Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dell Inspiron E1505 Laptop Battery - Blinking Amber and Green Lights

I have no complaints over the last 14 months about the performance of my Dell Inspiron E1505 Laptop. However, a month or two after it's 1 year anniversary the Battery Indicator LED's on the right hinge have been blinking 3 or 4 ambers and one green consistently. This is a change that is a bit unnerving so I started looking on the web to see if anyone has posted anything about blinking amber LED's on Dell laptops.

Was I ever surprised! Apparently there is a quite a problem with Dell laptop batteries and/or Power Adapter cords. So many that there are conspiracy theories. There are even a few writers that are convinced that Dell's laptop batteries have 'Planned Obsolescence', that is, there's a smart chip in the battery casing circuitry that keeps a tally of charge/discharge cycles, no matter how short those little charge/discharge cycles are, so that when 1000 of these cycles is reached the 'blinking' begins and the pop-ups appear to tell you that there is a fatal flaw in the battery and that it needs replaced.

Those cycles can be in the form of a little power shortages at night while the laptop is plugged in to the outlet, when you unplug it to carry into another room briefly, when you shut it down and pack it up to go somewhere, when the power cord at the rear of the laptop gets pulled out inadvertantly, even if only a second such as when switching laps, etc., etc.

Of course the only batteries that work are the batteries specifically made for a Dell laptop - for close to $180.00.

If you are like me, that is, I almost always use my laptop with the power adapter plugged into the AC wall outlet, then you would wonder how it is possible to end up with a dead or dying battery only 14 months later and the battery having always indicated almost a full charge during that time.

In any case, I could not get anything definite through my weeks of reading blogs, comments and threads. Some people believed that their problem was the power adapter, some the motherboard and some the battery. Some changed batteries. After that big expense they still had the same problem. Some bought new power cords. Still the blinking lights.

I did find out one thing though. The laptop works fine without the battery in place. I've often wondered whether it would work if I took the battery out and just used it straight AC with the adapter but never tried it over the last 14 months. I should have done it sooner. If I would have removed it right after the laptop was received I would have an unused battery right now. A battery that would be available if I really needed it.

So what's the point of this story? If your laptop works on AC without the battery in place and you are using it mostly while plugged into a wall outlet anyway, it's best to keep the battery OUT OF THE LAPTOP. Keep the battery in the refrigerator until its ready to be used or needs to be taken somewhere that may not have an outlet.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Add A Descriptive Video To Your eBay Listings

There is really nothing better than a decent video to help explain further the great features of a product. If you sell online a video can be the difference between a purchase being made or not or a purchase made at a low or high price.
Screenshot of eBay's Item Description with the video appearing below photo's
If you sell on eBay, eBid, etsy or some other venue why not consider adding a video to your item description. The video can be an addition to a couple of regular photos, like shown above, or a stand alone demonstration for your product.
The video can be as short as just leafing through a book, like above, to show the prolific amount of photographs, a few seconds at most, or it can be a few minutes in length to explain how an apple cider press you made in the woodshop is used.
Putting a video on eBay is not very hard and it is allowed if you follow their policies. You can check their policies by clicking on the 'Help" tab anywhere on the site and then typing in 'embedded video' in the search window.
Why 'embedded video'?
Because that is the only type eBay allows and only from a site that is on their 'Approved Sites' list. You can NOT just put a link in the description to a video you made, whether on your own site or some hosting server. That might violate their Links Policy in addition to their Video Policy. In any case, after the search you will find something like this.
Screenshot of eBay's embedded video procedure
If you have a Google account then you are a bit closer to being able to add the video. Google is on the approved list. Also, I understand that if a Google account is already held you can use your Google sign-in/log-on info to sign-in at, another one of the approved sites under eBay's rules. is easy. is free. youtube works great. Just follow youtube's instructions on how to upload a video after you click the 'Upload Video' button and the other options will be easy to choose from.
Screenshot of youtube's webpage showing the 'Upload Video' button
Once the video is uploaded to, and you have chosen the various options, you will have access to the 'Embed Code' with the various options you have chosen incorporated in that code. In the photo below - on the right side - you can see two windows/boxes with entries in them( just click on photo for a larger image ). One is labeled URL the other Embed. The Embed is what you want. Of course that box only shows a small portion of the entire Embed code. The code is actual quite long and can be seen in the bottom photo ( it has been pasted in the eBay Item Description Window.
Screenshot of youtube webpage where the 'Embed' code is
The code is what you will paste in the description area of your eBay item. You will note in the photo below that the code was pasted AFTER the HTML tab was checked. You will need to have that tab checked to change from the Standard way of entering information in the description area. The Embed code is afterall HTML so you need the correct tab or it won't work.
Screenshot of the Embed Code that has been pasted to the eBay item description window
After you paste the Embed code you can click the 'Preview' button and see what your listing looks like. If you did it correctly you will end up with what appears at the top of this article, at least as the video is concerned. You can even 'play' the video while in the Preview' mode. If all appears good go ahead and finish your listing.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

SSL Image Hosting - how sweet it is, and how necessary.

    You read and read, one article after another, while trying to learn how to build a website from scratch. Website developement is a pretty complicated and difficult subject for many, even those with experience. It's especially so for someone that never thought there would be a chance in Hades of getting involved with a computer.

    A few years ago when I sat down at a computer I had trouble trying to keep my eye on where the cursor went. Seriously! I would slide the mouse all over the mousepad so as to catch a movement of that Devilish Dissappearing Device ( the cursor ).
Now, a scant 7 years later I am learning HTML, XML, XHTML, scripts, forms, tags, attributes, values, tables, options, etc., etc.

    Many times the articles you read seem as though the subject matter is something totally in left field. You keep reading though. You know, deep down inside, that at some point it will make sense.
You know what? You're right. When you least expect it your brain takes pieces of what you read - and did not fully comprehend at the time - rearranges all those jigsaw pieces of information - and Voila! a Eureka moment!

    So it was with SSL. For some time now I had a bit of an understanding of the importance of HTTPS: vs HTTP: URL protocol. I knew that SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer ( encryption stuff ). I just kept assuming that the only time I would ever need to have any involvement with HTTPS: is if my website would have LOGIN requirements, processed personal identifying information or gathered financial information such as credit cards.
How incorrect that is.

    Two days ago I was reading articles on someone else's website, someone that apparently is full of information, willing to share it and good enough to be recommended by Paypal on their site to help with code and cart integration problems.
The subject matter was how to use Javascript as a manner of helping with Paypal 'Buy Now' or 'View Cart' button code, how to change button code to suit your needs and shopping cart code in general.

    In reading those articles there was one of those Eureka moments.
    Mention was made about how the 'Custom Paypal Payment Page'( if a header photo [a Logo] is uploaded to Paypal by the account holder from an HTTP: website ) can cause security warnings. It is that HTTP: image hosting location that causes that security warning to popup when a customer on a website presses the Paypal 'Buy Now' button.
    You know what happens when a customer is ready to pay, presses the Paypal button and gets a warning that says, [ "Security Information" This page contains both secure and nonsecure items. Do you want to display the nonsecure items? ]?

Of course you do. Most will click 'NO' and get the heck out of there.
You just lost a sale because of that!
Even if you are the real Diogenes target, you lost that sale.

    So, here I am, waiting for people to buy some of my inexpensive items, and me being the type Diogenes sought, and all along my Logo image that is on my 'Paypal Custom Payment Page' is hosted at my own website, which is not HTTPS:.

    Since May of this year that popup has been thrown in the face of potential customers. If not for that bit of seemingly unimportant information I read on that website (see above) I would still be chasing customers away with that security warning.

    Here is the fix:
Host the Logo photo you are using on Paypal's 'Custom Payment Page' at a website that has a secure server, an HTTPS:.

    If you do a Google search for 'SSL image Hosting' you will find multitudes of sites that will host your photo at an HTTPS:.
Some provide free Logo hosting, some charge a minimal amount.

     I discovered They will host your Logo free at their secure site and the bonus is that you also get a link from them that you can use to see what happens when customers click on one of your Paypal 'Buy' buttons.

   Well, there it is. Hope that helps.


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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A day at Birdsfoot Golf Course

      A very enjoyable day at Birdsfoot Golf Course, just north of Freeport, Pennsylvania, was had today by the foursome of Ron Nodge, Glen Cassel, Tom Baker and Mike Sillett.

      Although the four individual scores do not appear to support a contention that fun was had by all ( 101, 101, 93, and 94 respectively), take my word for it, it was.

      After the round was over we all reflected, over a few beers, on why the scores were not lower and all agreed that the greens, although in very good condition, were a bit more challenging than what we are accustomed to at Valley Green Country Club, in Greensburg, Pa. Not too many putts were sunk that were over 7 feet long, although the greens ran true. Of course knowing what side of the fairways to be on and what side of the greens to approach also has to be taken into account. That will be for the next time. We all agreed that we would like to play it again.

      A blind draw two-man team was picked after the event to determine the best score in a Best-Ball event for the front nine, back nine and overall 18 and the luck of the draw gave the hot Ron Nodge ( par on the 10th, 11th, and 12th holes - three hard holes in a row - ) to Tom Baker. Team Baker/Nodge tied the front nine, won the back nine and won the overall 18 and pocketed $4.00 each. Ron Nodge won the $1.00 bet for the closest chip on the second shot on the difficult #9 hole where we all hit straight shots at the pin but all came up just short of the green. Like I said, Ron was hot.

      The course is well run by friendly people. Imagine, they even brought the golf cart to your car in the parking lot upon arrival. That's Birdsfoot.

      Greens are undulating but fair and a bit on the fast side. Par three's are well protected by bunkers, definitely not push overs. Hitting drives straight will reward with flatter lies and good approach angles. Distance, although almost always advantageous, is only an advantage at Birdsfoot if straight, otherwise you will be penalized. Better to be straight than long there.

      This is mostly a Links type golf course with a few holes that pop up as Parkland style. In time, this will be a very, very nice course.
Check out the video for a better idea of the course layout.

      Go there and enjoy. Hit em straight.