Ramblings from a tech and music enthusiast

Keeping backup history when switching to a new Mac


If you use a Mac, I highly recommend using Apple’s Time Machine feature to maintain local data backups (you should also of course maintain off-site backups).

Time Machine works best with a NAS, like Apple’s own $299 Time Capsule, as it can then take frequent snapshots of your disk without you even noticing. This is a life-saver – I cannot count the number of times it has saved my butt by enabling me to quickly restore a file that I had modified or deleted by accident.

I recently replaced my Mac, and was keen on keeping Time Machine’s backup history from my old Mac, so that I could for example pull in the version of a file from a week ago into my new Mac if I needed to.
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Getting started with Boto


Boto is a python library for interfacing with Amazon Web Services (AWS). It supports nearly the entire AWS stack and is under active development so you can expect support for any upcoming AWS functionality as well. Boto is hosted on GitHub, and is available under the MIT license.

This is a quick post on the basics of setting up Boto, connecting to AWS, and managing EC2 instances. This covers a very small slice of Boto’s available functionality; refer to Boto’s online documentation for information on the rest of the API.

If you’re curious about the name, like I was, my best guess is that it was named after a species of dolphins found in the Amazon river, which are called Boto in portuguese. Amazon, get it? Moving on…
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The augmented reality / gesture control space is really heating up. Spaceglasses is the latest entrant into the market, following Leap Motion, Myo and Oculus Rift, and of course Google Glass, Microsoft Kinect and the Playstation Camera.

The prototype in the video looks super dorky; the $667 dev kit shipping in Jan ’14 less so, but still not something you’d want to be seen wearing. I’m also somewhat skeptical about how well this works in the real world, given my experiences with some of the other products I listed above.

Still, this is all very exciting. Usable, affordable multi-touch interfaces were a great leap forward in natural interaction, and next in line is certainly gesture-based interfaces coupled with VR.

Word of the day: Aptronym


An aptronym is a name aptly suited to the person.

Some hilarious examples:

  • Chris Moneymaker, well-known poker player who won the $2.5M first prize at the 2003 World Series of Poker
  • Usain Bolt, sprinter
  • Thomas Crapper, founder of Thomas Crapper & Co, a toilet manufacturer
  • Dr. Richard Chopp, urologist known for performing vasectomies
  • William Headline, bureau chief for CNN
  • Sue Yoo, lawyer
  • Russell Brain, neurologist
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Getting started with CocoaPods


If you’ve ever worked on a large project that used several 3rd party libraries, you’ve probably run into what programmers lovingly refer to as “dependency hell” – the painstaking task of getting the right version of each 3rd party library installed and configured correctly, and then later keeping those libraries up to date.

CocoaPods is a dependency manager for open-source libraries used in Objective-C (i.e. OS X and iOS) projects. It is incredibly easy to use and wildly popular in the Objective-C open-source community.

If you’ve created an open-source component or library for Objective-C, or plan to create one, I highly recommend registering it with CocoaPods so others can easily find and incorporate your component into their projects.

I recently open-sourced a simple iOS component I’d written called NTMonthYearPicker that allows users to pick a month / year in your application (surprisingly, this functionality is not available in the core iOS API). It took me a little while to figure out how to register this component with CocoaPods, and I felt that most of the articles I found on the net were not quite at the “dummies level” that I prefer, so I decided to write a simpler guide of my own.

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Getting started with GitHub


GitHub OctocatThis is a 10 minute intro for folks who are new to git and GitHub (like me, just a few weeks ago).

The best way to get started with social coding and GitHub is to clean up any old side-projects you have lying around and publish them to GitHub. Keep reading to find out how to publish your first project in just 10 minutes.
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