CoreyH Founder and CTO: RecordSetter. Dad to 6yr old boy, 3yr girl. Husband to @ewphoto

2Dec/150

Scour Media Agent led to … wait for it

Anyone else remember music sharing circa 1998? I certainly do.

Right before Napster came out there was Scour Media Agent – It looked a bit like this:

coolstuffmp3b

It worked on Windows SMB because back then “Firewalls” were something only big businesses had and times were simple. Our office at the time had direct internet connections so every device had a directly addressable internet IP. Even NAT at the time was not fully baked.

Side note: Scour used to provide the IP of the machines you were downloading from so at least 50% of the time you could find an IP/dns in Scour, do a \\joesmoe.cam.ma.cox.net\c$ and see and usually edit the entire contents of some strangers PC. Boggles the mind in retrospect.

So who created Scour? Well, as part of a student team at UCLA the answer is Travis Kalanick aka Mr. Uber!

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18Feb/140

Parsing YouTube Durations in .NET

This took me longer than it should have to figure out.

First of all YouTube’s API is available via NuGet prerelease here: https://www.nuget.org/packages?q=Google.Apis.youtube&prerelease=true&sortOrder=relevance I tried just searching via the VS GUI but the “GData” ones are old and not supported anymore.

The documentation is decent but it took me a little while to wrap my head around how the queries work. https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/docs/videos#resource

The length of the video. The tag value is an ISO 8601 duration in the format PT#M#S, in which the letters PT indicate that the value specifies a period of time, and the letters M and S refer to length in minutes and seconds, respectively. The # characters preceding the M and S letters are both integers that specify the number of minutes (or seconds) of the video. For example, a value of PT15M51S indicates that the video is 15 minutes and 51 seconds long.

If you try to do TimeSpan.Parse on that it doesn’t work. I to do XmlConvert.ToTimeSpan instead. Hattip to this Stack Overflow answer: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12466188/how-do-i-convert-an-iso8601-timespan-to-a-c-sharp-timespan

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27Jun/130

Achievement Unlocked – Watercooled.

 

z87pro

For over a decade I've wanted to build a computer that featured water cooling. When I was first introduced to this technology it was considerably bleeding edge. You had to be mindful of leaks, tanks needed to be topped off, etc etc. Not so much anymore.

I went with the Corsair H60 (Amazon link) closed loop system for the CPU. It was actually cheaper than the last passive cooler I purchased.

It should be noted that case quality and value is at an all time high. I got a Corsair Carbide 200R (amz) for under $60 and it was a joy to work with.

Next up: overclock this thing and see what kind of results I get.

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4May/130

airport express does optical audio out (toslink)

Did you know that even "1st Generation" Airport Expresses can output TOSLINK digital audio via the same port as the analog jack? I didn't either, but I'm glad I stumbled on that information.

Here's my current setup: iPad in the kitchen -> Airplay -> Airport Express -> Mini-to-standard optical adapter -> Amazon basics fiber optic cable -> $20 optical to Coax SPDIF converter box -> ART D/IO DAC -> Preamp -> tube amp -> Yamaha SP-20 speakers

spotify ipad airport art dio

 

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10Apr/130

Cloud based firewall mgmt

dome9 interfaceOnce we started using CentOS for our Couchbase instances here at RecordSetter, I have been looking for a better system for managing the firewalls.

Rackspace, our cloud provider provides public NICs that are open to the Internet at large and obviously need to have a proper firewall. I managed to hack my way through iptables once, but my configuration got wiped by a "yum update" and I really didn't want to go through that again.

Rackspace has this thing called the Cloud Tools Marketplace where services can register and integrate pretty easily. And that is where I found Dome9.

I found the service to be exactly what I hoped it would be. Installing the agent was extremely easy and was zero config from the console side. Using the web admin to write rules was super easy too. I would have probably preferred to write rules on a NIC by NIC basis, but their model right now is more about whitelisting IP addresses since that works better across a logical group of machines and I'm okay with that.

#recommended

 

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9Apr/130

Windows 8 on big monitors – ModernMix

For those of us fortunate to have multiple and/or high PPI monitors, Windows 8's tablet-focused UI design is, to put it mildly, not ideal.

I totally understand why Microsoft focused on creating a simple, focused experience for touch screens. If I were in charge, I would have made a similar decision. The new "Store" apps are generally a breath of fresh air. They install and uninstall incredibly quickly. Settings are usually synced across accounts, etc etc. You can tell it is early days, but more and more I look for and use the Store versions of apps that I'm used to on the classic desktop.

The problem here is that Store apps open full screen by default. You can set them to pin to the side and work on two Store apps at once, but this is only of limited value.

Anyway, the point of this post is that although I've heard MS is changing things up a little in the upcoming codename Blue release, there is a stop-gap option via Stardock called ModernMix for $4.99. The app lets you open Store apps in classic desktop windows.

My only complaint so far is the licensing built in, and I hope I'm wrong about this, is bound to cause problems at some point down the road.

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7Mar/130

Chapter VI: Vegas


Freemont East

Yes, it's true. Emily, the kids and I are moving to Downtown Las Vegas. For those who haven't been, Downtown is the "old" section of Vegas about a mile north of the strip.

I had never even been to Las Vegas until a few months ago and if you had asked me what the odds of me moving there were, I would have told you 0.0%. But here we are making final moving preparations.

See downtownproject.com to get a glimpse of why we were so inspired to make this move happen. Vegas offers some very nice suburban housing that is a short drive, but we decided that we needed to be downtown. The plan is to make it a 100% walkable community and we have the same dream. You can take the New Yorker out of New York....

We'll be making Las Vegas the HQ for RecordSetter and what better place to revive our live event series.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

Not only am I excited to be coming in at the beginning of a massive urban/community development project, but I'm also looking forward to getting back to nature in ways that are very challenging to do from NYC.

The photo on the right is from Red Rock Canyon which is just minutes from downtown.

Believe it or not there is a ski area just 45 minutes from Vegas and big mountain skiing in Utah is within driving distance.

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19Jul/120

Living the Two Factor Life

One of the things I feel like I contribute to the world as a blogger is to test out tools and techniques that are still pretty new, but that I feel like everyone will be using in time. I suggest that two factor authentication is one of those things.

Quickly, the idea here is that in order to have a secure online life, there needs to be two separate keys: a thing you know – a password or passphrase, and a thing you have – a hardware token or, more recently, your phone.

I decided to go all in and turn on two-factor auth everywhere that offered it.

  • My bank and Paypal. These two send SMS messages to my phone with a code. Works pretty seamlessly except the other day I really needed access to Paypal and the message took over 30 minutes to arrive.
  • Gmail. I have a personal account and a business account. Jeff Atwood has instructions on how to set this up here: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/04/make-your-email-hacker-proof.html Google uses SMS codes for this too, but the catch is that it also means that every touch point to your account that doesn’t support two-factor directly needs to have a custom password generated via the google.com/accounts pages. Once you wrap your head around the idea, it is pretty easy, but if you have multiple computers it will take a little while to get them all hooked up.
  • Lastpass. I’ve been a proponent of Lastpass for a long time and they even offer multiple methods of achieving two-factor auth. I opted for Google Authenticator which is an iphone app that spits out a 6 digit code every minute or so. This is similar to the RSA keys that you might have seen in the enterprise world. Of all the tools I use, I’ve found this to be the easiest to use.
  • Duo Security. I’m trying this out on my Windows laptop. It installs at a pretty low level and requires a code at login. They too offer multiple methods including a system that calls your phone and you have to hit #. I use the iphone app method called Duo Mobile. So far, this one has caused me the most headaches. My wife has an account on this same computer and she was unable to log in at all even with the app installed and configured. It also seems to require an internet connection, so in theory bypassing the check would just be as simple as flicking off the hardware wifi switch. But all that aside, this is the future and these guys seem like they are in the lead to make this happen. These troubles are just the price I pay for being an early adopter.

My advice would be to set up Lastpass (right now!), choose a good pass phrase and enable two factor auth using the Google Authenticator. Once you’ve done that you can change your passwords across the web using the Lastpass auto generator tool and that is going to get you 95% of the security anyone would need.

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29Jun/121

iPhone glass repair success

I cracked my iPhone 4 glass pretty badly a couple weeks ago at the playground and while I tried to live with it, the cracks were getting worse and glass chunks were starting to come off. Not good.

I decided to go the DIY route and fix it myself. There is a lot of misinformation out there so hopefully I can bring a little bit of clarity to the subject.

If you are going to replace the glass you have to replace the digitizer and the screen at the same time as they are all one piece bonded together. This makes it a little scary since we all know that a big part of what makes the iphone 4 a nice phone is the nice screen.

This is the kit I went with: Apple Iphone 4 4g (AT&T) Black Screen Glass Replacement Digitizer with Frame + LCD Assembly + 6 Piece Tool Kit

Apparently in the iPhone 4, you need to purchase the CDMA (Verizon) or GSM (AT&T) version separately, but the 4S they are the same.

There are no instructions that come with these things, so you need to go watch YouTube videos. I went with the Zeetroninc version. There are two parts to the video, about 20 minutes total.

Actually making the repair took me about 90 minutes of start/stopping work. There are a ton of tiny tiny screws all with varying degrees of tininess, so it is super important to be organized. I took little white notecards and drew the locations of the screws and placed them on the paper when I removed them so I would know how they all go back in. This step is pretty much essential or you’ll get confused incredibly easily.

One thing I wish I had done was ordered a replacement battery at the same time, since in order to replace the screen the battery needs to come out too. Just replacing the battery would not have been very difficult if you had the right star bit screwdriver (included in my kit) for the bottom screws, so if your battery isn’t doing as well as it used to and you are comfortable voiding your warrantee, I’d say go for it.

The last thing to note is that my kit didn’t include a screen for the earpiece and you have to use the one from the broken glass and move it over. I forgot this part, oops.

The best news of all is that now that it is fixed, my phone’s home button is working much better than it was and the overall snappiness of the phone has improved. I suspect that when you do a shutdown of the phone, it doesn’t really shut all the way down, but when you remove the battery it is forced to start up fresh. Just guessing.

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8Jun/120

Follow Friday or How I Twitter

First off, I’ve been loyal to Tweetdeck for a few years now and every time I use the main website “in a pinch” I feel like there’s no way I’d use Twitter as much as I do if there were no third party apps.

The layout I’ve gotten used to in Tweetdeck looks like this:

TOP – Home – Search:RecordSetter – Activity – F1 – Interactions

  • TOP is a custom, private list I created that has my top 20 or so people in it. I don’t read every single thing here, but I try to stay mostly up to date. Folks here include: @snerko (business partner), @ewrun (wife), @kenjennings, @shalenseman, @codinghorror, @michaelianblack, @malecopywriter, @sacca, @cdixon, @cshirky
  • Home is my actual feed. As of this writing I follow 594 people. A lot of those are dormant and I could clean it up, but why bother? I don’t even try to read all of this. For the most part, I don’t even scroll this list beyond what I can see on my screen. I don’t make it a habit to keep Tweetdeck open either, even though I have enough screen real estate that I could because it updates so frequently that the motion is enough to be entirely too distracting.
  • Search:RecordSetter – keeping tabs on what is going on with my company RecordSetter.com. Fortunately our name has low non-related noise. Maybe once a day someone will tweet something like “just showered in 2 minutes #recordsetter” but it is not enough to be a problem.
  • Activity – This is pretty noisy, but I find some gems in here in the form of people favoriting tweets that are relevant or funny to me. I’ve been finding lots of interesting new people to follow this way.
  • F1 – a list of Formula One personalities. I almost always watch F1 races a few days delayed via DVR, so on race weekends, I’m very cautious about what I look at on Twitter. Frankly it is a healthy break from being tuned in all the time.
  • Interactions – when people tweet at me, etc.
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