Fixing a Blank Default Web Browser Setting in OS X El Capitan

I don’t know what causes this problem but recently I discovered that the “Default web browser” setting in the General preferences tab was blank. Clicking on the drop-down showed no browser names so I could not change the use of Safari as the default browser.

The fix was relatively simple. I opened Chrome and via settings within Chrome I set it to be the default web browser. After completing this action I then had the names of the installed browsers in the “Default web browser” drop-down.

This fix may work using any browser that allows you to set it as the default from within the browser settings itself.

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

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.

Baby Monitor (Temporarily) Killed Z-Wave Network

Late last week I started to experience problems with various Z-Wave modules that began having communication problems. One module refused to work at all and others, including our thermostats, demonstrated frequent communication problems.

This was frustrating because I had never experienced communication issues with my Z-Wave gear; it is one of the reasons that I have come to prefer Z-Wave.

At first I thought it was a software issue and then I began checking batteries and routing. After a couple of days I figured out what was actually causing the problem.

Our baby monitors were creating interference. It turns out that the monitors operate in the 900 MHz range and so does Z-Wave. This also explained why it wasn’t my entire Z-Wave network that had problems; only the devices clustered in and near the nursery.

The monitor that we have provides a button to change available channels. Tapping this a few times adjusted the frequency of the monitors enough to remove the interference. Ever since then the communication problems have disappeared (in fact, the change was nearly instant).

Using a Blacklight Flashlight to Find Dried Dog Urine and Lost Toys

Blacklight

Yes, you read that correctly. A while back I purchased a blacklight flashlight to find dried dog urine in our house. Why? Because when you have two young puppies it’s not uncommon to identify the smell of urine but to not be able to find the source…

They’ve grown a good bit since I originally purchased it and it’s less of an issue now. That’s not to imply that they don’t “go” in the house anymore but it’s not as frequent and also less likely that we won’t notice.

There was a time, however, when they would frequently sneak off and piss in a corner or under a table and we wouldn’t notice it for a while. On wooden floors can be difficulty to see after it has dried.

Does this work? The short is answer is that yes, it does.

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Cleaning a Vicks Vaporizer (Humidifier)

Humidifier-01
We bought a Vicks Vaporizer a few years ago. Last season we noticed that its performance had degraded and this week, when I filled it up and plugged it in, it didn’t appear to be working. I figured it probably needed to be cleaned but I wasn’t certain how so I located some posts in a few forums that described the basic process. Fortunately, it’s very simple.

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Replacing a Power Connector on an HP ENVY dv7t-7200 (with Beats Audio)

HP-Envy-DV7-678222-YD1

Some friends of ours asked me to see if I could repair an HP laptop that was suffering from power problems. The system was prone to lose power even when moved only slightly. In addition, the battery wasn’t able to charge properly and the power LED often flashed different error status codes.

After looking at a repair manual, and the system itself, I concluded that there were three likely causes of this problem: (1) a faulty power connector, (2) a faulty motherboard, or (3) a faulty power button.

The power button seemed to be the least likely cause. If it was bad I would expect it to only be a problem starting up or shutting down the system, but not a problem once the system was powered up and running.

The motherboard was a more likely candidate than the power button. However, since the system does have a separate power connector, which wasn’t soldered onto the board, I figured it was the most likely cause, and also the least expensive to fix.

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