Windows Media Center "Little Red Dot"

The Show taskbar notifications setting in Windows 7 Media Center (found under Settings>General>Startup and Window Behavior) toggles the appearance of a little red dot in the taskbar when a program is recording.

It does not refer to hiding the silly balloon notifications that appear even when WMC is running, as I and ths guy mistakenly thought.

The dot is a handy notification when the WMC interface is closed. I’d recommend leaving this setting enabled and also clicking the up arrow next to the task bar, choosing “Customize Taskbar” and selecting “Show icon and notifications” for the Windows Media Center icon so that it is always visible when a show is recording.


Why Isn't the Zune HD a Windows Media Extender?

Zune HD
Zune HD

The Problem

TV Shows recorded via CableCARD on Windows 7 are saved as copy protected WTV files. These recordings can only be played on the computer that recorded them or on a Windows Media Extender such as an Xbox 360 or a Linksys DMA2100.

Microsoft has announced that some content may be marked “copy freely” by the content provider after a forthcoming firmware update for the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner is released. We’re still waiting for the update, and there’s no way to know how many shows will be free of DRM, but it’s a promising trend.

It’s easy to immediately start cursing DRM and mocking the futility of it all, but I have a different critique.


Linus Torvalds Interviewed on FLOSS Weekly

Thanksgiving weekend has afforded me some time to catch up on my backlog of podcasts. With the exception of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, all my favorite podcasts come from the TWiT network.

Episode 88 of FLOSS Weekly is an interview with Linus Torvalds and is well worth a listen. Linus is spectacularly interesting both with regard to his thoughts on programming and his opinions of the open source movement in general.


Use the built-in iPhone sleep timer

Searching the App Store for a sleep timer yields a half dozen or so competing results, but did you know iPhone has basic sleep timer functionality out of the box?

I’m not sure how long this feature has been around, but tucked away in the Clock app that ships with the phone is a Timer feature. When the timer finishes, the default action is to play a ringtone, but by tapping the “When Timer Ends” button, you can change this behavior to “Sleep iPod.”


Snow Leopard Password Prompt After Screen Sleep *BOO*

I was pretty excited to upgrade my 17” MacBook Pro to Snow Leopard. So far it is exactly as Apple markets it: some nice polish to the OS and some cool new technology under the hood.

My list of complaints quite short, but number one has to be the new practice of requiring a password to wake the screen from sleep. In past versions of OS X I could require a password to wake the computer from sleep and screen saver which suited my needs perfectly.


PassAlong: Now available on the iPhone App Store

After finally clambering onto the iPhone bandwagon this past June my interest in developing for the device reached an all time high.

It’s probably evident when browsing my body of work, but my favorite hobby projects tend to solve very specific problems that annoy me personally. I make a living writing code for other people, so it is very satisfying to me when I get to apply my professional skills to a personal endeavor.

I therefore find it very fitting that PassAlong, my first iPhone app to be available on the App Store, is an app that I wrote simply because I wanted it to exist.


Enable Caps-Lock on iPhone Keyboard

Having recently been welcomed into the fold of the iPhone collective, I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the user experience.

That being said, I have hit a few walls while trying to figure out where some elusive features are tucked away. Apple had to enlighten me on how to get google maps to orient itself using the compass for example.

I was also left wondering how to enable Caps-lock on the iPhone keyboard. iPodObserver writes that the feature is strangely disabled by default but once enabled, double tapping the shift key toggles caps-lock.

To enable the feature, Tap Settings > Tap General > Tap Keyboard > Tap the Enable Caps Lock slider.