To kickstart our cloud effort we had an AWS solutions architect and evangelist come to our offices for an immersion training session which lasted a day and a half. Going into these sessions I was hoping that we would come out with a good understanding of how we would architect our application. What I came away with was a better understanding of the breadth and depth of the services AWS has to offer but not a plan for how to piece them into an application. I felt like I had been given a tour of a gourmet kitchen, shown how to use a knife, turn on the stove, and sample a couple spices and then told to go make a meal.

I think our whole team came away with the understanding that there is a lot to learn and that we will certainly need some guidance in putting together a sound application architecture.

I’m a long time Java developer with years of J2EE-like application experience. The software I’ve worked on for the last 10+ years is deployed on JBoss into enterprises. We largely treat the application and applcation server as a single monolith that is installed via a typical installer. We have never treated the .ear file as a self-deployable entity and we have no development practices that support that type of deployment.

After a false start in 2014 we are again making the attempt to “take our application into the cloud.” In our first attempt, our team had a lot of misconceptions about what moving to the cloud meant. The most positive aspect of our current attempt is that we brought out some consultants from AWS for training and we can admit to ourselves that we really don’t know how to make the move.

I plan to document as much of our transition as I can and hope others can benefit from our good and bad experiences.

The keyboard is different. It’s not terrible and I will get used to it, but I do wish that I didn’t have to get used to it. I’m wondering if Apple trying to prep users for a future non-mechanical keyboard. The feel is so different from any keyboard I’ve used before that I can’t help but feel like Apple is trying to move us in a certain direction.

As I’ve grown accustomed to the keyboard I found that I get a better experience with a lighter touch. When I first started using it and was pressing with the same force as my old keyboard, my fingers started to ache some. I’ve also found the keyboard sound more pleasant when touching with less pressure. I could hear the keys bottoming out and it did sound like I was banging things out on keyboard.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I use Karabiner Elements to map the escape key to the right option key. This is working well and I don’t think I could live with the Touch Bar escape key. I do need the physical feel for that particular key.

The full height left and right arrows continue to mess with me. I often press the up arrow when I mean to press down. The reason is that with the old keyboard that had half height right and left arrow keys, I would rest my index and ring finger on the left and right arrows. Resting my middle finger in line with them I would press the down arrow and putting it up a bit would give me the up arrow. With the full height left and right arrows, putting my middle finger in line with the index and right may or may not put it on the down arrow. In fact, I realize that I was used to feeling for the top of the half height arrows so I’m more likely to line my fingers up with my middle finger pressing the up arrow. I’m going to have to get used to feeling for the bottom edge of those keys so my in line finger placement puts my middle finger on the down arrow.

Sorry, I realize this was a little excessive. I’m just trying to put myself in the mindset and habit of examining, considering, and improving my tools and processes.

I added some more tools today:

  1. Installed MarsEdit which I use for my WordPress blogs. In addition to this blog which I run on Jekyll, I maintain 3 other blogs that are WordPress based. MarsEdit handles them well and I haven’t seen the need to change. If there is ever a new version I’d probably by it just to support the developer because I don’t need any new features but appreciate the many years I’ve used the tool.
  2. Installed PDFPenPro 7 which isn’t the latest version. I use this occasionally to work with PDFs. It’s one of those tools that I will use eventually and don’t want to hunt around for it and mess around with licenses when I do.
  3. Installed Audio Hijack for podcast recording. I’m currently doing most recording on my iPhone, but I will probably try the workflow on this machine at some point.
  4. Installed Fission for simple editing. I use GarageBand for long form editing like podcasts, but I use Fission for editing the sermons for the church because I just need to edit the beginning and end and export at a reasonable bit-rate.
  5. Installed Pocket Safari Extension because I use Pocket for bookmarking URLs. I do need to rethink bookmarking tools because my backlog of things to read and watch is reaching nearly 3 years. I’m not really sure this is the most effective way to manage stuff I want to read and links I want to save.
  6. Installed Pocket app to read my Pocket list. I could read it from the web app, but I like native apps because they typically have more functionality than a web app especially offline viewing.
  7. Installed Better Rename 9 for conveniently batch renaming files. It’s not something I do often, but it comes in handy when I do.
  8. Installed Eclipse for Java development. This is my workhorse tool at my day job so it’s another tool I need to test the suitability of this machine for work.

That’s all for today. I think I’m close to forming some solid opinions about working with this machine and I’ll have a write-up soon.

This is my first post from the new MacBook Pro.

Here what I’ve done so far:

  1. Installed Microsoft Remote Desktop as an experiment to see what it would take to use a Mac in my day-job environment.
  2. Installed VPN Unlimited client so that I have a VPN connection in untrusted network environments.
  3. Installed Karabiner Elements. This is a new one. I used Karabiner and Seil to remap the caps lock key to cmd-opt-ctrl-shift on my old MacBook Pro, but in macOS Sierra this no longer works. I dug around found this was the latest solution. Now why do I remap the caps lock key this way. The cmd-opt-ctrl-shift- makes a great shortcut to launch apps, go to websites, or open directories. It's part of my muscle memory and makes me more productive. I found that Karabiner Elements lets me map the escape key to the right-side option key and I've mapped the right-side command key to opt-ctr-shift which I also use for some shortcuts. These last two mappings are new to me, but the escape key mapping is helping because of the lack of physcial escape key and the opt-ctrl-shift mapping seemed like a good mapping to try. It was noticable from the wear patterns on the old MacBook Pro's keyboard that I almost never used these keys.
  4. Installed JDK 8 so I could experiment with day-job scenarios.
  5. Installed Xcode and Xcode Tools because I will eventually need to update some of my iOS apps or start new ones and also for Homebrew.
  6. Installed Homebrew to manage open source packages.
  7. Installed rvm and them imploded it because it seems that rbenv is now the popular way to manage ruby installations on the MacBook
  8. Installed rbenv and ruby-build
  9. Installed ruby 2.3.2
  10. Installed jekyll
  11. Installed Visual Studio Code as my text editor. I’ve come to like it for JavaScript development and it does mostly what I need from a general purpose text editor but I will monitor its strengths and shortcomings.
  12. I then played around with the bash prompt and uploaded my ssh key to my blogging host so I can rsync the blog without having to type in my password every time.

That’s all the software I’ve installed so far. I’m trying to stay in the bounds of only installing stuff when I have the need. I probably have a few more posts on stuff I’m installing and why. I think I want to use the machine a little longer before I start praising or complaining about the machine itself.