Showing posts from 2010

Small Bluetooth only flip-phone for Smart Phone

I wish someone would build a cheap little Bluetooth only Mobile Phone that would only work when connected to your smartphone just like ear buds work, to make it easier to make calls in the sun or places where you don't want to take your good phone.

It would look like a simple cellphone, like we had before smartphones, with buttons to dial, and a small display but it would be Bluetooth only so it would only work using the 3G plan on your Smartphone or Tablet just like your Bluetooth ear-bud does.

This device would allow you to make calls in bright sunlight or while your phone or tablet is charging. If your out on a boat or your doing something that may damage your smartphone, you set your smartphone someplace safe within 30 feet and use the Bluetooth phone.

So if you build cellphones or Bluetooth ear-buds please take this idea and build one. If you already built it, please point me to your site.

Thank you

Dell Streak 2.2 upgrade

Manually update your US Dell Streak to 2.2
NO NEED TO ROOT and NO 3rd party utilities are required.
Warning this will WIPE your phone and restore it to factory Settings

Note: Applying the update to my current build did not work, I had to follow the steps below. Writing this blog post took longer than doing the update. This update has one less step than the 1.6 to 2.1 update.

You will need
1. A windows PC.
2. Your phone & USB cable.
3. Download two Dell Streak ROM files.
4. The Dell PC Suite for the windows drivers. (comes on your phone)
5. The Android SDK for the windows fastboot command

First locate and download
1. The Dell Streak recovery ROM (It's the same for both the UK and the US)

2. The Android 2.2 upgrade package you want.
I used the official (build 12792) update package located at:

3. The Android SDK

The Android SDK
1. Unzip but do not install the Android SDK
2. Move the folder to C:\ and rena…

Five days with the Maylong M-150

For a $100 tablet when others are $300 to $700 the Maylong M-150 from was not bad. Out of the box it looks like a 7 inch iPad.

It includes a builtin MicroSD slot on the side and an adapter that adds two USB ports and a network port. I plugged in my Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse and was happy to find it worked great with no setup required.

The touch screen works better using your finger nail -vs- your finger tip so while things like Web browsing, Email, and Facebook work fine you may not like it for games.

The stock ROM looks and acts a bit unfinished but I found and installed a third party ROM with active support at: the downloaded link is:

The new ROM was cleaner and faster and made the Maylong look even more like a little iPad but more important and as I said the ROM has active support via tipstir see link above.

Even though the Maylong …

Noisy Desktop Computer

Other than your PC speakers, noise in a computer comes from 2 places fans and drives.

Sometimes its a worn out fan or a wire or something laying on a fan. A bad barring may make noise sometimes but not always.

A bad drive or a disk in a floppy or CD drive can also make noise. If the noise is coming from a bad hard drive then it could make the computer run slow because the drive is working harder.

Make sure your floppy and cd drives are empty.

Using a plastic pen cap you can test to see if its a noisy fan by stopping the fans one at a time.

Normally you can stop the power supply fan from the back of the computer by poking the pointy end of the pen cap in the fan hole on the back of the computer. If the extra noise stops you found it. You will know you did it right if it sounds like you just stuck a pen cap into a fan blade.

To get to the CPU fan if your computer has one. Open the case and look for one or more fans and do the same thing you did with the power supply fan.

With the case o…

Toilet Fill Kit - easy project

I had to replace a toilet fill kit this weekend because it would not shut off. I worried that I would make a mess and regret trying to do it myself, but it went together so easy I'm tempted to do a few more just to get rid if the old kits.

A traditional toilet kit has a big float on a stick to turn the water on and off. The one I needed to replace was newer, still a big float but it was around the fill pipe and the lever to turn off the water was not working. I already knew I do not like the traditional kits, and the one I was replacing failed, so I picked the a brand that had a different look.

It's a Korkey $10 at Home Depot and I could not believe how easy it was. No tools, things go together finger tight. The design may have a float but if so its inside. It went to gether quickly works great and my toilet is now working as good as new.

Roof top Antenna with 40 channels of free Digital TV

Until Sept of 2010 my home in Florida had no TV, but it came with a roof top antenna, so I picked up one of them new fangled flat screen TV's with the digital tuners. I found a 22 inch Emerson flat screen at Walmart for $198 and plugged it into my roof top antenna.

I was very happy to find 40 clear digital TV channels. I picked the Emerson because it had good side vision (much better than many of the others) and it was under $200 and 22 inches is small but not tiny.

The digital tuner in the TV responds better than the analog to digital converter boxes I tried a year or two earlier. The channels are as clear as cable. You can look at your favorite TV Guide to see what channels are available in your area.

Updated June 2015

Now almost 5 years later I'm still using that same setup at home, so I've saved about $5000 by still having no cable.

Funny though that I just bought a 32 inch flat screen TV from Walmart for under $200 that I use at my office with my laptops as a monitor…

USB Tether

My USB android to PC tether is working flawlessly. I have not tried watching Hulu but everything I needed to do online has been easy, fast, and simple.

WiFi Hotspot day two

All is well with my WiFi Hotspot except for Hulu. I played "We Farm" on my iPad, read my favorite blogs, and other stuff till the wee hours of the morning and the network was great. When I got up this morning the network was still up and my wife had already been online. The Dell Streak stayed cool, no heat issues. So if you do not watch Streaming Video online this may still work for you. Sadly Hulu and Netflix online is my TV.

Last night Hulu started out a little rocky and though at times I thought it was working well, by mid afternoon today I gave in unpluged my Dell Streak and plugged my cable modem back in. To get my laptop back on my home network I also had to disable sharing on the PdaNet connection.

As for Hulu I found some settings I hoped would fix it, but no. I've been having intermittent problems with Hulu stalling a few times a week for a few months. I figured it was charter, and I still do but while trying to get Hulu working via my cellphone I found some pla…

WiFi Hotspot goodbye cable internet

Last weekend I installed PdaNet to USB tether my Android Dell Streak to my Laptop. This weekend I've unplugged my cable modem. But the whole house is still connected to the internet because the wireless card in my Laptop has turned my standard Linksys router into a WiFi Hotspot.

It really was too easy. I just unplugged my cable modem, went into the network connections on my laptop. Right clicked on PdaNet and clicked properties. Clicked share and selected share using my wireless connection. Then I told my laptop to reconnected to my linksys router. Note my router is not doing DHCP.

I tested using my iPad, two desktop computers, an iMac, my Laptop and my Android. I watched a little Hulu, and Netflix. I did some online banking, checked my email, updated my blog. I played some internet games on the iPad, then unpluged things and went out for a while. When I got back I pluged my phone back in and played some more. I almost think its faster now than it was yesterday. I did have to rest…

Bluetooth Home Phone System

Back in June I picked up an at&t TL92270 Dual Handset Bluetooth Answering System at Walmart, for my house in Florida. Yesterday I picked up another one for my house in Massachusetts.

The bluetooth phone system works with any standard Bluetooth cellphone. The cellphone must be within about 30 feet of the base unit. You can connect two cellphones to the system. The equipment cost is about $80.

I got it so I could walk around the house while my cellphone is tethered to my laptop. It is also great for people who only get a signal in one spot of there home or office.

I love it because it's easy and it works good, but it does requires just a little more thought to use than a normal home phone, so it may not be good for everyone.

You must make sure the cellphone is within 30 feet of the base, and you must look at the bluetooth light on the base unit to make sure your cellphone is connected before you walk away. If it is not connected, you must push a couple of button on the cellphone…

Android 2.1 Update closing thoughts

It was a long day but time went by quickly. My phone is working good. The 1.5 stock build was good, but the 2.1 with the O2 build is better.

I really only have one issue and that is that Dell removed the Right & Left Arrows Keys when they took the number pad off the stock Keyboard. If I had a track ball I would not care, but now how do we arrow around to edit?

A nice change if you use the stock email client is they added check boxes and stars to the inbox.

The desktop UI is a little different, but there are apps for that. The USB cable connected message and controls are now up in the message bar. The screen lock is different. Because they removed the number pad the keyboard is bigger. I'm sure there is lots of other good stuff I have not found yet.

The whole update process would have gone faster if I had had better instructions before I started. I hope you will find my notes helpful. I did not include where to find files on the internet because those things change.

My first m…

My Android 2.1 Upgrade Notes

My notes below will walk you through wiping your Dell Streak phone, installing a different stock ROM, and upgrading it to Android 2.1

First let me say NO NEED TO ROOT and NO 3rd party utilities are required.

All you need is your phone.
The ROM's that you wish to load.
The Dell PC Suite for the windows drivers.
The Android SDK for the windows fastboot command

I selected to start with the stock Dell Streak UK/O2 version of Android 1.6
The recovery ROM is the same for both the UK and the US

If you do not care about the O2 build, I think you could skip most of this and just load the Android 2.1 update to your Stock US build, but then you still have the AT&T build.

Warning this will WIPE your phone and restore it to factory Settings

First locate and download
1. The "stock recovery ROM"
2. The "stock official Dell ROM"
3. The Android 2.1 upgrade package
4. The Android SDK

The Android SDK
1. Unzip but do not install
2. Move the folder to C:\ and rename the folder to…

My Android 2.1 Upgrade story

I played with my new Dell Streak for five days while running Dell's stock US Android 1.6 build. As I said five days ago my goal for today is to load the Dell O2 Android 1.6 build and then upgrade it to Android 2.1

I took my time so I could document my steps, but due to several wrong turns, it took me about 4 hours to piece together the fragmented information from several blogs. My Dell Streak is now running a clean non AT&T build of Android 2.1 on the AT&T network. I'm very happy with it and would do it again.

I will post my notes and clean them up as needed as I find things that need to be changed.

Wifi Analyzer

Wifi Analyzer for Android is a great app because it allows you to view the signal strengths of all the wireless routers and access-points that are in range at the same time. But be careful if you forget to turn if off when your done, it may kill your battery.

There are several views to select from including ones that show both the signal strength in -db as well as bars. This is a very helpful tool if you are trying to setup or trouble shoot a wireless network.

Knowing the real strength of all the wifi routers in the area will help when trying to figure out where to place or move a router to make it work best.

With the WiFi Analyzer app there are 3 settings that will help save your battery. The first is to enable the "Exit" button on the menu, and the other two are to have the app turn WiFi ON when the app loads and OFF when the app exits.

Not having apps like this one is one things I do not like about the Apple iPad. It's not that the iPad can't run this kind of app,…

USB Tethered to Android

My Windows PC can now be quickly USB tethered to my Android 2.1 Dell Streak.

I could have gone Bluetooth, I could have gone WiFi, but I choose to go USB and to use PdaNet.

I selected USB so I would not kill my phones battery. I selected PdaNet because I had used it before and many of the other Tether apps I saw required the phone to be rooted. So far it seems just as fast as my current Charter Cable internet. I just watched a little TV on Hulu, and did some online banking, and checked my email.

Dell Streak a 5” Tablet & Smartphone

My Dell Streak arrived today. It was hard but I took it out of the box, plugged it in and walked away till it was fully charged. Then while it was still plugged in I started setting it up, and installing a couple of apps. Later that night I started playing with it.

The first time I held it to my face to answer a phone call I truely realized how large it was. But at 5 inches it's still smaller than a few cell phones I've had in the past. The screen is large, but at times I still wish it was larger.

I installed the basics. Advanced Task Killer, Wifi Analyzer, Our Groceries, Google Voice, Facebook, TweetCaster, IMDb, Barcode Scanner, setup Gmail, setup my work email using the Android email client, and put a shortcut to Navigation on the home screen.

Now I will play with Dells stock AT&T version of Android 1.6 till the weekend. So far everything works just as I remembered with my HTC Aria, the Dell UI is a little different, but its all good.

My plans for the weekend if everyth…

Android Task Manager

On the topic of having a Task Manager app -vs- no task manager app on your Android, my view is I like to know whats normally running -vs- walking around in a daze not knowing. Just because you install an app like Advanced Task Killer does not mean you have to kill any tasks you see running.

I like the "Advanced Task Killer" app because it does not list all the extra system apps you should not be messing with. It allows you to Ignore a task you always want running like Gmail, and it allows you to view and manage (kill) other apps on demand.

In the "Advanced Task Killer" settings I've set the default click action to Popup Menu, and told it to Ignore Gmail, Google Voice, Email, and Advanced Task Killer.

Dell Streak on Order

I ordered a Dell Streak today. I've waited over two years for this phone and I should have it on Tuesday of next week. It's hard to believe its been almost a month since I returned my HTC Aria. I loved that little phone, but my Blackberry got me through the wait so well that I was starting to question why I cared. But its the big screen, but still small enough to slip into a pocket. The extra functionality and the hopes that this time next year or sooner I will write a story about how I gave up cable internet at home and went 3G all the way.

Five weeks with an Apple iPad

I never wanted an iPad but I've been playing with one everyday for about 5 weeks. There are a lot of little things I do not like about it, but my real issue is with the Apple app store. I do not like that Apple decides what apps are OK for you or your business to use. If Microsoft did that with Windows would you except it? I would rather have an Android but the iPad does have its good points.

So lets begin. The 10 inch screen is a good size for a tablet you would use around the house. Its big enough to read an email or browse the web without feeling crowded. The screen resolution is good for watching a video. You can plug in a headset if you want the sound louder or softer. There is a good selection of apps and books, and the weight is ok. But at the same time if you have to carry it around all day everyday while working its a hand full and you can not put it in your pocket even for a few seconds. If you choose to hold it while reading or watching a movie after a while it gets hea…

Cellphone Data Plan

Having a phone with a real Gmail app has made a big difference in my life this past year. I do computer support for a school district, and it seems I'm always in the wrong school when things break. We have a lot of 3G dead spots in the school district so I needed a phone with a real email app so my email could download as I move around.

A year ago I bought a Blackberry 8820, I wanted the Dell Streak but it had not been released yet. I'm still waiting. I have to say the Blackberry did the job well. I still want a Dell Streak because I want a bigger screen, a larger keyboard and more apps. But if I had to choose between a Blackberry or an Apple I would still pick the Blackberry.

I setup the blackberry mail app to download my work email and I used the gmail app for everything else. I love how google sync keeps my contacts and calendars up to date. I never had to install the Blackberry software on my computer. Its all gmail, and I love it. My next phone has to live up to the stand…

TouchTec Penz

Review of TouchTec Penz - The Multi-function Capacitive Touch Screen Stylus and Ball Point Pen. Yes its a cheap pen, but the touch screen part of the stylus looks like someone took a three whole punch to a cheap fake leather jacket and then glued the circle off center on the end of a cheap pen. To use the pen on an iPad you have to touch straight down not at any kind of angle like you would to actually write something. The only thing this pen is good for is the idea to look in your closet for something to glue to your own stick.

Apple iPad Case

So far I feel Apple's stock iPad case is only great for carrying it around. I do not like it at all when I'm using the iPad. So last night and this morning I found and ordered two iPad cases, a USB charging cable, and a stylus. The links for what I bought are at the bottom.

I've tried to use the iPad a lot over the past couple of weeks to fully understand what it does well and what it does not. I've found that as I jump between sites and apps I tend to turn it a lot because I can and because some apps and sites work better that way. I've found that I often prefer to hold the iPad like a book not on my lap and I only set it on a table or desk between using it.

The Bumper case comes in FlipCam yellow!! but I ordered the Gray one to match my bike. I also ordered a snap on case, a USB charging cable so I can charge the iPad from my PC, and a stylus.

I'm hoping the stylus will help me get more words in the note apps, and I think I will prefer the feel of Bumper Cas…

DD-WRT rom for Linksys Routers

I added a second linksys router today because my iPad signal was low (one bar) in some spots of the house.

On one of my linksys routers I loaded the DD-WRT rom because I was told it would make it easier to manage two routers on one network. I do like it better, but the stock rom is just as easy.

Then I read a post that said to use WPA2 not WEP and you may get a better signal. I switched to wpa2 and now I have more bars on my iPad.

So I thought I would no longer need two routers, but then I found out my windows vista laptop does not like wpa2 on the DD-WRT router. I found a few blogs say a few people have a problem with vista, DD-WRT and wpa2.

My laptop works fine with WPA securty but the iPad works better
with the WPA2 so I will keep them both.


We just recieved 500 iPads for the school today. You know I'm not an Apple Fan, right...

Home Theater

All most a year ago today, I canceled my cable TV, stopped going to the movies and bought a Viewsonic PJD5111 DLP Projector The projector, Drop Ceiling Mounting Kit, and almost all the cables I would need came in a little $600 neat bundle. I had allready finished my basement so the drop ceiling mounting kit was a snap. For my screen I use a simple 8x8 wall. Nothing more than two sheets of drywall, some drywall tape to hide the joints, and some joint compound to cover the tape. Then painted with a flat white drywall primer and thats it. It is the best TV I've ever had I and question why anyone would want a little 55 inch flat screen when for $600 your screen is as big as the wall you can shine it on.

I have the projector plugged into three devices. A five year windows PC running vista for Hulu, Netflix, and web browsing. A a TIVO for channels 2 - 20, and a DVD player also for Netflix. 89% of what we watch is on Hulu, I only have Netflix and the TIVO to fill the gaps. We watch noth…

Save as PDF

This is the PDF printer I installed on the Windows 2003 Citrix servers at School to allow anyone in the district to create a PDF file.

1. Install gs871w32.exe it's Ghostscript and it's required for qvPDF to work.

2. Install qvPDF setup it's the PDF printer

3. Rename the printer to "Save as PDF"

4. Run the qvPDF Config and set the default plugin to "SaveTo"
and set the SaveTo plugin to always show the "Save-As" Dialog and to Open the document after savings.

5. Test it to make sure the SaveTo plugin saved.

You can rename the printer from the printer icon at the top of qvPDF Config but you have to close qvPDF Config and re-open it before making any other changes or your changes will be lost.