Saturday, April 29, 2017

Google Home - Having Troubles?

Much has been made of the recent upgrade to Google Home that included support for multiple users, differentiating each user's voice and associating it with their own Google account. The Internet became almost immediately flooded with blogs and posts talking about how to set up this great new feature, and how simple it was to set up - except when it isn't.

Welcome to a family that "isn't."

Most instructions will simply tell you to download or update the Google Home app and look for a blue bar across the "device card" for your Home device that says "Multi-user now available." Only trouble for me was that, no matter what device I tried, there was no blue bar. Tried to get my son, wife, and daughter to set up - all to no avail. After Googling for the better part of an evening to find what had to be a fairly common problem, and coming up with hit after hit telling me how easy it would be to set up, I finally got to a page that relayed a Google Home support number..

..and after over an hour with a script kiddie tech support person helping me and frustrating my son to the point where he finally gave up for the evening, two full iterations of breaking and re-linking my Google account to Google Home, rebooting my phone and tablet at least once each, I finally stumbled onto the solution that gave me the "Multi-user" bar - I had to update Google services *in addition* to Google Home. On each problematic device I tried wherein the "Multi-user" bar was not appearing, I updated the base "Google Services" app; each time, that solved the problem. I didn't see this on any tech blogs out there, so I figured I'd toss it out there and hopefully prevent someone else from going through a frustrating evening trying to get their Google Home set up for multiple users.

You'd think that the installer for Google Home might actually take note of the dependency at install time and let the user know there's an out-of-date component on the device. Why does it make me want to say, "Hey Google - Fix the installer!"


Happy Googling.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fixing Chrome's old password display problem in Windows...

If you're a Google Chrome user on Windows, you may have come across this problem - especially if you're in a domain-environment:

You ask Chrome to show passwords for a site. You find the password entry you need, click the "show" button, and Chrome "helpfully" asks you to enter your Windows password *before* it will reveal it. Yet, because you're on a domain-joined machine, and the Chrome password dialog doesn't resolve domain accounts, *no* password will satisfy the dialog.

This has been posted as a long-term (as in *years*) bug in Chrome (at least one version is referenced here, one Google says it "won't fix." But your trusty friend here at Computing Central has, at least for his own situation, come up with a workaround, and it solves the problem.

Here's the problem. That password dialog Chrome tosses up takes the account name mated to the user account identity running the application. In a non-domain environment, that's just going to be an account name on the local machine. If your Windows box is joined to a domain, however, that username will be of the form 'DOMAIN\username', but Chrome apparently discards that 'DOMAIN' portion - thus tries to resolve the username (only) against the *local user account database*. On a domain-joined machine, that will always fail.

Solution? Create a "fake" user on the local box with the username that corresponds to the *domain* login that Chrome is mangling. That is, if your domain account is YOURDOMAIN\bobuser, create a *local* account named 'bobuser', give it a password (a nice, strong one), and once it's done, use *that* password to satisfy the Chrome password dialog:

(These directions are for Windows 7)
1. From the Start Menu, within the "Search Programs and Files" box, type "lusrmgr.msc" (without quotes)
2. Click on the "lusrmgr.msc" entry in the search result list above the search dialog.
3. From the "Local Users and Groups" tool, right-click on the "Users" folder (left hand pane)
4. Select "New User..."
5. In the "User name" dialog, type in your "username" (WITHOUT domain)
6. In the "Password" box, provide a password for the account. Make it strong - this is a real account you're creating on your local machine.
7. Confirm the password in the "Confirm Password" box.
6. Uncheck "User must change password at next logon."
7. Click "Create"

Now, go back to Chrome and that pesky password....
1. When Chrome's Windows authentication dialog appears, type the password you defined in Step 6 above.
2. See if Chrome displays your password!

I did it for me, and it worked like a charm.

Good luck.