Why Can’t You Use a TV as a Monitor?

Large TV on wallGaurav Paswan / Shutterstock

Televisions and computer monitors are similar and use mostly the same technology to drive the panels. You can usually use a TV with your computer, but they’re made for a different market and aren’t the same as monitors.

Differences in Connections

Both TVs and monitors will accept HDMI input, assuming they were made in the last decade. HDMI is the industry standard for video signals, and you’ll find them on nearly every device that outputs video from Rokus and game consoles to computers. Technically, if all you’re looking for is a screen to plug something into, either a TV or monitor will do.

Monitors will usually have other connections, such as DisplayPort, to support higher resolutions and refresh rates. TVs will often include multiple HDMI inputs for plugging in all your devices to one screen, whereas monitors are usually meant for using one device at a time.

Devices like game consoles usually send audio over HDMI, but monitors generally don’t have speakers, and rarely have decent ones if they do. You’re usually expected to plug in headphones at your desk or have desktop speakers. However, nearly all televisions will have speakers. The high-end models pride themselves on having great ones, as they function as the centerpiece of your living room.

TVs Are Much Larger

The obvious difference is the size of the screen. TVs are generally around 40 inches or more, while most desktop monitors sit around 24-27 inches. The TV is meant to be seen from across the room, and so needs to be bigger to occupy the same amount of your vision.

This might not be an issue for you; some people may prefer a larger display instead of many smaller ones. So the size isn’t an automatic dealbreaker, but the resolution is–if your TV is a 40-inch panel, but is only 1080p, it will look blurry when it’s close up on your desk, despite seeming just fine from across the room. If you’re going to be using a large TV as your primary computer monitor, consider getting a 4K panel.

The opposite is also true, as you wouldn’t want to use a small computer monitor as your living room TV. It’s certainly doable, but most mid-sized 1080p TVs cost about the same as a comparable desktop monitor.

Monitors Are Made For Interactivity

Gaming monitorGorodenkoff / Shutterstock

With televisions, the content you’re consuming is almost entirely prerecorded, but on monitors, you’ll be interacting with your desktop constantly. They’re built accordingly, with TVs focusing on better picture quality for movies and shows, often at the cost of processing time and input lag.

It’s important to understand the basics of how most TVs and monitors work to grasp why this matters. With both TVs and monitors, devices (like your computer or cable box) send pictures to the display many times per second. The display’s electronics process the image, which delays it being shown for a short while. This is generally referred to as the panel’s input lag.

Read the remaining 12 paragraphs

How to Charge your iPhone With the New MacBook Pro

Dongle plugged into MacBook
blackzheep / Shutterstock

On the latest MacBook Pros, Apple has replaced all of the ports with USB-C connections. This makes it more complicated to charge your phone, as you can no longer use your Lightning-to-USB cable with your MacBook.

Apple wants USB-C to be the new standard, and it’s undoubtedly a great connector, but during the switch, you’ll be stuck using dongles and adapters to connect the devices Apple left behind (which ironically includes the latest iPhone models).

Use a USB-C to Lightning Adapter Cable

USB-C to Lightning Cable

The simplest solution is to ditch the old USB connector altogether and switch over to USB-C. Apple sells adapter cables that allow you to connect your phone directly to your laptop, with no dongles or mess to worry about, though you can always get a third party cable for cheaper on Amazon.

But there’s a catch—now you’ll have two charging cables, one for charging with your MacBook and one for charging from the wall. If this bothers you, you could ditch wall charging and only charge your phone from your MacBook, or you could throw out your old cable and plug your new cable into your MacBook charger block. This will let you charge off the wall without your old cable, but then you’ll be stuck juggling between charging your MacBook or your phone, which use different connectors.

The easiest method is to get a dedicated USB-C wall block for your phone and keep it all separate. You can find USB-C wall chargers on Amazon.

Get a USB-C to USB-A Dongle

USB-C to USB dongle adapter

These adapters are handy, so you’ll probably want one of these for your MacBook anyway. You plug your existing phone charger cable into the adapter’s USB-A slot (the older, larger USB ports you’ve been using for years), and then plug the adapter into your MacBook, forming a bridge between the two. There are also multi-port hubs with many different connectors that will work as well, so long as they have a USB-A port to plug into. You can find all kinds of USB-C adapters on Amazon.

These dongles are a little clunkier than just switching to USB-C but will allow you to keep your current USB wall charger while still being able to charge through your MacBook. They are also useful for plugging other USB based devices into your MacBook, so it’s good to have one around even if you prefer using the USB-C to Lightning cable to charge your phone.

How to Turn Your Mac’s Caps Lock into an Extra Modifier Key

Mac Caps Lock Key
Nick Beer / Shutterstock

Unless you’re prone to yelling on the Internet, you probably don’t use Caps Lock for much. That’s weird since it’s right next to a bunch of useful modifier keys. Here’s how to make Caps Lock as handy as the others.

What Can You Do With an Extra Modifier Key?

Perhaps the coolest thing to do is bind fully custom hotkeys. With the use of an app like BetterTouchTool, you can use an extra modifier key to add an empty slate of hotkeys to which you can attach actions. If you want to trigger a shell script or open a new email tab whenever you press Caps+B, you can do that.

You can do the same custom hotkeys without Caps Lock, but you’ll be stuck pressing weird combinations like Shift+Control+Command to not interfere with default shortcuts. With this method, any app that allows you to set your own hotkeys will support the new Caps Lock modifier.

You can also rebind existing shortcuts to use Caps Lock. If there’s an overly complicated shortcut that’s bugging you, you can rebind it in macOS’s keyboard settings to make it easier to press. For example, the hotkey in macOS to take a screenshot of a selection is Shift+Command+5, but you could rebind it to Caps+S.

Repurpose Caps Lock With Karabiner

Now, there’s no way to emulate an extra modifier key properly, so for compatibility reasons, a better way to get this functionality is to remap Caps Lock to act like you’re pressing the Shift, Control, Option, and Command keys at the same time. Since this is such an absurd combination, no app is going to require you to press every one of them for a hotkey, and there should be no interference.

This does mean you’ll lose out on combinations such as Caps Lock+Command, but it should work simply enough with any other alphanumeric key. You can remap Caps Lock to an extra function key, like the F13-20 keys, but it may not work as a hotkey in every app. You can also natively remap the Caps Lock key to Escape (or any other modifier key), but this doesn’t add any extra functionality; it just relocates the key.

RELATED: How to Get Your Mac’s Esc Key Back by Remapping Caps Lock

The app we’ll use to rebind Caps Lock is Karabiner, a free keyboard remapping tool for macOS. Download and install the app, and open the preferences. Under the “Complex Modifications” tab, add a new rule with the button at the bottom.

macOS Karabiner Elements

Read the remaining 10 paragraphs

How to Close the macOS Terminal Automatically When a Process Exits

MacOS Terminal Stock Lede

If you’re a fan of shell scripts in macOS, you’ve probably noticed how running one will leave you with a useless Terminal window after it’s completed. You can fix this from the Terminal settings.

This method only works if you’re launching a shell script outside of bash, such as by clicking on it in Finder or by setting a custom hotkey to open the program. Otherwise, you’ll just be taken back to the command prompt. You can always use killall Terminal to make the Terminal app close itself from within a script, but that will close every open Terminal window, so it’s not ideal.

Change This Behaviour in the Profile Settings

Open up the Terminal app from the Dock or your Applications folder, then open the settings by pressing Command+Comma.

In the Settings window, switch to the Profiles tab. The default profile (the one at the top) should be selected by default. In the settings on the right, click the “Shell” tab and then click the “When the shell exits” drop-down menu.

The drop-down menu defaults to “Don’t close the window,” but you’ll want to change this to “Close if the shell exited cleanly.”

MacOS Terminal Close on process exit

You can also make it close every time, but this way you’ll still get an error message if a process exits with a nonzero exit status. Keep in mind that you may need to exit the script explicitly with the exit command to get this behavior in all cases.

Read the remaining 10 paragraphs

How Much Internet Speed Do You Really Need?

internet speed test
Tomislav Pinter/Shutterstock

Internet service providers always want to sell you a faster connection. But forget marketing: How much speed do you really need? The answer is more complicated than you might expect. Higher speed tiers aren’t always worth the money.

Internet connection speeds are usually measured in megabits per second, often written as Mbps. It takes eight megabits to form one megabyte, so if you have a 1000 Mbps connection (gigabit), it will take 8 seconds to download a 1 GB file.

RELATED: How to Test Your Internet Connection Speed or Cellular Data Speed

Speed vs. Data Caps

It’s important to clarify the difference here. Internet speed is the measure of how much data you can download at once, and a data cap is a measure of how much you can download in a given month. They’re certainly related—if you have a faster connection and actually use that bandwidth, it’s much easier to max out your data cap.

Data caps are commonplace in the mobile industry, giving you a limited amount of data to use on your phone each month. They’re mostly just a way to split their service into tiers and charge you more money for “premium” options, and data requirements are growing faster than service providers can keep up.

While your phone might have a data cap, home ISPs like Comcast also impose a cap, usually at 1 terabyte of data (1024 gigabytes) per month—with an additional $50 per month option if you want no data cap. According to Comcast, most Xfinity internet subscribers use around 174 GB per month as of December 2018. But, if you have multiple people in your home and stream a lot of content, it’s very easy to push the data cap.

RELATED: How to Avoid Going Over Your Home Internet’s Data Cap

What Uses the Most Bandwidth?

Your internet speed is ultimately a measure of your bandwidth. If you have a 25 Mbps connection, you can watch five simultaneous 5 Mbps Netflix streams. With the average Internet speed in the US being close to 100 Mbps nowadays, most people won’t max out their connection. In rural areas, however, the maximum available speeds can be in the single digits.

In general, streaming video uses the most bandwidth—at least for the average user. Netflix uses around 5 Mbps for 1080p streams, and advises 25 Mbps for 4K streams. YouTube is usually a bit higher, since many videos are filmed at 60fps (twice the bandwidth), and it uses about 7 Mbps at 1080p60fps.

Read the remaining 17 paragraphs