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Dimming the insanely bright LED’s on a Motorola SB6141 cable modem

Motorola SB6141 cable modem
Blinding LED’s which fill the room with cool blue light.

A few weeks ago I decided to upgrade an aging
Motorola SB5101 cable modem to a new Motorola SURFboard 400 Series SB6141. After the obligatory call to Comcast to register the new MAC address everything was going swimmingly until I turned off the lights and suddenly landed in the world of TRON. The entire room was basked in cool blue light from the “stupidly, ridiculously, blindingly bright” LED’s. Seriously, they’re that bad and more, blinking incessantly and with a case full of holes it nearly filled the room. Continue reading Dimming the insanely bright LED’s on a Motorola SB6141 cable modem

Buy a Nikon D7000 with or without the kit lens?

I’m looking at buying a Nikon D7000 and I’m curious if I should simply forego the kit lens for an alternative? Alternatively, I’m thinking of getting a good 28mm lens for candids of the family/kids. The kit lens is a NIKKOR 18-105mm DX VR Lens and adds roughly $200 to the price tag.

My D70 finally died after “someone” pulled the CF card out, jammed it back in getting it stuck then leaving it sticking out sideways. While I managed to straighten the pins out and reseat the card I can’t get it to read successfully even though I’ve tried reformatting and another card.

Update: Dec 8. Ordered it without since the kits were out of stock.

Leaving Android for an iPhone 4S

I’m eligible for a device upgrade and as much as I’d like to stick with Android I can imagine myself feeling like James Kendrick in his piece After the iPhone 4s Android Just Feels Wrong. The Android experience for the last 18 mos. on my original Droid has been terrible to the point of laughable. This next round will be Apple iPhone 4S. Adios Android.

For the record I have the original Droid but I’ve also used an HTC EVO and my wife has an HTC Eris. We’re both switching to the iPhone.

How to Connect a Nintendo Wii to a Samsung LED Flat Panel TV

We have a Samsung flat panel TV which hangs from the wall like a picture frame so it’s pretty difficult to read the back of the TV especially when trying to change connections. We don’t always have the Wii connected to this TV so I move the Wii and have to reconnect it using a 5 plug component cable. I seem to always forget the order of the plugs therefore I can’t easily reconnect it without visual access to the back of the TV. Google returned several bogus hits for this question so I snapped a picture with my cell phone (which was immediately uploaded to Picasa via G+, very cool) so here it is:

Picture of Wii component plugs on a Samsung LED Flat Panel TV

From left to right the plugs are red and white audio and red, blue, and green video. I’m sure there’s a great reason why the far right plug is green and not yellow but there you go.

Here’s a Google search to get you started $g(green vs yellow video plug).

Now, I only have to remember I wrote a blog post to recall the order of the connections.

My New Project DIY Bosch Dishwasher Repair Model SHX46A05UC

We’ve recently had a problem with our Bosch dishwasher so this is looking for some advice for a DIY repair.

When we starting our dishwasher the other day there was an electrical smoke smell that seemed to be coming from the top right hand corner of the door on where the control panel buttons are located. The power button light no longer turns on and the machine is dead at this point.

Google led me to the need to check the wire nut for the power cord and make sure there wasn’t some sort of short (haven’t done this yet). My next thought is perhaps the control board for the machine which I understand is located in the door near the control panel buttons. Searching on the Bosch website I can see there is a recall for a different model (mine’s not covered) for a problem that sounds exactly like what I’ve experience that related to a faulty control board thus my guess as what the issue is.

I checked locally and the repair is $216 + $109 for the control board if that’s the problem so I want to do a bit of digging myself as that’s an amount I don’t want to part with right now.

The model is SHX46A05UC /30 and the serial number starts FD8604.

Do you have any advice?

[Update: March 13, 2011] After a bit of Googling I found the cause of the problem. When we purchased this dishwasher, much to my surprise it didn’t come with a power cord. The manual specified the proper gauge and after a trip to the hardware store it was up and running. However, the cause of the failure was a wire nut:

burned out wire nut

On another note, one of the places my searching found was where it looked like they had a pretty helpful forum. I created an account, agreeing to the forum Terms & Rules:

Although we offer free repair help, this site is not free to operate! We are supported by your parts purchases. If we help you figure out what’s wrong with your appliance, then help make sure that we’re still gonna be here the next time you need us by purchasing your appliance parts through the parts links that we post. A small percentage of your purchase goes to supporting this website without costing you one penny more for the parts you order.

…and posted a near copy of what I wrote above. Someone from the site replied directing me to a link to purchase a control board for $180.10. Well prior to my web searching my wife had priced the board at a local place and found the cost as quoted above which is why we were looking online. At that point, not wanting to look like some sort of troll I carefully posted a replied asking for verification that the part was $72.10 more than what we’d been quoted and got a rude reply telling me they were saving me from spending over $300 by DIY’ing it implying that I just didn’t get it! After posting a brief follow-up comment the next day my account and the thread had been deleted. So much for “…help you figure out what’s wrong with your appliance” and instead just pushing to sell expensive parts. Interestingly while all this was going on and still thinking the issue was perhaps the control board I’d made a request to who came back with $73.91 for the same part, over $100 cheaper.

After a new wire nut and resetting the dishwasher total cost of repair: $0.17. Though I’m considering a different gauge cord altogether.

[Update: May 18, 2014] Same problem occurred again and the wire nuts replaced above have melted through once again. <sigh>

Bosch wire nut problem

Optimizing Wireless Router Performance using Android and Wifi Analyzer

imageWifi Analyzer on Android Wifi AnalyzerPrior to getting my Motorola Droid I hadn’t thought too much about which channel my wireless router was running. In fact, I never really put too much thought into router channels at all though not long after I got my Droid I stumbled into Wifi analyzer and realized my router overlapped at least three others located near by. Fortunately the airwaves aren’t so crowded (at least not yet) finding a free channel was relatively easy.

In case you can’t tell in the image to the right there are 13 wireless routers broadcasting their signal around our house. I wonder if those questioning the new SmartMeters to be installed here in Scotts Valley have checked their existing wireless predicament?

How does your neighborhood compare?

iPod Touch home screen now on my Motorola Droid

I’ve mostly duplicated the functionality found on the home screen of my iPod Touch on the Motorola Droid though I think it’s fairly evident in the screenshots that, out-of-the-box, Android rather lacks the polish of Apple’s OS. I don’t really find that to be a big deal because one of the things I like about Google is their iterative approach to development and I expect things will incrementally improve at a much faster rate then the iPhone though time will tell. Btw, the images below approximate the actual screen sizes on my 17” Macbook Pro monitor at 1900×1200.



There are a few things about Android icons I don’t quite get:

  • The spacing is too large with too much whitespace
  • The icons are too small
  • They don’t appear to support dynamic content like the Calendar on the iPhone or icon overlays like on the iPhone’s mail application (refer to the email, Byline and Facebook apps on the Touch)
  • The phone defaults to only three screens of icons and the center screen is the “home” screen

I understand there are themes for Android but IMO it seems that some of these things should be the default not where you have to find and install a theme to improve usability.

[Updated: Jan 14, 2010] Nexus One, iPhone and Droid: Which Is Brightest? Long story short, Droid won. 🙂

YouTube videos our kids enjoy and yours might too

While this is well off my normal blog topics it’s been a hit at our house so…

My wife and I have three children (6 and under) and like all kids I know they love fire trucks. A few weeks ago with the kids sitting in my lap while looking at pictures on the computer they asked to see a fire truck so I browsed to YouTube and rather haphazardly stumbled into this video/song which the kids really enjoy. If you watch this video on YouTube you’re kids will probably also notice, as mine did, related videos with $g(Caillou) on the page and you may end up spending more time than you might anticipate.

Personally, I don’t frequent YouTube and have really only watched the occasional video as they arrive in email or via Facebook but recently I’ve found other fun YouTube videos the kids have really enjoyed:

Be sure to catch the train surfer and if you fly frequently you might want to skip the last one as will likely lead to ones like this. Come to think of it I think I had one of these landings in Scranton during this trip.

Do you have any kid favorites on YouTube?