Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Sony Universal Remote Code for Sceptre 42″ TV

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

UPDATE: I got my original remote to work again by mashing the keypad like a mad man. Now it works again. I don’t trust this remote anymore. It could stop working again at any moment for no obvious reason.

The remote stopped working for my Sceptre X42GV-Naga that I bought in early 2007. This happened about 3 years ago and Sceptre mailed me another one, but now that one has also stopped working. I had a Sony RM-VZ220 universal remote that I was no longer using, so I figured that should work for this TV. There are two Sceptre codes listed in the manual and neither of them worked for me. I was able to use the search feature to eventually find one that sort of works. The code I am using is 00810. This lets me turn the TV on and off. The mute button works fine. The left and right buttons control the volume instead of the volume buttons. The up and down buttons change the channel. The channel up button is Source PC and the down button is the Source A/V. I can even bring up the settings menu to change Contrast, Brightness, etc. I would like to have more functionality, but it works for the most part. The one button that I really need that isn’t there is the Aspect button to change the Aspect Ratio from 16:9 to 4:3 and back again.

The Tragedy of the Batteries Commons

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

We used to have batteries at work available freely to everyone who needed them. The drawer still says they are there, but the box is now empty. This is the request I wrote for 2 AA batteries.

I tried to get 2 AA batteries from the supply room on the east side of the 4th floor, but the drawer marked batteries only has an empty box with the words “See Mary” written on the inside. I tried really hard to see you, but I couldn’t, so I thought I might have better luck if I walked out of the supply room. I even went all the way to the 6th floor, but I still couldn’t see you. I walked over to your desk, and I still couldn’t see you. Although I would like to see you, what I really need are 2 AA batteries for my wireless mouse. I would even be willing to walk up two whole flights of stairs to get them! Next time I should probably ask for them when the low battery indicator first comes on rather than when the mouse completely dies.

Will I ever learn?

Accessing Mac OS X Leopard Grayed-out Preference Panes

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

UPDATE: This also works on Snow Leopard if you are having the same problem accsessing any preference panes.

I have a work-issued MacBook Pro with Leopard, specifically Mac OS X 10.5.8, installed. It is a test image that was installed to test ideas about ways to administer systems for users without Administrative rights. At the end of the test, my access was changed to grant my user administrative rights on the laptop, but it still has many problems. I am waiting for the new Snow Leopard image to be completed to have my laptop reimaged. In the mean time, I have been struggling with a few issues.

The system blocks access to certain preference panes in System Preferences. This was probably an oversight or the leftovers of some experiment, because it does not block access to some of the more sensitive preferences. I can add new users to the laptop and do all sorts of things that I should probably not do on the network. The preferences I could not access were not too important for me to change, like Growl, for instance. Then I tried to use Apple’s Magic Mouse. When I installed the system update that enables its advanced features, I could not access the new Mouse preference pane. When I hover over it, the tooltip says “Your access to this preference has been restricted.” If you try to open the pane directly the error says “You cannot open “[name of preference pane]” preferences pane because it is not available to you at this time. You might need to connect a device to your computer to see this preferences pane.” It looks like this:

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the Applications folder and find the System file.
  2. Right click or ^-click System and choose Create Duplicate.
  3. Right click or ^-click the new System Preferences and choose Show Package Contents.
  4. Navigate to Contents > Resources and find the NSPrefPaneGroups.xml file.
  5. Move NSPrefPaneGroups.xml to the Trash.
  6. Make sure System Preferences is not running and double click System Preferences to run it. All the preference panes appear to be gone!

  7. In the System Preferences application click the View menu at the top of the screen. All the preference panes are now accessible from the View menu.

  8. When you have changed the preferences you need to change, close System Preferences.

Any time you need to access the disabled system preferences, just use System Preferences, otherwise you can still use the original System for changing system preferences normally.

EtherPad is Dead: Long Live EtherPad!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I announced that EtherPad was dead, look but it looks like the public outcry was heard loud and clear and now a new transition plan has been announced in which EtherPad will be released as Open Source software! New free public pads can be created again effective immediately, troche which was the biggest short-term complaint many people had with the move to close EtherPad. Now that the project will be released to the public, this is even better than if EtherPad had remained an independent entity.

Thanks Google for killing EtherPad

Friday, December 4th, 2009

UPDATE: EtherPad will be released as open source software!

I love EtherPad. It’s a collaborative text pad that lets you see what others write in realtime, character by character, and automatically highlights text in a different color based on who typed it. One of the best things about EtherPad was that a free public pad could be created instantly without logging in. Other users could be invited to collaborate with only a link to the pad. Now that has all gone away. When I tried to create a new pad today I got the following message:

Creation of new free pads is permanently disabled as part of EtherPad’s acquisition by Google.

Google Wave is an interesting experiment, but it’s nowhere even close to being a replacement for EtherPad. It doesn’t even highlight text automatically! My hope is that these guys will get put on the Google Docs team to add realtime collaboration there. Having to wait 15-30 seconds for page updates makes the tool practically useless for simultaneous editing.

Read about the EtherPad acquisition by Google and see how many people are disappointed.

100% Free Digital Converter Boxes at Amazon

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I just bought two Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital to Analog TV Converter Boxes at and I didn’t have to pay shipping or tax! They didn’t even ask for a credit card. I used my two TV Converter Box coupons for $40 each off the purchase of qualifying boxes. Since the price of the box on Amazon is exactly $40 and it qualifies for free shipping and no tax for Arizona residents the grand total was $0.00.

Now all I have to do is wait, and when they finally get here that old TV I’ve had since I was a kid will work like a charm! These are great to have on hand in case of an emergency if all you can find is an analog TV and you need to get TV reception.

Consumer Reports has excellent Digital to Analog TV Converter Box ratings.

LinkedIn Updates

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I have been working on getting my LinkedIn profile up to date so I can feel comfortable inviting more people to link to me. I have included new functionality to have relevant blog posts included on my LinkedIn profile. I was struggling with how to enter my freelance web design and Linux consulting while I was a student, treat but I think I came up with a solution, so the gaps in my employment history are gone. Excellent!

Backporting D2K Driver from Misfit MAME to AdvanceMAME

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I have an arcade cabinet that runs AdvanceMAME 0.106. My arcade cabinet has an arcade monitor in it and AdvanceMAME is the only software I have found that can recreate the arcade games with pixel-perfect accuracy on my monitor. Unfortunately, AdvanceMAME is no longer in active development, although there was a recent bugfix release.

I am trying to use the source from Misfit MAME 0.127e which supports Donkey Kong II: Jumpan Returns (or d2k for short) but the changes in MAME are somewhat drastic and I’m having trouble coming up with the appropriate code to make the new dkong.c work in the old MAME environment. I will keep trying, though, because it would be amazing to get it running on my arcade cab until I can afford a real Donkey Kong machine to run D2K on.

Who knows, maybe once I understand the code a little bit better, I might be able to make some real contributions to MAME or possibly fix some buggy drivers in AdvanceMAME 0.106.

New Site Migration Successful

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

As Godaddy economy hosting was rather slow, albeit inexpensive at only $3.95/month, I was eager to find a faster service, if it were economical. Alex called me up near the beginning of the year with news that DreamHost was doing a major deal on 2 years of hosting. For about $20 I got two years unlimited everything! One of the biggest advantages other than speed on DreamHost is that I have SSH access to my site. Another great addition is that I can now use scripting languages other than PHP.

There may still be some rough edges on the blog now that I’ve got it moved. Please let me know if you find any broken links or other problems.

Speech-to-Blog Technology

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I know it’s been a long time since I wrote anything but I just realized that I can blog anywhere just by talking into the phone. Gasoline prices have come down quite a bit and now the price next to my house is $1.51, amazingly enough. It’s been a long time since the last time I blogged so I’m glad I’m starting up again.

Powered by Dial2Do. Mp3