Treo 650/Cingular: atrocious GPRS speeds lately

Has anyone else noticed their web browsing speeds on Cingular GPRS (MEdia Net) have gotten *ridiculously* slow lately? It’s driving me batty. As far as I can tell, the download speed is reasonable, but the upload latency has gotten ridiculously bad. It’s not uncommon for Blazer to be stuck in the “Sending…” stage for 5 minutes. I don’t think I’m being too harsh when I insist that sending 20 or 30 bytes for an HTTP GET request should take less than 5 minutes. client for Treo?

I think I’d like to have a client for my Treo. Why? Basically because the Treo is not great for reading a lot of pages and I’d like to bookmark them for later viewing when I have a big screen and a broadband connection. Right now I either use Blazer’s pathetic bookmarks which are not conducive to organization or I email myself the link which takes a lot of key presses and just feels really clunky.

Anyone have a good solution?

Mac OS X 10.4.8 update

The OS X 10.4.8 upgrade appeared for me in Software Update this afternoon. Here’s the skinny…

The 10.4.8 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for the following applications and technologies:

– connecting to wireless networks using the EAP-FAST protocol
– Apple USB modem reliability
– using OpenType fonts in Microsoft Word
– compatibility with 3rd party USB hubs
– scanner performance
– RAW camera support
– printing documents with Asian language names
– performance of the Translation widget
– broadband network performance
– security updates

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website:

For detailed information on Security Updates, please visit this website:

jhead to the rescue once again

While going through the pictures of our recent vacation, I once again noticed that we forgot to adjust the clock on the camera and so had a bunch of pictures with the wrong timestamps. Remembering that I previously had luck with a great command-line EXIF manipulator called jhead, I figured it could do the trick once again. That was back when I was on Windows and I had used jhead in Cygwin. Now I’m on a Mac and I’m giving iPhoto a spin for dealing with my photos. Luckily, jhead is available in Fink:

~$ sudo fink install jhead

The next question is where does iPhoto store photos? Easy to figure that one out.

~$ locate IMG_0521.JPG
/Users/marca/Pictures/iPhoto Library/2006/09/24/IMG_0521.JPG
/Volumes/512 MB CF/DCIM/105CANON/IMG_0521.JPG

Clearly, the second one is the right answer here.

Now how does one adjust a timestamp with jhead? I typed jhead -h to refresh my memory:

             Adjust time by h:mm backwards or forwards.  Useful when having
             taken pictures with the wrong time set on the camera, such as when
             travelling across time zones or DST changes. Dates can be adjusted
             by offsetting by 24 hours or more.

Now since my photo timestamps were an hour behind starting from 9/24 (IMG_0521.JPG was the first photo we took after traversing timezones):

~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/2006/09$ jhead -ta+1 24/*.JPG 25/*.JPG

All cool? Not exactly. Though this updated the files, iPhoto refused to see the changed times. I tried using the Option+Click trick for rebuilding iPhoto 5 libraries mentioned here but that still didn’t get iPhoto to acknowledge the adjusted times.

Finally, I ended up simply deleting the photos with the wrong timestamps out of iPhoto, using jhead to adjust the timestamps on the CompactFlash card, and then reimporting into iPhoto.

The jhead command was a hair more complicated because of the weird directory and filename structure that Canon uses (why don’t cameras just use the date and time stamp for the filenames?)

/Volumes/512 MB CF/DCIM$ jhead -ta+1 105CANON/IMG_052[1-9]*.JPG 105CANON/IMG_05[3-9]*.JPG  105CANON/IMG_0600*.JPG 106CANON/*.JPG

So it all eventually got done, though I had the feeling that it took more effort than it should. If anyone knows a slicker way to do this sort of thing, let me know.

Rich Girl

A few days ago while we were on the cruise, we heard the song, “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani, Eve, et al. Now I’ve heard this song before many times – heck I’d even say that I like it. The interesting thing is that this time we were with Nicole’s parents and they instantly commented on how similar it sounded to “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. And I instantly realized that they were right (I’ve listened to bits of Fiddler on the Roof but it was probably, I don’t know, 20 years ago). That gave me a new-found respect for the song and for its authors Gwen Stefani, Eve, Dr. Dre., and several others. It’s amazing to me that they could take a 40+ year old song from a Broadway musical about Russian Jews and make it into an amazingly catchy and popular pop song. Heck, I’d imagine that most of the teenagers listening to this song have no idea of its heritage.

links for 2006-09-30

Fixing my Canon S40 digital camera

As I mentioned previously, I started having trouble with the sliding lens cover on my Canon S40 digital camera. After reading a bit on a forum about others successfully taking their cameras apart and fixing them, I went ahead and did it myself.

Pretty simple. Only took out 7 tiny screws – two on the left, two on the right, two on the bottom, and one underneath the rubber flap that covers the USB connector.

After carefully putting things back together, the sliding lens cover is still physically a bit wonky, but I can at least get the camera to turn on and work now – most of the time.

Here are some photos that I took (with my Treo) while I was doing it.

Taking apart a Canon S40

Removing two screws from the right side. Note that it is not necessary to remove the screws on the shiny metal part to which the strap attaches.

Taking apart a Canon S40

Removing two screws from the left side.

Taking apart a Canon S40

There are two screws on the bottom near the battery cover that had to be removed.

Taking apart a Canon S40

Here I removed a screw under the rubber flap near the USB port and started delicately pulling things apart.

Taking apart a Canon S40

Here is the camera with the back panel removed. It’s interesting to note that the LCD screen is a Sony.

Taking apart a Canon S40

Here it is with front removed. Note that there’s a ribbon cable there so be careful when you’re removing the front. I messed around a bit with the sliding lens mechanism to get it working better. Basically a tab on the lens cover pushes a little metal strip against another metal strip. It seems that the tab wasn’t always making good contact with the metal strip so I kind of bent it a little with a screw driver so that it would have a better chance of making contact. Hard to explain, but if you have this problem and you take apart the camera and get to this step, you can mess around with the lens cover and you’ll probably see how it’s supposed to work and what’s not quite working.

Taking apart a Canon S40

And here it is back together and working (the lens is extended). It doesn’t work every single time, but it works most of the time and I think applying a bit of downward pressure on the lens cover in the right spot will probably help it along and give it a better chance of working.