Green Christmas

As a parent, the part of Christmas that was the least fun was the cleaning up of packaging materials after opening the gift. The big clean up the day after Christmas was filled with bulky bags of plastic and styrofoam and impossible to open packaging. But this year I noticed the packaging using more cardboard for filler and recycled cardboard molds holding products in place instead of the plastic molds and styrofoam. Clean up this year was easier than previous years since most of the cardboard was folded flat. I guess manufactures have been making this eco-friendly change for a while and I have never noticed until I saw many products being opened at once. I hope this trend keeps up.

HTC Touch Pro 2 Review


My wife recently had a chance to use the HTC Touch Pro 2 and this is what she had to say about it:

I tested the HTC Touch Pro 2 over the past month.  My first impression of the phone was that it was surprisingly heavy.  I don’t mind electronics that have some heft to them, the phone seems sturdy, well put together and I don’t wince every time I place the phone down or worry about carrying it around.  The phone is easy to hold and comfortable in my hand.  The phone also felt a lot thicker than what I’m used to, a little bulky and cumbersome in my hand if I were to flip it over.

The screen is really bright and very vivid on the phone.  It is definitely eye catching and the home screen has a huge clock which I really enjoy.  Sometimes, the simple things being right up front and at-a-glance are really important.  The screen is crystal clear and sharp.  The navigation at the bottom of the screen takes some getting used to, and with my settings I found that moving from the mail icon to the settings icon a bit sticky and not as fluid as I would like from time to time.  However, maneuvering through the menu from the home screen is intuitive.  The screen reorients itself based on flipping it sidewise fairly quickly in most instances.

Pushing the phone open to access the keyboard isn’t as smooth as I would have expected, you have to push a little harder and I was almost afraid something was wrong with the phone until I adjusted to it.  I think I would’ve appreciated a smoother opening.  However, the keyboard is worth the effort, the keys have just the right “feel”, they are at the right sensitivity and the spaces between the keys are prefect, I rarely find myself mistyping.  The phone also has a vibrant virtual keyboard, which is easy to use but I preferred actually touching typing with my thumbs.  I really enjoyed that the keyboard was in QWERTY format, I despise having to press a key 3 times to spell a word.

The phone is very customizable and most things that I would like to have “my” way were not difficult to find, although I would have liked to easily order the applications from the “Start” screen.  It is also odd that while 4 rows of icons fit easily on the screen, one cannot read the last line of text under the fourth row. Browsing the internet was an enjoyable experience, I went to some graphic intensive websites and they looked really sharp, even when I would zoom in quite close.  Video on the Touch Pro is impressive and fun. What is not impressive, however, it the camera.  Photos look grainy, too dark regardless of the light settings, washed out and dull.  It was a major disappointment considering how well most everything else works on the phone.

Overall, I enjoyed using the HTC Touch Pro 2.  Using it inspired me to upgrade from a typical cell phone to get a smart phone of my own.


HTC Imagio Review


My first impression of the Verizon HTC Imagio was how similar it physically looked like the iPhone. It’s a light and compact phone running Windows Mobile 6.5. The single touch surface was responsive and the phone overall had decent speed. Unlocking the screen lock is similar to the The screen is bright and make viewing pictures and watching video very enjoyable. The camera is great for both still and video shots and it appeared to have camera stablizer which took some great shots even when the phone was shaky. The internet browsing when connected to a local WiFi hotspot was easy and better than expected. I had a good experience veiwing webpages in their entirety including java scripts and flash. Internet browsing was not so fun on the 3G network but it got the job done in a pinch. The on-screen keyboard was just barely usable for someone with big fingers, but there was always the stylus to fall back on. The expandable microSD memory slot is only accessible by removing the back cover, but the extra storage is nice for video, pictures and music. The Imagio also has a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, which let you use any set of headphones.

Imagio Kickstand
Imagio Kickstand

I found the “kick stand” curious at first but I did find it useful when watching a video on my desk. This phone was surprisingly short on battery life. An AC adapter was included, but my primary mode of charging was usb to the PC and I’m not sure if that effected battery life. The Verizon coverage is good, but I occasionally get crackle or break up. Mail and text services worked as expected. The NotifyLink software did not seem to install properly on this phone, so I was not able to test it. Overall it is a sleek phone that has all the productivity and entertainment functions you want.

XFX GeForce SLI Card Failure


A few days ago the fan on one of the XFX nVidia GeForce 8800GS Alpha Dog cards in my gaming rig died. There are a pair of them in a SLI configuration and when the fan died on one, it overheated and shut down the system. As a safe gaurd, the system would not turn on with the bad card installed.

At first I thought it was the power supply. I got a RMA on the Ultra 650W power supply and got a 750W upgrade. After replacing the PS, the system would still not even post. So as part of troubleshooting, I stripped the system down to minimum components (No hard drive, single memory stick, one video card). The system booted with one video card installed, and started beeping at me with the other card installed.

I contacted XFX to get my 1 year old video card replaced/fixed. I an RMA for the card and XFX determined it was a faulty card. No sooner that I got the email from XFX about the faultly card, the other card went bad. I actually heard the fan come to a screeching halt. XFX informed me that they no longer make the 8800GS card and offered me a free upgrade to the GeForce 9800GT! Before they even knew the second card went south, XFX offered a free RMA upgrade to a 9800GT for the second card since they were in an SLI configuration. So kudos to XFX for standing behind their products and offering great service.


SCOM SNMP discovery through a gateway server

I have been trying to get System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 to discover an IBM BladeCenter chassis through a gateway and I finally figured it out.
First On the device you want to monitor, set your SNMP public community string to point to the IP address of the SCOM Gateway server.
In the SCOM 2007 Administration console, choose Network Devices in the Discovery Managment Wizard choose network device and click next.
In the next screen enter the IP address of the network device you want to monitor and under the management server drop down choose the gateway server who’s IP you entered in the SNMP string earlier. The device should now be discovered.


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