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How to Set Up a PayPal Account and Receive Money From Anyone

Whether you’re shopping online or selling, you should have a PayPal account. It’s ideal for receiving money from friends and family, as well as from customers of your business or website.

Think receiving payment with PayPal is difficult to set up? Think again!

Let’s learn why you need a PayPal account and how to send and receive money online.

Why Should You Create a PayPal Account?

Over the years PayPal has solidified itself as the de facto payment system for anyone doing business online.

PayPal grew as it found a gap in the market between less advanced alternatives and greedy credit card processors. Much of this growth was fueled by eBay, which needed a cheap, convenient payment system. Sellers couldn’t afford credit card processing and buyers didn’t want to risk sharing their credit cards with strangers.

Sign up to PayPal to receive money on PayPal

PayPal offered a solution to both, a safe and secure means to send and receive money. It works online and offline, provides tools to businesses of all sizes and types, and even offers a pre-paid credit card.

These days, PayPal can be used to purchase goods almost anywhere—you can even use PayPal on Amazon.

If you don’t already have a PayPal account, you should. Head to www.paypal.com, click Sign Up, choose your account type, provide a name, email address. and password, and you’re done.

Note that two account types are available, Personal and Business. Below we’ll look at how to receive money on PayPal using a personal account, then move onto business accounts.

How to Set Up a Paypal Account for Receiving Payments

A personal account can subscribe to websites, buy on eBay and other online stores, and send and receive money. As you might know, you can use any type of PayPal account to receive money.

For example, there’s eBay. You might have sold the odd item on eBay, which doesn’t require a PayPal business account, and received the money.

However, you can also receive money from people beyond eBay. Friends and family might send you money, or you could have a link on your blog or website for donations.

For years, the most common way to receive payments on PayPal has been to simply request a payment from someone.

Receive PayPal Money on the Web

With a personal eBay account, you can request money by signing into your account and clicking Request money.

Receive money in PayPal

In the field, enter the email address of the person who you want to receive money from. Add the value of the request, perhaps a note, and if necessary, add another email address. Up to 20 addresses can be entered at a time.

Click Request Now to complete the process and wait for the funds to be sent to you.

Usually, this won’t be required if you’re using a system like eBay, where the request for payment is an automated part of the process, and where buyers usually just pay for the products immediately upon winning the auction.

These are the two most common ways to receive money from people, and these methods have been available in some form or another since PayPal was founded. However, these days, PayPal provides many more options for you to offer your customers and clients for sending you the money that you’re owed.

Receive Money With the PayPal App

With a PayPal mobile app on iPhone and Android, you can request payments in three ways.

  1. Enter the name, email address, or mobile number of the person you’re requesting money from. Enter the amount, add a message, review the amount, then click Request Now.
  2. You can Share your link using social networks and email. This creates a clickable link that the recipient (or anyone) can use to send you money via PayPal.
  3. Split a bill is ideal for paying the balance at a restaurant or grouping together for a gift. Just input the value of the bill, add the email addresses of the group, and request the money.

Mobile devices are increasingly important to PayPal thanks to the growing facility of mobile payments for every type of transaction.

7 Ways Business Can Receive Money on PayPal

As well as manually requesting money, PayPal offers several tools to help you receive money in other ways. These are available to business accounts and include subscription tools, buttons, and point-of-sale tools.

  1. Invoices
  2. PayPal Checkout
  3. Subscriptions
  4. Point-of-sale Terminal
  5. Virtual Terminal (telephone payments)
  6. QR Code
  7. PayPal buttons

Each of these options is explained below in further detail.

1. PayPal Invoices

For business purposes, you can create an invoice in PayPal to send to clients. This has three options: a standard one-off invoice, a recurring invoice, and an estimate.

PayPal Invoices have all the fields you need for customization, e.g. specifying invoice numbers, setting logos, adding addresses. The result is a polished professional invoicing system.

2. PayPal Checkout

Run a website with a few bits of merchandise? Have a full eCommerce catalog? Either way, PayPal Checkout is available, either by adding a few lines of code or adding complete integration.

If you want your customers to take you seriously and receive money for your goods over PayPal, use Checkout.

3. Receive Money With PayPal Subscriptions

Set up a subscription program to receive money on PayPal

Offer a product or service that has recurring payments? Perhaps it’s an online TV station or a membership website.

PayPal offers a useful feature for receiving timely, regular payments: PayPal Subscriptions. Simply select the subscription product, add details, select a pricing model, and a periodic fee.

4. A Portable PayPal PoS iZettle Terminal

Businesses that use PayPal and have signed up to its Commerce Platform can use iZettle. This is a PayPal-owned service that offers a portable reader and mobile app for handling card payments.

It’s ideal for pop-up shops, market stalls, craft fairs, and similar small businesses. If credit card processing overheads are likely to crush your profit, try iZettle.

5. Virtual Terminal Payments

PayPal will also let business accounts receive payments using a virtual terminal system. This enables the processing of debit or credit card payments over the phone. Virtual terminal payments use card-not-present authorization and must be applied for before you start using it.

6. Receive PayPal Money With a QR Code

QR codes are another great way to receive money. No one needs to handle cards, making it ideal for restricted contact or lockdown scenarios. PayPal QR codes are free for sellers to use until September 2020, when a fee will be added. Check your local PayPal for details, as different countries have slightly different fees.

7. Add PayPal Buttons to Your Site

Receive money on your website with PayPal buttons

Another great feature of PayPal is the ability to add payment buttons to your website. Several such buttons are available, with labels such as Buy Now, Add to Cart, Subscribe. The right button selection will ensure you receive money from customers to your PayPal account.

Simply select a button, grab the code, and add it to your website code.

PayPal: You’re Ready to Receive Money

With so many ways to receive money from PayPal, there’s no reason to bother with cash. Friends and family can request money via PayPal with ease in the app. You can receive money from eBay sales automatically, but if you’re building your enterprise, a PayPal business account opens more options.

Running into trouble using PayPal? Here are some common PayPal problems and how to fix them.

Read the full article: How to Set Up a PayPal Account and Receive Money From Anyone

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Roborock S6 MaxV: Now with Built-In Poop Avoidance

Our verdict of the Roborock S6 MaxV:
While smart speaker integration needs a little work for more functionality, overall the Roborock S6 MaxV is great. As the first robot vacuum I've seen in action, it has certainly impressed.
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It’s 2020. You should have a robot butler, a flying car, and a holiday home on the moon. Unless you escaped from an Isaac Asimov novel, you have none of these things.

But the prospects of a butler are looking promising.

The Roborock S6 MaxV might not serve drinks, but it has the tools to help you keep your home clean. It’s a robot vacuum cleaner with mop functionality, Alexa and Google Home integration, and zoning features.

But is it worth the $750 price tag? Read on to find out, and at the end of this review you can enter to win your own.

Unboxing the Roborock S6 MaxV

You’ll find a hefty box housing the Roborock S6 MaxV. Alongside the robot cleaner you’ll find a charging dock and its counterpart, a moisture-proof mat. These are each equipped with adhesive strips for attaching to a hard floor (lino, laminate, or hardwood).

Roborock S6 MaxV

A 1-meter power cable is included, which limits positioning options. However, this is also a safety feature as it discourages trailing the cable across the floor. Not only will this make your home safer, it will stop the Roborock S6 MaxV getting tangled on the lead.

Also in the box is a mop cloth bracket and cloth, a spare filter, plus manuals for the Roborock S6 MaxV and its accompanying app. You’ll also find a 180ml capacity water tank for mopping.

As a review device, we received a special bonus—a packet of fake dog poo. The purpose of this will become apparent.

What Can the Roborock S6 MaxV Do?

If you’ve been holding onto your multi-vortex upright vacuum cleaner, what follows will shock you. But if you’re planning on upgrading your existing robot vac, you’ll still be pleasantly surprised.

The Roborock S6 MaxV navigates using LiDAR (Laser Distancing and Ranging), and uses dual front cameras for AI object detection. It literally maps your home as it cleans and can retain multiple maps, as well as avoid user-defined no-go zones. You can select rooms to be cleaned and even set a room-by-room cleaning schedule.

It features 2000Pa suction, with automatic boost mode for carpets, ensuring a deeper clean. A 180ml water tank enables you to mop floors up to 1610 square feet, and if it’s tiring, the Roborock S6 MaxV will return to base to recharge. When it’s ready to go again, the robot cleaner will finish the job. This shouldn’t happen often, however. The 5200mAH battery powers it for two and a half hours on one charge, an area of up to 2152ft.

Everything about this black cleaning disc is impressive, from the array of sensors designed to avoid objects, pets, falling downstairs, and poo. It’s designed to be easily cleaned, and comes with a removable brush, dirt chamber, and mop module.

All of that is impressive enough; however, this app-controlled robot vac can also be controlled using Alexa or Google Home.

One thing it can’t do, however, is clean your curtains and distant corners of your ceiling (no, really?). Keep a handheld vacuum unit in your home for these hard-to-reach areas.

Setting Up the Roborock Dock

Getting ready for your first clean is straightforward. Start by finding a mains electricity wall socket that you can dedicate to the Robovac. On the floor beside this (not too far as the cable is only a meter long) place the docking station. It has an adhesive strip on the bottom to secure it in place.

Next, add the moisture protector, a plastic disk that protects your floor.

Finally, switch the dock on at the wall and place the Roborock S6 MaxV upon it. The buttons on the chassis should be closest to the dock. Once correctly placed, the robot announces that it is charging.

You’ll notice that the onboard controls are limited. There’s a Home button, power button, and spot cleaning option. That’s it. For complete control of the Roborock S6 MaxV, use the mobile app.

Syncing the Roborock S6 MaxV With the App

Controlling the Roborock effectively requires the app. This is easily accessed via the QR code which comes attached to the vacuum and should be removed before docking.

The app (available for iOS and Android) guides you through creating an account and getting the Roborock S6 MaxV connected to your network. It’s one of the most painless connection experiences I’ve come across, with the robot vacuum cleaner compatible with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless networks.

Once configured, the app is used to initiate cleaning, specify zones, and manage other settings for the Roborock S6 MaxV. While smart home speakers can be used, and the cleaner has buttons, the best control is via the app.

The app can be used from anywhere. Got friends coming for dinner? Remotely activate the Roborock S6 MaxV so it cleans while you’re at work!

Initial Cleaning and Mapping

To gain familiarity with your home, the robot vacuum cleaner will take its time on the first run, carefully mapping out your floor area. You’ll be able to see the results of this in the mobile app, with rooms helpfully demarcated with different colors.

Mapping can be tricky, however. Areas you want to keep the Roborock S6 MaxV away from, such as the top of your stairs, should be blocked off with a wooden board. This way, the bot recognizes this as a no-go area.

After the initial clean you can use the app to specify cleaning zones. Perhaps you want the area under and around your table cleaning up; maybe send the cleaner into the kitchen while you watch TV.

The Roborock S6 MaxV also features a zoning tool to mark areas as off-limits. Perhaps there is a room unsuitable for cleaning; maybe a door is always open onto your garden or balcony. These areas, like the cleaning zones, can be highlighted in the app. The Roborock S6 MaxV will no longer clean here, although the app does highlight that this setting isn’t foolproof.

Roborock S6 MaxV

Roborock S6 MaxV uses an AI-powered object recognition system to assist with mapping and avoiding obstacles. ReactiveAI Object Recognition reduces the need to declutter your vacuum zones before cleaning and identifies problem items on the map.

For privacy purposes, images collected by the device camera are processed by the onboard computer and not uploaded. Settings managing the camera can be found in the app, although there is sadly no way to view footage direct from the device.

Vacuuming With the Roborock S6 MaxV

Sending the Roborock S6 MaxV off on its first mission around the house is an exciting prospect, one that tends to attract the attention of all present. Children are transfixed, pets confused, and the person who activates it is convinced it’s never going to measure up to expectations.

Cleaning takes place using a standard rotating brush, like the type you’ll find under a standard upright. There’s also a spinning brush on the side, spinning loose debris much like the gully brush on a street cleaner.

In terms of capacity, the Roborock S6 MaxV squeezes what it collects into an ingot-like space inside. This is about enough for a single clean, and the bot should be emptied between cleans for the best results. You’ll find the chamber under the top flap of the cleaner—this can be easily unclipped and removed for emptying.

As noted, it ships with a spare filter. You can keep an eye on how the existing filter is doing by manually inspecting it or checking the app. Here you’ll find details for the filter, side brush, main brush, and sensors, and how long they should last.

Smart Home Integration

Roborock S6 MaxV cleaners integrate with popular smart home systems, including devices running Alexa or Google Home. This enables further control options, although the support commands are rather generic.

Roborock S6 MaxV

Unlike earlier Roborock vacs, the Roborock S6 MaxV requires the Roborock Plus Alexa skill, rather than Roborock Home. Setting up the correct skill means you can control the cleaner using voice commands, so this is significant.

Even so, my Echo Dot was often unable to discern “Alexa, ask robo rock to start cleaning,” instead hearing “robo vac” and insisting I activate a different skill. Not ideal, it required over-emphasis of the word “rock.” My North of England accent certainly isn’t one that produces similar sounds for “vac” and “rock”, so it’s not clear what is happening here.

Sadly, voice controls are limited to start, stop, and recharge. More specific controls (such as “clean kitchen”) would be desirable, but not possible. Still, it’s a voice-controlled robot cleaner, so that’s pretty exciting.

Vacuuming Laminate and Carpets

So, how does this robot vacuum cleaner actually perform?

We tested the Roborock S6 MaxV in a home comprising good quality laminate and carpets.

Comparing the results, it seems to perform somewhat better on hard floors. With dust and detritus unable to hide within the loops and get trodden in, this is hardly a surprise.

Carpets differ in pile and this robot vacuum cleaner isn’t quite up to cleaning some woollier types. The spinning brush on the side tends to get tangled in the loops, which makes it slightly useless. While the cleaner can cope with the height of deep pile carpets and rugs, this is a shortcoming that can prove frustrating. You might just opt to clean such carpets with an upright.

However, shorter carpets are more easily managed. Settings in the app determine the power of the clean. So you can switch between a Gentle, Silent, Balanced, Turbo, and Max clean. Each of these settings can be applied to a specific room in the app. So a wooden floor in the entrance area might get a Max clean with the mop attached to keep things clean. Conversely, a guest bedroom might receive a Balanced clean.

Planning to run the Roborock S6 MaxV while you sleep? You can specify a time for it to activate–if it’s while you sleep, use the Silent running option.

In short, there is an option for almost every household scenario. Have a four-legged family member pet who isn’t quite toilet trained? The Roborock S6 MaxV features a pet mode, enabling it to spot and avoid sudden incursions into its sphere of activity. It can also recognise poo (fake and real) and avoid cleaning it up, thereby spreading the mess.

You’ll have to scoop that up yourself, however.

Expecting a Mop? It’s More of a Buffer

The promise of a mop function was enough to pique my wife’s interest in the Roborock S6 MaxV. After all, those laminate floors don’t clean themselves.

Using the mop is straightforward. The water tank is removed and filled to 180ml, while the mop attachment is fitted. The mop must be dampened first—it uses a hook-and-loop fastening system—then reattached to the mop cloth bracket which slides in under the tank.

There is no different function in the app to engage mop cleaning. The presence of water and the mop attachment activates this, meaning that the Roborock S6 MaxV automatically vacuums and mops at the same time.

Or does it?

Well, it certainly does something. However, the lack of support for detergent means that mopping is sadly closer to buffing. Our floor looked great after, but quick use of an antibacterial floor wipe in the same area revealed that more could have been picked up. The Roborock S6 had been running on maximum settings, so it should have made the best possible clean.

A Robot Vacuum You Can Trust

A robot vacuum cleaner is one of the greatest developments of the smart home era. No one likes spending time driving an upright back and forth. In many cases, we just vacuum around things, rather than under them as well—after all, it’s quicker!

With a smart robot vacuum cleaner, this isn’t necessary. You’re not wasting any time, as the device is working for you. And the Roborock S6 MaxV certainly works, with powerful vacuuming, good mopping/buffing, and app integration. The zoning feature makes keeping the device away from animal baskets or sleeping babies simple, and overall, it is a great labor-saving device. Waking up to a clean room is a pleasure you’ll only enjoy with a robot vacuum cleaner.

Enter the Competition!

Roborock S6 MaxV Giveaway

Read the full article: Roborock S6 MaxV: Now with Built-In Poop Avoidance

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Why Your Games Keep Crashing: 10 Reasons and How to Fix Them

When you buy a new game, you expect it to simply work. In most cases that’s what happens. But sometimes, games crash. Sometimes it’s a fault with the game itself, while other times it’s due to inadequate hardware or a slow internet connection.

Working out why your favorite game (such as Minecraft) is crashing can be tricky. So, read on to find out why your games keep crashing and how to fix them.

Why Does Your Favorite Game Keep Crashing?

If you’re not sure what is causing your game to crash, you can take advantage of the Windows Event Viewer tool to keep a log on what is happening to your PC when the game crashes. This can be used for diagnostic purposes.

It is also worth running demo versions of games before installing the full version, just to ensure that the title will play correctly on your PC.

If games like Minecraft, Apex Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone keep crashing, here are 10 reasons why that may be happening…

  1. Your computer’s spec is too low
  2. You overclocked too high
  3. The game’s settings are wrong
  4. Your graphic card requires too much power
  5. You need to upgrade your operating system
  6. You need to upgrade device drivers
  7. Your network isn’t fast enough
  8. Digital Rights Management is causing problems
  9. Games are running in the wrong mode
  10. You’re running too many browser tabs

Let’s explore each of these solutions in more detail.

1. Your Hardware Specs Are Too Low

It might seem obvious, but people still omit to compare their system spec with a game’s minimum requirements. You wouldn’t buy diesel for a petrol-powered car, would you? So why buy a video game without checking that it will work?

When buying games online from Steam and similar services, you can check the system requirements by reading the game’s description. Buying from a video game store? On the back of a video game box you’ll find the minimum and recommended system requirements.

If your PC meets these before installing and running the game everything should be fine. Otherwise you’ll probably experience problems with the title.

Wikipedia is also a great source of video game system specs, while the publisher’s website will provide the same information. Settle doubts or questions by checking the game’s support or fan forums for help.

Without suitable hardware, you’ll need to upgrade your PC before you can play the game. This can mean anything from buying a new gaming PC to adding extra storage space to your computer.

2. You Overclocked Too Far

Overclocking could be why your games keep crashing

Many gamers overclock their systems, pushing the CPU to a faster speed to gain performance benefits. When coupled with good ventilation and cooling, CPU overclocking can reap great results.

However, it isn’t a perfect method of increasing performance. Games can still crash.

Troubleshooting an overclocked system means resetting your processor (and GPU, if appropriate) to default settings. If this doesn’t fix the issue then there is every chance it’s related to something else.

3. Get the Game’s Settings Right

Most games, especially those with high system requirements, have a dedicated video settings screen. Designed to help you get the most out of your game, it’s common these days for games to boot with a configuration designed for your system hardware.

However, that doesn’t always work out, resulting in games crashing. It could be anything, from top end graphical experiences like MotoGP 20 to Minecraft crashing mid-game.

In some cases, your entire PC might crash, rebooting all by itself.

Avoid these problems by opening the video configuration screen for your troublesome game and lowering the settings. Switch every option down a single step, then try playing again. Repeat until you hit the right mix of performance and graphics.

Admittedly, this solution isn’t perfect. If the graphics aren’t up to scratch, it’s time to consider buying a new graphics card for your PC.

4. Your Graphics Card Is Too Powerful

Get a new GPU to fix games crashing

One common reason for games crashing is a problem with the power supply unit (PSU). This is commonly linked to the graphics adapter demanding more power than is available.

There is one simple way to resolve this. Upgrade to the best PSU capable of providing enough power to play the game.

Before swapping out the PSU, however, check that the graphics card and PC interior is clean and free from dust. A build-up can increase the temperature inside a PC and put additional load on the CPU and video card. Greater load means a higher temperature. If the build-up of dust is considerable and the fans are not sufficient for cooling, disaster will strike.

5. Your Operating System Isn’t Good Enough

Also listed in your game’s system specification is the correct operating system and version required to run the title.

Most games will run on Windows 8.1, Mac OS X 10.4 (Mojave), and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and later. While this isn’t necessarily true across the board (some titles are still limited to Windows), it’s a good guide. Similarly, most AAA games are designed for 64-bit systems.

Naturally, the issues of operating systems and hardware are closely linked. Older hardware running Windows XP is unlikely to be suitable for running the most up-to-date video games.

6. It’s Time to Update EVERYTHING

Update video drivers to stop games crashing all the time

Upgrading hardware is expensive. Before you try this, update software and drivers instead.

Games can crash for reasons beyond (but not unrelated to) unsuitable hardware and operating systems. Video drivers, for instance, should be up to date, as should the game itself.

  • To update your video drivers, you should visit the manufacturer’s website and download the latest version of the driver. The installation may require you to restart your computer.
  • You should also look for any patches and updates for the game in question. These will be available from the publisher’s website and should be installed and applied before running. Some games will automatically check for updates and install them before they load.
  • Update your operating system to download any driver updates for devices such as network cards.
  • Download the latest graphic drivers and updates for your graphics card.

7. Network Issues Are to Blame

With online gaming, crashes can occur when network problems cause delay the game client being updated by the remote server.

Avoid this being an issue by making sure that your network speed is suitable for playing the game. You should also check your router and disable other internet applications to ensure that only the game receives data.

Avoid Wi-Fi where possible with online games. Instead, connect your PC to the router over Ethernet. If this isn’t possible due to architectural limitations, buy one of the best powerline adaptors.

8. Snagged By Digital Rights Management

Incredibly, digital rights management can cause performance issues.

In some cases, network issues can contribute to DRM hitting a game’s performance. Usually, though, the DRM client or the status of the remote server will be causing your game to crash.

If an offline play option is available here you should take it. This will prevent the DRM from checking with the remote server for suspicious activity in the game or account. Otherwise, you’ll be left with no choice but to uninstall the game.

9. You’re Running Games in the Wrong Mode

It makes sense to ensure that no other software is running while gaming. You might need voice chat software like Discord; beyond that your PC resources should be focused on running the game.

This is a rule that applies across operating systems, from Windows, macOS, and Linux, to iOS and Android. Close all other software before launching the game you want to play.

With Windows you have an additional advantage: Games Mode. This is a state that you can switch into that reduces and limits other activity. Notifications are silenced; everything is focused on the game. Open Settings (hold Win + I) then Gaming > Game Mode. Click the toggle to enable the feature.

Enable Windows Game Mode to avoid games crashing

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it’s certainly worth trying. We tested the Windows 10 Game Mode to see if it works.

10. You’ve Left Your Browser Running With 20 Tabs Open

Shutting down other apps when gaming applies to your browser, too. You might get away with a single browser tab—anything more, however, isn’t worth risking.

So, close the endless Reddit pages, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter feed for your favorite games. If you need to access them, do so on your mobile.

Let your PC do the work you expect from it, giving you an awesome gaming experience.

Get Your Games Working Again!

By now you should know what the problem is. You have everything you need to ensure your games will stop crashing. So have fun gaming!

Are you finding that you can’t play top rated games because your hardware isn’t up to scratch? Then try one of the best cloud gaming services and stream AAA games to your computer without upgrading.

Read the full article: Why Your Games Keep Crashing: 10 Reasons and How to Fix Them

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ZeroSSL Streamlines SSL Certificate Administration

Managing a website is a full-time job. If you’re not tracking down outdated links, you’re weeding out bad ads.

Maintaining the trust of your readers is vital, which is why SSL is so important. With a valid SSL certificate, your site will appear as trusted in every browser address bar and gain the HTTPS prefix. Search engines will look upon your site more favorably.

Let’s Encrypt is a popular option for small-scale webmasters to set up encryption, but it’s a little clunky, which is where ZeroSSL comes in. Let’s take a look at this smart and easy-to-use tool for adding free SSL certificates to your website.

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a cryptographic protocol for ensuring security over networks. It introduces trust into the act of visiting a website. Sites operating without SSL certificates could be easily spoofed, and the visitor (you) would never know.

As a webmaster you can add SSL to your site by acquiring a certificate. This has various advantages, from improving search engine rankings to appearing more trustworthy to users.

SSL certificates are only issued to people who can validate their credentials, thereby revealing who the certificate belongs to. This enhances the level of trust between a user and the website they visit.

It’s how we trust online marketplaces like Amazon or streaming sites like Netflix with our personal data.

An Alternative to Let’s Encrypt

Since Google made it clear that HTTPS was the future, websites of all sizes have scrambled to add SSL certificates. For smaller sites, the solution usually heading to Let’s Encrypt, a “free, automated, and open certificate authority.”

This service creates 90-day TLS-standard (Transport Layer Security, the successor to SSL) certificates at no cost to webmasters.

While this sounds great, and it is, it’s also a bit clunky, and the 90-day lifespan for certificates is a pain. Additionally, it only offers “Domain Validated SSL Certificates” which is a sort of low-grade version of certification. Other certificate authorities (CAs) offer a wider selection of certificate types.

ZeroSSL home page

ZeroSSL is a smart, genuine alternative to Let’s Encrypt, offering totally free SSL certificates, an easy user interface, and an API for developers. There is also support for the ACME protocol that verifies control and ownership of a domain.

ZeroSSL is launching as a Sub-Authority (SA) in partnership with an existing CA.

Sign Up to ZeroSSL and Get These Features

Signing up to ZeroSSL is simple. Visit zerossl.com and click Get Free SSL; you can also use the Create Free SSL Certificate tool to start the process.

All you need to start is your email address, a password, and your website URL. Add billing information if you choose a paid package. Signing up to ZeroSSL gives you these features:

  • SSL certificates
  • One-step validation
  • Quick installation
  • Management console
  • SSL monitoring
  • ACME automation

Let’s take a closer look at these.

SSL Certificates

ZeroSSL offers certificates for every possible scenario.

For example, you can grab a free single domain certificate that lasts 90 days. For larger projects, multi-domain certificates are available, and if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you can also select from wildcard certificates for subdomains.

These are all available via the ACME tool (see below), which enables a streamlined certificate creation process.

One Step Validation

The most frustrating aspect of Let’s Encrypt is the validation of domain ownership. In many cases, validation is required by someone whose expertise is blogging or selling, not messing around with DNS.

ZeroSSL offers an email validation process to confirm site ownership. This is a surprisingly straightforward way to authorize the certificate.

Quick Installation

Installation of your ZeroSSL-provided certificate is remarkably simple. The service provides full help resources, and ZeroSSL generates certificates in a format that suits your platform.

Simply download the certificate, follow the steps, and you’re ready.

Management Console

ZeroSSL management console

To simplify matters further, ZeroSSL features an intuitive user interface. You’ll find all of your SSL certificates listed here, with expiration reminders, billing management, and more.

Developers can use the management console to reset API access keys, too. The console provides the tools you need to manage, create, validate, and install SSL certificates.

SSL Monitoring

SSL certificate creation isn’t always plain sailing. ZeroSSL provides monitoring tools to keep an eye on your certificates. If a certificate isn’t connecting visitors to your site, responding incorrectly in some other way, or is about to expire, you’ll know about it.

It also detects HTTP errors and other issues, then reports them to you.

ACME Automation

Starting in May 2020, ZeroSSL’s ACME server is available. It’s a tool to automate certificate issuing through ZeroSSL.

The tool allows creation of 90-day and one-year certificates, allowing existing ACME and Let’s Encrypt clients to automate via ZeroSSL.

REST API Provision

API documentation is provided for developers to build automation apps and other tools for ZeroSSL. REST API supports certificate creation and validation, as well as automated status webhooks.

How Much Does ZeroSSL Cost?

Various pricing options are open for ZeroSSL. The free option is the most attractive for standard bloggers, offering three 90-day certificates for no charge ever.

For $10 a month ZeroSSL offers unlimited 90-day certificates, three one-year certificates, multi-domain certificates, REST API access, and tech support.

The Premium package is the most popular. $50 a month will get you unlimited 90-day certificates, 10 one-year certificates, multi-domain certificates, 90-day wildcards, a single one-year wildcard, and REST API and tech support.

For $100 per month, the business package will deliver all of the above, plus 25 one-year certificates, three one-year wildcards, and REST API and technical support. You can choose variations on this option, each offering more one-year certificates and wildcards for an appropriate annual fee.

Integrate SSL With Your Website, Satisfy Your Visitors

Start your streamlined SSL creation journey with a trip to zerossl.com. Here, you can quickly begin setting up your certificate using the Create free SSL certificate wizard. Click Next Step to input or set up your account credentials.

Alternatively, click Get Free SSL to create your account first.

In the New Certificate screen, confirm the domain name, then click Next Step.

Secure your domain with SSL

Next set the Validity—either 90-Day (free) or 1-Year (premium). Proceed to the CSR & Contact section and ensure you have Auto-Generate CSR selected. (CSR stands for Certificate Signing Request, containing information about the domain name, location, country, and owning organization.)

Configure your SSL certificate

Click Next Step to select your package, then Next Step again to select a verification method. Three options are available:

  • Email verification
  • DNS (CNAME)
  • HTTP file upload

The magic of ZeroSSL is that it offers email verification. This requires that you have an email address set up with your domain, but it must begin with admin, administrator, hostmaster, webmaster, or postmaster. So for example, hostmaster@yourdomain.com would work.

Don’t wish to verify right away? Click Verify Later and complete the process when you have more time.

If you’ve previously used SSL certificates, you probably already know about DNS and HTTP verification methods. So let’s look at ZeroSSL’s best feature: easy verification using email.

Verify Your SSL Certificate

Click Verify Domain to start email verification, which will trigger an automated email. Note that if this doesn’t come, you should check the email address you’re using and hit Resend Email if all is well.

Next, check your email inbox and open the message. Copy the Verification Key, then click Go To Verification Page.

Verify your domain with ZeroSSL

On the Domain Control Validation page, enter the verification key and click Next. This validation enables certificate issuing. Return to the Verify Domain screen in your ZeroSSL account, and if necessary, click Refresh Status.

Click Install Certificate to proceed, which prompts another email. This one will send to the address you signed up to ZeroSSL with (which may be different from the one you used for verification). Here, click Install Certificate again to return to ZeroSSL. Click Download Certificate and save the ZIP file to your device.

Install your SSL certificate from ZeroSSL

Follow your webhost’s instructions to install the certificate on your server.

Install the SSL certificate on your server

ZeroSSL Is Easier to Use Than Let’s Encrypt

Having a SSL certificate and using the HTTPS URL prefix is vital for your site’s reputation. If you’re running an online business, this is doubly important. Blogs might not worry too much about it, but if you run ads on your site, SSL can help to communicate trust. Often this is a subconscious reassurance, but it helps.

Let’s Encrypt is a great service, but it’s let down by clunky (at times poor) implementation. As we’ve seen, ZeroSSL builds on Let’s Encrypt’s promise, automating SSL management and saving you a lot of messing around in the meantime.

Read the full article: ZeroSSL Streamlines SSL Certificate Administration

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How to Make a DIY HDTV Antenna and Ditch Cable for Good

If you’re trying to save money and cut the cable, you might have found HDTV antennae are quite expensive. As not all channels are available online, accessing some over-the-air broadcasts (as opposed to cable or satellite) is useful.

But there’s the cost. You cut back on cable to save money. While the one-off spend might be affordable, a few moments of browsing Amazon proves that only a high-end device is fit for purpose.

The alternative, then, is to build a DIY HD antenna using a few shop-bought components.

How to Build a DIY TV Antenna for Your Atticante

In this demo video you can see a working DIY digital TV antenna constructed with just a few parts.

The process is straightforward. Using a piece of wood as a base, it requires a collection of household tools to receive TV signals from a nearby transmitter.

Wire coat hangers act as antenna whiskers, which are secured to the board with screws and washers and linked with wire. In the middle, the received signal (enhanced with some disposable barbecue grilles) is routed through a balun to the coaxial cable, and to your TV.

A digital TV antenna such as this is best mounted in your attic space, as it isn’t particularly weather proof. However, it can be adapted for outdoors use by adopting more rugged materials. To start, however, we recommend this wooden version.

Step 0: Tools & Hardware to Build a DIY HDTV Antenna

To begin, you’ll need to collect your tools. Make sure you have:

  • A power drill.
  • An electric screwdriver.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Pliers.
  • Ruler or tape measure.
  • Hacksaw or handheld mini rotary tool (e.g. Dremel).

As you can see, these are all standard tools that you should have access to already.

Construct your DIY antenna with screws and washers

The HDTV antenna is built from the following components. Note that all measurements in this project are in inches:

  • 22-inch section of 2×3 or 1×3 wood board.
  • Woodwork pencil.
  • 18 screws, no deeper than your choice of wood (1″ or 2″).
  • 18 washers that fit between the screws and the wire.
  • Thick wire for antenna “V” (coat hangers can be bought inexpensively in bulk on eBay).
  • Copper wire (I used six pieces of wire from an old PC power-supply unit).
  • Aluminum mesh grill trays as typically found in disposable BBQ kits.
  • 1x Balun—this is a small coaxial plug with adjustable screws for connecting wires (pictured below). You may have one lying around from an old analogue TV. If not, you can pick one up online or at a dollar store.
  • A length of coaxial cable to run from the antenna to your TV. Be sure to measure the length needed before installing the antenna.
Balun Converter Adapter Balun Converter Adapter Buy Now On Amazon $9.99

Step 1: Find Your Local Transmission Tower

Knowing where the nearest TV transmitter is will help you to correctly align your antenna.

You have different options for this. The simplest is to check your existing antenna and use the same alignment.

If you don’t have an aerial (perhaps you’ve been using satellite TV or cable until now) you can check your neighbor’s alignment.

Online resources can also help you with finding local transmitters:

Find a local transmitter by searching for your location and “local TV transmitter” if the answer isn’t listed above.

Step 2: Preparing the Wooden Base

Begin by preparing the wooden backing board:

  • Draw a 1-inch gap down the middle.
  • Starting 2 inches from the top, mark a line crossing that gap every 5.25 inches.
  • You should have eight points where the lines intersect.

Build your TV antenna with a wooden base

It should look something pretty similar to this.

Step 3: Cut the Coat Hangers

Next, cut eight lengths from the coat hangers, each 14 inches long.

Each wire length must be bent halfway, to create a V shape, the ends which must be three inches apart. The measurements are essential for the antennae to perform correctly, so don’t just randomly fold them in half.

Build your own TV antenna with old coathangers

Cutting can be performed by hacksaw if necessary, but a Dremel-style handheld mini power tool is a quicker option.

Step 4: Attach the V Wires to the Base

Next, drill eight guide holes for attaching the V wires, using a narrow bit. With the holes drilled, attach the V wires, using the screws and the washers.

Attach coathanger whiskers to your DIY TV antenna

It’s okay to use screws with bolts here, but be sure to use the washers to ensure contact with the wire.

Step 5: Catching the Waves

Turn the base over and screw each disposable grill tray to the back of the antenna, two screws each. These act as a reflector, collecting the signal for your antenna.

Use BBQ grilles as part of your HDTV antenna

Next, join the V sections together with wire. Criss-cross these on the top and bottom sections and run straight along the middle.

Attach wires to the whiskers of the antenna

Strip a segment of insulation from the two middle wires. This makes attaching the Balun simpler.

The Balun is the interface to the TV. Think ahead and make sure it’s correctly positioned for connecting and reconnecting a coax cable in an enclosed space. Soldering the Balun will make the connection permanent, but if you’re unsure about this, take a look at our soldering starter guide first.

A completed DIY TV antenna

Congratulations, you’ve built a HDTV antenna using household parts!

Step 6: Receiving HDTV Images with Your DIY Antenna

You’ve built the antenna—now is the time to try it out!

Connect the device to a suitable HDTV, open the TV’s menu and start scanning for channels. As with any TV antenna, you’ll need to try out several positions to get the best results, so be patient.

It’s smart to get a gauge of the correct angle needed to receive pictures before you mount the antenna permanently. This can take quite a bit of trial and error depending on your environment. You might find that fixing the device to your outer wall is a better option than hiding it in the loft or fixing it to the ceiling.

I found that placing the antenna on a table and slowly positioning it in line with the existing roof antenna produced great results. It’s a case of whatever works for you and your surroundings.

Step 7: Mount Your DIY HDTV Antenna

The final step is to mount your DIY antenna. How you do this will depend on your location and the local signal strength.

For instance, if your home can receive a good, strong signal, you might place the antenna in your attic space. Standard reception, however, will probably require you to mount the antenna on a pole.

You Built a HDTV Antenna With Pocket Money

A brand new HTV antenna that you can mount will set you back at least $50. For under $10, or less if you have all the components, you can build your own.

As DIY builds go this one is straightforward enough for anyone to tackle. It might take a couple of hours to get right, but the results speak for themselves.

Looking for something simpler? Check our list of the best DIY HDTV antennas you can build.

Read the full article: How to Make a DIY HDTV Antenna and Ditch Cable for Good

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How to Make a Time-Lapse Video by Converting a Standard Video

Whether they’re a recording of something amazing or utterly mundane, time-lapse videos are always stunning. Watching the staccato motion and seeing several hours of footage compressed into a few seconds or minutes makes for compelling viewing.

Making a time-lapse video usually takes a lot time. You need a suitable camera, storage for the footage, a reliable stand or tripod, and good weather if you’re outside. Time-lapse videos can take a while to get right, and this might require several attempts.

However, you can use an app to create a time-lapse video from a standard video. And in this article we’ll explain how to do that…

Post Production Time-Lapse vs. True Time-Lapse

You basically have two choices when it comes to recording a time-lapse video.

  1. Spend time preparing and then record a time-lapse video as the events happen.
  2. Convert a standard video into a time-lapse movie.

But are there any differences in quality? It depends on what you’re using as a camera.

With a dedicated time-lapse camera (or one with a time-lapse mode) and the right lighting, the results should be good. Just make sure the delay between snaps is right for the subject!

Meanwhile, mobile devices used for recording time-lapse (or recording the footage to convert to time-lapse) might yield slightly inferior results. This might be due to a slightly unstable tripod or simply the device’s weight. Meanwhile, issues with auto-focus can affect the quality of the video.

To convert the footage you’ve recorded into a time-lapse video, you have two main options: desktop and mobile.

Not Just Time-Lapse: Hyperlapse Too!

It isn’t just time-lapse videos that you can produce in this manner. Hyperlapse, a similar technique that features small camera movements, is another option.

If you’re converting video that already features camera motion, the results are going to be more hyperlapse than time-lapse. In short, you have two output options, both of which will deliver striking results.

Just make sure that any video you have earmarked as a hyperlapse doesn’t feature too much camera movement. Any motion should be extremely slow, and smooth enough to be imperceptible in the finished video.

Hyperlapse is gaining in popularity, and there are more ways to create videos using this visual technique.

Convert Video to Time-Lapse on Your Desktop

Many desktop video editing suites have built-in tools that make converting a standard clip into a time-lapse movie very simple.

But if you’re looking for free software to create time-lapse videos, there’s no better option than VLC. This versatile media player (check out the best VLC features) is one of those cross-platform apps everyone should be using. It’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Download: VLC Media Player (Free)

Note that if you’re doing this on Windows 10, make sure you launch VLC Media Player with elevated privileges. Simply right-click the app icon and select Run as administrator and agree to the User Access Control notification.

Next, open Tools > Preferences, and at the bottom of the screen, find the Show Settings radio buttons. Select All (#1 in the image below), then in the new view that appears, look for Video. You can use the search box at the top if you can’t find it.

Edit video preferences in VLC

Expand Filters and select FPS Converter. In the right-hand pane, input the new Frame rate. At 30 or more frames per second in your original video, 10 FPS is a good option. Too high and the time-lapse video will look too smooth; too low and it will seem jerky. Experiment to get the best results.

Set a filter in VLC to create a hyperlapse

To finish, click Save. Then go to Media > Convert/Save, click Add, then browse for the video you wish to convert.

Click the arrow beside the Convert/Save button and choose Convert. In the Settings panel click the spanner icon, then Video codec > Filters and check FPS conversion video filter.

Select the filter in the VLC conversion screen

Click Save, then use the Destination file field to set a location to save the compiled time-lapse video. Name it, then click Start.

Select the destination of the VLC output file

A few moments later, you’ll see a compiled time-lapse movie, ready to view in any video player or share online.

Turn a Mobile Video Into a Time-Lapse Movie

So many time-lapse apps are available for iOS and Android. But what if you want to make a time-lapse movie from some footage you’ve already recorded with a standard video camera mode? The answer, of course, is a dedicated app, designed to convert the footage to time-lapse.

Make a Hyperlapse on Android

Probably the best mobile hyperlapse app is Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile, capable of recording hyperlapse and converting existing videos.

Download: Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile (Free)

Upon launch, you’ll see two options in this landscape-only app. Choose Import existing video and browse for a suitable video on your phone.

In the next screen, you’ll a preview of the video, with several options.

Tap the menu in the top-right corner to view the settings, where you’ll have the choice to Export videos at 1080p and Export to SD storage. These options are both disabled by default. Note that it isn’t possible to import video clips greater than 1080p resolution, so 2K and 4K videos are out.

At the top of the screen, you’ll see information about the duration and speed of the video. At the bottom, meanwhile, look for the handles. These can be dragged to trim the length of the video down. Dragging these handles reduces the duration of the video.

Create a hyperlapse on Android

When you’re happy, click the check button, and wait while the video is imported. This may take a while depending on the length of the video. I’ve saved the results as a GIF to give you an idea how it might look.

Baby rocking hyperlapse

How to Create a Hyperlapse With iOS

On iPhone you can use the Time-Lapse photo mode in the camera app to create a hyperlapse. This video tutorial demonstrates how simple it is:

As long as you have a steady hand (or use one of the best iPhone gimbals) you should get great results.

Making a Time-Lapse Without Any Setup Is Easy!

It might be the lazy alternative to creating a genuine time-lapse, but if you want to make a time-lapse video as an afterthought, employing one of these methods is the answer. You could always head back to the location and shoot the same scenes with an app or dedicated camera, but converting the standard video into a time-lapse is quicker.

And with the tools we mentioned above, you can do it in just a few minutes. So why not share your work online? After all, time-lapse videos are one of the most popular types of YouTube video.

Read the full article: How to Make a Time-Lapse Video by Converting a Standard Video

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How to Use Different Controllers With Google Stadia

Anyone can sign up for Google Stadia and stream games to their PC. But do you need a Google Stadia controller to play Google Stadia games? In a word, no.

Several popular game controllers will work with Stadia, meaning you can get started with Google’s game streaming service right away.

Here’s how to use different controllers with Google Stadia…

How to Use Google Stadia on Your PC

You may not know this, but you don’t need a Chromecast or even a special Stadia controller to access the service. And because it is a game streaming service, you don’t need a powerful PC, either.

All you need is the Google Chrome browser. Simply visit stadia.google.com, sign in with your Google account, and start playing. Google offers a trial period for you to sample its collection of games, and all you need is a controller.

For the best results, however, be sure to run a single Chrome browser window and tab for Stadia. This will ensure your browser doesn’t use too much of your computer’s resources for streaming games.

You Can Also Play Google Stadia on Mobile

In addition to a computer and the Chrome browser, you can play Stadia games on the following devices:

  • Pixel 2, 2XL, 3, 3XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4XL
  • Samsung S8, S8+, S8 Active, Note 8
  • Samsung S9, S9+, Note 9
  • Samsung S10, S10+, Note 10, Note 10+
  • Samsung S20, S20+, S20 Ultra
  • OnePlus 8, 8 Pro
  • Asus ROG Phone, ROG Phone II
  • Razer Phone, Razer Phone II

These are arguably the most popular Android phones available right now, so you can potentially take console-standard gaming anywhere. Of course, you’ll need a top-quality internet connection without a data limit if you’re not using Wi-Fi.

You’ll also need to have the Google Stadia app installed on your phone.

Download: Google Stadia for Android (Free)

For more about this game streaming platform, be sure to read our Google Stadia review.

What Controllers Can You Use With Stadia?

If you own a computer or a current-generation game console, you probably have a controller that works with Stadia. Suitable controllers are considered to be:

  • Xbox One controller.
  • PlayStation 4 controller.
  • Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
  • Stadia controllers.
  • A Keyboard and mouse.

Read on to find out how to connect your controller to the Stadia service.

Connect a Console Controller to Stadia

As you will have gathered, there are two ways to play Google Stadia with a game controller: on your computer or on Android.

Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux computers are all suitable for connecting controllers for playing games on Stadia. However, there is some difference in compatibility between them. As a rule, if you want to guarantee compatibility, use USB rather than Bluetooth.

Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch Pro controllers will all connect to your PC via USB. Furthermore, they will all be automatically detected by Chrome. As such, you’ll be able to play Stadia games using one without any fuss or bother.

Connect Console Game Controllers to Stadia on Your Computer

With a game controller hooked up to your computer you can play Stadia games. There are some differences between console controllers and the Stadia controller (see below) but otherwise the variation is minimal.

So, what do you need to know about connecting your favorite console controller to Stadia?

If you run into any trouble, it’s wise to check some online support groups. While Google maintains a Stadia Help Center, you’ll get a quicker response from the community and developers in the Stadia subreddit.

Connect Almost Any Game Controller to Stadia on Android

For playing games on Android, a controller is recommended. This isn’t just for Stadia; an increasing number of Android games support USB and Bluetooth controllers.

Android is flexible enough to connect almost any game controller. You’ve already seen above that the Switch Pro controller can be hooked up to your Android. Our guide to connecting game controllers to Android shows you how to connect PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch controllers to your phone.

Using Third-Party Controllers With Stadia

When using a non-Stadia controller with Stadia, there are some differences in the controls. While the overall similarities are clear, secondary buttons differ.

The Stadia menu can be opened by pressing your controllers Home button (Shift + Tab on a keyboard). However, this doesn’t work on Xbox Adaptive Controllers for Android, Linux, or Chrome OS.

Additionally, Windows users can’t use the Home button on Xbox controllers with Stadia without launching the Game Bar. The Shift + Tab keyboard shortcut should be used instead.

Just Use Your Computer’s Keyboard and Mouse

While perhaps not completely suitable for all titles, your computer’s keyboard and mouse is a good alternative for Stadia.

In fact, if you only have one game controller and fancy some multiplayer gaming, using the keyboard and mouse is the ideal solution for a second player.

While there aren’t a vast number of strategy games on Stadia, plenty of first-person shooters are available. PC gamers have long had an advantage over consoles in this regard, with the mouse/keyboard combination considered superior to controllers.

You have the perfect opportunity to find out if this is true.

Connect Stadia Controllers to Your PC’s USB Ports

To play Stadia games through your TV you’ll need a Stadia controller. This is a Wi-Fi enabled controller that syncs with your remote hosted games—but does it work without a TV?

Connect a Stadia controller to your PC

As Stadia can be accessed via your web browser, the answer is yes. Just connect your Stadia controller to your PC using the USB-C cable it ships with. Do this before starting your gaming session, however, to ensure that it installs correctly.

When you’re ready, head to the Stadia website, sign in, and play.

The Best Google Stadia Games to Play

Stadia’s initial marketing focused on the Chromecast Ultra/Wi-Fi controller setup, a strong but expensive option for streaming games on your TV. It turns out, however, that you require neither of these items.

If you own a suitable controller, you can play Stadia games. And future upgrades will surely add support for more controllers.

If you’re new to Google Stadia and looking for some recommendations, check out our list of the best Google Stadia games to get you started.

Read the full article: How to Use Different Controllers With Google Stadia

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How to Set Up SSH on Linux and Test Your Setup: A Beginner’s Guide

One of the most important ways of using Linux is via SSH. This remote access command line tool lets you do everything from installing software to configuring Linux as a web server. SSH can save time, make you more productive, and help you unlock the power of your Linux distro.

But how do you set up SSH, on both the client and server sides? Learn how to install and configure SSH software at both ends and remotely control your Linux computer.

What Is SSH?

SSH stands for Secure Shell and allows you to remotely control a Linux computer or server from another device. It works across local area networks and the internet, meaning that it can be used to manage a Linux-powered media server in your house, or a Linux web server on a different continent.

While SSH doesn’t give you access to the remote computer’s desktop environment, it lets you use the terminal. Once connected to the remote computer you can use it as if it was right in front of you. Just be sure to have root access.

Note that other remote access solutions are available for Linux. For example, Ubuntu users can rely on the VNC-compatible remote desktop tool Remmina.

To use SSH, you’ll need to ensure that the remote computer (server) has SSH set up. Additionally, your local device (the client) will need an SSH app installing.

Client-Side Installation

Installing and setting up SSH on a client is simple. In some cases you don’t even need any additional software:

  • Linux users should find a SSH client built into the terminal
  • macOS computers also have SSH preinstalled in the terminal
  • Windows PCs will need to use the PowerShell command line tool, or install PuTTY

Connect to a device using SSH in Windows PowerShell

  • To connect to Linux over SSH from iPhone and iPad try iTerminal ($4.99)
  • If you’re using Android for SSH, try JuiceSSH (Free)

SSH not installed on your Linux system? Add by updating packages and upgrading, then installing:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

sudo apt install openssh-client

Used to using SSH on Windows but have switched to a Linux desktop? You might miss the PuTTY desktop SSH app with its easy mouse interface. Fortunately, it can be installed on a Linux desktop:

sudo apt install putty

With your SSH client software installed, you’re ready to set up a connection to your remote computer or server.

As a general rule for all desktop and mobile clients, all you need is an IP address or host name, and appropriate login details. While the look of the apps may differ, and the port name may need entering manually, SSH clients are mostly indistinguishable.

Server-Side Installation and Configuration

Before establishing a connection, install the server-side software to host your SSH connection. This requires someone to be present to install or enable SSH. You might already be present to do this—otherwise, a colleague or support engineer at the server end will set up SSH.

Note that if you’re using a web hosting package, SSH should be enabled by default. Speak to your web host to set up SSH if not.

If SSH is not enabled on the remote computer or server, install it with

sudo apt install openssh-server

Check this worked with

sudo systemctl status ssh

The command should illicit a response of “active.”

Check the status to confirm SSH is set up correctly

In some cases the Ubuntu firewall ufw may block SSH. To ensure this doesn’t happen, use

sudo ufw allow ssh

In some cases you’ll need to also enable SSH on the remote device. This is a security precaution that can be tweaked using

sudo systemctl enable ssh

Other options are available (stop, start, and disable) for configuring the SSH service.

Determine IP Address

To connect to the remote device over SSH, you’ll need to know the IP address of the machine. You have two easy ways to find this:

  • Run a terminal command
  • Check the router

To display the IP address of the remote system, logon and run

ip address

This will return the device’s IP address, so take a note of it. On older Linux versions ifconfig may provide better results.

You can also check your router to see connected devices. The Linux PC or server will be listed, typically by operating system or device name. This should make it simple to identify.

To display the public IP address, login to the server and open whatsmyip.org.

The IP address you use should be the one suitable for the connection. So, if the device is on the same network as the client, use the local IP address. For connections across the internet, use the public IP address. If the computer is located on a different network, make sure that port 22 is forwarded to the computer.

Connecting to Linux via SSH

Along with the correct IP address you should also have a username and password to gain access to the remote machine.

For command line SSH tools, use

ssh username@REMOTE.IP.ADDRESS.HERE

Be sure to replace username with the actual username and REMOTE.IP.ADDRESS.HERE with the remote device’s IP address. Hit Enter, and you’ll be prompted for the password.

With a correct password, you’ll get a functioning terminal prompt—you’re now logged into the remote computer.

Using a desktop SSH client like PuTTY?

Configure SSH on Windows with PuTTY

Input the Host Name or IP address, select the SSH connection type, then Open. When prompted for your username and password, enter them in the command line window to complete the connection and gain remote access.

Can’t Connect? Troubleshoot Your SSH Set Up

If you are having SSH connection issues, these are the possible causes:

  • SSH software isn’t installed on either computer
  • Your username or password is incorrect
  • The IP address is wrong
  • A firewall is blocking the connection, or port 22 is not being forwarded

Double-check each point and you should be able to connect. If not, the problem might be more complex.

Using Linux Remotely With SSH

SSH is a useful tool for managing one or more Linux computers.

It lets you can work on any machine from just one system. You can input almost any Linux terminal command over SSH.

Key examples include:

  • Update: sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  • Check status: uptime
  • Running processes: ps
  • Running processes by CPU: top

Setup SSH on a Linux server to run commands remotely

Check our list of SSH commands for managing a Linux server for more.

Setup SSH and Make Linux More Powerful

With SSH, Linux becomes considerably more flexible and powerful. You can literally remotely access a computer using a smartphone thanks to SSH.

If SSH is set up correctly, with client and server-side software enabled and configured, remote command line access is possible. Need something more? Here’s how to remotely control a Linux desktop from Windows.

Read the full article: How to Set Up SSH on Linux and Test Your Setup: A Beginner’s Guide

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What Are Config Files? How to Edit Them Safely

Most of the computer programs we use—whether office suites, web browsers, even video games—are configured via menu interfaces. It has almost become the default way we use our machines.

But some programs require you to take a step beyond that. Instead of menus, you must edit a text file for the software to run as you wish.

These text files configure the software and are—unsurprisingly enough—called “config files”. If you want to enhance your computer knowledge you will need to know what a config file is and how to edit one.

What Are Config Files?

Before we get into the technical nitty-gritty, let’s first define what a configuration file is.

Config files are essentially editable text files that contain information required for the successful operation of a program. The files are structured in a particular way, formatted to be user configurable.

While some configuration is hard coded into software, settings that you can change are included in config files.

Surprisingly, there’s no defined standard on how config files should work, or what they should look like. It’s entirely up to the whim of the developer of the program.

Edit the Raspberry Pi's boot config file

Linux users will be particularly familiar with config files as many basic maintenance tasks require you to edit them. Tweaking the Raspberry Pi often relies on editing config files. This might be to specify a wireless network to connect to or set the amount of RAM for graphics.

However, config files are not exclusive to Linux. There are times when you may have to edit them in Windows or macOS.

How to Find and Edit Config Files

Some config files are structured in a format of the developer’s own design. Others use widely known standards used to structure data, like:

  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
  • YAML (YAML Ain’t Markup Language)
  • XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

Some programs load the information stored in their config files when they start. Meanwhile others periodically check the config file to see if it has been changed.

Whatever config file you want to edit it’s smart to make a copy of it before you make any changes. This way, if something goes wrong, you can restore the copy and start again!

Now, let’s take a look at a real-world config file. As we mentioned earlier, they come in all different shapes and sizes. One config file you’re almost certainly familiar with is the hosts file. Windows, Mac, and Linux all use this to manually map IP addresses to hostnames.

Windows Config Files

Windows users will find the hosts file in c:windowssystem32driversetc.

You can open it by double-clicking the mouse and selecting Notepad from the list of suggested apps. This is all you need to view and edit config files like hosts. However, several alternatives are available—see below for details.

With the file open you will see that it uses whitespace (literally spaces and tab stops) to separate elements.

Edit the Windows hosts file with Notepad

Each hostname has its own line, followed by a tab stop and the IP address. Furthermore, the hosts file allows the user to add annotations and comments, which all begin with a hash symbol.

Linux Config Files

On Linux, you’ll find the hosts file in /etc/. This can be opened in Gedit, or a command line text editor such as nano or vim. In most cases your Linux distro will have one or all of these preinstalled.

Some programs store the config file in the home directory, with a period at the beginning of the filename. These config files sometimes have the file extension .rc and we refer to them as “dotfiles”.

Config Files in macOS

Like Linux, the hosts file can be found in /etc/ on macOS.

Mac users will know that BBEdit is the default, preinstalled text editor. This makes it ideal for editing config files in macOS. However, as with Linux, command line editors vim and nano are also available.

Apps for Safely Editing Config Files

So, now we know what config files are used for, let’s talk about how we can edit them.

To do this, you’re going to need a text editor. Avoid word processors; these can add formatting to the file which would prevent them from being read correctly.

Edit a Windows config file in Notepad++

Native text editors are available, as mentioned. However, for extra functions, third party text editors are also available:

Download: Notepad++ for Windows (Free)

Download: Atom for Windows, macOS, Linux (Free)

Download: Sublime Text Editor for Windows, macOS, Linux (Free evaluation)

So many text editing tools are available for every platform that it is hard to recommend a single app. Linux users can also check our list of Linux text editors. Meanwhile this round up of text editors for macOS should help Apple computer owners.

When you edit a config file, it’s important to ensure you follow the conventions of it. This can be worked out just by looking at it. Some config files, like the hosts file, will explain these conventions to you in commented out lines. Others will force you to read some documentation, or a couple of blog posts.

Finally, if the config file you edit has a JSON or XML format, consider a text editor with syntax highlighting. Notepad++ and Atom are both good options here. Syntax highlighting will improve your accuracy by showing you when you’ve made a mistake.

Other Places You Can Find Config Files to Edit

If you’re interested in exploring config files further, you’ll find them in all sorts of applications and platforms. There is more to config files than specifying which websites and IP addresses to block!

Beyond the hosts file, you’ll find config files in video games. These are often used to define and control things like keymappings.

Meanwhile, some config files can be used to cheat. This was the case in the original Deus Ex game on PC. These days, cheating is far more difficult and often not worth the effort unless enabling an official cheat mode.

Web applications also use configuration files for customization.

What If Your Config Edit Doesn’t Work?

Problems associated with editing config files tend to fall into two camps: permissions and user error.

Issues with config files caused by permissions issues are down to system integrity. You’re unable to save changes because you’re editing as an ordinary user. To prevent accidental misconfiguration, many config files are only editable by those with administrator-level privileges.

Edit a Linux hosts file

Fixing this is easy:

  • On Windows, right-click the text editor, and select Run as administrator
  • On macOS and Linux, try escalating your privileges with the sudo command. So, if you were editing your hosts file, run sudo nano /etc/hosts

(Note that if you specified a different filename or location, you would effectively create a config file in the terminal.)

When the problem is user error, it means it’s your fault. Check that you haven’t made any typos, and that you’ve followed the conventions of the config file.

While it may seem obvious, a simple spelling mistake can render your entire file useless. Before committing to your changes and saving the file remember to:

  • Check the change you made
  • Ensure you left a comment

Also be sure to close the config file before trying to run the software you’re attempting to configure.

Config Files Are Important

More than important, they’re an essential part of using Linux. Knowing how to properly edit them can help you considerably.

While you can edit many config files, be sure to make a copy of the file before making any changes. That way, you can revert to the original if something goes wonky.

Using Linux? Here’s more about modifying and managing the hosts file in Linux.

Read the full article: What Are Config Files? How to Edit Them Safely

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13 Fun Ways to Use a Video Projector in Your Home

Projectors provide the ultimate home theater experience, allowing you to enjoy films on a big screen without setting foot outdoors.

Today’s projectors are smaller and more transportable than previous generations. And because projectors can connect to any device that can play via a HDMI port, their uses have increased considerably.

Here are some cool things to do with a home projector.

1. Get Into the Spirit

Nothing puts one in a holiday spirit more than seeing a home decked out with outdoor lights and beautiful wreaths. Whether the winter holiday or some other annual celebration, projecting images onto your home can raise the mood. The video above is a great place to start.

Prefer Halloween? Create a bloody scene with your projector that requires no actual cleanup. Or on Independence Day enjoy a spectacular digital firework display in locations that ban real fireworks.

Don’t forget to hook up your sound system to enjoy the bangs!

2. Bring the Ocean Home

Having a pool party is a great way to have your friends and family relax during the summer. But the party doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. With a projector, you can transform your pool into the ocean! Use it to display images of tropical fish, coral reefs, and perhaps a dolphin or two. Add a relaxing soundtrack from your portable speaker and it’s a great way to end a fantastic day.

You could also mount a projector above a hot tub and provide a similar experience, whether inside or out. Just remember, the fish aren’t real!

3. A Musical Light Show

MusicBeam is open source software that enables you to use your home projector to create a laser show for parties. Because sounds trigger MusicBeam, you’re able to adjust nearly every detail of the performance. Among the free show downloads for MusicBeam are Moonflower, Snowstorm, and more.

MusicBeam is Java-based, meaning that it runs on every major operating system. All you need is a laptop and your projector. The results can be stunning but remember to try it out with plenty of time before your next party!

4. Time for a Story

There are hundreds of storybooks available for desktops, mobiles, and tablets. With a projector, you can take story time with your children to a new level.

For example, you might project the story onto a bedroom wall as you read the action to your kids. Teenagers may want to do the same thing with digital graphic novels. With a digital projector displaying books on Kindle or Comixology, the story can really come to life.

5. Let Zoom Fill the Room

If you’re working from home and using video conferencing software like Zoom, it can be difficult to discern faces. Even with a high-resolution monitor, and fast data connection, things can be unclear.

A solution to this is to blow up the video conference with a large screen. Projecting the conference onto a screen or wall will help you to see who is who.

6. Sleep Better With a Projector

Need help getting to sleep? Mount your projector on the bedroom ceiling and project ocean waves or a beautiful rain scene while lying in bed. Or place it at the side of the bed, pointing up, so it projects onto the ceiling.

Want to cuddle before bed? Project a romantic movie to share with your better half.

7. Gather in the Kitchen

The kitchen is where families gather for food and conversation. It is also a great place to use a projector.

In the morning, mount a projector pointing down at the kitchen bar, perhaps displaying the morning news to accompany breakfast. If you have children, age-appropriate content might be preferable.

Or, point the video projector to your refrigerator door and cook along with some celebrity chefs. It doesn’t end there. Reluctant to head into the kitchen while watching your favorite team? Project the game onto that same refrigerator door.

8. Projector Games for Parties

Like a book club, quiz and trivia clubs offer a chance for friends to gather and have fun. Many of these games are now digital.

However, instead of sitting around a laptop or iPad to play a game, it’s fun to use a projector instead. Better yet, create an outdoor tournament and invite even more people to play. You could even use the projector to play video clips while your teams answer questions.

9. An Art Project

One of the great summer pastimes for children is drawing on sidewalks or pavement with chalk. With a projector, you can take this experience to a new level and even get the adults involved. Project a black and white image on a removable surface such as the side of a garage. Trace over the lines of the picture using the chalk to create an impressive work of art.

Want something more permanent and a project for adults only? Project a mural design on a wall in your home and trace with a pen. Fill in your masterpiece later with paint.

10. Maximise Home Schooling

Whether you home school as part of your family routine or it is enforced, a projector can help. Forget the whiteboard or chalk board—use the projector to display project ideas, videos, and more.

Getting home schooling right is difficult; a flexible approach to communication is key. While one day it might be useful to have your children using Scratch on a PC or tablet, the next a big screen projection of educational programming can help.

So, don’t rely on the projector—just add it to your home school arsenal.

11. Shadow Puppet Show

Not into chalk drawing? Projectors are also an excellent way to experience a shadow puppet show.

Whether using your hands or actual puppets, simply project a white light onto a wall or tabletop. Your puppet show might tell a story, or you might just teach your family how to shape their hands. Perhaps go further and create cardboard cutout silhouettes.

12. Video Games on a Big Screen

A games night is a good choice, but for high octane gaming, why not connect the projector to your console? All it needs is your games console connected to the HDMI port (or VGA if necessary for older consoles). Remember—a projector is basically a display system, so you can plug in any video device to enjoy output on the wall or screen.

Gaming with a projector is perfect for spectator video games and e-sports, although you may prefer it as an immersive single player gaming solution.

Standard projectors are adequate for gaming, but for quality results, try one of our list of the best gaming projectors.

13. And Yes, Movie Night

The best reason to purchase a home projector, of course, is to watch your favorite movies in a big way.

Projectors work great on a blank wall in your living room or home theater room. But if you take it outside, you can use a wall or even string a white sheet on a clothesline. Whatever you choose, a projector can turn any night of the week into something special.

If you’re watching a movie, don’t ruin it with poor sound. Take the time to hook up a soundbar or surround sound for the best experience.

Try These Cool Projector Ideas

We’ve given you 13 things to do with a projector. If you have one lying around gathering dust, it’s time to start using it.

Home projectors are available with different features and at various price points. Each is relatively easy to set up, depending on the location.

As you can see, these devices are suitable for more than movies and PowerPoint. Whatever you decide to do, all you need is your projector, an HDMI-connected device, and a little bit of imagination.

Don’t already own a projector? Try one of these budget projectors suitable for laptops and smartphones.

Read the full article: 13 Fun Ways to Use a Video Projector in Your Home