Category: How To

How to Create a Google Home Audio Group

One of the best features of Google Home when it comes to audio is one that I suspect many have not heard of or used.  It is called Home Grouping and it allows you to put your Home and Chromecast audio devices into a logical group inside the Home app.  Once done, you can give the command to play music on that group and it will play across all of your Home devices.  It is a great feature and is easy to setup.

First, make sure you have the latest Google Home app on your phone.  Next, make sure that your phone and the Home, and the Chromecast devices you want to add to your group are all on the same network.  In other words, you can’t do this while you are on a business trip or on holiday.  You have to be home to do it.  Finally, make sure all of your Home device and Chromecast devices are turned on so they can be found.  With that, let’s get to the How To.

How To Pin A Site to The Shelf on Your Chromebook

One of the great features of a Chromebook is the ability to save a site you regularly visit to your Shelf for quick access.  It is a feature that is exclusive to Chrome OS and not something you can do on the Chrome browser for Windows or MacOS – at least not yet.

If you are new to Chrome OS and a Chromebook, adding a site to your Shelf is very easy to do and in this How To, I’ll show you were to find the somewhat buried menu to do so.

First, navigate to the site that you want to add to your Shelf in the browser.  Now go to the overflow menu (the three vertical dots) and go down to More Tools.  There you will see the second menu option, Add to shelf.

How To Add Multiple Goals to Google Fit

While there are dozens of health & fitness apps available for Android, Google’s own Google Fit has slowly but steadily been growing up.  The app was very basic in the early days but as Android Wear 2.0 was released earlier this year, the Fit app became far more useful and helpful in tracking not only your fitness goals, but getting injected data from other apps like Sleep for Android and MyFitnessPal.  It also gained things like tracking your heart rate (assuming you have a compatible Android Wear watch) during workouts as well as elevation changes for certain types of workouts like running, biking or skiing.

One of the best features of Google Fit is that you can setup multiple goals within the app, track them, and even have them as a widget on your Home screen on your phone.  It is a feature that often goes unnoticed but it is powerful as you can keep track of virtually any goal you desire to meet your own health and fitness goals.

In this How To I will show you how to create multiple goals within Google Fit and how to add them as a widget to your Home screen.  My assumption is that you have Google Fit installed so if you don’t, go get it from the Play Store before continuing.

How To Create a Recover Disk for Your Chromebook

Like any platform, Chrome OS from time-to-time gets corrupted.  It doesn’t happen often – I’ve never had it happen in the two-plus years I’ve been using the platform.  However, when it does, you’ll need to make sure you are prepared to get things back in order quickly so you can get back to being product (or YouTube cat video watching as the case may be).

Chrome OS has a great recovery tool that is built into Chromebooks that allows you to create a recover disk using a USB drive that allows you to quickly restore your computer.  Like a Powerwash, when you use the recovery drive to restore, you will wipe the data stored on it and it will return it back to a factory default.  But that’s okay.  Remember that Chrome OS leverage the cloud for storage and unless you have some local files like pictures or files you’ve not sync’d to your Google Drive, you shouldn’t loose any data.

In this How To, I’m going to walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a recovery disk for your Chromebook and then walk you through the actual recovery process.  Like many things Chrome OS, it is pretty straightforward.

Before getting into the process, make sure that you have an extra USB drive around that is at least 8GB in size.  I use a 16GB PNY USB Drive for my Acer Chromebook 14 and it works great (and it’s cheap).

How To Powerwash Your Chromebook Using Keyboard Commands

Like any laptop, there are times when you will want or perhaps need to reset your Chromebook.  In Chrome OS terms, that is called a Powerwash and as the name implies, it completely wipes any apps, accounts and data on the device and restores it to the factory default.

The easiest way to perform a Powerwash on a Chromebook is to go into the Settings and execute it from there.  However, if your Chromebook is corrupted and you can’t open Settings, what do you do?  Simple:  perform the wash by using keyboard commands.

Long time Chrome OS users will know this trick but for those of you who are new to the platform, this may not be known.  That’s where this How To comes into play.  I’ll outline the keystrokes you need to use in order to reset your Chromebook.

It should be noted that in this How To, I’m assuming you are not using a Chromebook tied to a corporate or education account.  In those cases, your Admin must reset the devices.

Can’t Find A Google Cloud Print Printer? Make Sure You’re Invited

Google Cloud Print is a handy feature that can be found in Android and Chrome OS that allows you to quickly and easily print to printers that are configured and enabled to leverage the cloud-based printing solution.  The vast majority of printers on the market today will work with Cloud Print but, if you haven’t invited users to use your printers at home or in your small office, they won’t see them as a printing option.

This seems to be the most common problem I find for users who are trying to get a printer configured to work with their Chromebook or phone.

This tutorial is aimed at those who have Android, Chrome OS and a compatible Google Cloud Print printer at their home or small office.  Most enterprise Android & Chrome OS users will not have to worry about this as printers are managed through your G Suite administrator.

How To Use Arrow Hub in Arrow Launcher for Android

Microsoft’s Arrow Launcher for Android has slowly but surely becoming a solid launcher for Android devices.  The company, through the Microsoft Garage project team, has continually been adding features, improving the stability, and the performance of the launcher.

If you are a heavy Microsoft user, you should consider Arrow Launcher for your launcher.  You can read my review of it here.

Back in June, in the 3.5 update to Arrow Launcher, the introduced a new feature, Arrow Hub.  Arrow Hub allows you to easily sync photos, documents, videos and anything you have in your Android device’s clipboard to the cloud which you can then get to via the web or OneDrive.  It is brilliantly simple and is an effective way to get files from your phone to your PC, Mac or Chromebook.

So how does it work and how do you get to your files?  In this How To I will outline how the feature works on your Android device and how to get to those files.

Prerequisite:  This How To assumes that you are running Arrow Launcher on your Android phone.  If you are not, you can download it free from the Play Store.  It also assumes that you have a Microsoft account that you can use with Arrow Launcher, OneDrive, etc.

How To Fix Failed To Load Error in Google Now

Over the weekend, many people were impacted by what appears to be a server-side experiment with Google Now.  The issue left those who use the Google Now Launcher, the Pixel launcher or the Google app on their phone useless for personalized information.  The cards would not display save one that simply stated “Failed to load cards”.  I was met with this issue on all three of my main devices:  Google Pixel XL, Nexus 9 and Huawei P10.

Fortunately there is what seems to be a rather quick and easy fix to this issue:  Clear the data on the Google app on your devices.  I did this on all three of my devices mentioned above and afterwards, the Google Now cards displayed as expected.  If you know how to clear data in an app, try the trick and let me know if it also works for you.  If you don’t know how to do this, keep reading and I’ll walk you through the steps.

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