I've gotten over $200 in cash back from them at places I would have shopped anyway! Ebay, Staples, more! I put it at the top because they ROCK. Basically, you get a kickback from Ebates when buy.com or whoever pays them. Win-win. If you like throwing money away, don't use them!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Crazy Happiest Chewbacca Lady

Somehow that title seems like the poor translation of something in Chinese.

But I digress, as one does.

Get one on Amazon here, before this meme sells every single one on the planet.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sock Monkey Meme

Heh. I saw this somewhere and just had to title it.

Here's a blank one if you want to make one yourself.

Mac Pro (Desktop not Laptop) GUI Locks up, but cursor still moves, machine is not dead or hung

This is an ongoing problem, and IIRC it happened with my other video card under a different OS but the same Mac Pro.

Here's the messages in the console logs:

4/18/16 1:25:41.099 PM WindowServer[186]: Surface testing disallowed updates for 10 sequential attempts...

(Some people report changing the screensaver gets rid of these.)


4/18/16 1:25:49.000 PM kernel[0]: ** GPU ASIC Log Start **

At which point it starts dumping a bunch of this into the log file:

4/18/16 1:25:49.000 PM kernel[0]: : 0x0000679a : 0x000000e3 : 0x00000001 : 0x00000018 : 0x000090b0 : 0x00000001 : 0x00000001 : 0x0000679a 

I'm working on a couple of theories:

1. Corrupt JPEGs in my Photos that the screensaver was using. I know there are some in the library. I changed to a regular screensaver that doesn't use them.
2. Power Management problem with the video card/display/whatever so I set the displays to never sleep in the control panel.
3. I used smcFanControl to up the fan speed slightly so everything will run a bit cooler.

In the past, I had a similar problem with black screens and not sleeping the display fixed that. 

So, will update later. 

If this helped you, look on the right side of the blog and drop a dollar to me using the Paypal donate button.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Uber Drivers in Houston: List of frequently asked questions, and my experience

Help me help you. We both get a bonus if you use this link: https://get.uber.com/drive/?invite_code=xxcy5km8v

If you use it, leave a comment so we can help each other out. I plan on writing an ebook with the tips I learn. And there are a lot of them!

I added a section in my Amazon store of gear I have that I recommend:


I have some angles on this. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas. We have a good household income but I'm doing it for a few reasons:

  • It looks like it might be interesting. I don't plan on driving late at night or in bad neighborhoods. My wife works downtown so if I meet her I can pick up a fare afterwards. Her work pays for Uber trips all the time so guess who's going to do those and get paid to pick up and drop off their own wife? :)
  • I work at the airport, so if the mood strikes, I can pick up a fare there then go home. Since I live WAY across town, I have to go across Houston anyway.
  • I live in a good neighborhood with busy affluent people, so I can earn a little income here and there and get to know my neighbors.
  • I have an electric car I can charge for free in many places, and cheap at home. About 2-2.5 cents per mile. No real maintenance other than tires so far in almost 50K miles because the factory tires are JUNK on a Nissan Leaf


  • iDentogo where you get your fingerprints let me just walk in a couple hours before my appointment because I was already in the area for my FAA physical. (I'm an airline pilot.) About 1130AM in the Pearland location on a Tuesday. NOBODY was there. I saw maybe 2-3 other people and it takes 5 mins.
  • USA Mobile Drug Testing at the Chimney Rock location had 1-4 people maybe the whole time I was there. I called ahead and they said to walk in. They looked at my FAA physical and did a quick job. About 30-45 mins total for physical and drug test. I said if I can physically clear for a job flying jets, I ought to be ok to drive cars. There's a What-a-Burger practically across the street if you have a bit of a wait.
  • The Houston Uber office is down the street from the drug test place. I got my trade dress even though my background clearance wasn't in. I showed them my drug and physical paperwork (non-sealed copy) and they let me in since I'd already spent $50. It's their policy not to let you have it until you clear, I guess for safety since you could be a fake Uber driver but it's an easy to copy sign and no one know what they are supposed to look like anyway. I get it but kind of silly IMHO. 
  • You might want to pick up a fire extinguisher there (required for TNC in Houston) for $15. If not, the #1 seller on Amazon is only $20: http://amzn.to/1S2VcaO Free shipping with Prime which has a free trial: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
  • Wal-Mart has a fire extinguisher that meets the 5 B:C requirement for $9.96. It says 'Marine' but the 5 B:C is what matters and it has that.
  • My Background check took the longest. The one Uber does. It took 14 days.

  • I didn't see it anywhere else but the TNC gives you a sticker, so I guess you have to bring all the cars you might use downtown. Will report back on if they let you move the sticker. Update: Nope, they stuck it on the windshield, but the airport sticker they just handed me. Someone said they put theirs on a piece of plexiglas and stuck that in the windshield.
Want to see the secret video on how to use the driver app before you sign up?

As of 4/6/2016, my background check has been going on for 6 days, so I'll end here and update when there's more news.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Adding SSD to a Mac Pro, and a bug in the Crucial M500 SSD

I bought the Newertech Version to put an SSD in my Mac Pro:
The top is the Sabrent version and a few dollars cheaper.

$12-$14 shipped from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/20hl2Z2 (PLEASE use my Amazon links.)

It works as expected and is well made.

Benchmarks for the M500 SSD:

That's easily 3-4 times faster than a decent hard drive. An SSD will make your computer feel like new.

However, this is far less than it could be since the SSD will work at 6GBps but my 2008 Mac Pro only has 3Gbps SATA ports.

So, I got the OWC Accelsior S: http://amzn.to/1Jlu57k which is a card that the SSD mounts on, then the card goes in a Mac PCI slot.

Preferably a 16x slot PCIe slot, which is the one above the graphics card in the bottom slot.

The SSD should hit at least 40% or so higher speeds on this card.

BUT there is a problem with MU05 firmware and the M500 and the Accelsior S: it only links at 3Gbps; no better than the onboard ports.

A PNY SSD I had around (http://amzn.to/1Jlurux) connected at 6Gbps no problem. I RMA'd drives and cards and Crucial is sending me an M550 to test.

Update: the M550 fared no better. Updated the firmware to MU02 with no change.

Tried a Crucial BX200 and that linked at 6Gbps. It has the Silicon Motion SM2256.

The M550 and M500 have the Marvell 88SS9189 and 88SS9187, respectively.

Hope this helps, please bookmark http://amamzin.com to start your Amazon purchases.

(See what I did there?) 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fix for Spinrite Stuck on "Selecting Drive For Use" Screen

Couple things I did and it now works like a champ.

1. Go into your BIOS and select AHCI as the controller mode. You'll have to consult your manual for  how to do this because there are so many different ones.
2. Plug your SATA drive into SATA1. I had it on 3 or 4, I forget which. Spinrite would recognize and benchmark it but scans etc. failed to start. This may be more important than #1, but try both.

It will look at first like it's not working but give it a while, I'd say 30 secs at least. The drive light will go off and on a few times then it will start scanning.

I am using Spinrite 6 booted from a USB DVD drive but that probably doesn't make any difference.

Want to thank me if it works? Use the donate button on the right to drop me a dollar, or bookmark this site and use the search box to start your Amazon purchases:


(See what I did there? :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is a cheap HDMI cable as good as an expensive one?

PSA Pet Peeve: people selling those ripoff HDMI cables. For non-120hz, plain old TV, a cheap one works just as well.

All the TV and device have to be able to tell is:

"Is that a 1 or a 0 coming over the wire?"

Pretty black and white issue. Pretty much literally.

Kind of like this: can you tell the difference between sticking your tongue on a watch battery and not doing it?

That's 3 volts. HDMI is slightly more. Basically.

Now, for longer runs, higher refresh rate, 3D, 4K, etc etc. then it might make a difference.

But you can get a cheap cable so cheap you might as well try it.

TiVo, Xbox, Roku 3, soundbar....all the stuff I have runs just fine on cheap cables.

Now please use my Amazon link to buy one:


Looks like about $4.50 will put one in your hand to try.

Nissan Leaf Key Fob Remote Battery. And: What's the difference between a CR2032 and CR2025

Short answer: Buy a pack of CR2032's, they work. For more data, read on.

Link to CR2032's on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Oas7Xa

If you insist, the CR 2025's are here: http://amzn.to/1OLwkNt

Please use my link and support my site. 

The thickness is the big difference. the CR2032 is .7mm taller. It fits fine in the Nissan Leaf key fob.

The nice thing is at has 225mAh capacity vs the 165mAh in the CR2025.

So, you'll replace it about 1/3rd less often, if your time means anything to you.

Anecdotally, I see a lot more devices around that use a CR2032 for probably that reason: 36% more capacity so changing it less often is a good thing. And in most devices a .7mm height difference isn't anything worth considering.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Expendables 3 clip: "Tax Evasion"

Great scene with Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Luke Skywalker's Lament

Remember when Luke Skywalker said this?

Well, here's one thing you and Luke have in commmon.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Macbook Pro Running Hot, Fan not running. Late 2008 and 2009 Unibody.

Disclaimer: don't blame anyone but yourself if you break something. Take antistatic precautions. I just did my repair with my knee touching my Mac Pro desktop which is grounded so that dissipated any static.

Here is the guide I used : https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Late+2008+and+Early+2009+Left+Fan+Replacement/829

I did not have to replace the fan. I just took the connectors off the socket and reseated them.

It's a simple fix, just read the guide AND the comments. Look at the pics. People break things when they shouldn't because this really is easy.

On mine, the right fan was showing 0 rpm with smcfan (click to visit the author's site, it's free) which I was using in the interim to just run the left fan higher to make up. This works, but both fans at idle will cool a lot more than you think.

After the repair, BEFORE you put the covers back on, turn the Macbook on it's side with it open at a 90 degree angle or so with the battery held in with one hand and press the power button with the other. See that both fans spin for a couple of seconds then press it again quickly before it starts to boot.

This is also a great time to dust out the vents behind the fans and the fans themselves with a can of compressed air from Amazon (Click here for a list. I saw 6 cans for $11 today.)

Technique: when I tightened the screws back in, I pressed down besides the screw hole to get them a little tighter without using more force. When you let off, there is more force holding the screw head from turning.

Get a plastic spudger, or even a set at Amazon by clicking here. If you fix your own stuff, it's highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Nerd Funny

Will it work on 32 bit devices?
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