Linux Mint – Installing Bumblebee for NVIDIA Optimus on Lenovo Y580

LM_beeFrom what I had previously read, it took a lot of special hacks and workarounds to get NVIDIA’s Optimus running correctly on the Lenovo Y580 (and other similar laptops) using the Bumblebee project. This was applicable only to the Linux 3.2 kernel. However, I just upgraded my kernel to 3.11, which is supposed to work with Bumblebee using just the standard installation. It does, but there are still a few quirks that needed to be addressed. Here are the instructions for installing and using Bumblebee for the Lenovo laptops. Continue reading Linux Mint – Installing Bumblebee for NVIDIA Optimus on Lenovo Y580

Champion Energy Services – $50 coupon for new customers

lightbulb-smallNew customers get $50 off with referral ID: MThomson36073
Or you can use this direct referral code link: http://www.championenergyservices.com/programs/referral-program/CAF.asp?referralID=MThomson36073

The $50 credit is supposed to be valid for any of these states: Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas.

UPDATE: It looks like they have now permanently increased the bonus to $50!

It’s that easy! Continue reading Champion Energy Services – $50 coupon for new customers

Adobe Acrobat Pro X / CS6 will not run – how to repair

fix_logoAfter about a year of running fine, my copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro X (part of the CS6 package) suddenly stopped working. It would not start. If I clicked on the icon in the start menu nothing would happen. I didn’t need the program right when the problem first arose, but after a week I needed it fixed so I did a search and found the solution at http://wpressurecooker.com/adobe-cs6-wont-start-how-to-fix/. The solution is very simple, and I have summarized it below. Continue reading Adobe Acrobat Pro X / CS6 will not run – how to repair

How do I choose a flat-fee MLS listing service (FSBO)?

blog_post_houseI recently listed my Massachusetts home on MLS, but I’m not using a real estate agent to sell my property. Since I wanted to list on MLS without a realtor, my biggest question was "What MLS listing service should I use?" Doing a listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), I want a flat-fee MLS listing service that has a good online presence as well as a history of quality person-to-person customer support. It seems like none of the flat fee MLS listing services have any 3rd party reviews online.

There also seems to be a general divide between key offerings – companies that offer barebones, no feature service for under $200, and other companies that offer a variety of packages and features starting at $300. The sub-$200 packages seem extremely risky and could wind up being useless if you enter your listing information wrong. The $300 and up packages tend to allow you to make updates at no or low extra cost, and include features like including your open house listing along with your for sale listing on MLS. These are important considerations when doing For Sale By Owner. Continue reading How do I choose a flat-fee MLS listing service (FSBO)?

Fix: “My Computer” window always opens during Windows startup

My Computer pops upFor the past few days whenever I have turned on my laptop, a "My Computer" window has popped up at startup once Windows has finished loading. There weren’t really any good answers online until I came across this page at www.sevenforums.com, which suggested that Adobe CS6 might be the culprit (more specifically, the Adobe Bridge utility). Well, I had just installed CS6 at about the same time that this problem started occurring, and indeed it was the problem. Here is the more thorough description on how to fix it. Continue reading Fix: “My Computer” window always opens during Windows startup

Replacing engine thermostat: 1998 Saturn SL2

Thermostat and gaugeAfter purchasing a used 1998 Saturn SL2, one of the first things I noticed was that once the car had warmed up the dashboard temperature gauge was always pointing slightly less than the 1/4 mark and never went any higher. The coolant temperature sensor was malfunctioning, so I replaced it. However, whenever replacing the temperature sensor it is also a good idea to replace the engine thermostat. It is a cheap part and is very easy to replace. Since you have to drain the coolant for both repairs, you may as well get both parts replaced at the same time to save some time and money. Continue reading Replacing engine thermostat: 1998 Saturn SL2

Portable kid’s height chart (Guest post)

Today’s blog post comes from my wife, Angela. She is good at crafts, and this particular project was done in the midst of a kitchen painting project. Her height charts turned out very good and so we thought it would be worth sharing in the "Home Projects" portion of this blog. Enjoy!

When we decided it was time to revamp our kitchen with a good old fashion paint job the hue was the least of our problems.
Our family height chart was marked on our wall. Oops. We were young, it was our first house, and we were new parents, and lacked foresight… and money. Those are our excuses for this brainless act. Forgive us.
Moving on from that experience though, we have amended our family height chart. Continue reading Portable kid’s height chart (Guest post)

Replacing engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) – 1998 Saturn SL2

ECTS and gaugeI recently purchased a used 1998 Saturn SL2, and one of the first things I noticed was that once the car had warmed up, the dashboard temperature gauge was always pointing slightly less than the 1/4 mark and never went any higher. I thought this was a bit odd, since all my previous vehicles would usually stay just below the 1/2 mark, but then I figured that maybe the SL2 engine just stays cooler. Not so. Doing a quick search online uncovers the fact that one of the most common problems with the SL2 is a cracked coolant temperature sensor and/or a stuck-open engine thermostat. Continue reading Replacing engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) – 1998 Saturn SL2