I have a problem. The wifi in my office is weak. It usually works just fine, but my nightly backups are failing because the network connection drops very briefly on occasion. Usually this is imperceptible but if I’m doing a big download or backing up the task usually fails without completing. So I bought the Netgear Powerline 1200 adapter, the one without the passthrough port. It was cheaper and didn’t block the top power outlet so I don’t really care about the passthrough.

My goal was to see how it affected bandwidth with my MacBook Air (2011). To make matters complicated, my Air does not have an ethernet adapter, nor does it have USB 3.0. I only have one Thunderbolt port and it’s hooked up to a DisplayPort monitor. That means I’m stuck with USB 2.0 speeds. Turns out, the USB 2.0 speed is not a problem. Here are the performance results. Continue Reading…


Have you ever looked back and recalled one bad decision, well intentioned at the time, that cascaded down to many bad results over the long run? Microsoft made one bad choice that ruined the web, and we haven’t fully healed yet. Many web developers today don’t remember the early browser wars, in the 2.0 and 3.0 days. It was an epic battle between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape’s Navigator browsers, and each was competing to come out with major new features.

There was coming a new generation of browsers, of dynamic HTML, and each of the browsers were inventing new web technologies that were far ahead of any standard bodies. Layers, divs, XML and more were being integrated into the browsers. Netscape launched Navigator 4, beating Microsoft to the market, but when Internet Explorer 4 was launched, the battle was over. It was so much better than Netscape. It was the beginning of their end.

This led Microsoft to make a horrible decision that is still affecting web browsers today. Continue Reading…


Amazon’s Prime service has many benefits. Consumers get fast free shipping from Amazon, which many are willing to pay for in and of itself, and in addition, they get a Netflix like service for streaming tv shows, movie and music. You also get access to a free e-book library and unlimited online backup for your photos. All for $8.25 per month in the US.

Netflix is a comparable video on demand (VoD) offering that delivers a very similar video and TV show streaming service for $8.99 per month. If all you want is streaming video, Amazon has one major benefit that Netflix can’t touch – the ability to buy or rent movies and watch them instantly, if they’re not part of the free package. This means you have about every movie or TV show that is in digital format available to you. Amazon’s total library dwarfs that of Netflix.

So how does Apple come into this? Continue Reading…


Like it or not, if you’re not writing apps with AngularJS, you’re not getting much freelance work. This is sad news for a few reasons, but maybe not the reason you’re thinking.

I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what skills are in demand. I do this because I help coordinate training events and part of that is deciding what topics we’ll present. A few good ways to do that are to keep an eye on the job boards and freelance websites. It’s no surprise that job boards are still overwhelmed with work in the typical enterprise topics. Java, C#, Ops, etc. UX is getting more prominence, which makes me feel good (that’s my main job function these days).

The freelance websites are showing a different trend. There, AngularJS is blowing up. Many of the front-end development jobs specify AngularJS as a requirement. Continue Reading…


Oh, I hate clickbait headlines. But if it works, we should use them to our advantage. My main job function is to make sure the software  my company makes helps users, does what they’re supposed to and are easy to use. I spend a lot of time talking to customers, watching them work and measuring the user experience. That means I also file defects when I find things that could be improved, which is always. (we make great software, but there is always room for improvement)

The most frustrating thing in the world is to file a defect and then have nobody look at it, prioritize it or work on it. I saw a post on Twitter about the most effective clickbait phrases used by BuzzFeed, the king of clickbait. It occurred to me: what if we use this to our advantage when filing defects? Continue Reading…


I read an interesting article on OpenSource.com about Why Python is perfect for startups. I’ve done the startup thing a couple times now and I’ve spent a lot of time developing with Python. I just wanted to add a little balance to that article and point out a few things to consider before investing in Python as the foundation for your new business.

Yes, I know, I’m about to unleash a holy war. Putting down someone’s favorite language, tool, whatever, is bound to frustrate people. So let me put this argument to rest before we begin. These are my opinions based on my observations. You are 100% free to have different opinions than I have. And, if you can do so politely, you are absolutely welcome to voice your opinions in the comment section below.

With that out of the way, let’s highlight four big concerns: Continue Reading…


There’s nothing worse than publishing your shiny new feature and finding out that it broke some older code. It’s incredibly easy to forget how some parts of your depends on other parts. It may be that the dependent code is not an often used feature, but when it does get used, it’s important.

One great way to prevent this from happening is to create an automated test suite. Whenever you make changes to your code or get ready to publish it, you can fire off the automation and it will check your entire app to ensure nothing broke. There are several ways to do this, and I suggest incorporating multiple techniques. Continue Reading…


It’s an annual tradition: Spending time with family, enjoying a nice meal, maybe watching a football game. Increasingly the tradition includes looking through the ads to see what the best deals will be on Friday. This year, there’s a competition to see which store can open the earliest on Thursday to attract shoppers. Some stores are opening at 5:00 on Thursday.

Thanksgiving is a US holiday that remembers early American settlers who survived against the odds. They worked with the native Americans, and to celebrate, had a feast. This was a feast where they expressed thankfulness, and that is the origin of the name. Continue Reading…


Have you ever been doing a little web development and needed a web server for local testing? This usually happens to me when I’m doing Javascript and want to use a little Ajax. Much of what you do will work fine with the classic file:/// protocol, but sometimes that just won’t cut it.

Yeah, we can always use MAMP or XAMP or maybe you have a web server (IIS, Apache or Nginx) installed locally. Then you have to either move your files to the web root or configure it to point to your project folder, then remember how to start it (edit that config file). I just found a simpler way… Continue Reading…


Google’s Material Design is a well-thought out, well executed design language for making mobile apps that chooses not be flat (for the sake of flatness). Instead, it uses depth to help raise the priority and to emphasize touchability. It features bold, bright colors and subtle animation to help provide feedback to gestures and finger interaction.

For native Android app developers, Google has produced documentation on how to apply the Material Design theme to your apps and update them for Android 5.0.

As a web app developer, I’ve been looking for ways to explore how to use the Material Design language in my own project. Here are three tools you can use today to help you create web apps and prototype apps using pre-built components. These are ordered from most-maturity and usefulness to least. Continue Reading…