Matthew Hinton

Just where I spout off on whatever I feel like

Category: Tech (page 1 of 4)

WordPress Gutenberg

This is a simple test of the new WordPress editor named Gutenberg. It is actually pretty neat. This may be quite appealing to the content focused clients we work with.

cat pic
Chip the cat

Here’s a cat picture.

Missing the High Ground

There is a lot of “Functional High Ground” commentary going around about Apple recently and how their software has become buggier and less functional. I am so annoyed today that I had to add my 2 cents. Here are the top issues I have with Apple first party software.

iTunes which I use everyday is really crummy. The streaming radio stations screw up pretty much everytime I use them. I pay for Apple Music mainly to make music management easy and iTunes makes it not easy. I want to see Apple reimagine iTunes into a version that actually works and is focused on music. If iTunes doesn’t get better this year I will reconsidering my Apple Music subscription. By better I don’t mean anything like the new Photos application.

Photos sucks. Apple had consumer/pro photography programs in iPhoto and Aperture and they replaced both of them with Photos which has almost no functionality. Unless Apple greatly improves Photos I will be purchasing something else to do photo management/editing with. This is a real dissapointment. Apple seems to now believe that software that does almost nothing is “simple”. I think it’s terrible. I want to get work done with my computer and software that does nearly nothing doesn’t enable that.

Dealing with Apple’s multimedia focused applications really made me mad today. Doesn’t anyone at Apple use their software to try and get work done anymore? How can they be proud of this crap. I have enjoyed being in the Apple ecosystem much more than I was when I ran Windows machines. If Apple doesn’t show some love to Mac OS and their first party apps this year I am going to have to consider going with another service provider over Apple as my default position going forward.

Text Configuration Files

I love text files with reasonable formats (which excludes xml). However when dealing with a text file that another program uses it would be nice if there was something wrong with the file encoding if an error to that effect was logged.

I got burned by the upstart program on Ubuntu spitting out this error not foundfd/9: 5: /proc/self/fd/9 today. This was the result of copying a file from one system, editing it, emailing it to another person and having them install it on another system. The error really means the file format is messed up. I fixed this by creating a new file and retyping the entire config. What an enourmas pain.

Nexus 7 (2013) Evaluation

My first generation WiFi Kindle Paperwhite recently decided to not connect to WiFi networks anymore. This unfortunately makes it a Paperweight.

So I needed a new ereader to replace the Kindle. I thought I would take the opportunity to reevaluate what I wanted from a mobile device. I wanted to be able to read Kindle books, programming books in PDF format, and it would be nice to be able to watch video.

The Google Nexus 7 isn’t that much more expensive than a new Paperwhite and as a long time fan of iOS I was interested in seeing what Android had to offer. At first I pretty happy with the Nexus 7. Then I started noticing things that irritated me. So I decided to make a list of the pros and cons of the device as I was using it.

Pros:

  • 7″ form factor is very nice
    • Light weight, easy to hold in one hand
  • Nice for reading Kindle books
    • I read an entire fiction book and the experience was pretty good
  • Nice for reading PDF files
    • The Acrobat Reader software wasn’t bad
  • Nice for watching videos
  • Keyboard with predictive text is very nice

Con’s:

  • Poor onboarding experience for new users
  • Needed os updates out of the box that caused reboots with no warnings and failed because of battery level
    • Updates worked after plugging into charger
  • App store sucks
    • Many apps have reviews complaining about crashes and bugs and these are the first reviews you see
    • So many apps look like junk and are filled with ads
  • Nexus 7 has a high res screen but fonts still look worse than on the iPad
  • Touch targets aren’t very accurate
    • Sometimes I have to touch several times to get it to register. Links are especially bad.
  • The auto brightness setting is always adjusting the brightness value on me
  • Charges slowly, it seems to charge very slowly
  • Android is very quirky

The pros all fit nicely with what I was looking for and if I had not used an Apple device before that would have been the end of the story. Because I have used Apple mobile devices since the iPhone 3G and I am very familiar with iOS and the Apple platform I just couldn’t be happy with an Android device.

I returned the Nexus 7 to Best Buy and bought a retina iPad Mini instead. The iPad Mini was $50 off when I bought it. Best Buy didn’t have the saled price marked anywhere so the sale was a surprise to me. If Best Buy marked the actual current price on their merchandise they might sell more of it.

The retina iPad Mini has almost all the same pros as the Nexus 7 and is better at video with the larger screen and none of the cons so for me it’s totally the right tablet computer.

Ghost Blogging Platform Not Ready For Primetime

I recently tried running the Ghost blogging engine for this site and it didn’t go very well. The initial development version of Ghost was released in November and while it was impressive on a couple of fronts I decided it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Ghost was released with really nice support for themes so you didn’t end up with the situation some of the other blogging systems have where every blog looks the same especially when the default theme is ugly (I am looking at you Octopress).

Ghost had basically no way to import posts from any other platform and that was a big pain. The blog editor in Ghost breaks the browsers spell check feature which was a giant show stopper for me. When Ghost released 0.4.0 in early January the broken spell check issue was still there and that was the last time I considered actually using ghost.

I found a very nice Jekyll starter project called Hyde and with a few plugins and some design tweaks I have a pretty nice blog now. I am going to try and spend some more time writing and less time fiddling with blogging software.

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