Sunday, September 28, 2014

Potter wasp

While working in the yard this weekend we noticed a strange looking thing in the Shrubs.

A quick search on the net revealed the creator of this amazing structure. The Potter Wasp. More info on Wikipedia.

A solitary wasp that create little pots for their offspring.  Seriously kind of amazing. They fill the pot with paralyzed caterpillars, spiders, and other bugs. Then they lay an egg and cap the pot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A little venting

No details here - but in my opinion, one of the worst ways to start development for a new web site:

  • Unclear requirements - make your best guess on major functionality
  • No idea how the site will be marketed
  • Intentionally tight, guaranteed to miss, deadline
  • Other teams that will almost certainly want to have some say in the design left out of planning. They will want major functionality changed later
  • Not focusing on User experience first

Stress levels are high. Confidence levels are low. Trying to stay positive. Just keep swimming.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Apple Watch, the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus

On Tuesday, while we were having a blast in the Magic Kingdom, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Like everyone else that was following along with the rumors and leaks, I knew what to expect with the new phones. They look like great upgrades especially when combined with iOS 8. I watched the keynote sitting in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge and I ordered an iPhone 6 Plus Friday morning as we were leaving Disney World.

Apple also announced the long rumored Apple Watch. For me, the watch is more interesting than the new phones. I like the idea of glancing at my wrist to see if something requires more attention.  I'm curious about the health tracking abilities and how they will enhance what I'm already getting from the motion co-processor in the iPhone 5S.  I'm even intrigued by the tap based 'intimate' communication interface that was shown.  Looking forward to trying the watch out and seeing how it evolves in future iterations.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chromebook First Impressions

On a whim, I bought an ASUS Chromebook C300MA-DB01. I wanted to see if it could work as a secondary work computer. I don't have a laptop at work, and I'm not comfortable with leaving my Macbook Air there all the time.

I fully expected to be a little disappointed with the performance and screen quality. I also expected to be annoyed by the simplistic browser based OS.  Wow! was I wrong.  If you are ok with storing things in the cloud, and using Google services, then this might be a perfect second device.  While on my work network, I can ssh into my main computer, I can remotely edit code, and I can test websites with chromes developer tools.  All of my Chrome bookmarks and extensions were there the moment I logged in, and there's a good selection of apps on the  app store.

The only problem I have had so far, is with getting my work VPN connection setup correct.  The Chrome OS needs to provide easier setup for VPN configuration.  However, based on information other Chromebook users have compiled, I should be able to get VPN working correctly. It's just not a simple configuration. If I use it mainly at work, I won't really need the VPN to work.

I could easily suggest this as a secondary cheap alternative to a table or laptop for my Developer friends. Some of the newer models even have better screens.  But, don't expect something this cheap to blow you away with build quality.

I can easily suggest a Chromebook as a primary device for family members or normal people that do not require special software or graphics heavy games.  Most people do not need more than this.  And it's more secure and easier to use than Windows or Mac OSX.

10,000 Steps

This year we decided to become more active. This decision came about mostly because of our upcoming Disney World trip. But, we also wanted to increase our average activity level to lose weight and to improve our health. When we started my average week looked something like this:

I'm using the Pedometer++ app and the iPhone 5S M7 chip to track my walking. Slowly increasing my goal over several months results in a graph that looks more like this:

The change was gradual and for the most part easy. Combining increased activity with fewer snacks is also having the side effect of lowering my weight. Which I really, really, really need to happen. I also feel better and have more energy than I have in years.

Not much else to say about it. Buy good shoes, Read this, and give it a try.