Monday, 08 June 2009

Today Apple announced the next rev of the iPhone, the "iPhone 3GS." It has beefed up processing power and some cool new features like a better camera, more storage, etc.

Normally I'd be ultra excited about getting one as soon as its available. But this time around, I'm having a hard time getting inspired.

It has nothing to do with Apple's hardware and software. In fact, the processing power boosts and other changes are very, very tempting, and in a world where all else was equal it would be a no-brainer for me to drop the early upgrade cash on the table and move on up.

But the fact of the matter is, with AT&T's ultra-poor network performance on my current iPhone 3G, I think I'm better off waiting until Apple adds another U.S. carrier. I consistently have to turn off the 3G capabilities on iPhone 3G in order to avoid dropped calls and to successfully get network connections. That was the case with the first iPhone 3G I had, too. To top it all off, the service has gotten worse recently in my experience. I just can't see dropping that much cash for a new phone to operate on a network that already sucks. I've been sorely disappointed by AT&T, almost to the point where I want to call them and tell them they've consistently failed to perform to the level of service they claim (which is 100% the case).

It's time for Apple to drop that bomb on AT&T. Failure to perform in this case is going to cost Apple market share. It's got to be embarrassing to the company. During the announcements made today at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, every time AT&T was mentioned the crowd just laughed. Seriously laughed, and not because there was a funny joke. It was because AT&T's quality is so lacking one just can' t help but either laugh or cry. They even laughed when AT&T was not mentioned - most notably with regard the fact that the carrier's logo was missing from some key slides in the presentation, pointing out AT&T's lack of launch time support for MMS and tethering, two of the key selling points for the new phone model.

AT&T has turned into that partner that Apple doesn't need, and shouldn't want. It's time to make a change. AT&T has simply failed to perform. When you can't reliably make and maintain calls and the data network won't keep a connection between towers, something's just not good enough. I hope Apple will step up - sooner rather than later - and add another carrier or two even before AT&T's exclusive agreement expires. It takes two to be successful in any partnership, and in this one AT&T's turned into a bit of a boat anchor.

What would change my mind on this one? Simple: When my current 3G phones work like they should on AT&Ts network, I'll be the first one to say so right here. Out loud and with conviction. But, I'm not holding my breath quite yet.Tmobile

Maybe a good jailbreaking and switch to Tmobile will work on the new OS and device. I'm sure someone will figure out out. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We shall see.



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Apple | Mobile | Tech | Things that Suck
Monday, 08 June 2009 20:16:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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After a year and a half of doing some fun security and IT consulting (along with taking some valuable personal time off), last week I returned as a contractor to work full-time at the "parent" of the company I used to work for. Fiserv acquired CheckFree last year, shortly after CheckFree acquired Corillian - which was the company I at worked for about eight years.

My new responsibilities involve working on enterprise security strategy for the company as a whole. I'm excited to be back working with a bunch of people I respect and admire. Completing the full-circle path this transition represents, I'm even sitting back at very the same desk I occupied when I managed Corillian's IT department several years ago. Funny how these things happen! It's been fun to catch up with my old coworkers and to get back in the seat.

Who knows... I might even be inspired to write more here in the future, now that I'm getting my brain back into technology again full-time. :)



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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Monday, 08 June 2009 19:52:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 28 May 2009

Here's a non-technical post. I shot a few pictures in my yard this morning as the sun was coming up. We've certainly been blessed with some incredibly nice weather recently, after a whole bunch of rain. There are a zillion wild irises blooming across my property. Click each image for the full-size version, if you like.

 



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Random Stuff
Thursday, 28 May 2009 06:02:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Shorthand used to be reserved for stenographers and people who took dictation or a lot of notes. But for the vast majority of us it was never fun. Remember those days? Now shorthand is cool again, but in text messages sent and received on cell phones. And it seems as if everyone under 25 is doing it (as well as some of us old people).

Parents, if you're lost in the world of texting because the abbreviated vocabulary is confusing, no worries. Mobile phone manufacturer LG has released a new web site that allows you to decode txt message slang, and you can use it at http://www.lgdtxtr.com/.

So now you can get a better handle on what your kids are up to. Enjoy.



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Mobile | Safe Computing | Tech
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 09:13:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Exchange Server 2010 is just around the corner, and Microsoft is gearing up to present a month of webcasts starting June 1st to introduce the new version to us. The webcast schedule is below. You can get the beta of Exchange Server 2010 here.

6/1/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 High Availability
Welcome to the future! The future of Exchange high availability, that is. In this webcast, we reveal the changes and improvements to the built-in high availability platform in Exchange Server 2010. Exchange 2010 includes a unified framework for high availability and disaster recovery that is quick to deploy and easy to manage. Learn about all of the new features in Exchange 2010 that make it the most resilient, highly available version of Exchange ever.

6/3/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Overview
This webcast will introduce you to Exchange Server 2010, reviewing the major areas of investment for this release and highlighting marquee features.

6/8/09 - 1:00pm PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Management Tools
Exchange 2010 includes new capabilities that make the operation of your Exchange environment more efficient. Learn how we've made the Exchange Management Console more powerful, extended the reach of PowerShell, and made it easier to delegate management tasks.

6/10/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Archiving and Retention
This webcast will introduce new ways to address archiving and retention with Exchange Server 2010.

6/15/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Outlook Web Access
Exchange 2010 brings new features and functionality to Outlook Web Access. See product demonstrations of the latest capabilities and understand how browser-based communication and collaboration gets better than ever in Exchange 2010.

6/17/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Architecture
This webcast describes the overall architecture of Exchange 2010 and key considerations for the scalability and performance of each server role. This webcast will provide the background and framework for the other Exchange 2010 webcasts, serving as a bridge between the overview session and drill-downs in each product area. This webcast is a recommended pre-requisite for the Exchange 2010 transition and deployment webcast.

6/22/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Federation in Exchange 2010
Federation is a key part of the architecture of Exchange 2010, powering new organization-to-organization sharing scenarios. Learn how federation enhances the capabilities of Exchange 2010 and enables advanced coexistence between Exchange Server and Exchange Online.

6/24/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Voice Mail enabled by Unified Messaging
Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging is Microsoft's second generation unified messaging and voice mail solution. In this webcast, learn about the features, benefits, and architecture of Unified Messaging in Exchange 2010.

6/24/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Information Protection and Control
This webcast will introduce you to new ways to address information protection and control with Exchange Server 2010. A discussion of the use of encryption and rights management in parallel with Exchange will be included as well as an introduction to new functionality in Exchange that supports information protection scenarios.

7/1/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Transition and Deployment
In this session we will cover the migration planning and deployment path to move an organization from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010.



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Tech
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 09:01:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Many people already know that I hold fireworks display operator/pyrotechnician licenses in both Oregon and Washington. So, every year I "shoot" a few (or more) large public display shows. In other words, the professional shows that cost quite a bit of money and make big noises and splashes of light.

Every year I invite people to come help me with the operation of the show on July 4th. It's a fun and exciting way to spend Independence Day, and it's not often that people get a chance to set up, load and shoot a big fireworks show.

But, here's your chance. If you're interested in joining me for July 4th in Des Moines, Washington (which is just south of SeaTac airport and north of Federal Way) to set up, fire and clean up a big show for the city, let me know by sending me an email or giving me a call! My contact info is in the sidebar of this site. We shoot this particular show off the end of a pier over the water. We'll start in the morning and load all the equipment down to the end of the pier, shoot the show and then remove the equipment and clean things up.

It's a bit of work, but it's also a truly unique experience and a whole lot of fun. Heck, how often do you get to blow up thousands of dollars of someone else's stuff? You'll handle the shells, set up and load the mortars, help wire them all up to the firing equipment, learn all about how they work, participate in a full set of safety lessons, and - most importantly - you'll be a key part of bringing an awesome July 4th celebration to the people of the city of Des Moines.

Feel free to let me know if you might like to participate. Safety always comes first and you will be trained in everything you need to know to safely be a crew member. Don't be bashful, there are a few crew slots open and I welcome your help and participation! The requirements for crew participation (per the U.S. government) are: United States citizen or legal resident, at least 18 years old, no felony convictions, and a few other details that I can explain to anyone who wants to participate.

Thanks, and hope to have you on the crew! Get in touch! To pique your interest, here's a sample video of a show we operated a couple years ago in Walla Walla:



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Fireworks | Random Stuff
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 15:49:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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