iPhone First Impressions and Beginning of Complaint List

I got an iPhone for myself as an early birthday present.

It certainly has good usability features, and I recommend it for that. Here are some things I like other than the usability:

1. WiFi in addition to the AT&T mobile phone and data connection.

2. Bluetooth compatibility seems more straight forward than Windows Mobile 5. Oops, I have to strike this based on the fact that my stereo headphones don’t work. See below.

However, I here is the start of my complaint list:

1. I have used thumb keyboards for a long time. Because this one doesn’t have “real” keys, I find it difficult to hit the correct letters. It is not the edge of your thumb that counts, but the part that hits the key. That means the key is covered when you hit it. I seem to need to aim slightly more to the inside of what feels natural.

2. I had it “hang up” the first night after I had tried the settings for my WIFI at home. I found out how to reset it by holding home and sleep/wake. I did several times but the slider to unlock it wouldn’t work. I tried to restore the software but got error 1602. I followed the instructions under support for clearing 1602 including to reboot the PC and, if that didn’t work, uninstall and reinstall iTunes. Almost like I was working with a PC. Well, I was on the iTunes side but not the other side! Nothing worked. Finally I got it to go by doing some combination of holding my breath, plugging it in a certain way, etc. Pretty frustrating.

3. I just found out that the iPhone does not do Internet Streaming Radio and such. Too bad. I had that on my Windows Mobile 5 phone. I did find out that it will play static MP3 files as podcasts via Quicktime in Safari.

4.  I found out my Tunecast II doesn’t work. It needs some kind of headphone extension adapter. I have seen them advertised on the Internet.

5. Seems I can only turn an MP3 into a Ringtone if I buy it from iTunes. Not very open….

6. The iPhone won’t sync with Lotus Notes. Interestingly, it will sync with Yahoo Address Book but not Yahoo Calendar. All the rest is Outlook. Another interesting thing…. When you go to My Yahoo on Safari, Yahoo says it doesn’t support Safari.

7. No electronic wallet thing exists unless you want the encrypted passwords stored on the Internet.

I’m sure I’ll find more. Meanwhile, I will try to enjoy it.

8. I discovered another one…. My Jabra BT620S Bluetooth stereo headphones work as a headphone for a call but not for playing music ala iPod. This is a real bummer!!

And another!!

9. No copy-paste!

My son, who now as an iPhone, discovered another….

10. No ability to navigate to a specific page of a PDF through the browser. That makes it tough if what you need to find is on page 150 or so!

Digital Shortwave

I recently returned to shortwave listening after a few decade absence. I discovered computer controlled receivers. These, with associated software, are very efficient at looking through a large number of frequencies with possible catches in a short time.

I also discovered Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). It was difficult for me to get it to work, but when I did, how wonderful! You either receive the signal or you don’t. If you do, it is crystal clear!

See http://www.drm.org/ and http://drm.sourceforge.net/ and http://www.drmrx.org/ and http://www.dxtra.org/.

A Proposal for Earth Decimal Time

I had a brainstorm that wouldn’t it be nice to be able to express time as a decimal year and to use that in practice. I recorded my thoughts in Excel (and stuck in a Copyright (c) 2007, Richard L. Mitchell).

Then I started searching on the Internet. I see in Wikipedia that I am not the first one to have such a thought. There is an article on Decimal Time and several related articles. Also I read up on time on the U.S. Navel Observatory web site. I found similar but not identical ideas. Most had to do with decimally dividing the day but an equinox may also be involved. It appears that just such a time was actually instituted post French Revolution.

See http://www.enlitants.com/EarthDecimalTime.html

It is a proposal! Please comment!


Firefox 2 on Fedora Core 6

I am writing this post without direct access to my system. I’ll edit it later if I discover problems….

I looked at and/or tried some of the suggestions on the web. These included:

1. Doing it with the “remi” library. I didn’t try that as I was not familiar with that library.

2. Enabling the development repository under yum. I tried this but could not get past the gecko dependency problems.

Finally, I went back to what I first tried i.e. download tar and install it.

Upon startup, I received a libstdc++…so5 not found error. I resolved this by doing an Add Software and installing the compat…3… libraries.

Note, if you say yes to make it the default browser, running by clicking on the browser icon on the desktop header will invoke your Firefox 2. You don’t need to change /usr/bin/firefox unless you plan to run from the command line. Even then you can run /usr/local/lib/firefox instead.

JBoss Application Server (and Portal in my case) Shutdown on Fedora and Red Hat

The “$JBOSS_HOME/bin/jboss_init_redhat.sh stop” which sets up the environment and does a “$JBOSS_HOME/bin/shutdown.sh -S” was not working in my environment. After MUCH work, I determined it was because my system is behind a firewall, and the shutdown command was attempting to communicate through it. When I opened ports 1098 and 1099 on the firewall, things got further, but when I watched the packets, I was getting “checksum” errors. Strange.

Anyway, this is the entry which saved me


It explains how to setup the JMX invoker so that it works on localhost. That is what did it for me. Be careful though when using it as there is a missing “” at the end of last example under point 3. I did flag that back to the kbase people so that it might be fixed as of your reading of this.

Please read and heed the references near the end of the kbase article cited above about securing your JBoss server. When you do this, i.e. SecureTheInvokers, you will need to add login parameters after the -S in the shutdown.

There is some indication I may need other ports open on my firewall.

We’ll see. Meanwhile, if you are having shutdown problems, which I have seen many posts indicating people have, see the RedHat Kbase post above.

Alfresco Content Management System

While browsing portlets on the JBoss portal site, I found


as an open source content management system. I have installed the Community Edition and it looks and feels fine!

I’m still experimenting, but if you are looking for content management, this one looks awefully good.

JBoss Portal 2.4 Install on Fedora Core 5

I recently decided to try JBoss Portal. This is my story, as best I remember it, including some documentation of dead end paths.1. I went to the Red Hat site, clicked JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite, clicked JBoss Portal, clicked JBoss Portal download page, and finally Download of JBoss Portal + JBoss AShttp://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/jboss/jboss-portal-2.4.0-CR1-bundled.zip?download

Alternatively, I could have gone directly to www.jboss.com, clicked the link for Developers and gone from there.

2. I unzipped the file in my home directory. I found the Quickstart Users Guide in docs/portal/quickstartuser/pdf. I noticed this quote in Chapter 1:

“JBoss Portal is platform independent, but this guide was developed using a windows platform. This guide should work equally well for Unix/Linux installations because JBoss Portal is 100% Pure Java. Obviously, you may need to download the tarball instead of the zipfile and use forward slashes instead of backslashes, etc.”

This sent me on a search for the tarball. I didn’t find it.

3. I started to look around in the directory structure. In bin, I found run.sh and jboss_init_redhat.sh. I looked in jboss_init_redhat.sh. I noticed that it defaulted to a user jboss and the files in a /usr/local/jboss directory. In case it was a convention and following it was important, I created said user with /usr/local/jboss as a home directory. I then logged in as jboss, unzipped the bundle again, and moved the subdirectories directly under /usr/local/jboss with jboss owning everything. There was, thus, /usr/local/jboss/bin, /usr/local/jboss/docs, etc.

4. Knowing from past experience, I set the permissions of the *.sh files in bin to have execute permission for jboss. I used chmod 755 *.sh but 700 works also if you feel protective.

5. I then looked more in jboss_init_redhat.sh. Via examination and trial and error, I discovered I needed to do the following:

a. Set some environmental variables. I put the following lines in /usr/local/jboss/.bashrc:

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/j2sdk1.4.2_12

export JBOSS_CONSOLE=/usr/local/jboss/jboss.log

Go ahead and “touch /usr/local/jboss/jboss.log” as the user jboss so that you’ll be able to read it after root writes it.

b. I made the following changes to jboss_init_redhat.sh

Changed JAVAPTH to /usr/java/j2sdk1.4.2_12/bin

Changed the “all” in the JBOSSSH to “default”

After this, I was able to run /usr/local/jboss/bin/jboss_init_redhat.sh as root and get things going.

6. Some notes on dead end paths followed:

a. I tried /usr/share/java and /usr/share/java-1.4.2 from the stock Fedora Core install. I would get $Proxy… class not found errors in the log. I then downloaded and installed the RPM from Sun. The init script then worked with the settings specified above.

b. The stock jboss_init_redhat.sh script uses “…run.sh -c all”. That appeared to look for things in /usr/local/jboss/server/all. There was nothing there. I changed “all” to “default” since /usr/local/jboss/server/default was there.

I am now happily going through the examples and tutorials. Let me know if you have any questions.

My Recent eMachines Experience

I bought a T3104 on March 3rd (2006) to put my Windows stuff like Quicken and Turbotax on. Unfortunately, as of the date of this post, I still cannot use it!The basic problem is in the networking. After a period of time, the connection just stops working. It still shows as connected but nothing flows. This is usually accompanied by the Sent Packet count in the Local Connection Status resetting to 0. (eMachines recently sent a add-on PCI card. This was the third one I tried. For it the link stopped but the count didn’t zero.) As I said, it is after a period of time. However, I can accelerate it just by starting a large download. It usually fails in a few minutes.I have gone through uncountable troubleshooting procedures with eMachines with many repeats. I have sent the system back to them, at their request, THREE times and it has returned with the same problem THREE times. I don’t always know what they do, but I have seen indications of memory swap, etc. The most recent attempt was the above noted add-on PCI card. Now, I am waiting to see what they want to do next.I finally gave up a few weeks ago and acquired another system, a Compaq. It works fine! Note, with the same cable, router, etc. that didn’t work with the eMachines. However, also note, multiple cables and routers have been involved in trying to find a solution.

All of this is too bad as I once owned an eMachines M5305 laptop and had an excellent experience.

Standby for the latest news.

Belkin Bluetooth Mouse F8T041 Install on Windows XP SP2

Every since I upgraded to SP2, I have had trouble with my Bluetooth Support Server, which came with my Bluetooth mouse from Belkin, aborting. I worked with Belkin to try and correct this.Belkin support was very helpful, but I couldn’t get their solution to work. Their solution involved downloading and installing the latest software from WIDCOMM (through Belkin), namely 1.4.2 Build 10 after a clean uninstall. I had trouble getting a clean install as MsiExec.exe tended to abort in the middle of the install. In addition, the install under SP2 picks the Microsoft drivers, and you need to switch it the Belkin drivers. Even when I got a clean install, the Bluetooth Support Server would start aborting again.

Finally, I got the idea of just uninstalling the Belkin software and going with the Microsoft Bluetooth software in SP2. That worked! My mouse works fine and I no longer have any Bluetooth Support Server aborts. I might be missing functionality, but, if so, I don’t know it. If you have this Bluetooth Support Server abort problem with your Belkin mouse, I recommend you contact Belkin technical support. If, however, things don’t work out there, you might try just going with the Microsoft Bluetooth software as noted above. Also, be aware, this same software from WIDCOMM is used by manufacturers other than Belkin and may have the same problems. Also, remember, as far as I know this is only an issue on WINXP SP2.

WebSphere Portal Express 5.0 Install on SUSE Linux 10

Some pointers in case someone is having problems and searching for solutions on the WWW…I had to do “export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5″ to get wsextract.bin for Studio to work. “export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.4.19″ DID NOT work for me.

I had to capitalize the first part of the filenames before the .bin extensions to get wsextract to work.

Studio seemed to work fine after install.

After install, I couldn’t get the test environment to start. In debug, it was looking for xml…. I suspect this is because I did not install everything in the .zips. However, about this time I uninstalled everything and started moving to Portal Enable 5.1 so that I will never know.