Whine about Cheese

So, I’ve always been rather confused about SMS, MMS, and the data plan from Verizon. And finally, after asking Verizon customer support, I have a clearer picture. At least a clearer picture of how much they would charge me for it all.

My overaching goal is to set things up at work so that I’m using my phone as a pager, if need be. So I need some kind of interrupt-driven (or frequent poll) notification method. My hope has been to take advantage of the exorbitantly expensive data plan to do that. And I’m still figuring that out.

I think the issues is that the providers all call the stuff different things. My Treo 650 comes with two messaging applications – ‘SMS’ and ‘MMS’ – SMS is what verizon (and most of the rest of the providers) calls text messaging. It’s completely separate from any data plan, and paying $45 dollars a month for the unlimited data plan gets you jack squat with regard to text messages. Which is a shame, because text messaging would be quite useful, and as far as I can tell, it’s the only interrupt-driven messaging option (well, mms probably is too). ChatterMail might likely be able to turn IMAP into an interrupt-driven notification (however, I don’t think it can do that with SSL enabled). And Chatopus probably could with Jabber (again, not with SSL). I sorta understood that already, and am still thinking through what I want to do there (verizon does provide an email-to-sms gateway). Verizon does offer bulk text messages so you don’t pay $.10 a message.

What had really been confusing me was the MMS messaging (basically sending video and pictures and pretty messages – Verizon calls it ‘pix’ and ‘flix’ messaging) – that’s not part of the unlimited data plan either (which is confusing, because sending MMS messages initiates some kind of data connection). Those are $.25 a message, with a 40 message bulk plan for $5 (not all that much of a deal). As far as I can tell, you are just better off emailing your pictures and videos with your data plan. (and they have unlimited ‘in’ messaging plans – which don’t do me much good with the work-related messages.

Bottom line? MMS isn’t useful (to me) – I need to figure out something useful to do with the data plan – and SMS seems to be the pager-replacement (maybe an SMS with links or ‘go check email’ for more information). Oh yeah, the data plan is still too expensive.

Bout time this began winding down

Continuing in the fun…. (though it’s not likely to be all that fun when I get signed up for who-knows-what-other-spam-lists)

From: jason.young@ncsu.edu Subject: Re: Only for Students job details Date: November 28, 2005 9:24:12 PM EST To: ljohnson794011470@associate-support.com

On Nov 28, 2005, at 11:16 AM, Linda Johnson wrote:


Last week you expressed interest in participating in our research team. Did you forget about this appealing job offer? You are one of the few students who did not register for our program! There are only a few vacant positions left and you will miss your chance for a great job.

You can benefit from our promotion and become a member for the incredible one-time membership fee of only $10! Most of our Members earn from $650 to $850 per week. The more experienced ones earn above $900! A training program and special bonuses are available upon signing up and will increase your earnings.

Hello Dr. Johnson!

It’s so good to hear from you. I have great news! Timmy is getting much better! And my dad’s boss, Mr. Ebenezer has apparently come into a large sum of money from a royal family overseas! Mr. Ebenezer was so overjoyed at the news that he gave my dad a big bonus and brought Timmy a “Knows Your Name” Elmo to the hospital on Thanksgiving where we all feasted on turkey-flavored Spam and gelled cranberry sauce from the hospital cafeteria. Oh happy day!

I still might be interested. There are some loose ends that I’d like to clear up though.

You’ve sent me mail from multiple addresses:

linda.johnson794011470@thbglobal.com lindaj794011470@associate-support.com ljohnson794011470@associate-support.com

Why did you do that? Most faculty I know only have one email address that they use for corresponding with their students.

You never told me what University you work at. Or what your Ph.D. is in

And your response to my last note really confused me:

Theres nothing to be sceptical about- more than 10 000 people have already ta > ken advantage of our services. Dont let someone else take your place.

I thought this was just a research team for NC State University?!? That’s a lot of people on your team. Is ‘sceptical’ a particular research term? I’m not sure of the definition of that.

Thanks! Jason

More fun with spammers

following up from: my first post o’ fun

From: jason.young@ncsu.edu Subject: Re: Job for students-details Date: November 22, 2005 1:56:24 PM EST To: lindaj794011470@associate-support.com

On Nov 21, 2005, at 10:15 AM, Linda Johnson wrote:


I appreciate your interest in our marketing research team and the attractive employment opportunities we offer. Your consumer opinion is important for many companies and they are ready to pay you well for helping them improve the quality of their products and services.

To learn more about this hot job opportunity and to join our team, please visit the web-page below:


Please bear in mind that the vacancies are limited. Secure your place in the team by signing up immediately. On average, our members earn from $650 to $850 per week.

Looking forward to having you in our team!

Sincerely, Linda http://www.associatesurveys.com/specialafide.html

################################################ This e-mail is intended only for the addressee(s) and may contain privileged and confidential information. It should not be disseminated, distributed, or copied. If you have received this e-mail message by mistake, please inform the sender, and delete it from your system. This message is sent to the addressee(s) because surveys information from Associate Surveys was requested by the addressee(s). If you don’t wish to receive further messages from us, please reply to this message with the appropriate request. ################################################

Hello Dr. Johnson,

If you’ll pardon my questions on this, I’m a little concerned with this website. My mom has warned me that there are often a number of internet scams (as I mentioned in my last note, she’s a truck driver and has had people try to cause accidents with her in order to collect on insurance) – and I just want to make sure this isn’t a scam. It looks like a very legitimate site, but I’m just looking for a little reassurance.

I noticed that there is a sign-up fee. With Christmas coming, I’m not sure I could spare a single penny unless I somehow could get a guarantee that I’d get that money back and then enough to buy my brother Timmy his Elmo (Timmy is in the hospital again, and it looks we might be spending Thanksgiving there). Is there any way you could waive the sign-up fee?

In my last night, I asked what University you were a Professor at and whether that was a NC school. I’m not sure if you saw that question. I’m just trying to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.


I definitely do not miss the meetings

One of my former staff members in Engineering now has the job as Systems Manager over there. He’s continuing in the fine tradition of posting activity notes on the ITECS Systems site – including the comment from his past week in ITECS: Holy piles of crap, Batman! That’s alot of meetings.

During the same week – I had: 0 meetings.

zero meetings turns out to be worth even pam configuration problems at 12:30 in the morning 🙂

(actually going from delegating to doing again has been an interesting experience and worthy of another set of reflections sometime soon)

Fun with Spammers

I’ve decided to have some fun this week:

From: linda.johnson794011470@thbglobal.com Subject: Job opportunity Date: November 20, 2005 12:34:32 PM EST To: jason.young@ncsu.edu

Dear Student,

I would like to offer you an exciting and well-paid job opportunity available to students from North Carolina State University. Every year we recruit reliable and self-motivated young people to participate in research projects for prestigious local and international companies.

You can earn from $650 to $850 per week by saying what you think. You will participate in online surveys, focus groups, and product/service evaluations. Get rewarded for your time and efforts.

This job is easy and rewarding. All you need is a computer, Internet connection, and good English skills. You will be free to decide from the comfort of your home when to work, how much to work, and which assignments to take. If you like the job, you can keep it as long as you want!

To become part of the research team, please write back and I will be happy to send you more information.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Prof. Linda Johnson, Ph.D.

Hi Dr. Johnson!

I’m really interested in your job opportunity. My tiny little brother Timmy really, really, wants a “Knows Your Name Elmo” for christmas – and I’m not sure that’s going to happen. My Dad, Bob, got laid off from accounting firm last year, and know he’s working part-time as a clerk and is struggling to pay Timmy’s medical bills (Timmy has a congenital leg defect). My mom is a truck driver, and she’s been hit real hard by the increases in gas prices. And with me in college…, well it’s been a tough year for my family. I know I’m just going on and on. But I could really use the money, and I’m very motivated, and reliable. The idea of being able to do this from my dorm and computer is very appealing, and the fact that it’s a research team will help my chances of getting into grad school I bet.

I’m a little concerned though, I tried visiting ‘thbglobal.com’ and there’s no web site there. You also didn’t mention where you were a professor at. Are you a professor at a NC school? Is there an opportunity to get any kind of course credit with your research?

Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you!


Treo Side Button

So, on the personal geek side of my life, I decided to take the plunge a few weeks ago, and upgrade my verizon phone to the Treo 650, which I’ve wanted since I’ve been a verizon subscriber, but they didn’t have it yet when I became a subscriber. So after watching my LG phone get worse and worse (it had a problem where the internal screen would just stop displaying) – I decided to get the Treo, retail price be damned.

I like the Treo a fair amount. I’m not very happy with the verizon bluetooth limitations, but I’ll save that post for later.

What’s been annoying me though is that the side button is virtually useless.

Palm Side Button

If you want to use the camera at all on the thing (not that I really use it, but it’s fun to place with now and again) – the 5-way navigator button doesn’t really cut it as a shutter release. Ideally, I’d like to use the side button, but there’s no built-in tool to remap buttons like that.

Thankfully, I found sharkbtn (and I think Butler by hobbyist software can do this too). Sharkbtn is free, (well, donations accepted, but I’m not really sure I want to pay $8-$10 for a utility that I only use to map a single button) – and it works great. I’ll make up for the donation thing by buying the Sharkmsg app at some point – or something else the kid writes.