Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

How to Do It Yourself! Category

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March 7, 2016 • Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!, Travel

How to Charge USB Devices with Your Dell Powered Off

When I purchased my Dell XPS 13 9350 a couple of months ago, I expected to be able to charge devices off the USB port while it was powered down. It’s a feature I’ve become accustomed to with Macs over the years, and I’ve been using it increasingly as I travel overseas where hotel rooms …

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September 18, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!

iPhone 6 Plus Heating Up & Battery Draining After iOS 9.0 Update? Do This

Like many, I eagerly updated to iOS 9.0 when it became publicly available. My iPad Air 2 updated with no issues, but my iPhone 6 Plus developed two major problems: the battery would drain to 55% or worse within an hour or so, and my iPhone was hot all the time — not just when …

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D.I.Y. or PAY: How Will You Upgrade Your Car Audio?

As I mentioned previously in this series on Car Audio, I test a lot of premium factory car stereo systems, and while I am impressed with the quality they achieve I have found they still cannot stand up to the sound quality of aftermarket components installed properly. If you are ready to upgrade that factory …

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April 5, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!

How to Manage Your Google Account Access from Beyond the Grave

It may seem a bit macabre to imagine what will happen with regard to your Google account access when you die, but honestly, wouldn’t you rather make the decision about who gets access or what happens to your data while you are still completely in charge of your facilities? Yeah, I thought so. Here’s how to set …

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March 3, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!, News

Raspberry Pi and D-star: Work the World from Where You Are.

There’s quite a few hams I talk to every day that use D-star and a Raspberry Pi computer to use D-star even in places where there are no repeaters.  The Pi is IDEAL for this as it has  low power requirements and is small. This is just one of many uses hams have come up …

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February 24, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!

In an Emergency, Use Siri to Call Poison Control!

Siri (or Cortana, or Ok Google) often get dismissed as gimmicks, or something you use for driving or otherwise using your phone hands free. My wife Sarah, however, can attest to a situation where Siri was an absolute hero for our family — Sarah used Siri to call Poison Control during an emergency!

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February 18, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!, Reviews

CustomCover Cydia Tweak Updated for iPhone 6/6+

One of the more popular Cydia music Tweaks has to be CustomCover. Originally a concept on DeviantArt that was turned into tweak (which has stopped receiving updates) named Snowcover for iOS 6, a developer named Chewitt brought it to life for iOS 7, and now, iOS 8. What CustomCover allows you to do is customize your Lockscreen …

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February 17, 2015 • How to Do It Yourself!

Jailbreak That iPhone: Why I Chose Freedom for My Device

As an iPhone holder since the iPhone 4S, I’ve always wanted one thing from my Apple device, freedom. Coming from an HTC Thunderbolt, which at the time was innovative (unlimited data? Who does THIS anymore!?), which at the time I had rooted courtesy of the Cyanogen jailbreak.

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July 15, 2014 • How to Do It Yourself!

Ingress for iOS Released: 10 Things New Players Should Know

Google’s popular multi-player online game Ingress was finally released this weekend for iOS. The game began as a beta on November 15, 2012, and until now it had been limited to Android smartphones. Ingress is basically an electronic game of capture the flag (aka portals)  between two sides (aka factions) – Enlightened (green) and Resistance (blue).

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April 1, 2014 • How to Do It Yourself!

Make Awesome Slideshows and Movies with FotoMagico 4

If you want to bring your pictures and videos to life, but you don’t want to got to school to learn how to create a presentation that doesn’t look like a five year old did it, then you’ll want to check out FotoMagico 4. At $99 the application is pricey, but the ease-of-use and output …

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January 20, 2014 • Editorials, How to Do It Yourself!

How to Blog on an iPad and Have Fun Doing It!

I do a great deal of my blogging for Gear Diary on my iPad. It’s partly a convenience thing, as I can work on posts from wherever I am, and it’s partly that I have my system down so well with iOS that anything else just throws a wrench in my workflow.

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January 18, 2014 • Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

Mac OS X Quick Tip: Manage Notifications in Mavericks

This morning I opened my Mac for the first time in … a while, since I mostly use my iPad. I had a series of birthday and holiday alerts I needed to dismiss before moving on. A bit later Dan asked how to get notifications in Mavericks to automatically go away. So I took a look, …

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January 17, 2014 • How to Do It Yourself!

How To Fix a Surface RT Touch Cover That Won’t Type

I have a Surface RT, and I recently snapped up a Touch Cover for it when I saw a great deal. It arrived last night, and I was all excited… except that it didn’t work. Well, mouse and volume were responsive but nothing else. I was all set to do a return, until a post …

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October 30, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How To Sell Your “Old” Tablets Using eBay’s New Simple Flow; It Just Doesn’t Get Any Easier!

I’d recently written that if Apple upgraded their iPad mini with retina and 128GB, I’d be buying one, so when the announcement came that my hoped for upgrades were imminent, I had a decision to make: what would become of my “old” iPad mini? Thanks to eBay’s new Simple Flow listing interface, it will soon …

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October 1, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How-To Quickly and Easily Use This Low-Fi Method to Boost Your WiFi Signal

The WiFi signal in our bedroom has been terrible ever since we moved into our new home.  Due to where the Verizon FIOS service enters the house, the wireless router is on the opposite side of the house, and  I’ve tried many WiFi extenders to no avail.  Finally, my brother-in-law recommended the Windsurfer parabolic WiFi …

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September 18, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

First Things First – What to Do After Updating to iOS 7

Installing a new operating system to your iPhone or iPad almost feels like getting a new phone.  It looks completely different and has a bunch of cool new features.  An upgraded operating system can breathe life into an older phone.  iOS 7 is treating me very well so far, but there are a few things …

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August 27, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

Swipe Up for Control, Swipe Down for Search in iOS 7

When iOS 7 ships next month, it will include quick access to key controls, search and information. You’ll be able to swipe up to Access Control Center, and swipe down from the top to access the Notification Center. But if you place a finger anywhere on the Home Screen and pull down, you’ll start a …

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August 26, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

Features You Will Love or Hate in iOS 7

Although there has been no official announcement, Apple will likely release iOS 7, the next generation of their mobile operating system, next month. It is the biggest overhaul to the OS since its introduction, and while visual differences will draw most of the attention the changes that are less apparent are the ones people will …

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July 3, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How To Customize Your Pebble Watchface

Pebble has been in the news the past few days since they have signed a deal to be sold in Best Buy retail stores. The once almost impossible to obtain smart watch will be available to everyone. Early reviews of the product were mixed at best. I think people were underwhelmed by the functionality of …

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June 29, 2013 • How to Do It Yourself!

How To Replace an iPhone 4S Battery

Carly was having huge battery issues with her iPhone 4S. It would run down in a matter of hours and, as a result, it was pretty much useless. That’s when she went out and picked up her Nokia Lumia 928. (Read her first impressions.) I asked Carly what she planned to do with the almost-non-functional …

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June 11, 2013 • Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

Clean Up iTunes with ‘Show EXACT Duplicate Items’ Command

If you are like me, and you have been dumping music into iTunes for over a decade across multiple computers and mobile devices, chances are you have imported the same music more than once. And perhaps you did it once from CD and another time from a backup after altering MP3 tags (I used to …

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