Category Archives: Technology

Installed Dual-Flush Toilet

A couple of years back I installed a dual-flush toilet in our basement bathroom, and it’s worked well. So recently we began keeping an eye out for dual-flushers on sale, and spotted a model that we liked at Lowes on sale from $269 to $169. We bought two, for the upstairs bathrooms.

Today I installed one, and by the time I was done, I was soaked with sweat. It’s not that hot, but it must be humid, because by the third trip up/down the stairs from the garage to the top floor, I was dripping. Disconnected, disassembled and hauled down an old toilet, and carried up, assembled and connected a new one.

Thought one was enough for today, as I have to be careful with my fused back. Do the other one later in the week.

Shaw Home Phone Dies, Is Revived by Magic

Our Shaw home phone VOIP system died in mid-conversation this evening. Just cut out in mid-call, and all of the phones connected to it had no dial tone. My Shaw business phone on a separate box was fine, as was our Internet connection. So I figured it had to be something with the home phone modem.

I did the unplug-the-power-pull-the-battery routine twice,  to no effect. I did a system reset twice, to no effect.

I plugged a phone directly into the box, and got a dial tone. Hmm.

I unplugged all our phones and plugged them all back in again. And just as weirdly as the problem arose, it disappeared.

I’m happy that I “fixed” the problem, but I’m unhappy because I don’t know what it was that fixed the problem.

So Far Comments Have Been 100% Spam

Yep, since I stopped posting to my old blog, and started this new blog on July 5, 2014, every single “comment” has been spam.

That’s why I never had comments open on my old blog on an aging software architecture.

So what the heck is the purpose of comments, if they are ALL spam?

UPDATE: August 25, 2014. I have turned off comments on all previous posts on this blog.

Tales from Spam Folder Subject Lines

Occasionally I like to skim through the subject lines in my email spam folder, and construct silly stories from them. It’s like being a kid and playing with those spiral-bound books in which you could individually flip sections to rewrite stories, often with funny results.

Here’s a mashup from my spam folder today:

“Explore Russian Dating Online” it’s OK because there is a “Frenzy Over Herpes Cure (Latest Discovery)” If things go bad, “Do THIS When a Gun is Pointed at Your Head” and if things go really bad “Many Threw Their Glasses Away After Seeing This”

🙂

Win 7 Box Hit with Malware — Adding AVG to Protection

My main Windows 7 work computer was hit with malware last night. Too tired to deal with it then, I shut it down and went to bed. Today I installed the free version of AVG and it immediately began finding problems that Microsoft Security Essentials had missed. I am now having AVG run a complete scan of the entire computer and all its drives.

Based on the fact that AVG is finding malware that MSE didn’t, I’ll likely cough up for the paid version of AVG.

Finally got Google Analytics Functioning on this Blog

Getting Google Analytics functioning on this blog was a bit of a head-scratching experience. Despite successfully setting up a Google Analytics account for the blog, and following directions from several WordPress websites, and even a WordPress book, I could not get Google Analytics to recognize the blog and get the “Tracking Status” to light up.

It turned out to be a simple problem — when copying and pasting code snippets from here to there, straight quotes were becoming curly quotes, and were not being recognized.

Changing all “smart” or curly quotes to straight ones solved the problem and the tracking script began running. I am not a programmer, but I am aware that this can be an issue. I just didn’t think of it. Lesson re-learned.

New Battery Rejuvenates Cell Phone

I began noticing a few months ago that the battery in my Samsung SIII smartphone was not lasting nearly as long as it did when new. I was getting barely a few hours out of a charge.

I was in Toronto in early June for several conferences, and was using my phone more than I usually do to keep in touch with local relatives and friends, read my email, check Twitter and Facebook, etc. At home I do many of these things from my office computer, so hadn’t noticed as much how weak the phone battery was getting.

I had an hour to kill over lunch one day, and tried four or five cell phone retail outlets in downtown Toronto, and none of them had a battery for the SIII. It’s not that old, but old enough in the rapid model turnover of the cell phone world that none of them could be bothered to stock batteries for it.

I returned home, and put up with the shorter and shorter battery time, until the last day or two the battery wouldn’t take hardly any charge at all. I could leave the phone plugged in overnight, and have less than a quarter bar of battery power in the morning.

About a week ago I ordered a new battery from an online battery shop, but yesterday and today, I could not get more than a minute or two out of a charge. So I searched for battery specialty shops in Burnaby, and came up with Battery World on Boundary Road. I called them, and they had four SIII batteries on hand.

So I drove over this afternoon and bought one. Staff encouraged me to pop the non-Samsung branded battery into my phone and make sure it fitted properly and powered up. It’s nice to see a full bar of power on the screen again, and it’ll also be nice to have a backup battery when the one I ordered online arrives.

The new generic battery also has a tish more  capacity than a stock Samsung battery at 2,300 vs 2,100 MaH, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see if that realizes more uptime per charge. That’s only around a 10% increase, so I doubt if I’ll notice a difference.

It’s amazing how one becomes addicted to technology. If I leave the house without the cell phone, or if I’m out of juice, I feel naked. And I’m not a power user by any means. I might make and receive half a dozen to a dozen calls on my cell per week, and about the same number of texts. I am using it more for email and GPS location finding than I used to.

Oh, yes, I’d also like to thank Samsung for making batteries easy to change. Just pop the back cover off the phone by sticking a fingernail in the slot, and there you go — easy access to the battery, SIM, and microSD memory.

Google Sucks Me Tighter into its Borg

Google Calendar is shutting down its free personal sync with Outlook. I was informed that I should uninstall the software by the end of the month.

So I thought about how I’m using calendars and have decided to stop using Outlook and go 100% Google. Why? I never used Outlook for email, I’ve used Thunderbird for ages on my Windows 7 boxen, and Eudora before that on older Windows versions in days of old. On the road I use Gmail.

In fact I have my email accounts (personal and business) set up to hit a web hosting server at Pair Networks, which then forwards to Gmail, which then forwards to my local Shaw account. Between the Pair and Gmail anti-spam filters, I get very little unwanted mail.

Google Calendar has enough functionality for my needs — calendaring and a to-do list is all I want. And it syncs with my Android phone, and iCalendar on my Mac Mini and iPod.

As you can see, I am hardware and OS agnostic. I use Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kobo, Kindle. . . I even have an old tower running Ubuntu Linux. Don’t use Linux much, but like to play with it occasionally.

So the cloud appears to be the way to go.