Thoughts on the Original Surface Book

1 Jun

I’ve been very fortunate in my life.

Working in the industry that I work in, I get a lot of opportunities to learn about and experiment with new technology all the time. That being said, the original Microsoft Surface Book is not “New Tech” so to speak. It’s “New to Me Tech” that I feel lucky to get to play around with.

Originally released in November of 2016, the Microsoft Surface Book was a hardware marvel. Merging the worlds of tablets and full fat PC experiences, it did both jobs pretty well and still does today.

I am blown away by the keyboard especially. I love the way the keys feel. I love how it feels to type on this device. Every key stroke has a very satisfying sound, and when you type as fast as I do it sounds like something straight out of a hacker movie.

When you pair the typing experience with the fact that you can also use the the Microsoft Surface Pen with this device, it really comes in useful in sooooo many situations. Taking notes in meetings, drawing up diagrams of new network setups, or even just letting my kids doodle on it for fun.

I’m really enjoying using this Surface Book at work and at home, and the only real gripe I have is that the storage is rather small and not very friendly for a user to replace on their own. You essentially risk destroying the entire PC if you try and upgrade the storage in it. My suggestion would be for you to pick up an SD card and make a habit of storing non-critical files on the SD card.

Just my thoughts on this so far. This may change in the future as I use it more and more.

How I Got Into Coding

16 Jan

A lot of people have asked me about how I got into coding and I don’t think I’ve ever told the story before on this little blog of mine.

Growing up I was really into skateboarding and to be honest I never really even looked at a computer. That’s when I met Chris Panagapko. Chris was the one to get me stoked on computers and learning all kinds of really cool shit!

Chris and I used to play a lot of Counter-Strike together and we decided to try and get a server up and off the ground. Chris at that time already knew quite a bit about VMware Workstation and so we set up aย Windows server and installed the Counter-Strike dedicated server software on it. Chris was one of those lucky few who had a static IP at home, so we were able to run the server out of his parents basement.

We spent a lot of time in that basement messing with servers and virtualization. It was a lot of fun for a couple of nerdy kids growing up. Eventually we started a Counter-Strike clan aptly named cNc (ChrisNet Clan) which was appropriate at that time but now just makes me laugh! It was a lot of fun and again I learned some awesome shit because of it.

We wanted a web site for the clan so Chris introduced me to Microsoft Frontpage to get the job done. I remember spending hours and hours messing around with code and looking at the live preview pane hoping what I had done would work. I started to learn the basics of HTML and CSS and once I had mastered that, I really wanted to learn how to process data through a web site.

Enter PHP

I had toyed around with a lot of different premade PHP systems like E107, PHPBB, and eventually WordPress, but I wanted to write custom software. Stuff for a purpose that I could define and then write code for.

I found PHP to be one of the easiest languages to pick up because the syntax is super simple and it is very fault tolerant. It just worked for me.

Eventually I made it up in my head that this is what I wanted to do with my life. Create applications for people to use on the web. I invested a lot of time away from friends and parties to learn how to do this sort of stuff, then I went to college to learn all the fundamentals that you don’t really get when you learn on your own (or maybe some people do?).

In the end I owe my entire beginnings and career to Chris. He was someone who loved this stuff and simply shared a small chunk of his passion with me. That’s how I got into coding.

Breathing New Life Into An Old Macbook Pro

14 Jan

2008-macbook-proYesterday a colleague of mine was looking to unload a late 2008 Macbook Pro that suffered from a catastrophic hard drive failure. I got lucky because I could buy it cheap and replace a couple of components that would make this 2008 machine outrun my 2012 Macbook Air.

What Needs Replacing

  • The Macbook housing is scratched to shit and needs replacing.
  • The hard drive is small, and dead. Needs replacing.
  • The battery is flashing “Replace Soon” in OSX. Needs replacing.
  • The OS needs a clean install of Yosemite.

Replacing the Hard Drive

In order to replace the hard drive, I first had to go and buy a regular old laptop drive. That’s right! These old Macbooks support user replaceable drives. The drive I picked up is an ADATA SX900ย 256GB SSD.

I then simply followed this tutorial by iFixit, and was off to the races.

Replacing the Battery

The battery in this Macbook was reporting to the OS that it was going to fail soon, but no matter! A new battery for this particular model of Macbook Pro is only $39.99 CAD! I picked mine up from BattDepot.com.

Once the battery came in, it was super easy to replace. Simply lift the tab on the back of the Macbook and remove the bottom plate. The old battery should simply lift out of the Macbook and replace it with the new one.

Just like that for a couple hundred dollars, you can breathe new life into an older Macbook Pro.