Monthly Archives: June 2004

Long time, no blog?

Yes, I am still alive; and, I’m still interested in blogging!

Unfortunately, time is the issue. With the wedding fast approaching, free time is at a minimum. I actually have a bunch of cool posts in the queue, but I just don’t have the time time to get them properly written up.

So with one week to go to the wedding, I’m putting away my blogger hat. Don’t worry, I’ll be back after the honeymoon. If I get the urge, you might even get some blog posts from Maui.

Signing off for now…

Music Newz

Just learned through my favorite news source, Fark, that Gene Simmons has new solo album coming out. A**hole hits the stories this Tuesday. Alleged guests and collaborators include Bob Dylan, and the entire Zappa family. More preview info here.

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What do you get when mix G’n’R with Stone Temple Pilots? Hmm, Velvet Revolver. A review of their first album, Contraband is here. I’ve listening to some mp3 samples and its pretty interesting if not good. Unfortunately, I’d classify them more as a heavier version of STP than updated G’n’R.

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Retrogaming

Ok. Its not just me. Everybody is rediscovering the magic of vintage video gaming. Pong, Pac-Man, Dig Dug. Atari 2600, Sega Master System, NES! Ah, the fond memories of youth!

NYT Article – Revenge of Pac-Man: Vintage Games Are Back

Excuse me as I while away the hours playing Enduro Racer on my Sega Dreamcast’s Sega Master system emulator. After that its on to some tank blasting mayhem with Combat on the Stella Atari 2600 emulator. Hehe.

Nokia phones rock!

When I was shopping for a new cell phone recently, I was really lusting after a Handspring Treo 600. But, it at $500, it was pretty much out of my cell phone budget. So, I thought I’d have to settle for a Nokia 6225i.

After reading Sprint’s manual for the phone, I began to think the 6225i is a lot more capable than it lets on. Unfortunately, the Sprint documentation only covers the Sprint specific phone features. The phone itself has a lot of built in functionality that Sprint doesn’t bother to tell you about.

So, I found Nokia’s documentation for the phone on their website. My main lust factor for the Treo was the PIM capabilities. Specifically the ability to sync with Outlook for contacts and calendar. Turns out the 6225 can do this! All you need is a cable or IR port. Nokia wanted $50 for the cable, that’s a bit pricey for a single use item. I found other folks selling the same on eBay for $29; that’s more my speed still not quite there.

Hmm, I thought. Is there such a thing as a IR port for USB? A little searching around at TigerDirect, and I found the Bafo USB to IrDA adaptor. $19? That’s a no brainer. It also might be useful in making a IR remote control setup for my pc outside of the phone sync application.

So, I plug in the adaptor. Windows XP finds it and already has a drive for it. Cool. I install the Nokia phone manager software and give it a shot. Intial setup is pretty easy, I basically just tell it what I want to sync (calendar, contacts, to-do, etc) and how much (date range for calendar, all contact info vs. just phone numbers, etc). After that I just turn on the IR port on my phone and point it at the adaptor. Bing, Windows XP reports its connected to the phone and the phone shows up in the Nokia software.

So, I click the sync button. It grinds away for a bit trying to figure out all the details of my Outlook setup. Then it starts to sync. The total transfer took about 2 minutes. I suspect that future syncs will be a lot faster since less data will need to be moved.

All in all, I’m very impress on how easy the whole process was. Great job Nokia! I’m looking forward to messing around with other phone management tools (ringer editor, image manager, phone browser) that are included with the sync application.

Minor Vonage Update

When you transfer your existing phone number to Vonage, you need to fax them a Letter of Authorization (LOA) and copy of the first page of your current phone bill. Easy enough. So, dropped the pages in the fax and keyed in their number.

Dag nabbit, the fax tried to eat the second page of my transmission. It hung up the fax before I could refeed it. I immediately refaxed and got both pages across successfully. Some how, I knew this would be a problem. Sure enough, I get an email from Vonage later in the day saying they got the LOA but not the first page of the current phone bill.

So, I faxed it again and replied to their email. I got an email back a few hours later saying that they got the fax successfully and forwarded the change over information to Verizon. They claim it will take 15 to 20 days for the transfer to happen. We’ll see…

Vonage Digital Phone

Since I don’t have nearly enough projects going at the moment, I thought I’d throw another into the mix; switching my verizon phone line to a Vonage digital setup. My cable modem provider, Time Warner Roadrunner, recently launched their own digital phone service, but they only offer one $39/month unlimited plan; that’s a little overkill for me. Vonage had a 500 minute plan for $15/month that was more my speed. BestBuy had a deal on the Vonage start up kit ($29.99 after rebate), so I gave in.

After filling out an online form on the Vonage site, I gave setting up the digital phone box a shot. Its pretty straightforward, you just insert their box between your cable modem and router. Their instructions tell you to power everything (pc’s, router, cable modem), which I did, but I really don’t think it was necessary. Picked up the phone and I had a dial tone.

On the first test outgoing call, it rang a few times then switched over to a quick busy signal. Hmm, troubleshooting says that either I didn’t dial a fully qualified 11 digit number, to reboot my equipment (pc’s, router, cable modem, phone box) or change some port forwarding settings on my router. Hmm, the router is on the other side of the phone box, so I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem. so I powercycled the cable modem and phone box. After 3 minutes, the light on the phone stopped blinking. Second outgoing call worked like a charm! Must admit I like this setup process better than Verizon’s point, considering I haven’t had to talk any humanoids yet.

The process for moving my existing number to vonage looks pretty straightforward; I have to fill out a form and attach the first page of my last Verizon bill and fax it over to them. Then they’re supposed to grapple with verizon to get the number moved. Hmm, I wonder if I’ll have to cancel anything at Verizon after the number has been moved…

I’ll try to post my progress on getting that number moved and any other interesting tidbits I run into along the way.