My Favorite Albums: Songs In The Key Of Life

Songs_in_the_key_of_life[1]Last week, I ported over a 4-part series about Steve Wonder’s from my old blog. The posts were about his greatest recording period – the late 60’s and his 1970- 76 “Classic Period”1:

As I re-read the posts, I realized two things:

  1. I  never covered his “Commercial Period” (the 1980’s – where he was one of the most commercial artists of the decade).
  2. I talked about the albums from a technical viewpoint, but not from a personal point of view.

Maybe I’ll write about Stevie’s 1980’s output later on. Today, I’ll cover my favorite Stevie Wonder album; his magnum opus: Songs In The Key of Life. Continue reading “My Favorite Albums: Songs In The Key Of Life”

A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 2

In Part 1, I introduced an app that sends an SMS notification when your Fitbit battery is low. Part 2 covers the Authentication Flow of the process.


The flow is as follows:

  1. User accesses the sign-up page (and by default, provides authorization via The request is passed through an API Gateway to a Lambda function. The Lambda function calls a Fitbit api to authenticate the user.
  2. The Fitbit authentication returns to the Lambda code. From there: (3) the token is saved to a DynamoDB database, (4) a message is placed on a SNS topic, and (5) a success response is sent back to the webpage
  3. The user information (access_token, refresh_token, and mobile number) is saved to a DynamoDB table
  4. An SNe1079abb478cc4e04d13615bc10aa4ca[1]S topic receives the mobile number as a message
  5. A success message is sent back to the end user.
  6. The SNS topic (step 4) calls a second Lambda function.
  7. The Create_User_Topic lambda function creates a sns topic for the newly authenticated user.
  8. Once the topic is created, a notice is sent to the user’s mobile device – asking to confirm subscription.
  9. The user confirms the subscription.

Continue reading “A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 2”

A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 1


A few weeks ago, my Fitbit (one of my new favorite devices) died.

Not died, as in bricked; my battery died.

That was a bit surprising, as I am signed up for low battery notifications. Turns out, I did get a notice – in an email. Problem was, I wasn’t checking my email that day.1

fitbit_notificationThe next day, I went back to the Fitbit website to sign-up for SMS notifications; unfortunately, Fitbit doesn’t provide a low battery notification via SMS.

So, I built my own, using a handful of AWS services (Lambda, SNS, API Gateway, and DynamoDB) and exposed Fitbit APIs.

So far, it works well. After subscribing to the service, I got an introductory note telling my my battery status. A few hours later, I received a second notice – letting me know that my battery was low. Continue reading “A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 1”

My Favorite Animated Movie and TV Scenes: Part 2

Note: Part 1 of this post can be read here:

Snake Eyes’ Wordless Goodbye G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (“The MASS Device”).

maxresdefault[1]Snake-Eyes – the coldest Joe ever. We never saw his face. He never said a word. He was a ninja. He had a wolf for a pet.

So this scene, where Snake-Eyes sacrifices himself to save the team, has to be high on the list.

The Joe team is trying to collect rare elements to build a M.A.S.S. Device (basically, a teleportation device). The team has to travel to a cave in the Arctic to obtain red crystals for the machine.1 The team is able to retrieve the crystals, but is ambushed by Cobra (they trigger a radioactive gas to fill the cave and poison the Joes). Snake-Eyes saves his teammates (and sacrifices himself) by triggering a shield to keep radioactive gas from the team. Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side of the shield. Scarlett, knowing that Snake-Eyes is a goner, simply says goodbye by placing her palm on the glass2.

Continue reading “My Favorite Animated Movie and TV Scenes: Part 2”

My Favorite Animated Movie and TV Scenes: Part 1

I love well-made animated movies and tv shows- especially the one’s being put out today. The stuff coming out of the DC Animated Movie studio is spectacular. Marvel’s stuff isn’t as solid, but they’re trying. And don’t get me started on Japanese Anime1.

I originally wrote a post on my favorite animated scenes in 2006. A lot has happened in the world of animation since then… so I think it makes sense to update this list – and expand it to seven.

Batman meets Superman – Superman, the Animated Series (“World’s Finest Pt. 1”, Season 2, Episode 34).

batman_superman_4[1]Superman – The Man of Steel. The Last Son of Krypton. The Man of Tomorrow.

Batman – The Dark Knight. The World’s Greatest Detective. The Caped Crusader.

Both are orphans, but that is where the similarities end. One is an alien from another planet, with God-like powers. The other, the perfection of human innovation, intellect, and physicality. One is loved; the other, feared.

There a lot of hub-bub (and rightly so) about the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. I’m excited about the movie, but uncertain if the writers and actors can accurately capture the tension, jealousy, and mutual respect between these two characters. Hopefully, the movie will borrow heavily from DC Animated Universe. In this continuity, Batman and Superman are uneasy allies that grow to respect each other. A number of scenes some to mind when I think about my favorite Batman v Superman interactions:

My favorite is their initial introduction in “World’s Finest, Part 1”; how they first meet each other, and discover each other’s identities is perfect. Continue reading “My Favorite Animated Movie and TV Scenes: Part 1”