Random Access Memories

July 1, 2022

Facebook likes to keep reminding me why I shouldn’t be using Facebook.

by @ 9:38 am. Filed under Entertainment, Technology

I posted this in response to a video that called ’90s music “oldies”. Anybody that doesn’t realize this is a joke needs to pull the stick out of their ass. ?

December 1, 2020

A sad day for science

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under Business, Financial, Personal, Politics, Technology


Arecibo collapsed today, but sadly the funding for science in the USA collapsed decades ago.

July 18, 2017

Internet coverage maps that supposedly do not exist.

by @ 8:26 am. Filed under Business, Technology

So recently I have been searching for a house to buy. And the availability of high speed wired internet has been a top priority.

One would think that listing what kind of internet is available at a house would be part of a home sale listing. But it’s not. And the rare times when it is there is no mention of what the max capabilities of that connection are. (It might be shown that a house is serviced by Comcast and/or Centurylink in my area, but the owner likely has no clue what the maximum speed that site is capable of.

Now, those two companies have a database. You can go to their websites, plug in an address and it spits back what is available at what speed. It’s even mostly accurate. However, there is no map of this database. If you want to check what kind of service is available you must put in exact addresses only and get the results of that exact query only. The companies like to say that a map of this data is somehow “unavailable” or “cannot be done”.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Imagine Google Maps as a database, but not as a map. You know “Joe” lives someplace nearby, you remember going to his house a few weeks ago, but you didn’t get the address. You zoom over to that area, turn on satellite data and look for a house that matches what you remember of Joe’s house. While you’re going to Joe’s house you want to stop for some Chinese food, so you search for Chinese in the area and a few places pop up. You do the same to find a bank and a dry cleaner. Because the database is searchable by general area.

If Google’s map database worked like the cable and phone company database you would need to plug in a known exact address for all of these things and then get a “yes/no” reply to that query. You would have to query, “Is Joe’s house at 1060 West Addison?” and the database would reply “no”. It would not show you the location so you would have no way to know how close or far from your possible mark you were.

So you see the data the phone/cable companies have *IS CAPABLE* of being searched in a map view. That’s what the data is. A list of addresses with the speed data correlated to those addresses.

The real question now becomes *WHY* do those companies not want their data to be searchable in map form?

My guess is because such a map would show just how slow and poorly serviced internet customers are.

Nothing like denying information to keep your iron grip on a market, right?

November 28, 2016

Today on “horrible business decisions”!

by @ 5:48 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

Some decisions are just horrifically bad.

Like, really, REALLY bad.

Let’s take for a moment a decision by Gateway computer around 2005.

“Hey guys! Let’s add in some software so when the computer monitor is disconnected from it’s computer it goes into this horribly annoying mode. Since the only reason we put monitors on other computers is when they’re stolen, right?”

Most of you can already see the disaster this causes. Businesses that move parts between computers comes to mind, or my case when these monitors end up on the used market.

I unwittingly bought one of these monitors from Goodwill. It tested fine (at first) and seemed good and pretty.

Then, I saw this pop up:


Oh, lovely… but this can probably be fixed I figured. Most companies understand how their bad decisions go awry.

Hrrm, so the software was made by a third party company, not good.

All the download links to said software don;t even work anymore, also not good.

Sending an email to their support email on their site returns deliverable, hopelessly bad.

So, I get to throw this pretty 22″ LCD monitor in the garbage.

All because Gateway decided it would make a horrible decision, and never bother to put out a fix when that decision went to shit.

Thanks Gateway! Oh, wait, I mean Acer that bought them in 2007.


January 9, 2016

What happens when you screw up

by @ 11:55 am. Filed under Technology

These were both printed on my 3D printer this morning. Same feed rate, same plastic, same temperature, same nozzle diameter.

So when the one on the left started coming out “weird” I thought the printer must be broken somehow.

What I finally realized happened, is that I had changed the nozzles recently. From the .3mm one to the .7mm one. The part on the right was printed with the larger nozzle and printed fine. But after that print I went back and changed some of the settings in the slicer and created another gcode file. It set the nozzle back to the .3mm setting and gave me the part on the left by only extruding half the plastic it should have.

Moral of the story? Double check ALL your settings if something looks wrong. 😀

January 8, 2016

Why buy OS books??

by @ 12:36 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

So, someone I know just bought a Windows manual for 80$.

Yep, the good old paper copy “book”. I cannot stop wondering why.

What could possibly be worth so much, that is not already online?

Feels like just a blatant marketing gimmick to get people to spend money for outdated information.

January 5, 2016

“Nobody dies in architecture”

by @ 12:53 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

A quote from the head of technology at the architecture firm i’m working for. It was in response to me asking about timelines and deadlines relating to technical work on support tickets. (IE. They can wait.)

June 19, 2015

Nikola Tesla

by @ 1:39 pm. Filed under Personal, Politics, Quotes, Technology

A few quotes I stumbled into. Needless to say he’s one of my heroes.

If this does not appeal to you sufficiently to recognize in me a discoverer of principles, do me, at least, the justice of calling me an “inventor of some beautiful pieces of electrical apparatus.

There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without.

We build but to tear down. Most of our work and resource is squandered. Our onward march is marked by devastation. Everywhere there is an appalling loss of time, effort and life. A cheerless view, but true.

All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed – only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle. Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs, the future, for which I really worked, is mine.

March 9, 2015

I think a line must be drawn in the sand

by @ 10:31 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

When I get ready to move again one of my top priorities will be high speed internet.

And by that I mean faster than Comcast or Centurylink DSL. Something TRULY high speed.

February 14, 2015

Not one of the better ways to start the day

by @ 8:32 am. Filed under Technology

Dropped my cellphone this morning. I guess it could be worse tho, it still works.

September 4, 2014

Ok, i’ve had enough.

by @ 12:04 pm. Filed under Personal, Politics, Religion, Server Admin

I’m finding that some people want to come here to critique my views, attitudes, etc. And yet there is no way for me to return the favor towards them. (IE. Trolls) Those people are now banned from posting here. Have a nice day.

May 23, 2014

On overqualification

by @ 4:56 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics, Technology

Recently I applied for an opening I found on Craigslist. I received the following reply:

“Thank you for your interest in this position. It would appear yours skills are above the stated entry level for this position. We will keep your resume on file should any positions befitting of your skills open in the near future.”

I consistently hear from conservative minded folks that “There is always work out there if you want it bad enough, you just have to swallow your pride”. Well fucking guess what, sometimes there isn’t, even if you do swallow your pride.

What I also think is funny is this came from the “QA Manager” and contains a spelling error.

March 3, 2014

Front end Vs. back end security

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So we are all aware that when we use our bank accounts there are multiple types and layers of security.

When we login to them online that is one secure portal. Often with multiple passwords, verification questions, pictures we choose to make sure it is us, etc. And when we use the cards and the bank takes or stores that information it is another layer. Unfortunately I cannot tell you how secure that one is or what methods they use because, well, they don’t tell us.

But increasingly it seems that back end is less secure than we think. The recent Target mess showed how the point of sale terminals can be hacked. And just today the replacement card I got after that compromise was itself somehow compromised.

Someone tried to run a large transaction at a drug store 2800 miles away. While this transaction failed due to some level of security the bank was still unable to tell me if the attempted transaction was via Credit Card signature or PIN code.

Let’s think about this a second. So we are relying on their security, which does not record the simplest of details of an attempted transaction.

I don’t know about you, but this worries me far more than having my card compromised.

November 12, 2013

Google and Android

by @ 8:40 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So Android is “supposedly” open source.

And in general that is true. But I found this article: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/3/ that shows that Google really controls Android much more than I realized.

As the article states:

While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google’s Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. That’s right, joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.

Acer was bit by this requirement when it tried to build devices that ran Alibaba’s Aliyun OS in China. Aliyun is an Android fork, and when Google got wind of it, Acer was told to shut the project down or lose its access to Google apps. Google even made a public blog post about it:

While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem. By joining the Open Handset Alliance, each member contributes to and builds one Android platform—not a bunch of incompatible versions.

This makes life extremely difficult for the only company brazen enough to sell an Android fork in the west: Amazon. Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops. Amazon probably doesn’t have many other choices.

While I use and enjoy Android this is rather disconcerting to learn. I suppose time will tell how this all plays out.

May 28, 2013

Transponder keys

by @ 2:40 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So recently I bought a used 2000 Toyota Sienna Van.

I learned that it uses transponder keys to allow the car to start only if the correct chip in the key is near the ignition.

These keys sell for an astronomical amount (Home Depot wanted 80$ for one. The Toyota Dealership wanted to sell me a blank for 80$ and then charge me another 80$ to program it).

Needless to say I did not want to pay this to have a few spare keys made. Enter, the internet.

I searched and found that there was a procedure to make the car add another key to it’s database by pushing pedals in a specific combination. This meant that I could program my own keys. Now I needed keys to program. I found blanks on Ebay, from a seller that had a feedback score high enough to suggest their success rate was high. (It helped that the keys were 8$ each, so if i failed I would only be out 16$ from trying two keys) I got the keys and opened one up, it contained just a simple chip. (hard to get, but not really “special”)

Now to program them. After about 20 minutes I managed to make the programming sequence work, and I had 4 master transponder keys. Now, the cutting.

When I buy a vehicle I like to go to the dealership and get a new blank cut from the VIN. This blank becomes the “uncirculated master” if you will (I got a basic key from Toyota cut from the VIN for 10$. It won’t start the car but it’s the best key to make more keys off of). I was not about to try and ask Toyota to cut my new aftermarket transponder blanks, i’m sure they would have had a fit.

I heard online that often key cutters in big box stores or hardware stores will refuse to cut blanks, and I’ve had the same kind of thing happen to me. I guess they want to sell you their key blanks and might think you’re breaking the law. (Tho frankly getting the blanks is often more useful when breaking the law, but I digress).

Enter the small local locksmith. I found one just down the road from where I worked, went in and showed him the 2 transponders and the master. I said “I need those 2 keys cut from this master”, “no problem” he said and grabbed them up. 5 minutes later I had 2 cut keys for an astoundingly low 2$ each. No mess, no fuss, I was so elated that I gave him 10$ and said to keep the change.

The cutting was good, and both worked perfectly. End cost? 15$ per transponder key (including the cost of the VIN master) and some brain CPU cycles.

The next time you need a “special” key for your car, remember they aren’t all THAT special. Likely you can get one yourself FAR cheaper than the dealership is gouging you for it.

October 1, 2012

Why i’m not thrilled with Verizon

by @ 10:42 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So, Sarah and I have two original Droid phones under an unlimited data plan with almost no minutes of usage. We pay $140 per month for both.

But, now we want to add a mobile hotspot to the plan since we have a new Nexus 7 tablet we want data on and the phones cannot do the infrastructure WI-fi the tablet needs to connect to.

But, we can’t do that. Because Verizon does not want us to have our unlimited data plans anymore.

If we went to a new data plan to add the hotspot at our current data usage amounts we would end up paying $240 per month for all 3 devices. (In short paying 4g rates for limited data on our old 3G phones, and there is no phone play as cheap as the one we have now which must also be changed) And of course Verizon wants us to renew our 2-year contract if we change plans (We are currently a year out of contract and like it that way, we’re waiting for something to replace the Droids).

By comparison a T-mobile hotspot is $35 per month for a limited amount of data, but with no overage fees (They just slow down overage services) and a free device.

So much for the benefits of being a customer for 3 years and paying $5000 for their service, they offered me zilch.

December 5, 2011

Mendelmax, built and hooked up

by @ 11:57 pm. Filed under Component Electronics, Personal, Technology

Well, got it together. Hopefully it will work.

October 13, 2011

Dennis Ritchie – 1941-2011

by @ 10:41 pm. Filed under Business, News, Technology

Yeah, I know, “Who?”.

Take a minute and look at your computer, look at all the software you are running, look at all the websites you visit, look at all the portable devices you use. Chances are almost all of them owe a big thanks to Dennis Ritchie.

Dennis Ritchie is the writer of the “C” programming language. Between it and it’s derivatives they are responsible for almost all the software you run or use online. It is also the basis of most operating systems that run your computers as well

Yeah, he wasn’t rich, or powerful, or famous, but his idea and work was the very foundation of our modern computing system.

Perhaps you should know who he was.

June 15, 2011

The “Lasivian wants an automatic Opensim backup” project.

by @ 1:45 am. Filed under Personal, Secondlife, Server Admin, Technology

It’s sloppy, but most importantly it works, and it backs up EVERYTHING. Terrain maps, world map image, .oar, .xml, all three .ini files, mysql database, etc.

I based this off the backup script here:

  • http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Backing_Up_LINUX
  • I’m running Ubuntu 11.04 server, x64 btw and this all works.

    I store both scripts in /home/username/backupdir/scripts, the shell script gets run as a cron job.

    ;Not that it *really* matter that we tell people, but I think it's polite, heh.
    screen -S opensim -p 0 -X eval 'stuff "alert Beginning full simulator backup, things might be slow for a bit.^M"'
    ;Yes, I'm redundant, this is just in case I missed something
    cd /home/username/backupdir
    ;Copy the old backups to a holding directory, I clean them out by hand every so often. This could be an offsite location.
    mv /home/username/backupdir/*.* /home/username/backupdir/old
    ;This line runs the second command script inside the opensim process.
    screen -S opensim -p 0 -X eval 'stuff "command-script /home/username/backupdir/scripts/osbackup.txt^M"'
    ;Now dump the mysql data to zip and date it.
    mysqldump -ulogin -ppassword opensim | gzip > /home/username/backupdir/opensimbackup_`date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S`.sql.gz
    ;Copy and date the 3 .ini files
    cp /home/username/opensim/bin/OpenSim.ini /home/username/backupdir/opensim_`date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S`.ini
    cp /home/username/opensim/bin/Regions/Regions.ini /home/username/backupdir/regions_`date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S`.ini
    cp /home/username/opensim/bin/config-include/StandaloneCommon.ini /home/username/backupdir/standalonecommon_`date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S`.ini
    ;The next line is just a delay so the .oar output can finish, it might take your server much longer, change as needed.
    sleep 30
    ;There is likely a much more efficient way to do the following, but this was what I could figure out
    ;these rename the opensim dumped files to add timestamps to the names. I think this makes them easier to manage later.
    for f in epsilon.*
    do mv "$f" "epsilon_$timestamp.${f#epsilon.}"
    for f in techrealms.*
    do mv "$f" "techrealms_$timestamp.${f#techrealms.}"
    for f in theta.*
    do mv "$f" "theta_$timestamp.${f#theta.}"
    for f in delta.*
    do mv "$f" "delta_$timestamp.${f#delta.}"
    for f in connections.*
    do mv "$f" "connections_$timestamp.${f#connections.}"
    ; Guessing this could also probably inform something in-world that could record backups. I'm not sure how tho
    screen -S opensim -p 0 -X eval 'stuff "alert Backup complete, thank you.^M"'

    This second script is executed inside the screen that is running opensim.

    ;Script Name = osbackup.txt
    ;executed with "command-script /home/username/backupdir/scripts/osbackup.txt" inside opensim
    change region root
    ; Persist objects to the database now
    change region techrealms
    ; export world map image
    export-map /home/username/backupdir/techrealms.jpg
    ; save terrain
    terrain save /home/username/backupdir/techrealms.r32
    ; save prims to XML
    save xml2 /home/username/backupdir/techrealms.xml
    ; save the current region to an opensim archive
    save oar /home/username/backupdir/techrealms.oar
    ; repeat as needed
    change region delta
    export-map /home/username/backupdir/delta.jpg
    terrain save /home/username/backupdir/delta.r32
    save xml2 /home/username/backupdir/delta.xml
    save oar /home/username/backupdir/delta.oar
    change region theta
    export-map /home/username/backupdir/theta.jpg
    terrain save /home/username/backupdir/theta.r32
    save xml2 /home/username/backupdir/theta.xml
    save oar /home/username/backupdir/theta.oar
    change region epsilon
    export-map /home/username/backupdir/epsilon.jpg
    terrain save /home/username/backupdir/epsilon.r32
    save xml2 /home/username/backupdir/epsilon.xml
    save oar /home/username/backupdir/epsilon.oar
    change region connections
    export-map /home/username/backupdir/connections.jpg
    terrain save /home/username/backupdir/connections.r32
    save xml2 /home/username/backupdir/connections.xml
    save oar /home/username/backupdir/connections.oar

    Use them however you want. If someone wants to clean them up for me that would be appreciated.

    Thanks & good luck.

    March 3, 2011

    My first attempt at surface mount soldering

    by @ 1:41 pm. Filed under Component Electronics, Personal

    Not too bad, both harder and easier than I expected in certain ways.

    Only screwed up one component. 🙂

    February 25, 2011

    Getting a little tired of sexism against men

    by @ 2:54 pm. Filed under Personal, Politics, Technology

    So in the last few days I have gotten several notices from meetup.com.

    They are all for “women only” meetup groups. For those of you that are unaware I am both male, and a strong advocate against sexism towards men.

    So I was curious, I searched for what groups where specifically “women only” and found quite a few near me.

    Someone please tell me how this would be accepted if groups were listed as men only?

    It wouldn’t, so how it is that it’s acceptable for groups to be listed for women only?

    EDIT: Apparently meetup works on the “These are all independent private clubs, they can do whatever they want”, etc. Of course if someone started a “whites only” group I’m rather sure it would suddenly be removed even tho it was “private” since they would say it “offends people”.

    September 20, 2010

    My Negative Pwnboxer review

    by @ 8:34 am. Filed under Personal, Reviews, Technology

    So I decided that if I was going to let my girlfriend drag me back into WoW I was going to play with at least 2 toons i a team. Hence I would need some control software for this functionality.

    I stumbled around and didn’t really find much information regarding the different software packages out there and how they compare with each other. I ended up going for “Pwnboxer”, which I have ended up regretting.

    It does have a rather simple setup, and does simpler operations like cloning keystrokes well and laying out window locations and setting CPU affinity. What I didn’t realize is several other software packages do that too, and do it much better.

    My list of issues, gripes, etc. (Which has gotten more and more negative as I dug around looking for details on the software and it’s author)

    #1 Only videos for setup and information. Not only is this impossible to use if someone is deaf, but it’s also quite hard to search for a specific piece of information. Pwnboxer has no written documentation at all, no database of bug reports, nada.

    #2 No contact information on their website. This should have been a huge red flag for me. The only way to get in touch with the person that wrote the software is to post on another forum that is not owned by Pwnboxer and hope you get a reply.

    #3 The affiliate system and it’s advertisement. When you start Pwnboxer you get a “Message of the day” that pops up. It tells you about the latest patch (7 months ago at this point) and asks you if you “Want to earn $$$ promoting Pwnboxer?”. Uh, no, I don’t, I already paid for the software so I would just like this blatant advertisement to go away. But you can’t shut this off, this is behavior I expect from shareware, not retail software.

    #4 The issues. I could never use the “Mouse Broadcasting” to clone my mouse on all the other screens, it would cause the screens to break from their set locations and spread all the way across both of my monitors. This was not high on my list of priorities at the time, but I later found I needed that to work. Which is something their competitors software did straight out of the “box” without any issues.

    #5 Screen placement. For some reason Pwnboxer does not like to accept how big I want my screens to be. I would repeatedly put in “720×450” and it would change it to “719×448” or something, leaving annoying gaps between the screens. The most maddening aspect was that this behavior was random, neither the times it did it nor the numbers were the same twice.

    #6 No program control functionality when you are inside WoW. IE. I couldn’t set different things in Pwnboxer to be controllable inside WoW. Well, I suppose maybe I could but I couldn’t check for that on their documentation could I?

    #7 Well, so I went digging around and found multiple Pwnboxer reviews that I had seen before, but oddly I had never noticed they were ALL positive, with nothing negative to say about the software at all. Interestingly enough they also have Clinkbank links from them to the affiliate program, so that when a user clicks through and buys the reviewer gets a cut of the purchase. Does that seem unbiased to you?

    Disagree? Ok, count the number of comments on the reviews you find. Hrrm, Seems most don’t even allow comments, the others don’t have any comments. Doesn’t that seem just a tad odd to you?

    #8 No trial option. If you want to see what the software is like you have to cough up money in advance.

    #9 The author is apparently shunned by the multiboxing community. Something I did not know to begin with. If you look around you will find that Pwnboxer is not listed on dual-boxing.com. Nor is it listed alongside other multiboxing software like Keyclone or ISBoxer. Now I don’t know why exactly, but it raises another red flag in my mind.

    I think the authors own words help sum up the basis of my complaints nicely:

    “These days I can say that there are tens of thousands of people using Pwnboxer”

    Which at 35$ per yearly subscription is $700,000.00 gross. And yet his support system?

    “I’m trying to close resolved support threads to keep me on target with helping people out, so if you (or anybody else reading this) encounters a problem, please feel free to post what it is.”

    Color me unimpressed with the support given for that level of profit. Perhaps that many users are just a few too many for one person to support directly? Perhaps he should put some of that money into making his product feel more like retail software that is worth paying for? I still have 10 months of my subscription, go ahead, impress me, I dare ya.

    July 16, 2010

    No more Droids

    by @ 11:12 am. Filed under Business, Technology


    The Motorola Droid has now been listed as “end of life” in the Verizon inventory system. Yes, your beloved Motorola Droid is finally going to be phased out. In the upcoming few weeks, the Droid will be completely phased out

    Motorola and Verizon will be replacing the Droid with the Droid 2.

    Droid users should not be disheartened since the Motorola Droid is a very popular phone among the modding community. The Motorola Droid sold like hot cakes when it was launched. It was and still is one of the most popular android phone out there. The successor to the Droid – the Droid 2 will feature a 1 GHz OMAP processor, and 512MB of RAM. The sad news is that the Droid 2 will feature a locked bootloader, which will severely limit its modding capability.

    The Droid 2 is expected to be released in August, and will be announced my Verizon within the next few weeks.

    It will be nice when we can buy unlocked hardware and add it to the network of our choice.

    At least I got my Droid when I could.

    “we don’t slap a bandaid on it”

    by @ 10:41 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

    Quoting Steve Jobs from his press conference this morning regarding the Iphone 4.

    But how is this not a lie? Their solution is to put a “Bumper” on the phone so the antenna issue does not occur. That is literally a band-aid if ever there was one.

    He also said:
    “looking at the data, we don’t think we have a problem.”

    Well, if you don’t have a problem, then one must ask why you are offering everyone with an Iphone 4 a free case to fix a problem that you say you do not have.

    July 14, 2010

    Motorola submits to the cellphone middlemen and locks their phones

    by @ 9:22 am. Filed under Business, Technology


    Custom ROMs and Motorola’s Android Handsets
    by Lori Fraleigh (lorifraleigh) on 02-12-2010 04:41 PM – last edited on 02-12-2010 06:01 PM

    My name is Lori Fraleigh and I manage the technical team behind the MOTODEV program at Motorola. We provide tools, like MOTODEV Studio, and a variety of technical services including application testing services, developer education materials traditional technical support and serve as experts on our discussion boards. Today I’m stepping a bit outside of my day-to-day job to try to answer some questions we have seen not only on MOTODEV, but on various other sites. I’ve worked with a number of other Motorolans to bring you the information in this post.

    For the Android application developer, MOTODEV provides a wealth of resources to help you create and bring your applications to market. We provide a comprehensive Eclipse-based development environment, MOTODEV Studio, as well as SDK add-ons which provide emulator images that represent the software on our handsets. To aid developers who may not have access to physical handsets, or who may wish to test on a carrier network unavailable in their physical location, we provide access to handsets via the Motorola Virtual Device Lab at DeviceAnywhere. All Motorola application developer resources can be found at http://developer.motorola.com.

    We understand there is a community of developers interested in going beyond Android application development and experimenting with Android system development and re-flashing phones. For these developers, we highly recommend obtaining either a Google ADP1 developer phone or a Nexus One, both of which are intended for these purposes. At this time, Motorola Android-based handsets are intended for use by consumers and Android application developers, and we have currently chosen not to go into the business of providing fully unlocked developer phones.

    The use of open source software, such as the Linux kernel or the Android platform, in a consumer device does not require the handset running such software to be open for re-flashing. We comply with the licenses, including GPLv2, for each of the open source packages in our handsets. We post appropriate notices as part of the legal information on the handset and post source code, where required, at http://opensource.motorola.com. Securing the software on our handsets, thereby preventing a non-Motorola ROM image from being loaded, has been our common practice for many years. This practice is driven by a number of different business factors. When we do deviate from our normal practice, such as we did with the DROID, there is a specific business reason for doing so. We understand this can result in some confusion, and apologize for any frustration.

    We do hear your feedback and read your posts – whether on our MOTODEV discussion boards, our Owners’ Forums, our Facebook pages, Twitter, or a variety of other sites on the web. We take the time to understand the issue and then pass the information on to the appropriate product (or other) teams within Motorola. We then try to respond with explanations or updates as we get the answers. Thank you for your continued feedback.

    If you have further questions, comments, and feedback, you can comment on this post as well as use the following sites:

    Use of open-source software at Motorola: http://opensource.motorola.com
    MOTODEV and Android application development on Motorola handsets: http://community.developer.motorola.com
    End-user support for handset owners: https://supportforums.motorola.com/community/google-android

    I guess they failed to recognize the depth of people’s outrage with this because comments were closed after 54 postings and 25,000 views.

    I’m an end-user, not a developer, and I want control of my phone. Is that wrong? According to Verizon, Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile it sure is. Which means it’s more than likely they leveraged weight upon Motorola to lock down their devices.

    Another win for the big corporations and another loss for the end user.

    July 12, 2010

    Apple refuses to accept Consumer Reports Iphone 4 report.

    by @ 10:26 pm. Filed under Personal, Technology

    Quoted from here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20010351-1.html

    The seemingly unending saga of the iPhone 4 antenna issues has grown yet again. After a negative report from Consumer Reports, Apple has apparently deleted all threads about the findings from its popular Support Discussions forums. As Kent German reported earlier today, Consumer Reports has issued their official stance on iPhone 4 and they can’t recommend it.

    Moderators for Apple’s Support Discussions forums quickly deleted growing threads discussing the Consumer Reports articles. Though these threads are no longer viewable, you can read through cached versions via Bing.

    Despite the generally positive reputation that Consumer Reports enjoys, many Apple fans vehemently defend iPhone 4 throughout the thread. It will be interesting to see what sort of fallout this finding will produce in terms of sales for iPhone 4 moving forward. Despite the early reports of these very issues, iPhone 4 still out sold iPhone 3GS by nearly double over its first few days. Not to mention, Consumer Reports has already stated that the issues related to iPhone 4’s antenna are not unique to iPhone 4.

    Reminds me of that Mythbusters quote, “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”

    June 1, 2010

    My Pokewalker Cheater

    by @ 4:35 pm. Filed under Personal, Technology

    So my girlfriend got Pokemon Soul Silver for her DS. And I must admit i’m oddly attracted to the idea of how to cheat the little pokewalker pedometer that comes with the game.

    Also, it takes around 2 million steps to unlock the highest things in the game so it seems most people think it’s not that bad to cheat.

    It seems to gain it’s steps based on an accelerometer, once it hits a certain level of “shock” intensity a step is recorded, so a gentle motion doesn’t seem to work as well as a sharper one (I guess it reads the shock of the step).

    I scrounged out the vibration motor from an old PS/2 rumble controller and used a paperclip to make a wire “hanger” on the back so it could be removed.

    After that I added some foam so it wouldn’t rub against the motor. Then after a few wire connections, and a string to hang it from I plugged it in and checked the number of steps it recorded over 1 minute, 72.

    Not that bad, but not awesome either. Then I slid the walker so it was not hanging off the motor, but rather directly in-line with it and checked again, 144 steps per minute!

    I think that should be good enough, heh.

    No, I will not make you one, but if you want detailed instructions end me a note.

    May 14, 2010

    Nerdkits and the story of the EL backlight.

    by @ 8:03 am. Filed under Technology

    For awhile now I’ve been trying to get the backlight on my LCD panel working. The link here http://www.nerdkits.com/videos/backlight/ at Nerdkits shows how they made a small kit to get an EL (Electroluminescent) backlight working with a DC to AC inverter. However it does not go into much detail on building a kit yourself beyond explaining that they had a handful or parts laying around and bought a few at Radio Shack. This is nice in theory, but not all of us are Electronics Gurus.

    Through some sleuthing of my own and a lot of digging plus a few emails to Nerdkits support I put together a list of Digi-Key parts that should make this kit work.

    Qty ... Part Number ..... Manu. Part Number .. Price USD
    2 ..... IRF730APBF-ND ... IRF730APBF .............. 3.96
    2 ..... MUR1520GOS-ND ... MUR1520G ................ 2.42
    1 ..... M10136-ND ....... 78F101J-RC .............. 0.30
    1 ..... 495-1234-ND ..... B32521C6333J ............ 0.47

    These should allow me to finally get my backlights working. We shall see.

    March 7, 2010

    Review of the Chaney 20 Watt Mono Amp Kit – C6444

    by @ 11:03 am. Filed under Component Electronics, Reviews, Technology

    So I needed a mono amplifier, I decided to just pickup this kit: http://www.chaneyelectronicsstore.com/servlet/the-121/20-Watt-RMS-Mono/Detail

    Chaney C6444 Mono Amp Kit

    Which I must say had some good and bad effects on my project.

    #1 The PCB. I hate to start with a negative but this one is a glaring disaster. The single-sided circuit board was simply horrible. It had no information printed on it whatsoever and relied on the instructions for all placements and orientations. (It did not even have information as to what wire connections went where, you’ll notice my sharpie markings)

    #2 The kit came with a much smaller heatsink which was extruded aluminum rather than the sheet-metal one that appears in the sales shot. This is fine for my uses as i’m putting the thing into a box with multiple other components.

    Chaney C6444 Amplifier (My Kit)

    #3 The instructions. Three pages, color, very concise.

    #4 The Pot. Too short, the knob I put on it barely fits at all, this could have been far better.

    #5 The included wire. It was red. Why one color of wire was included in a kit that needed 6 different wire connections is beyond me, I guess they just figure that you will connect the same red wire to your unmarked power connections and somehow remember which is which.

    The kit does what it says it will do, but in the end I was not very happy with the overall construction and contents of it. A friends suggestion made it sound FAR better however.

    C6444 Improvement

    This consists of one 10uH inductor, 1 560 Ohm Resistor and 1 10uF Capacitor (Need not be 100v). Put them together as shown in the “+ Input” line between your source and the board. I found the new sound to be much deeper and full.

    Good luck.

    February 28, 2010

    All accelerometers are not created equal.

    by @ 8:52 pm. Filed under Component Electronics, Personal, Technology

    So lately i’ve been playing around with electronics parts, and I stumbled upon a post that said there was a really good accelerometer in the Wii Nunchuk controller.

    Not wanting to let a good thing pass me by I ordered a cheap one on Ebay for $5. Well, that was my first mistake.

    The data was horrible, totally substandard, today I bought a true Nintendo brand nunchuk used for $15 and well, the data speaks for itself.

    Lesson learned, I now wonder what other controller devices have such awful components in them that we never “see” outside the packages, nor get a look at the raw data.

    February 27, 2010


    by @ 3:12 pm. Filed under Personal, Technology

    A friend pointed this stuff out to me today. It’s aluminum t-slot building parts for small project and hobby use (Think large stable erector set parts)


    I’m tempted to buy some but I don’t have a real need for it at the moment.

    February 18, 2010

    Violence, censorship and the internet.

    by @ 12:16 pm. Filed under Crime & Justice, Personal, Technology

    Now to start with I in no way condone the actions in Austin, Texas this morning. Violence does not solve problems. Killing innocent people is horrible. Period.

    But when something like this happens in our modern era and online information turns up about it that information seems to vanish at a shocking pace.

    Case in point, Joe Stack’s website at embeddedart.com. If you went there after about 10am PST this morning you got this message. You could still see the cache of the page on Google, but that was cleared about an hour later.

    For future reference I post a cache of the original site here.

    Strangely enough the hosting company T35.net returned the page as it was originally while I was writing this for unknown reasons. Then by the time I finished writing the site was offline again and pointing to http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0218102stack1.html. That page says the original replacement message said the page was taken down at the request of the FBI. Perhaps in all fairness the company was not the one covering it’s butt, rather it was the Feds.

    When I emailed the webmaster at T35 they responded with: “Yes, we did receive several requests from the FBI (to remove the page). They were made over the phone.”. I would give a lot to know what the FBI was thinking when it made those requests.

    Likely, we’ll never know the whole truth.

    December 1, 2009

    This is the Droid I was looking for

    by @ 9:33 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

    I’m quite happy with this little gadget (Especially now that there is a browser that uses multitouch and zooms in much farther than the built-in browser)

    The fact that it links with all my existing google data, and it gives me realtime bus routing in Seattle it’s perfect for my needs. Audio “phones” are beginning to become archaic, data devices are the future yet they are just barely becoming available.

    Moto Droid

    May 11, 2009

    Why Raid 5 stops working in 2009

    by @ 7:20 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

    I noticed this on Zdnet, it’s well worth reading.

    Why Raid 5 stops working in 2009
    By Robin Harris, July 18th, 2007

    The storage version of Y2k? No, it’s a function of capacity growth and RAID 5’s limitations. If you are thinking about SATA RAID for home or business use, or using RAID today, you need to know why.

    RAID 5 protects against a single disk failure. You can recover all your data if a single disk breaks. The problem: once a disk breaks, there is another increasingly common failure lurking. And in 2009 it is highly certain it will find you.

    Disks fail
    While disks are incredibly reliable devices, they do fail. Our best data – from CMU and Google – finds that over 3% of drives fail each year in the first three years of drive life, and then failure rates start rising fast.

    With 7 brand new disks, you have ~20% chance of seeing a disk failure each year. Factor in the rising failure rate with age and over 4 years you are almost certain to see a disk failure during the life of those disks.

    But you’re protected by RAID 5, right? Not in 2009.

    Reads fail
    SATA drives are commonly specified with an unrecoverable read error rate (URE) of 10^14. Which means that once every 100,000,000,000,000 bits, the disk will very politely tell you that, so sorry, but I really, truly can’t read that sector back to you.

    One hundred trillion bits is about 12 terabytes. Sound like a lot? Not in 2009.

    Disk capacities double
    Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we’ll have 2 TB drives.

    With a 7 drive RAID 5 disk failure, you’ll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an URE.

    So the read fails. And when that happens, you are one unhappy camper. The message “we can’t read this RAID volume” travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected – you thought! – data is gone. Oh, you didn’t back it up to tape? Bummer!

    So now what?
    The obvious answer, and the one that storage marketers have begun trumpeting, is RAID 6, which protects your data against 2 failures. Which is all well and good, until you consider this: as drives increase in size, any drive failure will always be accompanied by a read error. So RAID 6 will give you no more protection than RAID 5 does now, but you’ll pay more anyway for extra disk capacity and slower write performance.

    Gee, paying more for less! I can hardly wait!

    The Storage Bits take
    Users of enterprise storage arrays have less to worry about: your tiny costly disks have less capacity and thus a smaller chance of encountering an URE. And your spec’d URE rate of 10^15 also helps.

    There are some other fixes out there as well, some fairly obvious and some, I’m certain, waiting for someone much brighter than me to invent. But even today a 7 drive RAID 5 with 1 TB disks has a 50% chance of a rebuild failure. RAID 5 is reaching the end of its useful life.

    April 17, 2009

    White’s of the Northwest

    by @ 6:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

    So I stopped by their little shop the other day, and they have a nice selection.

    The people however seem to be a little full of themselves. For instance if you are going to argue about technology with your customer it helps to know what you’re talking about. Telling me a USB port could not be put on a detector because it wouldn’t be waterproof when the detector itself is not, and waterproof USB ports do in fact exist does not show much wisdom.

    Also one could say it’s not wise to try and argue religion when your customer, especially when they obviously do not see the issue the same way you do.

    These are both good reasons why I myself am not in business.

    Would this stop me from shopping there? Not likely, but it does make me not want to go ask them for help.

    March 31, 2009


    by @ 11:52 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

    Sometimes I wonder why software systems constantly require users to change their passwords.

    I suppose they assume we all have an infinite capacity to remember a string of numbers, digits and symbols are repeat that information anytime in the future without ever writing it down anywhere.

    But you see, we often do. Most people have written down their passwords until they have memorized them.

    I feel this is horribly insecure compared to allowing users to keep their existing passwords until they desire to change them.

    March 24, 2009

    One of my favorite commercials

    by @ 5:17 pm. Filed under Business, Crime & Justice, Personal, Quotes, Secondlife, Technology

    This text will be replaced

    I just love the way they did this commercial. Took me forever to find a copy of it, it’s around 10 years old.

    (Direct Download link: Here)

    March 8, 2009

    So long Circuit City

    by @ 6:34 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

    An epic failure indeed.

    Circuit City

    Frankly I don’t think I ever bought anything there.

    If I recall right they had terribly high prices and poor sales staff, they had a habit of firing old higher-paid folks and bringing in cheap staff with zero experience. Let’s all put them in the category of how NOT to run a business.

    January 6, 2009

    Salesforce splatter

    by @ 3:09 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

    Seems that the giant “software as service” system Salesforce.com was completely down for around 45 minutes today.

    What do you when you’re entire business had moved into the cloud, and then the cloud crashes?

    November 19, 2008

    Website Hacked

    by @ 2:46 pm. Filed under Personal, Technology

    For those of you unaware earlier my website looked like this:

    The reason for this was an exploit that a spambot used in the TinyMCE editor on my site. (Which has since been fixed).

    But what is more interesting is what it did. It wrote a huge string to every single php file in my website.

    Getting it out proved a royal pain in the butt, but I finally came up with the following command (Had to do it twice because the string was so long).

    perl -p -i -e ‘s/oldstring/newstring/g’ $(find . -name \*.php)

    If you use this remember to use \ before any characters that aren’t numbers or letters, and use \x27 for the ‘ character.

    October 23, 2008

    “Yes your honor, I deleted him in cold blood”

    by @ 6:39 pm. Filed under Crime & Justice, Secondlife, Technology

    Online murder, well it was bound to happen sometime.

    Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

    By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer – Thu Oct 23, 3:48 pm ET

    TOKYO – A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

    The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

    “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

    The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

    She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

    Players in “Maple Story” raise and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.

    The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

    The woman was arrested Wednesday and was taken across the country, traveling 620 miles from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sappporo, where the man lives, the official said.

    The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

    In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world. In August, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through “Second Life,” another virtual interactive world.

    In Tokyo, police arrested a 16-year-old boy on charges of swindling virtual currency worth $360,000 in an interactive role playing game by manipulating another player’s portfolio using a stolen ID and password.

    Virtual games are popular in Japan, and “Second Life” has drawn a fair number of Japanese participants. They rank third by nationality among users, after Americans and Brazilians.

    October 15, 2008

    Raid rage

    by @ 9:50 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

    So, I was going to add another disk into the raid-5 I run off of a Highpoint 2224 card.

    No biggie I figured, just run the expansion tool.

    But I goofed, and instead of expanding to raid-5 and just adding a disk I ended up adding a disk AND migrating to a raid-0. I then noticed there was no way to cancel the operation once started.

    Bummer, but the drives were new, it should survive the migration and then i’ll go from there.

    But I was wrong. The new drive failed during the migration.

    So now i’m running on borrowed time with the migration on hold trying to backup all the data to the old disks and misc places in the rest of my network.

    I’ve been doing this, for the last 3 days.

    No, it has not been fun.

    Once stuff is backed up i’ll try the raid tool that Highpoint sent me, and if that fails i’ll erase the entire array and build a new one (Not what I really want to do that)

    We shall see how things go.

    October 12, 2008

    Tech Support

    by @ 8:10 am. Filed under Business, Technology

    So, who else is tired of having to deal with crappy tech support on the phone, in chat or via email?

    You know, where they make you go over stupid things that you’ve already tried. “Please power-cycle the machine again sir, even tho we know you already did”.

    Now i’m all in favor of going down the list of things to try since nobody is perfect, but it would be nice if support asked “So what have you already tried sir?” once in while.

    Or perhaps when companies pay for support contracts they can have “levels” to them. “Oh, Hello Mr. Smith, I see your company paid for our “Guru-level” support contract, please let me know what you need. I see, you need a replacement power supply, we’ll send one out to you immediately.” rather than “Would you please try this, and this, and that”.

    Admittedly sometimes the knowledgeable user is wrong about what is broken, but the extra cost of the contract could easily offset those costs.

    The reason this comes to mind is because today we’re being told we have to wait 2 days to have someone in the data center call support for a product we know via remote monitor is dead and we cannot test because there is nobody at the data center where it failed. Not the best of situations.

    Congress questions high cost of texting

    by @ 7:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics, Technology

    I know this is a tad old, but I wanted to to make mention of it nonetheless. So much for a free market spurring competition.

    Congress questions high cost of texting

    By Stephanie Condon
    September 9, 2008 4:25 PM PDT

    The price of text messaging has doubled industry-wide in the last three years, and Congress wants to know why.

    Sen Herb Kohl, chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to the four major wireless carriers–AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile–asking them to explain the dramatic price increases for text messaging services.

    “Some industry experts contend that these increased rates do not appear to be justified by any increases in the costs associated with text messaging services, but may instead be a reflection of a decrease in competition, and an increase in market power, among your four companies,” Kohl said in the letter.

    The cost of text messaging since 2005 has increased 100 percent from 10 cents to 20 cents for all four providers. Mobile operators have reaped huge profits from the increased prices, CNET reported in July.

    Also, the number of major carriers in the United States has shrunk from six to four in recent years, while the remaining carriers continue to acquire their regionally based competitors, Kohl said in the letter. He noted that the four carriers combined currently serve more than 90 percent of wireless subscribers in the U.S.

    “I am concerned with whether this market consolidation, and increased market power by the major carriers, has contributed to this doubling of text messaging rates over the last three years,” Kohl said.

    The senator from Wisconsin asked the companies to provide evidence of how their respective text messaging pricing structures differs from those of their competitors, along with evidence of what factors led to price increases. He also asked the wireless carriers to provide data on the utilization of text messaging from 2005 to 2008 and a price comparison of text messaging services to other services such as Internet access over wireless devices. Kohl asked for a response by October 6.

    The similar price increases, coming at similar times, Kohl said, “is hardly consistent with the vigorous price competition we hope to see in a competitive marketplace.”

    October 6, 2008

    The Ribbon

    by @ 7:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

    Some of you will know what i’m talking about.

    The Ribbon as it appears in MS Word 2007
    (The Ribbon as it appears in MS Word 2007)

    In the newest versions of MS Office there is the new “Ribbon”, rather than the normal toolbars.

    For those of us familiar with the old style of such things we’re screwed:

    “There is no way to delete or replace the Ribbon with the toolbars and menus from the earlier versions of Microsoft Office.”

    And of course there is no way to complain to MS about it either. Figures eh?

    I just love it when we get force-fed a new standard.

    August 14, 2008

    In the Beginning… was the Command Line

    by @ 11:45 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

    If you have not read this essay by Neal Stephenson regarding Operating Systems, or have only read the 1999 original version, I suggest you read this 2004 version, annotated by Garrett Birkel.

    It brings the original more up to date.

    August 24, 2007

    Are you Sirius?

    by @ 8:21 pm. Filed under Personal, Technology

    So I was debating a Sirius radio, and I recently found out that they are coming out with a new 2nd generation handheld. This unit would be out of my price range, but the new headphones are backward compatible, and not painful, woo-hoo!

    July 26, 2007

    Siriusly annoying

    by @ 8:08 am. Filed under Personal, Technology

    I keep debating if I want to buy a SL10 Stiletto unit to take with me to Washington.

    And I keep finding more and more reasons not to buy one.

    The evil headphones of pain, the fact that those headphones are the only way to connect an external antenna and still be portable and supposedly the SL10 has software problems.

    Upsides? If i’m lucky, radio wherever I want it.

    I just keep wondering if the upside is worth all the drawbacks & troubles.

    July 25, 2007

    Days later..

    by @ 11:07 am. Filed under Server Admin

    All the server move issues should be fixed finally.

    I added a few coded messages to the front page, some easier than others.

    July 18, 2007

    Not like anyone cares, but..

    by @ 9:43 pm. Filed under Server Admin

    I moved my site to a new host and off my personal home brew FreeBSD server.

    Now i’m just fighting a bunch of little details to get it all working right.

    Ahh, fun, fun.

    Lasivian's small corner of the web.
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