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Saturday, October 27, 2007

GMAIL MAPI Service, How much longer?

While I do not read the Google Blog every day, I did catch that Google is going to offer IMAP functionality for Google's mail application, GMAIL on Wednesday.

I had been waiting anxiously for my account to change, but thus far no dice. No changes for Ashley as well. Both of our accounts still says, "Forwarding and POP" instead of the Holy Grail of "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" once it will be enabled.

Gmail IMAP functionality almost here!

For Ashley, this has been a frustration. With her Apple iPhone, the only option is POP3 which is pretty annoying. She's mentioned a few times how annoying it is to delete the emails first on her iPhone and then have to also delete them on gmail. This will all come to an end very quickly.

Looks like it will take up to a week to get the IMAP on our GMAIL, according to Google. Also, thanks to Greg Hughes' Blog, I already have a link to get the iPhone setup on IMAP functionality with GMAIL quickly.

I'm with Greg, it is hard to be patient and keep waiting at this point. At least for now, the GMAIL application on my Blackberry 8800 works great.

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Hmm. $100 Oil and $3 Gas? I thought we were already there...

This morning, ran across Steven Hardgreaves article at on CNN.com discussing the current gas and oil situation.

Here comes $100 oil, and $3 gas -- With crude setting new highs every day, experts say there's no way motorists won't see a spike at the pump.....

.....With oil prices setting records over $90 a barrel - and $100 looking ever more likely - experts say there's a good chance drivers will see $3 gasoline before the end of the year.


I don't know about you, but I cannot remember the last time I paid under $3 for a gallon of gasoline at the pump. In fact, in California -- I have paid at least $3.20 a gallon for 91 octane premium gasoline for the last year or so.

While the national average is still in the $2.82 or so for a gallon of unleaded gas, the top six states in the US, making up ~40% of the countries population are well above that number (see using the AAA Fuel Gauge Report). Of course, Los Angeles is leading the way.

Seems this is no news for those of us who live here in California. $4 gas? That's most likely the next stop from here.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Holdren's Steak & Seafood in Newbury Park / Thousand Oaks

Ashley and I had the opportunity grab dinner at one of Newbury Park's newest eateries, Holdren's Steak & Seafood -- a steakhouse, that started in Santa Barbara and is now open in Newbury Park (Thousand Oaks). The main reason for this post is that on a few Google searches I could not find either the address or more importantly the phone number to make reservations.

So, first and foremost -- here are the details:

Holdren's Steak and Seafood
Phone Number: (805) 498-1314
Address: 1714-A Newbury Road, Newbury Park / Thousand Oaks (next to the new Marriott Courtyard)

This was a second attempt to try the Holdren's steakhouse. Our first attempt, the previous Friday was rebuffed since we did not have reservations when we showed up around 7:00pm.

The next Friday, we made sure to have reservations for 6:30pm. It is a warm, lively atmosphere although inside it is relatively small, with seating for approximately 70 people in addition to the bar. A good wine and beer selection including some of my favorites (Stella Artois & Amstel Light on tap).

The food and price was a pretty good value. For ~$28 you get a filet steak, dinner salad, and choice of potato. Similar steakhouses you might be lucky to get just your steak for that. Preparation for most steaks is a standard char-grilled and we also split a side of macaroni and cheese just to try, and it was pretty good. We had quite an enjoyable meal and also had the creme brulee for dessert.

While we will definitely visit again, you should just be aware of what to expect. If you expecting a high-end gourmet steakhouse like Morton's, Ruth Chris' or Mastros then you will be disappointed. If you looking for something with a good char-grilled steak, excellent value that is better than your local Stuart Andersons or Hungry Hunter, then you will have a great time at Holdren's Steak & Seafood -- we did!

Other names: Holden, holden, holdren

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Are you a TV repair man? I'm not.

Sometimes the UCE (unsolicited commercial email) or SPAM that we receive gives us a good chuckle. Today I received some random advertisement, that I assume is because of my blog. It looks like Frank Jovine from Sears Holding Company if the header was not forged decided to contant me with an advertisement.

Why? Probably becaue of my posts on Sony Projection TV repair. However, I never contacted Sears HC and have no idea why a company like Sears holding company for Sears and K-Mart would UCE me like that. You would think it was against their privacy policy. However, ServiceLive has no policy against spam email specifically it seems.

None the less, I am not a TV repair man, simply I have done some research on my Sony Projection TV. Apparently that was not clear before. Here is the email from Sears Holding Company if you were interested....

On 10/ 25/07, Jovine, Frank wrote:
Dear Sir or Madam,

Where Homeowners Go to Get Services!

JOIN SERVICELIVE TODAY!

We're looking for qualified providers that can perform one or more of the following services:

Plasma & LCD Installation
Plasma & LCD Repair
Home Theater Installation
Remote Programming
Speaker Installation
Home Automation

QUALIFIED LEADS AT NO COST!
Created to match experienced Service Providers with customers. ServiceLive Installation & Repair Services sets a new standard for quality service.

Recruitment needed, "ServiceLive signs up one of the largest retailers (Sears/kmart) to assist with current Sears home services.”

REGISTER HERE

Frank
Community Manager
contact@servicelive.com
www.servicelive.com

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Malibu and Santa Clarita Fires - Aftermath @ Malibu Pres

Well, it seems that things are slowing down a little bit on the Malibu and Santa Clarita fire front. The Malibu fire which took Malibu Presbyterian Church from us is up in the 90% range in terms of containment.

Unfortunately, I have been frustratingly disconnected and grossly misinformed the past two days in terms of the fires. The main reason is that I am currently up in Mountain View, CA on business for a couple of days. The news up here is not very good in terms of coverage. I have been used to watching KCAL 9's live coverage and staying up on what exactly has been going on.

However, some news and developments on a couple of fronts...

Good news?

Malibu Pres's website is back online @ http://www.malibupres.org Check it out now.

Pepperdine Univeristy offered up Elkins Auditorium last Tuesday night so that University Ministries (a Malibu Presbyterian function) could hold their Tuesday night service.

Also, the Malibu Performing Arts Center is where this Sunday's service (one service only @ 10:00am) will be held for Malibu Presbyterian.

Eric Smith, the Youth Director at Malibu Presbyterian posted some high-quality pictures on this site (http://www.esmithdesign.com/mpc/) that include Rev. Greg Hughes, Michael Mudgett, and Ross McMeekin. Great photos, part sad, part upsetting, part amazing.

Screen shot of the browser from esmithdesign.com:
Photos @ http://www.esmithdesign.com/mpc

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

People, Listen. GPS on Blackberry is FREE.

Has the Blackberry 8800 series (8830 on Verizon) become more widely used and more mainstream in the last couple of weeks? The reason I ask is that I have heard the same exact conversation in airports and other locations the last two weeks repeated at least three different times. This was repeated again today on the bus to the car rental area at the San Jose Airport.

Person asking about Blackberry 8800: “Hey, is that the new Blackberry 8800 you have there?”

Person with the Blackberry 8800: “Yeah, it’s a great device – everything is built right in.”

Person asking about Blackberry 8800: “I heard it also has a GPS feature in it, how does that work?”

Person with the Blackberry 8800: “Yes it has the GPS feature, however I have not used it.”

Person asking about the Blackberry 8800: “Really, why not? I would use that all the time.”

Person with the Blackberry 8800: “Me too, however it costs $9.95 a month to use it.”

Person asking about the Blackberry 8800: “Wow. That’s a bummer.”

Conversation ends. Houston, we have a problem – more specifically, RIM Blackberry has a marketing problem. Let me clear this up.....

People, please listen to me. You really do not have to do anything to get the GPS (Global Positioning System) working on that Blackberry 8800 or 8830 that you are carrying on your hip. You do not have to register for anything. You do not have to activate anything. You do not need pay one dime to get that little GPS device working. You can go to Options --> Advanced Options --> GPS, you can pull up your current location really quickly.

Now yes, you might want to install Google Maps (install guide here), as it can show you where you are at and even provide directions to where you are going. And if you really want turn-by-turn directions then the value that TeleNAV (install guide here) provides for $9.95 is a really good one. A similar device from Garmin, Tom-Tom or Pharos will set you back $400 or more – about 3+ years worth of TeleNAV service.

Hey RIM, you should consider promoting this better – get people to use the basic Google Maps GPS (like me) and then end up signing up for TeleNAV service indefinitely (like me).

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Photos from Malibu & Santa Rosa Fires - Hitting Home with Smoke

As the fire continues to spread amongst Malibu and the mountains for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, my home has begun to experience a lot of the smoke, ash, and other debris -- we live in Ventura County just 10 miles as a bird flies from the fires in Malibu, and 7 miles from the Santa Rosa fire. So, we're getting a little bit of a sandwich effect from the smoke.

We're currently not concerned about our place, we're fairly well protected although we are in a valley area with some open space. Here are some pictures taken with my Canon Powershot G7 Digital Camera. However, they have been resized in Adobe Photoshop to 800x600 for the web. There is no filter, I repeat no filter on my camera for these pictures, they are the real deal -- with no manual adjustments...

Our brush cherry tree in our front yard with half of the trunk sheared off with smoke in the background from Malibu and Santa Rosa firesOur brush cherry tree in our front yard with half of the trunk sheared off, mentioned this morning. Smoke in the background from Malibu and Santa Rosa fires.

Yes, that is supposed to be the sun, blocked out by the smoke and can just barely see it.  Probably not a good idea to be outside and breathing this.Yes, that is supposed to be the sun, blocked out by the smoke and can just barely see it. Probably not a good idea to be outside and breathing this.

See what the wind did to our Patio Furniture?  I've cleaned up a good amount by just moved the furniture all over our backyard.  I guess 80+ mph gusts will do that.See what the wind did to our Patio Furniture? I've cleaned up a good amount by just moved the furniture all over our backyard. I guess 80+ mph gusts will do that.

Just more smoke covering our house and backyard.  Raining ash and other debris as we look up towards our hill in the back.Just more smoke covering our house and backyard. Raining ash and other debris as we look up towards our hill in the back.

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Malibu Fire Photos from Pepperdine University

Speaking of today's fires in Malibu, as Ashley and I watched the television this morning and the awful events happening there reminds us too much of the fire back in 1996. Based on that, I came across this collection of photos that I took back during that fire from the Pepperdine University Campus. They are a close-up view of what things may look like during today's fire.

Warning, these are scans and somewhat grainy -- they were taken back in 1996. These are not photos from today's October 21, 2007 fire.

Photo taken from the Towers Residence Hall when the order to evacuate to Tyler Campus Center was given around 2:00pm.Photo taken from the Towers Residence Hall when the order to evacuate to Tyler Campus Center was given around 2:00pm. Lots of smoke.

Photo of the mountain and canyon behind Pepperdine and the Towers Residence Halls as the fire quickly comes towards campus.Photo of the mountain and canyon behind Pepperdine and the Towers Residence Halls as the fire quickly comes towards campus.

A Super Scooper fire fighting aircraft fills up from the Pacific Ocean as the photo is taken from Alumni Park.A Super Scooper fire fighting aircraft fills up from the Pacific Ocean as the photo is taken from Alumni Park.

Picture from Tyler Campus Center around the Fountain outside of Elkins Auditorium as flames burn the hillside next to the President's house.Picture from Tyler Campus Center around the Fountain outside of Elkins Auditorium as flames burn the hillside next to the President's house.

Closer photo of the hillside next to the parking lot near Smothers Theater.Closer photo of the hillside next to the parking lot near Smothers Theater.

Hillside photo number three.Hillside photo number three.

Aftermath of a hillside in Malibu.Aftermath of a hillside in Malibu.

Another hillside in Malibu looking down towards Point Dume.Another hillside in Malibu looking down towards Point Dume.

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Malibu Fire near Pepperdine - October 21, 2007

I hate Santa Ana winds. Absolutely hate them -- today is a good reason why, among others. This morning, Ashley and I were woken up abruptly at 3:00am when a few events in close succession happened. The 60-80+ mph winds (yes, hurricane force) near our home -- some 10 miles from Malibu in the same Santa Monica mountain range -- awoke us as the large gusts moved our patio furniture around our back yard.

Then, afraid that our sun umbrellas would become flying objects -- I went out side and took them down. After coming back inside and jumping in bed, our house alarm went off due to a loose door flexing with the wind. Then, after that the power went off, on, and then completely off. The funniest part of that is that one of the LED flashlights that my dad gave us -- did not work. Ironic given how their claim to fame is the batteries last so much longer than standard flashlights. The final moment before we went to sleep was a big thud -- which this morning was one of the trunks on our brush cherry tree sheared off. I did not like that tree anyways. :-)

The most upsetting episode for us this morning when our aunt called shortly after 8:00am and told us she was concerned about us to driving our to church in Malibu today. We do attend church at Malibu Presbyterian Church (back online!) in Malibu, where we have attended / been a member since 1993. While she did know it was on fire, after turning on the television to see it catch on fire shortly thereafter -- effectively a total loss in this disaster. That is obviously really devastaing and upsetting, regardless of how much I know the place is just a structure, and that the people and their relationships with Christ are what really matter. Yes, it is a sad sight for us to see for a place with so many great memories for both of us.

Malibu Presbyterian Church fire on the front page for CNN.com.

Malibu Presbyterian Church fire on the front page of CNN.com.

The church and the people have served the community for such a long time, and provide a lot of support during the disastrous 1993 fire. The community and the people will rebuild the structure no doubt -- as it is of importance to so many people (including Ashley and I), students at Pepperdine, families, and children who attend the functions and preschool there. The most fortunate part is that this occurred before the first service of the morning at 9:00am started, and everyone was able to get out safely.....

.....earlier this year, back on January 9th a quick sweeping fire took Suzanne Sommers and a couple of other homes in the Malibu area. I reflected on some memories from my experience in during the Malibu fires on campus in both 1993 and 1996. (I posted some photos from 1996 here: http://www.somelifeblog.com/2007/10/malibu-fire-photos-from-pepperdine.html)This fire resembles the 1997 in the way that it happened so quickly -- estimated at 5:00am by many news outlets -- and moved so quickly before the fire departments could set up.

In both cases I evacuated to the Firestone Fieldhouse or the gymnasium at Pepperdine University and spent the night with a face mask to block the smoke and particles, sleeping on the floor of the gym. The fire in both cases did come down into the campus, but mainly burnt around the periphery -- the President's house, and the horse stables were slightly damaged.

The great news is that Pepperdine has a great evacuation and preparation plan given the number of fires in the past. The students have been evacuated to the two safest buildings on campus -- the Tyler Campus Center and the Firestone Fieldhouse.

People will need to be prepared for perhaps some more of this over the next few days. This is still just the beginning of a 3-day stretch where we are expecting more Santa Ana winds. Santa Ana winds and the chaparral landscape (Ceanothus megacarpus and Rhus laurina) in the area do not mix well for us. Generally, they tend to build up their fuel and burn every 10-14 years. It had been 11 years since the last major fire. So, continue to brace and pray....

Late breaking new that the historical landmark of the castle is engulfed in flames....The fire is mainly around the Las Virgenes, Malibu Canyon, Pepperdine, Serrah Retreat, and Hughes Laboratory areas.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mark Sanchez Starts Today - USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Great news. Mark Sanchez will get the start again today for the USC Trojans in South Bend today against Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. This will mark the second start in a row for Mark Sanchez as he replaces John David Booty -- nursing a sore finger injured two weeks ago in a loss to the Stanford Cardnials.

My prediction? USC by 20 over Notre Dame. Mark Sanchez will have a great game and throw 3 TD's. Let's hope. The guys on the Parking Spot shuttle from the Los Angeles Airport did not agree with me yesterday though. While they were on their way to the game and were USC fans -- they thought the Fighting Irish have their best chance in years. We'll see -- based on who plays on the ravaged USC team.

In other games, be sure to root for Auburn against LSU.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kobe Bryant isn't Going Anywhere

That's right. Kobe Bryant is not going anywhere. While Jerry Buss made ego driven comments about his superstar of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant is staying in Los Angeles.

The main reason -- dollars and cents. That is really what Jerry Buss cares more about than his Los Angeles Lakes and Staples Center properties is money.

Kobe Bryant is good for business, his jersey is always in the top selling list, even if it is not always at the #1 spot.

Kobe Bryant fills the Staples Center seats. Even if the Lakers are not ready to return to NBA glory nad bring home a championship, having Kobe Bryant on the team insures that the seats are filled every night. You have no idea when Kobe might by 81 points up on the board.

Television revenues are high with Kobe. Without him, less people watch the games meaning less money in Jerry's pocket.

People, and especially Mark Stein at ESPN should stop spewing this junk through the media. It is not going to happen. We all know that Stein has been Kobe's "outlet" to the media, but the article he wrote a couple of days ago is just about a copy and paste from last summer when the Kobe tape and trade demands came out.

If this was not enough -- I just bought my Los Angeles Lakers ticekts for the year. If Kobe is not there, then I am not sure I want to go. For that reason especially, Kobe will still be here.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mark Sanchez Delivers for USC in the Clutch

Ok, it was not pretty -- but Mark Sanchez got it down against Arizona. Last week, I called for USC to bench John David Booty -- and on Saturday -- I got my wish.

Mark Sanchez leads the USC Trojans to victory over the Arizona Wildcats

Mark Sanchez had been on the sidelines for two years, with some of us preferring him to get the chance over John David Booty. Mark, the redshirt sophomore brought exactly what had been missing from the team -- leadership, passion, and fire.

You could see Mark Sanchez getting in the faces of other players, acting with confidence and providing leadership to the team. While he struggled a little in the first half, he came through in the 2nd half when needed with a couple of aggressive scrambles and a perfect touchdown pass to Fred Davis in a critical situation. All of this with 10 starting members of the Trojans benched with injuries, impressive!

Will Mark get the start next week? We can only hope!

On another note, it looks like it was Joe McKnight's coming out party. At games this year I have heard the chants to put the kid in, but to this point the true freshman was struggling to find his game in the college ranks. And, on two occassions he showed why USC fans were so happy to see him commit.

If you have not seen the video below, you have to give it a watch:


The most disappointing moment of the day? The Cal Bears losing to the Oregon State Beavers. It was a golden (no pun intended) opportunity for Cal to take a stake at the top of the rankings. With that win, either USC, Cal, or Arizona State were guaranteed to go to the National Championship game if they won out.

The BCS picture just got a whole lot more complex for the members of the PAC-10

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Bank of America, My Money, and New York City

Odd subject, interesting story. This past weekend I was using the Bank of America - my core bank that I use for a number of my financial transactions. I use their moneycenter application -- also known as their My Portfolio service to track a number of items.

Recently, it has been riddled with errors when trying add a new account. The kind of errors where every link I click on returns a technical error. As expected, when I report them to the customer service -- form emails are returned to me without answering the question I have. Rather they point to me as having an issue using the site.

Fed up, I did a little of Google searching to see if anyone else was having similar issues with their My Portfolio service. While I did not find anything in terms of the problem, I did come across the My Money Blog and an article that has no revelance to my issue, but was intriguing none the less.

The ficticious? Manhattan poster made a Craiglist post that was similar to the following:

Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m not from New York. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.
The rest of the article covers treating marriage as a business relationship. Interesting theory read, impractical and undesirable circumstance from my perspective.

I spent a little more time around the My Money Blog and found it to be relatively engaging. The 29-year old Jonathan who has been blogging about his experiences in creating his financial future over the last three years.

While I do not agree with all of the approaches and strategies he used, you're bound to find some valuable information and insight there. I may comment on a few of them that I consider to be either risky or a waste of your time. Stay tuned.

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Outlook Error Fix: The messaging interface has returned an unknown error.

Today I had a mess of issues with my laptop computer - an IBM T60. Specifically, the issue was squarely with Microsoft Outlook 2003, and coincidently right after I installed Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Outlook.

I spent way too much time on Google trying to find the solution, so I am creating this post to make it easier for the next person that searches for this. Even then, the solution was not clear, but with some basic modifications -- the fix was in.

The error was not immediately available, as I was able to log into my Microsoft Outlook & Exchange session via Exchange Cached Mode, then the problems began. When I tried to send 'New Mail' or 'Send/Receive', or 'Reply', or 'Reply All', or 'Forward' -- I got the dreaded error message:

The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists please restart Outlook.


Regardless of the sequence, restarting Outlook or even rebooting the machine did not solve the issue. Even a re-installation of the Microsoft Office Professional 2003 Suite provided no help.

What was the fix? It was actually pretty simple. I first went to my Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook directory and tried to delete the .srs files associated with the problem. That did not work well. Then I deleted my entire profile in Outlook, restarted Microsoft Outlok 2003 and created a new profile.

Then, like magic -- the problem was solved.

If you encounter the error...
The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists please restart Outlook.

...simply remove and recreate the profile on your machine. That will get Outlook and Office Professional working properly again.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Motorola RAZR - Eventlights Setup and Tutuorial Guide

What are Eventlights? They are a cool Motorola feature on many of their phones that show a flashing keypad, LCD screen, and Bluetooth indcator light when you receive a message on your Motorola RAZR V3 or similar phone. It can be a text (SMS) message, email message, or other notifications like voice mail or other system updates. Usually, they do not come enabled out of the box and there are two main methods for enabling the eventlight feature.

1. Use SEEM editing, or a method edit the SEEM or storage container on your mobile Motorola phone.

2. Use an editor like P2KTools in order use a graphical interface in order to edit the various settings.

For the purposes of this tutorial I will be providing both methods, and the graphical interface will be provided by P2KTools 0.8.6 Build 406 (Installation Guide here) although P2KTools3 also know as PKTools VS is also compatible.

Here is the how to guide:

1. You need to either edit Seem 0032_0001 offset 63 by making sure that bit 2 is checked or using P2KTools (pictured below) you can choose the --> Switch to P2K Mode --> Other Features --> Multimedia --> Click 'Get' near the bottom --> then select 'CLUB_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE', 'CLUB_LIGHT_AVAIALBLE' and 'ALERT_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE' on the phone --> Click Set below.

RAZR Eventlights setup for your Motorola RAZR phone

2. An important step (missed originally) is that now you need to use the green 'Restart' button at the top of the screen for the P2KTools software to restart your phone. Once the phone is restarted, go to step 3.

3. Now go to your RAZR phone and click Menu --> Settings --> Ring Styles --> Event L ights, and the 'Ring Lights' menu item should be enabled. Choose from your choice of various Ring Lights which include (None), Starburst, Wild, Lava, Funk, Pulse, Wave, Techno, and Forest. Once you select your Ring Lights style, exit. Place a test SMS text message or email to your mobile phone and see the Eventlights light up!

Congratulations, you have successfully enabled the Moto modification for Eventlights on your Motorola phone! Did this work for you? Please let me know with a comment!

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Dell Radeon X1300 Pro Driver Upgrade Available and Installed

In search of trying to get Second Life to run on my Vista Ultimate 64-bit machine (currently) not supported, I started a search for updated video drivers. My current card was a Dell installed 256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro video card.

A quick run to the AMD / ATI website and it looks like Catalyst Software Suite version 7.10 is now available. In fact, it just shipped on October 11, 2007. I am not sure what my current version is from the information provided by Catalyst, but this must be newer based on the date.

Hopefully, there will be an OpenGL update so that Second Life will stop crashing. While it is still not 'supported', people have been reporting moderate successes with updated video drivers. Here goes my shot.

Before the upgrade, the current settings were:

Driver Packaging Version: 8.332-070108a1-041388C-Dell
2D Driver Version: 7.01.01.569
Direct3D Version: 7.14.10.0464
OpenGL Version: 6.14.10.0660
Catalyst Control Center Version: 0108.2146.2565.38893

The 56.1MB download was no big deal. Only difference during installation was the addition of the 'free' software - Earthsim.


Installation and reboot were successful and the Video Drivers on the ATI Radeon X1300 PRO were updated:

Driver Packaging Version: 8.421-070928a-053254C-ATI (Interestingly, no longer the Dell version)
2D Driver Version: 7.01.01.693
Direct3D Version: 7.14.10.00532
OpenGL Version: 6.14.10.6956
Catalyst Control Center Version: 2007.0928.2231.38404

It looks as if the original ATI X1300 PRO driver installed was a Dell only driver. While I am not an expert at ATI driver versions, it does look like from the increase in version numbers that the OpenGL Video driver was significantly upgraded.

If you have a Dell computer that shipped with teh ATI Radeon X1300 PRO, then I would recommend checking out the ATI download site at http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx?p=vista64/common-vista64 to download an apply the upgrade to your Vista Ulimate 64-bit system. It upgrades flawlessly.

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RAZR - How to Override the Volume Settings on your Motorola Phone

As I continue to get to know my 'new' Motorola RAZR phone, I keep finding changes that I need to make to it in order for it to work for me when I am not carrying my Blackberry. Take for instance the default volume setting on the RAZR.

While I was at the USC game last weekend at the Los Angeles Coliseum, I missed two calls to meet up with friends while at the Beer Garden because I could not hear the phone. This was even with phone on the table, and the volume turned all the way up.

Let's just say the default volume setting for ringing on your Motorazr cellular phone, even when at level '7' is just too quiet. With that being said, I set out on a search to find out if you can increase (or decrease) the setting with a minor hack to the phone. And, of course there is.

I am happy to say that with the procedure below, I was able to get the volume changed to a reasonable level -- and now I have missed less phone calls because of it. Follow the simple instuctions below and you too can customize your Motorola RAZR or similar P2K phone by hacking the volume controls.

Here is the step-by-step guide:

1. For the purposes of this tutorial I will be using the graphical interface will be provided by P2KTools 0.8.6 Build 406 (Installation Guide here) although P2KTools3 also know as PKTools VS is also compatible. Start up your P2KTools and insure that it is connected with a green icon in the lower right hand corner.

2. Choose Tools --> Change Volume to open up the hacking the volume window.
Change default volume on your Motorola RAZR handset shot 1

3. Click on the 'get' icon on the new window to obtain the current settings on your Motorola RAZR phone.
Change default volume on your Motorola RAZR handset shot 2

4. The default volume from ringtone/video will be set to one automatically. The scale goes all the way up to 7. However, above 4 is not recommended as it will sound distorted on your phone and could perhaps damage it eventually. Change the slide to setting '4'.
Change default volume on your Motorola RAZR handset shot 3

5. Click on the 'Set' to save the changes in volume to your phone. The P2KTools program will take a few seconds to save the settings.
Change default volume on your Motorola RAZR handset shot 4

6. Click on the 'Restart' button on the main menu of P2KTools to restart your phone and for the setting to load. The next time you receive a call, you will notice that the speaker for the ringtones are significantly louder than before.

Congratulations, you will definitely be able to hear your phone now! Feel free to adjust the other volume settings to see if they give you the desired change in volume. Just be cautious of overloading your speakers! Let me know if this worked for you with a comment below!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Whew! Mark Sanchez has his First Start for USC Today!

I am relieved. Very relieved. Apparently John David Booty is too hurt to play this Saturday due to the broken finger he suffered late in the first half of the disastrous USC Trojans loss to the Stanford Cardinals last week. Even given the injury, Booty had thrown 7 interceptions in the past two games and looked awful. I had been calling for USC to bench Booty after watching the performance at the Los Angeles Coliseum last week. Because of the injury, Mark Sanchez the redshirt shophomore will finally gets his first start.

Mark Sanchez starts for the USC Trojans today against Arizona

Some of the news this weeks has circulated around the fact that in the 7 passes that Mark Sanchez has thrown, 1 of them was an interception. The overblown statistic shows that over 15% of his passes result in the INT. That being said, the majority of those passes were in super mop-up duty playing with 2nd & 3rd string against the Washington State Cougars first string. Highly misleading.

The word from the Trojans camp this week is that the passes that Sanchez was throwing were crisp, on the money and he displayed a great long ball with excellent touch. The last piece is a critical aspect that has been missing all year from the USC offense.

The only question? Can Patrick Turner actually catch the ball this week?

Is the future of the USC offense about ready to start? Let's hope so and that Mark Sanchez, along with Stafon Johnson's return is enough to blow the Arizona Wildcats out of the water.

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Motorola RAZR - Funlights Setup and Tutuorial Guide

What are Funlights? They are a cool Motorola feature on many of their phones that show a flashing keypad, LCD screen, and Bluetooth indcator light when you receive an inbound phone call on your Motorola RAZR V3 or similar phone. Usually, they do not come enabled out of the box and there are two main methods for enabling the funlight feature.

1. Use SEEM editing, or a method edit the SEEM or storage container on your mobile Motorola phone.

2. Use an editor like P2KTools in order use a graphical interface in order to edit the various settings.

For the purposes of this tutorial I will be providing both methods, and the graphical interface will be provided by P2KTools 0.8.6 Build 406 (Installation Guide here) although P2KTools3 also know as PKTools VS is also compatible.

Here is the how to guide:

1. You need to obtain the funlights pattern file (funlight.pat) included in the funlight.zip file. That can be obtained here. (May need to be logged in to download)

2. You need to transfer the file to the /a/mobile/audio folder on your Motorola phone using P2KCommander, P2KTools, or similar P2K program.

3. You need to either edit Seem 0032_0001 offset 63 by making sure that bit 2 is checked or using P2KTools (pictured below) you can choose the --> Switch to P2K Mode --> Other Features --> Multimedia --> Click 'Get' near the bottom --> then select 'CLUB_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE', 'CLUB_LIGHT_AVAIALBLE' and 'ALERT_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE' on the phone --> Click Set below.

How to enable funlights on your Motorola RAZR phone guide and tutorial

4. An important step (missed originally) is that now you need to use the green 'Restart' button at the top of the screen for the P2KTools software to restart your phone. Once the phone is restarted, go to step 5.

5. Now go to your RAZR phone and click Menu --> Settings --> Audio and the 'Ring Lights' menu item should be enabled. Choose from your choice of various Ring Lights which include (None), Starburst, Wild, Lava, Funk, Pulse, Wave, Techno, and Forest. Once you select your Ring Lights style, exit. Place a test call to your mobile phone and see the Funlights light up!

Congratulations, you have successfully enabled the Moto modification for funlights on your Motorola phone! Did this work for you? Please let me know with a comment!

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Motorola RAZR - Free Game Installation Guide from your PC

I have my "own" Motorola V3 RAZR phone since Ashley has her iPhone. And lately, rather than always carrying the hefty Blackberry 8800 around all the time I have started switching out the SIM cards between the two devices in order to keep my same phone number on Cingular / AT&T and lighten the load.

Given the heavier use of the phone, of course I have done some modifications to it. The most recent of course is adding games to the device. Since the Motorola RAZR and other Motorola phones are Java compatible, there are many games out there that are available -- some that are free, some that are not.

The installation of the games from your computer is a pretty straight forward process assuming you have the right tools. This tutorial will walk you through the process so that you can easily install games on your Motorola phone!

The example game being used for this demonstration is "Yet Another Tetris" by Alwin Ngai. The version installed is the latest 2.52.52 and it is only 13k in size. This game has excellent play and usability on the Motorola V3 RAZR and is much of the reason for my choosing it.

Here is the how to guide:

1. Obtain a copy of the Yet Another Tetris game. I obtained my from this page. Alternatively, the direct link the .jar file you want is here. Save this on your hard drive in a location you know of.

2. Use a P2K program like P2KTools. My installation guide for P2KTools is here.

3. Start up P2KTools and click on the 'Switch to...' icon and choose Switch to P2K Mode.

4. Click on the KJava icon on the left hand menu. Make sure you are in the connected mode with the green icon in the lower left hand corner. The screen will be blank.

Install games on your motorola razr guide step 1

5. Click on the 'Read' button to return the current installed KJava / Java programs on your Motorazr phone. Next click on the 'Install' Icon on the bottom menu.

Install games on your motorola razr guide step 2

6. Browse to the location of the Yet Another Tetris JAR file you downloaded to install the game on your Motorola RAZR phone. Click on 'Open' and the phone will begin the installation of the game.

Install games on your motorola razr guide step 3

7. After the installation completes, click on the save icon in the lower right hand corner. The game shows as installed on your phone in P2KTools.

Install games on your motorola razr guide step 4

8. Finally, click on the 'Restart' button on the top menu bar to restart your Motorazr phone. Once it is complete, you game is ready for use by browsing to Menu --> Games --> Yet Another Tetris. Java will fire up and the game will work!

Congratulations, you have installed your first Motorola RAZR game. Now you can install others by searching on the internet for Free Motorola RAZR games! Did this guide work for you? Let me know with a comment.

Also, this game is known compatible with the following Motorola models:
Motorola: A1200, A760, A768, A780, A835, C168, C257, C261, C290, C350, C350M, C380, C385, C390, C450, C550, C650, C975, E1000, E1070, E380, E398, E398B, E398i, E550, E680, E680i, E770, E770-Vodafone, E790, E815, i830, i930, K1, KZRK K1, L2, L6, L6i, L7-Vodafone, Motorola Q, Motorola Q Plus, MPX220, PEBL U6, Razr V3, RAZR V3m, Razr V3x, RAZR V3xx, RAZR V3xxv, RAZR V6, RAZR2 V9m, ROKR E1, ROKR E2, ROKR E6, SLVR L7, SLVR L7e, SLVR L7i, SLVR L9, T720, V1050, V1075, V171, V177, V180, V186, V188, V190, V195, V197, V220, V235, V300, V360, V360-Vodafone, V365, V3i, V3m, V3r, V3t, V3v, V3x-Vodafone, V400, V500, V505, V525, V525M, V535, V547, V550, V551, V555, V557, V600, V600i, V620, V635, V80, V975, V980, V980M, W220, W375, Z3

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Motorola RAZR - Clublights Setup and Tutuorial Guide

What are Clublights? They are a cool Motorola feature on many of their phones that show a flashing keypad, inside LCD screen, outside LCD screen and Bluetooth indicator lights that are sound sensitive. Depending on the sensitivity setting, the volume of the room you are in or music, the various elemens of the phone will flash in rythym to the music on your Motorola RAZR V3 or similar phone. Usually, they do not come enabled out of the box and there are two main methods for enabling the clublights feature.

1. Use SEEM editing, or a method edit the SEEM or storage container on your mobile Motorola phone.

2. Use an editor like P2KTools in order use a graphical interface in order to edit the various settings.

For the purposes of this tutorial I will be providing both methods, and the graphical interface will be provided by P2KTools 0.8.6 Build 406 (Installation Guide here) although P2KTools3 also know as PKTools VS is also compatible.

Here is the how to guide:

1. You need to either edit Seem 0032_0001 offset 59 by making sure that bit 3 is checked and editing Seem 0032_0001 offset 63 making sure bit 3 is checked. Alternately, you can you P2KTools (as pictured below) by choosing the --> Switch to P2K Mode --> Other Features --> Multimedia --> Click 'Get' near the bottom --> then select 'CLUB_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE', 'CLUB_LIGHT_AVAIALBLE' and 'ALERT_LIGHTS_AVAILABLE' on the phone --> Click Set below.

How to enable clublights on your Motorola RAZR phone guide and tutorial

2. An important step (missed originally) is that now you need to use the green 'Restart' button at the top of the screen for the P2KTools software to restart your phone. Once the phone is restarted, go to step 3.

3. Now go to your RAZR phone and click Menu --> Settings --> Personalize and the 'Rhythm Lights' menu item should now be availabe. Choose the menu you item and it brings you to the Rhythm menu.

4. Here you have your choice of various patterns that include:(None), Starburst, Wild, Lava, Funk, Pulse, Wave, Techno, and Forest. Once you select your Rhythm Lights style, choose a timer for how long they will work -- from 1 to 10 minutes. Then choose the sensitivity on a scale of 1-7 with 1 being the most sensitive. Under one, medium voices in the room will cause the clublights to light up and flash!

Congratulations, you have successfully enabled the Moto modification for clublights on your Motorola phone! Did this work for you? Please let me know with a comment!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Audi A4 Fixed w/ Bad Turbo Bypass Valve (BPV) - Under Warranty

Yes, there was a problem with my Audi A4 2.0T. As I had previously mentioned -- my check engine light on my 2006 A4 turned on about 4 weeks ago and then mysteriously turned of early this week. With a scheduled appointment at Rusnak Audi in Thousand Oaks, I still took my car in.

I dropped the car off in the morning, and explained the issue to the service representative. Given the random nature of the engine light turning on and off, they performed a guided fault finding (GFF) to determine the issue. While the GFF showed some issue around the turbo, the turbo itself tested out fine.

However, after a test drive -- engine misfired during the drives and further inspection was done. Apparrently the valve cover on the Turbo Bypass Valve (BPV) had a leak and was causing the issue. The technician replaced the cover / clip on the Turbo Bypass Valve and the problem was fixed.

Perhaps the most concerning yet comical part of the day is that when I called Audi earlier in the day I spoke with another service representative other than the one working on my vehicle. During that conversation he mentioned there was a burnt valve and the engine needed a valve replacement. I did some googling after I heard that and found that a couple of other folks had issues with valves on the 2006 Audi A4's with the 2.0 turbo engine and intermitent check engine lights. Luckily, that was not me as that sort of issue would have been a more extensive and concerning problem with the engine. Luckily, that ended up not being the case.

The good news is that I have the car back -- seemingly with a little more power, which may be the case since the Turbo Bypass Valve (BPV) was leakign out pressure. Also, it could just be a mental thing. The main thing is that there was nothing "major" wrong with the vehicle or engine -- that is great news!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blackberry: Change Push to Talk Button / Convenience Key

For some time I had been searching for a way to turn off the "Push-To-Talk" button as it is useless to me, and many others. In fact, yesterday I got a question from one reader of my other posts asking if I knew how to disable the button. Having looked before and not finding anything -- I figured it was time to have another look.

After taking another look, I almost felt silly that I missed it earlier. It is very easy to change the Push-To-Talk (PTT) button on your Blackberry to another function. The actual key is called the convenience key and here are the instructions on the easiest way to change it.

From your Blackberry device do the following:
1. Go to options.

2. Choose Screen/Keyboard.

3. Scroll down to "Convenience Key Opens"

4. Choose which function you want your Blackberry to perform when you hit the convenience button / key.

The list includes:
Nothing (!)
Address Book
Alarm
Application Switcher
Blackberry Messenger
BrickBreaker
Browser
Calculator
Callendar
Call Log
Compose
Help
Lock
Manage Connections
Media
MemoPad
Messages
Options
Password Keeper
Push to Talk
Saved Messages
Search
Send Voice Note
Setup Bluetooth
Setup Wizard
Tasks
TeleNav GPS Navigator
Voice Dialing

5. Choose your feature and exit to save the settings.

Congratulation, you have not changed your convenience button key setting on your Blackberry 8800, 8830, Pearl, and Curve devices.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Audi A4 2.0T Check Engine Light Turns Itself Off

Back on September 8th, I had an unexpected mishap with my little 2006 Audi A4. After some driving on Pacific Coast Highway and entering the Interstate 10 in Santa Monica, my check engine light came on.

Adding to the concern were a couple of items:
1. After I stopped the car and opened the hood to look at the engine, I found around a teaspoon worth of oil on top of the engine -- not being sure if it happened with the incident or had been left there during the last service at 15,000 miles.
2. I have a Neuspeed Engine Management (ECU) upgrade installed on my A4. Of course I was worried that the additional 40 horsepower may have contributed to an issue.

Since I had been up in Mountain View the last three weeks, my car sat in the garage -- not having the opportunity to get it into the dealership, Rusnak Audi of Thousand Oaks. Finally, last Thursday I made an appointment with Rusnak's service department for tomorrow to had the engine light looked into.

Oddly enough, on Monday Ashley drove my Audi A4 to work since I needed her car to pick up Luey from his training. Ashley called me on the way to work to mention that the engine light on the car was no longer on.

One reason that was odd, is that it appears that after 3 weeks of sitting, the computer may have reset itself. I had previously checked the obvious causes for an engine light like loose hoses or more commonly, the gas cap being loose on a newer vehicle. All items were snug and in good condition. The engine light resetting itself was definitely unexpected.

Still, I will be taking my car to the dealership tomorrow to see what they see. My guess is that the on-board computer will have recorded the incident and it can be determined what happened.

Has anyone else had this kind of issue with an Audi A4?

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The Bubble Gum Cigarette Incident in Santa Monica

A couple of weekends ago Ashley and I were up in San Francisco near Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 39. There we ran into the Candy Barn, or basically a store that we have all seen that has a ton of different candies in it. After wandering the store, we came across a set of candies the refreshed a memory of mine.

Bubble Gum Cigarettes at the Candy Barn at Pier 39 in San Francisco

The Cigarette Gum or Bubble Gum Smokes are an important past piece of history and seeing them almost made me purchase a few packs and ship them around the country to Josh and Mike.

Why such great memories of a simple pack of bubble gum that looks like a pack of Cigarettes where the gum is lucky to hold it’s flavor for 5 minutes and gets rock hard after 10 minutes?

Well, this gum has a special feature. This story goes back to a sunny day on the 3rd Street Promenade several years back. Details are a little sketchy, but this is how I remember it………

Josh, Mike, and I were walking the street and wandering into the various stores on the block – minding our own business. There was a candy store there that had these Bubble Gum Cigarettes. We grabbed a couple of packs, with the Lucky Lights being my favorite.

Now Cigarette Bubble Gum has a special feature. Not only are they shaped and rolled like Cigarettes, but they give you the ability to ‘blow’ smoke. Each stick of gum has a hollow pinhole center filled with a sugary substance that if you blow on creates a puff of smoke.

Then out of nowhere some guy smoking a cigarette (or Cigar?) is walking towards us and we see him blow smoke in a several people’s faces – what looks to be intentionally. Then, as he approaches us, timing happens to be perfect as we have a new stick of gum ready for use. Just as he blows smoke towards us, out a big puff to the side and created a nice cloud of sugary smoke in front of the smoker. He walks right into the cloud and gets a nice sugary coating. We heard a little cough-cough, smiled, and went on our way.

While it was not the nicest thing in the world to do, we had a really good laugh about the sugar coating incident. Hopefully, it taught him a lesson about blowing cigarette smoke in the faces of others.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Luey Returns Home from In-Kennel Training

Today I picked up our Chocolate Labrador Retriever Luey from his "Boot Camp" training. Ashley dropped him off there three weeks ago, and really is not a boot camp -- rather an in-kennel dog training session for three straight weeks with no visitation. For the reason that over the three weeks we really missed him, I was pretty excited for my 2:00pm appointment at K9's Only in Tarzana, having not seen our 4-year old Chocolate Lab Luey in about 4 weeks. I was equally anticipating some of the changes in his behavior and attention span.

Luey the Chocolate Lab at home after 3 weeks of training at K9's Only

(I had been meaning to post about our choice to send him for his in-kennel training and his progress report, but time got away from me. So, I will have to catch those up at some point.)

So, I arrived at 2:00 to K9's Only for the demonstration session and my own training (much needed!) on how to handle Luey. (Unfortunately, Ashley could not make it for the demonstration and training due to work) Our trainer Sharon came out after a couple of minutes and Bobby Dorafshar, the owner joined us for the meeting.

K9's only facilities in Tarzana, CA

The first 5-10 minutes Sharon and I spent talking about Luey's progress and some of the areas of difficulty -- mainly food and toys, which were known and common among most labradors. We also talked about how to handle Luey the next few weeks and what techniques to use in order to reinforce his new learned behaviors. Then, it was time for the demonstration.

Sharon brought Luey out into the training room where he could not see us through the darkened viewing room. Very quickly, I noticed some pretty big differences with Luey. He was attentive, kept his attention and obeyed many of the commands that he was given. I think the most impressive part for me was in his first stay, they threw tennis and other balls by him and he did not budge. You could see the desire in the Chocolate Lab's eyes, but Luey stayed and obeyed the command. In the next step, treats were placed near him, and while he was corrected once -- he was able to resist and focus on his commands.

Then it was my turn. After a few minutes of greeting Luey, we got started. Over the next 45 minutes Sharon showed me everything that she had taught Luey and I practiced with him. His performance and behavior was pretty impressive based on where Luey was when we dropped him off. I was quickly satisfied with our choice to trust our Chocolate Lab to K9's Only. After that, it was a matter of setting up our follow-up appointments to make sure we keep his training in place.

Tonight, I took him out on a walk and it was perhaps the easiest walk I have had with him. Granted, he was not perfect and needed occassional correction but his walking on lease was very enjoyable. None of the usual wandering, pulling, and trying to go wherever the dog wanted to. A nice change!

While we still have a lot of training and reinforcement to do with our dog Luey, we highly recommend checking out K9's Only if you are looking for some good dog training for your beloved pet.

Lastly, Luey the Chocolate Labrador Retriever with endless flows of energy is completely pooped out and laying on the tile. Looks like all the learning and exercise really gave him a good workout today!

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My Wii Nunchuk Is Sticking, Now What?

Over the weekend I started having a problem with my Nintendo Wii. My game of choice recently has been "THE BIGS" a 2K Sports baseball game that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday back in July (Thanks!). I have really enjoyed the game (review coming soon), but the game itself requires pretty heavy use of the Wiimote tethered Nunchuk in several movements and aspects of the game.

Heavy use means a good amount of pressure, whether running for the ball or trying to make your way around the base paths. Then yesterday, my Wii Nunchuk started to have an issue.

While pitching, all of a sudden the Nunchuk appeared to only go down and to the right as if the analog stick was depressed. I shook it around and rotated the analog stick, but could only even with in the upper most top left area could only get it to recenter. It appeared that the Nunchuk was stuck. Only by unplugging the Nunchuck could I get it to recenter.

Then, after another 10 minutes of playing the same thing happened again. Not sure why, but it appears the Nunchuk is ending it's useful life. I did some Google searching, but could not find any recent incidents that could help me out with a potential fix.

Most likely I will be taking the Wiimote Nunchuk through the entire disassemble process to see what the issue is. Have you had such and issue with your Nunchuk? Were you able to fix it or can you help me out?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

How to Backup your Motorola RAZR Phone

Do you plan any modifications to your RAZR to unlock features by editing seems, putting on Monster Packs and doing other general hacks to your Motorola V3 RAZR mobile phone? If so, creating a backup file of your entire original Motorola RAZR V3 phone is a must! Without it, if you make a mistake -- you could turn your mobile device into a brick -- that cannot be fixed!

This installation guide will walk you just through that -- how to backup you phone so that your Motorola RAZR is safe when you do your mods. If you mess it up, you can always flash it back to the original state!

Here is the step-by-step guide:

1. You will need a flash backup program and a working connection to your Motorola V3 phone. A good program, which is shareware for the first few backups and flashes is Flash&Backup, current version 3.0.6. You can download it here. Once it is downloaded, unzip and install on your computer.

The software currently support the following models: Motorola C380, Motorola C381P, Motorola C390, Motorola C650, Motorola E1 ROKR, Motorola E1000, Motorola E1070, Motorola E375, Motorola E398, Motorola E770v, Motorola K1 KRZR, Motorola L6, Motorola L7 SLVR, Motorola L7e, Motorola U6 PEBL, Motorola V180, Motorola V186, Motorola V188, Motorola V220, Motorola V235, Motorola V3, Motorola V300, Motorola V360, Motorola V3i, Motorola V3r, Motorola V3t, Motorola V3x, Motorola V3xx, Motorola V400, Motorola V500, Motorola V547, Motorola V6 MAXX, Motorola V600, Motorola V620, Motorola V635, Motorola V980, Motorola Z3 RIZR. If yours is not listed, it may work with varying levels of success.

2. Start up the program that should be added to your Program Files and Start Menu. Verify that your settings are correct including the backup location you want as well as the language.

Backup your Motorola Phone how to guide picture 1 - How to configure the default settings.

3. Select the appropriate phone from the drop down menu, and select the appropriate code groups. For the Motorola V3, the appropriate ones include CG1 (Firmware), CG2 (Flex), CG3 (DSP Firmware), CG4 (Langpack), CG15 (DRM Graphics), CG18 (Digital Sign). Choose the appropriate backup format (my favorite is SMG (Binary files) where choices include FB3 (CAB-ZIP archive), FB3 (CAB-LZX archive), FSW (CAB-LZX archive), SMG (Binary files), and SHX (S-Records file). Then click on the 'Read data' to start the backup process. Of course, you need to make sure that the phone is connected with the green square icon in the lower left hand corner.

Backup your Motorola Phone how to guide picture 2 - choose your backup file types and settings

4. The operation of the backup start. The tool needs to change your phone into flash-mode. The following information appears on your phone: Boot Loader 08.26, SW Version:R374_G_0E.42.1.5R, OK to Program USB Transfer Mode. Press ok and the backup will start.

Backup your Motorola Phone how to guide picture 3 - Backup initiates by going into flash-mode

5. The loader now starts and backs up your files.

Backup your Motorola Phone how to guide picture 4

6. Once the backup finishes, it should take about 8 minutes and in the case of binary files, create files with a size of around 30.0MB depending on how much information is on your phone. It is important to remember that everything saved on your phone will be included in the backup, that includes notes, messages and more!

Backup your Motorola Phone how to guide picture 5

Here is an exampe log:
*** Operation start (10/7/2007 5:48:38 PM) ***
Flash&Backup 3.0.6
Read data: C:\Backups\2007-10-07_174838\...

Turning phone to Flash-mode...
Sending the loader...
Done.
Executing JUMP...
Done.
Reading the code group: CG1
Done.
Reading the code group: CG2
Done.
Reading the code group: CG3
Done.
Reading the code group: CG4
Done.
Reading the code group: CG15
Done.
Reading the code group: CG18
Done.
Operation done.

*** Operation end (10/7/2007 5:55:36 PM) ***

If this post worked for you, please let me know with a comment!

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Remote Desktop Video 32-bit Mode Windows XP

Apparently Windows XP's Remote Desktop service does not support running the RDP service in 32-bit mode. I learned this today after a long struggle trying to get it to work, and the best I ended up with was 24-bit mode after some Group Policy edits.

How did this come about?
Today, given Second Life's failure to support Microsoft Vista Ultimate or any version of Vista, I wanted to install it on a Windows XP system. Since my other computer runs Windows XP and I Remote Desktop (RDP) into it for control, it made perfect sense to use it for Second Life. However, when trying to run Second Life, it returned an error message:

Second Life requires True Color (32-bit) to run in a window. Please go to Control Panels -> Display -> Settings and set the screen to 32-bit color. Alternately, if you choose to run fullscreen, Second Life will automatically adjust the screen each time it runs.
Odd, in my opinion since I knew the video card supported high resolutions including a 32-bit display.

The issue immediately pointed to the use of Remote Desktop (RDP), since when I was in the Remote Desktop session I noticed that the color mode was only 16-bit. I double checked my Remote Desktop settings on the display tab and they were set to 1280x1024 display and Highest Quality (32-bit).

What was the summary?
The bottom line was the best I could acheive in Windows XP through Remote Desktop (RDP) was a 24-bit display. Apparently you need to connect to Windows Vista or Windows 2003 server to acheive the 32-bit display through a Remote Desktop Conncetion (RDC). This means that I cannot run Second Life through Remote Desktop. If your programs require 24-bit mode, it can be accomplished.

Here are the details of items you can verify and modify to get the most out of the display through Remote Desktop and Windows XP.

First, you can verify your Remote Desktop Client software supports 32-bit mode. KB925876 at Microsoft (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925876) clearly states that the Remote Desktop Client 6.0, supports 32-bit video.
Visual improvements
Remote Desktop Connection now supports 32-bit color and font smoothing.

To enable 32-bit color, follow these steps:1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Communication, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.
2. Click Options, click the Display tab, and then click Highest Quality (32 bit) in the Colors list.
To enable font smoothing, follow these steps:1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Communication, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.
2. Click Options, click the Experience tab, and then click to select the Font smoothing check box.
So, if you do not have 6.0 of the client, visit the Microsoft site and download it.

Secondly, and most importantly -- Remote Desktop server on Windows XP only support up to 24-bit video through a RDP session. However, by default it only runs in 16-bit! It is, however possible to change it by tweaking a group policy setting in Windows XP. To do this:

1. Open up the Group Policy editor, by going Start --> Run and type in MMC.

2. Add the Group Policy snap-in by going File --> Add/Remove Snap-in --> Add --> Group Policy Object Editor --> Add --> Finish (Local Machine) --> Close --> Ok.

3. Now navigate in the Group Policy Object Editor from Local Computer Policy --> Computer Configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Widnows Components --> Terminal Services and double-click on the 'Limit maximum Color Depth' object.

4. By default the policy is disabled and sets you to 16-bit color. Click on 'Enable' and choose either 'Client Compatible' or 24-bit to enable the highest resolution of 24-bit (True Color) to display via Remote Desktop. Options include 8-bit, 15-bit, 16-bit, and 24-bit.

Now you should be able to run in up to 24-bit on Windows XP via your Remote Desktop connection!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bench Booty. Campaign to Bench the USC Trojans Starting Quaterback

Bench John David Booty. Start Mark Sanchez. It really is that simple. I am starting the campaign and petition right here and now. I was already tempted to go this way after last week's performance against the Washington Huskies. Now, with the awful performance tonight culminating with the USC Trojans losing to the Stanford Cardinals, I am convinced that it is time.

I do not have anything against the current starting quarterback of the USC Trojans -- John David Booty -- however, enough is enough. Even while John David racked up some decent numbers last year during the season -- something was missing -- the intangibles, excitement, charisma, call it what you want. And this season it has been exposed.

First off, let's look at his performance in games over the last two weeks, 3 TD's and 6 INT's. That is not a misprint, 6 interceptions -- most of which were horribly thrown balls directly to member of the other team, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. While the statistics against Washington State were better, Booty was far from perfect. Fortunately, amazing performances by Stafon Johnson and Chauncey Washington saved the game.

Next, let's look at the majority of Booty's passes this year. With the exception of the 63 yard pass -- which was awfully under thrown and lucky the receiver was that open -- no passes have exceeded 20 years in the air. Everything had been after the catch. USC has had no long ball threats this year due to the accuracy problems. He keeps over throwing 6'5" and 6'6" receivers, throwing behind them -- constantly off!

Then, there is playing smart -- John David Booty is just not playing smart right now. Taking sacks in the pocket, not getting rid of the ball and throwing balls into double-coverage turning into interceptions. Every do not do in the game of football seems to be coming out of Booty's hands.

Lastly, there is the whole problem of mobility. Booty cannot move around in the pocket or get outside of it without a design bootleg. That is killing the USC Trojans right now.

Any way that you look at it -- it is time to consider the call and petition for Booty to get benched, and give Mark Sanchez his shot! I know the majority of the USC faithful is out there behind me, the boos and calls for Mark Sanchez tonight from the stands were clear, with even some "We want Mark" chants!

If you agree, leave a comment below! We need "Bench Booty" shirts rather that the "Booty Call" shirts!

Note: Patrick Turner may be next. He dropped three balls right in his hands this evening, two in critical situations!

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USC Trojans Upset by Stanford Cardinals

As pathetic as the game was from a USC Trojans standpoint -- the end was very exciting despite the 41-point favorite Trojans losing to the Stanford Cardinals on a touchdown in the last minute by Stanford to take their first lead of the game.

Below is a clip a of video shots from the game from our seats in Section 12, an improvement from a viewing perspective from the last game we attended against Washington State in section 15. No special overlay of music or effects -- but you get to catch one of the most exciting parts of the game with the Navy Leapfrogs -- parachute demonstration teaming dropping in during pregame!




In our new pre-game routine, we hung out at the Beer Garden at the Los Angeles Sports Arena watching the Georgia / Tennessee game. Then, we wandered around the tailgate parties and the pavilion where you can win shirts and other fun stuff.

Enough has been written about the game itself at this point, and being there it was not much of a shocker. The offense looked absolutely awful the entire game, and the crowd was out the game for much of the game. In the end, it was exiciting -- and the crowd was excited.

Some of my notes from the game:
- The last drive by Stanford was reminiscent of the 2006 Rose Bowl game I attended against the Texas Longhorns. You felt that Stanford was not going to be stopped no matter what happened -- that something, a close 4th spot, a 4th down conversion for a touchdown, a penalty would end with USC going down by a point. A very eerie feeling.
- The penalty for 12 men on the field before the final touchdown may have actually helped Stanford out. With a little more room to work, it gave the opportunity for the pass to be less precise than on previous play.
- The USC defense played spectacular. Even though they gave up 17 points and the game winning touchdown, most of the time they were put in a bad situation by the offense.
- John David Booty, for the third week in a row was awful. He should be benched in favor of Mark Sanchez.
- Patrick Turner gets the butterfinger award. Of the few passes that Booty threw accurately, he dropped 3 of them that hit him in the hands. Although he made a couple of great catches -- they were overshadowed by the drops.
- Lots of booing from the USC crowd. It is clear they are fed up with the lackadasical manner the offense went about their business.
- Stafon Johnson was greatly missed in the backfield and the running game suffered.
- The USC Trojans lack an exciting or game breaking play like we have been accustomed to over the pass few years, Carson Palmer, Mike William, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Dwayne Jarret, and Steve Smith. No one has stepped up this year that can break on that can go the distance. The tight-end Fred Davis appears the be the closest thing they have right now.
- Will be interesting if USC is able to win the PAC-10 this year. No chance with the way the offense is playing!

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Wii Channel Online Store Fails to Take Credit Cards

On my recent experience with the Wii Online Store through the Nintendo Wii Channels a very interesting thing happened. It appears that the Wii Store or Wii Shopping Channel as it is more accurately called will not take certain credit cards. Here is my experience.

Wii Channel Online Store Fails to Take Credit Cards

When trying to add some Wii Points to my Wii Points Card online, I followed the mechanism to authorize and purchase 1000 Wii Points. I used a particular credit card that met the requirements -- Visa or Mastercard and entered all of the correct information. Suprisingly after authorizing the purchase, the card was rejected.

Thinking that I had somehow mis-typed the information into the purchasing shopping cart on the Nintendo Wii, leading to the failed purchase. I then re-entered all the information again, being extra careful to make sure I had it right. Still, after going out for authorization, it failed.

Now, this did not make sense to me -- so I grabbed a different Visa card that I had handy and tested it out. After going through the process again, magically the Wii Shopping Channel took my Visa Credit Card information and made the purchase. Crazy I thought, what was the difference?

As it turns out the first card I tried was a BUSINESS CREDIT CARD rather than a personal credit card. It appears that the Wii Shopping Channel will not support the use of business cards for purchasing Wii Points Cards through the Nintendo Wii. An important piece of information if you are considering purchasing some Wii Points!

Have you had this problem as well? Let me know with a comment!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lakers Pre-Sale Ticket Victory for 2007-08 Season and a Free Code!

One of the most popular and favorite articles of readers of this blog was my article last year on how you can get Los Angeles Lakers tickets at face value. (Post here) Well for those of you who paid attention to my post back in January, today was the big day. Today was the Los Angeles Lakers season ticket holders pre-sale with Ticketmast for the 2007-08 NBA season.

If I look back at my experience last year, my ticket stash for Lakers games last year did not turn out anywhere like what I anticipated. First, Ticketmaster had and issue where a large number of folks could not access the pre-sale of the famed NBA tickets for 30 minutes. Those, like me -- missed the best games because of that -- meaning, only tickets were in the 300 level for game like the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and San Antonio Spurs were gone. I was left with a bunch of games like the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and the Portland Trailblazers. Nothing to write home about. The only saving grace? Ticketmaster refunded me $120 worth of fees for the 6 games I ended up with tickets for.

However, this year was different. Rathering that being left out in the cold by Ticketmaster, I was able to score two tickets to the top NBA - Lakers game this year. Here is what I ended up with, and I could have gotten more!

  • 11/16/07 - Detroit Pistons
  • 12/13/07 - San Antonio Spurs
  • 12/30/07 - Boston Celtics
  • 01/17/08 - Phoenix Suns
  • 01/27/08 - Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 03/02/08 - Dallas Mavericks
  • 03/23/08 - Golden State Warriors
  • 04/04/08 - Dallas Mavericks
  • 04/13/08 - San Antonio Spurs

The seats, for the most part are all in the Premier (PR) section, or the 100's level at Staples Center, generally what most folks pay well over face value for -- especially for these particular Lakers games.

Once again, the Lakers Season Ticket waitlist paid off for me. If you get on the wait-list, not only do you get a chance for these pre-sale tickets and codes, but you also get last minute deals and games and early pre-sale for playoff tickets!

It's the best $100 you'll spend. Also, there is another Los Angeles Lakers Pre-sale on Friday at 12:00pm -- if you are on the Los Angeles Lakers list, you should have received a pre-sale invitation as well as a code.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Apple iPhone Accessories for Ashley's 8gb iPhone

When you buy an Apple iPhone, it is difficult to leave well enough alone without grabbing some accessories for it. While you get a charger, docking station, headset / earphones and a cleaning cloth -- there is nothing there to protect your iPhone from damages.

The most important two things to protect the iPhone from are of course screen scratches and gouges, and secondly try to protect it from any falls or inadvertent drops or bumps. So, to protect against those items -- we made two additional purchases at the Apple Store in San Francisco:

1. Power Support Crystal flilm - iPhone - TN612ll/A. Basically, two screen protectors in the pack for about $15 that will keep the the common types of scratches and abrasions on your iPhone's LCD screen from appearing. It took a couple of overlays for me to get it just right and the air bubble remove. However, it was a clean fit!

2. Incase Molded Rubber Case- Black - TN563LL/A. Ashley wanted her case to be both light and the same color as her iPhone, so we chose this particular case. It seems to be a good mix of flexibility and protection from drops or falls. It installed correctly and easily. The reason for the choice of this one was covering of the corners, many of the leather and other cases do not cover these -- the most commonly damaged areas during a fall.


The only issue, is that once again Apple's Docking station provides little flexibility for any type of protective case or sleeve. So, after installing the Incase rubber case, the iPhone no longer sits nicely in it. Looks like the docking station is a throw away.

Other than that -- the Apple iPhone is setup with the first couple of accessories

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hilton HHonors Diamond VIP Status, Finally!

After six months of heavily traveling, I "finally" obtained the elusive Hilton HHonors Diamond VIP status today. What does it mean? There are a few additional perks around bonus points, room upgrades, and availability for any hotel with a reasonable amount of notice.

Those are pretty good perks, but it took a little arm twisting from Hilton HHonors to get the upgrade to Diamond status. The reason, if you travel towards the end of a month, and points are granted 72 hours after your stay towards the end of the month, the system does not re-calculate your status once they are applied, especially in the next month.

For example, my stay in San Francisco on Saturday night pushed me into the Diamond Hilton HHonors bracket. However, since the points did not register until today, when calculating my base points or nights (60 nights or 100,000 base points) it was not included retroactively for the period ending September 30th.

After a couple of emails, Hilton HHonors hooked me up with the upgrade. There should be word to the wise here. Hilton really should change their system to recalculate qualifications each time points, nights or stays are recorded. Currently, it appears that they are only time-based which means people are potentially loosing the status they deserve!

That being said, I am definitely looking forward to an upcoming personal trips to Maui in February and Italy next summer. Not only will they be free, but if they are anything like out trip to Waikiki last February, with the Hilton HHonors Gold VIP -- we will have both a great room and a great time! In previous visits, those had been due to the Gold status granted by the American Express HHonors card.

If you were not aware of the Hilton HHonors American Express card, that's an easy and convenient way to get Hilton HHonors Gold status.

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