the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: wireless

amazon echo, arrived

I received my Amazon Echo unit this week, several months after ordering it. The $99 (with Prime Membership) unit is sleek, solid, and very black. While it should have been simple to configure – get the app for Android (or via the web, as long as it’s on one’s wireless network) and follow the instructions – getting it to sign into my wifi required a call to Amazon and then a talk to the development team. (Seems the issue was with the app not recognizing WPA/WPA2 correctly). Anyway, that aside, I was up and running.
Alexa has problems understanding:
“What time is it in a stop stop?”
“Would you like to eat it blueberries?”
“when is the next bus gonna be at at us an in game”

And knowing pretty basic stuff:
Who did the chicago blackhawks play tonight?
Sorry, I couldn’t find the answer to your question.

But she’s kinda funny:
“Would you like to eat a blueberry?
I don’t have preferences or desires.

Are you a man?
I’m female in character.

Are you hungry?
I don’t get hungry or thirsty, but thank you for asking.

The kids love her,
What is eighty one minus twenty eight?
81 minus 28 is 53.

Yet her pronunciation isn’t so good (“Jonathan Toes” vs “Toews”)

The Echo App logs “cards” of what Alexa has heard, allowing one to send feedback to Amazon, which presumably will help improve her.
She’s perfect for playing music and sounds very good, but wouldn’t it be great if she could find a UPnP server on my local network and access that? So yes, the possibilities of Echo are boundless – think Wikipedia reader, think Translator, think Sports – but she’s definitely a work in progress. I can’t wait however until I can call her Samantha or… Sudo!


the joy of a good wireless router, redux

Internet connectivity was going in/out today, so guess what. That the joy of a good wireless router was short-lived. November, December, January, February, March, April, May… what’s that 6 months? Oh well, bought the same router for $12.99, uploaded my saved settings, flashed the firmware and let’s hope that Trendnet won’t fail me in another six months!?

Update: Well, it was AT&T, probably messin with my DSL – the dreaded “Subscribers in the Chicago area may be experiencing…

I did pickup that range extender, $24 Trendnet Extender N300. WPS setup did not work, probably because I was three floors away from each push, but an ethernet cable and laptop did and I quickly had it running. It doesn’t survive (at least for me) a power off, so kids stay away. Now I’ve got great coverage all throughout my house. Highly recommended.


the joy of a good wireless router

New router time here at the itjerk homestead. Year by year, I’ve got more gear that needs a wireless connection, and with the big remodel of the man cave, the TV and Chromecast are two big additions: multimedia streaming. Truth be told the old wireless router wasn’t showing enough bars, and I suffered dead spots in various spots in the house.

Off to Microcenter and $20 later I came home with the Trendnet N300. Two antennae, 300mps rating, and a fresh power 5V supply, I’m in wireless heaven. It supports Dyndns, something I actually use, and was simple to setup, once I figured out my AT&T PPPOE password. Added a few DHCP fixies, and viola, more bars and less drop outs.

Note I didn’t spring for a dual or AC band router because I don’t have any wireless adapters that utilize the 5Ghz frequency. That saved me some money too!

On the web:
Trendnet TEW-731BR


This thing's getting RMA'd:

wlan0 is down
failed to obtain IP address is unreachable

And Chumby must have had their Xmas party…

wireless router

Can you believe it? The old wireless router went bad. Couldn't stream FLAC files to my Squeezebox, and even some MP3/OGG files would drop out. Off to the newly remodeled Microcenter and found this one: Trendnet 432BRP. Yes, it's only offers "g", but I only have "g" wireless devices. Total price $21.97 priced matched with NewEgg PLUS a $20 rebate – that about makes it free! It features with an Energy Star wall wart and supports all the things I needed from a router. I did have to update the firmware on the router right away, which fixed a problem with date/years.

A couple of notes about setting a wireless router. First, use channels 1, 6, or 11, and test the strength on each. Channels do overlap, and this can be especially problematic if like me, you live in a high-density area. I must have about 25 ssids I can identify from my living room! Second, use WPA security, please. People will find and use your bandwidth. Finally, be sure to change the default password for your router, otherwise, it can be hacked quite easily.

And yes, my Squeezebox is streaming happily once again!