Category: Computing Tips

Windows 10 Tiles not functioning? You may have to restart Explorer

Article

Windows 10 Start Menu

If you are seeing blank tiles in this view, you may have to restart Windows Explorer

Windows 10 Tip: Fixing Live Tile Counts and Blank Tiles | Supersite For Windows

My Comments

If you are running Windows 10 and are enamoured by the “tiled interface” that is part of its Start Menu or Tablet Mode view, there are times where you may find it not working “up to scratch”.

With this interface, you may find that the Live Tiles that are regularly updated simply go blank or are stagnant. The normal response to this situation would be to restart your computer, which would then fix the problem.

Task Manager with Windows Explorer called out

The Windows Explorer process in Task Manager

On the other hand, you may only need to restart the Explorer process to fix this problem without the need to reboot your computer. This can also apply to other user-interface abnormalities.

Here, you run Task Manager by either right-clicking the Taskbar or holding your finger on the Taskbar in the case of a tablet or 2-in-1, then clicking Task Manager, or pressing Ctrl-Shift-ESC together on the keyboard. Then you find Windows Explorer in the list of processes. Right-click this item and click Restart and it won’t take long for it to come good.

Task Manager - Context menu with Restart called out

Click the Restart option on the context menu to restart Windows Explorer

At this point, the Windows Explorer process will recover and update the tiles including reloading the data that populates the tiles from its source rather than working of corrupted data.

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How to effectively establish that Wi-Fi-based mobile network

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wi-Fi mobile printer – one of the mobile peripheral devices pitched to smartphone and tablet users

A major trend that has become strong over the last few years is the arrival of mobile network devices that connect to each other and to client computer devices via Wi-Fi wireless networking technology.

These are represented in the form of:

  • mobile network-attached-storage devices
  • mobile printers
  • wireless speakers, and
  • mobile broadcast-LAN tuners that work with terrestrial or satellite broadcast systems,
Network setup for mobile NAS and smartphone

Network setup for Wi-Fi-based mobile peripheral devices

What is common about all of these devices, and is treated as a key marketing feature by their vendors, is that they can be set up to be their own access point with their own DHCP server as well as being client devices to existing wireless networks. Some of these devices like most mobile NAS devices are able to work effectively as bridges or routers between an existing wireless network and the network that they create.

This may work well if you are just using the one mobile peripheral device with your mobile client devices but may not work well when you intend to run two or more mobile peripheral devices. Here, you will end up switching between different wireless networks just to benefit from the different mobile peripheral devices.

Mobile NAS as bridge setup

Wireless NAS as a bridge between mobile client devices and another Internet-providing network

But you may want to run one or more of these wireless mobile devices together to serve multiple laptops, tablets or smartphones. Situations that may come about that will call for these setups would be where you are using a mobile NAS and, perhaps, a camera that has Wi-Fi functionality or one of the new Wi-Fi-capable mobile printers. This will call for you to create a proper mobile wireless network for all of these devices.

Use a router-class device as the main device

Here, you would have to run one wireless network device as a DHCP server and “master” access point and this function can be best served by a router-class device.

"Mi-Fi" portable wireless router

A typical “Mi-Fi” portable wireless router for a mobile-broadband service

The most common examples of devices of this class that apply to “on-the-road” use are the “Mi-Fi” mobile routers that work with a mobile broadband service or one of the travel routers pitched to work with a hotel’s wired Internet service. Some mobile NAS devices may also do this wireless-bridging functionality in an adept manner and could be the hub of your “travel network”. Similarly, one of the mobile-broadband wireless routers being integrated in to some new cars by the likes of BMW and Chrysler may also answer these needs.

You may think of using your smartphone’s Wi-Fi mobile-broadband-router functionality but this may encumber your smartphone for what you want to really use it for.

Some highly-sophisticated “Mi-Fi” and travel-router devices may also expose an Ethernet connection for LAN use, perhaps through an optional extended-functionality dock. This can come in handy if you want to increase your coverage area with another wireless access point or want to use devices like games consoles with your mobile network.

You may find that you don’t need to run the Internet connection on the Mi-Fi or travel router if you are simply establishing a link between multiple mobile peripheral devices and client devices and aren’t reliant on Internet functionality for their operation. Similarly, by having your mobile devices working this way, you avoid the need to authenticate with a Wi-Fi hotspot that implements Web-based authentication to do something like gain access to your mobile NAS’s data from your iPad.

Set up known wireless network parameters

Mobile network wiht "Mi-Fi" router and 2 Wi-Fi-capable mobile peripheral devices

Mobile wireless network for two or more mobile devices and mobile client devices – uses a router-class device like a “Mi-Fi” router

When you set up your “Mi-Fi” or travel router, you make this device the hub of your mobile network and have every device “point” to this device’s local-network by associating with its SSID (wireless network name) and security parameters.

Most of the mobile network devices that work on an “open-frame” approach can be quickly associated to this “mobile hub” thanks to WPS-based push-button setup. For devices that don’t support this quick setup mode like most Apple devices, you will need to note down the “mobile hub’s” SSID and security passphrase. Some “Mi-Fi” devices that have a display may be able to show these details on their display, perhaps at the request of the user.

For that matter, a good practice would be to assign a unique SSID for your “mobile hub” device i.e. your Mi-Fi or travel router. This is important when you use these setups in campgrounds, caravan parks or hotels where many of these devices will be used at once.

All wireless devices to link with router-class device

It will also mean that the mobile NAS, mobile printer or other similar device has to work as a client device rather than as its own access point. This also applies to your computing devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones which also associate with the “mobile hub” device.

When positioning your mobile-network devices, make sure that they are in the range of your “mobile network hub” device i.e. the Mi-Fi or the travel router. All the wireless traffic that goes between these devices will pass through the “mobile network hub” device rather than between the devices themselves.

You may find that if you want to avoid draining your “Mi-Fi” router’s battery too quickly, it may be a good idea to have it run from a USB charger that runs from house current or your vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket. Similarly, a high-capacity USB power-pack can also earn its keep with these devices if you are away from power.

What I stand for when reviewing or researching mobile devices

When I review any device for this Website that is capable of being its own wireless network such as a mobile NAS or mobile printer, I test the device with my home network’s Wi-Fi wireless segment as if it is a client device. This is so I am sure they can work in this kind of setup as well as the highly-promoted “own access point” setup. As well, as part of researching a mobile device that uses Wi-Fi wireless technology as part of its link with client computer devices, I verify that it can work as part of an existing wireless-network segment as well as being its own segment.

Similarly, when I research a mobile router-class device like a Mi-Fi or travel router, I would expect the device to support WPS single-push connectivity along with other essential Wi-Fi connectivity and security standards. Similarly, such a device would have to be easy to configure including setting up the SSID and passphrase. As well, the Mi-FI device can’t be very thirsty with its battery if the goal is to have it as a “hub” device.

Conclusion

Once you are able to set up a mobile multi-device network, you can then be able to use it to store or print data while you are “on the road” without needing to constantly switch networks for each different task.

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Facetime on the big screen with Apple TV

Old lady making a video call at the dinner table press picture courtesy of NBNCo

You can have a FaceTime videocall on the big TV screen with your Apple TV

Those of you who use an iPhone or iPad and have contacts that use these Apple iOS devices will no doubt have engaged in a Facetime videocall at some point. Facetime is Apple’s own over-the-top VoIP / videocall platform that works alongside the their iMessage messaging / presence platform.

But you may want to use the big screen for a Facetime videocall. This may be to have a large group like your family participate in the videocall with a distant relative or friend or you may find that the large screen offers you a way to see your correspondent easily and comfortably. How do you do this?

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 inch press picture courtesy of Apple

The AirPlay network-based video-streaming method brings more utility to the Apple iPad

The same instructions will also apply with people who use any other mobile-messaging platform that uses an iOS client like Skype or Facebook Messenger, especially where the platform offers videocalling or video messaging functionality.

Most likely, you will have purchased an Apple TV set-top box perhaps to use the iTunes video-on-demand services or use its Netflix or other video-service front-ends. This device can also earn its keep in bringing Facetime to the big screen.

This Apple TV device exploits Apple’s Airplay network-based streaming protocol especially for video applications and will work alongside any iPhone or iPad running a version of iOS newer than iOS 5. Both these devices need to be on the same logical network as each other, which is simple for most home and other small networks looked after by one router.

How to have Facetime on the big screen

  1. Start a Facetime session on your iPhone or iPad as you normally would and advise the caller you will be linking to the big screen
  2. Double-click the Home button to bring up the “Fast Application Switcher” and select the iOS Home screen then expose the control panel by “pulling up” from the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap Airplay button and select Apple TV as your AirPlay target device and enable AirPlay mirroring

    Apple TV - Mirroring on - iPad

    Set up iPad for mirroring to Apple TV

  4. Switch back to Facetime by double-clicking on the Home button and selecting the Facetime window which should be the last or second-last window.
  5. Continue your call but see your caller on the big screen and hear them through the TV’s speakers. You may find it easier to place your iPhone or iPad atop or in front of the TV screen for natural conversation.

When I was doing research on this topic, I noticed that commentators were raising the idea that Apple could integrate Facetime in to the Apple TV platform in a similar way to how some smart-TV manufacturers integrated Skype in to their smart-TVs and video peripherals. This would be in the form of supplying a camera kit as an optional accessory or describing one of these kits as part of the MFi peripherals program that Apple runs along with developing a Facetime app for the Apple TV.

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Having trouble with Apple or similar headsets and your XBox One controller?

Article

Use Apple Earbud Headphones with Xbox One Controller Without the Buzzing Feedback Sound | OS X Daily

My Comments

JBL Synchros E30 headphones

Not all headsets may work fully and properly with all devices due to different wirings

The article showed a compatibility issue when it comes to using different wired stereo headsets with different communications devices, whether they be computers, smartphones or games controllers.

How are the headsets wired?

There are two ways of wiring a stereo headset’s plug where both of them use a 4-conductor 3.5mm phone plug. The tip and first ring in both wirings are for the stereo sound to the headset speakers but how the second ring and the sleeve are wired differ between the wirings.

XBox One games console press photo courtesy Microsoft

You could set the XBox One to work properly with your Apple or similar headset courtesy of a workaround

The CTIA wiring that Apple, Samsung and Sony uses for their phones and a great majority of headsets implement wires the second ring as the common or ground and the sleeve for the microphone. Conversely the OMTP wiring that Microsoft uses for their XBox One controllers and manufacturers like Nokia and a few Android handset builders has the second ring used for the microphone and the sleeve for the common or ground.

This problem can cause headsets that observe one of these wirings not to work properly with phones or other devices that observe the other wiring, such as with excessive noise or the microphone not working.

There are some ways to work around the problem. Firstly, you could purchase an OMTP / CTIA headset adaptor which is a plug-in jack adaptor that reverses the wiring so that an OMTP headset can be compatible with a CTIA device and vice versa. This can extend to having the headset’s plug wiring modified by a knowledgeable electronics technician to suit your device, something that could be done for “beer money”. If you have headphones that come with a headset cable, you could purchase another headset cable and have that modified to work with another device.

When I review headsets, I have raised this issue when it comes to headset connectivity and have suggested that headset manufacturers either supply a CTIA/OMTP adaptor plug or integrate a changeover switch for the affected connections into their headset or microphone pod designs. Similarly, device manufacturers could design their devices to work with both CTIA and OMTP headset wirings, something that can be facilitated at software level such as through a setup-menu option or auto-detect routine; or on a hardware level through a changeover switch on the device. The recent Lumia Windows smartphones have answered this problem by implementing a “universal headset jack” design.

There were other compatibility issues raised between headsets targeted at Apple devices and headsets targeted for other devices even if they were wired to CTIA specifications. This came in the form of the microphone’s impedance or how the buttons on the microphone pod send control signals to the host device.  But most of the other device manufacturers are answering this problem through the use of microphone-input circuitry that adjusts itself to the needs of the microphone that is connected to it. Similarly, the headsets are being required to effectively have their main control button short the microphone and ground (common) connections to signal the device for call-flow or media play-pause control.

Dealing with your XBox One’s controller

The headset jack on the XBox One’s controllers happens to be wired for OMTP which is also a common wiring method for regular computers, especially laptops. But, as highlighted in the OSX Today article, the Apple headset was wired up to CTIA standards.

But the author recommended a workaround to this problem by disabling microphone monitoring through the XBox One’s configuration menu. This is to reduce the buzzing associated with an electret-condenser microphone wired the wrong way, but may limit the headset’s functionality as a chat device when you play an online game for example.

Here, you have to enter the XBox One’s setup menu by double-clicking the XBox button on the controller, then select the “gear” icon to access the “Settings” menu. Then you have to turn the “Headset Mic” setting off and turn the “Mic Monitoring setting down to zero” to achieve this goal.

Personally, I would look towards purchasing a CTIA/OMTP adaptor online or through an electronics store and use this with the XBox One’s controllers so you can use the microphone on your Apple or other CTIA-compliant headset when you game online.

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Rotating videos shot with smartphones

When you shoot video using a smartphone or tablet held in the vertical (portrait) position, it will come out vertical and you may have to rotate your head to watch it comfortably on most display situations. Even if you use a camcorder or high-end digital camera to shoot your video footage, you may find that you have shot some footage at an awkward angle and may want to correct that.

But you can rotate the video footage so it appears right-way-up when you play it. Here, the video will come out in a “pillar-box” form when played full-screen with black borders on each side of the vision.

You can do this with both the main regular-computer operating systems using either an application that comes with the operating system or available as a free download from the vendor.

Apple Macintosh

Current versions of QuickTime Player for OS X have the ability to rotate the video and save a rotated copy.

To do this, open the video in QuickTime Player, then select “Rotate Video” under QuickTime Player’s Edit Menu to get it the “right way up”. Once you are satisfied, press Command-S on the keyboard to save a rotated copy of the clip.

Windows

If you download Windows Movie Maker, which is part of the free Windows Live Essentials package available from Microsoft, you can use this elementary video editor tool to rotate your video clips.

Here, you import your video clip to Windows Movie Maker, then you rotate your video clip using the Rotate buttons on the toolbar. Once you are satisfied, save a copy of the clip in any of the formats that Windows Movie Maker supports.

Conclusion

At least Apple and Windows offer inclusive solutions to correct your video footage that you take with your smartphone so you can make it comfortably watchable.

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Give your Windows 10 Mobile smartphone a unique name

Article

Nokia Lumia 950 press image courtesy of Microsoft

Nokia Lumia 950 – representative of Windows 10 Mobile – you can give it a distinct name

How to rename your Windows 10 Mobile handset | Windows Central

My Comments

Most desktop and mobile operating systems allow you to name your computing device so it is logically identifiable from others of the same platform.

This is important with identifying devices that are or to be connected on a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network or dealing with applications and games that only identify participants by device name. It is also about managing your devices’ access to cloud services including social networks

This was available on Windows Phone but was so well hidden that most Windows Phone users didn’t know it existed. It is because, unlike other operating systems, Windows Phone didn’t ask you to name your device as part of the setup process.

But there are two ways to go about this.

Using your Windows Phone’s control surface

To change:

  1. Tap Start then All Apps, then tap Settings
  2. Tap on System
  3. Tap About, which brings up details about your device
  4. Tap “Edit Name” which allows you to change your device’s name
  5. Enter your phone’s new name in Device Name field and tap Save

To verify

  1. Tap Start then All Apps then tap Settings
  2. Tap on System
  3. Tap About which brings up details about your device including its new name

Your Windows phone tethered to your Windows computer

Prerequisites: USB data transfer cable that suits your Windows Phone and regular Windows computer

This process is similar to giving removeable storage like a USB memory key, SD card or optical disk a volume name which identifies it.

To change

  1. Connect your Windows Phone to computer using a USB data transfer cable and let Windows detect the phone.
  2. Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer)
  3. Discover your phone under Devices and Drives. This is alongside your computer’s hard disk and other storage devices connected directly to your computer and your phone’s icon should be there.
  4. Right-click your phone’s icon and select Rename
  5. Rename as if you are renaming a USB memory key, then press Enter

To verify

Disconnect and reconnect the Windows phone to verify the change is applied and double check in File Explorer

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Apple AirDrop has a compatibility mode to cater to older Macs

Article Apple MacBook Pro running MacOS X Mavericks - press picture courtesy of Apple

AirDrop Not Working? Use Compatibility Mode for New Mac to Old Mac AirDrop Support | OS X Daily

My Comments

You have two Macintosh computers with one running an older version of MacOS X. Then you want to try that AirDrop file-transfer lark that Apple encourages for its platforms.

Here you may find that your Macs can’t “see” each other on AirDrop. What can you do?

You may have to run AirDrop on the newer Mac in a “compatibility mode” that allows it to behave properly for older interations of Apple’s file-transfer utility.

  1. To do this, you have to open a Finder window on the Macintosh running the latest OS X version.
  2. Then you choose AirDrop on that same Mac and make an attempt to discover older Macs that are enabled and “exposed” for AirDrop. A quicker way in would be to press Shift+Command+R together to start your AirDrop session.
  3. The result will be that AirDrop will show up Macs and iOS devices running suitable versions of their operating systems and open for discovery. If you don’t see the Mac you are looking for – the one which is running an older operating system, click the “Don’t see what you are looking for” text. This will pop up a dialog box with an option to “Search for an older Mac”.
  4. Clicking this will place your Mac in to “compatibility mode” which allows it to discover older iterations of AirDrop. Here, you wait a moment and your newer Mac will show up the Macs running the older operating system as an AirDrop target (destination). Then you begin your file transfer.

If you intend to transfer files between newer Macs or iOS devices, you need to disable compatibility mode. Here, if you are performing a subsequent AirDrop file-transfer and your Mac says that it is looking for older Macs, you just click “Cancel” then look for targets that are based on the new OS X or iOS operating systems.

I would recommend using the Compatibility mode if you are in doubt about the version of OS X the Mac you want to transfer files to or from to is running and you are not sending or receiving files from an iPhone or iPad.

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Web page on a big screen–How?

Facebook and Dropbox desktop

You may want to use the large screen to show people how to use social media to promote their business

Do you want to show that Web-based resource to a large group of people?

You may want to do this as part of training for concepts like social media, Web analytics and the like. Perhaps, you may want to show a particular blog post to a group or even show pictures and video from a Website or video platform but the device doesn’t have native support for that.

There are two different methods of going about this:

  • Mirroring – you see the same display on both the device’s screen and the large screen
  • Extended or Dedicated View – you can see what you want to show on the large screen but have a minimal control view on your

I will be listing the options available to you by the different equipment combinations.

Using your home or other small network

This involves using devices that connect to your computer via your home or other small network.

The common requirement for these setups is that the set-top device connected to your display and your host computer must be on the same logical network. It doesn’t matter what medium (Wi-Fi wireless, Ethernet or HomePlug powerline) is used to connect the host computer or the set-top device to your network.

This setup may not work properly if you are attempting to use a public-access network to connect your set-top device or host computer and this network implements Web-based authentication.

iOS + Apple TV

Equipment Requirements:

  • Relatively recent iOS devices (iPad 2 onwards, iPhone 4 onwards, iPod Touch 5th generation onwards) running iOS 6 or newer
  • Apple TV (3rd generation onwards)

    AirPlay devices discovered by iPad

    AirPlay devices discovered by iPad – when you tap AirPlay icon

Mirror your iPad’s display

  1. Go to Shortcut menu (tap Home button twice, slide to right)
  2. Click AirPlay button and select Apple TV
  3. Select Mirroring
  4. Bring up Web page using Safari

Dedicated Display

This requires you to use one of two apps that you buy from the iTunes App Store: AirWeb ($1.99) or AirBrowser ($6.49). These are Web browsers which present the page on to the display that is connected to the Apple TV device and use your device as a tool to navigate the Web page.

Apple TV - Mirroring on - iPad

Set up iPad for mirroring to Apple TV

AirWeb simply has your iOS device work as a mouse with the external display serving as a screen while the more expensive AirBrowser offers a more polished response and has more capabilities.

Apple Macintosh + Apple TV

Equipment Requirements

  • Apple Macintosh to run MacOS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or newer
  • Apple TV 3rd generation onwards

To connect your Apple Macintosh to your Apple TV

  1. Click AirPlay icon on the Menu Bar at the top of your screen
  2. Click the “Connect To AirPlay Display” option and select the Apple TV device you want to use
    This procedure makes the AirPlay-connected Apple TV device work as an extra monitor similar to if you had connected another monitor or projector to your Mac.

Mirrored Display

  1. Select the Mirroring option to show your system’s Desktop display on the big screen
  2. Open the Web page using your preferred browser

Extended or Dedicated Display

  1. Select the Extended Desktop option
  2. Open the Web page using your preferred browser and drag it to the new screen

Google Chromecast + Google Chrome on Windows or MacOS

Equipment Requirements:

The computer you are using to bring up the Web pages with has to run the latest version of Google Chrome browser and have the Google Cast extension installed.

Mirrored Display

  1. Click the Cast square at top right corner on Chrome in Windows
  2. Using the drop-down menu, select the “Cast this screen / window” option

Dedicated Display

  1. Start Chrome and browse to the Webpage you want to show on your large display
  2. Click the Cast icon on the tab and choose the Chromecast you want to show it to

Google Chromecast + Chromecast App on Android

Equipment Requirements

Your Android smartphone or tablet has to run the latest version of the Chromecast app, which you can download from the Google Play store.

Mirrored Display

  1. Run Chromecast app on Android device
  2. Click on the Navigation drawer (hamburger icon) on the Chromecast app’s user interface
  3. Select the Cast Screen option
  4. Select the Chromecast that you want to use, The Android device’s screen will appear on your larger screen
  5. Use Google Chrome or your favourite Android Web browser to load your site

Dedicated Display

Like the iOS platform, you will have to install a browser that shows its output on the external screen. Here, your Android device will be the control surface while you see the Webpage on your large screen.

For Android users, you will need to purchase and install the Web2Cast app which costs $1.99.

Directly-connected screen

These setups require you to connect your host computer directly to the display device, preferably via HDMI. It is a task you can perform easily with the regular-computer platforms i.e. Windows, Macintosh or Linux because this practice is performed more commonly in offices for multi-screen displays or to show presentations using a projector.

Therefore the procedure to use a directly-connected external display to show that Web page comes across as being simple.

The setup procedures are very consistent across the different major versions of these operating systems.

If you are using some “all-in-one” desktop computers, you may find that an HDMI port may be used as an input port or output port. This functionality is typically to allow one to use the computer’s display and speakers with another video peripheral like a games console or set-top box. Here, make sure that this port is set up to become an “output” port for use with external displays when you are showing a Web page on a larger screen that is connected to this HDMI port.

Windows computer

Equipment preparation

Display setup for a secondary display as a dedicated screen - Windows 7

Display setup for a secondary display as a dedicated screen – Windows 7

Connect the external display to Windows computer and make sure that Windows detects the presence of the display. Here, you may have to use Display Settings to verify that this display is properly detected. You may also have to make sure the external display is switched on and the correct input is selected.

Mirroring

  1. Right click on the Desktop and select “Display Settings
  2. Select Duplicate These Displays to see same screen
    Most laptops may allow you to invoke this setup by pressing Windows+P together
  3. Load the Webpage on your preferred Web browser and browse it as normal

Extended Display

  1. Right click on the Desktop and select Display Settings
  2. Select Extend These Displays
  3. Drag the screen which represents the external display, which should be marked as 2, to the top or right of your main screen. This is a way to help you remember that you are setting up a “big screen”.
  4. Load page on your preferred Web browser, and drag to “big screen” before you browse it.
    Windows 10 makes this process easier by allowing you to click the square “All tasks” button where there will be icons representing both the screens. Then you just drag the Web browser to the “other” screen

MacOS X

Equipment Preparation

Like with Windows, connect the external display to your Mac and make sure that MacOS X detects the presence of this display. As well, make sure that the correct source is selected on your display.

Mirrored Display

  1. Click the System Preferences menu in the Apple menu
  2. Select the Displays menu in the View menu
  3. Check Mirror Displays to show the Desktop on big screen
  4. Open the Web page in your preferred browser

Dedicated Display

  1. Click the System Preferences menu in the Apple menu
  2. Select the Displays menu in the View menu
  3. Uncheck Mirror Displays for extended desktops
  4. Drag the newly-created screen to the top of your existing screen and make sure that your existing screen is kept as the primary screen. This is a way to help you remember you are setting up and using a “big screen”.
  5. Open the Web page in your preferred browser and drag it to the external display.
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Moving between Macintosh and Windows

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Use these resources together if you are working both Windows systems and the Apple Macintosh.Working on both Macintosh and Windows

Microsoft

Making The Switch: MacBook to Microsoft Surface Book

Apple

Switching PC Habits

My Comments

Increasingly Windows computers have reached or eclipsed the kind of aesthetic and stability calibre associated with Apple’s Macintosh computers especially the MacBook portable-computer family.

But a person who works on the Apple Macintosh platform will typically find it hard to move their computing life over to a Windows-based computer. This situation may also be of use for anyone who is working a “multi-platform” environment where they maintain a Macintosh and a Windows-based computer.

Microsoft’s article is focused on their new Surface Book but the instructions apply more or less to anyone who is moving from MacOS X to Windows 10 or a Mac user who is wanting to be familiar with the new Windows 10 operating system or know how it works.

Apple does provide similar resources for people who are used to the Windows platform moving towards the Macintosh platform ever since people moved from Windows because of Windows Vista.

Most of the basic keyboard shortcuts are:

Apple Windows
Undo Command-Z Ctrl-Z
Select All Command-A Ctrl-A
Cut Command-X Ctrl-X
Copy Command-C Ctrl-C
Paste Command-V Ctrl-V
Save this document Command-S Ctrl-S
Print this document Command-P Ctrl-P
Refresh Webpage / screen Command-R Ctrl-R or F5
Switch between open programs Command-Tab Alt-Tab
Hide current program Command-H
Command-M (Minimise)
 Windows-(Down Arrow)
Hide all programs  Command-(Mission Control) Windows-M
Stop current program Command-Q Alt-F4
Force a program to stop Command-Option-Esc

Macintosh

The Command key on the Macintosh is the one with a snowflake and / or Apple symbol on it.

The “Mission Control” key will be the F3 key on recent equipment or F11 on older equipment.

Windows

The Windows key on Windows computers has a window icon and / or the Start word on it.

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Assistance Journal–Linking a desktop computer to a home network

HomePlug AV adaptor

The HomePlug powerline adaptor – a no-new-wires network best for that desktop computer

This last Saturday, my church’s pastor opened up to me that he was running in to difficulties with connecting his desktop computer to his home network. This happened after he moved to a new location due to a new ministry placement.

In his previous location he ran an integrated Wi-Fi setup because the router for his home network was located in the lounge area, next to his home office and this wasn’t causing any problems for him. But the new location required the computer and router to be further away from each other.

A follow-up call led me to find that he had bought a wireless range extender with an intent to use as a wireless-Ethernet bridge but found that this device was difficult to configure. Here I suggested something better in the form of a HomePlug AV500 powerline network segment which is something I have always advocated on this site as a “no new wires” solution for situations involving desktop computers and similar devices. He was confused about how these network segments worked because he was used to either a “new-cables” Ethernet setup or a wireless setup as a network setup and though this technology wasn’t going to work in his situation.

After the church service, we went out to lunch at a local shopping centre and afterwards, he and I went to a local JB Hi-Fi store in the shopping centre and he bought a HomePlug AV500 kit upon my recommendation. I had him have a look at the concept diagrams that were on the boxes of some of the other HomePlug devices stocked nearby this kit to understand what these devices were about and how they work.

Later on, my pastor rang me for assistance in setting up the HomePlug AV500 network and I helped him over the phone through the setup process where you have to press the SimpleConnect paring buttons to pair the adaptors over the AC wiring and establish the connection. This involved holding down the SimpleConnect button on one device for 10 seconds then pressing the SimpleConnect button on the other device for 2 seconds but watching for the lights to flicker in a certain way.  I also suggested that this procedure is done on power outlets that are located close to each other before finally connecting them to the desktop computer and the router.

I also stressed that these adaptors had to be plugged directly in to the wall or in to an ordinary powerboard or double adaptor that doesn’t have surge-protecting or line-conditioning features. A few minutes later, I received a text-message of success that he had established the HomePlug AV500 powerline segment and set this up with the desktop computer and router.

Here, this support situation illustrated the fact that Wi-Fi wireless networking doesn’t suit all network needs and situations; and that a HomePlug AV500 powerline network can provide a better “no-new-wires” solution for sessile devices like desktop computers or home entertainment equipment.

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