Streaming Video Devices

I’ve tried several of the video streaming devices on the market and I thought that I would share my recommendations for those in the market for one.

Units that I have tried include:

Amazon Fire TV

Price: $49 and up

Amazon Fire TV StickI was excited when the Amazon Fire TV came out. At the time, I was an exclusive Roku user, but Roku had not updated their units in quite some time and they were beginning to feel sluggish. The Fire TV promised a significant speed boost, and it delivered in that respect. However, it was disappointing for other reasons.

Pros:

  • Speed – The unit was pleasantly fast.
  • Vendors – Supports Amazon Instant video and Prime
  • Voice – It was the first streaming unit (to my knowledge) that offered voice commands.
  • Apps – It supports most

A Comprehensive SSL/TLS Guide

I’ve seen a lot of sites that don’t use HTTPS by default. I’ve heard the argument, “We don’t need it. We’re not e-commerce.” This is absurd thinking:

  1. You are probably using some sort of CMS product, possible a popular one like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc.
  2. There is a good chance that you are not keeping them as updated as you should, but for arguments sake, let’s assume that you are (or pretend to be).
  3. All of these products have default administrative login paths. If you monitor your logs, you will notice that bots from all over the world are hitting this default path constantly.

Read more: Why HTTPS? Here Are the 5 Reasons Folks

Note: If you are using WordPress, consider forcing HTTPS using the WP Force SSL plugin or modifying your wp-config.php.
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Step 1: Change your default admin path!

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Bootstrap 4 – Grid Only

This situation happens to me all the time. I'm working on a client web site, making updates or content changes, but the site is not responsive and/or wasn't built with any sort of CSS framework. I also encounter this problem when trying to throw together pages for the WordPress admin. I could do the work manually, but I've become spoiled by grids.

If I include the regular Bootstrap distribution, I have the problem of it changing style and typography. That won't work. I could use a different, grid-only framework, but I have become used to Bootstrap conventions.

To solve this problem, I simply compile the Bootstrap SASS files, including only the grid and responsive utilities modules. To avoid potential conflicts with other CSS, I use a wrapper (in this case, .bootstrap-wrapper). Now, I can simply include the CSS file in the project and use the syntax that I am so accustomed to.

Installing Node.js, Nginx, PHP 5.6 & MongoDB on an Amazon Linux AMI EC2 Instance

This guide gives step-by-step instructions for installing Node.js, Nginx, PHP 5.6 and MongoDB on an Amazon EC2 instance. If you notice any errors, changes or have suggestions for alternatives/clarifications, please let me know.

This guide assumes that you are familiar with Amazon Web Services and using the Linux command line. This guide also assumes that you are performing these tasks on a fresh Amazon Linux AMI instance.