Friday, January 28, 2011

Resetting ethernet connection on Brother Printers

At work we have an older Brother HL 5170DN that stopped communicating with the network, showed up as Offline and stopped being detected by the BR Admin software. It seemed like the Ethernet (wired) network connection just gave up. I found directions online to reboot the printer (holding the Go button and then releasing when all the LCD flash - or something like that) and I still couldn't get it to work.

Then we purchased a brand new Brother HL 2270DW. I proceeded to unpack it, reset the toner cartridge, plug it into the network and then power it on. When the 2270DW came online again the network connection (Ethernet) wouldn't work - no activity lights. I found the directions for this Brother Printer and to reset it you:

  1. Turn the Machine Off
  2. Hold down Go as you power the Machine On
  3. Keep Go pressed down until all the LEDs light up and the Ready light turns off
  4. Release Go and all the LEDs should turn off
  5. Press Go 6 times!
  6. The 2270DW is now reset!
Once I reset the 2270DW the network card showed activity and it appeared in the BR Admin software. I took a chance and used the same method on the older Brother HL5170 and it reset that machine as well. Awesome.

O'Reilly Blogger Review Program Approved

My application was approved to become an O'Reilly Blogger Book Reviewer. Check out the cool badge:

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

I've requested to review The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun via eBook (think Kindle) so sooner or later I will be posting a review. There are also several other books I want / need to post reviews on including James Whittaker's How to Break Software series - related to Testing.

When I signed up on O' (I guess I'm considered a member) I now get huge discounts on their books. You should sign up as well. I found one eBook that I really want to read called An Introduction to Testing Web Applications with twill and Selenium by C. Titus Brown, Gheorghe Gheorghiu and Jason Huggins. I've used Selenium but never heard of twill so I'm excited to check them out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Finally a payoff to becoming a blogger. sort of.

O'Reilly Media will send bloggers eBooks, videos, etc. in exchange for reviews. I follow Scott Berkun who wrote Myths of Innovation and he mentioned it's one of the books available to read and review. Here's hoping I get the chance!

If you'd like to join the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program sign up here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

PMBOK Guide 4th Edition Free Download

I'd been browsing the web looking for digital books to replace the physical ones I own when I came across the Project Management Institute's (or PMI for short) Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (or PMBOK) 4th edition as a PDF.

If you are already a PMI member you can download a free version of the PMBOK Guide 4th by logging into PMI's website, go to the members area, select the resources tab and click on the global library.

If you're not a PMI member you can probably find the PMBOK guide on Rapidshare or the Just search for PMBOK.

This is an excellent project management book to have as a reference. So if you like it, purchase it.

If you like this post please leave a comment! Also check out these other posts while you're here:

Handbrake 0.9.5 just released

Handbrake, everyone's favorite open-source video transcoder that can be used to rip / convert just about any movie type now has a new version out. Handbrake 0.9.5 was just released for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This is the first new version in at least a year and a half.

Release Highlights (selectively copied from their forum):

  • BluRay disc structure support. (No decryption support) 
  • Updated Libraries (x264, ffmpeg) 
  • MP3 audio now supported in MP4 files (Note: Limited Player compatibility) 
  • VOBSUB subtitle now supported in MP4 files (Note: Limited Player compatibility) 
  • Updated Presets for newer devices and better quality 
  • AC3 encoding support. 
  • Many Bug Fixes and other small improvements
  • Improved DVD Main Feature detection (when using dvdnav) 
  • Universal audio downmix support (all audio types can be downmixed) 
  • Point*to*Point encoding (second or frame start and end times)
  • Peak framerate option (Capped VFR) 
  • Updated x264 Advanced Panel
  • Video Quality Slider drops % value and only shows RF for x264
  • Batch Scan (Scan Multiple files at once. N.B: Does not include multiple VIDEO_TS folders / Image files) 
  • Many Tweaks to improve usability.
  • Ability to edit queue jobs

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Case of the rebooting Kindle

A few days ago my new Kindle 3G (version 3) started rebooting all on it's own. Out of the blue it would restart on its own, be fine for several hours and then it would do the same thing again. It was completely random. I decided to contact Amazon support.

The nice customer support agent had me remove the Kindle from it's Leather Case and then showed me how to give it a hard reboot. (To reboot / reset the Kindle, slide the power switch to the right and hold it there for 20 seconds. The screen should go blank within a few moments, flicker or flash a few times, and then you'll see the main loading screen.)
As it turns out this leather case for the Kindle is defective and causes the devices to randomly reboot. The nice customer service rep couldn't explain why the case was defective nor why it was causing reboots but he did say that Amazon was taking care of customers.

For my troubles Amazon credited back the cost of the original case and then gave me a $25 promotional credit that I could apply towards the use of the Kindle Lighted Leather Cover which apparently doesn't have the problem. Essentially Amazon is giving customers of the original Leather Cover a free upgrade to the Lighted Cover.

It sucks the Leather Cover has this problem to begin with but it's good to see Amazon doing the right thing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kindle Hacking - Backing up eBooks

I just bought my first "real ebook" (aka not free) from Amazon and it so I wanted to back it up. I previously posted about having watched this video on removing the Kindle Book DRM using a few Python scripts on Windows when I came across the full blog post on Too Smart Guys.

In reality you don't need to watch the video from Too Smart Guys to backup your eBooks. First you need to remove the DRM from the .AZW book you downloaded then, if you want, convert it to a more open format. You can do this using the work around by Unskindle and Calibre which I will spell out for you below:

  1. Purchase a Kindle book from Amazon. I decided to buy The Comback by Gary Shapiro - it ties in well since I just went to CES a few weeks ago! DRM is bad, paying the author for their work is not.
  2. Go to the Unskindle Guide and download their software here
  3. Extract the software to C:\skindle
  4. Open your Kindle for PC software and make sure the book gets downloaded to your computer. 
  5. Browse to your My Kindle Content folder (probably Documents\My Kindle Content) and locate the book in the .azw format. If you have multiple books in the .azw format you can just double click on each until you find the correct one. Mine was called B004GNFONK_EBOK.azw.
  6. Copy your .azw format book and paste it in the C:\skindle folder
  7. Open the book you just copied over, make sure the Kindle PC software reads it.
  8. Open a command prompt and browse to C:\skindle
  9. Now type in the following command
  10. skindle -v -i name_of_the_book.azw -o new_name.azw
  11. To make sure you put the correct name_of_the_book.azw, just copy it from the actual file.
  12. In a few seconds your new_name.azw output file will be DRM free
You can stop here and you are all done. You've now removed the DRM off your Amazon eBook and can use it on another Kindle or device that reads .azw formats. If you want to make it truly compatible continue on and convert it into a .MOBI format. 

  1. Download and install calibre
  2. Drag and drop your newly created (DRM free) .azw file into the library
  3. Click the convert button at the top
  4. When it's done, right click on the file in the library and say Open Location and there you will have a DRM free .mobi eBook.
I believe you should have some way to use your eBook purchases on any device that you choose, no matter what the DRM is. This is the same problem music publishers have - if you have an iPod you're stuck with iTunes and if you have a Zune with the Zune Marketplace.

You should also have a way to back up your eBooks, regardless if they are stored within Amazon. We've seen Amazon pull books from people's Kindles when they've gotten into a fight with the publisher. Amazon will also remove old periodicals (you can keep up to 7, unless you specify to keep them individually) to make sure you have space on your device.

This post was rewritten on 1/22/2011 because I thought the previous posting missed the point. Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Worth Monkey; a Gadget Price Estimator

Worth Monkey

I used this website a while back to value my Macbook Air and Dell Studio XPS 8000 but then couldn't remember what it was called. Basically you enter the name, part number, or description of an item you want to sell (gadgets) and it searches it's index and provides you with several price points for the item in the form of a bell curve.

At the very least it's a good reference.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tesla Model S

Tesla was all over the Consumer Electronics Show this last weekend. The Tesla Roadster was positioned outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and at least 2 or 3 others were placed at specific booths inside the show. I captured one in front of the Panasonic booth.

Outside of the convention center Tesla was showing off the new Model S sedan. I would have loved to get a video or a few photos unfortunately I had killed my iPhone's battery by that point. As we approached the area where the car was it took me a few minutes before I recognized it. As you can see below (this was the actual car on display) it looks closer to a Jaguar than to the Tesla (or the Roadsters body twin the Lotus Elise). I was able to briefly talk to the Tesla rep and then picked up the following booklet:

According to this booklet, Tesla will have 3 models with different ranges: 160 miles, 230 miles and 300 miles and the starting price will be around $50,000 (before any federal tax breaks). I'm assuming that means $50,000 for the 160 mile range version, not the 300 mile range. The rep mentioned the vehicle is aimed at the BMW 5 series and Porsche Cayman which puts it in a completely different category than the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf.

It's a great looking car but I think I'll wait for the prices to come down in a few years besides it won't be out until Q1 or Q2 of 2012. Over the years the Roadster has come down in price thanks to manufacturing advancements and economies of scale so its only a matter of time before the Model S does as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 International CES Photos and Videos

I've posted photos taken via my iPhone 4, so I apologize if some are blurry, on Flickr.

I've also posted a few videos on YouTube:

This first video is me playing with the new Blackberry Playbook tablet at the Blackberry booth. I was surprised how quick and seamless the tablet seemed to perform with it's QNX operating system. It was bolted down so I couldn't really handle it much but it had two nice cameras (one on the front for video chats and another on the back) and it supports a more Windows 7 like multi-tasking interface.

The Playbook uses a web-kit based web browser and so I decided to run a HTML 5 test I found using Google. The browser seemed to score well and as the video shows it supports tabbed browsing. Yay!

These next two videos are from a demonstration from Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd did. Murata is a large diversified manufacturer so in order to give consumers an idea of what it does, it built these two robots to show off.

Here is Murata Boy:

Here is Murata Girl:

At the very end of the first segment you might notice Murata Girl starts to fall. I wish I had kept recording because she falls head first into the ground which forces the demonstrators take a few minutes to reassemble her head. Good times.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Setting up HTTPS / SSL on IIS 7 (Windows Vista/7/2008)

My coworker forwarded me this article on setting up SSL (HTTPS) on IIS 7.0 using self signed certificates. Works on IIS 7.0 which is found in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 2008. It's super easy to follow:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 International Consumer Electronics (CES) Show

This Saturday, I'll be at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) roaming around Las Vegas looking at the latest and coolest gear the world has to offer. I'll be joined by my new CR-48 Chrome Notebook which I will use to post as many cool things as I can.

I might even be able to use my iPhone to micro-blog videos and pictures of the coolest things but I have to remember:
  1. It's Vegas (drinking, etc.)
  2. I've never been to CES before (information overload) 
  3. There are a ton of events and exhibits to check out (lots of exploring to do)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hiding the Blogger NavBar

If you don't like Google's toolbar at the top of your blog, also called the NavBar, you can hide, disable or remove it manually by editing the HTML of your blog theme / template. Blogger used to give you the option to remove the NavBar easily but got rid of that option years go. To disable / remove it:

Using the new layout:
  1. Go to the Template page
  2. Click "Edit HTML"
  3. At the warning message click "Proceed"
  4. Search for the "body {" tag 
    1. Note: You may find several matches
  5. It will be located under template-skin area
  6. Copy and paste:

  7. #navbar { height: 0px; visibility: hidden; display: none; }
  8. Save your changes