Sunday, August 29, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
If you have one of these monitors sitting in your closet or waiting at the front door for garbage day, we have caught you just in time! This installment of On Z Tip is going to show you how to sap a little more life out of that monitor by giving it a new function that you just may not have considered. Think of us as the ASPCA for outdated tech.
There are three televisions in the average home. If you currently have less than three, this trick will get you closer to the status quo. If you already have three televisions in your home, prepare to be the above average citizen your mother always bragged you were. And you'll do it for a quarter of what a small LCD TV costs.
You can convert your discarded computer monitor into a fully functioning boob tube with a few small and easy to purchase components. Here is the recipe:
- External TV tuner with VGA output (VGA input is standard on most computer monitors)
- VGA cable (we recommend 6ft for adequate space)
- Cheap computer speakers (expensive if you wish)
Most external TV tuners will have inputs RCA or S-video inputs. You can use these inputs to connect a DVD player, video game console, iPod/portable video player (with recommended cable---see manufacturer), camcorder, and anything else that outputs audio and video through analog signal. Keep in mind that analog to digital conversion (analog to VGA) is not always as smooth as you'd like, so expect some minor picture degradation. As long as your expectations are in check, we think you'll be happy with your conversion/recycling project.
We're Byte Down, and that was On Z Tip.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sony's competition, the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, had major issues with piracy. Hackers made it possible to play backed up copies of video games through console hardware and software modification. While playing a backup of something may sound harmless to those outside of the video game industry, it's not as innocent as you copying some songs off of your favorite Wham album onto a mix tape for your late night crying sessions. In the video game community, the ability to play backups almost always leads to piracy. Through the use of torrent sites, unsavory (or cheap) gamers are able to freely download pirated copies of games and play them without ever owning their own original copy. Outside a hut in Malaysia, this is a pretty illegal and profit crushing activity. Sony's PS3, however, is considered to be quite unhackable. Until now.
In April of this year, Sony released a firmware update (v3.21) that completely disabled the ability to install a secondary operating system. The move was made because of mounting security concerns due to a vulnerability opened by the installation of Linux based operating systems on the console. The hardcore nerd sector of the PS3 fanbase was extremely distraught by this; some even filed several class action lawsuits against Sony citing a form of false advertising. As you're about to find out, this may have been all for naught.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Obviously, these are just our opinions. There are surely leagues of YouTube undesireables out there who deserve a top spot on a “horrible” list. Having said that, one has to wonder if annoying is the new cool. Someone put Carrot Top in the movies. Jimmy Fallon has his own late night talk show. And judging by the number of fans these people have……we can tell that the internet has REALLY bad taste.
Who would YOU put on the list? We want to know! Chime in with a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
|Would we have it any other way?|
George Lucas revealed to The Daily Show's John Stewart that all six Star Wars films would finally arrive on Blu Ray disc during a special press conference Saturday at the Star Wars Celebration V event in Central Florida. The event was a celebration of the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back". Herds of nerds in Wookie costumes and girls who had no business wearing slave bikinis (no matter what the galaxy.....no matter how far away) rejoiced. That is, until they learned exactly what they'd be getting. Hell hath no fury like a Force loving nerd with access to internet forums.
Here is just a snippet of said fury from the office Star Wars site comments section:
Will the addition of Star Wars on Blu Ray cement the Blu Ray format as the new standard? We think that Back to The Future will do so this fall. Will the nerds protest the release like Rebels on the Death Star? Will Yoda sing "Pants on The Ground" in a deleted scene easter egg? We'll have to wait and see. Until then, let your nerd flag fly and tell us what you think!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Welcome to the first entry in Byte Down's On Z Tip, a brand new column section on Byte Down, hell bent on providing with you tips and tricks to surviving the less savory parts of life with the help of technology. The solutions to some of life's most puzzling problems are often right under your nose. We're here to pick up those solutions and beat you in the face with them. We only do it because you love you. You are our special little angel. Just don't tell anyone.
In our first On Z Tip, we're going to show you how to stick it to Comcast cable.
If you've been with Comcast long enough to no longer be eligible for their "new customer" specials, your pocketbook probably feels about as worked as the zipper on Tiger Woods' silly looking golf slacks. The constantly rising rates along with the weird tacked on fees and taxes can really put a strain on your relationship with happiness. Fear not, beaten step child of commerce! There is something you can do.
With as busy as life can get, people often neglect to actually look at their bills. Yes, it can be a painful thing to do at the end of the month. No one wants to cry. But if you are a Comcast high speed internet customer, your challenge is to take a look at your bill and examine the line item charges under the high speed internet section. Go ahead, we'll wait.
|Looky what we have here!|
If you're using a Comcast provide modem, there is a $5 monthly rental charge for a cable modem. Using our third grade multiplication skills (and then our post-high school calculator), we learn that this monthly fee racks up to $60 per calendar year. That's $60 a year for a cable modem that you don't own, that was most likely used by a prior customer, and is probably inferior similar devices on the market. That's $60 that could go somewhere a lot more fun.
Few people realize that Comcast, unlike some other providers, allows you to use your own compatible cable modem. Of course, Comcast doesn't include this in their advertising. If you are currently rent a cable modem from Comcast, you can simply purchase your own cable modem, call Comcast to activate it, and return the old money sucking box of suck back to the suckers. Easy as pie. You can purchase a great cable modem for $40 to $99. At most, it will take less than two years for the purchase to pay for itself. And you get to chose the quality of the modem, pulling yourself away from the mercy of Comcast. Informed consumers who go this route often find that they are getting speeds and service greater than they did when they were using Comcast's box.
While $60 a year isn't a huge savings, consider how long you have been a Comcast customer and how long you are likely to remain one, if only for their high speed internet. It's the small victories that make life great, and this one is just too easy. To make it even easier, we'll tell you which boxes to use with your level of service. Aren't we great?
For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet service (under 28 Mbps down):
Motorola Surfboard SB5101 -
Right around $50. User reviews claim higher rate of speed than received with Comcast provided cable modem. It'll pay for itself within 10 months.
Just a few bucks over $50 (shipping included). Highly rated by customers. Will pay for itself within a year.
For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet with speeds OVER 38 Mpbs (business grade):
Motorola Surfboard SB6120 (DOCSIS 3.0)-
Currently priced at $100. This will pay for itself in just under two years. Worth it for the massive upgrade over what Comcast offers it's business speed users. Future-ready and highly praised by users.
For users who subscribe to both Comcast high speed internet and Comcast VOIP service, we highly recommend that you search for another VOIP provider. Even when bundled (Comcast Triple Play or Double Play), Comcast's phone service is over $30, well over that of it's competition. Check out the recently updated TopTenREVIEWS for information on VOIP services currently available. Byte Down currently recommends ITP, which has service packages starting at $10 per month.
That's On Z Tip. Chew on it!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
|Top this, Microsoft Kinect!|
These days, we know that the less buttons, the better. When you don't actually have to think about how to control your pixelated plumber, the more immersed you are in the game world. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony would have you believe motion controls are the future of video games. Wave your hands, flick your wrist, scan your body into a creepy moving camera and bounce virtual balls off your digital face. We certainly have come a long way since the days of the Nintendo Power Glove (it's so bad). But for the crazy Texans at Waterloo Labs, we haven't gone nearly far enough.
Using a modded Nintendo Entertainment System (you remember than grey and black horizontal toaster, right?) and a set of medical grade electrodes, the mad scientists from the Lone Star State are able to warp through a game of Super Mario Brothers sans hands and controller. The engineers insist that you'll be able to control any NES game with this control setup, although one would imagine that trying to play Abadox this way would bring new meaning to the term "twitch shooter".
Let's just hope this control method limits itself to the classic and simple NES controller. It's scary to imagine where the electrodes would have to be placed in order to compensate for the input commands needed to control Nintendo 64 games. Yikes.
For more information on this and other things that are bigger in Texas, head on over to Waterloo Labs. The website even contains instructions on how to do this mod yourself. If you are down with looking like a crazed lab rat in a methamphetamine test lab while saving the princess, we implore you to do so. And make sure you send us the video. And we want you to say "Now you're playing with balls. Eyeballs!", just for a goof.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
If you own a Microsoft Xbox 360, there is a high probability that you've heard of the Lionhead Studio's Fable franchise. There's a good chance you've played one of the two released games in the series. If you haven't played either Fable or Fable II, you are seriously missing out. Seriously. Not to say it's better than sex or Lost, but it's pretty great. You really should play some Fable.
While taking a break from making religious torture porn films and trying to convince the makers of the Snuggie to make a special one for him in white, Mel Gibson briefly reconciled with his estranged girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in order to record a full length studio album, inspired by their recently leaked audio tapes.
|This image most likely will NOT appear in the album art.|
**Obviously, this whole story is a work of sad, but hilarious, fiction. While it would be glorious if such an album were actually released, it must be noted that what you just read is completely untrue. If you are interested in hearing the leaked audio tapes that inspired this, you can do so on RadarOnline.com. Just hide the kids first.**