Archive for the 'About me' Category



How To Use Google Chromecast To Watch Streaming Video From Google Chrome Browser

Friday 8 November 2013 @ 6:12 pm

Google ChromecastToday, my Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player arrived in the mail. I’m really excited about it because this little thing allows me to watch YouTube videos on my TV easily. In other words, it makes my TV smart! With wifi connection, I can use an iphone, ipad, Android phone or tablet, laptop or desktop computer to ‘cast’ the videos onto the TV screen. Awesome! (as my kids said and it truly is).

What is the Google Chromecast? The Google Chromecast is a dongle developed by Google. It is tiny, just 2.83 inches but powerful. It lets you play audio or video content from a variety of devices namely your mobile phone, tablet computer, laptop computer or desktop computer onto your TV wirelessly via Wifi connection. You can stream video via an app. Supported apps include YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora Radio, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies and TV. If you are not in the US and is unable to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus or Pandora, fret not, you can still stream video content from your desktop by using the Chrome Browser with a Chromecast extension. At the moment, this is still under Beta but it works fine.

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Google Chromecast

The box was small and there were four things that came with it.

  1.  a USB power cable
  2.  a power adapter
  3. the Chromecast dongle itself
  4. an optional HDMI adapter cable

Google Chromecast unboxing

I immediately set the hardware up. The simple instructions were on the box itself.

Instructions For Setting Up Google Chromecast

I searched for the HDMI input at the back of my Sharp Aquos TV.  I had an unused one called Input 3.

TV HDMI input

However, when I tried to stick the Chromecast dongle in there, it didn’t fit. Nevermind, that’s what the HDMI adapter cable is for. All I had to do was to join the HDMI cable adapter to the Chromecast dongle.

Here is a picture of the HDMI adapter and the Chromecast dongle.

HDMI Adapter and Chromecast Dongle

I join them together like this.

HDMI Adapter Cable joined to the Chromecast dongle

This baby needs to be powered, so the next step is to join the USB cable to the Chromecast dongle.

USB Power Cable joined to Google Chromecast Dongle

You can power the Google Chromecast by using the power adapter or if your TV has usb, all you need to do is to stick the USB cable in the USB input on your TV.

I decided not to use the power adapter because I couldn’t figure out how to use it. :P

Power Adapter

So, first I inserted the dongle into my HDMI Input 3 behind my TV…..

Setting up Google Chromecast

 Then I inserted the USB to my DVD player with a USB. If you are using the power adapter, all you need to do is stick the one end of the usb cable to the dongle and the other end to the power adapter. You don’t have to use your DVD USB input like I did. I used that because my TV does not have a USB input. Every cable and adapter you need is all provided.

DVD with USB

With the hardware ready, the rest of the setup was easy. Now what I have done so far was to plug it in (Step 1 on the box). Then all I had to do was follow step 2 (switch input – in my case Input 3) and then step 3 which is go to google.com/chromecast/setup and follow the instructions there to setup. It was really easy too.

Soon, I was able to play my YouTube videos from my ipad. However, I am an international user. In the US, besides YouTube, the other supported apps are Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV. So my use was somewhat limited to watching YouTube videos. These looked great, the audio and visual were terrific.

Watching TV using Google Chromecast

You can see that I am watching from Input 3 using the Google Chromecast in this picture.

Watching YouTube Videos using Google Chromecast

I didn’t want to just watch YouTube videos with my Google Chromecast. I wanted to watch streaming videos from my Google Chrome browser so now comes the real test. I had read that there were problems with that. The Google Chromecast can mirror any website you are visiting using the Google Chrome browser. So that means, if you are watching streaming video on your Google Chrome browser, it should mirror that too.

In order to do this, I have to be on the web by using the Google Chrome browser. I also had to install the Google Chromecast extension. This is no different than installing apps on my ipad. Very easy. Soon, I was watching streaming videos on my TV. The most delightful thing is when you are watching cast videos on your TV, you can still use your device for other things at the same time. For example, I took some of these photos from the phone using my phone camera, while the videos from YouTube were being cast onto the TV. The videos continued to play while I used the camera phone, surfed the internet on other tabs etc. This is what is really good about the Google Chromecast. While your device is casting, you can still use it as normal for other purposes.

Watching Streaming Videos using Google chromecast

There was a slight lag between the audio and visual and casting was not perfect at first but that was quickly fixed by going to my Google Chromecast extension and setting the options to standard video quality 480p instead of 720p.

Google Chromecast Extension Options

Whats my verdict?

I love it! I think I will be watching a lot more YouTube videos from now on as it works best with that. For the price, USD35 it is definitely worth it.  If you are an international user like me, you will have to pay some extra shipping charges to your country but it is still worthwhile. Shipping charges for me in Malaysia was more than half its price so do check on the shipping charges for your country. It is very easy to set up. You basically just plug in and play in minutes.

Small issues. I did not have any problems setting Google Chromecast up in minutes. My Sharp Aquos TV was ready to cast and there were no issues. I did face a few small issues though as I tried it out with all my devices.

  1. My ipad was able to cast YouTube videos. However, I could not install the Google Chromecast extension on it. It said “Sorry, your operating system is not surpported just yet. The Chrome Web Store is available on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS and Linux.” So I could not mirror streaming videos from my ipad.
  2. My android phone the Samsung Galaxy Ace was able to cast YouTube videos but the Google Chrome browser was not compatible with it so I could not cast streaming videos from it.
  3. I have not tried it out with the iphone at the time of writing.

My Google Chromecast was set up in the Living Room TV and I had no  problems casting YouTube videos and streaming videos from both my desktop PCs upstairs. So before you buy, do check up the minimum system requirements required for casting a tab from your Chrome Browser. However, if you are like me, you probably have multiple devices at home and one or two of them are sure to work. :)

Do note that in addition to installing the Chrome Browser. You will also need to install the google cast extension for your chrome browser. If you are not a very techy type of person like me, one easy way to find out whether your device is supported is to try to install the google cast extension for your chrome browser. If you are able to, then you are supported. If not, your device is not and you will not be able to use this feature.

 




My Love Affair With Words

Friday 4 October 2013 @ 8:54 am

I love words. I love reading them and writing them. Now I love pictures and I love combining pictures with words. I love writing poems, quotes, sharing experiences through non-fiction writing. One thing I haven’t explored is fiction. I don’t think I am imaginative enough for that though.

I think my love affair with words started in primary school. As the youngest child in a family of 5 whose mom passed on when I was 10, I was never heard at home. Shhhhh was what I mostly heard. No. No. Not when the adults are talking. My brothers and sisters are born within four years and then there is a four year gap before I came along. So I never got to join in very much when the siblings were talking as well. As a result I became taciturn and quiet. Well, at least that is my analysis of it or maybe I’m just naturally born that way.

So, maybe that is why I find that I can express myself much much better in writing. In writing, my words just flow out naturally. In writing, I have so much to say. I am really glad to have my blogs, my books and even my FB group for me to express myself. Being able to ‘speak’ at last makes me happy.




Dim Sum In PJ

Monday 30 September 2013 @ 10:30 am

One of the best things to do on a Sunday morning is to have a lazy late brunch of dim sum.

Dim sum is the best fast food there is. Meals on wheels. Rolled right up to your table for you to choose. Steamed or Fried it is up to you.

That was what we did last Sunday. We had Dim Sum in PJ.

Sim Sum In PJ

 We had our dim sum rolled right up to us. I love to look at all those lovely little delicacies in steaming in their bamboo baskets. Just one look is enough to get my mouth watering.

I’m afraid sometimes, it makes us order more than we can take. Our stomachs can’t take in the feast our eyes tells us to enjoy.

Dim Sum In PJ

 I’m afraid that I also can’t resist the trolley full of deep fried or baked dim sum. Something tells me we will be going there again soon.

Dim Sum In PJ

We had our dim sum in PJ at Yuan Garden Dim Sum House @SS2 PJ. To read more about it check out this Food Blogger. Where and What To Eat Lah.




What Type Of Body Shape Do I Need To Wear The Peplum Style

Monday 8 July 2013 @ 4:28 pm

Peplum Style

Image Credit: Peplum Style Tops At Zalora

Recently, I went shopping with my sisters and we were attracted to the peplum styles we saw. I tried on a black peplum top with a matching black skirt. Black is the only colour I dare to try on for the peplum style with my wide hips, good for child bearing they say but harder to find clothing that flatter. I was surprised that despite the wide hips, the style was quite flattering.

I wonder if I will be able to pull off a coloured peplum blouse like the above.  Of course, I won’t be able to match it with the shorts like in the above picture, not with my thunder thighs but the top just might work.

I saw the top at Zalora. In case you didn’t know, Zalora Malaysia is a great online shopping destination. I’m just drooling to see the number of clothing, shoes and other apparel for both men and women at Zalora.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? Oh, I’m just so tempted. They say that a peplum top should be those with an apple body shape but I’m a pear shape. However, I shan’t despair. I am sure I will be able to find a peplum top for my shape. The trick is to find the correct position for the ruffled waistline, the length of the frill or ruffle area and what to pair it with. The colour and cut is important too. Structured cut is better than a messily cut peplum top for the heavy bottom gal like me. I like to pair peplum tops with a pencil line skirt. I think they look so elegant. Online shopping here I come!




Happy Days

Friday 5 July 2013 @ 9:19 am

Happy Days Cake

Recently we had a family gathering. Family gatherings are getting fewer and further in between now that everyone is older and busy with their own families.

So this family gathering was a gathering for a belated Mother’s Day, belated Father’s Day, belated June birthdays and early July birthdays. In the end, big bro got a cake and called it “Happy Days”.

My nephews and nieces are so grown now aged between 16 to 26. There is a gap between their ages and those of my kids because of the gap between my age and my bros and sis plus the fact that I am a late baby boomer, marrying late and starting a family late. Makes one feel old to see all the kids grown up now.

In fact, I just turned 47 last month. The funny thing about birthdays is you stop remembering how old you are after 25-30. Before that you look forward to your 16th birthday, your 21st etc. However after that, I stopped remembering. In fact, this year I thought I was turning 48. It wasn’t till I received an sms from big sis in the morning saying “Hello little sis. Happy Birthday. So you are turning 47 today.” It was only then that I realised my mistake or the whole day would have gone by with me thinking otherwise and I would have gotten 48 candles for my cake. :P

Happy Birthday Cake

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