East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Uh oh

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Software — Erwin @ 5:42 pm

Bejeweled for the iPhone, need I say more?


Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 5:27 pm

A week ago all four of us headed to Kansas City to meet up with M‘s dad and step-mother. After a night at a hotel there we began our road-trip.

First stop was Omaha, Nebraska, where we visited M‘s dad’s aunt. She’s 90 years old and still quite talkative. πŸ˜‰ This is a good thing, because I wanted to fill in some blanks in the family-tree I’m maintaining. I got most if not all of the answers, and some more, so I hope this will give me enough leads to extend it a generation or two in various directions.

After a two hour visit — longer than we expected, hopefully she didn’t overextend herself — we moved on, westward. We had hoped to find a hotel for the night in Kearney, Nebraska, but we hadn’t counted on a basketball tournament that was taking place that week which had all the hotels booked! While eating dinner at a local restaurant I checked for hotels in nearby places on the iPhone and we made a reservation as well. Score 1 for the iPhone, I guess.

The next day we continued west, visiting the Courthouse and Jail Rocks and Chimney Rock. After that we carried on to our actual destination for the day, the city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. There was a bit of confusion because both Google Maps and AAA TripTiks show the street where the Holiday Inn Express is on the wrong side of the bypass, so when we saw the hotel on the other side of the road upon entering the city we thought it was the wrong one and kept on looking. A few minutes and a bit of driving around later we decided to check anyway (at the very least one Holiday Inn would be able to give us directions to another Holiday Inn, right?) and it turned out to be the one!

On Saturday we attended and participated in the naming ceremony of N, who is part Lakota, in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. He was named in a group of 5, after a group of 3, and before a huge group of over 60. That last group was a lot less ceremonial and after the first dozen or so the names given to the inviduals began to sound somewhat clichΓ©, which was unfortunate. There was also a ceremony honouring army veterans, where they made a point of inviting all veterans to participate (which they did), not just the native American ones. A refreshing approach, I think, although I of course don’t have a lot of experience with such things.

All together we were there from approximately 10 in the morning until around 8 in the evening (I think, with the timezone change I lost my sense of time a bit). It was of course an outdoors event, set up near/under some trees but with it taking that long the shade was a moving target and with it being 90-95 Fahrenheit, we drank a lot of water.

On Sunday we drove north, through Wyoming, to Devils Tower. We got there just before 7, just in time to get cancellation stamps for our passports, after which we walked around it. We then stayed the night in Sundance, Wyoming.

On Monday we traveled east, and south, through the Spearfish Canyon, and visited two sites: Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Both were well worth the visit. At the latter I picked up a Lakota-English/English-Lakota dictionary and we verified N‘s name’s translation. πŸ™‚ That evening we got settled in our hotel rooms at the Best Western in Custer, South Dakota and reorganized the minivan so that it contained anything and everything that could go home, while M and the boys put their stuff in her dad’s rented minivan, in which they’ll be driving around for another 5-6 days.

Then yesterday I drove home in one big 14 hour drive. I started at 7:15 in the morning with a full tank and had to refill twice, plus took 5-10 minute breaks at a few rest-stops along the way, of course. I managed to get past Kansas City and into familiar territory before it got dark, and parked into our driveway shortly after 10 PM. I emptied one 32 ounce bottle of water, 6-7 cans of Dr Pepper, and two 9.5 ounce bottles of Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino. This kept me awake and avoided dehydration… I think.

Now I’m catching up on emails and finding out what needs fixing, at home and at work. Oh, and aside from the three states in the title, I also drove through Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. That’s enough states for one road trip, I think. πŸ™‚


iPhone notes (3)

Filed under: OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 11:42 pm

As far as I can tell I can only send text messages (SMS) to one contact at a time. I see no way to send to groups, nor do I see any way to add more contacts after the first one.

What the heck does the little “auto” icon mean, the one in the Google Maps application?

In the Recents section of the Phone menu, I can only clear all calls, not individual entries. Thankfully I don’t think this device is going to run out of space anytime soon, but what’s wrong with cleaning your caller-id history, so to speak, and only keeping the ones that you care about?

User Interface SNAFU of the day

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 7:32 pm

Occasionally you may have to fill out a form with a pull-down list of states and notice that Alaska is the first entry in the list, instead of Alabama, which you’d expect if you’re sorting alphabetically, but aside from each first letter being sorted correctly, it just looks chaotic:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona

The explanation is actually very easy: Whoever put together the pull-down list sorted the states by the (invisible to you) two-letter abbreviations of the state, instead of the names that you do see:

		<option value="AK">Alaska</option>
		<option value="AL">Alabama</option>
		<option value="AR">Arkansas</option>
		<option value="AZ">Arizona</option>

For very similar reasons I’ve had to look for my mother tongue (Dutch) somewhere near Norwegian instead of near Danish, because it was sorted as “NL”!

Today I ran into the incorrect sorting of states on the tvguide.com website, hardly a low profile outfit, one that you’d expect to get it right.

Is it really so difficult to spend an extra 5 minutes on getting it right?

You know you’ve been

Filed under: Humo(u)r,OS X — Erwin @ 5:47 pm

… using the iPhone a lot lately when you do the two-finger scrolling on your Apple laptop of sorts in the wrong direction. πŸ™‚


iPhone notes (2)

Filed under: OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 3:54 am

You know what would be cool? If the iPhone would be able to connect with an Airport Express! πŸ˜‰

It looks like EDGE is behaving a bit better again today, I could even almost browse web pages over it, but then switched back to wi-fi for actual bandwidth and speed. I tried YouTube briefly on there but couldn’t get Search or Features to work on either wi-fi or EDGE, it keeps telling me “YouTube not available”. Ditto for Most Recent and Top Rated in the “More” section. Annoying.

I like how SMS looks like iChat, which also makes me think that IM support may be added at some point. As far as I can tell you can only clear entire conversations, not any individual messages from those conversations. Still waiting for my number to be fully moved over to AT&T so at the moment I can SMS from the iPhone and AT&T customers can SMS me back on there, but anyone trying to call my number will end up on my old cellphone still. Patience… I know.

Configured two GMail accounts to see how that would work. Note to others: It helps tremendously if you first go into GMail and configure your account such that POP3 is allowed! πŸ˜‰ It looks like email is the only way off of the iPhone for pictures taken with the thing itself, as opposed to pictures synced onto it with iTunes? Am I missing something here?

Update: iPhoto kindly treats the iPhone like any other camera from which you can import photos. What’s more, emailing the photos only gets you reduced size copies (640×480) instead of the original size (1600×1200) that you get using iPhoto!


iPhone notes

Filed under: Software,Technology — Erwin @ 5:03 pm

The iTunes sync declined to sync a track, telling me that the iPhone can’t play it. The track it declined is a 128 kbps MPEG2 track, which you would expect an MPEG3 capable device to be able to play. I have no iPod so I can’t compare notes with that. Can anyone who owns one tell me if the iPod has the same behaviour?

Update: Kalle confirmed that the iPod refuses to play this same track as well and wonders why iTunes doesn’t offer to transcode the track (similar to how it’ll convert photos for you that it syncs to the iPhone) since it can play it.

Mad iPhone

Filed under: Humo(u)r,OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 2:52 am

… or was that iPhone madness?

Either way, thanks to Christopher I now am the proud and still somewhat baffled owner of one of those gadgets. The activation itself was as smooth as you would hope, but the number transfer is going to take a while longer still, it appears. For added fun M and I then visited the local Cingular, or rather “new-AT&ampT how can I help you” store which amusingly enough didn’t have any of them on sale itself. Apparently they were a bit difficult to get a hold of, for this poor mid-west city? On the other hand the nearest (bigger) city did have some. The reason for the visit was to get M a new phone, transfer the newly created account into one with a family-plan, and add her on there, since having one phone with AllTel and one with AT&T makes very little sense.

The EDGE problems today were definitely noticeable. Combined with an apparently weaker wifi receiver than the MBP right next to it, they caused the iPhone to have almost no network connectivity. This was at the in-laws, while at home the wifi receiver is much more willing to hop onto the home wifi network. Time will tell how typical this is.

I like the custom Google map/route setup, which will hopefully be useful in the upcoming road trip (in a week and a half). Same with the weather widget, I guess.

Is it normal that the YouTube item doesn’t work yet? This may be a firewall issue, which is pretty strict here at home.

More later, no doubt. πŸ˜‰

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