Samsung S8

Samsung S8

I recieved a Samsung S8 to give a whirl. It is now my primary phone coming from the iPhone SE. There is a simple reason why; the screen is superb in every sense of the word. The edge to edge and super slim bezel plus software keys create a device that is all screen…and it’s fantastic. After using this screen going back to my iPhone SE’s tiny screen felt constricting. Even comparing it to the iPhone Plus the device felt smaller while having a similiar screen.

Most of my problems with Android still hold true; I replaced TouchWiz with Nova Launcher. I recommend Nova to anyone it’s clean very configurable and feels right without having a ton of cruft. If Nova did not exist I would not use an Android device.

Pain Points

Bixby let me remap that button to Google easily without shaky hacks and all will be forgiven!

Battery the battery is less than my iPhone SE. I am consistently in the red when in my SE I would still be around 30%.

Apps I haven’t found an RSS reader I really like yet. Currently using FeedMe and it mostly works.

Device Maintenance these notifications drive me up and down the wall and I have tried to turn them off to no avail.

Back to the Fruit

Back to Apple.

For the past week and a half I have been using the Note 7 as my primary phone. The only thing I used my iPhone for was recording my blood pressure in the morning. During this time I spent roughly $80 on applications. I hate ads and I liked focused products so money spent. I also wanted to try a few games; mostly ended up playing Reigns. Yesterday I returned back to the iPhone.

Dislikes of the Note 7

Warning some of these are nit picks

  • Inconsistencies in icon size

I tried three launchers: Google Now, TouchWiz (default) and Nova. I ended up paying for Nova; but yet at no point did I get icon sizes to work correctly.

  • The Recent List only worked half the time

The recent list was very inconsistent. After rebooting it would work for a day or so then stop mysteriously. When accessing the list it would say No Recent Apps even though I had just come from an app. There did not seem to be any significant memory pressure either; that would necessitate closing background applications.

  • Slower Browser

I tried Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Internet (default). None of them were as fast as Safari felt. Chrome felt closest but has no ad blocking for obvious reasons! Internet did allow ad blocking so that is the one I went with.

  • Overall App Slowness and Bugs

Not necessarily a problem with Android but more of the ecosystem. I had several applications that existed on both iOS and Android; in several cases the Android application would occasionally crash or slowdown and stutter. Looking at you MyFitnessPal!

  • Recent Apps button far to sensitive

It is possible with more usage I would have gotten used to not touching the capacitive button. Though it seemed like I hit it pretty often; one of the reasons I noticed Recent Apps malfunctioning so often.

  • AT&T and Samsung Apps

Couldn’t uninstall only delete =(


  • The screen is fantastic

The screen is gorgeous, the curve looks and feels good. The lack of a bezel slims it down considerably.

  • The device felt good in hand

The Note 7 felt far better than the iPhone 6s Plus has ever felt. I still think the iPhone SE/5 form factor is my favorite but of the big phones the Note is top notch.

  • Edge integrations

The quick tasks on the edge and the blue laser edging that would appear when you got a notification was pretty spectacular.

  • Notifications center

Androids notifications center is light years ahead of iOS

  • Widgets

Having my calendar on the home screen along with weather is pretty cool

  • Ability to swap default applications

Nice to have!


The form factor and hardware of the Note 7 is superior to iPhone Plus. But the browser feels sub par and to be honest that is where I spend a good chunk of my mobile time. I don’t think I would have a problem using the Note 7 permanently. All the applications I need exist, Instapaper, 1Password or comparable exist Press, Poweramp. In the end I don’t think I will end up with either phone. In September if Apple announces an updated iPhone SE I will buy that one. Even if they do not I may. I just really loved that form factor.

Note 7 One Weekend In

Samsung Note 7

I recently got the chance to try out the Samsung Note 7 for an extended time period. The particular model I got is a Blue, 64 GB on AT&T. I have been an iPhone user since 2008 with the iPhone 3G, since then I have had most of series of iPhones. I think I have had the 3G, 3GS, 4, 5, 5S, 6S Plus. The 6S Plus has been my goto phone for the past year. I have actually been eying the iPhone SE simply because I prefer the form factor. I am pretty invested in the iOS ecosystem with the bulk of my music from iTunes and several hundreds dollars of purchases and apps in the app store.

That being said I am also pretty familiar with Android. My job is managing a team of people of write Android software and I did development for 5 years on the platform. I have had some time with most of the major phones during work hours but this will be my first extended use and has my primary device.


Look and Feel

Solid and Gorgeous

The screen and feel in hand is fantastic. Edge to edge is amazing. The Note 7 has a 5.7” screen compared to the iPhone 6s Plus 5.5” but yet the Note 7 is smaller. The seamless edges feel and look great. Speaking of feel, the iPhone has slippery sides. These sides meant I had to run the Veil case. I don’t like cases but the iPhone is extremely slick. I have not liked the new generation iPhones and much preferred the monoliths exemplified in the iPhone 5S.


Fingerprint scanner is fast, easy to use and integrates with my favorite applications. Excellent win there. The iris scanner feels clunky, takes some time to get the spacing correct and is many times slower than the fingerprint. The iris scanner feels gimmicky, especially when compared to the fingerprint reader.

S Pen

Works fine, I rarely think to use it. It feels like it mostly takes up space. That being said it works great when doodling during long meetings.

Always On Display

Shows the time and icons for notifications. I like it!

Switching Over


This took nearly 2.5 hours. Moving my contacts over took more time than needed, mostly due to iCloud export only working on Firefox. I tried both Internet Explorer and Chrome with no luck. The button simply did nothing. Music was straight forward, copy files from iTunes folder to Music folder. Took roughly 45 minutes. The main problem I had was; I am a tech savvy person and it still was painful.


  • Samsung Branding on front
  • Inability to delete AT&T, Samsung, and other applications.
  • Amount of clutter on toolbar.

Notice the below screenshot. Notice the enormous amount of clutter on the toolbar. With TouchWiz I can find no way to remove much of it. In an ideal world give me signal strength, time, battery, and wifi status.


I liked the ability to add rich widgets to the home screen. For instance the below is a snapshot of my calendar.

I also loved the ability to change defaults, or totally switch our my messaging application. The edge swiping to pull up common tasks, apps and people is pretty swell. Been using that feature far more than the iOS hard tap.


I needed to find several key applications

  • Email (built in)
  • Browser (more on this later)
  • 1Password
  • Kindle
  • Pandora
  • Podcast App - Pocket Casts
  • Music App - Poweramp
  • RSS App - Press
  • Plex
  • Instapaper
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Dropbox


All the browsers I have tried I have been unhappy with. They are in no particular order

  • Internet
  • Chrome
  • Firefox

This is an area where the iPhone is leaps and bounds ahead. Same site on my iPhone 6S Plus is smooth, with any of the above it gets choppy and a ton of ads show up. I setup the Internet browser with crystal ad blocker; things improved. Still far from the smooth buttery experience I am used to.

I think that is about it. More to come later!

Why do I have facebook links?

The entirely lazy answer is; so I can post my blogs to Facebook. I am not a fan of them but they make it easy; and as we know programmers are a lazy bunch.

Being a Manager - Part 1

Note any opinion stated in this series of posts are mine and mine alone

The first thing you need to know, I am ill-equipped to talk about being a manager. I realize that this is a horrible way to start a multi-part series about management. I have been a manager for 3 years and though I am starting to transition out of the role and into a more development oriented role; being a manager has been the most rewarding and difficult role I have taken. Over the next…many posts I hope to describe my thoughts on management and what I have learned. I don’t think I am an amazing manager but I do believe I am adequate.

A few things first, why am I writing this? Simply because years from now I can look back at myself and see how naive I was. Secondly why not. If this offers some help, in either goods thing to try or pitfalls to avoid to someone. Then it is worth it.

First of all, stop reading my blog and read every article at Rands in Repose. You will learn far more by reading his EXCELLENT blog.

I can wait a few hours.


OK, now I am going to spoil the ending.

Treat people like people. They are flawed just like you. Understand them and always be an advocate for them.

Butchertown Grocery

Butchertown Grocery

The first time I encountered Butchertown Grocery is when my gastro partner in crime, Anna and myself went to a Copper and Kings tasting. Nestled amidst the other food items was Butchertown Grocery offering a a slider burger; mixed with bacon, topped with pork belly and lathered in pepper lard. It would have been delicious if it only had one of the three toppings. Instead it was a greasy and hard to eat.

Fast forward a year or so and we both realized we had never tried BG again. In the old Meat building we met the next day to see what it had to offer. Upfront the service and ambiance are excellent! I liked the color scheme, small things like the stainless french press. Anna and I both remarked on how much we liked that french press. The cocktails were on point and went down easily. Then…well then the food came.

Started with escargot, smothered in cheese and dripping in butter. Drowning in butter, I thought they were alright but I had a hard time tasting much beyond the cheese and butter. Granted when placed on a slice of bread the dish was tasty but it never felt like the escargot came together. For mains I got the Butcherblock Sandwich and Anna got the Pig and Goat Burger. The sandwich was good, but in re-reading the description I saw it was supposed to have hashbrowns and for the life of me I can’t remember tasting a hint of the hashbrowns in the sandwich. The burger was also good but not spectacular. And that is perhaps the problem.

A place charging almost 20 dollars for an ala carte plate better have an exceptional meal. Butchertown Grocery did not, it had a good meal. But I would choose Four Pegs any day of the week. In fact Four Pegs is almost always an excellent choice. Get the Chicken and Waffle sandwich…like now! In a town with so many excellent places and many of them serving full meals for under 12 dollars, when you do charge that much you have to be exceptional!

Another annoyance, the lack of prices online. This bugs me, I think pricing is important to be upfront about it.

In Short

Good but overpriced. Drinks were great. Go to Four Pegs!

Why a blog?

I have theoretically had a blog for years. More accurately I have had a blog that I never maintained. As time goes on I find the need to create a blog for myself, even if it has a readership of 1. It is my place on the internet to expose my thoughts in the manner I best see fit. There are countless forums, emails, IRC chats and other communications that I have contributed with. None of them capture what I have to say in the best way possible. The simple blog is still the best way. Most importantly I own the message.

Ownership is important. I own the domain, I own the server and the contents are all simple files on a system that are portable. WordPress doesn’t host my items, Medium isn’t the provider. I am. For around $5 dollars a month! The voice is consistent here, the urls are natural. I like simple and minimal.

My goal to my dear reader, myself. Is to post pretty often and about what intrigues me at the moment. Lots of software and food related items of course. Followed by general topics. So forgive me these first many posts, I expect them to be poor.

Va Va Vixens - Va Va adVenture


Va Va Vixens

On August 6th 2016 several friends and I went to see the Va Va Vixens in Va Va adVenture. Yes, that is a lot of Vas. I have been going to these shows for around the past 5 years and have only missed 2 shows. I must say this is my 2nd favorite I have been to. Hard to beat the first time I saw them. Let us set the scene.

We are Table 1, up front literally leaning on the stage. A few drinks bought and the show starts.

Hilarious Barb skit that continued throughout the night. I thought the skit would get old but to be honest it just grew on me and became better and better. A few reasonable skits and then bam an aerial cube that was paired with the song System of a Down - Aerials. It was perfect and a great compliment to my high school days. The performers were exceptional. Following that was an excellent dance routine to the tune of Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People Again back to high school and the lovely feeling of nostalgia.

Along the way were the always excellent and top notch aerial shows. The wonderful singing and hilarious comedy. Generally in their shows there is a lull where things get a little long in the tooth but in this show I felt the length was perfect and at no point did I want to get up to find a beer. One performance involving hanging from chains and twirling around was particularly memorable.

Then came my favorite moment of the show. Hard to explain but all the performers got in a circle on the ground and then pivoted on the front to stand up and constantly cycle through each person. Finally the ending with the most perfect song for the Va Vas and Adventure theme Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch.

I would recommend if you have any interest in seeing the show to see them in Christmas when they come back!

Hello World from Hugo

First post from Hugo.

Hello World!


I am Matt Durham and welcome to my corner of the internet.

I am an architect and mobile lead with HomeCare HomeBase with a focus on services development.