Google+ June 2015 ~ High Tech House Calls

Do Dogs Really Miss Us?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Your next phone update could delete some apps by Kim Komando

Apple is working on a way to make sure that users who want to upgrade their iPhones will have enough space on their gadgets to install the latest operating system. With the update of iOS 8 came a ton a complaints that the file couldn't be installed due to its size.

Well not this time around! Apple developers created a program that can temporarily delete some of your biggest apps and immediately reinstall them as soon as the update is done. This sounds like a great idea, but what if it doesn't work? You could be without your favorite apps and the data that was stored within them.
Even though iOS 9 is just a quarter of the size of the iOS 8 update, users could still find themselves without enough room to install it. This issue was the main reason developers included this program in the beta, or test version, that is currently available for a select group of Apple owners.

Don't worry, the program won't delete anything if you don't want it to. The phone will prompt you with an option to temporarily delete the apps before the update or cancel the update all together. You will still be in control of what goes and what stays on your phone.

I love this idea and I can't wait to see if it becomes an official part of iOS 9 when it's released to the public later this year. But do you think it's a smart addition to the operating system or do you think that Apple should keep their paws off your apps permanently?

Low Power mode in iOS 9 saves battery life by slowing performance by Susie Ochs

Technology is a story of compromises and tradeoffs. We want devices with big, pixel-dense screens. We want snappy performance and lots of RAM. But we don’t want to have to keep one nervous eye on the battery-life indicator, or have to top off just to make it through the day.

iOS 9 includes a battery-saving Low Power mode, a first for Apple. This will let you flip one switch to eke out maximum power savings. iOS will shut down background activity and reduce performance to get you as much as three extra hours before the battery finally goes kaput. On Friday, MacRumors used Geekbench 3 to quantify just how big of a performance hit you can expect.

Benchmarking app Geekbench 3 ($1) was just updated to work with iOS 9, and MacRumors used it with an iPhone 6 Plus running the latest beta. In its regular state, the iPhone 6 Plus scored 1606 on the single-core processor test, and 2891 on the multicore test. With Low Power mode on, those numbers took about a 40 percent hit, to 1019 and 1751, respectively.

The story behind the story: Those Geekbench scores indicate that the iPhone 6 Plus would act more like the iPhone 5s, speedwise, but what’s really cool about Low Power mode is that you can still use your phone.

Battery life, battery strife

Up until now, a common way to save battery life is to pop open Control Center and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, shutting down those radios completely, and crank down the screen brightness as low as you can stand. To get even more, you could head to Settings > Cellular Data, and turn off LTE. Or you could go nuclear and put your iPhone in Airplane Mode, but at that point your phone is just a fancy iPod touch.

Low Power mode seems to leave all of that on. According to MacRumors, enabling Low Power decreases your iPhone’s CPU speed, stops fetching new mail messages and refreshing apps in the background, and disables motion effects and animated wallpapers. That should leave your phone a lot more useful than it would have been if you’d disabled features yourself—and of course, users never had access to tweak the CPU speed themselves.

I wouldn’t mind Apple expanding Low Power with a sheet of additional preferences that users could select, and a graph showing how each one might affect the bottom line. For example, some users might not mind if Low Power mode did kill Bluetooth—but anyone wearing an Apple Watch would understandably balk at that. I’d love to be able to pick and choose the features that matter to me, and still toggle the whole shebang on and off with one tap.

Google finally makes Undo Send an official Gmail feature by Ian Paul

Add this one to the annals of “What took you so long Google?” Gmail’s greatest feature just graduated from the service’s experimental labs to become a regular part of Gmail: Undo Send. With this feature enabled, you have a pre-determined number of seconds to recall the email you just sent.

If you’ve never used this feature, I can’t stress enough how helpful it is. We’ve all sent emails we didn’t mean to or had second thoughts about the wording. Prior to Undo Send, we just had to suck it up and live with our mistakes. Not a great situation to be in when email is such a critical communication tool—even in this era of HipChat and Slack.

Overnight success, six years ago

Undo Send began as an experimental feature in 2009 when it offered only a five second retrieval period. It was a hit almost immediately and has been a mainstay of many Gmail accounts since it was first introduced.
Undo Send in action.
Although handy, Undo Send does have limits beyond the recall grace period. Once you click Send on an email, an undo option appears at the top of your inbox or whatever page you’re on in Gmail such as sent mail. Once you leave that page, the Undo Send option immediately disappears regardless of the grace period setting. In other words, when you want to use this option don’t click anything until you’ve hit that Undo link.

Undo Send’s graduation into standard Gmail comes less than a month after Google added the feature to Inbox by Gmail.

The impact on you at home: If you’re already an Undo Send user then your current settings won’t be affected. Everything will work as it should. Anyone who’s new to the feature will find it under Settings > General. Undo Send allows you to recall an email either 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds after you’ve hit Send. I’d recommend the maximum to be extra cautious, but if you like to live on the wild side, 5 or 10 seconds will work just fine.

Got a bad 3TB hard drive in your iMac? Apple will replace it by Roman Loyola

If you bought an iMac with a 3TB hard drive between December 2012 and September 2013 and you’re having problems with that drive, Apple will replace it for free.

The iMac (27-inch) 3TB Hard Drive Replacement Program replaces 3TB hard drives that, according to Apple, “fall under certain conditions.” The service will be performed at your local apple Store or at a nearby Apple Authorized Service Provider.

According to the Replacement Program website, Apple has contacted iMac owners who registered their iMac with a valid email address. If you did not register, you can check if your iMac is eligible by entering the serial number on the Replacement Program website.

The 3TB hard drive was a custom option for the 27-inch iMac. It was not part of the standard configuration. These iMacs were among the first to feature the new thin design.

The Trick to Better Proofreading by David Pogue

As anyone who writes or publishes can tell you, attaining a perfect proofread—ferreting out every typo, missing word, and so on—is staggeringly difficult. You can read over something six times, swear it’s perfect—and then show it to someone else who spots a typo instantly. Somehow, your brain gets lulled into blindness.

(When I write computer books, each book is read by four pairs of eyes: Mine, a technical editor’s, a copy editor’s, and a proofreader’s—and readers still find typos after publication. Grrrr!!)
If you don’t have the luxury of four beta readers—or even if you do—here’s a miraculous trick that will make “blind spot” typos pop out: Change the font.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One Facebook trick to prevent embarrassment by Kim Komando

How long have been using Facebook? One year? Five years? 10 years? Even if it's only been a few months, you might have some embarrassing information lurking in your history that you don't even remember posting. Do you want your new squeeze, a co-worker, family member or even a potential employer stumbling on it?

Fortunately, Facebook has an easy way to review your history and remove posts that really shouldn't be in there. It's called the Activity Log.

The Activity Log
To get started, sign in to your Facebook account. Then click the down arrow in the upper-right corner and select Activity Log. You can also click your name in the top bar to go to your Facebook page and then click the "View Activity Log" button on the right side of the cover photo area.

The Activity Log might seem a little overwhelming at first with thousands of entries to scroll through, but Facebook has a few tools to make things easier.

In the left-hand column, you'll see a huge list of filters. These show you just the posts in your Timeline about those topics. For example, if you only want to look at things you've posted in the past, select "Your Posts." You can also just look at "Photos," things you've "Liked" and "Comments" you've made on posts, photos and videos.

Click the "More" link to see more filters like "Videos," "Groups" and "Location History." Location History is especially helpful if in the past you were a little too free with telling people where you were. After all, an increasing number of burglars use social media to target their victims.

One thing you probably didn't know Facebook tracks is your search history. Everything and everybody who you've searched for on Facebook is visible to anyone who gets access to your account.

To see your search history, look in the left column of the Activity Log and click "More" under "Photos, Likes and Comments." Then click "Search" near the bottom of the list. You can delete individual entries by clicking the "circle with a slash" icon and selecting "Delete." You can also click "Clear Searches" at the top to wipe everything at once. I have a full walkthrough of the process on my site.

Of course, there's no way to stop Facebook from recording your search history. You'll need to keep coming back to delete your history if you don't want it recorded, or just stop searching on Facebook.
At the very bottom, you can also see what apps you've installed and what posts they've made on your Timeline. At the top of the log, you can also change the settings on who can see the posts that the apps make.

But that's not everything you need to do.

Limit Past Posts
Even if you're OK with your Facebook friends seeing some embarrassing posts, you might have posted something in the distant past that you wouldn't want strangers to see. Unfortunately, your privacy settings back then might not have been set correctly. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly now before you keep reading.

Changing every past post manually from "Everyone" to "Friends" could take days. Fortunately, Facebook has a quicker option. At the top of the page, click the upside-down triangle and select Settings.

Then click the "Privacy" link in the left-hand column. Under "Who can see my stuff?" click the "Limit Past Posts" link. Next, click the "Limit Old Posts" button to change the privacy setting of every post in your profile to "Friends."

Note that if you have posts that you want everyone to see, this will change those as well. You'll need to go change those posts back to "Everyone" manually.

Next, go to your Facebook page and to the upper right, click the three dots next to the "View Activity Log" button and select "View as..." This lets you see your Facebook page the way a stranger would, or any Facebook user you select. That way, you can quickly spot problem posts and change their privacy settings or remove them.

"View as..." is especially handy if you've set up custom lists. Lists let you choose specific friends who can see certain posts. Learn how to make lists and control exactly who sees what.

While you're tweaking old Facebook settings, take some time to review information you've added to your account in the past. Facebook asks for a lot of details about your life, like home address, that you probably shouldn't give it. Find out what these details are and how to remove them if you have them in your account.

How Much RAM Does Your PC Need? Probably Less Than You Think by Michael Crider

Random Access Memory, usually shortened to “RAM” or simply “memory,” is one of the most important parts of any computer. But how much do you need? Current new PCs and similar devices range from around the two gigabyte mark to 16GB or more.

How much memory you really require will depend on two factors — how much you want to do, and how much you’re willing to spend. This article will focus on computers running a desktop operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Chrome OS.

An introduction to RAM

Memory capacity is often confused with the long-term storage offered by a solid state or mechanical hard drive. Sometimes even manufacturers or retailers will mix up these terms. A desk is a useful analogy to consider the difference between memory and storage. Think of RAM as the top of the desk. The bigger it is, the more papers you can spread out and read at once. Hard drives are more like the drawers underneath the desk, capable of storing papers you’re not using.

The more RAM your system has, the more programs it can handle simultaneously. RAM isn’t the only determining factor, and you can technically open dozens of programs at once even with a very small amount of RAM, but doing so will slow your system down. Think of the desk again. If you have far too many papers on it, it becomes cluttered, and your work will slow as you try to find whatever paper you need at a particular moment. You’ll be forced to frequently dig into the drawers to store what won’t fit on top of the desk and retrieve papers you need.

A computer with more RAM might feel like it’s performing faster, especially when you use many programs at once, but more memory doesn’t actually increase its processing speed. Only a faster CPU can do that. More RAM won’t increase the amount of files or programs your computer can hold, either. That’s what the desk drawers — the hard drive or solid state drive – are for.

Standard RAM shouldn’t be confused with video memory, a statistic associated with computer video cards. High-end 3D games rely on video RAM, usually expressed as “GDDR3” or similar, whereas standard memory will simply be referred to as memory, RAM or DDR3/4.

RAM-heavy applications

The biggest RAM-hogs on most home computers are the operating system itself and the web browser. There’s not much you can do to make Windows or OS X use less memory, but more RAM in your computer means that you can have more browser tabs open in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, et cetera. In addition, some websites will use more RAM than others. A simple text news story is relatively light on memory, while something like Gmail or Netflix uses quite a lot.

Intel NUC Core i5 NUCi5RYK mini PC review RAM screw driver
(Bill Roberson/Digital Trends)
Other programs tend to use more RAM as they increase in complexity. A chat program or a game like Minesweeper will use almost no RAM, while a gigantic Excel spreadsheet or a huge Photoshop project might use more than a gigabyte all by itself. Modern 3D games also use quite a lot of RAM — often three or four gigabytes, and some use a bit more than that.

That means your need for RAM is entirely dependent on the programs you use. Let’s say you have two Windows computers, one with two gigabytes of RAM, and one with sixteen, that are otherwise identical. If you have no programs open they’ll operate similarily. Load a big Excel spreadsheet, though, and only the latter will still seem responsive.

Choosing RAM for PC tablets

Most Windows tablets will come with somewhere between two and four gigabytes of RAM. This is enough for basic tasks only. A few browser tabs, some email, and one video at a time is fine, but heavy multitasking will quickly become frustrating on most tablets. Because basic PC tablets are intended for these specific light-duty tasks, they’re usually fine (though not exactly quick) with two to four gigabytes.

A few more expensive Windows tablets (usually ones that use Core i3 processors or better) are more similar to laptops without the keyboard. In these machines, try to get as much RAM as your budget will allow. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Pro series comes with up to 8GB. If you intend to use your tablet for occasional work or intense web browsing sessions, it might be worth the upgrade.

Choosing RAM for laptops

New laptops start at two gigabytes of RAM (especially for budget machines and Chromebooks) and go up to eight gigabytes, with some very expensive models offering 12 or 16GB. Systems towards the bottom of this scale are suited only to general web browsing, email, video, and perhaps some casual gaming.

Four gigabytes is about as low as you want to go in Windows or OS X. This is an ideal combination of capability and price for most people. If you intend to run dozens of browser tabs at once, or you plan to do more intensive tasks like high-resolution photo editing, consider a bump up to eight gigs.

An upgrade from 4GB to 8GB usually costs about $100 from the manufacturer, but can be more expensive if it’s paired with a faster processor or bigger storage drive. 12GB or more is ideal for powerful laptops often referred to as “desktop replacements,” and is usually only available in the most expensive models.

Choosing RAM for desktops

Small desktop PCs and inexpensive all-in-one models actually have more in common with laptops than typical “tower” PCs, and might come with as little as two gigabytes of memory. Again, four gigabytes is about as low as you want to go for a traditional computer.

RAM for desktops is less expensive than RAM for tablets or laptops, so it’s often easier to find computers with more memory at lower prices. Eight gigabytes is a comfortable middle ground for desktops. If you’re planning on using it as your primary work machine, especially for intense programs or dozens of browser tabs, Office documents, and similar uses, consider upgrading to 12 or 16GB.
For the tip top of the desktop world, the sky’s the limit. The most expensive desktops can handle huge amounts of RAM, up to 64GB or more. Most users won’t be able to effectively use more than 16GB even if they try, but high-end programs like 3D modeling or 4K video editing may benefit from these pricey upgrades.


In summary, two gigabytes should be considered the bare minimum, and is only suited for entry-level specialty tablets and laptops, like Chromebooks. Four gigabytes is the comfortable minimum for a Windows or OS X machine, and eight gigabytes provides room to grow. Anything beyond that is only of interest to enthusiasts and power users.

HTHC Notes:  I disagree with some of the points here. To run Windows 8.1 or Mac OS Yosemite, less than 8GB's of memory ensures a completely useless system. When pricing a computer, remember that upgrading a 4GB system (2x 2GB ram sticks) means discarding this memory and replacing it with 8GB's (2x 4GB's ram sticks). Price the memory online making sure the memory you are looking at will work in your system. If it is an Apple computer, ensure that the memory is Apple compatible. 

Tablets with less than 16GB's of storage will become full before you know it. Look for tablets that allow you to add more storage by inserting a micro SDD. Cheaper tablets and iPads do not have this feature. Most Android tablets have this ability.

I have the same advice for Smartphones. The entry level Smartphone with just 8GB's will fill rapidly. Smartphones with the ability to add a micro SDD are preferred. iPhones do not have this feature. Samsung Galaxy S5's do. The recently released Samsung Galaxy S does not.

Are advice on what type of computer, Smartphone or tablet to buy is free. 
Need help upgrading your device with more memory? 
This is something we are expert at. We can help determine the best upgrade for you, obtain the right memory to work with your device and install it without blowing up your device.

Every New Movie and TV Show You’ll be Able to Stream on Netflix in July by Jacob Siegal

In just over a week, we’ll be halfway through 2015. It’s a terrifying thought, but thankfully Netflix is dumping a wide selection of movies and shows on its service to distract us from the unstoppable march of time. Some of the highlights this month include Changeling, Grandma’s Boy and Creep.

As always, there are also a few Netflix originals to look out for, including Knights of Sidonia and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

Here is the complete list of additions to Netflix in July:

July 1st

  • Alive (1993)
  • An Honest Liar (2014)
  • Bad Hair Day (2015)
  • Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (2009)
  • Bulworth (1998)
  • Dave Attel: Road Work (2014)
  • Death in Paradise (Season 3)
  • Grandma’s Boy (2006)
  • Hostage (2005)
  • Invizimals: The Alliance Files
  • La Reina del Sur
  • Octonauts (Season 3)
  • Piglet’s Big Movie (2003)
  • El Senor de los Cielos (Seasons 1-2)
  • Saw V (2008)
  • Set Fire to the Stars (2014)
  • Shooting Fish (1997)
  • The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
  • Underworld: Evolution (2006)
  • Velvet (Season 2)

July 3rd

  • Knights of Sidonia (Season 2)

July 4th

  • Faults (2014)
  • Hell on Wheels (Season 4)
  • White Collar (Season 6)

July 7th

  • Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights (2013)
  • Witches of East End (Season 2)

July 9th

  • Monsters: The Dark Continent (2014)
  • Serena (2014)

July 10th

  • Chris Tucker Live (2015)
  • Violetta (Seasons 1-2)

July 14th

  • Bad Ink (Season 1)
  • Bible Secrets Revealed (Season 1)
  • Creep (2014)
  • Goodbye To All That (2014)
  • Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanleys Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)
  • Preachers’ Daughters (Season 2)
  • Storage Wars: Texas (Season 1)
  • The Killer Speaks (Season 2)

July 15th

  • Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
  • H20 Mermaid Adventures (five new episodes)
  • Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
  • The Physician (2014)

July 16th

  • Changeling (2008)

July 17th

  • BoJack Horseman (Season 2)
  • The Human Experiment (2013)
  • Tig (2015)

July 18th

  • Glee (Season 6)
  • Java Heat (2013)

July 23rd

  • Teacher of the Year (2014)

July 25th

  • The Guest (2014)

July 28th

  • Comet (2014)
  • Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (Season 2)

July 30th

  • Almost Mercy (2015)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Season 5)
  • The Wrecking Crew (2008)

July 31st

  • Turbo Fast (Season 2)
  • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015)

More Photos Q&A: Imports hanging, what is safe to delete, and sharing to Facebook by Glenn Fleishman Glenn Fleishman

At WWDC last week, Apple said that Photos will be updated in OS X 10.11 El Capitan with new features. Until then (and unless you upgrade), we’re still using the sometimes manky version in Yosemite, which I’m still holding out hope Apple releases additional fixes for, rather than defer everything to El Capitan.

This week, more answers to what you can’t do, what you can, and what’s not working: deleting old files, getting an import to finish, copying and paste, and sharing to Facebook.

What can I delete?

It’s clear that Photos’ approach of using hard linking is confusing because people continue to ask questions about what they can delete. Steve Kramer’s is a good example. “Besides Photos Library, I also have iPhoto Library and ‘My Pictures.’ Can I delete all but the new Photos Library?”

Jason Snell explained this in depth in April, but it’s not the easiest concept to leap to mind. Instead of importing files from iPhoto when you upgrade a library to the same volume, Photos makes a new link to the same file. In the Finder, it looks just like another file. In order to delete the original file all links to it have to be deleted. 

However, I myself am a little wary of throwing away my old iPhoto directory in case I find there was an import problem later. I’d rather have a little overlap—iPhoto has its own database format and thumbnails—than accidentally lose pictures Photos glitched on bringing in.

If the My Pictures file or folder isn’t a special iPhoto or Photos library, it likely wasn’t imported, and you’ll need to follow our tips on merging, also found in Jason’s column.

Can’t finish importing

I have a pile of emails from readers with import problems, even weeks in and after the micro-update from Apple for Photos. Joe Dodd’s is typical: “I can’t get my iPhoto library to finish moving to photos. It freezes up the entire Mac at 11 to 15 percent completion. The Mac is older, but now I don’t know what to do.”
apple photos 1
iPhoto Library Manager isn’t free, but for $30 it could make your life a lot easier if you’re having problems importing or merging old libraries. 
These sorts of problems are maddening because there’s not enough information for you to know what to test or fix. I have a few strategies you can try:
  • Run Disk Utility, pick the volume on which the library resides, and click Repair Disk Permissions. This fixes a multitude of strange issues with OS X software, where files mysteriously don’t have the right read/write access, and yet the software doesn’t complain about it—it just stalls or fails. (You might also try Verify Disk, and see if errors show up. If so, you’ll need to recover that volume.)
  • Try rebuilding the iPhoto library. Apple has advice in a support note.
  • Copy the iPhoto library to another disk drive, and try the import there to a Photos library you save on that same drive.
  • Get a copy of iPhoto Library Manager ($30), which can help rebuild or recover photos. You might wind up exporting a new iPhoto library and then try to import that.

Downsampling in copy

Ole Karstad liked to use copy and paste from iPhoto to other software. However, in Photos he only gets a small image this way. He wonders if there’s a workaround.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the new default and unchangeable behavior in Photos. If you select a photo and the Edit > Copy menu is available (which is typically is), Photos automatically downsamples to 1024 pixels maximum in the longest dimension in my test.

To use a different resolution, you have to select the photo and choose File > Export > Export 1 Photo. Choose Export Unmodified if you want the original without any changes you might made through the editing options in Photos; that corresponds to exporting Original in iPhoto.
photos export options
Copy and paste in Photos downsamples your image to no more than 1024 pixels on the longest side. Use Export or drag to the Finder to get a full-resolution copy out of the app.
You can also drag the image or a set of images to the Finder, which keeps the full resolution, and converts everything but GIF, JPEG, and PNG files (such as RAW camera files) to a JPEG.

I do not Like this Facebook export

Lowell Nelson tried a number of ways to get Photos to play nicely with his workflow for posting images into Facebook. But Apple seems to have left out too much integration to make his life easy—the ability to select images from within Photos from other apps or the Finder just isn’t there yet. (It probably will be in El Capitan.)
Lowell tried the Add Photos/Video picker in Safari and Firefox from his Facebook page. Nope. He tried dragging a photo from Photos into the Facebook app’s page—but the browsers both interpret this as a link, not an image.

While Photos has a built in Share > Facebook option at the upper right, he notes, “This only works if you don’t want to tag anybody or set the location of your post. When I try to set location I only get suggestions of locations that are near the location of my Mac, not access to all of Facebook locations, and no tags available.”
photos location error
The Location choices in Facebook and other sharing options is based on one’s current location, not the geotags embedded in a photo.
His workaround? He drags a photo to the desktop to make it a file he can manipulate. (Exporting would work, too, with more steps but more control about the image size.)

I still see iPhoto as an option in various apps, Apple’s and others, and, as Lowell also found, Mail is one of the few programs updated to let you use a Photos media browser as well as an iPhotos one.

Microsoft OneNote's new to-do list feature debuts on iOS first by Blair Hanley Frank

Microsoft has rolled out a new OneNote feature to the iPhone first before any other platform, showing off the company’s interest in promoting cross-platform use of its note-taking system.
to do list onenote
OneNote users with Apple’s smartphones will now be able to convert notes with checklists in them into a special list mode that will organize items based on whether they’re checked off or not. A note formatted as a list also includes an “add item” button at the top that will create a new blank to-do.
The feature is designed to make it easier for people to quickly interact with their checklists on touch devices without having to deftly pick out a single checkbox in a long column of little boxes. At any time, notes that have been converted to the new checklist format can be converted back without much fuss, and the notes will still be readable by other versions of OneNote as long checklists.

The enhanced list feature hasn’t appeared on other platforms yet, including on Microsoft’s own Windows Phone app for OneNote. The move is another sign of Microsoft’s cross-platform shift with OneNote and Office, and it’s particularly interesting because the iOS app has traditionally played catch-up with features available on Windows.

Speaking of catch-up, OneNote users on the iPhone and iPad will finally be able to read equations saved in notes. iPad users will also be able to edit those equations, which will help teachers, students and professionals who rely on complex equations. The iPad app was also updated with support for lined and graph paper, something that hadn’t yet made an appearance on iOS.

Finally, the iOS and Mac apps now feature a streamlined sign-up process so first-time users without a Microsoft account only have to provide an email address and password before they can jump into the app and start editing notes.

It’s all part of Microsoft’s massive cross-platform push for its notetaking service, which competes with other apps like Google Keep and Evernote. Last year, Microsoft released a desktop version of OneNote for the Mac, and made the service free for anyone to use.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The 3 worst companies at protecting your data by Kim Komando

The EFF judged companies based on 5 basic criteria: Follows Industry Accepted Best Practices, Tells Users About Government Data Demands, Discloses Policies on Data Retention, Discloses Government Content Removal Requests, and Pro-user Public Policy: opposes backdoors.

The EFF took a look at 24 companies in total, and three stood out as the worst at protecting your data. Who are the culprits? That would be AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp. AT&T and WhatsApp only met one of the EFF's criteria, and Verizon met two.

The report wasn't all bad news, though. Nine companies received five-star ratings from EFF. Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia, and Yahoo each met all five pieces of the EFF's data security criteria. You can see every single company's results in the EFF's chart below, and you can access the full report here to read about how your favorite companies faired.


This chart from the EFF reports how well top tech companies are protecting your data fro government
intrusion. Reports like this are important, because they provide transparency and let you know how your data is being handled, so you can make informed decisions about which companies you want to use.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Apple Music FAQ: The ins and outs of Apple's new streaming music service by Leah Yamshon

Apple singlehandedly turned the digital music marketplace on its head when it launched the iTunes Store in 2003, and now it’s going after the current hottest trend: Streaming media. Apple introduced this new service, Apple Music, during its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference, bringing out the company’s big guns (record exec and Beats cofounder Jimmy Iovine, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software Eddy Cue, and hip hop star Drake) to show the world how Apple Music plans to compete with the likes of Spotify, Rdio, and Tidal.

So, will this replace iTunes? Can you listen to music offline? What about existing Beats subscriptions? We’ve got the answers to those questions and more in this guide to everything Apple Music. We’re still learning more—it doesn’t officially launch until June 30—so if you have any additional questions, let us know in the comments below and we’ll see what we can dig up.
iphone6 applemusic foryou pr print
Apple music’s For You section serves up artist and playlist recommendations, based on other things you’ve listened to and your profile preferences. 
What the heck is this thing? Apple Music combines subscription-based music streaming with global radio-like programming and a social feature that connects artists to fans. It will come pre-installed on all iOS and OS X devices—just like iTunes—but users will be able to stream music instead of purchase music. It’s an all-you-can-eat service for subscribers: Pay a flat fee, and you unlock all of Apple Music’s extensive 30 million-song library.

Isn’t that the same as iTunes? Not at all. iTunes is all about media ownership, functioning as both a virtual record store and an efficient digital library for music and other media (movies, TV shows, etc) that you own personally. The software comes pre-installed on all Apple devices, and is available as a free download for non-Apple PCs and mobile devices. iTunes doesn’t require a subscription fee to use it (unless you use iTunes Match—more on that in a moment), since every song, album, movie, or show was purchased individually—either from the iTunes Store, or imported or ripped from another source.

Apple Music is all about streaming. You pay a flat fee to unlock access to Apple Music’s entire catalogue, but you don’t actually own the music you listen to. The files don’t live individually on your devices; you’re instead just listening to tracks stored remotely, that are owned by Apple. If you subscribe to any other media streaming subscription service—be it a music-only service like Spotify, Beats Music, Tidal, or Rdio, a TV service like Hulu, or a movie/TV combo service like Netflix or HBO Now—Apple Music will function exactly the same way.

So, iTunes is dead? Not exactly. You’ll be able to access your entire iTunes library from within Apple Music, and iTunes will still be a standalone app and media store if you’d prefer to continue to buy music a la carte. However, if you’ve let purchasing music fall by the wayside, you may never have to open iTunes again if you sign up for an Apple Music subscription.
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Beats 1 is Apple Music’s 24/7 live radio station, which will have a curated collection of songs, artist interviews, and pop culture.
What makes Apple Music different from Spotify/Rdio/Tidal/every other music subscription service? Apple is putting a lot of emphasis on Apple Music’s three additional features: Beats 1, curated playlists, and Connect.

Beats 1 is its radio offering, which will feature an around-the-clock worldwide live broadcast from DJs based in Los Angeles, New York, and London. It promises to deliver a curated selection of songs, pop culture news, and interviews with artists.

Speaking of curation, Apple Music will also offer up recommendations tailored to your tastes, looking at artists you like and serving up other artists and playlists for you to listen to. But instead of being built by algorithms, they are built by real people, according to Apple. You can find these in the “For You” section of the app.

Connect is Apple Music’s artist-based social networking feature, which lets fans follow artists. Artists can share special content with fans through Connect—hip-hop artist Drake took the stage at WWDC to show off how he’d use Connect to post behind-the-scenes photos of his life, share snippets of new songs, and other content. Besides Drake, Apple has shown sneak peeks of Connect profiles for Pharrell Williams, FKA twigs, Chris Cornell, Bastille, and Alabama Shakes. The Weeknd closed out the Apple Music announcement during the WWDC keynote, and Trent Reznor appeared in its promotional video, so it’s safe to see we’ll see Connect profiles for those artists as well. 

Besides that, Apple Music’s library has 30 million songs—the same number as Spotify, but we’re not sure if it’s the exact same tracks. Oh, and you can also watch music videos.

What about Beats Music? Will my Beats subscription disappear? Beats Music isn’t going away just yet. Starting June 30, you’ll see a prompt in Beats Music on your iOS device or Mac, urging you to move your subscription over to Apple Music. All of the albums you’ve saved and playlists you’ve created will sync over to Apple Music from Beats. You can also keep your Beats username and use it on Apple Music. The subscription cost is the same—$9.99 per month—and once you move your account over, your Beats subscription will be canceled.

Android and Windows Phone subscribers won’t see this prompt to switch until Apple Music becomes available for those platforms. Beats Music has a complete FAQ on its website, if you need more information about canceling.

How’s the music quality? Slashgear is reporting that Apple Music will stream songs at 256kbps, which is the same rate as iTunes Match. That’s a bit of a drop from Beats Music and Spotify, which use a 320kbps bitrate. And competitor Tidal boasts more than just major celebrity endorsements: It offers a high-bitrate option (1411kbps lossless FLAC) at a pricier subscription rate, the “HiFi” tier for $19.99 a month.

How much will this cost? Apple Music will cost $9.99 per month, or $14.99 per month for a family subscription for up to six people (which requires iCloud Family Sharing). Starting June 30, you can try a three-month free trial before coughing up.

Is there a free, ad-supported version? Sadly, no. Some aspects will be available to anyone who logs in with an Apple ID—namely, Beats 1, the ability to follow artists on Connect, and the ability to listen to Apple Music radio stations with a limited number of skips—but a paid subscription is required to access Apple Music’s entire library. 
If I subscribe to Apple Music, do I still need my iTunes Match subscription to keep my complete music collection together? According to Apple, iTunes Match and Apple Music will be completely separate services, so it will be up to you to decide if you’d like to keep iTunes Match. If your personal music collection has a lot of rare tracks and content that you can’t get through Apple Music, then you may want to consider keeping both subscriptions.

Can I save music to listen to offline? Yep!

What devices can I use this on? Starting June 30, you can access Apple Music on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. It will be coming to the Apple TV and Android phones this fall. It also pairs with the Apple Watch.

Wait, did you say Android? Yes! Android users will have access to Apple Music starting this fall. Music for all!

When will it be available? Apple Music launches on June 30 on iOS, OS X, and PCs, and will expand to Apple TV and Android devices this fall. You can take advantage of a three-month free trial period to see if you like it.
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How will Beats 1 differ from iTunes Radio? iTunes Radio takes the Pandora-style approach to radio, where users create their own stations based around songs, artists, albums, or genres, and iTunes serves up songs that flow well around that theme. You can still use a version of iTunes Radio within Apple Music—but it’s now called Apple Music radio stations.

Beats 1, on the other hand, will be like a more traditional radio station, with a 27/4 live radio stream anchored by three DJs based in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Former BBC personality Zane Lowe will lead the effort from Los Angeles, with Ebro Darden of Hot 97 in New York, and Julie Adenuga in London. Beats 1 will feature a combination of songs handpicked by these DJs, plus celebrity interviews, pop culture news, and other music-related content. For now, it will be commercial free.

What’s really neat is that every user around the world will hear the same content at the same time, and these stations take a much more curated approach to radio than iTunes Radio does.

I spent years perfecting my playlists on Spotify and iTunes. Can I import these into Apple Music? Your iTunes playlists will automatically be pulled into Apple Music when it launches, as will the rest of your iTunes library. If you use Beats Music and switch your subscription to Apple Music, your playlists will sync over. But we're not so sure about playlists from other music services like Spotify and Rdio. We’ll have more info on this once Apple Music officially launches on June 30.

Do Apple Music subscribers have access to the entire iTunes catalogue? Which artists are missing? Apple says that Apple Music has a library of roughly 30 million songs. iTunes? Its store sells 43 million songs worldwide. Though we won’t know exactly which artists are missing until it launches, Bloomberg reports that the Beatles won’t be included with Apple Music at launch—Apple is still working out a deal for those rights.

One thing every iPhone user must do in case of emergency by Kim Komando

Keeping your iPhone safe seems like a given. I've told you about the hundreds of apps and sites you can use to protect your electronic gear. But what steps do you take to keep yourself safe in an emergency? In case of an accident or health emergency, would bystanders or first responders be able to use your phone to contact your family? Probably not if the screen is securely locked!

But I have an easy solution to help keep you safer if the worst happens. I hope you'll invest just a few minutes now that could pay off big time in an emergency. Today, we are covering how to create an In Case of Emergency, or ICE, message for your iPhone's locked home screen. And here's a bonus: In addition to helping you in an emergency, it can also help get your phone back if it is lost or misplaced. You can do all of this in a few simple steps, and I'll walk you through every one.

Since the idea of smartphone ICE messages has become popular, first responders and hospital emergency room staff are trained to check patients' smartphones for emergency contact information.
It's important for you to have at least two ICE contacts in your phone just in case. To do this, simply go to the contact pages of the first two or three people you would like to be reached if you were in an accident or medical emergency and just add ICE in front of their first name. Then first responders will know who to contact in case of emergency. Even if your iPhone is locked, emergency workers know how to access your ICE contacts using Siri.

In addition to designating the people to contact, you should add pertinent information in the notes section of your ICE contacts. Consider including medications you make take, drug allergies or chronic medical conditions that your treatment team should know.

But what if your phone ends up with a bystander, or if a healthcare worker doesn't check your contacts? You can add an extra layer of insurance with a custom home page for your locked screen. This screen can list who to contact if your phone is found or anything you think is critical if you are unable to speak for yourself.

To create your personalized ICE page, you will need to find a background image that you want to use as the canvas. You can find free high-resolution background pictures by using the image search tool from Google or even from my freebies page where I recently added a bunch of gorgeous background pictures! Consider how "busy," bright or dark the image is and how readable a few lines of text will be when placed over the background.

Once you select your image, you will save it to your iPhone. To do this, open the full-size image on your screen, press and hold a finger on the image for a moment. Within a few seconds you will see a pop-up menu with an option to “save image.” Select “save image” and the image will be saved in Photos.
Next, your selected image will be transferred  to a Mac or PC computer. In these instructions, I'll assume you are using a Mac computer. For PC users, simply email the photo image and open it on your PC.  For Mac users, plug in your iPhone to your Mac. Open your downloads folder within your iPhone. Drag the image you want to use into Apple's Pages app and select the Original Size button.
The image will automatically size itself to match the size of the page. This is OK! Next you need to import a screenshot of your current lock screen, for sizing purposes. To do this, hold the Home and Power buttons at the same time and transfer the screen shot into Pages the way you did with the first image.

PC users, simply email the locked screen shot to your PC. Simply follow these same steps in your PC's word processing program, such as Microsoft Word.
For Mac users, drag the screen shot of your locked screen from your iPhone image folder into Pages, placing it on top of the first image. But don't stretch the screenshot to fit the first background image. We want it to be smaller on purpose.

Next, you'll use the built-in Pages ruler guidelines to ensure that you get the sizing just right. To enable a ruler guideline, go to View >> Show Ruler. Drag the lines to match the sections on the screenshot of your original home screen. These will be guides adding for on-screen text so your names and numbers don't extend off the edges of your iPhone's home screen once it's finished.
Apple Pages Grid Lines
Once you have set the correct guidelines that fit your locked screen dimensions, you may delete your locked screen screenshot. Simply select the screenshot, right-click (or "Control") >> Delete.
Now you get to start the fun stuff – adding text to your custom home screen. To do this, click the Text button on your toolbar and drag the box to the right to adjust the size. This is where you add your In Case of Emergency information like an alternative contact number, medical information and anything else you might think is important. Make sure the text you input is visible in front of your background image.

You can adjust the size, color and style of font with the Text tab to make the text readable. Tip: Depending on whether your background image is mainly light or dark, pick a type color that is the opposite to create contrast between the type and the background photo.

When you are satisfied that all the information you want on your ICE message is easily readable, you will move the image back to your phone. Don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds!

The easiest way to put your new ICE message on your home screen is to first save it as PDF. To save your finished ICE message as a PDF in Pages, go to File>> Export To >> PDF. Now we need to take it one step further to convert your fancy, and valuable, new homepage from a PDF to a photo image that can be displayed on your phone's screen. Still on your Mac, open your recently PDF'd homepage in Preview and crop out any white edges. To Crop in Preview, Tools >> Rectangular Selection; click and drag from one corner of the area you want to show on your iPhone screen until you see a dashed line outlining your image. Then select Tools >> Crop, and everything outside the dashed lines will disappear.

Now go to File >> Export >> JPEG. You will prompted to adjust the quality of the image, select Best and save it onto your desktop. Once you have your JPEG home screen, you need to send it to yourself through iMessage, Photo Stream, email or even as a photo message on Facebook. Good news - you're almost done! 
Once the customized ICE home screen is on your phone, go to your Settings page >> Wallpapers & Brightness >> Photos >> Camera Roll. Select your recently added home screen picture and press "Set Lock Screen," and now you're good to go. You can zoom in and out on the image if you want to adjust it even more by pinching and expanding your thumb and pointer finger on the screen. 

If you've followed these steps, then you've successfully set your new ICE home screen. This tool can help your phone protect you when you can't protect yourself. Staying safe is important, so please pass this tip along and let me know what you think about your new homepage by leaving a note in the comments section below! 

There is also an App, called ICE 123 that can help you include ICE information in your contacts and home screen.

10 ways to get the most bang for your buck with an Android device by Jack Wallen

Maybe you just purchased your first Android device--or perhaps you've had it for a while but you suspect you aren't getting the most out of it. Either way, you're in luck: There is so much available in the way of tweaks, apps, options, and configurations that can make your device more powerful and useful. Here are 10 of my favorite tips to help you get the maximum benefit from the Android platform.

1: Use Google

If there's one thing you should know about Android, it's that it's tightly integrated with Google. If you don't take advantage of that integration, you'll be missing out. I'm not just talking about Google Drive, Calendar, Mail, Photos, etc. I also mean search. Google Now is one of the most tightly integrated tools you will find on Android. If you're not using it to its fullest extent, you're getting only a partial glimpse of what the platform can do. Set up the Google Now hotword (Can you say, "Okay Google"?) and learn the ins and outs of that powerful digital assistant.

2: Set up auto backup

Most likely, you've associated your Android device with your Google account. You're getting your email and using Google Docs. But all that information on your device is just sitting there... waiting for the day when you lose the device or you drop it and a car zooms by and crushes it to a final, heart-wrenching death. Yes, the cost of replacing a device that doesn't have insurance and is still in-contract can be a bit much. But what of the data? If you want to avoid such drama, be sure to visit the Backup & Reset section of your device and set it up. Android can back up app data, Wi-Fi passwords, other Google server settings, photos, contacts, and more.

3: Install Tasker

If there was ever an app that can transform your Android experience, it's Tasker. This app will make your device about as automated as a mobile device can be. Set up automated tasks based on time, location, events, and more. It's rare that I can say you won't find a more powerful, usable tool for a mobile platform--yet, here it is. Tasker isn't free, but the $2.99 price of entry is well worth what this app brings to your device. If you don't believe me, take a look at the 26K+ 5-star reviews. Tasker is that good.

4: Install a third-party home screen launcher

Don't get me wrong: The stock Android launcher is good. Problem is, few devices actually come with the stock Android home screen launcher. If you're not fond of how you interact with your home screen, install my all time favorite, Nova Launcher. This launcher offers a perfect combination of look, feel, and function. With gesture support and a clean interface, Nova is the way to go. But if Nova doesn't float your boat, there are plenty of other home screen launchers to fit just about every taste.

5: Upgrade

If you're running an outdated version of Android, make sure you regularly check for upgrades. Currently, the most up-to-date version of Android is 5.1. The difference between this and previous versions is nothing short of astounding. With each iteration, Android gets better and better. The only downfall is that not every device is capable of upgrading to the latest version. If you're running an Android smartphone or tablet with an outdated release, and you're near contract end, it's time to upgrade your phone. If you want to get the most out of Android, you need to stay up to date.

6: Install a file manager

There will be a time when you need to locate a local file (such as a download). When this time comes, the best way to do this is to use a file manager. Some devices (such older Samsung devices) include an app called My Files. Although serviceable, it doesn't offer nearly the power as, say, Astro File Manager. Most modern mobile file managers have plenty of bells and whistles (such as SMB or Bluetooth plug-ins), but most often you simply need to locate a file on your Android directory structure. When you do, you'll be glad you've installed one.

7: Password protect your lockscreen

Although this won't add a lot in the way of features or power, it will protect your data. Set up a password, PIN, or pattern to lock your lockscreen so that prying eyes can't easily get into your data. Period. This should not be up for debate. Yes, it might make it inconvenient. Yes, you're now one more step away from getting on Facebook or taking a selfie. But your data will thank you in the end. Again: Not up for debate. If, when at home or at work, having to enter your password constantly is an annoyance, you can (if your device is running Lollipop) set up trusted locations. Then you won't have to enter your password/PIN/pattern when you are within 500 feet of a trusted location.

8: Set up two-step authentication

You might spy a theme here... security. But your mobile data is vulnerable. There's no reason to hand over the keys to the kingdom in the event that your device is lost. Password protecting your home lockscreen will help prevent people from gaining access to your device. Take that one step further and keep them from gaining access to the account that helps power your platform: Google. If you set up two-step authentication, the only way to get into your Google account is with your account password and a four-digit code randomly generated by the Google Authenticator app. Do this. Now.

9: Make use of the new Gmail

If you've upgraded to Lollipop, you better get used to the Gmail app because Google has shelved the stock Email tool. That's okay. Gmail has come a long way and can handle just about anything you throw at it (even Exchange). What's best, Gmail doesn't relegate your email to a universal inbox. Instead, you can now easily switch between accounts by swiping right (from the left edge of the screen) to reveal the sidebar. Tap on your account image at the top of the sidebar to switch between accounts.

10: Switch to Hangouts

You spend a lot of time messaging back and forth. On Android, messaging can be in the form of SMS, Google Hangouts, and more. Make your life easier and install the Hangouts app to combine all your SMS and Google Hangouts chats into one outstanding tool. Hangouts isn't just a convenient way to receive two types of chats in one location--it's actually superior to the default SMS app. Why Google hasn't done away with the standard Messages apps, I'll never understand.

Share your tips

There are many ways to enhance your Android experience. These tips should go a long way toward helping you work more efficiently, securely, and productively on your mobile device.