Testing Hardware – QA and the Nest Thermostat 

I have had a Nest thermostat now for 3 years. For the first year it was great. Then, something shorted out in our furnace or something and it went haywire. 

Problem was, the furnace blower would try to start when the A/C was on. Not good.

A bug fix was to just disconnect the heat wire during the summer. But I am getting sick of that. 

And how can I prove that it isn’t a botched wire job or a screwed up Nest?

Most HVAC companies still don’t know much about Nest and that’s a shame, but their first line of defense would be to blame the Nest anyways.

Tonight I ran and picked up a $25 programmable thermostat and wired it up. All wires. To try to replicate the problem 

Well I hook it up and no problems. My guess is the Nest is borked. Now on to try to prove that.

In any event here is my test harness 🙂

So now the question is. Try to get it fixed/replaced or just buy a new one. After I get it sorted I will update this post.


iPhone 4S Blue Pixel Line Problem.. Fixed!

Friday as I was leaving work, I noticed a small 1 pixel line vertically directly in the middle of my iPhone 4S that I just activated about 1.5 weeks earlier. WTF? Thought something was on my glasses, rebooted, restored, etc, etc, still was there. Wasn’t a software issue, definitely hardware. Brought it directly to the Apple Store and the took a look and said, yep, we will replace it no questions asked. Something definitely wrong. Not sure what causes it, I saw something about some board inverter deal on some forum, but nothing concrete.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again 🙂


ATI Catalyst HDMI and Overscan/Underscan

I bought a new Dell machine a couple years ago for the sole purpose of doing Windows Development (my main home machine is a MacBook Pro). Everything is fine on the windows machine, except the dang monitor. By default, ATI and their “Catalyst Control Center” – which I have found to be utter garbage over the years, decides to set to underscan at 8.5% by default. Which leaves you with a big black margin around your main desktop from the edge of your monitor.
I had this all fixed a long time ago, but Windows Update had an update for the driver, which updated the CCC from ATI, which was completely wacked. Wouldn’t even let me set all the settings I used to be able to set.

I went and found the updated CCC at their site and installed over the top, and now could set the overscan/underscan to 0%. It is beyond me why this isn’t the default setting to begin with. Back when I first got it I had to search around to figure this out, many other people have the same issue. Not sure why they don’t set it to 0% out of the box. Anyway, here is the place you can change it:

Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

PC vs Mac

Microsoft has published a site, PC vs Mac

There is only one thing you have to know, everything else is fluff.

You will never get a blue screen of death on a Mac. Oh, I got one last night on a Windows machine. With an xlsx half way open and not done yet. Lovely.

done. game over. Mac wins.

And I love Windows, for Development and Business Intelligence. It is the hardware and software that have problems working together. Should Microsoft try to build a PC? Hardware? (ala Xbox?) Would it perform better? Maybe. Would they have more control? Of course, the hardware and software could integrate nicely. I would buy a mythical Microsoft computer before buying a regular PC. Just like I would buy a Mac rather than a Hackintosh 🙂

Product Reviews

Thoughts on the iPad

I am writing this from my iPad. What do I think of it? Pretty awesome. More apps will make it even better.

Playing “board” games is pretty fun. Crosswords, Sudoku, Words with Friends and others.

IMDB and Wikipanion are nice too. News and magazine apps make total sense. Of course this device is just completely built for consuming media but you can still create as I am now.

I like email in landscape mode, maps is awesome too.

Biggest thing i wish i could do? SMS. Other than that i am pretty pleased.

Next versions of the iPad will be better (as usual) so I am pretty excited.

Geeky/Programming Life

Dell Dies, And In Its Place..

A MacBook Pro. Yes, and it is awesome.

So the story, my Dell laptop was humming along fine, but then recently I heard some clicking, and was like WTF? Asked Emily “Did this fall on the ground or something”… “No… but I dropped a glass on it”… Oh man, and you know, one month after the warranty expires, as usual.

So this weekend I went to the Apple store and spec’d out a sweet MacBook Pro. 4 GB ram, High Res, everything. Picked up .Mac cheaper since I was getting a machine (soon to be MobileMe).

Right now I am running Vista in a virtual machine, giving it 2 GB, and it flys. This is probably the sweetest machine I have ever used 🙂 I am using VMWare Fusion instead of Parallels like by MacBook, figured Fransen said it was good, so I would try it. I like it.

I really like the light up keyboard. What else? Like they say, everything just works. Take for example my Verizon EVDO card. In XP or Vista, you have to install the connection manager, hope it works, hope all the drivers install, and then hope it launches. You run into admin issues, and just a ton of other stuff. In the MacBook? I plugged in the card, 2 seconds later, connected. No install, nothing. Just worked. God send.

So I think I am an Apple Guy now. iPhone, MacBook, MacBook Pro. Mighty Mouse (wired and bluetooth) and a bluetooth Keyboard. And on the 11th, I will get the 3G iPhone. When I think about it, all I need Windows for is Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and SQL Server stuff. Everything else I can do on the Mac, and with Virtualization, it is almost seamless. I like it.

What’s next? AirPort Extreme, AppleTV, Time Capsule…

I don’t think I will go back, unless something totally changes with the machines and the OS…


Updated to Leopard

Yesterday I picked up Apple’s latest OS, Leopard OS X 10.5. What is really cool is the boot camp feature. I am now dual booting Windows Vista and OSX on my little 13 inch MacBook. If I had the cash I would have gotten a MacBook pro, but it is just so expensive. I have 37 GB partitions for each OS, so not huge, but it works.

I do have a USB hard drive (250) that I use for OSX, and then I have one for Windows, so it is all good. Installing OSX was easy, few clicks, done. Did the updates, etc. Then ran Boot Camp assistant, rebooted, installed Vista, put in OSX DVD, installed the rest of the drivers needed, and then did the Windows updates.

Pretty slick setup. I might get some more RAM for this laptop, since it only has 1 GB, but it is performing OK.

I don’t think I will ever buy any new laptop that isn’t a MacBook (preferably a MacBook Pro). There just isn’t any other way to go IMHO.

Product Reviews

USB Enclosures are Cool!

I received my USB enclosure I ordered this week. Goodbye old 300 MHz server eating up juice and raising my electric bill, and hello new external hard drive on my desk, that I can turn on and off when I need. An extra 80 GB – nice addition.

Here is the enclosure I bought.


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This week, I worked on a PC for someone, and wow, was it infected with Malware/Spyware, bad stuff. Couldn’t stop it with Norton, MS Antispyware, other tools, etc. I found some forums saying to follow these 20 steps and it might work – forget it, just redo the PC.

That stuff is nasty, you need to watch what you install, especially from the web, stuff that pops up. I have seen that kind of stuff dissipate since XP sp2, but this computer didn’t have that, and must have gotten something that way.


Old School Computers (Kinda)

Yesterday I got to work on a couple of old school computers. They weren’t too old, but one Windows 98 and one Windows ME. Microsoft has come a long way. They both had 56k modems, and they were having issues connecting.I suppose I should give a plug for Jeff Orbeck, owner of Kim-Built Propane in Kimball – that is where I was helping out. They had some awesome grill’s there – I wish I didn’t live in an apt, or I would probably have one. For your propane needs in Central MN, give Jeff a call at 320-398-3420 – he’s a good guy.

P.S – this is my first post from Outlook using NewsGator!