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Showing posts from 2010

Comcast Xfinity DVR App for Android Phones

Just got my email notice for Comcast Xfinity application for Android phones. Surprisingly it didn't take Comcast long to get their Android version of their application out after the debut of the iPhone application.Why Comcast didn't include the QR code to download the application in the market I'm not sure.

Searching for Xfinity in the Android market as suggested quickly found the application.Comcast explains it all here:

http://www.xfinity.com/help/internet/mobile-android/?xcr=1

After downloading it I gave it my Comcast account information and zip code. The TV listings were brought down to my phone quite quickly after selecting the cable system I'm on. The application then asked me if I'd like to synchronize it with my DVR. I had previously set this up to program my DVR from my computer. It also worked flawlessly.

Now I can schedule my TV recordings from anywhere on the planet. Thanks Comcast -perhaps I won't move away from your services quite so quickly.

Fixing a Dropped Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II Camera Lens

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My daughter tipped over our Canon 40D camera (on our very sturdy Manfrotto tripod) while getting freaked out by a thunderstorm. The lens took a header and "fell apart". This lens in our favorite lens. Unfortunately, it is inexpensive (<$100), so there was probably no point in having it repaired by a service center. My only choice was to buy a new one -or fix it myself.

Buying new?
I started to look for new lenses. I considered the Canon EF f1.4 from Amazon, but it was just a bit to pricey at $349 from Amazon. A new Canon EF 50mm f1.8 from Amazon had gone up since I bought it, but was still a reasonable $100. Well I figured those were my best two new alternatives, unless I fixed it.

Fixing the 50mm f 1.8 lens:
I did try just "putting the lens back together" -that wouldn't work. Nothing just snapped into the right place.

I found some great advice from this Flicker post about a broken 50 mm 1.8. I decided I had nothing to loose, so I followed the 50mm f1.8 dissas…

Pan Newsreader and Multi-part Images in Kubuntu 10.4 Lucid Lynx

I got frustrated at not being able to view multi-part images directly in Pan newsreader. I could save them to my local system and view them, but that's too many steps. For whatever reason this bug has been around for at least 6 months.

I started with the article from http://www.scottkuma.net/pan-newsreader-and-multi-part-images-in-ubuntu-9-10-karmic-koala, but had to make some changes to support the latest version of Kubuntu (10.4 Lucid Lynx). First, I needed to install a number of application to support the building of Pan on my Kubuntu 10.4 version.

$ sudo apt-get install pan gitk gnome-common libgtk2.0-dev libpcre3-dev libgmime-2.4-dev build-essential kde-devel subversion libncurses5-dev libtag1-dev libqca2-dev libstrigiqtdbusclient-dev libstreamanalyzer-dev
I removed git and git-core -and added several kubuntu specific libraries to the install list. I think I needed all of them, but I'm not completely sure. Kubuntu then required a restart. After that I followed the inst…

Motorola Droid won't update to Android 2.1

So I got an email from Verizon thanking me for upgrading to Android 2.1 (Verizon email link). It mentioned all the great features that I should be enjoying (and have been been patiently looking forward to). Last time I tried a manual update install and probably got my self into trouble. The problem is I didn't actually accept the over the air update and 2.1 wasn't running on my droid.

I went to Home> Settings> About Phone (still on 2.0.1)> System Update (presented with a Android Update 2.1 screen) press the download button. Nothing downloads and I'm presented with the same screen again and again and again.

Searching the internet presented me with some unplug my battery options tried it -no joy. Decided to let the droid sit overnight. Hopefully it would fell better in the morning.-no joy.

Next posts that I saw (http://supportforums.motorola.com/thread/26494) started talking about doing a hard reset, pull the battery while hopping on one foot, etc. I went ahead an…

Comcast DTA (Digital Transport Adapter) Cable Box Unboxing - Welcome to the Comcast Digital Conversion

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My cable area is one of the areas transitioning to more digital cable and cutting out many of the current analog channels. You can read about the digital conversion from Comcast at Digital Conversion

I thought I would chronicle my experience receiving 2 of the small set top (or side top -or bottom mount) from our local cable office. I read about the conversion in a letter I got from Comcast. Essentially it sounded as if my old TV's without some sort of cable box, would no longer get most of the channels that I was paying for. If I ordered these DTA's I would get my existing channels and pick up a few extra.

Understanding that to be the case I ordered two of the smallest boxes (Digital Transport Adapters and Comcast calls them) online and picked them up at the local office. It was a quick pickup at the local office for us, since they're around the corner from our house).

Here are the pictures from the unboxing:


The box was a very generic black cardboard box.


On the side was…

BackupPC Backups Failing with "no ping response" for DHCP Windows XP Computers

I just noticed that the majority of the machines on my home network started failing with "No Ping Response" back in November. My storage is pretty redundant for most of my network so it took me some time to get around to figuring out the issue. In my case the machine have been faithfully backed up by a linux machine running BackupPC (http://backuppc.sourceforge.net/) going on several years. On November 23rd (between 10 pm and midnight) that all changed. All of my DHCP Windows machines failed with the "no ping response". I knew the machines were up, but why was BackupPC not seeing them -or at least reporting a ping failure.

Turns out this was all caused by a change I had made to my Smoothwall 3.0 firewall. I had removed the Services > Static DNS entries from Smoothwall doing some routine maintenance -I think. I mean why would you have static DNS entries for machines that have their IP addresses dynamically assigned.

Ultimately, I found a solution to keep my Smoot…

Inexpensive Radio Controlled Camera Shutter Release for Canon 40D Review - JYC JY-110

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I was looking for an inexpensive remote for my Canon 40D SLR. I had looked at the Canon infrared remotes (like the Canon RC-1), but didn't like the idea of having to be line of sight with the infrared window of the camera. They were inexpensive, but you'd still have to use the in camera timer if you wanted to be in the shot (or have a nice picture of yourself holding the remote).

I decided to take a chance and buy a inexpensive wireless Canon remote on ebay. The seller was located in Hong Kong, but the $18 price was great so I took a risk. The remote had the features I was looking for:



JYC JY-110 Wireless Remote Control includes:1 x V2s Wire/Wireless Remote Control C3 for Canon 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 5D 5D Mark II 1D 1Ds and etc.1 x CR2 Battery1 x 23A Battery1 x English InstructionsFREE 32 inches Lanyards with K hooks

What's new with this Wire/Wireless Remote Control?Work as both wired and wireless remote control.The receiver works as a wired remote as well, even without the b…

FFMpeg and Panasonic BL-C11 IP web cam to automatically create time lapse video

I decided that I should keep snapshots off my Panasonic IP webcam every 2 seconds over the holidays. I set the IP webcam's internal software to drop of an image on my FTP server using the configuration software built into the camera. I primarily did this as a security measure for our house. I also created a script on my linux box to delete any images older than 2 weeks. I set this up to run once a day as a cron job.

If there ever was an security question or issue we had 640x480 images of (about 20,000 images at 44KB apiece) our house covering the past 2 weeks safely stored on my server.

Then I got the idea by playing with Picasa, that it would be cool to build these into a time lapse video sequence that I would make avaiable on my website. Needless to say after playing around with various tutorials and scripts I have something that works really well. The once daily updated finished product is available here:

http://gpigs.trebacz.com/Office_Cam.htm (embedded flash version of the mov…