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Anyone who keeps up with the latest technology news would agree with me that, while we enjoy the perks of connectivity and mobility, we have privacy problems. We are so swept away with the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and trends that sometimes we are unaware of the data collected from our devices.

Mobile devices and laptops now come with a location services feature. Once it’s activated, your vendor – whether it’s Microsoft, Blackberry, or Apple – can track your location and likewise the third-party apps you install. The good thing is that you can deactivate it if you don’t want to be tracked, and you’ll be saving more battery power too. Here are the instructions for turning off location request on Windows 8.

Understanding the location-based information feature

Windows 8, unlike Windows XP or Vista, comes with a built-in location-based function. Once activated, it will check your location regularly and provide the information to apps like Maps, Weather, Travel, Google Maps and other productivity and tracking apps.

This feature is available on Windows 8-based tablets and notebooks, and if it’s not disabled, your whereabouts are sent to Microsoft servers.

The initial Windows 8 setup prompts users to either allow the OS to activate this location-based information feature in its applications to find your location and scout useful data such as weather, stocks, latest news, etc., or to just disable it.

If you’re concerned with privacy settings like me, or if you’re anxious about being snooped on, you might want to turn off the location-based function on your Windows 8 system.

1. On your keyboard, press the “Windows key + I” buttons. The Settings screen pops from the right side.

2. Select “Change PC Settings” found at the lower-right side of the screen.

3. Under PC Settings, select “Privacy”.

4. Under Privacy, choose “Location”.

Once you select the Location tab, you will see two settings here: “Let Windows and apps use my location” and “Let these apps use my location.”

5. The default setting is Toggle ON, which permits the system and third-party apps to use your location. Toggle OFF to stop Windows 8 from snooping your location. Once you choose OFF, the apps below automatically follow the initial choice.

6. Tap the Windows key and go back to the dashboard.

Default IE Browser

With the location tracking on apps and system now disabled, you can also deactivate the location permission in the default IE browser.

Here’s how to disable it:

1. Launch the Internet Explorer and tap the gear icon at the upper right side to open the Tools.

2. Select Internet Options and choose Privacy tab.

3. Under the Location option, put a check on “Never allow websites to request your physical location” box.

Conclusion

If you’re after privacy and don’t want to be tracked whether on apps or the IE browser, just follow this tutorial and share it with your friends if you find it helpful. Let me know how it works for you.

Maria Krisette Capati

Krisette is a technology writer who loves to cover disruptive technologies, trends, and a myriad of rumors and news updates. To satiate the inconsolable longing to feed her gadget addiction, she simply writes and tinker her gadgets for reviews. You may follow her blurbs, too! @krisettecapati

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Stop Dirty Lenses From Ruining Your Photos

My grandmother always told me to wear clean underpants everyday in case I got hit by a car—and to keep my camera lens clean in case I needed to take a good photo.

Granted, I made that last part up, but the fact that I invented it doesn’t make it less of a truth. Using a dirty camera lens is like looking at the world through a dirty window, and even a few tiny specks of dirt or rain will affect the photo you’re taking.

Just look at the image below—it’s a great shot except for the blurry bit right in the middle caused by a water droplet on my lens. There are also a few other less obvious blurs and smudges throughout the image.

If I’d kept my lens clean, I’d have a wonderful, moody shot of a Scottish loch. But as it is, I’ve only got an example for this article. Harry Guinness

While this is mainly an issue with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, a drop of water or a fingerprint smudge on your smartphone lens will also affect the photos you take. Just remember that time you were eating greasy fries and when you pulled out your smartphone to take a picture you realized all the lights on the street looked elongated on your screen. So, even if you only shoot with your phone, you should still do your best to keep the lens clean.

Clean your lenses regularly

The simplest way to make sure you’re shooting with clean lenses is to regularly clean them yourself. If you’re out shooting and notice a dust spot or two in your images, you can do it then, but it’s better to preemptively clean your lenses in the quiet and safety of your own home. You’ll have more time, better tools, and run a lower risk of making it dirtier by just spreading smudges around.

Cleaning a camera lens isn’t hard, but you will need to be a little bit careful—if you do some real damage, it will be expensive to repair or replace. You don’t need to be scared, though—the outer element of a lens is designed to stand up to a bit of abuse, so unless you go at it with a wire brush or break out the industrial bleach, you’re unlikely to scratch it or strip away its protective coatings.

There are three things you’ll have to clean off your lenses: dust, dirt, and smudges from fingerprints or evaporated water. There are different tools and techniques for getting rid of each one.

Get rid of dust and dirt with a brush or a blower

Oh, what a beautiful photo of a le… yeah, that’s dust. Matthias Oberholzer via Unsplash

To get rid of dust and dirt, the best tool is either a lens brush or a manual air blower.

A lens brush has soft bristles specifically designed not to damage camera lenses, so don’t use a toothbrush or a makeup brush instead. They’re pretty simple to use: just gently brush the surface of the lens until you’ve removed any dust or dirt particles. Make sure to brush around the edges of the lens since that’s where dust is likely to gather. If something still sticks, don’t force it—we’ll deal with it in the next step.

An air blower is useful for cleaning off dust in places that are hard to brush. You can use one to clean the front surface of your lens, but they’re most useful for cleaning the back element of the lens—the one that goes inside the camera. If you’re careful changing lenses, you shouldn’t have to clean the rear element very often, but if you occasionally do need to, you may find it hard to properly reach the lens element with a brush. Blowers are a better option in those cases and are also quite simple to use: point the nozzle at the element you’re cleaning and squeeze hard. The air will blow away any particles of dust.

One thing: always use a manual blower instead of a can of compressed air. It’s unlikely, but there’s an outside chance that the chemicals and fluids in compressed air could damage the electronics in your camera. Also, the force you get is a lot more than necessary to blow dust off a lens and could eventually damage your camera. It’s definitely a risk not worth taking.

While you’re cleaning dust from your lenses, it’s also worth taking your brush or blower to the inside of your lens cap. Dust and dirt can gather there, too, and if you put a dirty lens cap on a clean lens, you might end up with a dirty lens again.

Wipe away smudges and stubborn stuff

Clean the lens in a circular motion, starting from the center and moving outward. Ikaia Pal via Unsplash

Brushes and blowers are great for cleaning off anything that’s easy to remove, but for smudges and stubborn bits of dirt, you’ll need to take a more direct approach.

Dry microfiber lens cloths are handy for giving your lens a quick polish when you’re out shooting but, when it comes to removing smudges, they can make things worse and just spread fingerprint grease around. Instead, wet them with a few drops of lens cleaning fluid first, which will dissolve grease and make it easier to remove dirt. You can also get single-use lens wipes that are pre-moistened with cleaning fluid. It’s worth keeping a few in your bag, but as with all single-use items, they’re a bit wasteful.

To clean your lens with a cloth or wipe, start in the center and gently circle outward toward the edge of the lens, rubbing away any dirt or smudges. Don’t rub too hard, especially if there are any dust or sand particles—if you’re too aggressive, you could scratch your lens.

Keeping your lenses clean when you shoot

Having nice, pristine lenses sitting at home isn’t much good—you have to go out and use them in the real world. That’s where keeping them clean gets a bit harder.

If you’re not planning to shoot immediately and don’t need to be ready to respond to something happening quickly, keep the lens cap on or even put your camera in your bag, especially if it’s dusty, sandy, or wet out. If your lenses are protected from the elements, they’re much more likely to stay clean.

If the weather is bad and you want to take a photo, pull out your camera or remove the lens cap until you’re sure of the shot. Frame the image in your mind, get into position, and dial in the exposure settings. When you’re ready, take out your camera, shoot, and put it away again.

If you need to, find cover and wipe your lens down with a lens cloth. While not as effective as a proper clean at home, a lens cloth can get the worst of the dust or raindrops off in a few seconds.

Though it might be tempting, you should definitely not try to get rid of whatever is on your lens by touching it. Grease from your fingers is really sticky, and without cleaning fluid, the lens cloth won’t be able to do much about it.

Don’t change lenses unless you really need to, either. If you’re not careful, it’s an easy way to get dust or smudges on your lenses. Even worse, you can let dust or dirt into your camera or onto the rear element of your lens—both places that are not easy to clean. If you do decide to change lenses, do it somewhere sheltered, put any lens caps on quickly, and keep your camera pointing at the ground, which will stop debris from getting blown into it.

Go shoot

In an ideal world, every lens would remain clean forever, but if you use them, they will get dirty. Don’t overthink things and stress too much. It’s better to mess up a photo because your lens was a little dirty than to not take it at all.

Stop Spotify From Killing The Ssd Or Hdd Of Your Windows Computer

In June 2024 Spotify announced that its user base had crossed active 100 million users per month. This was possible because of its free and ad-supported version as most of the users are not paying any monthly subscription. Unlike its competitor Apple Music, Spotify, a music streaming site, was quick to get a tremendous user base in short period of time. It has now been over five months and users have already started reporting some issues when running this app on Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms.

Spotify may be killing your SSD or HDD

There is a bug somewhere in the app which is affecting the lifespan of users’ HDD and SSD.  The app is continuously writing tens & hundreds of gigabytes of unimportant data to the drive.

How is Spotify affecting your HDD/SDD

Several users have started reporting this problem since June in the company’s support forum, Reddit as well as Hacker News. According to them, Spotify app is writing as much as 5 GB to nearly 10 GB of unnecessary data per hour to the hard drive and accumulating approximately 700 GB of junk data if the app is left running for more than a single day.

This behavior is putting a load on the storage devices of the user, especially the Solid State Devices or SSDs. The unnecessary data does not only use up the disk space of your computer but it also shortens the lifespan of your hard drive by writing a huge amount of data all the time.

SSDs come in a very limited amount of write capacity. Uninterrupted writing of heaps of garbage data to the SSD or HDD will cause the disk to fail!

We’ve seen some questions in our Community around the amount of written data using the Spotify client on desktop. These have been reviewed and any potential concerns have now been addressed in version 1.0.42, currently rolling out to all users.

The version is going to roll out soon, but the problem remains for those who have already installed it.

How to address this Spotify problem

As the app writes unnecessary data to the drives if kept running or even idle, one thing you can do is after using the app, close it down completely. It will restrict the additional writing of data to your drives while you are not using it.

Uninstall Spotify for the moment till the new update is released. To do this, open the Control Panel, look for Spotify and select Uninstall.

Next, remove the Spotify app data directory from your computer. Open ‘%appdata%’ in File Explorer and  search for the Spotify folder and delete it. Remember to delete it from the Recycle Bin too, if you are facing Disk Space issues.

Update Spotify

Spotify officials have said that Spotify version 1.0.42 is now available to all users. If the update is available for your computer, Spotify will be automatically updated. Nevertheless, you may want to visit the Spotify website and download the latest version right away.

This post will show you how you can use Spotify in unsupported countries.

How To Stop An Lcd Monitor From Flickering

Table of Contents

Although your computer monitor may appear to be a still image when no one is using it, it is actually being updated constantly. Much like a film strip is just a bunch of static images displayed quickly, your monitor updates at a fast rate to make it look like things are moving smoothly on the screen.

The rate at which your monitor updates is measured in Hertz. One Hertz is equal to one cycle per second. If your monitor is set to update at a rate of 100 Hertz, then it is refreshing 100 times per second. The Hertz used to measure monitor refresh rates is similar to the Gigahertz used to measure the speed of your CPU, except that Gigahertz is a measure expressed in billions of cycles per second.

Setting the Refresh Rate for an LCD Monitor

It is likely that your monitor can only use one or two refresh rates, so this list may not be long. Some manufacturers build monitors that can display anywhere from 30 Hertz to 200 Hertz. Normally, monitors with higher refresh rates will be more expensive. A common refresh rate for gaming monitors is 144 Hertz. If the price of a monitor seems too cheap to you, it’s probably because it has a low refresh rate. For example, some new 4K monitors are cheap, but are only 30 Hertz, which can make everything look choppy on the screen.

Also, a lot of monitors will show 59Hz and 60Hz and you can pick between the two. So what’s the difference? It’s basically something to do with rounding and it really doesn’t matter. You can read the exact details on 59Hz vs 60Hz here.

First, make sure you are using the latest driver for your LCD monitor. If the driver is outdated or Windows is using a generic driver, the number of refresh rates available may be limited. Visit the manufacturer website and download the latest driver for your version of Windows.

If that doesn’t work, you can force Windows to use a refresh rate that is not technically supported by the monitor. Be careful, though, because it is possible to damage your monitor hardware if you do this.

On the Monitor tab shown above, there is an option that is checked by default called Hide Modes That This Monitor Cannot Display. By unchecking this option, you can force Windows to use any refresh rate for your monitor that you want.

Notice that right underneath this option, Windows warns you about an unusable or damaged display. Uncheck this option and set your monitor to an unsupported refresh rate at your own risk. Depending on your version of Windows, this option may be grayed out, meaning you can only pick from the refresh rates listed in the box.

Cable – If you can, change the cable connecting your monitor to your computer. In some cases, a defective cable can cause the signal to break while being transmitted across the wire.

Input Port – Another solution is to use a different port on the monitor, if possible. For example, if you are connecting using HDMI, try DVI or DisplayPort or VGA instead and see if that fixes the problem.

Video card – If there is an issue with your video card, it will obviously effect the output on the screen. Update the drivers and open your computer to ensure that the video card is properly seated in the slot.

Monitor – Lastly, the monitor itself could be damaged or defective. Try connecting the monitor to another computer to see if the problem goes away or remains.

How To Fix ‘Stop 0Xc000021A’ And ‘Status_System_Process_Terminated’ Error On Windows 10.

Learn how to fix Windows 10 errors: ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ and ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’ two common Windows 10 errors that are often linked to corrupted system files preventing your system from running stable.

How to Shoot and Identify Food With Your Camera to Get Recipe Ideas on Android and iOS.

Windows 10 is one of the most updated operating systems on the market, barely a day goes by where there isn’t some form of update being pushed out. Although a good portion of these updates are for Windows Defenders virus and malware database, there are still quite a few updates that are intended to fix annoying bugs and errors.

That being said, not all errors can be easily patched or fixed, especially ones that may quite often be user caused. Two classic examples of these kind of errors are error ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ and ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’. The good news is that although these two errors may be plaguing your system, there are a few things you can do to try to fix them.    

How Do You Fix ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’ and ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ on Windows 10?

To begin, there are a few simple steps that you should always take if you suddenly start getting a new error message. First, make sure you have scanned your entire computer for viruses and malware. Then uninstall any new programs or apps that you may have installed just before the issues started. If this doesn’t fix the issue you can Restore Your Computer to a slightly earlier time.

Fix ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’ and ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ Using the SFC Command.

Before starting these steps, make sure you have a backup of your data, in case something goes wrong. This is standard procedure for any repair task on Windows.

To start, press Windows Key + X and open Command Prompt (as administrator)

In the Command Prompt window type sfc /scannow, then press Enter. Now wait for the process to finish. (it may take a while)

If your PC is in full working order, without any corrupt or missing system files, the scan will show the message: Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.

Note: If sfc doesn’t find any errors proceed to the next solution, skipping the 3 dot points below.

If there are problems the message will be: Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. If this is the message you receive, continue with next bullet point.

Boot your computer into safe mode. If you are running Windows 7 or older, restart your computer and continuously press F8. The Advanced boot will display when it boots. Select Safe Mode with command prompt and press Enter. If you are using Windows 8 or 10 you will need to use a different method which can be found here: Advanced Startup options for Windows 8 and 10.

Once you are booted into Safe Mode, open Command Prompt as admin again and run the: sfc /scannow command another time. This will repair corrupted Windows system files.

Fix ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’ and ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ By Rebuilding BCD and Fix MBR

Another solution to fix both of these error codes is to rebuild/repair your Master Boot Record (MBR) / Boot Configuration Data (BCD) These are the components that allow Windows to find your operating system and boot Windows normally, without any errors.

How to Fix/Repair Master Boot Record (MBR) on Windows 10.

Fix ‘STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED’ and ‘STOP 0XC000021A’ By Running chkdsk.

Although this is a bit of a long shot you can run the Windows chkdsk tool to check if there are any disk issues. To run chkdsk, open Command Prompt (as admin) then enter the following command.

chkdsk c: /f /r What if None of the Above Works?

Unfortunately, if none of the above works, you may have to resort to reinstalling a clean copy of Windows 10. The quickest and easiest way is to do a clean install of the operating system using the Keep my Files option.

Top 8 Voice Changer Apps & Tools To Trick Your Friends

A voice changer app is a software application that allows the user to modify their voice in real-time during a call or while recording audio. These apps have become popular for their ability to prank friends or disguise the user’s identity. Users can choose from various voice effects such as robot, alien, or high-pitched voices for fun and entertainment purposes.

Voice changer apps work by using algorithms to alter the pitch, tone, and frequency of the user’s voice. Some apps also offer additional features such as sound effects, background noise cancellation, and integration with communication platforms like Skype or Discord.

How do voice changer apps work?

Voice changer apps use digital signal processing (DSP) technology to modify the sound of your voice in real-time. This technology works by changing the pitch, tone, and timbre of your voice to produce a desired effect.

The app begins by capturing your voice through the device’s microphone. It then processes the audio signal using various filters and effects to modify its properties. These effects can include adjusting the pitch to create a higher or lower voice, adding echo or reverb for a more dramatic effect, or even completely changing the gender of your voice.

Some apps also come with pre-set voice filters and effects that users can choose from. These may include celebrities’ voices imitation or sound effects like robot, alien or monster voices.

Once the audio signal has been processed, it is output through the device’s speakers or headphones for others to hear. Some apps also allow users to record their modified voice and share it with others via social media platforms.

Voicemod

Voicemod is a popular voice changer app designed for Windows users. It offers a variety of features, including a virtual microphone, soundboard, live voice changer, and effect presets. With Voicemod, you can easily modify your voice in real-time during calls or live streams. The app also supports most communication platforms like Discord or Skype.

One of the standout features of Voicemod is its huge collection of effect presets that allow you to change your voice to sound like a robot, a demon, or even a famous celebrity. This app has become popular not only for its practical uses but also for fun purposes like pranking your friends or creating humorous content.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and versatile voice changer app for Windows, Voicemod is definitely worth checking out.

Clownfish Voice Changer

Clownfish Voice Changer is a Windows-only voice changer app that supports various communication platforms such as Skype or Discord. One of its notable features is the integration with these platforms, allowing users to easily toggle between their real and altered voices during voice chats. The app also comes with a music player and sound player for added entertainment.

Users can choose from a variety of voice effects, including male-to-female and vice versa, as well as different accents and pitch adjustments. Additionally, Clownfish Voice Changer offers background noise cancellation for clearer audio output. Overall, this app is a fun tool for spicing up your conversations with friends and family.

MorphVOX Junior

MorphVOX Junior integrates well with various games and other software, making it ideal for gamers who want to add an extra layer of fun to their gaming experience with unique voices. The software also features easy integration with other applications and platforms, further expanding its functionality.

Voxal Voice Changer

Voxal Voice Changer is a popular voice changer app that offers a wide range of voice effects for both Windows and Mac users. The app allows you to modify your voice in real-time while using other applications, including gaming platforms.

With Voxal Voice Changer, you can choose from various voice effects such as robot, girl, boy, echo, and many more. The software integrates seamlessly with other apps and games, allowing you to easily modify your voice while playing games or chatting with friends on different communication platforms.

SuperVoiceChanger

SuperVoiceChanger is an Android-only voice changer app that is designed for live streaming on social media platforms. This app offers real-time voice changing capabilities, allowing users to modify their voices as they speak in real-time. It also has a variety of effects and filters that can be applied to the user’s voice, including robot, echo, and helium effects. SuperVoiceChanger is easy to use and has a user-friendly interface. It is a great option for those who want to add some fun and creativity to their live streams or recordings.

However, it should be noted that SuperVoiceChanger is not compatible with iOS devices, so iPhone users will need to choose a different app from the list of top 10 voice changer apps if they wish to modify their voices.

RoboVox Voice Changer Pro

RoboVox Voice Changer Pro is an Android-only voice changer app that provides a unique feature of imitating the voices of famous celebrities. With RoboVox, you can sound like Darth Vader, Optimus Prime, and many other iconic characters.

The app also offers a recording and sharing feature that allows users to save their audio in different formats and share it with friends via various messaging apps or social media platforms. Additionally, RoboVox is compatible with most communication software like WhatsApp and Telegram, making it easy to use in various scenarios.

If you’re looking for a fun way to prank your friends or just want to experiment with your voice, RoboVox Voice Changer Pro can be an excellent choice for you.

Girls Voice Changer

Girls Voice Changer is a voice-changing app that allows users to alter their voice to sound like a high-pitched, feminine voice. The app is only available on Android devices, and it is specifically designed for recording fun messages and videos. Girls Voice Changer has a simple interface and offers various options for modifying the pitch and tone of the user’s voice.

With this app, users can also add background music to their recordings for added entertainment value.

Call Voice Changer – IntCall

IntCall is a voice changer app specifically designed for iOS devices. It allows users to change their voice during phone calls and prank their friends or family members. The app offers various voice effects, including high-pitched, low-pitched, and funny voices, to create a realistic and entertaining conversation.

Call Voice Changer – IntCall is compatible with most VOIP apps like FaceTime, Skype, etc., and it works by routing the call through the app’s server to apply the chosen voice effect in real-time. The app also provides a recording feature that allows users to save their prank calls and share them with others.

One thing to note is that Call Voice Changer – IntCall requires a stable internet connection to work correctly, as it uses data to route the call through its server. Additionally, there may be some slight delays in the audio due to the process of routing the call through an external server.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right voice changer app for your needs, it’s important to consider your platform and intended use. If you’re on Windows, Voicemod and Clownfish Voice Changer offer a wide range of features and compatibility with communication platforms like Skype or Discord. For Mac users, MorphVOX Junior and Voxal Voice Changer are good options that integrate well with games and other software.

If you’re looking for a voice changer app for live streaming on social media platforms, SuperVoiceChanger is a great choice for Android users. Meanwhile, RoboVox Voice Changer Pro is perfect for Android users who want to imitate the voices of celebrities or share their recordings on messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram.

Girls Voice Changer and Best Voice Changer are both Android-only apps with unique features that allow high-pitched feminine voice imitation and a huge collection of sound effects and voices respectively. Lastly, Call Voice Changer – IntCall is an iOS-only app that lets you change your voice when making phone calls through VOIP apps like FaceTime or Skype.

Ultimately, choosing the right voice changer app depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as compatibility, intended use, and features when making your decision.

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