Stacie Arellano

Artist, Author, Web Maven

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Questions to ask new clients

While I don’t have many freelance clients currently, I’m often approached by friends/family and word of mouth contacts who want to know what X or Y might cost.

How much will a website cost me‘ is a very hard question to answer without more information. I’ve gathered a few questions that have come up, and some that have been forgotten in the past. Without some of these answers it’s impossible to properly predict:

  1. actual cost
  2. hours
  3. cultural fit with client

So, next time you get approached for side project work, consider using some of these questions to gather requirements.  It’sby no means an exhaustive list, but is a good start.

As an aside, if you’re looking for a nice solution for hour-tracking, time estimates, and invoices, check out Harvest App.


  • What is your budget?
  • When did you need to launch your site or app?
  • Do you already have a website or app, on what technology?
  • What functional requirements/or new features are you looking for?
  • Do you have a design/designer for the app or site?
  • Are there any color preferences or corporate branding that you want to use?
  • Will you require responsive design (adapts automatically to mobile devices)?
  • Is there anything that you would like to have included in the new website that you lack currently?

Company Genetics/Brand/Agenda

  • Who is your audience/What is the target demographic of your website visitors?
  • What differentiates your company from your competitors?
  • Are there any short-term or long-term corporate goals that need to be considered a redesign or new version update?
  • List a few competitors’ sites/apps that you’d consider benchmark companies?
  • What elements of these companies’ websites and/or their online activity would you like to model in your redesign?
  • What is the ultimate goal or metric of success for this product?

Contact info

  • Who is the main point of contact?
  • What phone number/email?
  • How often would you prefer to be updated?
  • Do you prefer to use basecamp/slack or any other collaborative site?

How to fix Xcode Crashes

Tips for when your Xcode/beta crashes when you try to run.

TLDR: Xcode was crashing after building successfully but before running. Deleting my User Prefs fixed my error, but I’ve listed the steps I tried, and some other best practice options below.

My problem was this: Xcode 8 beta 2 arrived, and I went merrily on my way playing with all the great stuff we learned about at WWDC.

However, everytime I tried to build and run in the new Xcode beta 2 (and later in beta 3) I would get a successful build and then the whole program would crash without opening the simulator or deploying to a device.

I talked to a lot of people in my knowledge network, and did all sorts of searching on the error I was getting:

“Exception Type: EXC_CRASH (SIGABRT)
Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000

Application Specific Information:
ProductBuildVersion: 8S162m
_ASSERTION FAILURE_ in /Library/Caches/”

This was strange, because the app I was working on was not using SpriteKit at all.  It was from a tutorial from Paul Hudson from his new Practical iOS 10 book. (which is great so far, fyi)

To test that it wasn’t something I’d done in the project, I made a new blank one, cleverly named ‘dontcrash’, and tried to build and run it. Xcode crashed again.

I actually ended up with several blank apps: dontcrash2, dontcrash3 dontcrashXcodebeta3 and finally- CrashyApp, before I hit on the solution. 

Basic Options for Xcode Crashes

  1. Clean the project.
  2. Target a different simulator you haven’t tried with the project yet.
  3. Delete Derived Data directory
  4. Delete app, re-install.
  5. Delete User Preferences
    1. As mentioned here:
    2. Note: Deleting the app and reinstalling does not remove the user preferences.
    3. This fixed my problem.Not sure how my prefs got confused in the first place.

Advanced options (I didn’t get this far)

  • Monitor memory usage in the Debug navigator
  • Inspect a few malloc generations in Instruments


DrupalCon 2016 – New Orleans

Just returned from my first Drupalcon ever. It was held in fabulous New Orleans where the temps were in the 70s and 80s. Then I came back to Wisconsin where the temps are 40s and 50s, brrr.

Here is a quick run down on the tech I learned about, I have so much to dig into and learn!

Drupal 8:

Quick rundown for Drupal 8 -Kickstart Video

Drupal 8 Kickstart Session Video


Dev Ops -Workflow, Automation and Performance Tuning.

My overall takeaways:

We need to get our workflow in order, and we have so much to dive into for 8. Lots of the optimization will help our Drupal 7 installs as well.

I’d really like to get some common/version controlled local environments setup, like with Vagrant, so we can all be using the same local, and keep that under version control.

Standardize! Automate! Version!


Xcode:SpriteKit Scene Building Tip

Right click to unlock node or select locked nodes.

iOS Project Log 12

Things are coming together.

Fixed a lot of auto layout issues, added a true type font to the app bundleStruggled with the scene builder quite a bit. it lacks precision tools, so I’m trying continue to create things in Tiled.

Started to add SKTileMap to my project, which will read both the objects/boundaries i place in Tiled, but also send the graphic information in the JSON export.



Tollway Towers Main Menu

Tollway Towers Main Menu


Tollway Towers Settings

Tollway Towers Settings


Tollway Towers Credits

Tollway Towers Credits

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