Monday, March 23, 2015

Verizon Fios Quantum not getting Syfy - Fixed

I'm an early adopter of technology.  So when Philadelphia Verizon offered their new Verizon Fios Quantum service, which allows for up to 6 simultaneous tunes/recordings, I jumped on board quickly.  But, we've had it about a year now, and have had nothing but problems.   I've had at least 6 calls into tech support, and have unplugged/rebooted the boxes at least 30 times.   We had 3, yes THREE separate visits from tech support, and not until the very last guy did any of them have any idea about the fios quantum system.  In fact, the second tech I had out flat out told me that he had 2 years until retirement and didn't want to learn any of this crap.  But I digress.  Let me tell you how everything ultimately got resolved.

We've had "digital choppyness" which looks like artifacting or sound loss on several channels since the day the system got installed.   Some days the channels were better than others, and sometimes they flat out did not work and we'd get a message similar to "This channel is not available".  The many calls to Verizon resulted in lots of unplugging and plugging back in.  A tech that installed a booster (even though the signal is not analog) and a swap of both equipment and routers.  Long story short, the splitters are MOST DEFINITELY the problem.

So, I've reran cable, put new ends on, and put a booster in place, yet I still was not able to get channels 680, 685, 780 and a few others.  Most recently Syfy, FXX and the DisneyHD channel flat out did not work.     So, ultimately, here is what I found out.  The new Verizon Fios Quantum (which is a VMS system) is NOT COMPATIBLE with the splitters that have been installed by Verizon and Comcast for the last 20 years.  Those splitters are only good up 1ghz.  The new system operates up to 1.2ghz (give or take).  Basically, what is happening is that channels that are broadcast over the 1ghz frequency over the cable can be blocked by the old splitters.  Therefore, your VMS (dvr) cannot get the channel properly and cannot send it out to your media clients.

Here is the kicker.   According to the tech that visited me last (the only one that knows what he is doing), Verizon knows about this.  They are hoping people don't complain about the lost channels.  The ones that do, well they are told that the wiring is bad and those customers are charged to replace the splitters.  

While I understand business and profits, I think this is dishonest.  Minimally, as part of the "upgrade" to Quantum, Verizon should make it clear to their customers that any coax splitter in their house will likely need to be replaced.  

So, if you are getting partially scrambled signal on channels 685, 780 on Fios, chances are it is the splitters in your house are not of the right frequency.   This splitter (or any that is greater than 1.5ghz) should work to fix your problem.   Keep in mind, you likely have MULTIPLE splitters between the ONT (the main white box they install) and your VMS (the largest quantum black box).   The splitters up to your router should not matter.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Perkasie Music Teacher, Flute and Piano

Music Instructor in Perkasie, PA

I don't think I've plugged anyone lately, so here goes.
If you are looking for the best flute teacher or piano instructor in Perkasie, Souderton, Quakertown and the Bucks County vicinity, look no further than Michelle Cosgrove of Cosgrove Studios.

The Michelle Cosgrove Flute and Piano Studio is a private in-home Flute and Piano Music lessons studio based in Perkasie, Bucks County.
She is an accomplished musician, in Flute, Baroque Flute, Piano, Keyboard and vocals.  With a Bachelor's from Trenton State and Master's from West Chester, she also has the formal education to back up her performance expertise.  

She, and her colleauges are also available for performances and events (weddings, bat/bar mitzvah, etc.)

Visit her site:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Upgrade Ram in ReadyNas 516 NAS RN516

I recently bought a ReadyNas 516 NAS device (RN516) to support a VMcluster as well as to act as a Plex Server.   After spending a ton of time researching, and trying to do a make vs. buy analysis, I was convinced (only slightly) that the ReadyNas 516 was the way to go.  However, while the specs vs. price of the Netgear device are compelling, the 4MB RAM seemed a bit small for my needs.  Fortunately, I read on several forums that people have had great success upgrading the RAM to 16GB from the paltry 4MB it came with.
So after a little research, I learned that people where having success with 8GB Crucial 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3L memory; which is Unbuffered, ECC, non-registered RAM.   I also learned that this device, despite the specs on Netgear's site, actually has 2 memory slots, allowing you to upgrade to 16GB, with little effort.
Well, after I got my parts in, I realized it was a little more than a small effort, because the RAM slots are not easy to get to.  I read some helpful descriptions on one forum, but no one posted pictures of the process.  I figured I would here.
Below is the instructions for adding memory to a ReadyNAS 516 NAS as well as pictures of the inside of a dissasembled RN516 NAS.  Please note, adding Ram WILL void you warranty.

1.) Here is the RN516 box with the outer case removed.  If you can't figure out how to remove the case, you probably should not proceed any further with this attempt.  7 screws on the back of the of the unit and slide the case backwards to remove.

 Random pictures of the inside of a Readynas 516

2.) Now, while still in an upright position, spin it around so the metal backplane is towards you.  Remove the 4 nut/screws in the corners of the backplane.  Mine were black.  The picture below shows them removed.
 3.) Now, lay the device down so that the open side (side of drive carriage) is on the table, and spin the device so that its face face you.  Using a small prying device, carefully lift the front of the unit open.  Note, this is NOT on hinges, so be careful not to bend anything!

4.) Now, VERY carefully, you have to reach your tiny hands in there and disconnect the old 4MB chip and (the hard part) insert two new 8GB trips, starting with the center location slot first.  This is a bit hard to do, as gravity and small spaces are working against you.
5.) And,  you're done.  Carefully put it all back together.

In this article:
Pictures of inside of ReadyNas 516
Netgear ReadyNas 516
Crucial 2 x 8GB Ram (16 GB Kit)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Car Seat for Infiniti G37 & Booster Seat for G37

I have an Infiniti 2009 G37XS sedan and a 3 year old. Unfortunately, as you've probably already learned, the backseat in the infiniti g37 and g35 sedans are not very friendly with child carseats and booster seats. Not only is the back a bit cramped (because the booster seat hits the back of the driver or passenger front seats) but there is another problem because the G37 does not have detachable rear headrests. Worse, the headrests stick out a bit from the back, which causes child carseats and toddler booster seats with high-backs to be pushed forward and not flush with the back of the rear car seat.

(more info below)

 Shop: Inexpensive High Back Car Booster Seat for Infiniti G37
Read my review for a good coffee mug to fit a 2009 Infiniti g37

Purely by dumb luck, the first large booster seat that I purchased turned out to be a perfect fit for the Infiniti G37 sedan. I purchased the The First Years True Fit Recline Convertible Car Seat and it fit perfectly in the back seat of the Infiniti G37Xs sedan. This not only fits back in the back with the drivers seat slightly reclined and all the way in the rear position, but the head supports are indented in so that they are not impacted by the non-removable headrests of the rear seats in the G37. The model I have is the True Fit C630, but it looks like any true fit car seat should fit a late generation g35, or g37 in the forward facing direction.
As you can see, there is not a ton of leg room, especially if your 2 year old or 3 year old is tall, like mine.  However, this is the driver's seat in the fully extended rear position and a slight recline.  My kid's legs barely fit, but they do fit.  Shorter drivers probably don't have to worry as much.  Or, sit the child on the passenger side of your G35 or G37.    One interesting note, I recently had a 2011 loaner G37 (not the sport model) and the front where much thicker than my 2009 sport model.  It ate up some additional leg room for the child.  
Not sure if that is all 2011 models or any model that does not have the sport package.

Search Queries:

 Perfect Fit Car Seat for 2008-2009 G37
 Child's Booster Seat for 2006-2007 G35 
 Car Seat installation in Infiniti G37
 What car seat fits in an infiniti G37
 Installing Child's Seat forward facing in Infiniti G37

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heater Repairman in Doylestown and Chalfont Area

I just finished making some modifications to the website of a really good inexpensive heater and air conditioning repair company in Doylestown Pa.  Check it out. BucksMont Heating and Air Conditioning Specialists, Acker Heating and Cooling

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cheap small keyboard for Samsung ES8000 Smart Hub Tv

I have a Samsung 65ES8000 LED TV with Samsung's Smart Hub and was looking for a compact, yet inexpensive qwerty keyboard/remote so that I could use the web browser with more speed.
I was originally looking at the Samsung RMC-QTD1, which I knew would work on the Samsung es8000 and es7500 smart tvs, but I didn't want to spend over $100 for a remote that I would barely every use.

So I took a gamble and bought the Favi SmartStick Keyboard for about $30.  The Favi qwerty keyboard was specifically designed to work with Favi Smartstick mini computers (that plug into the hdmi port of a tv), but I thought it should work for the Samsung TV running Smart Hub.
Long story short, it works just fine.   Some of the apps do not recognize the keyboard, but the important one, the web browser, recognizes both the keystrikes, and mouse action and mouse clicks. Simple plug the small usb adapter into the Samsung Smart Tv's usb port (in the back) and the TV automatically recognized the keyboard. No configuration or software to install, truly plug and play.

The keyboard works pretty well, but sometimes the touchpad is a bit slow to navigate the cursor around.  The touchpad also supports tapping as a mouse click.  Overall, the Favi Keyboard was a great buy for about $30, as a cheap alternative to the samsung qwerty remote for a Samsung smart hub tv.

For searchers:
Is the FAVI Smartstick compatible with Samsung Smart TV
Cheap mini keyboard for Samsung ES8000 TV
Cheap small keyboard for Samsung ES7000 TV

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cheap Wireless HDMI Solution

This is a brief review of an awesome wireless HDMI alternative that we use.

My company recently moved into a new facility and at the same time we decided to replace our old projectors with LED tvs in our meeting rooms. However, we did not have a huge budget. We wanted something that looked and functioned well, but did not have thousands and thousands of dollars to spend on it. We settled on 65" Vizio TVs that were on sale for less than $1,000 at BestBuy. But now we had a bigger problem. We had two very large meeting rooms and a constant demand for our consultants to connect their laptops to the presentation screen to show the group what was on their monitor.

In the past, we had a separate laptop dock that they could plug into, and VGA or HDMI cable going to the project that was sitting on the table. Obviously, that was not going to work anymore, as the tv is about 15 feet from the conference room table, AND we didn't want an unsightly cord hanging off of the TV.

 So, I started looking at wireless HDMI solutions. First off, they were pricey, averaging $150 to $200. Secondly, they only allow one person to connect to the tv display at a time. Third, the biggest problem we ran into is that not all laptops have an HDMI port on it. So, how do you go about wirelessly projecting a signal from your laptop to a tv, WITHOUT using Plex, apps or tons of adapters and plugs?

Well, we found the answer to cheap wireless video streaming from a laptop to a tv. Its a simple box, created by a company I never heard of before called IPEVO. The box, called the IPEVO HD WPS which stands for IPEVO High Definition Wireless Presentation System, is a simple device that looks just like a router. In fact, it actually is a router, with a bunch more capabilities.

Basically, this little box, connects up behind your tv via HDMI or VGA (and 1/8" audio) and plugs into the outlet. It then creates a wireless access point that you can connect directly to from any laptop. Then, you install a very lightweight software client on your laptop, and boom, you can instantly project your screen and audio on your display wirelessly. It works very well, in fact, I was able to stream Netflix and youtube with very very little loss of video quality.

 But, let's say you don't want to connect to another router (we didn't), no problem!  The device can alternatively connect to your existing network through wifi, or through the included RJ45 network jack.   So, my staff, who is already on my building's wifi, can simply launch their software on their pc and from anywhere in the building start sharing their screen.  In fact, 4 people at once can share their screens in a four way split screen.

We've now had three of these units running on our network for a couple of months, and they are working out perfectly.  Even visitors can quickly through their presentations up on our tv's wirelessly without worrying about dongles, ports, adapters and cords to trip over.

When I originally discovered the  IPEVO HD WPS,I actually found a product from Blackbox that did all the same things, but did not have an HDMI port.  Worse, it was twice the price.  As of this writing, the IPEVO wireless video system is $199.00, I think its a steal.   What is odd is that the screenshots I've found of the blackbox unit look to be identical to the firmware on my IPEVO, making me think they are manufactured by the same company.

So, if you are looking for a great way to share multiple laptop screens at once on a tv or projector.  Or you want wireless HDMI and wireless VGA but don't want to deal with adapters, the IPEVO HD WPS is the solution for you.

for searchers:
how can i display my laptop wirelessly
how to share the screens of multiple laptops at once
guest presentation system
cheap hdmi wireless
wireless vga adapters
cheap wireless video solution
business wireless video solutions