Random Tech Questions you want answered.

Got a newish Ford Edge 2016 with a sync 3 system. Supposedly I can get apps working on the console like podcast apps and google maps... so far pandora is the only thing that shows up... I have an iphone for work that I currently use for podcasts, but I also have my personal android phone.

Anyone know what's up? Plugging the phones in dosen't seem to do any better than bluetooth.

I just bought a razerblade (early 2016) with a gtx970m internal graphics card from game guru.

My question Is, is it possible to use the razor core (external graphics card mount) to bridge another gtx970m with the internal one? My reasoning is that it seems like it would have a higher graphics potential then relying on solely the external graphics card.

Thanks!

Edit: I already realized this is impossible because there is no external 970m gpu

Can anyone offer some advice regarding streaming media from pc to xbox? I have my pc setup with a homegroup, and video files shared in my videos folder. I made sure they are shared to the homegroup for viewing.

The xbox one can see my pc, but it says there are no files to stream. Googling seems to confirm I've done what needed to be done.

save yourself the effort and download Plex Server on your PC.. and then the Plex Client on your Xbox

TheGameguru wrote:

save yourself the effort and download Plex Server on your PC.. and then the Plex Client on your Xbox

Oh?

I've been running Twitter.com (or rather trying to) in a Chrome tab for the last couple of weeks. I notice if I leave it open for a while, it hangs up terribly. I've disabled any extensions that may affect it (uBlock, Buffer, Instapaper) to no avail.

Does anyone leave Twitter up in Chrome all day and have any issues?

TheGameguru wrote:

I have a strange issue. On my main PC my Razer mouse will freeze for a second or two randomly constantly. But it only happens if it's plugged into a USB hub. I have swapped out USB hubs and it still happens as well as Razer mice and it still happens. It only seems to affect my x99 PC and not a Z710.

So weird. USB hubs are 3.0 and powered. Maybe I should try a 2.0 hub?

Yes, try on a USB 2 hub. Is anything wireless, at all, plugged into any of your USB ports on the same hub (or in close proximity)? I'm asking because there is a known issue with 2.4 ghz devices and USB 3.0 interference.

Edit: Some chipsets will be better shielded than others but I have eliminated my laggy mouse problems with USB 2 hubs. Or if you have a USB 2 port on a keyboard that is a good place to plug a mouse in.

Dakuna wrote:

Can anyone offer some advice regarding streaming media from pc to xbox? I have my pc setup with a homegroup, and video files shared in my videos folder. I made sure they are shared to the homegroup for viewing.

The xbox one can see my pc, but it says there are no files to stream. Googling seems to confirm I've done what needed to be done.

I'm pretty sure you have to get DNLA running on your PC. However, by default you might run into some formats the XBO can't play. As Guru suggested, PLEX, does all the transcoding on the PC end then streams to the xbox. This makes it so any video should play but uses more resources on your PC at the same time.

Here is a guide to turning on DNLA

http://www.top-password.com/blog/how...

Thanks! It's not a file format issue, as they run just fine from USB stick.

chalk up another reason I dislike xbox

Dakuna wrote:

Thanks! It's not a file format issue, as they run just fine from USB stick.

chalk up another reason I dislike xbox :P

To be fair that is how any DNLA service works, its not a problem with the Xbox. You have to enable it properly on the media server (PC). I don't even think the PS4 supports it at all.

Edit: It looks like PS4 added it two summers ago. Setup would be the same on the PC side or you could download a 3rd party DNLA server like PLEX.

Yeah Plex for the most part just makes it vastly easier to stream media to Xbox.. iPads.. you name it.

Is there a good site to convert .pdf files to .docx? Everything I have found looks sketchy (or expensive, like Acrobat 11).

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Is there a good site to convert .pdf files to .docx? Everything I have found looks sketchy (or expensive, like Acrobat 11).

You might give Calibre a try. It can convert pretty much any document format into any other, and usually does a pretty good job of it, especially if you experiment with the settings to get the best results.

(Fair warning, though: although its functionality is unrivalled, there's a reason why Calibre is frequently cited as Exhibit A in "why programmers shouldn't be allowed to design user interfaces" articles.)

Dad is looking into a wireless fence to stem some bad wandering issues out in the middle of nowhere farm country.

He was looking at this type, but the price just dropped to 50% and they now only offer the one model. He is afraid they are going out of business and won't honor a warranty in 6 months.

Anyone got experience with these things? Amazon reviews seem typical for a decent if not perfect product. The main issues are distance (4 acre yard) and metal outbuildings which might cause interference.

I moved into my house in 2005, and we bought it from a guy who'd wired basically the entire place with phone/ethernet/coax to almost every room, but I was working from home, and the connection to my office was screwed up. So, rather than fixing it, I just put the router in there, did a direct connection, and did wireless around the house. I've been thinking of fixing the wiring for 11 years, and, this weekend, I'm suddenly getting ambitious. I have this in my basement:

IMAGE(http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s149/MilkmanDanimal/IMG_20170108_152258.jpg)

I did my internet research, and realized whoever had put the jack into my office had wired it wrong, so I re-did it and punched it down and all, ran a wire from the router to the new jack, and checked a laptop directly plugged into the switch downstairs. No internet. Then I realized . . . it's an unpowered switch, so I guess it's just some old-school patch panel? There's no power whatsoever to it. Also, it's currently wired directly in, instead of via RJ-45 plugs, such as this:

IMAGE(http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s149/MilkmanDanimal/IMG_20170115_150210.jpg)

I have an incredibly cheap tester that's not worth much, but, when I plug one part into my rewired office jack and another into the #8 port on the panel, 1-2-3-6 light up in sequence, which makes me think it's wired correctly at this point. Full disclosure; I did a very small amount of networking and wiring at one point in the mid-90s on token ring networks, which is really the last time I fiddled with physically wiring network cables.

Yes, I'm old, get off my lawn.

Anyways . . .

There is a power outlet down there, so my at-the-moment plan is to buy a new, "regular" powered switch, pull all the old wires out of the old switch, crimp them into RJ-45s, and plug them in. This seem like a logical plan to people who have done this sort of thing since Bill Clinton's first term?

That's exactly what I'd do, MMD. From the looks of it they used decent Cat5e which would handle Gb speeds. I'd use the existing wiring if at all possible, and wire everything for traditional 100BTX for backwards compatibility, just in case.

What would be the most economical way to do the below:

I want to buy a tablet for a family member that isn't so tech savvy. They can use smartphone basics. The catch is I would like one that can plug into a fax/printer, to do necessary work related printing (via USB cable)

Is there an app/phone style tablet that can install Windows printer drivers?

Bonus question - can I set up the tablet to get calls and generally do everything the phone can?

mooosicle wrote:

What would be the most economical way to do the below:

I want to buy a tablet for a family member that isn't so tech savvy. They can use smartphone basics. The catch is I would like one that can plug into a fax/printer, to do necessary work related printing (via USB cable)

Is there an app/phone style tablet that can install Windows printer drivers?

Bonus question - can I set up the tablet to get calls and generally do everything the phone can?

Is Google cloud print an option? Once it's set up, it's integrated seamlessly into the device's print functionality, so there would be no extra step to get a document printed.

Milkman, that's not a switch! Don't unplug anything from it. That's a patch panel, and it's where you plug patch cables into. It doesn't do anything by itself; it's the endpoints for wires in your walls.

The way you use one is that you choose one location as your central hub (which is probably the one in the picture), and then you run patch cables from that panel to a powered Ethernet switch. In essence, you're plugging in an extra fifty or a hundred feet of wire on the end of your short patch cables. Then, on the other end of the connection, you run a patch cable to a device.

The minimum setup this way is typically two devices and one switch, but the whole point is that expanding the fabric from there is just a matter of two patch cables .... one for the switch end, and one for the device in the other room.

edit: in other words, the absolute simplest form of this looks like this:

Computer in Room A -> patch cable -> room's network drop -> wires in walls -> patch panel -> patch cable -> small Internet router's LAN port, and then the WAN port on the router is connected to the outside. Voila, you have Internet in Room A.

Adding new devices from there is just a matter of running 2 patch cables each. Each room you add takes a couple minutes.

Think of those plugs as Ethernet extension cables.

This is where Malor and I might differ. Patch panels are intended for permanent setups, like in a wiring closet (which you have). Some folks like them since you don't ever touch the panel except to plug things into it, and you always know which port on the panel goes to where. However, I'd usually not go through the extra bother with a small solution like that. If you're up for buying some short cables and want the flexibility of placing the switch where you want, use it like Malor suggests. If not, I see no reason why you couldn't use the existing cables.

Monoprice cables are, like, $2 each.

In general, I don't think you should ever mess with wall wiring, as long as it works. If you screw something up, you can't really fix it.

My whole thing is I just don't get why the heck I have a patch panel like that in a house with one network; when we moved in, the basement wasn't even finished (the house was only five years old when we bought it), and I think that meant there were a total of seven wired ethernet jacks in the entire house when that thing got put in. I guess my question is basically what's the advantage of having that thing? I mean, I see your point, and just sticking a switch down there and running wires from the switch to the panel is something I can do, it's just that I guess I'm kind of confused as to why the hell I have that thing at all?

The thing is, I don't particularly want to put my router down there, because (A) it's in the basement, far away from the center of the house, (B) I like having the router in my office because then I can see the lights and know if anything's wrong, and (C) it's in the same room where the litter boxes are, and therefore dust everywhere. So my plan is to leave the router in my office, run from there through the office jack down to that room. This modify your suggestion on the process? Does the line from my office with the active connection need to hit the switch first before the panel?

If you are putting a switch in the patching closet, then yes, it needs to hit the switch. You would then just connect every connection from the patch panel into the switch. Here's a cheap multi pack of 3 ft patch cords. http://amzn.to/2iyMJvC

PaladinTom wrote:

I've been running Twitter.com (or rather trying to) in a Chrome tab for the last couple of weeks. I notice if I leave it open for a while, it hangs up terribly. I've disabled any extensions that may affect it (uBlock, Buffer, Instapaper) to no avail.

Does anyone leave Twitter up in Chrome all day and have any issues?

Twitter's JavaScript is garbage. Just terribly written sh*t. Because it self-updates, inefficiently, the longer it runs the more memory and processing power that page will consume. Do you want to leave it up so you can scroll back and review the stuff that came in over the past few days? That comes at a cost because like most web apps it sucks.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I guess my question is basically what's the advantage of having that thing? I mean, I see your point, and just sticking a switch down there and running wires from the switch to the panel is something I can do, it's just that I guess I'm kind of confused as to why the hell I have that thing at all?

Hmm. This is how you do network wiring "for real", as it were. It separates your wiring from your network gear. This lets you replace any piece you want, and run it over the existing wiring.

In essence, you buy a switch, one with enough ports to cover every jack on the patch panel. You plug all the wires into the switch, and your network is done. Suddenly, every jack in your house connects to every other jack. Your whole residence becomes a single Internet fabric. Anywhere you've got a live port, you can plug something in.

Ideally, you don't want to put your router down there. You want just a switch, preferably a gigabit one. You can get a decent 16-port gigabit Ethernet switch from Monoprice for $80.

Then, you put your router wherever you want your router. Suddenly, it doesn't matter where it is. Put it wherever it's convenient, likely wherever the Internet enters your home. Plug its WAN port into the Internet, and one of the LAN ports into the wall, and wham, your whole house is live.

The switch in the network closet is the backbone of the network, and once you get all the patch cables plugged in, you should literally be able to leave it for years. You shouldn't have to think about it again unless it breaks. It abstracts away your network, so any service you provide on any port is instantly available anywhere else in the house. That can be (and likely will be) Internet, but it can also be a NAS, or a Roku player, or a Slingbox, or whatever. If you have more than one device in a given room, you can run a local switch there, so you can have a local cluster of, say, three machines, a 4-port switch, and a single cable going to the wall.

Note that you don't want to daisy-chain switches in any given room. The actual rules are a little complex and I can never remember them without looking them up, but Ethernet is always safe for a three-switch chain. Your backbone switch counts as one, so you can connect additional switches to any of its ports... but you may have trouble if you daisy-chain switches. The longest path on your network should cross only three if you want to be absolutely guaranteed things will always work. (It can go as far as a five-switch chain, but the rules there get weird.)

That is, this will always work:

Computer A -> Switch in Room A -> Backbone Switch -> Switch on Router -> Internet

But this can potentially, in weird circumstances that I can never remember, give you issues:

Computer A -> Switch 1 in Room A -> Switch 2 in Room A -> Backbone Switch -> Switch on Router -> Internet

If you're running a backbone switch, as long as any room in your house has only one additional switch, you're fine. If you start with a four-porter, don't add another four-port to that one, replace it with an eight-porter if that's not enough. And remember that the switch ports on your router count as a switch for this purpose. This can potentially be quite awkward, if it's a typical 4-port job, and you've got more than 3 additional devices in that room.

astralplaydoh wrote:

If you are putting a switch in the patching closet, then yes, it needs to hit the switch. You would then just connect every connection from the patch panel into the switch. Here's a cheap multi pack of 3 ft patch cords. http://amzn.to/2iyMJvC

OK, I think I got it. So it goes:

External connection --> Router --> Office wall jack --> Switch in basement

For everything else in the house:

Existing wall connection --> Patch panel --> Patch cable --> Switch in basement

Essentially, I'm just rewiring the one existing wire I have to go directly to the switch itself, and then all my other wires are connecting from the patch panel through another cable to the switch, so I'm just really fiddling with the one office connection and leaving everything else as-is. My take here is the guy who built the house essentially needlessly overcomplicated what should have been a simple network and just put a stupid switch in to begin with, because a patch panel is essentially just overkill.

Well, no, he was smart to do that. When he built it, it might have still been Fast Ethernet. (100Mbit). Now you can replace the backbone with a gigabit switch. When 10gE becomes cheaper, you'll be able to replace the switch again and upgrade the network at least once more, although I'm not sure you can get the full 10g speed on Cat5e wire, I think it's somewhat limited.

The whole point of house wiring is that it should never change. But networks change all the time, as technology improves. Using a patch panel breaks the two things apart, so you can upgrade or repair one without affecting the other. Want a bigger switch? Cool. Want to completely rejigger your network? Also cool. Want to run phone service over those wires instead of Ethernet? Fine, do that.

Giving you access to the dry wires gives you flexibility to do whatever you want with your house. You're not even locked into Ethernet.

Yes, that works.

From a slightly different angle: look at that panel and think of it as long patch cables, built right into your walls. It's just wire, and what meaning that wire has is for you to decide. The panel is a convenient way to get access to those wires with almost zero wear, so they should stay useful and functional as long as the house does.

The panel being dumb is a feature, not a bug.

Malor wrote:

From a slightly different angle: look at that panel and think of it as long patch cables, built right into your walls. It's just wire, and what meaning that wire has is for you to decide. The panel is a convenient way to get access to those wires with almost zero wear, so they should stay useful and functional as long as the house does.

The panel being dumb is a feature, not a bug.

Yeah, I kind of see the point there. The wires in the panel stay that way forever so I don't have to worry about them, and then it's just more plug-and-play from there. Still think it's an extra step, as if I just wanted to upgrade my speed from slower to gigabit I'd just be replacing the switch anyways, but it works as-is. Have ordered a gigabit switch and expect to have things all wired up by this weekend. Thanks for your help, all.