Sunday, May 22, 2011

Obihai Obi100

  • Get OBi100.
  • Get a Google Voice number. Place a call via Gmail.
  • Login to Google Voice, Phones, check ONLY Google Chat. OBi uses Google Chat/XMPP.
  • Find OBi100 IP address from your router. Login to the IP, default password admin, admin.
    • Change Auto Provisioning - disable Firmware Update and Auto Provisioning
    • Change Network Settings - Static IP, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, DNS.
  • Register at This is simple, just register online and call the number from your phone, your device serial number and MAC address will be registered with
  • On, configure Service Providers, select Google Voice and enter Gmail credentials. This should automatically setup your device for GV incoming and outgoing.
  • Update: Login to You will see 2 entries under My OBi Endpoints. Select OBi 100 (or 110 if you have that). Under "Configure Voice Services", you will find Google Voice setup. This will automatically configure the "Service Provider 1". 

Some folks may have a problem with incoming calls. A possible solution is to use SIPGATE. See Amazon reviews for setup details.

5BX program

From Discussion

No kidding! I used to have frequent back pain, with aches that wouldn't go away even after an age of stretching.
Six years ago I started on the RCAF's old 5BX program (a quick Google search will lead you to the booklet that describes it -- dead simple) and, in exchange for 11 minutes of exercise a day on an open floor, had the body I've always wanted within a year.
I've since moved on to weights and other gym-like stuff and have not had back pain in years.
It's so stupidly obvious I'm kicking myself for it now: If you have decent muscle to support all those bones and tendons up your back, they won't be straining themselves to the point of pain while supporting your body.

Yeah, yeah, 5BX is great! While a certain rare exercise machine gives the most relief, one simple 5BX back exercise (chart 1, exercise 3) is as effective, provided I do it regularly.

The only thing that has helped is exercise. Strengthening your back (especially lower) is probably going to help more than anything else. Squats and deadlifts in particular.

Pull ups will do wonders as well.

I agree, but I wish I could caution my younger self about the risk of low back injuries from certain weightlifting activities
1) You can develop very strong lower back muscles (primarily the extensors), but don't challenge those muscles when they're nearing their endurance limit.
2) If your femurs are long relative to your tibia, don't try to force yourself to perform as heavy or with the same form and depth on squats, deadlifts, or cleans, as more normal folks. At low depth, your back will consistently be more parallel to the floor than upright, dramatically increasing shear across your spine.
Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn't round your back excessively while bearing significant load, especially if it's far (horizontally) from your hips. It's not necessarily that a rounded back is automatically dangerous, but in general, if you're bracing your abdominal/back muscles (which will prevent rounding), you're less at risk of injury.

Outside of seeing a doctor to see if there's something seriously screwed up with your back, I'd offer these 3 pieces of advice I had to learn about the hard way.
1.) Massage.
You may not think it's the manliest thing ever, but if you can afford it you should find a good local masseuse and get yourself an hour session. Even if you go once and never go again, you'll get an education in just how kinked up your back and shoulders probably are.
I tweaked my back lifting a lawn mower out of my car a few years ago and didn't think much of it at the time. Over the next few weeks I started to have all kinds of shoulder problems and other various pain to the point where my arms were getting tingly and I couldn't sit and code for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Long story short, I went through a few doctors before I finally just decided to see a masseuse and see if it helped. I was lucky to find someone that knew what they were doing and helped get me straightened out. It took about 5 sessions over 5 weeks, but I've never had problems since.
2.) Trigger points.
Learn what they are and how you can fix them. This was my problem that the masseuse turned me on to. Trigger points are essentially little micro-knots in your muscle fibers that can add up to cause big problems for you. For me, lifting that mower was really just the straw that broke the camel's back. It just exacerbated all the trigger point problems I'd been creating over years of coding and not stretching out my back and shoulders properly.
If you know where the common trigger points creep up and how to get rid of them you can save yourself a lot of pain and downtime (not to mention massage bills).
The book will show you how to identify and treat the trigger points all over your body, and the TheraCane will help you reach the places on your back that you can't reach yourself.
3.) Yoga.
Once you get all your issues straightened out, yoga and/or a good daily stretching regimen can help keep you kink free.
Hopefully some of this advice is helpful. I was really messed up for a while until I figured all this out.

exercises for back problems

I have 3 squashed discs in my lower back from a skateboarding injury. I've tried everything for back pain. Before I share what works for me, I'll say that if you don't have a structural injury you probably just have very weak "core" muscles and the best thing you can do is get into a general state of good fitness and then add in some core strengthening exercises.
After doing tons of PT, and trying everything from yoga to pilates to accupuncture to cyclobenzeprine, I figured out three main exercises that strengthen the muscles in the lower back:
- "superman": lay on your stomach on the floor. raise your left arm and right leg up at the same time. hold for a count of five. repeat on other side. do this 10 times for each side.
- "planks": this is like a pushup but you're on your elbows and instead of doing a pushup, you just hold in that position. It sounds easy but is very hard if you don't have strong abs. try to work up to 3-5 sets of 60 seconds at a time.
- "bird dog": like the superman but you're on your knees and hands, doggy style. raise left leg and right arm at the same time, hold for count of 5. alternate. do 10.
Those three things, and being generally in shape have helped my back more than anything else I've tried. You can find videos of them on youtube if you google those exercise names with "core fitness" or similar search strings added in.
Other lifestyle changes are good, too. Don't sit down in a pile for 8 hours at a time. Get up and move around, even if you're just getting out of your chair at least once an hour. Change your position. Sit on an exercise ball for a while, lie down on a couch with a laptop for a while, work standing up for a while. Go for a walk at least an hour a day.
I've found that pilates is much better for back care than yoga. many of the yoga moves are not good for your back if you have slipped discs. in particular, "downward dog" which is the staple move of most yogas is not good if you actually have a back injury like mine. Pilates arose out of rehab so most of the moves are safer for your back. I mention these activities because one of the side effects of back problems (or sometimes the cause of back problems) is very tight hamstrings. You'll need to do some sort of stretching to get the hamstrings back in order and I've found this easier to do in a structured, class context.
I'll be semi controversial and say that you want to have strong abs, but you DON'T want to do situps. do planks instead. Situps strengthen your abs while pulling your back into the same position that makes it hurt. planks strengthen your abs but you're also extended and working all your stabilization muscles at the same time.

Maybe Americans just aren’t dumb enough to keep buying houses?

Psychologically, a person who just lost enough money to have paid for 5-10 years of rent is not a very likely candidate to go back into the market where he was just burned.
Thus the more houses are sold, the worse the buyer-seller ratio will get. Every sale has a roughly 37% chance of removing a person from the real estate ownership market. More and more Americans will be conditioned to the idea that home ownership is a waste of time and money, not to mention the inflexibility that it imposes on a person who might otherwise have been able to get a better job by moving.
Summary: Why would house prices continue to fall then? The longer that house prices fall, the more people will critically assess whether it makes any financial sense to own and conclude “it does not”. They withdraw themselves from the market of potential buyers, at least for 10 years or so until they forget what wounds they suffered and how boring they were when they owned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vivint - Home Automation

When you’re looking for a comprehensive way to connect the technologies that run your home, the Vivint Home package is the answer. It features all the products in our Security and Energy packages, but also gives you a lot more. It includes automatic door locks, video surveillance, and non-emergency alerts. With only a $199 activation fee* plus the monthly monitoring charge, this package provides simple, affordable home automation. 
From premier security, to heating and cooling, to access control and video surveillance, our Home package meet your needs today while helping you prepare for a smarter future. Its additional products include automatic door locks, video surveillance, and non-emergency alerts. And you can manage them all through your computer or smart phone, so you always know exactly what’s happening at your home—even when you’re not there.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The final humbling of America

This had happened very briefly once before in 1979/80 when America was inflating the dollar faster than usual and investors started to rein back on buying US Treasury bonds. The gold price spiked up to $2,300/ounce. Volcker (then Chairman of the US Fed bank) raised interest rates to 20% and investors immediately sold their gold and bought dollar bonds instead. The gold price immediately collapsed. This time, however, gold has taken 11 years to rise and has done so steadily from about $300 to $1560/ounce. This time, Bernanke (the present Chairman of the US Fed bank), dare not raise the interest rate even by 0.25% for fear of plunging America into economic depression. Nor can the Bank of England do so. The European Central Bank has raised its low rate only very slightly in an effort to reduce inflation. It cannot raise it to normal levels because, like America and the UK the Eurozone stands on the edge of depression.
But it’s America—hitherto the central financial pivot of the world—that’s crucial. Its national debt, which was only 20% more than its annual GDP at the time of Bretton Woods is now almost four times higher. As both Europe’s and Japan’s debts, it is already higher than its taxpayers can possibly repay. Sooner or later it is going to have to pay some or all of its immense debts with gold—when the price of gold reaches high enough.
There are those commentators who still say that the present rise in gold price is a spike. But scores of central banks in the world, including China and Russia and the vastly prosperous Middle East oil and gas countries, don’t think so. Gold speculators have almost been driven out now, such is the heavyweight demand for the metal. Gold is now making its way back to its traditional role as the background currency which doesn’t inflate. You can be certain that although Bernanke of the US Fed and Geithner of the US Treasury are saying all sorts of brave things to the world, they are even now thinking seriously of how to bring about a gold standard world trading currency. This is what China and Russia have been asking for for years. This is what Zoellick, of the World Bank suggested last November.