Archive for March, 2017

How to attach your PC or laptop to any TV

Converters are available for nearly any type of video connection

hdmi to composite

If there’s anything in the computer world that’s become significantly easier over the years, it’s connecting your PC or laptop to a TV. Even vintage TVs—as long as they have an auxiliary input of some sort, whether it be HDMI, DVI, component, or even composite. There may be a digital to RF converter out there somewhere, I just haven’t seen it.

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The qualifier here is that unless your computer has an exact match for the older video connection technology on the TV in question, such as a VGA port, it will probably require HDMI, DisplayPort, or USB-C output. These signals, being digital, can be translated to analog or other types of digital signals through a converter or adapter.

startech for answer line

There is one exception: DVI-I and DVI-A (rare) both included analog signals that could be used to drive standard VGA connections. I have about five of those small DVI-to-VGA dongles, not to mention several HDMI-to-DVI types, which are similarly simple and cheap.

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This is the front of an HDMI to composite and component video. Use it for attaching newer laptops to older video components.

But for other matchups, you’ll need something with a bit of smarts. These range from simple HDMI-to-VGA for less than 10 bucks, to multi-adapters that cover every possible connection for $20 to $50. (Shopping note: I’ve included photos of some of these products to give you an idea of what to look for. I don’t have specific product recommendations because most are OEM items re-badged by various vendors.)

If you’re rocking a 4K UHD TV, which is almost certainly HDMI, and a late-model graphics interface, that brings up its own set of matchup problems. HDMI-to-HDMI is obviously no issue, but depending on the type of HDMI—1.0, 1.1, or 1.2—you may not get the full 2160p, or you may not get it at 60Hz. DisplayPort is the same deal. There are iterations that are more compatible with other technologies than others, and the chips that do the conversions aren’t equal either.

displayport to hdmi


This is a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. It’s handy for attaching modern PCs to modern TVs.

When you go looking, make sure you purchase a converter that maximizes the capabilities of your PC and the TV. In other words, don’t buy a converter that maxes out at 1080p if your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and TV can handle 2160p. Resolution information  for your GPU or card is readily available in either the vendor’s Control Panel or the display settings in Windows.

To access the latter, right-click on an empty area of the desktop, select Display Settings, and then click on Advanced display settings. If you have the proper drivers installed (not the generic Standard Display driver), the maximum resolution available in the Resolution drop-down menu is the maximum resolution the video card can deliver.

ka 65 front wall screenfill


Sony’s new Bravia A1E-serise TVs have hardly any bezel and reveals startling detail for an OLED. You should hope this is the TV you’re trying to connect your PC to.

Your TV, assuming it’s a flat-panel, will be either 1366×720 (HD), 1920×1080 (also known as 1080p or FHD/Full HD), or 3840×2160 (commonly, though inaccurately, known as 4K, or 4K UHD/Ultra HD). Your TV’s maximum resolution should be in the user’s guide.

Unfortunately, converters that output 2160p are still somewhat rare, though the chips that handle it are in production. Then again, 2160p content is still not widely disseminated. Most converters will handle 1080p, and that should cover the majority of applications for the nonce.

Note: All the converters shown are available at Amazon, Newegg, and other online tech-shopping destinations.


How to use a Chromebook: 10 must-know tips, tricks, and tools for beginners

Chromebooks are dead-simple to use, but just like any PC a little tweaking makes your experience that much better.

acer chromebook 14 primary

When Google first introduced Chromebooks in 2011, it seemed like a ridiculous idea. A laptop that can only run a browser? Who wants that? But over time, web apps slowly became more powerful and capable, while Google steadily improved the Chrome OS experience. Soon, many newer Chromebooks will also run Android apps.

All of this means the Chromebooks of 2017 are nothing like that original experience. Today, Chrome OS feels like a modern operating system that offers a near desktop-like experience. It can satisfy the needs of almost every user, with the notable exception of those who need video or advanced image editing.

If you set your Chromebook up right, that is. Let’s get that done.

1. Get to know the system


Chrome OS has some basic similarities with other desktop systems. Just like Windows, Linux, and OS X, there’s a desktop area that you can customize with your own background image. But unlike the desktop in other systems, you cannot place any files here. It’s merely a visual space where you can arrange open windows.

When you open an app—which are mostly websites on Chromebook—it will open in either a new window or a tab in the main browser. Open windows can be resized or split to take up half the display like in other systems.

You’ll probably notice right away that your keyboard has a search icon where the caps lock key should be. This search key is a way to get at all the apps contained on your system. Tap it and a window opens with a search box, and below that you’ll see several apps. Click All apps to get a view of everything you have available.


One system-critical Chromebook app that is not a website is Files. This is the Chrome OS file manager that lets you access files saved on your system, view the contents of a ZIP folder, or access items in Google Drive.

The last point of interest in our system tour is the lower-right corner of the taskbar-like shelf, called the system tray. (More on the shelf later.) The first thing you’ll see is a small counter that tells you how many notifications you have. Click it and you can view and clear your notifications.


Next to that is a clock, Wi-Fi status, and a battery life indicator. Click this area and a panel appears with basic system settings, including Wi-Fi, VPN, Bluetooth, Casting functionality, volume, help, and the shutdown button.

There’s also a cog icon. Selecting it provides access to your Chromebook’s settings window. Here you can set your wallpaper and add visual themes, as well as access system settings for the touchpad, mouse, keyboard, display, and meager onboard storage.

Finally, to access your Chromebook’s task manager, click Shift + Esc.

2. Set up your shelf

When you first open your Chromebook, you’ll see several app icons sitting at the bottom of the screen. This area is called the shelf, and it mimics the Windows taskbar. The Chrome OS shelf shows you which apps are running and provides an easy way to switch among open windows.

To make the Chromebook your own you’ll want to add your commonly used apps to the shelf, and remove the ones you don’t use. To get rid of something from the shelf, hover your mouse pointer over the app icon in question, tap the touchpad with two fingers (the equivalent of a right-click on a Chromebook), and select Unpin from the context menu that appears.


The easiest way to add your own apps to the shelf is to open the web app you want to use in the browser. Next, click the menu icon in the upper right hand corner—it looks like three vertical dots—and select More tools > Add to shelf. A small pop-up window appears asking you to confirm that you want to add the web app. If you want a desktop-like experience where your shelf apps open in their own window, check the Open as window box, and then click Add.

To rearrange apps on the shelf, click and drag them to the desired position.

3. Smartphone unlock

To open a Chromebook, you need to sign in with your Google account password. That’s easy enough, but if you have an Android phone this process can become even easier. Your phone can automatically unlock your computer without a password via Bluetooth.

To set this up, click the clock in the lower right corner of your desktop and select Settings. Next, scroll down to the bottom of the settings window and select Show advanced settings…

Scroll down again until you see “Smart Lock for Chromebook (beta).” Select Turn on and then follow the instructions to activate the feature.

4. Modify Google Sync

One of Chrome’s key features is the ability to sync your recently opened tabs, browsing history, bookmarks, extensions, passwords, and other items across multiple devices. This syncing works on any device that runs Chrome—including computers, smartphones, and tablets—as long as you’re signed into your Google account.


Ian Paul/PCWorld

Decide what you want to sync with Google’s servers and turn on encryption.

Syncing’s on by default with Chromebooks, but you can control which items are synced and which aren’t. Go to Settings, and then under “People” click Advanced sync settings…

A window will appear showing all the various items that are synced. Select Choose what to sync from the drop down menu at the top, and then un-check anything you don’t want shared with other devices

5. Google Cloud Print

Printing documents isn’t as important as it used to be, but it’s still something that many people need to deal with from time to time. Chromebooks don’t have the same straightforward printing capabilities as other PCs—but they can use Google Cloud Print. This allows you to print from any location with an Internet connection, and your print job will complete on your printer at home.

If you have a newer printer, it may come with Cloud Print capability built in. Google maintains a list of Google Cloud Print-compatible devices online. Instructions on how to add a printer to your Cloud Print account vary by device, so consult your owner’s manual for more information.

You can also add a non-Cloud Print-enabled device on Google’s Cloud Print site. There’s a major catch, though: It requires the printer to be connected to a Windows PC or Mac to act as a print server, and that computer needs to be powered on and connected to the Internet to handle the print job.

6. Know your keyboard and touchpad

We’ve already discussed the search key, but there are several other keys that you should get to know as well. If you look at the top of the Chromebook keyboard where the function keys would be on a Windows PC, you’ll see shortcut keys for actions such as adjusting the volume, refreshing the browser tab, and switching between windows. They’re superhandy. Check out Google’s help pages to learn what all of these keys do.


There are also some basic touchpad gesture controls and keyboard shortcuts that all Chrome OS users should know. The first is the system’s “snap” feature, which fits an open window to half the size of the display. To do it, select the window you want to snap, then press Alt to move the window to the right, or Alt +[  to the left.

Another important keyboard shortcut is Alt + Tab. Just like on other systems, this allows you to quickly switch among open windows.

Next is the touchpad. We’ve already discussed that a two-finger tap reveals the context menu. You can also navigate forward and backward through the history of a browser tab by swiping two fingers to the left or right. To scroll a page, move two fingers either upward or downward, as with other systems.

To switch between tabs, swipe left or right with three fingers. You can also tap the touchpad with three fingers to open a link in a new tab. Finally, to view all open windows on your desktop, swipe down with three fingers.

7. Enable tab audio muting

One-click audio muting for individual tabs has been a hidden feature in Chrome since April, 2015—surprisingly, it’s still not enabled by default. It’s a must-have feature for anyone who keeps multiple tabs open. Because every site under the sun now engages in auto-playing video or audio (yes, yes, I realize the irony), you need to know which tab is blaring audio over your Spotify session.

To activate tab audio muting, type chrome://flags #enable-tab-audio-muting into Chrome’s address bar and hit Enter. Under the section at the top labeled Tab audio muting UI control, click Enable.  Then click the Relaunch Now button that appears at the bottom of the browser page to restart the browser. Now, clicking the volume indicator that appears next to the site name in noisy tabs will silence them instantly.

8. Personalize your desktop background

This is an easy one, but it makes your desktop your own. First, download the image you’d like to use, or copy it to your Chromebook via USB. Once that’s done, tap an open spot on the desktop with two fingers to reveal the context menu. Next, select Set wallpaper…, and a window will open where you can select some stock images that come with your Chromebook.


From here, click the Custom tab and then select the tile with the + symbol. Select Choose File in the panel that pops out, and then a Files window will open. Navigate to where you saved your image, highlight it with your mouse pointer, and click Open. In a few seconds, your new wallpaper will appear. If it doesn’t look quite right, try adjusting it using the drop-down menu labeled Position. Usually Stretch or Center Cropped will do the trick.

9. Customize the Search Key

Personally, I like the search key as-is, but if you’d rather have Caps Lock functionality or set the key to serve as a backspace, here’s how to do it.

Click the clock area in the lower right corner of the shelf, and click the gear icon for Settings. In the Settings window under Device, select Keyboard settings. Yet another window opens, and right at the top you’ll see a drop-down menu next to Search. Click that menu, select the functionality you’d like the Search key to have, click OK, and you’re all set.

10. Enable offline functionality

Although society’s close to being oversaturated with Wi-Fi, there are still times when an Internet connection simply isn’t available. That’s when you need apps that can work offline. While Chromebooks are built to work from the web, they still include some offline functionality to keep you going when your Internet calls it quits. Be aware that enabling offline use requires apps to download data directly to your local storage, and most Chromebooks pack precious little space, so you may need to shuffle some things around.

Third-party apps in the Chrome Web Store that work offline will advertise the feature. Native Chromebook apps like Docs, Calendar, and Gmail need a little tweaking, and the way to enable offline mode varies from app to app.

sync google drive offline

The offline feature enabled in Google Drive.

To enable offline productivity in Google Drive, open Google Drive in your Chromebook. Click the settings cog in the upper righthand corner, then select Settings. Under the General category, make sure the box next to “Offline” is checked. Click Done.

enable google calendar offline

Enabling Google Calendar’s offline feature.

Now open Google Calendar and select the Settings cog again. From the drop-down menu, select Offline. In the next window that opens, click Enable.

Finally, download and install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store. Once it’s installed, open it, select the Allow offline mail radio button, and press Continue. Now give Gmail some time to download your recent mail before shutting it off.

Google Keep works offline automatically, but if you’ve never used it on your Chromebook you’ll need to open it to allow your notes to download.

Wrapping up

Those are the ten things we advise new Chromebook owners to take care of to get the best experience on their laptop. If you ever run into a problem or need to know how to do something, click on the system tray and select the help icon—the question mark in a circle. This triggers a basic guide that can give you tips on using your Chromebook.


20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know

If you surf Facebook on daily basis or occasionally, chances are you’re already familiar with regular stuffs like add/delete friends, update statuses, walls and profile, add and explore pages & applications, etc, but there’s more..

10 Tips & Tricks For Your Business’s Facebook Fan Page

Facebook is one the fastest growing social media network and its users are increasing by thousands every day.…Read more

This week we want to cover some interesting things you can do on (or with) Facebook; inclusive of tricks that are not documented or unknown to many, as well as tips to stay connected better with your friends. Without further ado, here’s 20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know. If you have interesting tips/tricks related to Facebook, please feel free to share in the comment box below.

  1. How to Place Facebook Chat On Firefox Sidebar

    If you are using Firefox, you can place the Facebook Chat at the sidebar.

  2. How to Download Facebook Photo Albums

    FacePAD: Facebook Photo Album Downloader allows you to download your friends’ facebook albums, Events albums, and Group Albums, en masse, with the click of a button.

  3. How to Share Flickr Photos to Facebook

    Flickr2Facebook is an unofficial Flickr to Facebook uploader(bookmarklet) which allows you upload photos to Facebook from Flickr.

  4. How to Update Facebook without Using Facebook

    hellotxt and both introduced features that let Facebook administrators update Facebook Pages.

  5. How to Schedule Facebook Messages

    Sendible lets you schedule Facebook messages ahead of time so you can send messages to your friends, customers or colleagues in the future.

  6. How to “Friend” Someone on Facebook & Hide It From Your Status Updates

    A short tutorial on Makeuseof to guide you how to hide Facebook status updates and keep that fact confined to your closer friends.

  7. How to Create a Photo Collage Using Pictures of Your Facebook Friends

    Click on Friends tab. Proceed to More tab. From “Choose an option” dropdown, choose any of the dashes “” . Your Facebook friends collage is right on your computer screen.

  8. How to Know When Facebook Friends Secretly Delete or Block You

    This service has been discontinued. X-Friends is a unique tool for tracking friends that disappear from Facebook.

  9. How to Display Selected Pictures Only on your Facebook Profile Page

    A little-known feature in Facebook that lets you decide who shows up in that Friends box. Click that “edit” pencil in your Friends box and type the names of your best friends in the box that says “Always show these friends

  10. How to Remove Facebook Advertisements

    This Greasemonkey script – Facebook: Cleaner removes many of the annoying ads and updates that unavoidably appear on your Facebook pages.

  11. How to Syncs Photos of Facebook Friends with Contacts in Microsoft Outlook

    OutSync is a free Windows application that syncs photos of your Facebook friends with matching contacts in Microsoft Outlook. It allows you to select which contacts are updated. So you can update all contacts at once or just a few at a time.

  12. How to Display Facebook Statuses on WordPress Blog

    The following method make use of Facebook status feed and WordPress RSS widget to display Facebook Statuses on WordPress blog.. It will also work for self-host WordPress blogs.

  13. How to Post Your Blog Posts to Your Facebook Wall Automatically

    Wordbook allows you to cross-post your blog posts to your Facebook Wall. Your Facebook “Boxes” tab will show your most recent blog posts.

  14. How to Access Facebook Chat on Desktop

    Gabtastik and digsby let you keep Facebook chat sessions open on your Windows desktop outside of your regular web browser, using minimal screen real estate and system memory.

  15. How to Create Quiz on Facebook Easily

    LOLapps provides quiz creator that can be employed to conjure up these popular personality quizzes that are so widespread in Facebook.

  16. How to Hide Your Online Status on Facebook Chat from Select Contacts

    Facebook has integrated friends list with Chat and you can also choose which of these list members get to see you online.

  17. How to Get Facebook Updates on Email

    NutshellMail consolidates your Facebook accounts through the inbox you use the most.

  18. How to Update Facebook Status from Firefox

    FireStatus is a status update utility for multiple social networks, including FaceBook.

  19. How to Get Facebook on Your Desktop

    Seesmic Desktop, Facebooker, Xobni, Facebook Sidebar Gadget, Scrapboy and Facebook AIR application are desktop applications that allows you interact with your stream just as you would on Facebook, but without the browser.

  20. How to Delete, Cancel and Terminate Facebook Account and Profile

    A simple guide to terminate, delete or cancel Facebook account, together with the Facebook profile easily.

15 (More) iPhone Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

15 (More) iPhone Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know


However, we’re not talking about the iPhone’s looks today but rather what you can do faster on it. Here amassed are 20 (more) useful iPhone tips and tricksyou might not know or heard about. You can easily learn these tricks and may even find yourself using them a lot to enhance your overall iPhone experience.


15 iPhone Tips

1. Save Battery Life (When It Is Running Low)

When your iPhone battery is running low, turning off the following settings can help make your iPhone last longer. With these off, you can still receive calls, SMS and even go online with EDGE connection.

  1. Settings > Wi-Fi > Off.
  2. Settings > Bluetooth > Off.
  3. Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Off.
  4. Settings > General > Cellular > Enable 3G > Off.
  5. Settings > General > Cellular > Enable LTE > Off.
  6. Settings > Sounds > Vibrate on Ring & Silent > Off.
  7. Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper > Auto-Brightness > Off.
  8. Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > Off.

(Image Source: Dokisoft)

2. Stop The Music With A Timer

Do you like to listen to music when getting into bed for the night but often doze off without switching the iPhone off? You can use a timer to help you shut down the music. To do this, tap on Clock > Timer > When Timer Ends. Scroll down and tap Stop Playing. Then, set a timer (say 30 mins) and tap Start. Now you may play any music and it will be turned off after 30 mins.

3. Delete Last Digit in Calculator App

Entered a wrong digit in the Calculator app? Instead of tapping the Clear [C] button, you can just swipe your finger to the left or right of the numbers to clear the last digit. Each swipe will remove the last digit until the number becomes zero.

4. Set An Alphanumeric Passcode

Add an extra layer of protection to your iPhone with an alphanumeric passcode. To activate it, go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock. Turn off Simple Passcode and you will be prompted to enter your alphanumeric password.

5. Use Headphone Cord to Take Photo

Shaky hands not getting you good photos? Well you can trigger a snapshot using the volume up or down buttons on your headphone.

(Image Source: bestiphoneaccessoriesreview)

6. Switch Shooting Directions in Panorama

Tap the arrow in Panorama mode to switch the shooting direction so you can take a panorama picture from left to right or right to left.

7. Find Word Or Phrase within a Web page

Searching for a word or phrase in a web page? In Safari, type in the word in the search bar on the top right and tap Search. In the results page, scroll all the way down and you will see how many words were found on the web pages. Tap on the searched word/phrase and you will be directed back to the web page with the searched word/phrase highlighted in yellow.

8. Undo Typing To Delete Typed Message

Hate getting carpal tunnel on your fingers from clearing your written SMS? Try this trick. Shake your iPhone and tap Undo Typing to delete your message. Changed your mind? Shake your iPhone again and tap on Redo Typing to retrieve your original message.

9. Type Emoji with Shortcuts

If you like to use Emoji in messaging but don’t like to switch the virtual keyboards repeatedly, try this trick to type Emoji with alphabets shortcuts.

  1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Emoji.
  2. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut…
  3. Insert a frequently used Emoji in Phrase.
  4. Insert a text in Shortcut which will be used to convert to Emoji.

10. Formatting Email Content

You can format your email content while writing it on your iPhone. Just highlight the text you want to format, then tap on the option arrow to look for the “BIU” button. Tap on it and select the format you want from Bold, Italicsor Underline.

11. Generate Random Passwords with Siri

Yes, the voice assistant Siri can do more than what it offers in command lists, including generating random passwords for you. Just activate Siri and say “random password” and you’ll be provided an 8-alphanumeric-character password from Siri. You can even add the character length e.g. “random password 16 characters“.

12. Filter Groups That Can Reach You

The ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature allows us to silence calls, alerts and notifications when the iPhone is locked. However there are important calls that we can’t afford to miss, for example, calls from Mom or your heavily pregnant wife. Here’s a tutorial to help important groups of people reach you even in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode.

13. Turn IPhone AssistiveTouch Icon On/Off Quickly

Many iPhone users have activated AssistiveTouch to alleviate the burden from the Home button. But it could be a little annoying since it is always on top of the screen. We’ve written a quicktip to guide you on how to turn the AssistiveTouch menu icon ON and OFF easily.

14. Send Multiple Photos At Once In Messages & Mail

Don’t like to add and send photos one by one in messaging or email? Try this trick. Here’s a guide on how you can send multiple photos at one go from your iPhone with just few simple taps.

15. Hide Unused Apple App Icons

We bet there are many stock apps that you do not need or use at all. The bad news is, you’re not allowed to delete them from your iPhone. The good news is, we have a trick to hide them, without having to jailbreak your iPhone.

Bonus: Another 4 More

Extract iPhone SMS & Read It On Your Computer

This tutorial teaches you how to backup your iPhone SMS data and read it through a browser on your computer. With that, you can also easily copy and paste your SMS data on your computer.

Disable Messages Preview

Here is a simple way to prevent others (see: annoying dad, mom, sister, brother, best friend) from accidentally reading your incoming SMS alerts when your iPhone is left unattended. Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages > Show Preview. Tap the option and turn it off to exclude a preview of the message in alerts and banners.

Turn Off Read Receipts in iMessage

iMessage is a cool way to send free text, photo, and video messages to friends who are using iOS 5 and above. Read receipts allow your friends to see whether you’ve viewed their message or not. But if you don’t want your friends notified of when you have read their messages, go to Settings > Messages > Send Read Receipts > Off.

Activate Text-To-Speech On iPhone

Activate the ‘Text-to-Speech’ function to let your iOS read out a highlighted article for you. It could be very useful if you want to learn the pronunciation of new words or just want to sit back and let your iPhone read out an article for you while you’re driving. Click here to read the full guide.