Random Tech Questions you want answered.

dejanzie wrote:

My neighbors on the same ISP still had their wifi running though.

Are you on cable internet or something else? My cable company recently found an old frequency filter in the easement behind my house. It wasn't anything on my property, but it was a piece of hardware that was particular to my connection.

dejanzie wrote:

I was wondering if anyone would have any theories on why the Internet at our place stopped working... and then returned to normal.

So Wednesday evening, while streaming the Euro League finals, our Internet access suddenly dropped. Our intranet still worked, I could see all connected devices, but no internet anymore (WAN nor Wifi). I tried to reboot the devices, the modem and the router (unplugging them for a minute and then reconnecting power) to no avail.

Customer service also asked me to reboot the modem/router, twice, so that's 3 rebooting attempts.

But then on Sunday, we had a local power outage while outside the house for fifteen minutes. I turned the power back on, and to my surprise the wifi and wan started working again!

My only theory would be that I needed to unplug the devices for longer than 30s to a minute maybe?

If you're on an HFC type network I have a pretty good idea on that, but if not then I'm not sure. HFC networks (hardline copper feeding the neighborhood from one fiber line somewhere close by) are prone to a interference issue that causes a high noise floor in a node. Let's say your modem is at a 40 dBmV transmit and you need an extra 8 dB of power to still talk to the server through the noise. Your modem increases to 48 dBmV transmit power and your service isn't as effected. But let's say your starting transmit is at 48 already. A DOCSIS 3.0/3.1 modem maxes out at 51 dB transmit. You can't go up to 56 dBmV, so your modem's signal is lost below the interference.

Along with this, is one rule that you have to follow as a lineman when you're tracking a raised noise floor like this. NEVER PULL POWER. There's a lot of interference you can pull power on when you're trying to figure out where it's coming from, but more often than not on these issues you pull power and the interference disappears. It'll be back, as you haven't fixed whatever's causing it, but it gets cleared out for a while. So I'd wager that the power outage cleared the noise out, and now your modem is able to talk again without getting lost in the interference.

I just downloaded "Twitch Sings" and it's great, as it lets me and my girlfriend do kareoke. However, for my PC set up, I only have a monitor with speakers (very quiet and poor quality) and a headset with a microphone.

I do own a steam link though. I'd like to be able to stream the game down to the living room TV and then buy a usb microphone. Is this possible at all? When we tried to plug in the usb headset, nothing came through at all, so I'm a bit worried it won't work.

PurEvil wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

I was wondering if anyone would have any theories on why the Internet at our place stopped working... and then returned to normal.

So Wednesday evening, while streaming the Euro League finals, our Internet access suddenly dropped. Our intranet still worked, I could see all connected devices, but no internet anymore (WAN nor Wifi). I tried to reboot the devices, the modem and the router (unplugging them for a minute and then reconnecting power) to no avail.

Customer service also asked me to reboot the modem/router, twice, so that's 3 rebooting attempts.

But then on Sunday, we had a local power outage while outside the house for fifteen minutes. I turned the power back on, and to my surprise the wifi and wan started working again!

My only theory would be that I needed to unplug the devices for longer than 30s to a minute maybe?

If you're on an HFC type network I have a pretty good idea on that, but if not then I'm not sure. HFC networks (hardline copper feeding the neighborhood from one fiber line somewhere close by) are prone to a interference issue that causes a high noise floor in a node. Let's say your modem is at a 40 dBmV transmit and you need an extra 8 dB of power to still talk to the server through the noise. Your modem increases to 48 dBmV transmit power and your service isn't as effected. But let's say your starting transmit is at 48 already. A DOCSIS 3.0/3.1 modem maxes out at 51 dB transmit. You can't go up to 56 dBmV, so your modem's signal is lost below the interference.

Along with this, is one rule that you have to follow as a lineman when you're tracking a raised noise floor like this. NEVER PULL POWER. There's a lot of interference you can pull power on when you're trying to figure out where it's coming from, but more often than not on these issues you pull power and the interference disappears. It'll be back, as you haven't fixed whatever's causing it, but it gets cleared out for a while. So I'd wager that the power outage cleared the noise out, and now your modem is able to talk again without getting lost in the interference.

"Ain't that the truth", he writes, from a iPhone hotspot connection. "Maybe I should print out this post here, as maybe it might help the humble technician coming in tomorrow afternoon", he ponders as he hits CTRL-P.

edit: the technician replaced the (cable companies') modem, which fixed the issue for now at least. Apparently a lot of these are failing at the same time, it was probably near the end of its lifecycle. That's what you get for bulk buying cheap knock-offs I guess.

Middcore wrote:

Can anybody recommend a 3-port (or more) HDMI switcher with a remote that doesn't suck ass?

I have this thing, where changing inputs with the remote is an exercise in increasingly angry button-mashing if it's more than 18 inches or so from the switcher, and if I wanted to walk across the room I could just press the input select button on the box itself.

I'm pretty happy with the Kinivo 501BN, even though the remote just died last month. Started eating batteries like crazy, but turns out the remote itself was dying, and batteries were still fully charged. Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for your use case, but even two years after buying it, I called tech support, they asked for the order number, and sent me a new remote free of charge. Works from 14 feet across our living room with no problems. I'm sure they'd probably replace the unit itself if it came down to it.

The way I use my browser is with pinned tabs of sites I use regularly. Is there a setting or extension that would allow me to treat these pinned tabs like apps with regard to hyperlinks? So then let's say I open an Amazon link in my email tab, and instead of it opening in the same tab or a new tab, it opens in the pinned tab for Amazon.com?

What's the best software for ripping DVD movies now? My wife has a collection of, oh, a couple hundred discs dating back to college or before. We're certainly not going to replace all of them with Blu-Rays, and some of them are too old/unpopular now (think family-oriented stuff or rom-coms) to be easily obtainable through the magic of the interwebs.

I understand that there are inevitably going to be some titles with weird copy protection schemes or whatever. Just looking for whatever tool will let me get the largest number of them digitized with a minimum of tutorial-studying, setup, and effort. Don't mind spending a little money on something commercial.

I don't know if it's the best, but I think handbrake is still pretty popular and free. You'll need to install the libdvdcss library.

Handbrake would be the first thing I would try, yeah.

I could never get handbrake to deal with copy protection, so I use it just for converting and compressing, and use MakeMKV for the DVD rip. Has worked with everything I’ve tried so far.

Back about 10 years ago when I did some of that I used Fair Use Wizard. Looks like it's still out there, but I can't be sure it's the same product. Free version is limited to smaller files. I think I was converting my TV season DVDs so I didn't have to switch disks all the time and so 700mb limit was plenty for 45 min episodes.

It was super easy to use though, and never ran into any copy protection issues.

Redherring wrote:

I could never get handbrake to deal with copy protection, so I use it just for converting and compressing, and use MakeMKV for the DVD rip. Has worked with everything I’ve tried so far.

I second the motion for MakeMKV. It's really user-friendly, there are really few UI hiccups for a free product. I used the program to rip all my DVD's and Blu-Rays for my Plex Server.

dejanzie wrote:
Redherring wrote:

I could never get handbrake to deal with copy protection, so I use it just for converting and compressing, and use MakeMKV for the DVD rip. Has worked with everything I’ve tried so far.

I second the motion for MakeMKV. It's really user-friendly, there are really few UI hiccups for a free product. I used the program to rip all my DVD's and Blu-Rays for my Plex Server.

Thirded! I use MakeMKV to rip my DVDs/Blurays, then Handbrake to convert them for use on tablets.