• icon-3dr
  • icon-germany
  • icon-denmark
Posted on

Fix for stuttering, lag in Bluetooth mouse on Windows 10

Here’s how I fixed the stuttering and lag issue with my Logitech MX Master working with Windows 10 Home and Pro:

  1. Open up the System screen within the Control Panel (keyboard shortcut: Win+Pause/Break)
  2. Open Device Manager from the list of links on the left panel
  3. Expand the Network adapters section to list your network adapters (e.g. WiFi, Bluetooth, VPN, etc.)
  4. Double click your WiFi network adapter to open the Device Properties dialog (in my case this is a Dell Wireless 1830 802.11ac)
  5. Switch to the Advanced tab (if you cannot see an Advanced tab then close this dialog and double click the other Network Adapters until you find one that has it)
  6. Within the Property list select Bluetooth Collaboration
  7. Change the Value of the dropdown list from Auto to Disabled
  8. Click OK to save changes

That’s it!

The WiFi network adapter will restart the device so expect to lose network access for a moment before network access is restored. Happy days.

Update 1: Yeah the above helped but didn’t fix it entirely, somehow unticking the Enable pointer shadow option within the Mouse Properties dialog (open Start then type in Mouse) makes a big difference, I do still notice some stutter when copying files or using Google Photos.

Update 2: Uninstalling the Realtek AC’97 software from Add/Remove Software and restarting did wonders on-top of the above steps. No more stutter!

German Working-Holiday/Youth Mobility visa for Citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Japan

The Working Holiday Visa Programme is the visa ninja’s way of staying in Germany and traveling around Europe for up to 12 months without applying for a traditional German residence visa or require sponsorship or steady employment.

You must pass the following requirements:

  • be a Citizen of Australia, New Zealand, Chile (*1) or Japan
  • be aged between 18 and 30 years old
  • not be accompanied by dependent family members (e.g. children)
  • your Passport must exceed the end of your stay by at least 3 months
  • have proof of health insurance valid in Germany (e.g. travel insurance for Germany) with coverage of at least €30,000 (EUR) and including costs for medical evacuation/repatriation
  • show a recent bank statement (with full name) indicating proof of sufficient funds – up to $7100 (AUD) for the duration of your stay; calculated at:
    • cost of return flight from Germany to Australia: $2100 (AUD)
    • living costs without free accommodation: $5000 (AUD)
    • living costs with free accommodation: $1800 (AUD) (*2)
  • pay the €50 (EUR) visa fee at time of visa application in Germany

(*1) Citizens of Chile are recommended to apply for a Working-Holiday visa before traveling to Germany.

(*2) If staying in Germany with free accommodation (e.g. relatives or friends) you must show an invitation letter and passport photocopy of the inviting German Citizen.

If you’re over this age limit or not a Citizen of one of the ‘best friends’ nations then you must consider a traditional residence visa for Germany (e.g. general employment, self-employed, job-seeker visa, EU-Blue card, internship, artist, etc.), the Working-Holiday visa is not appropriate for you.

Australian citizens (as well as New Zealand and Japanese citizens) are encouraged to apply for a residence permit after entering Germany at the local immigration authority (‘Ausländerbehörde’), without prior applying for a visa in Australia.

German Missions in Australia – Working Holiday Visa

The perks of this visa is you can travel around EU-member states with your Schengen visitor visa for 3 months then return to Germany and without appointment submit your visa application in-person at the closest Ausländerbehörde (German immigration authority) then continue traveling.

In my case the closest immigration authority was Altona Kundenzentrum in Hamburg and I was granted a Working-Holiday visa valid for 12 months on the spot after queuing for less than 4 hours!

Note: Check if your closest German immigration authority requires prior appointment for visa applications, an example is Welcome Center Hamburg which requires appointments for all visa applications with a appointment waiting list of 3-6 weeks. No appointment was necessary for visa applications at Altona Kundenzentrum.

Pausing automatic Windows Updates in Windows

Today I noticed my internet speed running slower that usual when running an internet speed test over the wireless network, I isolated the network usage to automatic Windows Update downloads that were in progress yet frustratingly there was no way to stop the Windows Update session.

Here’s how to pause/suspend an in-progress Windows Update session in Windows 10 as a local Administrator (by default for personal computers):

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Type cmd to open the Windows search dialog with Command Prompt appearing as the Best Match
  3. Right click Command Prompt and from the dropdown menu select Run as Administrator
  4. The Command Prompt window will appear
  5. Enter the following Windows command:

    net stop wuauserv

  6. If successful the following response will be given:

    The Windows Update service was stopped successfully.

  7. Close the Command Prompt window

That’s it! 🙂

To resume your Windows Update session either open Windows Update from Settings > Update & Security and click the Retry button, open another Command Prompt window using the above instructions and replace net stop wuauserv with net start wuauserv, or simply restart Windows from the Start > Power menu.

Temporary visa extension for foreigners in Germany

As a non-EU Citizen you can apply for a temporary visa extension (up to 3 months) to remain in Germany whilst your residence visa application is being processed, or simply because you want to spend additional time in Germany after your Schengen visa expires (90 days in every 180 days).

Tip: If you are visiting Hamburg, Germany or other EU-member states on a Schengen visitor visa and wish to stay in Germany for an additional 90 days after the end of your Schengen visa consider applying for a temporary visa extension from Welcome Center Hamburg.

You can pick up this short-term visa extension paper without appointment at the Welcome Center Hamburg. Bring your passport and the filled application form Application for the issue / renewal of a residence permit (available from Hamburg.de > Application forms), there are also blank applications available from the information desk.

The general requirement for this temporary visa extension is that you have submitted your residence visa application before requesting a temporary visa, this makes sense except where you are yet to submit your residence visa application and need to travel abroad; in this case an extension can be approved in exceptional cases.

Update: You cannot travel outside of Germany, in any circumstance if your temporary visa extension has ‘Gilt nicht für Auslandsreisen’ (Not valid for travel abroad) printed on it. Mine did and because of this applied for a Working-Holiday visa (available to ‘best-friend’ nations of Germany for under 30 year olds) which allows for immediate international travel.

This visa extension doesn’t allow international travel unless stated otherwise so there may be issues at immigration when leaving or returning to Germany when traveling with this visa extension paper, therefore you are discouraged to travel outside of Germany unless absolutely necessary.

Update: See notice above, you cannot re-enter Germany after your Schengen visa has expired with this paper. You could leave Germany a day before your last Shengen visa calendar day and may be able to re-enter on the last calendar day. I’m not putting this one to the test… 😉

APN details for WinSim Germany

After some research on cheap mobile data plans in Germany I picked up a WinSIM 3G/LTE SIM card for my Nexus 5 – 3GB for 12,99 EUR, no contract – but couldn’t get a data connection. The APN guide on the WinSIM Services site is not intended for Android users.

Here’s the correct Access Point Name (APN) details:

  • APN: internet
  • Proxy: (empty)
  • Port: (empty)
  • Username: (empty)
  • Password: (empty)
  • Server: (empty)
  • MMSC: (empty)
  • MMS proxy: (empty)
  • MMS port: (empty)
  • MCC: 262
  • MNC: 07
  • Authorisation type: None
  • APN type: default,supl
  • APN protocol: IPv4
  • APN roaming protocol IPv4
  • Bearer: Unspecified
  • MVNO type: None

Registration of address (Anmeldung) for travelers in Germany

If you intend to stay in Germany for any serious period of time (more than 3 months) you – as a German, EU Citizen, foreigner alike – must register your official address with immigration authorities within 7 days of arrival. An amendment made in November 2015 requires your landlord or address owner to complete a component of the registration.

This is a serious problem for new arrivals to Germany without permanent accommodation (e.g. hotel, hostels, couch-surfing) as Confirmation of registration of address (Anmeldung) is a requirement for visa applications in Germany and visa applications may be refused if not provided.

The recent amendment means hotel and hostel owners will be unwilling to complete the required component of this registration as they will be legally responsible for forwarding mail from the German authorities to you, even after you’ve checked-out. You cannot use a business address or post office box.

To resolve this you need to clarify to the immigration official in your registration appointment that you do not yet have a permanent address and will provide your current address (wherever you are currently staying, hotel, hostel, private) and will provide an updated official address before or at the time of your visa application.

Regarding the required document to be filled by the landlord or address owner, date and sign the bottom section on the second page in your name but do not complete it. Do this after speaking to the immigration official as this is a very informal method for processing your registration and raises denials and frowns from immigration officials before being accepted.

Pay the 11 EUR, collect your passport and make a run for it! Step one to residing in Germany complete. 🙂


Idiots guide to the Family Reunification (FA1) visa for Denmark

As a non-EU/EAA Citizen with a Danish spouse or cohabiting partner you can apply for a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification. If you have lived together in another EU nation for more than 6 months you can apply for family reunification under EU law.

In keeping with Danish tradition there are at least 7 types of application packets related to the Family Reunification visa so carefully choose the one relevant to you. My experience is limited to applying for this visa with a Danish spouse (FA1).

Here’s the bullet list to look out for:

Held og lykke (good luck)!

Update (08/07): I went through the motions of this visa and was rejected on the grounds that I could not prove I had co-habited with my partner for the required 18 months regardless that we had documentation proving 3 years of living together in Denmark. The case was appealed by Udlændingestyrelsen themselves due to possible administrative errors, that’s the last I heard about it. My advice is that the non-EU spouse should get a work visa or look at applying for residency in a neighboring EU country immediately south of the Danish border till the immigration climate in Denmark improves.

As a foreigner

  • You can apply with your Danish partner for a permanent visa after 3 years (36 months) of living permanently in Denmark
  • You can submit your visa application within Denmark if you have a valid visa or are pending an extension, if you have received a Refusal of extension of residence visa or any document indicating a ‘get out of Denmark date’ then your application will go into the waste bin of Udlændingestyrelsen (Danish Immigration Service); in this case you must apply from your home country
  • If your visa application is accepted you must pass the Danish A1 language exam within 6 months of being granted residence, failure can result in your residence permit being revoked and expulsion from Denmark within 30 days (see the above mention of the ‘get out of Denmark date’ warning)

As a Danish spouse

  • You cannot have claimed public assistance in the three years prior to submitting your application, as a Danish student SU is not considered ‘public assistance’ and will not affect your visa application
  • If you are not married to your foreign spouse you are financially responsible for them, even if your foreign spouse is self-supporting or supporting you
  • You will fill in 10 times what your foreign spouse will have to complete in required documentation

Both of you

  • Both you and your Danish spouse must be at least 23 and 6 months old
  • If you’re not married to your Danish spouse but have been co-habiting for more than 18 months (inside or outside of Denmark) then you’re almost treated equally, there is however an administrative difference in that your case will take significantly longer to review (an additional 2 months)
  • If your Family Reunification visa application is accepted the Danish spouse will have to post a secured bond of 52.490,12 DKK (as of 2015), it is not required at time of visa application only once the application is accepted

Additional goodies

Coming back to the collateral. In layman terms if your foreign spouse wants to join the Danish labour market immediately after passing the required Danish A1 language exam – which is typical – you will forfeit 31,494.07 DKK of the 52.490,12 DKK collateral as only 20,996.05 DKK is released, that’s 60% (exact figure: 59.9%) of the total collateral gone.

Proceeding to pass the A2 language exam will release an additional 10,498.02 DKK meaning a total of 20,996.05 DKK would be forfeited, that’s 40% of the total collateral gone.

The above figures are accurate as of 2015 and there is no ‘best friends’ list of exempted countries – US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Switzerland and South Korea – as of 15 May 2012.

Here’s the original nightmare from New to Denmark listing other gotcha’s in case you want to know more things to watch out for.

Is there something above that I’ve missed, are you in the same visa pickle or about to embark on this adventure? Drop a comment below.

Self-employed Non-EU/EEA nationals seeking residence in Denmark

As of 1 January 2015, non-EU/EEA nationals with self-employed visa’s (AR1) issued by DALRIR (Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration/Styrelsen for International Rekruttering og Integration) are on their way to expulsion or have already left Denmark.

Foreigner-owned small businesses with few employees or a large cash turnover are not welcome in Denmark, there are no known minimum businesss performance requirements meaning foreign businesses will be closed at DALRIR’s discretion. To make matters worse the introduction of the Start-up Denmark programme imposes a fixed limit of 100 residence visa’s issued yearly where previously there were no limit on number of allowed work and residence permits.

Update (10/02/2016): The number of residence visa’s issued under the Start-up Denmark programme yearly is now 50, there is no indication of when this reduced limit was imposed.

There is no legal way for non-EU self-supported foreigners to receive a dedicated self-employed visa without submitting an application to open a large-scale business through the Start-up Denmark programme, the only option for foreigners with a Danish spouse is to apply for one of the following residence visa’s which somehow come bundled with a work visa, these are:

  • Family reunification visa
  • Family reunification under EU law visa

If you don’t have a Danish spouse there is no legal way to receive a long-term residence visa, you will need to become an employee, student or researcher; all of which do not allow you to operate a business in Denmark.

Start-up Denmark programme

For starters this shouldn’t be called a visa as it’s a YouNoodle application form where you submit your business idea and the powers that be will contact you if they think it’s good enough. Who are YouNoodle and why aren’t they mentioned on the New to Denmark website?

It has nothing to do with Danish Immigration Service or DALRIR and given Denmark’s business attitude towards cloning competition concepts prior to foreign players entering their market I’d be reluctant to submit any innovative business idea without confidentiality clauses.

Family reunification visa (FA1)

If you happen to have a Danish spouse and have lived in Denmark for more than 3 years you can apply for this visa, it requires a bond of around $8000 USD at time of writing (December 2015) which may be partially returned in installments after completing (and passing) the mandatory 6 months full-time Danish language studies and additional Danish language studies.

A portion of the bond is returned after passing Danish 1, with another portion returned after passing Danish 2; carrots leading the donkey. From what I’ve gathered job-seeking foreigners complete Danish 1 in order to stay in Denmark then forfeit the remaining bond (we’re talking 60% of the bond) and immediately enter the job market.

For self-employed foreigners operating an active business from their home country you must choose between shutting down your business and dedicating to full-time studies or struggle to do both risking your bond and livelihood.

There are many methods for the Danish Immigration Service to decline this visa as vague requirements can be exploited by case officers. For instance, even though it is indicated that de-facto couples are allowed, by not being married you are put at an immediate disadvantage of waiting an additional 2 months before receiving an outcome for this visa, that and your Danish spouse is financially responsible for you even if you are the breadwinner in this situation.

Family reunification visa under EU law

If you have lived with a Danish spouse outside of Denmark but within the EU for work or studies you may be able to apply for a residence visa, this is the holy grail of visa’s and is processed by the State Administration/statsforvaltningen.

I am learning the wonders and secrets of this visa which is rarely mentioned after I return to Denmark as a visa-free visitor (up to 90 days in Denmark then 90 days in the Schengen region) on January 20 and will update this section when I know more.

Update (21/02/2016): The holy grail only exists if you are married to your Danish spouse and reside outside of Denmark but within another EU country.

Fix for ASUS N61JQ not working in Windows 8, 8.1 and 10

I’ve upgraded one of my legacy laptops, the ASUS N61Jq, from the default Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 Home. Simple enough. Wrong.

I’d previously upgraded this laptop to Windows 8.1 and had to roll-back to Windows 7 due to consistent freezes during boot and at the login screen, this persisted even in Safe Mode (with Networking) but I never isolated the issue so back to Windows 7 Home Premium it went.

Roll forward to 2015 and I tried again. After using the Windows 10 updater to migrate my existing Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 Home everything seemed well, this experience continued for several weeks till the laptop would no longer boot up and then started exhibiting the same consistent freezes during boot and at the login screen.

Initially I thought the webcam drivers were responsible so disabled the device in Safe Mode and boot up started working, I now understand that both the webcam and wireless network adapter drivers were suspect.

Here’s how I got my ASUS N61Jq working with Windows 10 Home:

  1. Disable the on-board webcam (it’s upside down by default since ASUS stopped issuing patched webcam drivers so plug in a USB webcam)
  2. Ensure the Qualcomm Atheros AR8131 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.30) driver is installed for the wired network adapter
  3. Download the Atheros WLAN driver (aka Atheros AR9285 and Dell Wireless 1506 802.11b/g/n) (mirror download)
  4. Install the Atheros WLAN driver manually using the Device Manager

Happy days, big thanks go out to emtunc for hosting the drivers (I have hosted a file mirror here for posterity) 🙂

Update: After several more days the BSOD came back in waves, disabling the wired ethernet controller resolved this.