Saturday, December 18, 2010

How to remove the battery cover for a circa 2005 Timex Ironman Triathalon Watch

Yes, I'm serious. I have this very nice watch with 4 dials (3 sub dials below the main) that needed a new battery but EVERY article I found indicated that there should be 4 screws to remove or that I just "pop off the back" with a screw driver or knife and 99% were covered by the former.

There were no screws on my backing and NO popping it off either. I thought perhaps it would unscrew, but it was virtually impossible to get a grip to even try so I disregarded that idea. After what seemed like an eternity of googling for a solution (first by just trying to identify my exact watch, which turned out to be a waste of time because Timex has created exactly 1,723,962 variations of the Ironman), I grabbed a few pair of needle nose pliers and tried a few ways to unscrew the cover again. Once I found a pair that had a really good grip (I could squeeze hard and they didn't pop off), I got a good grip of the watch and rotated the cover counter-clockwise (from the rear view) and sure enough, it began opening!

I will add photos soon but it's late and my "easy" camera isn't handy so that will have to wait. I sincerely hope someone finds this completely obscure information useful because I only have 2 hours of sleep available now thanks to this watch and my persistence.  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We're not going to cook ourselves to death after all!

I've been arguing for some time that shy of nuclear armageddon, we'd have a hard time effecting the earth to the extent of devastation and even then, the earth would recover with or without us. This story lends a bit of credibility to my view.
| Doubling of CO2 Not So Tragic After All?
|   from the let-the-flame-war-begin dept.
|   posted by samzenpus on Thursday December 09, @00:03 (Earth)

carvalhao writes "The Register reports on a [0]study from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that claims that new climate models that account for the effects of increased CO2 levels on plant growth result on a 1.64 C increase for a doubling of CO2 concentrations, [1]a far less gloomy scenario than previously considered."

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Providing feedback to software developers ( taken from )

I'm only reposting this article which I liked. It was found here and written by XDA user joe_coolish. Aside from just bringing attention to this article, I wanted to highlight a very important point he makes in the very beginning.

In the world of software development, applications pass through many phases before being released, some of which include designing, planning, coding, testing, Alpha Release, Beta Release, Release Candidate, and finally Release.This guide is intended to help the people involved in public/private beta tests that do not have experience programming, but would like to give valuable feedback to the developer.


This guide is specific to programming for the Windows Mobile Operating System, specifically for the .net Compact Framework 3.5. However, the main concepts should translate over to other platforms and frameworks.

In the beginning...

First off, programming is hard. Building applications that run smoothly and are bug free require considerable amounts of time and energy. In short, software development is an emotional investment on behalf of the developer. 

Because software development is an emotional investment, developers will easily take offense to criticism [as would anyone else with their work when they too are emotionally invested]. This is where rule number one of giving constructive feedback comes in:

Rule number #1, When Giving feedback, be polite!

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Government transparency and citizen privacy.

I just read a couple articles and was imagining my airport experiences coming up this holiday season. My day-dream first, then the articles and a few thoughts on them.

TSA: Sir, I'll need to take a pornographic video of you or cop a cheap feel because nearly 10 years ago some easily profiled terrorists managed to take control of a couple aircraft using box cutters. How would you prefer to be degraded?
ME: Can I ask what you were doing on Sept 11, 2001 when the attacks happened?
TSA: I'll humor you. I was sleeping soundly in my bed.
ME: When you found out about them, how was your life directly affected?
TSA: It wasn't really. I was upset and scared, but I went to work that day as usual and life went on aside from hearing about a few friends who knew someone affected. Mind explaining your question now?
ME: One more question then I'll explain if you don't mind. How would you describe my ethnicity or nationality?
TSA: Well sir, you appear to be about as "Caucasian" as is possible. Pale, freckled skin, reddish hair; what you have left anyway. I'd guess you're of German/Irish decent.
ME: VERY well done. So would you say it's pretty safe to assume based on flight-related terrorist attack history that I have nothing to do with the al qaeda? I mean, it's not that someone of my appearance couldn't be involved since it is a religious issue, but have you ever seen such a thing, let alone know of such a combination related to any attacks here in the US?
TSA: Well, no. I haven't. Come to think of it, it does seem a little odd that I'm being paid by OUR government to harass and embarrass you this way. Why did you ask me what I was doing on 9/11 though and how about you; what were you doing?
ME: I agree, that is rather strange. Essentially, I'm paying the government to hire you and harass me. Not that I had any say about such a thing. I asked about your experience that day because I wanted to know what it might be like for someone that wasn't in my shoes. I was awake and already at work, when the news spread. I was immediately told to go back to my barracks and prepare for a gear inspection. We didn't get much more news than most people, but being conditioned as we were, such a command in light of the news told us that there was a real chance that were about to get combat orders to go protect the citizens of the United States from one of the only real attacks on US soil in history. As a US Marine, I take that idea very seriously and though I was upset, I was more infuriated. I'm here today because during my service in the USMC I was injured beyond repair and as a result, was given an honorable discharge under medical circumstances. If you put me through that x-ray machine over there, you'll see quite a collection of hardware that wouldn't set off your typical medal detector, that I could easily hide inside any number of common devices that you would let me put on a plane.
TSA: (agent gets a very startled look on their face)
ME: So basically, I've paid my debt to this country for my freedom and yours, suffered significant personal loss and injury in the process, paid taxes to see that our government can continue to function, and now you're presenting me with two humiliating options despite both my constitutional right to travel and privacy and the fact that another such terrorist attack is statistically virtually guaranteed not to happen based on history.
TSA: (should have a look of embarrassment now, but instead is radioing for help so that I can be restrained for causing a scene)
ME: Do I have a grasp on the situation?

Sadly, that conversation is completely feasible. Check out the articles below to see why this came to mind and why I'm hoping it will soon change. I think that the world is getting tired of governments misbehavior, abuse, and lack of transparency while at the same time taking our privacy and forcing our transparency.

| Digging Into the WikiLeaks Cables
|   from the story-that-never-ends dept.
|   posted by Soulskill on Monday December 06, @13:33 (Security)

A number of readers have sent in new WikiLeaks stories today, many of which focus on the content of the leaked diplomatic cables. The documents showed how the US government [0]bullied and manipulated other countries to gain support for its Copenhagen climate treaty (though [1]behavior from the US wasn't all negative), how copyright negotiations largely [2]meet the expectations of critics like Michael Geist, and how Intel [3]threatened to move jobs out of Russia if the Russian government didn't loosen encryption regulations. Perhaps the biggest new piece of information is [4]a list of facilities the US considers 'vital to security.' Meanwhile, the drama surrounding WikiLeaks continues; Julian Assange's [5]Swiss bank account has been frozen and the UK has [6]received an arrest warrant for the man himself; the effort to [7]mirror the site has gained support from Pirate Parties [8]in Australia, [9]in the UK and elsewhere; and [10]PayPal was hit with a DDoS for their decision not to accept donations for WikiLeaks.

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| A Nude Awakening — the TSA and Privacy
|   from the keep-it-above-the-waist dept.
|   posted by Soulskill on Monday December 06, @17:08 (Privacy)

DIplomatic writes "The Oklahoma Daily has a well-written editorial about the current state of airport security. Though the subject has overly-commented on, this article is well worth the read. Quoting: 'The risk of a terrorist attack is so infinitesimal and its impact so relatively insignificant that [0]it doesn't make rational sense to accept the suspension of liberty for the sake of avoiding a statistical anomaly. There's no purpose in security if it debases the very life it intends to protect, yet the forced choice one has to make between privacy and travel does just that. If you want to travel, you have a choice between low-tech fondling or high-tech pornography; the choice, therefore, to relegate your fundamental rights in exchange for a plane ticket. Not only does this paradigm presume that one's right to privacy is variable contingent on the government's discretion and only respected in places that the government doesn't care to look — but it also ignores that the fundamental right to travel has consistently been upheld by the Supreme Court. If we have both the right to privacy and the right to travel, then TSA's newest procedures cannot conceivably be considered legal. The TSA's regulations blatantly compromise the former at the expense of the latter, and as time goes on we will soon forget what it meant to have those rights.'"

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Nexus S - Pure Google BUT....

Now let me reiterate that I love Google and they take very good care of me, but this is a repeated mistake they're making that really chaffs me.

First the Nexus One, now the Nexus S. As an Android Developer, I'd LOVE to have either of these phones for daily use and development, but that isn't possible when paired up with such a crappy carrier as T-Mobile. I live in the 5th largest city in the US and not exactly in a fringe area of it and yet T-Mobile is absolutely useless here. From my experience going back nearly 12 years, GSM in the US is frequently useless, at least compared to the coverage I get with Verizon, or even Sprint for that matter. Just so you know I'm not just slamming TMO, check out the video below which I accepted great risk to create.

Google, please at least explain why you continue to ruin such a great idea by relying solely on GSM if not provide a CDMA version in addition. Considering the role Verizon had in making Android truely mainstream with the Moto Droid 1, I can't imagine they are making it unreasonably difficult, but if they are, let us know so we can appeal to them.

To summarize, this is me driving from my home, to a major T-Mobile store just a couple miles from the house, then back by my neighborhood. You'll see how I go from having so little signal that I can't maintain a data connection, to getting 2+Mbps and then it falls off again near my neighborhood in a very well defined dark area. It took me a couple months to get TMO to accept the facts and let me out of contract.

Please understand that I'm not trying to rant about T-Mobile here (not like in the video anyway), but address Google's choice to use such a small and weak carrier (technology, at least as it's implemented in the US). I know MANY out there will say that's a subjective judgement and want to call me out on it, but be sure to do your research first because I'm willing to bet it will back the empirical evidence I have based on usage in AZ, CA, and OR.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A thanks to Google (Logitech Revue).

When I see the emails I'm always skeptical, but once again Google has amazed me with their generosity and support of developers that I dare say are key to their success.

A new Logitech Revue was just dropped at my front door thanks to another Google Device Seeding Program and I can't wait to unbox and start playing with it. I hope to enhance to be GoogleTV compatible in coming weeks.

In any case, I have the warm fuzzies thanks to them and my wallet isn't $300 lighter to boot!