Thursday, March 29, 2012 May Be Charging You More Than You Owe for Tolls

home_mapThere are evidently two companies that control the tolls on Denver’s E-470.  Most of the road is controlled by, but the North West corner, called the Northwest Parkway, for some reason is controlled by a different company called Go-Pass.  Not only is this terribly inconvenient (having to have two different accounts and/or getting two different bills to pay tolls for simply driving in a circle –even on just one outing), but the real insult to injury is that it would seem Go-Pass likes to charge you for things that may not have transpired.

We picked someone up at the Denver airport and drove them to Boulder on E-470.  I received our bill from, logged on, and paid the $3.15.  There were no fees, and it was very simple (actually, the online billing system was screwed up and they kept trying to charge me $6.30 even though the bill was only for $3.15 so I had to call and get that sorted out, but that’s another story…).

A month later we received a bill from Go-Pass.  The toll was $3.20, yet the bill was for $4.55.  I’m sure they count on people going, “Meh, it’s only a couple of bucks,” but I called the number on my bill.

First of all, there is a $.15 processing fee.  Why in the world would this not be included in the toll?  Not only that, but there is a $.60 mailing fee.  Here’s the kicker though… they charged me two “mailing fees,” claiming to have already sent me one bill.

When I called to get this corrected, I think the person on the phone was rather surprised that I was complaining about $.60 (again, I think they make money off most people just saying, “Meh, it’s only $.60”).  I told her I had never received a previous bill.  She told me I had.  I asked if I was just supposed to believe her and accept her word as fact.  She said they keep very specific records.  So I asked her to prove it.  She put me on hold for quite a while, but when she came back she let me know that she had spoken to her supervisor, and when they looked it up it turns out that even though the bill had been generated, “for some reason” it hadn’t gone out.


I am so sick of companies nickel and diming me for fees and services, and then on top of that charging me for services that I DIDN’T RECEIVE, because they don’t think I’m paying attention.

I know most people don’t.  But the point of this post is: PAY ATTENTION… YOU’RE LIKELY GETTING SCREWED.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remove Attachments in Gmail to Conserve or Free Up Space

My Gmail account is currently nagging me with the message:

“You are almost out of space for your Gmail account. Once you run out of space, you will not be able to send or receive any emails until you delete some items. You can view our tips on reducing your email storage or purchase additional storage.”

Yes, I realize they give us a “free” service, but in turn, we basically turn over our entire online life for them to comb through and profit from.

So I ask: why is there no option to remove attachments from e-mails?  The ONLY way to get rid of an attachment is to get rid of the ENTIRE e-mail to which it is attached.  The current workaround is to forward the e-mail to yourself and un-tick the attached file, then choose “delete this e-mail” from the drop down menu to delete only the e-mail with the attachment (not the entire thread).  The e-mail will remain in the correct thread (albeit in the wrong order), so you can keep the text but get rid of the space-hogging attachment.

However, to do this with each and every attachment that I’ve received since February of 2007 (when I switched full-time from Thunderbird to Gmail) would take me WEEKS!

One can only assume that the THOUSANDS of requests being COMPLETELY IGNORED on the Google Suggestions site asking for this feature (simply delete attachments) is a thinly veiled attempt to make money by getting people to “purchase more storage.”  Not only does Google make a little scratch, but users are literally “more invested” and thus more likely to utilize and stay with the Google suite of cloud-based software.

However, now that I am up against this “near-the-end-of-my-storage-rope” predicament, I think the effect is the opposite of what Google is gambling on (the laziness of most users, and the likelihood of people just clicking and buying more storage).  I am more apt to re-evaluate how tied into Google I am.  Would I rather have Google own and control all my e-mail and it’s content, or should I considering moving back to a desktop-based e-mail system (that would still allow me online access via my hosting portal)?  Time to do some serious thinking about my communication and storage needs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Ski Jump

Yesterday I had a great day at A-Basin –-spring skiing at it’s best (minus the powder, but still…)  I couldn’t help noticing all the little kids everywhere, as I am super excited to get Ezra up there on the slopes.  It’s crazy how in love with and excited I am about my kiddo!

So when I saw this video today, it was even more poignant.

This is one of the cutest and most terrifying things I’ve ever seen (how often do you get that combo?).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fixing Color Discrepancy when Displaying in HTML Browsers


Here’s something that can drive you nuts, but has a pretty simple fix.

Often when you create an image in Photoshop (or some other photo editor) and then lay it on a background in an HTML page, the color is just slightly off, and you can see the edge of where the picture meets the background.  Why can’t I get my gradient to fade into the background?!  Why do I see the edge of my image in Firefox?

Gradients in browsers are the worst (for so many reasons).  You think you’ve got it just right and your vignette or fade is going to disappear right into the background… and then it doesn’t.

Used to be when your colors didn’t match up in various web browsers, it was because you weren’t using websafe colors, or you were using jpegs instead of gifs (I’m betraying my age, here), but those day are pretty much gone, so that’s almost never it (though it still doesn’t hurt to start from websafe colors if a specific background hue isn’t ultra-critical; I still use websafe colors whenever I can).

Here’s the solution you’re looking for: chances are, you saved your image with a color profile embedded.  Some browsers obey embedded color profiles, so when interpreting the image, the color at the edge of the image is slightly different than the color you’ve used for your background.  Even though the browser should be showing the exact same color assigned by its hexidecimal number, the colors look different because they are being interpreted through the lens of different color profiles.

Go back to your original image, and when saving the image for the web, be sure you are not embedding a color profile.  For instance, in Photoshop, when using “save for web and devices,” make sure you select “Windows (no color management)” or “Mac (no color management).”


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bloom Fresco High Chair Review (mostly a cathartic purge)

Update: Now that our kiddo is eating real food, I wouldn’t wish this chair on my worst enemy.  Yes it looks cool, but it is COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.  I am a neat freak, and even I have a terrible time getting this thing even remotely clean.  There are more nooks and crannies than you can imagine, the straps are like food magnets that capture grime, and there are levels upon levels that you must take apart to clean (seat pad, booster seat, straps, panels, etc.).  Yes, I read the reviews that said the chair is hard to keep clean, “but I’m me!” I naively thought.  HEED MY WORDS: this chair is impossible to keep clean.  Stay away.  RUN away!  If you’re into spending $400 on a cleaning challenge, get a pet porcupine.

WARNING: There is a lot of cussing in this post.

This review is largely a cathartic rant, but I do provide some top secret information, so hopefully it will help prevent someone out there from destroying a really expensive high chair.

When registering for baby stuff, the one thing we were sure of was that we had to have the Bloom Fresco high chair.  Who cares if it’s $400?  We needed it!  It would make our baby look like a brilliant astronaut a la 2001, and it matched our Saarinen chairs in the kitchen perfectly!



So all our friends banded together, chipped in, and bought us the Fresco.

Even though the seat originates in Germany, they obviously hired a nit-wit from Ikea to write/illustrate the instruction manual.  My biggest gripe is that they reference things without defining them (my lawyer friends would be FURIOUS).

There are many things you will scream when trying to figure out your Bloom high chair.  I have highlighted some below, and hopefully provided some answers that will prevent you from flying into a rage and/or destroying a $400 high chair.



Why they don’t simply tell you that there is a lever inside of the recessed handle at the TOP of the BACK of the chair I have NO IDEA.  This seems like an easy enough thing to say or illustrate.


Instead they lead you to believe that the little gray levers on each side where the chair pivots (which would make sense mechanically) are what allows the seat to tilt back and forth.  Those levers are only for raising the seat up and down (NOT tilting).  One time we got luckily and my wife accidentally got the seat to unlock and move back into the bassinet position (she didn’t realize she had pressed the lever in the back of the seat), so we were fortunate enough to be able to USE the seat for the first couple months of the kid’s life before we needed a high chair.  And it’s actually a GREAT bassinet, so there is that positive thing I have to say.



Once I figured out about the lever inside the handle (literally MONTHS after we owned the chair), I could finally tilt the seat back and forth, but for the life of me I couldn’t get it to lock in place.  The problem is that the handle/lever almost ALWAYS sticks.  You need to bang on it or try and pull it back down (like some sort of European finger puzzle) so that the chair will click into one of it’s three available positions (vertical, slightly tilted back, or bassinet).



It’s a booster seat.  Why they don’t just call it that, I have no idea.  It’s made of plastic (not exactly the pinnacle of comfortable materials) and looks nothing like a nest.



I finally realized we needed to remove the shoulder strap pads when my baby started choking because they were cutting off his airway. Perhaps they are of use with a larger child, but there is NO WAY these rigid (and huge) pads are good for a tiny baby (or even a 24 pound six month old).



The way the safety bar is described in the manual, one would think that it’s the little piece of plastic that holds the “Comfort Nest” in place.  It’s not.  It’s the silver metal bar to which the tray and the second tray (why two trays?) fasten.  When thinking about it as the thing that keeps your baby in the seat, it makes total sense to call it the safety bar.  When thinking about it in reference to what keeps the booster seat from sliding out of the chair, it’s entirely confusing, especially since there are two different things that can perform this function (not to mention a third thing that fits in the same hole, all shown in the photo below).


It is important when installing the safety bar (the silver bar that holds the tray) that you clip the arms in place before securing the base of the vertical riser bar.

Again, there are white plastic hoops at the end of each safety bar arm (see photos above and below) that clip over the chair’s pivot points.  These must be clipped into place before you slide and clip the vertical riser bar in at the base of the booster seat/”Comfort Nest,” otherwise, the clips may not attach securely (snap into place), and the vertical bar will then be able to collapse.


The vertical bar, which telescopes to change height depending upon the tilt of the chair (1st and 2nd position, not bassinet position), has no lock (which seems would be safer).  The vertical bar relies upon the position of the chair to prevent telescoping.  So again I tell you: the safety bar arm hooks need to be fastened securely into place to prevent the vertical bar from sliding up and down.  If these clips are not securely in place, the metal bar and tray can collapse and squash your kid’s legs if any pressure is applied downward on the tray.  I see this as a fairly significant safety hazard.



Another huge gripe I have with this chair is the amazing INCONVENIECE with switching from high chair mode (with “Comfort Nest”) to slightly tilted back, to all the way tilted back.  When your child is first starting to use a high-chair, there will be MANY occasions when you wish to switch from high chair (with Comfort Nest/booster seat) to recline.  Bottles are difficult when sitting straight up, so you’ll want to tip the seat at least slightly back, if not all the way back.  Also, you won’t always want to use the seat just for feeding, so bassinet mode is still useful.

To switch from high chair for a baby (not toddler) to bassinet, you not only have to remove the booster seat, but also switch out the entire seat pad (there are two seat pads/covers, one for booster seat mode, one for bassinet/toddler mode).  This is obviously incredibly annoying, as you need to keep both chair pads/covers nearby to switch back and forth.

Originally I also thought you had to remove the safety bar to utilize the middle tilt position.  This is a massive pain in the butt if you just want to tilt the chair slightly back to give your kid a bottle, because it involves not only removing the tray and the metal “safety bar,” but also replacing the safety bar with the little plastic slider-hook piece (see photos above) that fits into the front of the chair to prevent the booster seat/Comfort Nest from sliding forward (so your child doesn’t end up on the floor).  Thus in order to simply tilt the chair back a few inches for bottle feeding, you have to make major changes involving multiple extra parts.  Incidentally, there is a secret compartment inside the chair to store some of the extra pieces, but not all of them… what the hell is this all about?!  Why give us a place to store only SOME of the things we need to always have on hand?!

Anyway, I finally figured out that the middle recline position (slightly tilted back) is possible with the safety bar in place, it’s just difficult to figure out, and the safety bar will be very much in the way of your child’s legs (he/she will either have to drape his/her legs over the bar, possibly cutting off circulation, or you will need to remove your child’s legs).  Originally when I tilted the seat back with the safety bar in place the white, round clips that fasten the safety bar to the chair would pop off at the two points where the seat swivels.  However, if you push the front vertical bar on the safety bar down while tilting the seat back, the safety bar can remain safely fastened to the chair, but again, the bar will be in the way of your kid’s legs.



The “secret” storage compartment in the back of the seat is clever, right?  Except that it’s NOT.  In order to access the panel, you have to remove your child and the seat pad, not to mention the fact that the shoulder and waist straps go through the seat pad which make accessing the storage compartment even more difficult!  Why not put this storage panel in the BACK of the seat, so you can actually USE IT?!  p.s. When installing the piece of plastic that keeps the “Comfort Nest” in place (the piece of plastic that protrudes through the storage cover) you will need to actually remove the panel cover (they sort of hint at this, but don’t really say it).  To do this, gently bend the storage tray cover so you can remove it at it’s pivot points.  DO NOT do this while you are angry or you will break the cover (luckily I had my wits about me at this point in the struggle).



This chair has about 3 billion nooks and crannies, so plan on spending a lot of time cleaning it (it’s not just a simple wipe down).  You have to remove straps and pads and the “Comfort Nest” and then scrub the food and goo out of the nylon shoulder straps (you’re child WILL put these straps in his/her mouth while his/her mouth is full of food).  You will likely ignore me (I ignored others that said this in reviews), but you’ve been warned.


All this said, if I had it to do all over again, would I still want this chair?

Yeah, I guess so, but only because there is such a dearth of cool high chairs for kids living in midcentury modern homes.  The fact that it can function as a bassinet and a high chair (and do it in style) is great, and it really does look cool. [oh, me]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Converting Manual Lenses to “Cine Style” Lenses

Cine Style lenses are the best lenses with which to shoot video, but most are unattainable to the average DSLR cinematographer.

Older manual lenses can be converted to “Cine Style” lenses by removing the bearing that “clicks” the aperture into place.  This allows for in-between aperture settings, and also allows one to turn the aperture ring (stop up or down, or open/close the iris) during shooting without adding noise to the audio or shaking the camera.  Once the bearing is removed, it is important to introduce grease/lube to the aperture ring to prevent unwanted movement (so that the aperture ring functions in the same way the focus ring does).

Here is a link to a page on DSLR News Shooter about the de-click master, Eddie Houston (also formerly a guitarist for Thin Lizzy and Status Quo, and before that, a technical manager for Canon in the days of “FD”).

Mr. Houston even has an E-bay page with converted lenses.  You’ll have to pay in Pounds though.

White Lithium grease is often recommended, but there are dangers of it separating into two components over time (one of which is liquid and will get all over your lens innards). I’ve had a hell of a time finding a grease (damping or otherwise) for greasing a lens.  There seem to be thousands of discussions on this topic, but no one will say, “Try this grease; here’s a link (or at least a store) to where you can buy it.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Taking the DSLR for Video Plunge (Part 3: Choosing the Right Accessories)

Taking the DSLR for Video Plunge
Part I: General Questions and Choosing the Camera
Part II: Choosing the Right Lenses for Canon DSLR Video
Part III: Choosing the Right Accessories

[I’m going to go ahead and publish this un-polished post, because it’s a work in progress and has a lot of valuable links that I want to get online; check back often, as this post will definitely be evolving. Please also feel free to make suggestions for additions in the comments!]

The MASTER LIST of what I think I need to get started:

  • Rail Kit - some people will opt against this, but I’d like to utilize the stability of rails for my accessories)
  • Follow Focus - the main reason for using rails, and yes, there are some good follow focuses that don’t need rails, but…
  • External Monitor/LCD magnifier - most people recommend just starting with an LCD hood and magnifier (you need this for shooting in bright sunlight, and magnifying the LCD allows for sharper focusing
  • Neutral Density (ND) filters – if you plan on shooting outside and want shallow depth of field, these are indispensible
  • Universal Quick Release Plate – for moving your camera(s) from rig to rig
  • Solid Tripod and Video Head
  • Dolly (already made)
  • Extra Batteries
  • Battery Charger (with car adapter)
  • Battery Grip – probably not a necessity, but since I found one with great reviews for $80 (vs. $300 for the Canon one) I decided to give it a shot

Right now I’m opting to not get a shoulder mount (I’ll be using mostly sticks, a high hat, a crane, and a dolly).  For handheld I’ll build a fig rig (see below).



Several fellow filmmakers have suggested I won’t need a follow focus, but after even just a few weeks of mucking about, I know I really want one.  I tend to rack focus a lot, and I also do a lot of wide pans that utilize shifting the focus, and trying to focus by grabbing the ring on a short Nikon prime without bumping the camera or jostling your shot is extremely difficult.

Phillip Bloom: best entry level follow focus (D-Focus V2)



Building your own rail system:

9” cage with top handle and tripod mount:

Redrock Micro Bundle Review on Creative Cow

90 degree clamp review:

Bendable Fig Rig (this is the Fig Rig I went with –mistake, more on that later):!-%28Pics%29

DIY Rig handles:

The Next Rig I’m trying:

Do it yourself shoulder rig:


BATTERIES and related accessories

From my own experience, third party batteries are shite.  They don’t charge properly, they don’t hold a charge properly, they drain fast when not in use, etc., etc., etc.  The battery for my old Canon 40D was somewhat of a miracle.  I could shoot for WEEKS without charging that thing.  Thus, I have great faith in Canon OEM batteries.  They cost about twice as much as after market products, but in my experience, it’s worth it.  And you don’t want to get left in the field with no juice.

I am purchasing a dual charger as well.  B&H sells the Pearstone Duo, which received rave review, for $80, but I found what appears to be the exact same thing on Amazon for only $55 delivered.  It doesn’t have the name printed on the front, but everything else appears to be exactly the same.  I love that this charger has a digital read out, charges each battery independently, and even has a USB out to charge your phone!


Tripod Quick Release plate cross reference chart (this was great when I was trying to figure out how to make all my tripods/heads work together, and what universal adapter I was going to go with and invest in):


One thing that’s not on my master list above is a mattebox.  I keep going back and forth on this one.  When shooting outside, a sun-shade mattebox is pretty much indispensible (to keep direct sunlight from shining into your lens and creating flare and haziness), but you can always just use a card or bounce (though it would be awkward to hold the camera and the card, so an assistant is preferred) if you don’t have a dedicated sunshade mattebox.  But what I’m more interested in is a mattebox for utilizing filters (specifically ND filters).

The biggest thing preventing me from getting a mattebox is the price.  A decent one is around $500, and the RedRock Micro and Zacuto Petroff are $1,000 and $1,300 respectively.  More than a thousand dollars for what is basically a universal filter holder with barn doors?  I think the “pro-look” of a mattebox has grossly distorted the going market price for this item.

This brings me to:  universal filter holders.  I’m not sure why this isn’t discussed more among DSLR video shooters.  Purchasing ND filters for all your different lens sizes is cost prohibitive.  You can use step-up/down rings so you only need one set of ND filters, but if you go this route, it’s a serious PITA to switch out the filters (screwing them on and off) when you need to make adjustments.  Enter the universal filter holder.

When shooting stills I used to use the Cokin filter system.  Basically, there is a square holder that attaches to the front of your lens and can hold up to three filters.  I recommend the “P” system which uses 84mm filters and can accommodate lenses up to 82mm in diameter.  They make two bigger sizes, but they become cumbersome, and aren’t really necessary, supposedly the “P” system works great, even with wide lenses (I’ll be using this system with the Tokina 11-16mm).

I actually don’t recommend Cokin filters (they’re made of resin, not glass, and I’ve seen distortion and color problems, especially when stacking multiples), but I DO really like the universal holder idea.  Furthermore, there are other manufacturers (like Lee and Tiffen) making square filters for the Cokin P (84mm) system out of high quality optical glass (as noted below, even Hitech and Fotodiox are making square glass filters, though I assume much lesser quality).  Not only that, but there are plenty of knock-offs on eBay, which means you can get what is essentially a Cokin P universal holder, the 77mm ring that holds the holder, and even a square hood for $12 shipped on eBay ($16 on Amazon).  I can then get the appropriately sized Filter Holder rings for all my lenses and simply pop the holder onto whatever lens I’m using, thus making it possible to use one set of ND filters on all my lenses.

It’s probably worth noting that Fotodiox is making glass 84mm ND2 filters for the Cokin P system for only $6 a piece.  I assume they are crap, but for $6… might be worth it to someone on a super-tight budget… at least to get you by until you can purchase a $250 Lee ND filter. (Disappointed smile yowch!)

So once I have my universal filter holder and appropriately sized rings for all my lenses, all I need is a cheaper mattebox that I can use for the flags and barn doors (for lens flare).  I will be sure to get one that can “swing away” (instead of actually fastening to the front of the lens) so it’s easier to use with multiple length lenses.

UPDATE: (actually, this section on universal filter holders got too unruly for just a section of this post, and I created a new post for the topic)

Taking the DSLR for Video Plunge
Part I: General Questions and Choosing the Camera
Part II: Choosing the Right Lenses for Canon DSLR Video
Part III: Choosing the Right Accessories

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Technicolor Profile (Greater Depth and Range from your Canon DSLR)

Recently a filmmaker buddy turned me on to the new Technicolor CineStyle profile for Canon DSLR’s.  (You’ll need the Canon EOS Updater to install it; here’s a post on installing the Updater Utility if you lost or simply don’ t have the original disk from Canon.)

I came across Vincent LaForet’s blog looking up information, and I found this useful information in one of his posts:
Once installed  set the following settings in your picture style:
Sharpness: 0
Contrast: -4
Saturation: -2
Color Tone: 0
And as always, shoot in multiples of 160 ASA.  (i.e. shot 160ASA, 320 ASA, 640 ASA, 1250 ASA, 2500 ASA etc – NEVER 100 ASA, 200 ASA, 400ASA etc – this applies to VIDEO ONLY btw.)
You will get SIGNIFICANTLY better results.   You’ll find that something shot at 320 ASA has less noise than something shot at 200 ASA (sometime better than 100ASA!)  That’s due to the sensor’s native sensitivity (of 160ASA.)
Also turn off Highlight tone priority and auto-lighting optimizer.
Remember to never overexpose (or “clip”) those highlights.  You’ll never recover them.  ”When in doubt, underexpose” is what I suggest.  I routinely underexpose by 2/3 to 1&1/3 stops (in extreme situations) to make sure I don’t blow out highlights – I know I can easily open mid-tones and shadows within that range.   No one can recover the highlights however – ever.
You will notice that when using the Technicolor CineStyle profile, your initial footage looks more flat (like viewing an untouched  RAW file vs. viewing a JPG).  This is because your camera is capturing more information.  This means you have more to work with when doing color grading.  While things don’t look as shiny when you immediately view the footage (without making any changes), you will be able to get better final results when using this profile.

p.s. Here’s definitive proof of that “multiples of 160” if you’re not buying it.

Lost Canon EOS Updater Disk? No Problem

I can’t find the disk that came with my 7D, but I’m realizing I want to install the Technicolor profile, which requires the Canon Updater Utility.  You can download updates, but not the full program. Turns out though, each updater IS the full program, you just need to trick the updater files into thinking you already have the utility installed on your computer.

Download: Canon EOS Updater Utility

Edit your registry as follows:
Posted by Brian Choi

4:16:43 PM, Wednesday, May 09, 2007 (GMT)
What Canon calls updaters are actually full versions of their software. They simply check for the presence of registry keys. The following instructions work for Windows:
1) In your favorite text editor, paste the following:


2) Save the text file as Update.reg. Note that the extension must be .reg and not .reg.txt

3) Open the file. It will prompt you "Are you sure you want to add the information ...?" Click Yes.

Voila, now you can make clean installs of your favorite Canon applications straight from the updaters.
Another user wrote on May 7, 2011:
Although, he doesn’t say to add this to the first line in the txt editor:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

UPDATE:  I finally tried this and it didn't work for me.  After some online research, I found a comment in a thread that showed that Vista 64 and Win 7 required extra text, so here it is!

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Canon\ZoomBrowser EX]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Canon\ZoomBrowser EX\Settings]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Canon\ZoomBrowser EX\Install]
Also, some people have been confused about the "save as .reg" thing.  You need to select "*.* All file types" from the drop down menu for file type when saving your file, then type the full name as "Update.reg" then click on that file to make it run.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Signal After Turning TV Off and Back On

I built a Media PC out of some older parts I got from a friend.

It’s fantastic having a Media PC, and I love using it, but because it’s made of older parts, I come up against a problem every once in while.
The biggest problem I had on a regular basis was that when I turn off my Sony Bravia television and then turn it back on, the TV no longer has the HDMI signal from the PC (I get a blank screen that states simply “no signal”).
I searched for a long time for the answer before stumbling upon this solution.
User “th3dude” at states:
This problem seems to affect many people (as per search engines) with the most suspected/mentioned cause being insufficient drivers from ATI (NVIDIA apparently has updated its drivers for related issues successfully, while ATI tried that too, but some users still seem to have the same issue afterwards).
I tried updating my ATI Radeon HD 3200 video drivers to the latest version before coming across the solution below; it didn’t work.  I even installed AMD Catalyst when another thread suggested there’s a setting in there that will help (there isn’t, and I’ll likely be uninstalling AMD Catalyst as it’s just bloatware taking up space).
User Steffen Opel points out that the cause is EDID, or extended display identification data.  When you turn of your TV, the “handshake” between PC and TV is lost, thus when the TV is turned back on, the PC no longer has the information identifying the television and can’t communicate properly.
The solution?  There are evidently physical devices that can store the HDMI ID, but why spend money on a physical device (not to mention add that eyesore to your hardware setup) when Travis Hydzik has your back?  Travis created a three line program called hdmiOn.exe that goes something like this:
#include <windows.h> int WINAPI WinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance, HINSTANCE hPrevInstance, LPSTR lpCmdLine, int nCmdShow) { // Turn off monitor SendMessage(HWND_BROADCAST, WM_SYSCOMMAND, SC_MONITORPOWER, (LPARAM) 2); // Turn on monitor SendMessage(HWND_BROADCAST, WM_SYSCOMMAND, SC_MONITORPOWER, (LPARAM) -1); return 0; }
It just turns the HDMI signal off and back on, thus your PC is able to reacquaint itself with your television.
Because you won’t be able to see your computer screen to mouse-click a shortcut or the actual program (to run hdmiOn.exe), you’ll need to assign the program to a hotkey.  Luckily god gave us AutoHotkey. (Don’t worry; it’s easy!)
Here are all the steps to fix your “no HDMI signal” problem:
1. Download hdmiOn.exe and place it in the root directory of your system drive (you can put it anywhere you want, but this location makes it easy to find and access).
2. Download and install AutoHotkey.
3. Create a hotkey script as follows.
  1. Right-click an empty spot on your desktop or in a folder of your choice.

  2. In the menu that appears, select New -> AutoHotkey Script. (Alternatively, select New -> Text Document.)
  3. Type a name for the file, ensuring that it ends in .ahk. For example: hdmiOn.ahk
  4. Right-click the file and choose “Edit Script.”
  5. On a new blank line, type the following:

    #space::run C:\hdmiOn.exe (obviously you’ll need to be sure the path matches the location where you installed hdmiOn.exe)
  6. Save and close the file.

  7. Double-click the file to launch it. A new icon appears in the taskbar notification area.

  8. Hold down the Windows key and press the space key.  Your screen will cycle, letting you know that the computer in fact ran hdmiOn.exe

  9. To have this script launch automatically when you start your computer, create a shortcut in the Start Menu's Startup folder like this:

    1. Find the script file, select it, and press “Control-C” (copy).

    2. Right-click the Start button (typically at the lower left corner of the screen) and choose "Explore All Users."  In Windows 7 you need to go to All Programs>"right-click" on the Startup folder and then select "Open All Users" so you're not just altering the Startup folder for the account you're currently logged into.

    3. Navigate to the “Startup” folder inside the “Programs” folder.
    4. From the menu bar, choose Edit -> Paste Shortcut (or right-click Paste, or Control-V).  The shortcut to the script should now be in the Startup folder and will automagically run each time you start your computer.

You’re golden.  Turn your TV on and off all you want, all you need to do is click your windows key and the spacebar at the same time and your PC screen will reappear on your television.