This just isn't going to work, Disney…

Wreck It Ralph (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy). On sale at Amazon (as of the time of writing this article) for $39.99. Normally? $50.

Disney, and other big film studios, need to listen up. This is not how you get people to start using your digital releases. You packed in a digital copy? Cool! Oh, I can stream it from any Ultraviolet compatible service, like Vudu? Great! Wait, you’re charging me how much extra!?

The battle has been “if I own the film, shouldn’t I own the CONTENT, and not the format?” People don’t want to take part in Wal-Mart’s disc-to-digital program because they feel they shouldn’t have to pay for something they already own. There has been and still is reluctance in the move to Blu-Ray because you’re re-buying everything. Moving from VHS to DVD was easy – there were many obvious benefits, and the prices came down quickly. But if I buy a movie for $15-$20, I expect to see that little sticker that says “Free digital copy included!” But something is happening with this insanely over priced Wreck It Ralph release.

This box includes the Blu-Ray 3D and the Blu-Ray versions of the movie… which for some reason aren’t on the same disc. Then a generic DVD, and a digital copy. Note that the digital copies generally do not include any bonus content that will be found on the disc versions, and, that much like your movie theater experience, your discs will be loaded with trailers and BD-Live content advertising other Disney properties before, during, and after your movie watching experience. Exactly what the hell am I paying fifty dollars for? If you want to make 3D catch on, if you want to see digital distribution take off so that you can save money with more limited physical releases in the future… the way to do it is not by gouging the consumer – it’s by making those things perks for buying current-generation packages.

3D comes back every few years, this latest round really seemed like it was going to be the one to work, but it still hasn’t stuck. Film studios love the idea, because it affords them an additional level of anti-piracy. But 3D still hasn’t taken off. So why are you charging me $10-12.50 for a disc of your stupid blurry movie? Especially for a CGI film – it’s not like it took additional cameras and advance capturing technology – it’s a render!

I’m sorry, Disney. I had high hopes for Wreck It Ralph, and for the future of Disney – I thought they might be starting to get it. But their exclusive Disney digital format is a pain (just go with Ultraviolet, like everyone else, please?), and the unbalanced pricing structure is just absurd. It’s just not going to work out like this. I hope you see your problems and change, down the road, Disney.

Zillow App for Windows Phone makes house hunting easy!

If you’ve never used Zillow, you’re missing out. I absolutely love this app. If you know the website, that’s fine and dandy, but the app is a hundred times better. Have you ever stood outside of a house with a for sale sign and wondered… “how much?” Or even thought to yourself, “I would like to know more, but I’ll never remember to look this up later!” Zillow is the solution. Pop open the app, let it detect your location via GPS, and viola! Information for buying and renting all around you pops right up. And that’s when you realize Rochester, NY has more million dollar homes than Seattle, WA and you’re living in the wrong part of the country because you’ll never own a million dollar home. At least, if you’re me.

I’ve been a big fan of the Zillow app for a while, on any platform, but of course, if you’ve got Windows Phone 7, you should give it a download! Zillow is free on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Exchange error 421.4.4.2, unable to connect, Attempted to failover… Fixed!

Users complain that they can’t send email. You dig through your exchange queues and logs, and you stumble across this:
451 4.4.0 primary target IP address responded with “421.4.4.2 unable to connect.” Attempted failover to alternate host, but that did not succeed. Either there are no alternate hosts, or delivery failed to all alternate hosts.

The root cause of this is that something, be it a hardware or software firewall, or antivirus product, something is blocking outbound traffic on port 25.

You ready for me to read your mind? In our particular case, and in at least 3 other cases I have confirmed with other IT persons, we had installed antivirus software from McAfee on our Exchange server. McAfee has a feature which watches for Mass Mailing worms – this is great on your desktop! But not so great on your Exchange server, as all of your SMTP outbound mail needs to leave on port 25. McAfee’s software does this by watching for outbound traffic on Port 25. Although I don’t know what the exact threshold is, eventually it decides there is too much traffic, assumes your computer may be infected, closes the port on your computer (in this case, our Server), and mail stops flowing. Here is my solution for the McAfee software:

All you need to do to fix this is open up McAfee from the System Tray, then find the Access Protection Properties, they look like the menu pictured above. Then choose Antivirus Standard Protection on the left, and uncheck Prevent Mass Mailing Worms from sending mail on the right. I would uncheck both the BLOCK and REPORT options, otherwise you can expect some pretty large log files.

I first encountered this and posted a solution on TechNet in October, but thought it was worth revisiting as it was a heck of a process to narrow down! At least one user there has confirmed it to be the solution for them.

1976-2006 – Rocky movie saga

I pounced on an Amazon Goldbox deal… about 3 years ago… and never watched the box set I bought. So, recently, I sat down and watched a crapload of Rocky movies! You can, too, with Rocky: The Undisputed Collection.

Sure, everybody knows Rocky. The Stallone movies about a boxer. They introduced the world to Mr. T, they got Hulk Hogan do a role as Thunder Lips, and, in my opinion, put an end to the Cold War.

Ready for some spoilers? Did you know that Rocky doesn’t win every fight he’s in? Did you know Adrian, his wife, died? Did you know Rocky owned a restaurant? Did you know there was a time when his trainer, Mick, didn’t have a hearing aid? Each movie has a great story – even the newest, Rocky Balboa. The final chapter in the Rocky saga, Rocky (and Sly Stallone) shows he’s still got something left, even though it ends similarly to the first movie. Become a Rocky trivia master. If you’re looking to collect them in hi def, Rocky: The Undisputed Collection is your best bet.

Holodeck in your living room? IllumiRoom says yes!


The future is… well, okay, it’s not here, yet. But if this is what it’s going to look like? I’m buying in. Holodeck Alpha 0.1, complete.

Although I love the simple effects like snow, or even seeing the outline of the map, one of my favorite effects was when firing the weapon, it appeared to distort the rest of the room with a shockwave. I can’t wait for something like this!

Just when you think you've caught up

I never finished Assassin’s Creed III before going off on my vacation. Desmond must’ve saved us all from the end of the world, though, so that’s good news. But while I was on break, all of my friends played Zombies in Black Ops II. A lot. And now I’m hooked. So, I go out and buy BlOps2. And of course, Microsoft had that crazy-good sale putting the award winning Walking Dead game on sale so that all of the chapters, combined, were only $10! Let’s also not forget that I shelled out a few hard earned dollars to replace the AC adapter I couldn’t find, for my NES, and now I’m tempted to play the classic Pro Wrestling for days at a time!

Then Nintendo goes and puts a ZombiU demo out for the Wii U, like I wasn’t tempted enough – with all of the price matching battles going on suddenly. I don’t know where to begin! The backorder is in full effect. I think I know what some of my weekend plans are going to entail. I just need to figure out how to plan the attack.

It's time for the Open Source Smartphone

I’m trying to wait for a Windows Phone 8 device, but my carrier, Sprint, isn’t making it easy. I know, I hear it already, calls to ditch Sprint and run away from their decrepit, slow network. Trust me, I’ve been tempted to a hundred times over – but that Unlimited data holds me back. People ask, realistically, how much data do you use? I’ve had months as low as 300MB, and some over 4GB. But I still don’t have a 4G Phone with my current HTC Arrive WP7 phone, and we’re talking about today. The question is: how much data am I going to use in two, four, and six years? As if we don’t do enough online already, even more things are going to go through your data connection in the future. I’m going to stay where the Unlimited is as long as possible.

But that means I’m still with Sprint. My phone selection is terrible. They get some of the big names, like the Galaxy S3, and this week announced that they will be getting Windows Phone 8 devices. But they didn’t mention a date. Which means, to me, probably some time in August. Mid-to-late summer. Just a guess. But When I take a look at what else is out there, and what else is coming? I’m having a hard time plotting myself into the Windows Phone ecosystem.

If Ubuntu launched their Ubuntu for Phones tomorrow, I would buy the device it was on. If there was an unlocked, CDMA device, even if I had to pay full price, $500, my order would be in, instantly. Now, we know from experience they’ll do GSM first, so AT&T will get their crack at it, and Sprint / Verizon customers will wait in line. But imagine if they could sell the OS. Treat the phone like the computer. It is a blank slate, and the software you install on it is up to you.

There are groups of hackers who do things like make Android run on old Windows Mobile devices, or change the version of Windows Mobile on a device… but what if it wasn’t just for the hardcore of the hardcore? Jailbreaking iOS is fairly mainstream, and several Android phones can be rooted easily. The Smartphone market took off because Apple escalated it to new heights. And then we quickly fell in to that compartmentalized set of ecosystems that Apple segregates us all in to. Your Mac wasn’t supposed to run Windows. It can, now, because Apple realized where the better hardware was. And OSX became a geek’s dream, because underneath it all, it’s Linux. Apple co-opted, improved upon, then locked it down, just as they did with their computers.

I think it’s time for a free (as in speech, not as in beer) phone. On that phone can be installed Android, Ubuntu, and any other platform that sees fit to at least release a build. The software doesn’t have to be open source, like Windows and OSX aren’t, but the platform should mature for enthusiasts. Take it apart, upgrade the RAM, swap out the CPU… it’s time to liberate the device we’re all so dependent upon.

IDOS for WP7 can help you start a meme

IDOS is available on the Windows Phone 7 app marketplace. It is proposed as an entire operating system running within Windows Phone 7.

Being an “operating system” it has lots of applications within it. The store has several free apps, which you install… which actually sounds impressive for a single app, but it really just seems to move the icon from one screen to another. You aren’t buying anything, you’re “unlocking it” and it gives you the experience of installing something. On top of that, there are several apps. All things considered, it’s not super impressive. But I have found one use for it.

Text on images. This sounds like a simple thing to accomplish, but you would be surprised to find out how few apps on Windows Phone 7 can accomplish this. Want to start a meme? Not quickly on Windows Phone 7. But with this “OS” (or app) called IDOS. It’s going to let you put text over top of images in Windows Phone 7. Cut, dry, simple. It doesn’t have a ton of colors to choose from, but it gets the job done if you’re looking for something specific.

Reset spooler, rebooted, reinstalled printer, still can’t print? Fixed!

I’ve seen people who have gone so far as to uninstall and reinstall their printer yet STILL could not print! If you’ve already tried all of the steps in how to reset your print spooler, try the steps below… tested and has worked for me on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 32 and 64-bit… the solution below has worked for me several times!

  1. Stop the printer spooler (see this article for instructions).
  2. Browse to this folder: C:\windows\system32\spool\PRINTERS (for newer versions of Windows, you will have to say Yes to a UAC prompt asking if you want to proceed).
  3. Delete everything in the folder.
  4. Start the printer spooler (see above article about stopping/starting).

Try your print job again!

2009 – Fake Problems – It's Great to be Alive

When an album opens with the phrase: “you are the one, two, three, four / you are the single notes, in every chord…” you know you’re about to go on a ride that is musically meta. Fake Problems, and their 2009 album It’s Great To Be Alive are going to take you there.

The lead singer’s voice is unique and enjoyable. A little raspy and rough around the edges, but not unapologetic. I can imagine him saying “yeah, I could have a better singing voice, but you’re still listening, aren’t you?” The music the influences of the earlier part of last decade – the driving drum beats set forth by Modest Mouse, Jet, and Franz Ferdinand, with deep, grunge guitars. At times the album goes above and beyond the calls of indie rock, as in the third track, You’re a Serpent, You’re a She-Snake, which ends with near operatic grandiose. The album is at times influenced by everything from polka, to ska, to songs that remind me of Irish folk singing.

The album never gets dull in the middle, each song is different enough from the last that I always enjoy hearing what’s going to unfold next. Although a lot of people may be turned off by the vocalist, I really enjoy It’s Great To Be Alive and think you should at least listen to a couple of tracks before you judge it!