Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why blog?

Hahaha. Here are 4 different blogs I created for 4 different reasons, not including the ones at http://gparmer.spaces.live.com/ . Delete this now and save yourself some time.  :)


A blog entry of my (little used) blogs=

There are lots of reasons to blog, and the penalty for "jumping right in" isn't as high as some will tell you. I rather liked jumping in and then abandoning what I didn't like. It works for millions of teens and it worked for me.

Broadband via Cell Phone

If you travel a lot, or if you live in an area without DSL or CableModem broadband possibilities, a product like the Verizon EVDO AirCard could really help you out...especially when teamed with the matching router which can broadcast a connection to several PCs or WiFi devices. It is also a very good solution for a rolling lab or mobile classroom.


The setup I've tested (thanks Jonas!) is a "PC5750" Verizon AirCard with a LinkSys "WRT54G3G-ST" wireless router. The AirCard normally fits in a normal PCMCIA slot of a notebook computer. It has a very small flip up antenna and a place to connect a larger external antenna. The tested router has a PCMCIA slot which accepts the card without any configuration whatsoever.

The AirCard picked up a signal and worked reliably in a remote location in Alabama where a voice call via cell phone is very unreliable, so the AirCard's external antenna port will likely be unnecessary.


The combination worked so well that a client VPN connection over WiFi, through the router and AirCard did not drop while traveling on an AL Interstate. The AirCard hopped from cell tower to cell tower without ever missing a beat.


The fine print of Verizon's agreement says that if usage exceeds 5GB/line/month they reserve the right to reduce speeds to a max of approx 200Kbps. I've not heard of that happening yet, but I guess it'll still beat the heck out of a 56k modem. I think it'd still be much better than a satellite connection too, since the satellite connection has a very annoying lag. Other than the high price and the possibility of a bandwidth restriction, I'd say this type of broadband connection is as nice as DSL or cablemodem. Congrats and thanks to Verizon for a network that really does work.

Monday, January 7, 2008

iPod Touch

(trying out Windows Live Writer posting to iGoogle here)


I purchased an iPod Touch mp3 player for my wife this past Christmas. It has a WiFi connection and uses a very nice touch screen interface. I was fairly impressed before I decided to do the "jailbreak" on it so that we could install other applications (like Google Maps which is on the iPhone by default). Since the "jailbreak" I'm more convinced than ever that Apple is a clueless company. The Touch is awesome if only they'd package it with applications, or the ability to add them. Once the iPhone is released from it's AT&T stranglehold I'll be in the market for one. I doubt I'd be so enamored with the Touch if we hadn't done the jailbreak procedure on it.

The basic overview for the jailbreak I read came from Jeremy Keith's Adactio blog. The only issue I had was figuring out how to do the procedure from a PC. The biggest difference was learning how to do the "Restore" from a file instead of using the default restore file. It was as simple as holding the shift key in windows while clicking Restore. The file required an .ipsw extension, iirc, but I think that was in the instructions too. I also referred to this howto on the instructables site.

Saturday while visiting my parents, I helped my (non-computer using) Dad use it to look up wiring harness diagrams for his 1950 Ford Truck. He had *very* little difficulty using the Touch. The interface is much easier to use than a PC. The biggest hurdle was how to get Wi-Fi access in Texasville, AL. Surprisingly, a Verizon Wireless AirCard worked great. I'll save details about that for another post.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Programming Not Deterministic After All

In theory, I could've just saved this link to Bruce Eckel's commencement address to my bookmarks, but since I agree so completely this one deserves a bigger star. Nice job, Bruce!