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Showing posts from 2013

Getting Fit, Glass and Relax, and Hacking Habits

A few weeks back +Noble Ackerson recommended a book that sounded interesting, but I didn't really want to spend the money on it at the time. That book was "The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg". Well, I received some Play Store gift card over the last few weeks due to being awesome at work and decided to pick it up. I haven't quite finished it yet, but I can without a doubt say that it will make you look at things in an entirely different way. You'll begin to recognize all the habits that you have and even the habits that your company has. The things that we do every day without knowing and without even questioning. It's astounding. One of the key aspects of the book though is that if you know and understand a habit, you can change it. I've started to utilize what the book details about habits to accomplish a few things that I've realized I want to do.

First, I plan on utilizing the habit forming routines to get to the point that I exercise every mor…

Happy Holidays, Catching up before the New Year, and Family Visits

So, I'm a few posts behind. I hope you'll all forgive me for taking some time off to spend with family and friends throughout the holiday season. After my last post on the way down to South Carolina to visit my parents, brother, and as many friends as I could, I have been quite busy.

First, I brought my mom back up to Maryland with us to visit for a couple weeks following Thanksgiving. We had a good time and she very much enjoyed her stay. The trip to Union Station so she could catch her train taking her back was a little sad, but surprisingly Union Station is a seriously awesome Metro/Amtrak/Marc station. It felt very much like a mall or a large airport. There were three levels with food, shopping, souvenir shops, and more. It was quite something else. Not to mention it was decked out in lights for the holidays so it looked even more amazing.

So, to catch everyone up on what's been going on, what is going on, and what will be going on:

Since the last post, I am now going …

Nexus 7, giant phones, and an experiment

I finally decided to take the plunge and attempt to replace my phone with something new. I've said before that I'm not just looking for a spec bump or performance increase in my new phone, I'm looking for something that gives me some better usability and fits my usage scenarios better. With that said, let me go over what I'm looking for again.
Currently I have a nexus 4 running CyanogenMod 10.2 and I'm running off the $30 plan from T-mobile that includes 5gb of data and 100 minutes of talk. I'm also using a Google Voice number (I don't even know my real phone number). This setup works fairly well for me now, but I realize that there are several aspects of my setup that can be refined to give me a better overall utilization of my devices. I rarely talk on my phone, instead utilizing Hangouts when I'm at home via the PC to make my phone calls and not taking any calls while I'm at work. I primarily use my phone as a Bluetooth access point for Glass an…

Custom URLs, #SecretSanta, and a new Explorer appears

A somewhat slow week, so this post will be a bit shorter than the rest.

So this week, yesterday in fact, Google deemed me worthy to receive a custom URL for my Google+ page (http://plus.google.com/+JoshWilson-sohjsolwin in case you're curious). I was not allowed to reserve a simple +JoshWilson like I would have preferred, simply due to it being too common of a name. I was instead forced to append some characters to the end to make it unique. I am not too happy with the result. Being able to select something like /+SohjSolwin would have been preferred to the naming scheme I had to abide by, but in the end, I still got my custom URL and it's still easier to remember and write out than the long number i was assigned before.

Now, on to the #SecretSanta. This year, I will be participating in the #GPlusSanta #SecretSanta gift exchange on Google Plus. It's this really awesome thing where you put together an Amazon Wishlist, send it in to the GPlusSanta, and someone may pick your …

Hackathons, Helpouts, and Angels(sensors)

So, I owe you two posts, and I'll deliver on those shortly. It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I'll break these up as they would have been had I wrote them on the original days they were scheduled for. Now, let us begin.

I attended a hackathon last weekend at the Microsoft Offices in Chevy Chase. Myself and a team of 5 others (mostly co-workers) set out to create something to help prevent fraud and catch bad actors. We had access to Dun and Bradstreet's enormous dataset on near anything you would ever want to know about a business, including its financial information, how many computers they have, competitors, branches, offices, suits, liens, anything. It was a pretty amazing dataset. We decided to work on creating a graph to help visibly see how many degrees of separation existed between a seemingly reputable company and a potentially fraudulent one. It was a fun two days, filled with caffeine, code, and cold pizza.

Our end product was, I thought, pretty good, but t…

Nexus 5, Golang, and Hackathons

Last week was host to the long awaited Nexus 5 (official) reveal. It was already leaked and all but confirmed in the weeks leading up to it's October 31st debut on the Google Play store, but now it's finally available for purchase. It looks to be a very nice phone, but I no longer feel compelled to upgrade. Starting a few months ago, about the time the Moto X became immensely hyped, I started taking a look at what I actually needed my phone for. There's making calls, sure, but aside from that, I really only used it for web browsing, email, and various other apps. I no longer have any games on my phone, I don't use it for streaming music or watching Netflix, there's the occasional Youtube video, and Google+. I realized that I am in no way taxing my phone's memory or processor, so what need is there for me to purchase a new device that is primarily a spec bump? If I'm going to purchase something new, it's going to be because it provides something that my …

Helpouts, Meetups, and the Mirror-Quickstart

Earlier this week I had my introductory interview with the Helpouts crew to verify the skills that I claim to have and to get an overall feel for how the system works and what to expect from a Helpout. I think the system will be very useful and I look forward to both providing Helpouts and utilizing them to learn new things. I asked if Helpouts would be able to utilize Glass, and at current it does not, but Helpouts hasn't launched yet, so anything can change. I received confirmation that my Helpouts listing has been approved yesterday and that it will be one of the first available when Helpouts goes live. They also said that they would be sending me a few invitation codes for friends and family to practice prior to the launch date, so if any one is interested in helping me practice or if you need any Tech assistance, let me know.

Thursday I attended a meetup co-hosted by +Antonio Zugaldia of Silica Labs and +GDG Washington DC. It was informative and interesting. Antonio created a…

Dragonfly

#sohjsolwin

Many people have a type of animal they find themselves drawn to, one that always grabs their attention. Whether they see it on the handle of an antique spoon, or on a billboard along the highway, it always makes them look and think "huh, cool". For some it's cats, others foxes, eagles, horses, ants; for me, it's dragonflies.

Whenever I see an artists photo or painting of dragonflies I always stop to admire it. Whenever I see them floating in midair exactly where they want to be, I'm always amazed at how graceful and determined their movements are. They never seem to be blown around by the wind or interfered with in any way. They travel precisely where they mean to. My imagination always seems to fly off with them as well.

This past weekend was a lazy one. I stayed home, browsed online some, played a few games, and watched The Office on Netflix. I accomplished nothing. On sunday afternoon I remembered receiving the invitation to set up a meeting with o…