Friday, January 6, 2017

Home Security Cameras

I was in the market for some home security cameras. I was going on vacation and wanted to monitor any activity that might happen in my home. After some research I landed on my first product. Through amazon I found the SV3C Full HD 1080P which is a really nice looking POE camera. The setup was relatively easy and at the currrent $49.99 the price is phenomenal. I wanted to say I paid $59.99 when I first bought them. The problem I had was the lack of features. There web interface was so so and there IPhone app wasn't great either.  They also have a wifi version for $45.00 dollars. After a couple days I just wasn't  completely satisfied with the options.

At the same time, my friend was in the market for a security camera as well. He purchased the Reolink IP Security Camera. When he showed me the app I was sold. The price point was $74.99 but wasnt far from what I have wanted to spend. This is not only a 1440p camera but a  POE camera as well. However the web interface and options that come with this camera just from the App I was shown was what sold me. When I was able to get the web interface working on my computer, I was even more impressed with the options.

If your going to attempt to do this on your own, then testing out the Reolink IP Security Camera would be a good low cost way trying a diy camera setup. If your like me an have no way to get Ethernet out side due to brick like on one of the sides of my home. Below is the setup I used to make it work. 

1. Airport Express (Ebay, no need to buy new)

Reolink provides a wireless version for  $99.99 dollars. I went with the POE version because I had an Airport express handy.  Two months later I am very happy, still tinkering with the settings trying to get them just right. This is a great DIY camera for you do it your selfers. The options and features as well as affordability are great. Buying a system like this with the ability to expand as you go just makes it a great option.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Using Lenovo and get this Userdata.dll

Received a new T450 for a user at my day job and machine started to have an Userdata.dll error when logging in and out of the machine. After checking arounf the error was caused by Lenovo Fingerprint Manager . Remove the program and when prompted, restart. From there your all set. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Com 1 taken, not a problem

Had a problem where I could not free up com port. My company uses signature pads and the only way this paticular signature pad works in citrix is to set the local com port to com 1. Well com 1 was not only taken by 1 device, it was take by a 2nd (somehow). This is how I figure out what to do

I ran this as Admin using the CMD Prompt
From Start Menu type cmd into search bar right click on cmd.exe and select run as administrator
at UAC select yes to allow Windows Command Processor Program to make changes.
At the Command prompt type
Then to open device manager type
DEVMGMT.MSC (Followed by enter)
In device Manager select View / Show hidden devices
Expand Ports (COM & LPT)
Hidden ports reserved will be shown with greyed out symbol & associated manufacturer / device type
screen shot device manager ports
To re-hide non present devices in future - from an elevated Command prompt type

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

0x0000006 Error when added network printer

A fix if you come across these error messages when adding a network printer. You may receive an error that says, “Windows cannot connect to the printer. Operation failed with error 0x00000006.”
If you try again you may get an error that says, “Windows cannot connect to the printer. no printers were found.”
no printers
To resolve this issue open regedit & browse to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Providers. Just to be safe make a backup of the Client Side Rendering Print Providers key. Then delete the Client Side Rendering Print Providers key. Close regedit. Go to Services and restart the Print Spooler service. Now try adding the printer again & you should not get an error.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Amazon Prime Now in Cypress, TX

Yesterday I clicked on like I always did only to find they started two hour delivery in my area. Like the amazon junkie I am I ordered a couple things to test it out. So I ordered the most random stuff I could think of. Keep in mind you only get choices through Amazon Prime Now (and have to download a separate app) so you don't have the full options you normally have. I tried to order the new Avengers Age of Ultron Blu Ray but that was not an option. The sections are as follows

Frozen Food
Refrigerated Foods
Pantry Basics
Beverages (didnt find beer)
Gift Ideas
Household Essentials
Personal Care
Home Decor & Accessories
Sports & Fitness
Game Day Must Haves
Outdoor Recreation
Kids & Baby
Pet Central
Movies & Gaming

(Halloween, Seasonal Section)

I ordered a batting Tee for Mac and Oreos. I scheduled the time for delivery (between 6-8) and my packages arrived at 6:43. You have options when scheduling times. I did try to get my order earlier in the day but the time I choose was not available. There is also an option to leave the package without having to sign for it. They do treat the service like pizza delivery and a Tip is suggested (more like mandatory) but I am ok with it. The selection especially for food was really good and more robust thank I would have expected. 

Awesome first experience!! Free Shipping for Prime members as usual and there is also a $20 off your first order of $50 or more so give it a shot. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cutting the Cord part 1

I have recently decided to cut the Cord. I have had cable forever but when I really thing about it, I dont want all the channels. I really started to notice that I would only watch DVR's shows or Live Sports. Who the hell likes commercials. My year of awesome pricing was going away with Uverse so I shopped around. My local cable provider is offering 100 mgbs for 49.99 a month. SOLD. But they added basic cable for free. This wasn't nearly as exciting to me in the beginning but that would all change soon.

My house is a fully operation Plex facility. Meaning if your going to watch Tv in the house, you have the option to watch Plex. If you have never heard of Plex I have been meaning to write an article about it, but I dont think I would ever do it justice. Basically my desktop computer and the Plex Server are the backbones of my home network. Without either, tv viewing (life) in my house would be useless. Plex is the most beautiful home media server ever made. XBMC (another type & original home media server) is great for tinkerers but Plex is out of the box terrific. It allows you to play/stream all your home media content to all you network devices. Even away from home you can stream your Plex media. This includes, Channels (apps) Movies, Tv, Music, & Photos. Calling it an alternative to ITunes would be a downgrade but a good example of what to base it off of.

I tried using over the air options (rabbit ears). NBC & Fox comes in Excellent. However other channels like CBS and ABC wouldn't.  I watch shows on each network so this was not really an option.  After subscribing with my new Internet Provider I did my research. Can I get a cable card with my basic Tv package. During my online registration I noticed the provider offered a Modem & Cable Box. This was an additional monthly fee. If I didn't have my own hardware this was going to be an additional $20 monthly. By the way. ALWAYS ALWAYS by your own modem. Look at your cable bill, If they gave you a modem, your paying a monthly hardware fee. The whole point of cutting the cord is to save on monthly expenses. I was about to go from $150 monthly for cable and internet to just $50 for triple my internet speed and free basic TV. This left me curious. If they offer a cable box, the must offer me a Cable Card.

I contacted my new provider and asked about the cable card. This must have been an abnormal question as I was put on hold. Sure enough, I was entitled to a
M Cable Card with my service. Think of a cable card as your DVR cable box without the box. This is awesome for this reason. Its free and everyone with a cable subscription is entitled to have this. Back in the day you were able to connect your Coaxial cable to the back of your Tv and run the tuner program and you would start getting Tv. This is no longer an option as cable companies have started encrypting (scrambling) the feed.  But the FCC ruled that if you were going to encrypt the feed, you had to give the consumer this option. The downside is you have have to purchase something to get this working.

So I have this cable card but how do I get it to work. There are a few options out there but I decided on an HD Homerun Prime. I could have went with the Ceton InfiTv 6. But I didnt have the need to record/view 6 shows at once. The HD Homerun Prime is a 3 tuner streaming media player. Meaning when you combine the M Cable Card and HD Homerun Prime together, you get three HD Cable boxes anywhere in your home. (and away from your home) I can play all like Tv on a Phones & Tables, Mac & PC's.

As stated earlier, live Tv is basically useless to me unless were talking about sports. If you have a windows 7 or 8.1 computer than you have a DVR application in place and you might not have known it. Windows Media Center is built in on Windows 7 Pro & above. It's one of the best things windows has done. Basically after setup, this will allow you to use Widows Media Center as your DVR and will allow you to stream live tv, view a channel guide and record shows. I save all recordings in a specified folder. I then point that folder to Plex and use Plex to playback all my recordings.

Now, this is basically an article that is going to spawn many more. This wasn't as easy as all of this sounds. I wish I could tell you it was all plug n play. It was not. This is an ongoing process for me and something that took me almost a week and a half to get where I was able to sit down and relax and actually watch Tv. (it has to be perfect) With everything I will be going over in my following articles,  I hope it makes it easier for you. All I will say is, "It was the Cable Cards fault"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Outdoor Audio Tech part 1

Since moving, I now have something I hadnt had since I was in my teens. A backyard.  I find myself spending more and more time out in the backyard as the weather cools off. Even during the summer we would be outside by the pool enjoying the space. I bought, what I think are really good bluetooth spearkers. Turns out it was merely a gateway to what I have come up with now.

TDK Life on Record A33 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker is a really good speaker, and I bought it because it was weather proof and if you live in Texas you know that just because it looks sunny, it doesnt mean its not gonna rain on you. But over these few months, Ive soured on bluetooth technology. Its unstable and buggie at best and I really dont want to have to jump out of the pool to get the music playing again. Yes I could plug my phone into this device using an Aux cable but whats the point of that.

So I looked into other options. Saw this video on youtube. Thanks Mark for shinning a light in this direction because I love the way this turned out. Mark uses a Lepai amp and a Apple Airport Express.
This allowed me to implement a Sonos like option without the hurt to the pocket book, using Apples built in Air Play functionality. If I want to use the computer upstairs in the Gameroom to Airplay Music, I can do that. If I want to use an old IPad, or my IPhone, I can do that as well.

What was next was finding the speakers. I didnt go with the cheapest and I didnt go with the most expensive. If this didnt work as I envisioned this working, I didnt want to invest to much up front. I purchased these beauties, the Yahama Indoor/Outdoor Speakers. They are bigger that anticipated but are way better sounding than anticipated as well. I needed Amazon Basics Speakerwire as well as I previously did not have any. To finish it off I purchased the Wiremold white Cordmate Kit. I bought the kit because I was not going run cables through my walls, and wanted to conceal them as neatly as possible.

The installation took no time at all, and this is coming from a very novice handyman. I can put Ikea stuff together, but I have friends and family help me with anything more difficult. After setting it up the Yamaha speakers sound great and carry a long way. The amp puts out a better than expected quality, however I am not an Audiophile so I wouldnt be the best person to ask. The Airport Express connected to the amp and plays flawlessly I really enjoy the ability to play music over airplay and will be going over other functions of Airplay in upcoming blogs.

Upsides. AIRPLAY, need I say more. Music play back to any room in your house that you have a connected AIPLAY capable device. Multi Room playback. Yes you can rock this just like Sonos. Its awesome, and you can control the volume for individual locations. PRICE. Huge factor for me, its cheap compared Sonos and comparable devices. Expand-ability, you can buy Airplay Enabled speakers or receiver like the Denon Avr. Also Apple Tv (2nd gen and higher can Airplay as well)

Downsides. While its like Sonos, its clearly not. I cant have another person control the music or play something they want, unless connected to my network. Also another user cannot play music when I am connected to the airplay device I am playing to. Meaning I have to disconnect from the session before that person can play the music. Technically adventurous capable people are needed. By no means is this a difficult install, infact it basically plug and play for the most part, but its not as easy as the Sonos is.

In Part two I will discuss the my second outdoor project. In Texas your garage technically is an extension of your outdoor space, just like your backyard patio.

Regardless of how you want to set up your speakers & system, adding outdoor audio is a fun project that pays off for months and years in the end.  Add a Tv into the mix and you will be able to enjoy endless hours of outdoor family and friends time outdoors.

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