Unlocking my phone. I guess people don't say 133t anymore.

My Android phone came with a tiny amount of memory and my phone company filled most of that with useless, undeletable apps.  I finally had it and unlocked my phone, installing a custom firmware.  It took me back to the days when I did it on my PSP.  It’s still the same environment…bad instructions in forums assuming you know way more arbitrary details than you actually do.  (What?  You weren’t born knowing what BackSideUpdater is?  It’s so obvious!)  All files are obtained via questionable links in forums.  The best instructions I found were on some kid’s youtube video.    Anyway, it’s done and I actually have some space to install some apps now.  We’ll see how this goes.

The Hobbit 3D High Framerate Electric Boogaloo

We saw The Hobbit 3D High Framerate version.  I enjoyed the movie and was amused to see that Radagast was played by a former Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy).  Also had Guy of Gisborne from BBC Robin Hood with a big dwarf nose.  Anyway, aside from being 3D, the 48 frames per second version was odd to see.  I think I’m a bit prejudiced against it in up-close dialog scenes.  It looked unnaturally smooth and cheap for a movie, like some kind of TV show.  Maybe this is the same kind of situation when people claim that records sound better than CDs (which I always thought was pretty silly).  However, in fast-moving action scenes, it really helped.  You know how sometimes in a movie, the frame rate is so slow that you can’t really tell what’s going on sometimes?  Well, that didn’t happen here.  But there was also a scene where it made the special effects look fast and toy-like.  We’ll see if they do it for the next Hobbit movies, or if the criticism was too much.  (They’re splitting it into 3 movies.)  Either this will catch on and people in the future will laugh at the 24 frame per second movies of the past or it will come to nothing  Also, maybe they’ll learn to do it better and how to do the effects and lighting better for 48 frames per second.  I mean, this was the first try.

Profilers are not free

I was wanting to figure out why something was running slowly in a .NET program.  Thought I’d try a profiler.  I read the MSDN help and they said, “Oh, that’s easy.  Just look under the Analyze menu.”  There is no Analyze menu.  Scroll up to top of MSDN page and you realize it’s only in the Visual Studio edition one level above yours.  Look for free .NET profiler.  There are none.  How is it determined what features are free with the IDE and which will cost you?  I imagine the Feature Gnome at Microsoft who rolls a die  with sides labelled “Starter”, “Fiesta”, “Express”, “Standard”, “Professional”, “Premium”, “Penultimate”, “Ultimate”, “Deluxe”, “Supreme”, and “One Level Above Yours”.  (Yes, it’s an 11-sided die.)

$20 a month smart phone

Republic Wireless is ramping up to offer unlimited calling/internet on a $250 Android phone for $20 a month (no contract).  The catch is that you have to have wi-fi at home because the phone always tries to route over wi-fi if available.  It uses the cell network when that’s not available.  They’re currently in Beta so you have to sign up for a waiting list.  Anyway, it could be a good deal if you want a smart phone and you’re usually near a wi-fi signal.  If you’re not around a wi-fi signal most of the time, I’d avoid it.

Dropped cable TV? Cable modem speed chopped in half, one year!

Long story short, Comcast doesn’t allow you to order faster internet speeds unless you also buy cable TV from them.   We recently realized that the Comcast discounts for bundling internet and basic limited cable TV were so low that it wasn’t worth it to get cable TV anymore.  (We only had it for the discount anyway.)  So, I had them disconnect the cable TV.  I failed to realize that the only internet allowed for people without cable TV is “Performance Starter” at 6 Mbps down/1 Mbps up.  This is half our former speed.  All other internet speeds that they offer have the restriction, “requires subscription to either to XFINITY TV or Voice service at regular rates”.  Boo!

Come and listen to my story 'bout domain account dead

Don’t bother reading this unless you’re feeling system administrator-y today.

I needed to test a limited access account on a PC, but the domain wouldn’t allow local log-in, so I dropped off the domain.  That’s about when I realized that I had no local administrator account active on the PC and no way back to my domain account.   I did manage to find an administrator account I didn’t have the password to.  This software saved my neck.  It allowed me to remove the Windows password for the local administrator account and log in and get back on the domain.

Lessons learned:

  • Before disconnecting from a domain, always have a local administrator account at the ready.
  • Domain accounts are cached even if you are disconnected from the domain, so that you can still log in while offline…as long as your machine is joined to the domain.
  • As safe as you you think your Windows machine is with a password, that password can be removed.  Encrypting your files would probably keep things safer.