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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 ūüôā

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

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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!
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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 ‚ÄĒ¬†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.

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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 РBugger! 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!

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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.

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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 ūüôĀ 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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Problems Paring Apple Magic Keyboard to iPhone 7 Plus

The attractive looking magic keyboard was being a bad bunny!

I was sitting on the autobahn, shoe horned into my mother-in-laws little Audi, trying to pair my iPhone 7 plus to the magic keyboard but having no luck – sound familiar – well the pairing part that is?

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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.

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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 ‚Äď call forwarding to something like a Google voice number ‚Äď 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.