Blog Archives

at&t HTC 8525 phone buttons not working

Recently saw an issue where a user with an 8525 had problems with the phone buttons, where they would just stop working.  A little google search revealed that other people have had this issue, ROM version didn’t make any difference and it seemed to be sporadic.  This forum on the cingular website had a post by a user who said to slide open the keyboard, and loosen the screw on the back of the keyboard closest to the navigation buttons.  I initially completely overlooked the word “loosen” and asked the user to tigten the screws on the back.  After this was done, the phone buttons worked perfectly.  Then I re-read the forum post and realized the recommendation was to actually loosen the screws.  I don’t personally buy the overheating explanation, but slightly tightening the screws resolved it for us this time. 

My Miata is home sick today

Last night my Miata came down with a fever and a runny nose.  I pulled into the garage to find my temperature gauge all the way to the H and white steam was starting to roll out from the engine compartment.  I immediately checked it out and found a crack in the top of my Radiator.  It was spraying out white steam from the top of the radiator. 

Since my baby was sick, I had to take Sarah to school in the van and then drive the van to work right from her school.  I was only a little late for work which wasn’t too bad. 

I checked around online for some prices for a replacement radiator and found a website radiator.com which I used to contact them about a radiator for my Miata.  They are a direct to consumer distributor, and have price matching and guaranteed lowest prices which was good.  I ended up getting a new radiator, with a lifetime warranty for my Miata for $169 with free same day delivery to my home. 

The miata.net forums have a good garage section with a guide showing step by step how to replace the radiator on your own.  So I will save a little money by doing the replacement myself.  On the way home I have to stop by an auto parts store and pickup some radiator fluid and hoses, but most likely I’ll have it all done tonight or at the latest sometime tomorrow.  I really hope I can get it fixed tonight, because Liz and I are going on a date tomorrow night to celebrate our 9th anniversary.

Sunbelt Software status

I previously mentioned that I’ve been trying to get the new Sunbelt Exchange Archiver installed for an evaluation and I’ve also mentioned the old “IHateSpam” product and the predecessor “Ninja” in previous blog posts.  Here is an update on my status…

Sunbelt Exchange Archiver:

   I am still unable to get the archiver to work, my issues at this point are with the database connection.  No matter what I try, I can’t get the database connection to function.  I finally did get the product to install but now you have to configure everything before it can start the services.  As usual the Sunbelt documentation is sub-par and contradicts what support tells you.  I will probably have to get a support rep on the phone and do a remote install session just to get the product running. 

Sunbelt Ninja:

   I upgraded my Exchange servers in my company to the latest build of Ninja which includes their new “STAR” engine.  This replaces the old Sunbelt heuristic filter with a definition based system like the cloudmark engine.  I was told by Sunbelt that their new engine “does not cause false positives” before I did the upgrade.  Pre-upgrade testing showed no problems with system resources such as CPU utilization and spam catch rates were the same as previous tests on the old version.  The problem comes in when deploying in production.  I found soon after enabling the new engine that we were having problems with lots of false positives and even some internal mail was being filtered and going to user’s quarantine.  I ended up having to disable their new engine and things are working much better now.  I also resolved an issue with the anti-spoofing feature that was marking lots of external mail as spoofed. 

   I think in general Sunbelt Software is on the weak side in the following areas:

1. Documentation, frequently I find their documentation is incomplete, does not answer questions users would have upon installing, and contradicts other documentation related to steps in the process and also their support staff directly. 

2. Internal testing, I know they test their products before releasing to the general public.  However its been my experience that there are always unexpected issues when installing or upgrading any of the three Sunbelt Products I’ve used.  Like with Ninja and their STAR engine causing false positives, and marking internal mail as spam when its not supposed to.  Not to mention the default configuration causes high CPU utilization on the host server.

Unfortunately there are not many other alternatives to do the job that Sunbelt’s software does.  I know there is no perfect software, and with software comes its share of bugs.  One last complaint would be in diagnosing errors.  I know that in Ninja when we would turn logging to high in order to diagnose problems (and you have to turn logging to high as the system logs only useless information in the low setting), the extra disk activity is a huge drain on system performance.  This alone is enough to make users complain.  But in order to get any useful information from the software, you have to perform this step.  Also, the queue folders often start to build as mail backs up into the queue.  Most of the time I am certain this is caused by Ninja or more specifically the SMTP event sink it uses.  Mail backs up into the SMTP queue folder and before you know it, you’ve got hundreds of messages stuck and not being delivered.  Of course you restart the services and try to clear the queue since its obviously a big deal, but then you don’t get any logging as to what caused the problem.  Support has no idea, and tells you to run a snapshot which is useless unless your logging level is set to high. 

Ninja also accounts for a large boost in disk activity, and shows a marked increase in the disk queue when viewed in perfmon.  This causes general GUI slowness and delays when opening MMC consoles. 

I will say that when Ninja works, it works well, but the slightest problem or glitch and your entire mail flow system can be affected.  I suppose this is a risk with any spam filter, but we’ve had a long history with Sunbelt products and it seems that the core issues we had with previous version of their spam filter have carried over into Ninja in one form or another. 

Monday night shows

Admittedly Liz and I are hooked on a few shows, specifically Heroes and Journeyman that come on Monday nights.  I also like Chuck, but thats more of a geek/tech show so Liz isn’t as interested in that one.  Heroes last night was awesome, yes slightly predictible but still a great story and an episode that gave more answers to questions raised in previous episodes. 

***SPOILER***  I did know what was going to happen when HRG (Noah) was shot in the eye, and was not surprised at the end to see the blood bring HRG back to life and fix his eye. 

Journeyman was good, the previews for next week look awesome.  The whole interaction with Dan and his brother Jack are very interesting and the characters are really starting to develop well.

Movie update

Liz and I watched a few movies we’d never seen before this weekend. Included are:

Poseidon (2006) – was an ok movie, but Liz and I can’t take much of the mass death and disaster type stories…

Catch and release – didn’t really care for this movie, thought it would be good from the description, but it didn’t hold our interest for long. Actually watched this the previous weekend (I think).

Evan Almighty – Thought this was funny, not a terrific movie, but interesting and humorous with a fairly good sory.

I’ve been trying to find a newer romantic comedy that is something good, not some of the sleezy stuff thats been coming out. But after watching that Poseidon movie with all the death and danger, I think we are ready for a musical! 🙂

Weekend followup

We just had a great weekend! Saturday with Michael’s birthday party and Sunday enjoying the awesome weather outside in the back yard together and chatting with neighbors, it was just a great weekend. I love this time of year with the cooler temperatures and clear skies. It is so relaxing to sit in my back yard, with the “preservation” area behind us, nothing but the sounds of nature to listen to (and the kids playing of course).

Liz and I even got to work on her allspiffedup website a little. We are testing out some things and trying to make it more interactive and visually appealing. We should have a new site up and running in a week or so. I really enjoy doing web work with Liz, we both enjoy it, and although I’m the more technical person who makes things happen, she is understanding of how things work in general and is very good with graphics and we end up having a good time together doing this sort of thing.

P.S. Michael still talks about his moon, he randomly remembers he has it, and keeps saying “moon” over and over and tells everyone about it. Its really cute!

Coming up!

There are a few things I’m working on that I will hopefully be able to release on both my blog and family website soon. Here is a brief list of things I’m trying to get setup…

1. Method for web visitors to send me messages or info, perhaps post back information to my site, maybe a public category where friends and family can post messages.

2. Podcasts – We have a lot of fun doing podcasts. I hope to get the girls and Liz and I back into a somewhat regular podcast series. It would be audio only at first, probably short (under 5 minutes) and of course make you laugh.

3. Way down the road, I’d love to start doing video podcasts. This is going to take a little more thought and planning, and we don’t have the video equipment to take on this job yet.

4. Add pictures to posts – it would be nice if when I posted an update on the site if I could attach a picture to the post for a visual aid of what I’m talking about. So from now on, I’m going to try to post individual pics of the kids or relevant pictures of what relates to my post so that its not just a bunch of boring text… 🙂

5. Custom theme – at some point down the road, its inevitable that I need to try to create a custom theme for WordPress. I have up to now used freely available themes I found online and modified them for my own use. This has worked out fine so far, but its time I start looking into option to code my own theme. This would open up all kind of opportunity as to how I want the site to look, and it would be a lot of fun designing graphics and CSS for the site.

Trick or Treat – lock the door

I feel really about this, and everyone is telling me not to worry about it, but still, it bothers me that I did this, even though it was purely by accident.

Last night we got home around 8:15 or closer to 8:30, and I was getting Sarah in bed and also working on my phone which had to be re-configured (long story). Liz got home just a few minutes after me and I had already gotten Sarah in bed, but when she got home she saw our neighbors outside and they invited her over with Abby to get more candy. So Liz and Abby and Michael went over to the neighbors house. I get a call a few minutes later from Liz and she says I may want to turn off the porch light (that she had left on) because she thought someone might see the light on and come to us for candy (of which we had none since we go out with the kids and don’t stay home to hand out candy). By this time it was probably 8:45pm and I’m on the phone with Liz on speaker, and I go and turn off the porch light, and also lock the deadbolt on the door. I start walking away from the door and hear a boys voice say “trick or treat”.

Turned out he was on the porch and I flipped the light off on him and locked the deadbolt as I walked away from the front door. The poor kid probably thought I was some old ratchety crank being mean and turning him away empty handed. I got off the phone with Liz and looked out the window to see a car in our driveway, so I guess they just moved on, but still I felt bad about what happened.

New website for the family

Its been a really long time since we have updated our website.  To be honest, its not very functional.  There are links that don’t go anywhere, pages with no content, and people usually only come to visit our site for the pictures.  So I decided to re-do the site, making it more of a blog/portal for our family.  Soon there will be family updates listed on the main page, along with links to our blogs, and picture gallery.  Soon you will find our site to be much more user friendly and contain the information you want as a visitor anyway.  We just need some new graphics and to finalize a theme to use.

Getting old

I had a dermatologist appointment the other day, and we talked a little about some other minor things before I mentioned that the bottoms of my feet are startng to crack and dry out.  He replied and said “yeah, you are getting old”.  I’m really not old, but I look older and feel older.  I guess the days of having my smoothe perfect feet that Liz used to be envious of are about over.