Tech I’m using update 2015

I’ve been away from my blog for a while. The reason is mostly time. Starting a new family was a huge time hit to my blog as well as the convenience of quick updates available through social media (Twitter, Google+).

As a follow up to an old article I wrote here:

I wanted to give an update into the tech I’m using.

After my Aria phone, I upgraded to the HTC Vivid which didn’t last long because I managed to get it wet in a pool and had to pay an enormous amount of money to get a Samsung Galaxy S3 which i kept for a few years.

In September 2014, I upgraded to the Moto X (2014) and also got a smart watch the Moto 360. A few months earlier Google announced smart watches and i was hooked but i did wait for the Moto 360 before jumping in. Even a year later I still think it’s the best looking watch on the market. However, the biggest drawback is the LCD display as it doesn’t take advantage of the Always on because of how it activates all the pixels vs how an LED display does. It’s not a huge issue for me. I have grown very accustomed to getting text and select notification on my wrist can’t wait to see how the product matures as smart phones have. I’m still on the Android side of the fence. While battery life and platform fragmentation are still my biggest gripes I still love the platform as a whole and am still more excited with anything Google does that what Apple does.

I had a brief time with an iPad at work. While I was blown away at how great the battery life was and how much more convenient Cisco Anyconnect is that’s about all the praise I could give it. I sorely missed all the customization I’m use to with Android. I was surprised how many Google Apps could be installed over there but it was missing Keep. Couldn’t stand the keyboard even though I installed SwiftKey it’s just not what I like on Android. Wasn’t sad to give it back.

In 2014, I also dropped my AT&T grandfathered unlimited plan due to the throttling reasons than anything for which they got slammed for from the FCC  (ha ha ha). I got a promotion program where the 15GB plan was upgraded to 30GB for the same price. Plus a few months after I signed up they started roll over data too. I’m on a shared plan with another family member but they are not heavy data user. At least no throttling for the same amount of data I’ve always used.

I also got the Nexus 7 for a tablet. Very nice to be on Google’s update schedule vs the carriers. The tablet is basically my phone when I’m at home. Thanks to Google voice and last year’s hangouts update you can take and place calls and text from hangouts essentially making any device on Hangouts an IP phone. They can also MMS now even though I’m not a big MMS person.

I’ve been bouncing around twitter clients again. Plume is by far the best client for Android and feature rich but I’ve had to leave for the Official twitter client because for some reason after they did the material design update the program became very unstable and crashes often. I’ll keep an eye on it in hopes they fix it. 

I really enjoy Google+, in my opinion it’s the best social platform however user adoption and perception is not great. I sure hope it survives. I love the notification control and threaded conversations. Communities are great little social gatherings. I use it for games I play and tech devices. I think if they had a write API it would help.

I cut cable about 3 maybe 4 years ago. While I pay for a few streaming services, I’m well under my old charter and dish bills. Internet providers are slowly raising rates so that’s cutting into the savings as well.

I cut land line about 3 years ago. I use gvmate to hook up my cordless phones to Google voice.

Since Google Listen shut down I went over to Pocketcast which is a far superior podcast app.

Home automation and smart devices are my next projects. I’ve got my eyes on for a way to watch the front door even while away, Smart thermostats probably the nest, and/or maybe a full home camera system? 

Anyway, exciting times for technology changes. 

Until next time!


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Tip: Use C# to Stop a Windows Service and force kill its processes on a remote computer (LAN)

I hope this tip will save someone some time as I has spent a good deal of time trying to get this to work they way I wanted. Online findings were only partial solutions to my problem.

Recently, situations cropped up where certain Windows Services were getting stuck in a “StopPending” state and would not resolve no matter how much time was given.

About a year ago I needed a way to monitor windows services in case they went down and send out email notifications so, I wrote it.

I had a UI with a SQL Server back end that would allow me to control turning off and on windows services. I also wrote a monitoring service that ran on a server that would read the table and change the flags and actually do the work of turning off an on the services based on the flags. During that project I also needed the ability to change the StartupType of the service. I wanted it to be set as Manual when it was off and Auto when it was Running.

I found a DLL on Code Project for controlling the StartupType it was simply called ServiceControllerEx.
However, it did not work for a remote computer (another computer on the LAN not on the Internet). I was able to modify the code to connect to remote computers this way:
“\\\\” + this.MachineName + “\\root\\cimv2:Win32_Service.Name='” + this.ServiceName + “‘”

After that it worked great on a remote and the local servers just fine.

Now, back to the “StopPending” problems.

I needed my monitor in some situations to not only try to stop the service but stop any processes owned by the service.

I quickly found out that using Process.Kill() only works on the local machine. If you try to use this on a remote machine it says “Feature is not supported for remote machines.”  Researching that message brought me to this blog but did not fully cover the situation I was experiencing. While this would remotely kill the processes on a remote computer it did not cover how to limit it to only processes owned by a specific service.

Note: You also needed to use this method because it allowed you to use a Service Account with the appropriate permissions to control the processes on a remote machine.

I was finally able to solve this my adding a new method to the ServiceControllerEx class that would kill a services processes like this:
KillServiceProcessesEssentially, you can use ManagementObjectSearcher to do it all.

First, define the scope which is the machine name and the service account credentials.

Second, select the ProcessID of the service.

Third, iterate through all the processes on that machine and compare the ParentProcessID to the ProcessID and call the kill command if they match.

Good luck!!


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Amateur Radio Anniversary

This June marks my 13th year as an Amateur Radio Operator and 10th as Extra class.
I became an Amateur Radio operator in 1999, upgraded to Extra class in 2002.

While I’m not quite as active on air, I still find this one of the most interesting hobbies out there. I’m most involved with the Skywarn aspects and an active member of the ALERT club who works with the National Weather Service to help relay storm reports from the Amateur community.

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University of Alabama’s 14th National Championship Celebration

I had the fortune to attend another one of Alabama’s National Championship Celebrations. 2011 makes #14!!

Pictures: Album


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Google Music

Finally playing around with Google Music after getting into the beta way before it released.

Concept is to upload your music collection to the service then it’s available to you via app or browser anywhere. After transferring for 4 days I now have access to my 14GB collection anywhere. If I’m on my phone I have the option to stream or make available offline anything I want.

It’s much easier to maintain playlist because I know if wont’ loose it since it’s in the cloud vs tied to a pc.

Google music solved everything I hated about iTunes and Double Twist. Yet another Google product that has changed the way I do things!

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