technology blog

Monday, 26 March 2007


Here's some comments on a small and nice MP3 player: LG FM20

It got everything I want:
- Usable as a standard usb key *MUST*
- Can get back the music files from the player to the computer *MUST*
- Use standard USB cable *MUST*
- No need to install any software to make it work *MUST*
- FM tuning
- Record: voice (internal mic), line-in (thru custom wire usb -> 1/8" jack, included), FM
- Record as MP3 (96/128/192 user selectable) *MUST* (if recording is supported)
- Long lasting and light lithium battery
- Plays OGG & WAV files
- Includes strange short songs. I really needed those! :)

When you unplug the usb cable, it scan all the files and reconstruct the ID3 database. That's simple and it works great. I hate to use custom software (like iTune or Windows Media Player) to upload my songs. To make it work this way you have to set it to be in MSC mode. You you want to save some space you have to connect to a computer with Windows Media Player 10 (i.e. not W2K3) to remove the funky music included by default and format the device to reclain space. The player include some strange music like "LG Song", kind of Korean pop. I find myself singing "Saya gey yo, Saya gey yo LG!". 1:40 of pure attrocity. I'll try to better understand Asian culture someday.

The player can read the files of both MSC and MTP mode. But you can't access the files from "the other mode" on the computer. That's not a big deal.

The only issue I have is that there is a high pitched tone that is independant of the user volume. It's only audible with good earphones when the sound volume is set to less than half but for the price I'll sustain this.

Update: You can update the player firmware to v2.02 but I haven't seen any difference. I had 1.06 before.

Update 2: In fact, I have seen a difference. The code page has been reset to the default one which is Korean. Fortunately, the 1.06 firmware package on the web site contains all your favorite code page file for the device. Just put the right .TBL in the CONFIG\ folder and you're set.

Monday, 19 March 2007

How to make MP Navigator 3.0 work with a MP800

[Directly skip to the last update section]

This post is a note to me. Skip to conclusion if you don't have a Canon MP800 nor a Creative Live! Cam Voice.

I bought a MP800 8 months ago. One of the main reasons I bought this model was that it supported Windows x64, which at the time was pretty scarce. I have a x64 server which I connected my printer to it so I can print wirelessly with my laptop. It works very well in fact.

I bought the Live! Cam for the same reason: x64 support.

A while ago I started having problems with the included software, MP Navigator 2.0. I mainly use it for scanning photos and negative film. So I looked at the Canon's web site to see if there was an updated version of this software. I found out that there was the 3.0 for the MP810 but it was not available for the MP800.

The way to make the 3.0 version works with MP800 is to copy the mp810.ini to mp800.ini and replace the values in the [Device] section:
Replace 171A to 170D.
Replace 810 to 800.

That's it. There must really have a technical reason to not support the MP800. :)

By the way, the reason the old version stopped working was because I had enabled DEP for every program. It made Canon and Creative software go havoc. I think it is related to a crappy video filter that gets loaded but I couldn't pinpoint which one. I manually disabled DEP for each of their executable and it now works well.

Conclusion: it's a sad thing to have to disable DEP to make consumer-grade software work.

[Update 2007-07-21] It wasn't clear. The file to copy for MP Navigator 3.02 is located at C:\Program Files\Canon\MP Navigator 3.0\Device and there is 2 times 171A and 6 times 810 that needs to be changed.

[Update 2009-11-13] From Canon USA web site, you can grab MP990's version of MP Navigator EX v3.04 and MP800's version of MP Navigator v2.02. Copy C:\Program Files (x86)\Canon\MP Navigator 2.0\Device\mp800.ini to C:\Program Files (x86)\Canon\MP Navigator EX 3.0\Device\mp800.ini . Voilà!
Greetings to Canon folks for not including the file.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Québec has a different culture

Usually I'll refrain from rants but this one was too good to pass by.


Let's face it, Québec's culture is different. Here's a sample that shows it in it's most intricate way:

How to pay your deduction at source (as an employer, which I am) for Federal (Canada) and Provincial (Québec) governments

Federal way

a. Only once: you had to enter your company's number into your bank account invoices list. No big deal here.

1. Calculate how much you retained for federal taxes and IE from your employee's salary for the month. Just retain the whole summation, not indivual numbers.

2. Login into your bank account

3. Write the amount and click "Pay".

Provincial way

a. Only once: you had to register your account on ClicNet (which shouldn't be a problem but it is: you need the serial number of the last taxes-related document that the provincial government sent you)

1. Do the summation of how much you retained for each of those amounts: provincial taxes, RRQ, RQAP and FSS from your employee's salary for the month. You need the individual amounts.

2. Login to ClicNet

3. Follow through eight secured, slow web pages visibly done in ASP.NET by a teenager to enter each separate amounts

4. Specifically ask that you want to pay at your bank's web site, and which bank

5. Finally receive a 19 digits confirmation number after dismissing useless window that pop up. Sometimes the web server goes down so you have to do the whole thing again later.

6. Login into your bank account

7. Enter the 19 digits confirmation number

8. Enter the summation of provincial taxes, RRQ, RQAP and FSS (you hadn't calculated it before) and click "Pay"

The subtility here is that the provincial government wants to know how much you give to each of their internal accounts right now, not at the end of the year. As an employer it's the least of your business but the government wants you to know.

I need to add that the provincial step only needs to be done in Québec province, as I am aware of. Employers based in other province only need to do the payment to the federal government. Also, don't be fooled, the province's bureaucracy is not that bad, well, just sometimes, and the province is actually a great place to live!