Tech Aside: How to Connect Your SEIKI 4K TV to a Laptop with Intel 4000 Video

6 12 2014

I recently saw a number of online retailers were selling a 39″ 4K TV for $299. (Sadly it seems they’re pretty much gone at that price as of this writing but Google “SEIKI SE39UY04″ and see if anyone is still selling them as cheap.) Now I don’t really *need* a 4K TV right now but $300 for a 39″ 4K TV is about as cheap as 39 inches of dirt so I wondered if I could use a 4K TV as a computer monitor. Apparently I’m not the first to think about this, I’m just cheaper than the many other programmers who jumped on this same TV when it was still $700.

Short version is it works but this combination isn’t without its caveats. This particular TV is a little bright and a little blurry out of the box to be used as a monitor, however if you turn down the “brightness” and the “sharpness” you can easily fix that. The biggest issue is the refresh rate. This TV has HDMI 1.4 ports on it and that generation of HDMI can’t push enough data to support such high resolutions at a 60Hz refresh rate. The best it can do is 30Hz which means mouse movements feel a little chunky and imprecise at first, and it means this is definitely not the monitor you want for gaming. If you’re mostly thinking of using it for writing code or reading blogs you should keep reading.

Now unlike some of those other programmers I wasn’t using a desktop computer with easily upgradable video card, I’m using a 2 year old ASUS A55VD laptop which has an Nvidia 610M GPU and Intel 4000 integrated graphics. Looking at the specs online it seemed this hardware *should* be able to drive the 4K monitor despite the fact that ASUS lists the maximum supported resolution of my laptop at an anemic 1366 x 768. So yeah, I took a little gamble.

I went around and around with this and found that I could push my laptop to drive higher and higher resolutions. I got it up to 1920 x 1080 which was crisp but Fisher Price huge on a 39″ screen. I pushed it further to 2560 x 1440 and even 3200 x 1800 but those resolutions were unreadably blurry because the resolution wasn’t an evenly divisible multiple of the TV’s native resolution. I was about to return the TV in defeat when I finally stumbled on the right settings.

This is already too long but I’ll post all the steps needed to get it to work just in case another frustrated programmer stumbles on this blog. I hope posting this solution saves you a little time and frustration.

  • I updated the drivers directly from Nvidia for the 610M chipset and Intel for the 4000 integrated graphics.
  • Now when I right click on the desktop I can select the Intel Graphics Options > Custom Resolutions. (Accept the warning)
  • Select the Display “Digital Television” and add a resolution with the settings 3840w x 2160h, 25Hz refresh, Color Depth 32, Interlace Mode Disabled (Progressive Scan), and a Timing Standard of CVT-RB. Save it.
  • Reboot the laptop
  • Now right click the desktop again and select the Intel Graphics Properties, select Display, select the 3840×2160 resolution and 25Hz refresh rate. Save.

Once it comes up it looks *amazing*. Text is razor sharp and there’s just SO much room. I haven’t quite gotten used to using a monitor this big yet so it feel a little like playing ping-pong on a full size tennis court. One last tip, to help manage all this real estate I would strongly recommend getting Gridy. It’s a handy little tool that makes it easy to pop windows into custom set sizes and positions. Just trust me on this, you’ll want it.





The Bigger Trainwreck of the 2014 Midterm Election

7 11 2014

After this past electoral trainwreck I invited the few Republican friends I have left on social media how a party that seems to exclusively serve the financial interests of the top 1% still manages to convince enough people outside of that demographic to vote (in my opinion) against their own self interests and win elections? What are the specific policies the Republicans champion that make you vote Republican, and how do you feel those policies serve your interests?

Not surprisingly the conversation quickly devolved into so much mud slinging of talking points and propaganda from both sides.

The theory I was looking to test is that neither Dems or Repubs are really on *our* side…the 99%. Both parties use BS rhetorical tricks and straw men to get us to rally behind one team or another, but it’s all under false pretenses because in the end the fluff issues like abortion or gay rights or guns or welfare or immigration are important-ish, but in reality they don’t matter to the real end-game. It’s all just cake and circuses to keep us distracted while the politicians sell us out and give all our money to corporations, rich political backers, and the military industrial complex.

One commenter observed how poor people received government subsidised cell phones and then sold them.  But so what?  For the cost of one Hellfire missile we can give nearly 100 poor people subsidised cell phones for a year. Sure, some people will just sell them, but many will depend on them and use them to get jobs they couldn’t otherwise get. And even if they do sell them that money will be immediately spent and go right back into the economy (many times over) benefiting us *all* rather than into a billionaire’s bank account doing nothing.

The worst example for me is (despite all the rhetoric) Obama is no liberal. It’s galls me to watch him win the presidency twice on a very progressive/populist platform but once he’s elected he governs like a moderate to right wing Republican. Even his signature “liberal” legislation of Obamacare (while better than nothing) was a Republican bill that is mostly a giveaway to insurance companies, yet those same Republicans don’t miss an opportunity to fake outrage so they can get their base all worked up over what was ostensibly a “win” for them. It’s ALL bullshit spread out for us to dance in and be distracted by while we’re fleeced into indentured servitude.

The real question is will we the collective population ever really wake up and realize it and *demand* better or will we just keep fighting amongst ourselves over so many spilled beads and baubles while the corporations dismantle all protective regulations and drive us into managed poverty? Reading the comments on that thread I sadly suspect…no.





The Ultimate Place to Hide Your Stash: The Super Jesus Bible Box

27 10 2014

This will undoubtedly be a controversial post, but I like to think it could also be seen as a good instructional on how to make something practical (dare I say useful) out of an book of debatable value.  It’s my attempt at public service. I know, I know…you’re welcome!

So the way I see it it’s obvious most people ,especially most of the Bible’s most devout “true believers”, have never really read their their blessed best seller. What with all of the divinely sanctioned torture, genocide, slavery, global scale interspecies mass murder, and cannibalism who can blame them right? It’s quite obvious the book is an incoherent collection of superstition, bigotry, misogyny, and general ignorance that nobody really wants to read…which is *exactly* why this is the perfect practical repurposing of project for something like this. What’s better is the Bible is a book you can reasonably expect to find in almost every American household and neither you nor any visitor would ever imagine pulling it down off the shelf to read it. It really is the perfect place to hide something in plain sight.

Now obviously those with a Christian Taliban mindset will protest that this desecrates their “holy” book. If  I’m honest I suspect they could probably make a compelling case. I prefer to think I’m just cutting out the bad parts (albeit a bit imprecisely) and making something much more valuable in the end. Obviously it was part of God’s divine plan that I should create something this awesome for you, so yeah, thank God.

So without further ado, here is how you too can make your very own Super Jesus Bible Box.

Tool required:

  • Elmers Glue (regular old school glue is perfect)
  • Box cutter (or a reciprocating plunge cutter if you’re a fancy carpenter person)
  • Two pieces of 3/4″ plywood that are slightly larger than your book
  • Optional: Three to Four wood clamps or “C” clamps.

Step 1: Get a Bible  It’s possible you have a Bible laying around your house already but it probably belonged to your Grandma so it has some sentimental value. The best alternative option is to get one for free! Luckily if you’ve ever stayed at a hotel there is usually a fresh never-been-opened Gideons right there in the nightstand for you to take. Don’t feel guilty, when you take that Bible literally nobody will miss it, and you’re helping overcrowding in the world by freeing up very valuable space in the nightstand drawer. Of course if you’re not a frequent traveler you can always buy an authentic Gideons’ Bible stolen on your behalf from comedian Doug Stanhope. Obviously you’ll have to go to one of his shows to buy it at the merch table but even so still I highly recommend this option because he’ll also autograph it for you (which is very thoughtful). Of course you can use another book instead but I would strongly advise against that because no matter what it is there’s a chance someone someday would actually want to read it. Okay you certainly could do this to a copy of the Quran or the Torah, but don’t do this to any other book because we’re not monsters here, you wouldn’t want to ruin a book that’s actually useful.


Step 2: Wrap it
 You’ll want to keep the first book of Genesis and maybe a little of Exodus preserved  in page form so the book can be opened and shown to be what appears to be a fully functioning no secret compartment containing Bible. Just take some saran wrap and cover the cover and pages to be preserved.  Now would also be a good time to carefully remove a specific page from elsewhere in the Bible that you can use later as the bottom of your book. For example if your name is Mark or Luke or Habakkuk you might want to cut out that cover page and save it for later. Or not…there are other great options too.

 

Step 3: Glue up the outside walls of your box Using a brush or sponge apply a smooth but liberal coat of white Elmers glue to the outside edge of the unprotected pages and let it dry. You may want to put something heavy on the book to hold the pages flat and tight while the glue dries. You may also want to do another coat or two of glue after it dries just to make sure the outside of your box is nice and solid. Be sure to rinse your brush clean when you’re done because you’re going to need it again later.

 

IMG_20141027_092923192 (Medium) Step 4: Cut out the box So the traditional method for cutting out the pages is by using an exacto knife or box cutter.  I’ve done this before and it’s surprisingly hard work and the easiest way to develop carpal tunnel ever devised.  You should do it by hand at least once so you’ll truly appreciate how much better an option it is to use a plunge cutter like this one here. Yeah, I know, you’re welcome (again).

 

IMG_20141027_095726777 (Medium)Step 5: Fix the sides At this point your hands are a little tired but you  hopefully have the void of your box cut out all the way down. Nicely done! However you may now also notice your book doesn’t close very well because the pages get a little puffy and irregular where they’ve been cut. Yeah, you didn’t do anything wrong it just does that. No fear, the next step fixes that.  Again get your sponge or brush and apply a liberal amount of glue to the interior sides of your box. It’s fine if you get glue on the bottom and top facing of the page too but we really want good coverage on the sides. Once everything is covered well you can remove the saran wrap from the first few chapters, close your book as normally as possible, place it between IMG_20141027_141549579_HDR (Medium)two pieces of strong plywood, and use three to four clamps to compress your book flat again. If you don’t have clamps you can probably just place something heavy like a couch on your plywood/Bible sandwich, but the clamps really will give you the best results. Be careful not to over tighten the clamps though or you could deform the spine of your book and that would be bad. Let this sit and dry overnight.

 

IMG_20141027_170358646 (Medium) - CopyStep6: Dress the sides Once you unclamp your book it should look nice and flat again. When you open it you’ll notice one or two pages are now glued over your opening. This is a good thing. Take your box cutter and make a cut right down the center of the page and then make two additional cuts along the top and bottom edge of the void. This should make a cut in the shape of an uppercase “I”. Fold the flaps back out of the void and apply a thin coat of glue to the interior edges and bottom of the void. Now simply bring the cut page flaps into the void and press then smooth to cover over the sides. Now we still need to dress the top and bottom edges of the void so put some glue on the top of the page and bring another page down on top. Repeat the above procedure except make your cut in the shape of an uppercase “H” this time. This will give you flaps to dress the top and bottom edges. We’re almost done now.

 

IMG_20141015_180209451 - Copy (Medium)Step 7: Dress the bottom Now you have some options for covering the bottom of your box. You can choose to use the page you salvaged earlier or you can get more creative and put a picture of your own creation there. Either way just cut it to size and glue it in. You can optionally put another thin coat of glue over everything inside the void of the box just to make it a little more durable, but once all the glue dries you’re now the proud owner of your very own Super Jesus Bible Box. Awww yeah, who’s your savior now? Happy stashing!

 





A Forgiving God?!

7 11 2012

Adam and Eve

I honestly don’t know what Christians are talking about when they tell me God is a loving and forgiving god.

Really? I mean according to the Bible He’s willing to torture every human who has ever and will ever live because the first two people he created stole a piece of fruit from a tree.

Okay to be fair some will say that it wasn’t about the apple per se’ but it was because they disobeyed God and because it gave them the knowledge of good and evil?

But wait, I still don’t know why he’s mad.

1) Every kid disobeys their parent at some point or another (it’s what kids do).

2) I would WANT my kids to know the difference between good and bad

3) He’s God…he could easily erase that knowledge or, if he’s really stuck, why not  just kill Adam and Eve off, cut down the fruit tree, and make Adam and Eve 2.0 from scratch. Why prove how “forgiving” you are by punishing everyone else for eternity because one couple committed misdemeanor petit theft?

Then again God was kind of a moron for putting the tree there in the first place so expecting him to be rational about all the rest of it just wouldn’t make any sense would it?

Greatest story ever told.  Yeah, right.





Of Science and Lies

15 10 2012

It’s beyond frustrating to look at those who populate the congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

The Committee’s chair, Texas’ Ralph Hall, when asked about the evidence that humans were altering the climate, replied, “I don’t think we can control what God controls.”

Add to him intellectual giants like Missouri’s Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Georgia’s Paul Broun.  Broun recently said that “…evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory…all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

It’s one thing if your crazy brother believes this crap, but these are congressmen who make decisions that effect all of us.  The Republicans get to choose this committee’s membership so if you’re an intelligent Republican you should call your congressman to express your embarrassment and outrage that they keep putting people this willfully ignorant on this critical committee.

Scientists are also sexy, let's not forget that.





Welfare Queens by the Numbers.

18 09 2012

I’ll make this quick.  Mitt Romney thinks about 47% of Americans “pay no taxes” and are “dependent upon government”.  To me this conjures up horrific images of welfare queens.  The fact is that as of 7/26/2012: only 4.1% of the US population is on welfare.

Not 47%…4.1%.

And in case you’re taking the Republican bait and conjuring up some kind of racial stereotype in your mind you should know that of those who are on welfare 39.8 % are black and 38.8% are white.

And lest you think this 4.1% of Americans take no responsibility for their lives, it’s worth pointing out that 19% of welfare recipients are on it for less than 7 months and only 19.6% are on it for more than 5 years.  So assuming one has to do something for more than 5 years for it to be established as a “way of life” it appears that 0.8% (less than 1%) of our population has made welfare a way of life.

Let me put this in a different perspective.  In 2006 about $59 billion was spent on traditional social welfare programs while $92 billion was spent on corporate subsidies. Our government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance.

Now those same corporate welfare queens are bribing our politicians with obscene Super PAC campaign contributions in an effort to get  those politicians to further cut regulations and increase the corporate handouts.

It’s enough to make a guy sick, except I live in America and I don’t have health insurance (and Mitt doesn’t think I deserve that either).





When is 26 > 134,000,000 ?

18 09 2012

134 Million is the approximate number of Americans it takes to make up 43% of the U.S. population.  But the 134 Million people I’m specifically talking about are the ones who comprise the 50 million lowest income households in America.

So why am I talking about the lowest earning 43% in America?  Because their collective net worth doesn’t equal the net worth of the 26 individual billionaires who are trying to buy this year’s election.

Bernie Sanders recently released a study that showed 26 billionaires who have already given $61 million dollars to the Republican politicians and Super PACs this election season.  When you consider that low income households, by definition, don’t have much disposable income it’s fair to estimate the relative political contributions of the poorest 43% of America is most certainly a percent that rounds up to 0% when compared to the donations of our gang of influential billionaires.

What’s worse, the $61 million contributed from the billionaires does not include the $100 million that Sheldon Adelson has promised, or the $400 million that the Koch brothers have pledged to spend during the 2012 election season to defeat President Obama.

This sort of discrepancy of power and influence is the core of the problem with the Citizens United ruling.  Now we have a handful of billionaires who can overwhelm the airwaves with money and negative ads while hiding in near complete anonymity and remain unaccountable.  So while some Americans have the time and attention to get political information from multiple sources, the vast majority of Americans don’t.  For the bulk of America a deluge of attack ads full of fabrications are their primary source of information and irresistibly persuasive.

So while the average American citizen has the liberty and freedom to make their own choices, it’s insurmountably difficult for them to do so intelligently when they’re being force fed so much misinformation by a few billionaires with no accountability. Historically speaking 98% of elections are won by the candidate with the most money.  Democratic and Republican politicians alike will find they are forced to court the richest of the rich because they will be the only way the politicians can get enough money to get elected.  And then our government will be truly and completely bought by the rich, whereby they can stack the system even more in their own favor.

I’m really not interested in this outcome.  The only way to stop this is to pass a constitutional amendment that declares that corporations are not people, and that all future political campaigns are publically funded.  I know it’s a long shot but given the Citizens United ruling from our corporately owned Supreme Court we are left with no other choice.

Visit Wolf-Pac, sign the petition, pledge a few bucks, tell your friends.  Every little bit helps and maybe, just maybe, we can change this stacked game and make it work for all Americans, not just the 26 richest ones.








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