Microsoft Xbox 1080p – Possibly

Just recently, Microsoft went on record that their HD-DVD drive will also support 1080p. And according to their HD DVD Explained, “This new accessory will connect to the Xbox 360 console with a USB cable”.

Did anyone at Microsoft bother to do the math on the amount of bandwith needed to transmit 1080p?:

Am I missing something here?

Track Your Conversations with Cocomment

This new update allows you to be able to track any comments you write anywhere, no matter if the blog uses cocomment or not. 

This is all over the news, but I didn’t understand how this was made possible. 

What I found was that after you signup, you install a firefox extension:

Cocomment

Once you install the extension, you will see a little bar underneath the comment field:

Commentexample

All you need to do is to make sure you click that box, and it will get tracked on the cocomment website.

Pretty nifty.

 

 

Only Idiots Will Buy a PS3

Excuse me if I offend anyone, but you would seriously have to be some kind of moron to buy a PS3 for twice the price of a much better Xbox 360:

  1. Sony has flat out lied to its fans that they were going to launch this March, when everyone in the industry knew it wasn't going to happen. For gods sake, the development kits weren't even out that long.  We can debate whether it is a lie, but those reading all the press releases knew something stunk. Link
  2. Because of the Immersion lawsuit, the Dual Shock has been nuked.  A controller with no rumble is so 1990’s. Link
  3. No HDMI in the $499 version. That means that some Blu-Ray DVD movies may not play in High Def.  “Future Proof”, ha.  Link
  4. There has been more than one report that the graphics are not that much better than the Xbox 360, and certainly not for so much more $$$. Link 
  5. Sony is losing some of its exclusives. EA Online is now Xbox Live Enabled and Grand Theft Auto IV was just announced as an Xbox 360 exclusive. Link
  6. Xbox Live is absolutely awesome. There is no way Sony can match that right away. NO WAY, do you hear me?
  7. Sony stands to lose $900,000,000 on the PS3 launch. The reason? Building a cell processor that is not much better yet way cheaper Xbox IBM processor, and the Blu-Ray drive. Link
  8. First generation Blu-Ray drive speed will be 1x or 2x, which will cause much slower load times than the Xbox 360. Link
  9. Developers working on games for the PS3 have said it is much harder to develop games for than the Xbox 360. Link
  10. Microsoft will be cutting their price down to $219 and $299 in October.  That will make the PS3 TWICE as expensive.  Link
  11. What parent in their RIGHT MIND would pay for an $800 toy for their teenager? ($600 system + $50 controller + $60 game + $60 tax).
  12. Oh yeah, and what if Blu-Ray loses the war?  Sony tends to lose these races.  Link
  13. Halo 3.  Wow.  Link
  14. $500 version also won’t support wireless controllers. Link

Why the PS3 Will Suck

If you know me, you know I am a big Xbox 360 fan.  Heck, I have a whole category devoted to my 360 diatribes.  But the funny thing is I don’t want the PS3 to suck, although it is going to.

Here’s the deal:  Sony screwed up big time and got out-maneuvered by Microsoft.  And they are ridiculously behind.  Sony, to catch up, is promising crazy release dates, and adding crazy hardware to try to lure people to buy it. 

The latest hardware estimate by Merril Lynch prices it at $800.  And why the heck are they putting a blu-ray drive in there?  Why spend $350 on a drive that is locked in a format war and may lose?

It certainly seems that Sony is adding these expensive hardware parts because they know their content is inferior to the Xbox.  They know development for it is harder.  They know their online service will not match Xbox Live.  So they have to rush the date and add crazy hardware.

I read that it will support 1080p.  So?  1080p really means 1080p at 24 or 30 frames per second.  And at 30 frames per second all it is good for is watching films or DVD’s.  Games and television require much higher FPS’s which 30 FPS just doesn’t cut.  So Sony is adding over $400 of expense to give you a great looking DVD player?  STUPPIIDD!

Sony is now promising a HUB online service.  Will it be able to match the seriously addictive Xbox Live?  And get it working in only a few months?

I mean, come on!  At least pretend like you have a chance, Sony.

iPod with Video Fun

The one gift I got this Christmas/Channuka was a new iPod. Technically, I got several gifts that I didn't like and took them back to get it, but whatev's…I got it.

I have had an iPod since the day they came out for Windows. I mean, this thing looks vintage. It's big, its scratched up, and it is dirty. But my biggest problem is that I have WAY too much stuff to fit on its 20 gigs. I would of replaced it years ago but I knew the iPod with video was coming and decided to wait.

So I got the iPod, and the first order of business was to figure out how to get my TiVo shows on to it. This was accomplished using Engadget's Article. The basic outline is:

  1. Strip TiVo Metadata (pretty fast…about 10 minutes)
  2. Convert MPEG2 to MPEG4 (looonnng…1 hour per 1 hour?)
  3. Add into iTunes. (fast)

So that chewed up my first 10 gigs of space :(.

Now onto my music. I decided to just transfer my main music folders without really qualifying what I liked or not, just because I *thought* I would have plenty of space…NOPE. Somehow I have about 60 – 70 gigs worth of music. UUUGGGGGH.

It wasn't too bad since 10 gigs are electronic music I don't even have catalogged and 5 more is just music I don't need to have on the 'Pod. I trimmed the fat, and took it for a spin.

I noticed that although I have programs that download album art to my hardrive, not all my songs displayed them while playing on the iPod. After a little research, I figured out that you gotta embed the image in the song itself, and that is how the iPod displays them.

I looked around at different programs to download and embed the art, and settled on iPodSoft iArt. Although the iTunes Art Importer is free, I thought $10 was worth the extra ease of use and few additional features.

After I updated all the albums, I noticed iArt could also download Lyrics for all my songs. These also get embedded in the mp3. 12 hours later, that was completed.

So this morning, I was excited to view all my changes. The album art is great and worked fine. But I couldn't figure out how to view the lyrics for the life of me. With a little research I found Adding song lyrics to Ipod which states:

  1. On iPod, start playing any song to which you've added lyrics.
  2. Press the Center button repeatedly. The number of times depends on if you have artwork or not. Here's the order of things when you press the Center button:
    Play status > Scrubber > Album Art > Lyrics/Description > Rating

Wow…I had no idea those menu's were even there!

34 Prius Tips You May Not Know

Well, 33 actually. I took this from a Priuschat forum because the forum has a tendency to get slow and sometimes not load at all. I wanted this not to get lost, so I took liberties to reprint it here. 😉

1. WHY YOU SHOULD INSTALL A MAGNETIC DRAIN PLUG.

The oil in your Prius contains small ferrous particles. These particles continually circulate through the engine because they remain suspended in your oil. They can cause premature engine or bearing wear since they are abrasive. Even if you change your oil regularly, it is likely that your engine will still contain these small bits of metal.

They are present in your engine due to normal wear of moving parts, chipping due
to sub surface casting flaws or even as small bits of metal that remained in
the engine after it was machined at the factory. Usually it is a combination of
the these factors that account for the presence of the particles.

Magnetic drain plugs attract and hold ferrous metal particles that circulate
through your lubrication or hydraulic system. It is a wise idea to use a
Magnetic Drain Plug which will collect these bits of metal and when you have
your oil changed at the dealer he will clean/remove these bits of metal from
the drain plug.

Why Toyota does not install magnetic drain plugs in our Prius cars is a mystery
to me. Such plugs are available from a number of sources. I purchased mine from
C.G. Enterprises Automotive at a cost of about three dollars and fifty cents,
plus postage. You also should purchase several small metal gaskets from them
since the gasket should be replaced at each oil change. The gaskets cost about
fifteen cents each.

Not only do the plugs collect and remove these metal particles. The magnetic
drain plugs can alert you of potential problems. If the amount of metal the
drain plug collects increases over time, the increase of material being
collected on your magnetic plug may be early warning of a problem.

You can contact them at:

1-800-565-9743
Toll free fax 1-866-645-5823
Outside Canada & the US 1-705-327-9058 Fax 1-705-327-7790 or email them at
info@cgenterprises.com

2. TO TURN OFF THE REVERSE BEEP.

Steps:

  • Power on the car to IG-ON or READY. IG-ON will do for this purpose.
  • Using the Trip/ODO button, set the Trip/ODO display to ODO (not Trip A or Trip
    B)
  • Power off the car.
  • Now power the car to READY (brake on). This is required so that step 6 works
    correctly.
  • Within 6 seconds of powering on, press and hold the Trip/ODO button for 10
    seconds or more.
  • WHILE STILL HOLDING ODO *after* the 10 seconds, shift the “gear” selector from
    P to R, then back to P. Now release the Trip/ODO button.
  • If the last step was successful, “b on” or “b off” should be displayed in the
    location where the Trip Odometer or Odometer is normally displayed. “b on” is
    beep on, and “b off” is beep off.
  • Press Trip/ODO to toggle the mode.
  • Now power the car off to exit the toggle mode.
  • Power the car on to READY and confirm the reverse beep status by shifting to R.
    The beep should not be audible if “b off” was selected, and should be audible
    if “b on” was selected.

Do note that the reverse beep cancel ONLY works on North American Prius, and not
UK/Europe or Australian Prius.

You do have to cycle to ODO, you cannot be already sitting on it.

It may take you a few tries to get it to work, or you may just get the sequence
right the first time. <shrug>
Some of these posts are mine, some aren’t. Thanks to all of the people who
posted these bits of information. I hope it is of some value to you.

3. REPLACING THE CLOTH ON YOUR SEATS WITH LEATHER:

I had my Prius seats done in leather. All of the cloth surfaces were removed and
replaced by leather. The center console cover and the front and rear center
seating surfaces were done in red. The sides of the seats, the back of the
front seat including the map pockets, the armrests and the headrests were done
in gray. the rear armrest and armrests on the doors were and done in gray. My
Prius is equipped with side air bags and the leather that covers the airbags is
stitched with break-away stitching. You will not notice that the stitching is
break-away.

The total cost for the job was $1050.00. I had it done at:

Kar Products

401 Bangs Avenue

Modesto California 95356

[209] 238-0894

The company is owned by Jim Karp

The leather is available in over seventy colors and the quality of the leather
is excellent. Kar does not manufacture the covers. The buy them from the
largest manufacturer of seat covers in the world. Katzkin Ineriors. 6868 Acco
St. Montebello CA. 90640

You can access the Katzkin web site at

http://www.autoleathers.com/HTML2/AL.MAIN.FS.html

Or phone them toll free at 1 [866] 757 3287.

You can buy the interior leather from Katzkin and do the installation yourself,
[not recommended], ask Katzkin for the name of in installer and have the
leather you bought installed professionally, or buy the Katzkin leather from an
installer and have them do the job.

4. YOUVE GOT A TAX CREDIT COMING YOUR WAY:

Buyers of hybrid electric vehicles in 2004 and 2005 will receive a bigger tax
incentive than expected, thanks to the tax cut bill Congress recently passed.
It restored the alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicle tax deduction to $2,000 for
vehicles purchased in 2004 and 2005. The deduction was going to be reduced by
25% this year and by 25% in 2005.

H.R.1308–Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 (Enrolled as Agreed to or
Passed by Both House and Senate)

5. HOW TO PUT THE PRIUS INTO NEUTRAL TO GO THROUGH A CAR WASH:

The car must be in the ready mode, and instead of just tapping the joystick as
one does to put it in reverse or drive, tap and hold it on neutral for a second
or so. The car will stay in neutral for the entire time it is being washed. The
reason the car has this feature is so you don’t accidentally bump the joystick
while driving, and throw yourself into neutral. They thought of everything!

6. A GOOD PLACE FOR PRIUS ACCESSORIES:

Coastal Electronic Technologies, Inc.
P.O. Box 33518, Indialantic, FL 32903
Ph: (800)507-2234
support@coastaletech.com

Prius XM Radio Kit includes instructions $299.00
Electric Mode Kit $45.00 Allows you to drive in electric mode only. Will
automatically return to gasoline mode if battery gets low.
Front End Mask $119.00 A bra for the Prius.
Auto Door Lock Kit $65.00 Locks all 4 doors when you drive over 15mph.
Power Outlet Kit $10.00 Makes the power outlet in your console active even when
car is turned off. Good for charging your cell phone.
Prius Mud Flap Kit $55.00 Mud flaps that fit behind all 4 wheels.
Factory Oil Filter with New Crush Washer $6.00
Cabin Air Filter $19.00
Nav Enhancement Kit You can set the nav while driving and will never have to
AGREE again.

7. OPTIMUM PRIUS TIRE PRESSURE.

It is more gas efficient and will help increase tire life] to run the tires

i was just involved in a low speed accident with my Prius. an SUV in front of me stopped suddenly and i couldn’t stop in time. with my the brake pedal to the floor we collided. i was going 10-15 mph tops. airbags did NOT deploy. the SUV had two scratches. my prius is totalled. the front end is damaged but moreso is the hybrid system per my appraiser. i bought this car in part for safety reasons but the body clearly cannot sustain much impact- it did nothing to protect the very expensive hybrid system.

Dude! You own a Prius?! I never knew! I thought you still drove that Mazda. 🙂 Anyhow, I’m contemplating getting one soon. I totally need to pick your brain!!
have my Prius for 14 day’s now, compared with my tomtom navigator i discovered that the speed meter is giving 5 km/h to fast on the display.

altough the odo seems ok, compares liters refuel and km’s driven.

anyone else with this problem?
Dude, press your mph/kph button … your setup for the continent. Wild Dude, wild.

I’m in need of some sort of molding, preferably hard rubber that would cover the rear (and maybe the front) bumper area where it pivots in the middle. I have tagged a few vehicles while parking and the finish tears easily and leaves unsightly marks and tears. A 3 foot long by, say, 6 inch wide strip that would adhere to the rear bummer, looking good (black for my silver finish) and be permanently affixed by some sort of adhesive would be great. I’m not interested in screwing anything in..

Thanks in advance..

Mike

Last week, on my way to work, I got a “low gas” warning.  My commute to work is almost 43 miles, and I knew I could at least make it that distance without running out of gas. (About 25 more miles)

I had made a mental note to get gas when I left work, but that note must of got thrown away because I didn’t remember until I was in my driveway safely at home.  (43 miles later)

“Ok, I gotta get gas tomorrow”, I told myself.

The next two days I left the house only to get lunches and dinners.  Oops.  (4 miles, approx.)

My wife asked me to drive 8 miles in the wrong direction before I go to work the next day.  By this time, I have completely forgotten about my gas issues.

I made her errand, and was about 15 miles into my journey to work when I broke out into a cold sweat, realizing I was WAAAAY past my low gas warnings.  (23 miles)

I got off the freeway and found a gas station.

Eagerly awaiting to see how much gas I needed, I was dumbfounded when the meter showed only “10.41 gallons”.

Huh?  Consulting my owners manual, it said I have an 11 gallon tank, and adding up the miles I drove past the warning light comes to about 90 miles.  And since I get on average 44 miles per gallon, that would mean my check engine light turns on when I have more than 2 gallons left in my tank.

And the weather was 86 degrees out, so there is no argument that the gas tank “bladder” had constricted and hence had a maximum capacity which was less than 11 gallons.

In other words, I can have 20% of my tank left, which gives me about 100 miles, and my Prius gives me a warning.

Home Audio Solution

So I’m buying a house. I didn’t think it was ever going to be possible while living in the Los Angeles area, but I got a good deal, and now I shall be living and improving our new 4 bedroom 1800 sq. ft. place in Burbank.

Although a lot of work has to go into it, I have been spending a disappropriate amount of time trying to figure out how I want to conquer whole house audio. I think I have narrowed it down to two camps: Run cables, with the heart coming from my Receiver in my home theater, or a wireless setup stemming from my computer. Both have their pluses and minuses:

Wired – Negatives

  • Must buy an amplifier (like the AudioSource Amp One)
  • Must buy volume knobs to place in every room where speakers will be
  • Must buy 500 ft or so of speaker wire.
  • Must spend a weekend running the cable and installing volume knobs.
  • If we want to change what is playing, you must walk into the den.
  • Until I get a multi-room receiver, you can only listen to one source at a time.
  • I would want to run wire to every room in the house, even though I don’t know if and when I would need it.

Wired – Pluses

  • Not counting the time it takes, it is the cheapest solution.
  • When I sell the house, can say “Home audio ready”.

Wireless – Negatives

  • Cost. I LOVE the Sonos system, but will cost almost $1000 per room
  • Will it actually sound as good over wireless?
  • Not as built in. I will have a big white amplifier to hide in each room I want sound.
  • I will still have to run speaker cable through the walls if I want it hidden.

Wireless – Pluses

  • If we move, we can take the expensive parts with us.
  • The Sonos has a BITCHEN remote that can change the music from any point in the house.
  • Each room can play its own music, or they can sync them all up.
  • Each amplifier you get allows for one line in. So I can have one Sonos Amp in my den with input from my TV, and another one in my office with the input from my computer. Now anyone anywhere else in the house can listen to the TV or music on my computer. Handy for super bowls or party’s.
  • If I subscribe to Rhapsody for $10 a month, I can play it through the system. (I use Yahoo music now for $5)
  • I can add to it in stages to mitigate the cost. Since I am not sure what rooms I want covered, I can buy an amp for $500 and additional speakers a year from now and add on. I can wait to buy speakers for the Wired system also, but it isn’t as easy to handle the wires later. I purchase my speakers through speakerxpert. They have great deals and amazing customer service.

As you can guess, I am leaning heavily on the Sonos system. But with a starting price of $1200 plus additional speakers, wires, and adding more amps for more rooms, it will easily be $2,000. UGGGGHHH.

Tivo Home Media Engine

Never got around to it, but I installed Tivo HME. Pretty nifty. Now I can view weather on the TiVo.

I already had Java installed, so the setup took about 2 minutes to see it work on the Tivo. Very impressive. I then moved on to installing the Netflix RSS Reader.

My wife hates going into Netflix to view her queue. Even with her own account profile, I am asked to find out info for her. Now it's as imple as a few remote clicks.

Current Podcasts I Listen To

A friend finally got an iPod and wanted to know what podcasts I listen to. I hadn't really put the list together and was surprised I listen to so many:

  1. This week in TECH
  2. Security Now!
  3. Xbox Live's Major Nelson podcasts about the Xbox 360
  4. Diggnation (although Alex Albrecht annoys the heck out of me. I may stop listening)
  5. iTunes new music Tuesdays (I just fast forward if the music sucks)
  6. Gamespot presents Hotspot (gaming stuff)
  7. Ebert & Roeper
  8. Tips from the top floor (photography tips)
  9. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
  10. ITC: Programming (listen to the Joel Spolsky interviews first)
  11. Kathy Griffen: My life on the D-List (she's pretty funny)
  12. Polymorphic Podcast (programming, but I never seem to find time for it)
  13. Photoshop Radio
  14. Web 2.0 (brand new)