Friday, December 11, 2009

Mac Connections

Connecting Mac to Wii

Connecting Mac to xBox360

Connect Mac to PS3,2000451082,339287550,00.htm

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Run Google Tasks on Your Menu Bar

As you might already know, Google recently gave GTD fans some lovin’ by optimizing Google’s “Tasks” for iPhone and Android. (read more from Google’s Blog) Wouldn’t it be nice if you can also run Google Tasks on your Mac as a menu bar item with the same sleek interface you see on the iPhone or Android? If you had read my previous post on the “Fluid” app, you’ll know by now how you can turn web apps into a native desktop app. Using Fluid with Google Tasks means a free GTD native desktop app on your Mac that syncs with the cloud.

Here’s how:

1) Download Fluid app

2) Install and launch Fluid

Type in this URL in the URL field -
Type any name you want in the Name field.
Create the app!

3) Convert to MenuExtra SSB

Go to the Google Tasks menu after you have successfully created the app, select “Convert to MenuExtra SSB…” to put Google Tasks on your menu bar.

Now you have Google Tasks natively on your Mac as a menu bar item!

By the way, this tip is also possible with other web apps, especially if they have an iPhone optimized version:
Remember The Milk


Have fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coke points

Additional ways to enter Coke points to get Coke Rewards. On the go? Enter the code from your phone!

On your desktop

If you like to move really fast, download the Quick Entry Code Widget and enter codes right on your desktop.

Download now

Text message

Like to text? You're in luck - text your codes to 2653 (COKE) while you're on the go. If it's your first time, we'll send you a reply with simple instructions to get set up.

Learn more about texting

My Coke Rewardsmobile

Want to get more? Enter codes plus get some My Coke Rewards highlights with our mobile phone browser. Text the word MOBILE to 2653 (COKE) and we'll reply with instructions on getting access.

See full details

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Holiday Travel WiFi

Google announced it’s providing WiFi free of charge to 47 airports across the country during the holiday season. (A full list of the airports is here.)

You should use OpenDNS

If you're not yet using OpenDNS to see what's happening on your network - take it from me - you should.

OpenDNS, the world's largest and fastest-growing DNS service, is free to use and gives you the tools to easily see which Web sites are most visited on your network. If you see problem sites in your network stats, you can easily block them with OpenDNS's industry-leading free Web content filtering.

It also makes your network faster and more reliable. OpenDNS will quickly become your most valued tool in your IT toolbox.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Do it right

This is a 'low tech' commentary piece, but I just have to put it in. The trailer's running lights have not worked since we hooked up as we were moving cross country, after a shop had checked everything out, and given the green light on the operating and safety conditions of the trailer.

This hasn't been a major issue since we mostly tow in day light but with short winter days, night falls rather quickly. So I have started to work on the issues one area at a time. First the plug, no better. I figured I would also add a solar charger to the brake battery since we infrequently trailer. Next I replaced the socket on the truck, and well I have running lights, but no brakes. ERRG.

So I was testing the lines, and noticed that there was a dead 12V lead. Why was it dead? The relay had never been installed, I installed it, so we should now have a charge circuit for the battery, and allow us to have our accessory lighting to work in the trailer. BUT something is shorting out. So I am trying to figure out if they swapped the wire colors on me, or if they hooked it up wrong in the first place. I am going to have to jack it up, take a wheel off and take a look at the brakes, hoping that I did not mess them or the brake controller up in the process of this whole endeavor.

On top of this, I noticed that the accessory wire that was poorly routed for the camper topper, was pinched and shorted when the hitch was put on. This is the same company that cut the wire harness rather than install a plug and play T-wire harness upgrade for the truck. Has the system worked like it should have for the past years? Not exactly, the trailers lights have not worked inside. Why do we pay people to do crap work, just to have to go behind them and fix what they have messed up? Just do it right in the first place and it will be a much better place, with happier people. I have spent a large amount of time on this, and I can't just take it somewhere, it has no brakes! So I am stuck working on it either late at night or all weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Defaulting to FF

A couple of ways to do this.

Start...Set Program Access and Defaults...

Inside of FF goto menubar Tools..Options..Advanced..Check box Default FF browser

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Q: I do not know why it has to be so very hard to get files from the digital camera (format MPG) to a DVD that I can play in the DVD player. I would have thought it would have been easy. Not so. I have spent several hours on this. The program that came with the camera will not write to a DVD, it claims it can not find the it. Others will write to the DVD but they will not play on a DVD player on the TV.

A: Get a Mac... I will be update this for PC die-hards in the next couple of days.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Remotely located iPod dock

Using the Belkin F5L009 Network USB Hub I have my iPod Nano setup to auto connect/disconnect from the Mac when placed in the JBL Soundstage Dock.

Doesn't sound too complicated really does it? I have the JBL in the kitchen, and there is no room for a computer to hangout in there. I also have not had any time to run ethernet ports to the kitchen. So I have a pair of WAP11 AP setup for point-to-point to go from the main router closet, and connect in the kitchen. The main wireless routers can be setup to have the open network infront of the private, to limit exposure to my data.

So the Belkin software is setup to connect to the Nano automatically upon recognizing it has been connected to the dock, as well as load iTunes. Having Belkin load iTunes is a failsafe setting, to ensure that iTunes will sync. When iTunes is closed, the Nano is disconnected, again this is a failsafe, as iTunes and the Mac appear to do this if directly connected.

The setup in the kitchen needs a little cleaning up (wires are a little wild, not too bad). The biggest bonus of this setup is that many of the items are actually ontop of the cabinets. The wife can get her Nike+ data online with minimal interference from me, as long as the Mac stays running. (7 year old, never formatted, laptop with recently dead battery).

The Belkin also allows for connection of a total of 5 items, and I regularly have my X10CM11, iPod Shuffle, and Kodak DC connected.

GrandCentral --> GoogleVoice

Are you using the Grand Central service at all? I don't really use it much, and get a lot of wrong numbers.

We try not to not give out our house number. And to 'new' people we only give out GrandCentral (soon to be GoogleVoice). For any of those odd numbers, I just label them wrong number and/or block them. Wife no longer gets calls on her cell directly. She did get lots of credit collectors (looking for other people), we just blocked them, and they have not gotten through since. Everybody pretty much calls the GC# though her dad does not apparently trust it for some reason (falls under the category of Jody-rig'd). Some people also think that calling the GC# is different than calling the cell or house number, and will call both or all three.

I love it though. I was on the phone the other day, and my cell battery was dying, and I ran to my office, pressed *, and the call transferred to my office, without the person knowing. I do that also when I answer my wife's calls at the house, and I think she will answer her cell, like her mom calls, I talk with her for a bit, and then I press * and my wife's cell phone rings, and we can all three talk, and then I hangup, and they continue to talk.

With GoogleVoice you can do SMS through your GC(to be GV) number. And you can connect an incoming call to an existing conversation with pressing 5. When we moved here, we just gave out the GC number instead of the house number AND missouri cell. This worked well on our side, because it turned out our number was published as a fax machine for a new nearby golf course, very annoying with autodialers calling every 30 minutes at 3AM on the weekend.

I also have it hooked up to gizmo, so if I every travel out of the country, and I can get computer access, I can 'skype', but with my own phone number, and for free, setting up the GC interface to call Gizmo.

If I had a data plan on my cell phone it would be even more useful, but I can't afford that, with 2 cellphones, an aircard, and a landline, communications is ~$200/mth. Due to that load I cant even start to consider things like TIVO, cable, SatTV, SatXM, Netflix, or RIM.

Google purchased Grandcentral 21 months back, and they now are re-releasing it as GoogleVoice. I dont have it yet, but am excited that some new options will be coming on line.

I recommend if you are going to be getting a new number, get a GoogleVoice number, and set it up with your home/cell/work phones. You will no longer have to worry about keeping your cell phone number when changing carriers, you currently can have free in/outbound VOIP based calls, you can peer it with the GIZMO project, and there are so many cool feature of the system that only VOIP can provide, like the call transfer feature.


*Jody-rIg'n' a term made sometime in the late 20th century to denote the fact that I can make something work, but it might not work if I leave, it may look ugly, or you may have to have the ability to rub your belly and pat your head at the same time to get it to work. Mostly concerning electronics, but could be electrica, plumbing, landscaping, etc. Credit is given to either Gray or Justin for the creation of this term, though it may of originated from other parties unknown to me at this time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Surfing WAV files

I need a way to convert wav to mp3 or a way to work with wav files.

Start...programs...accessories...entertainment...sound recorder

And/Or download audacity

Netscape Replacement

Also since Netscape is not going to support or update the product. What would be a good, and easy fix for a new browser that is not IE

I would recommend Safari, but there are still some issues with some sites that don’t work it. Mozilla, or the full package is SeaMonkey. They are both built off of the original browser Mosaic. The Mozilla Foundation formed when AOL opened up Netscape, after purchasing it a few years back. I also recommend AdBlockPlus. Does wonders on eliminating net ads.

Opera is another option, but haven’t heard too much buzz about it recently. Obviously you have to keep IE up–to-date but run FireFox. IE7 is actually fairly safe now, with the information bar preventing auto-installs. But if you don’t like it you don’t like it.








Overwattage Lamp choices

I was wanting to know that since the new flourescent lights draw less power, can I put a light that is like 75 watts bulb in a 60 watt fixture since it does not pull that number of watts or even have the heat.

What is a flourescent light?

The 60/75 question is probably very safe. Maybe even 100. Go LED! <-- Aside from they are expensive. As soon as I put up my flood lights for the yard, I am putting LEDs in them. I don’t want to have to change bulbs 2 stories up that often.
LED Flood light, ~$45, supposed to give ~10k-20k hours.

WiFi Router for Cable Modem

My router crapped out, thoughts?

Go with a Wifi draft-n version. Probably will have three antennas on it, and should be backwards compatable to wifi-b and wifi-g. I favor Linksys (subsidiary of Cisco), but D-link and Netgear are just as reputable and good. For a while all the Linksys routers were running a customizable Linux OS on there residential routers that expanded their usefullness by leaps and bounds.

Dlink Wifi DIR-615

Linksys WRT610N

Netgear WNEB3100

Software to Record Steaming Audio

OP Original Question
Several programs like Car Talk and Rick Steve's Travel allow you to
listen to their radio shows via streaming audio. But there are times
that I would like to capture the program in a wmf or mp3 file and play
it later on my SanDisk Sansa. Do you know of any utilities that will
allow you to record a program as it streams?

Repsonse 1
CarTalk is NPR and available on Itunes as a Podcast
Rick Steves Travel is the same way
I have a ipod adapter and I do cartalk (when I think about it). I really would like to get the wifi sync-ipod adapter so I can be lazy and not have to remember to get ipod out of car to sync up new music.

Audacity can convert many audio files to other formats...

On the Mac I have a program called Radiolover that would pull 30(?) minutes (shareware?) and make a MP3 out of the stream. The podcast is the way to go though for those two.

OP Reply
I have ITunes setup to download the Car Talk and Rick Steves podcasts. But how can I move them to my SanDisk Sansa as either a WMA or MP3 file? Everything I look at in the ITunes instructions reference an IPod device.

Response 2
Here are a couple of stream recorders that you can save to MP3/wma format

MediaRecorder receives streaming media from a Web source and saves it to a file for playback. It's as easy as specifying 1) the source Web address, 2) a file for saving the broadcast and 3) timer-based, clock-based or scheduler-based recording.

Welcome to the Streamripper home page, an Open Source (GPL) application that lets you record streaming mp3 to your hard drive

Here are directions specifically for the Sansa

Using iTunes with my SanDisk Sansa MP3 player
Submitted by Larry on Sun, 03/04/2007 - 12:38. podcasting

Being able to listen to podcasts in my car has made a big change in my daily life. The thirty minute drive to and from the office is much less stressful. It's now a delightful respite from a busy day. On Fridays I usually work in my home office. This leaves a three day period where I don't have the opportunity to listen to podcasts. It's strange but sometimes, on Monday morning, I look forward to the drive.Although I love learning about new things I don't really like gadgets all that much. Once I'm happy with a cell phone, for example, I usually keep it until it is broken, lost, or the battery needs replacing (replacing the phone is usually cheaper). I also don't buy the most expensive gadgets either. My kids have iPods but I couldn't justify spending the extra money just to listen to podcasts and occasionally some music. I also have a seven year old desktop computer still running Windows 2000 (700Mhz Celeron, although the memory was
upgraded to 512MB).So when it came time to buy an MP3 player I went with a SanDisk Sansa
m250 . It's an inexpensive but good audio player that has 2GB of memory and support for "advanced" features like playlists. I say "advance" since I discovered many players don't support playlists, hard to believe.

The method I use for subscribing to podcasts took me some time to get established but it is working well for me now. I was familiar with iTunes since my kids have iPods. In addition, I wasn't able to find any other good windows-based software for subscribing to podcasts.iTunes makes subscribing to podcasts easy. From the online store to the way it automates the retrieval of podcasts; iTunes is simple to use. I haven't found a competing product this easy. I also find it
interesting that iTunes supports Windows 2000 but Windows Media Player does not.

Here is how I update podcasts on my SanDisk Sansa m250.
  • I use iTunes for managing podcasts. Podcast audio files are downloaded into a folder under "My Music". The Sansa is configured for run in MSC mode. This means the player will show up as a USB disk on the desktop computer when plugged in. I synchronize podcasts (and music, by the way) on my computer with the SanDisk Sansa using Allway Sync . This is a fantastic utility that can support many scenarios but works especially well with USB devices like the Sansa.
  • Allway Sync is configured to automatically synchronize files on my Windows 2000 computer with the Sansa (which shows up as a USB disk drive) whenever it detects the player is connected.

I have two synchronization jobs configured:
  1. The audio files in the iTunes podcast folder are synchronized with a folder on the Sansa.
  2. A folder containing my music is synchronized with a folder on the Sansa (more on this setup some other time).

Some things to consider with this setup:
  • I have to be careful and be sure to subscribe to feeds providing files in MP3 format. Sometimes this take a little extra work like going to the podcaster's website, finding the MP3 subscription link and adding the feed manually to iTunes.
  • iTunes is configured to automatically launch upon Windows startup. I also minimize iTunes to the system tray so it can run continuously.Once a week I mark all of my iTunes feeds as played. Otherwise, iTunes assumes they are not being used (they aren't, from iTunes' perspective). The Sansa takes a long time (seems like a couple of minutes) to turn on and get to the first menu after synchronization. I assume this is due to it rebuilding indexes and discovering new content.
So the sequence of events I go through to update the Sansa with new podcasts is:
  1. Plug in the Sansa player into a USB port on the desktop computer. Come back in a couple of minutes and click on the little icon in the system tray that allows you to safely remove USB devices.
  2. To see if there are new podcasts I bring up Allway Sync by double-clicking on it's icon in the system tray and look in the "New File" section.
  3. Once a week I mark all of my podcasts as "played".

I have been using this setup for several months now and it is working well. This is an inexpensive method for subscribing to your favorite podcasts using an inexpensive MP3 player and a Windows computer.

Swimming with the fishes

I got new fish, platies to be exact, how do I take care of them?

Um, hummm, check out this site:

Friday, January 16, 2009

IPod Broke.. Ideas?

Original Question (OP#1)
I think you said you had good luck fixing ipods. I have a 4th gen (grey scale w/ click wheel) 20gB that gave me the unhappy iPod face about 2 years ago now. I looked it up online and it said "dude, you're screwed." This happened after I left in the car overnight during the winter, so I think it's probably a hard drive issue. At this point, cost wise, do you think its just as likely that it would cost more to fix it than it's worth? I would use this guy as a protable media library for my car, so battery life is not an issue.

I have had really good luck with rockbox. I currently pretty much leave my 30G 4Gvideo in the car all the time, though I need to swap it with the rockbox30G-4Video.

OP #2
It shows up on "My Computer" as a disk drive, but says no disk is available. Since I don't have Spinrite or diskwarrior, what if I sent it to you? would you be interested in fiddling with it? hmm. so the process would be to attempt to load rockbox... then fix the HD, then see if I can plug it into my ipod car controller and get ti to play. if not, could I reinstall Apple firmware? I don't understand the sentences about getting to the HD from the iPOD firmwareOS.

There are a couple of other ones out there, but so far all but the Shuffle have been gifts to us, and the shuffle was a gift to me from Beth. It is the least uesed because I forget to turn it off. If you cant get to the HD from the IPOD FirwareOS, crack it open your self run diskwarrior or spinrite on it and see what is going on. There are plenty of hidden menus to let you know what is going on with the IPOD, I just don't remember them off the top of my head.

Diskwarrior is for macs, sprinrite for PCs.

No, I am not splitting with my 4G_Videos.

Select+left to get to serv menu, and there are some diagnostics you can run.
Select+right to get to verbose boot
Select+down to get to disk mode
up stalls boot
down loads linux (with rockbox as bootloader)
Hold ‘on’’ loads apple boot loader

Happy Friday folks! This week's topic is all about helping Chuck out with recovering data from his daughter's corrupt hard drive. Before we begin, I cannot stress how important it is to backup your data, so that you do not find yourself in this situation. With that said, if you haven't backed up your data lately, get to it! Now, let's move on to the topic.

Well, Chuck, there are two possible ways a hard drive can become corrupt, one way is a physical failure (when something mechanically goes wrong within the drive--bad platter, bad circuit board, and so on), and the other way is logical failure (when the drive physically works, but data on the drive is in a corrupt state and it can be caused by a range of issues from viruses to file corruption.) If you read through the answers by our members, physical drive failure are by far more difficult to retrieve data from, as the mechanics need to be fixed, whereas logically failures, while not easy, are recoverable through third-party software, or costly services that specialize in data recovery. Either way, no method is guaranteed to recover your data completely.

This week, our members' solutions to your questions varied, as there are many methods to hard drive recovery--ranging from what software they used to retrieve date from logical drive failures, to the method of freezing the hard drive (which many recommend to be the last resort.) There are simply no wrong or right answers, just a bunch of different approaches. So, give all our members' advice and recommendations a read. I will mention that when it came to recommending a data recovery utility, a few titles that where mentioned more frequently than others were, SpinRite from Gibson Research and Ontrack Easy Recovery, both will cost you a bit of money. However, there were other options, which is to use Knoppix or Ubuntu Live Linux CD that are free to download. Overall, there were many helpful answers. I truly believe that after you read through these recommendations, you'll have some good ideas what to start with. I've selected a few answers to get you all going in the Q&A section, so check them out. Again, as a reminder to all you folks, back up your data and do it frequently, so you won't have to go through this stressful experience. Take care everyone and thank you all for your contributions to the question. Good luck Chuck and, if you have a chance, let us know what worked out for you.

- Lee

Got rid of landline, can I get rid of laptop?

So I order the Samsung Saga with a data plan, wireless plan and voice plan - a least it has an MU discount. Questions:

1) will I really need to carry a laptop much
2) do I need a cable modem anymore
3) can my Samsung modem run my wireless router, so that I can run two laptops at home

OK, stop laughing, as I am sure there is something ridiculous in these assumptions.

Looking forward to asking all these types of questions in person sometime soon. I am in DC from the 2-6, but doubt there is anyway to visit with my conference responsibilities.

There are trains to Fredericksburg (1hr north of RIC, commuter and Amtrak from DC). That is where Jesse used to live, and when my brother was here, we took the train to DC so we did not have to worry about parking.

Is the laptop to read email or to write email? What length? Attachments?
Laptop needed for attachments and long emails, I would not write this answer on a phone, unless I was waiting on something, or a passenger.

Most data plans don’t allow for ‘PAM’ (Phone as Modem) as have notes in the contract specific to this. If it allows for PAM, you probably have a limit. Believe it or not, Sprint says that I do more than 10G of data a month. I don’t believe it, but I have yet to reset my router to check. Yes, I download updates, and emails, but we have not downloaded movies in a long time, and I don’t download big stuff at home because it is running around 0.5, and at school I sometimes can get up to 60 if I am lucky, but usually, 2-10 speeds.

The way I have our data card set up is that it is plugged into a computer, which ‘calls’ sprint, and that is the wireless side of things, and then that computer is connected to the wireless router, and does ICS (Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing) and gives the router an IP address. The router in turn, then gives out the new addresses for the home network (print server, file server, laptops, camera).
With a ‘tethered’ PAM system, you would not have internet at the house unless you are home. You most likely would be running at 2X dialup speeds on the network due to the fact that the fastest Bluetooth runs is 0.115M (that I know of). A physically connected USB may run faster, but probably not, companies really don’t like PAM.
Depending on the phone, you most likely could not answer the phone during a data session.
We can run, according to Sprint, 3 laptops, I am not sure how they specify that value, but my guess was that the ‘host’ computer was to be sharing WIFI and Ethernet. I don’t recall any documentation from SPRINT on how to share, but also I am supposedly to now be limited to 5G/month, and like I said I am doing 11-12GB easy. But there is also the rumor that Business accounts don’t have the limit, and when I setup the DataCard it took longer because they set it up under the Missouri Business Plan, as far as I can tell. It has a Missouri Phone number, but was activated in Virginia, and I have not been told to stop downloading files.

Verizon, Alltel, ATT, Sprint all have this 5G limit. Comcast, Charter have limits too, but not as strict. I have never heard of limits on DSL.

I sent DB info on syncing Outlook with Google with your phone (Saga might be different). But since it is running mobilePC, you can just use activesync and get everything that way (momentary lapse of memory).

Opera browser is very much like Netscape

If you are getting in style with a new phone, you should prepare for the handsfree laws that are sweeping the nation

16GB microSD is ‘brandNEW’ so the price is excessive ($100) but you can get 8GB for $20
--Besure to get microSD not miniSD

USB/Parallel printer adapter to bluetooth (print from phone)

Not sure what connection to internal GPS they allow you, so you can get an external one:

In a wifi zone? Don’t want to use voice minutes, use VOIP. GizmoMobile. I have Gizmo linked to my GrandCentral number. Grandcentral(Google) is then forwarded to home/office/cell.... I think that is how it works. Not sure, I have it, but don’t use it. We waste something like 500 minutes each month (why not change contract? Remember the fact that I am not being charged for overage on my dataplan... Okay back to you). Or you can do Skype. JB uses Skype a lot when he goes overseas I notice. Or there is also (was?) aimphone, which is connected to your AOL account.

GDS Privacy Concerns

Does Google Desktop transmit any information (e-mails, etc.) from your computer to Google. Someone today thought it did.

Not really.

There is a way of technically doing that, but all of the information is contained on your system. Some things are 'hosted' such as Gmail, GDocs, GCal, but the desktop info that it gathers while it 'crawls' your desktop is contained in a ~2G+ folder on your harddrive. Some institutions do not allow for the feature that I really enjoy, and that is where one can have GDS on, say, your office computer and access the files from your home computer.

Information we collect

  • The Google Desktop application indexes and stores versions of your files and other computer activity, such as email, chats, and web history. These versions may also be mixed with your Web search results to produce results pages for you that integrate relevant content from your computer and information from the Web. Your computer's content is not made accessible through Google Desktop to Google without your explicit permission.
  • Your copy of Google Desktop includes a unique application number. When you install Google Desktop, this number and a message indicating whether the installation succeeded are sent back to Google. Also, when Google Desktop automatically checks to see if a new version is available, the current version number and the unique application number are sent to Google. The unique application number is required for Google Desktop to work and cannot be disabled.
  • If you choose to enable Usage Statistics on Google Desktop, it allows Google Desktop to send crash reports and to collect a limited amount of non-personal information from your computer and send it to Google. This includes summary information, such as the number of searches you do and the time it takes for you to see your results, and application reports we'll use to make the program better.
  • If you choose to enable personalized features for a Google-created gadget, Google Desktop may send non-personal usage data to Google in order to provide personalized content, such as personalized news.

ISP Choice

Original Question: (OP Post1)
1) how do i know if my laptop can do wireless internet?
2) what kind of internet service do i want? what is the difference between them?

Be sure to read all of it though.....

Was the computer bought in the last three years? Five years?
5 years, chances are about 50/50 you have it.
3 years you are up to about 90%

START...Connect to... Does "Built-in wireless" show up?
If not
START...Control Panel...Network Connections... Is there anything saying wireless here?
If not (chances are getting slim)
START...Control Panel...Look for Network Setup Wizard

Your ISP choices are broad (no pun intended).
Your probably want to surf, surf fast, and occasionally watch a you-tube video.

The lowest cost 'hi-speed' plan will be fine for you.

On TV recently Verizon is boasting about a 14.95 DSL plan, do you have a landline? If you have Verizon, see if that deal is there. If you have ATT (Southwestern Bell, SBC, Ameritech, or whatever name that are using now) Check out Yahoo-ATT plans. Three years ago I had them down to about 17 dollars in Fulton, MO.

If you do not have a landline, then do you have cable TV? (if you have both I will comment on that later) Cable TV offers "hi speed" as well, you can probably go to Circuit city buy a cable modem plug it in, call the cable company and have them turn it on.

If you don't have either landline or cable TV, (or in our case DSL nor Cable come out here) you have Satellite, or EVDO as your option. Both run about $60/month. Verizon and Sprint have EVDO. I think 'Dish' has a plan, but cant remember if it is directly through them or not. We have Sprint EVDO, so when we go on vacation, ha, like we can do that. I digress. We can pop out the EVDO card and plug it into the PC computer and be on the internet on the highway near cities.

If you have both Cable and Telephone service, think about where you want these 'blinking light doodads'. Do you want them in your living room or bedroom (where your cable outlets are), or do you want to stash them away in your guest room, or behind a chair in the corner. Phone cords are easier to hide than cable cords are more flexible. Do you have more than one phone in the house? If you get DSL (the phone plan) you will have to attach filters to all of the phones in the house. Cable Internet does have a history of going on the blink every once in a while, but not too often.

OP Post2
holy.... way above me. i got my lap top in vet school... probably between 2nd and 3rd year? when i turn it on, it doesn't say built in wireless. it does saying that it's search for a connection (I'll check tonight to see if it's searching for a wireless connection but i don't think so...). i do have an AT&T landline. this seriously might have to turn into an on the spot eval/consult!

Response 2:
No it is not above you, just START...Control Panel...Network Connections...Is there anything saying "wireless" here?

Okay. So you don't have to have wireless to have DSL. You will just be tethered to the modem in the 'office', but you can get a 50foot cord and work on the couch, still tethered.

It looks like DSL is available in your area. Get the STANDARD PLAN for 19.95/month. You can order it online,, they will mail you a package, you plug it in, plug the filters into your other phones, and off you go.

We can talk about security and other features as you feel more comfortable.

OP Post3
can't he just come down and do all this crap for me??? i don't understand anything to do with computers!!!

Out of area service calls require all expense paid round trip, leaving Friday after 6PM returning no later than Monday 10AM arrival. For sunnier warmer climates, service charge includes a travel partner, and subsequently a house sitter for the critters. :)
When would you like to schedule this service call?

More PLB Discussion

It's only $650! The way it works is that it transmits the emergency signal to the GEOSAR satellites on 406MHz. This particular model also incorporates a GPS receiver (not one that you can see or use for regular navigation). The PLB will send out your coordinates on the 406MHz frequency to help SAR find you even faster. I was hoping to never use it, but if needed, it would be nice to have. I'm assuming I can buy the SAR insurance (excellent idea) if/when I bought this PLB.

I still have the Garmin III+, which still works fine for what I use it for, hiking and such. I have the built in GPS in the Prius, so I don't need to use the III+ for driving purposes anymore.

The SPOT thing is interesting, but it's $150 plus $99/year to use their service. After 5 years, it's the same price as the PLB. Plus I've read that it takes roughly 30 minutes for it to acquire and transmit to the satellite. The other problem is that coverage is limited:
Plus I've heard that globalstar sat system is in financial trouble and who knows what will happen with them.

Second Reply
And more PLB articles for you:

PLB article
PLB faq
PLBs Legal in US

One more article, but I don’t have an account.


Personal Locator Beacons Upload GPS Positions!
by Gordon West, WB6NOA

It’s been three years and over a thousand “saves” since the personal locator beacon (PLB) was authorized by the FCC for use by the general public for land, sea, and air applications. These lightweight handheld distress beacons transmit a 25-milliwatt undulating warble on 121.5 MHz, and more important a 5-watt data burst on 406 MHz to low earth orbit (LEO) satellites and one of three geostationary satellites. These satellites are part of the search and rescue satellite-aided tracking system called COSPAS-SARSAT. Currently, there are six LEO satellites and five geostationary satellites, all listening in on 406 MHz frequencies (406.025 MHz, 406.028 MHz, and 406.037 MHz).

LEO satellites, on February 1, 2009, will turn off their simultaneous relay of received 121.5-MHz signals. More than 95 percent of 121.5-MHz high-power emergency beacon signals were false activations, and the signal itself carries no user identification.

Meanwhile, the 406-MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) still include a 121.5-MHz homing signal, but this signal is only 25 milliwatts and is intended specifically for local search and rescue tracking. The main 5-watt signal is a 406-MHz data burst containing your unique identification number (UIN) that would allow a rescue coordination center to access the NOAA beacon database and immediately determine the beacon’s country of origin and the registered owner along with a phone number.

The six LEO satellites monitoring the 406-MHz data burst will also begin downloading Doppler shift measurements for an approximate position of the activated 406-MHz data burst signal. While the signal is immediately detected by the geostationary satellite and transponded to a local user terminal (LUT) ground station, it takes nearly an hour of Doppler shift calculations from the LEO satellites to develop a position fix within 2.3-nautical-mile radius of the activated beacon. This is infinitely faster and more precise than an older 121.5-MHz calculated position, 12-nautical-mile radius, over a six-hour period, requiring a search area of 452-square-nautical miles!

Technology That’s Come Into Its Own

The 406-MHz calculations cut the search area dramatically. Equipment has also improved over the first issue personal locator beacons, produced by ACR Electronics in Florida and McMurdo in Europe. The personal locator beacon acceptance among skiers and hikers was modest for the first couple of years after the FCC authorized the equipment, but with the new development of built-in GPS, the PLB life-saving beacon’s popularity has exploded.

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Popular Communications

BFE Wireless Interneting

One more technical question (you can add it to your future blog archives)

My sister has one of those PCMCIA cards that connects to the high speed network in Albuquerque for internet. She gets it free from work. She uses it on her work pc, but they have a 12" Powerbook they'd like to use also. Currently, they have my old Airport basestation, and use it for dial-up, which they get free from the U of NM. it possible to get some sort of dock for Isthe PCMCIA card that would provide power AND act as an ethernet out that could go to the airport to provide Wi-Fi for the whole house?

Concerning your sisters thing. Easy answer: ALMOST, or Yes, kinda.

USB to PCMCIA adapter (use PB12 as share internet)
Maybe there is another company making these, but I have not found one, and it ain’t cheap.

Do what I do
Get a $400 laptop and run it as your EVDO router.

(probably the easiest and cheapest) would be to do what I am planning on doing, and prices are coming down I believe,
Get a Dlink, Kyocera KR-1, or LinkSYS EVDO router.

Linksys is what I am holding my breath for, just because I have a 100% linksys network backbone, but you and I enjoyed our Kyocera products, they are about to release a new one the KR2, probably not going to have PCMCIA on it, but the KR1 has both USB and PCMCIA on it making it, near, futureproof.


These things are small enough to be portable, and you can even run them in the car, and have a ‘portable’ hotspot, because it has B&G (KR2 will have N)

When the blog was sparked

I've been thinking about getting one of these PLBs

With your SAR experience, have you had any experience with these units? I go into the backcountry quite a bit, and would also probably keep it in my car when I'm not hiking just in case (in case I get stranded on one of those Oregon backroads while looking for XMas trees). I also like the idea that it works anywhere in the world. That is the signal will work anywhere in the world, weather or not someone will come get me is another issue! I will probably be going to South Africa again next year, so I could use it there.


Well $750 seems like alot to me. That is a refurb macbook to me! Obviously having a GPS tied in that you can use would be nice, I think for things like this it is more important to have a one use purpose item. Obviously having a GPS tied in that you can use would be nice, I think for things like this it is more important to have a one use purpose item.

Get yourself a good Garmin 60Csx. The interface you know, the software you own. These new chipsets are amazingly robust and fast. I have a navigation GPS for the car with one of the new chipsets, and it activates so fast. But then again, I never turn my Garmin Legend off really. It is always turned on in the car. I don’t trust my speedometer, plus it helps to see where I have been. I cant download tracks from the navigation GPS. Just wish I had the serial to Bluetooth converter so I could connect from in the house. (~$50, just havent done it)

I would vote for this one.

I don’t have them compared side by side, but this one was shown at CES2008, and is smaller it looks, and works it states in 100% of the world, I think it is actually 99%. It would call our embassy in SA (or Naimbia, if you crossed the border....), and they would send out the Calvary to find you.

Be sure to pay the GEOS ‘insurance’ for $8/yr which covers $100k of SAR activities.

For 100/yr you can add some more features such as tracking, and ‘onstar’ type features.

Maybe I need to start blogging this stuff. I got questions about using high wattage fluorescent bulbs in a standard outlet. And most people know that I am a gadget nut. I need a sponser, and hookup with a review mag so I cant get some of these things in the house for review..... Mmmmm

and so the seed was planted

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Professional looking website

I would like to get my wife her .com, like What do you know about this process. Can I use it as an email like

Yea, I have made a couple, using Small Office Microsoft Live... Free with five emails

Gmail preview screen

Do you know if Gmail has preview screen so that you do not have to open up the email to read the email?

Not that I know. Are you worried about ‘read receipts’? I am not sure that Gmail sends them.

I'm still confused on the issue

My 50" Sony Wega is sort of old though, only 1080i, and it was built pre HDMI days. I'll have to hook it up with the R/G/B cables, component I think it's called? That's how my DVD player right now (to take advantage of progressive scan) is hooked up as well as the TiVo. Do you know if Blue-Ray will output a 1080i signal? Will it work with component cables? I don't want to buy a new TV. All the stuff I find on the net is confusing. There are sites that say that even if your tv is 1080p, it is really doing 1080i or vice versa, I'm still confused on the issue.

Since I dont have HDMI source setup yet, I have not had the chance to test 1080i v 1080p. I do however probably get a better 1080i than you do (for free) since OTA is uncompressed.

You sound out of touch.. 'stuff on internet confusing'. I have not looked too much into so I think I am more out of touch than you, but I do know to get a BD player with lan connecttion to allow easy upgrades. Thus the best to get is the PS3.

It looks like the BD players released this year can do 1080p, but I dont see why you couldnt downconvert to a 1080i. Good luck...

I have ~8 inputs+2RF I think... 2HDMI, 1-S-video/composite,3Component, 1-composite, 1-VGA. I cant think of 8 sources... DVR, Sat,AppleTV, PS3, BD, VCR, DVD, SlingCatcher, OTA, CCTV, PC

Software to Record Steaming Audio

Software to Record Steaming Audio

Several programs like Car Talk and Rick Steve's Travel allow you to listen to their radio shows via streaming audio. But there are times that I would like to capture the program in a wmf or mp3 file and play it later on my SanDisk Sansa. Do you know of any utilities that will allow you to record a program as it streams?

CarTalk is NPR and available on Itunes as a Podcast

Rick Steves Travel is the same way. I have a ipod adapter and I do cartalk (when I think about it).

I really would like to get the wifi sync-ipod adapter so I can be lazy and not have to remember to get ipod out of car to sync up new music.Audacity can convert many audio files to other formats...

Audacity Link


On the Mac I have a program called Radiolover (I think) that would pull 30 minutes? (shareware?) and make a MP3 out of the stream. The podcast is the way to go though for those two.