Browsing the tech support category

Bose 5 soundbar doesn’t work with my TV

I have a pretty new TV, and just got a Bose Soundbar.  Simply plugging it in didn’t work (as, I would have expected).

The solution: there was a setting on my TV for “audio” and I had to change the source of it!

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Upgrading Amazon Kindle: USB Error

My mom had an older Amazon Kindle that “had” to be upgraded (or else it would stop working, per an email from Amazon).

The instructions were to plug the Kindle in, and then go to settings >> WiFi >> upgrade (something like that).  The problem was, everyone we plugged the Kindle in, it went immediately to the screen that said “Your Kindle is now acting as a USB drive” – and we couldn’t get to the “settings” screen.

The solution: plug the Kindle in the wall! Not being plugged into a computer (what we were doing), it wouldn’t be able to act as a USB drive.

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Web form doesn’t work when including single apostrophe to escape data

I had a coworker who tried to “escape” data by putting in a single quote, as you would do in MS Excel.  However they were using a web app I made, and adding in the extra single quote in there .  After all, to them,  it’s the same database: input data in via a web app or use MS Excel to manipulate the data and import it into the same database via MS Access.

Lesson learned: “tricks” that your not-as-experienced-users come across (ex. “escape data with a single quote”) may get confusing, and wind up interrupting data from other application usages.  When troubleshooting, take that into consideration (as, maybe they manually did something thinking it would help alleviate an issue… “I did it on the web app because that’s what I do in Excel”).

 

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Unusually slow to copy files

I had a coworker with a corrupt MS Access database. Doing the “compact and repair” ultimately solved the issue. To start with the troubleshooting, I had wanted to make my own backup of the file before doing anything to it, so I simply did a copy/paste of the file into a different folder. But it was taking a long time to do. The dialog box said it was “discovering items” to copy. I went to a different coworker’s computer, and was able to copy/paste the database immediately. Something must have been wrong with this one particular computer that was trying to get into the MS Access database.

I had my coworker restart her computer, and then I even did Ctrl + Alt + Del to ensure there weren’t any other miscellaneous programs running that could be taking up unnecessary memory.

The problem was that, unknown to any of us, that her computer was set up to be connected to our next work over WiFi, and NOT over the Ethernet cable. The WiFi kept losing signal (due to our location in the building). Once the computer was hard-wired to the network, there weren’t any issues.

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Why some monitors have 2 cables (one being USB)

A coworker got a new monitor, and there were two wires that connected to the computer.  One was for the monitor, and one was for a USB.  I didn’t know why two were needed; couldn’t they just use one?  If so, why not go with the USB one (only)?  It was explained to me that:

This monitor had USB ports along the side of it (so you could plug in a flash drive, etc.).  With certain devices (ex. flash drives over 128GB) they need extra power.  The USB cord that went from the monitor to the computer was NOT for the picture on the monitor, but rather to draw extra power from the computer to power the USB port for devices that needed the extra power.

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Deleted vs corrupt file

At work, I had a MS Access database file that was needed to run a report.  There were some queries set up that I just ran, without knowing what they were doing.  The documentation for this procedure instructed the user to open the database, run the query, and export the contents to Excel (simple enough, right?).

In the attempt for a digital clean-up, I moved many files to an “archive” folder, rather than just deleting them.  Then after a many months of non-use, I deleted the archive folder.

One issue I ran into was that the official documentation for the report relied on the MS Access database that was found in the archived folder.  So after I deleted the file, we couldn’t run the procedure.  We had our instructions typed up in a MS Word document, and there was a hyperlink to the MS Access database, with a description like “click here,” instead of the path to the database.

First lesson learned: when providing a link to another file in documentation, list the path rather than “click here to go to the file.”  If it was printed out, I would have seen the folder name and knew to move the file elsewhere (and update the documentation).

After I deleted the file, and we were scrambling to reproduce the report, we realized that we couldn’t.  We needed the file back.  Luckily my company has the ability to retrieve backups of deleted files, but there was a time delay. It was going to be embarrassing to tell the customer that “I deleted the database needed to extract the report.”  I’m not a big proponent on lying- at all- but a coworker suggested I tell the customer “the file became corrupt so we’re trying to get a backup.”  It’s the same end-state, where the file is unretrieveable; it’s just the reason – which shouldn’t matter to the customer- changed.  Not sure if I agree with that, but that could be the second lesson learned from this experience.

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Review of Samsung Smart TV

I bought a new Samsung Smart TV.  The reason I got a “smart” TV is because I went the “cord-cutting” route and cancelled my cable. I have Netflix and Hulu and some other streaming services, which I rely on for content.

I have a Roku 3 (for my non-smart TV) and really like it.  But there’s an extra remote (the remote to turn the TV on, and a remote for the Roku).  I figured I could pay the extra money for a “smart” TV to have only one remote.  I thought it’d be more convenient (which, it is!).

The problem is though that for the Samsung Smart TV, it takes a couple of minutes to boot up. I have to time it such that when I want to watch a TV show, I need to power-on the TV a minute or two ahead of time.  And once it is turned on, it takes (slightly) longer to actually load the app (Netflix, Hulu, etc.).

It doesn’t sound like a big deal – and it isn’t – but when you want to watch TV, you might be impatient.  The Roku connects instantly (over WiFi), whereas the Smart TV isn’t instant.

Perhaps if I bothered with the “system update” on the TV (which I don’t always get prompted for), it would be less of an issue.  But I think for my next TV, I’ll buy another non-Smart (“dumb”) one and buy another Roku.

#firstworldproblems

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sandisk cruzer glide a46 vs b35

I needed to get a new/another USB Flash (“thumb”) drive.  I’ve had luck with the SanDisk brand, so I wanted to stick with them.  And I knew the size (in GB) that I wanted.  It was easy enough to search, and filter, on Amazon.

The problem came where I found two of the exact same types (SanDisk Cruzer Glide – I happen to be looking at the 128GB but that’s irrelevant).  There were two “models” – an A46 and a B35 – but it was about a $15 difference!  I clicked on the descriptions to see if I could figure out “why,” but no real luck.  The cheaper one seemed to have a built-in password-protection option that I didn’t see on the other one, but that couldn’t be it.

Of course I searched for it, and didn’t find anything.  Which is why I’m posting this: I believe there is no difference.  I found the official SanDisk Cruzer Glide site and realized that these Product Numbers only indicated the country.  I’m sure a Flash drive in an American computer would work just as well in a Canadian one though!

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How to skip ads on Hulu Plus using Roku

Disclaimer: this is a trick I’ve noticed that usually works.  It’s not an official way to skip ads and not guaranteed to work.
When I watch a show on Hulu Plus, using my Roku 3, I set the remote down, and leave it.  As soon as it’s about to go to a commercial, and the screen goes black, I lift up the remote.  I can see the green light flash on the remote to indicate that there was movement.
The advertisements mysteriously disappear, and the show resumes.  I immediately put down the remote, and don’t touch it again, until the next commercial /black screen appears.

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Easily share screenshots

I use the server www.droplr.com to easily share screenshots.  You might think it’s not a big deal, but this tool is surprisingly handy!

I setup a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Alt + some letter), and then the program activates.  You draw a window around the part you want to take a screen shot of.  Then it automatically uploads that image (to their site… but really, it’s Amazon Web Service), and you get a super short URL that’s automatically copied to your clipboard.  So all you have to do is “paste” (as, it’s already copied) into the email / FB / etc.

The one downside: the URL that you get is like drp.lr/blahblahblahblah – so I’ve had people unsure they want to click the link, because it looks suspicious.  But if you upgrade to the “Pro” account, you can get a custom domain.

I find this so useful, that I DID sign up for the “Pro” account.  You can’t have it in a subdirectory but you CAN have it as a subdomain.  For example:

http://screenshots.stevesohcot.com/VMxx

I think it’s pretty useful.  Try out the free trial.  If you like it, please use my droplr referral link so that we can both get a discount.

 

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