“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the Echo Look is cited in a suicide note.”
Amazon Echo 2017 Lineup Review…
Is Amazon stuttering or is there an echo echo echo in here? The Amazon Echo 2017 lineup has just recently been expanded by two, making a current total (as of press time) 5. At the rate we are going, there may be 10 before 2020.
Voice controlled homes are no longer the stuff of Star Trek. However, simply trying to figure out which Echo is right for you can be burdensome to the point of scaring off newbies. Allow me to break down the choices in the Echo 2017 lineup for you.
The first thing to explain is the distinction between “Echo” and “Alexa.” Alexa is the name of the cloud-based system that does tasks such as order items from Amazon for you or compute answers to questions you ask. Alexa is basically like Apple’s Siri, although Alexa is more cross-compatible with third party products. You can access Alexa through a few devices including, but not limited to, Kindle Fire, Fire TV and an Echo. Echo is the hardware–a device one uses to speak to Alexa when they want something done. You can use the services of Alexa through a few devices, but every Echo device is controlled only by Alexa. You cannot chose another digital assistant to run an Echo.
The concept is simple. “Copy” will temporarily save the highlighted text (or item), “Cut” will do the same as “Copy” but remove the item from its location in the process and “Paste” will put that item where you have the cursor.
Anyone familiar with these commands on a Windows PC will have a bit of retraining to do with their fingers; using Command instead of Ctrl. Where “Paste” is Ctrl+V on Windows, that same combination on Macs will bring your cursor to the bottom of the document.
(Pro Tip: Most of the Ctrl + [key] combinations that you are used to on Windows will work the same on a Mac, but with the combination of Command + [key] instead.)
4. Command + Tab: Switch Running Apps
If you are like most Mac users, your Dock at the bottom of the screen is chocked full of icons. The only way to know which ones are actually running is to look for a very subtle dot or white glow (depending on your version of macOS) below the icon. Without easy visual cues or a simple task bar (such as the one found on Windows) it’s not easy to navigate back and forth between your running applications.
Enter the handy dandy Command + Tab keyboard command. This simple two key combo will have you shuffling between your running apps faster than any mouse could ever hope to. Hold down the Command key while tapping Tab and you’ll be able to select the right program from and easy to see bar of icons in the middle of your screen.
Sometimes you really want to capture an image of what you are seeing on your computer. Most Windows computers have a convenient “Print Screen” key that will make that happen (no, that does not send the image to your printer). But there is no such key on a Mac. But, of course there has to be some way to do it, right?
Actually, there are a few different ways create a screen capture on macOS. The Command + Shift + 4 is my favorite, because it gives you crosshairs allowing you to then draw a box over the part of the screen you want to save. If you want the whole screen captured, do the same combination but with a “3” instead of “4.” By default your captures will be saved to your desktop with the timestamp in the file name. There are more options, so Apple has a full list of screenshot options here.
2. Option + Command + Esc: Force Quit
We all know that Macs can crash just like any PC. While many know the “three finger salute” on Windows, there isn’t an exact counterpart for Macs. However, there is a similar escape hatch for a frozen program.
When a program no longer responds, navigating the System Preferences to find the right option to shut that program down (called “Force Quit”) is not very intuitive. Luckily, a simple three-finger combination of Option + Command + Esc will take care of that in a heartbeat. With any luck, you won’t need this much, but I’d keep it handy for when that “pinwheel of death” inevitably shows up.
1. Command + Spacebar: Spotlight Search
A well-used computer will fill up with files very quickly, and often the files are all saved on the same cluttered desktop or scattered across the hard drive almost randomly. Either way, it can be hard to find what you are looking for. macOS is perhaps the best in the league for quick and powerful system search, which they call Spotlight Search. Simply use the easy-to-remember Command + Spacebar pairing and up pops the search box. Type in any part of the file name, or even something contained in the file, and Spotlight does a bangup job finding matches.
Spotlight Search will search through emails, documents, media files, and even the web. If you ask a simple question or type in a math formula, you may get your answer right there. This is my #1 keyboard shortcut because it is the most useful, and perhaps underutilized, feature of macOS.
Naturally, there are more shortcuts than I could mention in a single post. If you want to explore more, check out this list from Apple’s support website. Check out my Top 5 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts if you want to savvy on both platforms.
These are my top 5 Mac keyboard shortcuts. Do you agree with me? What are your favorites? Feel free to comment!
Top 5 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts Everyone Should Know
“Hi Jared. I see people in my office using all sorts of cool Windows keyboard shortcuts and they look like wizards on the computer. What Windows keyboard shortcuts should I know to be more productive…and look as cool as they do?”
Perhaps the best thing to come to personal computing was the combination of the graphical user interface (GUI) and the mouse. Before we had the familiar window layout with a mouse and icons all computing was done on a blank screen with text commands. One would have to commit these commands to memory (or have a cheat sheet handy). Now, anyone can sit in front of a computer and “look around” in a way that was once impossible.
Despite the popularity of the mouse, the keyboard is still by far the best tool for controlling your computer. What makes the keyboard so great is that with a large array of keys (usually somewhere between 80 and 110 keys) a user can call up some keyboard combinations or commands almost instantly where the same commands would take moving the mouse around and a few click. Today I’ll share with you my top 5 Windows Keyboard shortcuts that I think everyone should know.
Ok, this is technically three, but they all work in conjunction. Whether you are using Word, a web browser or just about any other program, these commands almost always work. With Control (Ctrl) + C any text you have highlighted will be copied to a virtual “clipboard” on your computer. It will stay in this invisible place holder until you reboot or copy something else. If you use Ctrl + X the text be “cut” meaning it will not only be copied to the clipboard, but it will also be removed from where it was. This is handy when you want to relocate the text, not just copy it elsewhere. When you use Ctrl + V the text in your clipboard will then be pasted wherever your cursor (that blinking vertical line) is placed. This same trick can be used with pictures and other elements on screen as well, depending on the programs involved.
4. Ctrl + Z (Undo)
Oops! I just deleted a whole heaping of something I was working on. I don’t see that backwards arrow thing that is supposed to bring it all back. Now what? Never fear, try the old standby Ctrl + Z. I cannot exaggerate how often I’ve used this command in my life. As with most commands, its ability to work depends on the program you are using, but this is rather universal and always worth trying if you need it. This will bring back accidentally deleted or changed text, changes you’ve made to a Power Point presentation or even edits to a movie you may be working on. It’s the quickest escape hatch you’ll ever find.
3. Ctrl + F (Find)
Have you ever been researching a topic and looking for a specific word or phrase on a large document or webpage? It can be a real bother to try to find it by scanning through as you scroll down endlessly. Next time, try Ctrl + F. This command pops up a box where you can type in what you are looking for. This works in most programs where you can read text, such as Word, Excel, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Adobe Reader and more. You’ll be surprised how useful this is and wonder how you ever found anything before you used it.
2. Ctrl + Alt + Del (Task manager and/or other options)
This is known in the computing world as the “three-finger salute.” This combination was originally put into Windows in its very early days by a program to help him with debugging and trouble shooting (much to the chagrin of Steve Gates).
Over the years, this combination of keys has been used for various functions and was even an ill-advised requirement to log into Windows NT. Since the time of Windows XP and on, the Ctrl + Alt + Del combination has been used to call up a “Task Manager.” This window shows the running programs, usage of system hardware and options for logging out, locking the computer, shutting it off, and more. In the latest version of Windows, this command brings up a full screen menu with options for launching Task Manager or performing login functions (as well as some options hiding in the bottom right of the screen). If you have a program that is frozen and you can’t shut it down, use the “three-finger salute” and force the program to quit in the Task Manager. Ctrl + Alt + Del is also a handy place to log out of your computer since Windows 10 does not give you that option in the Start Menu by default.
1. Windows Logo + D (Display Desktop)
Do ever wish you could just push a button and have your office desk cleared of all the papers and clutter so you find exactly what you are looking for? I know I do. Luckily, you can do something like that on your computer display by going to the Windows Desktop. There used to be icons on the bottom of the screen that would do that, but Windows has taken them away. Simply press the Windows Logo Key + D to minimize all the open windows and give you a clear desktop in an instant. Repeat the command to bring all the windows back to the way there were. (Pro tip: You can do this with your mouse as well in Windows 7 and newer. Move your mouse to the bottom right corner of your screen and click.)
While we are talking about the Windows Logo Key, I recommend you get to know it a bit better. This is a simple one-key Windows keyboard shortcut. I think this is perhaps the most underrated key on the entire keyboard. I use mine nearly as much as most people use their Enter key. If you are using Windows Vista or newer, just press the Windows Logo key once and start typing what you are looking for. If you are looking for an app, some Excel file you’ve been working on or maybe a song on your hard drive, it will help you find it. Different versions of Windows will utilize this global search a bit differently (Windows 10 will include internet searches, for example). As an example, if you remember you had a PDF with “layout” in the file name, but don’t remember where you saved it, just click the Windows Logo then type “layout” with your keyboard. Your computer will immediately get to work looking for that file on your computer (and possibly on the internet) without you even having to reach for your mouse once.
For a more comprehensive list with other keyboard shortcuts, check out the official list from Microsoft here.
Are you using a Mac? Click here to see my list of the Top 5 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts.
These are my top 5 Windows keyboard shortcuts. What are yours? Feel free to comment or ask questions below!
How To Install and Setup Insteon Fanlinc with 6 Button Keypad
How To Install and Setup Insteon Fanlinc with 6 Button Keypad
When I first got my shiny new Insteon Fanlinc I was hoping for a simple and fun install. Turned out to be a bit more difficult than I’d hoped. for. It turns out you can’t use a traditional switch at all once you install the Fanlinc, because turning off the switch will kill the power to the Fanlinc. You can only use the Fanlinc to control the fan once installed. So, the most natural solution is to install the Insteon Fanlinc with 6 button keypad (or 8 button keypad, as it has the same basic functions). That turned out to be a very frustrating situation as well, because I then needed to figure out how to change the wiring to accommodate one switch where there were two, and how to program the keypad, as it does not natively come set to control the Fanlinc.
Despite many attempts to find good resources on how to get this done, I found there was no good clear source on how to set this up. So, I made it my responsibility to do that for you, my loyal following. In this “how to” video, I show you, step by step, how to install and set up Insteon Fanlinc with 6 button keypad. Enjoy!
Cut the power to the area at the circuit breaker.
Remove the old switches (whether you have one for each the fan and light or one that does both, it won’t matter with this setup).
Install the Fanlinc as the instructions dictate except you do NOT use the red colored (usually) LOAD wire running from your gang box to the fan. Cap it off on both ends. Connect the Red wire on the Fanlinc to the fan’s MOTOR wire only.
Install the 6 button keypad as instructed except you do NOT use the red colored LOAD wire coming out of the switch. Cap it off.
Turn the power back on to the devices and Pair them to the network. (You will need to pair the 6 button keypad and both the Light and Fan controls on the Fanlinc individually.)
Create 4 scenes for the fan speeds; one for each speed: High, Medium, Low and Off. Use the screenshots below to see the settings to use. The video above gives a more clear walk through and explanation of settings you will need.
Create 1 scene for the light controls. Again, refer to the video above for a more full explanation of this step.
I made it sound very easy, but figuring this out without proper guidance is a bear. I hope this was able to help you set up your Insteon Fanlinc with 6 button keypad in a simple manner. Thank you for visiting. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to ask about other tech or smart home products.
CES is about more than the electronics that go into your home. Car Tech is a staple every year.
As usual, there are awkward looking concept cars that we all know will never hit the streets looking like that.
But the big tech this year that will coming to a road near you is autonomous driving.
The artificial intelligence being used in the next generation of car tech is more than just a self-driving car.
Of all the cool car tech that I’m excited about, Ford is the surprising leader of the pack. Unlike the bevvy of outrageous concept cars, their technology is ready now and something real people would actually use.
Don’t let the Ford rep’s lack of enthusiasm fool you, this is actually exciting innovation.
This has been your look at the CES 2017 car tech from JaredBodine.com – The Tech You Need To Know.