Monthly Archives: January 2008

BlackBerry was down in the Southeast on AT&T?


San Francisco – AT&T’s wireless data networks in the Southeast and Midwest U.S. were down for several hours on Thursday, causing BlackBerry and iPhone users to be without data services.

The EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) services in those regions began having problems around 6:30 a.m. EST, said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman. Voice calling was not affected, but people trying to use wireless data services may have had difficulty, he said.

Can’t say I saw any symptoms of this outage…the BlackBerry was churning right along this morning and all through the day. Odd.

Why I Blog

Yesterday’s Wednesday Why at Lowcountry Blogs asks “Why do you have a blog?”

For me, it simply starts with the ability to have some sort of voice. I feel as if I can get whatever message I want out much more effectively through this medium than, say, if I stood at a street corner shouting my lungs out. I’ll sound less hoarse and blogging is generally far less obnoxious (unless I started tYpInG lyKe tHiS OmG FoR ShiZZle! [which I won’t]). Blogging lets me engage in a conversation about whatever I want with whoever is willing to listen, and that’s cool too. I can’t go around to random people and start throwing out baseball stories or talking at length about BlackBerries without being slapped at least once. It’s certainly a great outlet for my eclectic interests that I would not have otherwise. (I know I won’t meet anyone within a 100-mile radius who will willingly [and seriously] discuss Weather Channel local forecast computers with me.)

More importantly, though, I feel blogging gives me a great historical record to look upon. I’ve been doing this for quite a while (as my old site and archives attest to). Every once in a while I get a serious kick and a great laugh about some of the ridiculous stuff I wrote in high school. It’s helped me to measure my progress not just as a writer or Web designer, but also as a human being, still finding his way in the world. Having a reasonably complete record from late age 15 to age 23 (and going!) really gives me a kick (though I am incredibly pissed that my Realm 4 database, covering 2002-2005 appears to have been lost forever — but that was a dark period, so maybe it’s not so bad). It’s wild; I’ve never kept a private journal. I don’t like writing things that nobody else is going to read; I don’t see the fun in that, or much of a release in that. I feel I get much more out of my writing and my experiences when I can share them with others — and ultimately, that’s why I take to the blogosphere, because in the blogosphere, you’re never alone.

Patrick wrote a book!

Check out Patrick O’Keefe’s blog — he’s announced his forthcoming book, Managing Online Forums. I was privileged and honored to get to review an early copy for him, and it’s a fantastic book. There are so many books about how to get the technical side of a forum going, but this is the first book that I know if that actually delves into the human side of running communities — managing staff, setting policy, etc. It’s a gem, and I’m glad Patrick is the one to fill that void. He’s got years upon years of experience running forums, and does a great job putting it down in book form. It will be required reading for anybody who runs a message board. Look for it sometime in April.

Rolling Into Traffic With a New Partner

A couple Saturdays ago, I got a familiar itch that needed scratching — the good ol’ gadget itch. It’s an itch that can often be expensive.

I got this itch for the first time in 2005, when I coveted a Motorola MPx220. After waiting for several months, still hearing from Cingular that they were on “backorder” (read: they were never coming back), I went out on eBay and grabbed one — in black, no less, which wouldn’t have been available with Cingular. I stuck with that phone for about a year and a half, but with the advent of Windows Mobile 5.0 and my increasing text message habit, I was looking to move up to something else with a QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, the Motorola Q was not available on Cingular yet, but the Samsung BlackJack was. I waited patiently for my upgrade eligibility, which came roughly last March. I then nabbed the BlackJack on a nice discount. Finally — QWERTY and reasonably reliable — and fast — Internet access. I even had 3G for those times I traveled out of state or to Columbia.

However, some issues in the BlackJack crept up. I had to restart my data connection on a daily basis, and there were some things that I could not do — no GPS, and terrible support for Java apps. I lived with it, though.

In the last couple months, though, I’ve been intrigued by the BlackBerry platform and what it can provide. I’d never used a BlackBerry before but had a basic understanding on how they work. Everyone I’ve talked to has absolutely raved about them. Naturally, my interest was piqued; could this be a more efficient way for me to get stuff done on the road?

A couple Saturdays ago, I wondered what kind of money a BlackBerry would command on eBay. I was thinking about getting one of the older models; I would have been happy with an 8700c, with one important exception — no extended memory support. That was an issue. I also noticed that the newer BlackBerry models, namely the Pearl, 8800, and Curve, used a trackball, which seems to be better than the thumbwheel traditionally found on BlackBerry models in the past. I was used to the thumbwheel on the BlackJack, but it was limiting in that it only went up and down. The keyboard was also way too easy to fat-finger; BlackBerry keyboards are also known to be way better than most others out there.

Curiosity turned into an impulse buy of a used BlackBerry 8800 that Saturday. It arrived this past Saturday, and I see what all the rage is about. I have learned quite a bit, and it’s already become the best device I’ve used. The phone portion is fantastic, and the organizer is top notch. I’ll need to get hooked up to the Enterprise Server at work to get over-the-air synchronization of my organizer data and push e-mail, but that will be worked out. Messaging will rock when everything is set up properly. I have also grown addicted to BrickBreaker, the game that is bundled with BlackBerry OS.

My favorite feature is that I can holster the phone and have the keyboard lock and the notifications change. This way, when the phone is out of the holster and a call or message comes in, it won’t vibrate off the table. There are so many little usability things built in that I can’t even begin to break them down in a weekend.

It’s a great phone experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a lot of power out of their mobile device.

A dignified end

For the second time this season, the Chargers fell victim to The Perfectriots. This is the second consecutive postseason loss for the Chargers against New England. Unlike last year’s loss, I felt a lot better about the loss today. The Chargers brought a much better, and dare I say it, more mature team to New England. The Chargers played as well as they could without LT and an injured Philip Rivers absolutely playing his guts out against a team that demoralized them earlier this season.

I do question why Billy Volek wasn’t brought in. Rivers had a tough time generating power behind his throws on his bad knees, and it showed, especially on an interception in the 2nd quarter. There’s something to be said about riding the horse that gets youu there, though.

Nobody expected the Chargers to even have a chance against the Pats, and they came out and gave them quite a game. Sure, I’m bummed that the Chargers aren’t going to the Super Bowl, but at least they went out with dignity this time. I feel reasonably good about next season, too, given that most everybody is returning.

Norv Turner did a heck of a job, too. (Never thought I’d say THAT.). The regular season was turbulent but he helped get them together at the right time. That’s good coaching.

Less than a month to Spring Training…but for now, Go Pack Go.


Has Hell frozen over? Norv Turner’s Chargers are in the AFC Championship Game without LaDainian Tomlinson and with BILLY VOLEK at quarterback. What an amazing game, with amazing play from both the Colts and the Chargers. In the end, the Chargers out-muscled and out-hit the Colts to take the game and a date with the Patriots next week to determine the AFC bid to the Super Bowl. Continue reading