Thursday, July 12, 2018

Android Casting Observations

A few months back we cut our cable TV and subscribed to HULU. Recently, we took a trip were we were able to use the casting feature of Hulu and our Android tablet on a variety of TVs. The short answer, it works.

Observation #1
 When the Android tablet is shutdown, casting to the TV still continued. The obvious implication is that the router transmits directly to the TV and bypasses the tablet. Good news to a degree.

Though casting continued continued with the tablet shutdown, it seemed that after a while the router would "lock-up". Especially, the next morning after casting on all night.  Getting the TV functional again simply required rebooting the TV.

There was one TV where casting, for unknown reasons, could not be implemented for a time span of approximately one hour. Very frustrating. After a while and doing some experimentation we simply accepted this "feature" (flaw).

Observation #2 
When casting HULU from the Android tablet to the TV, casting at times was flakey. It seems that this degradation was due, in part, to multi-tasking with the tablet. This was resolved by closing the HULU application on the tablet. This allows the user to use other applications on the tablet.

Of course closing the HULU application on the tablet prevents switching to a different channel (program). This was resolved by temporarily reactivating the HULU application on the tablet. After switching to the new channel (program), the HULU application was shut down.

Observation #3 
The HULU applications offers the opportunity to "stop casting".  When done with casting from the tablet to the TV, it seems that taking the "stop casting" option is the appropriate action. As noted in Observation #1 above, simply turning off the tablet does not stop casting. If casting is allowed to continue, after a period of time the router tends to "lock-up" effectively degrading casting.  Taking the proactive step of stopping casting when done resolved this issue.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Mysterious Ghost Printer - Printer Rejecting Jobs

Back in 2017 a mysterious ghost printer appeared, with the caption that it was rejecting jobs. See the image below.

After much research, I found the solution for getting rid of the ghost printer in the following post: How do I get rid of a ghost printer in Gnome?

The reason for publishing this post is that a new version of "avahi" was released this April (2018) which overwrote the "/etc/avahi/avahi-daemon.conf" file. This recreated the problem of the ghost printer. Fortunately, I remembered how to resolve this problem. But tweaks, after a period of time has elapsed, are easily forgotten.  Finding the solution again can be frustrating and time consuming. Hence this post. Below is my addition to "/etc/avahi/avahi-daemon.conf" file as recommended in the post cited above to eliminate the ghost printer.
#modified 6/27/2017
#restart service with; sudo service avahi-daemon restart
Note: Prior to overwriting the "/etc/avahi/avahi-daemon.conf", the "avahi" upgrade does ask for permission. I let it overwrite the file as I wanted to see if the new version may have resolved the ghost printer problem. It did not.

Also when adding tweaks, I tend to add comments that identify where the tweak originated, other useful comments, and the date it was inserted.

I am also using Ubuntu 16.04, so I don't know if this ghost printer problem exists in other Linux distributions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Facebook Kerfuffle, A Huge "Nothing Burger"

Recently the eyes of the world fell like an exploding nova on Facebook concerning its privacy policies and the release of private information. This has led to a wave of hysteria concerning how private companies acquire and use information that is ostensibility private. What is surprising is that the collection and selling of private information has been going on for years, and until now has been virtually ignored. Over the years I have posted my concerns. I have several pre-Facebook kerfuffle posts concerning how companies abuse privacy and sell your personal data. So why has this seemingly neglected issue of privacy all of a sudden exploded into a hysterical cause célèbre?

When a relatively unknown issue explodes into the public consciousness with extreme outrage and vehemence, there is usually a trigger. A black swan event occurred arising out of the use of Facebook's data by Cambridge Analytica by  the Trump campaign.

Time for the tinfoil hat. A large percentage of the media and Democrats are vehemently, to the point of irrationality, anti-Trump and suffer from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).  The media and the Democrats upon hearing of the apparent data abuse by Cambridge Analytica began salivating at how this disclosure could be used to bring an end to the Trump administration. So the media and Democratic war drums began to beat ever more loudly and intensely.

As an ironic aside and as an example of duplicity. When the Obama campaign used social media to enhance its campaign, this was considered "innovative", "brilliant", etc. The Trump campaign, seeing the success of the Obama campaign, copied the use of social media. Now the use of social media information is considered "criminal", "a violation of privacy", etc.

The Facebook kerfuffle finally highlights the abuse of personal information by private companies into the public's consciousness. But that is not is not the real reason for why this issue is being discussed. It is an incidental tool being used by some to manipulate the mob (public) and to bring down the Trump administration. As such this kerfuffle is a "nothing burger".  Nevertheless, for now the issue is similar to exploding nova were the incidental public outrage could result in private companies implementing better privacy policies.

Perhaps too soon to tell. A lot will depend on whether a new cause célèbre will soon be hatched to replace the transient Facebook kerfuffle. In any event, private companies will hopefully view this "nova" as a wake-up call and revise their privacy policies to be more cognizant of their customers rights.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Black Wallpaper for Your Android Tablet

Seems that it is somewhat difficult to find a simple solid color wallpaper for an Android tablet. I just bought the ASUS ZenPad and I was unable to find a simple one color wallpaper to replace the default wallpaper.  In looking for how to replace the default wallpaper, it appeared that many others also had the same frustration. Given that, one would think that having a no wallpaper option would be easily available. Well it wasn't.

After doing some searching, I was able to find a plain black wallpaper at this website: Black Solid Color Background. This website also offers other solid colors. Of course I need to add the disclaimer that what worked for me, might not work for you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Raqqa Liberated, Now What?

Raqqa, the erstwhile capital of ISIS, has been liberated. Here is the New York Times article reporting on the event: Raqqa, ISIS ‘Capital,’ Is Captured, U.S.-Backed Forces Say. Good news one would think. But think again, this is the Middle East that we are talking about. The pending defeat of ISIS means that the "shifting sands" of current alliances will shift. That process appears to have started.

Just a few days ago it was reported that Iraqi forces ousted Kurdish forces from Kirkuk. Not only that but the leaders of both Iran and Turkey have stressed opposition to the creation of an independent Kurdistan. This followed a non-binding referendum by the Kurds to establish and independent Kurdistan.

One would have hoped that the defeat of ISIS would be a step towards a more peaceful Middle East. Instead it appears that Iraq, Iran, and Turkey may begin to take coordinated military action to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdistan. The Kurds deserve world support for an independent Kurdistan.