Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday problem solving

Had a couple of computer problems recently... and finally came up with solutions.

First, my 750GB Western Digital MyBook died. It kept unmounting itself randomly and wouldn't stay connected. Over the course of a day, the time it would stay connected became so short that it was completely dysfunctional. It was less than 2 years old (and it was a friggin $300+ hard drive when I bought it), so I was fuming mad. To top it off, it was my Time Machine backup drive - the one drive that contained backups of EVERYTHING I do.

Thankfully, it was still under warranty, so I sent it back to Western Digital via their online RMA process, and had a 1TB replacement in my hands about a week later.

While I was at it, I checked the status of my old dead portable USB hard drive, the Passport that died barely a year after I bought it. I figured it was out of warranty, but lo and behold, it was not - so I sent that back too and got a replacement.

So yesterday, I go to hook up the new WD MyBook and take the weight off my heart of having no backups, expecting a plug and play experience. No such thing. An hour later, the thing won't recognize via Firewire or USB on my iMac. Eventually I tried it on my PC (my cheap little gaming box), and it worked. WTH? That was the last thing I was expecting.

Who knows if this thing is a refurb or new, but anyway, it only works with USB (even though it supposedly supports Firewire), and would only work after I unplugged a bunch of the other USB devices that I had plugged into my system (even though it has its own independent power supply). Additionally, it won't work when plugged into my UPS or into a surge strip. It only works when plugged directly into the wall (found that little tidbit of advice on WD's support site). Well, I sure hope I don't get any power surges! Geez. Nice going, Western Digital.

But, at least it's backing up things now.

The other problem was on my PC with Windows 7 Professional. I've had the thing for a few months now, and it would not go to sleep!! If I put it to sleep, it would immediately wake back up. I leave my computers on all the time (and put them to sleep when I'm gone or sleeping myself). I figured, it just cannot be good for this thing to be completely on all the time - not to mention the excess power consumption. But I couldn't find a solution...

Until yesterday. I finally did some research, and there's a command you can run to see what device caused the last wake-up:

powercfg -lastwake

I discovered that it was my Logitech G11 keyboard waking the machine up. (Many people online reported their LAN cards waking up the machine).

I went into Control Panel and checked the properties of the keyboard and hit the Power Management tab, then unchecked the box that allows that device to wake up the machine.

That worked for a while, until about an hour later when the machine spontaneously woke up again. That time, it was the mouse. Doggone it. So I did the same thing - which means, now I can't wake up the machine by shaking the mouse or tapping the keyboard, but I did go into Power Options in Control Panel and set my power button to wake the machine up. So that's how I'll have to do it.

But I'm happy to report that the machine now sleeps through the night :)

190GB to go on my photo backup... I will be so relieved! I do have my original RAW photos backed up on a third external drive, but that drive doesn't get backed up. It's just an old drive I took out of my old PC that I use as a sort of backup of the backup. And, it doesn't have enough room to back up edited versions of all of my photos as well as the RAW's.

Well, it's time to go make some food for today's Christmas Eve gathering at mom's house.

Have a wonderful holiday, everybody!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Busted: Microsoft Copied Mac for Windows 7

I'm LMAO over an article that a friend just forwarded to me. It's the tale of a Microsoft employee that explains how Windows 7's interface design was modeled after Mac OS X... then Microsoft comes back with "OH NO HE DI'N'T! WE DID NOT COPY!"

We all know the truth.... one look Windows 7 says it all! (Now, I've had good experiences with Windows 7 thus far [running on my Mac's, of course, for the purpose of playing Ultima Online] - but come on, Microsoft... admit it. You've been copying interface design ideas your whole lives).

Here's the entire interview with Simon Aldous, Partner Group Manager for Microsoft:

And here's the quote of interest:
One of the things that people say an awful lot about the Apple Mac is that the OS is fantastic, that it’s very graphical and easy to use. What we’ve tried to do with Windows 7 – whether it’s traditional format or in a touch format – is create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics. We’ve significantly improved the graphical user interface, but it’s built on that very stable core Vista technology, which is far more stable than the current Mac platform, for instance.
And here's Microsoft refuting the statements made by one of their own:
In an interview with PCR at the Microsoft Partner Network event last month, Simon Aldous, Microsoft Partner Group Manager, made reference to creating a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics with Windows 7. Simon was incorrect in describing Windows 7 in this way and subsequent headlines claiming that the Mac OS inspired Windows 7 are totally inaccurate.
Bwahahahahahaaaaaa!!!! (that's me, laughing my ass off).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Razer Salmosa gaming mouse cheap

Whoa, it's been a while since I posted here. Sorry. I do most of my posting over on Facebook these days. (I know, a shame, right?!) Rest assured, I still exist, and I'm still a geek. And I still have cats.

Today's woot is the Razer Salmosa gaming mouse - $13 plus $5 shipping, which is still a deal versus $40 retail. Just in time - my mouse is dying. The deal is for today only, until they sell out.

Get the woot deal here: woot $13 Razer Salmosa gaming mouse

Note, if you go to the woot link tomorrow, it won't be the mouse anymore. Just sayin'. That's how they roll.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Photography and Mat Board...

I'm doing some research as I prepare to buy mat board for my photography class portfolios...

For a 13x19 print, the standard mat/frame size is 18x24.

For an 8 1/2 x 11 print, the standard mat/frame size is 11x14 or 16x20.

Now, off to decide where to buy mat board from, since my school doesn't sell it cheaply anymore!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

As Microsoft continues to tout the Apple Tax, perhaps it should look inward a bit and realize that people are willing to pay for Apple products for the high-quality user experience, and not settle for a subpar experience on a product they use every day.

As seen in: "Microsoft Windows 7: Upgrade or Just Buy a Pizza?"
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twouble with Twitters

Yes, I found this link via a tweet - thanks @kevinrose!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

BOGO on Epson Photo Papers

Epson's got a sale going on - buy one, get one free on all of their photo papers. Their 5 star papers are gallery-quality archival papers, and in my photog class we just concluded a month of print testing. The Ultra Premium Luster from Epson is a gorgeous paper. Wilhelm rates their papers for great permanence, particularly when used with Epson inks. Here's the rating sheet of the Epson R1900 with Epson papers. (PDF file)

At any rate, if you're in the market for some photo paper, the offer expires Feb 23 and use Discount Code 9YFASE at checkout (make sure you put 2 of the paper you want in your cart to begin with).

Shop Epson's papers

This works for all papers - I just finished biting the bullet and ordered a full set of replacement inks for my printer (asta la vista, $100, but I'm re-focusing my eBay efforts so hopefully this will turn out profitable), and grabbed a box of large format Luster paper while I was at it - 2 boxes now, since one is free.

They also have free ground shipping if you order ink, and the two offers DO stack if you order both paper and ink. Not bad, since paper is heavy and shipping can get pricey.

Go forth and shop!
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Windows 7

Click the comic below to read the whole thing. I'm too lazy to resize it. :P

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Speed Demon

My Bandwidth, After Tomato

Yup, that's my current bandwidth. Savor that 3.84 MEGABYTES per second, peoples.

How have I achieved such greatness, you ask?

On advice from my favorite geek ever, Patrick Norton (well, he didn't advise me personally but he advised me as part of a collective whole), I upgraded the firmware on my Linksys WRT54GS v2.1 router to the open source Tomato firmware, and WOW - I gained 5,000 kbps in download bandwidth and the web is so much snappier!!! Find Tomato here:
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Friday, January 02, 2009

iTunes Movie Rentals & Apple TV

I haven't used my Apple TV in a while, and last night I was craving a movie. I thought I owned the movie I was craving ("High Fidelity" with John Cusack) but I couldn't find it, so I went on iTunes to look for it. I saw that they had both movie rentals and purchases available, and thought hey... maybe it's time I tried this out.

Now, this was at like 10pm, so it was probably a bit late to go diving into a new technology thing, but that didn't stop me. Two hours later, I was finally ready to watch a movie. First, my Apple TV software was out of date, so I had to update that. Then, I downloaded the movie to my iTunes, which took about 20 minutes. Then, I couldn't figure out how to transfer the movie from my iTunes to my Apple TV. (Little did I know, I could have rented it directly from my Apple TV, thanks to the new software update). Once I finally figured out how to transfer the movie (it's not quite intuitive, or, I was loopy and seeing double after messing with the thing for an hour), it took another 20 minutes or so to copy it over to the Apple TV.

Midnight. Ugh. But I decided to stay up and watch it.

I got "X-Files: I Want to Believe." (Yeah, I know - what happened to John Cusack?) I'll save the movie review for some other day (LOVED it!), but all in all, once I finally figured out how to get everything working, the experience of watching a movie from iTunes on the Apple TV was a good one. I couldn't tell that I wasn't watching a DVD. It wasn't an HD movie, though there are some, but still - it looked perfectly fine and good. It was just like watching a DVD. I've got a 57" widescreen HDTV, so I was concerned that the visual quality would be subpar. I didn't want to feel like I was watching YouTube or something. Nope - everything was fine, and I'd definitely do it again - although next time I will rent directly through the Apple TV instead of first downloading the movie into iTunes.

For those hung up on the same thing I was - trying to figure out how to transfer the rented movie from iTunes to the Apple TV - Apple's instructions on their web site are wrong (or, at least they use the wrong names for the tabs in iTunes).

After downloading the movie rental into iTunes:

1. Click on the Apple TV device in your iTunes sidebar.
2. On the main screen, click on the Movies tab. (That's where Apple's instructions are incorrect).
3. You'll see a split screen: Rented Movies, and Movies. In the Rented section, you'll see 2 boxes: In Your iTunes Library, and On Apple TV. Your rental should be listed "In Your iTunes Library." Highlight your rented movie.
4. Click the Move button. Your rental should now be listed under the "on Apple TV" category.
5. Click the Apply button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
6. Wait until the transfer finishes before using your Apple TV.
7. Go to the Apple TV. Under Movies, you'll now have a new category - Rented Movies.
8. Click your movie, hit play, and enjoy!

Note: Step #6 could be important - I managed to somehow cancel my movie transfer half way through by going to the Apple TV to watch movie trailers while the transfer was going on. Hey, I was bored! When I went back to iTunes to check on it, the transfer had aborted. So, I'd suggest just leaving the Apple TV alone while you're transferring a movie.

Here's a screenshot of the screen it took me forever to find in iTunes (see step #3 above):