Thursday, April 29, 2010

Replacing battery in Suunto Vytec Transmitter

This was originally posted on

Over a few months I started to notice my Suunto Vytec dive computer was taking a while to sync and display my tank pressure. Some time later I was doing a surface swim out to a dive site and my computer showed FAILED for my pressure. I couldn't get it to re-sync so I was forced to call off the dive. When the Vytec powers on it does a battery check so I assumed it was the battery in the wireless transmitter.

I did a quick search on eBay for a Suunto Vytec transmitter battery kit, made the purchase and installed it. It came with a 3.0 volt lithium ion battery, silicon and a new o-ring. Replacing the battery was pretty easy.

Just remove the screws from the transmitter, pull it apart, replace the battery, replace the o-ring and seal it cleanly with the silicon and you're ready to go. From that point on my Suunto Vytec synced in less than 10 seconds instead of upwards of 20-30 seconds.

The transmitter battery kit cost less than $20 including shipping. I found mine on eBay but I'm sure a Google search will turn up a number of results.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Map Microsoft Skydrive using Office 2010

A few posts ago I blogged about leaving Live Mesh for Dropbox. Now the Download Squad has a cool little hack for using Microsoft's Skydrive as a "dropbox like" service for Office 2010 Beta.

Check out the instructions here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bay InfoSystems, Inc. website

The most recent (and incomplete) Bay InfoSystems, Inc. website is now back online. Originally I had it hosted at 1&1 but they weren't very friendly to .NET sites so I've moved it to my Windows Home Server.

The Bay InfoSystems, Inc. website has gone through a number of changes since it debuted in 2004, unfortunately most of those sites source code has been lost / gone missing. In the company's honor I decided to put it back online; after all incomplete is better than missing!

A note about 1&1 Windows web hosting:
1&1 Internet says they do ASP.NET hosting but in order to actually host a .NET site you have to place them in the root directory of your account and then setup a redirect for the domain to find the files. That means it's not very easy to setup a .NET site or multiple .NET sites for that matter. I also didn't find it very easy to install and refer / connect to my SQL Server database because of the control panels interface. In the end I prefer control of my own private server with Windows.

Blogger Pages

I've just added two new pages at the top using Blogger's Pages feature. The first page is called About (to the right of Home) which offers a little description of The second page is called Links (to the right of About) and as you could probably guess is just a page of related links. I hope to expand on both of these pages over time. I removed the Scuba Professional and my personal site links to make room for these new pages. Check 'em out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Online Backup Solution for Windows Home Server with CrashPlan Central

For months I've been looking for a way to backup my HP MediaSmart 485 Window Home Server so that I'd be safe if it crashed. I use my Windows Home Server (WHS) for backing my laptop, and desktop and also for storing all my movies, music, software, etc. but what happens when the server goes down? Sure my WHS has 3 drives installed and Windows software RAIDs my files across at least 2 of those drives, but it would be nice to have some offsite storage solution - at least for ease of mind.

A quick Google search pointed me to someone who installed CrashPlan on their Windows Home Server and then used CrashPlan Central, their online offering, to successfully backup files. That same week I had been playing around with CrashPlan Pro, the business version, so I decided to give it a try.

CrashPlan Central has a free trial for 30 days and their standard backup client is free with no limitations so I figured, why not try it? I downloaded the Windows client which works for Windows 2003 and installed it on my Windows Home Server. Then I followed these instructions for creating a batch file for mounting the drives.

Essentially here's what you do:

  1. Log onto your Home Server
  2. Install the Windows CrashPlan client
  3. In the client on the Backup screen, click CrashPlan Central and setup your free 30 day trial
  4. Create a directory on one of your drives (preferably C:), the instructions call it mount. (example I use C:\cpo - aka crash plan online)
  5. Create a new batch file called "mount.bat" - or something else to your liking. I use the name cpo.bat. You can do this by creating a text file and then changing the extension from .txt to .bat, assuming you have the option switched to see extensions.
  6. Open / edit the batch file and add the following code:

echo %date% %time% : "%cd%\mount.bat" >> c:\mount\mount.log

timeout /t 60

echo "Mounting U with \\server\music" >> c:\mount\mount.log

net use U: \\server\Music /USER:server\Administrator <pw> /persistent:no >> c:\mount\mount.log 2>&1 2>&1

  1. You'll want to edit the "echo" line so that it matches your server. For example I started mounting with the drive letter F; I changed "server" to my servername and then replaced "<pw>" with my actual password.
  2. Copy and paste the "echo" line as many times as you'd like to mount as many drives as you'd like. Just remember to repeat step 7 for each of the lines otherwise you'll be mounting the same drive over and over again!
  3. Save and close your mount.bat file.
  4. Create a task in Windows Scheduler (found in C:\Windows\Tasks) to run your new mount.bat file when the computer starts.
    1. Double click on Add Scheduled Task
    2. Click next and browse to your mount.bat file and open it
    3. You can keep the default name of the schedule but set it to run "When my computer starts" and click next
    4. In the User Name field enter: NT Authority\System and leave the password fields blanks and click next
    5. Click open the box next to "Open advanced properties for this tab"
    6. Under the settings tab click "Stop the task if it runs for:" and set it to about 5 minutes
    7. Click OK or Apply and when you restart your computer all your drives will be mounted
  5. Once your Windows Home Server has rebooted, open the CrashPlan client
  6. On the Backup tab is an area called "Files to Back Up" where you can add each of your newly mounted drivers
  7. Now start backing up!

With about 10 days left on my trial I paid for the full version of CrashPlan Central which runs about $50/year. That seemed like a relatively low price for knowing at least some of my data was backed up off site.

Note: After the trial period ended, I noticed I no longer had the ability to restore files from the website. They don't really tell you this but it only comes with the CrashPlan + upgrade which runs about another $50.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reverse IP Address Lookup

Here's a good website for Reverse IP Address Lookups:

When you go to the site it displays your current IP address (external), which you can get the WHO IS information on, and it also displays a WHO IS search for other IP Addresses.

For the searches I performed I was shown specific IP information like country, region, zip code and an approximate geographic location (with a google map that was only somewhat accurate). Then you get the available WHO IS information about the IP Address providers.

It's a handy tool to have.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 and Surface Released

Microsoft released two major products today: Visual Studio 2010 and Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft today released Visual Studio 2010 which is available for purchase and/or download via MSDN. For those of us that don't have an MSDN subscription, VS2010 "Express" versions are now available here. Express versions of Visual Studio are available for Web, Windows and Windows Phone. If you're like me and just like to play around with the web versions of Visual Studio, you can download the Web Platform Installer which includes ASP.NET 4, ASP.NET MVC and VS Web Developer 2010 Express.

Microsoft also launched itsMicrosoft Surface device today. According to Microsoft's website "Microsoft Surface is a revolutionary multi-touch computer that responds to natural hand gestures and real-world objects, helping people interact with digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, horizontal user interface, Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with data and each other."

The surface can be yours for as little as $12,500 according to the order from on the Microsoft Surface's homepage. Based on the past video's demoing the product it's touch screen capabilities are simply amazing. Now where are we supposed to go if we want to test drive one before purchasing? Do you think Best Buy will get them? (Probably not).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Converting PDF's to ePub and eReader formats

I have a feeling this article from Lifehacker on converting PDFs to ePub and other ereader formats will come in handy soon. Lifehacker recommends downloading and installing Calibre e-book manager which is a free program to convert over and edit the meta data for your PDF eBooks. With Calibre you can covert non DRM PDF files into the ePub format that iTunes recognizes and sync them. If I'm not mistaken the Kindle software also uses the ePub format.

Currently there are only a few eBooks that I own that I'd like to convert, including my 2010 PADI Instructor Manual.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bye Bye Mesh, Hello Dropbox

The last few months I've been using both Microsoft's Live Mesh and Dropbox to synchronize my documents between my laptop, desktop and computer. It's especially handy for keeping OneNote Notebooks synchronized, which for work is where I keep all my notes. There a few things that I liked about each of the service.

• Configure each sync’d folder’s location individually – music, documents, etc.
• Remote Desktop into any “active” machines
• 5GB of Space

• Cleaner interface – Mesh had a bad habit of automatically putting shortcuts on my desktop and would try to integrate into windows explorer in a bad way
• iPhone Application – always nice
• Fast synchronization of documents – especially changes in current documents
• 2 – 2.5GB of Space
• Faster development cycle – dedication to a particular product can have its advantages

Mesh offered some really nice features like more free space (5GB) and Remote Desktop access but I didn't like the Remote Desktop interface it used and in the end Mesh had problems recognizing when I would edit a single document multiple times. Honestly that was just unacceptable. Also, while I realize it's not a lot, the added iPhone capabilities do help.

General Motors Owner Center

I was recently browsing new cars on and I came across the Chevy / GM Owner Center so I decided to take a look at it.

It's hosted by Yahoo which means you need to have a Yahoo account to sign in and since Yahoo also owns flickr I didn't have to sign up. The first thing you do is add a vehicle, which you can add based on your name or the vehicles VIN number. Once you add the vehicle you specify your vehicle mileage and your zip code for location based information.

The next time you login you are presented with a dashboard with your vehicle information, preferred dealer, mileage and estimated next oil change. You are also given a link to your vehicles owner manual. Aside from the section directly below the dashboard with accounts you can add like OnStar, GMAC information, Service Records, Offers and Recall information.

The rest of the page, aside from local gas prices search, is setup to advertise new GM promotions, vehicles, etc. that have no relevance to your ownership of a vehicle. In fact all it does is cover the page in irrelevant advertising in exchange for basic information on your vehicle and a place to manually enter your own service records. It would be nice if the service records would pull automatically from the dealership but no it doesn't.

Honestly I'm a bit disappointed with the Owner Center; aside from the Owner's Manual, local gas prices and perhaps recall information, it provides the user with no helpful information. I don't have any use for a chevy community group or another Yahoo sponsored features. I don't care to look at pictures of new vehicles and I certainly don't like that I can't customize the page. The GM Owner Center wouldn't be nearly as bad if I could customize the information I want to see. Oh well, what do you expect?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Disable Hibernation in Windows 7

I don't know anyone that uses Hibernation anymore so when it appeared as an option on my shutdown menu in Windows 7 I was a little curious as to how to remove it. Below is an article from Microsoft on how to enable and disable Hibernation in Windows 7.