mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

Somehow I appear to have missed posting last week. We've moved. (Looking at the notes for last Sunday, I'm guessing that the reason I missed posting was sheer exhaustion -- that was a busy day, and I'd done more lifting than is good for me.)

We moved into the new house on Wednesday. The movers, from Two Men And a Truck, were fast and efficient - we were out of the apartment in an hour and a half. Highly recommended.

My new phone, on the other hand, is not highly recommended. It's a great phone, except that because it was factory unlocked it doesn't support HD Voice and, hence, WiFi Calling. That's bad, because the cell signal here is rather spotty. It could be worse, except that I actually have a signal in the house, albeit a weak one at times.

I spent hours on chat with AT&T's tech support, and hours in their store, and a little while in the T-Mobile store, trying to get the damned thing recognized by the network. No dice. Now it won't even work as a WiFi hotspot, which sucks. I'll have to swap it again. I hate phones. I hate phone companies. H8 H8 H8. (Basingstoke.)

We are mostly moved in, except that our beds are in the second pod, which isn't arriving until next week. Oops. So we're still on the sofabed, which is in the living room because we didn't want to try to deal with moving it out of the bedroom. It's not merely heavy, it's huge, and won't fit vertically through a doorway.

The house is going to take some getting used to. The kitchen is lovely and open, but doesn't have as much storage as we expected -- in particular, there's only one rather narrow set of drawers. So that will take some refactoring.

The biggest problem, though, is the cats. Ticia is no longer being aggressive toward Cricket, but she's curious. Cricket, however, is terrified, and just hides. That's going to take some work -- it's not the usual case where one cat is being aggressive, so the usual procedures for reintroducing cats don't really apply.

Other than that, though, I like it here. There are a few other assorted inconveniences, but the place itself is lovely -- calm and quiet.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

At this point it's less than two weeks before we move to the new house. Nerve-wracking.

I spent much of this week fighting with phones. My present phone, a Samsung Galaxy S5 mini, has been giving me problems for some time. Wednesday I ordered a new phone, an unlocked Motorola G4 Plus. Lovely thing, with 4G of RAM, 64G of internal storage, micro SIM, and micro SD card. I spent pretty much all day Friday getting it set up...

... only to find out that there is a design flaw that causes "ghost touches" when the phone is charging. That means that it's completely unusable for the time it's on the charger. This is apparently a simple fix that can be performed by a repair center, and, hey, there's one in downtown Seattle. Except that its phone is disconnected. I spent a couple of hours on chat with Motorola's tech support, and learned that the only actual repair center is in Texas. This is apparently a consequence of their having been sold to Lenovo. The phone also had a loud and obnoxious boot sound, which I became very familiar with.

Yesterday I also found out, in the course of investigating microcells, that AT&T now has "WiFi Calling" (which T-Mobile has had for years, but let's not go into that). So after putting my SIM card back in my old phone, I went online trying to find out how to turn it on. (This is important because cell service on Whidbey Island is spotty at best, and our new house is outside of all the spots.) Not finding anything obvious, I chatted with a support person, who told me that the instructions were on the "device support" pages...

...only they weren't. So back to chat, for the rest of the goddamned afternoon, during which it turned out that my phone needed either a new SIM, a factory reset, or both. Since at that point I knew from experience (see Friday) that setting up all my icons and logging back in to all the apps that need it is a multi-hour process, I decided to forgo the reset until I had the new phone (which I hadn't selected at that point) in hand.

So after printing out the shipping labels for returning the Motorola phone to Amazon, I spent the rest of yesterday researching phones. I eventually found the LG G5, which is actually a much better phone in all ways that I can determine without actually having one in my hands, and cost about the same $250. It should be arriving sometime today, because Amazon is awesome, especially in its home town of Seattle. It has "only" 32G of internal storage compared with the Moto's 64, but the same 4G of RAM, and supports SIM cards up to 256G (which is the size SSD I have in my laptop, for FSM's sake).

So it's been a pretty grueling weekend, and that's not even counting the heat. Last weekend was worse, but I did go to the Seattle Pride festival with Naomi and the kids. That was fun, especially the fabulous people-watching.

I also did a little walking during the week. Still not as much as I ought to, but it's a start. The other accomplishment for last weekend was putting the finishing touches on two-sided song printing. I still need to edit the lyrics files to accommodate the new structure; that's minor.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Tuesday I moved nova, the printers, and the starport (inside) router to the computer desk; moved polaris (the outside router) to the corner of the kitchen where the phone jack lives; and set up (linux desktop) algol and (mac mini) whitewood. Everything works! Much better signal from the routers, though there is still the occasional glitching from starport which I suspect is due to 802-11G/N issues.

Tip: it helps if you turn the printer on before trying to print a test page.

I did quite a lot of re-organizing, which resulted in a usable amount of space around the desk and several other items going to useful places. Decided to use Elfa "easyhang" shelving on the long livingroom wall -- it'll be fairly expensive, but a lot less than the price of even freestanding bookcases.

My copy of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute, arrived in the mail. It's wonderful -- go get one. Cat is an absolutely brilliant songwriter. There are several songs on there that I need to learn.

Wednesday I got a confirmation of my COBRA health plan selections. WTF? I didn't recall making any. Thursday I got a letter dated the 5th saying that they couldn't contact me. WTF? Five phone calls later, on Friday, I determined that they had my area code wrong -- I might conceivably have messed up when I updated my profile, but they had my email address and never sent anything to it. The last person I called, Susan, was extremely helpful and pleasant to talk to. This was Friday morning, and may have been due to my already having decided what to do.

After determining that I had already received more from my FSA than I'd put in so far I dropped it, saving myself at least $860. (There was another $430 payment due, but I had already determined that I wasn't going to continue my COBRA coverage after my coverage from $K kicks in in December.) I also dropped my vision plan.

Friday I also (finally!) followed up on my house, car, and renter's insurance. And saved quite a lot. I should have done that months ago, of course. I don't know where my brain was between June and September. Well, job-hunting and moving and unpacking ate up a lot of it, I'm sure. Anxiety, apathy, and depression probably ate up the rest.

Colleen and I visited the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell -- it was only $50/year for a couple membership. If she can get transportation it'll be a great place for her to hang out, especially the quilting group.

I made several tasty meals, including a great corned beef hash using the potatoes that had been cooked in the slow cooker with the beast. Details, along with the usual links, in the notes.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Monday I read LHH's book, Managing Your Search Project, did a little walking (in a mall, but it was so deserted that I could mostly walk in my usual pace), and spoke to my insurance agent. Determined that we're actually covered at about the right level, but that after we move we'll be paying quite a bit less because we won't be needing nearly as much coverage for liability or the contents of the house. So that'll be a net win. He's also getting us a referral to an agent in Shorline.

Yesterday, I went in to LHH for a class, and worked on my resume (which is now down to two pages, plus a 2-page list of projects. I also worked on my LinkedIn profile, though that still has a ways to go.

I spent a little time noodling on my guitar Monday but, as with walking, I've been neglecting it. Need to work on that, don't I? Music and walking are really about the only kind of regular self-care I'm at all interested in -- I should be doing them daily. :P

As for links, well... Daily Kos: 30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died kind of nails it.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Much of the afternoon was eaten up by Colleen's phone. Yesterday evening it fell into her recliner and got pinched in the mechanism. It mostly worked, but a sensor was broken that caused it to turn the screen off when you made a call, and not turn it back on. We ordered a new one via insurance (which required a phone call -- the web interface didn't work), then proceeded to the AT&T store to get a GoPhone to tide us over in the interim. And back to the store, when we found out that her contacts hadn't gotten transfered. So I spent most of Earth Day making two trips in my car. Right.

The fact that smartphones and dumb phones use different size SIM cards is stupid and sucky. Also the fact that smartphones aren't available cheaply. *sigh*

When I first realized that the contacts hadn't transfered and that I was going to have to make a second trip, I had a brief screaming meltdown. Apparently I'm closer to the edge than I thought. I guess it's not surprising -- I am under a lot of perfectly understandable stress right now. I just hadn't realized it.

I need to pay more attention to self care, don't I? I always have a lot of trouble with that -- walks and music are about the only things I know of that I can do to relieve stress, and I never make the time for them when I have "important" things to do. :P

Silly old bear!

'One Day on Earth': The Most International Movie Premiere Ever looks pretty amazing; I hope it comes out on DVD sometime soon. FORTUNE Magazine's Top 100 Employers to Work For was interesting, but not as useful as one might hope -- there are only two or three with IT-type jobs in the Seattle area (though, oddly, Google's Seattle-area offices aren't mentioned).

raw notes )
mdlbear: (nike)

Most of the afternoon was taken up with a couple of outings: first to the AT&T store with Colleen and the YD, then to Santana Row with Colleen. The women got new Android phones; I didn't because none of the Death Star's phones have Ice Cream Sandwich yet. (I now know that the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II will definitely get upgraded. Recommendations? Other things being equal I think I'd go for the Samsung, but there's a $100 difference between the two. Worth it?)

The trip to Santana Row (local very-upscale shopping street) was less successful; my hips were hurting pretty badly. Got home, took ethanol and naproxen, and decided not to go out for a walk today.

Lots of links. Playing Black Sabbath on Tesla coils with an iron guitar, standing in a Faraday suit may have to stand in for this week's Songs for Saturday.

STUNNING: When a Single Image Cuts to the Core of an American Injustice is simply infuriating: there are 24 empty houses for every homeless person in the US.

And this video -- "What Breast Cancer is, and is not" -- is a MUST SEE. Really. Mind-bogglingly good. Cue verse 2 of Quiet Victories, and tip your hat to a very brave woman.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not a very good day, on the whole, despite a couple of good practice sessions. Worry? Empathy? Yeah, probably empathy. I guess I cut myself off from my emotions for a reason, all those years ago.

The YD's phone is broken. Again. This time one of the pins on the charging connector is broken. The insurance we've been paying for has a $50 deductible, and would take a couple of days to replace it -- you can't just walk into an AT&T store and do a swap. (Cell phone companies are second only to cable companies in customer dissatisfaction.)

So what I am going to do is buy a "go phone", which is a dirt-cheap refurbished phone with a prepaid SIM, and just plop her SIM into it.

The other alternative would be upgrading my phone (her contract still has a month and a half to run), but I don't want to do that until I can get one with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in it, which won't be until next year sometime.

Between the phone hassle, assorted frustrations, and a bad smell something like laundry detergent (apparently coming through the AC vents near my office), I left work a little before 5pm feeling drained, depressed, and discouraged. I still felt down after dinner, so it wasn't just low blood sugar. (Mostly better now.)

I've been enjoying Mimi and Eunice's archives.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (tux)

Here's a good article on Gizmodo about Android. Things could get interesting.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Yesterday was a good day. Relaxed, contented, even happy much of the time. A lot better than "ok". It had very little to do with anything I actually did, as far as I can tell, and more to do with bad things not happening, a long walk, and a talk with a friend. I'll take it.

I even figured out, by observation, why my bluetooth headset keeps disconnecting from my phone -- it turns out to be shielding from my hand when I'm holding the headset. It also helps to have the headset on the same side of my body as the phone. It seems to be most comfortable in my left ear, so the best place for the phone is my shirt pocket.

We went to dinner at Arya. The YD, when asked, requested the Elephant Bar, but the two local instances were maxed out and Colleen and I were hungry. Arya worked.

For my Father's Day dinner tonight I asked for something I didn't have to cook or use a credit card for.

When we came home for a bathroom break (and to drop off the YD) before going for a drive, Colleen walked (with the walker) from the car to the back bedroom and back. It's about 75ft each way.

But the best part was the walk. It took me a long while -- half an hour or so -- to work myself up to leaving the last verse and chorus of "The Mary Ellen Carter" on [livejournal.com profile] cflute's voicemail, but I was rewarded a little while later with a good, long talk. Win.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090404 )

It was a pretty good day. I guess my major accomplishment was sending multiple text messages on my phone, in response to a series started by a traveling [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf. I suppose, now that we have unlimited text messaging, I'm going to have to get used to that, too. With my coworkers using Twitter, can that be far behind? Help! I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!

It didn't hurt that Colleen stood up without assistance (in the parallel bars) and stayed standing for 45 seconds. That's huge progress. She also did 8 chair-pushups, and she's getting quite good at wheeling around, though she still likes me to push her when I'm around. That's ok; I like it too.

I've also started on the taxes; I have the checkbook data entered, and expect to have the receipts sorted, if not entered, today.

I can still improvise a tasty dinner from scratch. Go me! The YD pronounced it "edible", which is praise coming from her.

I can haz [livejournal.com profile] cflute and [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi this afternoon?!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090227 )

A little better at noting emotions today, though I see that I totally failed to note my walk, which included a phone call to [livejournal.com profile] cflute, at the time. Not slowing down helps. It also included a second call, to AT&T's technical support, to see what could be done about telling the phone to favor the edge network over 3G, which has crappy coverage.

I was delighted to find out that both [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi and [livejournal.com profile] cflute liked The Owl and the Mountain Goat, my first song of the year. A bit lightweight and far too full of in-jokes for general consumption, but a lot of fun.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Today was only the second day in about a week that I actually had a chance to walk for as long as I like to at lunchtime. That was good.

I noticed an odd, or at least interesting, effect: I was walking at my usual pace up until the point where I started thinking about pulling out my phone and calling a friend. At that point I slowed down to my usual "depressed" pace. As soon as I put the phone away, I sped up again.

Making phone calls appears to be strongly associated with being, or becoming, depressed. To the extent that even thinking about making a call is depressing. Presumably it's a learned response, and presumably it's part of a feedback loop that reinforces the association.

I can keep poking at it, but I don't think I have the mental tools I need to analyze or to correct this kind of problem. I've been thinking about my phone phobia on and off for at least a month, and I seem to be no closer than ever to understanding it. Suggestions?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A couple of tiny steps.

  1. I added a new tag to my to-do list. Along with "o" for "to do" and "*" for "done" (and "~" for abandoned), I've added "&" for "not a to-do item but added after completion". I'm going to try to use it for, um, tiny steps like this, in order to see whether I'm actually doing anything or just marking time.
  2. I'm going to try to post the previous day's "done" items under the obvious tag, so you can either hold my feet to the fire, laugh over how little I've accomplished, or whack me with it the next time I post about not being able to do stuff. Or something.
  3. Colleen just called and offered to offload the most difficult call, to AT&T about the cell phone bill. Not only am I most grateful for the help, but I think that she probably has the best chance of success: she's the one who was in the hospital running up most of the bill, and she can rightfully claim that her husband couldn't bring himself to call earlier because he's clinically depressed. Whether that carries any weight with the phone company is anybody's guess.
  4. I'm about to send email about theStarport's email and hopefully get something going to keep it from being dropped on the floor going forward.

(13:18) Called a friend (left message); took walk; sent email about theStarport's email. Progress?

(15:27) pointed at avoidant personality disorder. Likely part of it, but not all -- as defined in Wikipedia it appears to be basically extreme shyness. Which I have, in spades, but that doesn't seem to explain the other things I procrastinate.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I don't have a name for this problem, let alone any idea of how to go about solving it. Somebody please help.

What is it called when you know that there's something fairly simple that you have to do to make things better -- a phone call, or an email, or even a bit of hardware or software work -- but you don't do it. I can sit staring at my phone for an hour, not doing anything at all except getting more and more depressed, rather than call AT&T to deal with my cell phone bill, or simply call a friend to say hello. I can continue to do this every damned day for a month. I'm still doing it.

I put off signing up for long-term care insurance every damned day for a decade. I'm still doing it. I put off moving my email off of the DSL line right up until yesterday when the line went away. The same thing happened two or three years ago with news -- I still don't have that back up either.

I mentioned this yesterday, but somehow the discussion got sidetracked into, I don't know, practical suggestions for dealing with phone calls that didn't address the actual underlying problem, which I knew damned well was the problem but couldn't -- or at least didn't -- articulate.

This goes well beyond simple procrastination. I don't have any idea what it is, or what to do.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)

So yesterday evening, rather than do anything actually useful like my sales taxes, I sat down and finished transpose.pl, which automagically transposes lead sheets with chords enclosed inline in [square brackets]. Based on the file extension it either uses "#" and "b", or "\sharp" and "\flat".

Of course, the sales taxes really have to get done this morning, along with paying any bills due at the end of the month (when I'll be out of town). And two phone calls, which still scare the hell out of me, to AT&T about my cell phone service and fiber. The cell phone call should have been made a month ago, and is probably too late now to help with my previous astronomical bill. Maybe even with the current one. My finances suck, and I suck at handling them.

(09:54) Sales taxes done.

Mixed bag

Jan. 14th, 2009 11:35 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Colleen's TPN is getting more routine, but it's still nerve-wracking. My energy level is low, and even a walk this afternoon didn't help much. Working from home helps a lot, but my entire afternoon was burned up running errands. Mostly dealing with AT&T.

Last month's cell phone bill was astronomical, due to Colleen's being in the hospital. They couldn't fix that in the store -- it'll require a call to customer service. They could sell me a new phone to replace the ancient one that believes it has a headset attached.

The new phone is one of their cheapest: a Samsung SGH-a737 slider. I don't like the icon-based menu system as well as I liked the Nokia's text-based one, and it doesn't have a standard USB port or charge from USB. No headphone jack either -- you have to use bluetooth. It does have a micro-SD card, but no documentation on how to use it except with their own USB cable and Windows app. :-P

There are a couple of choices: I can take it back and trade up to something like a Motorola, or I can treat it as a stopgap until somebody -- probably Moto, since they've announced it -- comes out with an Android phone for AT&T and pass the Samsung on to Colleen.

I also signed up for fiber for TV and internet. A bit over $100/month for 100 channels of video and 10/1.5 Mb/sec networking. That's almost double my current download speed, and triple the upload (which is what I'm really after).

After that gets installed, early February, I'll cancel the old second line and its associated, ancient DSL, drop or vastly decrease the ISP service I'm getting from rahul.net (and which I haven't used for a year except for being too lazy to move my email), and then drop my newer DSL service from Sonic.net. I think it comes to a net gain of about $50/month.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Colleen's room at Kaiser has good cell phone reception, thankfully (number on the Starport web page, but no Wi-Fi.

I was thinking seriously about getting her an Amazon Kindle (using the money saved by not needing a second room for Loscon), but it doesn't appear to have a general-purpose web browser (you can download pages and email them...), and they quote a delivery time of 3-4 weeks. Scratch that idea.

A smartphone is really tempting. There are two possibilities there: add data to our current AT&T family plan -- really only an option if I'd be able to switch it from her number to mine after she's out of the hoosegow hospital. Or that G1 I've been lusting after... Still an expensive committment.

Actually, the price on a T-Mobile WiFi router looks really attractive. Except that as [livejournal.com profile] asavitzk points out, it's bridging in the wrong direction: VoIP-phone to DSL rather than a cell-to-WiFi bridge. Foo. I've seen the other kind, but neither T-Mobile nor AT&T is selling them.

mdlbear: (gates-pirate)

Cell phone coverage in this area (the hills behind Stanford) has apparently been out for most of the morning, except for about twenty seconds when the tech support person (that it took me nearly an hour to get connected to) was checking it. I am not happy. If you tried to reach me (or [livejournal.com profile] mr_kurt, [livejournal.com profile] finagler, or any of my non-LJ coworkers), my apologies. Not my fault.

I am particularly annoyed that they can't tell whether there's power at the cell tower, which I'm guessing is the problem. I'm also annoyed that they keep asking for the ast 4 digits of my social security number "for security purposes" when all I'm trying to do is tell them that I have no signal.

Oh, right, TILAPIA ITLAPD. Ahoy there, maties! If ye be tryin' to signal the Mandelbear, ye'll be wantin' to use th' Intarweb. The speaking tube be broken.

12:00 Back. On the stroke of noon. Suspicious. I'm guessing a planned outage due to construction.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So far today I have:

  1. Bought and installed two Panasonic DECT 6 phone handsets, for Colleen's bedroom desk and livingroom chair.
  2. Booked the [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf's flight home from Vancouver on 09-20.
  3. Given her 10 copies of Coffee, Computers, and Song! to sell on consignment. (Plus enough cash to make change.)
  4. Posted about curmudgeons -- this one's been kicking around in my drafts directory for a couple of weeks.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's a fine, cool, grey morning; overcast with a hint of blue in the South and East. I've taken one kid to school and have been quietly puttering about the house: the housekeepers are coming, so things have to be at least picked up and put away. Otherwise they'll put things away, which wastes their time and often results in things being found in non-obvious places, weeks later.

Installed the Panasonic DECT phones last night, or at least the base station. Installed one of the remotes this morning in place of the ancient cordless phone between the kitchen and the living room. Recorded the answering-machine message this morning -- that appears to be one of the few things one can't do from a handset. As it turns out, any handset can join a call in progress just by clicking the "answer" button; I may very well want to give each of the kids a remote.

Very few things on my to-do list got done yesterday, so they're mostly carried over to today except for the phone installation and starting a sneakernet transfer system to take advantage of the huge bandwidth of my backpack, and work's hot new internet connection.

The [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat and I seem to have taken to going to bed earlier. This gives us some time for conversation and snuggle, and helps her get to sleep a little faster. Then I can usually get in another hour or so on the computer before getting sleepy myself. I vaguely recall doing something similar before the kids were born...

Sometimes this bear needs to be whacked with a very large cluestick.

Phone rage

Mar. 25th, 2008 10:50 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

There are excellent reasons why I prefer not to transact business by phone when I can possibly avoid it. Clearly, I am one of those people who should not even be permitted near a telephone, let alone call someone he doesn't know and attempt to get anything done.

Phones frustrate and infuriate me; voice-response menus frustrate and infuriate me even more. And if I reach voice mail rather than a human I'm better off hanging up, writing out a message in complete sentences, and going through the entire sorry process again to read it to the blasted machine rather than venting my rage on the spot.

Let's not even mention the fact that missed calls show up on my cell phone minutes or even hours before the corresponding message shows up in my voice mail. Let's not think about the fact that a phone has the worst user interface ever devised by a half-witted excuse for an engineer.

Note to companies: You want my business? Have a human standing by to answer your damned phone if your web page doesn't give me the information I need. And, I can assure you, it probably doesn't.

Note to self: insurance companies don't want to talk to customers. Only your own personal agent is equipped to talk to you. If he's out of town, you're hosed, so plan ahead.

mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

Just upgraded the household phone service to include unlimited long-distance calling to Canada. Along the way, added a big bundle of extras that included things like call waiting.

This saves me over $30/month over what I'm paying now. Excuse me?

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Apparently cell phones are no longer immune to telemarketers. And of course we now have to pay for the privilege of being spammed. Lovely.

Time to update my entries in the National Do Not Call Registry.

And I'm putting potential contacts on notice now: if spam starts to be a problem, I'm going to be leaving my phone off when I'm not expecting a call.

Update: -- that number has been in the registry since 2004.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)
Android Apps are written in Java, so it comes with an Eclipse plug-in and a phone emulator to run it on.

(From Engadget, who've collected a bunch of screenshots and videos.)
mdlbear: (kill bill)

Today was marked by a surprising amount of press about Linux, leading off (at least for me) with a column by Larry Magid in the San Jose Mercury News with the title Another option to Apple/Microsoft duopoly: Linux PCs. Kind of surprising, actually. He mentions Dell, Wal-Mart's $200 Everex gPC, the ASUS Eee PC mini-laptop, and the OLPC XO. I may very well buy myself an Eee -- it's the right size and price. I'll have to see what the keyboard and display are like.

Magid didn't mention the day's other major announcement: Google's Android mobile-phone platform, but the New York Times does. Unlike Apple, whose iPhone is tied to a single carrier and locked down tight, the Google "Phone" is basically just a Linux distribution for mobile phones. Any handset maker can build it into a phone, it'll work with any carrier, and the customer can install software on it. There's a little more analysis here and here.

Say what you like about Linux not being "ready for the desktop"; it's just fine for the low-end user who only wants the web, email, music, and occasional word processing. People who want the darned thing to just plain work, and to keep working without needing an expensive upgrade every year or so.

I wonder how long it will take Linux's market share to double. Not long after Christmas, at a guess. And that's not even counting the millions of cell phone users who already have it in China and Japan, and the millions more who will get it when Android hits next year.

I can hear the screams of agony all the way from Redmond.

mdlbear: (tux)

It shall be mine! (Bwahahaha!)

Not surprisingly, their site is incredibly slow right now. Be very patient if you submit an order -- it took several minutes before the "order completed" page came through.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)
Never mind the iPhone: OpenMoko: The Revolution to "Free Your Phone" is Coming July 9th, 2007
Neo Base -- everything the mobile application developer needs to enjoy the benefits of the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

* Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
* Battery
* Stylus
* Headset
* AC Charger
* Phone Pouch
* Lanyard
* SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card
* Mini USB Connectivity Cable

Neo Advanced -- everything the mobile device hacker wants to get down and dirty with the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

* Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
* Battery (2x)
* Stylus
* Headset
* AC Charger
* Phone Pouch
* Lanyard
* SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card (2x)
* Mini USB Connectivity Cable (2x)
* USB Host Mode Cable
* Debug Flex Cable
* Debug Board v2 (JTAG and serial console)
* Ruggedized Toolbox with shoulder strap
* Guitar Pick (for opening case)
* Torx T6 screwdriver
...
We're going to sell the Neo Base for $300. The Neo Advanced will be $450.

GTA02 (AKA: The Mass Market Neo 1973) is on schedule to go on sale in October. It will have the following new hardware components:

* 802.11 b/g WiFi
* Samsung 2442 SoC
* SMedia 3362 Graphics Accelerator
* 2 3D Accelerometers
* 256MB Flash

We will sell this device through multiple channels. Direct from openmoko.com, the price will be $450 for the Neo Base and $600 for Neo Advanced.
I may wait -- I really want the WiFi and the faster CPU. A camera would be nice, but I have one of those.

(from gizmodo)
mdlbear: (iLuminati)
O'Reilly Radar > Fancy an open iPhone like device in the meantime?
Yes I know that was sensationalist but not completely unfounded.

In my piece on the iPhone and in my request for a developer kit for it, I have been getting rumor, hearsay and little concrete fact. Apple is understandably tight lipped about it all. What I am hearing doesn't sound positive at the moment (i.e locked down harder than Fort Knox), but colleague Phil Torrone commented "They have six months to go. That's a long time to get things right and they always do". It's not essential that a product like the iPhone have a developer program, just a nice "like to have" that may establish it as a platform rather than just another (albeit sexy) gizmo.

In the meantime any developers or hackers looking to do some rock and roll demo's or try ideas that you simply cannot do on the locked phones out there would do well to look at the FIC Neo1973. It has OpenMoko on it.
(From [livejournal.com profile] radaroreillyrss.) I'll pass on the iPhone, thanks.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Open Phones with Open Moko | Reg Developer
While all eyes may have been on San Francisco and the launch of the developer-unfriendly Apple iPhone, the real game changers were demonstrating their strategy at CES 2007, in Las Vegas.

While the hardware may be similar, the strategy is a complete reversal of Apple's closed platform and proprietary hardware. OpenMoko is an open Linux-based mobile application development platform that's designed to help operators and developers build innovative applications on top of a basic phone platform.

That platform is the FIC neo1973, an attractive curved device with a single large VGA touch screen, and a built in GPS. While it's only GPRS, this is a first cut at delivering open hardware, so we can expect future hardware to support faster data connections.
(from [livejournal.com profile] sbisson) The software is at www.openmoko.com.
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
The Apple phone flop | Perspectives | CNET News.com
Apple, in other words, won't be competing against rather doltish, unstylish companies like the old Compaq. The handset companies move pretty quick and put out new models every few weeks.

Second, Apple has to face the issue of trust. Music players are fairly easy. Songs come out of memory and must be amplified. With cell phones, consumers care mostly about quality of service. Who, really, doesn't expect a new company to conquer all the static and connection issues with their phones? Granted, Apple will use contract manufacturers to assemble their phones, but designing these phones takes experience and talent. And the cell carriers are far deeper into it here.

So when consumers get to that counter at CompUSA, they will debate buying the Apple phone, and even hold it up for a look. But when they whip out the credit card, they'll probably opt for a Motorola.
(From techdirt.com.)

There were two things that contributed to the iPod's success -- Apple being the first company to realize that music players were fashion accessories, and being the first company to exploit vendor lock-in with iTunes and, later, the iTunes Music Store. Neither applies in the cell-phone world. We'll see.
mdlbear: (tsunami)
A truly open Linux phone with GPS debuts
The initial run of OpenMokos will be small and out soon, this month in fact. They are meant to be seeded to developers and those wanting to port apps before the mass market launch in January. If you are one of those wanting to get your feet wet, contact FIC for the details.

So there is now an open GPL phone that won't say no to you. It has GPS for location and is reasonably priced. OpenMoko could be good for all the players from users to carriers, and if it takes off, it's usefulness could grow exponentially. I want one.
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
FIC's Linux-based Smartphone - Gizmodo
FIC's taking more than just a page from the Linux community with its FIC-GTA001 smartphone—its taking their entire playbook. Hoping to capitalize on what is essentially free programmers for the project, FIC is releasing a Linux-based smartphone complete with an SDK (Software Development Kit). This allows end-users to develop their own programs and functionality for the phone (picture an army of geeks making sure you can play back DivX on your phone).
mdlbear: (hacker glider)

It's been raining gently most of the day; no walkies. Just as well, since my left ankle has been bothering me a little this week, and it's good to give it a rest. Got my exercise, though, going up and down the garage attic stairs about a dozen times installing phone cable.

For a long time, the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat has wanted a wired phone on her desk instead of the wireless one, which isn't doing very well. Don't know whether it's signal problems or a weak battery, but it doesn't matter. That was the easy one, though it did mean installing a new wall-mounted box for a two-position keystone plate, and drilling a new hole in the wall to run the cable through. I'm using Cat5, BTW, since I have most of a 1000-foot spool of it that I bought a decade or so ago.

The more challenging one was the phone in the bathroom: it's a waterproof, cordless phone, and not only was there no place to plug in a phone on that wall, there's no power outlet either. So what I did was to run the power in the phone cable, putting the wall wart upstairs in the garage with the ones for the 802-11 access point and the ethernet hub, and leaving the plug hanging out the bottom of the wall plate.

for reference purposes )

And as if that wasn't enough, I then went to Fry's and bought [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf's computer for her, since she's been tied up in the Baycon meeting all afternoon. It's a cute little HP s7410n; it came with a free-after-rebates Canon MP150 MFP, and I got her a Hyundai L72S 17" monitor as well. the damage )

While replacing the battery on my APC BackUPS 500 I noticed that, unlike the older ones I'm familiar with, it has a little switch next to the main switch labeled "test" on the top and bell on the bottom. The crossed-out bell icon does appear to mean that you can silence the alarm; you have to do it every time you unplug it.

The hardware cloth over the crawl-space vents will have to wait -- I can't find my tinsnips. Can I go to sleep yet? Oh wait, dinner. Right. Then I can sleep.

Ouch!

Apr. 23rd, 2006 12:32 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

$150 to replace the Y.D.'s phone, which was lost (or possibly stolen, since the hotel didn't find it) on her recent DC trip. But it's my own damned fault, not hers -- I'm the one who suggested that she take it in the first place. It would be cheaper than a prepaid card, I said. Seemed like a good idea at the time...

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