Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AT&T 3G Microcell doesn't support corporate account phones

I just got an ATT 3G Microcell for home, since our service is intermittent, sometimes so bad I can't send an SMS message successfully (although at times it works fine). We live in the mountains, and have several different poor signals to bond to, so that's probably why it is variable.

In the store, they checked my phone number and said I couldn't activate a Microcell on my account, since it's a Netflix corporate account iPhone. However, my wife has an iPhone on a personal account, so I used that as the activation account.

However, when I tried to add my own phone number to the Microcell's whitelist of up to 10 numbers, I got this error message

"FTC309: invalid subscriber information found" - which got no hits on Google, however after this blog post it should get one..

So the website told me to call the generic ATT support number. After a few short waits, a very polite first level support guy (who had probably never heard of the Microcell before I called) found a well informed business support specialist who was able to confirm that the error code was due to the Microcell only supporting consumer accounts. She agreed that it didn't make a lot of sense, found that they had been running a trial of corporate accounts a few months ago, but didn't know when/if it might change. She forwarded me an internal support document that discussed the limitations of the trial, including the lack of corporate support. Although it does say that it supports all ATT 3G devices.

I installed it anyway, it takes a few hours to set itself up the first time. We will see how well it works for other iPhones, meanwhile I will just have to use Skype to make calls and send SMS... If it doesn't work out I will take it back.

------- Update -------
I contacted the corporate account support team via work, and they over-rode the system to add me to the Microcell. So my corporate account iPhone is now working fine with the Microcell. They are investigating further to see if they can make this a more general fix for other people, but if you are in the same situation as I was, you should be able to escalate to support to get it fixed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hiring a cloud platform engineer at Netflix

If you are interested in the CAP theorem NoSQL systems like Voldemort, Cassandra and SimpleDB, scalability and expect to be at the Velocity Conference in June, then you are the kind of engineer I'm interested in hiring. Netflix is aggressively moving to new technology, hiring only the very best and most experienced engineers and our growth is accelerating.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garage Trusses Video

On Tuesday a big truck had some difficulty delivering a 40ft trailer containing the roof framing trusses, but it was raining so that is all that happened.

On Wednesday 21st April it started out dry, rained for a while then cleared up, but they did manage to put up all the trusses, and I made another stop-motion video of the work.

Tuffshed aren't great at letting us know what is going to happen next, we have to call them or ask the workers. I think the next step is to put plywood sheeting on the roof, then get an inspector up to check that the nailing pattern is correct, then they can put the doors and windows in, tile the roof add the external trim and paint it. It should be much warmer and sunny for the next few days.

Monday, April 19, 2010

garage - roof and rain on Tuesday

the roof trusses will be delivered tomorrow and rain is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday - so we will see how they deal with that... it sucks that we don't have a roof before the rain.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Garage Framing Walkaround

The walls are up, but the trusses for the roof aren't ready, so it will be finished off next week. Luckily the weather looks good for the next week or so.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garage Framing - first day of construction

Tuffshed turned up with their pre-built sections, assembled them and added some siding and the main door frame. Another stop-motion video on YouTube. It was wet over the weekend, and the ground is very soft, but we have a few dry and warm days in a row forecast, so I'm hoping it will dry out now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Experiences using an iPad as my primary work laptop

I spent the last week carrying my iPad with me to meetings and using it as my main system at home an in my cube. My laptop was used for a few things, like the performance monitoring tool AppDynamics - which needs a bigger screen and is flash based, but just about everything else was usable on the iPad.

I have the apple case, which I think is essential, as it holds the iPad up at the right angle to use on a desk or lap, as well as protecting it and making it less slippery to carry around. I got the Video out cable but haven't had a chance to use it yet. After intensive use, the battery is still at 60% or more each evening.

I like the speed at which apps like mail and calendar come up, and they are both very nice to use, I prefer them to entourage on my Mac laptop. I spend a lot of my day reading writing and deleting email. Safari is also fast and worked well for gmail. I imported a PowerPoint presentation to keynote on the iPad and it needed adjustments to font sizes in diagrams, and lost some color coding, but seems like a usable tool. I will switch to keynote on my Mac as well and hopefully it will be compatible.

I have a VNC app, but moving the mouse cursor around is a a pain so it's only useful for emergency access to my laptop.

The other app I use a lot is NewsRack, which tracks about 100 random rss feeds for me by keeping in sync with google reader. I get most of my news and keep up with friends blogs this way. Compared to the iPhone version it seems to update much faster and the extra screen space is well used. The BBC app provides a more visual way to track stories, and the Guardian Eyewitness photography app contains stunning images, it's one of the most popular free apps at the moment.

Typing on the iPad is better than expected with two caveats. I keep hitting the b or n keys when I mean to hitbspace (like that), and the auto correction system is a bit over-active so I have to proofread what I write more than usual.

Of course I have been watching movies with the Netflix app, and have used the eBay and Pandora iPad apps, which look good. I'm still using the iPhone version of echofon as my Twitter reader, but I will try out the official twitter app when it comes out.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Garage - Pouring and Finishing the Foundation

Last Friday we poured concrete, and then it poured rain. Here's a stop-motion video of the work. Six concrete trucks came, we are high on the mountain, so they may not have been carrying a full load each time. The foundation is very deep on the downhill side, and the slab is 6" deep rather than the 4" minimum used for the walkway down the side and the parking apron.

The first few seconds of each video look messy, this was introduced when youtube encoded it, my original video is fine.

On Saturday, the weather was better, and the team came back to finish the surface and tidy up.

Final bill was about $25K, and I would recommend Amaya Concrete of Morgan Hill, they did a good job.

This week, we let the concrete cure, wait for the ground to dry out and do some basic grading of the ground levels and slopes. Next week the building will be delivered and installed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

IPad makes it hard to embed YouTube in blog

I'm trying to compose a blog post that embeds a YouTube video, but YouTube doesn't want to give me the HTML fragment to embed the video. If you browse to YouTube on an iPad it doesn't show any options to pick up the embed because it renders in "touch" mode. At the bottom of the page I found an option to switch to desktop mode and get the full page. This renders an embed option but doesn't let me select it to copy here.

So I need to use my MacBook to compose posts.

As the iPad moves the boundaries between content consumption and content generation, people need to rethink the functionality of the mobile and iPhone optimized web sites.