A couple weeks ago I bought an Amazon Echo. The smart home takeover of my home has begun. I’ve already bought WiFi power outlets to control my lights and have added an “Alexa Skill” to control sonos. I think this is could be a big thing if Amazon can maintain interest in it. It handles real speech much better than Siri and is much more open to automation.

I love my sonos. It’s a great speaker and they just opened up Apple Music support, which is the service I currently use. So… yay! Right? Well the client is not very good. I don’t like using it at all. It looks like something from 2005 to me. Luckily I found the AirSonos project on Github. Now I can play music on my headphones or just stream to the Sonos directly. It’s also a really interesting Open Source project and he provides more info on how it worked on this medium post, “Hacking AirPlay into Sonos”.

I’ve just scratched the surface with AWS Lambda, it’s such a powerful idea. They call it “serverless computing”, but really it’s “I don’t want to think about servers” computing. As a client developer, I don’t want to have to care about servers but I want to be able to create things and having a remote service is an important part of this. Lambda, OpenWhisk, and Azure’s Service Fabric seem to all be tackling the same idea. I can’t wait for Apple to release something in this area as part of iCloud or CloudKit. How cool would it be to define a worker in Xcode and just deploy it as part of a target?

CocoaHeads March 2016

For CocoaHeads March I was inspired by one of our member’s other meetup groups, Triangle Open Source Open Mic, and decided to have ⚡️lightning talks ⚡️. We actually did this once before in December of 2013 and I’ve been wanting to do it again since then. Considering I only gave the community a one week heads up, I think this we had a great selection of talks.

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→ One Thing

I feel like I link to Manton Reece all the time here. His blog is really the reason for why I’ve started blogging again. I often struggle with the dilemma of choice when it comes to things to get done. Work stuff is easier because someone is depending on you. It’s so easy to rationalize away your own goals. This idea of getting one thing done really resonates with me. Using something like Pomodoro or any task system, you can even try to get one thing done in some fixed set of time.

Okay, it’s not even a real issue but I’ve decided to stick with the 12.9” iPad Pro. New Apple releases always get me excited but the new 9.7” is underpowered compared to my existing iPad, it just doesn’t make sense to “upgrade”. I’m not the only one thinking this way either. I’ve actually started using my iPad Pro a little more with the Apple Pencil. For a few years I’ve been doing the Bullet Journal method on paper, now I’m writing these notes in Notability and I get all the benefits of it being digital—syncing, embedded images, etc.

New Apple announcements today, I really liked how Tim Cook opened the event talking about their position in the privacy issue, their goals to use renewable energy, and the new Carekit SDK. I’ll be getting a new 9.7” iPad Pro as soon as I can sell my 12.9” iPad Pro. The new one seems like the perfect iPad to me especially with that True Tone stuff. I’ve already bought my new watch band.

Listening is Reading

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem with reading. The problem is staying focused as my mind easily drifts to something unrelated or something linked to what I’m reading about. Minutes will go by and I’ll realize that none of the reading I had been doing has actually made it into my head. As if it wasn’t read at all. I want to be a reader. I want to read fiction and non-fiction.

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Daredevil season 2 was pretty great. I’m happy overall with the Netflix section of the Marvel cinematic universe but I really wish that they’d do a little bit more of the crossover stuff. Marvel movies (and comics) are often fun because of who shows up. How awesome would it have been for Spider-Man to show up when Daredevil was on the rooftops listening for crime?

I feel like I now have a good understanding of Amazon Web Services. This means later today I’ll discover something that wrecks my understanding. But wow, with Terraform and AWS you can really simply build and deploy a pretty crazy set of servers. I’m even deploying docker-based apps.