May 022015

While I hate to admit it, sometimes the only way to get a few minutes of rest while away on a family vacation is to throw the kids in front of the tv for an hour or two.  Unfortunately, most of the tv shows I’m willing to let my kids watch aren’t typically available in the hotel room.

Luckily, most hotels have tv sets that have a free composite or HDMI port available.  This allows you to easily connect your own Roku, Apple tv or other streaming device and access your own programming.  The one SNAFU is that most hotel wi-fi networks require you to authenticate your access with a password, and there is no way to do that from your Roku.

Here’s a little trick to get you around that.  Assuming you’ve brought your laptop (for demonstration purposes, I’m using an Apple laptop), you can authenticate the Roku device using your laptop.  The first thing you’ll need to do is to get the MAC address of the Roku.  Luckily, it’s printed on the back in nice, easy to read lettering.  Here’s a picture of mine:


One you have the MAC address, you temporarily ‘spoof’ (think clone) this mac address onto the wireless network adapter of your computer.  On OSX 10.x, you do it in terminal like so:

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 7.38.09 PM

Once you’ve spoofed the MAC address, join the wireless network and authenticate from your laptop:

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 7.36.19 PM

Repeat the terminal command using the original MAC address to restore your original settings.

Now that the MAC address of the Roku has been authenticated with the hotel network and been issued a network address, you simply have to plug it into the tv, turn it on and then join the network from the settings page!  You now have access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Plex and anything else you already have on your Roku!  (And you have the kids occupied long enough to make a blog post!)

 Posted by at 8:04 pm
Apr 102015

While there are many things that can cause print jobs to hang or fail, this is something I’d recommend checking if your computer thinks your printer is offline when the printer itself says, “online.”

Sometimes turn it off and on just isn’t going to get it done.   This is one of those times.

In this particular case, your Windows computer (specifically the printer driver) may think it’s smarter than it is.  The driver uses a network protocol called SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) to ‘talk’ to the printer and determine things like how many paper trays it has, what size paper is installed, and it’s current status.  In theory, this works great.  In practice, it’s sometimes better to turn this feature off in the printer driver and not let the computer worry about what’s going on with the printer.

1. Step 1: Right-click on printer icon

Select properties from the drop-down.

2. Step 2: Left-click the ‘Ports’ tab at the top

3. Step 3: Click the ‘Configure Port’ box

4. Step 4: Uncheck ‘SNMP Status Enabled’

Once you’ve cleared the checkbox, click OK once or twice to exit the dialogue boxes and your Windows computer will once again send print jobs to the printer.  What happens next is up to the printer.

 Posted by at 3:10 pm