Setting up the Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug with the VeSync app and 2.4 GHz connection

wifi outlet in outletThe Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini Outlet with Energy Monitoring (2 Pack), Works with Amazon Alexa Echo, No Hub Required, 1 Minute to Set Up, White is a good smart outlet. It goes for about $30 for a pair [1].

I saw they had a claim that installation is under 1 minute, but that was not my case. It took about 15 minutes to figure it out the first time. Hopefully, this helps.

There is no instruction manual that comes in the box with the outlet, just some text on the back to download the VeSync Outlet on Google Play.

  • Tip – Do not download their other apps, they will not work with your outlet.

In the app, assuming you want to use the outlet with Alexa, create an account.

  • Tip – Unless you are using the timer in the app, buying the outlet to just use the app to turn the lights on/off would be a waste of money. I don’t even recommend it since the app is junk.

When adding your outlet to the app, follow the instructions in the app but select APN. The other way to app outlets seems like it is just broken.

Next comes the major problem that causes confusion with these outlets: they only support a 2.4 GHz connection.

  • Background – A new, modern router will usually have a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz connection. Default settings on the router will also set the name and password on these two connections to be the same. When your new phone connects to your network, it will be on the 5 GHz connection, but the app will complain that you need to connect to a 2.4 GHz connection.

You will need to go into your router’s admin page, find your networks, and rename your main WiFi network into two different WiFi networks.

xfinity admin page

  • Security Tip – If your router supports multiple networks, create a network and password just for your Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If your router will also prevent local network access, even better.

On your phone, connect to the 2.4 GHz connection and follow the rest of the steps in the app.

Then to get it working with Alexa, follow VeSync’s instructions.

References

 

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UPnP on Plex

Getting your Plex server to use UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) will increase speeds, along with allowing it to run on more clients. For example, one Smart TV’s Plex app did not work until UPnP was enabled on the server’s home network.

Identify if you have the problem

These are all symptoms of not using UPnP:

  1. While the error message of “<Computer> is offline or unreachable” is vague, if other clients are working, this might solve your problem.
  2. If you get “Indirect Connection” warning dialogs, then this will fix your problem.
  3. To determine if UPnP is on, check in your Plex Server Settings if Remote Access is enabled. Follow this good Plex support article.

Enabling UPnP

Enable UPnP on your server.

  1. Windows instructions

Port Forward 32400 on your to your Plex Media Server computer.

Refresh your Plex Server Settings and the red globe should become a green globe!

Sources

 

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A Cruise Vacation’s not obvious and not needed essentials

These are all of the things I wanted when I was on my last cruise. You can decide what will help you on your next cruise.

Offline Data

Offline map of your ports will be helpful when you are walking around.

Offline TV Shows and Movies for passing time while over the ocean. Netflix and Amazon Video both offer this.

Blu-Ray or DVD player with HDMI to hook up to your state room TV.

Offline music for dancing in your state room.

Audiobook or podcasts for listening and learning.

No network required cell phone games.

Better state room

Fan to keep cool.

Bluetooth speaker to dance to loud music instead of a cell phone speaker.

Old hotel key or credit card to keep the lights and AC on when you are out of the room.

Hot water kettle for hot water or tea.

Wine bottle opener for opening wine, but they will provide a cheap one if you ask.

Communication

FireChat (android) (iOS) is an app that works over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but no Internet connection is required. The more people that use it, the larger its network gets.

Walkie talkies for talking with each other but probably only useful on the smaller ships.

International phone (or T-Mobile for data) so you can call home or local businesses at port.

Fun and Games

Balance app on phone to see how much the boat is rocking.

Binoculars to look out your window at stars, the moon, and other ships.

Poloraid camera so you can capture the memories and enjoy them privately and immediately.

Health

Hand sanitizer because everything could be dirty.

Spray sunscreen so you can quickly apply when you are on the deck or out at shore. Better than wasting time with the lotion sunscreen.

Extra clothes for changing a lot because there is a lot of fun in dressing up and getting out of sweaty clothes.

Other

Gatorade power mix so you don’t have to drink just water and lemonade (no alcohol  and soda plan).

A money clip, see through phone case, or credit card pocket for phone because you only need to carry around your phone and room key while on the ship.

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Google Play on Kindle Fire

The blog post on SaintLad.com made installing the Google Play Store and Services onto a new Amazon Kindle very straightforward.

Helpful Advice

  1. This is a short link to visit to go directly to his website: https://goo.gl/YrJoSy
  2. apkmirror might say a newer version for an apk is available. Ignore that and install the links so they are all compatible with each other. Google Play can update itself later.
  3. Restart your device if you cannot press the “Next” or “Install” button.
  4. This does not work on Household/Secondary accounts.
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Best Nextcloud 11 Links

Getting Nextcloud ready is lots of fun, but getting it to a very stable state is tedious. I gathered the best of the best resources on the web from putting it up to backing it up.

Installing LAMP server

Follow it! It works for Linux Mint and Mariadb > MySQL.

Installing Nextcloud, Let’s Encrypt for HTTPS, Redis Cache

I was very impressed with the ease at installing and the correct suggestions, like separating the nextcloud config and nextcloud-data folders.

Mounting External Hard drive

Representing this site!

Backups with rsync (daily, weekly, monthly)

I tried many other solutions like fwbackup, bacula, etc. But doing it on the command is going to give you the most options for doing it correctly.

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Red screen at night on Linux

f.lux and Redshift are the two major players for making your laptop screen turn red. I had f.lux working on Linux Mint but recently upgraded to Linux Mint 18 and it stopped working. I cannot get the applet to show so I cannot turn f.lux on or off.

My workaround was to install Redshift. It does not have a GUI, so it is even less customizable, but at least you get a red screen. It can easily be installed from the Software Manager and you need three packages to get it to work. The Goeclue2 is needed or Redshift will not start!

  • Redshift
  • Redshift-gtk
  • Geoclue2

If you know how to get f.lux to start on Linux Mint, let me know!!

 

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Have Linux access Windows hard drive again

In Windows 8 and 10, Microsoft added a “Fast Startup” feature that saves a state of the computer to disk. This is like Hibernation, which for a while has prevented Linux from mounting a Windows partition. This new feature makes hibernation much more frequent, so dual-booting machines will start to see this much more often.

In this source, how to disable Fast Startup is explained. I also suggest disabling Hibernation when you close the lid, since Linux will boot when you turn the screen back on.

Sources

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