Category Archives: Technical

General technical stuff

Removing Objects in a Photo with Gimp

This ended up being a couple of extra steps beyond just Googling, so I wanted to put it out there for the next person.

I found these instructions on using the Gimp plugin Synthesizer to remove objects to be pretty useful, though it looks like some of the menu options have moved around in Gimp 2.8.

Getting the Synthesizer plugin installed correctly on Ubuntu took a couple of tries. Here are great instructions for adding a PPA to your config so you can just use a couple of apt-get commands to install Gimp and many useful plugins, including Synthesizer. It came down to this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp
sudo apt-get install gimp-plugin-registry

Good luck!

Installing a Qi Wireless Charging and NFC Antenna on an LG G3

Here are step-by-step instructions for installing a QI Wireless charging + NFC antenna sticker on your LG G3, replacing your existing NFC-only antenna. As a bonus, I was able to get the existing NFC antenna off in one piece without damaging it (I think), so in theory I could put it back on if I needed to go back. I don’t know why I would do that, but it’s good to have options.

These instructions should generally work for other similar phones and compatible Qi stickers.

Supplies

I purchased the LG G3 Qi Wireless Charging + NFC Antenna Sticker for Verizon VS985, T-mobile D851, Sprint LS990 (really it works for any version of the G3) and a PowerBot Qi Enabled Wireless Charger Inductive Charging Pad Station from Amazon. The total came to under $21.

Charging PadQi StickerNote that there are two stickers here. The one on the right goes on first. The top two connectors are for the NFC antenna. The bottom two are for charging.

Tools

I used a hairdryer, a pencil, and a small screwdriver.

Tools

Step 1 – Turn off your phone and remove the back.

BeforeNote the location of the sticker.  Again, you are replacing the first two connectors (far right in this orientation), and you will be adding two more to the left of them for charging. It’s important that these line up correctly when you install the new sticker.

Step 2 – Mark the location of the connectors

MarkingUsing a pencil, mark the location of the metal connectors on the exiting sticker, both vertical and horizontal so you can line up the new sticker correctly when you install it.

Step 3 – Remove the existing sticker

Set the hairdryer to high heat but low fan. Use the hairdryer to warm the area of the sticker where the connectors are located. This will loosen up the glue on the back of the sticker and allow you to pry it away from the back of the case with the small screwdriver.

RemovingUse the hairdryer to heat sections of the sticker as you pull it away from the case. Remove the side where the connectors are, then begin to work up the other side until you finally remove the small strip on the opposite side of the hole in the case. Basically you are working in a “U” shape starting with the connector side, and working to the bottom and then up the other side.

When you are done, the existing antenna should have come off cleanly.

Removed

Step 4 – Install the new sticker

Starting with the small strip with the connectors, use your pencil markings to carefully line them up. Once you have that right, work your way down and stick the large part of the sticker to the case.

Installed1Double-check to make sure the top two connectors look like they are in the right place per your pencil markings. You want to make sure this is right before you go to the next step.

Step 5 – Install the covering sticker

I have to admit, this part was a pain. I rotated the case around a lot trying to make sure I understood exactly how this sticker should fit over the first one.

Installed2Again, I started with the strip that covers the portion with the connectors, then worked my way across, down, then back up the other side. I had a couple of false starts, but was able to pull back the sticker and start again until I finally got it.

Step 6 – Test!

Put your phone back together and turn it on. Connect the Qi pad to a micro-USB port. Place the phone on the Qi pad and see if it works. You need to get the pad centered on the location of the sticker. It’s slightly below the mid-point on the phone.Charging

Once everything appears to work, go ahead and erase your pencil markings.

I hope you found these instructions helpful.  Good luck!

iPhone Group Messaging on Android with ChompSMS

Group messaging with a couple of iPhone usersHere is another quick hint I wanted to get out there.

If you are a user of ChompSMS and you want to participate in iPhone Group Messages, there are a couple of options you need to enable.

From the main screen hit the menu overflow item in the top right corner (the three dots).  Select Settings and then SMS & MMS Settings.

 

 

MMS Settings

 

Under the MMS section, check the box next to Use MMS for Group Messages. Also make sure Your Mobile Number is set.

If you are in the middle of a group chat it will not fix past messages, but all future ones will appear as a separate list with all participants in it as shown above.

Connecting an LG G3 to OS X

I recently purchased an LG G3 phone. The phone is awesome, but I was having some trouble getting it to connect to my Mac running OS X 10.7.5 so I could copy files over to it. After wasting some time trying to download the OS X USB driver from LG, I ended up just going with Android File Transfer.

The process is simple (just download, install, and run), but in the event that it can’t find your phone, there are two things to check:

  1. Make sure your phone is connected as a Media device (MTP). This will be in the notifications on the phone.
  2. Use the USB cable that came with the phone.

I could not get the phone to connect until I tried with the original USB cable. Then it worked perfectly. I just wanted to get that hint out there. Good luck!


Update: I also contacted LG customer support about my issues with downloading their USB driver. They got back to me quickly, but not until after I had figured it out and made this post. They told me to use Android File Transfer. 🙂

Update 2: Make sure you do not have Samsung Kies installed on your computer. It will prevent Android File Transfer from operating correctly.

Oracle 11g Flashback Data Archive (FDA) query not returning results for some users

Once upon a time, we were seeing inconsistent results when using Flashback Data Archive (FDA) on an Oracle 11g R2 database.   We had created an FDA and enabled it for a few tables.  User A owned the tables. User B had SELECT and FLASHBACK privileges to the tables in schema A. We inserted a row into table A.X with FDA enabled.

When user A performed SELECT * FROM X AS OF TIMESTAMP SYSTIMESTAMP  they would see the row.

When user B performed  SELECT * FROM A.X AS OF TIMESTAMP SYSTIMESTAMP the query returned 0 rows.

If we remove the “as of” clause and had user B perform SELECT * FROM A.X they saw the rows.

Both users had the same timezone settings. While trying to diagnose the problem with user B, we created user C, also with SELECT and FLASHBACK privs on A.X. The query for user C returned rows.

Thinking something was wrong with user B, we re-created user B. When we first tested it, the query for user B worked! After a couple of minutes, the query stopped returning rows again. Also, running the query for user A (the table owner) also returned 0 rows after a while. The query for user C still returned rows.   WTF?

Here was the solution:

When we examined the SYS.SMON_SCN_TIME table, we found several records where the TIME_DP values were far in the future (the year 2030). At one point a system administrator set the system clock incorrectly, and corrected it several minutes later.

We disabled FDA on the tables, and dropped the FDA and it’s tablespace. We then deleted all records from the SYS.SMON_SCN_TIME table. We created the FDA again and re-enabled it for the tables.

The FDA behaved as expected.

A post about the fix that made this post possible

The first issue I ran into after re-installing WordPress  and attempting to create a post was that the edit field would not accept input.  It appeared to be disabled.

You know, that’s the thing I’m typing in now, so it’s kinda important.

After a bunch of digging, it turns out the solution is to modify the wp-config.php and add the following right above where it tells you to stop editing:

define('CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false);

Just wanted to pass that along.