Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Android Music

-         Began this b/c Amazon Music would not play from cloud on Avatar tablet
-         On Avatar, must download Amazon Music before will play.  S4 will play from cloud.  Why is this?
-         Can queue multiple albums by starting a download, then going back and selecting another album
-         Amazon Music file locations (virtual SD card with limited space)
-         Purchased (.mp3 files):  /mnt/sdcard/music/album artist/album
      -  view in Settings>Storage>Nand Flash>Audio (see total used)
-         Prime (.m4a files):  /mnt/sdcard/android/data/com.amazon.mp3/files/music/album artist/album
      -    view in Settings>Storage>Nand Flash>Apps>Amazon Music (SD card field shows total used)

In either case can view: Settings>Storage>Nand Flash>Audio and select ES File Explorer

-         moved Amazon Music App from Internal Storage to Nand Flash, then back since presently have more room there (Prime .m4a files using Nand Flash space)
-          note multiple ways refer to virtual SD card (Nand Flash, sdcard, USB storage app [when Move to SD card])
-         when move an app to (virtual) SD card, a small amount remains in Internal Storage and more than the original amount is used by “USB storage app”.  Restore to original by “Move to Tablet”

-         BubbleUPnP works well with purchased /downloaded Amazon Music files and with Google Music
-         I need to clean up my Google Music library
-         must sync when make changes to Google Music
-         free version will not open Filesystem or External SD Card folders
-         if I run into space issues, move non-Prime music to real SD card and upgrade to paid version, or use another player to play locally.  Network play can use NAS as source

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CenturyLink Prism

History: I've had CentruyLink DSL for a  few years.  Until recently, the service had a lot of intermittent outages, most of which could be fixed by a telephone call and asking them to "rebuild my profile".

They started offering Prism TV about a year ago.  I've received a lot of calls and mailings promoting the service.  I didn't sign up primarily because of the DSL outages.  I also had a concern about there only being two hi-def channels available at a time.

On one of the recent calls, the representative gave a "final" monthly cost that would save me about $60 over what I am paying for combined DirecTV and CentruyLink services.  That with other perks, taken together, finally convinced me to make the change.

Prism advantages vs. the DirecTV that I had:
- Package saves $60/month
- "Whole Home" DVR
- Smaller, better looking boxes
- Easier/cleaner to connect; one cable (Cat5) vs. four (2 coax, one Cat5, one       telephone)
- Service during rainstorms
- Quicker channel changes
- Internet speed increase if not watching TV (20 Mbps vs. 10)
- A much better router
- One bill to pay (vs. two)
- $100 rebate
- $50 off first month

Even if DirecTV could match the cost and aesthetics issues, there is nothing they can do about internet speed and simplicity advantages.

3/18/2013:  Two days after installation, I am very pleased with the new Prism system. The only way I can imagine being disappointed is if there is significant service interruption or billing problems.  I will continue to add followup comments as time goes by.

3/20/2013:  Several hours after the above post, we began to see "freezing".  This would last from several seconds to a minute or so at a time, and would repeat at random but frequent intervals.  I called, the tech said she could not see any problem on the line or in the router, so would send a tech out the next day (yesterday).  After the call, speedtest.net showed that I was getting 20mbps down during a TV freeze.  Power cycling the router seemed to fix the problem for 45 minutes to an hour at a time.

A very helpful tech (Carlos), came out yesterday and spent several hours here.  We actually were not having real problems yesterday before he got here, but "fortunately" we did see them while he was here.  Also, we began to see crazy fluctuations in reported download speeds using speedtest.net and the CenturyLink speed test site.  He tried a number of fixes.  First, he replaced the router.  The original router showed a lot of errors, and by the s/n he could tell that it was a refurbished unit.  Next, he checked the wiring at the NID and  made new connections - the guy who ran the temporary "on top of the ground" cable from the box several hundred feet away had tightened the connector nuts so much that the wires were flattened almost to the breaking point.  We still saw speed and picture issues, so Carlos then changed the ports in the DSLAM down the street.

Items of note:
- My router is for ADSL and uses two pair.  I need an ADSL router because of the distance to the DSLAM (3000 ft.).  The VDSL router uses only one pair in neighborhoods where people are very close to the DSLAMs.  They have a newer "combination" router that replaces both, and may be worth a try.

- I am almost at the maximum distance for 2 hi-def streams.  This makes me wonder how many other people around here will get Prism, as there are only a few closer to the DSLAM than I am.

- The installer said that the router should be plugged directly into the wall, not into my UPS to avoid "voltage changes".  I asked Carlos about this and he confirmed that is what they have been told, but agrees that it makes little sense.  Once things are stable, I will change to UPS power, although I now wish I had one with sine wave output.

3/21/2013:  After yesterdays comments, I noticed we could not pause or rewind live TV.  I called, and the agent was at first going to schedule a tech to come out, but then asked me to power cycle the router, and she then remotely rebooted the DVR and other boxes.  That fixed the recording problem, but we still saw a few short duration freezes yesterday afternoon on HGTV.  Looking at the guide, adjacent channels were not frozen.  The problem went away and has not returned yet.  Internet speed is very good (20mbps+)

5/11/2014:  I should have been paying more attention to the interest in this blog.  Over the last six months I've been consistently getting speeds of 25 Mb/s down and 1 Mb/s up even while watching one HD channel.  TV usage sometimes seems to have more of an affect on internet speed than at others.  Speedtest.net just said 13 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up while watching two HD channels and recording one more. (Yes, I can have three simultaneous HD streams with no problem, despite what I was initially told.)  I do still miss DirecTV's remote and user interface.  In lots of ways it just seemed "easier" to do things with DirecTV.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Google Drive when dual boot

I routinely boot Win 7 from at least two drives, and ran into a problem with Google Drive refusing to sync, saying the Google Drive folder was missing.  My folder is on a "data" drive, separate from the OS drives.  A search revealed others with this issue. None of their solutions worked for me, but did lead me to a solution:

In "OS1", unplug the network cable and delete all files from the Google Drive folder.  (will get a message saying files have been moved to Trash at drive.google.com, but this obviously cannot be true at this point)

Boot "OS2", attempt to use the Google Drive folder - will not work, but will show disconnect option.  Disconnect, then sign in, go to advanced setup, and specify the same (empty) Google Drive folder used by "OS1" (key: this will NOT be allowed unless the folder is empty).

Choose "start sync".  Files will download & folder will get Google Drive icon.

Google Drive will now function in both "OS1" and "OS2" using the same folder.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Win 7 clean install from upgrade disc

Install will say product key is not valid, but can <Esc> and install will complete.

Activation will fail ("the software licensing service determined that this specified Product Key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations") until do the following:

regedit HKLM>software>microsoft>windows>current version>setup>OOBE MediaBootInstall change from 1 to 0

from elevated prompt >slmgr.vbs -rearm

Activation will then complete normally.  (The above also resets to "30 days to activate")

In case anyone sees this and wonders, I have several full versions of XP which are no longer in use on any system.  It simply would have been a waste of time to install one of these in order to then "upgrade" to Win 7

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Computer Build Notes

Hyper 212 Plus installation

Everyone has their own way of applying thermal paste.  For this cooler I used a razor blade to spread a very thin layer and fill in the grooves to give a uniform base.  I then used the razor to add very thin lines of paste on the heat pipes, and twisted the cooler to seat it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Google Chrome

revised 3/6/13

I have come to rely on bookmarks and open tabs.  I have been baking up my bookmarks for some time, both as part of routine disk images and as a separate procedure when it seems appropriate. I have felt this requirement partially because I am still unclear on sync issues which could mess up my bookmarks.

Tabs
Although previously never a problem, for an unknown reason Chrome recently “lost” about 20 open tabs, which I could not get back using Ctrl+Shift+T.  It appears I am not alone in this experience.

What I should have done (determined by looking at how the files behave):  closed Chrome, copied Last Session and renamed to Current Session.  Then when I reopened Chrome I would at least have had the tabs as they existed at the beginning of the problem session.

The way it seems to work:
-         when open a session, what was Current Session becomes Last Session
-         then when make the first change to tabs, what was Curent Tabs becomes Last Tabs

Bookmarks
I had not used by netbook in several weeks and was afraid that its "old" bookmarks would replace the current ones from my G1 pc.  I was out of town and therefore unable to recover from a problem, so before opening Chrome on the netbook, I renamed Bookmarks and Bookmarks.bak.  This worked as expected, new files were created and synced.  Everything may have been fine if I had not done this, but I'm not sure.

The way it seems to work:
-       when change a bookmark, Bookmarks file is changed
-    Bookmarks.bak file is updated when ?????????????????

(3/5/13) Bookmarks sync is a little flakey.  Last night I had added bookmarks and renamed a folder.  I then booted from a different drive.  The added bookmarks were there, but the folder was not renamed.  After booting this morning, the new folder name was there.  Question: would the folder name have changed if I had left the system on overnight?  I also should have looked at the folder name last night using another PC.

Flash (2/22/13)
Was getting Adobe Flash Player update notification upon boot, but Google and Adobe both say "updates for Adobe Flash Player are automatically included in Chrome system updates".  After an update, about:plugins (link doesn't work) and adobe.com both show my installed version number (11.6.602.171) to be higher than the latest Player version listed in the table on the above Adobe web page (11.6.602.167).  It is also interesting that add/remove programs shows version 11.1.102.55, which is not listed in about:plugins.

Extensions (2/23/13)
Chrome version 25 automatically disabled AVG Safe Search and provided this explanation

Java (3/6/13)
I disabled Java a couple of months ago due to the various security warnings.  This has caused no problems, so I should probably go ahead and uninstall it from all boot partitions (old Version 6 Update 37 is currently installed).  Note Java is not installed on B2 (Ethel's), B3 (HTPC), or NB205 (Win 8 install)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wi-Fi router/access point settings

Confusion arises when looking at older router (Linksys WRT54G) which has WPA only.

The wireless security setup page states:
“WPA Pre-Shared Key: There are two encryption options for WPA Pre-Shared Key, TKIP and AES. TKIP stands for Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. TKIP utilizes a stronger encrytption method and incorporates Message Integrity Code (MIC) to provide protection against hackers. AES stands for Advanced Encryption System, which utilizes a symmetric 128-Bit block data encryption.” (No further information is given.)
They certainly appear to be recommending TKIP over AES. This leads me to believe that the “AES” used by this router is different than the 256 bit AES-CCMP used by WPA2 capable routers.
CCMP: Counter Mode with Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol
PSK: Pre Shared Key   home/small office.  No authentication server for "handshake".  Note the strength of the passphrase is extremely important, but it is NOT used to encrypt the traffic.