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A Week With The iPad

April 9, 2010 | 4 comments

If you’ve been following me on Twitter this week, you’ll know that I recently picked up a shiny new iPad. I decided not to write a review of the iPad right away, but instead spend a week using it and report back with my findings. It’s really easy to jump to conclusions (good or bad) when you first begin using something. I’ve been using it for a few hours every day, and I think I’m starting to see how it will fit into my life. And let me just say, it’s finding it’s niche very nicely. There have been MANY iPad reviews released this week, so I’ll try not to get too wordy…

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The iPad Excitement is Building

March 30, 2010 | 1 comment

Wow, I haven’t written a blog post in weeks! The weather has been getting really nice here in Raleigh, NC and I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible. Although I might not have been inspired to write about tech lately, I’ve definitely been keeping up with it. One of the most exciting things going on right now is obviously the iPad. I reserved mine on March 16th for in-store pickup. I decided to go this approach, rather than pre-ordering, for a couple reasons. I hate waiting around for the FedEx/UPS guy to come so that I don’t miss a package. Also, I wasn’t entirely convinced I would buy one at the time of reserving. I decided this would give me another few weeks to think about it. Not surprisingly, the blogs have been buzzing about iPad related goodness lately and I’ve decided that I will be headed to the Apple Store on launch day.

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What Happened To Google Wave?

February 13, 2010 | 8 comments

I was originally planning to do a post about Google Buzz this weekend, but then something reminded me about  Google Wave. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard anything about Wave in weeks. It occurred to me that one of the most hyped products of 2009 might have fallen completely on it’s face. Ever since Wave was announced at Google I/O last May, there was non-stop hype surrounding the product on Twitter and tech blogs. The hype continued up to the end of September when Google opened up Wave to over 100,000 people, and then for another few weeks while people begged for invites on Twitter and other sites. By the end of October, I had over 25 contacts on Wave and managed to get the bulk of my web-savvy friends using the service. By the middle of November, it seemed like everyone who was remotely interested in Wave had received an invite. Google Wave finally dropped off the trending topics on Twitter and it seemed like the invite hype was effectively dead. It’s been over 2 months since the last activity in my Wave inbox and I can’t help but wonder, what happened?

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Introducing The New PSSC Website

February 12, 2010 | No Comments

As some of you know, I am the web developer behind the Penn State Snowboard Club (PSSC) website. I built the site from the ground up 3 years ago when I was attending Penn State. The website has evolved a lot since then and has signed up over 1,200 users. The past couple months I have been working on a complete redesign of the site. The goal was to make the site more useful for club members (and officers) and to add some design flare to spice things up a bit. After lots of hard work, I was able to finally launch the new site last weekend. The site seems to have generated a lot of positive buzz so far and I wanted to take some time to highlight a few new features.

The new homepage of the Penn State Snowboard Club.

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Apple: “You don’t need Flash”

January 29, 2010 | 2 comments

If there was any doubt about Apple’s stance on Adobe Flash before Wednesday’s keynote, you can kiss that goodbye. During the keynote, Steve Jobs was casually browsing the web (it was a bit awkward, actually) and he spent a few minutes on the New York Times site. As he scrolled down the page, there was a large box with the all-too-familiar blue cube signifying that the Flash plugin was missing. The audience chuckled and Steve paused for a while, leaving the “Flash failure” on the big screen. Although he never mentioned anything about it, it was very clear that Steve was not trying to hide anything. It’s almost as if he wanted everyone to know that the iPad will not support Flash. For the last 3 years, critics have complained about the lack of Flash on the iPhone and it appears as though Apple is still unwilling to budge on the issue. I believe that Apple is trying to send a clear message: “You think you need Flash, but you really don’t. Try it.”

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Apple Event: The Good, Bad, & Other

January 27, 2010 | 2 comments
Today Apple finally announced the tablet that we’ve been hearing rumors about for the past year. The rumors were so intense lately that they actually started to get annoying even to a big fanboy like myself. The event was pretty exciting. It was great seeing the incredible new UI design built specifically for the new iPad. Like any Apple event, there were some rumors that didn’t make the cut and left many people disappointed. This is obviously inevitable when something gets so much hype. This time I wasn’t too dissapointed but I was surprised at some of the things that didn’t make the cut. Since the internet will soon be flooded with iPad news, I decided to save you from more boring analysis and share with you a few quick thoughts that I have regarding the event. I broke the points up into 3 categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Other.


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Quitting Facebook

January 26, 2010 | 5 comments

Just over 4 weeks ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I’ve had an account since freshman year of college (5+ years ago) and this was the first time I ever deactivated it. I used to be an avid user of Facebook. In fact, up until about 12 months ago, I would spend probably an hour a day on the site. I added photos, updated status messages, and tracked events using the service. I had some gripes here and there, but overall it was good for what I needed. Also, it provides an endless stream of content (“stalking”) for people who have too much time on their hands. Luckily, I can say that I rarely browsed Facebook to kill time. So what happened 12 months ago that changed my usage patterns? Two things: I graduated college and I became an avid user of Twitter.

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Ben Birk Photography Site Launched

December 31, 2009 | 2 comments

For the past few months I’ve been casually working on a new website for my friend, Ben Birk. He is a snowboard photographer who I met a couple years ago during my involvement in the Pennsylvania ski/snowboard scene. He spent this past winter in Lake Tahoe, snowboarding and shooting photos every day. Ahhh, the life! He has had many photos featured in popular magazines such as Transworld Snowboarding, Snowboard, Playboard, and East Coast Snowboarding. Almost 3 years ago I built Ben his first website to showcase his photos. Since then, Ben’s photography skills have grown immensely and my web design skills have also improved (claim?). We decided it was time to release a fresh, new site to showcase his work in the best possible way.

Ben's new photography site.

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Why Google DNS Fits Into “The Plan”

December 5, 2009 | 2 comments

google_logo5On Thursday Google announced a project they have been working on called Google Public DNS . The Domain Name System, or DNS for short, is something that we use hundreds of times each day but hardly ever think about. DNS is used to translate easy-to-remember hostnames, such as www.google.com, into the actual IP address for the server handling the requests. It is absolutely essential to the way today’s internet works. By default, most of the DNS servers that we use are hosted by our ISP. The ISP has a set of DNS servers and each website request we make goes to these servers which sort everything out and find the server that we’re requesting. Google’s Public DNS will join existing services such as OpenDNS to provide an alternative to the DNS servers hosted by ISPs all over the world.

When I first saw the announcement flow into my Twitter stream, I was pretty confused. DNS isn’t really something I think about on a daily basis and it seemed like an unusual project for Google to be working on. I was eager to dig into the documentation and see what Google’s motivation was. They must have expected this type of reaction because the first section on the Introduction page is “Why Google Public DNS?”. Google explains that webpages are getting more complex and the sheer magnitude of DNS lookups each day is starting to put major pressure on the existing DNS infrastructure. Since they already crawl most of these sites on a regular basis for their search indexing, it makes sense to cache the information and use the knowledge to help speed up DNS lookups. They claim that they just want to make the web a faster and more secure place. While I believe this is a valid motivation, I think that there’s more to it. How does this really fit into Google’s business plan?

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Staying In The Loop: Feed Readers

November 24, 2009 | 2 comments

Often the lunch conversation at work turns to books. Many of my coworkers are avid readers. I, on the other hand, NEVER read books! I can’t remember the last time I’ve read an actual book. I spend most of my “reading time” reading blog post after blog post on a quest to learn as much as possible. It’s actually turning into quite a time-consuming hobby of mine. According to Google Reader Trends, I read approximately 600 blog posts each month. While that might seem like a lot (it is), only a fraction of the blogs I track are even read in Google Reader. I also use Apple Mail, Twitter, and the good ol’ website approach to keep up with the news.

The major topics that I follow are general technology news, mobile news, web/internet news, and Apple news. This includes blogs like TechCrunch, AppleInsider, Daring Fireball, The Google Blog, and Twitter news sources. I’m fascinated with technology and absolutely love to read about the future and how the web is evolving. I think this is a testament to the fact that I picked the perfect career. Not only am I learning a ridiculous amount of stuff about technology, but I’ve also noticed that my writing has been improving as a result of all this reading. I’m always looking to streamline my method for consuming all this news, and I’ve found a few tools that work great.

Some of my feeds are in Apple Mail. This used to be my primary reader.

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