Friday, March 30, 2007

my PS3 and gamerid..

 well, after compusa finally added a 15% off to its PS3 it had (store was closing) i broke down and got me one. hell, almost $100 off a new retail PS3, who can really say no? 


so, i got home from work last night and setup the PS3.  setup w/cables was a cinch since i used HDMI from the PS3 to my TV and just had to hook up the power.  setting up the online seemed to take forever since there is like 20 some steps to go through, but nonetheless i was able to finish and secure my classic gamerid:  seamonkey420, feel free to add me as a friend! 

i also updated to firmware v1.6 since the PS3 i got must have been one they had since launch.  the update did seem to take a while to download. 

graphically, wow! motostorm looks great but sadly the game itself is pretty disappointing.  i plan to trade it in today for Need for Speed (my pal has that, figure atleast then i can race him online).   also popped in a blu-ray movie, Behind Enemy Lines, and it looked very nice.  it may be hard to go back to DVDs but i have to do more comparisons today.  sound did not play back in full dolby but that was fixed by me hooking up my receiver using an optical digital cable and changing a few settings on the PS3 to output DTS and Dolby Digital.

so yes, the PS3 is a powerhouse and graphics are excellent.  the games on so-so but that is to be expected of a launch system.  i'll post more info/tips/tricks later tonight.  oh yea, i'm a true SonyNintendo boy now too! :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

its official, i'm a PS3wii guy.. my Playstation 3...

well, after coming across a heck of a deal on a PS3 over at compusa (closing store, got a nice %15 off on a brand new ps3 60gb!!), i took the plunge and picked one up.

i had to rearrange my whole enterntainment center (not very big, might need a bigger one soon) to fit in the PS3 and also put my dvd player in my room and will use the PS3 for dvd/blu-ray or my PC (need more memory and a vid card for it, ebay should have what i need).   i also had to redo my setup/connections to my hd tv too since i wanted the PS3 to be connected via HDMI and moving my cable hd dvr box over to component.  i did notice a difference in picture quality when using component vs hdmi; hdmi seemed much crisper and defined while component seems to have a softer look.

tonight i hope to get all of my music moved over to the PS3 (have them on a usb hd already).  hopefully my album art is embedded into the songs (which i believe they are now w/media player 10 and up) but we'll see.

thinking of doing the linux install on the PS3 just so i can say i did it; but then again i do have my htpc still in the living room and thus have no real need for a linux box.  we'll see on that. 

now the hard part.. waiting for training to get done and me to get home and get the PS3 up and going..

so yes, i'm now that PS3wii guy.. PS3 screenshots to come!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

my 06 honda civic si and notchy shifting; fixed ...maybe...

well, i've had my civic si since last april and since having her (got her w/4 miles..)  have noticed a slight notchy feel when shifting 1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd.  also noticed downshifting from 4th to 3rd and 3rd to 4th a similar prob.  well, i headed over to good ole temple of vtec ( and the forum boards for the civic and found that others w/the 06 si had similar probs.

one user decided that he'd try to change his mtf using a synthetic Amsoil Synthetic Transaxle Fluid.  he found that his tranny was actually over filled and by replacing the mtf the notchiness was almost gone. 

so today i went to my dealership (luther hopkins honda, ) and had them do the change.  at first they were worried it may violate my warranty terms by using a non-Honda mtf, however after realizing i had an si w/the 6speed he apologized and got er done.  btw, i give props to my dealership for the easy buy, great service (have a very nice lounge area w/free wifi, tvs, couches and are open till 1am m-th).

i instantly noticed a difference.  my car seemed to run much smoother and w/more power.  the notchiness appears to be gone from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd.  downshifting does not seem like its a chore, nice and smooth.  i almost wonder if my tranny was overfilled too.. nonetheless things seem to be much better.  i'll post an update after this weekend (gonna be 60s and sunny, gotta cruise around!).

previously, i had the rev hang problem  but was lucky enough that my car's vin was included in the ECU update, that problem nearly non-existent for me now.  so it seems my si may now be running at 100%.  the SRI sounds sweeter and sweeter each 100 miles i put on, i've been tempted to perhaps to a header change or exhaust but we'll see how hard it is to do.  i figure after i pay vicki off, i'll think about doing turbo but till then, no turbo.

btw my baby, vicki;

check out my si videos over at youtube including my civic si navi startup screen hack guide (based on guicide/bysin hack, my guide):

rant: tmobile's lack of decent data networks, txt messaging fee increase

well.. i'm a phone geek or was a phone geek.  i've had a MDA, K800i, Z710, K750i, and play with Treo's/BBs/Qs at work.  however, my obsession for phones has faded dramatically. mainly due to the fact that the newer cool, european phones will not work w/Tmobiles upcoming UMTS/3G data networks (if they ever get rolled out) or they are only triband (900mhz not the 850mhz band we use here in the USA).

so after getting a bit disgusted w/Tmobile's lack of a vision or timeframe for upgrading to 3G networks, i decided to see when my contract would expire.  it seems i'm locked in till next Feb 2008 but really want to get to a month-to-month contract and have emailed their CS about this and of course have not been able to.

however, recently Tmobile is increasing the cost for txt messaging and also decreasing the cost of mms messages.  what does this mean? in actuality it means that you may be able to get out of your contract early since Tmobile in turn really has violated their Terms and Conditions of service. If you go to tmobile's website and to the "Terms and Conditions" section, under item #3, this rate increase does indeed constitute as a material change to the terms and thus allows a user (if they make a request within 14 days) to cancel their service w/o any ETF (early termination fees).

so i called tmobile's customer service, 4 times now.  each time i received a different reason on why I CANNOT do this.  one rep stated that i would have to wait till i received the changes to my service/terms and then call to cancel/change my contract to a month-to-month; however i emailed their customer support also and they said that i missed my opportunity back in Jan when they sent out the terms/change.  however, i did not receive this document and also this change does not take effect until June of this year and the actual paperwork will be sent to users this month (found on a website the actual message).  i resent an email to them to see what may happen. 

nonetheless this leads me to a very obvious rant; why the hell does the USA have two non-compatible cellular network types?? why can't we have GSM and that only??    i understand that competition for the most part is good for the consumer, but at times it really isn't.  if we had a single network type, all handhelds we buy in the USA would work with any carrier (yes, the carriers may lose money and prob the reason why there are two types  and w/CDMA you can't just popout your SIM card and use a second phone).

ok.. i'll step down now.. i'll post an update on what happens; i wonder if they knew that i worked for a law firm if that may help at all? hehe..


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PSP Lovin: getting my PlaystationOne games on my psp and PS3 thoughts

well, as many or most that read my blogs may notice is that well, i've swayed to the nintendo-side these days. my sleek black ds lite had replaced the psp on my morning commutes since its battery life is superior to the psp and the wii purchased on launch day.

however my ds lite has been sitting on my desk while my PSP steals the glory/spotlight again due to me updating the firmware w/Dark_AleX's 3.10 OE firmware and getting my old PSone games on it!!

recently, Sony has decided to dust off its PlaystationOne games library and in turn is releasing PSone games to play on the PSP (downloaded from your PS3). the funny thing is that a homebrew PSone emulator was released about two weeks prior to Sony's official emulator. like nintendo's virtual console, game selection is a bit small and limited. however, what if your like me and actually still have your PSone game discs; can i convert these games over?

the answer is YES! however it will require a few steps to do and also a custom firmware (Dark Alexa 3.10 OE-A' firmware). here's a VERY quick run-through on how to do this:

here's what applications/utilities you will need:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

upgrading the htpc to vista, running origami pack on it...

well, i finally broke down and decided to upgrade my htpc in the living room to vista.  wasn't so sure on how it would go since my specs on my htpc are pretty sad (athlon 64 2.0ghz, 512mb ram (128mb used for onboard video), 100gb hd, no cd/dvd drive), but vista installed in under an hour and seems to run much better than xp did on my crappy little box.

after editing the origami pack last night so i could use it on my HP TC1100, decided i'd try it out on my htpc's vista since the interface seems to be a great fit for what i want to use my htpc for. i changed my resolution in vista to 800x600 so that the origami experience would be full screen, i noticed that when i switch my Olevia 237V Aspect to Full screen, text in vista looks wider due to the stretch (expected), however Origami's aspect ratio appears and looks normal, bonus!. 

i really don't know why MS didn't include the Origami experience interface into all Vistas since its a nice UI for HTPC setups or even car setups (given you got a touch screen).  who knows, maybe they will release an add-on for all Vistas to add keyboard navigation support within it (you need to use a mouse input to select menus, up/down/arrows won't do a thing which is a shame since i wanted to get down to being able to use just my remote w/o the keyboard).

here's a link to my youtube of origami and vista on my olevia 237v and vista htpc:

Friday, March 16, 2007

my HP TC1100, Vista and Origami experience pack

well, as w/the other cult believers in the HP TC1x00 tablet; i upgraded my OS to Vista for almost a month now and finally have gotten my performance/stability issues all worked out!  i decided to redo my setup (only the 6th os setup i've done on my baby.. hehe) and soley run Vista since i prefer its tablet features over XP.  so here's two more tips i've found and tried for my TC1100.

one thing i've always wanted to get working or try to get working was Microsoft's Origami experience pack for Vista.  This addon to Vista is mainly aimed at UMPC machines and in turn if you attempt to install it on a non-UMPC device w/Vista it will of course give us errors. 


After some digging, i ran across a nice article over at  on how to get it to work on a non-UMPC, so lets see if we can get it to work on our TC1100/TC1x00.

--Getting Origami Experience Pack to work on your TC1100/1000 (notes from and and of course my own experience).

First things first, you will need to download the Vista Origami Experience pack from microsoft.  Get it here:

you will need to download it from a PC running a genuine copy of windows.

Next, you will need to get the SDK Installer (we will need to use ORCA to customize the MSI installer file so that it does not check for the screen resolution; the main problem/reason why the Origami pack does not install on non UMPCs is because the installer checks the devices screen size and if it sees anything over 7" it assumes the device is NOT a UMPC).  that can be found over here:

This download is for the windows sdk for vista, again you will need to download from a genuine windows pc . run the setup.exe file you downloaded


when you get to the Installation Options, just uncheck everything except the Win32 Development Tools.


It will just download the setup files to this location: 

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0\Bin

browse to here and run the file called orca.exe, this installs our good ole MSI Editor that we will use to hack the origami msi to bypass the screen check! :)


after you install ORCA, open it up from your start menu.  Once you do, then click on File > Open.

Find the OrigamiExperiencePack.msi file we downloaded.

on the left side, scroll down and click on InstallExecuteSequence and then on the right side click on the LaunchConditions item and then hit the delete button and choose yes to the warning.


Next, we will want to click on the InstallUISequence option on the left and again click on the LaunchConditions option on the right  and hit the delete button and choose yes to the warning.


now just go to File > Save or click the save icon. 

Finally, run the origami msi file we just updated and choose your installation!


After it finishes you should now have some origami options in the start menu.


here are some screenshots of it on my tc1100.  


a note; the origami experience does not fill the full desktop if you run any resolution higher than 800x600; just drop down your rez to 800x600 to get the full effect. :)


--Divx playback in Media Player

this is a super easy one, just go and download the latest Divx build over at , when you go to install just install the Divx Decoder/Codec and you should be able to playback your divx files in Media Player.

 hopefully those tips will help out you other TC1100 lovers that want the origami experience. peace

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

rant: hd, cable companies, getting bent over

well, i've been meaning to get on my lil soapbox about this topic for some time.  my friend and i were discussing this just recently and realized just how badly we, the consumers, are getting screwed over in the HDTV content market (ie cable tv/sat tv). first, hdtv cable service requires a box.  i can no longer use my own PC (no DVR fee or crappy UI/box/limitations). cable companies are only allowing non-cable boxes to use cablecards for HD content.  however with cablecards tv tuners must now go through certification and in turn really doesn't allow us DIYers to build our own boxes, rather you'll have to spend a pretty penny on a Vista Premium pre-built system.

bad. horrible.  Ok, so it mainly affects us DIYers or BIYers.   however, most recently i've heard that Tivo Series 3 boxes may not work w/Comcast coming up soon too (supposed changes to their cable system requiring CableCard 2.0 vs 1.0; 2.0 = bi-directional, 1.0 = one-way).  

personally, i think that the direction in which cable companies are going in regards to HD and CableCard standards is very stupid and unfair to us consumers.  they basically have taken all control out of the consumers hands and now are forcing us to USE their crap DVR boxes.

i would not have any issues w/using a cable companies HD DVR box if it was competant and could atleast try to compete w/TiVo and PC DVR boxes.  comcast is atleast trying to correct this by sending down TiVo software to their Motorola DVR boxes ( ), however it is still only in beta/testing (even though it was promised to be deployed by end of 2006) and should be piloted by spring 2007.  yet, this still leaves us DIYers out in teh dust and stuck w/a cable company HD DVR (yes, we can do digital and normal cable but we want HD!).

so, what would make me happy?  someone to release an HD TV Tuner that doesn't require me to purchase an overpriced PC or atleast up the anty in the cable box market.   nonetheless, once you go HD you can't go back (hardware purchased, quality of content, etc) so i can complain as much as i want and yet i will still pay for my HD DVR box (well, atleast this year). pllus, how many people do you know  that have the know-how, setup, and time to build their own HD HTPC? i think i know of two other people; so cable companies really are not going to be losing a slew of money since the DIYers are a VAST minority of the consumers.  and one more thing, why the hell isn't there more HDTV content? btw, satellite is out of the question for me since DirecTV quality is basically not up to par to cable (i've heard they actually remove frames sending it down, notice how they no longer say its teh 'best quality' programming anymore?? hehe or so i've heard)

i already miss the good ole days of analog cable and tv tuners. i remember when i built my own HTPC box and didn't have to pay $15 a month for my guide/dvr... ahh.. the memories... hehe..Â