Trip to the T-Dot

Posted by Phil on Jan 22, 2011 in Phil's Thoughts


Today we decided to head to downtown Toronto and act a bit like tourists. We went skating at Nathan Phillip’s Square. Shopped at the Eaton’s Centre and wandered through City Hall a little bit.

Toronto City Hall

We had a lot of fun. We had so much fun we tuckered the little ones right out.



My Android/Rogers/HTC Magic Saga

Posted by Phil on Jul 7, 2010 in Phil's Thoughts

Okay, first off I’ll admit I’m an early adopter. I eagerlay watched the Rogers website as it counted down to the “Revolution” and was in the store the day the Android phones were released.  It took me a bit longer to actually get my phone, but not much longer. I selected the HTC Magic because it had more memory and a better proccessor than the dDream. I figured itf I was going to get a phone I should get the better one. Although I wasn’t sure if I was going to miss the keyboard.

I loved the phone and Android. I liked it so much that I went out in September and got a Dream for my wife. I knew the keyboard was important to her. We even switched carriers to be able to use Android.

We were patient as we waited for the Market to open up for paid applications. THat wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was kind of strange to hear about all of the amazing apps that we couldn’t see.  We weren’t really sure who to ask about this because it wasn’t clear if it was a Google/Rogers or Canadian thing.

My first real frustration came when I found out that our phones had problems with 911 calling. It was more frustrating to be given a patch that was to fix the problem and that if we didn’t apply it we would lose data connectivity. Granted Rogers did credit us witha month of free data, but it was still a bit of a problem.

Then I found out that the patch did more than just fix the 911 issue. It made t next to impossible to “root” the phone rendering it impossible to add alternate OS builds. Granted, I liked the new UI (HTC Sense). This new UI was avilable to my Magic and not my wife’s Dream because Rogers said it wouldn’t do any more upgrades to the phone due to its limited hardware capabilities.

So, now my wife has a phone that will never get an OS update. Granted, they did offer a free replacement phone (which I gratefully accepted), but my wife is still using the Dream because it has a real keyboard. The hardware limitation proved to be a bit false as cyanogen has released a ROM for that phone that easily runs 2.1. I would love to apply that ROM to the phone, but since the 911 patch the only way that I have found that can do that is to actually tear the phone apart and do some soldering.

At the end of all of the updates we were still sitting on OS 1.5 Meanwhile Apple released a new OS and it got pushed out quickly. Meanwhile Google releases verions 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2  Rogers announced a 2.1 update for the Magic midyear.  I waited patiently until today when we got notice that the 2.1 update will be ready for us sometime in August. This after several other carriers have already pushed 2.2 out to the same model phone.

The longer I sit on 1.5 the more I realize I am missing. I follow blogs and find interesting apps to purchase or install, but more and more of them require at least 1.6 if not 2.0. This is getting more and more frustrating.

I love Android. I have used this phone more than any other that I have had previusly. The same with my wife. We use the phones as phones, for games, for social media updates (we even have the new Social View plan). We love that they have gps and the 3G network. But waiting for OS updates is frustrating.

So why don’t I just get an iPhone? I wanted a phone that would let me tinker. I am a tinkerer by nature and use Linux all the time. I thought this phone would satisfy that. For the most part it does. Languishing on the old OS prevents that more and more. I knew I would be taking risks as an early adopter but with the phones already doing well outside of Canada, I thought we’d have better support than what I have seen so far.

What am I going to do? Well, I’m stuck on my Rogers contract for now. I’ not sure I will apply the 2.1 update when it gets released because I am not sure if there will e additinaly “features” included that won’t be publicized and change the nature of my phone. I will probably wait and see what others find from the release. Hopefully, Rogers won’t strong arm me by threatening to cut data if I don’t update.

I apologize for the rambling, I thought I would get my experience down in case others are feeling the same way with similar experiences. I don’t think this is a problem with Android. I thin it has more to do with Rogers being the first to release a new operating system and being surprised by the reaction of the early adopters and their eagerness for OS updates. Those getting newer Android phones may not experinsce the frustrations that I have seen. Let’s hope.


Weekend Caching

Posted by Phil on Apr 20, 2010 in Geocaching, Phil's Thoughts

I have gone weekend caching with some friends. It has been quite an experience and RCA777 commemorated it with the description for GC26KHV Be Quiet, Silly Donkey in the following way:

1 x Exploded Port-a-Potty (see Mr Filk and Juicepig for details)
1 x Tailbone bruising along Swift Rapids Road for Mr. Filk
1 x Not-So Savage Puppy Running Interference for Juicepig
1 x Abandoned And Smoldering Chevrolet Blazer (seriously, it was a Blazer)
0 x Bodies
1 x Juicepig “stuck” at “Only A Single Body Found While Caching” which is a good thing
1 x Called The Police While Caching
2 x Savage Dogs barking at Juicepig
1 x Waymark of a Canadian Geodetic Survey Marker
1 x Police Report
1 x Meet Fingers Crossed On The Road!
4 x Get Up At Stupid O’Clock To Go Caching
1 x Juicepig answering Homeland Security questions perfectly
1 x Juicepig, Swifteroo, Mr Filk being detained while RCA777 gets his fingerprints taken by Homeland Security. Again….
1 x RCA777 paying $6 to get into the U.S. Again….
1 x RCA777 asked by Homeland Security Officer… “The Red Car.. The License Plate…. What’s A -Juicepig-?
12 x Earthcaches
1 x Awesome Super Mega Cool Fabulous Stupendous Flame Behind A Waterfall
8 x Wet Feet
1 x Mr Filk Almost Swimming
3 x Others Chuckling
1 x Trip To The Home Of THE Buffalo Wing
50 x Wings Ordered
440 x Steps Leading Down To An Earthcache
4,400,400 x Steps Getting Back Up From The Earthcache
1 x Uninhabitable Area Due To Chemical Seepage Earthcache
1 x Discovery That You Can Build Your Own Earthcache; All You Need Is A Big Yellow Digger!
1 x Stopped By The Police While Caching
1 x Juicepig self deprecation attempt
1 x Explanation E-Mail To Webcam Cache Owner
1 x Juicepig Qualification For An FTF Challenge Cache
1 x Canada Border Patrol Question
1 x Juicepig Momentary Hearing Loss
1 x Juicepig Answering A Question That CBP Has Not Yet Asked In Lieu Of The Question That Was Asked
1 x CBP Lady With A Gun Gets Assertive
1 x Juicepig Eloquently Answers All Remaining Questions
0 x Anything To Declare
1 x Juicepig, Swifteroo,Mr Filk and RCA777 being allowed back into Canada anyway
4 x Squealing Tires Before They Change Their Mind
1 x GSAK session trying to determine which Letterbox none of us have done
9 x Caching icons in a day (Benchmark, Wherigo, Webcam, Virtual, Earthcache, Trad, Mystery, Letterbox, Multi)
1 x Realization That There Is An Event That Would Be The 10th Icon, But It’s Unlikely They’ll Be There At 11pm…
3 x Understanding Spouses
4 x Happy and Tired Cachers

Yes, that about sums it up. Pictures are HERE and HERE.


Caching with Juicepig

Posted by Phil on Apr 13, 2010 in Geocaching, Phil's Thoughts

This past weekend was kind of crazy. A fellow cacher, Juicepig, decided it would be good to go on an earthcache run. We got to see lots of cool things including an exploded portapotty and a still burning SUV. Oh yeah, we geocached, too. I feel properly educated about the geology in Muskoka.

My pics are in the photoalbum. Juicepig has some on his flickr page.


Trip to Iowa

Posted by Phil on Feb 21, 2010 in Phil's Thoughts

Cindy and I decided we had to go out to Illinois for our friend’s memorial service. We also decided that since we were most of the way out there, we should stop in and visit Oskaloosa, Iowa.

The trip was a good one to get reconnected with friends. To see our old stomping grounds again. Cindy really enjoyed dropping by Pella Christian and seeing how things had progressed there.

There are some pictures in our photo album. Some from the Memorial Service, some geocaching pics and I’m not sure what else. Oh yeah, Maid-Rites are awesome!


My Tribute to Deano

Posted by Phil on Jan 31, 2010 in Phil's Thoughts

DeanoI have just heard some very sad and shocking news. A really good friend of mine, Dean Lambdin passed away this morning. Dean is just a few years older than I and leaves behind his wife and two daughters.

I have a lot to say about Dean. A ton of memories come flooding back. How Dean would come pick me up early on Saturday mornings in his beat up old Ford truck and we’d go on a garbage run. How those garbage runs always ended up back at McDonald’s for a Steak, Egg and Cheese Bagel. The late nights we spent playing video games in the Vennard College computer lab. The massive game of NHL 97 we played with 8 controllers hooked up to 2 computers and projected on a screen. (Yeah, that’s right, I said 1997 or so. Dean and I were both techie-types.) Dean was always great for a laugh and had a huge heart for people.

Dean is one of the reasons why I have stayed in Christian Higher Education. He followed a long route to Bible College, but followed God’s Will for training even when it seemed to make little sense. He was older than some of the other students (younger than some), but he equally fit in with all crowds.  He worked hard on his studies. He took it seriously. I was proud of him. I was glad that I was able to drive back to Iowa to see him graduate!

I’ll miss Dean. I’ll miss getting the chance to talk him down out of whatever tree he had climbed into. I’ll miss how he used to help keep things in perspective for me. He always showed me that while things are serious, its never too serious that a bit of work and some laughter and you can get through it. He also taught me by his example that when God calls you, you have to follow through on it.

Deano, I’ll even miss the kielbasa and sauerkraut that you would bring to potluck dinners just to stink up the place.


Friday update – Cindy is home!

Posted by Phil on Jan 8, 2010 in Family News, Phil's Thoughts
I brought Cindy at home at around 3 pm this afternoon. She promptly fell asleep. Its hard to get good rest in a hospital so this is really good for her.
The Dr said that she has some heart disease (apparently we all do, we just don’t know it). The pain she felt was probably due to some inflammation near her heart and that she didn’t exhibit the symptoms of a typical heart attack. Due to the blood test showing some heart damage they had to check further. Now that they have found something to take care of, they are going after it. She’s going to be on some cholesterol medication and some blood thinners for the next month at least until there is a better chance to evaluate it.
She’s going have to take it pretty easy for the next couple of days. She’s been told she can’t drive for a week. I guess that makes me a chauffeur.
Thanks for all the prayers everyone. Cindy also really appreciated getting the emails in the hospital.


Allan and Donna Kay Sing

Posted by Phil on Jan 7, 2010 in Family News, Phil's Thoughts

Okay, for a little change of pace here is a youtube video of my mom and dad signing at their home church of Pineview Free Methodist in Cloyne, ON. Its not the greatest quality, but hey, not bad for a cell phone.



Thursday evening update on Cindy

Posted by Phil on Jan 7, 2010 in Family News, Phil's Thoughts

Cindy had her angiogram this evening. We are so glad to finally get this test done. We still haven’t talked to a Doctor, but the nurse in the recovery room gave us the low-down on the results. There is a blockage of a minor artery (3rd diagonal if I remember correctly) that is significant. However, due to the minor nature of the artery, there will probably not be any surgery to take care of it. There is another minor blockage in a larger artery, but it too is not something overly concerning. According to the nurse, probably 70% of the population has blockages similar but they don’t know it.

We expect that treatment will at most include medication and at least a change in exercise and healthier food choices. They have also said she’ll have to take it easy for the next little while. They didn’t really define that at this point, that decision will be left up more to the Doctor.

We’re really relieved that it isn’t more serious. We’re also glad we know what we’re dealing with. That makes it easier to figure out what happens next. She’s going to spend at least tonight in the hospital. They probably would have released her tonight but the angiogram happened too late to let her out. Of course, her discharge is really up to the doctor, but the nurse expected she’ll be out tomorrow. We’ll see.


Thursday afternoon Cindy update

Posted by Phil on Jan 7, 2010 in Family News, Phil's Thoughts

I was finally in the room when I doctor came by so I could hear the situation in first person. He was very professional and encouraging.

Cindy is in kind of waiting state right now. The ultrasounds show that her heart is operating normally. Her EKG and blood pressure seem to be doing a lot better as well. She said that she hasn’t really felt any pain today and we’re glad for that. However, the blood test shows that there is a higher level than normal of dead heart cells. He said average was around 0.15 and that heart attack patients register in the 30’s and Cindy has a reading around 1 or 1.5. If that number came down, she would be home now.

They are planning on doing an angiogram to see for themselves if the heart is doing well. If so, then she goes home. Cindy has been on-call for the angiogram since this morning. However, other sicker people keeping jumping ahead of her in the line. (Of course that’s not literal. The people in the cardiac ward rarely doing any jumping.) I’ve watched other people come in and get moved quickly to surgery. I’ve seen others get discharged before Cindy. It seems that we just have to wait until we get the results of an angiogram. Until that happens, she’ll be staying in the hospital.

She is working on crossword puzzles and I just gave her a sudoku book. And a pencil. With an eraser. Prior to getting that she was doing everything with a crayon. That’s courage – no erasing.

Anyway, here’s hoping that she gets in for the angiogram soon and that everything checks out okay.

Thanks again for all your prayers. If you want to send Cindy a message, you can fill out the form at http://www.southlakeregional.org/patientemail.html and someone prints out the email and delivers it to her room. She got one today and really enjoyed it.

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