Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blogger For Android

Yes, believe it or not I'm posting this from my smartphone.  Due to reasons I care not to discuss I haven't been able to post updates.  Wouldn't you know as soon as I make reservations to alleviate those reasons it's resolved.  Oh well, now I have a backup plan.  If you've got a Google Blogger blog (and you don't mind teeny tiny keyboards) you might want to check it out.  You can even post pics.  Look, there's breakfast!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Karaoke Report 8-20-12

Seems the Texas Chili Cookoff didn't deter my karaoke maniacs from representing last night.  We had a pretty solid crowd all night last night and of course, our fair share of interesting moments.

Epic Awesomesauce Moment of the Night

Kinda tough to pick one.  But if I had to, I'd pick Don doing Add It Up by the Violent Femmes.  Don always does this song, but if you heard him on day 1 compared to what he's doing now you'd understand.  I love to see when a regular settles in and starts bringing their A game.

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

Taco Hell closed early so I didn't get my post show tacos.  Oh the humanity!

WTF Moment of the Night

Looking back this was actually kinda funny but at the time it was monster stress.  Last night there was a new bartender.  She's nice and she was very attentive to me.  Well, I wanted to check with her to see if she was planning to close up any time soon.  I seemed like she wasn't so I continued past my 1 AM finishing time.  About 10 minutes in though she starts calling last call.

Folks, for the next ten minutes I felt like I was negotiating a hostage crisis.  The begging, the pleading, the emotion, the anger.  You'd think I'd be used to this sort of thing by now but it does still catch me by surprise how much people really REALLY want their turn at bat.  Well, I checked with her again after calming folks down a bit and turns out she was calling last call for KARAOKE.  I let her know I'd keep going until 2 and the folks who didn't leave in anger (it wasn't that many) let somewhat happier than they would have if the show had ended right then and there.  I don't blame the bartender though.  She's a sweet girl looking out for me and I appreciate that she tipped me.

Random Party Pic of the Night

Friday, August 17, 2012

Diary of a Troubleshooter: Wait, It Was THAT?!?!

You know I've seen my share of odd problems, but even I admit this one had me baffled.  Here's the situation.  I got a laptop that would freeze shortly after starting.  Not TOTALLY frozen (I could still move the mouse), I just couldn't do anything.  I started with the basics: check for malware and clean out all the temporary files.  My two preferred tools for doing this is Malwarebytes Anti-malware and Steve Gould's CleanUp.  I do this from Safe Mode (which was working in this case).  Found 60-something malware instances and cleaned up about 4 gigabytes in junk files aaaaaaand restart!

So after restarting, the problem still persisted.  I moved to phase 2: Windows CHKDSK.  This is a built in tool for checking the hard disk for errors.  Kinda hard to pull off while you have no access to Windows so it's back to Safe Mode.  It ran (on restart), found like 40-something errors, fixed them and then restarted.

No dice, the problem's still there.  At this point I can only assume the problem is related to specific software.  So I employed the old selective startup trick using MSCONFIG, another built in tool but this time for troubleshooting the operating system.  I deactivated every device that wasn't Windows and restarted.

After the restart, this was me....

Yeah, it didn't work.  So after fiddling with System Restore and Windows Recovery (don't ask) I finally did something I should have done much earlier but didn't since it rarely helps me.  I looked at the Windows Logs in the Control Panel.  That's where I found it.  I noticed that just before ever forced restart (that's me holding the power button until it turns off), one program had an error.  This one:

Look familiar?  That's the uTorrent logo.  uTorrent is usually a harmless, tiny EXTREMELY POWERFUL torrent downloader. I know, it's pretty great software.  However in this instance it was freezing the crap out of this machine.  As a test I renamed the program files and restarted and the freeze disappeared.  I deleted the files and all is right with the world again.

So what lesson did we learn here?  That sometimes even software that's supposed to be there can screw up and turn your PC to crap. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lamentations of a Comic Nerd

Yes, I used the "n" word.  It kinda applies here.  You'll have to ask me what differentiates a geek from a nerd some time.  I don't really feel like getting into it here.

Let me show you something.  This is a picture I took over the weekend.

I actually own a lot of these: Comic Books.  I started, maybe a better word is amassing them since I was in high school.  Unfortunately, most of my accumulation looks like this.

Take a look at the upper left hand corner.  See that tag?  Because I live in the US Virgin Islands, magazines, comic books, and newspapers from the US mainland are marked up for sale in the territory.  Those price tags don't come off easy if at all.  If you know anything about collecting comic books, putting a sticker on the cover is a major no-no.  Roughly 70% of all the comics I own carry that tag.

It gets worse.  Notice the comic book is not shielded in any way.  I have a few books in neoprene covers but most of them are just sitting in the original brown paper bags I bought them in.  In short they've aged.

Here's where the lamentation comes in.  You ever hear those stories about kids who left their comic books where their evil, memory crushing parents can find them and they come back and find all their treasured memories scattered to the garbage heap.  And then you hear the stories about how some of those comic books were rare first appearances of now famous characters or by a budding artist who's now dominating the comic book scene.  Yeah, we've ALL heard those stories and that's why most of us have held on to our accumulations for so long.

Sadly though, I think those days are gone.  We took these stories to heart and ignored the laws of supply and demand.  The comic book industry has been booming for the last 10 years.  Books constantly leaping off the shelves.  Third printings, fifth printings.  That's the problem.  There's way too much supply.

I feel like that these days, unless you're rocking Action Comics #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15 you've got nothing.

Perhaps someday I'll run through the accumulation and put some of what I've got on eBay and see if they fetch me anything.  I was hoping to give it all to my kids someday, but I get the feeling all it'll be good for is a few laughs and barbeque fuel.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Karaoke Report 8-13-12

Crazy, crazy times at Fatty's last night.  I'm always surprised when I arrive to a ghost town and the place just blows up with karaoke krazed guests.  Here comes the highlights!

Epic Awesomesauce Moment of the Night

People showed up!  LOL!  Seriously, that was awesomesauce.  If you saw the place when I got there you'd understand.

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

Guys, if you've been to my show you'll realize that my self appointed duty is to keep things moving.  Little to no banter.  Occasionally I'll sing a song.  A joke maybe once or twice a night.  I'm not trying to be the star here.  That's kinda the point.  I'm incredibly idealistic about karaoke and what it represents and I maintain that it's not my show.  It never was.  The show belongs to all of you and it's as much fun as you want to make it (and you guys really like having fun). So it's always a buzzkill when somebody reminds me that I'm not doing enough to hype up the crowd.  To that I always say, thanks.  I've been to shows where it's all about the host.  I'm all about the audience.

WTF Moment of the Night

Guilt trip central last night.  It's amazing how many people want to jump into the action after they've got their courage on.  I got guilt tripped into extra songs at least 3 times last night.  But hey, at least one guilt trip earned me my own tip.

Random Party Pics

Finally got the camera working.  Enjoy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it!  I want it! 

Did I mentions I want it?  It's the Google Nexus 7.  Check out the specs.  That's simple INCREDIBLE for the $199 (8 GB) and $249 (16GB) price tag.


    • 7” 1280x800 HD display (216 ppi)
    • Back-lit IPS display
    • Scratch-resistant Corning glass
    • 1.2MP front-facing camera


    • 340 grams


    • 8 or 16 GB internal storage
    • 1 GB RAM

    • 4325 mAh
      • 9 hours of HD video playback
      • 10 hours of web browsing
      • 10 hours of e-reading
      • 300 hours of standby


    • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor


    • 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm


    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    • Bluetooth
  • USB

    • Micro USB


    • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)


    • Microphone
    • NFC (Android Beam)
    • Accelerometer
    • GPS
    • Magnetometer
    • Gyroscope

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Karaoke Report 8-6-12

I don't know what happened this weekend, but it looks like most of you left the island or just stayed home this weekend.  The entire East End was D-E-A-D last night.  Fortunately we got a few revelers just before closing time.

Epic Awesomesauce Momemt of the Night

Happy Birthday, Mimi! Thanks for making it all the way out to karaoke last night.  I did my best to make sure you had a good time.

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

Besides the poor turnout, I gotta say it was the inability of my phone to take pictures (so again, no random party pics this week).  Odd thing though.  After restarting my phone today the ability return.  *pfft* Technology.

WTF Moment of the Night.

I shouldn't be surprised by this at all yet it never ceases to amaze me.  I spent almost 2 and a half hours DJing and a crowd finally appears.  I stuck around an extra hour.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Basics

Let me tell you a true story.  I was a sophomore in college when I heard that they writable and rewritable compact discs.  Excited I went to RadioShack and picked up a few, took them back to the computer lab and attempted to save things to the CD.  To my surprise I couldn't.  The catch:  you need a writable CD drive to write on writable CDs.

Funny story right?  You'd never think that was me back then.  That's just one of the reasons I'm a bit more empathic than other techs when people have trouble using technology.  It's because I can remember a time I didn't know much myself.

The reason I remembered this story was because today I saw someone who didn't know anything about copying or burning CDs.  Fortunately she knew enough that she had a rewritable drive for CDs and DVDs.

I think we've gotten so used to the quick and easy flash memory drives that we're forgetting the basics.  One of those basics just happens to be CD/DVD burning.  This is just a quick primer on that.

Step 1:  Identify Your Burning Options

Burning is a software guided function.  It's not enough just to have the rewritable drive and the media.  You need software that directs the burning.  If you're new to burning or copying then you probably don't even know what your options are.  To find out, the fastest and easiest way is to simply insert the blank disc.  You should see a popup that will ask what you want to do with the CD/DVD.  Somewhere in there are your burning options.  At the very minimum you'll be able to use Windows as your default burner.

This window looks different in later versions of Windows but it'll ask you the same things.
Step 2:  Know What You Want To Do

Windows' laundry list of items might display what you want but you have a world of options available to you if you enter a burning program directly.  Most disc burning suites have a number of wizards (that's a guided step-by-step for the non-tech people) available.  Some programs though are simple and don't explain very much.  You've got to decide your level of comfort here.  If the laundry list works for you, showing you the options currently available then go with that.  If you want something more robust you might have to download some other software.

If you're new to all this I'd recommend programs like Ashampoo Burning Studio or Burn4Free.  As you become more familiar with burning you might opt for simple yet powerful options like CDBurnerXP or ImgBurn.

Step 3:  Burn Baby Burn

You're ready to go.  A couple things to keep in mind though.  CDs hold 700 megabytes of data and DVDs hold 4.3 gigabytes of data.  It's going to take significantly longer to burn a full DVD.  DVD media doesn't work in standard CD players so don't even try to make a music CD out of a DVD.  Speaking of music CDs, make sure that's defined in you project settings.  Music CDs hold up to 120 minutes of music.  You must burn a music CD if you plan to use it in a standard CD player.  Some modern CD players will play MP3 CDs.  Make sure you read the product label carefully to see if it's supported.

That's it.  I could get really deep into all this but I tried my best to keep this simple.  Disco Inferno!