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!

Tmobile – free European data plan is not too shabby!

June 2017 – T-mobile’s  European free unlimited data speed test is shown below.  Not too bad.  The test was performed in Germany and my phone shows an LTE connection. They say you’ll get 3G speeds in 140 countries and as you can see this is about what I got but it seems to be a lot faster than good old 3G.  You will also have to have a compatible phone obviously with to the mobile you have a GSM enabled phone. Also I am using the  latest and greatest iPhone 2016 model 7+, an older phone might not be as snappy.  Of course, where they will really get you is the $.20 per minute incoming call fee –  a simple work around i.e. turning on call forwarding before you leave the USA – call forwarding to something like a Google voice number – will help alleviate this problem.  Search the inter-webs and you will find stories of folks who have got caught by five dollar per megabyte data fees, ouch, thousand dollar phone bills, ouch again,  so do your homework before you leave.

When I first looked into   T-Mobile’s unlimited European data plan I scoffed at it but having used it for the past week I must say it’s pretty useful, you don’t have to swap out the Sim card for a local European cell phone company, you don’t have to port forward your telephone number, and you can mostly use your phone like you did minus the voice calling part –  at a pinch it’s only $.20 a minute not crazy but still wise to avoid.

Hotel AirPlay woes with AppleTV 3rd generation – fixed

Still works just fine - 3rd gen ATV
Still works just fine – 3rd gen ATV
Packing ones Apple TV when traveling makes sense for all kind of reasons and having the Plex app makes it even more useful. Well, I opted to bring along my old 3rd gen appletv, don’t want to loose that fancy remote right! One simply plugs in one end of an HDMI cable to Apple TV other into back of hotel room telly and you’re off to the races. Content specifically Plex is streamed via airplay from the Plex app on one’s iPhone. This was deployed within the first 10 minutes of me being in the hotel room and worked fine. I even set up a Apple TV password that I added to the device at home. Don’t want folks streaming the naughty stuff to my Apple TV right!

All worked fine, streaming Plex content from my software based Plex server sitting on my Mac mini that was connected Wi-Fi to my router at home across the internets to the Marriott Wi-Fi network then to my phone and to Apple TV, phew……. it all worked seamlessly even 720 P HD movies. But a day or two later I ran into an issue, only my brand spanking new I phone 7+ could connect to the network everything else my iPad air2, a MacBook Pro, MacBook air, and Iphone 6S plus could not see the Apple TV. Hmmmmm….

I tried the usual stuff, even went into the network settings of the AppleTV and changed the DNS server. There’s also a tweak to spoof the Mac address and get it to connect to the network. The interesting thing was that the AppleTV could not I believe see outside the wi-Fi network, I think Marriott was blocking the device but obviously it was on the same network as the iPhone as this Apple TV third-generation does require it to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network has the device you are airplaying from – 3rd gen does not have the pier to Pier I believe that the new fourth generation onward Apple TVs have. I resigned myself to the fact that the perhaps Marriott was blocking the device on the internal network now. As even my iPhone 7 could not see it. By chance I ended up going into security settings on the appletv turning password off but just I checked the option to verify device. I tried to connect and my iPhone was back in business and now all the devices instantly saw it – some kind of bug?

Not sure, but in summary if you’re having problems with airplay turn password off and check the verify devices option.

Motorola SB6121 & Motorola SB 6141 is NOT End of Life on Comcast!

SB6141 not EOL biatch!If you own your own Motorola SB6121 or SB6141 then don’t let comcast / Xfinity tell you it’s EOL end of life. Even their own documentation will tell you this.

See this link  for the SB6121 and this link for SB6141 details.

Of course I just wasted countless hours because my modem couldn’t been seen on the network, had a tech come over to tell me that it was EOL and rented me a new one.

Why a multi billon dollar company can’t get it’s employee to read a simple bloody memo I have not idea. 

Daily Camera end story commenting – but comment are open here!

Boo Daily Camera! Boo!!
Boo Daily Camera! Boo!!

Online bullies and old white retired men everywhere are a little pissed off today as they’ll have to look elsewhere to post their comment about the Boulder City Council or the infamous rightsizing project,  a global scandal that will go down in history books as one of man’s biggest blunders. I too am a little sad.

Here is a:  link to the article on the Daily Camera

Continue reading Daily Camera end story commenting – but comment are open here!