Home Office Business Continuity

Sunday/Monday our Verizon FIOS stopped working as did our Verizon telephone (via FIOS.)   I went through the MY FIOS troubleshooter (it solved my problems once).  A few calls to Verizon later we had a repair scheduled for Thursday – 4 days later.

This presented a problem, currently, we have 4 people, all with jobs, living in our house. All of us are on video constantly and one of us must always work over a VPN on very large documents.    We could survive on telephone hotspots for a day or so, but quickly that was going to lose its charm. 

To their credit, my wife’s company offered to send a 5G internet router (not here yet, looking forward to it) but that wasn’t gonna help the next 4 days.

Long story short – XFINITY (Comcast) was able to turn back on the cable to our house, a nice person at Best Buy dropped a cable modem in my trunk, and for $40/month we have failover if we ever need it again (they’ll even let me cancel and turn it back on month to month.)

Today Verizon came and fixed what turned out to be a broken ONT and, very kindly left a second so that if it happens again they do not need to roll a truck.

Next steps – explore a RaspBerry Pie or Router solution to automate failover :-).

Total Costs:

Item Cost
NETGEAR – CM1000-100NAS 3.1 cable modem $169 (refurb from amazon $129)
Config and first month charge $100 plus $40/month for 200/5MB service
Adding In house Line coverage from Verizon $15/month

Still Here

Amusingly, (amazingly?) tell 1and1 to update my wordpress and BOOM-my ancient blog is back in it’s minimalist glory.

Since the last time I touched it my kids are taller and both are better programmers and web designers then I (https://sam.daitzman.com, http://jdtzmn.github.io).

Anyway, nice that the blog is sort of back :-).





Android = Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (11 August 1993) (Long)

If you are old enough to remembrer Windows for Workgroups 3.11 you probably remember it fondly.  It connected to the internet (14,4000 for the lucky, 28,800 or faster for the incredibly lucky!) and rarely crashed if you knew what you were doing.

Stable, but just barely.

A phone should not require a nightly reboot  as my Jelly Bean based Galaxy Note 3 does to ensure that the alarm wakes me up in the morning and the telephone app doesn’t lock up.

Put simply, I can not recommend Android Devices to anyone. Not with Iphones and Windows Phones out which actually WORK as phones and alarm clocks.

Yet, I am still carrying it mostly happily.

What I was looking for:
a. wanted to only carry 1 device, not phone, iPad, and a kindle (to have books read to me.) To do that it means I am starting to buy books from google or convert from kindle to fbreader.   This is for a very specific use case – I find it valuable to have text spoken to me as I read technical or other non-fiction books. I need to try the general screen readers as well.  In general my iphone 4 was better at this use case.

b. I chose to invite complexity of android into my life by getting a Note. I don’t recommend android to people in general.

c. If you choose android give up any pretense of privacy. You have none. Stuff I did on my phone began showing up on my laptop searches. I now use tor router, a limited keyboard and duckduckgo for much of my day to day work. Check out google play guardian project apps for a bit more privacy.

I believe iPhone and Windows Phone are superior in almost every way. For me solving the myriad problems of it was a way to refocus on a consumer product and technology in general.

The Bad:

a. A consumer should not have to go hunting for a podcast player (pick your favorite standard feature,) nor should they then have to download 4 which each have radically different UI’s to pick their favorite.

b. NO ONE should have to use touchwiz (sorry, I get a hairball just thinking about it. )

c. It is huge.

d. My first one had a  gps defect, many did (See http://goo.gl/PaIx3V for details.) My AT&T replacement fixed it.

g. Every useful app wants access to everything about me they can find.  Why a flashlight wants to see my contacts I do not know – perhaps to enlighten them.

h. bluetooth stereo fails in my car so most of the voice features fail for me – bloody heck, my iPhone 4 worked better!

And yet, I find it works well for me.

Best I can tell it is for a series of reasons – *’s next to the ones that are strongest:

*a. Email while less pretty works well and has a filter by unread mode which  I like. (Though it is a bit broken, you have to go back to the list instead of forward and backward in mail.)

*b. Being able to read all the events on the calendar in month view is glorious.

*c. Nova Launcher makes me happy (without this I would have returned it due to touchwiz)

*d. The battery just keeps going

e. being able to swap keyboards is nice – though all want to access my most private things.

*f. After a month I began actually using the stylus. For note taking in meetings it is less obtrusive and works very well.

*g. the large screen is glorious

h. I have become a fan of todotxt(.com) and it works well

*i. I loved that I could try 70 GTD todolist apps till I found one that i like.

j. evernote and last pass work well.

*k. multiwindow is AWESOME

**l. widgets rock (tip of the hat to Nokia Symbian for this idea.)

*m. dolphin browser

n. google now, though a privacy nightmare, is very cool

*o. Tasker, once I figure it out, will be amazing

Things that would make it perfect: 1. if i get screen reader working to read just when i want, 2. if I could get it to read (text to speech) my email and let me respond to email handsfree while driving.

Also, worth noting, Amazon deserves public shaming for not including Text to Speech in kindle on Android and for not supporting video and Amazon Instant Video on Android when it IS supported on Kindle which runs android. Basically they have pushed me to purchase books on google and video on Vudu. I assume this is not what they intended.


Delight Me!

I am a Sprint Telephone customer and, unlike some of their customers, I am happy with them.

I first purchased a Treo 600 many years ago, along with their insurance. Sprint has regularly upgraded me, for no additional fee, every few years so that I now have a Treo 700p. When problems arise they have always addressed them for me quickly.

But Sprint has no iPhones so the day the iPhone was announced I drove to the closest Cingular store and put my name on a list. I was signed up for phones number 3 and 4 when they got them in.

Today I stopped by to make sure that I did not need to arrive early in the day and was told that, “the list no longer exists, it will be first come first serve.”

Needless to say, I was not delighted. What makes it more annoying is how simple it would have been for AT&T to delight me. The scenario should have gone like this:

Me, hearing my telephone ring: Hello
AT&T: Good morning this is AT&T calling, I am trying to reach Michael Daitzman
Me: That’s me!
AT&T: We see that you signed up for an iPhone at our store in Waltham. Rather then make you visit the store that day, which is likely to be a madhouse, we wanted to offer you the opportunity to have us federal express an iPhone to you on friday afternoon. Would you like to go ahead and do that?
Me: Absolutely!!!

That taste would have been sweet.

The Quality Path

Whenever I head off on a car trip of over 30 minutes, without my children or wife in the car, I call Ed. The longer the car trip the better because every conversation is too short.

Ed is the kind of guy who, in the same discussion, says things like, “You know I think the guys doing the mac interfaces did the COM ones because the interfaces are really similar” and “You know in the Bhagavad Gita where it talks about fearlessness and choosing a path?” I hang up the phone thinking how lucky I am to have the friends I have.

During one of our discussions I was struggling with my need to come up with a business plan, and learning what Ed was up to, and thinking/talking a lot about Shirt Pocket Software and how, if I was a programmer, I would love to open up a one person shop making truly great products that fit a need well enough to earn me a decent living.

Ed said he was spending a LOT of time learning to code on the mac, and when he described the process, I became intrigued. This was low level stuff – stuff which to my eye had little clear payoff. This was learning for no reason beyond the joy of learning. It clearly had him jazzed though and since he is Smart and Wise, and since I am trying to figure out my path, I asked something like, “What is the end game – do you have something in mind you want to build? What is your motivation?”

Ed said something like, “No, if I try doing that, it is never successful. When confronted with several options I just try to follow the quality path – that inevitably leads to a good outcome.”

That discussion has been resonating through me for months – follow the quality path, follow the quality path – curiosity leavened by the aesthetic of quality – a great decision matrix and a fearless way to live.

It made me start asking other friends about their decision trees, what motivates them, and how do they evaluate success.

It has taken me months to get to the state where I am ready to do more then just talk about this. My quality path apparently leads me through writing about this – and after some detours that path begins now.

VOIP/SIP as a business phone

Vonage monthly cost for a telephone line: $24.95
SIPPHONE costs: however many calls I make plus $0.33 for caller id. Way better deal. Even once Grandcentral starts charging
(expect $15 a month) this is still a good deal.

SIPHONE Minutes for outbound calls: $0.02 cents a minutes
PAP2T ATA for dialtone: $59.95

Inbound calls via GrandCentral.com currently free.
Note: This gives you killer phone features – ring all phones I may be at, custom ring tones based on who is calling, phone spam filters, check
Pogues Review.
For premium caller id privilege – $4/year (weird set up via gizmoweb rather then sipphone. . . . .)

Would I recommend this to my mother? No – I spent a fair amount of time diddling routers, arguing with sipphone over email to refund me a duplicate charge, etc. For my mom, and most people, the beauty of vonage is that they answer the phone when I have a problem.


Whether the FVS124g gigabit VPN router is a good piece of equipment or not I leave for another day. But, if you want it to work with Vonage you must do the following (thanks to Netgear Enterprise post moderator endurorider – used with permission)


Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 35
Re: Peaceful Coexistence of FVS124G and Vonage Using Linksys PAP2
You need to turn off SIP ALG on the FVS124G.

Disabling SIP through CLI on FVS124G to allow VoIP traffic to pass

Step 1

Telnet to the LAN interface of the router. You must be connected locally to one of the router’s LAN ports.

Step 2

Enter your Username and Password. This is the same as if you were logging into the webGUI.

Step 3

Type ‘Cli’ using a capital ‘C’.

Step 4

You should now be in the CLI of the router. Type ‘config/algs’.

Step 5

There are 6 different protocols you need to disable.


Use the command ‘disable ’.

Step 6

Check to make sure the 6 protocols have been disabled by using the ‘show’ command.

Step 7

Save your work by typing ‘save’ command. When you hit Enter, there may be a slight delay while the router is saving.

Step 8

Finally, type ‘exit’ and then ‘logout’ and you’re done!

What Motivates Me?

Right now I am doing some consulting, helping folks improve their software development process, setting up a company so I can charge a fair price for helping them, and preparing myself for what is next – while trying to figure out what that is!

What motivates you? Given Alternative options how do you decide what to do?

I’ve begun asking people those sorts of questions and the answers I get make me realize that this core question gets REALLY interesting and leads me to think that documentating the discussions is important.

So, with that in mind, I will probably start doing some posts around this topic, and open up this post for discussion. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. . . .