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)