Netflix won’t stay quiet!

You’re at home one evening watching a show. Your spouse or loved one calls to you from the next room. So you pause your show to answer. Then you get up to do something and before you come back, Netflix is automatically blasting a preview over your sound system for whatever show they want you to watch. Happened to you? If it has then you know how frustrating it can be. It’s even worse if an R-rated preview plays itself with kids around. You pay for the service and you should have control.
Netflix doesn’t have a way to stop preview from playing automatically. But you can at least mute the previews so they don’t interrupt conversations with your loved ones. In the Windows 10 app, there is a mute button on the right hand side. Go ahead and click it for beautiful silence. I was able to reboot/shut down Windows and boot back up and it was still muted. Give it a try! Here’s the button you’re looking for, on the right side under the red arrow.

Watch Netflix in 4K on your PC


It’s not as simple as owning a 4K TV and plugging a computer in.  This can be especially frustrating when you just want to relax and watch UHD content via your high end GPU instead of the tiny GPU in your smart TV.

I found a handy article on HowToGeek that covers just about everything.  In addition to the steps listed there, you’ll need to head on over to the Microsoft Store and get the HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer.  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/hevc-video-extensions-from-device-manufacturer/9n4wgh0z6vhq?activetab=pivot:overviewtab 

I also recommend checking this page if you’re an Nvidia user: https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4583/~/4k-uhd-netflix-content-on-nvidia-gpus

AMD/ATI users should check requirements here: https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/amd-adds-netflix-4k-support-to-rx-5700-video-cards.html

To verify all of this worked, press CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + D to show a detailed overlay of your content.  It should look something like this:

 

Stop the spam calls with “Should I Answer?”

Should I Answer?
Incredulous Octopus is incredulous


Lately I’ve been overrun with spam calls.  This free app saved the day.  Community members upload ratings after they receive calls from friends, family, and telemarketers.  Phone numbers get ranked positive, negative, and neutral.  You can automatically block negative rated calls and unlisted numbers.  I was receiving up to 25 unsolicited calls a day.  I’m down to fewer than 5 a day getting through.  This app is a major improvement.  Be sure to do your part and upload ratings too.  If we all work together, we can eliminate nuisance calls.  The project is supported by donations.  Here’s a link to the main page: https://www.shouldianswer.com/ 
Apple Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/should-i-answer/id1199812713
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mistergroup.shouldianswerpersonal&referrer=utm_source%3Dhomepage%26utm_medium%3Dbanner%26utm_campaign%3Dmainpagepeople

How to Design a Reliable Office Network

 

A basic network has two major components that provide service, an ISP (modem) and a router.  If either fails, the entire network goes down.  These are called SPOFs (single points of failure).

My predecessor used 2 basic networks in his original configuration.  The intent was to be more reliable, but the effect was opposite.  If one network failed, all users migrated to the other, causing it to crash invariably.  Statistically, we had one system with 4 SPOFs.  This design should never be used.

*TWC modems contain integrated routers (not shown), we will not calculate separate probability for these.  Instead, each ISP will be assumed 50% rate of failure for probability calculations.  Limiting possible failure combinations to 16 instead of 64.

 

Out of 16 possible failure combinations, 15 result in complete loss of service:

1/16 Success Rate (old network)

After many failures, a new design was needed.  Some research led me to Dell SonicWall.  In Dell’s HA design, if one router fails, its “software license” and service are transferred to the duplicate hardware.  The duplicate hardware has a reduced price because of the shared license.

In addition, I removed one of Time Warners modems (saving $400/mo).  Recently, Google Fiber was installed as well.  This allows us to use Time Warner as a failover in the event Fiber fails.  Google Fiber is a new service, and fiber breaks are notoriously hard to repair.  For this reason having a failover ISP is good practice.


 

Using all of this the new network has 0 SPOFs!  The statistical advantages are incredible!!!
Again, we will assume that each ISP and router has a 50% rate of failure (hugely exaggerated).
Out of 16 possible failure combinations, the new network fails only 7 of them!

9/16 Success Rate (new network)*
*Although Google uses a separate Modem and Router, probability was not calculated for these individual components because TWC’s modem contains an integrated Router as well.  If we were to calculate all of this separately, there would be 64 possible failure combinations.  To keep things simple Google and TWC are given equal 50% failure rates as ISPs.


The Riverbeds of Oman:

All good design borrows concepts from nature.  Water always chooses the path of least resistance.  By allowing more than one path, our connectivity behaves the same way.
I hope you enjoyed this presentation.  The results took a long time to achieve.