How to remove the "NO AC" message from your sprinkler controller

I have a Hunter sprinkler system that controls 6 different sprinkler zones and keeps both my front and back yard nice and green. I have it programmed to start at 4:15 a.m. when my family is sound asleep, and it finishes cycling through the various zones at around 5:30. This morning however, I noticed the sprinklers hadn't turned on, so I opened the case of my main controller panel and saw that it was flashing "NO AC".

After looking at the owner's manual, I found out that "NO AC" means that it's not getting power and is running on it's backup battery. So I followed the cord to where it was plugged into the wall, and noticed that it had a GFI test/reset plugin installed.

Traded my iPhone 4S for a new Samsung Galaxy S4

I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S4 yesterday, after owning 3 generations of iPhones for several years. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much more I like this smart phone than my iPhone.

Better is of course relative, but I've been impressed with the larger and brighter screen, expandable memory options, far better camera (records in HD, and both front and rear cameras can record at the same time) and numerous configuration options.

AT&T also has a $200 iphone trade-in program, which made it an even swap for the 16-GB Samsung! Saved me the time and hassle of placing an ad on craigslist, and paid for the new phone in one shot.

Loving my Samsung. Not missing my iPhone. Lots of new things to learn (and to blog about along the way), but I like what I see so far.

How to disable Minecraft chat, but still use Commands

My son is a die-hard minecraft addict, who starts playing Minecraft every weekend morning at 7:00 a.m. He'd play Minecraft all day long, every day of the week, if I'd let him. But like most parents, I want my son to have a variety of interests, hobbies... and hopefully even some friendships with non-electronic real-live people.

Speaking of real-live people, I recently discovered that Minecraft has a built-in chat feature that lets everyone on a particular "server" communicate with each other in real-time. My son is only 11, and we have a policy in our family that cell phones and facebook accounts aren't allowed until age 13.

And besides the household rule, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of anonymous adults chatting (and sometimes swearing) with my son, and I decided that Minecraft would have to go, unless we figured out a way to disable the chat feature.

Fortunately we discovered an easy way to disable chat, while still allowing access to the command line for entering Minecraft commands!

To disable chat on Minecraft, follow these steps:

1. Log into Minecraft and click on "Options" on the main screen.

Export movies from iPhoto

Videos taken from your iphone or ipad are imported into iPhoto when you sync your device to iTunes, but it's not very clear how to get those videos out of iPhoto. You can't use the Share -- Email option, because iPhoto only lets you share photos via email.

To share videos over email, export the video as if it were a photo, and iPhoto will convert it to a Quicktime movie format that you can attach to an email or upload to YouTube.

First, sync your iphone or ipad with iTunes, so that your photos and videos are in iPhoto. Open iPhoto and find the video you want to export.

Click the File -- Export menu option and then press the Export button.

How to set up your Linksys wireless home network

Having recently moved into an apartment while we wait for our new house to be ready, I had to set up my wireless home network with a Linksys router hooked up to Comcast XFinity.

Here are the basic steps you'll want to take to personalize and secure your wireless home network. You don't have to be technical to do this - just follow these easy steps and make sure your settings are the same as the screenshots below.

1. Connect to your wireless network

Plug your wireless router (aka. wifi access point) into your Comcast, Frontier or DirecTV modem and look for a network named "linksys" in your computer's wireless networking settings.

On a Mac, just click the wireless icon on the top right of your screen to see a list of available networks.

On a Windows PC, you should see a wireless icon on the lower right of your screen, in the taskbar.

Select this network and it should connect without asking you for a password, because we haven't set up a password yet.

2. Log in as the Administrator

Open a web browser and type in to access the admin console for your Linksys router.

You'll be prompted for a username and password. Use admin in both fields, which is the default username and password for all Linksys routers.

3. Give your network a name

Click the Wireless tab in your linksys admin console and enter a name for your wireless network in the Network Name (SSID) field. I'm a Lord of the Rings fan, and a total geek, so I called mine gandalf :-)

Make sure you click "Save Settings" when you're done.

Since you changed the name of your network, you'll need to repeat the first two steps (connect to your newly named network, and log back in as the Administrator).


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