Okay, Rackspace Cloud reps are strange (customer service fail)

About 45 minutes ago, I signed up for a Rackspace Cloud account. They activate accounts manually, and their confirmation screen said they'd call within 15 minutes. Otherwise, if I needed access sooner, I could call and they'd get me set up right away.


Alright, no biggie, I figured. I can wait 15 minutes. So after about 45 minutes and still no call, I decided to call and get everything settled so I can pass off login credentials to my developer before I go to bed.

I end up speaking with a nice guy and explained him my plight. He said they were backed up. No biggie.

But here's the kicker...

Rather than activating my account while he had me on the phone, HERE'S WHAT HE SAYS:

"Alright, you're next in line [in the activation queue] so [someone will call you in] 7-10 minutes."

"Oh, okay, so just hang up and wait for a call?"

"Yep."

Okaaaaaaaaay........

Am I crazy to think maybe he could have just helped me out while he had me on the phone?

It's just kinda funny.

Oh, and now it's been an hour, and they still haven't called. =]

The Microcell Fix!!

Recently, I posted about how the Microcell didn't actually live up to its claims of fixing poor reception. As it turns out, it actually DOES work; you just have to know how how to set it up right. And judging by the plethora of negative tweets and blog posts about the Microcell, it's pretty clear that AT&T hasn't done a decent job explaining how to get it working.

The solution is actually very simple: move the device away from other wireless transmitters (I'd say at least 20'). This includes wireless routers and maybe even cordless phone base stations. The Microcell is naturally placed in close proximity to a router or modem since you have to plug it in to one of them to get it working. (It's ironic that the device ships with a very long ethernet cable, despite the instructions saying you only need to place the device at least a foot away from other gear.)

I ended up plugging my Microcell into one of my broadband over power line (BPL) receivers in a completely separate room from my other networking equipment. Now the only issue is latency, but at least I'm not getting dropped with full reception anymore.

Let me know if this works for you.

AT&T Microcell FAIL

If you're not familiar with the AT&T Microcell, it's basically a $150 mini cell phone tower in your home (proclaimed to work in homes up to 5000 sq ft) that plugs into a home internet connection and is meant to provide better service where AT&T's service falls short. Unfortunately, the Microcell seems to be falling short as well.

I purchased my Microcell yesterday when I picked up my new iPhone, since I decided it'd be nice to have the ability to make phone calls from my house. As it turns out, I got dropped while standing 20 feet from the device.

And then today, I had no service just 10 feet from the device.

I thought the Microcell was supposed to be the savior for places where AT&T service didn't work well. Now that I know the Microcell doesn't even work, I'm really not sure what the next step is...

Update: I fixed it.

Change is good, especially when it comes to computers

*Warning: nerdy post ahead*

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big fan of change. I am constantly changing everything from my Starbucks drink to my personalized license plate, from my room setup to my computer configuration.

When it comes to my computer setup, I'm pretty picky. I never close a window, and I like to have a lot of screen real estate. However, this can choke the average computer.

For the past year, I've been working on a Dell Inspiron desktop with 6 gigs of RAM. Those 6 gigs worked for a while, and then I started having to close programs and restart every week or so (a hassle). I started out with two screens and eventually worked my way up to four with a special 4-head card. After I got tired of sluggish performance by running four screens off of a single card, I went down to three screens and then eventually back to two with a different, more powerful video card.

Because I didn't want to spend $1200 on a high performance 4-head card and because my stock Dell machine was limited by the amount of physical space in my box and on my motherboard - one PCI-E slot, yesterday I spontaneously decided that I should assemble a computer from scratch. This is despite the fact that I've been out of the PC-building arena since 2002.

My two requirements were: multiple PCI-E slots for multiple video cards and more than 8 gigs of RAM. So yesterday afternoon, I walked into Fry's and started shopping. And a few hours later with a giant hole in my wallet...

I am now content, thanks to an Intel i7 processor, 12 freaking gigs of RAM, and two high performance video cards, each capable of running 3 screens.

Having never had more than 6 gigs available to me, I am finding that I comfortably sit around 6-7 gigs of memory usage while keeping about 25 windows open on my taskbar. (I know, so un-Maclike huh?) And my current monitor setup runs my 30" primary monitor, my two 24" screens stacked next to it, and a Hulu stream on my 47" LCD TV with no problems whatsoever.

I've never gone all out like this before. This is (almost) my ideal setup. I just need to add one more 30" screen to the mix and I should be good.

Now if this doesn't drive my productivity 10x, I don't know what will.

When it rains in Southern California, the internet goes kaput

We're in our second day of rain here in Socal, and it's already started to wreak havoc on our infrastructure. I'm trying to download a 10 MB zip file (from a speedy, reliable source), and the transfer rate is around 3.2 KB/sec. People, this is worse than dialup in 1995.

It's times like these that remind me to be thankful for the incredible improvements in internet speeds that I take for granted on a daily
basis.