Monday, December 26, 2011

Acer Aspire One D257 Freezing

My father-in-law picked up a Acer Aspire One D257 netbook for my son this Christmas. After he opened it up, I got it out of the box and started getting it ready. I set up the Windows 7 Starter edition, got the wifi set up, surfed some sites to check it all out. I decided to try and load the Eve Online client on it to see if it would be playable, as it might be handy to have this little netbook available to bring with me. Unfortunately, shortly after starting the client download, the netbook froze. The only way to clear it was to hold the power button down until it reset. Each time it rebooted, I would restart the client download only to have the netbook freeze again within a few minutes. At first I was just going to have the father-in-law return it, but I decided to check out some sites to see what I could find first.
I found this post at the Microsoft Answers forums. It turns out that the netbook just needed its bios updated to the newest version. Once this was complete, the freezing stopped. There is some great info in the post, but to save you some time, you can click here to download the bios. Just unzip it, and run the .exe file. It will update the bios on the netbook, and then restart. Also, just to be clear, make sure you either open that link while actually viewing this page on the Acer netbook, or transfer the .exe file over to the netbook if you are viewing this on a different computer. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Koodo LG Optimus One Review

I've had my LG Optimus One from Koodo for a couple of months now. I have to say, I'm very impressed with this phone.
With NO CONTRACT, this phone was only $150. With Koodo, I was able to put the entire $150 on my tab, which gets paid bit by bit each month. At any time of my choosing, I can pay out what I owe on my tab and walk away. No contract, no fees, no hassle. They also gave me a $100 visa gift card, so in fact the phone only cost me $50. Service with them has been great, and their data plans are excellent. I opted for the "data saver" plan, which simply only charges me for the data I use each month. Check out the page about it here.
It comes with Android 2.2, a 3.2" touchscreen, 2GB microSD card and WiFi hotspot capability. The guy at the kiosk tried to tell me this phone would be too slow to play any games on, because it is just an introductory phone, but I haven't had any issues yet. It plays Angry Birds just fine! :)

One of the things I truly love about this phone is the voice commands. These are available in most Android builds, as far as I understand. In the picture above, you can see the google search bar. At the right side is a microphone icon. Just touch that, speak what you want, and the phone does it! "Send text to John Henry, what time are we meeting tonight?" will bring up the text window and insert the text you want! It's awesome for when you're driving (hands free, right?) or when you just don't feel like typing out a big long message. You also get the same little microphone icon right on your keyboard, so if you start typing then change your mind, you can hit the icon and start speaking what you want to text instead.
These voice commands also work for web searching, placing calls, travel directions and more. This is how using your computer at home should be!

The camera does a fine job in normal lighting conditions, but suffers in poor light conditions. This is one of the things you sacrifice when buying a cheaper phone I guess. For the most part I am still happy with it, as I usually am taking pictures during the day in normal light conditions. The camera is 3.2 megapixels. There is no front facing camera, which I was also disappointed about, but again, it IS a cheaper camera so sacrifices must be made.
Here is a pic I took of us setting up for a gig my band played this summer:

and here is a pic from about the same angle, but after it has gotten dark:

So, poor light, poor pictures. This is true of many cell phone cameras though, so it's nothing I cry too much over.

Battery life is fair. I can get through an entire day, even with pretty heavy usage, but I have to charge every night. If I don't, I'm likely going to run out of juice before the end of the next day.

This is my first Android phone, and so far, I'm quite happy with it. The app store (Marketplace) is easy to navigate and stocked with plenty of things to play with. Live wallpapers, where the home screen background picture can actually show moving pictures, movies, and be interacted with, is lots of fun, and a cool "wow" factor to show off to friends. For an "introductory" phone, I find it reacts reasonably well to my touch (although it does sometimes take a little bit force to get a reaction), and seems quick to load up apps and switch from screen to screen.

So, all in all, for what turned out to be $50, no contract and an excellent monthly plan, I'm very satisfied with my LG Optimus One from Koodo Mobile. If you're thinking about an Android phone, but haven't tried one yet, this is an excellent way to test the waters.

Swype Parsing Error

Swype has released a new android beta, but many people (myself included) are getting a parsing error when trying to update.

The solution is to install manually:

1. You have probably already uninstalled your current version of Swype. If you haven't, do this now (settings-applications-manage applications)

2. Uninstall your Swype Installer app

3. Go to on your mobile phone and install the new Swype Installer.

4. Use the new installer to install the new version of Swype (3.25)

Ta da! You are now the proud owner of the newest version of Swype!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Android Voice Actions Not Working Properly

I got my new LG Optimus One the other day. This is my first Android phone, and I must say, even though I bought a cheaper introductory phone, I am impressed!
I'll post a full review of the phone after I've gotten to know it better, but for now I had to post on a problem I was having, and have finally solved.

The problem was with the Voice Actions option the phone comes with. Here is the video describing what you should be able to do:

Looks cool, eh? Ya, I thought so too! Trouble was, when I hit the voice command button next to the google search window and said "Send Text To John Henry How's it going?" it would leave the "to:" field in the text window blank and put "John Henry How's it going?" into the message field. No matter what variations I tried to speak, this happened continually. After much internet scouring, I found a forum message somewhere with the answer.

For some reason, Google will not properly sync your phone contacts with your actual google account contacts. Its your actual Google account contact list it checks against when you speak commands to it. Here is what you need to do on your phone:

1. Open your contacts. I just clicked the icon right from the home screen.

2. Click the menu button, choose the "more" option, and select "import/export".

3. Choose "Export to SD card".

4. Hit the menu button again and select "Select All". This will put a checkmark beside all your contacts.

5. Select "Done".

6. Click Ok. It should save the file as 00001.vcf by default.

You have now made a back up on your SD card of all your contacts. Plug your phone into your computer, and enter into USB mode. Find the 00001.vcf file and copy it over to the computer. I always copy stuff like this to the desktop, it's easy to find. If you're having trouble getting your phone connected properly to your computer, see my previous post HERE.

7. Log into your Google account (on your computer, not your phone) and click on the "contacts" option in the top left.

8. Click on "Import Contacts" in the middle left of the screen, and select your 00001.vcf file here.

Once your contacts are imported, unplug your phone (safely! Use the remove USB option on the taskbar by your clock) and you're done!

It seems to work best for me if I say "Send Text To" then the name of my contact, followed by the message. I hope this helps, and keep checking back for my full review on the LG Optimus One.

Installing USB Drivers for LG Optimus One

I had a hell of time installing the drivers so my Windows 7 laptop would recognize my new LG Optimus One cell phone.

Click on this link to see the post that finally worked for me!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stop The Government from Spying On Our Internet!

The government is trying to ram through an anti-Internet set of electronic surveillance laws that will invade your privacy and cost you money. The plan is to force every phone and Internet provider to surrender our personal information to "authorities" without a warrant.
This bizarre legislation will create Internet surveillance that is:
  • Warrantless: A range of "authorities" will have the ability to invade the private lives of law-abiding Canadians and our families using wired Internet and mobile devices, without a warrant or any justification.
  • Invasive and Dangerous: The laws leave our personal and financial information less secure and more susceptible to cybercrime.
  • Costly: Internet services providers may be forced to install millions of dollars worth of spying technology and the cost will be passed down to YOU.
If enough of us speak out now the government will have no choice but to stop this mandatory online spying scheme. Sign the petition now, and forward it to everyone you know 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Computer Keeps Turning Off

Your computer keeps randomly turning itself off?

This problem can be pretty simple. First thing I always do in this case is unhook all the cables, remove the side cover of the tower, and blow the dust out!
Dust inside your computer, mainly on your CPU (the part with the fan in the middle or so of the motherboard) and in your power supply, can cause overheating. If your computer is starting to overheat, it will turn itself off to protect itself.
Using something to actually blow the dust out is the most effective. Compressed air, even from one of those store bought cans, will work wonders. If you don't have access to some sort of compressed air, then doing the best you can with your vacuum will work too.

If you have cleaned out your tower and it still is turning itself off, the next culprit would be a faulty power supply, or a faulty motherboard. It's probably time to call a professional at this point.

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Playstation Network Down Another Week?

Here is a link to the latest blog posting at the Playstation website. Looks like it could be another week before we see any COD action. This post at least has some info on what is going on with the network.
Another week without Black Ops? Bah....

I am enjoying Age Of Empires Online very much. I've joined the beta, and I've been playing it all weekend. I'll post a review of it when I've gotten a little further (only level 10 so far), but at least its given me something to do while Sony gets its eggs in row.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sony Network Still Down

We are on to day 3 now of the playstation network being down. I've heard from some sites that Sony have stated they are trying to plug the holes that hackers are using to exploit the network, and they won't put the network back online until they have finished.
There is no end in sight!
I miss Black Ops!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Playstation Network Down, Machines Taking Over? (UPDATED)

The Sony network went down some time last night, and remains down today. Most news sites are saying that it could be at least another day before things are up and running again. It is apparently not due to hacking, but some other unspecified cause.
No COD: Black Ops for me tonight I guess.

On a side note, today is supposed to be the day stated in the Terminator movies that the machines first take over. Could this be the beginning of the end? Lets hope not, I still have a prestige level to finish!

UPDATE APRIL 26: Found THIS blog post at the Playstation site just now. Looks like there is no end in sight! At least they have actually come out with a bit of an explanation this time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Ops Disconnects with Distributel and VoIP

UPDATE JULY 23/11: check the bottom of the post for instructions on how to turn on DMZ on your voip modem.

I have been playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops for about 2 weeks now. It's a fantastic game, especially the online multiplayer, where I spend most of my time playing.

It does, however, suffer from one major drawback. Many of us suffer from constant disconnects while playing online. Up comes the dreaded "connection interrupted" with the Ethernet plug symbol. Once you get disconnected, you still get to keep your earned points, but lose any match bonus you might have coming. You also lose contact with your party and group.

This would happen to me pretty much every map. It was extremely frustrating, especially if I was having a good run and leading my team in points. (surprisingly, this does happen fairly often to me! Stop snickering!)
I scoured the net, searching forum after forum, trying to solve this problem. My brother-in-law lives 5 minutes away from me, uses DSL, like me, and rarely ever gets "dc" (disconnected). However, he is with Bell and I am with Distributel.

One of the common suggestions I found was to turn on DMZ in your router settings. I had a Linksys router, and turned on the DMZ setting as suggested, but it was no help.

Next was to try bypassing the router all together. I did this, but still nothing changed.

I then realized I had one major difference in my setup that many people do not. My home phone is also with Distributel, as part of the package. My home phone is actually a VoIP line (Voice over Internet Protocol). This means as well as the standard DSL modem, I have a VoIP modem as well. As it turns out, the VoIP modem has a built in router. After a quick call to the Distributel guys, meaning to find out how to disconnect the modem while keeping my Internet connection, I was informed the the VoIP modem has it's own DMZ setting. I turned this on and viola! No more disconnects.

So, if you find yourself having the dreaded "connection interrupted" constantly like I did, and you have a VoIP modem in your setup, be aware that the DMZ setting must be turned in that and not on your regular router.

UPDATE: Here are the steps to turn on DMZ on your VOIP Router:

1: type in in your web browser. It may ask you for a name and password. It's been so long that I don't remember what they were, but I did find them on Google before. I think it was user:password or admin:password or even admin:user. Try combos of that, or google it. You could also call Distributel to get the password.

2: click on the advanced link on the top right hand side.

3: click on the Application tab, and at the bottom you will see the DMZ option. Enable DMZ and put the number 2 in the blank for the ip address next to it.

Good luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

iPad Review

I got my iPad for Christmas this year. I've tried to be patient with this blog posting, because I didn't want to post a review before I had enough time to truly experience the whole iPad phenomena. After over a month of use, I finally feel ready to post my review.

I got lucky, and found my iPad on kijiji for $650. It is the 32 gig, wifi and 3G version. This sells for about $880 (after tax) at most stores, so it was a hell of a deal.

Many people I've talked to about iPads voice the concern "it's so much money for something I'm afraid just wouldn't use much."
No problems on that front for me. You pretty much have to pry thing out of my hands just to get a peak at it. The list of things I find to do with it just seems to grow day by day. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this blog posting on my iPad right now.

So, rather than dwell on the obvious stuff that people (including myself) do with an iPad everyday, like surfing the net, checking email etc, I thought I'd talk about the other things I do, and the fun apps I've found.


There are many hundreds of games for the iPad, ranging in price from free, to $9.99. Two free games I play on a daily basis are Trade Nations and Syndicate HD. Both are very "facebookish" type games, where you manage time and resources to gain levels. I consider these basic time wasters, because they give me something to do when I only have a few minutes to pop on and off.

As a fan of the MMORPG Eve Online, I tried a free version of a space game called Galaxy On Fire 2. I enjoyed it so much, I forked over the $10 for the full version. Similar to Eve Online, you fly ships around, doing quests and mining for minerals to sell. The graphics are incredible, the ship controls very well, and the main story line is great. Well worth the money I spent.

There are tones of kids games, plenty of which are free, that my 6 year old son has no problem managing. He even has his own page that is just for the games that I've installed for him. The touch interface seems to be a more natural way to him to interact with it, and he seems to enjoy playing on it as much as I do. I'll do a separate blog posting with a list of our favorite kids game at a later date. For now I'll just say that the list of kids games is very large, and will provide many, many hours of fun and learning for him as we continue to explore the app catalogue.


Just like the iPhone and iPod, the iPad will play mp4 videos natively. Anything else will need to be converted. Unless, that is, you use an app! The one that I have been using is called Air Video.

Not only will it let you stream your video over wifi or the Internet from your computer at home, saving you valuable storage space, it will convert on the fly, your videos to your iPad. It's been able to play anything I've thrown at it so far. If you'd rather save the video for offline viewing later, you can have Air Video simply convert and save your video directly to your iPad for viewing at your leisure. The free version has full functionality, but limits you to only seeing 4 files in the side window at a time. I spent the $3 to get the full version, allowing me to see the full folder all at once. Money very well spent, in my opinion.

To finish this posting off before it gets too long and windy, I'll just add a couple of quick general points about my experiences so far.

Battery life seems very good. I have no problem making through an entire day on a charge, even with fairly heavy usage. I've even gone a few days on a single charge, with just moderate use. In sleep mode, the iPad seems to draw next to nothing, and wakes instantly on a button press.

The onscreen keyboard is great to type on, and the autocorrect works very well.

The app catalogue is very extensive, offering plenty of free apps, and plenty more at two dollars or less. I've barely scratched the surface, and browsing through the apps has become one of my favorite pastimes.

Overall, I have come to truly love my iPad, bringing it with me pretty much everywhere I go. I continue to find new, fun uses for it almost every day, and would recommend one to pretty much anyone with the desire to have a fun, adaptable piece of tech ware to carry on the go.

Stay tuned to my blog, there will be plenty more postings on uses, apps, performance and more to come!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


DVDStyler is the program I use to burn all my movies and TV shows. It can encode your videos from pretty much any format to proper DVD format, and it does it much faster than other free programs I have used. It seems to encode at a rate of about half the time the actual video is, so a one hour movie will encode in about 30 mins.
Creating a dvd menu in this program is extremely easy. You can set any picture you like as a background. In the sample above, I added a wallpaper image as the background, and simply created text links to each episode. You can also drag each video marker on the bottom to the menu window in the middle and it will create a still image from that video to use as a selection marker. Overall, very simple and quick.
Click here to go to the DVDStyler website.
I have no problems recommending this FREE program to anyone that has videos they need to burn to DVD.