David Artiss

Author: David (page 46 of 232)

Spammers are really, really stupid #3

Just received  a spam message, thankfully caught by Gmail, but none-the-less amusing. It starts…

It is my pleasure to inform you that you qualify for a 2012 membership to the Who’s Who Network of Executives and Professionals, the largest professional association for business executives and professionals in the United States!

Moral of this story – always check your dates before generating email that would otherwise look quite convincing.


The Ultimate List of Chrome OS Tips

Chrome OSThere are quite a few web pages available with lists of hints and tips but, unfortunately, they often fall into a particular trap – referring to “hidden” features that are experimental. By the time you come across the article you’ll probably find it no longer works. So, having scraped a number of sites, I’ve put a definitive list together, removed all the experimental stuff and tested it. If you find any don’t work then please let me know.

Overview Mode

One of the few exceptions to me not mentioning experimental options, is the hidden Overview Mode which provides a much nicer (and OS X style) of viewing all of your open applications.

  • To enable it head to chrome://flags/#enable-overview-mode in Chrome and enable the option.
  • Restart your Chromebook.
  • Now press []]] for Overview Mode.
  • Pressing CTRL + TAB will still perform the previous application switching method.

Notification Center

In the bottom right, to the left of your system information is a Notification Center. Yes, really! It doesn’t make an appearance until it’s used, and only a handful of apps currently use it. None-the-less, the following tips can be used once you have a notification!

  • To open the Notifications Center, press ALT + SHIFT + N.
  • When you open the Notifications Center, press the PAUSE button to pause notifications for a day.
  • You can click the Android-style clear notifications icon (three horizontal lines) to clear all notifications at once.

Create Recovery Media

You can create a recovery media right from the Google Chromebook.

  • You need a 4 GB or larger USB flash drive or SD card.
  • Open up chrome://imageburner and follow the on screen instructions.

File Manager

  • To open file manager, press SHIFT + ALT + M.
  • Use the following keyboard shortcuts to navigate: CTRL + 1 switches to Google Drive, CTRL + 2 switches to Downloads and CTRL + 3 switches to USB Drive.
  • When you are dragging and dropping files, hovering over a folder will open it. To open the folder immediately press SPACE.
  • To rename a file in the Files app, press CTRL + ENTER.
  • To create a new folder, press CTRL + E.
    • You can also create a new folder by clicking the gear icon on the top right corner.
  • When viewing pictures, press E to edit the picture using the in-built image editor.
  • A hidden folder is actually a folder that starts with a dot (for example, “.hidden_folder”). By pressing CTRL + “.” in the file manager, you can quickly toggle hidden folders visibility. It also works with files.
  • To view remaining drive space, you can click the gear icon.
  • If you try to open a .SWF Flash file from the file manager, you will get an error saying it is unsupported. Drag the file to a Chrome tab, and it will work fine.

Other Shortcut Keys

  • For Caps Lock, press ALT + SEARCH. However, you can configure the Search key to do other things. Go to the settings page and search for Keyboard Settings. On Keyboard Settings page the Search dropdown menu is what you are looking for. You can set it to work as ALT, CTRL , Caps Lock or disable it.
  • For Home key, press CTRL + ALT + Up Arrow.
  • For End key, press CTRL + ALT + Down Arrow.
  • For Page Up, press ALT + Up Arrow.
  • For Page Down, press ALT + Down Arrow.
  • For Delete key, press ALT + Backspace.
  • To open apps pinned on the taskbar use ALT + Number, where Number is the position of the app.
  • To rotate the screen, press CTRL + SHIFT + Refresh.
  • To make an app full screen, press SHIFT + Full Screen key.
  • To increase or decrease screen resolution, press CTRL + SHIFT + (+ or – key)
  • To take a screenshot, press CTRL + []]]
    • To take a partial screenshot, selecting the area you want to capture, press CTRL + SHIFT + []]]
  • To insert international characters, press CTRL + SHIFT + U + the number for the unicode character.
  • To minimise the current window, press CTRL + M. With HTML5 videos, this keyboard shortcut toggles between fullscreen mode.
  • To save webpages for offline reading, press CTRL + S.
  • To mirror multiple monitors, press CTRL + Fullscreen.
  • To quickly swap the primary monitor, press ALT + FullScreen.
  • To view the task manager, press SHIFT + ESC.
  • To open a command prompt, press CTRL + ALT+ T. Once you are on the command prompt, type shell and hit ENTER to go to the shell prompt.
  • To clear local cache and reload Google Drive, when in the Google Drive section of file manager, press CTRL and then click the gear icon. You will see some additional options showing up in the settings menu which will allow you to perform these actions.
  • To factory reset your Chromebook, on the login screen press SHIFT + CTRL + ALT + R and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • To lock your Chromebook screen, press CTRL + SHIFT + L.
  • To log out, press CTRL + SHIFT + Q + Q (second time for confirmation).
  • To perform a “cold” reboot, press Refresh + Power.
  • To play video in a loop, press CTRL when clicking the Play button
  • And last of all, to see all of the shortcuts available, press CTRL + ALT + ?

Other Chrome Commands

The following commands should be types in the Chrome address bar.

  • To view your settings – chrome://settings
  • To view current software version – chrome://help
  • View system information, including firmware versions and free memory – chrome://system
  • View free drive space – chrome://quota-internals
  • Diagnose connection problems – chrome://diagnostics

Anything Else

  • Under keyboard settings, enable “Treat top-row keys as function keys” to get Windows-style function keys on your Chromebook.
  • To quickly get the IP and MAC address of your Chromebook, click the the system tray in the bottom right of the screen, then click the WiFi details that appear in the pop-up screen and then the “i” icon in the bottom right hand side.
  • When in the Apps screen, hold SHIFT when clicking on an app to open it like an app, instead of a website. You can right click any app to change the way it opens by default.

Acer Aspire C720 Chromebook

For a while now I’ve been after something lighter to drag to work that my Macbook to use during my lunchtimes. I usually don’t stray from the internet and, indeed, the same is true for my computer usage in the evening – I only really need my Macbook for development, not casual living-room surfing. Not surprisingly, then, a Chromebook has been on my agenda. This has been helped by the fact that I’ve used a friend’s, who just happens for work for Google, Chromebook and really liked the experience.

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Wibbly Wobbly PS4

PS4 Feet

The positioning of the rubber feet on the PS4

There appears to be an odd design quirk with the PS4. If you place the console horizontally on a flat surface, you’ll notice it wobbles slightly. The reason for the teetering motion is attributed to the placement of rubber feet on the underside of the console; there are two fins that run down the centre of the PS4 and another on one edge and they cause the unit to be unbalanced on a flat surface. Some may not see that as a great issue but it can actually cause a lot of noise due to the vibration from a fast spinning Blu-Ray.

I resolved it by some domed soft rubber feet which I added to each corner. The difference they make is quite extraordinary – the PS4 is a lot, lot quieter in use (well, whilst the Blu-Ray is in use anyway).

Tritton Kunai Multi-Platform Stereo Headset

Tritton Kunai Headset

So, I was after a cheap headset that would satisfy my needs until my Sony headset works again. I needed an on-ear or over-the-ear stereo headset which could connect to the PS4 controller via a headphone connector. It needed a volume control and, preferably, a mute for the microphone. And that microphone needed to a “boom” style, not inline which, every time you adjust the volume, will cause interference to anybody else listening.

My answer, partially, came in the shape of the Tritton Kunai. I bought the Multi-Platform version for my needs, mainly because the best fit for my set-up, the Wii U version, was out of stock everywhere I looked (I suspect many other PS4 owners have been buying the same product!). With this version, instead of getting a connection for a specific device, I get a number of connecting cables that allow this to be used, officially, with PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC/Mac and smartphones/tablets.

Tritton Kunai inline controlThe headset (details I’ll get to in the minute) has a single headphone connector (which also includes a mic feed). This is what you use on phones, tablets and the Wii U. For the other consoles and PC/Mac you get an assortment of audio and USB cables that then connect to this. They do this via a control box which you connect the headset too. This compact box also houses your volume and mic volume control and mute button.

For the PS4 you simply plug the headset straight into the controller. You’ll realise, however, that this is also why this only partially fulfilled my needs – the control box isn’t used for this direct connection. Unfortunately, this isn’t made clear before purchase so it’s a frustrating omission – I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t have implemented this (indeed, they have if you buy the specific Wii U version). After speaking with the manufacturers, there is an alternative connection method for the PS4 that allows you to use the remote but it does mean plugging directly into the PS4 and TV – both methods of connection are detailed on their website.

The headset is available in different colours – I went with the glossy black version. It has the Tritton logo on the sides of the slightly square ear pieces. These are well padded, as is the head band. The band expands but not a fantastic amount – at full stretch these just fit comfortably on my, admittedly not small, head. If your head is particularly large you may struggle. A single cable come from the left ear-cup. There are no controls or connections on the headset itself, with the exception of the where the boom mic goes – a small recess into which you plug it in and then twist it to lock it into position. This allows you to remove the microphone, if you wish, and use them as “normal” headphones. The microphone arm is very bendy and it’s easy to position it.

The sound is great – very even with a slight tendency towards the bass. The padded ear-cups really contain the sound – there’s little leakage either way. I made some test recordings using the microphone and they were clear and loud (certainly louder than the inline mic in my phone headset. I’ve certainly had no complaints about not being heard! As I said before they’re well padded but I did begin to feel some discomfort after about an hour of use – nothing too bad, though.

Packaging was completely over the top – a multi-section box with a plastic side to show off a single ear-cup to the purchaser, it’s difficult getting that side out as it’s held in place with a snap-away piece of plastic which holds it very securely in place. You end up with a plethora of cable ties, thick plastic and equally thick card. A basic manual is included to show you how to connect it the various devices and, oddly, some Tritton stickers.

I purchased mine from Argos for £34.99.


As a temporary solution for my PS4 they’re great and, afterwards, I have a wide range of compatibility options so I can use it elsewhere (probably as a headset for my PC or Macbook). It was disappointing, though, that the inline controls don’t work for those using the simple headphone socket solution.

They seem comfortable, have great sound and the price isn’t too bad either – recommended.

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