Verizon Sent Me the Wrong Phone

On Wednesday, April 28, my Motorola Droid broke (the second time). A piece inside the microUSB port fell out while unplugging my phone, leaving the phone un-chargeable unless put in an odd position at an angle: not fun. No problem though, right? I’m still under warranty. Sure enough, Verizon was nice enough to send me a replacement phone, overnight, free of charge. Awesome! It shipped out April 29 and I got it on the 30th.

When the phone arrived I went through the fairly standard procedure: wipe data from old phone, keep battery/card/back-cover, install them in new phone and activate by dialing *228. In a few minutes after waiting on crappy activation music, it was done. My phone instantly picked up a signal and I went on my merry way packaging up the old phone to send back.

I started to notice some weird things that night though. The first was that I was told I had to dial the area code while ‘roaming’. This was weird, but I figured dialing *22899 to refresh the cell tower data would fix it. No luck though. Oh well– it’ll sort itself out. Then I started getting messages from my friends asking why I wasn’t answering my phone. I decided to run an experiment by calling my home phone from my cell. The caller ID showed up as a 410 area code (Maryland). It was bidirectional too, meaning my phone rang when I called the Maryland number. My old local number went straight to voicemail.

I called up Verizon and told them about the issue, and the rep I had was very confused by the situation. I was put on hold a couple times and told that he would have to converse with a higher-up. Verizon claims that they can’t program the phone remotely to my correct number and decide to ship me yet another new phone, same as last time. Meanwhile, I have no access to my old number and some poor soul in Maryland probably wants their number back. I can make and receive calls on this Maryland number, and Verizon recognizes me as the person on that account. Luckily though, it was secure enough such that I couldn’t make any account changes without the social security number.

The new (Droid #4) phone is set to arrive tomorrow, and hopefully it’ll work just fine. I’ll have 3 Droids in the house then… but I have to send 2 of them back via prepaid FedEx.

Robot Arm Project — New Life

If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m back from New Zealand. I’m just too lazy to write about it.

The Robot Arm project has been gathering some dust for a while. Code is a little slow to develop since I can only access the arm itself on Saturdays. That said, however, I’ve fixed  a problem! To connect to the Gamoto motor control board, I need a USB-Serial adapter and then a janky-as-shit serial-to-Gamoto adapter which connects to some protoboard, which connects finally to the Gamoto.  I learned Saturday that I rushed my first job in creating the janky-as-shit serial-to-Gamoto adapter and barely connected the wire to the correct pin. It was a cold solder joint, so I made a new adapter, and I wanted to share a trick that some people might not know.

When soldering wires to headers (sets of pins), you can put the bottom of the header in a protoboard, hook the wire around the pin, and solder like that. It works really well and is much easier than soldering without the hook.

Anyways, code will be posted soon. It’s currently being edited constantly in an effort to improve/optimize/extend. This is my first real Python project so I’m learning all the time.

Catching Lightning

Catching lightning from two tesla coils

Catching lightning from two tesla coils

At the lab we have 3 tesla coils owned by different members. We decided to put them all in one room. Chaos SCIENCE ensued! This is a picture of me catching lightning with a grounded sword. In simple terms: there’s a wire attached to the sword, which is attached to ground. The tesla coil electricity travels through the wire, and not me.

Hopefully, more on tesla coil stuffs later.

Hackerbot Labs Post: The Laser Box

This is the first post I did on the Hackerbot Labs blog. Check it out.

The Blog

Hello blogosphere! I’ve decided to join you! I’m mostly going to be writing about my projects, not too much about unrelated bits of my personal life, so I hope you like it.

My life is a lot of fun, so I’m going to share it with you. Hopefully this turns out well.