2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 860 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Messing around in the Googlesphere

During the holiday break from work, I’ve been messing around in the Googlesphere just for fun.  This Christmas my sister-in-law got me a Chromecast which is Google’s answer to the Apple TV… sorta.  I wanted the Chromecast to take to work with me so I can actually watch something good on TV while I’m sitting in my hotel room.  I tried it out here at home and it works pretty well for Netflix and YouTube but thats about it.  I haven’t tried casting from a computer yet but thats because I don’t have Chrome installed on my MacBook Pro.  I did discover that I can’t really cast anything from my tablet other than YouTube and Netflix so thats kind of a bummer since I have a lot of movies on the actual devices and being able to stream it to the Chromecast would have been pretty bad ass.  I even got a portable wireless router to make sure that I can stream from all my devices.

 

The next piece of Google tech I’ve been experimenting with is Google+.  I’ve generally written off this service as a social network since no one I know save maybe 1 person is actually posting on it.  I did finally find a good use for the service though, photo and video backups from my MacBook Pro and my iPhone.  I think the service needs a little work since the uploads are super slow (its going to take a few days for my MacBook to be totally backed up) and its almost random on what its uploading to my account but it is cool to see my pictures up online automatically.  I’m using it in conjunction with iPhoto and Apple’s Photostream which is still also very useful but I have to turn on my MacBook every few days to download all the pictures since I know I’ve missed a few here and there.  I’ve attempted to use it as a social network but there still aren’t enough people on Google+ for me to use it beyond cloud picture storage at the present moment.  If they keep on making awesome improvements though, I might start using it more and more.

Lastly, I’ve been messing around with Hangouts which is a mashup of Google Talk and Google Voice.  I’ve been using the legacy services for a while but since they recently combined them I’ve been experimenting with it sporadically.  What I do like is that I can start a voice call on one device and continue it on another one.  I tried this out when I needed to talk to tech support at work.  I was able to start the call on my work computer, monitor it on my iPad Mini, and then finish the actual call on my work laptop when they finally picked up.  What is difficult is trying to use it on the computer, the dedicated app for iPhone and iPad are way better so thats an area of improvement right there.  It’s also difficult to send SMS messages to people like I used to be able to on Google Voice.  I still have a Google Voice app on my iPhone but I hear that the API will no longer work pretty soon.  I’ll be sad when this happens because that was some awesome functionality that I hope they are able to replicate in a future version of Hangouts.

I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to play in the Googlesphere but I do know that I’m not going to switch to Android anytime soon since I’m too invested into the Apple one.

TravelPro makes awesome suitcases

Alrighty, so today I flew on American Airlines to come to work and the gate agent in all their wisdom made me check my bag. Never mind that I know my bag fits in the overhead because I’ve done it before but I let it go since I wasn’t in the mood to argue with an idiot. I use a TravelPro Crew 6 22″ rollaboard for my business travel. I’ve had this suitcase going on 6 years now I think and it hasn’t needed a lot of repairs. I’ve replaced the zippers on the back pocket and I replaced the wheel assemblies because the old ones broke and I wanted to upgrade them to rollerblade wheels.

Anyway, I got to Chicago and got my bag wouldn’t roll. That means broken wheel! I was a little pissed and decided to see if the baggage people had a screw driver so I could try and fix my rollaboard. Unfortunately they didn’t have what I needed and I didn’t want to give up my rollaboard to American and then get a piece of shit in return since that’s what airlines do. They are only required to give you an equivalent bag and TravelPro makes the best bags in my opinion. So anyway, after doing my 2 minute inspection I noticed the wheel is just slightly crooked, a few hits from the palm of my hand and I was able to get the wheel and axel back into place and it worked just like a charm. The durability of TravelPro has always been the primary reason on why I would buy another one if I need to. My wife owns the exact same bag since I recommended it when she started in consulting and it’s held up very well too. I would like to get a spinner for my next work suitcase but my current suitcase has to break permanently first. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.