The Oculus Rift is finally available for pre-order and many are having sticker shock with the $599 price tag. With tax and shipping costs (really? shipping costs on a $599 device? I suppose I might be spoiled by Amazon), it can come out to almost $700 in the United States. However, this is pretty close to the price of a high-end monitor (such as the curved 34-37 inch models), and you get a decent amount of hardware included: motion tracking, the tracking camera, Xbox controller, Oculus Remote, etc.

Needlepoint 1.0.5

For more information on Needlepoint– my JavaScript dependency injection system–you can take a look at my introductory blog post or the README file on GitHub.

I have updated Needlepoint to version 1.0.5 in NPM. There’s a couple changes, none of which should break if you use an older version and upgrade to this version.

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Though I am an Angular JS type of person, I regularly follow other JavaScript frameworks to keep up with the rest of the world. React, along with the Flux design pattern, is a relatively popular alternative to the Angular ecosystem. However, React+Flux is extremely different from other frameworks– for starters, React isn’t actually a full JavaScript framework by itself, and Flux isn’t actually a thing: it’s a type of architecture. Tero Parviainen wrote an amazing introduction to the Redux+React ecosystem with an overview of how not only the two libraries themselves work, but conceptually how they fit together and why the Flux architecture and immutability makes sense in a web application.

Dependency Injection for Modern Javascript Using ES6 Classes and ES7 Decorators

In the past, I’ve done a lot of work with PHP and the Laravel framework. One of the coolest features about Laravel is its Inversion of Control system, which dynamically injects dependencies into your application at runtime.

This is beneficial for many reasons, including modularity, readability, and testability. With a dependency injected system, you can simply request that your application receives an instance of an object, and the DI container will do all of the work to initialize the object and all of its dependencies.

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Getting Started with Rancher, a self-hosted Docker PaaS

Docker is fantastic for building a scalable infrastructure. Not only does it force you to isolate your application into reasonable chunks, but it also encourages you to build these pieces as stateless services. This is fantastic for high availability and scalability, but actually scaling out a pure Docker-based infrastructure is difficult if done manually.

Docker Swarm and Compose are the “official” solutions to this problem– they allow for you to build a giant, elastic Docker cluster that appears as a single machine to your client. Additionally, Compose allows you to scale your application easily to multiple instances.

Despite this, these two components are lacking a couple critical features– cross-machine service discovery, as well as a built-in load balancer that distributes traffic to your scaled Docker infrastructure.

Tutum is a service that adds these remaining components, and to great success. Though you can use your own nodes with Tutum, sometimes it’s desirable to use your own, self-hosted service.

Rancher is an open source Docker PaaS that includes features like service discovery and DNS, load balancing, multi-node support, cross-host networking, health checks, multi-tenancy, and more. Essentially, Rancher takes all the features of Tutum and packs it into a single Docker container that is hosted on your own nodes so that you have complete control.

Even better, Rancher is extremely easy to install in a matter of minutes.

To find out how, check out my new mini-course that I will be expanding over the next several weeks to cover new features in Rancher, as well as expand it to cover how to use advanced features such as service discovery. It’s completely free, and I hope you find it useful!

Northwestern – A WordPress Theme Inspired by the Pacific Northwest

I just launched a brand new, responsive, and completely free WordPress theme. Inspired by my home– the Pacific Northwest (of the United States)– Northwestern is a minimalistic WordPress theme for independent bloggers.

The theme’s look can also be customized to fit your personality, with the primary colors and hero image changeable. Northwestern also supports several of the WordPress post formats, including “aside”, links, and quotes.

Go ahead and grab it for free from my website, and feel free to use it for both personal and commercial websites. More information on the license can be found on the store page.

CI/CD with Docker Containers

I’ve been experimenting with Docker for a while, but in the last year or so there has been an influx in the number of tools that help put Docker containers into production easily. Some of these are from third party companies, such as CoreOS, and some from Docker itself (such as the new Docker Swarm, Docker Machine, and Docker Compose. However, I’ve recently been testing a new Docker workflow that allows me to push code, have it tested, built, and deployed into a production server cluster running Docker.

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LoopPay’s Big Problem, and How Samsung Could Fix It

Today, LoopPay announced that they were acquired by Samsung. This wasn’t entirely unforeseen, considering rumors have been popping up regarding LoopPay’s future integration with Samsung phones. The LoopPay system is a new technology that is tied to the current magnetic stripe credit card system. Using a small loop of wires in a special hardware device, the LoopPay devices essentially mimic the magnetic field caused by a swipe of a credit card, enabling mobile payments at nearly every existing credit card swipe terminal.

LoopPay Devices

The device works like magic– simply place the Fob or Card next to the magnetic swipe slot on an existing credit card machine, press a button on your LoopPay, and the reader will act as if a physical card was swiped. I’ve owned one of these devices for a little over a month (specifically, the LoopPay Card) and it has worked flawlessly every time I’ve used it on a traditional terminal, but there’s one big problem that needs to be solved before LoopPay can become a major player in the mobile payments space.

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How to Install NOOBS on Your Raspberry Pi

NOOBS is a system designed by the Raspberry Pi foundation for installing operating systems onto your Raspberry Pi’s SD card. Not only are you able to install an operating system with a single click, but you can install it over a network or even install multiple operating systems on multiple partitions.

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Raspberry Pi 2 – What’s New, and What’s the Same

A couple days ago, the Raspberry Pi foundation released the Raspberry Pi 2. The Raspberry Pi 2 comes with some fantastic new features that I’m looking forward to utilizing, including an upgraded processor and RAM. Even better, the hardware comes in at the same $35 as the original model B.

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