iPad Keyboard Commands for gcloud web-based ssh terminal (vi w/ Zagg bluetooth keyboard)

2015-06-30 09.37.44

Escape: ALT or OPTION + “[” (left bracket)
Up: k
Down: j
Left: h
Right: l (lowercase L)
Bonus: tab completion can be accomplished via CTRL+tab.

I’ve been playing around with Google Compute Engine and setting up a development environment on my iPad. A requirement for the sysadmin side of the process is vi. From a terminal app on a Mac or PC, this is cake. From the web-based SSH client on an iPad, you have to use the old school keyboard commands instead of the arrows, ESC, and TAB. I use this Zagg bluetooth keyboard case.

I’ll probably cover the complete dev setup in another post, but if you’re curious here’s a summary:

– Server admin and Apache/Node configs: Open the Compute Engine instance in the web and open the web-based SSH client.

– Code editing and development: Textastic iOS app, using Dropbox.

– Code versioning and repositories: A server is sync’d with Dropbox and file changes trigger a git commit and push to GitHub. Merges and branch changes are done via web-based terminal.

– Continuous Integration: After GitHub commits, an HTTP POST is automatically sent to the deploy server. It retrieves and applies the applicable version from GitHub. (note: I may switch to Chef, but for now this “just works”).

Annual Reviews


This year’s annual review process swung around fast! It seems like the team joined Ingram Digital just months ago. I’ve done them a few times, but this was the first review process I’ve done at ID. Reviews are a time for reflection. A time to make and receive input on how we’ve performed. A time to realize and face weaknesses and understand our strengths.

There were five appraisals of my developers, and one on myself. To normalize the results I did my self-appraisal first. I had everyone on the team do their own self-appraisal, too, but I avoided reviewing theirs until I’d done my appraisal of them. This was to make sure my scores weren’t skewed and to look for any disconnects.

I started by reading status reports I sent for the year. For the weeks without status reports I re-read email to make sure I didn’t miss any accomplishments. This was time consuming and highlights the need to maintain a tighter journal of deeds. I’ve done this for myself over the last ten years. Keeping a separate journal for one’s team is highly valuable and I’m going to start doing this beyond status reports.

My team rocks, and my entries in my self-appraisal are the result of their efforts. As I listed each accomplishment I thought, “My team made this. My team created that… I worked my face off, but what specifically did I do?” It’s strange to reflect on what one was responsible for, but did with the hands of others.

Appraisals for my team were less demanding after my own. For one, after this point I’d compiled the full list of the team’s accomplishments. For two, it’s easier to judge others after judging one’s self.

Some additional links on performance reviews:

Bug Tracking on the iPhone with JIRA Mate

My dev team uses JIRA for bug tracking. It’s a flexible project management and defect tracking system. As with almost any bug tracking system out there (Bugzilla, Trac, etc), web based defect tracking from a mobile handset is not very user-friendly.

Enter JIRA Mate (formerly JIRA Buddy), written by Shaun Ervine, an application for iPhone and iPod Touch specifically for interfacing with your JIRA database. I was surprised by this application being available before a Bugzilla rev, let alone even being available at all. I’m not complaining. Bugzilla fans should get a move on for their own app.

JIRA Mate simply uses your saved filters allowing you to access your JIRA issues straight from your iPhone.

Since JIRA Mate is helping out your business I guess you could write it off as a tax deduction :)

The app is $8.99 and allows you to pull down issues organized in filters you’ve created in the standard web app, sorted by date (your filter sort setting is not utilized). It does not have issue creation or editing capabilities, but does pull comments and allow you to comment in kind. It’s perfect for keeping your finger on the pulse of your bug database and staying in communication via comments.

Apple’s Mini DisplayPort adapter for DVI and dual-DVI

A Google search for Apple Dual-Link DVI yields a ton of product pages and blog posts about the greatness of Apple’s use of DVI. You’ll get quite a few of Apple’s own product pages, as would be expected. But only a few blogs are calling Apple out.

Apple recently released a new MacBook Pro. It has the most advanced laptop graphics equipment on the market, with dual NVIDIA 9400M and 9600GT chipsets. Apple has also employed a new port type, DisplayPort, that is not the same as Mini-DVI or Micro-DVI. This is a port that is easier to plug in than DVI and supports HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection).

People with needs for the best processing horsepower on the go are going to pick up this laptop. These professionals, myself included, are going to be disappointed. If you’re in to a high-end laptop like this you’re probably also pushing 30″ monitors. If not, you should be. But you can’t. The DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter doesn’t ship for 4-5 weeks (and that’s what they said on October 15th).

The image above is the dual-link DVI adapter from Apple. It’s a DisplayPort plus USB plug to a DVI female. Why does a dual-link DVI adapter require the addition of a USB plug? Giving up that extra USB port hurts. Paying Apple $99 to move us to a new port type is insulting.

So what’s with the delay? It doesn’t take 4-6 weeks to manufacture cables with DisplayPort, USB, and DVI plugs attached (the site has displayed 4-5 weeks for 4 weeks already). Either development of, or problems in, the circuitry is derailing Apple’s rollout. Or perhaps software driver updates will be required before the DisplayPort + USB adapters can be driven. If the latter, we would expect the adapters to ship at the same time as an OS update drops.

Apple, make this easy. Make it just work…

For more on DisplayPort see DisplayPort: what you need to know (Peter Cohen)

And for a little ridiculousness:

UPDATE: Another theory is that the chip for the adapter requires additional juice. The USB connector would simply be a power chord.

Unplug from the news

Dropping off a cornice at Expert\'s Return

I’ve been glued to the news this week and filled up on too much doom and gloom. There are plenty of positive things to focus on. Even if this is the start of a recession, focusing on a tanking stock market doesn’t do any good as a developer. For you stock traders, yeah, you’re boned. But for software developers, there’s much to build.

Focus on what you’re good at. Make yourself better. Enjoy life.

It’s time to switch back to loving this perfect fall weather and looking forward to a killer ski season.