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TinyPodcast will be Reborn in 2006

I’ve been pretty quiet in posting the last few days, as I had mentioned. I haven’t even been keeping up with my feeds – I have thousands of unread items, and I’ll probably skim through most everything except for my Short List.

But don’t let the lack of activity fool you into thinking I haven’t been geeking out. I’ve been working on acquiring some equipment to improve my audio and video podcasts, and getting things set up in the office in our new house. Oh, who am I kidding. I’ve been spending most of my time playing my new Nintendo DS and the games I got, which you’ll be hearing about in great detail soon. Along with taking time off to visit with family, it’s been kind of slow going on the blog, but I’m REALLY excited for 2006.

I don’t want it to sound like a cheesy marketing trick, but I’m looking forward to seeing TinyScreenfuls audio and video podcast content being “reborn” in 2006. There are some cool podcast-related ideas that I’m going to bring to fruition at Intel in the next few weeks, too, so stay subscribed. And of course, regular blogging will continue. As if I could stop. 😉

I hope you all had an enjoyable, relaxing holiday. Let’s bring in 2006 in full-on geek style! :-)

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Fix Available for Dell Inspiron 700m Sound Flaw

My posts on the sound input noise flaw have been the most viewed and commented on posts I’ve made. Today, I noticed yet another new comment, this time, claiming that there’s a fix available in the form of replacing the motherboard with a newer revision board. Here’s the comment:

There is a solution for this…Yes, the flaw is in the motherboard and Yes, it can be fixed with a motherboard replacement. BUT this can ONLY be fixed by getting the NEWER revision motherboard for the 700M.

The part number that should be ordered is -> RG076

The comment author is anonymous, but the IP address belongs to *.amer.dell.com, so it appears to be someone from Dell.

If you’ve managed to get this problem taken care of by this motherboard revision, please let us know!

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Awesome Firefox Plugin: Performancing

I’m really digging Performancing for Firefox. It’s an extension that pops up on the bottom half of the screen, and lets you write and publish a blog post without navigating away from the page you’re looking at. Very full featured, WYSIWYG editor or pure HTML, and let’s you drag and drop text, images, and links from the browser window. Like this:

PFF image resize SS

(I just dragged and dropped that image. Nothing to it.)

The newest version even lets you insert Technorati tags easily. Very nice, and well on its way to earning a permanent home in my toolbox of Firefox extensions.

Technorati Tags: , ,

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Happy Holidays

Well, I’m about to head out for the weekend. We’ll be spending Christmas in our new home (yay!), and then playing in the snow next week with the cousins. Blogging will be light (it usually is from me on the weekends, if you haven’t already noticed).

Here’s hoping you get lots of gadgety goodies under the tree. Don’t forget to take pictures of your loot, and post them to the TinyScreenfuls photo group on Flickr.

Safe and Happy Holiday wishes! :-)

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New Feed Icons

Since Microsoft recently announced that they’re going to be using the same white on orange button image that Firefox uses to indicate an RSS/Atom feed on a web page, Matt Brett created a set of vectorized scalable images of the icon, and various examples, over at http://feedicons.com/. You can download a package that comes with the icon in just about every flavor you can think of or might need.

I’ve replaced the XML buttons next to my feeds over in the sidebar with the new icon:

I like the new one, and hope to see it catch on with more bloggers and sites.

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Verizon Customer Hoops, Part Deux

I finally got the issue with our home phone line straightened out with Verizon. Turns out there are two lines in our house, and one of them had, in fact, been activated. It just wasn’t the main one on the first floor that we are using.

But, today, I had another ridiculous experience with them trying to place an order for high-speed “Fios” fiber-optic broadband (15Mbps down, 2Mbps up, $39.99/month).

Even though previous attempts to check by address had been fruitless, just for kicks I decided to check and see if our new phone number qualified for Fios, since they’ve been rolling it out in Washington county. Sure enough, it was available. Whee! However, a few steps into the online order process, I got a page that said something to the effect of “We’re sorry, our system is broken. Please call this number to continue your order via phone.”

Of course, calling that number leads you straight into the lair of the Verizon Interactive Voice Response system. “Briefly say what I can help you with, and I’ll direct you to the right system”. Yeah, right. After repeatedly stating that I wanted to order Fios fiber broadband, it finally said it was going to connect me to the correct department. When I finally got to a live human being, it was the Collections department. When I explained that I had been misrouted by the oh-so-friendly-sounding-but-apparently-incompetent-voice-system, the guy told me I was the third person in a row that happened to, and he would route me to the right place.

Silly, gullible me.

Back into the Voice Response system I go, and after a few more exasperated minutes of trying to tell a computer what I wanted to do, I ended up speaking with the Collections department again. Thankfully, they were able to transfer me directly to a real person in the Fios orders department the second time, but I’m beginning to get the feeling that Verizon is secretly monitoring all of my phone calls, and having a laugh every time they get me to curse under my breath at the hoops I have to jump through just to get something done with them.

On the bright side, I should have high-speed fiber optic broadband in about a week and a half. I wonder what tricks I’m going to have to perform for the technician when he comes out to install the Optical Network Terminal and wiring. I really hope it doesn’t involve taking off my clothes… 😉

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Emma Test Drives a Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec-B

While we were waiting for a new alternator and battery in our WRX, she couldn’t resist a quick test drive of what I consider to be the nicest Subaru you can buy – the Legacy 2.5GT spec-B. This one was number 126 of 500, according to the plate on the shift boot. The sticker price of $34,000 plus was way to hefty for a Subaru, though. That’s up in BMW 3-Series range, which I guess is what they’re aiming for.

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Only at Intel



Only at Intel, originally uploaded by JoshB.

I love the wording of this warning posted near the beverage area in the cafeteria. :-)

“Structural failure of the beverage vessel.” Heh. I wonder if this was intentionally or unintentionally funny?

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Magic Phone Numbers, or, Jumping Through Hoops for Verizon

We moved into our new house over the weekend, and I’m beat. More about the house as we get unpacked and settled. Our DSL isn’t going to be ready until the 29th, according to Verizon (no idea why so long), so I’m on a semi-flaky “borrowed” open Linksys wireless network. Thanks to whichever one of my neighbors is providing it. I won’t abuse it – just checking mail occasionally.

The reason I’m posting is that I’m on hold with Verizon for about the fifth time this morning regarding our phone line to the house. I called them a couple of weeks ago, to tell them that we were moving. They said the old line would be turned off on the 16th (it was) and the new one would be active withing 24 hours (it wasn’t).

Anytime I tried to make an outgoing call, I got a message about calling their Express Dialtone service number (483). Of course, they weren’t open during the weekend, so I called them this morning. After getting transfered because “something is weird in our system on this order” (no kidding), I was told to follow the most absurd set of tech support steps I’ve ever heard.

I was told that my line was some kind of virtual line, and that I had to call a “magical” number “out there in cyberspace” (958-1114) that would tell me another number. Then I had to write that number down, call back into the 483 service number, as to be transferred back to the department I was speaking to, and tell them that number. Once I returned from this scavenger hunt, they would be able to activate my line.

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I asked why in the world I had to go through with this wild goose chase just to get my phone service activated. I got some lame story about it being much simpler this way. Yeah, right. Is there no way that they could get the number that the “magical number” was going to give me, and save me the trouble?

When they asked me if there was anything else they could do, I told them to freaking simplify their system so that the next poor sap like me didn’t have to jump through these senseless hoops. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen…

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GMail Mobile Web Interface

Just noticed this on Digg; Google has made a mobile version of GMail’s web interface. Just hit up http://m.gmail.com on your mobile phone.

I just played with it briefly on my Pocket PC Phone, and it was very slick. The thing that stood out to me the most was the speed – even accounting for the fact that I’m on speedy EVDO, the pages loaded very quickly. The interface is very simple, and most functionality (stars, adding recipients from your Contacts, etc.) appear to be available, and easy to find.

Apparently, you’re supposed to be able to call back straight to your Contacts that have phone numbers stored for them. I don’t have any phone numbers in my GMail contacts, but I’ll definitely have to check that out.

It still doesn’t do anything to notify you when you’ve got new mail (but that’s what POP3 access is for, right?), but besides that, it gives you pretty much full control of your GMail from your wireless mobile device or cell phone. Thanks, Google! :-)

I’ll post some screenshots and more impressions after I’ve played with it some more. Maybe even an audio or video podcast review, if warranted. Stay tuned.

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