Monday, July 18, 2016

I've finally managed to update to Windows 10 version 1511, here's how

After months of frustration I've finally took the time to update my Intel Compute Stick 1st gen to Windows 10 version 1511.
I tried updating it through Windows 10 Update but I would get the error that I needed at least 16Gb of free space on the stick in order to proceed, that of  'course is ridiculous since it only has 20Gb of free space in total so I got a USB drive with more than 4 gigs and I used the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool found at , just hit download tool now, run it and then select Create installation media for another PC then your language, Windows 10 32 bit and your USB drive letter for the download process to start. After the tool finishes go to your USB drive and run Setup.exe

More information regarding the update can be found at

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Compute Stick went into a boot loop after the November Windows update.. (possible fix)

The November Windows 10 upgrade was a major disaster for quite a few Intel Compute Stick owners. I was no exception. Thankfully I found a way to recover my Stick from a boot loop after the aforementioned update. Back in August I downloaded a Windows 10 .iso version 10240 and I used Rufus to write that to a USB drive I had lying around. The latest .iso from Microsoft would not boot or install for that matter so look for that August release and try a fresh install with version 10240. After the installation you'll have to visit Intel's site and conveniently download the "Automatically update your drivers" file that will install everything you'll need to get the graphics WiFi and Bluetooth going.
Everything seems to be running smooth after that but you'll have to go to your Windows Update options and choose "Advanced options" and check the "Defer upgrades" box that will disable the November 1511 upgrade from installing again soon.. One minor glitch after all this seems to be the recognition of my TV as speakers that needs a reboot to happen otherwise I sometimes get no sound..
Hopefully Intel will come up with a solution to the upgrade problem or Microsoft will release a new one that is more Compute Stick friendly. Until then try not to install the upgrade or try my solution if possible.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Casting photos and videos from your mobile device to any device with Allcast

My HTPC setup is built around Windows 10 on the Intel Compute Stick so I was looking for a way to send photos and videos taken with my Android phone directly to the TV connected Stick. What I didn't realise was that I already had an app for that named Allcast for Android and iOS.
Allcast supports the widest variety of devices and OSs and it also has a Chrome Extension that is key to my setup. If you have a Chromecast, Apple TV, XBOX, Roku, Amazon FireTV, any Smart TV or PC running Chrome you're covered. 
One thing to mention if you have Windows is that you have to open port 53515 on your Windows firewall as mentioned on the Chrome extension page "Firewall notes:
Can't find your receiver (Chromebook, Windows), adjust your firewall settings to allow UDP/TCP ports 53515". After you've set that up you're good to go. Just fire up the Allcast Chrome App on your machine 

The Allcast window on Windows, you can maximize it for full screen goodness
Open your Allcast app on your Android or iOS device

Just click to select the playback device, in this case Chrome
and finally select what you want to watch

If the above setup works for you and you are happy with the result you'll have to buy the premium version of this app to have playback time limits lifted. I have to mention that playing back 1080p video recorded with my phone was almost buffer free on Windows and flawless on Chromecast.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Activity Indicator is an HDD activity light for your Windows device that is missing a physical one.

One of the things you don't get with a minimal computer like the Compute Stick is a Hard Disk activity indicator light to know when the machine is busy reading some stuff and wait for it to finish. Well there's an app for that of course appropriately named Activity Indicator found over on Sourceforge. You can see it in action (or lack thereof) on the image below and you can access it's full potential by right clicking on the icon and selecting Show Window to get to the main menu. It also has logging features that I don't use cause frankly I don't need them and they seem to crash the app sometimes.
The little green dot that is currently off shows the activity
and this is the on state..
There are other functions like logging available through the menu

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to get the best YouTube experience on your TV.

I've been enjoying YouTube content for quite some time now and there's no better way to do that than on a big screen. A little known feature of YouTube is it's laid back UI made for TV that you can access on your desktop browser through .

You navigate the UI with the directional keys on your keyboard along with a couple of shortcuts like "G" for Guide and "S" for Search along with the help of "Enter" to skip ads once you can and F11 for full screen since you are viewing this on your browser.

If you are an active YouTube user with a Google account you can sign in by hitting "Sign in" on the menu and visiting to get a code that you then apply. Apparently this UI made for TV is very similar to the one used on Android TV so you get a similar experience on your Intel Compute Stick or any PC that you have connected to your TV. You can also use your phone as a keyboard while searching if you are connected on the same network.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Booting a different OS on the stick is tricky..

I had an experimental mood this past weekend and wanted to try alternative OSes on the Stick but couldn't manage to start any of them with various degrees of failure. The main contestants were "CloudReady" by Neverware (ChromeOS for all computers) and Android X86 (yes that Android).
CloudReady managed to boot but it wouldn't recognize the wifi on the Stick, for an online OS that's a showstopper. The Android X86 5.1 build that I tried didn't have any success in starting up. Funny thing though is that both started and played just fine on my wife's old HP laptop so I settled for that.

Yes this is Android 5.1 on a laptop and yes it works great.

The Android desktop in action

This is CloudReady and I love it.

Chrome runs just fine on older hardware and everything is snappy.

The main OS on this laptop is Linux Mint and it runs smoothly.

1080p desktop on your TV makes fonts hard to read? Change dpi.

Having a 1080p desktop with the Compute Stick is great but if you are sitting a bit far from your TV then reading dialogs and menus gets kinda hard. That's where the DPI settings on Windows come in handy. You get the full 1080p resolution while your desktop apps scale up and are easier to read from afar. Simply right click on your Windows desktop and select "Display Settings"

Set the slider of the size of text and apps to 150% or as you prefer.

If on the other hand you don't want such a permanent change you can always start Windows Magnifier that pops a dialog where you select zoom level and then conveniently turns into a magnifying glass icon that gives you the menu when you click it.