Showing posts from May, 2015

Changes in Bluetooth pairing in Windows 8.1

Although Windows 10 is just a few months (weeks) away from hitting mainstream users, Windows 8.1 is thankfully still receiving regular updates. Users who have recently tried setting up Bluetooth pairing will notice that Bluetooth set up has changed quite a bit since Windows 8. Apart from the old-school Bluetooth wizard being done away with, you can no longer pin Devices to the Start screen and the toast screen for confirming the PIN isn't emblazoned on your display during the pairing process. Moreover, the command  btchprops.cpl is no longer available to access the Devices screen (now removed in 8.1) or even the old Bluetooth Device Control settings from legacy Windows versions such as Windows XP.

In Windows 8, you can pin a device and rename the device name from the Devices screen, but now all you get is a Remove device option.

In Windows 8.1, clicking Add a Bluetooth Device or Show Bluetooth Devices from the Bluetooth icon on the System tray will open the same screen. All Blueto…

Verifying mobile data access on an Xperia (Android 5.x)

Although Android 5.x hasn't made it yet to all Xperia users, purchasing one of the recent models will get you Android 5.x along with Sony's own customizations.

This article is a brief overview of checking your mobile data connection with Android 5.x with an Xperia Ultra Z.

Note: As always, your choice of network provider may affect mobile data set up.

To set up and verify your mobile data service on your Xperia device:

1. Tap Settings > More > Mobile Networks > Search networks. Tap the fastest mobile network service on the list.  

2. Depending on your mobile network requirements, you may need to set up additional software for data access. Tap Settings > More > Internet Settings > Accept.

3. Drag down the notification panel and tap Mobile data. Launch Google Chrome and check if you are able to open a web page.

Unsolicited Question: What do you think of Cinnamon on Debian 8 Jessie?

Many users agree that Cinnamon, despite being relatively new compared to KDE and Xfce, is stable and usable thanks to the hard-working Linux Mint team. If you require GTK-based applications, Cinnamon sits comfortably between Xfce's conservative desktop and Gnome 3's suffocating user experience. Cinnamon also benefits from not having the considerable bulk of KDE yet isn't as emaciated as LXDE in terms of included applications.

Cinnamon is now offered as a desktop environment when you run the gui install of Debian 8 Jessie. Debian's stability and "dated" reputation seems somewhat at odds with Cinnamon's more modern development cycle. However, any veteran Linux user will tell you that desktop environments do not define a Linux distribution and that Debian fits well with almost any application or desktop environment out there. The result of a little Cinnamon on Debian is exactly what you would expect from Debian's well-deserved rock-solid reputation.

I i…

Linux on Film: Bates Motel Season 3

Bates Motel doesn't get as much press as other shows on TV, but it's a well-written thriller/drama set in a small town where a perpetually dysfunctional family struggles with emotional and psychological baggage while trying to make ends meet.  Unfortunately, Norma and Norman Bates' history and psychological makeup aren't the only challenges as a thoroughly American lifestyle of secrets, corruption and crime prevent any form of peaceful existence.

Season 3 fast forwards Norman's psychological issues which were only hinted at in season 1 and season 2. Amidst the drama between Norma Bates' incestuous brother, Norman's growing mental illness and the aftermath of the drug bust that crushed the primary industry of the small town, Norma Bates is handed a password-protected USB flash drive by a dying prostitute.

"Take care of this flash drive . . . it's 9.99 at" Norma Bates receives a bloody USB drive. Screen capture from Bates Motel Season…

Online service tested: 7-day Kindle Unlimited with Kindle app (iOS8)

I like Amazon as an online shopping store, but I was a Sony PRS-600 ebook user for four years, rather than a Kindle user. I then switched to Kobo Glo when the PRS-600 died despite temptations to purchase the well-reviewed 2nd-generation Amazon Kindle PaperWhite. My main reason for avoiding a Kindle was I had a boatload of .txt, EPUB and PDF files gathered from public domain sites such as and File format support and adequate battery life was my objective, not access to Amazon's library of books. Besides, if I ever wanted to shop for books, there was the Amazon app, which I can install on my budget ASUS MemoPad HD7 or iPad 2.
When Kindle Unlimited was first announced a few years back, initial reviews weren't very good. I had no opinion of it one way or the other.  Enter the Kindle app for iOS8. After undergoing my quarterly update and reset of my aged iPad 2, I installed the Kindle app out of a whim and instantly got a 7-day preview for Kindle Unlimited…

Quick Fix: MS Office Click to Run and CPU usage

If you're suddenly experiencing a jump in CPU usage and your mouse exhibits constant activity, check if Microsoft Office Click-to-Run is causing the problem. The recent Office module update is loaded on startup and will trigger CPU usage from idle to 40%-60%, and causes your mouse pointer to show ongoing activity.

To check if Microsoft Office Click-to-run is causing CPU usage and disable the process:

1. In Windows 8.1, click Win+X > Task Manager.

2. On the Processes tab, check for Microsoft Office Click-to-Run and its CPU usage.

3. Right-click Microsoft Office Click-to-Run and click End task.

The mouse pointer should no longer exhibit activity and processor usage should drop to normal usage.

To prevent Microsoft Office Click-to-Run from loading on boot:

1. In Windows 8.1, click Win+X > Task Manager.

2. Click the Services tab, then right-click ClickToRunSvc > Open Services.

3. In the Services Management window, double-click the Microsoft Office ClickToRun Service.

4. On …

Tips for Students using the Kobo app (Android)

If you're a student using plenty of EPUBs for your studies and research, the Kobo app is a worthy app to use, particularly if you aren't tied to iOS or use an Amazon Kindle. Here are a few tips for students when using the Kobo app for Android:
1. Importing public domain books - You don't need a Kobo account to use the Kobo app. You can import EPUB files directly from your micro SD card. EPUBs you've downloaded from and that are stored on your Android device's internal storage are immediately detected and listed in the Library and Home screens.
To import EPUBs stored on your micro SD card, tap the Options button > Import Items > START. Select the books you want to import to Kobo Glo. You'll also have the option to remove the books from the micro SD card to save space.

2. Using footnote links - A properly published EPUB will have interactive links to footnotes. Tap the footnote number to read the associated footnote.

Tap the arrow …

Debian Jessie notes: Rygel preferences and Touchpad settings

Rygel Preferences
The Rygel GNOME UPnP and DLNA services package is installed by default with Debian Jessie Xfce and Gnome and you can set up DLNA sharing from the commandline or by editing the configuration files. However, if you prefer to have a user interface for adding folders and network interfaces, install the rygel-preferences software package.

Although designed for Gnome, the Rygel preferences user interface won't have problems on KDE, LXDE and Xfce, although you will have to install the rygel and rygel-preferences packages separately. 

Touchpad tap settings after Debian installation
Touchpad works out of the box on Debian but if tap to click doesn't work after a fresh Debian installation, just enable it from the Mouse and Touchpad settings.
To enable tap to click in Xfce4:
1. Click Applications menu > Mouse and Touchpad.
2. On the Devices tab, select SynPS/2 Synaptics Touchpad.

3. Click the Touchpad tab and then enable Tap touchpad to click.

PPPoE and Atheros/Realtek firmware during Debian Jessie installation

Most GUI Linux installation methods don't include the option to set up PPPoE and use Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection as the default option to connect to the Internet. As with earlier versions of Debian, you can add a boot option while running installation media to set up a PPPoE connection.
Note: This article uses information from the official Debian documentation pages for PPPoE and network installation

To set up PPPoE during Debian installation:

1. Boot your system using a Debian LiveUSB, DVD or CD. 2. Press TAB to add boot options. 3. Input installgui modules=ppp-udeb and then press Enter.

The installation process will begin and after setting up time, date, Root and user information, you will be prompted to provide your ISP name, ISP username and password.

Even if the setup process informs you that you are missing firmware for your Ethernet card and you don't have the necessary firmware on a flash drive or CD, you can continue and still complete the Debian installation pro…

A Wi-Fi Review of Naha and GRG Naha Higashimachi Part 5

Continued from A Wi-Fi Review of Naha and GRG Naha Higashimachi Part 4

Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum

I've read comments in TripAdvisor from ignorant and whiny tourists complaining how you can't explore the whole Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum because you have to pay for two separate tickets.  The museum is divided into two areas, one for history and one for art. You pay for what you're interested in. I have zero appreciation for art, but enjoy history quite a bit.

There's a walking path with a sky arch at the rear of the museum. 

After paying for your ticket for the prefectural historical museum, head to the library to your right. You can borrow an audio guide set which includes a laminated map, a 2nd-generation iPod nano and a Sony headset.

I had a great time at the museum. The displays were exceptionally well-maintained and the English audio guide was very thorough. Although the exhibition isn't as extensive as say the Hong Kong Museum of Hi…