First Foray into Smart Homes

I started to explore smart home technologies a few years ago starting with the Wink but found myself sorely disappointed. The idea was neat but not practical; it’s always easier to get up and turn off the switch than to look for a phone, search for the Wink app and turn off the appropriate lights. A few weeks ago, I got my hands on the Amazon Echo Dot and it’s made a significant difference. Here’s some details of my setup.

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2016: A Retrospective

This year is slightly different from previous years as I’m actually taking time off and I was able to get a head start on reflecting on the year that went by. 2016 was definitely an eventful year considering the following:

  • Passing of may well known celebrities like Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Carrie Fisher just to name a few
  • Great Britain leaving the EU resulting in David Cameron to leave office
  • Donald Trump elected as the President of the United States of America
  • Number of reported shootings of both police and civilian population

Despite all that, the retrospective is meant for me to reflect on my own journey.

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Apple Macbook 2016 Review

I had been struggling with my Apple Macbook Air for a few years now. I was really excited when I started to read about Apple was likely releasing a new Macbook Pro this year. There had been rumours about having a new LED bar. However, by mid August, it was seemingly clear that Apple was unlikely to release a new Macbook Pro by September.

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FreeNAS reporting DEGRADED disk status

Today seems to be a day of infrastructure cleanup here at my home. My FreeNAS server was reporting the following today:

The volume [pool_name] (ZFS) state is DEGRADED: One or more devices has experienced an unrecoverable error. An attempt was made to correct the error. Applications are unaffected.

The fact that it blinking red was a bit worrisome and the error itself was not particularly useful. Continue reading “FreeNAS reporting DEGRADED disk status”

WordPress warning “Parameter 1 to W3_Plugin_TotalCache::ob_callback() expected to be a reference, value given” with PHP 7.0.9

I recently migrated my WordPress site from Vultr to my own server and as part of that migration, I decided to give NginX a go as my web server. However on launch, my New Relic monitoring kept complaining about a high error rate even though the server itself was performing normally. When I decided to take a look at the logs I saw the following:

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Or Parameter 1 to W3_Plugin_TotalCache::ob_callback() expected to be a reference, value given

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Close of another chapter – Kinetic Cafe

One of the very earliest memories of Kinetic Café is me walking into the Kinetic Café office. We had just extended the office into the old TBDC boardroom. David Dougherty was standing there and talking with Sady Ducross when I was introduced to him. He shook my hand firmly and said – “Welcome!” He then went on to tell me with excitement about how we’d use the space. “It’s going to be great! And we’re growing!” Those were the words that would echo the next two years at Kinetic Café. We grew from about 30 people to 70 people in a span of 2 years and we’d also roll out the first and best in-store retail technology platform today. Don’t get me wrong – there were lots of rough days. There were lots of long nights and weekends. There were a lot of tough decisions to be made. But at the end of the day, we made it. 2 years later, Kinetic is at a different evolution of its growth.

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2015: A Retrospective

This post is long over due. Another year has come and gone already and as per tradition, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the year that has gone by.
Year in Summary
My 2015 was a year that was mostly consumed by my work at Kinetic Cafe. At the end of 2015, I was able to launch the first commercially ready version of the Kinetic Commerce Platform. The best manifestation of the platform is the launch of ALDO’s mobile app as well as a number of in-store touch points that leverages the platform that was built. The platform was used to launch the app in both Canada and the US and did well with Black Friday as well as Boxing Day traffic on the system. We also launched a second client which is focused more on the malls. While it is a smaller launch in itself, it does represent a whole other use leveraging the same platform

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Installing Ruby on Rails on OS X with rbenv

I decided to do a full install of OS X when Yosemite came out and that included installing Ruby and Ruby on Rails on my machine again. Over the last couple of years, I’ve switched from rvm to rbenv because it is a lighter weight solution. Here are the steps that I take to install Ruby on Rails on OS X today

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Nexus 5X – Initial Review

I’ve been eagerly waiting for the Nexus 5X to replace my HTC One M8 that was getting long in the tooth. I was very excited when I finally received in on October X and have been using it as my primary phone ever since. After a few weeks of use, I figured that this would be a good time to write a review about it.
Nexus 5X Photo. Click link to go to full unboxing photo album
The summary of my thoughts on the phone is that it is a mid-range phone that is under powered for my use. Read on for more details

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Pentaho Data Integration crashing after El Capitan Update

I recently started to play around with Pentaho again for a side project at work and found that it was crashing whenever I tried to edit the database connection details. After doing a number of searches, I came across this Jira ticket in Pentaho. The gist of it is that El Capitan is not officially supported and causes Data Integration to crash. Fortunately there’s a fix out there that seems to work.

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