Jul 27, 2011

Some fixes for slow Youtube app on iPhone and iPad over WiFi connection

Update! : The original Apple built-in app for YouTube has been removed as of iOS 6.  Be sure to go to the App Store and get the new official YouTube app from Google.   This new app is much nicer though it does still seem to suffer from the same ol' problem of slow loading videos.  

One issue that I've run into many times that doesn't seem to have a 100% solid fix is dealing with the really slow loading of YouTube videos using the native YouTube app on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Sometimes it's really slow over a WiFi connection but it will work fine on the much slower 3G connection.  Seems backwards.  The theory is that the native YouTube app is pulling in whatever the highest quality HD version of that particular video is - so it might be loading a very large 720p or 1080p video, which can take some time.

One workaround is to skip the native YouTube app provided by Apple and instead use the m.youtube.com mobile site. The site defaults to "high quality" but doesn't pull in the really large HD versions of videos so it loads faster in theory. Plus it has some nice searching and sorting features that are not present in the native app.

As far as fixing the native app, I've tried all sort of suggestions.  One popular suggestion is to change the DNS servers that your WiFi connection is using.  People have suggested using Google's DNS servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) or some other DNS provider like OpenDNS.  I've also seen people recommend changing channels on your WiFi router or disabling Wireless N and only using Wireless G networks, but there is no way I'm turning off Wireless N just to get some dumb videos to load faster!

But the one thing that DOES seem to work for me is to clear the cache for your Safari browser.  I'm not sure how this is related to slow loading YouTube videos but it does work for me most of the time - at least better than any other fixes I've tried.

How to clear your Safari cache:

  1. Go to Settings app
  2. Scroll down and click on Safari
  3. Click on Clear Cache
  4. Confirm that you want to Clear Cache on next window
Update! : In the latest version of iOS, it seems that the "Clear Cache" button doesn't exist now so you need to hit "Clear Cookies and Data" instead.

Now try your YouTube videos and see if they load any faster.  If it's not working immediately, you might want to trying forcing the YouTube app and/or Safari app to close. (Double-click home button to bring up running apps list. Hold finger on Youtube or Safari until it starts to wiggle. Hit the red X to kill it.)   Or you could also try rebooting the phone.  

I hope this helps!  Please comment if it works for you.  Or do me a favor and click on an ad or two. :)


Jul 25, 2011

Correct order to start and stop Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) services

The Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) is made up of several different services. It's important that you stop and start them in the proper order if you need to shut them down for maintenance or troubleshooting purposes.

Stop the services in this order :

  1. Blackberry Controller
  2. Blackberry Dispatcher
  3. Blackberry Router
  4. All remaining Blackberry services
Then start the services in this order:
  1. Blackberry Router
  2. Blackberry Dispatcher
  3. Blackberry Controller
  4. All remaining Blackberry services

Jul 24, 2011

Home electronics dying? Might need a voltage regulator like APC LE1200.

In the span of a month, one of my clients had to replace a new HP Laserjet CM1415FNW twice and Medialink Wireless N Router twice (great router by the way, nice strong signal).  They were both connected to surge protectors.  After the first incident we thought maybe it was just a rare lightning strike.  But then when the new replacement items were dead a week later, we figured there must be a more serious electrical issue.

Using a P3 Kill A Watt Monitorit looked like the voltage in the office was running a little low. It should have been right around 120v but it was dipping down closer to 112v sometimes.

So after some research, I decided to get APC LE1200 Line-R 1200VA Automatic Voltage Regulator from Amazon, it was the best deal i could find.  This device is not just a surge protector, protecting from spikes, it also protects from extended under-voltages and over-voltages.  It adjusts the output up or down to give you a nice clean signal in the safe range, right around 120v. It's pretty much the same thing as a power conditioner you might have for your home theater components, though this APC Voltage Regulator is much more affordable.

Note :  This is NOT a UPS - it doesn't have a battery to keep you online when the power is out.

You'll hear a "click" and can see if the LED light changes to the OVER or UNDER indicator so you'll know when it's working.  As I mentioned, it's also a great surge protector and it has 4 outlets on the back side.

Since I've installed this device, the client hasn't had any more power issues or dead electronics.  I'd highly recommend getting one to protect your electronics - computers, laptops, televisions, plasma, LCD's, monitors, home theater components, amps, bluray players, dvd players, receivers, DVR's, etc. I've already bought one for myself and I'm planning on picking up a few more.














Side note :  I've just bought one for my basement to protect some new electronic musical instruments that I've purchase -  an Alesis DM8 USB electronic drum kit and an Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX mixer.  (I've also started a little blog to share my experiences with my electronic drum set - MyEDrums.Blogspot.com . Head over there for some reviews and instructional videos. Thanks!)

Jul 22, 2011

MRxSmb error 8003 on SBS 2003 Server - master browser

After adding a new Dell Windows 7 64 bit laptop to a Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 domain, i started seeing an error message in the servers System event log.  The event source was MRxSmb and the event ID was 8003.

The description said "The master browser has a received a server announcement from the computer [insert-computer-name] that believes that it is the master browser for the domain on transport NetBT_Tcpip_ etc. The master browser is stopping or an election is being forced."

And the computer name mentioned in the error message was the new laptop that I had recently added.  So you need to go to that PC that is named in the error message, go to Services in the Admin Tools area and stop the Computer Browser service.  In my case, stopping it wasn't good enough. It would restart every time the computer rebooted, even though it was set on Manual start up.  So you should change it to Disabled.

Now keep an eye on your event logs and this message should no longer appear.

Basically this laptop was announcing itself to the network, saying "Hey, i'm the master browser for the whole network".  But that job should really be left up to the server, not a random PC.   And when we say "computer browser", we aren't talking about your web browser.  This is a network service that allows PC's on your network to be aware of what other PC's are on the same network.

Jul 21, 2011

Turn off 4G in your Verizon USB Modem (aircard, mobile broadband internet)

I have a few users with the new Pantech 4G LTE UML290 USB modems from Verizon. Some of the users are in locations with very weak 4G signals. It's constantly dropping the connection.  One tip from Verizon tech support was to disable the 4G service in the device and just allow it to connect to the 3G network which will hopefully provide a more stable signal and not disconnect them constantly. This should also work on other Verizon 4G LTE devices from LG and Verizon (such as the Verizon 551L and LG VL600).

Here are the steps:

  1. Launch VZ Access Manager but don't connect
  2. Press Ctrl-D to launch the "hidden" system settings window
  3. The password is diagvzw
  4. Select "Settings" from the menu
  5. In the "Preferred operating mode" section, change it from Global to "Auto CDMA"
  6. Close out of VZ Access Manager and relaunch it
Now you will always connect only to the 3G network.  You'll need to repeat these steps and go back to "Global" if you want to re-enable 4G mode.

And it's usually a good idea to always check for updates within VZ Access Manager - it will update the VZ software, Windows drivers, device firmware, etc.

Jul 19, 2011

Microsoft CRM 4.0 ASP.NET Error 1309 - your registration period has expired

This post is somewhat related to my previous post with a similar error message but the detailed error on that one says "you have reached the maximum number of user quota".  Please see that post if that is your ASP.NET error when trying to login to Microsoft CRM.

In this case, the users aren't able to login to CRM 4.0, they get an error saying "Invalid User Authentication".

This was a test/demo CRM installation on a virtual server that hadn't been used in a while.  The only clue I found was an ASP.NET error in the Application event log.  Source = ASP.NET 2.0.5.727.0. Event ID 1309.

Digging thru the error details, I found this...

Exception information:
  Exception type: CrmException
  Exception message: Your registration period has expired

Since this test/demo system had sat idle for a while, it had passed it's 30 day trial period and the registration wizard was never run.  So once I ran the CRM Registration Wizard, this error went away! But I'm wondering why it wouldn't simply provide a user prompt telling them this issue when they try to login via the browser, rather than making me dig through ASP.Net error logs???

Also, as I mentioned above, once I fixed this issue, I ran into another similar CrmException error that still prevented users from logging in, it said "You have reached the maximum number of user quota". Then I had to manually edit some SQL tables to fix this issue. Please see this post if you are also having this issue.
 

Microsoft CRM 4.0 ASP.NET Error 1309 - CRMException - maximum user quota

I was working on a Microsoft CRM 4.0 system the other day for one of my clients. It's mainly used for demo and testing purposes so it hadn't been used in a while.  The customer was unable to login to the server.  When they tried to login to CRM via the browser, they just got a message saying "Invalid User Authentication".

I spent quite a while checking security settings, IIS settings, etc.  Didn't really see anything CRM-related in the server event logs either. But I did see one error showing up at the exact moment the user was trying to login. But the source wasn't MSCRM, it was ASP.NET 2.0.50727.0.   Event ID 1309.

There was a long list of details on the error but the part that jumped out at me said this..
Exception type : CRMException
Exception message : You have reached the maximum number of user quota

So it sounded like they had more active user accounts than licenses. This is possible since the company was imported from another domain with different user accounts and probably not mapped appropriately. I think originally they were on a 30 trial installation and hadn't registered it so maybe that gave them an unlimited number of users during the trial period?  Since I had just registered it earlier to solve a different error, that might have kicked in the quota problem.  Though it seems like the browser login should have told them about being over quota, rather than having to dig into the server logs?

Anyway, I ended up going directly into the SQL tables and making some changes. I went into the SystemUserBase table. I was looking at the IsDisabled (bool) column.  Should be "True" for disabled users.  After counting the number of active users in the table, they were definitely over their 5 user license.  So I manually changed the IsDisabled value to "true" for all but 5 users.   Then I was able to login to CRM with no errors since they were now within their quota!

While you are there, you can also adjust the TYPE of user account via the AccessMode (int) field. 0 for full access, 1 for administrative access, 2 for read-only access. But this isn't necessary to fix the user quota error message.

I didn't see this error documented anywhere else so hopefully this post will show up in Google and help some other folks.