Saturday, December 10, 2016

Intellij and React Native Projects

If you want to add your existing React Native project to your Intellij project as a module do the following:

  1. File > New > Module
  2. Click Static Web > Static Web
  3. In the 'Content Root' box, enter the location of the existing React Native directory.
  4. Click Finish
The reason you have to do it this way is that the Intellij Import Module from Existing Sources wants to find a source / setup for the module.  The problem is that you've got three different code streams in your React Native project:  1) Java for Android, 2) iOS XCode files and 3) React JavaScript files.  My experience has been that the Intellij scanner picks Java over JavaScript and ignores the rest of the directories.

Back to Comcast, No more AT&T

Well, I'm back to Comcast.  Can't beat 75 Mbps for $49 a month for a year.  AT&T just can't keep up with speed and prices.  Since we've cut the cord and stream just about everything, the extra Mbps are really great around here.

I did run into a bandwidth issue with my older Netgear N600 router.  The router was not giving us a good chance to get a hold of the 75 Mbps over wireless.  The router was working fine over an Ethernet connection.  On wireless though, you would get anywhere from 15 - 20 Mbps on any wireless device.  I concluded that only an upgrade in the router would fix the issue.  I bought a Netgear Nighthawk AC1900.  Wow, what a difference!  I suspect the underlying issue was that with 2 iPhones, 2 iPads, 3 laptops, 2 Kindles, 2 Rokus and a PS3 we hit the limits of the N600.

Finally,  I just realized that for the first time in 16 years I won't be paying anything to a traditional landline company (Southwestern Bell, AT&T).  At one point we had, Uverse and AT&T wireless.  I calculated that we were paying them about $340 a month in services and equipment.  You would think someone at AT&T would notice that and come-a-knockin', but I won't be waiting by the phone for a call from them.

Anyway, happy for a year.  Let's see what kind of deal I can get next year!  I had my eye on a three year deal for $50 with 150 Mbps!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I've gone Mac

I've had some form of a PC since 1986.  I used to think Mac was terrible.  It was a special animal that didn't play well with others.

Then I got one.

In early August, I was wanting to build an iOS app.  My wife had come up with an idea for one and I knew that a native app was needed for full integration of the requirements.  I first built a web app to get it going.  I had picked out a MacBook Pro with 256 GB HD and 8 GB of RAM.  I have to say that a Mac is the way to got these days.


  1. It is fast.  With the SSD drive, Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM, you won't be without speed.  Compared to my platter drive, Intel Core i7 and 8 GB of RAM on my HP, I never feel a slow down while it is trying to figure out whats going on.  
  2. The screen is killer.  It's so sharp it's hard to believe that I could have been doing with out it.  My HP Envy 17 is terrible.  To some degree I think that's because I wound up turning the brightness down pretty far to save battery.  In general though the Retina display is just that sharp.
  3. The battery keeps going and going.  With the HP Envy I would fret about being on the battery as I watched it go down during my commute.  I would definitely have to charge it overnight to use it the next day.  Now, I can use it for two days (approximately 8 hours of usage) before I need to plug it in to charge.
  4. Integration.  I have an iPhone 6s Plus and the great thing is that my Mac works with my iPhone like never before.  If I get a phone call my Mac can pick it up, assuming were both on the same WIFI connection.  I can FaceTime and send iMessages through my Mac as well.
  5. Weight.  I was commuting with the HP Envy 17 plus my work laptop.  I think the total weight was about 12 pounds in my back pack. The Mac is so light that I barely know its there.
  1. It is a bit smaller.  I do miss the screen real estate of the Envy 17.  This MacBook is the 13" model.  I didn't want the 15" model due to cost and reduced battery performance.  I also loved the additional numeric keypad on the HP Envy.
  2. It's one of those things of when you need it, you need it.  There is no optical drive on the Mac.  I had to burn a CD (gasp!) for my wife's car and I had to use her computer to do it.  A few times as well, I've thought about plugging into my Ethernet port on my router.  I would need an additional adapter to do that.
All in all, great machine.  I use my computer even more often now!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Shaving the cord

All in, we were paying $175 for AT&T Uverse TV, Internet and Phone.

In terms of the cost, we didn't have a trouble with the bill.  We had trouble with the value.  As you scroll through the list of channels you realize that you watch about 25% of them and wonder if anyone watches some of the more extraneous ones.  Phone service was $45 a month for unlimited calls across the country.  While I believe in the 'home phone' I don't think it should cost that much.  Internet is in the 18 Mbps range for about $30 a month under the bundle.

We could afford it.  Keep going on until the bundle deal runs out.  Why though?

Courtney and I decided to trial run a 'cord shaving'.  Here is what we did:
  1. We disconnected the Uverse DVR from the TVs.
  2. We bought a Mohu Sky 60 and I installed it in the attic.
  3. We bought a Roku Stick for one TV.
  4. We planned on using Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling and CBS All Access for streaming services.
  5. We already had a Chromecast.
At least in the trial run, we wanted to keep recording our shows on the Uverse DVR if we didn't like how it was working out. The antenna supplies digital over the air (OTA) signal to all TVs in the house.  The quality is fantastic and it's FREE TV.  The theory on the antenna was that if it didn't work out, we could still use the antenna in some capacity.  The Roku Stick is usable anywhere in the house and we figured what it provided, again, if we didn't like how it all works, we could still use it.  The Chromecast helped with the TV in our master bedroom.  We used the Chromecast to send to the TV the services we wanted to watch using our phones.

If the trial worked out, we planned on adding another Roku and switching phone to Ooma.  The additional Roku was to give a unified experience across TVs in the house.  Chromecast depends on applications being coded to be able to cast to the nearby dongle.  The problem I found is that the casting can be spotty with connection issues or quality.  

The trial lasted about a week.  We were sold.  There really wasn't anything that we were missing from Uverse TV that we couldn't get over the internet. We could watch football for free on a high quality signal. The shows that we really watched were there on the streaming services.


Category Item Up front cost Monthly cost
Air Antenna Mohu Sky 60 $160 None
TV device Roku Stick $49 None
TV device Roku 2 $59 None
Service Amazon Prime None $8.25 ($99 a year)
Service Hulu None $7.99
Service SlingTV None $19.99
Service CBS All Access None $5.99
Device Ooma Telo $150 None
Service Ooma None $5.62
Total $418 $47.84

With the Uverse Internet cost of $59 a month.  I'm at $106.84 for Internet, Home Phone and TV.  A savings of about $70 a month.

  • Buy the television programming that you watch
  • Own the equipment that you use
  • Freedom to choose the equipment that you use
  • Better quality with OTA
  • If the internet is spotty, your TV watching may be interrupted
  • Up front costs are high
  • You cannot pause live TV
In short, this shave project was a success.  Now, where's that remote?