Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm back (again) but in Houston!! Review of Aereo streaming local tv service

In January I sold the house in San Diego and moved out to Houston where I had a nice relaxing I.T. job waiting for me. The only downsides besides moving away from friends and family is that I'm traveling twice as far and traffic is twice as terrible. ( I wont mention the weather issue) But the people are way more engaging and generally nicer. But this is not an update on me just letting you know why I haven't written in so long. 

Since I've moved to Houston, I have essentially been living TVless. Now that I'm settled and in a routine I wanted to address this. I have been staying with a friend and I didn't want to add to his cable bill and get a box. Some might ask, why don't you just torrent your shows. The WiFi in the house isn't the greatest and speed isn't a concern to my friend, so I don't want to bog down his network with constant streaming or downloading. (And I would never torrent) 

In San Diego I had read about a service called Aereo. It sounded like a great idea. Basic cable that you can get on your smart device. Another step closer to cutting the chord. However it didn't have enough channels for me to consider it a viable option. Since I'm now in a place where I have 20 or so days between my friends house and escrow closing on my house. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give Aereo a try. 

Upsides so far
1. The setup process is simple. However you need a credit/debit card that has a local billing address tied to it to complete registration and initial billing process.
2. DVR to record shows
3. Aereo probably offers the best web DVR setup I've used. Its much simpler and more responsive than Uverse of Cox Cables online interface. 
4. You can access live video from your web browser via phone or computer
5.1 month trial/test period (which is perfect for my needs)
6. Price 8.99 monthly 
7. Smooth 4g LTE Playback (smart device)
8. Smooth Wifi Playback (pc & smart device)

Downsides so far
1. Limited amount of channels (but I knew that going in) and its really not a downside but I would kick cable if they offered more. 
2. No App for smart device
3. Having to use a card located with a viable zip (that is how they keep subscription local)
4. One DVR channel at a time. (You pay extra for an additional channel for simultaneous DVRing)

As you can see the positives out weigh the negatives, for the cord cutting people this service can be a great alternative especially during football season. You would only have to find different options for Monday and Thursday night football. I'm definitely in the early stages of using Aereo so if I find any issues along the way I will make sure to post an update. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I have multiple email accounts but Mac Outlook 2011 only lets me have one out of office ;(

If your like me, you have multiple email accounts. However if you want to use outlooks out of office assistant, you can only use it for one particular email account.

This is how I managed to get around this annoying issue.

Click on the Mail, towards the bottom left of your Outlook
Then Click the organize tab towards the top
Choose Rules, once the drop down appears click Edit Rules

Then choose the particular email type.  For example Exchange, Pop, IMAP

Edit the Rule Name with whatever you want. Example “Vacation Message”



Click the Reply Text button in the middle and edit your out of office message.

Then hit ok and send a test email.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Old Macbook rebuild!

So I was asked to wipe and reinstall Snow Leopard on an old (white) Macbook. I was tasked to making sure it was wiped because of all the crude emails that were sent to the machine, and since it was on its way to a new home for a pre-teen I had to make sure the crude emails weren't ever going to see the light of day again.

So here is what I did.

Start up the mac book and hold down C
This will take what seems like a couple minutes but you will boot into a recovery screen.
Choose US if your in the united states or your appropriate country.
Do not click next. If you do go back or start over

From there Choose Disc Utility. This is a tab at the top of the screen.

From there choose the hard drive

Click on the erase button

Then choose security options.

From there choose what secure erase option your are comfortable with.

Since I had plenty of time to get this done and a relatively small hard drive, I choose the 7-Pass Erase Option.

Once you choose your option follow the next prompt and proceed. In my case this took 4-5 hours.

Once the erase process is completed, put in Snow Leopard disc

Follow the prompts and install. With the information that was needed and installation of the OS. The process took 30-45 minutes.

From there you will have a clean OS. For this user I will recommend not updating to the newer OS versions as they will only slow down this older machine even more. They will be able to do the basics on it and you cant beat a free laptop!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What I use to keep my PC from the sickness!

So recently, I have been getting a lot of questions about virus removal. Since we live in a world were people click on random sites, popups and emails that they have no idear who there from, I thought I would write an article

So I thought I would write an article on how I "try" cleans infected computers.

First I start with downloading what I need.
I go to http://ninite.com/
I'm assuming since you have a virus your a windows user.
Find the area called Security (should be in bold)
From there click (check) next the following. Did I mention there free?
:Essentials
:Malwarebytes
:Spybot 2

From there click on the Get Installer
Depending on your browser, accept/run and let the programs install.

If you are using Norton Antivirus, you probably will be asked if you want to uninstall. I have Norton and would uninstall in a heart beat. However if you just paid to renew your subscription, Stop the installation and only install Spybot 2 and Malware bytes
From there after all three are installed

Once installation has complete, Microsoft Security essentials will update and start a quick scan on its own.
Following Completion, start Walware bytes. If your database is out of date, you will get a pop up telling you to update.
The update should take seconds
After the update is completed, Perform a full scan.
This can take some time.

After the scan is complete you will see a screen asking you to view the infections. Make sure you remove any infections you find by click the check mark next to them and then click the remove button.

Now on to spybot 2..
Make sure not to walk away because spybot needs more manual attention
As a good practice, Updating should be the first thing you do.
Click update two or three times. Once it is updated, the last time you try and update will be super quick
Click Immunization
Choose Full Immunization
Then Choose Apply Immunization
After scan complete close out
Click on system scan
Start Scan
A Pop up shows "Clean Temp items" I always click yes
Once scan has completed, click show scan results
Choose Fix Selected

This should remove any malware or virus issues found.

Now if your unable to download and install anything try booting to safe mode. Depending on your computer maker there can be a different button to tap at startup
For instance click on f12 continuously at startup.
You will have these options
:Safe Mode
:Safe Mode with Networking
:Safe Mode with Command Prompt
:Enable VGA mode
:Last Known Good Configuration
:Directory Service Restore Mode
:Debugging Mode
:Enable Boot Logging
:Start Windows Normally

Try and login using safe mode with networking

Then follow the steps above.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How I get the most of my iPad 1

If your like me,your house is getting smarter. WeMo light control, Nest thermostat and soon Nest Protect, and iVideon home surveillance system. As my home gets smarter your gonna need a device that can control your home when your home. While I can do this with my Smart Phone, the battery life really doesn't allow me the multitasking between browsing, email and monitoring all my smart devices. Why buy a new IPad for this. Why not use an original iPad 1 for all of these things

Here is what I use my Original iPad for.

1. Nest- I control my home thermometer with my iPad. When the summer months hit and it gets warm, I dont always want my Nest kicking on the air condition. While you can program the nest to whatever temp you want. Sometimes you wanna kick on the AC while your cooking and dont want to walk the 10 steps to the device while the stove is on.

2. WeMo- Sometimes I want those lights to shut off and I don't want to get out of bed to do it. With a couple taps, the lighting in your house can easily shut off without you having to move from that comfy spot in your bed.

3. iVideon - Monitor the other rooms in your house. This allows you to monitor your webcams or old reused anroid devices with this app. Monitor your babies room during the day or have a low cost surveillance system with this app and your iPad.

4. Craftsman Assurelink Garage Door Opener - Open your garage door with this app. You ask why would I use this? If its late at night, and you think you forgot to close the garage door. Check the app to see if you left it open instead of gettin out of bed

5. BOT Home Automation - See and talk to visitors with this device and an app

6. Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote - I have done a review on this product, and I cant tell you how much I really love this product. If you misplace your phone, the iPad makes for a fantastic backup!

So this is just a sample of what you can use an original iPad for. An old iPad will will do the trick and works great managing all your smart devices. I would love to hear what you guys use your old hardware for!

Extras

AirServer - Not only do your have the ability to airplay to an apple tv, but with this you can Airplay to a PC or Mac Mini. For me this is huge, you can push youtube videos to your Mac Mini/HTPC without ever picking up a keyboard.

Owletcare - Have yet to use this, however this is a fantastic idea. I know I was paranoid a time or two about SIDS.. If there is a device that can help me sleep a little better knowing my little girl is breathing, than it would be worth a look

Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter - Attach this to your sound system and play Pandora or Spotify over Bluetooth.

Some video players

VLC player

Belkin @Tv

Air Video

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ultraviolet and Cinemanow movies freebie

Always on the look out for that which is free & on the first day of our government shutdown what can be better than getting 10 free digital movies? Click on this link. Sign up for a free account unless your already a member of CinemaNow or Ultraviolet and choose 10 flicks. They're older flicks but who can say no to Big Trouble in Little China?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Too many remotes?? Get a Universal Remote already!

A few years ago, I realized I hated remotes. I was always programming cable remotes for myself and my parents so they would pair with the Tv. Easy enough. Well what about that sound system? Ok no problem. What about the DVD player.. Hmmmm Ok that should work. However what about the apple tv. What about the roku? What about the 360? What about the PS3? The devices kept mounting and so did all the remotes you needed to control all the devices. This just wasnt working for me especially because the cable companys remote didnt have all the button functions that I needed for all those devices. I still cant find the remote that came with my Sound system!

I started doing some research and this lead me to Logitech. Most, if not all of there remotes got great reviews. It seemed like this was the route I was going to head down so I jumped in head first and went for what I thought was the best.

My 1st Logitech Harmony Remote was the Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote with Color Touch Screen. $329.99. It's touch screen and although not iPhone responsive, its good enough. It was amazing to see all your devices you had set in an activity turn on with a single push of a button. The software was a pain to install at first and if I remember correctly, I wasn't getting it to work right away, however it quickly became a breeze. You do have to create a login and password which will save all your remotes activities and devices which is handy. (This is not the same setup as the myharmony.com that comes with newer devices)
This device was wonderful for 3-4 1/2 years. Then the problems started. The right side of the screen started to become non responsive. Once I got that fixed with re calibration, the sound button started going off by itself. Volume would go up and down by itself. I still haven't given up on this guy because I truly love it and am hoping to find a forum to help with my latest issues. I will say I got my money out of it for sure. The rechargeable battery still works along with the docking station. My favorite feature was the channel favorites. Basically you hit one button instead of remembering which channel number to go to. Its like your contact list on your phone. Do you even know any of your contacts phone numbers. Its awesome! I can go on and on about this one remote. One big downside to it was, that people were intimidated by it. When I had people over they felt like they would break it. Its different because its square.


My 2nd was the Logitech 915-000144 Harmony Link - Black $99.99
I wanted a universal remote for my bedroom. I was getting my Uverse through my Xbox and with the addition of my soundbar, that was one to many remotes in the master bedroom. However this technology was not ready yet. This device shook my confidence in Logitech a bit. It just didn't work. The responsiveness that I got from the Harmony 1100 wasn't there at all. I would have to keep hitting buttons over and over again to get the activity to work. Not to mention the configuration was for the most part, manual. I had to always figure out were certain buttons were and it was just inefficient. I ended up giving it to my parents who never actually used it.

3rd was the Logitech Harmony 650 Remote Control (Silver) $67.11
This simple remote brought back the faith in the Harmony Remote brand. With the web setup and easy setup and use, this is just a nice remote. For 60 bucks it does the trick. You are limited by activities and devices but you get a nice color LCD (non touch) and it works as a plain old remote. The intimidation factor is not there because it looks and feels like a normal remote. Its easily the best use of $60 bucks I spent this year! 


4th and most recent Logitech 915-000201 Harmony Ultimate Remote with Customizable Touch Screen and Closed Cabinet RF Control - Black $337.31
The latest edition to my house. This was the replacement to my poor Harmony 1100. Not only do I love this remote, I love love love love this remote. First it looks like a remote. The LCD screen is super responsive. The button setup takes some manual adjusting but works flawlessly after setup. My biggest issue with the Harmony 1100 was the manual setup of favorites. Basically I had to manually find the channels and icons of the stations and manually input them into my favorites. Then sync the device so they would be there.This version asked me who my cable provider was and downloaded the stations. I just had to go and star the stations I wanted on my favorites. It even gave me the option of standard and HD channels. After that they appeared on my lcd screen with the channels icons. It makes a huge difference for me and was always worth the effort to setup but this was so much better. This remote came with Harmony Smart Control. Basically this is the new and improved version of Harmony Link. Let me tell you this is worth the price of admission. They just made the device so much better, including two RF adapters. When I changed channels, it is super responsive. Because you have to be on the same network to use this app I was able to change channels from a different room. Turn all the devices on and off from another room. Basically you can hide and control all your devices with ease. The Harmony 1100 will always be a sentimental favorite, but there is no denying how terrific this entire setup is.

Upcoming 5th (Near Future) Logitech 915-000194 Harmony Smart Control with Smartphone App and Simple Remote - Black $99.99
Because I love my experience with the Harnony Ultimate Remote setup, I will be buying this Harmony Smart Control setup. I have an original iPad 1, that I can and will use as my remote for this setup. Because of how well this device responds to the actions, I might never buy another traditional remote again.

In short, I've had a great deal of success with these remotes. Don't get me wrong, I've had my issues, like after 3-4 years the Harmony 1100 steadily started to die. For over 300 dollars, I was hoping I would have it longer. The 650's initial installation was a pain for sure and I wanted to take it back. The link was just terrible. During setup of the Ultimate I lost connectivity and had to restart the hub. Its not perfect, but pretty darn close. 99 percent of the time (after installation and setup) its terrific. The bumps in the road are nothing compared to outstanding performance and reliability that these remotes provide. Not to mention the favorites and the ability to turn on and off with one button on one remote. Check these out you wont be disappointed!!

 
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