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2016 Dell XPS 13 9360 – Audio issue with headphones

I’m posting this, wondering if anyone else has encountered this issue?

I recently took delivery of a brand new 2016 Dell XPS 13 (9360). Audio through the speakers is absolutely fine, however, when I plug in headphones into the laptop, regardless of the setting I select in the pop up box, audio is poor. The audio sounds bad. Tinny, really light on bass with a bit of echo.

I have

  • Updated Windows
  • Updated bios
  • Updated drivers, including audio and chipset
  • Ensured that there are no sound effects being applied (a popular solution everywhere on Google but no luck for me)
  • Done a system restore
  • …. ALL with no luck

I’m pretty sure this relates to an audio driver issue. When you install the Realtek audio drivers, there are two stages. 1) When it uninstalls it 2) when it installs the new driver.

For the period of time after it has uninstalled it, the audio is normal (not perfect but nearly). As soon as it reinstalls the driver, it sounds bad again.

There is a second reason why I think it is a software issue. It’s possible to have audio through BOTH the speaker and the headphones. When I do this, not only does it sound tinny in the headphones (as usual), but suddenly, the speakers ALSO sound tinny. It seems like, as soon as the laptop detects there are headphones in, it changes the audio produced.

I’m talking to Dell support, who have been helpful up until the point of being able to resolve it, but posting this in the hope other people find it in Google, and perhaps fix it. Of course, if I get this resolved, I will post an update for others.


I managed to fix this, and it wasn’t that difficult.

Not surprisingly, looking at my Analytics, quite a few people have read this blog post, so it was good to know I wasn’t by myself going crazy.

I didn’t progress anywhere with Dell support. I was pretty convinced it was a driver issue, so looked into it myself.

It’s my understanding that all the drivers that Dell were getting me to download and install (through SupportAssist) were the latest ones to be signed off by Dell.

Turns out these were NOT the latest drivers available, and there were much more recent ones available. This was odd because I thought I was downloading the latest drivers from the Realtek website too.

I downloading a programme called ‘Driver Easy’. It’s free, but it has a paid option. I did a bit of research, and it looked legit so gave it a go. It automatically looks, and installs all the latest drivers for your PC with a few clicks. There was about 15 mine needed (even after updating them with Dell support). As soon as they were all installed, the audio worked fine.

I actually bought ‘Driver Easy’, because at this point I was so frustrated and didn’t want to have to return the machine. They have a money back policy so you can get it back if it doesn’t work. Also, don’t pay the price on the website. I Google’d something like ‘Driver easy coupon’ and  got about a third off straight away.

After hours, and hours of frustration it was all sorted in an hour. For me that is. If you’re reading this, give it a try. If it works, please leave a comment, and if something else resolves yours, then again, please leave a comment.


A couple of people have found changing their settings in MaxxAudio Pro fixed this. Personally I couldn’t find this app or anything on my XPS, but might help someone else. Take a look.

Sing it Kitty – New Campaign from Three – #singitkitty

Sing it Kitty


Three Mobile today launched their new Sing it Kitty campaign. The creative was produced by Wieden and Kennedy and features a girl riding through her town with a cat in the front basket. It follows the successful Pony campaign from last year.  The micro site allows users to create their own user generated content, placing their face into the advert. You can view the Sing it Kitty video on You Tube.

Dance Pony Dance – New Advert from Three Mobile #danceponydance


This week Three mobile launched a new brand campaign. You can view the dancing pony  advert on their website. The telecom have rolled out an Ultrafast network meaning you can get near 4G speeds without the hefty price. Their TV campaign has gone viral, clocking up over 700,000 views in the first few days on Youtube alone. It comes off a back of research the company did that sought to find out what people like to share online and with who. Turns out people simply like to share ‘silly stuff’ and the brand has made a contribution to that!

HTC One X 4.1 Jelly Bean Update 3G/ Mobile Data Problems

I figured that I would post this to help out anyone that may have encountered a similar problem this evening. I was most glad to see that an update was available for the One X – finally 4.1 was becoming available to SIM free handsets like mine. However, after successfully updating, I realized I wasn’t getting any mobile data or 3G connection. Using search engines, I wasn’t able to find anyone else with this problem or reporting it at least.

I did however find a solution. If you go to settings, then select ‘mobile data’ (not the on/off slider) you’ll get an array of options. Then select ‘access points’, then select your network (in my case everything everywhere). Boom, 3G connection restored!

Data Plan Infographic from Three Mobile

This new infographic from Three provides a visual representation of  what you can do with your phone when on a 1GB data plan versus all-you-can-eat. Many consumers do not fully understand data, for instance, relatively few consumers really have a grasp of how much data streaming video has versus social networking. Visit Three for their full range of mobile phones.

All-you-can-eat-data vs 1GB data allowance


Setting up an environment to code PHP

Had a very frustrating day as I’ve been trying to set up a local environment to code some PHP. I was using MAMP to make it quite simple. I could connect to the database on terminal but not by calling the mysqli_connect(). Adding these two lines of code helped find the problem:

ini_set('display_errors', 1);

When these two lines of code were added, I was able to see the following error message:


mysqli_connect(): [2002] No such file or directory (trying to connect via unix:///var/mysql/mysql.sock) in /Library/WebServer/Documents/connect/index.php on line 6 Warning: mysqli_connect(): (HY000/2002): No such file or directory in /Library/WebServer/Documents/connect/index.php on line 6

I never really did find a fix, but I found a deeper problem. I was putting files in the localhost directory and they were being executed fine. However, I then realised that the environment MAMP had created was in fact accessible by including the port, i.e. localhost:8888/. Shutting down the apache and mysql server with MAMP, I loaded up my files in locahost and confirmed what I knew, something else was executing them. I must have some old legacy servers running in the background I figure. Either way, I gave up.

Got a shiny brand new Macbook Air. Within 5 minutes I was able to connect to mysql in both terminal and by calling mysqli_connect(). The default password is root for MAMP, so when you change it with the command

mysqladmin -u root -p password "newpassword"

Make sure that you update the new password in the two following locations

/Applications/MAMP/bin/phpmyadmin/config.inc.php (line86)


If you don’t do the latter you’ll receive an error saying it can’t connect to the mysql database. All in all quite a frustrating experience today. I’d prefer to code on the iMac but ultimately the stress associated to have a ‘clean start’ will be rather annoying.

RE: Is social media the future of SEO?

For a few months now I have been subscribed to Web Designer magazine, and generally it’s a good read. This current months issue was of great interest to me, covering jQuery, and an article titled ‘Is social media the future of SEO?’.

As a SEO executive, it’s probable my view of the article is a little bias, however I felt the author got either a couple of points incorrect or didn’t clarify himself well. I’d like therefore to take the opportunity to give my thoughts on a couple of the points.

The author describes the rise in social media as having two key impacts where SEO is concerned. Firstly that users spend more time on these channels and attempting to follow the ambiguous logic of the author, is less likely to search for things using search engines? The second facet is that on Twitter and Facebook, users tend to distribute more material. This is true, however the author fails to speak of probably the biggest challenge social media presents to SEO.

With more discussion and sharing being conducted on social networks, and less blogs and general websites, Google will be more inclined to adopt social networks as reference points in the algorithm. Currently professionals use link building as a strong arm of SEO strategy but if the reference point weighting is to shift dramatically to social networks, where linking is more sporadic, organic and harder to replicate, then that does indeed represent a challenge to SEO.

After, when writing in regards to personalized search, the author states:

How can the SEO of today deal with this? It simply can’t.

Rejection of this argument is two fold. Firstly the notion of SEO as a marketing channel that comprises of a static, never changing strategy is nonsense. SEO has continuously changed in reaction to modifications to the Google algorithm, and the introduction of personalized search is no different. Indeed, SEO strategies have already been devised for people to lever personalized search to their advantage, for instance the encouragement of users to search brands.

Secondly the author’s perception of personalized search is overstated. Our tests of the change personalized search, and wider commentary provides evidence that the impact of preference of previous search behaviour affects rankings minimally. Even then it will be limited to previous markets that have been searched within. If someone decides to purchase a desktop computer, and hasn’t made any computer related in the past, how does Google personalize such results? Unless Google starts generating search results largely on preference, the current ‘traditional algorithm’ will still be hugely influential.

It’s probably the complete rejection that SEO can’t react to personalized search that leaves the author open to criticism. I agree that personalized search does provide new challenges, but also provides new opportunities to gain competitive advantage. The conclusion of the article is good. SEO has to give consideration to social media, but the general theme that social media is increasing in importance at the expense of SEO, I believe in unfounded.

Oh, and the irony that I had to resort to social media in order bring this to the attention of the author is not lost on me. 😀

Campaign to include Mars drink in boots meal deal

I sent this email to Boots today.

Dear Boots,

I’m as big a fan of the Boots meal deal as anyone, but I feel as both a shareholder and a customer, that sustainable competitive advantage at a corporate level could be obtained by including Mars Drink in the Boots meal deal.

May I remind your board of directors that they must act in the interest of shareholders, and the decision to include the Mars drink (preferably the thick variety) would deliver unprecedented added value.

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Learning some CSS

41luBO3igkL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU02_One of the books that I received for Christmas was CSS: The Missing Manual. I did know some CSS and had built a 200 page medical website with CSS, but my knowledge of was rusty. This book is an excellent resource for CSS, whether you are learning it from scratch or already have a little bit of knowledge. 

Working in search marketing, it’s my aim to become fluent in HTML/CSS. Having witnessed first hand the massive impact landing pages has on converting traffic, I’d like to be able to position myself to be able to create and amend client landing pages. Using Google optimiser tool, I’ll be able to split test different landing pages and not only deliver beautiful traffic, but also spoon feed them into making purchases :D. 

Knowledge in CSS will additionally be useful for my own projects that I’d like to develop, but I need a book for finding the time!