The Ultimate List of YouTube Tips, Hacks, and Shortcuts

YouTube has a surprising number of shortcuts
built straight into it that many people don’t know about. If you want to know
what tips exist for YouTube, read through this guide. You can treat this guide
as the ultimate tips, hacks, and shortcuts list for everybody’s favorite video
content platform.

Some of these shortcuts and tips are available
through YouTube natively, whilst others are available through your browser or
via your computer through other means. Alright, let’s jump straight in.

YouTube Video Playback ShortcutsI

Perhaps the most useful shortcuts are focused on video playback controls. Many people are aware that pressing the spacebar will pause or play a video. You can also press K. But there are many more shortcuts for video playback, too. Here is a full look at what’s available.

For example, pressing the left arrow will jump back 5 seconds. Alternatively, the right arrow will jump forwards 5 seconds. Want to go further? Use J and L to jump back 10 seconds or forward 10 seconds, respectively.

More navigation options are available for quick skipping, too. 0 or Home will take you to the beginning. End will take you to the end of the video. The numbers 1-9 will take you through even increments through the video. For example, 5 would take you to 2 minutes through a 4 minute video.

If you’d rather speed things up instead of skipping, you can do that too. Simply use Shift + > or Shift + < to speed up or slow things down. The speed ranges from 0.25x to 2x.

Finally, you can move frame by frame by using ‘.’ or ‘,’ when the video is paused. This may be useful for getting screenshots at specific moments or catching any small details you may otherwise miss in a video.

Want to increase or decrease the volume on the fly? The up and down arrows will incrementally increase or decrease the YouTube player’s volume by 5%. You can mute or unmute the video with m too.

Want to change the scale of the video? You can do that too. Pressing f will take you to fullscreen, and pressing ESC will leave fullscreen.

Alternatively, press i to create a small picture in picture video that lets you keep browsing whilst you view. Pressing i will return you back to the video page. Finally, press t to go into theater mode.

Here are some more: Turn captions on/off with c, cycle through caption background color options with b, and move to new videos in a playlist with SHIFT + p for previous, or SHIFT + n for next.

Useful YouTube Search Commands

Let’s take a look at some other useful YouTube
commands, tips, and tricks you can use to quickly navigate the website.
Specifically, YouTube search commands.

If you’re on YouTube already, you can press / to quickly jump to the search bar. Not on YouTube? Simply type youtube.com in the URL then press TAB. Next, type what you want to search and you’ll be taken straight to the YouTube search results.

Or, what about searching straight from the desktop? Press Windows Key+R to open the Run box, then type chrome youtube.com/results?search_query=SEARCH’. Remove the parentheses and replace ‘SEARCH’ with your search term. A new tab will immediately open on Chrome with your chosen search terms.

If you don’t use Chrome, you can replace
chrome in the command above with ‘firefox’, ‘iexplore’, or ‘microsoft-edge’.

There are also some search tips you can use to
further define what you are searching for. I’ve provided some examples below.

You can remove terms or filter out words with
‘+’ or ‘-‘. For example, let’s say you want to learn about the city Bangalore
in India. A search of Bangalore on YouTube will show all sorts of content unrelated
to the city with the same names. In this example, more specifically from a game
called Apex Legends.

You can remove the term Apex Legends by searching Bangalore -apex -legends.

Above is an example of the two search results and how they differ. You can use this in many different ways to remove videos that you don’t want to see in your search results. A lot of the same search operators that work on Google.com will work here too.

You can force specific terms in your search by
using the ” ” marks over any term. As an example, let’s say you want
to find a travel vlog of a country in a specific month to see what the weather
may be like.

Searching for Brazil travel vlog “April” would bring back results that include April in their title. As you can see in the image above, this can be an effective way to search for specific terms.

More YouTube Tips Hidden within
menus

You can find a number of useful YouTube tips
within the different menus and UI panels, too. Here are some of my favorites.

Firstly, if you accidentally close your window down, or want to rewatch a video you remembered in the past, you can click on history on the tab on the right side of the home page. You can scroll through your history and even search through it, which makes finding a particular video very easy.  This also allows you to quickly find videos when moving between devices.

Make sure to click Turn on watch history on this page so that your history is recorded. This tip won’t work for finding any videos that you viewed whilst watch history is turned off.

If you watch or like a lot of videos and want
to save a video for later, you can leave a comment and then use the comment
history tool on this page to find it later, too. You can even find detailed
information here about your past searches.

Want to reduce strain on your eyes? YouTube has a dark mode. To turn it on, click your profile picture in the top right. Next, click on Dark theme: off in the dropdown menu that appears. Click to turn on dark mode.

Summary

Thanks for taking the time to read our tips
and tricks for using YouTube. In this guide we covered the following:

  • Unique search features
  • Playback shortcuts
  • The top features hidden within
    menus

Which of these features did you like the most? Let me know. If you have any of your own tips, feel free to share them over Twitter. I’d love to hear what you have to suggest. Enjoy!

How to Monitor Your Home Electricity Usage

Monitoring your electricity usage can help you
keep track of how much you are spending on your energy. With this information,
you can learn what appliances should be used less often to save on your energy
bill.

There are many different methods available that
can be used to track your electricity usage, but we will be focusing on three
methods in this article. Two of these methods are available to everybody, but
one method is limited to those that use an energy supplier that supports it.

Through Your Energy Supplier with Smart Meters and Apps

Perhaps the easiest option for those that can
get support for it is to get a smart meter directly from your energy supplier.

Some energy suppliers may offer smart meters
and an installation for free, whilst others may charge for it. Some may not
offer smart meters whatsoever. It’s best to contact your energy supplier
directly to find out what they have to offer.

So what exactly is a smart meter? Well, in every home, a meter is used to carefully track how many kWh’s of power are used. However, non-smart variants can’t send this information directly to the supplier, and there’s not really much information on them to show you how much you are spending.

As a result, you’re given a bill that is an estimate, and you’re often left scratching your head about how much electricity you are using in your home each day.

A smart meter is essentially an upgraded version of a meter. Smart meters can send energy usage data directly to your supplier, which means more accurate prices. More importantly, smart meters give you valuable information about how much you are spending. Some smart meters even have included apps that have fancy dashboards filled with stats and information.

This method is great for those that don’t want too much initial investment – like I said earlier, sometimes you can get such a meter for free, or if not, for a reasonable price from a supplier.

However, smart meters don’t do you much justice when it comes to viewing the energy usage from specific appliances. On top of this, not all energy suppliers across the world will offer smart meters.

Device Specific Monitoring with Smart Plugs

My next suggestion would be to buy smart plugs. These are power socket adapters that plug straight into any wall socket. You then plug your appliances and electronics into the smart plug. The smart plug acts as a middleman between your wall and your appliance, gathering data about how much energy is being used.

That data is then sent straight to a
smartphone app. The app you use will depend on which plug you go for, but
typically you’ll get information about how much energy an appliance is using,
and an estimate on how much that will cost you.

Not all smart plugs have monitoring capabilities, though. Some are simply designed to add home automation through assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Home. Make sure you double check energy monitoring features are included before purchasing a smart plug. For example, the Amazon Smart Plug cannot monitor your usage, but the WeMo Insight plug can.

Smart plugs can be great if you’d like to monitor specific appliances in conjunction with a smart meter or another entire home monitoring system.

They are also great for people who forget to switch off appliances at the wall – a smart plug can automate this process for you. The only concern is that you’d need to invest a lot to cover every single used socket in your home. It’s best to use them for energy suckers like electric heaters, etc.

Home Electrical Monitoring Systems

If you’d like to get more real time data on
how energy is being used in your home, or you can’t get any reliable
information from your electricity meter, a home monitoring system could be the
solution.

You can get a variety of products at differing price ranges, but we think small self-installation monitors like the geo Minim are suitable. These will set you back around $50 and can monitor information directly from any old electricity meter. These monitoring systems can be invaluable for keeping track of real time energy usage and tracking how much you are actually spending each day.

In essence, these systems take the information
a standard meter is already outputting and they turn it into charts, graphs,
and detailed overviews of your energy costs via software.

I think that this option is great for somebody
that cannot get a smart meter from their energy supplier. Alternatively, it can
be a good option for somebody that owns a smart meter with limited
functionality. It cannot be used to monitor specific electronic usage. This
means you’ll still need to pair it with smart plugs for more detailed energy
usage information.

Summary

Ultimately, it would be best to go for a home
electrical monitoring system from Amazon or get a smart meter from your
supplier first. With this, you can use an app or an in-display interface to see
how much energy you are using each day. More importantly, both of these can
showcase the cost of your daily, weekly, and monthly energy usage at a glance.

For more thorough energy usage, you’d need to
purchase smart plugs. However, the price really adds up when you start to add
more smart plugs to your home.

What are your thoughts on the technology we
have mentioned? Have you tried them yourself? If so, how has your experience
been? If you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear them.

 

How to Preview a Game on Steam For Free

In this article, we’ll be explaining a number of methods you can use to preview a game on Steam for free. There are a number of reasons why you might want to do this.

For example, most of the top games have negative or mixed reviews, despite generally being enjoyed by most players. Also, reviews for many of the latest releases are heavily weighted toward reviews by those that reviewed the game shortly after buying it, without giving it a full assessment.

The end result is that it becomes very
difficult to know whether a game is good or not until you actually try it for
yourself. Let’s take a look at how you can do that without spending any money.

Wait for Steam Free Weekends

Every now and then, popular games will have
free weekends. During a free weekend period, you are able to download the game
and play it just like everybody else. If you do decide to purchase the game
after the free weekend is over, you’ll keep all of the progress you made during
the free period.

This can be a great way to try new games, but
there seems to be no schedule for which upcoming games will be made available
for free. Because of this, it can be very difficult to find out when a game you
are interested in will be put up for free, if ever.

For now, the best way to find Steam free
weekend games is to open up your Steam client each weekend. You’ll see all
games listed as newsletter pop-ups. You can also find them by scrolling through
the Steam store front page.

Buy the Game Then Refund it

In most cases, buying something with the
intention of refunding it after use is considered terribly rude and quite
immoral, but with Steam it’s acceptable. Steam currently has a refund policy
that allows players to refund games if the experience they have isn’t what they
expected.

The whole refund process is automated and usually instant, so long as you meet two criteria. You must have purchased the game within 14 days and you must have less than 2 hours of play time.

You cannot refund games if you purchase them outside of Steam, and usually you can’t refund DLC without creating a support case, but for actual games bought inside Steam, this refund policy will apply.

With this process, you’re able to test the
game for up to two hours and if you don’t like it, you can send in a refund
request. If you do like it, you can keep playing. Alternatively, you can refund
it and purchase it again in the future and you will still have the progress you
made during your first playthrough.

Another thing to consider is that if you
purchase a game with Steam wallet funds, the refunded money will go back into
your Steam wallet, not your card or PayPal account.

If you’d like to find out how to refund a
game, follow the steps below.

  • Open the Steam client.
  • Click your profile name in the top right
    corner.
  • Click account details.
  • Next, click ‘view purchase history’.
  • Locate the game you’d like to refund and click on it
  • Next, click the ‘I would like a refund’ button.

If you are within the Steam refund policy 2
hour limit and 14 day ownership time, you’ll be able to get an instant refund.
If not, you’ll need to submit a request and offer information on why you think
you deserve a refund.

One final note on Steam refunds: The system is not there for players to demo games. Instead, it’s there for players who feel like they weren’t given the experience that was advertised to them on the store listing, or for those that come across bugs or crashes that mean they cannot play the game.

However, as long as you don’t regularly abuse this feature, you should not run into any problems and Valve are usually relaxed when handing out refunds that fit within the policy.

Watch the game on Twitch or
YouTube Gaming

Reviews, trailers and gameplay videos can be a
little misleading at times because they very rarely show you what kind of
experience you can expect for yourself. Reviews can often only paint a rough
picture in your head, whilst trailers and gameplay videos on YouTube have clips
that are scripted or cherry picked for better entertainment value.

If you want to see what a game looks like in
its pure, unscripted state, visit Twitch.tv or YouTube Gaming and search for
the game in question. You’ll be able to see people playing the game right then
and there with no editing involved. All gameplay elements, content, and
potential bugs will be straight in front of you to witness.

The only caution we’d give is that if you like what you see from a live stream, you should make sure to check the system requirements first.

Most streamers have very high end PCs, so the game may run silky smooth on their system, but on yours it may not be quite as good. You can find the system requirements and recommended specifications on the store listing for each Steam game.

Summary

Thanks for taking the time to read our guide
on how to preview Steam games for free. Did you find the information in this
article useful? Want to know anything else about Steam games or Steam refunds?
If you do, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you soon.

SSD (Solid State Drive) Buying Guide for 2019

In our SSD buying guide, we’ll be arming you
with all of the knowledge you need to help make an informed purchasing
decision. We’ll help steer you to the right brands, teach you about different
SSD technology, and explain how much you should be spending for different SSD
types.

Hopefully, by the end of our guide, you’ll
know everything there is to know about buying SSDs. If you’re not buying an SSD
today, make sure to bookmark this page so that you have the information ready
for when you do decide to purchase one.

Why Buy an SSD?

It’s quite straightforward – SSDs are far faster than standard hard drives and typically less likely to break down. SSDs use flash cells that are charged up with electricity. The cells remember their state forever. Your PC reads a charged cell as a 1 and a non-charged cell as a 0 in binary.

Hard drives, on the other hand, are more like record players with moving parts. A real arm has to press down on the disk to physically write into it. When reading the disk, the same must be done.

As you can imagine, moving parts are not good
for longevity. Hard drives can slow down over time and completely fail. SSDs
can break, too, as cells are used and reused over and over, but they are
predicted to last for far, far longer.

Obviously, longevity isn’t the main selling point for SSDs. It’s all about the speed. To compare, a high end 7200 RPM drive has a speed of up to 210 MB/s read/write, whilst an entry level SSD like the Crucial CT250MX has a speed of up to 560/510 MB/s read/write. More advanced SSDs can go much faster.

In terms of real world performance, this means
a number of things:

  • Much faster boot up times
  • Programs load faster
  • Less hitching and freezes in video
    games
  • File transfer time is quicker
  • Programs run better side by side

What Types of SSDs are There?

If we ignore the different form factors for a
second, there are two SSD technologies being sold right now. We have the
typical SATA 3 AHCI SSD and then we have the NVME SSD. Both NVME and AHCI are
types of software ‘controller’ used to communicate with storage drives.

AHCI is an older, more outdated technology, whilst NVME is far newer and much faster. As a result, an NVME SSD is considerably more expensive than a SATA SSD. To make things more complexing, the full potential of NVME is only reached if you move over large files. We explained more in our SSD technology overview.

For boot up times, gaming, or light office
work, the speed difference in an NVME and an AHCI SSD is just a few seconds.
For moving large files or editing videos and photos, the difference will be
very noticeable. We’re talking almost 7 times faster. Below is an overview of
different file transfer speeds and boot times.

Read/write
speed:

  • 7200 RPM HD – up to 210 MB/s
  • SATA 3 SSD – up to 550MB/s
  • NVME SSD – up to 3500MB/s

Boot
times (estimated):

  • 7200 RPM HD – 36 seconds
  • Sata 3 SSD Boot time – 9 seconds
  • NVME SSD – 6 seconds

Boot times based on this video.

As you can see, the boot time decrease from hard drive to SSD is huge. The jump from SSD to NVME is very small. However, the NVME still has a large lead in file read/write speeds when larger files are concerned.

So, with that in mind, go for an NVME if you
are after the fastest speed possible for moving large files. If you don’t
necessarily need that, you can put the same budget into a higher capacity SSD
drive.

How Much Should You Pay For a
Sata 3 SSD Drive?

Whilst SSD prices are constantly dropping, they are still more expensive than traditional hard drives. The amount you pay per GB will depend on the brand you choose and the drive capacity. At the time of writing, we monitored the prices of different SSD drives on Amazon and concluded that the average price to pay per different capacity drive is as shown below.

  • 1TB drive: On average $135
  • 500GB drive: On average $67
  • 250GB drive: On average $44
  • 120GB drive: On average $24

How Much Should You Pay For an
NVME Drive?

As mentioned earlier, NVME drives are more expensive than standard SSD drives. You must also make sure you have a suitable M.2 connector on your motherboard before you purchase one. An M.2 connector looks like this:

Whilst the standard SSD prices are very
similar across brands, it’s a different story with NVME drives. For example,
you can pay around $250 for the 1TB Samsung 970 PRO or $145 for the Crucial P1
1TB.

If prices are lower than $200, there’s usually
a catch. Take the P1 for example – its top speeds are 2,000MB/s read and
1,500MB/s write. The Samsung 970 PRO, on the other hand has speeds of up to
3,500MB/s read/write.

For a real NVME SSD with full speed potential,
you’re looking at the following average prices:

  • 1TB drive: On average $240
  • 500GB drive: On average $130
  • 250GB drive: On average $80
  • 120GB drive: On average $50

If you see a product with significantly lower
speeds, read through the description carefully and read reviews online to
understand why.

Which SSD Brands are Reliable?

Buying an SSD from a reliable brand is
important because flash memory can be a tricky thing to get right. If longevity
is a concern, you should aim for brands that have a proven track record of
manufacturing long lasting drives.

An interesting experiment showcased that Kingston, Samsung, and Corsair drives survived after writing 1000 TB of data. Keep in mind, that’s a lot of data. Other lesser known brands may not last quite as long.

The best thing you can do when choosing a drive is to read customer reviews on longevity and research the brand on the internet for potential issues. Ultimately, is a slight reduction in price really worth it when you may be choosing a lesser trusted brand over one that is reliable?

Whilst this study was done on typical AHCI
SATA 3 drives, we’re confident similar results would be seen on an NVME drive.

Summary

Thanks for reading our SSD buying guide. We
hope that this guide has been informative enough to help you make your next
purchase.

Have any more questions about SSDs? You’re welcome to send me a tweet and I’d be happy to respond. Enjoy!

Nest vs ecobee – Which Smart Thermostat is Better?

If you are looking to get your home geared up with a smart thermostat, it’s likely that you will come across two names; Nest and ecobee. Both companies are creating some excellent products, but how do their thermostats differ from each other?

In this article, we’ll be comparing the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat and the ecobee 4 to help you decide which option is best suited for your home and lifestyle. Both thermostats will also work great for a home you are renting out on Airbnb.

Nest Learning Thermostat vs ecobee 4 – The Overview

Before we get into a full blown comparison, I want to share the overall differences between these two products. Both options are excellent, but they both have their individual strengths.

Both the ecobee 4 and the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat are smart gadgets, but the way they use their smarts is different. The option from Nest is best suited for those that like to let technological magic do its work. Nest will learn your patterns automatically to help you save as much money as possible whilst keeping your house at a comfortable temperature when you’re indoors.

The ecobee 4, on the other hand, is far more suited for those that want more control over their home temperature. The ecobee 4 has an initial setup stage that will ask you when you are usually home and what temperature you like. After that, the ecobee 4 will fill in the gaps with sensors and keeping track of your location via your phone to ensure your thermostat only kicks in when it needs to.

Let’s take a further look at these following categories to provide you more information about how these two thermostats differ:

  • AI Learning Power
  • Apple/Alexa/Google Assistant Support
  • Companion App Functionality
  • Overall Product Design and Setup

AI Learning Power

As the name would suggest, the Nest Learning Thermostat is easily the better option for those that want AI to do all of the hard work for them. What Nest will do during the first couple of weeks is monitor your thermostat usage.

Nest will notice when you usually turn up or down your temperature and it will also use location information from your phone to know when you aren’t home. Once the initial learning period is up, Nest will start to automatically switch the heat up and down at the most suitable times for you. If you come home at a specific time, Nest will also prep up your home by adjusting the temperature ahead of time so that you come home to comfort.

The great thing about Nest is that even if it gets things wrong to begin with, you can always manually adjust the temperature at any time and this will feed Nest with more information to go off of.

The ecobee 4 doesn’t have any of this AI learning power, but it does still have some smarts inside its circuitry. The ecobee 4 uses standalone sensors that it can communicate with for information. You get one sensor when purchasing the ecobee 4, but you can purchase more.

The sensors will detect motion in your house, and if no motion is detected for two hours, it will go into an eco-saving ‘away mode’. If you have sensors in all rooms in your house, you can use ecobee’s unique ‘follow me’ mode, which will adjust the temperature in the rooms you are in and save energy in the rooms that have no occupants.

In summary, ecobee has more potential if you set up your optimal temperature and invest in room sensors for each room, but at $79 for 2, it’ll really run up the costs. Nest’s AI power does a great job at doing the hard work for you at no additional cost.

Smart Assistant Support

This is the category where both the ecobee and the Nest Learning Thermostat take vastly different paths due to some unfortunate rivalry. Because Nest is now owned by Google, Apple HomeKit support is not available. If you’re an Apple Home user, Nest is immediately thrown out of the equation as a result.

ecobee 4 has great Apple HomeKit support – with the Apple Home app, you can set automations and rules to make more use of ecobee’s connectivity. The ecobee 4 can also do a better job at knowing when nobody is home if everybody in the house is using an iPhone thanks to Apple Home’s built in geofencing capabilities.

If you don’t use Apple, the ecobee 4 falls a little flat. It doesn’t have great compatibility with Google Home, and it’s unlikely it ever will now that Google owns the competing product. Amazon Alexa support is built in, but it just doesn’t have anywhere near the same functionality as Apple HomeKit.

On the other side of the fence, we have the Nest Learning Thermostat, which is 100% team Google at this point. Thankfully, you don’t need a Google Home or even an Android device to take advantage of Google Assistant. Even if you are an iPhone user, the Google Assistant can be downloaded from the App Store.

From here, you can then have some level of remote control over your Nest Learning Thermostat – you can check or adjust temperature. Ultimately, you don’t get quite the level of functionality that comes with Apple HomeKit. However, for users that just want to plug in a product and go, the Nest Learning Thermostat is more than enough.

Overall, if you are an Android user you’re stuck with Nest. But, if you don’t have a home assistant or don’t mind swapping over to Apple, the ecobee 4 easily has more functionality if you’re willing to take the time to set up your own automations and take full advantage of what the Apple HomeKit has to offer.

Companion App Functionality

As well as support for remote control via Google, Apple, and Alexa assistants, both thermostats have companion apps. The ecobee 4 wins this category. ecobee has spent more time refining their user experience – the app interface and the interface on the thermostat itself share similarities, so it’s very easy to learn.

Nest, on the other hand, has a somewhat frustrating built-in interface on the thermostat itself, and the app offers a completely different experience. Functionality in both apps is decent, but the ecobee app is, in my opinion, cleaner and it becomes far easier to access functions like scheduling or temperature change.

The overall differences in the app experience between the two products mirrors my earlier comments. The ecobee 4 is more suitable for tinkerers or those that want more control over how things operate. The Nest Learning Thermostat is more suited for those that want to get set up and never touch things again.

Overall Product Design and Setup

At first glance, the Nest Learning Thermostat is easily the more stunning device. The Nest design team did an excellent job at crafting a piece of tech that can sit beautifully in your home. The ecobee 4, on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb. The ecobee 4 isn’t exactly ugly, but it’s not going to blend into the design of your home.

Another big issue is the setup. Both thermostats are designed to support a connection straight to your C-Wire, but the Nest has a built-in battery so it’s not a necessary step. The ecobee 4 does require you to do some DIY work, either by wiring it up directly to the C-wire, or by connecting your HVAC to the ecobee 4 power extender kit. The Nest Learning Thermostat easily takes the win in this category.

Summary

In summary, the ecobee 4 and the Nest Learning Thermostat are both excellent choices that’ll help you to save money and stay comfortable at home. The Nest Learning Thermostat is better aimed toward those that want to set things up easily and never think about it again, whilst the ecobee 4 is better for those that like to have more control or don’t mind a bit of DIY work.

Do you have any questions about these smart thermostats? If you want to know anything else, leave a comment and we’ll get back to you. Enjoy!

The post Nest vs ecobee – Which Smart Thermostat is Better? appeared first on Online Tech Tips.