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Free app (MobiTV) today only from Handango

My TILT came pre-loaded with a trial of MobiTV. I got an e-mail today that had an advertisement for the Free App Friday from Handango and they are giving away the full version of MobiTV today only. This is a great little app and a great price! Go here to get it!

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review – at&t TILT

I have had the TILT with at&t for about a week now. I have to say this is the best phone I have used to date. Here are some highlights of why I like this device..

1. Its sleek and visually cool looking, coloring is modern and glossy.

2. The weight of the phone is indicative of being well built, it feels sturdy and tough.

3. It has plenty of onboard memory; you can customize the device, install apps and have plenty of onboard memory left without the need of a storage card.

4. Onboard GPS radio is neat; this is my first phone with true onboard GPS. A perk is that both Google maps and windows live search work with the onboard GPS radio for free.

5. The speed of this device to a data network is amazing. Over HSDPA I can download at nearly 1mbps which is not bad, although this connection is theoretically capable of much faster sped, but it’s still way better than EDGE!

6. You can use this device as a wireless modem, so when you travel or go somewhere that doesn’t offer free internet access, you can connect over Bluetooth to a laptop and get on the internet for free using your phone’s data plan.

7. Windows mobile 6 pro seems much more stable and visually attractive.

8. Battery life is not bad, in one day I am only using less than 50% of the battery with normal to light usage.

9. You can be on the phone and receive e-mail and use the data connection at the same time. No longer does using the phone disable all other radios on the device. You can now get important e-mail while talking on the phone.

10. Mobility! I can browse the web, make a blog post, track my position with GPS, take pictures, connect to wifi, use bluetooth devices, conect to VPN, run Citrix applications and sooooo much more, all while on the go.

There is more I will post about this device later, but those are the main points…

WABC project meeting

I met yesterday afternoon around 2pm with Michael Odell about the WABC website. We went over the details of the site, and how its setup, where to go for what, and gave them all the info I had. I sent Michael the e-mail I composed for him with all the links and information needed to manage the site.

His mom came with him and seemed very nice. Michael seemed a little timid but he got on the computer and I had him go through adding a calendar entry and looking things over. They both sounded like this should be pretty easy and then they left just after 2:30. So it wasn’t a long meeting, but hopefully was informative.

Once we get more information from Gary and Lynn regarding actual content for the site, we can get it up and running and finish our part for now.

FIOS Update

So now that I’ve had FIOS for several months, I thought I would post an update. Here are my observations so far…

1. I love the ActionTec wireless router that comes with the service. It is a very flexible and fully featured with a firewall, MAC address filtering, port forwarding, and more. I took a little while to adjust to the settings on the router, as you have to click save in more than once place for your settings to be saved and applied, which is a little different, but once you figure out the little neuances of the router, you are good to go! It will do anything and everything I need and more.

2. My only gripe so far, is something that happened when my IP address changed. I had the service for probably over 2 months before my IP changed for the first time. When it did change, my home network lost internet connectivity and my dynamic DNS client was unable to connect to the internet to update my IP. This caused several hours of outage for my home e-mail and internet connectivity. I have not yet had another IP change, so I’m hoping the first time was just a fluke. (NOTE: This won’t be an issue for most people, unless you run DNS for accessing services on your home network like I do).

3. The speeds are consistent and fast, every time I run the Verizon speed test, it comes out over 20MBps down, and nearly 5MBps up, with only slight variations. The bandwidth is exceptional, very fast, and reliable. I have had not real service outages at all and am very pleased with the quality of service I am receiving.

4. In order to optomize the speed your computer will see on the FIOS network, it may be necessary to run the FIOS connection optomizer. This basically changes some TCP/IP settings in the registry to optomize throughput on the FIOS system. These are the same type of settings people have been adjusting since the internet was created, I’ve done it with dialup before, and this is just the most modern way to optomize the connection. Its no big deal, but you will see lower than advertized speeds unless you run the optimizer.

5. The price of the service is comperable to service with other providers in the area, but the speeds are much faster without increasing the cost of the service.

I am overall very pleased with Verizon FIOS service. I highly recommend it to anyone currently using a cable provider. I’ve been a cable user for years, and took a long time to make the decision to switch. I am happy that I did, and will never go back to cable. I would also point out that Verizon offers a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can always give it a try and test it out to see what you think. You can cancel at the service if you don’t want to keep it. Plus then your home will be wired for the service should you decide to use it again in the future.

DNS uh oh!

I will admit that I made a pretty bad oopsie recently regarding my DNS confiugration for my personal domains, specifically with the MX records. Recently I decided to cancel my no-ip backup mail service account, so I removed the no-ip mail servers from my MX records in my DNS zones. What I forgot was that I had setup my DNS on DNSExit.com rather than on my own hosting server. So the place I fixed the MX records made no difference at all, and last night or this morning when my no-ip account expired, they began rejecting mail for my domains. I was alerted to this issue by my loving wife who calmly told me she couldn’t get any email from her friends. I quickly identified the issue and made the necessary corrections on the DNSExit system and mail flow has been restored. There could be some DNS servers out there that have my DNS zone cached, so for up to 2 days, we still face missing some e-mail. Fortunately, the sender will get a bounce back and hopefully realize that something is wrong and they need to re-send their message later. This is the first major mail stoppage I’ve had in a LONG time. I plan to diagram my mail flow and DNS configuration so that I can reference this information in the future, since I don’t look at it every day, its easy to forget how things are setup.

UPDATE | 8-27-07

It turns out I thought I had fixed everything but hadn’t. I noticed I still wasn’t receiving the normal amount of mail I normally would on my shorehost.com domain. After checking again, I found I had forgotten yet another backup DNS service that I use and had not yet removed the no-ip MX records from that provider. So I fixed that, and I’m happy to report that mail is now flowing normally now. However for several days there, since approximately Aug 23rd, incoming mail to my personal domains was affected and mail was bounced back to the senders. So if anyone sent me or my wife anything important, please re-send!!! This is the first major outage caused by an “oopsie” that I’ve ever had on my personal mail system.

Verizon FIOS and Relay of SMTP messages

It came to my attention recently that there have been problems relaying mail to an external party from my mail server at home. I host some distribution lists and mailboxes for a small group my wife is involved with. They have a public domain setup with a few mailboxes. All the e-mail for that public domain comes through my Exchange server. Copies of the incoming messages are routed to internal mailboxes, but each mailbox is setup to forward a copy of every incoming message to that user’s home e-mail address.

So I kept getting these NDR messages (since I’m the administrator) and I hadn’t really had time to investigate until recently. When I started to take a look at the problem, I realized it only occurred when a particular sender would send a message to the users on the group’s public domain. Basically this person was sending mail to an address at the groups public SMTP domain. So my server would receive the mail, deliver it locally and then forward on a copy to each recipient’s home e-mail address. So that was the pattern of the problem, at least I had that figured out.

We recently switched to Verizon FIOS and after more checking, realized this issue started occurring right around the same time we made the switch. When looking in the event viewer on my Exchange server I found events saying that I had to authenticate to send mail as xxx user, which I knew was not my account. I checked the message tracking in Exchange and found that mail delivery worked fine locally, but failed when relaying a copy out to the user’s home e-mail address.

The issue it seems is that when Exchange forwards a copy back out to the user’s home account, it has the from address of the sender in the SMTP transmission. My server is configured to route all outgoing SMTP messages through Verizon’s outgoing SMTP server. But the user sending the original message was also using Verizon DSL with a verizon.net e-mail account. So when my server tried to relay the outgoing copy, it saw the from address and that it was a verizon.net account. I can only assume that Verizon has some type of account restrictions in place that prevented my server from relaying mail from this address while authenticated as my account. (I’m using SMTP authentication for outgoing mail through Verizon). The message would be blocked at this point and I’d get the NDR. So I naturally started looking at outgoing SMTP accounts with third parties for use with relaying. I toyed with the idea of setting up another SMTP connector for the recipient’s domain to bypass Verizon, but was weary of that due to PTR issues with my DNS, which could cause more problems than its worth.

I found a good SMTP relay service for only $15 a year, and was about to buy it when I decided to stop and try the SMTP connector in Exchange first, just to see if it work, or if hotmail (the home recipient with delivery problems) would reject the message if it did any type of PTR lookup on the sending mail server. I set everything up and sent a test message and was happy to see it was delivered successfully. I now route all outgoing mail to hotmail.com directly to the hotmail MX servers rather than route through Verizon. This way all other mail can go through Verizon, but anything sent to hotmail.com will go directly from my server to hotmail, which then resolves my problems of another verizon.net user relaying through my mail server. After more testing I have found this works well and saved me $15 a year.

Ceiling Fan light malfunction – or so I thought

Ok, this is kind of embarrasing, but here we go. On Friday or so Liz and I noticed that the light on our ceiling fan in the living room was really dim. It was not normally this dim and nothing we tried seemed to help. I swapped light bulbs and took the cover off trying to find out why it was so dim. I finally resorted to the hunter website to try to track down the problem. I could not find my model on their site at first, so I submitted a support request via e-mail. Later I finally found our model on their website and was able to download the user guide. I read through it and found that the fan has a dimmer switch built into the remote. You have to press and hold the light power button and keep the buttom depressed, when you do this the light will cycle through its various brightness levels. What must have happened is the buttom got pressed long enough to dim the light while the remote was in a pocket or got sat on. So we thought something was wrong, but nothing was actually wrong, we were just ignorant of the features of the remote. Fortunately my support request to Hunter never went far enough for someone to actually tell me how stupid I was. I’m also glad I didn’t decice to take the fan apart or bring it down off the ceiling trying to do my own troubleshooting!

Faster speeds, better value

I’m excited to say that tomorrow evening I will be getting FIOS installed. I opted for the 20MB/5MB plan. So now I will have 20MBps download speeds and 5MBps upload speeds to support home networking services. This will be a major boost for my e-mail, picture uploads and web design work that Liz and I both do.

These changes come after several frustrating issues with Road Runner. I’ll explain more about that in another post.

Oh and I also have to get a part of my roof fixed tomorrow as we discovered some major leaks during the last few thunderstorms we had.

Holiday weekend

Our weekend started a little early on Friday, my office closed at 1pm, but because new carpet was being installed, I stayed late to pack up computers and equipment to get it out of the way during the carpet install. So we started at 12:30pm on Friday, and were actually done by 2pm. I got home and found my in-laws had arrived, so we all went to a friend’s community pool. The kids all love to swim and it was a lot of fun. The wayer was a little chilly but only at first. We went home and ordered dominos pizza for dinner. Liz and here mom went to DQ and picked up some dilly bars for us for dessert.

Saturday I worked on web stuff for Liz’s MOPS group and my podcast site. I got most of the MOPS work done, and created a bunch of e-mail accounts. I also got the girls playing with the headset and they recorded some play podcasts for fun. I knew once they put on the headset they wouldn’t be able to put it down. They were fighting (of course) over who got to use the headset next. I posted three of their recordings as podcasts on my blog (look back just a few posts).

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Blogging Tools – BlogDesk

This post is about a product called “BlogDesk”. I am keen on the idea of using a desktop app to easily publish blog entries. I use various means of posting to my blog(s), including sending an e-mail, third party software and direct entry into the web admin section. This post was created in BlogDesk, which is a plain but effective third party app and completey free by the way. It gets the job done and most of the same features of w.blogger. You can find/download BlogDesk on their website.