Sunday, September 17, 2017

AT&T Messages

I didn't know you could do this!


Just go to https://messages.att.net.

It's a little bit clunky and AT&T seems to be deprecating some of it.

For example, you can click on the phone number in a message and a dialog box pops up offering to "Create New Contact" but that doesn't work.


And messages sent from this application don't get pushed back to the phone.

Still, pretty nice.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

LAN Diagram

I thought that I had posted about my LAN configuration before but I can't find it.

I'd been following Steve Gibson's Three Dumb Router solution to IOT insecurity. But I've also come across several discussions of using Ubiquiti's EdgeRouter X.

My equipment closet had become a rat's nest with long Ethernet cables wadded up behind all the equipment. Of course they were either not labeled or had the wrong labels on them.

So I redesigned my LAN segmenting it into a home (safe) network and Internet of Things (IoT) (unsafe) devices.

I bought color coded patch cables from Monoprice - red for Internet, green for home and blue for IoT.

To manage the connections to each segment I added a 8-port Gigabit switch to each segment.

I haven't implemented the EdgeRouter X yet so I'm actually not yet isolating the 2 segments. The dashed lines represent the current configuration.

Update: Did you find the problem in this configuration? Look again. Look closer. Then scroll down.















The NETGEAR ProSafe FS108NA is 10/100 mbps, not gigabit. I discovered this when I copied a large amount of data to the Drobo 5N. It was SLOW.

I have since replaced the NETGEAR with a D-Link GO-SW-8GE.















Sunday, September 03, 2017

AT&T Microcell

I upgraded my wife from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone SE over Christmas. Ever since she's been complaining about signal strength.

I called AT&T and they admitted that one of the towers near my house was down and had been down for a couple of weeks.

I whined at them for a while and finally convinced them to give me a free microcell.
The AT&T MicroCell acts like a mini cell tower in your home and connects to your existing broadband Internet service. You receive improved cell signal performance for voice calls, texts, and cellular data applications like picture messaging and Web surfing.
After a couple of odd interactions with AT&T a Cisco DPH154 arrived.
Activation was easy.

And it worked. Really well.

Before

After
An improvement of 45dB! Also, notice the difference of the indicator in the status bar, i.e. "Wi-Fi" vs. "M-Cell".

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Smartphone Battery

I've got a lot of experience with various smartphones. And I'm obsessive meticulous with tracking their battery usage.

I looked at 15 "typical" days for 3 different phones. I excluded days that I had tethered or been on calls an excessive amount. I can't say I used a rigorous scientific method but I believe that the sample is representative.

For this discussion I tracked 4 variables for each phone:
  • End of Day % - Percent of battery remaining at 10:00PM
  • OS Level - Operating system in use
  • Battery Capacity - in mAh (milliamp Hour)
  • mAh/hour - mAh consumed per hour

PhoneEnd of Day %OS LevelBattery CapacitymAh/hour
iPhone 6s55.5310.3.1171554.27
PRIV55.476.0.13410113.54
Nexus 542.536.0.12300104.48

At the end of the day, all 3 phones were generally in the same range of percent of battery left. The Nexus 5 was lower and that aligns with its reputation of poor battery life.

The PRIV has a big honker of a battery, almost twice the capacity of the iPhone 6s. And it needs it.

But the real finding for me was that the mAh/hour rate of the iPhone 6s was roughly half that of the Andoid phones. That's why the iPhone 6s' battery is so much smaller than the Android phones and why the iPhone 6s is so much thinner.

How does the iPhone keep the battery usage rate so low? Simple, it doesn't let apps run in the background.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

On the Way to VoIP - Follow-Up

I've been living with my Google Voice/OBi100 system (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) for a couple of years and thought it was time for a follow-up.

Obihia and Google did a little dance a while back but finally kissed and made up. My service was never disrupted.

My OBi100 has gone end of life. The support was never outstanding nor really a problem. I bought a OBi200 to replace the OBi100 but haven't even bothered to install it.

The E911 support from Anveo has been fine I guess. Thankfully I've never used it. Their billing system is kinda wonky. The E911 service is $15 per year and you have to pay for it with a prepaid account. Then when the year lapsed and there wasn't sufficient balance to renew they Anveo just canceled the service and sent me an e-mail.
Customer,
We would like to inform you there was not enough funds in your account balance to extend your E911 coverage.
As of this moment the following E911 address is no longer covered and you can not make 911 calls:
<snip>
Your current account balance: $0
You may not be able to place outgoing calls without having at least one E911 address configured.
Please add funds and re-configure E911 coverage for the above mentioned address.
I deposited $15 and put a reminder on my calendar.

After a couple of months using Google Voice I went back and reviewed all the incoming calls. I added all the known callers to the Contacts on that Google account. Then I flipped the switch to screen callers that weren't in the address book. That only works so so since the OBi100 doesn't really support Google Voice's call screening in spite of them stating that it does.

What the OBi100 does is if Google Voice causes a prompt for screening, the caller hears the prompt and then gets transferred immediately on to the handset. The good news is that this pretty much causes the telemarketers to hang up. Good enough.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cloud - Office 365

Sometimes it's just too easy to make fun of a company.

In May 2017 Microsoft had gathered their favorite developers in Redmond for the annual Build conference. The focus of that conference was Microsoft's offerings of Office and Azure.

Yeah, you guessed it. Office 365 went down in the middle of the conference as documented by the Register.

Outages happen to everybody.

What I thought interesting were the comments on the Register post:
Cloud just means somebody else's computer that you have NO control over, and can go down at any time leaving you helpless.
Herby
Cloud: A computing service that signifies you do not know where any outage is, who is responsible for it, who else but you or your organization accesses the data on it, but nobody wants to do without.
Jeroen Braamhaar
Having worked with Cloud products for near 10 years now, I can say that in general they are much more reliable and lower cost than an on prem equivalent. ... [Y]ou do get a much better infrastructure from a company that invests millions/billions and has SLA's around it all than the bit of tin you got from the reseller round the corner.
Babbit55
This situation is kinda like when I was on a conference call with my CIO and his boss the CFO. It wasn't a pleasant discussion. When the call was over my CIO turned to me and said "I don't ever want to have that discussion again."

Don't find yourself or your company in the situation that Microsoft was in. Consider and act on the points in those comments.


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Windows 10 Tweaks


I've been happy with Windows 10 AFTER I've thoroughly tweaked it. Here are some links to Windows 10 tweaks that I like. I will continue to update this post so check back from time to time.

My posts (some overlap with those below)

How to get past Windows Defender SmartScreen in Windows 10

Remove "Windows Defender Security Center" Icon from Taskbar Notification Area

How to disable touchscreen edge swipes in Windows 10

How to Remove the User Password in Windows 10

How to prevent Windows 10 from requiring a password when resuming from sleep

Bypass the Lock Screen in Windows 10

Sign-in Automatically to a User Account in Windows 10

Increase System Restore Point Frequency in Windows 10

Create Shortcut to Open Any Settings Page in Windows 10

Enable or Disable Network Discovery in Windows 10

Get Classic Windows Defender in Windows 10 Creators Update
I rename the shortcut to "Windows Defender" and pin it to the Start menu

How To Disable Ads in Windows 10 (All Of Them)

Move Apps to Another Drive in Windows 10

Convert MBR To GPT With MBR2GPT In Windows 10 Version 1703

Windows 10 Tip: Turn Off Lock Screen, Start and Action Center Advertising

Windows 10 Tip: Turn Off File Explorer Advertising

Windows 10 tip: Turn on File History for automatic backups

Windows Update Blocker disables OS updates on demand

20 ways to hate Windows 10 less

Windows Containers on Windows 10

Backup drivers before reinstalling Windows 10 using DISM

Windows 10 Tip: Remove the Built-in Apps

Disable This Animation to Make Windows 10's Start Menu Open Faster

How to add Recent items to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10

Windows 10 Tip: Disable Automatic Default Printer Management

How to create a system image in Windows 10

How to Disable the “Get Office” Notifications on Windows 10

How to Get Rid of the OneDrive Icon in Windows 10's File Explorer