Our feature this week is written by Rod Liberal, creator of Screen Time Media Time Manager for the iPhone & iPad. Rod is one of our Dads here at Moms With Apps, and today he talks about the compelling side of developing for iOS, and the goals he has for the healthy intersection of kids and technology.
In 2003 I suffered a near fatal lightning accident while climbing the Tetons in Wyoming. In that same year, about 3 months prior to that dreadful day, my oldest son was born. While most dads’ lives at the same stage are changing for the best, mine had just taken a turn for the worst, at least for the year to follow.
Needless to say, an experience of that magnitude changed me very much. All my goals, dreams, questions of purpose and self worth, and most importantly, fatherhood came to light front and center with the realization that I wasn’t as invincible as I once thought.
I’ve been developing software and web sites since I got married way back in the late 90’s, as I tell my kids now, and have enjoyed what I do. I see programming as one of the new and one of the last true arts left. It’s a craft, really, to be able to use your imagination and creativity, knowledge and skills, to create imaginative solutions to today’s challenges. I’ve worked for some big companies where you’re one of many contributors and for some smaller ones where the weight of the future of a small group of people rely heavily on your dedication and work ethics. In both cases, my work has provided me with an immense amount of accomplishment and satisfaction over the years.
With the opening of Apple’s App Store, independent developers were given a chance to propel their creativity and skills to the fore front of software development, head to head with the big players in the game, right into the consumers’ hands. It’s truly an exciting time to be a software developer today.
What has really amazed me, however, is who the developers are. From stay-at-home parents to 14-year-old students, more and more great ideas are coming to fruition from busy people whose main daily duties involve changing diapers, correcting homework, shoveling snow, compiling code, tending to sick kids, requesting reviews, submitting bug fixes, writing blogs, planning birthday parties, so on and so forth.
These amazing people, I know, I’m trying to be one of them, go to bed every (late) night wishing there were more hours in the day. And they get out of the bed the next morning and hit the ground running to accomplish all they have to accomplish that day plus whatever they may have missed the day before.
I don’t particularly have anything against multi-level marketing, taxes, and timeshares, but my last 3 jobs in these industries, consecutively, haven’t quite fulfilled my desires of accomplishing anything I may be able to call a “legacy” at some point in my life.
Like many here at Moms With Apps, I decided to put my skills to use for a greater cause: my children. It’s with them in mind that all here have developed and continue to develop iPhone and iPad apps that immensely contribute to our children’s educational, psychological, and social development.
My own app, Screen Time – Media Time Manager, while admitedly not the most popular one among many developers who are trying to feed their family by the amount of time you spend using their products, was written with the same concern and goal we all share here; we want to raise children who have a balanced lifestyle and spend their time in front of the screen with educational purpose while having fun at the same time.
I have met some amazing people since I’ve been networking with other developers and parents here at MWA. There is a very high level of dedication and care put into the apps you’ll find here that can only come from parents who have their own kids as inspiration (and “guinea pigs”).
I’m now the dad of 3 very healthy, exciting, smart, and handsome boys. They will continue to be my inspiration to contribute my skills to this community of equally caring parents and hopefully make a small difference in the lives of your children as well.
There are some exciting things happening here and in the world of mobile apps and you won’t want to miss it!