First three days back

Day 1: Indoor rock climbing with my little sister

Day 2: First snow for Mina and Max, up at Wrightwood

Day 3: Storytime at the Main St. Branch of the Huntington Beach Public Library. First beach visit – we parked in the state beach lot and started walking to the water, but MAx and Mina got distracted by the sand so we headed back. Still too cold anyway. Got a SIM for my phone (more on this later) at At&T and went indoor climbing again. Pho dac biet for late dinner.

I accidentally deleted all of my Gmail contacts with my Android phone…

…but this is why I use Gmail instead of, say, Hmail or Ymail. I restored all 1,000+ of my contacts by logging into Gmail on a PC and doing the following:

  1. Click Contacts.
  2. From the More actions drop-down menu, choose Restore contacts.
  3. Choose the time you’d like to revert your contacts list to (e.g. 10 minutes ago, one hour ago, one week ago, etc). We suggest that you also make a note of the time that you restore your contacts, in case you’d like to return to where you started.
  4. Click Restore. You’ll see a confirmation at the top of the screen when the rollback is complete.

You can perform a restore from up to 30 days ago.

This info plus more can be found on the relevant Google support page.

USB 3.0 in full matzofrackin effect!

We’re leaving for the US tomorrow night, so I’m preparing a full data backup of our most important work plus digital photos that now number in the hundreds of thousands and date back 14 years or so. It all adds up to less than a terabyte because I store the big files like RAW format photos and midget elephant tentacle pr0n elsewhere. So the backup method I started from our last trip back home is to copy everything to an external HD and store it at our home in the states – it’s a pretty ideal offsite storage solution.

I went to buy a 2.5″ USB hard drive at the computer store and found that last year’s flood has driven the price on HDs up at least 20% even here in Thailand. The one major difference in spec on external HDs from two years ago is that most of them feature USB 3 now. Eager to see if it really makes a difference or not, I got home and promptly dumped my photo archives on it… It really is super fast! It feels like the transfer speed is limited by the speed of the drive now instead of bottlenecking at the controller. The transfer rate holds steady over 40 MB/second and peaks at over 50, which is a hell of a lot faster than I remember the USB 2 drives being.

The Toyota “Kujira” Crown, Reborn

After five months of being held hostage by a rogue body shop, a brief return home, and then a serious accident caused by a negligent repair shop, the Kuj has returned.

These are the kinds of photos I really wanted to take before the accident, but I never had the chance. The body shop to which the work was outsourced did a good job – they pounded out parts I thought would be impossible to save, and finished the job slowly while looking for parts.

Only one rare part was totally lost – the lower right front turn signal lens and frame. The shop returned the car to me apologizing for not being able to source the parts in four whole months. At that point, I just wanted the damn car back so I agreed to accept it with this one glaring omission. Then I got my Google on and found the part in one day, shipped from a fellow Crown fan in Bangkok.

Ironically, a good smack in the front end seems to have cured several chronic engine issues. For now, I am just very happy to have the Crown back.

Location: Maha Sarakham bypass, just around the corner from my neighborhood.

Screenshots with HTC Desire HD

My Desire HD, which is running original (non-rooted) Orange system software, was recently updated to Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) and HTC Sense 3.0. Along with all the UI improvements and improved battery performance came a very cool feature: The ability to capture screens built into the system.

To capture a screen (take a screenshot) with an updated Desire HD, hold down the power button while pressing the Home key. By default, the phone will make a camera shutter sound to let you know it captured the screen.

This same procedure will work on some other updated (Android 2.3.5, HTC Sense 3) HTC phones, and apparently on Apple iPhones as well (which they will teach you FOR FREE at your local Genius bar!).