Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Razr: MIDPSSH works just fine

Just got MIDPSSH to work on my Razr. Had to perform a few hacks to get around the T-Mobile Firewall (SSHD now listens on port 110), but there is some perverse pleasure in seeing a linux command prompt on my Razr.

Maybe I need to do some real work now.

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Modding My Moto: Things to do to your Razr V3

On my trip to Europe earlier this month, I picked up a Razr V3 that had been abandoned by one of my colleagues in the UK. Sitting in a drawer, it looked so lonely and abandoned.

It probably wishes it had stayed there.

Since I got it, I have been exploring all of the sites and boards that discuss the various hacks that people have performed on this magnificent piece of technology. Short of some of the advanced procedures (still trying to figure out how to convert the bluetooth into a directed energy weapon), this is not the same phone I received two weeks ago.

I have flashed the firmware (twice), switched on the Autoupdate feature for the Time/Date, and removed all of the Vodafone specific branding that came with the device.

I now understand how you can become heavily involved in phone modding. This device, which is a simple V3 that you see everywhere, is more powerful than my first 386. I can cruise the Web using Opera Mini, check directions using Google Mini-Maps, and use it as a modem if I am ever stuck for a connection somewhere.

I also have the Motorola Phone Tools software installed, so I can control my phone over USB.

A lot of what I have learned and done over the last three days is definitely in a "grey zone" as far as Motorola is concerned. However, given the number of people doing this, Motorola should open up their tools and let people know how to make the mods they want.

In fact, I would love to see Motorola should run a contest to see who can build the coolest Flash pack for the V3 that can be used by anyone. That would build intense customer interest and would make the V3 even more of a geek toy than it is now.

It is the single coolest gadget I have ever owned. It even outranks the Treo and the Zen Micro.

For those of you out there into the risk of turning your slek and sexy phone into a brick, I suggest Motox or MotoModders as places to start.

Long live MotoModding.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

How I spent my Memorial Day

Memorial Day was going to be a very quiet and relaxing day, hanging around the house, tinkering in the garden, nothing special.

Then, after cleaning up a mess in the basement, Samantha went out the basement bulkhead, and one of the doors came off it's hinges. Which should be no surprise when they looked like this.

Warped Basement Doors - May 29, 2006

We knew that this was going to be a project for this year, but it became a necessity today. So off to Home Depot for some plywood and supplies, and then three hours of sanding and caulking and priming. The base work is mostly done, all that has to be done is more primer on the new doors, paint them with a good green paint (preferably marine enamel), and re-attach them.

This is what they called "unscheduled maintenance".

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Where am I?

I have been recovering from travelling, working like a dog for the man, and trying to fit in some time with my family. Been a long couple of months around here, and we have to start ramping up soon for the three-week adventure back to the Homeland, aka Canada.

I have also developed a new addiction, but that is for another post...

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

GrabPERF: You may experience some technical difficulties.

We are in the process of relocating the GrabPERF servers to new IP addresses. You may experience some weirdness as the DNS propagates, but this should die down in a couple of days.

If you do hit an issue, you can still reach the server at

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rotating technology through Europe

When I got to the London office, I started talking about how I had an addiction to sexy GSM phones, and showed off my collection. I then noted that the Motorola Razr seems to be a pretty hot commodity these days in London. My colleagues laughed, and one of them pulled his old Razr out of a drawer, effectively saying that it was so last year.

Since the Razr was unlocked, I asked if he was doing anything with it. So, I am now the proud owner of a first-series black Razr, a London office cast-off.

Seems that all of Europe wants a Sony-Ericsson W-series or the Nokia N-series. Razrs are so old school.

When I arrived in Germany with my Treo 600 now relegated to backup position by the Rzr, one of my German colleagues was bemoaning the fact that any PDA phone was horrendously expensive. I then offered him up the Treo 600, which I had adopted from its previous owner. After a hard reset, he spent the rest of the day fiddling with it, and grinning maniacally.

Sometimes technology just finds its way to the right place.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Hamburg: An extra bonus night!

Looks like I get an extra bonus night in Hamburg, as high winds at Heathrow have delayed a number flights and I will miss my Boston departure.

So I am back at my hotel in Hamburg.

Hamburg. Having never been to any non-english-speaking city before, I was mightily impressed by the way the people of Hamburg treated someone who has no German skills at all. They were friendly to a fault, and went out of their way to ensure that I was not lost or abandoned at any time.

As a city, Hamburg is under major re-construction. New infrastructure in the central core and other major construction projects seem to be the theme for this trip.

Anyway, I am tired, hungry and have expensive and flaky wireless right now, so more updates later.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

London: Some final thoughts

I am at Heathrow, and my 20:10 BST flight has become a 22:55 BST flight, meaning I will get into Hamburg at around 01:00 CEST tomorrow.

Gives me some time to write my final impressions of London.

London is a very busy world city. For a small town boy, I think I did remarkably well in it. I used the Tube on my own for the first time this trip and realized just how well the system works.

However, the lasting impression I will have is of diesel. The smell of diesel permeates London. In the office, the hotel, the trains, the cabs, the client offices. Everywhere there is diesel. For someone who is sensitive to strong smells, this is a living hell. I know that it was clouded over and the weather did a lot to accentuate the smell, but I can smell it still here at the airport.

Other than that, the city is a grand dame, unrivalled anywhere. Old and new seamlessly blend, creating a flowing organic place to walk.

I walked along Carnaby Street and Savile Row in the same day.

I saw Glasgow and Edinburgh, as a visiting businessman, not a tourist.

In London, you will hear most of the major languages, within 5 minutes, on the same street.

It is a wonderful and frightening place.

It is complex and simple.

It is like a fine whiskey: repulsive to some, loved by some, and definitely an acquired taste for most.

Off to Hamburg.

UPDATE: Flight now set to depart at 21:15 BST

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Monday, May 15, 2006

GrabPERF: New measurement location added

Today, a new measurement location was added to the GrabPERF family. The team at have graciously provided us with a server in Germany, and that is now online as Germany #1.

We are still looking for measurement locations in the UK (or Ireland) and Asia.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

London: The animals are so sad

I went to the London Zoo this morning. I shouldn't have.

It was an old style zoo. It is clear that they are trying to refurbish some of the exhibits, but there is far too much concrete and steel to make me feel that the animals are at home.

The lowlight? A sloth bear who was trying to escape, trying to hide. He curled up against a steel door to the inside enclosure, as if to say, "let me in! Get me away from the people!".

The day will likely look up from there.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

London: Skype Rocks!

I just had a friendly chat with the American Express Account Security group. My card got flagged for unusual activity ("Why are charges from London appearing?"), and they sent me an e-mail.

I fired up Skype, called the US toll-free number and dealt with it in 2 minutes.

Have I mentioned that Skype rocks?

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London: All your iced lattes belong to us

I am in a Starbucks on Great Portland Street in London, using the high speed, as the high speed at the hotel is out.

I am remarkably un-jetlagged from the flight. And there is a certain comfort in Starbucks. Doesn't matter you are, you're there.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Cable management, Geek Style

This rocks.

If it wasn't a company laptop....

Via Lifehacker and Make

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London, Ho!

I fly to London on the red-eye, leaving Boston at 21:00 EDT. I land at Heathrow at about 08:30 BST, which means that if I time my sleep right, I should not even notice the jet lag.

Looks like a rainy weekend in the city, but I do plan to get out and see a few things.

Blog more after I land.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

GrabPERF: Domain issues

If you try to access GrabPERF via or, you will have noticed that you can't reach the Web server.

The domains are being transferred to a new registrar, and the authoritative servers have not yet been set up. Just use for the next few days.


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You HAVE to buy this bed

Got a screenshot of this before it goes away.
A special bed -- May 11, 2006

I think this qualifies as a classic Craigslist purchase.

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Friday, May 5, 2006

Break out the wa-wa pedal and the polyester leisure suit, and let’s drive!

The Head Lemur has posted a car for sale on hist site. [here]

I can hear the soundtrack to the early 70's crank up on the 8-track machine in this pre-shortage gas inhaler.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

GrabPERF: Embarassing, but true — Service Outage

Ok, looks like the GrabPERF server was unreachable from 00:36 GMT until 01:24 GMT (20:36 EST - 21:24 EST).

This is very embarassing, as I am the one who is usually calling out folks for outages.

I will be checking with my hosting team to see what the root cause was.

Excuse me while I decide what to do about the teeth marks in my butt.

UPDATE: Just heard from my hosting provider that there was a planned outage last night. Sorry folks.

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IE7 Re-installed, and some thoughts

With some help from the IE7 team, I got IE7 installed. Turns out that there is a conflict between Microsoft (IE7 Beta2) and Google (Desktop Version 2). The Web history indexing performed by Google Desktop somehow conflicts with the way that IE7 Beta 2 handles Web history.

Now that it's installed I want to try it out. But so far, nothing about it rocks my world. I am sure that the IE7 team could give me an amazing tour, but it isn't a workspace for me. Firefox is more than "just" a browser. I work in Firefox. And IE7 doesn't feel like a workspace platform.

I will continue to try it out for a couple of weeks. Maybe I will find the killer app for it.

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Canadian Dollar: Look mama! The demons and hellish minions are playing hockey on that frozen lava!

Loonie rises above 90 cents US.

I was 10 years old the last time the Canadian Dollar was worth more than $0.90 USD.

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What is your wallet?

Merlin Mann has a What̢۪s your favorite minimalist wallet? thread happening over on 43 Folders. [here]

I tried the Jimi. Too small.

This one is perfect.

It's a business card case I bought at the Dell company store on a business trip 5 years ago. I have used it ever since. Holds more than a Jimi, but those are 3 X 5 index cards next to wallet, to give you some sense of scale.

I would never go back to a real wallet, like my father carried.

Dell could score some serious bonus points (especially after the fiasco with Samantha's computer) with me by sending me a bunch of these to distribute to friends and family.

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GrabPERF: Sphere Added

Since it was launched yesterday, Sphere has been added to the GrabPERF system.

Standard two-word and one-word search performance graphs are available.

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Monday, May 1, 2006

IE7 — First Impressions == Uninstalled

I installed IE7 Beta 2 tonight. It lasted 15 minutes.

What ended its stay? Opening a new tab crashed the application.

Let me know when: It. Just. Works.

There is likely some secret squirrel hack that fixes this. I don't want to hear it. An application at this level of pre-release development should not encounter a bug as simple as this.

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Jimi Wallet - Revisited

I have been using the Jimi Wallet for about a week, and I have retired it for now.

I can't operate with just five cards. I have too much happening in my life. I know that this violates all of the GTD principles, but I already have it narrowed down to a folding leather business card holder. And for my life, it holds what I need.

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Google == Arrogance

Microsoft releases a new browser, and, of course, Live Search is the default search tool.

Google is pouting.Who do they think they are? Shut up and sit down.

New Microsoft Browser Raises Google's Hackles

Microsoft, you have got me to say something that supports something you are doing. Ain't viral marketing grand?

Now shut up and sit down.

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