The Great Jailbreak

I’m going to break out of jail. Well – not literally of jail, and not me, my phone. If you don’t know what that means, I’m not surprised.

Phone manufacturers often lock out certain features on phones. Even phone companies will change features and operating systems. I once had a little motorola flip phone from Verizon.

The same phone from Cingular came with a data cable and software so you could add your own pictures and ringtones, and even copy pictures to your computer. Verizon? Nope, they locked you out, so you would have to pay to make custom ringtones and send your pictures via email. By modifying the phone you “broke it out of jail”…freed it to do what the phone is capable of doing.
My wife had a Verizon KRzr. It drove me Krazy. It was so locked down with that horrid “vcast” music and video playing software it was useless. Terrible phone.

The iPhone is no different where locked software goes. Apple locks out certain things. Locking down the system helps them maintain a certain level of reliability, and keeps them from having to troubleshoot things idiots screw up. Essentially the Apple Operating System sits on a Linux core. It’s a computer. Easily modified, provided you can get to the guts.


One of the most fun (although useless) reasons to jailbreak the iPhone is to change the ugly icons – to personalize it . Apple prefers you to keep its icons, after all they want their phone easily recognized. I like different themes, icons and sounds. My windows PC in 1994 would accept personal icons and sounds, why not my phone?

Another reason to jailbreak? Tethering. While the phone had the ability to let you connect a laptop to it, and use it as an Internet connection, AT&T didn’t allow it. Now they want you to pay $20 a month for the privilege. What? Pay to unlock a feature the phone already has? That makes no sense. Of course, I found that tethering was kind of a pain the few times I tried. I’ll stick to my iPad, but if it’s something you want to use, there it is.

There are a ton of third party apps, written for the iPhone that aren’t in the apple store- for whatever reason. These unapproved apps let you use Bluetooth keyboards long before apple got around to it. Other applications included better wi-fi signal finders, which Apple dropped from their store for some reason. True innovators come from all walks of life, not just inside approved corporate offices.

Apple tries to stop it. Congress finally stepped in and said, “the phones are the customer’s property, jail breaking is not a crime”. Finally, our government did something right.

I broke my last phone out of jail. It’s time I try again. Its fun to mess with. This should be interesting.
I think I have my old Borg (star trek) theme around somewhere.

I know, I know, the Droid fanbois probably are saying “why don’t you just buy a droid?”. I started with the originator, not the imitator. But the real reason? I bought all these iPhone apps – I’m not starting over with Droid until I have to.
Switching horses in midstream can get expensive.


Laying down is now a sport?


Yes, it’s now a sport to lay down. The “laying down game”, or Planking, as it’s called by purists, simply consists of laying down, rigid, with arms by the sides, and getting someone to take a picture of your idiocy.

But what makes it a sport? In the obvious sports, I.e. grown men fighting over various sized and shaped and balls, there’s no question. But then you look at fishing, or hunting. Those are sports, after all, people compete. Who shoots the biggest, who catches the most? Hang gliding and parachuting are sports… “I’m better than you”. So, regardless of the nature of something, if you can compete with someone, it’s a sport.

So, how do you compete at laying down? Easy, lay down in odd places. Compete for the strangest picture, highest place, most dangerous position. Try not to fall to your death or get fired, both of which have happened.

But, really? This makes as much sense to me as Parkour, that running over obstacles for the hell of it thing. Enough is enough. Go back to playing xbox, please. Which is also a sport, by the way.

Grapes at last, Grapes at last, thank God all mighty, there’s grapes at last.


I love grapes. They taste pretty good, they make even better juice, and they store really well as wine.
I enjoy them in jelly form most of all. I take great pains to ensure my cultivated vines produce copious grapes, but so far, I sort of suck at it. There’s an art to grape vine trimming, and I just don’t have it. In fact, I have a hedge, not a vine. But, it produces enough fruit that I turn out enough jelly to give as x-ma$$ presents, and still have enough to eat. I also let wild vines grow at will. I pick as many wild grapes as I do cultivated ones.
Every year I look forward to the sticks budding, sending out shoots and flowering. I watch anxiously as they ripen into berries, and finally change color.
Today I ate my first ripe wild muscadines. Tasty. I’m looking forward to picking and crushing and boiling and turning out the delicious spreadable glory which is jelly.


Internet of 2002 – I miss you.

I have been watching Dexter, a showtime program about a serial killer – that only kills bad guys. Imagine my anger when I got my season four – disc 4 – disc from Netflix. Sure, it SAYS Dexter on the front. For some reason it wouldn’t play in the DVD player. So – I threw it in the computer and it opened up, and started playing “The Tudors”. What? I know it’s not Netflix’s fault – they mail the discs, they don’t make them. But I was still mad. Now I have to wait three days to see the last episode, so Netflix can send me another one.


So – I did what any internet aficionado would do. I turned to my trusted friend. After all, you can find anything on YouTube, right? Wrong. Oh sure, there was a lot of one or two minute trailers. There were a lot of fake “full version Dexter here!” posts, leading you to fill out surveys, or spam site, or even to things having nothing to DO with Dexter.And of course, the bane of the internet – a lot of “this file has been removed due to illegal content.” Bastards.


I searched Google. Surely someone posted the file somewhere? Every link wound up a dead end. “File removed due to complaint or illegal content”. And those were the sites that didn’t just give me the runaround, from site to site to site, never really showing me anything.Of course I stumbled across enough “reviews” to learn that Rita dies in the end. Of course, I hated her and wanted her dead for two seasons, but I didn’t WANT to know ahead of time!


I finally fired up FrostWire. First BearShare went toes up, then LimeWire…but FrostWire is still out there. It used to be my go-to file sharing software when nothing else will work. But, alas, Dexter was not to be found. Sure – someone out there had seasons 2 and 3 on the internet, but 4 was missing. FrostWire used to be as dependable as old faithful. If you wanted it – it was there. After all, it shared the network with BearShare and LimeWire. Now you get the same ten decoy booby virus files with every request, and maybe a smattering of real files that may or may not be related to anything you were actually looking for.


I miss the Internet of 2002. Before everyone was so scared of the DCMA. When Pirates roamed the waters freely. When BearShare, LimeWire, and Napster were mighty vessels of freedom. Where you COULD find anything on YouTube, or at least through WebCrawler. When you could find the files you wanted, without being scared some big company is paying to have hackers write and insert viruses into P2P files, causing the rest of us heartache and pain. Wouldn’t it be better if you only had to download one clean copy of a Metallica song, without having to try six other versions first? Think of all the wasted bandwidth and energy.

It used to be said, “Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there forever.”

I tried to find out who said that, but it’s been deleted. Some DCMA violation I think…


A day at the state house.


We took our group of Summer Camp kids to the State House in Columbia today. There’s nothing quite as fun as driving an oversize van down I-20, while 8 kids belt out 3 different off-key rap songs, all competing for volume. They finally calmed down and just begged me to change the radio station to something more “hip hop”. Sorry, but I like rock, and as I live in an area devoid of such music, I play rock stations when I go to Columbia. Driver picks the music, unless he’s married. Then it’s wife’s choice.

So we go to the State House and talk about how government works, evidently a subject as interesting to twelve year olds, as mani-pedicures and facials are to me.

But, I did get to eat an MRE, which is always a fun event. Army lunch is like gambling for food. What’s going to be in brown pouch number three?