Tech round-up for July 28: How you can personalize an Xbox controller, how you can get Facebook under control, and attend a workshop on starting your own business

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Shopify wants to help you start your own business and learn how you can manage Facebook’s annoying new settings. But first, spending some time in the Xbox Design Lab to create something awesome.

Personalizing Xbox One controllers is so much fun

When Skylanders Imaginators came out last fall, my kids discovered how much joy comes from being able to create your own character. They created dozens of characters, and then spent hours revising those characters, changing outfits and equipment and colours and catch-phrases.

There’s just something amazing about being able to invest your creativity into something that you then get to play with and become.

That’s the appeal of the Xbox Design Lab, which gives gamers the opportunity to create truly personalized controllers for their Xbox One systems.

First launched last summer, this summer the Xbox Design Lab added some new features that can become part of your personal controller, including new colours. rubber grips, and metallic finishes for D-pads and triggers.

My two kids, aged 10 and 7, have created over a dozen different controllers between them. That’s the easy and fun part, because anyone can work on, save, and share a design.

The real difficulty is in choosing which you’re going to order. My children still can’t decide which of their designs they want to order. Decision-making is tough, especially when you’re a kid.

It costs a bit more to make your own controller, between $100 and $123 (depending on the extras you want) as opposed to $75 for a stock model.

To get a premium, personalized controller, it seems to be worth the extra expense. Now each kid has their own controller; no more fighting over them.

How you can stop Facebook from using up your data plan and blaring at you on the bus

Facebook has updated its service again, and the company claims to be delivering features that users really want. While I don’t mind videos autoplaying in my Facebook feed, I have a hard time believing anyone wants the sound for those videos to automatically be on.

Imagine what bus rides are going to be like.

While Facebook is automatically enabling these “wonderful” features, you do have the power to disable them.

You might want to disable the autoplay video, because that will quickly eat up your mobile data plan. You should disable the autoplay audio because you respect the other humans around you.

Here’s how you can do that.

If you’re an iPhone user:

  1. Tap the hamburger menu in the bottom right corner
  2. Scroll to “Settings”
  3. Select “Account Settings”
  4. Select “Videos and Photos” and you can set Autoplay video to “never,” “on Wi-Fi connections only,” or “on mobile data and Wi-Fi connections”
  5. Select “Sounds” and you can disable “In-App Sound”

If you’re an Android user:

  1. Tap the hamburger menu in the top toolbar
  2. Scroll to “App Settings”
  3. Select “Autoplay” and choose your preference
  4. Tap “Videos in news feed start with sound” to toggle it on and off

Shopify workshops can help you jumpstart that business idea you’ve got

Shopify is a company that supports commerce. It started out by providing services to online retailers, and has branched into supporting all flavours of retail.

The company already supports entrepreneurs and small businesses with things like free business tools, including barcode and QR code generators and templates for gift certificates, invoices, and shipping labels. This summer and fall, Shopify is staging workshops in major cities across Canada to help people learn what they need to know to set up a business with Shopify’s Shop Class.

The one-day program includes training on topics like building a brand, marketing techniques, and web design. Evening sessions highlight local businesses and entrepreneurs sharing their experiences starting out and seeing success.

Shopify’s Shop Class dates:

  • Vancouver, August 1 through August 3 at Stanley Park Pavilion
  • Calgary, August 15 and August 16, The Commons
  • Winnipeg, September 7 and September 8, Plug In


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