Google Chromecast

So I’ve been looking at the Google Chromecast for a while now… almost pulled the trigger when it was initially released. The only reason I don’t have one plugged into my TV right now is that I already have something plugged into every TV in the house. I have a PS3, Wii, XBox 360, Chromebox and occasionally a laptop or tablet. Oh, and I did have the RaspberryPi running as an XMBC server for a while as well. So I couldn’t really convince myself that I needed yet another device. On the other hand, a few of my friends have gotten these and they seem pretty happy so far. The only complaints I’ve heard is that it does take a while for it load and there is a noticeable lag when loading up Netflix compared to going through the XBox or PS3. Seems pretty cool and being able to control it from your phone is a nice touch (I can also do that with my RaspberryPi). So if you’re thinking about getting one or already have one, let me know why or why not on Twitter.

Fixing Google App Engine for PHP

Ever since Google App Engine decided to support PHP,  I said I would give it a try and I finally took took the leap.  And of course, as to be expected when trying something new, you typically fall flat on your face the first time you try.  So after creating a new application and installing the SDK, I try to run my app locally… I cross my fingers and hit Run… wait for it…

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 8.53.57 PM

Of course… big fat fail… anyways, I click ignore hoping it will still work.  I hit Browse and a new browser opens up… and then…

The PHP interpreter specified with the –php_executable_path flag (“/”) is not compatible with the App Engine PHP development environment.

"/ -v" returned an error [-11]

Okay… guess this isn’t meant to be… and after doing some Google searches, I find others having the same problem.  Anyways, after some research and dumb luck, I was able to get my local app working by running the following from my console: --php_executable_path=/usr/local/php5/bin/php-cgi /path/to/app

So that got me thinking and I decided to update the php-cgi reference inside the GoogleAppEngine resource folder. I simply renamed the existing php-cgi instance and I created a symlink to the version I manually installed:

 ln -nsf /usr/local/php5/bin/php-cgi php-cgi

So after doing this, I was finally able to use the App Engine Launcher.  I’m sure the packaged php-cgi just needs to be updated.  I saw some comments about how this only happens if you’re on OS X 10.7.5 – so maybe if I upgrade to Mavericks, it will be resolved.  Anyways, I thought I would just post this in case someone else needs a quick-fix.

Apple MacBook Pro w/ Retina Update

So I have been looking (aka drooling) over a new MacBook for a while.  I was mainly focusing on the MacBook air for a while, but ever since the Pro came out with the retina display, it was getting harder to decide between the two.  This latest refresh from Apple is very tempting since they have decreased the price.  I like the new price, but I’m not crazy about the decreased memory on the base-model, only 4GB vs. 8GB previously.  I think if I were to get one, I would go with the 8GB which would basically bump the price back up to its original pre-update price.  And truthfully, MacBooks have always been pricey no matter the configuration, so saving a couple hundred isn’t really much of a saving if you consider how much you’re paying.  And then there is the Air which is still a decent solution and the price for the 13″ model is pretty reasonable – in some ways, hard to justify the extra cost of the Retina.  Anyways, I still have my trusty MacBook Pro 15″ that’s working just fine but feels a little slow (totally in my head) and a little old (compared to the new ones of course).

AngelHack AppHACK 2013

So if you know me, you know I’m always down for a good hackathon. I’ve been to 2 AngelHack hackathons and they both were fun and very rewarding. Maybe I’ll write another post about all the amazing side-effects from going to these hackathons another time, but for now, let me focus on the AppHACK 2013. AppHACK 2013 is a slightly different format than previous AngelHack hackathons.  First, instead of being completely open-ended, AngelHack has opted to make the focus mobile (in case you aren’t aware of it, startups and mobile are almost synonyms at this point).  So while I do enjoy hacking a quick web app, I think having a mobile focus makes a lot of sense and will be fun.  Second, AngelHack is putting an emphasis on the quality/creativity of the hack itself – what this actually means is no Powerpoint presentations.  I’m curious how this will work and how people will present their apps.  Anyways, if you’re a coder, designer or just someone with a good idea, find the nearest AppHACK to you and sign-up.