Yosemite Hates my Mac

There’s nothing like discovering that your MacBook Pro wants to die after upgrading to Yosemite, and that it’s failed to alert you to the fact that Time Machine hasn’t backed it up successfully in over 20 days. It’s been getting progressively worse over the past few weeks. It started as slow app launch times, and moved onto painfully slow OS launches, unresponsive Finder and Spotlight on boot, and more.

If you rely on Time Machine backups, make sure you’re routinely verifying that a backup has, in fact, taken place. I had assumed my backups were current. I was wrong. System Preferences > Time Machine will report the date and time of your last successful backup. You can also browse backups by entering Applications > Time Machine, or browsing your backup diskand going to Backups.backupdb > Computer Name > and look for a series of dated folders. It’ll match this format: YEAR-MO-DAY-TIME.)

If your Mac fails to backup at any time, you can always try deleting any .inProgress files that happen to be located in the same folder as the dated ones and try initiating a backup again. (Under Yosemite, you have the option of assigning multiple hard drives as Backups and Time Machine will alternate between them.)

Don’t rely on Time Machine to be your only backup solution. SuperDuper! for Mac (Free/$27.95) can easily make fully bootable backups. (The paid version will even allow you to schedule full backups.) Carbon Copy Cloner 4 ($39.99) is another viable option, though I haven’t used it personally.

You can get a 1TB drive for less than $60 on Amazon (affiliate link).

I’m lucky I have semi-recent backups. But it could have been much worse. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be backing your system up regularly. Be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Reading Rainbow for the Next Generation

I was extremely excited to learn that there was a Kickstarter project to bring back Reading Rainbow. Watching it absolutely crush it’s funding goals has been quite the experience. I grew up watching the show. I want my kids to be able to experience the joy of learning and reading it gave to me as well. If you haven’t backed the project yet, think about it?

Sharpening Creativity

At some point during my life I stopped drawing. I don’t remember when it happened exactly, although I’m almost certain I stopped because of computer-aided design.

As I’ve been preparing for my talk at GIANTConf next month, I realized I hadn’t been pushing myself much lately. I stopped doing things that I loved because I was too hard on myself — and frankly, too lazy to continue pursuing them. Once I realized this, I started drawing again. Some of it’s been based on pictures I’ve found online. Some of it’s been based on toys I own. Some of it’s been completely freeform. But all of it’s been incredibly liberating.

Creativity, left unused, is a blade that dulls over time. Practice is the only way to sharpen it and improve.

Am I where I want my skills to be at yet? Nope. But I know that the only way to get there is to keep trying. I’m still overly critical of what I’ve been working on lately, but I know that I’ll get better if I keep with it.

Deciding not to do something because you can’t do it well is a cop out. I’m tired of having a dull blade.


 

Building a Better Community.

When I started Refresh Augusta in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing. (Hell, I still don’t.) In the past six years, the one thing I’ve learned is that running a group of any size and keeping its members interested month after month is a lot of work. Having the right tools makes it easier to make things happen.

One of the challenges I faced early on was creating a site that’d be able to capture a record of our past events and enable me to communicate future events with members. Early on, I had a basic static site that I manually updated from time to time. Then I switched to using WordPress + BuddyPress?—?a combination that worked well enough, but getting people to use the social network parts of it was a challenge. I posted recordings on Vimeo. I posted photos on Flickr and Facebook. Some of it made it onto the site. Most of it did not. Trying to manage all of this stuff as the only organizer wasn’t fun. I half-assed it.

Two summers ago, I killed the BuddyPress-powered site and started using Meetup. Paying monthly/quarterly for something I could potentially host on my own sucked, but I quickly came to the realization that I wasn’t ever going to have the time to build what I wanted on my own. Meetup.com has served our group well. Several members wouldn’t have heard about Refresh Augusta if not for Meetup. But in trying to appeal to groups of all kinds, it can’t and won’t be able to meet the needs of them all.

I’ve long admired what’s been done with the Atlanta Web Design Group. I’ve made the drive from Augusta to Atlanta countless times to hear their speakers. This past February, I even had the opportunity to speak in front of them. They’re using Meetup for their community only because viable alternatives don’t exist.

Here are some of the reasons I’m excited about their Kickstarter project:

  • As an organizer, I’m excited because of the plan to open source whatever gets built for AWDG. That could help me eventually create a website that better serves the groups I’m involved with.
  • As an out-of-town AWDG member, I’m excited because I’ll be able to access talks I’m not able to attend (when they’re able to archive them properly).
  • As a designer/developer and former full-time freelancer, I’m excited that those working on the project will be compensated for their time. If you had to choose between work that paid your bills or work that helped a web community, most of us would probably opt to earn money first, right?

Success in Atlanta brings greater attention to the rest of Georgia. Great things are being done in our state and cities like Augusta, Athens, Columbia, Savannah benefit from the exposure.

Contributing to the AWDG Kickstarter will help them grow and it’ll benefit groups similar to theirs far and wide. I’m in. Are you?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jcornelius/official-awdg-website/

Two

Two for MacTwo is a great new Mac app designed specifically for responsive web design testing. Built by my friend Chris Davis, it removes the frustration out of testing design on multiple breakpoints.

Why do I love this app? It’s easy to use, and the two viewports update immediately to reflect URL changes in one of the frames. Not having to keep multiple browsers open at varying breakpoints and remembering to refresh each of them when I make a change has already saved me an immense amount of time. (You can also export a full screenshot of mobile viewport by clicking on the camera icon.)

While it comes with defaults for iOS, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry, you can easily manage custom breakpoints and user agents within the app.

It’s only $5.99 in the Mac App Store. (It’ll pay for itself quickly.) Or grab the source from GitHub and compile it on your own.

Post-AWDGCSS Recap

awdgThank you for having me tonight, AWDG! Here are all of the links referenced in my slides (and a few extras). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Slides

CSS Preprocessors

Compilers

Links

Demo Project Files

Grab them here: http://hrrsn.me/Tm0k

Et Cetera

For those that asked: my slidedeck uses Reveal.js – http://lab.hakim.se/reveal-js/

Speaking at AWDG

awdgIn a couple of weeks, I’m going to do something I didn’t think I’d ever do: I’m speaking about CSS Preprocessors at an Atlanta Web Design Group meetup.

Over the past few years, I’ve visited Atlanta a few times a year and live-tweeted AWDG talks. This time, I’ll be on the other side of the crowd. I doubt I’ll ever get used to speaking in front of people, but this is a topic I’m passionate about and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with others.

For those attending the talk, my goal is to show you that getting started with a CSS Preprocessor like LESS or Sass/SCSS is easier than you think, and will require you to change very little in your current workflow(s). I resisted making the switch because I thought it was difficult, but I’ve since gone from experimenting with it on single projects to having all of my coworkers using it.

Don’t be evil.*

Google announced that they’re buying Nest yesterday, and with it came a flood of jokes about how we’ll need to have a Google+ account in order to change our temperatures from now on.

Google isn’t buying Nest just for their Thermostat or Protect. They bought it for the next wave of products that Nest has in development.

Google is slowly, inevitably invading the home and it wouldn’t bother me so much if their primary purpose wasn’t to advertise to us. Imagine a Google Fiber-connected house, with Google-powered TV, Internet and phone service. Every TV has a Chromecast. Your phone is running their Android OS. In your garage is parked one of their self-driving cars. They’ll know all of your travel patterns. They’ll know what nights you work or stay out late. They’ll know what nights you typically have food delivered in. They’ll know that you like keeping your house a few degrees cooler on average. They’ll know what kinds of beers you like, and how often you bring home groceries because of when you scan in items into your Android-powered fridge. And that information will be used against you. And every time you see an ad popup that seems scarily accurate to your current wants and needs you won’t care, because your life will have been made more convenient.

Featured image via @bkieffer