Ben Dodson

Freelance iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Developer

I’m a UK-based freelance iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV developer and consultant with experience as a Development Manager in top London web agencies as well as running and selling my own businesses. You can read all about my career in my portfolio or take a look at some of my self published apps. Hopefully on this page you’ll be able to learn more about me than you’d find in any resumé – If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

A sense of identity

Ben Dodson

I first started dealing with the web back in 1996 at a time when everybody was creating their own little space on the web to promote themselves and their hobbies. You could get everything from Terry Pratchett fan sites to computer game walkthroughs but crucially there was very little actual business. This, of course, quickly changed and the web went through a period of marketing hype before the inevitable burst of the “dot com” bubble. We then had the re-invention of the internet into that awful phrase “web 2.0″ and I watched the focus of the web swing back again to the individuals that make it and again to creating a sense of identity; your own little niche on the information super highway (another great clichéd phrase). This time, rather than learning HTML and trying to decide if a <MARQUEE> tag (yes it was uppercase in those days) is what you need to stand out, we instead witnessed the birth of the “lifestream”; a syndication of our identity on multiple social networks. Whilst I was very fond of this, it soon became overwhelming to "check in" for every interaction in my life (things are going downhill when you need to share exactly what you're eating, drinking, reading, doing, etc).

Nowadays I prefer to simply list a few of the websites I use regularly. Hopefully you will be able to piece together some of my online identity from the segments scattered on each:

  • Twitter – The micro-blogging service that is now quintessential for everyone involved with tech. I tend to tweet about Apple, LEGO, Politics, and anything else that springs to mind. Whilst you can contact me there, I prefer to receive email for anything that takes more than 140 characters to deal with!
  • GitHub – All of the code that I make available publicly can be found on my GitHub page. Take a look at my projects to see some of it in action.
  • Steam - I'm a big gamer and spend most of my spare time on Steam under the name 'Kylo Ben'. I maintain a site about video games at KyloBen.co.uk
  • Xbox Live - I don't use the Xbox One as much as I used to but I can still be found online occasionally. My profile name is "ThePilotSlayer".

Please note that I do not maintain a profile on LinkedIn; it's a time consuming spam machine. Instead, you can find my CV and work history on this site.

Trivia

I thought it might be fun to have some random facts about me so I’ve added them below for your delectation.

  • I am a massive LEGO geek. I tend to collect any set that is made of over 2000 bricks and I'm rapidly running out of space for it all...
  • I have a first class marksman award for rifle shooting.
  • I play the piano, organ, and sing bass. I also compose my own music (including an hour long opera based on The Fall of Troy).
  • In 2016, Apple updated iOS 10 to require user permission to access the media library after I started a campaign to fix the privacy flaw.
  • I nearly became an Air Traffic Controller in the RAF although I had the aptitude to be a pilot – I am still able to fly 4 seater aircraft.
  • I spent 9 months directing a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Iolanthe” at the Northcott Theatre which had a run of 9 performances over 1 week.
  • I ended up studying Politics & Philosophy at Exeter University but was originally meant to do Psychology.
  • On a project I did with some friends (@carlgaywood & @andykent) at Hack Day London, Yahoo! rewrote their Maps API for us.
  • When I was around 7 years old, my dream job was to be a croupier.

Media

I'm often asked to speak at conferences and on television relating to mobile apps and web development. I've collected a few of my appearances below:

  • Working Lunch - On the 6th December 2007 I was asked to appear on BBC Television's "Working Lunch" program to talk about error messages on e-commerce websites. I’ve also given them various quotes for later programs including a report on online cashback schemes.
  • The Gadget Show - The team from Channel Five's "The Gadget Show" contacted me in mid-2009 to take part in a program about iPhone app development. The program went out in October 2009 and the app that I built, Social Beacon, reached #4 in the free download charts. You can read all about the development of this project on my weblog.
  • Nonick 012 Conference - In June 2012, my app WallaBee was selected as one of the top European gaming startups and I was invited to the Nonick 012 conference to present it to a panel. Out of the 5 startups, mine was chosen as the "Best European Gaming Startup of 2012" and this is an interview I gave shortly after winning. You can also watch my presentation and Q&A along with an interview I gave during the conference.

I have also been asked to do a few interviews relating to iOS app development and the industry in general:

If you're interested in interviewing me or asking me to speak at a conference, etc, please get in touch.

Podcasts

I currently record three podcasts:

Tools used to build this site

  • Jekyll - Static site generator
  • Sublime Text - A powerful text editor used for coding
  • Byword - A beautiful text editor used for writing

I write each entry in Byword (in Markdown format), compile it with Jekyll, and then commit to GitHub before deploying to a FortRabbit server. The generated site is pure HTML 5 with no Javascript or tracking (no analytics whatsoever) so it should load very quickly. Any images are stored on Amazon S3. HTTPS is used throughout.

Current Computer Setup

El Capitan on an iMac with Retina 5K Display (4GHz Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD + 6TB Thunderbolt HDD). I also do some writing on my iPad Pro (12.9" Space Grey, 128GB) and my iPhone 7 Plus (Black, 128GB). I own both Steel (series 0) and Space Grey Sport (series 2) Apple Watches with far too many bands to list.

Design Information

This site was custom designed by me in HTML 5. I didn't bother mocking it up in Photoshop / Sketch as I wanted the site to be all about the text. The font is PT Sans Caption at a standard size of 20px.

Comments

I don't accept comments on my weblog. If you want to comment, either contact me or write on your own weblog and link to the relevant entry.