Problems With

Recent wordpress upgrade caused some issues with gallery images. Some stuff got lost. I have some configuration to correct. Hopefully it never happens again :D.


Help a CE Veteran Combat Wife’s Disability

I spotted this article at CEPro. Watch the video and use the links below to help a fellow CI build a new home for his wife.

For more information see

Go here for the story and updates. You will need to register to login. Team Angela – CarePages


WI-FI security with a coat of paint

“Researchers say they have created a special kind of paint which can block out wireless signals.”

PaulD over at cocoontech posted the link to this article.


The Dangers Of Zip Cord!

Many (16) years ago i worked at a high end 2 channel retail store. We used Sonance 16/4 speaker cable to the first speaker and then spliced on 16/2 ‘lamp cord’ aka ‘zip cord’ over to the second speaker. We did this A LOT in all sorts of residential and commercial installations. Years later i was hired at a Custom Installation firm where i have been ever since. Here we used 16/4 ProFlex and then 14/4 ProFlex for years until we started using Liberty for all of our cable needs. Since we have been using the right cable for so long i haven’t given brown lamp cord a second thought in over a decade.

Recently at AVSForum i suggested someone pick up a roll of lamp cord to wire up their new receiver and speakers to make sure everything is working the way they planned. When Neurodad brought up the fact that lamp cord should not be used in-wall i got curious and wondered why. I googled a little and decided to be lazy and ask at Remote Central . While there seems to be some debate about terminology i think its safe to say that everyone agrees that Lamp Cord should not be ran inside walls as Neurodad suggested in the AVS thread.

SPT-2 is a 16 AWG 2 conductor wire that is commonly known as lamp cord and zip cord. This cable is not allowed in-wall because it is not fire rated.

I learned something new today. Its information i don’t need but it’s still something new :).


HD Cable Troubleshooting

Last weekend i helped my cousin install a plasma in his father-in-law’s family room. We put it over the fireplace and i temporarily ran the cable line from the wall plate around the edge of the room tot he new HDDVR cable box.

The cable line was connected directly to a an old TV and worked just fine. After connecting everything and firing up the system i flipped around a few cable channels and packed up my stuff and headed home. That night i get a call about some of the channels not working.

Most of my clients are DirecTV subscribers so i rarely have to deal with cable so i had no idea what was up. The first thing i check is the connectors on the temporary cable i made, then i check the wall-plate connections and then i head to the basement to see whats going on down there. I discover an RG59 with a RG6 compression connector that’s not terminated, its just pushed on and the cable looks like someone stripped it with a pair of scissors :). The connector fell off as i grabbed the cable to look at it.

So i fixed the problem by pulling a new RG6 from the splitter to the new cable box location. The crazy part is that it was like this for more than 5 years and worked just fine with the existing TV!


Super Greg Was A Lie!

I started surfing the internet on a regular basis back in 1998. SuperGreg was one of the first hilarious characters i ran into. This link will take you to a fan site where the original Super Greg site exists.

Today i found out that Super Greg was a fake!

I am watching Beat Boxing Videos on YouTube when i notice a thumbnail of Super Greg. I decide to click it for old times sake. I notice a response that says “for those who dont know, Super Greg is really Sascha Cohen” (ALI G, BORAT). My mind immediately begins racing in a panic. I google it and find this…

WTF? How could i have missed this all these years? I felt like a kid who just learned that Santa or the Easter Bunny wasn’t real. The internet officially sucks now :(.

If you want to control SuperGreg click the link below :


Wire Art

Artist from created something wonderful out of wire :). Only a CI can truly appreciate the beauty IMO.


Image hotlinked :


My nephew is Mayor Daley's new advisor :)

My Twin sister sent me this photo today. Looks like my nephew is going to enter Chicago politics :).

Jessie & Mayor Daley

Jessie & Mayor Daley


What happened to tech support?

For the sake of keeping my job i will leave out manufacturer & product names.

I am out at a project where 2 products (that we are dealers for) are installed. One of the products was installed by someone else, i found a problem that wasn’t my responsibility but since our systems are integrated i decided to resolve it while on site. I call up tech support and explain my situation very clearly, i get transferred to someone who can help. As my boss begins to explain the situation to the tech he is cut off mid sentence with “thats a physical issue i cant help you with that”. Then my boss says “let me finish my sentence and you will see that it is not a physical issue”.

After the tech shuts up and listens his first troubleshooting tip is to climb into the attic with a multimeter to check for power, even after we explain that the product is functioning normally. (I would love to get a hold of the guy who decided to mount the interface product in the attic.. but that’s another story :). Anyhow.. at this point my boss hangs up on the guy because he realizes we have ourselves another card reading moron. The problem was that the product could not be controlled via the keypad but it functioned manually so we knew that the hardware was OK. It was obviously a setting or communications issue. As i said before we are dealers for the product but i don’t have much experience dealing with the specific product. There was a flashing red light. I assumed we could tell the tech about the flashing red light and get a simple answer but no.. he first wanted me to crawl into the attic with a multimeter.My boss calls up the company that installed the product. 2 minutes later the problem is resolved. No insulation, no drywall dust, no spiders or their webs. I was able to resolve the issue with a paper clip and a step ladder.

While at the same job i had a user interface lock up during a firmware upgrade attempt. Tech growls at me for trying to update firmware wirelessly. Tells me how i should “NEVER EVER DO THAT”. Ok.. so if i should never ever do it.. why is it possible to do it that way? How come i was able to load the other 3 that way? Oh and the other 3 or 4 hundred i have installed over the last 2 years? I sure wish they would include a cheat sheet of REAL instructions with each product so i know what i should NEVER EVER do. After tech growls at me he asks me how i want the item shipped back and stars giving me an RMA number.

I had stopped trying to force the firmware for fear of screwing up the interface but now that it has to go in for service anyway i figured more trying couldn’t hurt. About 10 minutes later i have the panel working again. I still wasn’t able to get the firmware to load but at least its working and i have time to get a loaner for the client. So now the conversation is “it needs to go in for service but its working for now” instead of “remember the upgrade i told you about? the one that would solve the minor issues you are having? looks like it made things worse and now you have to spend a week without it”.

So.. what the hell has happened to tech support? It’s hit or miss with them these days. You either get a guy who knows what hes doing or a complete total moron. I understand that idiots can sometimes slip thru the cracks and end up in jobs that cant do but i would say i get an idiot on the phone 50% of the time now. There new troubleshooting tool is called “RMA number”. I guess its perfectly reasonable for my client to not be able to use the system in his master bedroom for a week or more… or maybe its perfectly reasonable that we eat the cost of loaner hardware for everyone. At some point people are going to start including company names and specific details in their blog rants.