Archive for the ‘General’ Category

iPhone 4 Earpiece Troubleshooting

Saturday, December 31st, 2011
Are you having problems with your iPhone earpiece not working? The most typical symptom is you make or receive a call and cannot hear ringing or the other caller through the speaker.  Usually switching to speakerphone will work until you have time to address the issue. There are many forum posts across the web with various solutions, I decided to put a short list together with the actual fix I discovered.
  • Check volume
    • Sometimes the volume is just turned down too low, while this seems like a big duh!, its always good to check this first.  Volume is adjusted while the call is taking place otherwise your ringer or system volume are changed.
  • Reboot
    • Ahhh. the ole windows trick, sometimes this fixes it.
  • Headphone plug
    • Try plugging in headphone, can you hear the caller now?  Occasionally the iPhone will incorrectly think that headphones are plugged in.  Inserting and removing the headphones can sometimes fix this.   Others have various cleaning methods including paperclips to remove junk in the bottom of the port or using an alcohol wetted q-tip.
  • Bluetooth
    • Does it work with bluetooth?
    • Try turning off bluetooth, sometimes the iPhone thinks it is still connected when it is not.
    • This is occasionally caused when the iPhone loses its connection with a bluetooth device.
  • Huff the Earpiece
    • This is my own discovery.  I tried all the above plus doing a full reset.
    • Pucker up,  make like you are going to kiss the earpiece and lightly blow back and forth (lightly!) while your lips remain pressed against the glass.  If the speaker is frozen/jammed, this will free it.
    • My guess it that perspiration causes the internal speaker to get stuck and moving it with air will free it.
    • It seems crazy but it fixed my phone
  • Restore
    • Restoring to factory settings using itunes will usually resolve any issues caused by third party software.
    • Restore, then don’t restore your own data and test the phone.
  • Apple Store
    • If you are under warranty, time to take it back to an Apple store
    • Out of warranty?  Did you buy with MasterCard or Amex?  Both double your warranty on many electronic devices.  Check with your card provider to see what additional coverage you may have.
Good luck!

Heytell vs Voxer

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Heytell and Voxer are two popular PTT (push to talk apps) that offer walkie talkie like service for various  smartphones.  Anyone that has used a real walkie talkie or is familiar with Nextel knows how useful this feature can be.  While text messaging is great in meetings, it’s terrible for driving, not to mention illegal in most places.  Sending someone a quick voice message is often preferable to placing a more time consuming call.  I have compared the two apps, and below is a list of features available in each.

Feature Heytell Voxer
 Walkie Talkie  √  √
 Text Messaging
 Picture Messaging
 Video Chat
 Location Sharing  √
 Group Messaging  $  √
 Privacy Settings (limit contact to friends only, FOF, all)  √
 Block Users  √
 Facebook Integration
 Works on Wifi
 Works on 3G
 No Ads $

√=included feature $=additional in-app purchase

With the above features in mind, sometimes there is more to an app than just cold hard specs.  Each has its pluses and minuses in my opinion.

Lets start with Heytell.  This is an app that focuses just on the walkie talkie feature.  And it does it well.  It is no frills and has a very intuitive user interface.  I’d single handedly recommend it if it employed streaming like Voxer does.  Instead you must record your message, then wait for it to be transmitted.  This is much like the days of the internet before Youtube began streaming video.  Lots of waiting for no good reason.

Voxer on the other hand tries to do many things at once.  You can of course voice chat, but you can also text and send picture messages.  This makes the app much more flexible, but the fact is the additional features are available as core components on just about any smartphone.  Then there is the thing that makes Voxer great.  As soon as you start talking, the other person hears your voice.  The streaming function works very well.  Then there is the UI.  Its not very intuitive, and it really strays from the iPhone motif.  I don’t expect every app to look like iOS native, but then again, I’d prefer it not look completely out of place.  Then there is the dagger to the heart.  Voxer has no privacy settings.  Its like AIM 1.0.  Anyone can (and does!) message you.  Voxer allows you to block the user, but you still get an annoying popup that makes you think someone you know has contacted you.  In my limited use, I got several chat popups from random strangers.  This alone made me abandon the app.   The blocking feature is very tedious, I believe there are four or five actions required to block that users after the initial badge pops up.

I’m sure Voxer will address the privacy issues, but ideally I’d be even more happy if Heytell added streaming support.  Heytell is just more intuitive and tries to do one thing well instead of a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need.  Both will get the job done, and since both are free, its worth checking either of them out!

Felt F5 in the wild….

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


Its been a few months since I finished the Felt. I changed the stem out for an FSA and saved about 40 grams. Changed the tires from the Pro Race II’s 700×25 as they were rubbing the frame occasionally. Other than that and a few adjustments, it has been an amazing ride.

What makes a great digital camera???

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


If you believe the advertisements, magazines and online forums you should consider:

  • Megapixel Rating
  • Brand
  • Battery Format (AA vs Proprietary)
  • Memory Format
  • Zoom factor

The real problem is, when comparison shopping, that is what most people use to compare.

Wow, this camera has 4 more megapixel than that one….. and it costs less!!!

The above items actually have very little to do with what makes a digital camera great.

First and foremost, size matters.  If you don’t have your camera with you, how are you going to take that picture?  This can’t be stressed enough.  People buy cameras and then leave them at home.  Second, batteries do matter.  AA batteries are great because they are everywhere.  But they also don’t have nearly as much power to recharge your flash, and have a high rate of self discharge (ie while sitting in your drawer).  That means you miss the picture on both counts.  If the camera is dead… no pictures.  If you are waiting for the flash… you miss the picture.  Last but not least, lag makes for a bad camera.  If you miss the moment, its gone forever.

What really makes a camera great?  Its simple.  Great pictures.  If you don’t regularly get great pictures out of your camera, it sucks.  Plain and simple.  I’m not saying a camera will make an artist of of you, but your shots should come out clear, crisp and properly exposed.  For good pictures you need a good lens, a good metering and focusing system, low noise at reasonable ISO levels and a good strong flash for indoor photography.

So how do you find a good camera?  Look at lots of pictures online.  The review sites have some good pictures to compare “lab” type pictures, but sites like flickr let you look at pictures taken by average users.  When you think you found something you like, buy from a place that allows returns.  Costco is one of the few places that gives you 90 days to play.  You need to know if the camera works for you.  Then take lots of picutures.

Jake’s Done

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

finally all built....finally all built….

So after being a little busy and not having much time to build, I got around to finishing the Jake.  The build went very well except for needing new cables.  The cables from the donor bike were a bit too short.  Other than that, everything transfered over just fine.

I am amazed at how smooth this thing rides for being aluminum.  I guess its the FAT Kendas, 700×38 that help.  No changes planned yet….

Why sucks

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I’ve been following techbargains for years, it seems. I honestly can’t remember when I first started, maybe it was 2000?

It used to be a place with lots of good deals and no “sponsored” deals. As of late there is just so much crap on there that is NOT a deal. The owners are clearly in bed with quite a few vendors. Dell is the most blatant example but there are others. Then there are the deals the owners think are “interesting” A gas engine for a bicycle? How can you even post that with a straight face.Then there are the repeats. It’s not a deal if it is the same price over and over. I can use pricegrabber to find prices too.

You just can’t call yourself a deal website with this kind of crap going on. Sorry.

RIP: Doritos Fiery Habanero

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
No more good stuff

No more good stuff

UPDATE: They are back! Same chip, different bag.

I’m not a huge fan of Doritos.  But one amazing snack the Frito-Lay company did make was the Fiery Habanero Dorito.  These were amazingly spicy for a commercial food.  What I really enjoyed was how the heat kept building up.  After not being able to  find them anymore, I sent a mail to Frito-Lay.  Below is the sad response:

Response from Frito-Lay     RE: Doritos, Reference #010401126A

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.  We?re sorry to report that  Doritos Fiery Habanero were discontinued because of slow sales.  While there are no plans to reintroduce this product, please know your comments will be shared with our sales and marketing teams for any future consideration.

When you take into account the tremendous variety of consumer preferences, not every product does equally well, and occasionally one is discontinued.  The decision to discontinue a product is always a difficult call and is made only after considerable market research has shown that sales and interest in the product is too low to keep it on the store shelves.

Thanks again for sharing your comments with us.  We hope that one of our future snacks will satisfy your taste buds.

Best regards,

Frito-Lay Consumer Affairs

Scattante Americano

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Scattante Americano

Scattante Americano by FujiHub RightHub LeftScattante Americano

I noticed that Performance was having another web sale and I was just flipping through the bikes while helping a friend of mine pick one out. I noticed the Scattante Americano. I had seen quite a few single speeds while out riding on the W&OD, and their simplicity had fascinated me a bit. Most road bikers end up spending lots of time shifting back and forth between one of 30 gears. This bike dispensed with that notion. Geared at 44/16, it was similar to my middle ring, 3rd gear up. Not a horrible ratio. Since there was a sale, and a 10% off coupon and then my 10% back in points, I pulled the trigger. I did a few searches online, and there wasn’t a whole lot of information about this bike except for this single thread

After pulling the trigger my main concerns were:

  • Weight
  • Build Quality
  • Actually getting it, apparently stock was spotty

When the shipping confirmation was sent, I nearly cancelled the order right then and there. Listed shipping weight was 32.2 lbs…. EEK. Usually shippers slightly under-estimate weight. Thankfully, this was not the case here. Once it arrived (3 days from Chapel Hill to my local store) I was relieved. Once out of the box and on the scale, it was 21 lbs without the pedals and reflectors. It comes with the bars, stem, front wheel, front brake, seat, reflectors and chain stay unmounted. I also found the rear brakes poorly adjusted from the factory. Overall assembly was cake. Today I took it out for the first real ride. I rode 35 miles with a leisurely 16mph average.

The bike rides great, its a bit more stiff than my R-650 and doesn’t feel quite as agile but its great for the price. I had a blast not being able to change gears. I can’t count the number of times I tried to shift. Something that I do almost instinctively, I can get by without doing. The fit and finish are great, the matte paint is a nice touch. The saddle however is pretty crummy as well as the OEM tires. I ended up not even using them as they were 700×28, a little wider than my taste. They also have a steel bead making them heavy. Two things of interest, the rear hub is double sided and the assembly checklist is Fuji, wonder if that is the maker!?! Anyway, its a fantastic bike for a fantastic price.

Bluetooth Sound Quality Roundup Update

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Ailph Jawbone

Last week I got my hands on a Jawbone. I have to say, it is atrocious in the looks department. I really dislike the attempt to make it some sort of artform. However, looks aside, its is an impressive unit. The noise isolation is very effective. The inbound and outbound sound quality is light years ahead of the BlueAnt Z9. While the unit does let some background noise get by, it does it with grace. The user sounds normal. The BlueAnt seems to want to mask any background noise, great if you want to hide where you are at the expense of sounding like a cyborg. So I guess you can take your pick, look like a cyborg (Jawbone) or sound like one (Z9). Check out the update at the BT Comparo 1.1 .


Friday, March 21st, 2008

I finally got around to updating my Sprint Mogul. The new ROM unlocks the A-GPS as well as EVDO Rev A. I searched around for a small GPS app that could record track logs and export them to KML files. WMMiniGPS fit the bill. Nice, lightweight and KML exports. Above is the result of this mornings bicycle ride. Its great to finally have a phone, mp3 player and GPS in one unit.