Chromecast Adds HBO Go

Google announced today that it can now stream HBO Go to Chromecast from both iOS and Android devices. Google is slowly adding the pieces together in making Chromecast a formidable streaming option. Priced at just $35, it’s an attractive buy considering the competition from Roku, Apple TV and others.

At this moment, Chromecast can now stream from Pandora, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and YouTube. In time, more and more services will be added in the future. In a year or two, we will see a much longer list of streaming services. Google should add sports programming next. NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS would be nice.

My only gripe about Chromecast is streaming local files. Technically, it’s possible by dropping them into the Google Chrome browser, but it’s not optimized for streaming. Video quality and delays are common issues. Chromecast initially supported access to local files, but Google removed it, but they did promise to put it back.

PHP.net New Design

PHP.net revealed its brand new website design today. PHP.net is the official website of PHP. The redesign is based on HTML5, Google Fonts, and Bootstrap. The website’s layout is a typical Bootstrap-centered layout with a top menu level. It’s both simple and elegant. The website color scheme remains purple, but the colors have been lightened a bit according to the PHP.net designers. The font of choice is “Source Sans Pro” making the website’s font much more smoother and softer to read. The PHP code examples are more readable.

In addition, the PHP documentation has also been redesigned. It’s a drastic improvement over the previous design. It’s easier to navigate and read, making the reading documentation fun again. The new design has been a long time coming. The older design was showing its age. The website seemed stuck in time ten years ago. So, kudos to the PHP Group and to those who were involved for making the bold move. There’s no doubting now, PHP is truly the most popular language of the web.

CodeAcademy

If you want to learn how to develop websites, visit CodeAcademy.com. In about several dozen exercises or so, you can quickly learn how to write code in different languages that empower the web. Courses in HTML/CSS, PHP, Javascript, Python, Ruby, and APIs are being offered. The program is geared towards people with no programming experience, but challenging enough for those with some programming experience.

The programs are designed to get you started, and to get your feet wet. It’s by no means a be all exhaustive programming experience. The CodeAcademy exercises are designed to get you introduced to the basics of each language. If you’re looking for a programming experience that is exhaustive, extensive and covers intermediate and advanced levels, CodeAcademy is not this program. There are other certification programs offered for a handsome fee.

CodeAcademy programs are free.

2 Million Raspberry Pi

Sales of the popular and highly successful Raspberry Pi have hit the two million units last week. The creators of the $35 credit-card sized computer initially planned to sell a 1000 units. It took a year to sell the first million and 8 months to sell the second. I bought two units myself last year. Raspberry Pi have been introduced to schools to teach kids how to program. There are many uses for Raspberry Pi. The Linux-based units are used in variety of ways from running websites, mail servers, print servers, media servers, DNS servers, as well as automation. Raspberry Pi users have found different uses for the open-sourced units from running bars, as a translator, for ordering pizzas, etc.

Following the success of the Pi, there are other projects worth checking into in 2014.

Xcode Reinstall on Mavericks

I’ve been using Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks for a couple of weeks now. So far, so good. No issues whatsoever. There were several updates that followed the OS upgrade. Updates to iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto were the obvious ones, plus a couple of other small applications that were also updated as a result of the OS upgrade.

I happen to use Git for version control for my software projects. One thing I noticed after upgrading to Mavericks, Git stopped working completely. I tried to do a git pull, and I was met with this error, “xcode-select: note: no developer tools were found at ‘/Applications/Xcode.app’, requesting install. Choose an option in the dialog to download the command line developer tools.”

The cool part about all this is, Mavericks immediately recognized the problem and offered to correct it by asking the user to proceed with Xcode installation. I gladly clicked Update/Install. The update took less than 5 minutes to complete. After the install, I issued git pull command again, and sure enough the my git repository updated nicely.

I’m glad to report that after two weeks running on Mac OS Mavericks, I haven’t had any major problems, except for this relatively minor inconvenience of reinstalling Xcode.