What's app doc?

Another U3A Computer Group meeting, another terrible experience with flaky WiFi, much more flaky than any experience any of us might have experienced anywhere else; a second attempt to discuss Facebook – failed because of the aforementioned WiFi problems; a reasonable attempt to get members registered into our Google+ Community and a discussion of WhatsApp – which is what this post is really about.
WhatsApp is a multi-media Messaging Application, owned now by Facebook (with potentially all that might involve), which allows the sharing of videos, photographs, as well as enabling voice and video calls, document sharing and straight-forward text messaging between mobile devices on WiFi. That’s about it in a nut-shell – if I’ve missed anything out, go to the link above and find out more for yourself. However the purpose of this short post is just to point you to another couple of links.
Members mentioned that there wasn’t a WhatsApp App for the iPad (or other tablets), well here’s a link to how you might be able to run WhatsApp on an iPad as long as you have a Smartphone, and here’s another one from MacWorld which explains the same workaround. Neither of these are truly satisfying, but at least it allows you to use the app from your iPad. If all you want is Chat, there is an App that you could install on an iPad, but I have no experience of using it.
If you want to install WhatsApp on your Windows or Mac device, there appears to be an App to allow you to do it, but again I can’t give you any advice on how good it is. This blogpost from WhatsApp explains where they are with the desktop version(s) of the App.
And that’s about it. I don’t use WhatsApp. Perhaps I should, but other tools I use such as Facetime and iMessage in my Apple ecosystem do the trick well for me, and I do still like Google Hangouts.

Technology refresh completed … for now

In my last post I described how I’d been able to re-use and refresh my HiFi system by moving it alongside the TV. [I forgot to mention that I replaced the Samsung Bluray player with a Sony one (BDP-S7200) – all the lip-sync problems went away with that purchase and the use of the optical connection from TV to amplifier.] I also bought a small DAC to plug into the Sonos Connect to allow me to use my wireless headphones for that late-night concert watching. I was very pleased with the setup, but something still wasn’t right … the connection to the internet.

I decided to use the building project as a reason to re-site the Virgin Media router, and one of the Apple Extreme routers in the new cupboard we’d built in the centre of the house (which now also housed our Smart Meter), and to extend the network to a new Netgear 8-port switch sitting behind the TV and other gear. This I did using shielded Cat-6 cabling which I took to three points – the lounge, the new living room and my loft office. A bit OTT maybe, but I was on a roll and I might never have the chance again to have a “comms cupboard”. It also presented me with the opportunity to learn a new skill – ethernet cable crimping!


Anyway, job successfully completed after some pain with the crimping tool … but a sense of achievement! However, the job wasn’t completed. I found that the Sonos system appeared to drop out when playing, what could the problem be? After a bit of Google searching I decided to change the WiFi channel on the routers away from a setting of Automatic, and the SonosNet Channel as well (for good measure), and hey presto, all was well.

So all I need to do is enjoy it … so I did, by buying some Bluray/DVD concerts of Peter Gabriel, Coldplay and The Killers. These along with a fair bit of David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, Cream, Led Zeppelin and of course “The Boss”, means that I can escape (at least for a while) from all the other stuff that’s making my mind go round and round.

PS … I did buy a Sonos Play 5.