Sunday, December 24, 2006

wii opera browsing = wiimote accuracy building?

well... i've been playing with the wii browser now quite a bit.

blogged this on my wii. hehe. it seems like my pointer accuracy is improving the more i type. not a bad way to fine tune your aiming while browsing. anywho back to zelda!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wii channels; weather and opera browser!

update : recipe on controlling your pc's winamp via the wii browser should be up on once it's approved.. :) enjoy! see the youtube vid here:

Also, it is true, that Madden 07 does use the weather channel data to adjust for the weather for the home team to what it currently is. pretty kewl, i think i am seeing why the big N has been slower to roll out their services, they really are trying to do it right.  rumor has it that they are working on the DS/Wii connectivity software and how that will work.  that should be interesting to see, i could see the DS being used as a second controller for 2player co-op; perhaps the navigator/driver in a racing type game? use the DS screens to see behind and map? hmm..


well, on the 19th we saw the release/startup of the Weather Channel for the Wii. so far seems to be a pretty good little channel, only downfall i've noticed is that the weather doesn't seem to update each time you access the channel, rather at intervals (usually 6pm, 6am; since i open it before work and when i get home at 7pm).

also, today wii get the Opera browser!! i've verified it does play Youtube vids fine and flash movies. does not play mp3 yet, however i'm going to test streaming my shoutcast station and seeing if it can handle streamed or not. also, i'll get my recipe up for using your Wii to control your winamp (wii-amp)

more coming later! enjoy your free opera browser!! (get it at the shopping channel)

Monday, December 18, 2006

my wii future thoughts...

you know your a fanboy when you think you've come up with some good ideas for the console.. :-P hehe..  so, i've got a few myself.. these to me can catapult the console into legendary status.

1. give us what we want on the VC, whats with the holding back? seriously, i don't want harrier or tennis, i want Chrono Trigger or Mariokart 64 w/on-line capabilities, or even Mario Allstars w/Super Mario (SNES) or even Dr Mario. why make us wait? we'll buy them no matter what time you release them.

2. mario bowling.. enough said..

3. more mii accessories (obvious one) and easier friendcode system (but prob too late since the infrastructure has been laid w/the releases worldwide).  more use of mii's in games too would be nice and novel (if even just as spectators or whatnot).

4. brand your own nintendo rechargable batteries, an obvious money market pointed out by all.

5. mini games sell, keep them coming! also, get us a good air drum game or more music ones... it just seems made for it at times!

thats about all for now, but so far i must say i applaud the big N for a fun console. by the way, i see an HD upgraded version of the Wii within a 2yr span or less.

production of the wii is so easy and cheap that you would think they are now starting to think about highdef (after the shortage of component cables, that alone is a good sign for them).

just my silly .02..


Sunday, December 17, 2006

namebrand or generic?

well, as an avid techno-geek, i'm always on the prowl for a great deal or the best deal on new technology and current technology. as with most things in life, there are the usual 'namebrands, ie sony, hp, dell, corsair, etc, but what about those generic/no-name brands)? is the money saved worth the possible reliabilty and performance you may or may not lose with them?

to me, this all depends on what you are buying and what you plan/expect from it. with a computer, i usually buy namebrand motherboards and processors (not much else choice), and go generic on the memory and case/powersupply (unless its a pure gaming rig, then its all namebrand). in my book, memory is the main thing i'll go generic on, the differenec in performace can by a mere .5 in CAS latency, unless your overclocking or an uber geek, you won't notice the performance loss.

the same goes for portable memory too, say flash memory. however, you have to be wary of what you buy since some memory will claim capacities that are not really achievable or is a faked partition job. i'm pretty comfortable spending a few bucks less for a cheaper memory stick since the risk is lower too.

however, recently i've tried out different higher end generic brands like my LCD HDTV, Olevia and have had so far (knock on wood) good results. another tip when researching no name brands is to find out the components used in them. the lcd hdtv i purchased from olevia contains either a samsung or lg lcd panel (high quality) but does not have the video processing effects and upconvert features of the samsung brand. also, always google the item or hit up some forum boards. first hand user feedback says it all with most items.

happy geek bargain hunting!

some quick good places for deals:

Friday, December 15, 2006

good ole Nintendo, replacement Wii straps!

well, we've all seen the news/blogs/videos of Wii users and the potentially breakable safety strap/tether probs.  it appears Nintendo has addressed these issues/concerns and is now offering to replace your strap for free!  not too shabby for a company to admit a defect and then go about resolving it for free.

head over here to get a replacement for your wiimotes. :

so far no more wii-injuries by any of my pals or family but we'll see since i'm heading home this weekend and my dad has been begging me to bring home the wii.. hehe... i just might have to head to Target this weekend and see if i can get  Wii for him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV Review

Olevia 237V 37″ LCD HDTV (1080i)  Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV Review

Syntax/Olevia is a LCD TV company that most have never heard or have seen.  They have recently had some great deals on mid size LCD HDTVs (usually 1080i since 1080p's will up the anter a good $200 or so) for under a grand.  I recently was able to score an Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV (1080i) on newegg for a nice $730 shipped and thus my entry into the HDTV realm.  Again, is it worth the money saved to get a no-name/generic LCD HDTV? Lets find out, shall we?

Up until about 3 months ago, I was very anti-HDTV.  I was one of those, 'it doesn't make a difference' or 'why do i need that much detail person'.  However I started to become curious to see what I might be missing and was hooked instantly.  Up until now, i have been viewing my HDTV on my Dell 24" Widescreen (1080i) monitor on a cable HD DVR box.


Honestly, horrible! Most places that you buy from on the internet have a policy in that if you sign for it and its damaged, you have to go to the manufacturer and cannot get a refund; however if you refuse delivery due to damage, they are liable for refunding or replacement.  Just thought i'd give everyone a heads up on this since the packaging for this HDTV is almost non-existent.  I received my HDTV w/a little puncture in the box (not by the LCD though, phew!) but still signed for it hoping there wouldn't be any problems.  After getting the packaging off, I put her on the stand.

Included in the box, TV, Remote, Quick Startup Guide, Manual on CDROM, Batteries for remote.

Basic Specs/Important Info:

Screen Size37"
Recommended Resolution1366 x 768
Aspect Ratio16:9
Video Processor
Viewing Angle
MTK MDDI Technology
178°(H) / 178°(V)
Contrast Ratio1600:1
Response Time8ms
Input Video CompatibilityPC Input: Analog RGB
TV Tuner Input: ATSC/NTSC
HDTV: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
HDTV CapabilityHDTV Tuner Inside
ConnectorsComponent Input: 3 Component + 3 R/L RCA Audio (VGA connector accepts as 3rd Component source)
AV Input: 2 composite + 2 R/L RCA Audio
S-Video Input: 2 S-Video with R/L RCA Audio
Digital Input: PC + Video, Plug & Play, CEA EDID Extensions
VGA Input: RGB 15 Pin D-sub with Analog EDID, PC + Video, Plug & Play, Third Component Input + R/L RCA Audio
Audio Output: 1 R/L Audio
Digital Output: 1 SPDIF
1 Stereo Mini Jack
HDCP ReadyYes


fairly simple except for ONE THING: there is a power toggle switch by the power cable!!  It took me a few minutes to find this and made me start to get that swirl in my stomach of a bad lcd (had a prob w/3 lcds i ordered in the past), however i checked the power cable one more time and spotted the rocker.  Flipped her on and the olevia startup screen appeared.

Power toggle

The inputs/outputs on the tv are located in reachable areas.  There are a ton of inputs on this thing too including a QAM Tuner ( read more here:  wikipedia entry)

  • HDMIx1

  • Componentx2

  • VGAx1

  • Compositex2

  • S-Videox2

  • Optical Digital Audio Out

  • Coaxil In (HD OTA, Cable, QAM Tuner)

Setup was fairly simple with it, if you've setup a home theater or tv before, you should have no problems.  the exclusion of a paper manual does leave a few people in the dark (those w/a pc readily available) if they need to find an input/setting.  Also, when you turn on the TV be sure to not put it into Showroom mode, you will not have access to all of the functions as in Home mode.

Image Quality/Viewing:

First off, i am not a 'hardcore' HDTV buff.  I'm fairly new to the HDTV sector and got my first taste of it via my PC, ATI HDTV Wonder, and my Dell 24" LCD (1080i).   I currently have a Scientific America 8300HD DVR box for cable connected via Component at 1080i (upconverted for most), Nintendo Wii via component at 480p and just added a PS3 and connect that via HDMI.

Image quality is great.  In comparison to my pals Samsung HP S4253 42" plasma it is nearly identical. However, I have noticed less pixelization on the Olevia than his (using Fifth Element Superbit) and also less ghosting.  Contrast levels are very good for an LCD, however the Samsung wins on this one.  Contrast in comparison to my Dell 24" LCD is better on the Olevia though.

Colors also look very good.  Whites sometimes may have a very slight blue hue however this may be due to my color temp i use (native).   Flesh tones are accurate.  HDTV content looks great like w/all HDTVs. SDTV looks pretty decent too.  Of course its going to be less clear, pixelated due to it be Standard Def (480i).  1080i content looks very crisp. Again, take down the sharpness setting if you notice blurry or pixelization.

This LCD TV also has PIP and PBP options so you can split the screen in PBP mode w/two sources.  Also, this LCD can be used with a HTPC or PC by hooking one up via the VGA connection.  Text is very readable and clear since it has a native resolution of 1366x768.

image w/pip on

My Nintendo Wii plays very well on it, there is no delay or audio/video sync problems. However if you do have AV sync problems, this TV has a setting to let you account for such delays in the menus.  The PS3 looks great on it, Blu-Ray movies really do look crisp and is making it hard for me to go back to standard DVDs.


Audio from the builtin speakers is ok.  I have noticed times where i get some feedback from the speakers w/my surrounds sound speakers, but i just disable the TV's speakers then.  There are a few built in sound environments to try and also ability to change treble and bass leves and of course balalance between L and R speakers.   I would recommend using a receiver for sound.


All in all, Olevia makes a great LCD HDTV for a deal.  If you can get the LCD HDTV to you w/o any damage you should be very happy.  If possible, you might want to try to find a deal in a store so you can just pickup and not have to worry about the crappy packaging and possible damage while in transit.  The TV does come w/a 1 year warranty from Olevia.

The 37" 237V LCD can seriously compete w/the bigger name plasma and lcd makers however like many will say 'you get what you pay for' and in the case of this LCD TV, you do and then some.  Sound quality through the builtin speakers, the hidden power toggle switch, and crappy packaging are my only main gripes. Oh yea, and the last gripe is that i can not program any of my universal remotes to this tv's remote.  i've emailed olevia on this so i may add a followup if i get a response (so far, the only way to get the remote to work on a universal is to get a learning remote).  as for pluses, amazing price for an LCD HDTV, does 1080i,720p,480p very well and has a ton of inputs/outputs that are easily accessible.

And for those HDTV buffs, this has the MTK MDDI video processor not the ATI one! (seems ATI one is a bit flaky and not as good quality picture as the MTK).

Seamonkey says: Recommended! 9/10


  • Here's a link to Olevia/Syntax's FAQ on LCD HDTV they make:

  • If you notice blurring when viewing HDTV content, try to change the sharpness setting to very low or none (noticed this w/HDTV and 480p DVD)

  • If you hit Source when the Olevia Splash screen comes up you can bypass waiting for it to go away when you power on the TV

  • If you do not like the speakers on the TV, just disable them if your like me and hook everything up to a Home Theater AV Receiver (connect using digital optical)

  • This TV can have its firmware updated via USB, mine shipped w/the most recent firmware.

  • upgrading the htpc to vista, running origami pack on it my olevia… (vista on my olevia)

around 3 year update (sept 2009):
its now sept 2009. my olevia lcd is still running like a champ and has not had any problems. as the comments section of this post will show, i seem to be fluke since a lot of people seemed to have had failures after 2 years or less of owning. most probs related to motherboard/mainboard.

one thing that i did do that most may not have; i kept the firmware up to date.  my 237v has the last update that olevia put out and in turn may be the reason why its lasted so long compared to others.

another possible reason may be the fact that i have never really used the atsc tv tuner on mine, i use my hdtv more as a 'monitor' than a tv.  currrently i run my tv through my hp laptop and windows 7 and media center and have the ps3 connected via a hdmi hub.  i could see the tuner causing the motherboard/mainboard to heat up and in turn possibly loosening the solder from the board (just guess here).

3 month update (mar 07):

well, its march 07 and so far so good.  my baby still looks excellent and my previous notes still apply.  i've upgraded the firmware on it to correct the date/time problem however it seemed to have broken the favorites option if you use the built-in tuner.  i am no longer able to use or add favorites, another email to tech support letting them know.  the firmware upgrade process is not too hard, just follow the steps and is even easier if you have a HTPC in your living room or a laptop.

i've been using the olevia as the main audio hub (ie all of my devices connect to the tv's audio inputs and then output via optical digital to my receiver) and it seems to work pretty good, seems the speakers quality vs via outputs are opposites.  however, i do connect my dvr via hdmi (dolby 5.1 for hd channels) and my wii via normal rca's; dvd player goes to receiver via spdif.

inputs: HDMI connections look superior to any of my component ones. i had originally setup my HD DVR box to use HDMI, but this week moved it over to Component since i'm getting a PS3 shortly and have noticed that the HDMI connection makes for much cripser images/picture so if you got the option, go HDMI! btw, i'm using a cheap $10 HDMI cable from ebay (i'm no sucker for the cable game, imo they don't make that much of a difference).

vista looks very nice on it, i've been running it only at 800x600 resolution to use the Origami Experience properly and using the Full Screen option for video.  vista itself looks distorted due to the stretching, however the origami experience pack looks perfect since it seems to be made for widescreen aspect ratio.  see my youtube to see origami on this baby.  thanks everyone for stopping by and adding your experience/tips!  this blog post will be updated w/3 month updates of my experiences.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


i remember when i was growing up thinking about what the future might be and what cool gadgets/toys we might have. i never would have thought how fast we would get to where we are now and also the path that i would take in life.

as a kid i was always into anything that was space or electronics or could be taken apart, be it a radio or an rf adapter for my atari or trying to make my own telescope.  i always ended up taking things apart to see how they worked.  most of the time i couldn't them to work again or my modding made things worse. however i still remember my first interactions w/a computer.  now that was a 'cool machine'.

our family never had a computer when i was growing up. computers and macs were pretty pricey still (late 80s-90s, i am 27).  you really couldn't go out and build a nice system for $300.  if you wanted a pc you had to either buy a pre-built system or know some REALLY geeky rich friend and were looking at spending an easy $2000.  my initial interactions w/computers came in gradeschool, i'd say prob in 4th grade.  i decided to take some summer typing classes on the Apple IIe (we even had one w/the color monitor at school) and ended up falling in love with computers (remember oregon trail?? hehe).  then finally in 5th grade my pal's mom got a Mac PowerPC and we got our first tastes of BBS boards and Compuserve.  i remember him and me sitting up late at night trying (keyword, trying) to find a computer to try to hack into but most wardialing sessions ended w/us finding nothing.

we kept up on the hacker underground via the BBS boards (or what we thought was the hacking underground, lol) but really never got into it since we didn't have a laptop and we really didn't know that much.  we were more attracted to the culture, the risk and the brilliant minds.  so i never hacked a single computer in my life and probably never will (my definition of hacking is more old skool and less malicious than nowdays).

before 7th grade started, our area had gotten a grant to build a consolidated highschool (7-12) that was state of the art.  full computer networking in all classrooms, ITV in each room, a olympic sized pool, 2 gymnasiums, etc.  the first day of school was pretty amazing, especially walking into our computer lab filled w/35 of the latest IBM PCs. there was also a smaller computer lab filled w/20 macs that was used for programming class.

 the best thing though was that in the library we had internet access and could sign up to get an email address for $1.  so of course every kid got their own email address (poor sys admins, had no idea what they set themselves up for!).

browsing the internet back in 1992 was good stuff, advertising was not legal on the net yet and no one had ever heard of a 'popup'.  search results for 'nba' or 'jordan' brought up only like 459 hits and of course who can forget the first free website hosts, angelfire, and making your first site made of <blink>blinking text</blink> hehe...

my interests in computers and electronics faded while in high school; i was more into the whole sports thing (soccer, basketball) and of course girls and hanging w/pals.  my senior year in high school i finally saved up enough money to get a laptop before i headed off the farm to the big city for college at the U of MN Minneapolis.  i remember the day like it was yesterday. cue foggy black and white nostalgic video.. she was pretty highend at the time sporting a nice 133mhz intel pentium and a whopping 16mb of ram and a 600mb hd running windows 95b.

up to this point, i had never owned my own pc and really never got to dig into them since i didn't want to break any of my friends. the internet at this point was starting to explode w/information and taking shape to the web we know today.

the first thing i realized i had to learn was how to fix my pc or restore it back to factory state incase i do something wrong(which i did early).  after perfecting the operating system install and disk partitioning i was free to do anything i wanted w/my laptop.  i dug into litestep and a few other shell replacements and also got into skinning and other customizations.  at this point in time, we saw some of the most amazing processor technology erupt. cpu speeds were doubling from week to week, 200mhz to 400mhz to finally the first 1ghz cpu.  finally, after 2 years of owning my laptop, i decided it was time to build my own.  after reading up on what i needed and the costs, i went online and bulit my first system: an AMD Athlon slot a cpu, EPOX mobo, cd-rw/dvd burner and generic white case.

after a ton of probs and hardware failures (probs and failures will teach the most about a pc or anything), i had gotten to point where my building skills were topnotch and i wanted to help get my friends caught up with the rest of the world (most of them did not have a pc or could afford one). so i went on a pc system building frenzy and built 20 systems in 3 months for $300 a pop on a system. it felt good helping my pals get up to speed and i realized in all of my searching on the net there were not that many sites or people willing to give good, free computer/geek advice. there were a lot of individuals that wanted to hoard their knowledge or lacked the skill of teaching others.  and it seemed like the way i thought was like a computer.  the processes of a computer seemed to click and flow w/my chain of thought and logic.  i tend to think of a computer or anything as a series of networks interweaved within each other. a network is made of computers is made of harddrives/cpus/mobos/chipsets/memory which is made up of electricity/silicon which in turn is controlled by the os which is made up of applications/drivers/documents (or so how my brain sees it!).  so i figured that my niche in life is gadgets/electronics/pcs, i might as well do good not evil with my skills.

so that is who i wanted to be, i wanted to be a giver/spreader of knowledge. i wanted to be able to help spread my knowledge to those who may lack the skills or know-how to do more advanced/complex things on their pc or toys or electronics.  as time goes on, our lives are made much easier with technology but at the same time its made more complex.

so hopefully my nostalgic ramblings haven't put you to sleep, but you did read it all so its your own fault. :P

i always think its gonna be fun being 80yrs old and jamming to snoop dogg on the 'mp3 player' and telling the grandkids about how we used to have to plug in a cable to get online.

(edits made to remove extra characters from prev exports/imports)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

more wii junkie notes: playing videos from sd card on wii and post screenshots

well, as most know i'm pretty wii-obsessed lately.  been really getting into zelda now and finally got past the first dungeon (i know, i haven't been able to get hardcore with it yet, still waiting for those components to come in this week!). even though i don't expect to use my wii for all of my multimedia needs (video, music playback), its fun to play with what you got since the way the wii-mote works, it makes it easy and fun.

decided i'd try out the video playback features on the wii but wasn't what type of file's it played. went out on the web and found good ole wii video 9 (get here:  same guys that did the PSP Video 9 i so loved for my psp).

wii video 9 screenshot

decided to try it out since i have an extra 1GB SD card for such things. converted a quick music vid and through it on the memory stick (again, if you have ever used psp video 9, the interface is almost identical; this will also do PS3 files too).

then put the SD card in, went to the photo channel.  gave me the notice of 1 movie file, clicked on it and it started playing; again quality was not extremely good (but that might due to the profile i used in wii video 9) but decent. 

 my wii video 9 profile used for video

you can mess w/the video too while its playing (puzzles, doodle, etc) and you can even take a screen-shot of the video and then post it to your bulletin board!

hmm.. could this lead to random porn coming up on my wii? hehe, ya never know, i can see it already (should i be pointing this out even? hehe) the psa's and headlines...

here's a vid of me doing it.. oh yea.. go youtube.. :P (give it a few minutes, just uploaded to youtube)

oh yea, here's my newest lcd in place and ready to game! go PIP! (nice to put hdtv on in a small window while bowling)

my living room setup

very satisfied w/my Olevia 237 37" LCD HDTV, very good image quality and tons of inputs (hdmi, 2 components, vga, 2 s-video, coaxial for ota hd or cable, 2 composites, and more). the packig it came in was a bit scary and non-existant. however so far i have had no problems with it. plus i got a sweet deal, the same model now is back to $949, i got mine for about $700. good ole pre-black friday sale, go!!

and for those interested, it has the MTK MDDI Technology video processor, not the ATI.. :)

currently have my old G4 mac (i know, gonna build a cheapy AMD 64 system next month) hooked up via VGA, my HD DVR via HDMI, DVD via component and wii via good ole composite(rca).  am excited to see how the components for the wii will look.  the picture quality is good, but there are noticable jaggies (which 480p usually does away with). nice to be able to get rid of a lot of cables by using the tv as central audio input source (does digitial optical out to my receiver), hdmi is very handy indeed.

back to tv.. hehe.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

random unboxing tips..

well, we've all come across 'that box' or package. the one that no matter what you do you can't open? say, like a wii-mote package? man, i swear the plastic packaging could survive a 500 ft drop.

anywho, i know i hate trying to open them cuz i've almost destroyed my shiny new toys just by trying to get them out of the plastic packaging.  well, back when i was doing some case modding, i bought a tool from home depot, a metal cutter i believe (was modding my Antec Minuet case w/a side panel window).

home depot metal cutter

after getting super frustrated trying to open my headphones i ordered, i decided to try using the metal cutter.  bam! cut the plastic like nothing and did it without risk of wrecking my headphones or injuring myself.

i'd recommend trying it out, they only cost like $5 or so at home depot. save you a lot of pain and frustration (and the cutter isnt' sharp at all)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

whoa! youtube view explosion! its all about the wii-injury.. haha

well, got my nice 37" lcd hdtv in and am in love with her. my wii looks pretty good on it (component will look so much better!!! got me 2 sets of them coming in, figure better to have a spare than none at all).  my pals have a weekly 'Office/OC night' each week and thought hey, what better week to host it than this week! i got my wii and my new tv, hell yea!

so we're just watching the OC now (as i type this blog and an email to a boston globe reporter on my dad's wii injury, more to follow!) and decided i'd check out my good ole youtube stats and decided to check out my dad's wii-injury video since it had like 2,000 views last night.  checked it out and BAM! 

Views: 21,002

#38 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Video Games - All
#30 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Video Games - English
#73 - Most Discussed (This Week) - Video Games - All
#76 - Most Discussed (This Week) - Video Games - English

whoa! where did those views come from? not sure yet since i haven't gotten to my google reader yet but must have been a site somewhere.  here's a link to it:

my dad's wii-injury

anywho, back to the OC and soon some Wii sports! hell yea!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

being unloved: the story of my psp

yes, i feel a bit sad some-days for him. since my ds lite purchase, my psp has sat dormant and charging on his charging cradle. i remember getting my psp on the US launch date and drooling over his amazing 3d graphics and gorgeous display.

but after a few weeks he started to get less and less attention and more gripes (dang battery life! where are the games? not another FPS!) however, it seems things might be changing soon  it appears that some good games are starting to show up on the PSP (MGS: PO, Lumines II, goode ole GTA) and tempting me to make a purchase. for a while there i had given up on the PSP and its game lineup, which sony seemed to have too.  things seem to look a little brighter (mind you nintendo ds game/hardware sales are still killing the PSP in most regards).

however, things looked even brighter than ever for the hacker/modder community w/the anonymous release of the PS1P Alpha 1 PS1 emulator (source DCEMU )!  i really have always wanted to play my Final Fantasy VII on the go (and yes, i still own these games but no PS1, :( ).

again, i do not promote piracy or warez but this is an amazing accomplishment for any coder/hacker.  sony has not even itself come up with a valid solution or even a proof of concept (at least i have not ran across any demos of an actual PSP running a PS1 game, however its promised now w/the PS3 but a pretty steep start-up cost for most).

i personally have refused to upgrade my PSPs firmware and still run the same launch firmware, v1.50 which allows me to run every piece of homebrew software available. after playing through my launch psp titles, i got into the homebrew/emulator very early scene and released a compilation of the best emulators available w/custom icons (seamonkeyPack, most of the time emulators were either only v1.00 ready and or did not have any cool icons or had the kxploit icons).

the psp's homebrew history is never-ending battle type story with hackers finding exploits and sony releasing firmware updates to fix them (see wikipedia entry on psp homebrew). it started w/a coder running a very simple helloworld type app on his psp firmware v1.00.

 the next coder then ran the same app on a v1.50 psp by using what would become known as the swapploit.  basically you loaded a folder on your main ms duo card and then the emulator/homebrew eboot.pbp on a second ms duo and then once you selected the game in the PSP menu, you had to pop out the first duo card and put in the second, thus swapploit.  however in a mere matter of weeks, the hack was refined to using a two folder system on one ms duo card and was dubbed the kxploit.  later hacks w/firmware v1.51 and up included tiff exploits; the battle between unsigned code and sony was a constant fight.  more dubious hacks were also made such as running PSP iso images of games/movies off of a ms duo card and even making your psp run w/later firmware to avoid having your psp's firmware updated to play newer games (you bought). i did that for GTA since i loved having my (of course!) mario allstars and chrono trigger (snes) on the psp.

in my opinion, the psp was a born portable emulating system (PES, haha!) just by the raw power in it (333mhz cpu, comparable to a ps2s) and the amazing screen it was given.  however, this lead up brings me to my next prediction in for gaming (a pretty obvious one too): the PS3 will become the hackers/modders next fave system to hack (even more so than the xbox was, i modded mine!)

its obvious since it already can have Linux installed onto it. hackers have already dumped a blu-ray game to iso via linux and a basic command line. it is a mere matter of time before someone figures out how to run iso dumps from their PS3's harddrive.  in my opinion, i think nintendo purposedly went with a smaller internal size to avoid having such problems that the xbox then and ps3 now may have w/game piracy.  one cannot fit a full wii game onto a SD card (since i think the wii only sees up to a 2GB card) or internal memory (512mb).  however usbs could be a different story if its only activated by a firmware update and can take hds.

also, from (what i dub as..) the 'next-gen' handheld war, it seems pretty obvious so far that games sell systems more than power and specs.  its sad that the reason i will be dusting off my psp and putting the ds lite to rest is not for a game being released but a homebrew emulator.  but my psp will take whatever loving he can get it and my ds any rest she can get. :P

so this upcoming console war could be a good one for everyone including the hackers/modders of the world and us consumers with so many choices.  i have already made my choice; Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

more wii-experiences and minor gripes

well, in the last wiik i've seen more of my friends than i have in the last month! haha. some heard i got my wii others were just swinging over to say hi. anywho, so far everyone's who has played has enjoyed it; from Wii sports to Rayman to Madden.  my friends range from 2 mid twenty females (techie though), a hardcore gamer (FPS), madden junkie, total non-gamer/hippie, and retired farmers.

not a bad mix eh? i'd say that so far the Wii is living up to its hype.  however, after having a wii for over a wiik, i've come up with a list of things i'd like to see nintendo update/change with their next system update.

 -ability to exit to the menu from gamecube games w/out having to reset on the console (decided to go and get zelda wind waker since it looked pretty kewl for the gcn and of course have super smash bros melee enroute for party night!).

-MORE VC games! come on! look at your library (er... glances away from 2000+ rom folder... )  you have some great titles i'd love to see.  like Chrono Trigger (a game i'd love to see remade anyday, still play this on my PSP and DS Lite via homebrew), Mario Allstars, MarioKart, and while we're on a mario binge, Mario Golf 64, and a ton of the other awesome titles that others want say Toe Jam and Earl? i never played it on the Genesis but always wanted to (i got a SMS instead of NES initially back in the day and then a SNES).

-Ability to save settings for the Slideshow in the Picture Channel

-Ability to use loaded mp3s on SD Cards as background music in games like Wii Sports or even as bg music on the menu screen.

-Finally, i really want to see how the browser looks/works and if it can do multimedia (stream music, video, etc).  the wii's setup seems to be the viable way of any current console to do browsing minus of course the PS3's USB abilities/Linux (but you still can't sit and point at the screen.. :P )

but nonetheless i still love her..  oh yea.. on monday i woke up and went into my Mii Parade and look what i see.. Fidel Castro hanging out, added him to my Mii's.. decided i'd make good ole Mr T and Bill Clinton, so say hi to them if you see them in your parade.. :P

also, checked out my game time this first week and i've averaged about 7-8 hours a day, up to 10:23 when i was at my parents. no wonder my batteries died in both remotes yesterday. gotta love those recharables!  and i'm still holding off on playing my zelda and madden till i get my LCD in (this wed, so EXCITED!)


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Vista and CableCards: working but no streaming to pcs

well, now that i'm going to be a true HDTV owner/user did some looking into Vista and its CableCard support and it appears vista is unable to convert and stream CableCard media.  great, so it looks as though i'm stuck w/my cable company dvr system until i get 1) get enough for a series 3 tivo, but really don't want to pay the monthly service or 2) wait till Vista gets a few patches to allow this and also for manufacturers to get a CableCard 2.0 (bi-directional) compliant tuner out!       wow! you really have to read the full article to see what they are saying! i had just glanced a summary on another site and the real story is totally different.

it appears Vista should be CableCard ready but just cannot stream the original signal to other pcs, only MCE Extender devices (which are few and far to expensive, minus an xbox+mce extender kit+wifi adapter which in a few months should be super cheap on ebay i'd say sub $100; the only few extender devices i found a while back were still in the $160 range on ebay and $200 range retail, sad since i could have really used one for my living room).  also TivoToGo has been disabled on CableCard series 3 boxes too.  so it seems that cable companies want to keep the media with in the very closed type of nework. 

now when will we see some actual cablecard tv tuners pc???? come on guys, get going!!! i want my superior dvr box, my htpc!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

wii sports and non-gamers (videos)

well, as previously blogged, here are the vids of my sis, mom and dad playing some wii sports and bowling.

man! my dad was seriously addicted to bowling (since he can't bowl in real-life due to a hip replacement).  he was kicking my ass! won 20/25 games, doh! hehe.

by the time i left today, my dad was asking all of the right wii questions: where can he get one, how much is it, how hard is it to setup, etc.

so it looks like i might not have to bring the wii home anymore or atleast once my parents get one. :P  it was such a blast seeing them have so much fun and being able to game with them. the last time i had played my dad in video games was back in the atari 2600 era and jungle hunt!

my dad's wii related injury (i see why nintendo has those disclaimers about being away from objects or people!):

my sis and dad bowling on the wii:

my mom playing her first few frames of wii bowling:

i think nintendo might be onto something here.. hmm... :P

check out more of my wii related videos at youtube here:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the parents, the farm and 28k dialup..

well, another thanksgiving has come and gone.  i love thanksgiving the fullness it brings, hehe. we had a great family dinner w/the classic mn dishes; turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, and pumpkin pie and peacon pie. mmmmm!

while at home with the parents and like most who own a Wii thought 'what a great time to see how the Wii goes w/the genre that nintendo was seeking out to (non gamers)'.

woke up on thur and had a cup  a coffee and then decided i'd break out the wii! my sister was home (she and i used to play our SNES religously but after the SNES she kind of got out of gaming) for thanksgiving too (she's 26).  my parents are retired farmers and really have never played any video games since the Atari 2600 era. Popped in Wii sports (totally forgot to bring zelda and madden, kicking self for forgetting zelda!!!) and asked my sis if she wanted to bowl a game or two.  i handed her the remote.  at first she had a few probs getting used to using the wii-mote as pointer and the A and B button placements but once she was comfortable with them she was having a blast!

hmm, 1/1 on the wii so far. next up, my pops (a 66yr old farmer!). he used to be a big bowler but really can't anymore since he had hip replacement surgery a while back. again, gave him a quickie run through on using it and in no time he was picking up spares and trash talking me on my missed spares! haha, that was awesome seeing! 2/2

next thing we know our guests for thanksgiving have arrived, my great aunt and uncle  my dad (who was still playing bowling) told my great uncle to try out bowling.  so gave him a run through on it and after a few frames they were off playing my wii like a bunch of kids, 3/3. wow, nintendo seems to initially have a winner on its hand and is doing what they wanted; penetrating the non-gamer market.  before i headed up to my old room, my dad asked me how hard it was to turn on the wii and get it going since he wanted to play in the morning. what? excuse me? hehe, wow amazing how addicting it was, oh yea my mom also really enjoyed it too, however it took her a few frames to get down bowling.

however, one must still ask though; will wii all be sick of or bored w/our wii's in a few months? will the novelty wear off?  or will the gameplay/controller layout keep us coming back?  the next few months should answer those questions.

here's what i think nintendo needs to do:  keep working the party type games and games that have not ever been put on consoles because there was no intuitive way to control them.  for example, how about a classic outdoor Wii sports?? throw in some horse-shoes, shuffleboard, croquet, and maybe lawn darts or even disc golf??? hmmmm, yes nintendo might have a winner on their hands indeed. i'm very excited to see what other games/genres that are tapped w/the new control layout.

btw, my dad is the first person i know to receive his first wii-lated injury; he caught his hand on our stove while bowling.  :)

i'll post vids of the non-gamers having a blast later this weekend. once i get back to highspeed!!! i tell you, 28k dialup kind of sucks. :( but thanks to johnny's google reader tip ( i've been able to check my news/blogs at ease on dialup.

btw, here's a quick personal note about me most would not expect; i grew up on a farm and farmed as a kid until college.  :P

peace and have a safe and fun holiday! and remember...

always strap your wii-mote on!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

hi-def upgrade #2.. doh! 37" LCD

so you might have noticed how i've been a bit complaining about my sad 24" sd tv (its a pretty sad one indeed). well, i have a bad habit of seeing a great deal and going with it.

was on and ran across a deal at newegg for a 37" LCD HDTV (1080i max) for only $699 after coupon code.. nice!  its made by Olevia, yes, i know who is olevia? i was wondering the same question and did some googling for reviews on previous lcd hdtv models and so far all of the reviews are positive.  basically saying its a great deal for what you get; decent picture quality, not all of the fancy filters like the more expensive models but still holds its own against a samsung or philips lcd hdtv.  i guess i'll have my xmas present earlier than i thought (waiting for black friday and actually getting a lcd hdtv might have been harder and more work than getting my wii).  so i'm prob gonna not even try to get the X360 on thursday, but we'll see (for $100, who can say no right? hehe..)

here's a link to the deal:  use promo code: olevia200 for the extra $200 off, i think it expires tonight at 12am!!


wii friend codes and photo channel and random wii clips.. :)

ok, i lied. my wii posts prob will not stop until i get bored with it and hopefully that won't be soon! :)

 been in the mood to try to track down some peeps to add to my friend list but really have no pals w/the Wii yet. :( however, after some searching online found a pretty good Wii Friend Code club at, here's a link to the page:

figure it might be fun to have my mii's running around on other peoples consoles, made most of my friends already and am going to have them tweak their mii's when they play.  put in a nice 2 hours in wii sports. i swear the boxing game is going to get me back into shape again; its tiring if you go all out! my pals were sweating it up yesterday boxing it out.

put a few more hours into zelda, and realized that whoa its been a while since i've played a game w/puzzles and required thinking (usually play mainly racing games lately).  however, i'm REALLY fiending for a new TV now.  playing madden 07 w/my pal was hard on my crappy 24", i could barely read the play names and so on.  hopefully i score a good HDTV coming up on Black Friday.  we'll see how that goes though.

decided to fire up the photo channel and put some photos on my SD Card; pretty plain jane type features. could be pretty neat to have a nice slideshow of HD ready photos w/some background mp3s.  here's a vid of it i took.

 oh yea, Quinn sent me a link to a funny as heck comic (but sadly resembles the launch attitudes!) from


here's another funny clip on youtube.. hilarious! guy in wii-mote costume goes by a PS3 line. :P

Monday, November 20, 2006

my wii and my friends..

i love having mondays off.

especially mondays i have a brand new wii console and zelda waiting for me to get to!

so, decided i would head over to my pals place and see what the PS3 looked like.  he said he had picked up Resistance and already had Marvel Ultimate Alliance; so i was pretty curious to see how purty they both looked on his 1080p plasma.  on the phone though, he asked if i could bring over my wii and i was like hell yea, finally someone to play with! (haha, sounds bad eh? but my other pals were off drinking it up while i was in the gaming mood)

i headed over to his place, about a 20 minute drive and also had to stop at Target to pick up a nice Wii branded carrybag (very small, kind of a bag i was looking for to bring to work and put my DS and PSP in while i travel yet i didn't want the 'man bag' look ;)  ).  got over there and first thing he asked was if he could hook up the wii and take for a test drive.

we got her hooked up to his 42" plasma, wall mounted (which so far seems to be the best way to play the wii; walllmounted tv/plasma/lcd).  boy, zelda looks much better on a nice tv (i still have yet to upgrade my TV to an HDTV, but i'm thinking post-xmas is sounding good).  after a few minutes of peeking at zelda, we threw in Wii Sports and had a total blast with it.  my pals loved the boxing and tennis the most, while i'm still in love with bowling.  they were very excited about the Wii and kept asking me if they could get one soon and where.  almost too much fun, like a bunch of kids getting our first NES back in the day. ahh.. the memories.

so about 3 hours later, i'm starting to get my Zelda itch and decide to head out.  after getting home, i realized that i still have not played his PS3 or seen it. :(   maybe next time, if i don't bring over the wii..   (yes, i'm now a nintendo fanboy.. but remember i'm many fanboys! even a sony one in regards to cellphones/cameras, just not consoles anymore)

and yes, i promise this is the last wii blog unless its a hack or newsworthy.. :)  wii play..  two final pics for ya.. wii size comparison to a cd case and my wii launch gear...

wii vs a cd case = tiny console indeed

mii and my wii stuff

Sunday, November 19, 2006

mii and my wii! (update 3)

update 3:

well, the last update before i call it a day.. been playing zelda most of the day and must say its a blast. the whole wii-mote and nunchuk controller scheme is pretty fresh and new.  also tested out the email sending/receiving functionality and it seems to be pretty simple and basic. your wi''s email address is just w+(your wii friend code) (ie; not a real code!).   Anywho, if any other Wii owners wanna add me as a friend and vice versa, drop me a message or reply and i'll gladly add ya!  peace! thus the wii launch day has concluded..

my target ticket, #30!

update 2:

seems nintendo's site was getting hit w/some major traffic this morning, esp around 8:20am, hehe.   just got back from getting Madden 07 from Gamestop and man, those poor guys must be exhausted after the PS3 and Wii midnight launches. so far madden is pretty cool; a definite change for the good.  i'm still in love w/Wii Sports, pretty fun.  also had to download Mario 64, just cuz its mario 64 and i did get a classic controller for a reason. anywho back to zelda!

update 1:

so after playing w/my wii for about 2 hours now, here are a few quick initial impressions i got!

-man, the Wii is TINY! and you trully get everything you need to set it up, wii sports included!
-ease of setup is pure cake, no parent should have any probs w/it.
-wifi again was easy to setup too, if you've setup wifi before on a laptop, you should not have any probs at all
-using the wii-mote: the first game of tennis was AWESOME! i just had a cheesy grin on my face while i returned a lob w/some nice topspin! bowling was very fun too, got the same type of score i'd get when i bowl in real-life (118 haha!). i'm pretty pumped to get a few pals over to play some drinking wii-sports (good thing i got the protection plans on the system and my wii-motes).
-zelda: only 20 minutes into but so far i can tell that its going to be an epic type game not a boring normal adventure. graphics are what i expected, nothing like a PS3 or X360 but gets the job done.
-wii interface: i really like the wii's interface so far. i have not noticed any slowness in the wifi connection or downloading so far (in comparison to the vids on yesterday). made me a mii, that was way too fun for what it was. hehe.

so i'd say, yes i am glad i waited at 6am today and the initial impressions have met my expectations. and add onto that a SMOOTH launch at Target and i'm super happy! Target did a great job, again i must give props where due. Lined us up inside, let you choose your games/accessories (tons of each title), and pay for it and get a warranty plan if you want and out the door! took me a whole 10mins from the doors opening at 8am to me walking out w/that cheesy grin you see on xmas day when you got something you really wanted! :P back to zelda!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

wii launch update! random quantities from target, bb, and wallymart (update 1)

update:  finally stumbled upon this site to help everyone figure out where to get a wii and the quantities!


well.. thought i'd go out and do some scouting for where would be the best place to get my wii and since i had a best buy, walmart, 2 targets and a circuit city close by; i figure i should be guaranteed to get one at one of the places!

so.... the question most of us want to know is; how many Wii's will they be getting?? who is launching at midnight?

well, in my area (southern minneapolis, mn sububs) here is what i found out!

Walmart is launching at midnight tonight since they are 24/7.  only about 20-30 wiis or so the employees say.  also there was a line of 20 some people already waiting (8pm ish)

Both Targets are launching the Wii on Sun  morning at 8am.  One of the Target video game sales reps (who i must say was super nice and seemed like he knew his stuff) said they estimate about 60 wiis and 60 copies of zelda! there were only 4 kids in line outside (the rep told them the number of wiis but they insisted on staying in line; can't blame them with the whole PS3 fiasco).  the other target had no idea and guessed around 20-30 wiis and unknown numbers of zelda and no lines at all (and its the closest!)

Best Buy (the one that got about 120 PS3s on launch and did the PS3 midnight launch) were keeping numbers quiet. guesstimates were in the range of 7-100 (HAHA! nice range eh?). 

But here's the good part!! I was able to pickup a Wii-mote!! so i can see first hand what they look like.  Also, walmart had games already for sale and on display (but zelda was mysteriously missing; must be keeping for the first wii's they sell). it seems unlike most items, batteries are included! also got the 2 year plan on it, just in case something tragic, say airborne mote, happens..

batteries included? thats a first!

here's some wii-mote porn till the morning!

my wii mote! hopefully i have a wii to match it in the morning!

So there's a quickie wrap up of Pre-Wii launch news in the minneapolis area (or where i live.. hehe.)

 i plan on doing another recon mission run at 5am or 6am and might just end up bundling up (layers are key in mn winters!) and bring my DS w/Elite Beat Agents to tie me over till they open!

wish me luck! :)

passing time till Wii get our Wiis

well, it seems every year or so often i get to point where i hit a 'brick' wall, run out of personal projects.  it seems though that the timing of my most recent brick wall might be perfect since i hope to get my Wii tomorrow and figure that there hopefully will be tons of things to hack. i already have a few ideas in mind that i can almost guarantee will work (a few of my older recipes that should work fine w/the Wii's wifi and home network factor).  i'll be posting tons of comments, opinions, first-takes on my Wii experience tomorrow (given i get one! i think i got a plan already to hit Target at 7:30a, if they do not have any or sell out, hit up Best Buy at 9a. that was the same best buy that had over 100+ PS3s; must be one of MN's biggest and some 150 or so campers prior to the PS3 launch).

but the last time i ran into this 'geek brick wall' i started my HTPC projects and of course my venture into handheld console hacking/homebrew.  i still have my PSP w/v1.5 firmware and my NDS Lite Onyx w/my SuperCard MiniSD gamecart and custom NDS firmware (no warnings).  so heck, i guess the Wii will be mii's next hack hopefully!! 

my interest in mobile phones is subsiding after going on a crazy 3 phones in 6 months binge (had a MDA, then a K800i, and now a Z710i hybrid w/W710i firmware) and the fact that there really are not many 'ground-breaking' phones out but are more of the same.  i guess i've come to a gadget wall more than anything.  it seems that right now i'm just waiting for prices to go down on HiDef LCD TVs and for some TV Tuner makers to get their asses in gear and make me a HD CableCard 2.0 TV Tuner!!  my comcast box is just not cutting it and i've missed a few good series while i was away in DC which really irked me and to top it off, Digital Cable imo looks like crap compared to any DirectTV/Satellite TV (parents have DirectTV and their analog shows look almost as good as my 1080i HD shows on my 24" LCD!).  if only dave hadn't killed my HU stream. ;)

so i guess today will be that day of waiting, kind of like a kid on xmas eve (and one who knows he's getting a new nextgen console!)... now i just have to make sure i can get my Zelda at the same time since i cancelled my Target online pre-order (said i wouldn't get it until next week??? forget that, i want it now!! hehe).

it seems the PS3 launch went about like what i thought, pure organized chaos!!  violent lines, muggings/shootings.  heck, my pal was even packing when he went to get his PS3 just to be sure he didn't get jumped! (in MN we have a conceal and carry law now, i wonder if thats why there were no cases of PS3 muggings, people afraid the person they were robbing might turn the tables??). but so far he's loving his PS3 and Ultimate Alliance.  i didnt' get a chance to play or anything since we were having problems getting the RCA connections to work in our office, :(  but prob will swing over tonight to see how purty it is!  so yes, a good launch for sony in that every PS3 sold; however should be interesting to see how many are actually opened and played!! seems ebayers have already begun their 'scalping'.

here's some geek PS3 porn for you (yea, i know they are cellphone pics !)

my pal proudly showing me his PS3 lovin!

more ps3 porn!

ps3 controller in its wireless glory

hopefully, the wii launch will be a more peaceful, zen-ish one.  go big N for having 1 million units on launch!!  and Zelda!!! oops, starting to sound like a Nintendo fanboy; but really i'm a fanboy of Sony too!!  heck, i might even try to get in on Amazon's deal of a X360 core system for $100!! can't say no to that right??? too bad there's only 1,000 of them that will be sold at that price.

hopefully mii will have a wii tomorrow, peace!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

PS3/Wii.. its so close i can taste the greed and bitterness already.. :)

t-minus 11 hours and counting for prob one of the most anticipated and yet disappointing console launches in video game history.  i say disappointing not in reference to the console itself, but more to the way Sony has handled this launch (did anyone not learn anything from the x360 launch last year??).

was cruising by my best buy last night and already saw over 20 tents lined up outside on the grass.  mind you, i live in mn and it gets to be around 20 degrees fahrenheit at night! no console is worth the risk of frostbite imo; plus, don't people understand that there are probably only going to be, if lucky, a dozen units available for purchase.  called the target by my place and they also had the same thing going on; people camped out for the PS3 release tomorrow morning, and i also verified that they will be selling the Wii on launch day.

i tell ya; lately any major launch has really brought out the people and the greed.  i do not ever remember any previous console (from prev generations) creating so much hype, anticipation, and greed.   but then again maybe that was because the big players weren't behind in production and didn't believe in the "small supply = great demand = great hype" mentality. 

my pal confirmed that he will be getting his PS3 via Gamestop (hopefully that is the case, i'll be uploading some screenshots tomorrow night if he does get it!!).  i also went out last night and pre-orderded my Madden 07 and Zelda for the Wii.  i'm thinking that no matter what i'm going to be waiting outside of the target at 5am to be sure to get a Wii (sure would be a shame to have 2 games but no system. hehe..)

been surfing my usual gaming blog sites and its seems the PS3 launch may be one of the most violent launches in history of video games.  1,000s lined up outside of Sony Style in San Fran?? dang!!!   and it seems this pattern is happening everywhere a PS3 is going to be sold.  however, i did go by my local walmart and noticed that there was not a SINGLE person waiting. hmmm... could i maybe get a PS3 afterall? doubtful but ya never know?

so.. to those of you that do get a PS3, i'd recommend going out and getting a lottery ticket; seems like winning the lottery almost has better odds this week! :)

mii, well, i'll hopefully be unpacking my Wii at 8am on Sunday morning! i'll post pics/vids that morning and prob give a quick review of Wii Sports, Madden 07, and Zelda (given they all make it by the weekend to my mailbox!)


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

more google mobile goodies!

yea, i admit it. i've been in love w/google since day one. however, the best part about google is its 'we can do it all' mentality.

i've already highlighted one google application, Picasa, as a top personal pick of mine.  today i'd like to bring to those uninformed mobile users of a few great google mobile apps (run/installed on the java midlet interfaces, so your phone needs to support java)

google currently offers 4 mobile applications, you can easily download them by visiting googles mobile page ( and then sending a link via text message to your phone to bring you to the portal (can it get any easier???).  the 4 applications include: Search, Maps, Gmail and News.

i've personally have used google maps (used to be google local, and was originally created by a freelance programmer; might have even been a sidekick alpha app if i remember correctly) and it keeps getting better.  google maps lets you: view a map of a location/zoom, get directions (turn by turn), view traffic, view hybrid maps, zoom, and add bookmarks to your favorite spots/directions.  its a great app if you are ever on the run and in need of some directions or a map.

the latest one i just started using is gmail. its a standalone java gmail client for your mobile. yes, you can check your gmail on any phone's wap browser, but the standalone client is nice since its faster and feature packed. you get all of the features you have when you use a PC web browser to check your gmail (views, options, conversations, attachments).

try them out if you have a phone thats been bought in the last 5 years and a data plan (remember, these apps use data and some carriers charge a ton for going over data limits if you don't already have unlimited data)! 

these are seamonkey approved apps! Google Maps and Gmail (mobile versions).

Monday, November 13, 2006

the approach of next-gen launches...

well, the USA launches of the PS3 and Wii linger so very very close!!  we are under a week before we will see both in the wild. Nov 17 = PS3, Nov 19=Wii. however, good luck getting a PS3!!

it seems that Gamestop has cut their first batch numbers in half, meaning that if your #4 or higher on the pre-order list you prob won't have a PS3 on launch day.  now that is big disappointment for most, especially those suckers who waited for hours in crappy weather for a preorder.  so i guess sony is living up to my expectations.. (sound of ball dropping..) 

however, to me the Wii is really what i've been waiting for and its seeming like i should be able to get one. i plan on camping out at my target on launch day (i think they are getting them on launch. hmmm.. might have to verify this).  i even took off mon and tues to play, hehe. so i guess i better get one and zelda looks like a blast!  i do admit that the PS3 games look so purty but what is the gameplay going to be like, same old thing but just a visual upgrade?  hopefully my pal's PS3 pre-order goes through and i get to see first hand on launch. 

well, back to enjoying some room service out here in DC. :)  gotta say that those sprint evdo cards rule and i'm still in love with my work sony vaio vgn-t350p! hehe.  i've been out in DC the last 5 days helping w/an office move. me and a few co-workers are helping w/the pc hookups and all that good stuff.  its amazing how a project can seem like its a total failure and then 3 days later its like it went just as planned.  amazing indeed!   can't wait to get back to minneapolis though. just realized how technological our city is; for example i saw an ambulance rushing through traffic and when it got to the stop lights, they didn't change and there were no blinking light at the intersection warning of an emergency vehicle.  in minneapolis, when an emergency vehicle approaches a stoplight the light will automatically change and then a light on the light will blink warning of the vehicle and the lights in the path of the vehicle in turn will change stopping cross traffic.  and no taxis in DC take credit cards, whats up with that?  however, i have had some of the best food in a while (morton porterhouse steak = pure delight) and the weather has been pretty good (70s and 60s).

well, off to bed; these 14+ hour days are killer! :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

another HD update... cablecard ranting...

well.. i've been doing the HD thing now for about a month or so. had to transition to a comcast HD DVR (scientific atlanta 8300HD) since there still is not a single manufacturer that has created a HD CableCard Tv Tuner.

I really loathe the dvr box..  it lacks the most basic function: ability to search for shows. but nonetheless the quality and sound from it are very good. 1080i looks pretty sweet on my 24" widescreen. i'm still in love w/her and i've had her almost a year now.  she's a dell 24 widescreen; loaded with inputs and comes w/ a great stand.  been using my PC and HD DVR to it and it lets you do PBP and PIP, so i can put on tv on the pip and do my thing on the rest of it.

so ok, i can live with the whole no search thing and just go online to find when my shows will be on. however, they still need more HD channels.  i think i get a measly 12 or so and the digital cable looks like crap after watching some Discovery Channel HD in 1080i.  so hopefully we see more channels go HD, preferably SciFi and Comedy Central.

getting back to the TV Tuner and CableCARDs or lack of; from what i have read around the blogs/sites/forums is that the reason why there have not been any PC HDTV Tuner w/CableCARD support is that they need to be approved for Vista and by the CableCARD creator.  so it seems that us HTPC/Do-it-yourselfers have been left in the dark and forced to buy/rent a service based DVR box.  hopefully, once Vista is officially rolled out in 2007 manufacturers will start developing HD Cablecard TV Tuner cards.  The current offering of CableCards are the v1.0 (which do not allow two-way communication; thus things like On-Demand, guides, and payperview are not accessible w/the current slew of CableCARDs).  A new version 2.0 of the CableCARD is coming, this version will allow two way communication and in turn allow us HTPC builders to go back to our superior DVR PC boxes.  However the standard for CableCARD 2.0 is yet to be finalized so manufacturers are a little hesitant on creating Tuners which might not work w/the 2.0 format.

Once CableCARD 2.0 is finalized, we should expect to see a slew of CableCARD 2.0 Tv Tuners and by that time, Vista should be out in the wild too! So i guess i'll have to make due w/my HD DVR box till next year (good thing its almost the end of the year!).

for those interested in reading more on CableCARDS, here are some links:

CableCARD Primer:

CNET's Whats a CableCARD:

Wikipedia's CableCARD entry:

Friday, November 03, 2006

multiple monitors = maximum geekiness (with the right setup)

well, i've been a total multi-monitor man since my first Geforce2 and TNT Riva.  i remember having to open my window in the winter to let some cool air in; i swear i could have used the CRTs to heat my room.  i then experimented with several different setups; side-by-side and vertically stacked.  however since CRTs are rather big, you were kind of limited to where you could put the monitors. then finally LCDs finally hit the market and became affordable.  LCDs offered us monitor geeks the freedom to put them almost anywhere (w/the help of a VESA mounting bracket) and also cooled our rooms down quite a bit too!  my first LCD was a KDS Rad-5; finally got rid of it last year. then moved up to a 19" and then finally to my 24" wide-screen.  most people had never really had multi-monitor setups until prob the last 3-4 years. nowadays its almost a requirement for anyone that works in IT to have this kind of setup.

what i've found through the last few years is that just having a multiple monitor setup will not make you that much more productive.   multiple monitor setups are very cool to look at and really give you that 'uber' geek image. however, most setups are not utilized to their max potential due to the users not having the most productive tools to manage their setup.

a couple of problems i faced when i initially started using a dual monitors included:

1. taskbar for the secondary monitor

2. no real way to toss windows from monitor to monitor

3. desktop wallpapers were the same on each monitor

4. save desktop icon locations on the secondary monitor

after doing a ton of research and searching (before it was googling, hehe); i stumbled upon what i would consider to be one of the best utilities/applications i've ever purchased: Ultramon (

Ultramon is basically a multiple monitor management utility. it allowed me to have a seperate taskbar for my secondary monitor, so when i had my Outlook on the secondary monitor, i'd have the taskbar showing it on that monitor than on my primary monitors taskbar.  Also, it allowed me to setup hotkeys to toss a window/program to the primary or secondary monitor.  nothing is more rewarding than being able to just do a CTRL+ALT+Right Arrow and see the window move to the opposite monitor.   Another thing it did was to save your desktop icon locations; one thing i had noticed when running dual monitors was that no matter what i did, my icons would always reset to the primary monitor when i wanted them to be split up (main apps on the primary, entertainment icons on the secondary).  Nvidias NView came close to doing this but it didn't do it all.  Finally, Ultramon solved my seperate wallpapers for each monitor or the ability to stretch one image across both monitors.  

my latest setup consists of 2 Dell LCDs; a 24" widescreen and a measley 15".  when i was running Media Center 2005 on my box, i used my 15" for TV while i did photoshop/browsed on the 24".   Photoshop w/a multi monitor setup is great!  or just browsing a site on the 15" and have a DVD going on the 24".  all being driven by an ATI X800 and an Athlon X2 3000+.

one more tip i have to offer is this: when i go to bed, i like to have my main monitor play my movie however having the secondary at the desktop can be a bit distracting.  So what i do is i setup my ATI Catalyst Control Center to use hotkeys (i know, i love hotkeys!!) to switch profiles.  most new video cards will support overlays on the secondary monitor, what that means is that when i have overlays on and a movie going on my main monitor, the secondary monitor will have the same video playing in full-screen overlay mode. :)  now that's easy on the eyes.

so if you haven't tried a multi monitor setup, i'd recommend it! once you go multi, you can never go back.  plus, it shows your friends how big of a geek you really are! ;)

major photoshopping

my geek setup

Monday, October 30, 2006

ah yes, the 'next/new'-gen console wars...

well, i've been lurking in the shadows of many forum boards and blogs.. studying the possible prey.. costs, speed, games, fun-factor, supply, history...

we all know what is about to happen around Nov 17th and Nov 19th. the next-gen/new-gen console wars will officially be on.. Microsoft is a good year ahead of everyone, but yet whose numbers are really not that amazing. Hardware defects and lack of first-rate games (more like ports than anything) and limited supplies plagued the x360. But Microsoft got the picture; replacing defective x360s and now the influx of some great looking games. Almost seems like the first year of x360 is more of a 'practice' lap before the real console wars started. Now with the upcoming PS3 and Wii release, some first rate games are gracing the x360.

The PS3 is Sony's big guns. However, i'm a bit warry of Sony since my PSP purchase on launch and its history. Sony's PSP is a hardware killer. It has a beautiful display, modern design, and a cpu that is equivalent to a PS2 (333mhz). Also, does anyone remember the Neogeo or 3DO?

Nintendo relied on the DS and its touchscreen and 'fun factor'. The DS was honestly inferior (hardware spec-wise) to the PSP. Nintendo wanted to change the way we play, making the DS a dual display unit with a touchscreen on the bottom. Combined with a great library of games and ability to play GBA games, the DS was ready.

And what did we learn, that the DS is outselling the PSP even though its an inferior console. I got myself a nice Onyx DS Lite and have really enjoyed playing it on my commute to work. Starfox rules!

So what i see happening is that Nintendo is gonna have a great thanksgiving and xmas profits. Wii's will be hard to get the first month but not nearly as hard as a getting a PS3. Nintendo's approach again is for fun not super realistic graphics. To me, i agree that Nintendo is the only real next-gen console. x360 and PS3 are just the same old thing w/better graphics and sound. Sure you do in turn get a Blu-Ray player w/the highend PS3 (sorry budget PS3'ers, 20GB version lacks HDMI and ability to play bluray movies). But i always argue w/my pals that if i wanted good graphics, i'd go out and drop $500 and get a kick ass video card for my pc. I know not as many good games but you get my point.

The PS3 isn't going to just lay on its back and fade away. PS3's will all sell out. Getting one might actually cost you your left nut and first born. The graphics are amazing, sound will be topnotch. So the PS3 will also sell very well.

It all really comes down to which of the 2 newbies can shell out the most consoles to consumers on launch. Sony has cut their numbers a few times now and its looking a bit bleak at their estimated 500,000 units for North America (however, Europe got totally overlooked and will get it in 2007). Also, Sony loses quite a bit of money with each PS3 it sells, again hoping to make their money through the software side. Anyone remember the xbox? It did pretty good but was a bit like the PS3; superior hardware, manufacturer takes loss on each unit, a slim initial offering of games.

Nintendo on the other hand will be making money from the get-go. They also plan on having a good 1 million units available on launch. So Nintendo already would seem to have the edge just by release/launch numbers and profit/loss factor.

No matter what, we gamers, are really winning in the end. competition = innovation. i believe in the Wii. But i probably will get a PS3 after the prices drops $150. x360 gets no love from me. I was pretty disappointed w/it from day one. Madden 06 was a total joke.

The Wii and Nintendo are aiming at a totally different market (i know, you've heard this on EVERY post/blog/editorial). How many nongamers are there? But who knows, maybe the Wii will end up just to be a gimmick; falling by the side of the virtual boy and robbie.

I'm pretty excited to see what happens!

wow, i probably could right a term paper on the next-gen console wars  i'll now get off my soap box.. :P

Sunday, October 29, 2006

picasa and web albums, nice!

For the longest time, i could never find a decent photo organizing application.  Most of them were memory hogs and had limited options and web integration.

Google's Picasa changes all of this.  I've been using Picasa since they released it and must say each update that google adds is always a bonus!  the most recent feature add-on is the integration of web albums into picasa.  So if you have a gmail account (who doesn't! if you need one, i can send you a referal) and use picasa you can instantly upload pictures from Picasa to your Picasa web album.

Also, there is the nice collage options, slideshow, basic photo editing/red-eye removal, and blogger integration.

In my opinion, Picasa is so far the best photo organizer i've used and the best part again is that its FREE!  so go try out Picasa, head over here.

joining the team, new blog...

well, this is my first tech-recipes blog post... again, thank you guys over at tech-recipes! they had previously (around 2004) given me my own sub domain,; that sub domain has pretty much taken off. i had about 120,000 unique visitors last year and well on pace to hit the 200,000 mark this year! However, the sub domain will be changing and the info will be consolidated w/the main tech-recipes page. So, i'm very happy to be on board w/tech-recipes again! heck, i still wear my t-shirt everywhere!!

This week has been an exciting week for me. I was able to fix my Sony Ericsson K800i phone i sold without sending it back to Sony Ericsson (which would have taken about a month to get back since i would have had to send it to the UK service center) via Wotanserver. It did require me to buy a credit but the fix itself was free. So, with that extra credit laying around i thought i'd be a bit ballsy and decided i wanted to try my hypothesis that the Z710i and W710i were basically identical phones w/different marketing strategies/targets and cost. About 6 minutes later, wotanserver finished the flashing to a W710i, rebooted my phone and voila! My Z710i is now a W710i! Flash menus look great! Walkman media player is a major upgrade from the Z710i's normal media player (again my main reason for flashing was to get flash menus and the Walkman player). However, the pedometer and fitness apps did not work since the Z710i must not have that hardware inside of it. Also, you get Track ID w/the W710i firmware; i have not gotten that to work yet though.

So kids, if you got a Sony Ericsson Z710i and want the Walkman features/flash menus of the W710i, go over to and get a credit and flash that baby! Plus, you'll save yourself quite a few bucks doing this too. I would assume that you prob could flash a W710i to a Z710i too, but to me that would be self-defeating and a downgrade to the phone (no flash menus, downgraded medai player, missing features).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

jackpot! discovery science channel!

man, i had no idea that there was a Discovery Channel Science one..! been leaving it on while i mess around on my pc and love it! hehe.. me and space, my love... ahh..

anywho.. speaking of cable tv.. well, comcast has taken over my area's timewarner service... so we'll see if things get a bit cheaper or not.. but after using my HD DVR (scientific atlanta 8300HD) got a few gripes:

-missing a 30 second skip forward function, miss that from MCE.
-crappy guide. no searching whatsoever; categories are bad and gui itself is pretty fugly..
-quality of recordings are good
-output options are great, any type of output you need, it has.. hdmi, component, s-video, rca, composite, digital optical sound out..

just wish more channels were in HD.. and also when compared to my parents DirectTV; satellite's picture quality is superior.. especially with non HD channels... hmm.. oh well, can't do satellite anyways..

the next gen wars are really starting to heat up in the console realm.. rumors are everywhere.. should be fun to see what happens.. i personally believe Sony's gonna drop the ball and not be anywhere close to the expected 400k units on launch... but we'll see.. i think nintendo will do very well.. the timing is pretty smart w/thanksgiving weekend the following.. i have not pre-ordered a wii, i plan on going into target and getting me one.. but we'll see if nintendo meets their promised units too..

well, off to bed.. gotta go into work tomorrow..

k800i fixing, site updates

well.. after thinking i had sold my K800i FINALLY to a person, found out when he got it, it would not turn on and the irda would just blink at him.. so had him send back and did some major research.. seems that many K800i users have had this problem.. and the problem seems to be pointed to a bad EROM..

most people get this fixed by sending back to SE and then after a few weeks getting it back..however, i found out on that you can fix it just by using the wotanserver client.. it will update the EROM when you connect your phone (hold 2 and 5 vs the C button)..

so, after getting phone back, updated EROM via wotanserver and now working fine! might end up trading this phone for a W810i since i've found a person who was interested...

also updated my site w/this info on the K800i incase other people where having problems finding a fix for it (took me a while to track down the thread at hofo )

well, back to getting healthier, damn you flu/cold!!!!

aiy.. might do a full/complete rehaul of my site soon.. we shall see!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

screw you mce!! i'm going hd dvr..

well.. lately been having some freakish weird things going on w/my pc and more importantly w/MCE2005.. lately its been missing recordings and having errors w/my ati hdtv tuner.. so i've missed the premiere of heroes and a few other good ones.. arggh!!! also missed The Office (good thing i got that tivo series 1 out in the living room as my backup, no service but works as a nice digital vcr.. hehe.. )

anywho.. a few of my pals at work just all got hd tvs (a plasma for one, crt projector for cheap for another, and a dlp for the third) and they finally all got HD service.. and man, they are so stoked about HD.. nothing compares.. and after having a tiny taste of hd w/my pc.. i gave in... add onto that the probs w/mce2005 and me wanting to just go back to XP Prof made me call up timewarner (soon to be comcast) and order up HD service along w/DVR.. heck, even upgraded to digital and hd (i was on just plain old analog up till now.. got a raise at work so that goes to my monthly hd..)... got a promo for the first 3 mos so it only bumped my bill $10... but then it goes to more like $26 more a month.. by then, it will be past xmas and i can decide if i want to go back to just analog or what not (which i seriously doubt.. )..

who knows, maybe w/my xmas bonus, i'll get me a HD Tv.. hehe.. would go nicely w/my upcoming wii and possible ps3 (if i don't sell one, given i can even get a preorder.. ).. we'll see..

but gonna get my box tomorrow and hook er up to my dell 24".. plus, now i finally can use those component inputs on my monitor and have pip w/pc and tv..

oh yea.. :)

figured out the ds homebrew thing.. got er down like gravy.. geek out...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

DS lite hacking.. flashing.. and other obscene gestures :D

well.. finally got my superpass key and supercard minisd for my ds lite in! hehe..

been reading up on it for a while now and realized i was overanalyzing how it works! very easy.. just run my homebrew through the nds homebrew patcher and voila! DS Lite ready!..

first thing i did was to flash my DS Lite's firmware using Flashme.. that way i don't need to carry my SuperPass Key around to use it.. plan to keep my phoenix wright in the slot to have w/me or brain age..

flashing went well. .prob the easiest firmware flash of any device i've done.. xbox mod chips being the hardest (back before cromwell.. good ole winLPC.. ).. took only a few minutes, 15 seconds to actually flash it..

found a few public domain roms and ran them through the supercard app and loaded up on my 1gb miniSD card.. popped er in and loaded fine... foudn out the supercard miniSD has built in emulators for NES, GB, and SMS.. so i threw a few NES roms on and played fine..

so far i'm pretty happy w/my investment.. also can now add the DS Lite to my ever growing list of hacked/modded devices.. hehe.. i guess you could say i have a dream handheld gaming setup w/my PSP on v1.50 firmware and my DS Lite w/SuperCard.. hehe..

anywho.. off to bed for me.. not so sure if my guide for the DS lite will be as indepth as i originally thought.. might be just a here's what the SuperCard is and how the UI looks.. (two things that took me a bit to figure out and actually having the supercard to see)..

and finally.. just some quick website stats.. i love stats.. hehe..

hoping to hit over 200,000 unique visitors this year.. or the goal.. :)

MonthUnique visitorsNumber of visitsPagesHits
Jan 2006208282682758286953976
Feb 20065096614112879204980
Mar 2006216612773056571906263
Apr 2006198222513149171798773
May 2006178512279145262735558
Jun 2006188482357645702715706
Jul 2006205482584748776726152
Aug 2006191812426945956733371
Sep 2006152381849234519554977
Oct 20060000
Nov 20060000
Dec 20060000

Sunday, September 24, 2006

old projects, reminiscing..

well.. had a busy weekend of helping a friend backup and reload her Macbook... ah yes, nothing like some fun w/macs.. eh? hehe..

backup of her music took FOREVER!! but in return we swapped music so it was worth it.. i'm a total fan of new music.. might be having a fun ipod party soon... basically have all my pals w/ipods come over and have them dump their libraries on a pc w/a nice 300gb hd.. figure that way we can have a centralized location for our music in case anyone's hd or ipod dies.. hehe.. we'll see if we do it or not.. might be more work than its worth...

was bored and hopped on the web and headed over to an older hangout of mine, . used to hang here when i was doing Sidekick related stuff.. still miss using Hipster.. man, nobody has yet to come up w/a program quite like that!! data aggregating and parsing w/major customization and creation!! i wrote about 60+ modules for it.. guess it just fell off the scope of things.. :(

man, converting m4a to mp3 seems to take forever!! atleast there's a good app that lets you do batch jobs and also replace teh orginal files! good ole ImTOO Audio Encoder seems to work great.. i have yet to hit any purchased songs so i assume those would fail unless i run it through hymn...

stilll waiting for my DS homebrew stuff to come... once it does, i should be able to get a quickie newbie guide to homebrew.. also decided to sell my whole scsi setup since i needed the dang pci slot for a new audio card and figured s-ata is fast enough for what i need.. so hopefully sell that on ebay and then get a nice 300 or maybe even 400gb drive.. hehe..

just saw Fearless at the theater and must say one of the better movies i've seen in some time.... not bad Jet Li! i'm always a fan of his movies, good action and a decent plot...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

random tech notes, blurbs...

well.. me and my damn toys! haha...

anywho, pretty pumped to get my SuperCard SD and SuperPasskey for my DS Lite... always a fan of hacking/modding my toys... think i finally got a good grasp on how homebrew works and all... i also plan on updating the firmware on the DS Lite via FlashMe so i don't need the SuperPasskey to run homebrew..

was having a few nasty probs w/my system earlier in the week.. good ole BSOD and IRQ_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL errors.. finally uninstalled my HDTV Tuner card, and voila! system finally booted alll the way to the desktop..

decided to reinstall the HDTV card; seems fine. also decided to see if maybe the power management option i set in my BIOS was part of the problem or not so changed a few options there.. guess, i'll see if it fixed it or not....

gonna be selling my Tmobile MDA phone since i really don't use it much at all and that way i don't have to have the $20 a month data plan, can go back to the $7 unlimited tzones.... so that will save me over $156 a year (if i don't get another PDA phone soon..)...

got a pretty busy weekend already planned.. helping a friend redo her Macbook Pro.. or maybe its an older one.. anywho, has OS X Jaguar on it and she really wants to get OS X Tiger going and we also plan on setting up a much better partition setup too.. only downfall is that i will need to transfer all of the files to my pc via my network..

umm.. prob end up having a few peeps over sat night too... nothing like some Drinking Jenga.. :)

well, hopefully i start to get my new DS Lite accessories:
-Crystal Clear Case
-Sony Fontopia headphones (really only bought them for the 1meter ext cord it comes with, i own 2 pair of Fontopia headphones but they were for the W800i and W810i phones so did not come w/that ext cord)
-12 DS cases
-and of course my homebrew kit

Monday, September 18, 2006

DS Lite homebrew, my first time..

well.. went out and did a side job of setting up a home theater system for a co-worker and got some extra cash for it.. so i went out and splurged on a few DS games (Big Brain and Mario Kart DS) and decided to check my paypal account and what do you know! all of my money from the whole non-shipped phone was back in my account!

sweet!! guess my bank must have pressured paypal or the user got money in is account.. anywho.. w/that extra cash, figured i'd get myself a nice batch of DS lite addons and also started looking into the homebrew scene..

after finally figuring out a combo of what i needed to get homebrew to work, bought a SuperCard Mini-SD and Superkey combo for my ds.. didn't want the latest cuz it uses Micro SD memory vs mini sd that i have... (the SuperCard Lite = micro sd, remember that!)

so once i get that all figured out, i'll add a section to the site on homebrew.. got a bit lazy recently sorry for no updates..