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Fixing SONOS "Unable to play" song / "Unable to connect" to local music library problem on Windows 7

Posted 7 November, 2014 at 4:52pm by Michael Chu

In general, I've been quite pleased with my Sonos units, but I've been plagued with a problem accessing my personal music library for more than a few days at a time. I think i have a fix for my problems now.

I run the Sonos application on a Windows 7 machine which I use as a file server and media server (running a variety of transcoding software for various devices around the house). My music library is stored on a local drive on that machine (this detail is probably unimportant as Sonos never accesses the library locally and always uses the network share for the library). My first problem was the Error 900 problem which occurs when the stack size of the network server is too small to buffer the data (or something). The solution was to use regedit (Start->Run->regedit.exe) and modify key:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\LanmanServer\Parameters\IRPStackSize
from the default value of 15 (decimal) to either 18 or 24 (decimal). I upped mine to 24 and it got rid of the Error 900 problem, but I would still routinely lose connection to the music library. (See Sonos Error 900 FAQ.)

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Fixing SONOS "Unable to play" song / "Unable to connect" to local music library problem on Windows 7

Fall Television Season 2014 Grid

Posted 22 August, 2014 at 11:27am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Television) No comments

For the last four years, I've published the schedules to the fall television season and which shows I plan on watching. The previous years I've been late at preparing the TV show grid so this year I'm trying to get the grid out before the season begins. Some of the schedule hasn't been finalized by the networks yet, but this should be the current info. I haven't marked the grid for what I'm going to be watching or recording yet because I don't know yet. I'll be doing another post with that update.

Like the last couple grids, the new shows are in italics and shows to be recorded are in color (with green and blue for my two different DVRs). All times are Eastern / Pacific. Central Time would be one hour before the listed time.

Here are the previous year's schedules for comparison: 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Update August 22, 2014 at 11:50AM: I marked the shows I know I'm definitely recording. Basically, they are the ones I'm currently watching plus a couple new shows I know I'll definitely want to watch (The Flash, Gotham, Agent Carter). I need to find out more about the other new shows to decide if I want to record them. My general strategy is to record the ones that look promising and if the initial reviews are good, then I'll catch up. If they aren't good, then I won't bother to watch the recordings.

Update September 1, 2014 at 11:00PM: I added several shows that were missing from the grid and marked some more shows for recording.

Monday
8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Dancing with the Stars
September 15
Castle
September 29
CBS The Big Bang Theory
September 22
Mom
September 29
Scorpion
September 22
NCIS: Los Angeles
September 29
2 Broke Girls
October 27
CW The Originals
October 6
America's Next Top Model
August 18
Jane the Virgin
October 13
FOX Gotham
September 22
Sleepy Hollow
September 22
NBC The Voice
September 22
The Blacklist
September 22
State Of Affairs
November 17
ESPN Monday Night Football
September 8
HBO Olive Kitteridge
November 3
MTV Are You the One?
September 22
TRUTV Fake Off
October 27

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Fall Television Season 2014 Grid

Restaurant Review: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar of Austin

Posted 12 January, 2014 at 2:43am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Dining) No comments

At the beginning of October 2013, I received an invitation to attend a dinner at Fleming's to preview their new menu. With a new baby and my work schedule, I wasn't able to make it, so I didn't participate. At the end of October, the menu revamp was launched nationwide at all Fleming's locations. A couple weeks later, Fleming's reached out again to see if I was interested in tasting some of the new menu items. I wasn't able to get the time to work until the first week of January, but we managed to get the dinner arranged and set up at the Fleming's in Austin, Texas (downtown location near the convention center).
Fleming's Exterior

Unfortunately, I had never eaten at a Fleming's before, so I couldn't compare the new menu to the old with this visit. In fact, I knew very little about Fleming's and what little I had heard about them over the years led me to believe the steakhouse was expensive, boring, and mediocre. After dining there, I have to say I was quite surprised with the experience and truly enjoyed my dinner.

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Restaurant Review: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar of Austin

What I Plan on Watching During Fall Television Season 2013

Posted 15 September, 2013 at 11:27pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Television) No comments

For the last three years, I've published the schedules to the fall television season and which shows I plan on watching. This year, I'm a tad late. And it's probably closer to the shows that I plan on recording (as opposed to watching). I also had a slow start learning about the shows, so I have more shows selected than ever because it's hard for me to tell what's going to be good or bad due to lack of information.

Like last year's grid, the new shows are in italics and shows to be recorded are in color (with green and blue for my two different DVRs). All times are Eastern / Pacific. Central Time would be one hour before the listed time.

Here are the previous year's schedules for comparison: 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Monday
8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Dancing with the Stars
September 16
Castle
September 23
CBS How I Met Your Mother
September 23
We are Men
September 30
2 Broke Girls
September 23
Mom
September 23
Hostages
September 23
CW Hart of Dixie
October 7
Beauty & the Beast
October 7
Fox Almost Human
November 4
Sleepy Hollow
September 16
NBC The Blacklist
September 23

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What I Plan on Watching During Fall Television Season 2013

HOWTO: Redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage Miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards for Los Angeles to Alaska

Posted 19 December, 2012 at 3:40pm by Michael Chu

A couple of my relatives posed an interesting question to me the other day and I realized it had a complex answer that wasn't easy for me to explain over the phone. I thought a blog post might be just the thing since I could easily provide pictures and tables without worrying about what their email client does. They live in the LA area and have some American Airlines miles accumulated and, more recently, Chase Ultimate Rewards points which they can transfer to airlines because they have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Since I was the one who convinced them to get the Sapphire Preferred card in the first place, naturally, they asked me how to use those points since they were mostly familiar with using American Airlines miles for redemptions.

I recommended Chase Sapphire Preferred because Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points do not transfer to American, but instead transfer to United, Avios (British Airways), Korean Air, and Southwest. This allows them to diversify their miles to provide some more options when American isn't the best deal or isn't flying at the best times for them. The best part is that by redeeming Avios points through British Airways for domestic flights, they can get an American Airlines (oneworld alliance) or Alaska Airline (partner) award if they need it.

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HOWTO: Redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage Miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards for Los Angeles to Alaska

What I Ate: Fu Fu Cafe (Houston, Texas)

Posted 4 November, 2012 at 6:17am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Dining, What I Ate) No comments

Like Confucious, we've eaten at Fu Fu Cafe more than once this year. The first time was actually on the same night that we ate at Confucious the first time (two lobsters with ginger and scallions, jade tofu with king mushroom, and water spinach). After Confucious we stopped in at Cafe Kubo to taste their ramen (no good). Then we went over to Fu Fu Cafe (not to be confused with Fu Fu Restaurant in the same shopping complex) for the third dinner of the night when I ordered their Pork and Chive Dumplings.

Pork Chive Dumplings ($5.99). These were as close to homemade as I've ever had in a restaurant. The value was excellent - we received sixteen dumplings for our $6. Unfortunately, five were ultra slalty, but I still ended up eating all of them (even after just having two dinners back to back). Technically, I ate 13 dumplings, and Tina ate three.
Pork Chive Dumplings

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What I Ate: Fu Fu Cafe (Houston, Texas)

What I Ate: Hong Kong Food Street (Houston, Texas)

Posted 4 November, 2012 at 4:31am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Dining, What I Ate) No comments

For our mid-day meal, we decided to try out Hong Kong Food Street on Bellaire Blvd. We ordered a few dishes that caught our eye (and we hoped we could finish since we couldn't take leftovers with us; we weren't heading back to the hotel for a number of hours).

Congee with Pork & Preserved Egg ($5.50). We had never had congee served to us this way before. It came in a large clay pot so hot that the circumference of congee was splattering and sizzling. The texture of the rice was excellent - liquidy porridge with soft rice (not completely mushy but still in discrete pieces). I felt the pork that was in it was a bit on the fattier side and was fairly strong tasting when compared to other examples of this dish. The pidan tasted pretty good with just enough of its strong flavor to contribute positively to the congee. Tina did not like a "lardy" flavor that (to my taste was subtle but seemed to be quite strong for her) permeated the congee. She is typically the one between the two of us that enjoys congee the most, but she did not like this one because of that flavor she was overwhelmingly tasting.
Congee with Pork & Preserved Egg

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What I Ate: Hong Kong Food Street (Houston, Texas)

What I Ate: Confucious Seafood Restaurant (Houston, Texas)

Posted 3 November, 2012 at 3:12am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Dining, What I Ate) No comments

This year, we've had the opportunity to dine at Confucious Seafood Restaurant in Houston twice. The first time was January 2012 and the second was tonight. The highlight of both meals was the Chinese style lobsters (two of them) for $18.99.
Baked Lobster with Ginger and Green Onion
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What I Ate: Confucious Seafood Restaurant (Houston, Texas)

What I Plan on Watching During Fall Television Season 2012

Posted 11 September, 2012 at 3:54am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Television) 2 comments

Each year, I plan out what I'm going to record during the Fall TV season. This year, I have two TiVo HD's so I don't have nearly the scheduling conflicts I did in previous years. In past years, I used green for what I'm planning on recording and yellow for shows I was interested in. This year, I'll use green and blue for the two DVRs (with green being the downstairs TV and blue for the secondary unit which gets either won't get watched often or will be streamed). Shows with names in italics are new shows and those with underlined titles have mouseover notes. All times are Eastern or Pacific. Central Time would be one hour before. (Click to see: 2011 Schedule and 2010 Schedule)

Monday
8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars
September 24
Castle
September 24
CBS How I Met Your Mother
September 24
Partners
September 24
2 Broke Girls
September 24
Mike & Molly
September 24
Hawaii Five-O
September 24
CW 90210
October 8
Gossip Girl
October 8
NBC The Voice
September 10
Revolution
September 17
FOX Bones
September 17
The Mob Doctor
September 17

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What I Plan on Watching During Fall Television Season 2012

Make Natural Soap At Home - FAQs

Posted 9 August, 2012 at 8:45pm by Tina Jiang
(Filed under: Soap Making) No comments

Since I wrote the first blog post about making natural soaps at home four years ago, I've been getting a lot of questions. I noticed some recurring themes and picked out the most common questions. I tried to answer them to the best of my knowledge… hope this is helpful for everyone.
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Make Natural Soap At Home - FAQs

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