1000 posts!

A big milestone, that’s for sure, 1000 posts. Granted, this is cheating a little, as it’s counting the twitter summaries as posts, but still…. 1000 posts! I only have 6 ‘drafts’ that are partially completed, so this post could have come a bit sooner.

I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now. http://mike.creuzer.com/2006/01/blogging-just-a-fad.html
I still have that same computer from way back when (it’s now sitting on top of the fridge in the kitchen – best place ever for a computer). Google Pack has recently been sunsetted. I still use Picasa, but how I get photos into it is totally different, between an eye-fi card and my android phones syncing to it automatically.

I am no longer using blogger, but wordpress now. I’ve written my own wordpress plugin.

With so much changing, so much is still the same. I am still making my own aquarium gear – granted with a bit more to it now with the aquaponics aspect.

1000 posts! Crazy!

What would you want to see me blog about more? Less?.

Android 2.1 upgrade for my Samsung Moment

Last night I finally got my cell phone operating system upgraded.

Let me tell you, it was a challenge.

The new update came out last Friday I think. It’s a 100mb download, and some hoop jumping.

I first tried to do the upgrade on Sunday morning. I downloaded the file (tip, click ‘more details’ to make the download link appear), tried to un-install the Samsung USB drivers – I didn’t have them, but I uninstalled some Samsung CDMA modem drivers from my previous phone for good measure. I reboot my computer. I start the installer, and it gives you the steps to take to do the update. Take the battery out of the phone, put it back in, do some funky 3 finger start on the phone to get it into ‘download mode’, plug it into the computer. Now it says to unplug the phone from the computer and repeat the steps in the previous sentence. Okay… Ah! Now it wants me to update. I press Start Update.

It was rather anti-climatic. It didn’t do anything. I wander off, do things for an hour and a half come back to check. Nothing.

The phone says “DO NOT UNPLUG TARGET” in letters that are not warm and friendly. So, I unplug the target (phone) and cross my fingers. Take the battery out, restart the phone. It’s all in good shape. Sweet! I didn’t wreck my phone.

Last night…
I try this again. I reboot the computer. Close all the auto-start applications. Kill services that use the USB ports like the ipod utilities thingy. I start upgrade software, follow the plug it in, unplug it, plug it in – I tossed in a ‘turn yourself around’ for good measure.

This time it did something… for about a minute, than it errored out, saying it can’t connect to the phone. This is after I had seen it issue a ‘format()’ command to the phone.

I tried this about 3 times, and gave up. So I pull the battery, restart the phone, and OH OH.
“Unable to locage .jpg or .png” in red letters across the top of the screen that are most certainly NOT notoriously large and famously friendly letters.

Crud. (fill in your favorite explicative here… repeatedly) I just bricked my 2 month old Samsung Moment doing the Android 2.1 upgrade!

So, in a last ditch effort of heroics and utter despair, I wander my depressed little self to the office to do an hour’s worth of work and try the upgrade on my work computer.

It worked! I managed to save my phone. Work was a bust, but my phone no longer is!

Enough of that little sob story. Well, besides the fact that the update completely wipes the phone clean. You have to reinstall and re-setup everything. I did use some backup utilities which I will talk about in a later blog post.

Android 2.1 feels a little bit snappier on my Samsung Moment. The letters seem to show up on screen just a little bit faster then before. There doesn’t seem to be that slight hesitation in pulling down the Notifications window.

The first thing that is noticeable is the new ‘sleep screen’ for lack of better terms. It has the current time and date in notoriously large and famously friendly letters which looks really sharp. It also has 2 sliders, one to unlock the screen, the other to toggle the volume.

I can turn off the lock on the phone as you now turn on the screen using a swipe, which is nice. The first thing I had noticed when I got the phone is that it liked to pocket-dial. I had to turn on the screen lock just to prevent this.

The camera app is a little bit better. I was always fighting the old one over the flash. It was about 3 seconds to turn the flash on or off. The new version is about a second, plus there is now an ‘auto’ mode, which is nice. I wish you could just tap a button to toggle the flash mode or something.

The only other thing that the update has done for me that I have seen is allowed me to use some of the cooler applications – like Google Goggles.

Two apps do seem to be broken – Google Voice and Listen. I use Google Apps for your Domain, and that seems to be messing with both of these apps while using Android 1.5 it worked fine. I use both of these quite a bit – especially Google Voice, so this is a major bummer for me. I mean, roll-back level, if I had the option to.

So, overall, the upgrade was a wash, and I lost more then I gained in it. Hopefully I can get Google Voice working soon, which will put the upgrade at a mild success in my book.

UPDATE 2010-06-03 Added links to http://shop.sprint.com/en/software_downloads/pda_smartphone/samsung_moment.shtml as people are coming here to find out how to update a Samsung Moment from Android OS 1.5 to 2.1..

Computer Coffee Table

Katie ordered Netflix the end of last week. She was missing TV and we agreed not to get cable until this fall when it got cold out. Netflix is to tide the poor thing over.

Well, Netflix has this Instant-watch feature where they stream the video to your computer or whatnot.

I just HAD to try this. So, I ran a coax with RCA adapters from the computer video out to the TV and used the FM transmitter for the iPod in the truck to get audio to the radio.

Katie LOVED IT.

Had to have it.
So, computer got moved into the living room.

Nothing is ever as simple as that…

The computer didn’t like being moved. Broke a fan blade out of the CPU cooling fan somehow – if memory serves, I had stuck a finger into it a couple of years ago, and it finally let go.

Ok, 9:15PM run to Best Buy – closed. Damn…

Pinch CPU fan off of another computer so we can watch a movie. It’s a size smaller, no worries, just put it on with one screw and try not to use the computer to hard.

Next day, go to Best Buy after lunch. Try to get the fan I need. No luck. No 50mm cooling fans. They got an 80mm case fan that lights up pretty blue. Blue blinky lights. MUST HAVE Blue blinky lights.

We go to Target, and wander around for at least an hour, looking for a coffee table so we have something to set the computer monitor under. Tried this, tried that. Found what we liked. Decided it was the same money as what we where looking at earlier but decided it was to expensive, went back, looked again, had to have the first stuff. Picked it up, tooled around the store, noticed the colors didn’t match, went back to see if they had matching colors. No. Damn. Looked some more, found something we REALLY liked, noticed it was on sale for less then what we had in cart currently. Swapped items. Left store fast least we spend ANOTHER hour loading and unloading the cart.

You don’t understand. We had the rug we liked layed out on the floor, with the end tables set down with another box to represent the monitor. The people at Target kept asking us if we needed help. Probably looked like we where thinking about moving in.

Anyway, back to the computer, as this is a story about the coffee table. (confused yet?).

Get home, go to put the fan in the computer. Wrong plug type. Double Damn. Hrmm, case fan uses same little plug as the CPU fan did. Plug the case fan into the slot for the CPU fan so the computer won’t self-power-down. Plug new CPU fan (really a case fan) into hard drive power. Computer won’t POST.

grrr.

Take everything back apart, put it back together. Computer POSTs again. YAY. I had the fan pointed the right direction.

Take heatsink back off, drill new holes for the larger fan. Tighten screws down. Put together. Take apart. Loosen screws so fan can TURN. put back together.

Put computer back together. Boots. Doesn’t like the ‘missing’ case fan. Silly computer doesn’t know it’s plugged into the CPU fan header.

Anyway.. on with the real story. The Coffee Table. The two end tables get placed back to back with enough space between them for one of my matching 19″ CRTs. It sits on it’s back-side pointed up, tipped slightly forward it can be seen while sitting on the couch. I had to degauss it to get rid of the color shift, but it doesn’t seem to mind sitting ‘on it’s butt’ so to speak.

A bit of poking around in closets found enough unused Kayak wood stringers and some hinges, and I screwed the night stands together. Put the monitor in. Put a piece of plexi over the top.

You know what?
I like it.
I really like it a lot.

I still need to cut the plexi and get that mounted, but that’s pretty trivial. Just need to find the draw-knife again. I put it down and I think Brother hid it on me. Spending too much time on the fish tanks and not petting him.

I found the killer app for a Media Center PC. YouTube.

YouTube videos on the TV while your sitting on the couch rocks. I got the video camera here too, so Katie can talk to her family on Skype. I have yet to Skype in the living room myself, but I think it should be pretty cool.

So, know we can watch movies, chat with friends, and yes, even BLOG from the comfort of the couch.

Now I need to find new excuses why I am not blogging as often as I would like..

The Run Around

So, I got my DSL modem today from AT&T.

Great. I bring it home and try to install the software. 3 reboots later, it finally actually installs instead of hanging part way through.

So, now I have in installed modem, and no internet connectivity.

I look at the paperwork. It is supposed to be turned on on the 21st. WTF? They charged me $12.95 to 2nd day deliver the modem, just to have me sit on my thumb for 6 days?

I don’t think so.

So I call the support number that came with the modem.
Nice guy answers the phone. Looks up my account. It’s still in process. I need to talk to provisioning.

I can understand this. I am a reasonable person.

So, he gives me a 800 number incase I get disconnected, and transfers me.

OK – a PHONE COMPANY gives you a number in case you get disconnected using their product? Not a good sign.

Anyway. I get a nice gal on the phone. She says that I am not in the right place, and gives me a 3rd phone number to call, and transfers me.

Right, so the computer gives me a 4th number to call, and asks me for the same information I have told the computer twice before, and to the first person. Then, it tells me it’s much to busy for me and to call back at it’s convenience, giving me 10-11am and 1-3pm. Then it hangs up.

HUH?

Start over. 15 minutes more on the phone, I follow a similar path, to again be told that the computer is too busy for me, call back. CLICK.

OK, so after 6 phone calls (I am nearly as stubbern as a computer), I find the right path to get to the rude computer.

1-888-611-4466, dsl, service.

Computer is too busy for me. Click.

OK, at this point I either want to have somebody tell me they are going to connect my DSL THIS WEEK being that they charged me for 2nd day delivery, or to give a partial shipping refund for a REASONABLE shipping method to match THIER time frame for turning service on.

GAH!

Not a good first impression AT&T. I am really having 2nd thoughts about getting a iPhone if your service is this shitty..

Electronics Hutch

I recently moved all my junk to Florida from Wisconsin and don’t have a place to put all my electronics peices and parts and tools and whatnot. I don’t want it all laying around for the cats to sort for me, as most of it would end up sorted under and behind the furniture.

So I have been looking for either a TV armoir or a computer hutch. I ended up at the Rooms To Go warehouse on exit 10 off of I4. They sell all the local scratch and dent items there.

Man did I make a find! I picked up a Tracey Computer Cabinet which retails for $699.99 for $327.99. Good deal, eh? It has some minor nicks and such in the corners, but nothing more than I would pick up in a year or two. It is missing the top crown moulding and only has 3 of the legs, but this works out in my favour as well!

I am going to put it on a cabinet so it stands taller. 23 inches taller in fact. That is the height of my elbows to the keyboard tray as the hutch sits on the ground tonight. This way, I can work on it standing up, or I can use the tall chair I will be getting/making for it.

Being that I am a internet junky, most of my electronics requires programming and an eithernet connection. So I will use the ‘computer’ part of the hutch to full effect. My 4U rackmount computer will just be either in the lower cabinet or sitting on the top of the unit. I will put my rackmount KVM in it to, as my next main computer will be DVI and won’t work with the KVM. I will also add a 24 port hub so I don’t run out of ethernet jacks.

I plan on picking up one large or two smaller LCD monitors for use in the hutch. This will give me the maximum amount of storage space inside.

Electronics hutch closed up

This is the unit sitting on the ground without the legs. I will be getting a cabinet of some sort to go underneith it. This cabinet will be for storage of all the ‘good junk’ parts like old VCR boards and so forth that I would be canabalizing from. This should leave about a foot to the ceiling. I will put the computer gear up there I think so it can keep itself cool.

Empty Electronics hutch with a cat checking it out

It even comes with a whiteboard and corkboard! Here brother is checking it out. One of the few times he will get to sneak into it.

pull out keyboard tray and work surface in electronics hutch

The Keyboard tray is sitting in a pull-out work surface. This is PERFECT for my needs as I can pull out the workbench, and also access my keyboard.

drawers in electronics hutch

The bottom has 2 drawers, a thin shelf (for the computer I guess) and a pull out printer drawer that won’t fit either of my printers. Looks like parts and tool storage to me!

UPDATE: Here is the plans for the base I plan on making for the electronics hutch. http://mike.creuzer.com/2008/01/electronics-hutch-base-plans.html.