Ring Video Doorbell 2

Standard

Within the past couple of months I purchased two Ring video devices to monitor a property. The first device I decided to get was the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

This device can replace an existing doorbell or be installed where there isn’t one. It provides video and audio recording and can be used to record motion events and interact with someone at your door, live and remotely, from a devices using the Ring app, which works on iOS, Android, Mac OS and Windows.

Continue reading

Game Streaming from an Xbox One to a MacBook Air (11 inch, mid-2013) using Windows 10 (Boot Camp)

Standard

Xbox-One-Streaming-01

The Short Version: I was able to successfully use Xbox One Game Streaming using Windows 10 via Boot Camp (OS X El Capitan) on my MacBook Air (11 inch, mid-2013) with 8 GBs of RAM and the Medium quality setting with only minor audio lag and no noticeable video lag.

Continue reading

Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Standard

USB-Ethernet-USB2-E1000

Several months ago I lost some network ports on different devices due to a power surge from a nearby lightning strike. Unfortunately, one of the devices that took a hit was the ASUS system I’m using for managing home automation. After the surge I configured the system to use wifi but it was struggling to keep up with network traffic (the system does more than just manage my home automation setup).

After I while I decided to purchase a Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. It’s worked great ever since and as far as I can tell I haven’t had any new problems with the system (and bandwidth has clearly improved over the wifi connection). The device retails from Amazon for about $25.

Toshiba Blu-ray Player (BDK33)

Standard

Toshiba-Blu-Ray-01Toshiba-Blu-Ray-02

Last weekend I made a couple of purchases for the living room, which I’ve been planning for a while. One of these purchases was a Toshiba Blu-ray Player (BDK33). We’ve been able to watch Blu-ray movies on the PS3, but it’s in a different room and I’ve been wanting to be able to also watch Blu-rays in the living room (the other room has a larger television but it’s currently lacking comfortable furniture).

I looked at several different models in Best Buy and Target. I didn’t bother with checking Wal-Mart this time. I was surprised to find a real deal in Best Buy. It’s rare that they have anything, aside from movies, that I would purchase there.

It only costs $59.

I considered it a good deal because it has wifi capability built-in (unlike many that are “wifi ready”, meaning you’ll need some kind of adapter to use them on wifi). It also supports Netflix, Hulu, and some other services.

I was actually just looking for a plain Blu-ray player without those bells and whistles. After all, I already have an Apple TV in the living room. The price convinced me to go ahead and get it. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a regular Blu-ray player even for $59.

So far I’ve been happy with the purchase, though I haven’t used it much. We’ve only watched a single Blu-ray movie and though I do have it on the wifi network I haven’t tested Netflix or Hulu. It’s connected to my older 32″ TV via the HDMI switch. The movie played without any problems and it looked great on my older HDTV.

CrystalView Wireless Instant Router and Repeater

Standard

The Short Version: I only purchased this to extend an existing network. Once I figured out that it could only setup a new wifi network by using the original one as an Internet connection I ditched it. I had no interest in setting up multiple wifi networks just to extend my range. I probably could have configured the device to successfully setup another wifi network, but since that wasn’t why I purchased it I didn’t bother tweaking it any further. For more information about setting this device up you might find the many comments more useful.

I came across a very cheap wireless router at the local CVS (CrystalView Wireless Instant Router and Repeater). Now, I’m not in need of a router but what caught my attention was that it also claimed to have a repeater mode. It was marked at $25 and I thought it might serve as a good alternative to other wireless extender options. I didn’t need anything fancy but I wanted to increase the wireless coverage in part of our home.

After tinkering with it I found that it doesn’t work the way I expected. Technically, I don’t think it’s appropriate to call this device a repeater.  As far as I can tell it doesn’t repeat a wireless network. In my mind this should mean that the wireless configuration is the same and that all devices appear to be on the same network. It does not seem to be capable of extending an existing wireless network.

Continue reading

iPod touch (4th Gen) Unable to Join Network

Standard

The Short Version: My wife’s iPod touch (4th gen) may have a hardware failure. We’ll send it to Apple for repair. None of the various troubleshooting steps I’ve tried have made any difference (see full post for details).

A couple of months ago my wife’s iPod touch was damaged so she replaced it with a new one (both were 4th generation models). I don’t think she used it very much until a few weeks ago when she was unable to connect to the secure wifi network at our house. That evening I fiddled around with it for about thirty minutes but wasn’t able to make it connect.

Last night she tried to use it again, so once again I tried to get it connected to the network. I’ve had to troubleshoot some iPod issue before so this wasn’t an entirely new experience (and I’ve also been using an iPhone for several years).

Nothing worked. Absolutely nothing would make the device connect to the network. And it’s not just a problem with our network. I tried others wifi networks (even attempted to tether it to my iPhone) but it refused to connect.

Continue reading