Tech and Junk

Technology Tabletop Gaming Family Life

The Solution to Email Is Not a Better Client

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When I opened up Sublime to start writing this article, I realized I haven’t updated this blog since October of 2013! Things have been pretty busy for me lately. I just haven’t had a lot of time for personal blogging. A lot of my busy time is spent managing emails. Usually this consists of trying to keep my inbox clean. This can be a full time job in and of itself.

At some point, I can’t remmember the exact release, OSX’s Mail.app became unusable. Maybe it has always been unusable and I just suffered longer than most. I discovered Sparrow and fell in love with the simplicity of it just before Google bought it and subsequently, killed it (they stopped pushing updates). Thanks Sparrow team and Google!

All my email is actually through Google Apps so I just went back to the browser. If you haven’t had 4 email accounts running in 4 different tabs all day and looked at your memory usage, I’d encourage you to do so. You’d stop keeping those tabs open. Horrible. So I went on the hunt for a new (lightweight) client.

Fix for iMessage to SMS After Abandoning iPhone

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After I switched from the iPhone to the HTC One, my iPhone and computer kept receiving text messages from friends. Even though I would text them over SMS with the HTC, their response kept coming to iMessage. My wife had the same problem. She thought all her friends were just ignoring her.

After some googling, we figured out the steps necessary to resolve this. First, the person that still uses iOS needs to disable iMessage in their settings.

Go to Settings -> Message then toggle iMessage to off:

Next, the person using iOS should delete all their threads that used iMessage. Simply go to the list view of the messages and swipe to reveal the delete button:

Next, send an SMS to the friend using iOS and then have them respond. This establishes an SMS message thread. The iOS user can now enable iMessages in their settings.

These instructions are all over the place. This is just the sequence that seemed to work best for us. Let me know if there is an easier / quicker way.

Geeks Judging Geeks Is Fail

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Note: Originally shared on my Google Plus page.

The other day my wife and I were at a local game shop in Wichita browsing around, digging on all the boxed up eye candy. There was another gentleman browsing as well, older than us, clearly there on his lunch break from work based on his attire.

The man overheard my wife and I talking and proceeded to strike up a conversation about games. We talked a bit, browsing all the while. He mentioned some games he liked based on what my wife and I were talking about. We were talking about how we want some games based on pirates!

Why I Abandonded the iPhone

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I had originally posted this on my Google+ page, but I’m copying it here as a more permanent fixture.

My transition from iPhone to the HTC One has been really smooth. I’ve had an iPhone since the 3G model. That was 5 years ago I believe. My last iPhone was the 5 and I had an upgrade available from AT&T.

I have a developer account with Apple so I’ve had iOS 7 since the first beta release. I was unimpressed. I still am unimpressed. From the battery, to the UI, to iMessage, and recently, the BSOD, I couldn’t see myself investing in another 2 years of this. I have major concerns about the future of iOS at this point. I’ve seen zero innovation in the iPhone and iOS in the last 2 years. I don’t think that current leadership at Apple really understands what consumers want. Steve Jobs was great at convincing consumers that we wanted whatever Apple created. That ability for Apple might have died with Steve.

Injecting Grails Config Properties Into Services

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One of the things I really like about looking at other engineer’s code is that I pick up tips and tricks that I might never have thought of doing before. This only improves my own skillset. Recently, I started doing a small bit of work for a new client with an established Grails application. The team is made up of some really good engineers so I’ve been scraping the code base for goodies that I can add to my own toolbox.

One such goodie I discovered was injecting config properties into services. First, I’ll show how I have been doing this up to this point, which is perfectly valid, by the way.

Standing Desk and Other Productivity Boosters

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Today is my first day trying a standing desk. I hacked one together last night with some spare parts around the office. I wanted to try it out and see how I like it before investing in a more permanent solution. This was my tweet from last night:

I had a rough week last week in terms of productivity. Usually, when this happens, I’ll make a change in my office like rearranging things, moving my desk around, etc. I needed something new and when I started doing some research I kept coming up with standing desks. I spent some time reading up on the benefits as well as the down sides to standing desks and as far as I can tell at this point, the positives outweigh the negatives. Some of the benefits I’ve read include:

Adding DZone Voting Badge to Octopress Posts

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I wanted to add DZone’s Voting Button to my blog posts. I did a little searching and there didn’t seem to be anything currently available. I opened up _config.yml and added the following:

_config.yml
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# dzone badge
dzone_badge: true
dzone_style: 2

Then I added the following to source/_includes/post/sharing.html

You can see the results at the bottom of this post inline with the other sharing options. Simple as that. I’d like to figure out how to take a section of the blog post and put it in the dzone_blurb variable. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. If I figure it out, I’ll be sure and post a follow up.

Octopress Plugin for Rendering MtG Cards

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  • The year: 1994
  • The setting: Jr. College
  • The game: Magic the Gathering

In the geekdom days of my youth many a tests and homework assignments were cast to the wayside in honor of Magic the Gathering. I can remember going to the game shop on Monday afternoons with my Sears paycheck in hand ready to buy as many booster packs as I could, hoping for that one card that would allow me to dominate my competition.

At some point I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this and ended up selling all my cards for what I’m sure was a totally undervalued price to some kid destined to follow in my footsteps. The years went by and 19 years later I’m finding myself sucked right back in. This time, however, it is more about spending time with my oldest son. He’s 12 and our family has become quite an avid fan of all things Tabletop.

I’ve started blogging about our games and as I was pondering MtG articles I want to write in the future I realized I needed a good way of linking the cards I wanted to display in the post. Specifically, if I wanted to show a certain deck build or cards on my wish list. Wizard’s official MtG forums have a nice way of doing this with their forum code tags. I liked this approach so I decided to see if I could duplicate that for Octopress.