Choosing Which Multiple Home Wi-Fi Access Point To Use May Be Important.

I have two wireless access points in my home.  The main access, Apple Time Capsule, shows 12 Wi-Fi devices connected.  That Time Capsule gets our cable signal directly.  The second access point, Apple Airport Express, only had one Wi-Fi device connected and gets it’s signal from an Ethernet feed from our router.  Both my wife in the kitchen and I in the dinning room were watching the 2018 FIFA World Soccer match using Spectrum Live TV application.  That application is excellent!  Her computer was connected to the primary access by Wi-Fi.  I could hear both computers at the same time when I entered the kitchen door, which is half way between the two computers.  They were not in sync.  The delay factor was huge, way over 10 seconds.  My computer was way behind my wife’s in delay of audio and video.  I then looked to see which access point my computer was using.  It was the same as my wife.  We have a second access point, an Apple Airport Express being fed Ethernet from our router.  That device had only one device connected to it.  I changed to this second access point and now my audio and video was way ahead of the computer in the kitchen.  The lesson for me is that the choice of Wi-Fi access point is important.  I also hope that the buffer errors, picture and audio stopping, will diminish.

Still unknown are the factors that make up the sync errors.  Is it that one device has to service twelve devices while the other only services one device?  Is the Apple Time Capsule electronically slower due to it’s more extensive electronics?

Posted July 15, 2018

Scrivener Will Not Allow You To Change Text Color

One day I was driven nuts because Scrivener, my favorite long format writing application, was typing red text.  I tried everything.  I went to text color and chose black but it simply would not take.  I went on the Internet, conducted a search and there were no answers.  I just kept poking around until I found the solution.  I must have left off with my writing project with first revision which turns all the text to red.  I only had to choose the menu item “Format > Revision Mode  and then mouse down to “None” to get my text color to become black again.

 

Avantree DG40S Bluetooth USB Finally Works After 3 Days Of Trying

I recently purchased Avantree DG40S Wireless 4.0 Micro USB Adapter for my Toshiba Satellite A505 laptop. It would NOT work. I sent Avantree support the following e-mail:

Support,

I received from Amazon the Avantree DG40S Wireless 4.0 Micro USB Adapter.
Delivered Wednesday, May 16, 2018
My laptop is Toshiba Satellite A505-SG025.
Operating system: Windows 10.
Audio Bluetooth Headsets are Apple AirPods.

Problem is the Apple AirPod headsets will not stay paired. I hear no audio.
What I have done:

  • Updated all of Windows 10.
  • Updated all the Bluetooth devices.
  • I have tried to pair my headsets to your DG406 Bluetooth USB numerous times.
  • I have tried inserting your DG406 Bluetooth USB into all 4 USB ports on the laptop and have rebooted Windows after each port change, trying to get the device to operate properly.
  • I have tried to get “choose your output device” to show anything other than speakers. No success.
  • I have performed “Troubleshoot” when available. I get a message that the headsets are not connected.
  • The Bluetooth device flashes continously a LED light when inserted in my laptop USB ports.
  • Your DG406 appears as a Bluetooth device (CSR8510 A10) and will pair with the headsets but will NOT stay connected. My headsets only connect for a second or two and then disconnect.

Solution:
I am not exactly sure what made the headsets work so let me go through some of my last efforts:
I kept finding that I had Realtek audio in my laptop. I searched and found their Windows 10 drivers and installed them. I then tried to pair my headsets but now I found that the USB port at the rear left did not allow the Bluetooth device to flash it’s LED.

I selected Troubleshoot and Headphones – AirPods No jack information available. I had done this numerous times but now I ran this task with the Bluetooth device plugged into the left front USB port. The results of the test shows a list of audio possibilities that the computer will then start testing. I believe I chose the AirPods and this time something new took place. I noticed that pop up windows appeared that indicated that Windows was installing new software to recognize the AirPods. Then the computer window for Sound that shows “Choose your output device” now showed Headphones (AirPods Stereo). The Windows screen for “Bluetooth & other devices” showed the Audio list of devices as “AirPods Connected voice, music”. That was new.  Previously it only would show AirPods Paired.  The computer screen never before showed “Connected”.  I took one of the AirPods out of its holder and there was my test audio running. I finally got it to work after 3 days of trying everything. What a royal pain!

PS: I purchased this Bluetooth because my very old D-Link DBT-120 would cut out at about 8 to 10 feet from the laptop.    The old device worked perfectly with my new AirPods with absolutely no difficulty except I was getting tired of having to pull the AirPods out of my ear when I went to the kitchen to get some food or tea..  The new device worked for about 20 feet so I could now keep listening to my music while in the kitchen.

iMac Spinning Color Wheel

The customer’s iMac, desktop computer, started to display a color spinning color wheel on the display and the user could not perform any computer activity. There are a number of almost secret Mac utilities one can very easily employ to try to fix these problems. Let’s go down the list as I had to do to find a fix for this computer. My list order can be changed. The order I show here can be changed. My point is to try them all until the computer is fixed.

#1 I reset the non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) using Macworld procedures outlined below (my changes included):

To reset your NVRAM, you use exactly the same procedure you once used to reset PRAM.
Shut down your Mac.
Press the power button, and as soon as you power up the laptop, hold down Command-Option-P key and -R key.
Keep holding down those keys until you hear a SECOND chime.  For me this took a long, long, time.  After you hear the second chime then let go of all the keys and allow your Mac to continue starting normally.  The startup process for me took some time.
Then check the Startup Disk, Display, and Date & Time panes of System Preferences to make sure they’re set the way you want them.
If you hold down Command-Option-P-R at startup and you see nothing but a gray screen that doesn’t change for several minutes—no Apple logo, no progress bar, no second startup chime—don’t panic. The most likely cause is that your Mac isn’t registering the key presses due to wonkiness with a USB device. Disconnect all USB devices (except your keyboard, if it’s a wired keyboard), hold the power button down until the Mac shuts off completely, and then press it again and immediately hold down Command-Option-P-R.
https://www.macworld.com/article/2881177/macs/how-to-reset-your-macs-nvram-pram-and-smc.html

#2 I reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
Before you can reset your SMC, you must shut down your Mac. After that, the procedure varies depending on the type of Mac you have.
Desktop Macs: Disconnect the power cord (either from the Mac or from the AC outlet). Wait 15 seconds and plug it back in. Then wait another 5 seconds and turn the iMac back on by pressing the power button for 8 seconds or more.
https://www.macworld.com/article/2881177/macs/how-to-reset-your-macs-nvram-pram-and-smc.html

#3 Safe Boot:
I performed the safe boot.

  • Press and hold the Shift key immediately after you hear the startup tone.
  • Release the Shift key when the Apple logo appears. Safe Boot appears on the Mac OS X startup screen.
  • Failure to solve the problem but this allowed me to launch Disk Utility and Activity Monitor (shown below).

#4 Disk Utility:
I ran the disk utility and it showed nothing wrong with the hard drive.

#5 Activity Monitor

I got the computer to run for a short time so I launched Activity Monitor. This application can be found in Applications > Utilities. When it is launched it can appear quite intimidating. A long list of current computer activities is shown with the most demanding activity listed at the top and boy does the list constantly change. The trick is to concentrate on the top list of items because they use the most computer time/resources. Instantly I spotted “Backup” being the top list item. That did NOT make sense to me.  I was not running any backup application.  I double clicked on that task.  A window appeared on the screen showing that task information.  From that window I selected “Quit” option. The computer began to work way better.

#6 System Preferences

I then went to the computer “System Preferences” and mouse clicked on “Users & Groups”. I mouse selected the customer’s “Current User” name. I then mouse selected “Login Items” and found that the “Data” hard drive appeared. That is WRONG!  There is NO computer application called “Data”.  I mouse selected “Data” and mouse clicked the negative or minus icon to delete that start up item.

#7  Time Machine

I went to view the Time Machine settings and found that the customer had chosen to backup “Applications”.  In my opinion, this was a mistake.  You typically want to backup your data such as documents, pictures, movies, etc.  I removed Applications as a backup.  To really make sure the customer’s computer was working, I turned Time Machine off.  Let’s see how the computer works for a week or two.

The computer worked quite well after these changes.

Avast Problem

When trying to log on using Firefox, I keep getting error messages:

 

I then found out that this message appeared for EVERY web site I tried!   It was obvious that the problem was at MY computer.  I checked every setting for Firefox and Avast.

I deleted Firefox and reinstalled it again, thinking that it was the root of the problem. When I tried to launch Firefox again, I still got the SAME error.  I recently had to reinstall Avast because I could not open scan reports.  As soon as Avast was deleted and I did a restart, Firefox worked perfectly.  The offending program was Avast.  I decided to NOT to use that program again!  My computer has worked perfectly ever since.

Macintosh Web Browsers Get Infected

I had just came from a local junior college, Santiago Junior College and used their WiFi system in their parking lot.  I got a warning that the site was not secure but I used it anyway.  When I got home all my web browsers were infected.  My browser kept giving me a warning keeping me from proceeding doing any work on my laptop.  Whenever I tried to do a search I would see the following on my Macintosh laptop:

“The owner of www.mozilla.org has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.”

I found the culprit in the Safari Extensions tab.  Then I also found that the home page was also taken over in the General tab.  I ran MacAvast system scan and it found one issue but would not identify it.  I installed AVAST security for Firefox and the problem was solved for that browser.  In Chrome I found that chumsearch was the default search setting by going to Chrome >  Preferences > Settings > Search > Manage Search Engines.

Click on “Manage search engines …”.  You should then see that chumsearch.com is the default.  I just made another search engine the default.  I was then able to delete the “search.chumsearch.com” malware.  I quit Chrome and then reopened it to check the default search engine.  Chrome shows that chum search was entered as default web page on startup.

Ever since I deleted chumsearch from my computer and have had no issues since.

Revised April 16, 2018.

Product Review: The Arduino Starter Kit

The Arduino Starter Kit is an electronics kit that you are going to use as a home lab experiment process to learn all sorts of technical skills and knowledge.  It does a pretty darn good job at starting you out learning a lot of different aspects of electronics technology at a very simple level and at the same time teaches you simple computer programming.  Here is my list of  what this kit may find value for  you:

  • Simple, introduction to electronics theory that just keeps growing beyond the implied limits.  I used to build electronic kits as a child and each kit’s learning stopped at the end of building it and using the device.  This course seems to have no end.  You just  building their kits and then your own devices.
  • Simple electronics circuitry is explained in a book as you have to put together as parts into a circuit board.  The circuits you are expected to build are specified at the beginning, tied down to that subject but as you progress through the examples  is the fact that you can use what you have learned and make your own systems any time you want.  The more you learn the kit basics the more of a chance you can go as far as your imagination is capable implementing what you have learned.  Simple electronics theory is nice to learn but this kit pushes you to value the binding of electronics and computer programming and it does this as a sort of unified approach: you learn both at the same time.
  • Input and output devices are supplied that are very basic but you should have fun with them and you can purchase more sophisticated devices later to expand this basic kit.
  • Computer programming is an integral part of this course so you should quickly appreciate the marriage of electronics and the power of controlling those components through your knowledge of computer commands.  Also, you learn the limited power of a micro-controller with its own 131 specified instruction set and it is up to you to know how to use some, most, or all those instructions.

The kit I recommend you buy first is the Arduino Starter Kit.  Amazon also sell this kit: Arduino Starter Kit – English Official Kit With 170 Page Book – K000007

What I do like:

  • The kit is full of parts and seems complete.  It has so many parts I had to go to Home Depot and buy a parts bin organizer. (12.5 in. 34-Compartment Double-Sided Organizer  HDX 6 942629 242475.  My cost $8.97 [12/16]. )  All the parts fit into this box but the circuit board and cardboard cut outs do not.
  • I like the fact that there are many approaches to this kit:
    • You can just do the experiments and have fun and appreciate computer driven art.
    • You can learn electronics theory and applications in a self paced way.
    • You can learn computer programming.  This approach is not direct but you slide into learning computer programming by necessity.  The programming is tied to a project you are expected to finish and as such you learn not just from a book but also from a lab experience.  The book I chose to enter this door is Sams Teach Yourself Arduino Programming in 24 HoursU by Richard Blum.
    • There is an electronic engineer approach where you can use this kit to learn some simple electronic engineering skills.  I recommend the book “Exploring Arduino Tools And Techniquies For Engineering Wizardry by Jeremy Blum”.
    • Anyone who takes this course seriously will build a technical skills that might just be rewarded in future technical employment.

Bumps In Learning.

I run into this in some past school courses, books and now in learning kits.  A bump occurs when some part of the learning process skids to a stop or slows down.  For me, the Spaceship Interface, chapter 2, introduced the computer code which I absolutely know nothing about.  I found that I had to reread, dissect the key points, make my own note explanations to get over this part of the course.

What I do not like:

The Arduino Projects Books is hard to read for me.  The people who put this book together valued design over readability.  The type is too small.  The type is not dark enough in certain sections.  If you get lucky, you can find the book as an internet copy where you can view the pages on your computer and then magnify any portion of the electronic page on your screen.

 

 

How To Transfer Music (and other files) From A Mac Computer To A Samsung Galaxy S5

I hated my Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone because the battery life was awful.  It was slow and unreliable.  It was a pain to use.  It began to get worse and then it bricked up the end of May 2016.   I had to un-brick my Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone by pressing 3 keys at the same time (power, volume up and home keys).  I then chose factory reset from a menu of options.  I then had to wait for a very long time for the new system updates to take place and reboot.  I then had to install all the applications that I had  lost and customize the phone to my liking.  The Play Store showed the applications I had paid for so reinstalling those was easy.

What I found out was my battery life was spectacular after this new installation.  The battery would last longer than one day.  I also found that my internal 16 GB was only half full.  The look of the desktop was different.  I now had rounded icon buttons.

The next problem was to get my iTunes music into the phone, which is the reason for this post.  I tried a long list of methods but nothing would work.  I then asked our computer guru and he recommended WiFi.   It worked.  Here are the steps:

  • Watch this video:  https://youtu.be/2Czaw0IPHKo
  • Using your cell phone, go to the Play Store and search for “Portal”.  you are looking for “Portal – WiFi File Transfers” by Pushbullet.
  • Install the Portal application on your cell phone.
  • Once the Portal application has finished installation on your phone and has loaded, it will show you to go to this web site on your Macintosh computer:  http://portal.pushbullet.com/  (Watch out as there is another web site with a similar name that will charge you money).
  • You will be prompted to then use your cell phone camera to take a picture of the code on the open web page showing on your computer screen.
  • Hold the cell phone up to the computer screen and press “Scan” button showing on your cell phone screen.
  • Immediately, a new web page should open up on your computer screen allowing you to drag music files into the web page.  A new screen also shows up on your cell phone hopefully showing “Connected” and “Waiting for files”.
  • Drag your music files on your Macintosh computer into the web site screen and you will then see them, rather rapidly, go over to your cell phone.  The process is impressively fast.

That is it.  I now can play my music stored on my Samsung Galaxy S5.  I just might keep this cell phone for a while longer.

By the way, not only can music files be transferred but other files also.  I have only tested music files so far.  Good luck.

Macintosh Numbers Shows A Formula Error: “Cell Contains A String”

I have for years inserted simple math formulas into Excel with no problem.  I had to evaluate three bid proposals for re-piping our house with cooper or PEX.  I set up my Mac with Numbers and proceeded to enter data.  I suddenly got an error message after entering a rather simple math formula.

The operator “-” expects a number, date, or duration, but cell D3 contains a string.’

The problem was created when the formula used the header cells instead of the data cells.

Cell F2 holding the formula is shown highlighted but the cells that this formula references are actually in the header and not data cells; thus the error message.
The formula in cell F2 references the header cells which does not contain number data but text; thus the error.

In the image above, you can see that while I had selected the cell on the second line to enter the formula, the cells that were part of the formula were actually the header.  I really do not know how this happened.  As soon as I entered any alpha character (label) into the header, I got a formula error.  To solve this problem I made darn sure to enter the formula into the single data cell and not include any header cells as part of the formula.

The image shows top header rows left to right and just below is the data cells. Cell F2 holding the formula is highlighted. That cell then highlights each cell that is part of the formula.
Mac Numbers shows the formula cells are not using header cells.

In the image above, you can see that the formula, when shown on the computer screen, highlights data cells only and no header cells.

I then discovered that I only needed to copy the formula cell, on line 2, that I had just created successfully and paste it down the spread sheet where I wanted the formula to be replicated.