Warner Brothers is offering a $4.95 HD DVD to Blu-Ray trade in. If you are a HD DVD adopter, you now have the option of sending n the HD DVD jacket sleeve (the case cover) + $4.95 per disc to ‘upgrade’ to the Blu-Ray format.

I may do this for ‘A Clockwork Orange’, but I haven’t fired up a physical disc device in several months; I am starting to realize that physical media is already outdated and is only there to foster materialism- i.e. the need to own things I will never watch more than once (which is exactly what the studios want).

Once the large ISPs in this country pull their heads out of their ass and provide real, low-cost broadband maybe we hope for a reasonable ‘on-demand’ 1080p HD video system- pay $3 and watch any movie with no wait/artifacts/etc.

Based on what I have seen of how capitalism ‘works’, this won’t happen in the US within the remainder of my years…


UseNET; the past 999.09 days…

One interesting thing about GigaNews is that they offer statistics for the life of the account.

I started using GigaNews back in July 2006- and since that time I have downloaded aboit 7.8TB of data from them. Note that is that this does not include downloads outside of UseNET- so any Linux ISOs, youtube videos, driver downloads, etc. would be additional bandwidth added- plus the roommate’s usage.

I would guess it would be over 10TB of downloads in the past ~1000 days; that averages out to about 10GB/day...

I love BellSouth/AT&T DSL (at least until they start imposing caps- like everyone else!)

Period End Days Bytes GB
7/28/2006 1.01 1,541,509,489 1.54
8/28/2006 30.19 90,934,680,314 90.93
9/28/2006 31 76,014,984,772 76.01
10/28/2006 30 127,231,494,643 127.23
11/28/2006 31.04 93,115,099,871 93.12
12/28/2006 30 201,656,977,309 201.66
1/28/2007 31 89,499,356,261 89.5
2/28/2007 31 160,997,335,208 161
3/28/2007 27.96 177,213,293,786 177.21
4/28/2007 31 166,878,257,632 166.88
5/28/2007 30 120,806,887,410 120.81
6/28/2007 31 197,156,876,461 197.16
7/28/2007 30 122,630,877,837 122.63
8/28/2007 31 156,279,896,511 156.28
9/28/2007 31 173,154,857,627 173.15
10/28/2007 30 233,832,735,210 233.83
11/28/2007 31.04 425,133,172,160 425.13
12/28/2007 30 273,933,090,478 273.93
1/28/2008 31 448,206,370,240 448.21
2/28/2008 30.99 318,326,801,360 318.33
3/28/2008 28.97 254,277,316,984 254.28
4/28/2008 31 207,188,288,212 207.19
5/28/2008 30 226,514,534,473 226.51
6/28/2008 31 413,471,989,965 413.47
7/28/2008 30 234,289,881,909 234.29
8/28/2008 31 436,268,274,012 436.27
9/28/2008 31 242,348,217,723 242.35
10/28/2008 30 312,950,914,446 312.95
11/28/2008 31.04 296,106,550,724 296.11
12/28/2008 30 339,469,298,282 339.47
1/28/2009 31.01 455,278,111,757 455.28
2/28/2009 31 368,860,310,089 368.86
3/28/2009 27.95 177,334,569,543 177.33
4/21/2009 24.88 188,427,266,313 188.43
Totals = 999.09 7,807,330,079,011 7,807.33

Honestly- I think if/when they do start offering different tiers of service they are going to see almost everyone opt for the lowest/least expensive plan. All of the people currently paying $33/month for basic DSL will go to the $20/month for ‘under 5GB of usage’ (or what-ever crazy rate they specify).

So what happens when 99% of the the ‘normal users’ opt opt for the lowest tier and cut their monthly bills by about 40%? Can the increased charges on the ‘excessive use 1%’ balance things out? Only if they can raise the charges of the remaining 1% about 4060% (so going from $33/month to about $1,340/month).

Even if only if 60% of the people opt to drop their bills down to a $20 tier, the remaining 40% would need to have a 60% increase in their bills for AT&T to break even (the later individuals would need to go from $33/month to about $52.80/month).

If any of the above would happen, people like myself will cancel and go back to Comcast with a 250GB/Mo cap for $43/month (the same amount that I am paying for DSL Xtreme 6.0).

Please note that the above rates are only speculative, but reasonable; I would hope they don’t opt for a rate of $30/month like the rape that Time Warner is trying.


Seagate HD Firmware Update

If you haven’t heard, there is a firmware issue with specific Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives. On reboot, the drive can sometimes become inaccessible. This affects certain drives of 500GB, 640GB, 750GB and 1TB sizes.

The fix for most is to download an ISO image of a bootable CD from Seagate. The boot CD fixes the firmware issue.

If you are not sure if your drive is affected, check the Seagate support site to check your serial number.

I checked the drives and my RAID5 on my Windows Home Server and 2 of the 7 drives are affected; I will be rebooting this system tomorrow to run the Update ISO- before a reboot and one of them decides to not come back online.

I also updated my RocketRAID 2320 RAID card firmware and driver software tonight- just to keep everything running tip-top…


Looks like 'Peek' didn't make it at Target; units are down to $25 on the close-out end-caps...

Sony Bluetooth Watch

Ok- now this looks pretty cool:

Too bad it looks like it only works on Sony-Ericsson phones (and Windows Mobile phones running ‘btWatch’). If someone ever gets it working for a T-Moble G1, I will probably be buying one…

Perhaps I will get the vibrating Bluetooth bracelet for $40 (or $25 direct from China) or the Bluetooth Bracelet with LCD for $50 while I am waiting for a good Bluetooth watch to be released.


Microsoft Billing BS

A few years ago I purchased a watch with MSN Direct service; It was pretty nice to have at the time as I could not get my weather or MSN messages on my cell phone. This- of course was 2+ years ago.

My watch fell into disuse when I purchased a Treo 650p and I decided to let the service lapse. I tried to cancel via Microsoft's billing site, but they appear to purposely make cancellation as near impossible as possible.

Considering that the credit card expired in May 2008, I did not think that I would need to worry about a re-bull in December 2008; it should be declined and all would be canceled.

This was not the case- Microsoft's 'automated billing system' apparently ignores expired credit card info- as does PayPal- and charges the amount against the account.

I disputed the amount with PayPal and it was credited- only to be 'corrected' 30 days later and re-charged to my credit card (this is yet another personal negative mark against PayPal). The second dispute against the same charge was ignored.

To officially cancel service, I must:
  • Login to billing.microsoft.com
  • Select the service on the billing site
  • Find the 'cancel' button
  • figure out which of the 15 differnet sites I need to go to to cancel (in this case, MSN direct)
  • Login to msndirect.com
  • Look on the MSN direct for my service
  • Find the 'cancel' button again
  • No online canceling; for navigation devices, call 1-866-658-7032
  • Call the number
  • Go through the teleprompt- 3 levels deep until I find 'MSN Direct Watches'
  • Wait for the last prompt of 'Press 4 to cancel'
  • Wait in a queue (not bad- a few minutes)
  • Verify my email address, phone number and address
  • Explain why I am canceling (there is no watch on the account- and It was deleted from my account over a year ago- WTF are you guys still billing me?)
  • Get a confirmation number (followed by an email) for the cancellation
WTF; why isn't there a 'cancel' button that just asks 'Are you sure' on the goddman billing web site? I wonder how many extra charges for products such as in my scenario can Microsoft incurr in a yearly cycle? I know this is not ethical, but is it even legal?

I will NEVER order anything from Microsoft that requires a credit card; if I do, it will be on one of the $3 refillable cards from WalMart.


Blogger MMS test (random messy desk shot)


G1 Haykuro Update

I updated my T-Mobile G1 to the Haykuro 5.0G build a few days ago and I am loving it; it is more responsive and stable, it has much better battery life, more features, and –did I forget to mention- A2DP!

Google seems to be unhappy that the build ported from the UK was being used on the T-Moble G1 and disabled downloading from the App Store for this firmware version; That wasn’t very nice! At the same time, they announced the SDK for Android 1.5- i.e. what I am already running with the ported build!

Haykuro released a 5.0.1G-r2 version today that addresses the App Store issue- along with another version that allows Apps to be run from the SD (just remember to partition your SD card with a ext2 partition).

Google- please don’t pull a Sony on us by trying to keep ahead of the hacks!

Updating now…

Update on update: Hykuro 5.0.1 appears to have the Latitude version of Google Maps for the G1.


Copy Protection Incompatibility with Windows 7?

I purchased a copy of ‘Darkstar One’ on close-out at Target (for $2.48) and finally tried to install it tonight. During the install on Windows 7 b7077, I was prompted with a ‘driver incompatibility’ alert:


Apparently, the copy protection used by ‘Tages Protection’ is not compatible with Windows 7.

Running the program produces an error:


Odd- an incompatible driver for Windows 7 is actually a form of copy protection?


Live Movie Maker

I have been doing some Demigods video captures with FRAPs and trying to use Windows Movie Maker to convert them from a raw AVI (up to 4GB) to a file that can be uploaded to YouTube (same 4GB movie was compressed to a 100MB WMV).

Windows 7 beta does not ship with movie maker, so I downloaded v2.6 from Microsoft. It works, but my widescreen captures are compressed to a 4x3 video format:

Demigod Chracter Choices

I found a beta version of Movie Maker that is said to support HD so I downloaded it as well. There are plug-ins for this version that allow direct uploads to YouTube and Facebook- a nice feature. The video quality is somewhat lower using this option:

The Windows Live Photo & Video Blog is an excellent source of info on their new products…

G1 Update –Success!

I am now running the Haykuro 5.0G ROM on my G1 (with root access) and I have A2DP!

I have been re-installing apps and testing out things and everything seems to be working great- maybe even a little faster than the RC33 firmware I was running prior.

One thing that is missing is the Latitude addition for Google Maps; not a biggie as I have this installed on the Blackberry Storm I carry for work.

In addition to A2DP, the new Bluetooth profile also supports AVRCP and it easily paired up with my Sony BT21 headphones. The sound quality was sub-par until I updated the radio firmware- now it all seems to be clear and as good as the sound from my Samsung P2.

I am testing out the pre-release of Moxier Mail for Exchange, GMail for my personal mail and I can listen to music via wireless Bluetooth (screw the goofy-ass HTC ExtUSB adaptor!); Throw in a Facebook and a Twitter client and I now have a 'do-it-all device’.

(Good thing I purchased a few extended batteries from eBay!)


DSL Modem Option 3: TRENDNet TEW-635BRM

The NetGear routers do not provide port translation; the LinkSys routers are ‘feature poor’; my DLink is having 802.11b/n issues… So I decided to try out a TRENDnet TEW-635BRM.

The TRENDnet seemed to be a viable alternative; it has an integrated DSL modem, Wireless N, QoS and WPS- and it does both port forwarding and port translation!

However it does not do DHCP reservations… The is not specifically a ‘deal-killer’ but I am fairly OCD on my network settings and not having my PC at may be just enough to drive me insane…

TRENDnet was even go good as to put a router emulator on their site for testing.

I will play with this device for bit more, but I have the strong feeling that I will be re-flashing my DGL-4500 and going back to the old DSL modem

G1 Haykuro Builds

A devoted engineer name Haykuro appears to have been working on a port of the Vadaphone Sapphire ROM over to the T-Mobile G1- and releasing a ‘cupcake’ featured build of Haykuro 5.0G (with Google apps) and 5.0.1H (with HTC apps) for the G1.

A comparison of the various features between the stock RC33, JesusFreake 1.42 and the two Haykro builds shows that the later version support A2DP- the one feature I have been waiting for!

Some screen shots/features of the Haykuro builds:

There is a detailed write-up for getting root access and flashing the ROM

Wish me luck- if this fails I will be using an old-ass AT&T burner until I figure out how to resole…


1239503343785 I was in Target off Steve Reynolds Blvd and I chanced upon a new game titled DemiGod. The artwork on the box was stunning- making it look like a combination of Shadow of the Colossus with a RTS. I decided to wait and do a little research when I had access to a PC.

There are some previews of the game, but no real reviews. It appears that this game is not due for release until April 14th and some stock clerk at Target ignored the ‘do not display until 4/14/09’ on the package and put it on the shelf.

I went to my local target (2 miles away) to see if it may have been a corporate mistake by putting the game out early; no such luck.

I fought an internal battle for a few minutes and eventually made the 25 mile trek out to the Target by Steve Reynolds Blvd.

No- I do not suffer from OCD


The EULA allows install on one PC and one laptop and a copy of the disk may be made for archival purposes; looks like the only copy protection on this game is the unique CD key included on the back of the manual. (Protection iD v0.6.2.3 confirms this).

I installed the game and played single player mode for a few hours and it did not prompt me for the key- I assume this is only needed for online play. The game is more like a combination of Warcraft III and Unreal Tournament; capture the flag, destroy the enemy base, hold the gold portals to get gold to buy armor/health potions/etc.

The premise is that you are a demigod aspiring to become a God. To do this, you must battle the other demigods; conveniently set as 3x3, 4x4 or 5x5 players in a forces of light vs. forces of dark scenario. The player picks a demigod from a roster of eight characters- four ‘assassins’ and four ‘generals’. The assassins are more powerful single characters that must do all the fighting/destroying by themselves. The generals can summon and command minions to do their bidding. Both groups can purchase get armor and consumables via gold. As they level, they can expand their skill tree to get new abilities/spells.


The game is played on a series of battlegrounds (maps) that have towers (flags) spaced through out. Some towers are next to resources- gold mines, reinforcement portals, arcane shop, etc. These can be captured by standing on the tower for a few seconds; a status bar appears showing the ownership (forces of good/dark) and it swings to neutral and then to your team. Owning towers give resources to the team; in single player the other three members of your team are computer driven; online this would be other game players.


Single player has a ‘skirmish’ and a ‘tournament’ mode- the later being a chain of battles to achieve God-hood. As you battle through the levels, you gain experience for levels and gold for armor/consumables- so at the end of the stage you can be fairly powerful; this is all reset to 0 on the next stage of the tournament. You retain ‘favor’ points and the single item that is purchased with them but you start over from the beginning on each level (not my idea of fun).

There are eight maps included with the game; I assume this leaves the option for player created maps:

The graphics are very good and the scenes are beautiful (sometimes it is fun to just run around and look at the details of the maps). In battles where several generals and multiple minions are locked in battle it can get very hard to see exactly what is happening.

The game is fairly fun, but it can get a little old in single player mode. It will probably be much more fun online- which I will try later today.

Other reviews:


NDS, DS, DS Lite, DSi

I purchased a new Nintendo DSi and I have been playing with it for the past few days. It is nice and definitely an improvement over the classic DS, but I discovered (which I expected) is that my M3 DS Real will not work with it- so no more consolidated ROMs on one cartridge. I have several DS games but I hate to carry them around as I often misplace stuff- and a $40 postage stamp sized ROMs is not something that I want to lose.

imageTo resolve this, I have pre-ordered a AceKard 2i from ConsoleSource (due to ship on April 14th). I looked into ordering the card from DealExtreme for about 1/2 the price, but they are located in Hong Kong and they only accept PayPal- and PayPal is horrible to try to deal with if your account becomes ‘compromised’. I also wanted to try out the PayPal Plug-In- which will generate a unique, singe-use credit card for each online transaction; no credit cards for DealExtreme meant I was headed over to ConsoleSource for my purchase.

While waiting for my AceKard, I decided to revisit the good ‘ole DS Lite and the M3 DS Real. I was looking for a firmware upgrade for my M3 DS Real on The M3 Wiwi and I came across info on the M3 Sakura replacement shell. Sakura is a very refined GUI similar to MoonShell but with integrated cheats, real-time saves (for GBA games) and a media player (for video, music, and images)

A video on YouTube has more info than I could convey in words:

Sakura is definitely an awesome enhancement for the GBA- perhaps something that Nintendo should consider for the new DSi and their downloadable games. Now I have finally finished New Super Mario Brothers and the ‘Moon Jump’ cheat for Super Mario 64 DS has helped me get some of the stars I could not reach with my non-l33t (i.e. mortal) gaming skills.

imageI found that some of the ‘Nintendo Classic Series’ GBA games- such as ‘The Legend of Zelda’, ‘Metroid’, etc- would not load properly with Sakura. This is not a new behavior as they would also not play on the bare M3 DS Real- giving a ‘Game Pak Error – Turn the Power off’ when starting. A little Googling turned up in info on using the GBA Tool Advance from No-Intro Preservation Society to patching the affected ROMs with an IPS file from an IPS Collection (or from the GBATemp forums). IPS patches are posted by the GBA ROM release number- which can be looked up on ROMSite.

One quick note on the DSi before I get into a real review: The online store for the DSi Shop pretty much sucks at this point. Early adopters are given 1000 ‘DSi points’ for the DSI Shop- and there are a grand total of 5 games/apps + the DSi browser availalbe for downlaod. I would think Nintendo would have planned this launch out a bit better to have at least one or two decent games available fot the intital batch. For now we are limited to:

  • Brain Age Express: Math – 800 points
  • Art Style: AQUIA – 500 points
  • WarioWare: Snapped – 500 points
  • Master of Illusion Express: Funy Face – 200 points
  • Bird & Beans – 200 points

If the last title doesn’t indicate the sad quality of the DSi Shop selections then nothing probably will…


DGND3300 Router Addendum

Despite my research and attempts, it appears the at the DGND3300 is not capable of port forwarding/translation- and therefore it is useless to me.

I have several system that all use port 80 internal to my network (such as my GeoVision Security system, my TL-150 module for my alarm system, etc) and I need these tall to be available via the internet via different ports.  Since I cannot change the ports on the devices, my only alternative would be to put a router with port translation in front of the router- making my new $160 router about as useful as the box of old routers I have in the attic…

I pulled out on ‘old’ WNDR3300 (which appears to be almost identical to the DGND3300 - save for the integrated DSL modem) and found that it has the same limitations- which may be the reason I abandoned it in the past: I have rediscovered why NetGear Routers are useless for me…

This device goes back to Fry’s tomorrow…

Comparison between DGND3300 and WNDR3300

As I stated, there is not a lot of difference between the WNDR3300 and DGND3300 from a software perspective; there are some small additions in the newer hardware, but nothing really dramatic (such as port translation).

Menu Comparisons:

WNDR3300 DGND3300
image image
 image  image
image image
 image image 
image image
image image


The two routers handle ports opening in different ways: In the WNDR3300 ‘Port Forwarding’ is handled under ‘Advanced’, but in the DGND3300 the ‘Firewall Rules/Services’ appear under ‘Security’. 










Both routers use a similar method for port forwarding; a ‘service’ must be created (or a default one uses) and forwarded to a specific IP on the internal network.   The DGND3300 also allows for denying, disabling and creating source IP rules (and disabling logging per service). 

Interesting enough, ‘Port Triggering’ is absent from the newer router.  I am not surprised by this as I see this feature being a very rarely used option: When ‘Desktop A’ makes an outbound connection on port ‘XX’, create a rule that opens port ‘YY’ inbound and directs it back to ‘Desktop A’.

The only use I can personally see for this option is for opening the inbound ports for BitTorrent to a client when it fires up a torrent client.

It looks like my other options for a 802.11x router with integrated DSL is the D-Link 2640B- which only support 802.11b/g.

What would be VERY awesome is an OpenWRT system that supports dual-band 802.11n (i.e. MIMO), QoS, and shared USB storage- but I guess I will be waiting a while for that…


NetGear DGND3300 Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem Router

I picked up the NetGear DGND3300 at Fry’s last night for about $160.  This is a wireless router with an integrated DSL Modem- pretty cool as it eliminates one more device in my equipment closet (and one less power adaptor as well). 

I did my initial setup and then replaced my current D-Link DGL-4500 and DSL modem.  Let’s just say that this firmware appears to be in its very early stages of development and debugging.  It works, but it often hangs, disconnects and pauses when changing options/page. For example, when running the ‘wizard’ to detect my DSL, it was stuck in a ‘detecting settings’ loop for about 15 minutes.  I closed my web browser and re-connected to see what was happening and I received the message that ‘this device is being managed by another administrator’ as I did not properly log out when I closed my browser session.  I received the same message for the next 10 minutes- until I power cycled my router.

It also appears the NetGear hardware is designed more for the ‘typical home user’ as it lacks many options and features that I would like in a router- number one on this list would be port translation. 


I run several different devices on my internal network- and many of them run on standard ports. I can do a one-to-one NAT translation for port 80 on one PC with no problem.  If I have a second device in my network that must also be on port 80 (some of my older IP cameras and one of my security DVRs) I would like to be able to do a port translation from a different external port to the internal port 80; something along the lines of: –> –>

It does not appear that this is an option via the web browser.  I can create a ‘Service’ with start and end ports (in the example below, the service is the ‘WTF’ protocol) and then add an inbound rule to connect this service to an inside IP address (and restrict what WAN users have access):




Telnet is not enabled by default on the router, but I found that by enabling debug mode turns this on:

I can then telnet to the device where I am greeted by:

   Busybox v1.00 (2009.03.06-06:20+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
   Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

I haven’t found exactly what I am looking for to do port translation, but it does appear that IPTables is available on the device:

   iptables v1.3.8: no command specified

Looks like another weekend project has been added to my list…


Old School Gaming

I grew up on a Commodore 64 computer- learning BASIC, discovering PC games and delving into the realms of software piracy (you can still find C64 inspired style loaders in many current keygens).  My first major electronics purchase was a Commodore 128- purchased with money saved up from washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant over Summer vacation way back in 1987 (which shows how old I am).

In remembrance of this bygone legacy, I had purchased a C64 DTV (Direct to TV) a few years ago from eBay. I played with it for a few days and grew bored of it.   I never really grasped that there is actually a full C64 system embedded in the joystick handle…

After seeing a post on Hack-a-Day about Ben Heck making a C64 laptop and using a 1541-III-DTV for the floppy drive I did a little research.  Some creative ADD web searching landed me on Hacking the C64 DTV and showed me what I had missed when the C64 DTV booted (The ‘Loading “*”, 8,1’ was not just a special effect!)

The most interesting creation to this search was the 1541-III; this is a device that emulates the old 1541 floppy drive for a C64- but using SD media.  This will enable one to put D64 images onto an SD card and the 1541-III will handle presenting the file as a floppy image to the C64. The 1541-III-DTV is the same item but minus the DIN ports and shrunk down to fit inside a C64 DTV system. 

There are several C64 DTV Hacking Videos and even a full project for a Wooden DTV that provides information on how to use additional games beyond the basic 20 that were included with the C64 DTV.  This looks like a fun project- adding games like Mail Order Monsters. M.U.L.E. or Ultima IV (to mention but a few) to my old C64 DTV!

The big issue I have found so far that there is no place to purchase a 1541-III or 1541-III-DEV- but one place still does sell both the MMC2IEC and SD2IEC

Looks like I have something to work on over the Easter weekend… :o)

Target Close-outs

Target is the king of low pricing when they are closing out an item that is either discontinued or isn’t moving very well for them.  Today I found some good pricing on PC video games at my local Target (in Atlanta, GA):

Far Cry 2 $12.48
Two Worlds- Epic Edition $4.98
Star Trek – Legacy $3.74



I ran across the Scribd website earlier tonight.  From what I gather it is an online community where users can upload books, sheet music, service manuals and many other similar printed materials.  These works can be original but many of them appear to be copyrighted…. It is being called the ‘YouTube for Documents’.

For example, I was looking for an online copy of “Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Winter Night” to correct some of the OCR discrepancies that I am running across while reading a TXT version on my Sony eReader (electronic versions of the book are not commercially available, so I had to rely on UseNET for a copy), and I discovered I can download entire copies of this work in PDF or TXT from Scribd.  Granted, the TXT copies of this book are horrid as there are no line breaks and it appears to be in a ‘non-standard’ text format (at least to windows), but it is still a full text copy of the entire book.

The PDF versions do not immediately work with the Sony PRS-505- but a little ‘cleaning’ in Adobe Acrobat will make them readable as a paperback copy of the original book.

A little further searching turned up a good Windows 2008 Sever reference book, a VMWare ESX Server Guide, Kevin Trudeau’s Natural CuresThe Anarchist’s Cookbook, and The Secret Teachings of All Ages- all available for download. I am assuming that someone obtained original publisher digital copies of these works as I cannot imagine someone scanning in a 450+ page 2008 sever manual for ‘fun’.

It seems like some publishers and authors are beginning to support the site- some going so far as to discover their books sales increased when they gave away digital copies.  However, others are saying the site supports piracy.  One humorous quote from the later party is ‘We don’t have to give in to this. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes the music industry did.’- sounds like someone isn’t following the news on RIAA lawsuits….