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Monday, April 16, 2018

Nest x Yale Lock review: Nest’s first smart lock is a solid effort, but it needs refinement By Christopher Null




With its Nest x Yale Lock, Nest Labs takes another step toward complete smart home control by moving into the smart lock space. Nest isn’t going it alone this time, however; the Google company has partnered with old-guard manufacturer Yale, founded in 1868. I’ve reviewed three of Yale’s smart locks to date, and none have been among my favorites.

Cosmetically, this deadbolt borrows nothing from Nest’s upscale design sensibility. In fact, it pretty much looks like any other Yale smart lock. The exterior escutcheon features a compact but industrial panel bearing nothing but a touchscreen. On the inside of the door, a two-tone design dominates, with the entire escutcheon clad in metal, with a large black panel covering the electronics and battery bank. The lock is available in satin nickel, bright brass, and rubbed bronze finishes.

In an interesting move, this panel is not attached by a screw. Rather, it is removed by pushing a large pin (or a straightened paperclip, when you inevitably lose the pin) through a hole in the top, which pops off the panel. I’m not sure whether this method is more or less convenient or secure than a regular screw.
nest x yale interior esthcheon Nest Labs
The interior side of the Nest x Yale smart lock isn't the prettiest we've seen.
Installation is largely in line with other smart locks, though it can be tricky to get the cover of the interior escutcheon properly seated. Once you do get it attached, the lock feels stable and solid, and it’s easy to keep it from listing to one side, a frequent problem found with other locks. The locking mechanism is smooth and reasonably quiet, though there are plenty of chimes and beeps to alert you to various stages in the process.
After the batteries are installed, voice prompts—a helpful Yale deployed in its first generation of Yale Real Living smart locks in 2011—guide you through initial setup, including setting a master PIN code. This doesn’t last long, though, as you are quickly shunted over to the Nest app to continue your setup (which overwrites that PIN code anyway).
nest x yale 2 Christopher Null / IDG
Trouble abounds with the lock setup…
At this point, you’ll need a Nest Connect device, which is a small hub that plugs into wall power near your lock (within 40 feet), creating a bridge between the lock and your Wi-Fi network. Nest sells the lock together with the bridge for $279. (If you have a Nest Secure system, you won't need the Nest Connect.) To set up the lock with the Nest app, you first scan a QR code on the back of the Nest Connect, configure it to connect to your Wi-Fi network, then scan a QR code inside the lock itself to finish the job.

Both these steps gave me a considerable amount of trouble, which was a big surprise, throwing out error after error, refusing to connect to the network. I was about to give up on the Connect but gave it one last try after a short prayer, and at last it finally worked.

Nest x Yale appears in the Nest app as a separate device, and management is fairly intuitive. As noted above, the app will walk you through setting a new master PIN, overwriting the one you set on the lock upon initial hardware configuration. My initial experiences with the app were rocky, much like the initial setup. The app would hang, requiring a force quit and restart, or crash alt together during locking or unlocking.
nest x yale 3 Christopher Null / IDG
…and sometimes in use, too.
That’s unfortunate for an app that is supposed to replace your keys; in fact, you even activate “privacy mode,” which disables the keypad altogether, making you completely reliant on the app to open the lock from outside. Early quibbles aside, over time, the app finally settled down and its early stability problems vanished.

As with most Nest products, the Nest x Yale lock is designed to be simple in use. Advanced options like an auto-locking system are limited and, for the most part, easy to understand. If you want to give full access to another user, they’ll need an account on Nest and a copy of the app installed on their phone.

While that’s probably fine if you’re trying to set up different codes for your family, it might be overkill for an Airbnb user or someone else with temporary access needs. For these folks, you can set up additional numeric PINs within the Nest app; these can be used without a Nest account (or a phone). These PINs can be set to expire at a certain time, or open the door only on certain days or at certain hours; anyone with app-level access has full control over the lock.

All told, Nest x Yale covers almost all the expected features of a modern smart lock—there’s even a 9-volt emergency terminal so you can get in if the batteries die—but its lackluster design and setup headaches keep me from recommending it fully at this point. As well, given the hefty price tag, I’d be inclined to wait for version 2.

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At a Glance
  • Nest’s first smart lock is a somewhat buggy Yale product with Nest features, not the other way around.

    Pros

    • Integrates well with the Nest ecosystem
    • All the expected features are front and center
    • Sturdy hardware

    Cons

    • Not terribly attractive, particularly inside the house
    • Considerable trouble during setup
    • Expensive, especially if you also need to buy a Nest Connect

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Which budget smartwatch is right for you? By Michael Simon


After three years, Apple Watch finally has some competition. Fitbit's new Versa is on sale today, and if you're in the market for a smartwatch that costs less than $300 and up, it's worth considering, even if you're a staunch Apple user. Let's take a look at how it stacks up against Apple's Series 1 Watch.

Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch Series 1: Design

fitbit versa flowers Michael Simon/IDG
Versa has decidedly softer aesthetic than Ionic, which should appeal to a broader range of buyers.
With a square, aluminum body, Fitbit's Versa is inevitably going to be branded as a rip-off of Apple Watch's design. But it's easy to forget that Apple Watch wasn't the originator of the square smartwatch design—Pebble was. And Fitbit just so happens to own Pebble. But no matter who can claim ownership of the rights to pioneering the square, the fact of the matter is it's the only shape that makes sense for a smartwatch and it works great on both watches.

Shape aside, the Versa is a nicely designed watch, with an aesthetic that's similar but not exactly like Apple Watch. Where Apple's wristwatch has curved edges, Versa's sides are chamfered and more aggressive. There's also no crown on the Versa, with Fitbit opting for a trio of buttons (two on the right and one on the left) instead.

Both Versa and Apple Watch Series 1 are available in silver and black aluminum, while Versa adds a rose gold color.
Winner: Even

Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch Series 1: Size

fitbit versa vs apple watch Michael Simon/IDG
Versa is shorter and wider than the 42mm Apple Watch.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a smartwatch is whether it will fit your wrist. Apple makes one of the only watches that comes in two sizes to accommodate smaller wrists, with 38mm and 42mm varieties. Fitbit's Versa only comes in a single model, but it's closer in size to the smaller 38mm Apple Watch than the 42mm one, a rarity in connected wearables:
Apple Watch Series 1 (38mm): 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5mm
Apple Watch Series 1 (42mm): 42.5 x 36.4 x 10.5mm
Fitbit Versa: 39.4 x 37.7 x 11.2mm

Fitbit's Versa strikes a nice balance between Apple's two watches, with a wider frame that's only slightly taller than the 38mm Apple Watch and will look good on all but the smallest of wrists. And keep in mind that Apple charges a few dollars more for the 42mm watch.
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Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Display

versa rose gold Michael Simon/IDG
Without an OLED screen, Versa's boundaries are quite visible.
All three watches have very similar displays, with mere millimeters separating them, but the Versa is the smallest of the lot:
Apple Watch Series 1 42mm: 1.65 inches
Apple Watch Series 1 38mm: 1.5 inches
Fitbit Versa: 1.34 inches

But while the screen size isn't something you're likely to notice in regular use, the quality of the display is. While both have enough pixels to be considered retina, Apple Watches use OLED tech, so the black background on most screen blends into the body of the watch, giving it an edge-to edge feel. With the Versa's LCD screen, you can plainly see where the screen ends at all times, which makes the bezels feel much bigger than on Apple Watch.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 1

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Bands

fitbit versa band Michael Simon/IDG
Versa's band-switching mechanism isn't as elegant as Apple Watch's, but it does the trick.
A brand new Apple Watch Series 1 comes in just two flavors: silver with a white sport band and black with a black sport band. Versa also pairs its black watch with a black band, but you'll get a gray one with the silver model and a peach-colored one with the rose gold color. There are also two special edition models with woven bands in charcoal (with a graphite aluminum case) or lavender (which is paired with a rose gold watch).

Like Apple, Fitbit is selling a variety of bands for Versa. While there are only 14 to choose from so far—as compared to dozens for Apple Watch—they're quite a bit cheaper, ranging in price from $30 to $99. Apple's bands start at $49 and can cost as much as $450 for a stainless still link bracelet.
Swapping out the bands is easy enough on Versa, with a quick release mechanism that pulls the pin back. However, if you're going to be swapping out bands often, Apple's press-and-slide method is far superior.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 1

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Apps and clock faces

fitbit versa clock faces Michael Simon/IDG
There are lots of clock faces in the Fitbit store, including this one inspired by Thor: Ragnarok.
Apple has slowly expanded its watch face offerings, but there's still only a handful to choose from and developers can only create complications, not full custom faces.

On Versa, anyone can create a custom clockface and there are dozens of mostly free ones to choose from in the store. And Fitbit says many more are on the way, so a Pebble-sized library is definitely in the making. If customization is your main reason for wanting a smartwatch, Versa is the way to go.
Apps are another story. While Apple's store has many to choose from, some of the bigger names—Twitter, Instagram, eBay, etc.—have stopped making Apple Watch apps for various reasons. Fitbit's store is far less populated than Apple's, but there are some good ones available, including The New York Times, Philips Hue, and Starbucks. However, with either watch, you're probably going to be spending more time with the watch face than the apps.

Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Battery

fitbit versa buttons Michael Simon/IDG
Versa's fits a big battery in its small frame.
If you don't mind charging your smartwatch every night, either watch will do, but if you're looking for multi-day use on a single charge, Versa is the clear winner. While Apple Watch Series 1 will comfortably get you through a day of use, Fitbit promises up to four days of use with Versa, and in our testing, those estimates were accurate. That means you can sleep, shower, and run with it for the better part of a week before you'll need to take it off for charging.

Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Water resistance

fitbit versa metal Michael Simon/IDG
Even with a metal band, Versa can withstand a dunking.
For swimmers, there's no competition here. Apple Watch Series 1 is merely "splash resistant," with an IPX7 rating for up to 1 meter of submersion, while Fitbit Versa is water resistant up to 50 meters for tracking laps in a pool. In short, you don't need to worry about it unless you're going deep-sea diving.

Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Fitness tracking

fitbit versa fitness Michael Simon/IDG
Fitbit Versa is still a fitness tracker at heart.
With the Fitbit name, Versa is obviously a top-notch fitness tracker, but Apple Watch Series 1 is no slouch. Both watches feature an array of sensors to keep track of your movements, including:
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis gyroscope
  • Optical heart rate sensor
Versa also includes an altimeter for tracking elevation, a sensor that is limited to Apple Watch Series 3. Neither Apple Watch Series 1 nor Versa includes a dedicated GPS chip, so both rely on a phone connection for tracking distance. However, Fitbit has a greater selection of apps for fitness, with on-screen workouts, coaching, and numerous exercise modes. You can also check your daily stats just by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Compatibility and connectivity

fitbit versa today Michael Simon/IDG
Versa pulls its info from the Fitbit app on iOS, Android, or Windows.
Like Fitbit's other devices, Versa works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phones, while Apple Watch requires an iPhone 5s or newer. Apple also includes support for Siri on Apple Watch, while Fitbit has no AI assistant or voice control.

Both watches will alert you to incoming calls and notifications, but Apple Watch's integration with iPhone is much stronger than Versa's, allowing you to respond to messages and texts, and answer calls. Versa will only tell you that you have an alert. You'll need to go to your phone to answer it. However, Fitbit is promising support for Android quick replies in a future update.

Both Apple Watch and Versa have NFC chips for making payments through Apple Pay and Fitbit Pay, but you'll need to spend an extra $30 on the higher-priced special-edition Versa models to get it. Both watches include support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and neither has an LTE chip.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 1 for iPhone users, Versa for everyone else

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Price

fitbit versa front Michael Simon/IDG
Versa is a whole lot cheaper than it looks.
If none of the above categories are a deal-breaker for either watch, price will probably push you into buying Versa:
Apple Watch Series 1 38mm: $250
Apple Watch Series 1 42mm: $279
Fitbit Versa: $200
Fitbit Versa Special Edition: $230
Even if you opt for the special edition model with NFC, you're still paying less for Versa than the 38mm Apple Watch Series 1. Granted this isn't taking deal into account—earlier this month Walmart was selling both sizes of Apple Watch Series 1 for $100 off—but all things being equal, Versa is the better deal.

Winner: Versa

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Verdict


It's not a clean sweep, but for most people, Fitbit's Versa
makes more sense than Apple Watch Series 1. It has a better collection of watch faces, is small enough to fit on most wrists, works with an array of phones and OSes, and has excellent battery life. Not to mention it's cheaper.

This story, "Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 1: Which budget smartwatch is right for you?" was originally published by Macworld.

Kim's 5 reasons to set up a financial Chromebook By Mark Jones, Komando.com




Do you have a Chromebook in your arsenal of gadgets? If you don't know, they are similar to a laptop but just a little bit different.  Chromebooks run on a web-based operating system by Google known as Chrome OS. It's specifically built to be used with an internet connection and they are fairly inexpensive.

Most of the apps and documents for a Chromebook are based in the cloud. The great thing is, Google provides 100 GB of cloud storage for free on all Chromebooks for the first two years.

(Note: 100 GB of storage is $1.99 per month or $9.99 for 1 TB per month after the first two years.)
There are many practical reasons to get yourself a Chromebook. One is to use a dedicated Chromebook to take care of your finances. Some of you might be skeptical, asking yourself, why not just buy a laptop?

That's why you need to know Kim's five reasons to set up a financial Chromebook.

1. Conduct your financial business with peace of mind

The best reason to set up a financial Chromebook is for security purposes. Using a Chromebook strictly for the purpose of conducting financial business is a procedure known as "sandboxing."

Sandboxing is a security term that refers to programs that are set aside from other programs in a different environment. This is important in situations where errors or security issues occur. When programs are separated like this, issues will not spread to other areas of your gadget. Programs or files are sequestered in their own area, in the case of Chromebooks, in the cloud.

Since Chromebooks store everything in the cloud and not on a hard drive, you don't have to live in fear of being infected with a virus. Using Google's Chromebook means you don't have to worry as much about security.
Google has multiple layers of protection built into Chromebooks. Those include:
  • Automatic Updates - Chromebooks are always running the most updated version of the OS, so you don't have to download patches.
  • Sandboxing - Each webpage and application runs in a confined area called a sandbox. If the Chromebook is directed to an infected page, it can't affect the other tabs or apps, or anything else on the machine. The threat is contained.
  • Verified Boot - Chromebook automatically checks for malware when you start it up, and it fixes any problems before it opens.
  • Data Encryption - Most data on Chromebooks are saved to the cloud, but anything saved to the computer is encrypted so it's nearly impossible to be hacked.
  • Recovery Mode - If anything goes wrong, you can simply revert to an earlier version that was safe.
Another reason Chromebooks are secure is its operating system does not allow the installation of traditional apps or programs. This really cuts down the chance of downloading a virus.

To keep your finances secure, only use the Chromebook for financial business. Don't use it to surf the web, check email, shop online, or visit any social media sites.

Also, delete all financial bookmarks that you might have on your old computer and don't forget to clear its history. Once your financial Chromebook is set up, never use another gadget to access your financial accounts.

2. The right gadget at the right price

Another reason to set up a financial Chromebook is the low cost. Laptops can run you over $1,000, which wouldn't be cost effective to exclusively use it for one function.

However, you can pick up a powerful Chromebook for under $200. (Psst! Keep reading and we'll show you a few under $200 Chromebook options.) That makes it the perfect device to have for the sole purpose of conducting financial business.

3. Programs you want with no extra costs

When you're working on your finances, you might want to use some of the programs that come with Microsoft Office. As you know, that can be expensive and not something you want to pay for if you're trying to save some money.

Good news! Chromebook's use the free Google Drive suite for its spreadsheet and word processing functions. Since it's free, you won't have to pay for Office and you can keep some coin in your wallet.

4. Super easy to use

With a portable design and seamless offline transition, Chromebooks make work easy for everyone on the go. It's basically an instant-on gadget.

What I mean is, once you've logged into your Google account, you're ready to go. No long load times and no confusing setup. Just flip it open and get going.

5. Stay charged all day

Chromebooks are known to have extremely long-lasting batteries. In fact, there's a good chance that your Chromebook's battery will last from one charge for most of the day.

The typical Chromebook has up to 10 hours of battery life. That makes it a reliable device to keep track of all your financial business whenever you need it.

Keep reading for a few of our Chromebook picks that you can choose from. They're easy on the wallet so you're sure to love them.

Check out these impressive under $200 Chromebooks

Google created the Chromebook operating system. Then, manufacturers like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung make the gadgets that run Chromebook OS.

So, you have a lot of options when buying one. Of course, when you're paying $200 or so for a Chromebook, you're not getting all the bells and whistles you will with a more costly laptop.

Yet, you can do just about everything on a Chromebook that you would on a more expensive laptop. You'll want to check each Chromebook's specs, though, to compare one to another.

If you're thinking about picking up one of these inexpensive devices, here are a few to look into. These Chromebooks are available for under $200 on Amazon.
HP Chromebook
This HP Chromebook 11 G5 is affordable but still packs a punch. It has an 11.6-inch screen with a sharp LCD display.

It comes with a 16 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron processor with a processing speed of 1.6 GHz. It weighs just 3.9 pounds and runs the Chrome operating system.

You can't go wrong with this HP Chromebook. Order yours from Amazon for under $185 today while you're thinking about it by clicking the link below.

Samsung Chromebook 3
If you're looking to spend even less, this certified refurbished Samsung Chromebook 3 might be perfect for you. It comes with a 90-day warranty, so don't fear the refurbished tag.

This Chromebook has an 11.6-inch display and a 16 GB hard drive with an Intel Celeron processor. The Google Chrome operating system is used and has 4 GB of RAM. Simply click the link below to pick one up today.

Acer CB3
Here's another under $200 Chromebook that will get the job done. Acer's Chromebook CB3 has an 11.6-inch screen that provides sharp images.

It has an Intel Celeron processor and runs the Chrome operating system. This slick gadget has a 16 GB hard drive with 2 GB of RAM. Order yours from Amazon for under $185 by clicking the link below.

20 incredibly useful websites you wish you knew earlier By Francis Navarro, Komando.com

Do you have a specific need or problem? With more than a million websites you can visit now with a click of a button, there's bound to be something that you can use to solve your tech issue. That's why Kim put together this list of some of the most useful sites.

If you like this list and other content we produce, consider supporting what we do by becoming a Kim's Club member. For about $5 a month, you get Kim's three hour weekend radio show podcasts, video webcasts, special discounts and more. Click here to learn more about being a Kim's Club member. Seniors, military, and service personnel save $10! Thank you!

Most of the time, smaller websites are like hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, you just have to know where to look. Some of these sites are so useful, you can't believe you haven't heard of them before!

So Kim did all the work for you. Here's a big list of incredibly useful websites that you wish knew earlier.

1. Print webpages minus the clutter

Printing an article straight from the web can be frustrating. Ads, links, images and all that extra text can ruin an otherwise perfect page. This clutter is not just unnecessary, it's a waste of ink and paper too.

Thankfully, there's an easy way to clean up all that unwanted junk.

CleanPrint is a free print tool that will save you precious printer ink, paper and money by keeping your printed webpages tidy and clean.

Simply install the CleanPrint browser extension, press its menu button and it will automatically trim the output and delete the extra information for easy printing.

Not only that, you can tweak your print output further by manually deleting the sections you don't want and by adjusting the font size. If you want to get rid of wasted ink and paper, CleanPrint is a must-have.
Click here to clean up online articles before printing them.

2. Send a fax straight from your computer


Email and messaging apps may be the preferred means of sending documents now but the humble fax machine is still sticking around. While it is slowly being phased out, there are still plenty of businesses that use it. In fact, people in the legal, finance and medical industries still rely on fax machines for essential documents.

But what about the regular people like us? Not everyone has access to a fax machine.
If you absolutely need to send out a fax, you don't have to rush out to the nearest FedEx. Just do it from home with this useful site!

With FaxZero, you can send faxes completely free from your computer. You can attach up to three documents (up to five free faxes a day), with a total fax limit of three pages, including the cover page. Note: There will be an ad on the cover page.

For both business and personal use, you can now send a fax without a fax machine! Click here to try FaxZero now.

3.  Get your gadget's manual for free


Keeping your gadget's printed manual around can be handy especially when you're trying to look up a quick fix. But not everyone keeps their manuals and they often end up in the trash can.

Thankfully, all of these manuals are available online nowadays, you just need to know where to look.
If you're ever in need of a gadget's manual, check and see if it's available on ManualsLib. There are manuals for more than 40,000 different brands, 1.5 million different products and more than 2 million PDF manuals for major brands and manufacturers like Apple, LG, Sony, GE and many more.

It has information on everything you'll need, from your smartphone to your refrigerator. Best of all, access to all of the manuals are free!

Just visit ManualsLib, enter the product or brand name into the search bar. From there, you'll be taken to the manual and hopefully connected to the information you need.
Click here to search ManualsLib for all your manual needs.

4.   Send self-destructing notes to anyone

Ever wished you can send a confidential self-destructing note to anyone ala Mission Impossible?
Type a note, send it, then have it destroy itself after it's read. Well, get your Ethan Hunt mask out because this cool site will let you do just that.

Privnote is a web tool that lets you write notes that can self-destruct (virtually, of course) after a recipient reads them. You can also do scheduled self-destructs instead and have your notes expire after a set time.

Simply write your note on the site, pick your self-destruct method then send out the link as desired. It's as easy as that.
Start writing your own self-destructing notes now with this cool web tool.

5.  An easy way to delete any online account or profile

There are dozens of sites that I have accounts on that contain bits and pieces of my information. But guess what? They have the same scoop on you. Most sites will have your email address, username and password at a minimum. This could be a problem if any of the sites have a data breach.

There are steps you can take to keep yourself protected. I recommend getting rid of old, unwanted and unused accounts. Just wipe the slate clean.

Sound like a tough thing to tackle? Sure, every site has different rules on how to close your account, and some are more difficult to get rid of than others. The good news is, this cool site can help with that.

AccountKiller is a free site that has a collection of direct links and instructions on how to easily delete your accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Groupon and hundreds of other sites and services. With its color-coding system, you can see at a glance if a site will be easy or hard to leave.
Deleting your online accounts doesn't need to be a chore. Try this useful tool to get rid of your unwanted online accounts.

6.  Paper templates you can print for free

Although it's now preferable to save our notes and papers on our smartphones and apps, there's still that occasional need to write some of it on hard copies. School assignments, music scores, budget plans, decorations, there's always a need for those old-style sheets.

With Printable Paper, you can download and print more than a thousand varieties of old-school templates for free. Choose from lined notebook paper, graphing paper, monthly budget spreadsheets, music sheets - any throwback paper sheet you can imagine, Printable Paper has them all.

If you need to relive the old glory days of printed paper sheets, click here to visit Printable Paper now.

7.   Web-based photo editor that's a cinch to use

In this age of social media and photo sharing, stylistic individuality is almost a must. Filters, effects, borders and stickers can transform an average photograph into a spectacular work of art if done right.

For those quick spontaneous artistic photo edits, try Pixlr's web apps. They're all browser-based so you don't need to download or install extra software. (It does require the Flash plugin to run, though.)

For starters, you can start with Pixlr Express. It is the web-based brother of Pixlr desktop with almost the same set of tools, effects and filters.

For more advanced photo editing, try Pixlr Editor. It is an advanced photo editor with layering support and a complete set of tools similar to other software like GIMP. For experienced photo editors, Pixlr Editor is a great web-based alternative.
Click here to create your inspired photo creations with Pixlr.

8.  Learn how to create your own apps

Creating apps is a great project for anyone, whether for fun or business and it's one good skill to have in this highly digital world we live in.

If you want to learn how to create your own apps but you don't know where to start, here's a useful site you can visit to get you going.

It's MIT's App Inventor and it has step-by-step guides and tutorials to start your app creation journey. You don't even need coding knowledge to get started! Just select one of the site's guides, install the necessary programs and you can start building and sharing your very own apps in no time.

Who knows? If you have an excellent app idea, you might strike gold and even create the next viral hit. Click here to start creating your very own app with App Inventor.

9.  Create your own professional-looking resume

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you're applying for jobs, that means you have to create a killer resume that's organized the right way and looks good, too.

If you're looking for a way to stand out from the pool of job applicants, give this free resume site a try.

CVMaker lets you choose from a vast range of professionally created resume templates, save them and print them anytime. You can even select different resume templates for different types of job applications and have them handy when they're needed. Just edit any template as you wish then save on the fly.

If you want to create fast, professional-looking resumes that can make good first impressions, click here to give CVMaker a try!

10. Download thousands of free fonts

We all love fonts. Especially unique fonts that make websites and posters and flyers stand out. If you're getting creative, you might want to go hunting for the perfect new font (or more than one) for your project.

Many sites charge for fonts, and if you're going to use a font for a commercial purpose, rather than personal use, you'll likely have to pay for it. But did you know that Google has its very own site for free fonts?

Google Fonts is a collection of free fonts that you can download and use for free. From exotic to edgy fonts, Google has you covered! Just hit the "quick use" button of any font that you may fancy and start using it for your projects, papers or websites.

Click here to add some font flair to your work with Google Fonts.

11. Create your home in 2D and see it in 3D

You probably have an idea of what your dream home will look like, right?

With the blueprint outlined inside your head - the floor plan, the number of rooms, even the type of furniture and appliances, all the way down to the type of paint or wallpaper you're going to adorn it with, you just can't wait to make that dream a reality.

Don't you just wish there's a way to render your construction or remodeling ideas into something that's in three-dimensional space?

With EasyHome Homestyler, you can. This free site lets you design, build, visualize then render your dream house. You can even virtually walk around it!

Simply design a floor plan, populate it with doors, windows, furniture, appliances, and even people and then experience it in a real-time 3-D space! And if you want to visualize your virtual home design in a more pleasing, real-world setting, you can try rendering a snapshot of a specific view. Now that's cool!

To start designing and visualizing your dream house with Homestyler, just click here visit its homepage. There's no place like home - your virtual home!

12. Send files that are too big to email

Let's face it, file sizes are getting too big. We now have to contend with high-resolution photos, ultra-high definition videos, and uncompressed audio files even when we're out and about. Even modern mobile apps can take gigabytes of data these days.

So what can you do if you need to send out a lengthy HD video or a big application file but it is deemed too big by your email program?

Here's a free solution - a free online tool called WeTransfer.

WeTransfer lets you share files of up to 2 GB in size with its free service and it's very simple to use.
Here's how: Go to the site, select the free option, then click "Add your files" to upload them from your computer. Enter both your email and your recipient’s email, an optional message and hit the “Transfer” button to start the process.

Now wait while WeTransfer uploads the file (or files) and when it's done, it will send an email to the receiver with the link to download the files. Easy as that.
Click here to send out those gigantic files now with WeTransfer.

13.  Free program to help you manage your time

With the internet, social media, YouTube, game apps and other marvels of the digital age at your fingertips, it's easy to get distracted by things you actually need to do. You might decide to take a break for a second and end up wasting the whole day.

If you've ever reached the end of the day and wondered where the time went, take a look at this site.
RescueTime will show you how long you spent working in your programs, how long you were using your browser and even what sites you visited.

A handy graph shows how long you spent on each thing so you know your weaknesses to avoid. You can get an overall productivity score and weekly summary email for quick measures of how you're doing. There's even an option to set daily goals so you know what you need to work on.
Click here to manage your daily schedules with RescueTime.

14. Free sounds to melt that stress away

Have you ever been at your job and just wanted to get away? Maybe your co-workers won't stop talking or are just making too much noise, keeping you from concentrating and making your deadline. Don't worry, here's a free site that can help you melt that stress away.

A Soft Murmur has a collection of calming sounds and mixes that you can play for free. Choose from a variety of sounds you can mix and match - rain, thunder, waves, wind, fire, birds, crickets, coffee shop, singing bowl, and white noise.

It even has individual volume sliders for each sound so you can create your perfect mix of serenity. You can then save and share your own mixes with friends.

When the going gets tough, click here and give A Soft Murmur a try for instant stress relief.

15. Fun game that drops you somewhere in the world

Take a break with this surprisingly fun online game you can play by yourself or with friends.
It's called GeoGuessr and it drops you on a random map location and you have to guess where in the world you are.

The game uses Google Maps' images to show you the surrounding area. For clues, you can navigate around these images to see people, roads and anything else that can be used to give you an idea of your whereabouts.

Once you begin to play, you have five rounds. Each round you're dropped in a new location and you have to guess where it is. The closer you are to being correct, the higher the score that you receive.
Beware though. GeoGuessr is quite addictive. You can get lost for hours just exploring the maps, figuring out where you are.

Are you up to the challenge? Click here to play this amazingly simple but quite entertaining exploration game.

16. Search Craigslist, eBay and Amazon all at once

When you're looking for an item, doing multiple searches on various online shopping and classified ads sites is a hassle. Having multiple browser tabs and websites open while searching for one item is tedious and quite aggravating.

SearchTempest eliminates this problem. This handy search engine lets you look up multiple classified ads in one easy search. Just enter your ZIP code, your search keywords and it will crawl through eBay, Amazon, and eBay for relevant results.

If the price is right, you'll find the exact item you're looking for in no time at all.

Even better, SearchTempest also has a section called AutoTempest that lets you search eBay, Craigslist, Cars.com, Auto Trader, Cars Direct and Oodle all at once for car listings.

Take the hassle out of online shopping. Click here to search through multiple shopping sites in one click!

17. Test your vision at home with this free web tool

Do you sometimes mess with your eyes to read signs properly? Does your vision go fuzzy when you read? Maybe it's difficult for you to drive at night. Whatever the case may be, you should begin by testing your vision online.

Essilor.com allows you to check for things like myopia or hyperopia, test both your near and far vision, find out if you could have astigmatism or daltonism (color-blindness). The tests are quick and easy and shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes to complete them all.

Although the site states that the test has no diagnostic value, it's a quick way to know if it's time to consult with a vision care professional for a detailed eye examination.
For a quick and easy eye test, visit this free online vision test now.

18. Replace lost military awards and medals

Recognitions from the U.S. military such as medals, decorations, and awards are often considered as historical mementos and priceless family heirlooms.

Although the honor that these military medals represent should endure forever, the physical medals themselves may not. They can be misplaced, lost, stolen or simply begin to show their age over time.
The U.S. military understands the importance of this legacy to families and it offers replacement medals, decorations, and awards available to decorated veterans and their families.

Just visit the National Archives Veterans' Service Records page and this site has all the information you'll need for replacing your family's lost military awards.

Click here to replace your family's lost military awards and heirlooms now.

19. Save big on surplus and confiscated items

Have you ever wondered where confiscated items from airport security end up? On average, the TSA seizes an estimated 750,000 items a year. That's a lot of stuff with nowhere to go.

When people voluntarily surrender certain belongings such as knives or sports equipment, they become available on GovDeals.com. It's an online auction site that gathers confiscated or surplus items from government agencies.

You will be amazed by some of the things up for bid. Last time I checked, I found retired police cars in working condition, a collection of lost Bluetooth headsets, an old hockey arena scoreboard and even traffic lights! There are plenty of practical items listed on the site too, from working automobiles to generators to motorhomes and RVs.

With GovDeals.com, you just don't know what hidden gems you might find. Click here to save big on government surplus and confiscated items.

20. See how much crime takes place in your neighborhood

No matter how pristine a neighborhood is, you shouldn't assume that it's free of crime.
Whether you're searching through real estate listings to find a new home, or have lived in the same neighborhood for over a decade, you're probably wondering: Is this neighborhood safe?

There's an easy way to find out. A site called SpotCrime collects public data from police agencies and plots it on a map, giving you access to timely information about reported crimes in an area.

With SpotCrime, you can find safety information for an entire city or town anywhere in the country, and many other countries worldwide. You can also narrow it down to see reported crimes in a particular neighborhood or ZIP code, even on the street you live on.

Ready to get a safety snapshot of any particular area? Click here to visit SpotCrime for an instant report.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What to do when the Mac App Store shows a different Apple ID for software updates by Glenn Fleishman, Senior Contributor, Macworld


Macworld reader Arthur is trying to download updates via the Mac App Store, but is stymied, because an Apple ID associated with the previous owner of the machine appears prefilled in the Sign In dialog and can’t be changed. He wonders what to do.
mac911 mac app store other apple id IDG
Apps purchased or downloaded with another Apple ID will persist in prompting you for that account’s password when they need to be updated.
Apple associates app purchases with the account that made the purchase. This includes “free” apps, because such apps can have in-app purchases, which would also be associated. If you bought, inherited, were given, or found on the street a Mac that was previously owned and not wiped clean, you can wind up with apps installed that are registered to a previous user.

Because it’s a design feature, not a bug, there’s no way to get rid of this without deleting all the apps that were purchased or downloaded under that other Apple ID.

However, when you update individual apps, the login for an Apple ID other than your own shouldn’t appear unless that app was purchased or downloaded by that other party. That could help you sort out which ones to remove. Or you could ignore updating those apps.

This can be a real problem with apps like Pages and Numbers, which are free for everyone with a Mac, but are registered to a specific user. You should be able to delete them and then re-download while logged into your own Apple ID account in the App Store, and the apps should then be registered to your Apple ID.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Beginner's Guide to Excel by Sandy Stachowiak

Apple iPad 6th-generation review: The tablet to buy by Daniel Howley

Last month, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the Lane Tech College Prep High School to lay out his company’s plans to take over the education technology market. And the key to Apple-powered classrooms, Cook explained, was the iPad.

Not just any iPad would do, though. Which is why Cook and company debuted a new slate that packs a more powerful processor and Apple Pencil stylus compatibility, but costs the same $329 as the 5th-generation iPad.

But the 6th-generation iPad isn’t only meant for students and teachers. It’s also the company’s new mainstream consumer slate. In other words, the best tablet you can buy just got a lot better.

More of the same … in a good way

The 6th-generation iPad looks and feels exactly the same as the 5th-generation model. The slate is still 1-pound, still 0.29 inches thick and still easily fits in your bag. The company basically replaced the iPad’s guts and called it a day. And that’s fine by me.

Even the 9.7-inch Retina display is the same as last year’s offering, which is actually a bit of a bummer, as the iPad mini 4’s screen is fully laminated and has an anti-reflective coating. Both of those features are missing from the 6th-generation iPad.
The 6th-generation iPad doesn’t get the iPad Pro’s upgraded display, but it still looks great.
The tablet’s 8-megapixel rear camera is also a carryover from the 5th-generation iPad, which isn’t quite as sharp as the iPad Pro’s 12-megapixel rear camera, but matches up with the iPad mini 4’s.

If Apple raised the price of this iPad, I’d be questioning its decision to keep so many aspects of the tablet the same. But since the company is still charging $329, which is a solid price, it’s not really an issue.

Different where it matters

What makes Apple’s decision to maintain the size and weight of the iPad especially interesting is the fact that this slate packs the same A10 Fusion processor found in both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In order to do that, Apple told me, the company had to build a completely new logic board.

The A10 chip allows for the use of augmented reality apps. One such app Apple offered up was Froggipedia. The app allows users to set a virtual frog down on a flat surface and interact with it using the iPad. A dissection tab even lets you dissect a digital frog without having to deal with the awful smell of the real thing.
The base iPad now gets Apple Pencil support.
It’s not that the 5th-generation iPad was underpowered. The tablet had more than enough oomph to tackle any task you threw at it. But if Apple wants to ensure its 6th-gen tablet can keep up with new apps and updates, it needed to bring along the faster chip.

The 6th-generation iPad is also the first non-Pro iPad to offer support for the Apple Pencil stylus, and packs all of its features including its impressive pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality. Using the Pencil on the 6th-generation iPad is every bit as flawless as it is on the iPad Pro. The stylus’ tip glides across the tablet’s display with ease. It’s not quite a pen and paper, but then, nothing else is.

The vast majority of consumers are unlikely to purchase the $99 Apple Pencil. I’m sure it’ll be great for graphic artists and their ilk, but for the average person it’s an expensive add-on that they won’t use much.

The Pencil’s real value is in the classroom, where students and teachers can write directly on the slate to take notes, annotate articles and grade quizzes.  Still, even with the $89 student pricing option (the iPad is also reduced to $299 for students and teachers), the Pencil might be a tad bit expensive for classrooms with younger pupils who are bound to misplace the stylus.

To alleviate those concerns, Apple teamed up with Logitech to create the Logitech Crayon, a $49 Apple Pencil alternative. The Crayon offers many of the Apple Pencil’s features including its tilt functionality but sacrifices pressure sensitivity.

Compared to the iPad Pro

So, if the 6th-generation iPad offers Apple Pencil capabilities, what’s the difference between it and the iPad Pro? A lot, actually. First off, the 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pros cost significantly more than the 6th-generation. The base 10.5-inch carries a $329 premium over the iPad tablet, and for good reason.
The 6th-generation is physically identical to the 5th-generation model.
Not only are the Pros’ screens larger than the 6th-generation iPad’s panel, they are also fully laminated, have anti-reflective coatings, use Apple’s ProMotion and True Tone technologies and feature wide color capabilities. Put the 6th-generation iPad next to the Pro and you’ll immediately notice the difference. The Pro simply looks cleaner and more colorful. The 6th-generation is certainly no slouch, but the Pro offers a better picture.

The Pros also have more powerful A10X Fusion processors, which means you’ll get slightly better performance from the Pros versus the standard iPad. That said, I haven’t had any issue with the 6th-generation iPad. Games and apps all ran smoothly including titles like “Flower” and “Inside” “Player Unkown’s Battlegrounds Mobile” and “Fortnite.”

The iPad Pros also have one major difference compared with the iPad, which is that they have Smart Connectors that allow you to physically connect a keyboard to the tablet. The 6th-generation iPad, on the other hand, uses Bluetooth to connect to a keyboard. That’s because the Pros are meant to serve as laptop replacement devices, while the standard iPad is largely meant to be used as a tablet.

In terms of battery life, Apple claims up to 10 hours of use on a single charge across the iPad line. I’ve used my review unit on and off for a day or two and still had plenty of juice left.

Naturally, both the 6th-generation iPad and its more expensive brethren can run the millions of iOS apps available through Apple’s App Store.

Should you get it?

The iPad is the go-to tablet for consumers for a good reason: it’s the best there is. No Android or Amazon Fire tablet can compare, especially when it comes to app availability and overall capabilities. 

For the average consumer looking to update their old iPad or simply wants to purchase their first slate, the 6th-generation iPad is the gold standard. 

If you want something that can replace your laptop, then you might want to opt for the iPad Pro with its larger screen and more powerful processor, or something like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, which is a full-on Windows 10 machine. 

But for everyone else who just wants a fantastic slate with plenty of functionality, the 6th-generation iPad is easily the tablet to buy.