Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss the test emergency alert, Google’s announcements, and more.
Charlie in Miami, Florida asked: “I have been adding smart home devices over the years, and have tried to always choose devices that I can control remotely over WiFi. The problem is some devices that I have are Bluetooth control only, and they are devices that don’t have suitable WiFi enabled counterparts. I have been trying to find for a few years now some sort of device that I can connect to my home WiFi network that I could then connect to when I am not home, and it would somehow allow me to connect to those Bluetooth devices. I have found devices that do this for IR remote controls that use IR blasters that you are able to control via WiFi, I have a Logitech Harmony remote control just for that function, but I cannot find anything similar for Bluetooth. The closest I have found is the “Geeni”, but it is limited to only Tuya/Smartlife devices. Any ideas?”
Charlie first, were RADIO, so please consider CALLING next time so we can HEAR you! But what youre looking for is likely not a bluetooth device but a platform that can use it.
Bluetooth is less of an on/off thing and more like WiFi in that some specific data needs to be transmitted to the receiver. Like sending an email that says please do X,Y, and Z, rather than just turn the light on or off.
A platform that can likely help you with that is Home Assistant. Its open source, able to run on many devices, it works with apps that run on both Android and iOS, and it can run on a variety of devices including virtual containers.
If you are willing to run a server at home, it should be able to run on anything from a Raspberry Pi, or an old desktop and as long as that device has bluetooth you should be able to use it to send out the signals to others.
The bigger task will be remote access, but you can set it up if the same device also runs a local VPN. You could leave the ports open to connect as well without the VPN layer, it all depends on your level of comfort.
Check out home-assistant.io, they have a whole section in their documentation on connecting Bluetooth devices.
Joe in Hazleton, Pennsylvania asked: “I have an old home-built computer with a Creative sound card in it. The card kept converting from entertainment mode to gaming mode every time I rebooted the computer. And it was having a problem too, with other things, so I took it out. Now I can’t get motherboard audio even though the audio is set to 100% and the device shows up in the computer as the High Definition Motherboard Audio. I don’t know what happened. How can I get the audio from my motherboard now that I’ve removed the sound card? Thank you very much. You guys do a great job on the show and I hope you have a great weekend.”
Joe, its a little hard to answer without knowing more about the sound card and the operating system youre running, but generally speaking there are a few things to check.
First, are the drivers correctly installed, if you go into your system settings, do you see anything like red arrows or similar error messages on your sound devices?
If so, you may need to just update your drivers. That seems silly considering this card is a part of your motherboard, but if it was expected to work with an external one there may be a second set of drivers needed.
Are you using the right ports? The motherboard may have multiple audio ports, if you see a waveform or a level indicator moving and theres no sound you may simply be plugged into the wrong output.
If you can tell us more about the operating system and motherboard youre using we can probably give you more specific info about your case in particular.
John in Brighton, Michigan asked: “I’m looking for an HDMI switching device that has two inputs and two outputs that will support satellite and a blu-ray player but I’m having a hard time finding one. So I’m wondering if you can tell me if there’s one available.”
John, what youre looking for is just a simple HDMI switch.
HDMI is a standard so any switch should do the trick, even generic ones and you wont have to look for any kind of compatibility with your specific devices.
Theres not much point in springing for high end ones, theyre digital so its pretty much an all or nothing situation.
If you go on online stores like Amazon youll find plenty of them listed under HDMI switch for around $20, thats what youre looking for. The big $200 ones are typically professional gear meant to work with multiple active inputs.
Keep in mind that most of these will require you to push a button, the one place where you may want to consider spending a little extra is on a possible remote control. That should at least save you from constantly getting up to change your input from the one you last used.
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