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3 Ways to Take a Photo or Video on a Chromebook

3 Ways to Take a Photo or Video on a Chromebook

The camera on your Chromebook wasn’t designed for videoconferencing purposes only. You can use it to take photos, portrait selfies, and even record videos. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through different ways to take photos and videos on your Chromebook.

As a cherry on top, you’ll also learn some extra tips that’ll help you get the most out of your Chromebook’s camera. By the end of this article, we hope you’d have become a “Chromebook photography expert.” 

1. Use the Default Camera App

Chromebooks ship with a camera application built into ChromeOS. Here’s how to use the app to take photos and videos on your Chromebook.

1. Tap the launcher icon at the bottom-left corner of the shelf.

2. Click the arrow-up button to open the ChromeOS Apps Viewer.

3. Tap or click the camera icon to launch the Camera app.

Pro Tip: You can quickly launch your Chromebook’s camera using Google Assistant. Uttering “Hey Google. Record a video” will open the camera app and take a picture or record a video respectively.

4. The Camera app is always in Photo mode by default, so click the shutter icon to take a picture.

To record a video, navigate to the Video tab and click the Record icon.

Photos you take in the Square tab will have a square dimension or aspect ratio. This is perfect for taking Instagram photos without having to worry about resizing or cropping.

Chromebook Camera App: Icons Explained

You’ll find some icons on the left sidebar when you open the Camera app on your Chromebook. Here’s what the icons mean and their functions:

1. Timer: This is the stopwatch icon at the bottom of the sidebar. Click this icon to capture photos with a 3-second delay after clicking the shutter icon. You can change the timer delay duration to 10 seconds in the camera menu.

2. Grid: Click the square icon that looks like a tic-tac-toe board to show gridlines in the camera windows. Gridlines help to straighten and level the subjects in your photos. Note that grids don’t appear in the resulting photos you capture.

3. Mirroring: This lets you change the horizontal orientation of a photo in real-time. Say you want to capture the image of a book but the texts on the book are in the opposite direction, click this icon to flip the photo preview from left to right, or vice versa.

4. Settings: You’ll find more camera configurations in the settings menu. Click the gear icon to modify the camera resolution, timer duration, and grid type.

5. QR Code: You can scan Quick Response (QR) codes on your Chromebook directly from the Camera app. Click the square maze-like icon at the top-right camera of the camera window and center the QR code in the code finder window.

The Camera app will display a link and a copy button when it detects a QR code.

6. Camera Switch: You’ll find a switch icon on the left sidebar if your Chromebook has two built-in cameras. This icon will also appear in the camera window if there’s an external camera connected to your Chromebook.

7. Microphone: There’s a microphone icon at the top-left corner of the Video window. Click the icon if you want to mute audio while recording.

8. Video Snapshot: The Snapshot button is the white circle above the Stop button. Click this button while recording to take a photo/snapshot of a scene in the video.

9. Pause: Click this icon to temporarily stop recording a video. Note that your Chromebook will save a paused video when you minimize the Camera app. However, closing the Camera app without stopping the recording will delete the video from your device.

2. Taking Photos in Tablet Mode

If you use a convertible Chromebook that folds into a tablet, or one with a detachable keyboard, you can take photos with the volume buttons. Launch the Camera app and press either the volume up or volume down button to take a photo.

Note that the volume buttons only work as a shutter when your Chromebook is in tablet mode. If you’re using your Chromebook as a laptop, the volume buttons will only increase or decrease the volume level.

3. Use Third-Party Apps

Although the stock camera app on ChromeOS produces decent image and video quality, there are some amazing camera apps that deliver the ultimate photography experience. Some of these third-party apps come with sport advanced camera features like background blur, unique stickers, high-end filters, etc.

Typically, many Android camera apps on the Playstore should work on Chromebook. We recommend that you try some of the apps in our best camera apps for Android compilation. They are compatible with ChromeOS and they all worked perfectly on our test Chromebook.

View Photos and Videos on Chromebook

There are several ways to view your photos and video on a Chromebook. We list some of them below.

From the Files App

On ChromeOS, photos and video recordings from the Camera app are saved in the system-generated Camera folder. Launch the Files app, go to My files > Camera and double-click or tap your pictures and videos to view them.

For Chromebooks running Chrome OS 76 or older, the Downloads folder is the default directory for photos and videos. So, if you don’t find a Camera folder in the Files app, delve into the Downloads folder.

Media files (photos, videos, GIFs, etc.) from third-party applications are saved in the Images directory.

By default, your Chromebook will open media files using the built-in Gallery app. To use another app, select or long-press the file and click the Open drop-down button on the menu bar. Afterward, select your preferred app.

To change the default media viewer, click Change default and choose the default app for viewing photo files.

You’ll need to repeat this step to change the default app for playing videos. Select a video file, click the Open drop-down button, select Change default, and choose your preferred app.

View Photos and Videos from the Camera App

This is pretty straightforward: Click the thumbnail of the most recent video or picture you captured. The image thumbnail sits right below the shutter icon.

That will open the built-in Gallery app. Click the left-facing arrow icon to view the previous photo/video, or the right-facing arrow icon to view the next item. To edit photos within the Gallery app. On the menu bar, click the icons to the right of the divider to add filters, crop, rotate, rescale, or annotate your photo.

The default video player has the basic controls you need. There’s a play/pause button, mute icon, volume slider, full screen mode, and picture-in-picture option—click the three-dot menu icon to access Picture in picture.

Take Photos, Create Memories

A Chromebook’s camera is usually not high-end, therefore don’t expect the photo and video quality to be as good as your smartphone’s. An external webcam could improve image and video quality when you take a photo or video on a Chromebook, so plug one into your Chromebook if you have any.

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What Is a Google “Unusual Traffic” Error and How to Fix It

What Is a Google “Unusual Traffic” Error and How to Fix It

Google uses several techniques to prevent unnecessary traffic from abusing its search engine. One technique that can cause problems is the Google “unusual traffic” message that you might see, for instance, if you’ve performed too many searches in a short space of time. There are other reasons for this message to appear, however.

If this particular Google error is preventing you from using the Google search engine effectively, you can troubleshoot the issue by following the steps below.

What Causes a Google Unusual Traffic Error?

If you see a Google unusual traffic error message, it’s usually a sign that Google suspects your web traffic is problematic in some way. Unusual traffic, in this instance, typically means automated traffic or malicious traffic, caused by hackers, bots, malware unnecessary search requests.

It can also be caused by searches that mark you out as “unusual” in some way, such as regular or repeated use of advanced search operators.

It isn’t usually an error message you need to worry about, as it can usually be resolved with a few simple fixes. For instance, if you’re using a public computer, you may find that the internet connection (and outgoing IP address) you’re using is shared by too many devices, causing Google to limit the searches being made.

It can also be caused by a virtual private network (VPN), where web traffic routed through VPN servers causes Google to rate-limit the number of searches being made. 

You may also need to check for possible malware. If your PC is infected, a hacker could be using your internet connection to send significant traffic to Google’s search engine, which Google will block with a “detected unusual traffic” message. If this occurs, you’ll need to scan for malware urgently.

The problem could also be down to an application or script you’re running yourself. If you’re trying to scrape Google search results too quickly, for instance, Google will block the searches after a short period of time.

Successfully Perform the CAPTCHA Test

If Google is blocking your search traffic without a good cause (as far as you’re aware), you can usually bypass it by performing the CAPTCHA test. CAPTCHA is a system designed to limit non-human web traffic (such as automated scraping bots) by introducing a test that “only” humans using a typical web browser can solve.

While the CAPTCHA system isn’t as foolproof as it used to be, Google still continues to use it as a way to limit unusual web traffic. If your Google searches are limited in some way, select the I’m not a robot checkbox in the CAPTCHA box and perform the test.

The test usually involves identifying images based on a set scenario by selecting them (for instance, picking all of the images with a visible tree). There is also an option for the visually impaired to hear the captcha read to them.

Once you’re chosen the correct images, selecting the Verify button should allow you to perform the search. However, if you fail the test, or if Google continues to suspect your traffic is automated, you’ll need to repeat the process.

If you continue to have issues, consider signing in with your Google account or switch to another web browser (such as Google Chrome). This is a good way to prove to Google’s servers that you’re a legitimate search user, reducing the likelihood that your searches will be rate limited in future.

Temporarily Limit Your Searches (and Use Fewer Search Operators)

If you’re making a lot of searches in a short space of time, especially if you’ve used an automated tool (such as a scraping bot) to make them, you may need to temporarily limit your searches. 

You may need to do this for an hour or two, but it may take 24 hours for any rate limiting on your IP address to be lifted. You may also need to limit the number of advanced Google search operators that you’re using in searches.

This is because search operators (such as are an increasing sign of automated searches. Most Google search users don’t use operators for searches, so Google can easily filter these out for traffic. If you do need to use operators, use them sparingly to lower the chance of being rate limited.

Disconnect from a VPN (or Switch Internet Connections)

A virtual private network (or VPN) is often used to hide your true IP address, giving you extra privacy online. If you’re connected to a VPN, however, you may find that the chances of seeing a Google unusual traffic error message increase.

A VPN provider routes your traffic through thousands of servers at its disposal, but it also routes traffic from other VPN subscribers through the same servers. Much like using a public internet connection (such as a shared PC or public WiFi), this can cause a significant number of shared Google queries on the same IP address.

This will cause Google to block or limit the searches made through that IP address. Google may also identify certain IP ranges (such as those used by VPNs) as at-risk sources, rate-limiting them. 

The best way to overcome these issues is to disconnect from any VPN connection you’re using to make searches. If this doesn’t work, you may need to consider switching to another internet connection (such as a mobile data connection) to bypass the issue.

Check for Malware

If you’re unsure as to the cause of a Google unusual traffic message, it could point to a malware infection on your PC or local network. This malware could use your internet connection to make a significant number of search queries to scrape data or otherwise perform a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Google itself.

While you could use third-party antivirus or anti-malware software, it isn’t strictly necessary. Windows 10 includes a built-in security solution called Microsoft Defender that you can use to check for (and remove) possible malware infections automatically.

  1. To open Microsoft Defender, right-click the Start menu and select the Settings option.
  1. In the Windows Settings menu, select Update & Security > Windows Security > Open Windows Security.
  1. Windows will open the Security menu in a new window. Select Virus & threat protection from the menu, then select Check for updates to make sure your antivirus database is up-to-date. 
  1. Once the Microsoft Defender antivirus database is updated, select Scan options, listed underneath the Current threats category.
  1. Select the Microsoft Defender Offline Scan option, then select the Scan now button. 

Windows will restart your PC, performing a boot-level scan of your system drive to check for any malware infection. Follow any additional on-screen instructions to remove any stubborn malware it detects. 

You may need to repeat these steps on all other devices connected to your local network and sharing the same public IP address.

Using Google Effectively

A Google unusual traffic error message isn’t something to worry about, but if you’re seeing it regularly, you may need to rethink your search habits. Too many searches (or searches with advanced search operators) in a short period will cause it, but so can a malware infection, so be sure to check your network regularly for infections.

If you’re worried about the data Google is collecting on you, you might want to download your personal data to check. If you’re unhappy, you can always switch to a privacy-focused search engine like DuckDuckGo to keep your searches hidden or use certain browser tools to limit the amount of data you share online.

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Human eyeball-mimicking webcam is the stuff of nightmares

Human eyeball-mimicking webcam is the stuff of nightmares

The aptly named Eyecam comes from researcher Marc Teyssier and is part of research at the Saarland University Human-Computer Interaction Lab. The anthropomorphic webcam is designed to “challenge conventional relationships with ubiquitous sensing devices and call to re-think how sensing devices might appear and behave.”

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EA patent for a 'dynamic difficulty adjustment' system has been approved

EA patent for a 'dynamic difficulty adjustment' system has been approved

As the patent describes, the DDA system “may perform automatic granular difficulty adjustment,” which in some cases should be “undetectable by the user.” Using “historical user activity data with respect to one or more video games,” the system generates “a game retention prediction model” to calculate the expected duration of…

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How to Create a Roll20 Campaign

How to Create a Roll20 Campaign

Roll20 is an easy way to play DND with your friends regardless of geographic location. But the platform can be complicated and hard to understand. If you’re the Dungeon Master, you already have your work cut out for you organizing and running the game.

This guide will show you how to create a campaign in Roll20, tell you where to purchase additional content, how to invite players to your game, and much more.Also, be sure to check out our guide on how to use dynamic lighting in Roll20

How to Create a Roll20 Campaign

When you decide to host a game of your own, you can choose the world, the adventure, and much more. Playing as a Dungeon Master is just as rewarding as being a player

Here’s how to create your first campaign.

Log in to Roll20. On the welcome screen, you will see all your recent games—both those you’ve hosted and those you’ve played in. 

Near the top of the screen, click Create New Game. You can make a new game simply by assigning it a name and a few identifying tags to help find them in searches later, but it’s better if you flesh out the information a bit more.

Under Name & Tags, enter the name of the campaign. If you aren’t sure what tags to use, try to think of the best words to describe your campaign. As you begin typing, the system will suggest tags.

Underneath Optional: Choose a Character Sheet, click the drop-down box. Roll20 supports numerous games besides DND, but for the sake of this example, choose D&D 5E by Roll20. A preview of the character sheet will appear when selected.

On the right side of the screen is the Optional: Choose a Module heading. Modules are games that have already been built and provide all the information you will need, including monster stats, maps, and much more. This is one way to select adventures you have already purchased.

If you want to keep this as budget-friendly as possible, choose one of the free modules to get a feel for the platform. If you have something else in mind, skip the modules and click I’m ready, Create Game!

How to Add Content

After you create the game, you will see its home screen. From here, you can choose to launch the game or add more content, invite players, and change specific settings. You can also create discussions around the game and schedule the next session.

The first time you launch the game, it will take longer to load while Roll20 adds all of the content to the platform. Subsequent launches will be faster.

Scroll down to and click the Game Addons header. This will show a drop-down box where you can add more content, as well as a list of all addons currently in your campaign. If you did not choose a module during game creation, you can select one here. Click the drop-down box and select the content you want, then click Add to Game.

It will take up to several minutes for the content to install, but once it does the page will refresh. When you launch the game, the newly-added content will be available.

You can also choose to change your in-game markers. Click the + symbol beside Token Marker Sets to add additional markers. If you do not have any, click Create New Set, give it a name, and upload the images you wish to use.

Token markers are icons used to denote status ailments and other important information during the game. The default set is helpful, but if you’re playing a custom campaign it can help to set your own tokens.

How to Invite Players

The most important element of any DND campaign are the players. You can’t have a game without them, no matter how much content you might have. Thankfully, inviting players is easy—and you will never have trouble finding someone to play with online.

To the right of the screen, click Invite Players. A pop-up appears where you can enter individual email addresses. It will show anyone that has received an invite and has not yet accepted. However, the easiest method is often to copy and paste the Share Link so anyone that clicks it can join your campaign.

Most campaigns are designed for four players, although you can have as many as you want. Above six players (not including yourself), the game begins to take a long time between turns, so be aware of how many people you invite to join.

Understanding Game Settings

Roll20 has an extensive settings menu. It would need a guide all its own, but there are a few settings you should be aware of. The first is whether or not to allow players to import characters.

If your campaign is a one-shot and you want to bring in higher-level characters from other adventures, you can choose to allow players to import existing characters from other adventures. This saves the trouble of creating all-new characters for an adventure that will only take a few hours.

The next setting you should change deals with movement. 

Under Game Default Settings, scroll down until you find the Emits Light subheading. Click Has Sight and then Save Defaults. If you don’t do this, players will be able to see their assigned character tokens, but nothing else.

The final essential setting is under Compendium Settings. If you own the Roll20 version of the 5E Player’s Handbook or other resources, you can share them with players. This allows players to drag and drop spells onto their character sheet instead of manually entering the data.

It is a tremendous time saver, especially when new characters are needed. You can share your compendium with up to 10 players depending on your subscription.

Create Your First Campaign to Make Gameplay Easier

It’s complicated, but creating a campaign in Roll20 is the safest way to play DND right now. It’s also convenient, as you aren’t coordinating schedules throughout the day. While it lacks some of the charm of in-person gaming, it’s still a great way to catch up with friends and embark on exciting adventures.

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