Keyboard Shortcuts, Ranked

Capture date: 03.11.2019 23:53

Doing stuff with your mouse is cool. Doing stuff with your keyboard is cooler. These are the most important keyboard shortcuts, ranked from best to worst. (Unless noted, we’ve listed the Windows shortcuts; Mac users substitute cmd for ctrl.) With one exception, despite any flaws, all the shortcuts below are fundamentally good.

1. ctrl+Z

The undo shortcut is so essential that you’ve probably tried to hit it in real life. The “shake to undo” feature on phones is a gimmicky substitute that only triggers when you didn’t need it.


2. ctrl+Y

Undo your undo. And it uses the letter before Z. Legendary.

3. ctrl+X, ctrl+C, ctrl+V

Cut, copy, paste. About once a week I go to hit ctrl+V on my phone, before sighing and trying to hold my finger on the screen just long enough to pop up the paste menu, which always takes two tries. Cmd+X feels a bit weird on the Mac, but I used it to arrange this list, so I owe it some thanks. Thanks, Cmd+X.

4. ctrl+K

In most text edit windows, this lets you turn selected text into a link, instead of just pasting the whole URL into the body of your text like some kind of caveman.


5. cmd+space

Open Spotlight (or the launcher you installed to replace it) on MacOS. It’s like the Terminal command line for normies. Wish I’d discovered it earlier in life. I could be a whole other person by now.


6. cmd+shift+4

Windows and MacOS feature a whole array of shortcuts for capturing your whole screen, part of your screen, or a window, and saving it to your clipboard or as a file. On Windows you can even hit Windows key+H to capture your screen and pop up a share menu. We all have our favorites. But mine is cmd+shift+4, which lets a Mac user select a specific area to screenshot, then saves it as a file on the desktop. The key combo is a bit spaced out, but even my little hands can reach it comfortably.


7. cmd+`

On a Mac, this switches between windows of the same application. On Windows, you can do the same with alt+` if you install a little background app called Easy Window Switcher. What a smart idea, to incorporate an underused key that usually sits right above the tab key.


8. ctrl+F, ctrl+G

It’s cool to start a search with your keyboard. It’s even cooler to switch between results with your keyboard.


9. ctrl+T

New tab. Makes sense. Easy to remember. T for tab. Don’t have to take your hand off the keyboard before typing in a new URL. Good job all around.


10. ctrl+tab

Switch tabs. Classic. Don’t waste your time contorting your fingers into ctrl+shift+tab to go back one tab. Ugh. Not everything has to be optimized, you nerd.


11. shift+cmd+I

This is my custom Mac shortcut for resizing an image in Preview. It’s so insanely good that it ended up on this list of default shortcuts. Weird!


12. ctrl+N, ctrl+O, ctrl+shift+N

New file and open file are essential but boring. But that third shortcut: Depending on the context, ctrl+shift+N creates a new folder, a new smart playlist, or some other cool variation that technically makes you a coder.


13. Windows key+D

Minimize everything. Good life advice, good desktop-clearing trick. Macs can almost do it: Cmd+option+H hides everything but the current window, so if you click over your desktop first and you don’t have Finder open, you can hide all your windows.


14. cmd+H

On a Mac, this hides the current window. It’s cleaner than minimizing. To get the window back, just cmd+tab back to it. Windows users, you have to ctrl+alt+click.


15. alt+arrow keys

Back and forward in your browsing history. Not inherently bad, and it was wise of Chrome to disable the backspace, which caused so many of us to accidentally close out our Flash games. But these are also the best two extra buttons on a mouse, so they’re not that special.


16. cmd+S

Years ago, the “save file” shortcut would be on top of the list. Now everything auto-saves so you don’t have to obsessively tap this combo. You know what’s cool though? Ctrl+alt+shift+S to save a Photoshop project as an image.


17. ctrl+shift+T

Re-open a closed tab. Amazing function, terrible key combo. Rescuing a closed tab from oblivion makes you feel like Indiana Jones snatching his hat back. But to hit the keys, you either you stretch your left hand, or you take one hand off the mouse so you can hit it double-handed. I get that it’s an add-on to the ctrl+T shortcut for opening a new tab. But tbh this action should have a dedicated F key.


18. alt+tab

The thinking man’s alternative to switching apps through your Dock or Taskbar. But the app you want is always a little further or closer than you thought, and you have to switch again, and now you’re paying attention to the process instead of moving on with your work. Maybe the Dock-breathers are right.


19. alt+F4

This key combo is too arcane for closing an application. Mac users use cmd+Q, and you know what, it’s fine. We don’t accidentally close our apps that often.


20. ctrl+alt+del

First it meant restart, then it meant login. Now it’s disabled by default, and the top Google result for Ctrl+Alt+Del is the worst webcomic.


There are other shortcuts that matter, and you’re about to tell me all of them, but you’ll already know where they belong on this indisputable 20-point scale.

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About the author

Nick Douglas

Nick Douglas

Staff Writer, Lifehacker | Nick has written for Gawker, Valleywag, the Daily Dot, and Urlesque. He currently runs the scripted comedy podcast “Roommate From Hell.”







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File Explorer Search Filters Every Windows User Should Know

Capture Date: 16.09.2018 23:00:59

The most common way to search in Windows File Explorer is to plop a word in the search bar, and the File Explorer will spit out the results. The File Explorer’s search bar is far more powerful than you think. Though there is nothing wrong with the general approach, you can further improve the search results using Windows Advanced Query Syntax, or what is simply known as search filters. Here are some of the most useful File Explorer search filters that every Windows user should know.

Find Files with a Specific Extension

When you want to find files with a specific file extension, then all you have to do is use the *.fileExtension search filter. The * in front of the file extension is called a wildcard and helps to ignore the filename. For instance, if you want to find all the MS Word documents on your hard drive, all you have to do is type *.docx in the File Explorer search bar and press the Enter button.


Since we are already using the wildcard, if you know part of the file name, you can add it before or after the * symbol. For instance, a search like ra*.mp3 shows all the mp3 files with the letters that start with “ra.”

Find Files Based on File Size

When your hard disk is filling up, it is time to find all those big files and either delete them or move them to other locations. To help you with that, File Explorer has a specific filter to find files based on their file size.

To find files based on file size, enter size: fileSize in the search bar. Replace “fileSize” with the actual file size, like 100MB. You can also use greater than (>) and less than (<) signs to find files larger or smaller than the specified file size. For instance, if you want to find files that are larger than one gigabyte, then use the search filter size: >1GB.


Though you can manually enter the file size as needed, File Explorer has some built-in easy-to-remember pre-defined properties to make things a tad bit easier. They are as follows.

  • Empty: Files that are empty or 0KB
  • Tiny: Files between 0 to 10KB
  • Small: Files between 10KB and 100KB
  • Medium: Files between 100KB and 1MB
  • Large: Files between 1MB and 16MB
  • Huge: Files between 16MB and 128MB
  • Gigantic: Files larger than 128MB

To use the above properties, type size: medium and press Enter. Of course, you can replace “medium” with any option you want.

Find Files Based on Date

Other than file size, you can also use the File Explorer’s search bar to find files that are created on, after, or before a certain date. Just like with the file size filter, you have to use the keyword date: to search files based on date. To be helpful, as soon as you type “date:” in the search bar, File Explorer will show a simple calendar so that you can quickly choose the date you need.

Use the > and < signs to find files created after or before the given date. If needed, you can use “>=” and “<=” to find files that are created on or after a given date and on or before a given date.


Find a Specific Kind of Files

While the file extension filter helps you find all the files with that specific extension, the “kind” filter helps you find all the files of a specific kind, regardless of their extension. For example, if you want to see all the images on your hard disk regardless of their file extension, like JPG, PNG, PSD, ICO, etc., then all you have to do is type kind:=picture.


There is a whole boatload of the “kind” properties. They include but are not limited to calendar, communication, film, music, note, video, task, program, email, and feed. The good thing is you don’t have to remember all these properties. Just place your mouse cursor in the search bar, click on the “Search” tab and then select the “Type” option to see all the available properties.


Find Files with the Specific Tag

I’ve recently shown how to tag files in Windows. Once tagged, you can find those files using the tag: property. For instance, if you want to find all the photos that are tagged as “vacation,” you simply type tag: vacation in the search field.


Additional Search Operators

Apart from the above search filters, File Explorer also offers additional search operators like “AND,” “OR,” “NOT,” and “[search term]” to further refine the search experience. If you have basic programming knowledge, you might’ve already guessed what these search operators can do. Other than “[search term],” these search operators are used to combine two search filters.

AND: when used, it will show results that satisfy both search filters. For example, *.mp3 AND size: >100MB will show all the MP3 files that are over 100MB.


OR: while the AND operator only shows results that satisfy both parameters, the OR operator shows results that satisfy at least one parameter. For example, using financial OR banking in the search bar results in files that have the word financial or the word banking in their name.


NOT: the NOT operator is useful when you want to exclude an item or search filter. As an example, a search like financial NOT banking will show all the files that contain the word “financial” but not “banking” in their name.

“[search term]”: When you know the exact phrase, you can use the “[search term]” filter and replace [search term] with the actual search term. A search like "family vacation" will result in files that have the exact phrase “family vacation” in them names.


The File Explorer’s search bar is a very powerful tool. The above search filters and operators are good enough for day to day usage. However, there are a lot more things you can do with the File Explorer’s search bar. Thankfully, Microsoft has detailed documentation regarding its Advanced Query Syntax and how to use it. So, spend some time with it and refine your search skills.

Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding using the above search filters to search in File Explorer.

7 Great Project Ideas for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Server

Capture Date: 16.09.2018 22:55:10

You’ve likely heard about the importance of coding, especially in helping prepare your children for their future careers. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills are increasingly vital in all walks of life.

But it can be intimidating. Where exactly do you start? What’s the right age for your kids to start learning how to code? Do they need prior expertise?

Fortunately, you can find great toys for all youngsters, and make learning fun.

1. Barbie Robotics Engineers Doll

Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Buy Now At Amazon $13.44

Suggested age range: 5- 12 years.

The key to getting kids into coding is inspiring them to see its potential and normalizing that attitude. That’s where the Barbie Robotics Engineers Doll comes in.

This brand has been a staple of the toy industry for over half a decade and has survived by adapting. Its latest development is a partnership with Tynker, a gaming platform that replaces source code with colorful building blocks.

Dolls come with six free lessons that can be unlocked on the Tynker site. These games are designed around an impressive assortment of careers: Robotics Engineer, Astronaut, Beekeeper, Farmer, Musician, and Pastry Chef.

They’re not especially intensive either. A course takes between 45 minutes and an hour, so your kids shouldn’t get bored.

And you can leave them to it because the program guides users through potentially complex notions like sequencing, problem solving, and debugging without the need for assistance. Nonetheless, Tynker offers instructions for parents and tutors if they do want to help out.

2. Lego Boost Robotics Toolbox

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Building and Coding Kit (847 Pieces) LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Building and Coding Kit (847 Pieces) Buy Now At Amazon $159.95

Suggested age range: 7- 12 years.

Lego’s popularity knows no bounds, so this is the perfect way to get your kids interested in coding. Yes, it seems a bit pricey, yet no more so than a full-sized Millennium Falcon, the Hulkbuster armor from Avengers: Age of Ultron, or any of the Technic sets.

Plus the Lego Boost Robotics Toolbox is educational, so you can justify the $160 price tag without sweating too much.

You can build five models: the robot plastered over the box; a cat; a guitar; the Multi-Tooled Rover; and, perhaps coolest of all, an auto-builder—that is, a miniature production line for Lego bricks. Each take a couple of hours to make (alas, using the same bricks, so you can only have one robot at a time).

It’s ideal if you want to spend some time with your children. But they can also learn independently, using the tutorials available through the free Boost app. You’ll need a tablet running iOS 10.3/ Android 5.0 or newer; smartphone screens are simply too small.

It’s so fun, youngsters won’t even realize they’re learning something so valuable. And once they’ve finished with Boost, they can progress to Lego Mindstorms. Alternatively, the Raspberry Pi is an excellent next step, giving kids a similar level of hands-on experience.

5 Reasons to Give Your Kids a Raspberry Pi 5 Reasons to Give Your Kids a Raspberry Pi If you don’t own a Raspberry Pi and you have children of a suitable age, you need to seriously think about bringing one home. It could transform your child’s life – here’s why. Read More

3. WowWee Elmoji

WowWee Elmoji Junior Coding Robot Toy, Red WowWee Elmoji Junior Coding Robot Toy, Red Buy Now At Amazon $28.96

Suggested age range: 4- 10 years.

Once more, you’ll need a tablet for this one; it does offer some variation, however, as you can connect it to two apps via Bluetooth. WowWee Elmoji is a small, brightly-colored robot with a simple screen for a head; by default, it displays the red Sesame Street character.

Elmo is a solid entry-level character, intended for preschoolers. But the two apps allow you to change its face into an emoji if you’re worried your kids are too old for the Muppet. Indeed, this is based on the Coji device, so you can learn to code using emojis.

Elmoji won’t occupy your children for countless hours, but it will prove a good distraction for a while. Considering this, the $60 RRP seems steep, but many retailers offer it for a much lower price, making this a fair introduction to coding.

Make sure you buy plenty of batteries, however. The three AAA batteries required are not provided and you’ll go through them surprisingly quickly.

4. Code & Go Robot Mouse

Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces Buy Now At Amazon $32.99

Suggested age range: 5- 15 years.

Kids bugging you to get a pet? Here’s a neat solution which you won’t have to feed or clean up after!

Okay, your youngsters will probably still want a dog, but the Code & Go Robot Mouse should keep them preoccupied for a while.

This is more hands-on than many other sets as you don’t need a tablet to take part.

You use 16 grids, 22 partitions, and three tunnels to create a maze for the robotic mouse, Colby, to navigate. With 30 coding cards and ten activity cards, it might seem intimidating at first—which is why this is an excellent toy for parents to get involved. If all goes according to plan, it won’t be long until your children will be able to carry on independently.

It’s a reasonably priced set, though a cheaper variant, including a mouse called Jack plus coding cards, is also available. The two together would make a great Christmas present for siblings.

5. Ozobot

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot (Blue) Ozobot Bit Coding Robot (Blue) Buy Now At Amazon $44.88

Suggested age range: 6- 15 years.

Ozobot’s main selling point is its marrying of technology and art. You’re encouraging STEM skills and creativity!

The robot moves by following marker patterns—your child draws on a piece of paper using different colored pens and the robot follows. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but the accompanying OzoBlockly editor app is easy to understand.

The classic Ozobot Bit is suitable for ages 6 and above, while the newer Evo adds sounds and special features and so has a bigger appeal.

Our favorite bit is the custom skins to stick on your Ozobot. Don’t underestimate the appeal of superheroes on youngsters and big kids. It’s massive fun dressing your robot up as Rocket or Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s also a great Spider-Man set (in which the wall-crawler is packaged alongside a Venom skin), but if you’ve got an Evo, bulkier Avengers models are available.

Why You Should Play the Guardians of the Galaxy Game Why You Should Play the Guardians of the Galaxy Game If you’re a Guardians of the Galaxy fan, you have to check out the new game. Here’s why the name game will please fans of the movie and comic alike. Read More

Just don’t be surprised at how tiny they are.

Where to Next for Kids?

These toys might take a little time to master, but let’s not underrate kids’ ability to pick up new skills. In fact, you might have to work hard to keep up!

So what can they advance onto? We’re great advocates of the Micro:bit—this little device is supported by the BBC, and distributed primarily to educational institutions. But you can get your hands on one anyway. They’re perfect for beginners, and if your children show enough enthusiasm, there’s chance to grow their knowledge even further using various accessories.

Coding for Kids – BBC micro:bit Review Coding for Kids – BBC micro:bit Review Following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Raspberry Pi minicomputer and Arduino microcontroller comes the BBC micro:bit – and yes, we do mean that BBC. Read More

How to Keep Windows 10 Organized, Pretty, and Productive

Capture Date: 16.09.2018 22:36:38

Microsoft Windows can get messy. It’s not (always) the operating system’s fault. You download tons of apps and files, and create new content stuff of your own, until your “Downloads” directory looks like a landfill for old content. Your desktop is so full of icons, you can’t see your pretty wallpaper. Your Start Menu looks like an app buffet. In short, your operating system is a mess, but it’s not unfixable.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

There are a few free apps you can use to add some much-needed organization to your Windows world. Here are a few of our favorites:


We covered this app a long time ago, but it’s worth resurrecting. DropIt is a great utility that can help you stay organized if you’re the kind of person who dumps everything you download (or copy to your PC) into a single folder—one giant, sprawling hub that many files enter, but rarely leave.

DropIt allows you to set up a ton of different rules that fire off whenever you drag files onto the utility’s little icon. For example, you can set the app to always move image files into your primary photos folder, video files into your videos folder, and Word documents into—you guessed it—your documents folder.

That’s just the start. If you want to get more advanced, DropIt can automatically scan folders (like your Downloads folder) and apply more advanced filters to anything it finds, like automatically unzipping archives, renaming files based on your parameters, or compressing large batches of files that are otherwise taking up a bit more space than you want.

Automation is a great way to help you stay organized in Windows, and DropIt practically gives you a virtual helper at your fingertips.


If your sprawling photo library needs some serious organization but you don’t want to pay for something like Adobe Lightroom, the open-source app digiKam is a great alternative.

Use this app to sort your photos and create (or edit) metadata so you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one easy-to-access library. If you’re also a bit of a photo perfectionist, you can use digiKam to edit your regular and RAW shots to make them picture-perfect.

This app is a much better solution for organizing shots than just dumping them into arbitrary Windows folders. Your disorganized hard drive will thank you, and you’ll be much less likely to lose (or forget about) images going forward.


We’re not going to ask why you have a bunch of emulators installed on your system, and we’re going to assume that all the ROMs spread across that nightmare of a folder structure in the “Games” portion of your hard drive are completely legal. Right? Regardless, if you just spent the last day getting your nostalgia kick by downloading archives of thousands of different retro games to play on your modern-day PC, keeping these games under control is going to feel overwhelming.

We suggest grabbing LaunchBox, which is a great “game organizer” utility that allows you to quickly find and play titles in your giant library. You can tap into the app’s crowd-sourced database to pepper your titles with useful information, like release dates, genres, publishers, and images, and you can mark certain games as favorites to make theme easier to hunt down when you have a little time to kill.

LaunchBox also makes it (somewhat) easy to import games from your favorite distribution services, like Steam,, and GoG (to name a few). If you’re the world’s biggest gamer who plays everything you can download and always grabs new titles to try from all the major services, LaunchBox is a great way to organize your games under one digital roof.


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Screenshot: Nurgo Software

Everyone knows Windows’ Aero Snap shortcuts, right? Hit Windows Key + one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to send your active window flying all around your screen: minimizing, opening, shrinking to fill a quarter or half of your display, and bouncing off your primary display entirely (if you have a multi-monitor setup).

AquaSnap takes this concept and supercharges it. You can snap your windows to different parts of your display, just like with Aero Snap, but you can also do so much more.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video tag.

Screenshot: Nurgo Software

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For example, if you have three windows open in a lovely tiled configuration, you can resize all three on the fly just by dragging your mouse around—each expands and shrinks as needed. Your windows can now snap to each other, not just the corners of your display, and you can move connected apps around as one large chunk of a group.

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Screenshot: Nurgo Software

Double-clicking on the edge of a window allows it to expand in that direction to fill the entirety of your display, a handy trick. Grabbing a app’s window and shaking it around with your mouse—yes, shaking it—turns the window transparent and sets it to sit “always on top” of any other windows you have open. That’s a great little feature if you need to access something like a calculator, but don’t want it getting too much in the way when you aren’t using it.

And if you want to get crazy, you can manage your Windows wizardry using AquaSnap’s keyboard hotkeys. Your coworkers and friends will be in awe of your mad window-moving skills.



Screenshot: David Murphy

If you’re the kind of person who arranges your smartphone apps by color, you’re going to love TileIconifier. Though it’s going to demand a bit of your time if you’re crazy about how your Start Menu looks, this utility allows you to customize your apps’ tiles.

For example, if you love a particular color (green), and are upset that the background color of your favorite app’s tile doesn’t align with your chromatic preferences, you can fix that. You can either upload your own custom image to use as a medium or small tile—sorry, large or wide tiles aren’t supported—or you can simply use the app’s existing icon (scaled to any size) with any background color you want. You can make both light and dark versions of the icon, too, in case you ever feel like switching Windows themes.

Of course, most of your icons’ backgrounds should just switch to whatever color you select as an accent in Windows 10 (Settings > Personalization > Colors). TileIconifier is a great way to bend the more stubborn icons to your will—or, worse, to replace every official icon on your tiles with a different image of a cute animal. (And do send us a screenshot if you go that route.)

Should You Leave Laptops Constantly Plugged In?

Capture Date: 16.09.2018 22:38:20

If you predominantly use a laptop, you may have had people tutting and shaking their heads over the fact you keep it plugged in for long periods of time. They may quote an old piece of computer wisdom that states you should not keep a laptop plugged in to the mains constantly for long periods of time, else you run the risk of ruining the battery. The usual rule of thumb is to remove the battery and run it purely off of the mains. Now that we’re in a world of laptops with built-in batteries, however, does this advice still hold up?

Does It Overcharge the Battery?


You may hear advice that says once the battery hits 100%, keeping it plugged in may end up overfilling the battery and doing damage. If you’ve heard this advice, don’t worry; this doesn’t actually happen!

Perhaps in earlier models this would have been the case, but these days laptops are a little smarter. In general, when a laptop detects a 100% charge in the battery, it will stop charging it and instead redirect the power to your laptop. This means your battery will never be overstuffed.

Will the Battery Still Degrade?

Unfortunately, batteries have a habit of degrading whether or not you keep them at full charge. In fact, batteries will degrade even when they’re not being used in storage! As such, if you think you can keep your battery going forever by keeping it plugged into the mains, you may be disappointed to see its performance still drop regardless.

How Much Will the Battery Degrade?

To answer this, let’s take a look at the trustworthy Battery University’s data. There’s a lot in this report, such as the ideal way to charge and discharge a battery for the optimum lifespan. In this case, however, we’re not doing charge cycles; we’re keeping the battery at 100%. As such, let’s take a look at graph 3 which looks at how batteries degrade while being stored at specific percentages over a year. This is the closest to our use case that we can get with the data provided.


As you can see, if we keep the battery at 100% for over a year at 25°C, 20% of the battery’s total capacity is lost (80% recoverable). However, this isn’t the only information we can derive from this table. You may be tempted to compare a 100% charge to 40%, but there’s something even more important to learn from this: how vast of an effect temperature has on the battery!

Heat Is the Main Enemy


From the above table we can see that the major factor that caused stored batteries to lose their charge levels was due to the heat they were exposed to. A battery stored at 100% charge for a year at 0°C will lose 6% of its capacity, while one kept at 60°C loses 40%. This is a huge difference and a sign that a major player in keeping a battery healthy at 100% is keeping it cool. Battery University goes on to say:

Exposing the battery to high temperature and dwelling in a full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more stressful than cycling.

In simpler terms, this says that if you keep your battery at 100% and expose it to high temperatures, it can put more of a strain on the battery than if you charged and discharged it constantly. Therefore, we can see that the main villain of keeping your battery always plugged in isn’t that it’s always exposed to energy – it’s that it becomes sensitive to high temperatures in a consistently full state.

What To Do

This then makes the answer to this age-old question very simple. If you have a low-end laptop that doesn’t generate much heat and you’re in a somewhat cool climate, you should be able to keep the battery at 100% and see only a gradual amount of decay.

If you’re using a high-end laptop to render a graphically-intense game, however, the heat from the laptop may damage the battery while it’s at its fully-charged state. In this instance it’s probably best to remove the battery (preferably at 40% charge!) to stop it from being damaged. Try checking your laptop’s system temperatures using software such as Speccy for an idea on how hot the laptop is getting.

A Case for Recalibrating

Before you go ahead and keep the battery at 100%, however, it’s worth keeping in mind that you may want to run a recalibration on your battery every so often. By doing so, you can ensure your laptop will have an accurate read on your battery level when you do (eventually!) take it off of the mains. You can read all about recalibration in our handy guide.

Plug Problems

Leaving your laptop always plugged in has mixed reactions from users and manufacturers alike, and it can be confusing to get a clear answer. While there are different factors involved, heat is one of the major killers of fully-charged batteries. Keep your battery cool, and if you can’t, remove it to prevent further damage.

Will you be keeping your battery in or taking it out? Does your laptop give you a choice in the matter? Let us know below!

Image credit: Laptop battery charge – by DepositPhotos

How to Easily Read a Linux Man Page

Capture Date: 07.05.2018 23:47:20

One of the most important skills you can learn as a Linux user is how to use a manual page, or “man page.”

This article will introduce you to those simple documents. You’ll learn how to open man pages and identify the contents inside, which will include special markings such as bold and underlined text alongside indicators such as ellipses (…) and brackets ([ ]).

Man pages are fairly easy to tackle, and your time is valuable, so let’s not waste another minute.

Opening Man Pages

In whichever terminal you have on hand, type

to open a man page. If you want to open the page for xterm, a terminal probably on your system, type man xterm.

Man pages are sorted into sections. Sometimes you will find them listed with their section number, like “tty(4).” The section number here refers to the tty controlling terminal under the “Special files (devices)” section, which is part of the standard sections of man pages listed in the link in this paragraph.

Any time you see a listing like “tty(4),” you can reach that section by typing

man <section number> <page name>

The syntax man 4 tty will reach the page reference here.

Finding a Specific Page

If you ever want to see if a man page exists, try

like whatis xterm.

Suppose you don’t know what page you need, but you know you want to read about terminals. You can search for a keyword by first refreshing your manual page cache with the command

Then search with

The syntax man -k terminal is appropriate in this situation.

You can pipe long output into the text reader less by using

That will make it easier to scroll and search for items.

Man Page Syntax

Speaking of text readers, you will probably find less‘s younger cousin, known as more, on your system. Bring up its man page with

It should look like the following image.

Man page for 'more'Man page for 'more'

The reason more‘s man page works well as an example is because of the syntax shown in its Synopsis section. It reads “more [options] file…”

While that may not look complex, the variations in text style and form are all important to that line.

Bold Text

Any text in bold means that you should type it exactly as shown. When using the more utility, you will need to type the word “more” at the beginning of every command.


Text shown in brackets is optional. In more’s case, you can use options like -f to count logical lines or -c to paint lines instead of scrolling them. The beginning of a more command could then look like


Since those parameters are optional, you can omit them entirely.

Underlined or Italicized Text

Depending on your terminal’s capabilities, you will likely see underlined and italicized text in certain places. Sometimes such text may also be a different color. In any case, this type of text means you need to replace it with an appropriate argument.

In this example with more, you must replace “file” with a file name. more -c file.txt makes sense here.


An ellipsis shown after any argument — file... – or expression – [options]... – means that argument or expression is repeatable.

What you get with more in file... means that something like

more -f text.txt anothertext.txt

is allowed. In this case more will read “text.txt,” print it to screen, allow you to scroll if necessary, and then take action on “anothertext.txt.”


One other type of indicator you’ll see in man pages is the “|.” This symbol means “or,” and in a man page it shows you that, for instance, two options are not allowed together at once.

The more example used above doesn’t list any parameters as being exclusive, so there isn’t a relevant example to show for that utility. If you read a handful of other man pages, however, you will come across something like -a|-b, and that means you can use only -a or -b in a command.

Sections of a Man Page

You will also see various sections in man pages that repeat time and time again. Typically, you will see “NAME,” “SYNOPSIS,” “DESCRIPTION,” “EXAMPLES,” and “SEE ALSO” sections, all listed in capital letters for clarity. The “OPTIONS” and “COMMANDS” sections will often be present as well.

Most of the sections are self-explanatory in nature. You can typically start from the top of any man page and get a brief overview of its contents with the Name, Synopsis, and Description sections. Afterward, you can peruse its options and examples to get a look at common usage.

Terminals often use the less utility to read man pages, so you should be able to search for any phrase with /.


While man pages might not be fancy, they hold a wealth of information. Now that you’re primed with the basic syntax found in most man pages, you can easily make use of one the next time you’re stuck when using a utility.

Also, don’t forget that man man is your friend and will cover all the details not discussed here.

Make Your Own DIY Chromecast Replacement With Raspberry Pi

Capture Date: 03.04.2018 22:43:53


You probably already know that you can use your Raspberry Pi as a media center. You can even install Kodi on it for managing media offline and online. But what if you’re happier to leave it running Raspbian as the main operating system?

Well, if you have a mobile device you don’t mind using for managing your media, you could use this to cast a video to your TV. Yes: you can use your Raspberry Pi just like a Chromecast. You won’t be able to use the Cast button on Android, but YouTube videos, pictures, audio and images from your smartphone can be streamed to your TV.

Install the Raspicast App

Get started by installing Raspicast on your Android device. This is a free app that connects to your Raspberry Pi and streams data to it. As long as your Pi is connected to the HDMI input on your TV or display, you’ll be able to view the media on your phone. You’ll find Raspicast in the Google Play app store. Unfortunately, there is no reliable iPhone alternative for this.

Download: Raspicast for Android

It’s important to note that both the Android phone and the Raspberry Pi need to be on the same network for this to work. You can’t, for example, stream video from your phone to your TV if you’re sat on the bus. If you’re trying to share a video with someone sat at home, simply message them the link!

Configure Raspbian

With the app installed, turn your attention to the Raspberry Pi. This should be already connected to your TV via HDMI, and powered up. We tested this on a Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian Stretch. However, you should find it works with other Raspberry Pi distributions (although some of the commands may differ).

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

As you’ll need SSH enabled, here’s a quick primer. You have three options to enable it:

  1. Via raspi-config. You can run this from the command line using sudo raspi-config, then select Interfacing Options > SSH and use the arrow keys to confirm with OK.
  2. Use the Raspberry Pi Configuration tool. From the Raspbian desktop, open Menu > Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration. In the Interfaces tab, find SSH and set it to Enabled.
  3. Finally, if you prefer simplicity, you can enable SSH before you boot up your Pi. Insert the microSD card into your computer, browse to the boot partition, and create a new file. This should be called ssh, and have no file extension. Once you replace the SD card and reboot, SSH should be enabled.

The following can be done via a keyboard connected to your Pi, or using SSH. Check our previous guide to connecting to a Raspberry Pi via SSH. Setting Up Your Raspberry Pi For Headless Use With SSH Setting Up Your Raspberry Pi For Headless Use With SSH The Raspberry Pi can accept SSH commands when connected to a local network (either by Ethernet or Wi-Fi), enabling you to easily set it up. The benefits of SSH go beyond upsetting the daily screening… Read More

Now it’s time to run some updates. Start off by opening a terminal window on your Pi and running:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade

These commands will update your Raspberry Pi’s operating system, and find and install any software updates.

Install and Build OpenMax

With the updates installed, we need some prerequisite packages:

sudo apt-get install libjpeg9-dev libpng12-dev

The packages libjpeg9-dev and libpng12-dev are necessary for building programs that can handle JPG and PNG images. This will enable the media to be cast to your Raspberry Pi via the Raspicast app on Android!

Now, install OpenMax. This tool is the best option for casting video, audio and images from an Android device to a TV-connected Raspberry Pi. It’s available via GitHub, and you can install it by “cloning” the data repository to your Pi:

git clone

This shouldn’t take long.

You’re nearly done; it’s time to build the OpenMax software. Begin by switching to the omxiv directory and using the make command.

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

cd omxiv make ilclient make

This will take a while. Once it’s done, you’ll be ready to install:

sudo make install

A few moments later, OpenMax will be installed!

Get Ready to Cast!

Everything you need to cast from your Android device to your Raspberry Pi is now in place. On Android, run the Raspicast app, and in the SSH settings input the Hostname or IP address of your Raspberry Pi. Follow this with your Pi’s username and password, then click OK.

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

To cast to your Raspberry Pi, you have two options. The first is to browse for the content within the Raspicast app and hit play. Alternatively, if you want to cast from YouTube, find the video in the app and tap the Share button.

Here, select Cast (Raspicast), and the video should automatically play on your TV! Meanwhile, to send videos, music and photos to your Raspberry Pi display, simply use the main Raspicast screen and select Cast. This will open a screen listing all videos on your Android device.

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

On one of the four tabs (along with Music, Albums, and Images), selecting a media file will prompt its immediate playback on your Raspberry Pi.

Need to change the IP address within the app (e.g. to cast to a different Pi)? Open the “three dots” menu and select SSH Settings. Simply input the new IP address and credentials.

More Raspicast Options

Also in the Raspicast menu, you’ll find a check box to Repeat the currently playing file. Further down the list, Audio output can be customized, using HDMI (default), local, both, or alsa. This will prove useful for anyone using an external audio solution with their Pi.

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

You should also check the Advanced options screen. Here you’ll find options for managing a queue of files, managing volume (audio volume offset), using HTTP if necessary (HTTPS is the default), specifying custom commands, and more.

Meanwhile, on the main Raspicast screen, use the Files button to navigate and play media stored on your Raspberry Pi!

You Can Also Cast With Kodi!

Now, there is a downside to all of this: you can’t run Raspicast with a Raspberry Pi running OSMC (a popular Kodi distribution). Unfortunate as this is, there is an alternative: the Kore remote control app for Android devices.

Download: Kore, Official Remote for Kodi

Usually, you’ll use this to remote control Kodi, but it’s also capable of casting to a Kodi system, including OSMC. Simply install the app, set it up with the IP address of your Raspberry Pi, and then head to YouTube. As with Raspicast, tap the Share button on the video you want to cast, then select Play on Kodi.

raspberry pi chromecast diy replacement

This will immediately stream the video to your TV via Kodi!

Other Chromecast Alternatives

The Raspberry Pi isn’t the only alternative to a Chromecast. You might already have a solution that you were unaware of, such as a set-top box or smart TV with YouTube compatibility. In this situation, casting videos from the YouTube app to the TV is usually possible as long as the receiver is on the same network.

Of course, other HDMI streaming solutions exist such as Miracast, but as long as you have a device with an official YouTube app (like the Apple TV), you’ll probably be able to cast to it. Three Wireless Display Technologies That You Probably Own But Don’t Use Three Wireless Display Technologies That You Probably Own But Don’t Use Want to relay your smartphone’s or laptop’s display onto a larger screen without wires? No, it’s not science fiction. You can wirelessly output video from computers and smartphones today. Wireless display technologies use WiFi to… Read More

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Getting Started With Scratch on the Raspberry Pi

Capture Date: 29.03.2018 23:45:35


The Raspberry Pi is a great way to learn both DIY tech and programming on a budget. They are also great cheap computers for kids, with plenty of great learning resources included to help young minds grasp useful concepts for the future.

There are many great beginner projects out there which use the Pi’s GPIO (general-purpose input/output) pins. It’s great for coding too, since the Raspbian operating system comes with Python built-in. There is even a version of Minecraft for the Pi which can help you learn both beginner electronics and Python!

While this is great for people with some coding experience, what if you wanted to teach someone how to use the Pi’s GPIO pins without having to learn a programming language?

With Scratch, you can.

Today we will use Scratch to turn on an LED attached to our GPIO pins, while learning about some basic animation and programming ideas—all without having to type any code! This tutorial is perfect for getting kids involved with DIY electronics and programmatic thinking from an early age. Both the video and the article are perfect for the home or classroom.


What You’ll Need

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

  • 1 x Raspberry Pi with Raspbian installed. A Pi 3 is used today, but any Pi will do
  • 1 x LED
  • 1 x 220 Ohms or higher resistor
  • 1 x breadboard
  • 2 x hookup wires

Setting Up the LED

We want to set up our LED and resistor on the breadboard like this:

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Here is a diagram of that same setup. Notice that in this diagram the LED is the other way around, but the circuit is still exactly the same.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

We want to set it up so that the hookup wire from GPIO pin 5 connects to the leg of our resistor. The resistor’s other leg attaches to the positive side of our LED. If you are wondering which side that is, look at the top of your LED. One side should be curved, and the other side should be flat. The curved side is positive, and the flat side is negative. Use a piece of hookup wire to connect the negative side of the LED to a GND pin.

Check that your circuit is correct, and boot up your Pi! If you are wondering which pin is which, our beginner’s guide to the Pi can help you. Raspberry Pi: The Unofficial Tutorial Raspberry Pi: The Unofficial Tutorial Whether you’re a current Pi owner who wants to learn more or a potential owner of this credit-card size device, this isn’t a guide you want to miss. Read More

Scratch Basics

To open scratch, click on the Raspberry Pi start menu and navigate to Programming > Scratch 2.0. When scratch opens it will look something like this:

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

There is a lot going on here, but it’s quite simple to get the hang of. The left side of the screen is where the action happens. Anything we code will play out in this box.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Just below it is the sprite window where you can load images into your program, or paint your own sprites if you are feeling creative!

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

In the middle panel, you’ll find all of the blocks you can use to make your programs. You’ll also notice two tabs called Costumes and Sounds which you can use to customise your project even more, but today we won’t be using them.

On the right is where you can drag these blocks to make the magic happen!

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

The right side is currently empty. Let’s do something about that!


Before we go any further, we’ll need to add a few blocks to our toolkit to access our GPIO pins and turn on our LED. In the middle panel, click on More Blocks.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Now click Add an Extension and choose Pi GPIO. This will add blocks we can use with our Raspberry Pi pins.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Now that we’ve got all the tools we need, lets make a program!

Light Emitting Cat

Since we already have a cat sprite loaded in, let’s use it. We are going to make a program which makes the cat take a step whenever a button is clicked, and make the LED light up for one second every time. Start by grabbing the move 10 steps block from the Motion tab, and drag it to the empty space on the right. Now click on the More Blocks tab and drag the set GPIO output to to the right and connect it to the bottom of the first block. It should look like this:

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

You’ll notice that there is a number 5 in my GPIO block, click on the white circle and enter the number of your GPIO pin here. If you set up your LED the same way as was shown above, it will also be number 5. Now if you click on the code block it will glow for a moment. This means it is running, so you should see your cat move, and the LED will turn on. Progress!

Making It More Complicated

Now that we have a basic start, let’s add some more logic to our code. Right now, our light comes on and never goes off again. What we want is for it to wait a moment before going off again. We are going to use a wait block for this.

Under the Control tab, grab a wait 1 secs block and attach it to the bottom of your stack. Now the program knows to wait for a second every time it gets there. To turn the LED off again, grab another set GPIO output to block and drag it to the bottom.

This time we want it to turn the LED off, by setting the GPIO to output low. Click the little drop down arrow next to output high and change it to output low. Don’t forget this block also needs the same GPIO number as the one above it!

It should look like this:

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Now when you click the block of code, the cat should move and the LED should turn on for one second before turning off. Right now, this only works when we click our code block. Let’s make a button to do it instead.

Button, Button, I’ve Got the Button!

We need something to click to tell our cat to move. An arrow should do the trick! In the Sprites window on the bottom left, click the button next to New sprite. This will let us choose from a library of sprites that comes with Scratch.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

We are using the sprite Arrow1 as it seems appropriate for our program, but you can use whichever sprite you like. You can even draw your own sprites in Scratch, or upload images you have made elsewhere to use. Once you have added your arrow it should appear in the same pane as your cat on the left. Drag the cat to the left side of the screen and your arrow to the top like this:

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

We need to give our arrow its own set of blocks. Double click on the arrow sprite, you should see that the pane on the right is empty now. We want our cat to run their block of code every time the arrow is clicked.

To do this, grab the when this sprite clicked block from the Events tab. This means that whenever you click on the arrow, its block will start running. Now we need to send a message to our cat whenever that happens. Luckily, Scratch will let us do exactly that.

Receiving You, Loud and Clear!

We will send a message to our cat using the broadcast block. Grab it from the Events tab and slot it under the when this sprite clicked block. This block will send a message to every other sprite in our program. Right now it says message1, but lets add our own message by clicking the drop down arrow next to message1 and selecting new message. Type go into the window that pops up and click ok.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Now double click on the cat again. We need to tell the cat to listen for this broadcast message. Drag the When I receive block to the very top of the stack we have already made, and make sure the drop down menu reads go as well. Now, every time you click the arrow in the left pane it broadcasts go, the cat receives go and moves, and the LED should light up.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Well done! It’s looking good! There is just one final thing we can do to make it even better.

Never-Ending Cat Story

If you’ve clicked your arrow enough times, you’ll probably notice that your cat has gone off the right side of the screen. We could just grab it and drag it back each time, but good programmers are lazy, and they make the code do the work for them. Lets be good programmers and use blocks to make our cat move back by itself.

Drag the cat back to the left side of the screen, and make sure it isn’t touching the edge. Place your mouse pointer over the middle of the cat sprite, and look in the bottom corner of the left pane. There will be an x and a y there followed by two numbers. Write these down, we will need them in a minute.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Every time our cat moves we want to tell it: if you are touching the right side of the screen, go back to the start. We can use blocks to tell it this. Start by grabbing the if then block from the Control tab and drag it under your code blocks. This one looks a bit different, it has a diamond gap at the top, and a gap in the middle. We use these gaps to tell it what to do.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

Now go to the Sensing tab, and select touching mouse-pointer? block. You will notice it is a diamond shape, which fits perfectly into the diamond gap in the if then block. If you are having trouble getting it to fit in, drag it to the right side of the if then first, and move it left until you see the diamond shaped gap glow. You’ll also notice it says mouse-pointer which isn’t what we want. Use the drop down menu to select edge instead.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

So far, this part of the block is saying If the cat touches the edge do… nothing so far. Let’s change that.

Back to the Beginning

Our if <touching edge> then block has a gap that needs filling. Go to the Motion tab, and select the go to x: y: block, and drag it into the gap in our if <touching edge> then block.

Scratch is quite clever, and will have put the x and y numbers where your cat sprite is positioned already, but check that these numbers match the ones you wrote down earlier. If they don’t, change them by clicking on the white boxes next to x: and y:.

The full code block for your cat should look like this.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

This is now a fully functional program! When you click the arrow enough times that your cat hits the other side of the window, he will pop back to the start again.

getting started with scratch on raspberry pi

That’s it, we are finished. Well done!

Now You Can Use Scratch on Raspberry Pi

Today you have created a program which incorporated animation (when the cat moved), DIY electronics (building an LED circuit and controlling it), and some programmer’s logic to make your life a little easier.

All without having to write a single line of code.

If you are a parent or teacher, there are lots of great ways to introduce kids to coding, and plenty of fantastic beginner hardware projects suited for young minds. Anything that makes DIY electronics and computing accessible to children can broaden the way they think and set them up with the fundamentals to learn bigger and better things down the line. 7 Best Coding Apps for Kids to Learn Programming 7 Best Coding Apps for Kids to Learn Programming Coding apps offer ample opportunities to teach children programming. It’s a fun, controlled environment. Rather than send children to a coding boot camp, check out these five coding apps for kids to learn programming. Read More

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How to Create Restricted Guest Accounts in Windows 10 the Easy Way

Capture Date: 11.03.2018 19:36:12


Unless you’re the only one who uses your computer, you probably have multiple accounts on it. This lets everyone do their own work without running into each other. When you need to quickly let someone use your PC, you could go through the process of making a new account every time, but this takes too long.

Why not use a Guest account instead? Microsoft removed the Guest account by default in Windows 10, but you can create your own Guest account in just a moment.


Log into your own account and right-click on the Start Button. Choose Command Prompt (Admin) and enter the following command to create a new account. Replace USERNAME with anything you like, but don’t use Guest since that name is reserved by Windows:

net user USERNAME /add /active:yes 

Next, you’ll need to run the following command to add a password to the account. Since you don’t want a password on a Guest account, enter this command and just press Enter twice to leave it as blank:

net user USERNAME * 

Finally, you’ll need to move this user from the default Users group to the Guest group. Do this by entering the following two commands in this order:

net localgroup users USERNAME /delete net localgroup guests USERNAME /add 

This Guest account can sign into your PC without a password and use any basic apps you have installed. They can browse the web, listen to music, and work in Office, but can’t install software, change settings, or view your files.

If you ever want to remove this account, head to Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. Click the name of the account you made, then the Remove button to delete it.

You could do all of the above through a few Windows menus, but the Command Prompt makes it a lot faster. To further keep your PC secure, make sure you review the best ways to lock Windows.

Do you ever let guests use your PC? How many accounts are on your computer right now? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image Credit: LDprod via Shutterstock

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7 Tips for Using a Raspberry Pi 3 as a Desktop PC with Raspbian

Capture Date: 11.03.2018 15:33:22


Did you know your Raspberry Pi can be used as a desktop PC? Perhaps you’ve already tried building a media center and a retro gaming station, and now you want to settle things down. Maybe your own desktop PC is no longer fit for purpose. Use Your Raspberry Pi Like a Desktop PC Use Your Raspberry Pi Like a Desktop PC There are so many amazing things that you can do with a Raspberry Pi, from running your own space program to building a media centre. Although ostensibly intended as a compact computer that can be… Read More

Either way, the Raspberry Pi 3 (the newer the better!) makes an ideal desktop replacement for basic productivity purposes. But are you getting the best performance? We’re guessing you’re not.

So, if you want to use your Raspberry Pi 3 as a desktop PC and enjoy maximum performance, try these seven tips. Some of them might even work for other Raspberry Pi projects…

1. Apply Our Performance Tweaks

Any version of the Raspberry Pi can be used as a desktop PC, but the more recent Raspberry Pi 3 (released in 2016) is more suited than earlier versions. Whichever device you opt for, you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it.

raspberry pi

The tips you find in this list will help you. But for hardware tweaks to improve overall system performance, ensure you have things like an adequate power supply, and a good quality SD card. We’ve compiled a list of great tweaks to improve your Raspberry Pi’s performance, so check those out before proceeding.

Once you’ve applied those changes, read on!

2. Use the Chromium Browser

Several browsers are available for the Raspberry Pi. While the Vivaldi browser is a good alternative, for the best productivity on the Raspberry Pi 3 you should opt for Chromium. Fortunately this is pre-installed, and you’ll find it in the Internet menu. 8 Great Browsers You Can Run on Your Raspberry Pi 3 8 Great Browsers You Can Run on Your Raspberry Pi 3 Several browsers are available for the Raspberry Pi, but which is best? Should you stick with Chromium, or try one of the others? Let’s find out! Read More

Chromium Browser

There are several reasons why you should use Chromium, not least because it delivers continuity with your current desktop. Assuming you’re using Chromium on Windows or macOS, you can sign into the browser on the Raspberry Pi and sync your favorites, for example.

More importantly, Chromium offers a degree of stability and performance that the other browsers do not (yet). It’s the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s preferred browser for the Pi 3, and has been included since the release of the PIXEL desktop in September 2016. Chromium should run well with the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3; older devices are better served with the Epiphany browser. Upgrade Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian OS With the PIXEL Desktop Environment Upgrade Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian OS With the PIXEL Desktop Environment Since its release in 2012, the Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian operating system has had a few revisions, but the desktop environment had remained largely the same. Pixel changes that. Read More

3. Google Apps Work in Vivaldi!

You may know that the Vivaldi browser has been released with compatibility for ARM devices, including the Raspberry Pi. Among the features of Vivaldi is support for Google apps and Chrome extensions.

Google Apps in Vivaldi

Remember, the Raspberry Pi 3 uses a 1.2 GHz CPU with just 1 Gb of RAM. You’re not going to get PC-like performance out of it, so use with moderation.

Along with apps, however, Chrome extensions will also (mostly) work in Chromium. This is important for enjoying the same browsing experience as you would on a PC or laptop computer.

4. Keep Browser Tabs to a Minimum

Speaking of extensions, it’s a good idea to employ a “session manager” add-on to ensure superior tab management.

Minimize browser tab use

Your best solution here is to run several tab sessions, along with a bookmarking tool. Keep your tabs focused on the task at hand, and save irrelevant reading for later. It’s basic productivity and time management, but becomes more important when you’re using a lower spec machine as your desktop computer.

Even a Raspberry Pi 3 will struggle with over 10 tabs. For the best results, keep it to around five most of the time.

5. Use LibreOffice for Productivity

Although Google Drive is an option via the Chromium browser, you should rely on LibreOffice for a superior office experience. Raspbian Stretch has the open-source office suite built in; you’ll find it in the desktop menu under Office.

LibreOffice for Productivity

Here, you’ll find LibreOffice Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for presentations, Base for database design, and more. It isn’t quite at the level of Microsoft Office, but should be adequate for 95% of users.

If you enjoy using LibreOffice, when the time comes to move away from the Raspberry Pi as a desktop (and return to some of the more interesting uses), you can take the suite with you. LibreOffice is an open source office suite available for Windows and macOS as well as Linux. 20 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi 20 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi With so many cool projects for the Raspberry Pi, it can be hard to decide what to make. In this mega guide, we round up 20 of the very best projects around! Read More

6. Use a Cabled Keyboard and Mouse

The Raspberry Pi 3 has wireless internet and Bluetooth. Despite this, however, it is recommended to rely on a cabled keyboard and mouse for the best performance.

While it is advantageous to run a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or integrated pointing device) for flexibility, power-wise it doesn’t always work out. This is especially the case if you haven’t connected the Raspberry Pi to a reliable power supply.

You may already know that Bluetooth Low Energy is designed to use as little power as possible. But with a computer as low spec and low power as the Pi, even a minor drain can result in power issues. Using cabled peripherals is the best answer here.

7. Install Some Extra Software

Although there is a great selection of applications bundled with the Raspberry Pi’s preferred Raspbian Stretch operating system, you might need a few extras. For instance, you might wish to access the command line quickly: Guake is a good option here.

install software for raspberry pi 3 as desktop

Or you might require access to Dropbox. As this isn’t officially supported on Raspbian (or any Raspberry Pi, as there is no ARM version of Dropbox) you’ll need help. The answer is the Dropbox Uploader tool.

These, and several other useful tools, are featured in our look at the best apps to install on your Raspberry Pi. Top 10 Apps You Should Install on Your Raspberry Pi Top 10 Apps You Should Install on Your Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi is an awesome little computer, but you might not be making best use of it. If your Rasperberry Pi is running a Linux operating system, you’ll need these apps installed! Read More

Are You Using Your Raspberry Pi as a PC?

If you want to use your Raspberry Pi 3 to replace a desktop computer, start with these seven tips to improve productivity. Here’s a recap:

  • Apply Raspberry Pi performance tweaks
  • Use the Chromium browser
  • Favorite Google apps work with Chromium
  • Only open a few browser tabs
  • Rely on LibreOffice for word processing and spreadsheets
  • Avoid using Bluetooth
  • Install some extra apps

We’d like to hear from you if you’ve used your Raspberry Pi in this way. What did you learn? What changes did you make? Or is a Raspberry Pi your main computer right now? Tell us in the comments!

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