Friday, December 30, 2005
Bye, Bye, iPAQ - Hello, Treo
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
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 http://home.arcor.de/.../dir/index.html. 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 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
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
You can order it here.
Sentry Fire-Safe Security File
VisiStop Intelligent Brake Lights Flasher
This will make my motorcycle's brake light 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.
You can get this at CircuitCity.
Update 12/26/05: Thanks Santa!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
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:
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.
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
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
Thursday, November 03, 2005A lot of the facts were under non-disclosure but I can talk about my thoughts after the briefing.
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
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
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
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
MyWebExPC - NOT
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 technorati.com 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)Now it's off to find an alternative. Don't change that channel.
Overall rating: **** (4 out of 5)
Tim Smith, Computeract!ve 19 Sep 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
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?
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:
Thursday, October 06, 2005
It's Always Something
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
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 - desotonet.com. 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'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 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
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
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
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.
Phone: 323.874.9000 ext. ...
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 : support_reply...@globat.com
To : ben.moore@t....com
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.
Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
Web Hosting Made Easy®
On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 21:00:15 -0700, ben.moore@t....com 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.
> -- support_reply...@globat.com wrote:
> Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 16:34:41 -0700
> From: support_reply...@globat.com
> Subject: [ #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
> Reply-To: support_reply...@globat.com
> To: ben.moore@t....com
> 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,
> Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
> Web Hosting Made Easy®
> On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 11:53:12 -0700, ben.moore@t....com 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."
>> -- support_reply...@globat.com wrote:
>> Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 11:45:07 -0700
>> From: support_reply...@globat.com
>> Subject: [ #AGK-62643-275]: others - ftp - File Uploads
>> Reply-To: support_reply...@globat.com
>> To: ben.moore@t....com
>> 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,
>> Globat Signature Support - Tier 2
>> Web Hosting Made Easy®
>> On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 13:55:43 -0700, ben.moore@t....com wrote:
>>> Customer Name: Ben Moore
>>> Customer Email: ben.moore@t....com
>>> Customer Domain: c....com
>>> Server: falklands.globat.com
>>> 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 mailcluster.globat.com imposes a 10 MB limit on incoming e-mails, I need an
alternative PROMPTLY. I have created a subaccount (ftp://y...:p...@falklands.globat.com/) 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....
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
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 mailcluster.globat.com 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 (www.mydomain.com/~upload) 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
On my Bloglines account, I have digg.com. 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.
Incidentally, I'm using BellSouth's FastAccess DSL Ultra service.
Throw-Away e-Mail Addresses
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 @jetable.org address back, e.g. email@example.com. 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. firstname.lastname@example.org, (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.
Both are pretty interesting but dodgeit seems to fit my occasional needs best.
Monday, August 15, 2005
VJ Day all over again!
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 nirsoft.net 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...
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
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.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
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 bloglines.com. 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 Bloglines.com 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
Anyway, back to the story. When the .biz top-level domain (TLD) became available, I registered benmoore.biz. 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.
www.benmoore.biz - Points to my personal page on desotonet.com
allphotos.benmoore.biz - Points to my photos on photoaccess.com
bellsouth.benmoore.biz - Points to my personal page on bellsouth.net (that's an old picture!)
blog.benmoore.biz - Points to this my blog on blogspot.com
blogroll.benmoore.biz - Points to my blogroll on bloglines.com
favorites.benmoore.biz - Points to my favorites as maintained by FavoriteSync
lawnmower.benmoore.biz - Points to a Flash game about the movie "Drowning Mona"
photos.benmoore.biz - Points to my photos on desotonet.com (created with Picasa)
radar.benmoore.biz - Points to the live weather RADAR from Channel 3 in Memphis
speedcheck.benmoore.biz - Points to optonline.net's speed testing site
speedometer.benmoore.biz - Points to mcafee.com's speed testing site
toolz.benmoore.biz - Points to my system administrator tools on desotonet.com
Sunday, June 26, 2005
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
What I'm talking about is AIM Mail. Just go to http://mail.aol.com and sign in with your AIM screen name and password. Then they'll walk you through setting up an e-mail account at email@example.com.
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.aim.com
- IMAP port number: 143
- Outgoing SMTP email server address: smtp.aim.com (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!
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
Best of all, I like the price. It's freeware.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
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?"
Here's the first screen (http://www.google.com/ig):
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
He registered the domain name and before he contracted for a web server I asked him to let me play with blogger.com. 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 blogger.com 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.
Monday, May 09, 2005
My Blog Banners
Nantucket Flowers - added 06/13/05
Lyceum - added 07/03/05
Tomatoes - added 07/03/05
Manning Way - added 07/03/05
Pumpkins - added 10/26/05
London Tube Map - added 01/29/06
Paris Metro Map - added 03/03/06
Red-Tipped Photinia - added 04/04/06
Honda Indy V8 - added 07/19/06
The Colosseum - added 04/09/07
St. Stephens Cathedral, Vienna - added 06/22/07
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - added 12/25/07
Dun Chaoin, Kerry, Ireland - added 03/01/08
Cloth House, Krakow, Poland - added 06/27/08
Galley Head, Ireland - added 11/22/08
Poulnabrone Tomb, Ireland - added 03/06/09
O'Donovan's Bar, Ireland - added 03/06/09
Moon Bounce - added 03/06/09
Golden Gate Bridge - added 03/06/09