Problems with my Fascinate

Last year, I purchased a new Verizon fascinate to replace my aging first gen iPhone. Not having a lot of experience with Samsung hardware, I decided to purchase a warranty from Squaretrade.

A few months ago, I noticed my sch-i500 was starting to exhibit some odd behavior. The screen would randomly fill up with colored lines, or refuse to light up. The digitizer was still accepting input (ie I could unlock the phone by drawing the correct pattern on the messed up display), but the only way to get the display back was (shouldn’t be a surprise to the readers of this blog) tapping the phone on a hard surface.

So I filed a claim with squaretrade and sent my phone of to be repaired. Getting the claim generated was easy, and they provided pre paid next day air to and from the hardware repair depot they deal with in LA.

However, when I got my phone back, as soon as I turned it on, the screen immediately started to show the same ugly lines. They look like what you used to get on an old CRT monitor when the VGA connector on a PC was loose.

Curious, and aggravated, I took apart the phone and made sure the ribbon connector for the display/digitizer was correctly seated, to no avail.

I have noticed the problem is worse after the phone has been in my pocket for a while, perhaps its over heating.

Anyway, since I now voided the warranty, I installed cyanogen 7.1 on my fascinate and it has completely changed my phone experience for the better. Since I have 5 more months since my contract is up with verizon with a phone whose display comes and goes, I might as well enjoy a well put together rom, free of Verizon bloat and with the latest version on android.


Family Reunion

I don’t usually write self indulgent things, but what the heck…

Today I was able to attend the first annual Bonassera family reunion. It was held at the parish cemetery of Tosca, which is a small “frazione” of a town called Varsi, in the province of Parma, Italy. It is a small simple cemetery with a beautiful view of an appenine mountainside for its inhabitants, but an arduous steep climb up a narrow road for it’s visitors.

The reunion was preceded by a solemn funeral mass for the graveyards newest arrival, my uncle Guido. He was injured in an accident and broke his back.

But that was almost 30 years ago. He went on to do more in the last 30 years than most people do their whole lives, without the aid of a pesky working lower body.

He joined his parents, Fortunato and Domenica, and my father Quirino, who have been residents there for quite a long time.

His two sisters Pierina and Lina were not able to attend as it’s hard for them to get away from their respective graveyards.

I hope wherever they may be they can all be together and comfort each other, there are a few people left here that miss their company.


My iPhone won’t vibrate any more.

Suddenly, I noticed that I was missing tons of calls.  I just assumed it was due to poor reception at work, but the other day I had my phone in my hand while receiving a call, and noticed it wasn’t vibrating any more.  I tried resetting the phone, removing apps, restoring.  Eventually I just gave it a good hard old fashioned whack and the phone started vibrating when I called it again.   In looking at the apple support fourm, I guess some other people are having the same issue.  I’ll probably take it in to the Apple Store to see what they say, but this is not a good sign for an 8 month old $400 phone.

UPDATE:  Now that I think about it I don’t believe it is vibrating as strong as it used to.

UPDATE2:  I made a post to the Apple support forums saying that I fixed the issue by giving the phone a whack, but they deleted the post claiming it was bad advice.  I can see their point.

UPDATE3: I posted this 3 years ago, and it is the top source of visits to this blog. Bumping this to the first page since many people found it useful.


My ghetto dyndns client for powerdns

I found an excuse to play around with powerdns, I am using it as a shadow master for Getting it to work as a master to my easydns slave was easy enough, so I was about to call it a day when I realized that my dyndns client for my home ip wouldn’t work anymore. After looking around and reading that there wasn’t a good way to do dynamic dns updates other than the pdns pipe backend, and not thinking I could mix and match the pipe backend with the bind backend for the same domain, I hacked the following together.

On my home linux box:


MYIP=$(dig +short

ssh "echo $MYIP > /tmp/dynhost.ip"

And on the server:


use strict;

my $date=`date +%s`;

my $oldip=`dig +short`;
my $newip=`cat /tmp/dynhost.ip`;

chomp $date;

if ( $oldip != $newip) {
        my @template=`cat /etc/bind/pri/zone.template`;
        open (ZONEFILE, '>/etc/bind/pri/') or die "Couldn't open file for write";
        foreach my $line (@template) {
                $line =~ s/SERIAL/$date/g;
                $line =~ s/NEWIP/$newip/g;
                print ZONEFILE $line or die;
        close (ZONEFILE);

You’ll have to setup a template zone file to run the regex against.

Now there are probably better ways to do it but thats what I came up with quickly. Of course you need ssh keys setup, and configure pdns to rescan the zone file every once in a while. Now I’ll add these to cron and see if it actually works.


Best Comment Spam Ever

Sometimes, when I am bored, I take a look at the spam comments that get blocked by Askimet. Its oddly interesting to see the different patterns in the spam, and once in a while one really catches my eye. I saw one such message today:

It’s so hard to get backlinks these days, honestly i need a backlink by comments on your blog / forums or guestbook to make my website appear in search engine. I am getting desperate Now! I know you’ll laugh while reading this comment !!! Here is my website XXXXXXX I know my comments do not relate to the topic, but PLEASE HELP ME!! APPROVING MY COMMENT!

Are the spammers and SEO whores really getting that desparate? Heck I almost felt bad enough to approve the comment.



IPv6 experimentation

This amazing, content-filled, juggernaut of a website should now be available over IPv6. I can’t actually test it since I don’t have my ipv6 tunnel setup at home anymore, but I trust it works. As a person who does this crap for a living I must admit that ipv6 address are quite ugly to look at. I think thats part of the reason for the slow adoption. My brain almost melted when I looked at the format for the reverse zone files for ipv6 addy’s in bind.

Dhcp6? Router autodiscovery? 6to4?? bleh, I think the world will move back to appletalk before adopting this new setup.


Ipad brightness

So I have been an iPad owner for about a year, it was a gift from my awesome wife. Since I got it, I hardly use my laptop anymore, and when I do its work work. One thing I tend to do a lot is use it in bed late at night. I am a bit disappointed that the screen brightness cannot be further dimmed, even at its lowest setting it is WAY to bright. I know it can be dimmer, apples own ebook app allows lower screen brightness settings that in the default ipad settings, but sadly this only works for ibooks. I can’t be the only one who finds this disappointing. My brother, who is an iphone dev, told me that apps that touch the brightness settings via the API will get rejected since messing with the levels can affect battery life. This might be a good reason to look into jailbreaking the device.