Make an illuminated Christmas tree

LXG Design has a good Facebook page where they come up with electronic and tech projects which are quite inventive but achievable. The illuminated Christmas tree is cute and the instructions are clear. Have fun making one. The LXG Design You Tube channel has lots of ideas and their videos are very good at making you feel like you, too, can make something like that.

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Alexa AI on Raspberry Pi 3

Christopher Barnatt is the consummate professional when it comes to making instructional videos about the Raspberry Pi. Everything is presented carefully and in an organised fashion and the visual aspect of his videos has been honed to perfection. This video is clear, instructive and easy to follow. Christopher Barnatt is a professional futurist and is very comfortable in a changing world which relies on technology development. He wants us to be too and as a consequence he gives us ideas to work on which we can follow. Alexa AI 10, 000 skills available now. Tech Republic has a quick overview of what Alexa AI can do . The video shows you how to set up Alexa AI on a Raspberry Pi 3. I haven’t done it yet and even though I have the recommended wifi dongle for the Pi 2 I may not have sufficient processing power. I might try it and then work out whether I really need a Raspberry Pi 3. Nice little project for a rainy day.

Keep IT knowledge up to date

wizard installs softwareAs I have mentioned before on this blog, the internet shifts about every six months and you have to make some functional and cognitive adjustments to realign yourself with it. It’s not doing that to be difficult. IT is developing at a rapid rate and our skills and knowledge are growing at an exponential rate. Keeping up with the trends is as simple as staying connected with good sites which bring you the up to date news. You won’t want to know all of it and you won’t be able to take it all in. You will know what is happening, though, and you will find things which you immediately connect with. Better Cloud is a site I like to visit and I subscribe to their daily email. I do want to know how to keep Google secure and you might want to know how to explain IT developments and changes to non IT people. There is at least one thing every day which is of value to me…even if it’s just looking at the memes they put up from time to time. One of the acronyms you find frequently on the site is SaaS = software as service. We have the hardware. Big developments and improvements are being made in how software looks, functions and delivers. Much of that it to do with subscription services and hosting 3rd party software elsewhere but you pay to subscribe or sometimes there’s a free and then a premium version. It’s where the cloud services are gaining traction and becoming more important.

Mac Apps

It’s exciting to find really good apps for your device or laptop. MacApps can be very reliable and helpful depending what you want to do with your MacBook. Beware apps which drain system resources . You can locate System Monitor in Spotlight to check which apps are heavy on system resources and would be draining your battery. Press the stop icon to stop them from running. My best cleaner for the MacBook is Onyx . It has been reliable over a number of years. The comments underneath the video mention Alfred and that is a very good app if it’s the sort of thing you want. The Mac lets you know about battery charge so I am not sure why you would want a third party one. The video lets you know about 30 good apps. You will probably know about Google Drive and Evernote but here are 28 other apps worth considering which you might not know about.

Messing with monitors

display settingsI bought a new , secondhand LG Cinema 3D D2542 monitor because I wanted to replace my old VGA only monitor which had served me well. I then moved the acer T230H into the second monitor position. Working on monitors is not my favourite job. The plugs and connections are down underneath at the back which is awkward to say the least. You can’t see anything easily and it’s a lot of fiddling around. I am not sure why they cannot be on the side or the back as on a TV set but there has to be a logical reason or they wouldn’t persist.

As the main monitor the acer T230H was crystal clear and very high definition. As the second monitor it is duller and this appears to be a common problem which has not been resolved. I am still working on it. There has to be a solution. With monitors there are so many things to consider.

On both the monitors I first adjusted the settings on the monitors themselves. With the LG that meant turning off all the 3D settings which were making the picture blurry. With the acer I have it set to video quality. I’d prefer a slider bar for brightness because essentially

Dual Monitorsthat is the issue.

With the acer monitor I adjusted the size of the text and apps in the display setting on Windows 10  under the settings icon in the start menu and that is such a convenient utility for the second monitor. For both the monitors I went into control panel appearance and then advanced settings and then the monitor tab to ensure they were both running at 60 Hz. The LG had set itself to 23Hz for some reason. I also adjusted the LG in the Radeon widget . I then downloaded drivers for the LG and rebooted. It was picture perfect now as a 2D monitor.

The acer is running on a DVI connection and the LG is running on HDMI. The last thing I can think of doing is swapping cables and also trying a VGA cable to the acer. It is a bit annoying I can only get it this far so I am hoping to find the solution. As it stands, though, I love my new, cool set up.

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