Who is Joshua Tucker?
Joshua Tucker is just a normal person like you and me. He is a well-known interaction/interface designer for iOS on Cydia and is passionate about creating a better experience for iDevice users. Formerly a writer for ModMyi, he was also an editor for Engadget until March of 2012. A native of Northern California, he’s had opportunities to pursue a variety of activities and sports while growing up. He is a four-time national champion in Acrobatic Gymnastics, an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, and is a former member of El Dorado County’s Search and Rescue team. He loves to travel the world and has been all over the globe. He is currently enrolled at Sacramento State University majoring in Business Administration.
I luckily got to have a one-on-one conversation with Josh and learned more about him than the regular Google Search could procure. Josh is a really outstanding guy that got himself through many doors by just trying. I enjoyed speaking with him because he was just as excited as I was for the interview, which made the conversation more interesting. I am glad that I could get some of his time, and I know with his exciting achievements, I will be asking for more. We started off right off the bat by introducing ourselves and discussing a bit with one another about what our daily lives were all about. We even talked about California and the increasing housing prices and about even about my service in the Army. Overall, we had a good chat and a definite friendship was made. So without further a due, here is Josh in his own words.
So Josh, where are you from ?
I am from Northern California and live in a town about 30 miles east from Sacramento called Cameron Park. I grew up here and still live here with my family.
Where did you go to school ?
I was home schooled until high school. During my high school years, I split between taking online courses and attending my local community college. I graduated early and started college right away. I am still in college majoring in Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Ironically not directly tied to my work in iOS. I think more people should take business classes no matter what major you’re in. The principles and practices you learn to succeed in the business world are just as applicable in real life. You can learn how to manage your finances, make a business work, or how to present products to people and get them out there. That is what I do with my applications and designs. I look at what is wanted and how it would be best represented for the user.
What type of computer/technology background do you have?
I grew up with gadgets and gizmos growing up so I have always wanted to be tech savvy and up on the latest and greatest. My dad got his Masters in Computer Science so our family has always had a background of utilizing technology to the best of our ability, although I would say that my mom and sisters are not as “informed” as my dad and I. Playing video games and toying around with everything electronic when I was younger (and to this day) never hurts either, which may be part of the reason why I enjoy technology a lot now. My interests continue grow and I’m eager to learn more about what the tech world has to offer.
What was your first writing gig?
My first writing gig online was writing App Store app reviews and simple articles for Crazy Mike’s Apps (www.crazymikesapps.com). It wasn’t really going anywhere for me and I decided that it wasn’t important enough to focus all of my time to. I quit writing online for about two years and returned to Crazy Mike’s Apps afterwards and focused my writing on more of the jailbreak community. I transitioned to a website called iEnthusiast for a short period of time and then moved to ModMyi. Before being brought onto the ModMyi team, I asked Kyle Matthews and Cody Overcash, the founders of ModMyi, if they had any openings. I showed them my previous workand showed that I cared a lot about this potential opportunity. They were gracious enough to bring me on and that’s where I truly immersed myself into the writing and jailbreak community.
So you wrote for ModMyi, how was that ?
I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave my great opportunities to improve my writing and establish friendships with a lot of great developers, hackers, and designers for the community. My spectrum of articles for them included tweak and application reviews, interviews, giveaways, and the like. I also had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of ModMyi’s jailbreak guides and system. I wrote for ModMyi until last December, and from there I transitioned to Engadget.
How long were you at Engadget for? And how was your experience there ?
I really enjoyed my experience with Engadget. The team is made up of a many great and admirable people and I learned a lot working alongside them. Due to Engadget’s rank and reputation in the tech community, I was challenged in my writing and style, which was a wonderful part of the job. I unfortunately can’t speak much about Engadget internally but I wrote for them until this past March. The time commitment required was difficult to make and I felt that I wouldn’t be able to give my best work. I left on good terms with the team. I hope that one day in the future if I wish to return, they would consider bringing me back on the team.
What have been your inspirations to get where you are now?
Apple, of course has been the biggest inspiration with their dedication to high-quality products.The bar they’ve set is a great challenge and inspiration for me to create and design the best possible changes and additions to iOS that I can.
What was your first iOS device?
Although my first iOS device was an iPod touch 2nd Generation, I generally tell people who ask that it was an iPhone 3GS. The reason for this is because my iPhone was the first iOS device that I took around with me everywhere. That’s when I really got into analysing and evaluating iOS from a design perspective since it was always on me and I was using it more frequently.
How did you get into the jailbreak scene and what inspired you to do your first application?
My first jailbroken device was my iPhone 4 a year later, but it all began a year prior when my family switched to AT&T. It’s a funny story of how it all happened. My family and I were on Verizon at the time and I had just bought a brand new LG phone and was pretty stoked about the new features that it had to offer. When we moved into our new house that we are at now and found out that we had no service at all with Verizon, I was really bummed out. We called up Verizon and told them about our situation and they told us that they would cancel our contract for free. The only service that worked for our area was AT&T. I remember the night that my parents chatted with me about switching to AT&T. I was very upset. I complained that all my friends had Verizon, I just got a new phone, and threw a fit like any 16 year old would I suppose. But then it dawned on me that I could get an iPhone with AT&T. My frown turned into a smile. I asked my parents if I could purchase an iPhone and that I would pay for it if they allowed me to. They said yes, as long as I used it to its fullest potential by utilizing features such as the calendar to help me with school and my various activities. They were gracious enough to actually pay for the iPhone 3GS for me since I had spent my hard-earned money on a Verizon phone I could no longer use. When I got my 3GS, it became a major device in my life. After toying around with my phone more actively, I began to find things that I wish Apple could have done better and decided to write my own ideas down and do something about them.
What was your first tweak that you created?
The first tweak I created wasCallBar. I worked on the design aspects for a long time since I didn’t know too many coders and developers, but when Elias Limneos agreed to work with me on my concept, I was beyond excited. That got the ball rolling and gave me the drive to continue working on projects and partnering with developers to bring them to life.
What did you think was going to stem from making your own applications?
At the beginning, I mostly designed the ideas for myself because I wanted to see those changes made in iOS, but now I know that there are many other people who would like solutions or changes to the same things I do. I believe that I have a talent in what I do and it’s a pleasure to be able to use it in a way that benefits others as well. It is a delight to see other users say“Wow, I love the way you did this,” or “I love how this app works and it makes my experience on iOS much better”. I love how people can accomplish more with my designs and that they appreciate them.
What are some of the apps you have worked on and developed?
I have help create and develop CallBar, Reveal, Check, Emblem, Merge, and Scale.
Do you think that Apple will ever implement your projects into regular features?
I would love for Apple to implement my ideas so that more people will get access to them. If I could have everyone using what I have created, it would be my ultimate dream come true.
How was JailbreakCon ?
It was an amazing experience. It is a great thing to do because you get to place faces with aliases. You get to be with a group of people that love what they are doing. Everyone gets certain ideas of how people are from how they interact on the Internet and it’s always great to have the opportunity to know someone personally versus your perception of who you think they are. Many times, I feel like many people in this community, possibly myself, get idolized or revered as if we are so much different, when in fact, we are normal people just like everyone else. Some of us have families, kids, and we all have normal jobs. We are normal people. It wasn’t a place for us to “geek out” and strictly talk about jailbreak stuff. We talked, laughed, chatted, and hung out just like any normal group of friends would. I stayed at the JailbreakCon apartment with many of the speakers and the founder of JailbreakCon Craig Fox and it was a total blast. We had a great time together and I look forward to next year in New York for JailbreakCon 2013 to do it all again!
How do you think your presentation went overall ?
I think it went really well. There’s always room for improvement and I’m critical of my presentations, but I enjoyed it and my hope is others did too. I wish I could have demoed my projects better, but the Wi-Fi was jittery and I was limited to just showing photos and explainingwhat my projects were and what they did. It would have been great if it all worked out like it happened when I rehearsed the day before.
Do you have any other projects in the works ?
Most definitely.I am currently working on CallBar v2.0 with Elias Limneos and have active projects with Conrad Kramer, Andrew Richardson, Kyle Howells, Evan Coleman, and others that have not been revealed. Some of my work currently involves updates for current applications as well as entirely new and upcoming releases. I won’t go into much detail but stay tuned for many great releases on the horizon.
What do you have planned for the future ?
One day, I would love to work for Apple and do what I do now. They are the reason why I have the honor of designing what I do I would jump at the opportunityto work internally at Apple or as a designer in iOS for another great company.
Do you think that the jailbreak scene will end ?
A well-known iOS hacker, who I’m blessed to have as a great friend, Cyril (@pod2g) puts it like this, “The jailbreak community will continue to be great until the point where it’s too tedious to find and use exploits.”I believe his statement to be valid but I don’t believe we’ve reached this point and will anytime soon. There is always space for innovation and improvement and I will never confide in the now or the status quo. I will continue to move forward, no matter what, and work towards making iOSeven better since Apple has done a phenomenal job of creating this wonderful environment to work in.
Do you have any tips for writers out there that want to write for tech blogs? What about designers?
When it comes to tech writing, the factors, of course include proper grammar, spelling, and original content. But I would say that the most important factor is building relationships with people. Instead of going the route of just contacting people on the basis of information, build a friendship, so you establish trust and a foundation for something far greater than just pulling that person for information. What’s better, an acquaintance or a friend? The answer seems obvious to me!
For design and development: Just do it. Just jump in. I did it kind of in an unorthodox way, but I just got started and never looked back. I don’t have a design background and simply learned Photoshop on my own by reading books and pouring through tutorials. This is the same for developers also – the principles are no different. I’m actually learning how to code myself but I don’t enjoy it or have had as much success at it as I have with designing. Another great tip I tell people is, whenever you have an idea, write it down immediately. Use your brain to expand on your idea instead of remembering it. Look back at every step of the process and ask yourself“Does this help iOS or does it limit it? Does this help or hinder users?” Think of it like WWAD – What Would Apple Do?How does an average user use their device and how can I design and create something that is native, intuitive, and joyful to the user? Lastly –if you don’t have great passion for what you’re making and don’t care about each and every detail of it, don’t make it. It is clear as day when your best effort isn’t put forward in each and every aspect.
For everyone else, Josh leaves us with some words of wisdom:
You have the power and opportunity to be great at what you do, no matter what it is. You build your own personal spectrum. We live in a society, in my mind, that wants instant gratification with little to no effort or work. Don’t follow this mentality. Remember you earn your fame, status, success, or whatever you may be aiming for.Make what you love doing your own. Take initiative, do hard things, embrace challenges, be open to making mistakes and learning from them. And always remember that you wouldn’t be where you are today without people in your life who encouraged you to do your best and supported you in the things you’ve done. Give back by always being open to share your knowledge and inspire people to be exceptional at what they are passionate about.
Josh is faithful to always ensure that the developers he works with are praised and well-noted for their invaluable work in making what he designs come to life in the most beautiful and wonderful ways. Follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with their work as well as the projects they work on with Josh.