Is Electronic Cash Legit? – Everything You Need To Know

There’s a new technology that’s changing the way we do business — electronic cash — and soon it just may do away with money, credit cards and paper checks. From websites like Paypal to smartphone apps like Apple Pay, there are a plethora of options for shoppers who don't like carrying money or credit cards. For the computer-savvy, there are even more options like cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin. But what is electronic cash and why is it becoming so popular?

Electronic cash differs from BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies(which we will cover a little later) in that “real” or physical cash backs every transaction. Most electronic cash transaction in the United States would be backed by dollars, for example. This principle is similar to credit cards, which actually can be considered a form of electronic cash, although unlike many forms of e-cash available today, the user can essentially take out a loan from the credit card company for more money than they have in their bank account. In modern electronic cash transactions, the user is generally limited to the amount of money they have in their back accounts. This is one way in which the concept of electronic cash differs from credit cards. Consider electronic cash to be more of a debit card in concept.

Reasons to Use Electronic Cash

However, electronic cash is much more versatile than a debit card in many financial transactions. First of all, electronic cash is designed to be used with very little person-to-person contact. Unlike a debit card, most electronic cash transactions occur online or via machine. No card needs to be swiped and no numbers need to be checked. The financial transaction occurs more quickly and easily, allowing a merchant to process more orders and service more customers. Customers also won’t have to wait as long to purchase an item.

Another appreciable advantage to using an electronic cash system is heightened security. To put it simply, many of these systems are more secure than an average credit card is. Although credit card companies have improved consumer protection greatly through technological innovations such as putting microchips in the cards, most electronic cash services have stronger measures in place.

Why You Might Want to Use Apple Pay as Electronic Cash

Apple_Pay_logo

Source:  apple

For example, Apple Pay allows the buyer to purchase an item by using a fingerprint for identification, as opposed to a signature on a receipt which isn’t examined by anyone, including the credit card companies. It is also possible to purchase an item in privacy using Apple Pay. As makeuseof.com points out, the seller sees none of the buyer’s financial information, such as credit card numbers, and so the buyer can purchase an item in safety. While many stores are giving customers the option to swipe their own credit cards, this practice is fairly new, and is far from perfect. It’s much safer to use a system that’s designed from the start to limit sensitive financial information.

Apple Pay is also more secure than traditional payment methods in case of loss. Many have gone through the nightmare of losing their wallets and calling frantically to cancel credit cards. Any cash in the wallet will be most likely be gone, and even credit cards that are recovered could be compromised. However, with Apple Pay, the situation would be less serious. First of all, Apple Pay can be remotely deactivated. So if someone who loses their wallet has access to a computer, they can deactivate Apple Pay on a lost or stolen iPhone. Also, all sensitive financial information on an iPhone is encrypted, so even if a hacker were to steal an iPhone, it would be difficult to get a user’s financial information.

Another issue with credit cards is that cards aren’t very durable. While phones certainly can be damaged, the magnetic stripe on credit cards is easily worn away by the friction in a typical wallet. This may leave a prospective buyer with a card that doesn’t work, or that only works in certain readers. Even worse, the buyer may have no idea that the card isn’t going to work, leading to an unpleasant surprise. While phones are inherently more fragile, it’s also generally more obvious when one is broken and the buyer can get it repaired. (Also, while the phone is being repaired, the user can disable Apple Pay, as noted above.)

Consider PayPal as a Great Electronic Cash Provider for Small Businesses

paypal-logo

Source:  paypal

Apple Pay is great when buying something from a store, but if you want to buy something from a stranger or give money to someone you don’t know, PayPal is more appropriate. As with Apple Pay, PayPal is encrypted so the user doesn’t need to worry about hackers, according to financialwellness.org. However, anyone can have a PayPal account, so individuals can conduct transactions without the hassle of a true “middleman”.

Although it’s always risky to buy something over the internet without seeing it first, PayPal is the safest option in this situation. Cash is impossible to use in a transaction like this, credit cards are a major security risk because you have to provide your number and a check sent for an item can easily be used for fraud. PayPal offers the most consumer protections in this scenario.

Other advantages to using PayPal are an easy-to-use invoice system, as well as an easy way for individuals to accept credit card payments without having a merchant account. Both of these advantages are invaluable for small businesses, which have struggled in the past with invoicing and credit card sales. There are some disadvantages that businesses face in using PayPal, however. PayPal charges a 2.9% fee for all transactions going for goods or services, along with a .30 transaction charge. While not a large fee, it can be an issue if a business relies on PayPal transactions for much of its revenue.

Venmo: Electronic Cash for Family and Friends

venmo_logo_blue

Source:  venmo

Although more casual than Apple Pay or Pay Pal, Venmo should be mentioned in any discussion of electronic cash. Venmo is a person-to-person eCash system. If a friend needs money, or you want someone you know to buy something for you, Venmo can make it easy. Just a few simple swipes and the transaction is done!

However, there are a few warnings that come with using Venmo. Realize that the Venmo system is set up to be used with people you know, like friends and family. With strangers, there are no protections in place, so it is easy to be cheated on Venmo. According to slate.com, people have been bilked of thousands of dollars while trying to do business with strangers on Venmo. Also, be aware that Venmo isn’t meant for business transactions, and small business owners should be using PayPal, which is owned by the same company.

Cryptocurrency: The Cutting Edge of Electronic Cash

Finally, for those individuals who truly wish to experiment with the concept of electronic cash, there is cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is not based on any currency issued by a government, such as the US dollar. It is considered independent of any nation or financial institution. Also, cryptocurrency isn't based on any material wealth, such as gold (the US dollar isn’t backed by material wealth either). The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are others, all with varying levels of support.

Bitcoin is wholly electronic, meaning that there is no physical representation of the currency. No one can walk into a store with a pocket full of Bitcoin to buy a product. As the BBC points out, any “Bitcoin” medallions that are seen in pictures aren’t coins but contain a code for Bitcoin. The Bitcoin currency only exists as a number on an electronic ledger, called a “blockchain”. This blockchain is networked so that everyone with a Bitcoin account can see it.  Whenever a transaction is made using Bitcoin, it is logged into the blockchain. In this way, a bank is unnecessary to keep track of Bitcoin usage.

But how does the ledger stay safe from tampering? This is where encryption comes into play and is one of the reasons Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency. Every account is encrypted and has two keys, a private key, and a public key. When doing business, both parties can see public keys, but private keys are kept hidden. Both keys are needed to complete transactions.

cryptocurrency-list

Source:  coinnewspress

While this method seems secure, some questions arise, as we have seen in other forms of electronic cash. What happens if one of the parties attempts to cancel a transaction after it has been completed. In the Venmo example, people have been cheated by others who attempt to cancel after they have received services or payment. What does BitCoin do to stop that?

BitCoin’s answer to this problem is clever and is the other reason it is considered a cryptocurrency. In order to ensure that all transactions are completed in order, Bitcoin forces the network of computers that it operates on to solve puzzles that it knows are solvable in a certain amount of time. Anyone may use a computer for this task, and when a computer participates, its owner is paid with a small amount of Bitcoin. A computer doing this is “mining” for Bitcoin, according to cryptocurrencyfacts.com.  

When comparing the order of transactions to the order of obtaining the puzzle solutions, Bitcoin can tell exactly when the transactions occurred, without needing outside assistance such as a government or bank. The actual process is far more complicated than the quick summary given here, but this is the general idea. Bitcoin has a failsafe which is superior to other forms of electronic cash.

As can be evidenced by the examples given here, there are many different types of electronic cash. While some are meant merely to pass money between friends, others have been created as entire systems of currency, with no need of government or a banking system. The question of whether electronic cash is legitimate or not has been answered with a resounding yes. Electronic cash options are here to stay.

What is Fuser & Is it Worth My Time?

Fuser is a command line utility for the UNIX and LINUX computer operating systems. For many system administrators and other users, Fuser is an invaluable utility because of the control it offers to its users, along with its versatility. There are many different reasons to use Fuser and all of them are worth your time, both as a LINUX and UNIX user and as a system administrator.

The History Of LINUX

The History Of LINUX

First of all, LINUX and UNIX should be explained for neophyte computer users. UNIX and LINUX are related and share some command and utilities(such as Fuser). UNIX came first in 1970 and is a complete operating system. It was originally developed by AT&T and was loaned out to other companies, such as Apple for its Macintosh computers. Unlike LINUX, companies that wish to use UNIX in their products must pay a fee, which can be substantial.

Meanwhile, LINUX is an open source kernel that is based on UNIX, but is considered to be separate in most respects. This means no one company owns LINUX, unlike Windows or DOS, for example. Any individual who wants to add to or modify LINUX may do so without paying a fee or being an employee of a corporation. This flexibility allows for innovations that might be impossible on a closed platform. Although LINUX is open-source, certain companies(such as Valve) still support it. Even though these companies don’t own the OS, they can use it like everyone else does. LINUX isn’t a full operating system yet, but it is very close to being a full OS, and can be used as one in a variety of ways.

How is UNIX different from Windows or Mac OS?

How is UNIX different from Windows or Mac OS

So Fuser is a command-line utility for both UNIX and LINUX. That explains a lot, but if you don’t know what a command line is, these words can still be confusing. With a command line operating system such as UNIX and LINUX, all commands for the operating system must be typed into the computer. An excellent example of a command line OS is MS-DOS. MS-DOS requires the user to type every command. To see a list of files, the user must type “dir”. In order to see a sorted list of files, the user must type in something like “dir /p”. The “/p” portion of the command is known as the parameter, and helps to specify the command that you’re typing into the computer. All computers used to work this way before mouse-based interfaces came into fashion.

But wait a second. There are other operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X that don’t require any typing at all, and are mouse-based. Are those related to these command-line operating systems? The simple answer to that question is yes. Windows and Mac OS X actually create a “shell” of sorts that basically translates the mouse movements you are making into commands on the command line! The command line is even visible in certain instances while you work in Windows or Mac OS X. For example, when you open the “Terminal” window in Mac OS X, you can actually see the UNIX command line and work with it! So most computers still run on a command line, even if computer companies spend a lot of time and energy to make it seem as if that’s not the case.

While most users are content working with their mice in an environment set up by computer manufacturers, some users prefer the control of a command line interface. UNIX is one of the most popular operating systems with this type of interface. Now that we understand what UNIX and LINUX are, we can more fully appreciate what Fuser is and the functionality it gives a knowledgeable user.

What is Fuser and How Does it Work?

What is Fuser and How Does it Work?

With Fuser, you can examine a computer file, see what processes(or running programs) are using the computer file in some way, and actually stop active processes from using a particular file! This ability gives users control over what a program is doing, while the program is working. It’s an exceptional ability to have and is well-worth your time to learn.

To use Fuser, first type the word “Fuser .” into the command line and press enter/return. Please note the period—it is important and tells the computer which directory to examine. The computer will return a series of numbers followed by a letter. According to Tecmint.com, the series of numbers is a PID, or process identification number, which is assigned to each process by the computer as the process is running. The letter that follows the PID is a code that tells the user what file is being executed(running) and which directory the file is in. For example, the letter “e” means that you are looking at an executable file that currently is running. Meanwhile, the letter “c” means that the process is happening to a file in the current directory. This information can be a big help in seeing exactly what’s going on in a network at the moment.

That’s great, but what if you need more information, or you don’t have access to a code key? Well, that isn’t a problem. Simply type “Fuser -v” and a verbose version of the information comes on screen. Fuser shows the name of the current directory, columns of the process owner (USER), the access type (ACCESS) and the command (COMMAND) along with the PID(PROCESS ID) again. This will give you a lot more information to track down exactly what’s going on inside your network. Just identifying the process owner alone could come in very handy. If, for instance, a user on your network inadvertently set up a an endless loop without realizing it, you as the administrator could easily use Fuser to identify the process along with the person responsible. Again, this ability allows a system to be much easier to maintain.

If all Fuser could do was to identify running processes and users, it still would be handy. But Fuser can do far more. As stated above, Fuser can actually stop processes from running. In order to kill all processes affecting a directory, for example, you can type “. Sudo fuser -k”, and then type enter/return. Sudo is a UNIX and LINUX program that grants you administrative access to a UNIX system. It originally stood for “superuser do”. We have already gone over “fuser” and the “-k” parameter stands for “kill”. This command will kill all processes occurring in a particular directory.

Suppose you just want to kill one or two processes? When that happens, simply type in “. Sudo fuser -k -i”. The “-i” parameter stands for “interactive”. When the command is received by the computer, it will ask you if you wish to kill each process, which will be referred to by its PID. It really is that easy and is useful in a number of situations. Take, for example, debugging. If you are aware of which directories/files a program is meant to access, and it keeps crashing, you can use Fuser to check and see if the program is accessing files that it shouldn’t be and whether or not that’s causing the crash.

Real World Examples of How Fuser Can Help With A Problem

Real World Examples of How Fuser Can Help With A Problem

Another example that is encountered often, in reality, is when a user comes across a file that she may want to delete (because it’s bugged, for example), but a number of processes are using that file, possibly hanging and slowing down the entire system. In that instance, with Fuser, you can just kill every process that is accessing that file and then easily delete it. Without Fuser or another way to stop processes, that file would be difficult to get rid of.

Another instance in which Fuser could come in handy is when you are working on TCP/IP sockets. Fuser can monitor all processes using those sockets by simply typing in “. Fuser n socket name”. So, you can see which programs (processes) are using the Internet at any time, simply by typing in an instruction, and you can stop any unusual or excessive internet traffic. Mobile drives, such as USB drives, can also be monitored this way by typing in the “-m” parameter. Not only is this ability useful for monitoring regular internet traffic, it is also useful for monitoring spyware and virus activity, although admittedly these are uncommon on the UNIX/LINUX platform.

To recap, Fuser is a UNIX and LINUS command line utility that allows you to monitor processes affecting files, as well as network traffic. It also allows you to stop those processes at anytime, simply by typing a command. This way, you, as a system administrator, can accomplish many goals more efficiently, including resource allocation.

Even better, according to digitalocean.com, Fuser allows you to monitor TCP/IP traffic as well, and even allows the same command over mobile drives, such as USB thumbsticks. Fuser is also relatively easy to learn and is available to every computer using LINUX and UNIX. In short, Fuser is a powerful command, and definitely is worth your time to learn.

What is PepperFlash and How Do I Get Started?

What is PepperFlash and How Do I Get Started?

Flash has long been a popular tool for many website designers as it allows them to create sites with a dynamic edge.

Using flash player is good for including animations and music on your site, bringing the site to life. It’s also essential for many online games nowadays.

Even if you’re not designing any websites, you’re sure to have encountered a need for a flash player before, possibly when trying to play videos on a website you liked.

Traditionally, the market has been dominated by Adobe Flash Player, with it being the go-to choice for most people who wanted to use flash on their sites.

However, it is not the only option.

Pepper Flash Player is a Google product, which users can only use with Chromium, and Google Chrome.

Despite this limitation, it is a popular alternative to Adobe.

In this article, we’ll see how to install it and also how to disable it if you don’t want to use Pepper Flash on your computer.

How to Install Pepper Flash

When you download Pepper Flash, it comes in a separate Debian package. Users are able to choose between Pepper Flash and Adobe Flash player, simply by installing the relevant package.

In this article, we’ll cover how to install Pepper Flash on three different Debian operating systems.

To install Pepper Flash on your computer, follow the steps below for whichever OS you have on your computer.

Debian 9 “Stretch”

  1. For Stretch, you can find Pepper Flash Player in the contrib section.
  2. In order to enable stretch contrib packages to work on your system, navigate to /etc/apt/sources.list
  3. Add this line: deb http://http.debian.net/debian stretch main contrib
  4. Next, after you have added the repository to your list of sources, you need to update the local index. Do this by typing apt-get update.

Debian 8 “Jessie”

  1. In Debian 8, you can find Pepper Flash Player in the contrib section, which is located in jessie-backports.
  2. First, enable the jessie-backports package on your system. Do this by going to your sources list or backports list. This will be one of /etc/apt/sources.list or /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list.
  3. When you reach the sources list or backports list, you need to add this line: deb http://http.debian.net/debian jessie-backports main contrib
  4. Finally, after you add the repository to your sources list, you must update the local index. DO this by typing apt-get update.

Debian 7 “Wheezy”

If you are running the Debian 7 operating system, also known as “Wheezy”, then you have two different methods for installing Pepper Flash.

Follow the instructions below for either 32 bits or 64 bits, depending on what OS you have.

32 bits / i386

  1. Firstly, you must remove any other flash plugin currently on the system. Type this: apt-get remove flashplugin-nonfree
  2. Next, you need to add the backports to your existing sources list. Do this by typing: deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-backports main contrib
  3. Once the backports have been added to the sources list, you can install Pepper Flash Player. Type: apt-get update && apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
  4. Create a Pepper Flash Player directory, and then a symlink. Do this by typing the following two lines:

mkdir -p /opt/google/chrome/PepperFlashln -s /usr/lib/pepflashplugin-installer/libpepflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/PepperFlash

  1. Install the packages to compile the freshplayerplugin.apt-get install cmake pkg-config ragel libasound2-dev libssl-dev libglib2.0-dev libconfig-dev libpango1.0-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libevent-dev libgtk+2.0-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libxrandr-dev g++ git libpulse-dev
  2. Download the source code and compile it, so that you can obtain the file:libfreshwrapper-pepperflash.so. Do that by writing the following code:

cd /tmp

git clone https://github.com/i-rinat/freshplayerplugin

cd freshplayerplugin

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path

make

  1. Create a plugins directory for Iceweasel (compatible with FireFox)

mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins

  1. Launch the library

cp libfreshwrapper-pepperflash.so ~/.mozilla/plugins

  1. Close Iceweasel, and then reopen it. Now you will have Pepper Flash Player.

64 bits / amd64

  1. If you haven’t already done it, the first step is to add the backports to your sources list. Take care to check that the “contrib” section is included.
  2. Using Terminal as the Root, run the command below to install Pepper Flash Player from the Wheezy Backports:

aptitude -t wheezy-backports install pepperflashplugin-nonfree

  1. While still using Terminal as the Root, run the command below to update Pepper Flash Player on your operating system:

update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree –install

  1. Close all of the browser windows.
  2. Reopen your browser. Pepper Flash Player should be working now.

After it is successfully installed, you have a couple of optional steps:

  1. With ‘Terminal’ as the Root, run the command below to check what version of Pepper Flash has been installed:

update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree –status

  1. If you want to use Pepper Flash with Iceweasel, you will have to install another package, known as freshplayer.

What if Pepper Flash Player isn’t working?

If you are having some problems running Pepper Flash, there are a few ways you can remedy the situation.

Firstly, close all Chrome or Chromium browser windows. Once they are all closed, Flash has an opportunity to reset. Reopen a browser window to test it.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, try rebooting the computer. This can work as there are instances where Chrome or Chromium windows remain frozen in memory. A hard reboot can be all that is needed to solve the problem.

If that fails too, you will need to do a little more work.

Start by deactivating all Chromium and Chrome plugins, plus any extensions. This is just a temporary measure. You can reactivate everything later.

Once you have deactivated them all, test flash in a new browser window.

Lastly, remember that Pepper Flash only works in Chromium or Chrome. If you want to use it with FireFox or Iceweasel, you’ll need to install the freshplayer package.

How to disable the Pepper Flash Player

Pepper Flash is built into the Google Chrome browser, and therefore it is the default flash player.

However, just because that is the case, it doesn’t mean you are stuck with Pepper Flash if you don’t want to use it.

There are a few issues with this player, including some audio distortion, which causes a choppy audio or robotic sounds. Also, synchronization problems can frustrate as the audio and video don’t match up.

If you are adding a lot of video content on your site, you want it to be of high-quality. Having choppy audio and poor sync issues are sure to lead to some complaints.

On one hand, users can opt for another browser.

But, if you do prefer to use Chrome, then it’s good to know how to disable Pepper Flash.

Follow the steps below to disable Pepper Flash in Google Chrome:

  1. Open up the Chrome Plugins page. Do this by typing the following URL into the browser address bar: chrome://plugins
  2. Navigate to the “[+] Details” button, located in the top-right of the window. This will display the details of all your installed plugins. Click the button.
  3. Look for the Flash Plugin Section in the list.  There may be several files in this plugin section.
  4. When you find the Flash section, there should be two, or possibly three different versions of Flash listed.  If there is only one listed, visit the Adobe website to download the latest Adobe Flash Plugin, which is for non-Internet Explorer browsers.
  5. The first plugin that is listed in the Flash section will be the Pepper Flash implementation.  You can identify it by finding “PepperFlash” in the Location string code.
  6. Locate the “Disable” link for this plugin. Click the link to disable Pepper Flash Player.
  7. Next, close all Chrome browser windows.
  8. Re-open Google Chrome.

PepperFlash May Come to Mozilla Firefox

While Adobe Flash Player is still the undisputed king, there has been talks about PepperFlash being rolled out to Mozilla Firefox.

As technology advances, NPAPI plugins are fading into the past, meaning browsers will just come with software like Pepper Flash already built-in.

Google Chrome already has it. If Mozilla follows suit, this may spell major change, possibly influencing other browsers.

For now, however, Adobe rules the roost. But if Google figures out the issues with Pepper Flash Player, such as the choppy audio problems, then the search engine giant could muscle their way to the top of the flash player market in the near future.

 

Featured Image: CC via Adobe Forum

 

Getting Started: How to Use TeamSpeak

Getting Started: How to Use TeamSpeak

 

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You and your buddies have gotten into a little friendly rivalry with another group of gamers online. It started out innocent, but one group started talking trash to another and now it’s personal. You’ve made a pact with your friends to demolish these other guys during your next marathon gaming session.

 

But when that night comes, you run into all sorts of audio and technical issues. Your team notices lag in your conversations to each other, and at some point,s the audio just keeps breaking up. At this point, it’s basically every man for himself, and you’re easily beaten down by your foes.

Your best laid plans – and your pride – just went out the window.

And to think none of this may have happened if just one of the members of your team knew how to use TeamSpeak.

 

Why Do You Need TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak is a professional-grade application you can download and run on your computer which provides a seamless audio connection with other players in your game. Sure, some gaming apps provide this option, but those connections are often choppy and unreliable. Or you could use – shudder – a conference call app.

But if you are looking for the ability to stay in constant contact during your game, just like the professional gamers, you need to learn how to use TeamSpeak.

 

How to Download and Install TeamSpeak

The first step to learning how to use TeamSpeak is to download the application to your computer.

Simply go to the TeamSpeak website and click on the download button. It should already be customized to your computer’s operating system. If it isn’t, there is a link below the button which will give you additional download options. Accept the licensing agreement and your download will begin.

Once the download is completed, find the file in your computer’s downloads folder or the location you selected for the file to be sent. Run the setup and follow the prompts to install the program.

 

Configuring TeamSpeak

After you complete your TeamSpeak installation, open the application to begin configuring your client. When you open the app for the first time, it will automatically run the Setup Wizard. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to configure your client.

 

1. Choosing Your Nickname

This is how you will be seen publicly in the app. If possible, try to pick a nickname that’s the same or at least similar to your gamer name.

This will make you easier to find my friends in your group.

 

2. Microphone Settings

Pick between a Push-To-Talk (PTT) or Voice Activation Detection (VAD).

PTT means you’ll have to hold a button in order to turn your microphone on and release the button to turn it off. VAD will automatically turn on your microphone when it detects sound.

Most gamers prefer PTT because VAD can often pick up unwanted background noise, especially if you are in a crowded area or there’s a chance it could get noisy – like your dog barking or doorbell ringing.

 

3. Set Your Hotkey

If you select PTT, you’ll set your hotkey by clicking on the No Hotkey Assigned Button. This is the button which you need to press and hold to activate your microphone.

You should pick a key that isn’t near the buttons you commonly use for gameplay so you don’t accidentally trigger it.

 

4. Test Your Microphone

If you select VAD, you will need to test your microphone levels and determine the level at which you’d like your microphone to turn on. Click on the begin test button and move the slider to the level you’d like to set.

 

5. Useful Key Bindings

It doesn’t matter which microphone option you select, you still need to set your microphone mute and speaker mute commands. Click each button and type in the key or key combination you’d like to use for each action.

When you are finished, click on Next.

 

6. Select Sound Pack

Here you just pick if you’d like to receive audio notifications in a male or female’s voice.

The app will let you know when users enter or leave.

If you’re playing with all guys, it might be a smart idea to select a female voice so you can easily tell when the app is speaking.

 

Choosing Your TeamSpeak Server

This is where things can get a little tricky.

Before clicking Finish to complete your setup, you’ll be asked to select your server option. You have two choices to connect your client to a server: you can run your own server or rent a server.

Renting a server is easier because all the server information is provided to you, but you’ll have to pay for your rental. If this is the route you want to go, TeamSpeak provides a list of hosts and their server locations from which you can choose.

After you select the host and order your server, you’ll receive information on how to connect.

 

Downloading Your Own TeamSpeak Server

If you’d rather run your games on your own server, TeamSpeak lets you download one for free that you can set up directly on your computer.

Simply go to the download page on the TeamSpeak website and select your operating system (you can choose from FreeBSD, Linux, Windows, or macOS). You’ll be able to choose between a 32-bit and 64-bit server for most operating systems. Servers for macOS are only run on a universal binary.

Select the server configuration that works for you and download. Just like when downloading the TeamSpeak client, you’ll need to accept a license agreement before the download can begin.

Once your download is complete, you’ll notice it’s in an archive or zip format. You’ll need to extract the files and find the one that says ts3server. Run this program and you’ll see a window pop up that will include the following important server information:

  • Administrator username (you may not need this)
  • Password (you may not need this)
  • Server privilege key (you will definitely need this)

Copy this information and paste it into a Word document or notepad – it won’t be simple to remember.

 

Setting Up Your TeamSpeak Server

Regardless of if you downloaded your own server or rented one from TeamSpeak, you will need to connect it to your client.

Open the TeamSpeak application from your desktop or wherever you saved it. In the upper left corner of your client, click on Connections and select Connect from the drop-down menu.

Here is what you’ll need to enter in the following fields:

  • Server address: localhost (or the server address provided to you if you rented the server)
  • Nickname: type whatever you want here
  • Password: leave this blank for now (or the server password provided to you if you rented the server)

If you are connecting for the first time, you’ll now be prompted to claim administrator rights to the server. Copy the privilege key that you were given earlier into this box and click OK.

 

Configuring Your TeamSpeak Server

Once you’ve claimed admin rights, you can now customize your server. By right clicking on the server name in your client, you can select Edit Virtual Server to change the server name, assign a password, and other cosmetic features of your server.

If you plan to use this server for multiple games and teams, you can also create channels to distinguish between groups or games. Just like with configuring your server, you will set a channel name, password, and give individual permissions to members.

Once you have all of this information, you can share it with your friends and they should be able to connect to your server using the server name and password that you provide.

If they have trouble joining, you might need to create ports in order for them to access.

Finally, once you and your friends have connected to the server, you should add a bookmark so you don’t have to enter the server information every time you try to log in. On the top of the screen, click on Bookmarks and then select Add to Bookmarks. This will save the server information so you can rejoin with just one click.

 

How to Use TeamSpeak While Playing Games

Now that you hopefully have your server set up and your friends have joined, it’s time for the fun part – playing your games.

If you created multiple channels, make sure everyone is in the same one. Just like a chat room, anyone that’s in that channel will be able to communicate with each other using your microphone and speakers based on the settings you selected.

Leave your TeamSpeak client open in your computer (you can minimize it to hide the window if you don’t need to see it anymore), and open your game. As long as everyone leaves their client open, you’ll be able to communicate while playing.

Talk about creating a competitive advantage!

 

Featured Image: CCO Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Getting Started: A Beginners Guide How to Use GDB

One of the most frustrating parts about coding is when you have an error you just can’t seem to find or fix.

You know the feeling. You crushed a case of Red Bull, put on some headphones, and worked through the night writing hundreds – if not thousands – of lines for your program. Just when you think you’ve got it perfect, you execute and… nothing.

Of course, you could manually go back through your code line by line, looking for a missing variable or a symbol potentially out of place. But if your program has thousands of lines, this could be extremely time consuming and tedious. You might simply skip over your mistake by accident, and even if you do find something wrong, how do you know it’s the only problem in your code?

The best way to effectively solve these errors is by running a debugger.

There are a few reliable debugging programs out there, each with their own merits, that can help you find your mistakes. Seasoned coders will probably already have their preferences. But if you’re a novice or simply looking for a new program to try out, we recommend you learn how to use GDB.

What Exactly is GDB? How to use GDB?

Window of computer code

GDB is a free debugger that’s offered from the GNU Project. The debugger allows users to see what was actually happening within a program as it was running, up until the moment it crashed. How to use GDB? Users can set up the GDB to start and stop and specific moments in the program and will receive a notification of which line of code caused the program to crash.

GDB was traditionally used with programs on the Linux operating system, but it will also work with most popular Windows variants and even macOS. The debugger can also be run using about a dozen popular computer languages, including C and C++.

Downloading GDB is fairly straightforward. The latest version of the debugger can be accessed on the GNU Project FTP server.

The GNU Project also offers older versions of GDB going back to 1988. These versions are simply for nostalgia, they most likely won’t work on modern computers and programs.

Helpful Debugging Functions You Can Run in GDB

How to use GDB? GDB is a favorite among developers and coders for its simple and yet detailed functions. There are a handful of ways to use the program for your specific needs, and the more detailed you wish to get, the more complicated the steps can be.

Many university computer science departments have guides on how to execute these more difficult commands, we’re going to keep it simple.

Using guidance from some of these tutorials, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide with a few of the most basic commands you can utilize once you learn how to use GDB.

1. Setting Up GDB

The first thing you’ll need to do is indicate which program you’d like to debug.

How to use GDB? To tell GDB which files you want to test, simply input a “-g” with your GCC right before the program name you’d like to debug. For instance, if your program is named hopscotch, then your prompt in that part of your GCC would appear as “-g hopscotch.”

2. Running Programs in GDB

Once you’ve signified which program to debug, it’s a simple command to begin GDB. Assuming our program is named hopscotch like in the scenario above, you need to input “gdb hopscotch.”

At this point, you should receive a message that provides copyright and license information and some basic rules for GDB – which basically just say the program is free and you are able to make any changes you see fit. At the end of the message, you’ll see a prompt that says “(gdb).” To run the program, simply type “run” after this prompt and hit enter.

If your program is clean, it will run as it normally would. But if you have any errors, you’ll receive a message that tells you exactly which line and parameters caused your program to crash.

3. How to use GDB by Using Breakpoints in GDB

There might be some instances where it’s advantageous to debug your entire program, but chances are you’ve been testing your code as you’ve progressed so you don’t need the debugger to recheck the lines you know are working correctly.

How to use GDB? You can insert breakpoints into your GDB program, which simply tell the debugger to stop at a specific line. If GDB finds an error before this point, you’ll receive an error message with the location and parameters. However, if the debugger makes it to your specified line without encountering an error, you’ll be given another gdb prompt.

To run GDB with a breakpoint, you’ll simply insert the line at which you’d like the program to pause after the program’s name. For instance, if you want GDB to stop after the 10th line of code, you would input the following after the (gdb) prompt: “break hopscotch:10.” You can insert as many breakpoints as you like, but once you give GDB the run command it will stop at your first break point unless it finds an error prior to that line.

In addition, you can also set up a breakpoint for a specific function. This is helpful if you don’t know exactly in which line this function appears. An example would be for “myfunction” which would be described in your code somewhere. Simply enter “break myfunction” after the (gdb) prompt and the debugger will pause when it reaches myfunction.

If you ever need to remove a breakpoint, you can simply type delete and the breakpoint number (your first break point is number 1, the second is number 2, and so on) in the (gdb) prompt.

4. Continue and Step Commands in GDB

If GDB reaches your breakpoint without an error, it will pause the debugger. You’ll need to give more commands here to resume.

You have a few options how to use GDB, but these are the most common:

  • Continue: This will prompt the debugger to move to your next breakpoint if another one was established. If not, it will keep running until the end of the program. If GDB finds another error, it will stop and provide the location of the problem.
  • Step: This will prompt the debugger to move to the very next line in your program code. It will then pause until you give another command. This function is helpful if you want to check a specific area line by line, but can become tedious if used for a large section of your program.

5. Watchpoints in GDB

While breakpoints are helpful when you want to pause a specific program at a specific spot, watchpoints help keep track of variable and conditions changes. For instance, if you have a variable that you always want to be NULL, a watchpoint will cause the debugger to stop if that variable is ever assigned a valued other than NULL.

This functionality is helpful so you don’t have to stop the debugger each time a specific function or condition comes up, but rather only when GDB detects a change.

The command to set up a watchpoint is very similar to the one used to establish a breakpoint. After the (gdb) prompt, you’ll enter “watch” and the variable you want to monitor. Your command would look like this: (gdb) watch myvariable.

6. Help Command in GDB

If these commands do not perform the function in which you’re hoping to run with GDB, the debugger has a crude help menu.

How to use GDB in simply type “help” after the (gdb) prompt and you’ll receive a list of about a dozen classes of commands. Some of these classes include:

  • aliases
  • HireAHelper user-defined
  • breakpoints
  • HireAHelper obscure
  • internals
  • HireAHelper Support

From here, you can type “help” followed by a class name and you’ll receive a more detailed list of commands.

If you type “help” followed by a command name you’ll get a complete summary of what that command will do.

Finally, if you type “help all” you’ll receive a full list of commands that are available.

7. Quitting GDB

Once you’re finished running your debug test, don’t forget to quit GDB.  This is done by simply typing “q” after the (gdb) prompt and hitting enter.

Start Using GDB to Debug Your Programs

computer screen with code written in white on black screens

Remember, this is just a basic overview of how to use GDB. By experimenting with different commands, you can test a variety of variables and make changes to your code to see how it will impact your program. Consider the help function to learn additional commands you can use in your tests.

All that’s left to do now is to play with the debugger to see how well it detects errors in your program – or how well you were able to code your program.