Monday, October 28, 2013

Tire repair DIY

I used to let the shop do it, but suffered from slow leak; so I decided to try it myself about 3 years ago. As that fix worked out so perfectly well, when I had a bad luck again recently I did it again and recorded the process.

As you see, it is fairly easy and a repair kit costs only few dollars. The key for a successful fix:
  • File the hole well, otherwise the glue won't work well.
  • Put the glue on the plug thoroughly, otherwise slow leak.
  • Don't push the plug all way in, leave about 1/2" tails out.
  • Straight in, don't twist; straight out, quickly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sony MDR-10RDC noise cancelling headphones

are selling for $179.99 in Costco stores. Building quality is superb and it is light weight and totally comfortable to wear. Cord is replaceable and it uses one AAA battery.

However, the sound is bassy, muddy and squeezed, although not harsh. I looked at the back of the package and I saw "beats", that's why.

Noise cancelling is not so effective, I still can hear the emulated engine noise. Pass.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Obihai OBi200 VoIP Phone Adapter $30, Free Shipping

This is currently the best ATA and for this price it is a steal, click here. Use promote code: EMCWXVS67 to get the price down to $29.99.

Some highlights:
  • Google Voice built-in (placing and receiving GV calls).
  • iLBC codec (best for VOIP over 3G).
  • WiFi ready (optional WiFi module sold separately).
  • Support T.38 for reliable fax (good for connecting to it a fax machine).
  • Unlocked and versatile (use with any VOIP provider such as VoipDiscount).
  • Callback (for lower rate).
Hurry up, the promote code expires today!

YiXin offers free calls and SMS to China

You may call any phone number, cell or landline, as long as you have an Android or iOS device with an Internet connection (WiFi or 3G). Download the app here.

It is a little tricky to place a call though. First, you need to add the phone # into your phone's contacts, in the International format such as "+862161416222". Don't use "00862161416222", "862161416222" or "02161416222" etc.

Then open the Yixin app, log in, settings, tools, International roaming call or free SMS. Then you can pick up a # to call or text.

The only limit is 60 minutes per month. Other than that, as long as your phone's IP is not recognized as from China, you can call from anywhere for free.

Abstract in Chinese:


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Go get 2TB free storage from Baidu!

Registration was very simple - just gave an email address and, after email verification, I got 5GB instantly. Then it prompted me to download a mobile app for 2TB and I did. Right after login from the app, I really got 2TB!

This is very nice. With such large space, it is very convenient to store and share photos and video with friends and relatives, especially those in China.

I immediately collected two very valuable folders:

1. All versions of just released Windows 8.1 (including Chinese versions)

2. 70GB of comic books (连环画,比如《水浒》等)

Abstract in Chinese:


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Windows 8.1 still need keyboard and mouse


When one uses a Windows tablet or notebook, the job is usually not for content consumption but creation. A physical keyboard is a must.


Touchscreens can only do left and right clicks, they cannot do mouse hovering. Too many Windows applications depend on hovering, including Microsoft Office 2013 that comes for free with new Windows 8.1 tablets.

So, facing the floods of new Windows 8.1 tablets for only $300 -$400, the only one seems worth of considering is the ASUS T100:
However, there is one stupid thing here: the keyboard is too heavy at 1.2 lb. I understand the reason - to balance the 1.2 lb lid.

Acer solved this problem by building an extra battery into W510's keyboard. I understand Acer's solution is costly and the W510 sells for $700.

What ASUS should have done is to make the fat removable, giving buyers an option to replace it with an (expensive) battery.

T100's current solution is simply too stupid, a deal break, defeating all the purpose of buying such a device - the most portable.

[update] The fat seems removable for an optional HDD! If true, it is actually far better than an optional battery, because 10-hour is already enough but 32GB is way too small.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Man dies for wealth, birds die for food

One day I heard strange knocks on my backyard door and I happened to have my beloved Panasonic G5 with me. The 14-45 mm is the only lens I have; so I had to use ETC mode.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The last tweak of G5

I've been using my G3 tweaks on my G5 and have been very happy with the output - vivid and sharp. Well, with one exception though: shadows were too dark missing details. So, my last tweak is to move both i.Dynamic and contrast to their extreme - the highest for i.Dynamic and lowest for contrast. The resulted JPEG is very satisfactory with shadow detail that's very close to that of RAW.




Here is a list of my G5 tweaks, applying to both photo and video:
  • Photo Style: VIVID, Contrast -2, Sharpness +1, Saturation +1, NR -1.
  • AWB: auto, no change to default
  • ISO Limit Set: 3200. The default is "OFF", then it is limited to 800, too low for indoor.
  • I.RESOLUTION: Extended
  • I.DYNAMIC: High

Friday, October 18, 2013

Currently the best way for TV watching

Simply open the following link on your computer, phone or tablet, and watch.

For details, take a look at this youtube:

Abstract in Chinese:

我试了许多许多电脑和手机、平板上看电视的方法,都不完美。有的卡,有的比例变形,有的有IP限制(比如CCTV-5),有的缺乏《东森新闻》这样的难找的频道,有的没有美国的电视台(比如NBA,ESPN,HBO和CNN等),有的能在电脑上看,但是手机和平板上不行 - 反之亦不然,有的要装低劣的插件(比如CNTV),有些广告乱弹乱奔的,有的源头单一不牢靠。。。


唯一需要的是Adobe Flash,绝大多数的电脑和手机平板上都早已经装上了。少数外台需要插件。手机上最好用Boat浏览器,别的浏览器用来看这个都不理想。在设置里把“Enable flash/plug-ins”选为“Always On”。如果某个源头卡或者图像上有什么问题的话,在左边的列表里另选一个试试,有些频道有美国的源头,应该是比较适合在北美观看的。



碰到有IP限制的视频时,可以把DNS改为为“”。手机和平板上有乐视的app,需要破解IP限制的话,除了用SetDNS app改DNS的办法之外,也可以用这个改过的版本:


Some Android apps for watching:

CloudTV, CCTV and overseas
达龙影音,CCTV-1,5 etc.
风云直播,A lot but no CCTV
CNTV(hacked version), A lot but no more CCTV
龙龙直播,Almost all
泰捷视频,no CCTV
TV Master, CCTV but messy
PushMyLive, Messy

Plus LeTV and PPS for off-line video (see above link for IP block issue).

I tried more than these but they do not worth of mentioning.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to access boostmobile account with a mobile browser

In the past the only mobile browser that allows typing in phone # to log into boostmobile account is FireFox. What a pain, because FF mobile is a huge resource hog like its computer versions.

Now there is an easy way, just click the following link on your phone or tablet, regardless what browser you use:

Once logged in, there is a link to go to the full site. The phone # you just entered is already there, no need to enter it again which is impossible to do with a mobile browser except FF.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is a stylus useless?

The answer is yes if it is this type - with a bold soft tip:

They don't offer much more accuracy than your finger, don't waste your $10 or even $20. If you still want to give them a try, you may find one for $1 in a Dollar Tree near you.

However, the Jot stylus really helps, especially for the Acer W3, because Windows 8 is still not designed for handling traditional applications with a finger. BTW, why would anyone buy a Windows tablet if not to run traditional applications? Only Steve Ballmer would.

I saw them accidentally in a T.J.Maxx for only $5.99. I bought one first and then bought all of them (good gift). The pro version is $9.99 with a soft grabbing ring and magnet for holding to iPad; other than these, they are and work the same as the standard version:

A Jot is a must for Windows 8 tablets and a helper for others:

Well, you'd better still carry a mouse with your Windows 8 tablets, because many applications - even the pre-installed MS Office 2013, sometimes don't know what to do if they don't see a mouse. Believe me, you'll run into such a situation soon or later if you don't have a mouse with you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

64-bit Windows and old Canon Printers

I still use old MP600 and IP4200 printers because they and older Canon printers are refilling friendly. Because they do not have WiFi, so I use Airlink101 multi-function printer servers to make them network printers without losing USB features.

Unfortunately, these specific multi-function printer servers do not support 64-bit Windows. Fortunately, now Canon provides 64-bit drivers for those old printers and these drivers use virtual USB mode over network! So what I do is to connect the printer servers to a 32-bit Windows PC first. The 32-bit PC can be a real one or a virtual XP. Once the 32-bit PC can print to the Canon fine, share the printer.

Then on the 64-bit PC, download the x64 (not 32 nor x86) driver from Canon:

After the driver installed, add a new printer. Select network printers, type in the 32-bit PC's name and the shared printer's name:

That's it. Now on the 64 Windows PC I can see ink status and can do double-side and CD label printing as if the printers are really connected to a local USB port:

How could all these USB features possible through network sharing? Because the downloaded Canon printer driver uses virtual USB mode, not the traditional network sharing that does not retain USB features:

The downloaded x64 drivers are dated to 2009, but I swear I did not find them before. This solved a long time problem for me, because it is very hard to find a multi-function printer server that supports x64.

Note that these drivers still do not support scanner feature. I still need to use a virtual XP to scan remotely with my MP600.