Experiment: Switching from Generations of iPhones to the Nokia Lumia 920

I love Apple products, but mostly, I love technology. I love playing with new gadgets and staying on the bleeding edge of what is new and fresh. I have had every iPhone since the original, and I currently own the 4S. My wife has the iPhone 5. If this were any other year, I’d just go and buy an iPhone 5. But while the iPhone 5 is by far the best iPhone of all time, it’s also the one that has me least excited to upgrade.
I already have iOS6 on my phone, and after using my wife’s phone pretty frequently, I can say that the extra bit of vertical resolution doesn’t make much of a difference in day to day usage. I don’t care that it’s even thinner. The iPhone 4S is thin enough for me. I do need LTE, though.

Oh another thing – I hate Android. It is the least elegant operating system out there. I can’t believe that I have a quad core CPU on my Nexus 7, and I still can’t get perfectly scrolling menus like I can on my iPhone 4S. Every time I use an Android device, I never feel like it’s fully utilizing the hardware, and the software is always a bit sluggish.

Windows Phone 8, on the other hand, is really intriguing to me. It’s exciting. It’s new. It’s fresh. And the Nokia Lumia 920 looks like an excellent rendition of that platform. I’ve placed a pre-order, and my experiment is to see what it’s like to switch from a 64GB iPhone 4S to a 32GB Nokia Lumia 920. I’ll do my best to blog about the delights and downfalls.

I ordered an unlocked, contract-free version. If I end up hating it after a year, I’ll be contract-free, and I’ll get the next iPhone, and I’ll move to Sprint for their unlimited data. Wish me luck!

Building Your First Application on MongoDB ~ Metadata Catalog

I gave a webinar about building your first application on MongoDB on May 15, 2012. The presentation began with a brief overview of MongoDB, jumped into a possible use-case (creating a metadata catalog), and then I jumped into the MongoDB shell to show some live CRUD operations. My slides are posted below, and I’ve also added some of the sample queries you can run with the MongoDB shell. Let me know if you have any questions!



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Amazon Will Ship On Time: Card Charged & Kindle Fire ‘Shipping Soon’

Alright! I was hoping I would receive my Kindle Fire before Thanksgiving (Super Saver Shipping), and it looks like that will indeed be the case. I woke up this morning, started checking online banking, and noticed that I had a $200+ pending charge on my credit card from Amazon. I popped over to my Amazon account, and I saw that the shipping status for the Kindle Fire had been updated to “Shipping Soon.” WOOT! It’s almost here!

How I Ordered 11 HP TouchPads and Received ZERO…

Well, this is annoying. Last Friday, HP not only announced that they were killing off the TouchPad, but they also announced that they would be selling these things for only $99 a pop. People were going crazy trying to grab these, and I was part of the craze. I was able to place an order at MicroCenter, and I decided to order two 32GB models for $149.99 (plus tax, shipping, etc).

The site was slow, but I eventually got my order placed. That was on Friday. Then right before I went to bed on Sunday night, I got an e-mail from a friend that Barnes & Noble had put TouchPads on their site to order. Despite having already ordered a couple with Micro Center, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try with B&N. I successfully placed an order for two TouchPads! I decided to try and order five more, these just for eBay, with another e-mail account address. Order successfully placed! Now I was up to NINE TouchPads on the way!

Barnes & Noble HP TouchPad Order Confirmation

I figured that I probably wouldn’t get all of the TouchPads. I was pretty certain B&N wouldn’t ship me five TouchPads, but I placed the order, and it went through, so I figured I’d wait and see. The next morning when I woke up, I saw that someone posted that CDW had just dropped the price as well! This site was the most broken i had encountered yet. I would get ASP DB errors all the time, and the error messages were pretty much constant. Huge pain in the neck. FINALLY, I was able to place an order. Once again, I ordered two 16GB HP TouchPads.

CDW HP TouchPad Order Confirmation

I got through! That would put my total number of HP TouchPads ordered at ELEVEN!!!!!! Honestly, I figured that perhaps the sites took a few too many orders, but since I ordered a total of eleven, from different vendors, I figured I would get at least one!

And then the rejection letters started coming in… Barnes & Noble was first.

Barnes & Noble HP TouchPad Rejection

And then after B&N came CDW…

CDW HP TouchPad Rejection Letter

Micro Center was the first place I ordered a TouchPad from, and because I had not heard from them yet, I thought there was hope! I went online to check my order status. I couldn’t find an order status checker so I used their “live chat” feature. “Michelle” informed me that they canceled my order. That sucked.

Micro Center HP TouchPad Rejection Chat

I’m REALLY annoyed. I ordered freaking eleven of these things… from three different retailers, and I had a batting average of ZERO. Ugh. Maybe I should make a T-Shirt: “I ordered 11 HP TouchPads and all I got was this lousy blog post!”

Review: Henge Docks 15 Inch MacBook Pro Docking Station

I’m constantly figuring out how to best optimize my workspace. Most recently, I purchased a Heckler Design OneLessDesk. While I love the desk, it provided me with some challenges. the primary challenge was that I no longer had anywhere to put my MacBook. On the Heckler Design website, they show users putting their MacBooks on on the lower portion of the desk, but I really prefer having a dedicated keyboard and mouse/trackpad. I decided to buy a laptuk to put my 27″ Cinema Display on top. However, I didn’t like how the Laptuk raised my monitor up an extra few inches. It made the viewing angle uncomfortable. I continued my search for a good way to dock my MacBook Pro.
Then I stumbled on Henge Docks. Henge Docks is a company that makes a vertically oriented line of docking stations for Apple’s MacBook Pro line of computers. They looked classy on the website, and I decided to order one to see if it would be a good way to fit my laptop on my OneLessDesk. Read more

Pictures and Thoughts: My Heckler Design OneLessDesk

I was sick of my old desk. In fact, it wasn’t even a desk really. It was a big glass Ikea table that I used as a desk. It worked just fine for me, but I got sick of cleaning the glass, and the glass actually just rested on top of a metal stand, and I got sick of the glass getting knocked around. Also, it was really big. I wouldn’t say I actually started actively looking for a new desk, but my eyes were open. Then one day I stumbled upon the Heckler Design OneLessDesk over at the MacRumors forums. I did some research on the desk, and I knew I had to have it… Read more


It took me long enough, but I finally got around to getting this site up and running. I used to spend some time blogging for my old site, Crazy Hawt. The focus of Crazy Hawt was… well… there was no focus. It was really just a place for my to test out the whole blogging thing. Over time, I realized that I enjoyed writing primarily about technology and travel. And when it came to technology, I wasn’t interested in re-posting re-hashed news, a la Engadget. I was more interested in posting about little projects I had going on like creating a Squeezebox Server or getting an electrical burn.
Over time, thanks to Google Analytics, I realized that people found my technology articles through Google. It makes sense. If geeks have a technical question, the first thing we do is search for it on the internet. It turns out that this did not ring true with travel posts. Nobody seemed to stumble upon my trip reports and interesting tidbits about my travels. I came to the conclusion that most people with travel questions went to sites like UPGRD, TripAdvisor, or MilePoint. Thus, I decided it was time to move on from Crazy Hawt. Besides, the whole thing was just an experiment to dip my toe into the blogosphere in the first place.

I moved all of my travel-related posts over to my UPGRD-hosted blog, Cloud Commuting. I’ve been blogging there for about a year now, and that will continue to be the site where I post all of my travel-related blabberings. A new site had to be created, however, for all of my technology posts! And that’s what we have right here… NotQuiteMainstream.com. I think the name is fitting. The stuff I post is likely not for the mainstream casual technology crowd, but it’s probably not way in the weeds where only a COBOL developer would give a hoot. So here’s the new site. Enjoy!