Wednesday, November 25, 2009

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(No) Podcast Wednesday - 11/25

Holiday's messin' me up this week, as I'll be out of town likely until Saturday. Also, since I only mobile update with my Sparty Sports blog, I likely won't be posting on here for the next few days. I should be back this weekend though, so Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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AT&T's Silly "Map for That" Response

AT&T is clearly peeved at Verizon's "Map for That" ad campaign that knocks AT&T's nationwide 3G coverage. The legal battles between the two already resulted in Verizon dropping the phrase "out of touch" from the ads awhile ago, which makes sense. As it pertains to that phrase, I could actually see how some people would think they were literally "out of touch" because there was no voice coverage.

However, AT&T really doesn't have an argument against Verizon's revised line of ads that constantly take swipes at AT&T's 3G coverage area. So, beyond filing silly lawsuits, what does the former monopoly do to strike back? Hire Luke Wilson! Their silly commercials clearly attempt to aim at Verizon's current campaign, but actually fail to address the 3G coverage issue at all. If you're going to pimp the iPhone, as well as the rest of your smartphone lineup, go ahead and simply talk about that. Don't take a shot back at Big Red without having any comprehensive plan of counter-attack.

Apple is sort of helping AT&T out with their own iPhone ads that take clear shots at Verizon's Motorola Droid. That's all well and good for the exclusive carrier for the time being, but what happens when that exclusivity runs out? Maybe AT&T is just hoping they'll have their own colorful 3G map in the summer of 2010 so Apple won't have to come to their rescue.

Friday, November 20, 2009

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Panasonic Plasma - Brightening the Picture

I've owned a Panasonic 46pz85u, a 2008 model 46" plasma, since Christmas of last year. I love the picture, and watch all of my TV, movies, and video games in "Cinema" mode, also known as "THX" on some newer models. Cinema provides the best flesh tones, color, black levels, and noise reduction out of all the display modes. The only issue I have with Cinema in comparison to the other modes is the lack of light output. I haven't personally measured the "Footlamberts," a measure of luminescence, emitted from the monitor, but it can't be that high, even with Contrast, or "Picture" as the panel calls it, turned up to 100.

So, what am I to do when the highest Picture setting in Cinema doesn't produce enough light? Well, I finally found a post that helped me figure out that the service menu can't up the Contrast from an HDMI or DVI source, but CAN change it from an analog source, such as component cables. I'll describe this process briefly for those who either have my model, or one like it, but CAUTION: WRITE DOWN DEFAULT SERVICE MENU SETTINGS BEFORE CHANGING ANYTHING!

1. On your panel, hold down the "Vol. -" button, while hitting "Info" on your panel's controller three times.

2. Once the service menu opens, you will see the setting "Contrast" there, and, if you have a component source plugged in, there should be a value next to Contrast other than 000, and a constantly changing value next to YMAX.

3. Adjust this value using the volume control on your controller. I would not recommend turning this setting up any higher than 10-15 notches above the default setting.

4. When you're done, hit the power button to turn your panel off, then turn it back on.

There you go. I saw a post for service menu access for other models, and know that the "Info" button could be substituted with the "Recall" button on some older panels. Just be very careful when playing around in there, as you don't want to kill your panel.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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Podcast Thursday - 11/19

Got around to it, finally. This week, I discuss the Office 2010 Beta, Modern Warfare 2's sales, a possible move to Wordpress, and why I've been kinda late with the posts and podcasts recently.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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(No) Podcast Wednesday - 11/18

Sorry my friends, but Podcast Wednesday will become Podcast Thursday this week, as I was sworn in as a member of the Michigan State Bar today, so no time to 'cast.

However, in my absence the Office 2010 Public Beta came out of its shell, and is available here. I've got it, but haven't played with it yet. Hopefully I'll be podcasting about it tomorrow after my morning interview.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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Microsoft's Azure - Floating in Early '10

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 27:  In this photograph ...Ray Ozzie at PDC '08
I'm getting sworn-in as an attorney in Michigan tomorrow, so I figured I'd post this tonight while I'm not busy. Microsoft's cloud platform, Azure, is now said to be launching in early 2010. Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie made the call at PDC earlier today, and noted it will be available without cost in January, before becoming a pay service in February.
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Easier Windows Update Access in Windows 7

For those of you who have picked up Windows 7 already, you may have noticed that you can't pin Windows Update to the start menu as you could in Vista. However, I've found a couple sites that mention ways to quickly access Windows Update regardless. mentions a way to actually pin Windows Update to the taskbar, if that's your kind of thing.

However, I prefer the "no tweak needed" access mentioned by a fellow Blogger on Cool Thing of the Day, who mentions you can pull up Windows Update with just two clicks. Just right click the Action Center (flag) icon on the right side of the taskbar, and "Open Windows Update" will be the bottom option! A nice, clean, easy way to access Windows Update compared to the start menu, especially if you've cluttered it with a lot of programs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

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Quick Hits - 11/16

It's a late night quick hits tonight, and here are the interesting nuggets:

Office 2010 Beta - Should be available on Wednesday after it's announced at PDC. It was released to MSDN and TechNet subscribers today (lucky), but the rest of us still have a couple days to wait. I've been using the Technical Preview, and actually the difference that I'm most happy with is the ability to hide the Office ribbon.

Modern Warfare 2 Breaks Records - For my first time touching on gaming for a while, I'd like to give a nod to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which has gotten rave reviews, and broken numerous sales records since it's release on the 12th.

Microsoft Uses Improper Code - In a somewhat classy move by Microsoft, Microsoft admitted that it used code from its USB/DVD Download Tool from a utility called ImageMaster. It then released its source code, as was called for by the ImageMaster license. A strange gaffe on Microsoft's part, one they may have known about, but all appears to be forgiven.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

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Office 2010 Beta Site

Just thought I'd post it here now so you'd be able to pick it up once it becomes active sometime this week, but here's the Office 2010 Beta website. It appears you'll be able to select from Home and Business (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook and Office Web Apps), Professional (Adds Publisher and Access) and Professional Plus (Adds Infopath, Communicator and SharePoint Workspace).

Friday, November 13, 2009

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Quick Hits – 11/13

Every once in a while, I’ll come up with an article that just touches on some recent news. Today’s the first issue, and here we go:

Verizon iPhone? – We have the Verizon/iPhone talk AGAIN, but this discussion is slightly more descriptive of how things would go down. Apple Insider is noting that there's a dual-mode chip that Qualcomm’s working on currently that could be used for the iPhone. However, it’d probably be relatively expensive, and wouldn’t be available until possibly 2011. When it’s all said and done, it sounds like Verizon very well could come out with a CDMA-only iPhone in the second half of 2010.

Office 2010 Beta 2 Leaks – Neowin is apparently reporting that a Beta 2 build of Office 2010 Professional Plus is making the rounds on various torrent sites. If you ever had the Office 2010 Technical Preview, which I’ll continue to run until the public beta comes out next week, the TP keys apparently work for this build as well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Podcast Wednesday - 11/11

I'm going to start doing weekly podcasts every Wednesday here on the Cold Boot website. Despite my current sickness, I do (try) to touch on podcast submissions to iTunes, Blogger vs. Wordpress, and a few Windows 7 tips and tricks. Soak it all in.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

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Trying Out New Technology

Over the last week, I’ve decided to make a few upgrades to the site. Upgrades that, hopefully, will make it a little more attractive and accessible to those searching for information in the technology realm.

I already had established an RSS feed through Blogger, but I decided to go a little further by using Feedburner. Feedburner, which, like Blogger, is now run by Google, gives me the ability to track RSS subscriptions, make podcasting easier, and add sharing options to my Blogger page. One of the purposes of this post is to test the sharing options, such as Facebook and Digg, and see if they appear at the bottom of this post.

In terms of podcasting, that’s been a bit more difficult. First, it was tough finding file space that allowed direct linking to the .mp3 for access to the podcast. It took a while to figure out how the direct link works, but Windows SkyDrive actually provides a TON of space (25 free gigs), and it’s quite easy to upload files (not folders, however, unfortunately).

After finding space, setting up a podcast through Feedburner was easy, but submitting it to the iTunes Store for availability through their podcast directory has been impossible, literally. iTunes is constantly giving me a “We are experiencing technical difficulties. Try again later” message, despite the feed address working perfectly fine when I manually subscribe to it through iTunes myself. Hopefully I can get that rectified though, and podcasts can be a regular feature here on Cold Boot.

Finally, you may notice that I was able to put up a new address bar logo, also known as a “favicon,” up on the site. That actually takes a bit of manual HTML editing, but the unique site logo in the address bar makes it all worth it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

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My First Podcast!

This is my first foray into podcasting. This first podcast serves a dual purpose, as I talk about both tech and sports as well. I hit on the Verizon Droid, Windows 7, and MSU Football, so enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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Using Windows Live Writer – A Windows 7 Experience

I woke up this morning still not feeling great (I’ve had the flu in one form or another for the last 8 days or so), so I thought I’d make a slideshow to music of a recent trip my girlfriend and I took to Leelanau County, Michigan. For those of you not from the Mitten StaWindows Live Writerte, the upper portion of the lower penninsula is generally referred to as “Up North” by us Michiganders, while the upper penninsula is the “UP.”

When deciding to make the slideshow, I realized that Windows 7 doesn’t natively come with an application capable of making such a thing. The application you would see Kylie using in the Windows 7 commercials is Windows Live Movie Maker, and is available through Windows Update. I went onto Windows Update, and also noticed another

application when choosing what Windows Live programs to install; Windows Live Writer.

The description mentioned that Windows Live Writer was primarily a blogging tool, that allowed you to more easily insert photos, videos, tables, and other more “advanced” items into your blog. I went through the simple setup of telling Live Writer about my Cold Boot blog, and now I’m using it to write

this column. It’s more of a test than an actual article, but it seems to be fairly intuitive. I’m not as limited as to where I would like to insert a picture, or what size it’s going to be, and the “preview” tab at the bottom of the program does a great job of giving an accurate portrayal as to what the blog post will look like once finished.

Windows Live Writer doesn’t add a ton over what I have available to me through Google’s Blogger, but it’s just user friendly enough for me to continue to use it for at least the next few posts. It still drives me kind of crazy that there’s no native support for a “caption” underneath a picture (how hard is that?), but there are ways around it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

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Windows 7 Student Upgrade - Not an Easy Path

As some of you may already know, especially considering it's now almost a full couple weeks after release, the Windows 7 Student Upgrade from was not really the easiest of tasks when it came to install. When it comes to "upgrading" an operating system, I always try to get the freshest start I possibly can by doing a clean install. That can be difficult with upgrade media, but I was able to get a pretty spotless install, and here's how.

The main issue I had with the upgrade download was burning it to disc. The download did not come as a disc image, or ISO file, but an executable that unzipped the disc contents to their own folder. This seemed fine, since I just dragged the disc contents to another window to be burned. However, the resulting disc would not boot on startup, and I was left pounding my fists repeatedly against the top of my desk for a good half-hour. How could I get a clean, custom install if I'm forced to install from within Windows XP?

That being the question, I eventually decided to try another trick. What if I installed Windows 7 onto the same partition, my 15 GB C:. as I had Windows XP at the time? Windows 7 was barely too big to fit, but, after deceasing the paging size on the disk, I was able to do the install. This method actually worked fine, as, once the install was entirely complete and Windows 7 booted, the contents of Windows XP were neatly placed into the good old windows.old folder on the C:, which I promptly dragged to the Recycle Bin.

So, that's it! Just thought I'd share another install method with anyone. There were no "dual boot" confusions on startup either, despite the two operating systems still being on the disk at first. If anything, just make sure you really defrag heavily once all that file shifting's over.