My First Mac: One Week In

For those of you that know me, you know that in the past I’ve avoided Apple products like the plague. Well last weekend I took the plunge and got a Macbook Pro.

For years I argued that:

  1. I didn’t want to be part of the “walled garden
  2. The price was far too high and I could get a lot more bang-for-the-buck elsewhere
  3. I’m very productive in Windows, and the switching costs were going to be painful – this is for keyboard shortcuts, applications, etc.
  4. The Apple Store “Genius Bar” experience is annoying

The Big Decision

Macbook Pro

As the year clicked over to 2014, my Lenovo T420 turned about two years old – pretty much the time where you start to notice your laptop is getting slow. First I looked at the new Lenovo T440s. They looked pretty awesome, but the keyboard layout changed (not for the better) and by the time I was done putting in an SSD harddrive and bumping up the RAM it was going to cost about $1,800. So then I started looking at HP, Samsung, and Dell – didn’t find anything good there, as expected.

Then I started to look at Macbook Pros. Over the last year everyone at BlueFletch got a new Macbook and said what a great experience it was. I was still unconvinced, so I decided to ask some more questions. A couple of them in particular were always “windows guys” (like me) and I wanted to know what the transition was like. The feedback I got was:

  • I love my Macbook
  • The hardware is great, especially the trackpad and gestures that come with it
  • There is a learning curve with keyboard shortcuts
  • Running Windows in a VM is “the fastest I’ve seen Windows run”

I was still hesitant and narrowed things down to the Lenovo T440 and the Macbook Pro. One issue I had on Lenovo’s website was that the T440 said it could support up to 12 GB of RAM, but the only option on the site was to order one with 4 GB (clearly not enough for what I’m looking for). I used their “live sales chat” feature and the nice gentleman I was talking to said that they do support up to 12 GB, but their RAM is on backorder. First of all their site shouldn’t make me think the 8 GB and 12 GB upgrades aren’t even an option on that model, and second of all I wasn’t messing around waiting or ordering RAM separately – I wanted my new toy now!

That day I decided I was all in on a Macbook Pro. Best case scenario it would be an easy transition, I’d end up with great hardware, and I’d never look back. Worst case scenario is it would kill my productivity and either I’d live with the bad laptop for two years or go back to my Lenovo (using the Macbook only sparingly). The reality will likely be somewhere in the middle. Either way – it would be a great learning experience.
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My First Published Android App and Lessons Learned

After I attended AnDevCon earlier this year I started working on a native Android app that solved one of my biggest needs: easily saving an article, video, or tweet to come back and read later.

Most of the time this happens when I’m catching up on twitter while I’m [waiting in line at the grocery store, eating a quick snack, waiting for a meeting to start, etc.] – so I’m scrolling through the dozens of tweets in my timeline since the last time I checked when I see something that peaks my interest, but I know I don’t have time to read it now. In the past I would click the URL to open it in the browser, click home, then go back to twitter and keep going through my timeline.  When I had time to go back I would open the browser and the article would be there.

While that process works, it’s really not ideal. So I decided to create an application called “Later”.

Later Screenshot - Unread Later Screenshot - Share

You can download the app from the Google Play store by clicking the link or scanning the QR code below.


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Getting to Know Gradle: Auto-Increment Version and Signing Releases

After attending AnDevCon 2013 in San Francisco a few weeks ago and creating my own application, I decided it was time to become more familiar with gradle and the build process. I set out to accomplish two things:

  1. Auto-increment the version when a new build is created
  2. Automatically sign the release version of the code with my keystore information

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AnDevCon 2013 Recap

Last week I attended AnDevCon, the Android Developer Conference, in San Francisco and had a great time. Although I was probably one of the least technical people there, I did learn a lot and even created my own app ( I attended with fellow BlueFletch-er Matt Mehalso, who is far more experienced with Android than I am, and he got a lot out of the conference as well. Props to AnDevCon for catering to a wide variety of skill levels.
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Posted in Conferences & Meet Ups Tagged with: , ,

Node.js Boilerplate: Express, Mongo, Cross-Origin, and More…

One of the best things I’ve learned over the past year has been how to quickly stand up some web service APIs using node.js. In that time, I’ve used it for 3 projects:

  • A yammer-like social community for BlueFletch where people can post and comment
  • A backend that simulates an online retail store for a conference demo
  • A side-project to email out instagram pictures on a daily basis (mainly for family that doesn’t have instagram)

I put together a node-js boilerplate that is generic enough to be reused for other applications.  The rest of this post will talk through some of the boilerplate features.

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Hello world!

Hi everyone! I’ve decided to start this blog to provide my thoughts on everything from new technology and gadgets to side projects I’m working on. I’ll try to keep things brief and informal.

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