Daily Archives: May 12, 2017

How To Create Custom Stickers In Snapchat

Snapchat updated a few days ago and it added three new features. You can now select how long your snaps are visible to your friends, erase items from a snap, and create custom stickers in Snapchat. You create custom stickers in Snapchat from the objects in your snaps. If, for example, your snap includes a lamp, you can turn that lamp into a sticker. Like the default stickers in Snapchat, your custom sticker will be added to your library. You can add the sticker to all future snaps you take. You will need to update Snapchat to the latest version to create custom stickers.

Pick an object to photograph that will make a good sticker. Perhaps you have a cool looking plush toy or a funko pop figure that will look good. You can create custom stickers in Snapchat from any photo but you get better results if you plan your photo. Make sure there’s plenty of light and not too many dark or shaded areas in the photo. You can snap the photo using Snapchat or You can use any other camera app you have on your phone.

Once you’ve got everything set up, take the photo and proceed to the editing screen. The editing screen is a bit busier than it was before. To create a sticker tap the scissors icon.

Trace outside the object you want to turn into a sticker. You can’t change the weight of your brush and there’s no way to erase a line you’ve already drawn. Make sure you complete the outline. The second you lift your finger from your screen, Snapchat will turn whatever you’ve outlined into a sticker. The sticker will automatically be added to the current snap. You can move it around and resize it like you can with the default stickers.

If you don’t want to use the sticker on the current photo, tap and hold on it. The sticker icon will turn into a trash can. Drop the sticker onto it to remove it from your snap.

Snapchat will add the stickers you create to your stickers library. The second you lift  your finger from your screen, Snpchat creates the sticker and sends it straight to your stickers library. It doesn’t matter if the sticker is good or bad. It’s there. If you make multiple attempts to create a sticker, all the bad ones will continue to pile up in your library.

Fortunately, you can delete the custom stickers you’ve created. On the edit screen of a snap, tap the sticker button. The sticker library is divided into tabs. Tap the new scissors tab to go to your custom stickers library. Tap and hold the sticker you want to delete. A trash can icon will appear at the top right. Drop the sticker onto the icon to delete it permanently.

How to Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is an inexpensive and portable way to stream videos from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Videos, and countless other sources. This little device also has a ton of potential just waiting to be unlocked. By installing Kodi to your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you can watch live TV, view and stream your own files, and watch videos from a massive variety of sources, all from one device.

Before we start: Using a VPN with Kodi is recommended

Kodi has remained an enormously popular open source tool for streaming media since the early 2000s. While users and viewers adore it, some companies and content creators frown upon the options Kodi places at your disposal. At best, portions of Kodi’s functionality sit in a legally gray area and can draw scrutiny from certain ISPs. To keep your activity private, it’s always best to use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you stream through Kodi.

VPNs act like a tunnel between your computer and the internet. Data has to pass from your home device through a local service provider before it reaches its target, making it easy for ISPs to monitor your web browsing activities and flag Kodi users for further scrutiny. With a VPN active, data gets encrypted before leaving your computer, masking identifying information such as your location and what software you’re using.

Instead of seeing traffic generated by Kodi streams, ISPs simply see scrambled sets of data.

There are countless VPNs on the market that will help cover your tracks, but one of the easiest to use with Kodi and a Fire TV Stick is IPVanish. The VPN provider offers strong 256-bit AES encryption, a strict zero-logging policy, and over 40,000 shared IPs spread across 750 servers in 60 different countries. We recommend IPVanish as it has software for a wide range of devices, including desktop PCs, tablets, cell phones, routers, even Fire TV itself. It is easy to install, easy to use, and with enough privacy and anonymity to keep you safe while streaming through Kodi. It is also one of the few VPNs fast enough that it won’t spoil your viewing pleasure. Better still, our readers receive a huge 57% discount on the annual plan here.

How to Sideload Apps

The operating system that powers the Fire TV Stick is based on Android, but Fire OS only allows access to a limited selection of apps featured on the Amazon Appstore. This helps keep the Fire TV experience as smooth as possible, but it can be a bit of a hassle if you want to do more with your Fire TV Stick than just watch videos on a few set channels.

Kodi isn’t available as a native download for Fire TV. The third party program is free, but in order to install it, you’ll need to sideload it onto your device. You don’t have to worry about rooting your Fire Stick or engaging in complicated hacking routines. All you’ll need is an internet connection and a few minutes of free time.

Sideloading apps is a quick and simple way to install Android apps to your Fire TV Stick. Doing this gives you access to more channels, more functionality, and more video streaming services. Keep in mind that not all apps will work on the Fire TV Stick. It’s not a full Android device and lacks many of the input methods and raw processing power a tablet or a cell phone would have. Even apps proven to run on Fire TV Sticks won’t necessarily work for everyone.

There are dozens of ways to sideload apps onto the Fire TV, everything from PC software that lets you manage .apks to apps that download content directly to the Fire TV. A few methods stand out as more straightforward as the others. We’ve outlined a few of the most popular sideloading methods below.

Preparing the Fire TV Stick

Before you can sideload anything to your Fire TV Stick you have to ready the device. Fortunately, sideloading doesn’t require any firmware flashing or other hacks, just a simple stock setting that needs to be toggled. This works on all generations of Fire TV and Fire TV Sticks, regardless of firmware version, and you don’t even need to root your device to sideload.

Find your Fire TV Stick’s settings page, then choose Device, followed by Developer Options. The setting named “Apps from Unknown Sources” should say “OFF” by default. Select it and switch it to “ON”. You’ll see a warning message about installing external apps and how they may harm your device. Don’t worry, Kodi won’t damage anything, nor will most of the legitimate apps you can download and sample. Press “ok” and your Fire TV Stick is ready to sideload.

Method 1: Downloader App

The first method for sideloading Kodi onto an Amazon Fire TV Stick is by far the simplest. All it requires is a free download from the Amazon Appstore, no PC or command line configuration necessary. You’ll need to do a lot of typing to manually enter a URL into your Fire TV Stick, but the entire process should still only take a few minutes from start to finish.

  1. Go to your Fire TV Stick’s settings page.
  2. Choose Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to ON.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Open the Amazon Appstore on your Fire TV.
  5. Search for Downloader and install the program.
  6. While that installs, visit the Kodi website on your PC.
  7. Click on the Android downloads icon.
  8. Take note of the link for the latest Android ARM release build.
  9. Type this URL into the Downloader box on your Fire TV Stick.
  10. When the download completes, Kodi will install automatically.

Method 2: adbLink

The second sideloading method uses a piece of free software called adbLink and requires a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. It’s a little more complicated than the first method, but not as awkward since it doesn’t involve typing URLs with the Fire TV Stick remote. Note that your PC and Fire TV Stick must be on the same local network for this method to function.

  1. Get your device ready by going to the Fire TV Stick’s settings page.
  2. Choose Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to ON.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Go to Settings > About – Network and write down the IP address of your Fire TV Stick.
  5. Visit the adbLink website on your PC and download the program for your operating system.
  6. Run and install adbLink.
  7. Click “new” next to the devices box and add your Fire TV Stick.
  8. Type the IP address of your Fire TV Stick into adbLink.
  9. Visit the Kodi website on your PC.
  10. Click on the Android downloads icon.
  11. Download the latest Android ARM release build to your PC.
  12. Browse and select the .apk file from the adbLink interface.
  13. Click “Sideload 3rd Party Application”.
  14. After a few moments Kodi will be successfully installed on your Fire TV Stick.

Method 3: apps2fire

If you have an Android phone or tablet laying around, you can actually use it to install apps on your Fire TV Stick. A free program called apps2fire lets you remotely add programs to your Fire device, including the latest version of Kodi. Note that your Android and Fire TV Stick must be on the same local network for this method to function.

  1. Start by going to the Fire TV Stick’s settings page.
  2. Choose Device > Developer Options and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to ON.
  3. Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
  4. Go to Settings > About – Network and write down the IP address of your Fire TV Stick.
  5. Install Kodi on your Android device. You can also install it from Google Play.
  6. Install apps2fire on the same Android device.
  7. Open apps2fire and enter the IP address of your Fire TV Stick.
  8. Select Kodi from the list and install it remotely to your Fire device.

After Installing Kodi

Once you have Kodi on your Fire TV Stick, your entertainment options increase exponentially. Kodi is an environment unto itself, complete with add-ons for video streaming, live TV, file sharing, and so much more. Instead of browsing through endless lists of plug-ins and hoping for a few good discoveries, simply install Indigo. This convenient plug-in adds several useful channels that will enhance your Kodi experience almost immediately.

Follow the instructions below to install the Indigo add-on to Kodi on your Fire TV Stick:

  1. Open Kodi from the main menu on your Fire TV Stick.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top and go to the File Manager.
  3. Select “Add Source”.
  4. Type the following URL into the text box: http://fusion.tvaddons.ag
  5. Click OK.
  6. Enter a name for the file source, such as “Fusion TV” or just “TV”.
  7. Go back to Kodi’s main screen and select “Add-ons”.
  8. Click on the open box icon at the top of the menu.
  9. Choose “Install from zip file”.
  10. Accept the warning message.
  11. Choose the source you named above.
  12. Open the folder called “begin-here”
  13. Install the Indigo plug-in from this folder.
  14. Wait for a installation notification to appear.
  15. Go back to the add-ons page and open Indigo.
  16. Choose the Config Wizard and select “Install”.
  17. When the configuration is complete, Kodi will close down.
  18. Re-open Kodi and check the add-ons sections.
  19. You’ll find a handful of new channels for TV, documentaries, cartoons, music, and more, all ready to open and stream.

More Useful Add-ons for Kodi

There are hundreds of add-ons for the Kodi environment, and that number is constantly on the rise. Getting the most out of your new installation means finding the plug-ins that best suit your personal viewing needs, so experimentation is definitely the best way to start, especially since you can install and uninstall add-ons from Kodi with just a few simple taps.

Below are a few great choices to get a feel for what Kodi can do on your Fire TV Stick. All can be downloaded directly from Kodi, no PC or sideloading necessary.

1. Genesis

One of the most popular add-ons for Kodi, plain and simple. Genesis has a massive database of movies, TV shows, and live television available to stream for free. It also has a friendly interface that’s well-suited for Fire TV browsing.

2. Phoenix

Another free streaming service, Phoenix focuses on finding reliable sources for movies and TV shows. The interface isn’t the best, but the selection more than makes up for that.

3. OpenSubtitles.org

If you watch a lot of foreign movies and TV, this add-on will change your life. OpenSubtitles.org lets you search for and download subtitles in specific languages for a massive variety of content. You’ll need a free account with OpenSubtitles.org to use the add-on, but it’s definitely worth it.

4. UKTV Now

Live TV shows, movies, and sports events from channels in both the US and the UK.

5. XBMC UnPause Jumpback

Automatically skips back a few seconds if you pause a video for a certain amount of time. Surprisingly useful for jumping up to get a snack and remembering what was going on before you hit pause.

Custom Skins for Kodi on Fire TV Stick

An often overlooked side benefit of using Kodi on a Fire TV Stick is the ability to install and manage custom skins to change the look and feel of the program. The stock layout is simple and functional, but because it’s so easy to change the theme, why not play around with it?

Kodi’s skin selection is available from the main menu. Some of them are a bit resource intensive for the Fire TV Stick, though a number of users have had success with Aeon Nox, Amber, and Black Glass, however. To get more skins to browse through, go to System > Appearance > Skin > Get More…

Custom backgrounds are where Kodi can really look spectacular. You can push any image to your Fire TV Stick and use it as the default wallpaper in just a few steps. Simply follow the instructions below and you’ll be ready to go. Note: If you used the adbFire method listed above, you can skip to step six.

  1. Go to Settings > About – Network and write down the IP address of your Fire TV Stick.
  2. Visit the adbLink website on your PC and download the program for your operating system.
  3. Run and install adbLink.
  4. In adbLink, click “new” and add your Fire TV Stick to the list.
  5. Type the IP address of your Fire TV Stick into adbLink.
  6. Under the Push/Pull/Delete File option in adbLink, select “user data” then “push”.
  7. Select the picture on your PC you’d like to be your Kodi background.
  8. Push the file to your Fire TV Stick.
  9. Wait for the transfer to complete.
  10. In the Fire TV Stick menu, go to System > Appearance
  11. Choose “Background”, then check “Enable Custom Background”.
  12. Click “Background Path”.
  13. Enter the following path to the file you just uploaded: root/sdcard/android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/kodi/userdata
  14. Go to your Kodi home screen and enjoy the custom wallpaper.

Comparing Fire Devices

Amazon offers several main products in the Fire line, including the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV set top box. There are some hardware differences between each of these devices, such as the Fire TV’s ports that allow a wired internet connection and pluggable USB devices, but the software versions are nearly identical. This means the Kodi installation instructions above will work equally well for both Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick.

The only appreciable difference between the two Fire devices is speed. Sideloaded app installation on the Fire TV Stick will be noticeably slower than on the set top box, as will certain menu options and movie loading times. Compatibility is nearly the same, however, so if you can use an app on one, it should work fine on the other.

How To Block Key Logging By HP Audio Drivers On Elitebooks

The Next Web is reporting something rather alarming. HP, one of the leading manufacturers of laptops is shipping computers with key loggers installed. A key logger is a program that logs key strokes. It will log every single key you ever press so that if you type in a password or PIN, it will be captured. According to The Next Web, HP didn’t do this out of malice. It’s not trying to steal passwords or sensitive data. They just made a tiny, borderline grossly incompetent, mistake. This problem is limited to the Elitebook range of laptops. The good news is you can block key logging by HP audio drivers with a registry tweak. The solution comes from Reddit user_My_Angry_Account_.

Block Key Logging By HP Audio Drivers

To block key logging by HP audio drivers, you need to tweak the Windows registry. To tweak the registry, you need administrative rights. Open the Windows registry and go to the following location;

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\currentversion\image file execution options



HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\currentversion\image file execution options

Right-click the ‘image file execution options’ key and select New>Key from the context menu. Name the new key ‘MicTray.exe’. If you’re running 64-bit Windows, you should name the key ‘MicTray64.exe’.

Right-click this key and create a new string value. Name this string value ‘Debugger’. Double click it, and in the ‘Value’ box, enter the following;

devenv /debugexe

Check If You Are Affected

Go to the following location on your laptop to check if you are affected.

C:\Windows\System32

Look for a program named ‘MicTray64.exe’ or ‘MicTray.exe’. If it’s there, you are at  risk.

This was a mistake on HP’s part. The audio driver in question creates a log file that stores  your key strokes. The log file is located  at C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log. The file is wiped whenever you shut your system down. The real question to ask here is how often do you shut down your Elitebook? If you do it every single time you step away from your computer you might be at less risk however, people don’t really shut down computers any more. Hibernation and Sleep are now alternatives to shutting our systems down. We normally just close the laptop lid and walk away.

Even if you do shut down your laptop every single time you finish working on it, the log file might be saved in a recent back-up. Since the file deletes its contents automatically, you can be certain that HP didn’t mean to steal your information. The only problem is that this is now common knowledge. It’s only a matter of time before someone targets Elitebook users and tries to steal their information. HP needs to fix this.

How To Stop iTunes Syncing each time You Connect Your iPhone

When you connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac, iTunes launches automatically. It never asks if you want it to open every single time you connect your phone or tablet. It just does this. There’s no built-in way to stop this from happening.If you’re on Windows though, you can stop iTunes from opening when you connect your iPhone or iPad. You can do this by removing the iTunesHelper app from your Startup items. This trick works great to stop iTunes from opening. It’s a pretty heavy app and it drags down your system while it opens. When iTunes launches, it will start syncing and backing up any connected device. Again, it doesn’t ask if you want to take a backup. It just does it. The good news is, you can stop iTunes syncing every time you connect your iPhone.

You can stop iTunes syncing every time you connect your iPhone but this is a per-device setting. You can apply it to your iPhone but if you have an iPad, this setting will not persist. The setting has to be applied separately for each device you have.

Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC or Mac. Open iTunes. Predictably, it will start syncing your data. Click your device icon. It’s under the menu bar.

This will open a summary screen for your device. It shows you the last time you backed the device up, and when it will next check for a software update, among other things.

Scroll down on this screen. You will see a section called ‘Options’. The very first option in this section is called ‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’. Disable it and sync your iPhone i.e. click the ‘Apply’ button at the bottom.

This will stop iTunes syncing your iPhone every time you connect it. This option is available on both a PC and a Mac. Since this is a device setting, it will persist if you connect your iPhone to a different PC or Mac. It will not effect other devices. For example, your iPhone will not automatically sync when you connect it. If you connect your iPad, or your mom’s iPhone though, it will start syncing automatically.

Use this option cautiously. It’s annoying that iTunes doesn’t check how long ago the previous backup was and just takes a new one every single time a device is connected but, it also makes you take a fresh backup daily. The forced backup might just save your data. If you stop iTunes syncing your iPhone every time you connect, you need to be diligent about taking regular backups yourself.