Leetaur's Blog

Amazon Press Conference - Fire Phone Announcement

This past Wednesday, June 18, Amazon announced their newest hardware - the Fire phone.  A YouTube video of the Fire phone is below.  If you are a heavy Amazon customer (and use Amazon Prime), the Fire phone makes a lot of sense.  

The three major features of the phone are "Firefly", which is a search service (it recognizes objects, images, songs, tv shows), Dynamic Perspective, which looks like cool 3D technology (it uses four-front facing infrared cameras), and the camera, a 13 megapixel camera with a motor that counteracts the natural shakiness of a person's hand, allowing the shutter to stay open longer for better exposure.

What kind of phone would I buy?  iPhone 6 (coming this fall), Fire phone... another Android-based phone, a Tizen phone?  Or even an Ubuntu phone?  

I hope to talk about that in my next podcast :)

A Moment of Peace

Through iTunes Radio, I ran across a song called "Moment of Peace".  I like it :)  It is by a group called Gregorian.  A YouTube video of Moment of Peace is below.

WWDC 2014

Below is the video of the World Wide Developers Conference, 2014.  I watched this at a coworker's house (most of my team was there).  One of our team was actually out at WWDC, as well.

WWDC was packed with great announcements about iOS, OS X Yosemite, and developer tools, including the new computer language, Swift.

Everquest Next Debut

I saw this video last year.  Though I don't play EQ now, I thought the abilities and game features being put into Everquest Next look fascinating, especially the ability to effect the environment around you, both long term (damaging the area, etc) that gradually over time returns to its original form, and also permanently changing your environment in ways that makes the server you play on different than other servers.

If this gets released for the Mac, I may try it out.  One of the things about EQ Next, is that it is going to be free to play.  That helps too :)

New podcast section

I am introducing a new podcast section onto the site.  Hopefully I will be able to update this site a lot more regularly going forward!

The podcast is probably going to consist of weekly 1 - 2 minute news segments, just for family and friends to listen to (and others if they want).  I might talk about tech, particularly Objective-C programming (both iOS and Mac), or just talk about how the family is doing.

The podcast is (usually) going to be audio.  If I upload a video podcast, I will probably put it onto YouTube and link it in.


Merry Christmas!

It has been a busy year, which has kept me away from a whole lot of blogging and other internet activities. In a way that is good. Work has kept me VERY busy since May, and it looks to stay that way for the coming year. When it comes to your work, being bored is dangerous! Busy is good :)

And of course there was the birth of our 8th child, Liz. She is now crawling all over and trying to get into all sorts of trouble, but there are a lot of older kids to keep an eye on her. She has a great laugh, and the kids are great at getting her to laugh every day :) The kids are a delight to watch grow up. Oh, and my oldest now has her driver's license. It is a bit scary that I am old enough to have one of my kids driving!

Tech seems to have steadied out, at least for now. There were improvements in desktops, laptops, smart phones (both Android and iPhone), and tablets (ditto), but nothing revolutionary has entered the market in 2013. I don't count Samsung's "Galaxy Gear". I don't see a purpose for it. Google Glass looks interesting (and kind of creepy). I work with someone who has a developer model. I will count that as a release once it is publicly available.

The technology that will be interesting to follow is the Ubuntu phone. I am not planning on buying it (I prefer Debian on my computer), but the idea of a phone running Ubuntu Touch, and then turning into a complete desktop with paired with a monitor and keyboard, sounds very interesting. Right now you need to use the cloud, or syncing, if you want to share documents between a computer and your phone, being able to work on both. It will be cool if you have a phone that actually DOUBLES as your desktop.

Lastly, Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope everyone had a great 2013. Ours was great. And 2014 is looking to be even better. Here is to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ tomorrow, and looking forward to a new year!


2013: The Year of Linux on the... Everything

THIS ARTICLE, from Linux.com, shows the great progress Linux has made in the year 2013.  Innovation in cloud computing, in cars, gaming, the data center, etc is very great within the Linux space.

From the article:

In the Linux community we love predicting that this is the year of Linux in cars, or in gaming, or yes, even the desktop.

But in fact, this was the year of Linux in everything. From smartphones, tablets,   consumer appliances and cars, to the open cloud and high-performance computers, to gaming platforms and more, Linux was, and is, literally everywhere. It’s the software that is running our lives.

The last report showed more than 1.5m Android phone activations are happening every day. Android continues to dominate on phones, and embedded Linux variants are bringing Linux into the living room with it running everything from your TV to your washer and dryer to your fridge and heating/cooling system.

Linux’s success in cars is demonstrated by, among other things, its role in the Motor Trend Magazine’s car of the year for two years running. Both the Cadillac CTS sedan (2014 Motor Trend car of the year) and the all-electric Tesla Model S (won in 2013) run Linux. Furthermore, IHS Automotive recently reported that sales of automotive Linux are expected to overtake Microsoft and Blackberry QNX in the global automotive infotainment market by 2020.

Read the rest over there :)

This Week In Tech

Below is an interesting TWiT (This Week In Tech) episode.  Leo Leporte, Patrick Beja, Jason Hiner, and Christina Warren spend quite a bit of time talking about Edward Snowden, and the whole NSA Prism program.  Also discussed is Instagram, Steve Jobs' legacy, the X-Box 360, and more.

WWDC Keynote - June 10, 2013

Below is the WWDC Keynote from June 10, 2013.  It looks like a number of cool updates are coming for OS X, in iOS 7, and some really cool looking new hardware (especially the new Mac Pro).

For us developers, all of the developer sessions are available HERE, so even for those of us who were not able to go (WWDC sold out in just over a minute), you can still get to all of the developer content.

Epic Rap Battles - Jobs vs Gates

I admit I'm a big geek. My teenage daughter found this "Epic Rap Battles", Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates.  I like the ending :)  This is the clean(er) version.  Hurray for Linux!

Sir Richard Branson's Thoughts on SpaceShipTwo's First Powered Flight

I remember when SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize back on October 4, 2004.  Some of my team mates and I were very excited, and it seemed like space tourism was just around the corner.  When Richard Branson picked up there, and started Virgin Galactic, finally there was some strong backing to the concept.

And here we are, in 2013, still waiting for Virgin Galactic to beginning commercial space flights.  But they are making progress!  Below is a short interview with Sir Richard Branson on SpaceShipTwo's first powered test flight.  Once it can be demonstrated that commercial spaceflight is capable, and profitable, other companies should follow suit and, hopefully, start making rapid progress.

One can hope, anyways.

Into February and Beyond

It has been a while since I have posted to my leetaur.com blog, so this is just a quick note to say 'hello'. Everything is going pretty well. My wife and I are now about 5 weeks away from the addition of our newest child. Wifey is doing really well, though I think she is ready to meet our daughter in person and be done with this pregnancy :)

Tech-wise, not much is new... for me at least.

I do have advice for anyone who is dealing with a slow Kindle Fire HD. If it slows down to an unbearable pace, just restore it to its factory defaults, and then reload the content you want. The Kindle Fire is a cloud device. It's content wants to live in the cloud. So my advice is let it, and keep a bear minimum of what you want on the device its - the apps, books you want offline, movies you want to take with you, etc.

I have the tendency to download ALL the books that I want, period, and keep them on the device. But I've had to reload my Kindle Fire twice now, and after the second time I decided just to download the books I want right now, and to download other books as I will read them.

Same more audio books, and movies. And since the audio books and movies take much longer to download than a regular book, I am much pickier on what I am going to use my bandwidth on right now.

Anyways, enough for the Kindle.

A note on Linux -- I started getting back into Linux about half a year ago. It is a very nice surprise how far the OS has come. I am very impressed with Debian, and how easy it is to add/delete packages, and the amount of software now available. It is nice. I also appreciate Debian's way of handling software, (with a quick apt-get command) instead of having to deal with rpm's in the Redhat/Mandriva world. Maybe it was just Mandriva, but I would often run in software that couldn't be installed due to missing libraries. It was frustrating.

There isn't much else in the way of news right now. Other than I am really enjoying reading books by an author I checked out - Dean Koontz. I am especially enjoying his Odd Thomas novels, which has a lighter tone than some of his other books.

Well, that's enough for this blog post.

Android Central Reviews the Kindle Fire HD


I very much like my Kindle Fire HD.  Even though it is one of the main competitors to Apple's iPad, it does not get much attention on Android sites.  The Nexus 7 seems to the be champion of Android at the moment.

THIS REVIEW does a good job describing what the Fire HD is, and what it is not.  It describes the "Amazon Experience", the Fire's capabilities when it comes to books, video, music, apps and shopping.  The article compares and contrasts the Fire HD to the Google Nexus.

It is a good review, and if you want a tablet computer and are debating between a Nexus and a Fire HD, this is a good article to check out.

Facebook Deactivated


For anyone I was friends with on Facebook, I have deactivated my account.  You can still reach me via all the other normal means - email, Skype, this blog, and of course the old-fashioned phone call :)

Tim Cook's Interview on NBC


The head of Apple gives an interview with Brian Williams on NBC.  You can see that interview HERE.

It is interesting to hear Cook's ideas of Apple and where it is going.  His personality is very much different from Steve Jobs.  Cook is tight-lipped about Apple's plans on entering the television market, saying only that "It is an area of intense interest", stating he can't say any more than that.

It was an interesting interview to watch.

Ubuntu vs Windows 8


I found THIS ARTICLE from TuxRadar.com comparing the new interface and capabilities of Windows 8 with the latest version of Ubuntu and the "Unity" interface to be very good, informative, and considering it is a Linux site, very fair to Microsoft and Windows :)

One of the points of disagreement I have with operating system backing things up in the cloud/etc (especially OS X/iOS, where Windows 8 is going) is that I don't want "my stuff" stored offsite, for people to hack and get at and mess up.  I back up my files, but not online, other than email of course.

Monday Brief

One of the important things when you are in the tech industry is keeping up with what is going on, what new technologies are on the horizon.  The standard "Android Central", "Windows Phone Central", and iMore "Monday Brief" is not exactly a heavy tech news show.  But it is quick and fun, so I make a point to listen to it on Monday.  

It is among the couple of dozen sites I scan, to see if there is anything I need to follow up on.

I also very much recommend the "TWIT" network shows, a couple of them in particular.  I will post some of those as this blog goes forward :)

Jimmy Fallon grills Jeff Bezos over Amazon Phone


I have no idea if Amazon would come out with a Smart Phone.  It sounds like a risky plan to me, since I can't really see a phone being tied back well to the Amazon ecosystem of movies, books, magazines, etc.  Really, who likes to read on a phone!

The videos on THIS PAGE are good, because I like learning a bit more about how Amazon was founded, how it grew, and what their plans are for the future.

Fallon and Bezos talk about, briefly, BLUE ORIGIN, a spacecraft company founded by the Amazon billionaire.  Bezos of course is not the only game in town when it comes to spaceflight being performed by private companies.  The space tourism company, VIRGIN GALACTIC, is getting much closer to actual launch.

The future should be interesting :)