I like to travel, f*ck with technology, and partake in the occasional tropical drink.
I am also a co-host on The NBD Show podcast.
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While surfing the ForcCast.net blog I ran across this New Years Eve Idea.

Celebrate a New Hope Trench Run New Years by watching the Death Star blow up at midnight. Plus there is no Ryan Secrest, Bonus!

Viewing instructions -- see below for DVD and Blu-ray times

1. Cue up your copy of A New Hope. Start the movie and hit pause immediately. Make sure the counter reads 0:00:00. When you reach the designated time (as determined below), hit the play button. 

2. Watch the movie!

3. If you timed it right, and your media player didn't have any hiccups, the Death Star should explode at midnight exactly. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

4. Celebrate with friends, family, and beverages of your choice.

Start Times
  • Special Edition DVD: Press play at 10:02:48 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:57:12 in the movie.
  • Blu-ray Disc: Press play at 10:02:42 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:57:18 in the movie.
  • Theatrical Release: on the Bonus DVD of the special Edition DVD set press play at 10:05:45 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:54:15 in the movie.
This was Originally posted on the ForceCast.net Blog 
Here is the Link to the Original Post
With the prevalence of cloud computing and companies growing dependencies, environments such as Amazon Web Services have become a huge points of failure.  The interdependency on web service companies and cloud infrastructure has created a complicated and confusing web.  The average Joe  knows Netflix doesn't work, but there is no way for him to find out why it doesn't work.  Some companies are proactive and do a pretty decent job updating clients on outages, but a majority of them are happy with keeping their customers in the dark.  The goal of this post is to give some helpful links that may give you some visibility into this mysterious haze they call The Cloud.

Amazon does a pretty good job here is there AWS Service Health Dashboard:
AWS Amazon Service Health Dashoard
AWS Twitter Feed

Netflix which runs almost exclusivaly on AWS:
Netflix Twitter Feed

Many other companies leverage the Amazon Cloud such as Reddit, Coursera, Flipboard, FastCompany, Foursquare, Pinterest, Airbnb, and more.

Google Apps Status, this page breaks out many of Google core services:
App Status Dashboard

Apple Services such as iCloud, iMessage, Siri, etc.:
Apple Support System Status 

 Rackspace Cloud Status:
Cloud Status

The End of Google Exchange Active Sync

Google released a blog post titled Winter Cleaning where in they layed out their road map for Exchange Active Sync (EAS), and sorry to say the road is short. Google says "Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function." Google does not hint for how long these existing free EAS devices will work, but did state they will continue to support EAS in Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. 

So where do we go from here?  Google has finished their CardDAV sync for contacts, so in association with IMAP for email and calendar they say they can "offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols." It's true I have tested their solution and it works just not as seamless as Exchange and with a much more complicated set up process. 

Here are the steps from Google's Sync site for the new set up of an IOS device. Word of warning these procedures may change so follow the link at the top of each config example for the most current Google Sync procedures.

To configure the 'Mail' app on an Apple device for access to Gmail, just follow these steps:
  1. Make sure you've enabled IMAP in your main Gmail settings
  2. Open the Settings app on your device
  3. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  4. Tap Add Account...
  5. Tap Gmail
  6. Enter your account information, being sure to use your full Gmail address, including '@gmail.com'
  7. Tap Next
  8. Tap Save
Contacts via CardDAV:
Here’s how to sync your contacts to your device:
  1. Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account...
  4. Select Other
  5. Select Add CardDAV Account
  6. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
    • Server: Enter "google.com"
    • User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    • Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled 2 Step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application specific password.)
    • Description: Enter a description of the account (e.g. Personal Contacts).
  7. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  8. Make sure that the "Contacts" option is turned to ON.
Exchange Active Sync has some benefits over the open alternatives.  The first is its speed, emails arriving into the Microsoft Exchange inbox or Google's inbox using EAS are instantly pushed to the device.  Where as IMAP uses a sudo push/short polling mechanism to trigger the action. The second is ease of set up, as you can see above there are quit a few steps to setting up your phone using open standards.  Where as Exchange Active Sync was just one set of credentials and a control screen to select what you wanted synced.

Exchange Active Sync for me has been the killer APP for my iDevices, and I hope Google can make the alternitive as reliable, speedy, and seamless as EAS.
Apple Brining Home Jobs

If you're a fan of apple or it's products you may be curious about Tim Cook.  Here is a link to a great interview with Apple's CEO Tim Cook. It's entertaining to watch Tim speak in the specific generalities that is apple, but he did drop some very interesting tidbits.