Chrome and Screen Reolution

Testing web sites now a days means a lot of working with Responsive Web Design. One of the challenges I had with this was working with the different resolutions some of the sites support and need tested.

Depending on how your site is coded you can deal with 2 to 6 or more different tiers tiers of RWD.

When working with automation or even manual testing you want to be able to test as many of different tiers as possible. And changing the screen size by hand each time is not going to work.

So today I learned how to create presets with Chrome and their developer tools.

By going into the tools and what would normally be used for testing mobile devices you can setup different screen sizes as presets. This helps a lot when testing to be able to easily switch between the different common sizes your site may use. With automation you have different tools available to do this for you but is great to be able to do this easily when manual testing as well.

There are a ton of websites with amazing detailed write ups on how to do this so i will not be doing that here. But making it known that this system exists and can be used is helpful.

Google Chromecast

Okay, so maybe i am behind the times but late is better than never.  I finally got a Google Chromecast today to resolve a problem of mine.  My issue was to find a simple way to shows movies i have ripped easily to my TV.  I did not want to setup a Media Streaming Library just yet and was looking for s simple and effective method to do the same.

Well, nothing is as simple as it seems.  Chromecast in its basic, and probably intended form is basically another ROKU which i already have. To be honest, the Roku is basically useless in my home since already have devices which stream the same exact content (Hulu, Netflix, amazon Prime Video etc.). Device likes Ps3, Xbox etc already did this well, no need for another device.

However, what those devices lacked was the ability to stream just videos on my PC/Laptop. Just any move, not just content from these streaming apps.  If i wanted to stream home movies or content i ripped from my DVD/Blue-Ray collection i could not.  I hoped that the chromecast would resolve this, sadly out of the box it did not.

Install

Install was simple, well would have been had it not been for my network setup.  On my wifi i have it restricted by MAC address in addition to passwords.  So this meant that during setup I needed the MAC address (which is easily provided) to add to the system for it to connect.  Well there is no way to get this address prior, so i had to begin install then get it, add it to the list, then kill the install and try again.  In hindsight, turning off the restriction for the short time of install and getting MAC address would have been a better idea, noted for next time.

Playing Content

As designed, playing any streaming program/app which is supported by the device is simple and works well.  However, for my needs i needed to get a little creative.

Using Chrome, you can actually open a file directly on your PC/Laptop and it will play directly in the browser which you can then stream.  However, this is limited to the formats and codecs which Chrome supports. So this meant a lot of videos with no audio for me.

Googling i found that VLC player will thankfully support streaming to Chromecast, but in some future update which has not occured yet.  So yeah great, but being the impatient man i am i continued to look for another solution.

Divx turns out has already implemented support for Chromecast, and it supports the formats and codecs which i have ripped my content in.  So i tried that out, and after turning on sharing am happy to say it worked great. What is also amazing is that it supports my Harmony remote for controlling the video!!!! Big win!

Hardware

Like any person with some decent audio system for their home system i wanted it hooked into my setup.  Thankfully I had a free HDMI on my receiver.  Hooked it up, plugged it in and BAM! Working.

Conclusion

Chromecast is a great product.  It may not have supported all my needs right out of the box but with the support of some open source programs and tools I got what i needed and for a great price.

Work History

I finally had a moment to get my work history written out.  This is just small synopsis of my time at each company beyond what is found in my resume.  As resume are written to be specific to skills and quick what you did, I like the opportunity to just in my own words describe what it was like at each of the companies.

Every company has its up and downs.  But what is important is what you learn from those companies and what you carry with you after you leave them.

TIL: SQL Grouping

Been using SQL for some time now but have had little use for grouping till today.  While trying to help another team member with a query she needed I spent some time googling and finding out how to Group.  In the end, frustrated but determined i was able to successfully group the results in the manner in which she needed.

Sadly the data was not correct, but that was not because of the grouping but because of the wrong columns were given to me to use.

Found this great article on how to use which type of grouping when.  I am going to put this in my wiki page, not to take credit but to not lose this great information.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-tips-for-sorting-grouping-and-summarizing-sql-data/

FarCry4

Paid: $20 (After using $5 Best Buy incentive)

Worth: $60

This is not the first time I have played the Farcry series, but this may be the first time i have actually enjoyed it. Having played the other games on PC I found them to be fun but not super enjoyable.  The distance between missions and the difficulty level just made playing the game a chore.  I would finally reach my destination after traveling from one end of the map to the other just to get killed and have to do it all over again.  I am happy to say that FarCry 4 has remedied all those issues.

The World:

The map is large, they did not try and make a smaller map.  Wit hundreds of virtual miles to navigate and explore you will find yourself many times just roaming around looking at cool stuff.  There are many vehicles to help traverse the world but even running does not seem like a chore.

GamePlay:

Gameplay is as fun as any other well tuned First Person Shooter.  Plenty of cool weapons and good physics combine to make a quality game.  Go full silent with stealth weapons or go full out Terminator with explosives and machine guns, either way I never felt like that portion of the game was just slipped in last moment.

Story:

The story was well thought out and there is tons of lore to explore around the world of KYRAT.  But I have to be honest, i paid little attention to it and just wanted to go about shooting people and finding hidden items.  The main story line is easy to follow even with the low attention span person like myself but all the side stuff just got in my way.  It is there for those who enjoy it, or easy enough for those who just want to go and blow stuff up.

Last Comments:

I really enjoyed this game, having some 26 hours into it and only 60% after beating the main story i feel there is a lot to it.  For those looks for some fun with guns, vast world, lots of collectables I would easily recommend this game for up to $60 budget minded person.

Challenge vs Problem

I have learned recently to re address how I look at things.  My experience has taught me a lot.  I am very good at seeing potential issues before they occur.  Since I see issues before they occur I rather deal with hem before they become a problem.  However, telling people in the meeting where we are talking about a future feature people do not want to hear that their well designed win all feature is full of potential holes which will cause a lot of problems.

So now I use the temp “Challenge” instead of “Problem”.  This comes off a lot better and also makes it seem that the issue which may arise can be overcome and will not be a block.  By using challenge you acknowledge that there can and will be an issue to overcome but by knowing about you are prepared to hit it head on and resolve it.

This has actually been well received by my peers, I seem less a negative person and more of a well experienced asset who helps us reduces potential blockers by being prepared for them well ahead of time.

So do yourself a favor, you no longer have “Problems” and now only have “Challenges” which you look forward to resolving.

Welcome Back

I’m back!

Sadly, after 9 years with iPower.com hosting my sites i have decided to move to another host.  After dealing with their customer support who locked my site down and my FTP due to a “malicious” file for over a week i am done with them.  There were no issues with my files that could be found and ever CS email took a day to respond and chat took an hour to get through it was time to move on.

I ended up losing all my work on the site and will need to rebuild it all from scratch.  But it needed to be done, there are new tools and programs to play with and this is a chance to try them out.

So stay tuned, i will be up and running soon enough.  Although it will take a little of time.

Sad too, i really liked all the functionality iPower had, even had some stuff my new host does not have and they did not bombard me with ads like the new one.  But customer support is important and the poorly fell flat on their face.