Category Archives: Computer

McAfee Anti Virus Network Control Issue

Yesterday two of us spent at least an hour each trying to figure out another AltamontCowork members network issue.

Brand new laptop…DNS issue.

Normally, I can try one or two things, and get the computer working.  Not yesterday.  I quickly reached my limit, granted my limit, in that area,  is kinda shallow.

We finally threw our hands up in the air and suggested he go back to Best Buy where he bought the computer 36 days ago.

Instead of doing that, our coworker called his computer guru friend, who INSTANTLY knew what to do.  Uninstall the recently expired version of McAfee Anti-Virus that Best Buy had installed for him.

He did that and his Internet connectivity came back!

OK, in my opinion, if this in fact a McAfee issue (it sure is coincidental) then this is super BAD.

An anti-virus program stopping your Internet access (just because the time limit expired)?  I see how this could be a “nice” thing to do…..but….it should NEVER be done.  NEVER, NEVER….

Go here to download a FREE anti-virus program from the people who understand Windows better than anyone.


Computer guru friend, Cami (NNIS Computer and Network Support), sent me this link as a possible cause for this issue.

Reading the fixes I see they are very complicated for the average computer user.

Here is a simpler fix…..remove McAfee, as our coworker did, and install a free anti-virus program.


BYOD becomes UYOD

Is This Fun?

The latest buzz word is Bring Your Own Device.  BYOD presumes you travel to a central work location and bring your own device there….to work.

I am saying that term is already obsolete, or will be in the very near future.  If you can do your work with your own device, travelling up to 4 hours a day, in traffic, wasting gas, time and money to get to a central work location to use it…..this is, well, stupid.

From now on….Telecommuting, telework, coworking will explode:

Decentralized work will be the norm in the very near future.

I propose that Use Your Own Device (UYOD) is going to be the more appropriate term.

Mark my words…

iGoogle Going Away

The world is changing again!

My comfortable iGoogle homepage has served me well for quite a long time (I moved to Google from Yahoo a few years ago…).  I use Chrome (fast, reliable, etc) and have almost totally moved to the Google universe…and I am very happy here.  But….

Now I see a banner on my iGoogle home page that says iGoogle is going away.  Yikes!

After clicking on the information link, and pondering what this meant….not one to let grass grow under my feet…..I moved on and downloaded separate apps that give me quick access to the Google features I use the most:  Mail, Docs (Drive), Chat, Voice, News, YouTube, etc.

As I work, I will add more….Ah….Calendar…see…the more I work, the more I add…how funny.  🙂

My new Chrome homepage looks like this:

Alternatively, I can have this page showing my most visited sites show up:

Google Chat and Voice show up in the top right hand corner of Chrome:

Using the NEW WAY

I moved very quickly to using the separate apps to access my Google universe.  I suspect since I was already doing this on my smartphone, the move to this way of navigating on my computer was virtually painless.

Time marches on….keep up or fall behind…


Driving Google Drive

I have been using Google Docs for a couple of years now.   I like it.

Joleen Ruffin and I started a company (it failed) a couple of years ago.  From our desks at AltamontCowork, we shared documents, saved documents, and even worked on documents in real time using Google Docs.

Very cool.

The only real issue I had with Google Docs was keeping the files on the cloud synchronized EASILY with the files on my computer.  I never really got a handle on that task.

Lately, I have been helping JBB Cleaning Services, Inc. get the paperwork started that any start-up might need.  PR, business cards, flyers, income / expenses, bids, pictures of recent jobs, etc., etc.  I got Lucille set up on Google Docs and shared the folder.  This worked out ok (not great…just ok), because of the problem I mentioned above:  Syncing my computer with the Google Doc cloud just was not happening.


Then Google Drive was finally released.  I looked at it, and low and behold, it appeared to  solve the one real problem I had with Docs.  So I gave it a trial run.

My opinion?

I like it, even though I lost a folder on my computer (I still do not know how or why this happened).  My backups are now automatic, and easy as pie.

Here is how I totally under-use Google Drive (I will get to the other features eventually).

I click on the Drive icon to open up the folder on my computer designated to hold my Google Drive folders and files.  The green check mark means that the file or folder has been synced with the cloud.

All I need to do is open the file I want to modify, or make a new one, and save it in this folder, and it automatically backs up to the Google Drive cloud.


Lucille also has access since we shared this folder.


Google Drive has many other features that enhance collaboration.  I am using just one, but, this one has certainly eased my working life tremendously.

My only complaint right now (other than losing that one folder) is 5 GB is not enough space!  🙂

Vidyo Videoconferencing Virtualization

A Short History Lesson by Mike

Back in the old days (1980’s) video conferencing was developed to help people at two locations meet face-to-face without the need to travel.  Wow!

One day, someone said “Geee, I need THREE locations to meet face-to-face”.  And the idea of a multipoint controller (MCU) was born.  Now all three locations could dial into a central MCU and meet.  Double wow!

Over the years, the MCU’s got bigger and more powerful, and, more than three geographically dispersed people could now meet at the MCU.  Triple wow!

More years pass, and the bandwidth needed to support all these people meeting at the MCU got more affordable and again the MCU’s got more powerful.  Tens to Thousands of people can now use the central MCU to hold their meetings (At ESnet we supported over 1,500 users worldwide, and over 6,000 port hours of H.323 meetings per month….in 2004!).   Quad wow!  (ok…get over it, everyone now knows about video conferencing…)

Present day….

The MCU’s are powerful as all get out (and very expensive to buy and run).  The bandwidth availability is through the roof, and more and more people are using video conferencing to meet at a central location.

UNFORTUNATELY (FORTUNATELY?), we are also at the cusp of an amazing increase in the number of people using video conferencing.  Mobile phones now have video conferencing capability, laptops abound, the working world is becoming decentralized (we still need the OFB’s to retire), and there will be a time (in the very near future, if not now) when millions of people will be video conferencing at the same time.

With the ancient centralized MCU model….I have to spend GOBS of money to support millions of users.  And now, we want to support those users in HD quality. An almost impossible task for the tried and true centralized MCU.

Low cost, multi-platform compatibility, support millions, keep HD quality…..yikes!

We need a better way….

Luckily, the folks at Vidyo are thinking ahead (no surprise here, since I know many of them from WAY back, and they are very very smart).  OK, kissing ass aside….:-)

The other day, Vidyo actually asked little old me to join them in a discussion of their new virtualization technology for the VideoRouter.  (VidyoRouter Virtual Edition….sounds like a video game….:-)), and a couple of days ago they made the official announcement.  (Vidyo Unveils Virtualized HD Video Conferencing PDF).

A quick lesson (or at least, for me, to see if I get this right)

Virtualization in the video conferencing world can come in two flavors:

Macro and Micro (I think I am the only one using these terms).

In the Macro sense….multiple MCU’s can work together (and even be geographically dispersed) to support large numbers of users.  Problem is: expense and possible loss of quality.

In the Micro sense….a single server can be used to provide virtual space for large numbers of users (but also can be inter-connected over the space time continuum).  The key is:  You save lots of money and possible gain in quality.

Vidyo, if I get this right, is providing virtualization in the Micro sense.  That is, their VidyoRouter is now able to support (and yes, I asked about multi-tenant) many many video conferencing users from a “simple” server, based just about anywhere.  Firing up more capacity is as easy as firing up another server, or part of a server.

Lower cost, faster time to introduction (assuming the IT Department cooperates), and this can support (eventually) millions of users.  

A brave new world….

Moving forward.

In the very near future, we all will be using video conferencing (my dream finally coming true…see here).  We will all be able to meet with family, friends, colleagues, repair people, Kauai travel agents….no matter where they are, what time it is, or what capabilities they have…all in HD quality.

Bravo, Vidyo!  (Hmmmm, not the first time I have been blown away by Vidyo…see here).

Footnote:  Way back in the day….the folks at Cal Tech (Philippe Galvez) developed a software based MCU capability, VRVS (now EVO, soon to be Seevogh (thanks, Christian!!)), that was WAY ahead of it’s time.  It worked great and supported thousands of users….all in software.  Just sayin…

Chrome Web Store Apps

Just started playing around with the Google apps that are available (many for free, and many not requiring a log in).


If you use Chrome as your browser click the + sign as shown in the picture below.

You can see the following page pop-up.  Well…..these are MY apps, yours will look slightly different.  🙂

Click on the Chrome Web Store app icon in the top left.  This will bring you to a new world of apps that you can access on your computer.

You can see the categories on the left.  Anything from Education to Extensions and everything in between.   Sweeeeet.

I grabbed a few preparing for this blog entry.

“Angry Birds” wanted access to my Google information…..NOPE…I ain’t gonna do that.

“NY Times” gives me the “Top News” of the day for free in a very newspaper like format.  COOL.


I have a feeling I will be searching for more apps and using them during the day (when I am on my computer…at night I am still a child of TV).

Give them a try!

Oh yeah….if you are not using Chrome as your web browser, you should use it!  Super FAST, secure, and now you can get all sorts of cool apps.  IE is crap (the interface is sooo confusing, and it is sooooo slow….)

Google+ Hangout Video Conferencing Meeting, Part 2

Google+ Hangout is the PERFECT way for ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE  to video conference.  It is FREE, you can meet with up to 10 friends, and the quality is awesome (for a free service).  The technology behind this is from Vidyo.

I will shut-up and let the video do the talking….

AWESOME!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I had to do it.

Join us in the next Hangout!  Watch this blog, Telepresence Options, or Linkedin for dates and topics!

Also…as we learned in this meeting (from Robert..), Google+ Hangout can be a stepping stone to the more advanced video conferencing systems.  A small business can try Google+ Hangout to get a feel of video conferencing then decide if they need to upgrade to a full video conferencing system.

Very cool!

Google+ Hangout Video Conferencing Meeting, Part 1

Before any good, errrr…..AWESOME meeting, there is preparation.   That is especially the case with a video conference.  The initiators of the video conference must work diligently to make sure the meeting goes off without a hitch.

No joking around….deadly serious business.  If you want to get involved in video conferencing and put on an AWESOME meeting (watch for Part 2 of the “Hangout Meeting” here later today)…throw your sense of humor out the window….. and get to work!

Here is a video clip of our Pre-Google+ Hangout Preparations.  We learned from the BEST….kidding around is for losers!  SERIOUS is the only way to make it in this business.

Now watch the video!  Do it!  😐


David Maldow, Telepresence Options

Mike Pihlman….you are here!


Apple iOS5 is Available Today

UPDATE on errors during download from Computerworld.  From me…it may be wise to wait a day, or three, before installing, what is your rush anyway…a few more days won’t hurt.  Read a book!  🙂

Just in case you are soooo busy taking care of video conferencing stuff….here is a reminder that Apple’s iOS5 is available today!  See this article in Computerworld.

I use Andriod, but, my wife and daughter both have iPhones.  One cool thing that is gonna happen with this upgrade is the iCloud.

I wrote about iCloud a couple of months ago on  So go there to read a really insightful, well written, extremely interesting, sneek peek at the iCloud.  🙂

Gotta love this cloud based stuff…..very very cool.

Steve Jobs Resigns

This is scary.  I would not be concerned if he wasn’t sick, and stick thin.  But…

From my perspective…this is a guy who changed the world more than once, more than twice, more than three times.  Simply awesome.

He is not afraid to innovate, to try something new, to make it easy, to make it reliable, and then have the foresight to have the backup stuff available to make it all work.

Read my original blog entry on the brand new, world changing iPhone.  Look at the smartphone you have in your pocket today…I rest my case.

The world will miss his creativity and energy.  Let’s hope he re-gains his health.