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July 20, 2008

Email from Daughter

I found this in my inbox today, a few hours after setting up email for my 6-year-old daughter and filling her address book with a handful of trusted family and friends:

Thank you for teaching me how to email.
I like to email.
You are a nice dad.
                   Love,
                          Johanna

Posted by mike at 11:03 PM

July 16, 2008

iPhone 3G Firewire Charging Adapter

Update: CableJive will be selling an iPhone 3G Charge Converter starting around the end of August or early September.

Lots of folks are looking for something to fix the fact that their 3G iPhone doesn't work with existing iPod/iPhone docking devices. Apple didn't tell folks prior to the iPhone 3G release (including those in the "Made for iPod" program, my sources say) that they were disabling the ability for the iPhone to be charged using the 12V Firewire (on pins 19 & 20 of the Apple connector). Many accessories rely on this for powering the iPod/iPhone. To be fair, Apple has been pushing USB for some time, with some warnings to inside folks.

As an Apple activist and iPod/iPhone accessory hobbyist I've gotten a dozen or so emails about this problem. Folks want a solution that will let them plug their 3G iPhone into a device that provides Firewire power and have it work.

Conceptually, this isn't too difficult. I've made something for the Bose SoundDock, which took the 12V from the Firewire, reduced it to 3.3V to provide power back to the device to trick it into thinking an iPod was connected.

The iPhone 3G Firewire Charging Adapter is a slight derivation from this. The idea is to take the 12V from the Firewire pins (19 & 20), use a set of resistors to reduce the voltage to 5V, and provide that on pin 23 (ensuring ground is also sent to pin 16). Thus the female side of the adapter gets 12V on the Firewire pins, but the male end of the adapter outputs 5V on the USB pins.

Having made custom iPod/iPhone cables in the past I'm familiar with the amount of labor that goes into making this kind of thing from raw parts. For all the folks who expressed interest in the dock extender I hacked up, I (and a small team) made them for anyone willing to pony up $65 to cover the parts and the labor (a price that shocked some, but was no sweat for others).

I really don't have the time, but I can't resist throwing this idea out there to see what other folks are thinking.

Update: CableJive will be selling an iPhone 3G Charge Converter starting around the end of August or early September.

Posted by mike at 7:57 AM

July 15, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo: New York City

This year I passed on two tech conferences I'd attended in the past (MySQL and OSCON). I've been keeping my eyes on what is shaping up to be something great in the New York City Web 2.0 Expo, September 16-19.

Here are a few things that strike my fancy:

Secrets of Javascript Libraries - John Resig, jQuery author
Keynote: Dan Lyons (aka Fake Steve Jobs)
Keynote: Marc Benioff (Salesforce) in conversation with John Battelle
Building Successful Next Generation Web 2.0 Applications
10 Things We've Learned at 37signals - Jason Fried, 37signals co-founder
Keynote: Ariana Huffington
Keynote: Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures)
Go REST with Rails - David Heinemeier Hansson
Best-kept Secrets to Search Engine Optimization Success - Stephan Spencer
Keynote: Clay Shirky
Keynote: Joshua Schachter (creator del.icio.us)
Keynote: Deborah Schultz
Getting More Traffic from Search, Advanced SEO for Developers
Web Analytics 2.0


The list goes on...really it does. Early registration deadline is July 28. 99% sure I'll be there.

Posted by mike at 11:15 PM

July 6, 2008

Fireworks on the 4th of July in Boston

As part of our Independence Day celebrating this year we took the kids down to see the fireworks on the Charles River in Boston. It was spectacular. I realized while I was there that I want to come back every year, because Boston has a great show and it's a great tradition for the kids.

Here's what the Boston 4th of July site said:


No one does fireworks quite like Boston; this year's will be the largest and most complex Boston Fourth of July pyrotechnic display to date. More than 20 thousand pounds of explosives will be used for the display, which will include the largest shells yet to be used - ten-inch diameter shells that will climb to 1500 feet - nearly one and a half times the height of the Hancock Tower. This year's fireworks have an international flair as well - devices are being imported from Portugal, Spain, China, Japan, and Italy.

The key to making this year more enjoyable was not going to the esplanade until late, around 9pm. We got a spot on a walking bridge a hundred or so yards back from the river which provided a nice view. When the show was over we weren't jammed up in the front and were able to make our way back to the train station without a ton of congestion, and got a seat on the train headed home.

Posted by mike at 4:07 PM

Two Weeks in Idaho

We were in Idaho from mid-June to early July. We spent the first few days at a family wedding and the rest of the first week relaxing, having fun, visiting folks, etc in western Idaho (near Boise) with Heidi's family.

The second week was in eastern Idaho (Ashton) near the Tetons and Yellowstone for a Kruckenberg family reunion. I've put together a small photo gallery for your viewing pleasure. Also a great time playing and relaxing.

Posted by mike at 3:40 PM