User.Space | Dec. 22, 2014

I have used a lot of VNC solutions over the years. I used them quite extensively when I was managing a lot of servers in a previous job. Nowadays I use them to access data on my own various machines and administer my one personal server.

Using primarily Macs, I have generally always stuck with Apple’s Remote Desktop. It is a really powerful management tool combined with a solid VNC client. If you have to go outside the network a lot though, this solution becomes cumbersome with port forwarding and so forth. After using the free solutions like the built in Screen Sharing in OS X, and other third party clients like Chicken of the VNC, RealVNC, and Screens, I finally settled on Remotix as the best solution for me.

Remotix built by
Cross platform VNC/RDP client.
– Apple iOS
– Apple Mac OS X
– Microsoft Windows
– Android

Remotix Cloud
– Facilitates peer-to-peer connections.
– Some client management.
– Easy client setup with Agent helper utility.

I use Remotix on the following machines
– iMac
– MacBook Air
– iPhone
– iPad

I use Remotix Agent on the following machines
– iMac
– Mac Mini Server
– MacBook Air
– Windows Surface


My First Computer

After having another birthday (32nd to be precise) and I sit here at an amazing Late 2013 27″ Apple iMac, I got to thinking about the computer that started my life path into the world of computers. Where do I begin? How about we start with the first computer that was all mine! It didn’t belong to my parents, my school, or a friend; just me. Since first using computers, I always had a deep desire for my very own machine. I was amazed at what could be done using a computer, even in the very beginning. This was not the only reason I wanted my own, however; I also wanted to go inside and look around, and learn how and why computers worked at all.

So what was my first personal computer??

It was a Compaq Presario 4784! Wow! Let’s talk specs for a minute.

Specs (from the best of my recollection)
– Processor: 200MHz Intel Pentium w/MMX Coprocessor
– Memory: 64MB SDRAM
– Hard Drive: 10GB Fireball Quantum IDE Hard Drive
– 52x CD Drive
– Video Card: S3 Virge 3D 2MB PCI Video Card
– 56k Modem
– 3.5″ Floppy Drive
– Zip Drive
– Windows 98
– Compaq USB Web Cam (Actually did Video Calls using Dial up!)

It’s hard to believe how far we have come in every respect, and even more amazing to think about how far we will go into the future, given the same short amount of time. I look forward to sitting shotgun throughout the wild ride we have ahead of us.

What was the first computer you had? How did it shape your life?


Year End Podcast Roundup!

I definitely listen to my fair share of podcasts every week. It is one of the best ways to deal with long unforgiving commutes in the bay area. I recently went through my podcast client and pruned my collection and thought it would be interesting to see how my list compares to your list. So here is my list! What’s on yours?!

My current podcast client of choice: Pocket Casts. iPhone App, iPad App, Web Client (using Fluid SSB on Mac), and Android.
*I have tried pretty much every iOS client, and Pocket Casts has the  most reliable sync in my experience.

Podcastsclick image for larger size.

Where does my car phone go?

Not only are cars sorely behind when it comes to technology integration, even tech device physical storage within cars is behind the times. With your phone becoming (or already is for many) the central hub for audio and navigation in the car, it stands to reason that a prominent, safe, and secure location should be a priority. This, unfortunately, is not the reality. Every year that goes by, even though we get some good alternative car technology systems (CarPlay, Android Auto) from third parties, auto makers dig their heels in deeper and make even worse first party systems that are further proprietary and impossible to replace.

None of what I am saying is a revelation, but with a new vehicle (Range Rover Evoque) in our house recently, the issue of “where do I put my phone” has come up again. After about 6 months of driving and interacting with this car, I really have no other complaints about any part of the vehicle. The integrated “tech package” is marginal. No worse than any other, but not really any better either. The real problem I have is the complete lack of mounting locations for our phones.

My wife and I use the same phone, so a mounting solution only has to fit one model of device, which is helpful. I am completely against the suction cup mounts for the windshield. I absolutely will not stick anything to the beautiful pristine dash either. In all our previous cars (which were all MINIs) there was a great place to attach a mount to the back of the center mounted tachometer, but in this vehicle, no such luck. After A LOT of research, I have finally found a solution! The solution comes from a company called ProClip. They offer modular solutions for a huge number of vehicle / device combinations. On their site, you pick out your desired device / power combo, then follow that with a car make/model specific mount. Both pieces I received are excellent quality and fit perfectly. I highly recommend looking into ProClip for your mounting needs in your vehicle, rather than a generic suction mount. The install is fast, and the finish looks great. I am so happy to finally have a solid location to store my phone in the car.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 9.37.33 PM

It’s no secret that I have upgraded to everyone iPhone to date. So, of course, the iPhone 6 update would be no different. I did my usual stay up late and pre-order online for in-store pickup. So much better than the old days of camping out for hours and days at the Apple store. It was fun for a few times, but no reason to do it anymore for me.

I ordered the 64GB Space Gray iPhone 6. I really had no idea if the 6 Plus would work for me, but I figured the 6 would be ok no matter what. Not a whole lot to say other than I loved it the second I opened it. It’s a great phone and that should be the end of it..

Even though I knew the 6 plus was too big for me personally, there was this nagging voice in my had telling me I would never really know unless I tried it out as my actual phone for a little while. Off to the Apple Store I went to pick up my freshly ordered (for in store pickup) iPhone 6 Plus (same specs as the 6 I already had).

I used the 6 plus as my main phone for a total of about 7 days. No matter what, it is a really nice phone, that is for sure. At the end of the day, what phone am I using at the time of this writing? You may have guessed. The iPhone 6.

Why did I switch back to the 6 from the 6 Plus? Here are the main reasons that the 6 Plus and I were not destined to be together.

1) I like the ability to have the SplitView controller on my phone like on the iPad. Only problem is that this allows your phone homescreen to now rotate, which can be useful, BUT, this now means that when you take your phone out of your pocket, your homescreen can now be upside down or sideways. I found myself locking and unlocking rotation SO much that it become an annoyance.

2) The phone is just really damn big. The screen is gorgeous and I really do miss it, but damn. Holding the phone was a challenge. One handed use, for me, was not happening. You can use the reachability feature to get to the top parts of the screen, but there basically needs to be a sideways reachability feature as well or you can’t reach all the way across the screen.

3) Aside from the already stated size issue of holding the phone, it really just didn’t fit anywhere. Pockets were borderline. Anywhere you would normally store your phone in the car, it didn’t fit there either. Basically all the places in your life where you have always put your phone for whatever reason, this big ass phone was not going to comply and fit there in almost all cases.

If a giant phone fits your life, definitely get it, the screen is really awesome! I highly recommended trying to get some longer term usage of it if you can before buying though. It is quite a large adjustment if you are moving from any previous iPhone. Using the 6 Plus for a week, made me realize how incredibly perfect the 4.7” iPhone 6 really is.



User.Space | Nov. 20, 2014

Sony A7 Camera System

— Used a Nikon camera system for 6 or 7 years.
— Finally realized how many times I would opt to not bring my camera with me due to size and weight.
— Smaller Mirrorless camera bodies have been around for a while, but this new line from Sony has really taken it to the next level.
— Moving my Nikon D600 to the Sony A7, there have been zero downsides. The Sony A7 even has the exact same full frame sensor as the Nikon D600.
— The A7 body is very small and light.
— If you are a professional photographer and rely on a large lens selection, this would be the only place the A7 may fall down short for you. It uses Sony’s new FE lenses and the selection is still in its infancy, but definitely growing and a decent rate.
— Is it still easier to just bring your iPhone with you? Yes. But, having this kind of quality image creating hardware in such a small package is amazingly convenient.

How Do I Backup My Stuff?

I have been a backup junky for quite a while. I have lost my fair share of data in the past due to poor backup practices, and that just sucks. Backup is generally not on the top of everyone’s mind, but it really should be. Keeping a solid backup of your data is easier than ever, and the cost is trivial in comparison to what your personal data is worth. I was thinking about how all my stuff is getting managed and eventually sent to some kind of backup, and thought it may be helpful for some to see what I am doing to keep my stuff safe. This setup is kind of elaborate, and won’t fit your needs 100%, but parts of it I am sure can, at the very least, give you ideas of better ways to protect your data. Below is an overview of how various devices are moving data around to protect it, and then you will see a nice visual diagram of how all the parts are interconnected.

I would love to hear about cool ways you are backing stuff up and keeping it safe, or perhaps you have suggestions on ways to improve my system. Either way, let me know!

– Nightly iCloud backup
– Weekly encrypted backup to iMac with iTunes

– Nightly iCloud backup
– Weekly encrypted backup to iMac with iTunes

iMac Internal Drive
– Locally connected Time Machine drive
– Network mounted Time Machine (Mac Mini Server connected to 4 Bay Drobo)
– Weekly image backup to external drive with SuperDuper
Arq backup of Home Folder to Amazon S3

iMac External 4TB Thunderbolt Drive
Chronosync mirror to Mac Mini Drobo

Mac Mini Server w/ 4 bay 8TB Drobo
– Internal Mac Mini drive weekly image backup to Drobo
– Drobo real time backup to Crashplan



How do I backup - October 2014

Click Image To View Larger


Multiple iOS Simulator Instances

If you do any type of web development, more than likely you will need to check your code on various iOS devices. The iOS simulator is great for this, but generally you are trying to check your layouts against multiple screen sizes, and the standard simulator only gives you one device at a time, with no possibility of viewing two devices side-by-side.

I created a little script that runs as an application which will launch two instances of the iOS simulator so you can view two devices at once!

- OS X 10.9.4+
- Xcode 6.0.0+

Using MultiOS
1. Unzip the app and move it to your Applications folder (or wherever you want)
2. Launch MultiOS (You will see the error below. Simply click “ok” and move one of the simulator windows to the side to reveal the second instance.)

3. Important Select each simulator window and choose a device for each. Menu —> Hardware —> Device.
4. Important
 You must use 2 different devices. Running two identical devices will not work (this is what causes the initial error above).

That’s it, have fun! Hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions / comments.

*Note* You may need to Right Click the application and choose open the first time you launch it.

Download MultiOS Simulator