Sunday, May 27, 2007

Related plugin for LifeType

I have written a plugin for LifeType that generates a list of articles that are related to a given plugin.  This currently only uses the keywords from the title, so the list of related articles is not that great.  The next change that I am planning on making is to extract the relevant keywords out of the body of the post.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

HP Photosmart C3180 Airport Express Update

In this post, I linked to a workaround to get the HP Photosmart C3180 to work with Airport Express. The reason that this workaround was need, was because the driver wasn't compatible with remote printing. 

Out of curiosity, I decided to download the lastest software for the HP Photosmart C3100 series, and tried to configure remote printing again.  Once the new version was installed, printing through the Airport Express worked perfectly.  In fact, even high quality photos look good printed this way.

New Navigation Mode

Yesterday, it cost $50 to fill up our van with gas.  This got me thinking that I should be using our navigation system to help reduce our gas usage.  The navigation unit will give the most direct route to the destination, so this should reduce mileage.

The only problem with this solution is that the route doesn't take into account whether the route is the most efficient for our car.  For example, the most direct route may be on city streets, while our car may not get the best mileage on those roads.

Monday, May 21, 2007

XM Satellite reception

While driving around today, I noticed that reception on our XM radio was pretty spotty.  I just saw this post that mentions that one of XM's satellites is not working correctly, and their repeaters having problems.

Update: It looks like the problem has been solved. Here is an email I received from XM:

XM Radio Resumes Normal Levels of Service
XM Satellite Radio has resumed normal levels of service for customers who experienced outages or significantly degraded service starting yesterday.
The problem occurred during the loading of software to a critical component of the satellite broadcast system, which resulted in a temporary loss of signal from one of the company’s satellites.
After you turn on your XM radio, please allow five to ten minutes to reacquire the XM signal.
XM apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

links for 2007-05-20

Copy Protection and Comcast Problems

I got this message on my TiVo Series3.

Subject: Information Regarding Your Premium Channels
From: TiVo Customer Support
Date: Thu 5/3
This is an important message that may impact your ability to
receive premium channels. Please read it carefully.
Comcast has recently announced plans to enable their Copy
Protection Management Systsm in the Bay Area.
As a result, in order for your CableCARD(tm) decoders to
continue decrypting premium channels, they will need to be
properly "paired" within the Comcast system.
Here's how to ensure each of your cards is properly paired:
-From TiVo Central, select Messages & Settings. Then select
Settings, Remote CableCARD & Devices, CableCARD Decorder,
Configuring CableCARD 1, CableCARD Menu, Condition
You should not be on the Motorola Conditional Access
CableCARD screen. If your card is paired, you will find a line
that says "Host Validation: Valid." This means that your TiVo HD
expierience WILL NOT be impacted by theic change, and there's
nothing further you need to do.
However, if it says "Host Validation: Unknow" your card is
not properly paired. Pleace contact Comcast Customer
Service and share the information from the CableCARD data
screen with the agent assisting you.
Please make sure to repeat tthe above process with
CableCARD 2.

Even though I was able to record premium channels on both tuners, I checked the status of my CableCARDs.  When I did I noticed that one of them was not paired correctly.  I called Comcast's customer service, and they were not able to get it paired over the phone, so I scheduled a technicians visit.

Friday, May 18, 2007 message list column settings

I was playing around with some of the smart mailboxes that I mentioned before, and I noticed a minor annoyance. only has a global set of columns that are used for all messages list (excluding the Sent folders).  So if you want to see the the recipient of the messages in the "Recently Sent" folder, the To column needs to be added to all folders.

Ideally, the list of columns would be a property of the message list itself.  This will allow the "Recently Sent" folder to show the To column instead of From

Thursday, May 17, 2007

HP Photosmart C3180 and Airport Express

I finally got around to setting up the HP Photosmart C3180 that we got with the Mac Book Pro.  For printing, I want to be able to send print jobs from all of our computers, so I decided to connect it to a Airport Express.  Unfortunately HP doesn't list this the Photosmart C3180 as a compatible with Airport Printer Sharing.

This post has instructions on getting this printer working with Airport Printer Sharing, using Gutenprint.  The only problem that I have with this setup is that the print quality of photos is pretty poor.

Monday, May 14, 2007

links for 2007-05-15

Jonathan Coulton in NY Times

The New York Times has an article on Jonathan Coulton.

[via Slashdot]

Findory Neighbors

I just discovered that Findory generates an interesting "blog cloud" of the blogs that are related to each other.  Some of the blogs listed on my cloud are pretty interesting.


Normally when I bring my computer between home and work, I shut it down.  I mainly do this to prevent it from waking up, and have the drive jostled while it is spinning.  The downsides of this are that it takes a long time to start back up, and I lose all of the current state.

I have started to used DeepSleep to put my Mac Book Pro in "hibernate" mode.  In this mode, The state of the memory, registers and CPU state are stored on disk.  When the computer starts up, this file is read, and the state is restored.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

links for 2007-05-11

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Time wasters

Here are some pretty fun flash games.  It is very easy to spend a lot of time on these games:

  • Doodle - move a stick figure across a map, without getting erased.

  • Desktop Tower Defense - prevent waves of "invaders" from getting across the map.

[via TechCrunch, Download Squad]

Monday, May 7, 2007 Smart Mailboxes

This post has some pretty handy smart mailboxes for  These make it easy to list the:

  • Flagged messages in the Inbox

  • Recently viewed messages

  • Recently sent messages

  • Messages from a sender listed in an Address Book group

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Harmony Remote charging base

The Harmony 880 Remote is the best universal remote IMHO.  This remote has a charging base so you don't have to replace batteries.  I have noticed that our remote hasn't been charging.

I discovered the problem is that the remote is not making contact with the base when just being placed in.  If I place a small weight on the remote, charging works perfectly.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

links for 2007-05-04

Delivery Status

Delivery Status is a petty cool Dashboard widget that allows your do track packages.  In addition to the tracking packages from delivery companies, it can track orders and deliveries directly from several companies.

You can also set up the widget to send notifications via Growl, so you don't have to view the Dashboard to get your package status.

[via Lifehacker]

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Comcast Digital Voice

About a month ago, we switched to Comcast Digital Voice for our phone service.  Comcast has bundled pricing packages for customers who also have TV and broadband services.

The install was pretty easy.  The installers brought a new cable modem that replaces the old one, and includes a phone jack.  In addition to this, the modem includes a battery for use in power failures.

So far, I am pretty happy with the service.  The quality is better than we experienced with Vonage.  The quality problems that we had previously, was not a problem with Vonage, but a problem with the network.  All voice packets went over the public network from the Vonage ATA to the Vonage servers, and this could add latency.  Comcast has the luxury to own a fast connection between the home and the server, so the latency is a lot lower.

Opening MacBook Pro

A while ago we ordered additional memory for several of our computers.  I installed the memory in our iMac and iBook.  But when I tried to installed the memory in the MacBook Pro, I realized that I didn't know how to get access to the memory slots. It was very easy with the G4 PowerBook, where you could just pop up the keyboard.

This page describes how to get access to the memory slots on the MacBook Pro.  Now I just need to get a Phillips size 00 screwdriver.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

efax for sending faxes

Several years ago, when we were buying our first house, we had a fax machine.  This made it very easy to send and receive the various paperwork for that process.  Since we had voicemail on or main line, we could not leave the fax machine set up to receive faxes unattended.  (The fax machine would answer the phone to see if it is a fax transmition, but if it wasn't there was no way to send the call back to voicemail.) 

We solved this problem by having a second phone line installed, for the fax machine.  This worked great, but became a waste when we were sending or receiving faxes.  So we decided to cancel the second phone line, and sign up for a eFax number.  This worked great, and eventually we signed up for an upgraded account, when we wanted a fax number in the same area code as our home number.

We periodically receive faxes, but never send faxes through it... Until this week.  I needed to sign and fax some documents, and since we don't still have the fax machine, I was thinking that I would have to make a trip to Kinkos to fax these documents.  But then I remembered that we have the new multi-function printer that has a scanner.  This hadn't been set up yet, so this was a good opportunity.