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Can Humans Fail the Turing Test? Yes.

June 30th, 2016 1 comment

I had the unfortunate experience of having to talk to CenturyLink about something, so I thought I would give the “Live Chat” feature a try. I wanted to know how much it would cost to have service for three iPhones and whether or not they would pay any cancellation fees with my current carrier.

I was asking too much. I am still not convinced that I was talking to a real human being; maybe I just have too much faith in humanity to believe this was a human operator.

Here is the transcript of the chat that took 15 minutes to get nowhere.

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Fixed Poor Netflix Performance with pfSense

June 3rd, 2016 1 comment

I was having terrible Netflix performance when connecting through my pfSense 2.3 router (running on XenServer 6.5), but Netflix was fine when I bypassed pfSense altogether or when I connected to Netflix through my StrongVPN connection passing through pfSense.

After much research, investigations, and Wiresharking, I made the following three configuration changes that seem to have fixed the problem.
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My iPhone Leaf Fell Out

April 26th, 2016 No comments

I hope this is a unique problem, but my month-old iPhone SE with the “fancy” inlaid Apple logo on the back had a leaf failure. The “color matched stainless steel logo” on the back is made of two separate pieces, the apple and the leaf, which are pressed into place.

My leaf fell out.

At a genius bar Apple replaced the phone free of charge, but they did not know how to classify the problem. I was the first they had heard of such a problem.

I suspect it was sucked out by a car holder I use with a sticky pad that holds the phone in place.

leaf-missing

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Run iMovie HD (and maybe other older applications) in Yosemite (and now El Capitan)

January 23rd, 2015 121 comments

I was disappointed to see that I could no longer run iMovie HD (available here) after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The Finder gave me an error saying, You can’t use this version of the application “iMovie HD” with this version of OS X. You have “iMovie HD” 6.0.3. I was delighted to discover a workaround that works, well, for now. Here’s how.

UPDATE, Sept 2015: Looks like this trick works in El Capitan too.

UPDATE, Nov 2015: Skip straight to Rolando’s comment below for the best solution yet, or download the already-modified iMovie from this this related post right here on this blog.

iMovie HD error message on Yosemite
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Setting up Bluetooth to Bluetooth Master with HC-05 for my 16×2 LCD Office Door Sign

July 30th, 2014 1 comment

For my office door I’ve made a sign using a 16×2 LCD display controlled by an MSP430 and connectable via Bluetooth. A button lets me cycle through canned messages like, “The doctor is in,” and “At lunch.” Via Bluetooth I can give it an ad hoc message that I had not pre-programmed.

Door sign using 16x2 LCD, MSP430, Bluetooth, 433Mhz radio

Door sign using 16×2 LCD, MSP430, Bluetooth, and 433Mhz radio

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DNS is a Hog (for DNS) on iOS

June 14th, 2014 No comments

I can’t imagine how DNS services on my iPhone could chew up 5.7 MB of data in two weeks. These are tiny little queries being made, aren’t they?

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Congressman Barber’s Response to Inquiry About DHS Alleged MRAP and Ammo Orders

April 19th, 2013 3 comments

640px-Navistar_MaxxProRegarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) alleged purchases of 2,700 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and billions of rounds of ammunition, I just got off the phone with a fellow named Mike from Congressman Barber’s (D-AZ) office. Congressman Barber is on the House Armed Services Committee. I was concerned about these reported unusual purchases, and I wrote a letter in February. I asked for answers; they investigated. Here is their answer.
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Help Me Win Saddleback Leather

November 28th, 2012 2 comments
The contest is over. Thanks for those who helped by clicking through to Saddleback’s homepage. -Rob

I love Saddleback Leather products, and they have a great tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead!” They’re having a Christmas giveaway with lots of loot.

Please help me out by clicking through to their homepage often for the next three weeks in December (through 19 Dec 2012). Woo hoo!

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iMovie App Runs on iPhone 3GS

August 27th, 2012 No comments

I was surprised to see that Apple’s iMovie iOS app runs on my iPhone 3GS (not jailbroken), even though Apple does not officially support it. It makes me wonder if it is just a stunt to get people to buy new iPhones.
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Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

November 2nd, 2009 3 comments

Atlas Shrugged logoSince I’m a student for a little while again, I posted an essay for this year’s Atlas Shrugged essay contest. There’s nothing like writing an essay to really make you feel like a student! [Update: I didn’t win. =( ]

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