Today I’m going to briefly revisit an old topic, because I’ve had a few friends ask me about it recently. They said that they can watch streaming movies, like things on YouTube or Netflix, with no problem on their laptop / desktop computer – but for some reason when they try to watch the same things on their game console (Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii) they have to buffer every couple of minutes.
I have found the solution to be entering your router’s settings and enabling WMM. This gives “Wireless Multi-Media” packets priority over other packets. Some people say that WMM slows down their internet connection. I only find that to be the case if you have a lot of multi-media content moving around on your network, constantly. Several people watching movies from a media server, then you trying to watch Netflix… too much multi-media content trying to be given priority over each other, it can cause a bottle neck. But your average home user will see a huge benefit to enabling QoS (Quality of Service) and WMM in their router.
A few months ago, I wrote a general but in-depth guide on enabling WMM on multiple devices. It may be a little outdated already, but the majority of the information holds true.
When I look at the Windows 8 Start Menu, I see what a lot of other people see. Clutter. I’ve heard it from so many people, that the new start menu looks like a mess. There are so many icons it is overwhelming.
Microsoft’s great researchers and usability statisticians came back after Windows 7 and said the Start Menu is dead! Someone, high up in the ranks of Microsoft, decided that nobody uses the Start Menu anymore, they put the icons they want on their desktop, for faster access! And in their brilliance, during this eureka moment, they realized they could just put the icons on the desktop.
Microsoft tried this before. It was the original basis of Windows. Windows 95 brought us the Start Menu for the first time. But before that? In Windows 1-3? There were simply icons– on a Desktop.
So with Windows 8, we see a return to form, but people don’t like it. It’s obvious why, as well. Although I’ve seen desktops with literally dozens, maybe hundreds of icons, I think most people have a few more icons than they would like on their desktop, but overall most people keep it pretty clean. The thought went from “nobody uses the Start Menu anymore,” to “users just put the icons they want on the desktop,” to “let’s just put everything on the desktop.” This is where I audibly sigh.
People don’t use the Start Menu actively, but they do use it passively. In other words, the thought process should have noted the phrase “icons they want” are what people put on the desktop. They “passively” use the Start Menu by hiding the things they don’t want, within the Start Menu. When you install an application in Windows 8, who knows how many icons will end up “on” (not in) your Start Menu. Hiding them, manually, is just a pain. It’s just another one of those things that is messy and not clearly thought out in Windows 8.
Have an Android phone (at least 2.3 Gingerbread or newer)? Have a Microsoft Skydrive account? You can finally use them together, without 3rd party apps.
Although it released last week, Microsoft has been somewhat slow about notifying users that an official app for Skydrive can be found on the Google Play Store.
I like to do the Xbox Tip of the Week on Sundays, but this time I feel obligated to let everyone know of a little Zune tip I have for you. I know, they’re not extremely popular, but my sister has one and she recently let her Zune Pass lapse. After she renewed, she was receiving the Your Zune Pass info needs to be refreshed error message, even though she had synchronized her Zune.
Microsoft used to have a support article about this in their Knowledge Base, but if you try to visit http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946369 there is no page there anymore. It’s like Microsoft wants to disavow knowledge of the Zune’s existence. Well, I used a little Archive.org-fu and dug up the original contents of the page. Deeper in this article, you’ll find some of the contents of the original Knowledge Base article, with multiple tips for fixing this and similar issues. Continue reading “ZUNE Tip of a Lifetime: Zune Pass info needs to be refreshed solved! (KB946369)”