It’s been a while since our last Developer Spotlight with Brinly Taylor (UberLaggy Darwin) in August 2015. This time around we are moving the spotlight over to Michael Bestas. Mike is responsible for several Oppo and Sony devices including the R7. Developer Spotlights are a public nudge of appreciation to the developers that tirelessly work and contribute to a greater cause for a better OS.
Hey Mike, tell us a little bit about yourself. What can we expect from you in the average day?
M. Bestas: Since last year I work with my father as a smith (not sure this is the correct word, creating metal constructions) and in my free time I work on CM or tinker around with computers.
Do you have any shared interests that you have found working with metal and working with code?
M. Bestas: I always liked creating stuff. I’d say the common thing is that with the proper knowledge you can create anything you imagine, with metal or code.
So taking a manifestation and creating a tangible/visible product right? That’s pretty awesome.
Which devices are you currently maintaining and supporting?
M. Bestas: At the moment I officially maintain OPPO Find7 variants and helping in YU Yureka & Yuphoria bringup. OPPO R7f is also close to official support, just got a couple bugs to squash first. I also maintain unofficial builds for 11 Sony Ericsson 2011 devices.
Are there any devices you look forward to? Which of the new devices have caught your interest?
To be honest most new flagships don’t surprise me anymore. If I had to choose one of the recent new devices, that would be Nextbit Robin. Its design is something new, not another dull device.
We have a few floating around the office, what exactly attracts you to it?
Mainly the colors and the fact that it’s not just another copy of some other manufacturer’s design. You can also put CM on it.
I have to admit I like the modular look and feel.
What do you think that today’s big manufacturers can do to be different in both hardware and software?
M. Bestas: I think device specs don’t matter a lot anymore, since we have powerful SoCs even on low end devices nowadays. The manufacturers should just figure out the right combination of hardware components and be a little bit more creative with design. The real problem is in software though, we need more bloatware-free devices with frequent OS updates. Google is doing great with their monthly security updates and developer previews, but I haven’t seen any other manufacturer come close to that. Security is important but sadly it’s ignored.
Agreed. On another note, what does Mike Bestas do on his free time?
Most of my time is spent fixing bugs or implementing features in CM. I also like experimenting with electronics and Internet of Things. Not very interesting, but that’s mainly caused by the poor economic situation in my country which doesn’t allow people try new things.
Electronics are definitely entertaining to tear apart. I used to get into trouble for tearing my RC cars apart.
What inspired you to start writing code and which language did you start on?
M. Bestas: My first programming experience was back in 2002 when I was about 11 years old, my uncle wrote some tutorials and installed Delphi on my PC. It was a nice experience but I didn’t take coding seriously until 2010 when I started looking into java/C and android stuff.
Was there anyone in particular that inspired you to start programming?
I think the biggest inspiration was from the FreeXperia team back in 2010 (defer, jerpelea, Kali-, nobodyAtall).
Do you have any side projects you are currently working on you would like to share?
M. Bestas: Not at the moment, but I am planning something for the following months. Can’t reveal any details though.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to start programming?
In my opinion if you really like coding and have determination towards it, you don’t need to wait for some advice. Start it now, the more you work on it the more you learn. There are many tutorials/books for any language you choose and you can solve 99% of your questions with a simple google search. If you’re willing to learn others will be also willing to help, so don’t expect to be spoon fed when asking for help.
That sounds like some pretty solid advice. Are there any languages you recommend to start with or would you say languages are like an ‘acquired taste’?
M. Bestas: Well, language choice is mainly about personal taste but if I had to choose I’d recommend python or java for first-time learners, I had a lot of fun learning python (still a noob though)
Python was the first language I attempted in college. Fun language and easy to pick up. Is there anything you would like to say before I end this interview?
M. Bestas: I’d like to see more frequent developer spotlight posts, keep ’em coming!
Stay tuned for the next Developer Spotlight!