Lifeproof iPhone 5s Nüüd Case Review

September 1, 2014 in Apple, Hardware | Tags:

I held off on purchasing another Lifeproof case because of some of the issues I had with my previous Lifeproof case.  You can read about my experience with that case in my Lifeproof iPhone 5 Case Review.  I decided to take the plunge with a the Nüüd case because it removes the barrier between my finger and the touch screen.

Lifeproof Nüüd Case

Lifeproof Nüüd Case

The Nüüd case comes with an assortment of things in the box, including a block of plastic shaped like an iPhone so you can leak test the case without putting your phone in it first. That’s nice.

contents of the box

contents of the box

As you can see from the picture of the front and back of the case, there is no screen protector built into the front half of the case. Lifeproof does include a stick-on screen protector that you can apply if you want, but that sort of defeats the purpose. If you want to cover your screen, maybe you should consider the Lifeproof Frē instead.

front and back of the Nüüd

front and back of the Nüüd

Just like other Lifeproof cases, there is a door covering the Lightning port.

close up of the back

close up of the back

I had a really hard time getting the camera cover clean. It is a very stretchy bit of plastic that seems to love little specs of dust. I tried to use the cloth that came with the case, but I think that made it worse.

camera cover

camera cover

The same sort of stretchy film covers the home button (as near as I can tell). Be careful that you don’t trap any air under the film when you put the case together, otherwise it cause a bubble that doesn’t go away.

home button cover

home button cover

The speaker cover was another area that I had a little trouble with on the Frē because sometimes it would vibrate like a kazoo with certain frequencies of sound. I haven’t experienced that yet with this case, but I’ll update the post if I hear it happen.

inside speaker cover

inside speaker cover

My very favorite improvement to this case is the tether for the headphone plug cover. I could never keep track of those little plugs on the older case and they always fell out of the little holder on the extension cable. Losing one of those plugs was the worst. This tether is the best!

headphone plug tether

headphone plug tether

how-i-know-im-getting-older

August 23, 2014 in Soapbox |

Embody Chair

My favorite thing in my office is my very fancy chair.

It’s an Embody Chair from Herman Miller.  Yes that means that many interns could be equipped with perfectly serviceable chairs for what a single Embody chair costs.  But now, after nearly six months of writing code while sitting in one I can confidently say that this chair has nearly ruined my ability to sit in any other chair.

To me it also shows that I’m not a kid anymore.  In earlier days, having the fastest CPU or the most Memory would have been much more important than a chair.  But now, the most important things are the chair, the display, the display arm, the keyboard, and the mouse.  Basically anything I touch or have to look at for long periods of time.

Chromebook to Ubuntubook with help from Codestarter.org

August 10, 2014 in Computer Science, Development, Learning, Linux, Soapbox | Tags: , , ,

I came across Tom Preston-Werner’s blog post about installing Ubuntu on a Chromebook the other day while reading Hacker News and since I happen to have an Acer C720
and some kids who might enjoy it, I took the plunge and used Codestarter‘s installation scripts to install Ubuntu on my Chromebook.

CodeStarter.org

I had thought of installing linux on the chromebook before reading Preseton-Werner’s blog post, but I didn’t take the plunge before because…

the Linux kernel does not support the trackpad.

The thought of compiling a customer kernel with the trackpad driver’s didn’t sound like very much fun. The Arch Linux Wiki I read suggested some instructions to patch the kernel. Anyway, I never really got to the point where I wanted to do all that to get Linux running on the chromebook.

Looking at the codestarter.org script I wondered how many hours they must have spent trying to get it exactly right. Despite the relative brevity of the scripts, it looks like a lot of time went into them.

The first step

involved making a backup of ChromeOS because there is a non-zero chance that this sort of hacking around in the internals of the c720 will result in a device that will no longer boot. I’ve mostly stopped using removable media in the past few years so after considerable searching I found an SD card that could function as the backup media. After making the backup image I read the next instruction which said to download the installation script to some other removable media. :/

Much later

I found an old USB stick that would work and loaded the installer onto the USB drive. Following the instructions provided, I activated Developer Mode on the c720.

activating-dev-mode

Next I plugged in the thumb drive, and executed the command sudo bash main.sh kicked off the installation process.

The installer did somethings, which I think included formatting the hard drive and then rebooted the c720. The same sudo bash main.sh is run again and this time it installs Ubuntu in the space it formatted.

downloading-ubuntu

Overall I think the installation process is very smooth, but there are a few areas where it might have been made more clear. I’ve modified the instructions to reflect this:

codestarter-instructions

I kept thinking this is too easy

while installing Ubuntu. Then My c720 froze the first time I attempted to boot into linux. Given how long some of the other steps took, I thought this too was just taking a long time.

not-booting

Eventually I ran out of patience, and rebooted to try again. Here we go, I thought. Now it will take hours to get it working again.

Boom.

This time it booted right up into Ubuntu. After settings my timezones I was presented with the desktop.

ubuntu-desktop

I’m still more than a little shocked it was that easy. I was certain that it would take longer, and be crazy difficult to get this working. The script from Codestarter.org make a huge difference and in the end it was pretty easy to get Ubuntu installed on the chromebook.

How does it all fit together?

Now that the little chromebook is running Ubunutu, I’ll right the rest of this post using the chromebook itself.

It is not a fast computer. My primary computer is a quad-core MacBook Pro, so to say I’m a little spoiled is an understatement, but opening the Chrome browser for the first time under Ubuntu was certainly an exercise in patience. I think it’s safe to say that the c720 isn’t any sort of speed demon, but that isn’t what Codestarter.org was aiming for.

They were aiming for a developer laptop.

There are other things that are important to developers, like a good keyboard which the c720 certainly has. The keys have a decent amount of travel, and are spaced widely enough that I didn’t find myself hitting the wrong key very much.

Additionally, SublimeText works well. It started up quickly and stayed responsive.

solarized-terminal

Solarized, the one true color scheme.

Over all the c720 with Linux is a heck of a deal. I only paid $200 for this little computer and it feels like I could use it in largely the same way I used my MacBook Pro. That’s high praise.

I think some kids are going to have the time of their lives learning to build with these chromebooks! I would have loved a computer like this when I was young.

I don’t mind iterating

July 29, 2014 in Soapbox | Tags: ,

One of the things I like best about running a start-up business is that I am often given the opportunity to iterate. By that, I mean I often screw something up so badly that I am forced to change how I do it in order to get the result I was looking for.

I don’t mind it. I don’t mind making changes. I’ll change if I need to in order to win.

But, what I find and endlessly frustrating is failing and not understanding what I did wrong. How can I improve if I don’t understand what I did wrong?

Can You Deal With That Much Frustration?

May 5, 2014 in Learning, Soapbox |

I have an experience that always surprises me is when someone sits down with me to watch me write some code. Most of the time the person will turn to me after a few minutes and say something to the effect of,

I can’t believe that you sit here all day just Googling how to do things on the Internet. I thought you were actually like really smart or something. You do everything wrong four or five times before you get it right.

And just like that the magic is gone…

I had this experience again just the other day after spending some time with someone who wanted to learn how to program. We wrote a few simple programs together and during the course of our time, I Googled “how to do something” every few minutes. I watched for the “ah-ha” moment when they would realize how easy it is. After about twenty minutes I saw the expression I was watching for. What my previously eager guest said surprised me at first,

Maybe I’m just not a computer person…

Huh? I didn’t understand so I said,

But I just showed you how easy it is to figure out how to do anything!

And they responded,

I don’t think I can deal with that much frustration.

Then I realized that it wasn’t the process of writing the code that kept this person from being a developer. It was the experience of the code not working 100 or 1000 times before you got it right. Each of those “failures” can be an extremely painful experience for some folks. My guest then said,

In my mind you sit at your computer and just write out this program. That’s where you spend most of your time, typing the actual code. Then you spend 5 or 10 minutes fixing any bugs. But, in reality, you spend 1% of the time writing the program and 99% of the time fixing the bugs. I could never deal with that much failure.

It made me sad, but I think this is not a particularly uncommon scenario.

Has anyone else had this experience?

Boring is Best

April 17, 2014 in Soapbox |

I really like this blog post by Matt Jaynes about building solid business on proven technologies:

https://devopsu.com/blog/boring-systems-build-badass-businesses/

I struggle with this myself, the desire to use the latest and greatest tech in our systems at MaaSive.net, but fortunately I have some really smart people around that help me realize when that’s not the best idea for the business.

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