Archive for the 'Hardware' Category

iOS 6.0 Broke My iPhone

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I like being on the bleeding edge.  I admit it.  I was updating 3 iOS devices within an hour of iOS 6.0 being released.  It’s known that .0 releases often have interesting/annoying bugs that can bite you.  Truthfully, I don’t generally have many problems and even when I do, they are rarely a big deal.  Well, I finally got bit.  After my iPhone 4S finished updating Wi-Fi quit working.  I didn’t have the widely-reported issue.  Instead I had another, that as of this posting isn’t really resolved. There are others that are reporting it, but the other Wi-Fi issue is getting more coverage almost drowning this one out.  What happened is my Wi-Fi became disabled.   The toggle switch in the Settings app was greyed out in the off position.  Apple actually has a support page for this condition.  I did everything on it, and had no success, so I made an appointment for the Genius Bar and went today.  They weren’t able to fix it either, so they swapped me a new phone.  Looking around online it seems no one has a fix yet.  At least I’m working again before I use up all my data plan.

Reflections On 2011

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Wow. 2011. What a year.  Going into it I had some expectations.  I’m not one to have too many expectations as I’m always surprised what a year brings, but 2011 I went into with one — to get back into flying.  And I did.  It took a little more time than I thought.  I think it was about 8 weeks for me to get things lined up and get my third class medical (with restrictions for colorblindness that I didn’t have previously).  Then there were a few more weeks as I went through re-familiarization and a flight review (and getting checked out in plane models I hadn’t flown previously).  I don’t have my exact hour tally here, but I flew close to 50 hours this year and it’s been amazing to be back at it again.  The Cessna 162 I put a lot of that time in even has a glass cockpit.

Technology like that has really changed aviation.  My first experience with using a GPS for flight navigation was last year in a G1000 equipped Cessna 182.  I was amazed.  It was like I was on the Enterprise.  Well, in getting back to flying this year, the two planes I’ve been flying (a Cessna 172S and a Cessna 162) both have GPS.  To top it off (and for when I’m in something else eventually) I got my iPad setup with ForeFlight for geo-referenced electronic sectionals and AFD.  Honestly, I like that setup better than the built-ins on the planes.  I remember cross-countries used to be nerve racking for me as I was sure I’d get off course and mistake landmarks resulting in me getting lost.  No more.  Now it doesn’t take nearly as much concentration and leaves more attention for the flying and scanning for traffic tasks.  One more nice bit of cockpit convenience is my Bose A20 headset.  Past experience had left me weary of noise canceling technology, but enough positive reviews led me to bite the bullet and give them a shot.  I can happily say that they work amazingly well.  Noise fatigue is nothing to mess with and I’d like to keep my hearing, so I consider this a great investment.

One last bit of technology has changed my flying and non-flying life — lasers; specifically LASIK.  I’ve thought about it for years, but finally went for it.  I’m still recovering, so I won’t be flying for at least another couple months, but if everything stabilizes correctly I’ll be able to get around without my glasses.  It sounds innocuous enough, but without my glasses I was totally blind.  If something ever happened to them while flying there would be no possible recovery as I wouldn’t even be able to see the instruments.  Hopefully, I’ll be back in the air this spring.

Being out at the airport I’ve had the chance to see, hear, and feel some beautiful old warbirds and it sparked a desire to get some experience with them.  I decided to make it a goal to fly in as many old aircraft as I can before they’re gone.  I’m not limiting myself to warbirds, but that’s the typical implication.  So, I had some success with this too.  I got 0.7 hours dual in a Boeing Stearman.  That was amazing.  We did basic familiarization maneuvers and a whole series of different stalls (some of which I had never done before).  I’m hoping to get some more time in it.  It gives me the desire to go get my conventional gear and high performance endorsements.  I also got rides in a couple of WWII bombers that came through the area.  First was a Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Fifi”.  That experience really deserves it’s own post.  It was incredible, though.  Then at the end of the year, EAA’s Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast” came through the area offering rides.  That was another experience deserving of its own post.  Most striking was just how much the technology developed and changed in the relatively short time between the development of the two bombers.  I’m looking forward to what 2012 might bring on this front.

One more cool thing to add to my aviation high points for the year — flying under the Golden Gate Bridge.  Yes, we really did it.  I have the photos and video to prove it.  I didn’t think it would be possible, but during a helicopter tour of San Francisco the pilot offered and we hardily took her up on it.  It was incredible.  Definitely a high point.

We’ve done a bit of other travelling as well.  I attended a conference in San Jose and stayed for the weekend to do some sight-seeing in northern California (I’d never been before).  Shinta flew out too and we even met up with some old friends.  We crammed a lot in, but it was a good trip.  Because we were “close”, we had to go see the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This is another one of our “things” now.  We try to see big aquariums.  The other “things” are Segway tours, helicopter tours, and fancy food.  So, on this particular trip we also went to see the giant trees, famous San Francisco landmarks, and Pebble Beach.  Neat, but short trip.

We drove out to Atlanta for Independence Day weekend (returning before the actual day).  That was a whirlwind.  We went to the famous Georgia Aquarium (which was completely awesome), the World of Coke, and got a tour of CNN Center.  We also worked in a Segway tour which led to a dinner at Ted Turner’s Bison steakhouse (very tasty).  Who knew he owned the most bison in the country.  Neat city and we’ll have to visit some more to explore.

We made a trip out to New York City this year too.  We went up to see the sights and hang out with friends.  I absolutely had to have lost some weight with all the walking we did.  I had some good shoes and my feet hurt daily.  We walked all over Manhattan (at least it felt like it, and I have the GPS tracks to prove it).  We also saw a couple of Broadway shows (Spider-Man and Chinglish), ate some awesome food, and saw the sights.  Amazing city.  It’s incredible just how much there is there.

So 2011 was a great year.  I wonder what 2012 will bring.

iPad 2

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

So we actually stood in line for the iPad 2 launch. Shinta had a doctor’s appointment she couldn’t drive after (some drugs require several hours to wear off). Afterward, I took us to the Apple store instead of home. We managed to be about number 350 in line. The line literally wrapped around the building. Naturally, there wasn’t enough stock for me to get my top pick model, but I’m fine with what I got. I’m not going to do a full review here as there are plenty of reviews out there already. From my week+ of usage, I tend to agree with most of what I’ve read — this is a great tablet for those that don’t have one already. The thinness and lightness really are that good. The extra horsepower is welcome as well. I’m taking it slow in transitioning away from a notebook for couch surfing, but so far so good. I can’t wait to use this in the cockpit too.

ZFS saves the day again.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

ZFS saved me again. No, I don’t throw my drives against the wall or anything. Everything lives on UPSs too. Anyway, over the holidays I just happened to run a “zpool status” command on my media server to see how things were doing and it reported the media pool in a degraded state. That was a surprise. One of my drives was dead and had apparently been down for 2 weeks. 2 weeks and I didn’t even notice! I use this box daily. So I ran over to Best Buy, grabbed an equivalent replacement, swapped it out, and let the pool resilver. 6.5 hours later, all was well. I really need to get that RMA going for the dead drive. ZFS just rocks.

iOS 4.2(.1)

Monday, November 29th, 2010

iOS 4.2(.1) has been out for a little while now and so far it’s been good.  We updated all our iOS devices to it and I say, AirPlay is really cool.  Mostly, for our purposes, it’s just bug fixes, but I think we’ll really be using AirPlay.  Also, it’s nice to have some of the organizational features of iOS 4 on the iPad finally (and the Thai keyboard).  I suppose the iPad has IPv6 support now, although I haven’t tested it.

Update:  I tested it and IPv6 works on the iPad, at least via Safari.

Armadillo Aerospace in BlackBerry Torch Commercial

Monday, November 1st, 2010

You ever have one of those moments where you see or notice something and you absolutely know that nobody you know would catch it?  I had one last week.  I was fast forwarding through commercials while watching a recorded show and I saw a quick blip of a rocket in flight.  So, naturally, I stopped to see what it was all about.  It turned out to be a commercial for the BlackBerry Torch and they changed between a lot of clips of the phone in action with some context around it.  The rockets and operation seemed familiar and then there it was, a quick flash of text where I made out “arma”.  I knew it had to be Armadillo Aerospace.  I rewatched it to be sure and I was absolutely positive.  Cool stuff.  I know not only will no one I know catch it (even if they see the commercial), but I’ll have a hard time explaining it to anyone.  Here’s a link to an article about it:



Micro-sim in Malaysia

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

We were in Malaysia recently (more on that later).  We brought along our iPhone 4′s intending to get some pre-paid sim cards so we could use them while travelling.  Well, the iPhone 4 and iPad both use micro-sims and not just plain sim cards.  I knew this already and started researching it before the trip.  From the press releases I saw, Maxis had them out and it was big news to iPad owners who’d brought them in on the grey market.  Users on some forums rejoiced.  So, I had little doubt we’d be fine.  After arriving, it was another story.  Cellphone shops are plentiful.  You can’t go anywhere without seeing a plethora of them.  Honestly, I don’t know how they all stay in business.  The market must be huge.  We went to several shops and we got a lot of blank stares when we asked about micro-sims.  We were told there were no such things.  We were told we were looking for SD cards.  We were told they weren’t in Malaysia yet.  I said I had read a Maxis press release and eventually was pointed to an official Maxis store.  They did have them, but would only sell for post-paid accounts.  There was no way I’d sign up for a 1 or 2 year contract to use for 3 weeks.  I recalled that you could cut down a regular sim to micro-sim specs, so I asked around about that as well.  Nobody had any idea.  It took 3 or 4 days, but my brother-in-law brought us a cut down pre-paid sim.  He’d found someone that had a cutting tool.  We were up and running — even with 3G data.

Now, that’s were my happiness wanes.  We were on DiGi.  I’m not sure if Maxis or Celcom were the same, but my DiGi service was less reliable than I’d have liked.  Hand-off between towers wasn’t too smooth.  3G data could be spotty.  By that I mean that despite having the 3G icon show up and even full signal bars (with iOS 4.0.2), data would stop working.  I found some consistency in the data issues depending on location.  Occasionally, though, I’d even get the ability to tether and that was wonderful.  Speeds when data worked was quite good.  Cost was reasonable too.

Near the end of our stay, the iPhone 4 was officially released by Maxis and DiGi, so I expected compatibility to be remarkable.  I think it improved slightly after the release, but not much.  Oh well, it was only 3 weeks.

A month with the iPhone 4

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I’ve now been living with an iPhone 4 for a month.  I’m sure few would be surprised for me to call it a great smartphone.  As I said in my previous post, the screen is the outstanding feature.  I am truly amazed at this “Retina display”.  I actually carry 2 iPhones (work-issued and personal).  My work phone is an iPhone 3GS.  So, I’m reading each on a daily basis.  When they were both 3GS I was a happy camper (except for having to carry 2 phones).  Now, every time I check e-mail on the 3GS I’m reminded how poor the screen is in comparison to the 4.  The difference is striking.  I’m a gadget freak, so I would have picked up this new version anyway, but the screen itself is totally worth the upgrade.  In fact, it almost makes me disappointed in the the iPad 3G, which is nearly as new.  I know — totally different beast.


First post with the iPhone 4

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I waited in line to get the iPhone 4 today and came away successful. I don’t yet know if this is a great new phone, but it has an amazing screen. I am blown away by the clarity. It’s like going from an SDTV to an HDTV. Text looks like it’s back-lit print — just amazing.

The purchasing experience was great too. Note that today is the second day of their availability. My working theory was that there would be some reservations that weren’t picked up on day one and those go in the available-to-walk-ins pool. I was sure others would be thinking the same way. I’m not totally nuts, though, so I got in line at 7am (for a scheduled 8am early opening). I was about number 20 in line. I talked to the folks around me and it seems everyone had been there the day before. It sounds like that had been a real zoo. It took about 30 minutes for me to get inside once the doors opened. I spent another 30 minutes getting and activating the 2 I was after. Not too bad. Now what do I do with 2 iPhone 3GS?

Rumors of iPad wifi troubles greatly exaggerated?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I’ve seen repeated over and over that the iPad has poor wifi reception, but our iPad 3G seems to defy this. I dare say that our iPad is the best wifi device we have. I haven’t seen it drop signal anywhere in our house (even the driveway). Our iPhones are a close second, but none of our notebooks are even in the same realm of reception. So far 3G reception has been great as well.