An apology to international readers – some of the details in this post apply specifically to Australia, although there will be principles here that you can apply. I live just 5 km line of sight from a regional Australian city and our internet comes by ‘fixed wireless.’ Fixed wireless is essentially a dedicated 4G connection with a local directional antenna. The problem is that most of the towers are oversubscribed, and upload and download speeds are very poor. (5Mbps down and 1Mbps up).
For the past 3 months I’ve been experimenting with various configurations of 4G carriers and modems to tweak the maximum speed I can from the 4G data network. The results have surprised me!
Now that dragon speech recognition is no longer available on Macintosh computers I have not been able to find a good dictation solution for OSX. Built-in Apple dictation is woeful and Siri is not great. So my go-to solution for dictating emails is to use Google assistant on my Android phone.
The main problem I am having when dictating with Google assistant is that I have not been able to work out how to dictate a new line. I have tried saying “new line” but it just types the words “new line”. Today I accidentally stumbled across something that seems to work.
If you say “full stop new paragraph” it puts a full stop and then follows it up with a new paragraph!
When Wunderlist closed down we’ve been left without a good task manager that easily syncs across Google and MacOS. AnyDo doesn’t have a MacOS app. I can’t get my Google assistant to add a new todo into to ‘Todoist’. Google Tasks isn’t great but it does have the advantage that it is built right in to gMail. So it’s what I’m running with at the moment. Google tasks is available on MacOS but the App is called ‘Tasksboard’. Here’s the convoluted way to get it up and running!
Zoom is optimised for speaking. If there is any other noise (e.g. a guitar) Zoom will think it is background noise and try to remove it! To share a movie or song via screenshare you need to change some settings.
Go to Zoom/Preferences/Audio Advanced and select the following options…
It’s best to turn off background noise suppression when playing music like a guitar. “Enable Original Sound” will put the audio from your mic or movie directly to Zoom without noise and echo cancelling.
Thsi is what it looks like when ‘Original Sound’ is turned on.
When sharing a video click these options as you share it to include the sound and optimise the quality.
With COVID our church has moved to putting the talks online. The most important thing when recording talks is good audio quality. Your eyes can put up with poor video, but poor audio gets irritating very quickly. Thankfully it’s very easy to get clear sound.
The key is to use an external microphone so that the mic can be close to the person who’s talking. Don’t use the mic that’s built into your laptop or phone. This is especially important if you are in an online meeting where you are listening as well as speaking.
Last week my daughter was given a Spider-Man DVD for her birthday from her younger sister. We went to play it from our laptop and watch it on the Apple TV but because of the Disney copy protection it would not work! So we went out to my study and tried to watch it on my 2018 Mac mini with an external DVD player, but the video kept crashing the computer. This has some heavy duty software protection on it!
In the end I had to buy some software to copy the DVD onto our computer before we could watch it. I was a bit nervous because some of the DVD ripping sites looked undesirable. But in the end I found a good site and the software worked well. Sadly we were unable to watch the video that night on my daughter’s birthday, but we were able to watch it the next night!
“This Program can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer”
Apple are getting tighter on which software they allow you to run on your computer. This is good because it avoids you getting any malware on your computer from bad software developers. But it also means that some legitimate software won’t run. If you are trying to download software from somewhere other than the Apple app store and you trust the source you are downloading your software from, here’s how to manually turn on the security settings for it to run.