Swift 3 for Absolute Beginners: Book By Gary Bennett

Looking to learn some Swift 3? Then, you’re in luck! Our Chief Architect, Gary Bennett, has co-authored a new book all about Swift 3. Whether you’re totally new to programming, our you’re just new to Swift 3, this book is an excellent rundown of the language. Available for pre-order now!

Swift 3 for Absolute Beginners

This book is perfect for those with no programming background, those with some programming experience but no object-oriented experience, or those that have a great idea for an app but haven’t programmed since school, and it is now updated for Swift 3.

Gary Bennett and Brad Lees are full-time professional iOS developers and have developed a broad spectrum of apps for Fortune 500 companies. The authors have taken their combined 12 years of writing apps, teaching online iOS courses, the experience from their first three iOS books, along with their online instruction and free online forum at XcelMe.com to create an excellent training book.

Many people have a difficult time believing they can learn to write iOS apps or just staying motivated through learning the process. This book, along with the free, live online training sessions, will help readers stay motivated and overcome obstacles while they learn to be great iOS developers.

What you’ll learn
– Using Swift Playgrounds to learn iOS development quickly
– What is Object Oriented Programming
– What are Swift classes, properties, and functions
– Proper user interface and user experience design
– Swift data types: integers, floats, strings, booleans
– How to use Swift data collections: arrays and dictionaries
– Boolean logic, comparing data, and flow control
– Writing iPhone and Watch apps from scratch
– Introduction to HealthKit

Who this book is for
This book is for anyone who wants to learn to develop apps for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and Watch using the Swift programming language. No previous programming experience is necessary.

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IoT connected home

IoT Month: Welcome to the Connected Home

Your morning alarm goes off, the lights slowly brighten, and your first cup of coffee starts brewing. In the IoT connected home, your morning routine is just one of the smaller aspects of life that can be automated, customized, and streamlined.

Aside from the novelty of controlling your home appliances through your smartphone and the internet, it’s all about quality of life improvement. Monotonous or complicated tasks can be easily automated, while other aspects of your home can be controlled in a way that simply wasn’t possible before IoT devices. Making household items “smart” doesn’t cut it, though. The connected item has to solve a problem or make life a little bit easier.

Some of the most popular connected home devices turn existing household objects into smart devices. Afterall, buying new appliances, gadgets, and even light bulbs, to make your home smarter can be a tough sell. Instead, it’s often easier, and more cost-effective, to smarten up your old “dumb” appliances and gadgets. For example, you can turn practically any surface in your home into a smart remote with a little gadget called Knocki. Or, you can reap the benefits of a $5000 smart fridge just by slapping a $100 Smarter cam on your existing fridge.

One of the most exciting things about the connected home, is the ability for smart devices to communicate with each other. Stringing together smart devices can allow you to automate anything from your morning routine, to a custom home security protocol when you leave the house.

In order to continue the advancement of the connected home, we’ll need to focus on a few things:

  1. Unified communication protocol so that smart devices from different manufacturers can properly link to each other.
  2. Collaborative partners to avoid the drop-off trend of new IoT devices. For example, an alarm clock manufacturer partnering with the light bulb manufacturer and coffee maker manufacturer for your morning routine.
  3. Security, security, security. IoT devices are notoriously recruited for botnet-style DDoS attacks due to their lack-lustre security protocols.

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at the connected home, we’ll dive into smart IoT-connected cities, next week. If you missed our Intro to IoT, check it out!

To stay up to date on all things Rare Labs, please follow our Twitter and Facebook pages. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover, just drop us a line!

IoT Month: Introduction to the Internet of Things

Let’s try something new! Each month, we’ll focus on a tech topic that Rare Labs is involved in. For the month of December, we’ll be focusing on the Internet of Things . Be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for daily IoT news all month. Then, come back here every Wednesday for a new blog post!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Internet of Things, it’s a broad term that covers the series of interconnected devices, computers, and even people that can transmit data over a network without requiring human-to-human interaction. In short, IoT devices are the “smart” objects throughout your daily life. From your fridge, to your car, to your pacemaker, IoT devices are a part of almost everyone’s life.

Automation of monotonous tasks, interlinking of household tech, and improving quality of life are just a few of the exciting thing that IoT devices can deliver – plus, the tech is just plain cool! The makerspace and DiY movements are causing a boom in the industry. Now more than ever, inventors and tech geeks have the ability to prototype and produce awesome tech devices at an incredibly rapid pace. This is part of what makes the Internet of Things space so interesting; it’s growing fast, and quirky new tech innovations are popping up left and right.

Throughout the month, we’ll be discussing the most popular topics in the Internet of Things.

  1. The Connected Home
  2. Smart Cities of Now and the Future
  3. IoT in 2017

In the meantime, be sure to check out our Lunch and Learn presentation to find out how you can get started building your first IoT device!

We’ll see you next week!

To stay up to date on all things Rare Labs, please follow our Twitter and Facebook pages. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover, just drop us a line!

Lessons in IoT: First Things First

Your First IoT Device

Developing an IoT device can seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time doing so. Last week, as a Platinum Sponsor of the Arizona Technology Council, we held a Lunch and Learn discussion all about developing and maintaining your first IoT device.

Lessons From Creating The Solarable

Using the Solarable as an example, Rare Labs Chief Architect, Gary Bennett, explained the step-by-step process of creating an IoT device. From determining your hardware and sensors, to security issues, to update options, Gary gave his suggestions based on his experience in creating the Solarable device.

7 Useful Resources & Tools

Along with the story of how the Solarable was created, Gary compiled a list of 7 useful resources and tools for first-time IoT developers.

  • Sparkfun and Adafruit are useful for IoT items, kits, and “getting started” videos
  • Digi-Key Electronics is useful for IoT items and parts
  • Lulzbot, the 3D printer, is useful for rapid prototyping
  • Thingiverse is useful for finding 3D printer files and web-based software
  • Fritzing is useful for breadboards, schematics, and PCB prototyping
  • Solidworks is useful for modeling, part fitting, and production

IT Managed Services

After creating your first IoT device, Day 2 can be a scary time. An IT managed services company such as Valor Global can help to mitigate this fear. These service companies help to expand and augment your existing IT staff, allow your team to focus on strategic initiatives, and provide the valuable Day 2, ongoing support that often goes overlooked.

Please feel free to download the full PDF presentation here: IoT Lunch and Learn

To stay up-to-date on all things Rare Labs, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! If you have a topic that you’d like us to cover in our blog, drop us a line.

8 to Glory at the PBR World Finals


8 to Glory Air Time Sweepstakes

Throughout the week before the PBR World Finals, players were challenged to score 90 points or higher on one of the toughest bulls in the game, Air Time. Each player with a successful 90-point ride was entered into the sweepstakes, the prize being a free ticket to see the PBR BFTS World Finals event in Las Vegas, November 6.

During the in-game event, there were over 400,000 rides, over 8,000 attempted rides on Air Time, 960 successful rides on Air Time, 621 qualifying rides on Air Time, and just 413 unique players that were able to cover Air Time for the required 90 points.

The PBR BFTS World Finals featured the world’s top bull riders and the rankest bulls – Air Time being one of the fiercest. As the culminating event of the PBR BFTS season, the World Finals can be likened to the NFL Super Bowl. The weeklong celebration and competition filled the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with fans ready to see the toughest sport on dirt. Courtesy of Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team and 8 to Glory, a handful of those fans were the hardcore players that landed the elusive 90-point ride on Air Time.

8 to Glory Air Time Bounty

Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team, the owners of the infamous Air Time, put out an 8 to Glory bull bonus. Any PBR rider to draw Air Time, and successfully cover the bull for the full 8 seconds, would win a cool $25,000 in cash. Even with top-tier rider JB Mauney drawing Air Time on the final day, no rider was able to take home the bonus. Air Time’s performance wasn’t enough to win the Bull Championship, but the bull closed out the season having bucked off every rider in under 8 seconds.

Game Updates

The 8 to Glory team spent the weekend cataloging even more riders for the game. Each rider is scanned using a state-of-the-art camera system. The images are then combined to create a realistic 3D model that mirrors the rider’s likeness. As we approach the 2017 PBR BFTS season, more riders, bulls, and events will be added to 8 to Glory.

For more about 8 to Glory, be sure to follow the official pages on Facebook and Twitter. If you aren’t already in on the action, you can download 8 to Glory for free on Android and iOS.

Lunch & Learn: IoT - First Things First

Rare Labs hosts the Arizona Technology Council Lunch & Learn, Thursday, November 3 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

Do you have an Internet Of Things (IoT) idea and need to know where to start? Do you know what IoT is?

Come visit AZTC Platinum Sponsor Rare Labs and learn more about IoT at the Lunch and Learn hosted by Rare Labs and Valor Global Services. Rare Labs will provide an overview of IoT and idea conception through realization in identifying the following: appropriate hardware components, development considerations and pitfalls to be aware of, forming partnerships, and promoting your IoT product. In addition to launching your IoT product, be educated in how to store your data securely, identifying an hosting provider, and how to manage the critical data captured through your IoT product. Valor Global Services, an IT Managed Service provider will be sharing their thoughts and recommendations in storing your data in the cloud or within your data center.


Should I Attend?
Are you a marketer, product Owner/manager, entrepreneur, strategist or a tech leader? If so, yes, you should attend!
Interested in attending? Register here in advance to secure your spot.

SCRUM, like rugby, but in a dev shop.

Tech is evolving very rapidly, therefore, tech development techniques need to keep pace. A few times each month, we will be interviewing members of the Rare Labs team about their areas of expertise, and the latest trends in said areas.

This week, we’ll be discussing SCRUM. Not the free-for-all melee in a rugby match, but the software development methodology. SCRUM, much like its name implies, is a fluid and flexible methodology. It is unlike the traditional, lock-step, and sequential approach to project management and software development. Its agility and adaptability allow for teams to quickly respond to change, rather than being locked into a strict plan of action.

Here’s what our project manager, Katie Fissinger, had to say about how we use SCRUM and the Agile methodology at Rare Labs.

Do you know exactly how much value you delivered to your customers last week, month or quarter? Here at Rare Labs we do! We have the ability to measure our developer’s performance to gain end-to-end visibility from concept to product. At Rare Labs we employ the Agile/SCRUM methodology in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration. We promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development to ensure rapid and flexible response to Client needs. Using Agile/SCRUM, we have the unique ability to respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work and empirical feedback. We at Rare Labs love Agile because it provides us opportunities to assess the direction of a project throughout the development lifecycle.

As the Scrum Master and Project Manager at Rare Labs we implement Scrum into ten easy steps:
1. Create your backlog
2. Estimate your product backlog
3. Sprint planning/clarifying requirements
4. Sprint planning/ estimating tasks
5. Create a collaborative workspace
6. Start the Sprint!
7. Stand ups occur daily!
8. Track your progress with a daily burndown chart
9. Definition of done-done
10. Review, reflect, repeat…

We have found that the Scrum development process allows us a better workforce management. We especially enhance our customer and client relationships. Most importantly Scrum allows visibility into the entirety of the project management process. Through these processes it motivates and inspires us at Rare Labs to be Agile!

To stay up-to-date on all things Rare Labs, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! If you have a topic that you’d like us to cover in our blog, drop us a line.

Data breach

Data Breach: What data in your company is OK to be stolen?

What data in your company is okay to be stolen? The answer is usually, none of it, of course! However obvious it may seem that all of your company’s data is valuable data that should be protected, it is certainly no small task to do so.

Last month, as a Platinum Sponsor, we held a discussion panel around this topic at the Lunch and Learn hosted by the Arizona Technology Council at Appointment Plus.

The Panelists

Arnold Jee, CEO of Rare Labs
Gary Bennett, Chief Architect of Rare Labs
Howard Asher, Executive Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs Certified Advisor
Geoff Odell, CEO of Trusted-HIT

Data Breach

The consequence of falling behind the curve on cyber security is often a breach – the severity of which can vary. While no size of breach should be acceptable, some large breaches have had a massive negative impact on several major companies.

Retail Data Breaches

• Compromised POS terminals related to swiping magnetic strips on credit cards
• Impact: 70 million customers affected

Honda – Canada
• Myhonda and myacura websites hacked
• Impact: 283,000 names, addresses, VIN numbers taken

TK/TJ Maxx
• Largest retail breach: data stolen from wi-fi network of debit/credit card information
• Impact: 94 million users’ data stolen

Healthcare Data Breaches

• Employment information compromised
• Impact: 80 million names, DoBs, member IDs / SSNs, addresses and employment information

South Carolina Government
• Inside job – accessed to personal information and Medicaid beneficiaries
• Impact: 6.4 million affected

UK’s National Health Service
• Laptop with unencrypted records was missing from storage room. Was not reported
until 3 weeks later
• Impact: 8 million patients exposed

Media Data Breaches

Sony Entertainment
• User accounts, music codes/coupons, employee information, film scripts
• Impact: over 100 terabytes of data leaked

Washington Post
• Hackers broke into job posting website
• Impact: 1.2 million users’ IDs and email addresses

• Hackers accessed the website
• Impact: 250K usernames, emails, addresses, and session tokens exposed

Cost of Data Breach

Aside from losing face, companies that have been breached also are left with hefty costs to repair the damages. Take a look at these dizzying numbers.

Incident Detection & Escalation Cost: $600,000/breach
Notification Costs: $560,000/breach
Post Data Breach Costs: $1,640,000/breach
Lost Business Costs: $3,720,000/breach

Broken down on a per user scale, data breaches can cost the affected company anywhere from $175 to $400 per user, depending on the industry.

Challenges in IT

Securing a product or company is much more easily said than done. These are some of the biggest challenges that your IT team will face regarding cyber security.

  1. Endpoints are evolving and always changing
  2. Staying current (Infrastructure, software, VOIP, Patches, etc.)
  3. High financial and human capital investments
  4. Do more with less, and have faster delivery
  5. Offensive – Hackers
  6. Defensive – Lack of a plan

Building a Project : Where to Start

So, maybe we’ve spooked you a bit with the costs and difficulties of protecting your company’s data. While cyber security threats definitely deserve a healthy amount of respect, the threats can be minimized. When starting a project, we suggest taking these steps to help ensure that your data is secure.

  1. Create a plan for BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER your product is
    deployed – utilize the Threat Modeling methodology
  2. Understand the risks – regulated or not for your application
  3. Rank your security objectives and then those of your application (MVP’s)
  4. Note the movement of data – in transit, at rest, and residing at all stages
  5. Identify vulnerabilities – Wear the ‘Hat’ of a defender and attacker.
  6. Build countermeasures: Preventative, Detective, and Corrective

In addition to taking these steps, here are a few pro-tips that may assist you in securing data:

  1. Look for architecture solutions where security is a top concern (UI/UX, Middle, Backend)
  2. Ensure architecture follows best practices (Microsoft and OWASP)
  3. Perform security probes and analysis in early stages of development
  4. Partner with a development team with security expertise, ensure your own staff receive the training they need to keep up with changing security threats


To stay up-to-date on all things Rare Labs, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! If you have a topic that you’d like us to cover in our blog, drop us a line.


The Road to Kickstarter and Crowdfunding

June 21, 2016 – We like to develop technology and solve problems. In fact, we like this so much, we spend our off time thinking about things that can make life easier, better, or simpler through technology. So over the past several months, we’ve been incubating some ideas that we feel could be really useful to a lot of people. We’ve put in time and resources to bring them to the R&D phase, and soon will start rolling them out to show the world what we’ve come up with.

One of the greatest things about creating technology products today is that you can easily test the market for an idea through crowdfunding. Many years ago, this wasn’t possible at all. You would build a prototype, bring it to a retail show of some sort and try to get buyers at a department store, or specialty retailer to carry your product.

Today, you setup a campaign and constantly update the community on your progress. Hopefully, the audience responds and really likes what you have to offer. The process is pretty big though.

These days, you need a solid product, a roadmap, all of your manufacturing and fulfillment costs factored. You also need a marketing and social media outreach plan, media plan, artwork to illustrate what your product does, and some amazing copywriting for your project page. That’s all before you even shoot your video to tell the world what you’re building, why you’re building it, and why you’re the ones to build it.

Most campaigns are 30 days in duration, but the ramp up is sometimes 2-3 times that much. Gathering all of the materials, tuning the messaging, and getting people to take a look so out of the gate you have momentum all take time. It’s not something you nonchalantly walk into and expect success.

So that’s where we are. In addition to our regular work at Rare Labs, we’re working nights and weekends on our first Kickstarter. It’s going to be a fun adventure no matter what happens and we hope you’re one of the first to back our project when it comes. We have to get back to work, but we’ll let you know how things are coming next week.

Rare Labs

Rare Labs Launches Custom Technology Dev Firm

Custom Technology Development Firm, Rare Labs, Launches in Scottsdale Arizona

Rare Labs, New Company backed by Rarity Investments, is Focusing on Market Segments Where Failure is Simply Not an Option

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – May 10, 2016Rare Labs, LLC., a new company focused on custom technology development was announced today. The firm is led by tech veterans Arnold Jee and Gary Bennett, who are well-known in the valley for their skills in developing enterprise solutions which solve complex problems in highly regulated industries. In addition to client work, the company has multiple original intellectual property (IP) projects in the works in the areas of games, IoT, and Apps, as it incubates new ideas, builds prototypes, and brings products through the full development cycle.

“Rare Labs is a company that acts in multiple capacities, as an external technology R&D division, software and hardware developer, and by providing virtual CIO’s for multiple companies in the Phoenix area,” said Arnold Jee, CEO of Rare Labs, LLC. “We have assembled a solid team and with the backing of Rarity Investments, have the ability to grow the company to meet the development needs of our target market.”

“It’s amazing how many companies are looking to build something technological, or are in need of a solution to tie together multiple systems that may have been in use for years, and are highly inefficient, or obsolete,” said Gary Bennett, Chief Architect of Rare Labs, LLC. “We’ve already signed up multiple clients and expect to see our opportunities grow as we complete more projects.”

Rare Labs is currently developing enterprise software and managing systems integration for multiple healthcare companies locally. It’s management team is also performing virtual CIO duties for companies that need strategic direction and planning, but lack the leadership internally to fulfill the role.

The company looks to create multiple new companies from its internal IP development division and is looking for driven entrepreneurs that might be a fit to run these companies as they spin out from Rare Labs over the coming months and years.

About Rare Labs, LLC
Rare Labs is based in Scottsdale and works as an external technology R&D division for multiple companies in the Southwest. The firm employs a variety of specialists in software development, product management, creative design, systems integration, project management and business strategy to give partners a complete solution in a single company. Rare Labs has the goal of being the go-to provider of technology development for companies that need custom solutions that work and provide a strategic advantage in their respective markets. Rare Labs is a Rarity Investments company and has the ability to scale its local development capabilities to meet the needs of the market. For more information, please visit: www.rarelabs.io

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Sean Kauppinen