TV slideshows, printer fix, beta software
Bob's Tech Talk
August 1, 2020
Q. Is there a way to view personal photos on my television?
A. A living room TV is a perfect venue to share your family photo collection, and there are choices to fit every budget.
Many televisions built in the last decade can already display photos. Older TVs may have a memory card slot. Simply load photos onto a card and enjoy! This is also the best choice if your house does not have a Wi-Fi network.
The bundled software installed in SmartTVs often support photo sharing via home networking.
If your set lacks any built-in features or if they seem too complex to navigate, consider a hardware add-on. Two inexpensive options are the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast. Each are available for about $30, and they simply plug into any HDMI port on the TV. They also require a power outlet, although most advertising photos omit that important element. Either one will do a fine job.
Slightly more costly (about $50) is the Roku Streaming Stick. Roku was an early leader in streaming TV and alongside the programming options the stick can run an app that displays images from Google Photos.
The most expensive option, Apple TV, only makes sense if you are already deeply invested in the Apple iCloud Photo Library, or if you want a device that does a lot more than display photos in your living room.
My advice is to follow the path of least resistance. Amazon fans should go with a Fire Stick, Google Photos fans can use any of these devices, and if you do not yet have a preference, choose the least expensive one just to get started.
Once you set up photo slideshows on your TV, you will be hooked.
Q. I have a Canon MX922 printer. The printer was working just fine until we began to get paper abrasion messages. Can you tell me what to do?
A. Troubleshooting printers is especially challenging because there are so many different models, configurations, and computer systems in the mix. But there are universal techniques which apply to this type of problem.
For example, that model has a printer driver setting that adjusts the paper path to handle thicker papers, and once the setting is enabled, it will stay on until it is explicitly turned off again. I would look into that first.
If there is a specific error message, I search for that message in Google, enclosed in quotation marks. If the results are not helpful, I try to focus the search with additional words outside the quoted message, words such as “turn off” or “disable.”
The next step would be to visit the support section on Canon’s website, usa.canon.com, which has quite a bit of freely accessible material for your model printer. Enter “MX922” into the site’s search box to view the resources I am looking at as I write this.
Unfortunately, tech support has become very much a DIY skill. For better and worse,
solutions are usually available online, but they require patience to find them.
Q. Do you recommend using public beta software?
A. Absolutely not. No. Never. Ever.
In the last few years, summer has become public beta season, with both Apple and Google releasing public beta versions of their future major updates, which usually arrive in the fall as full-fledged releases.
Of course anyone enthusiastic about tech wants to get his or her hands on the new thing as quickly as possible. But there is a significant risk associated with beta software, even if you keep excellent backup copies.
Every one of these beta releases comes with a warning that they are for testing purposes only, and the manufacturers will not help recover from any problems you encounter.
There is another danger with beta releases. As our devices have become more dependent on cloud services, the interaction between cloud data and beta software is less reliable.
When it comes to public beta software, leave the testing to the professionals and wait until the official release.
Wander the web
Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:
Apple Video Tutorials
This is a collection of very short user-friendly videos that demonstrate how to perform specific tasks on different Apple devices. It is the perfect place to level-up your skills.
Android Video How-To
This extensive video library contains something for everyone interested in the Android ecosystem. Beginners and experts alike will find this site useful.
Online Museum Tours
This page catalogs a dozen museums worldwide that offer extensive online collections. Travel may be difficult, but unshackling your imagination is still possible.
A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.