iPhone 4 Review (Verizon)

Like many others I stayed up on February 2nd to pre-order my iPhone at 1am Arizona time.  Again, like many others I have been hitting refresh on my FedEx tracking seeing it make it’s journey from California to my doorstep.  Activation was painless (although I have heard of people having issues with activation due to the overwhelming number of activations today) after the mandatory application of  Ghost Armor on my screen.  Ghost Armor is a nice Arizona-based company that provides screen protectors for all sorts of technology.  My iPad, BlackBerry Bold, and my wife’s HTC Incredible all sport the protectors.  It was slightly weird using my Droid X to a picture of my iPhone, and post it to Facebook letting everyone know that beautiful piece of Motorola and Android technology would soon be gathering dust.

Once activated and dried off, I booted up the device and setup my mail (gmail using Microsoft Exchange support for calendar and contact syncronization), my voicemail, and Google Voice number.  After my core messaging applications were in place I plugged the phone into my MacBook Pro for the initial sync (which is known to be notoriously slow and drawn out).  Many of my iPad applications that had been designed for both iOS devices were synced over (including my “must-have” LogMeIn Ignition, DropBox, and Documents ToGo Premium among others).  45 minutes had my music and apps installed and ready to go.  The process was painless, and surprisingly easy.  My only wish would have been to have the option to import all  the settings, accounts, and logins from my iPad to my iPhone.  A small qualm, but it would have made the process even more plug-and-play.

So far the experience has been great.  I have not dropped any calls (but that has never been a problem for me on Verizon Wireless‘ cellular network), I have the familiar iOS experience from my iPad, and at the end of the day it is an Apple product.  I do not see the inability to use voice and data services simultaneously a problem, because I like most other geeks are never too far away from another piece of tech.  Those who enjoy Apple products will enjoy the iPhone.  For many in the tech field we desire technology that “just works”, and while my background would dictate that I would be an Android phone supporter (which I am, I have a Droid X, HTC Incredible, and a Droid R2D2 currently on my family share plan even after my switch to the iPhone) I need a phone that just works.  I do miss Swype a little, bit but I’m sure having it auto-correct me incorrectly more and more will will be a short-lived downside to switching to the iPhone (I would be okay with the option if it was available on my iPhone someday).  This device, much like my MacBook Pro and iPad, is reliable and ready for me consume and create content whenever and wherever I need.

Bridge your Frontier Comm. DSL Connection

Over the Christmas holiday break people were asking me how to get their PS3 to not say NAT3 so they could play Call of Duty: Black Ops with other people locally.  The problem is the way that the standard Frontier Communications modem (Seimens SE567) handles Network Address Translation.  There is a way to modify this, but it will require an additional router.  You will teach your modem to work in bridged mode, and pass the public IP address on to another device.  I have my modem connected to a Linksys WRT320N for this tutorial.

Here’s what you need to do:

1: Disconnect all computers/devices except the one you will be using.  Use an ethernet cable to directly connect to the SE567 modem

2: Log into your Frontier Communications SE567.  Type into your web browser.  At the top of the screen log in with the Username: admin and Password: admin

3: On the left side of the screen click ISP Connection, and then choose the Advanced Settings button located at the bottom of the window

4: On the left side of the screen click Configure the ATM Virtual Circuit

5: You will need the VPI/VCI Setting from the enabled settings, which looks similar to 0/35.

6:On the left side of the screen click Home Network, and then choose the Advanced Settings button located at the bottom of the window. Click on Configure the Universal Plug-n-Play Settings. Disable UPnP, and save.

7: Reboot the modem

8: Log into your Frontier Communications SE567.  Type into your web browser.  At the top of the screen log in with the Username: admin and Password: admin

9: On the left side of the screen click ISP Connection, and then choose the Advanced Settings button located at the bottom of the window

10: On the left side of the screen click Configure the ATM Virtual Circuit

11: Choose Add a new VC

12: Fill in the VPI/VCI settings that you noted down earlier(for example, a VPI/VCI value of 0/35 equals are VPI of 0, VCI of 35). Set the Encapsulation to LLC and make sure the Traffic Class is set to Unspecified Bit Rate. Click Next.

13: Choose RFC-2684 Bridged. Click Next

14: Click Next past the Name section.

15: Choose Finish

16: Disable the currently active VC connection. Choose Enable on the new VC connection.

17: Reboot the SE567.

18: Disconnect the computer from the SE567, and then connect it to your router of choice. Plug your new router into any of the SE567’s Ethernet ports.

19: Configure your router to use PPPoE as the Protocol (most routers default to DHCP/Automatic Configuration, which will not work). Use your Frontier E-mail address as the username and your Frontier password as the password.

20: If your router has an option for MTU, make sure it is set to 1492

21: Save the settings on your router.

From this point, your router should be bridged. Use your router’s Status Page to see if it is connected and has obtained a valid IP/DNS/Gateway address. If it comes up with a 192.168.254.*** address, the router is probably not set up correctly. Check over your settings. Please note, your PCs may require a DHCP Release and a DHCP Renew after this procedure in order to connect.

Click Here to download the original Tutorial | Thanks SeanSite for the Tutorial

Connect Safely | Help for parents

I heard about Connect safely from Larry Magid on TWIT, and felt it worth sharing.  Connect Safely is a site dedicated to helping parents direct their children to safe and secure web browsing.  On TWIT they were highlighting their book/pdf about Facebook.  I think it is a great resource for parents looking for help with the huge experience we call the Internet.  Browse on over to connectsafely.org to educate yourself and your children.

Also, TWIT or This Week In Tech is site compiling many podcasts hosted by Leo Laporte for all sorts of technology news.  His shows are useful and information for all users of technology.  There is something for the novice and the expert.  Head on over to TWIT.TV

Skype | Video Conference for the rest of us


My earlier post about the Microsoft LifeCam was based around us setting my Great-Aunt up with Skype so she could see and talk more with her family.  Tonight while waiting for mom to come home, we Skyped Gwen.  While I helped Gwen type her Christmas Card over LogMeIn Rustyn chatted with her.  I think he had fun, what do you think?

It should go without saying, but for those unfamiliar with Skype, it is a great solution to being able to getting to see them and share memories.  They offer high-quality video one-to-one video chatting.  The newest release of Skype also allow for group chat between multiple people.  This is to be a premium service that will be charged after the 28 day trial.

My brother-in-law was living in Connecticut when we bought home, and they’ve never been here. They did get a tour as my wife told them all about it while I walked around with my laptop. Check out our LifeCam writeup, it would make a good Christmas present.

Microsoft H5D LifeCam Cinema

Ever since I got a MacBook Pro I haven’t had to worry about a webcam for Skype or some random need  to capture video quickly.  The built-in iSight camera does a great job for what I needed.  When my Aunt moved into an assisted living facility, I decided it would be neat if we could get her to use Skype to chat with us.  We tested it out for the first time last weekend, and it turned out great.  Click here to see the call in action She enjoyed it, and we plan on doing it in the future.  While preparing these plans I looked around for a nice webcam for my workstation.  I found the H5D which had nice reviews so I picked one up at TigerDirect.  The reason I pulled the trigger on it was the compatibility with both Windows and OS X.  The video on my blog shows it running on my MacBook Pro.  The picture quality was great (720P), and I would recommend this unit to someone wanting a better quality Skype call than a less-expensive webcam would get you.  I also bought a Logitech C250 for $19.99, also at TigerDirect, and while it works fine with her Windows 7 laptop, the video quality is definitely much more grainy than the LifeCam.

Frontier Communications 6Mb DSL

The only wired-broadband internet solution in Round Valley, St. Johns, Alpine, and Nuturoso area is Frontier Communications (@frontiercorp on twitter & http://www.frontier.com).  They recently added 6Mb DSL as an option for customers.  I upgraded my connection, and have been playing with it for a day or two.  I wish I could say that I was fully impressed and satisfied in the connection, but it has been less that consistent.  I’m hoping it is “early-adopter” issues, and they will iron things out.  Below are screenshots from Frontier’s office speed test as well as my modem provisioning.  I’ll update when I’ve had it for a week or two and let you know.  Also, I’m trying to get a hold of the new wireless ISP coming into the area called Wi-Power.

Update (11/09/10): My experience has been less than stable, some would say sub-par, with my “upgrade” of DSL.  My modem shows that I am provisioned at the proper speed, and I can run a speed test to the Show Low office, but once I try and do something real online it fails epically.  I have been keeping track of my speeds with my iPad with SpeedTest.net‘s iPhone App.  Here is what I’m seeing realistically.

After multiple tickets with Frontier, and numerous calls with tech support I just visited the office in Show Low, Arizona.  The technician/CSR gave me some pretty solid information, and another tech was at my house later that day.  They found I am possibly too far away from the local office where the DSL equipment is located.  I am 11,000+ feet, and they told me that is too far out.  They have submitted a ticket with their Engineers, and we’ll see what comes of it.

Update (11/10/10): I got a call from Frontier.  They have determined that the distance is a major factor and they are looking into an Adrenaline line to boost my signal at my location.  They are moving me back to the 3Mb service until this gets worked out, and are crediting me a free month of DSL for all the issues.  Sounds promising.

Shelter your kids Online

K9 Webprotector type Protection


Kids Menu – Windows Replacement Shell for Kid computing