Gas station without pumps

2019 December 16

Landline discontinued

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:08
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As I mentioned in First cellphone, I have finally bought a cell phone.  Today I got the landline number transferred to that cellphone, so that I can now discontinue landline service.  That could be a minor nuisance during the next major power outage (during the last big power outage, landline service continued uninterrupted, but several cellphone towers went offline, so cell service was disrupted).

I have one more task to do in setting up the phone, and that is to transfer my wife’s phone (which was associated with my e-mail address) to be associated with my wife’s email address.  I don’t know how difficult that will be, but I anticipate a few hours dealing with Google Fi technical support, as their web pages do not provide any way to do this yourself.  It is particularly difficult in this case, as the billing was associated with that phone, and my new phone was an extra on the account, while I want to make my new phone be the primary on the account (so that I can continue billing to the same card).

2019 December 5

First cellphone

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:08
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My wife finally talked me into buying a cellphone (she’s been using one for a few years, and upgraded to a smartphone last summer).

I bought a Moto G7 to use on Google Fi, because the phone was on sale through Google Fi for only $100.  My wife had already been using Google Fi with a Moto X4 (Android One edition), though the phone was in my name, because I had a Google account and she did not.

The idea was to set up a Google Fi group account, transfer the Moto X4 with its phone number to her, and add the new phone to my account.  That turned out to be impossible, or nearly so.  Google does not easily support transferring phones, and if the phone number had been moved to her account, I would have lost the promotional price on the Moto G7.

After a long time on Google support chat with “Andy”, we finally came up with a plan that seemed like it would work.  I would keep her phone associated with my account, open a new email account, invite the new account to join the Google Fi group, accept the invitation, and then activate the phone and get a new number for the new phone.

Even that turned out to be harder than expected, as my first attempt to open a new gmail account associated the account with my existing Google account, so I could not invite it to join the Google Fi group—it had just replaced the email I had associated with the account with the new email.  After making sure that I was logged out of all Google accounts, I set up yet another gmail account, logged back in under my original account, invited the new account, and accepted the invitation.

So after, about 4 hours of struggling with Google’s limited view that person=phone number and all email accounts should be associated with the same person, I finally activated the phone.  Since then, it has gone through about 3 system updates—I understand that doing many serial system updates is standard whenever a new Android phone is activated.

I’ve installed 2 apps on my phone: Lyft (which I’ve not tried yet) and CS Customizer, which can be used to adjust the profile for my hearing aids (“personal hearing amplifiers”, since they weren’t sold by an audiologist).  I have tried CS Customizer, and it seems to work ok, which is good, because it had stopped working on my Mac after one of the macos upgrades. Incidentally, over the summer I created an instruction sheet (hearing-aid-instructions) for recharging the hearing aids, since my dad has the same model and the assisted living center he is at was not doing a good job of keeping them charged.  I understand that the instructions have been printed and posted in his room, but I don’t know whether they are doing any better at keeping his hearing aids charged.

I’ve also rearranged the app buttons on the home screen, as Motorola and Google seem to put the most useless ones as the favorites.  I now have Contacts, Phone, Chrome, Maps, and Lyft on one row, and Duo, Messages, Settings, Photos, and Camera as the second row.  I also made the top row of Quick Settings be Wifi, Do Not Disturb, Mobile data, Flashlight, Location, and Airplane mode.

I’ll try the phone for a week, then move my landline number to it.  I’m losing the landline because I’m upgrading my internet service from DSL (which includes the landline service) to a higher-speed microwave link (both from CruzIO, a local ISP).  The DSL line gets about 11Mb/s download and 0.8Mb/s upload, and I’m expecting about 70Mb/s each way with the microwave link.  It will come into the house in a different location than the phone lines, and the rebar in the concrete walls of my house blocks wifi signals, so there may be some trouble in placing a router so that both the book room and the breakfast room (where my wife and I work) are covered.

The Google Fi group account increases our cell phone bill from $20/month to $35/month, but the microwave link will cost the same per month ($75) as the DSL would, because the DSL is going up in price.

2012 March 21

IOIO, another cool physical computing project

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:54
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Over at Engineer Blogs, I found out about another cool project for connecting computers up with the real world—the IOIO (pronounced yo-yo):  An Interview with Ytai Ben-Tsvi, Inventor of the IOIO.

Basically, it is a $50 IO board for an Android phone, using either USB or Bluetooth connection, controllable with a Java API from an Android 1.5 or later device.  It has a PIC24F microcontroller providing 48 I/O pins, which have the usual sorts of capabilities (PWM, I2C, SPI, …).  You can use it in much the same way you would use an Arduino, except that you need an Android device to talk to it.

This is a plus and a minus, as the Android phones come with a fair amount of compute power and some powerful software (like face recognition software), but they cost a lot also, and you wouldn’t want to tie up your phone in a dedicated project (a $25 Arduino board is cheaper to embed than a phone and a $50 IOIO board).

I don’t think that the Android phone+IOIO is quite as exciting as the $35 Raspberry Pi if you need cell-phone-level compute power, but it looks like a good way to make cell-phone-controlled gadgets.

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