How To Fix No Sound On YouTube

YouTube is one of the largest websites to watch videos and listen to thousands of music tracks available on it. While the platform works just fine most of the time, there are times when you may face issues like no sound on YouTube.

If the video plays but you don’t hear any sound, there’s probably an issue with either your system or your web browser. Fixing these items on your computer should bring back the sound of your videos and that’s exactly what you’re going to learn today.

Ensure Your Volume Is Not Turned Off

Although this is most obvious fix when there’s no sound on YouTube, some users have their system sound turned off which causes the no sound on YouTube issue on your computer. You want to make sure your system is allowed to play sounds from any source. Otherwise, other apps and platforms including YouTube won’t be able to play any sound.

To fix it, all you basically need to do is press a button on your keyboard and it’ll get the task done.

  • On your keyboard, look for the Mute button that mutes your system volume. Press the button and it’ll unmute your computer.
  • If the button doesn’t work for some reason, you can press the Volume Increase button and it’ll unmute your system.

Make Sure You Haven’t Muted The Video

Another obvious thing that people often forget about. If you watched your previous video in the mute mode, then all of your future videos will also be muted. That is, until you turn the mute option off.

  • While on your video page on the YouTube website, click on the speaker icon and it’ll unmute your video.
  • If you prefer using a keyboard shortcut, press the M key on your keyboard and it’ll unmute the video if it was muted.

Use An Incognito Window To Fix No Sound On YouTube

Issues related to audio and sound are usually due to the system configuration. However, there are times when a browser issue, such as too many cache files, may also be the cause of why you have no sound on YouTube.

Fixing this issue is easy in most modern browsers as you can open an incognito window. This window doesn’t consider your browsing history or cache files while accessing any websites.

  • If you’re a Google Chrome user, click on the three-dots at the top-right corner and select the New incognito window open. Then open YouTube and play your video.
  • If you’re a Firefox user, click on the three horizontal-lines at the top-right corner and select the New Private Window option.

Use Another Web Browser On Your Computer

If even the incognito window doesn’t fix your no sound on YouTube issue, you might want to switch to another browser to see if the issue still persists. It may be your browser has some core issues and so it prevents YouTube from playing any sounds.

If you’re a Chrome user, you can switch to Firefox and try and play your video. If the video plays the sound without any problems, it’s likely your previous browser had an issue.

You can then either wait for the developer to push an update for your current browser, or you can simply permanently switch to the browser that works with YouTube. If you choose to do the latter, you shouldn’t have much trouble migrating your data as there are a number of ways to export browser files and bring them into your new browser.

Increase Volume In Volume Mixer

Volume Mixer is a utility that can be launched from the system tray and it lets you define volume levels for each app on your computer. It’s worth checking it to see if the volume level for your current browser is muted or is at a very low level that you can’t hear anything.

  • Find the sound icon in the system tray, right-click on it, and select the option that says Open Volume mixer.
  • On the following screen, inside the Applications section, you’ll be able to see the volume levels for each of your apps. Ensure your browser is open at this moment for it to appear in this list.
  • Once you find your browser, drag the volume slider all the way to the top. It increases your volume level.
  • Your videos should now play the sound without any issues.

Fix No Sound On YouTube By Updating The Audio Drivers

If it isn’t just YouTube and you have the no sound issue for your entire machine, you may want to see if your audio drivers are up to date. After all, these sound drivers are what make your computer play sounds, and you should update them if they’ve become obsolete.

  • Use the Cortana search to search for and open Device Manager.
  • Expand the menu that says Sound, video and game controllers.
  • Find your sound card in the list, right-click on it, and select Update driver.
  • It’ll ask if you’ll provide the update files or it should automatically find the required drivers. Choose an appropriate option and proceed with it.
  • Once the drivers are updated, reboot your computer.

Use Audio Troubleshooter To Fix No Sound On YouTube

Windows 10 includes a number of troubleshooters to help you with various issues on your computer. One of these helps you with detecting issues with the sound system on your machine, and you can use it to find and fix the aforementioned issue on your computer.

Once the sound issue is resolved, you’ll no longer have the no sound on YouTube issue.

  • Search for Settings using Cortana search and open it.
  • Click on Update & Security on the following screen.
  • Choose Troubleshoot from the left sidebar on your screen.
  • Scroll down in the right-hand side pane, click on Playing Audio, and choose Run the troubleshooter.
  • Wait for it to detect the issue and help you fix it.

We would like to know which method helped you fix the no sound on YouTube issue on your computer. Your answer is awaited in the comments below.

How to Track Multiple Package Tracking Numbers At Once

Frugal online shopping sometimes involves making purchases from multiple different online retailers all at once. While that can mean great things for your bank account, it’s not so easy to keep track of.

Tracking your packages is not only important for knowing when to be home and collect your items, but it can also help you track down items that don’t deliver as expected. If you’re a serial internet shopper like I am, you may sometimes even forget that you’ve made a particular purchase. If it never delivers, that’s not good—especially if it never crosses your mind.

While there are many simple ways to keep track of a single tracking number, multiple package tracking can be difficult. There are a few apps on iOS and Android that make this easier, but who wants to sit around on their phone all day checking for shipping updates?

In this article, let’s go over the best way to handle multiple package tracking numbers at once by desktop or through the web.

Packagetrackr

Packagetrackr is our pick for the best web-based tool for saving and following multiple package tracking numbers. This is a tool that I personally used over the recent Black Friday and Christmas shopping season, and it saved me an immeasurable amount of time and headaches.

The first thing you’ll want to do is sign up for a Packagetrackr account. It’s completely free and even supports signing up by linking your Google account.

Signing up will allow you to store all of your saved package tracking numbers safely and securely so that you can come back to them to check their statuses at a later date. After creating an account, you’ll be taken to your inbox.

Here is where you’ll see a list of all your recently tracked packages. As you’ve just signed up for a new account, this page should be empty. However, let’s check out how this page looks once we add a tracking number.

Tracking a Package

If you have a package tracking number on hand, copy and paste it into the large field at the top of this page and click the Track it! button. Packagetrackr supports USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, China Post, China EMS, and Canada Post tracking numbers, so be sure the tracking number you use is being handled by one of these services.

When adding your first package tracking number, you don’t even have to select which shipping service corresponds to it. Packagetrackr will automatically detect this or narrow it down to multiple options for you to choose from. As you can see above, it’s determined that the tracking number I entered belongs to UPS.

Next, simply click on the package tracking number above the shipping service that your package is being handled by. This will take you to a page that shows its shipping status and allows you to configure how it will be tracked by Packagetrackr.

In the example above, you can see that I’ve added a package that has already been delivered some weeks ago. However, if you’re trying to track a package currently shipping, its status will show accordingly.

The five different statuses tracked by Packagetrackr are Information Received, At Pickup, In Transit, Out for Delivery, and Delivered. Each status change can optionally send you an update via email, so you’ll know immediately when forward movement is occurring in the shipping process. Further down this page, you can even find a tracking map and a full delivery progress log.

To track your package, you’ll need to give it a name. You can do so by clicking the (edit) button towards the top of the current page.

On the screen that pops up, you can set a title, note, destination timezone, and even optionally mark your package as outgoing. Once satisfied, click the Save Package button.

Viewing Your Tracked Packages

After successfully adding your first package, head back to your inbox and you’ll see that it’s now listed and being tracked.

You can track dozens of packages on this page in the same way that I’m tracking the one shown above. Then, all you have to do is click the 🔄 button to get the latest tracking information for all of your packages. This can optionally occur automatically at a timed interval, too.

When you’re done tracking a package, you can either send it to your Archive for keeping or your Trash for removal. You can view your packages together as a full list or you can use the In Transit, Out for Delivery, Delivered, Pending, or Exception buttons across the top of this table to filter them accordingly.

Tweaking Your Settings

One final but important piece of advice to note when using Packagetrackr is that you should check out your Preferences and Notifications settings.

While both of these pages are configured to give you the most number of email updates by default, you may want to lessen them to your liking. On these pages, you can turn off email notifications altogether, disable automated shipment status updates, or disable automatic archiving.

Considering all of the mobile apps that allow you to track your packages, it’s great that there’s a web-based solution that is totally cross-platform. Packagetrackr works on any device, is completely free, and lets you track dozens of active shipments through a simple and intuitive UI. What more could you want?

Have questions on how you can use Packagetrackr, or would you like to share an alternative for multiple package tracking that you’re a fan of? Drop us a message in the comments below!

Installing GIMP Plugins: A How-To Guide

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source photo-editing program used by many as an alternative to Photoshop. It’s great for a range of design tasks including restoring old photos and creating custom thumbnails.

Some of its most powerful assets are the plugins developed by independent programmers. Plugins are small pieces of software that improve GIMP’s functionality and add new features to it.

Installing GIMP plugins starts with copying the plugin to the appropriate directory and then restarting GIMP.

Where Is Your GIMP Profile?

GIMP keeps the following user’s information in the GIMP profile (directory or folder):

  • Settings and presets for tools.
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Brushes, palettes, gradients, scripts, plugins, brush dynamics, patterns, and fonts.

Users can find their GIMP profile in the following locations for various operating systems:

  • Linux: /home/{your_id}/.gimp-2.10.4 (or your version of GIMP)
  • OSX: /Users/{your_id}/Library/GIMP/2.10.4 (or your version of GIMP)
  • Windows: C:\Users\your-name\Appdata\Roaming\GIMP\2.10.4\ (or your version of GIMP)

When you restart your system, GIMP will scan your directories and load the plugins available. There are three types of GIMP plugins:

  • Script-fu extensions with a .scm extension.
  • Zip files.
  • Python scripts with a .py extension.

Where To Put Script-fu Extensions

  • From the Gimp top menu, go to Edit > Preferences > Folders > Scripts.
  • If you are using Windows and see more than one directory like in the screenshot above, choose your user or home directory.
  • Copy the .scm plugin to your directory. When you re-start GIMP, it will be in your plugin Script-Fu menu.

Where To Put Zip Files & Python Scripts

You will need to copy the files for these plugins to the GIMP plugins directory. Extract the zip files first and copy the contents, not the zip file.

Go to Edit > Preferences > Folders > Plugins to get to the plugins directory. In Windows, choose your user or home directory.

Copy the contents of the zip file and the .py file to the plugin’s directory, restart GIMP, and the plugins will be in your GIMP menu.

Installing GIMP Plugins Manually

  • If the plugin is in a zip file, extract the files and copy its contents to GIMP’s plugins and scripts folder. From GIMP, go to EditPreferences > Folders.
  • Scroll down to the Plug-ins and Scripts sections. You will see two folders in each section. The first is a system folder. The second is the user folder.
  • Click on the second folder.
  • Open the file manager by clicking on Show file location in the file manager.
  • Move PY formats into the Plug-ins folder
  • Move SCM formats into the Scripts folder.
  • Restart GIMP.

Installing GIMP Plugins Automatically

Some plugins included in the GIMP distribution come with their own installer. This varies with the operating system and the plugin itself.

Most of these plugins are accessed through the Filters menu. Double-click on the plugin to install it.

Keep in mind that GIMP Scripts and Plug-ins are platform-specific. Make sure when choosing files to download that they match your operating system.

Below are some popular plugins for GIMP.

BIMP – Batch Image Manipulation Plugin

BIMP enables users to apply manipulations to a group of images such as:

  • Change compression and format
  • Resize
  • Flip and rotate
  • Crop
  • Watermark
  • Change compression and format
  • Color and curve correction
  • Rename

Hugin

You can assemble a mosaic of images to create a panorama with Hugin.

Hugin is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac and functions as a standalone app.

Refocus

Some pictures come out blurry or out of focus. Refocus will try to fix them by smoothing the edges to clear up the photo.

Adjust the parameters in the plugin dialogue and preview your results.

CarTOONize

Convert your photos into cartoons with CarTOONize. Choose between five different filters.

Darktable

Darktable is a photography workflow application. It acts as a virtual lighttable and darkroom managing a database of your digital negatives.

View your negatives through a zoomable lighttable. Develop and enhance raw images.

Watermark

Unfortunately, people steal others’ content on the Internet and it’s challenging to prevent. However, you can protect your digital art by using the Watermark GIMP plugin.

Add a watermark text to your images to protect them. Choose from size, fonts, and position options. This plugin is a Script-Fu plugin.

Beautify

Improve and brighten your pictures with Beautify.

Aggregate many different editing options and photo effects into one interface. Use this plugin to turn GIMP into your very own photo retouching studio. Correct contrasts and colors, apply filters, and add a little glamour to your photos.

GIMP is a free and powerful photo editing tool. With the addition of plugins, GIMP is one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop.

OTT Explains: Is It Worth Buying Extended Warranties for Tech?

You know the question: “Would you like to invest in the extended warranty for this product?” Sales people push extended warranty on consumers, and it might sound like a great idea. After all, if you’re spending over $1,000 on a new laptop, you’ll want some kind of protection in case it breaks. There is an almost universal pause after the question is asked before the consumer answers with a half-smile, “No thanks. I don’t need that.” 

That pause is when the customer debates; are extended warranties worth it? This holds especially true for parents buying tech for younger children that might break the devices, accidentally or not. 

Are Extended Warranties Worth It For Tech?

The short answer is no, an extended warranty is not worth it. The vast majority of extended warranties go unused and serve to generate revenue for the retailer. Under the vast majority of circumstances, products do not break on their own. If you do happen to break a laptop or a tablet, the cost of repair out of pocket is often less than what you would pay for the extended warranty. 

Let’s put it another way. There is a newsletter called Warranty Week dedicated to the warranty industry. According to a newsletter sent out in September of 2017, warranties are a $23 billion industry. Do people have that many accidents in the span of the first few years of their product’s life? Not likely. 

You are better off saying no to an extended warranty and instead placing that money into a savings account that can be used in the event of an emergency. The only time an extended warranty is worth considering is if you are in a situation where you know the device has a high risk of damage, such as a laptop or tablet for fieldwork where heat, condensation, and other risk factors are outside the norm.

However, make sure your warranty covers the types of damage a work-focused machine might encounter. If your extended warranty doesn’t offer protection for the type of damage your machine might see, skip it and invest in a sturdy case.

Are Other Types Of Warranties Worth It?

While an extended warranty might not be worth your money, there are other types of protections that absolutely are. Your mobile carrier’s protections, for instance. According to a study from SquareTrade, roughly 5,761 smartphone screens break every hour in America. As a country, we are not gentle with our mobile devices. Of course, the study also revealed that the majority of these breaks come from a widespread case of butterfingers—74% of breaks are the result of dropping a device.

Although many people are content to use a phone with a cracked screen as long as the damage isn’t too great, there’s no reason to. Almost every provider and carrier provides a protection plan that allows you to replace a cracked or broken screen for next to nothing. As the cost of screen replacements rise (the iPhone Xs Max averages around $330 to repair), carrier protections are a solid investment. 

Why phones but not laptops? Due to the nature of phones, they are at far greater risk of damage due to the frequency of use. People text on the go, pulling out their phones to check or reply to a message without looking at the path in front of them. When is the last time you actively used a laptop while walking around? 

There is a caveat to this, however. Before you agree to smartphone insurance, take a close look at the terms and conditions. If you’re spending $10 per month on the insurance and still have an out of pocket deductible of upwards of $100 or more, it’s not worth it. If you needed to replace a screen, you could do so with a replacement ordered from Alibaba and a few hours with YouTube.

Are Extended Warranties Worth It For Other Products?

Extended warranties are offered for nearly anything you purchase. If you’re investing in a smart appliance, skip the warranty. The built-in manufacturers warranty will cover any defects in the product that might result in a return. No extended warranty is needed. 

You will likely be offered an extended warranty when purchasing video games. GameStop in particular is notorious for this—$3.99 or so for a year of protection. Companies constantly offer protection plans for game consoles, too. They’re unnecessary. Any manufacturer-born problem will be repaired for little to no cost as game companies try to stay in the gamers’ good graces.

Finally, you do not need an extended warranty for your television. Because TVs are often the centerpoint of a home, companies convince buyers to ensure it is protected all costs. Think, when was the last time a television broke in a way that an extended warranty would cover it? Getting too into a VR game and smashing the screen most likely falls outside the protection of extended warranties. 

Other Factors To Consider

Extended warranties are rarely worth the money. There might be a few specific instances where they are worthwhile, but those are few and far between. On the other hand, you might already have an extended warranty and not even realize it. How? Two words – credit cards.

Many credit card companies provide automatic extended warranties on purchases as a perk to their customers. American Express tends to offer the most thorough coverage, with MasterCard and Visa following behind. Your manufacturer’s warranty can sometimes be extended, too. Check the fine print. In many cases, you can register with the manufacturer and increase the length of coverage at no extra cost.

Do yourself a favor. Skip the extended warranty and invest those funds into a savings account or a reliable protective cover.

Have you purchased an extended warranty in the past? Did you find the extended warranty was it? Let us know in the comments below.

What Is a Password Manager & Why Are They Useful?

What is a password manager? A password manager is an encrypted piece of software that stores and manages all the passwords and login information you use to access online sites, apps, and other services.

Not only does it keep your sensitive data and credentials safe, it also generates unique and strong passwords for you so you don’t have to keep reusing the same ones across your devices and platforms.

Think of it as a notebook where you store your most valuable login credentials, locked by a master key known only to you.

How a Password Manager Works

A password manager stores your passwords in an encrypted form to protect them from prying eyes and improper access. It also displays your selection of login credentials so you don’t have to remember hundreds of passwords on your own except the master password or in some cases the PIN you use to sign into the app.

Some even let you authenticate your device using facial or fingerprint recognition instead of entering your master password as you can read in our best password manager guide. For even better security, some include the two-factor authentication in different forms such as Google Authenticator, biometrics, or SMS-based, depending on the app you pick.

Most password manager apps come with browser extensions that automatically fill in passwords for you, plus an encrypted sync feature that allows you to carry your passwords with you wherever you go and use it across all your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

Once you install and set up the password manager, pull up the app, copy and paste your password into the login field, and access the service you need.

When you log into a secure site, the password manager will install a browser plugin that captures and replays your password and saves your login credentials. The next time you visit the same site, the app offers to fill in your logins for you automatically. Not all password managers have this feature though.

However, if you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the app will offer you multiple login options for your account.  Depending on the password manager app you choose, you can find one with a browser toolbar menu with your saved logins so you can visit the saved site directly and get logged in automatically.

Some password managers can import your saved data from or export it to other products, making it easier when you want to switch to a new password manager. Others go further to provide secure online storage for your documents, and let you share your credentials with trusted people.

Most of them can flag your duplicate and weak passwords, offer help with updating them, and if you pick an advanced one, it can automate the process of changing passwords for you.

Are Password Managers Really Safe?

With all the recent cases of identity theft and security breaches happening around us, one would wonder whether using a password manager is more secure than keeping your sensitive login credentials to yourself. 

You probably even heard of the LastPass hacking attack that happened in July 2015, which put their systems to the test. The goal was to access its password vaults, and though the hackers managed to get into the LastPass servers, they couldn’t get through to steal user passwords.

Their attempt was unsuccessful because LastPass can’t access each user’s password vault, neither does it have their master passwords, meaning the passwords stay encrypted and locked down in your vault. This is why it’s important to have a strong and unique password for all the apps, websites and services you log into.

Many of us use weak passwords or reuse the ones we already have on multiple accounts, which dispose us to identity theft and other crimes.

With a password manager, you’ll get a better combination of convenience and security than you would without one, but that doesn’t mean it’s a magic pill.

You should take other security measures to ensure your login data is kept under tight security like using two-factor authentication for your valued accounts, setting lock screens on all devices, and using devices that you trust.

When you want to change to a different password manager app, simply export your data (if the app has this feature), delete your account, and you’re good to go.

Note: Most password managers store your master password locally or on a server, but they can’t read the password because it’s encrypted. This keeps your data safe against breaches, but if you forget the password, you can’t recover your account through the company. 

Thankfully though, some password managers can help you recover your account by offering DIY kits, but if that doesn’t work, then you have to create a new account and reset all your passwords manually for each app, website or online service and start over. Make sure to read our comparison of LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane

A Word About Using a Browser Password Manager

Your web browser probably has a built-in password manager though it’s rudimentary, and nothing compared to what a dedicated password manager can do for you.

For example, the Chrome password manager can store your passwords on your computer, but they’re not in encrypted form. This means that the password files on your computer are easily accessible to others, unless your device’s hard drive is encrypted.  

Users of Mozilla Firefox get to enjoy the Master Password feature that password manager apps offer, so you can encrypt and store your passwords on your computer. However, it doesn’t generate passwords for you and it doesn’t have the encrypted sync feature that lets you sync and use your login data across all your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

The same goes for iCloud Keychain, which is great if you’re using Apple devices only, but it comes up short once you get a Windows or Android device that uses Chrome or Firefox browsers.

A dedicated password manager’s singular goal is to protect your passwords, which is why you’ll get more helpful features by using one. Your browser has other priorities so there’s hardly any time to improve its password management functions.

Secure Your Digital Life

It’s hard enough trying to memorize or remember a 30-character password full of text, numbers, and symbols, but forgetting it is a nightmare. Instead of saving your passwords on your phone, tablet, computer, in documents, sticky notes or autofill, get a password manager. It’s a much better and more secure way of keeping your logins under lock and key, and your first defense against getting hacked.