fixed : use cheap referee watch for field hockey

Question :

Since my Dutch field hockey club strongly advises against using my iPhone or AppleWatch to do time registration when I’m referee (even though there are various referee apps available), I have bought myself a low budget referee watch : the StopTec RW-100.

This €20 referee watch is primarily a soccer (football) referee watch, but it is advertised as being a general referee watch for all kinds of sports, like field hockey.

The watch looks and feels good, but both the manual and the buttons on the watch aren’t very intuitive when you prefer ‘Japanese style use’ (i.e. figure out how it works without reading the manual).

How do I use the StopTec RW-100 as a field hockey referee watch ?

 

Answer :

Check out the one-page manual included here.

 

First (before the match), set the Game Time on the watch to match the true game time. A soccer (football) match is 2 x 45 minutes, so it is already set to countdown 45 minutes. An international field hockey match is 4 x 15 minutes, so you need to set it to 15 minutes. And a Dutch field hockey match is 4 x 17,5 minutes, so to match that, you need to set it to 18 minutes and rely on the alarm beeper that goes of 30 seconds before the countdown reaches zero.

  • press the MODE-button to get into Game Time Countdown view
  • press the ENTER-button for at least 3 seconds
  • after hearing the signal sound, press the START-button to adjust the game time countdown
  • when the game time is set, press the ENTER-button to return to the Game Time Countdown view

Then (during the match), keeping track of the time is rather simple :

to start the game time countdown : press the LAP-button (top-left)

to stop the game time countdown (in case of a time-out) : press the LAP-button again (the stopwatch will automatically start running to track the time-out duration)

to resume the game time countdown : press the LAP-button again

to reset the game time countdown : make sure the countdown has stopped, then press the LAP-button for 3 seconds

And (during the match), you can also keep track of a penalty time (only one penalty time at the same time though…) :

to start the penalty time stopwatch : press the START-button (top-right)

to stop the penalty time stopwatch : press the START-button again

to reset the penalty time stopwatch : make sure the stopwatch has stopped, then press the START-button for 3 seconds

Note : you can get the StopTec RW-100 referee watch on Amazon DE, Amazon UK or Amazon US and it is good to know that any lookalike watch, sold under various brand and product names (e.g. Leap Referee watch or Firelong Referee watch or SWatch Sports Coach or VGEBY Sports watch), is supposed to work the same.

 

fixed : charge and use headphones at the same time on USB-C iPad Pro

Question :

My 2018 iPad Pro is great. I can use it for most of the office work I previously did on my MacBook. I have also started to use my iPad Pro for conference calls. For that I would like to wear my favorite over-ear headphones, which have a 3.5mm mini-jack and noise canceling. I got an official Apple USB-C-to-minijack adapter for that, but then I run into the problem that I cannot charge my iPad Pro at the same time. I have seen that there are various docking stations and port-multipliers that work with the USB-C iPad Pro, but those are very expensive…

Isn’t there a simpler solution ?

 

Answer :

Yes there is, but your choices are very limited : there are various splitters available that split the USB-C port into a USB-port and an audio-port… but : BEWARE ! nearly every single one of them does NOT work with the iPad Pro !!! (most of them only work on Android devices)

There is only one of the simple (and very affordable) splitters that is tested to work with the 2018 iPad Pro :

ESR 2-in-1 USB-C PD Headphone Jack Adapter ( buy it on Amazon UK / Amazon DE )

Note 1 : this splitter’s USB-C port is only capable of charging, not for a USB-(data)stick or a USB-keyboard or anything other than a USB-C charger

Note 2 : this splitter’s audio mini-jack does support both audio-out and audio-in, so when using headphones with a microphone (like gaming headsets) that microphone is used, but when using a regular headphone, the iPad Pro’s built-in microphone will be used

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

tips : which affordable display is best for working from home with a MacBook Pro ?

Question :

I need to work from home and I am looking for an affordable display to hook up to my MacBook Pro, to make my work a little easier.

Do you have any recommendations ?

 

Answer :

When buying an external display and having only a few hundred euros of budget*, look at these specs mainly, and decide which order of priority they have in your specific case :

*= this is for people who do not have a budget of €500 or more

  1. HDMI or DisplayPort :
    • what ports does your MacBook (Air/Pro) have ?
      • if it has USB-C (or Thunderbolt 3) only, get a display with HDMI-input and get a USB-C-to-HDMI-cable that can handle 4K@60Hz
      • if it has a miniDisplayPort (or Thunderbolt 1 or 2) and regular sized USB-ports, get a display with DisplayPort(v1.2)-input and a get a miniDisplayPort-to-DisplayPort-cable
  2. number of pixels (is preferrred over screen size) :
    • in any home office or home schooling situation, you will not be more than 60cm away from your screen (note : the front of the screen will be about 10cm in front of the wall, because of the display stand) : so there’s no need for a huge screen :
      • when you are about 40cm from your screen, go for a 21″ to 24″ display
      • when you are about 50cm from your screen, go for a 24″ to 27″ display
    • any display with 1920×1080 (1K/HD) pixels or more will do just fine
      • 1920×1080 looks great on 21″ or 24″ 16:9 screen
      • but 1920×1080 looks fuzzy on a 27″ 16:9 screen
      • 2560×1080 looks okay on a 27″ wide screen
      • but 2560×1440 looks great on a 24″ 16:9 screen
  3. IPS display :
    • for home office work or home schooling, get an IPS display – it has better color representation and is easier on the eyes when using it for extended periods (hours and hours of continuous working)
    • for gaming, you might consider getting some other type of display, like TN, that enables you to get higher refresh rates for a tighter budget, but you shouldn’t use those for anything other than gaming
  4. refresh rate :
    • for home office work, a refresh rate of 5ms @60Hz is perfect
    • for gaming, get as close to 1ms @144Hz as your budget can afford (3ms @100Hz or 2ms @75Hz is okay for budget gaming)
  5. adjustable height (and orientation) :
    • because of ergonomics, it is important that you adjust the height to make sure top of the display is at the same height as your eyes when sitting straight up
    • because light reflection on the screen will be extremely annoying, make sure the display has the option to slightly tilt
    • only if you are working on a lot of text documents you will benefit from the option to twist the display’s orientation from landscape (regular) to portrait mode
  6. integrated multi-port USB3-hub :
    • this is an essential ! make sure that there is a USB-multipier in the display and that it’s USB3.0 or USB3.1 based
      • since there aren’t many USB-ports on your MacBook (Air/Pro), you will need extra USB-ports (especially if you have a USB-C MacBook (Air/Pro), since you will need one USB-C port to connect the screen)
      • a USB-port on your screen will enable you to connect a USB3-to-GigabitEthernet-adapter which will outperform your WiFi connection, and your MacBook (Air/Pro) will instantaneously be connected to fast wired internet the moment you connect it to your display
    • 2 extra USB-ports on the Display is the bear minimum : you should prefer 4 or more USB-ports, so you can connect these if you need to :
      • a USB-mouse
      • a USB-keyboard
      • a USB-to-Ethernet adapter (preferably USB3-to-GigabitEthernet)
      • a USB-printer
      • a USB-scanner
      • a USB-flashcardreader (for photo camera memory cards)
      • a USB-to-TV adapter (e.g. an EyeTV stick, to watch picture-in-picture TV)
      • connect or charge your iPhone or iPad
      • an external harddrive or backup drive
    • for a keyboard or mouse (or even a wired joystick/joypad) you don’t really need a USB3.0 or USB3.1 connection, but for data transfer it will save you a lot of time
  7. price :
    • do not go for ‘lowest budget’ if you need to use the display for working from home or home schooling, find a display for €200 to €250 : even though you cheaper displays are available, do not buy any display that was under €200 when released : most of the time, you will be better of getting a slightly older (up to 3 years) display model that used to cost €300 or more
      • make sure you also take into account the extra headphone, sound system, ethernet-adapter, mouse, keyboard and alike when deciding on your budget for the display
  8. integrated webcam :
    • if you need to do video-conferencing, make sure you get a webcam with your display – an integrated webcam will turn out to be very convenient (an integrated webcam cannot compete with a high-quality webcam, but if you use an external webcam, make sure to get a display with a USB3-hub with enough ports in your display)
      • added bonus of most integrated webcams is that de webcam is either pop-up or slide-to-open, so you can easily prevent being ‘accidentally’ exposed to webcam viewers
      • make sure the integrated webcam is 1.2 megapixel (1.2MP) or more : the FaceTime HD webcam that is built into a MacBook is at least 1.2MP (in an iPhone X the selfie camera is even 7MP)
  9. integrated microphone :
    • if you have the need for a webcam on your display, make sure you also have a microphone – an integrated microphone will turn out to be very convenient (an integrated microphone cannot compete with a headphone with integrated microphone, a gaming headphone or a separate directional of voice microphone)
  10. integrated speakers :
    • most displays do not have integrated speakers, but having the option to watch home schooling lessons or YouTube-videos without a headphone are very convenient, even though audio quality of most integrated speakers is okay but not impressive (if you do not already have an audio systemconnected to your MacBook, these integrated speakers might even turn out to be essential)
  11. bezel thickness :
    • the bezel (the edge around the actual screen) is really important if you want to set multiple displays side-by-side, but most of the time it is only a matter of taste in design : about 15mm is okay, especially if the display will be placed in front of a distracting environment (like a window, fancy wallpaper or a hallway)

Note : make sure you also think about these :

  • you need to use an external keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) :
    • any mouse or keyboard that suits you will do, so if you have an old mouse and even keyboard around, use those
      • for work, USB, Bluetooth and RF (wireless connection from a dedicated USB-to-wireless-plug) will all do
      • for gaming, only USB is advisory as any wireless connection might get laggy during intensive use
    • if you need to buy a new keyboard, think about these :
      • get a ‘Designed for Mac’ keyboard with the Mac key-layout, so with a COMMAND/CMD-key (and not a WINDOWS-key : only if you can typ blindly without any restrictions, you can get a Windows-layout keyboard and remap the keys in macOS)
      • get a keyboard that suits your main language : usually that is a QWERTY-layout, but for French it is AZERTY-layout and for German it is QWERTZ-layout (this will also help when you need to use accents in texts)
      • if you need to typ a lot, get a keyboard mechanical keys and spacing between all keys
      • if you need to input a lot of numbers (if you’re in accounting or working with Excell sheets) get a full-size keyboard with an integrated numeric pad (on the right of the keyboard)
      • a keyboard with an integrated trackpad can be beneficial for some, but make sure you get one with a Mac key-layout
      • an ergonomic keyboard can be really beneficial, but there are very few ergonomic keyboards with a Mac key-layout
    • if you need to buy a new mouse, think about these :
      • a mouse with a right and left button and a scroll-option will do for most purposes
        • most people have no need for a fancy gaming mouse with more than these 3 functions
      • consider using a trackball or ergonomic mouse
      • a Bluetooth or RF-wireless mouse does have downsides :
        • it will need to be charged (Apple’s Magic Mouse 2 is problematic in this respect…)
        • it easily gets lost
        • when the battery is down, you will need to open your MacBook and use the built-in trackpad until the mouse is recharged
    • if you need to buy both a new mouse and a new keyboard, have a look at the mouse & keyboard combo offerings by renowned brands like Logitech,
  • make sure your MacBook (Air/Pro) has it’s power adapter plugged in when using an external display, else you cannot use your display with the MacBook’s lid closed and your MacBook will quickly run out of battery
  • if your MacBook has USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports, and your Display doesn’t have a built-in multi-port USB3-hub, consider getting a USB-C Docking-hub
  • if your MacBook has regular USB ports, and your Display doesn’t have a built-in multi-port USB3-hub, consider getting yourself an additional USB3-hub
  • if your mouse is on a very reflective surface (like a glass table) or a wobbly surface (like a rustic wooden table), your mouse will not work reliably, so it is advisory to use a mouse mat (or a plastic placemat or even a sturdy-covered magazine)
  • to minimize the clutter of cables, you can use a cable hose to keep your cables together (budget option : use tie-ribs, or even ‘the pieces of plastic covered metal wire’ that you get with nearly every cable or electronic device you buy, to tie your cables together)

 

Some suggestions (no single display is optimal on all requirements) :

for office & graphic work : BenQ BL2420PT display : 23.8″ / 16:9 / 2560×1440 (2K/QHD) / 5ms / 60Hz / IPS / HDMI v1.4 & DisplayPort v1.2 / adjustable height & orientation / 2x USB2.0 out / no webcam / 2x 1W stereo-speakers / audio minijack out / 15mm bezel

for videoconferencing & office work : Philips B-line 241B7QPJKEB / 23.8″ / 16:9 / 1920×1080 (1K/HD) / 5ms / 60Hz / IPS / HDMI v1.4 & DisplayPort v1.2 / adjustable height & orientation / 3x USB3.0 out / pop-up 2MP webcam / 2W stereo-speakers / audio minijack out / 2mm bezel

for gaming : BenQ Zowie XL2411P display : 24″ / 16:9 / 1920×1080 (1K/HD) / 1ms / 144Hz / TN / HDMI & DisplayPort v1.2 / adjustable height & orientation / no USB out / no webcam / no speakers / audio minijack out / 15mm bezel

miniDisplayPort cable : Rankie miniDP-to-DP-cable : miniDisplayPort in / DisplayPort out / up to 4K/UltraHD (3840×2160)

USB-C to HDMI cable : Uni USB-C HDMI cable : USB-C in / HDMI out / up to 4K/UltraHD @60Hz (3840×2160)

USB3.0-to-Ethernet-adapter : TP-Link UE300 Gigabit LAN adapter : USB3.0 / RJ45 LAN / Gigabit (10/100/1000Mbps) Ethernet

USB-C-to-GigabitEthernet-adapter : AmazonBasics USB-C Gigabit LAN adapter : USB-C / RJ45 LAN / Gigabit (10/100/1000Mbps) Ethernet

USB2.0-to-Ethernet-adapter : TP-Link UE200 LAN adapter : USB2.0 / RJ45 LAN / 10/100Mbps Ethernet

USB3-hub : Vogek 6 port USB3.0 hub : powered hub / 6x USB3.0 out

office keyboard : Logitech K380 keyboard : full-size keys / wireless RF & Bluetooth / no numeric pad / macOS printing on-key / no trackpad

high-end office & design keyboard : Logitech MX keyboard : full-size keys / wireless RF & Bluetooth / numeric pad / macOS printing on-key / no trackpad

keyboard with trackpad : Logitech K400 Livingroom keyboard : full-size keys / wireless RF & Bluetooth / no numeric pad / no macOS printing on-key / trackpad

ergonomic mouse mat : Comfort Gel Wrist Support Mouse Pad

cable hose : Neoprene Cable Tube

 

 

fixed : swap Windows-key layout on PC-gaming keyboard within macOS

Question :

I’ve been playing online multiplayer games like Fortnite for a while now on my MacBook Pro, but the built-in keyboard is starting to cramp my hands & fingers…

So I bought an (external) keyboard, and since there are hardly any gaming-keyboards for Mac, I got myself a PC-gaming keyboard that is supposed to work with Mac also : Trust GXT860 Thura.

I love the metal housing, the mechanical keys and the huge space-bar. I could learn to work with the PC-layout of the ALT and CMD keys, but isn’t there an option to swap or remap the layout of the keys on my Mac so I can use the keyboard blindly without any practicing ?

 

Answer :

Yes, there is, and it’s even built into macOS.

To remap the keys of your (external) keyboard on macOS, do this :

  • make sure your external gaming-keyboard is connected to your MacBook using USB, RF or Bluetooth (even though a wireless connection is not recommended for gaming, it is optional)
  • if your external gaming-keyboard only has a USB-connector and your MacBook only has USB-C ports, use a USB-to-USB-C-adapter (e.g. this USB-C-connection cable or this USB-C-connection adapter or anything similar, most basic ones will do fine)
  • goto Apple-menu (top-left on your desktop)
  • select System Preferences from the pulldown menu
  • in the System Preferences window, click on the Keyboard icon
  • in the Keyboard window, click on the Keyboard tab
  • then, click on the “Modifier Keys” button (bottom right)
  • in the pulldown window, you can individually remap the function of any of the 4 keys that differ from Mac to PC
    • the standard Mac-layout (for desktop and external Mac-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : CTRL – ALT – CMD – SPACE – CMD – ALT – CTRL
    • the standard MacBook-layout (for internal MacBook-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : FN – CTRL – ALT – CMD – SPACE – CMD – ALT
    • the standard PC-layout (for desktop PCs and external Windows-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : CTRL – WIN – ALT – SPACE – ALTgr – FN – CTRL
    • the Trust GXT860 Thura keyboard-layout is from-left-to-right : CTRL – WIN – ALT – SPACE – ALTgr – FN – illumination – CTRL
    • check your PC-gaming keyboard to see it’s layout
  • in the pulldown-window, at “Select keyboard:” select your external gaming-keyboard from the list
  • then set the key-mapping to your liking : the key names (on the left side) stand for the actual keys on your keyboard, and on the right side you can choose the key-stroke they should invoke in macOS on your Mac
  • the default is everything the same on the left and the right side (of course…)
  • and if you want to blindly use the Mac-keyboard-layout on your PC-gaming keyboard, you should set it like this :
    • Caps Lock Key : Caps Lock
    • Control Key : Control
    • Option Key : Command [ connect the ALT-key to the Apple/CMD-keystroke ]
    • Command Key : Option [ connect the Windows-key to the Option/ALT-keystroke ]
  • …but you can choose any variation you like if that suits you better

That’s is !

enjoy 😉

fixed : NVIDIA GeForce NOW completely broken in macOS 10.15 Catalina

Question :

I’ve just upgraded to macOS 10.15 Catalina on my MacBook Pro, but now the NVIDIA GeForce NOW app is broken so I can no longer play Fortnite in a decent way…

The NVIDIA GeForce NOW app seemed to have disappeared completely from my Mac, but I found it is still in the Applications folder, but the icon is now a greyed-out NO ENTRY sign… so nothing happens when I click on it…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

For some unknown reason, some upgrades to macOS 10.15 Catalina break the NVIDIA GeForce Now app…

Luckily, the solution is simple : download the latest version of NVIDIA GeForce NOW here and install it… choose Replace Old Version during install and then just restart the app…

It’s simple as that…

enjoy 😉

fixed : Ethernet cable connection on USB-C only MacBook Pro

Question :

I just bought a new MacBook Pro that has USB-C only (and WiFi & Bluetooth), nothing else… I would like to hook it up to an Ethernet-cable since I’ve heard that’s better than WiFi when playing games like Fortnite…

How do I do that ?

 

Answer :

To connect your MacBook to Ethernet using a UTP-cable, you need to have an adapter. You could use an USB-to-Ethernet-connector that you might have laying around and connect it to your MacBook using a cheap USB-to-USB-C-connector that you can get at a supermarket or discount-shop… but I would advise against that : all cheap USB-to-USB-C-connectors are USB2-only (because they are mainly for connecting USB-mouses and keyboards to modern computers)… and a lot of USB-to-Ethernet-connectors are 10/100-Ethernet compatible and USB2-only… but even if you have a USB3-to-Gigabit-Ethernet, the end result will be just USB2…

To get the best out of your MacBook, you should get a USB-C-to-Ethernet-connector that is Thunderbolt 3 compatible, like this one :

Thunderbolt 3 USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet connector (buy on Amazon US) (buy on Amazon UK) (buy on Amazon DE)

 

enjoy 😉