpful instructors. I’ve even seen a personal improvement (shaved 10 seconds off my last run).

Tips from previous runs

  1. Constantly keep talking to fellow drivers/visitors
  2. Don’t be afraid to approach the veterans, many are VERY open to chat
  3. Talk less and listen more
  4. Do take an instructor along for most runs, but also run some solo
  5. While working the course watch the cars lines and actions
  6. Get as many ride-alongs as possible at each event
  7. During ride-alongs watch drivers inputs and basic line, but don’t mimic.
  8. First run of a course should be about exploration, not speed or times
  9. More speed requires faster inputs and more room for error
  10. Slaloms require smooth wheel movements, maintain speed
  11. Most courses don’t require shifting, get into desired gear and use acc/brake only
  12. Turn off driving aids to learn your car, but be safe.
  13. Smooth out your inputs as you progress
  14. Practice the right habits, bad ones are hard to break.
  15. Bring a GoPro, it makes for some great footage!

Things to bring

  • Shoes for driving (Puma makes some great ones)
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen
  • Helmet, if you have one (some events have loaners)
  • Clothes appropriate for the weather and change of clothes
  • Raincoat, umbrella or poncho for course work and standing around
  • A folding chair (fold up campers chair works best)
  • Lots of water in a cooler with ice
  • Lunch or cash to buy lunch from the events (varies)
  • Cooler for lunch, beverages or snacks
  • Notebook and pencil to write down all advice and sketch course for review
  • Good tire pressure gauge (can find one on Amazon for short $$)
  • Portable air tank or compressor (plug-in or gas powered)
  • Chalk or white shoe polish to mark the tires (remove after event to prevent marks)
  • Numbers or painters tape for numbers (usually needed to be 8-10 inches high)

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