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2005/10/30 The sad state of the US GSM cell phone network
π 2005-10-30 08:49 by Merlin in Public

Current Music: Les enfoirés - 2000 - La Bombe Humaine
Current Mood: Fair

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday with Cingular/AT &T; yesterday, for the 5th or 6th time.
This all started with me being an AT &T; customer, which was fine, until the day they got bought by Cingular. In theory, that means a bigger and better network to roam on, so that was good news.
In real life, this meant two networks that my phone could see, but this also meant that AT &T; turned off their closest tower to my house, leaving me with a far away tower with bad signal.
This turned out to be because Cingular Wireless had their own tower down my street with great signal. This was all great except that my old phone would not use the Cingular tower since it wasn't its 'home network' unless the AT &T; tower totally disappeared, which it seldom did (i.e. I had enough signal to get one unusable bar). Solution to that was to reconfigure my phone to manually lock to the (otherwise inferior) Cingular network. That worked for home, until I went out of Cingular coverage, and my phone wouldn't pick a working AT &T; tower until I put it back to automatic mode. Lame...

Solution from AT &T; : "you have to get a new phone with a new 64K Sim, along with cingular service". For quite a while, I just didn't bother since I was still using the old and reliable TDMA service on my Siemens S46 dual mode tri band phone, and one day they sent me a letter that they were going to turn that service off.
All, right, great: at this point I didn't have a choice anymore and bought a new Nokia Communicator 9500 (unfortunately it only did 1900Mhz in the US, no 850). Cingular asked me why I didn't buy one of their 850/1900 pre-programmed phones instead, and that's mostly because they were crap, like the Palm based Treo 650 (the Palmsource engineers, some of them I know personally , have since then fled the said company, confirming that that phone and its OS has no real future).
Anyway, the Nokia Communicator 9500 is a great phone, I went to Cingular to migrate my service from AT &T; to Cingular, went through more work to get everything working again, and ended up with a more expensive plan I didn't really need.
I then go home, and end up with the same exact problem: phone locks in on AT &T.; Grr!!!

More time with support on the phone, eventually I get a knowledgeable person from tech support who sends a reprogramming to my phone's Sim card to tell it to prefer Cingular over AT &T.; That was yesterday, the phone accepts the programming, I turn it back on, and still the same thing!
More time with support, more explaining why I didn't want to use their crappy phones, and eventually the support person tells me that my phone must be overriding the Sim's preferred network (i.e. Cingular) and that I should talk to Nokia to see if I can disable that.
I do so, and Nokia tells me that there is no such setting, and it must be a problem with the provider.
Joy...

Y'all suck!

Anyway, I'm back to locking my phone on one network, and having to change that every so often when I get out of Cingular coverage. It sounds that my only hope at this point is to wait for Cingular to actually merge both networks so that they only show up as one. With a little luck, that'll happen in a few months...

Of course, I could switch to T-Mobile, the other GSM provider, but they just have an inferior network and don't offer EDGE, just GPRS...

I'm so glad I live in a technologically advanced country.
2005/10/16 and a few parting words from cartman...
π 2005-10-16 00:01 by Merlin in Public

As we fight our way northwest into the great unknown, only one thing remains certain: is that I hate you guys with every tired muscle in my confederate bottom. We have taken topeka, and now I must rally the men en route to Missoura, because I will not stop until we have won it all, and you guys are my slaves, because I hate you guys, I hate you guys so very very much :)
This is why I love South Park :)

Another favourite is "I hate you guys, words just cannot express how much I hate you guys" :)
2005/10/15 New spam record, and 70,000 spam blocked
π 2005-10-15 22:49 by Merlin in Public

I was shuffling my SA-Exim logs, after realizing that I had more than 1G of spam mail saved, I also found the highest scored spam ever: 86.2!
In the meantime, I also found that my anti-spam software has blocked more than 70,000 spams on my server. Go me! :)

Subject: SPAM: 86.2: ºô¸ô¶}©±Àu´f¤è®×¡I ¦n§·m¥ý³ø¡I
X-Spam-Status: Yes, score=86.2 required=7.0 tests=BAYES_99,BIZ_TLD,
DOMAIN_RATIO,FORGED_IMS_HTML,FORGED_MUA_IMS,FORGED_YAHOO_RCVD,
HEAD_ILLEGAL_CHARS,HELO_DYNAMIC_DHCP,HELO_DYNAMIC_IPADDR,HTML_90_100,
HTML_CHARSET_FARAWAY,HTML_IMAGE_RATIO_02,HTML_MESSAGE,HTML_WEB_BUGS,
HTTP_ESCAPED_HOST,HTTP_EXCESSIVE_ESCAPES,MIME_BASE64_TEXT,
MIME_BOUND_DD_DIGITS,MIME_HTML_ONLY,MIME_HTML_ONLY_MULTI,
MISSING_MIMEOLE,MPART_ALT_DIFF,MSGID_SPAM_CAPS,MSGID_YAHOO_CAPS,
RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100,RAZOR2_CHECK,RCVD_BY_IP,RCVD_DOUBLE_IP_SPAM,
RCVD_IN_BL_SPAMCOP_NET,RCVD_IN_DSBL,RCVD_IN_NJABL_DUL,
RCVD_IN_SORBS_DUL,RCVD_IN_SORBS_WEB,RCVD_IN_XBL,SPF_HELO_SOFTFAIL,
SUBJ_ILLEGAL_CHARS,TO_MARCNEWS autolearn=spam
version=3.0.3-mmrules_20041125
X-Spam-Report:
* 3.8 MSGID_YAHOO_CAPS Message-ID has ALLCAPS@yahoo.com
* 1.2 HELO_DYNAMIC_DHCP Relay HELO'd using suspicious hostname (DHCP)
* 4.1 MIME_BOUND_DD_DIGITS Spam tool pattern in MIME boundary
* 4.4 HELO_DYNAMIC_IPADDR Relay HELO'd using suspicious hostname (IP addr 1)
* 4.0 TO_MARCNEWS To marc_news
* 3.8 MSGID_SPAM_CAPS Spam tool Message-Id: (caps variant)
* 0.1 RCVD_BY_IP Received by mail server with no name
* 2.9 SUBJ_ILLEGAL_CHARS Subject contains too many raw illegal characters
* 3.1 SPF_HELO_SOFTFAIL SPF: HELO does not match SPF record (softfail)
* [SPF failed: Please see
http://spf.pobox.com/why.html?sender=rr.com &ip; =24.95.54.50 &receiver; =magic.merlins.org]
* 2.1 HEAD_ILLEGAL_CHARS Header contains too many raw illegal characters
* 2.7 FORGED_YAHOO_RCVD 'From' yahoo.com does not match 'Received' headers
* 0.5 HTTP_ESCAPED_HOST URI: Uses %-escapes inside a URL's hostname
* 2.3 BIZ_TLD URI: Contains an URL in the BIZ top-level domain
* 0.2 HTTP_EXCESSIVE_ESCAPES URI: Completely unnecessary %-escapes inside a URL
* 3.2 DOMAIN_RATIO BODY: Message body mentions many internet domains
* 0.0 HTML_WEB_BUGS BODY: Image tag intended to identify you
* 1.8 HTML_MESSAGE BODY: HTML included in message
* 0.1 MPART_ALT_DIFF BODY: HTML and text parts are different
* 4.0 RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100 BODY: Razor2 gives confidence level above 50%
* [cf: 100]
* 5.0 BAYES_99 BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 99 to 100%
* [score: 1.0000]
* 3.0 MIME_HTML_ONLY BODY: Message only has text/html MIME parts
* 0.0 HTML_IMAGE_RATIO_02 BODY: HTML has a low ratio of text to image area
* 0.0 HTML_90_100 BODY: Message is 90% to 100% HTML
* 0.3 MIME_BASE64_TEXT RAW: Message text disguised using base64 encoding
* 7.5 RAZOR2_CHECK Listed in Razor2 (http://razor.sf.net/)
* 3.1 RCVD_IN_XBL RBL: Received via a relay in Spamhaus XBL
* [24.95.54.50 listed in sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org]
* 0.0 RCVD_IN_SORBS_WEB RBL: SORBS: sender is a abuseable web server
* [24.95.54.50 listed in dnsbl.sorbs.net]
* 2.0 RCVD_IN_SORBS_DUL RBL: SORBS: sent directly from dynamic IP address
* [24.95.54.50 listed in dnsbl.sorbs.net]
* 3.0 RCVD_IN_DSBL RBL: Received via a relay in list.dsbl.org
* [http://dsbl.org/listing?24.95.54.50]
* 6.5 RCVD_IN_BL_SPAMCOP_NET RBL: Received via a relay in bl.spamcop.net
* [Blocked - see http://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml?24.95.54.50]
* 0.1 RCVD_IN_NJABL_DUL RBL: NJABL: dialup sender did non-local SMTP
* [24.95.54.50 listed in combined.njabl.org]
* 4.1 RCVD_DOUBLE_IP_SPAM Bulk email fingerprint (double IP) found
* 2.4 MIME_HTML_ONLY_MULTI Multipart message only has text/html MIME parts
* 0.0 MISSING_MIMEOLE Message has X-MSMail-Priority, but no X-MimeOLE
* 2.4 FORGED_MUA_IMS Forged mail pretending to be from IMS
* 2.0 FORGED_IMS_HTML IMS can't send HTML message only
* 0.5 HTML_CHARSET_FARAWAY A foreign language charset used in HTML markup
2005/10/12 How much science do you remember?
π 2005-10-12 20:30 by Merlin in Public

I was watching a Nova special yesterday on all the people who had been involved in discovering the science that led to the fundation of Einstein making his 5 groundbreaking discoveries, including E=mc2, and only years later, some German lady whose name I already forgot (bad me) was able to deduce that they had split Uranium 238/93 by looking at the mass that had been lost in the byproducts, converting that into energy with that formula, and finding 200 million eV, which is the strength of a neutron-neutron bond IIRC.
Anyway, it occurred to me, that if I would somehow end up 100-200 years in the past, I would not actually remember a whole lot of everything I was taught in math, physics and chemistry during all my years in school. Ok, I remember uranium 235 and 238 (rich), but didn't even know its atomic number (necessary to know the proton/neutron split), 93, or forgot about the 7 planes electrons orbit at. Don't ask me about maxwell's equations, much of anything on electromagnetism (at least I know that they're linked, which wasn't know at the time), and I would quite struggle to compute any differential equations, matrix multiplications, differentials, or dévelopement limités .
All in all, I'd be fairly useless 200 years ago, if I didn't get to bring my HP48SX, its library of all physics/math/chemistry equations, and a set of fresh batteries. Shame, shame...

Eh, at least I know the sun rotates around the earth, and that we have to send ships filled with hydrogen to refill it once in a while, that's already one thing :)

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