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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Why I’m Not Making Any New Year Resolutions for 2012

Published December 31, 2011 - 2 Comments

2011 Comes to an End

As 2011 comes to an end it’s important to take a moment and think back to all the accomplishments I’ve made over the last 12 months.

Hmm…  OK… so that didn’t take very long… maybe there weren’t all that many.  Surely there must have been SOMETHING of interest…

Nope!

Ah well… maybe 2012 will be better.

One thing I’ve resolved to do is not make resolutions for the coming year.  That seems a little counter-productive, doesn’t it?  To resolve not to make resolutions?  Well, you get the idea.  In years past, I’ve done what most people do… think up a wish list of things that I’d like to change about myself, and then completely abandon that blueprint for success partway through the second week of January.  Never fails.

So not this year.  I’m going to start 2012 the same way that I’m ending 2011… one day at a time. Whatever happens, happens.

C’est la vie!

Baby Polar Bear

Published December 28, 2011 - 5 Comments

I soooo want a baby polar bear!  Look at him!  Awwwwww…  He’s so cute!  With his little tongue stuck out while he gets his belly rubbed… Aaaaawwwwwww…

 

How to Configure Bell Sympatico Email on an iPhone

Published December 28, 2011 - 33 Comments
[Update 1 Sep 13: I’m still amazed that this post is the most active on the blog.  If you find the information here helpful, please consider making a small donation at the end of the post.  It is very much appreciated.  Thank you.] [Update 9 Apr 12: I have to say, when I originally sat down to write this post, I did not expect it to get nearly as many hits as it does. Apparently more people run into problems with this sort of thing than I realized. I hope that the instructions located here do help. If so, please consider showing your support by clicking a sponsor link, or passing this post along to someone else who may benefit from it. Thanks!]

I recently had the displeasure of trying to figure out how to get Sympatico email configured properly on a new iPhone 4S.  I’ll state the obvious to get it out of the way up front… WHY anyone would want to do this is beyond me.  Short of some sentimental attachment to an existing email address, I can think of no reason why someone would want to use an email service that appears to run on POP only.  POP is a dinosaur, and really needs to be taken on a one-way trip out to the pasture.  At the very least you could set your Sympatico email to forward to GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail or whatever other reliable (and IMAP) email service you want to use.

But that wasn’t an option.  Neither was failure.  I had hyped my technical skills to the point of saying “No one else can get it working?  Let me take a look at it… *I* can get it working…”

Bell’s technical support page recommends that you access your email through a mobile browser.  Makes sense.  No configuration necessary.  Doesn’t help when trying to set up an email client, though!  So I hit the net, trying to find someone who may have the answer.

[UPDATE 8 Apr 12: The blog that I discovered the instructions on no longer seems to be active, which is a shame.  I’m glad that I found it when I did, because it was a huge help to me, and hopefully to others.  I have decided to keep the links to that blog within this post in the event that it comes back online in the future.]  

I found a lot of conflicting information.  And then I found Trevor Watkinson’s blog.  His post Smart Phone Email Server Settings For Sympatico And Bell Aliant Emailwas very clearly laid out, and contained almost everything that I needed.  I say “almost” because I don’t see any mention of SSL settings in his post, and I was unable to get the iPhone to move past the VERIFYING stage until I removed the check-marks in SSL for incoming and outgoing mail.I’ve copied these settings from Trevor’s post.  He also has settings for other Atlantic provinces, so if you are from outside NB you can find those settings here.Settings in italics are the ones that I needed to get the iPhone 4S working with NB Sympatico.Interested in receiving 100 tips to help you get the most out of your iPhone? Click Here!

New Brunswick Email Server Settings

Incoming Mail Server Name: pop.bellaliant.net
Incoming Mail Server Port: 110

Outgoing Mail Server Name: smtp.bellaliant.net
Outgoing Mail Server Name For Android: mail.1xbell.ca
Outgoing Mail Server Port: 25

Mail Server Username:

  • for @bellaliant email addresses: emailprefix@bellaliant.net
  • for @nb.sympatico.ca email addresses: emailprefix@nb.sympatico.ca
  • for @nbnet.nb.ca email addresses: emailprefix@nbnet.nb.ca

And as I discovered… try turning SSL off if you are still unable to send/receive email.

Hopefully this helps anyone who runs into this problem… but really… do yourself a favour… Sign up for a GMail account.  If you want to keep your Sympatico email address because you’ve had it since the beginning of time and you’re not ready to part with it yet (like say… an old sweater… or ROOTS hat) then set it up to forward your mail to GMail or another service, and install THAT service on your smartphone.  You’ll still get all your Sympatico email, and won’t have to change your email address, yet you won’t run into the headaches like this.

POP is dead.

 

If you’ve found this information helpful please consider dropping a coin into my virtual piggy bank…  I use the money to pay for hosting services… Every little bit helps!  Thank you very much.  🙂




Merry Christmas 2011

Published December 25, 2011 - 2 Comments

They Love Their New Christmas PJs

My first Christmas with having the kids here for Christmas Eve / Christmas morning.  Most split families do the “every second year” thing, but with my shift work it’s very rare that I have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off.  Even better, I also have Boxing Day off!  Means I’ll have a smaller cheque than previous years, but I get to spend time with my children.  And that’s important, right?

Even if it means cleaning up Christmas projectile puke off the bathroom floor at 1am.

Yup.

I’ve been fighting a losing battle with a cold, and my son just flat out surrendered to whatever was bugging him.  What a mess!

My daughter was in good spirits though.  Seems that women are stronger than men after all… or they’re just the ones poisoning us.

Now I have a house that looks as though a dirty bomb went off in it… I’m slowly wading through piles of dishes, wrapping paper, clothes… rumour has it that I haven’t opened all my gifts yet, but I’m having a hard time locating anything else in this disaster zone.  I’m tired.  Still coughing.  Cranky.  Hyped up on sugar.  So yeah, it’s pretty much a usual Sunday night for me!

Merry Christmas to All!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Colder…

Published December 23, 2011 - 3 Comments

Or something like that, right?

It was pointed out to me recently that I have been neglecting my blog a little bit.  Unlike most times when I’m simply in a bad place and don’t feel like writing, this isn’t that.  I’ve discovered that most of my blogging time is being chewed up by something much less fun… work!

I used to do a fair amount of blogging and blog maintenance when I was at work.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t neglecting my day job, but it was relatively easy to find a few minutes within a 12 hour shift to write a blog post, or play around with a new plugin or something.  Well, that was before I got a new boss, who has a much more “hands on” management style… We’ve been spoiled by having a boss in another city for 3 years… now we have a boss who sits 20 feet away, and might as well put his desk beside us for all the time that he spends in with us.  It’s not a slam against him… it’s just different from what we’ve been accustomed to.

I used to get a fair amount of my stuff done during my night shifts when things were quiet… even THAT seems to be impossible now.  Things aren’t so quiet anymore, and it’s not unusual for this new boss to stick around until 10… 11… even 11:30 pm.  Remember that “hands on” comment?  Ya…  And there comes a certain time through the night where I no long feel creative enough to write anything.  There are always exceptions, but generally I turn into a vegetable sometime after 2 or 3am…   And the last few shifts I’ve actually taken the nights off because I’m finding it harder to get through them.  (I have some banked time that I need to use before the end of the year)

Now you ask… why don’t I just write my blog posts on my days off like virtually every other blogger in the world with a day job?  Good question!  And to that I have no good answer.  I thought about it last night… I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on Twitter, Messaging, and Hanging With Friends… it’s not hard at all to lose a few hours to those activities… I have far too many games on the go, and will be looking at getting that under control.  (No, if I’m playing in a game with you, it does not mean that I don’t want to play anymore… it means that I probably shouldn’t have 3 games going with the same person at the same time… and be accepting every single random opponent who offers to play me.)  I need to find more of a balance between my online and offline world again, as I find that it is tilting heavily in favour of the online… and that’s not always good.

Today I went down to the mailbox for the first time this week and discovered that I had 3 Christmas cards waiting for me there!  That put a smile on my face.  I bought cards in November… I bought stamps in early December… as of this writing, I have handed out a single Christmas card, and that was because I saw that person face to face and decided to save myself a stamp!  So needless to say… my Christmas cards are going out really late this year, if they even go out at all.

Time to go downstairs and put Mario in the oven.  Mum had Christmas dinner last weekend, and cooked Luigi.  The kids loved the name and said that we had to name ours Mario.  So Mario it is!

To all my faithful readers,

Merry Christmas!  I sincerely hope that each and every one of you are able to take a moment out of your busy schedule to enjoy something good in your life…

Double Sided Tape: The Bane of All Mankind’s Existence…

Published December 18, 2011 - 5 Comments

I am a horrible gift wrapper.  I always have been, and barring some sort of cyborg implant, I suspect that I always will be.  I’M the reason people use gift bags.  It has nothing to do with saving the environment.  It has everything to do with the fact that I can’t wrap even the simplest box and have it not look like it’s a kindergarten paper mache project.  Actually, I’d consider myself even somewhat capable if it looked that good.  But it doesn’t.

So what do I find so difficult about wrapping gifts?  Well… first there’s deciding how much paper to use.  I almost always use too much, and when I don’t… I use too little.  Then there’s the cutting of that paper.  Straight lines are definitely not my thing.  And folding the edges down and over, and then taping them?  Yeah.. not so much!  The end result is…. well… it ain’t pretty!

So last night I grudgingly sat down to start wrapping some of this year’s gifts.  I was part way through my first one, wondering why the hell my fingers were sticking to the tape, when I noticed the words “DOUBLE SIDED” on the package.  Huh???  I thought that stuff was only used by women attempting to wear incredibly skimpy dresses without suffering the dreaded wardrobe malfunction.  How did this get placed on the shelf next to the wrapping paper?  Obviously this was a mistake or one hell of a cruel joke.  Either way, it’s all I had so I attempted to use it as best as I could.

Yeah.. it’s going in the garbage and I’m going to buy some REAL tape and pay more attention to what it says on the package.

And next year everyone is getting gift cards!

 

Christmas Theme

Published December 13, 2011 - 4 Comments

Wow.. it’s hard to imagine that this blog has been around long enough for me to say this, but…

Usually I switch over to a really cute Christmas WordPress theme for the holidays, but not this year.  I like the other theme quite a bit, but it’s dated at this point, and it really screws with my Thesis settings when I revert back after the holidays are over.  I remember the headache from last year, and I just don’t want to go through that again.

So instead of changing the theme, I decided to add a Dancing Santa, and turn the default grey skin into a nice Christmasy red one!  Hopefully that puts people in a cheery mood!  🙂

Less than 2 weeks now.  This is the first year that the kids will be at my place Christmas morning.  I’m looking forward to that.  It’s such a busy day, but it will be worth it.  I hope!

Now to just get some wrapping done…

10 Years in the Making (repost)

Published December 11, 2011 - 4 Comments
[Originally posted Mar 10, 2009]

March 1999.  I was on a 4 day bus ride from Saint John, NB to San Diego.  From one corner of the continent to the far corner.  If you want to see America in whirlwind fashion, Greyhound is the way to go.  It probably cost me half as much for the short bus from here to the nearest Greyhound terminal in Maine, but once I got there, I took full advantage of their “Anywhere in Continental USA for $99” deal.  It was the first time I had done anything crazy like that, and I saw some interesting sights, and some interesting people.

I had decided to reinvent myself, and take a job at a fledgling computer game company in San Diego.  The game was EverQuest, and it’s hard to imagine that this was basically an unproven genre at the time…  How many games have built off the popularity of EQ?

So for 4 days I rode that bus.  I noticed that I wasn’t the only one on an extended trip, but I was by far the most seasoned traveler at the end of it.  I heard people complain about being on the bus for 2 days.  Yeah, I wish I was only on the bus for 2 days.  By the end of the 4th day I was definitely in need of a shower, and a real bed.  Or in my case, a couch. But it was definitely an experience.

Speaking of Train Wrecks…

Published December 10, 2011 - 0 Comments

First it was just the cover.  Somehow it leaked onto the internet… Gee, is nothing sacred any more?  Then 24 hours later the entire pictorial ended up online.  Who are we talking about, you ask?  Well, if you’re like me, when you look at that cover picture… you probably still don’t know… Unless you read the name LINDSAY, which might give it away.

That’s right.  I’m talking about Lindsay Lohan… that runaway train wreck that never seems to quite derail no matter how close it comes.  But you already knew that.

I have to be quite honest… These are not the Lindsay Lohan pictures that I had hoped for.  They don’t even look like her.  There’s no way that if you showed me those pictures and gave me 100 guesses that I would come up with her name.  Sure, she looks great… but really… they’re nothing special.  If it wasn’t for the celebrity factor, I wouldn’t even give them a second thought.  “Hmm… nice…”  move on.

Disappointing.

And honestly, I was already getting a little tired of hearing about this woman.  These pictures haven’t changed that.

If you’re still interested in seeing the complete set, I remind you that these are exactly what you would expect from Playboy, so view at your own risk.

[And apparently the lawyers got people to start taking down the pictures, so that link no longer works… but I’m sure with a little imagination you can find them easily enough if you are so inclined]

White Coke Cans? Say it Isn’t So…

Published December 7, 2011 - 2 Comments

A Little Too Close, Perhaps?

When I first saw the new holiday white Coke cans, I thought that they were pretty sharp looking!  I understood the reasoning behind it.  Coke and the polar bears have been an item well before I ever got hooked on their liquid crack cocaine.  The idea to promote conservation awareness for the polar bear seemed like a good one to me, although not good enough for me to make a donation.  But the cans themselves looked appealing.

A day or two later I saw the first report of a supposed consumer backlash against the company that had dared to package their flagship product in anything other than a red can for the first time in its history.  What’s the big deal, I thought?  Seemed like it was really blown out of proportion to me.

Then I saw the problem first hand when I was in the store.  It’s not that the cans aren’t red.  It’s that they’re white.  Someone who likes regular Coke may not be able to easily locate them, but will eventually stumble onto them, or ask.  But the white cans look very similar in appearance to the silver Diet Coke cans, meaning those who drink Diet can easily pick up the wrong one if they’re not careful.  Now I know what you’re probably thinking “C’mon… can’t people read the labels?”  Sure.. the Diet ones are clearly marked as such… but a company like Coke spends millions of dollars every year to reinforce its brand image with consumers… people instinctively reach for their preferred flavour based on these visual cues… and someone at Coca-Cola should have realized that there was the potential for confusion here.

Now, to the people who claimed that the taste of Coke in the white cans was somehow different than Coke in the red cans… they’re idiots.  We won’t worry too much about those people.  But for everyone else who thought they were buying Diet Coke, only to discover when they got home that it was regular Coke… those people have a legitimate gripe.  Coca-Cola has responded by scrapping the campaign.

Which is too bad… cuz I liked them!