Yearly Archives: 2019

Lanniu HS910 Neck Speaker Review

I saw Techmoan review several of these neck speakers a while ago. Up until then I had never heard of this type of listening device, but as he explained what they were all about, I was intrigued to try one out. I like the idea of listening to music without having earbuds in my ears, while not annoying those around me too much. Usually such devices easily cost over $100 and more. This LANNIU HS910 seemed to tick all the boxes without breaking the bank at under $50.

The sound quality of the speakers is OK, and the volume is remarkable when worn around your neck. While you can hear things perfectly, a person next to or across the room from you can barely hear what you’re listening to. There’s also the natural experience of speaking while not wearing anything in your ears. These neck speakers are practical when you want to hear the world around you plus music, but still want to participate in conversations. You can still be aware of traffic – unlike with some headphones. What a concept! 

The device is a combination of a bluetooth speaker/microphone unit, but it also has its own internal 8GB of memory for MP3 storage. Hence it is not strictly necessary to use it with a mobile device and can be used standalone. To use it that way, connect it with the included Micro USB cable to a computer (Windows or Mac) and drag over some MP3 files. They start playing automatically and immediately when the unit is turned on. Internal memory mode is the default when the unit is switched on, and when no other files are present, a variety of genuinely ghastly music is played for a few beats. I recommend adding an MP3 file with silence to stop this from happening.

To enable bluetooth mode, the unit needs to be paired first. Thankfully that’s very easy: pick HS910 from the list of devices on your favourite bluetooth host and you’re connected. Oddly enough, it is necessary to switch to bluetooth mode explicitly on the device by holding down the little key with two arrows, otherwise you’ll stay on internal MP3 mode. I wish it was the other way round.

Several controls on the device let you change the volume (long-press on the plus/minus icon to do this), summon Siri, answer/reject calls and switch music playback modes. During phone calls, I can hear the other party fine and they can hear me, but the quality isn’t as good as using wired headphones (it sounds like limited frequencies, or in other words, a telephone from the 1960ies). The software could do with an update or a re-think: when I made a call and ended it, the device immediately started playing my MP3 file although it was still connected to my phone via bluetooth. It’s sometimes difficult to convince the HS910 to stop playing MP3s and play Spotify instead. Perhaps I haven’t worked out how to do it, or perhaps it’s a little unintuitive.

On the whole I like the idea of this device. It sounds good, it’s a new idea of listening to music, it’s lightweight and doesn’t move when I’m wearing it. I am however a little disappointed with how the internal MP3 function gets in the way of the bluetooth control I have from my phone. I wish they had made it a little easier.

Comica CVM-AX3 Audio Field Mixer Review

I’ve been looking for a way to record two separate microphones in the field for interviews. If you’ve ever tired this, you know how much of a challenge this can present. When I found this Comica CVM-AX3 I thought it could be the ideal solution to this problem and gave it a try. I’m glad I did, because it fills the void of the challenge I had before me.

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How to setup Loop Recording on the GoPro HERO 8

Loop Recording has been fairly intuitive to setup up until the GoPro HERO 7. The option is still available on the HERO 8, but it wasn’t obvious to me how to enable it. Now that I’ve found out how to do it, I thought I’d share it with you.

The trick is that any of the new settings presets (i.e. Standard, Cinematic and Activity) cannot enable Loop Recording. You have to create a fourth (custom) preset with which you can activate it.

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How to remove the Streamlabs Donation Link on YouTube

I’ve noticed that mildly annoying Streamlabs Donation link at the top of my YouTube descriptions. While I appreciate what they’re trying to do, I don’t use their service for live donations. Sometimes the page doesn’t work and it’s WAAAAY to complicated for casual users to figure out. So I’d rather this link wouldn’t be added automatically.

I did some digging and found the setting: it’s in your Streamlabs.com dashboard, under Donations – Donation Settings. There’s a section at the bottom that reads Your Page, with a tick box that’s enabled by default, called “make this visible in my description”.

If you have linked accounts, make sure you select YouTube from the top right first, otherwise this setting is missing (Mixer and Twitch don’t have this option).

This tip is courtesy of a Tweet from Streamlabs in answer to a question – thank you guys 🙂

How to add Category Descriptions in TwentyNineteen

Some themes implement the WordPress Category Descriptions, others do not. Often they’re not necessary, but sometimes they are. Here’s how to add them to the TentyNineteen theme.

Make a copy of the archive.php file and call it category.php. There’s a block of comments at the top, I recommend changing the description to remind you of what this file is in there for. Leave it at the root level of your (child) theme.

Find line 22 (or thereabouts), starting with the_archive_title(). This line is pulling in two lines Category Archives and your category title (Project Diary in this example).

To remove the top line, and simply print a title to the category without it becoming a URL, we can use this little workaround trick to replace the_archive_title() with this:

To add the description underneath, we can use the_archive_description() function. It’ll print out the text we set, inclusive of any formatting we choose. TwentyNineteen has several options to choose from. I’m going to use the block quote style, but feel free to use any class you like.

Hope this helps!

How to tweak the featured image filter in TwentyNineteen

Last year’s WordPress TwentyNineteen theme does nice things with the featured image in more than one level. The default wasn’t exactly what I was looking for though and some tweaks were necessary for me to feel happier. In particular I felt that the way featured images are displayed needed an adjustment.

There are three areas we can adjust:

  • the colour overlay
  • the opacity of the overlay
  • the darkened filter effect

The Colour Overlay

The colour overlay can be changed in the Theme Customiser. Under Appearance – Customise – Colors there’s an option to set the accent colour, which is also applied as an overlay to each featured image. Untick the box and the colour won’t be applied to your images.

The Overlay Opacity

By default the image is darkened quite a bit to make the white headline font more readable. They’ve overdone it a bit I think, making every image a hard contrasty shadow of its former self. That’s especially annoying if you’ve spent a lot of time crafting your own colour scheme and contrast. To soften the whole thing, we can adjust the opacity of the darkened image to make it look a little lighter, while not deviating too much from the character the theme authors had intended.

Add this piece of CSS and adjust the opacity value to your liking (I find that 0.9 or 0.8 work quite well).

The Dark Filter Opacity

While the above trick works on the whole (darkened) image, we can go one step further and leave the image opacity intact and only influence the dark filter. By making it less intense, more of the original image character will come out. Again, I find an opacity value of 0.9 or 0.8 works nicely. The lower you make it, the more dark filter gets removed. Choose 0 to get rid of it entirely.

I hope this was helpful.

How to export a Clip from Twitch to YouTube

There’s no direct way to export your Twitch Clips to YouTube, or download the material like we can do with Highlights or Past Broadcasts. However there is a way to turn any of your Twitch Clips into Highlights, and those can be downloaded or exported.

Let me show you how this works.

Head over to your channel, then select Clips at the top of the screen. You’ll see a whole page full of clips if you or other users have made any. Now select the big purple button that reads Manage Clips.

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How to access someone else’s Dashboard in Twitch

Twitch has an interesting feature that allows one user to manage a channel that isn’t theirs. It’s done using the Editor Role. It’s a tad complex to figure out where to do what, so I thought I’ll write it down before I forget.

I’m using the “old” in 2019 and have no idea where these settings are in the “up and coming” dashboard that’s gradually being rolled out. Figuring all these things out is a game in itself, isn’t it?

Before we get started, we need to grasp the concept. Let’s say you’re Channel A. If you want to manage another channel (say Channel B), then the owner of that channel needs to make you an editor. Once that’s happened, you can access a cut-down version of their dashboard and edit the stream title, game info and set markers. You can also create Highlights and things like that.

It does not automatically work the other way round, so if you want this relationship to be mutual, you’ll have to do this procedure twice. Here’s how to do it:

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How to setup AirPods (1st generation) with a MacBook Pro (2011)

I really like my first generation AirPods. I use them on my 2012-2018 devices all the time, but I had never tried them on my old MacBook Pro from 2011. I had always assumed they probably use some low-energy version of Bluetooth 4 or whatnot, expecting they won’t work. But I was wrong! They DO work – it’s just that the setup process is slightly different than on my other devices.

Here’s how I could connected them successfully.

What usually happens

Ordinarily, iCloud seems to take care of spreading the connection love. That is, AirPods connected to my iPhone will automatically be “seen as available” by my iPad and my Desktop Mac. All I have to do is to head over to the little speaker icon on the Mac, then select my AirPods from the list.

On my MacBook Pro 2011 that doesn’t work. There’s no AirPods entry. I had to pair them manually.

Make the 2011 MacBook see the AirPods

So what we need to do then is this:

  • switch Bluetooth on (obviously)
  • put the AirPods in their case
  • open the lid
  • press the pairing button on the lid and leave it open
  • take the AirPods out (but leave the case open)
  • wait a moment to hear the connection beep

Now we can close the case and listen to the AirPods. The pairing process takes a little longer, and oddly enough there’s no AirPods entry to select in the list of audio devices. Be that as it may, they are indeed connected and can be used to listen to audio now.

Why that is I do not know – and perhaps I don’t need to either. All I know is that they’re working fine under macOS High Sierra. Hope this helps!

UPDATE: After restarting my MacBook, the AirPods did indeed show up in the Bluetooth menu, so now it behaves just like my Mac Mini. Even Macs need restarting every once in a while.

Creating New Emails in Split View on macOS

I’ve discovered that when I respond to emails on my Mac Book, the default Apple Mail programme started opening my new message windows in a split screen view. Previously this wasn’t happening, and instead a new message would be presented as an overlay on top of the whole mail window (I believe they called it a Modal Dialogue).

Don’t get me wrong, I like the split screen thing – but I always wanted to know where this setting was, and why it was now magically switched on since I wasn’t involved in this design decision. I’m a bit of an stick-in-the-mud sometimes and a tad pernickety about preserving my user experience.

Thankfully it’s easy to find – but in case you’re stumped, here’s where to enable/disable this experience. In Apple Mail, head over to Preferences – General (the first tab). At the bottom you’ll see a tick box labelled prefer opening emails in split view when in full scren.

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