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.

Quick iPhone question. My wife has a iPhone for work. She wants to create playlists on my iTunes on my home computer that I use for my iPhone. She has never synced her iPhone with a computer.

1 if we sync her iPhone with my computer, will it wipe what is on her iPhone?
2 is this the way for her to pull in my tunes and playlists even if she has a different iTunes id?

Edit - never mind, she did a new phone setup on my iTunes and it didn’t wipe her work stuff

So we're leaving on vacation come Saturday, first flight for my 2 girls (2,5 and 4 years old) and first time in a 'foreign language' country since they're aware.

We would thus like to arm ourselves with a tablet filled with their favorite kids shows, for the flight and as a safeguard. I have plenty of movies on a Plex server in MKV format, so the first step would be to compress the files a bit with Handbrake (720p in Stereo will more than suffice for an 8" tablet) so as many as possible fit on the 64GB SD card.

BUT the challenge is that the tablet no longer has updated drivers. It's a Sony Xperia 3 Compact, still running Android 5.1. The old drivers, nor the developer drivers, succeed in getting a connection through USB on my Windows 10 computers. Using my SD Card to USB converter didn't work either - it must be formatted in an Android-friendly format, as many apps are already on there.

So drag and drop is not possible, does anyone have a good suggestion on how to get the movies on the SD-Card? Would it work to install OneDrive on the tablet, upload the movies elsewhere and then download them on the tablet? Or with some FTP server kind of thing?

dejanzie wrote:

So drag and drop is not possible, does anyone have a good suggestion on how to get the movies on the SD-Card? Would it work to install OneDrive on the tablet, upload the movies elsewhere and then download them on the tablet? Or with some FTP server kind of thing?

Dunno what streaming services you have over in Belgium-land, but for me in the US, both Netflix and Amazon Prime allow you to cache content locally on your device. Might be worth a go if you have things like that, it's what I do for my kid for flights/off-grid trips.

If the SD card can be read by the tablet, you can use something like this, where you plug the SD card into the USB stick, and can read/write to it from Windows, then take it out and it should be readable by the tablet. Used it when I realized my new Raspberry Pi didn't work with the version of NOOBS that came with the old one I broke, when I was setting up my pi-hole.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

If the SD card can be read by the tablet, you can use something like this, where you plug the SD card into the USB stick, and can read/write to it from Windows, then take it out and it should be readable by the tablet. Used it when I realized my new Raspberry Pi didn't work with the version of NOOBS that came with the old one I broke, when I was setting up my pi-hole.

EDIT: Unless that's what you meant by SD to USB converter, in which case ignore this.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

If the SD card can be read by the tablet, you can use something like this, where you plug the SD card into the USB stick, and can read/write to it from Windows, then take it out and it should be readable by the tablet. Used it when I realized my new Raspberry Pi didn't work with the version of NOOBS that came with the old one I broke, when I was setting up my pi-hole.

EDIT: Unless that's what you meant by SD to USB converter, in which case ignore this.

That was my thought too. The last Android tablet I bought could utilize a FAT32 formatted SD card, so I never had any issue just pulling the card out, putting that in an adapter and writing directly to that with my PC. That and I have a handful of these adapters I've accumulated over the years...

Excluding physical connections, I'd probably either use OneDrive or connect via Bluetooth to the Windows10 PC. It'd be a slow transfer, but likely faster than figuring out how to make a physical connection work if drivers are being a pain.

dejanzie wrote:

So we're leaving on vacation come Saturday, first flight for my 2 girls (2,5 and 4 years old) and first time in a 'foreign language' country since they're aware.

We would thus like to arm ourselves with a tablet filled with their favorite kids shows, for the flight and as a safeguard. I have plenty of movies on a Plex server in MKV format...does anyone have a good suggestion on how to get the movies on the SD-Card?...

If you can install the Plex client onto the tablet, once you're logged in, can't you use Plex to sync whatever you want there (either from within the client or remotely from the web UI on the server)?

You might find a wireless travel hub like this one useful- you can plug a USB drive or SD card into most of them, then use it as a streaming source.

Kurrelgyre wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

So we're leaving on vacation come Saturday, first flight for my 2 girls (2,5 and 4 years old) and first time in a 'foreign language' country since they're aware.

We would thus like to arm ourselves with a tablet filled with their favorite kids shows, for the flight and as a safeguard. I have plenty of movies on a Plex server in MKV format...does anyone have a good suggestion on how to get the movies on the SD-Card?...

If you can install the Plex client onto the tablet, once you're logged in, can't you use Plex to sync whatever you want there (either from within the client or remotely from the web UI on the server)?

Doesn't that require the paid version of Plex?

PurEvil wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

If the SD card can be read by the tablet, you can use something like this, where you plug the SD card into the USB stick, and can read/write to it from Windows, then take it out and it should be readable by the tablet. Used it when I realized my new Raspberry Pi didn't work with the version of NOOBS that came with the old one I broke, when I was setting up my pi-hole.

EDIT: Unless that's what you meant by SD to USB converter, in which case ignore this.

That was my thought too. The last Android tablet I bought could utilize a FAT32 formatted SD card, so I never had any issue just pulling the card out, putting that in an adapter and writing directly to that with my PC. That and I have a handful of these adapters I've accumulated over the years...

Excluding physical connections, I'd probably either use OneDrive or connect via Bluetooth to the Windows10 PC. It'd be a slow transfer, but likely faster than figuring out how to make a physical connection work if drivers are being a pain.

I have one of those dongles, and the drive shows when I connect it. But when I want to enter it, it says that I need to use a valid drive. So my guess is that it's not formatted in FAT32, since I do have parts of apps installed on it as well.

Edit: great success! Uploaded the compressed files to Onedrive, downloaded them to the tablet and then moved them to the SD card. Downloading directly to the SD card is not possible it seems, but hey it works. Thanks everyone.

Two questions:

  1. I've had a paid Pro Flickr account for years but Yahoo seems determined to make it progressively worse as time goes by. I'm looking for a replacement image hosting site. So I need a site, free or paid, that
    • I can back up my photos/images/screenshots to
    • supports albums
    • lets me hot-link from GWJ or reddit or wherever
    • lets me arrange my "home" page layout
    • is reasonably priced
    • gives me lots of space

     

  2. I was using Crashplan's free personal back-up app until they went pay-only. So before I sign up for a paid account with them, does anyone have a recommendation for a different back-up solution? I'm primarily interested in one that creates local back-ups in the event of a drive failure. We have a large network drive these can got to. Cloud storage is not my main concern.

I saw something recently for a very strong cable with a 90-degree bend on the device end of the cable to help prevent breakage, braided kevlar cover, advanced circuitry to prevent "unsupported" messages.. the last cable you'll ever buy or some such nonsense. Now I can't find it or remember the brand name.

The closest I'm finding seems to be Anker cables, but I'm pretty sure it was a different brand.

So my request is for great USB cable recommendations! Anybody have any overwhelming preferences for good, strong, reliable, versatile USB cables?

Dakuna wrote:

So my request is for great USB cable recommendations! Anybody have any overwhelming preferences for good, strong, reliable, versatile USB cables?

I've yet to have an Anker cable fail on me. That includes for use-cases like in my family's cars (where they're constantly being pushed in and out of cable-catchers), and for being carted around in my laptop bag.

I don't buy anything else these days.

Jonman wrote:
Dakuna wrote:

So my request is for great USB cable recommendations! Anybody have any overwhelming preferences for good, strong, reliable, versatile USB cables?

I've yet to have an Anker cable fail on me. That includes for use-cases like in my family's cars (where they're constantly being pushed in and out of cable-catchers), and for being carted around in my laptop bag.

I don't buy anything else these days.

Good to hear! I'm wondering if the 90-degree idea is actually a bad idea, potentially contributing to damaging / degrading the port on the device itself instead of the cable.

You can just get an adapter that is separate from your cable.

My brother's fiancee used Google Maps "share my location" feature to send brother a link to see where she was. Link ended going to my dad's phone as well. How could that happen?

Relevant facts:
1. Fiancee doesn't have dad's contact info on her phone
2. Both fiancee and dad have iPhones.
3. Brother and dad and both on the same Verizon family plan.

LeapingGnome wrote:

You can just get an adapter that is separate from your cable.

Could do, but could be less than optimal.

If the adapter's sh*tty, it could impact the bandwidth of the cable, or reduce the charging speed. All USB cables are not equal, and the adapter is essentially another USB cable in series. Buyer beware.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Two questions:

  1. I've had a paid Pro Flickr account for years but Yahoo seems determined to make it progressively worse as time goes by. I'm looking for a replacement image hosting site. So I need a site, free or paid, that
    • I can back up my photos/images/screenshots to
    • supports albums
    • lets me hot-link from GWJ or reddit or wherever
    • lets me arrange my "home" page layout
    • is reasonably priced
    • gives me lots of space

     

  2. I was using Crashplan's free personal back-up app until they went pay-only. So before I sign up for a paid account with them, does anyone have a recommendation for a different back-up solution? I'm primarily interested in one that creates local back-ups in the event of a drive failure. We have a large network drive these can got to. Cloud storage is not my main concern.

One answer:

Veeam agent for Windows is free and excellent for local backups to USB or network drives. It doesn’t have its own cloud service, although it can be configured to back up to any Veeam cloud provider if you pay for the license and/or provider fees.