Make SMS Useful Again: 7 Services That Use SMS Messages Cleverly

Make SMS Useful Again: 7 Services That Use SMS Messages Cleverly


Thanks to instant messaging apps, you probably don’t use plain old SMS on your phone too often. Messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram are faster, more reliable, and have tons of other modern features SMS lacks.

But SMS is around to stay on your phone and despite what you may think, it has a lot to offer. We’ve rounded up several cool services that make good use of SMS.

1. Send Automated Reminders With Remindr

Automate SMS with Remindr

Because many people receive SMS messages infrequently, surveys suggest people have a tendency to attend to texts more promptly than IMs. A service called Remindr leverages this by letting you easily schedule SMS reminders.

Once you’ve signed up, Remindr allows you to compose groups of contacts. You can automate a reminder and send it at a specific time to everyone with the click of a button. You have the option to schedule messages days, weeks, or even months in advance. Remindr is thus ideal if you’re planning a party or running a business.

Since Remindr sends messages for you, it’s not free. A one-time fee will top up your account with 250 credits; you can buy more depending on your use as you go.

Visit: Remindr ($ 13)

2. Set Up Kitestring for SMS-Based Checkups

Kitestring SMS service

If you often venture into the wild, you probably can’t connect to mobile data all the time. Kitestring, an SMS-based service, is a way to let your loved ones know you’re safe when adventuring.

After signing up for the service, tell it what time you’re going out. During your expedition, it will send you texts every so often. If it doesn’t receive a response from you, Kitestring will alert the contact you’ve chosen with a personalized message. The service works overseas, which means it’s suitable for trips. Just keep in mind that roaming charges may apply.

Kitestring is free, with a limit of three sessions a month and one emergency contact. To avoid these limits, you’ll need to pay $ 3 per month.

Visit: Kitestring (Free, subscription available)

3. Get Critical Weather Alerts Over SMS

Get weather alerts over SMS with WeatherWatchAlerts

During national emergencies, you might not be able to count on internet-based services for accurate updates or reliable connectivity. Fortunately, you can enroll for updates on weather conditions through SMS with WeatherWatchAlerts.

This website allows you to sign up for forecast alerts by SMS or email. The service relies on the National Weather Service for data and is capable of informing you minutes after a new broadcast releases.

You can also pick which type of warnings you’d like to keep tabs on, such as Flood Watch, 911 Telephone Outage, Severe Weather Statement, and more. Plus, it lets you configure alerts for more than one location and add multiple email or SMS contacts.

There’s a free 30-day trial, after which you have to shell out for a subscription.

Visit: WeatherWatchAlerts ($ 15 per year, free trial available)

4. Configure SMS-Based Anti-Theft Protection (Android Only)

If you lose your phone, internet-powered Android anti-theft apps can help you locate it, but they don’t always work perfectly. SMS is often a more dependable medium in such situations. On Android, a few anti-theft services, such as Cerberus, can trigger a bunch of actions from commands transmitted by SMS texts.

For instance, when you text “Cerberus password find” from a different phone, Cerberus will return your lost phone’s coordinates. Similarly, the “Cerberus password takepicture” command will snap a photo with the front-facing camera and email the picture to you. In addition, you can send an email or SMS alert to an emergency contact when it detects a swapped SIM card.

Download: Cerberus ($ 5 per year, free trial available)

5. Take Advantage of IFTTT’s SMS Applets


IFTTT has the ability to supercharge SMS by letting you pair it up with any other platform. The service offers a wide range of applets, through which you can link your favorite apps with SMS. The majority of these add-ons are built for notifying you whenever a new event occurs.

For instance, if you own a Google Wi-Fi, you can opt-in to get a notification as soon as a user connects to your network. While browsing the catalog, you will also find several fun recipes to try. One of them lets you play music on your phone by simply texting yourself “#playmusic”.

IFTTT is one of the most powerful services available on the web. But it can be overwhelming the first time you log in. For people unfamiliar with it, we have an in-depth guide on how to use IFTTT like a pro.

Download: IFTTT for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Stay Connected With Twitter and Facebook

Enable SMS notifications on Twitter

If you’re in an area with a weak connection but still want to stay on top of your social profiles, you can do so with SMS. Both Facebook and Twitter are compatible with SMS and can keep you updated through texts.

Both services let you get notifications over SMS. Twitter even allows tweeting via a text message, though Facebook does not have any like this. All you need to do is ping your country’s shortcode to use these services.

Before you do so, though, you need to add your phone number to your account (if you haven’t done that already). Once that’s done, head over to the Facebook Texts help page or Twitter’s SMS help page for info.

7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

SMS can also help you secure your online accounts through two-factor authentication. The feature adds an additional layer of security and requires you to enter a one-time code sent via SMS along with your password to log in.

It doesn’t cost you anything and is free to activate. Two-step verification is available for most platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and many more. Note that every two-factor authentication method has drawbacks, so SMS might not be your best choice.

View and Respond to SMS Texts on Your Computer

These services open several new doors for SMS and make the aging messaging standard an essential aspect of your digital life again. internet-based services still have their own downsides and with the aforementioned tips, you can effortlessly fill those gaps with SMS.

If you’ve begun to use SMS more often now, you’ve probably felt the need for a desktop client. Here are the best ways to view and respond to SMS texts on your computer.

Read the full article: Make SMS Useful Again: 7 Services That Use SMS Messages Cleverly


8 Useful Google Tools and Apps You May Have Overlooked


Google’s ecosystem of services has exponentially ballooned over the years. Whether it’s the smart home market, mobile, entertainment, or the web, Google has managed to attain a dominant position in a wide range of sectors.

Being such a large conglomerate, Google also has a number of lesser-known products apart from the chartbusters. Here are some useful Google tools and apps you may have overlooked and should give a try.

1. Google Shopping

Google Shopping homepage

Google Shopping is an aggregator platform that lets you browse listings from a bunch of e-commerce services. The website functions as an extension to the widgets Google displays when you look up a particular product on its search engine.

On Google Shopping, you can search for items and check their availability as well as pricing on wherever they’re up for sale. In addition, dedicated pages for products can be accessed directly on Google Shopping and you can even read their reviews and descriptions.

Google Shopping also takes cues from the data Google has on you such as your browsing habits and suggests products you might be interested in. It’s compatible with several categories including Electronics, Skin Care, Books, and more.

2. Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is from the company’s hardware division and is a digital whiteboard for enterprises. Jamboard is essentially a 55-inch, 4K touchscreen on which teams can scribble and discuss.

Since the board can connect to the internet, all your sessions are uploaded automatically eliminating the need for you to manually take pictures.

Plus, there are a series of collaboration tools that enables you to work together with remote employees too. Jamboard can detect up to 16 touchpoints at once so that multiple users can sketch and brainstorm.

3. Google Sites

Google Sites demo

Google Sites is a design tool for quickly developing mockups for new websites. It features a straightforward layout where you can drag and drop elements and edit them however you want without going through any learning curves.

Google Sites also offers a couple of themes you can apply. On top of that, you have the ability to create and link pages for producing the entire website.

Moreover, Sites integrates well with Google’s other products such as Sheets, Docs letting you import documents or charts. You can share your sites with other users and collaborate with them in real time.

Once you’re done with the design, you can preview the site and publish it at a custom URL if you’d like to instantly share it with someone else.

Want to understand the extent of Google Sites’ capabilities? Learn how to make your own website using Google Sites.

4. Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions is primarily built for classrooms and comes with guided virtual reality tours for students. The apps host a vast library with trips ranging from the outer space to historical landmarks.

With Google Expeditions, you can explore key sights in 360-degree while a narrator details the stories behind them. Google says there are over 200 lessons and all of them can be streamed for free. Furthermore, Google has been gradually Augmented Reality experiences to the app lately.

If you don’t have a VR headset, Google Expeditions can render in 2D as well. It can be installed on both iOS and Android.

5. Google Trusted Contacts

Trusted Contacts useful Google apps

Google’s Trusted Contacts is a safety app using which you can keep tabs on your loved ones’ whereabouts. You can share your location with your trusted contacts in real-time and request theirs.

Users have the option to temporarily or permanently give access to their location and revoke whenever they want to. On the app, people can post updates too while they’re in transit to inform others about their status.

What’s more, there’s an emergency feature which automatically shares your location with your trusted contacts if you don’t respond to a request in a specific time period.

6. Google Domains

Google domains search

Google Domains is another handy utility by the company that, as the name suggests, lets you manage and purchase domains. On Google Domains, you can buy new addresses or transfer your existing ones if you find the interface more appealing.

In addition, it offers a series of other tools for tasks you need to perform after acquiring a new domain. That includes site creation apps from Google’s partners like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, and services to form a custom email account.

Google also throws in a few complimentary add-ons such as a privacy filter, customizable sub-domains, email forwarding, and more. It supports all the extensions as well whether you want .biz or .dev.

7. Google Tilt Brush

Tilt Brush is a full-fledged painting app for high-end Virtual Reality headsets such as HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. Google Tilt Brush houses every tool you would need to draw a masterpiece out of thin air. It turns your room into a canvas and all you need to do to doodle is wave your hand.

There is a multitude of brush options, color palettes, and shades. Google Tilt Brush can even connect with Poly so that you can upload your artwork to the web.

Google also offers a handful of tutorial videos if you’d like to get started and understand how to operate it.

8. Google One

Google revamped its cloud storage subscriptions a while back. It’s now called Google One and includes much more than just additional cloud space.

Apart from extra storage, Google One brings you 24/7 access to Google Support, the option to share your plan with up to five other family members, Google Store discounts, Google Play credits, and more.

It’s not available globally but it can be bought in a ton of regions such as the United States. Google One starts at $ 1.99/month for 100GB and goes all the up to $ 9.99/month. The additional storage is applied across most of Google products like Drive, Gmail, and Photos.

More Google Apps You Might Have Never Heard Of

Google has expanded its reach into a wide gamut of internet fields. Most of the time, however, users don’t go past its leading services such as Google Maps and Google Search.

The aforementioned apps are just some of Google’s lesser-known products. There are a bunch of other Google apps you might have never heard of.

Read the full article: 8 Useful Google Tools and Apps You May Have Overlooked


9 Useful Ways to Control Sound in Windows 10


Back in the day, there were very few ways you could control the volume on your Windows computer. However, Windows 10 plays well with smartphones, remote desktop connections, different software fixes, and more. Now there are more ways to control the volume in Windows 10 than ever before.

Here are some of the best ways to control the sound in Windows 10.

Are you looking for something specific?

  1. Control Windows 10 Sound Using Remote Mouse for iOS
  2. Control Windows 10 Sound Using PC Remote for Android
  3. Use EarTrumpet to Control Individual App Volume in Windows 10
  4. Restrict Volume Range in Windows 10 Using Speaker Locker
  5. Control Windows 10 Volume Using Your Mouse Wheel
  6. Change the Windows 10 On-Screen Volume Using 3RVX
  7. Use Audio and Volume Control Rainmeter Skins
  8. Use AutoHotKey to Control Windows 10 Volume
  9. Control Windows 10 Volume Using Mouse Gestures via StrokePlus

1. Control Windows 10 Sound Using Hippo Remote Lite for iOS

Hippo Remote Lite is a free iOS app that gives you remote control of your Windows 10 machine. Hippo Remote Lite offers a decent range of functionality for free. You can easily turn your iOS device into a Windows 10 remote control.

Controlling the volume is incredibly easy, too.

  1. Download Hippo Remote Lite for iOS
  2. Download and install Hippo Remote Lite Server for Windows (also available for macOS and Linux)
  3. Connect your iOS device and computer to the same Wi-Fi network and create the connection
  4. Control the volume on your Windows 10 machine using the volume switch on your iOS device or the slider within the Hippo Remote Lite app

See, simple!

Volume control is far from the only thing Hippo Remote Lite does. You can use it as a keyboard or media controller, plus it has support for Boxee, XMBC, and Plex.

Download: Hippo Remote Lite for iOS (Free)

Download: Hippo Remote Lite Server for Windows | macOS | Linux (Free)

2. Control Windows 10 Sound Using PC Remote for Android

Next up, you can use PC Remote for Android to control the sound on your Windows 10 machine. Like Remote Mouse, you install PC Remote to your Android device and a server version to your Windows 10 desktop or laptop. You can then make a connection using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, controlling the sound of your Windows 10 machine direct from your Android device.

  1. Download PC Remote for Android
  2. Download and install PC Remote for Windows
  3. Connect your Android device and computer to the same Wi-Fi network, or via Bluetooth
  4. Control the volume on your Windows 10 machine using the volume switch on your Android device or the slider within the PC Remote app

Again, simple!

PC Remote has a bunch of extensive functionality, too. For instance, it has numerous built-in game controller configurations so you can use the PC Remote to control your favorite games. It has integrated file transfers, direct streaming from your Android device camera to your Windows machine, app launch support, specialized keyboards, and much more.

Download: PC Remote for Android | iOS (Free)

Download: PC Remote Server for Windows (Free)

3. Use EarTrumpet to Control Individual App Volume in Windows 10

windows 10 volume control EarTrumpet

EarTrumpet is a fantastic piece of open source software that gives you vastly more control over Windows 10 volume control. The single best feature of EarTrumpet is the control you have over multiple audio input and outputs for a single system. Instead of having to use the Control Panel or Windows 10 Settings, EarTrumpet creates an individual volume panel for each audio device. Better still, it integrates perfectly with Windows 10, appearing as a native Windows application.

Another ridiculously handy feature is dragging and dropping applications playing audio into different audio devices, plus the control over the volume of those individual apps.

Download: EarTrumpet for Windows (Free)

4. Restrict Volume Range in Windows 10 Using Speaker Locker

windows 10 volume control speaker locker

At times, you may need to restrict the volume range available to Windows 10 users. Greennaturesoft’s Speaker Locker does just that. Speaker Locker has four options:

  • Keep speaker volume muted
  • Restrict speaker volume to an upper limit
  • Keep speaker volume to an exact level
  • Restrict speak volume to a lower limit

Best of all, you can combine those volume limits with operation times. For instance, you can set the volume level to remain below 50-percent between 6 AM and midday, but then above 75-percent from midday until 5 PM.

Speaker Locker has administrative passwords so that other users cannot disable it. You can also set Speaker Locker to start with Windows to make sure it is always in place.

Download: Speaker Locker for Windows (Free)

5. Control Windows 10 Volume Using Your Mouse Wheel

windows 10 volume control volumouse

You can control the volume in Windows 10 using your mouse wheel. Nirsoft’s Volumouse lets you use your mouse wheel to control the system volume. Volumouse works best in conjunction with another trigger button, rather than just on its own.

For instance, you can set Volumouse to work only when you hold down right CTRL, or when the mouse cursor is hovering over a certain part of the screen, and so on.

Nirsoft has also developed some plugins that allow you to control the active window or open and close the door of your CD-ROM/DVD with the mouse.

Download: Volumouse for Windows (Free)

6. Change the Windows 10 On-Screen Volume Control with 3RVX

3RVX is an open source on-screen display for Windows 10. It features a decent range of customizable on-screen volume controls, tray notifications, and other handy features.

Download: 3RVX for Windows (Free)

7. Use Audio and Volume Control Rainmeter Skins

windows 10 volume radian visualizer rainmeter

Rainmeter is a free and open source desktop customization tool for Windows. Developers sometimes create incredible Rainmeter skins, including usage meters, audio controls, calendars, applets, and more. I haven’t tinkered with Rainmeter for several years, up to the point of writing this article, so seeing some of the latest custom designs was illuminating.

  • Audio Switcher is a very simple Rainmeter skin that allows you quickly swap between your headphones and speakers
  • Radian Linear Visualizer is a live audio visualization applet for your desktop complete with auto-updating album covers and a bunch of other customization options
  • VolKnob adds a simple volume knob to your desktop that you turn by scrolling your mouse wheel (similar functionality to Nirsoft’s Volumouse)
  • AppVolumePlugin adds volume meters and volume control for individual apps
  • Minimal Volume Control adds an extremely basic but functional volume control bar to your desktop

Other Rainmeter skins come with integrated audio and volume control features. There are a lot of Rainmeter skins out there, and a huge number of plugins and applets too, so you will find something that suits your requirements. Get your Rainmeter desktop customization journey underway with our simple guide to Rainmeter.

Download: Rainmeter for Windows (Free)

8. Use AutoHotKey to Control Windows 10 Volume

AutoHotKey lets you create custom keyboard macros. You can program AutoHotKey to control your Windows 10 volume settings. The following basic script allows you to turn your Windows volume up and down using Windows Key + Page Up and Windows Key + Page Down.

#PgUp::Send {Volume_Up 3} #PgDn::Send {Volume_Down 3}

But what do you do with the script?

  1. Download and install AutoHotKey
  2. Right-click your desktop and select New > Text Document
  3. Copy the script into the new text file
  4. Head to File > Save as, and change the file type to .ahk (AutoHotKey Script).
  5. Run the AutoHotKey script; you can change your volume using the custom keyboard macro

You don’t have to stop there. The AutoHotKey SoundSet document details how to customize the script further. You can add controls to mute, control the bass, treble, bass boost, and many other features.

Download: AutoHotKey for Windows (Free)

Interested in learning more about AutoHotKey? Check out Ian Buckley’s quick AutoHotKey guide for beginners!

9. Control Windows 10 Volume Using Mouse Gestures via StrokesPlus

windows 10 volume control strokeplus

Your final Windows 10 volume control option is StrokePlus. StrokesPlus is a free mouse gesture recognition tool. Using StrokesPlus, you can program a custom mouse gesture to control your Windows 10 volume.

StrokesPlus is relatively intuitive. In most cases, you hold down your right-mouse key and draw your gesture. For volume control, you could draw a “U” for volume up, and a “D” for volume down. You can take it further with modifications, extensions, adding in the mouse wheel, and much more.

Download: StrokesPlus for Windows (Free)

Windows 10 Volume Control Is in Your Hands

You can now control the volume in Windows 10 using your smartphone, using a mouse gesture, with an interactive custom desktop skin, and many more options in-between.

Some people don’t like the Windows 10 volume control. If that sounds like you, why not follow Ben Stegner’s quick guide to getting the old Windows volume control back.

Read the full article: 9 Useful Ways to Control Sound in Windows 10


5 New Google-Made Apps That Are Cool, Useful, and Fun

Google is constantly developing new apps, conducting experiments with AI, and making cool stuff. In case you missed their latest and greatest, here’s a quick rundown.

Google is a technology giant that is a massive part of how we use the internet today. Its developers and engineers constantly update Google apps or create new ones that make our digital lives easier. There is such a huge number of them, in fact, that it’s easy to miss out on some excellent tools, like the ones in this list.

Google Live Transcribe (Android): Transcribe What Anyone Is Saying

Google Live Transcribe is an accessibility tool meant to make life easier for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. It automatically turns any speech into text while the person is still speaking. It’s fast enough to be used in conversations.

The text can be a black font on a white background or a white font on a black background. The top-right corner indicates whether the environment is noisy, which means people have to speak louder to be heard. And if someone speaks to you from behind, the phone vibrates to let you know. Try it out, it works surprisingly smoothly.

The app uses Google’s Cloud Speech API, so it requires an active internet connection. Google says it doesn’t store any audio on its servers, but we’d take such proclamations with a pinch of salt. Google already knows a lot about you, and they do share data with authorities.

Download: Google Live Transcribe for Android (Free)

Squoosh (Web): Compress Images Online, With Advanced Options

Squoosh is an online image compression app made by google

There are some amazing online tools to edit images and reduce their size. But you don’t usually get granular control or advanced options. All that changes with Squoosh, which is bound to become your default app for all image compression.

At its base level, you can simple reduce the size in pixels, or reduce the palette of colors available. But when you get into compression, you get to do a whole lot more. You can tinker with the image’s compression file format, quality, channels, smoothing, and quantization. If you don’t know what these are, let Squoosh pick it for you. You could even experiment with each to learn more about them.

As you change the settings, the final output size will change in real time. You can also see a before-after comparison in real time, using a slider. Once you’re done, download the image to save it.

Password Checkup by Google (Chrome):

Password Checkup is a chrome extension to check if your passwords have been hacked

There are some excellent tools to check if your accounts have been hacked. Google is making it simpler with the Password Checkup extension for Chrome. You won’t have to go to sites any more, the tool will now tell you when it’s time to change a password.

The extension monitors your activity on all websites you visit. Every time you enter a username and password that is part of a data breach known to Google, you will immediately get an alert. If that happens, it’s obviously best policy to change the password to something more secure.

Google says the extension’s purpose is privacy, and so it never reports any identifying information about your accounts, passwords, or device. Used with the new Google Passwords manager, this tool should be able to help you stay safer on the internet.

Download: Password Checkup by Google for Chrome (Free)

Shadow Art (Web): Form Shadow Puppets With A.I. and Webcam

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is so cool! Google has taken the ancient practice of forming shadow puppets with your hands, and turned it into an interactive digital experience. Shadow Art is one of Google’s A.I. experiments, available for free in the form of a web app. You’ll need a webcam and an active internet connection.

Here’s how it works. First you select your Zodiac animal sign. Shadow Art will then use your webcam to calibrate the space it’s looking at, and then show you an outline of hands. Use your hands to match the outline, and you’ll have created your first digital shadow puppet! As soon as it’s done, the puppet transforms into cool art.

Not only that, Shadow Art is also a game. You have to cycle through all 12 Zodiac signs, learning how to make the animal shape with your hands. You’ll get 20 seconds for each sign, so have fun!

Text.App (Chrome): Text Editor for Chrome and Chrome OS

Text.App is a free text editor and notepad replacement for chrome and chrome os

For some reason, Google Chrome OS does not have a simple notepad or text editor tool. Text.App is the missing software for both Chrome OS as well as regular Google Chrome, for those who want a text editor that saves to Google Drive.

Text.App has all the standard features of a text editor, and then some. For starters, you can open multiple files and switch between them as tabs. You can save files to Google Drive, and open directly from Drive too. Developers will be happy to know that the app has syntax highlighting, so you can paste your code and work in it.

The tool is completely free, but there isn’t a web app version. You will need to use it as a Chrome app only.

Download: Text.App for Chrome (Free)

More From Google

These are the five latest tools from Google that we think are cool and useful. But Google has made so much more in the recent past that you might not have seen some of the others. For instance, did you know about these 5 Google-made apps worth checking out?

Read the full article: 5 New Google-Made Apps That Are Cool, Useful, and Fun


7 Useful Ways to Control YouTube Video Volume

Who knew that controlling the volume of YouTube videos could be such a complex topic? After all, what options do you really have beyond the on-screen slider? You’d be surprised, actually.

It turns out there are multiple different ways to control YouTube video volume. Here are some of the best methods we’ve found.

1. Volume Slider

youtube volume slider on video

Let’s kick-off with the on-screen slider. It’s the primary way that most people adjust YouTube’s volume.

The slider is self-explanatory. Move it to the left to decrease volume and move it to the right to make YouTube louder.

There’s also a mute function to instantly kill the sound; just click on the speaker icon.

2. Keyboard Shortcuts

We always advocate using keyboard shortcuts for any task where possible. Learn them well, and they are faster than using a mouse. Meaning you can be more productive.

YouTube is no different. There are a plethora of handy YouTube keyboard shortcuts available. You can do everything from skipping the video to turning subtitles on and off.

YouTube’s keyboard shortcuts for volume control are the arrow keys. Pressing Up will increase the volume in five percent increments; pressing Down will decrease the volume by the same amount.

(Note: If the shortcuts aren’t working, try clicking on the video first. If the video is not “in focus,” you might find that the arrow keys scroll the entire webpage up and down instead.)

3. Use Your Mouse

You can also change the volume on YouTube using your mouse scrolling wheel—but it’s a bit fiddly.

The change was introduced in a 2017 update. To make the feature work, you need to first hover your mouse over the speaker icon to reveal the volume slider, then hover your mouse over the slider itself.

Once you’re hovering, scroll up to increase the volume and scroll down to decrease the volume. If the cursor strays off the slider, the scroll wheel will move the webpage up and down.

In this implementation, it’s not clear what benefits using your mouse scroll wheel has over merely clicking on the slider. Clicking is faster and less likely to misfire.

Third-Party YouTube Volume Controls

When it comes to controlling YouTube’s volume, you aren’t only limited to the native functionality. There are a host of third-party YouTube extensions and extensions which provide extra features. Some of them let you adjust the volume of YouTube videos.

4. YouTube Mouse Controls

youtube mouse controls options

Available on: Chrome

If you’re running Google Chrome, you should start by checking out the YouTube Mouse Controls extension.

It lets you make YouTube louder and quieter by using the scroll wheel on your mouse. However, unlike the previously-described mouse scrolling method, it will work as long as your mouse cursor is hovering somewhere over the video player. As such, it’s less error-prone than the native methodology.

You can also use the extension to seek through videos. Click the scroll wheel and move your mouse left or right. Click the scroll wheel for a second time when you’re ready to start watching.

You need to access the extension settings page to activate it before the mouse controls will work.

Download: YouTube Mouse Controls ($ 0.99)

5. Magic Actions for YouTube

magic actions youtube options

Available on: Chrome

The second Chrome extension worth talking about is Magic Actions for YouTube. It is a more full-featured add-on than YouTube Mouse Controls.

In addition to letting you use your mouse to adjust the volume, it also offers a cinema view, auto HD, day and night viewing modes, automatic video replays, one-click video screenshots, an easy way to view and delete your watch history, ratings previews for Related Videos, and more information about users in the comments section.

Download: Magic Actions for YouTube (Free)

Other Ways to Control YouTube Video Volume

Let’s finish by looking at two more ways to control the YouTube video volume that you may not have thought of previously.

6. VLC Media Player

youtube on vlc volume boost

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

We’ve all experienced it: You click on a YouTube video, and it’s barely audible, even if the volume on your computer and the player itself are both turned up to 100 percent.

If the volume is low on a YouTube video you want to watch, you should consider watching the video directly through VLC Media Player. It lets you make YouTube louder thanks to its sound booster.

Sure, it might be a bit too much hassle for a two-minute video of a cat doing catty things, but if it’s a movie or similarly long video that you’re struggling to hear, you’ll reap the rewards.

To watch a YouTube video on VLC Media Player, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Download and open VLC Media Player.
  2. Head to YouTube and copy (Ctrl + C) the URL of the video you want to watch.
  3. On VLC, navigate to Media > Open Capture Device.
  4. Click on the Network tab.
  5. Paste the YouTube URL that you copied in Step Two.
  6. Click on Play.

After a couple of moments, the video should start playing. You can then use the volume slider in the lower right-hand corner to boost the volume to 125 percent of its original maximum.

Download: VLC Media Player (Free)

Note: The ability to use the app to watch YouTube is just one of many VLC Media Player secrets you should learn.

7. Normalize Audio Output on Your PC

YouTube doesn’t have a native way to normalize audio output. Instead, you should use third-party tools.

Windows has a built-in tool. You can activate the operating system’s loudness equalization by right-clicking on the speaker icon in the taskbar and heading to Sounds > Playback > Speakers > Properties > Enhancements and marking the checkbox next to Loudness Equalization.

If you’re using macOS, there’s no built-in loudness normalization tool. Luckily, there are plenty of third-party equalizers which do the job perfectly well. Two of the most popular are Boom and eqMac2.

Windows also has third-party sound equalizers if you don’t like the native functionality.

More Help for Budding YouTube Ninjas

So, there you have it. A multitude of different ways to control YouTube video volume. But if you know of any more, be sure to let us know about them in the comments below.

And if you’d like to learn more about using YouTube, check out our article on YouTube tricks for video ninjas.

Read the full article: 7 Useful Ways to Control YouTube Video Volume


7 Useful Ways to Reuse an Old Router: Don’t Throw It Away!


If your ISP has sent you a new router, or you simply fancy upgrading your current router, you’ll run into a problem.

What should you do with the old router?

In the case of switching your ISP, you’ll often be asked to return the older device. But if you have a spare router kicking around the place, here are several ways you can reuse it.

1. Build a Wireless Repeater

What if your Wi-Fi network doesn’t extend across the full range of your home? Although you might opt for powerline Ethernet adapters, adding a second router into the mix is a good alternative.

This means connecting the old router to your new wireless network, using the Wi-Fi signal. It can then share access to the Wi-Fi network, giving greater coverage. Although there may be some latency issues, overall this is a quick and easy way to extend your wireless network.

It has various uses, from giving better Wi-Fi access to a remote part of the house, to letting you stream video to your tablet while you’re in the garden.

Our guide to extending the range of your home network explains how a wireless repeater works, and its benefits.

2. Guest Wi-Fi Connection

If you have people regularly dropping in and using your wireless internet, why not give them their own network?

This is like the wireless repeater project, but with a twist. The router connects to your existing, password-protected network, but gives password-free access to new devices. This will use the guest network feature of your old router, which will by default prevent guests accessing other devices on your network.

If this level of security isn’t enough, check the firewall settings on the main router to adjust.

3. Cheap Internet Radio Streamer

Want to enjoy your favorite radio stations on the internet? Some routers can be configured to play internet radio, if you’re prepared to install the OpenWrt or DD-WRT custom router firmware.

Some other software is also required, and you’ll need a USB soundcard to output audio.

While this isn’t an easy build, and plenty of other internet radio options are available, this is still a great project. It gives you an insight into the power of custom firmware, as well as an appreciation of how music is streamed across the internet.

However, if you want to do this without the fuss, our Raspberry Pi smart streaming speaker project is a good option.

4. Use the Router as a Cheap Network Switch

Most routers don’t have more than six Ethernet ports. With the increase in wireless technology around the home, this figure might even be as low as four. But with a clear need for devices to be connected over Ethernet, you might run out of ports.

For example, home appliance monitoring devices, TV decoders with smart TV functionality, games consoles, and more might have no wireless networking. They need a physical connection to your network, and that means Ethernet.

If you run out of Ethernet ports, you can add more with a network switch. This is basically the Ethernet version of a mains power bar, with the additional ports plugged into one port on the router.

Your old router typically has four or more ports, so connecting will instantly increase the number of ports available. Remember to power up the old router. You should also disable wireless networking on the old router, to avoid conflicts.

5. Turn Your Router Into a Wireless Bridge

What if your new router is wireless only? Perhaps the ISP doesn’t offer a router with Ethernet ports, or maybe you use a 4G internet provider. Either way, if you need to connect Ethernet devices to your home network, a wireless bridge is the answer.

While inexpensive, an old router can be repurposed as a wireless bridge.

This works a little like a wireless repeater, but rather than share the Wi-Fi connection, the wireless bridge offers Ethernet. The old router is connected to an existing Wi-Fi network, and its Ethernet ports used to connect devices to.

See our guide to using a router as a wireless bridge for a full explanation.

6. Build a Smart Home Hub

Some routers ship with some useful additional ports. In some cases, this might be a USB port, which makes flashing OpenWRT or DD-WRT router firmware easy.

Other devices might come with a serial port, and these routers can be repurposed as a home automation server.

Basically, the router runs a web server that you connect to with your browser. This might be on a PC, or for convenience, through your smartphone. This Instructables explains how to use this with an Arduino hooked up to the router, and some RF-controlled power switches, to create a basic smart home setup.

While easier options are available, you might use this to get a better understanding of home automation.

7. Convert Your Router Into a NAS Drive

Looking for a way to store your data on a single storage device and access it from anywhere in your home? You need Network Attached Storage (NAS), which is basically a hard disk drive that is attached to your network.

While NAS devices are affordable enough, with an old router hanging around, you can save money. Note that this is limited to routers that can run custom firmware (like DD-WRT) and a spare USB port, and routers that let you browse the contents of any connected USB devices.

Without USB, there’s no way to attach the hard disk drive or USB flash storage.

Once set up, your custom-built NAS should give you instant access to your important data from anywhere in the house, using any device.

Your Old Router Isn’t So Old After All!

Don’t let that old router clutter up your drawer any longer. We’ve identified seven ways you can reuse it:

  1. Guest Wi-Fi connection
  2. Wireless repeater
  3. Cheap internet radio
  4. Use the router as a network switch
  5. Adapt it as a wireless bridge
  6. Build a smart home hub
  7. Convert your router into a NAS

These are all great ways to repurpose an old router, and even if your router is really old and misses some key modern wireless networking features, you can still use it as a switch, or even a guest network.

If none of this works, however, it might be time to consider selling or recycling the device. See our tips for reusing old hardware for more.

Read the full article: 7 Useful Ways to Reuse an Old Router: Don’t Throw It Away!