Sunday, April 28, 2019

How to clear Google Voice conditional call forwarding from an AT&T phone including iPhone

Long ago I setup Google Voice as my son’s phone’s voicemail using “conditional call forwarding” on H2O Wireless mobile (very cheap, but also weak IT service). I switched him from H2O Wireless to our family AT&T account and wanted to disable the forwarding. 

Unfortunately I couldn’t get Google Voice legacy site to come up on my iPhone so I didn’t disable Conditional Call Forwarding prior to the port. I tried removing the his number from GV but that doesn’t work — it only messes up Google Voice (below).

After the port I couldn’t set a voice mail code for his account. It seemed like voice mail was setup, but when I called him I was routed to Google Voice. Alas, there’s no useful error message.

I restored his mobile number as a forwarding phone in Google Voice but there was  no option for him in Legacy Google Voice to add or remove conditional call forwarding, no “Activate Google voicemail on this phone”. (Probably because the call forward was already in place.)

I tried a #21# trick I read of, but that didn’t work. I thought I’d have to call AT&T but after several searches I found an obscure site with the answer: Dial #61#. That clears “call forward if not answered”. I also used the other deactivation codes as below (67, 61, 62).

I don’t know if that site will stay around, and I couldn’t find this information anywhere else, so here are the set of deactivate codes for several purposes:

To deactivate “Call forward if busy”, 
Simply dial #67# and tap “Call”

To deactivate “Call forward if not answered”,
Simply dial #61# and tap “Call”

To deactivate “Call forward if not reachable”, 
Simply dial #62# and tap “Call”

Android phones may have more control over Call Forwarding but iOS has only forward or don’t forward.

The site also reviews how to setup call forwarding, for example:

To setup “Call forward if busy”,
simply dial 
*67*{NumberRetrieved}*11# and tap “Call”

After using those codes I could set a PIN for his voicemail and it worked normally.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

How to open a tab delimited file in Apple macOS

How do you open a tab delimited file in Apple macOS

Change the extension from .tab to .csv.

Old Mac data exchange used tab delimited files. FileMaker saved them with the extension of .tab. Numbers doesn’t recognize .tab. If you change it to .csv all is well.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Digitizing home video (once again)

I have made (2000) several (2004) tries (2012) at digitizing our family video but my lost best effort only got about 10% done. I figured I’d just hire a local service and then I let it slide.

Apple’s recent codec retirement announcements prompted me to check what was available locally. I found ancient web sites that were internally inconsistent, no noise reduction prior to compression, unclear codec choices … none of it gave me much confidence. (But see [1,2])

So I’m back at it again. This time I might have an accomplice — someone who needs money and would benefit from learning the tech. So maybe we’ll make a better go of it.

The delays may have let to some data loss, but on the other hand the tech is a bit better. My first attempt would have been with a 400MHz Celeron. Yes, that’s an ‘M’. In those days hard drives were measured in tens of GBs. Now the cheapest hard drive I can buy would hold all of our video.

The tech is a bit better, but choice of codec is still an issue. In 2004 I favored H.264/AAC. I ran into an amazing number of headaches with the Apple software I was using.

For the modern era I found three good references:

They give me a feeling of how tricky it is to do analog video capture well. Time Base Corrector?  BNC terminations? Waveform monitors? CRT monitors?! Yikes.

I did like the sounds of the BlackMagic Intensity digitizer ($240 for T3, $200 for USB 3) used at AUL (Amazon reviews are not great however). It can save output as a lossless file. I want to capture the video as “uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2” then denoise it, then export as ProRes. Since my accomplice is a student I’ll probably buy the Pro Apps Bundle.

Ideally the process would be automated - capture uncompressed, denoise and incorporate metadata, save as ProRes.

What would I do with this material once it’s digitized? The tech isn’t here yet, but eventually I’d like to incorporate brief (silent) video fragments into my screensaver library. So between showing 10,000 images, show a 30sec of video from our family @ 1995. One day?

- fn- 

[1] From my 2000 page I see Walmart and Target were do video to DVD-R conversions for $35 a tape with YesVideo. They are still around! The price is now $26 for one 2hr tape.  

[2] Pogue years ago recommended Southtree (his screenshot of a VHS tape on a modern laptop screen is remarkable — 333x480 pixels). Their site is impressive; at the moment they’re advertising $57 for up to 3 tapes on 1 thumb drive. I contacted Southtree to ask about denoise/ProRes/etc but they kindly responded that they are consumer-only, so just mp4 compressed.