I’m so sick of these scammers calling to tell me that their server has recorded that I’m downloading viruses and need them to connect to me remotely so they can help me.
Today I recorded one of the scam calls. For your listening pleasure:
I’m all about the Connected Home (as the title of this blog implies). My Living Room Home Theater system up until yesterday consisted of a circa 2010 Samsung 52 inch TV, an ancient Sony 5.1 Receiver, an Xbox 360 used solely as a Media Center Extender, a WDTV Live Hub which I used for DLNA Play To streaming, a Netgear PTV3000 for Miracast, an Apple TV for You tube, Hulu, Netflix, etc., a cable DVR and a first generation Samsung Blu Ray player. Separately, I have a pair of Sonos Play 5 speakers. A few days ago, the ancient Samsung Blue Ray player started groaning and screeching and it was the final incentive to replace it with something newer.
I did some Internet research and decided that the Samsung BD-F5900 would certainly improve my movie experience several fold. I downloaded the user manual and was even more impressed. While Samsung is likely to have a replacement model any day now, the $99 on sale price (at Best Buy no less) and the local availability drove me out in the 2 degree weather to purchase the device.
My intention was to replace an aging Blu Ray player, but what I got was a whole lot more.
No where on the box, the device itself, or in the user guide does the term DLNA appear. The BD-F5900 works perfectly as a Play To target. HD movies even play across the network smoothly. I can now move the WDTV Live Hub out of my Living Room (it is still a great NAS device).
The user guide mentions Samsung’s proprietary All Share multiple times, and mentions Miracast once.
Miracast works perfectly. My Netgear PTV3000 can move upstairs to the bedroom TV or travel with me.
I can also use my iPhone with the PlugPlayer App as a small remote controller (the manual refers to similar functionality only working with s Samsung branded phone).
Last but not least, I had been using the Apple TV as a device to watch YouTube, etc. and not for Airplay of late (since the arrival on Miracast on Windows 8.1). I’d been watching some Amazon Prime Instant Movies on my Surface and using Miracast to display on the TV, (and didn’t have any app direct on a device that accessed this). Amazon is one of the apps available (along with 100+ others including the other big names like Netflix, Hulu, etc.) on the BD-F5900. Streams at 1080p HD smoothly and looks great. I’ll put the Apple TV away for now.
Bottom line, I’ve now got one device that replaces three and have removed some of the clutter in my living room.
In related news, there is rumor of a Microsoft Surface branded Miracast dongle via an FCC filing. Interesting development to say the least. It will be interesting to see what price point this launches with (if it launches). Stand alone Miracast adapters like Netgear’s PTV3000 and Actiontec’s Screen Beam are selling for $65-70. I guess I feel really good having purchased the Samsung BD player for $99 and getting everything but the kitchen sink included.
The issue with the non shipping keyboards for Verizon Lumia 2520 tablets has annoyed me to a fair thee well. Yesterday I sent an email to Stephen Elop at Nokia. Cutting to the chase, the end result was a phone call from Matt Rothchild, who heads sales operations for Nokia (who actually called me from Barcelona and gets extra points for that).
Here is the situation:
1. The keyboards WILL work with the Verizon 2520’s
2. There is currently a bug where sometimes (he estimates one out of three times) where on waking from sleep, the keyboard does not work. The fix is to restart the 2520.
3. A firmware update to correct the above has been submitted to Microsoft and Nokia is hoping that it is approved by Friday. (The update will NOT be OTA.)
4. Nokia will release the keyboards for VZW units when they know the firmware is approved and the keyboards will ship with a note explaining this.
This means that VZW users will receive the keyboards but that a firmware update is required to fix the defect above.
Timing of firmware – my opinion is that it is not likely to be released until the next patch Tuesday cycle which is March 11. Microsoft HAS released firmware for their own devices “out of band” but my opinion is that this is unlikely to happen. When will shipments start? My best guess is next week. But that is MY guess.
I’m certainly hoping they ship sooner rather than later.
My NWS-NOAA Weather Prediction Mini Center Windows 8 app lets you quickly view the National Forecast Chart for three days, shows the Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts for up to 7 days, and view Excessive Rainfall Forecasts. It’s available now in the Windows Store (for USA) and of course, it’s a free app.
I’ve been using Microsoft Project Siena to write some weather related apps and realized that I didn’t have anything that would supply an instant overview of the USA weather, especially rain, snow, and other nasty weather. I spent some more time on the NOAA-NWS site and was able to find exactly what I was looking for and decided to author a third app. I can’t say enough good things about Microsoft Project Siena for rapid app development. While Microsoft created this tool primarily for business users, I’ve found that for some of the things I’ve wanted to do, MS Project Siena does most of the work for me. I need to fine tune apps in Visual Studio, but considering the tool is at Beta 1 status, I am more than happy with the results.
The Main Screen is the entry way to the section for each of the three types of forecast charts. Each section contains a scrollable gallery. Images are pulled from NOAA/NWS.
For each section, I’ve included an About screen with details on how to read the charts, information on the update schedules for each chart, and other technical information as shown in the sample screen shot below.
Hope you like my latest app. Let me know on Twitter @barbbowman