How-To Geek We Explain Technology Tue, 20 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000 en-us hourly 1 Black Friday 2018: The Best Laptop Deals Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:00:09 +0000 Michael Crider

Laptops are always a popular pick on Black Friday, if only because they’re so expensive at the best of times. This year Microsoft is having an absolute blitz of deals on its Surface devices, but options from other sellers are available too.

Note: Like all the Black Friday deals we’re posting over the week, some of these deals are live now and some of them are won’t be live until the day of Black Friday proper.

Microsoft Surface Deals

Microsoft is running some rather generous discounts on its self-branded Surface line. There are good deals on the new Surface Pro 6, but if you’re looking for something even cheaper, the 2017 model will be just $599 with a keyboard (normally a $130 add-on).

Details are scarce, but that’s presumably the entry model, with a Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM. That would mean a total discount of $330 off the retail price. If your budget will stretch a little further, and you also have access to a Costco, you can pick up a new Surface Pro 6 with a keyboard and a stylus pen for $800—the same $330 discount on newer hardware with an extra accessory.

  • Best Deal: Surface Pro 5 with keyboard | $930 $600 | Microsoft Store
  • Best Deal: Surface Pro 6 with keyboard and stylus | $1130 $800 | Costco
  • Surface Pro 6 with keyboard | $930 $600| Best Buy 
  • Surface Laptop 2 | $300 off some models | Microsoft Store
  • Surface Go | $50 off some models | Microsoft Store

Budget Laptop Deals

Those who are hoping to score a laptop for the lowest price possible can’t do better than Lenovo this year. It’s offering the Ideapad 130s, a 14-inch laptop with a Celeron processor and more or less the lowest specs capable of running Windows, for just $100. That’s $200 off, and as much as Windows costs on its own. For more general users, Walmart and Best Buy are offering excellent bargains on laptops with more power from HP and Dell, respectively.

  • Best Deal: Lenovo Ideapad 130s | $300 $100 | Lenovo
  • Hp Pavilion 15.6-inch gaming laptop (GTX 1050ti card) | $800 $600 | Walmart
  • Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6-inch (touchscreen) | $600 $400 | Best Buy

Premium Laptop Deals

The always-popular XPS 13 from Dell is getting a significant discount at Costco if you’re a member. The $2000 model, with the latest and greatest 8th-gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a roomy 512GB SSD, and a 4K touchscreen, will be just $1500 on Black Friday. Apple deals are hard to come by even during an orgy of consumerism, but Best buy is offering $200 off of the (now replaced) MacBook Air.

  • Best Deal: Dell XPS 13 (4K touch model) | $2000 $1500 | Costco
  • Apple MacBook Air 13″ (last-gen) | $1000 $800 | Best Buy
  • Dell XPS 15 (GTX 1050 card) | $1600 $1084 | Amazon
  • Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon | $2500 $1187 | Amazon

Best Chromebook Deals

Chromebooks are generally viewed as budget alternatives to Windows machines, but Google makes a solid case for Chrome OS on premium hardware with its Pixelbook. At the moment it’s $300 off for the entry-level model, down to just $700 (with Google’s financing available too). If you have no reservations about using a Chromebook as your primary laptop, it’s an amazing deal.

  • Best Deal: Google Pixelbook | $1000 $700 | Google Store
  • Acer Chromebook 11 | $220 $120 | Amazon
  • Samsung Chromebook Pro V2 | $600 $450 | Samsung
  • Samsung Chromebook Pro (with backlit keyboard) | $600 $500 | Samsung

Black Friday 2018: The Best Blu-ray and 4K Deals Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:00:07 +0000 Caroline Stewart

Need stocking-stuffers this Christmas? Check out this list of deals for 4K and Blu-ray movies, shows and box sets from Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.

All of our picks are at least $10 less than the original price—and in most cases, a lot less! Whether you have a Blu-ray player or a newer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, you’ll be sure to find the best picks from this roundup, new and old. While many of our selections below are available both online and off, some of them are available in-store only (and are noted as such).

Note: Like all the Black Friday deals we’re posting over the week, some of these deals are live now and some of them are won’t be live until the day of Black Friday proper.

Blu-ray Shows:

  • Band of Brothers | $29.99 $9.99 | Best Buy | In Stores
  • Batman: The Complete Television Series | $89.99 $51.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series | $102.37 $69.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Blue Planet II | $37.99 $9.99 | Best Buy | In Stores
  • Friends: Seasons 1-10 | $131.29 $67.67 | Amazon | Online
  • Star Wars-Clone Wars: Season 1-5 | $211.91 $49.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Rick & Morty (Seasons 1-3) | $25/season $10/season | Target | In Stores
  • The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1 | $48.99 $14.47 | Amazon | Online
  • The Sopranos | $99.99 $49.99 | Amazon | Online
  • The Walking Dead (Seasons 1- 8 ) | $40/season $10/season | Target | In Stores

Blu-ray Sets:

  • Fast & Furious: 6-Movie Collection | $44.98 18.47 | Amazon | Online
  • Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection | $74.99 $39.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe Phase One | $47.58 | Amazon | Online
  • Rocky: Heavyweight Collection | $39.99 $18.96 | Amazon | Online
  • The Complete Toy Story Collection | $21.99 | Amazon | Online

Blu-ray Movies

  • A Quiet Place | $24.96 $8.96 | Walmart | In Stores
  • Batman Begins | $41.99 $19.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Beauty and the Beast | $24.99 $14.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Despicable Me 3 | $15 $3.99 | Target | In Stores
  • Ghostbusters | $30.99 $20.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Home Alone | $9.96 $3.96 | Walmart | In Stores
  • Justice League (2017) | $20.69 $5.96 | Walmart | In Stores
  • Minions | $26.98 $3.99 | Target | In Stores
  • Pitch Perfect 3 | $22.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • Point Break | $12.97 $5.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Rampage | $24.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • Ready Player One | $24.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • Sing | $13 $5 | Target | In Stores
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village | $19.99 $4 | Target | In Stores
  • Super Troopers 2 | $15 $4 | Target | In Stores
  • The Boss Baby | $22.98 $10.84 | Amazon | Online
  • The Da Vinci Code | $9.96 | Amazon | Online
  • The Lego Batman Movie | $15 $4 | Target | In Stores
  • The Peanuts Movie | $22.99 $4 | Target | In Stores
  • The Purge | $9.49 | Amazon | Online
  • Tomb Raider | $24.99 $9 | Target | Online
  • Trolls | $15 $5 | Target | In Stores

4K Sets

  • Bad Boys I & II | $34.99 $24.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • The Bourne Ultimate Collection | $69.99 $44.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Collection | $59.99 $29.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Predator 3-Movie Collection | $49.99 $29.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy | $64.99 $54.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • The Matrix Trilogy | $64.99 $54.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • The Mummy Ultimate Trilogy | $59.99 $29.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Transformers: The Ultimate Five Movie Collection | $89.99 $72.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • X-Men Trilogy | $46.99 $34.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores

4K Movies

  • Deadpool | $44.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • Deadpool 2 | $27.99 $8.96 | Walmart | In Stores
  • I Am Legend | $29.99 $14.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | $34.99 $24.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • Fifty Shades of Grey | $29.98 $18.51 | Amazon | Online
  • Fifty Shades Darker | $29.98 $14.99 | Amazon | Online
  • Fifty Shades Freed | $29.98 $17.96 | Amazon | Online
  • The Greatest Showman | $14.96 $8.96 | Walmart | In Stores
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle | $29.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming | $27.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • The Dark Knight Rises | $34.99 $19.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard | $24.99 $9 | Target | In Stores
  • The Matrix | $34.99 $19.99 | Best Buy | Online & In Stores


How to Use Animoji on the iPhone X, XS, and XR Tue, 20 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000 Craig Lloyd

If you have an iPhone X or newer, there’s a neat feature called Animoji (short for animated emoji) that can take your emoji game up a notch. Here’s how to use it.

Animoji uses the phone’s front-facing camera to track your facial expressions and then translates those into various characters on the screen to make them come alive. You can pick between different creatures like a cat, dog, chicken, dinosaur, or unicorn, or create your own “Memoji” that looks just like you. Here’s how to get started.

How to Access Animoji

Animoji is essentially an iMessage app, so you’ll access it within the Messages app. Start by opening up a conversation in Messages and then tapping on the button at the bottom that has a monkey face.

This brings up Animoji so you can begin using it.

How to Use Animoji

The first Animoji that pops up will be the monkey character, but you can scroll to the right and pick between a bunch of different characters. Your iPhone will continuously track your facial expressions and show them in real time on the character you’ve chosen. To begin recording a short video, tap the red record button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

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Facebook Won’t Really Tell You How Much Time You Spend Using Facebook Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:30:58 +0000 Cameron Summerson

Instagram and Facebook now both have metrics that show you how much you use each platform, but they’re completely skewed for anyone with more than one device.

The idea is a good one: people spend too much time on social networking, and by letting them know how much time they’re wasting scrolling through their feed, they can maybe help curb some of the overuse. This feature is new to both platforms, with Instagram’s rolling out last week and Facebook’s starting today.

Where You Can Find Your Usage Statistics

If you want to check out your stats, it’s nary more than a few taps away.

On Instagram, tap your profile icon, open the menu, then choose Your Activity.

On Facebook, tap on the menu, expand the Settings & Privacy menu, then choose Your Time on Facebook.

Easy enough to find, but there’s one catch: these aren’t all that useful.

These Statistics Aren’t as Useful as They Could Be

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Black Friday 2018: The Best Smart Speaker and Smart Display Deals Tue, 20 Nov 2018 13:00:39 +0000 Craig Lloyd

Whether you’re looking to add to your existing smarthome repertoire, or are just starting from complete scratch, there are a ton of Black Friday deals for smart speakers and smart displays alike.

Having a smart speaker or a smart display in your smarthome setup gives you a more convenient way to interact with all of your devices. You’ll be able to use voice commands and/or take advantage of the screen and have your own touch panel to control everything. If you’re in the market for one of these, you’re in luck, because there are plenty of Black Friday deals to go around. Let’s check them out.

Note: Like all the Black Friday deals we’re posting over the week, some of these deals are live now and some of them are won’t be live until the day of Black Friday proper.

Amazon Echo Smart Speakers

Amazon Echo Smart Displays

Google Home Smart Speakers & Displays

Other Smart Speaker/Display Deals

How to Run Ping (Network Diagnostics) on Your iPhone Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:54:15 +0000 Chris Hoffman

How solid is your iPhone’s Internet connection? There’s no quick, built-in way to tell. You can look at your Wi-Fi or cellular bars to see if you have a good signal, but that doesn’t mean you have a solid connection.

Enter Pingify, created by Connectify. This free iPhone and iPad app works the same way as ping, a classic command-line utility you might run on a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. It sends short messages (“pings”) to a remote server over your Internet connection and shows you how fast those messages are received.

By watching the ping results, you can see the precise latency of the connection. You can also spot packet loss, which appears as some of the pings just failing. And, if latency is okay on some of the pings but often increases, that shows you’re experiencing latency spikes. Any problems could either be a result of your Wi-Fi or cellular signal strength, or a result of the Internet connection itself.

You can also use Pingify to test your iPhone’s Wi-Fi or cellular signal strength, starting a ping and walking around an area. You might notice that some areas of your home, workplace, or anywhere else have a worse signal. It’s easy to spot dead spots or other bad areas if you’re staring at the ping results while walking around.

Download Pingify from Apple’s App Store and launch it to get started. Tap the “Start Test” button on the main Pingify tab. Pingify will automatically start pinging over both your Wi-Fi and cellular data connections. It will send pings over your VPN, too, if you’re connected to a VPN. Pingify won’t stop until you tap “Stop Test.”

The Analyze tab in the app shows you a history of your Pingify test results along with the geographical location where you performed them. Pingify normally sends pings to, but you can change that server from the Settings tab. If Google’s servers have a problem, that will impact your ping results—but Google normally has fast servers with solid connections.

This tool will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s ever run a ping command. If you haven’t, it’s still a great way of seeing how well your connection is working at the moment. If a web page or app is ever loading slowly on your phone, run a test in Pingify. This will tell you whether you have a connection problem or if that particular web page or app is just slow.

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How to Disable the Articles on Microsoft Edge’s Start and New Tab Pages Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:23:00 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Microsoft Edge shows a stream of articles on your Start and New Tab pages. These news articles include “sponsored” listings for dental implements and low APR credit card offers—in other words, paid advertisements.

If you’re a Microsoft Edge user, you can disable this pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Microsoft may re-enable these news articles after Windows 10 installs a big update, so you may find yourself disabling them over and over.

To disable these articles on Edge’s Start page—that’s the page that appears when you open a new Edge browser window—click the “Hide Feed” or gear icon at the top right corner of the page.

Check the “Hide My News Feed” option and then click “Save.”

The news feed will vanish from your Start page, and you’ll see only an empty page with a Bing search box.

Unfortunately, you’ll still see the news articles when you open a New Tab page. The Start page and New Tab page are similar but have different settings for some reason.

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How to Change Outlook’s Reminder Alert Tue, 20 Nov 2018 15:24:00 +0000 Rob Woodgate

Outlook plays a chime to alert you to scheduled reminders on email, tasks, or calendar events. Unlike the new mail alert (which you manage in Windows), you manage the reminder alert in Outlook, where you can change the chime to something else or turn it off altogether. Here’s how to get that done.

Turn Off the Chime

If you don’t want an auditory alert every time a reminder pops up (which can be especially jarring if you’re working with headphones on), then you can tell Outlook not to play a noise at all when a reminder is due. Go to File > Options > Advanced and scroll down to the “Reminders” section. The setting you’re looking for is “Play Reminder Sound.”

Switch this off and then click “OK.” Outlook will no longer play a sound when a reminder pops up.

Change the Chime to Something Else

If you still want an auditory alert, but you want something other than the standard “reminder.wav” chime, leave the “Play Reminder Sound” option switched on and click the “Browse” button next to it.

You can then select any WAV file on your system to use for your reminder alert. When you’re done click “OK” to exit. You shouldn’t need to restart Outlook, and your new sound will be played when a reminder pops up.

If you’ve got a different file type you want to use, you’ll have to convert it (we’re big fans of Audacity and VLC for audio work, but use your tool of choice). If you want one of the other Windows sounds that you can access through Control Panel > Sound, you’ll find them at C:\Windows\media.

How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates from the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 Tue, 20 Nov 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Brady Gavin

It’s generally a good idea to keep your apps updated, but there are situations where you might not want to. You might be on a metered connection or have a data cap you’re trying not to exceed. Or, you might not want a particular app updated to a new, buggy version. Here’s how to prevent the Microsoft Store from automatically updating apps you’ve downloaded from it.


The first thing you’ll need to do is fire up the Microsoft Store. Hit Start, type “store” into the search box, and then click “Microsoft Store.”

In the Store app, at the top right, click on the See More button (the three dots) and then click “Settings.”

From here, turn of the “Update Apps Automatically” toggle.

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How to Pair Echo Buttons to Your Amazon Echo Tue, 20 Nov 2018 13:00:00 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

Echo Buttons are simple Bluetooth devices that connect to your Echo devices. Once you pair a button with an Amazon Echo, you can use it with routines, games, and other skills. They give an physical extension to your Echo to enable additional capability where your voice may not be the best option.

You can pair each Echo device in your home with up to four Echo Buttons, which is useful if you play any trivia-style games on the Echo. But you can do a lot more with it than that. Everything about the Buttons is simple, from using them (just press the button!) to getting the devices paired to your Echo. And the box includes everything you need, even batteries.  Once you have the batteries installed, pairing is a simple affair.

Paring a Button the Simple Way

Amazon made paring incredibly easy. Insert batteries (which Amazon helpfully includes) into the Echo Buttons and ask any Echo to “set up my echo buttons.” Keep in mind that you will be connecting the button to that particular echo, so you’ll want to choose one that is in range of where you plan to use the button. Alexa will automatically detect the button and pair. Just follow the prompts.
If for some reason this doesn’t work, you can place the Echo Button back into pairing mode.

First press and hold the button until it turns orange (about five to ten seconds).

Then use the voice command again.

Pairing a Button Manually

If you want, you can use the Amazon App to pair the Echo Button instead of using your voice.

First, open the Alexa App and tap the hamburger button in the upper right corner.

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Everything Online Is Getting Bigger Except Your ISP’s Data Cap Tue, 20 Nov 2018 11:40:00 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Fallout 76‘s latest patch is over 47 GB in size. From video games to 4K streaming video, everything online keeps getting bigger. But Comcast’s 1 TB data cap isn’t changing, and some smaller Internet service providers are even worse.

100 GB Downloads for Modern Games

Modern console and PC games are huge! Sure, 47 GB for a single patch is a lot of space, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One requires an 88.57 GB download. The PC version of Middle-earth: Shadow of War is 97.7 GB. Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition requires a 75 GB download, and that’s without the 4K texture pack. These big games often get big patches, too.

Modern games are nearing 100 GB in download size. With a 1 TB (1000 GB) bandwidth cap, that’s roughly ten big video games a month assuming you purchase and download them digitally—and that’s assuming you do nothing else with your connection.

7 GB Per Hour for 4K Streaming

Netflix says its 4K streaming use about 7 GB per hour, per device. Standard high-quality 1080p streaming is up to 3 GB per hour.

For 4K streaming, that’s nearly 143 hours per month. That sounds like a lot. But, assuming a 30-day month, that’s under 5 hours of streaming video per day. That may still be enough—but that’s assuming you’re a single person who doesn’t do anything else with your Internet connection.

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Geek Trivia: What Was The First Multiple Player Internet Game? Tue, 20 Nov 2018 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Was The First Multiple Player Internet Game?

  1. Colossal Cave Adventure
  2. Multi-User Dungeon
  3. Multi-Quest
  4. Zork

Think you know the answer?

Black Friday 2018: The Best Game Console And Controller Deals Mon, 19 Nov 2018 19:00:18 +0000 Michael Crider

Game consoles are always hot ticket items on Black Friday, if only because it’s rare to see them discounted at other times of the year. With the latest revisions all at least a year old, there are some excellent deals to be had.

We’ve linked the deals that we can, but some are only available on the day of Black Friday, and some only in retail stores. Most retailers will offer discounts on multiple games and accessories, too.

PlayStation 4 Deals

The PS4 is the standout winner of this console generation in terms of pure sales. But it’s also getting pretty long in the tooth, so there are some great bundles offered for the entry-level hardware. The deal to beat is a bundle with the revised PS4 Slim and the excellent open-world Spider-Man, available together for $200 at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and probably a few other electronics-heavy retailers as well. That’s $100 off the bundle price—and $160 less than you’d pay for the console and game separately.

  • Best Deal: PS4 Slim console with Spider-man $300 $200 | Best Buy, Target, Walmart
  • PlayStation VR Astro Bot & Moss Bundle | $300 $200 | Best Buy, Target
  • PlayStation VR SUPERHOT & Creed Bundle | $350 $250 | Best Buy, Target
  • PS4 controller | $60 $40 | Walmart, Target

Xbox One Deals

The Xbox One is the also-ran thanks to its lack of true exclusives. But the good news is that if you’re hoping to pick one up cheap, you can. Microsoft’s Minecraft bundle with the popular game and an entry-level Xbox One S is being offered for $100 off at multiple retailers, but Target and Kohl’s are the ones to buy from if you’re hoping for maximum value. They’re offering $20 and an impressive $60 gift cards, respectively.

  • Best Deal: Xbox One S 1TB console with Minecraft | $300 $200 | Target (plus $20 gift card!), Kohls (plus $60 gift card!), Walmart
  • Xbox One X 1TB console | $500 $400| Walmart 
  • Xbox One X 1TB With PUBG Bundle plus $120 gift card | $520 with card $400| Kohl’s
  • Xbox One controller | $60 $40 | Walmart, Target

Nintendo Switch Deals

The Switch is definitely the hot console item this year thanks to a slew of Nintendo exclusives like Pokemon Let’s Go and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But discounts on the hardware itself, and the various bundles Nintendo offers, are hard to find. The company’s concession to Black Friday is to throw in a digital copy of the popular but dated Mario Kart 8 at most major retailers. Discounts on Nintendo’s official controllers are hard to find, too, but may we suggest some 8BitDo pads or the new wireless Gamecube controller from PowerA if you’re hoping to save some dough?

  • Best Deal: Switch console plus Mario Kart 8 | $360 $300 | Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart
  • Switch Console plus headset, carrying case, and $90 Kohl’s gift card—$450 with card $329: Kohl’s
  • Nintendo Labo Bundle (two kits) | $130-140 $100 | Best Buy

Other Nintendo Deals

If you’re not in the market for a full-sized home console, check out the Nintendo 2DS. The yearly special edition of this entry-level hardware features Super Mario Maker (a $40 value) and a matching color scheme. It doesn’t have any discounts, but the specially augmented portables tend to sell quickly. If you’re hoping to hop on the classic console craze, Kohl’s is selling the Super NES Classic for retail price with a $15 gift certificate.

Black Friday 2018: The Best Smart Home Security Deals Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:00:44 +0000 Andrew Heinzman

Thinking about upgrading your home security system? Or maybe you want to see how the postman throws packages at your door. Either way, there are some crazy Black Friday deals for smart home security that we’d hate for you to miss out on.

When you think of home security cameras like Ring or Nest, it’s easy to see how home security is changing. We used to hide ugly spy cameras or alarms around the house, but now we integrate digital security into our locks, doorbells, and living rooms.

Old security systems couldn’t discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar people, but smart security systems can recognize you by your voice or cell phone. Smart security systems are cheap, they look great, and they offer a new form of security. Long story short, you should grab these Black Friday deals ASAP if you’re at all interested in bringing your home security game into the 21st century.


Indoor Cameras

Baby Monitors

Outdoor Cameras


Smart Garage

Smart Locks

Google Photos Adds Portrait Depth Editing and Color Pop For iOS Users Mon, 19 Nov 2018 20:50:56 +0000 Brittany Vincent

Google Photos’ iOS app now includes two very useful features for image-editing fanatics: a depth slider and the cool Color Pop option.

These same features were rolled out to Google Photos users on Android in early October, and now iOS users can join in on the fun. The new depth slider will give you some impressive results on photos taken in Portrait Mode, which is required for both features. Color Pop removes the color saturation from the background of your photo so the subject “pops.”

To use the new features, you need to first open up a photo or take one that you’ve used the iOS Portrait Mode with. Choose the second icon at the bottom of your screen (the one that looks like a bunch of sliders) and you’ll see a newly added option here: Depth.

You can now use this slider to change the depth of field in your photo, even after taking the photo in Portrait Mode. You can erase the depth, increase it, whatever you’d like, simply by dragging it left and right.


You can change the focus with the small circle seen in the photo. Drag or tap on the image to adjust to your liking.


Color Pop will let you tap on your image’s subject to retain its color, while the rest of the image will fade to black and white. To use it, click on the main photo icon with a picture open, and then select it from the list of filters. It should be the second in the list and clearly labeled. You’ll need to tap around or drag the circle in your photo to the right area to get the subject completely selected, but the results are quite stunning.

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See the New Aquaman Movie a Week Early With Prime, Here’s How Mon, 19 Nov 2018 20:46:16 +0000 Tom Westrick

I’m a sucker for superhero movies, and while I’m not as big of a fan of DC’s offerings as the Marvel ones, I’m excited to see Aquaman when it comes out next month. If you’re like me and want to see the film even sooner, you’re in luck: Amazon Prime members will be able to see the movie one week early in 1,000 theaters across the United States.

Keep in mind: while this is an early screening, you’re still going to pay full price for the tickets. You’ll also need to pay an extra service fee to ticket reseller Atom, and this fee will vary depending on your theater of choice and the number of tickets you’re buying.

How to Get Your Tickets

Go to this promotional page. Sign into your Amazon account if you have not already. Click Get Tickets in the middle-right. This will redirect you to the Atom ticket page.

The page should detect your location. Click the drop-down arrow with the city name if it is incorrect, then type in the correct city or ZIP code.

The list will likely include regular showings on and after the release day. The early showings will have the Amazon Prime logo on them. Click on the date you’d like to watch the movie.

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Good Deal: Belkin’s WeMo Mini Smart Plug Is Only $19 Today Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:00:37 +0000 Craig Lloyd

Some smart plugs are pretty cheap these days, but Belkin’s WeMo line of smart plugs generally come in at the premium end, at least until today. The WeMo Mini smart plug is only $19 today only (normally $30).

What’s great about the WeMo platform is that it has a wide range of supported devices. It works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings, HomeKit (with the WeMo Bridge add-on) and more.

The WeMo Mini also comes with all of the essential features that you’d want in a smart plug, including setting timers and schedules, as well as setting an Away Mode to randomize your lights when you’re not home.

Unfortunately, the plug doesn’t come with energy monitoring, so you’d have to step up to the WeMo Insight ($40) to get that feature on a WeMo product. Still, though, $19 for the WeMo Mini is a fantastic deal that you shouldn’t miss.

How to Change Outlook’s New Mail Alert Sound Mon, 19 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000 Rob Woodgate

When Outlook receives a new message, it uses a standard chime. This chime is managed in Windows, rather than Outlook, and is also used by the Mail app, the standard (non-Outlook) mail client that’s bundled with Windows 10. The chime is turned on by default in Outlook, but you can turn it off or change it to play something else. Here’s how.

Turn Off the Chime

If you don’t want an auditory alert every time, you receive a message (which can be especially jarring if you’re using headphones) you can tell Outlook not to play a noise at all. Go to File > Options > Mail and scroll down to the “Message arrival” section. The setting you’re looking for is “Play a sound”.

Switch this off, then click “OK.” Outlook will no longer play a sound when a message arrives.

RELATED: How to Turn Off New Message Alerts in Microsoft Outlook 2016 or 365

Change the Chime to Something Else

If you still want an auditory alert, but you want something other than the standard sound, open Control Panel (click Start and type “Control Panel”) and then click the “Sound” option.

In the Sound window that opens, switch to the “Sounds” tab, scroll down a bit in the “Program Events” box, and select the “New Mail Notification” option.

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5 Reasons Why The Nintendo Switch Is Still The Must Have Console For The Holidays Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:00:41 +0000 Jennifer Allen

The holiday season is fast approaching. If you’re contemplating a new console purchase here’s five great reasons to make it the Nintendo Switch.

It might not be the brand new darling of the console world anymore, but it’s still the must-have console for this time of year. Here’s 5 reasons why that’s the case.

It’s Perfect For The Whole Family

Typically, the holiday season is for catching up with young and old alike. Hours and days will be spent with every part of your extended family from your grandma to your little cousin who’s just got to the age where consoles look like fun. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect console for all of those people. Seriously.

See, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One are great but they assume a certain level of knowledge when it comes to how to use a console or even a games controller. The Switch doesn’t. It’s super intuitive and the Joy-Cons are really well designed. They’re small enough for a young child to grip onto yet sturdy enough that an adult doesn’t feel like they’re about to snap it.

Thanks to the straightforward buttons and many games doing a great job of explaining things, you won’t be left with the task of deciphering everything for the novices. There’s also the fact that the majority of games are perfect for all age groups. There’s something for everyone.

The Exclusives Are Pretty Great

Games that are exclusive to one console are generally the thing that makes you want to buy that console. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, its exclusives are really pretty awesome. Nintendo has always made great first party games and they’ve really gone for it here. We covered the best must have exclusives earlier in the year, but let me guide you through some great sounding future memories.

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Windows 10’s October Update Breaks Apple’s iCloud Mon, 19 Nov 2018 17:51:51 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Windows 10’s October 2018 Update has more bugs. Microsoft won’t offer the update if you have iCloud installed, and Apple won’t let you install iCloud if you’ve already upgraded. You’ll also have trouble if you have F5 VPN software installed.

This information comes from Microsoft’s own Windows 10 Update History page, where Microsoft is publicly tracking the October Update’s bugs.

According to Microsoft, Apple iCloud version has an incompatibility with the latest update. You’ll have trouble updating or synchronizing Shared Albums after upgrading. If you try installing iCloud on the October Update, you’ll see an error message saying “iCloud for Windows requires Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (April 2018 Update) and earlier.”

Windows Update won’t offer you the October 2018 Update if you have Apple iCloud installed. In other words, Microsoft has placed an “upgrade block” on systems with iCloud installed.

If you have iCloud installed, Microsoft recommends you not upgrade to the October 2018 Update with the downloadable Update Assistant tool. You’ll have to deal with the buggy iCloud behavior if you bypass the block and upgrade anyway. iCloud users who clicked “Check for Updates” near the beginning of October are presumably dealing with this bug right now, too. Thanks, Microsoft.

Microsoft says it’s working with Apple to make a future version of iCloud compatible.

RELATED: Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

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What Wi-Fi Security Cameras Let You Record Locally? Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:23:00 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

Wi-Fi Cameras are easier to install and set up compared to Wired Cameras. But they often require subscriptions to get the most out of them, and that can include cloud storage. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you will want to choose a camera that supports local storage.

Not all Wi-Fi cameras support local storage. Most would prefer you subscribe to their service and to entice you they might offer a free tier that provides a small amount of cloud storage. But if you don’t need facial and movement recognition, it can be a lot to ask for just to store more video. Also, note that in giving up cloud storage you do run the risk of the camera and all its video being stolen.

That said, read on for a list of Wi-Fi cameras that can store video on microSD cards.

Yi 1080p Home Camera

The Yi 1080p Home Camera made our list of good budget cameras. Don’t let its low price fool you. This Xiaomi-made camera packs respectable features in a low price.

You will find 1080p resolution (as the name implies), two-way audio, night vision, and some intelligence (such as detecting the sound of a baby crying and motion detection). You’ll need to install a dedicated app to see your feeds on your phone or tablet, but you can watch up to four feeds on your desktop. There is no Google Home integration and Alexa support is limited to on/off functionality. More importantly, it lacks two-factor authentication. As we’ve said before, cheap Wi-Fi cameras do have certain drawbacks.  This camera offers no cloud storage, but instead, you can use a microSD card to keep your recordings in house.

Sense8 Home Security Camera

If you want to just purchase a Wi-Fi camera without worrying about subscriptions, add-ons, or the need to purchase additional items, then the Sense8 Home Security camera makes a pretty strong case—as long as you’re willing to pay a little more up front.

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Now You Can Stream Free, Ad-Supported Movies on YouTube Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:22:00 +0000 Tom Westrick

If you’re a cord cutter, you already have a few different options to watch free, ad-supported movies. Not to be outdone, YouTube is also joining the fray.

While less-than-legal movies on YouTube are something the company has tried to combat for many years, this new way is legal, high quality, and offers a decent selection of movies.

YouTube’s Free to Watch section is available to watch on any device that supports YouTube playback, which includes most smart TVs, set top boxes and video game consoles. The movies aren’t super recent, but there are a variety of genres, including kids movies. With Thanksgiving coming this week, it’s great to be able to entertain the whole family without spending any money.

If you do want to spend a little money, the experience gets even better. YouTube Premium lets you watch YouTube without seeing any ads, and that includes these free movies. YouTube Premium goes for $12 per month, and includes other benefits like unlimited music streaming with YouTube Music (or Google Play Music), being able to play videos in the background or when the screen in off, and downloading certain videos. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like any of these free movies can be downloaded for offline playback, so you’ll need to keep an Internet connection to stream them.

Outside of YouTube, other free options include The Roku Channel, which offers even more movies and TV shows and is available on the web, smartphones, and Roku devices. That has a different catalog than YouTube does, so there’s no harm in mixing and matching depending on what your household wants to watch.

If you haven’t subscribed to YouTube Premium before, you can get a one-month free trial. With the holidays coming up, that makes for an easy way to keep the whole family entertained!

via The Verge

How to Make a FaceTime Call on iPhone, iPad, or Mac Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:24:00 +0000 Oliver Haslam

Smartphone and tablet with group video chat active

Apple changed the video calling game with FaceTime, and while there may be plenty of competition around, if you’re in the Apple ecosystem FaceTime is where it’s at. It’s pre-installed on all devices, so if someone has a Mac or iOS device, they have FaceTime, too.

That ubiquity is what makes FaceTime so great because nobody has to wonder whether the person they are calling has any particular app installed or not. But while everyone has it, how exactly do you use it?

Making a FaceTime Call on an iPhone or iPad

Making a FaceTime call on an iPhone or iPad requires the same process to be followed whether you’re using Apple’s phone or tablet, so we’re going to cover them both here. We’re using iPhone screenshots, but if you’re using an iPad, the interface is essentially the same, if a little more spacious.

To get started, and we probably don’t need to explain this part, go ahead and open the FaceTime app on your iPhone or iPad.

Open the FaceTime app

Now, tap the “+” icon in the top-right corner of the screen to start a new FaceTime call.

Tap plus icon to start a call

Next, start typing the name of the person you would like to add to a new FaceTime call. If you’d prefer, you can instead tap the “+” icon to the right of the “To” box and select your recipients manually, but the typing method is the easiest and quickest method available.

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How to Create a Drop-Down List in Google Sheets Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Brady Gavin

If you’re working with others on a shared Google Sheets file, sometimes people can enter unexpected data or something that breaks a formula. One way to ensure everyone enters the data you want is to provide it for them in a drop-down validation list.

How to Create a Drop-Down List

A drop-down list is a great way to ensure the data people enter into your form, application, or spreadsheet is exactly what you’re expecting. It also provides a much faster way for people to input that data since they’re selecting from a pre-configured list you provide.

The first thing you need to do is open up your Google Sheets file and select the cell(s) for which you want to use a drop-down list.

RELATED: 5 Google Sheets Features You Should Know

Next, open the “Data” menu and select the “Data Validation” command.

From the Criteria drop-down, choose either “List From a Range” or “List of Items.”

  • List From a Range: A list of values that have been selected from other cells in the same or a different sheet. For example, if you want to use the values in cells B1-B9 on sheet 2, you’d type Sheet2!B1:B9 to have the data contained in them appear in the drop-down list, or by selecting any of the cells from your Sheet directly.
  • List of Items: A list of predetermined data items. This can be either text or numbers, and you’ll type each value yourself, separating them by commas (and no spaces). This option does not allow you to insert data directly from other cells.

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Fix: What to Do If Spotify Keeps Pausing On You Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:00:00 +0000 Harry Guinness

I’m a huge fan of Spotify, but I recently encountered a really annoying—and apparently common—bug. No matter what playlist, artist, or album I was listening to (whether on my iPhone, Mac, or Sonos), Spotify would pause every song or two, and I’d have to tap Play for it to continue.

RELATED: Spotify Free vs. Premium: Is it Worth Upgrading?

I tried clearing the cache, deleting and reinstalling Spotify, and pretty much everything else I could think of. I finally found the right solution, so if Spotify keeps pausing on you, here’s what to do.

Go to and log in. On the Account Overview page, scroll down and click the “Sign Out Everywhere” button.

This force signs you out of every instance of Spotify on all your devices.

Open Spotify on your smartphone or computer and sign in again.

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The Problem With AI: Machines Are Learning Things, But Can’t Understand Them Mon, 19 Nov 2018 11:40:00 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Everyone’s talking about “AI” these days. But, whether you’re looking at Siri, Alexa, or just the autocorrect features found in your smartphone keyboard, we aren’t creating general purpose artificial intelligence. We’re creating programs that can perform specific, narrow tasks.

Computers Can’t “Think”

Whenever a company says it’s coming out with a new “AI” feature, it generally means that the company is using machine learning to build a neural network. “Machine learning” is a technique that lets a machine “learn” how to better perform on a specific task.

We’re not attacking machine learning here! Machine learning is a fantastic technology with a lot of powerful uses. But it’s not general-purpose artificial intelligence, and understanding the limitations of machine learning helps you understand why our current AI technology is so limited.

The “artificial intelligence” of sci-fi dreams is a computerized or robotic sort of brain that thinks about things and understands them as humans do. Such artificial intelligence would be an artificial general intelligence (AGI), which means it can think about multiple different things and apply that intelligence to multiple different domains. A related concept is “strong AI,” which would be a machine capable of experiencing human-like consciousness.

We don’t have that sort of AI yet. We aren’t anywhere close to it. A computer entity like Siri, Alexa, or Cortana doesn’t understand and think as we humans do. It doesn’t truly “understand” things at all.

The artificial intelligences we do have are trained to do a specific task very well, assuming humans can provide the data to help them learn. They learn to do something but still don’t understand it.

Computers Don’t Understand

Gmail has a new “Smart Reply” feature that suggests replies to emails. The Smart Reply feature identified “Sent from my iPhone” as a common response. It also wanted to suggest “I love you” as a response to many different types of emails, including work emails.

That’s because the computer doesn’t understand what these responses mean. It’s just learned that many people send these phrases in emails. It doesn’t know whether you want to say “I love you” to your boss or not.

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Geek Trivia: Which Famous Inventor Allegedly Electrocuted An Elephant To Discredit His Competition? Mon, 19 Nov 2018 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Famous Inventor Allegedly Electrocuted An Elephant To Discredit His Competition?

  1. Orville Wright
  2. Thomas Edison
  3. Alexander Graham Bell
  4. Henry Ford

Think you know the answer?