Blackberry week 2

Posted in Computers / Tech on July 18, 2009 by camarojones

sprint-curve8330Wow…what a week it has been.

I had the chance to take my blackberry with me on a trip for an interview. Wow!!! I had instant e-mail notification between myself and the company I was being interviewed by, and along the way I also had the chance to use my GPS for fun.

I have 5 GPS programs installed: BBMaps (stock), Sprint Nav (stock), Google Maps, Blackstar, and GPSed.

-BBMaps and Sprint Nav are basically used to the same purpose…navigation.
Google Maps is a great program like it’s desktop/web equivalent, except it doesn’t recognize my GPS chip (8330m’s have a different chip that Google hasn’t fixed yet), so it only does vague locating for my position, but it’s great for finding stuff.
Blackstar is a simple program that has Geocaching tools.
GPSed is a free/pay program that in it’s free form, gives me a nice readout of my speed and coordinate location.

Other than playing with these all week, and browsing/texting/messaging/facebooking/twittering…the week has been pretty uneventful. The device works as advertised. My only problem thus far, has been trying to keep my hands off of it. :)

The only other programs I have installed have been ÜberTwitter and BerryWeather, with the latter being the only paid program so far. Both are excellent programs.

Now…what am I going to do this week….bah…back to the blackberry…

We choose to go to the moon….

Posted in General on July 13, 2009 by camarojones

moon

Want to watch the Apollo 11 mission on a minute-by-minute basis? Or would you like to relive the experience?

http://wechoosethemoon.org/

This website was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the mission with an interactive “official re-launch” at 8:02am ET on Thursday, July 16th 2009.

Enjoy!

Blackberry week 1

Posted in Computers / Tech, General on July 11, 2009 by camarojones

Well, this week has been fun. The end of the week is here and the phone is still working.

I’ve had no problems with voice (thanks to the Airave) and no problems with data. The only real issue with the phone has been the signal bar, and my lack of experience with the device itself.

The signal indicator likes to fluctuate around from full signal to nothing, and between 1x (basic voice) and 1xEV (full 3g speed). After doing some research at www.crackberry.com, I’ve found out that my phone, a 8330, is actually an 8330m…an upgraded model with slightly different circuitry than what’s been sold over the past year. With this change, came a new operating system… 4.5.0.131

Another carrier’s model has version 138, and I tried it. It made the signal much more steady, but I had something against running a different OS that is neither stock, nor tested by others. There is a Hybrid OS in the works at Crackberry, but 54 pages of text made me decide against trying it as there are 4 carriers and 2 versions of difference that I have to contend with.

The connection changes between 1xEV are due to Sprint’s network. They say that voice and data cannot be done simultaneously as AT&T does with the iPhone (from what folks have told me), therfore the phone is constantly checking data, then checking voice, checking data, checking voice, and so on. It’s kind of backwards though considering that it’s a Blackberry…a data device that should have access all the time. lol Sprint has said that they are working to improve the way data and voice work to allow both, but there isn’t a time-line on when they will change it.

Other than these issues, I’ve had no problems at all. I’ve downloaded programs, games, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and they all work great. It’s nice when I’m browsing the web and I get a Tweet and Facebook message. I’ve got a Star Trek communicator sound that notifies me, and teh screen shows a red star on the icon of the notifying application.

For missed calls, messages (SMS and MMS) and e-mail, the star shows on a general Messaging icon that has everything under one “hood”. I open the app and there is a list of each item: an envelope for e-mail, an italicized envelope for texts, and a little phone for missed calls.

As a Blackberry exclusive, they include the Blackberry Messenger. Think of it as an IM client for Blackberry-only communication. Each blackberry has a unique PIN number. When someone gives you this number, you put it in here and you can contact them at any time (with delivery and read notification.) It works just like AIM or Yahoo. Any messages also show in the Messaging icon, but as a smiley that includes the entire conversation.

It’s really a unique device, and after being with mine for less than a week, I think I will have one from now on…it really is addicting. Now I know why Obama didn’t want to let his go. LOL

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worry2On the other front…I haven’t been able to sleep very well.

Right now, it’s 2am and I’m not even sleepy. I took Tylenol PM. It usually takes about an hour for it to start affecting me, so I should be ready for bed by the time I’m done here.

I’ve started to realize that without a job, Life sucks. lol For the past 11 years (23 including school), my days have been spend either at school, or working. My time has been worth something. But now, nothing.

I have spent the past few weeks putting in job applications, sending correspondence to the VA, doing chores around the house, and playing with the blackberry. Up until now, I’ve spent my days trying to keep myself occupied. But at night, that is when my mind has been free to wander. And wander it has…

I’ve thought about my future. The future of my family. Where will we be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? What will happen if the VA shafts me as the military had? What if I keep getting rejected for jobs? I know that I have a skill-set that is useful for military contractors and/or the government. The problem I run into is this:

I have 11 years experience as an aviation electrician. I can’t get a low-paying job because the potential employer thinks I’ll run away. I’m over-qualified to them. I can’t get a job doing what I did in the military, because I don’t have a degree. I’m stuck between a rock, and a hard place. On one hand they are afraid to hire me even though they want me, and on the other hand I’m not qualified.

Right now I have an accepted application as a “Helper/Support-Trainee” at Tinker AFB. They haven’t done interviews yet for any of the accepted, so we are all waiting for them to call. This is an entry-level job that can place me anywhere as a full-time employee where they will train me in the job they select for me…just like a brand-new military recruit. They could also place me in a position that is suited to my qualifications too, so I’m hoping for that.

I was contacted by a company in Greenville, TX this week. Once that I found at the career fair a couple of weeks ago. They have me set for an interview on Monday, and are assisting my financial needs to get me there for it. They sound interested, and after my research in the company and the area down there, I’m actually optimistic. The company does research/development for new military and civilian avionics systems, and that is what I am looking for.

My early years as an airman were spent working in a cage on new and innovative systems for C-130s, and MH-53s. It was mainly for the new satellite communication systems, but I also worked on normal communication and navigation units as well. I spent 2 weeks in Las Vegas for the testing of a glass-cockpit and satellite upgrade, and was also involved in the upgrade of the satellite system on the 53. the latter was supposed to be a 1 week ordeal, but problems arose in the first week and they called me in during the second week. I volunteered to do the troubleshooting of the system, and after 1 day I found the problem (with the help of my coworkers experience of course). I resolved it, made a checklist for it and explained it to the civilian company that owned the system. They pretty much let me have my way in repairing it and writing the checklist. After the fix was verified, we took the resolution to the base commander and he signed my application to have it installed in the entire MH-53 fleet. I got the Commander’s COin and an Achievement Medal for that one. I loved that job.

OK…I made it sound like I was the only one that could fix this thing, but honestly if it weren’t for my coworkers and my civilian counterparts, the problem would probably still be an issue. They all gave me a lot of latitude, and I owe it to my boss for trusting me to get the job done. I’m glad he did. He gave me a chance, and I wasn’t going to let him down. He knew my experience, but he knew what I was capable of.

Because of Jerry Smith, I was a more confident airman…a better team-worker…a better person. That week I learned that I was capable of anything.

Now, I sit here, typing this blog wondering what I will be doing next. Sweeping floors, passing out hamburgers, or just being a dead-end blue-collar worker doing the same job for days on end for the next 30 years. I could be doing these things, but I have higher standards for myself.

It is correct that beggars can’t be choosers, but I’m not begging yet, and I’m still choosing. I choose to get the job I want, and choose to enjoy it. It’s just a matter of time until I find that job, that employer, who is willing to trust me and give me a chance to not let them down.

Blackberry day 2

Posted in Computers / Tech on July 7, 2009 by camarojones

Well…lets just say that this phone is more complicated than any phone I have EVER used. I’ve found settings for settings, shortcuts for shortcuts, and after it’s all been said and done, I still haven’t even scratched the surface of this device’s capabilities.

One of the neat functions, for geeks anyway, is pressing “alt+NMLL”. This trick changes your signal strength from bars to actual the actual signal numbers.

I’ve had one issue. The signal strength jumps drastically…even when I know I have a full signal. Supposedly, Sprint and RIM are aware of this, and something in the OS got glitched. Your actual connection is fine. Someone said that it was because the phone is changing the way it determines the strength between data use and voice use. It’s most noticeable after quitting a data application. Regardless of what causes it, your strength is perfectly fine.

I’ve also had fun digging through and cleaning up some of the programs that I’ll never use. They say that as long as you have more than 20MB free memory you’ll be fine. I personally keep everything closed unless needed, and I sit around 41MB free. Nice and zippy.

I also found out that there are 2 versions of this phone: an 8330, and 8330m. The new version has an updated OS with a different way of working internally…a hardware difference.

There have been a couple of glitches with this, such as Google Maps. It hasn’t been updated with altered code, and instead of pinpointing your location, it shows a big circle that you “could” be in. Kind of bad, but the preinstalled maps program gets you right where you should be.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been playing constantly for a good portion of the day, but this is all I can think of for today.

Blackberry day 1

Posted in Computers / Tech on July 6, 2009 by camarojones

This is a post about my first impressions with the blackberry world and my new device.

Well, I got it home and was instantly overwhelmed. The display is BEAUTIFUL. The thing itself is sleek, and just about the size and weight of a deck of cards (just about half as thin.)

The phone is a bit odd compared to what I’m used to. When I answer a call, I feel a small lag in the OS from the time I press the button and the display changes. But it seems that it does answer instantly as far as the voice connection goes.

The internet is FAST! In Sprint’s 3G area, it pretty much downloads the whole page as soon as I select the link. Nice.

The camera works with a small bit of lag, but this is a camera phone…not a SLR. It also seems to process for about 5 seconds before displaying the capture, but once it does. WOW! Compared to my previous phones, this one has great pics…the kind I’m not ashamed to keep. (I might have a few examples up in a day or two)

OH NO!

The OS just became sluggish. OK…the OS keeps applications open if you hit the back or end key. I had almost every single application open before I found this out. I am now closing the applications when I’m done. I can deal with the lag to open or close, but I want everything else to be fast. Like Windows Mobile, it defaults to just minimizing your applications. I’ll see if I can change that somewhere. (Nope…can’t be done. Closing manually it is.)

A trick: hold the mute button to “lock” the device, then press to unlock. You can still answer the phone without unlocking. Nice. (It keeps the display off and locks the keys. Great for pockets!)

With Vista 64, the Desktop manager is EXTREMELY slow. I’m not sure what is going on, but I’m not the only one. It works, but I have to be extremely patient with it. Click and wait. The media transfer seems to work OK, but I prefer the “Folder” view rather than the “My Media” view. I like to keep my media libraries separate from everything else.

I did have a slight problem getting it to update the device, but it finally updated. Man these things take forever to boot up. A battery-pull causes it to fully boot up. Just turning it off puts it into some kind of standby mode. A quick 10sec boot and it was up, otherwise a full boot takes a couple of minutes. Yes…minutes.

I can choose ANY mp3 as a ringtone. Nice. I also transferred a 700MB xVid AVI file to it, using the desktop software to convert it as it saw fit. It converted the video to an mp4, and plays just great!

I also found out that there is a change to the sound profiles when you place the blackberry in the holster. Each profile has options that usually make it vibrate (or get louder) when in the holster. A little magnet in the holster (just under the spot for the trackball) makes it go to sleep (turning off the display and locking the keys) while in the holster. Quite the ingenious thing it is!

So far, I’ve had NO problems with it, and I’m finding that it is getting more comfortable to use as I play with it. I’ve taken to www.crackberry.com to help and learn. Great site if you like your blackberry.

I was also warned of the “push” nature of the device…and my sleeping. Unless I want to listen to the thing go off all night, I should put it into the PHONE ONLY profile when I go to bed. This profile only lets the phone ring, and silences everything else. Just need to remember to put it back to NORMAL when I wake up.

Sorry about the weird nature of this post. It’s late and I’m tired. I’ll have more up in a few days. :)

Crackberry time!

Posted in Computers / Tech on July 6, 2009 by camarojones

sprint-curve8330Well…the time was right, and the pricing was even better.

Since I’ve been reading up on the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android and Palm, I’ve found some interesting bits of information.

The iPhone has become more of a status symbol. One that says, “I have an iPhone. Look how cool I am.” I know folks with them that don’t act that way in the slightest, but the stereotype has already been applied. I don’t want a part of that, and I don’t want to spend the next 2 years browsing the largest app store looking for more and more useless applications. Plus I don’t like how much Apple has locked down the store. Plus, they’re locked to AT&T…another bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is sexy looking, and a wonderful device…it’s just not for me.

Windows Mobile is OLD. It’s still CE wrapped in a new skin, and in HTC’s case, a skin on a skin. My Dell Axim has a legally hacked ROM with 6.1 on it, and 6.5 is in the works, but it’s still the same, old, tired OS. Every time I play with my Axim, I get bored within minutes. Another OS that isn’t for me.

Android. It’s still new, but the hype has worn off. There are still bugs with it, and it’s still only on T-Mobile. It may eventually become a great and powerful OS for smartphones, just not right now.

The new Palm OS (WebOS). Now there is a nice OS. But yet another problem…it’s too new. I like being on the edge of technology, just not the bleeding edge. I like reading about future technologies and applications, but I want something that is stable and proven….which leads me to my purchase:

Blackberry. A Blackberry Curve 8330 to be precise. Research in Motion has been around since 1995 (as a 2-way pager), and gradually became a business communication device. Since then, they’ve put the whole instant communication thing on it’s head, and since texting, twittering, and blogging are things that keep me sane (plus they have a nice application catalog) I decided on the Curve. The Pre was my #1 choice, but it was too far out of my budget range. The Curve is on sale right now for $49 (plus $100 mail in rebate) and I bit.

I’ve heard great things about it, and even today it’s been a wonderful experience to mess with. We’ll just see how things work out over the next few days, and I’ll try to keep my opinions up to date.

Happy 4th of July!!!

Posted in General on July 4, 2009 by camarojones

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -Declaration of Independance

fireworks

It’s the 4th of July, the anniversary of the United States’ independence from Britain. In light of this, I’d like to provide 2 links for you.

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html

These links are short reads, and worth the reminder of where our freedoms have come from.

Enjoy the rest of this wonderful year!