December 8, 2016

Pets vs Cattle

Best summary of this server/cloud analogy:

This is how we should treat our servers. If we have pet servers, we have that box in the server room. We patch it, we fix things when they break. We remote in to make changes so that it keeps running correctly.

If we have cattle servers, they are VMs. They are easy to destroy and rebuild from scratch. In the cloud, this VM process is much easier and faster to do, so we should strive to do it.

I somehow hadn’t seen this analogy before. It was mentioned off-handely on the lastest Supertop podcast, and it really got me thinking.

As with any anology, if you take it too far it breaks. But the main impresion is very educational and even mnemonic.

December 6, 2016

Anil Dash is the new CEO of Fog Creek Software

Joel Spolsky:

In short, we need Anil to help support us with ideas and leadership for HyperDev (now renamed GoMix) and any future products we come up with, and we need his soapbox and industry connections to continue to keep Fog Creek Software relevant. Thus I think the perfect position for him is as CEO of Fog Creek Software.

It’s amazing that Stack Overflow has 300 employees and Trello almost 100. I admire Anil Dash, and Fog Creek is a great company with extremely solid products, so this sounds like a great match.

December 5, 2016

Apple’s Support Gap

Completely agree with Nick Heer:

I’ve been trying to book some time at my local Apple Store to get my iPhone’s battery swapped, and it has not been easy — at least, not compared to the way it used to be.

I got a hairline screen crack on my iPhone 7 a few weeks back, and it took me a few tries to make the appointment on the website. I had to use the Mac because the Safari on the phone kept timing out, and the soonest date available was 1 week.

Once in the store, it was about 1 hour to turn the iPhone in, and then two and a half hours to get it back. Although it’s still way better than most stores experiences, it’s not Insanely Great by any measurement.

December 3, 2016

Tidbits of the week

Canopy — Keyboard Case and iPad Stand Glad I don’t have one of the new keyboards or iPads, otherwise it would have been hard to talk myself out of this one.

Wi-Fi Mesh Systems Compared: eero, Orbi, AmpliFi Good overview, the short version: eero wins when price is discounted, Orbi has the most potential, and AmpliFi is a safe option.

Google+ Featured Photos Screensaver for Mac Looks very nice. There must be a — bored — Mac loving product manager in google somewhere.

Wired magazine’s creative director is joining Apple If he doesn’t like aluminium and glass, this could get interesting.

Netflix finally lets you download shows and movies to watch offline We will never do it. We are not considering it. No comment. It’s coming soon. It’s live! History of a feature announcement.

Amazon Polly — Text to Speech in 47 Voices and 24 Languages They don’t sound amazing, but the option of having this as a service is very powerful.

More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Breached by Gooligan Android malware is no joking matter.

Amazon LightSail — Simple Virtual Private Servers on AWS Interesting and competitive. But no reason to run from Digital Ocean.

Why all world maps are wrong Ever since seeing the bit on West Wing I’ve been fascinated by the UI of maps. Great overview video of the issues.

Inside the world of Chinese science fiction, with Three Body Problem” translator Ken Liu The Three Body Problem trilogy has been one of the most mind-bending books I’ve read recently. I’ve since added a few more Chinese Sci-Fi books to my queue.

December 2, 2016

reMarkable — The paper tablet for people who prefer paper.

The paper tablet for people who prefer paper. Here to replace your notebooks, sketchbooks and printouts. Paper-like reading, writing and sketching with digital powers.

This is truly remarkable. It must be using some next-gen eInk display to achieve the refresh and draw rates in the videos. The device itself looks well thought-off and designed. I wish them the best of luck, since I’ve daydreamed about this sort tablet ever since my Newton days.

However, it’s going to be a hard sell against the iPad. The $379 pre-order price (with cover and pen) could be interesting, but the $716 launch price will need to find a niche market to succeed.

December 1, 2016

Fitbit is buying Pebble for $34-40 million

Fitness wearable creator Fitbit is in the process of acquiring smartwatch maker Pebble in a deal that will likely spell the end of the Pebble brand. VentureBeat has learned that the sale price will be between $34 million and $40 million.

I have gone through my stages of grief on this. It makes sense as a company — given the reckoning the wearables industry is going through. Still, kinda a sad to see Pebble as a brand and company go.

Although geeky, they did start the wearables trend.

November 27, 2016

Tidbits of the week

Amazon Prime Ad — Priest and Imam In a world that feels more like an episode of 24 rather than West Wing, I appreciate this ad.

Eero’s WiFi hubs get faster, smarter and now support Alexa My apartment is perfectly covered by our ASUS router, but I dream of the day I’ll need one of these new mesh ones.

Apple Will Replace iPhone 6s Batteries in Phones That Unexpectedly Shut Down My 6s suffered from shut downs — seemed to happen under heavy loads. Should have taken it in at the time.

Apple Abandons Development of Wireless Routers Sadly unsurprising. I undestand the economics behind this, but I still think it’s a strategic risk: Apple’s home automation solution will have less leverage.

Apple - Frankie’s Holiday Awww Apple, I can’t stay mad at you.

Worldwide Market for Used Smartphones Forecast to Grow to 222.6 Million Units in 2020, According to IDC Always take these with a greain of salt, but it does sound like the normal progression of mass market products.

Microsoft brings Solitaire to iOS and Android And now it’s official… the desktop is dead.

Alter — Turn text into an image. Useful for Twitter and even email code examples.

Giki is a Markdown-powered Wiki Wiki and markdown? What sort of sexy talk is this?

November 19, 2016

Arq saves me a headache

Setting up a new MacBook — more in this soon — and I hastily deleted a symlink that uploads my work MBP Desktop to Dropbox. A minute too late I realized the delete action was propagating to the new Mac. Really bad planning on my part.

Since I use the Desktop as a sort of current projects folder, this wasn’t my brightest moment. I knew in the back of my mind that everything was going to be alright since I have a trifecta of tools: Dropbox, Backblaze and Arq.

Initially I went to Dropbox to restore the folder, but since I had deleted the folder on both Mac’s, not everything was there. I then logged into Backblaze, and while waiting for the data restore selection — it can take a while — I checked out how easy the Arq restore process was. Mind blown.

In all honesty, I run Arq as the last line of defense — in case all of the above fails. I was surprised how easy it was to restore the file. Also, how fast the 900MB downloaded from Dropbox 1

Everything is now restored and my stupidity forgiven.

I am left wondering about my backup plans cocktail. The current setup does give peace of mind — specially when thinking about my wife’s MacBook. But maybe Backblaze plus Arq might be an overkill when I’m trying to cut down on expenses.

  1. I upload my Arq Backup to an unsynch Dropbox folder.

November 18, 2016

Tidbits of the week

Amazon editors — Best science fiction and fantasy of 2016. Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past), is fanstastic and a great ending to the series.

PhotoScan printed photo scanner app. I’ve tried lots of apps that do this, and still I haven’t scanned my parents collection.

Drop — A beautiful color picker for macOS. Why would you pay for this? because a good designed is obsesive about all her tools.

WhatsApp launches video calling. A new default for most people. So long Duo.

Casey Neistat MacBook Pro with TouchBar video review. Fun review with some valid points. He still bought it, which proves Apple is right though.

PoisonTap, a $5 tool that invades password-protected computers. If you’re careful (use a Mac, have firevault, don’t leave it unlocked), not as bad as it sounds. If you’re not careful, that same password you use for everything is going the be the least of your problems.

OnePlus 3T released. More battery, megapixels, processor and bit higher price. Still the best bang of the buck in Android. Just wish it had a smaller 5in screen.

You can now check Due Dates as Done is Trello.
Best news of the week. If you organize your team in Trello in some sort of pseudo-sprint setting, this is very helpful.

Barnes & Noble debuts $50 Nook tablet to take on Amazon. Lifeboat for the 5 users they have left. Still, a persuasive price.

Firefox Focus — a free, fast and easy to use private browser for iOS. Why not? Privacy is going the pop-up blocker of the next few years.

How Stephen Wolfram invented interstellar travel for Arrival. I wanna see this move, I wanna see this movie.

Asana introduces Boards — similar to Trello Kanban rules the world.

iPhones Secretly Send Call History to Apple, Security Firm Says I’m much more worried about my mobile operator having my call history.

MacBook Pro Bulbs ad I might be missing something, but this is a cool video and then an basic MacBook Pro ad.

Apple’s Chip Choices May Leave Some iPhone Users in Slow Lane Lets not forget these are still glorified walky talkies. Real world performance in the context of mobile operators has many variables.

November 18, 2016

Democracy Tax

Gabe Weatherhead on his blog:

My tactic was to avoid pay sites. I avoided following and sharing links to paywalls. I wrongly refused even the steepest of discounted access. We can argue about the path that brought us to this point. We can frame the denials of market forces and the effect of an open Internet however we like. But, what we can’t do is insist that democracy survives without paid journalism.

Emphasis mine. I’ve always knew in the back of my mind that journalism needs some sort of payments. But the cheapo in me always screams when something goes above $10 a month.

I currently subscribe to The Economist Espresso and used to NYT Now, before it went free and then was closed. For Venezuelan news, I try to regularly” contribute to Caracas Chronicles and Efecto Cocuyo — if yearly counts as regularly.

This post reminded me that the price good journalism is not only about the value I get, but the responsibility of believing in real information. And that costs more than a yearly contribution.

November 17, 2016

Nest app for Apple TV

From Version 5.9 release notes:

Have an Apple TV 4th Generation? Download the new Nest app from your Apple TV and enjoy the convenience of monitoring your home and viewing all of your Nest Cam live video feeds right from your TV.

Been waiting a year for this. The use case for us is simple: you place semi-concious primate on crib, cross fingers, and then stare into TV instead of iOS apps for heavenly signs of sleep

November 15, 2016

Super Mario Run launches for iPhone & iPad on Dec. 15 - Nintendo Official Site »

Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store at no cost, and players can try elements of the game’s three modes for free. Once the game has been downloaded, a one-time payment of $9.99 will grant unlimited access to each of the three modes in this release.

Love that it’s pay one and play. Regardless of being a gamer or not, this is going to be big.

November 15, 2016

Designed by Apple in California” coffee table book »

Apple today announced the release of a new hardbound book chronicling 20 years of Apple’s design, expressed through 450 photographs of Apple products.

At $199 and $299 for the small and large one, respectively, I’m pretty sure most geeks are thinking: nice, but I hope nobody buys me this instead of some AiPods.

If you do want an Apple designs book, I can easily recommend:

Ana has given me both as a gift, and I love them — and both are under $50.

November 9, 2016

Dear Robie, don’t panic

While we go through the bureaucracy of your parents country to get you a Venezuelan passport, your birth country had an election. It was a surprise to us that the good candidate didn’t win. We weren’t alone. Probably half of those who voted were surprised with the results — which in hindsight seems like the obvious outcome for any election.

There are many reasons why I dislike the candidate that won, but mainly it’s because he’s a bully, and bullies don’t use ideas to make their point.

But this letter is not about why somebody won or lost. It is about trying to teach you that if you’re unhappy with an election result you have remember that this didn’t happen to you, it just happened.

It may be unfair, sad, or worrying. But unless you were the candidate, grieving is not the best option to balance out the winners celebration.

Telling you to disconnect after loosing an election is borderline laughable if you inherited your mom’s passion or my OCD, but it’s still the best advise I can give you.

See, at 35, your dad has lost every presidential election he has ever voted on. And from my point of view, the consequences have been catastrophic for Venezuela. But becoming frustrated by the individual decisions of millions of people doesn’t help at all.

So, go watch a movie. Or just meet with your friends to have a drink and talk through what happened. But don’t let your heart darken, or your life get blue. Take a deep breath every couple of minutes, and start trying to answer why it happened?. And how you’re going to help fix it.

Politics Personal
November 7, 2016

Gmail and Google Calendar updated on iOS »

Matthew Izatt:

When you get the next Gmail iOS app update, you’ll notice some exciting changes: The biggest overhaul of the app in nearly four years.

I use Google Inbox as my main email client on my iPhone, and leave the Gmail app for when I have to do grown up searches or email thread paleontology.

This update brings the Gmail App to where it should have been 4 years ago:

For Calendar on my iPhone, I constantly switch between Fantastical and Google Calendar. If you don’t mind the non-native look, Google Calendar is an excellent alternative.