Eric Ravenscraft

Eric Ravenscraft covers smarthome tech for How-To Geek. He's a problem solver who never learned to say no to a project. When he's not fixing things, he's cosplaying at cons, playing video games, and watching too many comic book movies. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

There are many ways to rip a DVD to your computer, but if you’re looking for the most straightforward option, VLC is easy and free. Besides, you probably already have VLC on your computer (and if you don’t, you should). Here, we’ll show you the quick and easy way to rip DVDs to your computer using VLC.

about 2 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

When you need to find a part for your car online, you need to be exact to make sure you get the right thing. Amazon Garage lets you add information about your car and then search only for the parts that fit your car. So, the next time you need brake pads or headlight bulbs, you don’t have to look up part numbers to find what you need.

about 3 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Stringify is an incredibly powerful automation tool that connects your favorite web apps and smart home gadgets. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at one of its more advanced features called Mode. This “Thing” allows you to run several Flows at once based on whether you’re home or away from the house, and whether you’re awake or asleep.

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Automatic Pro is a powerful app and OBD-II adapter that lets you monitor your car from afar, log your trips, and even get assistance in an accident. Best of all, you can expand its capabilities by connecting it to third-party apps and services designed to enhance what Automatic Pro already does. Some of them are pretty niche, but these are the ones that are probably worth your time.

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Your Nest Cam can help you keep an eye on your home from anywhere you are, but more eyes you trust to watch your stuff is more comforting. If you want someone else to check in once in a while, you can share your Nest Cam feed with a simple, password-protected link.

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Google Home can do a lot of really awesome stuff with voice commands, but some of them can get long and complicated. Now, you can create keyword shortcuts for any command that you use often, so you can save yourself time and breath while using Google Home.

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The Check Engine light on your car is both useful and infuriating. You know something is wrong (which is good!), but you don’t know what. Rather than taking your car all the way down to your mechanic, you can get a pretty good idea what’s wrong with your car with a simple OBD-II adapter.

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Your little one is growing up and finally ready to start driving. They may be allowed to drive on their own once they get their license, but you may still want to know they’re being safe. With an Automatic Pro OBD-II adapter and automation app Stringify, you can build a powerful system to keep an eye on your teen’s driving even when you’re not in the passenger seat.

about 11 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

The Nest Cam is a simple-to-use security camera for everyone. However, if you’ve got one laying around, you can use it for a lot more than deterring criminals. Here are some uncommon, but useful things you can do with your Nest Cam.

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When you tell your kids it’s time for bed, they’re going to push that limit as much as possible. But, why not let a bed time “bouncer” enforce your rules by automating your kids’ routine with Stringify and your smart lights?

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If you want to set a time limit for your kids’ video game habits, but don’t want to have to keep checking in on them, Stringify can help. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to automate a time limit for your kids gaming hobby.

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The new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is out for the Switch, and it’s awesome. There are more ways to play with your friends (and subsequently lose them) than ever before. Some of those options are a little confusing, so we’re going to break down how to play with your friends, no matter where you are or how many Switches you have.

about 17 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Voice assistants like Google Home are excellent kitchen aids. They can set timers, add things to your grocery list, and play music while you cook. But the Google Home has one standout kitchen feature: you can use it to read off recipes one step at a time while you cook. Here’s how to find recipes, send them to Google Home, and get hands-free step-by-step instructions.

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Every night when I go to bed, I want to turn all of my lights off…except the bedroom light. I wan to turn that light on at bedtime. Using Stringify, I can finally create a single voice command that turns some lights off, and others on.

about 19 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

If you’ve ever wished you could create advanced, automated interactions between all the smart devices in your house, Stringify is your new best friend. With it, you can have multiple devices turn on or perform actions when certain conditions are met.

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The Nest can turn itself off while you’re at work, so it only heats or cools your house when you’re at home. If it doesn’t guess when you get home correctly, though, you could be waiting hours in an uncomfortable house. If you have an Automatic Pro, your car can tell Nest to start warming up as soon as you leave work.

about 23 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Most of us don’t have self-driving cars yet, but we can still live in the future. With an Automatic Pro OBD-II adapter and an Amazon Echo, you can talk to your car from the comfort of your living room. Find out where your car is, whether you need gas, and how far you’ve driven all with your voice.

about 24 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

There are a ton of generic OBD-II adapters you can use to make your car smarter. However, one stands out above the rest. Automatic Pro does more than just pair with your phone over Bluetooth. It has its own GPS, 3G radio with 5 years of free service, plus OnStar-like Crash Alert. Here’s how to set yours up.

about 25 days ago - by  |  3 Replies

Your gas light comes on right after you pass your favorite gas station on the way home. That’s okay, you’ll fill up in the morning, right? Except you know you’re going to forget. If you’re using Dash with an OBD-II adapter, you can set a reminder so you know when you need to fill up.

about 26 days ago - by  |  7 Replies

While you’re still waiting on your refrigerator or your microwave to be as smart as your phone, the car in your garage is already ahead of the curve. If you own a vehicle made after 1996, you can connect to it with a simple device called an OBD-II adapter and find out your fuel efficiency, diagnose check engine lights, and gather a ton of other useful data.

about 27 days ago - by  |  1 Reply

Without looking, can you recite your partner’s license plate number? What about your car’s VIN? There are a lot of important pieces of information about the cars in your family that you probably can’t recall off the top of your head. Here’s how to store and organize that information with Dash, plus a little help from an OBD-II adapter.

about 30 days ago - by  |  2 Replies

Amazon may be leading the pack on buying things with your voice on the Echo, but that doesn’t mean Google is content to sit this race out. Depending on where you live, you can buy things with Google Home using Google Express. Here’s how to set it up.

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There are plenty of reasons you might want to 3D print something, but few that justify owning one. You could print anything from a custom GPS mount for your bike to Dungeons & Dragons miniatures to wearable armor for your next Star Wars cosplay. Unless you’ll be printing a ton of stuff on the regular, though, none of them are worth the hundreds you’d need to spend for a 3D printer (or the thousands you’d spend on a really good one).

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By default, Google Assistant will filter any bad words that you wouldn’t want to use in front of children. It’s the safer choice, but for adults who prefer their language a little spicier, you might want to turn the *!@$ing filter off.

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Google Home is designed to be a shared device that everyone in the house can use. Now, Google has finally made it possible for it to recognize different people and give personalized info to everyone using their Google accounts. Here’s how to set it up.

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