Space Shuttle Endeavour over Orange County

Caught the Space Shuttle Endeavour making a U-turn over Orange County, on its way to landing at LAX airport. Hope to see it closeup when it gets settled at the California Science Museum. Picture taken on the Harbor Blvd I-5 overpass, just north of Disneyland.

Posted in Uncategorized

Watermelon Carving

Went to the 2011 Irvine Global Village Festival last week and at the Thailand Cultural booth, saw a carver that was doing these amazing fruit carvings. He’s not native Thai, but his wife is, and he learned his craft, over several years living in Thailand. I’ve only seen these being done in Youtube videos, and to see an example up close, was just amazing.


Posted in General

Duct Tape Door


Duct tape: is there nothing you can’t fix? Note the attention to detail the owner put into matching the look of the side door bumper guards with dark duct tape.

Posted in Odd

Jesus Detailing


Seen on the way home on South I-5 near Anaheim.

Ezekiel 36:25: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

Posted in Odd

Cutting our Land Line Phone Service

So today we submitted the official paperwork to cut our land line phone service for our home phone number. The Letter of Agency form that we filled out, signed and emailed to Callcentric, gives them the authority to acquire and take over our  phone number from Cox, our current land-line provider (aka Line Number Port or “LNP”)  They say this process could take a few weeks to complete, and once they have the number, we’re charged the $25 LNP transfer fee.

Posted in Voip

Callcentric

We decided to try out a VOIP provider that would work with my OBi110 we purchased earlier. For the moment, this is just for test purposes, to see how well the sound quality is, and how reliable the service is.

We chose a company called Callcentric . They seem to have reasonable reviews,  and had reasonable rates. You pay $1.50 per month for 911 access with location services. If you want a new phone number for dial in, it’s $1.95 per month. You pay 1.5 cents per minute for incoming calls, and about 2 cents a minute for outgoing calls.

The OBi110 we’re using has 2 “lines”. One can be used for your Google Voice number. Another could be used for this VOIP number. So currently, we setup the Callcentric VOIP line as the primary line. So when you pickup the phone and start dialing a number, calls are routed to the Callcentric VOIP service. If you want to dial out using the Google Voice line, you can press “* * 2″ first, then the phone number. Calls are then route through Google Voice the Google Voice service, and are completely free when dialing domestically.

So right now, we have 3 phone numbers: our original, land-line based number; a free Google Voice number; and this new Callcentric phone number. Ultimately, we want to drop our COX land-line phone service, but we want to keep our home number. So we can either port our home number to the Google Voice service, or we can port our home number to the Callcentric service.

After some research, it seems you can’t port a home number directly to Google Voice service. Google only allows you to port wireless, mobile phone numbers to their GV service. So if we wanted to port our home number over, we’d have to temporarily port our home number to a cell phone service (we have a spare ATT pre-paid, Go-Phone cell phone which we can be used for this), then port the number to Google Voice.

Porting our home number to Callcentric’s service is more straightforward. We just sign some form, pay a $25.00 fee, and wait a few weeks until our number magically gets transferred to their service.

So for now, we’ll be testing the Callcentric service, and see how that goes.

Posted in Voip

ObiHai OBi110

We’re on a quest to reduce down our monthly landline phone bill. It’s strange that we’re still paying Cox $30+ per month for a service that conceivably be replaced with a cheap Internet-based, VOIP service. This device is step 1 in cutting the landline cord.


The OBi110 box arrived today. You plug it in to your router at home, then plug a phone into it, and finally set it up by entering your free Google Voicephone number. From then on, any calls made to your Google Voice number rings your phone. And you can make outgoing calls from the phone to any domestic number, free, via Google Voice.

This box was relatively inexpensive ($50 from Amazon), and worked right away. You can read a good review here.

I had to make some modifications in the Tomato firmware of our router to allow VOIP traffic from the box to take higher priority over normal network traffic; otherwise, I would get stuttering and dropouts in phone calls, whenever there was high traffic on our LAN (like when online backupis occurring).

So step 1 is done. We got a new, dedicated Google Voice number for the house. Now, it’s time to do some research on how to actually drop our land-line service: either drop our number completely, and just start using the new Google Voice number for our house; or keep the home phone number and port the number to the Google Voice service, or keep the number, but port it to a VOIP service.

Posted in Voip

A New Look for a New Year


Happy New Year, web site. Say hello to a modern content management system and good bye and good riddance to the old, hand-coded html, 1990s era web pages.

Posted in General