Astro A50 Sound cutting out (Troubleshooting)

As a long time user of Astro Gaming headsets, (starting with A40’s and now for my PC I use the wireless A50’s) I can honestly say they have taken my audio standards to the top. Great sounds and the microphone surprising takes it to the next level as well.

Up until recently everything has operated flawlessly, but lately I began noticing the sound cutting out almost every minute or so. Which is most annoying while listening to music but even worse when you are playing Call of Duty Warzone and you are the last 3 trying to hear your opponent with no sound.

At that point I realized it was time to investigate.

Here is the video of what was happening on the base:

My first stop was looking at my PC. Was I running any audio related apps or drivers that would be causing a disturbance… Nope

Maybe the system resources are high… Nope

Let me see if I can upgrade the firmware, Yep! Looks like there is software available! So I downloaded directly from https://www.astrogaming.com/en-us/support/software.html … not too bad only 20M download.

After a quick install it does indeed appear that there is a couple updates available.

It appears that for the headset we have version: 33535.42 available and the base station also has version 34353.42. I’m not sure how their versioning works, but apparently I’m like 10,000 versions off. Lets’s upgrade!

A quick click of yes and I was off to updating…

Obviously after I take the headsets off of my head.

Wow that was quick, maybe a minute at most. I know some other hardware that doesn’t like a speedy firmware update.

So that may have done it! I’m listening to some music and waiting for the cut out… nothing so far. While I waited I poked around in the Astro Command Center and saw probably the coolest feature ever…

Good audio and automatic TPS reports… Astro Gaming constantly taking it to the next level!

AWS Outposts vs Google Anthos vs Azure Stack

While there is no one strategy to rule them all, hybrid cloud seems to be the enterprise strategy of choice. This strategy involves operating different workloads across different infrastructure environments including private cloud, public cloud, and at the edge.

While public cloud has been in the spot light in recent years we have seen a renewed focus on private cloud with the ability to burst or move data and workloads anywhere. In comes Azure Stack, Google Anthos, and AWS Outposts.

Rob Steele Wallpaper

Been working hard on my branding and figured I should put up some wallpapers. So I had some fun with photoshop this morning and made a couple. I tried to get logo front and center with some style. Will use these for instructional videos in the background on my desktop. Enjoy !

Rob Steele Wallpaper 1920 x 1080
Rob Steele Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

Call Of Duty Blackout Freezing

If you are currently playing Call of Duty Blackout and experience freezing like I have. I have decided to build a quick troubleshooting guide as I was recently approached by Activison support as a result of a frustrated tweet I sent out.

 

After following the support link it took me to a page with instructions to clear out my Xbox One X cache.  The Xbox 360 has a UI menu option to clear the cache but with the Xbox One X we won’t have a UI menu option so follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off your Xbox One.
  2. Once the indicator lights on the front of the Xbox One and the console’s power brick are off, unplug the power brick from the back of your console.
  3. Wait at least 30 seconds.
  4. Plug the power brick back into your Xbox One and turn it on.

The second part of the article talks about deleting saved game data. I noticed I had my local game data and there was a 1GB reserve for Call of Duty.

call of duty xbox one x saved data

 

I went ahead and deleted both, making sure to delete only the local copy of my user saved data.

Could not access the specified channel or stream key

I was up early this morning and decided to stream some Call of Duty but immediately was hit with a bunch of errors from Streamlabs OBS. This was unusual as it normally operates fairly well! My first issue came without an error message. I got everything setup but when I clicked on the Go Live button everything seemed like I was going live, even the tab changed to “live” but the Go Live button was still green and it was obvious that I wasn’t streaming.

I immediately went to the stream options and verified that I had the proper Restream RTMP server and stream key imported under SETTINGS | STREAM…. In the event the settings were no longer correct.

Everything looked good, but I decided to reset my stream key just in case. Now when I click the Go Live button I’m presented with an error:

Could not access the specified channel or stream key

Just eliminating some easy troubleshooting steps, I went ahead and restarted my computer and retried Streamlabs OBS but was presented with the same thing. The next logical thing I could thing of since most of my user data and settings are saved in the cloud is to log out and log back in… and that fixed it! I went back in and verified my settings and everything was good to go.

Amazon Freetime Unlimited Review for 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a real hard look at the content and apps my kids have been consuming. We always keep an eye out for anything crazy, but I also like to get them interested in content I know is good for them and obviously safe from things they shouldn’t be seeing. I recently took a second look at getting them signed up for the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited so they can consume on their iPads.

Much to my dismay, the service is only available on fire tablets, fire tv and android devices. It’s been becoming a bit of a hassle trying to get the kids a single platform that they can use for most activities. It seems like there is always some politics involved with what service is available on what. From a parents point of view, I wish everyone just got along.

However the good news is, I recently got my kids into Osmo and they have loved it. My secret parent goal is to trick them into liking programming. Math, Puzzles, and some creativeness keeps them engaged pretty well. Osmo isn’t the entire good news, since it runs on the iPad though. The good news is I’m secretly graduating them to start working on Raspberry Pis.

There are a couple cool coding for kids books for the Pi I’d like to get them involved with (like this one) and since they will each have their own Raspberry Pi I can also load android OS onto it so that they can consume Amazon FreeTime. This might be something I need to figure out how to dual boot though… or hopefully they can figure it out.

Sorry about my rant, but ultimately this post was to reach out to other parents to see how the service is and if its worth the hassle of setting up other devices. I will still go and set it up myself just so I can take a look and will give a solid review around Amazon FreeTime. I’ll give two sides to the review, the parent features and the things the kids like about it. Let me know below in the comments if you are using it and what you like or dislike about it.

Why you should update your iPhone right now!

If you are an iPhone owner and have been holding off on updating your phone for whatever reason, now is the time to update it. A new exploit called “Broadpwn” has been discovered leaving iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch vulnerable to this new exploit.

A hacker may easily compromise a local router or an IoT device to launch the exploit and without any interaction on your phone you can quickly become a victim of whatever code the hacker would like to execute. So before reading on, go ahead and update to the latest version of iOS (currently 10.3.3 as of this writing)

The good news is this attack must be executed within the wifi range of you device and is referred to as a proximity attack. The hacker would be unable to launch the exploit unless he is close to your devices. Essentially public places with large amounts of people or from a car driving around a neighborhood would be two easy examples of ideal places to launch this exploit.

The exploit was recently discovered by Nitay Artenstein during the Black Hat security event in Las Vegas. Artenstein has a scheduled talk about how he and his team found the exploits. The talk also goes into details about other remote exploits for android and ios devices.

Security threats are constantly evolving and it is a good practice to keep your connected devices up to date with the latest security patches.

How to fix cldflt service error 7000

Recently I’ve been playing Player Unknowns battleground but getting some random freezes with the game and my OS (windows 10) so during some troubleshooting I cam across a couple errors in the windows event viewer I’ve decided to troubleshoot and remediate in the event it has a direct effect on my gaming experience.

One of the first I came across was cldflt service error 7000. The cldflt service is related to OneDrive and more specifically carries the description: “Cloud Files Mini Filter Driver.” I had recently uninstalled OneDrive on this particular system so my assumption is that this service is still looking for it or was not removed during the uninstall.

Here is the full error from the event log:

Log Name: System
Source: Service Control Manager
Date: 7/4/2017 2:10:53 PM
Event ID: 7000
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: INTELNUC
Description:
The CldFlt service failed to start due to the following error:
The request is not supported.
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event”>
<System>
<Provider Name=”Service Control Manager” Guid=”{555908d1-a6d7-4695-8e1e-26931d2012f4}” EventSourceName=”Service Control Manager” />
<EventID Qualifiers=”49152″>7000</EventID>
<Version>0</Version>
<Level>2</Level>
<Task>0</Task>
<Opcode>0</Opcode>
<Keywords>0x8080000000000000</Keywords>
<TimeCreated SystemTime=”2017-07-04T18:10:53.740852700Z” />
<EventRecordID>6929</EventRecordID>
<Correlation />
<Execution ProcessID=”728″ ThreadID=”1152″ />
<Channel>System</Channel>
<Computer>INTELNUC</Computer>
<Security />
</System>
<EventData>
<Data Name=”param1″>CldFlt</Data>
<Data Name=”param2″>%%50</Data>
<Binary>43006C00640046006C0074000000</Binary>
</EventData>
</Event>

So the fix is pretty basic, simply open your registry editor (if you are not familiar with how to do that, backup your system before proceeding) Then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\CldFlt and change Start from the default value of 2 and change it to 4. Reboot your computer.

This worked fine for me and I no longer see any errors in the log. Now I can continue on troubleshooting the game 🙂 Comment below if this worked for you or if you have any other suggestions on how to fix this error.

HomePod Overview and WWDC17 Updates

Today Apple kicked off its annual 3 day developer conference with a couple nice announcements: an update to the iMac Pro, a peer to peer payment system similar to venmo, and HomePod a rival to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Let’s first talk about the new iMac updates. It looks like Apple is all in on VR (virtual reality) and is building current and future hardware updates tailored to supporting VR graphics.

This fall Apple will be releasing a new version of it’s OS called: “High Sierra” some of the features include better facial recognition in the Photos app, some new filters as well and will be synchronized across devices.

Apple is also porting over it’s Apple File System to macOS, which isn’t a huge change but has some improvement to duplicating files and a higher quality video compression.

From a hardware standpoint Tim Cook was quoted saying: “That iMac Pro really is bad ass”

In iOS 11 you will now be able to make peer to peer payments through iMessage. Very similar to how you would with Venmo or Square Cash. There will also be support for multi room audio and a feature to help silence notifications while you are driving.

Now on to the HomePod…

Apple HomePod
Apple HomePod

This new device which will compete with Amazon and Google will come in two colors: white and black, and starts at $349 retail. While the HomePod looks like a microphone itself, it features 6 microphones in order to pick up on every command.

Twitter users have been comparing it to a ball of yarn…

 

My Take: While the HomePod is cool, Amazon and Google already have a leg up in the  race. Apple will need to catch up to gain market share and hopefully have great integration with Siri across all devices.

Spectrum vs AT&T Uverse

As a long time bright house customer I have been satisfied with their service and have enjoyed (for the most part) their internet speeds. We have had some hiccups and brighthouse has been good about coming out multiple times to address the issues however, my interest lies in reliability as I often work from home and need consistency.

I recently discovered that a fiber box was installed directly in my front lawn with service from ATT. I’ve heard some good things about fiber and the 1Gbps (940Mbps) internet speed and the distance to the box to my house also seems appealing.

I currently leverage brighthouse (now spectrum) with their lighting internet 200 bundle with basic tv for 4 tvs. This delivered (on a good day) 200Mbps internet. Out of curiosity I went ahead and checked my speeds as I was writing this blog and I am currently only getting 113 down and 15 up. So as I’m used to with bright house, I’m paying for more than what I am getting. There is a good python script speed checker that you could install onto a raspberry pi and have it routinely check speeds for you on github. It also tweets out the speeds if they are lower than what you are paying for. I may try that once I finish this blog.

I have been paying about $199 a month for spectrum after all taxes and service fees are included. The actual cost of the internet is $107 which is what I am really concerned with. I don’t watch much TV in my free time, so paying another $100 for TV service on top of internet is a bit silly to me. So I thought it may be beneficial to post a spectrum vs at&t post and see if I can reduce or enhance my services.

At first glance going to the ATT site is a bit confusing as they have multiple internet, mobile solutions, and a mixture of directv and uverse tv offerings. It took me a bit to narrow down which services even being a bit tech savvy and somewhat educated on their latest offerings. I finally found what I needed by using a services locator tool where I plugged in my home address and it displayed what was available to me.

DirectTV seemed to be pushed as their go to TV solution, I have however used that service in the past and enjoyed the programming but the service did not fair well during our summer storms in Florida. I opted to go with the uverse programming. I also noticed that the digital uverse tv service also removed a data cap on the fiber internet. As I mentioned before the TV service isn’t a big deal to me, but removing the internet cap makes up for it.

I finally found the internet speeds, and it looks like 1Gbps was available as I was hoping it was. The cost by itself was only $90 ? Wow! If i compare spectrum vs att, we are looking at brighthouse charging $107 for 200Mbps and ATT charging $90 for 1000Mbps. Wow that’s 5 times more speed for $17 cheaper a month. That’s a savings of $204 a year, on just internet.

At this point I was pretty sold but was convinced that there were some hidden charges or fees I wasn’t seeing. I went ahead and started to checkout using their eCommerce page, found a TV and internet package for four TV’s and the monthly cost was only $130… they waived all of the activation fees, and the setup and installation fees.

So I’m now only paying $130 a month for the same or better (yet to be determined) TV service, and 5 times faster internet. That’s a savings of $828 a year! I get the services hooked up on Thursday and will do a deeper dive on what I like and don’t like, but at this point it appears to be a no brainer.

The only downside I noticed was that these prices were only for 24 months. After the 24 months the prices raise. I may at that point do another comparison of att vs spectrum again and see if I am in fact getting the better deal, but until then ATT wins my business for now.