Vacation post: Local Government, and iPhone Hype

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THis week I am on vacation, working in the yard and spending some quality time with my son. But, being the geek that I am, I have kept busy with other things too. I've spent some time looking at video compression software, working with sharing images to my Apple TV, and looking for an acceptable way to activate an iPhone without having to worry about monthly charges (I don't like cell phones period, even if it's really cool). So, here's a quick review of what I've been doing, for those who are interested.

The Back Yard
Since I worked for an obscure ISP that stopped paying me, I have been letting my back yard go wild. THis isn't because of any particular choice, more because I haven't had the money to really fix it up. Well, as we are started to get a handle on things, I have started to work on the back yard. I had a lot of plans for it (as documented in my blog), but zoning laws have been keeping them from happening.

Well, I decided to shoot a bit lower with my plans, and just go for your basic back yard. I started by tilling under the weeds that have grown with a vigor that has daunted me for years. I then set some bricks down in a rough patio on the side of the house. All this in 100 degree weather (37.778 C for those metric fellows). I dismantled the foundation to the greenhouse I was going to build, and will settle for a quick and easy one over the current garden area. That will be easier to set up, and simpler to build. THe cob project is still under construction, and will be completed by the end of the month.

VIdeo Compression
I have a lot of video that I would like to convert to an Apple TV-Friendly format. These videos are in RealMedia format. I thought I could do it with VideoHub, but it doesn't support a lot of RealMedia formats. The video converted just fine, but it converted without any audio. Ah, well, back to the drawing board.

Streaming Video to Apple TV
With the latest version of iTunes, you can now stream your photo content to your Apple TV, and it displays in a slide show with music from your iTunes library playing along with it. Unfortunately, it plays all your iTunes library, so those tracks that I have of my "Teach Yourself Gaelic" are playing along. This is turned on within your Apple TV section within iTunes, in the Photos pane.

iPhone Hacking
Yes, I admit it, I really want an iPhone. Any surprise, considering that I have been talking about Apple products for quite a while? But I don't really want a cell phone. I hate them, because it's an additional expense that is hard to justify when I have phones everywhere I go. What I really want is a PDA that can do network SIP phone work, or have Skype installed. Something like that would be perfect.

Well, as such, the iPhone would be great (if you could install Skype on it, or any SIP phone client). I honestly believe that it's on the way, and will worry about that when I finally get the funding to purchase the phone. But for now, I would just like to know that it can be activated without having to sign up for an AT&T account.

Having partly answered that question, the folks at Hackint0sh have found a way to do it. In this post here, some one found out that you can activate one phone, and then activate the other without having more than one phone number. It was all by accident, and will probably be taken care of in future releases. THey are also working on a number of hacks to open up the phones to other services. I'll be happy if they can find a way to activate the phone without having to purchase a service. This was one step.

Local Government Blues
As many of you know, I have been actively petitioning the local governments here for various things. Now, I don't expect them to actually act on the things I petition for right away. After all, I'm not that important. But I would at least like the consideration of a response, even a form letter of some sort. As of yet, I have not heard from County Mayor Peter Corroon, or West Valley City Councilman Joel Coleman. Needless to say, I'm not going to even consider voting for these men without some sort of acknowledgment of my petitions. After all, one is for the betterment of the County, the other for West Valley City.

So, that's what I have been up to this week. I would like to send out a really Happy Birthday to my good childhood friend Marc Steffensen, who is turning the bid 3-1 today. I don't know if he is reading this, but perhaps he will. Happy Birthday Marc!