AIM On Cingular Cellphones

Last night I was poking around with my online and playing with my Motorola V600 cellphone. I’ve been curious about doing IM on my phone. I saw that the V600s from T-Mobile come with AOL Instant Messanger software preinstalled, but I’m with Cingular. So I looking at the various ways of getting that software installed on my phone. Most of them seemed a bit more involved that I cared to try. Then I noticed a chart (I think I found it at AOL’s AIM site) that listed the phones from Cingular that supported AIM. Now I’m not just talking about the AIM Forwarding which you can do with basically any cellphone. You can’t started IMs with that, only respond. I was interested in full AIM service. The chart didn’t list the V600 (I think Cingular has already stopped offering it) but it did say that AIM software could be downloaded for the V400. That got me intrigued.

After a lot of poking around I discovered it was so much easier that I made things to be. If I’d only done the simple, logical thing, I wouldn’t have had to spend hours on it.

  1. Bring up the MEdia Net homepage on your cellphone’s web browser. On the V600 select “Web Access” in the upper-right-hand corner and then select “Browser”.
  2. Select item 5, “IM & Chat”, from the list on the homepage.
  3. Select item 1, “Mobile IM”, from the IM & Chat page.
  4. Select the Free Download link and follow any onscreen instructions that come up.

That was pretty rough, I know. So silly. I spent all that time and it was sitting there right in front of my nose. A java application, Mobile IM, will be downloaded and installed on your phone. It gives you access to AIM, Yahoo Messanger and ICQ. I would imagine that being a java application, it could be run on any phone that supports J2ME—not just my V600.

After installing, I was able to log in with my .Mac account. It even listed all my buddies from iChat. The big downside is that it seems to sometimes have difficulty with receiving messages. I’m not sure if that’s because I was using a .Mac username and not a regular AIM one. Or maybe I was just experiencing some network difficulty from Cingular. The messages that I sent out seemed to be received ok. So I’m not sure what the deal was. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

But it’s certainly cool that I can do AIM from my cellphone now.

A Storm Of Swords

Tonight I finished reading the third book in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series, “A Storm Of Swords”. I’m almost speechless. I previously wrote about finishing the first book, “A Game Of Thrones”. Since then I’ve read the other two. This one of the best fantasy series, in fact one of the best series of any genre, that I’ve read.

The characters are so alive. The events are so real. It’s not for the feint of heart however. These are not books with your typical Hollywood endings were the good guys are always good and always come out on top. I’m almost tempted to tell you to not let yourself get too close to the characters because either something really bad will happen to them or they’ll do something really bad themselves. It’s not that there aren’t heroes in these books—there are. However, much like in real life, things don’t always go the way you’d want them to. And heroes are not always as squeaky clean as one might hope for.

The strong setting similar to the High Middle Ages that was established in the first book continues through the next two. However where the first book really only hints at the supernatural and things that would set this series firmly in the realm of fantasy—as opposed to straight-up fiction—“A Clash Of Kings” and in particular “A Storm Of Swords” adds much of the supernatural to the stories. These are definitely fantasy books. And although they are not set in D&D or Tolkien-esque worlds of dwarves, elves, goblins and wizards, they have an incredible richness and a very unique take on the fantasy realm.

Now the only downside is that Mr. Martin is still writing the fourth book, “A Feast For Crows”. We will have to wait a while still for the continuation of the tale. His website offers an update on his progress.

Pro Tools 6.4.1 For Mix Hardware

Digidesign has finally released the long-promised Pro Tools 6.4.1 software—the last version to support Pro Tools 24|Mix hardware. It requires a G4 PowerMac, OS X 10.3.4, and obviously Mix hardware.

I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. I have been using the unsupported Pro Tools 6.2.3 for a while now and I’ve been anxiously awaiting things like an officially supported Core Audio driver, sorted AudioSuite and TDM plug-in menus, +12 dB faders and the like. Unfortunately I think they’re only offering breaking timecode loading with HD hardware. I was hoping to use it to load DATs.

Request For Help: MT + + ecto

I would love to hear from anybody who has a Movable Type website hosted by and is using ecto to publish. I’ve been attempting to beta test the new version 2, but I’ve been having problems simply posting. Adriaan has said it’s a rare thing that he’s seen twice before where certain combinations of software don’t work well with ecto. So if anyone is doing this please email or post a comment below. I’d be interested to find out about the version of MT, the version of ecto, whether you’re using a cgi wrapper, what settings you had to change in your mt.cfg file, and any other tips or tricks you might have.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.


This is the information about my setup. I am hosted by on a Pentium 4 running FreeBSD 4.8-STABLE, Apache 1.3.29, Perl 5.8.3, and MySQL 4.0.14. I have Movable Type 3.01D installed and running as a standard cgi process accessing a MySQL database. The necessary directories have their permissions set to 777. And in my mt.cfg file, I have the line NoTempFiles 1 uncommented. I’ve been using this setup since the beginning of March with no problems. (Well, actually back then it was MT2.661 and up until a few days ago, I was running under a cgi wrapper with permissions set to 755.) Posting from MT’s web interface has always worked great for me. The worst thing I’ve encountered is sites I’ve tried to ping timing out.

Now I’ve been trying to use the various beta versions of ecto 2 without much success. When I was running under the cgi wrapper, I couldn’t get the posts to go through at all. Or at least the server wouldn’t acknowledge them. I’d get the error I mentioned in this post. The posts would usually appear on my website but without a category.

Since I’ve turned off the wrapper, the posts are initially acknowledged by the server. The temporary entry ID that ecto assigns is replaced by an actual entry number from MT. However I often get an error about not being able to post. Not always—sometimes they do go through properly—but not often. These posts show up on my website as well and they include the category. Usually if I try to post again, it goes through properly. It will tell me that I have the option of a new post or editing the existing post. I select Edit Post and it goes to the server correctly. The post is retrieved from the server and the pings are sent out.

I’m wondering if anyone else is having or has had any similar problems with ecto—even ecto 1.x. And I would really appreciate any suggestions or fixes that anyone encountered along the way. It seems like a really nice program but these continual errors and always having to check to see if the post actually made it to my website kind of defeats the purpose of using it.

Blacklist 2 Is Awesome

Thank you, Jay Allen, for creating such an amazing product. MT-Blacklist 2 is the coolest plug-in I’ve run on Movable Type—and I’m running Markdown which is super-cool in its own right, so I know how great plug-ins can be. In the 5 days since I started running it, I’ve blocked 231 comment and trackback spams. Prior to this I had moderation turned on for my comments so the spam never showed up but I’d still have to delete them from the database. And there was nothing I could do about trackback spam. It would show up on my site for as long as it took me to find it and delete it. With Blacklist I don’t have to do that. It just doesn’t show up. It’s truly great stuff. Plus with the auto-update feature I always have the latest list of ne’er-do-wells and blackguards.

It already has some pretty great hooks into the MT3 software. The entire interface is accessible from within MT for configuration. Plus little things like the link to submit checked comments for inclusion on the spam list make it a great addition. I can only imagine that it will be even better with MT3.1.

The Universal Photo Shoot

I’ve fixed most of the problems I was having after reconfiguring my website a few days ago. My email to Gallery gateway is working once again. I’ve updated my photo moblog with pictures from the last several days at Universal:

08_18_04_2143.thumb.jpg 08_18_04_2144.thumb.jpg 08_18_04_2146.thumb.jpg

08_18_04_2147.thumb.jpg 08_18_04_2148.thumb.jpg 08_19_04_1018.thumb.jpg

08_19_04_1506.thumb.jpg 08_19_04_1507.thumb.jpg 08_20_04_1235.thumb.jpg

Recovery Room

I slept away most of the morning trying to play catch-up after all those hours at work. Yesterday was another long one—9am to 1am. The good news is that as of about 12:30am this morning, I am going back to work next Monday on a little horror movie. In fact the words “if not sooner” were used, so I might not even have a full week off.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a horror film. Several years ago I worked on that supposed horror flick “Bless The Child”. What a piece of crap that was! I remember reading the script before I started on it saying to myself, “Dear lord! Who greenlit this shit!” That’s the funny thing about my job though. You need to work on those movies to pay the rent. Plus of course you can’t say anything about the movie while you’re working on it. And no matter how good the movie is, seeing it literally hundreds if not thousands of times during the process of cutting the sound will sour anyone on the most exquisite of cinema.

Several years before the midden-heap that was “Bless The Child”, I worked a little movie called “Nightwatch”. I don’t think hardly anyone saw it. It stars Ewan McGregor who was years away from wielding a lightsaber, that woman from “Gilmore Girls” before it was a spark of creativity in the writer’s mind, Josh Brolin before he started dating Diane Lane, and Patricia Arquette before… well just before. The director is Danish. He directed a film in his home country that someone in Hollywood thought was cool enough to pay him to make an American version. I remember sitting down and watching that first director’s cut of the American film that was turned over to us. I almost crapped myself. It was so scary. Dark, moody, and full of evil characters. Unfortunately “Scream” swept through like a hurricane and suddenly everyone wanted teen slasher movies again. So a new opening was shot and the film was cut to hell and that version you get off the shelf in Blockbuster is rather poor.

I have a ton of email to respond to from the last several days. Please everyone bare with me a day or so. I hear my bed calling again. I think I might answer.

The Long Walk

Well I’m finally home from work—8am to 1am yesterday, 9am to 12am today. It’s getting tough to concentrate. Thankfully it will all be over after tomorrow when I enter back into the world of the unemployed… wait a second, maybe that’s not as cool as it was sounding. 🙂

Hopefully that will be only for a week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

So after these two long-ass back-to-back days, I’m walking back to my car and I have to pass through the Universal backlot to get there. They put me in this lot that’s way in the back, it’s pretty close to my building which is nice and even closer to my apartment than the normal entrance, but I do feel like a second class citizen at times. It’s after midnight but this section of the backlot with NYC-like buildings is lit up like daylight with flood lights because they’re filming something. According to one of the thousands of studio tour trams that drive by me everyday, it’s XXX 2 that they’re shooting. But who knows. So I’m walking by when this guard calls out to me.

“Hey, you! Stop!”

I turn around. “What?”

“You can’t go there. We’re filming.”

“Yeah, well I have to go home.” I turn and start walking away.

“Stop. Don’t go any farther! They’re shooting all the way to the steps there.”

“Those steps lead to my car. In fact they’re the only way to my car since your stupid studio decided that my great parking spot that was next my building was too good for me and put me all the way back here.” Actually I didn’t really say that. The thoughts were floating through my mind though. In fact the only thing that came out my mouth was, “Ok.”

“Hang on.” The guard proceeds to have a long discussion that I can only hear half of with someone on the other end of a walkie-talkie. “It’ll be just a minute.”

The minutes seem to crawl by as I stand impatiently—dying to slide behind the wheel of my car, knowing that it’ll only take a few minutes to drive home and crawl in bed. (Wait a second… why am I staying up to write this?!) My anxiety must show because the guard gives me a shrug which could be sympathy or could be something along the lines of “like I care”.

“It’s been a really long day,” I say. The guard just looks at me.

I turn back to gaze longingly at the steps that lead to my freedom when I notice a man with all-manner of tools hanging off several belts that are strapped around him walk right through the area I was so recently told I can’t walk through. I turn back to the guard to lodge a protest when suddenly the walkie-talkie bursts to life with a squawk.

“You can go ahead,” the guard says to me. And I walk away without another word.

What A Crazy Day!

I’ve been so busy the last week. Most days at work have been 8am to 10pm. I’ve been trying to squeeze time in for testing ecto before I go to bed but there’s not a lot for that. I was having a lot of trouble posting to my weblog with ecto. I think I have all the bumps worked out. I’ll write about it later when I’m sure.

I ended up doing an emergency reconfigure of my website to get ecto running. It was something I was always planning on doing but not in such a short time span. Unfortunately it’s left my photo albums in such a state that my email to Gallery gateway isn’t working right now. Hopefully I can get that up in the next day or so. I have some cool late-night shots of Universal’s backlot on my phone right now.

And my iPod decided to take a dump. Totally the wrong time for it. I live for that thing. It’s been fitful for awhile now. I’ve noticed it’s been having more and more trouble accessing the disk properly. Sometimes I would select a song and it would take a while to start playing or it just wouldn’t play. Occasionally it would go into clicking fits. Now I can’t seem to get it to play things at all. And my trick of resetting it by holding down the Play and Menu buttons now just erases everything off the hard drive. Of course it’s like a year and half old so it’s completely out of warrantee. And it’s the choice between $200 or $250 or whatever they’re charging to “fix” out-of-warrantee iPod’s now and $300 or $400 for a new one…

So of course I scheduled one of the three runs I had to make to the foley stage today in such a way that I could stop by CompUSA and pick up a new 4G iPod. I told you, I can’t live without my iPod.

Oh yeah, and I’m still at work right now.

First Mbox Problem

I encountered my first Mbox Pro Tools problem yesterday. I was converting a massive dialog session from BWF to SD2 via “Import Session Data” and it seemed to stall at the very end. I tried to force quit and it ended poorly. I had to hold down the power button to shut down my laptop and reboot. A second test wound up with the same result.

I wasn’t sure what what causing it but I thought I could figure it out so I tried it one more time. This time I kept the Task Window open and the arrow on the process turned down so I could see the complete list of audio and fade files it was working with. Sure enough, as soon as the last audio file was reached the end of its conversion, Pro Tools hung again. This time however I fired up Terminal, which took a really long time. I was starting to suspect that maybe Pro Tools had managed to chew up all my processor cycles and was now stuck in loop and not freeing it up.

When I ran “top” from the command line, I was surprised to see 75% to 80% free CPU. But then I noticed that I was only showing 5MB of RAM free. When I went down to the Pro Tools process I saw that it had wound up with nearly 2GB of virtual ram. I don’t have 2GB of physical ram in my computer so it had written a lot of stuff to the swap space on the hard drive. As I watched, that number slowly dropped. Eventually I was showing about 250MB of free RAM and suddenly Pro Tools came back to life.

Obviously I need to install some more RAM in my laptop.