The Tech Guy Blog

How to Save YouTube Videos to Your Computer

You may have noticed while watching videos on YouTube that Google doesn't offer a 'download' option. This is likely by design, and is most likely a way to give content creators more control over what videos are out there. But in reality, streaming a video and downloading a video are very close to the same thing. In order to stream a video on YouTube, your computer still needs to 'download' the bits in order to play it back. The only difference is that you can't access that file locally, but there are third party tools out there that will make this possible.

Securely Erasing SSDs

If you’re about to sell or give away a computer, it’s important to ensure that all of your personal data is erased first. This is a pretty simple task when it comes to traditional spinning hard drives, and there are plenty of tools to make sure the drive is completely and securely wiped. Solid State Drives, however, are a different story. SSDs use something called “wear leveling,” which ensures that no one cell gets written to too many times. This is to keep the drive from wearing out, but it also means that it isn’t possible to write over (or erase) every part of the drive.

Get Free College Courses Online

The internet has always been an incredible resource for information, but if you're motivated enough, you can take that a step further and get a free or inexpensive college education. MOOCs, or "Massive Open Online Courses," are real classes that have been made available online from schools and universities. Many of these courses are free, but if you decide to pay, you can actually get a certificate of completion or a MicroMasters from it. Here are some of the places you can find these MOOCs:

How to Identify Bootup Problems

Slow bootup times have always plagued many Windows computers, and it can often be tricky to figure out what causes it. Often times, it's as simple as a hard drive going bad. When hard drives start to wear out, the operating system can have difficulty reading all of the sectors on it. If it happens to come across bad sectors during the bootup process, it will have to repeatedly attempt to read that sector until it finally works. This can extend the time it takes to boot the PC up by several minutes.

Get More Out of Live Photos on iPhone

If you have an iPhone, you may already be familiar with the Live Photo feature that it has. When Live Photos are enabled, whenever you take a picture, the iPhone will also capture a few seconds before and after the shot is taken. This gives the photo some motion, almost like a very short video clip. But you may not know that it can actually go beyond just that basic functionality. After you take a photo of something that moves, go to edit the photo and swipe up. This will reveal a few different effects that you can apply.

Create a Disk Image in Windows

One of the best ways to make a backup of your drive is to create a "disk image." This will essentially take a snapshot of the drive and make it bootable so you can restore your PC to that moment in time if your drive crashes. There are a number of third-party tools that you can use to do this, but Microsoft actually has included the ability to create a disk image right within Windows. Here's how to get to it:

Map Any Location with Just Three Words

A company called what3words has set out to map the world in a new way, and it's coming to Mercedes Benz owners next year. Traditional addresses can be problematic — there are repetitive street names, homes and businesses are sometimes located far from the center of their postcode, and many locations don't have a formal address at all. what3words aims to solve these issues by giving every place in the world a 3-word address that's precise, simple and unique. Since it uses words and not numbers, it tends to be easier to remember and share with others.

Block Online Ads Responsibly

Online ads have become increasingly pervasive and annoying over the years, so the effort to circumvent or block them entirely is no surprise. Some ads go as far as to completely obstruct content, and it can significantly slow down the responsiveness of the site as well. Some sites automatically start playing video and audio of ads or other content, which can interrupt something else you’re watching or listening to. It may seem like an obvious solution to install and run an ad blocker all the time, but this presents an ethical dilemma.

Block Malicious Content in Your Browser

Many websites on the internet use Javascript. In fact, it's often critical for websites to function at all — it's not optional. That being said, Javascript can be used maliciously to compromise your system, or simply use your computer to do things without your knowledge. For example, there are a lot of websites these days, such as CoinHive, that are making money by running a little bit of code on your computer with the purpose of generating cryptocurrency.

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Leo has talked a lot on the Tech Guy show about using two factor authentication wherever possible to ensure the security of your online accounts. Two factor authentication requires more than just a 1 factor to login. This could include two of the following: something you are (such as biometrics like fingerprints or iris scans), something you know (a password), or something you have (a smartphone or hardware key). This could be called many things, including “Two-Step Verification” and “Two-Factor Authentication” depending on the site.