Barbs Connected World

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Surface Pro (2017)

For me, this is a dream machine

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Multi Factor Authentication App Backup and Usage Strategies
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Colors with Alexa
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Microsoft Authenticator
2 Factor Authentication

Microsoft Authenticator helps keep me safe. The baddies are out there, and I know my logins are protected. Easy to setup and a real pleasure to use!

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Turn on your lights when Dona Sarkar tweets a new #flight for Insiders
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Roomba!

I’m a geek and proud of it, so when my 26 year old canister vacuum’s motor seized up and died and ugly death, it was a choice of which “connected” vacuum to purchase and not a “should I” purchase decision. There were only two to consider, iRobot’s Roomba 980 and a Neato Botvac Connected Vacuum. While Neato’s vacuum was cheaper, iRobot has been in the business a long time, and I ultimately used that plus reviews and am the happy owner of a Roomba 980.

roomba

There’s no question that these Wi-Fi controllable robotic vacuums are expensive, but using my (admittedly skewed) justification math, if I value my time at $50 an hour (a low ball as I know my time is worth more than that) and compare to a Dyson, or an Electrolux, the extra $$ don’t seem very large. And I get back a couple of extra hours a week that I don’t have to spend dragging the old canister around my home. And if I didn’t mention it, I loathe vacuuming.

Roomba does an awesome job on my carpeted and linoleum floors, switching transparently from carpet mode to floor mode. And Roomba is actually quieter than my old canister.

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Netgear’s Arlo Q Security Cam is a Winner

 

I’ve had quite a few different IP/Security Cameras from various vendors like D-Link, Foscam, Insteon, etc. going back to my first IP based wifi camera that was an 802.11b DCS1000W from D-Link. The early cameras were for geeks only (like me) and required knowledge of networking protocols like port forwarding and more to get the most out of these first and second generation cameras.

IP Cameras are now an integral part of Home Security and the field of DIY Security Camera players has grown considerably.

Netgear asked me to take a look at their newest camera, the Arlo Q indoor camera, and provided me with a review sample for this purpose. The TL; DR version of this post is “this is the camera to get”.

Like some of the current crop of cameras, the Arlo Q offers 1080p HD streaming, audio and video motion sensing/alerts, but unlike the other contenders for this market, Arlo Q offers FREE event based 7 day cloud video storage (you can buy more and even set up continuous video recording, but 7 days revolving storage for FREE sets it apart from the others). Plan details are at https://community.netgear.com/t5/Arlo-Knowledge-Base/What-are-the-available-Arlo-subscription-plans-and-how-much/ta-p/88 (my opinion is that the Basic Free Plan is great and should be enough for most folks).

There are multiple ways to actually mount the camera, including a magnetic base for metal surfaces (the mag mount is strong). A nice long power cord (really a long USB adapter and wall wart plug with USB slot) is included. There’s also a wall mount and mounting screws, etc. included in the box, so there’s lots of flexibility.

in the box

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Fix for Microsoft Bad Update that disrupts WiFi, Cellular, BT for Surface 3 LTE

 

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

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How to get online With Verizon with an unlocked Surface 3 LTE

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.  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.

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