Google+ 2018 ~ High Tech House Calls

What Happens If You Only Drank Energy Drinks?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Is Your iPhone 8 Crashing Constantly? You Might Need This Free Repair by Justin Pot

Is your iPhone 8 restarting unexpectedly, freezing, or not turning on? You might have a faulty logic board, and if so Apple will replace it for free.

“A very small percentage of iPhone 8 devices contain logic boards with a manufacturing defect,” according to Apple. “Affected units were sold between September 2017 and March 2018 in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, and the U.S.”

Think that might be your phone? You can enter your serial number here to find out. If eligible, your phone can be fixed free of charge at an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service provider. There’s also a mail-in option.

This only applies to the iPhone 8, which came out late last year. The larger iPhone 8 Plus is not affected, and neither is the iPhone X or any earlier iPhone releases.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to Wrap Text Around Pictures and Other Illustrations in Word By Rob Woodgate

7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player by Saikat Basu

A few months back, VLC Media Player got Chromecast support and 360-degree video views. It’s just another tiny notch on the popularity of the open source player which can handle anything that you throw at it (as long as it’s a media file!).

The Windows version of the player is closing in on 50 million downloads, and that’s discounting all the other platforms it can be installed on. Perhaps the secret to its longevity is the modular design which gives it a rich set of features. Today, let’s focus on the few “secret” features under the hood which you can use every day.

1. Use VLC as a Video Downloader for YouTube

There are several capable free downloaders available for YouTube. But, VLC has this feature built in. Though it’s not a one-click downloader and you will have to take the help of your browser.
  1. Click on Media > Open Network stream.
    Capture YouTube URL
  2. Paste the YouTube URL and click the Play button in the player.
    Stream YouTube
  3. VLC Media Player starts streaming the video.  Now, click Tools > Codec Information and at the bottom of the window you will see a Location box.
    Copy-paste YouTube location information.
  4. Copy the long URL in the box and paste this into your browser’s address bar. The browser will now start playing the video file. You can download the video file to your desktop by doing a Save video as with a right-click on the video. Or you can choose to record the video.

2. Convert Videos to Any Format

Downloading a video is often the first part. Converting that video so you can play it on a device of your choice is the second part. The VLC Player can do this too.
  1. From the toolbar, click on Media > Convert / Save.
    VLC Convert Video
  2. In the Open Media dialog box, click on the Add button and choose the media file for conversion. Then, click on the Convert / Save dropdown > Convert.
    VLC - Convert Video-Choose File
  3. Open the dropdown menu for Profile and select the file format that you would like to convert your file to. You can also click on the gear icon next to it and edit the chosen profile.
    Pick a profile and start conversion.
  4. Click on Browse and select a location to save the converted file. Then, click on Start to begin the conversion and monitor its progress in the bar below.

3. VLC as a Graphic Equalizer for Your Music

VLC Graphic Equalizer
You may be using VLC as a video player only, but VLC is a cross-platform standalone media player too and that brings full audio effects with playlist support. VLC not only displays cover art but also has a pretty good graphic equalizer tucked away inside it.

Display it with the shortcut keystrokes Ctrl + E (or go to Tools > Effects and Filters > Audio Effects). Adjust the sound quality with the available presets, or fine-tune it with the Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer tabs.

4. Activate Audio Normalization to Protect Your Ears

Normalize Volume
The general audio settings for the VideoLan Player are located under Preferences. One of the key features called Audio Normalization helps to optimize the volume of any media by a fixed amount and improve the sound quality.

Go to Tools > Preferences > Audio > Enable Normalize volume to. The value you set here will help to adjust the decibel levels of dialog, music, explosions, gunshots etc. in the movies you watch. Restart VLC after enabling the setting.

In fact, configure this immediately after you download and install the VLC player. It will make your audio sound better.
Want Your Audio to Sound Even Better? Here Are 5 Top Tips Want Your Audio to Sound Even Better? Here Are 5 Top Tips When you're recording and editing your own audio, the chances are that you'll want to make the output sound as great as possible. Here are five top tips that'll help. Read More

5. Play Internet Radio and Podcasts in VLC

One of VLC’s little used features could definitely be its ability to find and play internet radio. The VLC Player can fill all your audio needs as it can not only stream radio but also play podcasts.
  1. Launch VLC and open the Playlist sidebar.
  2. Under Internet, you can browse through the two radio servers—Jamendo and Icecast—and choose a station of your choice by clicking on it. Also, make sure the Playlist view mode is set to List (Go to View > Playlist View Mode > List).
    VLC - Internet Radio
  3. If your favorite internet radio station is not on the list, use the station’s URL to stream it via VLC. Go to Media > Open Network Stream… Enter the URL and press Play in order to begin listening.
And to play podcasts in VLC:
  1. You can manage your favorite podcasts via the same Playlist interface.
  2. Go to Playlist and under the Internet section, select Podcasts.
  3. As soon your cursor is over the Podcasts section, click the plus sign.
  4. Copy and paste the RSS feed URL of the podcast you wish to listen and click on OK. The podcast will be added to the sidebar and you can pick the episode you want to listen to.

6. Loop a Section of a Video or Audio File

Most media players can loop an entire video or a soundtrack. With VLC, you have the added bonus of looping any specific section of a media file.
  1. Open the video or audio file with VLC. Go to View > Advanced Controls.
  2. Now, a few more buttons will be displayed above the normal play and stop controls.
    VLC Advanced Controls
  3. To start the loop from a specific part of the video, move the playhead to the part where you want the loop to start (Point A).
  4. Click the loop button once. The “A” mark on the button will turn red. To finish the loop, take the video to the endpoint and click on the same button again. You will see both the A and B points of the button are red.
    Set VLC Loop
  5. Now play the video and the section will loop. Click the loop button once again if you want to switch it off.
This is a handy feature when you want to review a how-to video or hear an audio file over and over to get it right. I often use this feature to study Photoshop tutorial videos.

7. Add Features With VLC Add-Ons and Extensions

Install and View VLC Add-ons
For everyday use, VLC’s default package of features may be enough. But if you are looking for added functionality then there’s an entire catalog of add-ons you can install alongside. Remember, VLC has a huge open-source community behind it and they have helped create extensions, skins, playlist parsers, and other assorted tools.

These extensions will help you add more “secret” features to the player like tools which will help you search for subtitles from the player itself. Extensions may also work in macOS and Linux, so do doublecheck the instructions on the add-on’s page.
  1. Visit the VLC add-ons page and browse through the two views—Top or Latest.
  2. Click the Download button on the add-ons page and download the ZIP file. Extract the file. (VLC add-ons have the LUA extension.)
  3. On Windows, place the .lua files in this Windows directory:
    C:\Users\NAME\AppData\Roaming\vlc\lua\extensions folder.
  4. Restart VLC. You can access all your installed extensions from the View menu.
Some of the better extensions to consider include:

VLC Is Full of Cool Tricks

If you know about these features, then VLC hides few secrets from you. Now, flex your muscles and explore the more advanced possibilities of this fantastic player that has stood the test of time. Maybe create a streaming media server for your home or cast your media files from a Windows PC to your Android phone.

Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords



Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires—a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. You no longer have to deal with cords if you don't want to. True wireless earbuds connect to one another and your audio source via Bluetooth.

No wires mean no inline microphones or controls, but truly wireless earbuds sound just as good as traditional Bluetooth counterparts (for better or worse). They also boast all of the features we've come to expect from earbuds designed to work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Since Apple’s AirPods became a runaway hit, an endless stream of companies have rolled out their own true wireless earbuds and earphones. As you might expect, not all of them are worth your time or money—so we've got your back with buying suggestions to meet a wide variety of needs.
Latest update (8/23/2018): We've added a review of the Crazybaby Air Nano to our overall list. Check out our full review here.

Best true wireless earbuds

The $169.99 Jabra Elite 65t are priced close to our former Best True Wireless Earbud pick, the Jaybird Run, and only cost a few bucks more than a pair of AirPods. With their customizable sound, comfortable fit, light weight and excellent battery life, we feel the Elite 65t are better than either of these truly wireless earbud options, and worthy of top honors. (Read our review here.)

There are very few downsides to owning the Elite 65t. Sure, they feel a little cheap to the touch, but their build quality is actually great. And while their bass response may not please all music lovers (even after making EQ adjustments via Jabra’s free Sound+ app), they still sound great. When looking at the 65t as a total package, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better set of truly wireless earbuds for the money.

Best low-cost true wireless earbuds

To be honest, this category doesn't really exist. Truly wireless earbuds are a luxury item and their price reflects this.

However, given the current field of true wireless earbuds, Apple AirPods do the best at offering good value for a (relatively) reasonable price. (Read our review here.) A pair costs $20 less than the Jaybird Run, and if you have ears that will work with the one-size-fits-all design, they can sound great under the right circumstance. And for iPhone and iPad users, you can't find an better set of earbuds for ease of pairing.

You should know, however, AirPods aren’t as easy to use as other true wireless earbuds for controlling your music. It also has terrible passive sound cancelation, so you’ll hear a lot of the world around you when using it.

Best true wireless earbuds for working out

Bose’s $250 SoundSport Free is water- and sweat-resistant, can go five hours between charging, and is insanely comfortable to wear. (Read our review here.) What’s more, the design of these earbuds' silicon tips makes them almost impossible to shake out of your head—but you still keep a good deal of situational awareness, making the SoundSport Free a good choice for joggers or cyclists.

The only knock against the SoundSport Free is its size: The earbuds are considerably larger than its competition, making them a less than fashionable choice for style conscious individuals.

Best true wireless headphones for audiophiles

B&O’s Beoplay E8 true wireless earbuds cost $300, but if high-fidelity sound quality is important to you, they're worth every penny. (Our review here.)
Though you can't expect a set of earbuds to match the sound you'd find in a wired set of cans, the E8s provided the most pleasurable listening experience out of all the true wireless earbuds we've tested so far. As icing on the cake, you can further modify your audio experience using the free Beoplay app.
The Beoplay B8 is incredibly easy to use, too—touch panels make changing the volume of what you’re listening to or tinkering with audio tracks no big deal.

What to look for

Sound

Sounding good is a set of earbuds' raison d’être. When you invest in a new pair of true wireless earbuds, it’s fair to assume that they should make everything sound its best.

We start each sound test by listening to a playlist of five songs that spans different genres and features strong, layered performances: that we know very very well: Feel Right (Mark Ronson, featuring Mystikal); Up & Rise (Hazmat Modine); Shake Your Hips (The Legendary Shack Shakers); Déjà Loin (Yann Tiersen); and I’m a Little Mixed up (Diana Krall).

We play this set of songs for an hour, paying attention to low, mid, and high-frequency performance, and whether they provide a broad, rich soundstage. We also listen for any sign of distortion at low or high volumes. Afterward, we use the earbuds in our daily lives for a minimum of three hours a day over the course of a week, making sure to take in at least one TV show or movie. (This allows us to verify that the audio keeps in sync with the video we see.) Finally, we pay attention to incoming and outgoing call quality, to make sure that you won't get annoyed during a chat.

Fit

A set of earbuds or earphones may sound amazing, but no one will know it if they don’t fit well—a good seal keeps environmental noise out and your audio channeled into your ears, where it belongs. Because no two pairs of ears are identical, we note if a set of true wireless earbuds comes with different ear pieces.

We also pay attention to the tightness of a seal, as a snug fit provides passive noise cancellation (aka the hush that falls over your life when you jam a pair of earphones or earplugs into your skull). If you're in a noisy airport, tuning out your environment is a plus—but it's less than ideal if you're out running, for safety reasons. We take this into consideration when evaluating earbuds designed for working out.

Comfort

They might fit and sound great, but if your new true wireless cans hurt your ears, you won’t wear them. We wear the earbuds for at least three hours a day for a week and note if a particular set becomes uncomfortable after a few hours of use.

Connectivity

True wireless headphones use Bluetooth to connect to each other and to your audio device. We pay attention to connectivity issues stemming from signal interruptions between the earbuds and their audio source, and also note if audio drops from the left or right side during playback.

Features

At minimum, a good pair of true wireless earbuds should be able to accept calls as well as play and pause music. If a pair offers additional features beyond the basics, those functions should work well and be easy to use.

Price

It almost goes without saying that if you pay a premium for earbuds, they should sound spectacular. If a pair of headphones sound great and don’t cost much? Even better!

All of our true wireless earbud reviews

Click on the links below to read the full reviews of all the products we tested. We'll continue to update this article as we put more true wireless earbuds and earphones through their paces, so keep checking for our latest opinions.


How to Position Images and Other Objects in Microsoft Word by Rob Woodgate

Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth vs. USB tethering: Which is best for you? By Amanda Kooser, Komando.com


You have your laptop open and ready. You need to answer some emails or complete a work assignment, but there’s no Wi-Fi in sight. This could end up being a frustrating situation, but there’s a simple workaround that can get you online in a jiffy.

All you need is a device, either Apple or Android, with a cellular connection. The connections are slightly different depending on the device you use.

The first thing you have to do is set up your personal hotspot. Apple and Android mobile devices can share their data connections just like a Wi-Fi hotspot. That means you can get your laptop online and enjoy working with a full keyboard rather than tapping with your thumbs. Your  personal hotspot feature can also comes in handy when you don’t want to use your computer on an unknown or unsecured Wi-Fi network.
On Apple:

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot, then tap the slider to turn it on.
On Android:
  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering.
  3. Tap Wi-Fi hotspot, then turn it on.
There are three different ways you can hook your computer up to your internet connection, a process known as “tethering.” Let’s take a look at all three possibilities: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB, and how to choose which method to use.

Wi-Fi

For most people, Wi-Fi tethering is the easy way to go. It’s simple and offers a fast connection.
In Apple:
  1. Verify the name of your phone or tablet and your Wi-Fi password. Go ahead and leave this screen open while you’re connecting your computer.
  2. On your laptop, open your Wi-Fi settings and look for your iPhone’s name on the list of available networks. Select it.
  3. Enter your hotspot password.
As far as your computer is concerned, this works just like a normal Wi-Fi hotspot.
In Android:
  1. Go to Settings on your other device.
  2. Open the device's list of Wi-Fi options.
  3. Pick the phone's hotspot name, enter the password and then click Connect.
Keep in mind that your laptop will eat into your mobile data plan, so be mindful of how much data you have to spare.
Here’s how to get free Wi-Fi almost anywhere.

Bluetooth


While Wi-Fi tethering works very well and should be your first choice, you might consider Bluetooth instead if you’re concerned about battery drain. The trade-off is that you may experience a slower connection, so keep this option in reserve for those times when your battery is running down and there’s no outlet available.
In Apple:
  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and stay on the screen to make sure your iPhone or iPad is discoverable.
  2. Go to your computer and follow the directions to set up a Bluetooth network connection. It should be ready to go then.
Personal Hotspot supports Bluetooth connections with Mac, PC and other third-party devices. To connect another iOS device, use Wi-Fi.
In Android:
  1. Pair your phone with the other device.
  2. Set up the device to connect by Bluetooth with the instructions that came with it.
  3. Open Settings, then tap Network & internet, and then Hotspot & tethering.
  4. Tap Bluetooth tethering, and you're set.

USB


In Apple:
  1. Plug your iPhone or iPad USB cable directly into your computer. You will need to have the most recent version of iTunes installed on your laptop.
  2. If you see an alert that says "Trust This Computer?," tap Trust. You're good to go.
In Android: 
  1. Connect your phone to the other device with a USB cable. A notification that says "Connected as a ... " will pop up at the top.
  2. Open your device's Settings.
  3. Tap Network & internet, then Hotspot & tethering.
  4. Turn on USB tethering.
While simply hooking up a cable can be convenient, there can also be a speed trade-off with using USB tethering. You may prefer to stick with a Wi-Fi connection unless you’re having a technical issue that prevents you from using Wi-Fi.

Some carriers will throttle mobile hotspot data after a certain amount of usage. Check your contract or talk to your carrier if you’re unsure of what your plan allows. With occasional light use, you probably won’t have to worry, but you may run into issues if you’re using it to stream lots of high-quality video, or for other data-intensive purposes.

Think of tethering as your internet pinch hitter. It’s there when you need to call on it, but it might not make sense as an everyday way to get your computer online.