Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Adobe Premiere CS6 Will Not Recognize MP4 Files

Like so many before me, I was having issues with Premiere CS6 suddenly not being able to utilize the MP4 files it had been having no issue with previously (files already imported and utilized in a current project).  I tried to relink media and reimport the files to no avail.

MP4 is just a container.  Because of this, some would suggest just changing MP4 (the file extension) to M4V or MOV. (extensions sometimes more readily recognized by Premiere).  This can work, but it certainly is not a prefered or stable solution.

At first I thought it was a Quicktime problem (Quicktime is often annoyingly and persistently attached to the MP4 extension), so I updated Quicktime, but this had no effect.

Then I realized that all the problem files were shot with a Sony A7R3.  Even though they were MP4 files and not Sony’s proprietary RAW file format, I thought maybe there was something inside the MP4 container that might be Sony-driver-specific, so I updated the Sony drivers as well.  No change in Premiere.

Finally my internet search turned up another solution entirely… a really lame one.  Simply empty the Premiere CS6 media cache, and *poof* the problem is gone.  Thanks Adobe Forum user Miguel Chavez.  Thanks also, Adobe, for this known and frustrating issue, and for not ever solving it, even before CS6 had been depricated (though the issue is well documented and affected so many users).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bluetooth Problems with MacBook Pro Running Bootcamp (Windows)

For as long as I've been using my MacBook Pro, my Bluetooth has been abysmal. I run Windows via Bootcamp, but my wife uses her MBP as a Mac and she has the same problems (maybe worse). She got a nice little Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker for Christmas and never even used it, because she couldn't ever get it to connect to her MBP (and for me to get it to work, it took some serious effort, and even then the performance was sub par).

I have several audio solutions set up around the house and studio, and Bluetooth is a fairly substantial part of the system(s), so today I decided to finally figure out what is going on, once and for all.

For those who come across this post with the same problem looking for a quick-fix answer, try this:

  1. Go to Device Manager > Network adapters > Broadcom 802.11n Network Adapter
  2. Right click and select Properties.
  3. Click the Advanced tab, go to Bluetooth Collaboration, and select "Enable" from the Value drop-down menu on the right.

After a lot of research, this seems to be the solution that works for most people.  And while it did help my problem, there are still major problems with my Bluetooth connection.

What it boils down to?  ANYTHING electronic (yes, I understand the computer is electronic, and that actually IS a factor!) will interfere with the Bluetooth Adapter's signal.  It really is just a matter of the Bluetooth hardware in earlier MacBook Pros being utter and total shite.

After I completed the steps above to enable Bluetooth Collaboration, I still had issues. I tried rebooting.  I tried altering other settings with both the network adapter and the Bluetooth devices (drivers on the MacBook as well as the devices themselves).  Then I remembered reading previously that a lot of people had problems with actual signal interference.  The MBP power block was sitting on the table (not near enough for me to think it'd be an issue, but still... on the table).  I moved it, and like magic, the music streaming over Bluetooth stopped stuttering.  But as soon as I started using my mouse (connected via wireless), the stutter started again.  So I unplugged the mouse receiver, but that didn't seem to help... and then I actually turned the mouse off via its physical switch, and the signal was smooth again... until I tried looking something else up on the web (using the MBP track pad instead of my mouse), when the stuttering started again.

So I am now better than where I started.  After enabling "Bluetooth Collaboration" for the network adapter, I can at least walk away from the laptop and stream a smooth music signal to my Bluetooth receiver and stereo.  However, if I touch the computer or put anything electronic anywhere near the MacBook, the signal will be interrupted and stutter like crazy.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 49983 E03 Error

I recently picked up a Hamilton Beach FlexBrew (49983) at the thrift store for $8.  Not bad for a coffee maker that still costs $90 at Kohl’s, Target, Amazon, etc.

HamiltonBeach49983It worked when I plugged it in at the store, but after a thorough cleaning at home (without submerging!), when I plugged it back in, the display simply read E03.  Sometimes when you get these errors with various electronics, you can plug the machine in while holding down a button or combination of buttons, and the machine will reset itself.  I tried all kinds of combinations, and while I could get the error to change to E08, I couldn’t make it go away.

I assumed the error was a result of water getting in somewhere it shouldn’t have while cleaning the coffee maker, so I waited several days for the unit to dry out.  After three days, the E03 error persisted.

There is no information regarding this error (or any error) on the Hamilton Beach website, and from what I can glean from reports from customers who have contacted Hamilton Beach directly, they won’t tell you what any of the error codes mean.  It seems like Hamilton Beach should post a list of error codes so that people (or at least technicians) can diagnose what is wrong.

Since I couldn’t find any information on the web, I tore the machine apart looking for loose wires or broken solder connections, but I found nothing.

However, while working on the machine, some strange combination of actions “released” a bunch of water from the spout on the single cup side.  The water had not come out when I simply turned the machine upside down, but when I turned the machine over and over while looking for screws to open it up, I must have turned it in a way that allowed the water to come out.

So… it would seem the E03 error has something to do with water being trapped in a reservoir or tube somewhere, and that water can’t be drained simply by turning the machine upside down.  Thus, the “fix” is to turn the machine over and over in all directions,  until water comes pouring out of the single serve side spout.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Set Default Font in Illustrator and Photoshop CS6

Under “Window” in the top menu bar, select “Type > Character Styles.”

A pop-up window will appear.


Double-click “[Normal Character Style]” and another dialog box will appear.

Select “Basic Character Formats” from the list on the left, and you can define all of your default text properties.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Five Months Later with The Droid Z Force

Man, I gotta say, other than size (which I will bitch about vehemently until they bring phones back down to the size of my original Droid Inc.), I am loving this Droid Z Force.

droid z force JBL tiltExcept for the most extreme high-use periods, I easily get two days on a charge, and when it drops down too low for my liking, it only takes about an hour to get it back to 100%.  The quick charge is amazing, even when using “slower” chargers like my Anker multi-port or my car charger (though these do have higher powered ports than average chargers).

Not only that, but the speaker mod, though a little bulky, contains a huge battery (and the added bonus of actually pretty decent sounding music on the go!).  I often just leave it on the phone, even if I'm not planning on using the speaker.  It still fits in my pocket nearly the same (obviously quite a bit thicker), and it actually makes the phone a little bit easier to hold onto (though it's not great in the car holder –too thick).  The phone with the speaker attached is kind of like carrying around a comfortably-edged (rounded), small Bluetooth speaker... except with the added bonus of a powerful phone/computer/browser/media player attached! And the kickstand on the speaker, which I use more often than I ever thought I would, is just icing.

Not only that, but for around $80 (or $30-40 if you want to brave the eBay gray market) there is a Qi (wireless charging) 2220mAh additional battery mod by Tumi/Incipio (which are now one in the same since Tumi licensed Incipio for a year).  You can go for days without charging!

The Google Pixel seems to be ruling the current mobile roost, but the Droid Z Force is spec'd pretty much the same, and all the apps that will "only" run on the Pixel actually run on the Z Force as well (including all the VR stuff that I have no use for).  And though a lot of people think the Pixel camera is tops, I really think the Droid Z Force phone is great (and, for what’s worth, I make my living taking pictures).

I feel like I bought at the right time.  Any time you purchase a phone and they start the hard push with advertising four months later (like with my GS5), and then the specs are still as good as all the brand new phones coming out (like with my GS5)... I feel satisfied.

All this for a phone I got for absolutely free (w/ two year contract) because at the time everyone was going gaga for the Samsung S7.  Doggonit, I feel like a winner.


  • not water proof (at the time I bought my GS5 I thought “water resistant” was a gimmick, but I actulally miss this about my GS5 –which I used to shoot 4K video UNDERWATER for eight hours!!!)
  • no cases, especially with varying sized Moto Mods, so no protection for the phone or additional mods; I installed a matte screen protector (which I prefer to a glossy screen anyway) and the screen is advertised as unbreakable, so there’s that, but the phone and mods are definitely showing some physical wear
  • size, always the size (bring back the original Droid Incredible!)
  • though not a con with the phone, I was extremely disappointed with the “Hasselblad” (apparently in name only) Moto Mod; it’s junk, especially compared to the Droid Z Force’s stellar native camera

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hasselblad Moto Mod is a Thorough Disappointment

I am a photographer.  Thus, I was pretty stoked to know when I purchased my Droid Z Force that there was a Hasselblad Camera Mod coming down the pike.

I waited patiently for nearly a month, and finally it arrived… and what a major disappointment it was.


Here’s the short of it: the Motorola Droid Z Force has a pretty decent camera with a 21MP sensor (some would argue the best camera phone currently available).  The Hasselblad has a 12MP sensor.  Pretty much the ONLY thing going for the Hasselblad Moto Mod is the “optical zoom,” but you can “zoom in” on a 21MP photo and have nearly the same amount of zoom as the 10x optical on the Hasselblad’s 12MP photo!

The Hasselblad has a 4.5mm to 45mm zoom (that’s why they call it a 10x zoom) which is basically a 25mm to 250mm 35mm equivalent.  The Droid Z Force has a 4.51mm lens, which is equivalent to 26mm on a 35mm camera.  So a 21MP photo can give you nearly the same “zoom” digitally at the Hasselblad’s max resolution of 12MP.  In other words, if you simply crop the Droid’s photo to half (crop a 21MP photo to the Hasselblad max pixel dimension of 12MP), you’re still at 10.5MP and your 35mm equivalent is 52mm (the Hasselblad optical zoom maxes out at 45mm).

Any positive review I’ve seen for the Hasselblad mod (they are never raving, only lukewarm) goes on and on about the zoom, but frankly… who cares when the zoom really doesn’t do much for you and everything else comes up short?

Hasselblad Moto Mod shortcomings:

  • Only 12MP sensor (phone has a 21MP sensor) and also physically smaller (1/2.3 inches vs. 1/2.4 inches)
  • minimum aperture of f/3.5 –are you kidding me?! Not only that, but it’s not fixed, and the variable goes all the way up to f/6.5!!!  By the way, the phone’s minimum aperture is f/1.8
  • Max ISO is 3200 (same as the phone)
  • lesser focus technology than phone (the Z Force utilizes laser and contrast auto focus with phase detection; the Hasselblad only utilizes contrast/phase detection)
  • bad 24fps video (choppy)
  • no video HDR (which the phone does have)
  • no optical stabilization for video
  • No 4k (which I don’t care too much about, but if this is an “upgrade” it should at least be able to shoot the equivalent of the phone to which it’s attached!)

And from what I’ve read in every hands on review I’ve seen, the focus is no faster than the phone (often the user says it’s slower), the shutter lag is much higher than the phone’s, and the quality of the photos isn’t really a bump since the phone already has a decent sensor and utilizes Moto’s “Deep Trench Isolation” technology to isolate pixel color.

Sure, the Hasselblad Mod can shoot RAW, but who cares, considering all the other shortcomings?

Please explain to me why I should spend $250-$300 on a “mod” that I have to carry around if it doesn’t IMPROVE the camera on my phone (or even come close to what’s already there!).  Just because it says Hasselblad?  If I’m shooting more than what the very capable Moto Z Force camera is capable of, I think I’ll just carry a REAL camera that actually gives me a reason to mess around with a second device.

Boo, Hasselblad.  You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for letting Motorola slap your name on a piece of garbage that doesn’t even work as well as the phone to which it attaches.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fixing a Samsung Ice Maker

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the “How to Defrost a Samsung Ice Maker” post.  In that post I outline how to defrost your Samsung Ice Maker using a “secret code” on your control panel.  You shouldn’t need to do that every week, but a lot of people do, because the Samsung SZAB001TA1 ice maker (which exists in refrigerators like the RF263BEAEW) had serious issues when it left the factory.

Fortunately, the issues can be remedied.  Unfortunately, Samsung is keeping the information under wraps, and it is extremely difficult to find any information on the subject.  Hopefully this post will help those of you looking for answers.

So first, here again are the steps for defrosting your Samsung Ice Maker using the control panel on the front of your fridge:

  1. On the front panel display, press the Energy Saver and Refrigerator buttons at the same time for 8 seconds.  The display will switch to the Test Mode and the display will go dark (all buttons, etc., will go dark) .
  2. Press any button within 15 seconds after the display has gone dark to scroll through the Test Modes as follows:
    • Manual operation 1 (FF)
    • Manual operation 2 (0F-r)
    • Manual defrost of fresh food compartments (rd)
    • Manual defrost of fresh food and freezer compartments (fd)
    • Cancel (display goes completely dark)

“fd” is the one you want.  The defrost mode will cause the refrigerator to beep the entire time it’s in effect (pretty annoying) and will shut off after five minutes (I had to do it quite a few times to thaw everything out).

When the Geek Squad Tech came to fix our ice maker, he also used a hair dryer to speed things up, but be careful if you go this route as you can actually melt the plastic housing and components and cause greater issues than you had before by deforming the plastic in your ice maker.

There are four things that need to be changed to make this ice maker work properly.

  1. The water fill tube needs to be adjusted.
  2. The thin gap between the refrigerator wall and the ice maker housing (bottom side of ice maker against fridge wall) needs to be sealed.
  3. The ribs surrounding the ice room fan air duct need to be removed with a utility knife (they cause water to puddle in the duct).
  4. Foam should be installed on to of the ice maker housing around the water fill inlet.
  5. If you have an older control board, the control board should be upgraded.

These issues are covered in a service bulletin that went out to Samsung Service Techs.  I got to take a look at the four page PDF, but our tech was nervous about getting in trouble if I actually posted the document on the web, so he only let me look at the doc. on his phone.

Since then, the document has found it’s way to the web.  An anonymous user actually posted the Service Bulletin document number in the comments of my original post on this issue.  So now I have a copy of the PDF here: ASC20150717001 (if you don’t trust the link, just search the doc. title on Google). 

Looking at the service bulletin is the easiest way to address everything, but I’ll lay things out here as well (though in less detail).

So, issue #1, the fill tube.  In the back of your Samsung fridge you can see the fill tube sticking out the back of the refrigerator.  This tube has a tendencey to slip, and after that happens water starts pouring all over the ice maker instead of just into the ice tray.  Thus, the first step in fixing your ice maker is making sure this tube goes where it’s supposed to, and then making sure it stays put.  Oddly enough, the tube often slips to far in (not out) and causes water to splash all over the place, so usually you have to actually back the tube out a bit and then secure it.

Issue #2.  This is an easy fix.  Simply take a tube of silicone and seal the gap.  It seems hard to believe this would be an issue, but I guess it’s why Samsung didn’t catch the problem earlier, and it really makes a difference.

Issue #3. (see service bulletin)

Issue #4.  With the entire ice maker out of the refrigerator, cut a thin strip of foam and glue it (silicone works well) around the perimeter of the water inlet area.  See photo below.


Issue #4.  When I got fed up with Samsung “tech” (really just a bunch of people who have NO IDEA what they’re talking about reading scripts on the phone) and went to Best Buy and they put me on the phone with a Geek Squad guy in Minnesota who REALLY knew what he was doing, he listened to what I had to say, realized I had done some research and figure out what was going on, and thus just ordered every possible part that might need to be replaced to fix the issue and had them all sent directly to my house so the parts would already be there when the tech arrived.  Freaking fantastic.  One of the things that got sent was a new controller board.  The board has a lot more ports and resistors and what not.  I took a photo of the new board, but I’m having a hard time locating it.  Here is a photo of the OLD board.


For what it’s worth, Samsung “customer support” is not support at all.  I spent hours and hours going through the same process over and over again (the person on the other end insisting on reading their script and asking me irrelevant, inane questions ad nauseum).  Each time, they would tell me someone would call me back soon, and each time, after a couple of days I would call back and there would be no evidence that I had ever called and the number I had been given was linked to no information whatsoever.  It was pretty infuriating.  I had to laugh when weeks after the matter was resolved (via Geek Squad, NOT Samsung) I received a letter from Samsung asking if I would like to purchase extended warranty services from them.  Unbelievable.

Some additional photos of the ice maker problems and fixes…