Thursday, May 26, 2005



Why do all cellular telephone carriers suck? I've spent the last few months trying to figure out how to get my awesome Bluetooth-enabled T637 working as a modem. I've been able to get it to work via GPRS (for those in the AT&T world, mMode) but that's bleeding expensive. I just wanted a simple analog connection -- so what if it only works at 9600 baud, I can handle that with a text-only mail client.

Recently I discovered something I did *not* know about modems: when you issue an ATD command, you can choose if it's voice or should be interpreted as data. Apparently this is something in the modem to route the communications either to the speaker or serial cable. Anyhow, the difference is a measly semicolon:

ATDT5551212; (voice call)
ATDT5551212 (data/fax call)

Without the semicolon, the modem tries to create a direct circuit that is supposed to be less lossy than voice calls. Thus the use for a modem (and why we can use compression). In order for this to work, the telephone switch has to support Circuit Switched Dialing (CSD). Ironically, this is a feature built into the GSM specs, so it's no burden on a carrier to implement it. Unfortunately, to pressure people into using the higher-cost GPRS service, AT&T wireless has turned it off. Bastards.

I figured since Cingular and AT&T wireless merged, that they would unify their services, but they did not. Even though Cingular customers can use CSD, former AT&T customers cannot. Bastards.

At least two of my three choice features still work:
1. Bluetooth connectivity
2. Voice calls

I'll just have to fight for number 3... or wait for someone to tell me about a "fix" ... or just use WiFi hotspots until I can switch carriers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

shifting gears

I've come to the realization that I'm broken: going to an engineering school has stuck me in the mode of "getting shit done." I need to shift gears to "making shit up" to get a PhD... Easier said than done. *sigh*

Friday, May 20, 2005


This week star wars geeks will be showing you their "o" face, you know:

stupid tv

I only get one TV station, and lately (dispite my lack of tv-watching) it's been annoying. PBS likes to re-air timely shows, and with the current StarWars III coming out they've decided to air the Charlie Rose interview with George Lucas CONSTANTLY. I swear, the last three times I've flipped on the TV it's been on. I just flipped it on again, that makes four. ARG. Play something more interesting, WTIU, I've already seen this show twice! It was enough -- the man isn't really that interesting, why don't you air Episode 4 or something...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

holy snowly

So I'm in Rapid City, South Dakota right now for a wedding, and the weather shocks me. It's may 12, and last night we got 10 inches of snow. Yuck. It's MAY! It was 30 degrees when my plane landed yesterday, and it was 70 or so in Indianapolis when I left! I was talking with a meterologist yesterday, and he too was confused about the weather -- confused, but not baffled. Of course he knew why it happened, but the explanation was over my head.

Weather, you are a strange thing.

Monday, May 02, 2005


The IU squirrels say hi.

about midgley

On Friday, some students held an anti-Midgley rally on the Rose-Hulman campus. There's a ton of turmoil about the quality of the newly-elected president of the college, Jack Midgley.

I thought it was pretty tacky how they made shirts that said "Hit the Road Jack" on them and gave them out for free. Nonetheless, lots of people expressed legitimate concerns for his qualifications.

There were some offshoot protests that showed up, such as the anti-rally-protesters who carried large question marks and chanted "we don't know what's going on!" Also, one person walked around wearing a shirt that said "Fuck the man."

Some people didn't like the shirt, so they told him to take it off. Instead, he made a poster that said Censorship S*cks.

This event was amazing, mostly because this is the first time that students have publicly voiced a strong opinion about ANYTHING in public at Rose-Hulman. I guess there is one other time: there was a protest to get Captain Crunch back in the cafeteria, but that's trivial.