I just found this amazing coupon site

Today the department store didn’t have the half-size of boots I really wanted to get.  I went online and ended up at shoes.com.  They had the boot!  In the size I want!

During the checkout process there was a box to enter a coupon code.  I thought “Why not at least try?” so I did a quick Google search and found a site, dealigg.com, which had a page listing coupon codes for shoes.com.

I saved $50 on my order!  Wow!

I notice that a lot of what seem like sites offering coupon codes are actually spam.  I got lucky to find dealigg.com.  In fact there were multiple codes for shoes.com listed on the page, and all of them seemed to work, although shoes.com only accepts one coupon code for an order so the $50 one was the best deal.

What a nice end to my day though with the boots and now I can look forward to getting them soon and having the hottest boots of all to wear!

Since I’m onto the whole coupon thing, I should mention another really cool site which doesn’t feature coupons but rather lists ongoing advertised specials and discounts: salescircular.com.  If you need to get for example an external hard drive or a cell phone or something you can go to this site and see which specials are currently running at all the major stores.  Extremely useful.

How to Root a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Today I finally got disgusted with the bloated ads on many websites I visit with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.  There are two main ways to block ads – using a proxy, or using a hosts file.  A proxy listens on a port on the local machine and mediates requests and answers to and from a web browser to the destination website.  In the process, it filters out known ad servers based on wildcard/pattern matching in the names or on blacklists.  The problem with a Galaxy Tab is that none of the web browsers even have a way to configure them to use a proxy server, so this method is out.

The other method to block ads, a bit more primitive perhaps but effective nonetheless, is to basically put entries for sites that are known to serve ads into the machine’s “hosts” file which allows all requests to specific addresses to be rerouted.  The hosts file maps hostnames to web addresses.  So when a website tries to load ads from e.g. annoyingadserver.com which is now entered in the hosts file and remapped to nowhere, the ads never appear.  This works because by default the hosts file on the local system takes precedence over DNS address resolution.  (On Linux systems the order of precedence can actually be set in a file /etc/nsswitch.conf)

However altering the hosts file requires superuser permissions on the Galaxy Tab.  This means the device must be rooted.  So here we go:

 

How to Root a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

I researched this and there is a lot of complex information about how to root a Galaxy Tab, but the solution I found was in fact extremely easy and consisted of just a couple steps.

1) Hopefully you’ve already installed the Samsung Kies app which allows you to connect your Galaxy Tab to your computer and transfer files to it.  If not, do so (and be sure you get the latest version which as of this writing is ver.2.1.0.11095_121_6).

2) Download Samsung_Galaxy_Tab_10.1_root (2).zip and copy it to your Galaxy Tab.  It is easiest if you copy it to the uppermost-level directory (which is referred to as /sdcard).  This file is a tiny little update that basically installs the superuser app on your Galaxy Tab.  It does not do anything radical to the system like flashing it or updating the OS.

3) Power down the Galaxy Tab by pressing and holding the power button and selecting the power off option.  Then power it on.  When the white “Samsung Galaxy Tab” text appears press and hold the power button and the volume up button simultaneously.

4) Two icons will appear on the screen.  Highlight the one with the box and the little green android character by pressing the volume up button, then press the volume down button to select this option.

5) Now press the volume down button to highlight the option “apply update from /sdcard”.  Press the power button to select.

6) You will now be shown the files in your /sdcard directory.  You can highlight the Samsung_Galaxy_Tab_10.1_root (2).zip that you copied over before by pressing either of the volume buttons to scroll, then press the power button to select it.  The actual process of applying the update will be very fast and the Galaxy Tab will reboot.

7) You will now find a new app called “Superuser” in the app list.  Your Galaxy Tab has been rooted.

8) I also installed the patch TF101-Netflix_patch1.zip to allow Netflix to run on the Galaxy Tab.  The process for installing it is identical to that for the root patch above (steps 2-6).  Once this is complete you can go the the Market and just install Netflix and it will work.

I would like to reiterate that all this complex stuff I’ve seen on the Internet about rooting a Galaxy Tab 10.1 is not necessary at all, only the simple steps above.  My Galaxy Tab was already running Android version 3.1 when I got it so perhaps that is partly why it was so easy?

Additional Info

My next endeavor will be to see if its possible to actually enable phone calls with the Galaxy Tab.  It seems utterly silly to me that it does not.  The device in fact gets assigned an actual phone number from Verizon when you get it, but this apparently is only for data purposes.  Another related endeavor will be to try to get SMS to work.

Some other cool things: I got an inexpensive car vent mount off eBay which works great.  You will also want to pick up a car charger adapter.  One extremely cool use of the Galaxy Tab is as a GPS navigation in the car.  The app that does this is the “Places” app.  One cool feature is that you can touch the microphone icon and then just speak a destination.  It seems to get it right with amazing accuracy.  Today I also discovered that you can set Places to a given city by first saying the city name and selecting it, then afterwards you can go to locations within the city just by saying coordinates like “fourth and market”.

The language input definitely needs to go further with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 however.  It should be possible to do a lot more in terms of interacting with it by using voice.

Another real annoyance is weak support for international fonts.  I’m reading a Buddhist text right now and unfortunately many of the characters which have diacritical marks do not render.  There are online forums filled with users trying to get fonts like Devangari, Tamil, Myanmar, Arabic or others to work on the thing.  In the age of Unicode fonts there’s really no excuse for this to occur.  Come on Android, get it together!

Oh yeah – after the rooting process above, how did I actually block ads?  By going to the Market and just installing “AdFree Android”.  Really, I didn’t want to have to do this but I pay a premium price for my bandwidth and I’m tired of having to concede precious screenspace to stupid ad bloat which always seems to popup first even if the rest of my page takes forever to load.

Philosophy

Beyond this, there is a deep philosophical argument as to why one should root one’s Galaxy Tab: this is a device which a person purchases and therefore owns.  They therefore should have a right to full access to it.  Now if the manufacturer has enabled/disabled some feature, and the end user then bypasses this and causes disruption/damage to the system, it does seem fair that the manufacturer not be liable for said damage.  However it seems completely illegal that the manufacturer would void their liability merely for accessing the system.

In other words, I don’t see how rooting a Galaxy Tab could itself ever reasonably be considered a valid ground for voiding the warranty.  Such a warranty would, in my opinion, be illegal.  However, if a person were to root a Galaxy Tab and try modding their system which resulted in damage, then yes I believe that the manufacturer should not be liable for such damage.

This may seem like an esoteric point, but I believe it is an important one in the age of technology to fully understand.

Of course the counter argument would be that even the process of rooting the tablet, even if it consists of copying only one small file to the system, is considered a form of damaging/tampering with the functionality of the system.  But the basis behind such “functionality” is to provide a device which has the owner locked-out and forces them to e.g. endure ads on their device.  So the question comes down to to what extent manufactures will try to force upon their customers ads or other undesirable content.

Unfortunately we do not have true competition.  We have what are similar to monopolies by a small handful of very major media and device companies, so they could easily restrict their content in draconian ways and force it to work on only a small number of sanctioned devices.  They could lock out competing devices which gave users the choice to customize their device and hence customize the content they pay for.  This is what the real war is about.

This is why I believe we must fight for true Internet/content freedom (neutrality is only part of it).  Even the telephone network should be open access to all conforming equipment which wants to utilize/access it (we have paid for the phone networks with our money).  And we must fight for device freedom (openess) and also software freedom and open standards.  This is one major reason why I think the modern Internet business culture is profoundly misguided.  It is a major departure from the original vision of the Internet when private companies attempt to control and monopolize technological niches for profit rather than develop the best technology possible using open standards.

Internet entrepreneurs who cash in on this greed only betray freedom.

Update

On or around 11 January 2011 Verizon pushed an update to the Galaxy Tab.  If you select to download the update and go to Settings -> About Device -> System updates you will see the following:

Android System Update

Downloading – 351.0 MB

This Software Update for your Galaxy Tab 10.1 by Samsung includes new widgets, features, enhancements and more. Please remove any shortcut or widget link from any home screen prior to updating your device. You will be unable to use your device for the duration of the install, which is expected to take 6 to 7 minutes, but could take longer. For more information, please visit http://www.verizonwirelss.com/galaxytab10.1support.

After this update installs Superuser will stop working and it will be necessary to repeat steps 2 – 6 above.

Credit

Major credit goes to user bmyton on xda-developers.com forum thread “Verizon 4g LTE Tab – Netflix Working.  This article basically reiterates his information.  I am creating this page to help disseminate this info and hopefully make more happy Galaxy Tab users.

Future Android Updates

If you are unhappy that Samsung is indeterminate about wanting to keep its Galaxy Tab line updated with the latest Android updates, let them know.

Quark stars and quark super nova

Was reading today about the concept of “degeneracy” for various subatomic particles, which among other things explains the properties of white dwarf stars (electron degeneracy) and neutron stars (neutron degeneracy).  Mention was made in the article about quark stars – a hypothetical type of star that basically consists of quark matter bound by gravity (instead of by the strong nuclear force as quarks normally are), as a result of quark degeneracy.

This is extremely weird and there are no established instances of such stars if they exist, although the article mentions there are a couple of candidates which have been observed by Chandra.

Mention is also made of the possibility of quark nova which, if they occur, would be the most powerful explosions in the universe.

Stop the Internet Blacklist!

Dear friend,

I just emailed Congress to urge them to oppose the Internet Blacklist Legislation, known as the PROTECT-IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. This legislation seeks to give the executive branch power to conduct slash-and-burn campaigns against websites that allegedly host – or even link to – content that infringes on intellectual property rights. That would “disappear” whole domain names, fundamentally undermining Internet security, and/or choke off their financial support. The Internet Blacklist Legislation puts more sites than ever at risk, effectively upending the DMCA safe harbors that have been crucial to the growth of Internet innovation and creativity.

Sadly, these short-sighted and dangerous bills won’t do much to stop online infringement – but they will jeopardize our ability to speak and read online with the kind of freedom we cherish in the offline world. Deep-pocketed Hollywood lobbyists are aggressively pushing to control and censor the open Internet, willing to sacrifice free speech and our Internet culture in hopes of controlling how people view their movies and products.

We need to stop this bill before it goes any further. Will you contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose the Internet Blacklist Legislation? Visit: https://eff.org/r.C8A

 

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

iPhone vs. HTC War on Xtranormal

This company called Xtranormal has offered this free service through their website where you can essentially upload text of dialogues and have it animated with various different characters.  The animation is not exactly Pixar-quality, but it does lend an element to what would otherwise be dry text interchanges between people.

Somehow, as with many odd things on the Internet, the site became a medium for certain unexpected niches of people wanting to post either real or hypothetical dialogues to prove points or otherwise paint pictures of situations or people.  One group was workers in the health profession creating dialogues of apparently true verbal exchanges that happened (this last one is hilarious) between doctors and/or nurses or other staff, indicating some of the inanity that goes on behind the scenes sometimes in hospitals.

Today while reading through a thread on Slashdot about the Apple suit against Samsung in Germany due to claimed patent infringements of the Galaxy Tab, someone linked to this Xtranormal dialogue (WARNING – the dialoge starts out kind of funny but descends eventually into crass language) which basically takes a pot shot at Apple fan-ism – i.e. people who are fans of Apple’s products.  After watching the video on YouTube I realized that this first video spurred a whole slew of response videos.  This whole damn war started on Xtranormal/YouTube regarding the iPhone vs. the HTC Evo phone.  Regardless of what position one takes or doesn’t its crazy to see this war going on and how intently some people must feel about this issue and how funny it is when a bunch of adults resort to using tacky animated characters to make their points.  Maybe surreal is a better term for it.

Facial Care Essential Accessory

One issue that ladies with long hair face when going through their facial care routine is what to do with the hair.  Obviously one needs to hold one’s hair back when cleansing, and having it back while applying makeup also makes that process much easier.  Yet if you have curly hair like mine (type 2C/3A) you may not be too eager to clip or tie your hair back, as it can mess with your curl definition.  There needs to be a less disruptive way to hold hair back, and fortunately there is with this wonderful hair accessory called a Tassi.

A Tassi is a sort of hair turban.  Its a hair holder that fits over the head with an opening at the top and an elastic band to keep the hair out of the face.  I find this is the least disruptive way to hold my hair back while cleansing or applying makeup.  Its a great little invention and an essential accessory to have.

Note, if you color treat your hair a lot, you might want to opt for a darker color Tassi.  This way if you use your Tassi after a color treatment you don’t have to worry about it staining.

Shocking data comparison of sizes of US states and of countries

I just saw this list of U.S. states and territories by area.  Its shocking to read this list and realize how much smaller many countries around the world are than I actually thought.

For example, I didn’t know that California is larger than Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand.

I did not know that Burma was a large country (I had thought it relatively small).  I did not know that Greece and Iceland are comparatively tiny, and so are Cambodia and Uruguay.

This list makes the world seem really small all of a sudden.

More info that the microorganisms in us can control us

I wrote a while ago about how it can sometimes be disgusting when someone kisses you, slobbering whatever microorganisms are growing in their mouths – and usually there are a lot of them – all over and possibly inside you as well.  Candida is a well-known yeast that causes infections in humans.  It can persist in the body and be very difficult to get rid of.  It feeds off a bad diet, rich in refined carbohydrates and processed foods.  Its difficult to get rid of because its difficult to get off the refined foods for people who are on them.  Its a shock for the body and brain in different ways.  There are definite withdrawal symptoms and various stages of detoxification on the rocky road to cleaning out one’s system.

Therefore I don’t appreciate it when someone with bad hygiene plunges their tongue into my mouth unexpectedly when I’m just trying to be a sexy girl and seem inviting and receptive to them.  They take it way too far.  I wasn’t asking to be attacked biologically.  A nice kiss on the cheek or just lips with no tongue is so much sweeter and… sexier, inasmuch as not having microorganisms injected into my system is sexy.

In that previous post I speculated that there might actually be these covert wars going on between different groups of humans, based on the types of microorganisms living in their bodies.  This of course would relate to their diets.  Diet relates to choices – conscious choices one makes about how to live – so there’s an aspect of will to this and also an element of karma.

It could be that there are these secret immune wars going on in the world, and that there even exist collective dynamics for these things as people of certain types form dynamics to reinforce each others’ ways.  Maybe these are the real wars that are affecting the world, these secret wars which are operating at the level of microorganisms in our bodies.

Today there is published another article which states that the microorganisms in us can affect our minds.

Viva las vegans!

Animation of Earth’s First Discovered Trojan Asteroid

Astronomers have discovered Earth’s first trojan asteroid.  Trojan asteroids are asteroids which orbit in the path of another planet.  They are difficult to discover because they occupy a part of the sky where the Sun is.  However, this particular trojan was discovered because of its highly erratic orbit and thanks to the NASA’s WISE observatory.  Because of the erratic orbit, at times it gets far enough out from the Earth’s orbital path, away from where the Sun would be in the sky, to be detected via infrared.

 

 

 

Galactic Spacetime Frame Dragging

One of the very interesting phenomena of gravitational physics relates to how massive rotating objects actually drag space time around with them.  Imagine a ball spinning in a viscous fluid such as thick syrup.  As the ball spins, it drags some of the syrup around with it.  The syrup is like spacetime.  It sounds uncanny, but in reality it is what happens – space and time literally do get dragged around massive objects.  The reality is even weirder than the ball example, because massive objects also cause other weird distortions around them – the way they pull on objects can actually shift the internal structure of objects, distorting them in subtle ways, and cause dilations in space and time.  According to the article, the spacetime dilation caused by our spinning Milky Way galaxy is one million times stronger than that caused by Earth.

What is fascinating is that humans are arriving at a point where they will actually be able to detect gravitational waves caused by distant events.  Certain phenomena, usually involving supermassive objects spinning at extremely high velocities, can create these monster gravitational waves which actually propagate through the universe and can conceivably be measured when they pass by Earth.

Today there is a very interesting story in the news about a researcher who claims to solve a long standing mystery physics – certain types of interactions which can lead to either left- or right-handed outcomes tend to favor one side more than the other.  There has been no known mechanism to explain this.  Probabilistically,  there should be an equal number of left- and right-handed events.

Now a researcher claims that this mystery can be solved by taking into account the gravitational frame dragging of the galaxy.  Because our galaxy is super massive, as it spins it creates an enormous effect which actually influences the properties of subatomic particles.  According to his theory, there is in fact no parity violation at all – the effect of our galaxy’s distorting spacetime on subatomic particles evens out in the end, once this effect is taken into account.

This is one of those stories which seems to slip through the radar but which in fact can be very significant.

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