Tag Archives: Apple

Cool Things I Have Been Doing On the Computer Lately

In the past couple of months, weeks, whatever (time flies) I have been doing some pretty cool things on the computer, in a wide range of areas. Just want to get them down on paper (you know what I mean)…

1. Yammer – working hard on growing Yammer community, external networks, just getting engagement and showing the benefits. It’s fun.

2. Kinect – did some Kinect hacking. On my own then with the group, got some cool stuff to show. It is crazy how easy it is to get something up and running with Kinect and the SDK. I see this stuff taking off in the coming months/years.

3. Azure – dorking around with Azure, looking at what it can and can’t do, what it could do well, how it would fit in with everything.

4. SQL 2012/Power View – been playing around with SQL 2012 since “Denali”, but now its got an official launch date (March 7th) and things are getting real. Power View demos online, trying to figure out how SQL 2012 is going to fit into our infrastructure and just learning as much as I can about it.

5. Ruby – been getting into Ruby and Ruby on Rails on my Mac, git, sqlite3, heroku, etc. Trying to learn more things that just the .NET ecosystem.

6. Ubuntu – same here, set up a VM, been trying to use it consistently, trying to get the other viewpoints from Windows and Mac and where things are at. Keep up with the joneses so to speak.

7. Android – I picked up a Samsung Galaxy (Verizon 4G) a few weeks ago and have been using it. I still love my iPhone, but getting more into Android. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is a pretty good OS, there are still quirks, but its better. Verizon sucks around where I live btw.

8. Google+/Picasa Web Albums – been getting this into my photo workflow, for sharing and backup. Liking it so far.

9. SharePoint 2010/FAST – been researching and reading FAST server like crazy trying to see how it will fit in with a potential project. I think it could be amazing. more to come.

10. SMS – been playing around with different frameworks, and seeing how they compare, trying things out. Using Voice and SMS is all the rage these days. (Hall and Oates thing anyone?)

Bonus: Nothing with computers, but I have been really getting into brewing beer/homebrewing. I think we have made 5 batches now, and the ones I have tasted so far are really good. It is a fun hobby and breaks up the constant technology I am involved in. More to come here too.

And much much more. Time is limited, time to post is limited. Getting out there and doing cool things is fun, and sharing them is fun too. Gotta find the right balance. I hope everyone is having a cool 2012 so far.

iPhone 4S Blue Pixel Line Problem.. Fixed!

Friday as I was leaving work, I noticed a small 1 pixel line vertically directly in the middle of my iPhone 4S that I just activated about 1.5 weeks earlier. WTF? Thought something was on my glasses, rebooted, restored, etc, etc, still was there. Wasn’t a software issue, definitely hardware. Brought it directly to the Apple Store and the took a look and said, yep, we will replace it no questions asked. Something definitely wrong. Not sure what causes it, I saw something about some board inverter deal on some forum, but nothing concrete.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again :)

What is an Operating System?

This is a core question. Might sound stupid or you might even ask yourself why I would blog this. But seriously, we need to take a look at the Operating System our code is running on. Windows? Mac OS? iOS? Linux, etc. But beyond that, what is core and what is “cruft” in the OS?

I think Microsoft got a hard lesson some years ago from the DoJ on what can or can’t be included in the OS from a monopolistic perspective. But even then, Apple adds things to their OS and bundles them, etc. So what am I getting at?

If you develop native apps (more so for OS X or Windows, not the Mobile OS’s) then you are going to run into compatibility problems. Hardware, software, OS level stuff. DLL Hell, the whole bit.

As a developer or even “product” you can only do so much, you have to mostly code for the “happy path” – and give some documentation and direction to your users. ex:

- This software only works with .NET 4.0
- This software only works on Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7
- You must have a sound card to make use of the features of this software
- You must have an internet connection to make use of this software
- This software only runs on versions SQL Server 2008 R2
- Running an anti-virus package or malware detector on the files the program reads and writes to constantly is going to slow performance.
- Port xxxxx must be open for external devices to connect

You get the idea. You can code some checks into your setup/installer or program on start up of the exe, but beyond that, you have to leave some things to the user. You can’t ever think of every scenario.

If some other program (albeit even an add on you can download after installing your OS from the vendor of the OS) is going to conflict with your program, then the user has to decide which program they want to use or come up with some compromise.

From a Microsoft Windows point of view, the OS is what you get from Microsoft. Not what you get from Dell or HP or whatever. No, Adobe Flash isn’t part of the OS. Either is Windows Live Messenger or Windows Live Photo Gallery or any add on you download later. Hell even .NET wasn’t part of the OS until Vista/7.

When developing your applications, focus on what is going to give your users more functional and business value rather than coding for things you have no control over. Leave it to support and documentation to handle the infinite unknown scenarios.

Code for a fresh Operating System, and supported patches as they come out. You might have a few RARE scenarios you code around but I would suggest against it. The user’s and other programs that might screw up your users OS’s, you can’t do anything about either.

After all that, it is more clear why Apple’s iOS is appealing, sandboxed applications make more sense. You worry about your stuff and I worry about mine type of deal. Less room for support nightmares because of misconfigured operating systems. I wonder if Microsoft will ever “get there”, but I don’t see it anytime soon.


PC vs Mac

Microsoft has published a site, PC vs Mac

There is only one thing you have to know, everything else is fluff.

You will never get a blue screen of death on a Mac. Oh, I got one last night on a Windows machine. With an xlsx half way open and not done yet. Lovely.

done. game over. Mac wins.

And I love Windows, for Development and Business Intelligence. It is the hardware and software that have problems working together. Should Microsoft try to build a PC? Hardware? (ala Xbox?) Would it perform better? Maybe. Would they have more control? Of course, the hardware and software could integrate nicely. I would buy a mythical Microsoft computer before buying a regular PC. Just like I would buy a Mac rather than a Hackintosh :)

App Store Pivot Viewer – ZoomAppy

Good ideas are hard to stop from happening. After dorking around with Pivot Viewer, I was thinking of things I could “pivot”, and the iTunes App Store was one of them. No real API though, there are some out there that have created APIs, or you could scrape the web, etc but nothing solid.

Looks like someone took that idea and ran with it, called ZoomAppy (http://zoomappy.com/). RIght now it looks like it is just the app store, but they have more in store.

I agree that Pivot Viewer is “Business Intelligence”, but it is a different way of thinking. Where in traditional BI, you think of looking at metric/measures like sales/inventory, etc. With PivotViewer, you are looking at “objects” and filtering them based on properties. Teams, Bikes, Apps, Cars, People. Also PivotViewer doesn’t give you any type of aggregations besides counts, so it is limited in that regard.

What else would be a good candidate for Pivot Viewer?


The New Hipster: Going Appless

Love the iPhone, really do. But I am pretty hardcode when it comes to apps and loading things and making it “work” hard. Every once in a while some rogue app goes off the wall and starts draining battery like crazy. Usually the only thing to do is restore phone. I have had to do this, and a few other people I know have see it as well. I don’t blame the iPhone, I blame the apps. Just like windows mobile, the apps were the problem :)

Anyways, this time, instead of restoring my phone from backup, I just let it stay “clean”. I decided to not install any apps for as long as I can. It has been 24 hours, so that says something :)

But what I am doing is going back to the iPhone roots, back to 2007. Web apps. Steve Jobs himself says it is their “other”, open, unrestricted platform they support, so let’s see what it can offer.

Facebook? touch.facebook.com
Twitter? m.twitter.com
Flickr? m.flickr.com
YouTube (the HTML5 version is better than the native app!) m.youtube.com
FourSquare/Gowalla? check.in
Reeder/Google Reader? google’s mobile formatted reader site works.
Other apps? openappmkt.com
IM? meebo has a pretty good web app.

Just like regular hipsters, that drink PBR, and lose the flavor and other added benefits of drinking a less “hip” beer, you have to give some things up.. such as..

Push Notifications – not sure yet if this is a good or bad thing to give up. The current implementation just seems to annoy anyways

Background/Streaming music (Pandora/Last.fm, etc) – I did find dance.fm has a HTML5 version or something that streams directly from a web page, so I could almost say others might follow suit. I also have iPod on the device so not to worried, I don’t listen to a helluva lot of music anyways.

What else? Not sure yet, we will see how long I last. One thing I can say, there are some games that are web apps that are pretty cool, but don’t come close to the native games … yet.

Of course I will probably start installing some apps eventually, and after a while I will be back to my old app going ways :)

Thoughts on the iPad

I am writing this from my iPad. What do I think of it? Pretty awesome. More apps will make it even better.

Playing “board” games is pretty fun. Crosswords, Sudoku, Words with Friends and others.

IMDB and Wikipanion are nice too. News and magazine apps make total sense. Of course this device is just completely built for consuming media but you can still create as I am now.

I like email in landscape mode, maps is awesome too.

Biggest thing i wish i could do? SMS. Other than that i am pretty pleased.

Next versions of the iPad will be better (as usual) so I am pretty excited.