Who Knew?

June 22, 2018

There’s a free utility that’s more versatile than the standard volume control in Windows. And there’s a free and easy way to text from your computer.

This week: Two cool things I stumbled across last week.


Ear Trumpet offers better volume control than the built-in volume control for Windows 10

Three former Microsoft engineers teamed up to provide an improved volume control app for Windows 10 (You need the latest version of Windows 10, 1803).

If you use speakers for some things, headphones for others, or if you simply want to control the volume of Spotify separately from the volume of videos you play in your browser, Ear Trumpet is the perfect app.

Follow this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/p/eartrumpet/9nblggh516xp# or go directly to the Microsoft Store and search for Ear Trumpet. The app is completely free.

I’ve been using it for two weeks now, and I can only wonder why engineers had to leave Microsoft to come up with this! I hope it’s baked into subsequent versions of Windows 10.


Now you can use your computer with the Android Messages app

Microsoft’s attempt to integrate Android phones and Windows 10 currently consist of forcing you to install Cortana and the Microsoft launcher on your Android phone. Actually, I don’t want to do that. I like my Google Pixel’s native launcher, and I like Google for my searches, especially on my phone.

But I sure would like to be able to use my computer keyboard to type my text messages, and I wouldn’t mind getting my text notifications on my computer. And I’d like to do that without any more apps.

Until now, that seemed like too much to ask. But last week Google surprised me with an update to the Messages app. This is rolling out to everyone using the Messages app, and like me, you might already be able to do this and not know it.

Point your browser to messages.android.com. Once there:

  • Open the Messages app on your phone
  • Tap the three dots in the upper right corner to expand the Options
  • If you see Messages for web tap there
  • Tap on Scan QR Code and hold your phone in front of the QR code

Your phone’s Messages app will display in your browser. Adjust the settings to suit your preferences, and now you can type your messages using an honest to goodness keyboard instead of tapping on your phone.

If they’ve satisfied my urge for notifications, I haven’t figured out how to turn that on yet, but this first step is a welcome one.

Text from your computer with Android Messages


Ride Don’t Hide

If you’re reading this on Castanet, the Ride Don’t Hide event for the Canadian Mental Health Association was yesterday, June 24. If you subscribe to my newsletter or find my column online another way, maybe you’re reading this on Friday, June 22 or Saturday, June 23.

If so, you still have time to sponsor me for this worthy cause. Follow this link to make your secure online donation: https://goo.gl/WnnSd3.

In either case, thank you for your support of people helping people. It’s important work, and I’m delighted to be able to help raise money to continue serving the community. I’ll report the total in next week’s column.


And speaking of next week…

Next week’s column will be the last Getting Along With Your Computer column, as I will retire on June 29. I’ve enjoyed hearing from you and trying to answer your questions.

I will continue to write about technology. People are using more than just computers now. I’ll be writing about tablets, phones, computers, and technology trends. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll let you know where and when to look for me. If you’ve been reading this column on Castanet, watch there for more news. I believe the new column will find a home there.

Thank you all for the kind words and good wishes for my retirement!

Cate Eales will retire June 29, 2018 from running Computer Care Kelowna a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. She welcomes your comments and suggestions for future column topics, good fishing spots, epic bike rides, and songs to learn on the ukulele. Send email to help@computercarekelowna.com.

You can read previous columns here: http://www.castanet.net/news/Getting-Along-With-Your-Computer/ . If you’d like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link:  http://eepurl.com/cqhaTL. It’s easy, free, and now ad-free. If you’d prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://computercarekelowna.com/feed.



Ear Trumpet  https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/p/eartrumpet/9nblggh516xp#
Android Messages on your computer https://messages.android.com/
Ride Don’t Hide CMHA ride Kelowna http://ridedonthide.com/bc/ride/kelowna/
Sponsor Cate’s ride for the CMHA https://goo.gl/WnnSd3
Computer Care Kelowna http://computercarekelowna.com/
Getting Along With Your Computer Column Archives http://www.castanet.net/news/Getting-Along-With-Your-Computer/
Get Cate’s column by email http://eepurl.com/cqhaTL
RSS Feed: http://computercarekelowna.com/feed

© Cate Eales 2018 – All Rights Reserved
This column also appeared on Castanet June 25, 2018