Wednesday, August 31, 2005



Long Weekend in Boston

I'll be in Boston from today through Labor Day (or maybe the day after).

I may post occasionally while I'm gone.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Sex in France

For those of you who responded to my earlier post with demands for more sex, here is something for you.

This commercial was produced for an AIDS awareness campaign.

The message is safe sex.

But what I took away from this clip was the difficult truth that France is a more advanced civilization than the US, at least when it comes to sex education.

(Click on any of the images to the left to play the video clip.  You'll need Quicktime or a compatable media player.)

(Tip of the hat to Dana Kawala for pointing me to the Cannes Lions website for an entirely different award winning advertisement--this one a radio ad about model railroading.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Sunrise from atop downtown Chicago's ugliest building.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Saturday Night

Jeanne and I joined Mike and Leigh for a concert by Los Lonely Boys at Ravinia.  It was a good show and Jeanne had lots of delicious snacks.

Special thanks to Eli for helping us out with extra tickets!


Saturday afternoon

Jeanne took me out to the suburbs for a pig roast.  It was a lot of fun, but I was too full from the pizza I ate while helping Jim move to want any pig.


Saturday Morning

Helped Jim move in with Kelly this morning.  The operation was surprisingly well-organized and the pizza was yummy.  As of this posting no sign of backache, sunburn, or indigestion.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Hacking the Motorola E815 (part 1)

At 3:30AM this morning, and after several days of effort, I finaly succeeded with performing unsupported modifications to my new cellphone.

If you are a proud owner of a new generation Motorola cellphone and/or a sad Verizon customer, the following information may come in handy.

First of all, credit where credit is due:  I could not have pulled this off without Justyna--it was truly a team effort.  When I was hopelessly stuck and feeling like a dumb geek, Justyna figured out the necessity of PST and the
crucial importance of orderly driver loading.  I estimate that Justyna gave up at least an hour or two of good prime time television to figure these things out.  I dedicate this successful hack to Justyna.  She may not understand binary math, but she is certainly a better problem solver than I am.
Anyway, here is how to unlock your Motorola phone and/or stick it to Verizon:

1. For the Motorola E815, I strongly recommend starting with Nuclear Elephant's E815 white paper.  He also has a similar fact sheet for the v710, the E815's crippled kid sister.  These instructions contain some errors and omissions, but are probably the most accurate and concise Motorola hacking instructions on the net.

2. Save money and buy your data cable from e-Bay.

3. You'll find a good p2k seem editor and the complete set of drivers for your phone at Inetron.  You can follow the Nuclear Elephant instructions to use these files.

4. As Justyna discovered (and the Nuclear Elephant and most other fact sheets gloss over or omit entirely) the Motorola PST phone programming tool is crucial.  You must have this program running in order to save your seem edit back to your phone.  You'll need a late-edition version of PST for your late-edition phone.  I can't tell you here how to get this program or Motorola will break my legs.  (Just ask me instead, or find it yourself on the Internet.)  PST must be runningbefore you open your seem editor.  But the good news is that if everything works, you don't have to put your phone into suspend mode and PST will trigger the autoload of the necessary USB drivers (if they aren't loaded already).

5. Correct driver loading is also critical, and this was one of the last issues I had to work out.  The first driver you load when you plug your phone into the data cable should be the "Motorola USB Modem" driver. After you start PST for the first time, but before you open p2k (important!) you will be prompted to load four more drivers.  You don't want to screw this up, so have the driver files for your phone already saved on your hard drive in a familiar location before you get to this step.

6. Don't be intimidated by the hexidecimal counting system while doing your seem edit.  Just remember it's 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F (not 1-10).  If all else fails you should be able to find an already modded seem file at Inetron.

7. If you are using Mobile Phone Tools (usually included with your OEM phone data cable) you must update it up to version 3.25b in order to utilize Multimedia Studio and move your files back and forth between your computer and your phone.  Note that the update feature will probably not work from behind a corporate firewall, but if you look hard enough you can find fully updated copies of ver. 3.25b on the Internet.

8. Once your seem edit is complete and you have saved your changes to your phone, you don't have to pop the battery like many of the instructions online suggest.  Save yourself time and agravation and just click the "reset phone" button in the p2k seem editor.

9. If you are using the e815 and wondering why your successful seem edits still don't allow you to use Multimedia Studio in Mobile Phone Tools, it is because all of the online instructions are lacking a critical final instruction:  Change the communication settings in Mobile Phone Tools to manually specify the e815m (not the e815) as your modem of choice.  This will make the Multimedia Studio icon appear.

Anyway, now my phone is unshackled and fully capable of the features Verizon tried to keep from me:  free file sharing, MP3 ringtones, free proxy web browsing (maybe), and of course Bluetooth OBEX file transfers.

I bask now in my supreme geekiness (and also Justyna's)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Raw Food Diet

For the past two and a half weeks I've been on a 70% raw food diet.

This means that most of the food I've been eating is fresh (never frozen) and never heated above 160°.

Basic information about the raw food diet can be found here.  Wikipedia has a longer article.

By now those of you who know me are scratching your head asking why?

This crazy but good idea came from the same place that all other crazy but good ideas come from: Justyna.

Justyna began her raw food adventure at the beginning of this month, and rather than maintain my normal diet (and buy twice the groceries) I decided to tag along.

Justyna's experiences are documented in her raw food blog.

The first few days of eating mostly raw food were not easy.  It seemed a little unnatural, and I felt helpless in the kitchen.

My digestive system was also full of protest.

By the end of day 3 I wasn't sure I could keep this up.

And then, all of the sudden, I felt cleansed and things got a lot easier.

Now I find myself actually craving fresh vegetables the way I used to crave spicy chicken.

I even look forward to grocery shopping.

(Feels good to walk away from the checkout line with a bag full of only vegetables and seeds.)

So far the results of this change in diet have been mostly positive.  My energy level is way up, I've lost weight, and I feel "lighter."

The only downsides have been occasional cravings for bad foods (which now make me feel terrible when I eat them) and the lower-than-usual energy level I sometimes feel after exercise (which I mitigate by keeping protein on hand).

Justyna has enjoyed even more success than I have.  Not only has she lost weight, her skin is the clearest I've ever seen it.  

She's also become a terrific raw food uncook.  I like her veggie/mango maki rolls the best!

Many of the meals we prepare at home are taken from or inspired by Raw: the Uncook Book by famous raw chef Juliano.  It's a terrific recipe book despite some technical errors and omissions.

Looking over what I've wrote so far in this post, I have to admit that this all looks a little loopy--even to me.  But I just can't imagine going back to the way I used to eat, as my occasional forays back into the cooked food world rarely leave me satisifed.  This morning I had some Church's fried chicken, and it still hurts like hell.

(On the other hand, I fried up some stuffed salmon from Trader Joe's for dinner tonight and it tasted swell.  Being on a 70% raw diet means that I can sometimes eat cooked food, but it has to be of decent quality.)

DISCLAIMER:  Don't run out and try this diet until you read this review from the American Dietetic Association (motto: food should not be fun).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Left Outer Join

We interrupt this blog for an important message from Josh:

I am pleased to announce:

Left Outer Join.

This is a new blog dedicated to posting ideas that may be too irreverant for this blog, or any other medium for that matter.  My intent is to rankle.  And in this capacity I will be joined by occasional guest commentators.  Over time I hope that this will turn into a group effort; a collaboration of loudmouths.

If you are easily rankled, best that you not visit Left Outer Join.

Unlike those of many other blogs, posts to Left Outer Join are dynamic, meaning that will appear, disappear, and change at random.  This should be especially amusing to those of you who syndicate with RSS/Atom.

We now return you to the blog already in progress.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I passed! (6 down, 1 to go!)

I passed my SQL Server Design exam.  Here's a snapshot of me and my results:

Some history: Justyna and I both started prepping for our MCSE/MCDBA certs soon after we moved back to Chicago.  I passed my first exam 3 years ago and blew through my five core tests in the first year.  Then I got stuck.  Then discouraged.  Then distracted.

But after a couple of years of my most serious bout of procrastination, I sat for my second-to-last exam yesterday morning and passed with a score of 747 points (700 required for passing).

For anyone aspiring to sit for any of the Microsoft series of multiple-choice horror sessions, I recommend the Transcender suite of exam prep software.  Without Transcender, and the support of Justyna and other loved ones, I would never had persevered to learn the difference between a LEFT and a RIGHT INNER JOIN.

Just one more test to go!

You are all invited to celebrate with me when I finish this thing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Green Tea with SQL

Just got off work. Sitting in Caribou Coffee, studying for SQL test, killing time before dentist appointment.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It has been suggested that my last post was too lengthy.

So I'll keep this brief.

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