Troubleshooting Microphone Problems using Fortnite on PS4

My son has been playing the popular game called Fortnite www.epicgames.com/fortnite/ on PlayStation 4 for many months now. There is social component to the game where a team of players collaborate by using their headset and microphone in their party/group chats. One day, the microphone on my son’s headset stopped working in Fortnite.  The troubleshooting that father-son had to go through to fix the issue is worth blogging about because I couldn’t stand seeing him get declined from Battle Royale party invites and just playing the game solo which isn’t as fun. For a few days, he would FaceTime his friends on our iPad so that they can talk on the side while playing Fortnite on PS4. You probably won’t want to go through that scene as well so I thought it’s time to put in some of the troubleshooting skills that we are so good at and put that to good use so that others can benefit from our experience. Here are 4 phases you will likely go through to try and fix this.

1) The first thing that comes to mind is to replace the defective microphone with another proven working one. So I went and used my iPhone headphones, plugged that in to the PS4 controller and was amazed it didn’t work. This got me curious so I tried his old headset on my iPhone and used the microphone to call my wife’s cell phone. That worked well so there was nothing wrong with his old headset and my iPhone headphones.

2) The problem is probably with the game itself. Just like in Skype conference calls, others can mute participants at will, so I suspected that my son’s mic was probably muted during one of the party chats. We searched within the Fortnite application settings where that may be. We looked at YouTube videos to see where we can test the mic and also read some of the FAQs and forums on Fortnite’s website.

Since we couldn’t find where his profile might have been muted, we decided to delete the game and re-download/re-install it to attempt a fresh start. I posted a tweet on Twitter and Instagram to get some confirmation that his data and purchases will not get deleted as well as the skins we purchased for $13 from the online store. I also posted a question to the Fortnite support on the Epic Games website, haven’t heard back yet. Most of what I heard and read says that the data should be safe as it is all stored online with his profile account. Crossing our fingers, we deleted the game and waited 3 hours to re-download and re-install the game. After logging back in, all the data including previous purchases were still there (thankfully) but the mic was still not working for both microphones we have been testing with.

3) The problem is probably with the PS4 console itself. We combed through all the audio settings to see if a recent patch corrupted the drivers used for the old mic my son was using, or if the mic test bar flat lines just like it did in the game. The mic test on his old headset did not show any activity. Although there was some slight activity on mic test bar for my iPhone headphones, I couldn’t hear my voice and there was a screeching high-pitched sound each time I talked through the mic. I later learned from a BestBuy salesperson that this was normal for iPhone headphones due to its proprietary nature. So it is looking more and more like the issue is with the mic not working on PS4, although it works on my iPhone or mp3 player. I was going to open a support ticket with PlayStation helpdesk but since I subconsciously didn’t want there to be any issues with the more expensive PS4 console, I went back to my son’s initial suggestion that the mic was the culprit.

4) Go back to #1 and assume it’s the mic. My brother-in-law is also a gamer so we went to borrow the headset he uses for his PS4 so that we have a third mic to test with. It was a KOSS headphone and surprisingly it worked. It was definitely the two mics we were testing with that was the issue. Problem solved. We went to BestBuy and bought this $39 PlayStation Afterglow LVL 3 gaming headset because we wanted to make sure we didn’t spend anymore time on this.

Hope this helps you out.

 

Creative way of fixing a defective iMac video card

My brother’s 27 inch monitor on an iMac 2009 started displaying 5 pink vertical lines and wouldn’t progress after the default Apple logon screen.

He went to YouTube for help and found that the solution was to take apart the video card and bake it for 392 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes. This sounded like the same people who would post about exotic tips like charging an iPhone quickly by sticking it in a microwave; or drilling a hole in an iPhone 7 where the audio an auxiliary port is supposed to be. However, my brother was happy to report that it did work and that he now has his iMac back, good as new.

 

After baking the video card, the heat re-solders the connection and you get a few more years out of your video card after that.

3 apps to monitor and control your kids’ mobile usage

If you are like most parents with young kids, you will most likely have run into issues prying mobile devices and tablets away from your kids’ hands. In my house, my kids are only allowed to use these devices on weekends and only for a maximum of 2 hours. This is easier said than done however and they end up sacrificing quality time on their other activities so that they can get back to whatever it is they do on these devices. I heard at the school of a mobile app that they used widely to curb these addictions with kids and technology, and thought about trying it out. The app was OurPact. I have other devices to manage however so I had to hunt around for others.

The apps listed below allows for a trial period which then converts to a freeware license with a limit of 1 device that can be managed indefinitely. Here are the top 3 that I am using for both my iOS and Android devices:

  • OurPact
  • Kidslox
  • Qustodio

The setup was fairly similar among these apps, with a parent and child component to install. A VPN profile is pushed out for Kidlox and device certificates for the others. I liked OurPact the most because of the fast two button key stroke to disable my kid’s device. There also appears to be no limit where the other two blocked too many uses of the block/grant feature. I was able to navigate around this limit by using the time restriction schedule available in all 3 apps. By restricting usage to specific times of the day, it worked the same as sending a remote lock request to my kids’ devices. It just took a lot more keystrokes. Qustodio sends me daily email reports which I’m sure I can tailor but didn’t bother. The other two didn’t spam me which I appreciated and because I personally didn’t need to know what they were using the devices for, just that they stopped using them when I ask them to.

The overall winner for me is OurPact.

Moving to a different hosting provider

For close to a decade, our web hosting provider was with 110mb.com and byethost.com. This provider offered free hosting using MySQL and WordPress which was more than enough for our blog. However, a security flaw in one of the WordPress updates caused our site to be blacklisted on the internet and which resulted in getting our subscription revoked. We were provided a backup of the MySQL database and all the WordPress web server files, and then called it quits.

Using blogger.com seemed to be a good fit but we couldn’t restore the blog contents easily. Hunting around the internet, we found 000webhost.com which offered the same services as byethost.com. Tried it out a few months ago and have now just recently restored all the blog contents from a few years ago. We are now under way to getting all the pages back the way they were so stay tuned and thanks for checking back in with us.

Merry Christmas.

IT Support Do You Need It?

This is a guest post written by Muhammad Azam and he is known for his expertise in technology and IT support and solutions. If you are searching for reliable Manchester IT services or IT solutions for your business then read his blogs.


Businesses always need better ways to reduce their operational costs, without compromising the effectiveness or quality of work that is being done. Businesses today are driven by profit and every decision that is made is for increasing the profits and to make better use of company’s resources. In this era, new and unique ways are being developed to help businesses overcome hurdles and reduce the running cost of the businesses. Outsourcing of operations is one of the most unique and most reliable ways to do so because with the help of this method, a business can easily reduce its work force and the cost associated with employing such a work force.

Whether it is the finance department or the IT department, services are being outsourced to companies all over the world that can provide reliable and effective services for a very low cost. However, outsourcing IT services to overseas companies is not an option many businesses explore because there are limitations when it comes to outsourcing IT services. This is the main reason why businesses are forced to hire managed IT services that are situated in their area or city. Hiring a local professional IT company is a far better option as compared to an overseas IT support company because the services provided by IT support companies often requires visits to the business location, especially when a problem arises that cannot be taken care of remotely.

IT problems can arise at any time of the day or night and sometimes, it requires the presence of the IT professional on location to ensure hardware related issues are taken care of, if there are any. When you are thinking about hiring an IT support company, there are a few questions that you must answer in order to ensure that you are making the right decision for your business. Justifying the decision of hiring an IT support company is the most important thing because for this, you need to identify the reasons and their arguments as to why hiring an IT support company is the best course of action for your business. This is done before the managers start working the numbers and figure out if this option really is cost effective and reliable or not.

One of the most important questions to be answered is that, does hiring an IT support company directly contributes in the growth of your business, in the short-run and in the long run? If the services offered by an IT support company are not suitable for your business and if you think that, you will end up spending more than the budgeted amount on this decision, then it is obvious that the decision of hiring an IT support company is not in the best interests of the business. However, this is a rare case because the cost of running an in-house IT department is often far greater than the cost of hiring an IT support company. Although, this might be true for large enterprises, but same can be said about small business that are looking for reliable IT services.