Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amazon Connected Home Solutions - Streaming Music

Amazon has thought this out for us.  They have made several videos that address some of the more common alternatives to help you achieve whole house music.  On this page you will find several videos just related to streaming music.

In most cases you will need a network of some type, be it hard wired or wireless.  Amazon has thought this out as well with their video series Networking 101.  Once your network is up and running, they have broken whole home music into three options.

Option One - Whole-Home Systems

Shop whole-home systems
Whole-home systems transmit audio from a central location (such as your computer) to a plethora of amplified possibilities: a home theater stereo, powered speakers, an HDTV, and more. The audio that is being served up through your home can either be the digital audio files stored on your computer's hard drive or audio streamed from an Internet radio station.
> Shop whole-home systems

Option Two - Wi-Fi Radios

Shop wi-fi radios
Wi-Fi radios stream content from Internet radio stations, which requires an Internet connection. As the name suggests, a Wi-Fi radio can wirelessly connect to the Internet (the source) over your home's wireless network router (the transmitter), and it acts as the direct receiver. It doesn't require connection to your computer, only to your network router.
While Wi-Fi radios don't require a connection to your computer, some offer the capability of streaming stored digital audio files (such as MP3s) from your computer's hard drive. Also, some Wi-Fi radios offer a wired Ethernet option as a feature.
> Shop Wi-Fi radio's

Option Three - iPod Streaming Solutions

Shop iPod solutions
Apple iPod-centric solutions provide an easy way for you to stream music from your iPod or iPhone to wireless speakers or receivers throughout your home. Many iPod streaming products can operate independently of a home network, so if that's an option you're interested in, be sure and read more on product detail pages.
> Shop IPod Streaming solutions

Apple Airport Express

Shop iPod solutions
The Apple Airport Express is a compact wireless base station that acts as a receiver to audio transmitted over Wi-Fi from a computer music source running the Apple iTunes software. The Airport Express connects to an amplified speaker via an integrated 3.5mm audio jack output.
Music sharing is just one function of the Airport Express, which can also be used as a standalone Wi-Fi router (great using while traveling), extending the range of your main Wi-Fi router, or providing access to a printer (via its USB port) to a wireless network.

> Learn more about the Apple Airport Express

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Android 2.2 - Where is the Alarm Clock?

     Like many happy owners of a phone running Google's Android operating system, I was quite happy to receive the recent upgrade to Android version 2.2 (Froyo).  The new interface is easier to navigate and, once you get used to it, faster, too.

    There are a couple of things about the latest release of Android that are puzzling, or at least were initially.  My next couple of posts will address a few of these items, along with some of the things I like about the upgraded OS running on my Motorola Droid.

    The first thing I noticed (and was puzzled by) was the settings area for the alarm clock seemed to be missing.  Where is my alarm clock?  I was fumbling with my Droid late at night knowing I desperately needed to find the settings area in order to enable an early wake-up for the next morning (which wasn't very far off).  I struggled to wrap my tired brain around why I couldn't see the icon right at the top of the applications area where I had accessed it so many times before.  Finally, after some searching, I found the alarm settings are now part of the Clock settings.  From your applications area click on the "Clock" icon.  You'll see the alarm clock icon located at the bottom left of your screen (it's the same image as before - little clock with bells on top).  The interface remains essentially the same once you're into it, only the way in which you access it has changed.

     So, that's where your alarm clock settings went.  Hope this helps you wake up on time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. (A solution to a frustrating problem)

As I'm sure you're all aware, every Microsoft error message is helpful, complete, and crystal clear, right? Well, maybe not. My most recent adventure with an error message told me something I already knew, but nothing more. Here's the deal.

I had a short power outage this evening at my house wherein I learned just how overdue I am to replace the battery in my uninterpretable power supply (UPS). My Dell XPS 410 went "lights-out" right in the middle of installing a new application. Outlook 2007 wasn't even open, although I had only closed it seconds earlier (the process may have still be running). Upon restarting the computer and attempting to open Outlook I was faced with the following error:
This error message displayed each time I attempted to open Outlook 2007 on my Windows Vista machine.

After a couple of restarts and some basic troubleshooting I was beginning to get frustrated.  Google searches didn't seem to help much initially, as most of the results referenced an issue when using Windows XP and attempting to open Outlook in Win95/ME compatibility mode.  I'm running a 32 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate and I most certainly am not running Outlook in in compatibility mode (who would run anything in 95/ME compatibility mode, anyway?).

A bit more searching and pulling together suggestions from a few different forums on the Internet led me to a very simple solution.  Open Outlook from the 'Start' or 'Start>Run' dialog box as follows:

Outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Outlook should start up with no errors.  I hope this helps someone and prevents the dreaded reinstall of Office (which was, in my mind, the next logical solution to this issue).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

USB CAC reader - OWA from home

CAC Card Reader:

As Jeff mentioned in a previous post, having a USB reader for your DoD Common Access Card (CAC) can be very helpful if you travel or work from home. Even if you're just trying to keep your inbox from filling up while you're on vacation, having one of these handy little devices is essential for accessing your Outlook Web Access (OWA) email while you're away from the office. If you're like me and don't like spending money on anything you don't have to spend it on, keep reading...things just got cheaper. The CAC reader recommended in the previous post has been drastically reduced in price. They're currently going for about $10 LESS than they were just a couple of months ago. (Just under $15 is the current price). Check out the CAC reader and Jeff's post from January. Don't forget, every organization has different rules on the use of OWA and accessing DoD networks from home (or on the road), so check with your local Information Assurance Manager or Network Security section before you do anything.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Checking your email via Outlook Web Access (OWA) using your DoD CAC Card

This post can't provide all the details on how to do check your email with your DoD CAC Card because it varies by agency. Please remember that most agencies have rules and regulations regarding what it takes to access your email via OWA, so be sure to check with your Information Assurance section. This is intended to provide a high level overview of the steps necessary.


Most agencies will have mandatory or at the very least, recommended training.  The training should address the importance of dealing with personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive information that could be accessed via your OWA web mail. It should  also speak to your responsibilities when using OWA. These responsibilities run the gamut from ensuring that your computer is not filled with viruses and other types of malware to the proper way to end your OWA session in order to be safe. This cannot be overstated! Read it, know it. Most will also have user guides on how to use OWA.

Anti-Virus Software:

There is no reason for a DoD employee to not have valid anti-virus protection on your home computer. Especially since the DoD has free anti-virus software for home use. In fact if you plan on using OWA it would be negligent to not have a legitimate updated AV product installed...

“The DoD Antivirus Software License Agreement with McAfee and Symantec allows active DoD employees to utilize the antivirus software for home use. Home use of the antivirus products will not only protect personal PCs at home, but will also potentially lessen the threat of employees bringing malicious logic into work and compromising DoD networks. Contractors are excluded from using the software at home or on any other system not belonging to the DoD.

Note: You will NOT be able to download software if your domain is not a *.mil domain.

No technical support is provided for home users. If you have questions about the software, please contact the vendors directly for support. “

Software can be downloaded from the following site: (please remember that you have to download this software from a computer on a .mil domain.) https://www.jtfgno.mil/antivirus/antivirus_homeuse.htm

CAC Card Reader:

This is generally not provided by the DoD. You will most likely have to  purchase one if you want to use OWA. You can get an entire keyboard that has a CAC reader built-in, but that is rather bulky, especially if you travel with a laptop. I recommend buying a USB CAC reader . I have purchased this one and it works fine. Although I suggest that you plug it in for first use and let Windows download the newest drivers for it prior to first OWA use. It costs about $24 from Amazon.


This is the software that allows you to use your CAC card with the CAC Card Reader to check OWA.  Most agencies will have a link that you can download this from.  Check with your Information Assurance section to determine how to download the software. Most DoD agencies are using ActivClient. The most recent version is 6.2; this will work for both 32 and 64 bit computers.

We are not associated with any DoD agency.