Sunday, March 30, 2014

No chromecasts found on router

I write this godforsaken blog mostly for my own reference, so when I need a solution I came up with once before but have no memory of it, and I google the problem, I find my own blog with the answer.

That said, here goes with a note to self:

"Hey stupid. The next time you get the message 'No chromecasts found,' remember to reboot the router."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Google your Kindle Fire

    Why googlify your kindle Fire? I think maybe this is how to get that durned Google Play Services working. Having Google Play Services working is necessary for some apps to work on the Kindle Fire.

    Case in point -- I couldn't get Youtube app working on my Kindle Fire. I was getting a message the Google Play Services is not supported on my device. So I followed these instructions I found on another site.
     Download and install ES File Explorer from the Amazon Appstore (download).
    1. On your Kindle go into setting under Applications and turn on at the top Apps from Unknown Sources (pic).
    2. Download the following files and transfer to your Kindle via USB connection to your PC. I recommend copying to the “download” folder of the Kindle Fire HDX. Google Account Manager | Google Play Services | Google Service Framework | Gmail
    3. Using ES File explorer app, navigate to the folder of the files and tap to install Google Account Manager.
    4. Reboot the Kindle by turning off then on.
    5. Install Google Services Framework.
    6. Reboot.
    7. Install Google Play Services.
    8. Reboot.
    9. Install Gmail.
    10. Reboot.
    Now open the Gmail app and it will ask you to add your account. After that you should be good to go. You may see some errors during the process which you can ignore. You may also see errors later if rebooting but you can also ignore as well. Now you can install other Google apps here. So far Chrome works with Sign-in but I have not been able to get YouTube to work with the account. Also Google+ has not been working at all. Enjoy and I we’ll be bringing your more Kindle Fire HDX information so stay tuned and leave us your questions in the comment section.

    After I did all of the above, I reinstalled the Youtube APK, and now Youtube is working.

    The guy who wrote these instructions is right -- there are occasional error messages, but you can ignore them.

    Maybe I didn't need all this stuff. Mabye all I had to do was reinstall Youtube, but I didn't think of that.

    Anyway, another reason to googlify the Kindle Fire is just for the principle of the thing. Have you ever wondered what the principal looks like? There's the principal of the school, and then there's the Principal of the Thing.

    Thank you to AndroidCowboy.

    Chromecast on Kindle Fire says it can't find device

    I've been banging my head against the wall for nothing. They say it feels good when you stop but I'll bet it would have felt just fine had I not banged it at all. I just wanted to cast Pandora from my Kindle Fire to my big screen.

    I had downloaded Chromecast APK from the Google Playstore to my computer and then transferred it laterally to my Kindle Fire by way of a USB connection. Then I clicked on the Chromecast app to install it on my Kindle Fire. (I understand that, alternatively, I could have 1 Mobile Market on my Kindle Fire, and can install the Chromecast app from there.)

    Then I ran it. It looked for my Chromecast device like some freakin Easter egg hunt, but couldn't find it. I know my Chromecast is working --my laptop finds it just fine.

    So naturally I thought it was something wonky about how I installed Chromecast app because I'm barely treading water in understanding what I'm doing with this APK sideways install stuff.

    But I found out not so.

    If I go ahead and crank up Pandora on my Kindle Fire, and click its Chromecast icon, whala -- it gets projected on my big screen.

    Did I not need the Chromecast app? I dunno. But I'm not uninstalling it. It's perfectly content to sit there.

    Also, maybe this is obvious to everyone but me, but I see that when I close Pandora on my Kindle Fire, it continues to play on my big screen. Sweet.

    I used that aforementioned opportunity to try once more to run the Chromecast app on my Kindle Fire, while happily listening to Vanessa Carloton who is being cast to my TV by Pandora on my Kindle Fire.

    The Chromecast app continues to fail. But Pandora is running. This is magic, I guess.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    LastPass with Android

    LastPass has a helpful page in their online User Manual about how to use their app with Android devices.

    In sum, there are five ways that interest me, in which you can use LastPass for Android.

    1. Launch Android apps in Chrome * (see note)
    2. Launch Android sites in Chrome * (see note)
    3. Open the vault (this uses the LastPass Android browser)
    4. Use LastPass extension with the Dolphin browser
    5. Use LastPass extension with Fireofx Mobile on Android (limited function--not recommended)
    To get more information, check out their User Manual page for Android: LastPass instructions

    *Important: You need Android 4.1+ for apps and Android 4.3+ for Chrome. To find out your version of Android:
    1. Open your phone's menu with the menu button. Select "system settings" or "settings."
    2. Scroll down towards the bottom of the menu.
    3. Select the "About phone" option. 
    4. Look for "Software Information."
    5. Look for "Android version."  

    Get LastPass working with apps on your phone

    Print Friendly and PDF

    I'm pretty new to LastPass, and have just installed it on my LG Lucid android phone.

    And today I installed Trello on my phone. Then at the Trello website on my Windows computer, I created login credentials. Then I added the site and credentials to Lastpass on my computer.

    Now I wondered how to log into the Trello app using LastPass on my phone. This was my first venture into logging into an app on my phone using LastPass.

    I went looking for instructions and learned that to log in to apps on my phone, I must use the LastPass "autofill" option, which is also often referred to as the "switch to groups" option. I will heretofore refer to it as the "autofill" option.

    LastPass calls this method of logging into apps using autofill as a "custom input method." (Ummm...whatever?)

    Here are the instructions I created for myself for signing into Trello with Lastpass on my phone. Trello is only an example. I then tested my own instructions below to log into another app (Peapod). They worked fine, so you can probably use these instructions for most apps. The instructions in gray are "do once" instructions.

    1. If you don't already have your Trello credentials in LastPass, add them by whatever means you like. (You can add it on your computer, or add the URL and credentials directly into LastPass on your phone.) 
    2. Go into the LastPass browser on your phone and log in.
    3. Go into the LastPass browser preferences and disable the "Password Reprompt on Activate" setting. (Password Reprompt on Activate" doesn't currently work with autofill.)
    4. While in LastPass preferences, enable the "LastPass Input Method." On my phone, this setting was already checked by default.
    5. Enable the Lastpass Input Method in your Android Keyboard Settings.On my phone, this was in settings-->language & input. It was already checked by default.
    6. Now it's time to get into Trello.  Go to the Trello app login screen on your phone.
    7. Once there, tap on the userid login field.
    8. Pull down your phone's notifications menu. You should see the “select input method” option where you can select the LastPass Input Method. (Other examples of an input method might be keyboard and Swype.)
    9. You'll be taken back to the Trello Login Screen (or go back there) and you should now see the LastPass icon (they call that an autofill button) at the bottom of your keyboard. Click that.
    10. Hit the LastPass AutoFill button to see a list of your login choices.
    11. Then, select the appropriate login, and hit the Fill button. You will have to repeat these steps to fill in the password.
    12. Now you can get into the Trello app. 
    *Note: I tried these instructions with Kindle Fire, but found that there's no means of changing the input method on the Kindle Fire. I found this statement in the LastPass documentation:

    Please note that the LastPass input method for logging into apps is unavailable on the Kindle Fire and Nook Color.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Cleanup after LastPass installation

    We've just set up some LastPass Premium accounts, and an Enterprise account for our business.

    The employees in our business who are also family members have their Enterprise id linked to their Premium accounts.

    Following are some things I had to do during and after LastPass setup:

    1. Reinstall the LastPass extension in Google Chrome by means of the Google Chrome extensions setting. I wrote about this in another post. I'm thinking that Lastpass should no longer offer installation of the Chrome setting, but instead should point the user to documentation about how to do a Google Chrome extension installation the new way
    2. Create Enterprise shared folders and decide groupings based on type of work being done
    3. In each browser, fix LastPass extension preferences-->advanced
      1. open login dialogue when browser starts
      2. uncheck recently used size list
    4. Go into every browser (I'm speaking of IE, Firefox and Google Chrome) and 
      1. turn off form fill
      2. turn off offer to remember passwords
      3. erase all memorized passwords
    5. Randomize passwords (we imported all existing passwords from browsers and deferred randomizing them until all shared folders were set up)

    Solved! LastPass Chrome extension blanks out after selecting from userid menu

    LastPass extension in Google Chrome has been buggy lately. One problem I found unfolds thus:

    1. LastPass fills in the userid and password into their fields, but you  have several, and you wanted a different one
    2. So you blank it out, then click on the LastPass star to the right of the userid field to see the menu.
    3. You choose the credentials you want and click on them
    4. The field blanks out again

    My searches on the problem mostly found discussions of how Google Chrome has changed its policy about how an extension is installed.

    I'm still unable to determine if the means of installation of the extension is related to the problem, but I do know I have solved the problem by uninstalling and reinstalling the Chrome extension.

    Keep in mind that you must do this from within Chrome settings.

    click on the garbage can to uninstall
    click on "get more extensions"
    type into lastpass into "search the store" 
    click to install

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Stupid online chat with a Honda dealer


    I have my password. I want to know how to change it  

    Sure, let me help you with that. Just to address you better, may I have your name please?  


    Nice to have you with us, Linda.

    How can I help you?

    Tell me how to change my password

    Are you trying to schedule a service appointment?

    No. I'm trying to change my password.

    I'm not sure what you're referring to. What are you using your password for?

    To log in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you understand that your site has a "log me in" function? I have a userid and a password for making appointments. When I log in, I can't find where to change my password.

    Have you tried logging into your account and looking for password changing options there?


    I just said I can't find it!

    One moment please.

    I need to get with my Internet Manager for you on that. Would you like an email or phone call with that information?

    I do apologize for that Linda. Would you like to leave your phone number for a faster response?

    Why is it faster to call?

    Some people are not always at the computer waiting for the email to come in so we can also call you with that information.

    Some people? Do you mean customers? What are you talking about? I've been checking my email for days now and still haven't heard.

    I apologize for that. I will have my manager send you that email as soon as possible. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

    No thank you.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Electric Fireplaces Direct reedems themselves

    Below I wrote of some bad experiences I had with a company that sells electric fireplaces, but scroll down to the bottom and you will see the happy epilogue. This company, in my opinion, has redeemed themselves, and I will continue to be a customer. Here is my original post:

    I've never had worse online service as I've experienced with

    It started with my calling them to be helpful. Their advertising had landed in my spam folder, and I thought they'd want to know. I explained that they just need to tweak their email ads a little bit so this doesn't happen. The rep on the other end didn't seem to care, and acted offended.

    Then I tried to change my password. There is no way to change your password on their site, including you cannot request to have it reset.

    So I filled out their email form to ask how to change my password, and never got an answer.

    So then I called. The rep told me to hang on, then I got connected to a recording from another company.

    So I called back, and she told me there's no way to change my password.

    I said, "So if a customer calls and wants to change their password, you say 'Sorry'?"

    She replied, "Maam, there's no need to be aggravated. I'll find someone to help you." Then I was on hold for ten minutes.

    Then she asked for my name. I was put on hold for a third time. Then she came back and gave me a new temporary password and told me to use that to sign in and then change my password. I asked where does one do that. She didn't know. I reminded her that the reason I called was to find out where on the website I could change the password, and now her answer is "it's somewhere on the site." She then repeated, "Maam, I'm trying to find out for you."

    I was put on hold for a fourth time. While I waited, I tried the new password. It didn't work.

    All told, I had been on the phone twenty minutes, and then got disconnected.

    I don't want to buy from them any more.  It's unfortunate because I really liked the item I bought from them, but as an I.T. Professional, I am not confident that their site is secure. And they're unprofessional as well.


    A few day after I posted my problems online in this blog, I received an email from the company. I followed the link, and it did indeed work. They fixed their functionality so that customers can change their passwords, and have shown serious concern about their customer service issues as well. The email included this:

    "I wanted to follow up and let you know that we have added functionality to our site to allow customers to change their password with ease. We thank you for your feedback which has led to site improvements.

    "To do this the customer will need to sign into their account: Electric Fireplaces

    "Then choose change password (red button toward the top of the new screen).
    Follow the steps on the next screen, save. Let me know if you run into any further problems. I have addressed with our sales staff the customer service issues you mention in your blog post.  We are continually training to improve our service. I hope you will consider amending your blog post to note these changes."


    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Remove the Teamviewer sponsored session popup

    Remove the Teamviewer "sponsored session" popup

    Update: Thanks to Mark Stelmack, whose comment is below, I now have a solution that works. I checked that the site is safe, and the script is safe. So here it is:

    The Solution that Works courtesy of Mark Stelmack

    1. Download AutoIt from Autoitscript
    2. Install AutoIt.
    3. Open SciTE Script Editor. Create a script using the following:

    Local $tvHandle = 0
    while True
    $tvHandle = WinWaitActive("Sponsored session")
    if Not ($tvHandle = 0) Then

    4. Save the script.(e.g., session.au3)
    5. Add that script name to your Startup folder for all users.
    My mom is a senior citizen who manages to use her Windows 8 computer for email and online grocery ordering. She does it by sheer rote, and requires retraining every time a pixel shifts. Email and her grocery app are her lifeline. I use Teamviewer to solve problems and keep her machine working spiffy.


    My Original Post

    When Teamviewer leaves that "sponsored session" popup on top of her AOL screen, the phone rings. "What do I do now?" comes the query from the eighty-six year old.

    Understandable. Think like an eighty-six year old in 2014--it's at best disconcerting; at worst it's a  showstopper.

    I found two solutions online. The first solution doesn't seem to consistently work. The second one I did not try. I do the third one:

    A Solution that Didn't Work for Me

    (I found this one to work but haven't rebooted yet.)

    Run regedit ("windows" + "r" then type: regedit)
    Navigate to \HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\TeamViewerSession\shell\open\command
    Right click on Default in right window & select 'Modify' (not 'Modify Binary Data')
    Delete details in 'Value data' box

    Another Solution that Didn't Work for Me

    (I did not test this one fully because I found the registry hack worked.)

    Navigate to the location of the popup on your local disk. (C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Temp\TeamViewer\Version9\7.hta)
    Edit 7.hta with Notepad++ (or whatever else)
    Replace the contents with window.close();
    Save the file.
    Right click and select Properties.
    In the Security tab click Edit...
    Select each of the Groups (SYSTEM, USERNAME, Admins) and click Full control under Deny for each. (This will check off all the boxes.)
    Click Apply.


    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Greatcall sponges off of old people

    Watch out all senior citizens who decide to get a Jitterbug cellphone. The company is now Greatcall, and they take advantage of seniors.

    Today a senior citizen called GreatCall to obtain a password so that a relative could help. During the call, the senior did not receive the password, but did get sold insurance on her phone that she does not need.

    With the help of the relative,  a followup phone call was placed to state that she does not need the insurance and should not have been given the hard sell. The response from the rep on the phone was to go speak to his supervisor, then to come back to the phone, and try another hard sell.

    He even tried to push the lost handset insurance based on his finding that the senior's phone was old. This not only didn't make sense, but they had the wrong phone in their data banks. Her old phone has already been replaced recently.

    Only with push back from the relative did the rep back down and cancel the insurance. But when asked, he stated that there would be no snail mail or email confirmation that the insurance was cancelled. So now the relative will have to watch for the next bill.

    As an afterthought, I decided to look up the fine print on that replacement insurance they tried to sell her and here it is:

    *Monthly fee is per phone. This service added per phone on Simply Share accounts. You must wait 60 days after enrollment before requesting a replacement phone. Maximum of 1 replacement per 12-month period. Manufacturer warranty not applicable to replacement phone. $25 deductible includes a delivery of a replacement phone in gently used condition within 7 days.

    So apparently, the promised replacement phone is not even a new phone, and it's not free, and has no warranty. Gee, where can I sign up?

    In case someone from GreatCall is reading this -- you need to know two things:

    1. Senior Citizens who live in Independent Living Facilities or Assisted Living, and who never go off-site, are extremely unlikely to ever lose their phones.  And if they did, the chance of it being returned is as close to a hundred percent as you can get without reaching a hundred percent.

    2. A senior citizen is not likely to think on their feet during your hard sell, and is easily subject to persuasion. Stop taking advantage of seniors.

    Try googling GreatCall complaints.

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Google Chrome updates are disabled by the administrator

    8/13/2014 ATTENTION:

    After plenty of tearing my hair out, I don't use the Google Chrome update function any more. Instead, when I know there's a Google Chrome update available (Secunia PSI alerts me), I just go to Google Chrome, do an online search for the latest download, download it and install it. It works.

    Forget about what's written below.


    My security tool (Secunia PSI) reported that my Chrome needed updating, but when I tried to update, Chrome threw this message:

    Google Chrome Updates Are Disabled By The Administrator  

    I googled the problem, and just about everybody offered the same registry hack, but the hack didn't work for me. I found I had to enhance it to get it to work.

    The original registry hack eveyrbody recommended was:

    Go to : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\
    Double-click at the UpdateDefault
    And type 0 to 1
    Exit Registry Editor, restart Chrome  

    But I found that, in addition, I needed to make one more change in the same place. I had to change the setting for DisableAutoUpdateChecksCheckboxValue from 1 to 0.

    Don't forget to restart Chrome when you're done