Best Logitech Harmony Remote?

I’ve used a few programmable remotes over the years and helped friends and family set some up.  Maybe this is age showing or just my disinterest in always having something new but the Harmony 880 still works better for me than any of the newer offerings.

Unfortunately, my 880 finally failed after ~9 years of drops and abuse. I thought I was SOL and started looking at new ones until I ran across this on Amazon:

Logitech Harmony 880

While discontinued years ago, I guess the Chinese factory is keeping these strong.  I got one and sure enough it is just like the old one.  No mold variations, button issues, low quality, or screen changes like you might see on a knock-off product.  Worked just like my original genuine Logitech Harmony 880.

I had to load the software to program the new one. Through the Harmony website, I ended up with MyHarmony desktop software which is not the right package to use to program this remote.  Get the 7.x version of the older Logitech Harmony Remote Software.  You can transfer directly from your old ID/remote programming directly to the new one as a replacement.

Logitech Software Page.
Direct link for Windows.
Direct link for Mac.

Problem solved, and I didn’t end up with some product I didn’t like or that had poorer reviews & reliability!

This fastest way to have users mass uninstall your app


xxx.xx mb junks found!
Recommend to clean

I got the message above recently on my phone.  A brief search shows the offending app is ES File Explorer.  It seems I and anyone seeing this message with the ability to use a search engine is now uninstalling ES File Explorer.

Studio 9000 case design flaw

We have a Dell Studio XPS 9000 which we purchased with an Intel 980x processor back in 2010 for video processing. Over time we’ve added or changed items in this case. In August, we found that 2 of 3 drives in a Raid 0 were failing and one had failed entirely. Luckily the data was in constant churn and was being saved elsewhere as well. When we investigaged, we 55+degC temperatures on two of the drives. The addition of a simple fan and pulling the front cover away from the fan allowed the drives to cool to ~34degC.

The case front is a solid piece of plastic with no airflow. The hard drives are slated to be installed in a location that is poor at best. Unfortunately, airflow was given no consideration here.

Add a Fan and pull front cover away for a massive thermal improvement.
2015-08-17 11.53.23

Crashplan resolution

Crashplan is a great package. This summer it broke & stopped backing up. It took me a lot of time and another employee a lot of time as we wanted to avoid installing java-common on our production server. This is what we were forced to do in the absence of support from Code42 for headless clients. Later, a Crashplan bug crashed a production server after attempting continuous upgrades and consuming all of the drive space. Both issues are outlined here: Crashplan just crashed my production server.

Today, I found the final resolution. It took hours of trying different solutions, scouring the web, etc. In the end it is simple. The 64bit java package that Code42 supplied did not work on my 64bit Ubuntu 12.04LTS machine. My other linux boxes worked because they were 32bit.

The recommended packages from Crashplan are:


Just dump the above in your crashplan directory and tar xvf it, it creates the jre folder with all the proper user & permissions information. Code42 clearly improved some documentation and their installation since the summer issues.

My Windows desktop Crashplan install upgraded from 3.x to 4.x and stopped working with remote clients as the authentication system changed. The BEST THING you can do is a full uninstall as outlined here:

I was fighting for a long time to get connectivity back to my boxes through my local Crashplan app. Once I did the uninstall, it was again very easy to connect to remote stations. The very short version of what you need to do is:

  1. Close Crashplan
  2. Change the local to port 4200
  3. Change the local .ui_info with the full text key from the remote station .ui_info file. Change the leading port to 4200 on the local file.
  4. Open Crashplan and you are good to go!



Crashplan just crashed my production server

I use a mix of Crashplan and Dropbox. They both have their uses and are great. Until recently that is. My headless linux boxes stopped backing up to Crashplan earlier this year. A local JVM instance wouldn’t run. The documentation for a headless client is poor if you run into any issues. I ended up installing the 12.04LTS java-common package a few months ago which is still v1.6.

Importantly, to do this you must change /usr/local/crashplan/install.vars
From JAVACOMMON=/usr/local/crashplan/jre/bin/java
To JAVACOMMON=/usr/bin/java

I will say that I didn’t install the java package on two other linux servers and they subsequently just worked themselves out. I think Code42 (Crashplan’s creator) was inundated with failures as they released some software which essentially broke their linux based backbone. Their newer software versions, at least after 4.4.1, seem to upgrade the native jre package properly and require little intervention. So, before you go down the road of manual jre installations, look into this first.

Backups started working again after the manual jre upgrade, some hassle, a lot of searching, finding logs, etc. It was a mess. Fast forward to today. Server went down around 1:30am. We look and find there is zero space left on the drive. Damn. We find that in our /usr/local/crashplan/upgrade directory there are effectively an unlimited number of time stamped update folders. Crashplan was creating a new folder every 30 minutes and then finding that v1.6 of the ubuntu java-common package was installed and then failing out of the process. This continued long enough to spool up to our entire drive size. Code42, you need a reasonability check here!

I resolved by uninstalling and finding all crashplan install files and locations. Once removed, I installed java using the guide here and the useful first comment for default install. . I went through the install process again. During the installation process java-common was updated with compliant java files as Crashplan does not work with the Oracle version apparently.

Then we are back up again. I’ve lost a huge time commitment fixing these issues brought about by Crashplan’s upgrade processed from 3.x to 4.x. Prior upgrades were seamless and required no intervention. I only noticed this problem when our backups stopped working and the subsequent failure when we had a production server go down.

The new version also required me to open some ports in the Ubuntu Firewall. ufw allow from to any port 4242 is the command I used to open a port back to my office for backups to go back and forth between servers. I keep a local copy of crashplan data here on a file server for rapid restores if needed.

2017-01-02 Update:  A local Ubuntu machine failed today.  I went to look because my crashplan email reports said it wasn’t updating even though the machine was online.  When I went in with the Crashplan client, it said the machine was upgrading but stopped there.

At the Ubuntu CLI, I saw that the service couldn’t upgrade because it had no space available.  /dev/mapper/ was completely full with no available space. /usr/local/crashplan/upgrade had consumed 91GB.  When I go in, I see 45MB upgrade files downloaded every ~30min until your drive is full.  Seriously, Code42 Software  you REALLY need a reasonability test on upgrade failure here as this is ridiculous.

I went into the upgrade folder, deleted the upgrade files.  Restarted the client.  The software upgraded and all went well.  Too bad this required manual intervention and the script was written poorly.  I hope this helps someone else in a similar scenario.

Windows 10 will not allow network access to our file server and how we fixed it

We have a new Windows 10 machine here, a Dell XPS13 we are setting up. When we get to adding a mapped drive for a network share, we are unable to access the share. It should open with everyone level access. All other workstations and laptops varying from XP, Ubuntu, Win7, Win8 Vista, etc have no trouble accessing this network share. We try the network name, try the ip. We try a variety of authenticated accounts on the computer. No combination of user/pass seems to work. We just get password incorrect messages. What the hell Windows 10?

We turned on the Guest account, which is off by default. That showed some resources across the network but did not resolve the issue with our file server.

We find the following article and follow the steps:

Windows 10 it seems changed the default behavior to access some network resources as a guest. This was not a full resolution.

Then we find the following article and follow the instructions:

After this, we map the drive and go back to disable the guest account and put the registry entry back again.

The full resolution is to enter the following on the username / password prompt when you try to access a network resource in Windows 10:

For example, for a drive with everyone permission, it would be:

Just another daily time burn to find a resolution for this weird issue. Credit to warwagon on

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Well, I tried to leave a review here:

They want to be able to pull vast amounts of social data if I post from google+, facebook, twitter, etc. WordPress and blogger functions simply don’t work. Even if they login, they just take you to your admin page… so here is my review:

3/5 stars

Poor Business Card Practices

We have an account with several cards for our business and a primary user. We had an employee go to another city for a trade show. The charges from that card were deemed fraud and shut down ALL OF OUR OTHER CARDS. This was unexpected and we had to deal with a lot of vendor phone calls that day as we straightened the situation out. There was no fraud and shutting down and entire business credit line for one card number is a poor practice.

In a separate incident, we had actual fraud on one card. We made sure Cap One locked only that one card. They went to re-issue it and for some reason also canceled another card on our account without any notification. When we started getting calls from vendors we called and found that Cap One had canceled the other card by mistake. They also re-issued the card in their standard process rather than the expedited process appropriate for a business our size. 4-6 day handling, then shipping. Issues like this in the past had a replacement card in our hand the NEXT DAY with our competing Amex cards. Cap One expedited the process but could provide no other resolution. Reinstating the old card would have been ideal and saved us time as it was valid, with no fraud, and was already entered into our vendors recurring billing systems.

Lastly, the rewards are poorly managed. We like to take the rewards and put them in a separate account. The only way they offer to do this is by check. We get checks at $200, so we receive several per month. Some have not arrived, we have to keep careful track of these checks mailed by first class mail and this adds unnecessary overhead. ACH or some form of transfer would be an obvious improvement.

We only stay because of the benefits compared to other cards in our purchasing practices. Their poor business handling practices make this hard though as Amex is worlds better at every level other than the rewards offered.

TDK A33 Bluetooth Speaker

TDK A33 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

I selected a TDK A33 for family a year ago.  Before wrapping it up as a Christmas gift, I connected it and used it to validate this choice.  I was amazed at the sound quality for this small speaker.  I wondered if this was now common and listened to other similar units at Best Buy and over time listened to other friends speakers.  The TDK A33 crushed the equivalent Bose unit with far better mid & high notes while maintaining crisp, clear base.  The Bose was muddy and sounded like something trying to emulate bass.

NOTE:  The A33 is currently for sale for $79.99, an amazing price!

The TDK A34 is now available.  Apparently, it adds longer battery life and improved sound quality.  It is still cheap at $119 currently.

TDK A34 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

I highly recommend both products while the A33 is currently a great bargain.  When compared to other market options, it is stellar and I highly recommend it.

Quickbooks unrecoverable error in Quickbooks Enterprise 2014

My company used Quickbooks Enterprise (QBE) 2011 until our support was deprecated in May 2014.  We ran the 2011 version as long as possible because we know the upgrade process with Quickbooks is often a huge time sink.   We also understood that QBE 2012 and 2013 suffered from some serious problems and performance issues based on research.  So, when we moved to QBE 2014, we moved carefully with backups and trepidation.  Still, we encountered a major bug which we have not seen listed or resolved after 6 months.  I am blogging about the process to bring attention to this bug with hope for a resolution.  I also hope that QBE support will improve and generally QC at intuit will dramatically improve.  The bug I am highlighting was dramatically worsened by another issue, which is that QBW32.exe rarely closes successfully when closing the software and QBE crashes too frequently.

The bug report we sent to Intuit is below:


 We recently upgraded to QB Enterprise 2014. We have been having recurring issues where quickbooks gives us an unrecoverable error when logging in. We went through QuickBooks tech support and were then forwarded on to the Data Services Group to restore our files to working condition.

 The explanation we were given for the nature of this unrecoverable error that locks us out of our company file is that a window or window(s) were being left open when we closed our file and that this somehow was causing quickbooks to have an unrecoverable error. It turns out the “fix” for this is to hold down the alt key while logging into quickbooks.

 We were told that this was in fact not a bug several times by the person in data services group; however, being locked out of your company file and being presented with a completely vague “unrecoverable error” that the first tier of tech support was clueless about for the “mistake” of “leaving a window open” seems ridiculous at best. This is not an uncommon or rare behavior at all and is certainly not an issue we ever ran into in years of using quickbooks prior to upgrading to 2011. Since receiving our working file back this issue has cropped up once again.

 Please understand that this is a bug. Throwing an unrecoverable error with no details and that your first tier tech support cannot answer because a window is left open (which I again don’t understand how this qualifies as a mistake) certainly seems to fit the description of a bug to me and the software developers on our staff.

 This has caused us to waste an enormous amount of our staffs time this week.

 Please see to it that this is filed as a bug and is resolved going forward. We are aware of the “alt key trick” to get back into the file now but the person we spoke to seemed to think that this was OK to leave as is.

Here is what happened:

Unrecoverable error when trying to login to our file as soon as the interface for quickbooks began loading after logging into the file.

Quickbooks Unrecoverable Error: 14664 59300 is the error we most frequently ran into.  The issue occurred when a user either closed their session or Quickbooks crashed or did not close properly.  So, under either condition we would have major data corruption that locked us out of Quickbooks which is wholly unacceptable.

Our long term resolution to this problem follows:

The process is outlined here. You will want to use the “Don’t save the desktop” option once you get to the correct settings form.

Effectively you go to Edit -> Preferences -> Desktop View (left column of prefs) -> Don’t save the desktop. This will return you to an empty desktop each time you open the company file.

The short term resolution was just to hold the alt key while opening the offending file and close any windows.

We have stayed on the R5 release due to major bugs in an R6 update that persist in R7.  There has been no resolution after 6 months to those existing issues.  Our QBE2014 was a bug riddled time soak.  The labor time spent to resolve the problem far exceeded the software cost and we were forced to upgrade due to payroll and general support deprecation.

QBE support was poorly informed, had a poor process and it took us dozens of hours before we were informed of the basic problem, ability to open an unwindowed file with the alt key and a preferences change.  Our resolution is currently effective and we are once again working effectively.  We will be evaluating other software options prior to our forced 2017 upgrade (3 year support cycle).

The Blogger image circle of death

I went to one of my blogs on Blogger today to pull up an image only to be greeted with the Blogger image circle of death.


My first reaction was WTF?  I check and all my blogs are affected.  I Google search for broken Blogger images and removed Blogger images without much luck.  I did happen to come across a google forum here that helped:!topic/picasa/9ttGjFI6GS4[1-25-false] .  I went to Google Photos under one of my google usernames and did not see the images.  I went into the trash to find them there.  I was able to select and restore all the relevant images.  Luckily, I caught the issue before the trash was automatically removed.

So, why did this happen?  I was purging my phone of images, which I do every 6-12 months, and making sure I had archives on Dropbox.  It turns out the deletion process I selected on my phone removed images “everywhere” including my blog which had never been directly associated with Google Photos.

Bad Google, Bad.  This tenuous connection is having my phone delete blog images I created long before I had “Google Photos” or any associated service?  My desire to declutter my phone breaks my years old Blogger postings?  This should not be.

On the upside it didn’t take too long to figure out, I was lucky, and I lost nothing.  I won’t be using Blogger for any future projects and will note to take care with this silliness.