Goals 2013

It’s that time of year again. Goals for 2013. Short and sweet so hopefully I can knock them out this time around.

One issue I need to resolve is the tangle of wires and cable. I’m looking into getting a good cable management product to help this get resolved. Other goals are:

Professional

  • Complete Microsoft certification
  • Build Android App
  • Attend 4 local user group

Personnel

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • 1 hour of exercise per day
  • Read 1 book a month

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Latest Must Have Software

Going to a 64 bit OS this afternoon so here is the latest list for you and me :)

Firefox

Chrome

iTunes – export your podcast list

Office 2007

Visio 2007

CCleaner

Fences (new)

mRemote

FireWorks

FileZilla – export site list

Navicat – export site list

BitNami

SQL Server 2008

Picasa 3

RocketDock

Notepad++

Pidgin

Surround SCM

TestTrack Pro

QA Wizard Pro

TweetDeck

VisualSVN

Free Monitor for Google

SSMS tool pack

SketchPatch

MemCached

Display Fusion

Balsamiq Mockups

Putty

Resharper

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Verizon – Google Droid Review

It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been running with my trusty Blackberry 8830.  I’ve had it replaced once because of the track ball, otherwise it’s been more then solid.  No other blackberry impressed me enough to upgrade in that time.  Besides the lack of a camera the 8830 was great. But like many BB users I’ve longed for the coolness & impressive apps of the iPhone.  BB simply doesn’t stand up in these categories.  Problem is AT&T.  Their network isn’t the best around here & all of my friends & family are on Verizon so my calls are free.  I really didn’t want to switch carries & so I waited for a device on Verizon…and waited…and waited…you get the picture :)

 

Droid Keyboard

It’s soft, not metal-like the 8830. It took me 2 days to get use to but I’m doing pretty good now. Harder to use while driving then the blackberry but give me a few months & I think I’ll improve.

Droid – 7 | BB 9

 

Droid App Store

Awesome, really awesome.  Now I know what all these iphone users are surfing all day, their app store. I’ve (my kids) played games, IM apps, pandora, etc… The only thing is the download part only seems to work with wifi turned off.

Droid 9 | BB 2

 

Droid Battery Life

1.5 days of pretty hard usage with the wifi on.  My BB easily went 2.5 – 3 days.

Droid 6 | BB 9

 

Droid Operating System

You can tell Google made this because, it’s very fast, kinda ugly, & they left some cool debugging apps right in the phone. Search is enabled everywhere in the os & makes it easy to find things, very Windows 7ish.  All & all a much better experience then the BB. 

Droid 8 | BB 5

 

Droid Phone

They got this right.  Interface is simple & fast, clarity is rock solid, & speakers are great.  This is where the BB & iPhone fall down.

Droid 9 | BB 5

 

Droid Web Browser

You get a fast webkit (yeah for standards!) browser.  Zoom in/out & scrolling work great. Only BB users know what a truly bad browser is.

Droid 8 | BB 1

 

Droid Speakers

Again, clarity is rock solid & speakers sound great.

Droid 7 | BB 2

 

Droid Email

No one outdoes BB when it comes to Email & Notifications.  Droid has interesting concept of “notifications task bar” which I’m getting use to.  But BB users will kinda miss this their BB. Droid exchange support is pretty good including synching of calendar & contacts.  You don’t get the Global Address book, though there is an app to do this but it doesn’t integrate fully with the email client.  Gmail users get a first class email experience with basically a full functionality gmail client (labels, stars, filters, etc..)

Droid 7 | BB 9

 

Droid Turn by Turn Directions

Good bye TomTom.  This is as good or better.  You see why Google has been involved with mapping technologies for a long time.

 

Droid Misc Thoughts

Love when you touch it vibrates a little, very nice.

Why micro USB? 

I’ve attended some android sdk & iphone seminars.  I remember my impressions of the android sdk much better then iphone.

 

Droid Final Review

So far I am super impressed with the droid. I give it a 8/10.

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Weekly Bits #1

  • How/Why in the world do some people in IT/Software Dev world spend so much time at conferences, meetups, user group, etc…?  I get that these things energize you, allow for networking, etc, but it seems these things take over people’s social life or even scarier – it is their social life.  I try to go to 1 maybe 2 events a year. CodeMash the last couple of years, but I was pretty disappointed last year and probably will be taking a year off.

 

  • Microsoft announced WebSiteSpark – pretty cool, but does anyone really pay for Visual Studio anyways?

 

  • Joel Spolsky rips/digs at TDD again, it’s pretty amusing to watch the TDD people get pissed. I agree about Duct Tape Programmers

 

 

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The New IDE

image I’ve been writing a new web application at work lately, very web 2.0 ish with lots of jQuery & ajax calls being made on every page. After doing some performance testing, it’s very apparent that the various browsers fall into 1 of 3 categories, fast, medium, & slow for how fast they render. Chrome & Safari are seriously blazing fast compared to the rest, so much so, I’ve started to dump Firefox for Chrome as my browser of choice. But one major element is stopping me from being a full time chrome users – Debugging.  That’s right, Firefox isn’t a browser to me anymore, it’s a freaking IDE. Firebug for dom and css inspection/manipulation, JavaScript debugging, packet inspection. YSlow & Hammerhead for performance tuning. Colorzilla for design elements. Web developer toolbar for various odds & ends. Fireshoot for screenshot taking.  Yes, I know Chrome & IE ship with dom/css inspection but they don’t measure up to Firebug yet.  Until Chrome can catch up with these plugins, Firefox is still the default browser.

Fast
Chrome, Safari
Medium
IE 8, Firefox 3.5
Slow
IE 7

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Getting Your Education

My friends at Educator.com recently rolled out their new website.  Sufficient to say, they did a great job on the new site design & the content looks very promising.  It’s very interesting to see how their business model will work out, $20 a month or $200 a year subscription. 

With all of the education budget crisis we are seeing in this country, could a system like this help fill the void?  Educator isn’t offering “core” classes, rather advanced Math & Science, in which good teachers are tough to come by & students are of a different nature. Just a thought… 

Some of their courses

Algebra I

Calculus AB

Calculus BC

Java

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Balsamiq Awesomeness

We are building a little something here at work and I needed to throw together a quick UI design before things got heated.  In the past I’ve come across Visio designed application or a mix of visio & photoshop. I found some decent visio stencil sets for web applications but I just wasn’t satisfied with the end result and didn’t want to jump into Photoshop to make things prettier.  I wanted a something simple, that understood I was building a web application, & a low learning curve.  That’s what I found with Balsamiq Mockups.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

 image

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