How-To Geek We Explain Technology Tue, 22 Oct 2019 15:23:49 +0000 en-us hourly 1 Turn Your Raspberry Pi Zero into a Game Boy with This Solderless Case Tue, 22 Oct 2019 11:45:08 +0000 Matthew DeCarlo Retroflag raspberry pi Game Boy case

There’s no shortage of ways that you can play games from classic consoles such as the Game Boy, but few methods offer as authentic of an experience as this $69.99 enclosure for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Sold by Retroflag, the GPi Case resembles an old school Game Boy and lets you use a Raspberry Pi Zero to play Game Boy games in a form factor that should feel comparable to playing on Nintendo’s original 1989 handheld.

This isn’t the first time someone has used a Raspberry Pi to play classic video games or to replicate the experience of certain handheld consoles. However, the Retroflag GPi Case is noteworthy for how easy it makes the process: there’s nothing to solder and you don’t need to own a 3D printer.

Instead, the GPi Case comes with a small cartridge akin to that of a Game Boy game. This cartridge holds your Raspberry Pi Zero and then you slide that package into the GPi Case to begin your session—after loading your Raspberry Pi Zero with ROMs and an emulator, of course.

the GPi Game Boy case cartridge holding a Raspberry Pi Zero

Features include a 2.8-inch IPS screen, a 3.5 mm audio jack, a power switch, an LED power indicator, an integrated speaker, volume and brightness controls, a USB port for firmware upgrades, as well as all the buttons you’d expect to see on a Game Boy (and a few extras): A, B, X, Y, shoulder buttons, Start, Select, and a D-pad.

The Retroflag GPi Case measures a bit smaller than the original Game Boy at 5.3 x 3.2 x 1.3 inches (less tall and wide but the same thickness) and it also weighs a little over an ounce lighter. It’s powered by three AA batteries or through the included DC-to-USB adapter.

Note that the device is specifically compatible with the Raspberry Pi Zero (Pi0 and Pi0-W, but not the Pi0-WH). The Retroflag GPi Case ships from Amazon for $69.99 and comes with a 12-month warranty.

Source: Liliputing via Amazon

How to Save a Website as a PDF on iPhone and iPad Tue, 22 Oct 2019 15:23:49 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
Full-page screenshot editor on an iPhone running iOS 13.
Khamosh Pathak

It’s handy to save websites and articles as PDFs so you can read them later. Here’s how you can quickly generate a PDF on your iPhone or iPad, and then save it with a service like Pocket.

How to Save a Full-Page Screenshot as a PDF

In iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and newer, you can take a full-page screenshot of a website in Safari and save it as a PDF in the Files app.

There are two notable points about this new method:

  1. The PDF generates as one continuous page without any page breaks.
  2. Instead of a regular PDF, with an A4 page width, the PDF is the same width as the iPhone or iPad on which you’re viewing it.

If you want to generate a cleaner PDF of the page—without the ads and formatting—switch to Reader Mode first. To do this, tap and hold “AA” in the upper-left corner, and then tap it again to customize the text layout.

Tap and hold "AA" in Safari.

Open the website on your iPhone or iPad and take a screenshot. If you have an iPhone X-style device with a notch, or an iPad Pro with Face ID, press and hold the “Side” and “Volume Up” buttons together until you see the screenshot animation.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad with a Home button, press it, along with the “Power/Sleep” button to take a screenshot.

You see a little screenshot preview in the bottom-left corner—tap it.

Tap the screenshot preview.
Khamosh Pathak

You’re now in the screenshot editor. Tap “Full Page.”

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How to Remove Smart Tags from a Workbook in Excel Tue, 22 Oct 2019 14:24:25 +0000 Alan Murray

Excel Logo

Smart tags can be very useful in Excel to quickly change the action a spreadsheet performs on your data. They appear automatically as you work in Excel, but each smart tag can be removed if you do not use them.

What Are Smart Tags?

A smart tag is a small button that appears as data is entered or selected on a spreadsheet. This button provides actions based on the data in the cells. The image below shows the Paste Options smart tag that appears when data is pasted.

The Paste Options smart tag

When the smart tag is clicked, different paste options are provided.

Paste Options provided after pasting

All smart tags work in this way. The options you see will be dependent upon the smart tag and the data in the cell(s).

They provide a quick way to change the action that Excel performed on your data. Excel has a few available smart tags: Paste Options, AutoFill, Flash Fill, error checking, and Quick Analysis.

Smart tags are only temporary. They appear immediately as you select, type, or paste data into a cell. They disappear as soon as you perform another task.

How to Remove Smart Tags in Excel

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How to View a Slideshow on Windows 10 Tue, 22 Oct 2019 13:00:57 +0000 Kevin Parrish

Windows 10 Logo

You downloaded pictures from your camera, phone, or USB drive. Now you want to share these galleries with friends and family in a nice presentation. This guide shows you how to view a slideshow on Windows 10 using native tools.

This guide explains two built-in methods: using the Photos app and using File Explorer. The benefit of the Photos app is that you have immediate access to other albums and folders without digging through File Explorer. Meanwhile, the File Explorer version provides built-in slideshow controls not present in the Photos app.

Use the Photos App

Normally, all you need to do is double-click on an image file to launch the Photos app. If Photos isn’t set as the default image application on your computer, right-click on a photo, hover over “Open With,” and select “Photos.”

Once the app loads, you’ll see the static picture on your screen. Hover your mouse over the picture’s left or right side and you can advance or “rewind” to another image using the virtual arrow overlays.

To start a slideshow, click the three-dot button located in the top-right corner. This expands a drop-down menu listing a “Slideshow” option at the top. Click this option to start the show.

Use Slideshow in Windows 10 Photos App

Once the slideshow begins, it will cycle through all images stored in the initial photo’s associated folder. The slideshow will not add pictures stored in sub-folders.

For controls, you can press the Right Arrow key to move to the next picture or press the Left Arrow key to rewind back to the previous image.

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The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Sold Me on Open-Back Headphones Tue, 22 Oct 2019 09:00:11 +0000 Michael Crider
The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX plugged into a phone.
Michael Crider

Open-back headphones are a product still firmly planted in the audiophile niche. But if you’re looking to see what all the fuss is about with a set from a reliable brand that won’t break the bank, then Sennheiser’s HD 6XX is a perfect place to start.

Technically these headphones are a collaboration between Sennheiser and Drop (AKA Massdrop), which has a sizable catalog of audiophile offerings. A somewhat customized version of the HD 650, the HD 6XX rings up at $220, with optional upgrades for things like VELOUR EARCUPS. If you’re expecting frills, you’ll be disappointed: this is a wired set without extras like a single-side cord or travel-friendly rotating earcups.

But that’s okay, because the HD 6XX isn’t designed to replace conventional headphones. It’s a way to explore your high-quality music and movies in extra fidelity, without spending a ton of money or using a ton of space that a huge array of speakers would. And in that very specific capacity, it delivers.

What’s Different About Open Back?

If this is your time seeing an open-back or “backless” headphone design, check out this guide on How-To Geek. And if you want to ignore my suggestion and make me feel bad, I’ll explain it here: whereas the exterior housing of the earcups on conventional headphones are solid plastic or metal, open-back headphones use a grille or slot design that exposes the back of the driver and other components to the air.

The open back casing on the HD 6XX headphones
See how you can see the inside of the headphones? That’s the “open-back” part. Michael Crider

Why? It creates a more open, balanced sound experience. Whereas conventional headphones are all about isolation, closing you in with your music, open-back designs allow for a more natural sound profile, as if you’re listening to performers in a “real” space rather than inside your head. The difference is almost impossible to get across in text; the best way I can describe it is that they sound less like headphones and more like speakers that just happen to be sitting on the sides of your head.

There’s a downside to this sound profile: noise, both internal and external. Open-back headphones allow in more ambient noise from the environment, with almost zero noise cancellation effects. For example, even at a high volume, I can still hear my keyboard through the music in the headphones as I’m typing this. Open back headphones also allow much more noise out into the environment; if you’re listening to a podcast, someone else in a small room would probably be able to quote the host word-for-word.

the HD 6XX on a much better-looking man than me.

For both of these reasons, open back headphones are unsuitable for environments where you want to keep the music to yourself. Don’t bring them to a library, an airplane, or a Starbucks. Unless you’re a jerk, I guess. Then feel free to sing along while you gargle your Frappuccino.

Amazingly Natural Sound

Not being a “true audiophile” myself, the HD 6XX is my introduction to open-back headphones. But even given the limited utility of headphones that don’t travel well (and aren’t intended to do so), I have to say that the experience is pretty fantastic. On paper, the set’s 10Hz-40kHz range is amazing—almost certainly better than your natural hearing ability. In use, the sound is more dynamic than any set I’ve ever used before, with clearer mids and highs, and better differentiation of specific voices and instruments. The illusion of “space” instead of isolation is unlike anything else I’ve ever used.

The exposed drivers of the HD 6XX
Note that you can see the mesh exterior casing right through the driver. Michael Crider

The set won’t blow you away with pure volume without a dedicated amp, and the open nature of the cups means that it doesn’t preserve head-thumping bass like a conventional headphone design. If you like to rattle your fillings when the bass drops, these aren’t the headphones for you. And as previously discussed, noise cancellation and sound isolation are almost zero.

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How to Troubleshoot Word Startup Problems Tue, 22 Oct 2019 12:00:00 +0000 Marshall Gunnell

The Microsoft Word logo.

Microsoft Office is constantly working to improve its software. Still, there might be times when Word just refuses to start. Here are a few ways you can get Word up and running again.

Update Microsoft Office

It’s always a good idea to keep your software up to date as companies constantly issue fixes for bugs and vulnerabilities that hinder the performance of the application.

Since Office 2013, Microsoft issues any updates to its Office applications automatically unless you told it to do otherwise. If that’s the case, and you’re experiencing startup issues with Word, you might want to update it to the latest version and see if that fixes the problem.

The good news is you can do this from any of your Office apps. So, if Word won’t start, you can update through Excel, PowerPoint, or any other Office programs you happen to have.

To update, open your Office app, click the “File” tab, and then click “Account” at the bottom of the left panel.

Click "Account."

Under the “Product Information” section, click “Update Options” next to “Office Updates.” In the drop-down menu, select “Update Now.”

Office checks for and applies any updates. After the update completes, you see a success message.

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What Is “Military-Grade Encryption”? Tue, 22 Oct 2019 10:40:56 +0000 Chris Hoffman
Two men in military uniforms in a data center.

Many companies tout “military-grade encryption” to protect your data. If it’s good enough for the military, it must be the best—right? Well, kind of. “Military-grade encryption” is more of a marketing term that doesn’t have a precise meaning.

Encryption Basics

Let’s start with the basics. Encryption is, essentially, a way to take information and scramble it, so it looks like gibberish. You can then decrypt that encrypted information—but only if you know how. The method of encrypting and decrypting is known as a “cipher,” and it usually relies on a piece of information known as a “key.”

For example, when you visit a website encrypted with HTTPS and sign in with a password or provide a credit card number, that private data is sent over the internet in a scrambled (encrypted) form. Only your computer and the website you’re communicating with can understand it, which prevents people from snooping on your password or credit card number. When you first connect, your browser and the website perform a “handshake” and exchange secrets that are used for encryption and decryption of the data.

There are many different encryption algorithms. Some are more secure and harder to crack than others.

RELATED: What is Encryption, and Why Are People Afraid of It?

Rebranding Standard Encryption

Whether you’re logging into your online banking, using a virtual private network (VPN), encrypting the files on your hard drive, or storing your passwords in a secure vault, you obviously want stronger encryption that’s harder to crack.

To put you at ease and generally sound as secure as possible, many services tout “military-grade encryption” on their websites and in advertisements.

It sounds strong and battle-tested, but the military doesn’t actually define something called “military-grade encryption.” That’s a phrase dreamt up by marketing people. By advertising encryption as “military-grade,” companies are just saying that “the military uses it for some things.”

What Does “Military Grade Encryption” Mean?

A hand pulling a document marked "Top Secret" out of a filing cabinet.
Photo Art Lucas/

Dashlane, a password manager that has advertised its “military-grade encryption,” explains what this term means on its blog. According to Dashlane, military-grade encryption means AES-256 encryption. That’s the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key size.

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The 5 Best Trunk Organizers for Your Car or Truck Tue, 22 Oct 2019 06:40:38 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
A black trunk organizer full of groceries in a trunk.
Ira Shpiller/Shutterstock

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clean, organized trunk that’s easy to dig through? One that doesn’t throw your groceries around like a primitive beast? It might sound impossible, but a simple trunk organizer can solve these issues.

Trunk organizers are similar to toolboxes and closet organizers. They give you a place to put all your car-junk, so everything stays clean, tidy, and easy to find. And since they don’t move around too much, trunk organizers are also great for holding fragile items, like groceries, antiques, or catered food for dinner parties.

The case for a trunk organizer is pretty clear, but every trunk is different. Some are small, some are large, and some (truck beds) are routinely exposed to the hellish forces of nature.

So, we’ve found the best trunk organizers for every type of car, and we’ll explain why each might be right for your vehicle.

Best Overall: FORTEM Waterproof Organizer

The Fortem trunk organizer.

The FORTEM waterproof trunk organizer is a great option for just about any vehicle. It’s a two-foot-long, collapsible box with three compartments, large mesh pockets, adjustable straps, and a detachable lid (so you can keep its contents private).

Plus, it’s waterproof, so you can use it in a truck bed for things like groceries—although, you’ll probably want to keep it folded up inside your truck so it stays clean.

Best Overall

FORTEM Car Trunk Organizer, Foldable Cover, Waterproof Non Slip Bottom, Straps, Cargo Storage (2 Compartments, Grey)

The FORTEM organizer is large, collapsible, and waterproof, and will work in any car or truck.

Best for SUVs and Vans: PIDO Backseat Hanging Organizer

The PIDO hanging organizer strapped to the back of an SUV bench.

SUVs and vans have a lot of vertical space, which makes the hanging backseat PIDO organizer the perfect solution to keep your trunk completely clear.

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Skip the Store-Bought Caramel Apples: It’s Easy to Make Them at Home Tue, 22 Oct 2019 06:40:12 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
woman dipping an apply in a bowl of melted caramel
Aquarius Studio/Shutterstock

Biting into a crisp, caramel-dipped apple is one of fall’s greatest pleasures. Learn how to make caramel apples following these easy steps.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between Caramel Apples and Candy Apples?

There are many ways to make caramel apples right at home. To be clear, we’re talking about apples covered in buttery rich caramel that will cover your teeth with each bite—not the bright red and hard candy-coated apples that might send you to the dentist. For a rundown on the difference, check out this quick look at caramel and candy apples.

How to Make Caramel Apples

Making caramel apples is a fun fall tradition in many homes, but if you have yet to try it, we’ll walk you through the steps. From preparing your apples to choosing tasty Halloween toppings, we’ve got something yummy for you to try.

Making caramel apples isn’t a supply heavy task, but you do need a few things:

  • A candy thermometer: Depending on which recipe you choose, you may need a candy thermometer to ensure your caramel sauce is at the right temperature.
  • Lollipop or Popsicle sticks: You’ll need to pierce your apples after removing the stem to create a handle for this sweet treat. Sturdy skewers, chopsticks, or sticks from outside also do the trick. If you want your apples to look as professional as possible, you can always buy stout bamboo skewers made specifically for the task.

Supplies in hand, you’re ready to prep!

Prepare the Apples

Placing a skewer in an apple
Emilee Unterkoefler

Wash your apples thoroughly to remove all the wax from the skin and then dry your apples completely before dipping. Cortland, Empire, and Granny Smith apples are all popular for this yummy snack.

Remove the stems and use a Popsicle stick, lollipop stick, or skewer to pierce through the apple as a way to hold your delicious treat. You’ll want to pierce through the section of the apple where you just removed the stem.

Get the Cooling Station Ready

Generously buttering the parchment paper (apples in the background)
Emilee Unterkoefler

Place a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Using room temperature butter, generously grease your parchment paper. The butter will help keep the caramel apples from sticking after being placed on the parchment paper.

Set Up the Yummy Decoration Station

Separate bowls of decorative ingredients including sprinkles, candy corn, chocolate chips, and M&M's
Emilee Unterkoefler

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Geek Trivia: What Soda Originally Came Packed With A Natural Mood-Stabilizing Drug? Tue, 22 Oct 2019 06:02:36 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Soda Originally Came Packed With A Natural Mood-Stabilizing Drug?

  1. Dr. Pepper
  2. Coca-Cola
  3. Pepsi-Cola
  4. 7 Up

Think you know the answer?

Geek Trivia: What Soda Originally Came Packed With A Natural Mood-Stabilizing Drug? Tue, 22 Oct 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Soda Originally Came Packed With A Natural Mood-Stabilizing Drug?

  1. 7 Up
  2. Coca-Cola
  3. Dr. Pepper
  4. Pepsi-Cola

Think you know the answer?

This New User-Replaceable Battery Could Power a Tesla for 1,500+ Miles Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:27:45 +0000 Matthew DeCarlo
Aluminum-air fuel cell
John McLellan

A British engineer has developed a new battery that can be used to power electric cars for upwards of 1,500 miles before they need to be recharged. Deals are being made to begin production and distribution in the UK.

Trevor Jackson, a 58-year-old inventor from Tavistock, Devon, had a career that included working for Rolls-Royce to help design nuclear reactors and a position in the Royal Navy as a lieutenant on nuclear submarines.

A new electrolyte formula is at the core of Jackson’s invention for the high-powered car battery. The formula is said to be top secret but the electrolyte uses lower-purity metal and is described as being non-poisonous or caustic to the extent that Jackson reportedly drank some when demonstrating it to investors—not something you’d do with the toxic substances in most batteries.

More accurately, the new device should be described as a fuel cell and not a battery, DailyMail notes. Compared to the conventional lithium-ion batteries currently powering today’s electronics, Jackson’s aluminum-air fuel cell reportedly generates nine times as much energy (nine times as many kilowatt-hours of electricity per kilogram).

Whereas the existing Tesla Model S can travel for about 370 miles from one charge, the same vehicle could travel up to 2,700 miles if equipped with a version of Jackson’s aluminum-air fuel cell that weighed the same as its lithium-ion battery, or 1,500 miles for a version of the cell that was the same size as the Tesla’s lithium-ion battery. What’s more, Jackson claims that while the Tesla battery costs around £30,000, an aluminum-air cell could power the same car for £5,000.

DailyMail notes that the average British family only travels around 7,900 miles every year, in which case those individuals would only need to swap their fuel cell a few times a year. It’s thought that the new aluminum-air fuel cell will also be useful for industrial applications with large vehicles that typically strain the limitations of lithium-ion batteries. The aluminum-air cells could power large trucks or buses, which would otherwise require lithium-ion batteries that are practically as heavy as the freight being hauled.

Jackson is in discussions with two aircraft makers to use his new fuel cell in propeller planes for short-haul passenger and cargo flights. He has also signed a multi-million-pound deal to start manufacturing the fuel cell on a large scale in the UK, where Austin Electric will be shipping thousands of them in electric vehicles next year.

There are also plans in the works to produce three-wheeler taxis and electric bikes for the Asian market, as well as conversion kits that can transform standard gas and diesel vehicles into hybrids with rear wheels powered by aluminum-air fuel cells and electric motors. Jackson anticipates that conversion kits will be available early next year and each conversion will cost around £3,500.

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Save up to $40 on Amazon Fire Tablets and Kindle E-Readers Mon, 21 Oct 2019 11:46:30 +0000 Matthew DeCarlo An Amazon Kindle

If you’ve been waiting for a heavy discount on Amazon’s devices, now might be the time to get your wallet out. The company has reduced prices by as much as $40 on many of its Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers.

In some cases, this pricing has previously only been offered during sales events that were limited to Amazon Prime subscribers. However, this promotion is available to everyone. The discounted items include the standard Fire 7 and Fire 8, Kids Edition Fire 7 and Fire 8, as well as the new 10th-gen Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite.

Although the Fire 7’s price has only been reduced by $10, that puts the device at $39.99 as it was previously only $49.99. If you’d prefer a bigger display and beefier battery, the Fire 8 has been discounted to $59.99 from $79.99.

Likewise, the Fire 7 Kids Edition is now priced at $69.99 and the Fire 8 Kids Edition is $99.99—both being $30 off their usual rate. Amazon’s “Kids Edition” products come with a protective cover, one year of access to kid-friendly content through FreeTime Unlimited, and a two-year worry-free guarantee that Amazon will replace any devices your kids break.

Amazon’s 10th-generation Kindle (the newest one) has seen its price cut by $25 from $89.99 to $64.99. Key features include an integrated front light for reading in the dark and weeks-long battery life. Alternatively, the Kindle Paperwhite with its ultra-sharp 300 ppi display is now only $89.99, $40 off from $129.99.

It’s not just Amazon US who has these types of deals going on right now. Amazon UK currently offers similar discounts on the Fire 7 (£15 off, now only £35), Fire 8 (£20 off, now only £60), and the Kindle Paperwhite (£30 off, now only £90).

Source: Engadget

What’s the Difference Between Caramel Apples and Candy Apples? Mon, 21 Oct 2019 11:23:37 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
delicious caramel apples covered in crushed nuts
Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock

Just in case you’ve ever wondered if there was a difference between a candy apple and a caramel apple, we’ll break things down and cover the basics.

Many people use the words “candy apple” to describe any apple immersed in a sweet and delicious coating, but we’re here to clear things up. While both sweet treats take washed apples and pierce sticks into them before dipping, each has its own flavors and textures. Whichever is best is for you to decide.

What Is a Caramel Apple?

Although caramel is a type of candy, a caramel apple is not the same as a candy apple. Caramel apples—shown in the photo above—have a soft and chewy texture, and each bite brings you buttery sweet flavors. The perfectly tart apples combined with the sweet and creamy caramel flavor make for a tasty fall snack.

Caramel apples can be made in a variety of ways, depending on the homemade caramel recipe. A basic recipe uses sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, and cream, but others use ingredients like brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk.

Many opt to unwrap and melt caramel candies for a quick and easy-to-make coating. Whichever you choose is up to you.

Caramel apples are also known for being decorated and further flavored with ingredients like chopped nuts, chocolate drizzle, and various candies.

What Is a Candy Apple?

shiny red candy apples with black and white striped sticks resting on a silver platter
Arina P. Habich/Shutterstock

A candy apple is covered with a shiny red hard shell of homemade candy coating and should always be eaten with caution. The candy breaks or shatters with each bite, making it a deliciously dangerous treat to eat.

The candy apple was said to be invented by a candy-maker named William W. Kolb. While experimenting, he dipped apples in a red cinnamon mixture. Although they were intended to draw customers in around Christmas, they’re now commonly consumed around Halloween.

The candy coating is made from ingredients like water, sugar, light corn syrup, and red food coloring. Authentic candy apples have a cinnamon flavor. Nowadays, most people opt to use red food coloring instead.

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How to Link from One PowerPoint Presentation to Another Mon, 21 Oct 2019 15:23:06 +0000 Marshall Gunnell

Microsoft PowerPoint Logo

Linking two presentations together allows you to save time by using already-existing slides. The transition is almost seamless, giving it the illusion of one single presentation. Here’s how to link PowerPoint presentations together.

Before we get started, note that both presentations need to be in the same folder to link them together. Moving or renaming the second file after the link has been created will cause the slide to break.

Linking two presentations together isn’t magic, but it’s as simple as inserting and clicking a hyperlink. What this trick does is allows you to insert a link within an object or text from presentation A that brings you to a specific slide of presentation B while still in presentation mode.

Once you’ve opened the first presentation and have navigated to the slide in which you will be linking from, select the text or object where you want to place the hyperlink.

If you haven’t already inserted an object, you can do so by selecting any of the options in the “Images” or “Illustrations” group of the “Insert” tab, and then selecting the object you’d like to insert.

RELATED: How to Insert a Picture or Other Object in Microsoft Office

Select The Geek to insert a hyperlink

Once selected, head over to the “Links” group of the “Insert” tab and select “Action.”

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How to Set App Time Limits and Block Apps on Android Mon, 21 Oct 2019 14:24:58 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
Focus Mode lock in an app on an Android phone.
Khamosh Pathak

Spending way too much time on your Android device? Use a digital wellbeing app to track your app usage and set app limits. Want some peace of mind? Block specific apps for a bit with Focus mode.

How to Set An App Timer in Android 9 and Higher

Digital Wellbeing is Google’s screen time management feature. It’s available on Google Pixel phones, Android One devices (that run Android 9 Pie and higher), and a limited number of other phones. After you download the Digital Wellbeing app on your device, it shows up as a Settings item.

The Digital Wellbeing app monitors how much time you spend on your phone. It tells you how many times you’ve picked up your phone, how much time you’ve spent in a specific app, and how many notifications you’ve received today.

You can use this information to make decisions about how much time you spend on your smartphone. The app also gives you tools, like App Timer, to curb your usage.

With App Timer, you can restrict how much time you can spend in an app. For example, you can set it up so you only use YouTube 30 minutes per day.

To do this, either swipe down on the notification shade, and then tap the gear icon to open Settings (or open it from the app drawer). Next, tap “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.”

Tap "Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls" in Settings.

In the Dashboard, scroll down to the YouTube app and tap the hourglass icon next to it.

Tap the hourglass icon next to the app.

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Pouring Grease Down the Drain Is the Fastest Way to Meet Your Local Plumber Mon, 21 Oct 2019 10:24:53 +0000 Yvonne Glasgow
a grease caked pan

Dumping grease from bacon and burgers down the drain might seem harmless. Sooner or later, though, that grease will completely stop up your drain. Here’s what to do instead.

Grease Does a Number on Your Drains

When you’re done cooking an especially greasy hamburger, it’s tempting to dump the liquid down the drain. However, if you let that grease sit in the pan long enough to cool, you see that it solidifies again. It’ll do that in your drain, too, clogging it up in the process.

Grease in your pipes collects other gunk that flows through, like food debris. This collection of food and grease builds up and makes your sink drain slowly (or not at all). While you can use some drain cleaner, a bad clog might require a drain snake or a plumber.

Even if you run the water scalding hot to flush it all away, some will still linger somewhere in your plumbing and, worse yet, it causes problems for the whole neighborhood. Hot water can keep the grease solid for only so long and eventually it cools.

Bottom line: There’s no good reason to pour grease down the drain.

What to Do with Your Cooking Grease Instead

Here are three options for cleaning meat grease and cooking oils from your pans.

Pour It into a Jar

Both grease that solidifies and cooking grease that doesn’t can go into a jar and saved until the jar is full. Use separate jars for each type of oil. You can reuse them both (keep them in the fridge) to grease pans or to use in your fryer. If you don’t want to reuse them, just toss the jar when it’s full.

Be careful when pouring hot grease. Don’t burn yourself.

Let It Solidify and Scrape It into the Trash

For grease left over from cooking greasy meats, let the pan cool. When the grease has cooled, it will be solid, and you can scrape it right into the trash can.

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14 Drawing Tools for Beginners Mon, 21 Oct 2019 10:24:37 +0000 Jonathon Heddings  Protractor and compassGearstd/

Have you ever tried to draw a perfect circle? You slowly sketch the outline and then carefully go over it with darker marks hoping that it’s round enough or… you could just use a compass. There are many tools in an artist’s arsenal that make their lives easier and improve their drawing.

Erasers for a Clean Slate

Paper Mate White Pearl Premium Erasers and Vanish 4-in-1 Artist Eraser
Paper Mate, Acurit

An eraser is an essential tool for any artist. The ability to quickly erase your mistakes and start again makes graphite drawing the most welcoming medium for beginners. Erasers don’t just help with mistakes, though. They also allow you to draw out sketch marks and general outlines that can be erased later after the permanent, darker lines are added.

  • Paper Mate White Pearl Premium Erasers: These White Pearl erasers from Paper Mate are a great choice if you’re looking for the classic eraser. They cleanly remove pencil marks without crumbling and falling apart, but are still stiff enough to get out accidental dark lines and marks.
  • Faber-Castell Kneaded Erasers 4-Pack: Faber-Castell makes great kneaded erasers. These are soft and can be molded to form any shape, making them perfect for highlighting and erasing highly-detailed drawings. The erasers come in packs of four, and each eraser has its own plastic case that protects it from getting covered in dirt and ruined in your bag.
  • Vanish 4-in-1 Artist Eraser:  The Vanish is a multi-purpose eraser that is great for mixed media artwork. It’s a four-in-one eraser that can remove charcoal, colored pencils, pastels as well as regular graphite.

Compasses and Protractors for Precise Circles and Angles

Mr. Pen- Professional Compass with Lock and Shinwa Japanese #19 Stainless Steel Protractor
Mr. Pen, Shinwa

Circles and angles are one of the hardest things to freehand accurately when drawing. You can’t just run your pencil along the edge of a ruler to create a perfect circle, and it’s impossible to tell precisely what angle you are drawing at without help. Compasses are great tools that let you draw different sized circles perfectly every time. Protractors let you draw adjustable angles quickly and are an essential tool for any perspective drawing.

  • Mr. Pen Professional Compass: This compass has an extra attachment arm that lets you draw huge circles up to 18 inches in diameter. The Mr. Pen Professional Compass set also comes with replacement lead, needles, and screws in case something gets lost or broken. 
  • Shinwa Japanese Stainless Steel Protractor: This protractor from Shinwa is made of stainless steel, not cheap plastic. The protractor also has a swiveling arm. After you rotate the arm to the angle you desire, you can just run your pencil along the arm creating a perfectly straight line at any angle you want.
  • GemRed Digital Protractor: If you have the extra cash and want something incredibly precise and easy to use, GemRed makes a great digital protractor. This protractor immediately recognizes the angle the two arms are making and displays it on the small screen. Precision on this protractor is guaranteed to be accurate within ±0.3 degrees.

Straight Edges for Drawing Perfect Lines

Ludwig Precision 24" Standard T-Square and Staedtler Mars 4 pc Combination Math Set
Ludwig, Staedtler

Straight edges make drawing clear, dark lines incredibly easy. When you’re first starting to draw using reference images, it’s a good idea to create a drawing grid. This helps you focus on small sections of the drawing without worrying about the flow of the larger picture. T-squares help you draw perfectly straight grids by maintaining a perfect right angle with your desk. Rulers and triangles can also be used in the same way, but provide a more flexible edge that can be moved around and used to draw straight lines at any angle.

  • Staedtler Mars 4 pc Combination Math Set: This four-piece set from Staedtler is made of stainless steel so they won’t shatter from being crushed in a backpack. The set includes a double-sided ruler, protractor, and two right triangles, giving you a good set of straight edges to work with.
  • Ludwig Precision Standard T-Square: If you create a lot of drawing grids or want to draw a lot of perspective or architectural images, then a good T-square will save you a lot of time drawing lines. This model from Ludwig is 24-inches long and is perfect for large projects.

Paper Specifically for Drawing

Canson XL Mixed Media Spiral Sketch Pad and Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad

When looking at tools to improve your drawing, it is easy to forget that there are many different kinds of paper (insert The Office meme here). Different kinds of paper are designed to be better at absorbing various types of media. Sketch paper is made for using graphite, charcoal, pens, and other dry media, while mixed media paper is designed to absorb water and acrylic based paints on top of being compatible with pens and pencils.

  • Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad: If you’re just interested in drawing and sketching, the Strathmore 400 Series is 100 sheets of high-quality paper. The surface is fine-toothed with little grooves that collect graphite and charcoal easier. This means you don’t have to push as hard to make darker lines, and the lighter lines you make won’t just get rubbed and smudged away.
  • Canson XL Series Mix Media Pad: The Canson XL Mix Media Pad lets you combine your pen and pencil sketches with acrylic and watercolors. The paper is extra thick and made to absorb different paints without soaking through to the next page. It’s also made to dry quickly and evenly, so you aren’t spending all day waiting for layers to dry.

Art Blenders to Make Shading Easier

US Art Supply 10 Piece Artist Blending Stump and Tortillion Art Blenders
US Art Supply

Blending stumps and tortillons are great tools for shading and creating fluid art. Real-life isn’t made of lines and edges—everything is smooth and blended. Realistic art should be the same. Blending tools smudge the graphite or charcoal around that’s already on the paper. They let you mix it around almost like wet paint, which allows you to make seamless transitions between sections of your drawing and more easily create even gradients. Blending stumps are made from compressed paper and have a flat exposed surface that makes for smooth but slow blending. Tortillons are made from rolled paper that is tapered on the end. This tapered edge will blend out more aggressively and thinner.

  • US Art Supply Art Blenders: This is a simple set of blenders with four double-ended stumps and six-pointed tortillons. The set includes multiple size blenders for easy switching between highly-detailed shading and covering large areas.
  • Wowoss Art Blender Set: This set from Wowoss includes eight stumps and nine tortillons for blending. This set also includes a felt bag to hold all the blenders, two sandpaper pencil sharpeners, and a pencil extender, all for a low price.

Pencils and Pens for Smooth Drawing

Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils and Pigma Micron Felt Tipped Pen Set
Derwent, Pigma

The pens and pencils you use will affect the quality of the art you produce. Different pens and pencils are better at doing different things. Pens never need to be sharpened and deliver consistent, vibrant lines. The trade-off is a harder time drawing lighter tones, and of course, you can’t erase your mistakes. Pencils are more forgiving and come in a wide range of tones, but can make your hands cramp faster and have trouble producing true blacks. If you want more information about pencils, specifically, we have an article that goes more in-depth into what makes one good for drawing.

  • Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils: If you’re looking for a good set of pencils, you can’t go wrong with Derwent. There are multiple set options you can choose from to buy pencils ranging from 9B to 9H, covering a full range of pencil tones. If you’re looking to improve your drawing, understanding pencil hardness and when to use each pencil is very important.
  • Sakura Pigma 30067 Ink Pen Set: These Micron pens come in varying sizes ranging from 0.20-mm to 1.00-mm. This gives you a bunch of options for line thickness. These felt-tipped pens won’t bleed out or feather on the page either. These Pigma pens are made specifically for drawing, but even a standard BIC pen can produce gorgeous, photorealistic art.

Google Pixel 4 Early Impressions: Radar, Face Unlock, and the Camera Mon, 21 Oct 2019 09:00:30 +0000 Cameron Summerson
Google Pixel 4 Clearly White Held Afar
Justin Duino

Google announced the Pixel 4 last week at an event in New York City, and now that I’ve had it in-hand for a few days, I want to share some initial thoughts on the new features—the radar, Face Unlock, and the cameras.

Before we get into it, though, I want to clarify: this isn’t a full review. I’ve only had the phone for a few days and don’t think that’s quite enough time to write as thorough a review as I’d like. So instead, I’m opting for this compromise—some initial thoughts focusing on the phone’s new and interesting features.

This will be a bit deeper than my hands-on impressions with the phone, but still not deep enough to call it a “review.” These are simply the thoughts I’ve collected over the last few days and want to share before sitting down to pen the full review.

So yeah, let’s talk about it.

Google Gets Innovative Again

Google Pixel 4 Clearly White Top Bezel
Justin Duino

Back in the day, I owned nearly every Nexus phone that existed, and every Pixel device since the series launched, save for one: I skipped the Pixel 3. I’m generally a fan of the XL models, and the massive notch that had absolutely no reason to exist other than “well, the iPhone has one” was enough to make me give that one a hard pass. It was disheartening to see Google make a “me too!” phone just like everyone else.

But with the Pixel 4, ol’ Googly-poo went back to the drawing board and actually thought about what it wanted to do with the phone. So what we have now isn’t a “me too” phone, but an innovative and forward-thinking piece of hardware. It still has everything that Pixel-lovers, well, love about Pixel phones—namely, clean Android and a killer camera—but it’s also new, fresh, and different. Not just compared to Pixels of old, either—compared to the entire Android ecosystem.

The Bezel Makes it Better

Yeah, so the 3XL had that awful notch (and for the record, I’m not a “notch hater;” that one was just bad), and at first look, it would be easy to think that the Pixel 4 is a step backward because it has a full-length upper bezel. There’s this weird notion amongst tech enthusiasts that we’re supposed to absolutely hate bezels for some reason, but I don’t think anyone will disagree that the one on the Pixel 4 is actually useful.

That’s because under that bezel is all sorts of impressive tech. The first is a radar chip that is used for gesture control of the phone without having to touch it. This is the first time a radar has been incorporated into a phone, and Google had to do a lot of work to make it small enough to fit. While its use is still pretty limited, it honestly has the potential to be something rad—something truly useful.

Admittedly, the radar chip is mostly a novelty right now. You can use it to change music tracks or silence alarms just by waving your hand over your phone. When the phone is ringing, the radar will also detect when your hand is coming close and automatically lower the ring volume. But the radar isn’t just a neat way to do things without touching the phone—it also ties into another feature that’s new to Android: Face Unlock.

Google Pixel 4 Face Unlock Settings
Justin Duino

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How to Create Automations on an iPhone or iPad Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
The "Running Your Automation" shortcuts notification on an iPhone.
Khamosh Pathak

Apple’s Shortcuts app has been integrated directly into iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. After years of consistent improvements, you can now create trigger-free, notification-based automations on your iPhone and iPad.

How Automations Work on iPhone and iPad

Apple introduced the Shortcuts app in iOS 12. Before that, the app was sold on the App Store as Workflow.

You can ask Siri to initiate a shortcut (a predefined set of actions) or press a button on your iPhone or iPad to do it. Now, a shortcut can fire off automatically based on given parameters. It can even happen in the background and use certain external triggers, like NFC. The Shortcuts Automations feature is available on devices that run iOS 13.1 or iPadOS 13.1 and above.

However, not all shortcut automations are automatic.

By default, the automation shows a notification in which you can trigger the shortcut after you tap “Run.” Some shortcuts based on direct physical manipulation with the iPhone or iPad do run automatically (more on this below).

RELATED: What Are iPhone Shortcuts and How Do I Use Them?

How to Create an Event Automation on iPhone or iPad

You can create two kinds of Automations on your iPhone or iPad: Personal and Home. Personal automations are related to your iOS and iPadOS device. The Home automations are related to your HomeKit devices.

In this article, we focus on the Personal automations on your iPhone and iPad. Let’s take a look at the actions you can trigger.


  • Time of Day: You can trigger this at any time of day, at sunrise, or sunset.
  • Alarm: This shortcut runs when an alarm is stopped or snoozed.
  • Apple Watch Workouts: This can be triggered when a workout on your Apple Watch starts, pauses, or ends.


  • Arrive: A location-based trigger that activates when you arrive at a certain location.
  • Leave: A trigger for when you leave a certain location.
  • Before I Commute: This action tries to predict when you usually leave for work or home and triggers the shortcut at the given time, or up to an hour before you leave.
  • CarPlay: A shortcut is triggered when you connect or disconnect from CarPlay.


  • Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, BluetoothDo Not DisturbLow Power Mode: This shortcut triggers when you turn these settings on or off.
  • NFC: With this trigger, you can tap your iPhone on an NFC sticker and run a shortcut. Modern iPhones (iPhone XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max) can run NFC shortcuts in the background.
  • Open App: This trigger runs a shortcut when you open any app.

Let’s walk through an example. Say you want to create a shortcut that plays soothing music when you open the Twitter app. Open the Shortcuts app, and then tap “Automation” in the bottom toolbar.

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How macOS Catalina’s New Security Features Work Mon, 21 Oct 2019 12:00:50 +0000 Tim Brookes
Hands holding a lock over a MacBook
Issarawat Tattong/

macOS Catalina introduces new security controls. For example, apps are now required to ask your permission before accessing parts of the drive where documents and personal files are kept. Let’s take a look at what’s new for security in Catalina.

Some Apps Require Permission to Access Your Files

macOS Catalina Disk Access Permission Dialog

Apps now have to request permission to access certain parts of your file system. This includes your Documents and Desktop folders, your iCloud Drive, and any external volumes that are currently connected to your Mac (including flash drives, memory cards, and so on). This is the change that’s been getting the most headlines.

Apple has been pushing permission-based access for a while on iOS, and we’re seeing more of these security policies make their way into macOS. When you first upgrade to Catalina, this can result in a blizzard of permission request dialog boxes. This has led some to compare the feature to Windows Vista’s full-screen security prompts (but in reality, it’s nowhere near as egregious).

From a security standpoint, it’s a change to be welcomed, though it can take some time to get used to. Not every app will request access, either. In our tests, we were able to open and save files using markdown editor Typora, but navigating to the Documents folder in Terminal using the cd ~/Documents/ command prompted a request for permission.

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5 Fun Halloween Treats Your Kids Can Make Mon, 21 Oct 2019 08:00:43 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
a woman helps young kids make fun Halloween treats
Dragon Images/Shutterstock

If you’ve got little aspiring chefs in your home, we’ve got five fun Halloween treats for them to try. From festive Chex mix to Oreo lollipops, your kids will have a blast.

Halloween is an exciting holiday for many children and families all around. There are so many outdoor activities involved with this time of year, but sometimes the frigid, rainy weather keeps you indoors. If you find yourself in that dilemma, and you require an activity for your children, check out these neat recipe ideas.

Harvest Hash Chex Mix

Halloween Harvest Chex Mix, made with pretzels, chex, candy corn and Reese's.
One Little Project

If your family loves snacking on handfuls of Chex mix, then this recipe might be for you. It’s full of exciting ingredients and tastes super yummy. With pretzels, bugles, candy corn, and Reese’s pieces, each bite gives you a nice balance of sweet and salty.

If you have young kids, what’s awesome is this recipe has many steps they can do. You can have them pour in the separate ingredients or have them mix everything for the sauce. If you have older kids, they can melt the butter, do the measuring, and mix the entire combination of the Chex mix.

This recipe does involve an oven, so an adult will have to be present for that step. Once the Chex mixture has cooled, you’ll have a delicious snack for the kids to chow down on.

Get the Recipe: One Little Project

Ghostly Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers made with cut out ghost cheese slices.
Peas and Crayons

If you need a no-oven snack that kids can make entirely on their own, this one is perfect. Festive Halloween cutters, sliced cheese, and crackers of your choice are all you’ll need. The author also gives an excellent recommendation to cut out apple slices, too.

Your kids will have to use the mini cookie cutters to cut out cheese and add them to the crackers. This is a great way to have your kids start “cooking” in the kitchen. The method is simple, but they can also learn about the cleanup aspect after their snack is complete.

Take this recipe to the next level by offering cold cut slices and other thinly sliced fruit to add to the arrangement of ghostly treats.

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Boozing for Apples and 8 Other Adult Twists on Halloween Games Mon, 21 Oct 2019 06:40:19 +0000 Lauren Sakiyama
Apple bobbing station in a barn surrounded by apples, pumpkins, and a fake human skull.
Edward Fielding/Shutterstock

If you think you’ve aged out of party games, think again! We’ve revamped some Halloween tricks and treats for the 21 and older crowd. So, grab a costume, an adult beverage or two, and let’s have a grown-up good time!

You might have outgrown the standard balloon toss, and games like Spin the Bottle may have lost their thrill. Whether you’re looking for a game to break the ice, or one that’s more than fun with an icy beverage, we’ve got it!

We came up with nine spooky games to fill your FrightFest. All are best played in costume, and some might leave your guests genuinely terrified, but that’s okay. Because if there was ever a time to eat, drink, and be scary, it’s Halloween.

Boozing for Apples

Bobbing for apples is a classic harvest festival game. Of course, adults can play with the traditional fruit, but wouldn’t it be more fun to bob for something a bit less innocent?

There are two easy ways to turn this one into 21+ entertainment. You can buy a bunch of miniature liquor bottles (the kind you get on planes). Throw them into your tub or barrel with the apples and water. When a guest comes up with liquor instead of an apple, he has to take a shot.

Alternatively—and slightly more stealthy—is the shot-in-the-apple approach. For this, dig out a small hole in the top of the apples. Fill them with a shot of liquor, such as Fireball, and set aside. Give them a little time to absorb the liquor, and then float the spiked apples and let the games begin!

Don’t Say “Halloween”

Or “haunted,” or “scary,” or whatever you’d like the game to be. The idea is to create a “cursed phrase” that ties in with Halloween. This game lasts the entire party and—be warned—it can get intense. Be sure to let all guests know the phrase when they enter. A sign works well for this if you won’t be greeting everyone at the door.

Should anyone utter the cursed words, they have to take the anti-curse immediately! In this case, the anti-curse is, of course, an adult beverage.

For a twist, hand out inexpensive, colored beads at the beginning of the party. If someone hears another guest speak the curse, they can take that guest’s beads. The guest with the most collected necklaces at the end of the night wins the game.

Spooky Scavenger Hunt (with Pictures)

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Is macOS UNIX? (and What Does That Mean?) Mon, 21 Oct 2019 10:40:00 +0000 Dave McKay
A MacBook Pro with the lid partially open and the screen glowing onto the keyboard.
Razvan Franco Nitoi/Shutterstock

Is macOS UNIX or just Unix? Or is it Unix-like? We answer the never-ending debate and explain standards like POSIX and the SUS along the way.

macOS: UNIX or Not?

This subject raises a bunch of different questions. What is the lineage of macOS? How much of that hereditary material is still present in today’s macOS, and does it matter? Before we can begin to answer whether something is UNIX, Unix, or Unix-like, we need to be comfortable with what those terms mean. Who gets to decide if something is Unix or UNIX, and what criteria do they use?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Unix was created fifty years ago at Bell Labs, a research and development company owned by AT&T. Fast-forward to 1973 and Version 4 of Unix, which was rewritten in the C programming language. This made the operating system much more portable and easier to transfer to different hardware platforms. That same year, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, two of the core Unix architects, presented a paper at a conference about operating systems. Immediately they received requests for copies of the operating system.

Bound by a consent decree that dated back to 1956, AT&T had to eschew “any business other than the furnishing of common carrier communications services.” Unix didn’t qualify as something AT&T could profit from. So, the company did something remarkable for that time: distributed Unix as source code with a liberal license. Small charges covered the shipping and packaging and a “reasonable royalty.”

A Proliferation of Unixes

Because Unix was provided “as-is,” it came without support. As a result, a Unix community began to coalesce to help members, and patch and extend Unix. So, you could get the source code, modify it, and get support from the community. That’s got a familiar ring to it. Different flavors of Unix began to appear, adapted and tweaked to suit the organization doing the work.

Bob Fabry, a computer science professor at UC Berkeley, was on the program committee for the 1973 Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. He listened to a presentation by Thompson and Ritchie, entitled The UNIX Time-Sharing System.

Fabry requested a copy of the operating system, and, in 1974, Unix was installed on a PDP/11 at the Computer Sciences Research Group (CSRG) at UC Berkeley. Significantly, Ken Thompson spent a year there, working on what quickly became the university’s own flavor of Unix. Copies of the UC Berkeley changes and additions were distributed and became known as the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). Eventually, these became distributions of an entire Unix system, still known as BSD. Version numbers, such as 4.2BSD, identified the different releases.

In 1984, AT&T was released from the strictures of the 1956 consent decree and able to market its operating system properly. It included BSD code, such as TCP/IP, vi, and the C shell, csh. Even with this cross-pollination and collaboration, there were difficulties with licensing. BSD contained AT&T code, which was not open source, but the BSD elements were.

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Geek Trivia: Which Computer Technology Derives Its Name From Greek Mythology? Mon, 21 Oct 2019 06:02:30 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Computer Technology Derives Its Name From Greek Mythology?

  1. Caches
  2. NAND Gates
  3. Daemons
  4. Processors

Think you know the answer?

Geek Trivia: Which Computer Technology Derives Its Name From Greek Mythology? Mon, 21 Oct 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Computer Technology Derives Its Name From Greek Mythology?

  1. Caches
  2. Processors
  3. NAND Gates
  4. Daemons

Think you know the answer?

How to Install a Smart Lock Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:40:43 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
A Schlage Encode satin style smartlock installed on a green door.
Josh Hendrickson

When you’re setting up a new smarthome, one of the easiest gadgets you can add to your arsenal is a smart lock. It’s not much harder than changing a standard lock on your home. Here’s what to do.

The Basics

For this guide, we’re installing a Schlage Encode smart lock. Even if you have a different smart lock from another brand, most (if not all) the steps will be the same. You’ll generally find three main components in a smart lock: an exterior piece that may have a keypad, lock for a key, or both, an interior piece that holds the batteries and circuitry, and the bolt that secures your door. The tricky part is connecting them all.

As a quick tip: You may have seen advice to test your smart lock before installing it by inserting the batteries to turn it on. Then you can be sure the lock powers up before it’s in the door.

That seems like sound advice, but the first time a smart lock turns on, it tests if the door is left facing or right facing and adjusts the bolt mechanism to match. Without an actual door to test against, it may guess wrong, and your install will fail to work correctly. If you want to perform this test, you should check the instructions for a factory reset process. After running the test, factory-reset the lock.

Removing the Old Lock

Before you can install your new smart lock, you need to take the old one out. Standard locks are easy to remove, so long as you have access to the interior of your home anyway. Start with finding the two screws on the interior thumb turn piece. Then unscrew them.

A standard thumbturn on a lock,with two red arrows pointing to two screws.
Josh Hendrickson

Open the door (if you haven’t already) and go to the front side of the lock (where you insert your key). The key assembly should be loose, pull that off.

The key assembly of a lock, slightly tilted out of the door.
Josh Hendrickson

Now on the side of your door, look for the bolt that slides out when you lock it. Unscrew the two screws and pull the bolt assembly out.

Installing Your Smart Lock

Now find the bolt for your new lock, and look for the top mark:

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10 Enticing Fall Cocktails for Your Next Get-Together Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:40:04 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
Friends gathered around a buffet full of food holding glasses of wine.
G-Rock Studio/Shutterstock

Throwing together a soiree for friends is fun, but it can also feel stressful without a bartender on hand. If you need to find the perfect fall cocktail for your next party, we’ve got some suggestions.

These 10 adult beverages are fantastic treats to share with your friends. With so many holidays around the corner, you’ll have many special occasions to enjoy sipping these fun refreshments.

Fall Sangria

A glass of sangria garnished with slices of lime and orange, and a cinnamon stick.
Everyday Maven

Whether you’re an oenophile or just enjoy the occasional glass with friends, this sangria is a great way to take wine to a whole new level. We understand some wine lovers wouldn’t dare mix other ingredients with their fermented grapes. However, some people can’t get enough of this sweet, refreshing beverage.

You don’t have to say goodbye to this summer BBQ classic just yet, because the autumn flavors in this version are out of this world. The tart apple, lemon, and lime flavors perfectly complement the cinnamon and cherry brandy. You’ll want more than one glass.

Get the Recipe: Everyday Maven

Spiced Apple Moscow Mule

Two Moscow Mules in copper mugs, garnished with granny smith apple slices and cinnamon sticks.
Home Cooking Memories

If you’ve never tried a Montana, Moscow, or Southern mule, there’s no better time than now. You can make this ginger cocktail in many ways, but the main ingredients consist of alcohol, ginger beer, and lime juice.

In this recipe, you learn how to make a spiced simple syrup out of sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. The spices come alive and infuse perfectly into a fresh, aromatic drink you’ll enjoy.

Get the Recipe: Home Cooking Memories

Ginger Pear Snap Cocktail

A glass full of Ginger Pear Snap sitting next to a pear.
Boulder Locavore

This is one fancy cocktail—and a tasty one, too. Pear is in season this time of year and makes a great snack, so why not use it to create an adult beverage? The pear and ginger flavors, coupled with lemon and fresh rosemary, create a daring cocktail that is both fresh and delicious.

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Geek Trivia: Which Animals Form The Largest Colonies? Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Animals Form The Largest Colonies?

  1. Ants
  2. Swallows
  3. Termites
  4. Flamingos

Think you know the answer?

17 Gripping True Crime Podcasts to Dig Into This Halloween Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:40:32 +0000 Carla Cometto
A man on a train listening to something on his phone in one earbud.

Spooky season is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time to delve into scary stories that make your skin crawl. Add some excitement to your commute with these intriguing true-crime podcasts.

Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad

If you don’t need a happily-ever-after to enjoy a story, you might enjoy this podcast. Every week, ex-cold case investigator Paul Holes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen discuss unsolved murders, unidentified remains, and missing persons cases.

What makes this podcast unique is listeners get to ride along with the two experts as they attempt to solve crimes. You can also help them by providing tips or new information. While they don’t always succeed, the storytelling is always engaging and easy to binge.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

The Clearing

This brand-new podcast features April Balascio, a woman who, at the age of 40, realized her father, Edward Wayne Edwards, was a serial killer. With host, John Dean, she dives into her past and shares glimpses into the strange psyche of her father. She also recounts how her suspicions led her to contact the police, which resulted in his arrest and conviction. It’s a gripping and emotional journey that’s not to be missed.

Apple Podcast | Spotify | Stitcher


Description of episode 124 of the "Criminal" podcast.

Crime is not just about murder—it’s a function of our society, our homes, our system, and our history. Sometimes, there’s blood involved, or misinformation, or helplessness. With its hypnotic sound design and captivating words, criminals share stories far more complex than they might seem at first. In this award-winning podcast, the entrancing voice of host Phoebe Judge delves objectively into different crime tales that will satisfy the most analytical and curious minds.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher


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How to Use Multiple Monitors on Your Mac Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:40:14 +0000 Tim Brookes
A MacBook next to an iMac on a wooden desk.

Want to be more productive on your Mac? Add another monitor, and you’ll spend less time switching between spaces, tabs, and windows. With Catalina, you can even use an iPad as a second monitor with the new “Sidecar” feature.

Pick a Monitor

First, you have to pick the right monitor for the job. Your budget will play a large role here, so first, decide what you want to spend, and which features are most important to you.

Here are some things to consider before you choose a monitor:

  • Resolution: This is the number of pixels displayed onscreen at once, measured on two axes (e.g., 1920 x 1080). Generally, the higher the resolution, the better the image quality. Higher resolutions, like 4K and 5K, require more powerful hardware.
  • Size: Most displays are around the 27-inch mark. Smaller, 24-inch displays remain popular with gamers, and people who have minimal desk space. Larger, 32-inch and ultrawide monitors are also available. Your decision ultimately depends on your budget and available space.
  • Pixel density: Measured in pixels per inch (PPI), pixel density describes how closely-packed the pixels are on the display. The higher the pixel density, the better the image quality, as you’re less likely to see individual pixels.
  • Display and panel type: This is the major factor when it comes to quality and performance. You can choose an LCD panel built on IPS, TN, or VA technology or opt for cutting-edge OLED panels if the budget allows.
  • Refresh rate: This refers to the number of times the display refreshes per second. The refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz). Basic monitors support 60 Hz, which is fine for office work, web browsing, or anything without fast-moving images. Most high-refresh-rate monitors (144 Hz) are considered “gaming” monitors and would be overkill for those who aren’t.
  • Color accuracy: Which color profiles does the monitor support? If you use your monitor for creative work, like photo and video editing, or design, you need one with a high degree of color accuracy. You should also consider buying a monitor calibration tool.
  • Other characteristics: Do you want a curved monitor for a more immersive viewing experience? How about one you can use in portrait mode for coding or mobile development that tilts 90 degrees? Do you plan to mount the monitor on a VESA mount?

If you have the hardware and budget for a 4K monitor, the HP Z27 comes highly recommended from sites like Wirecutter. You can get the reduced, 1440p resolution version of the same display for a few hundred dollars less.

Apple says LG’s Ultrafine 5K display is suitable to use with its latest range of laptops. This display uses Thunderbolt 3 to drive the monitor and simultaneously provide 85 watts of charge for your laptop over USB-C. Acer’s XR342CK 34-inch curved display scores top marks for an ultrawide if you have the necessary desk space.

RELATED: How to Use Your iPad as an External Mac Display With Sidecar

Can Your Mac Handle It?

Technical Specifications for a MacBook Pro on

It’s important to make sure your Mac is powerful enough to drive any external displays at the resolution and refresh rate you need. One easy way to do this is to check the technical specifications of your particular model. To find your model, click the Apple logo in the top-right corner of the screen and choose “About This Mac.”

Search for your exact model on Apple’s website (e.g., “MacBook Pro Retina mid-2012”), and then click “Support” to reveal the technical specifications sheet. Under “Graphics and Video Support” (or similar), you should see something like, “Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display, and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays.”

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The Best Motion Sensor Lights for Closet, Cabinets, or Drawers Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:40:07 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
A walk-in closet with motion sensor LED light strips.

Are your closets and cabinets a little too dark? Could your drawers use some accent lighting? Maybe it’s time to grab a few motion-sensor lights for all those dark places in your life.

Motion sensor lights are great because they’re hassle-free. They turn on and off automatically, so you don’t have to worry about wasting electricity. Plus, they’re easy to install (easier than a light socket), and they usually run on batteries, so they don’t need an outlet.

But which light should you buy? How do you know if a motion sensor light will work for you?

What to Look for In Motion Sensor Lights

Every motion sensor light is different. Some are long and thin, while others are chunky and round. Some are meant to work as accent lights, while others can illuminate a whole room.

In other words, you need to be careful when you shop for motion sensor lights. It’s easy to end up with one that doesn’t suit your needs (or is just ugly).

Luckily, you can avoid any disappointment if you consider which of the following features are most important to you beforehand:

  • Versatility: Some lighting products require adhesives to stick to the wall, while you can mount others with screws or magnets. Think about how much flexibility you need from your lights, along with extra features, like an “always-on” button or dimming settings.
  • Power: Motion sensor lights have automatic shutoff features, but they can still eat through batteries pretty quickly. For that reason, we’ve only included rechargeable lights in this article (minus the Philips Hue LightStrip, which plugs into an outlet).
  • Working Distance: Super-sensitive lights work best in walk-in pantries, closets, and other larger areas, while less sensitive lights work best in small drawers or cabinets. You can tell how sensitive a light is by its motion detection range.
  • Size: How much lighting do you need? Do you need to illuminate your whole closet or just the inside of a drawer? Generally, large and long lights illuminate a larger area than small or directional lights.

Again, with the exception of the Philips Hue LightStrip, all the motion sensor lights in this article are powered by rechargeable batteries. This means they cost a few bucks more than lights powered by AAA or AA batteries, but they also don’t require battery replacements.

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a motion sensor light, it’s time to shop!

Best Overall: LUXJET LED Strips

The LUXJET LED Light Strip with USB cord and remote.

LUXJET LED strips are an affordable, simple lighting option for your closet, cabinets, or any other dark or dim place. You can also use them as accent lights. You just attach them to a surface with the included adhesive, and you’re good to go!

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Geek Trivia: After Exposure To Factory Waste, French Bees Were Found Producing What? Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

After Exposure To Factory Waste, French Bees Were Found Producing What?

  1. Radioactive Larvae
  2. Triangular Hives
  3. Green Honey
  4. Square Honeycombs

Think you know the answer?

Motorola Razr Returns? Event Scheduled for November 13 Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:43:37 +0000 Matthew DeCarlo The original Motorola Razr
Lenscap Photography/

“You’re going to flip,” reads an invitation that Motorola has begun sending out to media for an event that will almost surely involve the unveiling of a fresh take on the old school Razr flip phone.

Scheduled for the evening of November 13, the event will be hosted in downtown Los Angeles and will feature the “highly anticipated unveiling of a reinvented icon.” The event will include appearances from special guests and music performers along with “a journey through immersive experiences.”

Motorola invitation GIF, save the date November 13

When Motorola discussed the idea of resurrecting the Razr with CNET in December 2018, the company itself noted that while people are yearning for a new take on the Razr, the phone would have to be revived in a way that isn’t gimmicky and manages to deliver an incredible experience. “We’ve got to figure out how to deliver a breakthrough,” said Raul Pierce, co-designer of the original Razr.

Those are encouraging words and it will be interesting to see what Motorola has whipped up. We anticipate a more modern foldable device, perhaps with dual screens or a single folding display, which seems about the only thing Motorola could do for this phone to be anything more than just the old Razr with faster chips and a sharper screen.

Less encouraging words come from a January 2019 report in the Wall Street Journal, where it was claimed that the new Razer would cost $1,500 and only around 200,000 units would be produced. Speculation suggests that the new Razr will have a modern Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 2,730mAh battery, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and color options including white, black, and gold.

We’ll find out soon enough how accurate that is.

Source: CNET

Filter Google Sheets Data without Changing What Collaborators See Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:23:38 +0000 Brady Gavin

Google Sheets Logo

Filters in Google Sheets let you analyze data in your document by showing only the things you want. However, it changes how others see the document, too. Here’s how to use filter views to leave each collaborator’s view unchanged.

Fire up Google Sheets and open up a spreadsheet to get started.

Example of a dataset in Google Sheets.

Click Data > Filter Views > Create New Filter View.

Click Data > Filter Views > Create New Filter view.

The row numbers and column letters will turn a dark gray color when activated. At this time, you should give your filter view a name to distinguish it from any other views you make in the future and check the range is correct. You can always edit both of these later if needed.

Rename the view to something memorable and make sure the range is correct.

For this guide, we want to filter anything in the table that has a price per unit greater than $10. Click the filter icon in the field for “Price Per Unit.”

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How to Mute Mail Threads on iPhone, iPad, and Mac Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:24:54 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
iOS 13 Mail app Share Sheet with Mute button
Khamosh Pathak

There’s no way to leave email conversations if someone accidentally hits the “Reply All” button. What you can do is mute the conversation on your end to disable notifications. Here’s how to mute threads on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac using the Mail app.

How to Mute Mail Threads on iPhone and iPad

To mute a thread on an iPhone or iPad, you need to be running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 and higher.

There are two ways to do this. The first works without even opening the email. You can also mute a message from the reply menu.

If you’re in the Inbox, swipe left on an email and select the “More” option.

Swipe left and tap on the More button

From the popup, tap on the “Mute” button.

Tap on the Mute button

The email will now have a small “Bell” icon to tell you that the thread has been muted.

Check the Mute symbol on muted threads

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Friday Fun: How Film Cameras Imposed the Date on Photos Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:24:38 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick Time stamps on old photos.
Applied Science

Whether you’re old enough to remember them, or you’ve just noticed them while sorting through old family photos, you might be curious how the little glowing date was imprinted on photos in the late-20th century.

In the digital photography era, the little orange date stamp in the lower-right corner of snapshots has largely fallen by the wayside. However, the technology used to superimpose the dates on old photos is pretty cool—and surprisingly low-tech.

In this video from Applied Science, we’re treated to a tour of an old camera body. You’ll see how a little extra bit in the body made it possible to add the date to a photo negative the moment it was taken.

Pretty cool! We love finding out how things work—even more so when how they work is so simple and elegant.

[via PetaPixel]

7 Recipes That Turn Basic Snacks into Halloween Creepy-Crawlies Fri, 18 Oct 2019 09:30:01 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
a pot pie with the bread shaped like an octopus

Halloween is fun for so many reasons, but preparing goodies that look like creepy critters is what it’s all about for us. Learn to create treats that might make you think twice before taking a bite.

Whether you want spider-covered cookies, or something a bit more yucky—like bloody rat cupcakes—we’ve got you covered. Check out these seven bizarre yet delicious creepy-crawly food recipes.

Jell-O Worms with Oreo Dirt

A cup of crushed Oreo with jello edible worms
Cakes Cottage

These worms might not have legs to crawl, but they look super realistic, which is why they made it to our list of creepy-crawly desserts. You might find it disturbing to take a bite, but don’t worry, once you take in a mouthful, you’ll see they taste oh so good. You might even go for a second helping.

The author will take you through steps and teach you how to make realistic-looking worms using gelatin in straw molds. You’ll then put them in a cup of crushed Oreo, which resembles dirt.

For a little extra deliciousness, place chocolate pudding in individual cups, and then add the Oreo crumbs and, finally, the worms. Right before your eyes will be a bowl of worm-infested mud. Yummy.

Get the Recipe: Cakes Cottage

Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

Five peanut butter spider cookies
Crafty Morning

These spider cookies are a great combination of adorable and yummy. If you aren’t a fan of spiders, you might still get away with making these. The silly eyeballs help make this one a little less creepy and a bit goofier.

You’ll learn to make peanut butter cookies from scratch, and then decorate them using Whoppers candy and melted chocolate. Enjoy these with the kids—but watch out for peanut allergies.

Get the Recipe: Crafty Morning

Creepy-Crawly Bugs

Hot dogs rolled with dough, with potato sticks inserted to look like little edible bugs.
Taste of Home

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How to Modify Google Text-to-Speech Voices Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:00:31 +0000 Ben Stockton
A Samsung S9 showing the Android TTS engine options menu
Ben Stockton

While Google focuses on the Assistant, Android owners shouldn’t forget about the Text-to-Speech (TTS) accessibility feature. It’ll convert text from your Android apps, but you might need to modify it to get the speech to sound the way you want it.

Modifying Text-to-Speech voices is easily done from the Android accessibility settings menu. You can change the speed and pitch of your chosen voice, as well as the voice engine you use.

Google Text-to-Speech is the default voice engine and is pre-installed on most Android devices. If your Android device doesn’t have it installed, you can download the Google Text-to-Speech app from the Google Play Store.

Changing Speech Rate and Pitch

Android will use default settings for Google Text-to-Speech, but you might need to change the speed and pitch of the Text-to-Speech voice to make it easier for you to understand.

Changing the TTS speech rate and pitch requires you to get into the Google accessibility settings menu. The steps for this might vary slightly, depending on your version of Android and your device manufacturer.

To open the Android accessibility menu, go to Android’s “Settings” menu. You can get to this by swiping down on your display to access your notification shade and tapping the gear icon in the top right, or by launching the “Settings” app from within your apps drawer.

Scroll down the notifications shade and tap the gear icon to access your Android settings

In the “Settings” menu, tap the “Accessibility” option.

In the Android settings menu, tap Accessibility

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The 6 Best Bike Lights to Put Some Glow in Your Go Fri, 18 Oct 2019 09:00:20 +0000 Ian Slack
The handlebars of a bike with a light attached, illuminating dark woods at night.
Ian Slack

If you’re a bike commuter or active mountain biker, you’ll want to get your shine on as the days get shorter. Here are our favorite bike lights for all types of cyclists.

Before you shop for a bike light, the first thing you have to think about is how you plan to use it. For example, if you ride to and from work in the city, you have the benefit of overhead streetlights, so being visible to cars will be your primary concern. In this scenario, a super-bright, white flashing light might be enough.

However, if you’re an off-road biker, who blasts down single-track trails after dark, you need a more comprehensive setup, with possibly two lights so you can see every root or rock in your path.

Let’s take a look at some other things you should look for in your new bike light.

A Few Things to Consider

When it comes to judging bike lights, battery life and brightness are the two most important considerations, followed by design and mounting style. If you’ve never shopped for a bike light—or haven’t in a while—you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. This ain’t your grandpa’s flashlight!

Battery Life

The great thing about modern bike lights is they’re almost all powered by rechargeable lithium batteries. Many of them also have incredibly long burn times between charges. Obviously, you want to pick one with a battery life that will comfortably cover the amount of time you ride.

Many lights feature indicators that show how much power is left. This gives you the option of shifting to a lower output setting if you need to nurse the light long enough to get home.

You can charge most lights via USB; you can even use some lights as a spare battery pack to recharge other devices in a pinch.

Bright Enough or Too Bright?

Bike lights can go so long between charges now due to LED technology. It requires less energy but produces super-bright output. Unfortunately, brightness is an area where making apples-to-apples comparisons can get a bit confusing. I’ll try to explain.

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How to Change the Default Shell to Bash on macOS Catalina Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:00:55 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Terminal window on a macOS Catalina desktop.

With macOS Catalina, Apple is now using Zsh as the default shell. We love Zsh, but the trusty old Bash shell is still included with macOS, and you can quickly switch back to Bash if you prefer.

Zsh is only the default shell on newly created user accounts, so any existing accounts you have on an upgraded  Mac will still use Bash by default unless you change it. Each user account has its own default shell preference.

From the Terminal

To change a user account’s default shell on macOS, simply run the chsh -s (change shell) command in a Terminal window.

Change the default shell to Bash by running the following command:

chsh -s /bin/bash

You’ll have to enter your user account’s password. Finally, close the Terminal window and reopen it. You’ll be using Bash instead of Zsh.

Changing the default shell to Bash on macOS Catalina.

Change the default shell back to Zsh by running this command:

chsh -s /bin/zsh

Enter your password when prompted. After you close the terminal window and reopen it, you’ll be using Zsh.

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