Entries Tagged as ''

Resetting NTFS File Permissions

From time to time after you’ve installed a piece of software and removed it (or removed users) you’ll find that you’re unable to delete a file or directory from Windows when using a NTFS file system (and that’s really the only file system you should be using for Windows).

The simplest way to handle that (assuming all you’re doing to do is delete the file or directory) is to do the following in a command prompt:

takeown /R /F %1

icacls %1 /T /Q /C /RESET

%1 is the Windows convention for a parameter (so you could put this in a batch file); you can manually substitute the name of the file or directory; also you could change into the directory containing the files and/or directories and use “*” (wildcard) rather than a file name.

NOTE:  You will need to elevate the privilege of the command prompt (launch it as user ‘administrator’).

Originally posted 2013-09-11 12:00:23.

Verizon Wireless

Like most cellular communication companies, Verizon Wireless leaves it up to the consumer to find their billing errors.

Last month I called Verizon Wireless right after the AllTel/Verizon merge was complete; and I told the representative that at the end of the call I would have ONE Verizon account; and that that would be achieved either by combining my two numbers (one previously Verizon, one previously AllTel) into a single account without making any changes to the plans OR terminating the old Verizon account.

Originally Verizon had required all AllTel customer to convert to a Verizon account to make ANY changes to their account, but they softened that policy when they found it was just as easy (and cheaper) for many AllTel customers to switch to another cellular provider than switch their plans to a current Verizon offering (I for instance would have to pay more for what I have and would lose six of my eleven “My Circle” number [that’s the numbers I can call airtime free regardless of the network they’re on] and would have to pay for text messaging and data dongle use [Internet access for my laptop]).

The customer service representative was certain he could combine the accounts, because they’d been told they could; however, after several tries (and munging the information on both accounts) he was unable to combine the accounts and “terminated” the service on my old Verizon phone.

Well, I just received the bill for the service — and interestingly enough I was billed an entire month… not just a few days.  Why?  Well simple, they didn’t terminate the account, they suspended it in order to let it age out to the end of the billing period — of course I had no service from Verizon… well, unless you consider billing a service.

How horrible unethical (and illegal)…

Needless to say I just got off the phone with a Verizon representative and gave him two options — put through a bill adjustment, or I’d file a charge back with my credit card company (don’t think there would have been much of a problem with that).  I’m not sure how he arrived at the “adjustment” figure — but then again, I don’t have an advanced degree in cellular telephone billing mathematics… I seem to be getting about half my billed amount back rather than three quarters — but when they generate another bill I’ll review what they’ve done.

The thing I really hate about having to put so much time and energy into “fixing” problems that companies like this cause (and I believe it’s intentional since they know most people won’t put any effort into fixing these fraudulent charges) is that it costs time (which is money).  So the question is, why isn’t there a law that requires companies to PAY consumers for their time when a consumer invests their time to resolve an issue that a company has caused through no fault of the consumer at say two times what the consumer normally is paid (or at least two times minimum wage).  And, of course, these companies should have to pay 21% interest on any excess charges they’ve made.

Originally posted 2009-08-08 01:00:16.

OnePlus One

I’m fully subscribed to the Android ecosystem, so if you’re a iPhone fan you’ll probably want to find a different review of the OnePlus One.  I’ve had a long history of Android, starting with the original Droid, the Xoom, the Nexus S, the S2, the S3, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 5 — plus quite a bit of experience with very low end Android devices.

Frankly I was quite hesitant to believe what I’d read online about the OnePlus One and didn’t order mine until a friend of mine showed me his (he’s just gotten it).  Impressive I though, particularly at the price… we’ll talk about that in a minute.

At the bottom of this post I’ve include specifications for the OnePlus One, both from GSMArena.com and OnePlus.net, but in short the OnePlus One is a near phablet sized handset: a 5.5 inch JDI with 1080p (1920×1080) 401 PPI IPS screen, a Qualcomm quad-core processor, an Adreno GPU with 3GB of RAM.

I had to retrieve my shipment from the post office (OnePlus uses USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation in the US, and mine shipped from the outskirts of Los Angeles, CA).  I was less than impressed with the shipping container (a bubble padded pouch), but upon opening it neither the box containing the handset or the power adapter were in the least bit damaged.

When I opened the box the plastic cover on the screen had crap on it — I really hate that, why can’t handset vendors just put a clear plastic film on a handset, that way if you don’t have a screen protector you could use the phone without exposing the screen.  Fortunately I had ordered a Orzly 0.22mm tempered glass protective screen from Amazon (NOTE:  the price of these has gone up at least twice since I bought mine, so Amazon may not be the best place to order one).  I also had gotten a Qi charging receiver pad and a Cruzerlite TPU case so I went ahead and put those on the One as well.  I will say like all the previous Cruzerlite cases I’ve purchased, this one is very well made (though apparently the popularity has somewhat increased their pricing).

It’s worth noting here that the One does not have Qi charging capabilities built in (why it doesn’t is a mystery — normally I would not have purchased a phone without wireless charging, and I would greatly encourage OnePlus to add that feature to the next model).

The phone came out of the box with about a 30% charge, so enough to go ahead and start setting it up (but not enough to do encryption on it — so that would have to wait for a full charge).

My first impression of handling the phone and using the older version of Android (yes, we’ll have to wait for Lollipop) was favorable — but honestly while I didn’t think Android 5 was that big of a change, going back underscores how nice the nuances are.

One thing I’m not sure of is why the One includes buttons below the screen… it does give you the option of disabling those and only have soft buttons on the screen.  The phone is new enough to have been designed with the revised guidelines, and the hardware for the buttons is a waste (perhaps that would have been a sufficient saving to have wireless charging).

I let the phone charge while I looked over what OnePlus had included.

OnePlus ships both a micro and a nano SIM tray with the One (they’re plastic, but appear well made).  That’s a nice touch because it allows you to use either size SIM (I really wish both my N4 and N5 had a nano tray — and yes I know about adapters, I have some).  Under the tray in the phone box is a SIM tray eject tool (a rather fancy one for something most people use exactly once; and a red charging/sync cable that’s a little over the top – maybe a cost saving here could have paid for the Qi charging capability.

The charger appear well made, but it’s white whereas the high end handset is black, so with the black, red, and white the aesthetics are a little questionable.

The phone charged fairly quickly (considering how much it was downloading and installing from Google Play), and there was an OTA update for it as well.

The camera, both front facing and rear facing with the rear facing camera doing a resolution of 3120×4208 pixels.  Impressive specs, but even more impressive images.  I personally don’t care for point and shoot cameras (give me a [D]SLR anytime), but if you’re going to snap a quick shot with your phone, you might as well get the best image quality possible.

The One had good voice quality on both a cellular and a wifi call, the speakers seem well and their location on the bottom of the phone give reasonably good sound when it’s laying on a desk.

The battery seems to last well, and unlike some others I didn’t experience any issues with overheating when I charged the One, the back gets no warmer than my N5.

The handset is snappy — of course one would expect that from the specs; the screen is clear and crisp.

Overall the phone is a very good value; with the 16GB model running $299 and the 64GB model running $349 (by the way, since there’s no uSD slot, the decision is clearly buy the 64GB model) it’s a hard mark to beat.  One of the catches is that you need an invitation to buy one — or you buy it on Tuesdays (OnePlus has started opening up purchasing for anyone on Tuesday, there’s no indication of how long this will last).

With so many positive things to say about the One it’s probably sounds a little anticlimactic to even mention the minor cons.

First and foremost, I think the handset is too big for men to carry in their pocket; that is of course a personal preference, and given the large number of handsets this size most people don’t seem to share my view.

There is absolutely no reason for a handset targeting these features to not have Qi wireless charging.  Yes you can add a Qi charging receiver to it, but that means you need to keep it in a case and you lose the use of the uUSB port.

There are a few pieces of bloatware in the ROM, and there’s absolutely no reason for them to be there.  Google has proven with the Nexus series that clean / lean ROMs are what enthusiasts like, and most everyone who would buy a phone like this is more than capable of downloading and installing an app.  Further, if you feel the phone needs an app — why bind it into the ROM, just pre-load it as an app and allow it to be removed.  NOTE:  OnePlus is shifting away from Cyanogenmod to their own custom ROM, so this may or may not continue to be an issue.  Along with this is the lack of Android 5 – Lollipop.  This handset desperately needs an update to be the flagship it has the potential of.

The bottom line, if you want a new handset (or need one), and $349 (plus $14.95 shipping) isn’t a problem for you… buy it.  You will need to use PayPal, and if you have descent credit there’s a 6-month no payment / no interest plus $10 credit deal from PayPal (Bill-Me-Later) as well…

 


 

Specs from GSMArena.com

GSMArena.com (with edits)

Network Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
Launch Announced 2014, April
Status Available. Released 2014, June
Body Dimensions 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 in)
Weight 162 g (5.71 oz)
SIM Micro-SIM or Nano-SIM
Display Type LTPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~71.9% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 10 fingers
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– CyanogenMod 11S
Platform OS Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat), upgradable to v4.4.4 (KitKat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
CPU Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
GPU Adreno 330
Memory Card slot No
Internal 16GB or 64 GB, 3 GB RAM
Camera Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, 2160p(DCI)@24fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR, stereo sound rec.
Secondary 5 MP, 1080p@30fps
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes, dual mono speakers
3.5mm jack Yes
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes
Radio No
USB microUSB v2.0, USB Host
Features Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
Browser HTML5
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
– ANT+ support
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/FLAC player
– Document viewer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Voice memo/dial/commands
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery
Stand-by
Talk time
Misc Colors Silk White 16GB, Sandstone Black 64GB
SAR US 0.62 W/kg (head)     0.75 W/kg (body)
Price $299 16GB, $349 64GB

 

Specifications from OnePlus.net

OnePlus.net

Basic Parameters

Color Silk White/Sandstone Black
Dimensions 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm
Weight 5.71 ounces (162 g)
Operating System Cyanogen 11S based on Android 4.4
CPU Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-core CPUs
GPU Adreno 330, 578MHz
RAM 3 GB LP-DDR3, 1866MHz
Storage 16/64 GB eMMC 5.0, available capacity varies
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity and Ambient Light
Battery Embedded rechargeable 3100 mAh LiPo battery
Max. SAR Head: 0.270 W/kg, Body: 0.540 W/kg

Connectivity

Connectivity
  • GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/4/7/17/38/40
Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
NFC 65T (software card emulation, payment methods and multi-tag support)
Positioning Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
Digital Compass

Ports, Slots, Buttons and Indicators

Ports Data & Charging: Micro USB 2.0
Audio: Jack 3.5mm
Buttons Power Button
Volume Rockers
Capacitive / On-screen buttons
SIM 1 slot – Micro SIM
Indicators 1 LED notification light (multicolored)

In The Box

1x OnePlus One
1x USB Cable
1x SIM Tray Ejection Tool
1x Additional SIM Tray (Nano SIM)

ASUSTek Computer Inc (Asus)

This is from one of my friends, send to Teresa Perdue ( tsd@asus.com.tw ) of ASUSTek Computer Inc ( http://www.asus.com.tw/ or http://usa.asus.com/ ).

I’d considered buying an Aus Eee PC… but I think I might be happier with a sub-notebook from one of their competitors.

I’ve removed the personally information (except for Teresa’s).

__________

Teresa,

Thank you for informing my that my motherboard is out of warranty and that you will not replace then fan.

In my opinion, this is not a warranty issue.  Warranties generally protect one from a product that happens to be bad.  Most reputable companies replace any item that is poorly designed or has an unusually high failure rate regardless of the warranty period.

I would like for you to know that I am very disappointed with Asus.  On your website you even say that the original fan did not work properly.
Also, there are numerous forums on the Internet that talk about the problem s with the AN8SLI chipset fan.

I have already had one Asus motherboard fail because of a chipset fan that failed.

I have probably built about 100 computers in the last ten years almost all of which used Asus motherboards.  It now seems that you are having quality control issues and that I will have to use a different brand of motherboard in the future.

I have just ordered two fans from your eStore.

Please understand that it is not the cost of the fans that is an issue.  My total charge, including shipping, is $22.00 which is insignificant.  What is significant is that I have learned that I cannot rely on Asus to replace faulty products.  I am unwilling to risk purchasing products from a company that doesn’t stand behind the quality of their workmanship.

This email is being copied to all of the other system builders with whom I work and will be copied to all system builder forums to which I belong.

Sincerely,

XXXX XXXXX

Originally posted 2008-10-18 19:15:10.

Gas Prices

OK, someone’s going to have to explain to my how gasoline prices can go up sixty cents per gallon in less than six weeks!

The only “good” think I can say about the new pricing level is that it really doesn’t matter what station you go to, the prices all seem to be within a penny or two.

But come on now… this is ridiculous — and totally unjustified.

I guess the way that we’ll see gasoline prices plummet just before the election is pretty clear; they’re going to jacked up to over $5.00 a gallon this Summer!

Originally posted 2008-06-12 16:37:15.

The Gift of Giving

Every year I go through the same thing… I try to select a handful of charities to give something to… and every year I want to know how much of what I give will benefit those I want to help, and how much will be absorbed by the organization that manages the donation.

Remember, there’s been plenty of large philanthropic organizations that end up only getting about 10% of what’s donated to those they “help” and paid their executives huge salaries. [Greed — you’ll find it everywhere]  
This year I stumbled on the American Institute of Philanthropy (see the link below), and they’ve done a lot of the work for you — and even made a simple ratings page if you don’t want to invest lots of time into looking over the details.

For those of you who can afford to give a little back, I encourage you to make your gifts count.

     http://www.charitywatch.org/azlist.html

Originally posted 2008-11-10 14:18:25.

CyanogenMod 7.1.0

While loading customer firmware on a smartphone isn’t something new (I did that with my HTC Touch Pro and HTC Touch Pro 2 Windows mobile devices years ago) it is something that is very easy to do with Android handsets.

My Droid A855 (that’s the original Verizon Droid — and I actually have two) with it’s slow 600 MHz ARM processor has been running Gingerbread (2.3) for almost a year; and as of last night the handset I carry has been updated to the third build of Gingerbread.

Why?

Well, Android is far from a finished and polished product; and Froyo (2.2) which is officially supported on the phone lacks a number of features.

To take advantage of a custom ROM you first need to root your phone (which has other advantages besides just allowing you to install a custom ROM, but if you’re going to root — you definitely want a custom ROM).

Once you’ve rooted your device, you can choose between a number of different custom ROMs — I try and go for stability; and I’ve tried a number of different ROMs, CyanogenMod is the one I’ve settled on.

Also, if you purchased an HP Touchpad — CyanogenMod has an Alpha release of Android for you… that may make your tablet a great deal more usable.

CyanogenMod.com

Originally posted 2011-10-20 02:00:15.

“Honest Services” Law

Last Thursday the Supreme Court greatly narrowed the scope of a federal fraud law frequently used to prosecute white-collar criminals.

And guess who might benefit from the decision…

Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling among a host of others.

The Supreme Court ruling was the result of an appeal Jeffery Skilling brought before the court.  Skilling actually ask that the “honest services” law be struck down as unconstitutional as well as asking for a new trial since he claimed he didn’t get a fair trial in Houston (I personally don’t recall him requesting a change of venue — so apparently he felt he’d fair better there than most other places people felt he’d defrauded them out of their life savings).

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s written option stated that prosecutors could continue to seek honest services fraud conviction in cases where their is sufficient evidence to show defendants accepted bribes or kickbacks.  Of course Jeffery Skillings isn’t accused of accepting bribes or kickbacks, just filling his pockets with money at the expense of his investors and customers by knowingly manipulating the energy market.

The court did not specifically throw out any of the nineteen counts against Skilling, nor did they agree to a new trial.

I’m sure former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, and ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, former newspaper magnate Conrad Black, former Alaska lawmaker Bruce Weyhrauch as well as other will be quick to see what this new ruling might do to help them.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens were the dissenters; and I once again have to ask what box of cereal Justice Ginsberg clipped her law degree from.

I know, this is America, land of the free; but where the more cash you have, the more “equitable” the law.

Originally posted 2010-06-25 02:00:00.

Health Care

On the eve of the shortest day of the year it seems to me that this might well be the darkest day of our era.

A year ago we Americans were at what we hoped was a nexus of change for the better.  With a new president, an outsider, a visionary about to take the reigns we hoped that we would step forward and take all Americans with us.

Health care was a promise, a major plank of the Obama platform, and it would be a test to see exactly what out new president was made of.

I put forward our new president is made of nothing; he’s a failure and a disgrace.

Obviously the Nobel Committee doesn’t share my sentiment, but then again you have to seriously question a peace organization that awards an individual dedicated to the proposition that peace is sometimes only achieved through war (last I checked, war was achieved through war — and all the great wars to end all wars only spawned new wars).

Why do I say Barack Obama is a failure?

Simple, a man who cannot stand up for values he purported to have during a campaign, a man that cannot lead his own party, a man that cannot charter the imagination and dreams of Americans, a man who calls himself a leader that has failed by every measure to promote the general welfare.

Hardly a success; and certainly not deserving of an “A” for effort.

I voted for Obama for president not because I liked him or trusted him or believed in him, but rather because I didn’t like, didn’t trust, and didn’t believe in his opponent (and I still don’t).

What a sad country we live in when we must choose our leader by eliminating the worst and only having one choice remain.

I digress.

The lack of a public option for health care reform is nothing but pandering to the health care industry and will in fact achieve nothing except kill the chances of ever having true health care reform.

I simply cannot understand why Canadians can have a health care system that works and provides for each and every Canadian while in the United States we have millions with no insurance, and millions with insurance that doesn’t provide any preventive care.

If the US adopts the health care reform that’s currently working it’s way through the legislative process without adding back a public option I fear that it will be many decades before we have another opportunity to start down the road of insuring that every American has access to reasonable, affordable health care.

Originally posted 2009-12-21 01:00:46.

Disk Bench

I’ve been playing with Ubuntu here of late, and looking at the characteristics of RAID arrays.

What got me on this is when I formatted an ext4 file system on a four drive RAID5 array created using an LSI 150-4 [hardware RAID] controller I noticed that it took longer than I though it should; and while most readers probably won’t be interested in whether or not to use the LSI 150 controller they have in their spare parts bin to create a RAID array on Linux, the numbers below are interesting just in deciding what type of array to create.

These numbers are obtained from the disk benchmark in Disk Utility; this is only a read test (write performance is going to be quite a bit different, but unfortunately the write test in Disk Utility is destructive, and I’m not willing to lose my file system contents at this moment; but I am looking for other good benchmarking tools).

drives avg access time min read rate max read rate avg read rate

ICH8 Single 1 17.4 ms 14.2 23.4 20.7 MB/s
ICH8 Raid1 (Mirror) 2 16.2 ms 20.8 42.9 33.4 MB/s
ICH8 Raid5 4 18.3 ms 17.9 221.2 119.1 MB/s
SiL3132 Raid5 4 18.4 ms 17.8 223.6 118.8 MB/s
LSI150-4 Raid5 4 25.2 ms 12.5 36.6 23.3 MB/s

All the drives used are similar class drives; Seagate Momentus 120GB 5400.6 (ST9120315AS) for the single drive and RAID1 (mirror) tests, and Seagate Momentus 500GB 5400.6 (ST9500325AS) for all the RAID5 tests.  Additionally all drives show that they are performing well withing acceptable operating parameters.

Originally posted 2010-06-30 02:00:09.