19 April 2009

Little Yurt on the Prairie (or Steppe)…

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Fun,HOWTOs

I’ve always had a dream of moving out to the middle of nowhere, building a house and just living there until “that day”. Previously I’d thought when I actually got around to doing this I’d build a Cordwood Masonry House. However, while I’m working to get that more permanent structure built, perhaps I’ll make one of these Mongolian Yurts:

12 March 2009

iTunes relaunches and won’t stay quit – RESOLVED! (G15 Keyboard, iTunes)

Filed under: Computers,HOWTOs,Mac

Just a quick note here, hopefully it’ll make it into Google and help some folks.

Ever since I got my MacBook I had this weird issue where iTunes wouldn’t stay quit. I would shut it down normally, but it would just keep relaunching itself each time until I either force quit it, or shut it down via the Activity Monitor. Knowing this was a corruption of my music library waiting to happen, I wanted to find out a solution.

Many Google searches took me to two possible causes:

1. The SRS iWoW driver not quitting properly when iTunes was shut down and making it relaunch itself.

2. The dashboard widget causing issues w/iTunes and making it relaunch each time.

Neither one of these was my problem. I don’t use the dashboard, and don’t have SRS iWoW installed.

I finally determined the problem was being caused in my case by my Logitech G15 keyboard’s Media Manager. Once I disabled that in the Logitech control panel, no more problem.

Hope this helps you!

11 February 2009

Lint-free BlackBerry pictures…

I’ve had a BlackBerry Curve for about a year now. Overall, I’ve been really happy with the phone. It has a few minor annoyances, as any phone would, but it’s still the best BlackBerry I’ve had to date. This is my 7th one, BTW.

However, one of my biggest peeves with it has been the camera, more more accurately, the lens for the camera. Since I carry the phone in my pocket, it tends to get a lot lint in the little hole on the back cover where the lens is. This causes dust to get on the lens itself, and as a result all your pictures are fuzzy. It was some time before I realized that this was the problem, I originally thought that the camera was just crappy. It wasn’t until I took the cover off for another reason and saw the lens was all linted up that it occurred to me this was the issue with my lousy pictures (and on a side note, what a difference it made).

I don’t take a lot of pics with my phone, mostly just little snips to upload to TwitPic and the occasional cute picture of my cats, but dammit, I want those clear and not looking like I shot them through a 60’s era Vaseline filter. I finally came up with a low-tech solution and have been happy ever since.

1. Take the back cover off of the phone. You can do this by pressing on the little button at the bottom of the phone and sliding the cover up.

2. Clean the lens with a Q-Tip dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol and wait for it to dry (don’t use Kleenex or a paper towel because you’ll leave micro-scratches on the lens).

3. Cut a small piece of electrical tape just larger than the hole for the lens and lay it sticky side up over the hole on the inside of the back cover.

4. Cut a piece of electrical tape that is slightly larger than the one covering the hole, and then stick it to the back of the phone, making sure that it doesn’t move the piece covering the hole, and completely covers the area where the lens hole is (be sure not to cover up the flash bulb hole though).

5. Replace the back on the phone by sliding it into place until it clicks.

Volia! You now have a nice lens cover for your BlackBerry Curve camera. Whenever you want to take a picture, just take the back cover off, take your shot, and then replace it. Your pictures will be clear as a bell and fuzz free.