Friday, December 30, 2005

Bye, Bye, iPAQ - Hello, Treo

You remember that I blogged about the iPAQ I won a while back. I noted that I occasionally fell back to my Sony Clie. I also kept resetting it, and resetting it.

I never got the Wi-Fi to work, mostly because it was 802.11b and I have "b" turned off in my router so as not to degrade my 108 Mbps. The Spectec Wi-Fi card, while the smallest available, stuck out 1/4" and the screen protector hit it when you opened it with the Wi-Fi card in place.

The Word Mobile didn't save changes as it went along so when (not if) you had to reset the iPAQ with a Word document open, you lost the changes. Ouch! Yeah, you could stop and navigate through the menus to save it but I couldn't find anything like Auto-Save.

If you follow this blog, you noticed that I had a Palm Treo 650 on my Christmas Wish List. If you're really awake, you noticed that it now as a check-mark next to it! I got one!

Everything has trade-offs. The Treo doesn't have Palm Graffiti. I'd kinda gotten to where I liked the Blackberry's QWERTY keyboard and its capability to generate a capital letter by simply holding the key down a little longer.

I got the Cingular $39.99 plan for unlimited data. The Treo has EDGE so it's relatively fast where EDGE is available. Having a Cingular repeater in our office doesn't hurt.

In the box with the Treo was Dataviz' Documents to Go that handles Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. There was a free dot-level upgrade available on the web.

I found freeware Graffiti Anywhere to get my Graffiti back. Seems there's some kind of beef between Xerox and Palm over the original Graffiti ("1") so this comes with Graffiti 2. A couple of the letters are different. There's a hack out there to replace Graffiti 2 with Graffiti 1 but it didn't work for me so I won't include the link. YMMV.

Freeware KeyCaps600 makes the Treo's keyboard work like the Blackberry.

The most awesome thing I found was Google maps for it. This is somewhat of a hack since Google doesn't have a specific version for the Treo so you have to use a "generic" version. As such, it's not as solid as the rest of the Treo. Reminds me of the iPAQ! Here're the best instructions I've found.

After a day or two, I discovered that I had a voicemail but didn't have an indicator on my phone. There are two issues here. First, the Treo only shows the voicemail icon on the phone menu. I don't completely understand that. You do get an alert when you receive a voicemail but there's no persistent indicator on the main menu. Second, the voicemail icon wasn't getting turned on nor was the alert being set. A call to Cingular revealed that they wanted to downgrade me to a 32K SIM. I challenged the representative (I'm sure you're surprised) in that the sales representative that delivered the Treo made a point of upgrading me to a 64K SIM.

To help me understand the situation, I Googled the problem. I turned up a number of forum threads talking about SIM problems with the Treo. In summary, it seems that if the model number on the SIM ends in "G," you need to replace it with one that ends with "A." 32K vs. 64K doesn't matter. I walked down to the lady at work that interacts with Cingular and whined. She pulled out a stack of blank SIMs and went through them until she found an "A." I took it with me to the nearby Cingular store. While there's enough of a story for a whole blog entry about that visit, suffice it to say that the "A" SIM fixed my problem.

I put in the SanDisk 512MB Secure Digital card that I got at OfficeMax on Black Friday for $19.99 after rebate. I'd had this in the iPAQ and had all my Word Mobile files on it. Documents to Go handled them without a peep.

I got a Bluetooth dongle for $19.99 at CompUSA. I have that plugged into my USB hub at work and with the Bluetooth on the Treo, I can readily move files between the Treo and the laptop. I didn't even need to reinstall my BeamIt that I had on the Clie.

Before I left the office for the holidays, I negotiated with the messaging manager to let me get on OneBridge for getting my Lotus Notes e-mail. Not everybody is back at work so I don't have that working yet. The Versamail that comes with the Treo is satisfactory for checking my POP e-mail.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Recovering Data from an SD Card

I took a couple of family photos tonight with my trusty Casio Exilim. I ran over to my PC and put the card in a multi-format memory card reader and:

Yuk! Now what to do? I did the normal things. I tried it again. No luck. I tried it in an SD USB adapter. No luck. I tried hooking up the camera directly to USB. No luck. Drat!

I'll bet you can guess what I did next. I Googled the error message. To narrow the search, I added "digital camera."

The second hit took me to this page. He recaps his problems and the software he tried to address them "and finally my favorite, a FREEWARE program DIR (Digital Image Recovery) from It is the freeware software which prompted me to write this brief article, to give credit where it is due." I munged this link because it is broken.

So I Googled the link and to make a short story really to the point, found the program on a couple of sites:
It's a quick download, 573K and has it's own setup (which is overkill).

It did exactly what it was advertised to do. It ran through my SD card (in a USB reader) and found 20 images. That was all of the images even including 3 that I had deleted in trying to correct the problem. The last one was really BIG. I presume that was the problem.

This is really a nice little program to have in your bag of tricks. You never know when you'll need something like this to rescue pictures.

Now I'll reformat the SD card and try to figure out how to certify it. I'll let you know what I find.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Wish List

I've been nagged at to make a Christmas list so here goes.

USB SIM Card Reader/Writer

This will let me backup the SIM cards for our cell phones.

You can order it here.

4-Port USB 2.0 Hub
This will upgrade my USB hub to 2.0.

You can order it here.

Sentry Fire-Safe Security File

You can get this at Wal-Mart.

VisiStop Intelligent Brake Lights Flasher

This will make my motorcycle's brake light flash when I stop.

You can order it here. Specify "IBF4."

Studio Plus Version 10

This will upgrade my video editing program. I already have Version 8.

You can order it here. Follow the "Upgrade to Studio 10" link on the left side. Then choose "Upgrade to Studio Plus version 10."

Palm Treo 650

You can get this at Cingular. Talk to Debbie at 901-262-4891. Should get an IP discount.

Sony RM-VL710

You can get this at CircuitCity.

Update 12/26/05: Thanks Santa!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Remember that I went to the HP Technology Forum in October? They had PCs around where, between sessions, you could stop and rework your schedule, check for e-mail from other attendees, and complete surveys on the sessions you had attended. I would stop at one a couple of times a day and do the surveys.

I didn't pay much attention but there was a drawing for those who completed the session surveys. The prizes were iPAQs. Believe it or not, I won one!

In a couple of weeks it arrived. It was an HP (natch) hx2115 iPAQ. Here's HP's overview. The hx2115 seems to be the retail version of the commercial model hx2110. I can't tell any difference. Here's what it looks like:
Since the price was right, I upgraded it to Windows Mobile 5 for $39.95.

While I still occasionally fall back to my Sony Clie, there are so many pluses to the iPAQ. It interacts so much nicer with my Windows XP laptop. Just point the infrared ports toward each other and you can transparently move files back and forth. The iPAQ just shows up as a file system to the laptop.

The iPAQ comes with Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint mobile. The ability to read and create Office documents is wonderful. I haven't explored the extremes of these applications but what I need them to do day in and day out is all there.

It has both SD and CF slots. I have a 256MB CF card that I've been using in the Clie for audio files. My Casio Exilim Z40 uses SD so I have some of them around also. I picked up a 512MB SD card at CircuitCity on Black Friday. I had a CF Wi-Fi card (Sony WL100) for the Clie but I can't find a driver for Windows Mobile 5. It's pretty clunky anyway. I found a Spectec SDW-820 on eBay. It's the shortest SDIO CF Wi-Fi card available.
I believe that with the support available on the iPAQ that I can get it on the network at work.

There's a lot more I want to play with on the iPAQ. I'll update you as I go along.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Remember how I whined about MyWebExPC beginning to charge? I have completed the switch from MyWebExPC to LogMeIn. The process is straight-forward and I believe LogMeIn is faster. It's so fast that sometimes I use it to control my SageTV box instead of RealVNC. It also seems to reconnect automatically after the broadband connection fails, something that I had to create a work-around for with MyWebExPC.

Watch as you login and take control the first time. There are a couple of boxes that I check:


The only nuance I've found with LogMeIn is that the default action for timeout or disconnection of the controlling system is to lock the controlled system. That's easy to change by going to the Preferences screen as you initiate the login. Click on Remote Control Settings and uncheck all the boxes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Microsoft Briefing

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Last week we went to Redmond for a briefing with Microsoft. Here's our agenda:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

8:00AM - 8:30AM - Breakfast
8:15AM - 8:30AM - Welcome and Introductions
8:30AM - 9:30AM - Topic: Windows Client Operating System Roadmap and Strategy
9:30AM - 10:45AM - Topic: Creating Business Value Through Collaboration
10:45AM - 11:00AM - Break
11:00AM - 12:00PM - Topic: SharePoint Portal Server & Windows SharePoint Services: Enabling Information Worker Productivity
12:00PM - 1:00PM - Topic: Executive Discussion: Chris Liddell
12:00PM - 1:00PM - Lunch
1:00PM - 2:00PM - Topic: BizTalk Server
2:00PM - 2:30PM - Break
2:30PM - 4:15PM - Topic: Exchange Server 12 and Future Directions
4:15PM - 5:15PM - Topic: Licensing Strategy
5:15PM - 5:30PM - Shuttle to Company Store
5:30PM - 6:15PM - Company Store
6:15PM - 6:30PM - Shuttle to EBC
7:00PM - 9:00PM - Dinner

Friday, November 04, 2005

8:00AM - 8:45AM - Topic: Microsoft Office in the Enterprise: InfoPath
8:15AM - 8:45AM - Breakfast
8:45AM - 10:00AM - Topic: SAP Solutions
10:00AM - 10:15AM - Break
10:15AM - 10:45AM - Summary & Conclusion
A lot of the facts were under non-disclosure but I can talk about my thoughts after the briefing.

Here's the comments from one of my co-workers to the material:
I was very interested in the SAP on SQL-Server 2005, Exchange 12 and Collaboration and Portal Presentations. If MS delivers all that stuff things will be tough for competitors in each space.
Amen. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

HP Tech Forum

Sorry I haven't posted lately. I've been in Orlando at the HP Technology Forum. It was supposed to have been in New Orleans in early September but...

I'll put together some of my notes later this week but for now here're the sessions I attended:
  • Case Studies: Server Virtualization and Consolidation Strategies
  • Security Intelligence and the Business Process
  • A Simple Approach to Managing the Linux Environment
  • Implementing a High Availability Enterprise Resource Planning Solution with Microsoft Clustering
  • Getting More From Less: How to Optimize Your Existing Server Operations
  • Choosing the Right Architecture to Win
  • Service Infrastructure: A Practical Approach to Service-oriented Architecture for an Enterprise
  • Thin Clients: Technical Overview
  • Understanding Current PC Technologies
  • A Real-world Demonstration of Service-oriented Architecture Management
  • Dual-core Architectures
  • Best Practices for Reducing Total Cost of Ownership with IT Consolidation
  • New Security Technology: Active Countermeasures: A Proactive Vaccine
  • Linux in the Enterprise IT Strategy: Where, When, and How
  • The Benefits of Itanium and Windows
  • Evaluating Anti-spam Filtering Solutions
  • WLAN Security: Threats and Countermeasures
A quick recap is that the industry giants are worried about viruses and worms. Also, Intel is in trouble in the under 8-way market. AMD is kicking their butt with Opterons. I got interesting insights into HP's chipset advantages over Intel and Sun.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Remember how I raved about MyWebExPC?

The best part was that you get unlimited access for up to 5 PCs. Here's what you get for free.

I even got quoted by a US News & World Report article by David Lagesse.

Ben Moore used to haul 30 miles from his home in Southaven, Miss., to help maintain his parents' PC. Now he does it through mywebexpc and sometimes, with their blessing, doesn't bother to tell them. "I just wait until after 9 at night, when they go to bed." So they all can sleep easy.

Just try clicking on that free link now! Here's what you'll get:
What's happened is that WebEx pushed out a mandatory update this weekend that upgraded MyWebExPC to PCNow. PCNow is a for pay service that is $14.95 per month per PC.

Obviously, I'm not the only one who's run into this. Search for mywebexpc. I love the first title of the first hit I got: "MyWebExPC My arse." I don't think he was happy either.

The suddenness of this is demonstrated by this article posted in the UK edition of PC Magazine.

Price: £0.00 (emphasis added)
Overall rating: **** (4 out of 5)
Manufacturer: WebExCommunication
Tim Smith, Computeract!ve 19 Sep 2005
Now it's off to find an alternative. Don't change that channel.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Pod

I finally bit the bullet. I got an iPod mini. Of course, I didn't do iTunes but EphPod. I learned the hard way that you have to use the Apple iPod Update to get your iPod up to speed.

I use it exclusively to listen to techie podcasts when driving back and forth to work. I used to download podcasts and burn them to CDs so I could listen in the car but that was using up a lot of my free CDs.

After I played with it a couple of weeks just using the ear buds, I found this at Other World Computing. It has a built-in FM transmitter (only 87.9) and charges your iPod while you listen. It's $27.95 with second day air shipping for $5.

Here's what it looks like:

It works great. So good, in fact, that the first one immediately left with my daughter. I ordered another and am back in business.

How Low Can You Go?

I was reading my Bloglines feed from digg tonight and came across this article on 1 GB flash drives. I'm a sucker for big (capacity), small (physical size) drives. This article referred to Sandisk's Mini Cruzer drive. I have Sandisk's 512 MB Micro Cruzer drive and love it.

Another Bloglines feed I've just started watching is the TWiT podcast. Episode 25 referred to a 8 GB drive from LaCie. It's credit card sized and only 1/4 inch thick.

Here's what it looks like:

The color reminds me too much of Tennessee. Guess my $149 is safe for now.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's Always Something

Remember in this post I realized that I needed a USB2 card to support the USB IDE adapter? I went back to PCMicroStore and found this:

Just as before, they shipped the next day and it arrived in 2 days with their FREE shipping.

As I expected, that fixed the errors from the USB IDE adapter. Besides, it makes my USB drive and my iPod work better. Now, I need to update my USB hub to 2.0.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

VitalFile Backup

At work last week we got to talking about backup. I'm still having trouble with my DVD burners. I even replaced my desktop's with a new Sony DL. I've about decided that the problem is the media but that's another topic.

Mike was saying that he wasn't using backup to optical media any more. That he just kept 2 copies at home and one on a removable hard drive that he kept away from the house.

This made me remember an article I had read recently on one of IBM's skunkworks backup products. I poked around for a little bit and found it again. Here's an introductory article on their VitalFile product.

Here's IBM's description of VitalFile product:
VitalFile for Real-Time Workstation Protection, which is built on top of the FilePath file system filter driver and makes three copies of any modified "user-created" file, storing one in the local system, another in a file server and a third in a Tivoli Storage Manager back-up server.
Here's a blog entry from a satisfied user.

I've got 2 hard drives so I could use the second drive as the local copy. Now I need to get the file server copy off site. (Interesting to call my house the "site.") I went to Globat to see what their offering tonight is. They are offering 10GB for $1.99 per month for the first year. It goes up to $7.95 per month after that. Encryption is one thing that worries me about putting it on a web site. (If you sign up for a web site from Globat, use me as a referrer - Be sure that you read my posts on Globat [one and two].)

I think I'll install VitalFile this weekend and play with it some. Trial is free. Purchase is $35.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Google Search Techniques

I try not to simply link to somebody else's content. I may get an idea from someone else but I try to add some value or personal spin on it.

I'm going to break my own rule. Here's an article on Google My Way that is chocked full of techniques to improve your Google searches.

Well, maybe I can add something, at least by tying some loose ends together. This article was on digg. One of the comments was:
Better Google tip: * stands for an unknown word or series of words. And it even works inside quotes. So if you remember that one song where the lyrics go "your [something] is a heartbreaker", then you can search for "your * is a heartbreaker" and Google will find it for you. Or, if you want to know the melting point of steel, the search "* is the melting point of steel" gets you the answer faster than the search "melting point of steel".
That's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

USB IDE Adapter

I saw this on Techbargains from PCMicroStore last week for $17. I've been looking for a better way to store my backup files and I had an extra 30GB Maxstor drive sitting around.

I ordered it on September 19. It shipped the next day and arrived September 22. With FREE shipping. Can't beat that.

I played with it on my desktop (USB 1.1) and kept having write errors. I wondered if it was the USB hub I ran it through so I plugged it in directly. Same thing. I took it to work and plugged it into my laptop's USB 2.0 port. Worked like a charm.

Guess I'll need to get a USB 2.0/Firewire card for my desktop. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, "It's always something."

Saturday, September 17, 2005


While I was reading on digg this week, in the comments I came a cross a reference to VoIPBuster. This is a voice over IP provider like skype. However, unlike skype, VoIPBuster offers free calling to landlines in North America and Western Europe. These calls are limited to one minute BUT when you give them a 5 Euro deposit, the duration becomes unlimited.

Here's what their client looks like.

I fired it up just using the built-in microphone and speakers on my trusty ThinkPad. It worked first time. I've just used it to call local numbers and the calls are disconnected after 60 seconds but the quality is great.I'm going to get me a USB phone (like the ATCOM AU-100 above) and play with it some more.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

VideoReDo Plus

I've written about VideoReDo before. I went ahead and bought it for $50. That was well worth it. When I went to use it a couple of weeks ago, it popped up that there was an update available. I accepted it and downloaded V2.1. It is now called VideoRedo Plus.

Here's the list of new features:

  • AdDetective assisted commercial detection
  • Real-time preview of your edits
  • Thumbnail views
  • Audio graphic display
  • Create DVD Chapter Files
  • Supports Output of transport streams

What AdDetective does is that it scans for black screens and marks them with "cut points." You can specify how "black" it has to be. When the AdDetective scan finishes, I use the function keys to jump from cut point to cut point and mark the segments to delete. The new thumbnail feature lets you get a quick look at what you're doing.

You can't just assume that the cut points are definitive. I've found where there are black screens within programs that will confuse it and when there are crawling messages across the bottom of the screen (like for bad weather) will also confuse it but it's so much better than doing this by hand.

The preview function lets you scan through the cuts to make sure that you cut/left what you intended.

These features make VideoRedo Plus even a better deal!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

USB SIM Card Reader/Writer

One of my daughter's friends had an entry on his blog this week that his SIM card had gotten fried and he'd lost all his contacts. I've worried about the same thing. My SonyEricsson T616 has infrared so I've tried beaming my contacts back and forth between my trusty ThinkPad and the phone. The phone creates and accepts .vcf format but you have to do it one contact at a time. (Actually, the phone will let you "send all" but I can't get Outlook to separate them.)

Anyway, while doing my morning blog reading, I came across this on Gizmodo.

It comes with software to copy the information from the SIM and to manage the PIN as well.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Globat e-mail, Part 2

Update: Globat fixed it!

Overnight on September 6, I forwarded this blog entry to Lou Rio, Director of Customer Support at Globat. I had his name because all of the e-mails about the new mail cluster were over his signature. He responded back to me the next morning with his direct extension number. By 2:30 PM on September 7, Globat had raised the limit from 10MB to 64MB.

That began a several day quest to test this. It was a lot more complicated to test than it seemed. The net of it was that I continued to run into limitations of my ISP (BellSouth DSL) and even my work smtp server of limiting outbound e-mails. BellSouth limits outbound e-mails to 3MB and my work limits them to 16MB. I had to work to find an attachment size that would clearly exceed the inbound 10MB we were trying to test yet not exceed the 16MB outbound limit of my work smtp server.

When I finally found the "right" sized attachment, it went outbound from my work and was received at Globat in seconds.

My "lessons learned?" 1) e-mailing big files is a bad idea. I even wonder now if my customer's problem wasn't in part a limitation of his customer's outbound smtp server (although there's no doubt that Globat wouldn't have accepted an e-mail greater than 10MB then). I need to train my customer in using ftp. 2) Don't underestimate the power of blogs. I could see from my blog statistics that somebody was tracking blog entries for Globat. While Lou was very sincere in helping me, I believe that the blog raised the visibility. His response to my e-mail acknowledging that it was fixed was "How about an update on that Blog comment?" How's this, Lou?

Well, it doesn't get any prettier. As you can read below, I've been having trouble with Globat's e-mail since they "upgraded" to a clustered server. After frustration after frustration with their technical support (and their annoying phone service), I went back through my stash of numbers for Globat and found a name and extension that had helped me before. I called this extension and reached Vadim (a different person than was at that number previously) who offered to help.

Offered is the operative word.

Here is my most recent e-mail from him:

From : "Vadim D... "
To : "'Ben Moore'"
Subject : RE: Re: [Support #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
Date : Mon, 29 Aug 2005 15:37:40 -0700

I should have an answer for you before Wen. I have escalated this issue
on your behalf and gave my management a warning that this will be a concern
with not only your account but many others.
I will do what I can sir.

Vadim D...
Quality Assurance

AIM: Globat...
Phone: 323.874.9000 ext. ...

Haven't heard from him since. It'll soon be a week since he said he would have an answer for me. He hasn't replied to any e-mails since then.

But his co-workers have! Here’s a thread from someone named "Johnny." The Readers Digest version is that at first he gives a canned response "We do not have any file upload utilities available for you" then backtracks "I have placed a php-based file upload script in a directory on your webspace." When his own script doesn't work Johnny responds "You have received assistance beyond what support would normally provide" and goes quiet.

Unless you're really bored, jump over this long thread.

From :
To :
Subject : [ #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
Date : Wed, 31 Aug 2005 08:59:07 -0700

Dear Valued Customer,

No changes will be made to the globat mail system. I understand your
frustration. You have received assistance beyond what support would normally
provide, including having been provided with a third party tool for file uploads
via php. The 10mb limit on inbound mail was a desired result of the mail
upgrade. Support cannot make a systemwide change to the way E-mail works on our
platform, so we will be unable to fulfil this request.

Thank you for contacting our technical support. If you have any further
questions, please reply to this email leaving all text intact, and be sure to
give us a detailed description of how we can further assist you.

Best regards,

Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
Web Hosting Made Easy®

On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 21:00:15 -0700, wrote:
> I have wasted enough time on YOUR problem. I have worked ALL evening on
this. I obviously had to modify this script slightly to allow the larger CAD
files which are the crux of my problem.
> I placed the modified script in the httpdocs directory as upload.php.
Basically, I removed the guts of the validate_upload function. What I have
discovered is that the upload fails with files somewhere over 140 KB.
> I MUST have this resolved. My customer is not functioning and I have worked
countless hours on this since Friday August 26.
> RESTORE my ability to e-mail files greater that 10 MB IMMEDIATELY.
> -- wrote:
> Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 16:34:41 -0700
> From:
> Subject: [ #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
> Reply-To:
> To:
> Dear Valued Customer,
> I have placed a php-based file upload script in a directory on your
webspace called globatest. The script's name is easy_upload.php. This script
currently works for uploading files to your site. Please use this script as a
starting point for developing your upload tool. I would advise that you save a
copy of this file to remain unchanged, then create a copy of the file to modify
to suit your needs. If the copy you are working on breaks, create another copy
of the original working version and try again.
> I uploaded logo.gif via this script to make sure it works.
> Thank you for contacting our technical support. If you have any further
questions, please reply to this email leaving all text intact, and be sure to
give us a detailed description of how we can further assist you.
> Best regards,
> Johnny
> Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
> Web Hosting Made Easy®
> On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 11:53:12 -0700, wrote:
>> I AM the web site developer. I HAVE downloaded an upload script but
cannot get it to work. Since your organization created this situation with their
limitation on e-mail sizes, you need to help me get this script working. I have
created a Perl script myupload.cgi in my cgi-bin directory and created an html
document in my httpdocs directory. I have followed all the instructions I have
and still am getting an "HTTP 500 - Internal server error."
>> -- wrote:
>> Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 11:45:07 -0700
>> From:
>> Subject: [ #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
>> Reply-To:
>> To:
>> Dear Valued Customer,
>> We do not have any file upload utilities available for you to install
on your site, but this can be done. There are many "canned" file
upload scripts available on the internet which you can use on your site. Please
advise your web site developer that you would like him/her to add this feature
to your site. They will be able to either write their own file upload utility or
download one from the internet and integrate the utility into your site.
>> Thank you for contacting our technical support. If you have any further
questions, please reply to this email leaving all text intact, and be sure to
give us a detailed description of how we can further assist you.
>> Best regards,
>> Johnny
>> Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
>> Web Hosting Made Easy®
>> On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 13:55:43 -0700, wrote:
>>> Customer Name: Ben Moore
>>> Customer Email:
>>> Customer Domain:
>>> Server:
>>> IP Address: 70.156.40....
>>> I have a customer that uses CAD files. These can be very large,
exceeding 30 MB. Their customers had been e-mailing these to them. Since your
new imposes a 10 MB limit on incoming e-mails, I need an
alternative PROMPTLY. I have created a subaccount ( but it is very awkward to upload files to requiring my customers'
customers to ftp to that directory. This is not an acceptable alternative to my
>>> Do you have a facility that I can put on a web page to allow users
to browse to a file on their computer, click on a button, and have the file
uploaded to my server?
>>> My first choice is to have the e-mail limits restored to the way
they were before the new mail server was implemented.
>>> I have discussed this with Vadim Y....

So I played with their script some more. I finally got it working for files over 140 KB (must have been a problem on my end). BUT I ran into another limit! It seems that Globat limits http uploads to 8 MB.

I gave up. I went back to the sub-account that Globat provides and put a link on my customer's page to it. That drops them into a brower-based ftp session that doesn't have any limits (that I have found yet). It's very awkward for my customer's customers but he doesn't have to change his e-mail setup again.

So mark this all up as a lesson learned and keep Globat at a safe distance.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Globat e-mail

I do a little bit of web work (soon to be even less). One customer uses CAD files. These can be very large, exceeding 30 MB. Their customers (not very high tech) had been e-mailing these to them. I have been using Globat for their web and e-mail hosting.

Recently, Globat converted their e-mail servers over to a clustered single-image server. I'm sure that will be a better system but it was some trauma to get to it. They rescheduled it with little notice the first time and then did it 2 hours EARLY when they finally did it. I had to make 3 trips to my customer to fix their Outlook settings.

Globat did one thing interesting. If you hadn't changed your e-mail settings, every time you checked your mail, you got an e-mail that told you that you needed to change it and how to do it. That was so effective that all the Outlook settings had been changed by the time I got there!

Now for the problem. Globat's new imposes a 10 MB limit on incoming e-mails. While I can kinda understand why, to do this without notice is VERY unacceptable.

Globat's technical support is as (in)competent as anybody's but their technical support phone system has an annoying characteristic of dropping bits of the conversation like they are using a heavily overloaded VoIP system. That always makes talking to them problematic. They swear their technical support is on-shore (they say they're in L.A.) but if so, they are all not native English speakers.

When this surfaced last Friday afternoon, I called their technical support and quickly escalated to a supervisor. He suggested that I created a subaccount ( but it is very awkward to upload files to this location. It requires my customer's customers to ftp to that directory or to drag-and-drop. This is not an acceptable alternative to my customer.

I've been trying to create a web page to allow users to browse to a file on their computer, click on a button, and have the file uploaded to my server. I found this and created the script and the html. I have spent hours trying to get it to work and still haven't had any success. It looks like it uploads the file and then gets "HTTP 500 - Internal server error."

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I'm always watching for clever speed check routines. You'll remember that I'd found a couple and created third level domain names on for them.

On my Bloglines account, I have Today, an article came through regarding InternetFrog's speed test. My first thought was "just another speed tester" but then I went there.

It has an interesting presentation.

Notice how they report not only download speed but upload speed and Quality of Service (QoS). They even have a good glossary of terms.

Incidentally, I'm using BellSouth's FastAccess DSL Ultra service.

Throw-Away e-Mail Addresses

On my Bloglines account, I have Last week, an article came through regarding BugMeNot. One of the comments on referred to Then today, another article came through regarding

This small flurry got me thinking about throw-away e-mail addresses so I went to both sites to see what was up. Both services provide the same general services of providing "blind" e-mail addresses. I did notice a couple of differences though.

Jetable requires that the addresses be requested in advance and redirects to your actual e-mail address. You can specify a life span for that forwarding to be one hour, one day, one week, or one month. The interface is a little backwards. You give them your e-mail address and life span and they give you an address back, e.g. They acknowledge in their FAQ that they keep logs "for legal reasons only."

On the other hand, dodgeit allows you to pick a e-mail address ad hoc, e.g., (hoping that no one else is using it). Then after you use it, you go to dodgeit and enter that e-mail address and pick up your e-mail. The functionality is pretty low (or the detail is high) as the presentation is just the raw e-mail.

You can even request an RSS feed of that e-mail address so you can monitor it. The e-mail gets deleted after 7 days. For a donation, you can password protect that dodgeit e-mail address and extend the retention. dodgeit doesn't say anything about privacy.

Both are pretty interesting but dodgeit seems to fit my occasional needs best.

Monday, August 15, 2005

VJ Day all over again!

Well not exactly, but I feel victorious.

I've had a problem that had me stumped for months. I have a desktop system that I added a USB multi-format memory card reader to after Christmas. Then, whenever I rebooted, I got a pop-up window that stated "There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive." Many of the boot processes had begun running but the system wouldn't complete the boot until this was cleared. If I removed the card reader and rebooted, everything was fine.

I had searched through the registry looking for references to those drives with no luck. Besides msconfig, I had run several other startup diagnostic programs including StartupRun from and codestuff's Starter with no hits.

So where to turn? GOOGLE! Imagine that.

I Googled the symptom, '"no disk in the drive" at boot' and came up with lots of hits. But once you threw out the ones with hardware errors, there was still a recurring problem that some of us were having. Then BINGO, I came across this one. It seems to have been around a while with no resolution from the GTK folks. GTK+ is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces that is used by a number of open source initiatives, e.g. Gaim. I run Gaim as a multi-protocol instant messaging client.

I experimented with my card reader and proved that this was the problem. Everything was fine when I put a MemoryStick in the slot that is presented as drive I:. I tried disabling that device but it returned at reboot.

Eventually, I found a workaround. Right click on "My Computer" and choose "Manage." Then click on "Disk Management" and scroll down IN THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE WINDOW to find the I: drive. Right click and choose "Change Drive Letter..." I changed mine from I: to S:. With a reboot, the problem was gone.

Chalk up another one to Google.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I made the jump... 802.11g. I've been using wireless networking for years. I started prior to 802.11b with 802.11(nothing), a 2 Mbps ad hoc system. My desktop system acted as a gateway and router.

When I upgraded to broadband, I put in a Belkin router. Then when I swapped out the 802.11 for 802.11b, I converted to an infrastructure configuration and added a stand-alone access point.

This worked well but once I tried to reconfigure to an integrated router/access point. Having the antenna inside my big old roll-top desk severely limited the range so I went back to my tried and true separate devices.

I finally got tired of it taking so long to move multi-gigabyte files from my SageTV system to my server so I decided to jump to 802.11g+. A couple of weekends ago, CompUSA had a sale on D-Link equipment so I made a list and went shopping. I got a DI-624 108 Mbps router, a DWL-G650 108 Mbps PC Card, a DWL-G820 108 Mbps Gaming Adapter, and a DWL-G630 54 Mbps PC Card. There were $135 of rebates on them! I already had an IOGEAR Wireless-G PC Card.

That covered all the systems I use regularly but there still was the hand-me-down system from my mother. It is using a USB adapter. Slick Deals came up with a sale at CompUSA of a Motorola WU830G Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter for $9.99 without rebates.

I've got everything installed but the Motorola USB adapter so I'm still running 802.11b speeds. Installing the gaming adapter on the SageTV was interesting as I don't have a display or keyboard on that system so I had to get it RIGHT the first time. It worked fine.

Above is what it looks like.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus USB/SD Card

When I upgraded digital cameras, the new one (Casio EXILIM Z40) used an SD (Secure Digital) card. This threw a real monkey wrench into my collection of CF (Compact Flash) cards, especially since my trusty ThinkPad X20 had a built-in CF reader! So I had to go out and buy a couple of USB SD adapters, one for the house and one to carry in my camera bag or pocket just in case.

I had read about this gadget a while back but hadn't found a good picture of it.

What this is is an SD card with a built-in USB adapter. You just fold back the bottom half of the SD card and stick it in your USB port. It even comes with a key ring so you can use it instead of a memory stick.

Here's where you can read all about it. Looks like they're about $125 on PriceGrabber.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


It's taken me longer than most perhaps to understand RSS. The last thing I needed was another client. And I already subscribed to several digest mailing lists so what did I need RSS for?

Well, now I'm a believer. No, I didn't add another client. Remember that I'm using Maxthon. No, I'm not using Maxthon's built-in RSS client. Somewhere along the line, I came across This is a web-based RSS reader so there's no client to install.

It works pretty much like a "fat" RSS reader client (although admittedly I don't have much experience with them). Once you login, you can search for RSS feeds or enter a specific URL that references an RSS feed. (Maxthon notifies you when you surf to a page that has an RSS feed.)

You can even group RSS feeds into folders. When any one of these feeds has new material, you can click on the folder and it will consolidate all the results into one view. For example, I have a "Racing" folder that contains 3 RSS feeds about open-wheeled racing.

Here's a screen shot:

Here's why it is BETTER than an RSS client to me. Since it is server-based, you can access it from multiple PCs and it keeps up with what you've seen regardless of where you viewed it. So I can read it from work and pick up right where I left off when I get home.

Another benefit of being server-based is that creates blogroll for you. You can see mine here.

There're lots of other little features here and there so wander around some.

Oh, what about those mailing list digests? Ya know, they all have RSS feeds! And those sites that I followed looking for cheap technology, they have RSS feeds too. Bloglines has let me streamline my surfing to just those sources that have news.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Third-Level Domain Names

I missed my opportunity to register back when domain name registration was expensive (we had Network Solutions' monopoly to thank for that). Now that they are cheap (easily less than $10 per year), everybody ought to have their own.

Anyway, back to the story. When the .biz top-level domain (TLD) became available, I registered I've never really put up a web site by that name but rather used it to create a set of third-level domains (or hostnames). I use these as "shortcuts" either for my own use or to share with others. I use Active-Domain's free capabilities to do this.

Here's a list of my current third-level domain names and what they point to. - Points to my personal page on - Points to my photos on - Points to my personal page on (that's an old picture!) - Points to this my blog on - Points to my blogroll on - Points to my favorites as maintained by FavoriteSync - Points to a Flash game about the movie "Drowning Mona" - Points to my photos on (created with Picasa) - Points to the live weather RADAR from Channel 3 in Memphis - Points to's speed testing site - Points to's speed testing site - Points to my system administrator tools on


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Blogger Images

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Hello and how it could be used to upload pictures to Blogger. This technique let you host pictures at I've been using this very successfully ever since.

Today, while reading digg, I came across an article that pointed out that the Blogger post editor has a new feature. Up on the editor toolbar is a new icon that I had missed. It looks like a little picture.

When you click on it, you get a window that lets you upload pictures directly into your blog or point to an image somewhere else on the web (like above image).

Here's the screen shot of the upload window (uploaded from my desktop).

I've left the above images and the html pretty much vanilla as created by this Blogger process. It is a little pecuilar. Note that the first picture is actually scaled UP to the size I specified (seems that "Medium" is 320 pixels wide). If you click on the image, you get the true size which is smaller than 320 pixels. On the other hand, the second picture was bigger than 320 pixels. Blogger shrunk it to 320 but didn't store the large version.

Blogger's help says you're limited to 320 MB. Wonder how you manage that?

I think I'll stick to Hello for a while.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

AIM Mail

Just what you need, another e-mail address. Yeah, but the price is right, free. And like gmail, it's 2 gigabytes.

What I'm talking about is AIM Mail. Just go to and sign in with your AIM screen name and password. Then they'll walk you through setting up an e-mail account at

Unlike gmail, AIM Mail isn't pure POP but a combination of IMAP and POP. Here's what their help page says:

  • Incoming IMAP email server address:
  • IMAP port number: 143
  • Outgoing SMTP email server address: (requires authentication)
  • SMTP port number: 587
    Alternate SMTP port number: 25

There's a "how to" here.

I haven't tried the IMAP/POP.

It's a client! It's a router! It's an access point!

One of the guys at work has noted that Wi-Fi manufacturers make different SKUs for 802.11 clients, routers, and access points although it would seem that the silicon is very similar if not identical. His speculation, and I wholeheartedly agree (cynic that I am), is that the manufacturers want to sell more units and multi-purpose devices would likely reduce their volume.

Well, now one of the manufacturers (D-Link) has a multi-purpose device, the AirPlus G DWL-G730AP Wireless Pocket Router/AP (DWL-G730AP). Here's what they say about it:
The DWL-G730AP supports multiple operation modes including: Access Point (AP) mode to create a wireless connection; Router mode to share an Internet connection; and Wireless Client mode to connect an existing wireless network. Easily switch between these modes by using the 3-way configuration switch located at the bottom.
A SWITCH to set the mode!

But wait, there's more!
In AP mode, the DWL-G730AP adds support for 802.1x user authentication with an external RADIUS server.
This makes it "enterprise friendly."

Here's a picture of it.

See the USB cable? It can be powered by the USB port.

I'll let you know if I get one.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

S.M.A.R.T. Follow-Up

I think I've mentioned before that I subscribe to Lockergnome's Windows Fanatics newsletter. I was catching up on it tonight and noticed an article on Hard Drive Harmony. Davis McCarn replied with a recommendation for HDTune. I downloaded it and played with it. I think it'll do what I was looking for in presenting S.M.A.R.T. data and much more. Here are the screen shots from their site:

Best of all, I like the price. It's freeware.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


If you're expecting a success story here, move on. I'm a whipped puppy. A friend of my daughter brought her laptop over with "things popping up even when I'm not on the Internet." Sounded bad from the start. When I booted it up and found that it had NEVER had any Windows updates applied (since May 2003) and the McAfee anti-virus trial period had expired (2 years ago!). The next day was spent downloading and applying patches. I'm a regular reader of Fred Langa's newsletter. I went to his site and found this article.

I figured that Microsoft's AntiSpyware was a good place to start. You'd think since they created this situation, they'd know best how to fix it. Well, you can't be right all the time. It ran and looked very efficient giving a long list of what it "removed." It lied.

Next was LavaSoft's Ad-Aware. It too ran forever and gave a long list of what it "removed." Same result. Several pieces of software were still there. All the while, Microsoft's was complaining and claiming that it had removed some vermin and then it would just pop up again.

Googleing the web for these particular worms, IEPlugIn and ABetterInternet, turned up war story after war story of horror stories of people trying to remove these.

After 2 days of working on this system, I threw up my hands. I think the only sure fire way is to reimage it. Perhaps if you ran HijackThis and posted to one of these helpful forums you could eventually get rid of it. I can't imagine how long this would take.

Anyway, the moral to this story is that I lay the fault for all this on the PC manufacturers. In this case this was a Dell but they're all the same. It should be a CRIME to sell a PC without a lifetime anti-virus subscription. It should be a CRIME to sell a PC without Windows Update turned on. It should be a CRIME to sell a PC with AOL loaded on it.

When I buy a commercial PC, I put a Windows XP installation disk in the CD before I ever power it on. Then I delete the partitions, format the drive, and install a clean copy of Windows.

Friday, May 20, 2005

What's an "IG?"

iGoogle? Dunno. Whatever, Google now has a personalization page.

Here's the first screen (

When you click on "Get started personalizing your Google homepage," here's what you get:

Then when you save your preferences, you get something like this:

While the presentation is simple there are some subtleties that aren't immediately obvious. For example, when you login, you're obviously logged into Gmail but also into Google Groups and Google News. You can arrange the items on the page with drag and drop.

Google is up to something...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Blogger Web Pages

I've been working with the president of our home owners' association on setting up a domain name and web site for our home owners' association. What we plan to do with it is to have a place to put a list of city numbers, officers' names and contact information and occasional updates about cookouts and garage sales.

He registered the domain name and before he contracted for a web server I asked him to let me play with I had used Blogger to create a web page for my mother to use as a home page. Previously, I had hand-crafted a web page giving her a list of web sites that she often visits. To change it, I had to go to her house. Instead, I created a new blog and hacked away at the template to take away most of the blog "stuff" and to only show the latest entry. Now I can go to and edit that entry and it will show up as her home page the next time she starts Internet Explorer. I can even do it from work.

Anyway, back to the home owners' association site. The way the president described it, he wanted 3 columns. Blogger's standard templates don't have 3 columns so how did I find one? Google of course! The one I chose to use is here. I played with it a little to make the right column look like the left column. I'm a long way from done but you can see the work in progress here.

The other thing I've done using Blogger is to invite the president to be a member of this blog. This way he can post to it himself. All I have to do is maintain the template if names and contact information change.

I'm even looking at using the technique described here to publish the subdivision's covenants.

Stay tuned!