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How to Set Up a Second Screen When Working from Home

With many of working from home at the moment during the coronavirus pandemic, we won’t have access to some of the everyday office items that make out lives easier, including a second screen.

You may have felt that a second screen was a luxury when you first started working with one. But now it’s been taken away, it might just be feeling downright essential.

The good news is that you can recreate the second display at home with a variety of methods – we take a look at some of the best options.

Sidecar – Add a Second Screen with an iPad

If you’ve fully invested in the Apple ecosystem, and have both a Mac and an iPad at your disposal, then you can use what the company has dubbed “Sidecar”. This effectively turns your iPad into a second screen.

To get your display to appear on your iPad, click on the AirPlay icon in the menu on your Mac, and then select the option to connect to your iPad. Now, you can move windows to the iPad and use that space how you wish.

You’ll also notice a sidebar of options appears on your iPad. This displays commonly used options, and can be moved to a more suitable side of the screen, or moved entirely. The options include hiding the menu bar, onscreen keyboard, undo, and mirroring your Mac screen, or extending the display.

To tweak the Sidecar settings, click on the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then Sidebar.

When using Sidecar, it’s still possible to use apps on your iPad. Your Sidecar session will simply be suspended until you switch back to the Sidecar mode.

All this can be done wirelessly, but we’d recommend plugging your iPad in so it doesn’t lose power halfway through the day. Of course, you can either plug it into an outlet or straight into your Mac.

One warning – the Sidecar feature isn’t available to all Mac and iPad users. You’ll need to be running macOS Catalina on your MacBook or iMac, plus iPadOS 13 on your iPad. Also, it only works on newer hardware, so that dusty ten year old iPad you’ve got in a drawer won’t cut it. here’s the list of compatible products:

MacBook/Mac/iMac

MacBook Pro 2016 or later
MacBook 2016 or later
MacBook Air 2018 or later
iMac 2017 or later
iMac Retina 5k, 2015 or later
iMac Pro
Mac Mini 2018 or later
Mac Pro 2019 or later

iPad

iPad Pro – all models
iPad 6th gen or later
iPad Mini 5th gen
iPad Air 3rd gen

Just noticed your iPad is getting old? Check out our guide to the best Apple iPad to buy.

Use an Android Tablet as a Second Screen

If you’re an Android user who is feeling rather jealous about Apple’s Sidecar function, don’t worry. You can have the same feature set, too. Sort of.

While there’s no “all-in-one” solution for Android devices that are quite as simple as Apple’s, there are several third-party solutions available. A word of warning, you’ll need to pay for some of them. But, this will still be far cheaper than shelling out for a new monitor.

While there are some free options available, be warned that these are likely to be ad-supported, which could crimp your productivity if you’re dismissing pop-up adverts regularly.

Some apps will also request that you download software to your computer in order to use your Android tablet as a second screen, which may not be viable if you’re using a work computer and have an IT department overseeing what software can be installed. Like we say, Apple owners really are at an advantage here.

Second Screen Android Apps

Spacedesk – One of the better rated apps, this supports Windows 10, 8.1, 8 & 7. It also supports using the touchscreen to replicate the mouse.

Splashtop Wired XDisplay –  This app relies on a wired connection via USB. It’s also a paid-for solution, but does offer a 10 minute trial, so users can check it works quickly.

DuetDisplay – Developed by ex-Apple engineers, DuetDisplay is an intuitive second screen solution, and works with Windows or Mac.

Use Your TV as a Second Display

That’s right, the black mirror in the corner of your room isn’t just for Netflix and watching the latest coronavirus briefings on the news. In fact, a TV is the most popular second screen option. While we don’t all have tablets or extra monitors lying around at home, most of us do at least have a TV.

You don’t even need a smart TV. While you can cast to your TV over your home network, the simplest and most elegant solution is to connect to it using an HDMI cable. It might seem a bit lo-fi, but we don’t think there’s any reason to make things any more complicated than they have to be.

To connect to your TV:

Plug an HDMI cable from your PC to your TV. You may have to use an adaptor if your computer doesn’t have a dedicated HDMI port.
Select the right HDMI port in your TV menu.
Go to Display Settings in Windows (just type display into the search bar to quickly find it).
Scroll to the Multiple displays section and click on Extend Displays to make the TV your second screen

Failing all else, ask your company to help

If you don’t have any secondary devices to use, it’s worth asking your work if you can borrow your second monitor from the office. Many companies are letting employees take these home during the current pandemic.

Bonus tip

For those with just one display at their disposal, make sure to fully use windows options.

For example, on a Windows PC, holding down the Windows key and then using the left or right arrow puts the selected window on one half of the screen.

Do this again for another window, on the opposite side, and you’ve now got two windows automatically open side by side.

 

 

The post How to Set Up a Second Screen When Working from Home appeared first on Tech.co.

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‘A complete disaster’: Fears grow over potential Nevada caucus malfunction

Anxiety is rising over the possibility of another tech-induced meltdown at the Nevada Democratic caucuses on Saturday.

In interviews, three caucus volunteers described serious concerns about rushed preparations for the Feb. 22 election, including insufficient training for a newly-adopted electronic vote-tally system and confusing instructions on how to administer the caucuses. There are also unanswered questions about the security of Internet connections at some 2,000 precinct sites that will transmit results to a central “war room” set up by the Nevada Democratic Party.

Some volunteers who will help run caucuses at precinct locations said they have not been trained on iPads that the party purchased to enter and transmit vote counts. Party officials scrambled to streamline their vote reporting system — settling on Google forms accessible through a saved link on the iPads — after scrapping a pair of apps they’d been planning to use until a similar app caused the fiasco in Iowa two weeks ago.

The volunteers also said the party has not provided sufficient training on how to use the Google form that will compile vote totals, a complicated process in a caucus.

The concerns, which were described on condition of anonymity because the volunteers are not authorized to speak to reporters, come at a perilous moment for the Democratic Party. As the third state on the primary calendar and the first with a significant minority population, Nevada holds huge importance in the nomination contest. The debacle in Iowa cost one state party chairman his job and threatened the standing of the national party chairman, while casting doubts about whether the results from party-run caucuses can be trusted.

Nevada Democratic officials insist they have everything under control. But a repeat of Iowa — or any kind of breakdown — would be disastrous.


Iowa Democratic Party Chair speaks amid confusion over Iowa caucus results

One volunteer who has worked on past caucuses in Nevada said the Google form that will be used to input vote totals wasn’t even mentioned during a training session for precinct chairs late last week.

“We weren’t told at all about it,” the person said.

The iPads weren’t discussed until more than halfway through the presentation, the volunteer said, when someone asked how early vote totals would be added to the totals compiled live at each precinct. The person leading the training said not to worry because the iPads would do the math for them.

“There were old ladies looking at me like, ‘Oh, we’re going to have iPads,’” the volunteer told POLITICO.

After sitting through the two-hour training session, the person predicted the caucus would be a “complete disaster.”

Another volunteer, who will be in a senior position at a caucus site, said that as of Feb. 11 the party had failed to provide updated training sessions for caucus day to many people who’d been preparing to use the now-scrapped apps. Recently, the volunteer did take a refresher course for early voting, but it “diverged significantly” from the initial training. “We were practically starting from scratch,” the volunteer said.

The volunteer received no hands-on training with the iPads before handling one physically for the first time at an early-voting site on Saturday. As a result, the first two hours of early voting were “disastrous,” the person said, as volunteers struggled to get iPads to function properly and connect to the Internet.

Moreover, “There are [Democratic voters] that don’t even know that early voting is happening,” the volunteer said, blaming the party for failing to spread the word adequately. Early voting in Nevada started on Saturday and will continue through the end of the day Tuesday.

The state party said it purchased Google search ads and newspaper ads to inform potential voters of the early voting option.

Another caucus site leader went on CNN Saturday to decry the lack of training on the Google form, calling the process “horrendous.”

Others with more intimate knowledge of the process, including a state party official and a volunteer who has worked the caucuses previously, contend that backup systems are in place in the event of any technical snafus. The two methods of vote-reporting — the Google form and a telephone hotline — will ensure accurate results reach the war room, they said.

The process will break down like this: On caucus day, each precinct chair will be given a party-purchased iPad that will have a link to a Google form — dubbed a “caucus calculator” — saved on it. Pre-loaded on the form will be the early-vote total from that precinct.

The precinct chair will then input vote totals after the first and second votes. Under caucus rules, voters choose their preferred candidate at the outset, known as the first alignment. But if their candidate fails to reach 15 percent, they can switch to a different candidate, or seek to persuade supporters of another candidate who fails to reach 15 percent to help their candidate clear that threshold during the second alignment.

The prompts on the Google form are expected to look similar to how they appear on the physical caucus reporting sheet. When the first and second alignments are completed, the totals will be relayed over the cloud to the Nevada Democratic Party via the Google form, which on the back end appears as a Google spreadsheet.

Separately, the precinct chair or site lead will take the printed caucus reporting sheets — each campaign must sign off on them first — and call the Nevada Democratic Party boiler room via a secure hotline. (Site leads oversee multiple precinct chairs in caucusing at a single large location.)

The chair or site lead will report the results to a “trained operator” at headquarters, and that person will check that the figures match up with those transmitted via the Google form.

In past Nevada caucuses, Excel spreadsheets were used by those in the war room to tabulate phoned-in precinct totals. The party’s familiarity with spreadsheets has given some precinct chairs confidence in using a Google spreadsheet, given their similarity.

If the Google form is inaccessible for any reason, precinct captains will transmit their results solely by phone.

To make the process user-friendly for precinct chairs — whose technological know-how and past experience with the caucus varies — the state party “invited testing from security experts of varying backgrounds, experienced volunteers, first-time precinct chairs and community leaders,” the state party official said.

The official said the Nevada Democratic Party is using the “off-the-shelf” Google technology “in order to limit the possibility of human error” — in other words, providing a backup to people using paper and pen to conduct the math. In theory, the Google form will speed up the reporting process, but it’s unclear whether it will, given that precinct chairs need to be tech-literate to use it.

However, a third volunteer warned that misunderstanding and a lack of training on how to tabulate first and second vote alignments could pose a greater threat to the process than the new tech elements injected into the process.

According to screenshots of manuals provided to precinct chairs, the guidelines do not make clear that a candidate who falls short of the 15 percent viability threshold can get there on the second alignment. They can do so by courting supporters of other candidates who fail to make it in the first round.

The manual provides conflicting information: In one instance, it states that supporters of “non-viable” candidates can “join or form” a viable candidate. But in another instance, the manual implies that supporters of non-viable candidates can only switch to a viable candidate.

“Allow up to 15 minutes for non-viable preference group members to align with their second choice,” the manual reads. “People in non-viable groups can choose not to realign, however they will not be awarded any delegates.”

The Nevada Democratic Party undercut the confidence of at least one Democratic campaign when it sent a callout — circulated on Twitter on Friday — for “technical volunteers” to “pair” with precinct chairs on caucus day.

A state party official said they are recruiting volunteers to “help troubleshoot any issues in real time with our precinct chairs” and that it is typical to recruit volunteers up until the final day before the caucuses.

A senior adviser to that presidential campaign also said it is “not entirely clear” how vote totals from 80 early-voting sites will be allocated to the 2,000 caucus precincts.

Campaigns are expecting an invitation to witness the transmission of early-vote totals to individual precinct sites. “But where it’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen is totally undefined,” the adviser said.

The adviser questioned why the Nevada party was moving forward with the new plan to incorporate Google forms at all in such a compressed time frame.

“The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee very easily could say we need to know more about this before you’re [able] to go ahead with this,” the adviser said.

The DNC did not directly answer a question whether it had the authority to nix the Nevada Democratic Party’s plan to use Google forms. Instead, the committee said that Nevada took “quick steps to implement their back-up plan” to the scrapped app and that the co-chairs on the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee have “been updated on what is happening in Nevada.”

Wi-Fi is another issue. If a connection at any location fails, the iPads are equipped with 4G cellular service, according to a state party official. That means each of the 2,000 iPads the party bought has a paid cellular subscription.

But questions remain about the security of Wi-Fi being used at each location. The Nevada Democratic Party said it has tested the connections, but it’s unclear whether Internet access at each precinct will be provided via a hotspot or a network provided by the host site, such as a high school.

“There remains an open security issue with their choice of Wi-Fi networking,” said Gregory Miller, co-founder and chief operating officer at OSET Institute, an election technology research organization. Miller, who has decades of experience as a computer scientist and software engineer, raised those concerns based on what he has read in published reports.

“We hope they’re not going to rely on a local building’s services. That would create a nightmare to protect,” he said.

The “least bad option” available, Miller said, “is to use a mobile device as a local hotspot to create their own Wi-Fi network and allow the iPads to attach to it. But the truth is, that’s last minute jerry-rigging with vulnerabilities of its own."

The Nevada Democratic Party did not answer specific questions about what kind of Wi-Fi network would be used at each precinct site other than to say “Wi-Fi will vary by site” and note it has “tested the Wi-Fi at all of our caucus sites” — offering no details on what that testing entailed.

The Nevada Democratic Party initially did not answer questions about what kind of Wi-Fi network would be used at each precinct other than to say “Wi-Fi will vary by site." It later noted that some spots will have hotspots and others will be run through tested networks.

However, after publication of this story, the party said it plans primarily to transmit data from the iPads over 4G cellular networks and only to use Wi-Fi if there are cellular data issues.

Read more: politico.com

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Vergecast: Iowa caucus app issues, Microsoft reorganizes, and Google reveals quarterly earnings

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales

This week on The Verge, we saw tech problems with the Iowa caucuses , the United States attorney general of the United States stated the United States need to own a managing stake in Nokia , Microsoft’’ s Surface chief took control of both Windows and hardware , and Google exposed its quarterly profits .

Those huge subjects were covered on today’’ s Vergecast completely. Nilay Patel, Dieter, Bohn, and Paul Miller got together for their weekly chat to talk about how tech lack of knowledge made issues with the Iowa caucuses ’ app inescapable, why the so-called “ race ” to 5G connection is making federal government” authorities stress over telecom huge Huawei, and how Microsoft and Google compare in incorporating their software and hardware items .

There ’ s a lot more inthe program– like Paul ’ s weekly …

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Continue reading … .

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