How-To Geek We Explain Technology Sun, 26 May 2019 10:40:51 +0000 en-us hourly 1 How to Stop All the Voice Assistants from Storing Your Voice Sun, 26 May 2019 10:40:51 +0000 Josh Hendrickson
Smart speaker concept. AI speaker. Voice recognition

Voice assistants, like Google Assistant and Alexa, record what you say after the wake word to send off to company servers. The companies keep your recordings until you delete them. Some companies let you turn that behavior off: here’s how.

Voice Assistants Record You After Their Wake Word

Voice assistants work in a straightforward manner. They continually listen to everything you say, all day long. But the device in the room doesn’t have much intelligence. The only thing it can understand is its wake word: Alexa, Hey Google, Hey Cortana, and so on.

Once it detects that wake word, it starts recording everything that follows (and a second or so from when it thought it heard the wake word). The device sends the recording out to company servers (Alexa, Google, etc.) to figure out everything else you said and then act on it.

But after executing your command, the companies don’t necessarily delete your recording. Instead, your spoken words are retained indefinitely to improve Voice Assistant results and determine new features.

Some companies let you turn this behavior off. And some don’t. Among those that do, turning off recordings will break the voice assistant entirely, but that’s not true in all cases. We’ve rounded up what you can do, and what the results are.

Google is The Leader in Choice

Red Google Home on a shelf.

Google stands alone as the only company that gives you a choice to use Google Assistant without storing your voice forever. And in a real step of leadership, that’s now the default behavior for new users who set up Google Assistant.

Existing users are grandfathered into the old system of retaining your voice recordings, but you can turn that off. Turning off voice storage is as simple as going to Google’s Activity controls, toggling off “Voice & Audio activity,” and then clicking pause.

Google Voice and Audio activity dashboard with toggle off.

Best of all, turning off voice storage doesn’t break Google Assistant or Google Home devices, so there’s no reason not to turn the function off if you don’t like the thought of large companies retaining copies of your voice.

Alexa Doesn’t Give You Much Choice

Amazon Echo on a nightstand.

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Geek Trivia: By Whose Request Was Margarine Invented? Sun, 26 May 2019 06:02:39 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

By Whose Request Was Margarine Invented?

  1. Napoleon III
  2. Florence Nightingale
  3. President Taft
  4. Albert Einstein

Think you know the answer?

The Best Ice Cream Makers For Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet And More Sat, 25 May 2019 08:00:16 +0000 Jennifer Allen
Homemade ice cream sitting on a counter with fresh waffle cones
Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love ice cream? These smart machines will help you make delicious fresh ice cream right at home, and many of them also make frozen yogurt, gelato, and sorbet too!

It’s possible to spend hundreds of dollars on ice cream makers, or only a handful. We’ve got different ice cream makers for different budgets, and there’s even room for a manual ice cream maker if you feel like “earning” your guilty pleasures through plenty of churning. Whatever your situation, you’re not far off delicious ice cream with one of these machines.

The Best Ice Cream Maker for Most People: Cuisinart ICE-70 Ice Cream Maker ($113)


Cuisinart Electronic Ice Cream Maker

Cuisinart has a solid reputation for good-quality kitchen equipment, and that’s certainly the case with the Cuisinart ICE-70 Ice Cream Maker. It can make two quarts of ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, or sorbet in just 20 minutes. You don’t have to think too deeply about it either with three intuitive settings and multiple speeds that do all the hard work for you. There’s a countdown timer too with an automatic shutoff for when it’s finished. There’s also an ingredient spout with an integrated measuring cup, plus there’s a recipe book to get you started.

While this model is a great value, the one downside is that it is a compressor-less model—there’s no internal cooling. You need to make your ice cream and then put it immediately in the freezer to complete the process. If you want a built-in cooling, you’ll need to either upgrade (to the tune of another $100 or so) to the ICE-100 model or take a look at our premium pick below.

The Best Premium Ice Cream Maker: Breville Smart Scoop ($400)

Breville Smart Scoop

Passionate about ice cream and want to be able to do a ton with your ice cream maker? Buy the Breville Smart Scoop. It’s $400 (which is a chunk of change and 13 times the cost of our budget pick), but it offers an impressive 12 different hardness settings and a host of features. That means it’s equally as perfect for ice cream as it is sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt, and so forth.

It has fully automatic functionality too so for those times when you can’t be bothered to get too involved with the process; it’ll still give you delicious results. And when we say automatic? It actually senses the hardness of the mixture in the processing chamber and then, based on your selection, adjusts accordingly. Smart, huh?

Once it’s finished doing its job, the Breville Smart Scoop also keeps the results cool for up to 3 hours thanks to its powerful built-in compressor. If you make a lot of ice cream, this is a great investment.

The Best Budget Ice Cream Maker: Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker ($30)

Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Hamilton Beach

A good ice cream maker doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It can cost as little as you’d expect a set of nested buckets with a motor attached to cost. The Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker lacks the finer nuances of the Cuisinart ice cream maker, but it still produces tasty ice cream, sorbet, and so on. It makes up to 4 quarts in about 40 minutes with smaller amounts taking less time.

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Is it Actually Bad to Have 100 Browser Tabs Open? Sat, 25 May 2019 10:40:09 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
A pair of hands working on an extremely messy desk.

Through all of human history, a mess of tabs has been a sign of poor productivity. But that 100-tab habit could be the secret to your productivity, so long as you have the right extensions and hardware.

The Case for 100 Tabs

When it comes to productivity, everyone has different needs. Some people like to write to-do lists, some people like to stand while they work, and others like to keep 100 tabs (or more!) open at a time. If you’re the kind of person that loves a mess of tabs, then congratulations, society despises you for the one thing that makes you unique.

At some point in the last 20 years, civilized society decided that a mess of browser tabs is like a stack of dirty dishes or a hoarder’s front porch. Today, tab-junkies are treated like savages, as if they were never disciplined as children for opening too many tabs.

But, in reality, a mess of tabs can be a sign of productivity. There are situations where you need to have 100 tabs open, especially if you’re researching a dense subject or juggling a handful of projects.

Sadly, society’s misconceptions have made it difficult for tab-junkies to optimize their special form of productivity. Google (among other browsers) refuses to improve its tabbing system, so if you want your tabs to feel more like an organized bookshelf and less like Einstein’s messy desk, then you have to hunt down extensions and learn annoying tab-cleaning habits.

Not to mention, modern browsers require a ton of system resources, and webpages can demand more than 2 GB of RAM. Even the most productive tab-junkies will run into lag, stuttering, and crashes while running 100 tabs on an underpowered PC.

So, if you’re a tab lover, then it’s time to take things into your own hands. You can easily optimize your 100-tab productivity by using browser extensions, and you can make the most of your PC (even if it’s a crappy PC) by upgrading a few pieces of hardware.

Or, if those tabs get in your way and slow down your computer, there are some good ways to close tabs and save them for later.

RELATED: How to Not Have 100 Browser Tabs Open

It’s Time to Wrangle Those Tabs

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Geek Trivia: What Is The Only Day Of The Week That Derives Its Name From Roman Mythology? Sat, 25 May 2019 06:02:45 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Is The Only Day Of The Week That Derives Its Name From Roman Mythology?

  1. Saturday
  2. Friday
  3. Monday
  4. Wednesday

Think you know the answer?

How (and Why) to Start Microsoft Word from the Command Prompt Fri, 24 May 2019 15:23:55 +0000 Marshall Gunnell

word logo

Like most apps, you can launch Word from the Command Prompt, but Word also supports several optional switches for controlling the startup process.

Whether you type the command at the prompt, use it to create a shortcut, insert it as part of a batch script, launching Word with additional parameters lets you do things like start Word in Safe Mode for troubleshooting or start with a specific template.

Using the Command Prompt to Start Word

Before we can open Word using the Command Prompt, we need to figure out which directory the winword.exe file is located. You can do this manually, or you can just have the Command Prompt find it for you. To do this, go ahead and open the Command Prompt by opening the start menu and typing “cmd” and selecting the “Command Prompt” application.

Open Command Prompt in Start Menu

When you open the Command Prompt, you’ll be in the top tier directory—your user account folder. We need to dig deeper by going into the Program Files directory. Do so by entering the following command and then pressing Enter:

cd\”program files (x86)”

Program Files in Command Prompt

You’ll now be in the Program Files directory. The next step is to locate the directory where the winword.exe file is located. Do so by typing the following command and pressing “Enter.”

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Daily News Roundup: Samsung Made the Mona Lisa Talk Fri, 24 May 2019 14:57:34 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

How-To Geek Daily News Roundup on an iPad.

Recently Samsung demonstrated a new capability to create video clips of people talking using just a single photo. An explanation video culminated in an example of a convincing talking Mona Lisa. It’s a significant step forward in deepfake technology.

Deepfake technology refers to using A.I. processes to swap a face onto another person’s body in a video. Face-swapping is easy in photographs, but much more difficult in videos, and usually requires many sample photos of a target face.

That restriction alone is why deepfake videos are usually of celebrities, such as a compilation of movies with Nicholas Cage inserted as main characters.

Samsung has taken the technology further. Instead of relying on many pictures of a person, they can now create video from a single image, or even a painting. It isn’t entirely convincing yet; you can easily see that something is off, but with just a few photos, the illusion starts to take hold. With time, the company will likely improve on the results as well.

The whole thing is fascinating and mildly terrifying. Any technology is a tool; you could use it for good or bad. Movie studios, for instance, use deepfake technology to seemingly bring actors back from the dead, as in “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.” But we have the internet, so of course, the tech can be and is used for horrible things as well. It’s early days though, so don’t feel the need to pull all your photos off the internet just yet. [CNET]

In Other News:

The U.S. Senate passed a bill to curtail robocalling: Robocalling is the digital plague we all face. Have you stopped answering your phone altogether yet? A solution is still a long, long, long ways away, but at least there’s finally some traction. [MacRumors]

Google Duo rolls out group calling to everyone: After testing in some markets, Google is rolling out group calling to all Duo users. Now you can have up to eight people on the call, which is far less than FaceTime’s 32 max or Skype’s 50 max. Does anybody make 50 person group calls? [Engadget]

Amazon wants to scan your body: Are you in New York and have 30 minutes to spare? If you don’t mind filling out some surveys and letting a large corporation 3D scan your body (wearing “form-fitting swimwear” no less), you could score a $25 Amazon gift card. You might be asking why Amazon is doing this. That’s a pretty good question if you ask us. [Mashable]

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How to Show (or Hide) the Google Chrome Bookmarks Bar Fri, 24 May 2019 14:24:02 +0000 Brady Gavin chrome hero

The bookmarks bar in Chrome is hidden by default to follow Google’s minimalist approach to browsing the web with little to no distractions. But if you’d rather give up minimalism for accessibility, here’s how to always show the bookmarks bar.

How to Always Show the Bookmarks Bar

Fire up Chrome, click the menu icon, point to “Bookmarks,” then click on “Show Bookmarks Bar.” Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+B (in Windows) or Command+Shift+B (in macOS).

Click the Menu icon, then Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks Bar

After you enable “Show Bookmarks Bar,” the bookmarks bar appears just below the address bar with all your saved web pages.

Immediately, the bookmarks bar appears when enabled, showing all pinned web pages

However, if you no longer want to see the bookmarks bar, you can disable it the same way. Either from the menu or with the keyboard shortcut to return Chrome to a minimalist’s dream.

Just as quickly as it appears, it's gone in a flash when you disbale it the same way

Daily Deals: A $90 New 3DS, a $280 iPad, a $110 iPhone 6, and More Fri, 24 May 2019 10:16:08 +0000 Andrew Heinzman The iPad, the New Nintendo Switch, and the iPhone 6
Nintendo, Apple

Memorial Day weekend is here, and the internet is teeming with deals. These deals range from a $950 MacBook Air to a $58 pair of Google Home Minis, but as always, we have a few favorites.

Right now, you can grab a New Nintendo 3DS for just $90, or a New Nintendo 3DS XL for $110. Nintendo’s handheld games are still a buttload of fun, and it’s strange to see the company’s flagship handheld at such a low price. If you aren’t into games (but heavily into Apple products), you should check out the $110 iPhone 6 deal, or the $280 iPad (newest model) deal.

Windows Laptops, Chromebooks, and MacBooks

Is your old computer falling apart? Pick up a new MacBook or a cheap Windows laptop.

  • Lenovo 11.6″ Laptop 4GB RAM 64GB Storage, $150 ($80 off) [Best Buy]
  • ASUS 13.3″ ZenBook 8GB RAM 256GB Storage, $730 ($221 off) [B&H]
  • Surface Book 2 13.5″ 8GB RAM 256GB Storage, $1,299 ($200 off) [Microsoft]
  • HP 11.6″ Chromebook 4GB RAM 16GB Storage Refurbished, $140 ($50 off) [Woot]
  • MacBook Air 13.3″ 8GB RAM 128GB Storage, $950 ($250 off) [Best Buy]
  • MacBook Pro 13″ 8GB RAM 128GB Storage, $1,000 ($300 off) [Best Buy]

Keyboards, Routers, and Other Computer Accessories

If you’re sick of using your ISP’s router, now might be a good time to upgrade to a discounted mesh Wi-Fi system.

  • Acer V6 Series 24″ Monitor, $90 ($20 off) [Newegg]
  • LG 34″ Ultrawide Monitor, $697 ($303 off) [Buydig]
  • Toshiba 5TB Internal Hard Drive, $100 ($49 off with coupon code EMCTAVY28) [Newegg]
  • Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack, $320 ($80 off) [Amazon]
  • Tenda Nova Wave 2 Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack, $120 ($80 off) [Amazon]
  • Netgear Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack Refurbished, $210 ($90 off) [Amazon]

Phones, Tablets, and Mobile Accessories

Craving for a new iOS device? Pick up a cheap iPhone or a heavily discounted iPad.

  • iPhone 6 16GB Refurbished, $110 ($60 off) [Woot]
  • iPhone 6 Plus 16GB Refurbished, $155 ($60 off) [Woot]
  • iPhone X 64GB Unlocked, $650 ($250 off) [Best Buy]
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB Unlocked, $800 ($100 off) [Best Buy]
  • Google Pixel XL 128GB Unlocked Refurbished, $153 ($95 off) [Amazon]
  • iPad 9.7″ 32GB Newest Model, $280 ($50 off) [Best Buy]
  • iPad Pro 11″ 64GB Newest Model, $675 ($125 off) [Best Buy]
  • iPad Pro 12.9″ 256GB Newest Model, $950 ($200 off) [Best Buy]
  • Apple AirPods with Charging Case Newest Model, $140 ($20 off) [Amazon]
  • Jabra Elite 65t Alexa-Enabled True Wireless Earbuds, $150 ($20 off) [Amazon]

Smart Home Gadgets

Grab a cheap pair of Google Home Minis or a half-priced ECOVACS smart vacuum.

  • Google Home Mini 2-Pack, $58 ($40 off) [Google]
  • JBL Link Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant Refurbished, $50 ($150 off) [JBL]
  • Google Home Mini + Chromecast, $44 ($41 off) [Best Buy]
  • Two Echo Dots, $60 ($40 off discount applies in cart) [Amazon]
  • Echo Input, $20 ($15 off) [Amazon]
  • Echo Dot Kids Edition, $35 ($35 off) [Amazon]
  • eufy Security Camera 2-Camera Kit, $300 ($100 off with coupon clip) [Amazon]
  • ECOVACS DEEBOT 601 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, $190 ($190 off) [Amazon]

Video Games

Bored of your old consoles? Now’s your chance to buy a 2DS, a New 3DS, a Nintendo Switch, or a discounted PS4.

  • Nintendo 2DS Refurbished, $50 ($50 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo New 3DS Refurbished, $90 ($80 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo New 3DS XL Hyrule Gold Edition Refurbished, $110 ($100 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo Switch Console, $265 ($50 off) [Massgenie]
  • Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Variety Kit, $34 ($35 off) [Massgenie]
  • Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Nintendo Switch, $20 ($40 off) [Walmart]
  • Minecraft Game + 1K Minecoins + Starters and Creators Pack DLC, $15 ($35 off) [Massgenie]
  • Sony PlayStation 4 PRO 1TB Console, $335 ($62 off) [Massgenie]
  • Fanatical Alpha Bundle 3 Random AAA Games for $13 [Fanatical]

Everything Else

Grab a new GoPro or a discounted air purifier.

  • GoPro Fusion 360 Digital Camera, $300 ($300 off) [Best Buy]
  • GoPro HERO7 Black, $350 ($50 off) [Best Buy]
  • Spotify 3-Month Membership, $10 ($20 off) [Spotify]
  • Airthereal Pure Morning 7-in-1 HEPA Air Cleaner, $90 ($50 off) [Woot]
  • AKRACING Opal/Obsidian/Onyx Series Gaming Chairs, $180 ($170 off) [Drop]
  • Take 20% off a New WordPress Plan (Coupon Code DISCOUNT20) [WordPress]
  • GAP: 50% to 75% off Sitewide (Coupon Code SUNNY) [GAP Factory]

Remember, these are Memorial Day deals. They won’t last forever. If you’re trying to grab a New 3DS or an iPad, now’s the time to pull the trigger.

How to Keep Your Chromebook On When You Close the Lid Fri, 24 May 2019 13:00:13 +0000 Brady Gavin


Chrome OS normally puts your operating system into a low-power sleep mode when you close the lid. This can be problematic if you hook your laptop up to an external monitor. Here’s how to stop your Chromebook from going to sleep when you close the lid.

RELATED: Should You Shut Down, Sleep, or Hibernate Your Laptop?

Before we get started, a necessary disclaimer: closing your laptop’s lid and throwing it in your bag while it’s still on could cause some serious problems due to poor circulation or blocking of vents. Your laptop will continue to run, wasting its battery and potentially even overheating in your bag. You’ll need to manually put your laptop to sleep or shut it down using its power button or options in the Power menu rather than simply closing the lid.

Additionally, if you use a Chromebook at school or work, you may not be able to change your sleep setting. You should contact your system administrator for additional help.

To change the default behavior of Chrome OS when you close the lid, click the clock area to open the system tray, and then click on the Settings cog.

In the bottom right, click on the clock, then click the Settings cog

Scroll down, and under the Device section, click “Power.”

Under the Device section, click on Power

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Why Do New Electronics Have a Weird Smell? Fri, 24 May 2019 12:00:23 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
Man with a clothespin on his nose, reeling from the nasty smell of his laptop.

So, you’ve cracked open that new phone or laptop, only to be greeted by a familiar, plastic smell. Where does this strange “new electronics smell” come from, and why does it disappear over time?

It’s Like a New Car Smell

Everybody knows the smell of a new car. It’s a crisp, clean, and somewhat mysterious scent. It’s often the key factor in confirming that a car is genuinely new, and as it turns out, it’s actually just the smell of vaguely-toxic chemicals. (These chemicals don’t pose a serious health risk, but more on that later.)

See, cars are full of adhesives, flame retardants, chemical starches, and plasticizers. These materials are in your vehicle for a good reason, but they contain a slew of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are chemicals that evaporate at or below room temperature. For example, formaldehyde (which contributes to the smell of fresh paint), evaporates at -2 degrees Fahrenheit. And while this sounds scary, most VOCs are entirely non-toxic. In fact, most natural odors are just VOCs.

Like a car, most (if not all) electronics contain glue, flame retardants, protective coatings, and plasticizers. These materials are full of VOCs, which evaporate at room temperature and create the “new electronics” smell.

With Ventilation, the Smell Eventually Disappears

The VOCs in new electronics evaporate into the air that you breathe—that’s why new electronics have a smell. But your new Nintendo Switch isn’t filled with an unlimited supply of VOCs. Over time, all of the device’s VOCs will evaporate into the air, and you’ll be left with a smell-less heap of plastic.

This process is commonly referred to as off-gassing, and it’s the reason why old electronics and cars don’t smell “new.” While this off-gassing process technically begins as soon as a product is manufactured (again, VOCs evaporate at or below room temperature), the speed at which a product off-gasses is mostly tied to ventilation.

A close up photo of an HVAC AC unit

This idea sounds complicated, but it’s straightforward to understand. When you buy a new laptop or phone, it probably isn’t fresh out of a factory. It’s probably spent a few months in the back of a Best Buy. But upon opening the box, your device smells “new.” That’s because there’s very little ventilation inside of a sealed box. Without anywhere for the VOCs to go, they just stick to the laptop or phone.

Some people dislike the smell of VOCs, especially when they’re present on cheap leather products or furniture. These VOC-haters sometimes speed up the off-gassing process by leaving new products outside, or by leaving the windows open in their new car. Remember, ventilation encourages the off-gassing process. If you hate the smell of your new laptop, then don’t leave it in a stuffy room.

VOCs Don’t Pose a Major Health Risk

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The Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Fri, 24 May 2019 06:40:37 +0000 Michael Crider
Digital video camera recording an interview between two women

Video editing isn’t an easy skill, even for the technically-inclined. It doesn’t help that the software to do it is generally expensive. If you’re hoping to get into video editing without spending a bundle, we have a few suggestions.

We’ve made selections for both paid and free options on standard PCs, plus the obvious choice for macOS. For those of you who are limited to a smartphone or tablet, we also have an app pick, plus one for users who are confined to web-only interfaces. Whatever your platform or budget, you should be able to use at least one of the software options below.

The Best Paid Video Editor for Beginners: Corel VideoStudio Pro ($70)

Corel is a software company that’s been around for longer than many of their users have been alive (no, really, the company was founded over 30 years ago), and that experience shows. Their beginner-friendly VideoStudio video editor is an ideal choice for those looking to get started.

For one, its interface isn’t as complex or advanced as Adobe’s options (even Premiere Elements is a little overwhelming), but it still contains some of the basic principles that you’ll need to master if you ever want to move on to more advanced editing. That said, it’s perfectly capable of basic timeline and effects if all you need is a simple presentation or YouTube video. At under $100 for the full version—with a 30-day free trial if you’re still not sure—the 2019 edition of the software is an excellent choice for the aspiring videographer.

The Best Free Video Editor for Beginners: HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express offers a surprisingly capable editor for free, though some options require a paid upgrade.
HitFilm Express offers a surprisingly capable editor for free, though some options require a paid upgrade. HitFilm

Most free video editing software is a little basic, but HitFilm Express includes a system that can handle surprisingly advanced editing duties without overwhelming the user with a super-complex interface. The system also includes access to a few special effects—a great tool for youngsters or students hoping to make some fun stuff.

HitFilm includes unlimited audio and video tracks—not a given with free software—but you may need to purchase some of the add-on packs to access the most advanced features. You can see which features are free and which are paid here.

The Best Mobile Video Editor for Beginners: Quik

GoPro's Quik smartphone editor offers more options and a better interface than any alternatives.
GoPro’s Quik smartphone editor offers more options and a better interface than any alternatives. GoPro

Editing video on a phone screen is not an easy task: the touch-based interface means the precision of a mouse isn’t really an option. But if you’re looking for something quick and dirty for an easy share or YouTube upload, and your phone’s built-in editor isn’t cutting it (sorry), then give Quik a try.

This free app is published by GoPro, the action camera people, specifically to be used with their camera hardware. But it works great with video taken on your phone as well. It can even sync with a music track, and it supports advanced video options like slow motion and 60 FPS output.

The Best Web-Based Video Editor for Beginners: Kizoa

Kizoa offers basic editing tools when your only option is a browser.
Kizoa offers basic editing tools when your only option is a browser. Kizoa

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Do iPhone “Security” Apps Actually Do Anything? Fri, 24 May 2019 10:40:35 +0000 Chris Hoffman
Person's finger entering a passcode on an iPhone's lock screen

Apple won’t allow “antivirus” apps in the App Store, but there are many “security” apps available. For example, Norton Mobile Security costs $14.99 per year, and Lookout Premium costs $29.99 per year. But do these apps actually do anything?

You don’t need an antivirus app for your iPhone. You won’t find any in the App Store. So what do these “security” apps do? Are they useful, and how exactly are they protecting you?

Is Norton Mobile Security Any Good?

Let’s take a look at Norton Mobile Security, which is a free download but requires at $14.99 yearly subscription fee. It has three features: Wi-Fi Security, Web Protection, and OS Alerts.

Wi-Fi Security screen in Norton Mobile Security for iPhone

Wi-Fi Security informs you whether your Wi-Fi network is “compromised.” Specifically, Norton’s website says the app checks for SSL stripping, SSL decryption, content manipulation, suspicious network hardware, and hotspot reputation. This check is performed every time you connect to a new Wi-Fi network.

Basically, Norton is checking to ensure you aren’t connected to a dangerous public Wi-Fi network that’s attempting to snoop on or modify your traffic. That could help you spot a dangerous public Wi-Fi hotspot. You shouldn’t have to worry if you’re connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network at home or work—or if you just use mobile data.

Web Protection status in Norton Mobile Security on iPhone

Web Protection connects your phone to a VPN when you enable it. Norton uses this VPN to scan your traffic for known-dangerous websites. It can then prevent you from accessing them. For example, if you were navigating to a phishing website, Norton could block it.

This isn’t the type of VPN you usually think of. Norton is using an “on-device VPN”—when you enable the VPN, your traffic is sent to the Norton app on your device, and the Norton app checks it against a blacklist and blocks any known-based websites. This isn’t like a typical VPN that sends your traffic over the network in an encrypted form. Norton offers that as part of Norton Secure VPN, which requires an extra monthly fee.

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Geek Trivia: Hawking Radiation Is Emitted By What? Fri, 24 May 2019 06:02:21 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

Hawking Radiation Is Emitted By What?

  1. White Dwarfs
  2. Binary Star Systems
  3. Black Holes
  4. Super Novas

Think you know the answer?

How to Change the Default Font in PowerPoint Thu, 23 May 2019 15:23:59 +0000 Marshall Gunnell

powerpoint logo

PowerPoint provides several different ways to change the default font of a presentation. You can set a default font for new text boxes, find and replace specific fonts throughout the presentation, or change the default font for heading and body text and save it for future use. Here’s how.

Changing the Default Font in Text Boxes

PowerPoint provides a large library of different themes, and each theme has its own set of default fonts. If you like the design of the theme, but you aren’t particularly happy with the font, then you can change it. The easiest way to make this happen is in PowerPoint’s Slide Master.

As Microsoft points out, Master slides control the overall appearance of the presentation. This includes colors, background, effects, and, most importantly, fonts. To access the Slide Master, go ahead and open PowerPoint, head over to the “View” tab, and then click the “Slide Master” button.

Slide Master in PowerPoint

You’ll notice a copy of each available slide template appear in the left-hand pane. Select the first slide and then click the “Fonts” button on the “Slide Master” tab.

font options in slide master view

A drop-down menu will appear. Here, you’ll see an extensive list of predefined heading and body font pairs. Selecting any of these options will change the text for the entire presentation. Alternatively, you can choose the “Customize Fonts” option at the bottom of the menu to choose your own fonts.

customize fonts

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Daily Deals: A $50 2DS, a $58 Google Home Mini 2-Pack, a $20 Logitech Marathon, and More Thu, 23 May 2019 10:56:19 +0000 Andrew Heinzman The Logitech Marathon Mouse, the 2DS, and the Google Mini 2-Pack
Logitech, Nintendo, Google

As Memorial Day draws closer, the deals get more and more intense. Right now, our favorite websites are selling premium products at a massive discount. As always, we’ve picked out a few favorites.

Right now, you can grab a 2DS from Gamestop just $50. Of course, if you’re willing to spend a bit more for a more powerful handheld, you could grab the New 3DS for $90 or the New 3DS XL for $110. If you aren’t a gamer, you could pick up a pair of Google Home Minis for $58, or a pair of Echo Dots for $60 (the discount applies in your cart). Or, you could hold back some of that money, and replace your nasty old mouse with a brand new Logitech Marathon for just $20.

Laptops and Desktops

Is your old computer falling apart? Upgrade to a discounted Windows laptop, a cheap MacBook Pro, or an insanely cheap iMac desktop computer.

  • Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15.6″ 8GB RAM 256GB Storage Laptop, $450 ($210 off) [Office Depot]
  • ASUS 13.3″ ZenBook 8GB RAM 256GB Storage, $730 ($221 off) [B&H]
  • MacBook Pro 15″ 16GB RAM 1TB SDD, $3,076 ($200 off) [Amazon]
  • MacBook Pro 13.3″ 8GB RAM 256GB Storage 2018 Model, $1,330 ($270 off) [Amazon]
  • iMac Desktop 21.5″ 4GB RAM 500GB Storage 2011 Model Refurbished, $280 ($120 off) [Woot]

Keyboards, Routers, and Other Computer Accessories

Sick of your home office? Maybe it’s time to replace your mouse, your printer, or your router.

  • Logitech Marathon Mouse M705, $20 ($20 off) [Best Buy]
  • Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, $140 ($110 off) [Amazon]
  • Epson WorkForce Pro Wireless All-in-One Printer, $100 ($100 off) [Best Buy]
  • Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack, $320 ($80 off) [Amazon]
  • Tenda Nova Wave 2 Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack, $120 ($80 off) [Amazon]

Phones, Tablets, and Mobile Accessories

Nows your chance to grab a Google Pixel XL or a cheap pair of wireless earbuds.

  • Google Pixel XL 128GB Unlocked Refurbished, $153 ($95 off) [Amazon]
  • Apple AirPods with Charging Case Newest Model, $140 ($20 off) [Amazon]
  • Jabra Elite 65t Alexa-Enabled True Wireless Earbuds, $150 ($20 off) [Amazon]

Smart Home Gadgets

Need some more smart assistants? Grab a $60 pair of Google Home Minis or Echo Dots.

  • Google Home Mini 2-Pack, $58 ($40 off) [Google]
  • JBL Link Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant Refurbished, $50 ($150 off) [JBL]
  • Google Home Mini + Chromecast, $44 ($41 off) [Best Buy]
  • Two Echo Dots, $60 ($40 off discount applies in cart) [Amazon]
  • Echo Dot Kids Edition, $35 ($35 off) [Amazon]
  • eufy Security Camera 2-Camera Kit, $300 ($100 off with coupon clip) [Amazon]
  • TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini 2-Pack, $27 ($13 off) [Best Buy]
  • Apple HomePod, $195 ($155 off) [Overstock]

Video Games

Need a new Nintendo console? Now’s a great time to grab a Nintendo Switch, a 2DS, or a New 3DS XL at a heavy discount.

  • Nintendo 2DS Refurbished, $50 ($50 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo New 3DS Refurbished, $90 ($80 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo New 3DS XL Hyrule Gold Edition Refurbished, $110 ($100 off) [Gamestop]
  • Nintendo Switch Console, $265 ($50 off) [Massgenie]
  • Fire Emblem Warriors Nintendo Switch, $20 ($40 off) [Massgenie]
  • Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster Nintendo Switch, $40 ($10 off) [Amazon]
  • Minecraft Game + 1K Minecoins + Starters and Creators Pack DLC, $15 ($35 off) [Massgenie]
  • Sony PlayStation 4 PRO 1TB Console, $335 ($62 off) [Massgenie]
  • Elite Mystery Bundle: 5 Random Games for $20 [Fanatical]

Everything Else

Pick up some new speakers or a cheap dash cam.

  • PAPAGO GoSafe 1080P Dash Camera, $60 ($40) [Best Buy]
  • GoPro Fusion 360 Digital Camera, $300 ($300 off) [Best Buy]
  • Spotify 3-Month Membership, $10 ($20 off) [Spotify]
  • Sonos Playbar Refurbished, $550 ($150 off) [Sonos]
  • Hoover Deluxe Pet Deep Cleaner, $75 ($45 off) [Best Buy]
  • Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST Bluetooth Speaker, $140 ($200 off) [Facebook]
  • JBL Reflect Fit Heart Rate Wireless Headphones, $29 ($28 off) [Meh]
  • Klipsch Reference 4″ Powered Monitors Pair, $250 ($150 off) [Best Buy]

Remember, good deals tend to disappear quickly. If you want a new 2DS or a pair of cheap Google Home Minis, then be sure to grab them before it’s too late.

Daily News Roundup: Windows Exploits Come in Threes Thu, 23 May 2019 14:53:58 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

How-To Geek daily news roundup in a tablet.

Over the past two days, a security researcher who goes by the handle SandBoxEscaper released demo code for three different Windows 10 vulnerabilities. Microsoft already patched at least one exploit, but the company hasn’t commented on the others yet.

In the past year, SandBoxEscaper has published seven different exploits, each of varying degrees of significance and ease of use. Various outlets like Ars Technica and ZDNet are referring to these latest vulnerabilities as “zero-day exploits” but that may not be totally accurate.

The term “zero-day” refers to exploits discovered by outside parties and then either used or published without notifying the relevant company first. Early reports suggested that SandBoxEscaper published all of these exploits without responsible notification to Microsoft, but that appears not to be the case.

RELATED: What Is a “Zero-Day” Exploit, and How Can You Protect Yourself?

ZDNet mentions in an updated version of their article that Microsoft clarified it already patched at least one of these exploits, and linked it to CVE-2019-0863, an exploit credited to “Polar Bear” (another name SandBoxEscaper uses). Microsoft didn’t comment on the other two vulnerabilities.

If you’re wondering how dangerous these exploits are, the answer is a bit of a mixed bag. According to SandBoxEscaper, the vulnerabilities are hard to take advantage of and require local access to the targetted machine. So that limits the usefulness of the exploits.

On the other hand, if a bad actor does gain access to machines to target, they can cause quite a bit of damage with any of these exploits, as they allow varying ways to elevate privileges, gain SYSTEM access, and execute JavaScript at a level IE11’s sandbox should prevent.

If Microsoft hasn’t already patched all three vulnerabilities, the company needs to make them a focus. [ZDNet]

In Other News

  • League Of Legends might come to mobile devices: According to “sources” Tencent and Riot Games may be working on a mobile version of League of Legends. It’s a sensible move given the success of Fortnite on every platform. But until we have more than just unnamed sources, it’s a hope and rumor at best. I call Jarvan IV! [Reuters]
  • Razer Forge TV and Ouya say a final goodbye:  You may be thinking right now: “What is Razer Forge TV and OUYA?” and that would be the problem. Razer Forge TV was among the first attempts at Android on the TV, and the company pulled it within months. And OUYA promised to change the game with its crowdfunded Android TV console before Razer purchased the company. Neither took off and now Razer says its shutting down their online stores after June 25th, 2019. [9to5Google]
  • Panic’s upcoming PlayDate handheld is super cute: Coming from the creators of great Mac software like Coda and Prompt, and indie game creators behind Katamari, is an adorable little handheld with a crank. Look at that horse gif, it screams of childhood innocence somehow. The PlayDate is set to release in early 2020, and due to a high-end screen and other hardware should retail around $150. [The Verge]
  • Tesla’s new lane change tech may not be safe: Recently Tesla updated its “Autopilot software” with the capability to automatically change lanes. The company claims the car can do this safer on its own than a human, but Consumer Reports says otherwise. In testing they found the vehicles tried changing lanes in unsafe manners, braking at unexpecting points and cutting off cars with little room to spare. Self-driving cars have a long long way to go. [Consumer Reports]
  • Las Vegas awards the Boring Company a $49 million contract: Elon Musk’s other venture, the Boring Company, has happy news. Las Vegas approved a contract to build an underground people mover tunnel, complete with autonomous electric vehicles. If the promise to cut a 15-minute walk to 1 minute holds, CES attendees will be thankful. No word on whether the tunnel comes with complementary flamethrowers. [The Verge]
  • Google’s Duplex works really well when it’s not really human: The New York Times gave a test run of Duplex, Google’s A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) booking services that schedule reservations for places like restaurants. When the A.I. actually made the call, the whole process was impressive, and the human on the line couldn’t tell. But sometimes, it wasn’t an A.I. at all. Google says about 25% of Duplex calls are made by a human, not the Duplex A.I., and even when the A.I. does start the call, a human intervenes in 15% of those cases. [The New York Times]
  • Spotify reset some user’s passwords due to suspicious activity: Some users of Spotify received notification that the company reset their passwords. In a somewhat vague clarification to Techcrunch, the company explains they sent the message to some users as a precaution and reminded users not to reuse passwords across websites. Without more information, we can only guess at what’s going on. [TechCrunch]
  • Apple sent out media invites for the WWDC keynote: WWDC is fast approaching, and we’re likely to hear about the latest and greatest software updates for iOS, macOS, and so on. Apple sent out media invites for the keynote, taking place on June 3. If you didn’t get a ticket, well it’s too late. You’ll just have to watch from home like the rest of us. [MacRumors]
  • GitHub Sponsors is like Patreon for open source code: Github just announced a new “sponsors” program that sounds reminiscent to Patreon or Twitch sponsorships. You can choose an open source developer to send monthly recurring gifts to, and the developers can add reward tiers. Microsoft says it will match $5000 worth of donations in a developer’s first year of participation and waive all fees for the next twelve months. It’s not totally clear yet how every aspect will work, however, so keep an eye on more details to come. [GeekWire]

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The Best Headphone Amplifiers for Your Smartphone Thu, 23 May 2019 10:24:25 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The FiiO A1, the FiiO Q1 Mark II, and the Audio-Technica Wireless DAC
FiiO, Audio-Technica

Smartphones have come a long way, and they offer a convenient way to listen to music. But if you aren’t happy with your phone’s sound quality, then it may be time to invest in an external DAC.

When you play a song on your phone, you’re playing an encoded digital audio file—at it’s most simplistic a stream of ones and zeros. The thing is, your headphones aren’t capable of turning that stream into analog sound without the help of a, very appropriately named, Digital to Analog Converter (DAC).

DACs are built into most devices, and they transform digital signals into headphone-friendly analog signals. That being said, not all DACs are created equal, and cheap built-in DACs tend to produce low-quality sound. If you can’t figure out why your otherwise good wire headphones sound like garbage when you plug them into your phone, it’s most likely the phone’s cruddy built-in DAC.

Luckily, there are plenty of portable external DACs on the market. Some of them are expensive, some of them are affordable, but they’re all a significant upgrade from your built-in DAC. Just keep in mind that newer phones without a headphone jack won’t work with some DACs. If your phone lacks a jack, then you’ll need a model with a Micro-USB or USB-C jack.

Best for Most People: FiiO A1 Ultra-Portable DAC ($28)

The FiiO A1

If you’re looking for a cheap, ultra-portable DAC, then you should check out the FiiO A1. This tiny device has four built-in EQ modes, responsive volume controls, and a little pocket clip for on-the-go listening. Plus, it has a 13-hour battery life, and it can be charged while in use. It’s a great way to see if adding a DAC to your setup without breaking the bank.

Best for Phones with USB-C: NextDrive Spectra USB-C DAC ($127)

The NextDrive Spectra USB-C DAC

The NextDrive Spectra is a convenient, high-quality alternative to bulky DACs. It produces rich sound without looking like you’re carrying around a power transformer, and it’s powered by your phone’s USB-C port, so you don’t have to worry about charging a battery.

If you want to use the NextDrive Spectra with an iPhone, then you have to get the USB-A model and a USB-A to Lightning adapter. Other models of the NextDrive Spectra don’t work with the iPhone, even with an adapter. Honestly, unless you’re sold on the form factor, iPhone users should check out the MFI-certified FiiO Q1 Mark II instead or the iPhone-friendly Audio-Technica Wireless DAC.

Best for High-Impedance Headphones: FiiO A3 DAC ($56)

The FiiO A3 DAC

If you’re looking for a premium DAC at an affordable price, then you should check out the FiiO A3. This thing is like the FiiO A1’s big cousin. It has a satisfying volume knob, built-in gain and bass controls, and 16-hour battery life.

This DAC is especially useful for people who use high-impedance headphones ranging from 16 to 160 Ohms. If your expensive headphones don’t seem to get loud enough, then they’re probably high-impedance headphones, and they require an extra bit of power to work properly.

Best for Apple Users: FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC ($100)

The FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC

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How to Take a Video on a Chromebook Thu, 23 May 2019 14:24:10 +0000 Brady Gavin

Chromebook hero

Until recently, taking a video on Chromebook wasn’t a straightforward process (and wasn’t even part of the default Google Camera app!). However, now you can easily record videos and upload them to YouTube or share them with friends and family.

How to Take a Video

To take a video on your Chromebook, you first need to open up the camera. For this example, we will use the stock Chromebook camera app, though you can use any camera app from the Play Store that supports video capture.

First, open the Camera app on your Chromebook. You’ll find it under the launcher menu— tap the “Search” button on the keyboard and search for “Camera” or click “All Apps” and look for the icon.

Tap the Search button, then type Camera to find the Camera app

Once the app opens, click the “Video” icon, located next to the camera shutter button.

To enable video mode, click on the video icon

After the camera mode changes, click the “Record” icon to start to capture a video.

Next, click the Record icon

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How to Delete Contacts From Your iPhone Thu, 23 May 2019 13:00:24 +0000 Adam Doud


How to delete contacts from your iPhone

Deleting contacts from your iPhone is easy, and there are several ways to do it. This article outlines the best way to delete a single contact, multiple contacts, or all of your contacts.

Perhaps it’s time for some house cleaning, or you just don’t need some contacts anymore. Whatever the case, here’s how to remove contacts from your iPhone.

Delete a Single Contact

Go to Contacts and tap the contact you want to remove.

Step 1: Tap Contacts App Step 2: Locate and tap on a contact

Tap Edit > Delete Contact.

tap the edit button Tap Delete Contact

Confirm you want to delete the contact by tapping “Delete Contact.”

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The Best Pomodoro Timer Apps and Services Thu, 23 May 2019 08:00:55 +0000 Jennifer Allen
A timer sitting on a desk

Struggling to manage your time? The Pomodoro Technique is a simple timer-based productivity tool, and we’ve rounded up the best apps to help you use it.

The Pomodoro Technique was conceived in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. It’s a simple idea but one that’s highly effective for many. All you do is budget your time into short increments of 25 minutes each before taking a break for 5 minutes. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros (so, 100 minutes of work and 15 minutes of break time), you take a 15-20 minute break before starting over.

It takes a couple of days to gel with most people, but you’ll soon find that it’s a great way of breaking up your busy work day into manageable chunks with reasonable breaks. The following apps will help make the method a reliable habit.

And before we get into details, want to know why it’s called Pomodoro? It’s named after the Italian word for tomato because Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato—just like the one seen above—as his personal timer while ironing out the time management technique. So, now, you know!

Here’s the best Pomodoro timer apps and websites out there.

Best Web-Based Solution: Marinara Timer (Free)

Marinara Timer
Marinara Timer

Marinara Timer is a free web-based solution for breaking up your day via the Pomodoro method. The site offers three different types of productivity timer—traditional Pomodoro, a custom timer with plenty of options for different periods, and a kitchen timer (whereby you set a time and forget about it). The Pomodoro timer keeps things straightforward. Work through the 25-minute cycle before taking a 5-minute break.

It’s the kind of thing you can keep running in the background while you work with an audio alert giving you a heads up on when to stop. Scroll down the site, and Marinara Timer keeps track of how many Pomodoros you’ve completed and when you started and stopped them too. It’s a handy little tool.

We have Marinara Timer at the top of our list because it’s a perfect way to try the Pomodoro technique out without fussing with downloading an app or purchasing anything.

Best Smartphone App: Focus Booster (Free-$2.99 per month)

Focus Booster App
Focus Booster

If a smartphone-based solution seems like a smart idea to you, then you can’t go wrong with Focus Booster. Available for both iOS and Android, the app offers a simple Pomodoro based timer with customizable options. You can tweak things like how long each session is as well as how long the breaks are in between, although obviously, it’s wise to keep close to the original concept.

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What are E-Sports, and Why do People Watch Them? Thu, 23 May 2019 12:00:44 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
A competitive gamer at an E-Sports tournament.

In the next few years, competitive gaming will become a multi-billion dollar industry, and it could even come to the 2024 Paris Olympics. But what are E-Sports, and why are people watching gaming tournaments instead of football games?

E-Sports Can Be Any Form of Competitive Gaming

From the outside, the world of competitive gaming looks like it’s built around large-scale tournaments, with a strong focus on team-based games such as Fortnite, Counter-Strike, or Overwatch. These tournaments are typically held in large arenas (sometimes dedicated gaming arenas), schools, nerdy arcades, and bars. They’re usually livestreamed via Twitch or YouTube, or broadcasted by a major network such as ESPN or the BBC.

But that’s just the outside view. Like the bottom of an iceberg, the largest sect of the competitive gaming community is hidden from view. There are thousands of small (not necessarily amateur) competitive gaming communities. Some of them focus on digital card games like Hearthstone, others play fighters like Mortal Kombat and Smash Brothers, and an even smaller group of gamers focuses on “speedruns”–how fast you can complete a single player game. Some of these competitive gamers livestream their games on Twitch or Youtube, while others simply communicate over Discord, a chat software.

Due to the variety of competitive games on the market and the accessibility of livestreaming, it’s difficult to comprehend or define E-Sports accurately. But one thing’s for sure: E-Sports are similar to “regular” sports.

Yes, E-Sports are Like “Real” Sports

Most people see a clear distinction between gaming and athletics. We think of gaming as an unhealthy, antisocial habit—the opposite of sports. But unless you solely define sports as “something that happens outside,” it’s hard to find serious differences between “real” sports and E-Sports.

Like “real” athletes, competitive gamers have to practice regularly to keep in tip-top shape. They develop muscles related to their chosen sport and have to use good posture to avoid injury (carpal tunnel and arthritis). Surprisingly, some professional gamers stick to strict diets and exercise regiments to keep their body working at peak efficiency.

A gamer controls a real soccer game with his Xbox controller.
Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

The world of E-Sports is also incredibly social. Like football fans, E-Sport fans develop close friendships with one another, even if gaming is the only thing that they have in common. And because gaming is based around the internet, many of these friendships occur in spite of social, economic, or physical boundaries.

Not to mention, competitive gaming generates a ton of money. Business Insider predicts that the competitive gaming market will be worth $1.5 billion by 2020, and that doesn’t include the money from competitive gaming hardware, like computers and gaming keyboards. Sure, most NFL teams are worth twice as much as the entire E-Sports market, but that gap is sure to narrow over time.

Do you have to accept competitive gaming as a “real” sport? Not really. There’s a good chance that the general public will always create a distinction between athletic sports and E-Sports, even though competitive gaming may make a splash at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Hell, the Olympic Committee has recognized chess as a sport for two decades, and people still don’t think of chess as a sport.

Competitive Gaming Appeals to All Ages

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How to Create a Live Ubuntu USB Drive With Persistent Storage Thu, 23 May 2019 10:40:00 +0000 Chris Hoffman

Ubuntu 18.04's GNOME desktop showing a file browser window.

A Linux live USB drive is normally a blank slate each time you boot it. You can boot it up, install programs, save files, and change settings. But, as soon as you reboot, all your changes are wiped away and you’re back to a fresh system. This can be useful, but if you want a system that picks up where you left off, you can create a live USB with persistent storage.

How Persistent Storage Works

When you create a USB drive with persistence, you’ll allocate up to 4 GB of the USB drive for a persistent overlay file. Any changes you make to the system—for example, saving a file to your desktop, changing the settings in an application, or installing a program—will be stored in the overlay file. Whenever you boot the USB drive on any computer, your files, settings, and installed programs will be there.

This is an ideal feature if you want to keep a live Linux system on a USB drive and use on different PCs. You won’t have to set up your system up from scratch each time you boot. You don’t need persistence if you’re just using a USB drive to install Ubuntu and then running it from your hard drive afterward.

There are a few limitations. You can’t modify system files, like the kernel. You can’t perform major system upgrades. You also can’t install hardware drivers. However, you can install most applications. You can even update most installed applications, so you can be sure your persistent USB drive has the latest version of the web browser you prefer.

Persistence doesn’t work with every Linux distribution. We’ve tested it with the latest versions of Ubuntu—Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 19.04—and it works. It should also work with Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. In the past, we had luck with Fedora as well. Just download the appropriate ISO file and follow the instructions below.

How to Make a Persistent Ubuntu USB Drive on Ubuntu

You’ll need a computer already running Ubuntu to perform this process. You’ll also need a USB drive with enough storage capacity to set up persistence. We used a 16 GB drive, but an 8 GB drive would have worked as well. The bigger the drive, the more persistent storage you can have.

The grub, boot and Ubuntu partitions take up less than 2 GB. The remainder of the space on the USB drive will be used for the casper-rw and the usbdata partitions.

The casper-rw partition is used for persistent storage. For example, software you install and settings files will be stored here.

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Geek Trivia: What Is An Olympic Gold Medal Primarily Composed Of? Thu, 23 May 2019 06:02:00 +0000 Jason Fitzpatrick

What Is An Olympic Gold Medal Primarily Composed Of?

  1. Zinc
  2. Brass
  3. Gold
  4. Silver

Think you know the answer?

How to Create Newsletter-Style Columns in Word Wed, 22 May 2019 15:23:23 +0000 Marshall Gunnell

word logo

Newsletters are fantastic for delivering essential updates to your followers about your business or organization. With the help of specific features in Microsoft Word, you’ll be able to create a beautiful, professional newsletter in no time.

Creating Newsletter-Style Columns in Word

Arranging your text via columns is an essential part of creating a newsletter. Luckily with Word, that doesn’t involve inserting several text boxes (though you can certainly do it that way). What’s better is you can input your content first and then format it afterward.

There are a few ways of going about this, the first being applying a column style to the entire document. To do this, head over to the “Layout” tab and select “Columns.”

layout tab

Once selected, a drop-down menu will appear. You can choose any of the options you like, and it will automatically apply to the entire document, as per the default setting. Let’s go ahead and select “Three.”


Once selected, you’ll get something that looks like this:

three columns example

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Daily News Roundup: Getting Windows 10’s May 2019 Update Wed, 22 May 2019 14:59:45 +0000 Josh Hendrickson

How-To Geek Daily News Roundup graphic

Yesterday Microsoft announced the release of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update to everybody, Wyze announced an affordable smart light bulb, and Huawei won’t be able to use new ARM processors anymore.

Getting Windows 10’s May 2019 Update

If you’ve missed our past coverage, the May 2019 Update introduced several notable features. For Pro users, the most exciting feature is, without a doubt, the Sandbox. But everyone should appreciate the new Light themespeed improvements, a cleaner start menu, and the ability to uninstall more built-in apps.

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

Getting the update is straightforward, just open up the Windows Updates panel from Settings, click “Check for updates” and cross your fingers if you want it. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll see “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1930” with a link to “Download and install now” underneath that you’ll want to click.

Windows Update dialog showing May 2019 update.

Microsoft is throttling the release, so you may not see the update right away. Given that in the past, these large updates have introduced equally large problems, like deleting files, slowly rolling out the update is a good idea on Microsoft’s part.

Waiting isn’t a bad idea, but if you want to have the latest and greatest today, open up Windows Update. You may already see Windows 10 May 2019 Update (seriously Microsoft, maybe try dog names) as an option to install. If you don’t, try clicking check for updates. If that doesn’t work, you can reboot and try again. But you may have to wait until Microsoft opens the floodgates more. [ZDNet]

And now, on to the rest of the news:

  • Wyze Announces a Cheap Smart Lightbulb: Wyze, makers of affordable Wi-Fi cameras and smarthome sensors, has another device for your home. This time it’s a smart bulb, and it’s super cheap. For $8 (or $30 for four) you get a bulb that’s dimmable and tunable. That’s a steal. [Digital Trends]
  • Bose is bringing the Google Assistant to some of its speakers: Google and Bose say the Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Soundbar 500 and 700, and the Bose Home Speaker 300 all get voice assistant love, and best of all the update is automatic. Nice and easy. [Droid Life]
  • Google Assistant is rolling out to Messages: Google previously promised that it would bring Google Assistant to the Messages app. That’s finally happening, and users will notice new options in their text messages. The Assistant will offer advice about movies, music, and restaurants based on your conversation. Like Smart Replies, but maybe even Smarter. [9to5Google]
  • Huawei has a backup OS in mind; it’s Android without Google: Google pulled Huawei’s Android license, leaving the phone manufacturer up a creek without a paddle. Now the company says it has a backup OS in the works that can run Android apps. So basically Android without Google Apps, kind of like FireOS. If you’re thinking that means it’ll miss most of the best features of Android, well, you’d be right. [XDA Developers]
  • ARM reportedly to stop work with Huawei: On the other hand, a backup OS may be moot without processors to power Huawei’s devices. According to a leaked memo, ARM has instructed its employees to stop working with Huawei. ARM’s designs form the basis for mobile processors in nearly all phones and tablets. That leaves Huawei with few if any good mobile processor options. [BBC]
  • Apple updated its MacBook Pro models with new processors and a redesigned keyboard: With little warning, Apple announced spec bumps for its 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. The new models include 8th and 9th-generation processors and a keyboard that should prevent some of the issues Apple fans have experienced. [MacRumors]
  • Apple will expand its keyboard repair program: Speaking of the MacBook’s keyboard issues, in a near admission that the problem is worse than Apple has previously admitted to, the company is expanding its keyboard repair program to nearly all modern models. And that design change in the new models? Those keyboards are eligible too, so Apple must not be completely confident the problem is solved. [The Verge]
  • Amazon made video games to increase worker productivity: 
    Amazon wants one-day delivery for all Prime Members. That means asking its warehouse employees to move faster and faster. The company hopes making a game out tedious picking tasks will speed up the process. Remember when mom told you to make a game out of cleaning the room? Like that, but with Tetris-style graphics. And mildly higher pay. [The Washington Post]

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The Best Titanium Keychain Tools Wed, 22 May 2019 10:24:54 +0000 Andrew Heinzman
The Northwall Key Shaped Multi-Tool, the Northwall carabiner Multi-Tool, and the Nite Ize DoohicKey Multi-Tool
Northwall, Nite Ize

Are you tired of flimsy, unattractive keychain tools bulking up your pockets? Maybe it’s time to switch to a lightweight, ultra-durable titanium keychain tool.

Like stainless steel, titanium is durable and rust-resistant. It’s used in industry, war, and plumbing (very similar fields). But unlike stainless steel, titanium is ridiculously lightweight. Because of this, titanium is a prized material in the aerospace industry, the competitive automobile industry, and as it turns out, the keychain tool industry.

If you’ve ever been disappointed by the weight and bulk of a standard keychain tool, then it’s probably time to embrace titanium. A good titanium tool can spend a lifetime on your keychain, without bulking up or weighing down your pockets.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best titanium keychain tools, in all shapes and sizes. All of these tools are special in their way, but most of them are compact multi-tools that can be used for a variety of applications.

Northwall 9-in-1 Key Shaped Multi-Tool ($15)

The Northwall 9-in-1 Key Shaped Multi-Tool

Looking for a small, discreet titanium multi-tool? The Northwall key sized multi-tool can stand in for nine different tools, without bulking up your pockets. This tool has a built-in bottle opener, four different wrench sizes, a flathead screwdriver, a box cutter, and of course, a key ring loop.

This is a great product for people that hate bulky multi-tools and swiss army knives. It’s stylish, it’s durable, it’s cheap, and it can help out in a pinch.

Northwall Carabiner 12-in-1 Multi-Tool ($25)

Northwall Carabiner 12-in-1 Multi-Tool

If you’re looking for a practical, stylish titanium multi-tool, then you should check out the Northwall carabiner. This lightweight tool has a built-in ruler, seven wrench sizes, a flathead and Philips head screwdriver, a bottle opener, a can opener, a hex-bit driver, and of course, a carabiner-style latch.

MidSir Camping Multi-Tool ($14)

MidSir Camping Multi-Tool

A camping trip can be a great time for the family, as long as you remember to bring some tools. If you want to be ready in the face of disaster (or forgetfulness), then you should consider grabbing the MIdSir titanium multi-tool.

This multi-tool has a built-in knife, three wrench sizes, a wire cutter, a prybar, a flathead screwdriver, and a bottle opener. This keychain tool is handy for every situation, but it’s especially useful when you need a quick repair or to cut something, and your main tools are elsewhere.

Nite Ize DoohicKey 5-in-1 Carabiner Multi-Tool ($4)

Nite Ize DoohicKey 5-in-1 Carabiner Multi-Tool
Nite Ize

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How to Play Roblox on a Chromebook Wed, 22 May 2019 14:24:52 +0000 Brady Gavin

Roblox Hero

Roblox is one of the most popular games in the world, but it’s currently limited to a handful of platforms. Chrome OS isn’t on the “supported” list, but thanks to the Google Play Store, Roblox is a few clicks away.

What Is Roblox?

What Is Roblox?

Roblox is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game creation platform where you can design, share, and play games with other players. The platform—which initially released in 2006—hosts games and virtual worlds in a variety of genres, such as simulations, puzzles, role-playing games, and racing games, to name a few. Each game in Roblox is called an “Obby,” short for an obstacle course.

With 90+ million active users per month and over 15 million games created, Roblox is quite possibly the most popular game you’ve never played. Roblox is available for Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Xbox.

Unfortunately, if you want to create your own Roblox Obby, Roblox Developer software is only available on Windows and Mac operating systems. You can, however, play it on your Chromebook—assuming it has access to the Android apps in the Google Play Store.

How to Play Roblox on a Chromebook

Open up Google Play Store, type “Roblox” into the search bar and hit Enter.

Type Roblox into the search bar, then hit enter

From the list of games, click “Install” under Roblox to start the download.

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