I’m not one for buying warranties. In fact, I usually ignore them altogether as most warranties are excuses for companies to pilfer more of your money (and sometimes used as a scare tactic at the end of your purchase depending on the type of business). However, there are times where warranties are a worthy investment but do your research and weigh the odds.
In my case, AppleCare has proven to be worth the money. Back in 2007, when I bought my first Apple MacBook Pro laptop, I was offered a warranty and ignored it at first but a friend convinced me to reconsider (as Apple gives you up to a year to decide from original purchase). I’m glad he did because it payed off in the end. During the life of the warranty I ended up replacing the following:
- Graphics card (burnt out, lost all display) - $400 repair parts and labor (roughly)
- Hard drive (overheated) - $300 parts and labor (roughly)
- Optical drive (broken, wouldn’t read disks anymore) - $200 parts and labor (roughly)
Those prices are estimates as I only have rough figures from what AppleCare claimed the cost was during those repairs (so I could be a little low or high). Regardless, the point is that AppleCare, which costs around $250, paid for itself and then some.
If you are a developer, like me, who uses a laptop 10 to 12 hours/day in all kinds of conditions (as I did travel to San Francisco and through Chaco Canyon in 50+ miles of rough rock road with my laptop in the top case of my motorcycle) then you might want to consider buying this plan.
In the early part of 2008 I wrote about how I found Facebook to be a glorified MySpace (another service that has since become the trash of the web). These days I grow more concerned about how Facebook tries to get as much personal information out of you in order to use it for its own personal gain. Most people still don’t understand this and are great risk to themselves, their family, and their friends. Ignorance is NOT bliss - it’ll catch up to you in the long run. You don’t need to take my word for it, however, just read/listen to the following articles/podcasts to get a clearer picture (thanks to Roo for the first couple of excellent links):
- A Visual History of Facebook Privacy Settings
- TWiG 39: Facebook Über Alles
- TWiG 40: Palm Lives
- TWiG 41: Blinking 12:00
- These New Zuckerberg IMs Won’t Help Facebook’s Privacy Problems
- 3 Reasons that We are Moving Away from Facebook as a Platform
My suggestion is to control as much of your information as possible, keep it public, and keep it professional. If you like technology, you can always host your own web server (ideal situation). However, not everyone can do this and so I would recommend using Twitter instead. It is public by default - unlike the confusing terms of service that Facebook employs. Other solutions would be Tumbler, SquareSpace, etc. Whatever service you use, be mindful of its policies, the information you are sharing, and definitely don’t support services that are harmful to you and the open web.
I’ve been using Heroku for some time now. Well, ever since the Heroku Garden days — which was over a year ago. Seems longer. Anyway, I’ve got a handful of apps on Heroku. Some prototypes and some in production. I also have multiple accounts in play. The only problem is that this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to manage. In case you travel down this path, here are some tips.
The following assumes you are on the MacOS, already own multiple Heroku accounts, have installed the Heroku gem, and have deployed a Ruby on Rails application to Heroku before. Otherwise, read the Quickstart docs and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Let’s start with your credentials file (i.e. ~/.heroku/credentials). This file is usually created for you by the Heroku gem when you setup your first account. It is a text file with your account login (i.e. email address) on the first line and your password on the second line. To setup multiple accounts, I’d suggest the following:
- ~/.heroku/credentials - Your current account that is in play.
- ~/.heroku/account_1.credentials - Your first account.
- ~/.heroku/account_2.credentials - Your second account.
When you need to switch accounts simply copy the contents of the account you are switching to over the existing credentials file (example: account_2.credentials now becomes credentials). I wrote a simple Ruby gem called Heroku Plus that easily automates the switching of accounts for you. Now, from the command line, you can simply type the following to switch between accounts:
herokup -a -s <account>
Right, so we have the credentials files out of the way but there is one last step. You need to associate your public key with each account. Here is my suggestion:
- Change directory to
- Create your private and public keys for each account by running the following command:
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "<email>" -f ~/.ssh/<account>.identity
heros <account>to switch account and add the new keys for each:
heroku keys:add [path to keyfile].pub
For each Heroku account beyond your first, you’ll need to make use of the SSH config file (i.e. ~/.ssh/config) as follows (thanks to the Heroku support team on this one):
- Host official.heroku.com
- HostName heroku.com
- User git
- IdentitiesOnly yes
Also, for each account beyond the first, you’ll need to switch to each app directory and type the following command:
git remote add heroku email@example.com:<your app>.git. This will allow you to push and deploy your changes back to the Heroku servers and finalizes your setup.
From this point forward, you can switch between accounts as follows:
- Change directory to the app you want to work on.
hp -a -s <account>.
- Make changes to your code.
- Type: git commit -a -m “Your comments.”
- Type: git push heroku.
- Have a beer.
© The Movie DB
A couple of years ago my brother and I set out to frame our own movie posters since the prices for poster prints can add up quickly. In our case, we bought paper prints from places like All Posters, attached them to foam boards (bought via Michaels) with 3M glue spray, built and stained wooden frames (all done by my brother), and finally we worked with a local glass cutter to encase the prints. The result was OK but not great. The use of the 3M glue proved to be tricky to get right and in some cases resulted in minor bubbling of the prints.
That was several years ago. Now I’m researching a different tactic: canvas prints. This would not require glass. Plus canvas would partially work as an acoustic absorber and reduce light reflection from the video source. Ideally, I’d like to obtain high resolution digital images of the movie posters and figure out a clever way to print these images myself onto canvas or fabric. Unfortunately, obtaining high resolution images (i.e. 4500 x 6000 pixels or higher) is proving rather difficult. The alternative is to simply shop for canvas prints, which is easier, and then frame them how you like. Here is what I have found so far:
- All Movie Replicas - Offers movie posters, replicas, busts, memorabilia, etc.
- Movie Goods - Mostly dedicated to movie poster and related images. They supply canvas prints as well a framing abilities.
- The Movie Poster Shop - Supplies movie poster and canvas prints.
- All Posters - A popular place for movie poster prints or canvas versions. They also support framing.
- The Movie DB - While not necessarily related to shops that supply movie prints for purchase, I thought I’d mention this site since it does supply movie-related information including digital images. Most images are in 1920×1080 resolutions. Good for desktop wallpaper.
For me, I’m not sure if I’ll go down this route, but it is worth considering.
I haven’t talked much about Local Dish on this site and I thought I’d shed some more light on the project for those interested.
Local Dish is a new web site, service, and Ruby on Rails application that is about fresh food and healthy eating. Whether you are a cook, wanting to be a cook, or just looking for alternative ways to eat better then Local Dish is for you. We are initially tapping into the local scene which means we are hyper-local and definitely a niche service. That said, the recipe database and articles related on how to cook should be applicable to all no matter where you live. Plus, you should find the shopping list generator handy as well. Here is a high level breakdown of features we’ll be deploying:
- Recipe Database - The heart of this app is the use of the recipe database. You’ll be able to quickly search for and find recipes that might be of interest to you.
- Recipe Sharing - Members will have the ability to share and rate recipes.
- Recipe Management - Members will be able to mark recipes as something they have tried, have yet to try, tried and didn’t like, etc. You’ll be able to categorize and mark recipes as favorites, etc.
- Recipe Import/Export - Capability and support for quickly importing a collection of recipes or exporting them out to a different application will be supported as well.
- Shopping List Generator - Based on your recipe choices and how you configure your daily, weekly, and/or monthly menus this tool will allow you to generate shopping lists easily which gives you back more time to do the things you enjoy.
We think it is perfect timing since the current economy is in the dumps, people are looking for easier ways to cut grocery costs, and eat healthier without sacrificing taste. We are also scratching an itch to a problem that both Kate and I want solved as well. So bookmark the site and subscribe to the site and twitter feeds. We are very focused on community, so your input is welcome. Eventually, we’ll be opening up the site for Beta invites so that you can manage your own recipe collection, share recipes with others, generate your own shopping lists, etc.
We’re excited about this service and hope you will be to. See you on Local Dish!
As some might know I am a home theatre enthusiast that, at the end of last year, finally got into Blu-Ray partly due to the excellent writings by Roo. I was armed with a Playstation 3 and the Netflix disk service where I payed the extra $1/month charge to get Blu-Ray disks instead of DVDs. Only problem is that I kept getting disks that were slightly cracked or suffered from minuscule disk fractures which yielded the following Playstation 3 error code: 80029940.
Obviously, this was a terrible way to start enjoying the Blu-Ray experience. My only saving grace was that I had bought my own Blu-Ray disk, The Dark Knight, before renting the disks from Netflix and already knew that my player was not at fault.
After searching the various Playstation and home theatre forums and working with Netflix tech support, I discovered the following:
- Blu-Ray disks are more fragile than DVDs and therefor susceptible to cracking and disk fractures.
- Netflix has been working with the USPS to ensure that all mail is not processed by machine which causes the disks to crack. By reporting disk issues and even calling support, you can help Netflix work with the USPS to correct issues with your service.
- I read in some forums that you might need to turn the HDMI super white level off along with a few other custom display settings on your Playstation 3 to prevent the 80029940 code. Don’t believe the hype as I found none of this to be true. More often than not, it is a cracked disk (even if not noticeable by the naked eye).
I recently learned of DynDNS, a free dynamic DNS service, from Paul VanderLei. As most know, the connection to your ISP is always a dynamic IP address which means that you might have a 24 hour window (roughly) where you can hand out your IP address for others to connect to your home server before it changes again. Obviously, this is not optimal. Enter DynDNS. They allow you to create a domain name that others can depend on without worrying about the IP address changing underneath. The following demonstrates how easy this is to set up:
- Create a free DynDNS account.
- Add a new hostname where you can choose your name and then pick from a selection of suffixes. Example: aeonscope.homeip.net.
- Download the DnyDNS client. This is what updates DnyDNS with your new IP address as it changes.
- Finally, launch your AirPort Utility, click on the Advanced tab, select port mapping, and then personal web sharing or whatever service you are planning to host:
In my case, I choose to use only port 3000 since I’m mainly just hosting my Rails apps to share with others for development purposes. Thanks Paul, for the tip. Hopefully others will find this useful as well.
It is not enough to simply backup your data with optical disks or external drives in your home (which you should already be doing). You also need a way to backup the data to an off-site location. One of the ways to do this is to use online storage where data is backed up and encrypted using a secure connection. The following are a few services for making this happen:
- CrashPlan - Free for personal. Comes with an assortment of features such as continuous backup, scheduling, backup compression, encryption, etc.
- Jungle Disk - Costs $0.15 per 1 GB of storage. Requires no monthly service fee, commitment, or startup fee. Data is encrypted at all times. Compatible with multiple operating systems.
- Carbonite - Costs $49 per year with no restrictions on the amount of data you store. Seems to only work with Windows systems.
- Mozy - Comes in three packages: Home (free for first 2GB), Pro ($3.95/month or $0.50/1GB/month), and Enterprise (unknown). Seems to support Windows mostly.
- .Mac - Costs $99 for 10GB of storage a year. There is a 100GB/month data restriction. Primarily supports the MacOS.
- IBackup - $9.95/month for 10GB of storage. Sports a web browser and downloadable client for connectivity. Works on multiple operating systems.
- Backup - Uses similar pricing to IBackup. Supports the Windows operating systems only.
I created a Facebook account partially due to an invite from a friend and partially from curiosity. After playing with Facebook for a while I came to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a glorified MySpace that also suffers from some of the same reasons that caused me to leave LinkedIn.
I simply am not fond of the walled garden Facebook creates. Instead, I am more interested in sharing information in the open. Besides, if you have something that is truly private then why would you put it online where there is always the potential for it to be exposed?
With that said, I’ll be moving on:
For those of you who sent me Facebook invites, sorry. I suggest you subscribe to this site instead.
In case you didn’t pick up on the latest announcements for TWIP in the Leo Laporte podcasts and you enjoy photography, then I recommend subscribing to both the web site and podcasts feeds. I’ve been listening since the start and it is shaping up to be a rather interesting source of photography information.