Clever Wifi Names

Yeah, you’ve heard them all before… “FBI Surveillance Van”, etc., etc… I just thought this list contained some pretty funny names, so I’m posting it here for easy reference:

1. Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wi-Fi
2. It Hurts When IP
3. The Triwizard Internet
4. Silence Of The LAN
5. Wifi Art Thou Romeo
6. Dunder MiffLAN
7. For Porn Use Only
8. Bill Wi, The Science Fi
9. Everyday I’m Buffering
10. Slow Internet Slow Fap
11. A Song Of Ice And Firewall
12. Luke, I Am Your Wifi
13. Girls Gone Wireless
14. Hilary Clinternet
15. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-LAN
16. Don’t You Wish Your Wifi Was Hot Like Me
17. New England Clam Router
18. One Does Not Simply Log Into Mordor
19. Dora The Internet Explorer
20. 99 Problems But WiFi Ain’t One
21. No Wi-Fi For You
22. Wi Believe I Can Fi
23. Covet Not Thy Neighbor’s WiFi
24. Titanic Syncing
25. Mom, Click Here For Internet
26. It’s a Small World Wide Web
27. Virus Distribution Center
28. John Wilkes Bluetooth
29. Wifi For Blowjobs
30. The Wireless-G Spot
31. House LANister
32. It’s The Wifi Network Morty
33. WIFIght The Inevitable?
34. Watching Porn Constantly
35. Unprotected CeX
36. Benjamin FrankLAN
37. Slytherin Common Room Wifi
38. IS THIS THE KRUSTY KRAB
39. My Neighbors Suck
40. You Load Nothing, Jon Snow
41. No Pants No Problems
42. Winternet Is Coming
43. Connect And Die
44. Avengers – Wifi Wars
45. Area 51
46. Guardians Of The Gateway
47. Watch Porn At 4G Speed
48. We Can Hear You Having Sex
49. Not Free So Get Stuffed
50. Ermahgerd, Wi-Fi!
51. Not In Range
52. Don’t Watch Porn On My Wifi
53. WI-FIght The Inevitable?
54. Occam’s Router
55. Not The Droids You’re Looking For
56. I Have Wifi And You Don’t
57. The Creep Next Door
58. I’m Under Your Bed
59. Loading…
60. Enter The Dragon’s Network
61. Tell My Wifi Love Her
62. Access Denied
63. Drop It Like It’s Hotspot
64. DHARMA Initiative – Station 4
65. LANDown Under
66. Your Wifi Is Sleeping With My Wifi
67. Babe Cave
68. Keep It On The Download
69. Look Ma No Wires
70. Help, I’m Trapped In A Router!
71. Life In The Fast LAN
72. 404 Wi-Fi Unavailable
73. Free Wifi For One Night Stand
74. Click Here For Viruses
75. LANdo Calrissian
76. Penny Get Your Own Wifi
77. Your Wifi Is Sleeping Over
78. Martin Router King
79. The LAN Before Time
80. We Are Watching You
81. Ye Olde Internet
82. Your Dog Shits In My Yard
83. A LANnister Always Surfs The Net
84. 2 Girls, 1 Router
85. Abraham Linksys
86. Troy And Abed In The Modem
87. Wu-Tang LAN
88. Router, I Hardly Know Her
89. Only For Zombies
90. I’ve Seen You Naked
91. Suck On My Secure Connection
92. Here’s The Password Clue Read Again
93. Very Slow Internet
94. I Pronounce You Man And WiFi
95. LAN Of Milk And Honey
96. Stiffler’s Mom
97. Skynet Global Defense Network
98. Yell “Doggy” To Know Password
99. Quit Using My Wi-Fi
100. My Own Damn Internet
101. Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi
102. Network Name? Why Not Zoidberg?
103. Thrust Master
104. Not A Meth Lab
105. Routers Of Rohan
106. Bob’s Unsecured House of Wifi
107. Nacho WiFi
108. Hack If You Can
109. Stealing Wifi Is A Crime
110. How Is The Signal There?
111. Josh BroLAN
112. Ex-Wifi
113. Lord Of The Pings
114. Go Away You Muggle

Boogie Board Sync 9.7 – A review posted on Amazon

I recently bought one of these “eWriters” when Amazon e-mailed me a recommendation.  At that time it was $69.99.  The price, as of this writing, is now $81.17 on Amazon and the list price is $99.99.  It is also sold from other places for as high as $120, so I figured $69.99 was a pretty good deal.  Here’s my Amazon review:

Excellent eWriter for the price – just a couple issues keeping it from a 5-star rating

This is a nice “notepad” replacement. I only have two small issues with it: 1: If you forget to look at the LED to make sure it’s lit and green (ON), you can fill the entire display with your notes only to find nothing has been saved, even when you turn the power on and press the SAVE button. Anything written on the surface BEFORE you powered it on is lost forever (you might as well take a photo of it with your phone if you need to keep it at that point). It would be awesome if there it had a simple auto-power-on feature built in that would automatically turn it on as soon as you started drawing on it. 2: It occasionally “skips” portions of letters and drawing strokes in saved documents. This seems to be at random times and doesn’t happen very frequently, but the drawn letters and lines are clearly on-screen and not shown in the saved copy once it awhile. This is fairly rare though. I would have given it 5 stars if it hadn’t been for those two issues.

I work in a Help Desk position, taking phone calls for PC issues all day long. Aside from the two issues mentioned above, this device has saved me from using a lot of paper already, and will save me a lot of money in notepads, which I used to go through very quickly taking call after call. I normally write down the details of each call and issue, then as time permits I’ll create tickets for those calls in our ticket system using my notes. It seems a little different to flip through my notes on my phone instead of flipping through all of my notebook pages, but I think that’s just something I’ll need to get used to over time.

Overall, I must admit that I still continue to search for that “perfect” ewriter solution that will provide what this does and fix the two issues I have with it, but this is pretty close and is definitely useful, and well worth the price. My co-workers seemed a bit disappointed that you can’t “recall” saved pages directly on the device, but they understand once I explain how and why the technology is “one-way” and only records keystrokes. The functionality of being able to recall pages would require more “tablet” or “notebook” technology, which would increase it’s thickness, weight and pricetag, I’m sure. Compared to all of the other options I’ve managed to dig up online, this one is “it” for now. Most others don’t allow you to save your pages outside of the device, let alone save in different formats to different services.

Also, I haven’t read anything about file formats other than saving as PDFs for this device, but I was happy to see that the Boogie Board Sync app on Android allows me to “share” any note as an image (png), PDF, or video (plays back your saved page as it was written, stroke by stroke). You can even select MULTIPLE pages (for example, an entire day of notes) and export them as a single multi-page PDF! Very nice!

Drone

home-from-droneThis weekend Matt stopped by with his new drone!  Wow, what a piece of technology!  I was a little curious at the start, but much more so once he was flying it and showing us the features.  He bought a rather expensive model (at least in my book), and it has some pretty sweet features and specs, including a nice gimble & camera.  The gimble allows for beautifully smooth movement of the camera while shooting up to 4K video or 12-megapixel snapshots.

He started it up in the driveway, got up between 200 and 300 feet to clear everything tall in the neighborhood, then flew it around.  I must say, it scared me a bit knowing how much that little toy costed, and watching it zoom out of sight over the neighborhood.  It has a decent range, but I still found it scary.  It probably would have felt even worse, had I been the one who paid for it!  He mentioned getting to a certain point where the video starts to cut out…sheesh, now THAT could give me heart issues… but there’s a nifty little “Go Home” feature and calls it back and it comes right back to your location.

After some flying around and recording (both from my cell phone and from the 4K camera on the drone) until the drone’s battery was nearly dead and getting pretty chilly in the 32-degree weather, we came back inside to warm up and figure out how to view the footage as quickly as possible.

I transferred the videos to my PC and could view them there, but we wanted to watch them on the big TV.  It’s 1080p though, so we couldn’t actually view them in full 4K quality.  I used my laptop, which already has a dock connected to the TV, and the video looked awesome!

The video on a MicroSD card is limited to 4GB file sizes, so our footage was split into two files – one about 8 minutes (4GB in size), and the other about 6 minutes (about 3GB in size).  I wanted to use ShareStudio, an app on the PS4, to edit the video, but unfortunately, the PS4 didn’t recognize the video file format that the drone used.

After we finished ogling the fine footage, I dropped the videos into my YouTube channel to start uploading them to the internet.  After a few hours they completed, and the footage still looks quite impressive there, and now we can share them with everyone easily.  Take a look if you want.  Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 from the drone, and my cell phone footage.

I want to be able to edit those three videos into one nice one, complete with cuts back and forth between be shooting the drone, and the drone shooting me, when we were playing with the “Follow Me” feature of the drone, but I tried doing so in Corel VideoStudio, but it didn’t work out so well.  The resulting video, which I wanted to save as a 4K video, was horrible with dropped frames throughout and full choppiness, rendering it unwatchable.  I might try it again at 1080p, just to see if it’s the 4K it can’t handle, or if my PC’s just not powerful enough to handle the job.

 

Geeks, TWiTs, and Tech, oh my!

Anybody else remember TechTV?  Ah, the good old days of having a channel just for us geeks… I remember it very fondly, especially The ScreenSavers with Leo LaPorte and Patrick Norton.  I used to watch that channel quite a bit until it disappeared.  I learned a lot from those guys…and still do. Today the content that was that single channel is spread across everything.  Maybe geeks are finally becoming mainstream.  Yikes! We’re multiplying at an alarming rate, somebody stop the madness!

Seriously, tech and those that know how to use it, is everywhere now, and you have to know it (or at least enough bits of it) to get by.  Is your microwave still flashing “12:00” at you?  If it is, you might not be a geek…And I’m no Jeff Foxworthy, so I won’t continue with that joke.  But with today’s smartphones, small computers, tablets, smartwatches, internet everywhere, etc., etc., it’s clear the world is getting more and more tech-based all the time.

I began in IT in 1981.  It’s still hard to believe it’s been that long ago (36 years. You’re welcome, Kev), but then I look at how far the tech has come and it’s mind-boggling.  My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 – a “Trash Eighty” as it was known as, with a whopping 4K of RAM (that’s 4,000 “characters” or “typed letters” it could hold in memory).  It came as a somewhat-small black * white CRT monitor, which–and I can’t even remember this part clearly enough–also contained the computer components–or at least “some” of them.  Need a visual? Here, have a flashback.  The rest of it was a big, bulky keyboard, which I believe held the rest of the components to round out the entire computer.  But with just these two small pieces, you had an entire computer and you could actually DO things with it!  SAVING what you did on it was an entirely different animal–just as it is today.  Back then you had to buy a cassette tape drive if you were on a budget, and you’d save and load your programs and data from cassette tapes (yes, just like those old music cassettes you heard of, and might have actually seen or used on occasion,from the olden days) that were high-quality, fragile little storage units.  Read and write errors–even with the highest-quality, most-expensive tapes–were frequent, and the loss of dozens or even hundreds of hours of work was almost common.  And God forbid if you had a magnet in your house!  Those who weren’t on such a budget could splurge and pay thousands of dollars for a newfangled “floppy drive”.  They offered a ton more space, were much much faster, and with them you were much less likely to have all of your hair gone (pulled out) by the time you turned 25.  I won’t even go into hard drives.  Those didn’t even appear on the map for some time later on.

But looking at those details you can see how far we’ve come.  As a comparison, the power in that huge, very heavy computer from back then is now fully contained in just a small chip in your smartwatch.  Not even the whole watch, just a chip inside it. Mind-boggling, as I said.  But our society is fast becoming more and more tech-savvy as all of these gadgets continue to spread, evolve, and shrink.  So we’re ALL pretty much becoming “geeks” to one extent or another.  Maybe only in certain areas, but geeks nonetheless.

Where I am going with this, I have no idea.  I just woke up this morning, this was running through my head, and I needed to write.  Like most things in this blog, it’s just random thoughts and memories that come to me.  (he says, as he straps on his Moto 360 while listening to his Windows 10 PC connected to his 55″ LG TV, streaming classic 80’s songs from a Amazon Music…) Geek on.

 

Password Anxiety

Raise you hand if you suffer from P.A.D. – Password Anxiety Disorder.  Ok, put you’re hand down, you look silly.  Seriously, this could easily be a thing.  A lot of us have it.  And security everywhere is constantly getting strengthened and the rules always changing to adapt to the ever-increasing rate of hacks and security issues.

This puts more demand on the end user (you), forcing you to have to change your password to comply with the new rules, and and often requiring you to change your password much more frequently, making it even MORE difficult.  Having so many logins and passwords on so many different systems then presents another problem:  No one can remember all of their logins and passwords – there are simply too many!

So what to do?  You’re not supposed to write them down, but people do, having no other options.  Keeping them all in a digital document is bad because, if that document ends up in the wrong hands it opens the possibility of attack to every single system you had access to.  If you make all your passwords the same, so you can easily remember, that also puts a risk on every system you have access to, should that one “master password” somehow get into the wrong hands.

Today’s society is very complicated this way, and it’s only getting worse.  To help with this problem, there are several “Password Manager” applications available that can manage all of your logins for you.  This, again, can present another risk, since all of these applications require their own login, and if THAT gets into the wrong hands, it again opens up possible exposure of all of your logins to all of your systems to the attacker.

But, in my opinion, using a secure password manager is a much better option then writing them down or storing them in a simple document.  Preferably you’ll want to use a password manager designed and actively maintained by a reputable company that hasn’t already been attacked, and one that uses very good encryption to protect your private information.

And, of course, this top-notch security doesn’t come without a price.  All good password managers cost money–either by subscription or a flat fee.  They offer a free trial period, so test out a few if you want to, then choose what works or seems to be the best for you.  But there are some that offer a decent feature set in a “free” version, so you’d have to try them out to see if what you need would require a fee, or if you can get by just fine using a free version.  Here’s a good comparison of all of the current password managers available.

Many of them try to make it as easy as possible by offering add-ons for popular browsers, which–when you’re logged into them–can automatically populate username & password fields on any web page for you.  This can make things pretty painless in most cases, but requires the cooperation of whomever designed the website to as well, in order for things to work smoothly.  Some sites, for example, do odd things with logins, including having your username on a separate page that your password, or displaying the login boxes in a non-standard way, which might throw off the “auto-fill” function your browser add-on uses, resulting in the form field being left blank.  Usually, if this happens, there’s still options available to you to manually either force it to fill a field on the screen or for you to view your login information and either type it in yourself or copy and paste it in.  Either way, it is definitely better than having a printed or digital list and doing things manually.  If you’re willing to pay a little to have another service store your information and keep it secure.

There are plenty of good features in many of the services listed in that comparison, so I’ll refrain from recommending a specific one, but I will say that I do use one of those listed in that article, and their review of it appears to be quite accurate.

Just also keep in mind that using pretty much any of these password managers will add a bit more complexity to your logins by adding options for you.  Some will find this easy to adapt to, others will find it just more confusing.  But if nothing else, they’ll reliably store all of your login information for you in a pretty safe place.  Just don’t forget the username and password you use to access THAT service, however, or you’ll lose access to everything all at once!

Slideshow articles

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of “slideshow” articles everywhere these days.  Just trying to get through one you can see the benefits for the site owners–a 20-page slideshow allows them to show 20 times more ads on the page, giving them that much more ad revenue, even though the percentage of people actually stopping to read or click on an ad on those pages is probably very very small.  And if you’re not careful, some of those “ads” will only get you into yet another slideshow “article!”  Madness.  A recent South Park episode I watched explained it perfectly, though the episode was about something else entirely.

I dislike these slideshow articles so much now that I am more likely to immediately close my browser window than continue through each “slide” once it first opens.  And what if you want to PRINT an article? Not a chance.  They’ve basically become as annoying as the ads themselves!  In some cases, however, there may be something you can do.  Check out this article for the scoop.  I know I’m not alone.  Read on.

Watch this. Smart, eh?

instaweather-watchfaceI have an old first-generation Moto 360 smartwatch.  I got it after the 2nd generation came out and the price dropped dramatically on this one.   When I first got it about a year ago, I had a lot of problems with the battery dying way too quickly–after only a few hours sometimes.  But this was due to both the newness (me enjoying toying with all of the features and options to see what I like the most) and to the firmware, which was a bit buggy.  These days I’m pretty happy with it.  After try out hundreds of watchfaces over the months, I’ve settled on one I like the most — Instaweather.  In particular, the “Hourly Forecast” version, which is shown in the photo.  One flick of my wrist and this screen pops on, showing me the 7-day forecast, current time & temp, each day’s high and low, and much more.  I can also click the graph to switch to different ranges of the forecast – anything from a 6-hour range to a 7-day range, or switch to a “dew point and humidity” view instead of temperature, etc.  The colored ring around the rim of the watch even shows my total daily distance goal for walking (currently 2 miles per day).

Go Pokemon Go!

Last week Pokemon Go was released to the public. Kevin and I have been playing the Field Test version for a couple months, so we had a good head-start on it. Our accounts were reset though, so we had to start over when the public release came out, but at least we had a lot of time to learn the basics and watch it turn into the cool game it is now. Boy has it taken the world by storm though!! It seems like almost EVERYONE is playing it, with crowds of people found at Pokestops and gyms all over the place, meeting up and playing together.

It’s fun knowing where this all came from, and knowing we, as early Ingress players, played a big part in it. It seems a lot of Pokemon Go players have yet to learn how it all came to be. When I talk to Go players I explain what Ingress is, and that Ingress is kind of a “Pokemon Go Origins”. Niantic (creators of Ingress) and Nintendo got together and shared their gaming data to create a new sort of Pokemon/Ingress hybrid game. They used all of the basic GPS mapping data and features and Ingress “portals” to create all of the Pokestops and Gyms in Pokemon Go. Having a good knowledge of the entire area’s portal locations from over 3 years of playing Ingress gives us “old school” gamers a distinct early advantage in Pokemon Go, but with so many more people playing, virtually everywhere, and many of them much stronger and better Pokemon players than us, the overall favor still tips things in their way it seems.

Most of the portals that Ingress started with were created by Niantic using the data from the Historical Marker Database on the Internet (http://www.hmdb.org/). But they were few and far between when the game was first released. So we, as early Ingress players, were allowed to submit hundreds of locations players might find interesting while playing Ingress, and after a sometimes-very-long acceptance process by Niantic, each portal was either rejected or accepted. If accepted, it became a “portal” when Ingress players could go to build it up for their faction, either for the blue team (The Resistance) or for the green team (The Enlightened). Personally, I am responsible for the creation of nearly 200 portals in the game, all in and around the Kenosha, WI area and near my work in Waukegan, IL. I have also made it to the top Ingress level, L16, so I feel I know Ingress fairly well.

Ingress is sort of a capture-the-flag GPS-based game with two factions fighting against one another, worldwide. Niantic would periodically hold “anomaly” events in different cities around the globe, which would draw in hundreds or thousands of players from all over the area and around the world to participate in close one-on-one and team-on-team battling for a day.

I had thought Ingress had gotten pretty popular itself, until seeing the effects of this past week’s Pokemon Go release! It’s almost like having an “anomaly” event every day at the moment… hundreds of people flocking to clusters of portals (known as Gyms and Pokestops) to Pokemon Go players… It has already been on the front page of the Kenosha News, all over every TV news program, and even on TMZ! It’s getting everyone up and out, walking around, being social, and getting some exercise, playing with their kids, and getting active. Many say so many adults are playing because they grew up on Pokemon, and are sort of reliving their childhood at this point. Whatever the reason, it’s getting people out exercising and socializing like never before, and playing a game with their kids again. I can say, personally, that it has had the same effect for me. Kevin, my son, now 18 years old, played Ingress with me a few years ago, reach level 10 after about a year and got bored of it and stopped playing. Since Pokemon Go came out, he is now excited to go back out and play with me, and we’re often out playing together again!

Kevin and I heard about this game’s “Beta Testing” a few months ago, way before it’s public release last week, and we signed up to “Field Test” the app. Luckily we were both accepted for the field testing… From what I heard, many others in the area that also signed up never got accepted, so we felt quite fortunate. We actually got a chance to play some very early versions of the game, and watch it evolve a little until the final version was released to the public. We saw some pretty interesting changes come and go in the game–some of which gave us great insight into how the data from Ingress is implemented in Pokemon Go. But perhaps I should leave those nitty-gritty details for another article…if anyone is interested.

Anyway, Niantic (creators of Ingress and an app called Field Trip) got together with Nintendo, and together they created a new version of Pokemon for smartphones, and all of that data for “portals”–most of which was created by us, it’s players–was used in Pokemon Go to create all of the Pokemon Gyms and Pokestops in the game. This includes the photos we took of each location. So based on Ingress gameplay, we created several “farm” areas all over the world. These are small geographic areas densely-populated with many portals, which groups of 8 or more of one of the two teams would often build up to the strongest level for their respective team and then “farm” that area’s portals for top-level gear.

So now, in Pokemon Go, these farm areas are fast becoming hugely-popular meetup areas for vast numbers of Pokemon Go players! For us Ingress players, it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before (except for the rare anomaly events held in major cities). Go players will cluster around a group of Pokestops (which are also Ingress Portals), plug Lure Modules into them, and just stand or walk around and watch the wild Pokemon come to them so they can capture them. Lure Modules are pretty rare in the game, but you can purchase them with coins (and you can buy coins for the game with real money, or earn coins in the game without paying with real money). Lures will attract Pokemon to that Pokestop for a period of 30 minutes, and players seem to just continuously deploy new ones on these popular Pokestops when one wears off, giving everyone around them the benefit of catching many Pokemon with very little effort.

Having been an Ingress player for over 3 years, and watching it only get rare new players, it’s a little overwhelming to now see TONS of new players, constantly playing this new game. Pokemon Gyms, which players can fight and train on, and claim for their team, somewhat like portals in Ingress, are flipped to a different team so often, it’s hilarious! Players have the potential to earn 10 coins in Pokemon Go for each Gym they have a Pokemon deployed on, every 21 hours. This is known as a Defender Bonus, and is the only way you can earn coins to purchase items in the game’s store, aside from spending real money. I think, since most players know this, this is one reason it’s so difficult to keep ownership of a gym for any length of time. Until the game settles down a bit more, all gyms will probably be constantly changing hands multiple times every day.

In Ingress, players would try to locate remote hard-to-get-to portals and try to use them as “Guardians” so they could own them for several months to earn one of their badges in the game. This eventually led to some players harvesting Ingress data and analyzing it to determine how long players have been on each portal, which would tell them how close these players were to earning that badge, so they knew exactly which portal(s) were a particular player’s guardian portal. These players were referred to as Guardian Hunters, or “Gunters”, to steal a term from the great book (and soon-to-be movie) “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Player_One

I’m sure the “newness” of this craze will die down over time, and things will then start leveling off to a level a little closer to where Ingress is. Then again, with how much more popular this game is compared to Ingress right at its start, who knows! If they improve the performance of the app and keep adding better features and options like they did with Ingress, it might just gain much MORE popularity! I can’t imagine how that would be possible, but I guess we’ll see. I envision having “ops” much like we’ve had in Ingress, with groups of players from each faction planning massive attacks to take over gyms throughout an entire geographic area, and a nice world map like Ingress’ Intel Map so we can see how our team is doing, region-wide and worldwide compared to the other two factions.

Hold on to your Pokemon, people…this is just the beginning!

Oh, and just to throw in a shameless plug for our Kenosha group and my team of choice… Please signup to join our Slack Team at KenoshaGo.com. All teams are welcome! There are several public channels there for everything Pokemon Go, from news, gyms and meetups, to just general game discussion. Or you’re free to create a private channel just for your friends or for your own team to private discuss plans or meetups. Go Team Mystic!

My Samsung Galaxy S6 Debacle

The battery died on my Galaxy S6 last night, and I tried pretty much everything possible to get it working properly again, including soft reset, hard reset, factory recovery, etc. etc. etc., but nothing worked.  It seemed to “reboot” to the “SAMSUNG” screen most times instead of the “GALAXY S6” logo screen that normally appears from a power-off state. In fact, it REFUSED to even power off! Holding down the power button for a few seconds–which normally brings up the menu to power off of restart the phone–simply made it reboot back to the “SAMSUNG” screen (which is not a normal reboot, as previosuly mentioned).  Doing things in some apps – like trying to export my OnTrack readings and e-mail them to my wife, which I do daily, caused the same reboot, as well as just trying to open the built-in “Themes” function in Settings.

About a week ago I upgraded to Android Marshmallow, and everything worked great with it up until now. I’m not sure exactly what triggered this to happen except for my battery going dead while I was trying to use my phone. Pretty much everything is backed up to the cloud–all my apps, photos, etc., and the rest I have backed up manually (my OnTrack test results, SMS backup, and screenshots of all of my home screens, folders, and all of my app drawer icons–just to remind me of what was installed, for future reference). So my phone is primed to be wiped, but I can’t even get it to do THAT at this point.

I tried all of the instructions I found online for “How to hard reset the Galaxy S6”, but no luck. I even set the security settings to wipe the phone after 25 failed attempts at entering a PIN! I didn’t realize, however, that this little function was so time-consuming! What it does is let you enter the wrong PIN about 5 times, then reminds you about the wipe after 25 attempts and gives you a 5-minute delay before allowing you to try again. After trying again, maybe a few times, it reminds you again and increases the delay to 10 minutes. It repeats this process all the way up to 25 attempts, until it only allows 1 attempt before increasing the wait time between attempts. Finally, after the final attempt (and a whopping 1 HOUR delay), it tried to wipe the phone, showing “Deleting all data…” on the screen for several seconds, then did it’s reboot to the “SAMSUNG” logo, and returned to the login screen. When I tried to login once more with a bad PIN, it then showed “-1 attempts left – try again in 60 minutes” and the “Deleting all data…” message stayed on-screen as it once again attempted to wipe the phone. This time, however, the “Deleting all data…” message stayed on-screen forever. After waiting about 30 minutes with nothing changing, I pressed the power button and it went to the “SAMSUNG” startup screen again, rebooting.

After all that, I got desperate. With the only other option being to bring my phone into my carrier’s store, and having them first go through all of the same time-consuming troubleshooting steps I already went through, I started thinking about those buttons. For a warm boot you press 3 buttons. For a hard reset you press 3 buttons, but use the opposite volume button… and neither of those work for me. So what if I press ALL the buttons at once? There are a total of 4 on the phone: Volume Up, Volume Down, Power, and Home. So I did it and held them for about 10 seconds. Sure enough, my phone rebooted…CORRECTLY! Showing the GALAXY S6 screen instead of the SAMSUNG screen it kept rebooting to every other time! It just rebooted back to the login this time, but at least I could now consistently get it to properly reboot. So with this in mind, I did the 4-button reboot, and then immediately switched to the 3-finger combination used for a normal “hard reset”, figuring it would think it’s coming up from a power-off state and actually reset. After a couple failed attempts, the third time was a charm and I was able to switch buttons quick enough at the moment the GALAXY S6 screen appeared, holding the 3 buttons down, then the ANDROID logo appeared! SUCCESS! The next part was pretty amusing too… The little Android robot proceeded to fall over on it’s side, dead, with a big red circle with an X in it on he Android! I laughed pretty hard at that, which took away a lot of my frustration with this whole mess.

After a short time, the recovery menu appeared and I knew how to navigate this one–by using the VOL UP and VOL DOWN to select menu items and the POWER button to select them. With those I chose Factory Reset, and after it worked for several minutes I was FINALLY back to a brand-new phone! Everything is setup once again and working properly now. I know it’s good to refresh your phone every 6 months to a year, but this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be done. It was, however, good practice, and maybe this posting will even help someone else who might end up in the same situation. I have no idea what actually caused the issue or what became corrupted, I only know that my battery went dead quickly. If I’m not near a power source when it gets low though, I tend to push it right to the edge, so maybe that’s not such a good idea. It starts warning me at 15% battery, which is a sign to start charging or shut it down–SAFELY. Since I didn’t do that, it could have been in the middle of writing something critical when the power ran out. All I know is that it wasn’t a “CLEAN” shutdown, it was instantly dead. When I last glanced at the battery, it was at 1%.

OK Google, figure this one out…

I had an argument with my phone this morning in my car. I’ve been using the hands-free features more often, trying to get used to them, so this morning I woke up my phone with “OK Google, navigate to work.” This has worked many times in the past without issue. This time, however, I was instructed to make some strange turns at odd times, definitely going in the wrong direction, though the ETA looked about right. That’s the main reason I use it–just so I know about what time I’ll be at work–so I can squeeze in a few other things before work whenever possible. So I argued with my phone, tellling it a few times that “this isn’t right!” and “You must be joking!”, but of course, these arguments weren’t stated with “OK Google”, so they didn’t do any good for either one of us. I knew that, obviously, but my phone seemed to be having a brain fart, so I just argued with it to be just as ridiculous.

So once it was obvious I was going to the wrong location, I asked Google “OK Google, what is my Work address?” My phone then displayed my Home and Word Addresses. My Home address looked fine, but my Work address said “Lindenhurst, IL” with no address. It not only “forgot” my address, but also had the wrong city! This made me a little angry, but I was driving, so I said “OK Google, navigate to…” and I spoke the entire address of my work. That worked fine, and now I was navigating to the right location. When I got to work later on, I checked my “Edit work and home” settings in Google Maps on my phone and they were both correct! The exact correct address was stored for both locations! I’m pretty confused at this point. When I google the question “What is my Work address” I do get just “Lindenhurst, IL”, and it says “Contacts – Only you can see this result” at the top of the search result. I checked my contacts, and I don’t have an entry named “Work” though. Not even anything close. Where it’s getting this “Contact” information from, I have no idea. I just wish Google Maps would default to it’s OWN stored Home & Work locations instead of trying to be smarter by looking elsewhere.

Update:  Issue Resolved!  Apparently, there’s a Contact with my name on it that it checks.  So “Jim Trottier” has my Home and Work addresses, and Work said “Lindenhurst, IL”.  I corrected it.  <sigh>