Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fix quiet microphone on Acer Aspire 5100 after install Windows 7

After installing Windows 7 on my system the microphone was extremely quiet with the default Microsoft drivers. I finally was able to fix the problem using the following steps:
  1. Download driver from Acer.com (http://global-download.acer.com/GDFiles/Driver/Audio/Audio_Realtek_10.0.5605_Vistax86.zip?acerid=633640464374493351&Step1=Notebook&Step2=Aspire&Step3=Aspire%205100&OS=V10&LC=en&BC=Acer&SC=PA_6).
  2. Next disable Windows automatic driver download and installation. Type "change device installation settings" into Start and select the option of the same name. Change the settings to either "No..." and "Never..." or "No..." and "Install...if not found...". (This is the critical step.)
  3. I also changed the driver install to work in compatibility mode. This is done by right clicking on the Setup.exe, selecting properties > compatibility and changing to Vista mode.
  4. Install the drivers and restart your computer. If you are as lucky as me then your built in microphone will now work.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Use of Grocery Store Data

I am sure all of you have seen or used a grocery store card to receive discounts on purchases. These cards allow stores to link together purchases made over time to a single customer. I know there are many potential uses to this kind of data. On Friday I finally saw a use to this data that I agree with. Kroger sent my family in the mail personalized coupons. These coupons were for in all but one case items that we have bought in the past. We plan on actually using these coupons. I am not sure what the incentives are for Kroger, but I will be glad to use coupons for things my family was planning on purchasing anyways.

Well done Kroger.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Health Care Spending

Check out this blog entry. It gave me new eyes to see health care spending as not a burden, but potentially a boon to society. With increased health care spending we are spending money on prolonging our lives.

Google Wave

I watched most of the long video previewing Google Wave, and I have to say that I am impressed. For starters I really like the feature that when doing IM you can watch the other person type. I find myself staring at times at the message "so and so is typing...". I look forward to the release of Google Wave. Check it out for yourself (http://wave.google.com/).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gold in one unlikely place

People tell us there are gold nuggets hidden in data talking of data mining. People occasionally stumble upon inheritances they never knew of containing gold (especially relatives from African royalty). But who would have thought there was gold to be found in sewage: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2009/02/22/lah.japan.gold.poop.cnn.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Numbers on Consumer Spending from Mint.com

Here is a look according to the anonymous users of Mint.com that report on spending, savings accounts and more. Check it out.

Creative Hackers

Check out this road sign from Texas ("Zombies Ahead").

Friday, January 30, 2009

Economists clueless on macreconimic issues?

I recently read a post here that stated basically that economists start talking about the psychology of the people but don't understand psychology and that at the macro level economists are pretty much clueless. Take a look at the article. It is a good read as well as many of the comments.

One of the major problems with economics is that it is really difficult to test macro level theories. How do you run a randomized experiment on some theory at the national or global level? You don't. No politician will let you use his/her people as guinea pigs. We don't want to be guinea pigs. Yet we have learned that good data is much more reliable than intuition and gut feel (see these slides and this book).

The only way to understand macroeconomics reliably is with experimentation (like all other good sciences) and that is near impossible at the macro level.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Virtual CloneDrive

If anyone has to install some software from ISO files they downloaded may I recommend Virtual CloneDrive. I had to install SAS to my computer for a class which required at least 11 ISO files to be burned to disk. Luckily with the Virtual CloneDrive I could install from my hard drive without burning one disk and the CD images were read faster than if they were in a real CD drive. Smooth and painless!