Posted by: Thruhike98 | December 14, 2010

Saving Contacts to microSD Card

I was unable to find out how to save Verizon Wireless contacts to microSD card by searching the interwebs.  Some suggestions did not work, and many said you could not do this on a non-smartphone.  However, since I saw the “contact” folder on a newly-formatted microSD card, I thought there must be a way.

Nation, there is a way.  I did it using these steps on an LG Clout, or VX8370.  I expect it should be very similar on other phones with the standard Verizon Wireless software.

1. Make sure the phone’s battery is fully charged.

2. Format the card using the phone’s format function.  Caution, this will erase everything on the card.  (This might not be necessary, but it creates the required folder and also removes variables from the situation.)

3.  In the menu, go to Settings & Tools > Memory > Phone Memory >My Contacts.

4. Do not select “Move!”  This removes them from the phone and puts them only on the card.

5. Select Options > Copy, then Mark All, and Done.

This will start the process of copying all the files to your card.  (There is no “paste.”)  It will take a while – about 1 minute per 100 contacts.  Your Speed Dial, Favorites, and ICE settings will not copy, but the contacts they pointed to will.  You just have to re-set these later.  Each contact will be saved as a vCard file.

To copy contacts back over from from the card to the phone, do the same thing as above, except go to Card Memory, instead of Phone Memory.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | July 25, 2009

Verizon Wireless Software Observations

Verizon Reliable by The Consumerist

Verizon Reliable by The Consumerist

This is a follow-up to my previous post.  Last Fall I got new Verizon Wireless cell phones for my wife and me.  We were using the lower-end LG VX-3000’s series phones that come with LG’s (much better) software instead of Verizon’s.  The New York Times praised the VX3400 for its efficient/easy to use interface.

I first found a software problem after using the calendar in my new phone.  The more I used the phone, the more bugs I found. This post is to document the software bugs I found in Verizon’s proprietary cellphone software, and see if others have the same experience.  These errors are reproducible on at least the LG VX5500, VX8360, and enV2 phones.

Persistent software bugs (or just poor design) that I have observed:

  • Initial missed-call tone, when the caller goes to voicemail, is very loud and intrusive.  If you press a side button to silence the ringing phone, this tone still fires off when the call is transferred to voicemail.  I would like to disable this or at least change the tone or volume.
  • Calendar changes date/year of recurring yearly events to things like “Oct 20, 1371″ when editing that event.
  • If other recurring yearly events are on calendar, the phone creates new events titled “Ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ” and sets off the default Verizon ring tone at all hours.
  • “Lost call” (“lost service”?) tone is very loud, and goes off right in user’s ear as they are listening closely to a fading call – even with ERI set to “off.”  No other settings are available for this, and it seems much louder than the rest of the tones.
  • Dialing number size is large no matter the setting.
  • Changing (or adding to) the quick contacts under the messaging button changes them all to their default number, even if their email address or another number was previously chosen.
  • A “Notes” field in Contacts would be great.  This was in phones with LG’s software.  Now I put things like addresses in the email fields, with periods between words so it will be accepted.

I would love to provide my observations to someone involved with phone software.  I have recorded the details, and the steps to reproduce the problem.  I have spoken with tech support and there is currently no fix for these.  I have also submitted this list through VZW’s website, but received no reply.

The Verizon reps I spoke with were always pleasant and professional.  They did not try to tell me there was no issue, even though they had not heard of some of these.  They saw the problem and did not hesitate to try a new phone.  I had about five.  (I used my upgrade during this process to give my wife a phone, which reset my “count.” That is why it took more than three phones before trying a different model.)  They also volunteered to move my contacts and other data without charge.  This gave me a positive experience and I will go out of my way to return to this particular store in the future.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | April 22, 2009

The LG VX5500: A nice, simple, and buggy cellphone

That's not from a camera flash, that's the screen lighting up solid white for no particular reason.

That's not from a camera flash, that's the screen lighting up solid white for no particular reason.

Overall: 3 of 5
Ease of use: 3 of 5
Display: 4 of 5
Design: 2 of 5
Features: 3 of 5
Battery Life: 2 of 5

Pros: Small, good sound quality, good screen color/quality, simple
Cons: Software problems: buggy screen, buggy calendar

I really like LG phones. I’ve always replaced them for reasons like theft, loss, or the chance to upgrade – never because I disliked them. All mine have had great sound quality and the previous ones have had no problems.

This is the first model I have had any issues with, it also happens to be the first without LG’s software but Verizon’s proprietary software instead. I have tried at least five of these phones, and all had the same problems. I will not criticize it for not having every possible feature – you can tell it’s not trying to be an iPhone, and if not, you can read the features before buying.

Some troubling things I have observed:

The screen will randomly light up solid white and not turn off until a button is pressed. Could this be the cause of reported low battery life?

The calendar will create events named “Ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ”, (all “Y”s with dots (umlaut) above them in case that doesn’t display correctly) and set off their alarm at random times – some in the middle of the night. Dismissing these calendar events causes the phone to shutdown and restart.

It also changes the dates on existing events to ones like “Oct 20, 1371″ or “Eno 16, 0831.” Yes, “Eno.” To reproduce this: create an event several months in the future, like a birthday; set it to repeat yearly; leave the calendar; then go back in to the event and click Edit. The date will now be some impossible month/year. I was able to repeat this on all of mine, even my current replacement one before leaving the store.

This phone looks very promising – a small, non-funkadelick, plain old phone – but it has some flaws that need correcting. Verizon has been great to work with, and has tried multiple times to get me one of these that does not misbehave, unfortunately these problems have persisted.

Update: I took my phone to Verizon today and they gave me a new, and different model, phone. I got a VX8360, which is much nicer, because they didn’t have any on the same tier as my old one. I highly recommend the Verizon Wireless store on F Street in D.C. They have been super helpful and pleasant to work with.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | November 5, 2008

Reality Check: End of the Campaign

Erecting the Reviewing Stand for Inauguration Day

Erecting the Reviewing Stand for Inauguration Day by Thruhike98

I have seen the best, and the worst, of our nation during this election. This post is a reply I wrote in response to what seems like the one-millionth email forward I received that told some movie-plot theory of how inhumanly awful Barack Obama was. This particular email maintained that President-elect Obama faced less scrutiny than did the eight-week Republican VP nominee and the three-week plumber campaign prop. It listed all of the frightening issues about which its enlightened writer was familiar, but the professional media failed to consider.

Reality check time.  While it is not as exciting, I can not believe a Senator who spent two years running for President has not been thoroughly scrutinized.  In real life, not the conspiracy-theory world, there are tons of people (Left, Right, and Center) who want to get the big scoop on a candidate.  Some who come to mind are the Republican campaign, the incumbent administration, and Hillary Clinton, who would all have a dog in this fight, in addition to the media.  The fact that someone can write an email listing all these items shows his background has been examined.

I think the answers just are not as negative as some would like them to be.

Like I mentioned before, the sheer amount and fantastic nature of accusations lobbed during this campaign has made me lose a lot of respect for John McCain and the Republican party.  It went beyond, as Carl Rove charitably said, “the 100% truth test” and as I say, “decency.”  The old-school McCain/Republican ideals – integrity, uphold the Constitution, balance budgets, service-to-country, limited overseas nation-building, do-the-right-thing values, etc. – could have carried a lot of weight this year.

Sure, the Democratic candidate is an African-American guy with a foreign-sounding name who is pretty liberal.  Most people, other than some in the Republican base, do not care. The public wanted a discussion of the serious issues we currently face. To instead seize on the superficial “other”-ness of his face and name and make Mr. Obama out as a secret-Muslim-terrorist-baby-killer-communist while offering us little more than a lightweight “reformer” who did not really do what she says she did (and did things she said she did not) as a running mate, and a plumber/hero with a make-believe story, is to insult the intelligence of the nation.  The majority of the voting public did not take the bait.

Now what do we do?  During the campaign, all of these accusations were broadcast with some thought as to their offensive value and with little thought as to their authenticity or long-term effects.  Now we have a new President who a percentage of the citizens believe is a Manchurian Candidate, a secret Muslim anti-American baby-killing Israel-destroying Marxist terrorist, because that is what they were told by people they trust.  Some folks are genuinely scared for the safety of their family.  Some want to do Mr. Obama great physical harm – that’s what we do to killers and traitors in this country.

Let me stress – He is none of these things. These are made-up accusations, used to try to win an election.

We can hold on to this politically-manufactured hate and watch it sabotage us from within, or we can move on from this campaign.  We have already seen how damaging seven years of fostering the hate of “the other,” an external enemy, can be to our country.  We don’t need to internalize such damaging energy.

I am so proud our country voted “No” on this referendum on hate. We can do better than this.  “Yes, we can!”

Posted by: Thruhike98 | November 5, 2008

History

I don’t believe either of the candidates has all the answers, or will be the perfect leader.  I do believe that this election brings us a President who can replace the negative blanket of fear of – and contempt for – “the other” (as well as our Constitution) with the promise that a African-American man with a funny name who speaks in positive terms can rise to the highest office in the land lifted up by millions of “real Americans,” not just those with the traditional access to power.

It feels like a brand new day, and I’m pleased to be in it.  I am so happy for our country.

Let’s replace the hate of 09/11/2001 with the hope of 11/04/2008.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | September 9, 2008

Meghan McCain, on John McCain

From the Today show…  John McCain’s daughter discussing her father.  Check out from minute 01:00 to 02:00.

“Because it’s one of my favorite things about my dad, that he wasn’t running for president since high school, you know, he was not a good student, notoriously rebellious, drove fast cars, dated a stripper, like, I think it’s hilarious.”

Can you believe that, in the controlled, scripted world of a campaign she talks about him being bad in school, dating a stripper, and says “like, I think it’s hilarious” ?!  (Oh, and of course – the “like”)

I don’t, like, think it’s hilarious.  I hope one day we will get a president who is the cream of the intellectual crop, who can skillfully manage foreign and domestic issues, who won’t be an embarrassment – not an unreformed frat boy.  Again.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | July 11, 2008

We Salute You!

The PUNCH! by BurpSEaN

The PUNCH! by BurpSEaN

It was widely reported this week that President George Bush ended his farewell statement to world leaders attending the G8 Summit to address pollution with:

“Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”

Then he punched the air while grinning widely.

Yes. “G8 Summit on Pollution”, “World Leaders”, in the same sentence with “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter”, “…punched the air”, and “…grinning widely.”

I’m not sure that’s an acceptable way to end a weekly meeting of the frat house, but the G8 Summit of world leaders on world-wide pollution?

There are descriptions of other world leaders looking on in shock, and expressing surprise at the President’s joking about the U.S.’s pollution.

This is not the first time for behavior like this.

Unfortunately as of 14 April 2008, he should have stopped bragging that we are tops in this category. I do hope someone helps him get his facts right. Otherwise, he might embarrass us.
_ _ _

Today that EPA announced it will not act on regulations to address greenhouse gas emissions during the remainder of Mr. Bush’s Presidency, contrary to a Supreme Court ruling requiring this and the EPA’s own decision last year.

Posted by: Thruhike98 | July 10, 2008

Utah Phillips

Utah Phillips; 1935 - 2008 by Thruhike98

"Utah Phillips; 1935 - 2008" by Thruhike98

I’m just listening to this Utah Phillips album again tonight, and by “tonight” I mean “early morning.”

It is a spoken word album recorded in 1996 with Ani Difranco, so he is backed up by good music, too. It should be required listening for all, especially self-proclaimed Patriots. Especially tracks four and five. Especially today.

He has great perspective on what’s important, what’s b.s., the difference between loyalty to a country and loyalty to a government, and best of all – the value of messing with people. He has a great sense of humor. I enjoy it every time I hear it.

Do yourself a favor and listen to it all (here are samples), it’s very good.

A friend introduced me to his work. This friend was a lot like Mr. Phillips. They shared the observin’ and drinkin’ and cussin’ and even the train-hoppin’ traits. I’ve lost touch with him but hope he’s well. Hell, I hope he’s still living.

Unfortunately we don’t have Utah Phillips with us anymore. He was an interesting man. We could use more like him. Especially today.

Mr. Bruce Duncan “Utah” Phillips; May 15, 1935 – May 23, 2008

Posted by: Thruhike98 | July 8, 2008

Opinionated?

No Sense... by Thruhike98

"No Sense..." by Thruhike98

My wife and I saw this truck, and it’s written-in-dirt messages, at an Interstate highway interchange this weekend. We were impressed by the author’s gift for lyric poetry, grasp of current events, and penmanship, so we took a picture. This person is obviously concerned about rising oil and gas prices and a supporter of the Republican candidate for President, John McCain. He is also no fan of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.

I had to chuckle when I came home and googled his employer, Raven Transport Co., before posting the photo.

If this guy is writing political speech on a company vehicle to better secure his economic future, he might want to know this first. (Check out the Employer/Occupation field.)

Oops. That might have a more immediate impact on Mr. R2460’s job security. ;)

It is possible this driver didn’t do it, or is not even aware it’s there. It’s more fun to think otherwise.

(Click through to the photo for a better look at the writing, and my notes on the image.)

Posted by: Thruhike98 | July 1, 2008

Target Must Record My Organ Donor Status to Sell Me Wine?

privacy is dead by striatic

"privacy is dead" by striatic

My wife and I were in a Target store this weekend, picking up some random items on our shopping list. We saw some good wine at a good price and decided to buy that as well. When we went to the check-out lane, the cashier said, “May I see your ID?”

All that seemed perfectly normal to us. But then the craziness ensued…

My wife showed the cashier her license, which was behind a clear window in her wallet. He said, “No, please hand it to me.” We both assumed he just wanted a closer look. Once he had it, he immediately picked up a barcode scanner and scanned the back of her drivers license. I asked him what that was all about, as I had never seen anyone do that before. Almost bragging that Target now knows, for example, exactly where we live, he explained that the scan “gets all the information off of the license.”

“All the information off of the license”!?!?!? Wait a second! To determine whether they can legally sell me alcohol, does Target need to know, and keep, and possibly sell, all of the following information:

- my full name,
– my address,
– my county of residence,
– my height,
– my weight,
– my eye color,
– my sex,
– whether I need corrective lenses,
– whether I can drive a car,
– my drivers license number,
– the classes of vehicles I am licensed to drive,
– whether the courts have placed restrictions on my driving,
– my license expiration date,
– my organ donor status,
– a digital copy of my signature (some State IDs),
– a digital copy my fingerprints (some State IDs),
and, my date of birth?

No. They do not. They need to know whether I am of legal age to purchase alcohol. (I’m sure they capture this information as a C.Y.A., to prove they checked the ID, but this is waaay more intrusive than is justifiable by the minimum-age requirement.)

Would the average person agree to fill out a form informing Target of his or her organ donor status before conducting a transaction? I don’t think so. Companies try all sorts of enticements to convince customers to fill out profiles with this type of personal information, but Target has it figured out – it is much easier to just take it from the customer. What a fantastic collection of personal identifying information they must be collecting!

We were not asked whether we would agree to provide Target with this information. We were not told that special “2D” barcode on the back of the license (which we always assumed was for law enforcement) would be scanned, that the data would be collected, why all of the data was needed, and with whom they plan to share these details. Most importantly, we were not informed how Target plans to protect this information.

As a rule, we don’t give out unnecessary information to anyone. We are uncomfortable with businesses’ track record when it comes to the use and protection of their customers’ personal information. We are also upset with the take-it-without-informing-us approach Target used to get this unneeded personal information. What would the Consumerist do in this situation?

update, July 3, 2008:

An email to Target about this received no response.

Apparently other folks are unhappy about this:
Big Brother, Beer And Scanning Your Driver’s License Number
Why Did Target Scan My Driver’s License?
Target’s (the retailer) Swipe At Privacy
Your Driver’s License Is A Gossip
‘Target’-ing My Driver’s License
The Game Politic
Swipe, and
more…

update, August 26, 2008:

This story is a good example of why I do not want corporations to collect excessive amounts of information, and why I want to know how they plan to use and protect what they collect.

From Slashdot’s summary:
“…Best Western hotel chain has lost the personal details of each and every guest who has stayed at any of its 1300 hotels in the past 12 months. This amounts to details on 8 million customers and includes information such as name, address, credit card details and employment details. The data even includes future booking details, causing speculation that homes could be targeted for burglary when it’s anticipated they will be unoccupied.”

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