the virtual pc tethering corollary


My last post on tethering the Blackjack as a modem needed a tangential update.

I’ve been working out of my father’s office in midtown the last couple weeks, using a spare desk and their DS3 Internet access. One small issue is their firewall blocks hamachi’s (the excellent vpn tool) direct VPN mode and the backup SSL mode isn’t working consistently enough.

A key thing I need to do with my hamachi setup is access our servers from Visual Studio. Fortunately I made the call to keep my development environment in a virtual machine. This makes it portable and easier for me to keep dev chocolate out of my everyday computing peanut butter.

Since I already have a wired, primary Internet connection, it doesn’t help to just connect the Blackjack and expect Windows to figure out how to route the traffic intelligently. I could, of course, alter my routing tables manually, but that is a hoop that I don’t really feel like jumping through. Fortunately all I have to do is connect the phone, turn on connection sharing and then go into Virtual PC’s networking settings and change the connection to “Remote NDIS based Internet Sharing…” and now my host PC can use the wired connection and my VPC uses the phone’s and connects through hamachi brilliantly.

Note, this is using Vista + Virtual PC 2007 + Samsung Blackjack, but you could use this same basic method with XP + VMWare + Verizon Q etcetera.

Side note: First use of Vista’s Snipping Tool — a screenshot tool that is built in and really well designed. I guess I knew about it already, but it took LifeHacker to remind me to use it. Reason enough to upgrade to Vista? smile_nerd


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update: Blackjack modeming works well

I mentioned in my initial blackjack post that I knew I could hook up my phone to my laptop and use the data connection through it, but I wasn’t sure how well it would work and that I might need to go out and get a separate card and data plan.

Well, I’m happy to say it works really well and I have no plans for a dedicated card. I have to use USB because there is an issue with doing it over Bluetooth and Vista (I’ll post an update when I get that working). I used Speakeasy’s speed test tool and you can see the speeds in the image above, which says 1070kbps — over 1 mbit/sec!! — down and 91kbps up, which is you don’t notice in most laptop scenarios, including remote desktop. Granted this is in the middle of Manhattan, but I’ve actually been impressed by the 3G coverage I’m getting as I travel around. Reception is much much better overall than my old SMT5600 and it pays to remember that if your reception sucks it might not be your provider, but perhaps the device.

You can even receive and make phone calls when the connection is live. The only issue I can see is that it doesn’t seem to charge over USB while the sharing is happening and there’s only one connector for power. Fortunately they include a second battery with its own charger so you just swap that one out for all day use if need be.

I guess the point of this post is a) wow, it is really cool that it works. It feels a bit like magic when you have it going and b) iPhone schmyPhone smile_tongue


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I really hate voicemail

I hate voicemail. It is probably because a high proportion of my voicemail is stuff I was supposed to do but forgot or meetings that I’m late for or it’s a recruiter that wants me to call them back and decides that right then is a good time to take five minutes to say not much of anything in particular.

So when I bought my Blackjack, I just didn’t set up voicemail and it has been over a month now. People were suspect though because the Cingular message they are given is cryptic and makes it seem like my phone got cut off or something.

Then I found SimulScribe. (probably via CoolHunting though I can’t be sure)

You set up their voicemail number instead of Cingular’s (here’s [partial] instructions for the Blackjack — the rest come in an email after you sign up) and here’s the best part:

They do text-to-speech on your message and email it to you. Ah.. that is so much better. Thank you SimulScribe. I chose the pay no recurring fee and just a quarter for each message.

Above is Emily’s test message to me. She really said “You are a geek face”, but that is totally close enough.


reputation systems

CoreyH's Rapleaf Score

I added a badge to my left nav from RapLeaf.

They are building an independent reputation system. Initially they focused on buyers and sellers, taking what eBay has done for nearly ten years and abstract it away from a single site and out into the Internet. You can imagine how helpful this could be for buying/selling via craigslist.

Recently you can see signs that they are adding non-commerce related functionality — primarily the ability to say something like “I know Tim. I am endorsing Tim as a good person”

I’m putting it on my blog because I’m hoping to integrate it with Notches, the startup I’m building and I’d like to kick the tires with it as a tool over here on


advice to Corey, xmas 2007: just keep your mouth shut

Emily and I opened our presents to each other on Christmas eve. Her family has high tolerances for early gift opening, basically anything in the previous fortnight is fair game. My family is in the one small token sized present immediately before bedtime the night before camp.

I said out loud “let’s open them at the same time in case we got the same thing for each other” because the boxes were of similar dimensions.

But after holding the package meant for me I said “oh wait, no, mine is heavier, they aren’t the same, you go ahead.”

Emily unwrapped her Polar F11 Heart Rate Monitor. I then proceed to go on and on about how there more complicated ones available, but that I did the research and decided among the 33 available models this was the one for her and yadda yadda, she just smiled.

Then I opened mine: The Polar RS200sd Heart Rate Monitor w/ S1 Footpod, the ultimate running training computer!