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Posts tagged “tips

Hack to watch YouTube videos in higher quality


Google is working on an updated version of their player that will automatically detect a users connection speed and serve up a different video quality depending on the speed.

If you don’t want to wait for that there’s a hack you can use to get higher quality videos right now and its simple–just add a few characters at the end of the URL.

The default resolution for YouTube videos is 320 x 240. To watch it with a resolution of 448 x 336, add &fmt=6 to the end of the URL. To watch it at 480 x 360, add &fmt=18 to the end.

Here’s an example:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=nzxa0SLWMnc (regular 320 x 240)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=nzxa0SLWMnc&fmt=6 (448 x 336)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=nzxa0SLWMnc&fmt=18 (480 x 360)

This hack won’t work for all videos, but for the ones it does work for you’ll be happy to have it.

If you use Firefox there’s an add-on you can use to do this automatically called Better YouTube which you can grab here.

[Via Yahoo! Tech]


Sync Outlook and Google calendars


Windows users running Outlook have a new option for accessing their calendar while away from the office. With Google’s new Google Calendar Sync, you can do a two-way sync between your Outlook calendar and Google Calendar so you view and maintain your calendar from any computer, PDA or smartphone that has access to the Internet.

Just install Googe Calendar Sync on the computer running Outlook, give it your Gmail sign-in info, select whether to do a one-way or two-way sync and how often it should sync, and you’re done.

Don’t have a Google Calendar? Just setup a free Gmail account and sign-in, go to the calendar tab at the top, confirm your first and last name and your time zone, and your Google Calendar should be setup.

For more info check out the product page here.

[Via Download Squad]

Run Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 beta together in OS X


If you’re a Mac user running OS X and want to be able to use Firefox 2 and a beta of Firefox 3 at the same time, you can either do some manual work or let MultiFireFox handle it for you automatically.

Make sure you have Firefox 2 installed, then grab the DMG here and it will install Firefox 3 without disturbing your Firefox 2 installation and the MultiFireFox app.

The first time you launch MultiFireFox it will ask you to setup a profile. From then on when you launch MultiFireFox you will be able to choose which Firefox version you’d like to open.

[Via Download Squad]

Gestures on MacBook and MacBook Pro


Sure, the new MacBook Air has a multi-touch capable trackpad and supports gestures, but did you know that the MacBook and MacBook Pro also support gestures?

Not some of the fancier ones like pinch and expand or rotate, but still some useful ones that you may not already know about:

  • Scrolling: Place two fingers on the trackpad and move them up and down or side to side to scroll your active application window (it needs to have scrollbars and have a place to scroll too first, of course). Leopard can also do a diagonal scroll if you have both “Use two fingers to scroll” and “Allow horizontal scrolling” enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Trackpad.

  • Screen Zoom: Hold your CTRL key, place two fingers on your trackpad and move your fingers up to zoom in and down to zoom out.

  • Tap: Make sure that “Clicking” is enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Trackpad and tapping on something will be the same as clicking on it.

  • Click and Drag: Drag an item by double-tapping your trackpad and dragging it without lifting your finger. “Clicking” and “Dragging” must both be enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Trackpad.

  • Drag Lock: Works with Click and Drag, requires you to tap once on your trackpad to release a dragged item. “Clicking”, “Dragging” and “Drag Lock” must all be enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Trackpad.

  • Secondary Click: Do the same thing as a right-click on a mouse or CTRL+click to open a contextual menu by tapping on an item or window with two fingers on the trackpad. “Tap trackpad for secondary click using two fingers for secondary click” must be enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Trackpad.

[Via The Apple Blog]

Jailbreak iPhone 1.1.3 without downgrading firmware with ZiPhone


If you have an Apple iPhone running firmware 1.1.3 want to jailbreak it but don’t want to downgrade your firmware to do it, ZiPhone sounds like it might be the app for you.

ZiPhone claims to be the easiest way to jailbreak your iPhone no matter which firmware version you are running.

Windows and Mac versions of the app are available if you’re interested. For more info check out Zibri’s blog.

[Via Engadget]

Clean your dirty little MacBook

dirty_macbook Do you have a white Apple MacBook? If you do, there’s a good chance its a dirty little computer.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

But seriously, where your wrists meet the case is probably disgustingly dirty.

Want to clean that up a bit?

Apparently a little bit of toothpaste can do the trick. Specifically, Arm & Hammer Dental Care Advance Cleaning toothpaste was used by this Lifehacker tipster.

Rub a tiny dab of the toothpaste into the stain then clean it away with a barely-damp towel and tada–it’s no longer disgusting.

Another tip is to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

I haven’t tried toothpaste, but I have tried the Magic Eraser and can confirm that it does work really well. Some people are concerned that the Magic Eraser is abrasive, others are concerned that the toothpaste is abrasive.

They’re both right. Be careful, don’t do it too often, only rub as hard and as long as you need to and you should be fine.

That sounds so much like something else. TGIF.

[Via TUAW]

Help find places to meet-up with friends using Mezzoman


When your meeting up with a friend who lives more than a few minutes away from you, sometimes it can be difficult to agree where to go.

Meeting somewhere in the middle is fair, but you know your area, your friend knows their area, and neither know the middle all that well.

Sound like something you might need help with from time to time? If so, check out Mezzoman.

Just give it your address, your friends address, and what kind of place you would like to meet at (e.g. Italian restaurant, Japanese restaurant, coffee shop, etc.) and Mezzoman will give you a Google Maps mashup showing you where the middle is and list out what business meet what you’re looking for in that area.

Say you wanted Japanese food and you lived in Fremont, California and your friend lived in Monterey, California. Telling Mezzoman those two cities and specifying that you want Japanese food, Mezzoman will give you a list of four Japanese restaurants, one in Scotts Valley and three in Capitola.

You get the idea.

[Via Lifehacker]

Tips for shipping, tracking packages


When you need to ship something, one of the first questions that probably crosses your mind is “how much will it cost me”?

You could call around to the various carriers, go to their websites, check them out in person, or just go to ShipGooder.

Yeah, I know, the name is a bit lame, but the service is pretty nice.

One stop at ShipGooder and you’ll be able to check the rates for carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, Purolator, USPS, Canada Post, and local carriers. Plus, it’s free.

Just enter the zip code you’re shipping from, the destination zip code, the weight of your shipment in pounds, and the number of packages you are shipping, and ShipGooder will show you the various rates.

That covers shipping, how about tracking?

The website TrackMyShipments is a one stop shop for tracking your packages no matter which carrier you use.

After signing up for a free account and giving it your email address (not access to it, just the email address itself, like johndoe@xyz.com), just forward shipping confirmation emails to track@trackmyshipments.com.

The service will recognize your email address and automatically detect the shipping company and tracking number, then add them to your tracking queue. You can then view the status of your shipments from their website, or receive email or SMS alerts for deliveries.

[Via Consumerist and Life Hacker]

How to setup your HDTV, get ready for the Super Bowl


Tomorrow’s the day–Super Bowl XLII (42)–you’ll be ready, but how about your HDTV? How’s it doing?

If you haven’t already thought about it yet, don’t worry–you still have time.

First, make sure you have the right equipment.

Obviously you’ll want to have a high definition television. Beyond that you’ll also want to make sure that you are receiving a high definition signal from your cable or satellite provider.

Alternately, you could use an OTA (over-the-air) antenna to receive local channels in HD, which should be fine for the game. The HD signal you receive using an OTA antenna may actually be higher quality than what you would receive from a cable or satellite provider because its probably not compressed as much.

If you need to setup an OTA antenna, give yourself some time–its not just as easy as standing it up and plugging it in–you’ll need the right type of antenna and you’ll need to point it the right way. Check out AntennaWeb for help.

Make sure you are actually getting HD out of your converter box.

Maybe you’re TV or converter box has a switch to enable HD, maybe not. Whatever the case, make sure you’re displaying an HD signal. If it’s SD (standard definition) it will be a 4:3 picture with black bars on the left and right of the picture. If its HD, it will be a 16:9 picture, so it will completely fill your widescreen HDTV and it will be a sharp, beautiful image. If things look stretched or not very sharp, double-check that your TV isn’t set to stretch or zoom the image.

Don’t sit too close or too far away from your HDTV.

HDTV’s are big and beautiful, but if you sit too close or too far away from the screen you won’t be able to full appreciate the picture quality.

A good rule of thumb for determining how far you should be from your HDTV is that you should be at around 137% of the diagonal measure of your screen away in inches.

Does that make sense?

If you have a 32-inch HDTV, your screen is 38-inches from corner to corner. If you do the math you’ll see that you should be no closer than about 52-inches away. To calculate this yourself, measure your TV’s screen from one corner to the opposite corder and multiply that number 1.37 and the number you get is the number of inches you’ll want to be from your screen. You could sit a bit further away too, just try and not go any closer.

Use the right connection and cables.

A high definition signal is only displayed in high definition on your HDTV if the input on your HDTV can handle it. Most HDTV’s have at least one of each of these connection types:

  • Composite Video
  • S-Video
  • Component Video
  • DVI
  • HDMI

If you’re trying to send high definition signal to a composite or s-video connection on your HDTV, knock it off. Only component, DVI or HDMI can handle high definition in all of its glory.

What about the cables? Monster Cables are way, way overpriced and numerous people have done comparison testing between $130 Monster Cables and $20 cheap cables and there is no difference in picture quality.

If you like the idea of buying Monster Cables, like the packaging, like the way the connector feels in your hand, don’t suffer from buyers remorse, etc., go for it–you’ll enjoy them. BUT, don’t feel like you have to go the expensive cable route because you don’t, and don’t feel like you’ll be missing out on something because you won’t be.

Get the room lighting right.

Proper room lighting is something that can make a big difference but can be easily overlooked. Place your room lights in locations where they won’t create a glare on your screen. If you have a window nearby, make sure that your TV is positioned in a way that any light coming in won’t create a glare either.

You also might want to dim the room lights a bit more than usual so your eyes can take in all the HD goodness.

Calibrate your screen.

With everything else in place you’re ALMOST ready for the Super Bowl, your favorite movie, etc., but don’t forget to calibrate your screen.

Calibrating your screen will help you get the brightness, contrast and color balances just right to make you feel better about your expensive TV purchase. You could do it by eye, but that will just get you close.

To get things right use a special DVD to help calibrate things by giving you a series of test images while telling you what to adjust to tune things.

Any of these DVD’s should help:

  • Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up
  • Avia Guide to Home Theater
  • Digital Video Essentials

You might be able to find one at your local electronics store, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.

[Via Wired How-To Wiki]

Apple posts possible fix to iPhone 1.1.3 SMS order problem

iphone_sms_order_bugSome users of iPhone firmware 1.1.3 have noticed a problem with SMS messages getting out of order.

If you’re one of the users effected, Apple has posted a fix and its pretty simple.

In your iPhone settings, go to General > Date & Time and change Set Automatically to ON.

The reason for this happening is believed to be that the iPhone’s clock didn’t match the carriers clock.

Some users have had luck with this, others haven’t, so hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones if you have been having this problem.

[Via Engadget]