January 28, 2010

The year we make iPad

Apple iPad

I think Apple has a winner here. Unlike the UMPC or most typical netbooks running Windows slowly, painfully, and expensively. The iPad runs the iPhone OS, so it's actually scaling up a smaller device, so everything will be faster and work better than before.

I want one. Now.

January 26, 2010

Upgrading DD-WRT on the Linksys WRT310N

I let my boss borrow my WRT310N a few months ago. I didn't need it back since I had so many other routers to work with. By the time he gave it back, newer versions of DD-WRT had been released.

So I downloaded the latest beta release and tried to update it, but unfortunately, it seemed to brick the WRT310N. It did seem to respond to pings when booting, and I was able to tftp a firmware file into it using the reset button/tftp method, but no matter what I did, it wouldn't finish booting.

Finally I realized that to tftp a firmware file correctly, I had to hold down the reset button until the power light starts to blink, then release the reset button, then start the tftp transfer. It seemed funny that I'm only realizing this now after having done hundreds of firmware updates using the reset button/tftp method.

January 24, 2010

Task management with Toodledo

Early last year I wrote about using Remember the Milk (RTM) to manage my tasks. I even paid for a Pro account in order to sync to my iPod, but unfortunately, the lack of updates in both the main program and the iPhone app, plus having to deal with the often non-functioning reminder system eventually turned me to Google Tasks. Google Tasks is much simpler, but it integrates with Google Calendar and I could even have it send reminders to my cell phone.

A few days ago I noticed that Pocket Informant was on sale and they were donating proceeds towards the Haiti earthquake. I've been keeping an eye on PI for a long time, but the price always seemed just slightly out of my reach, but since it's on sale and giving towards a good cause, I immediately bought it.

Pocket Informant can only sync tasks to Toodledo (referral link) and not RTM. But in the ten months since I wrote my original post, Toodledo has improved by leaps and bounds and now completely meets and even exceeds my expectations. While I needed to pay for RTM's Pro version in order to sync to an external program, Toodledo's external sync is completely free. Toodledo's Pro version actually offers additional features such as subtasks (not possible with RTM) and longer retention times for completed tasks.

I also have PI sync my Google Calendar. Pretty soon I don't need to carry my laptop around any more. I still carry my Moleskine notebook around to take notes though. No matter how hard I try, I still find it much easier to take notes and doodle with a paper notebook.

January 11, 2010


I never paid much attention to the iPhone 3GS since I already have an iPod Touch. But my boss was looking to buy a new phone, so I immediately recommended the iPhone 3GS to him. Unfortunately, only after buying it for him I realized that there's a new "iBoot-359.3.2" that can't be jailbroken without tethering. I can imagine explaining to my boss to use this phone with care, never let it run out of battery, never let it crash, and never turn it off, otherwise you'll need to hook it up to your computer...

But wait, surely my boss doesn't need a jailbroken phone? Actually, the iPhone for some stupidly reason has pathetic keyboard layouts obviously not designed by actual users of those languages.

This is the default Bopomofo keyboard on the iPhone. Bopomofo is a system for phonetically writing the Traditional Chinese characters.

And this is the modified Bopomofo keyboard in the more traditional layout that every Bopomofo user on the planet is used to, and it's only available to jailbroken phones.

At first glance, it might seem that the better layout is simply a vertical layout compared to the horizontal layout, but the horizontal layout is actually all the phonemes lined up in order. Imagine if the iPhone's English keyboard is laid out as A B C D E F G H... instead of the standard QWERTY layout.

The exact same problem also occurs for the Thai language keyboard. This is the Thai language keyboard that was much advertised as a new feature included in iPhone OS 3.0.

Unfortunately, that layout is completely unusable in real life since it's not based on any standard. This one, again, is only available for jailbroken phones.

Once again, at first glance, it seems that the second keyboard contains seemingly random characters. However, that is the standard Thai keyboard layout used on every computer and typewriter.

Oh, and when I was paying for the iPhone, the salesguy turned his back on me and typed something really quickly into the iPhone. I couldn't figure out what he did until I came home. He modified the email signature to read: "Sent from my TrueMove iPhone3GS".

January 6, 2010

Kindle officially in Thailand

Both the Kindle and the Kindle DX are now officially available to Thailand. What a great way to start 2010!

January 4, 2010

Red ThinkPad

I want one, even if it's in red, and doesn't have the traditional 7-row ThinkPad keyboard. Oh wait, I'm a Mac user now. Doh!

January 2, 2010

Domain controller crashed

I can't believe I had to start the year fixing my servers, again. During the new year vacation, the maintenance people turned off the power to the entire building for, er, "maintenance", without notifying anyone.

Not to mention I was away, supposedly on vacation! When the power returned, my domain controller couldn't boot up, one of my RAID backup devices had read errors, and the other one had a kernel error and couldn't finish booting.

I do have UPS's on all my servers, but the power was out for so long due to maintenance jobs being done, and when it came back, there were power surges that caused the main power to flicker, thus causing all the problems.


Update (01/04/10): That's nothing yet, on the very first day of work, a truck crashed into the telephone pole in front of my office and took out our leased line. It should've just crashed directly into my domain controller to save me the trouble.

January 1, 2010

Happy Y2.010K

It seemed only like yesterday when I was making the Happy Y2.009K post. 2009 seems to have passed in just a blink of the eye. I've been so insanely busy, and this is probably obvious from the number of posts going down from 70+ in just the second half of 2008 to 70+ in all of 2009. It might seem that because I only started this blog in the second half of 2008 so I might have more to say back then when it was all new and exciting, but in fact, I have hundreds of saved drafts that need polishing before being posted.

A few days ago, we were talking about the old programmer that used to work here, and I suddenly remembered that one of the things she worked on when she was here was resolving Y2K issues in our programs, and that her husband (who was a programmer at a large financial institution) had to stay overnight at work on New Year's Eve to keep an eye on the computers. How time flies!