The internet and my computer seem like almost endless sources of new discoveries and diversions. Sometimes I find a fascinating new website or stumble upon some obscure tool or function hidden within the Windows operating system. Here are some of the nifty items I’ve discovered recently.
It’s a saying on the internet that one thing leads to another and it was certainly true when I came across a YouTube channel called The Hybrid Librarian (https://www.youtube.com/c/HybridLibrarian/featured) which included video titles such as History’s Seven Most Famous Animals and The World’s 10 Most Mysterious Photos Ever Taken. I was skeptical but to my surprise the videos were truthful and fascinating.
I did a Google search for the identity of the hybrid librarian and ended up on an amazing website called Wikitubia which is about notable people who post YouTube videos (https://tinyurl.com/a26vfn97). For the uninitiated, a wiki site is a site where users create content.
Wikipedia, the world’s largest free encyclopedia, is a good example of this, and anyone can correct errors or add new information, which keeps the wiki accurate and current. I discovered that the hybrid librarian is Kevin Garattoni, a French YouTuber who unfortunately stopped posting his brilliant videos.
However, it turns out that Wikitubia is part of a gigantic Wiki site called Fandom (https://www.fandom.com), which is about movies, games, TV, anime, and just about any entertaining activity that has a fan or following. You can browse or use the search function to find wikis on, for example, Harry Potter or The Walking Dead. Set aside plenty of time to browse wikis; maybe you will create one yourself.
A while ago I wanted to create a video on how to rip a CD and play the digital files in my car using a USB device. I finally found a free video capture tool and finally posted my video on YouTube (https://youtu.be/0tmyq2cWNKA).
Now I found out that there is a screenshot tool built into Windows 10 and 11. It’s called the Xbox Game Bar and it will record and save anything that appears on your screen like how to perform a computer task, your gaming activity, or a streaming video, and you can add comments to the video with the computer’s microphone.
Before you can use Game Bar, you need to enable it. Click on Start, go to Settings, then Games, and in the Xbox Game Bar section you move the slider to On. To run Gaming Bar, hold down the Windows icon key and press the letter G key. Do this before you start recording and adjust settings.
You’ll need to click on the Capture icon in the icon bar at the top and click on the little gear icon for settings and under Capture enable audio sounds for system and mic; you can mute the microphone separately later if you don’t want to add a comment.
Using the Game Bar should become fairly straightforward if you spend some time looking at the options, but The Verge website has a comprehensive set of illustrated instructions (https://tinyurl.com/2b5r5ec4).
I also discovered a nifty fix in Windows for a very annoying problem. My laptop doesn’t have a caps lock light and with the very small left shift key on the Canadian keyboard I always inadvertently activate caps lock and type an entire sentence in all caps before I know it.
If this is a permanent annoyance for you, there is a way to enable an audible alert when you turn caps lock on or off. In Win 10 or 11, click the Start icon, then the gear icon to access Settings and select the area for Ease of Access in Win 10 or Accessibility in Win 11.
Scroll down and click Keyboard, and you’ll see the slider to play a sound when you turn caps lock on or off, as well as num lock and scroll lock if your keyboard has those keys.