New Google Meet Features in Google Classroom

A new dialog popped up in Classroom today with some very welcome changes, the most welcome of which is the first:

Teachers or co-teachers are always meeting hosts: This is what has been needed for years now. Until now, unless an admin made some obscure setting changes across the whole institution, there was no reliable way to ensure a teacher would be the meeting host. The biggest problems caused by this was the entire meeting closing when the randomly-assigned host dropped from the meeting, and the ability to record and location of saved video file also being assigned to that person (usually a student).

Students will be sent to the waiting room until a teacher is present in a meeting: I would actually prefer this to be optional since there are times when I want the students to work without me before I join. I also let students practice presenting in our designated meeting room when I’m not there. I guess they can do it in a different room, but why not make the software more flexible and accommodating to as many situations and users as possible?

Video participants outside of your class can ask to be admitted by the host: This might be convenient once in a while, but honestly, it makes things less secure (because before this change, nobody could get in my university’s online classes without a university email address), and I suspect it won’t be trouble-free, either. Permissions problems across all systems are just too common.

The next improvements I really want to see for Meet are breakout rooms, more admin controls, and improved latency… Zoom still functions much better and is less laggy. The real improvement many need for Google Classroom is the Gradebook – this needs to be more directly editable and downloadable in a useful spreadsheet with everything contained therein. The way it works now is like a beta version of a janky ad-supported website built by a three person company on the weekends, not the big G.

Apex DLL issue?

After recently installing a game (maybe Apex Legends on Steam), I tried opening my default graphics editor and got a weird Windows dll error. If you get a similar one that says:

The program can't start because VCRUNTIME140.dll is missing from your computer. Try re-installing the program to fix this problem.

or:

The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.

You can probably fix it by replacing the missing dll file or reinstalling the appropriate Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package. I remembered seeing a Visual C++ installer before a game install so I just tried the latter first and it worked:

See?

Dubai Lamps for Sale in Thailand?

Imagine my surprise at finding a supposed source for the new super-efficient LED bulbs made exclusively by Philips for UAE royalty (“exclusive,” as in, you can’t buy them anywhere else), invented to comply with government regulations. The redundant circuitry sounds exactly like what I need for my house here in the northeast, plagued with frequent overvoltage problems, which in turn necessitates frequent bulb replacement.

I kind of doubt the seller is legit, but I’m curious enough to try and buy a few.

LINE Windows App Bug

If you are installing LINE on Windows, download the installer directly from the website and don’t bother with the app available through Windows. The Windows app version has a couple of unique conveniences like native Windows notifications, but is badly bugged. It throws up “Newer version available! Update?” in an annoying dialog box every time LINE starts up, even if you are using the latest version. Trash.

Google Maps to Rule Them All

I think that Google should be pushing Maps into social media harder because it currently controls the majority (the number I’ve seen recently is ~70%) of the online map market, but is getting undercut, mainly by Waze. For Thailand, outside of urban centers, Waze is complete trash (as are all other competitors except for dedicated GPS systems like Garmin). Plus, there are already 30 million Local Guides worldwide according to Google.

This is a step in the right direction: Google Maps tests a social networking feature with the ability to ‘follow’ Local Guides

Full disclaimer: I am an active Local Guide

If Google Maps would integrate the user-contributed traffic and police reports of Waze into an optional view of the current system, it would just be SO GOOD… Or how about attacking social media from a location-centric (specifically maps-centric) standpoint? And reinstating all the functions/data of Google Reader as well? Before Facebook and Insta cause the collapse of all non-soc media websites? kthxbai

Poco F1 + Google Camera

I bought a Xiaomi Pocophone F1 in September of 2018 and it’s basically been my main since then. Aside from sensitivity issues when typing with both thumbs, it’s been a really excellent phone. Besides offering flagship specs for 1/3 the price of an equivalent Samsung, the camera is top notch. A couple months ago, I got it into my head to try a custom ROM, but ended up just installing the Google Camera apk instead. It’s been fun. Here’s a couple of shots after sundown last night, one in normal mode and one in night mode, both shot unsupported:

You can click through a couple times for the original size photos.

Disabling Edge Swipes for Logitech K400r Keyboard on Windows 10

After trying multiple times over several years, I finally found a solution for the annoying trackpad gesture problem (when left swiping on the trackpad causes task view like “Windows key +Tab” to open). My particular setup on Win 10 uses both a wired keyboard (for normal use) and a K400r (for use with TV). I tried basically every solution proposed on the net including:

  1. CONFIGURING TOUCHPAD GESTURE SETTINGS ON THE K400 KEYBOARD (Logitech site)
  2. How to Enable or Disable Screen Edge Swipe in Windows 10 (tenforums and other help sites offer the same advice)

As well as the totally unhelpful pot of crap that is the Microsoft help site.

What worked for me, and hopefully can work for you, is totally counter-intuitive and is the opposite of what the manufacturer says to do (of course). I could not get the keyboard settings to appear in the Logitech SetPoint software as described on the Logitech page linked above, so I was desperate, and came up with this fix:

First, install the Logitech SetPoint Software and Unifying Software, which you can download here.

Second, add the K400r and any other hardware you need (I use a wireless mouse in conjunction with the keyboard) via the unifying software. Make any changes you feel necessary with the SetPoint software.

Third, disable Edge Swipe in Win 10 by using Group Policy setting or registry edit as described here.

Optional step: Install the Logitech Smooth Scrolling extension for Chrome.

Fourth, uninstall the Logitech SetPoint Software ONLY (leave the Unifying Software).

Lastly, restart your computer.

Hopefully, this works for you!

Note: If you have the same problem with a different trackpad on Windows 10 and nothing else is working, this page may help you even though it’s for Windows 8: Touchpad Edge Swipes – Enable or Disable in Windows 8

The Curse of RSS

Looks like I get to play my one of my favorite games again: Note the passing of another free RSS reader, not have the will to protest its disappearing, and halfheartedly look for another free replacement.

Yay Reddit and Facebook, you win again!

Google+, don’t even look at me, man. Your cousin Google Reader was twice the social network you’ll ever be, and it wasn’t even a social network.

Auto-parking Slipper Resort in Japan

Alternate usages:

  • Segways for cats (light load bearing)
  • Go Go Gadget Rollerslips (heavy load bearing)
  • Tech-enabled procreation aid for rapidly aging population (G Parking)
  • Ad-hoc conveyor sushi party set

I wish Nissan would quit spending resources on clickbait and just make better cars… My RB-20 cries itself to sleep every night knowing that its great grandkids are (under) powering ugly hybrid bimbo boxes with whiny CVTs and ridiculous start/stop features.

I, Hiropro

I was a tester (paid in t-shirts) for the first color version of the Google logo on i-mode however many years ago, and I’ve never looked back. Gmail is the most important site/service to me, period. Some of the Google Suite is also indispensable. But my all-time favorite is Maps (and Earth).

Nothing else makes me feel quite like I lived through an important technological period than using cutting-edge tools with a huge initial wow factor which I eventually started taking for granted.

So beta testing new Maps features? Yes, please.