Living On The Digital Edge ▲


Chromecast Not Working on Ubuntu

While trying to cast a video in Chrome on Ubuntu I discovered that the system wasn’t recognizing my Chromecast device. So I did what any techie would do: I tried turning the Chromecast off and on again. After that didn’t work I scavenged the Internet for answers. To my avail a savvy user had a quick solution to the problem.

Go to chrome://flags/#media-router in your browser and under Media Router change the setting from Default to Disabled. You will then need to reboot the Chrome browser for the changes to take place. You should be able to cast videos to your Chromecast again.

It seems that Google is no longer supporting 32-bit based Chrome on Linux systems anymore. You must have a 64-bit system to download the latest version of the browser. Oh well, at least I got my Chromecast to work again.

The slot antenna can be made out of any metal surface or plate, with the length of the slot being cut out by a frequency determined in advance. It can be designed and constructed using a discarded TV dish reflector. Believe me when I tell you that it works.

In essence, what you have is a half-wave dipole, and I suppose a quarter-wave. At roughly 12 inches, I was aiming for the UHF scanning range. The 12-inch edition worked quite well on VHF frequencies also.

I don’t know why, but when I cut the slot longer, the signals started to weaken. On this particular day band conditions were not ideal. Go figure.

If you look at the design of the satellite dish, you’ll see two main bolts in the center that hold the frame together. I grabbed one of the bolts, after cutting a 12 inch slot with my saw blade. (Safety glasses are recommended.)

(Be sure to stay clear of the frame when sawing, because you’ll bite into the frame and ruin the dish, like I did. It’s good that I had a spare. Actually, a piece of metal flashing might work better anyway.)

I drilled a hole opposite of the other bolt that was still holding the frame. So what you have is a 12 inch slot and 2 bolts on each side of it. In my experiment, I chose to go dead center of my 12 inch slot, which I found out later was not the proper measurement. The feed point is supposed to be off-center. What can I say.

When I used the feed point in the center it worked great. Matter of fact, when I lengthened the slot, receive was not as strong.

The correct measurements (VHF 2 meter band) call for 24 inches on the horizontal line, with 7 1\2 inch line on both sides of the cut (39 inches total). The feed should be about 4 1\2 inches from one of the 7\12 inch sides.

The horizontal slot will offer vertical polarization by the way, if you can wrap your head around that one!

Make your own balun using 6 turns of coax, or grab a TV transformer balun, if you are using the dish for receive. I was in the scanner listening mode.

To my surprise this project did work. With my 12 inch slot fed at half point, I received frequencies a good distance away from my shack.

Those that live in a homeowner restricted area could opt to use their satellite dish as a 2 meter antenna! This sounds like a crazy idea, but I think that it might be pulled off.

Give it a try!

Save The Data During Power Outages

Power outages are here, there, and they’re everywhere. Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the middle of something and the black screen stares at you? Boom boom, out goes the lights! Can you save the data? Won’t you?

Thankfully, there’s battery backup for desktop computers, wireless networks, gaming consoles, and more. Here’s what you need: APC Battery Backup & Surge Protector (BE750G) – 750VA 10-outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).

The UPS will not make your coffee for you, nor will it make breakfast for you, but it will supply battery backup power during nasty power outages and save the equipment in the process.

Canon imageCLASS Laser Printer

Canon imageCLASS MF227dw

Not long ago the ink jet printer was considered the printing standard, but the new kid on the block is the all-in-one laser printer (Printer Copier Scanner Fax and Canon 137 Toner Cartridge).

This version comes with 4-in-1 functionality – print, copy, scan and fax.

It’s the latest in tech fashion.

Let’s keep it real. Print using iPhone with Apple Airprint.

Yes, many of us in the tech crowd share these same ideas—avoid replacing the ink recurrently, printing in black, bounteous features, wireless—and more. We’re used to being served and we want served now; wireless is the preference.

If utility expresses interest in a more compact unit with just the basics, then the Canon imageCLASS is the appropriate choice.

Functions : Print.

Canon imageCLASS LBP6030w Wireless Laser Printer

Canon imageCLASS LBP6030w

Print from virtually anywhere with easy wireless connectivity. This is a black and white laser printer that is a great fit for personal printing, as well as small office and home office printing.

It seems to me that Canon has found firm footing in the printing universe, no doubt stemming from the superb quality of the digital camera, supplied by said corporation.

The ink jet printer is not a relic yet, and I still use the Canon that I’ve owned for several years now. The quality of printing has been excellent and I will not be getting rid of mine anytime soon.

There’s only one small matter and it’s not with the quality. The problem is replacing the cartridge every few months or even weeks, and feeling like there should be more pages yet to print. This is not exactly painful; it’s only a nuisance to be avoided.

If you’re wondering about the two different prices between the images and the links, one includes the toner and the other does not.

Yes, one could spend several hundred dollars for the optimum beams, which might extend 100 feet into the horizon. Or, one could expand the idea of a very cheap 26-inch bicycle rim. Admit it, we’ve heard about tuning a bicycle rim and using it. It will definitely go on 10 meters! SWR Antenna Analyzer is optional…

Amazing homemade HF loop antenna is a fantastic concept to explore. QSL.

Per HamRadioConcepts:

“Hf loop antennas made out of something that almost EVERYONE has at their home. A MUST WATCH video for the amateur radio enthusiast. Using the MFJ-935b we made one from a bicycle rim for 10/12 meters, and a tape measure, yes, a tape measure, that is still completely useable after using it for an antenna. What will we think of using next?”

Personally, I’d go for the 20 meter tape loop. Thirteen feet will get you resonant on the 20 meter band for the DX (14.220 Mhz). Good luck.

Awesome guys. 73…

There’s no doubt about it. Life is full of uncertainty, friends sometime stray away, the roof may leak, the winds will howl often in the winter, and the hot summer sun will give you a good sunburn if you stand around too long. A positive outlook is required even for skeptics. If life gives you lemons, just add some honey.

Instead of depending on others to make your drink for you, show some grit and make your morning drink all by yourself. You’ll need one lemon, one teaspoon of raw honey, and one glass of pure water.

The honey will not mix so well with cold water so it might be better to warm the water up, then add the honey. Honey is a source of important nutrition that is overlooked.

Now that we have the honey water mixture, we add the lemon juice, after squeezing the juice out of a lemon. The lemon has unfairly been ostracized by the English language, but the lemon offers healing within itself. The yellow fruit can be used for culinary and cleaning purposes.

The lemon is a source of vitamin C and contains phytochemicals.

The honey and lemon drink has some amazing benefits, especially if one is trying to lose weight, or one simply wants to live a healthier lifestyle.

If you desire a healthy functioning liver and want to flush the digestive system out, the lemon has the magic. Drop the soda and start drinking raw lemon juice from a real lemon, and not juice from a factory.

After refreshing yourself with this wholesome drink first thing in the morning, wait about an hour before having breakfast.

If life gives you lemons, just add honey, and you have hydrated yourself.

Cheers! To your health.


The Twenty-One Foot Man Eater Nearly Got Me!

Well, I could pretend this was a wild fishing expedition on the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Florida somewhere, but let me be honest. The green screen, also known as chroma key, arrived in the mail and I’m having some fun with it.

The photo reminds me of the 1975 film Jaws, especially the gruesome scene where the shark hunter Quint gets bitten and swallowed up. Quint’s blood was spewing all over the screen, as terror prevailed on that dreadful day.

I vividly remember someone making a comment about the possibility of the decline in swimming activity on the beach. It was a powerful moment. You had to have been there.

Problems with the mechanical sharks occurred during the shooting, if I remember correctly.

By the way, if you’re interested how my green screen worked, it worked really well, even with a few wrinkles in it. However, I did pick up some wrinkle release spray, which did take some wrinkles out, and the smell of the spray was delightful.

If you enjoy photography, even amateur style like myself, the green screen is certainly the way to go. Instead of taking yourself to the studio, bring the studio to you.

RF Coax Adapter F Female To UHF Male PL-259 Connector

RF coaxial coax adapterFrom RG8X Coax To RG6 Coax. What is needed is this: RF coaxial coax adapter F female to UHF male PL-259 connector.

Sometimes I will use an outside antenna that is not designed for this purpose, and feed it to my police radio scanner or stereo receiver.

For example, the Mosley TA-33 yagi, an antenna designed for ham radio, makes for an awesome FM broadcast antenna. (The coax coming from it is RG8X.)

In the process, I am using big coax, such as RG8X, and feeding it to the small TV type cable, known as the RG6 coax, or RG59, a lighter version.

In between will be a barrel connector (Valley Enterprises UHF Female to UHF Female (S0239) Coax Cable Coupler Adapter), which connects two male PL-259 types. On the other end of the barrel connector will be the RF Coax Adapter F Female To UHF Male PL-259 Connector.

With this splitter, Coaxial T Adapter, F Female / Female / Female, I have the option of using one or two antennas before feeding into the signal amplifier.

From there, I will use a short run of RG-6 coax which feeds into a signal amplifier, and then feeds into radio scanner, stereo, etc.

Coming from the signal amplifier and feeding it to my radio scanner uses the TV coax, and in order for it to work, this adapter is necessary: Monoprice 104125 BNC Male to F Female Adaptor, Gold Plated.

I use these adapters for receive only, and this is not recommended for transmit.

VHF-Hi Frequency range: 174~230MHz (Channel Range: 7-13) Max gain: 12dB

Not long ago, I purchased a commercial 4-bay UHF HDTV antenna and I am absolutely thrilled with it. There was only one problem that I hadn’t solved. My new antenna would not receive VHF frequencies and I had that one oddball channel which was in the VHF-Hi Frequency Range. It was channel 13 (13.1 and 13.2 to be precise).

If you take a quick look at the VHF high-band (band III) chart, this is 210 MHz, which is part of the North American television frequencies.

My old home brew 4-bay does a pretty fair job, but not exactly par excellence. I get roughly from 20% to 50% on 13, but at night the channel nearly drops out altogether. It was beginning to be a problem. Here were my options. Go with the old giant VHF/UHF yagi, or acquire a VHF only yagi.

My commercial 4-bay (4 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna – 60 Mile Range) has done such a superb job for me, so I really wanted to go with the VHF yagi as the companion.

Here’s my take on the subject. Antennas that are designed for a particular frequency will offer better performance for that part of the band. Combination yagis do certainly work, but they are big, cumbersome to handle, and usually expensive. They are a compromise.

There’s 50 to 60 miles between the towers and me. Therefore, I am on the digital fringe. I need better than average in order to receive my target channels.

Here’s the solution: Outdoor Directional VHF-Hi TV Antenna. VHF-Hi Frequency range: 174~230MHz. Channel Range: 7-13. Maximum gain: 12dB.

Fully equipped with a 300 to 75 ohm matching transformer balun and mounting hardware, all is included in the box, just waiting to be assembled. Assembly was not bad, yet some patience is required, since there are several pieces to put together.

If one is wanting a ready-made solution right out of the box, then this is not the one for you. It’s not anything near a monster, but there are no written instructions. There is a well thought out illustration that is adequate. I never had any significant problems. It’s just slow and tedious for a short while. No worse than anything else.

The mounting bracket is very strong and sturdy. It tightened up very snug and secure to the mast.

If there’s one thing to mention, it is the element sliding. The elements are of good quality, but they have a tendency to slide around. This isn’t a problem, it’s just a bit annoying. Some epoxy or Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue 20-Gram Bottle (1365882) would probably cure the problem. Temporarily, I wrapped electrician tape where the elements turn on the boom.

How is the performance on the Outdoor Directional VHF-Hi TV Antenna?

My old home brew 4-bay would range from 20% to 50% on a normal day, with the rain and wind weakening the signal. At night, the VHF signal was weak and the frustration set in.

The new VHF antenna gives me a steady 60% to 80% signal all of the time, often peaking to 100%. It is worth the trouble, especially for the low price. This is a bargain.

All of the elements are fastened with wing nuts and it’s hard to keep them tight. This is not a big issue, but it does need to be mentioned. If you don’t mind tinkering and are patient, then give it a try.

I am pleased so far. If this light antenna holds up to the winds, then it’s a keeper.

This antenna is decent on FM reception and fair in the police scanner category. Although it did receive a few UHF television channels, performance on UHF was nothing to write home about.

It did just what the title claimed it would do—VHF-Hi Frequency range: 174~230MHz—Channel Range: 7-13. So far so good. Waiting for better weather.

A VHF antenna will pull in VHF signal, but that’s all it does. Don’t expect it to make yer coffee.

I’ve had the VHF antenna made by Stellar Labs up nearly 2 weeks now, and still receiving 80% signal strength consistently. Channel 13 is no longer an issue. Problem solved.

Send digital audio to the old stereo with digital to analog adapter.

Don’t you hate it when you buy the 43 inch HDTV and the audio output is limited? Why can’t the manufacturer add better audio outputs? Anyhow, if you’re lucky enough to have an optical output, here’s an adapter that may be of use: Fosmon Digital to Analog Stereo Audio Converter Adapter — Changes Digital Coaxial or Optical Toslink [SPDIF] into Stereo 3.5mm Jack or L/R (Red/White) RCA Audio Outputs.

What does it do exactly? It converts coaxial or optical digital audio input to analog stereo output over RCA or 3.5mm mini jack. This means you can listen to the TV with a pair of headphones, connect to an external device such as an amplifier, connect Xbox, or connect the sound bar to TV.

There’s another edition and I don’t know what the difference is: Fosmon Digital Optical Coax to Analog RCA Audio Converter Adapter.

This gadget may not be for everyone, yet some may find it very helpful. It comes with power adapter and cord.

Additional Items Suggested:
1. C2G / Cables To Go 27027 Toslink Digital Audio Splitter (Black)
2. AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable – 6 Feet (1.8 Meters)

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