16 may

Surface Pro 3 on LG 34 Curved 34UC97-S and a Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-inch


Most everybody in the computer world have this ambiance for the Mac/Apple world. And if you aren’t part of the crew, you aren’t cool. But if you really know computers, you know that: 1) Windows has been a staple for years, you’ll find cheaper prices, lots of options, 2) Mac is the elite, everything costs a pretty penny, and yes by the way, bugs still happen, and 3) Linux has made strides in the desktop OS w/ Ubuntu, but you still can never flee from those pesky driver updates and re-compiles.

At the end of the day, a computer is a computer. The concepts are all the same. And as Windows was scouring the bottom of the ocean and while Mac was reaching for space and the stars. Microsoft realized that users want glossy, fashionable, and trendy. Here comes the Surface Pro 3.

I took the dive on a brand new contract, being thrusted into a Mac happy world, me my SPS3 and my 2x Dell 27inch Ultrasharp’s. Wouldn’t you know, the Mac family also had a fleet of Dell 27inch Ultrasharp’s along side their Mac 27inch Ultra’s. Why? They are 50% cheaper. But lack the lust and gloss.

I’ve been in the Mac world all my life, but always tended towards functionality. But maybe, just maybe, this new dig rubbed off on me a little bit.

On my search for some gloss / lust in the form of a workstation, I came across the 34 inch curved displays early January, 2015. And despite the extra $150, I chose the LG 34 Curved 34UC97-S. Gloss, lust, nice curves, the whole enchilada. And after being on dual 27inch Ultra sharps for so long, it’s almost second nature, how could I not have at least 2560 x 1440??

Today, playing with my monitors, I noticed the lonely Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-inch sitting next to the couch, not plugged in as it’s been replaced by the LG. So I figured, why not hook this into my Surface Pro 3 along side the LG and see if it works?

People… the SP3 has some serious video processing capabilities. In just a minute, I had my LG hooked up to my SP3 docking station and the Dell hooked up to the Mini Display Port on the SP3. Microsoft is identically copying Apple’s success, and it’s pretty nice. Obviously video games don’t work to well. Resolution has to be dropped significantly, but Windows 8.1 does a good job identifying the primary screen. I’d say that the SP3 is a huge success and that they should continue developing this series. It can only get better.

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31 jan

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Panel Portable Power

**, Electronics, Home Projects, Solar

A couple of years back, I we had a terrible power outage that lasted for days, nearly a week. Food in the fridge went bad, it was so hot we got in the car to stay cool, there was a run on gasoline. Needless to say, I’ve since solved that problem with a Honda EU2000i portable generator with an output of 2000W and a slow sip of about 10 hours to 1 gallon. I also have the 10 gallon sipper tank that is an adapter which basically means, I could run a full 2000W for 5 straight days. I’ve also got 2x 5 gallon tanks, which I can use for refueling, essentially as long as there is gas out there, I would be completely self-sustainable.

Solar has been something that I’ve considered for some time, but lets face it. The cost comparison and power generation simply is not there yet. But it’s getting better. With this Yeti 1250, you can get about half of the Honda’s output, but you do not deal with noise, dangerous fumes, or gasoline. Add a couple solar panels and this is a perfect short term power outage situation or camping / tail-gating. Overall, the price is very close to the Honda EU2000i, but add in the Solar panels and things change. Take a look at the videos.

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28 jan

34inch Ultrawide Curved Competition

**, Electronics, Hardware, Samsung

The latest and greatest for the beginning of 2015? Is the Ultrawide Curved monitors that are coming out in a 34 inch 21:9 aspect ratio. Prices are still high, but it’s extremely intriguing. Here are a few of the top competitors right now. And another reason why being a 3rd party makes competition the highlight of the marketplace.

These are all WQHD+(3440×1440)

Samsung Curved 34″ Ultrawide Monitor SE790C – $1229+

LG Curved 34″ Ultrawide Monitor 34UM97 – $1150+

Dell 34″ Curved Ultrawide Monitor U3415W – $1099+

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28 oct

Roku vs Chromecast Quick Analysis

**, Amazon.com, Chrome, Electronics, Entertainment, Google, Home Projects, Internet, Media, Mobility

Chromecast vs Roku

Just ordered both of these and wanted to give some very quick feedback before my larger post.

Chromecast is Awesome for Queuing up Youtube playlists and Media playlists. Basically controlling the nice Audio system from your laptop / phone. Movies and TV Show’s are cool too, but limited in apps. Streaming video over a Chrome browser in HD is not ideal, but if you have the App extension, everything works fine. And remember, everything routes over your laptop / tablet / mobile device.

Roku is Awesome for browsing videos: Amazon Prime, Amazon OnDemand, HBO Go, Netflix, Pandora (music), and Plex. BUT all using the remote control, so add one to the stack that you already have. The mobile / desktop remote is only that… a virtual version of the remote. It is a pain to type in movie / tv title’s, let alone your account credentials using up/down/left/right and Ok buttons. But, we all do that anyways with our TV remotes, so not much different. The Plus, you get the Internet easily!

Two very different types of systems. Two different uses. At the end of the day: Chromecast is an extension of your laptop and phone, where Roku is an extension of your media system to the Internet.

I’ll keep them both on my main TV and see how much I use both of them. As of tonight, I am happy with both.

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24 sep

Microsoft Surface 3 Pro Docking Stations

**, Electronics, Hardware, Microsoft


To my surprise the Surface 3 Pro will have an optional docking station. Now this device is becomes even more appealing. And the ever so cringing urge to throw away my lugging useless desktop PC becomes even more urgent.

You can get a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with an i7, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD for $1,549.00. Add in a docking station for another $175.00, not to forget your Type Cover for another $130.00.

We are talking about a $1854.00 upgrade and new way of life.

You can hook up this Surface Pro docking station into any Dell Ultrasharp 27inch screens and get the max resolution, but it looks like it’s capped out at 2560×1600 (WQXGA). Not too shabby for a 12 inch device.

Microsoft Surface 3 Pro Docking Station Overview

Not anytime in my future. The 15 inch, 16 GB Ultrabook Samsung Series 9 is still my baby of choice.

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24 sep

Could Dell Introduce Viable Tablets to the Business World?

***, Car Computing, Electronics, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Rants, Windows

1028_dell-forbes-cover-11-18-2013_768x993It took eight months for Michael Dell and Silver Lake to take Dell from a Public to Private. The company that started in Dell’s college dorm room closet and competed with the likes of IBM, HP, and Compaq, eventually to become the largest distributor and builders of PC’s. What vision is it that Dell has to make such a drastic move and regain complete control over his company.

I am throwing my money at revolutionizing the enterprise computer landscape. The technology we are integrating into all of our devices these days needs to be slim, light, powerful, and bright. Follow the iPhones, the Androids, Samsung and Apple are in a continuous battle to revolutionize the mobile and tablet landscape. And with the emergence of the Microsoft Surface, we saw the first viable tablet that could fully fall back on a standard enterprise operating system.

Today, computer boxes are being thrown out and replaced with laptops. But they are still bulky, power hog machines created in large quantities to give to companies at a discount. I feel the next trend of slim notebooks and dock-able tablets will be the next wave in the enterprise market and who better to execute this, than Dell.

Imagine that laptop you carry with you for work, place to place, you definitely have a docking station at work, and it’s possible you have one at home too. You can use it on the go in the form of a notebook but are likely still limited in places and areas such as lunch meetings, in the elevator, the car, or while walking. This is where the new tablets come in, just as powerful as today’s notebooks, with the ability to type on a keyboard in notebook form, but in addition, having a single access docking ability for the office or at home.

Those 3 combined work conditions I see can all be met by a tablet very similar to Microsoft Surface, with docking capability. That’s where I will throw my money when betting on Dell’s next move.

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23 sep

Months of Nothing on Phillihp.com

Site Related

It’s usually a good sign that I am extremely busy, when you do not see posts out here. Not to say that I do not try and make an effort to post while I am busy, but every now and than things catch up and you just need a break.

Well, I had mine! After again, multiple months of overtime and tight deadlines. I wrapped all my projects up, put a nice tiny bow on them and did an East Asia Tour for a little less than a month.

Here’s a sneak peak:

And now that I am refreshed, just getting back from a 12 hour jet lag, time to catch up on where the tech world sits in the form of blogging.

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1 jul

ColdFusion in Todays Web World – Railo

***, Architecture, CMS, ColdFusion, Databases, Internet, Rants

I was having a conversation with someone over the phone about ColdFusion and I received a pretty surprising comment, “ColdFusion, is that still around?” Jokingly of-course, but you would be surprised at how much ColdFusion still exists in today’s web world. Lots of people think that the web changes so quickly and that the evolution of the web is so hard to keep up with.

Iterative Computer Trends?
The computer world has followed some very basic and the same principals for over 30 years now. We just tend to re-name, re-brand, and coin new terminology to existing practices. For-instance, “cloud” – We have been using cluster-based servers since even before the internet, that’s how the internet came about in the first place.

We do the same with design. When new age design becomes too much, we tend to look into the past to fulfill a circle of re-design. Look at Windows 8 Metro Theme.

ColdFusion for Freelancers?
I just recently got another project, and guess what, it’s in ColdFusion. I know that I’ll get a lot of grief for making this statement, but ColdFusion is still a very applicable and useful language. It reminds me of PHP and Python in ways, with the exception of the CFML syntax. But, the second you switch into CFScript mode, you are literally writing C style ColdFusion without the hassles of tightly strict variable and object control such as you get in your C#, C, and Java. In addition, there’s a lot of ColdFusion work that freelancers do not feel comfortable with touching. Mainly, I feel, because people think it is foreign. Not true, all the programmatic concepts are exactly the same as other languages.

Open Source ColdFusion?
Here I am loading up the Open Source CFML interpreter called Railo to install Mura CMS and build a quick parallax website. I can basically load CF locally via Railo, skip the thousand dollar Adobe costs, and get right to work in a CMS that is open source, just in a different world. I can use MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even MariaDB for the backend. Load up the CMS and get to work with my Front-End interface design.

Yes, you can create new age websites using what seems to be “old-age” technologies. What an odd concept.

At the end of the day, you have your interpreter, your database, your replication and scaling (operational), and your wealth of CFML documentation that is extremely strong. And all of it is OpenSource.

railo-hostingWhere is ColdFusion today?

  • Neobux.com
  • Adobe.com
  • Shareasale.com
  • Independent.co.uk
  • Usbank.com
  • Ft.com
  • Walgreens.com
  • Shutterfly.com
  • Etrade.com
  • Volkskrant.nl
  • Epa.gov

How much ColdFusion is out there?
ColdFusion is said to be used on fewer websites than .NET and PHP, but close to Java, and about par with Perl. With that said, the amount of traffic is equal to greater than those others.

Not surprisingly, ColdFusion is around. And not a lot of people know how to program in it. Maybe something to think about for those freelancers out there.

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3 jun

BackBlaze Unlimited Cloud Storage for Mac or Windows


IForget_to_backup_your_datat’s pretty amazing these days how easy it is to back up all your personal computer data in case of the unknown: hard drive crash, computer stolen, or even worse your whole house burns up! Should something like this ever happen and you’re not backing up your data then all your captured photos and videos of your family childhood or vast collection of media will exist only as a memory. Perhaps gone is gone should the unfortunate ever happen however I’d like to at least be prepared.

This story doesn’t contain any hard drive crash drama to motivate you to back up your data. This is just a simple public service announcement to remind you to back up your data before you wish you had.

My primary choice of local backup is not very complicated, which I think is a good thing since it should be a simple process that just runs itself. For my local backups, I use Apple’s built in tool native to OS X  called ‘Time Machine’ to backup our mac mini (functions only as a media server for PLEX purposes), a macbook air (wife’s computer), and my personal macbook pro. I feel good about this setup, because it felt as if I was living on the edge since I was only backing up my personal macbook pro and nothing else until recently. So, I finally invested in a couple of Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 recently to get my act together and backed up all my macs wirelessly using my Apple Airport Extreme router.

Check out this video to learn more about how to configure your Mac to use Time Machine:

Now that I have all my machines backed up routinely, I’ve been in discussion with myself if I should invest in a second local backup of all my data just in case these drives should experience failure. I have yet to come to a decision since the hardest challenge for me was affording all the external terabytes of storage space to back everything up. With that said, I decided I would invest in online cloud storage first since it’s more affordable for me at the moment. It’s also said that you should have an offsite (cloud) storage solution anyway in case of a local emergency with your backups such as fire in your house, theft, or hard drive failure on those backup drives. So, even though the purpose of a local back up of your data is to be prepared for these scenarios and for speed should you need to restore, technically the rule includes to keep these backups off site as well.


The online cloud backup solution I chose was BackBlaze, because not only are they affordable at only $5 a month ($50 a year), they are fairly quick to receive my data with my upload speeds. It should be mentioned that their services includes unlimited cloud storage which made $5 a month a completely affordable option.

Also, I can only speak on behalf of my experience using BackBlaze from a Mac (OSX) perspective, however these benefits below as to why I chose BackBlaze should apply also to Windows OS.

  1. Unlimited data backup, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited file size
  2. Wired/plugged-in/connected external Firewire, Thunderbolt or USB drive (not networked drives such as: NAS, timemachine drives, bootcamp drives, virtual machines, mounted volumes).
  3. Military-Grade Encryption
  4. Native integrated preference menu within PC/Mac OSX Settings
  5. Continuous Backup
  6. Automatically Finds Files
  7. Automatic Throttle (you have complete control of this option)
  8. Locate Lost Computer (should your computer become stolen, backblaze can function like a lo-jack)
  9. iOS Mobile App (since I have my entire mac backed up in the cloud, even if I need a particular file deep in my file system I can use the iOS app to locate any single file backed up or multiple files directly from Backblaze servers. That itself is pretty nice! Note: I’m not sure if a Windows Phone 8 app exists, but if you have a BackBlaze installed on your Windows OS and own an iOS device, you can access your Windows files from BackBlaze cloud storage using the BackBlaze iOS app.)
  10. Free Web Restore
  11. Restore to USB Hard Drive or Flash Drive
  12. Personal Key/Passphrase (for additional security)
  13. File versioning (up to 30 days not continuous/forever)
  14. Just $5/month

There is no need to select the folders and filetypes you want to backup, which means all your data will be backed up without having to do anything. However, although BackBlaze backs up all your data there is an exception to your operating system files, applications, or temporary files. This means these files won’t be backed up: wab~, vmc, vhd, vdi, vo1, vo2, vsv, vud, iso, dmg, sparseimage, sys, cab, exe, msi, dll, dl_, wim, ost, o, qtch, log, ithmb, vmdk, vmem, vmsd, vmsn, vmss, vmx, vmxf, menudata, appicon, appinfo, pva, pvs, pvi, pvm, fdd, hds, drk, mem, nvram, hdd.

I started my first backup on May 5 and set my computer within the BackBlaze settings menu to backup my data by turning off throttling for maximum upload speeds. This translated to 58GB a day at 5.55Mbps. It took about 7 days to complete my first initial backup of 200,353 files out of 270,593 files. So, there were 70,240 files not backed up which were probably applications files, OS files and temp files as mentioned above. Now that my first backup is complete, I’ve changed my upload speed to automatic throttling that way I’m not uploading as much now so quickly.

backblaze upload data usage

Here’s a snap shot of what my data usage was for the month of May as result of my BackBlaze upload according to my Comcast data usage who is my Internet Service Provider. Comcast states they suspended their 250GB monthly cap, so I’m pretty grateful that I didn’t run into any issues. However, I did this to myself by setting the maximum upload of all my data with BackBlaze. If I only wanted to have 2GB a day upload instead of 58GB then this is possible within a simple little menu found in BackBlaze settings. So, at the end of the day, you should first be aware if there are any restrictions your ISP has set on your account if you increase your upload speeds like I did.

There is so far one draw back I found to this awesome backup solution and that is if you have more than one computer. If you’re like me and have multiple computers to back up then, it’s going to cost you a little bit more as there is no bulk discount feature for multiple computers at this time. So each additional computer functions as an individual license to backup each computer to the cloud. However, there are other services such as CrashPlan that offers a family plan at $9 a month for up to 10 machines, but its app is a Java application therefore is not native install to the OS and requires a lot of resources and memory intensive as a result. You can read more about CrashPlan here from actual users in the comments section.

With all of that said, should you need more convincing to invest in a cloud storage or at least BackBlaze, then take a peak at BackBlaze’s matrix as they compare their services to the many competitors that exist on the market.

50% off deal

If you made it to the bottom of this article and you’re very interested in moving forward, then here’s a gift idea I found for you. You can purchase a 1 yr license at 50% off for your first year. This means it will only cost you $25 your first year of cloud backup. This deal is only for new customers and this deal will only be available 3 days from today. BackBlaze does come with a free 14 day trial, so you can get started and try it out, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. I signed up for this discount just a few minutes ago as my free 14 day trial was about to expire tomorrow. Try to get this deal in before it expires. Even if you’re not ready to make the purchase, if you know someone who should be backing up then help them out with this gift idea. Father’s day is just around the corner and this could actually be a great gift idea. Remember, you only have 3 days starting from June 3, 2014 to get your 50% off deal.

Here’s a quick tour of BackBlaze:

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21 may

Edit Hostnames for Mobile Devices

**, Architecture, Browsers, DIY, Google, Internet

Are you testing your new latest and greatest Mobile or Responsive site but cannot get into your network to actually test it on a mobile device? Well if you have a proxy routed IP through either a NAT or direct connection, you can always just edit the hostnames directly on your phone. Try out the Hosts Editor for your Android device.



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