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The first step to connecting your MacBook to an external display is familiarizing yourself with the ports and cables necessary to get the job done.

An HDMI port is available on the right side of the MacBook Pro with Retina. An HDMI port carries HD audio and video, and is commonly used to connect a computer to a TV.

An HDMI port is available on the right side of the MacBook Pro with Retina. An HDMI port carries HD audio and video, and is commonly used to connect a computer to a TV.

Thunderbolt ports are located on the left side of all MacBooks. Thunderbolt ports (called Mini DisplayPort when used to carry video) can be used to plug in adapters for DVI, VGA, HDMI, and other display ports.

Thunderbolt ports are located on the left side of all MacBooks. Thunderbolt ports (called Mini DisplayPort when used to carry video) can be used to plug in adapters for DVI, VGA, HDMI, and other display ports.

HDMI cables carry both video and audio, and are the easiest way to connect a computer to nearly any HDTV. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has an HDMI port on the right side of the computer; the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air can connect to a TV using an HDMI cable and a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. The adapter plugs into the MacBook’s Thunderbolt port (located on the left side of the computer) and will transmit both audio and video.

If you are attempting to connect a MacBook to a projector which does not have an HDMI port, popular alternatives are to use a VGA cord or DVI cord, using a Mini DisplayPort to VGA or Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

An alternate, wireless way to mirror your screen to an external display is to use AirPlay mirroring. AirPlay will allow you to stream your Mac’s screen to an Apple TV on the local network with minimal lag in full 1080p HD resolution. All you need is an Apple TV connected to your LAN and a Mac running Mountain Lion or later. AirPlay mirroring also sends audio to your TV or projector. Apple TV outputs audio and video with an HDMI connection.

If you’re more interested in streaming your movie or song library to a TV or projector, Apple TV will allow you to access your entire iTunes library from any local Mac and play it back in full HD.The advantage of streaming movies from an iTunes library over using AirPlay mirroring is that mirroring is streamed live, whereas the Apple TV will be able to buffer any iTunes content as it streams the content, which ensures a smooth viewing experience regardless of any network hiccups.

Wireless/networked streaming is still possible without an Apple TV receiver. Many devices you already own may be DLNA-capable (think DVD players, Xbox and PS3 consoles, and even your HDTV itself). DLNA is a standard for media sharing over your local area network, which means you can stream HD videos, music, or pictures wirelessly or over an Ethernet cable.

To use DLNA streaming, your Mac will need DLNA server software in order to share your media across the network in the appropriate format. One such application for this is MediaLink, which shares and even transcodes your files on the fly for high-quality streaming. MediaLink costs $20 to register after you’ve tested it in the trial period.

Keep in mind that if your MacBook goes to sleep, network activity is terminated and your stream will stop. Aside from that, you’re free to use your MacBook anywhere in the home without affecting the stream or the stream affecting you.

There are two setbacks to the network-based streaming solutions mentioned above. The quality of your streams may depend on the bandwidth of your network (and also current network load), and it may be difficult to create a live stream of your desktop for presentations (as AirPlay mirroring does not allow you to use a presenter view) or web-based streams (think Hulu or Netflix mirroring onto a display).

When using a wired connection to a TV or projector, you can set your MacBook to mirror your screen onto the second display or create an extended display. In applications such as PowerPoint and Keynote you will be able to set a presenter view on one of your displays and your presentation on the other. In Mountain Lion and later, notification banners from the Notification Center will not show up while a full screen presentation or video is playing.


I myself am a new Linux user, after switching over my laptop to Ubuntu 11.10 a few months back. I still use Windows regularly as well; however, I can honestly say that I enjoy myself when using Ubuntu too. I can’t say that Linux is recommended for everybody. I can’t promise that you will be happy if you switch. In fact, I think it takes a special kind of person and mindset to truly appreciate Linux. It’s just very different from anything you’ve used before. It took me a couple of hours to get a rough grip when I made the Windows to Macintosh transition for some projects. It’s been months that I’ve been using Ubuntu regularly and I’m still learning.

I can offer some assistance though if you’re thinking about switching a computer of yours over to Linux, or more specifically, Ubuntu, which is the most widely used spin-off OS for the open source system. I can definitely say that I wish I had a list like this when I switched over. It can be a bit scary when you find yourself in an unfamiliar desktop environment, and I hope that this helps you get your bearings a bit faster.

1. Support is… different.

When you have an issue with your Windows operating system, you give Microsoft a phone call and talk to a representative. It’s arguable as to how competent these employees actually are, but either way it’s relatively fast and you can say pretty much anything you want because you paid for the OS and therefore have a RIGHT to demand help.

Things are different for Linux. Although forms of it like Ubuntu (which I would recommend if it’s your first time using Linux as it is probably the easiest transition) have very active support communities, you’re going to need to be respectful and patient if you want to accomplish anything with them. These people are all volunteers and have their own lives. If it takes them a while to respond, you need to understand that. The help is there for free of charge, but make sure you aren’t expecting to be talking to a company, but an individual.

Ubuntu logo.

2. Your drivers may not work.

This truly is something vital, because if you don’t look into before switching you can really be out of luck. If you are a Windows user that owns an iPod touch and switch to Linux, you’d better have a second computer lying about because Linux can’t help you. You can still play your mp3 files and such, but you won’t be able to sync or purchase music from the iTunes store. iPods were the primary example, but make sure just about anything important has a Linux driver as well. If you don’t have a second computer like I mentioned above, then it may be best to either run Linux dual-booting with Windows or Macintosh.

iTunes may not be fully functional on Ubuntu. Check your drivers!

3. Your mainstream games are nonexistent here.

There are plenty of games to play on Linux, many of which are ported from Windows. A lot of games are actually free. However, if you’re an active PC gamer then it’s not recommend that you go all-out Linux. Games like Doom 3, Quake 4, Civilization, World of Goo, are all very popular and can be played. But don’t expect to be able to play massive mainstream games like Call of Duty or the Elder Scrolls. More and more games are being made and ported onto the operating system, but generally it isn’t new games. Usually the games on Linux are made by indie developers, though bigger companies like id software and Loki are known for quite a few ports.

4. You no longer have to worry about viruses.

Well… not as much anyway. The fact of the matter is, whether you are on a Windows, Mac, or Linux, Android, iOS, etc. there is always a risk of getting some sort of malware. However, the odds of getting one on Linux are greatly reduced if you’re coming from Windows. Most malware is coded to hurt a Windows system since the majority of internet-connected peoples are on a Windows computer. But that’s not all- Linux has special security encoded right into its system files. More importantly, it believes in an entirely different style of protecting users.

In Windows, your conventional anti-virus software essentially works by having a database of suspicious files and behaviors. It then uses this database of information to monitor what you’ve got on your computer. It’s more complicated than that but that’s the picture of it working ideally. However, there are obviously a couple of obvious and fatal flaws which are exploited frequently on the operating system. With all of the new viruses and security flaws found, viruses continue to be made every day, which means constant updates for the anti-virus to keep you safe. That means system resources.

Linux and its forms of security work in a different way. Basically it’s the equivalent of having a whitelist antivirus on Windows and works entirely the opposite. Instead of having a huge database of stuff that’s bad, a whitelist antivirus keeps a small database of stuff that’s good. Linux implements this into its system by having the user create a super-master-administration password when you first install the OS. This password is basically untraceable in the system kernel and as far as I’m aware there is no possible way to extract it with the current version of Ubuntu. Every time a program goes to change something on your Linux system you have to authorize it yourself. And let’s say you run into a rare Linux virus and authorize it by accidentally authorize it to do whatever it may to screw up your computer (an unlikely scenario, but one to quell the concerns of the “what-if” people out there.) You can just as easily stop this malware by entering your authorization password.

Oh… and if all that still isn’t enough it’s also possible to get big-name AVG anti-virus on Ubuntu.

5. Installing software is easier/harder?

I know this may seem obvious to some, but for me it was actually a big surprise to see when I finally installed Ubuntu. After downloading a couple of programs from the Ubuntu Software Center (which is extremely easy to use) I decided I wanted to try and install something else that wasn’t featured in the center. I found a download link and started downloading, not really paying attention. When I went to my downloads folder I was created with an extension of “.tar.gz”. I soon found that this is sort of like a .zip or a .rar, so no real big deal there. I then found though that there was no .exe for me to double click and then spam click the “next” button through. Instead, for some software, you’re required to install it yourself using a code in the Linux terminal. The code has some sort of logical order to it but for someone new, it definitely felt intimidating. Linux does indeed have some sort of installer in some cases but usually the only times you’ll find them is with something that could already be installed via the Ubuntu software center.

Ubuntu Software Center

6. There’s lots of free to be had.

This isn’t made to be something that persuades users either way from a Windows/Linux standpoint, but to inform. However, even I have to admit how difficult it is to argue with this. If you’re tired of seeing large price tags on all that shiny software on Windows, then Linux has quite a bit to offer to you. The amount of “paid” software in the Ubuntu Software Center is probably about 5-10% of the library. The rest of the software is completely free. That’s photo software, word processing, accessories, games, etc. all for free. Ubuntu truly is a community-driven effort and the first time you see the sheer amount of free software created you’ll probably be amazed as to the amount a community can accomplish. And don’t think that free means it looks cheap or is lacking in functionality. So much of the third-party software on Ubuntu is professional enough to justify a nice price tag on Windows or Macintosh machines.

One example of this that I really like to use is with Microsoft OneNote. I don’t know how large of a user base it has, but personally I love the program and find it very useful for keeping myself organized. Ubuntu however, has this free program called BasKet Note Pads. Keep in mind I was an avid OneNote user for about 6 months to fully appreciate this next statement- it took me 5 minutes to fully convert to a BasKet user.

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Increasing Android Battery Life

I’m relatively new to the world of smartphones.  Prior to purchasing one, I was the type of person that carried around a prepaid phone, sent the occasional text, but never really understood the phenomenon with cellular devices that kept people glued to them.  And now that I finally own one of these devices… I get the addictive part of it.  I always knew that you could do things like easily check and reply to emails on the go, or check on Facebook whenever you wanted, but it seemed that I didn’t really get it until I did.  At this point, I became addicted to Android as well, which led me to discover its one fatal flaw- the battery life.  Being someone who uses their phone pretty much all day now, yet still works awkward hours until late at night, and isn’t at home to charge it for long in between, I searched and searched on ways to keep my battery going through the day on a single charge.  At last however, I have assembled a few tips that I do in order to keep on chugging.  It’s not going to let you last a week without plugging your phone in, but it should work for you if you have a weird hours situation like mine.

Do Some Research

Android shows battery usage for each app.If you go to your phone’s home screen, and then press Settings > About Phone > Battery Use  you can look at which apps are really killing your battery life.  The first time I did this, I was completely shocked to find the amount of damage that the display was doing.  I recommend turning this down super low as it’s simply not necessary to have it up high.  Also, if there are any other apps killing your battery either close them or change some settings so that they aren’t being power hogs.

If an app is keeping the phone awake (even after the screen is off) or constantly keeping the GPS on it can have a very negative effect on your battery life.

Regulate Basic Settings Using the “Power” Widget

The Power widget comes with your Android device, and is very easy to put on your home screen.  Simply touch the screen at a blank point and hold down until you can select to add a new widget.  Then select the Power widget from the list.  This is an extremely useful tool that keeps you from having to go into a bunch of different settings menus to change things that will save you battery life.  Basically you be able to toggle the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sound, syncing, and brightness of your Android (you can further configure the widget to control any power settings you want).

Turning off all of these will help save your battery to some degree, but brightness is the big constant one.  You’ll want to change that to as low a setting as you can before it becomes frustrating for you.  For me, this was all the way off as I don’t mind a dark screen.  Also if you want your brightness at a setting in between the three that the power widget lets you choose from (which is actually recommended since you may not want the “middle” setting but not the polar extreme dark one either), then simply go to Settings > Display > Brightness.  As for the other features of this widget, it completely depends on your needs whether or not they should be on.  Personally I use the fast WiFi all the time, but never the Bluetooth.  Just remember though, it only takes a few seconds to turn the Bluetooth or WiFi on if you are an occasional user, but it will drain much more battery if you keep them on for long periods of time.  Therefore, unless you are using those features each and every time you turn your Android on; I would recommend keeping them off.

Another great feature your power widget can provide is a way to quickly and easily switch between 2G and 3G/4G connections. Running HSPA or LTE will drain your battery much faster than falling back to a 2G network, even if you’re not using data (and even if you don’t have a data plan). Keeping your phone from connecting to cell towers using these “fast” technologies will save a lot of battery power.

Adjust the Advanced WiFi Settings

Go to the phone’s WiFi settings and hit the menu key. Tap on Advanced and you’ll be presented with a menu that allows you to set the device WiFi Sleep Policy. Here you can set the device to turn WiFi of when the screen turns off, to turn WiFI off only when the screen turns off and the battery is running on battery power, or to never turn the WiFi off.

Your setting here will depend on your data plan’s usage limits. If you have a low cap you may want WiFi to handle as much data transaction as it can, but on the other hand, allowing WiFi to turn off automatically when you’re not using your phone could save some battery power.

Adjust Refresh Intervals

Did you know that your phone comes with a News and Weather app? By default, this app is set to retrieve new news stories every six hours. If you’re like me, you don’t need your phone to download news articles every six hours for offline readability, so you can disable the automatic refreshing to save your battery life and data usage.

Other apps may also automatically refresh at certain intervals by default. The stock Email app (not Gmail, but the stock app which you may  use for corporate accounts) can be set to check for email every X minutes. (Gmail users don’t need to worry because notifications of new emails are sent via PUSH updates.) Facebook’s app also recently introduced PUSH notifications, but the Refresh Interval setting still exists. Go through your apps and see which automatic refreshing you can go without to increase your battery life.

Replace Widgets with Icons

Sometimes app developers will create widgets for their apps which only serve as shortcuts to open the full app. Widgets on your home screens aren’t as light as shortcuts, and therefore replacing widgets with app shortcuts whenever possible could lead to significant increases in battery life.

Watch out for Live Wallpapers

Live wallpapers are very pretty, but they can be a significant threat to your battery life if coded incorrectly. Some live wallpapers will use significant amounts of CPU time, draining your battery very quickly. Be careful when using a live wallpaper, and even though static wallpapers are always easier on system resources and your battery, if a live wallpaper is a must for you to enjoy your Android experience you should make sure it’s fully optimized before committing.

Downclock Your CPU

If your Android phone is rooted you can downclock your CPU’s frequency when the phone isn’t in use to save  even more of your precious battery life. You can use apps like SetCPU (free at XDA Developers) or you can flash a custom kernel with CPU optimizations built in. Note that if you are already using apps like SetCPU, you can increase the polling interval (the interval at which the app checks CPU load to overclock or downclock) to save some power. Your phone might feel sluggish when you first wake it up until it overclocks, but the battery life benefit may be worth it.

What else do you do to increase your battery life? Tell us in the comments below and we might edit this article to include your tip!

This is a guest post. The views of the author do not represent the views of w3techie as a whole, and the information given has not been peer-reviewed.


Prey Security Review

There’s an open-source project called Prey that promises to help you recover your computer or mobile phone in case it ever gets stolen. I went through a thorough test on both their Windows and Android clients, on both the free and pro plans, and I concluded my experiment with mixed feelings about the project.

The concept that Prey works on is simple. Your computer constantly pings Prey’s servers to check the status of your computer. If the computer is detected or reported stolen, the machine will be notified at its next ping to Prey’s servers. Your computer will then begin to collect information, such as it’s location (using the same WiFi triangulation that’s used in iPods and Android phones), IP address, screenshots, and even a camera shot. That collected information is constantly uploaded to Prey’s servers, where you can see the reports.

The Android app works in the same way, but instead of constantly polling Prey’s servers, the phone marks itself as stolen when it receives an SMS message containing a trigger phrase (from any number), when the SIM card is switched, or through a PUSH notification (Pro members only). It then begins to upload reports.

How well does it work?

Remarkably well. Tracking on both my laptop and my Android phone worked so well that it truly gave me an extra sense of security.

Location tracking was highly accurate on both devices – I was stunned by how closely my laptop’s location was found based on a few WiFi networks (Prey on Android can also use the GPS chip on the phone for an extra-fine location). The screenshots taken on the computer were clear enough to see any identifiable information, such as the thief’s email or Facebook. The webcam shots would also help identify a thief or find the surroundings of the computer.

There’s a feature for Android which automatically activates Prey when the SIM card on the phone is changed. In addition, the phone sends a test message to a pre-set contact from the thief’s phone number, alerting your contact the the phone has been stolen. This feature worked exactly as expected. If someone had actually taken my phone and put their SIM card in it, I would have immediately known the number of the new SIM in the phone so I can notify the network.

There’s also a feature for Android to prevent uninstalling unless you have the password (which you enter every time you open the app, and if you ever choose to actually uninstall the app can remove it’s administrative privileges and allow an uninstall). It worked as expected, and I’m certain that a thief wouldn’t be able to disable the software unless they completely wiped all the data and flashed a fresh ROM on the phone.

All in all, I love the quality of the tracking provided by Prey. I don’t have a password on my phone or on my laptop, but Prey helps me rest assured that I’ll be able to recover my phone, whether it’s stolen or I just forgot it at a restaurant. It operates under full stealth mode, it’s lightweight (doesn’t hog system resources), and it’s reliable.

There are some other bells and whistles, such as being able to sound an ‘alarm’ in case you’ve lost the device nearby and want to locate it, showing a message on the screen, or detecting hardware changes on the client, but I felt like the greatest wealth of the product lied in the stealth tracking features.

What didn’t I like? 

The payment for Prey Pro is horrible. The payment processor itself is scary – they use a company I had never heard of, and they ask you to give your credit card information directly; no Paypal, no Google Checkout. I have no idea why they couldn’t use a well know, trusted payment processor.

I paid for a Pro membership, and my subscription was immediately activated. Awesome, right?

A month later I receive an automatic renewal on my Pro plan. I decided to stop my recurring membership, so I sent a support ticket in that evening, asking how I could cancel. The next morning they led me to a “Cancel My Subscription” button, which I clicked, and cancelled my subscription.

What’s the problem here? I paid for a second month, I cancelled the next day, and my Pro plan was immediately cancelled. No refund, no “you will be downgraded at the end of the period you have prepaid for.” It’s not a huge amount that I want to fight for, but I feel like this problem with the processing of payments and membership is significant enough to warn potential users about. There are no warning messages or confirmation screens with Prey’s payment. You don’t have the courtesy messages and notes that other sites offer (such as emails reminding you that your next payment is due, or a help section detailing how plan cancellations work).

You have to go into it expecting the worst and hoping for better. I’m confident that payments and memberships will become smoother to order and downgrade in the future, but for now, take caution.

What would I recommend?

Register with the free plan, and only go Pro if your device is actually stolen. Pro only provides tools to help you acquire and save more data from stolen devices (and by more data, I mean you’ll get reports more frequently – there’s no additional data provided). Since Pro membership is activated instantly, you can order the moment you discover that your device has been stolen. Remember to cancel the subscription once your device has been recovered, or you’ll be billed for the next month too!

I’d also recommend setting the interval of your computer’s pings to Prey’s servers higher than the minimum to save bandwidth and some battery life. If your computer is stolen, you can set the interval lower and reports will begin being sent more frequently. This isn’t applicable for mobile phones, since they don’t ping the servers to check if they’re marked as missing or not; rather, they are activated by PUSH notification, SMS message, or a SIM card switch.


Prey is outstanding for free software! It will greatly increase your chances of finding a lost or stolen device, so you’ll feel safer right away. Pro plans are available in case a device is stolen to maximize the amount of information you receive in a short time period.

The software definitely helps me feel safer, and I still don’t have a lock on my phone (it’s so inconvenient)! However, there are still some kinks that need to be ironed out before it becomes a perfect product.

Prey Theft Prevention
Reviewed by w3techie.
Rating: 4

Full Guide to Breadcrumbs for SEO

Breadcrumbs are navigation trails which show where a person is on a website with regard to the site’s hierarchical structure. For example, the breadcrumbs which on our forum topic about the necessity of data plans show as:

w3techie Forum  → Mobile  → Networks

This tells us that the topic is located within the “Mobile” section of the forum, and within the “Networks” sub-section.

Who cares? Why does that matter at all?

From a usability perspective, it’s sometimes convenient to know how a specific page is categorized to be able to go up the chain to find related pages.

From the SEO standpoint, which we’ll be exploring, displaying correctly formatted breadcrumbs can lead to a considerable increase in clickthrough rates to your site. Take a look at the following – which do you like better?

Regular organic search result in Google.


Breadcrumbs showing in an organic result in a Google search.
Which result would you trust more? Which result do you think your visitors would rather click on?

Breadcrumbs in Google Search give sites a slight elegance, and depending on the niche you’re targeting and your competitors’ webmaster knowledge, breadcrumbs can make your site pop as unique in the SERPs.

Now to the hard part: how do you make breadcrumbs appear for your site?

There are two conditions that must be met for breadcrumbs to show in the organic search rankings:

  1. The breadcrumbs must be visible on the respective pages.
  2. The breadcrumbs must be marked-up to be search-engine friendly.

The easiest way to learn is by example, so let’s take a look at some code.

You are here: <a href="https://www.w3techie.com/">w3techie</a> &gt;
<a href="https://www.w3techie.com/category/seo">SEO</a> &gt;
<a href=" https://www.w3techie.com/2011/breadcrumbs-seo/">Full Guide to Breadcrumbs for SEO</a>

This would display the following breadcrumbs:

 You are here: w3techie > SEO > Full Guide to Breadcrumbs for SEO

Excellent! We’re halfway done (the breadcrumbs are visible). Now they just need to be marked-up for search engines. This will require some tweaking of the code, but the breadcumbs will look the exact same to the visitors.

The method we’ll use to markup these breadcrumbs is to add microdata to them. Microdata allows us to nest existing content within robot-readable tags which will tell the search engines exactly what the content is about.

The first thing we must do is wrap our breadcrumbs with a DIV, and explain to the robots that this DIV contains a breadcrumb.

<div itemscope itemtype="https://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb">

The second step is defining the items in that DIV. We define all of the URLs as URLs, we define the first page in the trail as the Title, and we define the rest of the pages in the trail as Children in the path. This is what the end result would look like:

<div itemscope itemtype="https://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb" id="breadcrumbs">
You are here: <a href="https://www.w3techie.com/" itemprop="url"><span itemprop="title">w3techie</span></a> &gt;
<span itemprop="child" itemscope itemtype="https://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb">
<a href="https://www.w3techie.com/category/seo" itemprop="url"><span itemprop="title">SEO</span></a> &gt;
<span itemprop="child" itemscope itemtype="https://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb">
<a href="https://www.w3techie.com/2011/breadcrumbs-seo/" itemprop="url">
<span itemprop="title">Full Guide to Breadcrumbs for SEO</span></a>

After you’ve all done, you can check if everything works using Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool. Your breadcrumbs should start showing in Google after the next re-crawl of your pages.