Tag Archives: tech

Upgrade the Netgear AC1450 Router to AC1750 using a Mac

Eventually, I want to wire certain rooms of my new home with ethernet to get more consistent connections without having to use wi-fi (and as a fun project to learn how to do it). Until then, however, I’m going to bridge that gap wirelessly with a media bridge. I recently purchased a refurbished Netgear AC1450, after learning that it can easily be firmware upgraded to an AC1750 (R6300v2). My intention was to use it as an 802.11ac media bridge, and the latter theoretically gets better 5GHz speeds (1300 Mb/s vs. 975 Mb/s). Actually, that’s just me rationalizing; I really just wanted to do it because I could. For a very well-explained background on the why and how of upgrading this router, as well as instructions on how to do this in Windows, see Upgrade a Netgear AC1450 Router to AC1750 over at Advanced Home Server.

Since those detailed instruction are for Windows, and I didn’t feel like rebooting into Windows via Bootcamp, I did it from my Mac. By the way, most of the instructions here are going to be done in Terminal (which you can find in the Applications/Utilities folder). If you’re not comfortable with that, then find a Windows box and follow those instructions. Actually, I recommend you read them anyway because the process is mostly the same, and he has excellent screenshots of what the feedback looks like. I’m not going into all of the explicit details for everything here, just the general procedure to help those who might want to do this on a Mac. The process goes something like this: Continue reading

Google Chromecast shines in a hotel room

chromecast boxChromecast in a hotelGoogle’s Chromecast is sold out everywhere, but I was lucky enough to snag one at my local Best Buy a couple days after it was announced. Best Buy must have just gotten them in, because I couldn’t find them anywhere on the floor, and the blue-shirt had to look in the back. Once home, I unplugged the AppleTV and replaced it with the Chromecast. While cool, I was immediately unimpressed with it’s functionality compared to the AppleTV.

But a couple weeks later I gave it a try in a hotel room, and it was perfect. I couldn’t take the AppleTV with me because my family uses it at home, but the Chromecast was suitably unused and portable. So I threw it in my bag as a substitute. In my hotel room, I connected a travel router to the room’s ethernet jack. I’ve found in the past that this gives me better speed and a more consistent connection than a hotel’s wi-fi, but this time it also had the added benefit of putting my Chromecast and iPhone (which is used to control the Chromcast) on the same network. While it wasn’t necessary on this particular hotel’s network, a travel router also gets around the login page hoop that some hotel networks require*. This setup worked out really well, and I was successfully able to cast Netflix and YouTube videos wirelessly from my phone to the room’s TV.

* These networks often remember your device by it’s MAC address. First connect your laptop to the network, log in with that, then spoof your laptop’s MAC address with the router, making sure it’s in router mode and not AP mode.

Fixing Phantom App Store Updates

The OS X Mac App Store sometimes doesn’t correctly recognize that an app update has succeeded. The update does get correctly applied, but the notification remains in the App Store “Updates” tab (with a greyed-out button saying “Installed”) and the update count badge does not disappear from the App Store icon. Restarting the App Store or even the computer does not cause these phantom updates to go away. In the last week, I have had this happen to me a couple times. So, I went about finding a solution. Here’s what worked for me:

The Non-Geek Way

  1. Open up a Finder window and navigate to the Applications folder.
  2. Find the app with the phantom update and drag it to the Trash.
  3. Open up the App Store, find the app, and reinstall it.

The Semi-Geek Way

  1. Install OnyX.
  2. Open OnyX. Under Maintenance > Rebuild, check LaunchServices.
  3. Click Execute.
  4. Open up the App Store, click on Updates. The phantom updates are still there, but you can now (re)install them. After you do, they should disappear correctly.

The Alpha-Geek Way

  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command (on one line) to rebuild the Launcher library:
    /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user
  3. Open up the App Store, click on Updates. The phantom updates are still there, but you can now (re)install them. After you do, they should disappear correctly.

Redesigned my website

See the new design here: wunchiou.com

As one of my summer projects, I wanted to redesign my personal website. I really had three motivations for doing so:

First, I wanted to make it less of a blog and more of a landing page, like a business card on the web. There are several web services like this: about.me, flavors.me, and etc. The blog component is still there, as well as photos, but they’re not the first thing you see anymore.

Second, I wanted to leverage the advantages of 3rd-party services. I use Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, anyway. So why not just link or embed those in my main website instead of having to maintain something separate for myself. The website used to run on self-hosted WordPress, and I got tired to having to check and update that software (since it’s the most popular blogging software, it’s constantly the target of security attacks). Now, it’s basically a single HTML file. As such, it doesn’t require a database or much storage space. This helps save me a little on the cost of web-hosting.

Third, I wanted to use it as a project to update my knowledge to current web design and programming technologies, namely: HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery. As a result, the website has a lot of cool (but hopefully not overdone) design effects and animations. On the programming side, it now also dynamically pulls blog posts from my (non-self-hosted) WordPress.com account and photos from my Flickr account. None of this requires any special web server technologies like PHP; it’s all done with client-side JavaScript/jQuery (see the code). However, it does require the visitor to have a relatively modern web browser. I probably could have worked on making more compatible with older browsers (if you’re still using Internet Explorer 8 or lower, you have my condolences), but I didn’t think it was worth the effort.

Anyway, hope you like it!



Summertime: sitting on a rock, under a tree, reading a Kindle book at the marina.

Moved Web Server

Since 2004, I’ve been with the web hosting site ICDSoft. My hosting plan was almost up, so I decided to change hosts to NearlyFreeSpeech.net (it’s cheaper). I still need to make sure everything is okay with the move.

Of course, all of this is behind the scenes. From your point of view, it all looks the same. . . hopefully!

Six Ways to Get More Free Dropbox Space

I wrote about the virtues of using Dropbox on my Teacher Tech Tips blog.  By default, Dropbox offers users with free accounts 2 GB of online storage space.  This is actually pretty good in itself, as it is perfect for the kind of files that you’d put on a thumbdrive.  As long as you’re not storing large things like videos and music, that’s actually plenty of space for most people.

However, more is better, and more for free (as in free beer) is best.  So, here are a few ways that I know about to get more storage space on Dropbox account for free, aside from the effort of completing them.  I’ve listed these in the order that I think you should do them:

  1. http://db.tt/F89h21f – Do your initial sign-up with a referral from someone else (that’s mine on the left) – this will give you an extra 250 MB right off the bat.  Of course, this doesn’t work if you already have a dropbox account (or don’t want to start a new one).
  2. https://www.dropbox.com/dropquest2011 – Complete DropQuest 2011 – here are some details. This is only available for another week or so, but completing it will net you a whopping 1 GB of extra storage (you earn it incrementally as you complete the steps of the quest). To do it quickly, you can use a walkthrough.
  3. https://www.dropbox.com/gs – Complete the “Getting Started” – log in to your dropbox account on the website and click on the “Getting Started” tab.  Complete all of the tasks listed there to earn 250 MB.
  4. https://www.dropbox.com/free – Complete the social media linking to Twitter and Facebook to get 640 MB.
  5. https://www.dropbox.com/referrals – Refer others.  For every friend that signs up for dropbox using your referral, you both get an extra 250 MB.  This is the big daddy of free space boosters because you can get up to 8 GB extra space from referrals.
  6. https://www.dropbox.com/edu – Be a student.  If you have an EDU email account, you get double the referral bonus (500 MB per referral, up to a max of 16 GB extra space).  The edu bonus is also retroactive to any referral bonuses you’ve already earned.

If you still need more space, you can also pay for it (and I’d encourage you to do so to support this great service).  Also, if you know of any other ways to increase the free dropbox capacity, let me know.

iPhones iHave Known

Staring at these sitting on my shelf, I decided a photo was in order. I find it interesting how the boxes have gotten smaller with each iteration.

Testing Osfoora and Posterous integratio‚Ķ

Testing Osfoora and Posterous integration. Giving this new iPhone Twitter app called Osfoora a try.