Thursday, December 03, 2009

HP Officejet Pro 8500 A909g - Error 403

In the last several weeks, I have been sending faxes form the HP Officejet Pro 8500 a909g and noticed that some of my faxes were not being sent. The call would drop during the middle of the transmission of the first fax page.

After updating the firmware from DLM1FN0842BR to DLM1FN0924AR which did not solve the problem and reading through some user comment's to slow down the fax transmission, I finally read the FAQ on the H-P site for this error code and pulled out my old very long trustworthy phone cord which was about 20 years old and replaced it with two new cords with a connector between them. I re-sent the fax and it worked! This is embarrassing since I was once in the fax business and should have got on my knees and checked the cord length as step 1. In any regard, it's now fixed!

H-P Website
Error Code: 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419

During a V.34 transmission, the local machine is unable to connect (handshake) with the remote machine and is consequently unable to send a T30 frame. This occurs when the line is disconnected or if line conditions degrade during the session.


Remove any pass-through devices from the phone line, and then try the fax again.
Confirm that the fax/phone cable is no longer than required, and that it does not pass near unshielded electric motors such as fans, heaters, or household appliances.
Try to send the fax at a different time when telephone line conditions have improved.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gogo Internet Wi-Fi on American Airlines Flights Rocks!

Every now and then, I am truly amazed by a new experience with technology. After signed up on an American Airlines flight with Gogo Internet Wi-Fi Service on a free promotional one day trial offer ($12.95 per flight/$24.95 per month regular price). While the plane was in flight, I checked my email, facebook, twitter then decided to try and answer the question, what will the airlines allow you to do and not to do.

1. Email - I was able to retrieve my POP email and send messages from my Google account.

2. AOL AIM - I found my daughter on AIM and did a video chat with her. She then added the W or my wife and we did a 3 way video chat. They could not hear me from my microphone which might be an issue with my MacBook Pro but I could certainly hear them. How cool is that!

3. Skype - I tried to dial a land line and struck out. I did sent a text message for a small fee.

Gogo Internet can be found at:

On American Airlines Wi-fi with GoGo - Promotional Coupon

I just left the Dallas Fort Worth Airport on American Airlines headed West toward California and saw the sticker as I was boarding the plane that the S80 Aircraft has wi-fi. American Airlines uses the Gogo Inflight Internet wi-fi service. Luckily, the last time I was in the Admiral's club, I found a Free Wi-Fi coupon on the table and stuck it in my wallet. Believe it or not, I fired up my laptop, clicked the Buy One Day Pass button ($12.95 per flight), entered some profile info and my promo coupon code and without entering my credit card info, I am now online! This is very cool!

Gogo Internet, American Airlines Wifi, American Airlines Gogo

Gogo Internet can be found at:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Facebook - How to Leave a Regional Network - Workaround

A client of mine asked me to help her remove the Facebook Regional Network from her Facebook profile. She has moved to a different city in the United States and did not want to be listed under the old city. When she originally joined Facebook over a year ago, in order to signup for Facebook, she had to select a Regional Network. When Facebook removed this feature this summer, the Regional Network or city was still showing up under her Facebook Profile when members performed a Search Query on her name. Here is a work-around or hack that a woman named Joyce posted it (thank you Joyce!). It has worked for some people and not for others.

1. Go to Networks and Join the University of Santo Thomas Network in the Philippines. I searched on the Philippines to find it. It allows you to enter any email address.

2. After joining the Network, a [Leave] button will magically appear for your old Regional Network. Click that button and return to your Facebook Home Page.

3. Return to the Network tab and click the [Leave] button to leave the University of Santo Thomas Network. You will also need to go back to your Status feed and remove the Santo Thomas network message as weel as your Education tab to remove the entry that you attended Santo Thomas. (I think that is all the entries!)

Your Regional Network will possibly be removed now like it was for my account and when other FB members enter your name in the FB Member Query box, the Regional Network should not appear under your name. That all said, it worked for my account but did not work for my friends.

I really wish some FB employee would address this issue or put up a form user's can use to request the change to their profile.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beware of Facebook Phishing Email Spam

I've recently noticed a large number of Email Phishing Scams that appear to look fairly legitimate. Here is one I received the other day that was mailed from an Internet Service Provider in Romania with a return email address from Taiwan.

With the recent FTC Disclosure Rules and potentially large fines against Internet Bloggers, I'd really like to see the FCC and Global Internet Regulators address the Email Phishing issue.

From: Facebook []
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 2:39 PM
Subject: Facebook account update

Received: from by; Wed, 28 Oct 2009 20:39:14 +0200

inetnum: -
netname: SC-DIGINET-SA
descr: STR Calea Nationala Nr. 99
descr: Botosani Romania
country: ro
admin-c: MSP23-RIPE
tech-c: MSP23-RIPE
status: ASSIGNED PA "status:" definitions
remarks: Registered through
mnt-by: RO-MNT
mnt-lower: RO-MNT
mnt-routes: DIGINET-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered

From: "Facebook"
Subject: Facebook account update
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 20:39:14 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook, Build 11.0.5510
Thread-Index: Aca6QM9IHL27JKUHH4Z7RX16H2QSW3==
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4927.1200
Message-ID: <000d01ca57fd$f28279e0$6400a8c0@maharaneesidn97>

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recover Formatted Hard Drive Files

One of my friends recently gave me his Windows XP hard drive that had been inadvertently formatted and re-installed with Windows XP. He wanted to know if some family photos could be recovered from the hard drive. It's been several years since I've looked at Windows System Utilities for File Recovery or Hard Drive Recovery, especially the Freeware for free programs out there.

I tried several different freeware file recovery programs (OfficeRecover, PC Inspector File Recovery, Padora Recovery, DataRecovery) and finally found Recuva thanks to a PC World Review. In less than 20 minutes, Recuva was installed and found the majority of the missing files although it took my friend an hour or so to manually search through all the thumbnails on the drive.

If you use Microsoft Windows and need to recover files from a formatted hard drive, I would check out Recuva! It is Freeware, although I told my friend he should find his Paypal account to leave a little something for the Recuva developer!

Here is the link I used to download Recuva.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

iPhone 3.1.2 Update to address iPhone Coma Mode

Several weeks ago at, I twittered:

"At times my iPhone 3GS does not make outgoing phone calls until I power on and off. Is it Sofware, Hardware or AT&T? #iphone #att #apple9:15 PM Sep 19th from Tweetie"

This bug is also known as iPhone Coma Mode. According to Apple, iPhone 3.1.2 should address this bug.

I am now installing this Apple iPhone 3.1.2 release. It offers bug fixes, but no flashy new features. You can get it now by plugging in your iPhone and clicking "Check for Updates" in iTunes. Here's Apple's list of what's fixed in this update:

* iPhone Sleep bug - Resolves sporadic issue that may cause iPhone not to wake from sleep
* iPhone Coma Mode bug - Resolves intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular services until restart
* iPhone Video Stream bug - Fixes bug that could cause occasional crash during video stream

The update is 306.2 MBs. It took less than 15 minutes to download on a Mac and about 35+ minutes on a PC.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

iPhone MMS - Restart Your iPhone - check for the camera icon!

MMS finally arrived on the iPhone which now means you can finally send photos to your friends or business associates who have a Blackberry or a phone that doesn't support receiving email pictures. Texting a photo is so much quicker than sending a photo via email, you will find this is a great feature!

If your iPhone MMS is not working, make sure you restart your iPhone after updating the carrier settings? First of all, you wil need to update your carrier setting by connecting to iTunes then installing this small update. Make sure you restart your iPhone after the update!

1. Restart your iPhone.

- Hold the power button until "slide to power off" appears.

- Slide to power off your device.

- When it is off, press the power button to turn it back on.

2. After restarting your iPhone, you should see the camera in your new and existing SMS messages.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apple iTunes 9.0.1

Yikes, a new Apple iTunes 9.0.1 already! Here's the list of fixes that Apple provided.

Apple iTunes 9.0.1 provides a number of important bug fixes, including:

• Resolves issues browsing the Apple iTunes Store.
• Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
• Fixes a problem where Apple iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
• Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
• Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
• Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
• Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.

iTunes 9 comes with many new features and improvements, including:

• An improved look and feel, including a new Column Browser for easily browsing your artists or albums, movies, TV shows, and more.

• The Apple iTunes Store has a brand new look, with improved navigation for quick and easy exploration.

• iTunes LP and Apple iTunes Extras create unique experiences that feature exclusive interviews, videos, photos, and more — available with select album and movie purchases on the iTunes Store.

• Home Sharing helps you manage your family's iTunes collection between computers in your home. iTunes can automatically transfer new purchases, or you can choose just the items you want.

• Genius Mixes are created for you by Apple iTunes and play songs from your library that go great together.

• iPod and iPhone syncing now allows you to organize your iPhone and iPod touch home screens directly in iTunes. Syncing is now also more flexible, allowing you to sync individual artists, genres, or TV show and Podcast episodes.

• iTunes U items are now organized into their own section in your iTunes library.

• Sync with iPod nano (5th generation), iPod classic (Fall 2009), and iPod touch (Fall 2009).

• iTunes 9 also includes many other improvements, such as HE-AAC encoding and playback, more flexibility with Smart Playlists rules, simpler organization of your media files inside an iTunes Media folder, and more.

Reference: Apple

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Google Search Query: This site may harm your computer message

This morning I was performing a Google search query for identity of the suspect in the Annie Le case. The police have not issued the name of the Yale Lab Technician yet, and I was curious if the suspect's identity had been released to the public by the blogosphere or the Twitter community. I noticed that there are some sites listing the name "Lei Zhang" but appears these sites are posted by Phishers (Wikipedia: those engaging in phishing or the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as user names, passwords, credit card details), spammers and possibly black hat affiliate marketers. If you see a warning message from your browser: "This site may harm your computer" you should immediately close your browser window and not click on any of the links on that site.

Lei Zhang, This site may harm your computer message, Ray Clark, Raymond Clark

Update: Raymond Clark is now being named as the suspect in the Annie Le case.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shino is the Asian Line Judge in Serena Williams U.S. Open Incident

If you want to know the identity of the Asian line judge in the Serena Williams U.S. Open tennis match, her name is Shino.

According to the New York Times in an article that was later changed, the identity of the Asian Line Judge or Asian lineswomen is Shino which would probably make her of Japanese ethinicity or heritage.

Whenever there is a breaking news story, I personally believe I can find just about anything on the Internet. This morning someone called to ask me if I knew the name of the line judge. I told them I would try and find it, so here it is.

Finally, does it really matter what the race, ethnicity or heritage is of the line judge? Why does the media always use the race card?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Airlines Twitter - A list of Airlines on Twitter

See the link below to the list of Airlines on Twitter. If you haven't added these to your Twitter Friends list, you should do so now!

List of Airlines on Twitter

Here’s the list of Airlines with Twitter Accounts.

@AirFranceUS - Air France Twitter account
@AlaskaAir - Alaska Airlines Twitter account
@AAirwaves - American Twitter account
@Continental - Continental Twitter account
@DeltaAirlines - Delta Twitter account
@JetBlue - JetBlue Twitter Account
@FlyHawaiian - Hawaiian Arilines
@SouthwestAir - Southwest Airlines
@SpiritAirlines - Spirit Airlines
@UnitedAirlines - United Airlines Twitter account
@USAirways - USAirways Twitter account
@VirginAmerica - Virgin Airlines

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Updating to iPhone 3.1, iTunes 3.1, iTouch 3.1

I started updating some of my iPhones today. The first thing I noticed is that there is a new iPhone Configuration Utility that is downloaded and installed with my iPhone Windows installation. This program is downloaded and installed separately.

Here are the software items that were downloaded:
- QuickTimes (Mac 59.4MB)
- iTunes 9 upgrade (Mac 85.5MB)
- iPhone Configuration Utility
- iPhone Software Update (306.2 MB)(iTouch Mac 238.2 MB)

Here are some iPhone 3.1 and iTunes 9 installation tips.
- The download and installation process could take 45 minutes to 1 hour+
- The size of the file downloads is large so you might want to ensure you have the fastest Internet connection.
- You will need to restart your computer during the installation.
- The iPhone Configuration Utility is only for Windows PCs.

Here are the updating steps:
- Extracting Software
- Backing up "User Name's iPhone".."
- Verifying iPhone update with Appple...
- Preparing iPhone for software update...
- Waitng for iPhone...
- Updating iPhone software...
- Verifying updated iPhone sofware...
- Updating iPhone firmware...

Here are the iPhone 3.1 Features
- Genius recommendations for Applications
- iTunes 9 Support
- Genius Mixes
- Organize apps directly in iTunes
- Improved synching options for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and phots
- Itunes U content organization
- Redeem iTunes gift cards, codes and certificates in the App store
- Display available iTunes account credits int he App Store and iTunes Store
- Save video from Mail and MMS into Camera Roll
- Option to "Save as new clip" when trimming a video on the iPhone 3GS
- Better iPhone 3G Wi-Fi performance when Bluetooth is turned on.
- Remotely lock iPhone with a passcode with MobileMe
- Use Voice Control on iPhone #GS with Bluetooth headsets
- Paste phone numbers into the Keypad
- Option to use the Home button to turn on Accessibility on the iPhone 3GS
- Warn when visiting fraudulent websites in Safari (anti-phishing)
- Improved Exchange calendar synching and invitation handling
- Fixes issue that caused some app icons to display incorrectly.

Other Notes
- On my MacPro, I also run Parallels.

iTunes 9 and iPhone 3.1 to be available today

iTunes 9 and iPhone 3.1 should be available later today according to the Apple Keynote today.

iPhone Tethering

We'll see if this works after the iPhone 3.1 Update.

iPhone Tethering


iPhone Mobile Safari Link

Monday, August 24, 2009

Michael Beasley - Top Google Search Term Today

On Sunday afternoon, I was reading my Twitter account and read some not so nice things about Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley. At the time, I was angry at one of the
local reporters for posting a blog entry about it and decided not to comment on his blog in the best interests of Beasley. I have been following Michael Beasley and some of the other Miami Heat on Twitter and I thought that this use of social media was great for both NBA basketball, the fans and the players. Unfortunately, today the top Google Search term of the day was "Michael Beasley", his Twitter account is closed and he is now in rehab.

In retrospect, since I am a loyal Heat Season Ticket holder, I guess it may not be all that bad. After spending some time in rehab, maybe Beasley will start the 2009-10 season with renewed explosiveness after finding his way once again in the media for an off the court incident.

As far as the social media angle, let's hope this incident doesn't deter any other NBA players from twittering. As a fan, Twitter is a great insight into the players lives.

Finally, what's the World come to? An NBA player goes into rehab and he becomes the top Google search query term of the day?

Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Getting Great Reviews!

The Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Headphones are getting great reviews on site and others. If you have an old pair of the Bose QuietComfort 2 and are looking to upgrade, it might be the perfect time. I checked the American Express Rewards site and they don't yet have the new headphones on their site. I did notice that the site says that Amazon is now shipping them!

Bose QuiteComfort 15, Bose Quite Comfort 15

AMEX Membership Rewards - A website that's hard to find in Google!

If you have an American Express card and are looking for the AMEX rewards site and you are performing a Google Search Query, you're not alone. Every time I go to their website, it always leads me to some bogus webpages and I can never find the rewards site from my American Express account profile. So here's the link:

In Google, I tried searching for "American Express Membership Rewards", "AMEX shopping", "American Express Shopping", "American Express Rewards", and "AMEX membership rewards". Even "membership rewards" does not return a description for the site, but the words, "process direct".

BTW, I usually redeem Apple iTunes 50 song e-certificates for 8K points. A gift code is delivered in less than 3 hours. I am also a big fan of Bose Headphones and the Quiet Comfort 2 are 35K points and are usually delivered in a few days.

Monday, August 17, 2009

102 Famous People Picture and Answers

I was forwarded the 102 Famous People Picture so I thought I would publish the picture and the answers in a separate blog post.

View Answer

Saturday, August 15, 2009

102 Famous People - Answers

Here is one possible answer.

1. Socrates
2. Cui Jian (father of Chinese rock music)
3. Vladimir Lenin
4. Prince Charles
5. Ramses or King Solomon or Sinuhe of Egypt
6. Bill Clinton
7. Tsar Peter The Great Of Russia
8. Charles de Gaulle
9. Margaret Thatcher
10. Ulysses S. Grant
11. Bruce Lee
12. Winston Churchill
13. Raphael Sanzio or Matisse (French Painter)
14. Robert Oppenheimer
15. Elvis Presley
16. William Shakespeare
17. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
18. Genghis Kahn
19. Napoleon Bonaparte
20. Che Guevara
21. Fidel Castro
22. Marlon Brando
23. Lao zi or Hokusai
24. Marilyn Monroe
25. Yassar Arafat
26. Julius Caesar
27. Mike Tyson
28. George W. Bush
29. Luciano Pavarotti
30. Salvador Dali
31. Empress CiXi
32. Liu Xiang
33. Kofi Annan
34. Prince Charles
35. Ariel Sharon
36. Ho Chi Minh or Qi Baishi
37. Osama Bin Laden
38. Qin Shi Huang
39. Mikhail Gorbachev
40. Mother Teresa
41. Song Qingling
42. Otto Von Bismarck
43. Saint Peter or Rabindranath Tagore
44. Li ZhenSheng
45. Voltaire
46. President Hu Jintao
47. Dante Alighieri or Julius Caesar
48. Pu-Yi or Dai Dudu
49. Saloth Sar (Pol Pot)
50. Yi Sun-sin líder or Yue Fei
51. Michael Angelo
52. Hideki Tojo or Hiro Hito
53. Michael Jordan
54. Dwight Eisenhower or John Calvin Coolidge
55. Corneliu Baba, Romanian painter
56. Claude Monet
57. Mahatma Ghandi
58. Vincent Van Gogh
59. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
60. Marcel Duchamp
61. Confucius
62. Noah
63. Li Bai the Chinese Poet or Caravaggio
64. Mao Zhedong
65. Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, German Writer
66. Zhou Enlai
67. Marie Curie
68. Abraham Lincoln
69. Pablo Picasso
70. Stephen Spielberg
71. Freidrich Nietzsche
72. Karl Marx
73. Leonardo Da Vinci
74. Josef Stalin
75. Queen Elizabeth II
76. Lu Xun, Chinese Comunist Writer
77. Jose Francisco San Martín
78. Deng Xiaoping
79. Sun Yat-Sen
80. Theodore Roosevelt or Gen George Custer or Maxim Gorky or Philippe Pétain
81. Saddam Hussein
82. Benito Mussolini
83. Adolf Hitler
84. Guan Yu
85. Pele
86. Bill Gates
87. Audrey Hepburn
88. Ludwig Van Beethoven or Chopin
89. Charlie Chaplin
90. Henry Ford
91. Lei Feng
92. Victor babes or Norman Bethun
93. Mike Tyson
94. Sigmund Freud
95. Erich Honecker (leader of the GDR)
96. Vladimir Putin
97. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll)
98. Shirley Temple
99. Chang Kai Chek
100. Leo Tolstoy
101. Albert Einstein
102. Ernest Hemingway
103. Franklin Roosevelt
104. Woman from photograph by Cartier Bresson or Mother Teresa
105. Dolly (The cloned sheep)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Media Getting Edgier - Flo Rida and the Residue Is Evil Ad

If you don't think TV and Online media is getting edgier and edgier lately, here are two recent examples. On the NBC Today Show this morning, viewers and their children were having breakfast to the tunes of Flo Rida Right Round - "You spin my head right around, right round, when you go down... I understand that these are the songs our teenagers/children are listening to anyways, but I was a bit shocked because of the some of the subliminal or not so subliminal messages in the lyrics in these songs.

Example 1: Flo Rida Low on NBC Today Show

Example 2 - An Internet Ad - What is This?

Residue is Evil - Internet Ad - WTF, Old Spice Deodorant Ad

The ResidueIsEvil Ad believe it or not is an Old Spice Men's Deodorant ad. This ad appears on many of the twenty-something men's websites for sneakers and X-box items, which I'm sure are also includes teenage boys. And if you you don't think there are any subliminal messages in this ad, then I'm not sure you are living on the same planet.

So many of you may not be surprised by this, but it seems like just the other day Howard Stern was publicly criticized by the language he used on the radio and then there was the Janet Jackson incident during the Superbowl.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Twitter Status Updates from Still Not Working

After the 3 hours that was down this morning from 9 a.m. Eastern Time to 11:45 a.m. E, even this afternoon as of 3:45 p.m. ET, when I try and update my Twitter Status from, it does not allow me to. The request keeps loading. According to the status site

"As we recover, users will experience some longer load times and slowness. This includes timeouts to API clients. We’re working to get back to 100% as quickly as we can."

I am able to Tweet from my Twitter Desktop Client TweetDeck and Tweetie, my iPhone Twitter App. Here is a list of reliable Twitter Desktop Apps.

Twitter still Down - 10:34 AM ET

Twitter is still down as of Thursday, August 6, 2009 10:34 AM Eastern Time. To check if Twitter is down you can also go to the site below rather than hitting their home page

The Website is Down Thursday Aug 06 9:03 AM ET

I noticed this morning on the Twitter Status Page that confirmed that their site is down. Go to The message on their site says: "We are determining the cause and will provide an update shortly."

This also means that Twitter Clients such as TweetDeck, Tweetie etc. are also down because the Twitter API access is also impaired.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Downloading Your NBA Team Schedule to Outlook and iCal

Import NBA Schedule, CSV to Outlook, NBA calendar import ics to EntourageThe NBA 2009-2010 Schedule has recently been released and if you are a fanatical NBA basketball fan, you might want to import your teams schedule into your Microsoft Outlook or Apple Entourage and then synchronize it with your iPhone or Blackberry.

Since I am a Miami Heat fan, today I exported the file off the Miami Heat NBA website and followed their well-written directions to import it into my Microsoft Outlook. Here are some helpful hints.

How to import your NBA Calendar to Entourage and OutlookMicrosoft Outlook

- Microsoft Office Outlook Import and Exporters - To import the Windows .csv file, you may need the Import Filters which should be installed automatically from the Office Local Installation Source (C:\MCOCache a hidden folder). If you receive an error message, then you may need your original Office Installation disks. If you are not able to add the Import/Exporters, I would not recommend proceeding unless you want to re-install Office.

- Microsoft Outlook Calendars - Before you start the import process, check to make sure what your primary Microsoft Outlook Calendar is. Some users may have more than one which might cause problems later when synchronizing with your iPhone or Blackberry.

- Print the instructions on your team's website. You need to follow them very closely or you may create many 80 something plus entries in your calendar that will need to be deleted manually .

Microsoft Entourage on the Mac
Save the Heat.ics file to your Desktop, then add the New Event to your destination calendar in the list box. I clicked on the Heat.ics file and was prompted through the process. If you make a mistake, you can click Edit, Undo to your last import.

Google Calendar
If you use Google Calendar, open the Miami Heat 2009-10 Official Schedule then click on the +Google Calendar in the bottom right corner of your screen. It you are already logged into your Google Calendar, it will add the Miami Heat Schedule.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Verrus Mobile Parking Payment by Phone - A Must Have To Avoid Parking Tickets

If you haven't tried the paying for your parking by cell phone yet, the Verrus Mobile Parking Payment system has now arrived in 100+ cities in North American. The key benefits are include:

1) Pay your parking by credit card.

2) Auto Text Message Reminders to your cell phone. If your dinner or movie runs longer than expected, then you can refill your meter from your cell phone automatically. This is a huge benefit!

3) When the parking meter is either out of paper or not able to scan your credit card (it happens too frequently in my city Miami, Florida), which could be embarrassing if you are with clients or are out on the town during the evenings. To use Verrus Pay by Phone, you merely, dial the Pay by Phone Number, Enter your location and Enter the number of minutes you would like to park.

The Verrus Pay By Phone mobile payment system is now operational in cities across the United States like Aspen, Chicago, Coral Gables, Dallas, Hawaii, Madison, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Haven, New Orleans, Oakland, Redwood City, Santa Ana and Seattle. If you plan on traveling to any of these cities, it doesn't hurt to sign-up because it's free.

Okay, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. There is a $.35 cents charge on each transaction, even re-filling your parking. However, it wouldn't take too many $25.00 parking tickets per year to offset that fee.

You can sign up by calling Verrus using the number on the parking meter, but it is much easier to do so online. To sign-up for the Verrus Pay By Phone, go to or There is no registration fee. They accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express but AMEX is not available at all locations. You also need to enter the license plate number to your vehicle(s).

Verus Mobile Payment Locations

Verrus Sign Up Form

Friday, July 31, 2009

iPhone 3.0.1 - Why You Should Update ASAP

iPhone users can thank two researches Collin Mulliner (a Ph.D. student at the Technical University of Berlin) and Charlie Miller (Security Researcher) who presented at a Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas that they could take control over an iPhone merely by sending a SMS message. It was described by CNET as a serious memory corruption bug in the way the iPhone handles SMS messages.

Although there are no reported incidents of users phones being affected by this security issue, I would recommend all iPhone users upgrade as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it will take a little less than an hour including the backup time, much less if you don't have much data on your iPhone. Before you upgrade, make sure you have the lastest version of iTunes.

I upgraded several phones this evening on both my Windows PCs and Macs without any issues. Thanks to my friend Jose A. who alerted me of this release via text message. I am now subscribed to the Apple Dev Team's Twitter account @iPhone_Dev so that I can monitor these types of issues.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picasa for Mac Sizzles, much better than iPhoto

I finally installed Picasa for the Mac Version 3.0.6 today and it absolutely sizzles! It is much better than Apple iPhoto for cleaning up pictures. I've been using the Windows version for a number of years and finally decided it was time to switch!

I especially like the "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature for Basic Fixes or photo touch up and the Crop feature.

If you haven't tried it yet, here's the link.

Google Picasa MAC version

Google Picasa Windows version

Also, I usually select the option to have Picasa search my entire hard drive for photos. However, be careful with that feature since Picasa will possibly find every joke email attachments that people sent you and who knows what else. You might have to do some clean-up after it is installed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Atlantic Broadband Starter Service - 320 Kbps - It's Too Slow

A client of mine recently recently re-located to a new location complained that their Atlantic Broadband Service was very, very slow. When I went to diagnose the issue, I discovered that Atlantic Broadband provided them with a High Speed Internet Service of 320Kbps for $34.95 + $25.00 installation.

First of all, I was insulted to think that any "broadband provider" would have the audacity to charge $34.95 for such a service. It was President Obama in his election campaign who said, "It is "unacceptable" that the U.S. ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEC)" and "Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance when I'm president -- because that's how we'll strengthen America's competitiveness in the world."

I seriously doubt that President Obama with his $8B Broadband Stimulus Package was envisioning our children and students in America surfing the Internet at 320Kbps with services like Atlantic Broadband High Speed 320Kbs Internet Starter Service allegedly targeted at low usage Internet users and students (according to the Broadband Tech Rep I spoke), it's no wonder our country is in its current state.

First of all, I allege Atlantic Broadband's Internet Starter Service is a deceptive marketing practice and should be either taken off the market or upgraded to a higher speed. Yes, it's faster than dial-up, but at only 320Kbps it is 25 times slower than their next 8MB $50.95 package. Even AT&T High-Speed Internet packages are sold at 1.5MB, 3MB and 6MB package. It really seems like a classic bait and switch.

Also, when I called Broadband Customer Service about this, they told me that's what the customer ordered. My reply was, would you buy this service for your mom or dad? They also said, Comcast their competitor offered a 1MB package. My reply, THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT!

In any regard, NO ONE SHOULD buy the Atlantic Broadband Internet Starter Service Package, it's way too slow. The Atlantic Broadband's Preferred Service is $50.95 +tax in my client's area and if that's not within your budget, there are competitive services offering better alternatives. My client's Internet service was enabled over the phone in a few seconds and the service was downloading at well over 7MB, even on wi-fi. The Atlantic Broadband Rep offered no discount for my client's lost productivity.

If you have the Atlantic Broadband Stater Service or some other High Speed Internet Service and it is running slow, here are some sites to test the speed of your Internet connection.

Upgrading my iPhone 3G S to iTunes 8.2.1

With each iTunes upgrade you are probably not alone in wondering if this update will break cause a problem with the data on your iPhone or your computer. So several weeks after its release, I finally installed iTunes 8.2.1 on both my Macs and PCs.

First of all, this upgrade took several minutes to download and install because it also included Safari and Quicktime. In general, it went smoothly. However, here is a list of potential issues you can review after installing this release and synching for the first time.
  • iTunes Setup Assistant -This works similar to setting your browser as Internet Explorer or Firefox, provides and option to allow Apple to organize your music for you (no thank you) and to download Album Artwork automatically (nice feature).
  • Info -> Contacts -- Ensure that your contacts are being synchronized and that they are not being doubled up. You might want to add a contact to both your Contact Manager and your iPhone to ensure it is working correctly.
  • Info -> Calendar -- Add an item on your iPhone and using your Calendar Applicationtion to ensure it is working.
  • Info - review other settings on this page since after a new install of iTunes, Apple sometimes doesn't save your settings.
  • Photos -Ensure your photos are being synched.
  • Photos - Make sure you backup your Camera Roll photos using iPhoto or Picasa.
  • Applications - You might take the time to Upgrade your Applications from your desktop.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Software Updates - What's Mandatory and What's Not!

I received a mailer from my car manufacturer about an update for the Navigation System in my car for $149.00 It caused me to think what sofware updates, new software releases or annual software subscriptions I would pay for and which one's I don''t. After reviewing this list, it appears that some of my decisions are not based on price and useful features as security and princple. Lastly, if it's a Free update, I'll always install it!

Required Software Updates
  • Computer Antivirus Software
  • Mac Operating System (Leopard was a nice upgrade and if I wa)
  • iTouch Software Upgrade (with Apple products, it's nice to know you have the current version in the event you have a problem).

Not Required Software Updates

  • Any Windows operating system after Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Office Updates after MS Office 2003
  • XM Radio, new feature to play on my iPhone and Computer (they should have grandfathered this feature for their long-time loyal customers.)
  • Infiniti Auto Navigation (I haven't encountered many errors with the current navigation, at least in my city, these should also be free., although some would argue you are paying enough for the car, what's another $149.)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

iPhone Voice Control Commands - iPhone 3GS Voice Control Commands

By far one of the most useful features in the iPhone 3G S 3.0 is Voice Control. If you didn't read or skim the iPhone .PDF user manual then you may have missed this feature unless you are one that like to uncover the the new features in your iPhone like you are playing a adventure video game or by after hours cocktail conversation.

First of all, when driving your car in states like California which require you to use a headset, this is a great feature. You can finally place a call from your iPhone without looking at it and driving. Here is a list of the iPhone Voice Control Commands.

To Active iPhone Voice Control
  • Hold down the iPhone Home button for 2 seconds.
iPhone Voice Control Phone Commands
  • Call 1 800 555 1212
  • Dial 1 800 555 1212
  • Call John Smith
  • Call John Smith Mobile
  • Dial John Smith
  • Dial John Smith Mobile
  • No - cancel command
  • Nope - cancel command
  • Not that- cancel command
  • Not that one - cancel command
  • Wrong - can command
iPhone Music Commands
  • Play
  • Play music
  • Play playlist
  • Play playlist On-The-Go
  • Play playlist My Top Rated
  • Play playlist Audio books (didn't work for me)
  • Play playlist Purchased
  • Play album
  • Play Album T-Shirt
  • Play Album Song
  • Pause - to pause the music
  • Pause Music - to pause the music
  • Next
  • Next Song
  • Shuffle - to shuffle the playlist.
  • What's playing?
  • What song is this?
  • Who sings this song?
  • Who is this song by?
iPhone Voice Control Other Commands
  • Help - the only commands for now are "Using iPhone Voice Control you can tell iPhone to call contacts, play albums or play playlists.
Caveat Emptor or let the buyer or user beware - In testing iPhone Voice Control 1.0, if the voice recognition system can't decipher your your command, it will sometimes randomly start calling someone in your address book. This doesn't work like the voice calling system in most cars which require you to acknowledge each entry, it is much more predatory. In my case, it started calling several people I haven't spoken to in years that are listed in my address book. In any regard, great job Apple, can't wait for Voice Control 1.1 or 2.0.

Lastly, if you are looking for Voice Control in your iPhone 3G, it's only available in the iPhone 3G S. Ugh, possibly a reason to upgrade! And it iPhone Voice Control doesn't currently work with Bluetooth. It is rumored to be in the 3.1 firmware update!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Upgrading to the iPhone 3G S

Before upgrading, I upgraded my old iPhone to 3.0 and synched,

The upgrade process was simple, call the 866 phone number, enter your
phone number, zip code and other security info, turn off your new 3G
S, wait 5 minutes, turn it back on and tether it with iTunes to
restore your backup.

Some issues:

  • On one of the phones that I upgraded, I had to call AT&T to select a data plan. The phone worked, but the 3G and text messaging services did not.
  • On another phone, the text messaging only did not work. I also had to call AT&T.
  • On one of the early upgrade phones, the upgrade process went smoothly.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My iPhones and iPod Touches are now upgaded to 3.0

After a long weekend, my iPhone and iTouches are all upgraded! This was a major upgrade and if haven't done so yet, I would consider the follwing to clean up your device before upgrading. I think this will save you time in the long run and help to prevent errors during the upgrade process. You can also use this time to do a little housekeeping like you woud clean an office, desk or hard drive.
  • iPhone Applicatons - If you have 8 screens of iPhone Apps, I would start with a at least 2 empty screens of Apps before upgrading. There is a new iPhone Spotlight screen that takes up the screen position to the left of the home screen.
  • Music - I woud reduce the number of songs you have on the your device before upgrading. This would reduce the amount of time the upgrade takes.
  • Camera Roll - First of all, make sure your camera roll photos are backed up. If you are a Windows user, you can use Picasa. If you disabled the camera wizard, remember to re-enable it and save your pictures. You might consider deleting your history of Camera Roll Photos from the past 2-3 years and starting new. This would be the perfect time to do so.
  • Photos - I would remove some of the photo albums if you have too many. On some of my iPhones, iTunes re-optimized the photos which took many hours.
  • Other iPhone Synch Applications - Make a list of other iPhone Synch applications you may have. These may include Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar etc.
  • Add Remove Programs - go to Add Remove programs and write down the versions of the following: Apple Mobile Devices Support, Apple Software Update, Bonjour, iTunes and QuickTime. This would be beneficial if you need to re-install iTunes and Apple Support asks you to remove these items. If another program you are using uses for example another version of Bonjour, you have a record of this in the event your other program stops working.
  • Backup Plan - If you iPhone or iPod Touch does not upgrade, make sure you reserve plenty of time for a potential diasters recovery plan. For example, are you going to call Apple, try to upgrade on a Mac (if a Windows upgrade) or schedule an appointment with Apple. How long can you go without a phone? Is your IT guy or IT family member available to help you?

That all said, before you start the upgrade, for both Windows and Mac users, make sure you have installed all software updates!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

iPod Touch 3.0 Upgrade Issues - What to Do! iPod Touch iBrick issues

ipod touch ibrick, touch 3.0 upgrade issues
Yesterday, I shelled out the $9.95 and tried to upgrade my iPod Touch to 3.0. Unfortunately, on my MacBook Pro, it failed twice and my previously working iPod Touch 2.1 was now stuck on the Connect to iTunes Screen of Death. After abandoning this task yesterday, this morning I pulled out a spare MacBook in my closet that I use to curse the small 13" screen and tried the iTouch 3.0 firmware Upgrade on it.

1) It restored my iTouch to 2.1 so it was at least functional. I did not restore the data because it was synched with my MacBook Pro.

2) It then upgraded the iTouch 3.0 firmware sucessfully. Again, I ignored the prompt to restore the data since I wanted to synch it with my main computer.

3) I plugged it in to my MacBook and it is now syching my Apps and music!

I recollect on my only visit to the Apple Genius Bar a problem with my iPhone that would not upgrade on my PC running Windows/iTunes, that this is what the Apple Genius Bar employee did. So if your iTouch is an iTouch iBrick from upgrading to 3.0, you might want to find a very good friend with a Mac to help you out.

I'm usually a fan of Apple Care Customer Support, but not during the iPhone 3G S launch weekend!

Good luck!

Apple iPod Touch Forum

Other Resources
Apple Care Customer Support - 1-800-275-2273

Apple Support Resources

Apple Genius Bar Reservations

Other Articles

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iPhone 3.0 Upgrade Issues - no problem on Mac, as always Windows issues

This evening I am finally upgrading the family iPhones to the new iPhone 3.0 software.

1. One of the upgrades from the iPhone Edge using an iMac went very well. I simply clicked on the Upgrade button and came back to check on the Mac later and the iPhone was upgraded to 3.0.

2. I have another iPhone 3G that is synched with a Mac Pro laptop running Parallels with the the Windows version of iTunes. This iPhone 3G synchs with Microsoft Outlook Calendar. I was rarely able update my iPhone firmware with my laptop and this time was not different. I received an error message that it was unable to restore. Luckily I have a spare MacBook that I never got around to selling or gifting and was able to update to the new iPhone 3.0 firmware with it. I then reconnected my iPhone 3G to my Windows/Parallels and was able to synch it.

Here are some of the key new features.
- Cut, Copy & Paste with shake to undo
- Landscape keyboard
- MMS (not available yet)
- Forward or delete single or multiple messages
- Added search features in mail, calendar, notes and iPod
- Spotlight search for the iPhone (Tap Home button once or scroll to a new Spotlight screen left of the home menu. Ugh, you're still limited 8 screens so in my case the upgrade prodess randomly removed some of my Apps because Spotlight takes up one of the eight.)
- Support for CalDAV and subscriptions in Calendar
- Improved Safari, performance, HTML 5, HTTP streaming audio/video, auto-fill usernames and passwords. ( A client of mine reports Safari is much faster on the iPhone 3G S, huh, a reason to upgrade).
- New Voice Memos application (unfortunately, it doesn't do voice dialing!)
- Synch Notes via iTunes
- Internet Tethering (available later)
- Browse and download movies from the iPhone
- Stereo Bluetooth
- Wi-fi autologin
- Enhanced Stocks application (I hope I have a good reason to use it in 2009/2010)
- More parental controls
- ITunes account creation and login from the iPhone
- YouTube account login and access to subscriptions, ratings and favorites
- Shake to shuffle
- New languages, dictionaries and keyboards
- Find my iPhone and Remote Wipe via MobileMe (huh, I might need to try MobileMe again!)
- Support for Exchange Policies
- Create and send Exchange meeting invites
- Search mail on server (Exchange Server 2007 and IMAP servers)
- Search LDAP company directory
- VPN on demand and VPN proxy
- Encrypted configuration profiles
- Encrypted iTunes backups
- New APIs
- Compatible with iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S

It looks like I may need to read the manual to understand the new features.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Digital TV Signal Strength Improves- NBC Miami

It appears to me that NBC in Miami has significantly increased their digital TV signal strength in the past 24 hours. I can now receive TV reception from a room that faces West or at Biscayne Bay. Before today, I was not able to get any NBC digital TV signal (stations 6-1, 6-2, 6-3). It's coming in nearly crystal clear on an analog TV with a digital TV converter box and only a standard VHF antenna. I returned the special digital TV UHF antenna a few months ago because it didn't help much. I also tested it earlier this week and I didn't notice any change. I am also receiving DTV 4-1 (CBS) and DTV 29-1 (Fox) DTV 29-2 without any significant transmission issues.

I guess the "beta" program is now over for Digital TV. I might eventually look at buying a HD Digital TV antenna for the living room. I'm not a big fan of my Satellite TV provider, but I'll certainly wait because in my opinion, their beta program really started this morning.

For other info on my experiences installing a converter box.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Upgrading to the New Apple iPhone 3G S Online

I usually upgrade my iPhones at the Apple Store but for the new iPhone 3G S this year I decided to upgrade online at the AT&T site. I wanted to avoid the chaos of the Apple Store on Friday, June 19th.

1. At I logged in to my AT&T wireless account. I have a family plan and I imagine like most famlies, each family member's current iPhone has Upgrade Plan. In my case, some of the phones are eligible for the new pricing since their two year contract has lapsed and of course my iPhone 3G falls under the iPhone 3G S Early Upgrade path. On the AT&T Manage Account interface, there are tabs for each family member or phone. Under Phone/Device, I clicked on Check Upgrade Options.

2. Upgrade Phone - A screen with each of the family member phones appears with a checkbox to upgrade their phone. You can upgrade multiple phones at this time. In my case, the screen also showed the following.
  • No Commitment Pricing - You can take advantage of our no commitment pricing. Additional discounts may be available on 05/24/2010. (This message appeared on my iPhone 3G which I have to pay the Early Upgrade fee. I imagine it means that I don't have to extend my contract at this time and next June 2010 when a new iPhone comes out, I can extend it at that time.)
  • Discount - We can offfer you an additional disount of up to $50.00 off regular 2-year commitment and a waived upgrade fee on most devices. (This message appeared under the main family member's account only but is not available on iPhones).
  • iPhone Upgrade Fee $18 - As a valued AT&T customer, we can offer you an iPhone upgrade with a new 2-year commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.

3. Phones & Devices - The next screen lists the six different iPhone 3G / 3G S options. The main selection here is the color choice, the default is black and you need to click on the square white box to change the color, then click on the link (not a great user inteface).

4. Accessories -- The next screen gives you the option to purchase a long list of iPhone 3G / 3G S accssories. The iPhone 3G S and new iPhone 3G is the same size as my old iPhone 3G so I did not need a new case, but I ordered some other cases because the iPhone Edge is a different size than the iPhone 3G / 3G S. I also did not buy Apple Care because the phone is covered for a one year period.

5. Rate Plans - The iPhone 3G / iPhone 3G S has a more expensive data plan so when upgrading some the phones from the iPhone Edge, I needed to select new data/text messsaging plans. Here are some other rate issues that came up which I needed to research.

What are Nights & Weekends?
Question:What are Nights & Weekends?Answer:Nights and Weekends are generally defined as "Nights" from 9 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and "Weekends" as 9 p.m. Friday night until 5:59 a.m. Monday morning, in the time zone from which the call was placed. Extended Nights and Weekends feature can be added at an additional charge on qualified plans.
Some calling plans may have a different definition of "Nights and Weekends" as detailed in your contract or Customer Service Summary.

6. Shopping Cart - You need to provide AT&T with a credit card to check out. It will not be added to your monthly invoice.

7. Ship Date - Our iPhones should arrive on Friday, June 19th via Federal Express.

8. Other Notes; If you want your iPhones or a family member's iPhone shipped to a different address, you must call 1-866-499-8008 to order over the phone.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Reasons to Upgrade to the iPhone 3G S - iPhone 3GS

  • Battery Life - The new iPhone 3G S and iPhone 3G should have an improved battery life. Apple claims that the battery life should improve when using wi-fi.
  • 7.2Mbps HSDPA - The iPhone 3G S contains a chip that supports faster 3G download speeds.
  • Camera - The iPhone 3G S comes with a 3 megapixels camera including a new Autofocus feature and support video. The iPhone 3G has a 2 megapixel camera.
  • Speed - The new iPhone 3G S and iPhone 3G should be much faster than the old iPhone 3G or the original iPhone Edge. Apple claims that it should load Web pages and launch Apps twice as fast.
  • Disk Space - The iPhone 3G S will be available in 32 GB, 16GB.
  • Voice Control - The iPhone 3G S will have a voice control feature for auto dialing.
  • Other Features - The iPhone 3G S has several other features that might be useful to some users. This includes a Digital Compass and Stereo Bluetooth.
  • iPhone 3G S Dimensions - According to the specification sheet, the iPhone 3G S is the same size as the current iPhone 3G. Unlike the upgrade for the iPhone Edge, you shouldn't need to buy a new case.
Here is the pricing for the iPhone 3G S for new and existing customers. Current customers can go to for their upgrade pricing from AT&T.
  • New Customers - $299 for the 32 GB iPhone 3G S; $199 for the 16 GB iPhone 3G S; $149 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB; $99 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB; $129 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB (Refurb) and $79 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB (Refurb).
  • iPhone Edge Customers - If the two year agreement has expired, iPhone Edge customers will be able to receive the discounted pricing (above) as if a new customer.
  • iPhone 3G Early Upgrade - Customers Less than 2 years remaining on contract - $499 32 GB iPhone 3G S; $399 for the 16 GB iPhone 3G S; $349 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB; $299 for the 8 GB iPhone 3G; $329 for the iPhone 3G 16 GB (Refurb); $279 for the iPhone 3G 8 GB (Refurb).
Unfortunately, AT&T and Apple's pricing appears to punish the loyal Apple customer who buys each new Apple product when it comes out. That said, you can sell your old iPhone 3G or gift it to a family member to lower the cost of the Early Upgrade fee.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Backing up your iPhone or iTouch

With the release of iTune 8.2 and the pending release of the new iPhone 3.0 software or firmware, iPhone and iTouch users should ensure their iPhones are backed up. In addition, if you are considering upgrading to the new iPhone Pro, you should ensure your camera roll photos are backed up so you don't inadvertenly lose any info in case there is a problem with backup file. Here's Apple's KB article on backing up your iPhone and itouch.

Apple iPhone / iTouch Backup KB Article


On a Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

On Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

On Windows Vista: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Don't Buy an iPhone until after June 8, 2009

On Monday, June 8, 2009 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, Apple will announce its new lineup of Apple iPhones. There is speculation that Apple will announce:

  • An iPhone 3G Pro for $299 that includes a 3.2MP camera with video recording
  • A new 3G wireless chip that supports downloads speeds up to 7.2 Mbps
  • A $99 iPhone
  • A Digital Compass or a magnoetometer
If you are waiting to upgrade your current iPhone or are going to buy a new one, I would wait until after June 8th. You'll probably end up waiting until the end of June or early July to get the new iPhone Pro!

Apple Developer's Conference - June 8th

Friday, May 22, 2009

List of Facebook Phishing URLs - the latest!

This morning I received a Facebook Message from one of my "trusted friends" with a message to "look at". When I tried to post a message on my friend's wall with the website address, FB blocked or filted the URL from being posted. What I don't understand is why FB can't block the SMTP messages from being sent.

Oh well, here's my current list of FB Phishing website addresses:

XXX sent you a message.

Subject: Hi

"Look at"

To reply to this message, follow the link below:

This message was intended for Want to control which emails you receive from Facebook? Go to:
Facebook's offices are located at 1601 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kirgo.AT - Facebook Phishing Scam - Don't Log-In

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

XM Radio - Removes Online XM Radio feature from its Subscriber Package

Huh, I just noticed that XM Radio removed their online service from its basic subscriber package. For this loyal XM Radio customer who has been paying for their service in his car for almost a decade, they want another $2.99 per month for it. I didn't listen to the service that often but once in a while if I wanted a break from my iTunes, I would listen to it. Also, all of their channels were not part of the free service such as ACC football. I hope for the $2.99 per month, you get all the channels and it just isn't the old limited set of channels and the purported "higher digital quality audio". This techie doesn't really believe that line! It's not a large amount of money, but what ever happened to the concept of "grandfathering" your early adopters, i.e. taking care of your loyal customers. It use to be that once you provided a customer with a service, you didn't take it away. Out of principle, I will not be paying the $2.99. Also, I understand many Sirius customers were promised a lifetime membership, but after the merger, they had to pay additional fees to get the XM channels. If this doesn't sound like a "Monopoly" or unfair pricing, then what is?

Here the letter I received from them. If XM didn't have a monopoly, I would be switching to Sirius.


Dear XXXX,

Thank you for contacting XM.

We have received your email and we are sorry to hear that you are no longer able to get XM Radio Online. Since March 11, 2009, the online listening platform was upgraded to a higher Digital Quality Audio and is no longer included free as part of a base subscription. XM Radio Online is now $2.99 per month with a radio subscription.

To add XM Radio Online to your subscription, please go to and follow the instructions provided. If you are having difficulties, please contact our Listener Care Center directly at the telephone number provided below. Our representatives will be more than happy to assist you.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Center's hours of operation are as follows:

Monday - Saturday 8AM - 11PM ET

Sunday 8AM - 8PM ET

Thank you,


Taking my iPhone to Europe or Abroad - iPhone International Plan

In the past, when we have traveled abroad, I've disabled iPhone features by enabling a SIMM Pin and used the Wi-Fi on my phone only. What I discovered is that Apple has since changed their iPhone Software and Wi-Fi now works on Airplane Mode so disabling the SIMM Pin is no longer necessary. For this trip, I will be signing up for an International Roaming Package so that I can use the iPhone's 3G service for directions, checking mail and receiving text messages. Here are the details:

1. AT&T International Plan Customer Service 1-800-335-4685 - The day before I leave, I'm called them to subscribe the following services:

  • AT&T World Traveler- $5.99 per month (calls in Spain, Switzerland and Italy are $.99 cents per minute)
  • AT&T Data Global Add-On for the iPhone - $59.99 for 50MB of usage, $0.005/KB overage or $5.00 per MB for overage. You have approximately 1.67 MB per day data usage which is important as it relates to your normal AT&T billing cycle, your vacation dates and how AT&T does the pro-ration. When you sign-up, the beginning and ending date of your AT&T contact and how it falls within your travel period. To be safe, you might have to have the AT&T Rep back date your contract 30-days or less because of how they calculate the pro-ration.)
  • Here's an Example: AT&T takes your total MB per month and divides by the number of days until the next billing period. If you travel started 1-day before your new billing period, then you would have 1.67 MB and $5.00 per MB for any overage. So if you used 3.67 MB the first day of your trip, you would be charged $59.99 / 30 days or $2.00 per day + $10.24 (2MB overage @ $5.12 per MB ) = $12.24. The second billing period you will be billed at $59.99 under the same formula. (Yes, it sounds complicated but worst case if you you pay$119.98 for two months for 50 MB iPhone data usage. (more later on data usage) In my case, the Rep back dated my contract 30 days so I had 7 days to use 50 MB which was more than enough.

2. Forwarding -- Before I leave the United States, I will use the iPhone to forward my calls to my Google Voice number. When people call this number, for any voice messages, text transcripts will be sent to my phone using Google's new cool service. I am lucky to have one of these beta accounts.

3. Text Messages -- Incoming text message are covered by my domestic plan. Outgoing text messages are $.50 each.

More info is at the link below.

4. Canceling - When I get back to the States, I will cancel the plan without any penalty.

5. iPhone Usage Reset Statistics - Before my plane took off from the United States, I Reset the iPhone Usage Statistics Settings --> General --> Usage --> Reset Statistics (This allowed me to track my Cellular Network Data Sent and Received).

6. International Usage -- On my first day of travel, we landed in Madrid, Spain and drove North to Salamanca. The first thing I noticed was that I was not able to connect to Google Maps until I re-booted my iPhone several times (i.e. everytime you change Cellular providers such as Vodafone, Orange). Google Maps worked, but I'm not convinced it was as accurate as in the United States in the smaller town of Salamanca.

7. Photos and Google Maps - I normally blog on vacation and like to upload photos from my iPhone. As you would expect, each blog photo uploaded used a good amount of my daily 1.67 MB data usage. In addition, Google Maps also uses up your data.

8. Email - Spain didn't have good free wi-fi service like some other countries so I was judicious about checking my email, especially with the amount of spam I get in some of my accounts.

9. Coverage - For celluar service and 3G on the train from Madrid to Barcelona was also better than I expected.

10. Wi-fi - A side note that wi-fi was $20 to $26 per day in Spain and Switzerland. When I had Internet cable access in Barcelona, I actually used wi-fi sharing for the first time. My daughter was able to use my Internet connection and I also used it to connect my iPhone.

11. AT&T Text Message - Reset Statistics - On the day my billing period ended, I received a very informative text message from AT&T reminding me to reset my statistics and of the $5.12 per MB overage charge.

12. Text Messages - When using this service abroad, my incoming messages were generally unrelaible. There appeared to be a long latency from the time someone in Spain sent me a text message to the time I received it. In general, this was not expected.

12. Returned Home - I returned home and canceled my International plans today. I had to wait a few days to avoid the data plan overages.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Best links to Swine Flu Information (H1N1 virus)

Here are the best links I could find on the Swine Flu virus. When an incident like this occurs, as a consumer interested in up-to-date, relevant and comprehensive information on this topic, I found myself searching: 1) Google Web Search; 2) Google News; 3) #swineflu ; 4) Wikipedia ; 5)

1) Google Health News

2) World Health Organization Press Briefings

3) CDC site

4) Google Maps,-110.390625&spn=15.738151,25.488281&z=5

5) You Tube Video on Swine Flu Virus

Dr. Joe Bresee, CDC Influenza Division.

6) CDC Emergency Site

7) Wikipedia - Swine Flu

8) U.S. State Department Travel Alerts

9) N95 Masks and Respirators Info on CDC Site

10) Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN on

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Are you using TweetDeck yet as your Twitter Client?

Okay, I finally started using the TweetDeck Twitter client which is more or less the Outlook or Entourage for the Twitter client of choice for managing your Twitter tweets. If you haven't used TweetDeck yet, it's an Adobe Air application that resides on your Mac or Windows Desktop. It allows you to read, respond to, add to favorites and more easily post Twitter updates than using

Go to to download Twitter.

BTW, if you are new to Twitter, see my other blog at

Lastly, my Twittter client of choice on my iPhone is TwitterFon.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

USTREAM.TV - Snoopdogg is live!

Snoopdogg is live on

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New iPhone App

The new free 10MB iPhone App is a must have for all
iPhone and iTouch users. It's fast since it doesn't require Wi-Fi, 3G
or Edge network acceds. It includes a thesaurus and a user interface
that allows you to easily look up the correct spelling of a word. It
is a main screen page 1 iPhone or iTouch App. If you have a child,
nephew or niece that doesn't like using the dictionary, then there's
now a reason to buy them an iTouch ir iPhone! If they already have
one, then make sure it's on their home screen and they use it!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

DWade YouTube video - Viral marketing?

This video is being circulating around the Web with proclaimed drunk billionaire in a $20K suit challenging Dwyane Wade to a basketball game in the American Arilines Arena Garage. Is this what viral marketing has come to?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Is Your Comcast Service Down? - Get on for Support!

This morning, I signed in to my Twitter client, TweetDeck and was checking this mornings tweets. I noticed several members of the Miami Technology community commenting that their Comcast Internet Service was down in the 305 or Miami, Florida area. One asked for a suggestions of local coffee shops with reliable wi-fi access. When I replied (@twitterusername) to this guy on my Twitter Friend list, the next thing I knew I received a public reply from a member of the Comcast Tech Support Department asking if I needed assistance. When I performed a Twitter Search on #comcast, I noticed Comcast Customer Service checking modems and connecting with customers via Twitter. This is a great use of Twitter, and you don't need to stay on hold for 15 or 20 minutes waiting for an available service rep.

If your Comcast service is down, I recommend you login to Twitter and search on #comcast for Comcast contact information or simply tweet with #comcast in your message.

Wow, this is a great use of I hope AT&T DSL or AT&T FastAccess Customer Service is listening!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

iPhone Skype App 3G not Supported

I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was hoping for this feature. I pay
AT&T each month for that 3G laptop card and am one of their most loyal
customers. I think I should be eligible for this feature.

Skype App for the iPhone in iTunes Store

I just downloaded and installed the new iPhone Skype App. It works

Saturday, March 28, 2009

AT&T DSL in Miami 33137 is now up and runnning!

My AT&T DSL is now up and running. They sent out the telecom service guy with his classic belt of telephone test equipment. He made some noise filtering changes at the panel, gave me a new 2Wire replacement modem and I'm now live again!

AT&T DSL Service Outage 03-27-09 (Miami, FL)

Yesterday morning, my AT&T DSL line went down. When it occurred, the lights the 2Wire modem were blinking and were not able to establish an Internet Connection. Here are the steps I used to try and resolve the problem.

  • AT&T Tech Support - I called 1-888-321-2375 to inquire if there was a service outage. I was informed there was none that they were aware of.
  • AT&T Tech Support - The tech reset the port for me and diagnosed an intermittent DSL connection issue on 2Wired modem. She put in a Service Request to request an AT&T rep come out the following day between 8 am and 12pm or 1 pm and 5 pm. I choose 8 am.
  • Re-test with Backup Modem - I found an old Westell modem in my closet and plugged it in to my DSL data line and was still unable to get an Internet connection.
  • AT&T Tech Support Manager - I asked to speak with a manager to get the service call that afternoon or evening but was unsuccessful. I explained that I was a very loyal AT&T customer and subscribe to several of their services. After making this call, I did get a follow-up voice mail confirminmg my appointment for 8 am next day and letting me know to call 1-888-272-4047 if I needed to reschedule the appointment.
  • AT&T Onsite Tech - The tech arrived the following day at 8:30 am, about 24 hours from the initial service outage. He tested the line with his modem and was not able to get an Internet connection. He diagnosed the root cause of the problem being at the box on the street which is commonly caused by storms or bad weather. He put in another service request or ticket to request service at the AT&T box on the street. The tech gave me the ticket number. He tried to schedule the service for the afternoon but was unsucessful. The service was scheduled for the following day.
  • AT&T Tech Support - I called AT&T Tech Support at 1-888-321-2375 to speak with a manager. I was able to convince her to escalate the ticket for this afternoon, between 1pm and 5pm.
More later...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watch NCAA Games in HQ for Free on

On the site, I've been watching the 2009 NCAA March Madness on Demand service that is streaming live video for every game for free. This year they have a new High Quality (HQ) player that uses Microsoft Silverlight that will be downloaded and installed before you are able to view the NCAA games in HQ. The quality is the very good.
Here's the direct link to the site with the Player.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Advice to My Family Members - Memorize Your iTunes Password

As the tech guy in my family, I sometimes get calls during moments of crisis when their iPhone, Mac or PC has a major issue. As most of us know that provide Family IT Support, there is no trouble ticket system with assigned priorities -- depending on the family member everything is a high priority incident.

So this week, here are words of advice to my family members, none of which read this blog.

  • User Name and Passwords -- You should create a list of all user names and passwords and keep that list in a secure place -- and that doesn't mean on yellow post-its tacked to your computer monitor. In addition, you should not write the exact password on this list but some set of words that would remind you of your password.
  • Use Several Different Passwords -- No one should use the same password for every service they use!
  • Password Length -- You should have a secure password for every combination of required password lengths such as 4 characters numeric only, 6 characters alpha numeric, 8 charaters alpha numeric.
  • Your List -- Everytime you sign up for a new service requiring a password, you should write it down on your secure list. There are some secure programs such as SplashID that allow you to enter these on your mobile device or computer. However, if you store the password electronically, you should remember to enter a password hint rather than the actual password.
Finally, if you have an iPhone or computer and want to download an application or music, "please memorize and or write down your iTunes password and your Apple ID." And if you forgot it, here's the link if you forgot your iTunes password.

iTunes Forget Password link