Journal, Musings, Rants, Technology

Bye Bye GoDaddy, Hello Hover: An Ode to a Dead Elephant

It may come as a surprise to some, but I can be unusually resistant to certain kinds of changes. For the longest time, I have used and recommended GoDaddy for domain registration services. When it first appeared on the scene, GoDaddy was a viable and affordable alternative to Network Solutions. Over the years, I’ve found myself biting my tongue whenever it came time to renew. The dozens of advertisements for “additional services” had become too in your face and annoying. I had become programmed to scroll down to the bottom of the page, looking for the “No Thanks, Continue” text link that would take me one step closer to the Checkout page. Nevertheless, the inertia to change (i.e. laziness) was too great, and I found myself renewing my domains every few years and continuing to use GoDaddy for my new registrations.

That processed ended for the most part today after I read the tweets and articles about GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shooting an elephant in Africa. Since its racy Super Bowl ads, GoDaddy has never shied away from the public spotlight, and I’m not sure which way the pendulum will swing as a result of this incident. While Eric tweeted that people are abandoning GoDaddy in droves, it remains to be seen if people aren’t just raising a stink about leaving. Domain transfers involves time, money, and multiple steps to complete. For people who have dozens of domains like myself, even the plight of the now dead elephant might not be enough to overcome this inertia.

For me, however, the elephant story forced me to say, “Enough!” This afternoon while in Hawaii, I transferred 14 out of my 16 domains over from GoDaddy to Hover, a domain registrar owned by TUCOWS, a long-time player in the Internet scene. I found a 10% off coupon for Hover, and the company itself is offering domain transfers for only $10. Hover has a good tutorial which walks one over the multi-step process to go from GoDaddy over to its service.

As for the other two domains, I have to wait until a 60-day grace period is over before I can transfer one of them. I’m just going to let lapse the other when it comes time to renew. So with that said, goodbye GoDaddy and hello to Hover!

Apple, Journal, Rants, Technology

Can You Connect To The Internet Now? Verizon, iPad and the MiFi

Update November 23, 2010: Updating the MiFi to firmware 7.3.11 appears to resolve these problems for me. The updater is currently available only for PCs, so Mac users will need to borrow a friend’s computer or use Fusion or Parallels to install the firmware onto their MiFi. Daniel Odio has additional details on his blog.

The following post was written using the MiFi with firmware 7.1.6. The problems listed below manifested itself for me and several other people. Read the update above on how to upgrade your MiFi to the latest firmware which has resolved the problem thus far for me.

So, Verizon is now selling the iPad bundled with the MiFi wireless 3G hotspot. Unless Verizon and Novatel (makers the MiFi firmware) have solved MiFi WiFi disconnect problem, there are going to be a lot of unhappy customers.

Many users of this setup for the past year have experienced random disconnects with the MiFi when used in WiFi mode. As I pointed out in my post on the subject back in April, the device works fine in tethered mode, but fails horribly — disconnecting sometimes every minute — in WiFi mode. To my knowledge there hasn’t been any acknowledgement of this problem on the part of Verizon nor Novatel, nor has there been any firmware update to rectify the issue.

Verizon MiFi Problem

Now that more customers will be “enjoying” this problem, perhaps a solution is not far down the road!

Rants, Tech

Verizon MiFi Disconnects Constantly in WiFi Mode

Update November 23, 2010: Updating the MiFi to firmware 7.3.11 appears to resolve these problems for me. The updater is currently available only for PCs, so Mac users will need to borrow a friend’s computer or use Fusion or Parallels to install the firmware onto their MiFi. Daniel Odio has additional details on his blog.

The following post was written using the MiFi with firmware 7.1.6. The problems listed below manifested itself for me and several other people. Read the update above on how to upgrade your MiFi to the latest firmware which has resolved the problem thus far for me.

I love the idea of the Verizon MiFi — which I bought several months ago to replace the mobile Internet solution I cobbled together a year ago — but it’s very annoying to use in practice.

I’m speaking of the constant stream of disconnects and reconnects whenever the device is being used as a 3G WiFi hotspot. This has been discussed on several threads and forums, but I have yet to see any permanent remedy to this problem.

Check out the diagram below:

Verizon MiFi Disconnect Problem

This happens on a regular basis with my Verizon MiFi 2200 running firmware 1.3.5. I have seen this problem on a MiFi 2200 running 1.2.5 firmware as well.

I’ve talked to several people who say they haven’t experienced this problem first-hand, but I suspect that it is happening; they just don’t realize it. Here are steps to verify and reproduce:

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Chargers, Rants, Sports

Chargers win 38-24. Refs Rule Otherwise. Broncos Win 39-38

What a horrible officiating today during the Chargers-Broncos game in Denver. A fumble that shouldn’t have been a fumble in the first quarter. A fumble that was inadvertently ruled an incompletion gave Broncos the life they needed to win the game. Ed Hoculi; I used to think you were a good red, but today, you really blew it!

If the rules get in the way of who wins and who loses, then the rules need to be changed. Two minute time limit to get the replay machines working? I had never heard of that rule. Ridiculous. Blowing your whistle when it’s clear the quarterback is doing the empty hand routine with the football? Refs are taught to hold off from blowing the whistle until it’s clear what happened. Horrible!

Cycling, Rants

Bike Safety – Accident in Mexico

This photo really pissed me off when I saw it this morning after waking up in Providence, Rhode Island.

An American drunk driver, apparently asleep at the wheel, plowed into several cyclists during a race in Mexico, killing one and injuring the others. The photo is absolutely terrible, but this is the reality when cars collide with cyclists. I can imagine this is what happened when a similar accident occurred near our old house in Cupertino, when a California Highway Patrol officer killed two cyclists along Stevens Canyon Road.


My Hubcaps Were Stolen!

No Hubcaps

I’m doing some last-minute shopping for items at Westfield Valley Fair today. I arrive around 3:00 pm and return to my car at 4:35 pm. As I’m walking to my car, something just didn’t look right. The car and wheels looked darker than normal. As I got closer and confirm that it was indeed my car, I realized the truth. Someone stole all four of my hubcaps!

Now, my car isn’t some souped-up rice rocket; it’s a Toyota Camry from the 1990s! Who in the world would want to steal my hubcaps? There are several eBay listings for hubcaps of that model. Four of them will cost me between $50 and $100.

There were two potential witnesses whom I spoke with in the parking lot. The lady in an SUV parked in front of me said that she had just arrived and didn’t see anything. The person manning the Goodwill Trailer spoke little English but told me that she didn’t see anything either. She was standing directly in the line of sight of my car, so if anything had happened, she had to have seen it, right?!? How long does it take to remove four hubcaps? A minute? Two minutes?

Grrr… this is yet another reason why I hate to go to the mall! I guess my report will be appearing on soon. This site lists all crime activity in areas like San Diego and San Jose.

To the person who stole my hubcaps. Shame on you! May your wheels always fall out of alignment!

Apple, Journal, Rants, Reviews

Apple Wireless Keyboard Review and the Big Control Key

Apple Wireless Keyboard - fn key to control key

It’s been over a week with my new Apple Wireless Keyboard, and the experience up until now has been a mixed bag.

First off, the positives. The design of the keyboard is remarkable; I love how it’s so thin and small. Since I have three monitors — two hooked up to my tower and the other being my laptop — I find myself able to reposition the keyboard much more easily than with the corded keyboard, whose cable always seemed to get in the way of other things on my desk. The key action is pretty good as well for the main alphanumeric keys.

My single biggest peeve with the wireless keyboard is the position of the fn key. Like on their laptops, Apple has placed the fn key to the left of the control key on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Adding another modifier key results in the control and option key being smaller than their counterparts on the corded aluminum keyboard. I tend to use the control key a lot during development. Because the position and size of the control key is so different, I’ve been making a lot of mistakes.

In the Keyboard and Mouse preferences pane, you can change what the caps lock, control, option, and command keys do. I had the idea to turn the caps lock key into control, which is similar to the keyboard layout on old Sun workstations I used in college. However, Apple has modified the caps lock key to reduce accidental activation. If you set caps lock to control, you really have to press the key hard in order for the control modifier key to register. So, that trick was not going to work for me.

Update 2008-04-12: In the recent firmware updates for the Apple wireless and wired keyboards, a remapped Caps Lock key no longer has the activation delay. This means you can now safely remap your Control key to the Caps Lock key.

I did some more research and found apps that modified keyboard layouts such as Ukelele, fKeys, and uControl, but none of them panned out. Finally, I came across DoubleCommand, which provides a wide range of control for mapping one modifier key to the other. Unfortunately, the current version, 1.6.6b1, didn’t have the option to remap the right option key to fn. Because the application is Open Source, however, I recompiled the app with that option enabled. Sadly, in the Keyboard Viewer palette (System Preferences->International->Input Menu), the right-option key looks like it’s masquerading as the fn key, but pressing fn-return doesn’t output the enter key. Hopefully, a newer release of DoubleCommand will fix this issue.

Still, the biggest boon is getting the fn key to act as a second control key. To solve the problem of the space between the fn and control keys, I first tried taking a stickie, cutting it to size, and placing it on top of the keys. It didn’t look pretty, so I got back to work. I printed a sheet of labels with control written on each label (using the Myriad Pro font). I then cut a business card which would provide a firmer backing for the label. I then stuck the label and backing to the key using some tape. The end result looks much more natural — a big control key on the Apple Wireless Keyboard!

Of course, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to do this. Apple should provide a wireless version of their aluminum corded keyboard. If they kept the form factor of this keyboard, however, they could improve the design by moving the fn key to the right option key. Expanding the arrow keys to full-size would also be greatly appreciated, even if it meant making the keyboard a little longer or wider.

Check out the photos below!

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Journal, Rants

Cheney vs. Cheney

From the AntiWar blog, an interview with Dick Cheney from 1994 talking about why Bush I government did not invade Iraq during Gulf War I. I’ve emphasized certain sections in bold below:

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families — it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

Journal, Rants, Star Wars

Bomb Scare at Star Wars Celebration IV

Marc and I went to the Star Wars Celebration IV at the Los Angeles Convention Center tonight, but we left early because of a stupid bomb scare during the Celebration Opening event at 7:00 pm. Some stupid, fat, pimply 40-year old dressed up in Star Wars regalia probably screamed out some quote from the movie like, “I have a thermal detonator!” and caused the security staff to freak out. I haven’t seen any news about the incident yet, but details will undoubtably be forthcoming.

We wasted another hour waiting for another presentation to begin; apparently, the DVD player crapped out, and the door to the player was locked. All in all, we only spent one and a half hours walking around the exhibition hall and attending one session.

I nicely asked to get a refund, but the people working the ticket sales were locked out of their systems and were not authorized to give out refunds. Marc said he saw another guy crying and complaining about the situation. This person, like us, had arrived late to the show and only had a few hours to spend before having to leave the next day. Having something like this happen was really unfortunate. Sadly, on the backs of our badges was inscribed, “No refunds for any reason.” I’m still going to try to get my money back tomorrow, since it was quite expensive at $45/person!

What little we saw during the exhibition was nice, however. A lot of merchandise was being moved at the convention. Tons of people dressed up as Star Wars characters, such as Ayala Secura, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, various Jedis, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and more. I’ll have photos from the event up soon. I used to dress up for these kinds of events, but my outfits were nowhere near as complex as the ones I saw tonight. Halloween’s coming up… gotta get cracking on my outfit for this year.