Author: Mehul

Bill Gates on Steve Jobs Taste

Embed from Getty Images

This is an old quote but one that I still find interesting:

Well, I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste. [laughter] He has natural–it’s not a joke at all. I think in terms of intuitive taste, both for people and products, you know, we sat in Mac product reviews where there were questions about software choices, how things would be done that I viewed as an engineering question, you know, and that’s just how my mind works. And I’d see Steve make the decision based on a sense of people and product that, you know, is even hard for me to explain. The way he does things is just different and, you know, I think it’s magical. And in that case, wow.

This is quote is from the 2007 D5 Conference which you can watch here:

YouTube – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Face Off

Video Transcript

Both were geniuses and for Bill Gates to give that much of a compliment after all the years of battling with Apple, says a lot about his great character. Of course, the statement is also true. Steve Jobs did have great taste. 🙂

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How to embed GettyImages in to your blog posts

Embed from Getty Images

An image helps your blog posts. I know, I’ve been using them for years on my work blog and this personal one.

Getty Images

So I was excited to hear this news:

“Getty Images makes 35 million images free in fight against copyright infringement” – Source

That is so cool. In fact, the image up top is from GettyImages.com.

Embed

To make sure you can embed an image in your blog, here’s what you do:

  1. Go to this url: http://www.gettyimages.com/embed
  2. Put in a search term like “dog” or something.
  3. From the results, click on the image you’d like to embed.
  4. You’ll then see a button with these characters: GettyEmbedCodeButton
  5. Click it and copy the iframe code.
  6. Paste it into your blog post and you’re done.

SV650 rides again with a new battery

2005 SV650

Once you have kids, it’s really tough to go for a bike ride by yourself. My 2005 Suzuki SV650 has been sitting in the garage for 9-10 months. So when I went to start it, the battery was dead.

Amazon.com to the rescue

Amazon.com is great for finding which products is worth it, regardless of the price. That said, I got this battery for $30 shipped:

AGM Yt12a-bs 12V Battery for Suzuki
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004AHB2HE/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And the SV650 is alive again! 🙂

Written with StackEdit.

Tip: How to enable Markdown for WordPress.com

If you’re using WordPress.com then you can easily enable Markdown support in their online editor:


Enabling Markdown on WordPress.com

To start using Markdown, go to Settings → Writing in your blog dashboard, check the box next to Use Markdown for posts and pages, and save.

When writing Markdown, make sure to use the Text Editor for the best results.

via Write (More) Effortlessly With Markdown — Blog — WordPress.com.

Learn more from this excellent post Write (More) Effortlessly With Markdown.


If you’d like to learn about my Markdown history, check out this post:
Writing with Markdown for WordPress (on Windows)

TripIt and Super.cc

Here’s 2 services that I like very much:

Ok, I don’t use them every day because they’re utility services that come in handy for the service they provide. First…


TripIt

The TripIt.com website is free and very useful to keep track of your trips. Check out this article to learn more:

Use TripIt.com to Organize and Share Your Travel Documents Online

What I like about it:

When you get an email confirmation of your flight, hotel, etc. Simply forward that email to plans@tripit.com and it will be added to my list of trips along with all the details that I need. Now I have one place that stores all my trip information. And they even have a mobile app that I can use to bring up this information.

I’ve been using TripIt for a couple of years now and so far, it’s been great.

Super.cc

I just learned about the Super.cc website a few days ago. And honestly, this article headline is what convinced me:

Super.cc Is Like TripIt for Google Calendar, Adds Any Event You Email

What I like about it:

As the headline says above, it’s a lot like TripIt for events. So when I have to setup a meeting or even make sure something is on my calendar, sending/forwarding an email will ensure that Super.cc will do that for me.

While it’s only been a week of usage, I do like this service so far.

Try them out and let me know your thoughts, thanks.

Writing with Markdown for WordPress (on Windows)

I’ve just written a blog post for my DevExpress work blog using only the Markdown syntax. Woohoo! I’m proud of this because it’s been on my todo list.

This wasn’t my first attempt at learning/using Markdown but it was the first post that I wrote using only Markdown. And without using the excellent Windows Live Writer tool.

Ok, I know I’m late to the Markdown party. So what?

Great, wtf is Markdown?

Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax[5] designed so that it can optionally be converted to HTML using a tool by the same name. –Wikipedia

John Gruber first released Markdown in March 2004.

Since then, it’s appeared on popular sites like stackoverflow and Github.

Learning Markdown

The syntax, imho, is very easy to learn. John Gruber’s site has the original documentation on Markdown and I recommend it:

http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax

The best way to learn is to start writing using Markdown asap. Below, I list a couple of the tools that I like.

If you prefer to watch a video:

Markdown tutorial

And there’s a plethora of google search results that help you find just about anything. For example, this page shows how to add YouTube links:

[![IMAGE ALT TEXT HERE](http://img.youtube.com/vi/YOUTUBE_VIDEO_ID_HERE/0.jpg)%5D(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOUTUBE_VIDEO_ID_HERE)

Tools

Scribefire can be used directly from your browser to create blog posts. You can write using Markdown. I use the Chrome extension but I’ve also used the Firefox version. Both are great and free.

MarkdownPad 2
This is a desktop application that similar to Sublime Text or Microsoft Word. The main view is split from the Markdown syntax and a preview window on the right. Here’s what I like about it:

  • Split View for editing and preview.
  • Shortcuts for inserting links. Love the Ctrl-L for links specifically. Yes, I can use autohotkey for it but I just didn’t want to. 🙂
  • The editor helps you to learn Markdown because you’re forced to write in Markdown. It also helps to learn because of the built-in shortcuts.
  • There’s a free and pro version. Free version works great. But support your local dev and buy a license.

It does not support publishing to a blog engine. At least, not the free version. So what, it’s still awesome.

The only odd thing I’ve found is that cut/paste has an odd pause for some weird reason.

What about images?

The one big thing I do miss from Windows Live Writer (WLW) is it’s ability to insert, upload, and manipulate images. And I’m sure I’ll likely use WLW again for those image heavy posts.

For now, I have to manually upload an image and then link to it.

Plaintext snob?

My friend Drew had this to share about my Markdown adventure:

Thanks Julian, for the nudge to get me to write on my personal blog again.

Why I like Windows 8 on my desktop machine

I like the Windows 8 operating system on my custom built “ultimate developer rig” desktop machine:

Why do I like it when there has been a lot said about that crazy new user interface?

Performance

First, the performance is great.

I built my desktop machine in 2008. It has 8 gb of memory and while my excessive tabs in Chrome browser were slowing me down, the machine itself felt a bit slow.

Until, I upgraded to Windows 8. With Windows 8, the UI felt fast again. To quantify, it didn’t feel like I suddenly got a much faster machine but I noticed and appreciated the performance improvements in speed and memory utilization. YMMV.

Missing Start Button?

For myself, I do not miss the Start button. I didn’t use it that much.

However!

The new ‘Natural user interface’ that is key to windows does not work well if you don’t have a touch interface. I don’t have a touch monitor. However, I’m a keyboard and mouse ninja so I don’t have many problems with just:

  1. Creating shortcuts
  2. Using Launchy (Alt+Space ftw!)
  3. And, occasionally, going to the main Win8 NUI to find/do something.
  4. Btw, the shortcuts mentioned by Hanselman in this blog post are very useful (Win+I and Win+X).

Windows 8 Features

Here’s some of the Windows 8 features that I do like:

  • Dual monitor support – independent backgrounds, taskbar enhancements and keyboard support to move apps is very nice. Btw, get the Bing Dynamic theme and you’ll have the amazing Bing.com pictures as your background.
  • Task manager – There’s been a lot of nice improvements in the Task Manager. Read this post to learn how to use the Win8 task manager.
  • File Copy – The file copy dialog *seems* more accurate now. Steven Sinofsky has a good post about it here.
  • Eject USB drives – Improved because it seems when I eject from Win8, it actually works. Small but annoying little feature that helps me.
  • App Snapping – I didn’t think this would be useful for me but it has been. So far, I’ve only tried it with the MetroTwit and Google search apps. The google search app is cool because you can perform a voice search right from your desktop.

Not for everyone

Windows 8 is not for everyone. In fact, I’m not saying that it’s the best OS out there (aka, I’d love to spend a few months with a Macbook Air). In fact, I would NOT want to trade in my iPad for a Surface.

What I am saying is that if you’re like me: a desktop Windows 7 power user who is not afraid of the keyboard. Then, you may want to check out Windows 8.

Summary

Windows 8 has a lot of minor improvements in the UI and experience that all add up to a good upgrade for my desktop machine.

Did I mention the performance improvements? That is my favorite Windows 8 feature.

Overall, it’s faster and smoother than Windows 7. And being that I’m a geek, I know how to get around it. So, it’s fun for me.
Keep an open mind and try it. Hopefully, it’s fun for you as well. Smile

Y: The Last Man movie coming soon

Y! The Last Man is one of my favorite comics and it looks the director of an interesting short movie on YouTube is going to direct it.

Dan Trachtenberg pulled in 11.5 million views with his moody seven-minute fan film Portal: No Escape, based on the popular puzzle platforming game by Valve, a project that has spring boarded the new director to much bigger things: He’s now been tapped by New Line Cinema to direct the long-gestating movie adaptation of graphic novel Y: The Last Man for his first feature film.

The long-running Vertigo comic book series by brainy sci-fi writer Brian K. Vaughan pictures a future in which a plague kills nearly all males. Escape artist Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand survive as the only creatures left with Y chromosomes, forced to navigate their way through post-apocalyptic gender politics.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/y-last-man-movie/

Blog using the drip approach

Seth Godin got me thinking with his recent post about writer’s block:

Writer’s block was ‘invented’ in the 1940s. Before that, not only wasn’t there a word for it, it hardly existed. The reason: writing wasn’t a high stakes venture. Writing was a hobby, it was something you did in your spare time, without expecting a big advance or a spot on the bestseller list.

My writer’s block for not writing so much on this blog is because I want to post interesting and useful things that help people. The problem, of course, is that those type of posts take a lot of time to research and write. And there are still interesting things that I run into every day that I’d like to talk about. So, I’m going to attempt to take Seth Godin’s approach called “the drip”:

Consider the alternative to writer’s block: the drip. A post, day after day, week after week, 400 times a year, 4000 times a decade. When you commit to writing regularly, the stakes for each thing you write go down.

This may sound like I won’t focus on the long interesting posts. But I think it’s the opposite. I believe the act of writing more will get me to want to write about all those interesting topics including the long and short posts.

If you haven’t read the post yet, go get inspired by Seth Godin to write more:

Writer’s block and the drip

How I used Yahoo Pipes to filter CodeRush videos

Alex Skorkin from the DevExpress CodeRush team is on a mission to bring you all sorts of interesting news about CodeRush. And he’s working on bringing you a new CodeRush Facebook page.

Like the CodeRush Facebook page

Since I created and now help maintain the DevExpress Facebook page, he asked me how we could add a feed for CodeRush only videos from the DevExpress YouTube channel.

DevExpress YouTube channel

Now the best approach is if I could just add a query parameter to this YouTube RSS feed:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/users/DeveloperExpress/uploads?alt=rss&v=2&orderby=published&client=ytapi-youtube-profile

 

Sadly I could not add the query parameter. Either that or I don’t know the specific parameter for it. Smile

So to solve this problem quickly, I decided to take a look at Yahoo Pipes which allows you to "aggregate, manipulate and mashup content from around the web".

Yahoo Pipes

Since Yahoo Pipes has been around since 2007, there are a ton of existing pipes which you can either use or copy and modify to suit your needs.

After a little searching, I found this "YouTube filter user’s video by title" pipe which allows me to send 2 parameters:

  1. YouTube User
  2. What do you want to keep? (Keyword to search title, description, etc.)

 

So after a quick clone to make a custom tweak, I had the optimal RSS feed that only grabbed CodeRush videos from the DevExpress YouTube channel.

Yahoo pipes is simple, fun and powerful.

What about IFTTT?

There’s a new service called "If this then that" (IFTTT.com). Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with it but if you know how to do something similar with IFTTT.com then please leave a comment below, thanks.