Saturday, March 19, 2011

Been busy over here

I've been extraordinarily busy lately. Which, after scanning past posts, means I've solved my motivation problem! The experiments have worked. Muaa hahahah haaaa.

Speaking of experiments, one of the productive things I did was being lucky enough to have someone give me an old Android G1. I love this thing. I ditched my Sprint USB EDGE modem and data-only service, and my old 7-11 SpeakOut prepaid phone, and got a T-Mobile account with 500 mins voice (I use maybe 100-200 a month, not a talker here), unlimited text (which I use a lot), and 2GB data (which the plan says "unlimited" in some places, but on the contract it says 2GB, I guess no more unlimited)... all for LESS than what I was paying Sprint for just data. Perfect! I am HAPPY. I'm online, my phone is now my data modem, I have working phone service (no more SIP with lousy reception), bluetooth headset for taking calls while doing other things, and I have a Linux box in the palm of my hand, which I've rooted and hacked and now running CyanoGenMod on.

The only problem is reception in some of the coastal areas I love to stay in. It sucks a lot. My van, since putting in all this insulation, is basically a Faraday cage. Waves don't get in or out: that includes both sound waves (which I don't want!) and microwaves (which I DO want!). I'd just put an antenna on the roof (which is what I did for WiFi years ago), but this phone also has no external antenna connection.

The only place I have any kind of cell reception is right underneath my vent fan in the roof. Seriously. Standing with my arm raised up over my head into the well of the vent is not conducive to phone calls or internet access.

So I rigged up what I'm calling The Android Jock Strap. It is several velcro cable ties, duct-taped into an underwear-like configuration, leaving a space in the bottom for the USB connection. And I have hung this for the time being from the vent open/close knob (I'll have to find a better place to hang it). It looks ridiculous; I'll have to post a picture of it.

And, it works! I'm posting this from an area which had no reception at all up until a few minutes ago when I put it up and tried it out.

Ah, yes, Duct Tape. It's like The Force: it's everywhere, and it binds the universe together.

One of the main things I'm enjoy about this phone is a little app called Astrid, which is a to-do manager. I love it very much. I put my priorities in there, and I look at it, and they go wherever I go so I have a reminder, and I do my priorities, and I get them done. Then I have tons of time to work on other things. It is easy enough to enter items that I can put important things in quickly, but it's time-consuming enough to enter the items so that I don't make huge lists of not-really-important stuff. Also, the screen is small so it encourages me to not clutter it up with too many meaningless action items. Just the big stuff, that's all.