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Category: Rant

Restore natural picture look on Samsung smart TV

By , 02/02/2016 10:04 PM

I really like my new smart TV from Samsung it has tons of bells and whistles. But one thing I noticed – no matter what I watch – series or movies, streaming or broadcast – picture has a “teleplay” feeling – like the action is happening on stage in the theater. If you recall what later Twilight Zone episodes look like you’d know what I am talking about. Maybe it’s supposed to look like this, but I like “film” feeling more. So I found a setting that restores natural picture look:

CYMERA_20160202_215011
Go to your TV menu, then select Picture -> Picture Options -> Auto Motion Plus and turn it off.

Fix Roku problem connecting to 802.11ac 5Ghz WiFi

By , 01/30/2016 2:15 PM

I recently got a Roku 4 – at the time of this post the latest and greatest streaming players from Roku family. It comes with many bells and whistles – including ability to connect to 5Ghz WiFi networks. But for the life of me – it could not connect to mine. Player was seeing the SSID of the network, able to connect to wireless, but chocked on joining to LAN. Extensive chat with support lead nowhere – they wanted me to change WAN DNS and many other hoops that achieved nothing. For the record – my router is a dual-band one, and Roku had no problems connecting to 2.4Ghz band. But Internet speed falls dramatically over 2.4Ghz connection and I needed 5Ghz.

Finally I found one thing that worked.
AC Network
AC connection has 3 bandwidth modes: 20Mhz, 40Mhz, and 80Mhz. My router was set to 80Mhz to take full advantage of 1300 speed. None of my devices had problem with this (including, I might add, my previous Roku 3 player). But apparently Roku 4 couldn’t handle it. But as soon as I switched bandwidth to 40Mhz – boom, instant connection.

Streaming doesn’t suffer from this change, but it does lower LAN speed, so I’d like alternative solution from Roku if possible. Is this a known issue? Would an update fix it?


UPDATE 2016-02-01: Found a better workaround with the help of this awesome device.
Bridge
WUMC710 is a bridge between 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections and full 802.11ac WiFi. And it has no problem with 80Mhz channel. So I basically tell Roku it has a wired connection (and it does to the bridge) and the bridge has beautiful wireless connection to my router. You can grab the WUMC710 pretty cheap (I got mine for $10) and besides not having to slowdown your main network it makes actual Roku internet Speed much faster. Shame Roku’s own WiFi is not on par, but hopefully it will catch on

Fixing problem with Yahoo geolocation service

By , 01/25/2016 5:04 PM

Recently two Pebble watchfaces I’ve developed based on Paul Joel designes: Clean&Smart and Cobblestyle began to experience weather update issues – as in “weather was not updated at all”. Looking into the issue I found a weird thing: If you set your location manually – weather worked. But automatic weather based on phone location did not.

The way automatic location works is pretty straighforward. First this function is called to determine location:

function getLocation() {
  navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(
    locationSuccess,
    locationError,
    {timeout: 15000, maximumAge: 60000}
  );
}

It uses phone location services (GPS, if its available, otherwise network-based location). In case of success it calls locationSuccess function. And in my tests it always called it, so location was determined successfully. Continue reading 'Fixing problem with Yahoo geolocation service'»

Solved: Issue with Pebble framebuffer after notification is dismissed

By , 01/08/2016 1:15 PM

Effect Layer Issue I’ve encountered a weird issue while working with EffectLayer Library (a visual effect library for Pebble smartwatch). In this particular watchface called Clean & Smart I used “invert” effect which inverts colors of the watchface should the user choose that option in settings. It was working fine when option changed when watchface was loaded/unload and behaved weirdly only in one particular scenario: when you would receive a notification (email, text etc.) and then dismiss it. Upon coming back from notification to watchface invert effect would only partially cover the watchface (as seen on the screenshot).
I don’t know exactly what was happening, but had a theory. Continue reading 'Solved: Issue with Pebble framebuffer after notification is dismissed'»

Solution: Windows 10: Unable to start Appstore apps

By , 08/05/2015 1:45 PM

Ok, I went ahead and upgraded to Windows 10. everything went smoothly, all my settings and installed apps preserved and work without a hitch. I am loving the interface and getting along with Cortana pretty good.

But after a while I encountered a weird issue: Appstore installed apps – e.g. Calendar, Mail etc. even Windows AppStore itself wouldn’t launch. I’d either get a cryptic error message, something along the lines “Application did not start, please contact system administrator” or very briefly a window would appear and immediately closed.

Looking into Event log was a bit more explanatory, but not too much: “Microsoft.WindowsStore_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App failed with error: Access is denied. See the Microsoft-Windows-TWinUI/Operational log for additional information.

If you google it – you will find many possible explanations of the problem and many possible ways to solve it offered, but none of those worked for me. Finally I figured it out (and Event Log entry gave me a clue): C:\Program Files\WindowsApps folder was missing necessary permissions:

WindowsApps

Namely, “ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES” was missing read & execute permissions on that folder (had to to uncheck “Hide protected operating system files” in Control Panel, File Explorer options to be able to see it). Once I added correct permissions – appstore apps started launching with no problems.

Original Pebbles are getting TimeLine! (with special offers)

By , 04/01/2015 12:01 AM

Original Pebble Steel with TimeLine Pebble Corporation is very well know for its visionary ideas. Ideas that kept its incredible smartwatches Pebble and Pebble Steel relevant on the market years after their release. They key to such longevity is regular software updates that bring new features to existing hardware. Multilanguage support, actionable notifications and many other fetures delighted Pebble users to no end.

This worked amazingly well so far. But now Pebble is finally on the verge of releasing new hardware as well. Color Pebble Time is scheduled (as of this writing) to be released in May and a shinier version – Pebble Time Steel is to be shipped in July. Both are getting brand new OS with time-oriented Timeline interface that will streamline the way you interact with the watch.

But what about users of existing Pebbles? Are they doomed to use obsolete devices? Continue reading 'Original Pebbles are getting TimeLine! (with special offers)'»

Solution: Live Writer Error “Invalid Response Document” while connecting to WordPress

By , 03/23/2015 1:02 PM

If you’re trying to connect to your WordPress blog from Windows Live Writer desktop client, you may get this dreaded error message:

Invalid Server Response – The response to the blogger.getUsersBlogs method received from the blog server was invalid:┬áInvalid response document returned from XmlRpc Server

Invalid Response

This means that instead of expected XML response your blog sent back plain html or text message which is most likely some kind of error message. To see actual message you can either trace request response in an HTTP sniffer like Fiddler or simple enter endpoint url for your blog remote access (e.g. http://your.site.com/wordpress/xmlrpc.php) into your browser address bar.
Continue reading 'Solution: Live Writer Error “Invalid Response Document” while connecting to WordPress'»

WriteEndObject of JSON.NET ouptuts NULL literal

By , 01/07/2015 4:50 PM

JSON.NET is a very popular framework to process JSON data in .NET. We recently upgraded from v4 to v6 and noticed strange thing it started to output null to JSON strings created by JsonTextWriter object.

For example if JSON produced by v4 would look like this:

{"param1":"value1", "param2":"value2",
"someArray":[{"arrParam1": "arrValue1"}, {"arrParam2": "arrValue2"}]}

Same code, using v6, would prodcuce

{"param1":"value1", "param2":"value2",
"someArray":[{"arrParam1": "arrValue1"}, {"arrParam2": "arrValue2"}]null}

that extra “null” makes it invalid and unusable JSON.

The .NET function to create JSON writes it into a StringBuilder and is pretty straighforward.

  1. It starts with call to WriteStartObject method of JsonTextWriter
  2. Then it creates parameter name via WritePropertyName
  3. Depending on whether primitive value or raw string needs to be written WriteValue or WriteRaw methods are used respectfully
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed
  5. Call to WriteEndObjectto finish writing.

This worked perfectly well when version 4 of Newtonsoft.Json.dll was used. After upgrading to version 6 last method – “WriteEndObject” began to output “null” to resulting JSON.

The solution is to use WriteRawValue method instead of WriteRaw – it still outputs raw string, but at the end WriteEndObject doesn’t output “null” anymore.

Solution: Lenovo Thinkpad w540 black LCD screen (only external monitor works)

By , 12/22/2014 5:33 PM

I spend ungodly amount of time trying to solve this issue, there were many similar issues reported on Lenovo forums, but no solutions and contacting Lenovo support is akin jumping thru hoops of fire.

The problem began after I plugged my brand new Thinkpad w540 into external monitor and set it to mode “Extended display (monitor + built-in screen). For a while everything worked fine, but then laptop own screen went black – and nothing could revive it. The external monitor worked fine and the maddening part was – when laptop booted – Lenovo logo appeared bright and shiny on laptop own screen, so I knew graphics card was OK. I ran full Lenovo System update, I updated NVidia drivers from Nvida site – nothing helped.

Then I tried to update Intel drivers for laptop’s HD Graphics 4600 card. Intel installer refused to install them because “The driver being installed is not validated for this computer“. To bypass that I

1. Unzipped the installer package into it’s own folder (you can use WinRar to unpack actual EXE or you can download Zip version of the package).
2. Went to Device Manager, right clicked on “HD Graphics 4600 card” driver and selected Update.
3. When prompted I selected “Browse my computer for driver software”
4. Selected “Let me pick from list of Device Drivers”
5. Clicked “Have disk” and browsed for an INF file inside of GRAPHICS folder of the unpacked driver files from Step 1

Installation commenced and lo and behold – laptop’s display sprang to life.

These instructions are specific to this laptop model and videocard, but I imagine they might be helpful in other similar situations. And hopefully Lenovo will take notice and finally update their drivers.

Solution for NFC not working on Samsung Galaxy phone

By , 10/03/2014 1:44 PM

This has been bothering me for a while – NFC refused to work on my Samsung Galaxy phone. Service was enabled and running, no errors or warning were displayed, but phone was unable to detect any NFC presence – tags, stickers, point of sale etc.

I was wrecking my mind until I realized that a while back I replaced the original Samsung Battery with a higher capacity generic one to extend battery life. But original Samsung Battery acts as an NFC antenna as well!

As soon as I put original battery in – lo and behold NFC sprang to action.

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