Dice Electronics cables must be dipped in gold

A couple of years ago I got a Dice Electronics adapter for my Audi A3 so I could listen to my iPod and then iPhone while also charging it. It’s worked pretty well with some caveats that I knew about getting into it. That is, until I got the 3G iPhone a couple of months ago.

The good news was that I could play music through the cable. The bad news was that it wouldn’t charge. Apparently Apple changed how they charge devices through the iPod dock. I’m certain it’s the case with the 3G iPhone but I think it might also be a problem with some of the newer iPods too. Perhaps not. Regardless, I wasn’t happy with Apple about that.

So, I sent an email to Dice asking about how to fix this problem and lucky me, they had a new cable that would do both. Now, keep in mind the original adapter with the original dock cable was about $180 IIRC. For the new adapter cable? $40. Yep. I just figured it had magic fairy dust sprinkled on it or something. Then when I go to check out (grumbling all along) the system tells me it’ll be $15 for shipping.

Now wait. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting because there’s no picture, but….it’s a cable. $15 can’t be right. Send off another email, laying in a jab about the $40 price tag already being high and then to add $15 for shipping is insane. Yes, I said insane in the email. Response was to call in the order and they’d take care of me. Now, here’s the one cool thing I’ll give Dice credit for. When I called in to order it the very nice lady gave me free shipping. Alright, so I’m happy again but in the back of my mind I’m still thinking $40 != simple cable.

It’s arrived and yep, it’s a very simple cable. So, I figure I paid $15 shipping after all because $25 for this cable still seems steep. Yay me!

From Dice rip-off

Atlas has finished Shrugging

No, I don’t think we’re done with the downturn. I finally finished Atlas Shrugged two nights ago. I’m proud to say that I read every word…all 1200 pages!

It certainly was a long book and at times was tedious. The final speech by Galt was a bit hard to get through, not because it was boring but because it was important, deep and very long. 70 pages long! One speech!

Still, while reading it I found some eerie parallels to modern day politics and the state of the country. I just hope we don’t go down the full path they took in the book. That’s a lot more pain than anyone needs.

On to more lite fair. I’ve started reading The Postman which, yes, is what the movie is based on. Supposedly the book is better although I’m already a fan of the movie. Time will tell.

Saving iPhone apps on a new computer

I had sync’ed my iPhone with my previous OS install some time ago and it’s been ok for me for a while. However, since rebuilding to Windows 7 I haven’t gone back and set up sync again. Just didn’t need it. Podcast’s and app’s I could get directly from the iPhone. I’m running out of space now though and I’d like to modify the play list a little. As I’m sure everyone knows, when you sync to a new PC it says it wants to associate to that PC and erase everything you have on the iPhone. I don’t really care about the music or the podcasts because I can get all of that back pretty easily. However, I still have the Netshare app that was removed from the App Store and I didn’t want to lose that.

I did some googleing and suprisingly found little help for this. All kinds of comments about sync’ing to 2 PC’s but none that addressed my specific problem. Probably because it’s pretty simple.

Right click on the iPhone in iTunes and “transfer purchases”. It’s as simple as that.

SMF upgrades

Well, it’s been a pretty busy 2 weeks. I’ve been occupied with helping a new customer transition to MPLS. It seemed like whatever could go wrong, did go wrong. It’s all good now and the customer seems happy so life moves on…

I upgraded CACC to SMF 2.0 RC1 yesterday. I had researched this since I was coming from 1.1.7 and I wanted to make sure there weren’t any big gotcha’s. Well, that too went about as badly as I could have expected. It was very strange but simply opening the upgrade.php file would cause the server to run away with the MySQL process. It wouldn’t take long to kill it good. I had to do this several times, changing things a little as I went before I finally managed to force it through.

Why not just take a step back and assess the situation? Spam registrations have been bad for months now. I’ve been clearing out anywhere from 5-20 bad registrations per day. I’m sure I deleted a couple of legitimate registrations in the process. In the last two weeks the frequency picked up to where it was easily 20 per day and maybe north of 40 a couple of times. This was sucking up too much of my time.

Thankfully SMF 2.0 has much better anti-spam capabilities. 24 hours later and I’ve seen no spambots get through the registration yet. I see them trying in the logs but the measures must be working. I still have some cleanup to do but I think it’s coming along ok.

Google servers revealed!

I love this kind of stuff: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html

Here you have a company that’s entirely about the efficiency of massively parallel systems. They’re finally pulling back the current a bit and showing how best it works on a scale of 1000’s of servers. One shipping container alone can hold 1160 servers! WOW! The ideas about 12v only in the PSU and the onboard battery are brilliant!

I want a couple of these for myself! Heavy processing and lots of memory with just enough hard drive! Trim the energy and heat like they do and you can do a lot with that.

SGI, oh SGI…what has become of you….

I just read about SGI’s demise over on GigaOm. It seems Rackable has scooped them up for a measly 25 million. This is just depressing.

Back in the day I was infatuated with SGI. For hardcore geeks they were cool before Apple was cool, again. I wanted an O2 so bad I could taste it. I was ready to squander every penny we had (not too many of them I might add) to get one even though I had no idea how to use Irix. When I was at ERAU I had a friend in the CS program. They were working on SGI’s (early 90’s Octanes I think) to create an air traffic control simulator. The graphics capabilities of the SGI’s at that time were unrivaled. When I got into Computers professionally I signed up for SGI’s marketing list and got to go to several events including a screening of Jurassic Park. Of course, I asked a million questions and drooled all over the demo units.

When HP started coming out with some powerful graphics workstations I remember thinking that was the beginning of the end. Around the same time SGI decided to introduce some Windows NT models. I really knew it was the end then.

To look at SGI’s product line today, they still have the same aesthetic on the hardware but aside from some nice cases there’s not much sexy about them any more. They don’t sell any workstations as far as I can tell either. They long ago sold off the software assets that were cool. Today they seem like just another storage vendor.

It’s like a portion of my youth has died.