Andrew Connell

Latest Musings topics

All the latest Musings pages on this site.

Here you'll find random posts that don't belong in any of the other categories on this site.

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  • Published on

    Blog: Stop Using Internet Explorer 11

    You know what this past weekend marked? Sunday, October 13 marked the 6 year anniversary of the release of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). SIX YEARS… let that sink in. Blurred LInes by Robert Thicke & Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus were released that year. Frozen, Gravity & Iron Man 3 were released in the theater. The iPhone 5s, HTC One & Samsung Galaxy S4 were the popular phones. We’d all consider those things to be old… yet there are still organizations that are still using IE11 as their primary browser.
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    Blog: Honored to be Highlighed by Mary Jo Foley As Community Champ

    I’m generally not one to make a big deal about being recognized for something, but yesterday something took me by quite a surprise. Heads down working on my new course, I had been off social media for most of the day… something I do frequently so I can focus as social media makes me too ADD during the work day. At any rate, a friend messaged me with “congrats on the news!
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    Blog: Cutting the Cord - Taking Control of TV and Slashing Monthly Costs Over 70%

    In early October 2017 I made one change to this setup related to OTA channels. I got rid of the HDHomeRun Connect tuner & using Plex to watch OTA channels. Instead, I’m now using a TabloTV tuner with the associated apps on my phone, tablet & Roku to watch OTA live TV complete with a DVR & time shifting solution. I’ve updated the changes in the text below.
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    Blog: Blog Update: New Blog Posts Published in RSS and Email

    A little over a month ago, I blogged how I shut off my RSS feed on my blog to replace it with an email newsletter. You can read more about that decision here: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email . Today I’ve turned the RSS feature back on for new posts, however, the only thing in that post is a message about going to the site to read the whole post, not the body of the actual blog post.
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    Blog: How I Migrated from Evernote to OneNote

    A while back, about 2.5 years ago in January 2014, I switched my personal & professional note-taking app from Microsoft’s OneNote to Evernote ( I Jumped on the Evernote Bandwagon ). Over time I adopted a great workflow for keeping track of todo’s and taking notes with Evernote that worked great for me ( GTD - Get Organized and be More Productive using The Secret Weapon & Evernote ). However, over the last year or so I became frustrated with Evernote’s lack of an API, integration with third parties (see: lack of an API) and the downward trend of the company with numerous reports of layoffs.
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    Blog: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email

    After years of struggling to find a solution to something that’s bothered me, I’m finally making a big change on my site. Starting immediately after this post, I will no longer syndicate my content out in an RSS feed. After this post, if you want to get notified of new posts, you can subscribe to my newsletter using the widget at the bottom of all pages on my site or signing up using this form .
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    Blog: My Story of Identity Theft - Let Me Serve as an Example To Others

    In mid-June 2016 I learned that my naive attitude of “it won’t happen to me” around identity theft was stupid as I became yet another statistic. I thought being careful with your personal details was enough… but all it takes is an inside job by someone where you got a loan for a house, car or a credit account you’ve opened. I’m sharing my story of what happened, what I did and what I wish I had done to avoid it from happening in the first place.
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    Blog: Microsoft Buys LinkedIn for $26.2 B-I-L-L-I-O-N

    Allow me to be the 15th person to share the news that Microsoft announced the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion dollars. So far there’s been a lot of confusion in this move trying to understand it. I’m at a bit of a loss myself, chalking this up in the same category as the Minecraft acquisition in 2014 for $2.5 billion. I’m going to hold off on passing judgement on the move, but might be able to categorize my initial reaction to something akin to this:
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    Blog: Two Incredible Days at NASA - Restricted Access to KSC for SpaceX CRS-8

    I recently talked about my experience I outline here on my podcast, the Microsoft Cloud Show , with my co-host Chris Johnson If you’re interested, checkout Episode 124 | Geek Out - Behind the Scenes at Kennedy Space Center and Rocket Launches with NASA Social . Recently I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 8th NASA Social event which culminated with the launch of the eighth Cargo Resupply Mission (CRS-8) conducted by SpaceX, referred to as SpaceX CRS-8 , at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, FL.
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    Blog: Microsoft's Office Group is Leaving the non-Windows Customers Hanging

    I think when companies do good things, they deserve credit for it. When Microsoft embraced the open source community, I was pleasantly surprised and shared how I’d been feeling about the change in the company with my post .NET Goes Open Source - An Epic Day… This is Your New Microsoft . As a MacBook Pro / OSX guy, I shared my mostly positive experience with my new Surface Pro 4 in my post Two Weeks with a Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10 .
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    Blog: Two Weeks with a Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10

    Don’t get any ideas… I’m still very happy with my MacBook Pro and not planning to switch anytime soon. Spoiler alert: my MacBook Pro is still my primary & preferred machine I still prefer OSX over Windows. A few weeks ago I got really lucky had a very good weekend playing on DraftKings … like real lucky. I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a machine for native Visual Studio based work.
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    Blog: Two Months with a Tesla Model S 85D & Our First 1,200+ Mile Road Trip

    I joined the fortunate group of people who can say they own a Tesla Model S in late May of this year. My wife and I did a ton of research on the car and the life of switching to a fully electric car before we made the commitment, but I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until after we lived with it for the last two months. Since we got it, I’ve fielded many of the same questions so I figured a detailed post would be nice to point to plus it might help someone else who is doing the same research we were doing in March 2015.
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    Blog: Traveling Dual Monitors on the Road with a MacBook & iPad

    I work from a home office where I’ve got a slick 3-monitor setup… three 27" monitors, two sitting horizontal at 2560x1440 and one sitting vertical at 1080x1920 in the middle (by the way, a center vertical monitor is awesome for coding). All this is run off the two Thunderbolt & single HDMI ports on my MacBook Pro (late 2013): I’ve become so dependent on this setup that when I travel or work outside of my office, I avoid some tasks when I don’t have a second monitor.
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    Blog: What to do with your new Raspberry Pi 2 B

    Are you one of the lucky people who grabbed one of the Raspberry Pi 2’s from the Office 365 Developer team at the Ignite conference? You might be wondering “this is cool, but what do I do with it?” There are a ton of resources and if you are first getting started they might not be so obvious to you. Learning The Basics When I first started playing around with DIY hardware I realized real quick I didn’t have an EE (electronic engineering) degree… I hadn’t played much with electronics… well ever.
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    Blog: My Interview on Startups for the Rest of Us: Making a Full-Time Income With Online Training

    Close friends of mine know there’s a podcast that I’ve become a huge fan of over the last two years. It’s called Startups for the Rest of Us by Rob Walling & Mike Taber … their topic is all about working on startups as a solopreneur or micropreneur. Even if you aren’t doing a startup, if you’re a self starter or someone who works from home or works for yourself, there are tons of good life and work tips in this show.
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    Blog: The Future of JavaScript is (almost) Now

    Over the last three weeks I’ve had the opportunity to speak at there absolutely fantastic conferences: SharePoint Evolutions in London , Microsoft’s Build in San Francisco & Microsoft’s Ignite in Chicago . At each of these conferences, virtually all of my sessions were along the lines of one of two themes: JavaScript & related technologies (like Angular or TypeScript) or Office 365. One thing I said a few times over the last few weeks in these sessions was how I’ve almost entirely switched sides to doing virtually everything with JavaScript.
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    Blog: Rapid Complete Install / Reinstall OS X Like a Champ in Three-ish Hours

    You’re a developer, you know that periodic spring cleanings are good. Laptops slow down over time from all the cruft you acquire on your main drive. No matter how hard you try, your machine is never fully clean. The best way to clean this up is with a complete system reinstall after blowing away the partition. But no one likes doing that because you don’t want take the time to backup everything or fear you’re going to lose something or… the worst part… you don’t want to spend the time reinstalling everything.
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    Blog: Happy New Year To All - We Are Capable of Great Things

    Bit of a sentimental post… today is the last day of 2014 and we start anew tomorrow. A big frustration for me is how the media & news loves to dwell on what is bad in this world. I get sucked in all too often, but looking back, it was a great year on so many fronts. But looking back is not nearly as interesting as looking forward… As a civilization we are capable of so many incredible things.
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    Blog: Resolving Contacts Sync on OS X - Error SOAPWebServicesErrorDomain

    After a recent, but rare, reboot of my MacBook Pro caused by the OS update v10.10.1 being applied, I started having this very annoying issue. I got it resolved and since I could find no other post that mentioned the fix, here’s me playing the “here’s my fix” role for others. On OSX we have this slick app Messages that lets you do SMS messaging to other people on iMessage (ie: others on iOS & iPhones), text to non-iOS folks and even chat through Google Talk or Facebook’s Messages.
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    Blog: Microsoft Band - My Review after One Week

    Yup, I jumped on the Microsoft Bandwagon and got a Microsoft Band one week ago. I wanted it earlier but had trouble finding it… but I got lucky! After failing multiple times to get one due to the stock issues around, I stopped in my local Microsoft store to preorder one and wait for it to arrive. To my surprise they had them in stock… apparently from some preorder people who never picked them up (idiots!
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    Blog: .NET Goes Open Source - An Epic Day... This is Your New Microsoft

    Office on iPad? That wasn’t too much of a stretch but an impressive announcement. 20% of the virtual machines in Microsoft Azure IaaS run Linux? That’s a surprising stat, but more impressive Microsoft announced it. Cross platform development for Android & iOS in Visual Studio? Yeah, that was a bit surprising. Office 365 shipping Android & iOS SDKs? Yeah… that I wouldn’t have guessed years ago. Coming out with a new device (the Microsoft Band) that beat the hardware trendsetter to market (Apple), undercut their price and got glowing reviews?
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    Blog: Presenting from a Mac - My Toolbox & Techniques

    Over the last year I’ve had the fun experience of riding the learning curve of spending most of my time in OS X instead of Windows. A key aspect of my professional life is conducing courses & presentations from my laptop so I had to crack this nugget pretty darn fast. There are some specific platform things I absolutely love about presenting from my MacBook Pro. I love making things full screen (which is literally full screen, even taking over the top Apple menu bar) including browser windows, slides or virtual machines and being able to use the gesture 4-finger-swipe or quickly see my desktop using the thumb+three finger pinch… you can see them all listed here: Mac Basics: Multi-Touch Gestures .
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    Blog: Project Task Management - Using Trello for Kanban Boards

    From time to time I write a little about productivity things. A while ago I wrote how using Evernote every day was a boost to my productivity: GTD - Get Organized and Be More Productive using The Secret Weapon and Evernote . This helped because I no longer lost or forgot things and because I was able to keep fewer things in my mind. Rather I have a daily morning ritual when I look at a specific tag !
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    Blog: Windows 10 looks more like Windows 7.55

    After 2.5yrs on Windows Phone, I switched in March 2013 back to iPhone (and love it). In December 2013, I switched from a Lenovo w520 with Windows 8 > MacBook Pro with OSX (the switch was under duress and planned to only last a few days while I finished a project and could order a new Lenovo, but their 14day return policy worked on me: I kept it and loved it).
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    Blog: GTD - Get Organized and Be More Productive using The Secret Weapon and Evernote

    In the past I’ve posted a few entries on being more productive, such as how I leverage virtual assistants . In this post I’m going to continue on that line of “getting things done” type thinking. It’s a long post, so let me start with the standard “too long, didn’t read” section to provide a quick rundown TL;DR I have a problem staying on top of my task list.
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    Blog: Satya Nadella Named Microsoft CEO... My Ask: Shake the Tree

    Satya Nadella’s name was included as one of the short-list members when the CEO search started late in 2013 once Steve Ballmer announced he was retiring. Other names came and went in the process. Then last week the rumors started flying that he was going to be picked. Today, Microsoft made it official and announced Satya Nadella as the 3rd Microsoft CEO . What’s interesting is that he asked, and got, Bill Gates to spend 1/3 of his time to be involved as Founder & Technology Advisor, stepping down from his previous position as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Microsoft.
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    Blog: Now InfoPath is Dead - RIP InfoPath, but Now What?

    Remember that Monty Python movie The Holy Grail? There’s a scene where a guy is walking through a village with a cart of dead people yelling “bring out your dead.” A guy walks up with a not-quite-dead person and the dialog goes a little like this: Person: Here’s one! Not-Quite-Dead-Guy: I’m not dead! Cart Guy: He says he’s not dead. Person: Oh no, he’s well on his way. Not-Quite-Dead-Guy: I’m getting better!
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    Blog: I Jumped on the Evernote Bandwagon

    For years I’ve been keeping my notes in Microsoft’s OneNote app in Office. It’s worked just fine, sync’s across two machines (via SkyDrive) and as of the last few years I could even start accessing my notes via a web interface. It worked fine for me… I only had a few complaints, but it worked fine enough and I had a TON of data in it. Best part, it was essentially free being part of the Office suite.
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    Blog: Switching from Lenovo w520 to Apple MacBook Pro

    I’m going to leave the comments open on this post, but as with all comments on my blog, they are moderated. Just a fair warning: flamers & haters will not be approved. I’m all for a constructive conversation, but this is not a medium for noise. In December 2013 I made a significant change with my laptop and operating system choice. Part of this change was done under duress… so let me give you a little backstory on how I came to switch from being a Lenovo + Windows 8.
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    Blog: I Won’t Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Because Microsoft Won’t Let Me

    Last week Windows 8.1 was released to the Windows Store. We were told that everyone who had Windows 8.0, you could upgrade no problem. Personally I saw the updates for 8.1 and wasn’t impressed. Getting the start button (not the menu, just the button) with a few other things was not terribly impressive to me as the big fix. I installed the preview on my Surface and just didn’t blow me away with all the hype others were pouring into it.
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    Blog: Orchard CMS vs. WordPress: It's On!

    Every time I seem to publish a post on Orchard CMS , I get all this random and unsolicited input from people either asking why I didn’t use WordPress or that I should have used WordPress for my site. To be very clear: I know it’s an option but it isn’t what I wanted. I wanted to continue to tinker and extend the engine I was going to use and had zero interest in learning PHP for that task.
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    Blog: Working More Efficiently with the help of Virtual Assistants

    A few months ago I blogged about some changes I had made in my life to work smarter to be more efficient which yielded in higher productivity . At the time there was something else I wanted to mention, but was a bit timid as I didn’t want people to get the wrong impression. However since the post, I’ve had numerous conversations with some friends where our conversations dug a little deeper on the subject.
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    Blog: Thoughts on the MacBook Air

    Recently I posted an entry about my thoughts on the Windows Surface RT that I have been using for over 8 months . Many took that as me complaining about the Surface so I posted another entry a few days later where I clarified it wasn’t so much about the Surface as it was that I’ve come to realize that a full size tablet is not a laptop replacement or laptop-lite solution for me .
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    Blog: Finding that Device Sweet Spot

    Desktops, laptops, ultra portables, tablets, mini tablets, phones… with so many choices out there it’s hard to find your device sweet spot. Over the years I’ve tried just about everything and I think I’m finally coming to the conclusion of what works best for me. The other day I wrote a blog post that gave the impression to many from what I saw on Twitter that I was dismissing the Surface RT.
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    Blog: Working Smarter, More Efficiently & Being More Productive

    A few months ago I tweeted a brief comment about investing some time in changing the way I was working and introducing a few new techniques to my work life. That tweet spun up a dialog with a handful of people and prompted a few to request I share some of the things I was doing. As such I decided to write up this post to share what changes I made that have been a boon in my productivity.
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    Blog: Moving my Phone from Office 365 to Skype

    As someone who works from home but spends a solid amount of time on the road, one thing I’ve wanted to have is a good business phone solution. I don’t like giving my cell phone out to every single vendor or being a contact point, rather I prefer to have a “office line.” For years I used Vonage as my phone, but that was like a regular phone… it was just VOIP.
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    Blog: After 8 Months, My Thoughts About the Surface RT

    It’s now been roughly 8 months since I got my 64GB Surface RT last October and I thought now would be a good time to provide some perspective after it’s had some serious usage. In recent days there’s been a lot of poor press on Windows RT and the RT devices including these stories on ZDNet: Mary Jo Foley - Microsoft’s $900M Surface RT Write-Down: How Did This Happen? Matt Baxter-Reynolds - Surface RT Sets the New Gold Standard in Hubris Agam Shah - Lenovo Drops Yoga 11 Hybrid with Windows RT from its Online Sales None of these spell good news for Windows RT.
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    Blog: SharePoint 2013: CSOM vs. REST ... My Preference and Why

    Earlier this week I watched a dialog progress between a few people: which client-side API they prefer in SharePoint 2013. In this post, I share my opinion.
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    Blog: My thoughts on the SharePoint App Model, Office 365, SharePoint Store and the Business of SharePoint Apps Today

    A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the SharePoint Summit in Toronto, Canada . Months before when I received the invitation, I was doing a lot of work and thinking around the new SharePoint app model. It wasn’t the typical technical aspects that had my attention, it was more along the lines of the business of SharePoint Apps, the messaging coming form Microsoft, confusion customs were having and the challenges many of us were experiencing when applying this new model to the real world business problems.
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    Blog: My Thoughts: InfoPath 2013 & the Future of InfoPath

    “What’s your take on InfoPath 2013… do you recommend it?” Man I get this question a *ton*. Yesterday I got it again on Twitter and finally decided I needed a place to point people. If you want the jist of it, scroll to the bottom and see my summary. Looking Back at InfoPath History & Where We Are Today InfoPath is a forms solution for Microsoft Office & the SharePoint platform and has been so for many releases.
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    Blog: My Blog Engine and Design has Served Me Well, But its Time for a Big Change

    Over nine years ago I started this blog on an open source engine (.Text v0.94). I was using one of the out-of-the-box skins which served me well for a while. Then Phill Haack picked it up, forked the source and created the engine SubText . I can’t recall when I moved over to SubText, but it was a painless move being that SubText was really just a fork of .Text.
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    Blog: Lync + BusyLight = Great Solution for the Home Office

    A while ago I saw a post by Scott Hanselman about this little thing called BusyLight that he found for Lync . The concept is simple: a little orb lights up different colors based on your presence status on Lync. Lync is smart enough to automatically flag you as busy when your calendar says you’re in a meeting or if your Lync is tied to your telephone ( as mine is with the Office 365 Lync-to-Phone service ), it flags you as busy when you’re on a call.
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    Blog: Product Review: Microsoft Surface RT

    Disclaimer: This is not a provided device from Microsoft. This is my device that I bought. I got an iPad (first gen) a few months after it came out and never upgraded to a more current one because I didn’t see much value-add from version to version that was worth the cost. For me it was only good as a content consumption device to read blogs or movies or play games.
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    Blog: Product Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

    Disclamer: This is not a provided device from Amazon. This is my device that I bought. I feel like I have to say this with so many bloggers now being paid to do product reviews which, IMHO, is absurd. At any rate… Years ago I got a Kindle 2nd Edition, the second white one, and immediately fell in love with it. Aside from my phone, it was the one device that was always with me on every trip and anytime I had to wait (doctor appointment, car service, etc).
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    Blog: After a month+, loving Windows 8... looking forward to a tablet!

    First, some context. I’m a bit of a road warrior that works out of a home office. I’ve got a Lenovo ThinkPad w520 with dual SSD’s and 16GB RAM as I need to run VMs and teach/present so the speed is important. When I’m at home I leave my laptop docked and use two 27" LCDs but when on the road, I’m just using the laptop or presenting on a monitor/screen.
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    Blog: Converting all your non-MP3 files to MP3's with VLC, PowerShell and TagLib

    Last weekend I was poking around my music collection on my server and noticed a bunch of artists and albums not showing up in my library. In this post I explain how I fixed it.
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    Blog: Microsoft's Lack of Consistency for End Users is Frustrating

    Maybe it’s just me, but the only thing I can think of since seeing the new UI for the beta of Visual Studio 11 and all the explanation the Visual Studio Blog puts out (specifically here & here ) is how inconsistent the different divisions within the organization are and how they don’t seem to reuse each other’s research, specifically for end users. The first line in both of the posts I just linked to start with “We hear you.
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    Blog: Authenticating and Working with the Salesforce REST API and OAuth

    In the past I’ve complained about the Salesforce SOAP API for reading/writing your CRM databases. Last year Salesforce added a new API, one founded on RESTful principals, for developers to work with. I wish it was implemented as an OData service, but I guess the Salesforce guys are stuck behind the times. At any rate, I had a need to read/write to a Salesforce instance and couldn’t bear to use their SOAP API again so I decided to give the REST API a go.
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    Blog: Amazon Kindle Fire - 2 Months Later

    When I saw the presser months ago with Jeff Bezos, someone I highly respect in this business and one of the few true visionaries, I jumped and did what I try not to do and make an impulse purchase on something that expensive. When I got it I loved it, gave it a few days and wrote a review I posted here . Now after two months, I wanted to post some more thoughts.
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