October 30, 2003

Take two of these and call me in the morning

Latest Harry Potter's a real headache - The Washington Times: United Press International. For prophylaxis, take a couple aspirins before reading the latest Harry Potter book.

Posted by johnvu at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

Fascinating stuff about Enron

FERC: Western Energy Markets - Information Released in Investigation. I got this from an old Salon.com article. Apparently, 92% of all enron emails are available in a searchable database on the net for everyone to read. If you have the patience to read through all of it (good luck) you can definitely get a glimpse of the the culture and environment that the higher-ups (executives) fostered. You also get a glimpe of what they valued. Much of the synopsis on Salon.com provided clues to "who got in bed with who" -- figuratively speaking -- such as the executives with the Bush-Cheney campaign. I particularly liked the one email at the end of the article:

To: Ken Lay, et al.
From: Another One -- exenron@hotmail.com
Date: Nov. 30, 2001
Subject: Thank you all very much for your support -- NOT!

I genuinely believed in Enron and the Values of the company. You demonstrated that that trust was misplaced and worth nothing.

I particularly like your adherence to the core values -- you "respected" us, you "communicated" brilliantly with us, your fucking us over was "excellent," your "integrity" was without question.

You load of bastards -- you screwed us all and got on the profits of our sweat. I hope that the board and upper management rot in jail and never see the light of day again -- apart from when you are exercising in the open prison yard in your shackles.

-- Just Another Fucked-Over Ex-Employee

That just about sums up how I feel about Enron (even though I am on the East coast and haven't been inconvenienced by its downfall...yet).

Just the hell of it, you can search through the email database and see what was said, by whom, etc. Click on the "Search iCONECT 24/7" URL in the link above. Follow through and choose the email database. Open the selected database, and have fun. I happened to search for the word "f#$ked" and my query resulted in 3555 emails. Quite a lot of usage of that word by Enron, if I may say so -- I would venture a guess that it was prominently used during the last days of its existence.

Posted by johnvu at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2003

Ergonomic chopsticks?

Yahoo! News - Chopsticks May Cause Arthritis, Study Shows. Where can I find ergonomic chopsticks?

Posted by johnvu at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2003

Site redesign

johnvu.net: John Vu. This site went through a redesign. The blog will stay the same, a little more work needs to be done for the blog to work right with the new design.

Posted by johnvu at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

Erin Brockovich-ish

Times Online - Health. Sounds like a case that Erin Brockovich could definitely make. I hope this gets resolved quickly and that the answer won't be muddled just because of the almighty dollar.

Posted by johnvu at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2003


InfoWorld: Taiwanese lawyer steals $100M from SanDisk: October 16, 2003: By : Storage. How can anyone expect to take such an obscene amount of money and think he/she can walk away without anyone knowing?

Posted by johnvu at 12:09 PM | Comments (2)

October 15, 2003

iPod deal - 30GB superslim for $349.99

CompUSA.com - Clearance Store - Product Details. Considering that Small Dog is selling 30GB refurb units for $379. I thought that this was an exceptional deal at CompUSA. You get the following from CompUSA:

# iPod
# Dock
# Remote
# Carrying case
# Earbud headphones
# AC adapter
# Dock connector to FireWire cable and 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter

I wish I had the extra spending cash, I'd get one of these babies myself. CompUSA doesn't say whether or not these are refurbed units, but the impression I get is that these are new. These are the superslim units, and if any of my readers happen to have this model, I'd like to hear from you about your experiences. Please post them here.

Posted by johnvu at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

Fighting words

MyInKy: Golf. How do you think African Americans would feel if I said, "there are too many blacks in basketball, there should be a quota of black Americans as opposed to others?" That's some seriously racist comment isn't it? Well, Jan Stephenson of the LPGA essentially shot herself in the foot with a very similar comment about Asians in the LPGA. A few things strike me as odd. She calls for a bias towards more American players in the tour, as opposed to international players. Hmmm. Stephenson is Australian. Moreover, the players of Asian descent in the LPGA are just that, of Asian descent -- some happen to be American also, like Christina Kim. Please don't automatically assume that the slanty eyes and dark hair means Asians can't be Americans also. Secondly, all this hoopla over Asians dominating the tour. Let's look at the numbers. Of the top 40 money winners on the Tour, just six are Asian-born, but it is true that 4 of the top 9 are of Asian descent. I'm glad Jan apologized for her comments. And at least it came out in the open, rather than buried beneath and staying there as an dark undertone in the Tour.

Posted by johnvu at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Technology, what a b#$!@

Consumer complaints about Comcast Cable Service. I don't think I can ever go back to 56K modems for internet access. Honestly, I'd rather not have access at all than go to 56K. My recent experience with Comcast cable broadband in MD just made me re-evaluate whether or not broadband is even worth it either. I just recently moved and upon moving, I returned a cable modem to Comcast after discontinuuing my cable and internet service. I thought all my obligations were completed until I got a bill 2 months later for $155!! Needless to say, but I'll say it, I was fuming. Turns out, they say I never returned the cable modem. As we all know, we're all guilty of theft until proven innocent by these providers. Countless hours of holding on the phone and explaining my situation to a number of technicians and trying to fax over information on my end all for a problem that turned out to be THEIR fault. When I had my cable internet installed, I wanted to use a cable modem that I owned. They took down the serial number and recorded it on their computer system. The modem didn't work. So I ended up going to them to rent a modem. Due to their laziness and incompentency, they didn't switch out the serial numbers of the modems in their computer system. So when I returned the modem, of course, the serial numbers won't reconcile. I wish they'd refund me the wasted time that I had to take just to prove to them that I wasn't a thief. Also, $155 for a freakin' modem!?! They've got to be kidding, these things are cheap -- and they don't remember that I paid $5 a month to rent the damn thing?!? All this headache and hassle had made me re-evaluate what I really need and can handle in my life. I don't like having to defend myself for petty things like this. I don't like having to search through the mounds of paperwork to find a receipt that was given to me 2 months ago when I returned the modem (a receipt that I still haven't found, just my luck). At least I still had the box of the original cable modem that I still own (useless POS) -- I had to photocopy the side where the serial number was just to prove to them that the serial number they had on file was of my modem and not theirs. Problems like this would be less common if there were more competitors in this industry of broadband access.

Posted by johnvu at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Sad, just sad

No condoms for HIV: Vatican. This just makes me sad, angry, and upset.

Posted by johnvu at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2003

Developer wanted for dvdrtools

Savannah: View a Job. Have the skills to write drivers in Linux? Well, you could get a DVD-RW drive for the work. Check it out.

Posted by johnvu at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2003

Internet addicts

Herald Sun: U need us :) Clinic helps switch off text addicts [07oct03]. Technology addiction is real. I'm sure there are people who are addicted to blogging -- wait, maybe I'm one of them.

Posted by johnvu at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

D-Link DWL-G650 AirPlus Xtreme Wireless G Card

Wireless G cards. Buy.com had a deal I couldn't resist, especially since I needed a new wifi card. The DWL-G650 was going for $35 after rebate (I quickly sent in the rebate, of course). Sadly, it was sort of an impulse buy, considering that I didn't research whether or not the card had an connector for an external connector -- you never know when you need more POWER! Well, the geek in me made me quite impatient after getting the card, I just had to open it up to find out whether or not I could add a connector. Lo and behold, after opening the card, there was already a connector attached to the PCB! Actually, this wasn't that surprising, since others on the net reported the the D-Link DWL-650+ (802.11b) card also had a built-in connector and all that was required of you to use this connector was to drill an access hole and move a capacitor. Obviously, I decided, then, to drill a hole to access the connector on the DWL-G650 (as shown by my pictures). The card is actually not too difficult to open, and the plus of this card is that there appeared no glue was used to put the external case together, so re-assembly of the card was a snap, literally.

To start disassembling your card, first you must take apart the plastic panel on the back of the card, as shown here:


There are four tabs (shown by the four red arrowheads) that attach the backpanel to the plastic housing. You just need to use either your fingernails or a small screwdriver (or both) to pop the tabs up and out. Then to remove the backpanel completely away, just push or pull the backpanel in the direction of the blue arrow. The next step is to take the card apart in half by removing the top cover, which consists of both the remaining plastic portion and the metal housing.


The lines in red show the outermost groove lining the sides of the card. This groove corresponds to the end of the metal portion where the back wraps around to the front. You will need to move aside this wraparound portion. Again, using your fingernail (preferred) or a small screwdriver, pry into the groove and gently pull aside the wraparound portion (without bending the metal too much) out and under the top metal cover along the one entire side of the card. Then work on the other side. Work slowly and carefully. You should come to a point where you can take the two pieces of the card's housing apart as so:

DSC00040 (Small).JPG

One part is just the top portion of the card, a shell that is made of two pieces, one plastic, the other metal. The bottom portion of the card has the connector and board attached to the metal shell. Once you have the top portion removed, you should see the top of the PCB. The part of interest should look like this:


The connector circled in red is the connector of interest. I believe it's either a MMCX connector or a reverse polarity (RP)-MMCX connector after comparing pictures at Amphenol Connex. However, I am not completely certain which one. If someone knows for sure, please let me know. There are a few points of interest, looking at this board. What I circled in yellow looks like another spot where you could solder in another surface mount connector (to make it a total of 2! external connectors). Boxed in blue, I'm highlighting what I believe to be the antennas onboard. If you follow the circuits for either antenna, you can see that for both, the circuits are closed with capacitors that are also encircled within the yellow and red regions. This leads me to believe that the external connector probably works without a need to modify the card any further. I am probably wrong about this, but I will never know for sure until I test it (I'll need to buy a N to MMCX pigtail or N to RP-MMCX; anyone care to "donate" one to me, so that I could test it out ;). Now, just eye-balling the relative position of the connector in relation to the LEDs circled in purple, I chose a spot in the plastic to drill a hole and dug through to get:

DSC00044 (Small).JPG

As you can see, I removed the sticker to get a clean hole drilled. I also sanded the sides of the hole with a sanding bit on my dremel, just to make it less jagged. Now, all I need is that pigtail, and I'm ready to go. BTW, reassembly of the card is just the same as disassembly, but in reverse.

The D-link drivers and software for this card already has a rudimentary stumbler type of application whereby I can search for APs AND check the signal strength and link strength. All in all, this 802.11g card is quite the bang for the buck. I just can't wait until the PrismGT chipset on this card is supported on linux. Good luck to all of you attempting to get access to your connector, as always, I take no responsibility in the damage you do to your card, this information is provided with no warrantees whatsoever.

Posted by johnvu at 01:23 AM | Comments (74)