I was a victim of (yet another) bad Microsoft Windows Update for Surface that wreaked havoc with wireless connectivity, cellular, and bluetooth. In addition to the inappropriate Surface Pen driver forced on unsuspecting SP3 users. Surface 3 LTE users also received a nasty surprise.

Symptoms were coming back from hibernate, etc. I’d lose connectivity, WiFi would disappear, cellular would disappear, Bluetooth would disappear. Device manager would cycle through some weird messages when I checked the properties of the  modem adapter and the wifi adapter, ending with Code 38. Bluetooth would be missing. Here’s what the cellular modem driver looked like in Device Manager.

code38.1

EDIT: Microsoft has posted a KB and link to request a hotfix https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138639. The hotfix leads to a requestable fix that is incorrectly labeled as for Surface PRO 3 and not Surface 3 LTE. You’ll get a MSI that you can run to re-install the correct driver.

 

wrong sku

 

If you want to fix it manually, steps are below. It’s what I did and it works.

 

1. Download the driver ZIP file for your device:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49039   Surface 3 LTE ATT
Surface3_4GLTE-ATT_Win10_151109_0.zip

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49037  Surface 3 LTE North America Carrier Unlocked Surface3_4GLTE-NorthAmericaUnlocked_Win10_151109_0.zip

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49041  Surface 3 LTE Outside of North America and Y!mobile Japan
Surface3_4GLTE-RestOfTheWorld_Win10_151120_0.zip

 

2. Extract the Zip file and make a note of where it is exactly.

3. Open device manager and find System Devices and expand the tree. Scroll down through lots of entries and find Surface CoSAR.

devman coSAR

4. Right Click/press and hold Surface CoSAR to display the Properties window and select Driver, Update Driver.

 

5. You need to use the force install, Browse your computer, Have disk process. Select Have Disk and then Next.

right click manual

 

6.  Now you need to navigate to where you extracted the Zip file. You’ll find the needed driver in the \Drivers\MOBB\SurfaceCoSarDriver folder – see screen shot below. (SurfaceCoSARDriver.inf). This is the driver you need to install.

expanded tree

7. After successful install, restart your Surface 3 LTE.

I received this information on the cause being the CoSAR driver from Microsoft Engineering last night. So far, after implementing this fix, things are back to normal. Note, I also rolled back the Marvell wifi driver from .59 to .47 because .47 performs better for me.

If you use my process above, please let me know on Twitter @barbbowman if this resolves your issue.

This post provides the steps to activate an unlocked Surface 3 LTE for consumer/retail/soho customers who have Verizon as a carrier who are not eligible for a business package from Verizon. The unlocked Surface LTE is only available to business customers with a 5 line minimum commitment and two year contract. https://ecomm.verizonwireless.com/commerce/servlet/en/verizon/devices/devices-tablet/microsoft-surface-3. This article shows you how to activate a single unlocked Surface 3 LTE.

Ever since I first heard about the Surface 3 with LTE, I was chomping at the bit to replace my Nokia Lumia 2520 with a better Windows tablet that included cellular capabilities. When I heard that the first devices would be AT&T only, and then T-Mobile I was disappointed. Then I heard about an unlocked version. When that unlocked SKU became available in mid September, I asked about Verizon. I couldn’t get an authoritative answer, but was told that a VZW specific model was coming. So I waited.

On November 12, I saw an announcement that Verizon was finally selling a VZW Surface 3 SKU. http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/11/microsoft-surface-3-with-verizon-4g-lte-now-available-for-business-professionals.html. I tried to order online, but found that it was business customers only. Five lines, five devices. I called and was told the same thing. As a consumer, no chance. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I decided LTE was LTE and that just had to be a way to get an unlocked Surface 3 LTE working on the VZW network. And I followed my instincts. Here are the steps. Don’t skip any.

1. Go to a Verizon company owned Store (not an agent)

2. They’ll need to add an unauthorized device to your account/plan (or swap out one that is already there).

3. They need to make a NANO SIM.

4. They need to place this NANO SIM in their demo iPad and activate it.

5. They need to turn WiFi OFF on the demo iPad and wait for the SIM to activate on the network and verify by successfully browsing the web.   Making the connection to the Internet with the activated SIM is a critical step. Don’t let the VZW tech tell you this is not needed.

6. Completely turn off your Surface 3.

7. Put the NANO SIM in the Sim tray and slide into your Surface 3.

8. Turn on the Surface 3.

 

On the Surface 3.

1. Open Settings, Network and Internet and turn Cellular ON if it is off. You should turn Wi-Fi off temporarily to test your LTE connection

 

airplane mode

2. You may need to wait a few minutes, but as long as you or the VZW tech followed the first 5 steps above, you should get connected to Verizon’s LTE network. You’ll see an icon in the task tray indicating signal strength and should be able to visually confirm your connection in the Action Center.

 

LTE1

Network and Internet, Cellular will show Connected as well.

LTE2

Trouble Shooting

If the above doesn’t work (it really should), a few things you can check:

1. If Network and Internet, Cellular does NOT show Verizon Wireless (LTE), turn on Wi-Fi.

cellular1

2. Tap the signal strength icon. This should let you access the info online about the SIM and the device. I’ve removed so PII from the screenshot below, but the important pieces are there. Under Network Mode, insure that it shows LTE and APN is set to vzwinternet. If it isn’t, get Verizon to make a new NANO SIM. A partially activated SIM might show GSM as the Network Mode.

 

 

connection manager

3. If you tap the Network Settings box above, on a successfully activated and working connection, the Network Type may show as Global. This is OK.

 

apn

 

Verizon employees don’t have much experience with this and you can print this article out so they have a reference. Don’t let them tell you they have to send your device IMEI and other info in to a special team to be added to a database of devices. It isn’t needed and won’t help.

I hope this is helpful. If you’ve used this to get an unlocked Surface 3 online, let me know on Twitter @barbbowman. Enjoy

 

insteon

I’ve had my Sonos Play 5’s since 2010 and started my Insteon Connected Home in 2012. And now, I’m happy to say that Insteon has made it possible to incorporate Sonos speakers in my little connected world. As announced at CES 2016, Insteon integration makes it possible to incorporate music into your Insteon scenes, control scenes and playback via keypads, mini remotes and more, and use the Insteon App to control speakers.

Supported features are as follows:

Control play, pause, volume, and tracks for a Sonos Player from an Insteon Keypad, Mini Remote or Wall Switch

Trigger a Sonos preset from an Insteon Keypad, Mini Remote or Wall Switch

Use a scene to trigger a Sonos preset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting it Up for the First Time

:

discover sonosIt takes a few steps to get all of the new features this set up, starting with discovering your Sonos speakers. You can add up to four speakers; they all should be discovered, but you will need to go back and add them one at a time (those already added will be greyed out).

If you have trouble setting up your Sonos speakers, check http://www.insteon.com/support-knowledgebase/ for a solution.

Once you’ve added your Sonos speakers, you can immediately use the Sonos transport controls within the iOS app (Play, Pause, skip, volume up or down, next, previous, etc.).

In order to reap the full benefits of Sonos integration with Insteon, you’ll need to setup presets using the Insteon App in combination with the Sonos app.

 

Set Up Presets

 

Currently, up to 10 presets are supported (and these are shared among all Sonos speakers controlled by Insteon). Also, only Pandora stations are officially supported at this time. I don’t know if other music services will be added over time.

To get started adding presets, the first step is to open the Sonos App on your iPhone and start playing the station you want to configure in the Insteon app.

1. Open the Sonos App and play the station you want to use as an Insteon preset.

2. Go to Devices, Edit Devices, and select a Sonos player and then select Add a Preset.

3. If the station you want is playing, tap Next when prompted.

4. Change the name if you don’t like what is automatically configured and then tap Done.

 

steps add preset

 

Setup Scenes that Include Sonos

:

 

scheduleThis is a very big deal for me. Previously, I could set Sonos Alarms to wake me to music and separately set some schedules scenes in Insteon to turn on lights at the same time. With this new functionality, I’ve been able to create a scene that turns on lights and wake me to the Doobie Brothers Pandora station and use Insteon to schedule an ON time and and OFF time. Once you’ve configured your presets, if you’re familiar with the Insteon App, it’s very easy to setup a scene that includes Sonos speakers, and then configure a schedule.

I’ve got my two Sonos players grouped, using the Sonos App on my iPhone so I’ve got the same music playing upstairs and downstairs. My home office is a loft room that shares a cathedral ceiling with the master bedroom, and the Office Sonos sits on the railing and fills both the loft and the bedroom with sound.

I don’t think I’ve had a better “wake up and get out of bed” alarm, ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use Remotes and Keypads and More to Control Sonos Playback

 

 

In addition to all the above, Insteon devices such as wireless mini remotes, keypads, plug in modules/on off switches, etc. can be used to control Sonos functions. Using an 8 button Insteon mini remote, you can assign a preset to each button and have an arm chair remote for your favorite 8 stations. Or set up a motion sensor to trigger Sonos music.

Bottom line, if you’re an Insteon user with Sonos speakers, all of this is coming your way in the very near future. Watch http://www.insteon.com/sonos/ for news.

 

I’ve mentioned before that PDF files are a fact of life that sometimes are painful to deal with (manipulate and fix) and I truly dislike Adobe Acrobat. I’m pretty partial to Investintech’s Able2Extract products and Version 10 of both Able2Extract and Able2Extract Professional have just been launched.

Recently, I was provided with a pre-release copy of Able2Extract Professional 10 and am happy to see some improvements and new features.

gotwOne of the tasks I find myself wanting to do frequently is changing the actual printed text of PDF files (agreements/contracts/forms) before signing and submission. For me, the big new feature of A2E 10 is he ability to edit text in existing PDF files. While I won’t bore you with dull business contracts, I did take a peace of personal “history” and change a few things I thought could be better.

When Microsoft released Windows 2000, they launched it with a “Geek of the Week” web feature and selected me as their launch Geek. I was interviewed and they published the article. AT the time, I wish I could have asked for a few changes. I didn’t like that the writer stated I blurted out a sentence and I didn’t like that they published more information about where i lived than I was comfortable sharing. (I also didn’t like the picture of me they selected, but that’s a whole other issue).

Someone at Microsoft sent me the article as a PDF file and I’ve had it ever since. Reading the release notes on the editing capabilities of Able2Extract 10, I started experimenting on contracts and other business documents, but then remembered that I had a few more interesting things saved to PDF that I would love to revise.

So I loaded the original Geek of the Week PDF in the editor.

It took no time at all to highlight the text I wanted to replace and type in my correction. A2E automatically matches the type style and size, but I could easily have changed these. A2E lets me easily add, delete, or change text in a WYSIWYG editor. Painless and fast.

text stylea2e10 edit2

I then saved the file to a new name. I later replaced the picture of me I didn’t like with another app 😉

The new version also offers to ability to convert ANYTHING to Excel (not just PDF) which I find interesting. And you can merge and extract PDF files. While I’ve always found that conversion with A2E is extremely accurate, I’m told that accuracy has been improved and enhanced in this new version.

If you’re interested in world class OCR capabilities, the Pro edition lets you converted scanned, image based documents.

The new editing capabilities for me is the best new feature. I like this tool and recommend it highly. Trial versions of both Able2Extract and Able2Extract Professional are available so you can see for yourself.

Oh, and if you want to read the Geek of the Week article (revised), you can laugh at my predictions about the future.

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