Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"If I only had..."

My dear wife, Amy, loves board and card games. To her, "game time" is the sixth love language, and her primary one.

Last night she and I were playing a few rounds of In a Pickle, a game in which she typically tends to beat me. This was, however, just not her night. I was leading the game seven sets to none. After playing another card toward our eighth set, she drew from the deck (which contains all cards on which there is written a single noun, if you don't know the game). Glancing at the new noun in her hand, she suddenly exclaimed, "Yes! I have a brain! There's so much I can do with a brain!"

Her new body part served her well, but in the end, victory was mine.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hacking on the LG CU400

I recently bought (via eBay) a USB data cable for my LG CU400 cellphone. Sadly, I did so before realizing that LG apparently doesn't provide software besides basic Windows drivers for this phone. (For those interested, I used the drivers from a package named LGUSBModemDriver_Eng_Ver_4.5.exe, found with a Google site search.) At any rate, my investment thus far (which was only about $7, truth be told) was looking like a poor one.

But tonight I tried BitPim even though my phone model is not listed as explicitly supported. To my great surprise, BitPim recognized my phone as an "Other CDMA phone". That meant I got filesystem-explorer-type access, but none of the other GUI goodies. That's okay, though -- it only took a little bit of poking around to figure out where the phone keeps my photos, videos, mp3s, and so on.

And best of all, I was able to pull off the hack described here. So now I can use the mobile versions of Google Maps and Gmail on my phone without answering a network usage permission prompt for what seemed before like every packet transmitted!

12/21/2007 Followup: I forgot to note that I was doing all this on a Windows 2000 machine. But I'm pretty sure the drivers I got were rated for Windows XP, too. No clue about Vista support for any of this stuff.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Irony combo, super-sized, to go

Dinner time — or, the hour just before dinner time — has for a long time been a period of heightened stress in my household. Every day Amy tentatively approaches me while I'm working to ask, "What do you want to do for dinner?" Every day I dread her coming.

It's not that I don't love to have my Sweetheart visit me. It's just that I almost never have a well-formed opinion about dinner. Do we cook or do we hit a restaurant? If we cook, what do we make? If we dine out, where do we go? In Amy's defense, it's the sort of decision I'm prone to micromanage anyway, so why not ask me? In mine ... well, I don't really have a defense. And so every day she comes, and every day I herald her arrival with a jovial, "Uh-oh, here comes the what-do-you-want-for-dinner question!" And so we sit. And think. And talk about what else needs to be accomplished that evening. And, on a good day, we have a decision made within an hour's time.

Last week, however, this daily exercise finally wore it out its welcome. In truth, I don't care what or where we eat. I'd prefer to eat more meals at home and stop hemorrhaging cash towards goods that only last as long our digestive tracts retain them. I'd prefer to eat earlier than later so that our kids aren't going straight to bed after eating. But most of all, I'd prefer not to be asked about dinner at all. So I told my dear wife these things. I dubbed her the Queen of the Kitchen, and said we would do for dinner whatever she wanted us to do. She knows my preferences, she knows her preferences, she knows what our boys do and don't like to eat, and she knows what's on our calendar and TODO list better than anyone else. It just makes sense for her to take full responsibility of dinner planning.

Wonderful woman that she is, I still have a place to live after this conversation. In fact, she seems to have embraced the responsibility. She quickly planned about a week's worth of meals, bought the ingredients, and we've already had two wonderful dinners in which I played no culinary role. The arrangement doesn't leave me without responsibility, of course — my job is to keep Gavin and Aidan out of the kitchen while she works. And frankly, I need to be investing a little more time with them, anyway. It's a win-win!

Or, it was a win-win. On Sunday afternoon, our oven died.