Too Many Apps

Monday I had to factory reset my Motorola Droid. I was unable to wake my phone. It was on, the green new mail light was flashing, but when I pressed the power button to wake it up, nothing happened. The night before, I inadvertently made a phone call as was unable to hang up the call. When I hit the power button, the screen would come on with the phone, but immediately go dark. I had to pull the battery to end the call. Verizon told me that it was possible that the onboard memory was corrupted by an app. I can think of two or three that may have done it. To correct the problem, I would have to do a factory reset. This would blow away all of my loaded apps and all of the data associated with those apps.

I had 40-50 apps installed on the phone. While the clean start was nice, reinstalling the “essential” apps and setting up their on-line accounts was a hassle. It took about 2-3 hours to restore the phone to where I had what I needed. In all, I now have 36 apps. Of these, I think I should pare down some more. It would be nice to get below 30. I’m still figuring out what I really need (like WordPlayer) and keeping a few that aren’t essential but really nice (like Pandora.) Some of the productivity items I seldom use an go, like GDocs. I’ve taken out many of the streaming apps like and Stitcher. But having a much lighter and reliable phone will be nice.

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Stupid Smilies!

It was a good idea to start blogging lessons learned as I code, but it took almost as long to post a correctly formatted entry when I ran into one problem. WordPress creates emoticons automagically. Even if the text is embedded in a <code> or <pre> block. My last posting contained a :order symbol, which WordPress converted into a laughing smiley. Thinking it was in my code, I manually retyped in the text, tried a code tag, and removed extraneous tags to no avail. WordPress has a setting that takes care of this. Emoticon conversion is turned on by default, a bad thing for Ruby bloggers. Problem fixed, after wasting too much time doing the right thing.

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Ordering on a Field in a Linked Table

I attempted to order my runners based on their assigned stage number. The stage number is linked by the stage_id in the schema and the class shows that it belongs to a stage:

class Runner > ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :stage

At first glance, I figure I would simply order on the stage number:

def self.find_all_runners
  find ( :all, :order => "stage.number" )

But this resulted in a “no such column” error:

SQLite3::SQLException: no such column: stages.number: SELECT * FROM “runners” ORDER BY stages.number

I found the solution in Ryan Daigle’s blog. In order for this to work you need a :joins to the linked table so Active Record knows the origin of stage.number. In my application, the find should be:

def self.find_all_runners
  find ( :all, :joins => :stage, :order => "stages.number" )

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Test shots of the CES video page

Posted via email from nomadicoder’s posterous

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Merry Christmas

I love the way Schulz drew Snoopy’s face.


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Apple Loosens The Reins A Bit, Sends Handslaps Rather Than Rejections

Apple is moving in the right direction. With this and the new app to report quality of service problems, Apple and AT&T are making moves that will make me reconsider moving away to Verizon:

It looks like Apple might be making moves to loosen up their restrictions, if only ever so slightly. Earlier this week, Apple finally let a live video broadcasting app through the gates, after apps of that genre sat on the review backburner for months. Today, they’ve willingly approved another application that calls upon one of Apple’s private (and generally blacklisted) APIs.


Posted via web from nomadicoder’s posterous

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Nomadic Money Saving Tip

Wear your shirts till they’re thread bare. When you wear out your shirts, save the buttons (don’t forget the spares) and collar stays before you throw it out. Use the buttons to repair shirts that don’t carry spare buttons and use the collar stays to replace the ones you lost in the laundry.

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Adam Savage’s Obsession

What’s in the mind behind one of the hosts of Mythbusters

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Kindle for iPhone

The New York Times reported that Amazon just released an Kindle Reader for the iPhone

I downloaded it an hour ago and had a chance to briefly use it. It gives me access to all of the books I’ve already purchased. I don’t see my newspaper subscriptions, but I suspect that will come in a future release.

The interface more book-like than the Stanza Reader. Where the Stanza reader uses touch regions to turn pages, on the Kindle reader, you use the page change gesture of sliding your finger from right to left across the screen as if you were flipping pages. Page changes are fast without the refresh flash you get on the Kindle device.

The iPhone is just about my mobile all-in-one device.

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Kindle 1.2 Update

Amazon recently updated the Kindle firmware to version 1.2. The update has been taking place over the past week or so. My Kindle updated last night. So far i see a new “Sync & Check Items” which I gather from on line discussions synchronizes purchased items and synchronize bookmarks between devices. This will probably make it easy for folks who purchase the soon to be released Kindle 2.Opening a book purchased from Amazon, there is also a “Sync to Furthest Page Read”. I think this lets you return to where you left off in a book, if you have not read your purchased book in some time or if you go back to an earlier location in a book.You can also delete books from the main menu. Now, you don’t have to open content management and manually search for books to delete.Lastly, while I don’t recommend the device for browsing the web, I’ve found the browsing and updating to run somewhat faster.Overall, Kindle 1.2 feels as if it has improved performance. Better content management is a definite plus. This upgrade seems to ease the way for Kindle 1 owners who transition to the Kindle 2. [Update March 4, 2009: It appears the page changes are faster.  Also, I’ve noticed that every other page does not flash, but immediately transitions to the next page.] 

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Keri Mullis on Scientists

Nobel Prize winning biochemist, Keri Mullis, talks about doing science and what we can learn about climate data and global warming.

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AT&T U-Verse Installation Wrapup

As promised, here is the end of my tale which started here and here.

Last Tuesday, Michael, from AT&T DSL Tier Two who had worked with me on Monday, called me to tell me that the line was finally clear for service. Hopefully the service should simply start working. He requested that I call him if there were any problems. He would be working until 9PM.

I got home at 5:30 to see what the results were. No service. I tried resetting the 2-Wire DSL Modem — No Joy. I called Tier Two. He attempted to find the problem. Perhaps I needed a new 2-Wire Box. He attempted to schedule a service call, but the system that handles service calls was down. I would have to call back in the morning.

I called before 7:00 AM and spoke with another Tier Two agent. I told him that Time-Warner would be coming in on Monday, and if I didn’t have service by the time I left at 2:30, it would be Time-Warner. I needed it installed that day, because I only had Christmas Day to evaluate the system. I was out Christmas Eve for Church and dinner with family. The day after Christmas, I would be at work, and then flying to Reno on family business, and I would not be back until late Sunday night. it was important to have the system working before Christmas.

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AT&T U-Verse Story – They Won The Race

I posted this on Twitter, but AT&T came through. I’ll chronicle the events of what happened in a subsequent posting. Let me first say that now that it is running, the utility of the system is most impressive. It’s easy to use, and the quite a leap from my non-integrated DVR experience goes.

My situation was pretty much exceptional, in that AT&T internally dropped the ball on the DSL disconnect and how it handled my order. Two people in particular at U-verse were particularly helpful, and Vince, who installed the system last week and came in to finish the job yesterday did yeoman’s work getting me on line within 15 minutes of the deadline (which had to be met so I could participate in a Christmas Eve service at my church).

It’s Christmas, and I have a Podcast to complete and a family dinner to attend, so I’ll write more about the experience and my impressions on the U-verse service in a subsequent posting.

[UPDATE: 12/26/2006 – The last report on the installation and a review of the system will be delayed because of family business]

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AT&T U-Verse Installation Saga Continues (?)

After spending 3 more hours on the phone (two hours of lost work), I finally heard AT&T admit they made a mistake when they disconnected the previous tenant’s DSL and that I’m still not seeing service before the the end of the year. So I ordered service from Time Warner. I should finally have broadband by Monday.

Now I found out through the property manager that the previous tenant said that she was able to contact DSL Tier 2 to respond and fix the problem today and that AT&T said I should see service by Christmas Eve (in two days). I’m not holding my breath, and frankly, I’m tired of spending hours at a time on the phone with AT&T. As far as I’m concerned, whomever provides service for me first, I’ll go with them. I’m not waiting past the first of the year for broadband service.

It is not my business to find out why I can’t get broadband service in a timely manner. We all know what needs to be done on AT&T’s side, and I won’t even grace them with what they can do, because at this time, their business culture is not capable of retaining new customers. The customer is not the person who should solve problems like this so he can get service. I’ll share the question I asked the AT&T technical support agent last Wednesday. “Why am I responsible for solving this problem, and getting the previous tenant, whom I don’t know, to assist me in solving the problem which is clearly something AT&T should do?” The support agent could do nothing to help me, and told me that I had to take care of it myself.
I frankly don’t care if AT&T doesn’t have the ability to find out what’s on their own wires. They should be the ones calling the property manager to contact the previous tenant, not me. They should be the one tracking down the real reasons why they can’t get a DSL to my residence and fix it.
I’ve wasted enough of my time, and frankly, all I want is broadband, and whether it’s from AT&T or Time Warner, I don’t care. I’m not spending another hour of my time on the phone to get it.

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What You Can Learn From Google Search Results

For some reason, the Solution Configuration tool bar has gone missing from Visual Studio 2005. I googled the terms: Visual Studio 2005 Solution Configuration Missing. When the first hit that comes up is an entry from “I Hate Microsoft” blog, followed by a page of relevant hits, you have to figure someone at Microsoft made a really silly decision.

Update: The replies to this are real gems, as well as useful.

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AT&T U-Verse Installation Delays

In all of my dealings with the phone company, I’ve had few problems. Mostly due to occasional outages. I’ve dealt with PacBell, with whom, I had nothing but excellent service. I’ve dealt with Mountain Bell (which became QWEST), who handled two occurrences of lightning strikes on my phone lines in a more than satisfactory manner. This past week has been my first direct experience obtaining AT&T service.

I moved into an apartment in an area in which AT&T offers fiber-to-the-curb broadband (U-Verse). Over this, you can receive broadband, up to 18Mbps as well as voice and cable.

I placed an order for the service last week. Using the on-line application, I found that I was unable to complete the order because of a conflict for my address. The site instructed me to contact AT&T directly. This was the first sign of trouble. I called them up and requested the service over the phone, and we scheduled an installation for the following Wednesday (12/17). The whole process went pretty smoothly

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iPhone Blogging

Ecto for the iPhone: iBlogger

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Getting Organized

I’m looking at different ways to track and not lose ideas on the go. A common problem. OmniFocus is too centralized on the home system. Here’s what I need

  • Ability to gather ideas and personal notes on the go
  • Ability to gather those notes while I’m disconnected from “the cloud” and sync up when I am able to connect.
  • Reminders to clear out my inbox of notes
  • A place to develop those notes into tasks or writings

I’d like the ability to take Devon Think Pro on the road with me, on the iPhone, but short of that Evernote is nice, but the iPhone App is but doesn’t lend it self to tasking.

I’m currently examining Chandler. It looks pretty good. Playing with the iPhone app. I wish I could access the default Home and Work collections. I can only add to custom collections. Hope to have more to say as I evaluate the the service.

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Carmen Agra Deedy Great Story Telling

A great story about her mama spun at TED.

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iPhone 2.1 So Far So Good…

It’s been 10 hours since I installed iPhone 2.1 on my 1.0 hardware. It was the smoothest update thus far. No problems yet. I left wi-fi and location services on and the battery is still in good shape. The phone is more responsive, and so far, lacks the sluggishness launching apps and entering text as with 2.0-2.0.2.

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