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The Fix: New ways to use your tech this holiday season
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The Fix: New ways to use your tech this holiday season

9:55 /

In this week's episode we show you how to enjoy your favorite holiday tunes responsibly, how to turn your iPad into a DIY photo booth and how to make any pair of gloves work with your touchscreen.

[MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to CNET's The Fix. The show about do it yourself tech, and how to use it. I'm Donald Bell. And I'm Eric Franklin. And the Holidays are almost here, and there's no easier way to get in to that Holiday spirit than to listen to the handful of Holiday songs that don't drive you crazy. Yeah. It's kind of a fine line between catchy and insanity when it comes to holiday music, for sure. So if you're looking for a way to separate your normal music from your holiday music, we're gonna show you how to do just that. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit faster than holiday music. But once New Year's rolls around, you don't wanna listen to Jingle Bell rock for another 11 months. But in this era of the mp3 how do you keep your holiday tunes handy while at the same time keeping them out of your workout mix. I'm gonna show you how. First step, we're gonna open up iTunes. Doesn't matter if you're on the iPhone or Android or if you haven't touched iTunes in years, it's still one of the easiest ways to import your music. And get it on a playlist. And that's what you're gonna do. You're gonna make a playlist for holiday music, and then you're gonna dump whatever you have in there. [NOISE] Next, select all on that playlist and then select Get Info. On the Options tab, check the box that says Skip When Shuffling. On the off chance that one of these tunes makes its way to your phone, this will make sure that they don't pop up during a shuffle. Finally, with your song still selected, hit copy and then create a new folder on your desktop called Holiday Music, and paste the songs in the folder. Next, we're going to upload these to a free cloud music player. Now the two that most people are already signed up for, whether they know it or not are Amazon Music and Google Music. Both are free, and both work with Mac or PC or Android, or IOS. And because you're probably not taking advantage of either one, they make a great place to stash music that you only listen to occasionally. In my case I'll go with Amazon music. You head over to and then you log in with your Amazon ID. Click the button for import your library. Find the holiday music folder you created. Selected and then his import all. Once uploaded, you'll find all of your holiday music included on the recently added playlist on your Amazon cloud player. To turn into a permanent playlist, check the select all box at the top of the list. Then click add to playlist and create a new playlist called Holiday Music. Finally, to take your holiday music on the go, you're gonna wanna download the Amazon music app, or the Google music app if that's the way you went. Then sigh in, and find your playlist. From here, you can shuffle the songs in your playlist, and you can delete them on the fly. And let's not forget the best part. Once the holidays are over, instead of deleting your holiday songs one at a time. You can just delete the whole app or ignore the app until the holidays roll around next year. So there you go, and that's how to get your holiday tunes up and running without it contaminating the rest of the music on your phone. Have a happy holidays and a great jingle bell free new year. All right, I am in a festive mood right now. Calm it down. [LAUGH] All right, I will. Thank you though. You're welcome. All right. Time for a quick break. And when we come back, we got a DYI how to create your own photo booth using gadgets and technology you probably already have. [MUSIC] Welcome back All right. So photo booth Yes They're great to have around weddings Yes Birthday parties Totally. Special events like the holidays. Yeah, for sure, and Lexi Savitas shows us how to make our own using a DSLR camera or a tablet. And it's really, really cool. [MUSIC] Festive celebrations are a great time to capture all those holiday memories on camera. And to make it even more fun I'm gonna show you two ways on how to make your own DIY photo booth. The first method is using a tablet as your camera. And the second method is for better quality photos using a DSLR and then sending those photos wirelessly to a tablet. Make sure that there's a good Christmassy backdrop, you have some fun props and your scene has plenty of light. First. [MUSIC] Let's set up the tablet option. You'll need a tablet, tripod and photo booth app. Mount your tablet to a tripod or a secure surface facing the backdrop. For iPad, I'm using the Studio Proper tripod mount, which attaches easily to the back of the dedicated case. Depending on your operating system, choose an app to run your photo booth. I'm gonna use Pocketbooth for this demo, and it runs on both iOS and Android. Like a real photo booth, it takes four photos in a row and arranges them in a strip after they've been taken. This method is quick and fun, but using the front facing camera doesn't always produce the best quality shots. So, for the best photos you can get, I'm gonna show you a DSLR method. Grab your camera and an Eye-fi mobi card. It's got built in wi-fi so it can transfer images to a tablet or smartphone automatically. It's also compatible with the majority of cameras on the market, even older models. Insert the card into your camera and then download the Eye-fi mobi app for iOS or Android on your tablet. Launch. The apps, and enter the ten digit activation code on the Eye Fi case. Now all the photos you take on your camera will automatically transfer to your tablet. On your camera we're going to shoot JPEG images only for speed, and disable the auto power off option, so we don't lose our WiFi connection. If your camera has an Eye-Fi setting in the menu, make sure to enable the card like this. Start taking photos by getting your subjects to press a remote shutter release, or set up your camera's self timer option. You can either have your tablet near the camera, so people can see their photos immediately. Or have it a short distance away so passersby can see those photos, too. Once you've taken all your photos it's really easy to send them to a printer straight from the app, or save them to your gallery and then send to a printer using AirPrint or Google Cloud Print. So there you have it, a DIY photo booth two ways. Happy Holidays. I'm Alexis [INAUDIBLE] and I'll catch you next time. You know, as cynical as I can be sometimes, I really do like the photo booth thing. We had it at the holiday party last year, and it was really, really fun. Oh. Hey, have you ever tried using a touchscreen with a glove? Yeah, yeah, of course. It doesn't always work. We're gonna show you a DIY on making your touchscreen glove, and it is quick and easy [MUSIC] There are many touchscreen-friendly gloves available for purchase. But if you don't want your options to be limited, or you already own a pair of gloves that you love, there are a couple of easy ways to make any gloves work with your smartphone or a tablet. The reason that gloves don't work with your screen is because the fabric blocks [MUSIC] So static electricity from your finger. So we need a way to channel that electricity through the glove. The way to do that is with conductive thread. You can find this stuff online for about 10 bucks. [MUSIC] I have my thread, a needle and my gloves. The plan is to sew a few stitches into the fingertips I want to be able to use with the phone. [MUSIC] In this case, it's my index finger and my thumb. [MUSIC] For the thumb, I'll put stitches closer to the edge of my finger, which is where I would touch the screen for a pinch to zoom gesture. [MUSIC] Now, if I did this correctly, it should work with my screen. It won't work with my fingerprint scanner, of course, but, I should still be able to unlock my phone and enter my password. [MUSIC] Oh yeah. [MUSIC] It works perfectly, lets try that pinch to zoom. [MUSIC] If it's not working for you or the connection is inconsistent, go back and add a few stitches to make sure there's a good connection between your finger and the conductive thread. Another way to make your gloves touch screen friendly is by using a product called nano tips. It's a conductive liquid specifically designed to make any gloves touch screen friendly and according to the company this will even work on those thicker leather gloves. In my case I have another pair of regular knit gloves that I'm going to try this on but this time I'm going to make sure that there's a buffer between two sides of the fabric. For that I'll use a spoon so I'll just put the spoon up through here. And the way nanotips works is just use the brush to completely saturate the fabric. Whatever part is covered by nanotips should work with your touch screen. If you let nanotips air dry it'll take a couple of hours but if you want to speed up the process you can use a hair dryer and that should only take a couple of minutes. Feels dry, so I'll take the spoon out. And give this a shot. [MUSIC] Okay. [MUSIC] So if you're finding that it's not responsive. You might want to go back and add a few more layers of the solution to make sure that there's a really good connection. But once you're there, you should be able to use the gloves with your touchscreen with no problem. And what's great about nanotips and even the conductive thread is you should have enough material to take care of more than one pair of gloves. That's it for this week's show. We hope you enjoyed it. Yeah. You guys should reach out to us. You can send us an email at Send us your questions, your comments. Send us your photobooth pictures. Your holiday music playlist or, or don't send us Don't do that [CROSSTALK] You can also reach us on Twitter. I'm @nidopal And I'm @donald. See ya next time guys. Right here on The Fix. See ya. [MUSIC]
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Eric Franklin
Section Editor / How To

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.

Sharon Profis
Senior Editor / How To

Sharon Profis is a CNET How To expert who cooks up DIY projects, in-depth guides, and little-known tricks that help you get the most out of your tech. During her four years at CNET, she's covered social media, funky gadgets, and has shared her tech knowledge on CBS and other news outlets.

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