Going Upthere

I’m very happy to announce that I have joined the team at Upthere.

Here’s the gist from upthere.com:

Our team is hard at work in Palo Alto, CA, building out the future of the cloud. We can‘t wait to tell you more, but right now we‘re working very quietly. Some really great engineers and designers who‘ve built some of the world‘s most successful products are already here.

Even though I’m now at a stealth mode startup, I’m not dropping completely out of sight.

I’ll still be speaking at conferences and James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will continue performing and writing new songs whenever inspiration strikes.

In fact, I’m gearing up for a spring tour that starts in England and then criss-crosses the USA. At each stop I’ll be speaking and performing in a Breakpoint Jam — a set of songs from our iTunes chart-topping album Backtrace.

I hope you are able to make it out to one of these excellent conferences. If you do, please say hello! •

Breakpoints in Vegas — Album Preview Jam

Last Friday night, just a stone’s throw away from where Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack performed their legendary shows, James Dempsey and the Breakpoints made their Las Vegas debut. The jam featured songs from the upcoming album Backtrace.

Album Art for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints Album 'Backtrace'Taking the stage for the first time as Conditional Breakpoints were Jean MacDonald (@macgenie) founder at App Camp for Girls, on guitar for Goto Fail; and Matt Smollinger (@mattsmollinger) of Skaffl on backing vocals for The Liki Song.  Josh Smith (@kognate) of AllTrails made a switch from blues xylophone last month to guitar.  Adding to the excitement, Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn), recent hire at everyone’s favorite fruit factory, flew in just in time to don his trademark sunglasses, tune up and jam. Finally, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking delivered his excellent keynote before jumping in on slide-advance keyboard.


Coming this fall

This fall will see the first album release of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints and Breakpoint Jams from coast to coast. Sign up for updates to keep up with the fun!

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An Eclectic Breakpoint Jam in Columbus

The 2014 Fall Tour kicked off at CocoaConf Columbus with the most eclectic collection of instruments ever assembled for a Breakpoint Jam.

It was a night for newcomers to the Breakpoint Jam.

Every breakpoint in the house was conditional except for veteran Breakpoint Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking. Daniel, fresh from the latest revision of his new book, A Swift Kickstart, delivered a fantastic keynote before working his slide-advance magic.

Eric Knapp (@ejknapp) of Madison College introduced the crowd to the Chapman Stick playing a solo song before giving familiar James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs a new twist.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Have you tried the Breakpoint Jam?

CocoaConf mainstay Will LaFrance (@wjlafrance) made his debut as a Conditional Breakpoint on classical guitar.

Reprising his initial performance in Washington DC last March, Mark Dalrymple (@borkware) of Big Nerd Ranch showcased his talents on trombone on Modelin’ Man and vocals on The Liki Song.

Josh Smith (@kognate), co-author of the recently-released Build iOS Games with SpriteKit, arrived at the conference in the midst of transporting a xylophone across state lines, giving Josh a chance to join in the jam as well.

Thanks to everyone in Columbus, we had a great time and hope you did as well!

The Fall Tour continues in at CocoaConf Las Vegas in September, where James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will make their Vegas debut! •

Don’t miss any of the fun, sign up to get email updates!

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March of the Breakpoints — ‘Goto Fail’, Chicago, DC

March was a busy month for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, with a brand new song and video (ripped from the headlines!) and Breakpoint Jams at CocoaConf Chicago and Washington DC.

Goto Fail

Goto Fail is inspired by actual code, the code that caused a big security issue in iOS and OS X earlier this year.  Not that Apple has a monopoly on SSL issues in 2014 — The recent Heartbleed Bug only drives home the last verse in the song:

Don’t think your own code is some bug-free oasis,
It’s probably screwed up in a couple of places.

With Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards on guitar, here’s the video of a live version of Goto Fail:


Chicago Breakpoint Jam

Chicago has been the home of a few firsts for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints — the inaugural Breakpoint Jam in 2013 and the debut of a new song “Goto Fail” in 2014.

Not since Murph and the Magictones has a Chicagoland Holiday Inn rocked so hard.

Joining in on the jam in Chicago were a number of familiar faces:


Washington DC Breakpoint Jam

The spring tour rolled on to Washington DC, where we played our set, managing to avoid the world-famous DC gridlock and partisan bickering.

Most of the Chicago crew was also in DC, with Jonathan Penn on guitar and Daniel Steinberg on slide-advance keyboard.

Keynote speaker Mark Dalrymple (@borkware) of Big Nerd Ranch sat in on Modelin’ Man, bringing a trombone solo to the blues tune for the very first time in its long history.


More to Come…

The next Breakpoint Jam will be at CocoaConf San Jose on April 25th.

Also save the date for ‘Live near WWDC 2104’ on Wednesday, June 4th, details to follow!

If you’re a fan, sign up to get email updates.  The next month or two will have some announcements you will not want to miss!

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Breakpoint Jam Atlanta—Virtual Fireworks and iPhone Slide Guitar

The fall tour of the Breakpoint Jam wrapped up at CocoaConf Atlanta with some memorable moments including some iPhone slide guitar and a newly-minted Breakpoint.

Amidst bursts of virtual fireworks, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking was formally inducted into the Breakpoints.

Daniel joins the fabled group after his stellar performances on slide-advance keyboard as a Conditional Breakpoint during jams across the country this past year.  Congratulations Daniel, thank you and welcome!

Brandon Alexander (@balexander) of Black Pixel brought along his electric guitar and his Mesa Boogie to amp up the jam more than the usual acoustic performance.

The ever-versatile Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards played guitar, sang backing vocals and played percussion on the cajón—all in his trademark rockstar glasses.

Also sitting in was Conditional Breakpoint Rusty Zarse (@levous) of LeVous and the Atlanta iOS Developers group.  On The Liki Song, Rusty improvised a slide guitar, with his electric in his lap and the edge of his iPhone as the slide. Never have laser-chamfered edges sounded so good!

The performance in Atlanta was the final Breakpoint Jam for the year. We had a lot of fun and would like to thank everyone for the support.  The jams will continue in the new year—we hope to see you at one! •

We are planning Breakpoint Jams at CocoaConf in Chicago, Washington DC, San Jose and Raleigh. Come join the fun and check out the early-bird pricing.

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Some Sweet Atlanta Jam

Breakpoint Jam Boston — Fall Tour Continues

On an October evening conveniently situated between World Series games, the fall Breakpoint Jam tour continued at CocoaConf Boston.

James Dempsey sings while Daniel Pasco, Ben Scheirman and Jonathan Penn play guitar for the Breakpoint Jam at CocoaConf Boston 2013

The Breakpoints were out in full force for this jam playing a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

The evening was also a reunion of old friends with composer Tony Angeles dropping by to sing backing vocals as a Conditional Breakpoint. James and Tony sang together at Penn.

The fall tour rolls on to its last jam of the season this Friday night at CocoaConf Atlanta.

Thanks for all the support so far—we’ve been having fun and hope you have been too! •

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Breakpoint Jam Columbus — Fall Tour Begins

The fall Breakpoint Jam tour kicked off last week at CocoaConf Columbus.

A mix of full and conditional breakpoints joined in to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd.

Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards was inducted as a full Breakpoint following his stellar performance at the Live Near WWDC 2013 show in June.  In Columbus, he donned some shades and jammed on guitar and backing vocals.

The jam also included a few Conditional Breakpoints—folks who jam in the pickup band when they happen to be in town.

Nathan Sjoquist (@nathansjoquist) was on hand, taking a break from iOS development for some guitar and backing vocals.

And finally, on the all-important slide-advance keyboard was keynote speaker extraordinaire, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking.

The Breakpoint Jam fall tour rolls on to CocoaConf Boston later this month and then CocoaConf Atlanta in November.

Thanks for all the support in Columbus!  And if we’re coming to a town near you, I hope you can join us in Boston and Atlanta!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Breakpoint Jam Dallas

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

The spring tour continued in Dallas with our second Breakpoint Jam.

There was a mix of ‘conditional breakpoints’ old and new joining in to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

Next jam is next week at CocoaConf San Jose!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases.

Nathan Sjoquist, Ben Scheirman, Nathan Eror, Daniel Pasco and James Dempsey at microphones, with instruments, performing.

Dallas Breakpoint Jam with Nathan Sjoquist, Ben Scheirman,
Nathan Eror, Daniel Pasco and James Dempsey
Photo by Solomon Klein

Chicago Breakpoint Jam Recap

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Last Friday night at CocoaConf Chicago, we had a lot of fun at the first Breakpoint Jam.

Thank you to those who stepped up as ‘conditional breakpoints’ for the evening to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

The next jam will be at CocoaConf Dallas in early April.  I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases.

Introducing the Breakpoint Jam at CocoaConf Chicago

Next week at CocoaConf Chicago, we are doing something new that we’re calling a Breakpoint Jam.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Readying our first bit of Breakpoint Jam

A Breakpoint Jam is an ever-changing pickup group performing James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs.

The idea is simple—whoever is in town for a conference shows up and plays on whatever instruments they’ve brought or borrowed.

The players will change city to city, but the goal is always the same—performing a casual, entertaining jam of songs for conference attendees.

To get things rolling next week in Chicago, we’ve invited conference speakers to the jam.

(Once we get a few under out belt, we’ll open future jams up to attendees.)

I’m looking forward to our first Breakpoint Jam next Friday at CocoaConf Chicago—I hope to see you there! •


Speaking of borrowed: If you are coming to CocoaConf Chicago and are local—Can we borrow your acoustic guitar?