Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Now that UNC Charlotte is considering the adoption of Google Apps, Information Technology Services stated they wanted to hear from some students on how we use email. To answer their call for a window into student technology use, I wrote up this quick essay which captured my thoughts on the topic:

E-mail was originally created as the next evolution of US Postal Service mail. It was designed to become the electronic equivalent to what we now affectionately term “snail mail” in the same way that voicemail was designed to replace the receptionist. E-mail has served this purpose for many years adequately. In the last 3-5 years with the advent of the internet as a social medium, more than just a technical and limited modicum of communication, the messages and interactions that take place through an email address (evolved past existing just as the abbreviation of “electronic mail”) have become the equivalent of asynchronous instant communications.

Students use synchronous message technology whenever the corresponding groups can communicate at predesignated or instantaneously convenient time, however the modern campus communication solution should embrace the intersection between synchronous and asynchronous communication.

This leaves the student email policy maker with a decision on choosing between two principles: embrace both time modes of communication and harness the collaborative power that current technologies allow or stick with the past definition of email as a mere replacement for paper.

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Why did I follow WWDC online from correspondents that reported only text? I should have just waited for the 60 second keynote summary.

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Just got an email back from Alltel customer support in response to my inquiry:

Are there any plans to upgrade the HTC Touch via a ROM Update to Windows Mobile 6.1 or to enable the GPS functionality in the phone?

If there aren’t any plans then please let me know when such additions will be considered.


– Justin

And the response:


I’m not aware of an upgrade to WM6.1; however, we are testing a ROM update with HTC which will enable GPS functionality. However, no timeframe regarding release has been made known.

Thank You,
Alltel Data Support

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Just got back from tour through south Louisiana, it was a lot of fun. I just wanted to make a quick post to show everyone what we have been telling them about, the bells on the skirt that Jane got for Christmas. Jane’s dad bought her this shirt for the Floydfest this year. Jane thought it was a joke but it isn’t. She has to wear it!

I got matching tie-dye

Those are bells

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A monumental year and a lot of fun. I’ll break down my last 365 days by starting out with a few firsts,


  • First flight on commercial airline
  • First international trip
  • First time as a member of a board of trustees
  • First time being away from Jane for an extended period (while she was in France for 6 months) -> SAD! 😦
  • First time campaigning for public office (and hopefully the last)
  • First time living away from the piedmont of North Carolina
  • First visit to a state not on the East Coast (Louisiana)


  • Visiting Jane in France
  • Winning the Presidency at UNC Charlotte
  • Moving into our house
  • Internship at PARI
  • Transit-tax debate at Harris Alumni Center
  • Speaking at Convocation


  • Leaving parking brake off of car, while on top of mountain. Almost disasterous.
  • Drowning camera in water
  • Campaigning… it is brutal
  • First week of school. Being away for the summer is rough being student body president, but possible. 12-13 hour days, catching up with meetings and life

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Now that I’m on winter break from college I have the time to experiment with my computing equipment. My goal was first to upgrade to Vista SP1 RC1 because I already had Vista installed, just to test things out. My system config was Vista and Ubuntu loaded using GRUB.

After the install of Vista SP1 completed I quickly discovered that because some hackers had been fooling around with the Vista bootloader, MS decided to only allow the Vista bootloader when starting Windows. GRUB had been corrupted and I couldn’t access Ubuntu or Vista, even from the GRUB command line.

I tried reinstalling GRUB and still no luck. The SP1 install was nasty! I restored my hard drive using Windows Complete PC Restore and everything was as good as before. I then erased Ubuntu and set aside two extra partitions other than my main partition on my main hard disk. I installed UPHUCK v1.4r3 OSX on one partition and everything worked fine except for my CD Drive. I then installed Ubuntu Gutsy and everything worked fine. After that I loaded the Vista installer from the CD and ran Bootsec.exe /fixmbr then Bootsec.exe /fixboot to restore my Vista Bootloader.

The final step was to install Acronis OS Selector to provide a bootloader GUI for the operating systems. I booted into Vista and ran the install. Then after restarting AOSS loaded and I had a visual menu of operating systems to decide from! But now I’m done with OSX Tiger and waiting for iATKOS v1.0i OSX Leopard to download so that I can truly utilize the latest OS technology on my machine.

Thanks to my roomate Marcus for providing me with a Wireless Card that works in all 3 OS!

After I get Leopard to install, I’ll virtualize XP and Ubuntu inside OSX so I’ll be down to 2 operating systems.

Why so many OSs?

Vista for games, documents, and music
OSX for iLife, iWork and virtualization
Ubuntu for linux
XP for vista-incompatible software that updates ringtones on my phone and syncs with my pedometer

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Before restarting to finish an ATI driver update this evening, I realized that Windows Vista has been the most reliable OS I’ve ever used (I’ve never had OSX on my home machine). Slightly over 7 days without a full system restart! Despite Vista’s minor quirks, I’m loving it.

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Now that the ever popular Gaim instant messaging client has fully been switched over to be renamed Pidgin, and a new 2.0.0 release has been made.. there are very few plugins that work for the adaptable messenger.

Some of my favorites from Gaim included the Current Track plugin that allowed your Windows Media Player/iTunes/Winamp to display album art  as your buddy icon and  your away message as the current song. However, Pidgin includes a new coding base which should allow even better plugins like one that tracks buddy availability stats and makes predictions on when they’ll be available next or one that syncs your Facebook/Twitter status to your away message.

The only current plugins that I know of are the Purple Plugin Pack (a ton of little plugins) and the Guifications (popup notifications). Now the Current Track Plugin has been updated to include support for Pidgin!

I highly recommend that you upgrade now, the final release is far more stable than the earlier betas, even if some of the plugins don’t work.

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