Captain Support and TeamViewer

 

I recently read the news that LogMeIn have stopped their free service. I’m not a big user, but it’s handy to get into family PCs so I can sort stuff for them without having to talk them through things.

As I was reaching for my credit card to pay the yearly fee for LogMeIn, I noticed people speaking in the comments about alternative products, so I decided to give TeamViewer a go before parting with my cash.

The result is, it’s fine. If you are a casual user of LogMeIn like me, you might want to consider trying TeamViewer out before parting with your cash.

Note. I don’t have a problem with paying for software, I do it all the time, but if there is a free solution for something I only use on occasion, I’m probably going to go that route.

Cheers

Captain Support…

 

Captain Support and the Mystery of the Broken Website (Internet Explorer 11)

 

After successfully upgrading two laptops to Windows 8.1, Captain Support flew back to his secret server room and continued to monitor the world’s communications, waiting for the next opportunity to allow mere mortals to witness his greatness. That opportunity came when his sister-in-law emailed to say that his nephew’s football academy website was not working properly…

Having read some reports about broken websites, Captain Support assumed the problem was because of Internet Explorer 11, so he used LogMeIn to connect to his sister-in-law’s laptop, installed FireFox and tested the website. It worked perfectly. The site also worked fine using Chrome.

Having saved the day yet again, Captain Support carried on with the business of saving the rest of the world by turning things off and on again

Cheers

Captain Support…

Captain Support and the Windows 8.1 Upgrades

 

Being the adventurous type of guy he is, Captain Support decided to launch into Windows 8.1 upgrades on his Mom’s and sister-in-law’s laptops. They were identical machines, both running Windows 8 and configured the same. One was local and the other connected to over LogMeIn…

The first thing he noticed about the upgrade is the size of it, approximately 3G. The download and initial install can be done while you’re still using the machine, then comes the inevitable reboot where the real work is done…

The second standout point was the update forced him to him to switch from a local user to a Microsoft Live login. Both Captain Support’s Mom and sister-in-law both use Hotmail/Outlook.com, so this did not present an immediate issue, but it was annoying. Perhaps there is a way to avoid this, but it was not immediately appareent to Captain Support… You can still create local users after the update of course…

The third annoyance was that of the two machines, one upgraded fine and kept all it’s customizations. The other upgraded OK, but seemed to lose some of it’s customizations, including Classic Shell. He was not sure if this related to the LogMeIn access or not. Fortunately, there was not much repair needed.

So after a bit of messing about, Captain Support had two Windows 8.1 laptops, that looked and felt just like Windows 8.0. :)

Whilst using the beta version of Windows 8.1, Captain Support noticed that his Citrix login for work was broken. Once the laptop upgrades were complete Captain Support noticed a problem at work and tried out the Citrix client on the production version of Windows 8.1 and it worked fine, so he was able to log in and save the day, or at least the backups of a dev system…

In the airport today I noticed that IE 11 on Windows 8.1 is reported to break some websites, including a number of Google services. Good job nobody uses IE these days. When I get a chance to contact Captain Support I will tell him what I read, in case the has to fly in and rescue his Mom and sister-in-law…

If any drama ensues I’m sure Captain Support will tell me about it, so I can pass it on…

Cheers

Captain Support (reported by Tim…)

PS. I wish I could fly like Captain Support. Aeroplane travel sucks…

Captain Support and Windows 8…

 

Captain Support was getting pretty sick of supporting the crappy old laptops his brother and mother were using, so he selfishly bought them 2 shiny new laptops to make his own life easier. The only slight flaw in the plan was they came with Windows 8. Although Captain Support had some previous experience of Windows 8 (Developer Preview, Consumer Preview, Windows Blue beta), he was a little nervous about unleashing it on his unsuspecting family members…

A week down the line and Windows 8, along with Classic Shell, seems to have gone down OK. Captain Support just taught his family the mantra, “If in doubt, press the Windows key!”, which in Classic Shell returns you to the desktop. What with that and the boot to desktop, it is just like using Windows 7, which is similar to Vista, which is what they both used before…

Captain Support also mentioned Classic Shell to one of his yoga buddies, whose dad was struggling with Windows 8. His dad was very happy with the result.

So if anyone at Microsoft is listening, now that Steve Ballmer has been kicked out moved on you might want to consider resurrecting the Windows 7 style start menu, not that crappy Windows Blue start button, to save people having to download 3rd party products to make your desktop work properly…

Cheers

Captain Support…

PS. If you are interested, they were Acer Aspire v3-771 with i5, 6G RAM, 750G HHD, 17″ screen and cost a little under £500 each. They are better than Captain Support’s current MacBook Pro :)

Captain Support and Outlook.com…

 

This morning I was called because my mom’s email wasn’t working. As usual, no clear explanation of the issue was available. This sounds like a job for Captain Support!  The problem turned out to be Microsoft had switched her from the Hotmail interface to the Outlook.com interface. A quick explanation of the new interface and she bravely decided to stick with it, rather than switching back to the original Hotmail interface. I’m sure Captain Support will be needed a few times in the coming days… :)

I’ve mentioned before, I think the Outlook.com interface is probably the neatest looking web mail interface around now. I prefer the look of it to Gmail. The problem is I am so invested in the Google ecosystem I couldn’t switch even if I wanted too. The real issue here is I’m not a normal user. There are a lot of users out there like my mom who are completely stumped by the slightest change to the interface. At one point my mom said she felt like getting rid of the computer. To someone like me that seems like an extreme reaction, but for her the computer had become unusable.

What’s she going to think when she gets Windows 8? :)

On that subject, a couple of people in the office are now using Windows 8 at home and it’s not proving too bad. One of the guys is running it native. One is using Classic Shell. Not surprisingly, they spend most of their time in the desktop pain, trying to avoid the interface formerly known as Metro. Resistance is futile…

Cheers

Tim…

Captain Support : The Newest Avenger?

 

I have a feeling Captain Support may be the latest addition to the Avengers lineup. Why?

One of Captain Support’s friends was having some problems trying to sign up to a bonsai mailing list because emails from the list were being rejected before they got to him. He used the special signal and Captain Support jumped into action. A little Googling revealed the Plusnet mail servers can be fussy about emails with too many people in the “To:”, “CC:” and “BCC:” lists. They apparently also get a bit cranky if emails contain lots of hyperlinks. Problem solved, so the bonsai world can sleep safe at night, surrounded by potted trees I guess…

I know what you are thinking. “Bonsai mailing list? Never!” It seems obvious to Captain Support this was just a clever ploy by those S.H.I.E.L.D. types to test his super powers before inviting him to join the team. Captain Support will be waiting by the phone for the call from Nick Fury…

Cheers

Captain Support…

Captain Support and the Laptop of Doom…

 

Friends of Captain Support’s nephews were having a problem with their laptop. They were unable to use a browser to access the internet. This was a job for Captain Support…

A quick twiddle on the machine revealed that FireFox just had proxy settings messed up, but IE was totally screwed. Captain Support suspected someone had tried and failed to install IE8 and the failure had left it in a dodgy state. After much messing around Captain Support came to the conclusion that they should either forget about IE, or reinstall the whole thing. They chose the reinstall option…

All went well until the last few Windows updates were being loaded. Captain Support shouted to number 1 nephew, “Is something burning in the Kitchen?” Whilst waiting for the reply he leaned forward and sniffed the laptop, which was giving off a heavy scent of “dusty Scalextric“. Next the screen started to go black from the bottom-right corner and the smell became stronger. With a slight air of panic, the laptop was switched off very quickly. Captain Support suggested the laptop should either be sent to the manufacture for repair, or binned…

Thus ends the tale of Captain Support and the Laptop of Doom…

Cheers

Captain Support…

Captain Support to the rescue…

 

It’s Saturday night, South Park is on the TV and all is good. Then the phone rings…

  • Mom: I was looking up the symptoms of assorted diseases on the internet so I can panic about the possibilities of my friends, family and especially grandchildren getting them, then the laptop beeped and turned itself off. I kept trying to turn it on but the fan starts, then it immediately turns itself off.
  • Captain Support: It sounds to me like the power lead is not connected and the battery has run out of juice. Make sure it’s plugged in and turned on at the wall switch and it should be fine. If not, it means either a fuse has gone or the charger is bust. Check it now. Is the power lead connected?
  • Mom: Yes, all three leads are connected.
  • Captain Support: Describe the leads please. Are they rectangular with a prongy looking symbol on them?
  • Mom: Yes.
  • Captain Support: Those are USB cables, not power leads. It sounds like it’s disconnected from the power. Plug in the lead and you’ll be good to go.
  • Mom: I’ve only ever had these three cables in. There are no other cables.
  • Captain Support: Seriously, they are USB cables, not power leads. You must have had another lead plugged in before now.
  • Mom: There has never been another lead plugged into this laptop.
  • Captain Support: Check the back. Is there a round hole that looks like it could have a power lead plugged into it?
  • Mom: Yes. There is a round socket. Oh, I can see a cable down the back of the desk. I pulled the desk out earlier to hoover. It must have come out.
  • Captain Support: Plug it back in, then sacrifice a chicken at dawn on the altar of Captain Support and your problem will be solved.

Humans. Will they never learn?

Cheers

Captain Support…

Hong Kong – Day Off 2

 

In the morning I got a taxi over to my mate Alan’s house and the pair of us, along with his 16 year old step son Kevin, drove up the nearest hill (Victoria Peak) to have a look down over the city. The Hong Kong approach to tourist attractions seems to be, if you think tourists might come to see something, build a shopping mall next to it. I’ve added some more photos to yesterdays. The pollution in Hong Kong is pretty bad, so you will notice that anything in the distance is concealed by a haze. When you are looking at it you still get a lot of detail, but when you photograph it all you can see is the haze.

From there we drove down to the beach. It seems that if public transport can get you to a beach, it is heaving with people (and there will be a shopping mall there). If you need a car it is much quieter. I’m not a beach person myself, but I do like being near the sea.

From there we went back to Alan’s house, where I bonded with his step sons (Adam 13 and Kevin 16) by helping them speed up their computer so their games could run faster. They were playing MMORPGs like Aeon, Warcraft and some Chinese-specific things. I couldn’t understand a word of anything on the screen, because it was all in Chinese, so Captain Support needed a little translation help from Kevin. I did a little tweaking, but most of the performance improvements came from explaining that having 50 programs on all at once, including streaming video and music kinda interferes with the performance of the game, especially one that has to connect to a server, like MMORPGs do. As soon as I closed down the Justin Bieber video playing in HD on YouTube things got a lot faster and sounded a lot better. :)

From there we went out to meet a couple of the guys Alan works with. Both were Ausies, but have been living on and off in Hong Kong for a long time. We had a couple of drinks, some food, then early to bed ready for my class today.

Regarding food, being vegetarian in Hong Kong is not a great idea. It’s often difficult to find vegetarian food because even things that look vegetarian have a little something-something thrown in for good measure. During the day Kevin was keeping me on track. In the evening Phil was helping me out. My mate Alan speaks conversational Cantonese, after 5 years in Hong Kong, but can’t help throwing in sentences like, “Did you know Eskimos like peanut butter?”, or, “A big monkey is a gorilla and a big gorilla is King Kong!”, in an attempt to amuse/confuse the waiters, so when he was in charge I was a little worried. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Captain Support and the International Printer Incident…

 

When I was in Frankfurt airport I got an email from my mom telling me that my sister-in-law was having trouble with here printer. This sounds like a job for Captain Support…

Like any self respecting support super hero Captain Support ignored the email. When he woke up this morning Captain Support had an email from his sister-in-law telling him not to worry about it until he got back to the UK. Captain Support posted a couple of suggestions, just in case it was a simple issue.

When Captain Support gets back to the UK he may decide to switch from wireless printing to a good old-fashioned cable…

Cheers

Tim…

Update: It looks like the default printer was pointing to the wrong printer. Captain Support triumphs again…