Jan 16 2018

DaddyTips Of The Past: Good Passwords Matter

In January of 2016 I wrote a post about bad passwords and why you should teach your kids to use good passwords. Guess what? That tip is still relevant.

PCs All-in-One For Dummies

This is still true. In some ways it is perhaps even more true. Why? Because there are more devices and services in our lives. I have numerous networked thingies in my house, and it feels like I add at least one new account every week. EVERY COMPANY wants you to have an account with their service. Why? Marketing. Selling. AND THE ILLUMINATI. Mostly the first two. BUT MAYBE EVEN THE THIRD. Bottom line: more accounts, more devices, more passwords. Is it annoying to come up with unique passwords for every frickin’ new account? Of course it is! Do you have to do it in order to avoid problems? Yeah. Yeah you do.

Here’s the extremely brilliant webcomic XKCD’s version of how to handle this problem. The problem with this? Don’t use this password because it’s in a comic. HOWEVER! The good folks at XKCD made a password generator you can use.

Whatever you do, don’t use Star Wars themed passwords. With the release of The Last Jedi, I’m gonna guess more than a few people are going to be using “Kylo Smoak” or something even more cleverer.

Bottom line: use hard to guess passwords. If you can’t even remember it, all the better.


Dec 29 2017

Adjust Volume Using Audacity (Tech Tip)

I’ve been podcast (listen!) and the episode I recorded today was too loud. My software of choice is Audacity because it sells for my favorite price – FREE dollars. Plus it works, and has a lot of high-end features. For example, you can fix it if your volume is too loud. That’s today’s DaddyTips tech tip.

Screenshot of Audacity running on Mac OS X Sou...

Screenshot of Audacity running on Mac OS X Sourced from: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Audacity has a tool called the envelope tool. It looks like this:

Audacity Envelope Tool

 

Hopefully you can see the arrow better than me. (I’m colorblind.) If you can’t, it’s the thing in between the Selection Tool and the Draw Tool. If you hover your mouse pointer over each tool on the toolbar it tells you what the tool is called. Ah, screw it. Here’s another screenshot, but this time the envelope tool is circled.

Audacity Envelope Tool Circled

Anyway, what you do is click that tool. That will select your track. Then you can drag a little bubble up and down and that will reduce or increase the volume of the track. There is probably a way to do just a section of the track but I don’t know what that is.

I got this info from WiredPen, a website by the extremely talented Kathy E. Gill, who is clearly cooler than me because she’s wicked smart and she rides a motorcycle. (Seriously, I mean that. She seems very cool.) Without this helpful tip my podcast would have been unlistenable.

Below are my podcast episodes. The one from 12/29/17 is here.

Listen to me early and often, especially now that I know how to fix the volume.

Aside: these were the suggested tags for this post. Some make sense and are used. Many of them, however, are bizarre.

Suggested tags Audacity post

Happy New Year!

h/t WiredPen.com by Kathy E. Gill


Jun 27 2016

Getting a Stylus Unstuck From a 3DS Slot (Tips)

Having trouble getting a stylus unstuck from a 3DS slot? Me too! Not my 3DS, my kid’s. I don’t have a 3DS.

You know what? I did it! It’s a grand day in DaddyLand. How did I do it? Read on, true believer.

English: Two examples of styli that work with ...

English: Two examples of styli that work with the Nintendo DS Lite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So. Something is stuck in the stylus slot of a 3DS, DSi, or any device that uses a stylus. (I would say Palm Pilot but then you would think I was old. Oh wait…)

I was having no luck using a bent paperclip.

paperclip no

This did not work

However! After deciding that my methods (which also included a pliers, screwdriver and a strange tool from my computer fixing kit) were insufficient, I turned to the Interwebs. There I found a post on the site fixya that suggested… a screw.

Success!

screw yes

The screw worked!

 

Here’s what I did that worked: I gently (VERY GENTLY, the opposite of writing in all caps) inserted the screw into the slot (oh, behave) and twisted, again, very, very gently. The goal is to get whatever is stuck unstuck, not break the device. That would be bad. After a bit of twisting and a bit of pulling — all very gentle — I managed to get the thing out of the slot.

Huzzah

Hopefully this tip helps any parents stuck (pun intended) trying to get a stylus or other foreign object out of their child’s Nintendo device.

Shop Nintendo stuff on Amazon

thank you to the fixya users at this post


Apr 25 2016

Fixing a Jumpy Trackpad

You know what’s annoying? Computers. Specifically when something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Like, say, your pointing device. Want to know how to fix a jumpy trackpad on your Macbook?

As they say in The Pajama Game, we figured it out… with some help from The Google.

Macbook Trackpad from Wikipedia

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17″ Trackpad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So your trackpad is just kind of… doing stuff. Without you touching it. That’s really annoying. You’re watching a YouTube video and then suddenly iTunes opens and starts playing, say, the soundtrack to The Pajama Game.

(Hey, it’s in our heads now. “Seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a heck of a lot, seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a thing…” Great song. Also remarkably relevant today — heard about the Verizon strike? Yeah, it’s about more than seven and a half cents, but inflation and stuff. And OK, it’s not a pajama factory. But there were no cell phones in 1954! OK, back to the point… no pun intended.)

To resume after that parenthetical, your trackpad/touchpad, whatever you want to call it, is making it seem like your computer is possessed by a poltergeist. A ghost in the machine, if you will. (Will not… get… sidetracked… again… no pun intended… we mean it…) What do you do? Thanks to someone on Apple Support Forums, we found this possible solution:

Press down on the left side of your trackpad kind of forcefully, and try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook. Apparently it can get kind of stuck on the left side and needs to be unjammed essentially.

You know what? For us, this worked. No more jumpy trackpad. I should point out that in my case, I pressed down on the left side of the trackpad more forcefully than usual but not so forcefully that I would break it. So be careful. While still holding it down on the left side, I then repeated the action on right side. Reading the suggestion quoted above, I’m not 100% sure what “try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook” means. Although now that I’m re-typing the words I suddenly do… maybe.

Whatever you do, be careful not to press too hard, because computers are kind of delicate, at least on the inside (and sometimes on the outside). And as always, caveat doer. That means (a) be careful and (b) if anything goes wrong, it’s not our fault. We’re just (a) repeating what someone wrote on a forum and (b) telling you what worked for us. That’s a disclaimer. Get it? Got it? Good.

Happy computing!

Source: Trackpad is jumpy | Apple Support Communities


Jan 19 2016

Teach Your Children About Proper Passwords (Tips)

This article from ZDNet about the worst passwords of 2015 reminds me to remind you that it’s important to teach your children about proper passwords.

What is a proper password? Pretty much anything not on ZDNet’s list.

PCs All-in-One For Dummies

No, we’re not calling you a dummy. But computer security is important, and it’s never too early to start talking to your children about it. Well, maybe toddler age is too young. But as soon as they have any sort of online account, they need to understand that importance of strong passwords.

(Aside to parents of younger children: don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school with an account on a website you’ve never heard of. Nothing nefarious. But a lot of educators are using online resources these days, and many of these sites require a login, and therefore… a password.)

Not sure what we mean by bad passwords? Here are a few examples.

Good stuff like 123456. Or the still popular password.

Apparently, Star Wars themed passwords became popular last year, because of that movie you probably heard a thing or two about. (Something about a force waking up? You know the one I mean.)

Anyway, bottom line, and our DaddyTip for today is to teach your children to use good passwords. For examples of bad passwords, hit the link below.

Many of the new entries are dictionary-based words, but many of the passwords from the year prior are increasing in popularity.

Source: These were the worst passwords of 2015, and they’re only getting worse | ZDNet


Jun 27 2015

No Voices In Music Problem Solved (Tips)

I got a pair of fancy headphones for Father’s Day. Then I have this weird problem — no vocals in music when listening on a laptop. Weird, right? After a few attempts at finding the correct Google phrase (“beats headphones hard to hear lyrics” did it) I found the answer. I thought perhaps other people could be having a similar problem, so I made it today’s tip.

Beats Headphones

Ready? Because this is really dumb.

Pull the headphones out of the jack, and put them in part of the way.

It works. It’s stupid, but it works.

Here’s the original question that was asked:

Hello, When any headphones or speakers are hooked up to my laptop, music plays but voices don’t. This happens when listening to music, watching movies, or watching videos online. Configuration: Windows XP / Firefox 3.6.4

And here is a link to the answer, from a user named razzman.

Yay Internets!

Source: CCM

 


Apr 26 2015

Stop iTunes Song Pop-up

Starting with some version of Apple‘s iTunes software, the song title will pop-up over whatever you are doing. If you’re like me and can be distracted by, well, everything, this is annoying.

This is one of those features that was never necessary, or at least shouldn’t be turned on by default.

Luckily there is a simple way to turn it off. From Apple’s Support website:

Click iTunes -> preferences -> General -> Under “Notifications”, uncheck “when song changes”
What a relief!

Here’s some screenshots for ya:

BEFORE (GRRRR):

iTunes When Song Changes - checked

AFTER (YAYYYY!):

 

iTunes When Song Changes - unchecked

Thank you carpetfiber101 for the tip.

new song pop up window in iTunes | Apple Support Communities.