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Garmin GPSmap 60CSx

Garmin GPSmap 60CSx vs eTrex VentureI couldn't be left behind, so I was very happy to receive my new toy today. I was very surprised by it's size when I received it - it's barely bigger than my current eTrex - which is a huge plus. And the sensitivity is definitely all that.

There's a number of features that make this GPS much better than my old one...

  • Charges via USB
  • USB connection to computer - not proprietary connector to serial to serial to usb converter
  • External antenna capable
  • External antenna not typically necessary due to built-in quad-helix antenna and SiRF III chipset (awesome sensitivity)
  • Huge and clear screen
  • Auto-routing (with appropriate maps loaded)
And I'm sure that list isn't exhaustive. I think I'm going to be happy with my purchase.

Motorola RIZR Z3

Motorola RIZR Z3 openedSo I got another cell phone. It's about the same size as my Samsung SGH-D820, but without the dust problems.

I was initially very sceptical about getting another motorola considering how much I hated the address book, but they've fixed that in their newer firmware and I don't really have any problems with the rest of their software, so I picked one up after a couple weeks of eBaying.

So far it's pretty nice - I can actually customize pretty much every sound I want (including SMS tones - finally!) and the form factor is pretty similar to the D820. I need to reflash an unbranded firmware to get rid of the T-Mobile stuff, but it's unlocked so I can use it with AT&T. After that I can fix the SMS/MMS/WAP settings and get data flowing again and I should be good to go.

AT&T Wireless (mMode) settings for Samsung

AT&TWS WAP 2.0 Settings:

Name: <whatever you want>
Homepage: http://home
Proxies: Enable
Primary proxy address:
Primary proxy port: 8080
Secondary proxy: <keep it as is>
Data Bearer: GPRS 
Bearer Settings
GPRS Access Point: Proxy
Authentication type: Normal
Login type: Automatic
User name: <blank>
Password: <blank>

MMS Settings:

Name: <whatever you want>
Homepage: http://mmsc.mobile.attwireless.net
Proxies : Enable
Primary proxy address:
Primary proxy port: 8080
Secondary proxy: <leave it as is>
Data Bearer: GPRS
GPRS Access Point: Proxy 
Authentication Type: Normal
User name: <blank>
Password: <blank>
HowardForums: D500/ Cingular email/WAP/MMS woes....Please help me out

Dust!? I hate dust!

A couple months after I got the Samsung SGH-T809/D820 I started having dust problems with the screen. The first solution was easy enough - pull up the screen and clean it. Unfortunately, this didn't last.

Twice now I've taken my T809/D820 apart to clean the dust. This time I put a hefty dose of RTV silicone where I think the dust is entering at; if it still gets dusty this time, I know I need to tackle the problem from a different direction.

Motorola RAZR v3i review

[Brady] complained that I didn't have a review for my wife's RAZR. Well, it can be summed up pretty succinctly by the statement "Motorola's address book sucks".

GPS Tagging Photos

Since I've been hiking a bit more recently I've gotten it into my head that I should be GPS-tagging my photos. Unfortunately, this isn't easy since the camera doesn't have any way of putting the location tags into the photos itself. Pretty much the easiest way to do it is to carry your GPS with you and syncronize your camera's time to the GPS' time, download the GPS tracklog and photos onto your computer, then have some program go through your photo directory and GPS tracklogs and add tags after-the-fact. So because of this idea I've been carrying my GPS with me when I was down at Virginia Beach and Cowan's Gap.
Well, it turns out that program for linux is gpsPhoto.pl (RPM). Unfortunately, it wasn't until I saw this page that I realized my tracklogs were useless. Here's the excerpt:
A special advice for garmin users (tested with etrex version): you should not store the tracklog within the device under a separate filename (using the save option).

Initial Samsung SGH-D820 Review

The phone is working pretty well so far. It's definitely a lot thinner and lighter. The display is extremely clear and bright. The biggest thing I've noticed so far is that some actions require going through menus more than I would like, but I'm starting to find shortcuts through most of them.
I didn't have any problems upgrading the firmware from the SGH-T809 to the SGH-D820. I'll have to keep watching GSMArena and HowardForums for more firmware upgrade.

Cell Phone Upgrade Time - Samsung SGH-T809

Unfortunately, I made a bad choice with the Sony Ericsson s710a. It's just too big. Fortunately there's an alternative with a much more attractive alternative, but it breaks my ties with Sony Ericsson : the Samsung SGH-T809.
The current plan is to re-flash the unit to the SGH-D820 firmware which will unlock the phone, debrand it, and give it a bunch of additional features. This isn't entirely new to me - I did the same thing with my Motorola V551. Being about the same size as Tiff's Motorola Razr V3i, I think it's going to be a very portable size.
I've been looking back at my recent phone purchases, and you can see a short side-by-side comparison of my last 5 phones. My progression over time has gone something like this:
  1. Nokia 6160 - 2000; my first phone! TDMA
  2. Nokia 8260 - 2001; purchased just to get something smaller than the 6160 and the inter

Fox Hunt winners!

[Brady] and I managed to find N3MMH in a little over an hour today using a 3-element yagi we built yesterday (and finished this morning) out of an old TV antenna. Not bad! Of coruse, that means we have to be the fox next year...
In other ham-related news, I finally managed to get my Yaesu FT-1500m installed in my WRX. I mounted it on top of my dash - my biggest concern is going to be heat from sitting in the sun. I have tons of pictures to upload from the process - hopefully they'll be up soon.

big Yagies and Callsigns

[Dennis] found a website for a 2.4GHz Bazooka Yagi. We built it tonight, and was able to get about 10-12dbi gain out of it. Not bad for a night's work.
And the three of us that went for our ameteur radio licenses got our call signs! Mine is KB3IZJ. Nice!

Ham-ing it up!

Sorry; I promise that will be my only Amateur Radio joke. [Brady], Patrick, and I went to take our Technician Class Amateur Radio tests last Saturday, an we all passed! I haven't received my call sign (yet), but I hope to be on the air soon - or at least listening in.
[Brady] and I have grand dreams of a Packet Radio link; alibiet slow (~56kb tops). Need to do a profile of the potential new house to [Brady]'s to see what that terrain is like...

Newville Free Wireless Project (NFWP)

[Dennis] and I would like to start a community wireless project in the Newville, PA area, and are looking for some help. Check out his NFWP website for more info.

my own yagi

well, I've finally done it. I've created my own Yagi antenna. Read all about it here.

wireless rocks

I've been playing with a bunch of wireless stuff recently, and I've found out it rocks. I have a Lucent Orinoco (WaveLan) card that works beautifully under both Win2k and Linux; and I have a Raylink card on the way as well. I've set up an 802.11b network in my house as well - it is so cool to be able to walk around with my laptop, hack, and surf at the same time.
I've also been playing with the Breezecom (Alverion now) equipment, which is the reason I bought the Raylink card. Hopefully that will interoperate with them. We'll see. Anyway, I recommend anyone to play with this stuff. It rules.