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!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Feel Good TV Show

(Click pic for large size.)

'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?' making you feel less than adequate? Let's take it down a notch.

PETA collides with NOW: Thousands injured

"Playboy Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole (L) and Playmate Joe Garcia (C) serve veggie hot dogs as part of an event put on by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)"

Where is NOW now?

Oh, the humanity. I guess it's ok to exploit the poor Playmates, but not the stuff that goes into hotdogs.

Can't they grow them in a vat by now?

The hotdogs I mean, not the Playmates.

Which brings me to my next comic...

theroblog Original Comic

(Click for larger.)

Sometimes I have (what I think) is a comic-worthy idea...I kinda wish I had a drawing tablet. Lord knows I have every other peripheral. Penny Arcade watch out!

Microsoft Opens First Retail Store in Scottsdale, AZ

My first thought was: "Snobsdale, Arizona?!". To wit: I have some experience in the area. At the end of 2005, I was at a Christmas party in Snobsdale for Mesa Airlines. That's another article entirely.

Let's see: no parking to be found, $5 for a BOTTLED beer that wasn't even cold, and THE TAP WAS BROKEN. Ok, aren't you supposed to be a high end glitzy club in Scottsdale? The finger food was extremely 'meh' as well, but that could have been 3rd party.

A town for sizzle, not for steak.

Plus I know a few Scottsdalers...and I will take the high road on that.

Keep it.

So, what I'm thinking is, wouldn't Scottsdale be more the province of the Apple elite?

(And I hate that about the Apple brand, they make darn good stuff and I'm a fan, but get off your high horse. It's a real turn off.)

All I'm sayin' is, to me Microsoft / PC is something of the province of the build your own PC to the level you want crowd. Be it $2000 worth of graphics cards in SLI with a quad core CPU and 16 gigs of RAM, or a little crapbox with 2 gigs of RAM, leftover hard and optical drives with onboard video.

Hack it, change it, do what you want. Windows will work on it.

Apple is more for the buy it, it works, I'll keep it for 7 years until I'm forced to upgrade or my cat pees in it. Or, 'look at how much money I've spent on less actual hardware with a cooler design'. (Another peeve of mine.)

I'm not doggin' on either concept, I have both 'brands'. Two iPhones, iPod Video, Macbook, HP Laptop, Dell PC, and a couple of homebuilt PCs.

All I'm saying is, Microsoft, you don't have to be Apple. There's a place for you. Get your own thing. You're not going to find it in Scottsdale.

Somewhere in independent-minded Texas perhaps. Want cool and independent? Austin. Plus I hear there's a major PC manufacturer headquartered there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barnes and Noble Nook eReader: I wish I had a hands on review, so somebody send me one!

I've recently sold a few of the Sony PRs-505's on Amazon, I've used various PDAs and software (Palm, Microsoft, iPhone) for reading books over the years, and I actually owned and used a dedicate device: the REB-1100. Google that stuff if you want and I'll wait here. Remember Smartmedia cards? 128MB max capacity children. I had a voluminous 64 meg card...ah, memories. No pun intended.

With such things, my fancy has returned to eReader devices. (iTablet, Apple?)

Anyhoo, the new shiny to my eye is the Nook, from Barnes and Noble.

In years to come, we'll laugh at its black and white only paperlike screen, and wonder why they didn't make the whole thing color, like the touchscreen at the bottom.

Well, enough future and past tense wistfulness. In short, this thing looks to have the goods. It's all over the Kindle, from all directions. 3G? Course. WiFi? Check. Design? Dittoes. Memory slot, cool color browsing on the bottom, and the list goes on.

Since I don't have a Kindle or a Nook (someone send me review units please) I'll just have to say that it appears from what I've seen, my vast experience as a Gadget guru, and some tea leaves I just read, the Nook *IS* the Kindle killer, as long as Johnny 'Corporate Suit' Lawyerpants doesn't burden it with DRM, and resultant restrictions and rear end pain.

Here's a chart of features: (click for fullscreen)


What I hope to see change is the text to speech feature added (for accessibility), and Word doc compatibility. Although you can just use CutePDF to print PDFs anyway, it would be nice to be able to email a Word doc to someone's Nook.

What really could set it apart would be the ability to load Android apps and have them display on the screen at the bottom! Weather, headlines, stock, sports scores, games, you name it. Click a link at the bottom to say, a NY Times article, and read it at the top on the high res epaper.

Not only would that extend readability and features, but you might get some crossover purchases from the smartphone/laptop crowd.

In summary, it looks like a thoroughly thought out and and richly featured device.

Now someone send me a review copy. Mine to keep? Why, that's so nice of you B&N!

The official site: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to burn a DVD from a DVD Media Player Document

This is a simple one. Just right click on the DVD Media Player document file and select 'Show Package Contents'. Then you will see the VIDEO_TS folder. Now you can burn it in Toast or other DVD burning software.

I recommend dragging it out of the package onto the desktop, and then from there to your burning software. You can put it back in the package after you are done. Anecdotal evidence from me, YMMV.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

iTunes 9 not Recognizing iPod Video, Classic, and others?

This is the most popular article on theroblog.com as of November 18, 2009.

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Update 11 Nov 2009

I downgraded to iTunes 8.2.1 (6) on Mac OS 10.5.8 and have had no issues to speak of. I have not tried iTunes 9.0.2. Can you blame me? The only bright side is I did clean up my library a bit. Dupes, missing song or two, and the like.

My iPod 5th Generation model MA002LL/A is not recognized by iTunes 9 (fix it Apple!) and it would only show up as a drive on Macs and on Windows Vista.

I restored it a few times on both the Mac and the PC, changed the assigned driver letter in Vista, waved a live chicken around, etc.

I've tried Intel and Power PC computers OS X, both running iTunes 9.0.1 (9) builds and Vista on a PC runing 9.0.1.8 (so some curious naming conventions for updates) and nothing.

Also the Power PC is OS X 10.4.11 Server. The Intel Mac is 10.5.8. The PC is Vista Ultimate.

The only version that works is iTunes 8.2.1.6 on XP Home SP3. It connects and syncs fine.

So, guess what, I think we can safely say iTunes 9 is broken with older iPods! There's no way it works fine with 8, and does not work on iTunes 9 across all that hardware and software.

Fortunately, here's the link to the older versions of the software.

For Mac, you can downgrade as follows. WARNING: Back stuff up. I have not tried this yet but see not reason why it won't work.


1) Quit iTunes.

2) Delete iTunes from your Applications folder.

3) Go to your ~/Music/iTunes folder. Delete or rename the "iTunes Library" file.

4) Open the "Previous iTunes Libraries" folder and look for the backup of your old pre-9 library; it should be dated at about the time you first ran iTunes 9. Copy it back out to the ~/Music/iTunes folder, and rename it to "iTunes Library".

iPod Video Repair 5th Generation. Some notes.

The thing that threw me off on this repair is that this iPod is not recognized by iTunes 9. (Separate post on that HERE.) I replaced the drive with an 8 gig Kingston Elite Pro Compact Flash card. 133x speed. It was on sale for about $20 at Fry's.

Like this one:


They also make a 16GB and 32GB like these.





Note that the price per gigabyte gets cheaper as you go to a larger capacity. The 32gig is only 3 times as expensive as the 8 gig. I got my iPod in a broken state so I didn't want to spend too much to find out it's very broken instead of slightly broken.

Plus, if you get a 32, then you've got an extra 2Gb over your old Video. It's expensive, but now it's shockproof and easily upgradeable. Just plug in a new card.

What you will need is an adapter like the one I got to adapt a Cf card in place of a 1.8" hard drive.

The one I bought is slightly different. PA-CF18Z is what mine is labeled and I've seen them around the internettube. It's probably not important, there isn't much in the way of electronics, it's mainly a physical interface.

I won't bore you with the details of this conversion any more, as you can find that all over. But in summary:

1. Kingston 8 gig Kingston Elite Pro Compact Flash card 133x. $20ish
2. PA-CF18Z CF to ZIF 1.8" adapter. $2.28 shipped from China. (I do not think a Microdrive is a good fit for this adapter, too thick. But who's going to use that?)

And if you get it showing up as a drive but not in iTunes, I'm sure Apple will fix it sooner or later. C'mon, we're on iTunes 9.0.1 and the minor stuff (that works in the OLD VERSION) should be fixed. That's a Microsoft move!

Why did I do the conversion? Simple. The hard drive in it died. Now I can take it jogging without that fear, enjoy longer battery life, and enjoy easy upgrades down the road.
 
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