How to Stop Chrome (or Edge) From Taking Over Your Media Keys

chrome logo

Google Chrome now has built-in support for media keys. Unfortunately, Chrome will take over your media keys and prevent them from controlling apps like Spotify when you’re watching YouTube, for example. Here’s how to make Chrome ignore your media keys.

This same tip also applies to the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. In both browsers, however, this option requires an experimental flag that may be removed in the future. We tested it in the latest version of Chrome—Chrome 75—on June 24, 2019.

You’ll find this option on the chrome://flags page. Copy the following address, paste it into Chrome’s Omnibox, also known as the address bar, and press Enter:

chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling

(In Microsoft Edge, go to edge://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling  instead.)

Click the “Default” box to the right of the Hardware Media Key Handling setting and select “Disabled.”

You’ll have to restart Chrome (or Edge) before this change takes effect. Click the “Relaunch Now” button that appears to restart your browser.

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How to Customize the New Windows Terminal App

Windows Terminal with an background showing an ocean wave

With the new Windows Terminal app, Windows now finally has a tabbed terminal that can run Cmd, PowerShell, and Bash prompts in the same window. It’s deeply customizable, too—you can even set animated GIFs as the background.

Beyond the background, you can change the terminal’s theme, too. Whether it’s the colors of the text or backgrounds or the font style, you can make Windows Terminal your own. Microsoft even included several pre-set themes. All you need is a text editor and some basic familiarity with JSON. If you aren’t familiar with JSON, you can probably still make changes; we’ll walk you through it.

How to Customize the Windows Terminal

Windows terminal json configuration file, showing a custom background option.

The first step to customizing Windows Terminal is to ensure Windows has default app associated with the JSON file type. The best way to do that is from File Explorer.

Launch File Explorer and find a JSON file. If you don’t have one, create one. Right-click on File Explorer and “New” then click on “Text document.”

Rename the file to test.json (deleting the .txt extension in the process), and confirm you want to change the extension. If you don’t see the .txt file extension, tell File Explorer to show file extensions.

File explorer submenu with arrows pointing to New and Text Document

Next, right-click on the new JSON file and choose the “Open With” option. Choose your preferred text editor, whether that be Notepad++ or Notepad.

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6 Great Features in Windows 10’s New Game Bar

Windows 10 version 1903's new game bar overlay

Windows 10’s May 2019 Update features an all-new game bar experience. It’s not just for capturing videos anymore. It’s now an overlay packed with useful tools, including quick panels for adjusting application volume, seeing resource usage, and playing Spotify music.

How to Open the Game Bar

To open the game bar, press Windows+G. It will appear as an overlay over the game you’re playing. It will also appear over your desktop or any other application you’re using, but it’s most useful when you’re playing a game. Press Windows+G again to close it.

While Microsoft still calls this the “game bar,” that’s a misleading name at this point. It’s a proper overlay with multiple panels now, not just a single bar. If you see a smaller bar, you haven’t installed Windows 10’s May 2019 Update yet.

While the Game Bar is visible, you can click the “Home” icon on the top panel—it looks like a menu button—to choose which panels are visible in the overlay environment.

Game bar overlays menu

If Windows+G doesn’t do anything, make sure the game bar is enabled. Head to Settings > Gaming > Game Bar, ensure the “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar” option is enabled, and check that you haven’t changed the shortcut from Win+G to anything else. If you set a custom shortcut, use that instead of Win+G.

Option to enable or disable Game bar in Settings

Adjust Application Volume

Audio panel in Windows 10 game bar overlay

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Google Drive and Google Photos Are Splitting: Here’s What You Need to Know

In a blog post, Google announced they are changing how Google Photos and Google Drive work together.

Right now, photos and videos that are stored in Google Photos are synchronized with Google Drive. If you add or delete a photo in Google Drive, it’s also added or deleted from Google Photos. If you make changes to media in Google Photos, those changes are automatically applied in Google Drive. Starting July 10th, 2019 images and videos in Google Drive won’t synchronize with Google Photos.
According to Google, this will make things clearer and decrease accidental deletions because it wasn’t clear that images and videos were stored in both places and that deleting them in one service deleted them in the other service.

Existing photos and videos will remain in their current state, synchronized in both services. Changes will only apply to new media after July 10, 2019. After the change, if you want to add, delete or make changes to images or videos, you’ll need to make the changes in both services. You’ll still be able to use Google’s Backup and Sync to upload photos or videos to both Google Photos and Google Drive on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Google is adding a feature called “Upload from Drive” to make it easier and clearer to manage media. Read More

How To Use Slack As Your Second Brain

These days, employees have so much to remember.
Forgetting small details or overlooking critical issues can make all the
difference between success and failure. I realized this when I was always
having to look up the same information several times a day, or face-palming
myself when I forgot an important meeting.

That’s why an app such as Slack should be welcomed. As well as it being a portable chatroom on steroids, it can also act as your second brain. A brain that never forgets the nitty-gritty details (provided you keep paying the monthly bill that is).

Meetings, birthday reminders, bill payment reminders,
and customer complaints are just some of the many things it can help you with.
The only things it can’t do is fetch your coffee or get your suit from the dry
cleaners.

Slack – Your Uncomplaining Colleague That Never Forgets

I’m sure you already know what Slack is, but if for any reason Slack is new to you, check out this explanation page on the Slack website.

The bottom line is that Slack is essentially a
self-contained chat room which teams and groups can use to discuss whatever
they want, whether it is work-related matters or a niche interest. It is
web-based, a cross-platform desktop program, and a smartphone app, making it
fully portable and convenient to stay in touch.

How To Set Up Your Own Private Slack Room For Free

Although Slack is meant mainly for teams and groups, there’s also nothing stopping you from setting up your own private room. Then you can turn it into your second brain, feeding in all kinds of useful information and reminders. Or use it to talk to yourself. Whatever makes you happy.

This data can be sent to your smartphone as push
notifications, making sure you never forget an important appointment ever
again.

Build Your Second Brain To Address Your Pain Points

Once you set your room up, it’s time to figure out
your “pain points”.  In other words, what
are the persistent problems you keep having, and how can your new second brain
help you solve those problems?

There are two possibilities here. You can either use Slack’s own integrations or IFTTT.

A third option is to go completely wacky and use both!
But to keep this article concise, we will focus today only on Slack’s
integrations.

The one restriction to the Slack integrations side of things is that the free plan is limited to a maximum of ten integrations. If you want more than ten, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan – which is extremely affordable and very much worth it.

So here are a few potential pain points you may be
having in your life and how Slack can change the way you deal with them. Each
one should ideally be fed into its own channel to keep everything separate and
organized.

Remembering Things

We first come to the big one – remembering things. We
don’t all have eidetic memories so there are bound to be little things that
slip between the sofa cushions of your mind.

The Slack Integration Solution – Slackbot or Google Calendar.

We will be looking at Slackbot in the next section.
But another one which works extremely well is Google Calendar. Give Slack
permission to access your Google calendar and any updates to your calendar from
there on will be pushed to your Slack channel. This includes new events,
updated events, cancelled events, and events already on your calendar.

Twitter Direct Mentions

Social media is increasingly being used these days for
customer support, as well as customers complaining about a company’s service or
product.

If you accidentally miss a direct mention on Twitter
from a disgruntled customer, that can make things a thousand times worse from
many perspectives. So how do you make sure that direct mentions are seen and
responded to quickly?

The Slack Integration Solution – Twitter

The Slack integration ties directly into your Twitter
account and you will be asked to give Slack authorization to access your
Twitter account. This authorization can be revoked at any time.

After specifying which channel the tweets should go to
(I recommend a “tweets” or “feedback” channel), you will begin to see them
coming in whenever your Twitter username is mentioned.

Customer Support Tickets

If you are selling something or offering a service,
customer support is an absolute must. You can’t just sell your product then wash
your hands of the client.

There are many ways to have a customer support system
ranging from the free (the aforementioned Twitter Direct Mentions for example)
to the expensive set-ups. But what if you want your support tickets fed into
your Slack room?

The Slack Integration Solution – Support Board

The issue with customer support services is that they
are not free. Slack only provides a service to connect your customer service
platform to a third-party app. But to get the actual customer service platform,
you have to research your needs, figure out your budget, and sign up for
something.

The cheapest one (but only if you have a WordPress site) is Support Board which only costs $30. Visitors to your website will have their support queries re-routed to your Slack room and you can interact with them there.

RSS Feeds

RSS is seen by some people as an antiquated
technology, superseded by the likes of social media. But in actual fact, there
are many instances where RSS is alive and kicking, and actually BETTER than
social media!

So if there is a site you want to keep up with, how
can you do it using RSS and Slack?

The Slack Integration Solution – RSS

Slack has its own RSS solution, similar to Zapier’s
and there appears to be no limit to the number of RSS feeds you can enter.

After entering the feed address and the destination
channel in Slack for the updates, entries will slowly start coming in.

You can also manage your feeds from within Slack by
using the /feed help command.

Never Forget An Important Email Ever Again

A lot of peoples email boxes look like a major
disaster area, with many striving to achieve Inbox Zero (and not doing too well
at it). This can lead to important emails being lost in the crush and forgotten
about.

So what if you could automatically forward certain
emails into your Slack room so you can remember to follow up on them?

The Slack Integration Solution – Email

Upon activating the email integration, and specifying
which Slack channel the email should be funnelled to, you will be given a
randomly-generated Slack email address. Any email forwarded to this address
will show up in your Slack channel.

This method is also great for any email newsletters
which you want to see as soon as they appear.

A Read-It-Later List

Throughout the day, you will most likely come across
links you want to investigate more thoroughly later. Maybe it is an
industry-related report you would like to read, or a YouTube video sent to you
by a friend or colleague?

Your best bet in this regard is to open an account with either Pocket or Instapaper. But using these accounts on their own means there is a good chance you will bookmark something then forget about it.

Having it pop up in Slack on the other hand is a nice
handy reminder…..

The Slack Integration Solution – Pocket

Slack surprisingly does not have an integration for Instapaper. Instead, the other alternative is IFTTT.

Slack’s Pocket offering goes in the other direction
though. Rather than new additions to Pocket showing up in Slack, you can use
this Slack integration to save new links in Slack to Pocket.

So if your colleague sends you a link in Slack and you
don’t have time to read it right now, you can right-click on the Slack menu and
choose “Save To Pocket”. It will then sync with your Pocket account, ready for
you to read later.

Mr Slack, The Stockbroker

A lot of companies are now public with their own stock
offerings and your company may be no exception. Or perhaps you are in the
financial industry and need to keep on top of stock prices.

If that describes you, Mr Slack the Stockbroker can
watch for those fluctuations and present them to you in your Slack room.

The Slack Integration Solution – TickerPal

As you can imagine, there are quite a few options for
checking out stock prices. But one which seems to work quite well is TickerPal.

Once installed, just type /ticker followed by the stock ticker you want to get more information about.
Apple is AAPL so if you wanted to check out Apple’s current share price, you
would type /ticker AAPL . This then appears.

Slackbot Is Your New BFF

One of Slack’s “secret weapons” (in that not many
people either know about it or use it to its full advantage) is Slackbot.

Slackbot is a bot which can be programmed to give
specific replies to particular keywords. So if you find you are always
forgetting the company bank details to send to a client, you can program
Slackbot to fire you the details if you give it a keyword.

You can make the keyword whatever you want, but it
should obviously be a single word which you will remember instantly.

So if I type “iban” into Slack, it sends me my bank
details, which I can then copy and paste into an email or invoice.

Or if I type “vat”, it tells me my company VAT number,
which is another thing I am always
forgetting.

Damn, what was my tax number again? Help me out
Slackbot.

Oh yes….thanks buddy.

See what I mean about figuring out your pain points?

So make a list of all the small important details you are constantly forgetting. Then go to Slackbot’s customization area, and enter that information individually along with the relevant keyword. Remember to save all of your updates.

Now you can test it. Click on your name under
“Slackbot”. This is the small private room I mentioned at the beginning of the
article. Once there, enter one of your keywords and watch the reply pop up.

You will need password access to the Slack room on the
Slack website to be able to access the customization area, which is another
good reason to set up your own room. Your boss is hardly likely to hand over
the company Slack password.

Slack will also remind you of anything you tell it to.
So if you have an urgent appointment, or you need to call someone…anything
really….you would set it up like this.

/remind
[@someone or #channel] [what] [when]

So say you have to phone someone at 3.00pm. Go to
Slackbot (under the Direct Messages section) and you would type it like this.

/remind
@me call the new client at 3.00pm

You will then get a confirmation that Slackbot has
understood your request.

Then at the appointed time, you will get the reminder
(and a push notification if you have those enabled).

If you need a second kick up the butt, you can snooze
the reminder until later.

Conclusion

Using a combination of both Slack and IFTTT
integrations, there can be virtually no limitations to what you can get Slack
to do on your behalf. It will remember everything so you won’t have to, and it
won’t need a vacation and a 401K. What a bargain!

Can you think of any ways that the concept of the
Slack second brain can be expanded and improved upon? What else do you think it
can remember on your behalf?