Month: June 2010

Firefox 3.6.6 cured the problem

And of course when you install it it brings up a splash page that says you should really update your Flash player. So I did.

Works now. Which is probably a good thing since RSS reader support for Chrome isn’t very robust at the moment.

Abandoning Firefox

Ok, so I updated to Firefox 3.6.4. Anytime I try to go to a site that uses Flash it crashes. So enough, Google Chrome it is from now on. I’m just importing all my RSS feeds. It’s a pain in the ass as I’ve got 135 feeds and I have to manually copy/paste each into the RSS reader.

Networking: It’s about to get interesting in Providence

So I get the RSS feeds of open meeting notices. One of which is for the Providence Zoning Board of Review.

One can glean all sorts of interesting information from a simple meeting notice.  E.g. I see that Clear Wireless is proceeding with height variances in the northern part of Providence and in the southern part new RI Hospital.

Also noticed that Cox has applied for a variance to put up their own wireless services.  Now that would be interesting since I’m already a Cox customer.

I’ve also started discussions with members of a community group about building a residential MESH network in Providence.  I’ve done out the cost worksheet – it’ll take about $5,000 for 10 initial nodes on the network. It’ll use off the shelf hardware.

As I said to an acquaintance yesterday evening, I don’t care about voice communication per se. Data on the other hand, I want it to be ubiquitous and cost next to nothing if not nothing.

Music: Word Play

Ok, this time I’ll choose a word and then match each letter of that word to a song title in my iTunes library that starts with that letter. You’re welcome to play along.

The word is “RAINBOW”

  • Ring My Bell – Anita Ward
  • AEIOU – Freeze
  • I‘ll Do Anything For You – Denroy Morgan
  • Never Stop – Brand New Heavies
  • Back In The Day – Chaka Khan
  • Over and Over – John Legend
  • Watermelon Man – David Benoit

Music by Resistor Color Code

So the color code for resistors goes black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray and white. (That last one is white)

So I’m poking through my iTunes library to find songs with the color in the title:

Black Devil Car – Jamiroquai

Brown Sugar – D’Angelo

Red Handed – Sylk 130

Nothing for orange

Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow – Frank Zappa

Green Eyed Love – Mayer Hawthorne

Blue Jeans – Chocolate Milk

Beauty and Warmth of an Ultra Violet Memory – King Britt (He was the motivator behind Sylk 130 btw)

Macy Gray – had to go with the artist here as no tracks with Gray in the title.

White Horse – Laid Back

So troll through your library and post tracks/artists with the color in either the artist name or the song title in the comments.

iOS4 Thoughts

So the update is all set.

  • Airplane Mode where it shuts off all wireless (bluetooth, WiFi and if you have the iPhone the phone module).Sort of useless really. I’ve been on a number of flights with cell accidentally turned on, or WiFi device ticking away.
  • Another feature I’m not sure I like is that WiFi remains active even in sleep mode. That will probably drain the battery like nobodies business though I haven’t tried it out as yet.
  • Double clicking the home button to get at the music player controls is nice.
  • Email integration.  Finally! You can get ALL your mail in one place.
  • Folders. Saves paging through screens but increased overall number of taps. Oh well.
  • Slicker interface. Can’t do the wallpaper on the Touch but it’s got a much smoother feel to it.

So overall it was probably worth the update particularly since they didn’t charge for this one.  And I have heard more about the Flash thing. Apparently Apple likes its applications to be exclusive to their iTunes store and not be shared across multiple vendors.

Then of course there’s the ridiculousness of Ulysses being yanked because one of the images showed a female breast. You can just see them clutching their pearls. I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with an image of a male or female body, particularly in animation and graphic arts?

Apple seems to have a low threshold for finding things offensive.

Apple iOS4 install

So first I had to update to v9.2 of the iTunes software. That part took about 40 minutes.

Then download the iOS4 software, an hour.

Installation – well over an hour now because it has to back the fucking thing up, then install the OS, then copy back all the music, apps, etc.

This had god damned well better be worth it. And one annoy-o-factor. The update process keeps switching focus to iTunes so I have to keep clicking back here to compose this post.

And while iTunes is happily playing songs from my library, you cannot control it because the god damned update process takes precedence.

Can you tell I’m getting more and more frustrated with Apple?

This had god damned well better be worth it.

Cox needs to get it’s shit together

Over the past few month I’ve suffered outage upon outage. And I’ve noted a common thread here. When my net connection goes out so too the phones. So I usually end up going over the pay phone nearby and calling Cox to see what is going on.

On my way to the phones I pass by Vinton St. I’ve made it a habit now to look down Vinton because inevitably there are one or more Cox trucks out there with their yellow flashing lights blazing.

Sure enough today – the net connection went down but I had to go the supermarket so I thought nothing of it. By the time I’d gotten back it was up again. Just recently the connection went down again so I took the walk. You guessed it, the Cox trucks are in the SAME place they always go to.

I have an idea what the problems are since we encountered similar on VAN’s we used when I worked for the Sec of State’s office. One of their high tier guys told me what the problem was.

A few years ago Cox had an outside vendor come in and upgrade all the amplifiers on its network. But the vendor didn’t put the temperature gain control PAD’s into the amplifiers.

If you’ve ever worked with RF systems you know that oscillators and RF gear are notoriously sensitive to temperature swings. It’s the reason why amateur radio repeater cabinets in high, cold places have to use a 100W light bulb to warm the cabinet up so that the radios and separation cans work. Same is true of cell service – the transmitters are in climate controlled boxes at the base of the towers or inside climate controlled buildings.

So early this spring when service went out it was because of temperature swings. And I can tell you why it went out today. We’ve had consistent 80F and above past couple days with attendant thunder storms, etc.

So you can bet, the amplifier they’re working on doesn’t have an AUTOMATIC temperature gain control PAD in it.

They really ought to go back to the vendor who did the upgrade and force them to replace the amplifiers.