iClever BTH03 Bluetooth Kids Headphones Review

Buying a pair of headphones can often be a bit of a hit and miss affair. There are so many variables to consider – the sound quality, the comfort of the headphones on your head, and if they are Bluetooth-connected, you also want the connection to be stable. There’s nothing worse than listening to music or a TV show and having the sound cut out every minute or two.

After using a pair of Sennheiser wired headphones for many years, I thought that nothing could tear me away from them. However, after trying iClever’s Bluetooth BTH03 headphones, I may have to change my mind. They may be a small set of headphones at a small price, but they pack a big punch in the sound department.

Not Just For Kids!

I should clear something up before I continue. These headphones are marketed as “kids headphones” but they can easily be used by an adult (provided your head is not totally enormous!). 

The earpads are easily adjustable to fit either a child’s head or an average adult’s head. At 160 grams in weight with a very soft headband, you also won’t even feel they’re on your head to begin with. They are also extremely flexible, as you will see in the video above, so they can be squashed into your kid’s school bag without you having to worry about them being broken.

But if you’re an adult looking for a cheap pair of headphones, you also can’t go wrong with these. Don’t let the marketing to kids throw you off.

The Pros Of The iClever BTH03 Headphones

Let’s just dive right into the important stuff with all that’s good about these headphones.

First, it takes less than two hours to charge these headphones to full capacity (in my tests, I clocked it at around 90 minutes). Then once you have a full charge, the battery lasts for an unbelievable 18-20 hours (again, this was tested where it came out at just over 18 hours, although the company claims 20 is possible – your mileage may vary).

On the side of the headphones is an on/off button which helps to conserve battery strength when you’re not using them. Switch on the headphones, then switch on Bluetooth on your device, whether it be your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and the headphones will automatically pair. 

Next to the on/off switch is the volume control. Start your music, movie, or TV show, and off you go. With a possible 33 foot range between the device and the headphones, you don’t need to have the device perched right beside you. 

If you’re using the headphones on your smartphone, you can also answer, pause and end phone calls. They have a built-in microphone which delivers excellent sound quality.

But How Is the Sound Quality Overall?

Put simply – the stereo sound quality is surprisingly good.

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. So at only $36 for these headphones, you would be forgiven for thinking that the audio quality would be subpar at best. 

But you would be wrong. The audio quality is actually really good.

Now I am no audiophile or sound engineer. If I was, I would most likely pick up on tiny little audio quirks that would bother me. I’m just your average headphones user like you probably are. And remember the box says “kids headphones” – so your child isn’t likely to complain are they? As long as they can listen to Cookie Monster or Spongebob Squarepants, the sound will be good enough for them.

To my untrained ear, the sound is fabulous.

The Cons Of The iClever BTH03 Headphones

I’m not sure if this is a “con” as such, but if you have paired the headphones with one device, the headphones will not pair simultaneously with a second device. You must unpair with the first device first. Only then will the headphones pair with another device.

Whether this is a limitation with the headphones or with Bluetooth in general, I can’t say. But if you’re using the headphones with various devices, it can get a bit annoying constantly having to click “Forget This Device”, every time you want to use the headphones with another device.

4 out of 5 stars

Buy The Headphones Here.

OTT Explains : What Is a Meme (And How To Create One)

The Internet has brought mankind some important groundbreaking advancements – making international trade easier, bringing different cultures together, giving journalists an endless source of news in the form of tweets…but the most important thing you can always rely on the Internet to provide us with are memes.

If you are here, it’s likely because you’ve Googled “what is a meme”. A meme is when a picture is paired with an amusing phrase. It can be a picture relating to popular culture or current events, like so – 

Or a photo taken by someone which then suddenly finds itself the subject of a ‘viral’ meme sensation (where it spreads uncontrollably around the Internet, usually via social media). Here for example is my favorite, Business Cat.

If you check Google Images, you’ll see that it is awash with memes of all descriptions. The vast majority are nothing special and fade into obscurity. But some people strike it lucky with their meme creations, either because they have a sense of humor that resonates with people, or because they tap into popular culture at exactly the right time.

For example, the new Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian” is currently on Disney+. Memes relating to the series are currently highly popular. For copyright reasons, I’ll just provide you with a link. The most popular meme by far is Grumpy Cat, so much so that when the actual cat died recently, he got extensive media coverage.

Or there’s “Chuck Norris Facts” which highlights the machoism of being Chuck Norris.

One of the most common memes on the Internet, other than Grumpy Cat, is “Condescending Willy Wonka”. You’ll recognize it when you see it.

Memes are a marketer’s dream as you can use them in viral marketing campaigns. As you can see, a meme is not rocket science, so anybody can make one. All you need is your image, your joke, and a “meme generator” of which there are countless online. All you need to do is Google for one.

For the purposes of this article though, I am going to use ImgFlip.

Creating Your Own Meme

The meme generator page makes everything extremely easy.

  • Click Upload Your Own Image, navigate to the image on your computer, and upload it.
  • You now need to decide on your text. In the boxes provided, enter the text you want. Try and keep it short and snappy. The more text there is, the smaller the text becomes to fit into the box.
  • Now go into the text settings and tweak things until it starts to look the way you want it to look. You can align it, add drop shadows, change the font style and color, and much more. A lot of memes are works of art.
  • When you have the meme just as you want it, download it to your computer by clicking Generate Meme.
  • And here’s the finished meme, ready for social media or for emailing to your friends.

So that is basically it. All you really do have to bear in mind is that you don’t steal peoples personal photographs. Pop culture and public domain stuff is fair game, but stealing someone’s photo of their child (for example) and mocking them is obviously off-limits. So use your best judgment here.

How to Use The YouTube Audio Library In Your Video Projects

If you are producing your own video or other media project, you can’t just take whatever music you want from the Internet. If you are flying a jet fighter over the skies of America and filming it, you can’t use Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” song and hope to get away with it. There’s the small icky matter of copyright.

So people who are making their own media projects, who require any kind of audio, are always looking for music which they can use legally. YouTube decided to make it easier by providing a YouTube audio library of free audio clips which you can use in your video projects. The clips are provided by ordinary musicians looking to get their work out there into the world.

The YouTube Audio Library – A Goldmine Of Royalty-Free Music

You’re probably wondering where this YouTube audio library is. Well, it’s in an area of YouTube known as YouTube Studio. To get there, either click on that link or go to your menu in the top-right hand corner of your YouTube page.

In both cases, you will have to sign in with your Google account details. Once you are inside YouTube Studio, scroll down the menu on the left-hand side until you come to Audio Library. Click on that to open it.

The YouTube Audio Library is split up into two sections – Free Music and Special Effects. YouTube updates both sections on a semi-regular basis with new stuff. So if you don’t see something you like, check back again another time.

Each entry in the library is basically a MP3 file which you can download, and then drag into the media project creation tool of your choice (such as iMovie for Mac owners). But first you need to find the one you want.

You can narrow and simplify your search by using either the search function, or the filters. If you have a very good idea what you are looking for, the filters are the way to go. It categorizes the music into Genre, Mood, Instrument, Duration, and Attribution. You can use all five filters at the same time to really drill down to the good stuff.

Genre & Mood

Knowing what type of music you want is half the battle. Do you want something deep, dark, and moody? Something exciting? Or something light, cheerful and positive? If you know for sure, then use the Genre and Mood filters.

Instrument

Here, you can filter by instrument. Maybe you want a little bit of light piano music? Or someone playing guitar? Or go really crazy with the trumpets?

Duration

This is an important one because you ideally want to get something that fits the length of your media project. The last thing you need is a 12 minute audio clip for a 5 minute project. You either have to edit the music down with something like Audacity, or have the music cut off just as it’s getting good.

So to get the right duration, use this filter.

Attribution

From a legal perspective, this is an important one as it deals with copyright and Creative Commons. Just because you are getting this music for “free” doesn’t mean that every artist who has contributed to YouTube’s audio library doesn’t want something in return.

Some people don’t want any attribution at all as they perhaps only do it for the fun of it. But there will be others – professional musicians – who will want some kind of acknowledgement and shout-out for their work.

So the Attribution filter is there to filter out who wants recognition and who doesn’t. For those that do, just put their name in the closing credits of your project, and / or in the video description on YouTube.

Deciding On Which One You Want

Once you have tweaked the filters and got yourself a list of possible candidates, it’s now time to listen to them and decide which one is the lucky winner for your naked mud-wrestling video.

You will see a small black arrow on the left-hand side of each clip. That is the Play button so you can preview the music.

Click on the one you want to listen to and it will begin playing. You will also see if attribution is required or not. In this case, it’s not required.

In others though, attribution is required and you will be told what is needed to be done.

When you have found the one you want to use, go to the far-right of the clip and click the download icon. The music file will now be downloaded directly to your computer.

It should be noted however that these YouTube audio library clips are only offered for non-commercial videos which will appear on YouTube. If you intend to make commercial for-profit videos either on or off YouTube, you should instead buy a professional license for a piece of music. AudioJungle is one such possible site.

Have you ever used the YouTube audio library for your projects? What do you think of the music on offer? Let us know in the comments below.

The Fastest & Easiest Ways To Get To Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero. Two words which are whispered breathlessly by minimalists and lifehackers, as if it is the Holy Grail. As if all the world’s problems would be solved if somehow you got those 15,000 unread emails in your inbox dealt with and gone.

Referred to as the act of clearing your inbox completely, Inbox Zero has become a bit of an obsession amongst some, and I have to admit to being bitten by the bug myself. There’s something intensely gratifying about clearing all the emails away. The psychology of it lifts a weight from your shoulders, as if you are not held prisoner to your inbox. That you are in charge.

But how do you get to that exalted position of Inbox Zero?

“Is:unread” Is Your Friend

For the purposes of simplicity, I am going to assume you use Gmail as your email provider. But these tips more or less will work with any email platform.

Log into your email and in the search bar, type is:unread

This naturally brings up every unread email which is in your account. Now it is a case of systematically going through and thinning out the wheat from the chaff.

  • Delete ones which are obviously spam.
  • Unsubscribe from all newsletters which you don’t read anymore. There will be an unsubscribe link either at the top of the Gmail window or at the bottom of the email.
  • Make filters to redirect certain emails into their own labels. So anything from a certain organization can go into its own label. If you work for the ACME organization, make a filter and put everything from the ACME organization into a work label. Be sure to tick Skip The Inbox and Apply Filter To Matching Conversations.

Keep going for friends, family, colleagues and so on. As emails from these people start getting redirected into those labels, your inbox will start to thin out.

Start Deleting

Putting emails into labels merely moves them to another area. It doesn’t fix the problem itself. More of an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario which should be avoided.

I would suggest deleting everything unread which is more than a month old. For people with thousands of emails, this might be a bit of a radical move, but think about it. If the email was about something truly important, you would have heard back again from the person more recently. If it was more than a month ago, and the person hasn’t mentioned the subject again, it’s probably safe to nuke that 100-thread conversation about the company barbecue.

Now you only have a month’s left of emails to deal with, which is much more manageable. Simply go to the back of All Mail and start skimming through each one. 

Before you start, go to your Labs section and turn on Auto-Advance. Then when you have deleted or otherwise dealt with an email, instead of going back to the inbox, you will instead be taken to the next email. Much faster.

This will take some time, and obviously you will have new emails coming in after that. But having filters set up will mean that those new emails won’t be clogging up your inbox and there will be some semblance of order going forward.

How To Stop Things From Getting Out Of Control In The Future

Once you have got your email down to Inbox Zero or close to it, you need to keep it there. There are some things you can do to ensure that unread count doesn’t start creeping up again.

Switch Your Newsletters To RSS Or Social Media

If you use RSS, then a great alternative to email newsletters is to run them through a RSS reader instead. One free web app you can use for this is “Kill The Newsletter!

It randomly generates an email address for you to subscribe to the newsletter, then sets up a connected RSS address to put into your RSS reader. Then when the newsletter goes out, it will appear in your RSS feed instead of your email inbox. It works like a charm.

An alternative is to follow the person or company via their social media profiles. But if they post a high volume of status updates every day, the chances of missing something is high.

Encourage People To Contact You Via Social Media

Ask people to :

  1. Send you a direct message via Twitter.
  2. Send you a message on Facebook Messenger
  3. Send you a message on Instagram Chat or their new standalone chat app, Threads.
  4. Ask work colleagues and freelance clients to approach you on LinkedIn chat.

Encourage People To Instant Message You

As well as social media chat programs, you can also ask people to contact you via Skype, Signal, and WhatsApp.

Use Pocket For Links You Emailed To Yourself

Many people – and I have been guilty of this myself – use email as a dumping ground for links you want to keep for later. This may include interesting online articles or things you want to buy.

Instead of clogging up your inbox, why not use Pocket or Instapaper to collect them for you? I highly recommend Pocket and is one of the few premium services I have paid for.

Keeping Inbox Zero is an ongoing, never-ending effort. Keep the email filters tweaked, be selective in what you subscribe to, and keep marking unwanted email as spam. The moment you stop making the effort is when you will see that unread count creeping up again.

The Best Places To Find Audiobooks For Free

These days, audiobooks are on the rise, as more and more people look to find ways to spice up an hour-long commute into work or school. It’s also how you can liven up and add some entertainment to mundane boring tasks such as washing the dishes or rearranging your clothes shelves. 

If you’d rather not pay for your audiobooks though, and you don’t mind not having the latest bestsellers, here are some sources where you can get audiobooks for free.

LibriVox

Librivox is an example of crowdsourcing on the internet, where volunteers read chapters of an audiobook with the aim of getting it online. These generous people take the initiative of reading chapters from short stories, fairy tales, and other kinds of books. 

Anyone can download these thousands of audiobooks for free, and anyone can volunteer their time to read another one for the site.

Due to the fact that many people are reading these novels, be aware that quality can vary from one person to the next. But for visually impaired people or disabled people, a service like this can be a lifesaver. You never know who is going to be reading the next chapter.

Google Play Books

No list would be complete without the inclusion of Google Play Books, but saying that, there is no dedicated “free” section on the site. In fact, being a business, Google puts more emphasis on the paid offerings.

There is however an audiobook section, and Google often gives away free books now and then as a special offer. It’s worth keeping the site bookmarked and check it on a regular basis to see if Google are running any special promotions.

DigitalBook

DigitalBook claims to have over 100,000 titles in their collection, but an initial inspection seems to suggest that they are merely indexing Librivox’s collection. 

You can listen to audiobooks without a membership. But a free membership will enable you to save all the audiobooks you want, place them on a bookshelf, and return to read them again in the future.

Libby

Did you know that you can borrow audiobooks for free from your local library? Not many people do, and Libby wants to make it easier to find and check out those audiobooks.

Operated by the library distribution service, Overdrive, Libby serves as your manager of audiobooks and with it, you can borrow audiobooks from all the libraries you are subscribed to.

After downloading its app to your phone, you can then listen to any audiobook available in your local library. This includes classics, bestsellers, and new releases.

Internet Archive

Best known for the Wayback machine, the Internet Archive serves as a repository for everything online. It is also trying to save and preserve our culture. Part of that are audiobooks.

By searching in the archive’s search engine, you can find all kinds of audiobooks (likely millions of them). But be careful because some of them may still be in copyright in your country. Download with extreme caution. For example, I found an Orson Scott Card book which is most likely still in copyright.

The Internet Archive is updated on a regular basis, so this is another one to bookmark and check back on often.

Project Gutenberg

Like LibriVox, this is a volunteer-run repository. Project Gutenberg came to life in 1971 and has been in existence ever since. It aims to digitize cultural works to fuel the distribution of e-books.

If you think Project Gutenberg is all about e-books, you’ve got another thing coming. The repository also features a large collection of human-read audiobooks for free, taken from the public domain (such as Librivox). 

Audible

Since you get a 30-day free trial, you can find plenty of audiobooks without paying a dime on Audible. With a reputation as one of the big guns in supplying new audiobooks on the internet, you’ll be in a good spot.

The monthly fee for an eventual subscription is $14.95. Compared to a free pass, that seems a lot. But if you consider the unlimited power you have to access all the audiobooks you want, you might think otherwise.

Audiobooks.com

More than 100,000 audiobooks for free are yours for the taking at Audiobooks. The catch is that you can take home only some of them for free. 

Like Audible, it charges you $14.95 per month if you sign up for its service. If you want to test the waters first before diving in, then its one-month free trial is perfect for you to get some audiobooks for free.

What sets this apart are the voices of trained actors who narrate the original stories in the items you can find here. When you check out what’s in store for you on the site, it’s as if you’re tuning in to more than just an audiobook. Instead, it’s like you’re in the middle of a radio drama.

Spotify

Do you have Spotify installed on your iPad, iPhone, or Android gadget? If so, you have a ticket to easily check out audiobooks. Just search for a title you like, or an author or genre.

Spotify is mostly around to provide music, so you can’t rely on it having as many titles as the rest of the entries in this list. But if you’re already an existing Spotify user, finding and downloading audiobooks for free is made easy for you.