This week's Whiz Kid of Cupertino is Tyler Vergho.
School: Lincoln Elementary
Why Tyler is Whizzy: Tyler is a self-taught iPhone developer who has two apps available from the iTunes store. His apps are not for the faint of heart, er um, ears...or the adult crowd really, mostly because adults just plain can't hear his app. High Frequency Tones and High Frequency Tones Pro are just that—high frequency tones, but in frequencies that lots of adults can't hear because as Tyler explains in his description, "As we get older, the inner hairs in our ears gradually lose the ability to hear higher pitched sounds."
"Test how far your hearing goes, or play a prank on your classmates without the teacher knowing with this annoying sound," says our Whiz Kid in his iTunes Preview description.
The "Pro" version of his app is 99 cents, and he's sold about 150 in a little more than two months, says dad Kevin Vergho.
The free version has been downloaded more than 50,000 times over an 11-month period. Tyler's 10 now, but developed these apps at age 9.
Tyler gets no help from his parents in his line of work—they have "zero programming experience" says Kevin, which is somewhat to the dismay of Tyler.
"They don't want to learn. I've offered to teach them many times," he says.
They also can't hear the annoying sounds that he has presented in his app, nor can his younger 4-year-old brother, Mason, who just may be blessed with the ability to ignore Tyler and the grating sounds, he says, or maybe it's because he has autism.
Tyler doesn't recommend listening to his bothersome app for long periods of time; it's designed more to annoy friends during class when the teachers can't hear what's going on, and other fun scenarios such as that.
"I think I've lost a little bit of my hearing," he says of working on the app.
For a 10-year-old who taught himself programming from books and the Internet starting at age 8, one would think this comes easy. Not so, says Tyler.
"No, it takes a lot of practice. I'm still learning new things. I don't know everything; you can never know everything. I'm just a novice," he says.
Developing iPhone apps is not something all his friends do; in fact he doesn't think any of his friends do it, though he's not sure. More, it's something he does when he doesn't have homework.
"It's just a nice little break, a hobby," he says.
The process to get an app on the iPhone can be rather detailed, but it's a task he achieved all on his own, he says—well, except for the 99 bucks his dad shelled out to cover the application process, but Tyler is quick to point out he's made all of that back, and then some.
He lives in Cupertino, home to the iPhone's maker. One would think a natural progression would seem to lead the articulate young man to a career at Apple. Not so fast, he'd rather work at Google, he says.
"I've been to the campus. They have a slide, they give their employees all this free stuff and they have a more family atmosphere than Apple," he says.
That appeals to him, he says.
But he's also never worked on an Android phone, and he doesn't even know anyone who has one.
He has taken the time to create a couple of personalized apps for his brother Mason, 4, who "loves shapes, numbers and counting," Kevin says.
"Tyler enjoyed developing an application for Mason that combined all those interests together."
Other things to know about our Whiz Kid:
Tyler is "self-motivated," "doesn't give up easily," and is "able to find solutions along the way," Kevin says.
Tyler also collects coins, plays soccer and takes piano lessons "every single Friday" and when he listens to music—which is usually in his dad's car—he listens to classical music.
Oh, and by the way, he's student body president and earns top marks in school, in case that means anything to anyone.