Quick Easy Mac Windows iPhone Photo Video 3D Software Tips, Tricks and Reviews, with a little bit of Dog Stuff!

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unboxing Features and Instructions

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I have just received Telstra’s Gateway Max 2 Unit, and my first impressions are overall good. It is aimed very squarely at beginners/novices, with not much for the pro’s to tweak in the back end. It is ultra light, with a somewhat flimsy feel. It has been rock solid so far, with an uninterupted uptime of four days. The unit does not come with instructions, just a simple but adequate Quick Start Card. The firmware does have some nice features such as Dynamic DNS options, Port Forwarding, Parental Controls etc…But not much for those of us that really like to dig in and do some hardcore configuring.

The unit’s very basic interface is at

Gateway Max User Interface

Gateway Max User Interface

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Advanced Options

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Advanced Options

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Rear

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Rear

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Side

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Box Side

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Quick Start Card Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Quick Start Card Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Quick Start Card Rear

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Quick Start Card Rear

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit FrontTelstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Front

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit TopTelstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Top

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Top

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit BackTelstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Back

Telstra Gateway Max 2 Unit Back

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Posted by Greg - February 4, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Categories: General, Linux and Unix, Mac, Networking, Tech, Windows and PC   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Normalize Audio Volume Levels in Video on Mac with Sound Normalizer

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Sound Normalizer IconDifferent volume levels in videos can be a real pain. I have a folder with dozens of music videos that I like to watch from time to time, and often one song will be very quiet and I need to raise the volume to hear it, then the next song will blow the speakers apart because it is so loud.

Sound Normailzer fixes all of that by adjusting the volume of each video to be the same – so you can set your volume once then sit back and enjoy your videos.

Sound Normalizer Default ScreenThe program seems to be built on, or at the very least modeled after MP3Gain Express For Mac, so for those of us who have normalized our music collection, the interface and simple usability will be very familiar.

Just drag and drop your video files into Sound Normalizer, and it will start analyzing the volume levels.

Sound Normalizer Analyzing Video FilesOnce analysis has finished, you will see the results listed. It shows you the current dB rating of the track, and the amount of gain it needs to apply or subtract to achieve the desired dB level. The desired level is set by default 89dB which is pretty much the standard most people will want. You can adjust this if you want to, but I advise leaving it alone.

Sound Normalizer Results

If you are happy to proceed and make the changes to your videos, press “Apply Gain” in the bottom right hand corner, and Sound Normalizer will start fixing up your videos.

The good thing is that it doesn’t actually adjust your original video, it adjusts a copy, and saves it to a new location which can be selected in the preferences. The new copy’s file name is appended with the normalization target dB, which in most cases will be 89dB.

Sound Normalizer OutputSound Normalizer works with all of the most popular Video AND Audio file types.
Video formats such as MP4, MKV, FLV, AVI, RMVB, WebM, 3GP, TS, M2TS, MTS, MOV, WMV, MPG, DivX, etc.
Audio formats such as MP3, WMA, AAC, AC3, AU, M4A, MMF, OGG, FLAC, WAV, MP2, etc.

File Types

Sound Normalizer is not free however, but it is well worth the $7.99 price tag. Grab your copy today in the app store, or find out more on Sound Normalizers Preview Page HERE.

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Posted by Greg - January 5, 2017 at 11:50 am

Categories: Mac, Software Encounters, Video   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Fun With Adobe

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Lightroom LogoFollowing on from my last post HERE about Adobe Creative Cloud, I finally decided against going the cloud route, and opted to purchase Lightroom 6 outright.

After purchasing my copies of Photoshop CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 here in Australia a few years ago, during installation I was forced to create an Adobe account for registration. So I created an Australian Account, for software that I purchased in Australia, with my Australian credit card, because I am, and always have been, an Australian Citizen.

However, upon attempting to purchase Lightroom, Adobe decided I am from Argentina, and I need to purchase Lightroom from Argentina, with an Argentinian credit card, and no, they cant fix their error and make my account Australian again.

No wonder they are going broke. Why do some companies make it so hard to do business with them? I have the money ready, I want to buy their product…


Adobe Chat 1Adobe Chat 3Adobe Chat 2

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Posted by Greg - June 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

Categories: Gregs Rants, Humour   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

How I took back control of Music on my iPhone from Apple – A MUST Read for Musicians

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iCloud Music Library ErrorsLike millions of other Apple/iPhone users around the world, I turned on Apple Music. Immediately, my whole music collection turned on its head. I had duplicate playlists, song files went missing and couldn’t be located, songs were renamed incorrectly, and music I had on my phone that is not in the Apple music library disappeared. Like most other musicians, I had a lot of music from my own bands there, and lots of music from fav’s who shunned the streaming service, like Prince. This music was ALL gone, and no matter what I tried to do, I just couldn’t get it back onto my iPhone. I tried to click the upload button next to affected tracks in iTunes to supposedly load them to iCloud, and it never worked. I could never get those tracks back onto my phone.

As time went on I grew to like the broad range of tunes available in Apple Music, and I came to accept that I just wasn’t going to have that old music on my phone anymore.

Over the weekend, I did a back up on my wife’s phone, and she asked for a specific playlist we have to be added. As she did not want to use Apple Music when it launched, I was able to click the playlist in iTunes, and sync her phone, and she had the music quickly and easily. It made me so angry that I decided enough was enough. I wanted control of my music back.

After lots of fruitless Googling, I was finally able to figure out what the issue is, and it is not Apple Music at all. It is “iCloud Music Library” that causes all of the problems. All Apple Music does is give you access to over a million songs, but iCloud Music Library tries match all of your music with songs in Apple’s collection, and then give you access to those tracks on your devices. In theory it sounds like a great idea, that should save drive space and give you high quality tunes. In the real world though, it is a poorly developed, rushed out, cacophony of errors that ruined my music collection. If you listen to mostly main stream music your issues might not be so bad, but if you have lots of live music, rare music, old vinyl you have converted yourself, or in the case of musicians your own original music, iCloud Music Library will mismatch, grey out, and in the some cases, remove music entirely from your device. And, no matter what you do, you will not be able to put it back.


In the end, it really only took one simple step to end this misery, regain control of what music is on my phone, and still have access to songs not in my collection via Apple Music.

I Turned off “iCloud Music Library” on my phone.

Music in SettingsI went to settings and selected music:

Turn Off iCloud Music LibraryThen I turned “iCloud Music Library” off, and got control of my Music Collection back!

Now, doing this is not without its perils, it turns your iPhone music collection on it’s head again, just like it did when Apple Music turned it on. A large majority of my music disappeared immediately, as it was matched (poorly) with music in Apple’s cloud. Thankfully, all of my original playlists before Apple Music were still on my Mac Pro, so when I did my first sync after flipping the switch, and I was able to select which music I wanted myself again, ALL of my music pre Apple Music was back! My 80’s Hairbands playlist went from 230 songs back up to its original 400. And lo and behold, the Gold Album was there as well.

Prince in Music

The Down Side to switching off iCloud Music Library – All of the tunes I added to my iPhone¬† collection from Apple Music had disappeared. Playlists containing Apple music disappeared. The ability to click the plus “+” button and save a song to my phone is no longer available. I can still search for and play any song on Apple Music, but I can’t add those songs to my device or use them in playlists, because Apple is a big whiny greedy baby!

Waaa - You must use icloudWaaaaa – You cant save this song to your phone cos we want you to use
iCloud Music Library – Waaaaa-Ha-Haaaaa!!!!
NEWSFLASH APPLE – Not everybody wants to sync their computer playlists to their iPhones and vice versa!

The bottom line is I now have control again, I have all of my favorite music back on my device, and I can control what is on there and what is not. I have lost a lot of functionality with Apple Music, and it is a small price to pay in my opinion, because I can still listen to those songs, and I finally have The Con!

Lionel Ritchie in WarrantLionel Ritchie – Now a member of Warrant – Thanks Apple Music!

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Posted by Greg - May 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

Categories: Gregs Rants, Mac, iPhone/iPod/iPad   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Microsoft’s Caption Bot vs Steve Jobs Photo

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I have been playing Microsoft’s Captionbot today, it’s a lot of fun. Especially when you give it Apple related photo’s.


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Posted by Greg - April 15, 2016 at 11:42 am

Categories: Humour   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Laser MMC-S30 Media Player Review

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mmc-s30As my WDTV Live Hub is a few years old now, and impressed greatly by what I have seen of the new H.265 video codec, I decided it was time to update to a new Media Player.

My first stop was Harvey Norman, where nothing of interest was found. Moving through the shopping centre the next port of call was Office Works, where the MMC-S30 was found. After reviewing the many logo’s on the box, and ogling it’s capabilities, the sale price of $179 was too good to pass up, and I brought it home.

MMC-S30 Media Player

The unit really does have a considerable amount of features. Quad core CPU, 8 Core GPU, Dolby Digital, DTS, HDMI, 3D, 4K, WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth… the list just goes on and on.

MMC-S30 FeaturesUn-boxing and connecting was pretty straight forward. With a big smile I plugged in both my USB WD 4TB drives, and still had one port spare! Too good to be true!

MMC-S30 Interface


The unit booted up, and with a small amount of fine tuning (adjusting the scale and resolution to suit my TV, setting audio to SPDIF pass through etc) I was ready to dive in. After scrolling through the menu I settled upon the 7Plus Smart App to begin playing with. To my surprise, the supplied remote does not work with this (and many of the other) pre-installed apps. Closer inspection of the supplied instructions revealed that some apps need a mouse. There goes that spare USB port I was so happy about…now I have to go and buy a USB keyboard and mouse. In reality however, because the machine is running Googles Android operating system, most tasks require use of a keyboard and mouse. The operating system, normally used in phones and tablets is built for touch interfacing, and falls terribly short in a media player relying on a remote control. Play, Pause, and scrolling up and down through directories seems to be where the remotes usefulness runs out.

With a Keyboard and mouse plugged in to a USB hub, and the hub plugged in to that coveted 3rd USB port, I again began exploring the device. This time with a full set of capabilities. Navigation seems very simple and straight forward to me. Like a kid in a candy store, I went searching for my sample H.265 1080 videos. Upon launching them, the machine played them back effortlessly and smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised. It also coped well with my MP4 files.

Feeling game I delved into the Google Play store, and set about downloading some apps. Although my keyboard worked flawlessly elsewhere, I had considerable trouble typing in searches. It appeared as though each key I pressed was stuck down – “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. I ended up having to use the mouse to click each letter. After some time I managed to get my search term typed in – Tunein Radio. The app downloaded and installed, but flatly refused to play. My second choice for internet radio was 181FM’s own app, which downloaded and played, but repeatedly quit/crashed after about 15 mins.

The unit comes with an old version of XBMC installed, so I was quickly and easily able to download and install the latest “Jarvis” version of Kodi. SuperRepo also installed well, and before long I was flicking through channels and enjoying the benefits of the 10/100Mb Ethernet connection. The unit handles Kodi very well. The only issue here again was “sticky” keyboard behavior, which is odd because other than the Google Play store, the keyboard works well with every other aspect of the software

Next on my list of things to do was add some new files. This is where things turn bad for me fast. Being used to the WD TV Live Hub’s always on file server capabilities, and given the device has wifi and ethernet, I went looking for it on my home network. It was nowhere to be seen. I scoured the settings, and nothing I could do made the unit appear on my network. It seems odd to me that a machine with so many capabilities doesn’t come with a server option? I expected there to be several solutions in Googles app store, and there was, but nothing that worked as easily and efficiently as it should. Wifi File Transfer and ES File Explorer were the best of what I tried, but neither allowed me to upload new files to my USB drives from my computer.

Further research into this revealed that Google removed the ability to write to external drives in Android Version 4.4, which coincidentally happens to be the version of Android running on this device. My understanding is that writability been restored in later versions of the operating system, but until LaserCo releases a firmware update, it looks like this may not be possible.

In an effort to try and buoy my spirits, I decided to check out and admire the quality of some of the 1080P episodes of Arrow I have. This is when the MMC-S30 REALLY got on my nerves. The episodes are encoded with DTS sound, and the device played them back easily. My gripe however, is that a DTS logo is superimposed over the video in the top right hand corner. I thought this logo may disappear after a minute or so, but it didn’t. It was there the entire time the DTS file was playing.

As I used the machine more, I found myself getting frustrated with it. It always shows subtitles, and the subtitle button doesn’t seem to work with its video player app. I had to manually turn subtitles off with the mouse in each new file. There are also no fast forward or rewind buttons on the remote, only chapter skipping. Very basic and vague instructions were not helpful.

I posted on LaserCo’s sparsely utilised forum about setting the machine up as a file server, but have yet to receive a reply. I also sent a question to LaserCo’s support service about “Rooting/Unrooting” the machine. Whilst I did eventually get a reply from them, the procedures they outlined, and the firmware file the made available for download did not successfully root the device.

Snooping around on 3rd party web sites I learned that the MMC-S30 will not play Netflix in HD, and that it is also a re-branded clone of the many cheap Chinese players that can be found on Ebay for $50-$80.

And then it happened……

About a week after buying the machine, I disconnected it, put it back in the box, and pined for the many hours I lost trying to get to like this machine. I had had enough.

The bottom line, the hardware side of the MMC-S30 is great. But the Android operating system when applied to this media player is clumsy, unintuitive, buggy and frustrating. Unless a OS update is soon released to address some of these issues, I would pass on this machine. It’s not quite there yet.

Inside Laser MMC-S30 Media Player

Inside Laser MMC-S30 Media Player

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Posted by Greg - March 31, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Categories: General, Gregs Rants, Tech   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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