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Monday, November 23, 2009

Passive Solar Heaters

Just a funny story to pass on to my friends. Those of you that know me better than my bio info know that I dabble in solar and wind power projects. Most of these projects are for personal use such as the passive solar heaters I devised. Made of card board, and shaped as a wide "U" shape open on top and bottom, painted black on one side. The heater was stretched across a window that receives most of the day's sun(black side toward sun). These heater were the ugliest things ever, but they worked. They worked too well in fact. I succeeded in heating our bedroom to around 85 F with an outdoor temp of approximately 34 F and furnace set to 68 F. Not bad free energy, but it is hard to breath in a room that hot....hee hee! Wife hated them so much she tore them down. Well now its the beginning of winter here and she wants me to put them back together again and re-install them...Hmmmmmm. I guess the story isn't that funny, but it was to me. Guess you had to be there and hear all the guff I took for their appearance and the fact that too much heat could be generated and now she's cold again and suddenly its a good idea again. Oh hell what are ya gonna do? Catch ya later...

Storm still has some problems

Well after installing and using OS 5.0 on my Storm, it seems that the phone is indicating a memory leakage problem. However there doesn't appear to be any performance hits that I am aware of. When I go to the options and select the memory settings app the application memory will decrease constantly until it reaches zero. I've tried everything I can think of including deleting all third party apps...still indicates some sorta memory leak...also completely restored device to factory settings and OS 4.7, then reloading 5.0. I still had same issue, but the phone never slowed down or hang like it used to on OS 4.7. So if the phone works great and very speedy since upgrading to OS 5.0, then I guess I can't complain too much. There is one weird problem that has been reported on most of the BlackBerry blogs/forums. This problem has to do with disappearing App World icon. I'm still working on that one so look for my findings in the near future. Thanks for checking us out and please add your thoughts and experiences....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just setup mobile posting on blackberry...we will see how this goes...;)

Monday, November 2, 2009

BlackBerry Storm OS 5.0.328 Review

I have mixed emotions about this new OS. First I'm peeved that The Storm could have been this good in the beginning. Once again I paid good money to beta test their phone. Second I'm grateful that RIM and Verizon could work together to service the customer's complaints. Now I'm happy to report that this is the phone I wanted and the phone I'm going to stay with until I'm eligible for an upgrade( Probably Storm 2. ).
My most vocal complaint about the Storm is the memory management on the device and lack of memory. This OS version has solved most of this issue in aces...very little lag now. That is to say that now apps open and close quickly...very snappy. Also so gone is the "hanging condition", where the tiny clock symbol appears and the rest of the device is frozen. The "hanging condition" could only be cured by doing a battery pull...thus causing a reboot and sucking up valuable battery time. Battery pulls still occur but rarely...before 3-4 times a day...now 3-4 times a week.
The next improvement I noticed was improved performance on all apps...opening and closing especially the internet. Let me tell ya the internet was almost unusable before...now...very snappy! Pages load slow on all phone of this type...even...you guessed it the iphone too. Now the web browser rocks with a major speed boost. So I can look things up on the device without tethering to the laptop every time...Yeah!!!
Other items of lesser importance to me are faster response time from camera when taking pictures, more camera settings to play with, SMS text threaded messages, word search and select slider whenever you are typing on the device. These are all very cool items I'll call the icing on the cake.
Improvements so good I will stick with this phone for a while. As a matter of fact, the only improvement left is for me to buy a 16GB media card and install it. Really....no kidding.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More on Life with my BB Storm

I can't tell you how happy I have been since upgrading the OS on my Storm to version 4.7.0.148. It has made the phone performance much peppier. Not any where near the amount of battery pulls (also do to installation of Quick Pull app). This device is truly solid now, in my opinion it is better than iphone.
I believe that the storm is better than iphone due to the more open nature of the Blackberry. For instance I subscribe to Vcast-Rhapsody but I am not bound that service. I can use any music service I choose including itunes. I may also elect not to use a service and convert my cd collection to mp3 files and transfer to my Storm.
I can tether to my laptop, for Internet service on the go. I also have my choice of places to get BB Storm apps. Apps can be purchased from BB app World, Crackberry, and other sights as well. This is basically the same experience as my laptop or desktop at my home. I don't need to be kept in a protected bubble From Apple Inc. Some people want or need that type of experience...I do not.
Having given the prior remarks...I still would like to see some much needed improvement in upcoming OS's. With OS 5.0 just around the corner, I would hope that we could get better memory management on the Storm. This would drop the number of quick pulls or battery pulls down to probably 5-10%. That alone would save precious battery life. Speaking of which, maybe a tweak towards better battery life would be better unless you had to take a big hit in performance. Last but not least by any means make sure you give us wifi on the Storm 2.
That my thoughts lately...catch ya later!!!
Given 48

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New OS for Black Berry Storm

This isn't exactly the freshest news, however it needs to be said that this upgrade solves so many problems. So many in fact that I feel this phone is now very close to even with iphone and a tick better than iphone in a few areas. v4.7.0.148 is the version we are talking about. What happened to versions .75 to .147? Anyway I noticed after upgrade, my Storm was much quicker, and the best thing that I noticed right away was that I didn't have to take the battery out and reboot every 4-5 hours (My phone would freeze up and this was the only way to fix this). Believe me rebooting 3 times will run a fully charged battery down to 50% or more(nice). Battery life seems to be a tad better probably due in part to not having to reboot so much. Media performance also seems to work better. This phone is fun again and always gets serious comments from people when they see it. I do more demos than Verizon(it seems like) they should pay me for my services(jus sayin). What people should take away from this post is that the Storm is the phone that they wanted to deliver in the first place.
Having said that there are still some issues. One being that the Storm does not handle memory all that well, or I should say manage. Plan on rebooting at least once during heavy work loads to free up memory and bring the device back to maximum performance. The other problem is a minor annoyance. When tethering to my laptop to use the "modem mode", once in a great while the phone hangs in "modem mode" after disconnecting from internet. Usually the phone will bring it self out of this condition after a few minutes or I will reboot to correct this condition. I give RIM a little wiggle room due to this phone being version 1.0, these problems are little more than minor glitches that should be fixed in Storm version 2 devices.
It's OK to go get a Black Berry Storm. These are great phones that can so many things so well. You can also wait until later this year for the rumored release of Storm 2. Either way In my opinion the Storm is finally ready. Now if we could just fix Verizon customer service more on that later.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Verizon...Can you hear me?... NOW?

Last Sunday, I was backing up my Blackberry Storm. While this was in progress, my laptop froze up. I initiated a reboot on my laptop, which consequently stopped the backup. No problem to Blackberry at this point right. Wrong the Storm went into the flashing red led mode of death.
So I called tech support because the last time this "dead mode" happened, the in-store tech said that it was extremely rare that you would bring the phone back from this condition. So I spent an hour on the phone with a very nice technician who walked me through all the things that I already did on y own. Total waste of time, but I can understand why they must do this. After these evolution did not fix the phone the tech basically told me to try again on my own and good luck. Very polite but of no help at all.
This brings me to the second call to tech support. This time the tech was also very polite and accessed the notes from the prior call. The tech decided that they(Verizon) would send me another Blackberry free of charge. He verifies my shipping address then he says let me check your account status and hits me up for a $37 payment.
To say the least this is annoying to me and I convey this to the Verizon rep on the phone. He then explains that if I do not pay right now they will not send the phone. I asked why this is because the bill is not due til the 19th of each month and this was the 5th. This is the point where everything starts to go to hell in a big hurry.
Annoyed... but paid the requested amount with debit card. The tech tells me to check my e-mail that night for confirmation of payment and shipment would be on the way. The tech also told me that my shipment would be at my home by 12:30pm Tuesday. I checked and the e-mail was there. So I figured things were all good...I was wrong.
I forgot to mention that I have a night job in addition to working for my self in the day time. I worked from 10 pm Monday til 6 am Tuesday on the night job. I decided to stay up until the package arrived, since my two days off from night job are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. No package came Tuesday. Yeah Verizon, got my money, no service on the problem.
Called Tech support for third time on Tuesday at 2:45 pm and no package delivered. Spent a long time on hold while the tech was checking on my shipped phone. While on hold the tech hung up on me. Yeah Verizon, got my money, no service on the problem yet.
Fourth call, and I am full blown pissed off now. This time I'm talking to a fourth different tech on phone and I have to explain from the beginning all over again. I ask if maybe they can call the local store to give me a phone today. They call and of course the local store can't help because they can not...no...do not want to give me a Blackberry from sales inventory. Yeah Verizon no help with my problem and it must be my problem, but hey you got my money tho.
At this point I ask for supervisor and threaten to take my business some where else. Not only do I not get to talk to a supervisor but I'm told that they will be sorry to lose me as a customer. Like so what go ahead and go. After I calm down a tad, I tell them to send the phone and make sure( before I get off the phone) that it went through. She assured me it did.
OK, now I check my e-mail on Tuesday night and sure enough there is a problem. The shipping address for me is incomplete. What do I have to do to get a break here? But at least they got my money...right?
I called FedEx, fixed the address and they relayed yet another problem. WOW! Are they trying to piss me off! I asked FedEx to call them and confirm pickup and shipping address is correct. FedEx got everything corrected and package picked up.
I checked FedEx website late Tuesday night and the package showed that it was picked up from Verizon. I checked the website again Wednesday am and the package is in transit. All seems to be going well...no thanks to Verizon...but they got my money. FedEx is the hero of the day if they deliver the package. Hopeful that I don't get an empty box from Verizon.
Well time to finish my rant on a completely effed up effort or lack of from Verizon. If you have a similar problem you are going to have to hold Verizon's hand because they won't do anything for you if you don't. Read all e-mails(carefully) sent to you and call tech support and stay on the phone until they answer all your concerns. Be particularly attentive to package tracking numbers or lack of. Be firm firm firm...did I mention firm, but do not cuss these customer Dis-service reps or technicians out. It's not their fault that they work for a company that only wants to take your money but not service any problems. Lastly do not be afraid to call the management if you feel that the rep or tech is not helpful(I will post these numbers online soon). Thanks for reading this post and I hope you can learn from my experience.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just to let you all Know, I have been given the honor of writing for two other blogs. One is http://mensdomain.co.nz/ and the other is to be determined. The men's domain is due first of May and will be something about men's lifestyles and technology. The other article will be about alternative energy. Just thought you might like to know. I'll get the other link up soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Current mood:  awake

(letter from teenager)

Mom and Step-dad,

                   Hey ,I'm writing you this note to say please get off my back. I don't like chores. It doesn't teach me anything, and wastes my time. I don't like doing my homework. It doesn't teach me anything and it wastes my time. I don't like the part-time job. It doesn't teach me anything and it wastes my time. I don't need your advice on life's lessons. It doesn't teach me anything and it wastes my  time. I don't like it when you ground me. It doesn't teach me anything and it wastes my time. 

                 By the way the judge said that if my bail gets paid, I can get out of jail before the weekend. I received a letter from my girl. She's pregnant and has agreed to get an abortion. She doesn't want to see me any more because I got mad and hit her when she wouldn't do what I wanted. I can't afford the bail or the abortion. I was expecting my last check after I got fired from my job, but my boss sued  me for the damage I caused because I got mad when he fired me for not coming to work. The judge said that he would set bail only if I re-enroll in high school. Of course I have to go to a different school than my last one because I got mad and assaulted a teacher when they scolded me for not doing the homework. The judge also said that I must enroll in an anger management and substance abuse treatment programs.

                  So I was wondering if you could help me. I don't know if I will be able to pay you back with me going to school,rehab, and anger management and all. It doesn't look like I will have any free time any more. I guess I'm gonna have to do it any way.

                   Saturday is my birthday. I already know what I want, it's a "Playstation Z" console system, and the game "Grand Theft Auto X: Get high and kill everything that moves".  I hope you can come through with the money to pay the bail and my girls operation. I don't like it here in jail. I'm not learning anything and it is a total waste of my time.

                                                                           your son

What's up with games These days?

What is up with video games these days? Just about every game on the lists of top game reviews are all the same. First-person shooters. Geez. Is this what we have become, a bunch of virtual gun toting,bomb throwing, law breaking, blood thirsty thugs.

I can't remember the last time I woke up with the idea in my head to go get a hooker, get it on with the hooker, kill the hooker, rob the hooker, steal a police car, get away. I mean I believe in capitalism and there is definitely a market for this type of game, but does every game have to be of this genre? OK I exaggerated there are of course other types of games. Games such as The Sims are kinder and gentler but get boring pretty fast I find. Then you have what I call the puzzle games which are very cool such as Pop It, Bejeweled, and the timeless Tetris. Guess what? These games don't make the list(not to mention bore factor is higher than the Sims). These games are really only good for killing short periods of time.

      So what can you buy and have fun with? I prefer racing games. Any type of auto racing is fun to me. I'm especially fond of the Gran Turismo series (although I'm not going to go and shell out $400 on Playstation3 to play latest version). Racing games are getting better all the time, and yet do not bring the popularity of the shooters. A fine example is the game called Grid which is very similar to Gran Turismo series of games. You start with enough cash to get a low end car, you race a few races earn cash to supe-up your car and before you know it you are racing like a virtual pro. Oh yeah, before I forget, the leading games in this genre are(that's right you guessed it) illegal street racing versions(such as Need For Speed). 

      Another alternative to the shooter is real-time strategy games. My favorites in this genre include the Command and Conquer series. not much gore but enough action and explosions to keep me interested. And believe it or not my teen aged step-sons love to play all the games in this series(because their mother and I will not by the mindless violent GTA series of games for them). Recently I bought World in conflict modern strategy game that did not hang around on best games lists too long. It's very involved and the eye candy is phenomenal and that's on my mid-level laptop.
      
       Well I guess the point being made is that although there are many types of game genres out there, all the hype seems to be focused on the first person shooters. I am not an expert or guru of any kind, I am a game enthusiast. An enthusiast holds onto his money because the gaming industry is remaking the same games over and over and over. Another and even bigger point is that most of these games go against my personal values. I would like to see cutting edge technology games that have a positive messages, and that look great and keep the player coming back for more. When was the last time this happened? 

       In closing I would like to say that this post is only meant to get people talking. We would be grateful for any comment or debate that you would offer. So come on and join the conversation. Maybe we could cause some change we could not only believe in, but invest our money and time in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Next generation BB Storm request

First of all, I need to mention that I do not speak for RIM or any part of the Blackberry development team. I speak for myself and I provide for continued discussion through this blog and other forms of social media. This post in no way is meant to convey any knowledge of forthcoming devices or software. This is simply my own attempt to start a discussion about what features, or software the next gen Blackberry Storm should have.
OK, having said all that, I would like to say that I love my Storm. It works so well at keeping me informed as well as my partners and family(see my rant posted earlier on this blog). The Storm also keeps me entertained during moments of down time. I tell you, if you don't have time or space for messing with your laptop, the storm is the next best thing to have. Well OK let's get to it.

Appearance
  • As discussed in my prior rant and numerous reviews, the back lighting leaks through the function buttons and the screen edges between the case. This is an easy fix for RIM and one might beg to wonder why it was not taken care of before. Fixing this will only serve to impress more people by showing what a well thought out design should look like
  • The next gen Storm would be cool if it had three screens Alla clam shell design. One touch screen on the outside to facilitate using phone and other features without opening clam shell. Two screens inside, one a touch screen for keyboard and various functions. The inside screens should also however combine to make a huge(for a cell phone) screen to play games, watch movies, surf the net or usage of applications.
  • The case should be similar to look and feel of the current Storm. I really like the glossy black with the shiny metal trim. Very sexy/classy look that I get many comments on.

Capabilities

  • All current capabilities are great and should be included. We are here to push the form even further right?
  • The current Storm is pretty responsive, but like any thing else could probably faster. It doesn't matter to me how they(RIM) do it. They could utilize a newer faster CPU or create an awesome new OS.
  • Internal data storage could be way better with a gigantic leap of 100GB harddrive, ramdrive, or new flash ram technology.
  • Hopefully the Verizon 4g mobile network will be up and wide spread coverage available. Next gen storm should not only take advantage of 4g, but wifi and any other wireless data standard. Native wireless tethering to laptop to take advantage of the broadband modem mode.
  • Built-in high quality stereo speakers and standard size stereo headphone jack(maybe two jacks to share with friend). Sound could also benefit from active digital sound processing presets and or equalizer (for speakers and headset).
  • Battery capacity is another area that could be improved by making sure that the battery last at least 8hrs. I'm not saying this lightly. I mean 100% guaranteed 8hr battery life per charge.
  • I would also like to see a friendlier OS, not because I can't figure it out, but because I want to see more people use it. It needs to look friendly and look and spectacular too.
  • Internet browsing needs to be faster and more like browsing on your laptop. A flash video player should be included as well as full java support. I'm probably forgetting other plugins or apps, but I think I have made my point clear.

Well I think that is enough to get us started, I'm sure everyone has some ideas and I would love to hear them. What's the worst that can happen? They listen to us and make their best Blackberry ever. That's what we want. Catch ya later.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blackberry Storm likes and grips

I've had my Blackberry for 3 weeks now and for the most part I'm very impressed. First of all I'm not looking for it to be an iphone killer. I'm looking for a better experience than my LG vx8300. The 8300 is basically a web enabled/mp3 playing phone(which I highly recommend). So lets get to it. I purchased the Blackberry Storm at Verizon wireless, signed up for unlimited texting and the lower cost data plan. I feel like I got good service from the sales team and good pricing on my Blackberry service and phone. The following are my likes and gripes:

  • fit and finish are hands down sexy, some back lighting leaks through around touch screen and buttons. I gotta tell ya this isn't near as bad as most reviewers made it out to be.
  • The touch screen is clear and bright, able to be seen in the daylight. downloaded and watched full length movies that were DVD quality and beautiful. Now lets talk about the sure type touch screen. Typing is a challenge but gets better as you learn to how to use this feature. To be completely honest this would drive me nuts if I had to edit long documents on the fly. You will make several mistakes just twittering. could be much better, but still not a deal breaker.
  • Web browser is average to slightly below due mostly to constant resiszing the screen to select a hyper link. This is enough to tick you off right away. The other thing that bothered me was the absense of flash video player. Without flash player youtube has to be watched from the Verizon client, and no hulu or other video streaming services that use flash, unless you have aspecial client software. This is definately the long way around to do the same thing.
  • Works great in tethered mode to my laptop. Verizon broadband service is slow but when there is no other way to get online, this is better than dial-up. Very workable in the field.
  • Sound is very loud and pretty good(miss stereo speakers though). Stereo sound is available through bluetooth enabled stereo head sets and standard stereo headsets and the sound is great if you take the time to try all the equlizer preset modes that only work on the headsets. Ripped DVDs that I own and loaded on to the Storm, and they sounded so good. Mp3s also sound second to none through the headsets(depending on the source quality). Phone calls are kinda tinny sounding through handset(much better sound on speaker phone.
  • Applications are best when they are specifically designed for the Storm, otherwise it is hit or miss, meaning all Blackberry apps do not work on the storm. Most do but check to see if the is a Storm specific app before installing.
  • The operating system(OS) is pretty good for my style of use. I especially like all the ways to stay in touch with people 7 e-mail acounts,SMS,MMS,PIN,and instant messaging, oh and the phone(what else can you ask for?). OK (remember instant Check Spellingmesseging) how about preloaded Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, and Myspace client software. Not enough? Remember I mentioned instant messanging not one preloaded clients but five(Yahoo,AOL,Blackberry,Googletalk,Windows Live).Now for the not so so good the phone has crashed to the point where I had to take the battery out and reinstall it and then power up. In Blackberrys defense, I do tend to push the phone past its capabilities by too much multi tasking. Which brings us to the fact that the phone is multi tasking capible...keep it down to two tasks at the same time and you should be ok. I get into trouble because I am twittering, listening to music, and browsing at same time. Just to help you out my phone crashed maybe 6 times in three weeks always because of the fore mentioned reason. In my opinion the OS is stable but can be tweaked in future updated versions(look how much they have fixed so far). It stinks that we have to do the beta testing after we buy what we believe is a whole and viable product. My personal opinion is that this device can doe so many things pretty good and it will only get better as new updates are introduced. I did not cover everything that the phone is capable of, but instead the key points that I have found. All in all this is a very handy device, you can and will be doing business on this phone, as it exists now and better in the future. I'm already thinking about what the next gen Storm should bring. Not that RIM listens to me ....YET!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ok I guess I'm the only one with something to say... here goes. Nintendo DS, not a bad gadget in all. We bought one for my wife and she loves the games (pogo island, spyro). I have tinkered with it every now and then and found that the web browser and wifi are just ok. Meaning that the browser is slow and devoid of a lot of features. Some webpages will not work no matter which mode the browser is in(mobile or full size or resize). As for the wifi, the range is insainly small so what is the point? Having said that wifi for multi play(adhoc) works fine for us.

OK now for my thoughts on a better next gen(would love to hear your thoughts too)

-better(read full featured) faster browser

-more on board storage

-productivity apps that are actualy usefull


ok this is a start. Please join us.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Case in point: bought a psp and I enjoy the games and movies played on it. Now having said that, these are my suggestions for a better product next go round. Here goes.

-faster wifi (802.11n spec maybe)
-touch screen data entry
-add bluetooth (headset for voip, head phones for games and music)
-dual core cpu or at least a fast single core
-productivity apps (calender, contact list, e-mail, ect. )
-louder speakers,better sound quality
-lose the UMD drive, replace with faster tech
-better battery life

Thats all for now, but I would like to hear more from everyone.