Friday, December 15, 2006

Fait à compli

Ever get those nasty little cheques in the mail, that claim to give you $1.00, $10.00 or $20.00 that hook you into a service in fine print? That should be illegal. Talk about a quick dup. It's a farce really, why is if i endorse these cheques to redeem the cash, they are legally allowed to charge me 100s of dollars per month for a service I'm not particularly clear on?

Term life insurance - do they actually do what they claim?
Auto insurance - how do you give me auto insurance without my VIN, Model and Make of my car?
Home insurance - how do you give me home insurance if you don't have my address recorded somewhere?

Honestly, this is a mild form of mail fraud in my opinion. Why is it legal? and Why can banks get away with this too?

Sooooo Windy

Wow! Severe wind and storm last night. It felt like I was caught in the middle of a typhoon or something. With winds in excess of 100km/h, 63mph according to The day after, light winds and over One million Western Washington residents are without power. Including the Microsoft Main Campus.

I hope the power comes back.

News source: [link]

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Music I Like: Keane - Under the Iron Sea

Artist: Keane
Album: Under the Iron Sea
Genre: Rock

U2-esque music that invokes deep feeling emotions. I gotta say, this English band delivers. Tracks like "Isn't it any wonder?" and "Crystal Ball" gets you humming along. After going through this album, I get a sense of U2, Radiohead and Coldplay UK mega rock band influences.

Solid album!

Cingular Smartphone, AT&T Wireless Account, I want 3G

This is pretty easy. After all, my friend Jeson has already gone through the trouble of groking through support forums to find all this info out:

1. GPRS, Menu-->Add (new connection)
Connects to: The Internet
Access Point: proxy
Primary DNS:
Secondary DNS:
IP Address:

2. GPRS Authentication
GRPS Authentication: CHAP

3. Proxy, Menu -->Add
Connections from: The Internet
Connects to: WAP Network
Proxy (name:port):
Type: HTTP

4. Under Connections (immediately from settings)
Internet Connection: mMode
Work connection: Automatic
WAP connection: mMode
Secure WAP connection: Automatic

You're done! On my Samsung Blackjack I am able to get a 3G connection: ~970kb/s download and ~116kb/s upload. Nearly 1MB :) However, this varies with the wireless connection I am able to get. I've seen it as low as 400kb/s download.

Vista: Tethering the Samsung BlackJack over USB

My not so reliable Comcast has conked out and I'm left to either "borrow" my generous neighbor's wifi (unsecure http transmission) or figure another way out to get Internet. Luckily, I recently upgraded my SMT5600 to a sexy sleek Samsung Blackjack.

Few easy steps:
1. Set the Settings-->(6) Connections --> (4) USB to ActiveSync. The reason why this setting needs to be set to ActiveSync as opposed to Modem, is to allow for the phone to be charged while in use. Otherwise, if you tether this baby as suggested by Cingular, 3g will drain your battery relatively quickly (1.5hrs or so).

2. Install Samsung's Blackjack modem drivers. I can't find these online, but on Vista, some of the drivers are available through Microsoft Update. Otherwise, they are available on the CD that the device comes with.

3. After the drivers are installed, plug-in the phone via USB and allow for Vista to auto detect the device.

4. On the Blackjack look for Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and set PC Connection: USB and Network Connection to: (Media Net if you're using Cingular or your custom mMode settings for AT&T Wireless).

5. Windows will now auto detect a Remote NDIS based Internet sharing device.

6. After Vista is done installing the Internet sharing device, presto you're ONLINE - BOOYA! :)

Note: I've been having some trouble with getting games to work online, particularly Warcraft 3 (port 6112), where ports have to be mapped and routed. Hopefully, I can find a reasonable workaround.

Oops! my bad :(

The day we were officially supposed to be working from home, I thought I'd be a winter-weathering trooper and decided to go into work. This is totally against the advisory information issued by corporate HQ, I just said to myself" "I've driven in worse before, psh this is nothing".

Well, as I'm heading out to lunch for some delish sushi with a couple of my friends, I mistakenly back to a car scuffing it's bumper. Regretfully, as no one was around I left a little note, owning up to the mistake and awaited contact.

I found myself being contacted by corporate Senior VP of Windows Core OS Division via email with the subject title "bumper". Hmm, this can't be?! Fortunately, Mr. DeVaan appreciated the note i left and my honesty. In reflection, I really appreciate you (Jon DeVaan)'s refreshingly cool attitude and nice demeanor about this situation. Thanks!

Bad Weather

Snow on Tuesday nearly shut down the Microsoft main campus (Redmond) and snow on Thrusday night made it look like we were in some Eastern state city in the heart of winter. Honestly, what's going on with the weather?! Toronto's been receiving anomalous weather as well, upwards of 14C to 16C. Wait a minute, why are we getting Toronto like weather and Toronto getting Seattle like weather?

Recently, I watched An Inconvenient Truth and it brought to light some interesting global warming facts and dispelled some "cyclic pattern" myths. I can't help but wonder, are these strange weather phenomenon a sign that things are not going to get better unless we, as in global citizens promote proactive activities greenhouse gas reduction plans like the Kyoto Accord.

Rain, rain don't go away just yet, please stay a little longer to play.