Mmmmm Gingerbread

So I decided that it was time to wipe my phone and start from scratch (again).  It was running horribly slow and to even make a call I had to wait for the home screen to load.  While I was making this decision I started looking through the Rom Manager app (available in Android Market) and came across ChevyNo1’s new Gingerbread build.

I did a double backup of my current setup (all possible since I have a rooted phone) so I had nothing to lose.  If it messed up I just have to boot the phone into recovery mode and reload my backup.  It downloaded and installed flawlessly.  I did the initial Google login setup and let it load for a half hour or so when it was done.  I noticed it was getting pretty warm, then I saw there was an icon in the notification bar.   I checked it out and it had said that it had reloaded my 60 apps.  That was pretty sweet.

With the fresh OS installed the phone works amazingly fast and looks even better.  It has a Black theme, which means they got rid of the ugly grey bar that I hate so much, plus the menus and icons are all redesigned too.  Visually it has a few cool scrolling and opening/closing effects, and my favorite effect is when you turn off the screen, or let it time out it looks like an old TV powering off.

I am not going to go into great detail, I just wanted to share that it has been a good experience so far.  I think I’ll keep it until something better comes out.  I had actually held onto the last one for a few months, probably the longest running version for my phone since I got it a year and a half ago…


Second Life – My thoughts

So I decided to (finally) try out this whole Second Life thing. I was watching some reruns of The Office and there is an episode where Dwight has a Second Life and it is exactly like his normal life, except he can fly… So I signed up (free) and created a character that looks nothing like me (out of the 10 or so preset characters you can pick from) and installed the game.

The download was quick, and the 2nd download during install was pretty quick too.  A very easy process. I did get an error that my video card wasn’t recognized, so we’ll have to see how that goes.  It logged me in, made me accept the terms and conditions.  Went through download part 3 and BAM there I was.

I was immediately invited to the Zombie Attack group because I was referred from their website.  Lots of Zombie attacks and my first in-game impression isn’t good.  This is like a horrible zombie game.  I then went into the Destination Guide and and teleported myself to a random place.  This time the Grand Canyon. Even after changing the graphic settings every which way, it doesn’t look all that good.  Plus that graphics card error seems to be an issue in that the screen flickers or goes blank.

I guess I’ll uninstall and maybe try something else… Any suggestions?


Craigslist Scammers

Out of nowhere today I got a handful of emails in regards to my items for sale on Craigslist.  I was excited about it, so I started to reply.  Then I noticed a pattern with the emails. One was simply “We like it”, then next was “Interested” and the third was also “Interested”.  Plus, they had typed something very similar to “still have your stuff?” in the subject line. I knew it didn’t look right so I decided to investigate. 

Fortunately, since I am a Gmail user there is a little downward pointing arrow to the top right of the message. (as seen in the below picture.)  Actually every email provider should have the same type of option, I just like Gmail the best.

Clicking this link gives you a list of options for the email. One of these options is called “Show Original”.  What this does is opens up a new window and gives you the text details of the message. What their servers see the email like.  All of the data that you don’t normally need to see.  The email program (or website) take this raw information and turn it into a presentable email message.

Once this page is loaded it looks like the below image.  What you are seeing here is actually the very bottom of the message, Starting (at the bottom and working up) with the message itself and the senders information. I pointed out the main piece of information that I was looking for, which is an IP Address.

So at this point we have an IP address.  What good is that?  It actually isn’t the IP Address of the person who sent the email.  It is the IP Address of the internet provider from where the email was sent.  What makes this a little (or sometimes a lot) inaccurate is that it is possible with some email addresses using the web client it could show the IP address as the address of the email provider.  What I ended up finding with these few emails was a little bit more. I went to the website: and clicked on “Find hostname of this IP Address”.  It is a website that gives you some public information about an IP Address.
And there you have it.  Saudi Arabia.  I ran the other IP Adresses and got Thailand and United Arab Emirates.  Blatantly not local. I decided not to reply to the emails and just let it be.  I just don’t want them to get my actual email address, when all they have now is the anonymous Craigslist email.
So hopefully this will help at least one person from being scammed when selling stuff online. 

$15 iMac?

So I picked up another DIRT CHEAP Mac computer.  This time it was a $15 iMac. I found it on Ebay and contacted the seller about a local pickup to avoid having to pay a shipping charge, which would have been a lot more than the item itself.  I know the PowerMac weighs a ton.  It didn’t have a keyboard or mouse, but I have a box full of old parts, so I am not worried…

Looking to put some educational stuff on it for the kids. We’ll see what happens.


21st Century Job Search

A lot has changed since I was last in the job market. I had done a little looking around in the past, but in doing a full fledged job search I have seen how the whole process has changed.

Up until a few months ago I was working for Flextronics, doing Tech Support for Verizon Wireless. I started the job back in January of 2001 and was almost to the 10 year point when layoffs and the removal of tech support was announced. I could have kept my job, if I wanted to have an hour long (or more) commute to the other side of the city.  The layoff was a turning point that allowed us to make a life changing move to the Twin Cities area.

So (to shorten a long story) I am in the process of looking for work.  And I have noticed a few things that have changed.  What used to be a pen and paper search, where you would pick up the daily paper and search through listings has turned into a lot more than just the electronic version of hunting through the newspapers online listings.  Today it is all about using online tools to make the job easier.  Even making tools like Twitter work for your job search.

Some of the biggest tools that I have been using have been variations on the Twitter service.  Many companies out there have been tweeting new jobs as they open up.  Services like twitterjobs and have been a great way to setup alerts for tweets that match your search criteria.  Also remember that you can go right to and do a search right from there.

The other tool that I have been using is  LinkedIn gives you the ability to network yourself through your own colleagues, friends and people you meet at various places,such as job fairs. The only real downside is that if you want some of the more advanced features you would need to sign up for a paid subscription.  I have found a few workarounds for this, though. If you do a custom Google search (ex: charlie d it will help you find names and info about companies.  The main thing to remember is that you cannot fully access their profile unless you are a direct connection with them, and to request them as a connection you have to have a job link with them, or know their email address.

So it has been a learning experience, but I feel these internet tools have made the search for a job, and probably the interview process easier.  Mainly because it is so easy to find out more about the companies, and people that work for the companies before you go to an interview.


New Computer?

So my current portable computer is dead.  I use the word “portable” because the laptop has a dead battery and I can’t justify $40 or $50 to fix it. Also, by “dead” I mean the hinge is broken on it… I am still considering doing a little drilling on the top part of the flip and using a small bolt and washer on it. Hey, it might work.

So the state of mind I have been in over the last few days (ok maybe a week or more) is trying to decide the best way to go about this. I have been pricing new vs used, and windows vs mac. What it has actually come down to (at this point) is Acer Aspire One 10.1" -vs- Apple iBook G4 12".

My current netbook is the original Acer Aspire One.  It is a 9" with an 8GB SSD hard drive, so I have been very limited by space. I used it A LOT. I would carry it with me all over the place and I have a nice bag that fits it perfectly (with a little room for an extra inch or two).
The Apple is really cool, and I love my Mac desktop.  It will do a lot, and even though the specs aren’t as high as the Acer I know that it will run fast and smooth.  I am basing this on the 450MHZ processor on my desktop and all the animations it has. 
The only solution I can come up with is to go with the Acer for the obvious benefit of it being new, and no potential issues, or dealing with a half spent battery, and then hackintosh it. I know that it will work and there are even workarounds to make all of the features work flawlessly…  I could even dual boot it. 
Any thoughts?

Crazy WiFi issues

Out of the blue the other night we ran into some WiFi issues. The wireless portion of the router decided to just stop working. Normally when it doesn’t work a simple reboot of the modem and router fixes it, but this didn’t. It almost seems to have been factory reset.  So I have spent the last couple of days (on and off) changing settings and testing.

It’s frustrating because I don’t know if there is some setting that I am overlooking, so if anyone has any suggestions let me know!