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Our Top 10 Favorite Things To Ask Siri!

If your’re one of many people with an Apple iPhone, you’ve probably used Siri’s voice command at some point to schedule a reminder or set an alarm…but did you know there’s a whole bunch of weird stuff you can ask Siri and actually get an unexpected response? Here’s just a few of our favorites, comment below if there’s a good one we missed!

  • 01? Ask Siri, “Is this the real life?” Then prepare to be serenaded by robot Freddy Mercury!
  • 02? Siri is a true fan of cinema… Just ask her what “Inception” or “The Matrix (1999) are about.
  • 03? She’s also a hopeless romantic. Ask Siri “Will you go on a date with me?” or “Do you have a girlfriend?”
  • 04? Also try asking her “What are you wearing?” She may surprise you.
  • 05? Ask Siri “Can you beatbox?”. Then get out your glow sticks and prepare to RAVE!
  • 06? “Is Winter coming?” Fans already know that Winter is here, but it’s still funny!
  • 07? “What is zero divided by zero? Proof that Siri knows math AND sarcasm.
  • 08? Ask Siri “Do you like Pokemon Go?” at least 5 times, she has a lot to say on the subject!
  • 09? Feeling poetic? Ask Siri, “Read me a Haiku”. She has several in her repertoire.
  • 10? Or if you’re in a spiritual mood, ask her what the meaning of life is. She has several responses!

Chrome Web Extension: **Show Hidden Passwords!**

If you visit and join half as many websites as we do, you’ve almost certainly forgotten a password or two over the years. This useful browser add-on reveals any hidden passwords you have saved! All you have to do is click the password field on any website where it auto-fills it with asterisks (*******), and then click on the “Show Password” button in your browser’s toolbar. It will then reveal your stored password! We find this much easier than resetting/recovering passwords and trying to remember which e-mail each website is linked to. ?

Visit here to download the Google Chrome Extension.

If you found this plugin useful or have any others you think we should be using, feel free to comment below!

App Review: Amazon Fire Stick Remote Control

The Amazon Fire Stick is great for video streaming but has a tiny remote control. After misplacing mine for the hundredth time, I decided to go online and see how much an extra remote would cost to buy ($15 from Amazon)

I discovered a better solution,

The Totally Free Amazon Fire Remote App!

WHY IT’S AWESOME:

  • Allows you to pause, rewind, fast forward, and navigate all menus and apps with touch-screen swipe controls.
  • The On-Screen Keyboard & Voice Search lets you find content quickly.
  • You’re far less likely to lose your phone than a remote, so you’ll always be in control!

 

HOW TO USE IT:

  • Just download the free app on any phone or tablet connected to the same WiFi as your Fire Stick.
  • Open the app, and choose your Amazon device.
  • Enter the code that will be displayed on your TV, and you’re good to go!

TROUBLESHOOTING: 

  • If you have trouble pairing the app to your TV, try re-starting the app, or re-starting your phone.
  • If that doesn’t work, try re-booting your Amazon Fire device by unplugging it for 3 seconds from the wall and plugging it back in. This will fix most issues!

WHY IT’S AWESOME:

  • Allows you to pause, rewind, fast forward, and navigate all menus and apps with touch-screen swipe controls.
  • The On-Screen Keyboard & Voice Search lets you find content quickly.
  • You’re far less likely to lose your phone than a remote, so you’ll always be in control!

 

HOW TO USE IT:

  • Just download the free app on any phone or tablet connected to the same WiFi as your Fire Stick.
  • Open the app, and choose your Amazon device.
  • Enter the code that will be displayed on your TV, and you’re good to go!

TROUBLESHOOTING: 

  • If you have trouble pairing the app to your TV, try re-starting the app, or re-starting your phone.
  • If that doesn’t work, try re-booting your Amazon Fire device by unplugging it for 3 seconds from the wall and plugging it back in. This will fix most issues!

Celebrate Book Lover’s Day – and your local library!

Libraries across the world now offer more than just old books. They’ve updated with lots of fun and modern resources that you can access for free!

Download free books, movies & audio books from overdrive.com. Your library card grants you access to thousands of books & audio books – including new releases!

Borrow blockbuster movies on DVD and Blu-Ray for free.

Download or stream free digital music or borrow actual CD’s & vinyl records.

Use their inter-library lending service to get books from other town’s libraries delivered right to you.

Borrow comic books, graphic novels & even Japanese Manga.

Ask about State Park & museum passes, many libraries have a limited amount they can hand out for free every month.

Borrow some tech! Some libraries allow you to borrow some really cool devices like cameras, tools, e-readers & even mobile hot-spot devices. Some libraries even offer actual musical instrument rentals for aspiring young musicians that can’t afford to buy one!

Use free conference rooms for business meetings, professional meet-ups, or offer your own workshop or class!

Does your local library offer some cool programs or features that are not on our list? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

Chrome Browser Extension Review-FlixAssist for Netflix

FlixAssist: Removes the “Continue watching” & 30-second delay between Netflix shows!

Are you sick of Netflix constantly judging you while you’re in the middle of your 6-hour “Parks & Rec” marathons? The simple Chrome browser extension “FlixAssist” will automatically click the “Continue watching” button for you as soon as it pops up!  Also, to make it even easier for you to stayed plugged into “the Matrix” without being sucked back into reality, the app removes the 30 second countdown timer in between episodes. We truly are living in the future. ? You can install Flix Assist HERE.

Now, just sit back with your snacks under your Slanket, and prepare to watch way more TV than one person should!

Mobile App Review: Marco Polo Video Walkie-Talkie!

Marco Polo is a trendy app that’s pretty much a video walkie-talkie, but with some sweet filters and effects! Normally I’m not interested in any form of communication aside from texting or email, but my friend encouraged me to try out Marco Polo and promised I’d have fun with it.

At first I wasn’t too impressed, because it just seemed like another version of Snapchat. My friend and I could easily take video clips and instantly send them back and forth. The video effect filters are cool, but there are only a handful to choose from. The big difference I noticed was it lets you re-watch all of the messages in the conversation, unlike Snapchat.

I was about to give up on it, but then my friend sent me a message with one of the voice filters…I literally laughed out loud for a solid 30 seconds at the sound of him in the high-pitched helium voice, it really caught me off guard! ? It may be silly, but the ability to make my voice sound like a robot or chipmunk is a good enough reason to have some fun with the app.

I then discovered perhaps the best, or at least most useful part, of the Marco Polo app. You have the ability to actually draw, in real-time, on the screen in different colors over your videos! This is incredibly useful if you’re trying to help someone fix or do something remotely and you need to help them visually understand what you’re describing. I’m honestly surprised that this feature doesn’t already exist by default on all smart phones!

In the end, I kept Marco Polo for the live-drawing feature, but I occasionally do have fun sending silly videos to random friends that also use the app.

If you use Marco Polo and have an opinion or funny story about using it, feel free to comment below!

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5 Tips To Help You Sell More Items on eBay!

As someone with “Top Rated” status, over 1,500 positive feedback (at 100%), and over 1,000 items listed for sale, I’m writing this article to share my favorite eBay tips, tricks, and best selling practices. If you follow these guidelines, I’m confident you will increase profits and succeed as an eBay seller.

For my companion article for buying on eBay, visit: 5 Things Every eBay Buyer Should Know!

1) Upload Great Images!

The first thing people see when they search for an item on eBay is the image. It’s staggering how many sellers still use low quality & unclear pictures in their listings, when it’s so easy to take great photos that help to sell items exponentially faster. You don’t need a fancy digital camera. Nowadays, most smart phones come equipped with excellent cameras.

WRONG!

WRONG!

CORRECT!

BE SURE TO TAKE CLEAR IMAGES & CROP THE EDGES AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

Secondly, unless you’re selling an unusually large or weird shaped item, a few pieces of white poster board from your local CVS or craft store are the perfect surface for taking pics. As long as the room has a fairly bright ceiling light or lots of natural sunlight coming in, you can just lay the paper(s) on the floor and take the pics from above. You can also use your camera’s options to adjust the brightness if needed, and be sure to crop the image as much as possible! I can’t tell you how many listings I’ve immediately dismissed because the seller left his big, hairy, bare feet showing in the bottom of the image and it grossed me out! ?

2) Fill Your Title With Keywords.

The titles of your listings can be up to 80 characters long.  While you shouldn’t spam your title with extra keywords unrelated to your item, you should fill the 80 characters with as many relevant words as you can. I often see sellers make the mistake of leaving wasted space in their titles. If a potential buyer searches eBay using a descriptive word that this seller left out, their listing will not be shown, and another seller (who included the word in their title) will likely get the sale.

THIS TITLE USES ALL AVAILABLE SPACE & HAS LOTS OF KEYWORDS!

For example, someone selling a tee-shirt of “The Vulture” character from the new Spider-Man movie might title their listing as: “The Vulture Tee Shirt, Size XL”.

Whereas I would use the title “NEW! Marvel Comics Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Shirt (feat. Vulture) – Men’s XL”.

My title uses all 80 characters and includes only relevant info. I added the “Marvel Comics” brand, the full name of the actual movie, and noted that it’s a men’s shirt. These extra keywords may get me a buyer that was searching for Spider-Man: Homecoming items, but not necessarily the Vulture. Still, they may love the design once they see it, and if your price is just right and you have a good description/images they may just buy it!

3) Keep your descriptions short & sweet.

A simple, two paragraph description that sounds honest, and like it was written by a real person will sell an item faster than a long-winded page in a fancy template that looks like it was made by a retail store.

Buyers on eBay know they are often shopping from private collectors and amateur sellers. By offering a short and accurate description of an item, as well as clear images, it may help make the sales process seem more personal and friendly to the buyer. Also, try not to re-use the same description for every item and just change the title and images. This makes the seller seem too lazy to write in specific details about the item and many buyers will simply move on to a different listing instead of messaging the seller and waiting for a response about the product.

My general formula for descriptions is:

1-2 sentences with the basic details of the item. (What it is, who made it, and any special reasons why the item may be rare or valuable)

1-2 sentences describing as close as possible the condition of the item and any noticeable damage or imperfections. Be as honest as possible, and don’t try to hide anything! Buyers will appreciate your full disclosure and trust you more easily, and you’ll get far less returns, complaints, and negative feedback about imperfect items.

1 sentence about the shipping and insurance options.

– Finally, I like to close with 1 sentence encouraging the buyer to closely review my title, images and description, and to message me with any questions before buying. This helps to ensure they buy the item they truly want and won’t be surprised or disappointed by anything when they receive the item!

4) Choose the right category & fill in the product details!

Be sure to list your item in the category that is most relevant to your product. If your item is in the wrong category or sub-category, buyers may not see it when they search!

For example, you can list a new Star Wars toy under the category “Toys & Hobbies–>Action Figures–>TV, Movie & Character Toys”. Or, you can be more specific and list it under “Collectibles–>Science Fiction & Horror–>Star Wars–>VIII: The Last Jedi”. This helps people searching for only Last Jedi figures find your listing faster.

Also, be sure to fill in as many item details as possible, especially when selling apparel & accessories. Many people will use filters when looking for items, so if they filter out only “XL” sized shirts and your sizes field in blank, they won’t see your item when searching!

5) Try To Price Competitively.

If you’re dealing with a very rare or high priced item, you may be able to charge more than usual and get away with it, but more often there will be other people selling the same item, and their listing prices may vary greatly. In this case, if you’re trying to sell your item quickly, try to price it just below the cheapest or average price.

It’s good practice to research your competition, and be sure to look at completed (sold) listings and see what people are actually paying for an item. For example, I often see a collectible that has only few available listings for sale around $100, but the completed items have lots of listings that sold for $50 or less!

This is because the item may have a certain retail price that owners expect to always be its minimum value, but as we all know, the market (via supply and/or demand) dictates the price of most items. In this case, the average person is not willing to pay more than $50 for this item. So, you can list it for $100 and hope to sell it eventually, or list it for $40-60 and maybe sell it in a day or two!

If you have any questions about buying or selling on eBay, please feel free to contact us or comment below. Thanks for reading!

How To Get A Windows 7 Start Menu For Windows 10!

Windows 10 has lots of awesome new features, but many of us miss the classic start menus we had in Windows 7. Luckily, there is a great program called “Classic Shell” that allows us to get back our familiar start menu, along with customizable options to truly make it our own.

First, you’ll want to download the program from www.classicshell.net. It is 100% free, but if you appreciate the program, consider making a donation to thank the developers.

Once Classic Shell is finished installing, click the start menu and you should see that it’s already working. What you’ll want to do is RIGHT CLICK your mouse on the start menu and click “Settings”. The first tab you’ll see allows you to choose one of three styles of classic start menus.

If you like the appearance as is, you won’t have to change anything, but try out the different styles to find the one you like best!

We hope this program allows you to enjoy Windows 10 as much as we do, but if you have any trouble installing “Classic Shell” (or any other software), feel free to contact Brainy Beaver at any time!

How To Protect Yourself From Ransomware

It makes me sad to see how many of our customers are falling victim to ransomware attacks, especially since it could easily have been avoided.

I had my first ransomware encounter in 2006, when a virus called “Trojan.Pgpcoder” infected a friend’s PC.

It locked away all her pictures, music, movies, and documents and demanded hundreds of dollars for the unlock key. I’d never seen it before, but did some research and was able to salvage much of her data using data recovery techniques.

I didn’t really see anything like it again until 2013, when I was suddenly inundated with calls to remove the “FBI Moneypak” virus.

This infection also locked users out of their computer unless they paid hundreds of dollars, but I was able to fix these by booting to safe mode, removing the startup items, and running a scan with MalwareBytes before rebooting and doing full scans.

Last month my customers, and even my peers, fell victim to the WannaCry virus. Like the 2006 trojan, this virus encrypts the data (pics, docs, vids, music) and demands hundreds of dollars to unlock.

Unlike the 2006 trojan however, I CAN’T FIX THIS – NO-ONE CAN!

It overwrites the existing files with a new copy with an (impossible-to-crack) encryption. Your only option, once infected, is to restore data from an uninfected backup, or pay and pray. Many victims who’ve paid the ransom never got a response.

There was a new version released to the wild today, called PETYA and it’s the fastest spreading version ever released. It’s even taken down Chernobyl’s radiation monitoring, forcing them to use manual controls.

Quickbooks, baby photos, college essays, inventory data, and a memoir in progress are just some of the things I’ve seen lost to encryption-based ransomware, and it’s spreading FAST!

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM RANSOMWARE:

To protect yourself from this disaster, you’ll need three things.

  1. A solid real-time antivirus like MalwareBytes, or Kaspersky, that it fully up-to-date.
  2. A recent backup to the cloud, or an offline device like an external hard drive.
  3. The Microsoft Windows Update that includes the patch released on March 14th.

Please! If you need help, contact Brainy Beaver.  We always get panicked calls from unfortunate victims, when it’s too late to do anything but wipe their computers clean. You can prevent irrevocable data loss with some simple updates, and a quick backup of your PC!

How To Download Netflix Videos For Offline Viewing

Netflix, in an effort to keep a competitive edge on other streaming services like Amazon and Hulu, recently added the ability to download movies and TV shows from their app for offline viewing! This is amazing if you like to watch stuff on the go while traveling or waiting in line somewhere, especially if you don’t have a strong wireless signal or unlimited data.

This feature is currently supported for Android (version 4.4.2 or later), Apple iOS (version 8 or later), and Windows 8/10, so you can download videos to your smart phone, tablet, or Windows 8 or 10 computer.

If you need help upgrading your computer to Windows 8 or 10, feel free to contact Brainy Beaver and we’ll be happy to upgrade your desktop or laptop if it can handle the new operating system.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD:

ON YOUR COMPUTER:

Offline downloading is currently supported only for Windows 8 & 10. If you’d like some help upgrading your computer to Windows 10, feel free to contact Brainy Beaver. First, you’ll want to make sure you have the newest version of the Netflix app from the Windows Store app, since the feature does not currently work from within a web browser. Once you’re in the Netflix app, click on the hamburger menu in the top left corner and you’ll see a link that says “Available for Download”. This will instantly show you a list of all the videos currently able to be downloaded offline.

You can also look for the “Download and Go” button next to each video once you click on a movie or TV show. You can easily get to your downloaded videos by clicking the “My Downloads” button from the menu.

ON YOUR ANDROID OR iPHONE:

While in the Netflix app (make sure you’ve updated to the latest version) on your phone, click on the hamburger menu in the top left corner and you’ll see a link that says “Available for Download”. This will instantly show you a list of all the videos currently able to be downloaded offline!

You can also click on any video in the app, and if it’s available for download you’ll see a download button just below the description. You can easily get to your downloaded videos by clicking the “My Downloads” button from the menu.

A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND…

The videos you download may take up considerable space on your hard drive, so make sure you have enough room on your device or laptop to store the files. You also have the option to download videos in standard or higher quality, allowing you to download them faster and take up less space if you’re ok with losing a bit of video quality. You can get to this option by clicking on the “App Settings” link from the menu and choosing a “Video Quality”

You also may want to download your videos ahead of time while on your home WiFi to save data and time, since downloads can take a while depending on their file size and your internet connection speed.

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