How-To Geek https://www.howtogeek.com We Explain Technology Tue, 25 Jun 2019 12:00:02 +0000 en-us hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Eufy RoboVac 11S Max Review: Extra Suction Power at a Reasonable Price https://www.reviewgeek.com/17531/eufy-robovac-11s-max-review-extra-suction-power-at-a-reasonable-price/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 08:00:18 +0000 Andrew Heinzman https://www.reviewgeek.com/17531/eufy-robovac-11s-max-review-extra-suction-power-at-a-reasonable-price/
A side view of the RoboVac 11S Max.
A side view of the RoboVac 11S Max.

We love Eufy’s robotic vacuums. They’re affordable, effective, and easy to use. And Eufy’s new robotic vacuum, the RoboVac 11S Max ($270 retail, $199 promotional), is no exception. After putting it to work, it’s clear that the 11S Max sucks—in a good way.

Eufy (an extension of Anker, the portable battery company), has been in the robotic vacuum game for a while. Its aim is to sell no-nonsense, reliable robotic vacuums that can start cleaning right out of the box. The RoboVac 11S Max is, as the name suggests, an updated version of the standard RoboVac 11S.

But the differences between the 11S and the 11S Max are few and far between. While the standard 11S has 1,300 Pa of suction power, the 11S Max has 2,000 Pa of suction power (pascals are a measurement of force or pressure). And while the 11S has disposable dust filters, the 11S Max has a washable dust filter. Aside from a $40 retail price increase and a slightly larger dustbin, those are the only noticeable upgrades.

Do these upgrades make the 11S Max a worthwhile mid-range robotic vacuum? And is it really worth $40 more than the standard 11S? Here’s our experience.

Easy Setup and a Straightforward Remote

Setting up the RoboVac 11S Max is a breeze. Its modest packaging is easy to get through, and everything is clearly laid out. It comes with a remote control, a charging station, two pairs of corner brushes (the bug-like arms on the vacuum), a detangling brush, and a pack of zip ties to keep any loose TV or USB cables off the floor (the vacuum can get stuck on cables).

If you read the RoboVac’s quick start guide, you’ll find that it’s easy to set up. So easy that I skipped the instructions and still had the RoboVac in action after about two minutes. I didn’t even put the batteries in the remote or plug in the charging station, although Eufy recommends that you charge the vacuum before its first cycle. I guess I got a little excited.

The front and back of the RoboVac remote. The backside has a handy icon key, so you don't have to memorize the manual.
The front and back of the RoboVac remote. The backside has a handy icon key, so you don’t have to memorize the manual.

My initial reaction to the remote was one of hesitation. Remotes tend to be clunky and unintuitive, and I couldn’t help but think of all the robotic vacuums (including Eufy’s “C” vacuums) that can be controlled with a phone. But, as it turns out, the remote is great. It’s easy to use, it has a handy key on the back, and the buttons are laid out intuitively.

Technically, you don’t even need to use the remote. When the RoboVac is removed from its charging stand and set on the carpet, you can simply tap its power button to begin auto cleaning mode. But you should use the remote, as it gives you access to a slew of other cleaning modes. You can tell the RoboVac to focus on the room’s edges, to spot clean an area, or to go back to its charging dock. You can even set the vacuum on a daily cleaning schedule, or control its direction manually with a few buttons.

A Small Vacuum with Big Suction Power

The RoboVac 11S Max is pretty good at sucking. It offers 2,000 Pa (pascals) of suction power, which is almost double the power of the standard 11S. But that’s still a lot less suction power than a traditional vacuum, which usually operates around 20,000 Pa, so how effective is the 11S?

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How to Customize the New Windows Terminal App https://www.howtogeek.com/426346/how-to-customize-the-new-windows-terminal-app/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 12:00:02 +0000 Josh Hendrickson https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=426346

Windows Terminal with an background showing an ocean wave

With the new Windows Terminal app, Windows now finally has a tabbed terminal that can run Cmd, PowerShell, and Bash prompts in the same window. It’s deeply customizable, too—you can even set animated GIFs as the background.

Beyond the background, you can change the terminal’s theme, too. Whether it’s the colors of the text or backgrounds or the font style, you can make Windows Terminal your own. Microsoft even included several pre-set themes. All you need is a text editor and some basic familiarity with JSON. If you aren’t familiar with JSON, you can probably still make changes; we’ll walk you through it.

How to Customize the Windows Terminal

Windows terminal json configuration file, showing a custom background option.

The first step to customizing Windows Terminal is to ensure Windows has default app associated with the JSON file type. The best way to do that is from File Explorer.

Launch File Explorer and find a JSON file. If you don’t have one, create one. Right-click on File Explorer and “New” then click on “Text document.”

Rename the file to test.json (deleting the .txt extension in the process), and confirm you want to change the extension. If you don’t see the .txt file extension, tell File Explorer to show file extensions.

File explorer submenu with arrows pointing to New and Text Document

Next, right-click on the new JSON file and choose the “Open With” option. Choose your preferred text editor, whether that be Notepad++ or Notepad.

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6 Great Features in Windows 10’s New Game Bar https://www.howtogeek.com/425750/6-great-features-in-windows-10s-new-game-bar/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 10:40:34 +0000 Chris Hoffman https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425750

Windows 10 version 1903's new game bar overlay

Windows 10’s May 2019 Update features an all-new game bar experience. It’s not just for capturing videos anymore. It’s now an overlay packed with useful tools, including quick panels for adjusting application volume, seeing resource usage, and playing Spotify music.

How to Open the Game Bar

To open the game bar, press Windows+G. It will appear as an overlay over the game you’re playing. It will also appear over your desktop or any other application you’re using, but it’s most useful when you’re playing a game. Press Windows+G again to close it.

While Microsoft still calls this the “game bar,” that’s a misleading name at this point. It’s a proper overlay with multiple panels now, not just a single bar. If you see a smaller bar, you haven’t installed Windows 10’s May 2019 Update yet.

While the Game Bar is visible, you can click the “Home” icon on the top panel—it looks like a menu button—to choose which panels are visible in the overlay environment.

Game bar overlays menu

If Windows+G doesn’t do anything, make sure the game bar is enabled. Head to Settings > Gaming > Game Bar, ensure the “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar” option is enabled, and check that you haven’t changed the shortcut from Win+G to anything else. If you set a custom shortcut, use that instead of Win+G.

Option to enable or disable Game bar in Settings

Adjust Application Volume

Audio panel in Windows 10 game bar overlay

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Geek Trivia: The Largest Gold Statue In The World Is A Statue Of What? https://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/the-largest-gold-statue-in-the-world-is-a-statue-of-what/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick http://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=trivia&p=185151

The Largest Gold Statue In The World Is A Statue Of What?

  1. Qin Shi Huang
  2. A Mongolian Golden Eagle
  3. Buddha
  4. Stalin

Think you know the answer?

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We’re Looking for a Remote Technical Content Editor https://www.howtogeek.com/426291/were-looking-for-a-remote-technical-content-editor/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 19:34:04 +0000 Walter Glenn https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=426291

Are you an experienced writer who’s comfortable with all kinds of tech? Interested in a full-time job working from home?

What We’re Looking For

We’re looking for a developmental technical content editor to work with a group of freelance writers. Someone who can mentor other writers and shepherd articles from assignment through the idea generation and draft phases. You’d be assigning articles, helping writers find the right angle, helping flesh out outlines, reviewing the drafts of those articles, and guiding writers through the revisions you need.

While this is an editorial position, you won’t be responsible for copy editing the article, so you don’t need to be particularly experienced with line editing or proofreading. Instead, you’ll be working a bit earlier in the process and looking at whether the articles are accurate, well-organized, match what was actually assigned, and answers any questions they raise.

We’re really looking for a geek’s geek. You should have experience working with and writing about various platforms (Windows, macOS, Android, iPhone), applications (Microsoft Office, Chrome, etc.), and be able to keep up with new developments on those technologies.

Skill Requirements

  • Demonstrable experience writing on various technologies
  • Practical experience working with major operating systems (desktop and mobile) and applications, as well as a solid grasp of general technology
  • Ability to dive into new technology subjects and learn them quickly
  • Ability to work one-on-one with writers on shaping their articles, serving as part subject matter expert and part writing mentor
  • Experience working in WordPress preferable
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Detail oriented and deadline focused, with a get-things-done attitude
  • Strong attention to detail with emphasis on accuracy and quality
  • Ability to prioritize work to balance multiple projects and deadlines
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team
  • Self-motivated with a positive attitude
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Basic working knowledge of SEO principles is a plus

Primary Responsibilities

  • Assign articles to writers from a list we maintain
  • Generate new article ideas based on your own experience
  • Field writer pitches for article ideas
  • Help writers decide on the best angle for articles
  • Shape outlines and article approaches
  • Review drafts and return them with notes to writers if necessary

About the Job

  • Full-time, salaried positions are eligible for benefits, including:
    • 401(k)
    • Paid holidays
    • Annual sick and vacation leave
    • Medical, dental, and vision benefits
    • Short and long term disability
  • Remote work. You will be working from home and should have your own computer with reliable Internet access
  • Must be legally allowed to work in the US, based in the US, and available to work during normal business hours

How to Apply

If you’d like to apply to this job, head over to our job posting on ZipRecruiter and hit the big green “Apply Now” button.

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Daily News Roundup: Microsoft Banned Apps Internally And That’s OK https://www.howtogeek.com/fyi/daily-news-roundup-microsoft-banned-apps-internally-and-thats-ok/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 15:39:49 +0000 Josh Hendrickson https://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=fyi&p=426206

Recently, a list of apps that Microsoft prohibits for internal employee use leaked, including Slack, Grammarly, and others. It’s tempting to think these are the actions of a company hating competition, but the truth is more complicated.

Over the weekend news starting trickling out across the web. Microsoft has a list of apps and programs that it either bans or discourages its employees from using on the job. The list of prohibited apps includes consumer versions of Slack and Grammarly while the discouraging list includes Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Docs, the cloud version of Github, and the enterprise version of Slack.

In place of Slack, Microsoft wants its employees to use Teams (which is developed by the company), instead of AWS or Google Docs, employees are pointed towards Azure and Office 365, again products offered by Microsoft.

At first blush, it’s easy to think this is a choice to push employees onto company products as a way to drive business uptake. One might even accuse of the company of doing this solely because its own offerings aren’t comparable to competitor products and employees wouldn’t use Teams and Office 365 otherwise.

But that’s not the case. Prohibiting and discouraging specific tools is standard practice at nearly every large company. And it’s a protective measure that prevents Intellectual Property (IP) from accidentally leaking out.

As spelled out by the leaked list, the Free, Standard, and Plus versions of Slack aren’t secure and can’t promise to protect IP. The last thing a company wants is to find out source code was compromised after an employee posted some of it on a chat app for help.

And that’s precisely the reason Microsoft didn’t block Slack Enterprise. It does have the necessary tools and protect IP. Instead, it’s discouraged in favor of Teams. And that’s a simple business decision. Slack Enterprise comes with a cost per user, one the company doesn’t quote on its website. Teams, on the other hand, doesn’t cost Microsoft anything to use, because the company owns it. It’s only natural the company prefers the cheaper option. If another company developed Teams and it cost more than Slack, then Microsoft would prefer Slack Enterprise and discourage Teams.

Grammarly has similar issues. Grammarly checks for errors by sending your text to its cloud servers. If an employee pasted source code into an email, they may accidentally hand that code to Grammarly. Obviously, that risk would be unacceptable to any company concerned with IP and source code.

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How to Record Your Screen with Microsoft PowerPoint https://www.howtogeek.com/425191/how-to-record-your-screen-with-powerpoint/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 15:23:27 +0000 Marshall Gunnell https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425191

powerpoint logo

If you need to record your screen to demonstrate a process as part of your PowerPoint presentation, you can use the built-in tools to do so. Here’s how to record your screen using PowerPoint.

Using PowerPoint’s Screen Recorder

PowerPoint comes with a built-in, no-nonsense screen recorder. There are a lot of things that PowerPoint’s screen recorder can’t do that more full-featured screen recording software can, but that’s the beauty of it—it’s great for a quick, no-fuss recording.

RELATED: How to Embed a YouTube Video in PowerPoint

First, open PowerPoint, head to the “Insert” tab, and then click “Screen Recording.”

Screen Recording in Media section

PowerPoint will minimize, and the screen recording dock will appear at the top of your screen. Here’s where the “simplicity” of PowerPoint’s screen recording feature comes in—you only have five options. By default, PowerPoint will record audio and your cursor. Toggle these options to disable them if you want. When you’re ready to move on, click “Select Area.”

Select area to record in record dock

Your pointer will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag to select the area of your screen you want to record.

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The $120 Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit is a Tiny Powerhouse, Y’all https://www.reviewgeek.com/17840/the-120-raspberry-pi-4-desktop-kit-is-a-tiny-powerhouse-yall/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 10:27:53 +0000 Andrew Heinzman https://www.reviewgeek.com/17840/the-120-raspberry-pi-4-desktop-kit-is-a-tiny-powerhouse-yall/

We’ve waited almost half a year for the Raspberry Pi foundation to roll out the Pi 4. Now it’s here, and it’s clearly built with cheap desktop use in mind. For $120, the Pi 4 Desktop Kit is a killer deal.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a much-needed refresh to the tried-and-true Pi 3. It has two USB 3.0 ports (alongside two USB 2.0 ports), a gigabit ethernet port, two Micro HDMI ports (with 4K dual monitor support) and a USB-C port for power. It also has an upgraded Broadcom BCM2711 SoC with four 1.5GHZ Cortex A72 CPU cores (that’s a mouthful), but the most significant boost to the Pi 4’s desktop capabilities is its RAM.

The basic $35 model of the Pi 4 comes with 1GB of RAM, just like the high-end Pi 3 boards. But you can also grab a board with 2GB RAM for $45, and a board with 4GB RAM for $55. Naturally, the 4GB RAM board is the best for desktop applications, and that’s why it’s included in the Pi 4 desktop kit.

For $120, buying the Pi 4 Desktop Kit is like buying a super cheap computer. It comes with the 4GB RAM board, a keyboard, a mouse, a USB-C power supply, a computer case, a guidebook, a 32GB microSD card pre-loaded with NOOBS and Raspbian, and two Micro HDMI to Standard HDMI cables (dual-monitors right out the box, baby). This set is ideal for anyone who’s just getting started with Linux, or for big-time Linux fans who want something cheap and new.

Of course, you don’t have to buy the Pi 4 Desktop Kit if you already have a keyboard, mouse, external storage, and Micro HDMI cables lying around. The $55 board with 4GB of RAM is the best choice for desktop use, and it’s a bargain in its own right. Whether you’re looking to build up a cheap and fun Linux desktop, a Plex server, a low-power NAS, or whatever else you can dream up in that brilliant brain of yours, the Pi 4 is a killer and affordable way to make it happen.

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How to Change the On-Screen Keyboard Layout on a Chromebook https://www.howtogeek.com/423789/how-to-add-the-ctrl-and-alt-keys-on-the-software-keyboard-on-chrome-os/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 14:24:10 +0000 Brady Gavin https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=423789

Chromebook Hero

Chrome OS offers a variety of keyboard layouts for its on-screen keyboard, also known as the software keyboard or touch keyboard. If you’d prefer the layout for another region or language, here’s how to change it.

This is also particularly useful if you can’t see the Ctrl and Alt keys on the software keyboard and need to enable them, which is a problem some Chromebook users have reported.

First, click on the clock to open the system menu and notification tray; then click on the Settings icon.

Click the clock, then click on the Settings cog

Scroll to the bottom and click “Advanced.”

Under Settings, click advanced, located at the bottom of the page

Scroll a little bit further until you see the “Language and Input” section. Click on “Input Method” to expand it, then click on “Manage Input Methods.”

Click Input Method, then click on Manage Input Methods

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DisplayFusion is the Windows Tool Your Multi-Monitor Setup Craves https://www.reviewgeek.com/17785/displayfusion-is-the-windows-tool-your-multi-monitor-setup-craves/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 10:24:00 +0000 Michael Crider https://www.reviewgeek.com/17785/displayfusion-is-the-windows-tool-your-multi-monitor-setup-craves/
DisplayFusion is a perfect Windows tool for multiple monitors.
DisplayFusion is a perfect Windows tool for multiple monitors. Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock

I’ve been a fan of multi-monitor setups for over a decade, and I’ve been thrilled to see Windows expand its support for them as the releases progress. But if you’re serious about getting productive with your monitor array, DisplayFusion is a must-have addition to your setup.

This isn’t anything new, but consider this a heartfelt endorsement for the power user software. DisplayFusion packs more features and tools in its low-overhead program than I can cover in one sitting. But suffice it to say, if there’s something you wish you could do to manage windows, wallpaper, and general interface tweaks for two or more screens, DisplayFusion probably does it.

Briefly: DisplayFusion is a collection of tools that run in the background of Windows, making multiple monitors more user-friendly. The tool can properly format wallpaper, add extra toolbar buttons for moving windows to different monitors, save and retrieve the position of windows or desktop icons, or even fade out secondary monitors to let you focus on your task. Some of these tools Windows has added in 8 and 10, and some it hasn’t, but the one I want to talk about is unique and incredibly useful.

Believe it or not, there's a desktop computer in between all those toys.

Believe it or not, there’s a desktop computer in between all those toys. Michael Crider

The tool I use most often is the “split” virtual windowing system and the monitor profiles tool that lets me manage it. This creates user-defined window zones, sort of like the default half- and quarter-screen windowing seen in most modern operating systems (WIN key plus arrow keys by default in Windows). But while Windows alone has fairly restrictive interpretations of this idea, DisplayFusion allows the user to set as many of these defined window zones as you like, across multiple displays, with horizontal and vertical splits down to the pixel level.

Let me give you an example in my default work setup. Across my three screens, I keep the center one open, while the right monitor is what I think of as my “communication zone.” Windows maximized on this screen go to DisplayFusion splits on the left or right, with the former generally reserved for the How-To Geek Slack and the right one for TweetDeck. TweetDeck gets particular use from that pixel-perfect split, as I give it just enough room for my main Twitter feed and one news list.

DisplayFusion breaks up my huge desktop into six easy-to-manage zones.
DisplayFusion breaks up my huge desktop into six easy-to-manage zones. Michael Crider

Over on the left monitor, I keep a wide split on the left for general browsing or email, then a similar vertical split on the right. This split is split again into small top and bottom sections: the top for Pandora, YouTube, or Spotify (whichever I’m listening to at the time) and the bottom for Google Keep, where I have my to-do list. The primary monitor is usually either a fullscreen Chrome window or two split evenly as I’m writing and researching.

DisplayFusion's interface for designing zones and splits.
DisplayFusion’s interface for designing zones and splits. Michael Crider

This means there are six distinct window zones across my three monitors, each carefully defined. Whenever I need a window to go beyond these virtual zones and get fully maximized on the monitor, I just hold Shift and click Maximize. If the desktop formatting is broken—like when one of my monitors is powered off—I can get this setup back in a couple of clicks from the taskbar menu.

Pre-set profiles can be applied via the taskbar or hotkeys.
Pre-set profiles can be applied via the taskbar or hotkeys. Michael Crider

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How to Disable “Reserved Storage” on Windows 10 https://www.howtogeek.com/425563/how-to-disable-reserved-storage-on-windows-10/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 13:00:37 +0000 Brady Gavin https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425563

Reserved Storage Hero

Starting with the May 2019 Update, Windows 10 will reserve about 7 GB of your device’s storage for updates and optional files. This will ensure easy installation of updates in the future—but you can recover that space if you want.

What is Reserved Storage?

Windows requires a certain amount of free disk space to update. Updates will fail to install if your PC doesn’t have enough free space. With the recent May 2019 Update, Microsoft aims to fix this problem by reserving disk space for future updates.

Before, if you had insufficient free disk space on your PC, Windows would fail to install updates properly. The only workaround is to free up some storage space before continuing.

With “reserved storage,” Microsoft makes Windows 10 set aside at least 7 gigabytes of space on your hard drive to ensure updates can download—regardless of how much disk space you have.

When not being used by update files, Reserved Storage will be used for apps, temporary files, and system caches, improving the day-to-day function of your PC.

In other words, reserved storage doesn’t mean that Windows is using a full extra 7 GB of storage—it’s likely storing some temporary files there that it would normally be stored elsewhere on your system drive.

RELATED: Windows 10 Will Soon “Reserve” 7 GB of Your Storage for Updates

How to Check If Your PC Has Reserved Storage

Before you go any further, you should make sure that your system is using Reserved Storage. If it doesn’t, then there’s no need to go on, because Windows isn’t reserving any additional storage on your device. You can check whether or not the system is using extra storage—and how much—through the Settings app.

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Smartphones Are Boring Now, and That’s Okay https://www.reviewgeek.com/17638/smartphones-are-boring-now-and-thats-okay/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 08:00:17 +0000 Michael Crider https://www.reviewgeek.com/17638/smartphones-are-boring-now-and-thats-okay/
This woman is annoyed at her boring phone. Or something else, I dunno. It's a stock image.
Borysevych/Shutterstock

Remember when folding phones were going to be the next big thing…and then the party for a new era of phones seemed a bit premature? It’s caused something of a lament for the lack of ambition and innovation in smartphones.

But there’s another way to look at the current era of phone releases, seemingly endless iterations on glass rectangles: it’s actually okay. It’s better than okay, in fact—it’s a good thing. While we’ve more or less settled on a form factor for the vast majority of phones, we’ve also reached a point where even the cheapest phones out there are at least good. Some of them are even great!

And now that constant access to the web and applications has become a nearly indispensable part of modern life, having great, affordable electronics available to everyone isn’t just good, it’s necessary. We’re at a Model T moment in the smartphone world: most people can afford one, benefit from one, and genuinely enjoy one, even if they’re not ready to drop four figures on the latest model.

RELATED: OnePlus 7 Pro Review: The Benchmark

Alright, so maybe multiplying cameras and a pop-up selfie cam are the biggest innovations we’re getting this year, and 5G is a mess that won’t be useful for some time. Maybe we’re not getting phones that look like sci-fi props before the end of the decade. All things considered, we don’t have much to complain about.

Glass Rectangles All the Way Down

This time of year is ripe for smartphone leaks—the bread and butter of technology news. And since Samsung is still hesitant to commit to a release date for its Galaxy Fold, and Huawei is pushing back its Mate X (for a variety of reasons), reactions to new glimpses of phones like the Pixel 4 or iPhone 11 are decidedly muted.

Google's so bored with the smartphone industry that they're leaking their own phones.
Google’s so bored with the smartphone industry that it’s leaking its own phones. Google

Oh, another barely-notable update to a tired formula,” say the pundits. Okay, so that’s a bit of a strawman, but we can’t deny that it’s hard to get excited about another notch variation or a square-shaped camera module. Samsung briefly considered getting rid of a few buttons on the Galaxy Note 10, and it could have been the most notable change in the company’s phone design since they accidentally sold small glass-covered grenades. The most significant leap forward at the moment, assuming the whole “folding phone” fad doesn’t take off, is a pop-up selfie cam module that finally lets us get back to…unbroken rectangular screens that we had before the iPhone X came around.

You can see how this chorus goes. “Phones are boring now.” And compared to ten years ago, when smartphones were exploding into new markets and segments, they are. You can’t go into a carrier store and see iPhones, Blackberries, Palms, and a dozen different flavors of Androids with slide-out keyboards and built-in gamepads and e-readers glued to the back. It’s glass rectangles all the way down, in roughly two sizes: big and very big.

The Xperia Play from 2011, complete with PlayStation-style game controls. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
The Xperia Play from 2011, complete with PlayStation-style game controls. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. Sony Ericsson

It’s telling that the biggest point of differentiation, and thus innovation, is cameras. Both optical and image processing technology is leaping forward quickly—perhaps because manufacturers have found that they can’t do much more in terms of screens, batteries, or straight-up silicon power at the moment. It’s not as if screen and power tech is frozen in time, but progress is going to be slow for a few years, with new fabrication and material technology currently in various experimental stages.

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How to Be More Productive in Ubuntu Using Keyboard Shortcuts https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/41418/how-to-be-more-productive-in-ubuntu-using-keyboard-shortcuts/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 12:00:00 +0000 Dave McKay http://www.howtogeek.com/?p=41418
Backlit computer keyboard
diceareawesome1/Shutterstock.com

We’re always looking for new ways to speed up everyday tasks in Ubuntu. We’ll show you some keyboard shortcuts you might not have known about, and show you how to make your own custom shortcuts.

When Keyboards Ruled the Earth

Unix—the spiritual predecessor of Linux—predates graphical user interfaces. The keyboard was the only game in town, so it was typing all the way. No surprise then, that functionality was soon introduced for the benefit of the computer operators of yesteryear.

Features such as the history command and aliases started to appear in Unix shells. Their purpose was to increase productivity by reducing repetition and removing the need to remember obscure sequences of commands.

Keyboard shortcuts boost efficiency, too. These are neat combinations of keystrokes that trigger some useful action for us. They don’t type text, they cause something to happen.

We’re going to look at some of the more useful Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts, both for the terminal and on Ubuntu’s GNOME Shell desktop. We’ll also demonstrate how to create your own shortcuts by applying the keystrokes of your choice to the action you want to perform. We tested this keyboard shortcuts on Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo.

Super What?

The Super key is the one between the Ctrl and Alt keys toward the bottom left corner of the keyboard. On most keyboards, this will have a Windows symbol on it—in other words, “Super” is an operating system-neutral name for the Windows key. We’ll be making good use of the Super key.

Keyboard Shortcuts for the Terminal

Terminal app on a Ubuntu 19.04 desktop

The following keyboard shortcuts work in GNOME Terminal—Ubuntu’s built-in terminal application. If they don’t seem to work, click menu > Preferences > Shortcuts in a Terminal window and ensure “Enable Shortcuts” is checked.

Use these keyboard shortcuts to speed up your Linux command line experience:

Opening and Closing Terminal Windows

  • Ctrl+Alt+T  or Shift+Ctrl+N: Open a terminal window.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Q: Close the current terminal window

Terminal Window Tabs

  • Shift+Ctrl+T: Open a new tab.
  • Shift+Ctrl+W Close the current tab.
  • Ctrl+Page Up: Switch to the previous tab.
  • Ctrl+Page Down: Switch to the next tab.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Page Up: Move to the tab to the left.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Page Down: Move to the tab to the right.
  • Alt+1: Switch to Tab 1.
  • Alt+2: Switch to Tab 2.
  • Alt+3: Switch to Tab 3, and so on, up to Alt+9 to switch to tab 9
  • Alt+0: Switch to Tab 10.

Command Line Editing

  • Shift+Ctrl+C: Copy the highlighted text. You must use the mouse to highlight the text.
  • Shift+Ctrl+V: Paste the copied text in a terminal window. If you are pasting into an application such as an editor, Ctrl+V will probably work.
  • Ctrl+A or Home: Go to the start of a command line.
  • Ctrl+E or End: Go to the end of a command line.
  • Alt+B or Ctrl+Left Arrow: Move the cursor backward one word.
  • Ctrl+B or Left Arrow: Move the cursor backward one character.
  • Alt+F or Ctrl+Right Arrow: Move the cursor forward one word.
  • Ctrl+F or Right Arrow: Move the cursor forward one character.
  • Ctrl+XX: Hop between the current position of the cursor and the start of the line. Hold down Ctrl and Press X twice, quickly.
  • Ctrl+D or Delete: Delete the character under the cursor.
  • Ctrl+U: Delete all characters before the cursor. Ctrl+E, Ctrl+U will delete the entire line.
  • Alt+D: Delete all characters after the cursor to the end of the line.
  • Ctrl+H or Backspace: Delete the character before the cursor.

Controlling The Terminal Display

  • Ctrl+L: Clear the terminal window. Same as typing clear.
  • Ctrl+S: Stop scrolling output. Freezes the output from a  program, but allows the program to continue to run in the background.
  • Ctrl+Q: Restart scrolling output if it has been stopped with Ctrl+S.

Zooming the Terminal Window

  • Shift+Ctrl++ (that is, Shift, Ctrl and +, “the plus sign”): Zoom in.
  • Ctrl+- (that is, Shift, Ctrl and -, “the minus sign): Zoom out.
  • F11: Full screen.
  • Ctrl+0 (that is, Ctrl and 0, “zero”): Return to normal size.

Searching in a Terminal Window

  • Shift+Ctrl+F: Find.
  • Shift+Ctrl+G: Find the next occurrence of the search term.
  • Shift+Ctrl+H: Find the previous occurrence of the search term.
  • Shift+Ctrl+J: Clear text highlights.

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Why Do Phones Explode? (And How to Prevent It) https://www.howtogeek.com/425488/why-do-phones-explode-and-how-to-prevent-it/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 10:40:08 +0000 Andrew Heinzman https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425488
A woman gasping as her phone bursts into flames
HomeArt/Shutterstock

Every few years, exploding phones find a way to dominate the news cycle. And while these accidents are incredibly rare, they’re a bit difficult to understand. Why do phones explode? And how do I know that my phone won’t explode?

Thermal Runaway Causes Phone Explosions

Whenever a Li-ion battery explodes or catches fire, it’s undergoing a process called thermal runaway. This process can be a bit difficult to understand, so we’ll keep things short, sweet, and free of dense scientific jargon.

Lithium-ion batteries contain a ton of Li-ion cells. Each of these cells has a critical temperature—think of it as a boiling point. When the critical temperature of a cell is reached (due to external heat, overcharging, damage, or poor manufacturing), it enters an exothermic breakdown. Basically, the cell itself starts to release a ton of heat.

A diagram that explains thermal runaway
Wikipedia

This kicks off the process of thermal runaway, which is essentially a positive feedback loop (like when you put a microphone next to a speaker). Once a cell enters exothermic breakdown and releases heat, its neighboring cells are destined to hit their own critical temperatures. Depending on the speed of this process, a battery could quietly sizzle out, catch fire, or create a minor explosion.

Now that we understand the process of thermal runaway, it’s a lot easier to pinpoint how, when, and why phones (among other Li-ion devices) explode.

If your phone or another device has a swollen battery, however, you’ll want to do something about that right now.

RELATED: What to Do When Your Phone or Laptop Has a Swollen Battery

Don’t Leave Your Phone in the Car

If you live in a snowy area, you’re probably aware that car batteries work best when they’re a little warm—say, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You’re probably also aware that too much heat can ruin a battery, along with other components in a car. Well, the same goes for phone batteries.

When a Li-ion battery discharges at a high temperature (sitting outside or in a car), its cells can become a bit unstable. They may not enter an exothermic breakdown, but they can permanently short, deteriorate, or (oddly enough) produce gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide. These gases can cause the battery to inflate like a balloon, which creates pressure (energy that can cause an explosion) or compromise the battery’s structure.

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How Much Water Do I Really Need to Drink? https://www.lifesavvy.com/4585/how-much-water-do-i-really-need-to-drink/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 06:40:07 +0000 Carla Cometto https://www.lifesavvy.com/4585/how-much-water-do-i-really-need-to-drink/
Woman drinking water in a sunny living room
YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

You hear over and over that you need to stay hydrated, but what does staying hydrated look like? Here’s how much water you really need to drink.

Keeping our bodies hydrated can sometimes feel more like a chore than a survival instinct. Time and time again, we’ve heard that we’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day to comply with a healthy lifestyle. However, the idea of health and hydration is not as straightforward as we’ve been lead to believe. The amount of water we need to drink depends on a variety of factors, including our age, sex, environment, and level of activity. 

Let’s start with the most critical thing to be aware of—what dehydration is and feels like.

Side Effects of Dehydration

Low water intake causes dehydration, which has side effects and can cause serious complications if severe. Studies have shown that exercise- and heat-induced mild dehydration, described as the loss of the equivalent of 1-3 percent of body weight, can negatively affect brain function and reduce endurance.

When water levels in the body drop even further, cells are depleted of the fluids they need to carry out their activities, and cognitive functions like memory and attention are impaired. We’re continually losing water through perspiration, respiration, and urination, so it’s good to listen to our bodies and always keep water at hand.

If you feel thirsty, your body is already throwing out the sign that it’s mildly dehydrated. If you start experiencing headaches, muscle cramping, a dry or sticky mouth, or infrequent urination, you’re already moving into more dangerous levels of dehydration and should grab some water.

The Myth of the 8×8 Rule

The rule stating we need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay hydrated has been a reference point for most of us for years. However, experts don’t agree with it, and the origin of such recommendation is still the subject of debate. 

The first appearance of the recommendation dates to 1945 with the publication of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences dietary guidelines. The recommendation was to consume 84-oz of water daily, but there was no mentioning of any scientific finding in support of that statement. The idea was then further spread by Frederick J. Stare, a reputable American nutritionist who recommended the consumption of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day in a book he coauthored in the ‘70s. It wasn’t long before the 8×8 rule became commonly accepted wisdom—despite the lack of any real scientific backing.

While it’s not necessarily harmful advice, there’s no scientific evidence to prove its validity, at least not to the point of making it an official health recommendation.

Current Recommendations

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Geek Trivia: Early 2D Video Game Characters Were Known As What? https://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/early-2d-video-game-characters-were-known-as-what/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick http://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=trivia&p=128469

Early 2D Video Game Characters Were Known As What?

  1. Pixars
  2. Sprites
  3. Vidicons
  4. Bitplanes

Think you know the answer?

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How to Set Up a Smart Bedroom https://www.howtogeek.com/425102/how-to-set-up-a-smart-bedroom/ Sun, 23 Jun 2019 10:40:59 +0000 Josh Hendrickson https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425102
mobile phone with apps in modern luxury bedroom
zhu difeng/Shutterstock

You may spend most of the time in your bedroom sleeping, but it can still benefit from smarthome technology. A smarter bedroom can help you get to sleep and wake up in the morning.

Why a Smart Bedroom?

Bedrooms are a unique room in your living space, you spend a great deal of time in it, but most of that is usually spent sleeping. Adding smarthome technology can enhance a bedroom, so long as you think through your choices. With a few devices, you can make your bedroom more comfortable for sleeping and relaxing. A smart display, lights, smart shades, and smart plugs can help you get to bed and wake up feeling refreshed.

Add Smart Lights to Start and End the Day

Philips Hue hub next to a lamp on a dresser.
Philips

Sometimes you’re like to relax in the bedroom before you’re want to sleep. So you might read or watch TV in bed. The problem is when you’re ready to go to sleep, the light switches may be out of reach. Or the lights may be too bright for your spouse or partner.

Smart lights are great for control from the comfort of your bed. You can create timers, turn them on and off with your voice or phone, and if you use smart bulbs, you can dim the or change colors to something less harsh for the evening. And with a few routines, you can create a sunrise effect without having to buy an expensive clock.

And if you have a large headboard, you can add ambient light by running LED strips around the back of it. You can do the same with a TV in your bedroom.

For smart bulbs and LED strips, we recommend Philips Hue for a few reasons. They run off Zigbee, so are less likely to interfere with your Wi-Fi devices. Philips Hue is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant. The Hue app has a built-in wakeup routine that takes care of the sunrise feature without the need for setting up multiple routines. And you can pair your Hue lights with a Lutron Aurora light switch, which slips over your standard light switches.

The main issue with Philips Hue is the cost. A starter kit with two white bulbs and a hub will set you back $70. For the cost, you do get a better class of bulb, usually brighter and more vivid if you buy color bulbs. Hue bulbs also utilize Zigbee, which means they work even when the internet is down. Other smart bulbs may rely on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and so may come with range issues or lose their intelligence when the internet goes down.  But if you want to save money, we’ve also gathered cheaper alternatives you may want to consider.

Smart Shades Can Cut the Lights Down

IKEA FYRTUR smart shades
Ikea

Once you have your lights taken care of, you may want to consider taking the other source of light in your bedroom: your windows. Smart shades are similar to smart lights: you can live without them, and they don’t provide a crucial function. But once you have them, you may not want to live without them again.

You can not only raise and lower shades with your voice or phone, but you can create timers and routines that take care of them for you. Your routine could raise the shades when it’s time to get up or lower them as part of a “good night” protocol. That’s the power of smarthomes; one command can take care of many things.

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How to Build an Awesome Summer Reading List https://www.lifesavvy.com/4587/how-to-build-an-awesome-summer-reading-list/ Sun, 23 Jun 2019 06:40:22 +0000 Harry Guinness https://www.lifesavvy.com/4587/how-to-build-an-awesome-summer-reading-list/
Woman relaxes in a hammock reading a book from her summer reading list
Ahmet Misirlingul/Shutterstock

A book, a beach chair, and a beautiful day. Is there any better place to read than outside in the sun? But what to read? Let’s look at putting together a great summer reading list.

I read, a lot; I read almost 90 books last year, so I’ve gotten pretty good at always having something ready to go next, but it can be a struggle. You get so invested in the book or series that you’re reading that you really don’t think about what you’re going to do with your evenings when you turn that final page. Here’s how I like to find books to read.

Look for New Releases by Authors You Love

Writing a book can take a long time (just ask George R.R. Martin), and the publishing process is far from speedy. It often takes three or four years for an author to write and release a new book after their last one was published. It’s normal for that book you were obsessing over in 2015 to have slipped your mind.

But, while you’ve gone about your life, that author has been typing away at their keyboard. The editors have done their editing, and the printers their printing. There might just be a new book on the shelves this summer.

ggk author page
It takes Guy Gavriel Kay a few years to put together a new book.

If there’s a book or author you loved from a few years ago, hop on Google and see if they’ve released anything new recently. You might be surprised by what escaped your notice if you don’t follow book news. I know people who were shocked to find one of their favorite authors had released an entire trilogy that they’d missed.

If you’re struggling to think of an author to search for, look through your bookshelves (or your Kindle) for inspiration. I’m sure something will jump out at you.

Revisit an Old Favorite

And while we’re talking about looking through bookshelves, another great way to find a book to read is to revisit one you loved before. Even if you remember every plot beat, lots of books reward rereading. The second time through you pick up on all the subtle foreshadowing, hints, and clues that are impossible to spot when you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Rereading books is one of my greatest pleasures. Some characters are like old friends at this stage. When I’m feeling down or homesick or lonely, I often grab a Terry Pratchett novel and immerse myself in that for a few days. Problem solved!

book read twice
I’ve actually read Guards! Guards! At least four times…

If you can’t be bothered going to the effort of learning a whole new set of characters (or world, or magic system, or mythology) grabbing a book you’ve read before is the surest bet. Trust me; you’ll almost always love the book even more the second time through.

Check the Critics List on Sites You Like

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Geek Trivia: Microchips Are Mostly Composed Of What? https://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/microchips-are-mostly-composed-of-what/ Sun, 23 Jun 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick http://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=trivia&p=126968

Microchips Are Mostly Composed Of What?

  1. Technetium
  2. Copper
  3. Silicon
  4. Beryllium

Think you know the answer?

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Steam Won’t Support Ubuntu 19.10 and Future Releases https://www.howtogeek.com/426068/steam-wont-support-ubuntu-19.10-and-future-releases/ Sat, 22 Jun 2019 19:24:30 +0000 Chris Hoffman https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=426068

Stylized Steam logo

Do you use Steam on Ubuntu? You may have to switch to a new Linux distro in the future. A Valve developer announced that Steam won’t officially support Ubuntu 19.10 or future releases. Ubuntu-based Linux distributions are also affected.

Update: In response to “the huge amount of feedback this weekend,” Canonical announced plans to continue building 32-bit compatibility packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. Valve will likely reconsider its stance on Ubuntu but hasn’t made any further announcements yet.

This is all because Canonical announced plans to drop 32-bit packages and libraries from Ubuntu 19.10. These packages enable 32-bit software to run on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu.

While most Linux applications will get along just fine, this is a huge blow to Valve’s Steam. Many Linux games on Steam are only available in 32-bit form—they work on 64-bit Linux distributions, but only with the 32-bit libraries. As Phoronix recently pointed out, this also affects the Wine compatibility layer that allows running Windows software on Linux—Wine won’t be able to run 32-bit Windows software anymore. Steam’s compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux would also not work for 32-bit games.

After Canonical’s announcement, Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais tweeted that Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases “will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users.” Valve will officially support and recommend a different Linux distribution in the future.

The good news is that your existing Ubuntu installation—whether it’s Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”—will continue running Steam and its Linux games for years to come.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger Review: A Comfy Gaming Headset, No Bells nor Whistles https://www.reviewgeek.com/17587/hyperx-cloud-stinger-review-a-comfy-gaming-headset-no-bells-nor-whistles/ Sat, 22 Jun 2019 08:00:48 +0000 Michael Crider https://www.reviewgeek.com/17587/hyperx-cloud-stinger-review-a-comfy-gaming-headset-no-bells-nor-whistles/
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a lightweight, comfy, but somewhat limited headeset.
Michael Crider

HyperX’s Cloud Stinger is a simple wireless headset built with gamers in mind. But “simple” isn’t the same as “bad,” and this one gets a tentative recommendation through ease of use and comfort.

There isn’t much to the Cloud Stinger Wireless—no hardware-based surround sound, detachable microphone, not even a configuration tool for Windows. But that simplicity might be precisely what you’re looking for: just plug the receiver into your PC (or as it might be, your Nintendo Switch or PS4) and you’re ready to go.

Light On Weight (and Extras)

The Cloud Stinger’s looks are plain but in a refreshing sort of way. This all-black, plastic headset won’t look out of place in an office, though its large USB-A dongle means it doesn’t travel particularly well. Aside from an embossed “X” logo on either around-the-ear cup, it’s completely unadorned. Even the rotating microphone has a flexible, practical boom that emphasizes function over form.

The Cloud Stinger has only two controls: the volume wheel and a power button.
The Cloud Stinger has only two controls: the volume wheel and a power button. Michael Crider

Which isn’t to say that the design is entirely utilitarian. Big, comfy faux leather pads will cup your ears while the padded band is easy to keep on for a few hours without discomfort. The headset is also surprisingly light at just 9.4 ounces—easily the lightest I’ve used, and considerably lighter than my Anker Souncore Bluetooth headset, despite lasting longer on a charge.

Controls are limited: just a power button on the left ear and a volume knob on the right. I appreciate HyperX keeping things simple here. Too many designs try to get fancy with touch-sensitive controls or buttons integrated into the styling. While there aren’t any programmable buttons, it’s easy enough just to put the thing on and use it. The only thing missing is a dedicated mute/unmute button for the microphone.

The cups can be rotated by 90 degrees, and the foam cups removed.
The cups can be rotated by 90 degrees, and the foam cups removed. Michael Crider

One last physical design tough is appreciated: the ear cups rotate ninety degrees for easily laying the Cloud Stinger on a table or hanging flat on a wall. It doesn’t make the headset any easier to pack up, like some folding designs, but it’s more than might be expected. Combined with smooth telescoping action on the band, the hinges keep the thing very comfortable on my oversized Charlie Brown head.

Software: There Isn’t Any. Next!

Okay, so we do need to talk about the software for the Cloud Stinger, or indeed, the lack thereof. Plugging the headset into my PC, I was surprised to see that Windows 10 didn’t ask me to download a designated driver application, as is usually the case with almost any “gaming” accessory from an established brand. Instead, it merely switched the audio input over and started playing sound immediately.

USB-RF, compatible with PC, Mac, Switch, and PS4, is the only connection.
USB-RF, compatible with PC, Mac, Switch, and PS4, is the only connection. Michael Crider

This could be good or bad, depending upon your expectations. It means that finer audio equalizer control is up to Windows or the game or application you’re using at the moment, and you can’t get specific audio profiles based on the hardware. But it also means that, if you’re not inclined to deal with any of that stuff, you don’t have to. And I’ve come to appreciate any PC accessory that doesn’t demand its own spot in my Windows taskbar.

HyperX advertises the Cloud Stinger as compatible with the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. Though I didn’t have an opportunity to test this functionality, I have no reason to doubt it, since the headset also worked fine when I plugged it into my Nintendo Switch dock. That wasn’t the case with the Xbox One—no points off there since Kingston didn’t advertise that as a feature.

The battery lasts for 15 hours, and recharges via MicroUSB.
The battery lasts for 15 hours and recharges via MicroUSB. Michael Crider

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How to Make Your Dumb Window Air Conditioner Smart https://www.howtogeek.com/425643/how-to-make-your-dumb-window-air-conditioner-smart/ Sat, 22 Jun 2019 10:40:13 +0000 Josh Hendrickson https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425643
A Window air conditioner unit with a smart plug on top of it.
Josh Hendrickson

Window A/C units are critical in homes without central air conditioning. But turning every unit on and off is a pain, and smart air conditioners are expensive. With a smart plug, you can make many A/C units smart.

Why Make a Window A/C Smart?

An iClever smart plug on top of an A/C units plug, over a blue blanket.
Josh Hendrickson

Window air conditioners are expensive, often ranging from $200 to $500. They do make up for that cost by lasting a long time—it’s not uncommon to see them work for five to ten years. The best way to cool several rooms in a home is to buy multiple units, one for each room. But that leaves you running from room to room to turn them on when you get home. Later, you’re running around to turn them off to save electricity. And when you come home, your home may be hot until you turn your air conditioners on and they have a chance to cool things down. But you may not want to run them all day if you’re away from home.

Some newer A/C units have Wi-Fi options for voice and remote control, but buying an entirely new air conditioner for that feature doesn’t make sense if the old one otherwise works fine and is energy efficient. So the next best thing is to make your dumb A/C smart by adding a smart plug. With a smart plug, you use an app or voice control to turn on and off any air conditioner in the house or apartment. And you can power them on remotely when you’re on the way home, so your home is cool when you arrive.

Smart plugs are inexpensive, ranging from $15 to $30, and can be ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth based. Most work with either Alexa or Google Assistant, and you can easily control them from your phone. The best use for smart plugs is voice control and automation, but it’s possible to save money too. But, not every A/C unit is compatible with smart switches, so the first thing you should do is check if yours will work with smart plugs.

How to Check If Your A/C Works With a Smart Plug

Closeup of A/C unit showing mechanical power and speed switches and a turn dial.
Your A/C unit needs physical toggle switches or dials, similar to this one, to work.

Smart plugs are great gadgets that work on simple principles. First, plug a device—like a lamp or coffee maker—into the smart plug. Plug the smart plug into the electrical outlet. Now, you can program and control the plug with its smartphone app.

When you turn the smart plug off, it cuts power to whatever is attached to it. Effectively, it’s the same as unplugging the lamp or coffee maker. When you turn the smart plug on, you’ve “plugged the lamp in.”

But that same simple principle of cutting and restoring power limits smart plug capabilities. Not all appliances will work with a smart plug because some use an electrical switch. Electrical switches store the current state of on and off on a circuit board, and that memory is lost when power is lost. Mechanical switches let power through based on their physical state, just like a standard light switch.

The first thing you want to do before buying a smart plug for your window A/C is to examine the power buttons. Is it a soft push button with an LED display? Or a mechanical switch that flips into different positions for on and off such a toggle or dial?

A closeup of an A/C unit showing an electrical switch and LED screen.
Soft buttons and an LED screen are usually an electrical switch, and will not work with a smart plug. Josh Hendrickson

If it’s a soft push button, the unit likely won’t work with a smart plug. If it’s a mechanical switch, then you can make it smart. If you still aren’t sure, there’s a simple test to check. Turn your A/C unit on then unplug it. Wait five seconds, then plug it back in. If your A/C unit turned on without you pressing any buttons, then it will work with a smart switch.

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Geek Trivia: Which Common Computer Symbol Is Based Off The Binary System? https://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/which-common-computer-symbol-is-based-off-the-binary-system/ Sat, 22 Jun 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick http://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=trivia&p=126861

Which Common Computer Symbol Is Based Off The Binary System?

  1. USB
  2. Bluetooth
  3. The Power Button
  4. Firewire

Think you know the answer?

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Microsoft’s New Windows Terminal Is Now Available https://www.howtogeek.com/426002/microsofts-new-windows-terminal-is-now-available/ Sat, 22 Jun 2019 03:29:25 +0000 Chris Hoffman https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=426002 New Windows Terminal showing Linux applications
Microsoft via The Verge

You can now download a preview version of the new Windows Terminal app from the Store on Windows 10! Microsoft released this application on the evening of June 21 after a listing showed up earlier that day.

After downloading the Windows Terminal app from the Store, you can take advantage of all the new features—including tabs, finally! You can combine tabs from the traditional Command Prompt, Linux Bash instances, and PowerShell in the same window. It’s a deeply customizable environment, too. Here’s how Microsoft describes it:

The Windows Terminal is the new, powerful, open source terminal application that was announced at Build 2019. Its main features include multiple tabs, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, a GPU accelerated text rendering engine, and custom themes, styles, and configurations.

For more information about this awesome new application, read Microsoft’s blog post announcing the release. We look forward to playing with it a lot more in the days to come.

Microsoft says you need “Windows 10 version 18362” to use the application. That’s the build number associated with the May 2019 Update, so you’ll need either that or a Windows Insider build installed.

RELATED: Everything New in Windows 10’s May 2019 Update, Available Now

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Daily News Roundup: Malware in Your Pirated Software https://www.howtogeek.com/fyi/daily-news-roundup-malware-in-your-pirated-software/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 15:42:11 +0000 Josh Hendrickson https://www.howtogeek.com/?post_type=fyi&p=425879

Researchers at ESET and Malwarebytes have discovered crypto mining malware hidden in pirated music production software. The pirated software loads the malware in an emulated copy of Linux Preview Changes (opens in a new window)and can infect Windows, Linux, and even MacOS.

Downloading pirated software is generally a bad thing to do. Not only does it deprive developers of earnings for their hard work, but you may also put yourself at risk in the process. Case in point, researchers at ESET and Malwarebytes, recently published findings of malware they’ve dubbed Loud Miner and Bird Miner respectively.

From what we can tell, they’re looking at the same malware, as nearly all details line up. The companies found crypto miners hidden in pirated copies of music production software known as Ableton Live.

Ableton Live is a high-end audio software and is known to be, out of necessity, processor intensive to use. That fact makes it a perfect target for the malware developers, as they can surmise that anyone that wants to the software will have powerful processors (useful for crypto mining), and may write off the heavy processor use from mining as the audio software doing its job.
The developers of the malware took novel steps to both infect as many people as possible and hide their true intentions.

The software creates an emulated copy of Linux, known as TinyCore, to run from, allowing it to work across Windows, Linux, and Mac. And before it begins mining, it checks processor usage. If it detects 85% or more of the CPU in use, it waits to mine until more resources are available. The software also closes if certain tools, like Activity Monitor, are running that may reveal it.

Malwarebytes already updated its software to detect Bird Miner, for anyone worried about infection. [TechRadar]

In Other News:

  • Apple launches a voluntary recall of some MacBooks: 15-inch MacBook Pros from mid-2015 are overheating. Drastically enough, Apple felt the need to do a recall. You can check Apple’s recall site to see if the recall includes your MacBook; if it does you’ll get a new battery. Now if only Apple would recall its keyboards and replace it with something good. [9to5Mac]
  • Canada’s largest credit union just revealed a massive breach: Desjardins, Canada’s largest credit union, revealed an employee leaked the personal information of 2.7 million people and over 170,000 businesses. The bank fired the employee and is offering monitoring services to everyone impacted. They say you shouldn’t stash cash in a mattress, but sometimes it sounds tempting. [ZDNet]
  • Google is exiting the tablet business: The lead engineer for Google’s hardware division has confirmed the company no longer plans to make tablets. The decision included canceling two projects already in the works. If we’re honest, there’s no great Android out there, and the OS is half the problem. So losing Google tablets isn’t a huge loss. Other manufacturers will still fill in the gap anyway. [Ars Technica]
  • Windows 10 will tell you if the May 2019 Update is blocked: With any significant Windows 10 update, Microsoft likes to scan your PC for potential known problems with the update. If it finds a match, it blocks the update to prevent issues. That’s good, but until now you were told “no update available” which is slightly misleading. You may have thought the May 2019 Update wasn’t released. Now Windows will tell you that it’s blocked and give you a link to why. Good stuff. [TechRadar]
  • Esports comes back to the X Games: The X games stopped hosting esports about three years ago. Now they’re returning and the first game to be featured is rising battle royale star Apex Legends. The prize pot is over $150,000, and qualifiers are on June 29th so get your team together quickly. My first pick is Wraith, but I’ll settle for Bangalore. [Engadget]
  • Google Maps is filled with fake businesses: Google Maps is an easy place to check for a local plumber, electrician, or car repair shop. Unfortunately, many of these businesses are fake and lead to competitors, or are people posing as other businesses. It’s always a good idea to check more than one source when you need to find a repair service, especially one you invite into your home. And if you find a fake business, you should report it to Google[The Verge]
  • A survey indicates the Tesla Autopilot name may lead to overconfidence in the tech: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did a survey asking people how safe they felt using self-driving features like taking hands off the wheel, talking on the phone or sleeping. The study gave participants the names of several competing technologies (Autopilot, Supercruise, etc.) but no manufacturer names or explanations of capabilities. Autopilot scored much higher in trust even in actions it’s clearly not designed for, like napping, which is disconcerting. What’s in a name exactly? [IIHS]

You may have seen the news that smartphone users are growing a skull horn in the back of their head. The research comes from a chiropractor and associate professor of biomechanics who have the studied abnormally large bony structures in the base of some people’s skulls.

While the study hypothesized that the cause was bad posture from staring at smartphones and tablets, it failed to do several things to establish that theory.

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How to Save Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations as PDF Files https://www.howtogeek.com/425424/how-to-save-powerpoint-files-as-pdf-files/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 15:23:19 +0000 Marshall Gunnell https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425424

powerpoint logo

If you want to share your presentation with someone that doesn’t have Microsoft PowerPoint, you can save and share the file as a PDF. You can also adjust the way the slides appear on the PDF. Here’s how.

Save PowerPoint Files as PDFs

When you save a PowerPoint presentation as a PDF file, the layout, format, fonts, and images of the presentation will remain the same. This lets users without access to PowerPoint view the presentation (though they are unable to edit it).

First, open the PowerPoint presentation to be saved as a PDF. Select the “File” tab and then click the “Export” option in the left-hand pane.

Select Export option in File tab

You’ll then be at the “Create PDF/XPS Document” tab. Here, select “Create PDF/XPS.”

RELATED: What Is an XPS File and Why Does Windows Want Me to Print to One?

Create PDF or XPS file

Window’s File Explorer will appear. Select the location in which you would like to save your new file. You can see that the “Save as type” is now PDF. You can also rename the file as you like.

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How to Report a Fake Business Listing on Google Maps https://www.howtogeek.com/425883/how-to-report-a-fake-business-listing-on-google-maps/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 14:59:55 +0000 Chris Hoffman https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425883

Google Maps showing Googleplex location

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google Maps is overrun with fake business listings created by scammers, and Google says it removed more than 3 million of them in 2018. Here’s how to report any fake businesses you see.

We’ve done this before when we noticed a nearby business listing was fake and didn’t match a real business in its location. The fake business listing vanished immediately after we reported it. By reporting any scams you see, you’ll be doing everyone who uses Google Maps a big favor.

To report a listing, locate and select the business listing in Google Maps. Click or tap the “Suggest an Edit” button.

Suggest an Edit button in Google Maps

Select “Remove this place” to tell Google the listing should be removed from Google Maps. If you’re not signed into a Google account, you’ll be prompted to log in before you continue.

(If a scammer has taken over a real business listing with a fake phone number or website, you should instead select “Change name or other details” and provide the business’s real details.)

Option to remove a listing from Google Maps

Provide a reason for the removal—this is technically optional, but it will tell Google why the business should be removed. For example, you can select “Doesn’t exist” or “Spam, fake, or offensive” if the business is a fake listing or a scam.

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How to Disable Form Autofill in Google Chrome https://www.howtogeek.com/425270/how-to-disable-form-autofill-in-google-chrome/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 14:24:13 +0000 Brady Gavin https://www.howtogeek.com/?p=425270

chrome logo

When you fill out a form, Chrome asks if you want to save the information to speed things up the next time. If you neither use this feature nor like Google storing your information, it’s easy to turn off.

How to Disable Form Autofill

Fire up Chrome, click the menu icon, and then click on “Settings.” Alternatively, you can type chrome://settings/  into the Omnibox to go directly there.

Click the menu button, then click Settings

Scroll down until you see the Autofill section, and click on “Addresses and More.”

Click Addresses and More

Untoggle the switch next to “Save and fill addresses.”

Untoggle Save Addresses and More

RELATED: How to Make Chrome Stop Offering to Save Credit Card Data

How to Delete Form Autofill Information

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