Sometimes I think I love markdown to much. Here is a handlebars helper for loading markdown files with AJAX and rendering them as HTML in the browser.
I had a lot of trouble finding any help to get Dynamic DNS (DDNS) set up between a Synology NAS (a great product!) and DNSMadeEasy.com DDNS service so I thought I would post the solution that I worked out in case anyone else was looking.
1. Set up your DDNS domain on DNSMadeEasy.com
The wrinkle that DNSMadeEasy.com throws in the mix is that instead of the domain being updated, they use a unique ID number that’s generated when you save a record with the “Dynamic DNS” box checked.
After creating the record keep track of the password and the ID. You’ll need them later.
2. Add the DDNS provider for DNSMadeEasy.com on your Synology NAS
If you open the DDNS control panel on your Synology (Control Panel > ezCloud > DDNS) you will notice that there is no DNSMadeEasy.com option on the service provider menu.
To add the Service Provider you need to SSH into the terminal. If you need help setting up terminal access check out this tutorial on the Synology wiki.
Once you have terminal access use vi to edit the /etc.defaults/ddns_provider.conf file with this command.
$ sudo vi /etc.defaults/ddns_provider.conf
The vi editor can be found on almost every POSIX system. It can be confusing for people who have never used it before, so if you need help with vi check out this cheat-sheet and tutorial.
Add the DNSMadeEasy.com entry to the end of your ddns_provider.conf file as shown in the following Gist on Github:
We are actually using the same provider as DynDNS and only using the “hostname” variable to support DNSMadeEasy.com’s “id” variable. I was a little concerned that the Synology would do some sort of validation on the HostName field and bounce the string of numbers as invalid. But fortunately they don’t and we can use that field to supply the ID without any further customization.
Save the file and reopen the DDNS control panel on the Synology.
3. Setup DDNS on your Synology NAS
Now you should have the DNSMadeEasy.com option in the “Service Provider” field. Put your “Dynamic DNS ID” from DNSMadeEasy.com into the “Hostname” field. Use the email address associated with your DNSMadeEasy.com account for the “Username” field, and the “Dynamic DNS Password” from the DNSMadeEasy.com record in the “Password” field and “Confirm password” field. Hit apply and if your status says “success” you are in business!
I just needed to adjust my Netflix parental controls to watch the new show “Orange is the New Black” and I was dreading it because usually there is some message that says it may take up to eight hours to actually update. This is usually the worst, but this time there was no warning about it taking 8 hours to update, and just 30 seconds after updating the settings on the computer I was able to watch the show!
Much better Netflix! Now we just need to be able to bypass the settings in any client (like AppleTV) by putting in a code or something instead of having to use the computer.
I find my self making these in email form all the time to send to people (family/friends/customers) about how to do things on the internet. It’s always been the easiest way that I knew of.
Now there is a new start up aiming to solve the problem: http://stps.co/
Their app is super simple and makes it easy to quickly create step-by-step instruction guides to share. I love it, and I can see myself using this a lot.
New vs. Original Fronts
It seems that Lifeproof has updated their iconic case for the iPhone 5 to address some shortcomings with the original case design. As you can see from the comments in my original post, there were plenty of issues with the case when it was first introduced.
- In this comment, John complains that the screen cover does not sit flush with the display. I think that this may have been the root cause of most of the issues with the original design.
- This comment complains of audible vibrations when talking to someone on the phone. I can attest to these, as I have experienced them myself, not only when on a call but also when the speaker volume is turned all the way up, as when listening to music or using the speaker phone.
- Fakes were/are a huge concern for Lifeproof as many “retailers” on sites like eBay selling knock-offs. These low quality copies do a lot to harm Lifeproof’s reputation.
- The deal breaker for me was the issue of not being able to use the touch screen while on a call due to the proximity sensor always being activated. This made if very difficult to interact with phone system menus, and even to hang up the call when done.
As you can see from the photo above, and from the close-ups of the inside of the front sections of the case, Lifeproof has removed a lot of material from the ear piece area of the case. With this new version of the case on my phone, most of my complaints have been addressed. I no longer hear that buzzing in the earpiece and my proximity sensor seems to work again.
New Front – Close Up
Original Front – Close Up
It does not seem like much has been changed with the rear section of the case. Maybe your eyes can spot some subtle differences but I was hard pressed to find any.
New vs. Original Rears
I do need to add then when I finally got around to requesting a replacement case due to my frustration with the proximity sensor, Lifeproof could not have made it any easier. I simply emailed them my address and the serial numbers from the front and read of the old case. They shipped me a brand new case and a few days later I had it in my hands.
Some of you may have had a different experience, or have something else to add to the discussion. Please comment on your experiences with this Lifeproof case.
I just had my display replaced on my MacBook Pro Retina and I am blown away again! I got my computer about a year ago when the Retina display was first introduced, and unfortunately I got one of the models with an LG panel that suffered from “image retention” issues.
At first it didn’t seem that bad, but lately it was getting worse so I took it in to be replaced expecting a hassel but was pleasantly surprised when the good folks at the genius bar said “ok” and ordered me a new display.
When the display came in, they installed it in about 3 hours and I had my computer back. I tested the display, found it to be a Samsung and breathed a sigh of relief. Now the display is better than ever!
It seems like Microsoft does not want you to be able to contact Skype support via email or chat, if you are using an iPad. This is the unfortunate position I find myself in today due to my computer being in the shop for service. As I do not have a spare laptop, I attempted to do some of my more tedious “office work” while I wait for my laptop.
After several unauthorized charges came through on my card I realized someone was using my Skype account to send text messages to Portugal. I tried to contact Skype support, but no email address was listed, nor was any phone number. The links for “more support” simply form a loop that sends the user around in circles.
I tried to start a chat, but whatever chat client Skype is using for in browser support does not work on mobile safari. I finally had to resort to using the email address for customers that do not have Skype accounts and just hope that someone reads it (yeah right).
It’s frustrating to find myself relegated to second class support simply by using the single most popular mobile browser in the world. Boo.
All or Nothing
Smart people present both a challenge and an opportunity. They can produce amazing results in short periods of time, defying all reasonable expectations and delivering unbelievable quality. They can also be cantankerous and ornery, refusing to show up on time, slow to get down to business, and in the most extreme cases they will resort to sabotage. So how do you get the best, and avoid the worst?
Like Herding Cats
Managing smart people is a lot like herding cats. As a manager you have a lot of responsibility to to produce results, but seemly no authority to get your team to do what they need to do. Every design decision is challenged, every bit of system architecture is scrutinized and questioned. You have to explain your logic down to the smallest detail and still your developers are not satisfied.
I’m in the minority because my job before was in sales, which incidentally is a lot like being a manager. You are responsible to produce sales but have zero authority to force your customers to buy. This forces you to align with your customer and use your expertise and products to help them meet their goals. Or, you fail and get fired.
Sales is just convincing people to do something when you have no authority to make them.
Authority is Toxic
I firmly believe that it’s important to treat your development team like they are your customers and concentrate on defining goals rather than defining how you will meet those goals. I’ve seen over and over again where a manager will get impatient when their team demands an explanation and just say,
…because I said so, now DO IT!
If you do this to your team you will pay the price for a long time. There is no better way to make them hate you than by forcing them to do something “your way”. Your “authority” is an illusion. At the end of the day you are just a person and they are just other people. You don’t own them, and you can’t treat them like you own them anymore than some random person on the street.
Never Define the How
With my team, I never force them to solve a problem in a specific way. I always let them choose the ultimate direction they take with the work. I’ve found this approach generates the strongest commitment from the individual developer. Our team thinks nothing of putting eighteen hour days for weeks at time to deliver a solution to a business problem because everyone feels like they had input in the solution and they feel personally responsible for it in a way that I would never be able to demand from them.
Sometimes the developers will ask me how they I think they should solve a problem and I will always offer any advice I can. We don’t always agree, and when the developer chooses to act contrary to my advice, they work with more diligence than at any other time. No one wants to be the one who took a stand out of ignorance and failed to deliver.
If you take this approach you can not take it half heartedly. I don’t define specific hours for our developers, we don’t have a limited amount of vacation, and yet they show up on Saturday and Sunday when I need them, without me ever having to ask for it.
We are not Unique
Some of my peers question my approach because they don’t trust their employees to come up with as good of a solution on their own. This is completely wrong. I can’t even count how many times my team has come up with a much better solution than I had on my own. If I had forced them to implement my specific plan we would have delivered a worse result.
I can say with confidence that if your team trusts you, and you know they are smart, they will always come up with at least as good of a plan as you did. I don’t think my team is unique in some special way that allows us to operate this way. I think anyone can do it.
If you manage smart people, what do you think are the most important things to keep in mind for managing them? If you are developer, what do appreciate most about your managers, and what drives you crazy?
The Office Stereo
Our startup has a stereo in the office because one of the most important environmental elements is music, especially for software developers.
“Programming can be a bit like having a dream or being in a trance.”
I don’t know who said it first but I know it can be like that for me and my team of developers. The wrong music can really kill your ability to get into the state of flow.
Coding Music Requirements
- No lyrics
- I can’t stress this enough. For our team this is critical to avoid distraction.
- Upbeat and Powerful
- When you’re doing something really hard it’s helps to be listening to music that generates positive emotions and helps you feel like you really can do it.
Our Newest Fav
Stirling’s modern violin mixed with upbeat background tracks set exactly the sort of mood we want for our developers. We were even guilty once of putting her album on in the morning and letting it play all day on a loop.
Your mileage may vary if your demographic is different than ours (me the 31 year old geezer and our 17 to 22 year old wunderkind developers).
Is Music Critical to Productivity in your shop?
Do you think music is as critical to developer productivity as we do? What do you listen to while coding? What other environmental aspects are important?
I actually read this ridiculous article on Salon a few days ago, but seeing it again tonight on one of my feeds got me spun up again. The problem with the logic this guy is using is that taken to its logical conclusion, any technology that automates dull, repetitive tasks is bad.
I guess he thinks we should be farming with spoons instead of tractors. Those tractors sure put a lot of people out of work.
A more useful discussion would be how society can do a better job of making sure its members are equipped to contribute something of value. This is the same reasoning behind the idea of public schools. Educated citizens are better able to contribute to society than ignorant ones.
This is no different and we need to do a better job of training people for meaningful work. Society will always be changing and sometimes that change is disruptive, but lets try to forget about farming with spoons.