Verizon Wireless is running a promo until 1/6/2016, that will give you 2 GB of free data for life if you are on an XL plan or larger, and you upgrade an existing device or add a new device.
Here’s how to you can take advantage of this promo and add the 2 GB of bonus data per line for life by spending about $50, even if you don’t have an upgrade available. To me, $40 for 2 GB of data per month for life is more than worth it.
- “Upgrade” your device to the cheapest smartphone available. Right now for me it would be the Droid Mini. The full price is $108.
- If you are ordering online, make sure the confirmation page says you are getting 2 GB data bonus. If via a Verizon rep, confirm with her/him.
- Activate the new Droid Mini.
- Wait a day or two, and reactive your original phone, and sell the Droid Mini on eBay or the marketplace of your choice. You should get about $90 for it.
- Total cost to you, excluding shipping, etc is about $40.
Disclaimer: while I believe this to work based on my own experience and available information. I cannot warranty that this will work for you.
3DTV is here! This message shows up on my DirecTV receiver/DVR yesterday:
Wow! 25 World cup soccer games in 3D! Wait a minute, I think I see some dead pixels on my current HDTV.
Once in a while I come across a new product that solves a problem so elegantly that I just have to ask myself, why didn’t think of this before? It’s been very cold recently in the East Coast and when it gets very cold, my house’s gas heating system goes completely nuts. If I set the thermostat desired temperature to 70 degrees, the temperature in the bedroom will be in the roasting 80’s. The temperature differential depends how how cold it is outside, so I can’t just simply set the thermostat to a specific offset and forget either. I constantly need to get up in the middle of the night to adjust the thermostat downstairs when it gets cold outside. Why do I have to do this? I guess nobody told my house that we are in the 21st century.
So, the first thing I thought of is a remote control for the thermostat. Well, no surprise, they do make them. Apparently, my problem is fairly common for two-story homes with a single HVAC system. This Lux TX9000RF Programmable Thermostat with Remote looked very promising to me. A product like this would allow adjusting the thermostat temperature from anywhere in the house.
That still requires some work however. Hmm… what if there is a thermostat that can read the current temperature from a remote sensor? Bingo: they make those too. There are not many to be found, and after searching around, I decided to go for the Honeywell YTHX9321R5003 Prestige HD Thermostat Kit and I’ve been very happy with the result so far. This kit is expensive, but very well made and it works as advertised. It also looks very nice. The kit includes the thermostat, a remote control/sensor, and an outdoor sensor. This kit is in Honeywell Pro Install line, which means it’s sold mainly through HVAC contractors and installers. I found the installation process only slightly more complicated than a regular programmable thermostat. The only thing you need to watch out for is that this thermostat requires a 24vac Common wire (commonly black in color), which may not be available in your setup. If that is the case, then you will need to run/fish a new wire from your furnace – a pretty big job.
Now with this cool new gadget hooked up and everything humming, all I have to do is bring the remote with me to the bedroom and push the button on it named “Read temp from this device” and I am set for the night. If I ever want to tweak the temperature for some reason, I can do it right there with the remote. If only everything else was this easy!
Good news for i760 owners: Windows Mobile 6.1 update is now available.
This update fixes one major annoyance: support for SDHC cards with more than 2GB. I use my i760 as a music player and it’s kind of tough to have to fit my music selection into 2GB (or 4GB if you use the hack but didn’t want to use a hack).
Some features of note in WM 6.1:
- Support for SDHC cards beyond 2GB. 8GB cards seem to be working fine for people.
- Threaded SMS reader.
- View YouTube videos (m.youtube.com).
Download the update from Verizon here.
More information here.
A word of warning: the upgrade utility provided by Verizon/Samsung looks like a major piece of rushware. Many people reported no problems with the upgrade, but others reported of bricked phones, partially upgraded phones, and having to try the upgrade process multiple times to get it to work.
Software and Tools
Tech and Gadgets
- Dish Network enables ethernet ports on ViP622 HD DVRs. The main feature that the broadband connection brings is video on demand. The ethernet connection also allows the box to call home via the Internet instead of using the phone line.
And Now, Something Different
I cut a kiwi fruit in halves the other day and this was what I saw:
The i760 is now available for order through Verizon Wireless web site. The retail price is $519 but if you can take advantage of various discounts (New Every 2, 2-year contract, data plan), the price will go down to $99.
The SCH-i760 is a Windows Mobile Pro (Pocket PC) 6 phone, featuring a backlit QWERTY keyboard, 1.3 Megapixel camera/camcorder, microSD, WIFI, and bluetooth.
I still have a few more months to go before my New Every 2 discount will kick in :-(.
As an attempt to make this blog appears more busy:-), I will begin my "Finds of the Week" series. Each week, I will share miscellaneous finds and thoughts I ran into that are related to mostly .NET development.
Here are the finds for this week:
- Parallel Performance: Optimize Managed Code For Multi-Core Machines; by Daan Leijen and Judd Hall; via MSDN Magazine. In a few years' time, I predict that most new PCs will be multi-core. This article talks about the new Task Parallel Library (TPL) and provides code samples.
- alessandro pointed out that and IMG element with an empty src attribute will call the browser to make a request to the default document (usually default.aspx).
- Understanding Windows Workflow Foundation (by razi bin rais, via Codeproject.com) is a nice overview of Windows Workflow Foundation.
- Where are the basic controls in Silverlight 1.1? When I started experimenting with Silverlight recently (see my Silverlight Hello World application), the first question that came to my mind was: where are all the basic controls such as button, checkbox, textbox, etc?
Don't worry! Apparently, they are not there because it's still an Alpha release. According to this post from Tim Sneath, the following controls are planned to be included in the released version of 1.1: Button, TextBox, Scrollbar, Slider, ListBox, CheckBox, RadioButton, ComboBox, and UserControl (no TreeView, RichTextBox, or DataGrid).
- Probably old news to most CSS pros, but just in case you have not heard, FireBug is a very useful extension for FireFox/CSS development. Highly recommended if you ever work with CSS. I could have saved countless hours debugging HTML/CSS issues with this tool.
- Notepad++ is a new addition to my toolset. Supports syntax highlighting, regular expression search/replace, Unicode, Macros, and is light-weight.
Windows Mobile / Pocket PC
- I am pretty bad with keeping in touch with people, and I have found that LinkedIn makes it fairly easy to keep in touch with past colleages. Last week I had some free time so I decided to look up old colleagues on LinkedIn. It was great to hear from many people I worked with years ago. I found many people by simply searching on the name of the company we worked for.
And Now, Something Different
Check out the Windows Live Maps Bird's Eye view below. See the black car entering the cul-de-sac? That's me and my car.
How do I know that’s my car? Well, for one thing, my car is black. But the real reason I know it’s me is that a moment later, my garage door opened half-way… as I was about to drive into the garage:
At first glance, it seems to be an amazing coincidence (like one-in-a-million amazing). What is the chance that Microsoft’s Bird’s Eye low flying plane would fly across my house and snap pictures just as I am about drive into my garage? However, after further calculations, it turns out that the real probability is around 1/8640 (5-second window over 43200 average seconds of day-light). Still a very small chance, but certainly not lottery-winning “amazing”.
A few days ago, my old and trusty Samsung SCH-i730 Windows Mobile phone decided to bite the dust. One moment, I pulled it out of my pocket to look at the time and it was dead… just like that. No sound. No display. It was an eerie sight. I tried a soft reset, changed battery, hard reset, nothing.
Luckily, since I had purchased insurance for the phone (the only time I purchased insurance for an electronic gadget), I called Verizon. Two days later, I now have a brand new i730.
Normally, this would be a none-event. However, something interesting happened: the replacement phone works much better than the one I used to have. Read about the problems I had with the old phone here. On the new phone, everything runs noticeably faster. There is no more unexplained slowness. Audio during phone calls now works as expected with no cut outs.
I have two theories on why:
- I had upgraded my old phone to Windows Mobile 2005 and that version of the Windows Mobile OS was causing problems on the phone
- I had a defective phone
I will never know for sure the real cause, since the old phone is no more.
Samsung i730 owners out there, if your phone doesn’t seem to work quite right and have the problems described here, either try to downgrade to Windows Mobilde 2003, or if you have not upgraded to WM2005, you just may have a defective device.