Learning to Code

Most of the new projects that I come up with usually need some sort of programming.  Often open source software can be used, but it almost always has to be tweaked in some way or another.  The skills to make those tweaks yourself can be invaluable.

Today, over on Reddit, I saw a post of resources/websites where you can learn to code.  They are tutorials, screencasts, projects or online books that the poster finds helpful.  Many different programming languages are represented.  I wanted to preserve this list for myself and others so here it is.

Mobile Podcast Web Apps

Quite a few years ago I created the mobile version of the Fat 2 Fit Radio site.  I took the main functionality from the main WordPress site and translated it using some neat tools, iWebKit and Simple Pie. The main thing that I wanted listeners to do was listen to the podcast on their iPhones. This combination of technology did exactly that. It worked so well that when it came time to create an actual iPhone app for the podcast, this same mobile interface was used as part of that app as well.  Additionally, this interface also powers the Fat 2 Fit Android application.

How about an example, you say?

Visit the following sites on your smartphone to see the interface in action.

You can use these tools for other projects as well.  Visit the links above for more information on how to use them.  For the podcaster out there that wants a simple interface for listeners to hear their shows, download Your Own Mobile Podcast Web App and see how it works for you.

If you’d like help creating a more complex web app for your podcast or business, contact me and let’s talk.

Kettlebell Challenges Updated

My site, Kettlebell Challenges, has been updated with improved functionality.  Most of the changes are behind the scenes, but many are apparent to the users.  Among the new features are these great new profile pages.  The user has the option of making the profile public or keeping it private.  From this profile page you can start new challenges and log, change or delete your kettlebell workouts.

Kettlebell Challenges Profile Page

After you complete your challenge you’ll have the option of putting a cool badge on your website like the one below.

A Sample Kettlebell Challenges Badge

This site is an ongoing effort, but it’s coming along nicely if not quickly.

Sign up and challenge yourself!

Netflix Without Starz

Just about the same.  Not a big deal.

Before (2/29/12):

After (3/2/12):

Netflix Loses Almost 1,000 Movies at the End of the Month

Most of them you probably won’t miss, but it’s worth taking a look anyway before they’re gone.

» 981 Starz Movies That Netflix Lost Stuff I Google.

Netflix says “One Stream for You!”

iPod screenshot

Today I was greeted with a new message on my Roku box. While trying to watch an episode of Caprica this morning I was told by said Roku that I was trying to watch Netflix on too many devices.  A quick trip into the family room revealed that the children were watching Kick Buttowski via the built-in Netflix client on the television.

Many months ago I blogged that people were having this happen to them, but I hadn’t had the problem.  Later on I updated that Netflix said that it was a problem and that they were not limiting accounts to one streaming device at a time.

It appears that 1)Netflix has started limiting users to one streaming device or B)There is another problem with the Netflix service.

Have you had this problem with streaming devices?  Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: Confirmed by Netflix. “If you are on the Unlimited Streaming plan, the Unlimited Streaming + 1 DVD out-at-a-time plan or a limited streaming plan, you may watch only one device at a time.

Netflix has effectively upped their rates again by forcing those that want to stream from more than one device (Roku, Xbox, PS3, Wii, Blu-Ray player, etc.) to get a two DVD + Streaming service for $19.98 a month.  That is a 150% increase! There is currently no option to have a second streaming device without having plastic disks sent to my house to gather dust.

With antagonistic policies like these being implemented, it’s getting harder and harder to be a Netflix apologist. Now that $20 a month is the going rate to watch streaming video on more than one device, it may get easier to find credible alternatives at this price.

Get Off The Upgrade Train!

It is extremely costly to live on the cutting edge of technology. If you are an “early adopter”, chances are you paid top dollar for the latest device or software. The latest Android smart phones or iPhone, while not terribly expensive up front, around $200, they will cost you thousands of dollars over the next two years in data charges. Tablets, laptops, video game systems all have similar economic models associated with them. Cheap console, expensive games. Sleek laptop, non-upgradeable video card and limited memory. Likewise with software, companies that produce software are constantly creating new features and versions to get you to upgrade to the latest and greatest. And often they produce incompatibilities with older versions of software to almost guarantee an upgrade fee.

My solution for most of you reading this is to “Get off the upgrade train!” What I suggest for most individuals is treating their computer or device like a time capsule. Unless you’re working with others and sharing files back and forth, the software that you’re using right now is probably just fine. New software brings along with it higher memory, processor and space requirements that the older computer you are currently using may not be able to handle. That new OS, while cooler looking with its whiz bang widgets and it’s shiny plasticized icons, will almost certainly make your three-year old computer seem slow and antiquated. In the future there may be software that you need to run as part of your business or that will just plain make your life much easier. By all means get that software, but run it on new hardware and upgrade the whole experience.

I have an example of this from my own life. As I write this I am using a Pentium 4, 1.8Ghz system with 1GB of memory, running Windows 2000. *Gasp!* What can’t I do on this system that I can do on a newer system? Nothing. The system and the software go together, both forged in the early 21st century. I also have Office 2000 on this system. *Gasp!* It has worked perfectly well for every project that I’ve had in the last 11 years. And truthfully the features that I use today are not much different from when I started using it. How many feature do you/I actually need? I’m guessing not that many. Most people only us a small subset of their software’s capabilities anyway.

There is a time and place for upgrading though. Just today we upgraded a couple of seats to Office 2007. That’s right, a five-year old version of the Microsoft Office product. Why? First, it was what the client was using and second it was dirt cheap. How about $69.99 for Office 2007 Standard? Good deal. Not the latest and greatest. And this comes to my second point.

When you do think about upgrading your software, look for the bargains. The equivalent latest version, Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010, is currently $219.99 on Amazon. for the full disk based version. That’s a savings of $150 by buying one version behind the latest. Upgraded software and functionality without breaking the bank. Remember though, without an external catalyst, we wouldn’t be upgrading at all.  I give my 13 year-old son the same advice when he is looking at the latest first person shooter to run on his laptop.  Usually the requirements for the game are greater than what he has.  Those titles are often a third, fourth or fifth release of the game.  Well, guess what? There are multiple older version of those games, that he hasn’t played either, that are plenty playable on his system.  And, they are in the dollar bin at Fry’s.

There will be a day, in the future, that you will need to upgrade your computer.  It’s inevitable.  You could upgrade your current computer to run the next operating system or that new game, but there will come a day that you can’t do that anymore.  The technology will have changed and you can’t upgrade.  If you “Get off the upgrade train”, the money that you saved by not chasing the tail of technology will, in all likelihood , get you a long way toward buying that new piece of tech when it is time.

Saying Goodbye to The Podcast Studio

It’s time to say goodbye to The Podcast Studio.

The Podcast Studio was the place that I started blogging about podcasting. I would write-up reviews of gear that you might use in the production of your podcast, highlight podcasts that I found particularly interesting and post some podcasting news once in a while. Over the last year I attempted to create a podcast network of shows using The Podcast Studio as the all-encompassing site. The shows have been fun, but the desire to put them under one large umbrella entity has waned.  And recently, last night actually, I received an email from my web hosting company, Webfaction, that the site is causing problems on the shared server that it lives on. It’s understandable, but that is the last straw. The Podcast Studio will cease to exist.

I’m currently migrating some of that content over to this website, particularly the Podcast Seminar series of posts as well as the Virtual Podcast Seminar eBook. Most of the podcast audio content is found on other sites now, so there’s no reason to keep it around.

In a matter of hours or days the domain name will forward back to this site.

Goodbye Podcast Studio!

Why Your Home Theater is Better Than a Movie Theater

A great presentation on why choosing to stay home and watch a movie on your big screen is a superior experience. I would add in the ability to pause for bathroom breaks.

Why Movie Theaters Suck

Source: http://ustelevision.com

How to Block Cellphone Spam

I’ve been getting quite a bit of text message spam lately. Strange messages show up on my cell phone telling me how to get my horoscope or how to make $100/day by being an undercover shopper. How do you stop it?

You could do what the messages say and reply “STOP” or “NO” to the message. This goes against the common knowledge that you shouldn’t reply to email spam. The idea being that you’ve just told them that the email address that they have is indeed a good address. This seems only logical for text spam as well. And, while email spam doesn’t cost you anything, except time, the text message does cost you money out-of-pocket.

A quick search on the Internets found the article below by David Pogue of the New York Times. Here’s what he found out for AT&T, my carrier:

AT&T: Log in at mymessages.wireless.att.com. Under Preferences, you’ll see the text-blocking and alias options. Here’s also where you can block messages from specific e-mail addresses or Web sites.

Funny that when I called AT&T that they didn’t give me this information.  They said there was nothing that I could do to stop the messages.  The article is from three years ago, but for AT&T the instruction were still correct.  We’ll see if the messages stop, but at least I’ve been proactive about stopping it.

How to Block Cellphone Spam – NYTimes.com.