Wii looks 10x better with a component cable [n/a]

Silly me, I’ve been using the composite cable that came with my wii with my HD SP 5000 projector. I knew the Wii wasn’t HD so I didn’t think of or know of any way to get it to put out a higher resolution.
Then I saw on a forum that you could buy a component cable! So that’s why 480p was dimmed out. A google search and an adwords click got me one for $7.
I had trouble hooking it up though–first, I couldn’t select 480p when it was in component mode, and I couldn’t see the screen when I had the composite cable plugged in. What was I to do? The manual just shrugged at me. Google was my friend.
You hook up the green component cable to the yellow composite input temporarily to see the screen in composite mode with the component cable plugged in. From there you get a black and white screen where you can choose 480p. When you do, the screen goes nuts until you unplug it and put it back in the component plugs. Component. Composite. Those words are too similar.
My other problem was the dumbass factor–it was dark behind the projector so I didn’t realize I’d swapped the blue and green cables. (The red audio and red video ones are similar too. Luckily there were small differences and they were grouped together.) I kept getting blue fuzz in the top left quadrant of my screen until I turned on more light and saw that I had switched cables.
Holy sweet! It’s not HD but it’s gotta be 10 times better than composite, especially on a 72 inch screen. With my wireless sensor bar I’m all set!
Most games run great, though rayman you have to switch back to composite. Holy crap do things look better, it’s not all fuzzy. Some things are pixellated because it’s not HD, but gaming is a lot more crisp.
Next up: How can I get it to output surround to my creative 7.1 speakers?

Why you should use firefox [n/a]

First of all, you shouldn’t be using internet explorer. I hope you know why. IE was vulnerable for 284 days in 2006 alone, compared to Firefox which was vulnerable for 9 days. By using IE you’re exposing yourself to all sorts of vulnerabilities, including adware, spyware, and viruses, simply by browsing unsafe sites. Most of the sites you go to may be safe, but even large sites like myspace had adware bugs last year. In addition, there are tons of sites out there that infect your computer when you just type the wrong URL, such as googkle.com (link goes to security warning, not googkle.com).

Now, if you’re on a mac, you may complain that firefox is too much of a hog, it’s too slow for you. And I’d agree with you. Use Safari, or Opera, or something, just not IE.

Now that I’m at a job with a PC again, I’ve been discovering the joys of firefox. I love the live bookmark feeds–I’m subscribed to digg, fark, slashdot, make zine, woot, nytimes, the onion, and craigslist. I use a bookmarks’ full titles add-on that shows me wider (more) titles per feed, albeit still not all of them.

I also enjoy using firebug, a javascript debugger, though I disabled it when the version I used conflicted with digg commenting.

Finally, I just discovered adblock, an extension that lets me simply right click on any image and block it forever, or even any image from the source site. Goodbye horrible shaking, flashing ads! Blocking flash ads is a little harder, but you can hit control-shift-F to disable all flash on a page, and control-shift-A to list all blockable elements on a page, including the flash ads that you hate.

I’ve been waiting for a feature like this for a long time. Finally it’s here! That plus yahoo mail beta may convert me to using Firefox even on the mac.

Additional Tip

One thing I miss from the mac is the ability to retain sessions even when all windows are closed. On macs, you can close all windows and the application will remain open, meaning in the case of browsers, you can close all windows and then still open a new one, go to yahoo mail again, and still be logged in.

My solution is to always keep a firefox window open on my least used desktop, desktop 4, using the wonderfully awesome and free Virtual Dimension desktop manager. As long as the window remains open on desktop 4, desktops 1-3 can have all their firefox windows closed and I’ll still keep my multiple mail sessions.

Virtual Dimension deserves its own article, but I’ll briefly mention how it’s improved my life–you can configure hotkeys to switch between desktops, and have unlimited desktops, with a different wallpaper on each one. It’s multi monitor compatible, and combined with ultramon, a commercial app I use that extends the taskbar onto a second monitor, I can easily switch applications from desktop to desktop or monitor to monitor, and switch between them easily. I have desktop 1 devoted to work – eclipse on monitor 1, SQLyog on monitor 2; desktop 2 devoted to email and music – outlook on monitor 1, itunes on monitor 2; virtualization and remote desktops to desktop 3 – timbuktu to my mac on monitor 1 and VMware and Ubuntu on fullscreen on monitor 2; and procrastination and websurfing on desktop 4 – the always open browser to retain my sessions, additional web email, digg, etc.

Now I’m working on getting drempels, my favorite free visualization app, to work on multiple monitors.