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How to Watch Movies with Friends Remotely During a Quarantine

How to Watch Movies with Friends Remotely During a Quarantine

Social distancing helps you stay healthy, but if you’re going a little stir crazy with gatherings on indefinite hold — you’re not alone. With no end in sight, how can you prepare for the long haul and stay connected with friends? Why not host a remote movie night on one of these platforms?

 

Netflix Party
Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that lets you stream content remotely via desktop.


The Good

Netflix’s video quality is impressive — your favorite movies and TV shows are synchronized in HD quality. Users can comments on them as if they were in the same room.
Other pros include light-speed buffering for smooth viewing and a user-friendly menu that gets the party started in minutes. Avatars, screenshots and GIFs make it a truly interactive experience.

The Bad

While the extension is free, everyone invited needs a Netflix account. They’re offering a free trial, and for less than $10 a month, it’s a bargain — but not everyone will agree.

Unlike other remote viewing options, users are limited to chat — there’s no voice protocol — and because it’s new, it can be glitchy at times. Updates are in the works.

 

Discord and Twitch

Discord is gamers’ preferred platform for group streaming, but combine it with Twitch — Amazon’s video game streaming service — and you can share all of your Amazon content with friends.


The Good

Both Discord and Twitch are free. You can communicate via voice, video or text, and user interfaces are a pleasure to use.

The Bad

Both programs are required for a steaming party, and some may find the integration too technical. An Amazon Prime subscription is required.

 

Zoom
Designed for business web conferences, Zoom allows hosts to rent online rooms for movie parties.



The Good

If you’re working from home, you may already have Zoom on your computer. It’s free to download and includes 40 minutes of meeting time for up to 100 people. Video and audio are HD quality. Participants call in by phone, and content can be paused to allow speakers to see each other.

The Bad

Zoom’s free version is ideal for working remotely, but 40 minutes of video time isn’t enough to watch a full-length movie. Plans that do cost $15 per month or more, but if you already use ZOOM for business, upgrades are worth a closer look.

 

Skype
Skype is the world’s most popular VoIP option for making online video calls.


The Good

Movie parties with Skype are free. Create an invitation list, and a single click notifies everyone in the group that it’s movie time. Stream content from a pay-for service or use your computer to play DVDs.

The Bad

Viewers are limited to 25, and you can’t hear both the movie and your friends with adding a program like Discord to handle audio. Video quality is adequate for chatting with family, but it’s sub-par for films.

 

YouTube Live
YouTube Live is the live-streaming extension of the YouTube you know and love.


The Good

YouTube’s familiar platform is already on millions of devices. Stream in real-time or share pre-recorded videos via your computer. Hardware requirements are minimal.

The Bad

Viewer comments are limited, and voice options are nil. Video quality is excellent, but it’s tough to capture the party atmosphere.

 

Final Thoughts

Hosting a streaming party is the perfect way to get together with friends but not their germs. Just one caution — don’t use content that you don’t have permission to share. Now relax and enjoy the show.

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Tips & Guides

How To Factory Reset An Acer Laptop

How To Factory Reset Acer Laptop

Acer is known for its powerful computers, laptops and computer parts. Throughout the years, they have made a name for themselves. Because of successful product releases and a vast market share in computer units and components, Acer has been synonymous to the word, excellence.

However, no matter how sturdy, stable and solidly constructed their units are, they still aren’t immune to future damage and stability issues. In most cases, Acer laptops tend to slow down after five years. Make no mention, Acer’s lineup of laptops enjoy a long lifespan. However, as we mentioned, they too can slow down over the years.

While it is understandable that people choose to buy another brand new laptop for their aging Acer laptop, there are still other means of reviving them. In most cases, a simple factory reset can do the job.

If you feel like your Acer laptop is starting to slow down and is already showing signs of aging, you might want to do a factory reset. In this article, we will talk about how to factory reset Acer laptop. We will give you a simple overview of how the process is done and what are the necessary preparations you must do before the factory reset.

When to Factory Reset Your Laptop

Before we delve deeper into the steps on how to factory reset Acer laptops, we must first discuss the different signs that tell you that your computer needs a factory reset. In most cases, the operating systems give users a warning that something within the system is not doing right.

For example, anti-virus software will automatically signify that malware exists within the system. Moreover, if you have an aging or damaged hard drive, the system alarms users before booting. If you pick up these alarms early on, you might be able to give your computer the right treatment it deserves.

These problems will require a particular type of solution. For example, a virus infection will warrant a complete scan from the anti-virus software. After a couple of minutes, you will be able to get rid of the problem. However, serious malware can corrupt the system of the computer.

Depending on the problem, the solution can vary from simple scans to more serious solutions such as a factory reset. A factory reset is considered the dead end solution to most system problems. However, a factory reset also solves almost all system problems, no matter how minor or severe they are.

Here are the five signs that your computer might be showing that warrant a factory reset.

1. Sluggish and unresponsive performance

Over the years, a laptop can become unresponsive and sluggish. If this happens, virus infection is not usually the case. However, we cannot zero in the possibility of a virus attacking your system.

When this happens, the first thing to do is to do an anti-virus scan. You should also check which programs are running in the background. To do this, go to the Task Manager. Click on Ctrl+Alt+Del and a pop-up window will appear.

In this window, you will see a list of actively running programs. Most of the programs are recognizable processes while some of them can be malicious. If you see a process that you are not familiar with, make a google search and check if they are possibly a malware or a virus. In this case, you will learn more about which processes to enable or disable.

If the virus scan does not detect any suspicious processes running, the main culprit may be different. The slow performance may be attributed to software that comes with a lot of bugs which tend to slow down the unit. If the software continues to run within the system, the system may become unresponsive.

Check on the program’s manufacturer and seek help as to why the software is affecting the system. If you deem that the program is not that necessary, you can always uninstall the program. However, if the symptom persists, it might require a factory reset.

2. Persistent error messages

Another tell-tale sign that warrants a factory reset is persistent error messages. When annoying alerts and errors keep popping up, you might start to wonder what is happening within the system.

These alerts may stem from a myriad of different issues. Possible reasons might include defective hardware, malware infection or corrupted software that is bogging down the system. Because of this, you need to get to the root of the problem.

You can do this by looking up these individual error messages that keep popping up. Through this, you will be able to get an overview of what the error message means. If you are lucky enough, the internet might provide you with steps on how to solve these error messages.

If these messages stem from a single defective program, then the solution can be relatively easy. One of the most simple yet effective ways of solving this is by uninstalling and then reinstalling the program. After this, you can expect the system to run smoothly again.

However, there are also some error messages that cannot be researched through the internet. Because of this, solving can be more difficult. Different reasons can trigger these error messages. To decipher these messages, look at the time when they pop up. For example, if a specific error message pops up whenever a peripheral device such as an external hard drive is attached, this might signify that the drivers of the hard drive might be outdated. The best course of action to take will be to check online if there are available updates for the obsolete drivers.

If these actions still don’t solve the problem, the error messages might be caused by a corrupted software or system. In this case, the best course of action would be to do a factory reset.

3. Unrequested changes to settings

Sometimes, applications start to behave strangely and reconfigure their settings without permission from the user. When this happens, the system might be suffering from a virus infection. After entering the system, the virus will frequently, make sudden changes to a myriad of programs. This results in malfunctioning programs.

You will most likely see these changes in settings within your browser. The virus is powerful enough to make changes within the options such as disabling add-ons or plugins. They can also add unwarranted extensions that are frequently malicious. What’s worse is that some virus can phish sensitive data such as bank accounts from your system.

Aside from these, viruses can also install new software and icons that you did not ask for. This software may or may not be seen on the desktop. These programs can reconfigure the security settings of the computer making you vulnerable to security threats.

When this happens, the first thing to do is to a virus scan. If the scan does not solve the problem, this might require a factory reset.

4. Random web pop-ups

When browsing online, we always experience annoying pop-ups everywhere. However, if you see them more often than usual, then you should start to wonder why it is happening. Pop-ups usually are those messages suggesting users sign up for newsletters or to accept cookies. But if that is not the case, then it might be caused by malware.

If you suspect a malware to be causing the constant pop-ups, then you should check for previous applications or browser extensions that you have installed just recently. These pop-ups usually nag you to either play games or visit a specific suspicious looking webpage.

To solve this problem, you should check first which extension or applications caused the constant pop-ups. In Chrome, the extensions can be located in the more tools settings in the taskbar. They usually appear as three vertical dots on the top portion.

For Microsoft Edge users, you can see the extensions by opening the main app menu. These are the three vertical dots located on the top right portion of the taskbar. Click on extensions and find any suspicious extensions.

If you have already found the culprit of the annoying pop-ups, then the next step is to uninstall these extensions or applications. If this doesn’t do the job, try uninstalling and then reinstalling your browser. If it still does not do the job, do a virus scan.

If the virus scan cannot locate the malware, then a factory reset might solve the issue.

5. Strange noises

Over time, the internal hardware of the computers starts to show signs of aging. Because of this, the device might not function properly. A telltale sign for this is the presence of strange noises when the computer is running.

When you hear strange noises when using the computer, the first thing you should do is to save and backup all your essential data in a separate hard drive or a cloud service. While the noises can be different, doing a backup is a proactive way of dealing with the issue.

If the strange noises persist, you should do a systems diagnostics program run to find what hardware might be malfunctioning. For Windows users, we have CrystalDiskInfo which is free. This program informs users which device might be causing the strange noises.

Once you have already found which hardware is causing this, seek help from an expert. In most cases, this issue would require a factory reset so that the computer will be running smoothly again.

How To Factory Reset Acer Laptop

Acer is equipped with what a Care Center Program which provides its users the easiest way to deal with everyday issues experienced by Acer laptops. One of the features is an easy and convenient way to factory reset. This feature will come on board with laptops having the Windows 10 OS. For those donning previous OS, you can always download the Care Center software for free on their website.

Windows 10 – Acer Reset Guide

To do a factory reset in the Acer Care Center, you need to open the software. After this, type in recovery in the search box. The next step is to click Acer Recovery Management. In the pop-up window, you will see the Reset your PC option. Click on it and then click “Get Started.”

When you have already decided to push through with the factory reset, click “Remove everything” and “remove my files” option. This shall commence the factory reset process and will erase all data inside the system.

Windows 8 – Acer Reset Guide

Aside from using the Acer Care Center, Windows 8 provides another alternative for factory resetting the laptop.

To do this, you need first to power down the laptop. You can do this by pressing down the power button for approximately 5 seconds. When the computer completely shut down, turn it back on. Upon rebooting, when the logo appears, press and hold down Alt +F10. This will show the Bios settings of the laptop.

In here, click on Troubleshoot and then Click Reset PC. This erases all of the stored data within the system and restores it to factory default settings. Make sure you have all the essential data backed up.

Linux – Acer Reset Guide

If your Acer laptop is running on Linux OS, the process might be complicated. To do this, you might need the recovery disc which came with the computer. You can also use an external USB drive.

Once you already have the peripherals as mentioned earlier on hand, you can start with the process. The first step is to turn off the computer and then to insert the recovery disc or external USB. Turn on the laptop and then press F12. Once the logo shows up, go to the BIOS Settings. Press F10 and then select the recovery disc you inserted. Click on Exit Saving Changes and then click Install Recovery File.

Doing this will prompt you to the Recovery Management Interface. In here, you will proceed with the factory reset process.

The next step is to copy all the necessary data for the new recovery disc. Once the recovery disc is already made, this will allow you to do a factory reset. Once the laptop is wiped clean after the reboot, insert the recovery disc and let it do its magic.

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Tips & Guides

How To Use Plex

How To Use Plex – Setup, Requirements, and Benefits

Organizing your media can be a hassle, not to mention, tedious. However, programs like Plex make the task convenient and less like a chore. Despite it being available for a few years now, Plex remains to be underrated and often overlooked.

If you have just discovered about Plex and somehow, it piqued your interest, you will be surprised to know that the program can do so much more. In this article, we will talk about the basics of how to use Plex. Moreover, we will also talk about other features that make your Plex experience more worthwhile.

What Plex Does

Plex is a program that provides a central hub wherein you can access and store all of your media and other content. Plex can be installed on a computer, and it provides you with a server that stores all of your data.

Plex also has a Plex Client. Through Plex Client, you can play any media or content. It serves as a streaming platform for users. Moreover, the Plex Client can be used in a myriad of various devices. With this, you can stream your media on any devices.

Plex is supported by several devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles and many more. Once you have already installed the Plex program to the device, you can then connect it to the Plex Server so that you can gain access to any content you have stored from the central hub.

Why Use Plex?

The main reason why a lot of people use Plex is the fact that you can use almost any device because a lot of operating systems support it. Another reason why a lot of people use Plex is that it provides its users a convenient way of organizing their media. It catalogs all your media efficiently and effectively. Aside from this, it also provides an interface that is easy to use and is also visually appealing.

Media being supported by Plex range from movies, tv shows, music, videos and many more. Just recently, Plex has included Podcasts in their array of supported content. One of the critical features of Plex is its capability of converting all your files into a format that can be played on any device. This means that you won’t have any problem playing an MP4 file on both a TV and a smartphone.

Aside from the features mentioned above, Plex Media Server allows you to take downloaded content offline. This means that you can listen to any song anywhere, regardless of whether you have an internet connection or not. This will come in handy for users who are consistently on the go.

For example, you have just downloaded an entire season of your favorite show on your phone. However, you’ve been asked to attend a seminar out of town. Thankfully, you can continue watching the show. Just watch it while traveling or maybe you are lounging around in your hotel room.

Moreover, you can share your media and content to anyone through Plex’s sharing feature.

Hardware Requirements

While Plex can be used on almost any device, it does come with a few hardware requirements. These minimal requirements allow you to make use of the program without any hassle.

First off, you need a midrange processor for the Plex Media Server. You need a processor that is higher than i3 since a moderate amount of power is required to transcode the media you store and play on the application. Plex transcodes media files so that it can be compatible with any device. It converts data to a playable format for all the devices connected to the plex server. This is important especially for video files which need to be converted to a supported format.

You will notice a lot of lags and crashes when you are operating the Plex Media Server on an under-performing device. You can always go for a premium range device with flagship specs and powerful processor. But the extra oomph will only be put to waste because you will not need that much power when using Plex.

Moreover, you need a device that has the fast connectivity hardware. Most of the time, you will be connecting to the internet. Because of this, you should be equipped with a device that has the recent network connectivity hardware. With this, you veer away from unnecessary slow buffering of the page.

Best Plex Devices

As we have mentioned, Plex can be used in almost any media device. However, there are just those that work well with the application. Most users use the Fire TV because of the cheap price tag as well as the user-friendly interface.

Another main reason why people like to use Plex with their Fire TV is the fact that the installation of the Kodi Media Center is easier. Kodi is an open source program that allows running of third-party add-ons and plugins which provide several media and content.

If you are willing to splurge a bit more cash for a more powerful device, you can always invest in the Nvidia Shield. The Nvidia shield is a good option for those who want to indulge in their content while also want to enjoy fast loading speeds. It is also a good option for gamers as well thanks to the powerful processor under the hood. The program can be installed and downloaded through the Google Play Store, and it can also come pre-loaded with some smartphones.

We recommend users to use a dedicated computer as your streaming device for the Plex Home Media Server. A laptop has all the necessary hardware and flexibility that you can use to get the most out of your Plex Experience. Nevertheless, the other devices you have at home can still be used as a streaming device for Plex.

How To Setup Plex

If you are new to Plex or have just discovered the program, you have come to the right page since we will be talking about the basics of using Plex. In this portion, we will teach you how to set up Plex, organize your media through Plex, installing a plex media server and other essential features.

Before you can get on with your Plex journey, it pays to know how to set up the application correctly. Before you can use Plex on other media devices, you need first to make sure that it is set up correctly on your home server. While the idea of it sounds daunting at first, trust us, it is not as difficult as it may appear.

The first thing you need to do is to download the Plex Media Server application to your computer. The company made sure to make different variations of the installer file making it compatible with a lot of operating systems. There is one for Mac, Windows, and even Linux. More so, there is also another version intended for NAS drives. With this, you are sure that there is a downloadable installer for any platform on your hard drive.

Once you have downloaded the file, click on it and breeze through the installation wizard. The installation wizard will guide you through the entire process. Once installed, you can access the Plex application through your computer’s browser. In this interface, it will show you where you can access your media. You will be handling all the media you upload through the server, so you are assured to have full access to whatever you put in the media server.

As we mentioned, you can also, make use of the application through a compatible NAS drive. To do this, you must have a desktop computer or a Windows Box that can handle the request. Generally, you want a reliable machine that can be left turn on. Moreover, it should be stable and have a good processor.

It is worth noting that Plex Media Servers are highly compatible with the Netgear routers and wireless extenders. With this, you can enjoy the fast and hassle-free connection with the server. However, do take note that this router comes with a price. Nevertheless, the high price tag comes with efficiency and reliability that surpasses most routers in the market. If you can’t afford the Netgear X10 router, you can always use another router, but make sure they are fast, reliable and stable unless you are okay with a constant spike in the internet and annoying crashes.

Aside from the fact that Plex lets you gain access to all your uploaded content, Plex also has built-in channels that give you tons of additional media for your consumption. On a side note, these channels can only be accessed if they are available within your region. So if for example, you can download the BBC iPlayer where you are located, it is expected that you can also gain access to this through Plex. Nevertheless, Plex has a relatively large selection of channels to choose from.

Plex still has hundreds of great channels to choose from which are available in several regions. These channels can also be viewed through the mobile application. So if you already gained access to the Plex server, make sure to look around, maybe you will find a channel that you like.

Adding Media in Plex

Before you can add media in Plex, you need to first sign up for an account.

  1. To do this, click Sign up and then fill up the asked information. Once you already filled the necessary information, click on “Create Account.”
  2. Once you already have logged in to your account, go to the Plex Server and add your media.
  3. Click on Launch and then go to Media Manager. The Media Manager interface allows you to add a myriad of media. In here, you can also organize your media depending on the type. You can make different folders depending on your preference. For example, you can create a Video folder for your clips and then Music folder for your songs. It is worth noting that Plex also makes subfolders as it categorizes the media you added. Once you have made the necessary changes, click on “Save Changes” and then click Continue.
  4. After adding the media to the library, you can play them through the web browser of the Plex application. In the home screen, click on which category or type of media you want to play, and click on play. It is also a good thing that Plex shows a short synopsis or overview of the press before you play on the media.

The Plex Media Server can let you stream all your media to any device. As mentioned, it is supported by several media devices and several media platforms from smartphones, to TVs and game consoles.

Plex Pass

If you already have the Plex Media Server installed on your home server, you might also want to try Plex Pass. Plex Pass is an add on that you can subscribe to in a monthly, yearly or even lifetime subscription. Through Plex Pass, you get to enjoy the full Plex experience.

Plex Pass lets you enjoy early access to new features of the program. It also gives its users access to past versions of the application as well as applications released prior. Also, you also get the latest Plex applications for Android and iOS platforms.

Plex Pass also comes with Premium features including Plex Sync, Cloud Sync as well as Camera Upload. It gives its users exclusive access to forums that discuss new features of the program.

With regards to pricing, you can get your hands on a Plex Pass subscription for $4.99 a month, $40 a year and $150 for a lifetime. The latest features of the Plex pass takes the whole Plex experience to another level. Some of the cool new features include the live TV and DVR. As of now, Live TV can only be used to a limited number of devices. However, it is expected that the new update of the Live TV will allow more devices to be supported.

Another useful new feature of the Plex Pass is the Xbox OTA TV. Through this new feature, you can use your Xbox One to view channels you have subscribed with the Plex Media Server.

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Tips & Guides

How To Add A Profile On Netflix

How to Add a Profile on Netflix

Netflix has become one of the most popular streaming platforms across the globe. Because of its popularity, some people believe that shortly, more and more production companies will lean more on this platform instead of having their movies shown on cinemas or in the silver screen.

While this may be debatable, all of us who have used Netflix can agree that the platform made watching movies and shows a lot easier and more convenient. With Netflix, you can create a profile and watch as many shows or movies as you can. Based on your past searches, Netflix will provide you with a list of suggested films or shows. This aspect of Netflix is what made it a massive success despite it being launched only a few years ago.

While you can always share your profile with your family members, partner or friends, doing this is not as convenient as it sounds. Even worse, this can disrupt the whole convenience provided by Netflix. We are saying this because if numerous people with different viewing habits and interests share a single account; Netflix’s algorithm won’t be able to decipher which one to suggest. Instead of providing convenience and ease in finding what movies to watch, the feature now becomes useless.

This is not a rare scenario for most Netflix users. Because of this, a lot of users are looking for ways to add new profiles to their Netflix account. If you are stuck in the same scenario, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will be discussing you about the ways on how to add a profile on Netflix. Through this, you will no longer have to share your profile and deal with all the inaccurate suggestions, and other problems brought about by shared patterns. After this tutorial, you will all have your profiles.

Profiles on Netflix

Currently, Netflix permits its users to create up to five unique profiles for a single account. Moreover, the account from which the five profiles are from cannot be deleted. These profiles can be used on different devices as well. Because of this, a profile set on a smartphone can be seen on an android box or a laptop. Profiles can be accessed on a myriad of devices including smartphones, smart TV, android boxes, laptops, desktop computers, tablets and many more.

Each profile will have their unique viewing habits and interests. For example, if a particular family member prefers to watch horror movies, the other profiles will not receive horror movie suggestions unless they are also interested with them; so with that being said, you can rest assured that Netflix’s algorithm will provide you with accurate suggestions.

How to Create Additional Profiles on Netflix

Creating profiles will be pretty much the same across different devices. There are only some slight differences with some devices. Nevertheless, these are the things you need to do to create additional profiles on Netflix.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to go to Netflix.com in your browser.
  2. Next, you need to log in to your account. Type in your user ID and then enter your password.
  3. When you are in your account interface, Netflix will show the “Who’s Watching” window. This also indicates which movies and shows are currently available.
  4. After navigating through the browse screen, click on the Profile button which is located on the top right portion of the window. The Profile button is usually located beside the notifications icon which is the bell icon.
  5. Clicking on the Profile button will show another pop-up window. In this window, click on Manage Profiles. Look for the plus sign (+) and click on it. Clicking on the plus sign allows you to add another profile to the account. Once the pop-up window appears, type in the desired name for the new profile. NOTE: If you intend to make a new profile for a child, click on the Kids option.
  6. Once you have this done, click on Continue so that you can finish the creation of the new profile. If you want to tweak a few options, you can do so by navigating through the customize settings.

If you wish to change a few settings with the added profile, you can do so by going to the manage Profile settings. You can also change the name of the profiles you made in the Manage profile settings. Just type in the new name of the profile.

You can also change the image of your Netflix profile. Click on the pencil icon placed on the left side of the profile image. In here, you can find several avatars to choose from. However, Netflix still doesn’t allow users to upload their photos.

If you have kids sharing your account, you can change the parental settings. This is very important since you do not want them to be exposed to malicious content or those that aren’t intended for children. To do this, click on the drop-down placed on the Allowed Content option in the window. The settings include content filters for different age groups. Doing this will let Netflix know that a kid is using the profile and will thus only show Child-friendly content.

How to Manage Profiles Across Different Devices

Most people watch Netflix movies and shows through their smartphone and other portable devices, though you can also use your Netflix account on your desktop computer or laptop (many students use laptops). It’s a good thing that you can manage profiles through all these devices.

iOS devices

You can manage profiles by tapping on the more button located on the bottom right portion of the screen. In here, you can find all the patterns associated with the account. After this, click on Manage Profiles.

Android devices

You can manage profiles by tapping the three horizontal lines located on the top left portion of the screen. In here, click on the profile you want to achieve and then click on Edit so that you can customize some settings.

Other smart devices

You can do this by scrolling up to the row located on the search icon. Tap on Profiles. In the Profile section, click on the Manage Profiles button. In here, you can choose which Profile to edit.

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Tips & Guides

pfSense – Overview, Features, and Installation Guide

pfSense – Overview, Features, and Installation Guide

Is your computer prone to attacks or do you value important data on your devices that you want them kept away from hackers or potential attackers? If so, you need to be equipped with a reliable and efficient firewall.

In this case, we highly recommend pfSense as your go-to firewall as it is one of the fastest and most reliable firewalls you can find on the internet. The best part of it all is that its free.

What is pfSense?

pfSense may not sound familiar to you, but it has been out for a couple of years. You may have heard about it in some IT forums or from software engineers. But what is pfSense?
pfSense is basically an open source firewall that allows distribution of the router with the basis of the FreeBSD.Ina deep sense. The term pfSense is basically an outcome of its capability of making the OpenBSD packet filtering system pf more accessible and more convenient to those who are not very technically well versed.

pfSense is set to be used on a computer and is proven to provide excellent and well-balanced functions that are only seen in more expensive high-end flame surfaces. Luckily, pfSense can be further enhanced and advanced by means of a web interface which does not require data from the real FreeBSD system in order to access.

pfSense is usually used for the following purposes: Advantage Software, Hub, Access for Wireless Means, Host Server for DHCP web as well as DNS and also, as the endpoint for VPNs.

It is completely free of charge and can be personalized using a FreeBSD in order to be used as a software as well as a hub. Moreover, aside from being truly efficient and convenient for users, pfSense also provides a more secure and versatile firewalling and redirecting feature.

It is equipped with several program systems that enable more versatility without bringing along a lot of bloatware and possible security lapses on its base circulation. Ever since its emergence in 2004, several users have been using its features.

These users range from those setting up miniscule home computer systems trying to defend a PC or a console from possible attacks to large multinational companies defending their system from potential attackers.

pfSense was first derived from the m0n0wall software but has evolved to be used in PC systems as opposed to those components targeted by m0n0wall. Aside from the above-mentioned features, pfSense also provides lightweight, portable displays.

What are the different features offered by pfSense?

pfSense has been popular among several users as well as in the IT industry because of the myriad of features it offers. Here are some of the features it offers.

Firewall

One of the main purposes of pfSense is providing a firewall. It makes your system secure by filtering each source as well as IP address, protocols and destination ports for traffic of UDP and TCP. It also minimizes the occurrence of simultaneous connections on a ruling basis.

In addition, pfSense makes use of p0f which is a highly advanced passive operating system which allows you to filter through the OS which is initiating the network connection. If ever you want to allow FreeBSD and Linux computers to access the internet but at the same time block Windows machines, pfSense does this without a sweat. It does this by passive detection of the operating system that is running.

It also gives you the option whether to log on or not on traffic matching. It provides a versatile policy routing through the selection of gateways based on rules. This is useful for load balancing and when using multiple WANs.

pfSense also allows grouping as well as the naming of IP through different aliases. This will come in handy when keeping the firewall ruleset devoid of bloat. It also makes it easier to understand especially in instances where there are several public IPs and servers.

This software is also capable of Layer 2 Transparent Firewalling. This means that it can connect interfaces as well as filter traffic between these two interfaces. It also allows access of an IP less firewall.

State Table

pfSense allows for a stateful firewall. This means that the stable table can be able to maintain and store data on your open connections. This is really important since most firewalls fail to provide full control over your stable table. With the use of pfSense, you will gain access to several features that provide fine control on your stable table. This is possible through the FreeBSD’s ported edition of pf.

With the use of pfSense, you also get different stable table sizes. This means that you can gain access to a multitude of production pfSense installations with the use of several states. Depending on the RAM equipped on the system, the default stable size may vary. It is worth noting that for every state, it consumes 1 KB of RAM. With that being said, make sure to keep track of the RAM consumption when choosing the stable table size.

To make things efficient, pfSense limits simultaneous connections to clients, host states, amount of connections every second. It also determines state timeout as well as state type.
pfSense also is able to determine state type and provides several options for handling of states.

The keep state feature is able to work with most protocols. A sloppy state is able to function with all protocols, although state tracking is minimized. This will come in handy in asymmetric routings.

Moreover, the synproxy state allows incoming TCP connections in order to enhance protection of servers from questionable TCP SYN floods. This feature is able to combine the purpose of keep state as well as modulate state.

Network Address Translation (NAT)

pfSense allows port forwarding which includes ranges and the usage of several public IPs. The default configuration would direct outbound traffic into WAN IP. In cases of multiple WANs, the default settings reroute the NAT outbound traffic towards the IP of the WAN interface that is running. Advanced Outbound NAT is capable of disabling the default feature and is also capable of creating a more flexible NAT. NAT Reflection, on the other hand, is also accessible so that the services be operated by nonprivate IP from inner networks.

High Availability

Due to a combination of Pfsync as well as CARP, the pfSense is able to provide a capable and high availability function. With pfSense, you get access to two or more firewalls which can be used as a fail-safe group. For example, if one of the interfaces fail or when the primary one turns offline, the secondary saves the day and activates itself. Moreover, pfSense provides configuration synchronization capabilities to make things more customizable depending on your prioritized firewall.

In this case, the stable table of the firewall is being replicated to the different fail safe firewalls. When this happens, the connections that are currently running will be kept in the good performance in case of failures.

Multi-WAN

pfSense allows Multi-Wan functionality. This means that the software allows access to the several internet connections with the presence of load balancing and failover. This further enhances the stability of the connection as well as efficient distribution and usage of your bandwidth.

Server Load Balancing

Another feature offered by pfSense is server load balancing. This way, the load is distributed towards several servers. This will come in handy when maintaining web servers, mail servers and such. Those servers who are not able to respond to requests for ping or on connections for TCP Port are then removed out of the pool.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

pfSense also provides two options in terms of connectivity to VPN. These are IPsec as well as OpenVPN. IPSec is a kind of VPN which permits connection to any device which has a support for the standard IPSec. This type of VPN is usually used when connecting from site to site as well as connection to other pfSense installations aside from other types of firewall solutions. Mobile connectivity is also possible using IPsec.

Open VPN, on the other hand, is another type of VPN which provides a versatile and efficient SSL VPN solution which supports a vast array of client OS.

PPPoE Server

Aside from VPN, pfSense can also provide a server for PPE. This type of server is used as a database for the purpose of authentication as well as RADIUS verification with possible accounting support.

Reporting and Monitoring

pfSense can also let you identify the processes so that you can manage historical data. It does this through presenting graphs and tables. These graphs show CPU usage, total throughput, states of the firewalls, Interface throughputs, interface packet usage, the response of ping of Wan interface gateways, traffic ques as well as real-time data. While historical data is important, it also pays to determine real-time data. In order to do this, pfSense makes use of SVG graphs.

Dynamic DNS

pfSense also provides a Dynamic DNS which allows you to register your public IP to a myriad of dynamic DNS service provider. It also provides a client which is responsible for RFC 2136 dynamic DNS update.

Captive Portal

With the use of pfSense, you also get access to a captive portal. A captive portal gives you permission to have authentication as well as redirection to a certain page through a simple click to give you access.

Captive portals are usually used on hotspot networks. However, it can be also applied to large networks in order to provide added security for their wireless or wired connections.

Why should you use pfSense instead of other firewalls?

We know that there are several firewalls abounding the internet, however, pfSense stands above the rest because of its fast, efficient and stable performance as well as the ton of useful features it is equipped with. With that being said, we highly recommend users and even large corporations to use pfSense.

Thousands of large corporations, universities and even government agencies have been enjoying the benefits of pfSense. This alone is a testament to how this firewall is able to provide security even to the larger bodies that are prone to attacks.

How to Install pfSense

Installing pfSense on your computer or other device is fairly simple. Here we will provide you with a concise series of steps so that you can get started with pfSense.

  1. The first thing you need to look into is choosing the installation type. Before doing so, you also need to be mindful of the minimum hardware requirements in order to use pfSense.
    • pfSense requires at least a 64 bit Intel or AMD processor which also has support for AES-NI.
    • The computer must also boot from a USB or any other optical drive in order to install the program. There is support for 32-bit processors but for pfSense versions 2.4 and up, you need a higher configuration.
  2. You also need to choose whether you will install using an ISO installer, through Memstick or a Memstick Serial.
    • ISO installers are easy to use and are much more familiar with most users. If your computer has an optical drive, then this is the best route to go to. This will come in handy for computers who cannot boot from USB also.
    • MemStick is much like an ISO but instead of using CDs, you can run the installer through a USB thumb drive. This method is typically faster and useful for those computers with no optical drives. Serial Memstick, on the other hand, is similar to the former but it runs with the use of a serial console instead of a VGA. This is used for newer systems.
  3. The next step is to download pfSense. You can do this by visiting their website or by clicking this link: https://www.pfsense.org/download/. You need to pick your preferred version as well as installer type. Afterward, download the SHA256 file in order to identify the image. Choose a mirror link and then download the image from this link. When this is done, you need to wait for the download to finish.
  4. The next part is to prepare the installation media. Depending on the type of installer, the downloaded image must be copied to your preferred installation media. For embedded files, you need to make use of a disk which contains the OS.
  5. When you have already written the image to your targeted installation media, you need to connect this to your serial console. Before you attempt to install it, you must first connect it to the serial console with the correct cable and terminal accessories.
  6. When this is done, you are ready to perform a full install. Just power on the computer or device and connect the installer media. Depending on the type of installer, you choose, the steps may vary. Luckily, the installer is equipped with instructions that guide you throughout the process.

There you have it. With pfSense, you don’t need to be constantly on the lookout for possible attacks. Just install pfSense and watch it do its magic.

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How To Hide Friends On Facebook

How to Hide Friends on Facebook

Usually, all of your friends on Facebook will be able to see all your friends. Facebook chose to have this on by default and users have to deal with this. For people who value their privacy and don’t want to share their friend’s list, this might be bad news. However, Facebook thankfully allows you to customize who can see your friends list.

As of now, Facebook only allows you to hide your friend’s list to your other friends. However, if you want to protect a specific person from your friend’s record to a particular person, sorry to burst your bubble, but Facebook does not give you such an option. If you are having issues regarding showing your friends list to your friends or a particular person, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will show you the steps on how to hide friends on Facebook. These steps are easy to follow and certainly do not require knowledge about coding or programming. With just a few clicks, you can hide your friends on Facebook.

Before we get on with our list, let us first discuss the reasons why some people prefer to hide their friends list on Facebook.

Why Do People Hide Their Friends List

The reason why people hide their friend’s list may vary from person to person. In most cases, people confuse their friend’s list because they signed up for the platform for revealing information about themselves. With that being said, they are worried that other people might discover sensitive information about their friends without their consent.

Moreover, some people hide their friend’s list since Facebook is a convenient place for people with bad intentions to dig up information about their network of friends. This information about who you are friends with or who you are dealing with may be taken advantage for some people.

Lastly, people hide their friend’s list because they don’t want to show a particular person that he or she is friends with a person who may have done some altercation with. For example, your friend Jay had some legal issues with your other Facebook friend, Janice. You would not want Jay to know that you are having social media ties with Janice considering you two are close friends.

Whatever the reason is, each Facebook user has the right to keep their friends list private from the rest of the world or to a particular person. So without further ado, here are the steps that you need to do to hide your friend’s list from Facebook.

How to Hide Friends List on Facebook

  1. The first step you need to do is to click on your name located at the top portion of your profile. After which, you need to click on the small down arrow icon which is placed on the top right part of the Friends List. After this, click on “Edit Privacy.” The list will then pop up on the left side under the Photos.
  2. On the same window, a screen showing settings of the Privacy will show up. Once you see this, click on the small icon that is placed on the right portion to reveal the other option. Clicking “Only Me” will only show the list to you. At this point, no one, even your friends can see who you are friends within Facebook.

In case you only want to prevent just one person from seeing your friends list – Facebook also permits such an option:

  1. Click on Custom.
  2. After clicking custom, a pop-up window will appear. Click on “Don’t Share With.” On the entry box, type in the name of the person you do not want to share your friend’s list with. After submitting the names, the person you entered will no longer see who you are friends with.

It is a good thing that Facebook does not inform the people you refused to share your friends list. If this weren’t the setup, doing so would be such an awkward moment for both of you. However, if that person sees your profile and does not see your friends list, he or she might get suspicious. We do hope that shortly Facebook will allow users to hide a particular friend of yours to see a specific person on your friends list.

As we mentioned, the steps to hide your friends list will be an easy task. It only takes a few clicks, and you are already set. Whatever reason you have for keeping your friends list private, we hope that the steps above have somehow answered all your questions about the whole ordeal.

Choose Who to See on Your News Feed

Because of all the friends we gain on Facebook, we cannot fully control what they want to post. It is their account so they can post whatever they want. Whether we like it or not, we often see posts that are agitating, annoying or are just downright ridiculous. Because of this, we wished that we couldn’t look at their positions on our News Feed.

We can always block them if we want, however, we do not want them to get the notion that we despise or do not like them. Thankfully, Facebook has employed subtle ways for users to filter out what they want to see in their News Feed.

  1. To do this, click on the drop-down arrow icon on your home page and then click on “News Preferences.” This button is usually placed on the top right corner of the screen. Amidst several updates, the icon seems to sit at the same spot always.
  2. Clicking on News Feed Preferences will show you a pop-up window which allows you to select which people you want to see on your feed. You can also choose which people you want to see on your News Feed rarely.
  3. Enter in the names of the people you want to see first and then click submit. Conversely, you can also type in which people you want to look at rarely or not see at all on your News Feed, click submit.

It is worth noting that Facebook does not notify your friends about the changes you did in regards to the News Feed preferences. At this point, you already gained full control of what you see on your News Feed.

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Tips & Guides

How To Factory Reset A MacBook Pro

How to Factory Reset a MacBook Pro

There are several reasons why people want to reset their MacBook Pro or any other model of the laptop. Most people do this because they want to upgrade their unit and sell their current MacBook Pro. Some also do this because they want to give it away to another person. Whatever the reason is, factory resetting a MacBook can be a tedious task, but with the right steps and guidance, the work can be easy.

Since you have stumbled upon this page, we assume you might want to sell or maybe pass on your MacBook Pro to another person. Thankfully, you have come to the right place since we will be discussing the steps on How To factory reset MacBook Pro. With that being said, this tutorial will also work for other recent models of MacBooks.

How Important is Resetting a MacBook Pro

AS mentioned above, factory resetting a MacBook Pro is not new to Mac Users. One of the most common reasons is passing it on to another person, maybe a close family member or a friend. In some cases, some users also do this to troubleshoot issues within the operating system which will require a new installation of the Mac OS. Before installing a new Mac OS, you first need to factory reset the system. Be reminded that doing so will completely erase all the data within the system, so be sure to back up those critical data.

With enough background, erasing all the data from a Mac is relatively straightforward. Deleting all your data before handing out your Mac to someone else is very important. Failure to do so will leave you vulnerable to identity theft. This is because most of your accounts will be synced to your Mac, including address, bank accounts and even personal pictures from your phone. Also if you know the person whom you’ll be giving your Mac, wiping your data will serve them right still. Not everyone wants to carry around a laptop with data not belonging to them.

Steps in Resetting a MacBook Pro

This guide will provide you with the easy steps to erase all the data from your MacBook Pro. After following the instructions, your MacBook Pro will be good as new, preparing it for the installation of the new Mac OS. To first follow these steps, you need to makes sure that you already know the password of the unit. If ever you somehow forgot the password, there are steps to follow that lets you recover your password.

How to reset your MacBook Pro:

  1. You need to check first if you are connected to the internet. Doing so will allow you to download the recent file of the Mac OS that is compatible with your unit. The latest version is the MacOS Mojave. However, if you have an older MacBook, you need to download the older versions of the OS, like the MacOS X
  2. The next step is to back up the files on your Mac by using the Time machine software, or you could also clone the data from your hard drive to an external Hard drive. You can do this by using programs like SuperDuper or Carbon Cloner. These programs allow you to gain access to all your files. These files can then be re-cloned or copied to the internal hard drive of the rebooted system.
  3. You also need to de-authorize any accounts synced in the Mac such as your iTunes account. Other considerations include those from third-party applications such as Lightroom or Photoshop.
  4. The next step is to sign off and then disable iCloud services.
  5. Restart the unit through recovery mode. To do this, you need to hold down command and then press R while restarting. You can also use another combination of keys which you can customize.
  6. Erase the hard drive using disk utility. Look for Disk Utility, once there, click Continue. Once a pop-up window appears, select the primary volume and then click Unmount. After doing this, click erase. Afterward, you can now quit disk utility.
  7. Once done, you can now reinstall the MacOs. Click “Reinstall MacOs” and then press, Continue. The pop-up window will then show the different steps to reinstall MacOS. The installation wizard will guide you with the entire process.

These are the general steps of the entire factory reset process. In the next part, we will discuss in full detail the specific parts of the process.

Backing Up Data From Hard Drive

Time Machine

Factory resetting a Mac will delete all of your data. Because of this, you need to make sure that all your relevant data has been copied to another media or backed up before factory resetting. You can transfer this data from your old Mac to another. You can do this through various software, such as Time Machine. In this portion, we will talk about how you can back up your data through Time Machine.

The first thing you need to do is search for System Preferences in the Settings. After which, you should see the Time Machine icon, Click it. Once there, click on “Select Backup Disk.” Afterward, choose which disk you like to back up your data. Next, select the “Back up Automatically” feature to finally back up your data.

Carbon Copy Cloner

Another way of backing up data is by the use of Carbon Copy Cloner. You can back up all your data to any drive in your system. The settings for the app are also located in the System Preferences. Once there, you need to pick which drive to copy or clone your files. At this point, Carbon Copy Cloner can back up all your data.

From there, you would be able to boot the system from the back upped drive from Carbon Copy Cloner. To test this, you must reset the unit and then hold down the Option/Alt button whenever booting up the system. Make use of the arrow keys to select the external drive. Once you have chosen the right drive, click Enter.

Once the system has finished the boot-up process, the cloned drive and all its data can then be copied to the primary driver of the system.

Deauthorizing iTunes

Before the factory resetting, you should always de-authorize your iTunes account from your Mac. Doing this means that your account will no longer be linked to the unit. An iTunes account can only be connected to five devices, so if you want to take full advantage of your iTunes account, then you have to deauthorize it from the Mac.

To do this, you need to go to the iTunes app. Go to Accounts and then navigate to Authorizations. You will then need to click on “Deauthorize this Computer.” This will prompt you to enter your Apple ID as well as your password. Click Deauthorize. These steps will work on iTunes 12.

For older versions of iTunes, you need to click on Store and then click Deauthorize this Computer.

Disabling iCloud

Another important thing you need to do before factory resetting your Mac is to disable your iCloud. There are several instances wherein users suffered from leaked photographs or videos, or worse identity theft because they failed to disable iCloud.

Any files that were synced in iCloud will be archived on the home folder of the Mac. Because of this, you need to make sure to have these files copied to the backup drive.

To disable iCloud, you need to go to System Preferences and then look for iCloud settings. Once there, you only need to click Sign out. For you to delete all the personal data synced into iCloud, you need to deselect the boxes of each of these data files. These include contacts, calendar notes, and other records. After which, click on Continue. You can also click on “delete from Mac” for each of the data.

In most cases, the app prompts you to finish updating the iCloud drive before signing out.

For MacBook Pro users that have Touch ID, you might need to confirm the removal of your payment details as well. With this, signing out of the Apple ID will also remove all the payment details. After this, iCloud will guide automatically remove all necessary data and will continue to delete any important data.

Restart Your MacBook Pro in Recovery Mode

After backing up all your relevant data to a drive and after disabling other accounts, you are now ready to erase all the data in your Mac. You are prepared to proceed to the Factory Reset.

Factory Resetting a Mac: Utilities

The first thing you need to do is to erase your MacBook Pro’s drive and all its contents. Make sure though that you already have backed up all necessary data in a separate disk. Once done, you are already ready to delete all the data in your drive.

To do this, you need to go to Utilities. Select Disk Utility from the pop-up window and then click Continue. After this, you need to go and click on the primary hard drive. In most cases, this is named as the Macintosh HD. This is usually placed on the left sidebar. Once you have already selected the correct hard drive, click “Erase Mac.”

At this point, the system will once again ask you if you are sure about deleting the contents of the hard drive. If you are, sure enough, click on the Erase Button and then subsequently click on Erase. It is worth noting that doing this will automatically erase all existing data on the hard drive. So make sure to do this, only if you are confident enough that you already have all the essential data backed up on another drive or that there are no longer files needed within the disc. The system will then proceed to delete all the contents within the hard drive. This will take a couple of minutes. Make sure not to interrupt the process since you may go back to where you started.

When the process is done, you can now exit the program. You can do this by going to the top of the bar and then clicking Disk Utility. After this, click on Quit Disk Utility. Voila! You already are finished with Factory Resetting your Mac.

Reinstalling Mac OS

At this point, your Mac is basically like a brand new laptop. However, it would be useless without a running Mac Os. So because of this, you need to reinstall the Mac OS. You pass on a MacBook Pro without any Mac OS running.

To do this, go to Mac OS utilities. Once there, click on “Reinstall MacOS” and then click Continue. The options will vary depending on the existing OS. After this, a pop-up window will show up which tells you that a new version of the Mac OS will be installed; click on Continue.

Afterward, it will show the Terms and Conditions of the installation. Click on Agree, and the installation process will commence. The system will then let you choose where to install the OS. Select on the Mac OS HD and then click on “Install.”

The system will automatically download the latest version of Mac OS considering you are already connected to the internet. This process will take a couple of minutes so be patient. Once the installation is already done, the system will automatically restart. After rebooting the laptop, it will ask for your Apple ID.

If you plan on passing on the MacBook to another person, it is best that you forego this step and let the new user input his or her Apple ID. With that being said, disregard the setup wizard and allow the new user to continue the process.

Installing an Older Version of Mac OS

Older models of the MacBook do not support the latest Mac OS. Because of this, you are forced to install the older version of Mac OS. You can do this via the Recovery mode.

If the laptop is previously running Sierra 10.12.4 or newer versions, press Shift+Option+Command+R whenever booting up the Mac, this will show you the Recovery Mode of the system. In this interface, you can install the older version of Mac OS.

The versions that can be installed are the ones that can be supported by the system or the OS that came with the laptop when it was bought.

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Tips & Guides

How To Record A Phone Call

How To Record a Phone Call

Recording Phone Calls may look like something you have seen in a spy movie or have heard from someone who’s somewhat paranoid. While the idea of recording phone calls may leave some people who value their privacy scratching their head, there are a few valid reasons why a lot of people record their phone conversations.

Recording phone calls is an essential thing for those who want to have an accurate grasp of the content from their conversations. Journalists to Businessmen find themselves recording their phone calls most of the time to keep track of their data or other relevant information conveyed through phone lines.

This action also serves an essential role in assessing and evaluating grievances or other disputes from customers. While the method of recording phone calls may be simple, it also goes without saying that people should be wary of their actions and record phone calls within the legal limitations.

In this article, we will teach you how to record a phone call through Android smartphones, iPhones and other applications and external hardware. We will also discuss the legalities surrounding the issue with phone call recordings.

How to Record a Phone Call on Android

Because of the sheer flexibility of the Android platform, there are many ways in which you can record a phone call. One of the most convenient and most common methods is the use of Google Voice application.

Google Voice App

Google Voice comes installed in most newly released Android phones now. This app is an easy and convenient way of recording your phone conversations. Using this application is entirely free and without any hidden charges. It is also worth noting that Google Voice only allows recording of incoming calls and not outgoing calls.

To use the Google Voice app, you first need to have a Google Voice account. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up for the service by going to the Google Voice website. Once you are there, you need to follow the instructions in the pop-up window. Once you already finished the sign-up process, you can know to enable phone call recording on your account. But how do you record calls using the Google Voice app?

The first thing you need to do is to go to the Google Voice website. Once there, you need to look for the three vertical dots placed on the top left portion of the page. Click on these buttons and then select Settings. The next thing you need to do is to navigate to the calls section and then toggle “Turn on incoming calls” option by making use of the slider placed on the right.

Once you have enabled the Google Voice app, you will now be able to record incoming calls. You have to press the number “4” on the keypad. Also, Google made the recording process transparent for both parties since a short message saying that “recording is underway” is being said. Pressing the number “4” again on the keypad will terminate the recording process. The recording will now be saved on your account’s Inbox which you can find in the Google Voice website.

Third Party Apps

AS we mentioned, with the Android platform’s flexibility, you can make use of several third-party apps to record phone calls. However, not all of these applications work as well as the others. Even worse, some applications can pose a security threat for some users. These applications rely on the phone’s microphone to record both incoming and outgoing calls. Because of this, conversations that are not registered through loudspeaker will be relatively muffled or quiet.

Automatic Call Recorder Pro

One of the most efficient third-party apps that can record phone calls is Automatic Call Recorder Pro. One of the main points that make it accessible is its clean and aesthetically designed interface. However, it goes beyond looks as it does its job effectively as well.

The app is equipped with highly customizable settings. Aside from recording phone calls, it also gives you the freedom of tweaking the audio quality. It also allows you to record all calls automatically. Another useful feature is “Shake to Record.” This feature allows you to record the phone call by shaking the phone conveniently. Moreover, the recordings can also be saved in a myriad of cloud platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

TapeACall

TapeACall is another useful third-party app that allows recording of phone conversations. Both Android and iOs platforms can use the app. However, the app is not free. For $10, you get a one-year subscription for unlimited phone call recordings. It can record both incoming and outgoing calls.

To record outgoing calls, you have to launch the program and then tap record. For incoming calls, you need to put the caller on hold. After this, you need to open the app and then press record. TapeACall can produce a three-way call. Whenever you hit record, it contacts a local TapeACall access number. With this, you need to make sure that your postpaid plan permits three-way calling.

It is worth noting that the application does not inform both parties that a recording is being done. So with that being said, we encourage that you ask permission from your caller. If not, you might be subjected to consequences concerning legal issues surrounding phone call recording.

TapeACall has a lite version which is free. However, the recordings are only limited to one minute. It seems as if the company intended to make this version to allow users to test the full text of the app. It also tells consumers how good the audio quality of the recordings is.

How to Record a Phone Call on iOS

iPhone has more robust security compared to Android, and as a result, it is not as flexible when it comes to applications compared to Android. But surprisingly, there are still other ways to record a phone call in an iPhone.

Google Voice

Aside from Android platforms, Google voice can also be enjoyed by iPhone users. You can access Google Voice under settings and then inbound call options. Once you have navigated your way through the settings, you need to enable the google voice. Once it is allowed, you can then record incoming calls. Same as in Android, a short message will inform both parties that a recording is in progress. Pressing four will end the recording.

• Use a Jailbreak Tweak

AS we mentioned, iOs has a very robust and secure platform. However, other iPhones are Jailbroken. If ever you possess a jailbroken iPhone, you can tweak your settings to allow automatic recording of phone calls. Some tweaks including those from Call Recorder by hAcx costs only $3.00. This is significantly cheaper compared to other applications from the App Store.

Call Recorder is capable of recording all phone calls. Also, it gives you the option to set a shortlist of contacts that you want to record. Among all the other tweaks for Jailbroken iPhones, Call Recorder is the most stable and reliable. The connections shortlist lets you automatically record your phone conversations. Moreover, you can also manually end a recording for a particular phone conversation.

In addition to recording all your phone conversations, the tweak also transcribes the recordings. However, in our initial test, the transcription was instead a hit or miss. Some of the words were picked up incorrectly or are omitted. Nevertheless, we still think that this feature is a useful addition to the program. This is important since, in some conversations, you may have a difficulty picking up some of the words from the caller. Letting the app transcribe the words for you is a useful and convenient feature.

One of the most significant downsides of Call Recorder is that it is only intended for Jailbroken iPhones. It is a shame since most iPhone users do not have their phones through jailbreak. This makes the Call Recorder fairly out of reach for most iPhone users.

QuickTime Player

For Mac Users, you can record phone calls using the QuickTime player. Once the iPhone is synced to the QuickTime player, you can start recording phone conversations. The software can also record FaceTime conversations.

However, this method only works if you are answering the calls from your loudspeaker. If you answer calls through a headset, the recordings will be significantly inaudible. Moreover, if you answer calls on the Mac, QuickTime Player will not be able to record the conversation.

If you want to record the conversation, make sure that you enabled the speaker mode. This will also apply during FaceTime calls. The conversation call also be recorded if you make use of Mac’s speaker. Once you have checked these, you need to click “new Audio Recording from the program’s taskbar on the File button.

Recording via Skype

Most people nowadays communicate through Skype. Skype is popular among users from different countries because of the simple interface and how it manages to make phone calls more convenient and comfortable. It is a good thing that Skype lets its users record not only audio but also video calls.

Skype informs the other caller that a recording is in progress. It alerts the other caller that the call is being recorded, both the audio and the video. The tapes are then being stored in the server’s Cloud service for up to 30 days. Both you and the other parties can gain access, save and share these recordings as much as they want. However, the one who initiated the call is the one who can remove these recordings from the cloud.

Recording calls with an external recorder

Aside from recording phone calls from third-party apps or other software, you can also record phone calls through an external recorder. One of the most popular recording devices used by most users includes Esonic Cell Phone Call Recorder and RecorderGear PR200. These recorders can pick up the conversation through advanced drivers.

These recorders are then plugged to the headphone jack of the phone. As a result, you get phone call recordings that are clear and crisp. It helps that the advanced drivers help make the words more transparent and easier to understand. These recorders do come with a price, however, what you do get are clear recordings of your phone conversations.

How to Guarantee a High-Quality Recording

More often than not, the recordings of your phone calls tend to be of deficient quality. While the methods we discussed above provide a convenient and easy way to record your phone conversations, not all of them give you an end product that you hoped for. It would be useless to record an interview for future dissection or transcription if the words in the recordings are not audible enough.

Some recorders even those that come with a heftier price also have a hard time recording the audio in a high-quality format. Moreover, most of these recorders require you to answer calls through a loudspeaker. But what if you are used to responding on the headphones, what if you are in the train, would it be okay to let other people hear the entire conversation? I guess not.

Luckily, there are some methods for you to produce high-quality recordings from your phone calls. Some of these are very ingenious and are very easy to do.

  • First off, you need to make sure that you are in an environment that allows all your conversations to be as audible as possible. Look for a quiet place, maybe a corner in your house or office that doesn’t have a lot of noise pollution. In most recordings, we hear a lot of untoward chatter or ambient noise, like aircon sounds or TV from across the room.
  • Next, you must disable all notifications from your smartphone. You should do this so that notification alerts won’t disrupt your calls. The bell sound can interrupt the routine recording of the conversation.
  • If you are answering through the speaker, make sure that your mouth is not too close. If you’re talking too close to a microphone, the audio tends to be muffled and inaudible. Moreover, make a test recording to make sure that you have found the right spot to record your phone call.
  • If the other caller is talking too fast or maybe also inaudible, ask him or her to speak more loudly and clearly. Repeat questions if needed and wait for him to answer. Do not interrupt him while he is talking.

Hopefully these steps have helped you with your recording needs. Remember these next time you need to record a phone call!

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Tips & Guides

How To Make A Windows 10 Recovery Disk

How to Make a Windows 10 Recovery Disk

There will come a time when our PCs and laptops no longer work as effectively as they were. There are a couple of crashes and lags, here and there. In some instances, some programs fail to load correctly since they are already corrupted.

There are many ways of addressing this issue. However, one of the most common remedies for this problem is doing a system restore. To do this, you should be equipped with a recovery disk or flash drive. In this article, we will teach you how to make windows ten recovery disk.

We will also give you some useful information about the importance of doing the system restore for your PCs or laptops.

What does a Windows recovery disk do?

Ever since Windows 8, the company has made it possible for consumers to create a recovery drive with the use of a flash drive. Even before that, consumers can create recovery disks using CDs or DVDs. If ever a flash drive is not within your reach or if you want to make use of a spare CD/DVD in your house, then you can create a recovery drive using the latter. Nevertheless, the two media can be used to reset your computer whenever it is experiencing some severe problems.

A recovery disk gives you the possibility of reinstalling the system on the computer after reformatting. If you still have full access to the programs of your computer and it still boots appropriately, you can conveniently create a system recovery disk. You can also build from another computer.

It is worth noting that not all recovery disks will work across a myriad of versions of Windows 10. For example, you cannot use a Windows 8 recovery disk to troubleshoot a computer running Windows 10. Also, you cannot use a Windows 10 recovery disk for an older operating system>

How to make a Windows 10 recovery disk?

When making a recovery disk, you need to make sure that you have a large capacity disk. This is important since you will be copying several files in a single disc. It is also worth noting that any existing data on the drive will be deleted in the process.

Here are the steps in creating a Windows 10 recovery disk:

  1. The first step is to insert the disc on the computer. You can do this through the optical drive that’s already built into the computer. If you don’t have one, you can make use of portable disk drives.
  2. The next step is to type “recovery drive” into the search box. In the pop-up section, select the option that says “Create a recovery drive.”
  3. Another pop-up window will show up; the next step is to select “Back up system files into the recovery drive.” Once done, click Next.
  4. A pop-up window will appear which lets you select the media you intend to create the recovery drive. Select the option that lets you create onto a DVD.
  5. Afterward, you need to click on “Create.” Once done, the system will start creating the recovery drive.

After the process is done, a pop-up window will appear which shows the option, “Delete the recovery partition from your PC.” This will show up if you had a Windows recovery partition installed on the hard drive. You have the option to click this option so that you can save more space on the computer.

You can now reboot your PC. If your computer fails to boot correctly, you can insert the Windows 10 recovery disk to make a system recovery. At this juncture, you need to change the boot order within the BIOS so that you can boot from the recovery disk.

System Cannot Create a Recovery Disk

There are some instances when the system is not able to create a recovery disk. When this happens, what do you need to do?

The first thing you need to do is to check whether the disk is inserted well and is fully recognized by the system. Sometimes, the system fails to identify a disc on the first attempt. You should remove the drive from the computer and then reinsert it to see if it loads correctly.

If reinserting the disk does not do the job, you can, fortunately, download the ISO file of the recovery disk for Windows 10 on the internet. You can then burn the ISO file to a CD. However, take note that ISO files downloaded on the internet are personal files.

You should also check whether the system permits Windows recovery and if it is enabled. To do this, you need to run “reagent/info” on the command prompt.

If the Windows 10 recovery environment is disabled, the system does not permit you to run a recovery file.

System Restore in Windows 10

Windows 10 is fully capable of running System Restore. It is also very compatible and functional across different versions of the OS. However, the system chooses to turn off this feature by default. What’s worse is that the settings for System Restore are deeply embedded within the Control panel settings. This is somewhat a tedious task for casual users who are not well versed with how it works. It is not a standard feature stumbled upon by someone who is new to the Windows 10 platform.

If you are still new to this feature and do not have knowledge about it, we are here to discuss how you can enable System Restore on Windows 10. It is also worth noting that you can revert to an old version of Windows using System Restore.

The primary and most straightforward way of finding System Restore is seeing it in the Start Menu. The search menu usually sits on the right portion of the Windows Tab. Just click on the Cortana or Search button placed on the taskbar and then type in “System Restore.

Once you have navigated System Restore through the search bar, Click on the option that says “Create a restore point.” This directs you to the System Protection Tab of the Settings Window. This is where you will find the options for system restore.

If you have already used the System Restore from a previous Windows version, then you will recognize that it has the same interface with the one in Windows 10. If you want to protect certain drives in the system, you need to toggle in enable in the Protection Settings. In most cases, users only need to restore the primary drive or the local Drive C to achieve the required protection.

To enable System Restore, you need to pick the drive you want to work on. Once you have decided which drive to work on, click ‘Configure”. After this, a pop-up window will appear, once this shows, click on “Turn on System Protection.”

You also need to make sure that the drive you are running System Restore with has an adequate amount of space. It would be useless without the necessary storage space to store all the restore points. To check whether it has enough space, you can see this through the Disk Space Usage section.

The higher the space intended for System Restore, the higher the number of restore points you can dispose of off whenever a severe system error occurs. However, you also need to make sure that you assign just the right amount of space for System Restore. If you allocate a larger than required space, then you won’t have enough space for your data and other programs. Balance is key. In this context, we highly recommend assigning at least 10 GB of disk space for System Restore.

After the changes have been made, you need to click Apply and then OK. Doing so, will save all the changes and update in configurations you have made for your drive. You can now close the window.

At this point, you already have enabled System Restore in the drive you selected. This feature runs typically in the background automatically, but you can also run it manually depending on the restore points you want to create.

Whenever the need arises, for example, a slow running system, you can go back to the same window and then launch System Restore. On a side note, whenever the system fails to boot, which is a worst case scenario, you can. Fortunately, launch System Restore in the Recovery Environment.

Why is System Restore Important?

As we have mentioned earlier in this article, System Restore serves a vital role in troubleshooting faulty Windows systems throughout a decade. However, System Restore has proven to be even more critical as in the case of Windows 10.

Before the rollout of Windows 10, Windows have made it clear to the consumers that they will be employing several updates within the system through the Microsoft Update Service. Some of these updates include security patches, fixes to common bugs and other useful updates. These updates are vital to the proper running of the system and Windows have encouraged consumers to have the systems updated.

However, thousands of consumers prefer not to deal with these updates promptly. Worse, some consumers even disabled the update service in their computers. Unfortunately, Windows could not force their users to upgrade their systems.

Most of these users prefer not to update their system since some updates disrupt the standard functionality of some programs and some come with minor bugs which cause annoying lags or crashes. While there is a reasonable rationale why some users prefer not to update their systems, these updates are still worth the time and effort. They exist to make the system more stable and reliable.

As a result of this, the system becomes more vulnerable to security threats and other issues, making them more susceptible to cyber problems or viruses.

Windows 10 constantly encourages its users to accept the Windows EULA and install all other security features and updates that come along with it. Microsoft has put in a lot of research into these updates. This software allows some users to buy some time before they have to update their system. In most cases, updates can be postponed for some time. But for sure, Windows 10 Home users will receive all the necessary updates after they are being released.

Users of Windows 10 Pro, on the other hand, enjoy a more flexible option when it comes to updates. However, this flexibility comes with a catch. Users of Windows 10 Pro can do away with these updates by joining the Current Branch for Business or CBB for eight months. This is an updated roadmap that is made for businesses that require updates for batches of major critical systems. After the eight months, the users need to update their policies on a timely basis.

Windows 10 Enterprise also has another approach when it comes to system updates. Users of Windows 10 enterprise have the capability of doing away with these updates. They can defer with these updates for several years while still receiving support from Microsoft. It is worth noting that choosing Windows 10 enterprise comes with a hefty price. This is why they win this much privilege compared to other users.

Nevertheless, this effort by Microsoft in encouraging Windows 10 users to install updates come with a positive outcome. Generally, once all the software is updated on a timely basis, preventing security threats will no longer be an issue. Whenever there are some issues after installing these updates, this is where System Restore comes into the picture.

Considering you already have the latest version of Windows 10 through the company’s mandatory update and you already installed the correct backups and recovery tools, System Restore can add another layer of security. Whenever one of these updates come with a fundamental issue or if it is incompatible to specific software or the system itself, System Restore corrects these issues without any hassle. You only need to allow a certain amount of storage from the drive for the restore points.

In this light, we hope that the company figures out a way or another process for updating the Windows system. We also hope that Microsoft churns out more stable and reliable updates in the years to come. As of now, we have to endure some minor issues that come along with these updates as we have no other choice. With that being said, preparing your system with System Restore will surely keep your system running smoothly.

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Tips & Guides

How To Download YouTube Videos

How To Download YouTube Videos

There are literally billions of hours of videos on YouTube. There’s an unlimited number of videos that you can stream if you’re online. That means that you’re going to need significant data allowance from your service provider to watch videos on YouTube. Or, you got to be connected to a stable Wi-Fi with unlimited Internet to enjoy YouTube videos all day.

Now, how about if you’re offline? Is it possible to download YouTube videos so you can have a copy that you can conveniently watch anytime, anywhere without connecting to the Internet?

The answer is a ‘YES’. But, is it legal?

Downloading a YouTube video is not permitted, especially when you intend to distribute it. It is a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service as well as the video creator’s rights. If your goal is to share the video, YouTube has a couple of options for you to share it via social media sites and applications. YouTube also allows you to embed the video on a website. However, if you badly need to download a YouTube video, these options are hugely helpful. Just keep in mind to keep it to yourself and not distribute it.

For starters, downloading YouTube videos using 3rd party software is a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service. The TOS reads, “You shall not download any Content unless you see a ‘download’ or similar link displayed on YouTube on the Service for that Content.

What this means is that YouTube doesn’t allow you to download its content for offline use. The possible consequences against legal boundaries reside on how you’re going to use the content. If you’re going to use it for your personal consumption only, then that’s okay. However, if you’re going to distribute and/or share the Content that you downloaded, then that will potentially implicate you for copyright infringement. Unless you have the authorization to do so or if you are the owner of the Content.

On top of that, watching YouTube videos offline cuts YouTube’s and video creators’ revenue. They’re not going to be able to earn money because ads can no longer run on the Content that you downloaded. Bottom line is you’re keeping a lot of people from making a living.

Nevertheless, if you really have a solid reason to download YouTube videos and you don’t intend to distribute the Content, it’s easy to download any videos out of YouTube or watch it offline. YouTube Premium gives you an option to stream videos while being offline.

In some cases, you’re allowed to download the video when there’s a download link embedded in the video itself. But not all YouTube videos are like this. Only a few video creators allow their videos to be downloaded for some specific reasons. Other than that, you will need some 3rd party software to download the Content you want.

Tools For Downloading YouTube Videos

There’s a ton of software or sites that you can use to download Content from YouTube. Here’s a laundry list of what you can use:

  • 4K Video Downloader
  • TubeMate
  • WinX YouTube Downloader
  • AnyVid
  • Gihosoft TubeGet
  • YouTubeByClick
  • 5K Player
  • TubeNinja
  • YouTubNow
  • YoutubeMonkey
  • FetchTube
  • VidPaw
  • FastestTube
  • Video DownloadHelper
  • Threelly SmartView
  • InsTube
  • WonTube
  • YTD
  • AnyTrans

The list is a combination of software/programs, helper websites, extensions, and mobile apps. Each of these has their own specific pros and cons, fees, and/or supported format. What these have in common are the following:

  • Supports 4K downloads
  • Can download channels and/or entire playlist in one batch
  • Great interface
  • Works with Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook
  • Doesn’t collect personal data aside from an email address
  • Capability for MP3 audio output
  • Doesn’t contain malware

These are the requirements of a safe and effective YouTube video downloader. There are a lot more programs and sites available on the Internet as of writing. And more mobile apps as well. However, they don’t qualify the requirements above.

Video Format

You can choose the file format of the video you’re going to download depending on the software/program, site, or app you’re using. The most common video formats you can choose are the following:

  • 3GP
  • MOV
  • MP4
  • AVI

If you’re not too particular about video quality and you’re okay with watching the video on a small-screen then the most recommended of these formats is the 3GP. It doesn’t eat up that much storage and memory as well. It’s perfect for mobile phone viewing. Outside of that, it’s awful on every other aspect.

If you want clear and crisp output, MOV is the best choice. It’s Apple’s file format and will work amazingly on every Mac. AVI, on the other hand, works great on PCs while MP4 works pretty much on any platform. MP4 also has the highest compatibility among these 4 file formats.

Video Quality

The other decision that you’re going to make is video quality. What you may not know is that YouTube allows you to stream in a variety of video qualities that range from 360p to 1080p. That said, you can watch YouTube from an old mobile phone to large HD displays.

For instance, the 3GP file format allows you to download four video quality options that can work for your smartphone, tablet, or computer – 360, 480, 720, and 1080 video resolutions. Of course, the higher the quality means the bigger the size of the file. A clever decision is to balance the size and quality of the video to save memory and storage. But, if you have an unlimited storage capacity, you can download all videos in 1080p resolution.

If the video you’re downloading has music in it, the video quality won’t matter. The soundtrack in every YouTube video has the same bitrate regardless if you’re downloading a 480p or a 1080p. YouTube’s video and audio streams are two separate entities, so the video quality choice won’t affect the audio quality.

Download YouTube Videos to Your PC

To download YouTube videos to your PC, you’ll need to download and install a program first. The most popular and highly recommended is 4K Video Downloader. It’s a completely versatile software that lets you download entire playlists, 3D videos, and even 360-degree videos. Most importantly, it’s free. Once the software has been completely downloaded, you can just click the ‘Launch’ and ‘Finish’ buttons.

Here are the steps to download the video content from YouTube using the 4K Video Downloader:

  1. Open web browser
  2. Go to the YouTube website
  3. Search for the video you want to download
  4. Copy the URL of the video from the address bar
  5. Open 4K Video Downloader
  6. Click ‘Paste Link’ button at the top left
  7. Choose preferred selection (video or audio) from the drop-down menu on the left
  8. Choose video format from the drop-down menu on the right
  9. Choose video quality from any of the radio-button selections
  10. Choose a location where to save downloaded video using the ‘Browse’ button
  11. Once you’re satisfied with all your selections, click ‘Download’

You can open the file in the destination folder after the video has been completed. You can also play directly in 4K Video Downloader by right-clicking on the video and selecting ‘Play’. All the video you have downloaded will remain on the list until you adjust the settings or when you choose to remove them.

One great feature of 4K Video Downloader is the Smart Mode. This feature saves your preferences and then loads them automatically. This comes in handy when you download videos with the same format. The Smart Mode can be turned on by clicking on the lightbulb icon located at the top right of the window. The next time you paste a URL of the video you’re going to download, 4K Video Downloader will download it right away using the most recent settings you used.

Download via YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium offers a lot of perks to its subscribers. One of these is the ability to download Content and watch videos offline without the need for a 3rd party software or program. You can do this using YouTube’s apps – YouTube, YouTube gaming, YouTube Music.

This is convenient when you’re out on a trip to a remote location. There’s just one caveat: you can only save and watch the videos using these apps. You can’t move or transfer the videos to a different location and/or watch the videos using a different app.

To do this, you’ll only need to download any of the YouTube apps. As soon as its downloaded, you can open the app to watch the video. There’s a ‘Download’ button with a grey arrow that’s located under the player. You’ll have an option to choose a quality setting.

You can find the video in your Account tab or Library as soon as the video has been completely downloaded. You also will need to sign in to your account to watch the downloaded videos. However, since you’ll be offline, you won’t be able to like the video and/or respond to comments.

Download YouTube Videos Using TubeMate

Another very popular tool for downloading YouTube videos is TubeMate. It works perfectly with Android smartphones. It’s extremely easy to use and contains features that are superbly useful.

Although TubeMate is a great partner with an Android smartphone, there’s one hiccup that can easily be worked around. TubeMate can’t be downloaded via the Google Play Store. You’ll need to configure your Android smartphone to install and run apps that are downloaded outside of Google Play Store. Keep in mind though to only make sure you download and install apps that you know are safe.

To do this, you can follow these quick steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Security
  3. Scroll down and find Unknown sources
  4. Toggle to turn on

This will allow your Android to download, install, and run apps that are not downloaded from Google Play Store. Once this is done, you can visit the TubeMate YouTube Downloader website. Select any one of the verified websites to download the tool from. Sometimes you’ll get a warning message because of downloading an APK file. When you get this message, just click ‘OK’ and the download will resume.

As soon as the TubeMate has been downloaded into your smartphone, locate the file and run it. Tap the ‘Install’ button and then tap the ‘Open’ button. It will then tell you which permission the video will need to run. You can proceed by letting it run so the app will launch.

What TubeMate looks like is an old YouTube Android app. It has a black background and will give you an option to search for a video and/or begin playing the video in it. Tapping the red ‘Download’ button that shows up at the bottom right of the window will take you to several choices.

You’ll see a list of formats for video and audio as well as options to choose the quality. You’ll also see options to select the resolution for each format. You can choose the highest quality, highest resolution for the format of your choice if you have enough space in your Android smartphone. As soon as you’re happy with all your selections, tap the ‘Download’ button again and the video will download in the background. You can keep using your phone like normal while the video downloads. You’ll notice the battery to drastically juice down while you’re doing this.

Alternatively, you can schedule the download later by queuing it. This will be very convenient as the download will start only when you have a stable Wi-fi connection. You’ll spare a lot of your data when you do this.

Download YouTube Videos to an iPhone

Downloading a YouTube video on an iPhone is so much different than an Android. If you’re using an iOS device – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch – you’re going to have to follow these steps:

  1. Install Documents app from App Store
  2. Open a browser and go to YouTube
  3. Find the video you want to download
  4. Tap the ‘Copy Link’ or ‘Share’ icon of the YouTube video you want to download
  5. Open the Documents app
  6. Find the web browser icon
  7. Tap on the web browser icon (it looks like a little compass)
  8. Go to savefrom.net
  9. Paste the URL of the YouTube video in the input box
  10. Choose preferred video quality

The file will start to download as soon as you’ve chosen the video quality. You’ll find the file in the Document’s download folder as soon as it’s completed downloading. You can then drag the file into the ‘Photos’ app so you can watch the video without opening the Documents app.

Final Thoughts

We do not condone the illegal downloading and distribution of content. This article is intended for informational purposes to explain ways to download content, when legal.