Posted by Aleksey on Apr 28, 2013 in Software Development
We tried to use Orchard CMS in the Colorado GiveCamp Boulder 2013. Here are quick notes of the pros and cons that we identified:
- It’s .NET based that we hoped would be easy to customize with the skills we had
- Easy install on DiscountASP.com
- Easy to configure membership features for users
- Open source license, free
- Difficult to find free responsive modern themes
- Some plugins are only available in one flavor, not many options
- Not as popular as WP, not as much information online
Posted by Aleksey on Oct 2, 2010 in Uncategorized
I tried to ditch cable TV a couple of times, but I kept going back for different reasons. I am trying it again now. This time, I got a few more tools at my disposal:
- Channel Master DVR and HDTV antenna
- Netflix on Wii
- iPad with VLC, and ABC players
I don’t watch a lot of sports, but my wife and I like TV series, and shows such as “all you can dance”, or whatever the right name is. We also want to make it pretty simple to record and watch shows. A home theater PC (or Mac) would probably work, but in order to make it simple, it would either be expensive or require accessories, and it still would not be perfect in my experience. For example, if you watch ABC shows online, you get them 1 day delayed, and if you do it on a Windows based PC, the ads seem to turn off the full-screen mode. That’s why I started looking for HDTV over the air. Here is what I got for that:
Channel Master CM-7000PAL DVR (detailed information)
It’s just like your cable/satellite DVR, but it receives HDTV signal from an antenna. It’s free, and it doesn’t require subscription like TiVo. Why would I pay $12/mo for a TiVo subscription just to get a few air channels? I am a happy camper so far. The CM DVR works as advertised. I got a dozen or so local channels including PBS, ABC, CBS, FOX and etc. You can see what channels you can get on antennaweb.org
CM-2016 digital HDTV antenna (detailed information)
This seems to be a good antenna, I tried a cheaper and simpler one. It worked, but it did not seem to have a super reliable reception.
Netflix streaming on Nintendo Wii
I bought a Wii console when it came out a few years ago. It can now be used to stream Netflix videos, which is working fine. It may not have super HD quality, but it’s enough to watch movies that don’t rely on special effects only. Netflix has a decent collection of movies that can be watched instantly. My daughter loves it, because there are a lot of cartoons. They don’t have annoying ads either. It bothers me when the networks push their commercials even during shows for toddlers.
iPad and etc.
The ABC app is cool! In fact, I think it’s better than what they have online, because it seems to have fewer problems with ads and full-screen mode (at least in my experience). My wife keeps catching up with Grey’s anatomy episodes. There is also VLC player for iPad. It allows you to upload your AVI’s/etc and watch them on iPad – very nice.
That’s all. Nothing super fancy, but very doable on a budget.
Posted by Aleksey on Sep 30, 2010 in Agile
My wife and I bought a house recently. Considering that it’s almost 2 decades old, it’s not in a bad shape. An inspector found a few problems and recommended that if we remodel anything, we should start and finish one thing completely so we can enjoy it. Isn’t it just like WIP limit to me? Well, should I come up with a backlog then? As a home owner, I can remodel my master bathroom, so I don’t have a problem with tile in the shower, and I can enjoy the new modern design.
We decided to do it, and completed our first remodeling story a couple of weeks ago. We love and enjoy our new simple and stylish bathroom design!
Posted by Aleksey on Jul 14, 2010 in Software Development
I’ve had my iPad for a couple of months now. Somehow, before I got it, I had Utopian expectations about the AppStore apps. I thought they would never crash, or leak memory. Wrong, while the iPad platform is impressive, the apps are still written by humans, and they crash! They die silently, not a blue screen of death, not an exception window, nothing. You’d have to dig up the crash log in Xcode to get a report. I counted about 14-15 different apps that crashed on my iPad since I got it:
Air Hockey Gold
LowMemory (not an app)
mediaserverd (is it a built in one)
The most annoying one was Foursquare, it kept crashing and it was hard to figure out how to make it to work at some point. I should have given up on Foursquare altogether.
What is the root cause? I am not talking about the root cause for the specific issues, I am talking about general quality. I think it could be iPhone Gold Rush symptoms. The developers rush to release their apps, they cut the corners, you know, the usual death-march development issue. Apple, despite their very long approval process, simply cannot be the last-resort QA authority.
Hey iPhone and iPad app developers, please test your apps. Run the Memory Leaks detection in your Xcode, use some (or better a ton of) automated tests, do it now!
Posted by Aleksey on Jun 27, 2010 in Uncategorized
According to the spec, iPad has a magnetometer (digital compass) sensor. I did not have much time to calibrate Magnetometer compass app that I had downloaded before the trip. For some reason, it did not seem to work properly, or I was not patient enough to figure it out. Anyway, we did not really need it.
By the way, another interesting app is uPackingList (free, iPhone version only). It seems to to be either for the total bean-counters or for someone who is going on a long trip and needs to get everything perfectly right. Not me. Hence, I played with it, but did not use it.
Finally, there seems to be a useful app – Gia Gps Lite (free, iPad version). It worked well. I am not an expert user of the topo maps, but this one seems to be pretty intuitive. It allows to take a snapshot of the area in advance so you can use it offline. It show real time GPS coordinates, and provides a reasonably good bearing. I wish it allowed copying or saving the current coordinates. I could not figure out how to do that and had to retype it manually to send them to friends
To summarize my short overview of a few apps, here is the list:
- Gia Gps Lite (free, iPad version)
- MagnetMeter (free for now, iPad version)
- Waze (free, iPad version)
- built-in maps app
- uPackingList (free, iPhone version only)
Posted by Aleksey on Jun 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
I came back from a really good camping trip. My brain is kind of resetting now, but I want to write about a few navigation tips that I learned. On my way to the camp site, I used the stock Google Maps app that comes pre-installed on iPad, and also used free Waze app. I have been using Waze for a few weeks now, and I like it, but it needs to mature a bit more. It helped me to see ahead a traffic jam near Berthoud on I-25. The information was pretty accurate, and I even reported an accident to the Waze network. I like the Waze’s audio directions and the way they pause music if it’s being played on iPad at the same time.
I also found out that the built-in Google Map does a pretty good job caching map information near your route. It was very handy, because ATT data connection got very spotty after we passed Ft. Collins going North on 287. One of the problems with the built-in Google Map is that I cannot figure out how to email my route. I wanted to do it the same way as in the regular Web-based Google Maps, but I could not. It sucks, because in my case, I arrived to a point that was not really on the map, so I wanted to use my current location and send the directions to my wife. Not cool.
(to be continued)
Posted by Aleksey on Jun 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
Going camping today, yea! It’s been awhile, and I really need to get my tent, and sleeping bags ready. Instead, as a real geek, I am thinking what to upload on my iPad. I got the usual music, videos, podcasts, and a few simple games for my daughter. I hope that covers most of the entertainment. Now, what else do I need to make it useful? I got the stock Maps app, and downloaded Waze awhile ago, but I suspect these apps will be useless offline. A friend of mine is going to setup a radio transmitter with a pretty big antenna (hey, we are not really backpacking, we are car-packing), and he needs a compass to do it properly. I found a free compass app – MagnetMeter. It looks pretty cool, and it seems to work too. Let’s hope it will. Check.
Next, when we find a place to camp, I need to get the GPS coordinates and give them to the rest of the group that is coming later.
(to be continued…)
Posted by Aleksey on Jun 15, 2010 in Green Technology
I attended The Cleantech Open’s Regional Semifinalist Press Conference this morning. It was a pretty official event in an atrium of Wellington Webb municipal building downtown Denver. It’s good to see local companies getting to the semi-finals of the Cleantech Open competition. I was pleased to see a lot of support from the local government too.
Here is a list of the semifinalists from Rocky Mountains region:
DIAL Emissions Monitoring
Go Natural CNG
H.O.T. Water Company
Verdant Earth Technologies
Posted by Aleksey on Jun 7, 2010 in Security
- What was your high school football team’s mascot?
- Hmmm…. first of all, I assume you don’t mean soccer, but let’s ignore that for now. There were no such thing as a football or even any dedicated soccer team in my high school. We did play, and had a lot of teams organized on the fly, but since I was not very athletic kid and sucked at soccer, I did not really participate much. Plus I wore glasses, and it was not a cool thing at that time for sports. Oh, yeah, a mascot…. That would be a super stupid thing to have in my school. We did not even have cheerleaders. How awful? I know, but that just how it was. Can I pick a different security question please?
- What is your sibling’s middle name?
- Great, I do have sibling, but neither of us has a middle name. Wait, we both have a patronymic name that we may use a middle name. Though, I see a couple of problems with that: first, my siblings middle name is the same as mine, and many people can guess it, and second, it’s so hard to spell that even I cannot spell it without making a typo two times in a row. Please please, can I try again?
- What was your first pet’s name?
- Super, I think it’s an easy one. I just need to decide if it was a bird that I barely remember I had when I was 4 years old, or perhaps a semi-domesticated cat my grandma kept at home so it could catch mice. I am not sure I can remember their names though. I can make one up. Yup, that’s a good one. I’ve got an imaginary childhood pet! Done. Sign me up.
Posted by Aleksey on May 27, 2010 in Electric Vehicles
I was searching for a list of the production electric vehicles in U.S., and found this gem: OKA NEV ZEV:
It’s a Russian car modified to be an electric in Nevada (see http://www.okaauto.com/). It never got approved for highway use, so it has to be a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle. You know, one of those golf cars I heard so popular in retirement communities in Florida. I am still amazed there is only one real highway capable production electric car in US – Tesla Roadster. It’s so sad considering that EV1 was produced and sold in 1996 (I am not even going to mention electric cars from 1920′s here). Anyway, I hope it’s for real this time. Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, and Mni E to name a few are coming soon.