Month: November 2007

Samsung SCH-u740, after 2 months

Time came for me to replace my old Cel Phone with something a little more flashy. 🙂

My carrier is Verizon, and anyone who has verizon knows that every 2 years they give you credit tward a new phone.  Well in October my new every two came about, so I started looking for a phone.  I decided on the Samsung SCH-u740.  It;s got some cool features, a full qwerty keyboard, and with my new-every-2 credit, i got it for FREE!  Pretty cool!

I like belt clips, so i ordered a $20 belt clip along with it. In a few days, my new phone arrived via FedEx.  Theres something about new electronics… I couldn’t wait to fire it up.  I charged it up, and activated it.  To my dismay i found that the belt clip had arrived broken.  It’s made of plastic, so i figured, what the heck, it was just packaged wrong or whatever.  My first phone call on my new phone was to verizon, to ask them how to go about getting it replaced.  They were very helpful and told me to jus take it to a verizon store, and they’d replace it. So i did, and all was well.

The phone is great.  I’ve had it for almost 2 months now, and i definately DO NOT regret my purchase.  The qwerty keyboard was easy to get used to, and the dual flip screen (vertical, or horizontal) seems well thought out. When text messaging, you can flip from one position to the other without even losing your message.  This doesn’t work on all screens though, which is sort of a bummer, but it’s not that often that i;m switching from one mode to the other, unless texting.

The phone also plays music, though i havent tried it out.  I have an MP3 player already, so it’s not really a selling point for me.  I did download a ring tone of a Static-X song, and it sounds pretty good.  I’d imagine that an actual MP3 would sound better. The phone has touch-screen controls on the front of the phone for playing music.  Theyre a little too sensitive.  If i just pick the phone up i usually activate one of the buttons.  Not a big deal, the phone has a lock function for the front panel, so that solves that.

The outside of the phone is easy to scratch though, so get a protective cover for it.  Using my belt clip, i managed to scratch the front of the phone.  I dont even remember hitting it off of anything…  I’m a little rough on phones due to my hobbies, so i expected to scratch it, I just hoped it would last longer than 2 weeks.  Heh.

On the topic of that belt clip… Dont buy one.  It;s a terrible design. I dont know what it is about samsung, but they do not make good belt clips.  I have another samsung for work, i forget the model.  But it’s got a belt clip as well, and i;m not impressed with it.  It’s doing a much better job than the u740’s clip does though.  Because of the dual flip, they had to use a somewhat non-standard clip for the phone, in order to allow it to operate while in the clip.  It’s got one finger that clips over half of the hinge, and sort of wraps around the hinge.  One night i was called into work, late, and i was working on fixing a problem.  I was in a bit of a rush.  My wife called me to find out when i;d be home, and in a hurry, when i put the phone back in the clip, it broke the finger off. Later i took it back to verizon, and reluctantly got it replaced with another of the same clip. The lady that helped me told me that this happens when you clip the phone back into the holster without minding the clip finger. I thought that was a little rediculus.  I’m all about well made stuff, and that sounded the opposite of well made to me. They said they’d replace it this once, as a courtesy. Which again, sort of miffed me. The thing failed through normal use, after a friggin week.

So i took the replacement, and off i went. With my old phone, i used my belt clip 99% of the time.  Now with this fragile pice of underengineerd crap, i decided that i;d put the phone in my pocket, when i had one available, and only use the belt clip when necessary. This was working well, i usually wear cargo style pants to work, so they have a nice large pocket on each leg, perfect for the phone, and a lot of my jeans have carpenter style pockets on one leg, also perfect for a phone.  So i was using my belt clip, maybe 20% of the time. So this worked well, i figured the less i used the belt clip, the less chance there was that it would break again.

Well it was inevitable.  This past saturday we were cleaning up the yard from the fall leaves, setting up christmas decorations, all that mid fall stuff.  Well i was pulling a garden hose out to let it drain so i could coil it up and store it for the winter, and as i’m pulling, i brushed against my side, where the phone was clipped to my belt.  When i say brushed, i mean that literally,  Well i must have snagged the phone with that brush, and it just snapped that damned finger off like it was made of.. well. CHEAP MOTHERF*#$ING PLASTIC.  I felt my phone fall to the pavement… I was already pissed by the time it hit the ground.  The battery cover popped off, the battery flew out.  I quickly picked it up and inspected it for damage.  After putting the battery back in and making sure the phone still worked, I pulled the clip from my belt, sure enough, that damned clip was broken.  I didnt hesitate, I threw the damn thing with all of my might, straight to the pavement.  It flew apart into half a dozen pieces.  Yea, it was a waste of $20.  I might have been able to go make a scene in their lobby and gotten it replaced, or a credit for the price of the piece of crap, but it just felt too good to destroy it.


So anyway, good phone, but DONT buy the plastic belt clip, get a case with a clip if you like belt clips like I do.



Protect me from myself, please!

I work in an IT firm. Well, i guess thats what you’d call us.  We do web hosting, development, a little internet access. We do more than just hosting, so i dont really think calling us a host is broad enough. I do Admin work, i administer a mix of Windows, and *nix servers. Theres two of us, and between the both of us, we do a pretty good job of keeping things stable.  The servers stay up, we keep them up to date, we’re constantly working to improve on the things that were put in place by earlier admins (who more often than not, did things wrong!).

All along though, it seems that our biggest hassle is the mechanism’s put in place to help "protect" everyone from viruses. Not believe me, i know how important it is to prevent the spread of viruses.  Try managing 100+ Windows servers sometime, you’ll know what i mean.. I really think it’s gotten out of hand though. In the position we’re in, it’s common that we need clients to send us things. Content for their wesite, half finished site designs or web applications, databases, programs to inspect, install, or whatever.  What’s the easiest way to send files to one another across the internet?  You got it… E-mail! We use an exchange serer, so of course, we use Outlook, in order to take advantage of all of the "Features" that microsoft has so graciously packed into its overbloated answer to an e-mail server. Outlook strips attachments on its owrn.  Yesterday i was working on a task from our shared task list. I wrote a perl script that needed to be deployed on a number of servers, and along with its deployment, a command line compression utility had to be installed.  So i attached them both to the task for "safe" keeping.Well when i saved the task, Outlook tells me that i’ve attached "Possibly unsafe files" and that they might not be available to me if i re-open the task. I assume it’s talking about the installer for the command line utility, and figure, what the heck, and just tell it ok. It’s not _that_ important that the file is attached to the task anyway.

Well i come back to my task later, open it up, and as i expected, the .exe is no longer attached.  No big deal. The perl script is still there. Ok, back to work.  Once I’ve made some updates, and want to save my task, it tells me that the same damn file is "unsafe"… It’s not there! I can only assume that instead of removing it, outlook has hidden it. Which is just great.  Now my task takes up an additional 3MB of storage on the exchange server, because of a file, that i cant even access. BRILLIANT! On top of that, i tried to replace my perl script with a newer version of it, and guess what…. It crashed Outlook.

Anyway, the point of the story is this.  At what point does security become more of a burden than a tool?  We have to keep things so locked down anymore in the IT field, that we need to find a way around our own security whenever we want to get some work done…



Linux on your TV – MythTV

I;ve got a PC connected to my living room tv at home.  (Does that surprise you?) We use the PC as a media center.  It;s currently running XP Pro.  Not a bad setup, but recently i’ve been having problems with XP.. It’ll jump while playing DVD’s, and it’s just not performing like it did when i first installed it.  As happes to most XP installs, it’s probably time to wipe it, and reinstall.  Man.. I hate windows.

Anyway, I took this opportunity to start looking into alternatives.  I know i can get a DVD player for Linux, and for me it’d be great, but i need something that;s user friendly enough that my wife can sit down and watch a movie while i’m at work, or whatever.  I’ve been unable to find a dvd player for linux that lives up to my expectations.  Sure, i can watch a DVD, but the UI is usually a little less than friendly.  While that’s no problem for me, it makes it difficult for anyone else to just use it as a player.  In XP i just have an icon on the desktop for WinDVD and the program’s UI is easy enough for just about anyone to figure out. I’ve tried Ogle on Fedora Core 7, and while it worked, the UI wasnt nice, and it didnt expand to full screen nicely. Xine does a better job of playing, but the UI isnt friendly. 

Enter MythTV.  I’ve read about it before, in fact i read a very long write-up on setting up MythTV as an all in one PVR with network storage.  Excellent!  I dont have the resources at the moment to setup a whole network just for my entertainment, but i DO have one PC, connected to a TV, that needs a nice friendly DVD player.  MythTV does it all!  There’s plugins for all sorts of things, news feeds, game system front ends, and, of course, DVD playback.  Myth was originally designed as a PVR.  With a TV Turner card, you can use Myth to build your own cable box, with a channel guide, timed recordings, the works!  So i’ve set out on the quest of getting Myth configured for DVD playback, and once i have the spare cash, i’m going to get a tuner card for it.  I’ll post more once i’ve actually done this. 🙂

I tried to install Myth on my FC7 install, but it just wasnt cooperating.  It runs, but i’m getting some backend erros, and for some reason displayed fonts dont work?  So i found this modified FC6 distribution called MythDora It takes Fc6, and pre-builds Myth into the install. I just went through an install of it on my Laptop, just to test it out, and it looks damn nice.  We’ll see how it pans out when i get home and install it on my entertainment pc.


New features!

Yea, i’m always working on this thing….

I’ve added a cool editor to my post page… which none of you will ever see, because i’m the only one that’s allowed to post new entries.  So HA! I’m cooler than you are!! 

So now i can do cool things like add color With the just the click of a button and insert images and such.  All pretty cool.  Not that i need all of that, i could just use html to do it, but man… i get tired of coding sometimes, and just want a good wysiwyg. 


Well, here we go, about to click the submit button, we’ll see how this thing works!