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 | Tongfamily.com

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.

Cordless Drills and Screwdrivers

Hey I need one now that I’ve got a boat to mangle.

Some to look at are:

Panasonic EY6432GZKW $200 and the Ryobi P813 at $170 are really godo if expensive. The Makita BDF452HW $200 is only 3.5 pounds.

If you want to be really manly, then the Hitachi DS18DMR at $200 and 6 pounds is the way to go or the Makita BDF451 at $280 is nearly a pound lighter.

Finally, if you don’t like turning screws, then the Ryobi HP472K seems like the best choice at $30.

BTW, Craftman are only at Sears, Ryobi only at Home Depot. While Hitachi is only at Lowe’s. You can get Makita at Sears, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Free iPhone Wifi at Starbucks

Hey a big incentive to learn how to make iPhone’s a proxy server for your laptop!

AT&T Officially Lists Wi-Fi Hotspot Access with iPhone Plans – Mac Rumors

AT&T’s iPhone website (under ‘Plans’ tab) has been updated to reveal that each iPhone plan now includes access to their “more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including Starbucks all for use in the U.S.”

Entourage 2008

Hey maybe this 12.0.1 fix will help with Entourage and the sync issues we’ve been having. The readme certainly gives some hope:

Description of the Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update

Reliability is improved when synchronizing with a server that is running Microsoft Exchange Server.
This update improves synchronization support for users of Exchange accounts by reducing instances of duplicate or missing calendar events and by providing more consistency with changes to the calendar on the Exchange server. Additionally, this update fixes an issue that prevents some Entourage 2008 users from synchronizing their contact list together with the Exchange server.
• Stability is improved when synchronizing data with devices and other applications.
This update fixes an issue that causes the Sync Services component to quit unexpectedly while synchronizing calendar and contact information to iCal, to Address Book and to mobile devices that are connected through iSync or iTunes.

Google Apps

We’ve been trying to figure out the right way to do email and synchronize Calendars. Maybe Google is the right way to do it on the backend?

The candidates are:

* Exchange. This is trusty and reliable. The main issue is do we have to run our own Exchange and Blackberry Servers or do the hosted solutions work. We are trying Applix now and tried Intermedia before, although never got Intermedia Blackberry to quite work. Main question is how well will Apple’s direct sync with Exchange work with iPhones.
* Kerio. This is a Mac application that has third party Blackberry integration we need to try. The main issue is how address book synchronization is done, you have to use Apple iSync which is scary given all the problems we’ve had with it.
* Google. The dark horse. They now have manual synce of calendar with Blackberry so less convenient. On the other hand, they do sync with Outlook. Again manually. So maybe a decent solution.


_MG_1173_4_5_tonemappedOK, finally flopped Nextgen Gallery for ZenPhoto even though I can’t get the widget to work. But, let’s try integration. First, you should see a “Photos”:http://tongfamily.com/zenphoto button now at the top. You do need a password to see anything though 🙂

But to get it to actually integrate into the blog is the trick. First there is actually putting an image from ZenPhoto into WordPress. This isn’t quite photoblogging, but is somewhat useful. You can either hack around looking for the address or use Zenphotopress to do this as you can see above. The nice thing about Zenphotopress is that it shows you thumbnails of what you want to see.

_MG_1173As an aside the first image is an HDR image that is a combination of three exposures using Photomatix. And then you have the photo as it was originally.

WordPress Widgets

Quick review of widgets and WordPress. BTW, does anyone think the WordPress 2.5 is confusing compared with 2.3? sticking the really important plugins and settings to the right to be confusing and there are so many entries under Manage it makes no sense to me.
h2. Thumbs up:

* WordPress Auto Update. Hey every program should have this. It automatically finds and updates your WordPress

h2. Thumbs down

* IM online. This is supposed to figure out what is online and what is not. Always says don’t know and really slows the site down. A common problem judging from the comments on the WordPress extensions. I deleted it. Too bad, having one place to see that you are online would be really useful.

* Nextgen Gallery. This is actually a wonderful program, just lacks the ability to password protect hierarchically. Some templates don’t work with its widgets.
* PHP Gallery. I’ve used before, but the integration with WordPress just seems broken.

h2. Don’t know yet

* Multiblog WordPress. Eventually I’ll need this, but right now by default each WordPress is its own installation and needs it own maintenance
* ZenPhoto. Seems to be working well right now, but we’ll see. Has the features, but can’t get the integration with WordPress to work right. Seems to require lots of open passwords for things like ZenLatest Post.

REI Deals

Hey, if you are buying lots of gear, now’s the time to do a few things. First, if you know an REI member, if you sign up this month for $20 fee, you get a 20% off for a non-sale item. So if you’ve been eyeing something that is $100, now’s the time. Also “REI Visa”:http://reivisa.com let’s you save 5% on every non-sale REI purchase. It is also free and gives you a 1% rebate on other purchases. I’ve been using frequent flier credit cards, but if you have big dollar items, this can make some sense.