Archive | Software

RSS feed for this section

Apple, Sony, and I – My Home Entertainment Trilogy

I recently bought a new AppleTV, but this post was originally drafted when the new AppleTV was merely a rumor. Henceforth, I’ve had to adjust it many times. Here it is though, part 1/3 of my home entertainment saga.

Many moons ago I saw the future, and the future was a flat panel TV in my living room hooked up to a small footprint computer. Providing stunningly intuitive access to all of my music, movies, TV shows, pod-casts, photos, and news – it made all of my entertainment dreams come true.

I’d like to share the story of how I have finally arrived in this future.  I have noticed a common thread of threes in this experience, so I will be breaking this post up into a three part series, one a week until Christmas!

When I wrote “many moons” earlier, well… that was 2003 – the year that I first bought an iPod and the year I truly became an Apple geek. I vividly remember standing  on my back porch speaking on my Sony Ericsson cellphone (it could use iSync over bluetooth to keep my contacts up to date!)

“I can’t wait until this is all in one device…” I told my good friend Matt Mansueto.

Looking back, I should have bought Apple stock the moment those words left my lips. Seven years later I still don’t own Apple stock – but I have owned many iPods, three iPhones, an iPad, a MacBook, a MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini.

These three posts aren’t all about Apple gadgets, though (maybe only 90%). Next week I’ll let everyone in on how I did it wrong, but ended up right.

Website Drama – Forgetting the basics

Well, the cobbler’s kids and all that – last week my website went down.

I’ve been going through a process throughout the last year of consolidating some various web properties I own, shutting down experiment sites, consolidating blog posts, setting up new hosting, and transferring domains. Kind of a year long housecleaning project that I have placed on myself.

Well, that is all well and good, except that last week I really screwed up something. I forgot to renew brianwyrick.com.

It seems stupid, it seems obvious, and believe me, I swore at myself many times that day, but here is how it happened.

1) e-Mail

I have not used brianwyrick.com for email in quite some time – I have however, traditionally had a catch all address for this domain that I monitored and let SPAM fall into. I registered brianwyrick.com almost 10 years ago – when I registered it, lord knows what email address I used. During my cleaning, I moved the DNS for this site to my shiny new DreamHost account. When I logged in back in May, I noticed that I still had some time on my registration, but my intent would be to move the registration at a later date. I should have moved it then.

After deciding to move the DNS to DreamHost, I opted to set up a Google Apps account for all mail going to @brianwyrick.com – at my old host I had an in-box set up and mail was forwarded to my main address, and I had just completed moving all of the leftover mail to that account.

Now, here is where the first problem arises – in order to complete the gMail set up, I must prove I own the domain – in order to prove I own the domain, I must upload a file to the site – I do that, but realize my DNS is still propagating, and Google is not catching the new site yet – so I decide to come back later and do that. The only problem? I don’t.

Since I don’t really use brianwyrick.com for email, I don’t really mind not getting all of the SPAM – I realized later that I have yet to complete that, so I do (If memory serves, there was an account I needed to adjust that was using brianwyrick.com) I finish the Google Apps set up and set my forward and life goes on, hunky dory.

I don’t remember when all of this happened, and I don’t know if it they really did, but I will give Register.com the benefit of the doubt that this entire time they were sending renewal emails to an email address at brianwyrick.com.

2) Register.com Lets me down – hard.

It was my fault – I assume they where sending me emails. I didn’t get them. I didn’t renew my domain. It expired. I didn’t notice until I when to my site and it was gone. I will admit that, but here is what I wish would have happened.

Register.com had to get a message back saying the email had failed. They have other ways to contact me. I wish they would have called or sent a letter. If they has sent a letter, it honestly would have went to the wrong address, since my information was so out of date. I would have gladly updated that, had they attempted at any time in the past few years to get in touch about updating it.  I realize that it isn’t their fault they had bad information, but I would think they would want to attempt to keep it current. Hell, they could have just checked brianwyrick.com and found a million ways to contact me.

3) The chat

I’ll admit a bit of a panic fell over me when I saw my site was down – I immediately attempted to transfer to DreamHost. A few minutes later, when my wits came about me, it occurred to me that I would not be able to do that, so I logged into Register.com to renew.

I forgot how expensive they are. Goodness.

I logged into the chat to talk to a sales rep and asked directly if I could be waived the 25 dollar reinstatement fee and if I could register my domain for 9.95 instead of 35 dollars. I also asked if I could get free private registration, since that was the deal at DreamHost. I was told no.

I pressed until I got the domain for 35, without the reinstatement fee and opted for no private registration (I will be transferring to DreamHost when I can). Now my site is up and running again and and all is well, or so I thought.

4) Google results gone.

Screen shot 2009-09-20 at 12.15.40 PM

I’ve had my site since before I cared about search – but for the past 5 or so years, I have used my name and Google as a play ground for SEO. Today I searched for my name and found that my site was already blown away and gone. This was terribly disappointing, and I am glad that google has already re-indexed my site – but as you can see from the screen shot above, all was not well over the weekend.

The Lesson

This has been a great way to get down to the root of the problem I had, and honestly a great experiment in what happens when sites fail, and how fast search positions can be lost and (hopefully) be re-gained. I would still like to know why it takes Google so long to re-index 301 re-directs though. Anyone know?

New WebSite Theme

newblogFound myself inspired tonight – looking for feedback on this potential new look for my site. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

I’m not sure what it is, but I am in love with cheap software based Andy Warhol effects and making this site look like a comic book. This might be the closest I have been to what I was wanting to do in the first place.

iPhone Apps I can Live Without

Before the iPhone App store launched, I wrote a post about iPhone apps to check out.

Now, months later, it has come time to purge, so I am giving you the list of iPhone Apps I am at the moment deleting from my phone.

  1. Whrrl – Sorry Whrrl, you where cool for a second, but Loopt is better, and no one cares what I think about the restaurant I am at.
  2. Twinkle – I want to like you. Tapulous made you and they are a cool company, but you just try too hard, and I am happy with Twitteriffic.
  3. Jamd – I love the idea, but I just don’t have time to dish on celebrity gossip these days.
  4. Voice Dialer – You never worked for me. Maybe once, but that was a test call to my office phone.
  5. Now Local – There are better ways to get news to me than by GPS location. It is called Google Reader.
  6. Epocrates RX – I got you for work, and I still don’t have an account, and you are installed on our tester anyway.
  7. Here I am – I keep thinking I will use you for something, but I’ve yet to ever need you.
  8. Audi A4 – Worst. Driving. Game. Ever.
  9. Pocketpedia – I am never going to get around to inputting data into you. Sorry. When you mature a little and I can point you to an external data source that I can import from, then call me.
  10. Simplify Media – Such a good idea, when I have time to re-set up my home network and want to leave my computer on at home all day, I will think about it, until then, I will stick with smart playlists .

Well, that feels good, now I have some room to install Spore Origins, and one less screen of apps to deal with.

Brian