Jan 01 2017

Don’t Let Kids Eat Lithium Batteries

It may sound obvious but apparently the website Hackaday received a press release about kids eating coin cell batteries, which are made with lithium. Eating said batteries is extremely dangerous. The message is “Don’t let kids eat lithium batteries.” That’s todays DaddyTip.

At first I said “duh”. But then I looked at the little batts. They are EXACTLY the kind of thing a kid might pop into their mouth. Round, small, easy to swallow… frankly, if you’re a little kid and don’t know better, they could easily be mistaken for candy. Now, hopefully you teach your children not to put stuff in their mouths, and/or you keep an eye on them to make sure this doesn’t happen. Still, it’s always good to be reminded.

I do NOT recommend that you show your kids this video, a Canadian PSA about “eating things that don’t belong inside you.” Ah, Canada.

As with most things, the key is to talk to your children and when they are little, and keep an eye on ’em. Better yet, keep the batteries out of reach. Like, don’t leave a box of coin cell batteries next to a dish of candy. There’s the tip.

Happy new year!

Source: PSA: Don’t Let Kids Eat Lithium Batteries | Hackaday


Sep 21 2016

Connect a PS4 Controller to a Mac

I recently discovered Steam for video games (very late adopter over here) and for most games I prefer a controller to the keyboard/mouse thing. What to do?

English: A Sony PlayStation 2 DualShock 2 cont...

English: A Sony PlayStation 2 DualShock 2 controller. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(NOTE: the picture above is of a PS2 controller. This article is about connecting a PS4 controller. But I didn’t have a photo of a PS4 controller I could use for free. You might be able to use a PS2 controller as well. As always, YMMV.)

Turns out it’s fairly easy — OK, super easy — to use a PS4 controller on a Mac, which is what I have. Basically, you plug it in and it works. Wireless usage via Bluetooth is also possible, although I’m old so I prefer wired.

Click through to Macworld.co.uk to see full instructions.

If you’re looking for a great controller for playing games on a Mac, look no further than the PS4 DualShock. The stock gamepad for the PlayStation 4 is a great controller, and it’s easy to set up. In this feature, we’ll show you how to connect a PS4 gamepad to your Mac

Source: How to connect a PS4 games controller to a Mac – Features – Macworld UK


Aug 09 2016

Small Desk Space Tip

Here’s a tip from Lifehacker for those of us with limited desk space.

Also features numerous links to other specific things to do with certain types of desks, and specific ideas, which is always appreciated. Rather than reblog the text from their site, I’ll let you go check it out for yourself.

My computer with desk

My computer with desk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Lifehacker, My workspace isn’t the most spacious or open. In fact, it’s downright small and clutter-prone. Do you have any tips for making the most of what little desk space I have—on the cheap, of course?

Source: How Can I Make The Most of My Meager Desk Space? (Lifehacker)


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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


Jul 20 2015

Tip: Update Windows Now

From ZDNet, a tip: update Windows now.

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista...

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Dotted lines indicate that a “clean install” is required; otherwise, an in-place upgrade is possible. Black lines indicate upgrade paths between Vista versions. Windows XP Professional x64 and Windows 2000 both require clean installs for every Vista edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously. I don’t use Windows anymore (see the image above), but apparently this is one of those really bad things that has the potential to screw up your computer.

The flaw, which also affects Windows 10, allows a hacker to take over a machine.

Does that sound fun to you? It’s doesn’t to me. “All versions,” according to ZDNet, means “Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1” and based on the quote above, Windows 10.

I haven’t used Windows regularly since XP Pro. That was a fine OS. It helped that I bought a Thinkpad, one of the last models made by IBM before they sold that part of their business to Lenovo, and the computer came with very little pre-installed crapware. Crapware, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is stupid software that comes installed on many Windows computers. Usually all the stuff does is cause your OS to slow to a crawl and make you want to throw your computer out the window. (No pun intended.) I have spent… let’s see… carry the 1… a boat-load of hours uninstalling crapware from the PCs of friends and family.

Anyway, this isn’t a crapware problem, at least not as far as I can tell. Assuming Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 still work somewhat similarly to Windows XP, updating your OS should be fairly easy. As Nike used to say, just do it.

Source: Microsoft releases emergency patch for all versions of Windows | ZDNet