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

31May/120

TO DO

Action Pad - Blue by Behance

Like a lot of tech folks, I’ve been struggling to find the perfect todo software for about 20 years now. And I’ve tried countless (50?) different tools over that time period.

I’ve obviously had successes along the way, but of course the perfect solution forever eludes me.

What I am doing right _now_ is:

  • When I arrive at the office in the morning, before checking email, I tear off a fresh Action Sheet and write down the important things I feel I need to do that day.
  • I do this off the top of my head and then I go to yesterday’s pad and re-write any unfinished things.
  • For lightweight reminders and notes I use Simplenote and the Windows client ResophNotes.
  • This method makes it hard to accumulate todo cruft that is the lead balloon of any task system. You fill up the list with things like “normalize log settings across web servers” which is probably a good idea, but an extremely low priority item. When I force myself to hand write the task out, I usually either do it right then or let it drift away into the recycle bin.
  • For RecordSetter related things that our whole team has to do, we’ve converted to Trello a Kanban based system that gives us a lot of flexibility.
  • I still like MS Project for bigger projects and for that I’m using Smartsheet.
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30May/120

They let me use the computer all day instead of going to class.

Scott’s post reminded me of a story that was critical to my computer education as well.

The year would have been 1986 and I was in 5th grade (same age as Scott!). We had moved from Southern California to New York City and I was attending PS 158. New York schools have improved tremendously since then and although we lived in a good neighborhood, the school was still not very good.

Towards the end of the semester I was missing school quite a bit. I was not learning at a pace that I could stay engaged and with around 33 kids per class and only one teacher, there was not a lot they could do for me.

One day my parents and I were called in to discuss the situation. I remember them taking it quite seriously, because I was bumping up against the limit to be considered delinquent and that would be a problem for everyone.

The school had just recently installed a computer lab and staffed it with a very young teacher who didn’t really know that much about them.

Details of the meeting are hazy, but someone suggested that I spend my school day in the lab rather than in the regular classroom. And that’s how I finished out the year.

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23May/120

Cloudfront SSL and IIS 7.5 issue

I mentioned in another post that we were using Cloudfront for our static assets. One gotcha I ran into and need to put out there on the ‘net was a problem with SSL.

The fix is to run regedit.exe and configure it thusly:

image

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10May/120

Jenkins on Windows CI lesson learned

I was following the directions here to set up Jenkins (a fork of Hudson) on Windows with Git and Github: http://mahdi.mp/setting-up-a-ci-server-using-jenkins-msbuild-and-github-on-a-windows-server/

I kept getting stuck at “Cloning repository” with no errors and no activity.

Here was my gotcha: Jenkins does not support passphrases with your SSH keys.

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1May/120

osx 10.7.3 and Active Directory

I have a Mac at the office that I use as my sit-down computer (see Pomodoro post, two posts down) and it was running 10.6 and I wanted to try a couple of apps that required 10.7 (Lion) so I went ahead and upgraded.

The problem was that the user account I was using was tied to Active Directory and 10.7 has broken Active Directory integration for tons of people out there and I was included.

I spent a long time trying various things to get it fixed, but I ended up having to download a free tool here: http://www.beyondtrust.com/Products/PowerBroker-Identity-Services-Open-Edition/ 

I needed to start a fresh user profile and I have no idea if there are unforeseen downsides of using this tool, but it is working again and I'm back up and running.

Also, let me say that nothing is quite as frustrating as troubleshooting problems on unfamiliar operating systems.

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24Apr/120

Why we switched from Rackspace Cloud Files to Amazon Cloudfront

At RecordSetter.com we've been with Rackspace from day one and naturally we've been using Cloud Files for our static files CDN. But the camel's back was broken and we've moved that portion of our solution to Amazon CloudFront.

Some background: Cloud Files is analogous to S3. It is a file store that is optimized for the cloud. Cloud Files uses Akamai's CDN network as a layer on top of Cloud Files whereas Amazon's cloudfront can be used to front an S3 container or act more like a traditional CDN.

The problem with Rackspace's solution is that in order for your images, CSS files, etc to get loaded by the CDN you must put them onto Cloud Files first. What makes this difficult is that the only official interface is via an API. There are a number of third party solutions that attempt to provide easier access, but none of them are quite _there_ yet. So even if you figure out how to get files up there as part of your deploy process (I used a custom MS Build task and batch files) you'll have versioning issues as the function to do a "cache invalidate" has been broken for months.

With this change we also started using Cassette for our versioning, bundling and minification needs instead of a custom solution based on YUI's compressor.

We still use Rackspace and Akamai for our video streaming and there's room for improvement there too, but that's a story for another post.

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24Apr/120

Pomodoro Technique + Standing Desk

I’ve been doing a full time standing desk for about 18 months now. About 6 months ago though, I was fighting a running injury and was unable to stand all day, so I got a drafting stool and was using that as well. One of the things you’ll experience with a standing desk is that you tend to put yourself into “action mode” instinctively and will resist the temptation to read long articles (I use instapaper for that). Well, I was getting a bit too comfortable in my stool so I ditched it.

The problem is that I’m sortof going back to square one in terms of fitness for standing. My back is hurting.

I had previously done some experimenting with the Pomodoro Technique which basically just says that you should work on something intensely for 20 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat. All day long.

So my latest solution is that I’m using an iphone app Pomodoro Timer:

image

For my breaks I move over to one of our spare computer for 5 minute bursts of checking Twitter + Hacker News + reading whatever I’ve queued up for myself.

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21Mar/120

Every app I have open right now.

Feel free to join this meme I just started.

OS: Windows 7 x64 Professional

Apps:

  1. Google Chrome Beta Channel.
  2. Pale Moon – a 64 bit fork of Firefox that I use for testing pages in a plugin free environment.
  3. Console2 w/ regular CMD, Visual Studio CMD, and Powershell and mostly dealing with Git
  4. Git Extensions because certain Git functions are easier with a GUI
  5. Outlook 2010 x64
  6. Beyond Compare – used for doing diffs both in Git and
  7. Sciral Consistency – a todo list specifically for recurring tasks
  8. ResophNotes – a Windows client for Simplenote
  9. Pomodairo – a Pomodoro timer for Air
  10. Cloudberry Explorer for OpenStack – what I use to upload files to our CDN
  11. SQL Server Management Studio
  12. Visual Studio 2010
  13. Xenu – a hysterically old and quirky link checker tool
  14. Remote Desktop Client – logged into home and one of our local servers
  15. Terminals – another RDP client that I use to connect to our cloud servers
  16. VirtualBox – I have a working Mac, Windows 8 and CentOS image standing by for testing/playing/learning.
  17. Live Mesh – what I use instead of Dropbox
  18. Spotify – it rules
  19. Tweetdeck
  20. Hipchat
  21. Hamachi VPN Client
  22. Digsby – my IM client
  23. FluffyApp
  24. RescueTime
  25. Social Folders – Downloads my photos from FB and stuff automatically
  26. MySpeed – lets me watch any flash video in whatever speed I want. I watch 90% of Youtube videos at 1.4x speed
  27. PureText – let’s me hit Windows+V to do “paste as plain text” in any app.
  28. Windows Live Writer – in which I am authoring this post.
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29Oct/110

Moved to WordPress

I moved the blog to wordpress from Subtext.

Why? Plugins, plugins, and auto-update.

I enjoy reading Tumblr, but just haven’t gotten into writing there.

Expect some updates here soon.

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23Feb/110

Sync means I’m not scared

I just picked up a Dell M4300 off eBay so I’ll be able to do “real” work when I’m out on the road this March as my other laptops I have available to me are either too old (Toshiba M200), too limited (Chrome CR48) or too small (Dell XT2).

At one time or another, I would have dreaded adding another machine to the mix. But these days, it really isn’t that big of a deal. After I install my basic apps (Chrome, Office, Visual Studio) the cloud + sync tools take care of the rest.

1) Chrome sync. This solves 90% of my “set up a new computer” issues as it automatically installs all my browser settings and extensions including LastPass which then, in turn, takes care of my web logins.

2) Live Mesh. I could easily write a book on sync technologies and this is the one I’m using now.

3) BeanstalkApp for SVN. This is where all of our URDB code lives. I just need to grab my login info from LastPass and I’m off and running.

4) Exchange & Outlook. I flirt seriously with Gmail and use it as often as I can, but at the end of the day, there are still a handful of reasons I still prefer Outlook.

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