New Website: What does that look like?

So, most of you who read this blog are technologically savvy. And, if you’re anything like me, your friends and family come to you for help and advice for all things computers. Sometimes, the person needing help just isn’t familiar with all the jargon and acronyms needed to get things working. That’s where What does that look like? comes in.

What does that look like? is a site dedicated to helping people find out what different types of tech cables look like, and what kind of cables they might need to solve their problems. The basic idea is that you, as the proverbial help desk jockey, can go to this site, and email/IM/SMS them a link to it. Simple as that.

So go forth and spread the word, What does that look like? is here to help.


Review: Genie PowerLift Excelerator

So, last fall I bought a Genie PowerLift Excelerator garage door opener from Home Depot. I decided to go with a higher-end opener because of the nice warranty graphics on the box touting their superior warranty. It turns out to have been a great decision.

Over the past couple months, I’ve noticed that the garage door has been opening and closing with decreasing speed. I figured that the problem was that I just needed to adjust the sensitivity, but when I finally got around to it last week, it had no effect.

I called their customer service line, and after a few very reasonable troubleshooting steps, they determined the problem must be the controller board. It is a user-serviceable part, and I opted to just take care of it myself. They charged me $6 to ship out the new part, which arrived a couple business days later. I then replaced the part, but it did not solve the problem.

I called the customer service line, and they were able to pull up my previous call notes after giving them my phone number. They asked a couple “are you sure you installed the new board correctly” questions, and then gave me the option of either trying to replace the other circuit board, or swapping out the whole motor head. They also gave me the option, again, of doing it myself, or having a technician come out to do it. I decided that it would be best to just get a new unit, and that I had no interest in replacing it myself in the summer heat. They obliged, and also said that they wouldn’t charge me shipping for the new part because I already paid shipping for another part that didn’t solve the problem. They explained to me in great detail what the process involved, including faxing a service request to a local technician, and how long I should expect the process to take. They didn’t even have to collect my address a second time.

This is how customer service should be… Simple, reasonably generous, and exactly what is advertised on the box.


Install Vista x64 SP1 under BootCamp

I just finished the multi-day ordeal of getting Vista 64-bit SP1 to run under BootCamp. I specifically ran into two distinct problems, and found the workarounds for both.

Problem 1: Vista x64 SP1 supports EFI booting, but not the version Apple uses on Macs.

There are several theories as to why you can’t boot from the Vista SP1 disks in EFI mode, but the bottom line is, at this point, you can’t do it. The Vista x64 SP1 disk now tries to boot into EFI mode, which fails. The disk tries to let you choose between BIOS and EFI booting, but the screen never finishes drawing, reading “Select CD-ROM Boot Type”, and doesn’t allow for the necessary keyboard input.

Solution to problem 1: Create a disk that doesn’t allow for EFI booting

I found the solution on It provides a great step-by-step screenshot solution to burning a DVD that will work, though you will need access to a Windows machine with a DVD burner. I used one of my VMWare Fusion instances on my Mac, without any issue.

Problem 2: 64-bit BootCamp Software is hard to come by

This problem was a bugger to figure out, because of Apple’s lack of documentation. I found the BootCamp 2.1 update for Vista x64, but couldn’t get the installer to run. I’d double-click it, and it’d do nothing. As the file name eludes to, this “installer” is actually just an updater. If it doesn’t find BootCamp 64-bit 2.01 already installed, it just silently fails. And, as you might have deduced from the nature of this post, Apple doesn’t have BootCamp 2.01 available as an installer for download. Luckily, it’s available via torrent on The Pirate Bay. So, here’s the solution:

Download and install BootCamp 2.01
Download and install BootCamp 2.1 Update

Once you’ve done this, you should be good to go.


Review: Aiptek Action HD Camcorder

I got sucked into a spontaneous purchase the other day at Wal-Mart. I was walking by and saw they had an Aiptek Action HD Camcorder. It has several key features that had caught my eye in the previous weeks:

  1. It’s cheap ($199)
  2. It’s HD

I was in the market for a cheap, small, HD camcorder, and this seemed too good to be true. I wanted something I could use to take advantage of SmugMug’s HD video capabilities. I also wanted an optical zoom, and something that was able to accept a SDHC card. I was excited to find everything I wanted at a price comparable to a FLip camcorder.

Box errors

First off, a few corrections/clarifications to their specs on the box. The official name says “Aiptek Action HD 1080p Camcorder” which is inaccurate. Technically, it does support 1,080 lines of vertical resolution, however 1080p is generally accepted as 1920×1080, not the camera’s 1440×1080. Also, the box repeatedly says that 1440×1080 is a 16:9 aspect ratio, which it’s not (that’s 4:3).


Once nice thing for me is that the camera records to a Quicktime movie using the h.264 codec. Perfect for displaying in Flash, and also editable by iMovie. It’s small, remarkably light, and charges over USB. It comes with a case, mini tripod, remote, wall charger, and all cables you could ever need. It powers on when you flip the LCD screen open, and is ready to record almost instantly. The camera connected to my Mac perfectly using a USB cable, and both the built-in storage and the SD card showed up on my desktop as mass storage devices. Normally, I’d say use a card reader, but since this charges over USB, there’s no harm in never taking your SD card out of the camera.

Shooting video is a snap. Open the LCD screen, hit the record button, and you’re off. It can’t take pictures while it’s recording a video, but I never intended to take pictures with this device. The zoom controls are easy to use, however, the zoom is pretty much useless. The auto-focus constantly searches around at any focal length greater than around 10mm. I’ll try again in daylight, but I’m not sure if that’s going to make any real difference.

Here’s a few video samples:

As you can see, the quality is really perfect for web viewing. The Macro mode performs well, and the LED lights on the camera actually do provide enough lighting to shoot in darker places. Uploading to SmugMug was a snap… All I had to do was upload it, and SmugMug did the rest.

Overall, I rate this camera as a great deal, for use as a camera for posting video online.

Expect a followup review once I’ve had awhile to play with this some more.

Related: Production Companies in Singapore.


Welcome to my new site, again

I’ve finished moving everything over to WordPress now. I ditched the Flex site I was building because since I started it, I’ve decided to make my site less of a personal site and more of my portal to the Flex/AIR/CF community. Also, since I had started that site, I’ve started to focus on open-source projects, some my own, some that I contribute to.

I also have switched back to the design that everyone seemed to like so much. We’ll see how long this lasts, now that I have the vast library of WordPress templates at my fingertips.

I should have some neat announcements this month, so stay tuned.