This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



March 2005

Bird Watching


Treo Number Five

Just as a reminder to everybody, on November 10th of last year, I posted this:

Treo Number Four

So today at lunch I went with Brandy and exchanged my Treo 600 for a new one under warrentee. Right now it just finished resyncing with my laptop to restore all my contacts and programs and such. This is now my FOURTH Treo 600!!!

#1) Ordered right after the things first came out. Got it all set up. Loved it. Used it a lot. One day, the screen just was blank. Backlight on, nothing there. It was a decent flashlight, but no longer a phone. I paniced and was all upset, ready to buy a new one. Brandy made me go to the Sprint store though. They said “looks like you killed it” and then went into the back and got me a brand new one in the box. This was while we were still in PA.

#2) While I was going back and forth between FL and PA (March through June) I was doing conference calls a lot, so I bought a headset for the phone. I proceeded one day to wrap the headset around the phone, stick it in my pocket, and then sit on it. The headset had a remote control volume and microphone thingy that would normally hand down and you talk near it. Well, it is a kind of bulky thing, and when I sat on it, it pressed into the screen, because the way I had wrapped it, the bulky part was on the screen side this time, and not on the hard back of the Treo. The screen was smashed to smithereens. This time the Sprint store told me that this was NOT covered under warentee, cause, well, I had smashed it. I had to buy a brand new one full price. Bastards.

#3) When I get calls on my cell at work… or when I have to make a call, I go outside. Two reasons: One, reception in this building sucks because it is basically a metal box. Two, my office has tall walls and a door, but the walls do not go all the way to the ceiling, and are pretty thin anyway. There is no privacy. So I go talk on the phone in the parking lot. Well… in the summer in Florida when you go stand in a parking lot it is HOT. And when it is hot I, well, um, tend to sweat just a tad. After a 15 minute phone call, my face is soaking wet. And, since I am holding the phone next to my head, so is the phone. And I have discovered that Treos don’t like being soaking wet. The phone would start to flip out and do all sorts of random things. The keyboard would become unresponsive. The screen would sometimes work and sometimes not. After a few hours it would all dry out and work OK again. Well… the first few times anyway. Eventually some of the buttons stopped working completely. Namely the “Alt” button that lets you type symbols like @ when you are doing email. And the shift key, that lets you do capitals. And the space bar, which, well, does spaces. Finally the zero key started to be erratic. And while I used the touch screen to actually dial phone numbers, you have to use the zero on the keyboard when you go through those menus and stuff for customer service. I kind of needed the zero. Anyway, I’m not really sure if it was the sweat or not, but this time Sprint gave me a warentee replacement. (And even if they hadn’t, after #2 I signed up for the $4 per month phone insurance to replace the phone for a small deductible if I destroy it.)

#4) The one I picked up today. This time instead of a brand new one in the box with all the accessories I got a “factory refurbished” one. Oh well. I was hoping for a new one again, but given the situation I won’t complain too much. This one looks like new anyway. I also bought a new case for it that completely encases the Treo, with a clear plastic front that you can actually use the touch screen and all the buttons through. So I never have to take it out of the case. Ever. So I should be able to sweat on it if I have to. And I got a new headset, but one big enough and oddly shaped enough I will not be tempted to put it in my pocket. It stays in the car use for hands free driving only, not for normal use when I’m not driving. So hopefully this one will be OK. And if I do destroy it by mistake, I have that insurance now.

Of course, now there is a Treo 650. I of course want one. Next time I kill the 600, maybe I’ll be able to upgrade. But as usual, there are a BUNCH of things on the “to buy” list ahead of that…

So for now, I’ll see how long I can make Treo #4 last. They seem to be averaging about 3 to 4 months each.

So, the answer is, Treo #4 lasted 136 days. That’s about four and a half months.

Just days after I got Treo #4 I noticed a couple of stray orange pixels. Several more orange pixels joined every few days, evolving from a couple orange dots, to a couple of big orange blotches on the screen with a little string of orange in between. For the most part I could see, but every one in awhile something I needed to see was under the orange spot. And a couple weeks ago, a part of the screen started to lose contrast. So there were two big orange spots and another dim spot. So, finally took it to the Sprint store. Yup, warentee issue. They ordered me another one. (Refurb again I think.)

And so, here I am, Treo #5.

I told the guy at the Sprint Store that this was my 5th one. He was like “Hmm, if this happens again, maybe we can move you to something else.” I told him I’d only be interested int he 650. If they offer to replace this one when it dies with a 650, I would not object at all.

So, Judging by the average lifetime of these, I expect this one to last until July or August.

We shall see!

Whither the Doctor

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for awhile, but didn’t get around to it, but it seems like today needs to be the day.

Just a couple of hours ago, Doctor Who returned to the small screen with new episdodes. Initial reviews are good. It is airing in the UK and Canada and New Zealand. But the US (and Australia) are for the moment going without. There were rumors that the SciFi network would pick it up, but that didn’t happen. And so far there is no home for the new show in the US.

Which is pissing me off, because I want to watch. The first episode was of course leaked to the P2P networks a few weeks ago. I would happily watch it in whatever way it was made available to me other than P2P, including buying the DVDs. But at the moment, those options are not open. So the other may be the way it has to be. Damn them! But one way or another, I’ll be watching! Hopefully some US network will pick it up within a few months if it does well in the UK. Otherwise, I’m sure DVDs will be available later this year. I just don’t want to wait!

Welcome Back, Doctor Who

Today, March 26, 2005, Doctor Who returns as a weekly series to television for the first time since 1989. For fifteen years, Doctor Who fans have carried the torch through good times and bad, false starts and endless possibilities. Now, fifteen years later, Outpost Gallifrey joins our fellow fans in welcoming back the Doctor to the screen in his newest incarnation, Christopher Eccleston, and his latest companion, Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, brought to the screen by a production team led by the man responsible for its return: Russell T Davies. While many fans won’t yet be able to see it (Canada gets it in one week, New Zealand soon thereafter, and hopefully Australia and America sometime soon down the road), today’s a day we all join together to celebrate the return of our favorite series to TV. He’s back… and it’s about time!

To Accentuate the Year

I normally don’t make posts while I am at work, but I will make an exception for this. I actually missed the exact moment, which was yesterday, but at 18:34 UTC Yesterday (March 22nd 2005) I had been with my current employer for exactly 365.2422 days, otherwise known as a year. Woo!

There have been a few ups and downs and some stress at times, but that is normal. (And to be honest, right now is one of those stressful points.) But for the most part, behing here has been a very positive experience. I enjoy what I do, I like the people here, and there is lots of room for growth and learning, which is important. I work long hours, and am often tired, but I am (for the most part) having fun. And I think I am being useful to the company.

It has been a good year. It is hard to believe it has in fact already been a year. It seems like it has gone by so fast. And I still feel like the “new guy” although at this point there are a lot of people here who started after I did. But still.

Anyway, it has been good. And it has been a year.


Uncle Sam Sucks

Don’t have time to get into details here, but suffice it to say that between the 401K loan from 2003 that converted to taxible income (including 10% penalty for early withdrawal) when I officially left my employer at the beginning of 2004, and the fact that my current employer filed all of the reimbursements they gave me to cover the cost of moving from PA to Florida as actual income (from which nothing was withheld of course), I am getting absolutely hammered by a large tax bill that I was not properly prepared for. (I anticipated the 401K thing, but not really the other.)

Given that things were still in the “tight phase” from buying the new house anyway, this will really, really, really suck. So far I have just Turbo Taxed it, but I’ll be seeing an actual real live professional within the next week or so to see if there is anything I have missed that can be used to pull the bill down some. Then I’ll figure out just what has to happen to get the bill payed. (Including that payment plan thing.) Also exploring if how my empoyer reported things was an error which can be corrected, or if that is how it was actually supposed to be.

And I haven’t even calculated the PA tax for the 6 months of 2004 I lived there yet. I’ll probably owe a bit more for that too.


Taxes are evil.


Just an update on Brandy’s mom for those who have not been checking Brandy’s blog posts. Brandy’s mom is out of the hospital, and for the moment her doctors have decided to treat her medically rather than with additional surgery. She still has pains, although hopefully the new meds will help. And they will have to keep a close eye on her and reevaluate occationally. But things are looking better than they did last week.

Once Again

I’ve been busy lately and have not had much time to blog (or answer email, sorry). But it is a weekend so I have a little time and I need to note this item at least, even if I don’t have time for anything else. Brandy’s mom is in the hospital again. Very stressful on all of us. :-(

Drunken Sailor: Moms

Monday we will have a better idea as to what is wrong and how to fix it and whether I will need to hop on the next plane to take care of her until she is back on her feet. I think she has worked up to an expectation of another bypass to replace the 10 year old graft and the stents of last month, and that will mean a month of no driving and taking iteasy, then a gradual return to the real world and a more normal level of activity.

I’m trusting all will be well. But at this point we are preparing for Brandy to need to fly home to PA and for me to take care of Amy here by myself for perhaps an extended period of time if it is needed. Hopefully it will not be.

Open Waters

So as of a few days ago the pool was finally clear of all the muck that had been left in it by the previous owners. And we got the pool care lesson from the pool people that cleaned the pool. And so for the last week Brandy has been finishing up the final bits and cleaning it and balancing the chemicals and such every day. We haven’t got the pool heater set up yet. It is out of fuel and we haven’t called to get it refilled yet. But it is a lovely blue clor now and it looks pretty clean.

So, today, while looking at it, I waited for no golfers to be on the tee right next to our house, then while standing next to Brandy, I just stepped off the edge into the deep end… fully clothed. I didn’t stay in long. Just about 15 seconds as I swam from the deep end to the shallow end then got out…. standing completely and totally drenched in long pants and a button down shirt… at least until I was able to get out of the soaked clothes and into a bathrobe. But hey, the pool is now officially open!!!

About an half hour later, we let Amy swim too. Um, also fully clothed. We had been planninng on leaving to run some errands and didn’t want to actually get all into pool mode. But we let her in her clothes and she has been swimming for over half an hour now. It is a little chilly still. Pool water temp is only 63 degrees. But once you are in for a few minutes you get used to it. She is having a blast. We are going to enjoy this pool a lot I think. Especially once it is just a little bit warmer.

I am very tempted to get back in and swim and play a little. Not fully clothed again though. That felt icky. Of course, my preference by far is skinny dipping. Not a big fan of swim suits if I can avoid them. They are icky. :-) But Brandy says with the 17th tee of the golf course only 10 feet away and such that would be a bad idea, so suits may have to be involved at least some of the time. Drat. Oh well, we’ll work something out I am sure. :-)

But anyway, pool is open!! Woo! Time for more fun swimming!