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Find My Phone Saved My Butt

November 23, 2010 00:30 by ckincincy

So as I’ve blogged about previously I have a new Windows Phone.  Though, I did trade in my model from the HTC Surround to the LG Quantum.  I wanted the keyboard.

Today a feature that comes with every Windows Phone 7, saved my butt.  It started out with leaving a practice for my son’s 4th grade basketball team that I coach.  I put my phone and wallet in a bag that my assistant coach brought to return some items. I was thinking I’d keep the bag for a few days while I got the stuff home.  So the assistant walked out and started unloading the bag in my trunk and we went our own ways. 

Then I realized I didn’t have my phone.  I started back tracking my steps and I was worried that I put my phone on the top of my car before I started driving.  So I turned around and drove slowly, looking back the 2 blocks I drove.  No luck. 

Then I wondered if it was in my assistants bag and I rushed home because I know of the feature in the phone… I got home and logged into WindowsPhone.com and clicked the “Find my Phone” feature.  Within 30 seconds a map was displayed showing the phone was in my assistants driveway! 

I called him and told him what was up, and I went and got my phone… and my wallet Smile.  What was his reaction?  “Man, you’re like somebody from the future.”

It saved my butt!  Here is what it looks like showing the phone at my house:


A bug in WP7

November 13, 2010 21:54 by ckincincy

So it didn’t take me long, but I found my first bug in the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

It is a simple bug to reproduce.  It comes down to programming pauses and such into a contacts phone number.  Lets say you work at XYZ LLC.  Who’s number is 555-555-1212.  You program your coworker, Charlie’s number in as follows: 555-555-1212,2,222.  What this number will do is dial the main number pauses, hits “2” for entering an extension, pauses, and then enters the extension.

So now you have those two contacts.  Now somebody calls you from the office, which comes through as 555-555-1212.  You’d expect for it to display a call coming from XYZ, LLC.  However what happens is you are told the call comes from “Charlie” because he comes up first in the list. 

I’d hope the caller ID could be fixed to do an exact match search before it does the partial match search.

Almost a week later

November 13, 2010 21:43 by ckincincy

So here I am almost a week later with my HTC Surround.  Overall my impression of this phone is improving as time goes on.  It just works. 

In my prior post I mentioned that one of the features I liked was the ability to sync wirelessly.  Well, that didn’t pan out to well.  The software seemed to hang a bit.  So the Zune software needs some work.

I found my first bug in the software, and saw some areas for improvement. 

I’ll cover those in specific post because I don’t want it lost in the noise of one long blog post. 

However my overall thoughts are positive.  I love the speech recognition, it just works well.  The responsiveness of the phone is awesome.  The applications for the phone is still a bit weak, but its early.  It takes time to build out a great eco system.

The one thing I did notice is that WP7 apps cost money.  Not many free, high quality, applications out there.  A lot of, what appear to be OK quality for pay apps.  I think this will also change over time as the eco system builds up.  Right now you have a lot of early developers trying to make a few bucks off the early adapters.

I’ll follow up with three post in the near future, one more tonight.

1. The bug I found.
2. Improvements I’d like to see.
3. Applications I miss from my iPhone.

Check back soon.

First Impressions

November 9, 2010 00:01 by ckincincy

imageSo I finally fully representing my license plate, I AM A PC.  I am the proud owner of the HTC Surround, a Windows Phone 7 device.

Having spent the last two years on the iPhone 3G I got to know that device very well.  It wasn’t all bad, but there were things about Apple and its phone that drove me nuts.

I was eagerly waiting for the WP7 launch, and today was the day.

I looked at the two current devices available at the AT&T store.  The Surround and the Samsung Focus.  The Focus felt cheap in my hand.  Just seemed like it would break rather easily.  So I went with the much sturdier phone, the Surround.

After a night of use my first impression is… “Why’d they mimic the iOS 3.0?”  This phone has everything my iPhone had… last year.   No ability to copy and paste, and no global inbox.  Now the good thing is that both of those will be taken care of in updates, copy and paste has been confirmed… and I can only assume the other.  My next impression is that the phone is a lot like any Windows PC you buy, a lot of crap loaded on it.  Thankfully, it is very easy to remove all of the adware provided by AT&T.  Just hold down on it and click ‘uninstall.’  My third impression is that the contact management needs work.  The iPhone struggled here as well, but they gave me the ability to just use my Windows contacts and I was able to easily organize that. 

Finally, my last reaction is that I will grow to like this phone a lot.  It is a newer processor so it is certainly faster than my old iPhone.  One feature that I really like is the wireless sync.  No longer do I have to connect my phone to my PC to sync.  I just have to plug it into a power source and let it sit on my home network and it will sync all of my new songs, pictures, and podcast.  As the application choices grow this phone will be much better, it may even take care of the global inbox issue before an official fix is in place.  The UI is certainly different than the iPhone.  More sliding, less tapping. 

I’ll check back in in due time with a follow up, but that is how I feel after a night of use.

Hotmail or Yahoo, I need one feature from you!

September 9, 2010 23:53 by ckincincy

For those that know me, you know that I am no fan of Google.  I don't trust them in many ways.  I don't trust them with my personal information and I don't trust them to keep features I like or come to rely on.  They have a history of launching the next greatest thing, to only kill it within the first two years.

I've been able to stop using Google for most things. With one exception, email.  The reason being that Yahoo and Hotmail are each missing one feature.  The ability to use my own smtp server.

Both services will allow me to 'send mail as' other accounts, but it is really an email hack.  The actual from email would be the Yahoo or Hotmail address of the account.  The Reply to would then be changed to my personal email.  The problem with this is two fold.
1. Other web servers will sometime see this as spam.
2. Sometimes the "from" that the reciepient see's is, "From user@hotmail.com sent on behalf of user@example.com".  I don't want people to see my main service email. 

So, Hotmail and Yahoo... do me a favor and give me this one feature.  I'm ready to jump ship, I just need your help.

Yet Another URL Shortener

August 15, 2010 14:34 by ckincincy

So I got board on Friday and decided to create my own URL shortening service.  Went looking for a domain and found ocdp.us.  A spin off of this domain so I went and did a quick search on Google to make sure I didn’t spell something bad. Google wondered if I meant to type octopus:


So I am aware of the sound of the domain :-). 

I went looking for an open source solution that existed and found one that best met my desires. One built by jobping.com.  It was ASP.NET MVC based, so figured it was a good way to work on MVC while giving me what I wanted.

The pre-baked solution was missing a few things that I wanted.

1. The ability to have a custom short URL.

2. The ability to see a report of short URL’s.  Basically how many clicks have happened on that URL.

So I took the jobping.com solution and made my own.

You can see my solution in action two ways.

1. Click ocdp.us/a to basically come back to this page.  This was an auto generated url.

2. Click ocdp.us/lwlfb to go to Loving With Luggage’s site on Facebook.  This is a custom URL.

At some point in the future I’ll share the code to my site, but need to make sure the unit test are written just for code completeness.

ZagForm Killer – GreaseMonkey Script

June 2, 2010 00:28 by ckincincy

One of the websites I read often is the Cincinnati Enquirer.

At some point they implemented a form to collect visitor information:


If you read this, it says you won’t be shown this again… yet, I see it over and over and over again.  So I did what any self-respecting geek would do. Hacked around it.  The solution?  My first ever GreaseMonkey script.  Very simple in nature, if it finds the URL that is used for this form, it redirects me to the article. 

Took me 10 minutes to develop, and will save me from being bugged by it in the future.  I doubt this will be useful to anybody else, but if so… let me know.

ZagForm Killer 1.0

Protecting your information on Facebook

April 8, 2010 19:33 by ckincincy

If you are on Facebook, read this.  It is worth your time and I think my suggestion at the end is a huge win for how to navigate Facebook.

Having your information on Facebook can be a problem.  You basically don’t want to put anything on Facebook that you don’t want known by EVERYBODY, because things happen.  Computer glitches happen which expose, even if only temporary, your most private information.

imageHowever, you can at least be smarter with your information.  Take a moment to review your privacy settings, it is that important.  Go to the top right side of your landing page and hit the Account tab, and select Privacy Settings.

In this next screen you are given several area’s to edit your privacy settings.  Be sure to click in each and every one of them to review all of your settings.  I do this once every few months to find out what new settings Facebook has made available to me.  The “Applications and Websites” area freaked me out the last time I looked at it.

Every area that Facebook gives you the ability to set permissions on will have a drop down similar to this:


For much of my profile and contact information I allow “Only Friends”.  I don’t allow “Friends of Friends” to see much of my information.  Just because they are your friend doesn’t mean they are my friend and I want them to see my information.  In fact, in several cases… I don’t like some of your friends :-).

For my Photos and Videos of me I have my setting to “Only Me”.  The reason for this is that I don’t want everybody seeing photos and videos I am tagged in, by default.  Some pictures may be embarrassing or show information that I don’t want public (I am a certified foster parent, and have to worry about that). 

However for a select few sections I actually go into the ‘customize’ section.  This gives the following pop up:


You see that little item in who I allow to see things?  It is a list that I created, “See Updates”.  [This is the huge win for this post, I’ll expand on it shortly]

The fact is, just because I am your friend doesn’t mean that I want you seeing my Facebook updates.  I am connected to you and I don’t mind being connected to you at all, but I do value some of my privacy and Facebook allows me to control that.  Frankly, just because your my friend doesn’t mean you want to see some of my updates.

List are a great tool on Facebook.  I actually have 18 list on Facebook.  For your benefit and mine.  I have a ‘Youngens’ group that easily allows me to hide status updates from them if they are not age appropriate.  I have a list for people who live near me when I am talking about locally relevant information.  My family in Florida doesn’t care about a local pizza parlor.

The main list that I have though is, “See Updates”.  These are people I don’t mind seeing all of my status updates.   They get to see everything I post…. unless, for some reason I need to hide somebody.

The way I utilize this is pretty strait forward, on your main landing page you when you go to update your status you get an option to edit who you are sharing that update with.


When you click the custom here, you get this window:


You can see that I have the “See Updates” in my approved list, however what you should notice is the little check box in the lower left hand corner.  “Make this my default setting.”  By checking this, the setting you use here will be the default setting for all future status updates. 

Now I recommend using an approved list instead of a blocked list.  The reason being that if you forget to update your approved list, the only thing you lose is not sharing your information with somebody you want to share with.  If you go the other way around you end up sharing your information with somebody you don’t want seeing your information.  I’d rather error on the side of caution.

However, remember what I said at the beginning of this article.  don’t share anything on Facebook that you don’t want the entire world knowing.  Because things do go bad in Facebook land.

Where to buy cheap and affordable ink

March 9, 2010 00:01 by ckincincy


Buying ink for your home printer is always a huge pain.  It is where the printer manufacturers make their money.

However after needing to buy ink for my Cannon Pixma MP620B I found InkForSale.net.  I bought two cartridges on my first order, a black and a magenta.  The black went in without a hitch, the magenta however would never take. 

So I contacted InkForSale.net and they, slowly, replied and said they would send me a replacement.  At this point, I also needed a Yellow cartridge.  So I told them I would go ahead and order that and they can ship them together to save some money.  Unfortunately when my package came it only had the Yellow cartridge in it.  So I emailed them again and never got a reply, however the magenta cartridge did arrive and work as expected.

So three out of four cartridges worked fine, and they did replace the broken one. 

So will I purchase from them again?   You better believe it.  The savings is well worth it.  The big difference is that I will order more than I need and store the new ones. 

Find out when you’ve been unfriended on Facebook

January 14, 2010 21:56 by ckincincy

For the longest time I’ve wanted a way to see if I’ve been unfriended on Facebook, and I read today that there was an app for that.  However, as you read that article you see that Facebook reacted quickly and disabled the application.

However, briefly mentioned in that article is a GreaseMonkey script to tell you if a friend has unfriended you.

I did a test an had my daughter unfriend me, and it worked like a champ.


So why do I care?  I’m a bit OCD and I just like to know such things :-)