Android From The Trenches

I recently was slated to present at Philly Emerging Tech last week. Unfortunately a few things came up and I was not able to make it at the last minute. However, I did record my talk and send it to the Philly Emerging Tech team to distribute to their attendees. They have since uploaded the talk to their Vimeo page for everyone to view. Below is that talk. The talk covers my experience in having two apps in the top 100 free category in Google Play. Enjoy.

ETE 2014 – Donn Felker – Android From The Trenches from Chariot Solutions on Vimeo.

The Best Parent I Ever Knew

This is a detour from the regular business and tech stuff I write about, but its still something I thought most people would enjoy.

This is the story of the best parent I ever knew.  

Having kids is one hell of a journey. The first few hours your newborn comes home is a moment filled with happiness, exhaustion and pure fear. Happiness due to the joy of children, the health of your child and family and the joy of creating life. The exhaustion from birth itself (if you’re the woman of course) and the emotions and the energy exerted during the last couple days is overwhelming yet energetic at the same time. Then eventually … the fear sets in. You begin to think – Ummm I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m doing. I hope I don’t mess this thing up. But then you remember you’re the one who prepared for this. Everything will be fine you tell yourself. Just hang in there, it will be Ok. Well, at least thats what I told myself.

The time has come to put your hard planning to work. You’ve had grandiose plans on how to raise your kid. You’ll do everything it takes to make them the shining example of the golden child every parent aspires to have. You’re positive other parents are going to envy your ability to sooth, redirect and manage your children with the nothing but the twitch of a finger. You know how to handle ALL of the situations that are going to arise. Hell, you read the top 10 best selling Baby, child psychology and parenting books on You’re already on’s weekly mailing list for progress statistics. You? You’re doing all your research. You’ve got this. You’ve picked out the best organic lavender cucumber massaging tear free non-sulfate shampoo and body wash money could buy. You’ve got the best strollers, car seats and non BPA bottles you could find. You’ve got this baby thing figured out. You are going to rock this parenting gig like nobody else. You’re not sure why your other friends are having problem managing their kids. Maybe they just don’t work as hard as you? Yeah, thats probably it.  Maybe they just don’t care. There must be something wrong with them, right? Sure. Yeah … Right. You got this, right? Well, ya see, thats what I told myself.

Then life kicked in, WITH kids. Reality set in and you realize everything you thought you knew was wrong and you actually don’t know much of anything about raising kids. You end up texting those same friends you thought were inept parents in a plea for help – “OMG, he/she won’t stop crying/whining, I haven’t slept more than 4 hours in 3 days. I’m losing my mind. He/She won’t go to sleep. I need a moment to breath. Please help, what do I do?” Ha!  Welcome to the beginning of parenting. That was me and my wife with our first and we were calling our friends for help.

At that moment I realized …

I was the best parent I ever knew before I had kids. 

Android Studio – Tips and Tricks Part 2

This is part 2 of the short series of screencasts that demonstrate some common tips and tricks for Android Studio. I’ll show you how to create layout files on the fly, generate xml drawables in seconds and how to generate code to save you tons of time in your day to day development process.

This is the fourth video of a multi part series on Android Studio.

Android Studio – Tips and Tricks Part 1

This video is part 1 of two of a short series of tips and tricks for Android Studio. I’ll show you how to quickly navigate quickly between files, create string resouces on the fly, create entire resources (such as dimens.xml) on the fly.

This is the third video of a multi part series on Android Studio

TekPub: Introduction to Android Series

Want to learn Android? Don’t have time to read a book? has released a new series, produced by yours truly:

Intro to Android by Donn Felker

In this series I will be building the TekPub Android application. During the course of the series you’ll be introduced to Android, the Eclipse IDE, developing with the Android Framework, Java and I’ll also show you how to publish your app to the Android Marketplace (some call it the “App Store”).

Check out the preview here