Ring Doorbell Windows 10 Volume Problem Solved!

Whenever I ran the Ring Doorbell Windows app, it would always lower the volume on any other application (music, video, etc.) that was running. As soon as I closed the Live View, the volume on the other apps would return to normal. I contacted their support and was told that it could be a driver issue. Obviously, they didn’t really know why it was happening.

Well, I did some more digging and discovered that in the Sounds dialog, there is a Communications tab. By default, the “When Windows detects communications activity” option was set to “Reduce the volume of other sounds by 80%”. That sure sounded like what was happening, so I changed it to “Do nothing”. BINGO! That fixed it!

I never even knew that setting existed. To get to the Sounds dialog, click the Windows icon on your desktop to bring up the menu. Type Sound and it will appear. It will say Control Panel underneath.

I’m not sure if other versions of Windows do the same thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Good luck!

Remote into a high-end gaming-level Windows 10 machine for $35 a month

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of remoting into a cloud-based computer for years. Historically, it’s been expensive and the machines were limited in CPU power, RAM and storage. A french company called Blade is changing this with their Shadow service. For $35 a month, you get remote access to an Intel Xeon processor with eight dedicated threads, 12GB of DDR4 memory, 256GB of storage and NVidia GTX 1080 equivalent graphics. What’s really cool is that the hardware evolves and automatically upgrades. You don’t have to keep upgrading your computer!

You can remote in from your computer or mobile device (Windows, Mac and Android available now, iOS coming soon) and the minimum bandwidth is just 5Mbps. That will get you 720p at 60 fps. Faster connections will get you up to 4k resolution. (Note: Dual screens are not yet supported but will be in the future according to the FAQ.) Keep in mind that your local bandwidth is only used for display and remote control, the host computer has a 1Gb per second Internet connection!

Although it’s billed as a gaming service, it’s still just a Windows 10 machine so you could use it as an everyday computer as well. The question I have is how it will work with local storage which will be essential for resource intensive work like video and graphics editing.

$35 a month may seem steep, but it’s a lot cheaper than buying a similarly spec’d PC. Also, in lieu of using your own PC, you can also buy their Shadow Box for $139.95 or $9.95 per month to rent.

Check their website for availability. The west coast is already up and the east coast is scheduled for August 9. Look for a nationwide rollout by October.

A Service that Lets You Use Windows 10 on Any Computer or Phone Is Going Nationwide

Back at CES in January, French company Blade seemed to promise the moon. For a monthly fee, the company would give users access to a high-end Windows 10 machine, with the latest CPU from Intel and a beefy Nvidia 1080 GPU built in.

Atari origins

Interesting article discussing the origins of Atari. I remember bringing home my Pong game console purchased from Sears where I worked and playing it with my brother James all night. I am definitely going to read “Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom)” by Adam Fisher when it comes out.


The Rolls SL33B – An awesome compressor/limiter for PC audio!

I’ve found that online video is REALLY inconsistent in terms of audio volume, particularly advertisements that are inserted into streaming programs. I knew I needed some sort of compressor/limiter to automatically reduce loud sounds and amplify quieter sounds, creating a more uniform volume level overall. I had hoped to find a simple software solution, but was surprised that nothing good really exists. Switching my search to a hardware solution, I stumbled upon the Rolls SL33B Stereo Program Limiter.

The SL33B is designed specifically for consumer-level equipment and keeps things simple with only two controls. One control sets the threshold, that is, the level at which the signal will be processed. The other is Makeup Gain which controls the volume after the signal is processed–basically an output volume control.

The SL33B has both RCA and 1/8″ input/output connectors so it’s perfect for a PC set-up. It’s housed in a small but rugged metal box and requires a typical AC adapter. It would also be quite suitable for a TV *if* you used external amplification/speakers and not the TV’s built-in speakers.

I love this little gem for its simplicity in connections and controls. It’s also great for movies which often have audio levels all over the place. The only thing I wish it had was a bypass switch for listening to music, since you typically don’t want to mess with the dynamic range of music. However, since I don’t typically listen to music on my PC, this is not a deal breaker. So far, the SL33B has really been the answer to my prayers!

Getting Flash to run in Chrome

Despite the movement to kill it, Flash is still used by many sites. For me, Flash is particularly problematic when using Chrome. If you are having problems playing video and aren’t sure if Flash is the culprit, check the right side of the address box and look for an icon with a red X. Click it and a pop-up box will appear giving you the option to temporarily Run all plugins this time. Clicking that option should temporarily fix the Flash issue on that page.

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Canon Pixma MG5320 not compatible with Asus RT-AC88U router wifi

I have determined that my Asus RT-AC88U router is just not compatible with my Canon Pixma MG5320 over WiFi. I’ve read and tried several “solutions” I found on the net without any success. Honestly, the connection setup is not very complicated and as simple as connecting your phone to WiFi. Also, the printer works fine, if I connect using a wired USB cable.

From the printer’s side, things looked fine. The connection light was on and it seemed to acquired a legitimate IP address. However, from the router side, you could tell there were problems. The printer would usually not appear in the list of connected devices. After repeatedly powering the printer on and off, I could sometimes get it to appear, but you still couldn’t connect to it over WiFi from a computer.

I also tried setting up a dedicated IP address for the printer instead of using DHCP. Again, on the printer side, it acquired the proper IP address, but on the router side it still only showed up as a connected device intermittently. When it did show as connected, as before, you couldn’t actually connect to it from the computer.

Since it had been working before I got the Asus router, I tried a little experiment. I connected one of my old router’s normal ports–not the WAN port–to the Asus router. This way the old router would act as a switch/AP. Then, I connected to the old router’s WiFi. Voila! The printer appeared instantly as a connected device and I could connect to it from my computer.

I’ve got the latest firmwares installed on both devices. The only conclusion I can come to is that there is an inherent incompatibility between the Asus router and the Canon printer. I suppose that I really shouldn’t be too surprised since the printer is relatively old. Still, it seems kinda odd.

Oh well, the solution isn’t the cleanest and kinda kludgy, but it works.

Wacom Intuos Pro tablet (model PTH660) thoughts

I’ve had the Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet (model PTH660) for a few months now and thought I’d post just a few thoughts.

First off, if you use Photoshop or Lightroom, the Wacom tablet is a game-changer. After you get used to using the pen, drawing is much more natural than with using a mouse. If you’ve ever tried to draw a circle or draw a selection around a person’s head with a mouse, you’ll appreciate the difference. Read more