Archives For Personal

Happy Anniversary to me! In the past week, I’ve had 2 major anniversaries in my life:

  1. 20 years of marriage
  2. 1 year since purchasing my first MacBook Pro

I love my Mac, I love my wife more. (and the small voice in my head says, “right answer”)

Speaking of the MBP, OS X 10.5.8 was released this week. It’s the last expected major release before Snow Leopard comes out in September. I installed it on Wednesday and everything has been fine with no hiccups. Hopefully it will stay that way.

When I purchased my 17″ MBP last year, it was just a few weeks before the unibody models were released. I’ve had the opportunity to play with some unibody models and I’m tossed on whether I will upgrade or not. I like them, but primarily for the memory capacity (8GB vs 4GB that I have now) and not really for anything else. 4GB has served me well and I’ll probably hold out for at least another year before upgrading hardware.

The other thing I don’t like about the unibody is no full size DVI out. I live on 2 monitors, but if I had to use a dongle, I would.

Snow Leopard is a whole other story. I’m tossed right now whether or not I’m going to upgrade. For $29, it’s a no brainer. However, my MBP is my business (minus my accounting software and screen capture/editing software which still runs on Windows), so I really can’t afford any downtime.

I’m considering upgrading my harddrive (currently I have a 250GB 5400rpm) and then doing a clean install of Snow Leopard. To me, that seems to be the best option right now and would be an “easy” weekend project and I could still pop the old drive back in if there are any issues. I’ll just have to wait and see. Question is will it void my warranty? That’s what I need to find out at my local Apple store.

<bunnytrail>

But not this weekend.

Why?

It’s sale tax free weekend in North Carolina. Last year, I went to the Apple store in Charlotte and the lines were nuts. Fortunately, one of the Apple folks gave me a heads up that I could just order through their online store and they would take care of the sales tax adjustment. Since I was custom building my MBP anyway, I went with a friend down the food court and enjoyed lunch instead of standing in line for nothing.

I’ll put in writing what I’ve told people. The *only* reason I switched to a Mac was to do iPhone development. I was already using Cygwin and mostly open source software for development on the PC platform, so I had a good and robust toolset configured.

Honestly, I still do all my audio and video editing on the PC because that’s the software that I have. iMovie is a pain, but it works in a pinch. I’ve got Audacity on the MBP and it’s been fine, but it’s rare that I use it. I guess at some point, I’ll need to cut all that stuff over to the MBP, but until I have to, there’s no reason to. I turned my old Dell 810 into a rocking A/V machine, so for now, it does all the heavy A/V work and my MBP all about development.

</bunnytrail>

Along with OS X 10.5.8 coming out this week, Apple also release iPhone OS 3.0.1 which fixes a SMS vulnerability. I was holding off on upgrading from 2.2.1 because I wanted a device with the old OS for development purposes (Cut, Copy and Paste just aren’t that cool to me). However, once I read some of the coverage from Black Hat/DEFCON this week on how quickly a reporter’s phone was pwned, I decided to go ahead and upgrade. So far, everything is working good, but a few of my apps are showing some issues that I’m trying to figure how to fix. Hopefully those will be buttoned up next week.

If you are doing iPhone development and have already installed 3.0.1 like I have, you will have some issues building to the device. Login to your Apple developer account and look at the documented titled “iPhone OS 3.0.1 Advisory.” That will give you the instructions on how to get around this issue.

The last big patch of the week that caused extra work for me this week is WordPress 2.8.3. I had just finished patching to 2.8.1 and 2.8.2 and then 2.8.3 came out right after that. I don’t have that many WordPress installations that I maintain, but just enough to keep me busy for a while to get everything upgraded. I typically install using the Subversion method, but I’ve been doing the upgrades inside the app. I think I need to write a script on every server that I’m on to do the upgrades using Subversion as well. That would probably save me a lot of time. I’ll just have to test it and see.

One other CMS I’ve been maintaining is Joomla. They have been coming out fast and furious with security releases recently. I’ve recently picked up the maintenance gig of a Joomla site that was hacked. I’ve played with Joomla in the past, but now I see that’s it’s a cool piece of software. It’s not typically the type of work that I do, but it does help me be versed in multiple options when people ask me what they should do.

One of the first things that I did was to download the OWASP Joomla Vulnerability Scanner. It helped me find a couple of other issues I was able to lock down. I love OWASP. I use a lot of their products and methodologies on a daily basis for client work.

I wish I had more time in the day to devote to penetration and vulnerability testing. That’s fun work to do.

On the lighter side, I’ve put in my order for the Blu-ray edition of Battlestar Galactica. I didn’t watch the series when it was in production, so having ~20 Blu-ray discs to watch should keep me busy for a while. In the meantime, I’m really into Warehouse 13 on Syfy.

If only Chuck and Warehouse 13 would do a crossover episode. They are part of the same family of companies. It could happen. (One could only hope.)

As I’ve talked about in the past few weeks, one of my client’s iPhone apps went live this week. It’s called KeyMABA and it’s little brother KeyMABA Lite. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, check it out.

Finally, Twitter was down after a DoS attack on Thursday without even a failwhale in sight.

Did your life continue while Twitter was down?

Mine did.

I’m still putting together my iPhone development course, so if you have anything you would like to see in it, send me a note.

Darin Pope

What a difference a week makes

darin —  July 31, 2009 — 1 Comment

Last week, I took a few days off and went to Creation Northwest to hang out with a few friends. Stepping away from the desk and getting out into the … gasp … sun, has made a *huge* difference in my focus and creativity. I was able to come up with a few different options to a problem that I had been eluding me for a few weeks.

Also, during the flight times I was able to finish up a proof of concept for a new iPhone game that I’ve been working on with a friend. If I wouldn’t have had the time on the plane and in the hotel in Seattle, I don’t know that I would have completed that part of the project. As it stands, once the graphics are complete, the game will almost be ready to submit to Apple. That would be very cool.

Lesson learned: I’ve got to get away a little more often. Maybe not to the other side of the country (jet lag is a pain), but maybe run to the mountains or the beach for a day or two. That’s the beauty of living in North Carolina.

It’s the end of the month, which means accounting tasks on Saturday. Fortunately, my accounting processes only take a couple of hours a month, primarily because I outsource my payroll to a payroll service. People have asked me why I pay $20 per month to write a check to myself. I respond with “I’m not paying $20/month to write a check, I’m paying $60/qtr to have someone else manage all my payments and filings.” That $20/month is the best money I spend each and every month.

If you are still writing and managing your own payroll…stop it…right now…yes, you…stop…right…now.

I use the payroll service through my bank, but there are plenty of good services that offer reasonably priced solutions. Spend the time and find the one that works for you and stop doing manually yourself. There are some cases where it makes sense, but I can’t think of one unless the total cost of doing it in house is cheaper than outsourcing it. To me, total cost includes making sure your payroll person is staying on top of all the tax rate changes that have been coming out this year. That alone would drive me batty.

At some point, I’ll probably outsource my bookkeeping as well, but I’ve been doing bookkeeping for over 20 years, so it’s second nature to me and I enjoy it. It’s a nice diversion from solving problems. I like it when 1+1 actually does equal 2.

Finally, the application that I wrote for one of my clients is scheduled to go live in the app store on August 1. I still can’t reveal the app until it goes live, but next week I will be able to. I’m excited to see how it does.

For anyone that is submitting apps to Apple, don’t forget you can set the date on the pricing tab to way out in the future. I think that is a good thing so you can coordinate your marketing materials to launch on a specific date.

That’s one of the nuggets that will be included in the iPhone development course that I’m putting together right now. If you have anything specific that you would like to see in the course, fill out the form on the Contact section of the website.

Darin Pope

The Netflix Player by Roku

darin —  September 24, 2008 — Leave a comment

We recently purchased the Netflix Player by Roku and signed up for the $8.99/month (1 DVD at-a-time) plan with NetFlix. This probably has been one of the best purchases in the past few years. Yeah, the selection of instant isn’t that expansive.

That is, until this week.

This week, Netflix announced agreements with CBS and the Disney Channel to stream current shows. For most people, that probably doesn’t mean a lot, but for our family, it’s a pretty big deal. We’re not into Disney as much anymore, but CBS is one of our mainstays because of a number of shows: N3mb3rs, NCIS, CSI, CSI:Miami and CSI:NY. As of today, the majority of the previous seasons are already available for streaming across our Roku. That means as long as I have my Netflix account active and the agreements stay in place, I never need to purchase the DVDs. Now if they could just cut a deal with holders of ST:TNG (good), ST:DS9 (so-so) and ST:Voyager (very good).

Also today at the Streaming Media West confernece in San Jose, the Roku CEO told an audience that they are working to get the box working with ANY content provider in the next few months. Yes, I’ll watch some Hulu on my TV, thank you very much.

The biggest item that caught my eye in the Wired article is that Roku is “We’re going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs.” If you aren’t a programmer, you probably could care less. But as a programmer that has been spending a LOT of time recently with the iPhone and Android SDKs, I can tell you that this SDK has me more pumped than any other device right now.

Why?

It’s one thing to get onto someone’s phone. It’s something completely different to get onto their TV. What’s it really going to mean? Check back later after the SDK has been released and I’ll let you know.

For now, if you haven’t purchased a Netflix Player from Roku yet, run, don’t walk. Also, if you have a HDTV, I would recommend purchasing the cable kit for $19.99. It’s a great price for some very good quality cables. Plus, it means I didn’t have to get in the car and drive down to Best Buy or Radio Shack and pay exorbitant prices for cables.

Another note: if you don’t have a NetFlix account yet, wait for the Roku box to arrive before signing up for the NetFlix account. That way you get the full trial period to play with the Roku.

Deliverance Bible Church

darin —  October 27, 2007 — Leave a comment

When I lived in Fort Worth, I worked with a guy that was a outrageous graphic and web designer.

He was covered in tattoos.

He knew Jesus personally.

He knew who he was in God.

He’s one of the best friends that I never got to hang out enough with.

Jeff is part of Deliverance Bible Church in Hurst. If you are looking for a church that will accept you as you are, they are there for you.

Deliverance Bible Church

Krystal has arrived!!!

darin —  February 19, 2007 — Leave a comment

Today is a day that will live in infamy…

ok, probably not. But it is an important day.

Krystal has opened in Fort Worth!

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful food known as Krystal, then think of White Castle. If you don’t know what White Castle is, then you need to learn a piece of Americana.

Krystal are wonderful hamburgers that are served on a small dinner roll. You remember, the ones Mom used to make. Add cheese and it’s a small slice of heaven.

Of course, you can’t eat just one. You can buy them by the sackful!

Now, truth be told, Krystal has been in the Metroplex for a while. I’ve frequented the location near High Point Church in Arlington a couple of times. And I’ll probably continue going there after a long day of shopping at Fry’s. But having a location about 15 minutes from the house is going to be nice.

And just think about it: when you are headed downtown to have a nice dinner at Reata or Texas De Brazil, but you know you can’t wait that long to eat, catch a drive through at Krystal and down a couple. Life doesn’t get much better.