Jon’s Tech Talk now Live!

As I mentioned in my last post, im starting a new blog JUST for tech related content. Well, after throwing around all types of names, I ended up going with Deborah’s recomendation and using the simple name Jon’s Tech Talk. 

Currently the site is hosted on wordpress.com, and just using the wordpress.com domain. Eventually, I will move it over to its own domain as well, to help with SEO, brand, etc. 

I will have a sidebar widget here showing my latests posts so you can see whats going on over there!

A New Direction, A New Blog

So much has been changing in the last few months with my online presence, its been dizzying to say the least. For the most part, I shook things up, and started hosting my site again, with the assumptions:

  1. ive been getting enough traffic to start monetizing my work
  2. hosting will give me back all that freedom I had before on my site

Boy was I wrong

My numbers aren’t that low, and yes, I did make a few bucks using ads across my sites the last few months. But nothing really sustainable, and also not worth the hassle.

Which leaves me to my second note above – hosting is nothing like it was a few years ago. Now everyone and their brother is a web host, and will do anything to get your money. Even one of my favorite places, Dreamhost, is bursting at the seams and overselling sub-part equipment. Luckily, A friend of mine helped out for a few months as my new host, but in the end, I felt like it was best to get out of that market entirely. 

One thing I did realize in that process though was how to make this more sucessful in the future. So Im making a few changes:

  1. Im paying a few bucks to WordPress a year to host the site under my domain name. This will let me build up some SEO juice in case I decide to move away again.
  2. Spinning a large chunk of this blog off.
  3. That large chunk will get together again, at a yet-to-be-named new blog.
  4. When the new blog starts to really pick up traffic, it will still stay on WordPress.com, but probably be under a new domain name too, so once it takes off even more, I should be able to move it off much easier (as in, not loose my SEO juice).
  5. Im dropping my photography blog. 

What does that mean? Your going to see a LOT less (as in like no more) real posts about technology here. While writing about technology is what let my blog take off in the first place, its not the best to mix all of this together. I bore friends and family about geek stuff, and im pretty sure someone looking for a quick fix to a computer question isnt that interested in my new floors. 

Ill post when I come up with the new name* for the blog as well as a link. I hope that some of my readers will enjoy the new content as well, and even help contribute if interested. 

* Note: Debs and I have been tossing around names, but I’m all ears if anyone has any ideas.

Nine Inch Nails ‘disappearing’ for a while

Today on NIN.com, Trent posted a new note, an excerpt is below:

In NIN world, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of our first releases. I’ve been thinking for some time now it’s time to make NIN disappear for a while. Last year’s “Lights in the Sky” tour was something I’m quite proud of and seems like the culmination of what I could pull off in terms of an elaborate production.

Included in the note is mention of a tour with Jane’s Addiction, who NIN first toured with 20 years ago. This tour is going to supposedly be much less ‘scripted’, which may be a change from more recent NIN concerts. While the most recent NIN concerts have been a visual masterpiece, they are very similar, and leave little room for more improvisation in the band. With the new lineup as well, Im expecting the new tour to be closer to the ‘looser’ looking NIN one would see when they were performing various songs from Ghosts

While the forums are already filling up of people crying out their dislike in this move, I really don’t think its going to be all that bad:

  • With Trent’s recent move into allowing everyone to remix NIN music, im sure remix.nin.com will stay alive with so much content to work with now. And with the HD video now available as well, this could only grow. For that die-hard NIN fan that needs something new, im sure this will hold over those cravings for a while (I have yet to really spend much time there, already the content is so vast).
  • Just because NIN is going away may not mean Trent’s fully going away. For example, does anyone remember the Lost Highway soundtrack? This was one of the VERY rare times that the liner notes mention the song being credited JUST to Trent, and not NIN. It could be possible that Trent will continue to experiment, and even release some new stuff, not under the NIN name. 
  • Trent has continuously been assisting other artists in their creations, and im sure this isnt going to stop.
  • They have put out 4 albums in just a couple of years. Before that, we didn’t hear much for another 3+ years, and before that even longer (before The Fragile). Actually, there was a 6  year gap of a ‘studio’ album between The Fragile and With Teeth
  • At the end of the With Teeth tour (which was our first NIN show), Trent said ‘its going to be a very long time before I tour in the US again’. That ‘long time’ was really only 2 years or less. 

It’s amazing that an artist and band has been together this long. And with NIN’s amazing ability, its so great that we have been graced with this for years. This isn’t the first favorite band of mine to break up – the Smashing Pumpkins did so in 2000, and then got back together over 5 years later. 

Whatever happens with NIN, I’m sure this isn’t the last we will hear of them, and watching Trent over the years, im sure he has plenty more up his sleeve.

ZumoDrive invites available!

I recently recieved quite a few more invites to the ZumoDrive service if anyone would like some. If so, please leave a comment.

ZumoDrive is a cool new ‘cloud’ storage service, that works across Macs, PC’s, and the iPhone. Once you install their software, you have a new drive appear on your machine, that you can just copy files to, and have ANYWHERE. One thing that really sets this service away from some of the others is their iTunes integration, which basically streams your music from the cloud. 

I tried this out on both the iPhone and my Mac, and really enjoy it. Its great to just have a copy of a few important things with me at all times, especially when I dont have to worry about storage space on my phone. You can read a lot more about their service on their FAQ.

Hanover Dog Park with Toby!

With yesterday being such a beautiful and wonderful day, we took a break from all the housework to go see Deborah’s mom and Toby. They have been going up there almost weekly now, and it was great to be able to join in. It was also great seeing Toby, who has still grown a little bit since we had last seen him (almost a month ago)!. I was able to take a few pics on the iPhone, I didn’t have my other cameras with me. But after the trip we took (down rt 301 and rt 54), I saw quite a few places I would like to go back to and take some shots.

You can view the set over at flickr.

Mac, Google, and iPhone now all in sync

Today, Google announced Google Sync availability for quite a few devices, including the iPhone. I used this application quite a bit on my BlackBerry, because it allowed me to keep my contacts and calendar in sync with Google Calendar (with Calendar being the big deal for me).

In recent months, I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a way to REALLY keep everything in sync between Google, the Mac and iCal, and my iPhone:

  • Google opened up CalDAV access to their calendars, which allowed me to have near real time syncing between the app and the web, but would not let me write to these calendars from my iPhone
  • Calgoo Connect – this app went free shortly after CalDAV was opened on Google, and allowed you to sync everything. The only bad part about this, is it required me to actually sync my computer with the phone to copy any changes across.
  • NuevaSync – I actually never tried this, but was planning on it shortly. Basically, it would talk to your Google Calendar, and then use the MS ActiveSync protocol to sync with your phone.

But with today’s announcement, Google Sync does almost the same exact thing, but directly! And im sure in the not too distant future, Google will allow us to use ActiveSync to sync mail as well.

Google did a great job documenting the entire process. On the iPhone you dont install an app (like you had to on the BlackBerry). You just make sure you back up your address book and calendar, setup a new Exchange account on your iPhone, and away it goes!

One thing I did come across in their documentation is that you will no longer sync your contacts or calendar with iTunes anymore. Originally, I thought this would be the ‘kicker’ to the entire thing – I can’t use iCal on my Mac anymore (not that I do use it that much, I just like the look of it at times). But then I remembered, I can just set back up CalDAV between iCal and Google Calendar! Therefore if I make a change in iCal, its pushed to Google Calendar instantly, and then pushed down to my phone. I could now make a change in any of the 3 major locations, and keep it all in sync!

I’m assuming that Contacts will be the same. Address Book syncs with Google Calendar using the built in SyncServices, which would fire off new syncs when you synced your phone. This will follow the same path – that Address Book will sync with the ‘cloud’ and not the phone, and the phone will sync with the cloud as well, and not directly with Address Book. I haven’t had a chance to test this yet, but will try to post when I do. If not, i may need to write a script to fire off a manual sync nightly between Google and Address Book so things don’t get too out of sync.

25 Random Things

In the last week or two, there has been a meme on Facebook that has been going around – 25 random things about you. A friend tags you in theirs, and then you are supposed to respond with 25 random things about you. It seems just like old school chain mail and spam (and someone at Time magazine thought it was worthwhile enough to write an article bashing it…I figure shes just upset she didn’t get tagged). I planned to just blow it off, and not respond.

Then I saw some of my friends write a few that I really expected them not to post. Therefore, I then also did mine, and posted it to Facebook this afternoon. I figured in the same way, it would actually make a decent blog post.

  1. I got to marry my high school sweetheart, and been together almost 10 years (wow we are old!). Married almost 3 years ago, and it was the best day of my life so far.
  2. Debs and I own a home almost a mile from where we both grew up.
  3. My dad actually knew Debs before me, he coached her sisters softball team. I knew debs mom before her, I used to work with her. We laugh at how many opportunities we had to meet years before we met
  4. Ive lived in Richmond, VA my entire life, sometimes I regret not leaving, but usually Im happier that I stuck around.
  5. While i spend my days as a Windows programmer, I never really used a PC until I graduated HS (2001).
  6. Ive been a Mac person since 1995 – you know, before it was cool. I remember quite a few people laughing at me too for using a Mac, and now they all own one!
  7. I have a bad bad bad addiction to caffeine. It doesnt mess with me unless I don’t have some. It doesn’t wake me up or keep me up, but if I dont have at least half a pot in the morning, i will have a migraine that lasts at least a day.
  8. I can honestly say that I really love my job.
  9. I find it really cool to work with the Police almost every day, and get the opportunity to work on a lot of the projects I get to work on. And its also pretty cool to tell people that I can’t fully say what im really working on!
  10. While I can easily design websites, integrate with various API’s, setup (and write) servers, and pick up new programing languages very quickly, I have no CLUE how to use Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Word. I always have to call the wife to figure out how to do calculations in excel or format something in word.
  11. I thought years of watching ‘This Old House’ and other home improvement shows would make me the next Bob Villa. Owning a home has proved me otherwise.
  12. I am a Eagle Scout, and ended up getting 2 Palms (almost 3). I really miss camping.
  13. I have no short term memory whatsoever. I have to write stupid simple notes for just about everything.
  14. I have always been a ‘morning person’. I enjoy getting up early and getting everything done before the day really gets going.
  15. I suffer from Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Through the power of friends and loved ones, Ive managed to control all of this very well, without medication. OCD is the only one that continuously bothers me daily, but doesn’t really distract from living life.
  16. I didn’t really like high school, but loved college.
  17. I was the first one in a few generations in my family to graduate from College.
  18. If it wasn’t for being a geek, I would probably try to be a mechanic or want to work as an audio engineer.
  19. I am a Freemason. I don’t go as much as I should though.
  20. I have a broken vertebrae and a metal ankle. The vertebrae hurts like hell almost all of the time, but not serious enough to risk surgery. My ankle had to rebuilt after a mishap with flipflops, snow, a christmas tree, and my little brother. Ive also managed to give myself 2nd degree burns from sunburn.
  21. I plan on eventually going back to school, to either get an MBA or Masters in Info Systems.
  22. Sometimes find it crazy that the first thing I do every morning when getting up is check my emails, tweets, and other messages before even getting out of bed.
  23. I work way to much. With so much going on and to do, I end up feeling that my downtime is wasted. But luckily, I really enjoy a lot of the extra work I do.
  24. While its still a couple of years off, and I want to get life more straight and settled before doing so, I secretly can’t wait to be a dad.
  25. I spent way to much time on this.