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Enable GPS on the Verizon Blackberry Tour 9630

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I just switched from AT&T to Verizon (oh my god — I can make calls now!!), and noted that Google Maps was using Skyhook WPS as its location finder instead of using the GPS. It turns out that Verizon ships with the GPS off. I went to Options -> Advanced Options -> GPS and set GPS Services to “Location On”. Google Maps now tracks my location accurately (using GPS).

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jul 28, 2009 01:54:29

Best iPhone ad evar

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This video made me laugh out loud within 10 seconds. :)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 20, 2009 23:32:10

AT&T Wireless, terrible service in San Francisco

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Those of you who follow my posts know that I complain about AT&T at least a few times a week. I finally called them up today to have a chat about the deteriorating service in San Francisco, threatening to terminate my account, and was informed by the retention department that a tower a 4th and Howard stopped working some time ago. This may be one of the main reasons I’m getting such terrible service because it’s the closest tower to me; however, it does not explain failed calls in other parts of the Bay Area. The retention specialist told me that two new towers would be going in at 5th and Shipley on July 31st. She then credited my account $30 for my troubles.

If I turn off 3G on the iPhone, I can often make calls without getting the dreaded “Call Failed” screen. Since the Blackberry Bold on AT&T doesn’t have a feature disable 3G, I’m out of luck unless I de-brand the device, which seems a bit risky.

If AT&T service is still bad after the new towers go up on July 31st, I’m switching my Blackberry plan over to Verizon1 (I’ll probably get the Blackberry Tour, since works overseas with its support for CDMA/EV–DO, 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA). It will be worth the $175 termination fee to have a phone that can do things like making and sustaining calls without failing. The iPhone will stay on an AT&T plan, but I won’t be using it for voice anymore.

UPDATE, August 3, 2009: I switched my Blackberry over to Verizon and am loving the call quality and ability to make a phone call. My iPhone is still on AT&T. The new towers are supposed to be up less than a block from me. I am getting 3 bars on 3G instead of 1 bar, but I’ve already dropped one call this morning. I’ll write another update after more testing.

UPDATE, August 3, 2009: I am actually fluctuating between 1 bar and 3 bars, even when the phone is stationary. Whatever.


  1. When I used to be on Verizon, I would drop about one call every month. On AT&T, I’m dropping a few calls a day, and if something happens like WWDC or a typical day’s rush hour, it can be difficult to even connect on a single call. Many friends on AT&T have reported similar statistics. 

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 20 comments » | Jul 19, 2009 00:29:48

PalmOS is dead; Palm Pre is coming

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Palm CEO Ed Colligan has announced that there will be no more PalmOS devices released by Palm.

In 1996, I bought the U.S Robotics Palm Pilot 1000, a truly revolutionary product in its time. I was a software intern in Austin, TX, that summer, and have fond memories of coding for the Palm device using Metrowerks’ Codewarrior for PalmOS. Because Metrowerks was in Austin, I walked into its headquarters to pick up my software order; they had it at the front desk — a box with a yellow sticky on it that said, “Eric”.

Finally, on July 12, 2005, I abandoned PalmOS (and all Treo devices) in favor of Blackberry. As innovators, Palm had been stagnant for years, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. All I wanted to do with my mobile device was communicate efficiently, and the Treo running PalmOS was riddled with problems.

Still, I used Palm devices for 9 years — a significant chunk of my life. I look forward to seeing what Palm does with its new Palm Pre phone. Competition is good. :)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Feb 11, 2009 14:24:19

Getting Google Sync to work again on Blackberry

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Like many other Google Sync users on Blackberry, calendar sync stopped working some time between the end of November, 2008, and when I returned to network coverage areas in mid-January. No amount of uninstalling and reinstalling Google Sync had any effect. Luckily, I found a thread in Google Mobile Help that contained the solution. (read more »)

Stanford, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Feb 4, 2009 19:28:45

Updating PRL / firmware on Sprint Novatel Merlin EX720 EVDO card

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My Sprint Novatel Merlin EX720 EVDO card has become nearly useless over the past year. It actually seems to work well — I clocked it at 1153 Kb/s down, 295 Kb/s up, ping: 84ms (to Los Angeles) today — but after a few minutes of use, it slows down to dial-up speeds.

Luckily, Roget works with these cards every day, and he recommended that I make sure my PRL (Preferred Roaming List) was current. I discovered that I was running PRL 20224, which is dated 09/18/2006 (!). Roget was surprised that my connection was even working properly, and said that I should be running a PRL in the 6-series instead of the 2-series. (read more »)

San Francisco | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Jan 31, 2009 00:12:06
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