Friday, December 04, 2015

Red blinking issue on Microsoft Display Dock

Red blinking light? Check the power supply cord.

I just got my Microsoft Display Dock courtesy of MS after pre-ordering a Lumia 950XL. But after the first attempt I just got a red blinking light on the front and nothing more. The phone won't recognize it and the display connected would just go to sleep.

After playing with it a bit I realized the USB-C connector on the dock's power supply (identical to the "fast charger")  was a bit loose. I then compared to the one that came with the 950XL and voilĂ ! See the difference below.

Left: Adapter from the 950xl box | Right: Adapter from the Display Dock
Since it is shorter (manufacturer error? bad batch? who knows...)  the adapter packaged with the Display Dock won't reach the connector properly. However, it will fit in and charge the 950XL perfectly. I think one of the reasons is the thick casing in the Microsoft Display Dock. Check it out.
The case is sturdy and thick.

So if you happen to have a Microsoft Display Dock, then you already have a 950/950XL that most likely came with a "fast charger" (why else would you get the accessory?). You can either switch them or return the dock to Microsoft for a replacement.

However the chargers are identical and you can also fast charge while connected to the dock.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Why this new Microsoft is impressive

The last Microsoft event on October 6 showed a few surprises, let me explain you why this is impressive and why I think the new Nadella direction at MS is different. Iris Scanner, Liquid Cooling, Continuum...

A new Surface 4 tablet with Liquid Cooling
The new Surface 4 was a really good upgrade, and a real big one. More resolution in the same size, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of HDD and Liquid Cooling. All that packaged in a device as think as this, only 8.5mm of depth.

Check how the cooling works.

New phones with Continuum and Liquid Cooling

I know Windows only have 3% of the market on phones, and that's a bummer because we don't get to have all the apps. But now the new phones have continuum, a feature that allows using a phone as a full size computer. They also manage to get liquid cooling into a handheld device. That's a good direction. Let's just hope this new direction combined with universal apps will get more developers into the boat.

A new Surface Book.

Think got even crazier when MS announced this product, I think is safe to say that nobody saw it coming. A new powerful laptop hybrid (although expensive) and a crazy beautiful product. Looks like Microsoft is finally putting good design in combination with good specs in an effort to gain the consumer market.

That's impressive, right?

A new line of products, beautiful and powerful. New technologies like continuum, iris scanner and liquid cooling in devices so thin and small. New redesigned products like the new Band or the new Pen for Surface. This is a new MS, way different than the one that created the Zune. 

PS: if you reading this from CodeProject then the CP crawler is still buggy and pulling posts without the CodeProject tag.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Fixing Visual Studio 2015 Android Designer with Xamarin

While using Visual Studio 2015 to edit and android layout file (axml) I got this error:

 The installed Android SDK is too old. Version 24.3.4 or newer is required

The number version might be different in your case. Here are a few possible causes for the error:

1) You actually need to upgrade your Android SDK.
2) You have the wrong path for the Android SDK installation on Visual Studio. (change it on Tools->Options->Xamarin)
3) Mixed Xamarin extensions (this was my case)

After reinstalling the Android SDK and checking the everything was fine on that part I went to check on Visual Studio extensions (Tools->Extensions and Updates). It turns out that  I caused a mix up of versions, since I already had Xamarin and Visual Studio 2013 side by side. and now 2015 had another one, my Visual Studio 2015 ended up with 2 extensions for Xamarin. Disabling one of them solved the problem and the designer was working again.

The one that I disabled was titled "Get Xamarin" and I kept the one that shows in the image. Unfortunately I uninstalled the bad extension before taking a screenshot.

Now you might not experience this problem if you have VS2015 in a clean install, but my computer does not have a clean install since 2011. Good luck!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Was the Lenovo/Superfish thing so unique?

It is a big deal, and by no means I would defend them; I don't think anyone can. They did a cheap and horrible thing by installing a piece of adware junk, that not only was used to monetize on the buyers, it is also a major security breach. Many people are still upset at lenovo and blaming everything on the "chinese government" and talking about all sorts of conspiracies.

But I don't want to talk about who did it or why, as I was reading about all this, I just could not stop wondering:  are they the only ones? Of course not.

The Gemalto hack

But did you know about the Gemalto SIM card hack? A massive sim card hack that allegedly allows US and UK spies access to billions of phones. The Gemalto hack quoted here from PC World:

"Gemalto, based in the Netherlands, produces about 2 billion SIM cards a year. About 450 mobile carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint, use the company’s SIM cards.
With the compromised encryption keys, the surveillance agencies would be able to monitor mobile communications without the approval of the carriers or foreign governments, The Intercept story said. The encryption keys would allow the agencies to intercept mobile traffic without court-ordered warrants or wiretaps, the story said."

The supercookies

Also Verizon and AT&T got involved into some pretty high level user tracking, using something called  "supercookies". Basically they would be able to track all internet usage by users, no matter if they were using private navigation or incognito modes. 

So this is not a new thing, big companies and governments placing adware and/or tracking us while compromising our security? It is not new. 

What can you do?

You can use a Tor browser for better privacy online, VPNs are also a good option. And the next the time you buy a new PC at the Home Depot, do a clean install and put everything yourself.