Archive for February 2009

Trip To St. Louis   2 comments

On Thursday evening (February 26, 2009), I drove down to St. Louis to visit my friends Doug and Maureen Miller.  This was the first time I have been to St. Louis and I had a great time.  Here are a few pictures and stories from our whirlwind tour of the city on Friday.

(This is also the first day with my new camera (Rebel XS) which I’m still learning to use.  I’ll write up some info about the camera later)

St. Louis Arch – It was a cold day out, but you can’t go to St. Louis and not see the arch, right?  I’m really glad we did.  It’s an amazing structure that pictures can’t really do justice.  First of all, it’s HUGE!  630ft. tall.  Even though it’s several decades old, it still looks really modern… at least on the outside.

In and Up – You enter the arch through a ramp that takes you under the ground and to a series of elevators.  I call them elevators, but they are more like weird little yellow barrels with seats.  There’s a great view of the city from little slit windows at the top of the arch.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour – Doug and Maureen also thought I might like a tour of the AB Brewery (they were right!).  We got to meet the Budweiser Clydesdales, tour the brewery, and sample a couple of free beers.  Yes, the tour makes you thirsty.


That’s it for this post.  I want to thank Doug and Maureen for being great hosts and showing me a fantastic time in St. Louis!


Posted February 28, 2009 by chrislux in Travel

OTA HDTV on a Netbook   Leave a comment

I just figured out how to setup my Pinnacle HDTV Pro stick (801e) on my HP Mini Netbook (1010NR) to watch live TV in Windows 7 Media Center.  It’s pretty simple, but there is a catch.  There is not enough storage on the SSD to store the live TV buffer (needs 6 gigs minimum) so you’ll have to direct it elsewhere via a registry edit (Don’t do this if you don’t know how!).  I am having the netbook put temporary TV files on an 8gig SD card which is working fine.

Step one – Plug in the USB tuner (I had to use the port by the power plug, the other port said it was USB 1 (new to me)).

Step two – Let windows find and install drivers automatically

Step three – Configure the tuner card in Media Center – DO NOT WATCH TV YET!

Step four – Redirect Life TV Buffer and Recorded TV folders to the SD card.

Edit these values in the registry:

LastRecordPathSet (Modified to D:\)
RecordPath (Modified to D:\)
DVRDirectory (Modified to D:\)

It worked for me.  Not sure how much I’ll use it, but it’s nice to know it works.

Posted February 14, 2009 by chrislux in Technology

Windows 7 TV Tuner Woes   Leave a comment

So, I put Windows 7 Beta (64bit) on my main Home Theater PC (an HP m9040n) which seemed ok at first.  Then, I started noticing some problems.  First of all, sleep was a problem.  If Media Center was running (which is always is on my HTPC) when the machine went to sleep, it would wake to a black screen that was unresponsive to the media center remote.  The only way to get back to media center was a Ctrl-Alt-Del on the keyboard then Esc.  Not very user friendly.

I turned off sleep and noticed that scheduled recordings were failing.  I would get a 1 minute long file that was always ‘recording’.  I assumed it had something to do with the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1800.

My fix (so far) – I noticed in device manager that my SM Bus controller needed updating (got the driver from  Next, I downloaded a new driver from  So far so good!  I’ll post an update if this fixes things.  (No links this time, I’m not exactly sure where I got them! sorry) 

Posted February 12, 2009 by chrislux in Technology

“Your new Windows Home Server has arrived. Now what?”   Leave a comment

So, Dave from the just asked for a contribution to his site.  He wanted to know, as a user of home server, what I would do first when I first got a home server.  It’s an interesting question that some people might find helpful.

My disclaimer would be that as a ‘Franken-builder’, I would most likely build my own server rather than buy one.  That being said, there are a whole host of new machines out there that look pretty tempting. 

Ok, here it is…

“First, I would plug my new server into a UPS for battery backup and surge protection.  Next I make sure to plug my server directly into my router for top speeds.  I boot up as is and make sure everything is working as expected before going any further.  Once I go through the setup on my PC, I start adding my extra internal hard drives.  The only settings I change is to make sure duplication is turned on for my media folders and I copy all of my Music, Pictures, and Movies onto the server.  I’m a bit of a purist, so I’m not going to add any add-ins.  Finally, I add the connector to each PC and give the server 24 hours to back them all up.  That. Is. It.  These things basically take care of themselves.”

Posted February 10, 2009 by chrislux in Windows Home Server

HP Mini 1010nr – First Impressions   1 comment

Last weekend, I picked up an HP Mini 1010NR from Staples for an amazing $224.  If I had been looking only at specs, I might have passed this by, but I am glad I went for it.

Here are some thoughts:

OS – I put Windows 7 beta on the mini, and it works great!  I’ll do a post on this later.

Screen – 9 inches is fine for me.  It’s a clear bright screen.  As someone who uses my Zune a lot, having a machine with 9x total screen size is more than enough.  In fact, the smaller screen likely saves battery life.

Bluetooth – Bluetooth is not standard on this model, but I had a small form factor USB dongle already (as I’m sure many of you do too) and being able to remove it to save battery life is nice as well.

Hard Drive – Yes, 8 gigs is small, but it’s a solid state drive which is fast, silent, cool and again, battery saving (I think).  Yes, it has been a challenge trying to keep my windows 7 install under 7 gigs, but I am making it work. 

RAM – The 1010NR only comes with 512MB ram.  This is fine for XP and Win 7 even runs well.  Let’s face it, RAM is cheap.  I had a compatible 1 gig chip lying around and am glad to have upgraded, but you can buy as much as 2 gigs for less than $30 bucks if you need it and it couldn’t be easier to swap memory in these things.  Also, the 1010nr comes with a wierd little 2 gig internal USB memory stick that I"m using for ReadyBoost to give it a bump up which works great.

Storage – If you need more storage, just throw an SD card in the handy slot on the side or use one of the many online storage solutions that are popping up.

Battery Life – Depending on what I’m doing, I get anywhere from 2-3.5 hours from a full charge.  Reading e-mail and browsing the web can be done for hours with no problem.

Bottom Line – The 1010nr is not as powerful as some other netbooks, but it is a great place to start.  It is flexible enough to upgrade to meet my needs and is powerful enough to run the latest OS and software.  I for one, love my HP Mini 1010nr.

Posted February 3, 2009 by chrislux in Technology