Merv, our loud and proud purple dinosaur (if you see his Yammer profile pic you’ll understand), has been on a rather steep learning curve with using a new Nokia C3 Android phone as a 4G hotspot for his Win10 laptop. He had been using an old Lumia Windows Phone which was only 3G capable and tethered by a USB cable.
His previous 3G connection had been so slow that it appears Windows had never managed to update so the first thing that happened was the 4G connection got bogged down with a big download, which inspired Merv to discover how to set a connection as metered or consume his entire monthly data allocation in an afternoon. He was briefly sidelined by looking for a “cellular” connection because he was, after all, using a mobile phone but we explained his laptop was using a WiFi connection to the phone hotspot, so that’s what had to be set as metered.
Some users worry about Windows updates being flawed and would prefer to delay them for a bit so any bugs get ironed out. While this can be achieved by setting the connection as “metered” it is not without a downside or two – OneDrive will no longer automatically synchronise files and it won’t prevent critical updates being downloaded.
The reality is problematic updates aren’t that common and most users don’t have the knowledge to judge whether an update will affect them or not, nor when it’s safe to apply. Yes, you may be affected one day but there’s an excellent chance you never will be.
Fair enough to restrict downloads if you have a connection with a limited amount of data, in which case make sure you regularly avail yourself of a fast unlimited connection to download updates. Otherwise ignore the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that is the stock in trade of some writers and let your system download the updates when offered.
Any operating system can be more than a little daunting if you have to venture from the comfortable point and click GUI world into the hunt and peck world of the command line to repair a broken system – it’s unfamiliar and you’re naturally worried you might do more harm.
Frank had managed to bork the filesystem of his Linux Mint system while fiddling with booting from a Chromebook USB – it was failing to boot and giving error messages including “/dev/sda1 contains a file system with errors, check forced” and “The root filesystem on /dev/sda1 requires a manual fsck”.
We were able to guide him through the process of using a bootable Linux USB to run Gparted to confirm the identity of the partition to work on and then run fsck to repair the filesystem with the issues. By posting screenshots Frank made it easy for us to see what was going on, so we could quickly correct any misunderstandings he had and we got him back up and running in short order.
Life wasn’t meant to be easy! I’m sure Merv was thinking that while he was trying to get his 4G data connection working. This was what he had to contend with before the events described in the Windows 10 section above.
Having to deal with Android for the first time is hard enough but throw in having to troubleshoot a data connection not working makes for a really tough challenge. We made a stack of suggestions and helped him get started with using the phone, none of which helped get his data flowing though.
Several phone calls to the Kogan support line and a good deal of dogged determination finally solved the data problem – the APN details had an issue despite them appearing correct and after being guided through manually creating new settings Merv was online.
All I can say is he’s persistent!