July 2005 Archives

Oh Crap, No DSL!

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I just rented a new apartment, and while arranging the utilities hookups, I discovered that it's not certified for DSL availability! I wouldn't have rented this apartment if I had known I couldn't get DSL, I guess I should have checked it out in advance. But it never occurred to me that such a common service would be unavailable in the middle of a metropolitan area.
QWest says the apartment might be OK for DSL, but they won't know for sure until they send a lineman to hook up the phones and check the lines. So I might be stuck with a cable modem, which could make it impossible to run this server properly. I might have to migrate the server contents to a professional hosting service, which would not be cheap since there aren't many affordable hosts for QuickTime Streaming Server, one of the key features of this site.
I expect the server to go offline temporarily within the next week, while I move the CPU to my new apartment. There is a possibility that this server may be offline longer than expected, or resume service with some high-bandwidth features disabled. Stay tuned for more developments.
Update August 2, 2005: QWest officially says DSL is not available at my location because I am too far from their switching facility, so they did not even bother to send a lineman to test my lines. However, there are multiple reports from QWest customers on the same block as my apartment that DO have DSL. There is even one report that QWest installed a new DSLAM only 8 blocks from my apartment, so I am definitely not too far away to get service. Everyone says QWest DSL is available, except QWest. I'm still trying to get QWest to recognize that they built new facilities specifically to expand service in my area, but they just don't believe me. The problem is, the QWest offices are in Seattle and Denver, they know nothing about the local network here in Iowa.
Update August 3, 2005: I called QWest DSL tech support under my old account, to see if they could do anything for me. The techs said they can look up my new location in their "circuit database" and it shows my apartment is qualified for DSL, and there is an available "pair" (copper wires) ready to install the service, IF I can get a QWest lineman to go out and check the line quality and give the approval. And they're sure it would work, IF we can just get the "line conditioning" work done. But he also says that the QWest sales database will NOT show the location as OK for DSL, so they won't even send out a lineman to check it out, and on top of that, QWest Sales says they won't do line conditioning anymore. I am at an impasse. QWest CAN sell me DSL, but they WON'T. This is ridiculous.

iPod Requires Native USB2

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I solved a minor oddity with my iPod Mini. Every time I put my Mac to sleep with the iPod attached via USB2, when I wake the machine, I get an error message that one of the drives (the iPod obviously) was not disconnected properly. This actually corrupted the iPod disk once, but that's not such a big deal, just reformat, reload, and it's back in operation.
I finally figured out that iPods require a native USB2 port. My PowerMac MDD dual-1Ghz only has USB1 so I added an Adaptec USB2 card. Unfortunately, that isn't good enough, you must have a USB2 port that is built in to the machine, an aftermarket USB2 card won't work. The iPod Mini only comes with a USB2 cable, so I bought the inexpensive iPod Firewire cable, not the expensive dual FireWire/USB2 cable, just the plain old FireWire cable.
Now everything works fine. When my Mac goes to sleep, the iPod automatically disconnects, and reconnects when the CPU wakes from sleep. I must have read this somewhere, I don't recall where, it's pretty obscure, so I figured I'd post it so if someone is Googling for info, they could find it out easily.

My Email Address is Changing

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I am about to lose my oldest email address, an account I have maintained for over 10 years. I just received notice from my ISP that they have lost control of the domain name that contains my address (how did that happen?!?) so I will have to move my account to a new domain. I have other email addresses, so I guess I will discontinue that account entirely. This means I'll probably lose contact with some people that only know my old address, but on the other hand, this account is so old and well-known that it attracts a ton of spam. So you win some, you lose some.
My email address ceicher@inav.net will be deactivated as of July 31. You can continue to contact me at my other account, I'll have to put it up here in a slightly cryptic format so spammers don't harvest it from my website: email me at (ceicher) and then insert the @ symbol, and then the domain (mac.com).
This is all getting a bit complicated. My server is being relocated as of July 15, so this server will go down just 3 days from now. [Update: the telco hasn't yet pulled the plug as of Monday so I might still be online for a while longer.] I haven't been able to arrange for new hosting, so it might be a while before I get the server back online. This message isn't going to get out to everyone in time, so I hope it will be cached by Google in the meantime, in case anyone searches for my address. I'm going through a bit of a rough transition, but things should be back in place next month, with luck. We Apologize For The Inconvenience.

Cheat Sheet

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A long time ago, I was walking down the street in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, and I came across a strange thing lying in the street. I found a pen with a label stuck on the side, bearing cryptic Asian writing. I had no idea what it was since I had not yet started studying Japanese at that time. I saved the pen, it's been quite a few years since I have seen it, but I just ran across it today so I thought I'd scan it in and preserve an image of it.

Here's a closer look at some of the writing on the pen. The text says "shinbun" (newspaper) in both kanji and hiragana.

It was many years later, after years of study of Japanese that I finally figured out what the pen was for. It's a cheat sheet for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which is given annually in the location where I found the pen. But words like "shinbun" are very simple, even a beginner would know them, so this would be a cheat for the lowest level test. If you need to cheat on L4 on the JLPT, you might as well not even take the test. The funny thing about this pen is that both the kanji in 'shinbun" are wrong. But there's one more odd thing about this pen. You have to fill out the JLPT test with a number 2 pencil, so this cheat pen would have stuck out like a sore thumb.