Streaming media without Internet

My mother lives in rural Mississippi and her only choice for Internet access is satellite. Satellite works fine for email and the like, but she has a data cap and streaming an hour or so of video online can eat up here entire month’s allotment. She asked if there was anyway she could watch online movies and TV, on their living room TV, without consuming data. Challenge accepted!

I acquired an old 4th Generation Kindle Fire HD7 which has the ability to do HDMI out. Unfortunately, the disk space is small and this model doesn’t have a SD slot. I wiped the Fire and set it up with her Amazon account. The idea is that she will take the Fire to her office periodically where this is “normal” Wifi. She’ll download the videos she wants from Amazon Prime and/or Netflix, then take it back and stream it via the HDMI cable.

Note, devices like Amazon FireStick and Roku would not work in this case because they attempt to stream everything over the network. In fact, without an Internet access, they won’t really work. I also tried Chromecast, but that isn’t really supported by Amazon on the Kindles which is a nice/cheap tablet. If I were to do this again, I might go with a cheap Android tablet and a Googlecast, but this works quite well.

Below are the instructions I put together for my mother for daily use of the solution.

Connecting the Kindle Fire to the Television

  1. On the back of your television, find an HDMI input that should look something like these two ports on the back of my television
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  2. Plug the provided cable into the HDMI input port.
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  3. Plug the other end of the cable into the Kindle Fire
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  4. Then connect the power cord to the split on the cable and the other end to the charger in the wall. This will charge the Kindle Fire while you use it and is optional
  5. Now whatever is on the Kindle Fire should display on the Television

 

Finding and downloading content to watch

  1. From the main Kindle Fire home screen, tap on the “Amazon Fire” application.
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  2. From the main Amazon Prime Video screen, click on the search icon and search for what you are looking for. In this example, I searched for the TV series, “Newsroom”
  3. Choose the content you want and for a movie you’ll see the options for that video, or for a TV series, you’ll see each episode of each season listed. Look for the icon with a down arrow to a box. kindle9   I’ve put a red box around one in the screenshot below.
  4. Choose the quality of the video. The better the quality, the more space it will take up on the device, and the fewer hours of content you can have on the tablet at once. So, play around with this to find the balance of hours of storage and quality on the screen. Next you’ll see the video is queuing and then downloading
  5. Once downloaded, you can play the video anywhere you want.

 

 

 


Avaya Engage Dubai 2016

I was surprised to get an email on a Monday, requesting I deliver a keynote at the Avaya Engage event in Dubai the following Thursday and could I bee in Dubai in just 6 days. After clearing it with my family, I got a great rate on Emirates ($830 roundtrip!) and away I went. This event was different in that the attendees would be ~1,400 CxOs and I’d only have 20 minutes to cover my topics in a way that would make sense to this audience.

I got in on Sunday night but the conference did not begin until Monday at 3pm, so lucky for me, this conference was at the Atlantis, The Palm, where they are not only right on the ocean but also have a waterpark. Did I rehearse my new slides for Thursday? No, I hit the water slides:

The best one I rode that afternoon was the Leap of Faith. Here’s someone else’s video of the ride:

Then we had some great speakers with just Avaya and our Authorized Business Partners in the region. I even got to see an Avaya colleague/friend (but I was speaking on Thursday, not Tuesday as he tweeted):

The next day started off with some very lively culture from the Emirates

We had great keynotes like this one from Nidal:

as well as some analysts speaking on the industry

The next morning started off with a beautiful sunrise (notice the sun reflecting off the skyscrapers on the right) and more great sessions

Then next morning was my chance on the big stage. Here is me mic’d up, before they opened the doors.

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I’m happy to say my preparation paid off and the presentation went well. It was a really big screen behind me, 30 meters (100 feet) in 16×9 format with resolution of 6000x 1008.

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A colleague recorded a good deal of the presentation and I’ve stitched the individual clips together here:

With that out of the way, I returned to the waterpark and found my new favorite slide, Poseidon’s Revenge. As the video below (not my video) shows, you start standing straight up and then the floor falls out from under you. You fall for a split second and then land in the tube and whip around, hitting 37mph. I liked it so much, I went ten times!

The aquaconda was pretty cool as well given its sheer size:

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All in all a great trip, but I was, as always, happy to return to my family.


Rec Depart Soccer Rotations

I’m lucky to live in a great city where we have a wonderful Recreation Department that runs a soccer league for pre-K through 2nd grade. They do a great job of encouraging fun with minimal seriousness.  I’ve been coaching my own kids teams now for three years and as a coach, I’m encouraged to make having fun my number one priority. Soccer skills are second and we try not to even keep score. There are no goalies in this league and as the coach it is important to me that each player have an equal opportunity to play offense, defense, and take a break.

I looked online for mobile apps or documents to help me manage this on the field, but none do what I needed: equal playtime between offense, defense, and sitting out. No goalie and no assigned positions.

Instead, I created an Excel document that includes a variety of possible scenarios depending on the size of the team and the number of players the league is recommending playing at a time. I use it by:

  1. Having a “blank” copy of each relevant scenario on my clipboard before each game.
  2. Before the game starts, I count players and find the right sheet.
  3. Fill in the players’ names in the proper column using a pen
  4. Tell each player where they are for the first shift.
  5. We play ~ 5 mins between rotations
  6. I call out each player’s name and what their next role is in the new shift
  7. Use my pen to cross out the shift we just did so I don’t lose track of which shift we’re on.

I’m sharing the document here in case others would like to use this as well. All I ask is that if you find an error or have a suggestion for an improvement, please contact me using the contact information on this site so that I can update the document accordingly and re-publish here for everyone.

Please bookmark this post, not the actual file, as the filename of the file may change over time, but this page’s URL will remain the same.

The Excel document can be downloaded here.


Installing a BT45-HON3 in a 2006 Honda Odyssey

I finally decided to add bluetooth to our 2006 Honda Odyssey minivan this weekend and I thought I’d document it here.

I purchased the BT45-HON3 from Amazon and it arrived the next day. I’ll admit that after I opened the box and realized that the instructions were, understandably, just about the device and nothing specific to my vehicle, I was a bit nervous. For example, I knew how to hook it up to the car’s radio, but not where or how. But I have YouTube, so no worries.

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Above is how it started, so first I needed to take off the panel around the climate control section. Using a basic screwdriver inserted under the panel, I was able to pop it out. Here is a shot of it popped out off. Note, I had to put the emergency brake on and then use the key to pop it out of park to drive in order to get it around the shifter.

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Next you need to unscrew the radio. The first two screws are obvious on the left and right of the bottom of the radio. But the third one is harder to see. It’s under the radio in the center. You’ll need a decently long screwdriver to get to it.

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Once that is removed, you can simply remove the radio.

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Once I pulled the radio out I pulled out the main radio jack, plugged in the new one from the BT device, and plugged the BT device cable back in its slot in the back of the radio.

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I then ran the BT device’s audio cable down and out to where the brake pedal is for the time. At this point, I turned the radio back on, and following the guidance, I was able to pair my Android phone to the device and listened to music for a bit. Very rewarding.

So, then I clipped the microphone near the rear view mirror and started to run the connecting wire toward the driver’s side door, tucking it under the liner.

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I then tucked the cable and hooked it up to the BT device, which I was able to easily just tuck up in the area above the brake pedal.

All in all, if you don’t count the time where I stopped working to admire the ability to listen to music, I’d say it took ~30 mins.


PCC EMEA Agenda

I’m excited to be traveling to Amsterdam this coming weekend to deliver two presentations on The Value of Avaya Support’s tools at our annual Partner Conference for EMEA partners. This is also what I’ll be blogging a lot about this month at http://www.avaya.com/blogs/archives/author/carl-knerr.

I’m a pretty well organized guy, so I like to have the conference’s full agenda in my calendar so I only need my phone’s calendar app to know where I’m headed to next during the week. I couldn’t find any existing calendar invites available, so I built my own. Given that this takes some time, I wanted to save other attendees the hassle, so below is a zip file full of .iCalendar formatted meeting invites for everything on the agenda.

Calendar Appointments

Please try to make one of the following two presentations I’m delivering:

  1. The Business Justification behind Automated Alarming and Fault Resolution
  2. The Value of using SAL, SLA MonTM, and EXPERT SystemsSM; a Deep Dive

I hope to see many of you there.


Dubai

I had the great pleasure of traveling to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat a month ago for business. I was invited by some really enthusiastic Avayans to come and speak to Avayans, Business Partners, and Avaya customers about how to unlock the value in their Avaya support coverage. This is a topic I’ve been talking a lot about and my first of a 4-part blog series can be found here: http://bit.ly/1MU22tc.

I had a really good time, despite the heat. Yeah, let’s talk about the heat for a moment: 50° C (120° F) is pretty darn hot. So hot that your own breath feels like a cold breeze. Yeah, that was a surprise. And while I’m told that Dubai tends to be a dry heat, while I was there it was quite humid. But there is so much A/C everywhere (even in the subway system) that it wasn’t all that bad. The people and the architecture more than made up for it.

I was able to catch a direct flight out of Boston to Dubai on Emirates, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Just days before the trip, my beautiful wife convinced me that we, and our four kids (6yrs old and younger) should go camping at the cape with our neighbors. We had a great time.

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This gave me an excuse to take the Ferry from P-town to Boston which was a great ride.

So, yes, an amazingly comfortable flight to Dubai on Emirates

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that left me rested and ready to see the city, both its old architecture

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and new.

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Their mall is famous as it has an aquarium, ice skating rink, and snow ski hill.

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But the best sight-seeing was going up the tallest man made structure in the world, the #BurjKhalifa. On the 124th floor, you’re actually outside looking down at the city. When you go to the 125th floor, you’re at 456M (500 yards or a quarter mile) high.

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I was impressed with the elevator. It takes only one minute to go from the 124th floor to ground. Check out this video I took on the way down.

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Next was a quick dip in the Persian Gulf just down the beach from the Burj Al Arab.

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I worked with a lot of great people during this week, who pretty much lived and breathed Avaya alongside me for a week. Check out the views from the Avaya office in Dubai.

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We did manage to get some food and laughs in along the way.

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The other cool thing about this trip was that two friends of mine happened to be in town on business as well. I met up with Peter, a Duke friend I hadn’t seen since 2002 for drinks, and then later that evening, I had dinner with this wonderful woman, Jenne, who I hadn’t seen since 1997.

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A great trip and I think we were successful in convincing some customers and partners to take another look at our toolset, which felt great. I look forward to an excuse to head back out there again.


Look Who’s Tweeting

Avaya_who_tweetingSo, I was interviewed for the internal Avaya newsletter about my activity on Twitter. If it was good enough for them, I figured I’d share that text here as well.

Director of Support Strategy Carl Knerr (@CarlKnerr) is one of the more prolific tweeters at Avaya. A quick skim of his page and you start to get a picture of who he is both personally and professionally. Knerr follows fellow Avayan Jeremiah Glodoveza (@baskintheglow) in our new series Look Who’s Tweeting, giving us insight into what’s hot on his Twitter right now.

How would you describe your account?

Speaks to my professional life: Avaya, business, technology, etc. Periodic posts about family and fun, but those are mostly reserved for Facebook.

What’s hot right now on your Twitter page?

The impressive value our customers can get when/if they leverage connectivity, alarming and diagnostics. So few internal/external people are up to speed on it that customers aren’t getting the value they paid for.

Your top five favorite or most interesting follows. 

  • @DaveMichels: Industry analyst; helps me keep my finger on how @Avaya is perceived.
  • @NoJitter: Great industry publication on what’s going on and where we’re all headed
  • @SteveAvaya: Avaya Sales leader: amusing and informative
  • @HonestToddler: Hilarious tweets, especially if you have small kids
  • @BoingBoing: Great source of all sorts of information.

What can employees expect if they visit your page?

Focused on topics related to support, social media and technology; rarely a repeat of the standard @Avaya content.

What’s your best Twitter tip?

Use pictures. They make your posts much more engaging for your followers. Width should be twice the height (ex. 440×220).

Connect with Carl

Twitter @CarlKnerr

LinkedIn