Google Voice extension has massive memory leak!

If you are wondering what’s eating all your RAM, check if you’ve got the Google Voice extension installed in Chrome. (Yes, that’s 1.2GBs and climbing!) I’m hoping this was the cause of my random BSODs.

For now the solution is to disable the extension until it gets fixed. Just go to Tools > Extensions, find the Google Voice extension and uncheck the Enabled box. (The menu is accessed by clicking the icon with three bars in the top-right corner.

Sharing WiFi with multiple devices

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UPDATE 2/21/16: Easier way to share WiFi with multiple devices.

I haven’t needed to share a WiFi connection for quite a while but the need came up recently and I decided to revisit my popular blog post “Sharing a wireless hotel Internet connection” from April 2010…Wow. How did anyone follow this convoluted post??? I’m so sorry. Obviously it’s time to write a more straight forward one.

Things have really shrunk since I first tried this! I got the *tiny* TP-Link 703N on eBay with DD-WRT pre-installed for just $27! This thing is crazy small! Note the model number here. This one is not available in the US and mine came from China. Do not confuse it with the identically looking 702N which doesn’t support DD-WRT.

Ok, now for the tutorial on how to share a WiFi connection. The version of DD-WRT is v24-sp2.
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Syncing Nextgen gallery with Flicker and iPad

I used to love Flickr but got tired of their heavy-handedness and a while back decided to bring all of my photos under my own control using the NextGEN Gallery plug-in here on SeriouslyTrivial.com. However, Flickr is somewhat ubiquitous and supported by various things, including AppleTV and some iPad photoframe apps, and I didn’t want to give that up.

At first I tried to manually keep the same photos on SeriouslyTrivial, Flickr and iPad. It didn’t take long for this to become an exercise in futility. If only NextGEN and Flickr could sync to each other… Well, I figured out an automated way to do it by putting my PC in the middle. Basically, the flow is as follows:

NextGEN ==> PC ==> Flickr/iPad

PC Programs

I’m using two PC programs to automate the process: AllwaysSync (free) to automatically do the FTP download and PhotoSync (paid version suggested) to sync with Flickr. Obviously, I’ll use iTunes to sync the photos with the iPad.

When you install PhotoSync, do not sign it into your Flickr account yet.

You don’t have to use AllwaysSync , it just automates the FTP download process. You could download manually or find another program that does the same thing.

Clearing out Flickr

This tutorial assumes your NextGEN gallery is the absolute source. Make sure all photos have been uploaded to NextGEN before proceeding. 

You’ll need to delete all Flickr photos so its totally empty. I deleted all mine by doing the following:

  1. Choose You > Organize
  2. Click Select all. This is at the bottom.
  3. Drag the selected photos to the edit area
  4. Choose Edit photos > Delete and follow the prompts

I suppose, alternatively, you could just create a new Flickr account. I would recommend this just in case something goes wrong.

NOTE: If you want to archive Flickr first, you should be able to use PhotoSync using the Full Synchronization mode. After it syncs and downloads all of the photos, move them out of the photoSync folder. In theory, it should then sync and delete everything in Flickr. Do this at your own risk, however. 

FTP Photos to your PC

As luck would have it, NextGEN puts the photos in folders that use the gallery name. Just what we need! Note that AllwaysSync’s interface is a little odd, but works and is free.

Now to accommodate iTunes, create a folder called iPod Photo Cache in the wp-content/gallery directory on your server (with all the gallery folders). This will be excluded from the FTP download (below) and, thus, prevent any changes from being made on the corresponding PC folder. Do not skip this step if you will be syncing with iTunes.

Here’s how to set up AllwaysSync:

  1. Click the Change link located on the double-headed arrow in the center.
  2. Click the radio button to the left of the double-headed arrow. The arrow should now be pointing to the right. We want everything going from the server to the PC only, not a two-way sync. Also enable the Proprogate deletions options so that photos deleted in NextGEN are also deleted on the PC.
  3. Choose FTP Server from the dropdown menu on the left side.
  4. Click the Configure button
  5. In the Path field, you need to enter the full path to the photo files including the protocol and server name. Something like ftp://<servername>/wp-content/gallery. This may vary depending on your installation of NextGEN.
  6. Complete the login information and click the OK button. (You may have to expand the window to make the OK button visible. It is in the lower-right corner of the panel.)
  7. On the menu go to View > Options. If you want AllwaysSync to start when Windows starts, enable the Start application in system notification area on system start-up option.
  8. Select the job profile you are working on in the left pane. It should be called something like New Job 1. Expand the options by clicking on the + to the left of the name. Then click on Inclusion  and Exclusion filters.
  9. NextGEN adds some files that you do not want. They are stored in thumbs and dynamic subdirectories under each gallery name. So in the Exclusion filters area, click the Add New button. Enter \*\thumbs\*.* in the File Name Filter box. Add three more filters for \*\dynamic\*.*,  \cache\*.*, and \iPod Photo Cache\*.*.  If there are any specific galleries or photos you don’t want synced, add exclusion filters for them as well. Click Ok when done. (NOTE: If you don’t exclude iPod Photo Cache, iTunes will always sync all photos and not just changes!)
  10. If you want to automate the upload, click Automatic Synchronization. Here I have set it to sync once a day.
  11. Click OK when you’re done setting options.
  12. Next, click on the Browse button and navigate to your photoSync folder. You’ll want to browse to get the exact path you need as it will vary depending on your version of Windows. It should be in your Windows Documents folder.
  13. Next, click the Analyze button near the lower-left corner. This will give you some information about what will be downloaded, but won’t actually download anything. Since this is the first time, you should get an See important message warning. (NOTE: You shouldn’t have to use Analyze in the future unless you want to.)
  14. The important message will appear at the top. It should tell you that there is a substantial difference… Just click the Ignore button.
  15. Scan through the list to see if it looks like the files you want will be downloaded.
  16. If everything looks ok, click the Synchronize button. This may take a while depending on how many photos you have.

That’s it! Let the job run once before proceeding.

NOTE: As I precaution, I would temporarily copy the photoSync folder somewhere. Just in case. It may save you from downloading everything all over again if something isn’t set right.

Sync the Photos to Flickr

Sign PhotoSync into your Flickr account. You should start to see it uploading all of your photos to Flickr when everything is set properly. I would recommend you start with Up synchronization only. (Later you can change it to Full Synchronization, if that suits you. The menu is accessed by right-clicking the icon in the system tray and choosing Options.)

Depending on the size of your library, this could take a really long time.

NOTE: With version photoSync Version 1.2.13, I noticed that if you delete a photo, when it syncs, it only removes it from the set. It does not actually delete the photo on Flickr. On the PC, it ends up in photoSync’s not_in_a_set folder. Until this gets fixed, you’ll need to delete them manually using the Manage ‘Not In a Set’ option accessed by right-clicking on PhotoSync’s system tray icon. This seems to only work in Full Synchronization mode for some unknown reason.  :-(

I suggest you upgrade to the paid version (only $5.95) of photoSync which allows you to set a default permission for newly uploaded photos.

Just right-click the system tray icon and choose Default Permissions.

Below I am setting all new uploads to be Public.

Sync the Photos with your iPad

Select your iPad in iTunes. Go to Photos and check the Sync Photos from option. In the pop-up menu to the right, select Choose Folder and navigate to the photoSync folder. Now just sync your iPad.

Well, there you have it. A totally automated way to sync NextGEN to Flickr and and iPad!

Fix Spotify local files problem after restoring from iPhone/iPad backup

So you dutifully back up your old iPad (or iPhone), connect your sparkling new iPad Air, and do a restore using iTunes. You fire up Spotify and all of your local files don’t play! WTF? They look ok, but you click and click and get nothing.

The fix, albeit lame, is to delete the app and reinstall it while connected (via WiFi) to your desktop Spotify installation. You’ll also have to enable the “Available Offline” option on the applicable playlists.

Not the best solution, but it works.

Update:

2016-04-04: Another way I’ve had success with is on your computer version of Spotify, make a playlist of your local files. (The easiest way to do this is press Ctrl+A to select all songs, right-click and choose Add to Playlist.) Bring that playlist up on your mobile device and enable the Available Offline switch.

spotifylocalfiles
There will be a Local Files item under YOUR MUSIC on the left side.

Kayaking the Mission Reach Paddle Trail

Bought a Groupon for kayaking the new Mission Reach Paddle Trail near Padre Park. It’s a pretty area just south of downtown and a lot of work has been put into the river here. Stacey Banta, who runs Texas Pack & Paddle (www.txpaddlesports.com), was the tour guide and she supplies everything for you, including the kayak and life vest. You basically just need to show up.

Unless you fall in, which no one did on our tour, probably only your bottom and legs will get wet for sure, so dress accordingly. I wore some swimming trunks and water shoes which was perfect for the occasion. The kayak had a cup holder, good for holding a water bottle, and I brought some snacks in a waterproof bag. It’s easy to grip the paddle too hard so we both got some blisters. I think some finger-less gloves would be nice to have.

You could bring a camera if you’re brave enough, but they take photos and post them on Facebook for you to see and download.

Stacey uses Meetup.com for reservations, although I believe you can call her as well. Check the website for more info.

Thanks in part to some gorgeous weather, 73 degrees and sunny, we had a wonderful time and plan to do it again. The water is not moving fast, but it’s a good upper-body workout for sure. Stacey has guided tours for other areas including multi-day trips.

Finding the Mission Reach location was a bit of a challenge so I made a map. Click here for the map. There is no physical address, but here is a link to Google Maps using the longitude and latitude coordinates.