Aerial Screensaver for OS X



John Coates created a screensaver for OS X based on the new Apple TV screensaver. It is beautiful. You should check it out. The only problem I have with it right now is that it doesn’t support energy saver, so if you have it as your screensaver, don’t expect your monitors to turn off.

On Podcasts

For the past couple of years I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. In fact, the list of podcasts I listen to has grown a great deal over the past six months. Today, I was thinking about all the podcasts I subscribe and listen to and noticed that I listen to podcasts more than I watch TV these days, which is a pretty big deal as I am a TV junkie. I listen to them to and from work, while at work, and while I’m watching baseball at night.

While I listen to a lot, I realize that podcasting is still outside of the mainstream. I think one of the biggest turning points for podcasts came when everyone started talking about Serial Podcast. It became so mainstream that it even garnered an SNL parody. While Serial is an exception to the rule, there are a ton of great podcasts out there, so I thought I’d give a list of the ones I subscribe to. Some have ended their run, but are still great to go back and listen to anyway.

Accidental Tech Podcast – This is a great technology (mostly Apple news and discussions). The podcast features Marco Arment, John Siracusa and some other guy (Casey Liss). 1
Clockwise – This is a quick 30 minute podcast where 4 people discuss 4 different topics in technology weekly.
The Dead Authors Podcast – Comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays H.G. Wells and interviews dead authors.
Doug Loves Movies – America’s favorite stoner comedian invites comedians and actors to play games revolving around movies. Very funny.
Fat Man on Batman – a podcast from director Kevin Smith on all things comics
Go Bayside – Comedian April Richardson invites a guest to watch and discuss each episode of Saved by the Bell. One of my personal favorites.
Harmontown – Community creator Dan Harmon rambles (comedically) in front of a live crowd each week.
How Did This Get Made – A podcast that asks what we all wanted to know, how did this (each episode is a different movie) movie get made? Very funny.
I Was There Too – Another movie podcast that interviews actors who had small parts in major movies
The Incomparable – Movies, books, comics, TV. Anything is on topic on this great podcast.
Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show – Comedian and character actor Kevin Pollak interviews a wide-range of guests.
Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files – Comedian Kumail Nanjiani re-watches X-Files with guests and discusses. 2
Maltin on Movies – Critic Leonard Maltin and comedian Baron Vaughn discuss, what else, movies.
The Rebound – Another tech podcast.
Nerdist – Chris Hardwick interviews actors, musicians, comedians, and people he finds interesting. Excellent podcast.
Reconcilable Differences – Merlin Mann and John Siracusa talk about life. Great podcast.
Tacos & Chocolate Milk – Rappers Tonedeff and Pack FM (sometimes) podcast about everything from life, movies, rap music, and comedy.
Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs – Director Kevin Smith and comedian and writer Matt Mira talk watch and talk about Frasier. 3
The Talk Show with John Gruber – The Apple podcast from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber.
Today We Learned – Random facts and interviews with famous people.
Top Four – Marco Arment and his wife Tiffany give their top four (each episode is a new topic)
TV Talk Machine – Jason Snell and Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter break down the latest TV News.
Unjustly Maligned – Each week is a new discussion of a book, movie, band, comic, TV show that is generally maligned.
Upgrade – A great tech podcast.
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes – Comedian Pete Holmes has lengthly discussions with celebrities.
TeeVee – TeeVee is a podcast that spans a variety of TV shows, everything from Game of Thrones and Doctor Who Recaps and more.
Comedy Bang Bang – You may have seen the show. Listen to where it all started.
The Black Tapes Podcast – A paranormal story told in the style of Serial Podcast.

Others that I listen to less often:
By the Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Robot or Not 4
Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project
The i Word: An Image Comics Podcast
The Incomparable Game Show Podcast 5

There have been others I’ve listened to that have ended that are no longer in my Overcast subscription list.

  1. An inside joke on the podcast.
  2. Also considered a contributing factor in the new upcoming revival season.
  3. and The Terminator.
  4. This is a very shot podcast where Jason Snell and John Siracusa discuss what is and isn’t a robot
  5. The Incomparable regulars play a game. The Balderdash ones are especially funny.

Goodbye, My Friend

IMG_1066It’s a weird thing to call and schedule the time in which you will say goodbye to your best friend forever. That’s what I did today. Over the past couple of months (starting shortly after the seizures) Penny’s health started to deteriorate. I first noticed it when she would attempt to jump on the bed and wouldn’t make it. Now, that’s not totally abnormal. She’s a small dog, but it was happening a lot more than normal.

The second time I noticed something was wrong was when she was standing on her back legs with her front paws on my legs and I was scratching down her sides. All of the sudden her left leg just collapsed and she fell down. Things seemed to pick up quickly from here. She continued to have more and more issues jumping on the bed and then even the (much lower) couch. I even bought pet stairs so she could still get in bed. She never used them.

As the weeks, and yes, the progression was a matter of weeks, went by, her back legs got weaker and weaker. She started having trouble going up short stairs. She no longer attempted to jump up on anything. She also started having issues getting comfortable when she was laying down. She would constantly get up, turn around, and sit back down. Sometimes when she would do this, she would let out a little yelp in pain.

Another week goes by and now she’s having trouble running. She would literally drift when she would run. She had no control over her back end so when she would stop, her back end would keep going, leading to tumbles. By the end of the week, she was no longer running because, by then, she was having trouble just walking. This progressed into trouble standing. She could only stand still for about a minute before her back end would begin to droop because her legs couldn’t take the weight any longer.

The strange thing about this is that she could still (somewhat) walk. The past three or four days were marked with her pacing non-stop around the house. When I say non-stop, I mean she would literally pace around the house for several hours without sitting or taking a break. Finally, she would exhaust herself and would lay down. During the last two weeks of the ordeal, she lost hearing in one ear and stopped eating her normal amount of food. I would be thankful if she ate half her bowl of food that day.

While the last month or so has been really difficult, nothing has prepared me for today. I try to remember all the good times we had together and then look at her now and realize she is not comfortable any longer and this is not a good quality of life for her, but the selfish side of me didn’t want to say goodbye to my friend. I knew that is was the right decision though. Making her suffer for another week or so isn’t really going to make me any happier. Remembering the good times will. Maybe not at first, but someday I will be able to look back at her life with happiness, not heartache.

3M Rube Goldberg Machine

3M, the company behind office products designed to make your life easier, created a machine that in incredibly complex. I’m talking about a Rube Goldberg Machine 1 made out of 3M products.

Science is at the heart of everything we do. It’s our inspiration and our medium.

It’s how the hard work gets done. How the toughest problems get solved. Our Rube Goldberg machine and its parts are inspired by this. No other company applies science like we do.

Here, invisible forces — physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, energy — combine to make something visible, something truly inspiring. A 3M Brand Machine.

Yes, this is an attempt at viral advertising but I’m a sucker for Rube Goldberg Machines. Watch the video below. It’s pretty awesome.

  1. A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction. – Wikipedia

Penny and Seizures

pennyFor those of you that don’t know, this is Penny, my Boston Terrier. I’ve had Penny in my life for 7 years now. She is a sweet dog that gives nothing but love to anyone she meets. She has been the best dog that I could have asked for.

A couple of months ago Penny had a seizure. I was home at the time and was sitting on the couch. She was making a nest on a blanket on the floor. All of the sudden she started to spasm. Her back legs went stiff and she was trembling across the carpet. At first, I thought she did something to her leg while trying to make a nest. When I got down to the floor, I knew that wasn’t it. Her legs were going flailing uncontrollably and her eyes were glassy. I picked her up and started rubbing her belly to calm her (still not completely sure what was happening) and could feel her getting hot in my arms. Then she started panting. After a total of about 30 seconds, it was over. She came out of it right away. After a few more seconds of holding her, I put her down, and she went off running around the house like nothing happened. I called my sister to get some advice. Coincidently, just a few days before I overheard her talk about her dog having a seizure. She said that taking her to the vet probably wouldn’t do much good since by then all signs of the seizure would have passed. Who knows, she might not have one again. So, I decided on a wait and see approach. If she started having them regularly, I’d take her to the vet. Read more

Office 365

I’ve recently been looking for a replacement for Google apps. I wanted something that had reliable email and calendar. While Google does provide both of those things, I find myself wanting to be controlled by Google’s services less and less. I also wanted something that was reasonably priced (comparable to the monthly price of Google apps). That’s when I decided to give Office 365 a shot.

Now, I’m no stranger to Office 365. We use it at work and I interact at a daily basis. The web mail and calendar are good (or good enough to replace Google), but the real power is with my devices. Because Office 365 is hosted Exchange, mail, contacts, notes, and calendar events sync instantaneously. With Google I would often have to wait several minutes for the data to show up, especially with events. This always left me feeling a bit uneasy wondering if my data was actually there. This is not the case with Office 365.

The setup of Office 365 with my domain was incredibly simple. They walk you through every step of the way, even verifying that your DNS is set up properly. With Office 365, you also get more mail and OneDrive space than you get with Google (50 GB mailbox and 1 TB file storage for the Business Essentials plan). So far, a week into my trial, everything is running smooth. I never thought I’d say this, but I may actually not only use, but choose to use willingly, a Microsoft product.

2015 MacBook Pro

My work recently adopted a flexible work policy in which employees could work from home at certain times. I get to work from home on Wednesdays. When the policy was announced, I knew I’d want to work from a laptop so I wouldn’t be chained to the Mac Mini on my desk at home. I wanted the ability to work from bed, the couch, or wherever I had a consistent internet connection. The problem was, my white plastic MacBook from 2007 was really slow and old. It only had 2 gigs of RAM and the battery wouldn’t last more than 2 hours. That’s when I decided to start looking for a replacement.

When I started looking for a new laptop I was unsure of what to get. The company I work for is a Microsoft shop, so our software and tools were developed for the Microsoft ecosystem. That made me consider buying a Windows laptop for the first time in over 10 years. So, I started looking at the higher end laptops that ran Windows and couldn’t believe how awful they were. On top of that, when I would build them with custom specs, the price wound up not being far off from Apple’s line of notebooks. Read more