Using USB-Powered Fans (AC Infinity MULTIFAN S5) to Cool Entertainment Devices (Comcast X1 DVR)

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Our X1 DVR simply can’t handle any heat buildup. This is probably largely due to the fact that it lacks any fans and several comments on the Internet seem to indicate that the device is underpowered and thus works harder to handle high-quality audio and video (and as a result it generates more heat). I’m undecided on whether or not the box needs to be replaced. The features are fine and when it isn’t having issues it works very well.

Lately I’ve started to experience the same symptoms of the box overheating even though it’s still outside of the entertainment cabinet and the air conditioner is usually on. This may have something to do with using a different TV, which is directly above a small part of the DVR’s case and perhaps restricting airflow in that area.

Last weekend I attempted to use a very inexpensive USB fan to cool the box. It was very basic; little more than a USB plug and a fan motor. It did actually work but it was on a flexible arm, which generated a lot of vibration and thus a lot of noise. Even though it only cost about $5 it simply wasn’t going to work. I also suspect the fan wasn’t intended for continuous use as I noticed the motor was warm when I removed. I dropped it into a box of unused devices and decided to look for something specifically made for this purpose.

That’s when I found the AC Infinity MULTIFAN S5 on Amazon.com, which appeared to be a much better device for cooling the DVR (and indeed, it is). It features two fans that work from a single USB connection. In addition, more fans can be chained together though I don’t have a need for this capability. They truly are very quiet. The fans have a single switch that can be used to turn them off or to a low, middle and high speed. The highest speed isn’t very loud and the set is much, much quieter than the first fan that I had tried.

At $16 it looks like a good deal and even if I replace the DVR with something better, down the road, I can still reuse the fans with other devices. So far I’m extremely pleased with this purchase.

Video Game Tips Roundup

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Over the years I’ve added a handful of posts that feature tips for specific videos games and I thought it might be useful to re-post the links here:

Logitech Harmony Companion All in One Remote Control

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Last year, after we moved, I grew tired of having to hunt for all of the various remotes every time we wanted to watch one of the two main TVs in our home. Our toddler had a habit of tossing the remotes under the couch, beds or various nooks and crannies. Finally, I decided to consolidate by researching the current Logitech universal remote systems.

After some basic research I determined that the Logitech Harmony Companion would be a good fit for our needs. I would have preferred to get a Logitech universal remote with an embedded touch screen but those were well outside of our price range. The retail price of about $140 is still a bit pricy but the features made it appealing to me.

It’s capable of controlling up to eight entertainment devices; the TV with the most devices in our home has no more than five connected (including the soundbar). The system is composed of a hub (controller) and a Logitech remote. It also provides a remote IR blaster and a mobile app. The app is required to configure and update the system so you need to have a compatible phone to manage it. The mobile app also functions as a universal remote, which can be handy when our toddler has managed to hide the Logitech remote as well (or on very lazy days when you’re tired of getting up for the hundredth time and the remote itself is way, way over there on the kitchen counter).

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Breath of the Wild: The Man in the High Castle (Entrance Shortcut)

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Note: To pull off this trick you must have acquired Revali’s Gale.

I’ve put several hours into playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. But it’s time to wrap up the core experience so I can move onto other games like Super Mario Odyssey. Earlier this week I completed the two remaining dungeons and over the past night and a half I’ve spent time building up healing items, Ancient Arrows and other inventory items that I guessed would be useful in the final assualt against Hyrule Castle.

But after spending only a short amount of time within one of the lower castle entrances my Hylian Shield broke so I temporarily abandoned my quest and returned to Tarry Town to purchase a replacement. After jumping back to the shrine nearest the castle I decided to try a different approach.

Instead, I ascended to the top of one of the spires guarding the castle boundaries and from there I floated almost to the entrance of the last room with only one short stop on the way. It’s impossible to actually climb the spires but it is possible to stand on the various raised designs that cover their surfaces. By using Revali’s Gale I was able to reach the top with the most difficult aspect simply being the wait-time required for the Gale power to recharge after three uses. I don’t remember the exact number of jumps I used to get to the top but I think it was around four; it required two recharge periods.

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Once at the top I climbed on top of a dead Guardian and from there used Revali’s Gale once again, except this time I aimed for the upper areas of the castle. From the spire that I used I wasn’t quite able to get to the entrance in a single glide. I had to stop on a wall not very far away from the entrance. It was a fortunate spot as it provided cover between two Guardian turrets, one above and to my left and the other off to my right and lower than where I was. I still had another use of Revali’s Gale before a recharge so I used it again and glided past the remaining dangers and right into the entrance and hallway to the last room, where the final battle against Gannon begins.

Having not fought my way through the castle I can only assume that this saved me a significant amount of time, as well as inventory.

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Playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch

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Note: Minor spoilers about certain items and actions are included here.

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Back in the 1980s I played and beat the original The Legend of Zelda game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was a fun but challenging game and it’s likely that I used a strategy guide to make it through. Sometime later I tried Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the NES but it didn’t capture me; I did not care for being pulled into battles without any warning when exploring the overworld map and the side-scrolling was just an odd fit.

With the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) I was sucked into the world of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Just when you think you’ve defeated Gannon you learn that not only did you not beat the game but that there’s a whole other part of the game that was nearly as long as the first. It’s remained one of my favorite Zelda games over the years and I thoroughly enjoyed reliving a slightly different experience on the 3DS with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

In the years since I’ve played the many of the Zelda games at some point, excluding some of the handheld editions. While I’m aware that many may have very high opinions of those games, and I certainly can’t say that they were bad, none have captured my attention for very long and certainly not to the point that I thought I might actually strive to finish those games. I spent several hours enjoying The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess when it was released for the Wii but after complete a handful of dungeons I decided to move on.

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I have discovered that, for me, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a very addictive Zelda game that I expect to finish. I have already put in countless hours within a matter of only a few weeks, typically playing late at night. It’s one of those games where you continuously feel compelled to do “just one more thing” before ending a gaming session.

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The Nintendo Switch: Nostalgia Meets Modern Technology

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Nintendo Switch

First the first time in a while I made a large impulse purchase that frankly I had doubts about whether or not I should have done it. Perhaps the jury is still out on that one but I can say, without any reservation, that the Nintendo Switch is an excellent system. Not only do I recommend it to any long-term fans of Nintendo gaming franchises but I’ll go out on a limb to suggest that perhaps the way this system works is the direction that all other console makers should go, if they’re going to insist on developing and maintaining their own hardware. I’m planning to provide some additional posts about the three games that I currently have and why I think they all represent a great mix of nostalgia and modern technology.

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Finding the Last Bottle in Tortuga – LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game for Nintendo 3DS

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3DS-Pirates
The Short Version:
This appears to be a glitch. For some unknown reason the tenth bottle in the Tortuga level is only awarded for achieving “True Pirate” in Story Mode. 

Finding time to play any video game is a challenge these days but I did manage to pickup my Nintendo 3DS and work on finishing Disney’s LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. The various LEGO games have many hidden items to be discovered.

I managed to find every red brick, medallion, and all but one bottle. After all of this effort I wanted to achieve 100% completion. After all, not only is it rare that I actually play a video game to the end but it’s extremely rare that I complete every side mission and find every collectible.

Fortunately, the game shows the player a count of the items that have yet to be discovered and which levels they are located in.

In this case I was lacking a bottle in the Tortuga level (level 1-2). Finding the bottle proved to be frustrating; after numerous re-visits I was unable to discover this one item.

I had noticed that on other levels, when one achieves “True Pirate” by collecting enough LEGO pieces (referred to as “studs”), that a bottle is awarded.

After collecting and activating various multipliers it was easy to achieve “True Pirate” in Free Play mode. Yet, I still lacked this bottle so I decided to replay the Tortuga level in Story Mode.

Surprisingly, when I hit “True Pirate” again I was awarded the missing tenth bottle. It was at that moment that I also achieved 100% completion.

Perhaps it was a random glitch or maybe it can occur within other levels. I was unable to find this information on the Web after numerous searches though I did find a post by someone else who was asking a question that indicated that this person experienced the same problem that I had.

It’s worth mentioning that the 3DS version appears to be very different from the versions made for the larger console systems such as Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The guides and walkthroughs describe level elements that don’t match up with the 3DS version.