Random Tech Questions you want answered.

well crap, proxmate, like so many others, has moved to a subscription model.

Any suggestions for a replacement or should I instead just accept that this is something that costs money now and seek out the best value VPN/proxy I can find to serve up American content to my icy lair?

How do I revert firefox search bar back to this https://support.cdn.mozilla.net/medi...

THis happened before and the fix was to change "browser.search.showOneOffButtons " to False in about:config

I checked and it was still false, but the new update still changed my old search bar

I'm using a third party driver to connect a PS4 controller to my PC for gaming which works fine over USB. However, it doesn't seem like the PC treats the PS4 controller as normal input and it will shut off my screen every 15 minutes (this is the setting I have to turn off the display after X amount of inactivity) unless I interact with the mouse of keyboard in that time period. Anyone with any experience using PS4 controllers on PC come across this problem, if you are using a PS4 controller on PC and haven't come across this, what drivers are you using?

Tailsnake wrote:

I'm using a third party driver to connect a PS4 controller to my PC for gaming which works fine over USB. However, it doesn't seem like the PC treats the PS4 controller as normal input and it will shut off my screen every 15 minutes (this is the setting I have to turn off the display after X amount of inactivity) unless I interact with the mouse of keyboard in that time period. Anyone with any experience using PS4 controllers on PC come across this problem, if you are using a PS4 controller on PC and haven't come across this, what drivers are you using?

For certain, I've never had this issue with games that support DS4's natively. And I don't believe I have issues with games that require the use of third party drivers (?). Very rarely do games in general allow Windows to suspend the display in any case, controller or not.

Have you been able to replicate the issue using, say, a wired Xbox 360 controller? Or just running the game without a controller?

mr_n00b wrote:

Have you been able to replicate the issue using, say, a wired Xbox 360 controller? Or just running the game without a controller?

I've been using a barebones driver (which seems to be the driver most of the more fully featured drivers are built upon). The issue wasn't present when I was using a PS3 controller to play the same game (The Witcher 3) or any other game I've played over the years. However, I do see updates to the driver in the github I linked to, I'll try updating it and report back if the issue continues.

Looks like the updated drivers fixed the issues I was having. I had assumed that the drivers were mature enough to not be the source of the problem; I was wrong.

I have a new ipad pro which I'll likely be using mostly as a digital art device along with the apple pencil, does that put me into 'you should really have a screen protector' territory?

I've never soldered before and need some ideas on something to try out as a cheap 1st time effort so I can tell if I'm doing it right (or ruin trying) before moving on to the electronics I care about. Any recommendations? So far I've found a number of tutorials online, so that's not really an issue (feel free to link more if you like) but I still want to try my hand at something electronics related before potentially destroying the hdmi board in my receiver, my old SNES, and my keyless entry fob to my car. I would probably attack them in that order and have a video tutorial for the first as it is a known problem and some general video info on the 2nd.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I've never soldered before and need some ideas on something to try out as a cheap 1st time effort so I can tell if I'm doing it right (or ruin trying) before moving on to the electronics I care about. Any recommendations? So far I've found a number of tutorials online, so that's not really an issue (feel free to link more if you like) but I still want to try my hand at something electronics related before potentially destroying the hdmi board in my receiver, my old SNES, and my keyless entry fob to my car. I would probably attack them in that order and have a video tutorial for the first as it is a known problem and some general video info on the 2nd.

Make sure you have the right tools, you don't want to be trying to soldering electronics with a standard soldering iron as those will usually be far too hot and often have much wider tips.

Start simple and put in the practice until you're comfortable with how the solder melts and flows, how it cools, etc. For $14.99 you can pick up an entry practice kit like this and have a go.

krev82 wrote:

I have a new ipad pro which I'll likely be using mostly as a digital art device along with the apple pencil, does that put me into 'you should really have a screen protector' territory?

You have a mobile electronic device, that puts you in 'you should really have a screen protector' territory, in my experience. Doesn't matter what you're doing with it, or how you're interacting with it.

Dakuna wrote:
krev82 wrote:

I have a new ipad pro which I'll likely be using mostly as a digital art device along with the apple pencil, does that put me into 'you should really have a screen protector' territory?

You have a mobile electronic device, that puts you in 'you should really have a screen protector' territory, in my experience. Doesn't matter what you're doing with it, or how you're interacting with it.

Do mean something that covers the screen at all times? If so, I disagree. Tablets are far less likely to get scratches than phones. Definitely get a cover/sheath/folio of some sort for travel but don't stick anything on the glass. In my experience, they're all terrible. Also, do they even work with the Apple Pencil?

Yeah I would not get a screen protector if you are using it for art mainly. Are you the type of person that has dropped tablets or phones in the past and broken them? Do you have kids that will use it? Are you planning to carry it in a bag without a cover? Then you might want a screen protector. Otherwise just get a case that covers the screen when it is closed and you'll be ok.

krev82 wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

I've never soldered before and need some ideas on something to try out as a cheap 1st time effort so I can tell if I'm doing it right (or ruin trying) before moving on to the electronics I care about. Any recommendations? So far I've found a number of tutorials online, so that's not really an issue (feel free to link more if you like) but I still want to try my hand at something electronics related before potentially destroying the hdmi board in my receiver, my old SNES, and my keyless entry fob to my car. I would probably attack them in that order and have a video tutorial for the first as it is a known problem and some general video info on the 2nd.

Make sure you have the right tools, you don't want to be trying to soldering electronics with a standard soldering iron as those will usually be far too hot and often have much wider tips.

Start simple and put in the practice until you're comfortable with how the solder melts and flows, how it cools, etc. For $14.99 you can pick up an entry practice kit like this and have a go.

The iron I got said it was for electronics, and I can't recall if it was recommended anywhere.

And I saw some of those kits. I saw this one that was iron free, and a few dollars cheaper.

Lately I've been noticing unknown phones appearing under "Network" in windows 8.1 explorer.

example;
IMAGE(https://db.tt/DzrEb9gc)

They don't look to be getting an ip assigned, the wifi ssid doesn't broadcast, is wap2, and has a strong password so I don't think they're connecting to the wifi. Is this just network discovery picking up phones with certain settings as they walk by the house or the neighbors come close enough with their phones?

krev82 wrote:

Lately I've been noticing unknown phones appearing under "Network" in windows 8.1 explorer.

example;
IMAGE(https://db.tt/DzrEb9gc)

They don't look to be getting an ip assigned, the wifi ssid doesn't broadcast, is wap2, and has a strong password so I don't think they're connecting to the wifi. Is this just network discovery picking up phones with certain settings as they walk by the house or the neighbors come close enough with their phones?

Well, that's not an unknown phone. It's a Razr.

Yes, I don't think seeing a device means it's connected or connecting, and it likely is neighbours or guests.

Could be bluetooth connections?

Tanglebones wrote:

IMAGE(https://db.tt/DzrEb9gc)

Well, that's not an unknown phone. It's a Razr.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
krev82 wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

I've never soldered before and need some ideas on something to try out as a cheap 1st time effort so I can tell if I'm doing it right (or ruin trying) before moving on to the electronics I care about. Any recommendations? So far I've found a number of tutorials online, so that's not really an issue (feel free to link more if you like) but I still want to try my hand at something electronics related before potentially destroying the hdmi board in my receiver, my old SNES, and my keyless entry fob to my car. I would probably attack them in that order and have a video tutorial for the first as it is a known problem and some general video info on the 2nd.

Make sure you have the right tools, you don't want to be trying to soldering electronics with a standard soldering iron as those will usually be far too hot and often have much wider tips.

Start simple and put in the practice until you're comfortable with how the solder melts and flows, how it cools, etc. For $14.99 you can pick up an entry practice kit like this and have a go.

The iron I got said it was for electronics, and I can't recall if it was recommended anywhere.

And I saw some of those kits. I saw this one that was iron free, and a few dollars cheaper.

40w might get a little hot but should be ok as long as you don't hold it overly long next to components. The only thing I can say is make sure you're using a helping hand/third hand tool. Billions of soldering tutorials, but if you want to practice you can just buy some solid core connector wire and a blank circuit board from Radio Shack and go nuts.

stupidhaiku wrote:

40w might get a little hot but should be ok as long as you don't hold it overly long next to components. The only thing I can say is make sure you're using a helping hand/third hand tool. Billions of soldering tutorials, but if you want to practice you can just buy some solid core connector wire and a blank circuit board from Radio Shack and go nuts.

How would I know if I was damaging things with a blank board? I'm pretty much 100% electrically ignorant. Don't have a multimeter, nor any idea how to use / read one.

And I thought RS was completely gone, but it seems there are 3 stores within 15 miles of me still open.

I do have a helping hand w/ magnifying glass thing.

You would give the blank board to an electronics recycler after you were done with it. There are no components on it and the only thing you could damage is the wire (cheap), the board (cheap), and the tin of your iron, which can fairly easily be re-tinned (tutorials will talk about tinning). At worst you'll need a new tip. On an existing PCB (printed circuit board, a term you'll see thrown around a lot) there may be components that you're either soldering in or next to that could be damaged by long exposure to heat. That's the nice thing about a blank board, no components to burn out!

So I guess what you are suggesting is the blank board is just to use it to get a feel for the timing of how long it takes to heat the wire/board long enough to get solder to melt on it without also melting the board.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

How would I know if I was damaging things with a blank board?

You won't, but that's fine. The point is to practice doing a few joints until they start consistently coming out as shiny little hills without globs or bare patches. Unless you're working with very tightly clustered stuff, it's a very forgiving practice.

Yep to the both of you.

I this is answering my own question, but I use my iPhone in the dark a lot. The default "minimum" dimness still blinds me. It doesn't help that most apps seem to use a lot of white. Surely there's a way to turn down the backlight more?

Well, I recently came across this article which shows you how to get it super dim. There's no way I would have figured that out on my own, so I thought it might be worth sharing!

chixor7 wrote:

Well, I recently came across this article which shows you how to get it super dim. There's no way I would have figured that out on my own, so I thought it might be worth sharing!

Well gee it's so obvious in retrospect. Nice tip! I wonder if the new night mode in iOS 9.3 will go dimmer than the normal minimum.

Especially the 3 finger triple tap, right? I mean, I use that ALL the time.

I don't follow Apple news at all, so that's the first I've heard about night mode. The official announcement is oddly mum about brightness, but it would make sense to me to allow a dimmer display in night mode.

Apple wrote:

Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings.

"Apple forces f.lux devs to stop going around the app store.

Then bakes f.lux capabilities into iOS 9.3.

That’s some class-A d-baggery."

https://twitter.com/bphogan/status/6...

Shared via Plume
http://bit.ly/GetPlume

[F.lux is a blue light filter timed to your day/night cycle]

That seems like a very Apple thing to do.

Mermaidpirate wrote:

"Apple forces f.lux devs to stop going around the app store.

Then bakes f.lux capabilities into iOS 9.3.

That’s some class-A d-baggery."

https://twitter.com/bphogan/status/6...

Shared via Plume
http://bit.ly/GetPlume

[F.lux is a blue light filter timed to your day/night cycle]

Apple has done this quite a bit in the past: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computi...

It comes with the territory when you're building a platform.