How-To Geek We Explain Technology Sun, 17 Feb 2019 07:05:01 +0000 en-us hourly 1 Geek Trivia: Which Major Video Game Company Also Owned A Major League Baseball Team? Sun, 17 Feb 2019 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Major Video Game Company Also Owned A Major League Baseball Team?

  1. Microsoft
  2. Sony
  3. Sega
  4. Nintendo

Think you know the answer?

The Best Vacuum Cleaners for Your College Dorm Room Sat, 16 Feb 2019 13:00:16 +0000 Jennifer Allen

When heading to your new dorm room, buying a vacuum cleaner specifically for it might not seem like the most exciting of purchases to make. It’s a necessary thing to buy though, so we’ve looked at the best vacuum cleaners for your dorm, so you don’t have to put too much thought into your purchase.

We’ve focused on bagless vacuum cleaners because they’re far easier to maintain than vacuum cleaners that need new bags at regular points. We’ve also only looked at relatively inexpensive options because who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on keeping their dorm room clean? Exactly. On top of that, you won’t find any full-size upright vacuums here. With the average dorm room barely over a hundred square feet and typically without an actual closet, there’s not a lot of

Whatever your requirements, here’s the best vacuum cleaner for your dorm room.

Best For Unidentifiable Stains: BLACK+DECKER HNV215BW52 Compact Cordless Lithium Wet/Dry Hand Vacuum ($40)

Black and Decker HNV215BW52 Compact Cordless Lithium Wet/Dry Hand Vacuum
Black + Decker

We’re not going to ask questions about what happened but sometimes you’ve got an unidentifiable stain on your dorm floor or furniture and you know it’s a bit wet, a bit dry, or a lot of both. That’s where you need a vacuum cleaner like the BLACK+DECKER HNV215BW52 Compact Cordless Lithium Wet/Dry Hand Vacuum. It’s a small handheld vacuum cleaner that’s designed for quick cleanups and spills.

It deals with anything you throw its way without too much fuss. A washable bowl and filter mean you can clean up any stinks thoroughly, and it’s always easy to see what the dirt level is like as you go along. Its 12AW suction power isn’t strong enough to do the whole room, but if you just need to clean up some bits and pieces, it’s ideal. The charger is wall mountable too if you happen to have a room where it’s ok to mount stuff.

Best Budget Option: Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Stick Vacuum Black ($30)

Eureka Blaze Stick Vacuum Cleaner

A good stick vacuum cleaner doesn’t have to cost a fortune, as the Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Stick Vacuum demonstrates. It utilizes a swivel steering action so you can easily move around your dorm room without missing any crevices or awkward corners. That’s made even better by its designated crevice tool.

You can easily transform it to a hand vacuum, stair vacuum or stick vacuum through a few tweaks to the cleaner’s build, with the Eureka Blaze keen to pick up large or small particles just as easily.

The stick only weighs 4lbs so it’s super easy to maneuver, whether you’re using it on hard floors or low pile carpets. Its 18-foot power cord means it covers a wide area in no time too.

Best 2 in 1 Option: Bissell Adapt Ion Pet 2 in 1 Cordless Stick Vacuum ($100)

Bissell Adapt Ion Pet 2 in 1 Cordless Stick Vacuum

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What Does “Fulfilled by Amazon” Mean? Sat, 16 Feb 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Harry Guinness

When you’re shopping on Amazon, you might have seen the words “Fulfilled by Amazon” next to some of the things you buy. You hopefully won’t notice anything different about the purchase experience, but you could run into problems.

Amazon the Marketplace

Amazon isn’t just an online store—and it hasn’t been for some time. It’s a marketplace, like eBay or Alibaba; it just hides that fact better.

Over 80% of the products sold through Amazon are bought not from Amazon but from an Amazon Marketplace seller who is paying Amazon to list their product. The numbers are even crazier when you look at the products listed on Amazon, not just sold: of the 350 million-plus products available, Amazon only sell 12 million of them directly—not including books, media, and wine—the rest are sold by Marketplace sellers.

Even if you’ve never noticed you were buying from a Marketplace seller before, the odds are you have.

Fulfilled by Amazon

The reason most people don’t realize that Amazon is a marketplace like eBay is it generally smooths over all the roughs and bumps. Sellers have two options:

  • They can list their products on Amazon and, when an order comes through, pack and ship it themselves.
  • They can list their products on Amazon and bulk ship any number of items to an Amazon warehouse. When an order comes through, Amazon workers pack and ship it like it’s an Amazon product. This is Fulfilled by Amazon.

For sellers, the big advantage of Fulfilled by Amazon is Amazon handles everything. They don’t need to run their own store, handle payment processing, deal with a shipper, pack things up, or customer care—for a small fee, Amazon does it. Sellers sometimes refer to Fulfillment by Amazon as “FBA.”

For customers, the advantage is that they get the same, regular Amazon experience, including stuff like Prime, free shipping, and the like, for an extra 338 million products that Amazon doesn’t sell directly. Most people—including me—don’t even notice when they’re not buying directly from Amazon. The packages arrive at your door just the same.

How to Spot an Amazon Marketplace Seller

While Amazon doesn’t trumpet it from the rooftops when you buy from a Marketplace seller, they don’t hide the information either. Here’s an official Amazon listing.

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Internet Streaming: What is it and How Does it Work? Sat, 16 Feb 2019 11:40:00 +0000 Andrew Heinzman

Smart TV displaying streaming service apps
Manuel Esteban/Shutterstock 

We’ve been streaming content from the internet for a long time, and it’s gotten to the point that the internet is synonymous with services like Netflix and Youtube. But what exactly is streaming, and how does it work?

Streaming Happens Bit by Bit

When you want to watch a video or play a song on your computer, you need to download it first. There’s no way around that. Knowing this, you may look at Netflix or Spotify and ask “how did we figure out how to make videos and music download instantaneously?” Well, that’s just the thing. When you stream media, it isn’t downloading to your computer instantaneously; it’s downloading piece by piece in real-time.

The word “streaming” is self-descriptive. Information arrives at your computer in a continuous, steady stream of information. If downloading movies is akin to buying bottled water, streaming movies is like using a faucet to fill an empty bottle.

You could compare streaming a movie to watching a VHS tape. When you play a VHS tape, every second of video and audio is scanned piece by piece. This happens as you’re watching in real-time, which means that any interruptions will suddenly pause or end your movie watching experience.

When you stream a movie or a song, your computer downloads and decodes itty-bitty pieces of a media file in real-time. If you have an unusually fast internet connection, then the file may be fully downloaded before you’re finished watching or listening to it, which is why a stream will sometimes go on for a while even if the internet cuts out. That being said, anything that you stream doesn’t go into your computer’s permanent storage (although some services, like Spotify, will put some small cache files on your device to make future playbacks faster).

Businesses Work Hard to Make Streaming Fast

Streaming video and audio from the internet isn’t new; it just feels new because it’s finally convenient. Watching a video or playing a song from a website happened bit by bit used to be an annoying and time-consuming affair. The stream would constantly stop and start, and you could spend minutes just waiting for media to buffer (and sometimes, it wouldn’t buffer at all).

But the way that streaming works has mostly stayed the same. Files download bit by bit as you’re watching or listening to them. It’s the infrastructure that’s changed, and businesses like Youtube and Netflix have worked hard (and spent a lot of money) building that infrastructure.

abstract filing cabinets bulging with files

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Geek Trivia: Marvel Successfully Argued In Court That The X-Men Were Mutants In Order To What? Sat, 16 Feb 2019 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Marvel Successfully Argued In Court That The X-Men Were Mutants In Order To What?

  1. Protect Trademarks
  2. Ban Copycat Products
  3. Establish The Mutant Registration Act
  4. Dodge Import Taxes

Think you know the answer?

Here We Go Again: 127 Million Accounts Stolen From 8 More Websites Sat, 16 Feb 2019 02:23:48 +0000 Chris Hoffman Keys in a lock

Several days ago, a hacker put 617 million accounts from 16 different websites for sale on the dark web. Now, the same hacker is offering 127 million more records from another eight websites.

As TechCrunch reports, the eight new websites are:

Houzz (57 million), YouNow (40 million), Ixigo (18 million), Stronghold Kingdoms (5 million), Roll20 (4 million), (1.8 million), PetFlow (1 million), Coinmama (450,000)

The hacker is selling all the data together for about $14,500 worth of Bitcoin. Anyone who has that much cash can buy it.

If you have an account on any of these websites—or any of the other websites that have been compromised—you’ll want to change your password right now. The same is true if you used a password on one of these websites and reused it elsewhere. That’s why you shouldn’t reuse passwords across multiple websites. We recommend using a password manager to remember all those strong, unique passwords for you.

RELATED: Change Your Passwords: 617 Million Accounts Were Stolen Across 16 Different Sites

Windows 10 Will Finally Offer Easy Access to Linux Files Fri, 15 Feb 2019 23:26:31 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Ubuntu and openSUSE shortcuts in Windows 10's Start menu

Windows 10’s April 2019 Update brings a long-awaited feature: Support for easily accessing, viewing, and even modifying Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) files from File Explorer or via the command line.

Previously, it was possible to find your Linux files in your AppData folder, but Microsoft warns against that. Modifying files here would break things. Now, there’s an easier, official way to access these files with Windows tools—without the risk of breaking anything!

Microsoft’s Craig Loewen explains how it works: Rather than accessing these files directly, Windows runs a Plan 9 server as part of the WSL software in the background. Windows 10 has “a Windows service and driver that acts as the client and talks to the Plan9 server.” That server translates your file operations and handles Linux metadata such as file permissions, ensuring everything works properly even when you access a file with a Windows tool. But that’s just the complicated stuff that happens in the background, and you don’t have to think about it.

You can open a File Explorer window directly in the current directory from within a Linux shell environment. Just type the following command into the Bash shell:

explorer.exe .

You can work with files normally from here. Use drag and drop, copy and paste them, or even open them directly in Windows applications to modify them.

A Linux home directory in File Explorer

Microsoft may change how this works in the future. But, for now, you can also type following path into an Explorer window to access a Linux distribution’s files:


In other words, if you’re running Ubuntu’s Bash shell, you’d type:


This also works from the command line, of course. In PowerShell or the Command Prompt, the command cd \\wsl$\Debian\ changes to the root directory of your installed Debian system.

Linux files displayed in PowerShell

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Deal Alert: Upgrade to a SHIELD (With Controller) for Just $107 Plus Shipping Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:23:35 +0000 Michael Crider The SHIELD has a fantastic discount today.

We’ve made no secret of our love for NVIDIA’s SHIELD: it’s easily the best stand-alone streaming gadget around. If you still don’t have one, head over to Amazon for a great deal today.

The SHIELD, along with its minimalist remote and excellent controller (which isn’t always included), is going for just $107 plus the cost of shipping. To my location, that all comes out to a bit under $115. That’s a savings of $85 on the set-top box and controller combo and an impressive $65 off the SHIELD alone.

Note that, with NVIDIA’s excellent record of software and functionality updates, the SHIELD makes a great gift even if you have to sit on it for the better part of a year. Though it often goes on sale, it’s pretty rare that the discount gets this steep.

Gamer Deal: Buy a Nintendo Switch, Get a $35 eShop Credit Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:14:48 +0000 Andrew Heinzman

Have you been holding off on that Nintendo Switch for months? Well, Nintendo isn’t about to reduce the price of the Switch, but the company is offering a $35 eShop credit with new console purchases on Amazon.

Nintendo isn’t known for slapping big discounts on games or consoles. The company refuses to sell a Switch for less than $300, and first-party games seem to be perpetually stuck at the $60 mark. But that’s what makes this $35 eShop credit so sweet.

When you buy a new game console, you have to grab some new games (otherwise, there’s no point). A free $35 eShop credit is, essentially, a fat discount on a copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey.

Now, some of you keen gamers may be thinking about the Nintendo Switch bundles, don’t those come with a free game? Well, those bundles usually cost more than $360, and some of them have become collectors items that go for more than $400. The $35 eShop credit is actually a much better deal.

The Best Wi-Fi Cams with Facial Recognition Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:00:00 +0000 Craig Lloyd
Nest IQ indoor camera on a table

If you just need a simple Wi-Fi cam that can capture video, then there are plenty of options available. However, if you want one that has facial recognition, the list gets much shorter. The good news is that there are still some great options to choose from.

Face Detection vs. Facial Recognition

Before we go over some options, it’s important to know the difference between face detection and facial recognition, because you’ll see both of these terms used in the description of Wi-Fi cams when you go look at the features. They may seem like the same thing, but one is far superior.

Face detection is when cameras can differentiate a person from another object. So while cameras can still detect motion for cars, animals, trees, and more, they can also specifically detect a person, which can be extremely valuable to the homeowner.

Facial recognition takes this a step further and not only detects a person, but can also detect who that person is, specifically. So with a little help from the user and after a few weeks of learning, the camera can eventually know who came to your door, whether it was the postal worker or your neighbor.

With that said, if this is the kind of feature you’re yearning for, here are the best Wi-Fi cams that have facial recognition technology available.

Nest Cam IQ ($299)

Nest IQ camera

Perhaps the best all-around option for a Wi-Fi cam with facial recognition is the Nest Cam IQ. It detect specific people and it even doubles as a Google Home of sorts.

The camera itself can record 1080p HDR video and has a 130-degree field of view. It also has night vision capabilities, and has a speaker and microphones built in for two-way talk. That same speaker and microphone array is also used with Google Assistant, so the camera has a built-in Google Home Mini.

As for the facial recognition, you’ll need to pay for Nest Aware, which is a subscription service that starts at $5/month. This will give you the facial recognition feature that makes it possible to detect specific people. Nest Aware will also give you 24/7 continuous recording and up to 30 days of video storage.

Netatmo Welcome ($199)

Netatmo smart camera

A slightly cheaper option is the Netatmo Welcome, which comes with a smaller sensor than the Nest Cam IQ, but can still do 1080p video and facial recognition.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S5e Gives Premium Android Tablets Some Life Support Fri, 15 Feb 2019 15:26:59 +0000 Michael Crider The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is one of the only premium Android tablets left

High-end Android tablets are thin on the ground these days. Though Apple is all-in on the iPad Pro, Google has abandoned its Nexus and Pixel slate designs, and NVIDIA gives the SHIELD no love. Samsung is picking up the slack.

That said, even the Galaxy Tab S5e is less bodacious than some of Samsung’s earlier Android-powered tablets. At $400 for the Wi-Fi model it’s not competing with either the iPad Pro or the high-end Surface line, instead making its consumption-focused design much more attainable. The highlight of the spec sheet is certainly the 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 OLED screen—still a rarity outside of the phone market. That will make for rich, vibrant colors and deep contrast.

The Galaxy Tab S5e is shockingly thin and light.

But elsewhere the specs are oddly muted. The S5e is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor, and it gets just 4 GB of RAM in its base 64 GB configuration (an upgraded 6 GB/128 GB version will be available). Cameras are 13 megapixels on the rear and 8 on the front, and as is Samsung’s wont, it’s packing a MicroSD card slot for easy storage expansion. The battery is a generous 7040 milliamp-hours, recharged via USB-C.

There’s no pen or stylus built-in, but an optional keyboard case (connected via proprietary POGO plugs) will let you bang out emails or work on your screenplay if you’d like to travel without a heavy laptop. Samsung’s Dex software, when combined with a dock, monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse, gives you an approximation of a desktop experience.

At just 400 grams (a little less than .9 pounds) and 5 mm thick, the Tab S5e is shockingly light, and it will be much easier to throw in a bag or purse. And, as if it mattered these days, it runs Android 9.0 and Samsung’s new “One” user interface out of the box. The tablet has a vague “Q2” launch window and will be available in black, grey, or gold color options.

Source: Samsung

How to Total Rows and Columns in Microsoft Word Fri, 15 Feb 2019 20:00:00 +0000 Hayley Milliman

Word logo

If you need to total values in a Word table, you can do so without breaking out the calculator or entering the data into Excel and then copying it back. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

Let’s say you have a table something like the following. You have the units sold and the per unit cost, and you want to multiply those to get a total.

table of sales figures in word

Start by placing your insertion point into the blank top cell in the “Total” column.

Next, switch to the new “Layout” tab that appears toward the right end of the Ribbon (there’s a separate Layout tab just for tables) and then click the “Formula” button.

click the formula button on the layout tab


In this example, we are going to multiply the value in the “Units” column by the value in the “Unit Cost” column. To do this, type the following into the “Formula” field to multiply the values in the two cells to the left of the current cell:


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The Best Body Pillows for Easing Your Aches and Pains Fri, 15 Feb 2019 13:00:37 +0000 Jennifer Allen
Woman sleeping with a body pillow
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Body pillows are great for a number of reasons—from easing back pain to simply making you feel supported and comfortable in bed. We’ve got the best body pillows for you here.

Ever found that hugging a pillow helps your posture in bed? Or that it just feels nice to be snuggled up against a heavy object? That’s where the concept of body pillows comes into its own. Rather than using a conventional body pillow to facilitate such needs, you can buy a dedicated pillow that’s just the right size and weight to support you as you sleep. They’re great for people who struggle with back or neck pain, as well as pregnant women, and those just looking for some comfort. Here’s our pick of the bunch for every scenario.

Best Overall: Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Full Body Pillow ($70)

Snuggle Pedic Body Pillow

The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Full Body Pillow is the best one size fits all body pillow out there. It’s made from shredded memory foam so it never goes flat and always feels snug to your body. Its cover is extra breathable and micro-vented with 43% viscose of bamboo, 56.4% polyester, and 0.6% lycra to keep you cool and comfy all night long. Its material is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant too so there’s no worries there.

Size wise, it’s a bulky 20 x 54 so it supports you as you sleep on your side, stomach or even in between. Weighing about 7lb, it’s just the right weight for most people too, without being overly cumbersome to move around. It’s a great all-rounder for most people’s needs.

Best Premium Body Pillow: Moonlight Slumber Comfort U Total Body ($100)

Moonlight Slumber Comfort U Total Body Pillow
Moonlight Slumber

Want a body pillow that covers your whole body? The Moonlight Slumber Comfort U Total Body is that body pillow. It’s far from cheap, but it’s fantastic if you need something huge. It helps align your hips, neck, shoulders, and back, all while regulating your body temperature via the material it uses.

It’s definitely not something you can easily use while sharing a bed with someone, but it is great if you’ve struggled with joint pain. It’s made from premium synergic down and it’s hypoallergenic as well as odorless. Its stuffing is made from a fancy sounding material known as ‘extended polymer’ so that air flows freely through the material without losing its shape. For a premium solution, this is it.

Best For Allergy Sufferers: Aller-Ease Cotton Hypoallergenic ($20)

Aller-Ease Cotton Hypoallergenic Body Pillow

Others listed here are good for people with allergies but we reckon the Aller-Ease Cotton Hypoallergenic is the best of the bunch. Aimed specifically at people with household allergens, its materials work hard at preventing the build-up of dust mites. The pillow is stuffed with a hypoallergenic polyester fill that offers complete barrier protection against dust, pollen, pet dander, and other common household allergens.

In addition, it’s made from 100% cotton so air passes through the fabric so you’re kept cool and comfortable at night. It forms an ideal combination of factors that means if allergies are a problem for you then this is the solution. It’s also a sturdy size at 20″ x 54″ so it supports your hips, back, neck, and stomach without any difficulty.

Best Heavy Body Pillow: Triple Cloud Body Pillow ($40)

Triple Cloud Body Pillow
Triple Cloud

A heavier than average body pillow is useful if you’re someone that’s liable to toss the pillow around in the night, or simply want to feel extra secure. The Triple Cloud Body Pillow isn’t quite as heavy as the Moonlight Slumber but it’s a more practical size for moving in the morning. It’s still a hefty 18 x 54 size and it weighs nearly 7.5lb. The pillow is made from shredded memory foam with bamboo-derived rayon so it never goes flat.

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How to Save Money on iCloud Storage Fri, 15 Feb 2019 15:24:00 +0000 Oliver Haslam

iCloud storage graph

The situation with iCloud storage would be funny if it wasn’t so ridiculous, and we’ve already made our feelings clear on whether Apple should offer more storage for free. But if you really must pay, why not save some money?

Even though Apple’s pricing of iCloud storage has improved, that doesn’t excuse the fact that it should be offering more of it for free, and there’s a school of thought that it should give away enough to fully back up any iPhone or iPad they sell. That’s problematic in many ways, not least the fact that with iPhone sales slowing, Apple is relying more than ever on its services as a way of making money.

It’s true that Apple’s iCloud storage pricing is more competitive than some, but that doesn’t excuse it from offering a paltry 5 GB of storage when it’s sat on Scrooge McDuck levels of cash. It’s for that reason that we have no qualms about sharing a couple of ways you might be able to save some money, should you absolutely need some more storage for your photos etc.

So with that said, let’s get started.

Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Apple has sold App Store and iTunes gift cards for many years, and despite the names, they’re ostensibly the same. No matter what it’s called, the card’s balance is ultimately added to your Apple ID which in turn means that you can use it for purchasing any of Apple’s services or software products. That means you can buy apps, music, or even pay for an in-app subscription if you like. And you can even pay for more iCloud storage, too.

That in itself isn’t going to save you any money, but big stores sometimes put iTunes gift cards on sale for a discount, so there may be an opportunity for saving a few dollars here and there. Remember, every little bit helps.

How Much Storage Do You Really Need?

Sometimes we’re all guilty of panic buying. Storage is one area where that can creep up, especially if you’re not really sure how much space you need. It can sometimes be easier to just pay for the highest storage tier just to never have to worry about storage again, but if you don’t quite need that much, you can save a few dollars per month by making sure you’re on the right tier.

Head into Settings, followed by tapping your name at the top of the screen.

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How to Upload the Best Looking Instagram Images Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Harry Guinness

Instagram is probably our favorite social network here at How-To Geek. We always want our photos to look their best, so I did the research. Here’s how to make your images look as good as possible on Instagram.

RELATED: Why Your Facebook Photos Look So Bad (And What You Can Do About It)

Instagram, like Facebook, resizes and compresses your images to match their guidelines. While the algorithms seem less aggressive than with Facebook (which makes sense because Instagram is primarily a photo sharing network), it’s still better to do as much resizing and cropping as possible yourself—blunt algorithms tend to be a bit heavy handed.

Instagram supports images that are up to 1080px wide and between 566px and 1350px tall. That is, crop ratios between 1.91:1 (a wide landscape crop) and 4:5 (a square-ish portrait crop).

Instagram landscape image Instagram portrait image

Anything between these two ratios is good too—they’re just the maximum values. If your image is wider, it will be resized to fit 1080px wide. Similarly, if the crop falls outside the accepted ratios, like say, a 2:3 portrait image, you are forced to crop it to 4:5.

Instagram doesn’t publish any file size guidelines but, after playing around, I found that most of my photos were compressed to JPEGs between 150 kb and 190 kb. Again, this kind of makes sense: under 200 kb is a pretty standard file size for web use.

File size

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What To Do When Your Chromebook Reaches the End of Its Life Fri, 15 Feb 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Tom Westrick


Chromebooks are great for anyone who uses them: they turn on in an instant, have great battery life, and updating them is a breeze. But, the day will come when your Chromebook stops getting updates from Google. What do you do then?

Google is upfront with its update policy: you can see the exact month and year a Chromebook or Chromebox will stop receiving updates. Most Chromebooks still have a long life ahead of them, but Google has started cutting off some of the oldest models already. If you have one of the older Chromebooks, you’ll need to start thinking about what to do when the updates stop coming.

Option One: Buy a New Chromebook

This one’s a bit obvious, but it’s worth stating: when your current Chromebook stops getting updates, the best thing you can probably do is buy a newer device. In addition to getting security updates for the next several years, you’ll also make a big leap when it comes to processing power, memory, and battery life, meaning your new Chromebook will be more enjoyable to use.

Chromebooks made in the past two years also have access to Android applications through the Google Play Store, as well as Linux applications. Of course, you can keep using the new Chromebook as a simple web browser, but newer models give you a few more productivity options. Here are our favorite Chromebooks.

RELATED: The Best Chromebooks You Can Buy, 2018 Edition

Option Two: Install Other Linux Distributions

Ubuntu running on a Chromebook

Chrome OS is built on top of the Linux kernel, which is why newer models can install Linux applications. It also means that users can install Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. There are a few problems you may run into with installing other versions of Linux, but overall, it’s a great way to give your Chromebook a new life.

RELATED: How to Install Ubuntu Linux on Your Chromebook with Crouton

Option Three: Install CloudReady by Neverware

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Are IR Scanners in Phones Bad for Your Eyes? Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:40:00 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
a woman's face being scanned by an iPhone
Maxim P/Shutterstock

New Apple and Samsung phones use infrared light to verify your identity. It’s like a hands-free version of the fingerprint scanner. But can the infrared lights used for Face ID and Iris Scanner hurt your eyes?

It’s a fair question. People don’t know much about infrared light, and it’s hard to find information that explains the potential risks of infrared in layman’s terms. Not to mention, Samsung’s safety disclaimer for the Iris Scanner makes infrared sound kind of scary. But what is infrared, and should we be worried about it?

What is Infrared?

Infrared (IR) is a form of invisible radiation, and it occupies the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Like visible light, microwaves, and radio waves, IR is a form of non-ionizing radiation. It doesn’t strip molecules of their electrons, and it doesn’t cause cancer.

It’s important to know that IR radiation can come from a lot of places. In some ways, you could consider IR a natural byproduct of heat production. Your toaster emits IR light, the sun emits IR light, and campfires emit IR light. Interestingly enough, 95% of the energy produced by fluorescent bulbs is translated into IR. Even your fleshy, disgusting body emits IR light, and that’s how the heat-tracking cameras in spy movies work.

graph of the electromagnetic spectrum. far infrared is close to microwaves, and near infrared is close to visible light

The IR-LED that’s built into your phone is classified as near IR (700–900 nm). It straddles the line between the visible light spectrum and the IR spectrum. Near IR is very similar to visible light, it’s just a lot more difficult for you to see.

The radiation from both visible light and near IR light can heat objects, depending on light intensity and exposure time. Prolonged exposure to high-intensity IR and visible light (staring at the sun or a bright lightbulb) can cause your photoreceptors to bleach and your lens to develop cataracts. To experience vision loss with a low intensity visible or IR light, you would need to keep your eyes open within a millimeter of the light source for almost 20 minutes. This could happen with a light bulb or an IR-LED.

The main concern with near IR is simply the concentration of your exposure. With visible light, it’s easy to tell when you’re being exposed to a blinding amount, and your reflexes cause you to squint or look away. But your eyes aren’t built to see IR light, so it’s impossible to tell when you’re being exposed to a dangerous amount. You know how you’re not supposed to stare at an eclipse, even though it doesn’t seem that bright? It’s kind of like that.

Far IR radiation (25 – 350 µm) is invisible, and it isn’t used in your phone. Far IR radiation overlaps with microwaves on the electromagnetic spectrum, and like microwaves, far IR radiation causes water molecules to heat up. As you can imagine, prolonged exposure to far IR radiation can cause burns to the eyes and skin, but we don’t need to worry about that, because your phone only uses near IR radiation.

IR Scanning is Very Simple

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Geek Trivia: The Speed Of Electricity Was First Measured By What Method? Fri, 15 Feb 2019 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

The Speed Of Electricity Was First Measured By What Method?

  1. Electrocuting Horses
  2. Photographing Lightning
  3. Monitoring Telegraph Replies
  4. Shocking Monks with a Battery

Think you know the answer?

The Best Toothbrushes for Your Dog’s Dirty Teeth Thu, 14 Feb 2019 19:00:23 +0000 Andrew Heinzman

Does your dog’s breath smell like a public bathroom? It may be time to hunker down and invest in some doggy toothbrushes.

Oral hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. While dogs don’t eat nearly as much processed sugar and coffee as we do, they can still develop gum disease, plaque buildup, and tooth decay. Your dog’s breath may be more than a gross inconvenience—it could be a sign of a dirty, unhealthy mouth.

RELATED: The Best Dog Toothpastes to Fix Your Dog’s Bad Breath

Luckily, brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t too difficult. You just need a good dog-friendly toothpaste, a good toothbrush, and a touch of self-confidence. But every dog has different needs (and fears), so you can’t just shove the first toothbrush that you come across into your dog’s stinky mouth. You’ll want to consider your dog’s current oral health (unhealthy gums can become sensitive), and how obedient your dog is when a non-food item ends up in its mouth.

Lucky for you, we’ve taken the time to find the best doggy toothbrushes, for every mutt’s mouth.

Pet Republique 6 Handled Toothbrushes ($8)

Nothing beats the traditional toothbrush. It’s cheap, easy to use, and very effective. If your dog is happy to practice some oral hygiene, then you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you can stick with the tried-and-true.

Pet Republique sells a set of 6 dog toothbrushes for just $8. These toothbrushes are double-sided, with a large brush on one end and a smaller brush on the other. They’re great for reaching far back into your dog’s mouth, and they should last you for a few months.

FOMATE Gentle Silicone Brush Kit ($10)

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The Best Perfume Subscription Boxes Thu, 14 Feb 2019 16:00:56 +0000 Jennifer Allen
Bottle of perfume on a colorful background, surrounded by flowers
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Many of us have a favorite scent or fragrance to wear on a regular basis, but what about if you want to switch to something new or experiment? These fragrance subscription boxes are a great way of discovering new favorite perfumes at a low price.

Like other subscription boxes, the following fragrance collections allow you to pay a monthly sum in exchange for a selection of great smells and fragrances. It’s an inexpensive way of trying out some big name brands, as well as a way to discover more niche names that you might not usually consider. Plus, there’s the bonus of feeling like you’re receiving a great gift in the mail each month.

Here’s our pick of the best fragrance and perfume subscription boxes out there.

Best Overall: Scentbird ($14.95 per month)

Scent Bird Perfume Sampler
Scent Bird

For a one-stop solution to your fragrance cravings, Scent Bird is the place to go. Each month, you get to pick from over 450 designer and niche fragrances before receiving a 30 day supply of it that month. On the first order, you also get a free case for storing future fragrances in. The sprays are travel-friendly so you can easily toss them into your bag, saving you the need to make space for a bulky full bottle of perfume.

Brands include Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Prada, Michael Kors, and many other much loved favorites. If you’re not sure what you might like, the site has a recommendation engine that determines what your dream scent match should be, as well as offers ideas for specific occasions. You’re not tied into a contract, so you can always change the frequency in which you receive fragrances or the number you receive. It’s easy enough to skip or cancel so this works well as a fun treat rather than a commitment. It’s a no hassle introduction to the fragrance subscription box world.

Best For Choosy People: Scent Box ($14.95 per month)

Scent Box Perfume Sampler
Scent Box

On the surface, Scent Box looks very similar to Scent Bird. The same price, you get to choose from an impressive array of over 850 designer fragrances and then receive a 30 day supply of the scent. It’s contained in a small atomizer bottle again, so you can easily place it in your bag to keep with you throughout the day.

So what makes Scent Box stand out even more so? Well, it offers free exchanges. If you don’t like what you’ve received, you can easily swap it for something else, entirely free. That’s a big advantage when you’re still experimenting and trying out what works for you. Sure, it might be something you only end up using a couple of times a year but when you’re paying special for something, it’s nice to have that extra level of control.

Best Niche Choices: Olfactif ($20 per month)

Olfactif perfume subscription box

Olfactif is a little different from the others and proud of it. It focuses on providing niche perfumes and fragrances via its subscription box service. That means perfume that’s hard to find unless you live in a major city. We’re talking creative and original scents that just won’t smell like anything else you can buy in a regular store.

For many, that’s going to be super appealing. It’s good to be different, right? For $20 per month, you get a curated collection of 3 fragrances from around the world. Each spray vial contains more than 40 sprays. If you like what you’ve tried, you can buy a full bottle for between 10% and 20% off the full price. It’s all wrapped up in one of the most charming subscription boxes out there, with handwritten notes telling you all about the scents you’ve acquired. It’s a classy box for people that want to be a little different from the masses.

Best For A Treat: Perfume Surprise ($24.99 per month)

Perfume Surprise subscription box
Perfume Surprise

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How To Tag Files on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad Thu, 14 Feb 2019 20:00:00 +0000 Oliver Haslam

Tagging in Finder

Organizing files is something that few people would identify as fun, but there are some ways you can increase the enjoyment factor while also improving organization. One of those ways is tags; here’s how to use tags on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

If you’re unfamiliar with tags, you’re in for a treat. Adding colors and labels to files lets you easily identify them at a glance, as well as sort and search them in special ways, too. If you want to be able to see all red-tagged files across your entire project folder, no problem. If you’ve ever used tags to manage photos, to-dos, or anything else for that matter, you’ll be right at home here.

How to Tag files on iPad and iPhone

You’ll have to use the Files app to tag files on an iPhone or iPad. Files is the nearest thing to Mac’s Finder that we have in the world of iPhone and iPad. To get started, open the Files app.

You’ll be presented with a list of locations, including those on your device and in the cloud.

Files app locations. Locate your file

Next, tap and hold the file that you want to tag. You’ll notice a new row of options appear above it. Tap the right-pointing arrow to see more options.

Tap and hold a file. Tap the arrow

Once it is visible, tap the “Tags” button.

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Logitech MX Vertical Review: The Clear Leader for Ergonomic Mice Thu, 14 Feb 2019 13:00:37 +0000 Michael Crider
The Logitech MX Vertical is the best vertical mouse we've ever used.
Michael Crider

Historically, vertical mice have been made for carpal tunnel and RSI sufferers. They’ve been functional, but clinical, lacking some of the features of more modern designs. Logitech’s MX Vertical aims to buck that trend—and succeeds.

Thoughtful choices in both hardware and software allow the MX Vertical to serve all the functions of a vertical ergonomic mouse, while still packing most of the bells and whistles that make Logitech’s high-end mice favorites among power users.

It doesn’t hurt that the thing looks like a postmodern sculpture when it sits on your desk. The design is just short of perfect, and it gets an easy recommendation for anyone who wants a comfy, functional mouse that conforms to you like a friendly handshake.

Family Resemblance

You’re probably familiar with the MX Master, Logitech’s top-of-the-line conventional mouse. We’ve already reviewed its trackball variant, the MX Ergo, and I happen to have the original to compare it to as well. Suffice it to say: they’re all pretty fantastic mice. The MX Vertical takes the smooth, premium looks of those mice and rotates them by 90 degrees.

Left to right: the original MX Master, MX Vertical, MX Ergo trackball.
Left to right: the original MX Master, MX Vertical, MX Ergo trackball. Michael Crider

Well, fifty-seven degrees, if we want to be exact. The MX Vertical smoothly contracts and curves up to its top edge, a striking flat oval with the still-confusing “Logi” branding on one side and a thumb button on the other. We’ll get to that button in a bit, but first: the thing just looks fantastic. And that’s no small accomplishment, considering that vertical mice like the Evoluent have a tendency to look like amorphous blobs of plastic.

Soft-touch material is everywhere your hand rests, and the back curves into your palm with an appealing wave pattern. A wide lip at the bottom of the grip keeps your hand off of your mousepad. At the time of writing, Logitech only offers the mouse in a grey-and-darker-grey color scheme.

The MX VErtical looks fantastic, and much better than a typical vertical mouse.
Michael Crider

Logitech told me that a focus of the MX Vertical was to give it the same premium look as its other MX hardware, on the basis that customers who need a design that lowers RSI stress don’t necessarily want a mouse that looks like a piece of medical equipment. That attention to detail shows. Different as the mouse is from conventional design, it won’t look out of place on a designer desk or hanging out with MacBooks and Surfaces.

Hardware Covers The Basics

Extending our look past the, well, looks, the hardware in the MX Vertical is fairly basic. You get standard left and right mouse buttons, a regular clicky wheel, and two thumb buttons set to forward and back by default. Oddly, there’s no hidden button where you thumb rests for gestures or other functions. I was expecting one, as that button is present on the MX Master and my M720 Triathlon. Perhaps it was left out after ergonomic testing.

The primary button configuration is standard left, right, and wheel.
Michael Crider

The battery is rechargeable and—a nice, forward-looking touch—gets its juice via a USB-C port on the front. That’s something the older MX Ergo and MX Master don’t get. The battery on my mouse went down to 50% after a week of testing, which is in line with Logitech’s longevity claims. One minute on the charger gives you three hours of wireless use.

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Do You Miss Touch ID? I Certainly Don’t Thu, 14 Feb 2019 15:24:00 +0000 Craig Lloyd

With the launch of the iPhone XS and XR last year, Apple has gone all-in on Face ID. And while there may be some users who miss the fingerprint sensor, I’m not one of them.

The latest batch of new iPhones that came out in September 2018 was the first not to include Touch ID at all. After owning my first Touch ID-less iPhone for several months now, I can’t say that I’m upset by this move from Apple.

Face ID Is So Much More Convenient

Face ID animation

Touch ID is already pretty convenient—way more convenient than typing in a passcode every time—but Face ID takes it to a whole new level. It’s like Touch ID, but you don’t even have to scan your fingerprint.

Both techniques still require a bit of action on your part to unlock the phone and get to the home screen, but with Face ID it’s just a swipe up from the bottom. Whereas with Touch ID, you have to make sure to place your finger in a specific location on the phone and then wait for it to unlock.

In other words, you don’t even really have to think about unlocking your phone with Face ID. Instead, it just happens, and that’s the kind of convenience I’m after.

It’s More Accurate Than Touch ID Ever Was

Touch ID on the iPhone 6

Having used Face ID for a while now, I can say that the number of times it hasn’t recognize my face has been a lot less than the number of times Touch ID hasn’t recognized my fingerprint.

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How to Protect Workbooks, Worksheets, and Cells From Editing in Microsoft Excel Thu, 14 Feb 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Hayley Milliman

excel logo

You’ve worked hard on your spreadsheet. You don’t want anyone to mess it up. Fortunately, Excel provides some pretty good tools for preventing people from editing various parts of a workbook.

Protection in Excel is password-based and happens at three different levels.

  • Workbook: You have a few options for protecting a workbook. You can encrypt it with a password to limit who can even open it. You can make the file open as read-only by default so that people have to opt into editing it. And you protect the structure of a workbook so that anyone can open it, but they need a password to rearrange, rename, delete, or create new worksheets.
  • Worksheet: You can protect the data on individual worksheets from being changed.
  • Cell: You can also protect just specific cells on a worksheet from being changed. Technically this method involves protecting a worksheet and then allowing certain cells to be exempt from that protection.

You can even combine the protection of those different levels for different effects.

Protect an Entire Workbook from Editing

You have three choices when it comes to protecting an entire Excel workbook: encrypt the workbook with a password, make the workbook read-only, or protect just the structure of a workbook.

Encrypt a Workbook with a Password

For the best protection, you can encrypt the file with a password. Whenever someone tries to open the document, Excel prompts them for a password first.

To set it up, open your Excel file and head to the File menu. You’ll see the “Info” category by default. Click the “Protect Workbook” button and then choose “Encrypt with Password” from the dropdown menu.

click protect workbook and choose the encrypt with password command

In the Encrypt Document window that opens, type your password and then click “OK.”

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How to Fix an Echo or Google Home That Won’t Connect to WiFi Thu, 14 Feb 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

An Amazon Echo and an Google Home side by side

Congratulations, you have a new Google Home or Amazon Echo device! But for some reason, even though you’re confident you have the password correct, it won’t connect to Wi-Fi. The good news is, there are easy solutions to try.

Whether you have a new Google Home or new Amazon Echo device, setup should be easy. As long as you have the correct accounts created, the apps walk you through all the steps in a straightforward manner. But occasionally you might get hung up on connecting to Wi-Fi, even when you’re sure you have the password correct. Often, the problem isn’t your password but the network you’ve chosen or that your smartphone is trying to maintain a working internet connection.

Enable Airplane Mode and Turn On Wi-Fi

airplane mode settings on iPhone

Echo and Google Home devices learn your Wi-Fi details through a handoff. Your smartphone directly connects to the device (creating a temporary Wi-Fi network specific to them), and then the Google or Amazon app passes on the information about your SSID (the name of your Wi-Fi network) and password. Unfortunately, smartphones are aggressive about maintaining a good network connection. When you connect to the new network, your device might realize it can’t find the internet and fall back to using your cellular data instead. When that happens, your phone disconnects from the Google Home or Echo and the setup process can’t complete.

To avoid this, before you begin the setup process turn on airplane mode in your phone’s settings. Then turn on Wi-Fi (which airplane mode just turned off). Once you have reconnected to your network launch the Google Home or Alexa app and try the setup process again.

Falling back to cellular is a common enough problem that Wink makes this same suggestion when setting up its hub.

Try a Different Wi-Fi Band

Google Home and Amazon Echo can connect to either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. It can be tempting to use the 5 GHz band since it tends to run into fewer congestion issues and provide faster speeds, and for those reasons, it probably should be your first choice. But consider how far your new voice assistant is from the router. If that distance is far (you’re at the edges of your house), then your connection may not be reliable. In that scenario, try the 2.4 GHz band. If you already are trying to use the 2.4 GHz band, then try the 5 GHz band, as interference may be the issue. If you have a mesh system, it will take care of choosing the best band for you.

Ad-Hoc Networks May Be Unsupported

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Google Glass Isn’t Dead; It’s the Future of Industry Thu, 14 Feb 2019 11:40:00 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
Google Glass

Google Glass lived a short, sad life. And when you look back, it feels like a bit of a dream. But the dream isn’t over yet, because Glass has found itself an industrial career.

Why Glass Failed as a Consumer Device

man wearing Google Glass
Joe Seer/Shutterstock

There was a lot of hype around Google Glass when it was announced in 2012. It was featured in TIME magazine, endorsed by celebrities, and touted as the future of smart devices. But the smart eyewear was ridiculed by the media, and it became a big joke in the public eye. Google made some awkward attempts to keep the public interested in Glass (they put Google Glass in the shower, and they interrupted a Google+ keynote to push Glass wearers out of an airplane), but the Glass never picked up steam, and its public life ended in 2015.

Why did it fail? For one, nobody knew what Glass was supposed to do. Google itself couldn’t seem to find any uses for the product. Instead of developing life-changing software to show off the Glass’ capabilities, they released some awkward videos that made the Glass seem like a dorky extension of your cellphone. Customers that were part of the “Explorer” program (anyone that bought the device) were encouraged to build software on their own, a prospect that would be more exciting if the device cost less than $1500.

But most of the Glass’ woes were related to privacy and safety issues. The Glass was equipped with a camera, and people were understandably afraid of a future where anybody can walk around with a camera on their face. There was no way to tell when somebody was using their Glass to record video or take photos, so people assumed that Glass users were recording everything. A lot of states banned people from wearing the Glass while driving, because it’s an obvious visual distraction, and a lot of businesses (movie theaters, especially) banned the device because of its camera.

This isn’t to say that Glass is a bad piece of hardware; it just wasn’t ready to be thrown into the consumer market. If anything, the product was still in a beta mode. It had a lot of obvious kinks that Google needed to work out. The device’s safety and privacy issues were also legitimate and predictable, and Google should’ve taken the time to consider them before giving the product so much publicity.

How Glass Quietly Joined The Workforce

man stocking warehouse shelves and wearing Google Glass

While Glass was publicly floundering, Google was quietly testing it in the world of industry. Google’s “build your own apps” approach didn’t appeal to many consumers, but it sounded like a good deal to some corporations. Early adopters, like Boeing, could afford to drop thousands of dollars on smart glasses, and they had the resources to develop some useful software.

When Google noticed that Boeing and other corporations were much more interested in Glass than your average consumer, they leaned into it. After the Glass Explorer program came to a close in 2015, Google began work on an “Enterprise” edition of the device—a version that’s built specifically for industrial use, yet addresses most of the problems that people had with the Glass.

Glass Enterprise is a lighter, more comfortable pair of glasses than the Explorer edition. It has a battery life that exceeds eight hours (perfect for holiday shifts at a warehouse), and it’s equipped with an LED that tells others when you’re taking photos or recording video. The Glass Enterprise hardware is also a lot more flexible than the Explorer edition. People can remove the Enterprise from its standard glasses frame and attach it to safety glasses or the inside of a helmet.

You could theoretically use the Glass Enterprise while wearing sunglasses, safety glasses, or even a pair of goggles.

Glass Enterprise Cuts Costs and Increases Safety

man using drill and wearing Google Glass

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Geek Trivia: The World’s Largest Dark-Sky Preserve Is Located Where? Thu, 14 Feb 2019 07:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

The World’s Largest Dark-Sky Preserve Is Located Where?

  1. Antarctica
  2. Arizona, United States
  3. Alberta, Canada
  4. Subcarpathia, Poland

Think you know the answer?

The Best Video Doorbell with Facial Recognition Wed, 13 Feb 2019 19:00:15 +0000 Craig Lloyd
Nest video doorbell

A lot of video doorbells can differentiate between a person and another random object, but what if you want to know exactly who rang your doorbell? There’s really only one video doorbell on the market that can do facial recognition, but it’s a great option.

Face Detection vs. Facial Recognition

Before we get into that, though, it’s important to know the difference between face detection and facial recognition, because you’ll see both of these terms used in the description of video doorbells when you go shopping for one. They may seem like the same thing, but the latter is far superior.

Face detection is when cameras can differentiate a person from another object. So while cameras can still detect motion for cars, animals, trees, and more, they can also specifically detect a person. The camera won’t know exactly who that person is, but it will at least know that it’s a human being and not a tree.

Facial recognition takes this a step further and not only detects a person, but can also detect who that person is, specifically. So with a little help from the user and after a few weeks of learning, the camera can eventually know exactly who came to your door, whether it was the postal worker or your neighbor.

With that said, if this is the kind of feature you’re looking for, here’s the best video doorbell that can get the job done.

Nest Hello ($229)

Nest video doorbell

Not only doe the Nest Hello come with facial recognition technology, but it’s also one of the best video doorbells to begin with.

The Nest Hello can record 1080p video and supports HDR. It also has two-way talk capabilities and night vision. It’s also the perfect size—small enough to easily fit on door casing and go over the spot previously occupied by your old doorbell.

The face recognition is pretty good, although it’s not perfect. Expect a hiccup here or there in the beginning, although total mismatches are incredibly rare. Most of the time you’ll find, in the beginning at least, it may ask you to identify a person you’ve already tagged (just with a photo from a different angle). This is to be expected when it’s learning faces, though.

The tough pill to swallow is that you need to be subscribed to the $5/month Nest Aware subscription in order to get access to the facial recognition. However, this will also give you seven days of video recording storage, as well as 24/7 continuous recording. That’s a small price to pay for instant and reliable recognition of the people who come to your door. And, as a pretty awesome bonus feature, if you’re using other Google family products like the Google Home Mini or Google Home Hub, it integrates very well with them, even announcing the name of the person it has identified like “John the Mailman is at the front door!”

What Could Come In the Future

Ring video doorbell

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How to Automate Your Mac with Smart Folders Wed, 13 Feb 2019 20:00:00 +0000 Anthony Heddings

Smart Folders in macOS are a tool to help you organize and find your files. They’re not folders, as they don’t contain anything. They’re saved searches, and can save you a lot of time for searches you perform often.

For example, if you often open your downloads folder and sort by Date Added to find your recent downloads, you could instead make a Smart Folder called “Recent Downloads” which only contains files in your Downloads folder added there today, saving you a couple clicks each time.

You make them by defining the search criteria (i.e., all audio files on your drive) and them saving them as a smart folder you can put on your desktop or in Finder’s sidebar. They make use of Finder’s powerful search features that often go overlooked in favor of typing the name into Spotlight.

Making a Smart Folder

You’ll find the option for making Smart Folders under the “File” menu in Finder. You can get Finder to appear in the top menu bar by quickly clicking on your desktop.

This will bring up a familiar search dialog. You can click the + button on the right to add new search criteria.

You can add as many Smart Folders as you want, and by default, Finder will only pull out files that match all of the options you defined. If you want to change this behavior, you can hold down Option and click on the + button, which will change to three dots. This will group together a list of criteria, and you can choose from Any, All, and None.

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How to Get Settlement Money If You Bought a Vizio Smart TV Wed, 13 Feb 2019 17:42:39 +0000 Cameron Summerson Vizio TV Settlement

Last year, Vizio was sued for reportedly spying on customers and using this data to target ads. This resulted in a $17 million class-action lawsuit that is now paying customers who bought a Vizio smart TV between February of 2015 and February of 2017.

Starting now, owners of Vizio smart TVs can sign up to be part of said lawsuit and get their piece of the pie. Don’t expect a huge take here, of course, as the average payout is expected to be $13 to $31. You’ll just need to give them your name, address, phone number (which is how you’ll get the payment), and email address. They also want to know when you purchased your TV and what model it is if you know those things, but they’re not required.

To collect your coin, head over to the Vizio TV Settlement website, click the “File a Claim” button, then fill out out the form with all the aforementioned information.

After that, you’re good to go—just hang out and wait for your lunch money to show up. You don’t even have to be in a hurry here, either, as you have until April 29th to get it done. If you don’t do it before then, you give up your right to get anything from the settlement or sue Vizio for this in the future.

It’s also worth noting that as part of the settlement, Vizio had to agree to delete any consumer data it collected before February 6th, 2017. It will also make it easier to opt-out of this tracking in the future.

via The Verge