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Showing posts from July, 2015

Fitbit Charge HR

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Decided to upgrade I jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon when the first one was released. It seemed like a nifty idea, a device that amounted to a pedometer, but with enough intelligence on the back end to give a fairly useful look at one's daily activities. I stayed with that version until the day my wife managed to drop her original Fitbit on the garage floor and ran over it with the car. After that, we upgraded to the Flex. I've recently made the jump to the next device. I chose to go with the Charge HR. The Charge didn't give me anything interesting over the Flex. The Surge was too much in that a GPS is unnecessary, and since I won't give up my Citizen watch, it would just look silly on my arm. I decided to shoot for the one in the middle because the heart rate monitor is something that really is interesting to me. After a few days there are three standout features that really separate this version from my Flex. Two of them are pretty damn cool.  Sleep tracking Like s…

Westmalle Dubbel

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Westmalle Dubbel I was looking for an Ommegang Hennepin to go with the weekly grilled steak and peppers. It'd been stuck in my head since Friday when for some reason that I have yet to understand, I saw one on the shelf and chose not to buy it. It wasn't there, so I went to looking for something new to try. I finally settled on the Westmalle Dubbel.  How it looks Dark, no light gets through this, with a fairly thick head that dies down a little quicker than I'd like, but it pours nicely. No lacing on the glass. I've seen (and made) beers that look better in the glass, but then again, I've also seen much worse. It does look pretty tasty.  How it tastes And it is. It's thick in the mouth, not quite syrupy, but almost. It feels like it's going to be a very sweet beer, but it's not more sweet than this style usually is. It is, however, quite filling.  The flavor is pretty interesting. There's just a touch of plumbs giving a bit of an acidic fruit, with…

Google Timeline

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Timeline Surfing around, reading news and whatnot, an article popped up in my way about a new thing Google's pushing out, Google Timeline. We all know Google's tracking everything we do. That's the price we pay for the tools Google gives us. I'm ok with that. After all, everybody is tracking you these days, at least The Goog is open about what they're doing, plus they give us some pretty cool stuff in exchange. Anyway, I usually just think about this as tracking my online presence. I know there are services that come in to the real world, I just don't think about it much. Timeline may change that a bit, make it a little more obvious that Google is tracking you online and in the real world.  Timeline is a feature of Google Maps that, as long as your Android phone has had location tracking enabled, can show you where you were and when. Your routes, your destinations, and how long you spent at each place is indexed and searchable right there in your browser. If …

Free 30 GB For Life Pogoplug

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Found a cool free thing Update 4/12/2018 Cloud backups can be a life saver, but it can also be a pain. I mentioned below that I'd been happy with Crashplan. That was true, but they decided that it was better for their business model to go fully into the corporate space. As I'm not part of that space, I ended up in a search for a new service. Backblaze ended up being the right solution for me, but if you have found yourself in a similar situation, the guys at Cloudwards have put together a fairly comprehensive list of options.

Wandering around the Web the other day I stumbled across a link pointing to 30 GB cloud storage for life. I like free storage, so I followed the link. Turns out that Pogoplug will let you sign up for a free account for
cloud storage, backups (computers, phones, whatever), and it's good for life. Neato. It's not all that much when you consider the 100 GB that Microsoft and Google are handing out, but then again, those two are limited term accounts…

Tech Support Broke My Computer Part 2

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So, yeah, there's a part 2 I wandered in to work this morning a little before 7:00. I got pulled in to a production issue last night, and while I am generally not a skilled sleeper under normal conditions, stress tends to make it a little worse. The end result was going to bed late, and getting up way too early. What else could I do? So, I packed up my crap and headed in to the office.  Round about quarter to 8, an email came across my phone. Remember, my computer's dead, so I'm keeping touch via my handy dandy Nexus 6. The email is a follow-up to my complaint that my computer was dead. I was instructed to call the help desk immediately. I'm a good little drone, so that's what I did. After waiting for a bit (which seemed odd to me at that time of day) I got a guy on line who was all ready to fix me up. We went through the protocol, I had to prove my location, prove my identity, and then on to the troubleshooting. He assures me that this should only be a few minut…

Tech Support Broke My Computer

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How useful is a developer without a computer? I'll tell ya. Not useful at all. I suppose I'm not totally disconnected. I've got my Nexus 6 that I can use for my email and calendar, and if I really want to go all the way I can launch the company chat tool on my phone as well, but you know what I can't do? I CAN'T WRITE CODE!! Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration. If I really wanted to get ambitious I could do the JavaScript stuff on my phone, but #1 I don't want to, and #2, I'm a manager so I can make someone else get all ambitious like that for me. I suppose if I want to be really accurate I'd say my ability to write has been reduced to the point that it appears virtually impossible. What ever.  So, what happened? What happened? WHAT HAPPENED!? I'll tell you what happened. A month or so ago I started having some application problems. The most noticeable issues were around Chrome, Visual Studio, and Outlook; They'd freeze requiring a forced …

The World Needs More Biker Waves

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The Wave You've probably seen it. Someone on a motorcycle reaching their left hand out or down, making you (a driver in a cage) think the bike is about to change lanes or something. If you're particularly observant you've noticed that there's someone on a motorcycle coming the other direction making the same odd hand signal. What the hell is going on? Is this some sort of gang sign? An acknowledgment of another member of the Illuminati? No, not really. It's just a wave. Just sayin' hey. If you don't ride (or, I guess, drive a Jeep. As a former Jeep driver I can tell you they tend to do something similar) you probably won't get it. That's ok, you don't have to. Why does it matter? Well, we live in kind of nasty times. I'm not talking about the stuff going on in the Middle East, the rise of socialism in Europe, or the non-existent plans to steal your guns right here in the U.S. I'm talking about the polarization around what ever wild hai…

I'm Just Not A Fan Of TypeScript

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You won't change my mind Every so often I get bit by one of JavaScript's "features." It's nearly always an error that would either fail to compile or just be easy to debug if I was working in a language I'm more familiar with. I'm not a fan of this
language, and for the most part I try to limit my work with JavaScript to manipulating display. Recently, though, I've been taking the effort to try to become more friendly with the language. I'm writing a little Node JS REST service (ok, I admit it. Node is extremely cool). I'm implementing the service using TypeScript because I've got a professional need to become familiar with it, so why not? This is where I'm getting annoyed. TypeScript comes with some really cool features, some that make me very happy. Static typing, classes, interfaces, all good stuffs. The problem is that TypeScript transpiles directly to JavaScript. It's basically window dressing on top of JavaScript. In additio…

Day 3 Of One, Or Something Like That

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Still a little short of anything worth saying Here we are again, staring at the screen with nothing of value to discuss. Oh, well. The goal was a daily post. We've hit three consecutive days. Yay. I've had similar success with hitting the weights again. I've hit 100% of my workouts for the past 1 days. Yay. Next up on the list, an hour or so of coding. Nothing in particular, just now, I'll get back to one or more of my projects a little later, but for now I just want to write a little code. Work recently has brought me in to a management role, which is nice. It allows me the ability (among other things) to push designs and solutions from a level higher than I can as an individual contributor, but it does leave me with very little time with hands on keyboard.  I suppose there is some news. Visual Studio 2015 was released today. We'll be migrating out development environments at the first possible chance. New toys, yippie. Enough of this. I've forced some words …

Day Two Of Two

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We've hit a milestone This is the second day in an unbroken run of daily ZenOfBeer posts. Yay. I figured I'd get this out of the way
before going off to try to beat the heat and do something productive around the house. I've been letting the yard work slide, and I expect that to go on a little bit longer. It's just too damn hot out to do anything of significance. Sure, some places in the country laugh at us melting in the PNW when we hit 80° and up (supposed to be over 90° today). I come from such a place, so I know things get much hotter other places, but let me remind those of you who live in hotter lands - most of you have AC. Here? about 1 out of 6 have AC.
I suppose this is going to be good weather for going through the garage, unpacking more stuff.
Speaking of unpacking more stuff, somewhere out there in the garage is my Windows laptop. I've mentioned my thoughts on Chromebooks before, but it's true. Outside of work my Asus Chromebook 13 is my primary c…

Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale

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Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale About a week ago I was down on the Oregon coast with the family for my birthday. On our way back to the hotel I was looking for a bit of refreshment, and as is often the case in the PNW, the beer section left me with a difficult decision to make. Even the poorest selections can leave me staring at a wall of bottles and cans, overwhelmed with an array of potential options. Anyway, on this occasion I broke down and decided to give Pelican Brewing a second chance. The first time I encountered one of their brews I was put in the unfortunate position of considering taking the empty bottle back to the store and asking for my money back. Seriously. Didn't like it, not even a little bit. Somehow I thought this time would be different. I suppose it was, just a little. It wasn't offensive, it wasn't terrible. At the same time I wouldn't rate it as good. To be perfectly blunt, I recently had some Coors Banquet Beer, and given a choice I'd t…

Timely App

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Google Bought Timely So, this isn't news anymore. Somewhere around a year ago Google bought the makers of the Timely app. When I stumbled across Timely app I was happily surprised. It's a nice looking app with decent widgets. It has an easy to use alarm clock (I use this for tracking meat on the grill), a stop-watch, and my most used feature, alarm clocks. But, not just any alarm clocks. Alarm clocks that are attached to my account, stored in the cloud, and stay happy and running when I install Timely on a tablet, or a new phone, or any other Android device. Try it, you'll like it. With that out of the way, why am I bothering to bring this up today? Google put out an update to the default system Google Clock. This Google Clock is not Timely. This Google Clock cannot be replaced by Timely. When I click on the time that is displayed in my weather app widget the Google Clock opens up. Knock it the hell off. If Google wants to buy a neato clock app, at the very least allow m…

Back Again, And Annoyed By US Cell Carriers

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So, I'm back... The move is complete...as in "we're out of the old place, in to the new place, and will be living out of boxes for who knows how many years." My plan is to get back on this thing and pump a little something out there every day.  As part of the move there's always shopping for odds and ends, home furnishings, and all sorts of other whoknowswhat. To that end, we ended up at Ikea (we're huge fans), and decided to pick up a couple of their wireless charging pads. We dragged them home, and the geek that I am, I set to work seeing what we could do with them. I set mine up on my night stand, plopped down my Nexus 6, and after futzing around a little bit, my phone started charging. As a new-comer to using this technology, let me say that this was really cool to watch. My phone charges because it's sitting on this little wooden disk. Neato. Anyway, on to my wife's phone. She got hooked on the LG G2, couldn't be convinced to make the jump …