Easy Amazon Alexa and Sony SRS-XB22 Setup.

26 12 2019

Let me just start by saying that I know many of you are not that tech savvy, and that’s ok. You might make beautiful cakes, or never get lost while driving, we’ve all got our own set of skills.

And some of this stuff can be pretty frustrating for me too.

Around November I bought myself some Sony SRS-XB22 bluetooth speakers, and have been enjoying listening to Spotify, in STEREO.

Yes, if you buy two of these speakers, they link together via bluetooth and provide music in Stereo.

However the initial setup is a bit of a pain, and sometimes they forget how they were setup, forcing you to start again.

So I sigh and launch the Sony app again and mess around with it for a minute, and it’s all good.

Current tech is amazing, but it’s not perfect and will have the odd glitch from time to time.

Now to get to Spotify they had to be connected to something, and I was using my Android tablet for it. It worked very well and I was happy.

But a few days ago I came home from shopping with an Alexa dot, and began to hear talk about connecting bluetooth speakers to that.

If that could happen then it would make playing my music so much easier, but no matter how I tried, it failed to connect.

Further reading revealed that the speakers *remembered* my tablet, and this meant the Alexa was effectively locked out.

Firstly, if your speakers are straight out the box, you’re fine, they should pair to Alexa easily, but if you’ve been using them with something else, here’s how to untangle the knot.

Choose one speaker to function as the main speaker, mine is the right speaker.

On the RIGHT speaker, hold down the power button until the blue light begins to pulse frantically, this usually happens after the speaker tells you about how much power it has left.

If it’s blinking like mad, as opposed to a gentler beat which it settles into later, you’re good.

Turn on the LEFT speaker with a quick press, no need to hold.

Open the flap on the back of the RIGHT speaker and press the Add Speaker button.

Then open the flap of the LEFT speaker and press Add Speaker.

I think at this point the Speakers announce that they are in double mode.

Go back to the RIGHT speaker and hold the Add Speaker button for a few seconds, the speakers should now announce that they are now operating as Left and Right.

Now open your Alexa app.

On the bottom right you should see an icon called DEVICES, hit that.

On the next page you will see an icon with three dots called ALL DEVICES, choose that.

On the ALL DEVICES page, click the + sign on the top right.

You should see ADD STEREO PAIR / SUBWOOFER

Choose that, choose your SRS-XB32 Speakers on the list.

One last thing to do before music comes out of your speakers is to choose which speaker, or speakers your music comes out of.

Click the All Devices icon again in the lower right, and click on your Echo Dot.

All your settings where you choose your speakers are located there.

I hope that works for you, cheers.





Writing

24 03 2017

It may surprise you to know I’m writing a science fiction book.

I’ve had the idea for years but haven’t really done anything about it, partly because I got hooked up into the strange world of how? and where? and who?

I understand nothing about business practices or of publishers, and also I don’t want people breathing down my neck, I want to do it in my own time and under my own terms.

Which leaves me with writing it for free, well nothing new there, everything I do is for free.

So Harlequin can be found here:

It can also be found on Facebook, Google+ and on Medium.

No big giveaways, but it’s a nice, comfortable, friendly sort of science-fiction.

You won’t see baddies fighting wars here, but you will find plenty of introspection and love.

Radical, eh?

I hope you like it.

 

Wolfie Rankin.

 





Making a pledge.

11 07 2016

There’s a company out there which produces recorded work by artists, which lets the artist talk about their idea, and if the fans like the idea, they can pledge (key word there) money to the project. If the artist raises a particular sum, then work can begin on the project.

In theory it sounds wonderful, and ought to be, as a vinyl collector I have seen some great ideas bought from dream to reality.

I have bought a few items myself.

But here is where the problem is.

Their treatment of the product during packing, and the packaging of the product itself, results in damaged items upon arrival.

In one case, a print costing around $100, was man-handled and tossed in a tube that was far too big for it, It arrived in very poor condition.

Other members who were on the site’s forum had the same trouble.

Another recent package involved a 7″ single, which was put into a paper and bubble wrap packer and sent from the UK to Australia, it’s a wonder it made it at all.

As a result, although I’d like to support Artists who are using this site, I doubt I’ll buy anything from there in future, unless there’s a clear message to say that great care while handling and packaging of our items will be a priority.

 





The Universal Tip Jar.

12 05 2016

Let’s say that you live in Australia, You want to see Game of Thrones, but the only company offering it is Foxtel, which is a subscription cable company… which is too expensive for you. You don’t want the extras, you just want to see Game of Thrones.

So you download a pirate copy from the internet.

Or let’s say that you’ve found a stash of songs which aren’t available on mainstream sites, you love them and they’re in the highest quality possible, but again you’re not paying for them.

But you would like to.

Why isn’t there some sort of Universal Tip Jar on the internet, A small icon to the side of whatever platform you’re on, which you could click and donate money to… anyone.

Maybe it’s not about piracy, perhaps you simply like an artist, whether they sing, act, draw or simply make you feel good.

Perhaps they need help with medicine, perhaps they’re just getting by on very little.

A tip jar might be hard to implement and perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been adopted, but I reckon someone like Paypal could get it up and running.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wolfie Rankin.

 

 





Feeling Low

5 03 2016

I had struck up a conversation via YouTube comments about David Bowie.
A Woman in England, who was still upset over losing him.

I’m at a loss to explain it.

Grief is a weird thing, if writing about it or watching characters on TV dealing with it, it’s usually described as collapsing and crying.

But it’s not always like that.

As disease worsened in my dogs, I cried a lot, and more so after their loss.

With my Dad, who had prostate cancer which had spread, I cried mostly before he died, and simply felt numb afterwards.

With Mum, who I was closest to, I couldn’t feel anything much, I still haven’t let the grief out, I think it’s too big for me to grasp.

When it was my Sister, I think I simply felt exhausted.

I had felt things for people I didn’t know, but meant something to me, you might think I’ve been here before, grieving for musicians, but no.

John Candy, I grieved for him, because he was a comedian I loved, and yet there have been others, and there was no special feelings for those.

If it happens to Billy Connolly I’m going to take it pretty hard.

But this singer, Bowie, What was it about him that when he left I felt this enormous hole?

I wasn’t that big a fan of his, which might seem an odd statement from someone who claimed to be “haunted” by him (when alive).

I’ve told friends that unintended Bowie related things just sort of popped up in my life, as though a director was hiding easter eggs in their movie for fans to find, frame by frame once the DVD came out.

I wonder how many I haven’t noticed?

And I started collecting records again, and suddenly I have all this Bowie stuff, it wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened.

This Woman in England, who I hadn’t met before, describing the same kind of grief that we’d all felt recently, and many of us are still feeling.

That amazing tribute by Lorde was another trigger.

Life on Mars, what a bizarre song, it’s complete nonsense, and yet instead us mocking it, it elicits this emotion. I think I’ve worked it out. When you’re dreaming, daft things make perfect sense. While in the waking world the dream is laughed off as illogical. I think the song tapped into that vibe.

And Blackstar turning up at my home that morning, it could have been delayed or earlier, but it had to come that day.

I often think I dwell too much on grief, I’ve had my fill of it and would much rather be happy, perhaps I’ve just reached that age where people drop off the perch, it’s expected though unwanted.

I’m only trying to understand.





Tribute

26 02 2016

It’s late here, and I have rested and got up to eat when I probably should have fallen asleep for the night.

A thought has been popping up now and then, and I had considered writing about it, but had just been letting it go, as late as it is, I think I should type it out.

When David Bowie died, quite a few people rushed to pay tribute, most notably Nile Rodgers and Lady Gaga at the recent Grammy’s and Lorde with Bowie’s Band at The Brit Awards.

Some heaped scorn on one, and praised the other.

I have a story.

My Sister, Janice (No, it’s not pronounced like that), Was, unlike Me, The traditional sort.

I love my Sister, never “loved”, She’s not with us now, She died of ovarian cancer in 2010.

But she was so traditional, and patriotic, She was a bit like Margaret Hoolihan from M*A*S*H, Say the wrong thing and there’d be a scream, and on another level she was Mrs Bucket (Boo-kay) from Keeping up appearances.

She loved bagpipe music, and she kept her house spotless… totally spotless, and her eyes would travel around the house here, looking at the great piles of dust or dishes or what have you.

Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t totally hopeless, we laughed a lot and in many ways she was a lovely person, she just had her… things.

When she died, I was sitting behind her Grand Daughter at Jan’s funeral

 

 

who had asked to play a song for her, and when I heard it, I was a bit miffed. it was some teen pop idol from the noughties.

And while it wasn’t bad, it was totally unsuitable for my Sister, Speaking more about my Grand Niece.

It seemed like she hadn’t put much thought into it, but then she was only a kid, there was that.

But recently I wondered if they had listened to the song together. My Mother and I had listened to Pop music that I had bought into the home, she liked some of it, she loved a bit of it too.

The day before Mum died, she thanked me for bringing music into the home, and now I try to keep the music going, even if I don’t really feel like it, it helps me too.

Funerals are awkward things, we attend them with the best of intentions, but emotions rise from nowhere, and sometime cause regret.

There are the slips, the faux-pas, the feet sliding into mouths while some would like to slide theirs up the backsides of others.

It’s a delicate balancing act where everyone tells their side of the story, and it doesn’t always sit right with some.

I have come to a realisation which is to allow things to be at those moments, to be less critical, and to be patient with ourselves if our feelings lead us astray.

Everyone’s a critic when we hear music, watch a movie or read a book… and you might be silently critical of what you’re reading now, which is fine.

When a musician dies, other musicians will pay tribute by playing music, playing music is what musicians generally do best.

They know and understand that they are merely the imitator, and fervently wish they were in the audience watching the original artist or performing along side them.

They’re doing their best, and should they not live up to the standards of the original artist, we should not punish them for it.

Wolfie Rankin





Blackstar – In detail.

8 01 2016

Vinyl collectors, and those who love David Bowie should be feeling rather thrilled with his latest release being posted out today.

But there is some confusion over the formats, and although I haven’t got my copies yet, this is how I’m reading things right now.

There are two versions of Blackstar available.

The first is the black version.

  • It’s 180 gram.
  • Comes in a die cut (star shape cut into the front) gate fold jacket
  • Includes a 16 page colour booklet with special varnish.

The Second is the clear vinyl version, which I understand is being sold by a selected chain in each country, Barnes and Nobel in the US and JB Hi-Fi in Australia, among others.

However, the clear version is

  • A standard weight record (Not 180g)
  • In a regular but die cut jacket (Not gatefold)
  • Limited to 4000 copies.

It’s possible that the version sold in Australia was made here, I don’t know yet, However if that’s the case it would add to it’s collectibility.

Some versions of Blackstar may come with what they call a “Hype Sticker”, These are usually on the front of the cover and say things like “Wow, David’s Amazing new Album is here and it has da da da da on it” Hype Stickers are part of the package and should never be removed. 🙂

Look for my video on Blackstar over the next few days.

If you have any facts on the record then please let me know, Thanks!

Wolfie Rankin.

*** Update ***

I have just got my clear Blackstar today, this was one of the versions sold as an exclusive.

According to the local retailer (and Barnes & Nobel) there was no indication that the record was 180g, was in a gatefold cover or came with a book… but I can tell you that it does!

Basically it’s the same record, in the same gatefold cover, except it’s a milky clear colour rather than black.

 





Learning Science

20 07 2015

There have been many theories on why people are not accepting science as fact, some of the theories are quite complex, such as the one about having a religious center in our brains, which might be true, but would you consider this?

Go back to when you were a child, do you recall singing Silent Night, or Away in a manger, at a very young age?

Do you then remember getting to your teens, and falling in love with songs that contained religious themes? Songs that called out to angels, or spoke of divine intervention bringing two lovers together?

Now in contrast, how many songs about science do you remember?

I’m sure you’ll have to think hard about this, and although you may identify a few, how many were you passionate about? how many did you fall in love with?

I think having more songs about science, which even small children will understand, is what’s needed to get more kids away from religion and into fact based science.

But producing songs which people will remember, songs that become ear-worms like Stock, Aitken and Waterman productions, such as “Never Gonna Give You Up” as an example, is essential.

Wolfie Rankin.





Vinyl Records

23 03 2014

This is just a short post to say that I have a new homepage which is partly about my voice work, and perhaps get some work by letting people hear what I can do. There are some samples of me reading commercials, poems, short stories and a full interview with Simon Fisher-Becker from Doctor Who.

It’s also partly about my interest in rare coloured vinyl records.

Record collecting has been a hobby of mine, although it’s been on pause, since the early 80’s, so I know a fair bit about it.

Every few weeks I’ll be making a brand new video about the latest additions to the collection, as well as some tips for collectors.

There is also a music quiz, Rockit, which I write each week, which should stretch your memories a bit, as it’s retro in nature… those of you who were into music from the early 80s should fly through it, or not, give it a go.

Take the link here and please let me know what you think.

Thanks!

Wolfie Rankin.

 

 





March In March

16 03 2014

I have a little story to tell, which I’ve been saving up for a post about music, but it’s about popularity too, which, I think works quite well for this post.

It was about 1981, I think, and I was at High-School. The popular band then, was Kiss… It seemed that most of the school absolutely loved them.

Girls would put on Kiss makeup and Kiss cut-outs from magazines were sticky-taped all over their books.

I was merely an observer to this, for as much as I liked music, Kiss were never my thing.

Then I caught the flu and was away from school for nearly a week, I had no contact with friends which was probably for the best, but when I returned I saw something very, very strange.

Everyone hated Kiss, it was like being on another planet, At the time I was stunned, I mean how could a band be so very popular one week, and hated the next? I wondered if something had been said by a band member that I hadn’t
heard about, but apparently not.

People can be very fickle about music, but my observations over the years is that on one hand, you have actual fans, they are the people who lap up the sound like a cat licks up cream, their adoration of the music is completely real, and there are other facets of the band and their music they they love too. I GET this as I’ve felt it quite a few times myself.

On the other hand, you have people who are into it, because it’s popular, and that’s what the cool kids are doing right now, so the attitude is “if I say I like it too, then I’m one of the cool people”.

While the real fans will play an album and listen intently and hear what the band might be telling them, and sometimes that’s useful information… for example: “Our Lips Are Sealed” by either The Go-Gos or Funboy Three, is a great anti-bullying anthem. The latter group will play the music as background music, and not pay much, if any serious attention.

So once it’s perceived that the cool guys aren’t listening anymore, the latter group don’t have to pretend anymore, after all it was little more than a “chore” to them.

The fans however, remain loyal, sometimes for the rest of their lives, because they felt something, they were personally moved, and feel a certain gratitude towards the band.

And now we come back to this weekends march.

The Newspapers, The Murdoch media, and I’m ashamed to say The ABC, all made Tony Abbott into something he wasn’t, The public were given the perception that all the cool people liked him, and none actually do. then lacking the ability to think, they mindlessly ticked the wrong box and Tony became Prime Minister.

The Public believed Tony was the best Man for the job, but the trouble with belief, is that it’s generally not the truth.

The truth is this, something Mum told me a long time ago.

“You can’t make a silk purse, from a Sows ear”.

Wolfie!