Archive for category Uncategorized

2011 Des Moines Renaissance Faire on your iDevice

Yes, I’m still here, just not much to publicly say in the last few months.

This weekend is the first of 2011 the Des Moines Renaissance Faire, and Mary and I are planning attendance for at least one day of each weekend. I decided to program schedule into Google calendar so I could have a handy reference as to what was going on, where it was and when.

I thought someone else might be interested, so I made the calendar public.

The easiest way is to email this link to an account you can access on your iDevice and then tap on the link in that email:

After you tap it, it will prompt you to install it as a new calendar, just say yes. I recommend viewing it in list view on a small screen.

Android and other device users should be able to use it too, but I can’t guide you with instructions. It’s probably pretty similar to iOS.

I plan to add the events on the Friday before the weekend so it’s as current as possible. I think they will automatically update since it is a subscribed calendar.

You can also download the schedule in iCal format by clicking here.

Standard disclaimers apply, I have no affiliation with the festival, etc.


A Tale of Two Service Calls

Sometimes you just have a bad day, or a run of them. Last Sunday, my Dell laptop died, Tuesday night, my Apple iPad died.

These were two totally unrelated problems, and thankfully both were covered under warranty. The iPad has the standard Apple 1 year warranty, my Dell had 2 year Complete Care. I thought it had 3 years, but evidently I only ordered 2. Both the iPad and the Dell warranties expire before mid-June. I’m pretty happy they both died this month and not next.

Now, keep in mind I’m a pretty big Dell fan. I generally recommend their laptops to people, and the Complete Care warranty they offer is no small part of that recommendation. Computers all break eventually but desktops much easier to fix, laptops break more often,and are a lot harder to fix. With Complete Care it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, Dell will fix it. It’s as much an insurance policy as it is a warranty. Dog eats it, 2yr old jumps on it, lightning strikes it, it’s covered. You get the idea.

This provides me with a great opportunity to compare support side by side.


Here’s how each service call went.

Read the rest of this entry »

IC-92AD Repaired

I love dealing with repair shops, and this is my first experience with Icom’s repair center in just about 15 years. After the last run in with them I decided I’d never purchase from them again so they really had nowhere to go but up.

After 15 years of pretty much ignoring any equipment they made, I was drawn back in via D-Star. Suffice it to say that over the last year I have obtained a lot of Icom equipment and since my 92 was nearing the end of it’s warranty period I decided to send it in for repair of an issue I first noticed last winter. From time to time the display does strange things. Most often it goes blank, and then it looks as if the radio was switched off when in fact it was still working fine. Sometimes it flips, sometimes it inverts, sometimes both. Often times it will “roll” and the bottom 5-10 pixels will be on the top of the display which then shifts down to make room. Strange stuff.

It turns out that a production run of 92’s had an RFI problem (for a transmitter, go figure) that all sorts of display glitches, mostly blank screens, were caused by. I was hoping mine would get worse over my year so it would be easier for them to duplicate the problem at the service center, but alas my time ran out and I sent it in anyway with a grainy cell-phone picture of the display inverted and reversed.

Icom received my HT on 9/10, and it was returned to me today, 9/30. 16 days at their shop, 4 days transit back to me. Not great, but not bad either. No complaints from me anyway.

What did they do? No clue. Radio, battery and antenna were in bubblewrap inside a box. No documentation of any sort. Was the issue fixed? Were they unable to reproduce it? No idea whatsoever. I guess time will tell.

Update: They didn’t reset my memories to factory defaults, or they did a backup and a restore when they were done. If the latter I’m very happy with that added bit of customer service.

Update #2: They sent an invoice to me via post that contained some small amount of information on what they did. Very Small. It says they “Installed modification to improve display.” and “Installed firmware update 1.41.” Still no real information, but at least they did something even if I don’t know what it was.

April ARTS Meeting

Immediately after the D-Star meeting last night was the ARTS monthly meeting. Many of the same people attended both meetings so there was a small caravan of vehicles bristling with anteannas moving from Culvers to the church where we hold our regular meetings.

April is our annual antenna meeting where anyone can bring an antenna and diagnose, ask questions, or show off what they’ve built. Generally a few antenna analyzers show up along with some masts and occasionally something really strange.

If I could settle on a decent photo album plugin for WordPress I’d have a few small pics here but since I haven’t suffice it to say a good time was had by all.

OpenID Enabled

OpenID is now accepted for logins. Nothing worse than needing yet another login/password…