How To Use The Focus Mode On Instagram

Instagram has a new photo capture mode called Focus mode. It works with the story camera and is available on both Android and iOS users. There’s just one catch though; there are device limitations. What this means is, Focus mode isn’t going to be available on all devices.

Focus Mode Availability

For iOS users, Focus mode will be available on iPhone 6S/6S Plus, and above. For Android users, there’s no definitive list of supported phones however higher end phones like the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will have access to it. You can check out this Reddit thread to see which users have confirmed the feature working on their phones.

Use Focus Mode

Open Instagram and tap the camera button at the top left, or just swipe right. Swipe along the bottom (where the shutter button is), to change modes. Instagram has other modes that you’re perhaps familiar with like Live mode, Boomerang, and rewind.

If Instagram supports Focus mode on your phone, you will see it appear between Rewind and Boomerang. It will look for a face because this mode is made for selfies. That said, it works with objects as well.

Focus mode basically focuses on the main subject of a photo. With selfies, Focus mode will automatically detect faces and blur everything else in the background. It works with the rear camera as evidenced by the screenshots above. The app has focused on the object closest to the camera i.e. the toy car and blurred the background object i.e., the carpet and kitten.

In Focus mode, you can take a photo or you can hold the capture button and record a video. The image can be posted to your story or if you want to share it to your feed, you can save it to your camera roll, and then upload it.

If your phone didn’t get this feature, and you own an Android phone you can’t force it to appear. You can however look for other apps that will replicate the feature. Focus mode isn’t unique in what it does. The Google Camera app on the Pixel phones has a portrait mode that is basically the same thing. iPhones, the newer ones, have a similar feature.

If you don’t own a Pixel phone, try to see if the ported mod of the Google Camera app will run on your phone. Finally, you can utilize the Blur mode which is available on a good number of Android phones. For iPhone owners with an older model, there isn’t much recourse.

Read How To Use The Focus Mode On Instagram by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What Is DHCP and How the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Works

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, i.e. DHCP is a protocol that assigns IP addresses to devices on a network. Every device that connects to the internet, requires an IP address and its usually assigned by the router that is running a DHCP server. On large networks a router alone cannot manage all the devices that connect to it and a dedicated server handles the IP addresses. The DHCP protocol runs on the server as opposed to the router.

DHCP doesn’t just assign IP addresses, it also handles the configuration for the subnet mask, default gateway, and the DNS service.

DHCP Architecture

There are three components within the DHCP architecture; a DHCP client, a DHCP server, and relay agents.

A DHCP client is any device that can connect to a network, and can communicate with a DHCP server. This includes phones and computers but also network printers and servers.

A DHCP server is the device that assigns IP addresses.

DHCP relay agents requests between DHCP clients and servers. They’re not an essential part of a network however, when dealing with large, complex networks they become a necessity.

DHCP Lease

An IP address, when assigned to a device, has a limited life span. The IP address that your computer, for example, has one day may not be the same one the next day. If the system remains or returns to a network before the lease expires, it will be assigned the same IP address. If however, the lease has expired the device i.e., your computer, is assigned a new IP in the network.

A device can also request to renew the DHCP lease. This effectively fetches a new IP address for the device. The settings for this can be found in the network settings on your computer, or the WiFi settings on your phone.

Purpose Of DHCP

DHCP is essential given how many devices can now connect to a network. It’s essential that a device can quickly get an IP address and that there are no IP conflicts. In the absence of DHCP, IP conflicts alone would prevent them from connecting quickly and easily which in turn is a network management problem in itself. Manually assigning IP addresses, or even resolving IP conflicts can be an tedious, time consuming process even on a small network. On larger networks, it’s practically impossible.

DHCP basically lets network administrators automate the process of assigning IP addresses and because the addresses are dynamic, it’s rare that an address isn’t available for a device. This allows an almost unlimited number of devices to connect to a network.

IP Conflicts & DHCP

Since DHCP is responsible for assigning IP addresses, it stands to reason that it’s the cause of IP conflicts. An error in DHCP does indeed cause IP conflicts however, it can correct itself on the fly. Often when you see the IP conflict error on your system, simply dismissing it is enough to fix the problem. If the problem persists, you should try restarting your router. If it doesn’t go away, you might have a bigger problem on your hands that goes beyond your router and even DHCP.

Read What Is DHCP and How the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Works by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Automatically Accept And Reject Meeting Invites In Outlook

Where would we be without meetings? Probably getting more work done but once the number of people you work with reaches a certain number, meetings become necessary. Scheduling a meeting isn’t easy; you have to check and make sure everyone is available, make sure they know when the meeting is, and send out an agenda. If you work with geographically dispersed, remote teams, it’s even harder to manage with different time zones. Outlook isn’t much help with time zones but it does let you send out meeting invites, and see who’s accepted or declined a meeting. Outlook users have the option to automatically accept or reject meeting invites based on their availability.

Outlook can warn you when you have a meeting clash so it stands to reason it knows which of your time slots are free. If you want Outlook to automatically accept and reject meeting invites, you’re going to have to enable the option.

Accept And Reject Meeting Invites

Open Outlook and go to File>Options. On the Options window, select the Calendar tab from the column on the right. Scroll down to the ‘Automatic accept or decline’ section, and click Auto Accept/Decline.

A small window will open with three options; the first will accept meeting requests, the second will decline the ones that conflict with existing invites, and the third will automatically decline meeting requests for recurring meetings.

Limitations

You an enable all these options but make sure you maintain your schedule religiously in Calendar. If you have unplanned time set aside for working on something, Calendar will treat it as ‘available’ time and accept meeting requests for it.

If you don’t feel like filling out every aspect of your work day in the calendar, you should only enable the option to decline meeting requests that clash with other commitments, and to decline recurring meeting requests. You will want to have more control over which invites you accept.

Outlook doesn’t let you set acceptable times or available hours that other people in your organization can see when they invite you to a meeting. If it did, you could use those to automate accepting invites. If you still want to automate accepting meeting invites but can’t be bothered filling in your schedule, add unnamed events in Calendar for the hours that you plan to spend on work. Outlook isn’t going to verify if you’re adding a real event or task so just add anything and make it long enough to cover the time you can’t attend a meeting. This is shoe-horning it a bit but it is the simplest solution there is.

Read How To Automatically Accept And Reject Meeting Invites In Outlook by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Group Notifications By App Type On Android

Notifications on Android are generally grouped together. Gmail, for example will group all alerts into one notification. iOS did this, briefly, before removing the option and forcing its users to always view a mix of app alerts in chronological order. Notifix is a free Android app that can group notifications by app type. It adds an extra bit of grouping to the notifications shade whereby all notifications that are from a certain type of app are grouped together. You can pull down the notifications shade and Notifix will tell you how many social media notifications you have.

Notifix does not require a rooted device however, it will require usage access as well as access to your notifications. You will also need to connect your Google account with the app so it can keep your setting in sync. There is no option to use the app without connecting a Google account.

Group Notifications

Download Notifix and run the app. Grant it the permission it needs to run. Once you’ve done that, it will automatically group notifications by app type.

When you tap on a group of notifications, Notifix will expand to reveal the notifications inside. In the expanded view, the notifications will still be sorted by app type. This means if you have notifications from both Facebook and Instagram, the expanded view will group them separately.

Notifix doesn’t simply group notifications by app type based on an app’s name i.e. if the app is a popular social media app, it will be grouped as such. It utilizes machine learning to judge which group to put a notification.

Notifix doesn’t have much in the way of settings. You install the app and run it, as is. It’s meant to be a quick, ‘just works’ app which is great but comes with its downside. One reason anyone would want to use Notifix is to remove clutter from the notifications shade and highlight or give more space to what’s important but apps are all treated the same. Notifix doesn’t have an option to exclude certain apps from being grouped into a type.

This may not have any serious drawbacks for say, social media notifications but for messaging apps like Slack that may be sending you work related alerts, it’s not the same. The good news is that this app is under active development and the developers are open to suggestions. An easy way to exclude apps would be great and maybe giving users the option to name their own categories for grouping notifications could be helpful.

Read How To Group Notifications By App Type On Android by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Forward Images With Captions On Whatsapp

You can forward links, texts, and photos in Whatsapp to a single contact or to an entire group. It’s one of the easiest things to do. If you ever need to forward images with captions on Whatsapp and include the caption with the forwarded message, you’re going to find it’s more difficult than it should be. It’s still possible though so here’s how you do it.

Forward Images With Captions – Android

It’s actually simpler to forward images with captions on Android than it is on iOS. Open a chat thread with the captioned image you want to forward.

Tap and hold on the image and it will be highlighted with a blue box. This indicates that the message has been selected. Once selected, look at the top navigation bar in Whatsapp. You will see a share button. Tap it and the  image will open in edit mode and the caption will be included automatically. Tap the send button and the Android share sheet will open. Here, tap Whatsapp and select who you want to forward the image to.

Forward Images With Captions – iOS

Whatsapp on iOS is a bit confusing if you want to forward images with captions. It’s a much longer process and you have to manually copy and paste the caption.

Open Whatsapp and tap and hold on the caption of an image. Make sure you’re not tapping and holding on the image itself. From the floating toolbar, select ‘Copy’. Next, tap and hold on the image. A floating bar will appear again. Tap Forward. This will select the image and open the chat up for quick selection. Tap the share button at the bottom.

The share button will open iOS’ share sheet. Look for Whatsapp in the share sheet, and select the person or group you want to forward the image to.

This will open the image in edit mode. Tap and hold inside the caption field and when the floating menu bar appears, select Paste to paste the caption you copied early on. Tap send and you’re done.

This shouldn’t be as hard as it is. You’re not likely to discover how to forward images with captions by simply poking around. One can argue that it might actually be easier to just save the image and send it but there’s still a matter of copying the caption which is a bit tricky. Whatsapp groups images with their captions but they are treated separately when it comes to copying them. This can all be simplified by including an option in the forward menu to include or exclude captions.

Read How To Forward Images With Captions On Whatsapp by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter