How-To Geek We Explain Technology Mon, 23 Sep 2019 05:31:18 +0000 en-us hourly 1 9 Delicious Dutch Oven Desserts Sun, 22 Sep 2019 06:40:34 +0000 Lauren Sakiyama
A blueberry cobbler on a black plate, sitting on a wooden table.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Making dessert in a Dutch oven is a camper’s dream come true, but you can do it indoors, too. Whether you’re craving cookies or cobbler, we’ve got you set with our top nine Dutch oven desserts.

Maybe you don’t think of cookies and cakes when you think of a Dutch oven, but we’d argue some of the best desserts come from these old-fashioned pots. Humans have been finding ways to make sweet treats in a Dutch oven for a long time. And now, you could say we’ve perfected them.

Dutch Oven Cakes

John Perkins' Dutch oven apple upside-down cake.
J. Pollack Photography/Feast Magazine

Traditionally, people cooked these over a campfire, but don’t pull out your flint and steel just yet. You can make these treats indoors thanks to your modern oven and have your cake without the campfire:

  • Dutch Oven Apple Upside Down Cake. This recipe’s a bit complicated, but we think it’s worth the fuss. It includes an apple cider soak to infuse more apple flavor in the final cake. Plus, the chef who created the recipe used his grandmother’s pound cake as the base. How sweet is that?

Get the Recipe: Apple Upside Down Cake

  • Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake: Dutch oven, Dutch chocolate—it just seems right. We love this recipe’s detailed campfire instructions, but of course, you can make it at home in your oven. Just bake it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes. You can check it by sticking in a toothpick—if it comes out clean, your cake’s done!

Get the Recipe: Double Chocolate Dutch Oven Cake

  • S’mores Cake: This is a 10-minute cake recipe. Yes, you read that right—10 minutes to ooey-gooey, chocolaty, marshmallowy goodness. Plus, given the relationship between Dutch ovens and camping, we can’t think of a more suitable Dutch oven dessert.

Get the Recipe: S’mores Cake

Cookies & Brownies

A plate of 7 Layer Brownie Bars sitting next to more in a Dutch oven.
Tieghan Gerard

Cakes aren’t the only dessert you can make in a Dutch oven. If you’re more into brownies or cookies, give these a shot:

  • Seven Layer Brownies: When everyday Dutch oven desserts won’t do, try these. Seven layers of coconut, toffee, pecans, and chocolate are sure to make everyone happy.

Get the Recipe: Seven Layer Brownies

  • Dutch Oven Chocolate Chip Cookies: Giant chocolate chip cookies straight out of the Dutch oven? Count us in! This recipe has great campfire instructions, but you can easily get the same results if you bake in a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven for about 12 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Dutch Oven Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Dutch Oven Brownies: If seven layers of brownie is just too much, never fear! You can also make classic fudge brownies in a Dutch oven. It’s a perfect camping recipe, but it’s also great if you find yourself short a brownie pan.

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How to Set Up a Smarthome Without the Cloud Sun, 22 Sep 2019 10:40:29 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
A hand using smarthome controls on a smarthphone.

The easiest smarthome tech uses the cloud to do the heavy lifting. But that means you give up your privacy. And if the company shuts down, so does your smarthome. Here’s how to bypass the cloud in your smarthome setup.

Why a Locally-Controlled Smarthome?

A hand using a Smart Light Controller on a Smartphone.

Cloud-powered smarthomes are feature-rich and include some niceties, but they do come with disadvantages.

First, you have to give up a modicum of privacy. Google, Amazon, Apple, and even Microsoft voice assistants used to record everything you said to them and often sent those recordings to humans for review.  While Google, Amazon, and Apple have taken steps to alleviate those concerns, Microsoft still hasn’t changed anything. Some cloud-powered devices also record your activities. Manufacturers use the information to improve systems, but in some cases, they sell your anonymized data.

Second, if the company cloud that drives your smarthome tech closes up shop or abandons the smarthome category, your devices will no longer work.

This very thing happened with the Lowe’s Iris and Revolv hubs. Likewise, Best Buy recently announced it’s shutting down the Insignia smarthome line. So, Insignia smart plugs, cameras, and light switches will stop functioning. And if you have an Insignia Smart Wi-Fi Freezer, soon it will be just a freezer.

If you build a locally controlled smarthome, you sidestep all these issues. Your data doesn’t leave your home, and even if a manufacturer quits, your devices keep working.

Keep in mind, though, creating a local-controlled smarthome isn’t for the faint of heart. But here’s what you need to do to kick the cloud to the curb.

Start with a Locally-Controlled Hub

The Hubitat hub, z-wave adapter, and Box.

Every smarthome needs a brain to power it. Unfortunately, most of the time, those “brains” involve the cloud. For example, both Wink and SmartThings offer hubs with some amount of local control, but they still reach out to the internet for some features.

Thankfully, you have other options, such as Hubitat, an entirely locally controlled hub. Any command you send to it or automation you set up runs at the local level. Another advantage of Hubitat is it’s a pre-built system. The downside is the process to set it up creates automations similar to complicated router interfaces.

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Smart Toilets Make More Sense Than Most Smarthome Tech Sun, 22 Sep 2019 06:40:19 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The Ove Decors smart toilet.
Ove Decors

Smart toilets are the butt of all smarthome jokes, but they may be the solution to hygienic, environmental, and accessibility issues. In fact, smart toilets may be more sensible than the smart bulbs or connected doorbells that we obsess over.

First, What Is a Smart Toilet?

Toilets are very simple. They have a tank and a bowl. When you flush the toilet, water from the tank enters the bowl, and gravity forces the contents to disappear down a pipe. That’s all there is to it.

Because toilets are so simple, just about anything that goes beyond the function of dumping water into a bowl can be called a “smart toilet.” So for the sake of this article, we’re going to say that smart toilets must have some of the following features:

  • Robust Built-In Bidets: All smart toilets have a built-in bidet (butt shower). These bidets often come with temperature and pressure controls, and some even have butt dryers, so you never need to use a towel.
  • Automated Systems: Smart toilets tend to feature a little bit of automation. Some open up or flush on their own, while others are self-cleaning, self-deodorizing, or overflow-protected.
  • Funny Features: You’ve probably heard that smart toilets have cheek-warming toilet seats, night lights, and built-in speakers. You’re right.

Notice how we didn’t mention smartphones. There are plenty of IoT smart toilets in the world today, but most smart toilets rely on a control panel, not an app (or a smart assistant). This is mainly because you have to sit on a toilet to use it, and there’s no reason to over-complicate things with Wi-Fi connectivity or remote controls.

Now you know what a smart toilet is, but what makes them so special? Why would anyone want a magical bidet or a warming seat? How is a smart toilet more sensible than a smart bulb?

They Make Hygiene Easy for Everybody

The controls on a Japanese smart toilet.

Unlike other smarthome products, smart toilets serve as more than just luxury items. They have the potential to improve your hygiene, and most of that potential revolves around the technically robust bidets that come with smart toilets.

Bidets are basically showers for your butt. They clean your butt better than toilet paper can, and they don’t cause wiping-related issues like itchy butt and hemorrhoids. Bidets are also more environmentally friendly and cheaper than toilet paper or baby wipes, and unlike baby wipes, bidets don’t smell like a preschool.

But why do these smart toilets have such robust bidets? Why do they have adjustable water pressure, temperature controls, and blow dryers? Well if you’re going to be hygienic, you might as well make it enjoyable. That’s how we approach our other hygiene problems—it’s easy to adjust the temperature in our shower, after all.

Bidets are also great for accessibility. It’s easier to spray your butt than it is to wipe your butt, especially if you’re elderly or physically disabled. The “luxury” features that you see in smart toilets, like butt blow-drying, can help people maintain their independence.

Most “Luxury” Smart Toilet Features Exist for a Reason

The Kohler smart toilet.

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Geek Trivia: What Is The Most Abundant Element In The Universe? Sun, 22 Sep 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Is The Most Abundant Element In The Universe?

  1. Carbon
  2. Hydrogen
  3. Silicon
  4. Oxygen

Think you know the answer?

How to Quickly Create Your Own Chrome Browser Theme Sat, 21 Sep 2019 10:40:57 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Chrome browser with customized colors and New Tab page background.

Chrome 77 makes it easy to create your own Chrome browser theme in just a few clicks. Choose your favorite colors for Chrome’s browser toolbar and set a snazzy background image right from the New Tab page.

How to Enable the New Customization Tools

These features aren’t enabled by default in Chrome 77, but they’re still there: You just have to enable a few hidden flags.

As always with flags, Chrome’s flags may change or be removed at any time. We expect the flags to vanish soon when Google enables this feature by default for everyone soon.

To enable Chrome’s new customization, type chrome://flags into Chrome’s Omnibox, also known as the address bar. Type “NTP” into the search box on the Flags page.

Searching for NTP flags on Chrome's Flags page.

Enable both the “Chrome Colors menu” and “NTP customization menu version 2” flags. Just click the box to the right of each and select “Enabled.”

Enabling Chrome's new New Tab Page customization flags.

Your changes won’t take effect until you restart Chrome. Click the “Relaunch Now” button that appears to do so. Be sure to save any work you have in Chrome’s tabs. Chrome will automatically reopen your current tabs when it restarts, but the contents of those tabs—for example, information typed into text boxes on web pages—may be lost.

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Ease into Yoga Backbends with These Gentle Routines Sat, 21 Sep 2019 06:40:32 +0000 Karla Tafra
Woman doing yoga in front of a lake and waterfalls
Karla Tafra

Due to the spine’s natural curvature, backbends are actually better than forward folds, as we all have some sort of S shape in our bodies. Here’s how to incorporate these stretches into your daily routine—your back will thank you!

A sedentary lifestyle makes our hips tighter and lower back stiff, so to combat that and to prevent further damage, we do need to incorporate some gentle backbends into our daily routine and bring fresh blood and oxygen into those poor muscles that support our spine. A little extra love will help keep it flexible and healthy. Here are some gentle yoga routines to ease yourself into the backbend world.

Reversed Warrior

Woman doing reversed warrior yoga pose in front of a white brick wall
Karla Tafra

Although this pose doesn’t seem to always get on the “backbend list,” it’s amazing for opening the front side body and squeezing the juice from the lower-back muscles, also known as quadratus lumborum (QL). As the pose isn’t symmetrical and needs to be performed on both sides, you really get to compress into one QL while opening and stretching the other.

This is a great way to see if one side needs more time to open up than the other (and it almost always does). Work with your breath and follow your inhales and exhales. Every inhale opens up the body, so try to grow taller from your sitting bones; every exhale allows the body to go deeper in the pose, so use the mind-to-muscle connection to really “think” of the muscle you’re working on.

Upward Facing Dog or Cobra

Woman doing upward facing dog yoga pose on the edge of an infinity pool
Karla Tafra

Every yoga practice starts with sun salutations, as by design, they are created to warm up the body and prepare it for the full session ahead. Upward facing dog, or cobra as a modification, is one of the poses in the sequence that strengthens the back muscles and engages them fully to take the most out of the following downward facing dog pose and stretch it out.

Key to maximizing the benefits of this pose is making sure the glutes aren’t too tight and trying to spiral the inner thighs towards each other, all while pushing the palms into the floor and expanding through the chest.

Camel Pose

Woman doing yoga camel pose in a park
Karla Tafra

Although this pose looks and feels more advanced than others, you can modify it by placing your hands on the small of your back or even above your head—this creates a lift in your spine and has the same effect as the advanced versions but reduces the low-back compression. We’re always trying to stretch out the spine as much as we can before we dive into the backbend.

This concept might seem weird to you, but in reality, when we backbend, we are actually stretching the spine, as we’re following its natural S shape. Camel pose is amazing because, by being on our knees and shins, we really get to use our hips and isolate the movement without the risk of losing balance or falling out of the pose.

Bridge Pose

Woman doing yoga bridge pose next to ornamental grasses
Karla Tafra

Lifting ourselves into bridge pose is an amazing way to control the backbend, and not the other way around. Backbends can be tricky, especially when our spine is warm or we find ourselves in a warm environment (such as hot yoga): We can sometimes push and pull too much because it seems our body’s pretty open for it, so going deeper than we should is an unwanted consequence.

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The Best Tablets for Kids of All Ages Sat, 21 Sep 2019 06:40:21 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
A young child leaning back and playing a game on a small tablet.
Witthaya lOvE/Shutterstock

As children grow, their interest in electronics grows with them. When you feel they’re ready, you might give them a tablet (if nothing else to keep their grubby hands off yours). Here are some of the best tablets for kids.

What Makes a Good Kid’s Tablet?

You could just grab any old tablet and hand it to your kid, but that doesn’t make it a good tablet for them. Some of what you want in a tablet will depend on their age. You can trust a twelve-year-old not to drop an expensive device more than you can your six-year-old, for instance. But even that varies to degrees; you might buy the six-year-old a giant case with a large handle while giving the twelve-year-old a more moderate case.

Either way, you’re still putting a case on the device because let’s be honest, you probably put a case on your tablet, too.

With that in mind, here are a few things to look for when picking a tablet for your child:

  • Durability: Expect your child’s tablet to get dropped, probably more than once. So it’s best if the tablet is durable and able to survive a fall. Failing that, double-check that you have plenty of case options to protect the tablet. Of course, both the ability to survive a drop and in a case is better.
  • Well-stocked app stores: A tablet doesn’t do much without apps, but unfortunately, some Android tablets don’t come with the Play Store. Sometimes they’ll have a third-party store instead filled with questionable apps and terrible ads.
  • Parental controls: Of course, with apps and browsers comes the access to content you might not want your children to have. Not to mention paid games, in-app purchases, and the temptation to stay up until 3 a.m. trying to beat one more level. Parental controls go a long way to keeping your children safe and curtailing overuse.

All our picks meet those requirements, though you may need to get a case for the device to meet particular durability standards.

Best Overall: Apple iPad (Probably Yours!)

A seventh-generation iPad with optional Smart Keyboard and pencil

Without a doubt, Apple makes some of the best tablets you can buy. And more recent versions have dropped from fairly inexpensive to downright affordable.

And no matter what age your children are, they can learn to use iPadOS without much effort. If they’ve mastered pushing a button, they’re probably ready for the iPad’s software.

With an iPad, you get access to plenty of tablet apps, parental controls, and more cases than you can count. That sheer amount of choice in device protection covers everything from small children to older teenagers.

And iPads include a feature no other tablet can match, a giant swath of third-party education accessories and apps. That includes toys that teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts, iPad-compatible coding kits, or free education courses. While you’ll find them on other platforms now, excellent learning apps like Endless Alphabet and Skybrary (formerly Reading Rainbow) often come to the iPad first and Android later (if at all).

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Geek Trivia: Which Widely Used Product’s Name Is An Anagram Of Its Function? Sat, 21 Sep 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Widely Used Product’s Name Is An Anagram Of Its Function?

  1. Spandex
  2. Lumia
  3. Kerosene
  4. Coca-Cola

Think you know the answer?

Why You Need This Software to Migrate Data to a New iPhone [Sponsored Post] Fri, 20 Sep 2019 19:28:21 +0000 Sponsored

Apple has unveiled its flagship iPhone 11 trio at the closely watched annual press event, together with Apple watch and an unexpected new iPad. The lack of a 5G support in the iPhone 11 lineup might discourage fans who want to upgrade their mobile. Still, iOS data migration and management never ceased to be the focus, no matter for a new iPhone switch, or free up storage on old iPhone to start afresh and speed up your digital life.

Disclaimer: This content was provided by our advertiser and has not been edited. It is in no way a reflection of How-To Geek’s writing or our editorial position.

DearMob Provides a Safer Way to Manage, Back up and Migrate Your iPhone Data

What is your scenario? Want to transfer everything to a new iPhone or want a fresh start, but prefer to selectively restore specific types of iOS content? Tend to back up your old iPhone before upgrading to iOS 13 in case of emergency strikes, or simply want to free up space on the old iPhone while taking good care of existing data? DearMob iPhone Manager has a safe and easy-to-use iOS backup and transfer tool with more custom options for you, catering to all kinds of situations to better manage iOS devices.

Download DearMob iPhone Manager with full license code>

The above page also gives detailed instructions on safely transferring everything from iPhone to iPhone.

iPhone Backup and Restore: iCloud isn’t Better than iTunes, and Vice Versa

If you are not a start-from-scratch type of iPhone users, you might be familiar with some methods to move your stuff from old iPhone to a brand new one. Given the variety of data from all kinds of resources and in different formats, nail-biting situations crop up every now and then.

  • The wireless way is slow, unstable, and full of restrictions. iCloud syncing is suitable to update every little change daily, but when it comes to one-time phone switch, you could imagine the time required to transfer all your assets accumulated over the years from old iPhone to new models, regardless of the condition of Wi-Fi network. Not to mention the Apple ID restriction, the possibility of messing up with your photo metadata, generating duplicated contacts, and incapability to upload non-Apple content such as computer-synced photos, PDFs, digital books, downloaded movies, etc.
  • iTunes is less flexible and prone to errors. Data transfer is one-directional, with no access to preview, export and manage content on iPhone; complaints such as iTunes backup taking forever to finish, backup corrupted, photos, videos, and other files missing after syncing with iTunes are not uncommon. Part of the annoyances is iTunes innate, with syncing mechanism and iTunes library restrictions that may erase your data against your will. Flexibility seldom goes with iTunes; you cannot import MKV videos, FLAC songs, 1-click making custom ringtones, to name a few. And above all, backup & restore is not complete if you have content from outside Apple ecosystem.

Highlighted Features of DearMob iPhone Manager

  • Safe, no data erasing. Full-way offline transfer & backup solution in DearMob iPhone Manage rid you of any worry. With multiple aced encryption algorithms (1024-bit RSA, 256-bit AES, PBKDF2, Argon 2) in its arsenal, users can encrypt their backup and set a password on specific files. There is no iTunes library limit or computer-specific constraints, enabling you to freely transfer data on any computer without data erasing.
  • Flexible and easy-to-use. There is no learning curve, thanks to the streamlined UX design. Drag and drop, import and export, transfer and back up some or all content at your selection, access photos, videos, music, books, contacts, etc. Everything is straightforward and concisely visualized. Throw a file, DearMob iPhone Manager offers you options to convert or compress for better compatibility.
  • Quick and Stable. Lightweight and responsive, handling data on a 256GB or 512GB iPhone is a whoosh. Back up iPhone or selectively transfer and restore specific data, it proceeds at your request. No more iTunes-slows-down-computer pain.

Plus, DearMob iPhone Manager has powerful custom options to preserve App and App data from a backup file, set custom ringtone with any song, print text messages, and more, waiting for you to explore.


DearMob iPhone Manager runs on Windows and Mac, fully compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from iOS 13 all the way back to iOS 7; it takes care of both your old and new devices.

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How to Limit Child Purchases on Fortnite for Android Fri, 20 Sep 2019 15:23:41 +0000 Ben Stockton
Fortnite Download for Android
Justin Duino

Fortnite is loved by teens, but in-app purchases for skins and emotes can leave parents out hundreds of dollars. If you’re worried about any overspending, Android users can lock down child purchases on Fortnite with these steps.

A word of warning before you begin. Because Fortnite isn’t included in the Play Store, Fortnite completely bypasses Google’s own parental controls. That means any parental controls you’ve already applied in Google Play just won’t work.

Creating a Fresh Epic Games Account for Fortnite

When you install Fortnite, you’ll be asked to create or sign in to an Epic Games account. If you already have an Epic Games account, creating a new account for your children to use with Fortnite instead might be the quickest solution to prevent unauthorized purchases.

To start, open the Fortnite app and wait for the loading to complete. You’ll be asked if you’ve played Fortnite before. Even if you have, tap “No.”

At the Fortnite Login screen, click No

Select “Agree” to accept the terms of service.

Accept the Fortnite Terms of Service

Fill in the form, tap the checkbox to confirm you agree to the terms of service, and then select “Create Account” at the bottom.

Tap Create Account at your Epic Games account creation screen

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What Do Food Expiration Dates Really Mean? Fri, 20 Sep 2019 10:24:36 +0000 Yvonne Glasgow woman scrutinizing the expiration date on a container of food

Food expiration dates appear on nearly all food items. It’s likely you’ve eaten foods past their listed expiration date and not noticed anything different. When something expires, should you throw it out right away?

Understanding the Expiration Date on Foods

Many foods contain a “sell by” date, which tells the store when to take that item off the shelf and stop selling it. It doesn’t mean that food is expired and unsafe to eat. In fact, according to the FDA, confusion over the dates on food and what the labeling actually means accounts for roughly one-fifth of consumer food waste.

Many of these types of labels are on food items. Bakery items often have a “best if used by” date, which alerts you to how long your pastries and bread will still be at their freshest.

A “use by” date might sound like a locked-in expiration date, but even that title doesn’t mean the food is instantly going to go bad. Like the “best if used by” on bread, “use by” means that’s the date at which the product may start to lose quality and freshness.

In fact, the very phrasing “best if used by,” “used by,” etc., aren’t even officially mandated, although the FDA encourages companies to use “best if used by” on their packaging.

RELATED: Why Does My Milk Go Bad Early?

Speaking of the FDA, according to them the biggest consideration is proper storage—it doesn’t matter if the “best by” date on your jug of milk is three days ago if the milk still smells fresh and has been refrigerated properly.

When to Get Rid of Food

Most food items are good for a few days to a few weeks past their “sell by” dates. Meat, poultry, and fish should be used or frozen on or within a few days of that date (make sure to cook immediately after thawing). Eggs are fine up to a month past their “sell by” date. Milk should be used within the following week. Canned goods and shelf-stable foods like cereal and grains are safe to eat well beyond the date on the container as long as they have been stored properly.

That said, if something smells bad, is discolored, or has mold growing on it, then it has definitely reached its expiration date. At this point, it’s safer to throw it out than to test it.

How to Update iPhone and iPad Apps Fri, 20 Sep 2019 14:24:17 +0000 Justin Duino
Apple iPhone Update Apps
Justin Duino

Checking for app updates has been easy for iPhone and iPad owners. It got a little more complicated when iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 replaced the Updates tab with Apple Arcade. Now you have to tap your profile icon first.

Your iPhone or iPad automatically installs app updates as long as the “App Updates” option is enabled from Settings > iTunes & App Stores. That’s why Apple made this option a bit harder to find—you don’t have to install app updates manually anymore.

Update Apps in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and Above

Start by opening the App Store. If you can’t find the icon on your iPhone or iPad, swipe down on the home screen and utilize Spotlight search to find the app.

Apple iPhone Select App Store

Next, tap on your account picture located in the top-right corner of the display.

Apple iPhone iOS 13 App Store Select Avatar

Your list of recently updated apps can be found hidden under your account information and options to add funds to your Apple ID.

If you don’t see any available apps, swipe down on the screen to refresh the App Store. If any updates are available, they will appear under the “Upcoming automatic update” listing.

Select “Update all” to install all of the available updates or tap on the “Update” button next to each app to only install certain ones.

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The TEMPUR-Adapt + Cooling Topper Offers Comfort on a Budget Fri, 20 Sep 2019 10:24:13 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The TEMPUR-Pedic logo on top of the TEMPUR-Adjust's quilted cover.
Andrew Heinzman

Mattress toppers can transform an old or uncomfortable mattress, and the TEMPUR-Adapt + Cooling Mattress Topper takes that idea to the next level. It adds that TEMPUR-Pedic feel to your bed, and hey, it costs $1,500 less than a TEMPUR-Pedic mattress.

Like the TEMPUR-Topper Supreme, the TEMPUR-Adapt + Cooling Mattress Topper is a three-inch mattress topper made with TEMPUR-Pedic’s special memory foam. The only difference between these two toppers (besides $100) is the TEMPUR-Adapt comes with a cooling cover. So, if you’re interested in the basic TEMPUR-Topper (or not a fan of cooling bed-stuffs), this review is still relevant for you.

Turn Your Cheap Mattress Into a TEMPUR-Pedic

Unlike mattress pads (which just add some cushion), mattress toppers completely change the way your bed feels. They can make firm beds soft or add some memory foam to an otherwise unimpressive mattress.

I think TEMPUR-Pedic understands how transformative a mattress topper can be. The TEMPUR-Adapt isn’t just a three-inch bed cushion. On my mattress (which is very cheap and lumpy), the TEMPUR-Adapt feels strong and supportive, but neither too firm nor too soft. It’s a very interesting and dramatic change.

The TEMPUR-Adapt on a bed.
The TEMPUR-Adapt in all its glory. Andrew Heinzman

The TEMPUR-Adapt does have a $500 price tag, however. Many people aren’t willing to spend that much on a mattress, let alone a mattress topper. This puts the TEMPUR-Adapt in a weird spot. Should you buy it and refresh your uncomfortable bed, or just buy a new $500 bed?

There might be a third option here. Call me Captain Obvious, but TEMPUR-Pedic’s $2,000 to $4,000 mattresses are out of most people’s price range. So, I stopped into a mattress store to test some TEMPUR-Pedic mattresses. I wanted to see if the TEMPUR-Adapt could serve as a “budget” version of the TEMPUR-Pedic mattress.

This probably won’t surprise you, but the $2,000 beds feel better than a dirt-cheap mattress with a TEMPUR topper. Still, I found that both the TEMPUR-Pedic mattresses and topper had a comparable “supportive” feel. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the TEMPUR-Adapt is a budget version of a TEMPUR-Pedic mattress. It’s a good option for people who want to refresh their bed without dropping $1,000.

That said, it’s sometimes better to replace your mattress than gussy it up with a topper. Expensive mattresses are more supportive and last longer than cheap ones, and they’re usually worth the money.

But if you’re unhappy with a brand-new mattress, or you simply want to extend the life of the one you’ve got, a topper like this one is probably worth it.

The Cooling Cover Is Expensive, But I’m Not Sweating It

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The 5 Best Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines for Home Use Fri, 20 Sep 2019 09:00:33 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
A BobsCNC E4 CNC machine featuring a yellow DeWalt router.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are great for projects that require precision and repeatable cuts. Until recently, CNC machines were too large and expensive for consumer use. But that’s not true anymore. Here are five CNC machines you can own.

What to Look for in a CNC Machine

CNC machines come in many shapes, sizes, capabilities, and at many price points. This is one of those cases where spending more typically gets you a higher quality machine or more features.

One of the first things you should ask yourself is what you want to accomplish with a CNC machine. If your goal is to engrave small projects with a logo, then a super-expensive, large machine is overkill. Likewise, if you want to make a guitar body, then a small cheap one won’t do. So, here are a few things to look for:

  • Size: The size of the machine limits (or expands) your projects. CNC Machines for the home typically consist of a woodworking router on a rail system that moves around a bed (where you put your wood or other material). The larger the bed, the bigger the project you can tackle. The size also determines the weight of your CNC router, and that’s something to keep in mind. Larger machines sometimes weigh over 100 pounds, so you need a sturdy surface to hold one.
  • Software: All CNC Machines require software to work. So, you should check which Operating Systems the CNC machine is compatible with, and which programs it uses. Some CNC software, like GRBL, is easier to use than others. Other programs might require more effort to learn or cost some money. If you aren’t sure what to use, check to see if the CNC router comes with free software—that will give you a starting point.
  • Ease of maintenance: Much like 3-D printers, you have to do some maintenance on a CNC machine occasionally. And sometimes, parts wear down or break. On the more expensive CNC machines, you should be able to purchase replacement parts and repair your device as necessary.
  • Assembly difficulty: Most, if not all, CNC machines arrive disassembled. Depending on the number of pieces, the size of the machine, and the tolerances involved, you might find assembling your new CNC router difficult. It’s not uncommon to need several hours over multiple days to put together a new CNC router.

Best Overall: BobsCNC E4 CNC Router

A BobsCNC C4 with Dewalt router attached.

The BobsCNC E4 CNC router is a machine that maximizes what you get for what you spend. Other machines with a similar bed size cost hundreds of dollars more. You’ll have plenty of space to work on your bigger projects.

This machine uses a DeWalt router as its cutting tool, but you have to buy bits separately. Unlike most of the other CNC machines on this list, the main structure of this device is wooden. Most CNC routers rely heavily on steel. The benefit of its wood design is weight. Despite being one of the larger CNCs we recommend, this machine weighs just over 40 pounds. So, you can use something other than your sturdiest table to hold it.

BobsCNC is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and nearly every common CNC software available. It doesn’t come with free software, but you can use a free option, like GRBL. You have to assemble the CNC router, however, so expect that to take several hours, if not longer.

Best Overall

BobsCNC E4 CNC Router Engraver Kit with the Router Included (610 mm x 610 mm cutting area and 85mm depth of travel)

This CNC Machine includes a larger workspace than most at its price point. It’s light, and you get a nice DeWalt router cutting tool, too.

Best Budget: Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO

A Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO cutting into a small pink block.

If spending several hundred (or over one thousand) dollars is outside your budget, the Genmitsu CNC 3018-Pro might warrant your attention. Its drastically smaller size and cheaper woodworking router considerably bring down its cost.

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How to Create Aliases and Shell Functions on Linux Fri, 20 Sep 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Dave McKay
A terminal window on a Linux laptop
Fatmawati Achmad Zaenuri/

Create your own Linux commands using aliases and Bash shell functions. Tame repetitive tasks, truncate long-winded processes, and configure standard commands with the options you always use and struggle to remember.

Aliases and shell scripts are powerful techniques in Linux and Unix-like operating systems that allow you to hone your command line experience to be just what you want. You can define your own commands suited to your specific needs, and to ease the burden of repetitive tasks.

Aliases and shell scripts do the same sort of job. They allow you to define—and name—a set of Bash shell functionality that is then callable by the name you’ve given to it. Typing the name is easier and more convenient than having to type out all of the steps or commands each time you want to use them.

The difference between an alias and a script is one of complexity and scale. Scripts are better at holding longer and more elaborate chunks of code. Aliases are perfect for holding shorter, more succinct, sets of commands.

Predefined Aliases

Some aliases are predefined for you. To see the list of aliases that are defined in your system, use the alias command with no parameters:


alias in a terminal window

These are the aliases that are defined on the Ubuntu test machine this article was researched on. If I’d defined any custom aliases, these would show up in this list too.

At the top of the listing, there’s a complicated-looking alias called alert. We’ll come to that in a moment. There’s a bunch of different aliases for the ls command, and there’s a group of aliases that provide color output to the grep family of commands. For example, with these aliases defined, whenever you type:


The system will interpret it as:

grep --color=auto

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The GoCube Taught Me How to Actually Solve a Puzzle Cube Fri, 20 Sep 2019 08:00:55 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The GoCube sitting on a table.
Andrew Heinzman

The GoCube Edge is a modern reinvention of the classic puzzle cube. It pairs with an app to bring cube lessons and competition to the masses, and I think it’s the best way to learn how to solve a puzzle cube.

Yes, this is a $100 “smart” Rubik’s Cube styled toy (there’s also an $80 version that doesn’t come with accessories, friend-battles, or leaderboards). I wish it was less expensive, but if you’re a big fan of puzzle cubes, then it may be worth $100 to you. It may also make a great gift if you know anyone who’s generally obsessed with cubes.

Before we get into what makes the GoCube Edge so great, I’ll try to explain what it does and why it costs between $80 and $100. It’s basically a glorified Rubik’s Cube with built-in proximity sensors and a Bluetooth transmitter. It connects to your phone or tablet via the GoCube app (iOS, Android) so that you can get personalized lessons and compete with other puzzle cube fans. The GoCube app even displays a 3D model of your cube at all times, which is super neat and futuristic.

For power, the GoCube comes with a charging stand and a two-pin peripheral charging cable (not Micro USB or USB-C). The charging stand looks nice, but it also doubles as a phone stand so you can comfortably look at your phone while using the GoCube. (As a side note, the $80 GoCube doesn’t come with a charging stand.)

The GoCube charging on its stand. It uses a peripheral charger, not a USB charger.
The GoCube charging on its stand. It uses a peripheral charger, not a USB charger. Andrew Heinzman

The GoCube is also designed to be lightweight and fast—it’s what obsessive puzzle cube fans refer to as a “speed cube.” While I am by no means a “speed cuber,” I can appreciate that the GoCube hasn’t locked up on me, and it feels a lot smoother than a Rubik’s Cube. It’s also a bit smaller than a Rubik’s Cube, which makes it easier to control without moving your hands too much.

The GoCube feels more solid than a regular puzzle cube, but it still feels like a bratty kid could rip it apart if they really wanted to. I think it’s a great gift for kids, but I’d be hard-pressed to give this $100 toy to a kid who likes to break things.

Anyway, now that you know what the GoCube is and why it costs so dang much, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Why is this toy so great for cube fans of all ages and skill levels?

This Might Be the Easiest Way to Learn the Cube

Back when I was in high school, one of my teachers assigned a two-week-long Rubik’s Cube “project” to all of her students. If you could solve the cube, you got a good grade. If not, you got a bad grade.

I got a bad grade on that assignment. In fact, I got the worst grade. While other students had no trouble reading and memorizing puzzle cube instruction books, the whole thing just didn’t make sense to me. Like pre-algebra, it just never clicked (pathetic, I know).

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What Is Apple Arcade? Here’s Everything You Need to Know Fri, 20 Sep 2019 12:00:00 +0000 Tim Brookes
Apple Arcade on Apple TV, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone.

Apple Arcade is a new gaming subscription service that will eventually provide access to over 100 games for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TV devices. It costs $4.99 per month for an entire family, and your first month is free.

The service is launching initially on iPhone, with iPad, Mac and Apple TV versions following soon after. Here’s what you need to know about the new service.

What is Apple Arcade?

Apple Arcade is a monthly subscription that costs $4.99, with a free trial month to get you started. The service includes exclusive games only available via Apple Arcade, as well as third party titles that are available for purchase on other platforms. You cannot separately purchase games made available through Apple Arcade on the App Store.

Apple says it will add new games to the service monthly, though like any subscription service you should also expect older games to disappear (and maybe pop up for sale on the App Store instead). There are no adverts, no limitations on play, and you don’t need an internet connection to play games downloaded through Apple Arcade.

The service is not a game streaming service like PlayStation Now or Google Stadia. When you sign up for Arcade, you can download as many games as you can fit on your device and run them natively. It’s more comparable to a service like Netflix.

Is Apple Arcade Good Value?

Whether or not Apple Arcade represents good value depends entirely on your App Store spending habits. If you spend more than about $5 on games per month, then you may be able to justify the $60 per year you’ll be spending on an Arcade subscription. It’s also important to note that none of the games on Apple Arcade will include microtransactions or free-to-play economies. For $5, you get everything with no extra ads or fees.

You can even dip in and out of Apple Arcade when you have time. If you’ve got some long haul flights coming up then $5 seems like a bargain compared to the cost of a full-priced Nintendo Switch game—or anything else you might find in an airport departure lounge.

One area where Apple Arcade represents an excellent value is for users of Family Sharing. A single Apple Arcade subscription at $4.99 per month can be shared between a whole household provided you have set up Family Sharing and purchased a subscription.

What Devices Work With Apple Arcade?

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The Best 4K Projectors for Your Home Theater Fri, 20 Sep 2019 06:40:57 +0000 Russ Houberg
A projector lens bathed in blue light.
Peter Kotoff/

Are you are gearing up for the big game, love special effects, or planning some stay-at-home date nights? If so, one of these 4K projectors can light up your home entertainment.

Key Features of a Great 4K Home Theater Projector

Home theater projectors have been niche players in the high definition video entertainment market for years. Flat-Panel LCD/LED HDTVs are constantly getting larger, smarter, and cheaper, putting more pressure on the home theater projector business. But for those of you who haven’t watched the Super Bowl or an action-packed movie on a 100-inch, 4K projection system, you don’t know what you’re missing!

To select the right 4K projector, though, there are a few key things you should consider:

  • 4K or “faux” K: Most consumer-grade 4K projectors do not actually project a true, native 4K image. Instead, they employ a technique called pixel shifting. They shift (move) a 1080 p picture very rapidly to simulate a 4K frame. This happens so fast, the human eye can’t perceive it’s not a natively-produced 4K image. The result is a much higher perceived resolution that uses much cheaper hardware. A native 4K projector has a better picture, but it’s very difficult to detect unless you look at the two projected pictures side-by-side.
  • DLP or LCD imaging: The projector creates the picture with either a DLP chip or LCD glass panels. Image engine choice is a complex decision as each technology has pros and cons. But the most important concepts are that LCD provides a sharper, more colorful picture, while DLP typically provides better brightness and contrast. DLP projectors also usually last longer—LCD glass panels degrade over time. One downside of DLP, though, is that some people are susceptible to the rainbow effect.
  • Brightness and contrast ratio: Light output (measured in lumens) and contrast ratio determine how well you can see color and black level depth when ambient light is present. Most projectors do well when you operate them in a completely dark room. But how does the picture look when outside light is present? Higher lumens and higher contrast ratio improve the projector’s ability to overcome ambient light.
  • Throw distance: Not everyone has complete control over where they can put their projector. For example, if you rent, you probably can’t mount a projector to the ceiling and run wires through walls. Also, if a room has a shallow depth, you might not have much distance between the back and projection walls. In these cases, you might want to get a short- or ultra-short-throw projector.
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) support: HDR or HDR10 support indicates the device supports at least a 10-bit dynamic range to encode luminance and color. Basically, whites are whiter, blacks are blacker, and colors pop more on devices that support HDR.

We considered the features above as we chose projectors for this list. Our choices should meet the requirements of most folks who are creating a home theater.

Best Overall: Epson Home Cinema 5050UB

The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB.

The best 4K projector for most people should have an excellent picture, be bright enough to handle ambient light, and have a throw distance that allows flexible placement options. All of that sums up the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB perfectly!

Epson has been manufacturing LCD-type home theater projectors for over a decade. It basically perfected the technology and led the industry in the production of LCD projector panels. The 5050UB employs the pixel shift technique in a 3LCD configuration (independent red, green, and blue panels combined through a prism) for a 4K picture that is almost indistinguishable from native 4K.

Max brightness comes in at 2,600 lumens, most of which are fully available when in dynamic display mode. A total of six display modes are possible to enhance various viewing conditions. Each display mode prioritizes lumens differently. The dimmest mode is digital cinema, which comes in at just over 1,000 lumens. The contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 is also excellent, particularly for an LCD projector. It also supports HDR.

The 5050UB has a zoom lens that spans a throw ratio of 1.35:1 to 2.84:1. This allows the projector to create a 100-inch diagonal picture in a range of just under 10 feet to just over 20 feet away from the projection wall. It’s also one of the few projectors that provides both horizontal and vertical lens shift capabilities. Lens shift is a physical manipulation of the lens angle that eliminates the keystone effect, so the projector doesn’t have to be in the center of the projection screen. This means you can put the 5050UB projector on a shelf in the back left or right corner of the room and achieve a near-perfect 16:9 rectangle!

If the HDMI cables are a challenge, consider the Epson 5050UBe variant. It’s basically identical to the 5050UB, but it supports WirelessHD (WiHD) and 4K wireless HDMI.

Best 4K Projector

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD 3-Chip Projector with HDR

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]]> There’s More to Bisque Than Lobster: 5 Non-Traditional Recipes Fri, 20 Sep 2019 06:40:35 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
Homemade Tomato Basil Bisque Soup in a white bowl next to some toast.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Have you ever taken a spoonful of a lusciously rich soup that is perfectly smooth and full of flavor? If your bells aren’t ringing, you probably haven’t tried bisque, and there’s no better time than now.

RELATED: 5 Best Traditional Seafood Bisque Recipes

Perhaps you have tried a lobster or crab bisque and remember the incredibly creamy consistency it had to offer. An authentic bisque is a soup made with shellfish, mirepoix, and cream, and thickened with ground shellfish shells or rice. In recent years, “bisque” has been used to describe pretty much any creamy soup, but that’s not necessarily accurate.

This brings us to a category of soups we like to call “non-traditional bisque recipes.” Butternut squash bisque is trendy, but have you ever thought of making one with cauliflower or roasted red pepper? Why not try them all? Here are our five favorites.

Best Overall: Butternut Squash Bisque

A bowl of butternut squash bisque.
All Recipes

Butternut squash is a sweet, nutty-tasting winter fruit that makes an excellent side dish for fall holidays, like Thanksgiving. When you puree it into a bisque, you experience an entirely new meal that will surely please the whole family.

Use this bisque recipe to make the perfect meal for a crisp fall day. All the ingredients are vegetarian, too, so it would make a great Meatless Monday meal. You’ll love how all the ingredients come together to create a flawlessly smooth soup.

Get the Recipe: All Recipes

Healthiest: Loaded Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower Bisque

A bowl of southwestern bisque topped with jalapeno, cheese, pico de gallo, and a sour cream drizzle.
No Spoon Necessary

Here’s another excellent example of taking a thickening agent to another level with cannellini beans. The creator of this recipe also uses multiple southwestern-style ingredients, like pico de gallo and cilantro, which make this bisque one of our favorite non-traditional versions.

Why serve bisque with warm crusty bread when you can have it with tortilla chips instead? This smooth, nutritious bisque is packed with flavor and only has 115 calories per serving. If you’re looking for something light, this is it!

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What Is Ultra Wideband, and Why Is It In the iPhone 11? Fri, 20 Sep 2019 10:40:24 +0000 Chris Hoffman
Different color models of Apple's iPhone 11.

Apple’s new iPhone 11 devices include a “U1” chip with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. This isn’t new technology, but it’s the first time it’s been in a modern smartphone. It’s not just about iPhones: Android phones could also get UWB.

What Can Ultra-Wideband Be Used For?

Apple didn’t bother mentioning this feature during the iPhone 11 release event, but it is noted on Apple’s website. As Apple puts it, ultra-wideband technology offers “spatial awareness.”

Initially, Apple only advertises one UWB feature: When the iOS 13.1 update arrives on September 24, “AirDrop gets even better with directionally aware suggestions.” In other words, you can point your iPhone at someone else’s iPhone and AirDrop will know you probably want to send things to them. Today, your iPhone just uses Bluetooth to understand who’s around you. It doesn’t know who you’re looking at or where they are precisely.

Put another way: This feature allows an iPhone—or any other smartphone that implements it—to precisely detect where other objects are in physical space. That’s something lacking on smartphones today.

How Does It Work?

Like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, ultra-wideband is a wireless communication protocol that uses radio waves.

Ultra-wideband offers high bandwidth with low power usage, but it only works over short distances. That’s why other wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are still useful: They have a longer range. Unlike “narrowband” technologies, UWB transmits data over a wider frequency (above 500 MHz).

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are unreliable ways of detecting distance and position. Sure, a device with a stronger signal is probably closer than one with a weaker one, but that’s all you can detect—and it’s not perfect, as signals could be boosted to trick the system. Rather than depending on signal strength, the iPhone will measure the round-trip time of the signal to determine the distance it is from another device. Through multiple antennas, UWB can also measure the angle the signal is arriving from. A precise angle combined with a precise distance means your iPhone can pinpoint an object to a reasonably precise location in space.

The exact details of how Apple’s U1 chip and ultra-wideband will work are unclear, as there are different versions of the standard. Apple hasn’t revealed all the tech specs yet. But Infsoft, which provides indoor positioning services for industrial environments using ultra-wideband, says that its system’s accuracy is between 10-30cm as opposed to 1-3 meters with Bluetooth beacons or 5-15 meters with Wi-Fi.

What’s It Doing in the iPhone 11?

AirDrop on an iPhone 11 Pro.

This technology is part of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Better prioritizing nearby people for AirDrop sharing is just the first feature UWB will enable. According to Apple, “it’s like adding another sense to iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.”

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Geek Trivia: What Do Many Cellphone Users Experience? Fri, 20 Sep 2019 06:02:53 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Do Many Cellphone Users Experience?

  1. Ear Callousing
  2. Phantom Ringing
  3. Texting-Related Injuries
  4. Mobile Viruses

Think you know the answer?

How to Enable Dark Mode on your iPhone and iPad Thu, 19 Sep 2019 16:34:00 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
Dark Mode toggle in Control Center shown on an iPhone running iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

Dark mode is everywhere from Mac, Windows, Android, and now on the iPhone and iPad. iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 finally brings the much-coveted feature to Apple’s devices. It looks great, and it automatically works with supported apps and websites.

How to Enable Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad

When you enable dark mode, the entire UI on your iPhone or iPad flips. You now see a black background and white text. Apple has gone with a true black theme which means that the background at most places is pure black instead of a dark gray.

Reminders app dashboard screen in iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

This looks great on iPhones with an OLED display (iPhone X, XS, XS Max, 11, and 11 Max) as the pixels just don’t light up. To maintain readability, Apple has gone for a gray background for some background elements. We’ve talked about the intricacies of the dark mode interface in detail before.

So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. To enable the dark mode on your iPhone or iPad, first, open the Control Center.

If you have an iPhone X-style device with a notch, swipe down from the top-right edge of the screen. The same goes for iPad users. If you’re using an iPhone with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center.

Swipe down from top-right corner to access Control Center on iPhone

Here, tap and hold on the “Brightness” slider.

Tap and hold on Brightness Slider in Control Center

Now, tap on the “Dark mode” button to turn it on. If you want to disable the feature, you can tap on the icon again.

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Does Paint Expire? Thu, 19 Sep 2019 11:23:02 +0000 Yvonne Glasgow many colorful cans of paint, open to display the paint inside
Andreas Kraus/Shutterstock

Yes, paint does expire, but when it expires depends on the type of paint. You may not find an actual expiration date on the packaging, so how can you tell if your paint is still good?

Basics on Paint Types

There are a few main types of paint you’re most likely to use in your home regularly. If you’re an artist, you may also use acrylic or oil paints. In your home, oil and latex are commonly used.

  • Oil-Based Paints – With proper care and storage, oil-based paints will last up to fifteen years. Oil-based paints use synthetic or natural oils, making it take longer to dry both in storage and when you’re using it. It’s a more durable paint option, though, which makes the long drying time worth it.
  • Latex Paints – Latex-based paint will only last up to ten years. This type of paint dries faster, but it is less durable than oil-based. It’s also less shelf-stable.
  • Acrylic Paints – Acrylic paints, most commonly used in art, may last more than a decade, depending on packaging and storage.

Proper Storage for Paint

Properly storing your paint, no matter what type it is, will extend its life and ensure it lasts for the longest duration. Proper storage begins with tightly sealing the paint can or tube, but proper temperature matters as well. Keeping your paint sealed tightly helps keep it from drying out and all those precious compounds from wafting away and curing the paint in the can.

Extreme temperatures, too cold or too hot, will immediately ruin your paint. Paint needs to be stored above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and below 72 degrees. This means storing your paint in the garage or a shed isn’t a good idea if you want it to last. Keep it in the house where you have more control over the temperature. Latex paint, especially, is susceptible to freezing and one solid freeze is typically enough to turn it into a weird colored spongey mass, ruining it in the process.

How to Tell if Your Paint is Already Bad

Here are the things that signify your paint is bad:

  • If it’s dried out.
  • There’s a fishy or odd smell that it didn’t have before.
  • It’s chunky.
  • When you stir it, it doesn’t hold the proper smoothness and separates again quickly.

So if it’s odd-smelling—you know; odder smelling than VOC-loaded paint already is—and won’t blend back together, it’s time to dispose of it.

How to Track the Age of Your Paint

Keep track of the age of your paint with diligence. Put the date of purchase on the container with a permanent marker. You should also keep a notebook of your paint purchases, especially if you’re painting your home. If you ever want to paint in scrapes on the wall, you’ll want the exact paint mix, and you may run out at some point (or have to toss your paint if it goes bad). Write down:

  • The brand name of the paint
  • The purchase date
  • The name of the paint color
  • What type of paint it is and the finish type
  • The formula numbers from the can

That might seem excessive but trust us. Ten years from now, when you decide you want to repaint and you really like the color, the information above will make it an absolute breeze to get a fresh can in the exact shade you want.

How to Back Up and Restore Your Chrome Bookmarks Locally Thu, 19 Sep 2019 15:23:00 +0000 Brady Gavin

Google Chrome Logo

Whether you want to back up all your bookmarks regularly in case something happens or you want to transfer them to another browser, Chrome lets you export bookmarks locally. Here’s how to back up and restore your bookmarks.

How to Back Up Your Bookmarks

To back up bookmarks in Chrome, click the Chrome menu icon at the top-right corner of your browser window and then go to Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager.

You can also quickly open the Bookmark manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O.

Clock the menu icon, point to Bookmarks, then click on Bookmark Manager

From the Bookmarks Manager, click the menu icon and then select “Export Bookmarks.”

Click the menu icon, and then click "Export Bookmarks."

Put your exported bookmarks in a safe place and then click “Save.”

Navigate to a safe folder, and click "Save."

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The Creative Outlier Air Are The Best Truly Wireless Earbuds for the Buck Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:24:43 +0000 Cameron Summerson
Creative Outlier Air and the case
Cameron Summerson

If you’re looking for an excellent set of truly wireless earbuds that won’t break the bank, the Creative Outlier Air may be just what the doctor ordered. They sound great, are super comfortable, and only cost $80.

You’d be forgiven for not thinking of Creative when wondering which brand of earbuds you should buy—I’m not sure this company is on as many people’s radars as it should be. I’ve reviewed quite a few of its products over the years, and I can’t think of many times I didn’t come away impressed. The Outlier Air is no different.

The Outlier Air is the company’s first set of truly wireless earbuds, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value on the market today. I’ve had several sets of genuinely wireless earbuds stuffed into my earholes over the last few months, so I generally have specific expectations for ‘buds at various price points. The Outlier Air pretty much obliterated every expectation I had, however—they’re comfortable, have excellent audio quality, and killer battery life. What more could you want?

The Case is a Big’un, but Damn It’s Sleek

Creative Outlier Air case
Cameron Summerson

Before we get into pairing and using the Outlier Air, however, let’s first take a look at the case. Unlike most truly wireless earbuds, which have flip-top cases, Creative opted for a sleek slide-out mechanism. I initially thought this would be annoying, but it turns it’s pretty damn nice. I like it. It also charges over USB-C, which is a great addition— even though it’s 2019 and USB-C should be commonplace now, it’s not always a given on products like this. So shoutout to Creative for being forward-thinking.

Creative Outlier Air in the case
Cameron Summerson

That said, the case is on the bulkier side when it comes to truly wireless earbuds. It’s nowhere even close to as sleek as the case you’ll get with a set of AirPods, for instance. In fact, I have five sets of truly wireless earbuds within arm’s reach right now, and the Outlier Air has the largest case of all. Still, it’s not as thick as some of the other (I’m looking at you, Jaybird Run XT), so it still manages to not be terrible in a pocket. But if you’re looking for the sleekest case out there, this ain’t it, baby. Sorry.

No Frills, No Fuss

One thing I love about these buds is that they don’t have a bunch of frills. They just connect to your phone (which is a slightly weird process that we’ll talk about in a minute) and…that’s it. There are no apps to fumble with. In a time when every accessory seems to have its own app, it was nice to know that I didn’t have to mess with any additional installations just to listen to some music. (And before anyone says it: I know you don’t have to install apps for other earbuds, but what kind of reviewer would I be if I didn’t test this crap?)

Outlier Air
Cameron Summerson

But yeah, about the pairing process. Most truly wireless earbuds I’ve tried just pair like anything else—they’re automatically connected and pair to your phone as one unit. But the Outlier Air has a “main” bud—it can be either the left or right, as it’s just the first on you pair with your phone. You pair the main bud first, and then it asks for the other one to be paired, too. Once the second one is connected, it pairs up with the other side and disappears from the phone’s paired list. It works, but it’s just bizarre and slightly convoluted. Whatever—at least you only have to do it once.

Once everything is paired up, it’s smooth sailing. Pop the buds out fo the case, and they connect instantly. And, man, they’re crazy comfortable. They’re about the same overall size as the Jabra Elite 65t, but each bud is slightly lighter. They fit in my ears exceptionally well—probably better than any other earbuds I’ve ever used in my life—and show no signs of slippage no matter what I’m doing. Once they’re in, they’re in.

Outlier Air in my ear
Cameron Summerson

Because of the great fit, they also create an incredibly strong seal, which blocks out most outside noise. This is most excellent when that’s what I’m looking for, but there are also occasions when I want (or even need) to hear what’s going on around me, so the isolation goes both ways. And of course, everyone’s ears are different, so you may have a different experience than me. But these shape of these seems to be very well suited to my ears at the very least. That’s probably a good thing because they only ship with two sets of silicone tips. If one or the other doesn’t work for your head holes, then you’re on your own.

Creative Outlier Air with the extra tips
The Outlier Air only comes with two sets of tips. This shot is for you, Scott. Cameron Summerson

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How iOS 13’s “Silence Unknown Callers” Will Stop Phone Spam Thu, 19 Sep 2019 14:24:00 +0000 Khamosh Pathak

The Silence Unknown Callers Toggle in Settings App

iOS 13 has a new feature that might just save you from all spam and robocalls. The new Silence Unknown Callers feature will mute all calls coming from a number that’s not in your contact list.

Stopping the Endless Stream of Spam Calls

Silence Unknown Callers is a simple toggle that will automatically block unknown numbers from calling you. Your contacts and people you’ve interacted with will still be able to call you, but you won’t be bothered by incoming calls from anyone else.

This feature is one of the biggest reasons we’re excited for iOS 13 when Apple releases it sometime in fall 2019.

How Silence Unknown Callers Works

The Silence Unknown Callers feature is quite a blunt instrument—it’s a simple toggle in Settings. Once enabled, any call you receive from an unknown number will be silenced. If Siri Intelligence finds the number in the Mail, Messages, or Contacts app, the call will come through.

You can think of it as iOS automatically hitting the Decline button for you. You’ll still get a Missed Call notification, and you’ll find the number in the Recents list in the Phone app.

If you have voicemail enabled, the call will automatically go to the voicemail. This is where the visual voicemail feature will come in handy (availability and charges depend on your carrier).

When you go to the “Voicemail” tab in the Phone app, you’ll be able to listen or read the transcript of the voicemail (as you can see in the screenshot below).

Reading a transcript of a spam voicemail

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Beyond PB&J: 10 Easy and Fun School Lunch Ideas Thu, 19 Sep 2019 09:30:43 +0000 Emilee Unterkoefler
school children gathered for lunch eating sandwiches, finger foods, and more
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

We understand the importance of providing your kiddos healthy food, but we also know you don’t have time to carve animal faces out of your kid’s fruit. Here are 10 easy school lunch ideas to start trying this week!

It’s That Time of Year Again

It’s officially that time of year again. School is in session and busy days blend into busy nights, and eventually, the sun is up, and you’re at it again. Get the kids dressed, put breakfast on the table, load up the backpacks, and of course, don’t forget the school lunches. The chaos never ends!

RELATED: Getting the Kids Out the Door Too Stressful? You Need a Morning Routine

Maybe we can help with some easy lunches that you can streamline right into your morning routine. We gathered a list of 10 easy lunch options you can make the evening before. Have those lunch boxes prepacked, so all you have to do is maybe a quick microwave nuke in the morning and then grab and go. Here’s what we’ve got for you.

Mini Fruit Pancakes with a Side of Maple Syrup

What’s great, is you can make these weeks in advance and freeze them till you’re ready to use them. Purchase your favorite pancake mix made with whole grains and prepare a batch of batter. If you’re looking for a nutritional boost that kids won’t even notice, we can’t recommend Kodiak Cakes batter mix enough—the pancake and waffle mix starts with 14g of protein per serving and boosts up to 21g if you mix it with milk instead of water and add an egg.

High Protein Pancakes

Kodiak Cakes Protein Pancake Power Cakes, Flapjack & Waffle Baking Mix, Buttermilk, 20 oz (Pack of 3)

Kids love pancakes and waffles, and you’ll love that you’re sneaking some extra protein into their diets.

Pour enough batter to make mini pancakes that can be eaten with hands and easily dunked into a side of maple syrup. Don’t forget to add strawberries, blueberries, or a few slices of bananas. Your kids will love this tasty treat.

Cheese Quesadillas with a Side of Salsa

Packed lunch with cheese quesadilla, mixed berries, an apple and a banana
Emilee Unterkoefler

Cheese quesadillas are among one of the most effortless lunches you can make for your little ones. Turn your stove to medium heat, and place an eight-inch flour tortilla on a warm skillet. Add cheese to the tortilla, and warm until the cheese begins to melt.

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Bulbrite’s Solana Edison Is a Unique Smart Bulb You’ve Never Heard Of Thu, 19 Sep 2019 09:00:06 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The Bulbrite Edison bulb in my hand.
Andrew Heinzman

Bulbrite’s catalog of Solana smart bulbs contains a golden nugget—the Edison smart bulb. While Bulbrite isn’t well-known in the smarthome world (yet), I think this bulb is a great hub-less (and cheaper) alternative to Philips’ new Edison-style smart bulbs.

The Bulbrite Solana Edison bulb is, as you can tell, a filament-styled smart bulb that’s powered by LEDs. It produces 600 lumens of light with just 5 watts of power, fits on standard E26 light sockets, and has a 13.7-year life span (an oddly specific number, I know). And like most smart bulbs on the market today, Bulbrite’s Solana bulbs work without a hub.

This bulb feels different from any other smart bulb I’ve worked with. For one, it’s made out of glass, which is rare for smart bulbs. It’s also pretty lightweight for a smart bulb, and it can get surprisingly bright, probably because the LED “filaments” aren’t diffused by any kind of plastic.

These quirks make the Bulbrite Edison a perfect candidate for pedant lamps, chandeliers, or any other fixture that naturally diffuses light (assuming they’ll play nice with the Edison’s oblong shape). In fact, I’m willing to bet this is the only smart bulb on the market that won’t look tacky in an old-fashioned or romantic light fixture (although the Philips Hue Edison smart bulbs probably look great, too).

Close-ups of the Edison showing that it contains orange and blue LED strips.
Andrew Heinzman

When the bulb is on warm settings, the orange LED strips get brighter. On cool settings, the blue LED strips get brighter. This is standard practice for LED bulbs. But these strengths can also be weaknesses. Each “filament” of the Edison is just a string of orange or blue LEDs. This mix of orange and blue creates a “natural” white, and gives you the option to change color temperature. (An LED can emit only one wavelength of light at a time, so this is common practice.)

So when you use the Edison in an exposed fixture, like a ceiling fan or a Hollywood-styled bathroom vanity, it casts uneven licks of blue and orange light. Your feeling toward this phenomena is a matter of personal preference, but I’m willing to assume most people would prefer something more uniform. (Sure, you could do all orange or all blue, but the colors are pretty intense.)

The App Is Surprisingly Good

My experience with hub-less smart bulbs is that, while they’re not difficult to set up, the process is kind of tedious. LIFX and Wyze branded smart bulbs, for example, need to be connected to your phone one at a time.

So I assumed the Bulbrite Edison setup would be an equally time-consuming process, or that the Bulbrite app would completely suck (in the world of smarthomes, Bulbrite is still a no-name brand).

But hey, I was completely wrong.  The Bulbrite app (iOS, Android) is extremely user-friendly—I’d say it’s better than any of the other hub-less smart bulb apps I’ve used (which is weird, considering that Bulbrite isn’t nearly as popular as its smarthome competitors).

Screenshots of the Bulbrite app. It's surprisingly user-friendly, and it looks great too..
The Bulbrite app’s “temperature” settings page, home page, and scheduling menu. Andrew Heinzman

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How iOS 13 Will Save Your iPhone’s Battery (by Not Fully Charging It) Thu, 19 Sep 2019 13:00:00 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
iPhone X with charger connector.
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Lithium-ion batteries, like those in iPhones, have a longer usable life if you don’t charge above 80%. But, to last the day, you probably want a full charge. With iOS 13, Apple may give you the best of both worlds.

iOS 13 Will Charge to 80% and Wait

Apple announced iOS 13 at WWDC 2019. Buried in the list of extra features was a note about “battery optimization.” Apple says it will be “reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged.” Specifically, Apple will prevent your iPhone from charging above 80% until you need it.

You might be wondering why Apple wants to keep your iPhone at 80% charge. It’s all about the way Lithium-ion battery technology works.

Lithium-ion Batteries Are Complicated

Battery image showing the first 80% is fast charge, final 20% is a trickle charge

Batteries, in general, are complicated technology. The fundamental goal is to cram as much energy as possible into a small a space as possible, then safely release that energy without causing a fire or explosion. It’s a juggling act of priorities.

Lithium-ion batteries make things extra complicated by being rechargeable. Earlier rechargeable technology suffered from the memory effect—essentially, batteries lost track of their maximum capacities if you constantly recharged them after only partially discharging them. Lithium-ion batteries don’t have that problem. If you’re still draining your battery to empty before recharging it, you should stop. You’re damaging your battery’s health.

RELATED: Debunking Battery Life Myths for Mobile Phones, Tablets, and Laptops

You Shouldn’t Keep Your Battery at 100%

Charge showing depletion cycle, depleting 75% now, and 25% later equals 1 cycle even if you charge between.
One cycle consists of depleting an amount that adds to 100%. Apple

Lithium-ion batteries charge to 80% faster than previous battery technologies did. For most people, 80% is enough to make it through the rest of the day, so it gives you what you need sooner. It also doesn’t have the dreaded “memory effect” that causes the battery to lose track of its full capacity.

However, instead of having a memory issue, Li-ion has a maximum charge cycle issue. You can only recharge the battery so many times, and then it starts to lose capacity. It’s not merely charging zero to 100% that counts as a full charge. If you charge from 80 to 100% five days in a row, those 20% charges add up to one “full charge cycle.”

Not only does draining the battery to zero and then charging to 100% hurt your battery in the long run, always charging the battery isn’t good for it either. By staying near 100%, you risk overheating the battery (which can cause damage). Additionally, to prevent your battery from “overcharging,” it stops the charge for a while, then starts again.

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What Is a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine? Thu, 19 Sep 2019 08:00:04 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
A X-Carve CNC machine with spinning carve bit.

A Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine is, as its name suggests, a computer-controlled machining device for creating things. Chances are, you own a product that was either made by or prototyped with a CNC machine. Here’s how they work.

What Is a CNC Machine, and How Does It Work?

If you own a car or tablet, have flown in a plane, or have any medical implants, CNC machining made all that technology (and much more!) possible and available to you. A CNC machine is, at a fundamental level, a cutting tool controlled by a computer. They vary in size, shape, and type of material they can cut.

To understand how a CNC machine works, imagine how a 3D printer works, then reverse the process. Instead of extruding layers of plastic to build up an object, a CNC machine moves a cutting tool to remove material from an existing object. Here’s a timelapse of a CNC cutting a guitar body out of a slab of wood:

It’s a bit like sculpting, but on a very tightly controlled level. You place your material (like wood, metal, or foam) into the machine, and then a cutting device carves away at it. And much like with a 3D printer, you create a 3D representation of what the final product should look like, along with adjusting several settings to help you get there (how much material to remove at once, etc.).

The benefits of a CNC machine are time and repeatability. CNC machines work quickly (compared to a human), and can make the same cut accurately multiple times. That level of accuracy and precision is essential when it comes to mass-producing a particular shape or item the same every time.

The downside is, just like with a 3D printer, if you don’t have your settings correct and your 3D file’s geometries accurate, things can go horribly wrong.

How exact a CNC machine works varies based on its cutting method.

The Three Common Types of CNC Machines

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The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now Thu, 19 Sep 2019 12:00:00 +0000 Khamosh Pathak
Reminders app in dark mode with iOS 13 logo on top
Khamosh Pathak

Apple released iOS 13 today on September 19, 2019. It comes with a new dark mode, improvements in stock apps, better privacy controls, and much more. Head to Settings > General > Software Update to get it.

Another update is coming soon, too. iOS 13.1 will include additional software features and will launch on September 24.

A Note About iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Release

For the first time, Apple is splitting the iOS release into two. iOS 13 for iPhone and iPadOS 13 for iPad. We’ve already talked about how iPadOS 13 will almost turn iPad into a real computer. So in this article, we’ll focus purely on the iPhone specific features. iPadOS 13 won’t arrive until September 24.

Apple is set to release iOS 13 to the iPhone 6s and higher. To check if the update is available on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Dark Mode

Widgets screen in dark mode in iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

This is the big one. The one you’ll push that update button for. iOS 13 brings a system-wide dark mode that flips the script—white text on a black background.

It uses a true black theme, meaning that the background in many apps is pitch black. On iPhones with OLED screens (iPhone X, XS, and XS Max), this looks exceptionally beautiful because the black pixels don’t light up. This also might help save a small bit of battery life.

To enable the dark mode, go to the Control Center, tap and hold on the Brightness slider, and then tap on the “Dark Mode” button.

Dark Mode toggle in Control Center shown on an iPhone running iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

You can also set up a schedule by going to Settings > Display and Brightness > Schedule. You can enable dark mode based on when your local sunset takes place or a custom schedule.

Just like macOS Mojave, the dark mode switch extends to apps and websites (in Safari). If the app or website supports it, they’ll automatically switch between the light and dark appearance.

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The Essential Guide to Getting Stuff Done at the Airport Thu, 19 Sep 2019 06:40:34 +0000 Elyse Hauser
woman working in airport waiting area
Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

Working in an airport isn’t the most ideal situation, but if you’re a business traveler you know all too well how setting up virtual office there is necessary sometimes. Here’s how to get more done.

Ah, the airport—a space we all seem to be in a love-hate relationship with. It offers nice things: wine bars, cute restaurants, and fancy stuff at the duty-free store. But it also has drawbacks: security, crowds, and confusing layouts that seem designed to make you miss your flight.

And anyone who has spent lots of time in airports has probably faced the greatest airport love-hate relationship of all: that of trying to get stuff done.

On the one hand, airports offer large swathes of time, free Wi-Fi, and multiple sources for coffee refills. On the other hand, you’re often tired, stressed, and easily distracted by the swarms of people around you.

Is the airport a great place to work, or is it a remote-work hellscape? The answer can be a little bit of both, depending on the moment—but you can make your time there more productive without sacrificing your sanity. Here’s what you should know.

How Much Can You Really Get Done at the Airport?

The first step to getting stuff done at the airport: manage your expectations.

Anyone can accomplish things at the airport, whether you’re a full-time remote worker or just someone with emails to reply to and online shopping to do. However, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish there.

As a frequent traveler with a long layover, for example, you might feel like it’s reasonable to put in a full day’s work at the airport. However, very few people can work in an airport with the same level of focus and stamina that they can elsewhere. This isn’t the time to tackle a full normal workday or aim for inbox zero.

For one thing, you’re surrounded by distractions: loud children, noisy announcements, and the hustle of people going by will make it hard to immerse yourself in work. And for another, the airport offers countless variables that could make things even harder.

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The Best Desktop Computers for Under $1000 Thu, 19 Sep 2019 06:40:30 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
An Acer Aspire desktop placed between a TV and a plant.

If you’re shopping for a new desktop to replace your aging PC, you’ve probably found dozens of options. Unless you know about processors, RAM, and more, it’s hard to tell what’s best. Here are some excellent choices for every budget.

What to Look for in a Desktop

When it comes to buying desktops, you’re going to find a lot of similarities between machines. Unfortunately, many sites just toss raw specs at you. It’s up to you to know how powerful a component is and if that justifies the cost. Let’s start by breaking down those components into easy to understand concepts.

We’ll start with a simple analogy. Imagine your computer as a workshop area in your garage. You likely have a few things comprising that workshop, a calculator (the processor), a workbench area (RAM), drawers for storage (a hard drive), and possibly a graphing calculator for advanced projects (graphics card). Let’s examine each briefly.


An Intel 8th generation processor.

Every computer, from your smartphone to your desktop, contains a Central Processing Unit (also called a CPU or Processor). In the workshop scenario, think of the processor as the calculator you rely on to get all your measurements and cuts right. When it comes time to do any math, you pull out the calculator and crunch the numbers.

When purchasing a machine with an Intel processor, you’re likely to see offerings such as i3, i5, or i7. The naming scheme here is pretty simple to follow, of those three options i3 is the least powerful CPU, while i7 is the most powerful. The i3 processor can keep up with browsing the internet, checking emails, and lightweight streaming. The i7 is perfect for intensive tasks like development and compiling code.


Random Access Memory (RAM) is a lot like the workbench in your shop. With a large workbench, you can work on multiple projects at once. A smaller workbench limits you to fewer simultaneous projects.

RAM is very similar, the more you have, the more your computer can accomplish simultaneously, which speeds up operations for you.

The great thing about RAM is you don’t have to spend much to upgrade the amount you have, and yet that small expense can produce noticeable benefits. If your desktop runs Windows, you shouldn’t have fewer than 8 GB of RAM.

Hard Drive

A Samsung Solid State Drive

If RAM is the workbench in your shop, then hard drives are the drawers. With more drawers, you have more space to store supplies, tools, and more.

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How to Use a Mouse With Your iPad or iPhone Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:40:13 +0000 Tim Brookes
Apple iPad Pro iOS 13 with Mouse
Justin Duino

With the announcement of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple surprised the world by adding support for mice. Mouse support is included in iOS 13 for iPhone. It will arrive on iPads with iPadOS 13, scheduled for September 24.

It’s still early days for mouse support on iPhone and iPad, and the feature isn’t even enabled by default. Let’s take a look at how to enable it, which devices it works with, and what are the benefits of using a pointing device on an operating system that’s been designed from the ground up for touch input.

Mouse Implementation on iPhone and iPad

In its current state, mouse support feels more like finger simulation than proper mouse control. Apple hasn’t made any changes to the way the operating system works when you’re using it with a mouse. iOS and iPadOS are each still a pure touch-based OS.

One example of this is in how text manipulation works with the mouse. On a regular computer, you would move your pointer over the text you want to select and then click and drag. But that doesn’t work on the mobile OS. You either have to double-click then drag, or double click to select then drag the text selection marker and move it.

Even this doesn’t work quite as you’d expect. When you double-click and drag, you’ll select the entirety of the word rather than making a selection from the exact location of your pointer. It sounds like a small issue, and we didn’t find it difficult to adjust to, but it still feels more like touch simulation than proper mouse control.

Available Mouse Button Inputs in iOS 13 (iPadOS 13)

Another example of this is button mapping. You can map your mouse buttons to common iOS and iPadOS functions. By default, your left mouse button will “single-tap” just like your finger would.

There’s no way to add a “left mouse button” or “right mouse button” action because the OS wasn’t designed to receive inputs from a mouse.

It’s unclear whether Apple will expand the concept in the future and equip its mobile OS’ with the ability to accept proper mouse inputs. This would undoubtedly push the iPad Pro further into laptop replacement territory, a path that Apple has been treading very carefully.

How to Connect a Mouse to Your iPad or iPhone

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Geek Trivia: What Company Did Google Almost Sell Out To For Less Than A Million Dollars? Thu, 19 Sep 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Company Did Google Almost Sell Out To For Less Than A Million Dollars?

  1. Lycos
  2. AltaVista
  3. Yahoo!
  4. Excite

Think you know the answer?

All the Best Google Slides Keyboard Shortcuts Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:23:54 +0000 Brady Gavin

The Google Slides logo.

No one likes to do things the hard way, which is why we have keyboard shortcuts! We’re going to look at the shortcuts you can use in Google Slides and save yourself some time.

By no means is this a complete list of all keyboard shortcuts available in Google Slides. We’ve limited our list to those that are more generally useful. There are plenty more you can explore if you can’t find what you’re looking for in this guide.

To open a list of keyboard shortcuts in Google Slides, press Ctrl+/ (Windows and Chrome OS) or Cmd+/ (macOS). If you want to see the complete list, check out the Google Slides support page.

General Program Actions

These shortcuts make it easier to do everything from copy text to undo a mistake:

  • Ctrl+M (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+M (macOS): Make new slide.
  • Ctrl+D (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+D (macOS): Duplicate the slide currently selected in the filmstrip.
  • Ctrl+C (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+C (macOS): Copy the selected text or graphics to the Clipboard.
  • Ctrl+X (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+X (macOS): Cut the selected text or graphics to the Clipboard.
  • Ctrl+V (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+V (macOS): Paste the contents of the Clipboard to a slide.
  • Ctrl+Z (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Z (macOS): Undo an action.
  • Ctrl+Y (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Y (macOS): Redo an action.
  • Ctrl+K (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+K (macOS): Insert or edit an external link.
  • Ctrl+S (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+S (macOS): Save (every change is saved in Drive, though, if you’re paranoid)
  • Ctrl+P (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+P (macOS): Print your presentation.
  • Ctrl+O (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+O (macOS): Open a file from your drive or computer.
  • Ctrl+F (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+F (macOS): Find specific text in your slides.
  • Ctrl+H (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+H (macOS): Find and replace text in your slides.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+F (macOS): Switch to Compact mode (hide the menus).

Format Text

Google Slides has heaps of shortcuts that allow you to format the text in each slide. These are the shortcuts you use to do things like italicize, bold, or underline text:

  • Ctrl+B (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+B (macOS): Bold text.
  • Ctrl+I (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+I (macOS): Italicize text.
  • Ctrl+U (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+U (macOS): Underline text.
  • Alt+Shift+5 (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+X (macOS): Apply strikethrough to text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+J (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+J (macOS): Justify text.
  • Ctrl+Alt+C (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+C (macOS): Copy the format of the selected text.
  • Ctrl+Alt+V (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+V (macOS): Paste the format of the text.
  • Ctrl+\ (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+\ (macOS): Clear the format of the text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+> and < (Windows/Chrome OS), or Cmd+Shift+> and < (macOS): Increase or decrease the font size, one point at a time.
  • Ctrl+] and [ (Windows/Chrome OS), or Cmd+] and [ (macOS): Increase or decrease paragraph indentation.
  • Ctrl+Shift+L (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+L (macOS): Left align the text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+E (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+E (macOS): Center align the text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+R (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+R (macOS): Right align the text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+7 (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+7 (macOS): Insert a numbered list.
  • Ctrl+Shift+8 (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+8 (macOS): Insert a bulleted list.

Use the Filmstrip

The filmstrip is the pane on the left where you see a vertical list of all your slides. You can use these keyboard shortcuts when the focus is on the filmstrip:

  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+F (macOS): Move focus to the filmstrip.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+C (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+C (macOS): Move focus to the canvas.
  • Up/Down Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Move focus to the previous or next slide.
  • Home/End (Windows), Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down Arrow (Chrome OS), or Fn+Left/Right Arrow(macOS): Move focus to the first or last slide.
  • Ctrl+Up/Down Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+up/Down Arrow (macOS): Move the slide in focus up or down.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Up/Down Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Up/Down Arrow (macOS): Move the slide in focus to the beginning or end.
  • Shift+Up/Down Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Extend the selection to the previous or next slide.
  • Shift+Home/End (Windows) or Shift+Fn+Left/Right Arrow (macOS): Select the first or last slide.

Move Around in a Presentation

You can move around your document quickly without touching your mouse! These helpful shortcuts will have you zipping around in no time:

  • Ctrl+Alt and +/- (Windows/Chrome OS), or Cmd+Option and +/- (macOS): Zoom in/out of a slide on the canvas.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+S (macOS): Open the speaker notes panel.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+P (macOS): Switch to the HTML view of your presentation.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+B (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+B (macOS): Open a slide’s transition animation panel.

Move or Arrange Objects in a Slide

You probably have some objects, pictures, or shapes in your presentation you need to move or alter. Here’s how you can do it without touching a mouse:

  • Tab (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Select the next object or shape.
  • Shift+Tab (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Select the previous object or shape.
  • Ctrl+D (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+D (macOS): Duplicate the currently-selected object.
  • Ctrl+Alt+G (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+G (macOS): Group the selected objects.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Option+Shift+G (macOS): Ungroup objects.
  • Ctrl+Down/Up Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Down/Up Arrow (macOS): Send the selected object backward or forward.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Down/Up Arrow (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Shift+Down/Up Arrow (macOS): Send the selected object to the back or front.
  • Arrow keys (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Nudge an object or shape right or left.
  • Shift+Arrow keys (Windows/Chrome OS/macOS): Nudge an object or shape right or left, one pixel at a time.
  • Ctrl+Alt+J (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+J (macOS): Make the object or shape smaller.
  • Ctrl+Alt+K (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+K (macOS): Make the object or shape larger.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Q (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+Q (macOS): Make the object or shape smaller vertically.
  • Ctrl+Alt+I (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+W (macOS): Make the object or shape larger vertically.
  • Ctrl+Alt+W (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+I (macOS): Make the object or shape smaller horizontally.
  • Ctrl+Alt+B (Windows/Chrome OS) or Cmd+Ctrl+B (macOS): Make the object or shape larger horizontally.

Present Your Presentation

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What Is Google Jamboard (and Do I Need the Hardware to Use It)? Wed, 18 Sep 2019 14:24:00 +0000 Brady Gavin

Jamboard logo

Jamboard by Google is a cloud-based kiosk meant for businesses to use in conference rooms to facilitate collaboration in meetings. Despite a hardware aspect of the product, you don’t necessarily need the smart display to use it.

What Is Jamboard?

Google Jamboard in action.

Jamboard is an online interactive whiteboard tool designed for cross-platform collaboration developed by Google as part of the G Suite family. Initially released in May 2017, Jamboard is Google’s entry into the digital whiteboard market to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Hub. Jamboard is built on a custom version of Android that harmonizes with all the G Suite services.

The 55-inch 4K touchscreen supports 16 simultaneous touch points, Wi-Fi connectivity, and handwriting and shape recognition. It also includes a Full HD webcam, HDMI, USB-C and micro-USB inputs, and two styluses. You can use the optional rolling stand or mount Jamboard on the wall of your conference room.

Create a Jam—what Google calls each collaboration session—in seconds, add up to 20 frames (pages) per Jam, and share it with up to 50 collaborators at once in real time. Search Google, insert images from Drive or web pages, add Sticky Notes and emojis, or use the shape recognition tool to add perfect shapes to the Jam. Jamboard seems to do it all. You can even host video meetings and present your whiteboard to attendees.

How Much Does Jamboard Cost?

Shop for Jamboard.

Depending on where you live, the price for a Jamboard differs region-by-region. In the U.S., you can purchase the Jamboard (available in Carmine Red, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gray), two styluses, one eraser, and one wall mount for $4,999.

Along with the upfront purchase of the hardware, you have to pay an additional $600 per year for management and support fees. To see a more complete list of prices in local currencies, check out the pricing page for Jamboard.

In addition to buying the hardware and the annual support fee, to use a Jamboard device, you’ll need a G Suite plan. Jamboard is available for G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, G Suite for Education, and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers.

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How to Use the XLOOKUP Function in Microsoft Excel Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:00:21 +0000 Alan Murray

excel logo

Excel’s new XLOOKUP will replace VLOOKUP, providing a powerful replacement to one of Excel’s most popular functions. This new function solves some of VLOOKUP’s limitations and has extra functionality. Here’s what you need to know.

What is XLOOKUP?

The new XLOOKUP function has solutions for some of the biggest limitations of VLOOKUP. Plus, it also replaces HLOOKUP. For example, XLOOKUP can look to its left, defaults to an exact match, and allows you to specify a range of cells instead of a column number. VLOOKUP is not this easy to use or as versatile. We’ll show you how it all works.

For the moment, XLOOKUP is only available to users on the Insiders program. Anyone can join the Insiders program to access the newest Excel features as soon as they become available. Microsoft will soon begin to roll it out to all Office 365 users.

How to Use the XLOOKUP Function

Let’s dive straight in with an example of XLOOKUP in action. Take the example data below. We want to return the department from column F for each ID in column A.

Sample data for XLOOKUP example

This is a classic exact match lookup example. The XLOOKUP function requires just three pieces of information.

The image below shows XLOOKUP with five arguments, but only the first three are necessary for an exact match. So let’s focus on them:

  • Lookup_value: What you are looking for.
  • Lookup_array: Where to look.
  • Return_array: the range containing the value to return.

Information required by the XLOOKUP function in Excel

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Browsers Are Bringing Automatic Dark Mode to Websites Wed, 18 Sep 2019 12:00:18 +0000 Chris Hoffman
Chrome logo over a dark background with dry ice smoke clouds.

Dark mode is now everywhere, including in iOS 13 and Android 10. Web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge have embraced dark mode, too. Now, browsers are bringing automatic dark mode to websites thanks to a feature called prefers-color-scheme.

Websites Can Now Detect Dark Mode Like Apps Can

YouTube's webside with the dark theme enabled

Some sites offer dark modes today. For example, you can enable dark mode on YouTube, Twitter, or Slack in a few clicks. That’s pretty cool, but who wants to enable this option separately each time they visit a new website?

When you enable dark mode on Windows 10, macOS, iOS, or Android, the applications you use all know you’ve enabled dark mode and can automatically enable it. Google Chrome doesn’t even have an easy-to-access dark mode option. Chrome just automatically adjusts itself based on your overall operating system choice.

In the past, there wasn’t a way for websites to automatically implement dark mode. Even if your browser’s interface goes dark, websites will continue using their bright backgrounds. You have to manually enable dark mode or use a browser extension that forces dark mode.

It wasn’t web developers’ faults—they had no way of detecting whether dark mode was enabled on your device. That’s changed with a new cascading style sheets (CSS) feature websites can take advantage of.

It’s Already In a Browser Near You

Enabling dark mode in Windows 10's Settings app

The answer to this problem is prefers-color-scheme, a CSS feature that websites can use to ask your web browser whether you have dark mode enabled. A web page can use a different theme depending on whether you have dark mode enabled or disabled.

This feature was only recently added to modern web browsers in 2019.

  • Google Chrome for all platforms (including Android) has supported it since Chrome 76, released on July 30.
  • Safari for iPhone and iPad gets it with Safari 13 as part of iOS 13 on September 19.
  • Mozilla Firefox has supported it since Firefox 67, released on May 21.
  • Safari for Mac has supported it since Safari 12.1, released on April 5.
  • Microsoft Edge doesn’t support it, but the new Chromium-based Edge browser will.

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How to Freeze Meat Properly for Safe Storage and Better Flavor Wed, 18 Sep 2019 08:00:14 +0000 Yvonne Glasgow
bags of vacuum sealed meat, destined for the freezer
Oleksandra Naumenko/Shutterstock

Freezing your meat wrong can ruin the flavor, cause freezer burn, and ultimately waste your money and time. From chicken to steaks, the proper techniques in packaging will help you freeze with better results.

Let’s lead the most important thing: you need to freeze meat quickly. The slow meat freezes, the more moisture is drawn out of it. Lack of moisture in steaks makes them like leather. Chicken without its juiciness is dry and tough to swallow. This lack of moisture is often called freezer burn, but it’s really just the movement of water out of the meat and into the large ice crystals and frost that forms on the surface. Once it’s pulled from the meat there’s no effective way to put it back, so let’s look at how to freeze meat correctly and avoid that problem.

How to Freeze Meat Fast and Properly

From the way you package the meat to having the right freezer temperature, there are some important things to do that will help you ensure your meat stays as freshly frozen as possible. If you follow these steps, you’ll have better-tasting meat without the freezer burn.

Pick the Right Freezer Temp

For quicker freezing times, be sure that your freezer temperature is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Some freezers have a quick-freeze shelf, which is the perfect place to put your meat to freeze rapidly.

If your freezer isn’t cold enough or doesn’t have a special shelf for rapid freezing, try an ice bath for your meat. Place your vacuum-sealed meat in an ice bath (water and ice cubes) and add some salt. The salt will make the water colder and help you prechill the meat before putting it in the freezer.

Pack Smaller Portions

The thickness and amount of meat in your freezer bag matter, too. Pack meat in the smallest portions you’ll use. If you frequently cook for just yourself, cut it up and pack it the way you would use it. The same goes for family meal planning.

Not only do individual portions of meat and small cuts in packages freeze faster, but it’s also easier to grab just the right amount of meat out of the freezer for thawing when you have a meal planned.

You can also freeze individual steaks or pork chops, and then stack them together in alternative packaging. This keeps them from getting stuck together and allows for even freezing.

Packaging Meats for Freezing

Always repackage meat when you get it home from the store. The styrofoam and plastic packing most fresh meat come in isn’t ideal for freezing (and isn’t airtight).

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15 Special Characters You Need to Know for Bash Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:40:39 +0000 Dave McKay

A Linux terminal full of text on a laptop.

If you want to master the Bash shell on Linux, macOS, or another UNIX-like system, special characters (like ~, *, |, and >) are critical. We’ll help you unravel these cryptic Linux command sequences and become a hero of hieroglyphics.

What Are Special Characters?

There are a set of characters the Bash shell treats in two different ways. When you type them at the shell, they act as instructions or commands and tell the shell to perform a certain function. Think of them as single-character commands.

Sometimes, you just want to print a character and don’t need it to act as a magic symbol. There’s a way you can use a character to represent itself rather than its special function.

We’ll show you which characters are “special” or “meta-” characters, as well as how you can use them functionally and literally.

~ Home Directory

The tilde (~) is shorthand for your home directory. It means you don’t have to type the full path to your home directory in commands. Wherever you are in the filesystem, you can use this command to go to your home directory:

cd ~

The "cd ~" command in a terminal window.

You can also use this command with relative paths. For example, if you’re somewhere in the file system that’s not under your home folder and want to change to the archive directory in your work directory, use the tilde to do it:

cd ~/work/archive

The "cd ~/work/archive" command in a terminal window.

. Current Directory

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Geek Trivia: Which Of These Actors Has Appeared In Star Trek, Star Wars, And Doctor Who? Wed, 18 Sep 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Which Of These Actors Has Appeared In Star Trek, Star Wars, And Doctor Who?

  1. Deep Roy
  2. Harrison Ford
  3. David Prowse
  4. George Takei

Think you know the answer?