Forced To Rethink A Long HDMI Cable

A while ago  I bought a new desktop computer. It’s lovely. Shiny. New. Silent. One of its many fine attributes is the fact that it can drive five (!) separate displays. Now, my desk has only two monitors, but it’s not too far to the credenza whereupon sits our old HDTV.

The old beast is an ancient 42” Sharp Aquos. While not pretty, it’s still basically functional. I could not simply discard it. So it sits out here connected to a Tivo Mini, only occasionally used to watch TV.

The new computer presented a new opportunity to put the old TV to use. I ordered a suitably long HDMI cable to make it monitor #3 on the desktop.

It was nice to be able to drag a YouTube window over to the big screen, even making the TV play the computer sound. In fact, it was nice enough that I was considering acquiring another Vizio M Series for the office, when budget allowed. We like the M50-D1 a lot. No hurry though, as the price is sure to fall when new models are launched in Q3.

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Wanted: A Superior Anti-Virus

For the past few years the computers hereabouts have used Avast Pro anti-virus. Our subscription to that software is about to end and I’d like to consider alternatives.

The Good

There are some things that I like about Avast. In particular, I like the fact that it has a “Gaming” mode that eliminates all the prompts. I leave it that way all the time. It’s an anti-virus. I just want it quietly go about it’s business. I don’t want to be bothered by it.

Lenovo X-1-Carbon-AvastPro

The Bad

There are some things I don’t like About Avast Pro. Like so many companies, they’ve expanded beyond the traditional role of anti-virus to offer a plethora of additional services.

  • I don’t want their VPN service.
  • I don’t want their advice on how to “tune up” my PC.
  • I don’t want them to ensure that all of my applications are updated.
  • I don’t want it to try to connect me to known good Wi-Fi providers.
  • I most definitely don’t want them to be a login & password manager.

Some months ago there was a major version update to Avast Pro. In that update the app became a LOT heavier. On my old desktop it rendered my video production toolset unworkable.

The system had been a finely tuned balance, running vMix, a Hangout and VoiceMeeter. vMix and a Hangout are both heavyweight applications. The updated Avast Pro 7 pushed it over the edge, at least as far as that older machine was concerned.

And for what? I neither wanted, nor needed any of the super, new features offered in the new release. It was mostly about  selling new services.

Over the course of the past year we’ve also migrated to Windows 10, which has the built-in Windows Defender. Windows Defender runs as long as no third-party anti-virus is installed. It provides a baseline of protection, although most advise that something better is required.

I wonder what anti-virus they use inside Microsoft?

The Options

All the usual suspects remain in this space. I checked out reviews at PC Magazine, CNET and Tom’s. After all that reading I’m left uninspired. The easy thing to do would be to just renew our subscription to Avast Pro.

Maybe there’s a better approach. I’m open to options. What’s your opinion?

The nVidia Shield K1 Tablet

Let me be clear, I was a big fan of Google’s Nexus series. It started with the Galaxy Nexus, which impressed me so that I later bought a Nexus 4. In 2012 Google also released the first generation of the Nexus 7, which I also purchased.

The Nexus experience continued, so favorable that I didn’t even hesitate when they released a second generation Nexus 7 in 2013. I ordered one immediately.

The Nexus 7 saw heavy use around the house. I loved the Nexus 4 for a device on-the-go. It was the perfect size IMHO. Around the house, where fitting into my pocket was less of an issue, the Nexus 7’s larger screen made it my go-to device.

I’ve actually had three Nexus 7s over the years, replacing one with a shattered display, and later buying a spare when Google stopped offering them. I still have the Asus dock with micro-USB and HDMI ports that lets the tablet run on external power, even as you use it to feed a monitor or HDTV.

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TIP – Re: VoiceMeeter and Cordless Headset Batteries

It may be that in my old age I’m becoming forgetful. Or perhaps I’m just too enthused about what I’m doing, and little things get forgotten? I write this in the hope that it helps me to remember.

For years I’ve used a Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset in my home office. It connects to a Polycom VVX-600 and my desktop computer. This trio serves me very well, but occasionally I reach for the headset and find that its battery is dead.

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Grandstream Revisited: Time For Some Tough Love

A few months ago I made some observation of how Grandstream had come to be in-use around my home & office. I especially appreciate their surveillance gear. The GVC cameras and NVR are in 2/47 service and have served us well the past couple of years.

That said, two problems have cropped up recently that bear examination.

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Hacking the Logitech C920 & C930e Webcams

Until recently I did not know that this was possible, but people are hacking the venerable Logitech C920 and C930e webcams. The hardware hacks allow them to be used with a diverse range of high-quality, low-cost, CS lenses.

What started as a series of hacks by Saulius Lukse in Vilnius, Lithuania has turned into a small enterprise. At his Kurokesu site he now sells various things related to his adventures in optics. That includes machined metal cases to refit the internals of the C920/C930e. Korukesu C920 webcam kit

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