20 March, 2009

Listen to iPhone videos while using other iPhone functions

The iPhone's iPod player works great with audio. Start your favorite song or podcast, and while it plays, you can use other functions on the phone. This is one of the few background processes that works with the iPhone. If you try the same thing with a video, perhaps all you really care about is the audio portion, you're out of luck. As soon as you navigate away from the video player screen, the video stops playing.

I have found a work-around, so you can listen to the video while you use other iPhone functions. Here are the steps:
  1. Find and start the video
  2. Navigate away from the video player by pressing the Home button
  3. Put the iPhone to sleep (press the top sleep/wake button)
  4. Wake the iPhone (press the top sleep/wake button, again)
  5. Double-click the Home button
    This will bring up the video, with the phone locked
  6. Press the play button
  7. Slide the slider to unlock the iPhone
Now you will be able to listen to the video while you use other features of the iPhone. Have fun!

11 March, 2009

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak dances with the stars

Steve Wozniak takes one for the (geek) team as he puts himself out there to be ridiculed by the judges for his lack of rhythm. It's this type of attitude that led Steve to innovate -- take risks, even though you might fail.

10 March, 2009

Fix iTunes to burn CDs again

On February 26, 2009 I wrote about problems with XP and my CD/DVD drives. After a fix to the Registry, the last step was to re-install any software that I use to burn CDs and DVDs. It seemed all was good, but I apparently hadn't tried iTunes.

The next time I launched iTunes, I was greeted with the following message:
Warning! The registry settings used by the iTunes drivers for importing and burning CDs & DVDs are missing. This can happen as a result of installing other CD burning software. Please reinstall iTunes.
With prior experience using iTunes, I was not about to uninstall iTunes. Instead I just tried a Repair through the Add/Remove Software interface. That failed. I then tried installing iTunes over my current install, and that failed too. Finally I went fishing on Apple's site.

I found an entry that looked promising. Apple recommends I remove a Registry key, add an new one, and then re-install all CD/DVD burning software. Sounded a bit like a loop, so I tried just adding the new Registry entry, and that worked. Here are the steps I followed:
  1. Go to the Start menu, click Run...
  2. Enter regedit and click OK.
  3. Click the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to expand the tree.
  4. Click the plus sign next to SYSTEM.
  5. Click the plus sign next to CurrentControlSet.
  6. Click the plus sign next to Control.
  7. Click the plus sign next to Class.
  8. Click to select the heading that begins {4D36E965- (don't click the plus sign here).
  9. Right-click the UpperFilters entry and from the shortcut menu, click Modify.
  10. Enter GEARAspiWDM and press Return. Pressing Return adds a carriage return in the field and is important.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Restart the computer.
Now I seem to be finally, fully recovered.

04 March, 2009

Thunderbird SMTP failure

I recently added a new email account to my Thunderbird client, and it failed in sending email (SMTP), though it did receive (pop3). I double and triple checked my configuration; I deleted and recreated the account; nothing seemed to work. I had two other SMTP accounts defined, and they never had the problem.

Finally I found a reference (sorry I don't remember what website) that suggested trying to delete all my saved passwords. Sure enough, that did it. Even though when I had recreated the account I was challenged for password input on the first time, it had still failed. Also, I had copied and pasted the password from an alternate source, so I didn't make a typo. Some how the storage for passwords, just for the single account, was corrupt.

If you use Thunderbird on Windows, to delete your passwords go to:
  • Tools >> Options
  • Click Privacy
  • Click the Password tab
  • Click Edit Saved Password
  • Either click Remove All OR select the ones you want to delete and click Remove
  • Click Close and click OK
That seemed to work for me.

03 March, 2009

Force fit an HTML Table

My previous post had a table that the browser pushed outside the defined dimensions, making half of it un-viewable. Beside the rather narrow body for the blog, which by-the-way makes it easier to read, most browsers just don't know how to break text strings that do not have white space.

Turns out there is some CSS code that can be used that will correct this in most browsers. Use the following two CSS properties in your table definition (adjust width to meet your need).
table-layout: fixed; width: 425px;
Surprisingly, if you use Firefox, it shortens the width correctly but it still has trouble wrapping some lines, while IE and Safari seems to render the entire table correctly. Visit the W3C site to get details on other table options.

Use Verizon and everyone will think you're from Canada

I've been using Verizon FIOS for about a year, and up until recently I've been happy. Unfortunately, recently my ip address (which Verizon assigns to my router) changed and now it appears I'm coming from Toronto, Canada. In fact if I run a Trace Route, it says I'm coming from Toronto, Canada as it's taking 21 hops and traveling over 2100 miles within the Verizon network before they release me onto the Internet.

11.183xo-gateway140.239.191.1Rowland Heights, CA, United States
27.517ip65-47-242-9.z242-47-65.customer.algx.net65.47.242.9Culver City, CA, United States
37.119ge6-3-0d0.mar1.santaana-ca.us.xo.net207.88.81.193, , United States
48.589p5-1-0-3d0.rar1.la-ca.us.xo.net65.106.5.81, , United States
59.406te-4-1-0.rar3.la-ca.us.xo.net207.88.12.153, , United States
622.022207.88.12.154.ptr.us.xo.net207.88.12.154, , United States
79.234205.158.79.122.ptr.us.xo.net205.158.79.122, , United States
812.4240.so-2-2-0.XT1.LAX7.ALTER.NET152.63.112.146, , United States
911.5260.so-5-2-0.LAX01-BB-RTR1.verizon-gni.net152.63.112.46, , United States
1035.497130.81.19.83130.81.19.83, , United States
1164.54P11-0.LCR-02.PTLDOR.verizon-gni.net130.81.28.163, , United States
1238.023P12-0.LCR-01.PTLDOR.verizon-gni.net130.81.27.172, , United States
21N/Apool-74-107-141-254.ptldor.fios.verizon.net74.107.xxx.xxxToronto, Ontario, Canada

I've called Tech Support twice, and they can't help me. The last time I was told that changes have been submitted, but it takes time to propagate throughout the Internet. In the mean time, I am unable to get into a specific email account because they block non-US ip addresses.

As much as I don't care for Comcast, at this point I cannot recommend Verizon. If this goes on to much longer, I'm going to have to cancel my service -- there must be a clause in my agreement to get out early for failure to deliver service.