Long Overdue.
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
It's been awhile since I actually posted to LJ even though I do stop by on a semi-regular basis to keep tabs on my friends who are much more prolific bloggers than I. I guess that qualifies be as being a lurker, at least when it comes to this site. Those of you who have me as a connection on other social sites like Facebook or Twitter are probably pretty up to speed on what I've been up to since June but for the benefit of those that aren't and for posterity here goes.

This summer saw Erica and I do quite a bit of traveling. We were in Germany with Erica's father for a week and a half in June. It was a good time filled with tasty German beers, Euro Cup soccer matches and visiting with Erica's family. We went to Hannover, Jever, Marienburg Castle, Hamelin and Einbeck. If you're interested you can check out our photosets on Flickr.

In August we took a trip to Peru for my cousin David's wedding. Since this was Erica's first trip to South America and since it had been twenty-one years since the last time I was in Peru we decided we should take the opportunity to do some sightseeing while we were there. We spent the week before the wedding hanging out with my family, including my cousins from Sweden, and seeing the sights around Lima. We had a number of fantastic meals including a huge family dinner at the Club de Regatas and wonderful Peruvian fusion shushi at Osaka and Sentori.

The wedding was held on Saturday evening at a large Catholic Cathedral in San Isidro. Though the service was in Spanish, David had the priest say a few words of thanks in English for Erica and my benefit. Following the service we all headed to a golf club not too far away where they had setup a huge and beautifully decorated tent. When I say huge, I mean that this thing probably could have accommodated a small circus complete with elephants. We dined and partied the night away. Around midnight a group of performers arrived, dancing, walking on stilts and handing out hats to the guests. All in all it was an amazing evening and I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to celebrate with David, Jimena and the rest of my family.

Early the next day Erica and I got up to catch our flight to Mancora, which is a little beach town in Northern Peru. In order to get there we needed to take a short hour and a half flight to a city named Piura and then a three hour cab right to Mancora through some of the most windy mountainous roads you've ever been on. We were staying at a brand new boutique hotel directly on the beach called DCO which had opened only three months before our arrival. It was nothing short of specular and the perfect way to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary.

We returned to Lima in time to meet Erica's parents who joined us for the second half of our trip and our excursion Cuzco and Machu Picchu. We took another domestic flight from Lima to Cuzco, flying over the Andes Mountains and taking us to the city which sits 3200 meters above sea level. We had been warned that adjusting to the thinner air could be pretty taxing but only had a couple of hours to rest before we started our first day of touring. We regretted this later.

Our first day in Cuzco we hit a number of the sights, including Qorikancha, the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa (complete with Black Jesus) and the ruins of Q'enqo and Saqsaywaman. Then it was back to our hotel for a bit of rest before dinner. We ate at a restaurant off the city square and were serenaded by a group of traditional Andean musicians, Grupo Inka Marka, while we dined on Alpaca and Peruvian olives. A full day behind us we retired for the evening.

The next day we awoke to a phone call from Erica's mother informing us that her father had been ill all night and that they were in no shape to continue the tour that day to Ollantaytambo. While Erica and I weren't feeling 100% we decided to soldier on after calling them a doctor, who arrived within 15 minutes and only charged them $100US. We made a short trek to our bus waiting in front of the Museo Sitio del Qoricancha and embarked on our journey to the Sacred Valley of the Inkas and Ollantaytambo.

As the bus ride went on I was feeling progressively more sick. So much so that at one of the stops Erica and I called it quits fifteen minutes into the ninety minute hike to see the whole thing. This might have also had something to do with the narrow paths and huge vertical drops with no safety railings what so ever. By the time we arrived at Ollantaytambo I was feeling wretchedly ill and sat out the entire tour of those ruins while Erica hiked them. From there is was on to our hotel for the night where I stocked up on some medicine to make the evening bearable and hopefully be in decent shape for Machu Picchu the next day.

The next morning we met Erica's parents on the train that would take us the rest of the way to Machu Picchu. In order to actually get to the site we had to take a fifteen minute bus ride up a very steep zig-zagging road that winds up the mountain which put us a five minute walk from the ruins themselves. Once there we spent a good hour and a half on a guided tour of the ruins before returning to town for a bite to eat and to wait around for our return train to Cuzco. By this point Erica's parents were both feeling much better than they had the day before having been prescribed Tylenol and antibiotics. Erica and I  were still suffering the effects of the altitude and perhaps something we ate that didn't agree with us.

By the time we got back to Lima, we weren't feeling like doing much of anything and spent the rest of our time in Peru recuperating. Aside from getting a bit sick at the end of the trip it was a fantastic experience and a great way to spend two and a half weeks. It was wonderful to see all my cousins and family that I hadn't seen in ages. I certainly won't let another twenty-one years go by before I go back to Peru, but next time I'm flying Lan.

You can find photos from our Peruvian adventure on Flickr.

The Planet Blowout
Old Blue Hair
n0deal

The Planet Blowout
Originally uploaded by n0deal
So I got a rather annoyed phone call from my business partner Reuven on Sunday morning letting me know that none of our domain names were resolving correctly. After a couple of minutes of detective work I discovered that the data center which hosts our primary and secondary DNS servers suffered an electrical fire and explosion that knocked out the walls surrounding the electrical equipment room.

As of this moment our DNS server is still down, along with 3000 other customers boxes, as the support staff at the Planet is working furiously to try and restore power to the building. According to their last update at 2PM Central they hope to begin to restore power to the first floor of the data center within the next few hours. Servers on the second floor were back up earlier today, damn our luck.

Funny that there is absolutely no mention of the current crisis theplanet.com. I guess they don't want to scare away any customers. That being said I found the posting from May 22nd on their press releases page rather ironic.

The force is strong with this one...
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
Saw this and immediately thought that qurinas would absolutely love it. Actually I can totally picture this sitting in the living room at Alan's parents place. It would be right at home with all the rest of the Star Wars swag.



I have to admit, even though this thing is geeky as hell, it's a hell of a cool piece of tech.

How many Rogers reps does it take to screw in a light-bulb?
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
So first the big news, Erica and I found a house and our offer has been accepted, I may get into the details of how that all went down later.  Our closing date is April 30th so obviously there are a lot of things we have to do this month to take care of all the logistics of buying the property and arranging our move from Toronto to Hamilton.  For the most part getting our new services scheduled for hook-up and our current services scheduled for disconnection has been relatively painless.  Sure Cogeco shipped our HDPVR almost a full month before we need and we had to fax Enbridge a letter requesting a letter of reference for our new gas provider but all in all these were minor annoyances.  However moving/disconnecting the services we have with Rogers has been an entirely different matter.

Let me preface this by mentioning the fact that I pay rogers approximately $250 every month for services (internet, cable, home and cell phone).  I called Rogers on Wednesday of last week and spoke to a representative named Lisa about moving my services to my new home in Hamilton.  Since Rogers doesn't offer cable and internet service in Hamilton we've signed up with Cogeco, however since I am was relatively happy with Rogers I decided to keep my cell and home phone with them.  For some reason their system won't let them schedule a disconnection anymore than thirty days in advance and since Lisa was having trouble making the changes I requested to my account she told me she would call me back before the end of the day.  Fine no problem.

By the afternoon of the next day I've pretty much given up on her calling me back to confirm the changes I'd asked for and called back.  I'd also like to take a moment to note that the Rogers customer support line automation is extremely annoying, though Enbridge's is arguably worse since it won't even let you just hit 0 to get to a real person, hitting 0 repeatedly on the Rogers system will eventually get you a person.  This time I connected with a rep named Cheryl who was in fact very helpful.  She apologized that no one had gotten back to me and explained that they can't schedule disconnections that far in advance but that she would call me back on the 15th of April to take care of everything.  My transferable services would be moved on May 2nd and my cable and internet would stay connected until May 15th since we won't be moving until the middle of next month.  Again, no problem.

On Friday I get home and there is a message on my machine from the first rep saying that she had been unable to call me back because of a family emergency and that she'd now scheduled my disconnection for April 30th and setup a new account for me at my new address in Hamilton.  She also noted that she saw there had been activity on my account and to call back if there were any problems.  At this point I am highly annoyed.

Today, I call Rogers back for the third time and speak to yet another customer service representative.  This time around I am able to confirm my new phone and account number, change the termination date for my services at my current address (though they did need to disconnect all the services on the 30th and then reactivate them for the first half of next month...) and verify that my services will be transferred to our new house as of May 2nd.  I also asked her to put a note on my account in the hopes that no one else will go in and muck this up now that I've had it resolved for the second time.

Now the million dollar question is if the second rep is still going to wind up calling me on the 15th to try and make the changes I want for the fourth time.  Shouldn't $3000 a year get me a little bit better customer service?
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Limited Editition Ghosts
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
nin_GhostsUltraDeluxe.jpgAs I mentioned previously I was one of the lucky  NIN fanatics to  buy one of 2500 Ultra-Delux Limited Edition Ghosts packages  (pictured right), they sold out just a day or so after going on sale.  Needless to say I'm  chomping at the bit to get my hands on this thing.  Unfortunately it doesn't ship  until early April.  I guess it'll take some time for Trent to sign them all.

Trent and crew are also asking for submissions for a Ghosts film festival over at YouTube, which I thought was pretty interesting.  If I actually had free time and a decent DVCam I'd be tempted to put something together.  Coincidence that Radiohead has decided to do something similar?

I think it's inspired that the whole Ghosts album was released under a creative commons license, really opens up the doors for fans to do interesting things with it.  That being said, Trent has been offering multi-track files in a variety of formats for awhile now and that has spawned a pretty cool remix community.  Too bad the site doesn't really work all that well under Ubuntu but we have Adobe and that annoying lack of PNG transparency in flash to blame for that.
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Happy birthday to me!
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
Ghosts_AlbumCover.jpgJust in time for my birthday (ok it's a few days early but who's counting), a new 36 track instrumental NIN CD. Available for download for the low low price of $5 for high quality DRM free files, a-la-Niggy Tardust. So I hit up the site, which is loading at a snails pace since it's being dugg like crazy, and discover there is a limited "Deluxe Edition book with CDs, Multitrack DVD, & Blu-ray" sign by Trent Reznor and limited to 2500 pieces for the low low price of $300. Ridiculous most people would say, but for a NIN fan like myself, I just can't say no. Now let's hope the site doesn't crash completely before I'm able to actually buy the thing.

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The Last Supper
Old Blue Hair
n0deal

"Battlestar Galactica Last Supper" - Originally uploaded by kidddrunkadelic14

Is everyone else as excited as I am for the last season of BSG?  I guess the only down-side is that it is the last season.  Oh well, all good things...

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Video proof of California Election fraud?
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
"Massive trouble today across California with basic voting protocol. A video of of a voters trouble today. What kind of country do we really live in?"

This is seriously messed up but unfortunately it doesn't surprise me. I'm also not sure if I would really call this proof of fraud but there is definitely something going afoul with the electoral process in the United States.

It makes me wonder how often this type of thing happens in Canada, especially with a no-confidence vote in the near future.

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For shame Kotaku...
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
For shame kotaku!My friend Mike Rotenberg is a regular contributor to BlogTO and spends a lot of his free time photographing cool events all around Toronto. He's a very talented guy and his photography is nothing short of spectacular.

The reason I mention is work is that I was catching up on the WebbAlert podcast from yesterday when I noticed a familiar photo in the screenshot they included from the gaming blog Kotaku on the durability of the PS3.

Sure enough, after clicking around Mike's flickr account I confirmed my suspicion that Kotaku had indeed ripped one of his photos without his permission or giving him any credit what so ever. While this isn't a terribly uncommon occurrence in the blogging community it's still extremely bad form. Especially when the copyright permissions on the flickr page in question is clearly defined as © All rights reserved.

This practice is not acceptable in traditional media, though it still happens, so why do bloggers feel they have carte blanche to use anything they find on the internet as if it was there own? This also hurts the credibility of all blogs as a legitimate form of journalism. If Kotaku had dared use a photo from Getty Images without the proper licensing they would quickly have found themselves on the end of an IP infringement lawsuit.

For shame Kotaku! A major blog like them should know better.

Modding the MotoRazr
Old Blue Hair
n0deal
As I mentioned in a previous LJ entry I decided to change the body of Razr v3 because I wasn't keen on the pink/raspberry cover it came with. So I did some searching on eBay and finally settled on ordering a Titanium Metal housing for the phone. A few weeks later I received the package but I did not receive the instructions by email as the seller specified. No problem I figured, I had already seen several disassembly guides doing my preliminary research. I wound up using the this guide.

Mastercraft Precision Tool SetSince I didn't have all the tools necessary to start surgery on the phone, i headed up to Canadian Tire and got myself a Mastercraft Prevision Tool set which included a number of small screwdrivers including the T5 and T6 torx screwdrivers which are necessary to disassemble the Razr. Since I couldn't find a suitable plastic prying tool I wound up using my SIM card as the article suggests. Getting the phone apart was pretty straight forward but I've never been particularly shy about taking apart electronics. I would definitely recommend that anyone else who's going to attempt this work to make sure they have a decent amount of workspace cleared and something to put all the screws and parts into as they are removed from the phone.

I was able to get the bottom of the housing all changed without any issues but it wasn't until I had started taking apart the housing for the top part of the phone that I realized the replacement housing I had ordered did not come completely assembled. Razr Battery CoverBoth the battery cover and the faceplate had plastic mounting brackets that need to be glued to them. I attempted to bond them with epoxy which even after leaving overnight to dry did not wind up being strong enough to hold them together. All it did was make a mess of the mounting bracket. I did my best to remove the epoxy resin with rubbing alcohol and later nail polish remover and then made another trip to Canadian Tire to get some other glue.Razr Front Cover I settled on Instant Krazy Glue which worked wonderfully, Be forewarned that you're probably going to transfer some glue onto parts of the phone where you don't want it. Nail polish remover again does a wonderful job of taking this off the metal parts of the phone but if you get it on the plastic for the front-screen or camera lens protector it's not going to come off. Fortunately the glue I did get on the camera lens protector was off to the side and does not affect the picture quality. The housing replacement kid came with replacements for both of the front screen and camera lens protector (which was especially handy considers I had cracked the front-screen cover the week before). I would recommend keeping the protective film on both of these until the assembly is 100% complete. This should protect it from any errant glue transfer.

The whole glue issue aside there are a couple of other things I would recommend to other modders when replacing the housing on a Razr.

  1. Keep a close watch on the smaller rubber screw plugs in the top part of the phone. They are easy to loose and can fall out if you do not push them in well enough after reassembling the phone. I lost one in my carpet and was miraculously about to find it the next day.

  2. If your keypad doesn't work properly after the phone is reassembled don't freak out. You should first make sure that all the side buttons in the top part of the phone are oriented correctly and not stuck. If these buttons are stuck on it will cause to phone to malfunction. If you still have problems make sure the ribbon cable in the bottom part of the phone has a good connection to the circuit board.



Razr V3 CompleteIn retrospect I wish I had of documented the whole process better, possibly even in video. That's something to keep in mind for next time I'm taking apart something like this. Hopefully some of the information here will be helpful to someone else. Good luck and happy hacking!

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