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Technology in General

Not really help, but exchange of information.

JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
11-Nov-2020 14:31 Message #4797603
Picking up on a diversion on a Beach comment about smart speakers.

I am what I would call a semi-techy these days. I know more than most, but not as much as some.

My ex bought my son a Google Home Mini which he had no use for so I said I'd try it in the living room. I haven't bothered connecting it to as much as I could, but it's great when I'm lazy and I just say, "Hey Google, switch on sofa light at 20%" and so it does. Also, it is useful for when I am cooking and I just say something like, "Hey Google, what can I use instead of whatever ingredient"

Knowing that there are annoying incompatibilities between the Amazon Alexa system and the Google Home/Nest system I wondered if anyone else has managed to overcome connecting either system to an Android phone app using WiFi, not Bluetooth. I have all this music on my phone that auto connects to my car, and obviously play through said speaker, but it's just a shame the systems don't go the whole hog in some reciprocal benefit to both.
One advantage now I bought a second one for £10 in my bedroom, is it is neat and tiny, reasonable sound, and I can just say "Hey Google, Play Radio whatever", then ask it to switch off at whatever O' clock.

I also wondered if anyone has had any experience in having an air source heat pump?
Beach  Male  Dorset
11-Nov-2020 15:17 Message #4797604
Hi JustLyn.

I don't use Google Home and can't answer your smartphone related question directly, (You could ask or search Google for the answer), BUT I do have a Google Chromecast and do know that Google Home and Google Chromecast, (a media streaming gadget), can and do connect and talk to each other just fine.

What is Google Chromecast? (Details below being random info grabbed from net)

"Chromecast is a device that you plug into your TV's HDMI port, powered by a USB cable (included). Using your smartphone or computer as a remote control, you can use Chromecast to access video content from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, the Google Play Store and other services (Xfinity Stream just got Chromecast support). You can also use it to stream almost any kind of content from the Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop computer."

I'm puzzled though, JustLyn. A smartphone uses wifi by default so what is the issue?

Why not simply download and use the Android Home app on any Android based phone or tablet?

Google Home Android App. (Details below copied from Google Play Store)

"Set up, manage and control your Google Home, Google Nest and Chromecast devices, plus thousands of connected home products like lights, cameras, thermostats and more – all from the Google Home app."
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
11-Nov-2020 18:09 Message #4797621
Hi Beach,

I used to have a Chromecast before I had such a smart TV that does that job, so my eldest son adopted it for the old TV I passed to him (until he can afford better stuff as he is looking for work), so since I a happy with a not too large a screen, my TV wasn't so expensive as others might pay.

You could say I like little but functional :-)

I have searched Google etc and that is why I thought I'd post. I don't think there is a solution. It is puzzling, (well maybe it isn't) because the "block" I suspect, is Google Home accessing my phone memory chip. Google Home, and maybe Alexa too, are really designed to get the owner to pay subscriptions, and recently did away with the free to access Google Play app. So now, they have "converted" to developing YouTube as YouTube Music.

The problem I have is I choose to buy my albums via Amazon Music, before all this other technology came along, as I don't buy enough to warrant a monthly subscription, so all these albums are in the Amazon cloud, on my phone, tablet, laptop devices, and USB in the car.

I can do it via Bluetooth, and I can still ask Google Nest Mini (the newer version I have upstairs) to just play until, say, 11pm, but it would be really good, if via WiFi Home, it could "see" my music and just play that, instead of Spotify's random choices with adverts.

One is supposed to be able to play podcasts as well, but apparently, Google would not pay the BBC for access so that is another glitch.

Guess you can't have everything, and it was only £10.

I am reluctant t go further investing into one brand as I am looking into new CCTV, door camera etc. but rather than engaging further, such companies seem to be withdrawing services at the stroke of a pen as they have with Google Play Music.
Beach  Male  Dorset
11-Nov-2020 21:21 Message #4797637
Thanks for the added info.

There is a simple solution. Just buy a single Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker!

a) It'll play your Amazon music.
b) It'll use your Amazon email account AND acknowledge and work with any contacts you have or you add.
c) It'll be compatible with any existing Smart devices in your home. (Lights, Sockets, Thermostats, etc).
d) It'll allow you to summon calls vocally ... and do a zillion similar things your Google Home devices do.

You don't have to feel guilty or confused about adding an Amazon device. Just treat it the same as the Google Home device and regard it as a special Amazon enabled little friend.

Incidently, (you probably know this already), you don't need a subscription for the Echo Dot, (Alexa), to play your musical choices, artists or bands because, as a default, you can just say, "Alexa. Play Pink Floyd" and she'll just reply, "Here's a station based on Pink Floyd" and then she'll randomly play Pink Floyd tracks in between other bands and artists similar to Pink Floyd. (Maybe Supertramp or Crosby Stills and Nash or similar).

If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, it'll give you 2 million musical tracks free. If you subscribe to Music Unlimited for £7.99, it'll give you 60 million! (And with paid subscription, you can summon individual tracks rather than get music "based on" a music track or artist. (Again, you probably know this).

So it's easy. To access your music, by a cheap Echo Dot.
As far as I am aware, any device described as "Smart" is compatible with Google or Amazon devices.

I think Amazon's Echo Dot retails at around £39.00 currently although if you catch a Black Friday or similar Amazon promotion they always retail, (over the promotion period), for around £25.00 or less.
Remember; Google and Amazon are competitors promoting their own commercial ecosystems. They are frequent enemies in the retail landscape in between occasional truces when, for example, Amazon might allow one of their own services to access Google's YouTube. They did back along but then fell out again when Amazon banished YouTube from parts of its own services.

A Dot will live happily with Home though. :-)
Beach  Male  Dorset
11-Nov-2020 21:23 Message #4797638
Read "buy" for "by". :-)
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
12-Nov-2020 09:44 Message #4797672
Thanks for your input Beach. I'll consider it in the future.
Really helpful to have your opinion and experience on the subject.
Beach  Male  Dorset
12-Nov-2020 10:25 Message #4797676
You're very welcome. :)
Sea  Female  Essex
12-Nov-2020 16:50 Message #4797709
Amazon Fire Stick help please? I brought this to Cyprus with me and worked perfectly fine when here almost a year ago. However in my haste to get here had forgotten the remote had stopped working, as had been able to use TV one at home. However after various google searches and conflicting advise etc. I manged to get it going, changing batteries, taking batteries out, disconnesting Fire Stick. waiting 60 seconds, putting batteries back, re connecting fire stick, holding on to 'home' button, etc. etc. Took second attempt. But then think I had become confused with 'pairing' and 'mirroring' instructions, so when it came up with Apps (3 squares), sleep (moon), mirroring and then settings I think I clicked on mirroring, when perhaps shouldn't, as unable to play anything. I have tried BBC i player, ITV Hub. and Netflix but came up, unable to load programme or where is my programme, or something like that. My daughter bought it for me and it is in some way connected to her account, as her name and her daughters names etc, come up with those funny square face symbols. I also discoverd that if I click 'resume' on Peppa Pig or 'resume' on The Tiger who came to Tea, it will play. So I have a feeling that I am now only able to watch what she selects? Is there an idiot guide way, to get it back, to me being able to choose and select a programme that I wish to watch? I am just afraid of making things worse, with even the option of Peppa Pig vanishing. : -) It was a real effort getting the remote to do things, as even had to google where the 'menu' key was etc. Why are things not easy, such as just changing batteries?
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
14-Nov-2020 16:19 Message #4797890
I'm still anti technology ownership, though accept there's a place for it nowadays. Something my friend today mentioned, I don't know the truth of it, Google have sunk a submersible of some sort filled with servers - as yet not switched on - in the sea in international waters with the aim of avoiding taxes and regulations.
Maybe someone on here knows more about that, truth or falsehood?
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire
14-Nov-2020 16:33 Message #4797892
It sounds far fetched but we are talking about Google and I'm sure they have the money, will and technology to try just about anything.
Beach  Male  Dorset
14-Nov-2020 17:02 Message #4797894
Hi Sea,

I can’t help if you wanted me to suggest options that would NOT wipe your existing personal files from the device but I may be able to help if you just want to start over with a reset.

Choose one or the other method, (below), if you do intend to reset.

RESETTING via Fire TV settings menu.

In Settings, (Press), navigate to My Fire TV, (Press), and then go to Reset to Factory Defaults. (Press).

Then follow instructions OR visit Youtube and type:

“How to Factory Reset Firestick and make it RUN LIKE NEW (Easy Method)” into the search box to view help tutorial.


RESETTING via Fire TV Remote.

RESET your Fire Stick by pressing the BACK button and the RIGHT button which is actually the part of the large “ring” that makes up the navigation button. To press the RIGHT button, press that ring at its 3 O clock position while, as the same time, pressing the BACK button.

Then follow instructions OR visit Youtube and type;

“Arvig WiFi TV: Install and Set up a Fire TV Stick” into the search box to view help tutorial.
I’m not sure if it is worth fussing too much about, potential, lost content because, after all, the Fire stick merely saves info that can easily be found again once the Fire stick is back up and working properly.

If you were going to reset, perhaps you should just jot down any shows (or apps), that will need retrieving again … just as a memory jogger for when you were ready to retrieve or re-install them.
Beach  Male  Dorset
14-Nov-2020 17:22 Message #4797897
I think it was Microsoft, not Google, Terry.

They did an experiment a couple of years ago, submerging a giant steel drum, (well, metal anyway), underwater off the Orkney islands with the intention of finding out if the unique conditions, (based on a never changing calm environment atmosphere less prone to humidity, interference, physical interaction, etc), might extend the life of their servers.

Apparently, on pulling them up again back in the summer this year, they established that the 800+ servers did operate at up to 8 x more efficiently than their land based brothers and sisters.
Fun fact. From memory so things may now have changed but ...

Iceland is the coolest place to put your server farm! It has the perfect temperature, offers green and environmentally friendly geothermal and hydroelectric power and, if you are a billionaire tech company boss, gives you a great excuse to visit a stunning European location.

Servers, usually held in vast warehouses requiring air conditioning and everything else, are massively demanding when it comes to power requirements so being able to have a server farm in Iceland does away with such energy requirements.

Bitcoin companies discovered Iceland yonks ago and I think companies like IBM already have thermselves established there.
Can't help you re the Google tax dodge angle. :-)
Sea  Female  Essex
15-Nov-2020 08:21 Message #4797924
Hi Beach,

Thanks. I haven't actually ever saved anything on firestick but I can see my daughter's choices and have clicked on some of those in the past, other than that if I have wanted to find a programme I have just started typing something into search and it has come up. I think the remote not working has thrown things and from what I have googled seems to be a common problem. Seems it is heavy on batteries and others have bought new remotes only for them to go in less than six months. Saw lots of one star ratings on it. I didn't worry at home as discovered that my TV remote did the job perfectly without me having to do anything. At the moment I have discovered where I can watch TV for free on my laptop but limited channels. My helpful daughter bought me the firestick, which is on her account, for when I came out to Cyprus a couple of years ago. TV here is crap, Euronews in Greek or another Greek programme. At one time there may have been a film in English at about 9pm but that seems to have vanished. If I did any of the resetting though would that then mess up my daughters account back home? I have my daughters, and partners and grandchildrens names under funny face symbols etc. so would not want to in any way erase all those. And by Apps do you mean where it shows, BBC iplayer, ITV Hub, Netflix, Youtube, etc.? Will have a look at tutorials mentioned but am a little wary that I could end up losing all my daughters settings, which she would not be happy with. Many thanks for assistance though, much appreciated.
Sea  Female  Essex
15-Nov-2020 18:32 Message #4798018
Update, After playing around a bit I have discovered that my firestick is working perfectly fine with selecting anything on Netflix, it is just ITV Hub and BBC Iplayer that it will not load any programmes. I am wondering though if perhaps a sudden block on them due to being in Cyprus, although worked perfectly fine last visit. But then at one time when away from home, I could watch 'Catchup' on my laptop and then that was suddenly blocked, as not in UK. At least I can watch Netflix on TV and the main TV channels live on my laptop for now.

JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
15-Nov-2020 19:27 Message #4798032
I can't help as I've never bought a Firestick, but maybe, if software driven ( i could be talking rubbish) has been outdated. Just a guess, but Google and Amazon have a funny relationship with the BBC. I know I have just had t retire my Amazon Fire Kindle 3rd Generation after getting a warning is is not longer undateable (to run such as BBCi) due to it having only Amazon's version of Android 4.5 which they are no longer supporting as the newer ones have Android 5 and above. I don't know if a Firestick has the same issue.
Beach  Male  Dorset
15-Nov-2020 19:34 Message #4798034
Yes. I was referring to apps, Sea.
I bet you are right re the BBC and ITV simply forbidding you from watching their content while abroad.

Oh. There is a rather sweet little app for Fire TV called BRAVO TV. It'll give you live channels and an impressive array of Catch Up TV and loads of films.

Will it work where you are? Dunno but it is worth downloading on your Fire OR viewing from any browser on a laptop or other type of PC. OR on an Android based phone or table. (Can't / won't discuss Apple related gadgets).
fosy  Male  Leicestershire
15-Nov-2020 22:47 Message #4798060
re your remote not tv remote stops working about once every six weeks, and its not the batteries.

i was told by the retailer to press and hold the on/off button for thirty seconds.
the manufacturer said to press all the buttons for about thirty secs...both of these get the remote working again.
i think they said it releases a build up of static ?

dont know if this would be of help to you.
NoSaint  Female  Devon
15-Nov-2020 22:49 Message #4798061
Throwing the remote across the room doesn't help but makes you feel better.
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire
16-Nov-2020 07:33 Message #4798070
Throwing the remote across the room doesn't help but makes you feel better.

A lot of the older tried and tested methods are more effective than the modern and more complicated methods.

Thump the top of the telly. Kick the car. Sometimes just shouting at the guilty object will be successful.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
16-Nov-2020 10:51 Message #4798091

I am a terrible nerd for checking specifications, then just one day, something springs forth that makes up my mind.

I also like to try to be minimal, amidst the wash of gadgets, and avoid two that do the same thing.

Anyway, a few years ago I bought a Sony Tablet with the intention of using like people use Ipads at meetings, to take notes. I didn't want to buy into the Apple brand and end up with all the different connections. Years down the line, Android tablets don't seem to have kept up the pace, and now I only wanted something to read email, watch BBCi or similar, and read books, search Internet, run a few apps.

So I was surprised to see the latest Amazon Kindle Fire now comes with Alexa (thinking of Beach's advice), but I don't want to wireless charging as it also has the same USB3 as my phone anyway. Then I found my partner didn't want the old KIndle back so suggested I use the Amazon trade in as we were both surprised they offer £25 off the next one, in addition to 20% discount on any accessories, such as a case.

Sounds like I am doing an Amazon advert, but no, It's just interesting how relatively cheap they are and do so much for what effectively will cost me £95 with a 64Gb chip and an "up to" 12 hours battery life.

So, with my music being able to be stored on the KIndle, it will be an experiment to see if the inbuilt Alexa will access the MP3 files on the device, or in Amazon's cloud.
I hope the bluetooth in Google Mini Nest will speak to Alexa, but it isn't a deal breaker.
Sea  Female  Essex
16-Nov-2020 21:12 Message #4798132
Hi Beach, Yes do have a feeling a sudden block with BBC and ITV and I do recall looking up things where people asked if Firestick worked in Cyprus and reading that it didn't and I was thinking, well I have never had a problem. But I have discovered that as well as Netflix I can also get Prime and I had Firefox as one of my Apps, which I had to click to download and install. I then entered into it and could get the same basic channels as on my laptop, although for some reason less choice as mainly BBC, ITV and Sky news and not More4, BBC2, ITV3 or channel5 etc. I can at least see the news and a few other things, which looks better on a larger TV screen though. Will definitely take a look to see if I have BRAVO TV as one of my Apps. At least I have a bit more of a choice now. Thanks.
Beach  Male  Dorset
22-Nov-2020 19:43 Message #4798671
That's good, Sea. :-)

And JustLyn? As I mentioned prior, every now and again, the Dot can be found in a sale and, with Black Friday upon us at the moment, Argos have got the Amazon Echo Dot Alexa Smart Speaker available for £18.99. (Normally £39).

Note. I regard the puck shaped material covered version, (as above), as being just about perfect although Amazon have now revamped that design and turned it into a larger sphere shaped product.

Avoid the 4th generation sphere shaped Echo Dot and grab a bargain at £18.99 at Argos ... the cheapest I've ever seen that version. Might get another one myself at that price.
Sea  Female  Essex
23-Nov-2020 07:15 Message #4798723
Technology Grrrr............ How do you fix an Amazon Firestick remote that appears to have an alzheimer's bug and a very fast battery consumption addiction? I am finding that everytime I wish to view anything with the Fire Stick that I have to go through the whole rigmarol of resetting (or whatever it is?) the remote. I am continually having to go through the whole process of instructions I found on Google. 1, Press and hold down 'Home button. 2. Release the 'Home' button. 3, Press the menu. 4, Remove the batteries from ther remote. 5,Unplug Fire Stick for 60 seconds. 6. Put the batteries back in the remote. 7, Once the home screen appears, press and hold 'home'. 8, Wait 60 seconds for it to complete. Sigh..... If I do not do this the remote is dead as a dodo. On two seperate days when doing this I was able to put back in my brand new batteries and the remote would then work. Last night however I went through this whole process three times and still no joy. I then decided to replace my brand new batteries, only a few days old, with brand new unused batteries and viola success at last. Surely it cannot possibly get through batteries that quickly? These are energizer batteries that say they have a ten year shelve life, so not in any way cheapies and have only just been purchased. I have also only been viewing via Fire Stick a couple of hours in the evening and not every night, as sometime have just watched TV on laptop. Maybe the scientist, who invented this remote, included a good dose of hic-cups in their calculations? : -)

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