Subscribe

Receive updates via email:

 Updates via RSS

Tag Cloud

Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV – Slow Start to the Game (GTA4)

When the package arrived from Amazon.com, I knew what was in it. Something that was sure to eat away many hours of my time the next few weeks. I opened it up, and there it was the new release from Rockstar Games – Grand Theft Auto IV or GTA4 as some will refer to it. I was part of the record setting first day sales and I was excited to try and get some missions completed in the short amount of time I had available tonight.

Grand Theft Auto IV - Initial Review
With only about an hour to spare this evening, I was thinking I could make a good start around Liberty City in the new GTA 4. Boy was I wrong.

It took about 15 minutes for the game to install the data on the hard drive. Why? I have absolutely no idea – it is obviously putting a ton of data on the Playstation 3 hard drive. However, why cannot the loading it be done in the background while playing the opening scenes or videos? To make matters worse, the great scenes that appear during the loading still continue to appear for another minute after the game data has been saved to the PS3. Only then does it go into the opening scenes.

And the opening is a great introduction although a bit long of the Grand Theft Auto IV’s main character, Niko Bellic coming into Liberty City aka New York City by a huge freighter. At the docks, he is picked up by his cousin Roman to stay with him at his castle in New York City. The only problem is that Roman has over exaggerated his American exploits to his family in Yugoslavia – there are no castles, sports cars, or women. Just a run down apartment and a taxi service to be exploited.

From there, you start the first couple of missions. In the limited time I had, I was only able to explore Liberty City a little while completing the first couple of missions. I immediately found the driving controls to be a lot more sluggish than GTA3 San Andreas as I made my way around town. I also found the opening scenes for each mission to be rather lengthy, perhaps that is just the start of the character development for the game.

However, just a couple of missions into GTA4 – nothing too exciting has happened – other than driving to a couple of locations and picking up people. I hope the game speeds up in the next couple of missions, thus far – while the graphics and stunningly improved from GTA3, the game play and story development has been disappointing.

Given all the hype around this release – and the reason that many of us purchased the Playstation 3 was for Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto franchises – I have been just a little disappointed with Grand Theft Auto IV. Let’s hope it gets better!

Read more of this post!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fixed! Gran Turismo 5 Download Failed Error for Gran Turismo 5 & GT5 Prologue

This ERROR also occurs in Gran Turismo (GT5) and the fix remains the same as it is with the Prologue


With the release of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (GT5), I immediately experienced an issue with my date and time settings (See how to fix here, as it is a precursor to fixing this problem) that was a little annoying. Shortly after I cleaned that up, I was notified that there was an update available for Gran Turismo 5. Not only did that not work, but it took me several tries and configurations to get it working correctly. Keep reading for the solution.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue GT5 Download failed -- an error occurred during the downloadThe sequence of events and the fix went as follows. If you are having a similar issue downloading updates for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (GT5), I recommend following these steps.

1. Upon entering Gran Turismo 5 Prologue I was greeted with the following dialog:
An update is available. Your prize money will be carried over, but the update may result in the the loss of replay and saved data. Download the Update? When you begin the download, all unsaved data will be lost.


2. I click on 'Yes' rather than 'No' to start the update and the following transpired.
Preparing download. Please do not turn off the PS3 system while the HDD access indicator is flashing.

Downloading...


3. Then after 2-3 minutes, a dialog comes up with 'Failed'. Upon hitting 'ok' you are greeted with the message 'An error occurred during the download. Download failed.'

4. The download dialog boxes exit and you can go about using the system, but News and online play is not working.

I tried this several times repeatedly either by exiting the game using the PS button, downloading upon starting the game and by trying it multiple times in game.

One method that has been helpful for folks including me was by going to Options --> Miscellaneous --> Network. From there, start with clearing the cache by clicking on the start button. In addition, adjust the item for UPnP to Mode 2 from Mode 1. This adjusts the NAT and network protocols. While badly named, by changing to Mode 2 from Mode 1 has yielded the most successful attempts.

After completing the clear cache and UPnP network mode settings change, restart the game and attempt to download the game. After making the changes, on my second download everything worked great.

Hopefully this works for you -- if so, please let me know with a comment!

Keywords that led to this post:
gran turismo 5 update failed
gran turismo 5 update error
problem with grand trismo updte
gran turismo 5 error
gt5 patch foutmelding
gt5p download fail
how to download game updates in gt5 prologue
are the servers fixed on gran turismo 5
can't transfer gt prologue data to gran turismo 5
gand turismo 5 update error
gran turismo 5 1.01 error
gran turismo 5 error code 8002291a
gran turismo 5 errors
gran turismo 5 update problem
gran turismo 5 updateing issues
gt 5 prologue update download failed
gt5 error
gt5 update error
gt5p data transfer problems
need to uninstall gt5 prologue
an error occurred during the download gt5p update
error 742 gran turismo 5
error installing gran turismo 5 update
errors on gt5
gran tourismo prologue error while download
gran turismo 5 & update 1.01 failed
gran turismo 5 80029c55 error
gran turismo 5 after update game wont work
gran turismo 5 controls not working
gran turismo 5 download problem
gran turismo 5 download problems
gran turismo 5 erreur 201
gran turismo 5 erro
gran turismo 5 error 742
gran turismo 5 error 80001063
gran turismo 5 error 8002291a
gran turismo 5 error 80710723
gran turismo 5 error 80710736
gran turismo 5 import failed
gran turismo 5 install stuck at 11%
gran turismo 5 patch locking up
gran turismo 5 patch problem
gran turismo 5 problem loading
gran turismo 5 prologue update error
gran turismo 5 sound not working
gran turismo 5 update 1.01 problem
gran turismo 5 update bug
gran turismo download error
gran turismo download error 80710736
gran turismo error

Read more of this post!

Fixed! The Date and Time Settings Are Not Set Correctly for Gran Turismo 5 & GT5 Prologue

This ERROR also occurs in Gran Turismo (GT5) and the fix remains the same as it is with the Prologue


Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is finally here with great fanfare after an 18 month for most of us for this much anticipated release -- even if it is just a smaller release of GT5 Prologue. While we still wait for the full version, we can at least have a little fun with the version of Gran Turismo. While I just received my GT5 from Amazon.com, I am hopeful, the full version will be here for us next year.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue - the date and time settings are not set correctly
Before I got started with my new game -- when I put my copy of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue into my Playstation 3 (PS3), I was greeted with an odd error on my console and GT5:
The date and time are not set correctly. Please check date and time settings
I was a little confused as to how it would be possible. Thinking the time was messed up on my Playstation 3 by hitting the PS Button, exiting the game and then going to Settings --> Date and time settings. Interesting, the time was set correctly, but Gran Turismo 5 still had the error.

I then went back into the game and again was greeted with the error:
The date and time are not set correctly. Please check date and time settings
After some checking, I figured out what the problem was. Gran Tursimo 5 Prologue requires that your PS3 gets it's date and time from the Internet. If your PS3 is not set to do this, then you will receive this error in GT5. Frustrating!

How do you fix it? Easy, just go to your Playstation's main menu by clicking on the PS button. Then browse to Settings. Next to Date and Time Settings. Then Date and Time. Now select 'Set via Internet', click 'ok' and then your date is set.

Now go back into your Gran Turismo 5 Prologue game and you will no longer get the error. Additionally, you will now see the Gran Turismo calendar appear on the left side of your screen with the date of April 4th, 2008.

Who knows why the folks at Polyphony Digital required this setting as it does cause some frustration. At least you know how to fix it. If this fix worked for you, please let me know below with a comment!

Keyword that led to this post:
gt5 date and time not set correctly
gran turismo 5 date and time settings
gran turismo 5 time setting
gt5 the date and time are not set correctly
gran turismo 5 date and time settings are
gran turismo date and time not set correctly
gt5 date and time are not set correctly
gran turismo 5 clock and time settings
gran turismo 5 date and time not set correctly
gran turismo 5 the date and time are not set correctly
gran turismo 5 time settings
gt5 date time not correct
setting time in gt 5
the date and time are not set correctly gran turismo
the date and time are not set correctly gt5
+GT5 +"the date and time are not set correctly"
date and time not set correctly gt5
date and time settings change gran turismo
date and time settings gran tourismo 5
date and time settings gran turismo 5
date and time settings grand turismo 5
date time error gran turismo 5
gran tourismo time and date settings message
gran truism 5 date and time settings
gran turismo 5 "date and time are not"
gran turismo 5 "date time settings"
gran turismo 5 clock is not set correctly
gran turismo 5 date and time error
gran turismo 5 date and time settings not correct
gran turismo 5 date settings
gran turismo 5 date time settings
gran turismo 5 datum en tijd instellingen
gran turismo 5 how to change date and time
gran turismo 5 setting time
gran turismo 5 tijd veranderen
gran turismo date and time settings are incorrect
gran turismo date time are not set correctly
gran turismo please check data and time settings
gran turismo the date and time are not set correctly
gran turismo time not set correctly
grand turismo "the date and time are not set correctly"
grand turismo 5 the date and time are not correctly set
gt "the date and time are not set correctly"
gt 5 date and tiem not set correctly
gt 5 date and time settings
gt the date are time are not set correctly
gt% the date and time are not set correctly please check date and time settings
gt5 check time and date settings
gt5 correct time and date settings
gt5 date and time issue

Read more of this post!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Forwarding Email to @mycingular.blackberry.net No Longer Works

I was lazy and this morning I was called on it. When I checked my inbox this morning I noticed several delivery failure messages from mycingular.blackberry.net email address in which they were being rejected with the following message:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification Delivery
to the following recipient failed permanently:

xxx@mycingular.blackberry.net

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: Gmail tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain.

The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 #5.1.0 Address rejected.. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error.

Thanks for your continued support. (state 14)


The root cause? AT&T / Cingular had announced last September that forwarding from mycingular.blackberry.net accounts to the new att.blackberry.net accounts would stop on March 1st, 2008. I pretty much ignored the original email that I received from AT&T and Cingular, knowing I had plenty of time to make the switch. I did not setup a reminder and this morning the email delivery stopped working.

Apparently it took AT&T little longer to do it than they initially planned -- April 25th, 2008 was the last day that the forwarding would continue for my particular account.

However, this was a really easy fix. All I had to do was log into my Gmail account, change the forwarding address from xxx@mycingular.blackberry.net to xxx@att.blackberry.net and my mail forwarding was immediately restored.

Hopefully you did not get caught by the same issue I did. If you did, at least you know there is an easy fix!

A sad day indeed, no more orange Cingular splat and no more mycingular.blackberry.net email addresses.

Read more of this post!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How to Install Blackberry Desktop Software with Media Manager

I have been messing around with my older Blackberry 8700 the past couple of weeks. And while I have no idea why I have not dumped it on eBay yet. But for $75, I may dump it there rather soon.

In order to get it connected to my computer, I wanted to install the Blackberry Desktop Manager v4.3 on my Dell computer to get the latest version of the software. To my surprise, the latest version included Media Manager by Roxio in order manage the multimedia (audio, video, music) files that you may have.

Generally speaking this would be a straight forward installation and not require a guide of sorts, but I ran into some issues on my Windows Vista 64-bit (x64) installation which should be shared. So with that, here is the installation guide.

1. Acquire the latest version of the Blackberry Desktop Software. That can be downloaded from the Blackberry site here: Blackberry Desktop Software. Warning, the Media Manager by Roxio version of the installation is much larger (>200MB) than the normal size (50MB).

2. Double-click on the downloaded file to start the installation. For Microsoft Windows Vista, you need to use elevated privileges / permissions in order for the Roxio Media Manager to function properly. To do this, right click on the installation file, select "Run as Administrator" to successfully elevate the permissions of the installer.


3. The Blackberry Desktop Software 4.3 Welcome Screen. Click next to continue.

The Blackberry Desktop Software 4.3 Welcome Screen.  Click next to continue.
4. Choose your region and language - USA (English) and click next.

Choose your region and language - USA (English) and click next.
5. Accept the Blackberry Desktop Software license terms and click next.

Accept the Blackberry Desktop Software license terms and click next.
6. Enter the name and company, if applicable and click next.

Enter the name and company, if applicable and click next.
7. Choose you installation folder. On 64-bit (x64) machines the installation folder with go into the x86 (32-bit) directory as the Desktop Manager Software is not 64-bit

Choose you installation folder.  On 64-bit (x64) machines the installation folder with go into the x86 (32-bit) directory as the Desktop Manager Software is not 64-bit
8. Choose the typical installation type unless you need security certificate synchronization. Click next to continue.

Choose the typical installation type unless you need security certificate synchronization.  Click next to continue.
9. Click on your Blackberry connection type for Integration options. Choose either Blackberry Enterprise Server / Desktop Redirector or the Blackberry Internet Service based on your preferences and click next.

Click on your Blackberry connection type for Integration options.  Choose either Blackberry Enterprise Server / Desktop Redirector or the Blackberry Internet Service based on your preferences and click next.
10. Choose your options for a desktop icon and automatically starting the Blackberry Desktop Manager service when your computer starts and click next.

Choose your options for a desktop icon and automatically starting the Blackberry Desktop Manager service when your computer starts and click next.
11. Click on next to start the Blackberry Desktop Manager's software installation.

Click on next to start the Blackberry Desktop Manager's software installation.
12. The installation starts installing the software and may advise you to exit any conflicting software programs.

The installation starts installing the software and may advise you to exit any conflicting software programs.
13. The Roxio Media Manager Software installation is started in the background by the Blackberry Software installation. If you are running Microsoft Windows Vista and you are not running with elevated privileges, then this portion will fail with a permissions error.

The Roxio Media Manager Software installation is started in the background by the Blackberry Software installation.  If you are running Microsoft Windows Vista and you are not running with elevated privileges, then this portion will fail.
14. The software installation is complete. You are just about ready to use the software unless a restart is required! Click on finish to continue.

The software installation is complete.  You are just about ready to use the software unless a restart is required!  Click on finish to continue.

15. Now restart your computer and your Blackberry Desktop software is ready for use!

Other Blackberry Desktop Software Versions include:
PocketMac v4.0.20b for BlackBerry
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.3
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.2 Service Pack 2
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.2 Service Pack 1
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.2
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.1
BlackBerry Desktop Software v4.0
BlackBerry Desktop Software v3.6
BlackBerry Desktop Software v3.5a
BlackBerry Desktop Software v2.1 for BlackBerry Internet Edition
BlackBerry Desktop Software v2.1 for BlackBerry Enterprise Edition
BlackBerry Desktop Software v2.0 for BlackBerry Internet Edition

This installation software is compatible with the following Blackberry:
Blackberry 8830
Blackberry 8820
Blackberry 8800
Blackberry 8707v
Blackberry 8707g
Blackberry 8707
Blackberry 8705g
Blackberry 8703e
Blackberry 8700v
Blackberry 8700r
Blackberry 8700g
Blackberry 8700f
Blackberry 8700c
Blackberry 8700
BlackBerry 8330
Blackberry 8320 Curve
Blackberry 8310 Curve
Blackberry 8300 Curve
Blackberry 8130 Pearl
Blackberry 8120 Pearl
Blackberry 8110 Pearl
Blackberry 8100 Pearl
Blackberry 7780
Blackberry 7750
Blackberry 7730
Blackberry 7520
Blackberry 7510
Blackberry 7290
Blackberry 7280
Blackberry 7270
Blackberry 7250
Blackberry 7230
Blackberry 7210
Blackberry 7130g
Blackberry 7130e
Blackberry 7130c
Blackberry 7130
Blackberry 7105t
Blackberry 7100x
Blackberry 7100v
Blackberry 7100t
Blackberry 7100r
Blackberry 7100i
Blackberry 7100g
Blackberry 7100
Blackberry 6780
Blackberry 6750
Blackberry 6720
Blackberry 6710
Blackberry 6510
Blackberry 6280
Blackberry 6230
Blackberry 6210
Blackberry 5810

Read more of this post!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Understanding PayPal’s Dispute and Claims process

I finally – after several years – understand PayPal’s dispute and claims process by which buyers and sellers are asked to resolve any disputes that they have with the other party. In my case, I wrote about a particular dispute on a gray market lens that I purchased through eBay almost 45 days ago at this point. Interestingly and initially surprising – I actually lost the dispute claim I opened up with PayPal last month. But I am not necessarily concerned anymore, here’s why.

PayPal Logo Sign
PayPal’s dispute and claim resolution is solely designed to protect against counterfeit, fraud, and incorrectly described merchandise from a seller. This is something that I never understood until recently because I looked at them as more of a credit card company – which they are not. Their goal is to make sure that you received what you bought, and it was as described and not a counterfeit item. That is as far they will go.

In my case, I had a few different options for my dispute. The first was to pursue the fact that the Tamron lens was a gray market lens. However, after seeing the requirements that PayPal places on you I decided not to go that route. Those requirements include going to a dealer, having an inspection and having that inspector provide a letter on their company letterhead stating why the item has issues. That option was way too much work and possibly too expensive for me.

The other option I had was that the seller had a money back guarantee on their auction, but was not willing to honor it.

PayPal has updated their user agreement to support credit card chargebacks – which did not use to be the case. Since as long as you follow the process in the user agreement that PayPal has setup, they will not suspend you account for doing a chargeback to the vendor from your credit card.

This in fact is the reason WHY you should NEVER, EVER pay for an item via PayPal with you bank account, even though PayPal tries to make you pay that way. The instant you pay via ACH (or via your bank account / ATM card) you lose the protection that you have from your credit card.

And that was exactly what I did – bought the item on a credit card so I could retain my right to escalate to a chargeback. First, rather than leaving the item in a dispute status which I initiated, the seller immediately escalated it to a claim. Over the next month I answered a few emails from PayPal while simply insisting I wanted to return the item per the auction seller’s original terms, but had been denied by the seller.

After the end of 30 days, since the authenticity of the item could not be determined – I refused to go have a third party verify since I was only disputing the conditions of the return – PayPal resolved the claim in the favor of the seller. Something I completely expected.

My action? Once I received the email from PayPal (a requirement of the user agreement for a chargeback is that you attempt to use their dispute resolution first, and do not run them concurrently), I simply called my credit card and disputed the charge.

Since I had the note from the seller stating they would not honor the return, according to my credit card company it is a closed case – and I now have my money back.

The only odd part is that I still have the camera lens. I am fully planning to return the camera lens, but my credit card company says the seller must now send me a postage paid return label for me to return it. From my perspective this was an even better outcome than I expected – as I was planning to pay return shipping previously.

PayPal actually provides adequate protections now that they have amended their user agreement to allow a chargeback without the threat of an account cancellation. With a little information, that is easy to execute on.

Read more of this post!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Vista Easy Transfer Files / Settings via DVD (Guide)

I have had a great deal of experience with Microsoft Windows Vista Easy Transfer service over the past two weeks. Enough to the point where I would almost consider myself an expert through number of iterations I have tried.

Vista’s Easy Transfer functionality is supposed to provide an easy to use and integrated way to migrate the users, settings, and files from one Personal Computer to another Personal Computer. Especially when moving between operating systems to make those easy to lose files -- easy to migrate.

Microsoft offers a plethora of ways to transfer critical information between two machines, supposedly the “easiest” being via establishing a direct or network connection to your “old” and “new” computers to facilitate the transfers.

However that did not work too well for me, even thought I finally figured it out (in a post here) how to get it work after about 20 attempts. Let’s just say it was a little frustrating. Which brings me to the point of this post – how I recommend performing the Vista Easy File transfer to move data, users, and settings to a new PC from an old one.

Choose a DVD as the backup (transfer) target for the “old” computer. In just a few minutes, the Vista Easy File Transfer service will gather and package up all of the recommended data and start burning it to a DVD. In fact, if your data exceeds the 4.5GB single-layer DVD limit, it will span it across DVDs. Smart.

Even better, when you drop the Easy Transfer DVD into your new PC it is just a simple double-click of the executable to start the process. Not only that, but you effectively have a high-quality backup of the information you need should anything go wrong.

So now that I have shared my preference for the use of the DVD method for Windows Easy File transfer, let me share with you the step-by-step guide that I went through to make it work. This guide assumes that you have a CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVD-RW that Windows recognizes.

1. An introduction to Windows Easy Transfer. Which versions of Windows (XP, Vista, etc.) and the steps you will go through to migrate files, settings, and users. Click on next.
An introduction to Windows Easy Transfer.  Which versions of Windows (XP, Vista, etc.) and the steps you will go through to migrate files, settings, and users.  Click on next.
2. Choose the selection for my old computer in order to back up that information for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the selection for my old computer in order to back up that information for Windows Easy Transfer.
3. Choose the option for use a CD, DVD, or other removable media for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the option for use a CD, DVD, or other removable media for Windows Easy Transfer.
4. Choose the option for CD or DVD (Use a blank, writeable CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW disc) for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the option for CD or DVD (Use a blank, writeable CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW disc) for Windows Easy Transfer.
5. Choose the drive location for your burner, and select a password for your Windows Easy Transfer file. If you do not, anyone who acquires your disc will be able to rstore it along with all the cookies and stored passwords you may have had.
Choose the drive location for your burner, and select a password for your Windows Easy Transfer file.  If you do not, anyone who acquires your disc will be able to rstore it along with all the cookies and stored passwords you may have had.
6. Select all user accounts, files, and settings for the safest backup. If you are comfortable with your machine and settings you can choose advanced options for more control.
Select all user accounts, files, and settings for the safest backup.  If you are comfortable with your machine and settings you can choose advanced options for more control.
7. Click on the transfer button to start the transfer immediately.
Click on the transfer button to start the transfer immediately.
8. The Windows Easy Transfer will start and depending on the amount of data you have may take up to an hour and require multiple DVDs. For Ashley's 2.5GB worth of files it took less than 30 minutes.
The Windows Easy Transfer will start and depending on the amount of data you have may take up to an hour and require multiple DVDs.  For Ashley's 2.5GB worth of files it took less than 30 minutes.
9. After the Windows Easy Transfer completes, you can click on close to finish the process. Just put the new media into your other or new computer and Windows Vista will automatically detect it and transfer. It is as easy as that!
After the Windows Easy Transfer completes, you can click on close to finish the process.  Just put the new media into your other or new computer and Windows Vista will automatically detect it and transfer.  It is as easy as that!

Read more of this post!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blackberry: Upgrade Handheld Software / Firmware Guide

Need to know how to upgrade firmware to the latest and greatest on your Blackberry device? With this handy guide, I will walk you through the step-by-step process on how you can upgrade the software on your Blackberry handheld.

Among the many reasons why you may want to upgrade include -- the latest updates, peformance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes. You should upgrade as often as the new software is available to download.

You can get the latest version of the Handheld Software for your Blackberry device by visiting: https://www.blackberry.com/Downloads/entry.do

In this particular example, I will be upgrading my Blackberry 8700C from Blackberry Handheld Software v4.1.0.194 to v4.2.1.55 in just a couple of minutes. The only software that is required to complete this is the Blackberry Desktop Manager which can be downloaded from here. Currently the latest version is the Blackberry Desktop Software v4.3.

1. After downloading the software from the location above, run the installation to place the Handheld Software firmware upgrade on your computer for installation.

2. Start up the Blackberry Desktop Software. Then connect your Blackberry handheld device via the USB cable to your computer. Once it has connected, click on the Application Loader option in the bottom center of the window.
Start up the Blackberry Desktop Software.  Then connect your Blackberry handheld device via the USB cable to your computer.  Once it has connected, click on the Application Loader option in the bottom center of the window.
3. The Blackberry Application Loader Wizard will fire up, click on next to continue.
 The Blackberry Application Loader Wizard will fire up, click on next to continue.
4. Now enter the PIN or security code in the Application Loader Wizard to continue and click on next.
Now enter the PIN or security code in the Application Loader Wizard to continue and click on next.
5. Now the available updates for your Blackberry device will appear. Choose the appropriate languages and applications and click on next.
Now the available updates for your Blackberry device will appear.  Choose the appropriate languages and applications and click on next.
6. Leave the option selected to automatically back up your Blackberry device application data and also the checkbox for including the messages.
Leave the option selected to automatically back up your Blackberry device application data and also the checkbox for including the messages.
7. The Application Loader Wizer will confirm you selections before starting the upgrade process on your Blackberry.
The Application Loader Wizer will confirm you selections before starting the upgrade process on your Blackberry.
8. The Blackberry Application Loader Wizard will begin updating your device. It will take approximately 15 minutes, including a reboot of your device to complete the upgrade.
The Blackberry Application Loader Wizard will begin updating your device.  It will take approximately 15 minutes, including a reboot of your device to complete the upgrade.
9. The upgrade of your Blackberry device was successful, congratulations! Click on the close button to complete the process and reconnect your Blackberry to the Desktop Manager software.
The upgrade of your Blackberry device was successful, congratulations!  Click on the close button to complete the process and reconnect your Blackberry to the Desktop Manager software.

Guide is compatible with the following models:
PTT EMR Patch
BlackBerry Pearl (8100c) (AT&T)
BlackBerry Curve 8310 (TM)
BlackBerry Curve 8300 (TM)
BlackBerry 8820 (TM)
BlackBerry 8800 (AT&T)
BlackBerry 8700c (AT&T)
BlackBerry 8120 (TM)
BlackBerry 7780 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 7290 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 7280 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 7230 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 7210 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 7130c(TM)
BlackBerry 7100g(TM)
BlackBerry 6710 Wireless Handheld(TM) - 8MB
BlackBerry 6710 Wireless Handheld(TM) - 16 MB
BlackBerry 6280 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 6210 Wireless Handheld(TM)
BlackBerry 5810 Wireless Handheld(TM)

Read more of this post!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Morton’s - Woodland Hills - Get's a Second Chance

A little over a week ago, I posted about the recent experience that Ashley and I had at Morton's The Steakhouse in Woodland Hills, CA. Just for a refresher, we had a good eating experience at Morton's in Woodland Hills, but the pre-sitting atmosphere and lack of attention by the staff almost made us walk out.

Not only did I write a post about it, but I also copied my post into the comments section of the Morton's website. Just a few days later I was contacted by a regional manager.

The regional manager for Morton's apologized for the experience that we had and also let me know why things were a little out of the ordinary on that particular evening. Apparently on the evening of our Anniversary, Arnie Morton's -- The Steakhouse in Woodland Hills was having a caviar and vodka event for 40 of their top customers. Those top customers were requiring a lot attention from the staff on this particular evening.

However, the regional manager was quick to mention that regardless of the event, there should have been either plenty of staff or the staff should not let their focus shift from the guests that were eating at the restaurant that evening. He apologized for that experienced and shared how he was making sure that did not happen again. He was glad that our experience once we were seated in the restaurant was excellent.

In the end, he mentioned he was grateful for our comments as few people truly do comment -- the simply do not return. And, had he not reached out to us, the likelihood of us returning was zero to none. He also offered if we would consider returning to send us a gift certificate so we could try it on them.

Of course I could not pass that up, so we will return in a few weeks and see how different the experience is.

Read more of this post!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Morton’s The Steakhouse - Woodland Hills - Mediocre at Best

A couple of weeks ago Ashley and I visited Arnie Morton’s Steakhouse in Woodland Hills, California for our wedding anniversary. This particular Morton’s location is relatively new and we welcomed a location that was much closer to us than the Beverly Hills location. I made our reservations a few weeks in advance and was excited to try it out – expecting great things.

Arnie Morton's The Steakhouse, Woodland Hills, CA
Arriving at the Warner Center / Woodland Hills location both parking and valet are available. However, the entrance is through a little tunnel that is tough to spot if you have not been to this Morton’s Steakhouse location before. We wandered in a few minutes early and was greeted by the hostess at the front desk.

After a quaint greeting is when things went downhill quickly. We proceeded to wait the next 20 minutes or watched a few things transpire that should never happen at a restaurant, let alone any high-end steakhouse like Morton’s.

First, the hostess decided to go talk to a patron at the bar for about fifteen minutes leaving the front desk completely unattended. Numerous couples and parties came in only to crowd around without being greeted or checking into the restaurant. For some reason this hostess was either oblivious or did not care about the customers that were coming into the restaurant.

Even worse, several managers, what appeared to be the general manager and other staff came to the front to either check the computer, grab menus or answer the phone but did not help any of the customers. As you can imagine, the conversations we had with out frustrated patrons. It even got to the point where we were giving directions to a couple of customers looking for the patio or other areas – we also considered walking out.

But we did not. Finally, after about 15 minutes, the hostess returned to the front desk at Morton’s and we were seated a couple minutes later. From there, with the customized menu for our event, the night really picked up – but remained tarnished from the front desk and bar experience we just had.

The atmosphere is very similar to other Morton Steakhouses, albeit a little more modern in décor and a little brighter lighting wise. Our server was excellent and we really enjoy the visual menu presentation accompanied by the live lobster – ours was quite active. We made our selections, enjoying a variety of filet mignon, rib eye, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. We even selected the raspberry soufflé, which takes 30 minutes to prepare – and is always excellent.

Overall, the food was excellent, our steaks were prepared as expected, and our table service was good. Still, I have to give this Arnie Morton’s location mediocre rating in my book. When you go to a nice steakhouse like Morton’s, you expect that the service end-to-end is of high quality – and when you experience what we did in the first 20 minutes, it really takes away from that experience.

Our advice? If you are looking for a high-end steakhouse to enjoy a great evening out, we would recommend several others far above Morton’s in the Woodland Hills Warner Center area. For instance, our favorite by far is Mastro’s in Thousand Oaks, followed by Ruth’s Chris in Woodland Hills. With Flemmings now being located in that same area, we will be sure to try that before even considering a return to Morton’s.

Read more of this post!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Easy Volume Editing for your Motorola RAZR

Today while messing around with my Motorola RAZR V3 phone I came across a great tool that enables super easy editing of all the volume controls for your mobile phone. Since it is so easy to use and exposes and number of funtions, I wanted to go ahead and post about it, as well as how to use it so you can take advantage of it as well.

The title of the software is MotoSound 1.3, although the official version is 1.3.0.5. The site is in Russian, so you can grab the Google Translated version of website (visit this link) for a valid download of the software, approximately 500k in size.

Before I get into how the tool works, let's briefly talk about what the software will allow you to do. The main purpose is to let you edit the gain / volume of the various suond parameters of your phone via Motorola P2K. This software does require that you have installed a working RAZR Driver phone, but here is the list of gaintable items that you can edit with the software for my RAZR V3:

  • General: Level 0, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Level 6, Level 7
  • Call Dynamics: Call gain, Keyboard gain, System tones gain, Dictophone and labels
  • Earpiece Dynamics: Keyboard gain when speakerphone is active, Multimedia, System tones gain, Speakerphoen, Systems tones gainwhen bluetooth headset is connected, Call gain when speakerphone is active
  • Wired Headset Dynamics: Multimedia, Bass Tremble, Multimedia for L7, V3i, V360, Bass Tremble for L7, V3i, V360, Call gain, Keyboard gain
  • Bluetooth Headset: Call gain, Keyboard gain, Dictophone and labels
  • Microphones: General microphone, Wired headset microphone, General microphone when speakerphone is active, Bluetooth headset microphone
  • Additional: Bass tremble (Vibration effect on 1), Bass tremble (Vibration effect off 1), Bass temble (Vibration effect on 2), Bass tremble (Bass effect off 2), Master bass power.

As you can see from the extensive list, there are a ton of areas that you can customize the sounds and volumes on your Motorola RAZR phone.

This software is also known to work on all P2K models of Motorola phones including: C380, C650, L7, E398, Vxxx, L7e, L9, V6 maxx, Z3, V3x, V3, V3i, and others like the V3xx.

Now, let's get to using the software.

First, I downloaded the software from the MACROX.net website. There is not an installation file, so just unzip the zip file to its own folder. Then browse to that folder and double-click on the MS.exe file to launch MotoSound.

Once you open up the software, you will automatically see it connect in the lower left hand corner if you have your Motorola driver installed and your RAZR phone connected via USB. A list of supported phones for advanced file editing is on the left, but we are going to ignore that for now.

Easy sound and gain editing for your Motorola P2K phone with MotoSound 1
Now, click on the arrow to the right of where it says "Open from File" and change that to "Open from Phone". Then click on "Open from Phone" and the current state of your phone will be loaded. I highly recommend now saving a copy of the original settings to your computer in case you ever want to go back to the original settings. Click on the "Save to File" in order to save this.

Easy sound and gain editing for your Motorola P2K phone with MotoSound 2
Now for the fun part, editing. Find any value you want to change (for example I used keypads for testing the software). Now right click on the line the you want and select the "Increase" or "Decrease" option, depending on what you choose. Now all you need to do is change the "Save to File" setting to "Save to Phone" setting, click on "Restart" button on the lower left hand side and your settings will be change!

Easy sound and gain editing for your Motorola P2K phone with MotoSound 3
I used and initial setting of "8" from the original setting of "1" on the keyboard gain setting and it made quite an audible difference. Try a variety of options until you get it like you want!

Other versions of the MotoSound software include 1.2.0.8, 1.3B, and 1.3.0.22. The most current version is 1.3.0.5, which is available for download here.

Read more of this post!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

2008 Lakers Playoff Tickets -- Missed them, Bummer!

As it has been customary since I ended up on the Lakers Season Ticket Holder waitlist a couple seasons ago -- I get early access to Lakers regular season tickets and playoff tickets before the rest of the world. (Read more about on these Laker Tickets) With the upcoming NBA playoff season upon us, I was really looking forward to grabbing the first two home games for each series with my early access.

2008 2009 Lakers Playoff Tickets
Well, that did not quite happen. The pre-sale for those of us on the Lakers' Season Ticket Waitlist took place yesterday at noon. I thought about it in the morning and knew it would coming. But somehow, I forgot to set an Outlook reminder -- and got too busy with the work day to remember. Unfortuantely, I completely forgot about the NBA playoff tickets pre-sale until about 7:00pm at night -- 2 full hours after the pre-sale for the Lakers finished.

I was a little bummed out, as this would mark the first year in the last three that I did not have any playoff tickets. But yet, there was still hope...

Today at 10:00am the regular Lakers playoff ticket sale took place and I was all set to try and get some ticket, any ticket. Well, no dice either here. Apparently according to a couple of unpublished reports -- all tickets were already sold out for all series BEFORE the general release of the Lakers tickets. That meant those of us trying through the TicketMaster website or calling on the phone were doomed to failure. And I failed.

My last changes will be to check Stubhub (already $260 for the lowest ticket), eBay, or even TicektMasters TicketExchange. Not the greatest of options -- perhaps I can get to at least one game though.

Overall, a huge bummer given the relative ease I can generally get the Lakers tickets.

Read more of this post!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Audi A4 - Neuspeed Power Is Back!

As I wrote about (and subsequently updated) a few weeks ago -- I took my 2006 Audi A4 2.0T B7 into the Rusnak Audi for the customary 25,000 mile service. While my first impressions were that the Neuspeed Engine Management Upgrade (ECU or Chip) was still present, once I hit the freeway I knew otherwise.

It would be an understatement to say the car felt sluggish. For me, it was one of those -- what happened to my car moments. No question that I am spoiled now -- I had become so used to expecting the power to start in the 2000 RPM range as the turbo spun with the increase horsepower and torque that the ECU upgrade brings. Rather, I was not used to waiting until 4500 RPM or so for the turbo to come to life.

That meant it was time to take it back to Neuspeed (my first experience documented here). I made an appointment a couple of weeks out and in the meantime bared the lack of power on the Audi. While the wait was painful, I did gain about 3 miles per gallon on the couple of tanks of gas I put in. That is about a 10% increase from where it had been -- and with it costing $70 to fill the gas tank, it makes a little bit of difference.

On a Friday morning before work, I returned to Neuspeed to have the ECU softare upgrade reinstalled on the A4. It is important to mention here is that in the case of an Audi Factory recall or ECU upgrade, that Neuspeed does provide a reinstall of the software for free.

After about an hour and a half, I received my Audi back -- and chatted with Aaron again for a few moments. I was mainly interested if at Neuspeed they had heard anything on the new 2009 Audi S4. I have seen the rumors on the Internet that they are talking about bring back the twin turbo V6 engine powerplant to that model which would be an absolute joy for tuners like Neuspeed. While Aaron did not have any specific knowledge yet -- he mentioned that they would love to see that there as with the current S4 series with a standard V8 -- not as much opportunity for mods.

I also asked in terms of my Audi A4 ECU upgrade, if their software had been updated. He mentioned mainly minor stuff, but they had been re-chipping a lot of 2.0Ts from both Audi and VW (Volkswagen) as the A3, A4, Jetta, and Golf share that same powerplant due to upgrades and recalls -- mainly around some of the automatic transmission.

I had also noticed that Neuspeed updated their website for the ECU. It now reflects a total of 257 horsepower rather than the 240 horse that I seemed to remember. Could there possibly be more power?

I drove away and immediately getting on the 101 freeway felt like I had my car back. The familiar spin of the turbos starting in the 2000 RPM range as the A4 raced just a little more quickly towards that 65 mph speed limit. But, did the A4 have more power than it did before?

Tough to say, but I seem to lean towards either changes in the Neuspeed software or possibly now in addition to the factory configured ECU it would seem so. The only evidence I have here is that since I received my car back I have now had an interesting experience twice. What has happened is that on two separate occasions traction control engaged while under throttle in 2nd gear on my front wheel drive A4. It could be due to my tires getting older, but I still have 5k-10k left on these ones so I doubt it.

Regardless, I am glad to have the performance back in the Audi -- even if it does cost me 2-3 miles per gallon on my gas mileage.

Read more of this post!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

March Update for SomeLife

Is it April already? Wow, February and March really flew by and I have close to 20 posts that are still in draft formats. Between vacation, work, and other commitments, I am a little behind. That is pretty self evident in the fact that I only made 19 posts in March, the lowest since April, 2007.

We will see what I can do to get these cleared out over the next couple of weeks. I have several posts from our trip to London and Paris among other items that I really have to get out there.

Let's go ahead an recap the statistics for the month, both represent all time records so far for SomeLife. First off, the visitor counts -- 96,090 visitors came to the site, exceeding the previous high by almost 20% -- almost to the six figure number for this month. The total number of pages viewed was 207,554 for the month which exceeded the previous high by 5,000 pages. The result of those two numbers is that you see a decrease of pages per visit, more on that later.

Let's move onto the most popular posts from the past two months as measured by the number of pageviews.

Top 5 Posts from February:

Top 5 Posts from March:

From my pespective a couple of interesting items is that RAZR Themes post was just posted in the last days of March -- so that is looking like it will be a pretty popular post, even long term. Other than that, a good mix from my perspective on different types of content, which is nice. As expected, the posts on the Motorola RAZR line of phones tends to be the most popular content.

Now on to advertising for the month.

Kontera's ContentLink offering led the way for both the months of February and March. While I am still high on their offering, I do have some additional feedback this month that I would like to share. Over the last several months, I could count on Kontera for pretty consistent eCPM rates based on the number of impressions I have had. However, more recently it has started to wildly (in my opinion) swing on a day-to-day basis. Some days the eCPMs swing wildly varying by as much as 500%. I expect more consistency than I am currently getting, so I may look for an alternative as volume continues to grow. On the other hand, they have made some great improvements to their reporting tool for publishers -- but more often than I would like to see -- the data is delayed. That brings on a whole other set of concerns. But still, Kontera has been good to me -- so no plans to jump ship at this time. Hopefully we can grow with them.

Newly in second place this month is AdBrite and their full-page advertising. Crazy as it may sound, it has recently surpassed Google AdWords as a source of income for the site. Yes, I know the full page ads are a little annoying -- ok a lot annoying. I am trying to minimize them as much as possible, but that is even a better reason to subscribe via RSS -- no ads! I believe this could be having an impact on the effectiveness of Google's AdSense as well as the pages per visit, so I will be running a few tests over the coming weeks to see how it plays out.

Third place this month was Google Adsense. I finally in March started to see some of the fall-off that the other sites have seen. Plus, I continue to be annoyed by the lack of functionality and flexibility that Blogger is integrating in the product. Perhaps AdSense will disappear in the coming months?

Fourth, Text-Link-Ads -- great little and easy to use advertising with simple text ads in the upper right hand corner.

Lastly, Amazon Omakase. Just put it back on the site and it has been pretty effective just in the last few days of the month. Looks like you can get Motorola Phone Tools (MPT) pretty cheap from them -- for less than a $1.

What's coming soon? The need to centralize many of the subjects including my work on the RAZR is coming to a head. A few of the posts in the Month of March will do this to make it easier for you to find the actual information you need. Look for that specifically!

Until next month,
-Ken

Read more of this post!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Luey’s new “Buddy” -- Two Labradors Retrievers Become Friends

Our Chocolate Labrador Luey has a “new” friend, Buddy. Buddy is my sister and brother-in-law’s Yellow Labrador Retriever who is only 9 months old. The last time they went to play with each other, Buddy was only about 16 weeks old. That did not end so well for Buddy, as in just a few minutes he was cowering underneath Luey and yelping – terrified of this larger Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Quickly, Buddy was brought inside and they did not get much additional time together the rest of that weekend since Buddy was now afraid of Luey.

Times have changed. Now at 9 months old, Buddy is best described as a thin and lanky yellow lab. He is the type of dog that we have all seen, where he is so excited and happy to see people that his whole body wags as he comes up to you. It seems that he has completely forgotten the previous episode.



While Buddy is about an inch taller than Luey (Luey is 4.5 years old), he weighs a little less and has not filled out yet. Luey has matured quite a bit and now at 4.5 years old, he's an "old man". That being said, we put them together to see how they would do.

And in the end they did great. While they talked a few times in the beginning, they came to an understanding quickly and played great all weekend long. Sure, Luey overpowered Buddy a few times and Buddy annoyed Luey with his over-joyous continuous "pestering" of Luey -- but they had a lot of fun playing.

Above is a slide show from the weekend and below are a couple of pictures of the boys together. They taught each other a few things and Luey still had the upper hand in a few cases. However, watch out as Buddy fills out in the next few months!

Buddy and Luey posing together, taking a break from playingBuddy and Luey posing together, taking a break from playing.

A little sparing between the two Labrador Retrievers as they pose for the camera after retrieving a ball.A little sparing between the two Labrador Retrievers as they pose for the camera after retrieving a ball.

Luey's favorite time of the weekend -- anytime in the pool.  In fact, Luey showed Buddy how to jump in and how much fun it was!Luey's favorite time of the weekend -- anytime in the pool. In fact, Luey showed Buddy how to jump in and how much fun it was!

Read more of this post!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fixed! Remote Desktop Freezes when Connecting to Vista from XP

Back in October, I discovered that anytime I connected to Windows Vista Ultimate desktop from my Windows XP Professional Laptop via Remote Desktop (RDP), the screen would freeze. After following a ton of instructions with other posts, I tried messing the the TCP/IP settings and that I had the right version of Terminal Services Client 6.0 to no avail. I came to the conclusion that Remote Desktop from Windows XP to Vista was broken.

It looks like I was wrong, as last night I found a fix! This means that after months of accepting it was broken, I was able to get the Remote Desktop (RDP) connection to work. Here is how it happened...

Last night, I was wanting to work with the photos I took over Easter weekend of my dog Luey and my sister's dog Buddy. Those photos sit on my main desktop and I wanted to work on them via Remote Desktop. I decided to make another pass at the settings.

Once again, I was able to initially connect to Windows Vista from my XP laptop, but then before the screen completely rendered -- it froze. It froze to the point where I needed to end task on the Remote Desktop Connection in order to close it down.

Thinking about it, I started tweaking the video settings thinking that could be the issue since some of the other posts point to bandwidth or other networking issues. No help there.

But then I found it -- under local resources. By going from the dialog to the >>Options and hten the "Local Resources" tab I made a couple of changes.

Fix for connection to Microsoft Windows Vista from Windows XP by changing local resources 1No changes for me with this particular configuration. But now click on 'More.'

Uncheck everything to enable Remote Desktop RDP from Microsoft Windows Vista to XPNow uncheck all options here. Smart Cards, Serial Ports, Drives, and Supported Plug and Play Devices. Now click on 'ok'.

Go ahead and connect to your Windows Vista machine from Remote Desktop Protocol and guess what? It works! Thank goodness -- only took me 6 months to figure this out.

I quickly searched Google and nothing else was out there, so I had to post this. Yes, it is a pain in the rear not to map the drives -- but at least I am able to connect via Remote Desktop. I can find other ways to transfer files!

Good luck, I hope this works for you, too!

Of course this will not work for Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium without a hacked RDP dll, but will work for Windows Vista Busines, Windows Vista Ultimate, and Windows Vista Enterprise.

Read more of this post!

How to install Skins / Themes on your Motorola RAZR phone

Reader MP asked me about a week ago why I did not have a Motorola RAZR guide for installing themes, also known as skins in the motorazr world. Having no good answer, I had no choice but to put together this guide. In it, you will learn how to quickly install a Motorola RAZR or similar theme or skin onto your mobile phone. Let's get started.

First off, the easiest way to do it is using a tool that can manage your phone. It is also quicker. For the job of installing skins or themes, Skins Manager v0.51 by dwALX is the best tool in my opinion -- it is also known as SkiMan for short. You can get a copy of it here, translated to English. This tool also assumes you have established USB connectivity to your Motorola RAZR phone. If you have not already done this, please see my Motorola RAZR Guide.

This guide was put together using my Motorola RAZR V3 phone, and the guide will work on many different version of the RAZR (V3c, V3i, V3m, V3x, V3xx, etc.). I also downloaded an Apple iPhone "skin" from this blog location, here. If this guide works for you, please let me know with a comment as well as the model / carrier of the phone you are using. Here is guide:

1. Open up dwALX's Skins Manager v0.51 and click on the Skins tab and the program will load the current skins / themes on your RAZR. Click on the Install button to start the process of load the new skin / theme onto your RAZR.
Open up dwALX's Skins Manager v0.51 and click on the Skins tab and the program will load the current skins / themes on your RAZR.  Click on the Install button to start the process of load the new skin / theme onto your RAZR.

2. Ignore the advanced features here unless you are really comfortable with editing your Motorola phone. Just leave the defaults as is for your RAZR skin / theme and click the 'ok' button.
Ignore the advanced features here unless you are really comfortable with editing your Motorola phone.  Just leave the defaults as is for your RAZR skin / theme and click the 'ok' button.

3. Find your .ski file that came with the Skin / Theme that you downloaded. The .ski file stands for skin in this case I select the iPhoneMoto.ski file and click 'ok'.
Find your .ski file that came with the Skin / Theme that you downloaded.  The .ski file stands for skin in this case I select the iPhoneMoto.ski file and click 'ok'.

4. The skin / them now installs itself and the associated files on your Motorola RAZR phone.
The skin / them now installs itself and the associated files on your Motorola RAZR phone.

5. Now right-click on the theme as it shows in the Skins window and select the "Set as Active" menu option. A green check will appear next to the theme confirming it as the active skin. Optionally, you can use the F12 key as a shortcut.
Now right-click on the theme as it shows in the Skins window and select the Set as Active menu option.  A green check will appear next to the theme confirming it as the active skin.

6. Now we need to restart the phone for the changes to take. Click on the More button and select Restart Phone to restart your Motorola RAZR. Optionally, you can choose the F10 key as a shortcut.
Now we need to restart the phone for the changes to take.  Click on the More button and select Restart Phone to restart your Motorola RAZR.  Optionally, you can choose the F10 key as a shortcut.

7. Look at my Motorola RAZR V3 phone! It has the iPhone themed skin installed on it, confirming successful installation and activation of the skin. If you get this, then you have completed it as well!
Look at my Motorola RAZR V3 phone!  It has the iPhone themed skin installed on it, confirming successful installation and activation of the skin.  If you get this, then you have completed it as well!

Read more of this post!