Archive for the ‘How-to’ Category

Get the BEST price for your used DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s online with this free tool I created!

I sold my DVD collection a little while back and was intensely frustrated by the WIDELY varying prices offered by various purchasers.

So, I wrote a tool to do all the hard work for me by heading out to each of the popular sites, poll their price, find the best, and report back.

I just customized it into something I can share on the web that does one disc at a time, based on the UPC code.  The form submits are all custom injected with curl, sourced from RAW capture between my testing browser and the purchasing sites.  Enjoy the fruits of my labor :)

If you have a ton of discs you want a report on, contact me and I’ll see what we can work out.

The site for the tool is:

and the sites it checks at the time of writing are:

EagleSaver, DVDPawn, SellDVDSOnline, SecondSpin, MightyBuyBack, and Abundatrade

3M-50 Wi-FI Thermostat: UPDATE

Original post here:

Click HERE for the CT50, and HERE for the CT80.

This arrived last week, and it’s everything I hoped for, plus more.  VERY programmable via back-end JSON interface.  Of course, I’m old-skool and stubborn so I wrote a whole web-app in bash to control it :)

Here’s what my interface looks like:

Click it for a full size version.

The outside temp/humidity is polled via weather underground (XML feed), and the graph is gen’d by cacti.  I already use cacti for tons of other stuff, so it was only natural to use it for data collection here.   The red vertical on the graph represents the periods my furnace runs.  The rest of the legend it pretty obvious if you look at the full size snap.

If you’re even remotely THINKING of getting an ip-enabled thermostat, get one of these, they rock.

For those that don’t want to write their own app to control it, it can communicate directly to radio thermostat’s website and you can control it from there.  I just don’t like the idea of my thermostat taking orders from someplace else, so I wrote my own :)

There’s good documentation of the API here:

Holy IP Thermostat! – RADIO THERMOSTAT CT50/3M-50

Just by chance, last night our thermostat was “adjusted” by our youngest creature (Cameron), and when we woke up this morning the temp felt a little cooler and nicer.  It was holding at 68 instead of the usual 70 we maintain during the day. I thought, that’s it, I’m getting a programmable thermostat today.  It’ll pay for itself in less than 1 season if we actually like it 2 degrees cooler at night.

Before I headed out to Lowe’s to pickup a 75ish dollar programmable thermostat, I figured I’d check online one more time to see if any new price-competitive IP-enabled thermostats had hit the market.  WOW AM I SURE GLAD I DID.

Internet or IP-enabled thermostats have long been on my wish list of geek goodies for a while.  I’ve previously looked at units from Proliphix, Ecobee, BAYweb, and others.  They all either *require* utilization of their over-the-internet web interface (some for free, some for a monthly fee), and/or are prohibitively expensive.  The BAYweb isnt too bad at ~$200.00, and looks like rock-solid hardware, but it claims to have zero support for direct query to the device, and only communicates via an outgoing encrypted connection to the BAYweb web site.  To a home automation hacker, this is about as attractive as using AOL for email.


This little gem is only $100, features full local programmability, *and* access to the back-end IP interface via Wi-FI.  I’d actually prefer wired ethernet, but for $100, I’ll shut the fuck up and deal.  They sell these direct for ~$140, but they’ve partnered with 3M/Filtrete, and are selling them through Home Depot for $99.98.

The 3M/Filtrete Part # is: 3M-50. Search for “radio thermostat” at

EDIT: Home Depot  no longer sells these, but you can get them HERE.

I haven’t gotten it yet, but I ordered based on the following features:

*Local Programmability


*API Available (free)

*Direct query to the device for variables like temp/humidity (say for ex. using curl to grab variables from a script)

*iPhone App for controlling directly (free)

*PC App for controlling directly (free)

*Remote Access via their website (only if you want to use it this way)

*CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP – Somehow this thing is more full-featured than all the competition for 1/5th the price!!!!  It’s in the same price category as non-IP enabled programmable thermostats.

GO order one now before they wise up and price this more appropriately ~$250!

UPDATE – I received it, and further review is here:

COD4 Winter Crash, Crash

For the over 2 years I’ve played Call of Duty 4, I’ve never once successfully been able to load/play the map “Winter Crash”.  Every single time iw3mp.exe crashes to the desktop about 1/3 of the way through loading the map.

Well, tonight I’d finally had enough (no idea why it took over 2 years for that to happen)  and I went on a Google rampage.  Apparently while this issue isn’t entirely unknown, it’s not common enough that anyone has posted a clear reason why it occurs, or a fix.  I tried re-extracting the original .ff files from the patch where they originated from, but they’re “touched” by later patches, and I’m guessing this is where the corruption occurs.  Restoring the original versions merely makes cod4 cry about them not matching the ones on the server, and deleting them altogether has the same result.  I thought maybe the game client would try to dl them from the server, but no dice.

After digging about some more, I found a random location online that had a copy of all the usermaps from the zone directory.  I dl’d the two files relevant to “Winter Crash”, which are:




and replaced my copies under:

C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare\zone\english

It worked!  For the first time ever I managed to successfully join a server running this map.

I’ve zipped up the two required files and placed them here for download:

Unzip the files and overwrite your copies under the directory above.  Happy gaming!!!