Living with Eero’s “Fast, reliable WiFi” (or, my experiences living with Eero WiFi the past year)

About a year ago, I decided that the new wave of “Mesh Wireless” devices was the way to go. I bought into the hype behind being able to “blanket your whole home in fast, reliable WiFi” that so many of these brands seemed to be offering. After doing my research, I settled on the Eero units due to bandwidth issues some users had experienced with the Google WiFi units. At the time, there were only a couple other options (Netgear being the main competition).

I started my adventure spending $350 on a three-pack of the original Eero Pucks. It was on sale at Best Buy so I thought I was getting a great deal. Initially I thought I’d just use them as Access Points in conjunction with my nice Netgear Nighthawk router. Unfortunately, it took a lightning strike the night before so I succumbed to an Eero-only setup.

At first, all went well. Aside from one of the pucks having trouble pairing, I eventually got all three placed and connected. According to the Eero App, my placement was spot on. For the first few months, it did seem that I had fairly worry-free WiFi. I do confess, I really like the App and all the functionality it offers.

However several months in, the facade started to show cracks. As you can see, at this point I have added additional Eero extender units (Because somehow it takes all 5 of these to reliably cover my 1500 sq. ft., single-level house corner to corner). One day my Internet connection just stopped. I was out of town and using my Plex Media Server on the regular. While streaming Deadpool for the fourth or fifth time, it just stopped working. I realized I could’t ping my server so I grabbed my phone and fired up the Eero app.

Okay, I thought, that’s cool. It just needs a reboot for some reason. In the back of my mind I recall some advertising mumbo jumbo about how rebooting your router would be a thing of the past with Eero. While pondering that thought, I clicked the “Manual Restart Required” button.

Oh. So there was an update available for the Eero. Is that what caused the issue? No…couldn’t be that! So I waited patiently….and BAM!

So now I have to physically unplug it and plug it back in….Trust me, the irony is not lost on this guy. But guess what? I’m not home! I’m hundreds of miles away!  Fortunately, my wife was back home so I called her to walk her through this process. Anyone who has worked in IT knows what it’s like to talk someone who is less tech savvy through anything on the phone.

Eventually we got the Eero unplugged and plugged back in so I tapped “Next” in the App. Now it proceeds to have us go to each of the other Eero units and manually restart them, on by one, in turn, until finally, after the last one……

Hallelujah! Finally our Worry-Free WiFi and Internet has been restored (now that the Eero has completed its updates). What a hassle, but if this is uncommon, I can deal with it. Although had nobody been home I would have been hosed for three days until I got back.

Fast Forward to TODAY………

I’ve had to go through the above scenario one more time in the past 6 months (because there was an update for Eero again, and again it caused my Internet to drop). And now, today makes the THIRD time this has happened in the past year. Only thing is, today, instead of it completing that “Restarting Network” step above, I get this beauty:

So here I sit, for the third time in a year, away from home and having my wife jump though hoops to try and get our “Fast, Reliable WiFi” up and running again. We have gone through this process three times, including trying to reset the cable modem, with no luck. I have reached out to Support, but it’s Sunday. Who knows how long this could take? And my wife is at home, stuck with no TV since we use Internet to stream live TV with Philo TV. (I’ll be writing a shining review for that service soon….really, it’s amazing).

I’ll report back if and when we get to the bottom of this. Currently I have $500+ invested in this Eero setup and I feel like I would have been much better off going with another system. I may still end up doing so….

My Experiences with the Sony QX10 “Camera”

Let me start by saying I bought my DSC-QX10 “Lens-Style Camera” at the end of February through Amazon. The first thing I did was update the firmware to the latest version. I also grabbed the latest version of the PlayMemories Mobile app form the Play Store. This “camera” has been the most useless device in in collection ever since.

Sony’s marketing of the device is very “optimistic” and misleading. They have a video showing a few really happy-looking individuals seeming to really enjoy using the camera with their smartphones.
Sony’s marketing of the device is very “optimistic” and misleading. They have a video showing a few really happy-looking individuals seeming to really enjoy using the camera with their smartphones.

This is a complete farce! On the RARE occasion where I can get the “NFC/Wi-Fi® allows simple, one-touch connection with smartphones” to actually stay connected to my phone for more than 15-20 seconds, the ability to compose any kind of shot with the “live-view” on the smartphone is non-existent. There is such a tremendous amount of lag in the display that even stationary, landscape shots are maddening at best. Taking any kind of photo of a moving subject (as portrayed in at least one of their promo videos) is completely impossible. If you happen to frame your subject and get a shot off in the split-second between lag you’d better go play the lottery because you are the luckiest person I know.

EVERY TIME I try to give this thing the benefit of the doubt and give it another chance, I get burned. I have missed many great impromptu shots because of the device consistently disconnecting from my phone, the lag preventing me from framing the subject, etc, etc, etc. I ALWAYS end up getting so frustrated that I put this thing away and revert to using my phone’s built-in camera.

I have tested this device with several phones, Including the Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S4, and even my Sony Xperia Z3! NONE of them provide a usable, much less enjoyable experience. I can only hope that someone thinking about purchasing this product will see this post before they make a huge mistake.

For Reference, here is a link to Sony’s marketing page for this device….a shining example of misleading advertising.

Sony DSC-QX10

Paid Music Services (an editorial)

Google Music has had its doors open to the general public for some time now, placing itself in the game with others like iTunes, Rhapsody, Rdio and Grooveshark (to name a few). That being said, I find myself wondering just how it will fit in, and just why we need another pay-per-song music service anyway. Over the years, I have found myself using all of the above-mentioned services, and the more I think about it the less the pay-per-song services make sense.

With iTunes, and now with Google Music, you can add your own existing MP3s with ease and even store them in the cloud to use with multiple devices wherever you may be (as long as you have a network connection). They also give you the option of buying new music for download and/or the cloud. Then, you can sync your music to allow for offline listening. Here’s the thing, though. When it comes to discovering new music I find Google falls short. At least with iTunes, they have radio stations based on your favorite artists or genres. Occasionally I’ll hear a song I’ve never heard and be like “Hey, who’s that? I like this!” With Google, you can “shop” for music but it has the same shortcomings as other pay-per-song services….namely, the 30-second clips. With the kind of music I like, it’s sometimes hard to know for sure if I’m really going to dig a song with nothing more than a 30-second clip. Not to mention, I have to search or browse though bands to find something I like.

In step services like Rhapsody and Rdio. They let you pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access to music. They also are cloud-based and accessible from anywhere there is a network but also have the ability to cache for offline listening.  With these services, I can play “artist radio” that will play music based on an artist I choose.  I find this to be the easiest way to discover new music. I know you’re going to say, hey Pandora does that for free! But the problem with Pandora is that I can ONLY listen to radio stations, where services like Rhapsody and Rdio let me also pick specific artists, albums, or even songs I want to hear, as well as the ability to build my own playlists with songs I don’t “own.”  (longest sentence ever?) Now I have access to full songs from any band I can think of (or never thought of) and I can listen to them on my computer, my smartphone, etc. It’s that freedom that really sets these services apart from pay-per-song services.

Well what about all those MP3s I have taking up storage space? Well, they’re yours. They always will be (the ones you obtained legally, anyway). In the meantime, I can add all those same albums to my Rdio or Rhapsody collections and listen to them anywhere (from the cloud) without having to convert them with iTunes or upload them to Google.

Then there’s Grooveshark. It lets you do most of the same things as paid services like Rhapsody or Rdio but without the “paid” part. From my computer, I can listen to all the music I want, absolutely free. The catch comes when I want to listen from my smartphone. But it’s not much of a catch because for a small monthly fee, I can download an App and listen to everything I want on my smartphone, too! Best part about Grooveshark? They have lots of GWAR!

So here’s my conclusion…I can’t see paying for music through services like Google or iTunes. If I “buy” an album I want something tangible. I like CDs. I like inserts and lyrics and all that comes along with actually buying an album. If I’m just going to be listening to music digitally, I see much more usefulness in monthly services that will let me listen to ANYTHING I want.  For me, I’ve settled in with Rdio. It’s a little pricier that Grooveshark but I find their mobile app to be much better than the competition.

Chime in and let us know what you think in the comments….

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Android App Suggestion: Ghosttown

Ok,
I still don’t entirely get how this app works, but who cares??? Go get this app, now! Basically, you launch this music app and search for a band. It shows all the albums it can find by said band and you can play any/all of the songs it finds. So far I have been pretty amazed at what it can find. I was even able to listen to some older GWAR stuff that I couldn’t hear on Rdio or other more well-know apps! Oh, and the kicker…It’s FREE. Yep absolutely FREE. All you can hear; unlimited skipping; non Pandora-like crap.

Oh, and did I mention you can build playlists? And add any tracks you like to them? AND every artist you search for is stored in a list on the main music screen so you can easily get to them again (unless you remove them, of course)

(There is an option to remove the ads for $0.99 but it’s not necessary. Personally, I did just as a THANKS to the Developer!)

Seriously, go get this app now!
Play Link: http://t.co/eTIHlE9
(Oh, and in case you didn’t realize this, you can click the install button on that link and it will “PUSH” the app to your phone automagically)

UPDATE: Apparently it was too good to be true. As of January 2013 this app is no longer available in the Play Store. 😦