Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Gimme' that!

I had a quick chat with a colleague today who made a bet that it was possible to save a YouTube video to disk. The chap on the other side of the bet figured it was impossible, and this was a definite winner. Sorry Greg.

First, use KeepVid to save it to your computer.

Then, grab a free FLV to AVI conversion tool like, Freez FLV to AVI MPEG WMV Converter to change it to something more common.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Is the weather really getting worse?

Is the weather really getting worse? Well, maybe it is *but* I am also pretty sure that TV & radio stations are pumping up "storms" so much now that people are freaking out before leave for the morning commute.

A couple centimeters of snow (less than 1 inch) now calls for red blinking TV screens, buzzers and alarms with weather watches and warnings. Buses canceled, schools closed, and four-way flashers on? What the hell is that about. Honestly, if you're going to drive in the left (fast) lane with your flashers on - stay home. It's safer there from the weather and from other motorists your pissing off.

It is truly shocking now to see what will grind major cities to a halt. A light dusting over night results in chaos in the morning! Couple that with morning shows blasting you with weather alerts, reminders to leave 3 hours early, and constant updates about every single fender bender of course it is contagious. Of course people get punchy out there. But whether you have decided to make a life in Canada or have lived here your entire life it's not going to change. There will always be snow. There will always be cold weather. Get a scarf. Get a touque. Toughen up.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

No Hulu for you (Canada)

For some time now I have been patiently waiting for my Hulu beta invitation and today it showed up. I quickly logged in, setup my profile and started clicking around. Unfortunately, it appears that none of the content available will play in Canada, or anywhere outside of the US for that matter. 

Well, after a few curses I decided to hunt down an open US proxy server to route any HTTP requests to * through. So far, not so good... I am getting a new error page with optional videos but nothing is showing up yet... 

Monday, 26 November 2007

Apple a day keeps the Dr. away?

Well, I have been meaning to post about Macs for some time now. Or even to just comment on how many Apple Mac computers I have come across in the last year or so. And not just in general, but die hard Windows (ex-Microsoft staff!) who used to loathe Macs are now praising them. What they can do. And most notably their reliability. There have also been the handful of friends who insist on Macs superiority quietly whispering "I told you so."

This past summer it was time to replace one of the computers we have at home with a laptop. Since it will be used by my wife, I wanted to pick up something slick, powerful but would do everything she needed. I grabbed a little MacBook and it has been flawless since. No regrets. In fact, I'm hunting one down myself.

But back to point, in previous jobs I spoke with many IT pros and execs many of whom hate their Windows based laptop for their own various reasons. All curse after an unexpected crash & shortly follow up with "This is why I have a Mac at home".

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Howto: Hard reset on Palm Treo 700wx

Hopefully you do not have to do this too often, but in case you need to perform a hard reset on your Treo 700wx you can perform the following tasks.

  1. If charging, disconnect your Treo 700wx from its charger.
  2. Take off the battery cover, but do not take out the battery.
  3. Press and hold Power/End .
  4. While holding Power/End, remove the battery for approximately 2 seconds, then replace it while still holding Power/End.
  5. When you see "Erase all data?" you can release Power/End. Press Up to confirm the hard reset.
  6. If a language selection screen appears, pick the same language you use in your desktop software.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Hulu - NBC online video

Hulu began accepting email addresses for invites to their public beta. Of course, I quickly dropped mine in. It will not be long before anything you watch on television is readily available (free/cost) online. Most of it is already really through torrents however I'd certainly not consider that free.

If you are not sure what Hulu is here is the snap shot from CrunchBase.

"Hulu is NBC Universal and News Corporation’s online video joint venture. The site is set to launch in the Fall around October and will focus on professional content and not take on YouTube directly as a viral video destination. The site raised $100 million in financing from Providence Equity Partners.

Hulu videos will be played in their own embeddable branded player. Content from at least a dozen TV networks and two major film studios is promised. Initial distribution partners include AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo.

Jason Kilar, hulu’s CEO, explains “Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building.” However, we’re not so sure it was the wisest name to pick.

It's rumored that News Corp./NBC have acquired Bejing-based startup Mojiti and will use its platform for the basis of Hulu."

Monday, 22 October 2007

How to remove your Google Web History

So, Google's Web History has you a bit freaked out? Not sure how to get rid of it?

Follow these steps.

Log into your Google account (any Google service tied to your address). Click "My Account". Hunt down near the bottom for Web History and click that. Now, you will see *all* of the content you have searched for that Google has logged. On the left hand column there is a section to "Remove items". Click that, then hit CHECK ALL and save. Done.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Large File Copy

I have been looking for a tool to replace xcopy, Robocopy for some time now to handle copying large (10+GB) files across a Gb LAN. Until this evening I have been breaking them into smaller files and rifling through the folders & files with Robocopy with ease. However, most of the a single 10 GB file can take North of 2 hours to break up into many smaller CD sized files. I stumbled across a tool that comes with Microsoft Exchange that will make short work of long files.

The tool is called eseutil, check it out here:

With the large files I have recognized significant network copy gains vs Robocopy.

As a side note, there is another tool called TeraCopy that does the same, with a snappy little UI.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

bPhone - The iPhone skin for your Blackberry.

Generally, I am not a big fan of the flashy themes that come with computers, phones and handheld devices. However, this one did catch my eye and I quickly threw it on my 8830.

Over at, you can pick up a theme that looks very similar to Apple's iPhone. The install is OTA or desktop. OTA was dragging so I opted for the desktop version.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

USB 3.0 - coming soon to a computer near you.

Chiming in at nearly 5.0Gbps, the next flavor of USB (3.0) looks like it could be here in the first half of 2008. Apparently there is talk of using optical technologies but it will be backwards compatible.

A full review over at The Inquirer by Charlie Demerjian
as well as Slashdot.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

IBM Lotus Symphony Launches

IBM has launched an open source (free) based office suite, Symphony. The download is running now so I don't have any real feedback about it yet but at a high level it gives everyone (Win, Lin) three tools to go that are (as far as I've read) can compete with Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

I will complete the install and push some screen shots up later on with some notes about the install, products, etc.

The install went flawlessly, and was pretty quick. The first thing that jumped out was the single interface for managing data. There is a solo UI with tabs to indicate the type of document you are working on. You also have the ability (ala Firefox) to drag the tabs around to keep everything in order.

Unfortunately, Symphony does not seem to want to open the latest Microsoft Office (2007) file format. No problem at all with 2003 or XP.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Windows Live SkyDrive Beta

Aside from the most generous naming convention there is not a whole lot new about Microsoft's entrance into the online storage market(?) with Windows Live SkyDrive Beta.

There is a very snappy little upload tool that will let you pump your SkyDrive with data. Unfortunately, it is Internet Explorer friendly only - maybe once it's public there will be a Firefox version? Unlikely.

The UI is very clean and plain which is a welcome change. It flies along nicely in IE7 - again - haven't tried Firefox yet - not sure if it's worth it?

One thing that appears to be missing too is the ability to have a small app/service running in the background to backup your data. Mind you, with 500 MB that is a little tight. Most of the providers listed below off much more. Many of them offer free services too.

Also, for anyone not in the US and wants to use the Beta, you can log into your Passport/MSN/Hotmail profile and change your default location to the United States. That did the trick from me.

To name a few, here is a short list of online storage providers:
XDrive -
MediaMax -
IBackup - -
Amazon S3 -

Monday, 27 August 2007

New puppy pictures

A few weeks ago we picked up our second Beagle puppy from Maple Oak Kennels, Daisy. Actually, our two dogs are in the picture on their website, right column, second down. The two sleeping together on the couch.

Here's a quick photo album from Picasa Web Albums:

First post on

Well, this is the first post on the blog. I was getting a little curious about how easy it would be to setup a domain name with some basic collaborative features for free for family. It wasn't that difficult at all.

I ended up buying my domain ( & DNS from EasyDNS who I've used for years. That was about $60 for a 2 yr .com registry as well as advanced DNS services. Really, you could use a free DNS service and a 'cheaper' domain registry for about $10-$15.

After registering I quickly signed up for Google Apps. That will give us email, Google Docs, Google Chat and a basic web page service after making a few minor DNS changes which quickly synchronized in about an hour.

Next I grabbed myself a new blog at - then pointed and Easy, right?

Really, that's it! I'll keep adding to this as I think of things :)

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Flash & Abby in the tub.

Here is a video we shot of the pup (Flash) and the cat (Abby) playing in the tub. Since the cat lives in there most of the time I thought it would be pretty funny to see what happened if I threw the dog into the (empty) tub with the cat.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Flash VS Fax

Here's a video clip of our dog watching his very fist fax come through :)