Akio Toyoda testified before congress today, claiming recent failures were due to floor mats and pedals again, but claims the fix includes pedal replacement, floormat replacement, and electronic reprogramming. They did not directly say that electronic failures were a cause, only a consumer concern. Nice.  Two issues come to mind… (more…)


My old Canon 4 MP ELPH finally died of CCD failure, and it was time to look for a replacement. The timing couldn’t be worse, however. With more items to sell, I need pics- and now. But, with horrible noise problems and rushed software from the recent megapixel wars, reviews of current cameras were pretty dim. What’s worse, it seems some reviewers were beginning to simply accept the diminishing capabilities of the new point-and-shoot cameras to focus-on the “good” parts. Everyone seems so enamored with the megapixel count that they forget picture quality and the ability to actually capture a photo (something amazingly missing from recent cameras). I know 10 years is a long time to ask of my old ELPH, but why couldn’t it have survived a year longer?

So, with time to waste while waiting for an oil-change, I went to play with the camera display at the end of aisle 200 in the local super-mega-happy-mart. Looking at P/S cameras having from 10-12MP and prices from $80-$120, I found many surprises. Both good and bad. (more…)

Reading the paper today, I noticed a complaint about a very basic issue- balancing our checkbooks. More specifically, people having trouble are looking to the computer for some friendly program to help. Though this should be a pretty simple problem, it seems finding a solution is difficult. It was for me, until I stumbled across a solution many years ago. (more…)

For those of you who have gone and bought a Viore PLC7v95 portable TV that I discussed before, you may have found something missing. While transferring some movies to the unit, I found that it’s picky about formats. Unfortunately, Viore doesn’t describe what formats are compatible with their units. Nothing in the manual, nothing on the website. (more…)

VioreDTVI know this issue has been beat to death on the web. But, now it’s time for me to finally take a look. Wife wants a portable TV for work.  Needs to be ATSC (“DTV”) compatible, have good battery life, and most importantly, portable. She DOESN’T want a laptop.

I’ve found that almost all have battery life of ~1.5 hours and require external antenna for normal operation, regardless of advertising claims. Most have the same resolution and other technical specifications. Some have digital media players, some come with external antennas.  Some have carrying handles. I’m looking specifically at quality (from reviews) and price. Though a media player sounds cool, too.

I’ve listed what I’ve found below, including a composite of reviews from other sites (Amazon, AVN, etc.), and an average price.  All except Chinese TV’s for export because… what  are you, crazy? I’ve been burned enough by Chinese “technology.” (more…)

My opinion of VOIP communications has oozed through my blog before. I keep hoping it becomes user-friendly. I keep hoping it becomes reliable. I keep hoping.

A while back, I was looking at USB ‘phones’ in the store (most of which were in the bargain bin). I had this idea. I have a computer. I have a high-speed internet connection. I have an old telephone. I have a dial-up modem… Just like the ones on every computer ever made! I can connect all these things together. That means I have an electrical pathway like this: Phone to POTS modem, modem to computer, to cable modem, to Internet.

Why the hell do I need a USB phone? (more…)


A while ago, I discussed the proliferation of “*” sites. Now, western U.S. division of AT&T has blocked it’s internet subscribers from the site “”., the home of the original /b/ board and the ‘Anonymous’ group, is a bastion of filth, pornography, shock, and general failure ripe for banning from the internet. If it were to disappear tomorrow, it wouldn’t be much of a loss. Oddly, it’s also well loved for being.. well, all of those things.

Censorship, regardless of the victim, is unconscionable in America. 4Chan, even though it attempts to censor itself from the worst predilections of our society, still makes itself an easy target for this type of bias. Regardless, this incident of blatant censorship is an unusual move for a liberal-minded west coast area. Whether AT&T will be able to continue this policy is too soon to tell. The real problem is that, if it’s accepted there, AT&T and other telecoms in more conservative areas of the country will jump at the chance to do the same. The next 24 hours should be interesting. (more…)

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