NASA Chief: Risk Inherent in Shuttle Flight.

Right on! For Michael Griffin.

DUH! To the people who think space flight is routine and safe, and need to be reminded that these brave astronauts know and accept the risk for the betterment of humankind.

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The BlackBerry Saga

Last Monday Cingular introduced the BlackBerry Personal Plan, which at $29.99/month is a bit of a bargain when the old unlimited plan is $44.99/month. I quickly changed Leah’s BB onto that plan and also signed myself up for the E61. Using the BlackBerry Connect software on my E61, I should be able to get BB Push emails which, if works, would make the phone even better.

I hit the first snag when my BB Connect PIN didn’t get pushed through to RIM’s server for over a day, and required me to log into Cingular’s Customer Forum online to get it done. So I was able to create a BB email account late in Monday night (~1AM) and added my three email addresses. So far so good, I thought. But then no service book was sent to my phone and so nothing was coming through. I gave up waiting after 15 minutes and went to bed. I guess Cingular’s server migration from using BIS 1.8 to 2.0 on the same Monday didn’t work well under load.

On Tuesday morning nothing had changed but now I couldn’t add more email address to my BB account. Strange, I thought, but again I put it down to RIM server overloaded. Then after lunch, emails started arriving so I thought everything was going to be fine. The only problem I had up to that point was unable to access the web while BB Connect is running in the background. I read about this on various forums on the net but I thought it was just a glitch that would resolve itself once everything is working.

Then I logged onto the customer forum again to resolve my inability to add more email account. The Cingular agent was very good, she even called RIM for me about the problem. But when she told RIM that I have a E61, RIM refused to help me in anyway because the E61 is a unsupported device. While I understand they can’t help every customers with unlocked phones from outside North America, my problem was so server based that I got very annoyed by their attitude. No attempt was made to even see what the issue was.

So I did the best thing I could do, and the worst for Cingular/RIM, I asked the agent to take off my BB plan and that was it. Doesn’t make much sense really for Cingular/RIM to lose $29.99/month over a device that they are not supported (yet). I bet if I’ve told them I have a Nokia 9500 they would have helped me. But my point was that it shouldn’t have been an issue at the first place. If RIM really wants to expand into the consumer market, they need to rethink their support position. At the end of the day, it was their loss. I still get my email, albeit slightly delayed but I don’t have to beg/lie to get support.

I would probably try again when Cingular releases the rumoured E62, which is a cut down version of E61 (no Wi-Fi, no 3G). Then I can just tell them I have the E62 and that will be that.

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No internet or HDTV

When I got home this evening I found that the lights on the cable modem was not flashing. So I promptly cycled the power, hoping it would solve the problem like previous times. Not so lucky this time and when I turned on the TV to see if it was just the cable modem I found the set-top box was out too. So no internet or TV, and this happened on the night of 24 season finales!

Time Warner Cable could only send a technician out here on Wednesday so we’ll be entertainment-less until then. At least the recorded shows on the DVR are Ok so at we can watch them. And I guess this also give me time to read all the magazines and books…

You can run but you can't hide

I know there are only a few episode left for The West Wing (exactly one after tonight), but that shouldn’t mean the production crew can ease off! Starting three episodes ago, Leah and I both noticed a camera focusing issue with many shots. For example, in tonight episode about 40% of the shots were out of focus. They were either couple of inches too deep or too short, sometimes nearly a foot. So the actors faces were never in focus, but their collars or knees were.

I can definitely take a guess that perhaps the cameraman did not see the focus problem because they were not monitoring on HD monitor. Normal TV in Standard Definition hides pretty much everything errors one can make because of its low quality. But what has changed? Did they switch from shooting on film (as I remembered reading from somewhere, possibly the AVS Forum) to shooting on HD camera? Or did they simply drop the ball because it doesn’t matter any more? I can forgive one episode but three in a roll? There is no excuse!

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