Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Take Photos and Record Videos With Your Computer’s Webcam

web camera
Whether you have a laptop with an integrated camera or a webcam that plug in via USB, you can use the applications included modern operating systems to easily take photos and record videos. With Windows 10, this is now built into Windows and no longer requires third-party applications.

What’s the Difference Between FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS?

Whether you’re formatting an internal drive, external drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, Windows will give you the choice of NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. The Format dialog in Windows doesn’t explain the difference, so we will.

How to “Clean” a Flash Drive, SD Card, or Internal Drive to Fix Partition and Capacity Problems

If your USB flash drive, SD card, or another drive isn’t working quite right, “cleaning” the drive and removing its partitions is one possible solution. This can fix problems with a drive that can’t be formatted or one that shows the wrong capacity.
This trick will also delete partitions that can’t be deleted with normal tools, like the graphicalDisk Management disk-partitioning tool built into Windows. This process will completely erase the partition table from a disk, allowing you to set it back up again.
Warning: This process will completely wipe the entire disk you select, so be sure you back up any important files first. You should also be very careful to specify the correct disk, or you could accidentally wipe the wrong disk.

Launch a Command Prompt as Administrator

First, you’ll need to launch a Command Prompt window as administrator. On Windows 10 or 8.1, you can simply right-click the Start button (or press Windows Key + X) and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”.
On Windows 7, you’ll need to locate the “Command Prompt” shortcut in the Start menu — you can just search for “Command Prompt” in the Start menu. Right-click the Command Prompt shortcut and select “Run as Administrator.”

Use diskpart to Clean a Disk

We’ll be using the diskpart command to do this. Before continuing, be sure you’ve connected the USB flash drive, SD card, or whatever other drive you want to clean to your computer.
To launch the diskpart tool, type the following command into the Command Prompt window and press Enter:
Have diskpart list the disks connected to the computer by typing the following command and pressing Enter:
list disk
Examine the output of the command to identify the number of the disk you want to clean. Be very careful here! If you select the wrong disk number, you’ll clean the wrong disk and you could lose important data.
In the screenshot below, we can see that “Disk 0” is 238 GB in size and “Disk 1” is 14 GB in size. We know that our particular USB drive is 14 GB in size. This tells us that Disk 1 is the USB drive connected to the computer, and Disk 0 is the computer’s internal system drive.
Once you know the disk number you want to select, type the following command, replacing # with the number of the disk you identified above.
Warning: Be very careful you specify the correct disk number! Enter the wrong disk number and you’ll end up blowing away everything on the wrong disk.
select disk #
The diskpart command has now selected the disk you specified. Any actions you perform will now be performed on the selected disk. To completely wipe the selected disk’s partition table, type the following command and press Enter.
Warning: This will erase all data on the selected disk! Be sure you have backups of the important data before continuing!
You’ll see a “diskpart succeeded in cleaning the disk” if everything worked properly. You’re now done. Close the Command Prompt window to continue.

Partition and Format the Disk

You should now be able to initialize, partition, and format the disk like you normally would, using the graphical Disk Management tool built into Windows. You could also use the diskpart command to do this, but it’s probably easier to use the graphical interface.
To launch Disk Management on Windows 10 or 8.1, right-click the Start button and select “Disk Management”. On Windows 7, press Windows Key + R, type “diskmgmt.msc” into the Run dialog that appears, and press Enter.
You’ll see the disk now has no partitions. Right-click the unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume” to create a partition on the disk and format it with your desired file system. By default, Windows will create a single partition that spans the entire drive.

If this method didn’t work — for example, if you successfully cleaned the drive but it didn’t appear to be functioning normally when you try to partition it, or if diskpart can’t see the disk or clean it properly — it’s possible the drive is simply physically damaged and is no longer working properly. But “cleaning” the drive with diskpart is a solution that can bring drives that would seem broken to most people back to life.


thanks for reading

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

make your whole windows transparent

Make your Whole Windows Transparent
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tested: Should You Unplug Chargers When You’re Not Using Them?

Energy Savings With Turning Off Electrical Appliances
How much energy do your smartphone, laptop, and tablet chargers really use? Should you unplug them when you aren’t using them to save power and money? We measured exactly how much power a variety of common chargers use, and how much keeping them plugged in will cost your each year.
You’ve probably heard of “vampire power” — the amount of power a device uses in standby mode when you aren’t using it. But just how much vampire power does a charger use, and is it worth the hassle of unplugging them when you aren’t using them?

How We Measured It — and How You Can Measure, Too

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We used a Kill A Watt electricity usage meter to measure the power usage of a variety of popular chargers. You can measure the electricity usage of your own devices and appliances if you buy such a device, too. They’re currently under $24 on Amazon. Plug the meter into an electrical socket and plug another device into the meter. The meter will sit between the two and tell you how much energy the device is using. This is very useful if you want to measure your energy use, allowing you to identify power-hungry appliances and devices that should be replaced or adjusted. Look up the rate your electricity company charges you and you’ll be able to figure out exactly how much that electricity will cost you, too.
So, with a meter in hand and a variety of chargers lying around, we got to work and tested them so you wouldn’t have to.

How Much Vampire Power Does a Charger Use?

Plugging in a variety of chargers — everything from iPhone, iPad, and MacBook chargers to Android phone and tablet chargers to Windows laptop chargers to Chromebook chargers to Nintendo’s 3DS charger — it was immediately obvious there was a problem with the very idea of our test. Having heard about the evils of vampire power and the need to unplug devices when we’re not using them, we were surprised to see that not a single charger used a detectable amount of vampire power when it was plugged into an outlet.
In other words, the meter’s display read a big 0.0 watts, no matter what charger we plugged into it.
charger uses no detectable vampire power

But Surely They’re Drawing Some Power!

It’s not entirely accurate to say that each charger was using 0 watts, of course. Each charger is using some fraction of a watt. And it should certainly be detectable at some point!
With that in mind, we had a new idea — plug a power strip into the meter and plug a variety of chargers into the power strip. We’ll see just how many chargers it takes for the meter to be able to measure some noticeable electrical draw.
The power strip itself — despite its red LED light — registered 0.0 watts when we plugged it in. We started plugging in chargers and watched the meter continue reading 0.0, even after several chargers were plugged in.
Eventually — with six separate chargers plugged in, filling up the power strip’s electrical outlets — we had a solid, measurable reading.
The combined total vampire power draw of this power bar, an iPhone 6 charger, an iPad Air charger, a MacBook Air (2013) charger, a Surface Pro 2 charger, a Samsung Chromebook charger, and a Nexus 7 charger read 0.3 watts.
chargers on power strip energy usage measured

Aha! How Much Money is That?

Finally, we have a measurement to work with: 0.3 watts.
We’ll assume these are all plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over an entire year. There are 8760 hours in a year. That equates to 2.628 kilowatt hours (kWh).
According to the EIA, the average cost of electricity in the US is 12.98 cents per kWh. This means that those 2.628 kWh of electricity will cost about 34.1 cents over an entire year. Even using the most expensive electricity rates in the US — 30.04 cents per kWh in Hawaii — that’s only about 79 cents per year.
The real cost is actually lower, as you’ll be charging your devices with these chargers sometimes, so they won’t always be drawing vampire power. You’ll probably unplug them to take them with you sometimes, too.
But let’s use the highest number — 79 cents per year. Divide that by the six different chargers here — being charitable and ignoring the power strip — and you get 13 cents per year for each charger in Hawaii. That’s about five and a half cents on the average US electrical bill.
Silver nickel isolated on a silver background

This Isn’t Meant to Be Precise, But It Answers the Question

This isn’t meant to be a completely scientific or precise test, of course. Some of the chargers likely use more power than others, so the real cost to leave your smartphone charger plugged in for an entire year is probably below 13 cents.
Either way, this shows us that the amount of vampire power consumed by your chargers is extremely small. It isn’t worth worrying about. Just leave your chargers plugged in for convenience; don’t unplug them.
Yes, it’s true that you could save a tiny amount of electricity by unplugging your chargers, but you could save a much larger amount of electricity by looking to heating, cooling, lighting, laundry, your computer and other more significant power drains. Don’t sweat the chargers.

These are all relatively modern chargers, of course — the oldest one here is from 2012 or so. Much older chargers might actually use a noticeable amount of vampire power. For example, if you still have a cell phone or other portable electronics device from the 90’s, its charger might continually use a noticeable amount of power if you leave it plugged in — but even that amount of vampire power probably won’t make a noticeable dent in your electricity bill.


18+ Useful Things You Can Do with OK Google

Apple users have Siri, Windows 10 users can call upon Cortana, and Android users can use Ok Google. Ok Google can do a lot more than just look stuff up however, and it even rivals Siri in some ways.
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Ok Google can be accessed by typically saying “Ok Google” or tapping the microphone button on the Google search bar on your Android tablet or phone.
It’s important to note that Ok Google is accessible if you have Google Now installed on your smartphone or tablet, so if you can’t access it, then you’ll first need to download and install Google Now from the Play Store if your version of Android supports it.
The Google Now Launcher is only available for Android 4.1 and above.
Alternatively, you can download and install the Google app and conduct voice searches on your Android or iOS device.
The Google app ensures you can use Ok Google even on iPhones and iPads.
Many users might already use Ok Google to look stuff up because it plugs right into the mighty search engine. What you might not realize, is that it can do so much more and is, in fact, a fairly full-featured digital personal assistant.
Today, we want to take a tour of many of the things you can do with Ok Google and show you how it can make your life just a little bit more convenient and easier.

Open Applications

With Ok Google, you can open applications without touching your device, simply say, “Ok Google, open Pandora” or “open Netflix” and it will dutifully open them on your device.
The ability to open applications means that you won’t have to hunt for them on your home screen(s).
If the application isn’t available, then you will have the option to download it from the Play Store.

Set Timers and Alarms

Need to set a quick timer for something you’re cooking? Maybe you want to take a short power nap. No problem, just tell Ok Google to “set a timer for 15 minutes” or “set an alarm for 6:30 PM” and that’s it.
When you start a timer, you simply specify the duration for your timer and it will begin automatically.
On the other hand, if you want to stop your timer or cancel your alarm, it seems that you have to still do so manually.

Define Words

Not sure what something means or even how to spell it? You can ask Ok Google to define it for you so you always use the right word in the right place.
Now the next time you’re unsure whether you’re using the right word in the right context, you can just ask Ok Google.

Create Events and See Your Agenda

If you want to create events such as meetings and appointments, then you simply tell Ok Google to “create a meeting with so-and-so on x day at y time.”
If you want to see you agenda for the day, then ask Ok Google to show it to you by saying “see my agenda for [today][tomorrow][Friday]”.
This is a great way to stay on top of things. Not only will you be able to add events to your calendar so you don’t miss important meetings and appointments, but you can also review what’s upcoming so even if you haven’t created alerts, at least you’ll see everything laid out before you.

Call, Text, and Message People

Two other things you can do with Ok Google, both of which are similar and thus lumped under the same heading are the ability to call and text people.
Just like with Siri, you can use Ok Google to call and text people, thus assuring that if you’re driving, your eyes never leave the road.
This works just as it does with Siri. Simply queue up Ok Google and then ask it to call a contact or a number or text someone. Ok Google will either prompt you for further information, or you can dictate the message contents when you give the command.
Once you have your text message ready, you can send it on its way. Additionally, you can have Ok Google read your text messages back to you, which means that your eyes never need to leave what you’re doing.
You can also use Ok Google to send Hangouts messages as well as post to Twitter and Facebook.

Send Emails

Like sending texts, you can send emails. Just tell Ok Google to “send an email to [recipient]” and then you can either dictate the email or wait for Google to prompt you.
When you’re done, simply send the new email on its way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that you can use Ok Google to read emails to you, but it will display them if you ask it to show you your emails.


We all know Google does navigation really well and you can use Ok Google to expedite it by telling it to map to addresses, businesses, and other locations.
So, you can have Google map you to the nearest coffee shop or car wash or navigate to a specific address with greater ease than typing it into your phone.

Check the Distance from Something and Between Places

Want to know how far apart two places are, such as if you need to plan your travel time for an upcoming trip? Ask Ok Google to show you the distance from point A to point B, and then you’ll also have further navigation options as well.
Once Google shows you the distance between two places, you’ll have the option to route a course.
You don’t have to look up places that are driveable either, you can ask Google to show you how far it is to another country, or a planet, or anything else that it can provide you distances between.

See What Places are Nearby

Let’s say you want to see where the nearest car washes are or a certain type of restaurant.
Not a problem, just ask Ok Google to show you what businesses are nearby or in the general area.

Look up Interesting Facts

Being plugged into Google is extremely convenient when it comes to looking up all sorts of interesting facts.
The only thing that limits you when it comes to looking up interesting facts is your imagination.
Just ask Ok Google what you need to know and chances are you’ll get a quick answer. You can ask all sorts of things such as what time it is in another country, where your favorite celebrity was born, how long it would take to travel to Mars, and so on.

Perform Translations

If you want to translate something, you can ask Google to provide you with it.
Google can translate into dozens of languages so you’re never left wanting for how to say a word or phrase.
Google can translate dozens of languages, so whether you’re looking for a phrase to say in French, Chinese, or Swahili, Google can probably show you how to say it.

Check the Weather

If you want to know what the weather is going to be like in your location, or any other location, then simply ask Ok Google to show you what the weather is or what it will be like on such-and-such a day.
You’re not simply limited to checking the weather locally though, if you’re traveling and want to know what the weather is like at your destination, then you can quickly find out.
Finally, you don’t have to explicitly ask for the weather forecast. You can ask something like “Will I need an umbrella tomorrow?” and Ok Google will let you know if it is going to be sunny or if it will rain.

Perform Image Searches

If you want to look up images, then you can use the full resources of a Google Image search.
Just ask Ok Google to show you images for your search term. In this example, we asked Google to look up images for “geeks.”

Perform Conversions and Calculations

Use Google to perform quick conversions and calculations.
You can even use it to convert currency, and since you’re plugged into Google, you know you’ll get up-to-the-minute results.
You can also do calculations, such as multiplication, division, square roots, or ask Ok Google how much of a tip to leave your server.

Set Reminders

Want to be reminded about something but don’t want to create an event? Just ask Ok Google to set a reminder for something you need to remember.
If you just want to add something to your to-do list, then you can say “remind me to do [this or that]” but if you want to create a more detailed reminder, then you can add a date and time.

Check Your Stocks

If you have stocks or you just like to follow a company’s progress, then you can ask Ok Google to show you how they’re doing.
Simply ask Ok Google to “Show me how Apple’s stock did today” and it will present it to you in a convenient, easy-to-read result.

Change Settings and Control Your Device

You can use Ok Google to control your device and change settings, here we ask it to turn on the flashlight.
Obviously, you can affect all kinds of settings as well, such as Wi-Fi, which is especially convenient if your mobile connection is unreliable or vice-versa.
Control all sorts of settings including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and others.
You can try this out with all your settings to make it a lot more easier to use your phone or tablet to make quick adjustments. Want to take a picture or shoot a quick video? Ask Ok Google to “take a picture” or “shoot a video” and that’s it.

Create Notes

Notes are different from things like reminders in that you can have Ok Google retain bits of information you want to remember. Notes are meant to be more long lasting.
Google Keep is just one Note-taking app you can use.
If you have more than one note-taking app, then you’ll be prompted for which one you want to use. In the previous screenshot, we’re using Google Keep.

Other Stuff

There’re a quite a few other things you can do with Ok Google, some of which include:
  • Track packages provided you have the tracking information in an email message.
  • Show you which bills are due.
  • Display your flight info (it needs to be in an email message).
  • Ask for sport scores and team schedules.
  • Play and control music from Google Play Music.
  • Ask where and what movies are playing.
As you can see, Ok Google is similarly useful to Siri in many ways and quite versatile to boot. Additionally, because it is plugged into Google, you can search for anything.

Thankyou for reading and spending your time'

Choosing Your Next Gaming PC: Should You Build, Buy, or Get a Laptop?

So you’ve saved up for months but still can’t decide which kind of gaming rig is best for you? Do you need something that can stay with you wherever you go, or just want to get the most punch possible regardless of cost or portability?
If this conundrum has had you scratching your head for too long, check out our guide on the three main options available on the market today, and make the pick that’s right for you.

Building a Custom PC: The Best Bang for Your Buck

First, there’s custom PCs built from parts you picked yourself. At their face, it’s undeniable that self-built PCs offer better value, better performance, and upgradeability throughout the years and various product cycles.
It can be a daunting process, however, figuring out which components fit in which slot, whether this motherboard is compatible with that processor, or whether you need one graphics card or two.
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At the most basic of levels, all of these different factors will boil down to what you plan to use your rig for in the day to day. If you’re just looking for something that will hold strong during a match of League of Legends, a sub-$600 machine will be plenty to get the job done. If you want to run Crysis 3 at 4K resolution on ultra settings, however, the price tag will jump considerably.
Not only that, but there are also different kinds of processors and graphics cards split between workhorse machines and those made strictly to game. If you’re doing design work or 3D modeling in the medical field, you’re much better off investing in a Titan Z than a GTX 980, as one is made to handle lots of processing data, while the other is built strictly to push out as many polygons in a firefight as possible.
Luckily, there are resources available to people who want to build their own PC, but don’t even know where to get started. Communities like Reddit’s r/BuildMeaPC are a place where anyone can post their budget and what they plan to use the rig for, and the forum will respond with every part you’ll need neatly laid out in a list at the best possible price.

Gaming Laptops, and the Argument for Portability

If scouring NewEgg for the best priced part doesn’t sound like your favorite idea of system shopping, another category of machine — gaming laptops — can offer that “all-in-one, flip-it-on-and-you’re-done” experience that consumers are flocking to these days.
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Outside of an external mouse (I have yet to meet a person who can game effectively on a trackpad), everything you need to boot up and start blasting baddies is included in the laptop itself, and that sort of no-frills approach is valuable to anyone who can’t be bothered with putting together a gaming rig on their own.
Plus, if you’re always on the road and need to get your fix outside of the home office, a gaming laptop is perfect for squeezing in a couple matches while making the monthly visit to grandma’s place. It might get a little hot around the collar (gaming laptops are notorious for their problems with proper heat dissipation), but when it comes down to it, it will still get the job done.
The caveat with this choice, however, is that when compared to full-tower computers, you’ll never be able to achieve the same amount of power for the cost. More often than not, laptop-based graphics cards will carry an “M” badge at the end of their name (the GTX 980M, for example), which denote that while the core architecture is in the same family as their full-sized brethren, many of the chips inside have been clipped and hemmed at the seams in order to make something that will fit squarely into your saddlebag.
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Also, despite their best efforts, we haven’t met a laptop yet that has enough battery to keep a hardcore gaming session going for more than a few hours at a time. This means that even though you might be portable for a little while, if you plan on doing some serious fragging, expect to stay close to a power outlet because it will only be a matter of time before a power indicator starts pestering you to plug in.
So maybe the decision between getting a gaming rig or laptop isn’t so much about price as it is portability. Gaming laptops can still hold their own against most major titles these days (save for something like Battlefield 4 in ultra 4K), but that capability will come at a significantly higher cost by comparison.

Prebuilt Custom Desktops: The Compromise

But maybe you don’t have to choose?
One of the main reasons why people prefer the experience of a gaming laptop to a custom-built desktop isn’t as much because of the portability as it is convenience. When you get a gaming laptop, you know everything is going to work the way it’s supposed to straight out of the box.
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No hassles of installing Windows, configuring this setting or changing that menu — it’s all right there, and it’s ready to go. Well, now there are a range of companies who are willing to do the heavy lifting for you, and don’t charge too much on top for the effort. The leader of the pack has got to beCyberPower PC, a custom PC manufacturer with the widest range of available options when it comes to picking the parts and processor that’s best suited to your budget.
When building identical machines on CyberPower’s site vs. NewEgg, we found there was only a mere $65 difference between what the company would make for you, and what you’d have to build yourself. This is a far cry from the Alienware-esque premiums of yesteryear, and just goes to show that as long as you’ve got a little extra to spend on top, having your very own customized computer doesn’t have to cost you a day in the shop or the potential of troubleshooting for weeks after.
CyberPower is far from the only game in town providing high quality gaming rigs either. Other players in the space include the likes of Digital StormiBuyPower, and Velocity Micro, all of which offer desktops in every area of the price spectrum. Even the cheapest of their respective lineups can still put out enough horsepower to handle current popular titles, save for all but the most demanding like Crysis 3 or CD ProjektRed’s recently released resource-hog, The Witcher III.
Similarly, if the perfect match of portability, power, and reliability is what you’re after, popular options like Northwest Falcon’s Tiki and Orgin’s Chronos are cute, compact computers that manage to pack in all the punch you’d expect out of their heftier competition. Though they may not quite hit the level of portability a laptop can offer (an external display, keyboard, and mouse are still required), between bulky gaming monsters and limited laptops, these boxes strike a nice balance in the middleground of both.
They might be a bit on the pricier side, but when you consider that you’re paying for a customized case as well as their warranty/guarantee of reliability, a bump in the bottom line is well worth the hit.
In case you aren’t sure if the model you want will handle the games you plan to play, you cancheck out our article which will help you find out just how much you should drop on a processor, graphics card, or motherboard to fit.

No matter which route you eventually choose, the fact can’t be denied that pound for pound, self-built PCs are the best value for your money. That said, pound for pound they’re also the least portable of the three options we have listed.
Laptops can give gamers on the move all they need to play most of the biggest AAA-titles wherever they might be in the world, but their compact nature will inherently come at the cost of raw graphical output. And lastly, custom PC makers like CyberPower PC offer boxes which are slightly pricier, but powerful alternatives which don’t take up a lot of legroom while still offering all the benefits you’d get out of a tower rig.
PC gaming is in its second-renaissance, and the options available to consumers have never been as numerous or plentiful as they are today. Whichever machine you decide to drop your hard-earned money on, now you can make sure it’s the right one just for you.