Yesterday, we had Zerorez come out and clean the carpet in our living room/dining room, office, and stairs. I had heard their commercials on KGO-AM-810 (Gene Burns does their spots often) and we were intrigued by their purported zero-residue cleaning method.

Everything looks very clean. We are especially happy that they got out a bunch of stains in the office that seem to have come from the casters on our office chair (today, we went to Staples and bought a chairmat to hopefully prevent that in the future).

They told us they could not clean an orange stain in the corner of the living room and I am not surprised. That came from me going a bit overboard a few months back with that spray can foam insulation stuff. I was trying to seal some little gaps that I thought were a little drafty and I underestimated the ability of this foam to expand an incredible amount and then attach itself to carpet fibers and then achieve diamond-like hardness. At the time, I tried various carpet cleaners and scrubbed until my arms were tired – I tried just about everything short of a flame thrower I think. So while it would’ve been nice if Zerorez were able to steam that bitch out, I’m not too surprised that they couldn’t and I give them credit for fessing up to it in the debriefing.

So we were pretty pleased with Zerorez.

Coastal Electronic Technologies Basic Lockpick 3

Coastal Electronic Technologies Basic Lockpick 3Destination entry screen, post Lockpick 3

Well, my Coastal Electronic Technologies Basic Lockpick 3 arrived today and I have to say that the experience has turned out to be much better than I had feared.

First off, if you’re not familiar with this device, it’s a $99 device that unlocks various features of the Denso navigation units while in motion, in various Toyota and Lexus vehicles. These units have an annoying feature that they monitor your speed and they refuse to allow you to do various operations while the vehicle is in motion. This is ostensibly a safety feature to prevent drivers from getting distracted, but it’s also tremendously short-sighted as it completely ignores the fact that a passenger may want to use the unit. Not having destination entry is particularly annoying. The fact is I’m with my wife most of the time that I’m driving the car. The main time I drive alone is for commuting to work and in that case I know where I’m going and don’t need navigation assistance. The navigation unit is most useful when we’re somewhere unfamiliar, like on vacation, and it’s a pain in the butt to not be able to enter a destination while in motion.

So I’ve long wanted to try the Lockpick 3, but I had some trepidation and resisted it for a while.

Why? Well, my research online seemed to indicate that Coastal tended to take a very long time to ship items and that their customer service was very unresponsive. Their web site certainly does not inspire confidence, as it looks very amateurish and not often updated. Recently, I had read about folks having some better experiences and I am tired of not having destination entry while in motion in my 2008 Prius.

Well I didn’t really try to utilize Coastal’s customer service, but they did ship the device promptly. I ordered the device on Sept. 16, got a UPS tracking number on Sept. 17, and received the device today, Sept. 25 via UPS Ground. Not bad at all.

The device came in simple packaging and the box also had instructions and a small bag of Jelly Bellies. The instructions looked simpler than I had imagined and so I went ahead and had at it.

It was easy. The nav unit in my Toyota Prius 2008 is under the driver’s seat. I grabbed a flashlight and pushed the seat back and removed the connector to the nav unit, pressing down a bit on the tab on top of the connector so that it slid out. Then plug that connector into one end of the Lockpick and plug the other end of the Lockpick into the nav unit. Start up the car and wait about 20 seconds for the nav unit to reload firmware. Then I went for a drive and noted that the destination entry screen has a new pin icon in the top left. By default, destination entry is still grayed out while in motion but pressing and holding the pin icon for a second or two causes the destination entry to unlock. After you’re done entering a destination, it automatically locks again. This is actually an important feature, because the Lockpick works by making the nav unit think that the vehicle’s speed is zero. The nav unit uses a combination of GPS and that vehicle’s speed to determine position. So when the Lockpick is unlocking, the nav unit is not getting the proper speed input and so the nav unit’s impression of where you are drifts off. After destination entry is complete, the nav unit now gets the proper speed and it takes a minute or two for the nav unit to get its bearings. At some point, the nav unit showed me on the map as essentially driving through the bike trail around the corner from us (an all-green area on the map)! It took the nav unit a minute or two to get the right location. I hope that this doesn’t turn out to be too big of a problem in practice.

So all in all, I’m pretty pleased.

OS X 10.5.5

You can now grab OS X 10.5.5 from Software Update.

OS X 10.5.5

What does it have? From


  • Includes recent Apple security updates.
  • Addresses stability issues with video playback, processor core idling, and remote disc sharing for MacBook Air.
  • Addresses an issue in which some Macs could unexpectedly power on at the same time each day.
  • Resolves a stability issue in TextEdit that could be found when accessing the color palette.
  • Improves Spotlight indexing performance.
  • Fixes an issue in which contacts might not sync properly with PalmOS-based devices.
  • Improves iPhone sync reliability with iCal and Address Book.
  • Includes improvements to Active Directory (see this article for more information).
  • Improves Speech Dictionary.
  • Fixes Kerberos authentication issues for Mac OS X 10.5 clients that connect to certain Samba servers, such as Mac OS X Server version 10.4.
  • Includes extensive graphics enhancements.

Address Book

  • Addresses stability issues that may occur when creating a Smart Group.
  • Resolves a printing issue with address cards containing information that spans more than one page.

Disk Utility and Directory Utility

  • Improves reliability when rebuilding a software mirror RAID volume in Disk Utility.
  • Improves reliability of server status displayed in Directory Utility.


  • Updates iCal to more accurately handle repeating events.
  • Improves performance when choosing meeting attendees.
  • Resolves an issue in which the “Refresh All” option may be dimmed (“grayed out”) in the contextual menu for certain calendars.
  • Fixes issues with read-only calendars.
  • Addresses an issue that prevents an invitee from moving an event to a different calendar.
  • Resolves an issue with syncing published calendars.


  • Addresses performance issues related to displaying IMAP messages.
  • Resolves an issue with SMTP settings for AIM, Compuserve, Hanmail, Yahoo!, and Time Warner Road Runner email accounts.
  • Addresses stability issues that may occur when dragging a file to the Mail icon in the Dock.
  • Addresses an issue with the “Organized by Thread” view in which the date does not appear when the thread is collapsed.
  • Resolves an issue in which RSS feeds could temporarily disappear from the sidebar.
  • Improves Mail robustness when sending messages.
  • Improves reliability when saving drafts that have attachments.


  • Improves overall sync reliability.
  • Improves Back to My Mac reliability.

Time Machine

  • Improves Time Machine reliability with Time Capsule.
  • Addresses performance issues that may affect initial and in-progress backups.
  • Fixes an issue in which an incorrect alert message could appear stating that a backup volume does not have enough free space.
  • Time Machine can now back up iPhone backups that are on your Mac, as well as other items in (~/Library/Application Support).

Not working

It’s nice not having a job.

I quit VMware. Not my cup of tea.

People ask me what my new job is. I answer that I don’t know and people react with either horror or an envious smile. The fact is, it’s a pain to interview while you’re at another job. And you don’t have much time to devote to your job search – one of the most life-impacting decisions you can make.
And besides, there is an abundance of jobs out there right now.

The only problem is that I had hoped that not working would be relaxing and so far it’s been too full for my taste with interviews and phone calls. I’m getting a little wary of talking about my history and wanting to look ahead to the future.