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Speakout Wireless: But that's just stupid.

I needed a mobile account for a test device today, so I pulled a Speakout SIM out of my GSM drawer. It has been many months since I last used it, so I fully expected there to be no available call balance on the account, and that a new account and phone number would need to be reassigned.

When I tried to activate the SIM on their website, it told me that it had already been activated. Fair enough.

Since they use your phone number as an account number, I tried adding $25 to the account. It happily took my money, but gave me an error that the funds were not added to my account and that I should call service. A little annoying but sure, it has been a while, and this falls outside the realm of "normal" service activation.

When I reached an agent, she explained that once A SIM on an account goes dormant, it cannot be reactivated. You have to buy a new SIM. The old one is garbage. But... huh? It turns out that after your balance expires, you have 45 days to top it up. After 45 days, the SIM cannot be reactivated.

There is no technical reason for this. Heck, I'd pay $5 just for the convenience of being able to use the old one. That's just stupid.

Luckily my drawer also have some fresh SIM cards, so at least I don't need to make a trip to the store just to buy a SIM card.

Deployment failed because of an internal error: INSTALL_PARSE_FAILED_MANIFEST_MALFORMED

I encountered this error when deploying an Android app that was built for an older version (4.2.x) of Mono for Android.

[geshifilter-blockcode]Detecting installed packages Waiting for packaging to complete Installing application on device Deployment failed because of an internal error: Unexpected install output:     pkg: /data/local/tmp/ca.guelph.visit-Signed.apk Failure [INSTALL_PARSE_FAILED_MANIFEST_MALFORMED] Deployment failed. Internal error.[/geshifilter-blockcode]

The cause of the problem was these lines in the AndroidManifest.xml:

[geshifilter-xml]<!-- Allow the application to access Google web-based services. --> <uses-permission android:name="" /> <!-- Notice here that we have the package name of our application as a prefix on the permissions. --> <uses-permission android:name="Visit.Guelph.permission.MAPS_RECEIVE" /> <permission android:name="Visit.Guelph.permission.MAPS_RECEIVE" android:protectionLevel="signature" />[/geshifilter-xml]

Thunderbird is very slow

My portable installation of Thunderbird was misbehaving. A simple operation like opening or deleting a message could take a minute or two.

The solution was close Thunderbird, delete any files ending in -wal, and restart Thunderbird. It is now back to normal.


iOS filenames cannot contain more than one period.

It took me a while to figure out why my app couldn't file the file day-icon.20.png. When it renamed it to day-icon.png it worked fine.

System.InvalidOperationException: The operation cannot be completed because a build is already in progress.

Building using Xamarin.iOS and Visual Studio 2012 stopped working for me when my debugging target is a physical device. Clicking Start resulted in the message:

System.InvalidOperationException: The operation cannot be completed because a build is already in progress.

It worked fine at invoking the simulator.

This appears to be a bug, but there is a workaround: Go to the solution's Configuration Manager and uncheck Deploy.

This issue and workaround are present in Xamarin.iOS 1.8.365.

iOS AutoLayout is broken for non-trivial layouts.

A custom control, like the calendar component shown here, requires many subviews. In fact, to generate this view requires about 700 subviews, unless manually user-drawn.

Apple's AutoLayout was introduced in iOS6 to provide a means to layout user interfaces independently of screen size, aspect-ration, and resolution. Unfortunately it is very ineffecient and appears to have an order of O(c^n) i.e. every subview added makes the layout take exponentially longer.

The control that is shown, designed to use AutoLayout, takes up to 10 seconds to render on an iPad. This essentially makes it unusable.

In examining the execution using Instruments I came to the realization that it was all Apple code that was swallowing all this time. Eventually I found two others who came to the same conclusion the hard way:

By turning off AutoLayout, the calendar renders (incorrectly of course) in a fraction of a second. I'll be spending this weekend writing my own MagicLayout code, which will be used by the cross-platform component library that is in development.

Future Shop: do you read e-mails before answering?

I have a raincheque for this item. Can I scan it and send it to you?

Dear Yvan,
Thank you for contacting Future Shop regarding the status of order #283030263.
Regarding the status of your order, shipping is now in progress. This means that your order is currently completing its fulfillment process. We will just have to wait for the funds to be captured and after that it will move toward shipping. You will receive a confirmation email 24-48 hours after the order has been placed. Kindly monitor your email from time to time for the update of your order.
Please allow 3 business days from the date the order was authorized January 10, 2014  for your order to be released for shipping. If you haven't received shipment notification by about 9pm on January 15, 2014 kindly email us back and we will look into the order.
Thank you for contacting Future Shop. We appreciate your business.
Future Shop
Thank you for your response; however you did not answer my question. I asked:

I have a raincheque for this item. Can I scan it and send it to you?

My local store gave me a raincheque for this item but they are unable to fulfill it. Can you process a partial refund if I send you the scanner rebate?

Thank you. 

Dear Yvan,
Thank you for contacting Future Shop regarding the status of order #283030263.
Online Purchases
Best Buy/Future Shop Private Label Cards
American Express
Future Shop/Best Buy Gift Cards
For online purchases, you can use the following combination of Payment Methods
- 1 Credit Card; or
- 1 Credit Card and 1 or 2 Gift Cards; or
- 1, 2 or 3 Gift Cards
Thank you for contacting Future Shop. We appreciate your business.
Future Shop

I have already paid. Please see my question.


I never did get an acknowledgement, response, or answer to my question.

I did however take my online purchase to my local store. Although I had to wait 10 minutes in the customer service line, the person who helped me was excellent. I explained that I got the raincheque in the store, and that the store didn't seem to be getting any inventory, and that I made the purchase online instead. Without hesitation, she pleasantly offered to apply a price correction, refunding the difference in price to me expediently.

Let the spam begin! Thanks Adobe.

It didn't take long, but I'm now regularly receiving spam to several uniquely Adobe email addresses. Password recovery must have been a pain in the ass, because I apparently I signed up with about 7 accounts.


Macromedia accounts compromised as part of Adobe leak

Dreamweaver and Fireworks used to be Macromedia products, before Macromedia was purchased by Adobe. As I discovered after receiving email this week to macromedia at, that user database was merged into Adobe's.

List of websites that enforce weak password policies

Please contact me to add a website to the list.

  • 8-20 characters
  • 6-12 characters
  • 6-12 characters (fixed, after 150M accounts were hacked)
  • 6-18 characters



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