Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time To Move On

Way back in October of last year, I decided to convert my old HTC Hero into a standalone media player.  I went with Cyanogenmod as my new ROM and I admit it was a fun ride...until about a week ago.  The first warning sign had to be the loss of the Play Store.  I couldn't load it no matter how many times I tried and it didn't matter where my Internet source was.  It was minor and ignorable.  Then last night hit.  My HTC froze and didn't come back.  It spent over 2 hours on the loading screen.  I didn't watch it; I just left it running to reload in the car while I was in the bar.  Imagine my surprise when I came back and the damn thing was still running.

Fast forward to today.  I've returned the HTC to factory settings (for Cyanogenmod) 4 times already.  The first time I did it, no GAPPS.  I actually downloaded and installed the GAPPS package again.  It seemed good until I tried to sign in.  Alas the keyboard would show up.  I did a factory resent 2 more times to no avail.

That's why I decided it's time to break up with Cyanogenmod and start dating other Hero ROMs.  I've found just the site to get me back on the right track.  I'll keep you guys posted on what I go with.

Those cell phones get so clingy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Hashtags Are Here

Hey, notice something new about Facebook today?  You know those meaningless hashtags that people have been using like crazy all over the place.  Well they're not meaningless anymore.

If you've ever used Twitter or Instagram, hashtags are commonplace and actually mean something.  It's a way for people to share interests on trending topics.  Naturally though The Renegade Geek has a couple concerns.  I'm sure it'll be organized chaos for a couple months while Facebook denizens get used to the new structure.  Meanwhile the Twitter folks will have a field day with it.

Something not addressed in any of the articles I've though is privacy.  The use of a hashtag on Facebook could bring instant fame to someone's usually quiet Facebook page...if your permissions aren't set to Friends Only.  That's kind of the bad that comes with the good.  You'll now be part of a greater conversation but there's a chance you attract conversations you don't want to be a part of.

So this feature went live today.  Let's watch as the drama unfolds...or doesn't unfold.  I still expect to see some backlash by the time the day is out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Screw U

If there really was a Screw U. then Sony would have definitely flunked out.  At least that's my take on the ordeal this Sony Viao put me through.  I've been seeing a fair amount of laptop computers lately that have just arrived at the end of their useful life (aka the motherboard died).  Laptop motherboards are kinda like broke parts in printers.  Once they go bad, you're better off just replacing the whole thing.  Seriously, replacing a motherboard in a laptop is not worth the stress; especially if the laptop is over 5 years old.

So, me, ever being the Guardian of Data (trademarked, patent pending) figured I should at least pull the hard drive and check if it's still usable and the data on it is ok.  So I grab my trusty Phillips screwdriver, essentially the only tool you should ever need working on any computer, and I see this when I open the hard drive bay.

You're going to have to click on the image to really see it, but that little screw is locking the hard drive in place.  Now I'm only doing the whole so-I-grab-my-screwdriver thing to be dramatic.  I actually knew in advance that that little screw was not coming out with my Phillips.  In the upper right you'll see the screwdriver I thought would have worked.  It's also a Phillips but trimmer than my main screwdriver.  That was also a no go.  I had to break out the screwdriver I use to fix my eyeglasses to get it out (it's in the bottom right).  Oh, but it wasn't as easy as all that.  It felt like Sony drove that screw in with the same kind of device they use to put bolts on cars.  It was TIGHT!  I was fortunate though.  Luckily there was a toolkit around and I found this bad boy.

Yes folks, I needed pliers just to twist that screw.  Tested the drive, the data was good and we all live happily ever after...well, except for the's still dead.  Oh, and Sony, you need remedial classes at Screw U.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blocking Facebook Game Requests

I can't tell you how often I see people posting on their Facebook wall screaming at their friends for sending them game requests.  Well guess what?  In a way that's like being upset at someone handing you a flyer because your friend took one.  Here's the skinny on Facebook games.  In order to play you have to hand over certain permissions; one of which is having access to all your friends.  The game itself will spam your friends.  You really have little control over it.  In some cases you can deny a game access to your account but it'll result in you actively hunting down friends to add rather than casting a big net and hoping to get a few fish.  I said in some cases.  Some games just won't let you play (I'm looking at you Bejeweled Blitz!).

A friend asked about this last night and I fell asleep before I could come up with a detailed answer.  So consider this the detailed answer.  I don't know how long it'll be good for because Facebook changes stuff all the time.  But today (as in June 5, 2013) it'll work.

Step 1:

Go to your main newsfeed (sorry mobile users, this guide's for working on a computer) and look for the Apps section.  It looks like this:

Click on App Center.

Step 2:

When your App Center opens look for this menu on the left:

The amount of game requests you've currently received are listed under Requests.  I've got 143.  You can tell I pretty much ignore 'em.  Go ahead and click on Requests.

Step 3:

This is where it gets fun.  You'll get a list of games you've gotten requests for in little boxes.  Here's a closeup of mine:

As you can see, names and pics have been blurred to protect the innocent (tee hee).  In the first box is an untouched request.  If you click the X next to Play Now you'll get the options in the second box.  The X only hides the request though.  You get two more options once the request is hidden.  You want the first one, which in this case says Block Farm Heroes Saga.  The second option allows you to ignore all requests from the person who initially sent it.  It doesn't matter how many people sent you a request for that one game.  You only get the option to ignore requests from the first person who sent it.  Yeah, I don't get the logic in that either.  Anyhoo, go ahead, use that Block option (make sure your press Confirm when you get the confirmation screen) and go live happy happy lives forever.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Netflix: What I've Been Watching

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Netflix.  One one hand, I love having access to all this great streaming content.  But on the other, I hate falling love with great series only to find that either a) The series has been canceled and has been for quite some time or b) The series is still in production and Netflix is like two seasons behind.  It's tragic.  TRAGIC I TELL YA!
They think they know me sooooo well.

*sigh* Well, while I'm waiting for some of the stuff I've already watched to catch up I thought I'd share some of the shows I've watched and caught up on thus far.

  • The Walking Dead (Waiting for more episodes)
  • How I Met Your Mother (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Justice League Unlimited
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
  • Ugly Betty
  • No Ordinary Family
  • Better Off Ted
  • Parks and Recreation (Waiting for more episodes)
  • 30 Rock (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Wilfred (Waiting for season 2)
  • Mad Men (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Metalocalypse
  • Children's Hospital
  • Frasier
  • The Tick
  • The Venture Bros.
  • Code Monkey
  • House of Cards (A must-see on Netflix)
  • Firefly
  • Sliders (I watch this on an off)
  • The Guild (I hope they do another season; had to watch the last one on YouTube)
  • Being Human (US) (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Soul Eater (Still can't get into the manga but the anime was cool)
  • D. Gray Man (The manga got kinda hard to follow)
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple (Good anime; still following the manga)
  • Dr. Who (The most recent series, not the one from the 60s and 70s.  I'm almost finished.)
Don't get me wrong though, I do occasionally watch a movie but for me the biggest draw is watching the TV shows.