Mobile Phone Update

Well, I made the decision to go with the iPhone 4S on Verizon.  It was delivered on Friday and so far I am impressed with the device and the network.  No network is perfect, but in the little testing I have done this weekend in spots that were dead or almost dead on my Nexus One on T-Mobile had usable signal on Verizon.  There are locations where the signal is weaker, but that is also to be expected.  Only time will tell.

What mobile phone to get on which carrier?

Well, I think that I have made up my mind that it is time for a new phone and probably time to leave T-Mobile since they ended their roaming agreements with AT&T in some of the areas that I tend to spend sometime in. Yes, they have service in most of these areas, but it is poor at best in most locations. I can see that there is service form AT&T, but I am only able to use it for emergency calls, which is nice to know that it is available, but still not ideal. With that being said I am leaning toward making the jump to Verizon, yes it will be more every month for the same features, yes their are data caps. If my data usage stays the same I am not too concerned as I use no where near the cap. So am I missing something in deciding to switch carriers?

The next decision is what phone to get, as you can probably guess based on the timing of this I am thinking about the iPhone 4S, as I seem to be more and more Apple centric in what I use and do with technology in the past couple years. I have an iPad, Mac and iPod Touch. Currently my personal phone is a Nexus One on T-Mobile and that is the phone that I would be replacing, I also have a work phone that is an EVO 4G on Sprint, so I will still have an Android phone. I am also open to getting an Android phone on Verizon also, but the real question is which mobile OS to go with? What features that I have come to love on my Nexus One am I going to miss if I make the move to iOS. What are the pluses to moving to iOS. I am a Google Voice and Google Latitude user so how well do these apps function or not on iOS compared to Android? I enjoy photography and the camera on the iPhone’s in the past seem to be far superior to anything on any of the Android phones.

The bottom line is should I switch carriers and/or mobile phone OS? If I do what are good and bad of each?

Secure browsing on open Wifi

Shortly after getting my iPad2 I was sitting in a hotel connected to their wireless network with my computer and fired up Wireshark to see what I would see floating through the air.  I saw about what I expected, everything that everyone connected to the same access point was doing.  I have known this was the case for a long time and have normally used a PPTP VPN to my house to get around this, but that didn’t always work as well as I would like.  My roommate tunnels his traffic through a PC at the house over SSH, which I could also do, but it was the iPad that really got me thinking, what could I do that I could easily do on the iPad as well as any computer and not have connectivity issues.  PPTP has issues getting through some routers and firewalls and the easiest way around this is to move to SSL so that was what I did.  I opted to pick up a Cisco ASA and setup AnyConnect over SSL on it.  There is an AnyConnect client for the iPad, it does require that you have the AnyConnect Mobile licenses on the ASA, but after I looked into the price was not too bad for the piece of mind that it would give me.  Yes, it was somewhat of a pain to setup, but after a weekend of testing and working on it on and off I did get it to do everything I wanted it to and it has been working well for the last week.  I will post some of what I learned along the way in the future.

A couple of weeks with an iPad

I was one of the nut cases that decided that I wanted an iPad2 bad enough that I was willing to stand, okay sit, in line for several hours, turns out it was a good thing that I arrived when I did, I was about the fortieth person in line, I would have to guess that by the time I was done buying my iPad2 there had to have been at least three hundred people in line at Southdale.

Well, it has been a few weeks since it was released and I must say that I am enjoying the device.  I find that that I am checking out Twitter, Facebook and catching up on the news with it.  Flipboard is defiantly one of my favorite applications, I really like that way that it pulls in my Google Reader as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts in a great magazine style format.  I also, played with GarageBand which is cool and for me not being a musician by any means, it was fun to play with and heck, someday I might even get something good out of it.  There have been a number of other applications that I have played with and I will write about those in the future.

More Server Upgrades

Yesterday I decided to take the plunge and upgrade the remaining servers that I have at home from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04 despite the issues that I had with my last upgrade experience.  These servers are all part of the MythTV setup in the house, they also do some other items, but mostly for MythTV.  Well, the upgrade went without an issue.  Some parts were slower that I would have liked, but in the end it all worked fine.  MythTV upgraded just fine.  The only item I had to do was to move some configuration files back to get my remote control to work again.  Overall, the upgrade went well and it was a relief, when I say the system boot back up.

Server Upgrade

Well, it has been a long time since I have written anything on the blog, I have been around and doing things.  Today I decided to upgrade the operating system on my server from Ubuntu 8.04 to 10.04, I prefer to stick to long term releases for my servers so that I don’t have to upgrade them every six months.  Well, it was bad upgrade.  I did the upgrade and rebooted the server and it did not want to boot.  I probably should have stopped at that point and found out what I needed to do to recover and get GRUB to boot, but I was lost and decided to just start over and install from scratch.  Well, almost scratch I did not delete the partitions, but I did format them.  Well, when the server rebooted after the fresh install it would only boot to the GRUB rescue prompt and no matter what I did I could not get past that point. I ever tried another almost fresh install to no avail.  After the third install attempt where I did delete all of the partitions and start over the server rebooted and started up just fine.  After a while I was able to restore most everything from the backups.  At this point all is looking good, but if you are going to upgrade be prepared for the worst case and make sure that you have good current backups.

New Laptop Toshiba Satellite T115

A couple weeks ago I was at Microcenter and noticed a new small laptop.  The laptop that I noticed was a Toshiba Satellite T115-S1105 the price and form factor fit what I had been thinking about for some time.  This machine looks like a netbook, but is much more for not much more money.  In fact I had started by looking at the Toshiba NB205, but I was going to want to upgrade Windows and the RAM in the computer, so why not opt for this other version.  I must say that I am happy with the laptop.  It is not the most powerful machine in the world, but for the size and battery life, it does what I need it to most of the time.  It is rated at 9 hours and 20 minutes of battery life, now I have not really tested this to see, but I have easily gotten over six hours with no issue and battery to go.  It handles web browsing and basic office type tasks with ease. iTunes can at times being the machine to a crawl as can video play back.  Both of these seem to be related to the U2700 CPU that is in the machine.  The CPU is a ultra low voltage chip that gives great battery life, but is a bit on the weak side.  It will play back most video fine, but may stutter from time to time if something else is going on.  Also, the buttons for the touch pad are a bit stiff.  The button is a single piece with a sensor on both ends and for it to work you really need to click on the end of it otherwise the click does not register.

All things considered I am very happy with this machine as it is small, light weight and has a battery that will last all day.

G1 Update

Well, I have had my G1 for almost six months now and I must say that I am enjoying the device.  Yes, it is a bit of an odd design and it is a bit bulky, but nothing that I am not already familiar with having own and many Windows Mobile phones.

Well, as I stated in another post I have made it to over six hundred hours of uptime, heck the other day I was just shy of six hundred and fifty hours when I was forced to reboot the phone to get the radios working again.  I had just landed at the airport after returning for being out of town for work and the phone worked for a few minutes and then just refused to communicate with the outside world at all.  Oh, well, I would not have made it much past seven hundred hours since I just received the Android 1.6 update for my phone.  The odd thing this time is that it did not come overnight, it was right in the middle of the day.

I have not been running the new version of Android for long on the phone, but the updates to Google Maps and the Market are very noticeable and seem to feel a more polished.
The other itme that I am noticing is that it appears that the T-Mobile site near my house has been upgraded to support 3G now, that is nice, but in turn since I am right on the edge, my location based services have a hard time deciding where I am based only on the cell radio.  Some times it knows I am close to home and other times it puts me a few towns away and yet other times it has no idea where I am.  If I force the phone to 2G it will find my location in no time.  Also, if I am in an area that is covered very well by 3G it will locate me just fine.  It must be because I am right on the edge.  I must also say the the locations based on Wifi are amazing, It locates me on the correct block and within a few hundred feet of my house, a bit scary in some respects.

Over all, I am still very happy with the phone and the service, I am also glad to see T-Mobile expanding their 3G network.

Would I use a netbook

Over the last several months I have been attached to the various netbooks on the market.  Yesterday, I was listening to Mobile Tech Roundup and heard Kevin talking about the Toshiba NB205 netbook, and peaked my interest.  I had seen this device a couple of times, in the past, but never thought too much about it.  The battery lift is one items that really peeked my interest, I thought really nine hours on a charge.  Well, as we know those number tend to be a bit altruistic, but even if I could get six regularly, I would be happy.  Also, these the keyboards on these devices have come a long way from when the first Eee PCs arrived on the market.  I had the a change to spend a few minutes with the NB205 yesterday at the local Microcenter and I must say the keyboard and track pad are very usable unlike some other models I have seen in the past.  Also, the track pad buttons are located under the pad rather then on the sides, which I much prefer.  The issue that I have is can I would with the low resolution screen of a netbook.  I am writing this post on a monitor that does 1280 by 1024, nothing special, but bigger than 1024 by 600 as many of the netbooks are.  Also, I have some concerns about the speed, but for the battery life, I think that I could deal with it, after all, it is not much slower then my almost four year old desktop.  I am sure there are other models that have other benefits that I have not seen yet, but I will keep looking and maybe someday I will pull the trigger and purchase one.  The real question still remains would I use a netbook?

G1 Uptime

Well, I got  an alert that there was an update waiting to install on my G1 (HTC Dream) today, but before I let it install I took this picture showing the phones uptime.  I am not aware of many smart phones that can come near an uptime of over 25 days.  I know my Windows Mobile phone needs to be rebooted on a regular basis.


If you have a phone that will has a great uptime please comment.  Also, I am shooting for 1000 hours next time.