I'm not sure how long this post will be, but I'll just start writing about the whole experience. My apologies in advance if it turns into a bit of a rant, but case it does, let me give you the conclusion up front. DO NOT RENT A WIRELESS HOTSPOT FROM TEP WIRELESS! With that out of the way, let's continue.
I really wanted to love my Simple.TV. The premise behind it was so simple, just like the name. The premise of Simple.TV is to essentially create a DVR server that can serve up television to any device with a web browser or a Simple.TV app. It's just a standard tuner. No cablecard or anything like that. Also, bring your own harddrive. It can stream in HD quality to your local network or anywhere else, bridging functionality of a TiVo and a Slingbox together, except... more simple... That would be great if it worked, but it actually doesn't work. By "it doesn't work," I don't mean that it isn't good enough. I mean it actually doesn't work.
I really wanted to like Simple.TV. I backed them on Kickstarter, ordering two units. I live in San Francisco, but being a Los Angeles native, I wanted to install one of these in my parents' house so I could stream Lakers games up here, and I planned to install one here. When the Engadget review came out, I thought they were way too harsh. Heck... I was so excited to receive my Simple.TV that I even made an unboxing video. That's how lame I am!
After I unboxed it, it was time to set it all up! The process of plugging everything in is quite simple. It has a coax passthrough so if you're already using something like a TiVo, which I am, you can pass coax into the Simple.TV and back out to the TiVo. That worked just fine. There are two ethernet ports. I believe the second one is for passthrough of ethernet, but it is labeled only as Ethernet2, and I can't find any documentation about it. There isn't a product manual for the Simple.TV, not even in PDF form online. There's a power port, and then there's also a USB port for the external drive. That's where I hit my first snag.
I love Apple products, but mostly, I love technology. I love playing with new gadgets and staying on the bleeding edge of what is new and fresh. I have had every iPhone since the original, and I currently own the 4S. My wife has the iPhone 5. If this were any other year, I'd just go and buy an iPhone 5. But while the iPhone 5 is by far the best iPhone of all time, it's also the one that has me least excited to upgrade.
I already have iOS6 on my phone, and after using my wife's phone pretty frequently, I can say that the extra bit of vertical resolution doesn't make much of a difference in day to day usage. I don't care that it's even thinner. The iPhone 4S is thin enough for me. I do need LTE, though.
Oh another thing - I hate Android. It is the least elegant operating system out there. I can't believe that I have a quad core CPU on my Nexus 7, and I still can't get perfectly scrolling menus like I can on my iPhone 4S. Every time I use an Android device, I never feel like it's fully utilizing the hardware, and the software is always a bit sluggish.
Windows Phone 8, on the other hand, is really intriguing to me. It's exciting. It's new. It's fresh. And the Nokia Lumia 920 looks like an excellent rendition of that platform. I've placed a pre-order, and my experiment is to see what it's like to switch from a 64GB iPhone 4S to a 32GB Nokia Lumia 920. I'll do my best to blog about the delights and downfalls.
I ordered an unlocked, contract-free version. If I end up hating it after a year, I'll be contract-free, and I'll get the next iPhone, and I'll move to Sprint for their unlimited data. Wish me luck!
I gave a webinar about building your first application on MongoDB on May 15, 2012. The presentation began with a brief overview of MongoDB, jumped into a possible use-case (creating a metadata catalog), and then I jumped into the MongoDB shell to show some live CRUD operations. My slides are posted below, and I've also added some of the sample queries you can run with the MongoDB shell. Let me know if you have any questions!
Alright! I was hoping I would receive my Kindle Fire before Thanksgiving (Super Saver Shipping), and it looks like that will indeed be the case. I woke up this morning, started checking online banking, and noticed that I had a $200+ pending charge on my credit card from Amazon. I popped over to my Amazon account, and I saw that the shipping status for the Kindle Fire had been updated to "Shipping Soon." WOOT! It's almost here!
Well, this is annoying. Last Friday, HP not only announced that they were killing off the TouchPad, but they also announced that they would be selling these things for only $99 a pop. People were going crazy trying to grab these, and I was part of the craze. I was able to place an order at MicroCenter, and I decided to order two 32GB models for $149.99 (plus tax, shipping, etc).
The site was slow, but I eventually got my order placed. That was on Friday. Then right before I went to bed on Sunday night, I got an e-mail from a friend that Barnes & Noble had put TouchPads on their site to order. Despite having already ordered a couple with Micro Center, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try with B&N. I successfully placed an order for two TouchPads! I decided to try and order five more, these just for eBay, with another e-mail account address. Order successfully placed! Now I was up to NINE TouchPads on the way!
I figured that I probably wouldn't get all of the TouchPads. I was pretty certain B&N wouldn't ship me five TouchPads, but I placed the order, and it went through, so I figured I'd wait and see. The next morning when I woke up, I saw that someone posted that CDW had just dropped the price as well! This site was the most broken i had encountered yet. I would get ASP DB errors all the time, and the error messages were pretty much constant. Huge pain in the neck. FINALLY, I was able to place an order. Once again, I ordered two 16GB HP TouchPads.
I got through! That would put my total number of HP TouchPads ordered at ELEVEN!!!!!! Honestly, I figured that perhaps the sites took a few too many orders, but since I ordered a total of eleven, from different vendors, I figured I would get at least one!
And then the rejection letters started coming in... Barnes & Noble was first.
And then after B&N came CDW...
Micro Center was the first place I ordered a TouchPad from, and because I had not heard from them yet, I thought there was hope! I went online to check my order status. I couldn't find an order status checker so I used their "live chat" feature. "Michelle" informed me that they canceled my order. That sucked.
I'm REALLY annoyed. I ordered freaking eleven of these things... from three different retailers, and I had a batting average of ZERO. Ugh. Maybe I should make a T-Shirt: "I ordered 11 HP TouchPads and all I got was this lousy blog post!"
I'm constantly figuring out how to best optimize my workspace. Most recently, I purchased a Heckler Design OneLessDesk. While I love the desk, it provided me with some challenges. the primary challenge was that I no longer had anywhere to put my MacBook. On the Heckler Design website, they show users putting their MacBooks on on the lower portion of the desk, but I really prefer having a dedicated keyboard and mouse/trackpad. I decided to buy a laptuk to put my 27" Cinema Display on top. However, I didn't like how the Laptuk raised my monitor up an extra few inches. It made the viewing angle uncomfortable. I continued my search for a good way to dock my MacBook Pro.
Then I stumbled on Henge Docks. Henge Docks is a company that makes a vertically oriented line of docking stations for Apple's MacBook Pro line of computers. They looked classy on the website, and I decided to order one to see if it would be a good way to fit my laptop on my OneLessDesk.
My girlfriend got the new MacBook Air. She's upgrading to this machine from an old 2ghz white macbook. She purchased the maxed out 13" version. Without further ado, here are the pics. Click the pictures for larger versions.
I was sick of my old desk. In fact, it wasn't even a desk really. It was a big glass Ikea table that I used as a desk. It worked just fine for me, but I got sick of cleaning the glass, and the glass actually just rested on top of a metal stand, and I got sick of the glass getting knocked around. Also, it was really big. I wouldn't say I actually started actively looking for a new desk, but my eyes were open. Then one day I stumbled upon the Heckler Design OneLessDesk over at the MacRumors forums. I did some research on the desk, and I knew I had to have it...