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

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:


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.

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.

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.



Targus model TA-51EB-BLK Bluetooth wireless headset review.

I purchased a Bluetooth wireless earphone, Targus model TA-51EB-BLK.  The headset, after about one month, would only last about 7 minutes or less and then die.  Internet reviews also seemed to complain that the headsets would easily fall out of the ear and I can confirm this.

Targus model TA-51EB-BLK Bluetooth wireless headsets are not recommended.


Small 19″ TV Set – Insignia NS-19E310NA15 (Product Review)

I wanted a small TV to set beside my computer in my office and quickly check news or sports easily and quickly.  My prior (CRT) TV would power up from a 12 volt power source so this was an important requirement.  In case of a disaster our family could pick up any surviving TV station signals in the area by connecting the TV to the car battery.  I also wanted this next TV to be connected to my laptop so I was looking for an RGB input connector.
For emergency command operations that must rely on battery power, this TV might be an asset.   This TV also allows viewing of photo images from USB port so if an incident commander is given photographs from a photographer, they can be viewed and zoomed in for better closeup inspections.  For ham radio operators that might need a second monitor connected to their laptop (APRS & Winlink).  This TV has that capability.

Manufacturer: Insignia
Model: NS-19E310NA15

19 inch screen, LED, 720P & 60 HZ
HDMI = 2
VGA = 1
USB = 1
Component = 1
Digital Audio Out (Coaxial) = 1
Headset Out = 1
Antenna/Cable = 1

TV Set Controls:
In case you can not find your remote control the settings can be changed by buttons along the top right.  I plan to label the location of each button with a label on the front bezel so I don’t have to look at the TV from the top.

Setup menu, for me, was quite good.

This screen is not high definition.  I am extremely demanding for good clarity and realistic flesh tones.  When using Time Warner cable box, the sharpness was OK but the human flesh tones looked pasty.
Blacks look deep and have scale.
Whites and contrast are a bit of a disappointment for me.  They looked like they were clipping.  I ran a diagnostic DVD and it confirmed that the whites easily clipped and lacked scale.  But, for casual viewing, most people would not notice nor care.
The image did not seem to change color or brightness much horizontally but it did change when your vertical angle changed.
Vertical = high = lightened up
Vertical = low = screen darkened.

Remote control features were very good and easy to navigate.  I especially liked the “Aspect” button.  The TV defaulted to “Auto” aspect but I wanted the image to fill the screen.  I just hit the “Aspect” button and the image would change size.
The channel search function worked perfectly for me. There have been reports that the tuner will not stay on a set channel, possibly if the antenna signal is interrupted.  (I did find this – look at “Outdoor Antenna” below)

A small item to note is that the remote does have “Insignia” name on the remote.  My Time Warner cable remote has no name and I have reached for the wrong remote a couple of times by mistake.

Sound lacks base but because there is audio output that can feed speakers.  I found the audio quite acceptable.  I got loud audio when I turned up the remote audio buttons.  I  also hooked up computer speakers to this TV set and the sound was very good.

Antenna signal:
Time Warner Cable = comes in as an analog NOT digital signal.  The TV set scan for channels actually found 2 analog stations, one good the other same but real noisy and bad.  The images looked like standard definition, OK but not good.  The images look a bit pasty.  I attribute this to Time Warner not providing a really good signal.
Outdoor Antenna = image looks way better than Time Warner Cable.  If the antenna is not getting a really good signal the image will go to still with or without breakup.  I would guess that a really good antenna is necessary.

HDMI Inputs: I seemed to get improved sound when using the HDMI inputs compared to the Time Warner cable box.  It seemed crisper and louder.  I hooked up a DVD Blue-Ray player so I would have another signal source that would be way better than the Time Warner cable box and the image looked quite good and crisp audio (Audio still lacking deep base).

USB Port:
As soon as I slipped a USB finger drive into the TV set, a screen menu showed “PHOTOS” and three options:
Browse Photos places you into seeing the folders on the memory card.  I had a folder labeled “Photos” for my test and it showed along with other folders in the drive.  When a photo is selected, you can even rotate it but only while viewing. It will not save the rotation.  When you go into slideshow, the image goes back to how it was shot.
Favorite Photos  Can’t figure this out yet.
Start Slide Show  The slide show will show each image you have in order as to how it resides in the folder.  If an image is not rotated correctly the browse function will not correct for this.  The slide show cycles only once and then goes back to displaying the folders and small image files.  I think this feature is rather useless.  I have looked to see if there is a setting to keep the slide show repeating but so far can not.
 Zoom is offered as a sub menu item .  Choices are Fill, 2X, 4X.
When the USB drive is inserted, You can get the TV to go to any other function by pressing INPUT button. If there is no USB drive inserted into that input, the whole screen goes black and shows “USB device was removed”.
The photo images seemed to be really good.  It seemed that the whites held more detail.  This tells me that the screen is more capable than the Time Warner Cable box.

Other Features:
Closed Caption On, Off, On when mute is turned on (clever).
Sleep Timer
I was able to control my Blue-Ray DVD player from the TV remote.  The manual indicates that the remote can control Time Warner devices.

The Bad:  I tried to play a DVD “Ride Along” using HDMI cable between a Blue-Ray player and the TV set.  I could not get the promotion videos to output audio.  The movie was OK but not the short intro videos.  I am suspicious that there is a audio format compatibility issue.

Summary: this TV does not give a high definition image nor is the audio real high quality.  It is surprisingly good in the kitchen, desktop or given to a child.   Its features are impressive.

HP Photosmart D110 Failed After Installing Mac OS Maverick.

About a day or so after I upgraded to Maverick operating system into my MacBook Air, my HP Photosmart D110 printer went down.  It did this when I printed form Pages.  Every time I tried to print the sheet would print just a few lines and then the printer put a warning into the display window telling me to turn the printer off.  I did this over and over and it would just fail over and over.  I finally decided to delete the HP print drivers from my hard drive Applications folder.  In that folder, was an uninstall application.  Make sure you then use the Utilities > Activity Monitor program to quit any HP programs running.  Then empty the trash.  I then rebooted my computer to flush out any running print driver.  I then went into System Preferences > Printers & Scanners and viewed what print drivers I still had.  The HP Photosmart D110 scanner was still there but the print driver was gone.  I then mouse clicked on the plus sign and added the print driver.  After all that, the printer worked perfectly.

How To Extend New Airport With An Older Airport Extreme

Disclaimer:  The following how to explanation intent is to provide you my road map for incorporating an older Airport Extreme and pair it with a new Airport Extreme with the new 802.11ac technology.  My Extreme also included an internal hard drive, called Airport Time Capsule.    This post was composed August 2013.  As time goes on this tutorial will become out of date due to system software changes, Airport Utility changes and hardware upgrades.   My point is that you should take care as your circumstances may be different and procedures may change, especially as time proceeds.

Also, this setup requires quite a few steps, some computer knowledge and maybe some ability to figure out work around solutions as your environment, equipment and software might not be the same.

You should check to see if the equipment you posses is the same or similar to the WiFi system I am describing.

  • My computer operating system is 10.8.4.
  • Airport Utility version I am using is 6.3.1 (631.4)
  • WiFi Explorer version is 1.5.1.
  • My old Airport Extreme model is IC: 579C-A1143.


Background: With my purchase of a new MacBook Air, I also purchased a Airport Time Capsule.  My intent was to still use the older but extremely reliable Airport Extreme as an extension to the new system.  I did not want the old Airport Extreme to just collect dust so I decided to attempt to add it to the new network but down stream to extend the WiFi range.  The Apple sales man told me it could not be done, saying some computer chip was missing.  I had nothing to loose so I tried anyway.  It took a while but I was able to add the Extreme to the Time Capsule with a wireless connection.

I got my best information at this web site:

Let me tell you that getting this extension to the network going took some time because I did not have a clue what I was doing.  Following are some notes that might help if your willing to jump in to some frustration.

I strongly recommend that you buy WiFi Explorer, an application from the Apple Store.  This application is excellent!  I recommend this application because it really helped me set up my wireless system.  It showed me the following hidden facts:
I found out that my two wireless routers were putting out signals on THREE channels.  You do not want to do that!  You want to minimize the spectrum your WiFi is using.  Be a good neighbor.  WiFi Explorer shows that my laptop is receiving 18 separate WiFi systems!  I want to make all my routers output on the SAME channels so I would not step on other systems with radio interference.  Here is my channel list:

  • Channel 3 = old Airport Extreme
  • Channel 11 = new Airport Time Capsule
  • Channel 149 = new Airport Time Capsule (No one in my area was using 5 GHz)

NOTE: The new Airport Time Capsule does put out TWO channels.  You can not turn either off.  My concern was that the old Airport Extreme was on another channel showing to the world that I was using THREE.

I was later able to view the old Airport Extreme “come up” from a device reset.  It came up with a whole new wireless name which was a bit confusing for a while but I guessed as to what was happening and just sat back sipping my tea waiting for the boot up process to finish and provide the name I specified.

You do NOT have to connect the old Airport Extreme by Ethernet cable to get this to work (you could and it would be a bit more reliable for not dropping some packets).  We are going to set this older unit up wireless.   Obviously, you need both units to “see” one another.  Get them close to one another for this set up process.  Later on, after we are finished, you can move the child unit away to extend the system coverage.

Put the child Airport Extreme in the same room as the Airport Time Capsule and be able to view the LED lights on both units.  This will make setting this unit up much easier for you.  Unplug the child or Airport Extreme for now and let it rest of at least a minute before applying power.  The resting period is necessary for all the internal capacitors to drain and thus end any power to the device.  (This is the reason cable companies tell you to power down your router and modem for at least a minute to do a reset.)

On your computer that you will be using to set up the wireless system, turn OFF the Airport Utility if you have it running.  I really recommend that during this process you realize that Airport Utility may NOT display recent changes unless you quit the application and then restart it.  Airport Utility restart is an important check that what this program is displaying on your computer screen is up to date.

With the old Airport Extreme in the same room, powered up that unit if you have not done so.  This is done by plugging in the power at the back of the unit.  Wait a minute or two for the unit to complete its boot process.

Take a paper clip and insert it into the extremely small hole in the back of the Extreme (see image below).  The reset hole on my unit was next to the last Ethernet connection, right side of the box and  next to the Kensington lock hole.




Press in with the paper clip slightly until you feel and possibly hear a slight clicking sound.  The LED at the front of the unit will begin to flash real fast.  Keep pressing in on that hidden switch for 9 to 10 seconds.  This will erase any prior settings that this router has stored.  We want it to come up “clean” or “fresh”.  I actually had to do the reset twice  on my unit.

Go to your computer and open up the Airport Utility.  It is going to open up showing a real nice simple graphic.  At the top is the Earth which represents the Internet or your cable modem.  You can click on this Earth and you should see some simple information such as connection status, router address, DNS server list and domain name.  Just below this Earth is the name “Internet” and you should see a green dot in front of that name.  The green dot tells us that the cable company recognizes your router as being legitimate and is sending it packet signals.

Just below the Internet Earth should be Airport Time Capsule.  It had better show a green dot before its name indicating it is working properly.  If you do not see a green light, you can not go any further.  You then need to fix the Time Capsule.

Just below the Airport Time Capsule should be your Airport Extreme.  It is madly trying to figure out how to connect to the Time Capsule and let me tell you that this can really take some time.  Go get a cut of coffee to tea and take your time getting it.

In the upper left of the Airport Utility screen you will see a long horizontal button labeled “Other Wi-Fi Devices”.  It took a while before the software showed a device that could be added.

Image above shows NO other devices are recognized for setup.

The image above now shows one new device.

At some point, this button will reveal the new Airport Extreme (image above) and it is telling us that we need to bring it in as part of your existing system.  This is called a pairing process. Click on this button and you should be shown the Airport Extreme (probably your only choice).  Click on this menu item.


The Airport Utility should then start to marry or pair the two devices and finish by showing you a new splash screen.  A new graphic will show the Time Capsule to the left with a solid line to the Airport Extreme is the graphic.  A default “Base Station Name” will be provided.  I chose to add the word “Extended” to this name so I can better view this device with WiFi Explorer as a separate device and each computer can be used to show which device it is connected to later.

In the lower left corner of the splash screen is a button to activate “Other Options”.  You really need to investigate this!  You have four options:

  • Create a new network.
  • Add to an existing network.
  • Replace an existing network.
  • Restore previous settings.




Your going to choose one of the first two options.  Option one will place the Airport Extreme into a separate WiFi Channel.  I can not do this because so many people live around my home have WiFi.  I chose option two, “Add to an existing network”.  This is nifty in that it will output on the same WiFi channel and extend its range.

At the lower right of this splash screen are two buttons “Back” and “Next”.  Mouse click on “Next”.

The next step is critical.  The splash screen will now show a new graphic and ask you too which network do you want to “Connect to”?

You do not want to connect to any other WiFi network than your own.  I was given two choices.

  • My home WiFi Network
  • My home WiFi Network 5GHz

I figured that because the Airport Extreme is not 5GHz capable that I would choose the “My home WiFi Network.

After making your selection as to which network you wish the Extreme to pair too, mouse click on “Next” button (lower right corner).


Yikes, another splash screen (above).  The same graphic as before showing the Time Capsule to the left and the Airport Extreme to the right shows.  Another option to change the name of the Base Station is presented.  I again added “Extended”.  Again, go get some tea or coffee as this process will take some time.

Note:  Please notice, in the image above, that the line between the Time Capsule and Airport Extreme is dashed, not solid.  This shows that the connection between the two devices is WiFi and not Ethernet.


The Airport Utility, in the image above, shows a successful system.  Internet, Time Capsule and Extreme all show green indicators before their names (I removed my wireless name from image).

Finally, go and mouse click on the Extreme graphic shown on the Airport Utility screen to reveal information about the device.  Take special note of the “connection”.  My unit shows “Excellent”.

TIP:  Once your Extreme is set up this way, you can then move it around to get better coverage into your back yard, garage, or even neighbors if they need to borrow your Internet.  You must be certain that the Extreme can properly receive strong signals from the Time Capsule for successful operation and best performance.  The application, WiFi Explorer is perfect when loaded on to a laptop for mapping how strong the parent Time Capsule signal is.  Be aware that you can make changes in the preferences for “Scan Sensitivity”.




How To Get A Second Extended Monitor To Work As Extended Desktop With MacBook Air

I was really annoyed in not being able to connect a second monitor up to my MacBook Air in a configuration that pleases me.  I have a large screen Samsung (P2570) monitor that accepts HDMI and digital inputs.  (Note: if you have a HDMI TV, this method should also work.)  I purchased a Belkin Mini DisplayPort to HDTV Cable, 6 feet long (F2CDO3yw2M-APL exclusive to Apple Store).  It connected directly to my MacBook Air and the Samsung monitor.  I like to position that larger screen over and behind my laptop screen.  Problem for me was I could not figure out how to slide content from the MacBook Air up to the second screen.  Content would hit the edge of the laptop screen and stop.  I finally found the solution which is most interesting.

Aside:  I have a five year old MacBook Pro computer.  I always use extended desktop with that computer.  I found some slight problems with this older unit.   The computer seemed to remember the last location for that screen when you launch it next time.  This was a problem if I disconnected the second screen.  Application screens that were in that second screen could not be found because they were sent to the monitor that I had disconnected.  The solution was simple.  I would reconnect the second monitor and move content back to the laptop  or turn on mirroring and fix the problem.

I wanted to see how the MacBook Air handled this problem.  I tested this MacBook Air by putting application screens up to the second monitor, turned off my laptop and disconnected the second monitor and see what would happen.  I expected to NOT find missing content that was sent to the second monitor that I had just disconnected.  Apple really improved the software, boy have they!  My laptop reverted to single screen perfectly showing application screens that were positioned in the second extended desktop!  Wow!  I now leave my laptop configured for two extended screens and I only need to remove my laptop with no ill effects.  All the content that I left in the second monitor space would drop back into the laptop screen.  That is really cool.

Next, I will describe how to make the necessary changes to make a second monitor extend the laptop presentation.  My configuration is vertical with the second add on display over or on top of the laptop screen.


  • Open System Preferences and look for Displays.  Open Displays.
  • Turn ON “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available”.  This really is not necessary.  I just like doing it in case I do not see all my content and need to fix that problem fast.
  • Turn OFF “Mirror Displays”.  Mirror is when you want both screens to show the same thing, exact same content.  This method that I am describing is showing how to extend the laptop screen into a second monitor.  We will be increasing your viewing space by adding a second monitor that can show MORE content.  For example, when writing I like to always show the dictionary, web browser, and Pages or Scrivener.  That just will not work with the MacBook Air screen.  Laptops have small screens.  I put items into the second monitor screen.  This makes for a very efficient writing process.  I also love this method for composing my web pages.  I compose my text using Pages.  I have Adobe Lightroom open to find and manipulate photos.  I have a web browser open to check the look of my web content.  I have Grab open to capture screen content.
  • Choose “Arrangement” tab so you can slide the displays around.  You can slide the second monitor left, right bottom or top of the laptop screen.  I chose top.

Typically the MacBook Air will be the smaller blue box with a white bar on top (see image below).


This is the trick method.

  • Grab ONLY the white bar that shows on top of the laptop (small) blue box and slide it on top of the large second monitor box.   Actually it is important to slide the white bar into the second monitor blue box until that box shows a red outline.  That red outline indicates to you that the change will be made.  You naturally can slide that white bar back to the smaller laptop screen at any time.


In the above image you can see the white bar being moved (mouse cursor missing from image) from the lower blue box (laptop) to the larger and upper blue box which represents the second or added monitor.  Take note that the upper blue box is showing a red outline which indicates that the menu bar will now be a part of that monitor.  The image below shows the result.