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Wed, Jun. 11th, 2014, 06:34 pm

So I've been experiencing a ton of issues with Sprint lately. They just don't seem to have their act together, and I'm especially concerned that they're putting people's safety at risk. I posted to my own site (http://www.jaypoc.com/sprint-cellphone-safety/) with a scary scenario that could happen to anybody. Basically, Sprint has a network issue that causes their newer Spark LTE enabled phones to drop service altogether. From the way it was explained to me, The issue occurs when the phone tries to switch from a new LTE tower to an older LTE or CDMA tower. Rather than make the hand-off, the phone loses all service leaving the user without the ability to make calls or access data. This includes 911, which in the case of an emergency would be devastating!

What's worse, is that Sprint will sell you the affected phones in areas that are affected by this issue, and if you don't notice the issue with in 14 days, they will not take it back.

I have had Sprint service since 1998 and never had signal issues, so I assumed it was a defective phone. I didn't have any intentions on returning it, so I brought it into the Sprint Store to have it fixed. I wasn't able to get there until the third week, and when I brought it in they said there was nothing they could do and explained the issue was on the network and not the phone. They also stated they were getting a lot of complaints over the issue.

Sprint's online support teams answered Tweets and forum posts, advising customers about the issue, and while they assured that they are working with Samsung on a software fix if possible, there is no ETA.

Meanwhile, I am stuck with a Galaxy S5 which I can not activate because it would constantly lose service (I reactivated an old phone) and I can't return it as sprint insists I continue paying for the phone even though they can't resolve the issue.

Sun, Feb. 26th, 2012, 11:31 pm
Flash Mobbed

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been to many “flash mob” like events, but tonight was my first actual pre-choreographed  flash mob run by Flash Mob America. I had never heard of FMA before, nor have I seen any of their flash mobs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really learn the dance steps for it. In fact, It wasn’t until earlier today that I actually watched the video through and tried to memorize as much as possible. Probably not the best plan, but in the long run, it worked out.

The crowd consisted of both men and women, though we (the men) were grossly outnumbered. We ranged from young children around 10 or so, to adults in their 40′s (maybe 50′s). Many were there with friends or their families. I was there with my friend Will who had been watching FMA plan the event for some time. Everyone was in “party” attire, mostly wearing white button-down shirts with black pants. The idea was to break in to a 30th birthday celebration being held at a catering hall in Plainview, New York. We all met in the basement of the catering hall to register and rehearse for the big flash. After checking in late (oops) and getting settled, I joined the crowd being lead through the entire dance routine. There were some last minute changes and we all continued to practice over and over for about an hour until people were comfortable with the routine.

Our leader, dancer Ljuba Castot, took a walk through the hall dressed as a waitress and got a peek at the layout. She came back  and organized us into groups to come out of different entrances at different times. We went through the final arrangements and danced through the routine again a few last times. Then, It was go time!

We were taken out to our entrances in groups. I got to parade through the kitchen to a service hallway outside the party room. We all waited, whispering to each other in an attempt to avoid anyone in the party room noticing that we were there. Other groups were being ushered to their entrances as well. We were coming from two entrances at the back of the room and one entrance around the side behind the DJ. We heard our music cue and started filing out of the hallway, through the party room between all the tables and on to the dance floor. We had to merge into our dance routine and sync up with the other dancers. It was one of the most exhilarating feelings and it all happened so quickly. I feel like I only had a moment to look around at the expressions on the party guests. They were laughing. Some were dancing along with us, but I got a sense of overall joy and amazement as the dance floor overflowed with dancers all moving in sync (more or less. lol).

The routine began with a waiter and waitress busting out – over the top – to I Got a Feeling  by Black Eyes Peas. Then the younger dancers and some of the more experienced dancers came rushing out to the dance floor in front of the DJ. During different breaks in the song, more of us went pouring onto the dance floor until all of us had filled the dance floor and some of us were left standing between the tables. The song shifted to LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It. At the end, we all froze in pose and then dispersed as swiftly as we had entered. The looks on the faces of all the party goers indicated that they were all surprised and were enjoying the sight.

For many of the people involved, this was their first flash mob. They had heard about it from social networks like Meetup and Facebook, and had come from all over New York to participate. For me, this was the most organized event of this type and I would certainly join them again, though next time, I think I’ll put a bit more time into practicing and preparing for the event.

Thanks FMA for a great time, and for providing what I can only imagine will be an amazing memory for the party goers and our birthday guest.

Sat, Aug. 27th, 2011, 11:42 pm
Hurricane Irene: My First Scare

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

I checked into Hurricane Irene on FourSquare and just as I hit the check-in button, there was a loud BANG from outside my window and the entire room went dark. It was completely black.

I looked out the window and saw the lights on in all the buildings across my courtyard, It seemed that my building was the only one that lost power. My biggest concern was the frozen foods (chicken, pork, steak and salmon) that I just bought tonight. I went into my kitchen and looked around. I noticed the time on my oven. My oven uses gas, but I thought the clock was electric. I was right. They are.

That’s when I realized that the compressor for the refrigerator was still running. I was relieved. The lights in my Kitchen are on the same circuit as my bathroom/bedroom but the appliances are on their own. And I guess I just turned out all the other lights which is generally uncharacteristic of me. Whew.

So here I sit at my laptop in the living room with an extension cord to my bedroom powering the rack containing my cable-modem, router PC, and wireless access point. The T V is working too, and it’s getting late, so I may just relax and call it a night. Hopefully my room won’t be out for too long. And yes, I checked the circuit breaker ;)

UPDATE: The original post was around midnight. At approximately 9:30am the rest of the power went out. My contingency plan is in effect. I’m going to fill my cooler with ice and saltwater and bring my frozen goods to my parents, who may have lost a tree, but they still have electricity!

Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011, 05:56 pm
Enable Telnet in Windows 7 (and Vista)

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

I ran into a situation today where it would have been really useful to test a connection using telnet, but unfortunately, Windows 7 (and I believe Windows Vista) does not come with telnet installed. At least, that was what I had thought. It turns out that it is included, but it’s disabled. Here’s how to enable it:
Telnet is available from Windows 7 Programs and Features

  • Open the Control Panel
    • If it’s set to View By Category, click Uninstall a Program under the Programs heading.
    • if it’s set to View By Icons. click on the Programs and Features item.
  • Click on Turn Windows features on or off on the left side-bar.
  • If  UAC is enabled, click yes to Allow “Windows Features” to run.
  • Scroll down and check Telnet Client and then click OK

Now you can telnet from the command line as you could in previous versions of Windows. Keep in mind, however, that telnet is not secure. It’s recommended to use SSH when available. I highly recommend PuTTY which is a great free telnet/SSH client.

Wed, Jun. 8th, 2011, 06:50 pm
Homemade Bacon Candies

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

I don’t know exactly when this happened, but bacon has made its way from our breakfast plates to our post-dinner snack. Who would have thought that pork would be the next big dessert? A few months ago, it would have been my last choice but lately, I’ve found a place in my heart, and my stomach, for Candied Bacon.

My interest in candied Bacon was piqued with each installment of EpicMealTime, and I found my inspiration to make my own with a recent episode of Outrageous Food on the Food Network. The show went on site to The Sticky Pig, a shop that specializes in gourmet handmade candied bacon. The show featured the Pig in a Blanket, a candied bacon with a sweet, spicy and tropical twist according to The Sticky Pig website.

The Sticky Pig is located in California, and because the candies are made from Bacon, they need expedited shipping. A 4-Piece collection of Candied Bacon goes for $20 (at the time of this post), and has to be shipped overnight to guarantee quality and freshness. This gets expensive when you need to ship it across the country, so rather than shell out $10+ per piece of bacon candy, I decided to make my own. After watching Outrageous Food over and over, taking notes, shopping for the ingredients and setting up my web cam for my latest live cast, here’s what I came up with:

Bacon CandiesI began my journey by making candied Spam. This was my first time buying, touching, cooking with and eating spam. I popped the candied spam pieces into a bowl and went on to the process demonstrated on TV.

The next step was to make the candy filling. I mixed Chili Spiced Pineapples and Chili Spiced Mangos from Trader Joes in a blender along with Pineapple chunks, coconut and dark rum. I took a bowl and mixed brown sugar, chili powder, ground cayenne pepper, cinnamon and coconut together and coated a few strips of bacon with this mixture. I spooned a bit of the candy filling onto the bacon strips and rolled them up and placed them on a baking rack. I stuck them in the over at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. I cut puff pastry into long strips and wrapped the strips around the bacon re-connecting the pastry at the bottom. I sprinkled regular sugar on the candies and put them back in the over for another 15 minutes.

While waiting for the candies to finish baking, I cleaned out the blender and mixed up some pineapple chunks, powdered sugar and Dijon mustard to make a sticky sauce. When the candies were done, I used this sticky sauce to affix a piece of candied spam to the top of the bacon candy as was demonstrated in the show. After a light dusting with powdered sugar, the completed candies looked and tasted as good as they appeared on the show.

The biggest issue I faced was that the filling had a tendancy to leak out of the rolled bacon while it was cooking or being wrapped with the pastry. I’d be interested in others’ thoughts and experiences with this recipe or with attempting some of the other incredible flavor profiles offered by candy bacon creators like The Sticky Pig.

Mon, May. 2nd, 2011, 08:58 pm
Linux Connection Delays

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

Upon connecting to one of my Ubuntu webservers over Secure Shell, I found the connection was taking a long time to establish. At least that was what I thought. It was easy for my to blame my ISP, but since Web and FTP processes were quick, I didn’t take much time to look into or track down the cause of the SSH delays. One evening while installing new packages and frequently re-connecting to the server, I got tired of the delays and found that the issue was not a bandwidth or connection issue at all, but hat upon connection the server was performing a reverse lookup which took approximately 10 seconds. Various sources on the net advised to disable the reverse DNS lookups and the OpenSSH FAQ agrees.

According to the OpenSSH FAQ at www.openssh.org/faq.html, long connection delays (over 10 seconds) are caused by long DNS lookups and can be resolved by specifying the AddressFamily or UseDNS options.

Disabling reverse lookups worked simply by reconfiguring OpenSSHd with the UseDNS no in sshd_config. Doing so has resolved the issue with the delayed connections completely.

I recently ran into a similar problem with one of my FTP hosts. They are running ProFTPd v1.2.10. When I connect to the host, the connection is established but there’s a 10-12 second delay before the server issues the 220 response (Sever ready).

They insist that the issue is a bandwidth/networking issue, and not a server configuration issue. I have tested the connection from my home PC, a remote shell account and my work PC, and the delay remains consistent regardless of which connection I use. Here’s some information I found about ProFTP.

The ProFTP FAQ states that issues could be caused by the server performing various lookups upon connection.

Normally, incoming active mode data connections and outgoing passive mode data connections have a reverse DNS lookup performed on the remote host’s IP address. In a chroot environment (such as or DefaultRoot), the /etc/hosts file cannot be checked and the only possible resolution is via DNS. If for some reason, DNS is not available or improperly configured this can result in proftpd blocking (“stalling”) until the libc resolver code times out. Disabling this directive prevents proftpd from attempting to reverse-lookup data connection IP addresses

The server appears to have chroot enabled as I can not browse beyond my personally allocated space on the server. This is one possibility as to what could be causing the issue. Disabling the reverse lookups is as simple as entering changing useReverseDNS on in the configuration file (/etc/proftpd.conf) to useReverseDNS off.

Searching the Internet for related issues also revealed that similar delays are caused when the server is configured to accept authentication via an Ident server. In ProFTPD version 1.3.3rc1, the default was changed from ‘on’ to ‘off’. According to ProFTPd.org:

The RFC1413 IDENT lookup adds latency to the login process, so much so that it is a FAQ to configure IdentLookups off”. In addition, the IDENT protocol is not secure; it can easily be spoofed using man-in-the-middle attacks.

The host has skirted around advising me if either of these options were enabled. My personal opinion is the technical support group may not have server-level access and eventually an admin on the server end will go through the same research I have and identify the cause. Should the issue be something else, I will follow up this post with new findings.

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Fri, Apr. 1st, 2011, 08:13 am
April Fools Day 2011 on the Web

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

April Fools Day 2011
In lieu of some recent saddening events, I had to take some time to celebrate my favorite holiday, April Fools day. Up early, I scoured the web for this year’s April Fools pranks,and I can’t say that I was disappointed.

I should begin by letting everyone know that all pranks must be approved by Groupon who now owns the rights to the holiday.

Hulu has taken it upon themselves to redesign the site using new technologies (back in 1999)!

Speaking of traveling back in time, Check out all the new silent films on YouTube. The new 1911 filter can be applied to any of their advertising-lacking videos.

RIM has announced their latest Backberry featuring a screenless design.

ThinkGeek has been busy coming up with new products. Check out the delicious Angry Bird Pork Rinds. Kids will enjoy the Playmobil Apple Store. Geeks everywhere will be snacking on Light-saber Popsicles (actually a good product idea). The immensely lazy will find use for the new Shirt Plate. Sneak more treats into the movie theater with a Gummy iPhone Case. Science has never been as much fun as it can be with the Arsenic-based Sea Monkeys. Lose yourself in your own Minecraft Nether Portal/ It’s USB powered after all.

Hey, While I’m posting, we need to help out our friends at Improv Everywhere. A recent mission went bad and they’re looking for individuals who attacked their agents. Lets see if we can help them out.

Google has been busy as well. They have made major improvements too their Gmail, Google Docs and Voice services.

Great news for layout artists and web developers. Comic Sans was just made better!

Funny or Die is featuring singer, songwriter Rebecca Black!

Grooveshark has adopted the latest 3D technologies

College Humor may have been hacked! Some accounts have access to the admin page.

Reddit has added a new feature allowing your friends to give you Reddit Mold opening all sorts of new features for you!

Trying to get rid of your ex? In photos, that is… Kodak is to the rescue with Relationshiffft.

Chevy has even announced a new vehicle.

and in closing, Even yahoo is participating in the holiday fun with a new animated logo at their web site.

NOTICE: These links may be irrelevant after April Fools Day.

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Thu, Jan. 20th, 2011, 12:10 am
Thing in a Jar

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

Jaypoc's Thing In a JarIt’s Intriguing, yet creepy at the same time. Inspired by Drew Olbrich’s Thing In a Jar, I created my own oddity in a jar. Using Drew’s design I sculpted my own alien fetus. Here’s how I did it.

  1. The process begins with a design. Being my first attempt at this project, I based my design off the sketch done by Drew Olbrich, but I encourage you to come up with your own ideas, shapes and designs. There’s lots of great variants on the Thing in a Jar via Google.
  2. The design started with a block of Sculpey clay. Sculpey is great! It is a modeling clay that, when baked, hardens to a plastic-like consistency. It can then be painted making it ideal for this project. I formed the shape of the little critter, complete with ridges and bumps to give it more lifelike detail. Once completed, I baked it according to the directions on the Sculpey packaging and let it cool enough to touch.
  3. Once cool enough to touch, I gave it a few coats of flesh-colored paint. I painted the eyes black and let the paint dry.
  4. Next, I coated the entire creature with Rubber Cement. This gives the final product some texture and can be peeled/pulled to add a skin/mucus effect.
  5. I used a Jar I picked up at Michael’s crafts store, but you can use any jar you want. I placed the creature inside the jar.
  6. To get the dark color, I used a mixture of about 60% water to 40% cola, adjusted as necessary.
  7. Because I did not use good quality jars, the jars did not hold an airtight (or waterproof) seal. I used Rubber Cement and carefully went around the rubber stopper and the entire lid to ensure a complete seal. Using screw-on lids or heavy-duty jars would eliminate the need for this step.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. In addition to the creature, I created a human finger (a thumb, shaped similar to my own), though the digit didn’t come out as good as I had hoped, and therefore will not get a post on my blog. I also created a Specimen label in Photoshop, printed and cut out the label, and soaked it in a cup of coffee for about 2 minutes. Dried it off between 2 paper towels while crumpling it up and let it dry. It has a great aged look to it and looks great glued to the jar.

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Thu, Dec. 23rd, 2010, 07:09 pm
What’s an EVO without Swype?

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

If you have an Android based phone and haven’t tried Swype yet, you’re missing out on one of the most innovative alternatives to the standard keyboard. Rather than pressing the keys to spell out a word, Swype lets you simply trace a path over the desired letters. Through pattern recognition, AI and a bit of magic, Swype is able to figure out what you’re trying to say with minimal errors making it way faster than thumb-typing. If your phone doesn’t come with Swype natively, you may be able to get in on their beta test at http://beta.swype.com.

My phone, the HTC EVO on Sprint, recently received an OTA (Over-The-Air) update that includes Swype among other enhancements. Because of this, the beta version of Swype will no longer authenticate on an HTC EVO. Unfortunately, I am running a non-standard ROM called MIUI on my phone which is not supported by Sprint. This also means that I can’t get the OTA update, and since Sprint is not offering an a-la-carte download of the Swype program, I was unable to reinstall Swype after updating to the latest version of MIUI.

It appears that the android modding community is keeping hush on the procedure to install Swype, but if you own an EVO, then you should be able to use the applications that Sprint has licensed for your device. I don’t recommend trying this on any phones that don’t natively come with Swype, but it will work for the EVO.

You’ll need to get a copy of the OTA update. The easiest way to do this is to download a ROM that includes the update.(I used Fresh-EVO-3.5.0.1, Google it.) which includes Swype, but any EVO ROM that has the application will work.

There’s 2 files you’ll need to extract from the ROM (usually just a ZIP file):

/system/app/Swype.apk
and
/system/lib/libswypecore.so

Transfer these files to your phone.

Swype.apk can go anywhere, but you’ll want to copy libswypecore.so to the /system/lib/ folder on your EVO. Yes, you’ll need root permissions. I used Root Explorer (File Manager) by Speed Software but you can use any file manager that gives you access to the system folders.

Finally, Install the program via Swype.apk from your SD card and you should be swyping in no time!

(NOTE: Rooting and/or installing aftermarket ROMs can damage your phone and may void the warranty. Do so at your own risk. Also, avoid piracy. Keep the android community alive by supporting the applications you find valuable).

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Sun, Nov. 14th, 2010, 04:39 pm
Troubled Luck on the Long Island Expressway

Originally published at Jaypoc dotCom. You can comment here or there.

I don’t know why the events of last night cancel each other out and just not occur at all. I was heading into Queens to meet up with a few friends for Vince’s birthday. I gave myself some extra time to get there, but used that time to detour to my bank. While cruising down the Long Island Expressway, I felt a shuddering. My wheels made that sound they make when you drive over the grooves on the side of the road that were intended to wake up sleepy drivers. I was in the left lane though. I immediately pulled over and inspected my vehicle. The front passenger side tire, one of the newer tires I had put on just a few months earlier, was completely flat.

In a slight panic, and realizing that I was just a few hundred feet from the next exit, I grabbed a can of Fix-A-Flat and emptied it into my tire. I knew the can had enough air to slightly inflate a slightly deflated tire, but it wasn’t enough to make a difference this time. I pulled out the air compressor I keep in my trunk, but it would not engage. It was a cheap plastic one, and has helped in other situations, but it wasn’t going to do me any good anymore. I realized that I would have to change the tire.

I’m no mechanic, but I can cover some of the basics… I emptied my trunk onto the side of the roadway and began unscrewing the components of my spare. It would have taken me at least another thirty minutes to get the car up on the pathetic scissor jack included with the stock spare tire of my Scion tC. I was dreading having to cancel on my plans when a vehicle pulled up behind my car. The yellow spinning lights on top indicated that this was a rescue vehicle. I was hoping for one of the H.E.L.P. trucks which provide free assistance to roadside travelers, but it turned out to be a tow truck driver between jobs looking for a quick dollar.

Realizing that I had the situation under control, he gave me his card and offered assistance if I wanted it. I didn’t need it but I knew he could change a tire in a fraction of the time it would have taken me. I took him up on his offer and let him do the dirty work. In seconds he had the car up on the air-jack and changed the tire for me. Despite the trouble of the flat, I was fortunate he pulled up when he did. He made a quick twenty bucks and I made a quick getaway from the situation. I arrived in Queens just in time to park and hitch a ride with my friends as they were heading out.

Is it good luck that I got a flat but recovered, delayed only fifteen minutes? or was it bad luck still, as I now have to deal with a flat tire? I guess my luck was split somewhere down the middle.

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