Hardware, Software, Firmware, and Everything

Category: Contracting

Using Tropo SMS gateway with BusTracker

SMS Bustracker works with “Obama Phone”


A pinch of Tropo, a dash of Bustracker, fold in a pound of jata with PHP, bake for an hour and you have jata-sms.

My Android smartphone suffered a breakdown last week.    New parts should arrive soon.  But in the meantime, I was at a loss without my favorite Android app jata.  I use it to get bus arrival times with the local WRTA Bustracker.  Bustracker has a text message interface, and I thought I would try that with the backup TracFone (Safelink Obamaphone[1]).  That didn’t work.  The TracFone Terms and Conditions states that “TracFone does not generally participate in Premium SMS services or campaigns.”  The Bustracker SMS number is 41411, a shortcode for Textmarks, and I guess Textmarks is a premium service.  Then, I remembered Tropo, a gateway for voice and SMS.  It offers a free developer account and phone number, and now I had a motivation to work with it.

  1. [1]There could be a whole other discussion about giving away the razors (phones) to sell the blades (20 ¢ / min airtime), but I’ll leave that for another day.

Samsung phone repair. New screen, touchpad, case for $11

New phone cheaper than the parts it supplies.

My Samsung Intercept M910 has a slide-out keyboard, and over the years, a couple of screen repairs and many drop incidents finally caused the flex cable attaching the screen to the main board to give out.  A dis-assembly procedure on iFixit got me through the screen repairs, but there was no detail of a hidden part of the LCD flex cable, which wraps around itself and  a mounting board is mysteriously attached to the slider assembly.  I found replacement cables on eBay, and the pictures there gave me an idea what it looks like and how to detach it.

LibreOffice: Problem exporting as PDF with PDF/A option


What Adobe Reader users saw when viewing my resume. The font for the position title displayed as blobs.





I should blame my own frugality, because I use mostly free tools for Office tasks.  I’m using LibreOffice for tasks that most PC users would use Microsoft Office to accomplish.  LibreOffice Writer serves as my Microsoft Word.  Frugality also entered into my decision to use Foxit rather than Adobe Reader for viewing PDF file.  You see, Adobe tends to bog down slower machines and I’ve had my share of slow machines over the years.

Freelancer dot com – It’s all about (their) money

Freelancer dot com is more interested in getting your dollars than it is in connecting employers with contractors.
Updated 12/20/2013

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