Natcom Haiti Phone Setup

The newest phone carrier in Haiti is Natcom.  It is a bit cheaper then the competitors.  I switched over because the internet had a pay-as-you-go service which I liked.  Natcom is also offering 3G and 4G.  I didn’t believe it at first but after running a speed test on it, I did in fact verify that it was truly doing 4G.

Natcom has four different plans for Haiti:

  • MI-1.  This is for paying 2.4 HG per Mb.
    • $0.06 per Mb.
  • MI-2.  You pay 80 HG for 50 Mb. $2 US
    • 1.6 HG per Mb or in USD $0.04 per Mb.
    • Charges you 2.4 HG per Mb after you use the 50 Mb.
  • MI-10.  You pay 400 HG for 600 Mb. $10 US
    • 0.8 HG per Mb or in USD $0.02 per Mb.
  • MI-U.  You pay 800 HG for unlimited.  $20 US
Now thinking through a scenario.  Let’s say you do use 500 Mb per month.  MI1 plan would cost you: $30.  Where as the MI-10 would cost you only $10.  Much better deal!

 

How do I sign up?

  • First you need to get a SIM and then activate it by calling another person.
  • Once you have activated your SIM then start adding on minutes.  You will need to add on the amount of which the plan requires in order for you to activate the internet on your phone.
  • Text the MI<number of plan> to 132.  So for MI-10 you would type “MI10″.
  • You will receive a text back to which you need to reply either YES to confirm or NO to cancel.
  • Once you type YES – you are all set to use 4G service in Haiti!

The way that the plan works is that it will renew with that same plan next month.  So whichever plan you pick it will keep it for the next month and charge you accordingly.

How do I change plans?

You can change plans at any time.  To cancel your plan you can type OFF to number 132. When you change plans it will pro-rate your plan based on how far into the month you are.

If you want to change plans – It is recommended that you text the code you want *before* the beginning of the next month.  Once the first of the month begins Natcom will automatically try to deduct the amount of your currently subscribed internet plan.

Trouble?

If you are having trouble getting the Natcom Haiti internet working it may be because you need to enter the Natcom APN.

Natcom APN: natcom
MCC: 372
MNC: 03

*You may or may not need to enter the MCC and MNC. Some phones seem to find it automatically.

 

* Updated March 1, 2013 – Added in How do I change Natcom Haiti plans and the “Trouble?” section

Amazon EC2 Server CPU 100%

I signed up for the free year using the Amazon EC2 micro instance.  I was pretty excited to move off of my home server.  As mentioned in previous posts.  Unfortunately as mentioned by other posts, it doesn’t take much to bring down your system.  I currently have hosted a few WordPress blogs on this server and as soon as it is crawled by Google, Bing, or others it immediately goes up to 100 percent cpu usage and then is stuck there until I can manually reboot it.

Here are a few attempts at fixing the problem which I have done so far in order to prevent these spikes:

  • Added WC Super Cache.  The goal is to take weight off the database hits by providing a HTML cached version of the page.  When the website gets crawled it will be able to serve the pages quickly and also not max out the CPU usage.
  • Signed up for CloudFlare.  This does caching as well and blocks potential threats to your website.
  • Tune Apache.  Here are set of recommended choices from someone:

StartServers 5
MinSpareServers 5
MaxSpareServers 10
MaxClients 20
MaxRequestsPerChild 5000

  •  I am sure the list will go on and on.  I might try monit but haven’t yet.
  • UPDATE:  Another link for this situation.

How to Make an iTunes Podcast

To a developer a podcast is just an mp3 or some other format.  That’s really about it.  In order to hook it up to iTunes you need to make sure it is served in the proper format and follows their guidelines.  It is not to difficult.

  • Record the audio. Audacity is free. An alternative would be Aviary.
  • Save the audio file (in MP3 format) to your computer desktop. Do not use special characters in the file name.
  • Add ID information (Artist, Album). Optionally give it album art.
  • Create an RSS feed. A standard RSS feed will do.  The easiest way to do it is to use a blog.  I picked Blogger.com and started a blog with the title of my podcast.  Hold off on posting just yet.
  • Go to feedburner. Type in the URL of your blog and click “I am a podcaster“. In the next screen, configure the elements for your podcast. These are the elements that directly relate to the podcast.  This is your official podcast feed.  Almost ready to submit to iTunes.
  • Upload your podcast.  This needs to be upload to a public location where you can have a link to your podcast.  I just added the podcast on my server under a /podcast directory.  You can find public domain websites as well.
  • Make your first post on your blog! The title of the post should be the title of that episode of the podcast.  The content will end up as the description.  Most importantly, at the end of the post, put a link to your mp3 file.
    • You may need to wait a bit for feedburner to update the feed.  Feedburner also has a page that you can use which will force it to update.  Useful in testing.
  • Submit to iTunes.  Now go to the iTunes store and click podcasts.  You will see on the right side of the page a link to submit podcast.  There you can enter your feedburner link and wait for approval from Apple!

WP Super Cache for WordPress

Alright, so the site was not necessarily slow.  The problem is that on EC2 micro instances a bot can take down my website.  Still an issue but one way someone recommend to help the issue is to use the super cache plugin which will make html files and doesn’t spike your CPU on the instance.  Here are the stats:

 

Before adding super cache:

ryanandmelissaalberts.com 97.41 KB 0.71 seconds 0.01 seconds

After enabling super cache:

ryanandmelissaalberts.com 97.43 KB 0.41 seconds 0 seconds ryanandmelissaalberts.com 97.43 KB 0.34 seconds 0 seconds

Task Management / Project Management @ Non-Profit

I am sooo excited! After searching endlessly (must have signed up for 20 different online sites)… I found the most amazing task management/project management software! It’s free. Works on web, iphone, android, ipad. It’s created by Fog Creek (Joel Spolsky), so you know it’s amazing. This day just got great! Now to use it on a test project in our organization to prove it out. Oh, it’s http://trello.com!

Bios Reset Password Dell D610

I had someone here ask to reset the bios password.  Usually a very easy process for desktop computers.  I had honestly not done one on a laptop before.  Thinking there were going to be nice buttons of some kind… wrong!

First you need to remove the back skin of the laptop.  Might be possible to just remove the cmos battery cover.  Then you will need to use a paper clip to jump the bios chip.

The big chip pointed to is the one that we need to jump in order to reset the bios password.

Short the pins shown above in order to reset the password.

You should be in business after that!

 

 

 

 

LG G2x Update Stuck At 4%

I have  a rooted LG G2x phone.  Strangely, the update was stuck at %4.  I tried it a bunch of times and it continually was blocked at that point.  I thought I would read of more people having the problem.  What got me by was doing the following:

  • Shutdown the phone.
  • Rebooted holding down the VOLUME DOWN and POWER.
  • Release the power when you see the LG logo.
    • Note: This puts up a screen that says S/W Upgrade, Please wait while upgrading.
  • Then plug in the USB and waited for WIN7 to load the drivers.
  • Clicked restart on the Phone Updater
  • Done!

Hopefully this helps someone else out there!

Enjoy Android 2.3.3!

 

Hiding Table of Contents on MediaWiki

Adding the following code into your wiki page to toggle the TOC links so that they are collapsed by default.  This is useful if you have a large page and thus a large TOC table.  Obviously you can turn off the TOC links but I find it sometimes useful to skim down the list, so having it collapsed makes it available but not expanded.

1
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<php>
// Hiding the Table of Contents menu since MediaWiki does not provide a way to do it.
?>

<script type="text/javascript">function hideToc() {

var toc = document.getElementById('toc').getElementsByTagName('ul')[0];
var toggleLink = document.getElementById('togglelink');
changeText(toggleLink, tocShowText); toc.style.display = 'none'; } </script>

<script type="text/javascript">hideToc();</script>

<?php
</php>

LG G2x Phone

I entered the world of smart phones yesterday. Took the plunge and bought a slightly used Android LG G2x. Why used? I wanted the option of being able to switch cell phone providers when my contract is up with TMO. I bought it off CraigsList a little weary about whether it would completely work or not. I also wanted to make sure to check the phone for the recent bad batch of G2x phones now emerging with screen problems. I ended up getting the phone and checked it over. Made sure to factory reset the device.

After restarting I found out that the wireless was not working! Umm… now what!?! I opened the browser and went to a bunch of sites.  Nothing worked!  Crap… it’s hardware.  Then I randomly went to my router (192.168.1.1). Strange, it worked! What the!?! So wireless works going to a direct IP address but not to google.com. Now it’s time to google (using my computer this time :-) and I came across this solution on this thread which had an answer for me:

  1. Factory Reset
  2. Skip initial setup
  3. Turn on airplane mode (hold down Power button for 3 sec)
  4. Turn on Wifi
  5. Setup Google Account/Market
  6. Shutdown phone/Reboot ( Don’t know if you need this)

Bingo!  Phone working great ever since!

UPDATE:  That didn’t work completely.  The problem came back.  I ended up removing the “My Account” problem and now it actually has been working all week!  Finally… now just to wait for the Android 2.3.3 Ginger update!

—–

This phone as a great 8mp camera and wanted to compare it against my Exilim.

Let’s compare the pictures:

G2x (Left) and the Exilim (Right)

Interesting.  This is a zoomed up picture on both the G2x and the Exilim.  The 7.2 mp Exilim point and shoot does better at brightness. This is just my first pic on the G2x so there may be some settings that could be tweaked to clean the picture up as well.  Notice though that you can almost read the words with the G2x whereas not so much with the Exilim.

Now onto rooting the phone :-)  Maybe I can remove some of this TMO pre-installed apps.  They locked it down so you can’t uninstall without super user access.

Steganography

The exchange of information is greater today than ever before in our history.  This means that the threat of evil misusing these standard channels of communication to send stolen information or a plan against a nation is more likely now than ever (Goel, Garuba, Liu, & Nguyen, 2007).  After the attack of 9-11 it was believed that terrorist were hiding information in pictures using steganography.  The goal of this research paper is to discuss ways in which steganography can be detected.

To understand methods of detecting steganography, it is necessary to define what steganography is and how it works.  Steganography is a general term for a process of hiding information.  The word Steganography has its origin in the Greek language, meaning “covered writing” (Johnson & Jajodia, 1998).  Most commonly steganography will be used to hide messages.

Steganographic data is mostly hidden within a picture file.  The data or message can be stored as a picture hidden within a picture or in the lower level bits of a picture file.  A few other common file types which can be utilized by steganography include audio and document files.  These are more difficult to create then a picture file.  They do offer increased protection against detection (Artz, 2001).

The data is either stored as a picture hidden within the main picture, or in the data that makes up the bits of the picture file.  Other common file types utilized by steganography include document files and audio files, both of which are much harder to create then a steganographic picture file, but offer increased protection against detection (Artz, 2001).

Like many security applications and tools, steganography can be used for a variety of reasons.  Some good purposes could include things like watermarking images for reasons such as copyright protection.  Digital watermarks (also known as fingerprinting, are especially important in copyright material) are similar to steganography in that the watermark is overlaid and appear to be part of the original file and are thus not easily detectable by the average person.  Another use would be to tag notes to online images.

Read entire paper @ google docs.