Thursday, December 11, 2008
For those of you that have a Verizon Wireless SMT5800 Windows Mobile phone and hate the home screen (like I do), here are some instructions to customize it.
You can change your home screen to get quick access to popular contacts as well as weather updates. Additionally, you can now see the amount of new email and text messages including a quick link to both. (The default Verizon screen only shows the link if you have new messages)
The process is a bit lengthy written out, but really will only take a few minutes to do. As always, I take no responsibility if you screw something up on your phone.
Steps for customizing home screen on SMT5800:
1.) First Download this so you can unlock your smt5800 : regedit
a. Unzip the file on your computer
b. Copy the exe file to your device and launch it from the smt5800 phone
c. Follow the following steps to unlock your Verizon phone (this lets you install third-party software in the future) for a detailed tutorial with screenshots go here: otherwise follow my instructions below:
2.) Unlock your Phone with Regedit
i. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security\Policies\Policies
ii. Change value 00001001 from 2 to 1
iii. Change value 00001005 from 16 to 40
iv. Change value 00001017 to 144 (leave alone if it is already 144)
v. Reboot the phone
vi. You can now install third-party software on your SMT5800
2.) Go here: http://www.modaco.com/index.php?automodule=downloads&showfile=2444#
a. Register for a free account on modaco, don’t worry, they do not spam you.
b. Dowload the file on that page (http://www.modaco.com/index.php?automodule=downloads&req=download&code=confirm_download&id=2444) You need to be logged in to get it
c. Save the file on your desktop or somewhere
d. Unzip the file. It is a rar, so if you need free software to unzip it, download http://www.7-zip.org/ Unzip it all into a folder somewhere
e. Connect your SMT5800 to your computer using activesynch
f. Copy the two .CAB files to your storage card or somewhere on the phone.
i. Install each cab file from the phone (navigate to it on the phone and click it) You are safe installing them to a storage card. After you install the first one, ignore (cancel) the reboot option and install the second. Then reboot your phone
ii. Move all of the rest of the files/folders from the rar zip file on your pc to the home directory of the phone. If you use activesynch, navigate to My Windows Mobile-Based Device\Application Data\Home - put the four folders and everything else in here.
g. Go into the settings on your phone – option 4 – home screen – and select HTC as your layout type. – There are also 3 others to choose from with some cool advanced features, but too much clutter for me.
h. You are done
You have now successfully hacked and customized your Verizon SMT5800
By the way, on my screen shot you can see that I have the quick launch bar - which is in fact called MRU (most recently used) You will not see that on your screen if you follow these instructions, that required some XML editing on my part.
If you want the MRU toolbar you simply need to add the xml function call for it in the HTC xml file. I am not going to write a tutorial for that unless someone requests it via the comments here.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I recently purchased a Mitsubishi 60" DLP TV, model 60735 and needed a tv stand for it. Here is a quick review of an inexpensive, yet functional tv stand I found at Walmart for $109.
I did not want to spend $400 for the matching stand to the Mitsubishi 60735 (which was half the cost of the tv) and decided to take a chance on this one I found from Walmart.
The product was fairly easy to assemble, I did it with no assistance in about 40 minutes. There was one confusing part in the instructions, but other than that, very easy. If you can use a hammer and screwdriver and know how to read, you will have no problems.
I have a Mitsubishi 60" DLP TV on it, a full-sized 5.1 channel receiver, dvd player, ps3, roku box, and a cable box all under the unit, and still could probably fit another couple of DVD players if I for some reason needed to. On top of that, you then get storage on each side for discs, etc.
Of course, this is a finished partical board, so it is not the highest quality furniture, but it looks decent, even up close. If you get a nick in it (or scratch) unfortunately you will see white lines, but they can be covered with a marker.
The stand is very sturdy, and I have complete confidence in it supporting my tv and possibly even one that weighs more. (This tv was 60lbs.)
I would definitely recommend this as a cheap alternative to name brand tv stands.
Here it is Walmart TV stand for Mitsubishi 60735 60"
Thursday, December 4, 2008
As most of you probably know, HDMI cables are stupidly expensive. Especially if you buy the cables from a store like BestBuy or Circuit City, expect to pay $30-$50 bucks for a 6' cable. I had heard about a company, www.MonoPrice.com last year, but have not had the need to buy anything until now. So I figured I would give them a shot.
If you want hands down the most inexpensive HDMI cables (or any A/V cable for that matter) this is absolutely the place to buy them! I wound up getting several 6 ft HDMI cables (rated HDMI 1.3a) for $4.49 each.
I placed the order on a Sunday, and had the cables (to Philadelphia) by Wed afternoon of the same week. Last night I hooked them up. They appear to be solid and well manufactured, even the packaging they come in is very professionally done. I was half expecting to see cheaply made chinese crap, but this was not the case at all. I would say there is absolutely no difference in quality compared to the ridiculously expensive Monster Cables, and the picture/sound quality is perfect. FYI: Unless you have a $20,000 home theater set up in your home, NEVER NEVER NEVER waste your money on Monster HDMI cables. Keep in mind, HDMI is digital, there is relatively no intereference or signal loss like there is with older cables (rca, component, etc.), so if it works, it works, there is no grey area.
So, overall my review of MonoPrice.com is a 10 out of 10. I am very happy I purchased my HDMI cables from them.
Here is the link: Cheap HDMI Cable Note, for some reason, green cables are cheaper than black, but they have ever color you can imagine available at slightly different prices.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here it is:
Our problems stemmed from many things, but the catalyst was the adjustable rate mortgages hitting and causing foreclosures and bankruptcy. So, lets get mortgages to a more affordable rate than the world has ever seen. The government should introduce very low, say 2.5% mortgage rates to anyone that could fit some simple criteria. The government already owns the two largest mortgage giants in the world, and is responsible for eating the cost of many foreclosures, so this is an opportunity to save on losses and increase government income.
Why does this make sense? Banks are screaming that they cannot cover the loans they have out. If anyone and everyone was able to refinance into lower rate loans direct from the government, all of these banks would instantly see their capital returned to them. Because the banks have more money, they could then free up other lines of lending, such as credit cards, business and auto loans (which will help the auto-crisis). Sure, the banks would miss out on mortgage revenue, but aren't they crying that they are not getting this revenue now anyhow? Besides, they would then have an opportunity to make money with other types of loans.
With super low mortgage rates, consumers that did not have problems with their existing mortgage payments could now reduce their monthly payments, which frees up tons of capital for consumer spending including: buying new cars, savings, and debt repayment. People that were soon-to-default on their adjusted mortgages would now have an option to refinance into a much lower rate loan, which is lower than the amount they were paying before it adjusted, in effect ending many of the upcoming foreclosures.
Over time (a couple of years), the government could move the mortgage rate higher in half point increments, until a few years out we are back to "normal" rates and the banks could now compete in the marketplace again.
As I write this, the treasury bond is trading at 0%. That is 0%! The feds are lending to banks at 1%! So, the government could offer out these 2.5% loans to credit worthy people, make more than they are making now, free up the banks to develop and sell other types of loans, stop the decline in the housing market, get more people into homes, get more people to upgrade to bigger homes, and free up personal capital for consumer spending.
Why wouldn't this work?
Monday, November 17, 2008
For those of you that do not know, most GPS systems are actually running a version of windows called CE. However, the device is locked so that the only thing that runs is the GPS software itself. This is true for most GPS systems out there, and especially true of the really cheap ones, such as MIO (which can be had for less than $75 new!)
What do you gain? First off, windows CE is a true operating system for portable devices, so you can actually do a lot with it. After hacking my mio c220, this is what I gained:
- The ability to view microsoft office documents, such as excel and word
- The ability to rip movie and video files to the device and watch them just like a portable media player
- The ability to listen to multiple music formats, such as mp3s and wavs
- The ability to view pictures or slideshows
- The ability to play games, dozens of them, from solitare to doom
- The ability to run other GPS software other than the Mio version
Its actually super easy. I do not warranty that this will work, with all hacks you risk "bricking" your device, so dont come complaining to me if you break yours.
- First, you will need a sd card reader (or a usb cable to access your device)
- Eject the SD card from your MIO. Pop it in your card reader, and back up all the files to your local computer.
- Format the SD card as FAT32. This is the step that most other tutorials forget to tell you.
- Move the files back to your freshly formatted card.
- Download Mio Pocket 2.0 from here: http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=109690
- Follow these instructions: Instructions --- Don't worry, all you really are doing is unzipping files and renaming a couple of them, and then move them to your card. If you need good free software for unzipping rar files, click here for 7-zip.
- Take the card out of your reader, insert it into your mio device (that is already turned on) and click the yes button when it launches.
- After about a minute, you will now have a mobile pc. If you want to go back to the original, simply hard reset (hold power down for about 10 seconds) turn it back on, and do click no when the installer prompt loads.
FYI: Once hacked, if you are good enough, it is not hard to install other GPS systems on your unit. For instance, I have gotten MIO, Navigon, and TomTom to work in concept.
Check it out at www.masternegotiator.com
Read the press release at The Strategic Sourceror
at Source One
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I am definitely going to buy the Playon software, my only complaint is that I have to have a pc running all the time use my ps3. MediaMall should really consider packaging their software onto a box such as the Roku box, and I would buy one as an x-mas gift for everyone. Right now, it is unreasonable for most average users to have to have a pc running the software and a PS3 or xbox to view.
Hopefully Roku will get their act together and release a hulu update to compete with the MediaMall.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I had signed up for skyfire months ago for the beta, but was just recently included. Now it seems it is much easier to get the beta, just sign up and go.
1.) Very easy to install, you sign up, they sms (text) you a link. You access the link from your mobile, answer a couple of things, and boom it installs.
2.) So far, for me, this browser is the best thing for a windows mobile phone. It renders pages way faster than opera or pocket ie, and does a fantastic job of making it look like it would on a desktop. This of course means you will do a ton of zooming in since everything is so small, but it works well.
3.) Besides navigating text and images easily, it does an amazing job of rendering flash content. You can even access sites like hulu and youtube with no problems! Of course it is still choppy and I would not recommend watching a whole show, but for watching a clip, it works great, and opens way more formats that pocket ie and opera can do.
The only negative is actually how it works. Basically, you connect to skyfire's servers, they process your page views on their server and send them to your phone. So, it makes the experience excellent, but if privacy (on your mobile browser) is a huge concern for you, I would not use their product.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
A quick refresher, Playon, by themediamall.com is a software program that you run on your pc to allow your xbox or ps3 watch netflix, youtube, hulu, and espn content right on your tv. The software is still very much in beta, so I just wanted to share my quick thoughts.
I have been using it for a couple weeks now, I probably have used it 10 times in total. The picture quality is still acceptable (not near as good as dvd quality or hd, but still good to just watch a show). The speed is very good, if you have a decent cable internet connection, you will experience zero problems or lag in watching a show. In fact, you can fast forward through the few commercials at 1.5 speed with no problems at all, so you can cut commercial time down to less than 30 seconds per commercial.
Just about every time I use the playon tool, it is broken for hulu. This means that you have to go re-download the application in its latest build from their site. To their credit though, every time hulu breaks and every time i download the software it is fixed. However, you will find that the "update" feature in the software does not work at all. If you manually update, it will tell you that you have the latest version, when in fact you dont. Just ignore the update button for now, and any time you have a problem, just go redownload and re-install the software. It is okay to install right over top of the existing software, no reason to remove it first.
- Still no netflix, though they say coming soon "very soon"
- Hulu works great, but like I said you almost have to update the software every time you want to use it.
- They made improvements in the interface, so now when you access the media server from your ps3, you only see one option "playon" you click on that to get to all the sub channels that are supported, way better.
After contacting support at WD, they basically said the same thing, and for a cost (probably $100) I could ship the unit back and they would fix/replace it. However, they will not recover the data for you. That obviously was no good.
So, I had a suspicion that the drive itself in the unit was okay, just the motherboard or nic was bad on the WD hd. In order to test this, I broke apart the unit, (lots of snapping and screws) and removed the internal SATA drive. I then plugged the SATA drive into a windows box and looked at the partition manager to see if it could read it. Windows XP showed that there were 4 partitions on the drive, but I could not access the data since it was the wrong file system. This gave me hope that the drive itself was okay. So, here are the steps to recover your data from a world book that has a bad network card or bad motherboard.
Author Edit: These instructions are for the Western Digital My WorldBook 500 GB edition (without raid). Several commenters have left updated instructions for 1GB and 2GB units, including units with raid. Please see the comments if you do not have the 500GB model, as it will provide a different mount command in Linux/Unix.
What you need:
- A computer that has a free SATA slot on it. - or get a SATA to USB adapter for just a few dollars, like either of these:
- this USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Cable Adapter For 2.5 3.5 HDD
- or a more expensive and permanent one like this: Cables Unlimited USB-2110 USB 2.0 to IDE and SATA Adapter Cable with Power
- A Ubuntu Disk (Free) - download the image and burn it to disk.
- The drive from inside your World Book
Second, after locating a pc that can connect to your WD drive (keep in mind this is the drive you actually physically removed from the worldbook housing) go to the link I provided above and download Ubuntu Linux. Do not worry, you do not need to be a unix/linux geek to solve your problem, it is a graphical program.
Download the Linux iso image and burn it to cd. Keep in mind, you need to take special steps to burn an iso image, you can't just drag the iso image into the cd like you would copy files normally. If you need help, open your cd burning software and use the help file to find info on "creating iso" "burning iso", "burning images" or "creating images".
Once you have the cd burned, you will now open up the computer that will accomidate the WD drive. Open up the computer, install the drive. and then insert the cd and boot up the pc. Keep in mind, with some computers, you might need to access the bios (cmos) and activate the new drive for the motherboard to see.) While in the bios (setup) make sure that your CDROM is the first bootable device.
When the machine loads to the boot menu (boot from cd) choose the Ubuntu option that says something like "Try ubuntu without installing" Basically use the menu that allows you to use ubuntu without installing it.
After a minute or so, your pc will boot into Ubuntu, which is a lot like windows. Access the menus up top until you see one that says "Terminal" I believe it is under the system main menu, though it might be under applications->accessories->terminal.
When you click terminal, you will be taken to a prompt window (text based)
sudo mkdir /media/mount (hit enter)
sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sdb4 /media/mount (hit enter)
You can now close the terminal window.
Now go back up to the system menu or the places menu and find the "computer" option. Launch this. It is just like "my computer" in windows xp. You should now see your local hard drive (which is actually your windows install on the machine) and you should see the new worldbook drive. If you have any external hard drives plugged in to your computer you will see them as well. Copy the data from the "public" drive of your WD drive into an external drive or your local windows drive.
That's it, data recovered. Take out the CD, Power down your pc, disconnect the WD drive, and fire your computer back up to boot into windows and see your recovered data.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
There are a few sketchy posts out there that recommend that you replace wheel speed sensors and hubs on the car, but unfortunately the problem for me was the ABS control module. After taking the car to two different mechanics, and dumping tons of money into it, I had to ultimately replace the ABS control module anyhow, which is a $1,300 job.
FYI, I had to pay the dealer $100 to diagnose the problem, and then $1300 for a new module. I tried a used ABS control module with another mechanic, and the used part had the same symptoms as my existing one. Apparently, this is pretty common and you almost always need to put a new ABS control module in.
Save yourself the aggrevation, and if these lights go on in your car go straight to the dealer, do not waste time at local mechanics.
1 Login as root
2 vi /usr/local/lib/php.ini (or wherever your php.ini file is located)
3 find the error_reporting setting by typing /error_reporting (note arrow down to the error_reporting line that does NOT start with a semicolon!!!!)
4) to disable, insert a semicolon in front of the error_reporting line to comment out.
5) restart apache with /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl restart
To reenable php error reporting, remove the semicolon.
Backing up the current directory to Tape:
$ tar cv . <- default tape drive (rsa0)
$ tar cvf /dev/rsa1 . <- second tape drive (rsa1)
Restore files from Tape:
$ tar xv .
$ tar xvf /dev/rsa1
Extracted from information here: http://www.sudaneseonline.com/cgi-bin/boards/sudanhosting/2bb.cgi?seq=msg&board=3&msg=1175665234
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Our install was a bit unconventional, because we were using a Rhino Port Channel Bank and trying to connect to a 66 punch down block to an Amphenol RJ-21 50 pin phone connector. The only instructions we could find online were not very useful.
Long story short, we found out that when connecting the Rhino Port Channel Bank to a Punch Down block (with amphenol connector) that you actually have to start at the bottom of the punch down block, not the top.
In other words, punch down your 1st pair on the bottom two rows of the punch down block and work up the block.
If you would like to customize your SMT5800 Home screen, read this article
To install Opera Mini on a SMT 5800 Verizon phone, follow these instructions:
1.) Go to this link and follow the instructions step by step. Don't worry, the instructions are for the HTC s621, but work perfectly for the Verizon SMT5800 (which is a HTC phone).
2.) Download and install Esmertec Jbed 20080328.31.zip You may have to google this, or go to http://www.xda-developers.com/ sign up (free) and search for it.
3.) Drag the unzipped files to your phone and install it (from the phone), select the main memory, not a storage card
3.) Go to http://www.operamini.com/ and download it to your pc
4.) Drag opera mini to your phone and install (from the phone)
FYI: Opera sometime renders things weird, like dropping the bottom line on your screen. Also, sometimes you have to close opera, then relaunch the java midlet in order to close opera properly. Othewise, it does a way better job than pocket internet explorer.
Found a much more detailed post here: http://pdaphonehome.com/forums/htc-libra-verizon-smt5800/105483-java-midlet-managers-bluetooth.html
My wife and I recently purchased a 2008 Ford Escape new from the dealer. We were able to take advantage of 0% financing deal for 60 months, which worked out great.
I was able to negotiate the 6 year 100,000 extended warranty down to $1500. I probably could have done a bit better, but we had a lot of concessions in other areas. This was the actually Ford Warranty, not an aftermarket or third-party deal.
At another dealer, I got the aftermarket (not Ford) warranty for 7 year/100k mile down to $1,300 in the negotiation.
If you did any better leave some comments with what you got.
I have long been looking for a solution to access Hulu content and Netflix content on my Sony Playstation 3 (PS3 Netflix Hulu). Unfortunately, there presently is not much information out there that does not require a signifigant amount of programming or a seperate unix server.
Although the solution is not perfect, I recently stumbled upon MediaMall's PlayOn product.
Here's how it works.....
Simply download there software (in the link above) onto a Windows XP machine. I used a 1.6 ghz intel Acer laptop with 1.5 gig/ram (nothing overkill). The software installs in just a couple of minutes. After that, fire up your PS3 or XBox. On the PS3 simply navigate to the Video Menu choice and you will now see PlayOn for Hulu and PlayOn for Netflix. At the time of this writing, the netflix option is not functional, but I will write more when it is up and running (with a review).
From the video menu, you simply navigate to the TV show you want to watch on Hulu and click on the show. There is no search functionality presently, so you have to know what you are looking for alphabetically.
Once you click on the show you want to watch, I have experienced up to a one minute delay (with a blank screen) on my tv. But after that, the show runs with no problems (you need a broadband connection). I experienced one or two lag periods, nothing major, and was able to do some light surfing on the laptop while watching the show. Although the picture quality is not fantastic (on a big screen) it is definitely better than watching your favorite tv show on a computer screen.
Basically, the playon sever is reading the stream to your pc/laptop and then sends the re-encoded stream out to your ps3 or xbox. Unfortunately this means that your pc has to remain powered on of course while you are watching shows.
The PlayOn software gives you a 60 day trial, and then has a one time cost of $60. If they do get the Netflix on PS3 then I would definitely spend the money.
My experience is that the Roku Netflix box is easier to use and does not require the pc to be on, but for now I am happy if they get the feature running on the PS3 so I can redeploy my roku box to another tv.
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