Category Archives: Blog/Comments

Service Calls on Electronics

We perform quite a bit of in-home service calls. Did you know that you have several options before scheduling an in-home service call?

1) DIY first: We always recommend you troubleshoot the problem yourself first. Standard troubleshooting is to perform a re-set. Resetting means physically unplugging, waiting & restarting your equipment. You are not going to mess anything up doing this. You may have had a power surge or an update to one of the devices messed up the communications between your components. Look at this as the same as performing a computer reboot.

If that doesn’t work and something is still not working, it could be a bad component. It’s easy to figure that out too. Just unplug it from the system & try it independently. If your TV is working right, detach it from the cable, internet, CD player, etc. Just plug it directly into the wall & see if it works.

Same goes for a DVR. These go bad often. Remove it from the system and if you have more than one in the house switch them to see if the other works with your system. If it does, plug in the other DVR to see if that functions with the other TV.

2) Telephone/Video Service call: We do perform telephone/video service calls for some situations. Generally we have had to work on your system within the past 6 months to a year. This type of call involves the tech working to help you find & correct the problem. If you call or email us about the problem we can determine if a telephone service call is appropriate. We do schedule these calls and the charge is the same as our hourly in-home rate, except we bill in 15 minute increments and there is no travel fee, so the savings are substantial.

3) Email: Lew is more than happy to respond to an email with a potential solution. Please keep in mind that he may not get to your email for several days due to his busy schedule. Also if his suggestion doesn’t work, he won’t be able to continue to offer up solutions by email, so it may have to turn into a phone/video or in-person service call. Since we do not bill for email responses, we do have to limit the responses.

4) Wait and see: This approach, believe it or not, does work. We cancel service calls quite a bit because the problem just goes away. Why? No one really knows. User error, an update that didn’t take right away but reconnected later. Who knows. That said, waiting a few days may be all you need to do to avoid a service call. I would probably suggest #1 be done as it won’t hurt anything to do a power reset anyway.

Last resort, and unfortunately due to the complexity of today’s technology and system’s infrastructure, call us for a service call. We generally schedule service calls on Mondays and Fridays, but if the schedule allows, we can schedule them mid-week too. Time slots fill up fast so unfortunately there may be a wait.

CES 2020

While we didn’t attend CES this year, we did keep abreast of what was going on there & what the “big” takeaways were this year. Of course the biggest “news” was the future launch of 5G cell service. The CES show floor was chock full of devices boasting 5G capability, from super fast gaming routers to all kinds of modems, laptops, and smartphones. But since 5G networks haven’t yet been set up in much of the US, this tech will likely stay within the walls of the manufacturers for awhile.

Health and Wellness became a large segment of CES this year. From monitoring devices to products to track and help you sleep. We will start seeing more technology that allows consumers to interact with their doctors, sending them vital information about their health, without going into a doctor’s office.

Due to the increased awareness and even hacking problems that have come to light over the years as we utilize voice command devices & camera systems, privacy protection products were quite prevalent on the floor. Companies are leaping onto the privacy wagon, and their products promise to protect our data at every level.

While we are concerned about privacy, it hasn’t stopped manufacturers from making more & better cameras & Sensors for a variety of purposes. From homes whose appliances can book their own maintenance appointments to underwear that tracks your vitals, signs point to a future in which machines know everything about us.

As always, there is a lot of unusual tech at CES, tech that captures a niche audience but hopes to go mainstream. Companies are pouring millions of dollars into toilets, pet technology, mood elevating robots and even a digital nose.

Lastly, there are always the really cool things at CES to see, like the helicopter taxi and more advanced self driving vehicles.

Social Media Blasts SONOS for Legacy Product Announcement

CEO Response & Our Take on Things to Come

This past week SONOS sent out an announcement to its users that they would end software updates on their legacy products. Each customer’s email included the products they registered with SONOS that would be discontinued. As a result, we received more than a dozen emails and phone calls from our customers regarding their SONOS, which we did respond to one-to-one. However, for those who do have SONOS that didn’t already receive an email from H&ONS, here is additional information.

As a result of the SONOS announcement, social media blasted SONOS and on January 23rd the CEO of SONOS responded with this email to its customers.

We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward:

First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work just as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible. While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.

Secondly, we heard you on the issue of legacy products and modern products not being able to coexist in your home. We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.

While we have a lot of great products and features in the pipeline, we want our customers to upgrade to our latest and greatest products when they’re excited by what the new products offer, not because they feel forced to do so. That’s the intent of the trade up program we launched for our loyal customers.

Thank you for being a Sonos customer. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep, and let us earn back your trust. Without you, Sonos wouldn’t exist and we’ll work harder than ever to earn your loyalty every single day.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Patrick

Patrick Spence
CEO, Sonos

Things to Come: The biggest trigger to change is something that is out of Sonos’s control. If Spotify or Pandora updates their program and the update requires more processing power then what is in the older equipment, then their streaming service may not be able to be used on that device. It is the same as having to buy a new PC because it has become slow due to the new/updated programs installed on it. When that point comes, then the decision will need to be made to upgrade to the new equipment, change manufacturers, etc. This scenario plays out quite a lot with older Blu-Ray players no longer supporting Netflix and Amazon. The old devices (and newer cheap devices) just don’t have the horsepower to run the apps.

We live in a disposable world and can only hope we buy something that will last. But, unlike a refrigerator that isn’t connected to anything else within your household, entertainment systems tie in to so many external sources that as they change, the risk of the hardware becoming obsolete increases.

For now, there appears to be nothing to worry about with SONOS supporting your legacy products, even after May. But as external streaming software changes, you may want to start putting a little money aside for upgrading those connected devices when they no longer have the power to keep up.

Aging In Place & Technology

If you, like millions of people, have decided to stay in your current home rather than downsizing or moving to another state, there are some things that you might want to set up to make aging in place easier. Even if you don’t do it right away, when you do some remodeling you may want to consider these improvements.

1. Lighting controls. Have your lights come on in the hallway and bedroom at a certain time of night or based on motion so that you don’t have to walk anywhere in the dark. Touch a button next to your bed and have the master bathroom light come on for those middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks. Have certain lights come on throughout the home when you are away so people think you are home.

2. Wiring/WIFI: If your home isn’t set up the way you want it to be for hard wiring and WIFI, or if you’ve been unhappy with your coverage, then now could be a good time to get that done if you are doing any remodeling.

3. Cameras. Even just a few cameras can be helpful as you get older. Being able to see who is at the door so you aren’t rushing down the stairs when the doorbell rings could save you from injury. Also, if you are planning to travel, then being able to see the comings and goings at your home will put your mind at ease.

4. Antenna: Thinking it is time to cut the cord on cable to save some money? An attic antenna can give you access to more than you think. (up to 82 channels in the DC market). Along with good streaming set up, you can avoid paying for cable. Just remember that you still need internet service which may come from your cable provider.

5. Mounting TVs. If you have TVs on a table, you may want to consider getting them securely mounted on the wall if your home is going to be the place your grandchildren to visit. Also, consider where you have your TV. If you don’t currently have a TV where you can watch from bed, then you may want to plan for one. While watching TV regularly in bed is not recommended for good sleep, having a TV to watch when we are under the weather is nice.

6. Control Systems. As we age it may be easier to tell devices what to do with our voice instead of the push of a button. Consolidating operation of AV components via a single remote may reduce frustrations with trying to “just watch TV”.

No one wants to think about getting older and needing assistance. But aging is inevitable. Planning your technology set up now can benefit you later when it may be less convenient to make the changes.

Why Can’t I get the Internet Speed Advertised by my Internet Provider

So your Internet provider says you can get 940 mbps of speed with their upgraded router and fiber lines, but you are only getting 700. How can that be?

Here’s an example of verbiage straight from the Verizon website. “Fios Gigabit Connection delivers speeds up to 940/880 MBPS in available areas. The key words are “Up to” so there is no point in calling Verizon, Xfinity or any other provider, since they have given you exactly what they promised…the possibility of speeds up to what they advertise.

So, why aren’t you getting the optimum speed they offer. There could be a number of reasons. Chris Hoffman from the “How To Geek” website wrote this article back in 2017 and nothing has changed over the last 2 years, so we are going to borrow his verbiage & cite him as our source. They are…

• End-User Hardware Issues: If you have an old router that just can’t keep up with modern speeds or a poorly configured Wi-Fi connection that’s being slowed down by interference, you won’t actually experience the connection speeds you’re paying for — and that’s not the Internet service provider’s fault.
• Distance From ISP: The further you are away from your Internet service provider’s hardware, the weaker your signal can become. If you’re in a city, you’re likely to have a faster connection than you would in the middle of the countryside. H&ONS Note – this applies mostly to copper cable based delivery method like DSL or cable, not a fiber optic cable based delivery method like Verizon Fios
• Congestion: You’re sharing an Internet connection line with many other customers from your Internet service provider, so congestion can result as all these people compete for the Internet connection. This is particularly true if all your neighbors are using BitTorrent 24/7 or using other demanding applications.
• Time of Day: Because more people are probably using the shared connection line during peak hours — around 6pm to midnight for residential connections — you may experience slower speeds at these times.
• Throttling; Your Internet service provider may slow down (or “throttle”) certain types of traffic, such as peer-to-peer traffic. Even if they advertise “unlimited” usage, they may slow down your connection for the rest of the month after you hit a certain amount of data downloaded.
• Server-Side Issues: Your download speeds don’t just depend on your Internet service provider’s advertised speeds. They also depend on the speeds of the servers you’re downloading from and the routers in between. For example, if you’re in the US and experience slowness when downloading something from a website in Europe, it may not be your Internet service provider’s fault at all — it may be because the website in Europe has a slow connection or the data is being slowed down at one of the routers in between you and the European servers.

While some of these causes are out of your hands, you can control the router you are using and how it connects to devices within your home. Using additional access points and other networking products and having a network infrastructure designed for your usage versus cookie cutter usage, can greatly impact your speeds. This is not something your Internet provider can do for you, but we can. Schedule a site survey in 2020 to see if there are solutions to improving Internet speed within your home.

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/165321/why-you-probably-arent-getting-the-internet-speeds-youre-paying-for-and-how-to-tell/’