Jelly Bean / New to Me

Last weekend I took the time to enable my phone’s WiFi and download Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It has been a few months, but these days I rarely turn on WiFi on my device.

After a reboot, large download, and another reboot my phone initially looked like an HTC One. This experience was unfortunate but gave it a try for a couple days before switching to a more traditional look using an older HTC Clock/Weather widget.

My phone’s external case had broken, and couldn’t find a suitable deal on eBay so I went to the local mall bought an expensive replacement from a Cellairis booth. It isn’t a holster, but nonetheless very well-made.

  • This is the last version HTC will support. At the time of this writing it is a year behind modern Android.
  • This version of Jelly Bean is very clean, effective, and efficient.
  • Setup and usage is effortless, it is essentially a new device. The OneX should have been this way from the beginning.
  • With Chrome and LTE, it will rival many other larger devices in usability. Only higher-resolution tablets with LTE will provide a better experience.

I haven’t been pleased with the HTC One. Will likely try a Samsung or go out on my own with Nexus later this year.


Proxy external images

One of the potential factors to a website’s relevance is the number of images that display on your site, that are actually hosted elsewhere.

This doesn’t happen often on normal sites, but can be factor on blogs or forums where users insert external links to images hosted on other sites. A common example would be pictures uploaded on Photobucket and then posted on other sites.

On my Xenforo forum, I’m working with DigitalPoint’s image proxy addon successfully but at the same time Xenforo’s developers are making a similar feature one of the built-in benefits of the upcoming version 1.3.

What this does is makes externally-hosted images something that is a part of your site. Even if it’s just for a few hours, your users will be presented with an encrypted (if you configure it), cached, and potentially optimized version of an external image – rather than having to wait for it re-download.

Another benefit is the reduction (elimination) of cookie-stuffing that results from visiting my site. Using the same example above, I rarely visit Photobucket but had been receiving cookies from that site often until now.

It is great to see so many positive changes.


How to Remove iTunes and all things Apple

While I was out, an Apple iTunes update failed to work properly and created interesting errors at boot. They weren’t critical, but I couldn’t fix the issue simply but just re-running Apple Software Update.

It was a bear to get Apple’s software to uninstall. If you’re an older iTunes user, it is likely that you’re like me and haven’t been following the proper software path either.

My program-uninstall steps:

  • iTunes
  • Apple Software Update
  • Bonjour
  • Apple Application Support
  • Quicktime
  • Safari
  • MobileMe Control Panel
  • iCloud
  • iPhone Configuration Utility

However, Apple Mobile Device support would not uninstall – even though all other Apple software had been uninstalled. Rebooted my machine, and used my favorite cleaner to dump temp files and fix over 200 registry issues left behind by the Apple uninstalls.

Apple Mobile Device Support still wouldn’t uninstall, but after another reboot I stopped the Bounjour service (which was still running) and then it did uninstall.

What is strange is that Bounjour wouldn’t remove as a service, even though it was uninstalled in the steps above and didn’t appear in the control panel. So I removed the service using these two commands from RUN:

“%PROGRAMFILES%\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe” -remove

regsvr32 /u “%PROGRAMFILES%\Bonjour\mdnsNSP.dll”

They ran successfully, Bounjour wasn’t in the list of Services any longer.

The Bounjour files however were being used by other programs. If this happens to you, try deleting the individual files instead of the directory and you’ll see a better error message. I decided to leave it alone.

This was a helpful reference.

Even though it was a liberating experience, iTunes is going to be re-installed for now.



Trying out Nginx

One could say that I’m out of the trial period for Ghost, due to having written more personal blog posts than on previous platforms.

So I moved my blog out of the AWS EC2 infrastructure and relocated to a data center in San Francisco. I must have created/terminated at least six instances on EC2 to get to a working implementation of Ghost that I liked.

My first stint with Nginx has been positive so far, but limited to just forcing the “www” in my domain. I’m eager to learn more.

Check out the Ghost documentation about using debug mode and exporting your content. Remember to grab your theme and images also. Other than that it is easy.

At the time of this writing the site is still using a free theme, but I made some changes:

  • Re-enabled HTML optimizations
  • Changed over to minified versions of the CSS and Javascript files
  • Worked on the Javascript animation a bit, to address issues with older mobile devices. I’m still not happy, but the experience is greatly improved
  • A few back-end changes to improve server RAM utilization
  • Changed the network config to what I use on my other production systems

Should you use Ghost? If your needs can be met with a simple non-traditional layout then give it a try. Stick with your current CMS if you still needs include categories or other structured information.

If you haven’t signed up for Amazon’s EC2 service, they may give you a free year of micro-instance service. See how I got my start with Ghost for more info.


Malware for the Holidays

Nothing quite like setting up your child’s first computer.

I opted for Windows 8.1 primarily because of how my child responds to it. Microsoft knows what it is doing by leaving us old folks behind.

We were tag-teaming the addons and software programs, and our inexperience with free mods for games and learning software exposed us to the world of bundled malware/spyware.

Being accustomed to commercial programs and non-windows systems has shielded us from the brutal assault on the average computer user; it is nothing like what it was a few years ago. I’ve been controlling my websites, but lost touch with the end-result until today.

Today I learned that both free and commercial programs designed for adware/malware removal are challenged with keeping up with the creative ways developers are hiding their software. In the end I engaged a Security Professional from Symantec and gave the team remote access to our computer. They initially took the same steps as myself, but I could tell that they enlisted an upper-level engineer that cleaned out the multiple programs and registry entries that made up one piece of spyware.

Regardless, my child’s computer is clean. Makes me want to go back to the ancient times when I participated in Computer User Group meetings and shared software.