How to Port Your Number from Magic Jack to Google Voice

And take years off your life expectancy…

Back in 2011 when my wife lost her job I began looking in every crack and crevice for ways to save every penny possible. Having explained my predicament to a few co-workers, one suggested I try out Google Voice as a replacement for my landline service, and I did. For the most part the service was acceptable, getting better over time. And did I mention the price? Not counting the $20 fee to port a number in, it’s free as in beer! But quite unfortunately in the fall of 2013 Google announced they would be ending XMPP support the following spring. This means the OBi 100 analog telephone adapter that connects the copper in my house to the cloud would cease to function. :-( Continue reading

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An Angry German Reviews the RCA Pro 10 Series Android Tablet

After several years of reliable service from my trusty Barnes & Noble Nook Color, about a year ago the battery started to show signs of it’s impending doom. More recently the corner of the case which I had cracked by dropping the device early on, snagged on a piece of clothing and flaked off like a smashed thumbnail. Having grown somewhat annoyed by the direction the Android ecosystem has moved in, I found myself looking in all directions for a convertible laptop / tablet device that would readily run Ubuntu or some other full-fledged linux distro. Much to my dismay I could not locate anything both reasonably priced (I’m something of a miser) and easily customizable (UEFI bootloaders make it a challenge to boot 64 bit linuxes). But I still wanted a bigger screen and a real keyboard for the times when I need to connect to a machine over ssh and use a bash shell. After much research and debate, I settled on the RCA Pro 10 Series tablet (model # RCT6103W46). Continue reading

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Clearing Recalcitrant “Favorites” on the Garmin nuvi 50LM

A couple years ago I had procrastinated severely in regards to vacation prep, and foolishly walked into a retail store the day before departing and purchased a Garmin nuvi 50 GPS navigator based on price. It was (at least to my sense of worth) expensive, so I foolishly assumed it would be more feature rich than the tiny Magellan device I purchased many years ago for my motorcycle. I had delusions of being able to set waypoints or routes on this device so it would give turn by turn directions using my “secret shortcut” routes to our favorite vacation spots. Was I ever disappointed.

Nevertheless, I managed to find a way to create waypoints / viapoints in .gpx / xml format (Garmin calls these “favorites”), and could copy them to the device by plugging in to a PC and copying the waypoints file to the “GPX” folder. Unfortunately in one of my more recent experiments with waypoints, I managed to create about a dozen or so with the latitude and longitude transposed, resulting in favorites that the device wouldn’t let me delete. Not to mention every single favorite I’d ever attempted was showing up in the list after I deleted the Current.gpx file. And as it turns out, the master reset function which claims to remove all user data, doesn’t touch favorites. Here’s how to remove them.

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DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Sand Filter

As part of my greywater 2.0 update, I wanted to add some minimal level of filtration of the water being captured from my sump pit in an effort to lessen the amount of fine clay sediment that ends up in the catchment barrels and subsequently in the rest of the pressure system as well as the toilet tanks. Since commercially available filters this large are prohibitively priced, I tried a variation of several designs I found with a google search. Continue reading

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