Monthly Archives: June 2008

Cooked ROMS

I am a big fan of cooked ROMS for mobile phones running Windows mobile.  I myself have an at&t tilt that I have unlocked and use a cooked ROM on.  The best place to get these ROMS and find instructions on how to use them, is www.xda-developers.com – I highly recommend the Q-mobile 1.2 ROM for the TILT, as well as the L26 V4 ROM (there are newer ones, but for some reason I prefer the V4).  Take a look around, read the wiki and forums and have fun with your phone. 

I also recently began supporting a new user (my wife) on the Treo 680.  One thing I noticed right away is that while the Treo has a great keyboard, easy one handed operation and a generally easy to use interface; the down side is that its not very customizable.  You can’t flash custom ROMS and most of the software seems outdated and simplistic.  I like the Treo, but much prefer a windows mobile device just for the plain fact that you can do so much with them, its more fun in my opinion… 🙂

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Unlimited is never really unlimited

As a consumer, its very frustrating to pay for products and services that are supposed to be “unlimited”, only to find out that the term “unlimited” isn’t really unlimited.  Take for example, my data plan with at&t wireless.  I had been paying for the PDA Personal unlimited plan and it came with 1500 free text/mms messages as well.  But with the company I work for, we use Good Mobile messaging and most providers are now coming up with specific plans you need to have in order to use Goodlink.  So now I’ve been automatically switched to the Unlimited data plan for Goodlink.  This costs me an extra $5 a month and the plan no longer comes with 1500 text/mms messages, which they don’t mention when you get the letter explaining the plan change.  So I had to break down and buy the $5 a month text messaging plan so that I don’t get charged too much for the light text messaging that I had gotten used to using. 

These days, you look at anything that says “unlimited” and check for the asterisk and then read the small print.  Chances are you will find that what you thought was unlimited, is actually quite limited and you may end up finding an extra charge or get hit with “excessive use” fees. 

This goes along the same lines as the “geting less for the money” scheme most producers are using with products and even food.  Re-packaging goods with less product for the same amount of money.  Hoping that people don’t notice and blinding consumers to the facts by keeping large blurbs on the packaging that say “bigger box” or “25% free”. 

Fun Star Trek trivia site

I found this link – which provided an interesting and quite good set of trivia questions about Star Trek.  Try your hand at some of these and see how much you really know.  I will say that I never made it under the level of Admiral and was once also pronounced to be the Federation president. 🙂

My recommendation for best free PDF writer

I really like the features, ease of use and overall functionality of the Bullzip PDF Writer.  Here is a brief feature list:

  • Print to PDF from almost any Windows program.
  • Runs on Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/XP x64/2003/2003 x64/Vista/Vista x64/2008.
  • Supports 64-bit operating systems.
  • Direct output to the same file each time or prompt for destination.
  • Control if the printer should ask if you want to see the resulting PDF document.
  • Control output and prompts programmatically.
  • Setup can run unattended.
  • Graphical user interface.
  • Password protect PDF documents.
  • 128/40 bit encryption.
  • Quality settings (screen, printer, ebook, prepress).
  • Set document properties.
  • Watermark text, size, rotation, and transparency.
  • Superimpose/background documents.
  • Appending/prepending documents.
  • User interface control.
  • Command line interface to all settings.
  • COM/ActiveX interface for programmatic control.
  • Support for Citrix MetaFrame
  • Support for Windows Terminal Server
  • Click Here to go to the bullzip website for more information and to download.

    Network related issues after applying SP2 for Server 2003

    I had read about network related issues after applying SP2 for Windows Server 2003, but had never run into them before.  Recently I installed SP2 on two very powerful servers with good hardware, and afterwards noticed I was getting RPC errors when trying to logon with a domain account.  I was able to create local accounts on each server remotely and logon locally to each machine, only to find that I couldn’t browse the web, the GUI was freezing up on me, and a lot of strange things were happening.  I was about to uninstall SP2 when I remembered reading about these issues, so I ended up finding this MS KB describing the issue and recommended resolution. 

    Sure enough, after disabling “Receive Side Scaling” the servers began working normally again.  I was able to logon with domains accounts, browse the web, etc.  There is no need to reboot or do anything else special, it just works immediately after turning off that option. 

    9th Annual SysAdmin Day

    If you have never heard of this before, please click here to read up about SysAdmin day.  This is the 9th annual day of recognition for SysAdmin people.  I love this idea for a day of recognition and just wish we could get more users to read up on this.  Sadly, I fear that only actual sysadmins know about this day.

    Goodlink and ActiveSync

    I called Goodlink support yesterday to ask about a pesky issue that I’ve noticed for a while relating to ActiveSync not synching the contacts once you’ve installed the GMM client app on the phone.  Basically I have Goodlink installed for my work e-mail, and I use ActiveSync for my personal e-mail which is hosted on my own Exchange server.  I don’t know at what point the contacts stopped synching, perhaps it was a change in the GMM app, or perhaps it is something with WM6.1, I am not really sure. 

    Anyway, I called support to ask about this and the rep I spoke to said they had never been asked this before.  I find this hard to believe, I can’t possibly be the only person using a device with Goodlink and also using ActiveSync for other e-mail.  So the rep tells me that the way I am using my phone is an unsupported configuration.  Basically once you install Goodlink you are not able to officially use ActiveSync to connect to other mail accounts.  The Goodlink app takes over the phone and causes issues like this.  I submitted this configuration as a feature request, however I doubt they will allow it. 

    I don’t understand why this would not be a supported configuration since the GMM app is a separete suite of applications and has not in the past interferred with the Pocket Office apps, namely Pocket Outlook (mail or contacts).  I should point out that initially ActiveSync will sync the contacts folder to Pocket Contacts, but after the initial sync, Goodlink takes over and you can no longer sync the contacts.  I also noticed that the latest versions of the GMM client app seems to initially sync your contacts to the pocket contacts app, however there are no options for this and no indication that it is supposed to do this. 

    So for now, if I make a change to any of my personal contacts, I have to delete my ActiveSync profile, and re-create it, which forces a re-sync of my contacts one time only.  Then after that, it will no longer sync contacts, that option is disabled (grayed out).  All other functions work ok, its just the contacts that don’t work.

    Can I get some help please?

    The other day, I met a friend (Daniel) at Lowes in New Tampa to look at grills.  My family is letting me get getting me a grill for Fathers Day this year.  We have never had a real full size grill before, instead we’ve been using a George Foreman which does OK, but can only do so much at a time.  It was starting to feel like a real chore to grill chicken now and then, and so the time has come to get a real grill.  No longer will I stand in front of that George Forman for an hour trying to grill a few pieces of chicken.  Now I will be able to cook an entire package of chicken in one shot in a very short amount of time. 

    So back to my story.  But before I continue, you should know that I have something against Lowes.  Back in Maryland where we used to live I had a bad experience with them…ok several bad experiences.  One involving my mother, but I’ll save that story for another time…  I met Daniel as I sad, and we started to check out the grills and discuss the details of what I should get and what looked good.  We found one that was great for what I wanted and the price was good.  So we talked for a while and then I went inside to make the purchase.  I went to the grill area and waited for a while, and after no one coming to help me I pushed the help button.  A guy came up and I showed him what I wanted.  He said he had left another customer to help me and hurried through writing down a number on a sticker for me, telling me to go up front and pay giving them this number.  He also gave me a book and blabbered something about the propane bottle. 

    I went to the register to pay and the person there didn’t know how to ring up my accessories.  After some waiting for a manager, they finally got me straightened out.  Although I got a few impatient questions from the manager which I suppose assumed I knew how their polocies worked and what promotional details they needed to give me.  So after I paid I went outside after being assured by the manager that someone would be out in just a few minutes to unlock the grill I purchased.  I stood there for some time, got a phone call and talked for a while, then made another phone call to Liz.  I went back inside finally and saw the manager that I had just dealt with some time ago, and she asked me if I got the grill, which I replied “no I hadn’t”.  She showed some disbelief and made a page over the intercom.  I went back outside and waited some more, and was finally approached by some of the guys that help people load their cars and get the carts.  They went in and checked for me and finally after about 10 more minutes a guy came out and unlocked my grill.   After some unconvincing attempts on his part to caml me (guess he assumed I would be mad, but I wasn’t), I finally got the grill loaded into the car with the help of one of the younger guys. 

    I got home and just unloaded it into the garage as it was after 8:30 or so by the time I got home.  I spent 1.5 hours or more at that Lowes just trying to buy a Grill.  This is a typical experience for me when I try to buy anything thats not just sitting on a shelf.  Its always a big drama.  Fortunately I got out in the garage last night and hooked it up to the tank and gave it a try.  Everything works great and I can’t wait to use it on Sunday. 

    Blog comments

    Recently I’ve been getting more blog comments and also interaction with people who are finding my blog and coming here as a result of a search for a technical problem.  I’ve especially liked to see people who were searching experts-exchange and come across a post I was involved in and find my blog from my EE profile and contact me directly to follow up.  I think its awesome that my participation in EE (be it ever so little), is helping someone out there.  I’ve gotten several e-mails from the contact me page on my blog with questions as well, which has been great. 

    Man movies

    I’ve been reading a book lately (ok…its an audio book) that has been very inspirational and helpful to me.  The book deals with being a man, and what that means, and its made me realize a few things about myself that I never really thought of before.  As a side result of all this, last night I popped in the movie Gladiator.  I love the line in that movie where Maximus confronts the emperor in the collosseum where he says:

    “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next”. 

    WOW what a movie, makes me feel like watching Braveheart again too.