Thursday, August 15, 2019

SunsetMicro PC from Amazon... [part 3]

The beginning http://www.atnpc.com/2019/04/my-new-to-me-sunsetmicro-pc-from-amazon.html 


The continuation http://www.atnpc.com/2019/05/sunsetmicro-pc-from-amazon-continued.html

So, it was time to use it. I turned it on and let it sit there thinking there might be an update or two.

I came back later and it didn't want to go anywhere online.

I checked the internet on another device and it was running well.

I checked the computer again. It was connected, but it just wouldn't go anywhere.

I restarted and all was well.

After some experimentation, I discovered that computer would run fine, until I left it unattended for a while. It didn't matter if I was in Windows 10 or Deepin. I checked all settings and power settings, nothing helped.

I was busy with other things so I didn't take it out back and beat it with a hammer.

Later I needed a SSD, so I scuttled the one out of it.

It sat for a few weeks and played the role of dust magnet and kept getting in my way.

Then, Xfinity/Comcast started giving me fits with uptime. Not knowing if I was having equipment or wiring trouble, the testing began.

Part of the test is to monitor "xfinitywifi" for uptime. This means I am connected to somebody else's router. this tells me if the problem is in my area if it goes down the same time my internet does.

To do this, I needed a computer that I wasn't using.

I took the problematic-from-the-start Dell Optiplex 7010, slapped a regular hard drive in it and installed Xubuntu 18.04.2.

I connected to a neighbor's router via xfinitywifi and started to monitor.

It was probably a few weeks later that I realized what I had done -

It was the same computer, using the same TP-Link wifi dongle, endlessly connected to the internet, unattended until my ISP experienced downtime.

It was just working. And, it is still working right now.

WTF?!

The only differences are operating system and hard drive.

I can't imagine that Xubuntu over Windows AND Deepin would make any difference at all; and the other hard drive is in my daughter's computer, being used daily without issue.

I guess it it was on those mysteries of the computer-verse...

 - -






Monday, August 5, 2019

ExpressVPN Fire Stick APP "Known Issue"

ExpressVPN has to be the easiest VPN to set up.

I have it on several computers running Windows
and Linux.

But the real reason I use them is for my Amazon Fire Sticks.

Bad news - the Fire Stick app has a "known issue".

If you have been using the ExpressVPN app, you're fine.

If you are a new Fire Stick owner, or, like me, a person that just did a factory reset and has to re-install all their apps, it will not work.

Their customer service is great in the fact that they tried so hard to help me to get it to work, even though the known issue prevents it.

Truth told, they have my email address. If they would have sent out an email to warn existing customers of the issue, I NEVER would have reset my Fire Stick. Hence, I would not have spent hours of my life to no avail.

Time wasted that can't be reclaimed...

And, bless their hearts, their people are still trying to help me.

I've told them at least three times now,

"You told me this is a 'known issue'. You have my email address. Can you please send me an email when the 'issue' is fixed?"

We'll see how that goes.

my subscription ends September 15th...

 - -


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Standard Definition Restriction for Streaming in Linux [UPDATED]

I've been quite disappointed with my 4k Amazon Firestick since I bought it.

The first problem I noticed was the stick would restart when ever there was an update. No warning. Doesn't matter if you're right in the middle of watching a show. It just restarts.

The other problem is their menus and the way they present all their shows (and apps). It can get really frustrating trying to find something you found a week ago.

And, try using captions when you have the volume turned down so as not to wake sleeping family members; it puts the caption too far up and obscures the part of the show you are trying to watch.

Maybe I'll just go back to using a computer like I used to...

"...If you are running an operating system other than Windows or Mac OS, playback is restricted to standard definition." https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GUVGB3QMQRYRERYW&linkId=71025432

That's nice.

This is after I installed, re-installed, re-installed again different Linux distributions trying to figure out why I couldn't get my 1080p.

Several conversations with Amazon later, they don't care.

Fine.

I can let my subscription expire.

Amazon doesn't seem to care about that either.

So, if I drop Amazon Prime, I could use Hulu for les than $13 a year more.

https://help.hulu.com/s/article/supported-computers?language=en_US

There is NO mention of Linux, just Mac/Windows/Chrome.

I might still try them since they have a better selection of shows...

I can also hack my browser -

https://www.maketecheasier.com/watch-netflix-hulu-amazon-prime-ubuntu/

That doesn't look like an instruction set for the faint of heart, but it might be doable.

That doesn't work with Amazon Prime. The user agent is showing correctly, but Amazon keeps me restricted to standard def.

I tried another method utilizing a browser extension, but it didn't work either.

I won't be renewing my Amazon Prime subscription...

 - -

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Facebook Groups For Sale

Since we don't have a retail side to our business anymore, we don't need our social media sale groups.

Do you have a retail business?

Do you buy pallets?

Do you have a ton of stuff to sell on a regular basis?

Then YOU NEED your very own group to sell your stuff!

These groups are established!

They haveTHOUSANDS of members! And these are REAL members, not spammers. The members have been carefully screened.

These groups have been carefully built and maintained and are ready for you to take over.

Contact me at Group Owner to purchase

Group #1 "Buy and Sell Greeneville, TN"


https://www.facebook.com/groups/595557340455282/


purchase price $450

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Group #2 "Greeneville Online Yard Sale


https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreenevilleOnlineYardSale/




purchase price $175

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Group #3 "Online Local Yard Sale Johnson City TN"


https://www.facebook.com/groups/johnsoncityyardsale/



purchase price $150

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Group #4 "Greeneville TN For Sale on Facebook"



purchase price $100

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Group #5 "Baileyton TN Buy/Sell/Trade"



purchase price $100

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday, June 15, 2019

DropBox Pulling the Rug Out From Under Me

Since the writing of my article

Making an OS Look Cool with Wallpapers

DropBox has shown me their butt





3 devices? Seriously?!

That should be 3 instances to be accurate. Most all of my devices have more than one operating system. The computer I am on right now has 2 operating systems. Each of those has DropBox installed. That counts a 2. One device...

And why should I pay $120 a year for a forced upgrade?!

First of all, I don't need 2 TB of storage



That's all I'm using now.


Secondly, I have referred people to DropBox. How much money did/do they give to DropBox? I didn't get any of that money...


Another service I use for cloud storage is pCloud. If, IF I wanted to upgrade, it is less expensive, but they are not forcing me to upgrade. Their free version has 5 times the storage space and they aren't giving me a hard time because I have it installed on a quadzillion operating systems.

So now I have to switch all my stuff over to pCloud.

pCloud is Linux friendly too; did I mention that?

 - -

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SunsetMicro PC from Amazon Continued...

This nightmare started here

My New-To-Me Sunsetmicro PC From Amazon

Since it was ridiculously botched from the start, and I had to redo just about everything now, I went ahead and ordered an SSD and a Graphics Card when I ordered the correct hard drive caddy.


As you can see, it is very different from the one that was hot glued into the computer by Sunsetmicro



One problem though - one of the pins that holds the hard drive in the caddy is missing


That's eBay for you. That is the only place to buy these, unfortunately.

The SSD and cool adapter I found on Amazon (it actually matched the picture in the listing!) fit right into the caddy, and right into the PC.


The graphics card came from eBay too, and it had more than one disappointment. Check out this cool packaging job - some bubble wrap and a padded envelope






That is not nearly enough protection. I inspected it, and all seemed well until I installed it.


Do you see the corner? It appears the graphics card got dropped. I don't know if it was dropped before shipping or during; the packaging didn't show signs of excess abuse...

This is a card I ordered at the same time for another PC' it was ordered from Amazon





See the bubble wrap, foam pads to keep the card away from the box edges, popcorn to keep it all in place, and all this in a box.

So, is this card going to work?

If it does work, will it continue to work or will it eventually fail?

Time to find out.

Windows 10 Pro installed fine. Everything ran fine - drivers installed, updates ran...

... but it wouldn't boot on restart.

I tried a cold boot, but no joy.

After much trial and error, foul language, and head scratching, I went into the bios and shut off all "legacy" options in the boot options. Windows boots and runs.

Next, partition the hard drive and install Pinguy OS.

Pinguy OS wouldn't boot. I don't know what is wrong with it, but I have noticed it is rather common. If there are multiple OS's, it will be picked up in GRUB from another system and become bootable. Since this is supposed to be a backup work machine, it will only have Windows and a single Linux system. I installed Deepin and all is well.

Time to move it from the bench to its new home.

I hooked up the 2 monitors and other peripherals. Right away my Alpha Wifi adapter wasn't working in Windows. I mistakenly thought this was already installed, but I forgot that it was done prior to the new SSD.

I installed drivers, deleted drivers, connected to the internet via another dongle, then installed drivers again. In between attempts, I booted into Deepin, and it seemed to connect fine. It was easy to just blame Windows, and keep plugging away until it was working correctly.

Finally, Wifi working, monitors arranged correctly, everything is fine and working.

Then I booted into Deepin to get it squared away. I arranged the monitors and they went black and the PC was unresponsive. This indicated a hardware problem. Now, the question is - is it drivers or the actual hardware itself?

I restarted and went to the Deepin Graphics Driver tool. There was only the one option and nothing to change. This is an AMD graphics card and that is the way it is supposed to be. That is why AMD is supposed to be the best option, plug N play, eezy peezy with Linux OS's.

So, is the card bad or is there a driver incompatibility?

I'd say the latter because it worked okay in Windows.

Next, pull the card, use the native graphics and install its drivers.

Windows went as expected.

I boot into Deepin and the Wifi is non-existent.

WTF?!

WT sam F?!?!

This PC is going to be a blister on my butt until I bludgeon it with a hammer!

After many attempts, I switched to a TP-Link Wifi dongle and the internet was available again. I booted into Windows and made the necessary adjustments.

All of this headache, time wasted, frustration.... all because Sunsetmicro did a piss-poor job on their so called "refurbishing" of this PC. It should have been as simple as hooking it up, running updates, then done.

But now, I have many questions.

Why all the hardware issues?

Is this one of those PC models that doesn't get along with Linux?

Is the bios got some hidden glitches or switches?

Is there a motherboard issue?

Is the graphics card damaged?

I could install Xubuntu and see how it acts with the Alpha Wifi adapter and the AMD graphics card.

I could install the Graghics Card into another PC.

I didn't buy this thing to experiment on; it was supposed to be a backup for work.

If it gives me any more trouble, I'll post a link on this site to a video of me smashing it with a hammer.

Remember kids, even when the seller has 100% positive feedback, you may still get a piece of junk from eBay.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Making an OS Look Cool with Wallpapers

One of the things that I require of my Operating System is that it looks good. One of the ways to do this is with cool wallpaper

cool wallpaper here

One of the things I have always appreciated about Xubuntu and most xfce desktops is the way they help you manage your wallpaper. It's just as simple as right-clicking on the desktop and selecting "desktop settings".

From here it gets fun. You can select what folder you want it to access for wallpapers. For me, I have a master folder with all kinds of wallpapers in my pCloud folder.

get pCloud here

You can set a different wallpaper for each screen if you have more than one monitor, or you can set one wallpaper to span all screens. That is the coolest custom effect to make an OS look great.

And, you can set it to change your wallpaper every so many seconds, minutes, or hours (or at startup, or every day, etc.).

But, as I stray into other Linux distributions that do not use an xfce desktop, like Deepin or Pinguy OS,

get Deepin here

get Pinguy OS here

what do I do for cool wallpaper automatic changes every 5 minutes (or whatever time interval suits my mood)?

There is a cool program called "Variety"

Variety link 1

Variety link 2

Deepin has it available in the Deepin App Store, and Pinguy OS alread has it installed.

Variety has cool wallpapers natively, AND it will go to various websites and download more. You can customize how often it does this, and where it stores them. Of course, I have a special folder in my Wallpaper folder in Dropbox so I can share across all of my machines.

Variety also lets me import my wallpapers from DropBox so my list is huge.
























 - -