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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wii Remote - Why won't it sync?

This post is one of several on how to fix problems with your Nintendo Wii. To see the entire list, click here for the Nintendo Wii Repair Guide.


Wii Remote (wiimote) has problems syncing with your Nintendo Wii Once I received my new Wii Remotes from Amazon.com, I thought it was just a matter of plugging in the two "AA" batteries and the controller would fire up. That's the way it worked with my PS3 SIXAXIS controllers.

Boy, was I wrong. Finally, thirty minutes later and very frustrated I could finally use the Wii Remote again! The basic problem is that the Wii Remote would not sync to connect to the Wii system, even after several attempts.

Update: Based on the popularity of this post and other questions, I have put together a quick guide of common Nintendo Wii problems and fixes. The guide can be reached by going here:
http://www.somelifeblog.com/2008/01/wii-repair-fix-guide-error-nintendo.html

Here is what I went through, hopefully it will save you some time.

The first thing I did while the Wii was turned on was that I tried to sync the Wii Remote by pressing the "1" + "2" buttons at the same time. The lights at the bottom of the controller flashed for about 30 seconds, but never received the signal from the Wii. Bummer.

The next step I followed was to hit the sync button on the Wii Remote (Wiimote). Then immediately opened the cover for the opening where the SD Flash card goes and pressed the sync button on the Wii. 30 seconds of flashing, and no result. Double bummer.

Finally, after some Google searching, I found a couple of message boards where people had to press the Sync button on the Wii (not the Wii Remote) for 15 seconds to reset it. I performed this step and then pressed sync on the Wii Remote. The 2nd controller synced up almost immediately. What a relief!

Apparently the problem lies in the fact that the Bluetooth technology being used has to be manually synced in order for it to connect to the Wii. It does not make much sense at all. You would think they could be pre-authorized in order to minimize time and ease of use. In addition, you really have to be careful that your other controllers are turned on while syncing or else the controller that you are trying to put on channel 3 might end up on channel 2! This happened to me on one occasion.

Good luck with getting your Wiimotes in sync with your Wii. Hopefully this helped!

If this helped you out, please let me know with a comment below!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Windows Vista - Who Cares?

So, the big news is that Windows Vista is available in stores today. Forgive me if I cannot contain my excitement. But honestly, who really cares? Yes, yes, there are a lot of new features, entertainment and "productivity" improvements and things like that. And Bill Gates has made a couple of nice speeches about how this operating system is going to improve our lives.

Maybe I should care? I am not convinced. As far as I am concerned, the operating system (OS) has become a commodity. Although I still use Windows XP, I could care less where the OS was Windows XP or Mac OS. I spend very little "working" with the operating system. Probably 99% of my time is spent in applications that run on the operating system. Not in it. Mozilla Firefox, Quicken, Word Processing, Presentations, and Spreadsheets. That is where I spend my time at.

The only reason I can see to upgrade is if I want to spend some additional money on new computer. Even though my current computer runs everything I need pretty well -- I can be sure that what I currently have cannot run it well. That's good news for Dell, HP, and of course Microsoft. I am sure I will upgrade at some point, just not now.

In any case, the importance of the upgrade seems, oh - so - Windows 98. What do you think?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

California’s Redemption Value Increase – Where does your money go?

In 2007, the state of California raised the California Redemption Value or CRV for recyclable goods like bottles, cans and containers. That means that when you walk into your local grocery store of choice or Costco and pickup that 24-pack of Dr. Pepper, you will be paying about $.02 more per can. This is refundable of course, if you return your cans to a local recycling or refund center.

There has been an awful lot of advertising about these changes, encouraging people to recycle. In fact, I do not think I have gone through a day yet where I have not seen a commercial on the television or heard something on the radio talking about the new CRV values.

I started thinking about this, which bring me to an interesting. Where is my share – should I be received some additional CRV rebates? The reason I ask this, is that living in Thousand Oaks, California – I have been required to recycle for a number of years and even have a special blue trash can from WMI where I put all my recyclables. This is a great thing, having different trash cans including one for items that are recyclable makes recycling easy without the pain of having separate trash cans to put all of my bottles, cans, and containers in.

Now, back to get back to my question – how does this work? The reason I ask this is that I pay a good chunk of each month to WMI (Waste Management – GI Industries) each month so that they can pick up my garbage, yard waste and recyclables. If the CRV values have gone up close to 40%, should we all receive discounts on our bill? What happens to all of those bottles, cans, and containers that I throw away? Surely someone is receiving the CRV refunds for everything I pay for. Don’t they?

I called WMI to find out what the deal is. The people there were very helpful and eager to explain to me how they and the state of California run their recycling programs. Waste Management end up with absolutely no compensation from the recyclables that they process. Thus, none of this value is passed back to the consumers. The only way to get credit on your California redemption value is by taking it to an authorized CRV redemption center.
The real question then becomes, what happens to the CRV that we all pay at the grocery store?

If we are not receiving it as the consumers and the waste management folks are not receiving the cut? Well, what happens is that the state of California has a pot of this money in the treasury for “unclaimed” or “unredeemed” CRV funds.


These funds are used in a variety of ways, including all of the below:

  • Recycling funds are used to pay CRV to recyclers (to reimburse them for paying CRV to consumers).
  • Competitive Grants - $1,500,000 per year
  • Competitive Grants to Community Conservation Corps - $20 million from 7/1/07 to 6/30/08
  • Curbside Supplemental Payments - Annual payments of $15 million to curbside recycling programs
  • Grants to Local Conservation Corps - $15 million per year plus a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)
  • Handling Fees - Annual payments of $33 million to supermarket-sited recycling centers
  • Local Government or Non-Profit Agency Grants - $5 million from 1/1/07 to 1/1/08 for the placement of recycling receptacles in multifamily housing in low-income communities
  • Market Development Grants – Increases annual appropriation from $10 million to $20 million and extends sunset date from 1/1/07 until 1/1/12
  • Market Development Payment Program for Plastics – $5 million annually until 1/1/12 to certified entities or plastic manufacturers
  • Payments to Cities and Counties - $10.5 million per year for beverage container recycling and litter cleanup activities
  • Program Administration - Approximately $35 million per year for support of the Division of Recycling
  • Quality Incentive Payments - $15 million per year to curbside recycling programs and dropoff or collection programs to promote the recycling of glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers that meet specified quality standards
  • Recycling Incentive Payments - $10 million annually until 1/1/10 to recycling centers or dropoff or collection programs that increase their volume of recycled beverage containers
  • Recycling Receptacles at State Parks - $5 million on a one-time basis, effective 1/1/07
  • Statewide Public Education and Information Campaign - $5 million until 1/1/08

Any funds not spent on mandated purposes remain in the State Treasury until appropriated by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The thumbnail image to the right shows the flow of funds through the recycling program. Click on it for a bigger picture.

The only question that I still have is that the state has set a target of 75% recycling or else they will continue to increase the California redemption value. What I have not discovered is how they measure that – from a combination of both waste processors and recycling centers, or just the recycling centers. The methodology would make a huge difference given that a large number of us toss all of our bottles, cans, and containers in our recycle bin rather than going down to our local recycling center.

Recycling is important for us all. Now you know how both recycling and California’s redemption value program works and where your money goes!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Motorola RAZR V3 – How to charge and transfer files to your PC!

Motorola does not make things easy. They conveniently include a mini-USB connector on the outside of the V3 RAZR mobile phone. However, if you use a standard digital camera or other USB to mini-USB cable from your Windows XP based computer – nothing works or happens. Well, you do get the Microsoft Windows Add Hardware wizard, but no drivers can be found.

This has been a hugely popular post and helped thousands of people connect their RAZR phones to the computers -- to charge and transfer files. Given the popularity, the need to reorganize is here. A newer post on the charging and transfering files as well as many other Motorola V3 RAZR modifications can be found here, at the Motorola RAZR Modding, Software, and Troubleshooting Guide. Check it out today, why I continue moving content htere.

Motorola and the various carriers have even gone as far as disabling the Bluetooth OBEX file transfer service so you are left with a very crippled Bluetooth. The reason for this is that Motorola wants you to spend more money on a couple of options that they have:

  1. Spend close to $59.95 for their “Motorola Phone Tools” software to charge your phone, transfer pictures, ring tones, sync with your Microsoft Outlook, songs, and other tasks. Update: You can get Motorola Phone Tools now through Amazon for less than $5! Click here purchase Motorola Phone Tools from Amazon.com.
  2. Spend money to transfer these files wirelessly, to increase your monthly usage.

Determined not to go either of these routes, I figured there had to be a couple of basic drivers available on the Internet. Two hours later, after scouring Google and wading through the droves of useless advertisements, I was finally able to locate the drivers that would provide what I was looking for. That means that in quick order I could connect my Motorola V3 RAZR to my Windows XP PC, charge the phone and transfer files! However, if this solution is not for you there are other possible solutions incluing ones cheaper than the $59.95 price!

To make matters worse, the pages where the drivers were located are poorly organized, littered with unhelpful information, bad text, and had several circular links before you could get exactly what you need.

So, in order to make this easy for those who follow after me, here is an easy-to-use guide with links to the drivers you will need. A tutorial, if you will. There will be two section of this “How-to” – the first to enable your computer to charge your phone over USB and the second to enable easy file transfer so you can access your pictures, videos, and more!

Update: The popularity of this post has been so high, that have I created several additional posts to help you out with your Motorola V3 RAZR phone, they include the below. In addition, you can subscribe to receive the lastest updates on ONLY the RAZR as they become available below.


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Updates via RSS

  1. See if your phone is P2KCommander compatible
  2. All versions of P2K Commander
  3. How to install P2K Commander
  4. How to charge via USB (Updated Motorola Drivers: 32-bit here, 64-bit including Vista here)
  5. How to store and transfer videos
  6. How to install Skins / Themes on your Motorola RAZR phone
  7. How to easily change sounds, volume, and gains on your RAZR phone for speakers, headsets, bluetooth and more!
  8. How to install Games on your Motorola RAZR
  9. How to replace your faceplate cover
  10. How to create ringtones with iTunes for your Motorola RAZR
  11. How to transfer audio and ringtones via USB
  12. How to transfer pictures via USB
  13. How to install Google Mobile Maps
  14. How to fix a stuck LCD display screen pixel
  15. How to transfer phonebook contacts to CSV
  16. How to transfer SMS text and email messages
  17. How to perform a master or hard reset
  18. How to re-enter subsidy code after lock out
  19. How to import contacts into Microsoft Outlook for free
  20. How to increase the battery life of your Motorola phone
  21. How to save voice notes as MP3 files
  22. How to insert and remove microSD / transflash card
  23. How to backup your Motorola phone including firmware
  24. How to Restore Backups to Your Motorola V3 RAZR Phone
  25. How to enable Funlights on your Motorola Phone!
  26. How to enable Clublights on your Motorola Phone!
  27. How to enable Eventlights on your Motorola Phone!
  28. How to override the ringer volume and make it louder
  29. How to change the outer LCD image on your Motorola RAZR Cell Phone
  30. How to Enter Motorola Bootloader Init Mode for the RAZR
  31. How to Disable Outer Buttons on Motorola RAZR Phone

Are there some things you would like to do with your RAZR that I have not covered? E-mail me or leave a comment and I will respond quickly!

Notes: This guide does not require Motorola Phone Tools (MPT) and has worked on numerous operating systems and devices including Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, MAC OS, Ubuntu Linux, and some limited reported success on Microsoft Windows Vista. In edition you must use a USB 2.0 compatible cable and connect to a USB 2.0 port.

Enable your PC as a Motorola RAZR V3 charger (a more detailed step-by-step can be found here):


  1. Visit the OSNN.net forum under Hardware Support > Portable Devices and find a thread called “Motorola RAZR V3 USB Drivers”. This driver is different than the V3c driver. They may require you to register and go to the forum here. Additionally, you may be able to download the file directly. It is called “razr V3 usb driver.zip” here.
  2. Unzip the file to the location of your choice.
  3. Plug in the USB cable into your Motorola V3 RAZR, the Microsoft Windows Add Hardware Wizard will start.
  4. The wizard will not find the drivers right away. When it prompts you to specify the location of the driver, point the wizard to the directory where you unzipped the driver.
  5. The wizard will complete the installation of the driver.
  6. Disconnect the USB cable from the Motorola RAZR V3
  7. Reconnect your Motorola RAZR V3 and it will begin to charge

Enable your PC to transfer files to and from your Motorola RAZR V3:

  1. Update: Newer version of P2K Commander is available. Complete list is here. You need to locate a file called PK.zip. This file can be found on the same OSNN.net forum mentioned above. (The good news is this is compatible with both the V3 and V3c). The post is called: Motorola RAZR General Questions Thread - Read Before You Post!. Direct link here. Direct File link here.
  2. Unzip the file to the location where you want to run the program to. The zip file does not have a “setup” file for the installation.
  3. Connect the USB cable to your Motorola RAZR V3
  4. Run the program called P2KCommander.exe
  5. Choose “P2k Mobile Phone” from the drop down on the left side (as shown to the right, click to enlarge)
    Upon choosing the P2k Mobile Phone, the software will begin to access your mobile phone and start finding “new” devices. Point the new hardware wizard to the sub-directory call “P2kdrivers_2.8” where you installed the P2k software.
  6. After all the drivers are installed (it may cause the P2k software to close), restart the P2k software, select the P2k Mobile Phone and you should be able to move pictures and other files between your RAZR V3 and your computer.

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to get or transfer pictures to your computer, a guide with step-by-step pictures is here. Or, for a more specific installation with pictures on the installation of P2k Commander is here. And lastly, a how to transfer MP3 and ringtones to your RAZR phone is here.

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Save $200, sign up for SCE's summer discount plan

If you are a Southern California resident and have not signed up for the Southern California Edison (SCE) summer discount program now! Not only will you help conserve energy during peak load times preventing rolling blackouts, but you will also save yourself up to $200 every summer! In addition, for those who sign up before March 15th (03/15/07), you will receive a complimentary $20 Starbucks card!

Go to http://www.sce.com/reward and enter code 20 today to start saving!

Here are some more details:
Join now and save up to $200* this summer.

And every summer after that.You choose the comfort level. You choose the savings.Here's how it works: SCE will install a remote-controlled device on your air conditioner that we'll use to cycle it on and off during peak times. Depending on the program you choose, you can save up to $200*. And in most cases, you'll only notice a temperature shift of a few degrees.

* The maximum savings amount of up to $200 represents the summer season savings a resident could enjoy with a typical 4.5-ton central air conditioning unit. Savings could increase with larger units and decrease for smaller ones. Based upcon a full summer season participation from the first Sunday in June through the first Sunday in October. Enrollment after the first Sunday in June will result in prorated savings beginning from the first meter read date after your application has been processed and your device has been installed. The credit amounts and program options are subject to change by the California Public Utilities Commission. Maximum credit amounts are subject to certain minium usage requirements and vary by central air conditioner tonnage.

SIGN UP NOW and get a complimentary $20 Starbucks Card.
Limited time offer. From date of installation and activation, allow approximately six weeks for delivery of two $10 Starbucks Cards for a total of $20. Must enter correct code to qualify. Limit one $20 Starbucks offer per household. Offer available only to new Summer Discount Plan customer enrollments.

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Southern California Avocado and Citrus Freeze – How bad is it?

The reports on the evening news have been staggering when it comes to the destruction of avocado and citrus crops this year. Numbers like 80% of the total crop and billions of dollars of losses have been tossed around. The governor has even declared a state of emergency here in southern California and specifically hard hit is the county I live in, Ventura County. The cold front that swept through here a week or so ago really did a number on the agricultural economy and hurt a lot of farmers and ranchers as the temperatures dropped below freezing for a few days in a row.

However, for those of us that live in Ventura County, we thought that the early numbers might be exaggerated. For a good number of us, it was cold – but it barely touched 32 or 33 degrees on the thermometer, hardly enough to do a lot of damage. However, after driving through the county yesterday – the numbers are likely not exaggerated.

We were on our way to visit my grandfather, who has lived in Fillmore, California since the early 1930's. During our drive, we pass through the orchards of Camarillo, Saticoy, Santa Paula, and finally Fillmore. What we saw, took our breath of way in terms of the damage. The pictures below will show the damage. I apologize for the less than ideal quality -- they were taken with a camera phone while it was raining!

As you can see, this young avocado tree is completely burned from the freeze. No hope of this tree producing any fruit this year, if it survives!

These orange trees are not in any better shape. The leaves are burned, wilting and the fruit is most likely frozen and useless.

Entire orchards look like this, especially the avocado droves where thousands of trees have burned leaves, black branches and lots of early developing fruit is still on the ground.

As we covered some 40 miles of orchards during our trip, we did not see many that were spared. Universally, avocados, citrus, lemons, limes, and oranges all looked to have significant damage from our latest freeze. There is no doubt that this will have some impact on both the Ventura County economy and the prices we pay at the grocery store for these items!

On an interesting note, I heard people speculate that although the wind machines were turned on to "chop" up the air, bring warmer air to the trees -- they actually may have made it worse. Since this was a true cold front with no warmer air above the cold, the only thing the machines did was pass more cold air across the branches, fruit, and leaves. That simply burned them more quickly.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Walt Disney World Planning Guide - Free Download!

Based on our recent trip log, several people have contacted me via email and asked for the planning guide that Ashley put together for our recent Walt Disney World trip. Those who I sent it to came back to us with rave reviews on how it helped them plan their trip to Walt Disney World. Some have even called it the best Walt Disney World trip planning guide ever. (sheet) We hope you enjoy it too!

So, without further delay..........

The spreadsheet is now available online! It includes trip planner, park guide, restaurant guide, and budget. If you try them out, please come back and leave a comment to let us know how it worked for you.

Read the rest of our trip log for all the details on how this planner was put to use!


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Friday, January 26, 2007

Wii Sports - Tennis - Become a Pro on Nintendo Wii Sports!

Having a hard time reaching pro status on Wii sports? Think the highest possible rating is 2000? Well, then this is the article you have been waiting for.

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to put in a little time on the Nintendo Wii Sports. During that time, Tennis has become the game that I tend to have the most fun with. It has a good variety of movements with the Wii Remote, has an interesting play and the games are always different.


Previously based on some articles I was under the impression that the highest score you could obtain was 2000. However, recently I beat Sarah and Elisa (1900 & 2000 skill) a few times in a row and obtained a total skill of 2007! It is pictured to the right and is definitely possible. A note of caution -- if you reach 2000 points and even lose one game in a 5-set match, your skill rating will decrease.

For those of you looking to get better, here are a couple of tips that will make your Wii Sports Tennis adventure more fun.

  1. Power Serves. In order to do the power serve, you need to start your down swing just before the ball reaches the top arch of the toss. Practice a few times and you will be consistently delivering power serves, overwhelming your opponents.
  2. Tire your opponents. This works great as you are climbing your way to pro. During a long rally, your opponents will start to sweat. (tiring) If you run them back and forth across the court, they will tire out sooner -- missing and over-hitting certain shots. When they tire it lasts for the entire game, but not the entire match.
  3. Use your front player. The front player is the most important for winning points. Once you get to the higher skill levels, it is almost impossible to win points hitting from the back all day. Whenever you have your opportunity, use the player in the front to deliver overhand returns. The earlier or later you swing the greater the angle on the smash. This will run your opponent back and forth until they cannot get to your ball.

Good luck with your Tennis adventure and go for that pro status!


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Why you like the Sacramento (SMF) airport

Ok. This will be a seriously short posting. I just want to say that I really like the airport in Sacramento and you will to, if you end up there. I have flown through many airports, and despite the relatively small size of it, SMF has the things that are important to me. This is especially true for me as a frequent traveler on United Airlines.

Here they are:

  1. Free Internet WiFi Access. The Sacramento airport gets it. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is as a frequent flyer to start in Los Angeles (LAX), stop in Chicago (ORD), and end up in Dallas (DFW) and have different providers in each location that want to charge you $9.95 for brief access. (Not necessarily in that order) Even the major providers like T-Mobile, Sprint, and others do not have consistent coverage. Every time I end up in Sacramento, I know I will have a chance to get quickly connected and do what I want.
  2. Pyramid Brewery. There is a great little restaurant / pub here where you can grab a good beer (Pyramid Hefeweizen) and something decent to eat.
  3. There is never a line in security. The longest that I have waited in line is 3 people deep. And I have been here at least 10 times in the past year.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

On-Rebate – Are they ripping you off?

A lot of noise has been generated the past few weeks regarding On-Rebate (OnRebate.com) and their policies, especially from various newsletters and groups sponsored by Infoworld. In fact, some folks have gone as far to call OnRebate.com extortionists and scam artists.

The noise is centered on two specific issues:

  1. Transparency in the rebate process and high frequencies of rejected rebates.
  2. An “Express Option” that gets you the rebate faster, although it is at a 10-11% commission to the rebate house.

On the first issue, I can relate a few experiences. On-Rebate is owned by Tiger Direct (TigerDirect.com), which in the past has a reputation for frequently delaying, denying, and losing rebates of customers. I had this happen on a few occasions in a few years ago, and the process was frustrating.

However, I recently had a flawless rebate experience with On-Rebate. In November, I purchase a 2GB SD memory card for my Canon PowerShot G7 camera. With that purchase, there was a rebate for $30 on that particular card. After receiving the product, I proceeded to the OnRebate.com website and filled out the forms for the rebate, and they provided a print-out ready for mailing. I completed the mailing and within a few weeks, I had my $30 rebate check. Their website also accurately tracked and updated the progress of my submission (insert table here)

It was a flawless process, and I received my money from the rebate faster than I would have anticipated. So, while some folks may have some complaints still – my experience was excellent and my assumption is that they may have not have followed the directions accurately.

The second issue is a little more of a gray area. The first questions you have to ask is, what are you expectations when you buy a product with a rebate? Mine is that I will eventually receive the money back, after a couple of months. This can be frustrating, especially in larger dollar situations.

The next question is, what is it worth for you to jump to the front of the line? Would you pay an extra 10% on your dining bill to skip the two hour wait at your local Cheesecake Factory? Would you pay an extra 10% on your airfare to board a plane early or have a good seat? Would you pay a couple of dollars to valet park you car so you do not have to look for a parking spot? These are things that people either do or consider everyday. This is a personal decision for each of us. For me, the answer is no. However, for you the answer may be yes.

On-Rebate has simply made the decision that they believe it is worth 10% of your expected rebate for you to effectively do that, to move to the front of the line. I can understand how this might be frustrating, but it is by no means extortion as some people have suggested.

Where things get a little cloudier is when you bring PayPal into the picture. If you choose delivery of your funds via PayPal, for most folks that adds an extra 4%, so now you are paying 15% of that rebate to get it in a “more” reasonable timeline to deliver your rebate money.

Perhaps where the finger needs to be pointed is in the direction of the manufacturers. The manufacturers write the contracts with the rebate processing houses that specify the length of time they have to process and deliver the rebate checks to consumers. If the rebate houses have the ability to shrink those windows, then we should be pressuring manufacturers to negotiate those lengths.

Let’s realize though that neither the manufacturer nor the rebate houses are motivated to take such an action. Time is money, and the longer they hold onto the rebate check, the more interest they can collect. Its dollars and sense!

Do you agree? What are you thoughts on the latest rebate controversy?

Below is an excerpt from the article on Infoworld’s Gripeline.
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The idea of having to give the rebate house a cut strikes some readers as almost extortinistic. "If you give them a portion of 'your' money they will make sure that you will get your money faster," wrote another reader. "How is it that they can 'make it happen' if it takes at least
6-8 weeks for them to process it? If they can do it that quickly, why aren't they required to do that without extorting some more of it from you? I feel that it is my money and they should have to return it to me as quickly as they ...
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http://newsletter.infoworld.com/t?ctl=15EA7AB:0CA1139169C4469853DFA70FEC9AB64BEFF29049075316B4

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

PSP Stuck Pixels - Guide on how to fix a stuck pixel

There has been a lot of recent noise regarding fixing stuck pixels lately. On a recent post on Engadget, they discuss, as skeptics some of the tools available to fix a stuck pixel on your Sony Playstation Portable. Well, I have a stuck pixel on my recently replaced PSP LCD screen that I would like to have fix, so I decided to give it a try. The following is a guide on how to try and fix your stuck pixels.

An important point to realize that there is a big difference between a stuck pixel and a dead pixel. A dead pixel is black or off, and cannot be fixed. A stuck pixel is stuck on a particular color, red, blue, green, and sometimes white. In the case of my PSP screen, the pixel is stuck on white. A picture of the stuck pixel on my PSP is at the right.

Here are the steps to follow to try and get your PSP unstuck:
  1. Visit PSP-Vault.com and download this file.
  2. Use your favor zip program and unzip the .MP4 file.
  3. Connect your PSP to your computer via USB Cable. On your PSP, go to Settings --> USB Connection to initiate the connection from your PSP.
  4. Make sure you are setup to view videos on your Sony Memory Stick. In the root of the Memory stick, make sure there is a directory called "MP_ROOT". If not, create it. Inside the MP_ROOT directory, create two directories "100MNB01" and "101ANV01".
  5. Copy the extracted zip file to the 101ANV01 directory.
  6. Start up your PSP, go to the videos icon, look on the memory card and start up the video.
  7. Set the video up on repeat and let it run overnight. Reports are that it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

In the end, the reports are about 60% of people have success with the pixel fix solution on their PSP LCD. I let mine run for about 10 hours, and as you can see on my image to the right -- the pixel is still stuck on white.

If this does not work for you, you can always look at my guide for replacing your PSP LCD screen.



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Do you have your Wii Remote? I have mine!

I sure do feel dumb. Really dumb. The past few weeks I have meandered around local Target, Best Buy, and Toys-R-Us stores hunting for Wii Remotes and Nunchucks. It is not secret that I scored my Wal*Mart Wii Bundle back in November and subsequently returned all the items from the bundle I did not want. But, I never came across additional Wiimotes so that more than one person could play the game. Every time I went to a store, they were out.

Now here is where I feel both dumb and a little awkward. First off, I am not one to shamelessly promote a product or service -- however, in this case I must. Secondly, since this method worked for me scoring a Wii Bundle from Wal*Mart, I should have realized it much sooner.

To make a long story short, over the past weekend I thought to myself -- it should would be great if a service like NowInStock.net had a service that also looked for the Nintendo Wii accessories and notified me. Because, it worked great when they helped me get my Wii Console. So, on Sunday afternoon -- I signed up for notifications from NowInStock.net for Wii Remote controllers.

Within two days, I was notified that the Wii Remotes were in stock. So, I finally ordered my extra Wii Remotes and Nunchucks from Amazon.com yesterday and their shipment was confirmed today. Thanks again to NowInStock.net, I feel dumb for not relying on you sooner!

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Blogger. Switching to a custom domain? Does it work?

Are you considering switching your Blogger (Blogspot) domain to publishing to a custom domain? If so, you will want to read on to see how it works, and some things to watch out for!

I recently changed from my original blogspot site address http://ken-hanscom.blogspot.com/ to http://www.somelifeblog.com/ via the custom domain setting on the "Publishing" tab in the Blogger Dashboard. While the process was not flawless, as you can tell the move was successful! This was also using the "NEW" formerly "BETA" blogger.

While the directions in "Help" on Blogger are pretty helpful, there were a couple of pitfalls. Here are the steps that I followed in order to setup and move the domain.

  1. Find an available domain name that you want.
  2. Choose an registrar that can register your name and also point your DNS to Google from. I check the usual suspects: Network Solutions & Register.com. While these have been some well known names in the industry, they are definitely still expensive -- especially if you want them to just point towards Google. In the end, I went with GoDaddy.com -- for a total of $12.19 for 1-year, including DNS management.
  3. Create a CNAME DNS entry for the "www" whatever you want the first part of your domain name to be and point it to "ghs.google.com". At GoDaddy.com, it is under the "Total DNS Control" link.
  4. Wait 24-48 hours. Sometimes it can take up to 48 hours for domains to properly propagate across the internet, so be patient!
  5. Go to the publishing tab of your Blogger blog, switch to custom domain and type in the exact address of your new domain name. Be careful, if you setup a CNAME in step for "http://www.somelifeblog.com/", and enter "somelifeblog.com" -- it will not work. It must be the exact entry.
  6. Test your new address, it should be live immediately.

For me, the process worked fairly well. The change was immediate, and I was able to access my blog via the address I provided to Blogger. In fact, all of my old links transferred perfectly from http://ken-hanscom.blogspot.com/ to http://www.somelifeblog.com/. Things were good.

However, there was one major problem. Although the blogger FAQ mentions that all your pictures transfer over properly, but mine did not. In fact, all of my pictures show as missing on any of the posts where I uploaded pictures, however all of my referenced pictures from Picasa and other sites still work. (http://www.somelifeblog.com/2006/11/disneyland-for-thanksgiving-family.html, for an example that has not been fixed as of this post.)

I reported this bug to the Blogger (Google) staff about a week ago, yet still have not received any answers nor even a response. Honestly, a little disappointing.

There are other impacts that you will want to be aware of.

  1. If you have been running your site for a long time and have accumulated a lot of links, your search engine and other rankings may not be as good as before. You should contact those that have linked to you and ask if they can update their links. This site, being relatively new is just starting to generate strong traffic -- so I decided to take the hit now, rather than later.
  2. Your Google Page Rank will disappear. My site, in the couple of months since I kicked it off had already achieved a Google Page Rank of 2 out of 10 (2/10). However, immediately upon the switch my page rank is back to zero. Now I will have to wait until the "next" update, which is approximately quarterly. This may also have a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) impact on your site.

Understanding that you may impact the traffic and performance of you site on a short term basis, why would anyone want to under-go this change? A few reasons come to my mind:

  1. Flexibility. Owning my own domain enables provides the flexibility to move away from Blogger in the future if it is not performing up to expectations. I have no current plans to do this, but I can maintain control of the content and ownership of the domain.
  2. SEO - Search Engine Optimization. Rumors abound that top level domains (TLDs) receive a higher ranking in searches. Whether or not it is true, and you will find people on both sides of the debate, it is a good move to take advantage of it.
  3. Branding and Recognition. If my site is going to be called "Some Life", I should have a domain name that folks associate with that and is easily recognizable.

In summary, the process is fairly painless and reliable. Much more than previous experiences that I have had in the past moving sites. However, the failure of the pictures to move is a glaring issue, of which I am going to give Blogger another week to fix. If they do not, looks like I will need to go through the painful process of re-attaching them. Yuck!

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