Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

At first I didn’t think that I was going to write a review of my Pebble. Then, I realized that my perspective is probably different than most, so I changed my mind and decided to jot down 10 things to know about the Pebble. Before I get into that though, I’m one of those weird people that still wears a watch. Yes, I know, how very dated I must look. But hey, I really don’t care so I keep wearing it. Therefore, a different device on that wrist really doesn’t move the needle, it’s just a device that isn’t the other one that I wore for 20 years… I have stopped wearing my Tag completely, but that’s OK, it’s getting a little long in the tooth anyway. pebble-watch The Pebble has a lot of promise. A lot is fulfilled and more yet has yet to be fulfilled. Let me explain, starting with the things I love (the promise that is fulfilled):
  • The Pebble has an SDK. Using the SDK, developers can design apps and sell them or post them online.
  • The battery of a Pebble lasts me about 5 or 6 days, depending on how many push alerts the device gets over the low power bluetooth connection back to my phone.
  • The screen is monotone and epaper, which is to say that it is not designed to emit light (unless shaken) and so you can see the screen very well in sunlight, much like the pump at a gas station.
  • The Pebble receives low power bluetooth push alerts from your phone. This means that when someone says something on Instagram, likes a photo on Facebook or sends you a text, you see it on the phone and on the watch. Since many alerts you just look at, this keeps you from taking the phone out of your pocket. You can’t really do anything with most alerts, but you can see them and just file the piece of information for later. The alert will still be on your phone when you take it out of your pocket.
  • When someone calls, you see caller ID and contact info on the watch. ¬†You can then answer a call right from the watch. If you’re wearing headphones and a mic then you never have to take the phone out of your pocket to answer calls.
  • You can control music on your iPhone through the watch. This means you can go forward and backward without taking the phone out of your pocket. When I’m on my morning runs this is especially helpful when I’m on a treadmill as taking my phone out of my pocket on the treadmill often makes me just unstable enough to possibly wipe out on the treadmill. I’ve only had it in the winter here in Minnesota so I’m not sure if that will matter to me when I get to run outside again.
The promise to be fulfilled:
  • I think this starts with a true app store, like Apple has. There are accelerometers and other doohickeys in these things that mean they can really do a lot more than what they can today. The app store isn’t out yet, although you can buy or download apps at the Pebble site (it’s just not a simple process all the time and better apps typically tend to get written when people make money from them).
  • There are fitness apps but the device doesn’t yet replace a FuelBand or a FitBit. It doesn’t track steps (which with an accelerometer should be simple to do), calculate burned calories, etc. I’d like to see an app that allows you to choose foods you tell an app on your phone you like so you can calorie count at the dinner table without busting out your phone. I’d also like to see a step tracking app that can sync to FitBit so I can stop wearing my Force.
  • Watchfaces are currently the big thing most apps allow you to control. I don’t give two craps about changing the watch to look different. ¬†However, if you want to make your own “Haz Cheezburgur” watch face, feel free (this isn’t really a bad thing, just a lot of time wasted designing pixelated and monotone watch faces that could have been spent writing cool apps).
  • The device is currently half way between SDK 1 and SDK 2. This means there are cool features that you can only get if you go through a lengthy upgrade process that includes sending them a UDID for your iOS device. It’s not a terrible thing, like the other promises to be fulfilled with the Pebble, it’s just a thing.
Overall, I love the Pebble. The nerd factor around not having to take your phone out of your pocket, the ability to skip songs, the ability to look and see which push alerts you actually care about are all awesome. I hope that the app store brings with it a bunch of new apps that give you access to lots of things and that I can get rid of my Nike FuelBand or FitBit soon, but that could be 2 weeks from now or 2 years for all I know. It’s a quality device that’s well worth the money if the things I mention are things that you’d like to have. However, for now it’s not a replacement for that Garmin, FuelBand, etc type of device you may be using for fitness purposes. Anyway, if it’s the type of thing you’re into then good luck and I hope you enjoy it!

January 5th, 2014

Posted In: Wearable Technology

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Deleting the contents of the /Library/Managed Preferences directory is definitely one way to refresh your managed preferences cache in Mac OS X, but there have been commands specifically designed to clear the cache for each version of Mac OS X. By OS, these include the following:
  • 10.6 – mcxrefresh – You can use this command (in /usr/bin) to refresh managed preferences
  • 10.6 also has a ManagedClient binary in /System/Library/CoreServices/ When run with a -f option, ManagedClient will force updates.
  • 10.5 has a binary called mcxd located in /System/Library/CoreServices/ which can also be run with a -f option
  • 10.4 has a binary called MCXCacher, stored in /System/Library/CoreServices/ which also supports the same -f option.
There are a number of other ways to go about this. If you have some that you use that I did not mention please feel free to add a comment.

December 17th, 2010

Posted In: Mass Deployment

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As with EMC, Compellent allows you to manage servers, volumes, server folders, volume folders, views, and of course mappings programatically. This provides the automation minded engineer with a full-on suite for managing their Compellent-based SAN. All of this is made possible using CompCU.jar. I keep a scripts folder and keep the jar file there, which can initially be downloaded from the Compellent site. Unlike a traditional shell script the scripts are to be placed into a text file and replayed against the SAN. If you are using VMware or Xen then you can combine the automation in Compellent along with the automation available with the command line interface for those solutions to accomplish some pretty nifty tasks. Simply call up the CompCU.jar inside shell scripts (or powershell scripts) doing automation in VMware to automatically duplicate LUNs and therefore virtual machines. Useful in lab environments and a number of other scenarios, CompCU.jar provides a nice environment and it’s pretty straight forward to use if you understand the underlying architecture that Compellent uses. For example, the following would run the commands listed in the file called myfile in sequence: java -jar /scripts/CompCU.jar -s /scripts/myfile
  • c: run command
  • create x:Creates a LUN of -name
  • -s replay x:Runs verb against the Compellent of x type
  • createview: Verb used to create a view based on a replays
  • force: force event to occur
  • host: define
  • last: Repeats the last replay
  • move: Moves mapped views
  • name: Names a LUN
  • password: password to be used when user option is indicated
  • purge: Delete items from your Recycle Bin
  • readcache True/False: enables or disables readcache on a LUN
  • server x: x indicates the name or address of the server you are running your verb against
  • size x: indicates the size of a LUN
  • user: user to perform action as
  • view x: name views
  • viewexpire x: x sets the expiry for your views
  • volume x: identifies the volume to use with the verb
  • writecache True/False: enables or disables writecache on a LUN
One thing I’ve been doing is automating the creation of a volume, mounting it, backing up to it, unmounting it, vaulting it and then after an expiry time, deleting the volume. Without using CompCU.jar I’m not really sure it would have been possible! Although, Compellent also has a PowerShell command set that offers up even more granularity and can help keep you from having to send data into a text file for the command to run in java while offering more functionality in less commands. I am finding it a little more complicated to use so I just haven’t played with using PowerShell with it much, but will get back once I get around to it – but if you have any good commands feel free to post in the comments…

November 4th, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X, VMware, Xsan

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