Category Archives: D-I-Y

How To Replace A Car Remote Battery

This is one of those simple problems in Life that should also be just as simple to solve….if only one knows how to open up the remote. If you send it to a Car Remote Vendor, it’ll cost you probably RM15-RM30 (USD3.50 – USD7.00). Here’s how to DIY for merely the cost of a replacement Li Ion battery that costs only RM1.90 (USD 0.45).

This is a typical car remote. Picture shows the remote from a Ford Fiesta.

 

 

 

There is a notch on either side of the remote.

 

 

 

 

Insert a screwdriver tip in the notch and gently pry open the remote.

 

 

 

 

You may need to gently pry/jiggle on both sides (both notches) to get the remote open. When the remote is open, you should be able to see the battery. Great! Use the screwdriver to gently ease the battery out.

Caution! Observe the polarity when you replace the battery.

How To Watch Netflix USA Outside USA

Well, you have heard so much about Netflix, the largest video streaming company in the world. And yesterday, they announced the launch of Netflix in a few more countries including Malaysia. However, it can be expected that some contents in Netflix USA may not be available in Netflix Malaysia. Then there’s the question of censorship; again it can be expected that certain contents in Netflix Malaysia may be censored.

So before you subscribe to Netflix Malaysia, you may want to know how to subscribe to Netflix USA instead.  Read on…..

To register with  or subscribe to Netflix USA, you need to access it from USA. Or if not, you need to fool the Netflix USA server into thinking that you are accessing from USA. To do that, you use a VPN (virtual private network). You install the VPN software on your device (PC, notebook, iPad, smart phone) and connect with a server in USA that is part of this VPN. From there, your data traffic to any other server/website will appear to have originated from the VPN server in USA. That way, Netflix USA will accept your registration/subscription. (Rates about the same as Netflix Malaysia).

A very good VPN is the PureVPN, shown in the image above. Click on the image to go buy the VPN. There’s a New Year offer currently on…. a 2-year subscription is only USD2.08 / mth. It comes with free SmartDNS as well.

In addition, because you are running the VPN software on your device, you can access the Store (Playstore, Apple Store) to download the USA Netflix App.

Now that you able to access the Netflix USA movies/TV shows, you quickly lose the thrill if you have to continually watch shows on the small screen of your device. Why not stream it to your large screen TV? You can do that easily by using the Google Chromecast, a media-streaming device whose shape/size is like a retro thumb-drive. It fits into a HDMI port on your TV and it acts like a transceiver to receive your Netflix video streams and displays on the TV.

You can get the Google Chromecast now through the Lazada store ( see the advertisement on the top-left of this page). The price varies from RM170 to RM140 depending on the current promotion. Just click on the advertisement to access Lazada to buy the Chromecast.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Updated: 28-Jan-2016

I found that my Chromecast was unable to cast all movies and many TV shows from Netflix. In spite of trying all the fixes documented in the Internet ( update Chromecast, use VPN, use SmartDNS…) it remained problematic. That forced me to try the Roku Stick instead. Luckily a close friend has both the Roku box and stick and he loaned me his Roku Stick. I removed my Chromecast and stuck the Roku Stick in its place ( on an input  HDMI port of my AV Receiver ) and almost instantly, the Roku logo displayed on my TV and after a while the homepage with the Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go (and many others) options appeared. All the movies and all the TV shows that previously could not be cast by Chromecast magically work now.

Note: my ASUS router came with a link to SmartDNSProxy.com and I registered for a 14-day free trial. It works very well. My account homepage displays on the same page:
Account activation
DNS Setup
IP Activation
Region Summary

The IP Activation is very useful in that each time I log back into my ISP, the dynamic IP address changes. By clicking the IP Activation, it whitelists whatever is the IP at the moment.
So in one page, I can re-establish my SmartDNS setup and then my devices are all now “USA” devices.

-end of update-

Rip, Compile and Burn Audio CD

Rip, Compile and Burn Audio CD

At some time, if you are a music buff, you may want to compile your own awesome playlist on an audio CD. And I don’t mean the MP3 compilations as you know MP3 is a lossy format. No sir, you want a compilation of the original lossless tracks, which means you have to rip or download or copy a track in either FLAC or WAV or WMA, which are lossless formats. Now, at this point if you start asking which of the three formats is the best to use, you’d be opening up an endless debate. But if you were to ask which one I use, I’d say all three but for the last-but-one stage I use WAV. Why WAV? And what about the final stage? Read on….

Disclaimer: What follows may not be the best or optimum way to rip, compile and burn an audio CD. However, it documents the methodology that I have finally settled on, after countless coasters made from useless CDs. Hopefully this will spare you the frustrations that I had endured up to now.

The free Tools I use:

1. Ashampoo Burning Studio

2. VLC Media Player

3. aTube Catcher

4. Audacity

5. iTunes

6. Windows Vista Acer Notebook with CD/DVD player/burner

1. To rip an audio track from a music CD, I use Ashampoo Burning Studio and rip it in the lossless WAV format.

2. To get lossless FLAC high quality audio tracks from the Internet, use Bit Torrent to search and download.

3. Use aTube Catcher to record streaming MP3 tracks and convert to WAV (yes, I know…the MP3 tracks are already lossy…but if no choice, then MP3 will do. Convert to WAV just to keep all the files in same format).

A great website to download MP3 songs is http:/grooveshark.com/

4. Two ways to convert FLAC to WAV.
Use VLC Media Player to convert the downloaded FLAC files to WAV.
Media->Convert/Save->Add (the Flac, MPEG4 files)->Convert/Save as Audio-CD (WAV).

5. Or use Audacity to tidy up the files (cut off excessive silence front and back; and also to normalise the track to avoid clipping due to excessive amplitude). Open the FLAC files, edit and Export Audio as WAV.

6. Steps 4 and 5 convert the tracks to WAV as iTunes does not recognise FLAC. Transfer the final WAV tracks to iTunes’ Library as a Playlist.

7. Use iTunes (the icons at the lower left corner) to burn Playlist to CD as Audio CD.

8. Caution:

a. Check capacity of the blank CD and the total tracks size. iTunes does not check this and will give an error (the dreaded 4450 code) at the end!

b. Avoid the “Burn At Maximum Speed Possible”…..again iTunes only gives the error at the end, if your CD brand cannot handle the high speed. After iTunes has made me a bundle of coasters, I wised up and throttled the burn speed down to 8X, which worked for me.

c. If you want the track names to be displayed by your CD Player (if it has this feature), then be sure to check “Include CD Text” before burning.

Footnote:

Why not just use Ashampoo Burning Studio to rip tracks from CDs to WAV or WMA format and burn the compilation as WMA (or WAV)? Unfortunately not all CD player plays WAV/WMA formats. That’s why I use iTunes to burn an Audio CD for full compatibility in all CD players.

If your CD Player supports FLAC, WAV or WMA, and you don’t intend to play your CD anywhere else nor share with anybody else, then just use a Burn Software (eg. Ashampoo Burning Studio, Nero, etc..) to rip the tracks into WAV or WMA format and burn the CD with either one of the formats to cut down the complexity of all the foregoing convoluted steps.

How To Fix A Plastic Bolt Without A Washer

While this Tip shows a quick-fix to a problem with securing a toilet seat, the same method can be applied to similar problems with other plastic situations.

seatA toilet seat, usually with a hinged cover, is bolted to the toilet bowl for a flush system. The bolt is usually made of plastic with one end flared to secure the seat to the bowl. The problem is, very often the flared end of the plastic bolt slips right through the hole of the hinge’s base. You can get a metal washer but it would rust in no time. Anything else (stainless steel washer, plastic washer, etc) would be too much of an effort to find/buy, if at all available.

 

 

seat-3A view of the component parts. The seat, the hinge, the plastic bolt and nut.

 

 

 

seat-5aSee the bolt inserted in the hinge but is able to slip out of the hole.

 

 

 

seat-6aAll that’s required. A chisel-like tool ( a large screwdriver will do fine ) and a hammer ( or a rubber mallet, if you are a stickler about using the right tool ).

 

 

seat-7Use the screwdriver+hammer to make indentations in the plastic bolt’s flared end.

 

 

 

seat-8Compare the two bolts: one has the indentations completed.

 

 

 

seat-9Both completed. Just a minor tip here: in a paired situation ( two bolts, two lamps, two batteries…etc.) always repair both/change both together. If one has failed, most likely the other will fail soon too.

 

 

seat-10The bolts now stay well in place in the hinge. Re-bolt the seat to the toilet bowl and we’re done..

“Old” HP Photosmart 7260

Elsewhere you may have read that I bought a Canon printer after years of using HP printers.

Well, I found some un-used ink cartridges for my old HP Photosmart 7620, so I dusted the printer off and used it to print hardcopies of manuals and eGuides to finish off the ink.

This was fine for a few days (even though the paper-loading was a pain) and managed to print some decent copies of useful eGuides. Then the printer ran into a snag. No matter how I tried, the fault light would not go off. I deleted the driver and mounted the CD (yes, I sill have it) to re-install. What do you know? The CD gave an error message that my OS is not recognised (Vista). It’s supposed to be for up to XP only, that’s how old the printer is. OK, go to HP website to download the driver, and happily the support message says that the driver for Photosmart 7200 series is built-in the Vista OS. Connected the printer to my USB again, and indeed, Windows Vista recognises the printer and installed the driver. I must have done this before years ago, otherwise how did the printer work with my Vista PC in the first place? 

However, it still will not work.  On a hunch, I changed the black ink cartridge….and it worked! I guess it’s my fault for not knowing that the red alert light indicates empty ink cartridge. 

Oh well, I’ll mothball the printer again when the ink is finished.