Month: December 2006

So I was just looking at Yahoo Mobile, and discovered it doesn’twork on my mobile. How lame is that?

I’m using the shipping version of IE for Windows Mobile 5 on my Verizon (UT Starcom) XV-6700, and when I go to My Account to try to update Yahoo with my current device, the JavaScript on the carrier-selection page doesn’t work. Silent failure — no warnings about browser compatibility. No downgraded page. Nothing but a device pop-up that doesn’t work.

And it’s been like this for months.

Lame.

Pocket PC

Politics

PowerOnFastmailLog-sm.jpg: The power is back on at the house. Got a call from my neighbor, who says he also grabbed our trash cans, and took some packages in off the porch, which was extremely nice of them. (Apparently there have been some thefts, especially of generators, so they were concerned about our UPS deliveries.)

Interestingly enough, our answering machine, flaky though it has been, did indeed come on, so we would have been able to tell by calling the house that the power was back. One message says “Hi, you’ve reached Jake and Cindy…” and the other says “Leave a message for Jake and Cindy…”, but more conclusively, one takes a # key to check messages, and the other takes a * key.

But even if we hadn’t gotten the call, and hadn’t had our answering machine come up, my home computer still booted. It comes up and launches my webserver, which has some custom portal type apps I run for myself, and my mail spam filter system, which scrubs my IMAP account.

Now I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see the machine, since our DSL has a dynamic IP address, and I’m not sure that the app I use to update my dyndns.org record is working. Interestingly enough though the screenshot above is the web interface to my Fastmail login log. 71.102.97.190 is the IP address of my computer at home, as logged in to my IMAP account to scrub spam. So now that I had my home machine’s IP address, a quick update of my dyndns.org DNS record, and I’m reconnected to the home network.

Reboot complete. Now we just have to wait for the house to heat up, and it’ll be good as new, except for all the sawdust and bark chips I dragged in while feeding the wood stove last weekend.

Phew. Very nearly an entire week out. Exciting, true, but I think we could do without this for another 10 years, and not feel we’re missing anything.

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Before coming up to Vancouver to escape the power outage, I was thinking about ways that I might be able to figure out when the power was back on at the house. I thought maybe I could hit my home web server, which should turn back on automatically, but the DSL line that goes to the house has a dynamic IP address, and I wasn’t sure if the computer would automatically update the dynamic DNS record automatically or not, so that’s not 100%.

A friend at work had a good idea — just call the house and see if the answering machine picks up. But I’m not sure it will come up enabled, or if it was even turned on before the storm hit. If not, then it will go to voicemail regardless of whether the power is on or not.

So I broke down and called PSE on my cell at $0.69/min roaming rates. They say that their current estimate is that power will be back on by Friday at 6PM, but it might be as late as Saturday. She said they’ve seen three different estimates in the last 24 hours, and with another storm approaching tonight, all bets are off.

So we’ll head back on Saturday. With a little luck, the power should be on when we get home. If not, then we’ll hit a Motel 6. At least it’s likely we’ll be home and warm on Christmas.

In the meantime, Cindy and I are going for a Massage this afternoon. As long as we’re on a forced "vacation", we might as well make the best of it.

Updated update: According to the service alert on the PSE website, it now appears that we may not have power ’till Sunday. What “a small number of customers in the Cottage Lake area” means, exactly, is the question. Are we part of that group or not? I guess there’s no way to know without calling them. Great.

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SeattleTimes-06-12-18-sm.jpg: Thumbnail of the Seattle Times homepage for Dec 12, 2006, showing a photo of downed power lines just 1/4 mile from our house.We decided not to stick around for days and days more with no power, and hightailed it to Vancouver tonight. On the way we drove by the downed power lines near our house, on Woodinville-Duvall Road, and saw a couple of news trucks there. I guess it’s some of the worst, or at least most visible damage around, so the news crews are using it as a background for reporting on the continued power outage.

Turns out they weren’t the only ones who had that idea — the Seattle Times home page is featuring a photo of the same damage, which is about 1/4 mile from our dark, cold house. I took a screenshot.

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WindStorm-sm.jpg: As promised, here are a bunch of pictures taken with my camera-phone on Friday morning, after the wind storm Thursday.

I’m at work, so I have a bit of bandwidth, and a chance to try out the photo gallery tools on Fastmail.fm — simple but they work well for my purposes.

Fastmail seems to be a really nice service for the money — 2GB of mail and file storage w/IMAP, POP and web support for $25/year $40/year. They also handle custom domain mappings and some facny filtering features, and sub-accounts for multi-user domains. I was impressed enough that I switched from Runbox, which is getting slower and slower with the passage of time…

Anyway, the power is still out at the house, and will be for at least a few more days. It’s not clear that it’ll be back on by Christmas…

So we decided to go to Vancouver, BC at least till Sunday.

With a little luck I’ll be able to tell over the Internet when the power comes back on, since my computer will wake up when it does. Just have to figure out what it’s talking to online that will give ome indication that it’s awake, from a remote location…

Or I could just call the house and see if the answering machine picks up.

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We had a major wind and rain storm here on Thursday night, that knocked out power all over Wetern Washington and Oregon.

Here at home in Woodinville, about 7 miles NE of the Microsoft campus, power went out at about 11PM, after threatening to for at least an hour.

Now unfortunately for me, I had homework to do. At work, we’d spent the week doing a big planning exercise for new stuff we might like to build for Windows Live. We had some excellent presentations early in the week, brainstorming in the middle, and we were to all present our work on Friday. Well, I still had to finish writing up our idea when the power went out. I had about 2 hours of battery left on the laptop, and I’d made sure my PDA was charged so I could get online and send my materials out. I managed to finish with only minutes to spare, and even then, I had to transfer the files to the PDA to actually get then sent, since the Internet connection over BT DUN was just too slow. In the meantime I could hear branches falling all over the place, howling winds, and two trees falling within a few hundred feet of our house — much too close for comfort.

Then, Fri morning I tried to go to work. Whoops. Power was out all the way into Redmond, and across the entire East Side as far as I could tell. Needless to say, I didn’t get to do my presentation. Later…

I did get some pictures of some of the damage around the house on the way home. I’ll upload them later, once my power is back and I have some real bandwidth. For now, you’ll have to settle for this textual account of events, thumbed out on my PDA’s sghtly-nicer-than-average chicklet keyboard.

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