Get Zoom on your Mac, PC or Smartphone – March 2020 edition.

Zoom

I’ve put together a little cheat sheet on how to “quickly” set yourself up to use Zoom meetings. This information seems to be buried in the Zoom website and across the inter-webs but here is all you need to download Zoom Meetings.

Once you are setup you can join a test meeting here to see if it’s all working.

Some Caveats

  • Obviously 😂, you will need a Mac, PC, Chromebook or Smartphone. Sorry no Blackberry support!
  • You use Zoom either in a browser, Google Chrome only or using a program / app.
  • You don’t need to create a Zoom account to use Zoom – the meeting co-ordinator will send out a URL via email and you simply click on it to join the meeting!

How to get zoom on your Mac, PC, Chromebook or Smartphone

Mac OS X – iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Desktop Mac
You will need macOS X with macOS 10.7 or later – if you’ve got a newish Mac 2012 or greater (iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air) you’ll be golden.

You can use a web browser or program to use Zoom. To use a browser only the Google Chrome Browser is recommended. You can’t use Safari 🙁 Get Google Chrome for OS X here.

Zoom OS X desktop app – I suggest you download the Zoom program rather than using the Chrome Browser. Get Zoom Desktop program – click here —- NOTE: to install it on your Mac it’s a little tricky as you may need change your Security and Privacy settings to allow for apps downloaded from identified developers See this article from Zoom, click here, on how to change your security setting.

iPhonei / iPad – Download the IOS Zoom App – Requires iOS 8.0 ( you can use iPhone 5 and above, iPad 2 and above and iPod touch) Download here.

Chromebook
Click this link to use the Zoom App on your Chromebook.

Android
Get the Zoom app for Android click here:

Windoze 10
Download from here, choose the link for the Google Play Store:

Blackberry / Newton
🙂

You’re all set click this link and join a test meeting here to see if it’s all working correctly.

Final thoughts

Some random musings from my one week of Zoom usage.

Make sure you mute your microphone when you join the meeting (if the moderator has not already done it at the start by default). Especially for the younger users. It’s nice to see everyone but we don’t need to hear every request to go to the toilet 😂.

Apple users 🍎: If you want to host a meeting and all participants are drinking the Apple Cool aid you can use Group FaceTime Call to simply create a meeting of up to 32 people. See this link . 100x easier than messing about with Zoom although you won’t have all the features you can get a small group together without any downloads.

The FREE pandemic Zoom account has limits – you have a 40 minute time limit on meetings with a max of 100 people. The free account does not have access to fancy features like a user management or rooms. Still it’s nice that we have this option today and I initially scoffed at Zoom meetings but it has so many more features than FaceTime, WhatsAPP or Skype.

Fun and games with backgrounds : “The virtual background feature allows you to display an image or video as your background during a Zoom Meeting.” Here is the link for a how to video zoom backgrounds – you can insert any photo or video behind you. Project a photo of a tidy bedroom behind you or you can even have a looping video of beach.

First draft – March 27, 2020, version 1.0.

Cheap internet in Boulder, CO 2020

Ok no affiliation here and both Comcast / Xfinity and CenturyLink are monopolies here in Colorado in my opinion but if you’re an Xfinity customer and just need plain old internet / no TV they have a great deal for 2020, a $45pm deal valid for 1 year that goes up to $55pm after that. Speed is 100Mbps up and 5Mbps down, fine for almost everyone (we run 10+ devices on our network and it’s fine) Of course you’ll need to be running your own modem to get most benefit financially (I’ve had the same old Arris modem for the past 5 years+) and at these lower speeds you don’t need a fancy cable modem with tons of DOCSIS channels.

If you need to purchase a modem here is a list of approve modems for Xfinity as of 2020. I’d get the ARRIS SB8200 ($140 on Amazon) if I were in the market to future proof my purchase but we’ll all be waving these monopolies goodbye in 2 years when we get City of Boulder gigabit fiber for $50pm – I hope 🙂

Approved Cable Modems for Xfinity as for 2020

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ARRIS T25

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ARRIS SBG8300

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ARRIS SB8200

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Motorola MB8600

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Netgear CM1200

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Netgear CM1150V

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Netgear CM1100

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Netgear CM1000v2

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Netgear CM1000-1AZNAS

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Netgear CM1000

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Netgear C7800

How to shovel Jess’s scat!

I really don’t like shoveling cat shite but I have come up with a easy solution and want to share it with you.

So to scoop Jesse’s poop:

The cat box is located in the basement so you need to walk down the stairs and then turn on the Basement light. The light switch will be at the bottom on the left-hand side. To your right you’ll see a small room 3′ x 2′ where the cat box litter box is located.

1) locate the long handled cat scoop, see the picture below, this is my invention! Patent pending. The long handle makes it super easy to scoop and you will be a long distance away from the offending cat box!

2) Use the handle of the cat scoop it to turn on the overhead light in this little room, you’ll see some masking tape on the wall leading to the switch, it’s basically a rigged up power strip with some bulbs in it.

3) Use the cat scoop to open the lid of the little black trashcan. You’ll be dropping the poop in here.

4) Get scooping! You’ll find it very easy with the long handle. The secret is once you scoop some poop rather than throwing it into the trashcan and spill cat litter on the floor, scoop and then tap the long wooden handle with your hand. The excess cat litter will be filtered back into the box leaving the poop in the scoop.

5) Once you’re done use the cat scoop to close the little trashcan and then use the long handle to turn off the light switch if you can’t reach.

That’s it, well done, you’re now also qualified to work as a foundry man in a steelworks.

Metal working / scooping poop, both hazardous undertakings!

Export Playlist out of Spotify App: as a CSV or PDF.

It seems that Spotify has no interest in you getting hold of the track names and artists without drinking their coolaid. So I looked elsewhere and found a script that creates a nice CSV file of all your songs with links back to Spotify too.

So I signed up to Spotify for for a month for a school event and created a nice kid friendly playlist for a bike event I was the DJ for. Seeing as the subscription would end after a month I need to export the playlist for later use. Heck, I may even want to buy the tracks and give them to the school for future use – perhaps. (Now it requires an active subscription to Spotify and a cellphone …. a simply thumb drive or $20 MP3 player would be easier right)

This is a script I found – Exportify — Export your Spotify playlists.  Exportify

Simply log into your Spotify account via the Spotify App on your computer and click this link. No idea if you can do this with a web login or IOS/Android device. It works nicely then you can simply print off a PDF of the spreadsheet.

Update WordPress and plugins – SSH option missing!PHP-ssh2 bug.

So you’re a smarty pants and just updated your web server to the latest PHP version, PHP 7.3 perhaps, and now your WordPress SSH update option has disappeared – Bugger! It seems there is a bug in the php-ssh2 module so a simple shell command >apt-get update PHP-ssh2 will fix the problem. Oh the power of search engines and the interwebs!

Wemo smart plug mini firmware update woes for Apple Homekit

So I’m dipping my feet into the whole home automation can of worms and decided to start off with a few Wemo Smart Plug minis. The Costco 2 pack for $30 was a deal but it’s just gone up to $40 but I digress….

The reason why us Apple folks are so excited about this Belkin product is that a firmware update has enabled  the Smart Plug to use Homekit without a bridge  or the like. So when you get these devices you must update the firmware for them to be used with Apple HomeKit if you don’t have a bridge.

But you’ll soon realize that there is no indication that a firmware update is available when using the IOS Wemo APP. THIS IS A BUG! Here is the fix >> Go through the setup and connect the little bugger or buggers to wifi and make sure you can control them with the Wemo App.  THEN SIMPLY DELETE THE WEMO APP and download it again from the App Store and launch the app, you’ll now be able to update the firmware!!

This, all according to this page on the Belkin website https://www.belkin.com/us/support-article?articleNum=8297#a

Seems like they really don’t want to make is easy for us to use Homekit and the Homekit app. Bugger you Belkin! Fix your Wemo app please.

Missing Keypad during FaceTime Call

So I’m sure you’ve all received or placed a call from your iPhone  when on your desktop Mac. It a great feature of OSX.  But what happen when you make a call from your Mac to an automated call system, say your healthcare provider and they want you to input information via the keypad. Well up to now I thought I was  SOL. The little window that pops up in the top right hand corner of the screen has no keypad. So it’s logical to try press numbers on  your physical keyboard but you’ll discover no cowbell 🙁 no work!

Here’s the problem and the fix, you see the window that just popped up is not in focus, the keypad actually does work but you have to click the call window first THEN use the keypad – IT WORKS, YESSSSSS! A total fail on Apples part, you see they wanted a nice clean minimalist experience, and forget to give us a real virtual keyboard, utter fail Apple!

 

 

 

 

Xfinity internet plans – Comcast plans

Xfinity / Comcast  like most other companies (including car dealers) don’t make it easy to see what you are really getting and what the “out the door” cost will be. Cell phone providers are notorious – (though T-mobile lists out the door prices –  bravo!)

So here is a plain and simple list of all Comcast / Xfinity internet only plans as of what I could google in July 2017. Continue reading Xfinity internet plans – Comcast plans

City Car – VW Up! WTF!

Blue jeans are back!

So I got to spend some passenger time in a car we don’t get in the USA, the VW up, Jeans Model! The kicker is in the name, the seats actually wear a faux blue jeans material, quite odd but then in Europe you can get a car called the Cactus, the Citroen C4 Cactus, that basically has bubble wrap on the doors that supposedly protects it against door dings …. strange and it seems that some of these European designers have been at the Colorado green stuff while coming up with these bizarre designs.

Continue reading City Car – VW Up! WTF!