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18May/140

Nook Simple Touch

Posted by Dennis

Sadly B&N has decided to discontinue the Nook Simple Touch and Simple Touch Glow.    It's a shame as for a dedicated e-reader for my needs it was perfect.  Perfect enough I own 7 of them, one for each member of the family and a couple of spares.  The new model is a couple steps backward in my opinion and I'll only be picking one up assuming I absolutely have to.

One of the kids developed an issue where it would only run when plugged in.  The battery appeared to be fine, it would charge and hit 100%.  You could start it off the charger but a few seconds into the home screen it would lock up.  Plug it and it would restart and be fine until you unplugged it where it would run for a few seconds then lock up.

I tried several things, a Erase and Deregister from inside the Nook OS as well as a 8 canceled reboot wipe and re-image.  I even rooted it and tried different launchers.

In the end what worked was pretty simple.  I popped off the power button and used one of those little screwdrivers you get with an eyeglass repair kit to remove the torx screw under it.  The screw was covered with a little 'anti tamper' piece of paper but out of warranty and not working that little paper didn't scare me.   If you're a proper nerd you might have the Torx 5 (or 6) driver for it.  I didn't so I used what I had which worked fine.

You then push the back so it slides about 1/4" the it pulls right off.   The battery is attached to the back and a power cable connects to the system board.   Pop the power cord off of the system board and then press the tiny white button that's on the system board where the power button cover was and hold it for 30 seconds to discharge any lingering power.

Plug the battery back in and the nook should start up.

If you're lucky like me your NOok should be fine at that point.  What you've done, I believe, is cleared the NST and basically told the nook it has a new battery.

Time will tell if this is a permanent fix but it's been working for a few hours now and I'm calling it good until proven otherwise.  So if you're having this problem, don't throw out that Nook just yet, it might be a very simple 5 minute fix and you'll be back to reading in the sunlight and avoiding buying into the 'We'll delete your books any time we like" Amazon dicatorship.

Unlike many other  tablets, ereaders etc, the Nook Simple Touch and Tough Glow are very easy to replace the battery and you can pick up batteries online for between $15 and $30.

19Jan/111

Nook Color Update

Posted by Dennis

Had to return my Nook Color last night as it was one of the ones exhibiting the sound issue.   The issue is that sound doesn't work after the device goes to sleep and you wake it back up.  You have to power it off/reboot it to get sound back.  As a feature that's just not acceptable.

A quick search revealed lots of people with the problem.  So I called my Barnes and Noble and asked if I could exchange it.  Some people were saying their B&N's had stopped honoring exchanges for this issue as it was a 'known issue' and 'being worked on'.   That sounded like ass to me as I listen to podcasts a lot and didn't want to have bounce it every time I walked away for two minutes to be able to listen again.

Happily my B&N replaced it without any significant issue, it probably helped I had the receipt.  I tested the new one in the store before leaving using Pandora and it was a good one. To test open and power up the Nook there at the store.  A quick test is simply to set it down for 2 minutes while it goes to sleep.  Once the screen has gone dark wake it up with the N button and side the unlock.  If you don't hear a sound then it's a bad on.  You can 'prove' it better if you have to by using Pandora if they give you a hard time about it.

Since the problem persists from 1.0.0 and 1.0.1, Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 and some Nook's have it and some don't, this screams hardware problem to me.  A software update 'might' fix it eventually but it'll be a work around for a bad batch of hardware.  I'd rather have a good one myself.

Android 2.2 Froyo is still not really worth it in terms of using it as a daily driver.  2.1 AutoNootered works just brilliantly.

I've also been able to flash with a custom kernal and boost the performance from 800mhz to 950mhz while saving 15% battery life.  How awesome is that?

Filed under: Life, Modding, Technology 1 Comment
31Dec/101

Jailbroken Iphone 3GS TV Out Issue

Posted by Dennis

Just wanted to post this as it took me a bit to find.  If you happen to have a Jailbroken Iphone 3GS (other models may also be affected but it seems to be the 3GS) and its only 3.1.2 or higher or you used limerain or greenpoison (I forget the l33t spelling for those and too lazy to look it up) and JB a 4.x then you've probably broken your TV Out function.

I found this out because I use Air Player to stream videos from my media server while I use my treadmill but as the iphone screen is, let's face it, pretty damn small for video watching especially while running, I picked up a TV to mount in front of the treadmill.  Then found out I couldn't get any video out of the phone. Research lead me down a lot of avenues "3gs not supported, a big lot of bad cables out of china, bad settings, broken updates" before I finally found some valid information.

The root cause appears to be something the Cydia app does called 'stashing' where it moves some files out of the private data area.   Obviously this only affects Jailbroken phones.  If you have a problem and you don't have a jailbroken phone and you're using the overpriced Apple able then you have a different problem.   I should mention also that with iOS 3.1.2 Apple changed the firmware to require an Apple cable only to get working TV Out, there's a chip in the cable that the phone can check.  No chip, no TV output.  When third party cables can be had for 1/5th price, it seems like another typical Apple policy.

The symptons is you get sound out from your iphone AV out (composite and component) cable but the video is blank.  It outputs a video signal but it's blank.

The Resupported4 app available through cydia MAY fix it.  For me it just caused every app that normally does TV out, Photo's iPod to lock the phone requireing a hard reset.  YMMV of course but as it's a pay to play app, I'd avoid it.   I mention it here only because some people said it worked.

What did work perfectly is TVOut2.  This is a free app available through Cydia and not only fixes the TV Out function or replaces it or whatever (it just works which is all I care about) but it can be used to output everything through the TV Out cable which for some unknown but undoubtedly stupid reason Apple doesn't want you doing.

Anyway there you go.

3Aug/100

I’m Back

Posted by Dennis

I'm back from my self imposed exile away from any real computer access except through my phone for the last two weeks.  Will get something up soonest after I get caught back up with life, work and everything.

Filed under: General, Life No Comments
8Aug/092

Wizards the new Disney?

Posted by Dennis

It was just a first level module, it wasn't hurting anyone...Wizards has posted their fan site policy.  One paragraph in particular disturbs me greatly as it implies that it's illegal for anyone to release any material, free or otherwise, to anyone else.

I've emphasized the pertinent bits below -

Please note that this Fan Site Policy does not allow you to publish, distribute or sell your own free-to-use games, modules or applications for any of Wizards' brands including, but not limited to, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. If you want to engage in any of these activities related to Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, such use is subject to the Game System License http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/welcome. For questions concerning digital rights for all other Wizards brands, please visit www.wizards.com/customerservice.

Is there any way to read other than if you write a module, using 100% of your own work from the layout to the creatures (or not), that you run the risk of the Wizards legal team from doing everything from a C&D to a full blown lawsuit against you?

So Asmor's monster creature, being an application to create monsters for 4th edition is illegal in spite of the great help it provided to everyone?

An excel based character sheet?  Does that fall under the application rule?  So now you can't offer those up for download?

Do home brew classes, monsters, spells, feats?  Is Wizards claiming those are illegal?

It sounds very much like they're wanting to be the sole provider of anything D&D related. Â  You shant play anything but official material, read anything but official material or use anything but official material in your game.

Or maybe I'm reading that wrong, perhaps they're not the newest [world war 2 organization reference] or [nutcase religious group founded by a crackpot reference that sues anyone and everyone] on the block.  Perhaps they're not.  Time will certainly tell won't it....

Image credits

Filed under: DnD, Life 2 Comments
21Jun/092

Double decker gaming table

Posted by Dennis

LitWell my two level table is finished.  It's far from furniture quality or even up to my normal standards but like my wife reminded me when I was picking out good wood, "who are you trying to impress?" and I had to agree.  So this is a very rough construction for me.  No inner bracing, just glue and wood biscuits with a few screws screws to hold it all together while the glue dries. Â  After manhandling in and out of the house to do the fitting and finishing it'll hold up to any normal or even abnormal play.

So while it's not 'awesome' it works, it's acceptable for playing and it's sturdy enough for what I need it for.  These pictures are with the lighting on and with it off because of the flare out when it's on.

I hope to use it in the next week or two with a some new players as well as a couple or three of the old ones.Unlit

Now that I've done it once what I like to do is use frosted polycarbonite as the table top and base and put lighting inside it to really make a decent glow and indirect lighting effect that would be pretty cool I think.  And with the right lighting setup I'd be able to cycle the lighting to different colors for dramatic effect.  Yellow for daytime and cycle it to blue for night, red for battle and green for happy times, things like that. Â  I think big.

The reason it's white for the curious is that I needed/wanted it to reflect as much of the light as possible to make it easy to read otherwise I'd of gone with 'good wood' and stained it to match the original table style.

Filed under: Gaming, Life 2 Comments
14May/090

Facebook

Posted by Dennis

I have to say that Facebook is not very intuitive and this from a 20 year IT professional with more flipping acronyms at the end of his name and experience at the lowest and highest tiers of support and implementation than you can shake a stick at.

In the paraphrased immortal words of Loomis - "Please god! I need a feedtool!  One lousy fuckin' feedtool!"

But I persevere.


Filed under: General, Life No Comments
14May/090

Facebooking

Posted by Dennis

Nothing to do with anything but out of curiosity I've been trying to integrate this site with a facebook profile I've had for a few weeks, not that I do anything with the facebook profile, this is more of a technical thing.

So if you've been wondering why the Test posts and their subsequent disapearances, this is why, trying to get WordPress which is what I use here to be able to post to my facebook page which pretty much ihas nothing in it and looks rather forlorn.

Filed under: Life No Comments
16Mar/090

Meanderings

Posted by Dennis

Old doesn't mean harmless...My wife and children are out of town for Spring Break with the kids grandparents and for that and other reasons I'm trying to keep busy around the house.

One of the things that's bugged me about our house is the the cabinet doors and drawer fronts are all this heavy old world solid oak, literally an inch thick with a lot of recessed areas.  I'm sure it was ungodly expensive when the house was built back in the late 70's, the story is our house was the development owners house and I do tend to believe it, it's got a lot of high end woods in it and is the biggest house in the development in terms of rooms and square footage (3200) but still it's not very attractive to my eyes.  The 30 year old vanish/lacquer is not in the best shape in the lower cabinets/drawers in the kitchen from water splashes over the decades and general bumps and bruises.

Longer story short I've started taking off the doors and drawers and I'm using a fine grit pad on an orbital and hand sanding on the convulations to get the top layer off and then restaining it with golden oak stain.  I wasn't really sure what it would do, the first one was an experiement as I really want to replace them all anyway.  But to my surprise they 'healed' right up very well.  The stain recolored the wood where the old coating had worn away and you literally cannot tell the difference.

I'm also going to be painting one of the downstairs bathrooms, the 'public one', which still has the old texture paint from the prior owner.  Her idea of painting was heavy faux finish done really badly.  I can only guess that she did this bathroom last because it was only ugly, not OMFG THAT'S HORRIBLE LOOKING!!!?! ugly.

When we moved in I repainted everything except that one bathroom.  By the time I'd gotten to it I was just too tired to care and it didn't look so bad after painting 4 bedrooms, kitching, dining, two living rooms, halls and a playroom as well as multiple ceilings which as far as I can tell have the original %R@)*%!*& popcorn from 1978 and coat of paint.

Anyway, I've fixed the horrible job of patching they or someone did in covering up screwholes for towelracks that had been yanked out of the wall and taped all the edges off and hope to put a coat o' primer on tonight and a nice Misty Lake tinted premium which is a pale foggy green aka greenish grey.

DnD news has been pretty light of late.  I guess everyone's just doing their thing rather than talking about it.  I still don't have a copy of the Players Handbook 2 but the Avenger class that Wheaton aka Al played in the Penny Arcade Podcast sounds interesting and worth a look.

It's just rather disheartening to see the power creep that keeps on edging in.  But I guess it's inevitable.

Image Credits

Filed under: General, Life No Comments
24Dec/081

Happy Holidays 2008

Posted by Dennis

May you get what you deserve...Happy upcoming celebration, whether it's Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or you're just happy because you get a free day off work because everyone else is celebrating some holiday of their choice.

My best wishes for you and yours from me and mine for this time and may your god, gods, karma (my personal favorite) or just random chance of the universe find the time to make the new year a little better for you.

Heh the image for this post just struck a chord within me and as I'm not a fan of the typical sappy imagery of this time of year you're stuck with it.

Image Credits

Filed under: Life 1 Comment
9Dec/080

Slow news week

Posted by Dennis

Well I've got nothing to offer you other than random musings and ramblings. Â  The forums have dried up on me, there's very little activity on Enworld and very few posts worth reading on Gleemax (official forums) much less actually recording for posterity here.

One thing that some people are doing is 'speeding' up game play.  This has taken a slim variety of paths but it seems to fall into the allowing players to use their encounter powers more than once per encounter and their dailies more than once per day.  Getting rid of or altering healing surges is another prime candidate for change or using them as currency to allow more frequent usage of their powers.

One thing that struck me as interesting is one group's removing the long rest and instead make their powers 'episodic'.  You get what you get at the start of the gaming session and you don't get more until the start of the next one.  BUT they're also doing average damage (end result is the same but it does remove a great source of low and high points to me) and they're making Dailies once per encounter, Encounters at-will. Â  They seem to be having fun with it but the DM admits his group is a bit on the power gamey side.

I think, now that I bother to think about it, that most of the people for whom 'spamming the same two attacks at-will) is lame, lame, lame are the ones who's idea of RPG's are MMOG's.  Anyone brought up old school where every combat round was, except for the mage and to very lesser extent the cleric, *roll d20 and see if I hit* and just repeat that for however many attacks they got.  The cleric was typically, roll a d20 to hit maybe, run around and cast Cure [blank] Wounds primarily. Â  To us actually having two different attacks on top of the basic attack which is all anyone ever used to get triples our options. 🙂

If you're a fan of Zombies, computer games and first person shooters then Left 4 Dead can't be recommended enough.  And you can get it from Amazon right now for only $46 which is a small bargain with free shipping.  Of course you could get it from Steam for $49 and not have to pay shipping either or taxes or wait for it to show up in the mail.

If you have a friend or two then I'd recommend getting your own dedicated server.  They're $12 a month most places and you're gaurenteed low latency, availability and the like.  Split that 4 ways and you're only paying $3 a month each.  Unless you have a horse of a machine and a lot of outbound bandwidth trying to run a listen server on your desktop while you play is going to suck for anyone trying to connect, not to mention going to the trouble of getting the right ports forwarded through your router and unblocked at  your local firewall etc.  Heck for $12 I'd rent my own personal server if we didn't already have a group one.

I've been working on hacking L4D mapping out while we wait, impatiently, for the real mapping tools to be released and have working maps but they're not quite 'there' yet.  The navigation tools aren't working so you can't build your navigation areas quite properly.

Any maps/campaigns I do I'll post here for your bemusement as well.

The car picture is an example of the 67 mustang I've got and working on restoring.  It's a slow process, I'm spreading out the expenses of parts over the long haul and the waterfall costs never seem to stop.  To run a set of air tools and possibly repaint the car back to it's original color is going to need a good sized air compressor.  That's going to require a 220 volt circuit in the garage.  That's going to require a new sub panel off the main panel and wire run from pretty much as far a point in the house as you can get.  The panel is on the diagonally opposite side of the house from where the outlets would be needed. Â  Of course a 220 would also be needed for a decent mig welder.  So it's always one thing after another.

27Nov/080

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Dennis

Find something to be thankful for even if it's merely the fact that you're allowed and capable of reading this.  🙂

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.

Filed under: Life No Comments
20Mar/080

Kid Filter

Posted by Dennis

Kid SafeNo not a filter to block kids from bothering you although that would I'm sure sell like hotcakes although why hotcakes are supposed to sell fast I'm not sure.

Anyway if you have children and you'll have to classify that one yourself then after a lot of due diligence (and I've been doing level III IT for over a decade now) I've settled on Foxy Filter as my filter for the children. The only real way to filter the internet is to block everything and allow only what you want and Foxy Filter does that for me. I can wild card the black list "*" and add whatever I want to the white list and be done with it. It can also, and does a pretty good job of, block banner ads based on known ad servers, ad sizes and some kind of algorithm to check for them. So the flash sites that the kids go to to play 'mini games' are a lot nicer to browse and don't include a lot of craptastic stuff that kids don't need.

Because it's a white list that automatically blocks most exploits including iframe and most spyware and adware because the computer is otherwise locked down and nothing can get out but Internet Explorer and Firefox and since those only go where I want them to that takes the spyware and adware servers out of the loop.

It's easy to install, you can install it on each computer, we have three kids, or just install it on a handy server (or just one of your kids computers if you're not a computeraphile) and then point the others to use that computer to get to the internet. This lets you only have to administer the proxy in one location. Which is a bonus for multiple computer access.

Now this is NOT a secure method of doing things unless you're a bit in the know and won't block older kids. For that you'd have to have a lockdown policy at your router or if you're a real geek at your edge firewall that blocks all internet access except from your proxy server and that would have to be locked down as well otherwise the kids will just change the proxy settings. Of course you can lock down Internet Explorer through group policy or registry edits and make sure your kids are regular users and not administrators so that's quite possible to do but that won't help for Opera or Firefox or whatever.

But for a pair of 4 year olds and a six year old, this is quite suitable.

Anyway, two thumbs up Foxy Filter, if you're looking for a free way to help keep your kids from the bad things on the web you can do far far worse.

Filed under: Children, Life No Comments
24Apr/070

From back in the day…

Posted by Dennis

Just a little blast from the past. This would have been around 1992 or 93 tops I believe. That's me on the left, Brett in the middle and Steve on the right. I now know why old people sit around re-living their early days. If I had a time machine I'd go back and tell myself to appreciate every gd moment of those days. And you know, I did at the time.

<!--enpts-->Back in the day<!--enpte-->

Filed under: Life No Comments