The Great Chinese Drywall move begins!

It would appear that September is fast approaching and with it my scheduled move from my home to an apartment so that the builder of my townhome can fix the Chinese Drywall that is festering in my house.  I personally don’t think I have it as bad as some other people in my community but that might be because I like to leave my A/C on all day long to keep my place at a comfortable 78 degrees.   I’ve got a moving quote already to get my stuff out of the house and I’ve also started putting things in boxes to get things ready to move into storage.  The next step is to secure a place to put all my crap and then move into the apartment.

This is going to be really weird since I haven’t lived in an apartment for three years now.  I was quite comfortable in my townhouse with all the extra space to spread out and leave my stuff.  I also had a garage for my other crap and my cars as well as multiple rooms with big screen TV’s.  This will all come to an end in September and hopefully I’ll be able to move back into my house by Christmas.  The one thing that I don’t like about this whole thing is the stress of moving out and moving into places.  It forces me to decide what to keep and what to throw away and it also forces me to live without most of my stuff handy.

The good thing is that the apartment isn’t too far from where I’m living right now and its fairly close to all the things I know.  It also has a lot of the amenities that my current community has plus a couple more things here and there.  It also has a tennis court which is pretty sweet but we’ll see if I end up using it.  My raquet needs to be re-strung and so does my wife’s before we can venture out on the courts.  This coming weekend will be filled with trying to fit things into boxes, looking at the size of the apartment, and deciding what we can use in the apartment short term and what goes into storage.  One part that will be awesome is that we’re going to Anaheim for the Disneyland Half Marathon which my wife will be running so that will be a nice break and a weekend where we won’t have to think about the move 🙂

iOS4 upgrade complete…. Finally!

This pas Friday I famished the upgrade of my 3GS to iOS4. I didn’t update to the latest and greatest because I wanted to jailbreak my phone again. As with all upgrades I’ve everyone on any phone that I’ve owned, the upgrade wasn’t all that smooth. I had to do a few restores just to get my apps on the right pages and I also had to input a lot of my preferences again.

The jailbreak restore from Rock didn’t go as planned and ended up giving me mobile substrate errors and crashing springboard constantly so I decoded to start from scratch. I also have to upgrade MyWi to version 4 which will cost me ten bucks but it’s supposed to be way better than the version I wad on. I’m not putting ad nearly as many jailbreak apps as I had on 3.1.3 because iOS takes care of a lot of those things now. I will avoid putting backgrounder and winterboard on my phone until I really need it but I don’t anticipate needing it anytime soon.

Today I might upgrade my wifes phone but that will be an interesting challenge since she doesn’t sync with the desktop computer at home. I guess after my experience, I’m hoping her upgrade goes a lot smoother, she also has a lot less data than me so that is a big plus too.

Testing my feeds

Update: It seems that my new configuration is working.  I can’t check Facebook to confirm that feed but the one for Twitter is working just fine.  Huzzah!!

In order for this blog to reach the masses, I use Twitterfeed and Feedburner.  This is just a test post to see what happens.  Lately my blog posts have been posting twice in Facebook and Twitter for some odd reason and I think its because of my Twitterfeed configuration.

Normally I would put this thing on a timer and see what happens at the end of the day but I’m into instant gratification so here it goes!!

Tolls are such crap

I just want to say this first, Virginia I hate you and your place on my shit list right next to New Jersey is well deserved.  Anyway on to today’s rant!  Last night I decided to drive to Washington DC to take some pictures of the monuments at night since they are really awesome at that time of the day.  I got there at about sun down so there was still some light left.  I spent a few hours there doing the rounds and snapping pictures.  At around 10PM I called it quits and decided to head back to my hotel in Reston VA.

In order to get to my hotel in Reston I have to take a toll road.  To me toll roads are such crap, its just a way to get more money out of me every time I travel to pay for a road thats already been built.  The thing that annoys me most is that the Dulles Toll Road is the only highway that goes to Reston, at least Florida’s saving grace is that if you don’t want to take a toll road there is an interstate alternative that can be taken even though you have to go out of your way, its not that bad.  So last night I pull up to the Full Service window at my exit, normally there’s a little person in there to accept my money, drop a coin in the exact change bucket and I can go on my way.  Last night there was no little person and I looked around to see what to do.  I didn’t see anything that I could do except give exact change and being a consultant, I try to carry as little extraneous crap as possible, especially loose change!  Since I didn’t want to sit there like a dumbass, I decided to just say “ah fuck it” and drove through the toll.

This type of thing has happened to me before and Florida is notorious for it as well, putting up tolls but expecting people to either have a SunPass or EZPass or exact change.  I don’t get why the DOT in various states think so backwards that we all have loose change or some sort of transponder in our cars.  I rent cars for most of the week that I’m working so I’m not using a transponder and most of the time I’m trying to get points on my credit card so I don’t carry cash.  Metal sets off alarms at the airport so I get rid of all my loose change so I don’t have to be patted down or something.  A lot of toll roads take pictures of plates these days and the plates are tied to individuals.  It would be simple enough to provide a statement to the registered owner of the vehicle to pay the said toll after taking a snap shot of their license plate.  Another fun thing would be to use technology in the plate itself and have it be a transponder so I don’t have to buy one, or register for one, or add money to it if it gets low on funds.  If I don’t pay my tolls, I just can’t re-register the car.  This would eliminate annoying things like toll violation fees and trying to enforce people paying tolls if the state actually used tolls.

I know, these ideas are really far out there and require lots of computing power and intelligence (on the part of the government which is seriously lacking at all levels) but it can be done successfully with the tech we have today.  Even if we have people stop so that the system takes a photo of the license plate first, thats better than having to stop, get a ticket or pay the toll and then make sure the dude in the booth hits the button.  OK, enough ranting and raving for now.  I have two more weeks in DC and then I have to find yet another project in some state I don’t live in so that I can earn my paycheck.

iPhone screen problems

In the last five or so days I’ve been having trouble with my iPhone touch screen.  I would try and type something or press an icon app and nothing would happen.  I’ve experienced this before with my jailbroken iPhone and the only way to fix it was to try and restore the thing.  When you’re on the road as much as I am and you’re trying to keep your personal and work life separate, something like your iPhone touch screen not working becomes a pretty big problem.

One of the most common work arounds is to try and just shut the screen off, then turn it back on and use it for the 30 seconds that the phone lets you interact with the screen.  I’ve been doing this all weekend and I gotta say that its really annoying.  Another solution I attempted was to reboot the iPhone which isn’t supposed to happen very often either.  The iPhone is supposed to be a precision device that doesn’t need a reboot since, as the old saying goes, its not running Windows and is build on Unix.  Yeah ok, next solution!!  The latest solution I’ve attempted which seems to actually work to my surprise is to reset all your settings on the phone.  So what does that mean?  That means any wireless hot spot passwords you had stored, the order in which you had your applications on your screens, and any other settings for that matter are lost to the four winds.  I wish I knew that when I did my reset, I spent about an hour trying to remap all my apps and it still isn’t right.  Other than that minor annoyance (I won’t detail what happened with Categories and my jailbreak apps), everything seems to be working well once again!

I think I’m going to have to take the final plunge and go to iOS4 this weekend.  I don’t really want to but it seems to be the best choice right now.  I’m just hoping that the jailbreak is still alive by Friday.  There is even a jailbreak app that patches the security hole in Safari.  Now why can’t Apple do security fixes like that or OTA I don’t understand.  I don’t want to be tethered to a computer if I don’t have to be just to reset my phone or do a restore.  Gimmie a section of the flash memory for backups or give me a SD card slot to do it in.  Anyway, hopefully my phone won’t crash between now and Friday because I am not bringing my Treo with me anymore these days.

Fun with Foursquare

My friend Sara got me hooked on this thing so I blame her for all the tags I am going to start accumulating and posting on Twitter.  This seems to be the next social network phenom that uses your GPS location to tag different places on the planet.  Enter foursquare!

So what does foursquare actually do?  From what I can tell it tags your location (or checks you in) and shows your location to your friends so they can follow you around (this is great for stalkers) and if you have a particular opinion about the place you can post it and your friends can read it.  This is pretty ingenious if you think about it, its kind of like Yelp but in a more stream lined form.  I am using the iPhone version of this app and I have location services running all the time so it knows where I am.  I can check into various places in the area that I’m in and get points for doing so.  The cool part is that it has Twitter and Facebook integration.  In addition to that, as you make recommendations, it will post it to Twitter or Facebook and it will show up on your feeds.  I’m currently only using the Twitter feed part as an experiment.  I don’t think I’m going to be using the Facebook one since I post enough crap on Facebook as it is via other automated feeds.

I think the mass appeal of this app is that its a real time game so to speak.  You check into different locations to get points.  As you accumulate points you get badges, as you get more badges you get more bragging rights.  Sounds pretty simple really.  It almost forces you to explore the area you live in or where you travel so you can get more points and one up your friends.  I think this is kind of like how Farmville got people hooked on getting higher levels or more crap on their farm than their friends.  I guess it calls to our natural competitive nature.  Anyway, we’ll see how long I can keep this up.  There is another cool app that I saw online that will check you in automatically called Future Checkin (I think this is made for iOS4 to work in the background so maybe this might not be good for people running 3.1.3).  Although it causes some battery drain it saves you from actually having to go into the app all the time and checking into places.

I think I’ll try this app some more today when I’m going to lunch and going to the airport.  It should get me a few more badges if I ever remember to run the thing.