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Sunday, April 24, 2016

10 best smartphones of 2016 so far by By Matthew Miller for Smartphones and Cell Phones

 Now that the HTC 10 has been revealed in all its glory and we aren't likely to hear of any other new major phone releases until the end of the summer, it's time to announce my picks for the ten best smartphones to start 2016.

Smartphone survival test

After swearing off the platform four years ago, are we still sick of Android? We're about to find out.
While we've seen some great offerings in the $400 or less price zone, we also saw the iPhone and a few Android flagships launch in the typical high-end $600 to $900+ range. Each of us has to make our own decision as to what price is acceptable to us, but as a person who uses a smartphone for hours each day as an essential tool I have yet to see an unreasonable price for the value I get out of my phones.

As you will see in the list below, I finally found a phone to knock the big screen iPhone model out of the top spot. I've had the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus at the top of my last three lists, dating back to late 2014. My iPhone 6s Plus hasn't served as a daily driver for a couple of months now and it's not just because of the hardware.

Let's take a look at my current top picks for to kick off the first half of 2016. Because there are so many great devices today and the bigger screen variations of a couple models don't offer that much more, I've combined the iPhone and Galaxy standard and bigger screen models into a single pick.

1. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge

I don't think there is any surprise here with my top pick of 2016 so far. Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are clearly the best smartphones available today with industry leading specifications, refined design, and capabilities that had me almost awarding it a perfect 10 in my review. The only con I could come up with for the S7 was that it is a fingerprint magnet and for the S7 Edge that the edge screen sometimes facilitated inadvertant screen presses. Samsung is fixing that screen sensitivity with a software update soon.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have extremely fast cameras that take incredible photos and video, responsive fingerprint scanners and advanced Samsung Pay support, water resistance without the fuss of ports, elegant refined design with the use of metal and glass, and also launched with sweet offers from US carriers and Samsung.

While wireless charging is just a convenience, Samsung has everything you could want in a phone in the S7 and S7 Edge to make using one a sheer joy.

CNET also awarded the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge an Editor's Choice award so there's little doubt that Samsung has the best smartphone on the planet so far.

2. HTC 10

The HTC 10 review embargo just lifted yesterday and after using one for two weeks I'm pleased to say that HTC is back with a real winner. HTC set the bar for the use of metal and enhanced design elements several years ago and the HTC 10 is the culmination of all that is great with HTC.
No other phone can match the audio experience of the HTC 10. If you use your phone for music or videos and like having a pocketable device that is built to withstand life's daily movement, then you will understand why I picked the HTC 10 as my second choice.

HTC has come a long way with the cameras, introducing the first front-facing camera with OIS. The rear 12 megapixel UltraPixel 2 camera with OIS is its best yet, but there are still a few software tweaks to be made to beat out the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.

If you are considering a GSM model in the US, then I highly recommend you purchase the $699 unlocked model from This comes with the 1-year Uh Oh protection plan (one free replacement if you break or soak the phone) and is free of carrier bloatware, while also having an unlocked bootloader.

I awarded the HTC 10 a a 9.5/10 in my review, but after a software update or two it may earn a couple more tenths before the release in a couple of weeks.
CNET review: HTC 10 brings the noise, but it's not a Galaxy killer

3. Apple iPhone 6s Plus/6s

Apple continues to make excellent phones, but this time I moved the Apple iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6s down a couple notches. It's still an excellent choice, but we are starting to notice that Apple is missing out on some features such as fast charging, wireless charging, easily expandable memory, universal USB Type-C connections, water resistance, and advanced camera functionality.
iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus
Apple does a solid job with battery life, primarily because of how well standby time is managed. However, Android Marshmallow has provided Android phones with smarter standby battery management so Apple isn't the only one getting battery life on a phone to go for at least a day.
3D Touch, Touch ID, Hey Siri, the improved camera, the awesome front-facing camera flash technique (now present on Android phones), and more all make the iPhone 6s/6s Plus a great choice today.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus remain the most expensive smartphones available, priced from $649 to $949. With US carriers no longer hiding the real price of phones behind subsidized scams, people are starting to understand how expensive the iPhone really is and it seems there is more consideration for more reasonably priced alternatives.

Check out the my full review of the iPhone 6s Plus (9.5 rating). CNET also has reviews of the iPhone 6s (8.9 rating) and iPhone 6s Plus (9 rating).

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

It's been a couple of years since I owned a Galaxy Note, but after falling in love with the radical design changes in the Galaxy S6 Edge I knew I had to buy the Note 5. I returned my Galaxy S6 Edge because it didn't meet my battery needs so I was thrilled to see the Note 5 with the curved back (much better design than a curved front), new S Pen technology, one of the best smartphone displays ever, and more.
The S Pen has always been a focus of the Note line, but in the past I only used it occasionally. With the Note 5, I used the S Pen much more often. The ability to add notes to the display when the display is off is key to this change in my usage patterns.

As you can see in my full review (9.7 rating) the Note 5 has excellent specifications, but they were trumped by the 2016 Android phones. Rocking a Samsung Exynos octa-core processor, 4GB of the fastest RAM, 5.7 inch 2560x1440 pixels display, 16 megapixel camera, 3000 mAh battery, and more make it a device to seriously consider.

Samsung Pay is also better than Android Pay and Apple Pay thanks to its use of magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology. The Galaxy Note 5 is priced at $700 for the 32GB model and $780 for the 64GB model.

Check out the CNET review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 that earned an 8.9 rating.

5. LG V10

The LG G4 was the Rodney Dangerfield of 2015 and despite its leading camera technology and other attributes, it never earned the respect it deserved. LG snuck one in on me in late 2015 with the release of the LG V10 and thanks to the awesome Des Smith at T-Mobile I had the chance to spend a few months with the LG V10.
The LG V10 took all that was great about the LG G4 and then beefed it up with a unique secondary front display, second wide-angle front-facing camera, rear fingerprint scanner, rock solid stainless steel sides, and a composite textured removable back cover. Android Marshmallow is just now rolling out for the LG V10, making it as relevant today as when it was launched several months ago.

LG continues to provide an IR transmitter in its phones so you can control your TV and other media right from the phone. The camera on the LG V10 still stands out above the crowd with manual video recording capability that gives you full control over the mics and other advanced recording settings.

The folks at CNET gave the LG V10 an 8.2/10 rating. I was more generous, likely because I like big phones, and awarded the LG V10 a nearly perfect 9.7/10 in my full review.

6. LG G5

LG continued to chase Samsung in the Android space so in 2016 they went outside the box with a focus on modularity. The LG G5 has a removable bottom piece and battery with the capability to slide in a camera grip battery module and digital-to-analog module. While the idea is interesting, we have yet to see many uses for such modularity so the success of the LG G5 remains to be seen.

Despite the modular focus, the LG G5 continues LG's success in the camera space with another unique take on the camera. Unlike the dual front-facing cameras on the LG V10, LG decided to bring that wide-angle lens to the back and provides two cameras on the rear of the device. This allows for some great landscape and full room shots.

Like most Android flagships of 2016, the LG G5 sports the highest end processor and internal specifications. You will also continue to find an IR transmitter, in addition to a removable battery and microSD card slot.

The LG G5 doesn't quite have the fit and finish of its previous devices and the design lags behind the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10. I awarded it an 8.6/10 rating in my full review. CNET gave it a similar rating of 8.4/10 in its full review.

7. Google's Huawei Nexus 6P

Google Nexus 6P
The Google Nexus 6P is a fantastic device, I gave it a 9.6/10, that is brought to use from Huawei. This is the first time Google worked with Huawei on a Nexus and it's also the most premium Nexus device ever.

In addition to high end specifications and a reasonable price, you can use the Nexus 6P with Project Fi wireless service.

The Nexus 6P was the first Android 6.0 Marshmallow smartphone to launch and includes the new fingerprint scanner technology, USB Type-C port, and Now On Tap capability. You can now even get in on the Android N preview action with the Nexus 6P so you can test what's coming next.

The Nexus 6P is priced at $499, $549, and $649 for 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB internal storage capacity. This is $200 to $300 less than Samsung and Apple flagship smartphones.
Check out the CNET review of the Google Nexus 6P, earning a score of 8.4/10.

8. Nextbit Robin

While this phone didn't earn one of my highest review ratings, I had to include the Nextbit Robin in this edition of my top 10 list. Remember, this list is subjective so I get to make the rules for it on my blog.

The Nextbit Robin, especially the cool Electric color Kickstarter model I purchased, is a looker with retro rectangular styling, use of high end plastic material, colorful options, and a unique take on the Android OS. It is focused on using the cloud for external storage and appears to handle it well.

Even if you personally don't focus on the cloud portion of the design, the Nextbit Robin is a fantastic pure Android device that feels good in the hand, is very responsive, has a decent camera, provides a stereo front-facing speaker experience, and is fairly inexpensive at $399.

The design is consistent and if you are a bit OCD about your devices then you may appreciate the Nextbit Robin. I awarded it an 8.4/10 and with some software updates it may deserve an even higher score.

9. BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry launched its first Android smartphone, the BlackBerry Priv, in early November. After taking the AT&T BlackBerry Priv for a spin I went and bought another BlackBerry Passport.
(Image: BlackBerry)
A couple months later, BlackBerry rolled the Priv out to T-Mobile while also releasing a few software updates and during my second look I grew to appreciate and understand the usefulness of the Priv.

The BlackBerry Priv is an Android smartphone with a 5.43 inch display that slides up to reveal a portrait-oriented QWERTY keyboard. The BlackBerry Priv has decent specifications that include a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and microSD card slot, 18 megapixel camera, rapid and wireless charging support, massive 3,410 mAh battery, and more. The camera is OK, but can't match that of the newest Android devices.

BlackBerry reportedly only sold about 600,000 Priv handsets, but it is a nice device for those who still want a physical keyboard and the BlackBerry enhancements to Android are very efficient.
CNET awarded the BlackBerry Priv a 7.6/10 in its full review.

10. LG G4

I've been rocking a T-Mobile LG G4 since May 2015 and posted my review (rating of 9.6) last year. The LG G4 remains one of the top Android smartphones one year later and even has the latest version of the Android operating system.
The LG G4 has one of the best cameras available on a smartphone, has a removable user-replaceable battery, and includes a microSD expansion card slot. It supports rapid charging and with a simple $10 mod to the back cover, did I mention it comes in leather?, you can even get Qi wireless charging support.

You can now pick up the LG G4 on T-Mobile for just $350 so if you are looking to save money and still end up with an excellent smartphone don't overlook the older LG G4.

You will find a Snapdragon 808 1.8 GHz 64-bit processor, 3GB RAM, 16 megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture and OIS, front facing 8 megapixel camera, removable 3,000 mAh battery, Quick Charge 2.0 technology, and support for up to 2TB microSD cards.

Check out CNET's review of the LG G4 with an 8/10 rating.

While it's always fairly clear which devices are in the top five, the second five are a bit tougher and some devices get left off the list. Here's the others that I considered for my top 10 and one reason I passed them by: Google Nexus 5x (2GB RAM is too low for today's phones), Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (limited release trumped by S7 Edge), Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (Moto has lost its appeal to me), and Sony Xperia Z5 (limited release, Sony can't seem to release great camera software).

5 Awesome Apps for iPad Pro By Conner Carey

Now that there are two different sizes available for the iPad Pro, a wider range of people will likely be interested. For example, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro might work best for artists who want a larger canvas. Meanwhile, as a writer, I would love the 9.7-inch iPad Pro for use as a notebook. I’ve written multiple articles at this point including great gear and apps for the iPad Pro, but this is the first one since Apple announced the smaller model. Here’s five awesome apps for either model of iPad Pro.

Sunrise Calendar (Free)

If you’re someone who has multiple calendars with different platforms such as Google, Facebook, etc — Sunrise Calendar could make your day. Personally, I’ve never quite liked either Google Calendar or the Apple Calendar app. When I found Sunrise I was over-the-moon happy with its layout and ease of use. Even my Reminders are added to my Sunrise Calendar which is essential for me since I use it to add any event that comes up to my schedule. I highly recommend giving this a try if you’ve never been satisfied with digital calendars. It also syncs across all devices for ease of use on your iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Macbook.

Coda ($9.99)

Coda is a text editor with syntax highlighting for a range of programs from HTML to Javascript. This app is perfect for iPad, because it truly shines with using Multitasking functions. The ability to code on one half of your screen while seeing a preview on the opposite side will save coders time and frustration.

Ulysses Mobile ($24.99)

For writers, Ulysses Mobile is a beloved text editor with markup for headlines, comments, quotes, and more. Plus, it has the ability to sync across all devices. If you’re going to use the iPad to get a lot of writing work done, this app is a must. It takes everything you need and combines it into a clean, distraction-free app. Perfect for creating web pages, pdfs, and ebooks from any device.

Slack (Free)

If you’re working remotely from your iPad or need to stay in touch with a team, Slack is the new Skype. Although you can’t make video calls (yet), Slack is the perfect messaging system for groups with specific channels and direct messaging. We use it at iPhone Life everyday. My favorite feature is the ability to add a random gif to any message with a quick shorthand. Simply put, Slack just works, and it makes working smoother.

Pigment (Free)

This is the only app that currently mimics the coloring experience. There are plenty of apps which allow you to select areas of a picture to ‘fill’ with color, but Pigment utilizes the Apple Pencil for an app that is just like using a coloring book. Coloring is the latest trend for over-stressed adults who need to unwind, and Pigment is a brilliant app for that.

Messaging App's Best Features By Rheanne Taylor

Messaging is a core feature of your iPhone that lets you connect with friends and family instantaneously, without interrupting whatever activity you're doing. This roundup of tips is all about helping you get the most out of Apple’s Messages app. We’ll cover all of the basics, starting with teaching you the difference between sending an iMessage and a text message. We’ll show you how to include emojis in your texts, how to send videos and photos, and how to manage how you’re notified of incoming messages.

1. Set Up iMessages
With iMessage, you can use your cellular data or Wi-Fi to send texts from your phone number, email address, or Apple ID. To set iMessages up, go to Settings > Messages and toggle iMessage on. Tap Send & Receive within the Messages menu to add another email to be reached by via iMessage and control which (number or email) is used when starting conversations.

2. Create Emoji Shortcuts
If you use a lot of emojis and would prefer not to have to switch between keyboards, you can create shortcuts for emoji characters by going to General > Keyboard > Text Replacement and then tapping the + in the upper right corner to create a new shortcut. In the Phrase field, enter the emoji you are creating a shortcut for. Tap the ABC icon to switch back to the English keyboard and then enter a word in the Shortcut field and tap Save in the upper right corner.

3. Use Diverse Emojis
Apple offers different skin tone options for many of its emojis—such as the single human characters and body parts. The first time you tap on one of the 60 different characters, a pop-up menu will show five different skin tones in addition to the default yellow emoji face. Once you select your preferred skin tone, it will be the default skin tone for that particular emoji unless you press and hold the emoji to select a different default skin tone.

4. How to Switch Between Keyboards
To add keyboards, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. From the list, you can add new keyboards or edit them. Tap Edit in the top right to reorder your existing keyboards or delete them. You always have to have one enabled! Once you have a keyboard picked out, you can access them by tapping the globe to the left of the space bar/microphone, or holding down the globe, which gives you a list of the keyboards you’ve added. Simply tap on the one you want to switch to.

5. Create Groups in Messages
To start a Group Message, first make sure Group Messaging is on by going to Settings > Messages and toggling Group Messaging on. Then open the Messages app and tap the new message icon. Tap the blue plus sign to enter the friends you want to add. Then type your message and send it. You’ve started a group message. To add an additional contact to a group message after it’s created, tap Details and then Add Contact. Choose the person from your Contacts list and press Done.

6. Share Video Messages
Did you know you can send video messages directly from the Messages app? To do this, first make sure iMessage is turned on and then select a contact who also has an iPhone. Tap and hold the camera icon to the left of the text box. When you’re ready to start shooting the video, tap the red record button. Tap it again to stop recording. You can preview the video by tapping the play button. To send the video, tap Send.

7. Use Raise to Listen to Reply to Audio Text
If you receive an audio message, you don't even need to press play—just enable the Raise to Listen feature by going to Settings > Messages on your phone and toggling Raise to Listen on. When you receive an audio message, raise the phone to your ear and the audio message will start playing automatically. After you’ve listened to the message, you’ll also have the option to Raise to Respond.

8. Send and Receive Audio Text Messages
To send an audio message, simply press and hold on the microphone icon to the right of the text entry box in Messages. Lift your finger to end recording. To hear the message playback, press the arrow; to delete the recording, press the X; to send the message, press the up arrow (or swipe up to send the message immediately.

9. Send International Texts
iMessage lets you text friends (if they have an iPhone) from anywhere in the world for free, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. To text internationally via iMessage, first turn off your Cellular Data and then go to Settings > Wi-Fi and check that Wi-Fi is on and connected. Now you're ready to use iMessage from anywhere in the world.

10. Forward Text Messages
To forward a text, open the conversation in Messages containing the text you want to pass on and then double-tap on the body of the message. A black box will appear above the message; tap More and all the messages will shift to the right, with the message you've tapped on selected (you can also select additional texts). Now tap on the bottom right arrow and a new message will open. There will be nothing in the new message to indicate it is a forwarded message, so you will have to add a few words to let your recipient know.

11. Mute Someone Who’s Pestering You
Sometimes particular conversations or individuals can become a bit of a nuisance in Messages — so much so that you'd like to stop receiving notifications for that conversation. Fortunately, you can turn on Do Not Disturb for any particular conversation by opening the conversation that you'd like to mute and then tapping on Details at upper right. From there, you can toggle on the Do Not Disturb button.

12. Shake to Undo Actions
To delete what you've typed, just give your iPhone a gentle shake and the Undo Typing menu will pop up. Select Undo. If you want to recover typing you just deleted, give your phone another shake and the Redo Typing menu will pop up. This also works in Mail if you accidentally delete an email or save it in the wrong folder.

What is Wireless HDMI? by IOGear

Google Calendar wants to help you make time for yourself for a change by Julian Chokkattu, Digital Trends

Finding time for our own personal aspirations can be hard, and when we do have time, we often conjure up a reason to push it to another day.

Whether it’s exercising, learning a new language, or organizing your home — Google wants to help nudge you to get cracking on those personal goals through a new automated feature in Google Calendar.

“One day it’s ‘I got called into a last-minute meeting,’ Jyoti Ramnath, product manager at Gmail, said in the blog post announcement. “The next day it’s ‘I have a friend in town.’ And before you know it, your goals are delayed or forgotten. In fact, with all the things you need to do in a given week, it’s probably harder than ever to find the time — even when your goal really matters to you.”

To help you find the time, now when you tap the floating action button in Google Calendar, you’ll see a flag icon that will let you set a goal. The app will then find a time in your calendar to pencil your goal in — and it will automatically move it if you schedule another event during that time frame.

When Calendar sends you a notification to get started on your goal, you can defer it or tap complete.
The more you use the feature, the better it works. As you continue to defer or complete goals, Google Calendar will learn and choose the optimal times in the future.

The new Goals feature marks the 10-year anniversary of Google Calendar, and according to The New York Times, Google is also launching another feature that helps two people in the same company find convenient meeting times, with the use of a “software agent.”

The features will be rolling out today — just keep an eye out for updates to your iOS or Android Google Calendar app.

7 essential browser tricks every computer user needs to know By Justin Ferris

The Web browser is a funny thing. Thanks to the Internet it's become one of the most-used programs on our computers, but many people don't really understand it. That's why in the past we've tackled common browser myths and misconceptions that many people believe but shouldn't.

Today, though, we're helping you get the most out of your browser with a few simple tricks that you really need to know. We'll cover Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and the new Microsoft Edge. Don't forget to share this Tip with friends and family so they can improve their browsing as well.

1. Choose your home page

What's the first thing you see when your browser starts up? If you're using Internet Explorer, it's probably MSN's website. Chrome loads up a modified Google page and Firefox and Microsoft Edge have their own start pages.

But if the first thing you always do after the browser starts is go to Facebook or your email, why not have your browser start there? It saves you an extra step and it's easy to do.

Need a suggestion for a home page? Try It's your one-stop site for the best in tech news, tips, tricks, reviews, downloads, videos and so much more. And it's updated all day long.


In Chrome, click the icon in the upper right with the three horizontal bars and choose "Settings." In the left column, choose "Settings" and then to the right look under "On Startup."

Set it to "Open a specific page or set of pages" and then click the "Set pages" link.  Type in one or more Web addresses and click OK. The page or pages will load up when Chrome starts.

Microsoft Edge

In Microsoft Edge, click the icon in the upper-right corner with the three horizontal dots and select "Settings." Under "Open with," select "A specific page or pages" and then select "Custom."

Type in a Web address and click the plus sign to the right. You can do this multiple times to add multiple pages, or click "X" next to a page to remove it. When you're done, click the icon with the three horizontal dots again to close the settings area.


In Firefox, click the icon in the upper right with the three horizontal bars and choose "Options." On the General page, set "When Firefox starts" to "Show my homepage." Then under that, type in the address you want for your home page. Click OK.

If you want to load multiple pages on startup, load them up in tabs first and then click the "Use Current Page" button. Or you can click "Use Bookmark..." and select a folder of bookmarks.

Internet Explorer

In Internet Explorer, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select "Internet Options." Go to the General tab and under "Home page" enter the Web address or addresses you want to see on startup.


In Safari on Apple, go to Safari>>Preferences. On the General tab, go to "Homepage" and type in an address or addresses.

2. Pin tabs

This one is for Chrome, Firefox and Safari 9 users who have favorite sites they leave open all day. Load up the site, then right-click on the browser tab and choose "Pin Tab." Your tab will move to a smaller tab on the left side of the tab bar.

No matter how many tabs you have open, pinned tabs will always be visible on the left. They'll also open automatically when your browser starts. To unpin a tab, just right-click on it and choose "Unpin Tab."

3. Middle-click to open tabs

If you're using a mouse that was made after the mid-2000s, then it probably has a scroll wheel. Did you know that if you press down on the scroll wheel it acts as a middle mouse button? Learn more cool mouse tricks that will improve your life.

OK, so what does the middle mouse button do? It can do many things, but the most exciting is that clicking on a link with the middle mouse button opens that link in a new browser tab.

Go ahead and give it a try. It will change your life - or at least your browsing. There's no need to right-click a link and select "Open in new tab," or whatever you were doing until now.

For laptop users, sometimes pressing both trackpad buttons at once works as a middle click. Or you can left-click a link while holding the CTRL key.

4. Zoom text

Have you ever visited a page with text that was too small to read comfortably? If you've ever found yourself leaning to close to a computer monitor, you need to know this.

To zoom text - and images - in any browser, just hold CTRL and press the plus key to zoom in. Hit plus a few time to zoom in even further. Too far? Hold CTRL and press the minus key to zoom back out. CTRL and the zero key resets the zoom level.

Hint: Use the plus, minus and zero keys over on the far right of the keyboard. The ones near the Backspace key work for most browsers, but not for all of them.

If you don't want to take your hand off the mouse, you can hold down the CTRL key and spin your mouse scroll wheel. That will zoom text and images in and out as well.

5. Browse privately

Don't want your significant other knowing what his or her birthday present is? Want to keep sites from storing cookies on your computer? Just fire up your browser's privacy mode and nothing you do will be recorded. Click here for the simple instructions.

6. Change the default search site

At the top of your browser next to the address bar, you might have a search bar. It makes it faster to search for things because you don't need to load a search site first; just start typing.

Don't have a search bar? In many browsers just typing a word or phrase in the address bar automatically opens a search for that word or phrase. But how does your browser know what search site to use?
Each browser has a default it uses. In Chrome, searches naturally open in Google, Firefox opens in Yahoo search, and Internet Explorer and Edge open in Microsoft's Bing. Those are fine, but maybe you would rather have your searches open in something else.

It's possible to set the default search site for your browser. Learn about three search sites that are more private than the major ones you know.


In the upper-right corner, click the icon with the three horizontal lines and choose "Settings." Select the "Settings" area on the left, and to the right, scroll down to the "Search" heading.

Where it says "Google," click to select Yahoo, Bing, Ask or AOL. If you want to install, or uninstall, another search site, click the "Manage Search Engines" button.

Microsoft Edge

In the upper-right corner, click the icon with the horizontal dots, and then click "Advanced Settings." Scroll down to find "Search in the address bar with" and click where it says "Bing." You can select DuckDuckGo or add a new option. Note that not every search site is compatible with Edge.


In the upper-right corner, click the icon with the three horizontal dots and choose "Options." In the left column, click "Search" and on the right select the default search site. Firefox has a number of them, including some options you might not have considered like Amazon, eBay and Twitter.

To remove a search site from the options, select it from the list under "One-click search engines" and then click the "Remove" button. You can add additional search sites with the "Add more search engines" link.

Internet Explorer

In the upper-right corner, click the gear icon and select "Manage Add-ons." In the left column, click "Search Providers." Select the search provider you want as default and click the "Set as default" button in the lower-right corner.

What if you only see Bing as an option? To add more search sites, click the "Find more search providers" link at the very bottom. Then select a search site you want to use, click the "Add to Internet Explorer" button and you'll see it appear in the list.


In Safari on Apple, go to Safari>>Preferences. On the Search tab, click next to "Search engine" and select from Google, Yahoo, Bing or DuckDuckGo (Safari 8 only). Then close the preferences window.

7. See your online accounts and passwords

Do you remember every online account you’ve ever made? Over the years you might have created dozens or hundreds that you don't use anymore. That’s actually very dangerous. It means your information is floating around on dozens or hundreds of websites that may or may not be secure. Click here to make your browser show you old accounts and passwords so you can shut them down.

13 Essential Rules for Staying Safe on the Internet by Dan Tynan

Feb. 9 is Safer Internet Day. For the past 13 years, cyber-advocates across the world have used the second Tuesday in February to remind people to be careful out there. The day is now observed in more than 120 countries. And while most of the discussion is focused on keeping kids out of harm’s way, adults can also learn a thing or two.

Internet safety is also about securing yourself from cybercriminals, snoops, creeps, and assorted other denizens of the Net’s dark side. Follow these 13 rules and you should be able to surf in safety.

Rule #1: Update early and often

If there’s a vulnerability in your operating system, browser, or other software, be assured the bad guys know about it. But no matter how quickly software makers plug that hole and push out an update, it won’t do a damn bit of good if you don’t actually install it. So install updates as soon as they’re available, especially those marked “critical.” Better yet, set your OS and apps to automatically update if possible. Yes, it’s a hassle to update Java and Adobe Acrobat every flipping week, and some updates may occasionally break things. Do it anyway.

Rule #2: Honor thy antivirus software and keep it current

Installing antivirus software isn’t the safety net it used to be, thanks to the increase in “zero day” threats that appear before AV companies can update their software. But they’ll still stop more than 90 percent of the threats you’re likely to encounter. So get some. If you’re unwilling to pony up $30 to $60 a year for BitDefender or Intel’s McAfee, you can download perfectly adequate solutions from AVG or Avast for free.  

Rule #3: Don’t fall for that scam

You know what’s an even bigger threat than malware authors and cybercrooks? You. The easiest way for an attacker to get access to your logins is to fool you into giving them up. This is usually achieved via a “phishing” email that looks like it’s from your bank, employer, or the IRS; this email aims to lure you to a bogus site where you enter your login name and password. Once the attackers have your info, they can log into your account, then steal your information and sell it to others.  
An example of a phishing email pretending to be from everyone’s favorite federal agency. (Image:

Some phishing attempts are crude and easy to spot; others would fool all but an expert. But the defense is easy: Just don’t click on any links inside an email. If you got an email purportedly from your bank, type your bank’s web address into the browser and go there directly.

Rule #4: Don’t touch that file

The other way scammers get you is by sending a bogus attachment, like an invoice or a contract for something you allegedly ordered. Opening the document usually infects your computer. If you don’t recognize the sender, just delete the email. If the message appears to come from a friend or colleague, make triple sure that person actually sent it to you before you open it.

Rule #5: Become a cyber-savvy parent

Sexting, cyberbullies, and catfishing — being a parent of an Internet-age kid isn’t easy. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. The Connect Safely site has a slew of helpful, nonhysterical guides to keeping kids safe from cyberbullies, dealing with SnapChat and Instagram, how to handle the mobile phone conundrum, and a ton more. Common Sense Media is also an excellent resource for how to be cyberparent, with recommendations for age-appropriate sites, apps, games, and the like.

Rule #6: Don’t be a boob about the Tubes

If your kids are online, it’s pretty certain they’re spending a lot of time on YouTube and other video sites. Most of that content is innocent (if mind-numbing); some of it isn’t. You need to at least be aware of what they’re watching and put some controls on it. If they’re still in single digits, you might want to install Google’s YouTube Kids app on their tablets or phones.

Rule #7: Don’t install that new video player

Just like in real life, most of the bad guys on the Internet hang out in dicey neighborhoods — like adult sites, BitTorrent search engines, and pirate Internet TV stations. At some point nearly all of them will pop up a message saying that your Flash player is out of date or that you need to install a new video player to watch whatever it is you’re trying to watch. Don’t do that.
This pirate site wants me to update Flash, but it’s really trying to get me to install malware. (Also: Don’t use Flash if you can avoid it.)
Best-case scenario is you’ve installed adware — software that will splatter advertisements over all your Web pages. Worst case, somebody just made your computer part of their zombie army.

Rule #8: Use a password manager

Yes, passwords suck. But until we get a better replacement, we’re stuck with them. So do yourself a favor and use a password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, or Lastpass. They will both act as a password vault, storing all your thousands of logins for different sites, and also auto-generate fiendishly difficult-to-crack passwords on your behalf. Just don’t forget the master password to your vault or you’re screwed. (Tip: Use a song lyric or some other easy-to-remember-yet-unique phrase for your password, the longer the better.) They aren’t foolproof, but they’re better than using “123456” for everything.

Rule #9: Protect your logins

One way to find out if your password has been stolen is to see if someone is logging into your accounts from an unknown machine. With more and more sites using Facebook and Twitter as ways to prove you are who you say you are, this becomes especially more important.  
Facebook has a Security Checkup page you can use to see if someone else has been logging into your Facebook account and lets you log out of any unknown ones with a click. Companies like Apple, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo have deployed so-called “two-factor” (or “two-step”) authentication, which requires you to enter an additional piece of information when logging in from an unfamiliar device — usually a 4- or 6-digit code sent via text to your phone. If you think someone else might have access to your accounts, it’s a good idea to change your password and then implement two-factor.

Rule #10: Secure all your Wi-Fi passwords

Most people don’t realize this, but your home Wi-Fi actually has two passwords. One is for the network — that’s the one you type when you log on from a new device. The other password is for the router; this allows you to go in and change network settings (like your Wi-Fi password). Most people remember to change the first set of logins but not the second, and the router defaults are widely known (usually “admin” and “password”). So anyone within range of your home network could log into your router, change the settings, lock you out of it if they wanted to, or simply capture all the information flowing out of your network. Not good.
Image: Cisco
You’ll want to change your router’s defaults. Instructions vary depending on the router, so you’ll need to visit the manufacturer’s website and search for “change router admin password.” (To get you started, here are instructions for Netgear, Linksys, and Belkin.)

Rule #11: Don’t get sucked in by fake Wi-Fi hotspots

If you’re logging on from a crowded café or an airport lounge, you’ll probably see “free” Wi-Fi hotspots galore. Some are legit, some are definitely bogus. You’ll want to find out if in fact the café or lounge offers free Wi-Fi, and what the network name is, before you log on. Otherwise you could be handing all your Internet traffic to some rogue access point or that creep behind you with a laptop. When in doubt, pony up some money for a legit public hotspot you know is secure.

Rule #12: Use an encrypted connection in public

Even if you’re on a legit public Wi-Fi network, someone else on the same network could snoop on your data unless you take the right precautions. First, if you are logging on to your webmail or another password-protected account, make sure to use the encrypted version of the website — the address always starts with https (not http). Otherwise, anything you type is sent in plain text and can be captured by someone else on the same network.
A good explanation of how two-step authentication works, courtesy of Google.
The best option, if you can: Connect to the Internet using a virtual private network (VPN), especially if you’re dialing into work. This creates an end-to-end encrypted connection between you and the Net, making it virtually impossible for anyone to spy on you.

Rule #13: Technology can help — but it can’t solve everything

If you’ve got kids at home, technology can give you a handle on what they’re doing on the Net. Circle can monitor every device on your home network and let you set rules about where and when kids can access the Net. (Unfortunately, right now it works only on iPhones; Android support is coming later this year.) The upcoming Screen app will let you control all your home devices from your phone. Norton Online Family Premier can cordon off the nastier parts of the Net and give you a window into their chat conversations and video consumption. And of course, anti-malware software can help fight off the nasties for everyone.

Ultimately, though, the burden is on you. Like liberty, the price of Internet safety is eternal vigilance. And not just on one day each year.

Uninstall now! Apple abandons QuickTime for Windows despite lingering critical flaws by TechConnect

Yet another program is joining Java 6 and Windows XP as big-name software you do not want running on your PC. Security firm Trend Micro and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are advising all Windows users to uninstall Apple’s QuickTime as soon as possible. (The advisory does not affect Mac users.)

The reason for getting rid of QuickTime for Windows is twofold. First, Apple told Trend Micro it is deprecating the software and will no longer deliver security updates for it. Second, there are two known critical vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to take control of a system running QuickTime.

That's a hellacious combo.

Apple was unavailable for comment at this writing, but a quick look at QuickTime’s download page shows the software is still publicly available. It hasn’t been updated since at least January, however.

Trend Micro says it does not yet know of any instances where the two potential security threats are being used in the wild but that could change. Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative recently published some technical details about the vulnerabilities. ZDI did this because its disclosure policy requires it to publish threat information when a “vendor indicates that the product is deprecated,” and thus won’t be patched.

If you're a longtime user of iTunes you may be running QuickTime. To dump the program, open the Control Panel on your PC and then from the “category” view go to Programs > Uninstall a program. Once the list of installed programs populates, scroll down until you find QuickTime. Select it with your mouse, and then click Uninstall towards the top of the window. A pop-up window will then appear asking to confirm that you want to uninstall the program. Click Yes and you’ll be QuickTime-free in no time.

A survey published by Secunia Research in late 2015 found that Apple software is among the programs that are updated the least often by Windows users.

Why this matters: Whenever software is about to be abandoned it’s always a good idea to move away from it—or at least start planning to. That goes double for software with known flaws that allow the bad guys to execute code on your machine. QuickTime used to be an important piece of software for Windows users. But these days you don’t need it to watch movie trailers on Apple’s site and it's no longer used by iTunes to play media on Windows. There’s little reason for the vast majority of Windows users to keep QuickTime on their PCs.

Apple just released a new MacBook — here’s everything that’s changed by Tech Insider

Apple on Tuesday introduced a new lineup of 12-inch MacBook models.

The 12-inch MacBook was first unveiled last March.

Here’s everything that’s been updated in the new 12-inch MacBooks:
- Updated Intel Core M processors
- New Intel graphics chip that offers up to 25% faster graphics performance
- Faster flash storage
- Faster RAM for multitasking
- One additional hour of battery life
- A new color: rose gold

Despite these updates, you won’t notice a significant difference in the performances of this year’s and last year’s 12-inch MacBook. All of the updates are pretty minor; you’d be hard pressed to tell any difference at all if you used these laptops side by side.

The biggest thing you will notice from these new MacBooks, however, will be the additional hour of battery life and the new color. Last year’s MacBook offered about 9-10 hours of battery life; getting an extra 10% on top of that is a nice bonus for mobile users. Also, if you like the color pink, now you can get that pink MacBook of your dreams.

If you were waiting to buy the 12-inch MacBook, now’s a good time to get one. But in my opinion, I’m not a fan of the computer’s single port used for charging and transferring data. Most computers need at least two ports to be functional — I like to charge my phone and other devices, for example, but I also need to keep my computer charged. As far as Macs go, I personally prefer the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, but there’s a ton of other great, gorgeous laptops out there worth buying.

You can buy the new MacBook over at Apple’s website.

iPhone Secrets by Bob Knows Repairs

Here are just a few secrets we've collected and are ready to share:

Make TouchID work faster:
Save the same fingerprint multiple times as different entries and TouchID will work much faster. This is especially useful on older phones like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.

Spotlight conversions: 
Open Spotlight (pull down) and type something like “20 euros in GBP,” and it will instantly perform the conversion.

Spotlight math: Want to do a quick math problem? No need to open the Calculator app, just pull down to open Spotlight and type it right there.

Delete numbers in the Calculator:
Speaking of the Calculator, you can delete single digits when you tap the wrong number by swiping left or right on the screen where the numbers appear.

Clear RAM to make your phone run faster:
Hold down the power button until you see “Slide to power off,” then let go and hold down the home button until the screen goes blank and your home screen reappears.

Remote shutter:
Use the volume up or down button on your headphones to snap a photo in the Camera app.