A Caveat of ADD

I am using this nice little program called ‘NetLimiter’.  Currently it is v3 beta 9 and expires tomorrow. 

I decided to go update it.  I opened Firefox and saw there are also updates for my current browser plugins.

I auto updated the plugins.  On the ‘Featured Plugins’ that pops up after the Firefox restart I see a plugin called ‘Yoono’ that allows me to connect to IM sessions in my browser.

I installed Yoono and restarted Firefox again.

I now was able setup my connections for Yahoo IM, AOL IM, MSN IM, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (and had a little trouble with Linked-In).

After all this is done I viewed my recent Tweet list and followed a few links; also did a search for anything new on the Nexus.

There are also custom notifications and global updates for each connection.  Lots of customizable options for this program!

I went back to Firefox and logged into my profile page to add Yoono as a favorite extension (and see if there is anything else I need to add to Firefox).

There are a lot of updates in Facebook, Twitter and MySpace I need to review.

Aw crap- I still need to update NetLimiter…


Clear Upgrades?

Wow; tonight at about 3:00am the speed of my Clear WiMax connection jumped up to about 12.5Mbps…


A response in another post mentioned that they were upgrading their connections to microwave; I guess the upgrade occurred?


Apple Predictions 2010

the January Apple event is today; I am predicting an Apple tablet will be released- on Verizon. the $350 EFT hike was not in response to the Droid nut in preperation for the iTablet.

we will see at 1pm EST...

Healthy Post

imageMy FitBit came in today! Used it a bit today and looking forward to monitoring my sleep patterns tonight…

While listening to TWiT I heard about the Withings WiFi enabled scale- with an associated iPhone app that will tell me how much weight I have lost/gained.  In addition, it can also Tweet every time I weigh in, or upload to Google Health.  There is also a Windows desktop gadget.

Reviews of the Withings are on Gadget Review, Engadget and there is a youtube (sales) video:


Sadly, I am actually considering buying one of these scales (but with the money I have from a returned xMas gift; you would think for the price that the Harmony 1100 remote would have RF support!)

Another interesting site is Daily Burn; lots of foods that can be looked up for calorie usage (with an iPhone app similar to Lose It!), but also appears to have an iPhone barcode scanner for scanning non-prepared foods.


Clear WiMax- getting progressively slower…

My affair with Clear WiMax is going downhill quickly.

Initially I was getting terrific speeds- ranging from 8Mbps to 10Mbps.

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing bandwidth limits and slower speeds during peak hours.  These peak hours are now stretching into continuous slowness.

Below is a graph of a transfer that started at about 11:45pm:


On the left side of the graph you will notice a lot of variance in through-put; this is my clear CPEi 25150 modem with a solid 5 bar signal (with WiMAX RSSI of -63 dBm and WiMAX CINR of 22 dB).

For the right side of the graph I disconnected the Clear modem and re-routed the same traffic through my BellSouth 6Mbps DSL.

Clear hasn’t been close to 6Mbps for the past few days; Bellsouth has a constant 6Mbps 24x7.

If AT&T ever gets around to offering U-Verse at my house (with the 24Mbps down/2MBps up option for $75/month!) I will be quickly putting these Clear modems up on eBay!


'Wireless' Charging Systems

The new charging systems are neat, but too expensive to be practical. The $80 Duracell MyGrid is now down to $40 at Target- buy still to explensive and clunky to be usefull...

I and sure PowerMat will soon follow (which cost $100 + $30-$40 per device to be charged).

Diablo II Lives!

I have a long weekend and I have gotten overly annoyed with playing Demon’s Souls and bored with Borderlands, so I decided to download the classic Diablo II again (gotta love battle.net game management!)

Diablo is still pretty fun, but very ugly in its archaic 800x600 resolution and I figured there must be a way to get the game running at a decent resolution.


The people over at Widescreen Gaming have made a loader for Diablo II to allow it to support many different resolutions- such as the 1440x900 (the native resolution on my laptop):


Best part about this mod is that it does not modify the original files- rather it has an alternative ‘D2MultiRes’ executable that is used to load the game.

It also appears they have worked out a method for using modern resolutions for StarCraft and WarCraft III- but I haven’t had a chance to try these out yet…

I took a look around for a World of WarCraft triple head monitor patch, but looks like I may just need to upgrade to a Radeon 5890 with eyefinity.

Update- beyond 1440 x 900:

I also tried it out on my desktop.  At 1600x1050 it still looks pretty good:


…but when I took it up to 1920x1200 there was some strange artifacts from the textures:


The issues are much more pronounced in the town:


There are options for settings at 2560x1600.


Making a Bootable USB Drive for Windows 2008/Vista/7

For this write-up, I am assuming that your DVD drive is drive 'D:" and your USB drive is drive 'E:". Please substitute the correct drive letters where necessary.

Run CMD.EXE and type the following command.

list disk

use the above determine the disk number of your USB drive; it will probably be the one that is listed in MB instead of GB and should be close to the size of the USB drive you are using; i.e. 3855MB for a 4GB flash drive.

Substitute the drive number determined by the list disk command for the 'x' in the following command:

select disk X
create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=fat32

The above commands re-partition your USB drive and format it as a FAT32 file system. Next we will make the USB drive bootable by using the 'bootsect' program found on the Windows Vista/2008 DVD:

Change directories to over to the Windows 2008/Vista DVD drive.

cd boot
bootsect.exe /nt60 E:

One the above completes, you can close the command window.

Using Windows explorer, copy ALL of the contents of the DVD to the USB drive. This can also be done from a DOS prompt with XCOPY, but XCOPY can take 30+ minutes where a Windows copy will took me about 10 minutes.

After all is done, plug in the USB drive into the system you are trying to setup, boot and go into BIOS (usually press DEL or F1/F2 during bootup- but watch the bootup screen as this can be different on various systems). In BIOS, find your 'boot order' and make sure the USB device is above the hard drive in the list.

Boot and enjoy!


WiMax Speeds at Different Times:

Clear WiMax in Atlanta can be pretty decent in the early hours of morning.  This was a sample taken at 6:00am on Sunday:


Average speed: 1.19MB/s = 9.52Mbps
Peak speed of 1.31MB/s = 10.48Mbps

As you can see, there is a good deal of fluctuation at the upper end of the chart; this is normal for all Clear bandwidth- but becomes pretty flat when I am seeing bandwidth throttling (taken at 12:30pm the same day):


Android 2.1 on Verizon Droid

The guys over at AllDroid.org have a working port of the Nexus One ROM working on the Verizon Droid.

Here is a video of the ROM on my Droid (accompanied by Pink Floyd’s ‘Interstellar Overdrive’):

There are a few different parts required to get here:

There are a few issues with this build still:

  • No keyboard backlight
  • Nexus animated background does not work
  • Occasional lockups/reboots when trying to pull up the application menu

Luckily, there should be an official 2.1 build of Android for the Droid released by Verizon in the near future.

Windows XP on Sony VGN-P530H

I decided to pickup the Vaio VGN-P530H from MicroCenter for $500; It is about $100 more than a good NetBook while being much smaller and having a kick-ass (1600x768) LCD display.

The System comes pre-loaded with Windows Vista Basic- add in the Sony bloatware and it ran like a square wheel. I tried Windows 7 Ultimate, but it was still a little sluggish with Aero turned on.

I decided to go back to good ‘ole Windows XP, but Sony (as usual) does not offer drivers for XP; only Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Once I downgraded to XP, the unit works fairly well for a 1.33Ghz atom (and I have been able to overclock to 1.6Ghz with SetFSB). The screen is incredible and the wireless connectivity (WiFi, BlueTooth, EVDO, GSP) almost makes up for the meager 60GB (1.8” PATA) hard drive and the 2GB of RAM that is hard-soldered to the system board.

Even more important is the unit is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket and carry around- everwhere…

There is a tread on Pocketables on How to install XP on a Vaio P, but the links are to Japanese sites (i.e. no English version) to download the drivers and some others are now dead links.

Luckily, there is a ‘XP Downgrade’ folder on the Sony Vaio-Link FTP site that contains drivers for the Sony P series.

Another link on Pocketables Forum points to a file in the root of the above FTP Folder which will download all of the Vaio P Windows XP drivers and create a Windows XP Driver CD.

I ordered a screen protector from eBay and I am considering upgrading to the 4 cell extended battery -and possibly later replacing the 1.8” PATA 60GB drive with a SSD Drive.


Sony Vaio VGN-P530H/Q

I sold my Gateway LT3103u a few weeks ago and I have been looking for a replacement ‘carry-around’ notebook (my Gateway P-6860FX is a great laptop, but it is also a 9.3lb device with a 17” screen –and not something I want to keep in my backpack all the time).

I looked at some of the new CULV laptops, but their price vs. performance isn’t where it needs to be yet. The lower end (SU3500; Core2 Solo 1.4Ghz) is has about 160% the processing power of a 1.6Ghz Atom N270 (488 vs. 304 on Passmark), it is sells for $100-$200 more (using $300 as the current average price for a NetBook).

The high-end CULV (SU9700, Core2 Duo 1.6Ghz) is almost four times as fast (1106 vs. 304), but most models sell for 2 to 4 times the price of an average NetBook.

CPU Type Passmark Score
Intel Atom Z520 @ 1.33GHz 251
Intel SU1300 @ 1.06GHz 264
Intel Atom Z530 @ 1.60GHz 295
Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60GHz 304
Intel Atom Z540 @ 1.86GHz 306
Intel Atom 230 @ 1.60GHz 315
Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz 315
Intel Core2 Solo U2100 @ 1.06GHz 323
Intel Atom Z550 @ 2.00GHz 346
Intel SU2700 @ 1.30GHz 438
Intel Core2 Solo U3500 @ 1.40GHz 488
Intel Core2 U7500 @ 1.06GHz 571
Intel SU2500 @ 1.20GHz 581
Intel Atom 330 @ 1.60GHz 624
Intel Core2 Duo U7500 @ 1.06GHz 637
Intel Core2 U7600 @ 1.20GHz 664
Intel Core2 U7700 @ 1.33GHz 696
Intel Core2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz 709
Intel Core2 Duo U7700 @ 1.33GHz 748
Intel Core2 Duo U9300 @ 1.20GHz 768
Intel SU2300 @ 1.20GHz 930
Intel Core2 Duo U9400 @ 1.40GHz 947
Intel SU4100 @ 1.30GHz 971
Intel SU7300 @ 1.30GHz 1005
Intel Core2 Duo U9600 @ 1.60GHz 1106
Intel Core2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz 1476
Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 @ 3.00GHz 4456
Information obtained from Passmark Website

The big benefit in the CULV systems is that they are very thin & light and can have between 8 to 12 hours of run time on a single battery charge. All of the systems I looked at were 12” to 14” screens with 1366x768 resolution (for 720p capability)- which is the same resolution that most of the newer NetBooks feature.

I had resigned to lugging around my old faithful Gateway, but I decided to keep looking in case a good deal caught my eye.

image This afternoon I was making my normal weekend rounds (Fry’s, MicroCetner, GameStop, etc) and I came across the Sony VGN-P530H/Q at MicroCenter- on sale for $499. This device launched at $899 and the current lowest online price I can find is $634.99 (for a refurb unit from Geeks.com).

It is a lowly Atom Z520 (1.33Ghz) but it comes with 2GB of RAM (hard-soldered to the board), a 60GB hard drive, WiFi b/g/n and an integrated webcam. What sets this apart from other ‘NetBooks’ is the integrated Bluetooth, GPS, Verizon EVDO and (wait for it) an 8” LED backlit screen with 1600x768 resolution!

The system ships with Vista Home Basic and it runs like crap; If I decide to purchase it would immediately be formatted and loaded with Windows 7.

Still debating if I can handle a 1.33Ghz CPU, but it is a pretty damn good buy for a micro-sized 1.5lb laptop!

Research Notes: