Excellent Verizon Wireless Tech Support

I just got off the phone with tech support at Verizon Wireless and I have to say it was one of the most pleasant tech support experiences I’ve ever had. I have a Kyocera 2235 tri-mode mobile phone. I bought Verizon’s MobileWeb, but in the year that I’ve had it, I’ve hardly used it because it’s just so cumbersome to type URLs on a phone keyboard. Well, with the acquisition of my Dell Axim PocketPC, that’s just changed. I got a cable to connect the Axim to the Phone and use it’s Internet connection. But I couldn’t figure out the settings to make it work. I called Verizon tech support and got a human within 60 seconds. He was extremely friendly, but not the right person to answer the question. He asked me to wait a little longer and assured me it would be no more than one minute before the right person would be on the line. He was right. I got another extremely friendly person who walked me through the settings on my Axim and stayed with me until I actually got connected. Total time on the call: 5 minutes. This was excellent service and I’m very happy.

Developing .NET Compact Framework Applications

I got my Dell Axim X5 handheld unit last night. Very nice device. Much nicer than my old Palm V. Gorgeous 16 bit color screen. Snappy response from the OS, which is PocketPC 2002. Battery life seems good. And with a wifi card sitting in the Compact Flash slot, I can get on my home network easily.

Now, here’s what’s really cool. I installed the final beta of Visual Studio last night. (And it only took 2.5 hours…) Within 30 minutes I had written, tested and deployed a Compact Framework application to the device. Writing with CF seems to be quite a bit easier/nicer than writing with J2ME. I haven’t looked at J2ME in quite some time, but the last time I looked it was not a fun thing to use. Writing apps for the Compact Framework, at least in my initial testing, is an absolute dream.

My One Complaint About The Latest Eclipse

I have but one complaint about the latest release of my favorite IDE, Eclipse. Everyone who uses Eclipse knows that to close an editor you click on the little ‘X’ button on the right side of the editor’s tab. But for the past several months there’s been another way: Control-Click anywhere on the tab. (You can also Ctrl-F4.) The Ctrl-Click struck me as odd when I first read about it, but I’ve come to do it reflexively. Now they’ve taken it away!!! I don’t know why, but they did. And I’m not happy about it… I keep Ctrl-clicking on those tabs and they just don’t go anywhere now…

It’s a Sad Day In the Neighborhood

I read with great sadness this morning about the passing away of Mr. Rogers. I know a lot of people mock him and think his show is goofy, but I loved it and grew up watching him every day. I remember looking forward to his show and especially trips to the Land of Make-Believe. King Friday XIII was always my favorite. And Trolley, too. He has had a positive impact on millions of children for decades and his presence will be missed by many.

There’s a page here at the Mr. Rogers site with tips on how to help children deal with the news. I just read it and I think it is very good advice. Mr. Rogers has things to teach children yet! And I think he’d be happy about that.

User-Agent Based Content Inclusion Plugin

I’ve just released a new Blosxom plugin called UAInclude that allows you to include specific content in the section of a page, based on the User-Agent of the user’s browser. This came about because when I added Todd’s nice Categories plugin. My pages looked great with Moz or other sane browsers, but they looked like crap with IE. The reason for the difference is that IE and Moz render various styles differently, and my painstaking design was suffering because of it. Todd offered a solution, but while it made the pages look better under IE, they didn’t look as good under Moz.

Thus, I wrote this plugin. It’s driven by a hash of regexes that map to (possibly non-existent) files relative to $blosxom::datadir. Each of these regexes are compared against the User-Agent from the current user’s browser to decide which content to include. A variable called $uainclude::included_content is exposed and should be added inside the section in your head.html flavour file. This variable will contain the text of the matching file, or will be empty if the matching file doesn’t exist. (An example of when this would be useful is for a browser like Lynx which is a text-only browser; it will ignore styles, so why send them?) If nothing matches, there’s a default that will be served up, to account for all the browsers that I don’t know about.

This may not be useful to anyone but me, but I wanted to make it available. Get it here and let me know if it’s useful to you or you have suggestions for improvements.

UAInclude could certainly be generalized to support more than just head-related stuff, but I didn’t feel like thinking about it that much. If there are requests for that, I’ll think about it some more.