This is BrainLog, a blog by Dan Sanderson. Older entries, from October 1999 through September 2010, are preserved for posterity, but are no longer maintained. See the front page and newer entries.

April 2009 Archives

April 29, 2009

Mounting an Android Phone as a Drive

Newbie Android tip: You can attach your Android phone to your computer to use its SD card as an external hard drive. To do so, connect it to your computer using the USB cable included with the phone. The phone does not mount automatically. Instead, a notification appears on the phone. Open the notifications panel and select the USB connection notification. In the confirmation dialog, select "Mount." The phone mounts as a drive on your computer. Be sure to unmount it from your computer before disconnecting.

April 27, 2009

Windowsill, an amazing graphic adventure. The first half is free, the second half is $3; you might as well buy it up front, since you're going to anyway. Windows or Mac.

From the artist who did this Internet classic.

April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur has passed away at the age of 86.

April 25, 2009

Enabling EDGE Data on the HTC Dream Phone with AT&T

The HTC Dream is the first mobile smart phone that runs the Google Android operating system that made it to market. It is sold subsidized and locked to the T-Mobile network as the T-Mobile G1, and also sold unlocked (and more expensively) as the Android Dev Phone 1. The Dream works with any GSM network, including T-Mobile and AT&T.

The AT&T experience is not ideal (and AT&T does not sell a version of the Dream yet). In particular, you can't use AT&T's 3G network, even though the device supports T-Mobile 3G. However, you can use AT&T's slower EDGE network. If you have an unlocked Dream phone and an AT&T SIM card with a data plan, you can enable EDGE networking as follows:

  1. From the Home screen, press Menu, then select Settings.
  2. Select "Wireless controls," then "Mobile networks," then "Access Point Names."
  3. Press Menu, then select New APN. Enter the following values in each of the fields:
    • Name: AT&T
    • APN: wap.cingular
    • Proxy: unset
    • Port: unset
    • Username:
    • Password: CINGULAR1 (with uppercase letters)
    • Server: unset
    • MMSC:
    • MMS proxy: unset
    • MMS port: 80
    • MCC: 310
    • MNC: 410
    • APN type: unset
    Press Menu, then Save.
  4. Press Back to return to the "Mobile network settings" screen.
  5. Probably optional: Select "Use only 2G networks."

If your SIM card is good, you have a data plan, you're in range of an AT&T EDGE network and you're not already connected to a wireless access point, an EDGE connection icon should appear in the notifications bar. It looks like an "E" with up and down arrows. (Sorry, I'm too lazy to produce a screenshot.) If you are connected to Wi-Fi, you can disable it temporarily from the "Wireless controls" settings screen to test your EDGE connection.

This is especially useful if you use an iPhone as your regular phone, and have acquired an unlocked Dream (such as the Android Dev Phone 1) for development or tinkering purposes. You can just take the SIM card out of your iPhone, put it in the Dream, and set up EDGE to get a fully functional phone. (Google employees all got unlocked Dream phones as a holiday gift last December.)

Thanks to this T-Mobile forum post for the EDGE config.

April 24, 2009

Face Mining: Finding Who and When in Video charts the appearances of all of the major characters in the original Star Trek TV series. A demo by Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition.

April 23, 2009

Aneesh Paul Chopra, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia and soon to be the new Federal CTO, from the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee "State of the Net" conference, 2009.

Tim O'Reilly: Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO.

April 18, 2009

The Pac-Man Dossier.

April 17, 2009

The San Francisco Chronicle review of the YouTube Symphony event.

The New York Times review of the event.

The piano soloist in the second act of the YouTube Symphony performance was Yuja Wang. Her site's a little crazy, but it's got info and recordings. Yuja, please do an album so I can buy it.

(The site links to YouTube videos that have been removed due to content licensing issues, which seems especially weird considering how she was featured at YouTube's event.)

Joshua Roman and Mason Bates at Le Poisson Rouge [YouTube], at the YouTube Symphony open mic night.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Act Two:

I dare say Tan Dun's Eroica sounded much better in this final version than the first London Symphony session. It's interesting to see how it's grown.

April 16, 2009

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Act One:

Seattle Symphony fans, check out Joshua Roman's introduction and solo performance at 36:04.

Great TV ad from Sprint [YouTube]. (Did I just blog a commercial?)

April 15, 2009

The YouTube Symphony debuts tonight at Carnegie Hall, with the video of the concert to be posted on the website tomorrow. An orchestra selected from an open online audition (with audition videos posted to YouTube) will perform a piece commissioned for the event by Tan Dun, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. They'll also be doing a full concert of symphonic works.

Audition materials included conductor practice videos for various parts of the symphony. As a prelude to tonight's performance, YouTube has posted a mashup of many audition videos synchronized to perform the piece. The symphony itself is not all that impressive, but it does meet some basic requirements for this kind of experiment to succeed, with simple parts and varietal orchestration. The mashup is reasonably interesting, about as interesting as the original video of the London Symphony Orchestra performing the piece.

The website now includes many more supplemental videos, including rehearsal videos and interviews. Check out the highlights reel from the first day of rehearsals.

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz has aired on public radio stations across the U.S. for 30 years. To celebrate, this week's show is a re-airing of the debut episode with Marian and Billy Taylor. The show is always good, but this first episode is full of joy. It's a must-hear for their improvised two-piano jazz duets. Listen to full shows on NPR's website. (The "podcast" of the show is merely excerpts of the interviews and contains almost none of the music, likely due to licensing issues that obstruct many excellent public radio programs from doing full podcasts.)

Poster comparing the sizes of objects in our galaxy. I didn't know Neptune and Uranus were so big. Dwarf planet Pluto isn't even on this poster, which is probably fine because it's smaller than our moon.

This image is hosted on Image Shack so the link may break. I'd like to know the original source of this poster, and maybe get one...

April 14, 2009

Pilot School, bootlegs of dozens of scripts for pilots—both made and unmade. (Via John August.)

Design Observer: Ten Graphic Design Paradoxes. Business and interpersonal lessons from the world of freelance graphic design.

April 9, 2009

Cory Doctorow: How to survive the Web without embracing it. The usual points about the futility of content protection on the Internet told to a receptive audience, but it's still cool to see them so well stated.

April 7, 2009

Google App Engine adds Java support. And scheduled tasks (cron). (I wrote the documentation.)

Especially check out the new Eclipse plugin with super-easy support for App Engine and GWT. GWT+AE+Eclipse = awesome. If you like Java, anyway.