Windows Boot Drive Crash

Even when on vacation, you find computers everywhere. Someone asked me, “what do I do? when I try to start my computer, I get a boot drive not found”.

“Microsoft”: has a good discussion about what happens if you get Operating System Not Found or Missing operating system. The long and short of it is that you use Windows XP Recovery Console and then the fixmbr to update the master boot record if that is the problem.

There is also a good (finally!) discussion about all the “startup”: problems you can have.

This has got to be the scariest message ever created. What it means normally is that (best case), the boot all the way to your hard drive has failed. The later happens quite a bit with notebooks, but let’s hope for the best. “”: has the best explanation of what is going on. In short, it is normally that the startup files have been corrupted.

If you have a floppy drive (an ancient machine!), then you can create a boot disk

I’m such an idiot

I jammed a superdrive back in April. Forgot about not leaving a DVD in there and now Microsoft Office 2008 is stuck in there and it won’t come out. I can actually hear the drive spinup and try to access and then stop. Once I even got the CD icon for a second. Looks to me like leaving a DVD in the Superdrive and then sticking it into your backpack causes the DVD to move around and then the Superdrive gives up. How frustrating. Oh well, I guess I have to return to Apple.

Amazingly dumb there is no mechanical switch. And yes, that mouse button down during boot doesn’t work and there is not little reset switch that releases the mechanism. Apple is great but not perfect 🙁

The most frustrating thing though is that Tongfamily is the first hit for a Superdrive jam. Sigh.

MacBook Air SuperDrive jam |

Hey watch out, I haven’t used the superdrive much, but when I left a DVD in there and on the airplane tried to play it, the DVD just grinded and stuck.

No Compact Camera for a prosumer? GX200, DP1, G9, SD950 compared

Well, been looking for a high end compact camera. When I was on film, used a Yashica which was compact, but had a great fixed focus lense and excellent quality. There really isn’t a good answer yet for digital. What do you need for a prosumer that is different from a point-and-shoot. Well, the ideal list is pocketable since the whole point is that you don’t have your point and shoot, good quality blowups to say 11×17 (which is to say 8MP or so), high ISO and low noise which usually comes from a big AP-sized sensor, full manual controls for aperture and shutter priority, RAW output so you can tweak, great optics even if it means less (or no) zoom and finally image stabilization to get those really low light shots. The low light is important because no compact. In short, no camera has all this, but here are the current choices:

* “Ricoh GX200”: is sort of with RAW and full manual, but it isn’t fast enough only good to ISO 200 because it uses a tiny sensor.
* “Sigma DP1”: has all the features and a huge sensor so it has great image quality and low noise, but terribly slow from shot to shot so pretty unusable if you have to wait 7 seconds between shots.
* “Canon G9”: which has full manual modes, but still has a small sensor and is really too big. It shoots RAW and really “best quality”: is at ISO 200. Above ISO 100, the noise reduction in JPEG is really big, so you want to shoot RAW. And with a small sensor, its exposure latitude is small.
* “Canon SD950 IS”: but it doesn’t have manual controls although it does have image “stabilization”: It is really more of the top end of the point-and-shoot family. For instance it has “face detection”: It is noisy above ISO 200 which is common for these small sensor (usually about 0.5″).

Three years ago settled on the Fuji F10 (and “F11”: which were only 6MP but had excellent low light performance. Great photos at ISO 400 which is pretty much impossible for most point and shoot today. Low light performance is really important because the flashes on small cameras just looks so bad and the lenses are slow. This camera is big and now obsolete, so what is a person to do.

The prosumer point and shoot has only a few choices with enough manual controls like aperture priority and low noise to be useful. The Canon Sureshot G9 is good but is kinda big. The Canon IS 890 is 12MP and decent quality at ISO 200. The “Sigma DP1”: has terrific image quality and low noise up to ISO 400 is amazing, but it takes 7 seconds to shoot a single RAW image. It does use a Foveon image sensor, so it is nominally 5MP, but they market it as 14MP. With these small cameras megapixels aren’t nearly as important as low noise and a good lense. In this case Sigma is a fixed 24mm equivalent, so a little limited. But like my old Yashica which also has a fixed lense, really worth it. The tiny zooms are really amazing technological achievements, but I’d rather have a fast fixed focus for a compact camera.

The “Ricoh GX200”: doesn’t come to mind as a mainstream model. But it does do RAW and is now 12MP. Also has an electronic view finder option. Also has anti-shake too. The main drawback is that it is only good quality to ISO 200. It actually produces DNG files which is pretty cool. Also is has a 24-72mm effective lense, so it can take decent wide angle (more important than you think).

The sad thing is that it uses a standard sensor (the Fuji F10 does not nor does the Sigma DP1). You really want a big sensor to take care of noise. I really the Sigma DP1 was decent. Main issue with that camera is that it is simply so slow in taking photos.

Lamp-free DLP

Another example of why buying a projector now is hard. The big news is that projectors are moving to LEDs which means no more bulbs and lots less power. If you can hang on until this fall, I’d suggest waiting for next generation of projectors that are all solid-state.

(Sad to say this is the same recommendation as for notebooks which are also going all solid state)

TI shows protoype Lamp-Free DLP projector

Texas Instruments has introduced the industry’s first Home Theater lamp-free projector, utilizing a PhlatLight LED light source and a BrilliantColor DLP. In addition to expanded color and contrast performance, the illumination system has an incredibly long life and offers up to 30% lower power usage and, most significantly, hundreds of dollars in savings from lamp purchases. Several manufactures have plans to develop DLP lamp-free LED-based projectors with units expected to ship in late 2008

Bluray has won, now what?

I’ve paid no attention to home theaters for the last four years (really!) because there has been a major format war between HD DVD and Blu Ray and more over I can’t imagine throwing away the gigantic 200 kg 72″ rear projection TV monster I have, but with HD DVD dying this February and so many plasma’s coming out, its time to see what the story is. Here is the scoop:

* This old Mitsubishi 72″ rear projection actually doesn’t look too bad. It produces 1080i60 (that’s 1080 lines vertical, interlaced at 60 frames per second. Confused yet?). It also handles 480p30 (which is 480 lines progressive at 30 frames per second). It is amazing, but even though acquired either years ago, that’s really not all that bad. Today’s flat screens can handle 1080p30 which it turns out is essentially identical to 1080i60 in bandwidth).
* It only has component inputs which means it uses three wires rather than the new HDMI (HDMI gloms it all together and also adds audio while DVI used by computers is similar but doesn’t carry audio). All Blu Ray players have component output. Right now, the Comcast HD DVR for instance products full 1080i60 and also Dolby 5.1 via optical output, so the Mitsubishi is actually well matched to this.
* There is a scary set of “flags”: (that no one uses today) that tells the Blu Ray player not to send 1080i60 signals to “component outputs”: But no discs today actually implement it.

The net of it is that in order to upgrade to Blu Ray, it looks like it will work out OK mainly because all the source material produced by Hollywood is in 1080p24 form right now. When they send things out as 1080p60, so double the frame rates, then that year 2000 RPTV is obsolete. Whew!

OTOH, will you really see a difference with “Blu Ray”: most good DVD players that are stuck with 480i60 and actually doing upconverts to 480p30, so it doesn’t look all the bad. While that doesn’t sound like it, it turns out that in terms of resolution 480p30 is like getting 960i60 so it is pretty close to 1080i60. Net, net, it isn’t clear how much better the picture is. The key again is that source material is actually in 1080p24, so that is the best you can see in the end.

There are many “comparisons”: that show how much better 1080p images are as single images. I actually find these pretty strange since they really aren’t right. If you show a 1080p image as a single frame you will get double the resolution so it will look better as iLounge shows. This is because the 1080i image is actually done as two fields of 540 lines that come out twice as fast. If you do that math, it is better clear that 1080p24 source material has to look more or less the same at 1080p30 or 1080i60. If there is ever 1080p60 film from Hollywood, then everyone needs new televisions. Even some new films like “Star Wars”: was shot in 1080p60, these have not yet seen the light of day and most traditional films were done 24fps.

Even in digital movie theaters (drool, drool), the standard formats are 1080p24, 2160p24 (whoohoo!) and 1080p48.

Music Galore

Spent a day thinking about nothing but music in the US. Strange to just have a meeting about music in China and then go directly to the US. Interesting sites:

* “”: Spirit of full disclosure we are investors, but what the heck kind of cool
* “”: Ditto
* “Pandora”: I haven’t played with it in a while. Same basic idea. Experts categorize music and then you create stations based on a single song or artist. Kind of neat. Good way to explore (vs. by recommendations which La La and Nutsie do). Nice user interface.

Cool new artists (no account for my tastes):

* “John Mayer’s Say”: . OK, he may be dating Jennifer Aniston (who hasn’t gone out with her???), but the song is pretty cool.
* “Kat DeLuna”: and 9 Lives. Discovered by a choice from Cassie’s Me & U, some great tracks like “Whine Up”: and I have to say the Nutsie search for Youtube for the video is hilarious and intercuts a kid video with a movie “Feel The Noise”:

iPhone 2.0 to ship this Friday

Now I just wish I could actually find my iPhone. I can’t figure out where it went

9 to 5 Mac | Apple Intelligence

Cupertino “sources” report that it’s “highly probable” the iPhone 2.0 Gold Master will ship this Friday, two weeks before the iPhone 3G ships and just close enough to the end of June to keep Apple’s promise to ship the software this month

Cool sites

Have yet another backlog of sites. The “Time”:,28804,1809858_1809957,00.html list is pretty good:

GasBuddy has real time prices from the community. Save a few bucks!

TripKick since TripAdvisor isn’t good enough. It tells you which floor to stay on 🙂

AfriGadget are simple things that can work in the developing world

PopSugar shows I’m a bad person. I love reading gossip!

Picnik uses flash so you can do basic picture editing. I don’t think I’d actually use it, but amazing user interface and the future of applications imho. is the way to figure out all the slang being used on the internet. For instance l33tspeak which means you replace letters with numbers like she1b0y. Lots of things I didn’t know like P911 or W/E (my current favorite!).

Clickz on Ad Placements

Hat tip to Bill on this one, a good source of overview information that shows the size of the internet advertising business. “Clickz”: which is mainly from Neilson Online (really “Netratings”: Some tidbits:

* Web Media (what ever that is?) is largest at 74B impressions per month
* Financial services is the largest segment I understand at 52B impressions per month
* Retail goods and services 35B (which is different than consumer goods at 10B)
* Telecommunications is 26B. I imagine these are cheap long distance
* The other interesting ones were travel at 7.5B which is much smaller than I would have thought
* Public services is 9.6B whatever that is.

Final interesting thing is latest search share. “Netratings”: says it is 59% Google. Yahoo is 17% and Microsoft increase share by 72% to their share to 13% since last year in May. Overall search grew 9.5% YOY. Google by 15% so share growth is modest at best.

Finally I thought the top 25 companies buying sponsored links (you know the right hand side of google) was interesting and sort of unexpected too. Here they are along with the top three search terms they bought. Most of the top searches look like people typing into the toolbar a URL. But I would never have guess term 3 for ebay, nextag and others was google:”refrigeration tools”

Top 25 Companies by Top Three Search Terms, May 2008
| Company | Search Terms |
| eBay | ebay trucks refrigeration+tools |
| Interactive Corp | priceline |
| Internet Made Simple | calorie+shifting weight+watchers |
|True | online+dating |
| Yahoo | natru-vent trucks prom+dresses |
| Pickamortgage | no+cost+refinance mortgage+refinancing+
companies refinancing+a+mortgage |
| Wu Yi Source | nutrisystem south+beach+diet |
| | samsung+series+6 “richard+pepperman” |
| Target Corp. | the+sockman+socks nintendo+event global+stone |
|Experian Group Ltd. | endurance+saddle+pads free+credit+report equifax |
|driverTV | santa+fe+ volkswagen+beetle hyundai+santa+fe |
|Fidelity Investments | car+insurance car+insurance+quotes united+health+care |
| | match rich+in+new+york |
|Zencon Technologies LLC | blackplanet blackpeoplemeet |
| | chat chat+rooms |
|NexTag Inc. | refrigeration+tools toter+trucks fayetteville+state+
university |
| BizRate | natru-vent endurance+saddle+pads homes+for+rent |
| Shopzilla Inc | refrigeration+tools cost+of+helicopter abetta+saddles |
| Inc. | sweet+sixteen+party+ideas cinco+de+mayo+music cinco+de+mayo |
|Google | google mail google+homepage |
| | refrigeration+tools citizen+cmp-10 portable+dvd+players+
for+cars |
|Time Warner | trucks mapquest aol |
Money And Markets | g+e+stock korea+free+trade fed+rate |
|FUZZ | independent+labels promoting+music lyrics+for+spanish+
christian+songs |
|Esurance car+insurance car+insurance+quotes free+auto+insurance+quotes |