Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Panasonic SV-AV100

Just got a smoking deal on this camera at Circuit City — open box price of $350 with a $100 mail-in rebate for a net price of $250.  Many people do not like the AV100 as compared with MiniDV because of the straight digital recording, and I would tend to agree, but I’m not trying to produce motion pictures, rather I’m trying to capture small movies with a camera that has an extremely small form factor (there’s no MiniDV camera out there that can touch the AV100 and the JVC Everio at $1000 was not an option).

One of the main quirks with the AV100 is that out of the box it will only allow MPEG2 recording on Panasonic-branded SD cards.  Luckily, there is a fix for this.  If you download this firmware update, you will be able to use all brands of SD cards that meet the speed requirements for MPEG2 recording.  Here’s how I got the firmware to work:

  • Format the SD card in the camera.  My camera did not come with a Panasonic SD card, so I simply formatted a SanDisk 512MB card.
  • Attach the camera to a PC with the USB cable.  Windows was able to find all of the drivers for the camera online through Windows Update.
  • Open the camera through My Computer and delete all of the folders.
  • Drag the firmware upgrade into the camera.
  • Eject the camera and turn it off.
  • Turn the camera on and it should prompt for whether or not you want to do the firmware update.  Select “Yes.” 
  • Once the firmware update is done, the camera will ask you to power cycle.  When the camera reboots, it will tell you that the firmware update has already been applied and will ask if you want to format the SD card; select “Yes” and you will be ready to go.

There are more instructions on how to load the firmware on the link above.  Some people in the forum did not have quite as easy a time as I did, so a lot of this depends on your system and configuration.  Note that you will not really be able to do this on a Mac.

The other quirk in this camera is that there are no Mac drivers to address the camera directly through USB.  This is a small problem and easily overcome by getting a USB card reader that is Mac-compatible.  One small note that applies to both Mac and Windows is that the videos files on the card are stored as .MOD and really need to be .MPG to allow editing.  This program does the job of renaming on a Mac and this program will do it for Windows.  Other users have reported the MPEG Streamclip is a much better program on the Mac, but have yet to have a chance to try it.

I’ll continue to post my experiences with this camera and am happy to help try to answer any questions from all of you.

Forbes BOW

Here is the page for the Forbes Best of the Web blogs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New inbound links

 tiny world review

 Simplicity Blog

 Clarke Ching's I Think Not, Baby Puppy 

Special K’s Trading Diary

Thanks for linking to me.

Motorola Q

The web is buzzing with the introduction of the Motorola Q (not available until Q1 of 2006).  Probably the best post to get a true view of the size of the device is this post on Engadget that shows the Q next to a Treo 650, a Blackberry, and a Blackberry 7100 series.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Konfabulator now is Yahoo! Widgets

Apparently Yahoo! bought Konfabulator and has already re-launched the products as Yahoo! Widgets.  Not surprisingly, many of the default installation widgets are Yahoo! Search, Weather, Finance, and Picture Frame.  Now to download the software, you need to sign up for a Yahoo! ID (once again, not surprising), but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of having to pay for the product — in fact if you go to the old Konfabulator site, this is confirmed (there’s a nice little comic strip on the site as well).

Google Maps competition

MSN Virtual Earth is live.  The little zoom effect is pretty cool, but I don’t see the Google Maps-like pointer that shows the exact address that I punched in so that I can get to or from directions immediately.  Also, the service does not seem to be able to find my work address — it’s mapping somewhere that’s off by about 10 miles.  I’ll stick with Google Maps for now.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Good reads from Seth's blog

An interesting story about Seth’s experience at a Starbuck’s.  Think about this quote from Tom Peters: “The Customer Comes Second.  That is — and this, dear Watson, is elementary — if you genuinely want to put customers first, you must put employees more first.”

A quick story about car seats.  If you think that car seats are as effective as seatbelts for children over 2, you should probably read this article on Freakonomics (actually, you should probably read the whole book, but this is a good start).  From Seth’s post:

It goes to stories. It feels like you're doing something smart and thoughtful and caring for your child. The effort gives the parent peace of mind and joy. The government gets to pass a law that seems cheap and caring. Everyone conspires to do the wasteful thing because of the story it allows us to tell ourselves.

Is good enough really good enough?  Seth doesn’t necessarily think so and neither does the Tom Peters Company in the UK.  From Seth’s post:

  1. Humans tend to work on a problem until they get a good enough solution, instead of a solution that's right.
  2. The marketplace often rewards solutions that are cheaper and good enough, instead of investing in the solution that promises to lead to the right answer.

The Power of 4.  From the post:

"...If merely four people of out of a hundred can make gridlock go away by choosing not to use their car, imagine the other changes that can be wrought just by four of us out of a hundred. Take a hundred musicians in a  depressed port city in Northern England, choose John, Paul, George and Ringo and you have "Hey Jude."

Seth wonders why we can’t treat people like they’re smart.  The common seduction seems to be to reduce everything to the dumbest denominator to ensure that “everyone” can understand.  Hey, I’m smart; stop treating me like I’m dumb (or asleep, depending on the semantics you choose).

The new big is really small.  This post describes exactly why small is the new big:

  •  Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change the business model when your competition changes theirs.
  • Small means you can tell the truth on your blog.
  • Small means that you can answer email from your customers.

It's not Longhorn any more

It’s Windows Vista.  Read here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What is Windows One Care?

Well, it seems to be an integrated virus, spyware, and update service.  Currently the beta is live and they are accepting applicants for the beta test.  Ok maybe there’s a little more to it, from the overview page:

  • Antivirus, two-way firewall, and antispyware help protect your computer from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, hackers, spyware threats, and other unwanted software.
  • A monthly tune-up takes care of routine maintenance to help improve your computer’s performance.
  • Full and incremental CD and DVD backups make it easy to help protect your important data from loss or corruption from things such as accidental deletion or viruses.

Unsupported MS free program for mounting ISO

Found out about this on tech-recipes when looking for something to mount an ISO file with.  The program can be found here, and while it’s available from Microsoft's download site, the Read Me clearly states that it is unsupported by Microsoft’s Product Support.  Who cares?  The thing works and that’s good enough for me.

If you use a Nextel Blackberry 7520

You can get a free spellcheck download.  Download over-the-air by pointing your browser to:  I just downloaded it and it works great (can’t beat the price).

Firefox 1.0.6 is now available

Even if the little red arrow isn’t showing up in your browser, you can download the update here.

Harry Potter

I just finished the new Harry Potter book last night and it’s really good.  However, I will have to admit that I probably should have gone back and read the previous book because I definitely did not remember some of the stuff.

For those that have not read the book, I will not ruin anything, but I will say that it is quite obvious that Rowland has teed herself up to write at least 5 more books.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Feedburner Adsense for feeds

I have also added AdSense for Feeds to my FeedBurner RSS feed.  Here are the quick directions for this:

  • Log into your FeedBurner account.
  • Select the Burned Feed that you want to add AdSense for Feeds to by clicking “Edit”.
  • Scroll down to “Commerce Services”.
  • Check the box next to “Google AdSense”.
  • Log into Google AdSense.
  • Click the “AdSense for Content” tab.
  • Under “Ad Type” check the radio box next to “AdSense for feeds unit”.
  • Scroll down to the AdSense Code box and look at the last line of code.
  • You are searching for the number preceded by “pub-”.
  • Copy the number out of AdSense and paste it into the “Your AdSense Client Identifier” box in FeedBurner.
  • Input your “Channel” from AdSense if applicable.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the FeedBurner page and click “Save Feed Settings”.

Figured it out -- Adsense for Feeds on Blogger

For anyone that’s trying to add Google AdSense for Feeds to their Blogger site:

  • Log into
  • At your Dashboard, select the blog to which you are trying to add the AdSense for Feeds.
  • Click the “Settings” tab.
  • Click the “Site Feed” sub-tab.
  • Copy the AdSense for Feeds code out of your Google AdSense site (note that you must be signed up for AdSense and have received activation of AdSense for Feeds in order to access this code).
  • Paste the AdSense for Feeds code into the “Article Footer” box.
  • Click “Save Settings.”
  • Click “Re-Publish Index” once it says your settings have been saved.
  • Do a test post and view it through a feedreader like Bloglines to ensure that everything worked correctly.

Note that unless you paste the AdSense for Feeds code into your Blogger template, the ads will not be visible on the HTML version of your site.

Google RSS advertising

So the first thing I noticed is that the Google ads are way too long for the way my sheet is set up — I’ll have to play around with my sheet or see if I can configure the size of the ads for the page.  The second thing I noticed is that the ads are not getting picked up in the ATOM feed — not sure what to do about this; does anyone have any suggestions?

What kind of car do you drive?

You may want to take a look at the list of the most-stolen cars of 2004.  Looks like there’s an awful lot of Acuras on the list.


I’ve gotten a lot of invitations from people that I am linked to with LinkedIn to join OpenBC.  OpenBC seems to be a more global version of LinkedIn with many of the same services.  Anyone using this and liking it better than LinkedIn?  Should I be on both of these services?

Couple of things with iTunes

This digg describes how a company is trying to distribute PDFs through iTunes — the best part is that it is working, I tried it myself.  Now it would be really cool if Apple put some of the Spotlight features into iTunes so that you could search inside PDFs from within iTunes (Windows or Mac).

This digg describes how you can use a program called Handbrake to extract DVDs and organize them in iTunes.  Handbrake only work on Mac, but my guess would be that you could find a Windows program that does the same thing and organize your video files in iTunes for Windows.

Experimenting with Google feed ads

I received approval from Google a few months ago to participate in their advertising for feeds program, but have just gotten around to activating and playing around with it.  You’ll probably see ads show up starting with this post if you read my blog via a feedreader.  Please leave comments with your thoughts on this service.

Google Moon

Google now provides locations of lunar landings on Google Moon.  Hint: zoom all the way in.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Portable Firefox 1.0.5

Portable Firefox 1.0.5 had been released here.  What is portable Firefox?  It is a version of Firefox optimized to run on a USB keychain drive.  Before you get too excited, bear in mind that a 1.0.6 upgrade of Firefox is just around the corner because the 1.0.5 screwed up something in the API and broke a bunch of 3rd party programs.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Interesting comments on Google

Yes, it’s more than 1 year old, but there is a fascinating post on the Weblog about Google.  From the post:

Google is a company that has built a single very large, custom computer. It's running their own cluster operating system. They make their big computer even bigger and faster each month, while lowering the cost of CPU cycles. It's looking more like a general purpose platform than a cluster optimized for a single application.

While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.

This computer is running the world's top search engine, a social networking service, a shopping price comparison engine, a new email service, and a local search/yellow pages engine. What will they do next with the world's biggest computer and most advanced operating system?

RSS screensaver

I am usually suspicious of free screensaver downloads as they normally contain adware.  However, the RSS Screensaver from NuParadigm doesn’t seem to contain an adware and supports multiple RSS (Atom, RDF, and RSS to be exact) that float over a picture background.  The Microsoft .NET framework is required to run the screensaver.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Monday, July 11, 2005

I would like a pizza with a Cingular Blackberry 7100g

And you can have it!  According to this post on BBHub, Papa John’s is giving away a free Blackberry 7100g with any online pizza order.  Here’s the fine print from the post:

Of course you'll have to commit to a two-year voice and data service agreement at $74.98 a month. The Cingular Wireless contract consists of an email data plan at $34.99 a month plus a $39.99 a month voice plan.

The voice plan offers 450 anytime minutes, plus 5000 night and weekend minutes and mobile to mobile unlimited calling.

You pay $150 up front and you'll get  a $150.00 Mail-In Rebate when your Blackberry 7100g arrives.

Full details from the Papa John’s site here and note that you have to order your base pizza, a Papa John’s side item, and 2 20oz beverages (Coke product, of course) to get the offer; still cheaper than the $349 bas price of the 7100.

Live8 Video Downloads

Straight from this Digg, you can find them here.

Wolfgang Puck self-heating can dissected

See the dissection complete with pictures right here.

Yahoo RSS search

It’s live right here (at least the test version is).  My favorite part?  The language below the search box:

This Yahoo! Search service finds lorem ipsum doler itum foo bar blah blah blah mktg spiel.

Front Pages

You can view the front pages of newspapers from 47 countries on this site — it’s pretty interesting to see how many papers run the same headlines on global events.


Check out this site of small applications — think putting stuff onto your thumbdrive.  Almost all the programs are freeware.

56 Ideas/Suggestions for presentation excellence

From Tom Peters himself — find the presentation (about presenting) right here.

Do you have a waiting room?

If you do, do you provide wireless internet access?  Please tell me that you are because the idea is out there and the cost is minimal if you are already paying for internet access to your office.  Think about doing this today — you are already behind the curve.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tablet PC OS memory leak fixed

Now I can finally get rid of that .bat file that I had to use to correct this problem throughout the day.  Download the patch right here.  Note that the download requires a Windows Genuine Authentication before it will allow you to get the .exe file.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bowflex Revolution

The Bowflex Revolution is a radically designed home gym from the people you expect to see selling radically designed home gyms.  The machine uses the same kind of technology that is used by astronauts to work out in the space station.  The interesting thing about this Bowflex is that it seems configurable into a full upper body workout machine that can easily convert into a rowing machine.

The Revolution is available for pre-order now and should be available by the holidays at a cost of $2,399.  Get ready for the Treadclimber and Bowflex Extreme ads and infomercials to be replaced with the Revolution.

Tollhouse s'more

I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, but yesterday I came up with a pretty tasty desert treat.  Here are the simple instructions:

  • Cook some chocolate chip cookies; it’s better if they are softer.
  • Toast marshmallows to desired temperature.
  • Put cooked marshmallow on top of cooled cookie.
  • Eat and enjoy.

The nice part is that there’s not nearly as much mess involved as normal s’mores and the cookie is not nearly as prone to breaking as a graham cracker.