Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Code Keyboard

My code keyboard ( arrived yesterday! I opted for the cherry mx keys so that it’s a little quieter. I don’t want to have to have my family wear earplugs while I type. This keyboard certainly makes me miss my old Dell/IBM mechanical keyboards. I remember typing on those keyboards and it would raise a racket. My roommate from way back then told me a few years ago that when I typed, she could her it in her bedroom and that it would provide some comfort for her knowing that someone else was in the house.

The only improvement I would make on this keyboard would be making it ergonomic. I understand that most keyboards are the way they are because that’s the way they’ve always been since the typewriter days. In this day and age, we know more about how our wrists and forearms work and which are the better positions for us while we type. Especially for us guys with wider shoulders.

I know that for a lot of folks (gamers) prefer wired keyboards for the response times. And I would agree with them, as split seconds determine whether you live or die in a lot of video games. As a programmer who types a lot and not necessarily button mashing, I don’t think I can type fast enough to need that kind of response time. Instead, I would like a wireless, preferably bluetooth option.

Otherwise, I definitely like the mechanical keyboard. I tend to think that other keyboards are too mushy now. And after getting used to this keyboard, I don’t think I would switch to any other, except when they have a newer version with wireless or ergonomic features.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Giving technology

For Christmas, we gave Li’s dad my iPhone 5. it’s the first time he’s had a smartphone. For us, we’ve been using smartphones for a while. And of course, if you know me, then you’ll know that I’ve been using smartphones for a long time, going back to the late 1990s with the Blackberries as the portable email devices followed closely with the Samsung i600 smartphones. Those were the days I used more Microsoft products and they were designed for the geeks, not really for the average person.

Today, there are geeky phones, but Apple has done a really good job of making technology accessible and usable by the masses. When there’s only a few buttons to press or touch, things are a lot easier to learn and explain. Watching him use the iPhone as an email client and a voip client for the first time and seeing how he interacts with the phone, I can see his mind expanding as he realizes there are so much more a phone can do for him. He uses the camera a lot taking pictures of Richard obviously. But to see him realize that he can send those pictures to his son in China so easily is awesome. He’s becoming more connected. I think he’s going to get spoiled with our wifi and 4g lte service while he’s here. He just asked for music on his phone too :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mavericks Anyone?

After the disaster known as Yosemite, I decided to give Mavericks a try. Luckily, I downloaded the Mavericks installer awhile ago. Just never got around to installing it due to keeping my workstation working as it is my production access machine. But this holiday season and getting a new iPhone 6 Plus got me wanting to upgrade. The main attraction for me upgrading is actually the integrated iBooks app. I have a large library of books in epub and pdfs. And now I finally have a device where I can comfortable read on the go even if I don’t have a tablet. The old iPhone 5’s screen was just a little too small.

I was also adventurous in upgrading to Mavericks as I had proven that I could always go back to Mountain Lion off my backup anytime. After it installed in about an hour, it rebooted the mac. I was apprehensive to see what had broken. To my pleasant surprise, the Mavericks experience was MUCH MUCH better! The problems that plagued me with Yosemite didn’t exist. The thunderbolt dock worked. So did the usb3 DisplayLink! All the apps just worked, except one that I’ll get to later. I had to set up my Apache PHP dev environment again, but that’s to be expected as it is a newer version of PHP. The one application that didn’t work was mysql 5.5.29. The reason for it was when I upgraded the OS, there was a path referenced in /etc/my.cnf that no longer existed. I didn’t realize that at the time and I upgraded to a newer version of mysql. And when I did that, it removed my existing version of 5.5 binaries. Kinda pissed me off that it did that. I wished it would have alerted me and gave me an option to keep the old binaries around. At least, it didn’t destroy my data directory. That would have been really painful.

All in all, a very smooth upgrade. I like the simple epub reader. It was kind of jarring that the epub library was moved from iTunes to iBook. A little message would have been appreciated. I guess I will have to wait a lot longer before attempting to upgrade to Yosemite.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


No, not that Yosemite. Apple OS X Yosemite. Today was an epic failure. I tried installing it on my Mountain Lion 2011 Macbook Pro. The machine is a little older but is still very serviceable. It does have 16GB ram and 1.5 TB SSD and a quad core i7. Being a developer, I like connectivity. I have a 30" 2560x1440 monitor and a 1080x1920 second external monitor attached via usb 3 thunderbolt dock. The dock also contains ports for external hard drives.

I would expect at least some internal Apple developers to have a similar setup so that OS updates would support these devices. I couldn't be more wrong. After updating, I realizes that not all of my software work as expected.

First, though is that my 1080x1920 monitor didn't work because there wasn't a driver. Second, the wired network also failed to connect. Plugging network into the native port seemed to address the issue except that for some reason the dns servers were not picked up from the dhcp server. Wifi worked but I'd rather be connect via a cable because it is faster.

Various software either required additional downloads or didn't automatically start on boot. But ultimately when I installed the Yosemite driver for the monitor, the machine wouldn't boot. Luckily, I had my previous install image on hand to recover. I am going to revert my OS. There are just too many roadblocks for my taste. In the morning, my bootup disk will have a clone of the backup's OS.     

Monday, December 22, 2014

Big Evernote Scare

Today, just experienced a wild scary Evernote moment. I searched for a term I searched before "ubuntu" as I needed to look up a note I created a long time ago. I've searched for this note many times before, but it wasn't there! I kept trying to search for other terms I knew that had to be there: "tomcat", "repository", "java", and yet nothing came up. It was starting to drive me crazy. I figured it must have been deleted. I knew that there were times I've left my computer unlocked and Richard played with my computer. Or it could have been Li as we were cleaning today and she cleaned my keyboard. Regardless of who did it, I didn't really care, but really wanted to get my info back. I came across a link about how to look in the trash for deleted notes. Luckily, I had already upgraded my Evernote to premium for the offline notes support. This also included deleted notes history! Whew, I finally found my notes and restoring them took only a few clicks.

A year and then some

Okay, at least I do realize how many months it has been since I've last posted. Writing is harder to do when you don't have time to sit down. It's a good thing when I'm chasing Richard around. 

He's currently sleeping and I've just spent 23 hours going to and working at our data center. I remember that crazy week working for Borland without much rest when I was younger, MUCH younger. It took me the better part of a weekend to recuperate. Not fun at all. But glad to have done it as there were some crazy end of year tasks we had to do for our customers.

On the personal technology front, it has been a busy year. Wrote a media CMS using Grails, although thinking about rewriting it with node.js to learn more about node.js. That's one of the things I want to do next year. Maybe also switching databases to postgres. Have to update my Atlassian tools and renew the licenses.

Got a Chrome box for the TV downstairs, but it doesn't perform as well as expected. Will be returning that soon.

Upgraded phone to iPhone 6+. Initially thought that when the phone was introduced that it would be WAY too big, but after spending the last two days with it, I'm really liking the size. It doesn't look that big anymore especially when I use it primary like a tablet. I am getting older as the larger fonts do make it easier to read.

Upgraded our internal wifi to 802.11ac. Moved everything over to gigabit network, as our internet router was still 100 Mbps. Also upgraded our Internet speed plan to 300Mbps! Getting some amazing speeds upstairs where the traffic is cable modem -> router -> wifi router -> wifi bridge -> gigabit switch where the distance between wifi router and wifi bridge is probably 30 to 40 feet away from each other. 

Screen Shot 2014 12 22 at 12 14 54 AM




Got two new computers (3 if you count Li's) since last post: 2 servers plus a workstation. The servers are i7-3770K 32GB ram and i7-4770K 32GB ram. The workstation is i7-4790 with 16GB ram. Had to replace the workstation as the motherboard was fried. Funny thing was that I brought the computer into a shop to get it replaced and they had burned through 4 versions of the motherboard before realizing that the case was short circuiting the board. Glad it came back in one piece and it has been running smoothly since. The servers have not had any hiccups and really putting them through the paces.