See all the new Stanley stapleguns at Lowest? Pretty cool.
See any staples that work with these guns? Nope, not a single box (unless
they are Arrow T50 compatable)- making all of then fucking useless!
Edit: I was back in Lowe's yesterday looking for some 4mm screws (for the VESA mount on back of my monitors)- and they still have no staples for the Stanley staplers- four months later!
I had to do a bit of repair work on our washing machine (the water pump on our Kenmore HE3t gave out- the rotor for the impeller sheared off) and decided to give the dryer a little preventative maintenance cleaning. When I tilted the dryer forward, I heard a few coins sliding around inside:
Arrgggh! Amidst the flotsam (and dryer fluff) in the bowels of ye olde dryer, there be treasure!
Coppers x 36
Five Cent Pieces x 9
Dimes x 43
Two Bits x 25
Total Booty Plundered: $11.36
(Not sure if this counts for an extra 11xp…)
I also found one 20 cent Euro coin- I assume this was a left-over from our trip to Greece- way back in 2007… :)
If you have followed my blog, you wills see I have a love-hate relationship with Clear Wireless in Atlanta, GA.
Love: Good speeds in god weather and in the Winter (when trees are bare) up to 10Mbps!
Hate: Inconsistent speeds and inconceivable policies of bandwidth capping
A few weeks ago, I was complaining that Clear was capping my speeds (I assume during ‘peak’ hours) to about 1 Mbps (about 130KBps).
This occurred for a few weeks and then it stopped; I was getting a constant 6-10Mbps 24x7.
For the past few days if I attempt to download something that takes more than 15 minute, I have been enjoying a cap of about 230kbps (about 29KBps):
Tonight I attempted to download the new Ubuntu 10.10 ISO- and after about a quarter hour of decent speed it dropped to the above abysmal speed. Good God Clear- what the Hell are you doing to me?
Luckily I have two other Clear connections in my package that I can switch to and get a resemblance of the speed I was promised when I signed up to Clear about a year ago.
Be warned all- Stay clear of Clear! (if you think you will ever need to actually use your Internet connection!)
GeoHot has just released a new Limera1n exploit for iPhone/iPod Touch devices running 4.1. It currently does note support the 3GS with the latest boot rom, but the website indicates this is being worked on.
Instructions are included with the app, but detailed instructions are available at Redmond Pie.
It is still in beta, so there are additional updates/tweaks to come.
I was unable to get my iPad running iOS 4.2.2 beta to work, but I will try it on another PC later.
I am currently downloading the 4.1 update for my iPhone 4; it is a 589MB firmware, so it is taking a few minutes to download.
If this does not work, the SHAtter exploit is due to be released tomorrow…
I finally was able to install Final Fantasy XIV. After 3 rounds of updates, it allowed me to actually startup the program.
Wait- go to the Square Enix website and enter your FF XIV key (why can’t they do this in-game?)
Oh- and a good deal of the Square Enix website doesn’t work with Google Chrome; no errors- it just doesn’t work. Like if you try to enter your FF XIV key in chrome, it just drops you back to the main account screen with no indication of what happened…
Re-launch and blank screen; update ATI drivers to current and I now have a 50/50 chance of blank screen/menu screen.
After this I get to get to the character screen.
Wait- go to back the Square Enix website and purchase a character option. Square Enix must have a credit card on file (or the purchase of ‘Crysta’ points- what the Hell is ‘Cryata’?)
WTF? $9.99/month for a FF XIV account- and add $3/month per additional character (up to 8) for a grand total of $34.99/month if I choose to have 8 characters? Wow- these Square Enix guys are pretty fucking greedy! Do they get their pricing ideas from a cell phone provider?
Character creation is pretty basic- and the game seems to be relying on CGI cut scenes to keep the storyline going (rather long and boring cut scenes- with long load times in-between).
Get used to seeing a LOT of these:
Even more interesting is the occasional freeze during a load between zones- no indication other than a spinning ‘loading’ icon for 5+ mins. If I close the windows (prompted by a ‘possible data loss notice’) I start back at the character screen where I get ‘13001 The lobby server has encountered an error. Error code 3102. Status 0’…
all I appear able to do is delete my character and start over (after a mandatory 30 second delay to confirm delete) -Very, very annoying.
The delete ultimately fails and I must go back to the Square Enix site and add additional character slots…
I added one character (for $12.99/month) and I can already tell that I will be cancelling before the 30 day trial is up- and I just wasted $79 on a ‘collector edition’ that features an blank journal, a keyfob and a goofy DVD.
It appears this game was designed solely for mining wealthy Final Fantasy fan boys and has no intention of appealing to the general public.
I am anticipating that Square Enix will be going to the ‘Play for Free’ model in another year- or shutting down most of their servers!
I recently purchased Final Fantasy XIV and I have heard that previous players of Final Fantasy XI get extra in-game perks- so I decided to finally install Final Fantasy XI (that I have had in a binder for the past 2+ years).
As fate would have it, I have both the xBox 360 version and the PC version. I (ignorantly) decided to try the xBox 360 version as console installs are generally much less involved than PC installs…
The install for Final Fantasy XI on the xBox 360 is absolutely tem most horrible experience I have ever endured; that’s right, you have to install the game on an xBox 360 hard drive. Not only do you need to install Final Fantasy XI, you must also install an abomination of the program called ‘PlayOnline Loader’. I still have not determined the need for PlayOnline- save to annoy the living fuck out of me with some goddamn horrible music that makes me want to gouge my eardrums out with a straightened paperclip.
Let me digress from the install nightmare to explain the music: It sounds like someone is trying to play a speed piano whist accompanied by a drunk bass player. This lasts for a minute or so and then is overshadowed by a synthesizer and a drum line that sounds someone is having a bad acid trip. They bring this all to a zenith with some horrible horns -and then bring it back to the start in a loop…
This fiasco plays as long as the PlayOnline application is running- including during eternity it takes to download the update to PlayOnline- and there is no fucking ‘turn this crap music off’ button to be seen.
That said, the update for PlayOnline takes about an hour. After which, I am guided through 20+ different screens requesting name, address, email, dob, etc. If I did not have a chatpad for my xBox controller, I would have given up after the first 5 minutes and just thrown the game away. I also cannot choose a login ID- rather I am assigned a random 4 character + 4 number ID once the setup has completed.
After this, I am ready to play Final Fantasy XI! No, wait- I now must copy Final Fantasy XI to the xBox 360 hard drive. This takes another hour.
At this point, I have been installing Final Fantasy XI for 2 1/2 hours and I have yet to create a character (I am not exaggerating about this!).
After all is finally installed, I fire up PlayOnline, navigate through 3 levels of menus and hit ‘play’ for Final Fantasy XI- and I am told that I have ‘No Active Content IDs’. Apparently, the first serial number I entered was for PlayOnline- but I can find no place to enter the 4 additional keys I have.
At some point, it appears I must also make a Square Enix account (separate from the PlayOnline) to be able to access Final Fantasy content…
I went online at PlayOnline.com to see if there is a place to enter the keys and hit a solid brick wall; NONE of the data is editable online.
At this point I have up in disgust and decided to try the PC version.
Awesome- the same terrible fucking music and 1+ hour to download the update for PlayOnline (after I downloaded the updated PlayOnline setup as the version on the disc is ‘not compatible with this version of Windows’ 7- and after it allowed me to install all of the Final Fantasy XI content!)
I am now thinking that Square Enix has no fucking idea of how to design an online game; I have tried World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Lord of the Rings Online, D&D Online, Conan Online, Ultima Online and countless others that I have forgotten- and NONE of these were event remotely as annoying as this cluster-fuck known as Final Fantasy XI/PlayOnline!
I am seriously considering keeping the Final Fantasy XIV sealed and returning it to Gamestop; if the install is 1/2 as annoying as the prior online version I will likely go insane!
The TI-84 Calculator works for homebrew apps on the PS3, but this is just a temporary method as it is kind of annoying to need to run the app on the TI every time I want to boot the PS3 into developer mode.
I ordered a Maximus AVR USB from a small site called Sick Gaming Site this morning (the only US vendor listed on the Max AVR USB site). The site doesn’t instill the greatest feeling of security and confidence as they only have three products for sale. However, the transaction for the AVR USB was handled very professionally with very prompt email updates. Their inventory count also updates in real-time, so that is another re-assuring feeling.
They only accept PayPal, so I feel I have a little more security (i.e. no credit card info stored on their servers). Now I only worry about having my name & address on an unknown server… (For paranoia, I may change the info on their site to alias information once the product has shipped).
My Maximus AVR USB has shipped via first class US Postal with delivery confirmation. A tracking number has been provided- but (of course) US Postal isn't the best at updating tracking information... :)
It is going from Brooklyn to Atlanta, so I am expecting it sometime early next week. I will update when I receive the package. So far I am personally very content with Sick Gaming Site's business process.
My Maximus AVR USB was delivered today. Shipped on Sept 16th and received on September 20th. Good job on the part of Sick Gaming Site in ordering, processing and delivery!
A few personal notes:
- The x64 drivers included with the FLIP 3.4.2 package are not signed and will not work properly with Windows 7 x64; you might want to try the x64 drivers over at Maximus AVRUSB or use an x86 system (which is what I did).
Setup and install took a few minutes and all is working as it should! :)
There are many posts going around on about the PS3 Jailbreak; there was an ‘official’ PS3Jailbreak package for $170 (banned for sale by Sony), followed by less expensive versions (PS3-Free, PS3 Liberator, etc)
More recently, PSGroove and PS Freedom options have popped up allowing install on USB Development kits, various phones (Android, Nokia N900, Palm Pre and older iPhones) and other devices (TI-84 Plus calculator) to be used. These versions do not include the software needed to backup PS3 blu-ray discs to a hard drive and are intended solely for homebrew development on the PS3.
The basic premise is that the device has to act as a USB controller and send specific data to the PS3 on bootup, putting the system into a developer mode that can run unsigned code.
Note: The PS3 exploit must be run every time you boot the PS3; once you power off, you need to re-connect your jailbreak device to re-enable the exploit on next boot!
- The USB development kit was designed for this task and various version can cost $30-$50.
- The Android versions (different versions for each phone- check the PS Freedom compatibility list!) requires a custom system flash that will disable USB functionality while it is active.
- The Nokia N900 and Palm Pre versions appear to use software running in a terminal (I do not have either of these devices so I cannot test)
- The iPhone version requires an iPhone 2G/3G or a 1st gen iPod touch running iPhone Linux.
- The final option is using a TI-84 Plus calculator to a program that you load and execute when needed.
I opted for the later version and purchased a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. The TI-84 Plus Silver runs between $90 (Wal-Mart and Target) to $120 (Fry’s). It is a pretty nice graphing calculator to have even without the PS3 exploit. The TI-84 Plus and the Silver edition are about the same, but the Silver edition has 3x more RAM, a removable faceplate and some extra bundled apps- it was about $2 more at Target ($88.99 vs. $90.99), so it was a no-brainer for me.
What you will need to run PS3 Jailbreak with a TI-84 Plus calculator:
- A PS3 system running 3.41 firmware. If you have updated to 3.42 you will not be able to use this exploit (and you cannot downgrade once upgraded).
- It is also important to note that 3.41 is currently unable to connect to PS3 network; this was done by Sony to force users to upgrade to 3.42. (Although I hear rumor of using a PS3 proxy to bypass this requirement?)
- A TI-84 Plus (regular or silver edition) running the latest firmware (currently 2.53MP)
- The TI-84 PS3 Jailbreak software
- TI Connect on your PC (included on CD with calculator).
- A USB cable (USB A to Mini-USB B)
Steps to run the PS3JB on the TI-84 Plus
- Install the PS3JB code on the calculator
- Open the ZIP file
- Open TI Connect
- Connect to your TI-84 Plus with ‘TI Device Explorer’ (located in the TI Connect suite)
- Drag the ‘PS3JB.8xk’ file to the TI Device Explorer window
- There may be a few confirmations and the installation may take a minute or two
- Once complete, disconnect the TI-84 from the PC
- Press the ‘Apps’ button on the TI-84 Plus
- Scroll down until you find the ‘PS3JB’ entry and press ‘enter’ when it is highlighted
- Press enter to close the title screen
- Press ‘1’ to execute the program
- A screen will appear with instructions on the calculator
- Eject any discs in the PS3 and power the system down normally
- Remove all power from the PS3; ie unplug the PS3 slim or use the power switch on the PS3 classic
- Remove all USB connections from the PS3
- Return power to the PS3 (but do not turn on yet).
- Plug a USB cable between the PS3 and the TI-84 Plus (USB A to MiniUSB B cable)
- Power on the PS3 and quickly press the Eject button after pressing power (you should get three quick beeps indicating that the drive is empty)
- You should see ‘working…’ and eventually a ‘done’ on the TI-84 Plus screen
- Once complete you will have ‘* /app_home/PS3_GAME/’ and ‘* Install Package Files’ options under your game menu
You can now plug in a USB device and install a PKG file (as they become available) by using the ‘Install Package Files’ option under the menu.
Developers are working on homebrew and various emulators for the PS3- such as a PSP emulator for the PS3- but there isn’t a whole lot of custom software out for the PS3 at the time of this writing.
The PS3 Backup Manager (manager.pkg) is an obvious package one you will want to search for (use ‘The Google’) as it will allow you to backup your purchased PS3 game disks to a USB hard drive.
Note: The PS3 Backup Manger package may be considered the line that separates ‘homebrew’ from ‘piracy’ on the PS3 as it allows you to copy commercial game discs to your hard drive. While this is acceptable use for legitimate archival purposes of games you have purchased, it should not be used on games that you do not personally own!
Notes on the USB hard drive backup:
- PS3 games can be pretty big (5GB – 40GB) and could take some time to backup to hard disk (1h 20m for God of War III)
- You will need an original PS3 game disc in the drive to play a game as the PS3 checks for a disk (any disc will do) during game startup (similar to the UMD/ISO method on the PSP)
- If you need to reboot the PS3, you will need to re-run the exploit to allow you to run unsigned code on the PS3 again (i.e. Backup Manager is unsigned code).
Here are some of the better videos I found that go through the jailbreak and backup process (one for TI-84 Plus, the other for Palm Pre):
I purchased a 5th gen iPod Nano about three months ago- 88 days ago, actually. Luckily, Target has a 90 day return policy…. :)
I returned my 5th gen iPod Nano to Target and went to the Apple store and purchased a 6th gen iPod Nano. Return at target was $175, new Nano at Apple was $179.
Departing from Apple’s frugality on buttons, the new iPod Nano features three buttons; a power toggle, volume up and volume down. The multi-touch screen can be rotated with a two finger twist. Menus are accessed by clicking the menu item and finger swipes to navigate up/down menu selections. All said, it is fairly intuitive to use.
One fairly interesting feature of the iPod Nano is that the screens are customable- much like on an iPod touch; touch and hold an icon and you can drag it to another screen (or make a new screen). There is no option to delete icons, but that is the way it is for the stock icons on the iPhone/iPod touch. The multiple screens and ability to customize make me think that Apple may have left space for additional apps…
I find it odd that there is a total lack of games on this version of the iPod Nano- where is my solitaire that I could play while waiting for a machine at the gym? (or is that designed to be a future purchased application?)
Missing from the new Nano is the camera and the ability to play back video. That is Ok by me as I will probably get a band and use it as a watch as well… :)
One welcome benefit is that the new iPod Nano supports the Nike+ accessories- including the heart rate sensor. I plugged in my Nike+ dongle that I had used with my former 5th gen iPod Nano and it was still paired to the Nike+ heart rate strap I purchased a few weeks ago (the strap also works with my Polar FT40, so i was planning to use it in any case).
The new Nano is very impressive; it is uber-tiny, very responsive and has very decent sound (bass seems a little over-powered, but I am using mediocre ear buds). It is small and light enough to clip on a shirt sleeve and not require an arm band. It is the perfect device to load up several audio books, a good chunk of my newer podcasts and still have a good chunk of space for music and photos.
It would also be a very cool lapel pin if I could find some way of alternating various QR barcodes while wearing (I guess I could just change some album artwork and create a playlist…)
Below is a quick video I did of the menu items on the 6th gen Nano:
Just found a neat little application for my PC and Android device that allows for notifications of SMS messages, calls, emails, battery alerts, etc. from my phone to be displayed on my PC.
Android application market link:
Pretty easy install; enjoy!
Unfortunately, you will need to install Java (argh!) to get this to work…
More schedule updates from Fan Rants:
Alternate History Track (iCal)
American SF Media Track (iCal)
Animation Track (iCal)
Anime Video Track (iCal)
Anime/Manga Track (iCal)
Anne McCaffrey’s Worlds Track (iCal)
Apocalypse Rising Track (iCal)
Armory Programming Track (iCal)
Art Show Track (iCal)
Autograph sessions (iCal)
CosPlay Photo Ops (iCal)
Costuming Track (iCal)
Dark Fantasy Track (iCal)
Electronic Frontiers Track (iCal)
Filk Track (iCal)
Independent Film Festival (iCal)
Main Video Track (iCal)
MMO Track (iCal)
Podcast Track (iCal)
Robotics Track (iCal)
Science Track (iCal)
Skeptics Track (iCal)
Space Track (iCal)
Star Wars Track (iCal)
Stargate Track (iCal) *OFFICIAL*
Tolkien Track (iCal)
Whedon Universe Track (iCal)
Wheel of Time Track (iCal)
Young Adult Lit Track (iCal)
They also indicate that DragonCon is planning to release official iCal schedules of the pocket program guide, but on the eve of the con they are not available as of yet…
For now I have subscribed to the tracks I want to attend (bottom right corner when you open the Google calendar) and I am copying the specific events over to my calendar (click the event and it will give a ‘copy’ option)- this allows it to sync with my Android device.
For my iPhone, I have imported all the calendars into Outlook where they appear as separate calendars; I configured iTunes to sync these over to my phone.
I ran across a post in a RSS feeds indicating that Fan Rants has a listing of several of the tracks for the DragonCon 2010:
Alternate History Track (iCal)
American SF Media Track (iCal)
Art Show Track (iCal)
Costuming Track (iCal)
Dark Fantasy Track (iCal)
Electronic Frontiers Track (iCal)
Filk Track (iCal)
Independent Film Festival (iCal)
MMO Track (iCal)
Podcast Track (iCal)
Robotics Track (iCal)
Skeptics Track (iCal)
Star Wars Track (iCal)
Stargate Track (iCal) *OFFICIAL*
Tolkien Track (iCal)
Whedon Universe Track (iCal)
Wheel of Time Track (iCal)
Young Adult Lit Track (iCal)
Fan Rants indicates that these are not official (Well, save for the Stargate track) and some of the tracks are not listed (Star Trek and Main are ones that immediately occur to me)- but I can only pray that there will be an official release of these in iCal/Google Calendar.
iCal imports very nicely into Outlook 2010:
Rumor of an early leak of the 2.2 OS for Droid X from My Droid World.
Downloading now; no possible way I will be able to return my current phone to ‘stock’ as I went nuts and deleted all the stupid apps and crazy ringtones.
Going to try update.zip and see what happens!
Verifying Current System
assert failed: apply_patch_check(“/system/app/CityID.apk”,”….”)
E:Error in /sdcard/update.zip
Looks like I need to revert back to stock with SBF
I am now running Froyo on my Droid X now! (but no root access)
1st step is to recover to stock:
- Download the Droid X Recovery package:
Recovery Image: VRZ_MB810_22.214.171.124_1FF_01.sbf
Motorola x86 & X64 drivers
- Install appropriate drivers (x86 or x64) via executable (includes bootloader mode drivers for Droid X)
- Download and install RSD Lite
- Once RSD Lite install is complete, copy ‘pst_flash.ini’ over existing file in C:\Program Files (x86)\Motorola\RSD Lite\
- Run RSD Lite and open the update file: VRZ_MB810_126.96.36.199_1FF_01.spf
- Put Droid X in bootloader mode:
Hold Camera + Vol down + Power
Boot will be a black screen with some text
- Once in recovery mode, plug in the microUSB cable.
- Verify Device & File Properties look Ok in RSD Lite and hit 'Start'
- This will take a few minutes and it will eventually reboot.
- You are now back to a ‘stock’ 2.1 Android for Droid X
Second step is to update to 2.2:
- Place the 'update.zip' in the root of the SD card
- Power off the Droid X
- Power On while holding down the 'Home' key; You will see a yellow triangle-
- Hit the 'search' button to bring up the menu.
- Use volume down to scroll down to 'Install update.zip from SD card'.
- Hit the 'menu' key under 'Ok' to begin the update.
- Update will take a while- so go do something so you don't stress out while watching the update.
If anything crashes/screws up, restart the RDS Lite app and put the Droid X back into bootloader mode to do a recovery to stock again.
That didn’t take very long… I love the rooting/modding/hacking Android community.
This is my addendum to the instructions over at Droid-X Forums
Pre-root stuff (for the non expert at rooting Android- but still with a fair grasp of computer usage)
You will need to download:
- Motorola Droid X Drivers:
- Android SDK 1.6
- DroidXRoot Files (must have an account on DroidX forums to download)
- Install the appropriate drivers for your PC system (i.e. x86 or x64).
- Enable USB debugging for the phone: Menu –> Settings –> Applications –> Development –> check ‘USB debugging’.
- Extract the SDK contents somewhere you can access them; I put the files in c:\SDK.
- Extract the DroidXRoot Files into the ‘tools’ folder of the SDK folder. (For me, C:\SDK\Tools).
- Open a command prompt and navigate to the SDK tools directory (CD \SDK\Tools if you used the same path as I did).
Follow the instructions over at Droid-X Forums:
Step 1: Set up ADB(this was done in the ‘Prep’ instructions)
Step 2: Push exploid to /sqlite_stmt_journals "adb push exploid /sqlite_stmt_journals"
Step 3: type "adb shell"
Step 4: type "cd sqlite_stmt_journals"
Step 5: type "chmod 755 exploid"
Step 6: type "./exploid" and follow directions on screen
Step 7: type "rootshell"
Step 8: type in password "secretlol"
youryour’re in root!
Step 10: mount your sdcard to pc and put Superuser.apk and su in the sdcard
Step 11: unmount sdcard
Step 12: in adb (make sure your still in root with the # sign) type in:
- cp /sdcard/Superuser.apk /system/app/Superuser.apk
- cp /sdcard/su /system/bin/su
- chmod 4755 /system/bin/su
I could not connect to ADB Shell while the phone was in ‘Mass Storage Mode’- I had to switch to ‘PC Mode’. I was getting ‘error: device not found’
In step 6, it indicates ‘follow instructions on screen’; I had to run this twice to get it to ‘stick’. On the second go I was able to toggle the phone’s Wi-Fi on/off via a screen widget to make the phone invoke ‘hotplug’
[*] Android local root exploid (C) The Android Exploid Crew
[*] Modified by birdman for the DroidX
[+] Using basedir=/sqlite_stmt_journals, path=/sqlite_stmt_journals/exploid
[+] opening NETLINK_KOBJECT_UEVENT socket
[+] sending add message ...
[*] Try to invoke hotplug now, clicking at the wireless
[*] settings, plugin USB key etc.
[*] You succeeded if you find /system/bin/rootshell.
[*] GUI might hang/restart meanwhile so be patient.
In step 10, I was unable to mount the SD card on my PC (or I was misunderstanding what they are communicating). I eliminated steps 10 & 11 and did this:
Exit ADB Shell (should be able to just type ‘exit’)
adb push su /sdcard
adb push Superuser.apk /sdcard
(enter password = secretlol)
Continue with step 12
I installed several x10 light switches, cameras and modules a few years back with the goal of automating several tasks. The cameras are terrible, but the rest of the system worked pretty well; I was able to program my porch lights to turn on at dusk/off at dawn, flood lights on at dusk, off at 12:00am, etc.
x10 is a protocol that is used for controlling various devices over power wiring or radio frequency. A x10 transmitter is plugged into a wall outlet, allowing it to transmit commands into the home’s wiring. The transmitter is controlled by connecting it to a PC (either serial or USB connection) and running software that can send x10 commands via the transmitter.
For my home, I have the X10 CM15A USB computer interface.
The software that I initially purchased is the x10 ActiveHome Pro; this software is compete crap and is rarely updated/improved. I believe it has been updated once since I started using it in July 2007. There are security, camera, macros, remote access and other such add-ons- but the software is reminiscent of a mid 1990s website made in FrontPage.
I later found x10 commander which also has an iPhone app that would allow me to remotely toggle lights; this was useful as well- especially for the lights at Christmas time.
x10 commander has a free ‘server’ application that is installed on a system connected to the x10 transmitter. The iPhone app for x10 Commander runs $9.99 in the app store.
This combination of hardware/software has suited my needs for the past few years.
HomeSeer is more advanced than either x10 ActiveHome Pro or x10 Commander- and it supports both power line x10 adapters and z-wave control system.
z-wave is a wireless (900mhz) mesh network that has similar home automation controls to the x10 system- but has additional items such as thermostats and door locks (both of which are planned future additions to my home).
HomeSeer is setup and controlled via a web interface:
Many additional modules are available that will allow connectivity to IP webcams, DSC alarm panels, iTunes and similar.
One interesting module is the HSTouch module which allows for remote control via iPhone/iPod Touch. There is also an Interface design module that can be used to design custom screens for remote control- i.e. if you have specific functions you want to use and don’t want to be bothered with navigating through the menus.
I have been evaluating the software and find it to be very well written and very in-depth. There are so many options that I doubt I will ever use 1/4 of them.
I will need to purchase a z-wave controller (the Aeon Lab Z-Stick V2 as it works with the Schlage locks) and a z-wave thermostat to see exactly what this system can do.
Just when I think Clear WiMax in Atlanta, GA couldn’t suck any harder, they implement a new draconian cap/bandwidth throttle and show they are the queen of horrible internet service.
Clear Wireless does NOT want you to use their service. If you have a download running for over 15 minutes, your bandwidth instantly drops to 512kbps: i.e. your normally unstable 4-8Mbps WiMax connection will drop to a rock-solid .5Mbps.
It appears that Clear has resolved their issues with poor signal strength (now showing a CINR of 22db), but at 512kbps It will take me 2-3 days to download a Linux ISO…
I am assuming this is how Clear can support all of those 4G EVOs that were released into the wild a few months back.
This is the Clear 4G coverage map (from Clear’s web site) for Atlanta, GA:
Notice all of the white spots (I would include all of the light green as well) where there is no WiMax coverage?
From my understanding, WiMax is directional and line-of-site. All of the WiMax antennas point South, creating a cone of WiMax coverage (note the triangle shaped patterns on the right side of the map). You need to align your home WiMax modem so it’s antennas face north toward your closest tower. If there are trees or buildings in the way, your coverage will be degraded. If it is off axis by more than a few degrees, your throughput will suffer even more. If it rains, your speed will drop to 1/2 of normal. i.e., WiMax sucks!
I actually can see ‘see’ 11 towers on my modem- albeit only 4 of them are close enough to actually be usable:
In addition, as a WiMax market matures, the saturation of a single tower can quickly be exceeded if too many people try to access the Internet at the same time (kind of like the problem of being on a busy cable modem node). In Atlanta, I believe Clear has greatly oversold their service as I can rarely achieve the speeds I was constantly getting at this time last year (usually only during 3am – 5am).
I did a test with my Clear USB stick last week; I plugged it in to my laptop and started a download log as I drove into work. When I arrived at my office (9 miles away via the Interstate) I had experienced no less than 5 connection drops- most of them taking 30+ seconds to reconnect. Not quite the 3G experience.
In short, Clear WiMax has very spotty coverage and they do not expect you to actually use your connection. If you are planning on getting Clear WiMax to replace your existing DSL/Cable Internet- JUST DON’T! Wait for AT&T U-Verse or upgrade your existing service to a faster connection (AT&T DSL goes up to 6Mbps, Comcast up to 12Mbps)- all at a comparable speed to Clear WiMax- and without the added headache of trying to align the modem just perfect to hit the right antenna (and the WiMax speed drop when it rains).
So when is LTE going to be rolling out?
My ‘launch day’ iPhone 4 from AT&T is getting close; it made it from Fort Worth, TX to Memphis, TN- now it just needs to make it to Atlanta, GA tomorrow:
I would think that since AT&T screwed up thousands of orders that they would have the courtesy to ship out iPhones via priority overnight instead of standard overnight (i.e. no Saturday delivery with standard).
Another interesting bit is that AT&T has not yet charged my credit card for my iPhone 4. They did a hold for $299 the day after I ordered, but this fell off after a few days. I am guessing this should appear on my bank statement on Monday.
I just received my shipping notification.
I ordered a 32GB iPhone 4 at 2:30pm EST on 06/15/2010 via AT&T’s website.
My order number is in the 505161xxxx range.
My order was 'In Progress' until I received a 'Your AT&T Order Has Shipped' email at 3:41pm EST.
Tracking information indicates it was shipped FedEx standard overnight.
Estimated delivery is Jun 28, 2010 by 3:00 PM
Wow- only 4 days late...
I will NEVER pre-order via AT&T again.
My AT&T pre-order status for the iPhone has remained unchanged since 06/15; it still sits as ‘In Progress’ with no further information. But at least I am not alone with my status; over 220 responses to a post in AT&T’s forums indicate similar issues. The sad part is from the posts it doesn’t sound like AT&T is shipping on a first-come/first-severed method- rather someone compared it to ‘pulling names from a hat’.
On the lighter side, I found a free app called LineSnob that allows people to check & update lines- most notable the local Apple store lines! The line at the local Apple store was amazing; a co-worker joined the ‘reserved’ line at 8:00am and was finally picking up his phone at about 4:00pm… I chose not to join this as I hate lines and have slightly better things to do than wait in one for 8 hours.
On June 15th, I (along with a small multitude of other people) woke up early to pre-order an iPhone 4. The Apple servers were slammed and having issues for most of the morning (I tried for about an hour) so I delayed my attempt at a reservation until I made it into work.
The Apple ordering system did not get any better. I eventually tried the AT&T pre-ordering server and found it to be a bit more reliable. I was finally able to order a iPhone from the AT&T system at 2:30pm EST and received a confirmation shortly thereafter:
All seemed like I would receive my new iPhone on launch day via overnight delivery from AT&T.
I began checking the AT&T update site religiously for the next few days and still no progress on my order.
In the AT&T forums, I am now hearing of a shortage of 32GB phones and a possible delayed delivery- so it is possible that I may not see an iPhone delivery until next week sometime…
C’mon guys- if you can’t handle the volume, you shouldn’t be promising delivery for launch day.
I also reserved an iPhone 4 32GB with the Apple store across the street from my office; if my iPhone order doesn’t change by tomorrow morning I may take my chances with the Apple store line and cancel my AT&T order (but AT&T does neglect to include information on how to do this in their pre-order email).
With all the talk of loss of phone signal when touching the metal on the case and some defective retina screens, I am starting to wonder if I should cancel my iPhone 4 order and wait a few weeks/months while they iron out all the bugs…
Besides- I plan on cancelling the phone after 1 month paying the ETF ($325!)- but this works out about the same as buying a 32GB phone out-right for $699. By that time, I should have my SIM cutter in (or be practiced from cutting up old SIMs with an Xacto knife).
Setup instructions are included in the zip file- along with a download link for the Remote Play Software: http://tinyurl.com/sonyvrp
You will need to pair your system with the PS3- so you will need to have access to the PS3 to initially set this up.
Backupify – A web application for backing up Facebook, Blogger, Flicker, etc. Free for under 2GB of storage.
Digital Volcano Duplicate Cleaner – A free and fast program for finding duplicate files. Works very well on images- I found 830 duplicates in my 24,194 images. Just make sure to uncheck ‘Install Bing toolbar’ on install.
Shipped-ROMs – A site with a large archive of HTC and Blackberry ROMs- some for devices not yet shipping… This may be handy since I have rooted my HTC Incredible and I awaiting new custom ROMs to appear in XDA-Developers (along with a custom recovery image loader).
I upgraded my video card to a Radeon HD5850 (from a GTX285) and I am finally able to create a desktop in World of WarCraft that spans across both monitors:
Next step- a third 24” monitor so my character isn’t in the dead-center where the bezels meet… D’oh!
For $7, I was able to have my iPhone’s UUID added to a developers account to enable me to download and install beta 4 of OS4 for the iPhone. It seems pretty neat, but rather uninspiring- especially since there are no available jailbreaks for OS4 beta on a 3GS (only on a 3G).
Luckily I came upon an article at MacLife that provides a solution for this…
Note: this can only be done on OS X. The article has links for 10.6, but I was albe to find the 10.5 LibUSB package.
Step 1: Download the following:
Install the LibUSB and extract iRecovery to a place where you can access it (such as the desktop).
- Power off your iPhone
- Hold down the ‘Home’ button and plug in the USB cable to your Mac; this will put the iPhone into recovery mode
- iTunes will inform you that your iPhone is in recovery mode and must be Restored.
- Run an iPhone restore in iTunes as you normally would.
- The recovery will run for a few minutes and then fail with ‘An Unknown Error has Occurred: 1015’
Step 3: iRecovery
- With the iPhone still plugged in, open a terminal (Applications, Utilities, Terminal) and navigate to the location where you extracted iRecovery (cd Desktop).
- Enter the following commands, pressing return between each:
setenv auto-boot true
The command prompt will return after a few seconds; you can now reboot your iPhone (hold Home + Power for a few seconds).
After you power back on, you should be able to connect to iTunes and re-activate (and run Spirit to Jailbreak).
For those of you following my blog, you might have noticed I have some mixed feelings about Clear WiMax in Atlanta, GA:
The past few weeks have been abysmal for Clear WiMax; as the trees leaves grow in the spring, the WiMax speeds have plummeted.
I positioned my modem in the top of a closet nearest to the North wall of the hose and for most of Winter I was enjoying speeds of 8-12Mbps (except when it rained- then the speed was 1/2 of that).
My 5 bar Winter signal dropped to 2 bars in a matter of weeks; I have tried to re-orient the modem to get most signal, but I am getting a max of 3 bars. I now consider myself ‘lucky’ on nights when I can get over 200Kbps…
Currently I am ‘blessed’ with 2 bars of signal strength (or a 7dB CINR) and tonight’s speeds are:
My other WiMax device (the Mobile USB device) cannot even get a signal lock in my house; I have to go outside on the edge of the deck to get 2 bars.
I think it is time to call Clear and tell them what a piece-of-shit service they have.
I dread to see how many pissed off people there are once the Sprint EVO comes out- unless it is released in late Autumn.
I moved to Verizon around 10 months ago when they release the Motorola Droid as I was looking for a better Android device than my aging T-Mobile G1. The original Droid was an awesome device and I have no regrets in purchasing.
However, in the worlds of computers and cell phones, technology changes fast and last years ‘ultimate phone’ is almost a dinosaur when placed along-side the newer offerings.
Enter the HTC Incredible- also known as the Verizon Droid Incredible.
I am very impressed with the unit so far. It is very fast device- period. I have yet to see a freeze or a pause when I want to open an application.
The HTC Sense add-on enables linking between Google Contacts, Facebook and Flickr pages. It is easy to pull up a friend in contacts and then browse their photos on either of the above services.
However, there are some issues with the device: I have noticed that in a bad coverage area (where the phone is switching between 3G and 1x EVDO) the phone gets very warm and the battery life takes a nose-dive.
The battery itself will not last me a full day unless I do not use the phone like I normally do: occasional web browsing, price checks, SMS messages, taking a few photos, home alarm system check, webcam camera checks, etc. I rarely use the phone as an actual phone.
Currently there are not many accessories for the Incredible, but documents from Verizon indicate an upcoming Car GPS cradle, media dock and extended battery in the works.
Just released; Spirit Jailbreak for the iPad and latest iPhone OS.
- Activated iPhone/iPad
- iTunes v9.x.x
- Spirit Jailbreak Application
Note: Before running this program, be sure to backup your SHSH blobs. Nothing should happen, but it is better to be safe and have them- just in case!
I will focus on the iPad jailbreak as my iPhone is still jailbroken at 3.1.2 and I have seen no reason to upgrade.
Download the Spirit program, connect your iPad/iPhone to the PC via USB cable.
Either wait for the device to sync to iTunes or cancel the sync.
Run the Spirit program and click ‘Jailbreak’
In a few seconds, you should see a ‘Restore in Process’ message on the iPad screen, a ‘Jailbreak succeeded!’ message in Spirit.
The device will reboot.
On reboot you will see a multi-color screen and a progress bar. After this is done, the iPad will return to normal- but now with a Cydia icon:
There is an updated version of Cydia to fit the larger screen of the iPad:
If get an error code c000005 (which I was under Windows 7 x64) when trying to use jailbreak, the Spirit site indicates that the program should be run in Windows 98 compatibility mode:
Make sure to change the default root password on your jailbroken device! Instructions can be found on the Cydia main screen under ‘Root Password How-To’. (Note: The current iPhone ‘Terminal’ program does not run on the iPad; I am sure and updated version is soon to be released).
Now I am just waiting for an updated Winterboard for 3.2! :)
I picked up a Sony Dash today (HID-C10) as I am a long-time owner of a Chumby and I was looking forward to the larger screen and expanded functionality of the Sony Device. I played with the Demo models and- albeit a bit sluggish- I was sold.
EDIT: I was having some issues with the initial setup, but these were resolved by a helpful member at the Sony Style store.
I purchased one and took it back to my office to do the initial setup. After setting the wireless key for my network, The Dash promptly told me:
A Software update is available for your dash.
Press OK to install it.
Current software version: 1.0.111
New software version: 1.7.1169
After clicking Ok, it reboots, downloads the update an attempts to install. Unfortunately, I had issues:
Update was unsuccessful
Please turn the dash off,
then back on while holding down
the MENU/SNOOZE button to retry.
This occurred a few times and I eventually gave up and put the unit back in the box and went back to the Sony Style store (in Lenox Mall) to exchange it.
The person at the Dash display table in the Sony store was very friendly and understanding when I returned with the unit. She powered it up and it worked perfectly at the Store; (which figures) It updated and was ready to go.
I am going to assume there were issues with the wireless network at my office; it is an AT&T DSL connection that uses basic WEP with an ASCII key made of hexadecimal characters (I tried HEX and it would not get an IP, ASCII connects and gets DHCP).
After this, setup was pretty easy. :)
The device needs to be activated to use the Chumby channels. The setup goes through dash.chumby.com and requires a ‘My Essentials’ account with Sony. After logging into this, an account is needed on Chumby (or you can attach to an existing account) and select widgets to be displayed on the application window of the display.
Many of the individual will need to be authenticated with their corresponding site (Facebook, Twitter, etc) or configured for your area (Weather, traffic, etc).
The overall interface of the Dash is a bit sluggish- but hopefully this will be resolved with future updates. However, the ‘native’ apps seem toe be very good: Netflix is very watchable and the screen size is perfect for a bedside display.
The main use of the device is an alarm clock- and that is something that I have used my old Chumby for over the past 2+ years. Multiple custom alarms can be created, and the alarms can be set to sounds or preset music channels (or ‘blue ocity radio’?). No options yet to wake to music from Pandora, Slacker or music on a connected USB stick (which was my primary Alarm method).
One HUGE disappointment for me is that playing music via USB is not yet implemented in the current release- when I go to Music, USB I receive the response ‘coming soon’. This was the primary way I used music on my Chumby- and having this missing during the ‘launch’ of this device is a huge blunder…
My views on this device went a full 360 with a few short hours: I was emphatically irritated with the failed updates, only to be appeased by a helpful Sony representative. I was then enjoying Netflix and some other features but stymied by the lack of music options for the alarm- later to discover the absence of USB support on the ‘release’ model of the Dash.
I will probably keep the Dash- but it will not reside on my nightstand until Sony resolves the ‘coming soon’ for USB music!
I received my iPad about a week ago. and it made quite an impression on me; it is fast, intuitive and beautiful. Everything on it works very well and it was planned out well enough to contain reverse compatibility with older iPhone games/apps. This is a sample of the GV-iView software:
The iPad ships with a rather barren assortment of accessories: the actual iPad, an Apple standard (proprietary) USB cable and a USB wall charger adapter. If you want a slipcase or a tablet stand, expect to spend the normal $20 - $40 for something that is worth 1/2 of that price...
One quick note on the USB charging; The device requires 10w of power to charge the device. If you plug the USB cable into your PC, it will show 'not charging' in the corner by the battery. This is not always true as I have left the iPad plugged into a PC and it was at 100% come morning. An iPod 3GS adapter is 5w, and it will charge the iPad in about 6 hours.
Overall, Battery life on the device is pretty amazing; I can spend an entire day browsing the web, watching videos, playing games and listening to music/podcasts and still be at 30% when I go to bed. This is probably due to the gutty-works of the iPad being mostly battery:
The screen itself is very bright and vibrant- and also very reflective and fingerprint magnetic. The screen is unusable in direct sunlight or in a room with bright lights (mostly due to the glare). It works fairly well in dark bedrooms or in server rooms.
The on-screen keyboard is very usable, but the option of using a Bluetooth keyboard is much preferred. The touch-screen is very responsive and page flips zip by.
App prices are varied: $0.99 to $14.99. Some versions are worth the price, but many are not. To date, I have purchased a few $0.99 apps, one $2.99 app (BlogPress) and on $7.99 game (FieldRunners HD). I do not plan on purchasing many others.
I am still awaiting updated versions of Facebook, Amazon, DropBox, and Carbonite.
Application providers are able to provide hybrid iPhone/iPad apps that will work equally on both platforms. They are also able to publish platform specific versions- so there is a $2.99 version of FieldRunners and a $7.99 version of the same game for the iPad; there are no changes to the game save for screen resolution and textures, so it seems a bit exorbitant to me to charge more than twice the price of the original iPod version. On the other hand, $2.99 for BlogPress gets an application that will run on either iPhone or iPad.
There is a myriad of eBook reading options:
- iBooks: The default eBook reader for the iPad. Purchase books from the iTunes store, or drop an EPUB into the iTunes application so it be install with the next sync.
- Amazon Kindle: purchase books from Amazon and use their 'whispersync' network to read books on iPhone/iPad/Kindle/PC.
- PDF Readers: There are several free & paid versions of PDF reader apps. PDFs are added via a ‘File Sharing’ option in under the Apps tab in iTunes.
- Stanza: An old classic iPhone eBook reader updated of the iPad
- Barnes & Noble Reader is ‘coming soon’.
The above to me pretty much signal the death of eInk devices. While eInk can be read outdoors and for extended time with less eye fatigue, the screen of the iPad is very comfortable for at least a few hours of reading (how many hours a day do you stare at an LCD screen at work?) and has the ability to play in-line videos (and follow hyper-links to web pages).
There is a very impressive Marvell comics app that includes four free issues. Very beautifully done and it can flip page-by-page or cell-by-cell.
There are also several ways to consume video on the iPad.
Hulu is not a direct option as the iPad does not support Flash; however, ABC has a free application that will allow you to watch the latest episode of V, Lost, or several other shows (including a few daytime shows for the soap followers):
You can also pony up $5 to rent a ‘HD’ movie from iTunes- or ‘buy’ a digital copy of it for $20 (lol!). Standard definition versions of most movies are $4 for rental or $15 for purchase. This is NOT the way to distribute media; most of these titles are very similar prices on Blu-Ray/DVD from Amazon- and many with digital copies on the disc for use on other device (and not to forget you can resell/trade the disc version when you are done).
Netflix is now on everything: Blu-Ray players, xBox 360, PS3, Wii and the iPad (iPhone version coming soon?). For $10/month you can stream thousands of movies from their servers. This is the way that media consumption needs to be to stop piracy!
And not to be forgotten, Joost is also available.
Sony has released a video player- of sorts. It appears to only play trailers of upcoming movies…
This is the initial release of the device, so there are some issues. I have had a few ‘memory low, try rebooting’ warnings and several crashes that drop be back to the main screen. There are also Wi-Fi issues where the device will not auto-rejoin known networks- or release connectivity on SSIDs that are no longer available. All of these are small issues that will should be fixed with the next firmware update from Apple.
One minor complaint about iBooks/iTunes is that it mixes eBooks and AudioBooks under on category in iTunes.
The iPad is more of a media consumption device; it is very hard to create this post due to lack of physical keyboard and multi-tasking. OS4 is due out in fall for the iPad, so hopefully that will remedy some of the concerns- and hopefully a good jailbreak for OS3.2 will be released one the 3G version of the iPad is released in another few weeks! :)
BlackDroid has released an update for his awesome Ultimate ROM for Droid- currently at v9.0
While waiting for the official 2.1 Droid update to be captured by capable hands and made into a user updatable file (rooted Android phones with custom loaders cannot receive the OTA update)- and while also still waiting for the Nexus One to finally fracking be offered for Verizon- this is an enjoyable stop-gap.
Rant: rumor is the Nexus One will finally be released sometime this week and it will have a ‘big surprise’ for Verizon users. I pray this isn’t something stupid like a custom version of Skype (which currently uses Verizon minutes for domestic calls)- but rather something like Android 2.2, an improved touch screen or replacing the roller ball with a touch pad… </rant>
I used a new program in the Android Market called ‘ROM Manager’; this fairly automates the update process (as long as you have root access) and some how managed to backup and restore all of the apps I had installed prior to the update- including the ones I had purchased through the Google market. Still trying to figure out how this worked, but very, very cool!
My iPad appears to have left Louisville, KY and reached its destination hub in Atlanta, GA.
It also appears that they are going to be doing some ‘UPS internal activity’ with it in about 8h 40m (at 9:00am- it is 12:20am now)
Looking over my Emails from Apple, I noticed the order confirmation (from 03/12) indicates ‘Delivers on 04/03’- but the shipment notification (from 03/29) specifies ‘Delivers by 04/03’. Probably me being very optimistic (which I rarely ever do), but perhaps we may get our iPads a few days before they go on sale in the retail stores?
I honestly don’t see how UPS can make 125,000 – 165,000 home deliveries (my rough estimate based on an estimated 250,000 pre-orders- and assuming that 1/3 to 1/2 of them being store pick-ups) of iPads all one day- and I also cannot see Apple paying the extra cost for UPS to warehouse these unties for 2-3 days and then pay for a Saturday delivery (especially considering that Apple charged me no delivery fee)!