Apr 25 2016

Fixing a Jumpy Trackpad

You know what’s annoying? Computers. Specifically when something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Like, say, your pointing device. Want to know how to fix a jumpy trackpad on your Macbook?

As they say in The Pajama Game, we figured it out… with some help from The Google.

Macbook Trackpad from Wikipedia

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17″ Trackpad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So your trackpad is just kind of… doing stuff. Without you touching it. That’s really annoying. You’re watching a YouTube video and then suddenly iTunes opens and starts playing, say, the soundtrack to The Pajama Game.

(Hey, it’s in our heads now. “Seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a heck of a lot, seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a thing…” Great song. Also remarkably relevant today — heard about the Verizon strike? Yeah, it’s about more than seven and a half cents, but inflation and stuff. And OK, it’s not a pajama factory. But there were no cell phones in 1954! OK, back to the point… no pun intended.)

To resume after that parenthetical, your trackpad/touchpad, whatever you want to call it, is making it seem like your computer is possessed by a poltergeist. A ghost in the machine, if you will. (Will not… get… sidetracked… again… no pun intended… we mean it…) What do you do? Thanks to someone on Apple Support Forums, we found this possible solution:

Press down on the left side of your trackpad kind of forcefully, and try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook. Apparently it can get kind of stuck on the left side and needs to be unjammed essentially.

You know what? For us, this worked. No more jumpy trackpad. I should point out that in my case, I pressed down on the left side of the trackpad more forcefully than usual but not so forcefully that I would break it. So be careful. While still holding it down on the left side, I then repeated the action on right side. Reading the suggestion quoted above, I’m not 100% sure what “try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook” means. Although now that I’m re-typing the words I suddenly do… maybe.

Whatever you do, be careful not to press too hard, because computers are kind of delicate, at least on the inside (and sometimes on the outside). And as always, caveat doer. That means (a) be careful and (b) if anything goes wrong, it’s not our fault. We’re just (a) repeating what someone wrote on a forum and (b) telling you what worked for us. That’s a disclaimer. Get it? Got it? Good.

Happy computing!

Source: Trackpad is jumpy | Apple Support Communities


Jan 19 2016

Teach Your Children About Proper Passwords (Tips)

This article from ZDNet about the worst passwords of 2015 reminds me to remind you that it’s important to teach your children about proper passwords.

What is a proper password? Pretty much anything not on ZDNet’s list.

PCs All-in-One For Dummies

No, we’re not calling you a dummy. But computer security is important, and it’s never too early to start talking to your children about it. Well, maybe toddler age is too young. But as soon as they have any sort of online account, they need to understand that importance of strong passwords.

(Aside to parents of younger children: don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school with an account on a website you’ve never heard of. Nothing nefarious. But a lot of educators are using online resources these days, and many of these sites require a login, and therefore… a password.)

Not sure what we mean by bad passwords? Here are a few examples.

Good stuff like 123456. Or the still popular password.

Apparently, Star Wars themed passwords became popular last year, because of that movie you probably heard a thing or two about. (Something about a force waking up? You know the one I mean.)

Anyway, bottom line, and our DaddyTip for today is to teach your children to use good passwords. For examples of bad passwords, hit the link below.

Many of the new entries are dictionary-based words, but many of the passwords from the year prior are increasing in popularity.

Source: These were the worst passwords of 2015, and they’re only getting worse | ZDNet


Dec 29 2015

There are Star Wars: The Force Awakens Contrarians

I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the movie has received much critical acclaim. Great! May they make all the money.

However, I also think it’s important that there are other voices out there. People who say “this stinks” or at least “this isn’t as good as everyone says it is”. Otherwise we’re all mindless drones bowing to our corporate overlords. Not to be over-dramatic about it. But it rarely ends well when EVERYBODY agrees.

Star Wars - Sand People

Star Wars – Sand People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And OK, sure. It’s just a movie. It’s just Star Wars. But it’s also more than just Star Wars. It’s entertainment, it’s escapist, it’s fun, it’s all good… as long as we can see the flaws. Or as long as we aren’t blindly devoted to the blockbuster.

DaddyTips readers (and pretty much anyone who knows me) are well aware of my love for the Avengers movie. I am willing to acknowledge that there are parts of the film that aren’t perfect. It’s a thing that makes me happy, and I think those things are important. For example, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures” unless your guilty pleasure is something you should feel guilty about doing, such as clubbing baby seals. Watching a movie that you know isn’t great but you like it anyway? Please. (I do not, for the record, put The Avengers movie in that category. At all. I’ve seen it more than ten times. I might watch it again today.) That being said, I have no problem with someone who doesn’t like the movie, be they a friend or a professional film critic. I enjoy reading/hearing a different point of view than mine. As long as they have more to say than just this:

This article from Vox, titled “Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, written by David Roberts (whose bio says “I write about energy and climate change” — and Star Wars, apparently, which shows how big a deal this movie is, in case you hadn’t noticed), makes some good points, and also has links to other Vox articles that are worth reading, including one that supposedly explains what the heck The First Order is. (I haven’t read it yet, hence the “supposedly explains”. Keep in mind that I did see the movie, but I still don’t really know what The First Order is. For the record, it doesn’t really matter, except that it does. Which is basically my point. If that’s confusing, ask me and I’ll explain.)

Bottom line: you can like a movie and know that it’s flawed, you can dislike a movie and acknowledge what’s good about it, you can hate a movie that everyone says is great — you should make your own decisions. I’ll even go so far as to call this a DaddyTip. In what way? The tip is that you shouldn’t let your kids get sucked into the blind devotion of a movie. I’m not suggesting you hit them over the head with criticism either, especially if they’re young. But let them know that it’s OK if they don’t 100% LOVE every single minute of this new Star Wars movie even if their friends do, or any other piece of entertainment for that matter. Be clever. Be a contrarian. Look at things with a critical eye as well as the eye of a fan. Understand that entertainment is awesome, and that it’s fun to escape from reality. Just make sure that you don’t completely forget about reality when the movie is over.

Or join the crowd and love it. That’s also an option, and probably easier.

Being derivative is not some clever pomo statement — it’s just derivative.

Source: Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Vox


Jul 20 2015

Tip: Update Windows Now

From ZDNet, a tip: update Windows now.

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista...

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Dotted lines indicate that a “clean install” is required; otherwise, an in-place upgrade is possible. Black lines indicate upgrade paths between Vista versions. Windows XP Professional x64 and Windows 2000 both require clean installs for every Vista edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously. I don’t use Windows anymore (see the image above), but apparently this is one of those really bad things that has the potential to screw up your computer.

The flaw, which also affects Windows 10, allows a hacker to take over a machine.

Does that sound fun to you? It’s doesn’t to me. “All versions,” according to ZDNet, means “Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1” and based on the quote above, Windows 10.

I haven’t used Windows regularly since XP Pro. That was a fine OS. It helped that I bought a Thinkpad, one of the last models made by IBM before they sold that part of their business to Lenovo, and the computer came with very little pre-installed crapware. Crapware, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is stupid software that comes installed on many Windows computers. Usually all the stuff does is cause your OS to slow to a crawl and make you want to throw your computer out the window. (No pun intended.) I have spent… let’s see… carry the 1… a boat-load of hours uninstalling crapware from the PCs of friends and family.

Anyway, this isn’t a crapware problem, at least not as far as I can tell. Assuming Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 still work somewhat similarly to Windows XP, updating your OS should be fairly easy. As Nike used to say, just do it.

Source: Microsoft releases emergency patch for all versions of Windows | ZDNet


Jun 27 2015

No Voices In Music Problem Solved (Tips)

I got a pair of fancy headphones for Father’s Day. Then I have this weird problem — no vocals in music when listening on a laptop. Weird, right? After a few attempts at finding the correct Google phrase (“beats headphones hard to hear lyrics” did it) I found the answer. I thought perhaps other people could be having a similar problem, so I made it today’s tip.

Beats Headphones

Ready? Because this is really dumb.

Pull the headphones out of the jack, and put them in part of the way.

It works. It’s stupid, but it works.

Here’s the original question that was asked:

Hello, When any headphones or speakers are hooked up to my laptop, music plays but voices don’t. This happens when listening to music, watching movies, or watching videos online. Configuration: Windows XP / Firefox 3.6.4

And here is a link to the answer, from a user named razzman.

Yay Internets!

Source: CCM

 


Apr 26 2015

Stop iTunes Song Pop-up

Starting with some version of Apple‘s iTunes software, the song title will pop-up over whatever you are doing. If you’re like me and can be distracted by, well, everything, this is annoying.

This is one of those features that was never necessary, or at least shouldn’t be turned on by default.

Luckily there is a simple way to turn it off. From Apple’s Support website:

Click iTunes -> preferences -> General -> Under “Notifications”, uncheck “when song changes”
What a relief!

Here’s some screenshots for ya:

BEFORE (GRRRR):

iTunes When Song Changes - checked

AFTER (YAYYYY!):

 

iTunes When Song Changes - unchecked

Thank you carpetfiber101 for the tip.

new song pop up window in iTunes | Apple Support Communities.


Jan 09 2015

What To Do When It’s Stupid Cold Outside (Tips)

Came across this article of tips about what to do when it’s stupid cold outside. It appears to be warming up a little, but it’s still cold. Really cold. Did I mention that it was cold?

WINTER 1973 - 1974 MAMMOTH by NASA/Glenn Research Center

The image above is, thankfully, not from my window. It’s a NASA pic from the 70s. Looks cool, though, right? (Ouch. Bad pun. Sorry.)

One of the tips is to wear good socks, something that is near and dear to my heart. Or, more accurately, my feet.

Stay warm! Or as warm as you can. Cuz baby, it’s cold outside.

(That’s Ricardo Montalbán, by the way. He’s awesome. The lovely lady is Esther Williams; they’re singing Frank Loesser’s Academy Award-winning song Baby, It’s Cold Outside in the film Neptune’s Daughter. Who says this isn’t the DaddyTips age of extra information?)

Image: WINTER 1973 – 1974 MAMMOTH by NASA/Glenn Research Centervia via Archive.org

18 Ways to Stay Warm (and Safe) When It’s Ridiculously Cold | NBC New York.