Random Tech Questions you want answered.

vlox_km wrote:

Wasn't quite sure where to ask this, so I'll try in this thread.

I won a Chromecast Ultra in a contest a couple months ago. Is it worth keeping vs. say selling it and getting a Roku stick? Does it even matter that much?

Right now, we have a 8-9 year old tv that I think is 1080p. And stream stuff either through an old PS3, or on a small laptop. Though I do have plans to update the tv in the next few weeks to some sort of inepensive ~43" tv depending on sales.

As you can see, our setup is not that high-tech. I was mainly concerned whether I would like how the Chromecast goes through your phone to control content vs. Roku and a remote. Thoughts?

I'm kind of leaning towards just keeping the Chromecast for the convenience, since I already have it.

The biggest difference for most is that the Roku would support Amazon Prime streaming, but the Chromecast wouldn't due to the Amazon/Google spat. Owning both, I personally prefer the Roku's interface and remote over the phone control of the Chromecast. Unless you need to stream Amazon Prime though, it's probably not worth the trouble to switch.

Cool. Thanks for the input. I didn't know about it not streaming Amazon stuff.

We have Prime, but I'd say most of our streaming is on Netflix. So probably wouldn't be that big of a deal.

What's the best Windows app for visually displaying folder/file space allocation?

PaladinTom wrote:

What's the best Windows app for visually displaying folder/file space allocation?

For me it has been and will always be WinDirStat.

LouZiffer wrote:
PaladinTom wrote:

What's the best Windows app for visually displaying folder/file space allocation?

For me it has been and will always be WinDirStat.

Sadly, it doesn't read network drives. No worries though, I just installed it locally on my server and it seems to be doing fine.

Thanks!

I have used Treesize for years.

PaladinTom wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:
PaladinTom wrote:

What's the best Windows app for visually displaying folder/file space allocation?

For me it has been and will always be WinDirStat.

Sadly, it doesn't read network drives. No worries though, I just installed it locally on my server and it seems to be doing fine.

Thanks!

If you give the tool the UNC path (\\SERVER\SHARE) or assign the drive a letter it'll work.

LouZiffer wrote:
PaladinTom wrote:

What's the best Windows app for visually displaying folder/file space allocation?

For me it has been and will always be WinDirStat.

Seconded.

-BEP

Doesn't deserve its own thread but any recommendations for a cheap laptop (screen size 13-15") for someone who only checks email and browses internet? Wife wants to get something for my mother-in-law whose current laptop is 10+ years old. She doesn't need anything fancy but is biased against netbooks and dells. Wants a "regular" laptop. No bells or whistles needed.

Figured some of you who follow the market might know of any good deals out there.

bigred wrote:

Doesn't deserve its own thread but any recommendations for a cheap laptop (screen size 13-15") for someone who only checks email and browses internet? Wife wants to get something for my mother-in-law whose current laptop is 10+ years old. She doesn't need anything fancy but is biased against netbooks and dells. Wants a "regular" laptop. No bells or whistles needed.

Figured some of you who follow the market might know of any good deals out there.

HP Stream maybe? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077R3YDV6...

As an HP Stream owner, while it is decent enough, the 32gb ssd is a real problem. Just trying to get Windows updates installed on it briefly left me with an unbootable machine until I finally managed to just wipe out the original install on the computer. If the Stream still has only 32gb hard drive space for the system drive, I would be wary of recommending it to a non-technical person, as Windows really does not play nice with that setup.

I think a Chromebook is the perfect device for her but while conceptually it is not too different for one of us or too much of an adjustment and learning curve, it would be for her. I think anything outside of the normal windows experience (version upgrades, i.e., 10 is fine) with a normal laptop device is too disruptive and will not be well received.

The Stream provides a lot of that but the 32GB does seem like a problem. An external HD substitute seems too far out of the norm for her.

My box-of-cracker-jack smartphone has predictably decided to start being stupid and, like clockwork, I'm looking for a new one. Ideally, I want one that's light on the bloatware but not on power. I'm on Verizon and not planning on leaving anytime soon, so I need one that works on CDMA. I'm thinking either the Google Pixel 2 or this Essential phone, which seems like a Pixel wannabe. Pricewise, they're similar, except I can't get the Pixel through Amazon AFAIK, which makes a bit of a difference to me (I have some gift moneys on Amazon that can defray the cost of anything I get there). Anyone that can help me in my quest to find a phone that will actually last me longer than like 1.5 years?

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Dakuna wrote:

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Some wireless hardware just plain doesn't like other hardware or certain noisy environments. Have seen this plenty of times on different devices. Have tested plugged in vs. not. Have updated firmware, drivers, and BIOS. All of it to no avail (usually). When I find hardware that doesn't get along in a particular place, I most often have to put up with its eccentricities until I change out the system or router.

Some examples....

Over the past few years, every laptop I've had with an Intel wifi chip in it has the occasional fit when it's at home. In my case I have to run the network troubleshooter in Windows. It'll reset or re-enable the adapter and we're good until the next time it happens. I place the blame on the chipset in combination with my router (a WiFi Ranger - which I pretty much guarantee nobody has here as it's made for full time RVers). This happens enough that I keep my work laptop hardwired to avoid it.

My Nvidia shield tablet (Android) also doesn't like this router - but ONLY when the router is using our Verizon MiFi as an internet source and the router has 802.11n turned on (it's cool with just g, and also cool when we're using Sprint as an internet source). When it encounters the conditions it doesn't like, it repeatedly disconnects and reconnects every couple of seconds.

My wife's laptop disables its own wifi adapter when we're at a friend's house in Raleigh, but only there (she doesn't have Intel wifi so at home it's fine). Once more we run the troubleshooter in Windows, and it re-enables the thing. It never does this anywhere else.

Dakuna wrote:

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Some laptops have a really dumb switch that turns off wifi. Checking that would be my first guess.

I really appreciate the feedback but... this only started happening to him recently, after his battery exploded (laptop bulging on the bottom). Prior to that, he had no issues at his house whatsoever, and the thing connects everywhere else without any issues.

LouZiffer's wife's laptop issue sounds like the exact same thing! The only difference being, it sounds like most of the issues you're describing are consistent. Granted something may have happened with his hardware at home, but his laptop won't see ANY connections, and the wireless connection screen won't even come up at all until he plugs in a cable.

They switched out the battery, and literally everything else works well. I can't help but think something was damaged by the battery, but how can it be geo-centric??

Delbin, if it was the switch, it would be happening everywhere, no?

Dakuna wrote:

Delbin, if it was the switch, it would be happening everywhere, no?

Yep! For some reason I was thinking he docked it at work and didn't still use wifi.

bigred wrote:

Doesn't deserve its own thread but any recommendations for a cheap laptop (screen size 13-15") for someone who only checks email and browses internet? Wife wants to get something for my mother-in-law whose current laptop is 10+ years old. She doesn't need anything fancy but is biased against netbooks and dells. Wants a "regular" laptop. No bells or whistles needed.

Figured some of you who follow the market might know of any good deals out there.

I would look at the wirecutter's recommendations for Chromebooks. If all she does is in the browser, why not just give her 100% of that and not worry about the other crap that comes with the other stuff.