Network Connections in Windows 10

Windows 10 can be great, but a lot of things have been dumb since Windows 8. Like how they hide access to Network Connections. The window that on WinXP and Win7, was used for all things network related. All it’s functionality is still there, you just have to find it.

There are several ways to get to the now buried window, but with this method you can reach in two clicks.

  1. Right click the Start Menu and select Network Connections. Done? Ha, no. Welcome to the Network Status setting window. Hardly.
  2. Now click “Change adapter options”.  You made it~! This is the “real” Network Connections window.

For the uninitiated, this window shows the network status better than the previous Win10 Network Status window. Right click your adapter and select status to gander at all the info.

Windows 10 Settings

TCL Roku 4k

The TCL Roku 4k is back on top as my recommended Smart TV for using an antenna. You can purchase this brand in various sizes (28 – 65 inches) from amazon, walmart, and target. Bestbuy has their own brand, Insignia Roku 4k.

The 4k model has faster hardware than the 1080p model. Even if you don’t use 4k, you will benefit from the better picture and faster menu navigation.

Features:
– HD Antenna Tuner – See my other antenna guides for more info on what Antennas work in the low signals areas (like where I live).
– Roku Apps – Roku has been a part of streaming tv since the beginning, as such, it has amassed a huge following from the major streaming networks.
– Pause and Rewind Live TV – Just plug in a USB flash drive to activate.
– 14 day TV Guide – *NEW feature* displays all your local TV listings.
– Smartphone remote control – Lose your remote? No problem, just open the phone app. You can also use your phone’s headphone jack for private listening of what is on the TV.
– Global search – You can search for a show across all your apps, including local antenna tv listings)

Between the ability to pause live tv from the antenna and the Hulu app, my need for a DVR is gone.

2018 Comparison of Verizon MVNOs

I live in an area with ZERO att/tmobile coverage. Sprint coverage is sparse. Leaving Verizon and US Cellular as the only towers with consistent coverage.

I am a user of Straight Talk. I chose them for their pricing at the time of $45 for unlimited calls and texts with 5GB of high speed data, unlimited low speed data.  The coverage was through Verizon and hit 95% of the places I travel.  Really good.

In the years since I switched to Straight Talk, they have increased that 5GB data allotment to 6GB, then 8Gb, and now 10GB.  What a deal~!

MVNOs like Straight Talk are able to offer lower prices than larger cell companies because they buy their data in bulk contracts from the same companies they compete with.  MVNOs then make themselves cheaper by doing away with niceties like customer service (Straight Talk is a Walmart owned company).  Perfect for folks that can solve their own technical issues.  You can buy a phone from the MVNO company, or bring your own Verizon compatible phone.  Is really a sweet setup that MVNOs have scored.

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Idea: Answering Tricky questions with Amazon Mechanical Turk

I know that the Echo gets the bulk of its responses from Alexa, but I think amazon is missing an opportunity with their own mturk service.

Each time Echo responds with “sorry”, the transcript of that command is already flagged for staff review. If enough people ask for anything, the appropriate response will eventually be available for Echo. However, what if Amazon could create new responses to tricky questions in less than a day?

Using Amazon’s own Mechanical Turk service, Amazon can reduce the threshold for human review. Overall decreasing the turnaround for creating better responses from weeks down to hours or even minutes!

For the uninitiated, Mechanical Turk is a service from Amazon where you can complete simple tasks in exchange for a tiny payment. The idea is to use this service for tasks that are easy for humans but hard for computers. Currently, the mturk service looks to be mostly used for transcription and image recognition services.

Volume Control for a Android Head Unit

I gave myself a birthday gift earlier this year.  Upgrading my truck’s cd/tape deck with something more modern.   I installed an Android Head Unit.  For less than $200 and a weekend of work, I gave my 2005 truck modern features such as bluetooth, reverse camera, gps navigation, and mpg gauges.

I have had the android head unit installed a few month now and am still really impressed.  The head unit’s speaker amplifier is a huge upgrade from what I had for sound quality before.  The radio receives stations for longer distances.  I use the bluetooth and reverse camera features daily.  The mpg gauge is done through the Torque app that was preinstalled, and it also has a nice feature of calculating fuel miles remaining.  Cool.

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Mark 3 Ammo Counter

Nerf, Paintball, Prop Weapons. This is the ammo counter you want~!

il_fullxfull.1307046934_eifm


The Ammo Counter MK3 is a remix of my previous ammo counter design and is now completely reprogrammable by you with no additional tools! There are 10 clip slots in memory, you can easily switch magazine sizes with a single button press. In addition, each clip slot can be reprogrammed by you for any starting value up to 99. Each slot will remember your selected fire mode, semi-auto, full-auto, and count up.

Video tutorial: Coming Soon!

Features:
* Smallest Ammo Counter Circuit!
* Selectable Clip Sizes
* Programmable Clip Sizes (Default: 35, 25, 22, 18, 15, 12, 10, 6, 32, 99)
* Programmable Fire Types (Semi-Auto, Full-Auto, and Count Up Semi-Auto)
* Light Break Sensor Ready



Ammo Counter 2017 – New Design

This is a small preview of the new ammo counter design I am working on.  There are two buttons on the face of the circuit that will allow you to select from preset modes, or add your own!  No more hardcoded starting count values!!

More info to follow…

select_fire_outline

The finished circuit will be about the same size as my previous ammo counters.

A finished one

OTA Antenna FAQs

Here are some Frequently asked questions I get about TV Antennas in my town:

  • What is the best antenna?
  • Can I go bigger?
  • Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

What is the best antenna?

The best antenna is the one that fits your budget. Here is my handout I give folks who ask. I have it broken into three budgets. < $50 / $120 / $200
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x113jqeepDhK4VtcKPQecNvcxV7hLQJXG0ZTiL3sqp0

Can I go bigger?

Short answer, no. Long answer, it depends but probably is not worth it. You can explore this page which describes running multiple DB8 antennas. Midway down the page you will find “Why this 16-bay antenna might not work”. Take a read through.
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/16bay.html
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/32bay.html

Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

Again, short answer no. Long answer, maybe. Antennas like the DB8e have multiple elements that can be pointed in different directions. Aside from halving your antennas efficiency by splitting it in two, the next problem is that some of the signal picked up by Side A is then radiated out of Side B. This results in your received signal dropping by more than 50% !
If you are thinking about adding a second antenna to overcome these losses, see above “Can I go bigger?”

[theory] How does a boost converter behave when it receives input voltage above the target output voltage?

What is the boost converter doing when it receives input voltage above the target output voltage?

I have a homemade TV remote that I designed with a NCP1402 boost converter so I could power with a single AA and have a 3.3V board voltage. Worked fine in testing, but I wanted more range. So I swapped out the standard 1.5 volt alkaline AA for a 3.7 volt 14500 Li-Ion. The board components can handle the extra voltage. Not worried there. I was curious what the boost converter thinks about the situation.

Example schematic:

Datasheet: https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/NCP1402-D.PDF

My observations and theory: When I input 3.7 volts and probe the boost converter’s normally 3.3V output, I see the 3.7V input voltage instead. Using block diagram in the datasheet, I imagine the boost converter gets stuck in a voltage feedback loop. Never engaging the oscillator.

See reddit for responses.

OTA Channel List – Aug 2017

I did a scan tonight and found FIVE new channels I wasn’t aware of. If you have an antenna, do a channel scan on your tv to find the new channels. ION, 24/7 PBS Kids, TBD TV, American Sports Network, and QVC.

Here is an updated list of stations from Madison that we can receive in Platteville~! All primary channels are broadcast in 1080i or 720p HD, with the exception of CW, all subchannels are 480i.

3.1 CBS channel3000.com
3.2 MyN mynetworktv.com
3.3 ION iontelevision.com
15.1 NBC nbc15.com
15.2 CW cwtv.com
15.3 Antenna TV antennatv.tv
15.4 Weather weathernationtv.com
21.1 PBS wpt.org
21.2 Wisconsin wpt.org/wisconsinchannel
21.3 Create createtv.com
21.4 PBS Kids pbskids.org
27.1 ABC wkow.com
27.2 Me-TV metvnetwork.com
27.3 Decades decades.com
40.1 Christian kfxb.net
47.1 FOX fox47.com
47.2 Comet comettv.com
47.3 Charge watchcharge.com
47.4 TBD tbd.com
57.1 Independent wi57.tv
57.2 Movies! moviestvnetwork.com
57.3 H&I handitvnetwork.com
57.4 ASN americansportsnet.com
57.5 QVC qvc.com