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December 13 2019


Google Assistant Now Offers Realtime Translations


Google Assistant now has the ability to translate conversations in realtime on your phone. This is thanks to Interpreter mode, which can act as your go-between when conversing in a foreign language. Meaning you’ll never have to resort to using hand gestures again.

Google Assistant Learns to Translate Conversations

In February 2019, Google rolled out Interpreter mode to Google Home smart speakers and smart displays. This allowed owners of these devices to translate conversations in foreign languages. However, its usefulness was limited by the lack of mobility of these devices.

Now, Interpreter mode is available on Google Assistant on your phone. Which means you can use it to translate conversations between you (speaking one language) and someone else (speaking another language) in realtime just using your smartphone.

Assistant’s Interpreter Mode Lands on Smartphones

Google announced the increased availability of Assistant’s Interpreter mode in a post on The Keyword. The company claims Interpreter means that “you can have a back and forth conversation with someone speaking a foreign language.”

To enable Interpreter mode just say, “Hey Google, be my German translator” or “Hey Google, help me speak Spanish”. You’ll then “see and hear the translated conversation on your phone.” Google will even offer Smart Replies to keep the conversation flowing.

The most basic way of using Interpreter mode is to just start talking. Google will then automatically translate both sides of the conversation. However, you can also control what’s being translated or type out the sentences you want to have translated.

Google Assistant’s Interpreter mode currently supports 44 languages, including Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. It’s rolling out around the world to the Google Assistant app on Android and on iOS.

The Best Apps to Help You Learn a New Language

While Google Assistant’s Interpreter mode makes it easier to understand another language, it isn’t perfect. So we would still recommend everyone learn a new language. And to help you get started, here are the best language learning apps that work.

Read the full article: Google Assistant Now Offers Realtime Translations


Do You Really Need Cell Phone Insurance? The Facts and Best Plans


According to surveys, around 33 percent of smartphone owners have lost or broken their phones. If the thought of this happening to you is a concern, it’s worth considering phone insurance.

But what does smartphone insurance cover? What does it cost? And is mobile phone insurance worth it? Let’s find out.

Why You Need Cell Phone Insurance

Most people reach the end of their cell phone contract with little more than superficial damage to the handset. Others aren’t as successful.

We’ve all heard about people who have dropped their phones down drains, toilets, or sinks. Similarly, devices have fallen from bridges, railway platforms, car roofs, prams, even boats. Then there is the risk of smartphone theft to consider.

While dedicated smartphone apps can protect an Android device from theft, iPhone owners can use the Find My iPhone app. But if a phone has been stolen and wiped, you’re never going to see it again.

That’s where phone insurance comes into its own.

What Does Phone Insurance Cover?

By taking out insurance for your phone, you can be covered for:

  • Accidental damage, including cracked screens and water/liquid damage
  • Loss
  • Theft
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Malfunction not covered by warranty

Paying for mobile phone insurance for your Android smartphone or iPhone gives you peace of mind. You can be confident that when lost, stolen, or damaged, your phone will be replaced or repaired.

Note, however, that the insurance policy often has an excess that must be paid as a contribution to a claim. This is usually around $99. You may prefer to avoid insurers that demand an excess, added cost, or deductible.

Consider phone insurance for your iPhone

iPhones and other premium devices (such as the Samsung Galaxy S range) typically attract a higher premium. This is due to them being highly desirable items and more likely to be stolen. Keep in mind that insurers will charge more and probably apply greater scrutiny to claims for these phones.

So, before signing up, think about what the risk is to your phone. If you’re forgetful, then loss or theft might be wise; for the clumsy, accidental damage cover.

Will Phone Insurance Companies Pay Out?

Getting insured is only one side of the coin, however. The real trick is getting the insurers to pay out. Increasingly insurers are becoming less interested in paying out and more interested in not fulfilling their role. While the sales literature will make insurance seem attractive, the small print is another matter entirely.

For instance, if your mobile phone is stolen from an unoccupied table in a bar, you might expect the insurers to be unhappy about paying up. However, the same is often true if the table is fully occupied, and the device is surreptitiously spirited away unnoticed.

You may well find that mistakes like these will lead to insurers refusing to pay out. Add an extra layer of protection by using the best mobile phone tracking tool for your device.

So, should you really pay out $20 insurance over 24 months only to find that you’ve paid an extra $480? If you’re not confident an insurer will pay out, it’s a risk you don’t really need. You could just use that money for a new phone and avoid the annoyance of the insurer refusing your claim.

Best Insurance for iPhone and Android Phones

The first option you should take when insuring a smartphone is to check what the warranty covers. While theft and throwing the phone down the toilet are unlikely to be covered, mechanical and electronic failure probably will.

If this is all the protection you need, great! If not, consider extending the warranty with a protection package from Asurion.

ASURION 3 Year Portable Electronic Accident Protection Plan with Tech Support

Mobile phone insurance from Asurion offers several coverage options for smartphones and tablets that have stopped working. Asurion offers a simplified insurance program that essentially extends your manufacturer’s warranty. The basic Asurion package covers:

  • Power surge
  • After the manufacturer’s warranty:
    • Mechanical/electrical failures
    • Defects in materials and workmanship
    • Failures due to normal wear and tear
    • Failures due to dust, heat, humidity
  • 27/4 tech support
  • Device replaced or the purchase price reimbursed as an Amazon e-gift card

From there, it might cover you for different issues depending on your type of device. For example, “drops, spills and cracked screens” are “covered from day one” with some policies, but not with others.

As a result, it does not cover drops, cracked screens, liquid damage, loss, theft, cosmetic damage if the product is still usable, consumable replacements, or breakdowns covered by warranty.

This might prove inflexible to you, but if you’re mainly concerned with the limits of the manufacturer’s warranty, Asurion can prove a good choice. You may have already heard of Asurion, as they provide insurance services to networks like AT&T and Sprint.

Helpfully, Asurion They offer insurance packages at different price points.

For example, there is the ASURION 3 Year Portable Electronic Accident Protection Plan with Tech Support package, which offers the basic coverage above. It also gives cover for drops, spills, and cracked screens.


Bought an iPhone? The default repair coverage is just one year, but you can extend this with AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss.

  • AppleCare+ compensates for up to two incidents of accidental damage, every 24 months. Each incident is subject to service fees and tax.
  • AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss covers the same, plus theft or loss.

So, for example, screen damage will set you back $29 for repair. This is about the same as you would pay in a local phone repair shop.

Note that AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss comes with several deductible charges. Check the AppleCare+ website for the latest prices.


An excellent option for buying coverage for any premium phone, eSurranty offers policies for iPhone, Samsung, and Google Pixel devices.

Packages are available for damage, loss, and theft, with the latter starting after 45 days of the policy starting. There’s also the option of an express replacement, although deductible charges are added for most replacement needs.

Helpfully, eSurranty coverage is transferrable—useful when you’re upgrading to a new device. Note, however, that claims are limited by type.

Samsung Premium Care

If you use a Samsung phone, you can rely on the warranty or boost it with the Samsung Premium Care protection plan. Two plans are on offer, a $99 plan for Galaxy S devices, and the $129 plan for other flagships (such as the Galaxy Note). Monthly payment options are available.

While phone insurance companies will typically offer a courier service, Samsung provides a choice between sending the device away and a doorstep repair.

In our experience, doorstep repair (in which a third-party repair team is contracted) is fraught with supply chain and reliability issues. It is usually best to send the device away than have to wait home repeatedly and hope the engineer has the right parts for repair.

Get Protection Against Device Theft and Damage

Electronic insurance for other devices is also available. For example, if you wish to protect a printer or a desktop PC from failure with Asurion, you can buy the ASURION 3 Year Electronics Protection Plan.

Meanwhile, if you need device insurance for the office, Asurion can also help. It offers the ASURION 4 Year Office Equipment Protection Plan for office equipment.

In truth, for cheaper phones, you probably won’t need phone insurance. Cell phones that are cheaper than the excess charge aren’t worth insuring, after all. But if you have an expensive Android or iPhone, insurance is a smart move. It protects your purchase, gives you an affordable replacement, and gets you reconnected quickly.

The Best Cell Phone Insurance for You

Whatever happens, if you’re going to sign up for insurance for your electronic devices, take your time. Choose the best offer for your device, usage, and budget. This might mean using the suggestions above or shopping around for phone insurance from companies with products that suit you.

Don’t have phone insurance but have a cracked screen? Here’s how to replace a damaged phone screen display yourself.

Read the full article: Do You Really Need Cell Phone Insurance? The Facts and Best Plans


10 Gift Ideas for Those Who Work From Home


So, if you’re buying a gift for someone who works from home this Christmas, why not splash a little cash and get them something they’ll really appreciate? Everything from body massagers to good quality chairs is an option. It just depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

If you’re struggling for inspiration, keep reading. Here are 10 gifts ideas for people who work from home.

1. Shoyeido Ceramic Incense Burner

Shoyeido Ceramic Incense Burner Shoyeido Ceramic Incense Burner Buy Now On Amazon $29.00

Buying an incense burner is an inherently Christmassy idea; the nativity story claims that one of the three wise men gave Jesus some Frankincense as a gift. Ergo, why not check out the Shoyeido Incense Burner? An incense burner has two clear benefits for someone who works from home.

  1. Depending on which aromas you choose to burn, you can inspire creativity, relax your mind, soothe yourself to sleep, and a whole lot more.
  2. If you spend all day sitting in an enclosed office with the windows shut, it’s going to start smelling a little “funky” by the time you power down your computer. Burning incense can freshen up the mustiest of rooms.

2. Nature Bright SunTouch SAD Lightbox

Nature Bright SunTouch Lightbox Nature Bright SunTouch Lightbox Buy Now On Amazon $49.99

SAD is an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression that typically kicks in during Fall and Winter as the nights become longer and the weather deteriorates.

The Nature Bright SunTouch Lightbox is a remedy for people who suffer from SAD, but it’s also a great way to wake yourself up in the morning. After all, if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines, you’re going to need a little help.

3. Viktor Jurgen Full Body Massager

Viktor Jurgen Full Body Massager Viktor Jurgen Full Body Massager Buy Now On Amazon $29.99

You might think your homeworking friend leads a life of luxury. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having an office, kitchen, and bedroom within a few yards of each other means there’s no motivation to get up and move around. Exercise is an afterthought; physical issues are a very real problem.

While it’s no substitute for going for a jog, a massage set can at least ease some of the aches and pains of sitting down all day. The Viktor Jurgen Full Body Massager is a handheld device that works on a person’s head, neck, shoulders, back, legs, and feet.

4. Dreamfarm Cup Holder

Dreamfarm Cup Holder Dreamfarm Cup Holder Buy Now On Amazon $10.53

Keyboards and food are a bad combination. But keyboards and liquids are an (expensive) disaster waiting to happen. Of course, the obvious solution is to keep liquids well away from the computer. But we all know a typical homeworker’s desk is akin to the beverage fridge in a 7-Eleven.

If you don’t want to be buying the person a new keyboard next Christmas, get your buddy a cup holder this year instead. The Dreamfarm Spink Cup Holder has a suction pad on the bottom so it can never be knocked over.

5. Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair

Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair Buy Now On Amazon $1,395.00

A high-quality office chair is one of the most critical items in any homeworker’s office. It can prevent back problems and improve your posture.

Of course, the quality and price of chairs can vary drastically between brands. If the person you’re buying for is important to you, you might want to go for a top-of-the-range model. Arguably, the best chair is the Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair. They’re pricey but impressive.

6. Gym Membership

Sticking with the theme of physical health, why not buy the person a gym membership? It’s a not-so-subtle way to remind them that they need to venture beyond the perimeter of their property occasionally.

Again, gym memberships vary drastically in price. If you’re happy to send your buddy into a rough part of town, you can probably pick one up for a few bucks a month. If you want to send them to the local high-end spa, you can expect to pay more than $100 per month.

7. Bluelounge CableBox

Despite the tech firms’ best efforts, we still don’t live in a cable-free world. If anything, the number of cables around our machines is multiplying. Apple users know what we’re talking about (cough, dongles).

If the person you’re buying for is a neat freak, they probably die a little inside every time they see a mess of tangled cables. You could give them a helping hand and alleviate some stress by buying them a cable management system. There are lots of designs available, but in terms of value for money, you’ll struggle to beat the Bluelounge CableBox.

8. VIVO Standing Desk

VIVO Standing Desk VIVO Standing Desk Buy Now On Amazon $119.99

The jury is still out of the health benefits of standing desks. You’ll burn more calories, and some research suggests they can help stave off diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer. Other research claims you’ll be at a higher risk of developing back, leg, or foot pain.

As with many things, the answer lies in moderation. Don’t suddenly go from sitting all day to standing all day—split your time between the two environments, instead. If you want to buy a practical-but-beautiful standing desk, check out the VIVO Standing Desk as a thoughtful happy medium.

9. Click and Grow Indoor Garden Kit

Click and Grow Indoor Garden Kit Click and Grow Indoor Garden Kit Buy Now On Amazon $99.95

While not usable in a traditional sense, a few office plants will brighten the place up no end. Let’s be honest, if you’re spending all day, every day in the same room, you want it to look nice. If the person you’re buying for loves smart home technology, you could buy a Click and Grow Indoor Garden Kit.

It comes with smart soil, a water reservoir, and temperature controls. The person won’t need to have green fingers to stop the plant from dying. Lots of seed cartridges are available; Click and Grow devices can grow everything from basil to cherry tomatoes.

10. Alexander Del Rossa Bathrobe

Alexander Del Rossa Bathrobe Alexander Del Rossa Bathrobe Buy Now On Amazon $68.99

Do people who work from home even bother to get dressed in the morning? If your loved one is the type of person who spends all day in their pajamas in front of the computer, why not treat them to a new bathrobe? If they ever need to have a video conference call with colleagues, they’ll at least look semi-respectable.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon offers an abundance of bathrobes. If you want something that’s comfy and practical in equal measure, have a look at the Alexander Del Rossa Bathrobe. They are made with 330GSM coral fleece and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

The Best Gifts for Remote Workers

Working from home can be a lonely life. Sure, you avoid rush hour traffic and can set your own hours, but the trade-off is less social interaction and more distractions. One of these gift ideas for home workers is sure to be gratefully received.

If you’re looking for even more ideas, you might find some inspiration in this list of key habits for freelance success.

Read the full article: 10 Gift Ideas for Those Who Work From Home


How to Convert PDFs to Printable Booklets Using BookletCreator


Sometimes you need to put a booklet together. Not a fancy booklet, either—a simple one for yourself or your friends, ranging from topics like recipes to book reports.

Enter BookletCreator, a simple tool that lets you instantly turn any PDF document to a printable booklet. While the software has been around for awhile, it’s still easy to use. Here’s how to use this printable booklet maker tool to convert a PDF to a booklet.

What Is a Booklet Creator?

Booklet Creator

BookletCreator is an extremely simple tool that lets you turn a PDF to a booklet. If you’re one of those people who prefers to read documents in paper format, and you don’t have the budget for something like InDesign, then this is the program for you.

Basically, BookletCreator reorders your pages in such a manner so that when the document is printed, it can easily be folded into a small book. No registration is required for the free trial. When you download the program, you simply have to complete these steps:

  • Upload your PDF
  • Run BookletCreator
  • Save the printable file to your computer
  • Print the booklet out

Thankfully, BookletCreator has both macOS and Windows versions, so you’re in luck no matter which platform you prefer. The developers also provide detailed, easy-to-follow instructions for BookletCreator that make it easy to get started.

For this tutorial, we’ll use the macOS version of BookletCreator.

How to Use BookletCreator

Free Trial Booklet Creator

After you download the free trial of BookletCreator and open the program for the first time, you may see a popup notice similar to the one above. BookletCreator will tell you that because you’re using the trial version, only the first 16 pages of your document will be processed.

We did some investigating about this “hard limit” on how many pages you’re allowed to process. For the trial version, it seems that you’re able to create multiple booklets, so long as those booklets are under 16 pages each.

However, we’re not sure how long this free trial will last. The official documentation on these limitations in the Terms and Conditions section is scarce.

If you’re just using the free trial, press OK to proceed to the booklet making process. However, if you have a license number, enter it. In case you want to buy the program, press Buy Now. You can go to the company’s website to see the details on BookletCreator’s pricing plan.

Step 1: Add a PDF File to Your Booklet Creator

Once you’re past the loading screen, the first action you’ll need to take is adding your PDF file to BookletCreator. Press Add PDF File, as shown below in red. Find the PDF on your computer that you want to format, and add it.

Turn PDF Into Booklet Online

It’s important to note that BookletCreator cannot “reorder” your text, or format it. All it can do is reshuffle the way your pages are laid out. That way, when you print them, you can turn your PDF into a double-sided booklet. So it’s important to get all that formatting sorted out ahead of time.

If you want to know more about formatting PDFs, check out how to create, merge, split, and mark up PDFs on a Mac.

Step 2: Use Page Setup When You Convert a PDF to a Booklet

Next, you’ll need to finish the page setup for your booklet. BookletCreator automatically checks the Auto paper size option when you upload your PDF to the printable booklet maker, but you can also format this booklet to the paper size that’s best for you.

To do this, click on Page Setup. Once you’re there, you can format your document to fit any printer available with the specific dimensions you’re using to print.

You can also change the scale of the document, along with its orientation.

Page Setup Printing PDF Booklet

For booklets, in most cases it makes sense to print in Landscape orientation. BookletCreator automatically has this option checked, so keep that set. Once you’re done adjusting your specs, click OK. If you don’t want to manually adjust the page setup, click Cancel. Then check the Auto paper size option again.

We used the Auto paper size option in our testing, which worked well.

Step 3: How Many Pages per Booklet?

After you figure out your paper size, you need to decide how many pages you want within your booklet.

Because booklets are usually printed double-sided, all numbers for the pages show in sets of four. You have several options:

  1. You can print All pages in your booklet, to the closest set of four that the program can manage. BookletCreator will not skip any pages, which means that if you have an odd number of pages, some of the pieces of paper in your final booklet will be blank. Use this if you’re not sure.
  2. 4 will have BookletCreator create multiple booklets with four pages each, to split up your PDF into manageable chunks.
  3. 8 will create multiple booklets with eight pages.
  4. This continues down the line with 12 and so forth.

Add Pages to PDF Booklet

Please note: When using the free trial, you can only process booklets that contain up to 16 pages each. If you choose above the 16-page option, you may run into issues.

Step 4: Additional Booklet Options to Consider

Once you’ve figured out how many pages you want in your booklet, there are a few additional options you can adjust before you format the book. If you didn’t add page numbers to your original PDF file, you can do so now. The tool also lets you add some basic formatting to those page numbers, such as:

  • Letting BookletCreator know which pages to put the numbers on.
  • What those starting numbers should be.

Additionally, you can format the booklet for duplex printers, put the last page on the back cover, or have the document read from right-to-left instead of left-to-right.

Format Booklet for Double Sided Print

Once you’re done formatting these options—if you need to format any of them—press Create Booklet. BookletCreator will create a new PDF specifically laid out in booklet format for you to print.

Step 5: Printing From Your PDF to a Booklet

The last stage of BookletCreator is the printing part, and it’s a simple but important step. Before you print, it’s recommended that you look at your document in an image previewing app to make sure that everything looks correct.

You’ll notice that the pages seem to be out of order, but they aren’t actually. This is just how a booklet looks before it’s stapled together. After you take a look, press Print.

Preview Print Document Booklet

If you have a double-sided printer, make sure that you turn off the double-sided print option on your device. If you don’t have a double-sided printer, you’ll need to feed the pages through manually.

You also need to make sure that you use the right-sized paper for your document when you print it. Because we just did a test booklet, the paper isn’t exactly the right size, but the print quality still turned out decently. Here’s the result:

Turn PDF documents to small booklets

As you can see, the double-sided printing works well. All the pages were in order, exactly as BookletCreator formatted them. Once printed, it was a simple matter of folding the printed pages and stapling the booklet together.

Use BookletCreator to Convert a PDF to a Booklet

BookletCreator will never have the fine-tuned controls of a program like Adobe InDesign. However, it’s quite simple to use and will work great for people who just need to make a printable booklet every once in a while.

Those you want to create lots of professional-looking booklets should look at the best free InDesign templates for books, flyers, and magazines.

Read the full article: How to Convert PDFs to Printable Booklets Using BookletCreator


Microsoft Officially Announces the Next-Gen Xbox Series X

Microsoft has officially announced the follow up its enormously successful Xbox One. The Xbox Series X, tentatively due out late 2020, further cements Microsoft’s gaming credentials.

But, the Series X is something we’ve not seen before; a gaming PC in a console’s body.

What is The Xbox Series X?

Microsoft debuted the original Xbox back in 2001 and has since gone on to establish itself as one of the leading gaming manufacturers. More recently, the company has moved many of its services to the cloud, and promoted tighter integration between Windows 10 and the Xbox platform.

And, thanks to the Xbox Games Pass, you can now play your games on your Windows 10 PC. If Microsoft continues in this direction, with games available on a range of hardware, why would you need the Xbox Series X?

Well, this isn’t really a console in the traditional sense. Gaming PCs are typically higher performance devices, but without tight software integration and higher cost. The Series X closes that gap, housing all the Xbox services in what is essentially a high specification computer.

The design of the console is different this time around, too. The Xbox Series X is no longer a slim, rectangular device. Instead, it is a reasonably non-descript black box, designed to be stood horizontally or vertically. The console will come with a solid-state drive (SSD) as standard, offering faster loading speeds.

What Can The Xbox Series X Do?

To demonstrate the Series X’s capabilities, Microsoft shared footage of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, designed exclusively for the Xbox Series X.

For displaying art this realistic, the Series X will support 4K at 60FPS, and possibly at 120FPS, alongside with 8K compatibility.

The console comes with a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU, enabling hardware-accelerated ray tracing. The performance of the Series X will also be much improved over previous models, while also being quieter and cooler.

The company also has an eye on the future, with cloud capabilities built into the hardware. This is presumably to support Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming service.

The Future of Gaming?

The Xbox Series X is due to launch in late 2020, although there is no word on pricing just yet. As an established player in the gaming market, Microsoft’s latest console will undoubtedly be eagerly snapped up. But they aren’t without competition; Sony’s PlayStation 5 has been announced, too, and is due for release around the same time.

And that’s not to mention the hotly-anticipated game streaming services preparing to come to the market. Google was the first to launch its game streaming platform in November 2019, although you may want to check out our Google Stadia review before investing.

Read the full article: Microsoft Officially Announces the Next-Gen Xbox Series X


The 6 Best Websites to Find Guitar Chords for Songs

Playing guitar is a fantastic way to relax and de-stress. One of the best things about the guitar is the sheer number of songs you can play with a few chords. All you need now is a good website with all the guitar chords and lyrics to your favorite songs.

Luckily for you, the internet is full of awesome options.

We’ve pulled together the best websites to find free guitar chords and lyrics to all the most popular songs. Let’s start playing!

1. Ultimate Guitar: The Largest Song Library Available

Ultimate Guitar home page

Ultimate Guitar benefits from a huge community of guitarists who contribute chords and tabs to the website. You will also find several different versions of the songs to practice with too.

Search for songs using the track name or artist, or click the chord button in search bar to search for particular chords. That way, if you’re new to guitar, it’s super easy to find songs you can already play by searching the chords you already know.

Users can rate the guitar chords and tabs out of five, making it clear which version is the best. What’s more, sign up to Ultimate Guitar Pro to get access to professional guitar chords and lyrics, which are always accurate.

Ultimate Guitar also features music news, reviews, articles, and interviews. Take a look at the most popular recent guitar chords and tabs or browse through the top 100 tabs of all time to start learning some classics.

Guitar Chords for “You and I” on Ultimate Guitar

Ultimate Guitar website with You and I Guitar Chords

Let’s walk you through an example of finding guitar chords and lyrics on Ultimate Guitar. Get started by searching for the song you want to learn. In this example, we searched for “You and I” by One Direction.

Filter your search results with the Chords button, then sort them by High rated. If there are several different versions for your song, start with the highest rated one.

When you click the version you want, you should see a combination of guitar chords, tabs, and lyrics. Sometimes there’s also an explanation for how to play the song. In the “You and I” version we chose, there was a link to a performance on YouTube as well.

Hover your mouse over each chord name to see a diagram showing how to play it. You can hear how it should sound and even use the arrow button to see alternate fingerings. If you want to sing along, transpose the song to a key that’s comfortable for you.

When you’re ready to play, click the Auto-scroll button at the bottom of the screen.

2. Chordify: Play Along With the Recording

Chordify home page

Sometimes, you want to learn a particular song even if you don’t know how it goes that well. Chordify is perfect for those situations. This website features a super clean interface with large chord diagrams that update as the song plays in real-time.

Hit the play button and grab your guitar. Chordify loads a YouTube video in the corner and starts playing the actual recording. The display in the center of the screen shows a square box for each bar and tells you when to change to the next chord.

If anything, it’s all a little bit too simple. There’s no information about strumming patterns and Chordify doesn’t offer alternate chord fingerings, even if the song needs them. There are no lyrics too. But it’s a great place to get started.

Also, if you sign up for a monthly subscription, you can unlock tools to change the tempo, volume, and pitch of the song as you play along with it.

Guitar Chords for “Can’t You See” on Chordify

Chordify page showing Can't You See Guitar Chords

Let’s find guitar chords for the song “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band.

Search the song or artist you want to play, then click the song from the list of results. There’s only one version available for each song, which is nice and simple. But not all songs are “Chordified” which means you might not be able to play along.

On the next screen, take a look at the chords you need for the song. When you’re familiar with them, click the Play button and Chordify starts playing the song over YouTube and scrolling through the chords in time.

3. Songsterr: Interactive Tabs or Clean Chords

Songsterr home page

There are two versions of the Songsterr website. The newer version features an interactive player with tabs for over 500,000 songs. Many of the songs on here even let you choose from multiple instrument parts to play.

However, if you’re looking for guitar chords and lyrics to popular songs, rather than tabs, click the button to visit Old Songsterr instead. From here, enter the song title or artist you want to search for, then click the song you want to learn from the results.

Each song on Songsterr has one of three different icons, to show what’s available:

  • The Play button signifies an interactive tab that uses Flash Player.
  • The T indicates a tab written out in text form, which is often trickier to read.
  • And the Chord icon shows songs with the lyrics and chords.

Click the Chord icon to reveal a clean interface with lyrics running down the page and all the chords you need to know on the right. Click each chord to see alternate fingerings.

Guitar Chords for “Just What I Needed” on Songsterr

Songsterr page with Just What I Needed guitar chords

For this example, we’re going to play “Just What I Needed” by The Cars. Search the song name from Songsterr’s old website, then click the Chord icon next to that song from the list of results.

Take a moment to get familiar with the chords in the song, clicking each one to find alternate fingerings if you need them. When you’re ready, follow the lyrics to play the song, changing the chord whenever it’s indicated.

There’s no auto-scroll, backing track, or strumming patterns in Songsterr. So you need to know how the song goes. If you want, find the best audio interface to record yourself with so you can review your performance afterward.

4. Chordie: Search for Chords or Lyrics to Find Songs

Chordie home page

At Chordie, you can search for the song name, artist, lyrics, or chords you want to play. It doesn’t have as big a catalog of free guitar chords as Ultimate Guitar, but Chordie presents chords and lyrics in a super clean interface.

Chordie is built from another community of guitarists, who contribute their time to upload guitar chords and lyrics to different songs. What’s nice about Chordie is there’s only one version of each song, so you don’t need to work through five bad versions first.

When you open a song on Chordie, the chords you need are displayed in the top-right corner. You don’t need to go flipping through a guitar book every time you forget how to play an F chord, just scroll back to the top of the page.

Chordie also gives you simple tools to change the font size, transpose to a different key, adjust the chords based on your capo placement, and auto-scroll while you play along. The clean interface includes a tab section for important riffs as well.

Guitar Chords for “This Is It” on Chordie

Chordie page showing This Is It guitar chords

Now, play the song “This Is It” by Ryan Adams. If you don’t remember the name of a song, just search for any of the lyrics you can remember. We searched “She kisses when she sleeps” to find our song.

Click the song you want from the search results and get familiar with the guitar chords. Take a moment to learn any tabbed out sections of the song. Then use the tools to transpose to a key that’s easy for you to sing in.

When you’re ready to play, click the scroll button and choose a speed to auto-scroll at.

5. E-Chords: A Simple Interface With Lots of Tools

E-Chords home page

The E-Chords home page features video lessons, new tabs, tutorials, and highlighted blogs. Search for songs, artists, or lyrics to find the free guitar chords you’re looking for. Then open them up into a clean page with lots of useful tools running down the left side.

You can customize how the songs look by choosing simplified chords, changing the color of links, and even clicking and dragging chords to where you want them beside the lyrics. Hover your mouse over a chord name above the lyrics to see how to play it.

The verses and choruses are separated, making it easy to learn the structure of a song with just a quick glance. All the chords you need are listed at the bottom of the page as well, so spend a moment there to learn the song before you get started.

Guitar Chords for “The Greatest Show” on E-Chords

E-Chords page showing The Greatest Show Guitar Chords

Let’s find chords to “The Greatest Show” from the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman. Search for the song name or any of the lyrics to get started. Then hover your mouse over the instrument icons in the results to check if guitar chords are available for that song.

Click the song and start learning the chords from the bottom of the page. If you ever forget one, just hover over the chord name again to see a chord diagram. You can even pin diagrams beside certain lyrics and display them while you play along.

Use the tools on the left of the screen to set your scroll speed, change the font size, change the color, or simplify the chords to your liking.

6. Heartwood Guitar: Accurate Curated Chord Charts

Heartwood Guitar home page

Heartwood Guitar doesn’t feature a giant library with thousands of guitar chords and lyrics, but it does have a curated selection of accurate guitar chords and lyrics to the most popular songs.

In fact, the site has a lot of free resources for learning how to play the guitar well.

Major kudos to Rob Hampton of Seattle for creating this impressive and useful online resource. There are over 600 free guitar chord charts available or you can subscribe to get access to tutorial videos and exclusive lessons.

Click on Chord Charts to see an alphabetical list of the available songs. Each one has accurate lyrics and guitar chords, with loads of detail explaining how to play the song. It may look intimidating at first, but before long you’ll be playing like a pro.

These chord listings are nicely laid out with chord and strumming information listed at the top of the page. There aren’t fancy tools like auto-scroll or transcribe, but you don’t need them when you’ve got such an accurate chord chart to follow instead.

Guitar Chords for “Space Oddity” on Heartwood Guitar

Heartwood Guitar chord chart for Space Oddity

For our last song, let’s learn to play “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. Click the Chord Charts button then scroll down to the B section to find Bowie. Click Space Oddity and brace yourself to learn an awesome song.

The chord chart opens with information about the chords you need to use along with how to play the strumming pattern. Take a moment getting familiar with this before scrolling down to see the guitar chords and lyrics together.

Chords appear above the lyrics. If you need to, play the song from Apple Music or Spotify to learn how it’s supposed to sound.

Find the Right Apps to Improve Your Playing

You’ve got an entire world of popular songs to learn the guitar chords and lyrics for, and you can do it all for free. But don’t stop there, put your technology to good use and find the best apps to improve your guitar playing as well.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Websites to Find Guitar Chords for Songs

December 12 2019


Chrome 79 Helps Protect Your Passwords

Google has released Chrome 79, which comes with tools designed to keep you safe online. The headline feature is better password protections, which means Chrome will warn you when your password has been stolen and protect you from phishing attempts.

Google Fights Back Against Cyber Criminals

With Chrome 79, Google is ramping up its efforts to keep us all safe while we’re online. And with new threats to our security emerging all of the time, this is more important than ever. Thankfully, Chrome 79 should make it harder for hackers and phishers to succeed.

This is thanks to three of Chrome’s built-in safety protections being expanded. These being password protections, realtime phishing protections, and predictive phishing protections. All of which are outlined in this post on The Keyword.

Chrome Adds Improved Password Protections

The first improvement means that “Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app.” This is an expansion of the Password Checkup, and you’ll now be warned as you browse the web.

Google is also improving its Safe Browsing protections to help protect Chrome users from phishing attempts. Realtime phishing protections (on desktop) should prevent phishing sites from stealing your credentials while Google’s list of unsafe sites is refreshed.

Google is also expanding its predictive phishing protections. This protects your Google Account password and any passwords you have stored in Chrome’s password manager. You no longer have to have Sync enabled. Instead, you just need to be signed into Chrome.

The Important Habits to Stay Safe Online

All of these expanded protections will be rolled out to Chrome users over the next few weeks. If you want to read a more in-depth guide to the expanded password protections in Chrome, be sure to read all about it on the Google Online Security Blog.

Obviously not everyone uses Chrome, but that’s no reason to take risks with your online security. It’s all about being aware of the dangers and not doing anything stupid. With that in mind here are the most important habits to help you stay safe online.

Read the full article: Chrome 79 Helps Protect Your Passwords


How to Use Your Apple or iTunes Gift Card


Not everyone knows how to use an iTunes gift card.

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It all depends on which gift card you’ve received. The good news is that Apple credit is often versatile. which means you can use it for all sorts of purchases. Everything from apps and music to subscriptions and accessories is fair game.

Here’s a guide to what you can spend each kind of Apple gift card on. We also have a few recommendations for items you might want to pick up.

Which Apple Gift Card Do You Have?

There are two types of gift cards sold by Apple: App Store & iTunes, and Apple Store. These cards are only valid for redemption in the same country they were purchased in. So a US gift card will only work on the US iTunes Store, in a US retail location, or an online outlet.

You can use an App Store & iTunes gift card for purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, Apple Books, or Apple TV app. Think of it as credit for virtual products. App Store & iTunes gift cards credit your Apple ID balance, so you can use them for movies, games, apps, books, music, and TV shows.

You can also use your credit to pay for other Apple-related services. For instance, you might upgrade your iCloud storage, or pay for subscription services such as Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Music.

An Apple Store gift card is only good on Apple’s website, over the phone, or in a physical retail location. You can purchase gift cards in Apple retail stores, or buy them online to be delivered later by mail or email. Once received, you can use them for any purchase in-store, whether it’s Apple hardware, accessories, or boxed software.

What Can You Buy With Apple Store Gift Cards?

A image showing the Apple Store gift card colors

You don’t need to “redeem” an Apple Store gift card—just spend it at a store like cash. Unless specified, there’s no expiry date on an Apple Store gift card.

Here are a few ideas for spending your store credit.

Buy a New iPhone, iPad, or Mac

An image of a 16" MacBook Pro

Even if your gift card doesn’t completely cover the cost of a new Apple gadget, you can use the balance towards any purchase. That means a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other pricey Apple product will be cheaper if you use your Apple Store credit.

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro offer a performance leap over last year’s model. A new MacBook Pro is expensive, but a gift card can help make the price more manageable. You can also pick up the AirPods and Beats X wireless headphones at your local Apple Store.

If you’ve been considering a big purchase for a while, an Apple Store gift card might be the perfect excuse to go ahead with it.

Get an Apple Watch

The latest Apple watch is available in GPS and/or cellular versions, depending on your budget. Having Siri on your wrist is super useful, and built-in GPS lets you track physical activity and workouts. Despite this, many are unsure when to pull the trigger and buy one.

A photo of the different Apple Watch Series 5 finishes

Starting at $399, the Apple Watch Series 5 isn’t cheap. But it might not seem so expensive if you’ve got a nice discount courtesy of an Apple Store gift card. Maybe you’ve already got an Apple Watch, and want to buy a new band to replace your old one? You can use your gift card for that too.

If you’re on the fence about the wearable, check out some of the coolest uses for the Apple Watch.

Consider an Apple TV 4K

Looking for a media streamer, set-top box, or way to watch content from your iOS or macOS devices on your TV? Maybe you want to use AirPlay to send music to your digital receiver?

The latest Apple TV unit is 4K-ready, and so are many of your existing iTunes purchases. If you have a 4K TV, why not accessorize?

Apple TV

Starting at $179 for the 32GB model (which is plenty for most users), a new Apple TV is a great addition to your living room.

Purchase Accessories for Your Devices

An image of an assortment of iPhone 11 cases

Apple stocks its stores not only with iPhone and Mac devices, but many first and third-party accessories too. This includes audio accessories like the Beats Solo Pro wireless headphones and Bose SoundLink Micro speaker. You’ll also find also useful Mac accessories like the Magic TrackPad 2 and mophie wireless charging stand.

Also for sale are game controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus, Rotor Riot Wired, Horipad Ultimate, and Gamevice for iPhone or iPad Air.

Other cheaper purchases include a huge selection of iPhone cases, charger cables, flash drives, bands, and more.

Also Consider: AppleCare

If you recently received a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or similarly valuable piece of hardware, you can visit an Apple Store or go online and enroll in AppleCare. Best of all, you can use your gift card towards the purchase.

While the exact policy and price differ depending on the device you buy it for, it’s a pretty worthwhile investment, particularly for iPhone owners. See our guide to AppleCare for more info.

What Can You Buy With App Store & iTunes Gift Cards?

An image of the App Store & iTunes gift card

To use an App Store & iTunes Gift card, you’ll first need to redeem it. Once you’ve redeemed the credit, it’s added to your Apple ID and can’t be transferred.

Any purchases you make will subtract from that balance. You can redeem App Store & iTunes credit using an iOS device, Android device, or from your computer.

Redeem on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. Tap Today at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Select your user icon at the top of the screen (or sign in if needed).
  4. Tap Redeem Gift Card or Code to redeem by using your camera or entering your code manually.

Redeem via Android:

  1. Launch the Apple Music app.
  2. Press the menu button.
  3. Hit Account.
  4. Choose Redeem Gift Card or Code.
  5. Enter your code and tap on Redeem.

Redeem via the App Store on your Mac:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. On the sidebar, click your name or the sign in button.
  3. Click on Redeem Gift Card to redeem by using your camera or entering your code manually.

Redeem via iTunes for Windows:

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. On the menu bar, choose Account, then pick Redeem.
  3. Sign in and follow the on-screen directions.

Buy iOS or tvOS Apps and Games

Perhaps the most common use for your Apple ID credit these days is to buy mobile apps and games. Considering the relatively low cost of items on the App Store, your credit will likely last you a while. If you prefer, you can make in-app purchases using Apple ID credit too.

Looking for some fun games to buy? Take a look at these:

  • Plague Inc. ($0.99) provides an immersive strategy option for those wanting to go against the entire world.
  • Geometry Dash ($1.99) offers an almost maddeningly difficult but still addictive platforming experience with one-touch controls.
  • Dead Cells ($8.99) gives rogue-lite and Metroidvania fans a challenging yet accessible action title on iOS.

You may also want to use your credit to grab some genuinely useful apps, such as:

  • CARROT Weather ($4.99) is a hyper-local weather forecast bot that’s built on Easter eggs and snark.
  • Tweetbot 5 ($4.99) is the best Twitter app you can buy.
  • The original Facetune ($3.99) is an awesome app to tweak your selfies.

Buy Mac Apps and Games

Your Apple ID credit also works on the Mac App Store. The apps you’ll find there are quite a bit more expensive than their mobile counterparts. But as they are more powerful, you can get real work done.

You might be able to get a nice discount on Apple’s pro-level video editor Final Cut Pro ($299.99) to bring it within your price range. If you’re looking for a good image editor but don’t fancy Adobe’s subscription model, Affinity Photo ($50) is modestly priced and sufficiently powerful.

In the play section of the store, macOS’s 2019 game of the year is a painterly puzzle-platformer called GRIS ($4.99). Also worth your time is Mini Metro ($9.99), a fun strategy puzzler about managing public transportation infrastructure. The legendary Civilization VI ($59.99) is a good pick for strategy fans.

Music, Movies, and TV

You can also buy media on iTunes directly (prior to upgrading to macOS Catalina). If you’re on Catalina or later, Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple Movies, and the Apple Podcasts apps can utilize your funds as well. Regardless of which program you use, it’s easy to buy albums from your favorite artists or even use your Apple ID credit towards an Apple Music subscription (just be aware of the automatic payments when the credit expires).

An image of the Apple Music subscription across different devices

If you prefer, you can also buy or rent movies and TV programs; the latter is much cheaper. Once you’ve redeemed an App Store & iTunes gift card, you can also use it to buy content via your Apple TV.

Don’t Forget Books

If you use your iPhone or iPad as an ereader, you can also use Apple ID credit in the Apple Books app on either a mobile device or a Mac computer. That includes graphic novels, nonfiction, interactive books, and audiobooks.

For pre-Catalina users, iTunes allows for audiobook purchases and playback.

Use Your Apple Gift Card Wisely

Providing that you don’t want to sell your gift card for real currency, an Apple Store gift card can bring an expensive new gadget within reach of your budget. The best aspect of Apple’s credit is that it’s so versatile. If you want to buy a few iPhone apps, rent a movie, and start an Apple Music subscription, go for it.

Your gift card will go even further when paired with Apple hardware discounts you should take advantage of.

Read the full article: How to Use Your Apple or iTunes Gift Card


Aukey’s Aipower Wearbuds Combine True Wireless Earbuds with a Wrist-worn Fitness Tracker

True Wireless Earbuds almost all follow the lead of Apple’s AirPods and come in their own charging case. And if you want to use a fitness tracker, you’ll need to find space on your wrist as well.

But, what if you could combine wireless earbuds with a fitness tracker so that you only need to carry one device with you? That’s the premise of the newly announced Aipower Wearbuds.

Aipower Wearbuds

Aipower Wearbuds

Aipower, a subsidiary of the popular electronics manufacturer Aukey, has designed a device that sits comfortably on your wrist but combines true wireless earbuds with a wearable fitness tracker. The company has effectively removed the need for a separate charging case for your earbuds.

When you leave home, all you need is the Wearbuds strapped to your wrist and your smartphone. You can use each earbud independently of one another, and both have touch-sensitive controls.

The earbuds come with IPX6 water resistance and have a battery life of up to 5.5 hours. Given the apparent novelty of this device, you may be worried about sound quality; fortunately, this isn’t an issue.

The Wearbuds come equipped with graphene-augmented drivers and tuned casing, alongside Qualcomm’s smart audio chipset to ensure a high-quality audio experience.

Aipower Wearbuds Fitness Tracker

The wrist-based fitness tracker has a unique design as it needs to house the earbuds. However, its profile and shape are not that dissimilar to other smartwatches or fitness trackers. Although, it will sit slightly higher above your wrist.

If you are a fitness enthusiast, you may prefer to opt for a more specialized device. That said, the Wearbuds’ fitness tracker will be suitable for most users and is IPX5-rated for water resistance.

The tracker gathers fitness data and displays it in the Aipower mobile app, and only takes 90 minutes to recharge. Using the Wearbuds, you can track your sleep, steps, calories burnt, and heart rate. The device can also mirror notifications from your smartphone, too.

Aipower Wearbuds Availability

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Aipower has begun selling the Wearbuds via their website. They are available in white, black, mint, or coral. You can pre-order the Wearbuds for $149 direct from Aipower. During the pre-order period, Aipower aims to ship the Wearbuds within one month.

Read the full article: Aukey’s Aipower Wearbuds Combine True Wireless Earbuds with a Wrist-worn Fitness Tracker


The 5 Best Routers and Modems for Comcast Xfinity


Are you looking for the best Comcast Xfinity modem or router? Home networking devices are notoriously difficult to understand. We’ll help you decode Comcast’s jargon and find the best router or modem for the Xfinity cable broadband service.

What’s the Best Wireless Router or Modem for Comcast Xfinity?

The best router is one that can fully use your subscription plan’s maximum speeds while providing reliable coverage throughout your home. Numerous technologies that can achieve this. However, not new tech is not always cost-effective.

There are three product types you should avoid: mesh routers, routers that can’t use custom firmware (DD-WRT), and modems with telephone compatibility.

Mesh routers are the newest home networking technology. They have the advantage of being able to extend superfast speeds at great distances. On the downside, for what they do, they are overpriced. Most consumers are better off buying a Wi-Fi extender instead. At most, I recommend buying a Mesh-compatible router or an inexpensive Wi-Fi extender rather than a complete Mesh system.

Avoid buying a modem-router combination unit. They’re less secure, and users cannot upgrade their firmware to Tomato or DD-WRT. Firmware like DD-WRT extends the lifespan of your device while also improving performance, security, and allowing for VPN server installations.

The Best Comcast Xfinity Routers

All routers work with Comcast, but some will not deliver the speeds guaranteed by your subscription tier. Here are the best routers available for Comcast Xfinity users.

Fastest Router: Asus ROG Rapture AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Buy Now On Amazon $369.21

The Asus ROG Rapture AX11000 comes in two forms: Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. Consumers with fast internet speeds will want to buy a Wi-Fi 6 router as it can hit extremely fast speeds. Wi-Fi 6 routers are today’s fastest wireless standard and can max out the fastest of Comcast Xfinity’s service plans.

On the downside, almost no wireless consumer devices fully support the standard as yet. So if you buy a Wi-Fi 6 router, you won’t be able to use its blistering speed without a Wi-Fi 6-compatible wireless card. It also allows for the use of Mesh Network devices, which function as Wi-Fi extenders. The Rapture also costs more than most routers on the market, and its antennas aren’t upgradable.

All Wi-Fi 6 routers lack Tomato or DD-WRT custom firmware compatibility. However, even with its shortcomings (which all Wi-Fi 6 routers suffer from), if you subscribe to one of Comcast Xfinity’s premium plans and need a fast wireless router, the Rapture may be for you.

Who Should Buy It?

  • If you subscribe to Comcast’s Gigabit Pro plan
  • Those with Wi-Fi 6 devices
  • If you own a lot of smart devices that are all simultaneously connected to the internet
  • VPN users

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

  • If you’re on a budget
  • For those needing custom firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato

Best Value: TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wi-Fi 5 Router

The TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 is one of the fastest Wi-Fi 5 routers on the market. It also includes the option to install DD-WRT or Tomato, and VPN-compatibility. The Archer C7 series is renowned for its performance, range, and customization options. There are no other routers with the C7’s reputation for excellence and value.

That said, TP-Link has manufactured a not-as-good derivative of the C-series, known as the A-series. If you see the A7 model, I’d suggest not buying it, as it’s incompatible with custom firmware, like DD-WRT. Unfortunately, it is physically identical to the C7.

Who Should Buy It?

  • Everyone except those on the Gigabit Pro plan
  • Those looking for near-best Wi-Fi 5 speeds
  • Homes with lots of connected devices
  • Those looking for good range and signal reliability
  • People who want DD-WRT or Tomato compatibility

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

  • Anyone using Wi-Fi 6 devices
  • Those who want great customer service

Best Cable Modems for Comcast Xfinity

Unfortunately, Comcast does not update its list of compatible modems. However, all of the devices on this list were confirmed to work on Comcast’s network through customer service representatives.

For the most part, modems differ mostly in their price and the following three characteristics: speed, Network Attached Storage (NAS) compatibility, and digital telephone capabilities.

Best Modem for Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro Plan: Netgear Nighthawk CM1200

Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 Buy Now On Amazon $179.99

If you’re into 4K video, gaming, or transferring large amounts of data, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 modem achieves a whopping 2Gbps download speed.This means it’s one of the few modems officially recommended by Comcast that can fully utilize its Gigabit Pro plan, which has a download speed of 2Gbps. The CM1200 is overkill in that it can hit transfer speeds up to 6Gbps.

It’s pricey compared to Comcast’s other modems, like the Motorola MB8600 or Arris SB8200. However, none of these come close to the performance of the Netgear CM1200. With 32 downstream channels and eight upstream channels, it’s the best modem you can buy for Comcast.

Unfortunately, the CM1200 lacks a dedicated RJ11 phone jack, which means it cannot be used with Comcast’s Digital Voice service. However, the CM1200 Voice includes RJ11 phone jacks for telephone service. The CM1200’s two Ethernet ports are for Link Aggregation, which allows two Ethernet sources to boost a single computer’s internet speeds. These ports cannot be used independently of one another.

Who Should Buy It?

  • People using the Gigabit Pro plan

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

  • People on any plan other than Gigabit Pro
  • Comcast Digital Voice customers
  • If you’re on a budget
  • If you need two separate Ethernet ports

Best for Comcast Digital Voice: Arris Surfboard SBV2402

Arris Surfboard SBV2402 Arris Surfboard SBV2402 Buy Now On Amazon $104.99

The Arris Surfboard SBV2402 provides a phone line jack for use with Comcast’s digital phone lines. It’s also one of the fastest lower-tier modems you can buy for Xfinity, hitting DOCSIS 3.0 speeds of 400Mbps, which makes it capable of handling the Blast! Pro plan.

Unfortunately, Comcast doesn’t offer any tier of service between 275Mbps and 500Mbps so while this is the fastest modem in its

The Surfboard SV2402 is one of the best modems for those who subscribe to Comcast’s low or midrange plans and have one of their Digital Voice subscriptions.

Who Should Buy It?

  • Digital Voice subscribers with speeds up to its Performance Pro (175Mbps)
  • Subscribers to Comcast’s Digital Voice internet telephone service

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

  • Subscribers to Comcast’s Blast! Pro, Gigabit, and Gigabit Pro plans
  • If you need two or more Ethernet ports on the modem

Best Cheap Cable Modem: Netgear CM500

Netgear CM500 Netgear CM500 Buy Now On Amazon $61.30

The Netgear CM500 is the cheapest Comcast-compatible cable modem you could buy that covers the widest range of plans. There are cheaper modems available, but these are limited to the first two tiers of service, which are relatively slow and overpriced plans.

The CM500 includes DOCSIS 3.0 support, which means it can fully utilize the speeds of the Performance Starter, Performance Plus, and the Performance Pro. Those using the Blast! Pro plan should consider the Netgear CM700 modem. Unfortunately, there is a large price jump between the CM700 and the CM1000 series.

Who Should Buy It?

  • Subscribers to the Performance Starter, Performance Plus, and Performance Pro plans

Who Shouldn’t Buy It?

  • Comcast Digital Voice subscribers
  • Those with Blast! Pro and faster subscriptions

The Best Routers and Modems for Xfinity

In many cases, the router you already own may be the best choice. However, if you don’t own your router and modem, you need to buy it. It’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.

Comcast’s rental fees are around $15 per month. The average cheap router and modem combined cost about $120. That means within the first year you make your money back. The second year represents pure savings.

However, before you run off and buy a new device, consider attempting to improve the performance of your current router with a few simple tweaks.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Routers and Modems for Comcast Xfinity


The Quickest Way to Install Windows Software: The Command Prompt


Installing apps on Windows is a time-consuming process. The user has to go through a series of steps to patch the software—search for the recent version of an app, download the installer file, manually install the app (next, next several times), and uncheck unwanted bundleware or ads.

The problem does not end here. Software installers in Windows have entirely different ways of setting up apps, registry, and configurations. With so many combinations, many people don’t want to go through the hassle of updating dozen or more apps. We’ll show you how to install software using the command prompt.

Solution: Chocolatey (Package Manager)

A package manager is a collection of tools to automate the entire process of installing, configuring, and updating apps. The package consists of software binaries, configuration files, and metadata. The metadata, in turn, has all the details of an app (name, description, version number, and more) and the list of dependencies to make it work properly.

Although there are many package managers for Windows, none of them has the simplicity and security of Chocolatey. With few bits of code, you can deploy the app in every system and also track or manage updates of that software over time.

Here are some reasons why we prefer Chocolatey:

  • It has the largest online database of Windows packages. As of now, there are 11,166 community-maintained packages. You can even install packages from NuGet and MyGet.
  • Package submissions go through a rigorous moderation review process, including package validation, verification, virus scanning with VirusTotal, and more. For an organization, the use of the community package repository is optional.
  • Chocolatey works with over 20+ installer technologies for Windows. It knows how to set up an app, registry, manage files and configuration, or any combination.
  • Chocolatey can even work with installed apps. It can take over existing application files in the Programs directory and also handle uninstalls. However, it depends on the packaging and software installer used.

Installing Chocolatey in Windows 10

Chocolatey installation is quick and intuitive. You don’t need a thorough knowledge of the Command Prompt or PowerShell. However, you must fulfill the basic system requirements and have the patience to install a few scripts.

System Requirements

  • Windows 7+/Windows Server 2003+ and above
  • PowerShell v2+ and above
  • .NET framework 4+ (the installation will try to install .NET 4.0 if you don’t have it installed)
  • Free space for Chocolatey CLI and another 1GB+ or more for installing packages

PowerShell Method

Press Win + X and select Windows PowerShell (Admin). At first, you must ensure Get-ExecutionPolicy is not restricted.

Type in Get-ExecutionPolicy, if it returns Restricted then that means you cannot install any script. To bypass it, type in Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned and “Y” to confirm the change.

bypass execution policy in PowerShell

Copy-and-paste the command

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex 

Press Enter.

install chocolatey through PowerShell

Within a few moments, Chocolatey will get installed and create a new folder in Program Data. All the packages go to \chocolatey\lib (though there may be an exceptions for .MSI installers).

You can also set up a custom installation path for packages like Python, Ruby, or Node.

chocolatey installation folder

Once Chocolatey gets installed, restart the PowerShell and type in choco /? to see the list of commands.

invoke choco help to get the list of commands

Command Prompt Method

If you use the command prompt, press Win + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin). Then, copy-and-paste the command

-NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "iex
&& SET "PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin"

Press Enter.

install chocolatey through command prompt

Chocolatey will get installed on your system in a few seconds. Restart the prompt and type in choco /? to see the list of commands.

Chocolatey Packages

Chocolatey packages are modified .nupkg files. It is a compiled zip file carrying the package metadata (including version information, dependencies, and distribution rights). If you delete the metadata specific to chocolatey, the package file is similar to NuGet.

The interesting part of Chocolatey is the community repository of packages known as the community package repository. Every package submitted to the database undergoes a rigorous moderation process before it goes live.

On the left side, you’ll see the links to the package maintainer, validation check button in colors green, red, and yellow, and instructions to install the app. Under the Install section, you’ll see the command instructions to install Google Chrome.

chocolatey package in detail

In the same section, there are instructions to upgrade and uninstall the app. The Version History menu lists all the versions, including their changelog. And there is a section on Virus Scan Results, in case you’re not confident of installing a particular app.

details of a particular package

How to Install Software Using Command Prompt or PowerShell

You probably have a list of frequently used apps you install on Windows. Instead of having to visit a website and using an installer, launch PowerShell and type in the syntax

choco install [app name]

“choco” is the short name of Chocolatey. Whenever you install, upgrade, or uninstall any app, you must prefix it with “choco.” The second prefix is the actual command. Since we’re installing the app, we’ll use the prefix “install.” The third prefix is the software name.

Navigate to the chocolatey package site and search for the app. Notice the command line instruction to install that app.

installing app through chocolatey

For example, to install Gimp, type in

choco install gimp

This will download and install the app to your system, without requiring any action on your part. You’ll see the progress information in the console itself. In a few cases, your app might show windows, but that’s perfectly normal.

Chocolatey will take care of all the installation steps automatically. Once your app gets installed, you’ll find it in the Start menu.

installing gimp through chocolatey

Search Your Package

You can even search for a particular package with syntax

choco search [app name]

For example, if you wish to install 7-zip, type in

choco search 7-zip

When you press Enter, chocolatey will search for every app with the word “zip” in its database. If it’s there, you’ll find it in the results. Searching for a particular app requires a bit of practice. Use the repository package website whenever you need any help.

use the chocolatey search for a particular package

Upgrading a Package

To upgrade an app, type in

choco upgrade [app name]

List of Outdated Packages

It’s also possible to see the list of all outdated apps. To make this work, you must install apps through Chocolatey. Type in

choco outdated

outdated chocolatey packages

Uninstall a Package

If you don’t find an app useful, you can uninstall it through Chocolatey. Type in

choco uninstall [app name]

In most cases, the commands mentioned above are all you will ever need. But chocolatey has many more functions. Visit the command references page for more details.

Install Your Next App With the Command Prompt

Many people still find it a hassle to update their apps. Chocolatey lets you install a dozen or more apps with just a few keystrokes. You can easily manage your apps without any security concerns or bundleware.

Modern OS’es provide you automated installer packages and commands that install many bits of software at once. But have you ever thought what is happening behind the scene when you run that installer? If this interests you, read this piece to find out how does software installation works on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Read the full article: The Quickest Way to Install Windows Software: The Command Prompt


How to Disable Touchscreen Input on Android and iPhone


As display technologies improve, so has touchscreen sensitivity. But touchscreen displays are prone to accidental taps. Since almost all mobile devices now use a touchscreen instead of physical keys, senior citizens and kids might find themselves causing accidental inputs often.

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But did you know you can temporarily disable touchscreen controls on your mobile device? Before we dive in, let’s consider some scenarios where disabling touchscreen controls on Android or iPhone makes sense.

Why You Might Lock Your Touchscreen

Unintentionally interacting with your phone is frustrating. It’s also something that happens to everyone from time to time. Examples include:

  • While watching a video, an accidental touch pauses or exits
  • When you’re listening to music, the track pauses or skips
  • Disrupting the GPS display when your phone is mounted on the dashboard for a map-guided journey
  • Kids messing around with phone settings instead of watching a video or playing a game
  • Recording video is paused or stopped
  • Ghost touch issues

These last two points are worth further exploration.

Some phones (like the OnePlus One and Moto G4 Plus) have been plagued by ghost touch problems in the past. This is a touchscreen problem wherein the screen responds to touches you’re not actually making. Such problems can make your smartphone experience quite annoying.

One temporary solution is to block touch interaction for a selected area of the screen. While you’d still need to fix the faulty screen eventually, it’s a good short-term fix. You can continue to use other methods to navigate your phone.

With the increasing number of waterproof phones in the market, it’s tempting to film underwater. But usually, there’s a certain amount of ghost touching involved as water comes into contact with the screen.

Even if you’re simply making videos in the rain, accidental touches can cause pauses or even end the recording. It’d be great if you could disable the touchscreen so you can record video flawlessly.

Lock Your Android Phone to a Single App

If you find yourself struggling with the app-related problems mentioned above, disabling the touchscreen temporarily can help. However, there’s a better solution rather than having to disable the touchscreen entirely. Screen Pinning, a feature introduced in Android Lollipop, lets you lock your phone to a single app.

For instance, you can “pin” the YouTube Kids app. Your kids will be able to navigate around inside this app, but they won’t be able to switch to other apps.

Here’s how to enable the Screen Pinning feature in Android:

  1. Open Settings > Lock screen & security > Advanced > Screen pinning. In Android 9 Pie and above, this section is called Security instead of Lock screen & security.
  2. Tap On.
  3. Enable Require unlock PIN for unpinning. While turning this on isn’t mandatory, it makes sure that only you (and not your kids) can unpin a particular app.

Using Screen Pinning on Android

Once enabled, here’s how to use it on Android 8.1 and earlier:

  1. Open the app you want to pin.
  2. Tap Overview/Recent apps button.
  3. Swipe up on the Recent card and tap the Pin icon at the bottom-right.

If you have Android 9 or newer, use these steps instead:

  1. First, open the app you want to pin.
  2. Open the app switcher, which will depend on your method of navigation.
    1. If you use the classic three-button navigation, tap the square Recents button.
    2. If you use the newer two-button navigation or Android 10’s revised gestures, swipe up from the bottom from the screen and hold for a moment to show your recent apps.
  3. Tap the icon at the top of the app you want to lock, and choose Pin.

To unpin an app with three or two-button navigation, just hold the Back button on your device for about five seconds. If you have Android 10’s new gesture navigation enabled, swipe up and hold for a moment instead. You’ll have to enter your unlock PIN, after which the app will unpin.

While this feature works fine for a few instances, it’s not the solution to the other problems discussed above. For example, it doesn’t help with the ghost touch problem. For such problems, you’ll need to actually disable your touchscreen.

How to Disable Touchscreen Input on Android

Touch Lock is a free app that lets you lock the touchscreen on Android. It also lets you temporarily disable both soft keys and hardware keys, essentially bringing the iPhone’s Guided Access feature to Android.

The app shows a five-second advertisement after every unlock, which you can remove with a $1.99 in-app purchase.

Download: Touch Lock (Free, in-app purchases available)

Once you download and open the app, here’s how to enable it:

  1. Swipe left to advance to the next step in the setup wizard.
  2. Tap on Enable Now. This will open Android’s Accessibility Settings. Here, find Touch Lock and tap Use service.
  3. Click OK to confirm the observation requests, then Back to return to the app.

It is worth noting that this app observes all entered text, which might include personal and financial details. As such, you may opt to disable the app beforehand, or even avoid it altogether.

Once enabled, pull down the notification panel and tap on the lock icon. Now, the touchscreen and buttons should be locked. To unlock it, double-tap on the translucent icon at the top-right of the screen.

You can configure the number of taps required to unlock the touchscreen in the app settings. You’ll also find options to automatically unlock when receiving a call, show an unlock hint, and keep the screen on.

Disable Touchscreen Input on iPhone

The iPhone comes with built-in functionality to disable touchscreen input temporarily. Dubbed Guided Access, this feature lets you disable certain areas of the screen and even lock down physical buttons. Here’s how to enable Guided Access:

  1. Open Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access.
  2. Enable Guided Access.
  3. Tap on Passcode Settings to set a Passcode and Touch/Face ID used to end Guided Access.
  4. Finally, enable Accessibility Shortcut. This lets you triple-click the Home button to enter Guided Access anytime.

Once enabled, here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the app you’d like to lock down.
  2. Triple-click the Home button to enter Guided Access.
  3. Circle the areas on the screen you would like to disable. If you’d like to disable touch on the entire screen, draw around the complete screen area.
  4. Tap on Options in the bottom-left corner to disable the Power or Volume buttons.
  5. Select Done.
  6. Finally, tap on Start at the top of the screen to start Guided Access.

The disabled areas of the screen will appear grayed out and will not respond to any touches.

To exit Guided Access, triple-click the Home button. Enter the correct passcode or scan with Touch/Face ID to exit. Our full iPhone Guided Access tutorial explains this handy iOS accessibility feature in more detail.

Locking Your Phone’s Screen Is Easy

Whether you want to prevent accidental interruptions while recording video, or avoid misuse by a mischievous child, disabling your touchscreen temporarily helps.

It’s possible on Android natively or via an app, as well as on iPhone thanks to the Guided Access feature. In short, you should be able to lock your touchscreen on Android or iPhone with little effort.

Don’t forget that locking your whole phone it important too. Here’s what you need to know about protecting your phone with a PIN or fingerprint.

Read the full article: How to Disable Touchscreen Input on Android and iPhone


Gmail Now Lets You Attach Emails to Emails

The days of forwarding multiple emails onto the same people are over. At least for Gmail users. This is because Gmail now lets you attach emails to emails. Which means you can send multiple emails onto other people without the need to forward them on one at a time.

Why Forward Emails When You Can Attach Them?

Everyone has forwarded emails onto other people. It’s standard procedure when it comes to emailing. However, while forwarding a single email onto someone is simple and effective, things can get messy when you want to forward multiple emails.

This is a problem in need of a solution, and Google’s solution to this is to allow you to attach emails to emails. And it really is as simple as it sounds. Google explains the new feature allowing you to attach emails to emails on the G Suite Updates Blog.

How to Send Emails as Attachments Using Gmail

There are two ways to attach emails to an email in Gmail. First, you can drag and drop multiple emails into a new thread. Start by composing your new email. Then select the emails you want to attach from your inbox. Then drag and drop them into the new email.

Alternatively, you can scroll through your inbox first, selecting the emails you want to forward as attachments. Then click the three-dot menu at the top of your inbox and select “Forward as attachment”. You can then compose your email around the attachments.

You can attach as many emails as you want, which will prove useful when forwarding multiple emails on a single topic. Say, for example, when someone joins a new company. Any emails you attach become .eml files, which will open in a new window.

Learn More From Our Beginner’s Guide to Gmail

The option to send emails as attachments is rolling out gradually. You’ll know you have access to the feature when you see the “Forward as attachment” option in the three-dot menu at the top of your inbox. You can then attach emails to your heart’s content.

Whether you’ve only just switched to Gmail or are a longtime user looking for tips, be sure to read our beginner’s guide to Gmail. This details how to create a Gmail account, the basics of Gmail, and some of the more advanced features worth checking out.

Read the full article: Gmail Now Lets You Attach Emails to Emails


Why Robolinux Is the Best Linux for Windows Users


Most versions of Linux that cater to Window users do so by providing a familiar interface. You get an app menu in the bottom left, a taskbar across the bottom, a system tray in the bottom right, and buttons where you expect them.

Robolinux does this, too, but it goes further by aiming to be the best Linux distro to run Windows applications. Software helps you import your existing C: drive and reinstall Windows apps on your new Linux desktop. That might just make Robolinux the best version of Linux for Windows users.

A Linux Distro That Runs Windows Programs

Robolinux, a Debian-based operating system, places a heavy emphasis on Windows and Linux integration. The technology behind this is nothing new: Wine can already help you run Windows programs on Linux, for example.

Still, support varies greatly. As such, running Windows in a virtual machine (VM) offers the best compatibility. Because the virtual machine method runs programs natively on Windows, apps are more likely to work.

Within Stealth VM, the default virtual machine in Robolinux, there are options to install various versions of Windows. These one-click Windows installers make Robolinux a Linux distro that runs Windows programs and entire Windows desktops with little hassle.

How to Install RoboLinux

Robolinux Live menu

Robolinux is simple to install on a hard drive, bootable media such as a live CD, or even a virtual machine.

Head over to the Robolinux downloads page and select your preferred version. You’ll find Robolinux Raptor LTS iterations with different desktop environments including Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, and GNOME. Many of these different interfaces, such as Cinnamon, have layouts that resemble Windows.

With your ISO downloaded, you’ll need to mount it to bootable media such as a flash drive or hard drive. Alternatively, you may install the ISO in a virtual machine. Use a program such as Etcher to burn your image file. In your burning program, select the Robolinux ISO file. Then, pick your desired medium such as flash drive or DVD. Mount the image file.

Once that’s complete, pop your live CD into your PC and power it on. Depending on your machine, you may need to change your BIOS boot order so that the live CD boots before the hard disk drive. When Robolinux loads, you may need to sign in using the username “live” while leaving the password blank.

You can now try out and evaluate Robolinux before installing on your HDD.

Download: Robolinux
Download: Etcher (Optional)

Hands-On With Robolinux

The Robolinux MATE desktop is one of the best Linux distros for Windows

Immediately, Robolinux provides a user-friendly environment which makes getting started with Linux simple.

There’s a start menu, task bar, and a smattering of default apps. Bundled in the Robolinux default installation, you’ll find the Stealth VM virtual machine, and C: Drive to VM program for simple migration of a Windows C: Drive to a virtual machine.

You’ll still need to install these programs by hand, but they’re loaded in just a few clicks. Plus, in the start menu under Installers you’ll find options to load programs such as BleachBit, Clam Antivirus, and Steam for Linux.

This isn’t a locked-down operating system. Rather, Robolinux boasts immense customization options. For instance, you can change desktop environments and set various sound effects which trigger when performing tasks like opening folders.

As for experienced Linux users, if you’ve used Debian or one of its derivatives (such as Ubuntu), you’ll know your way around Robolinux.

Linux for Windows Users

Robolinux app menu

The main appeal of Robolinux is its uncomplicated user experience. Additionally, included applications such as Stealth VM make installing Windows (or other operating systems) within Robolinux instinctive.

While there’s nothing in Robolinux that can’t be installed in other Linux distros, the big draw is the comprehensive feature set. When initially booting into Robolinux, there’s even a virtual machine ready, waiting for a fresh copy of Windows.

As noted above, some software such as C: Drive to VM does not come pre-installed. Instead, you download it using the installers section of the start menu.

How to Set Up a Windows VM in Robolinux

Robolinux virtualization lets you run Windows in Linux

Configuring a Windows virtual machine in Robolinux is pretty simple. In the start menu, the favorites bar shows options for Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10 VMs in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. These are also found under the Stealth VM entry of the start menu.

Click your desired virtual machine type, and you’re prompted to download Stealth VM. Download the tar.bz2. Don’t extract it. Instead, under the start menu select Robolinux Stealth VM installer.

Picking this installs Stealth VM. You’ll then be able to load any virtual machine option from the list. This of course requires an officially licensed version of Windows. If you need a copy of Windows XP, you can download this for free and legally from Microsoft.

The process is pretty easy, and though Stealth VM needs a bit of set up after installing Robolinux, it’s actually quite smooth and far simpler than a command line installation. Which, of course, isn’t terribly difficult. But it’s refreshing to just push a few buttons and have a free, quality VM at your disposal.

Alternatively, you can always install Wine and a frontend such as PlayOnLinux or Vineyard if you’d rather eschew the virtual machine route.

Final Thoughts on Robolinux for Windows Users

Boasting stability, ease of use from installation to everyday use, and a bevy of bundled software options, Robolinux is a superb operating system. Notably, Robolinux places an emphasis on integrating Windows with Linux through its included Stealth VM virtual machine.

While much of what Robolinux promises is achievable using almost any Linux distro and a virtual machine, Robolinux features a VM in its default software. Thus, the process of installing a VM, migrating a C drive, and other tasks involved in migrating from Windows are streamlined.

It’s not that Robolinux accomplishes what other Linux distros can’t—rather it simplifies the work of it. Although Robolinux opts for Debian stable over bleeding edge, this fosters a more reliable system environment. For more Linux distros, check out our exploration of the best Linux operating systems for every kind of user.

Read the full article: Why Robolinux Is the Best Linux for Windows Users


How to Test Your Home Network Speed (And Decipher the Results)


Do you ever ask yourself how all your devices utilize your home network? Over time, you’re adding new devices, but you don’t know how this impacts your network in turn.

That’s why you need to test your home network speed. In the past, you could skirt by just testing your internet connection. But a typical home utilized less technology back then.

You can conduct your own internal network speed test using one simple program: LAN Speed Test. With easy-to-read results, you can finally check your home network speed whenever you want.

Install LAN Speed Test

Before you can test your home network speed, you’ll need the LAN Speed Test program. Totusoft provides the base version of the LAN Speed Test for free but also offers a licensed option.

If you pay the extra amount, you can register the software for both your macOS and Windows computers. There are also several subtle data management perks as well as functionality-based ones. These mostly apply to more advanced users that want to challenge their network or dig deep on their data research.

For the purpose of a quick test, the lite free version does great.

Download: LAN Speed Test (Free, $10.00 for the full license)

Set Up Network Sharing and Use Your Public Folder

Once you have LAN Speed Test installed, you’ll need a pair of networked computers to complete the test. The simplest set-up involves using the Public folder as your testing ground. To do this, you need to have network sharing turned on before you can access the Public folder.

If you’ve never tried network sharing before, look at how to easily share files between Mac and Windows for a quick run-down.

When you open LAN Speed Test for the first time, you want to set the right folder for the test. Click Start Test or select the ellipsis next to the Folder pull-down menu to select your folder. From there, you can navigate to the Public folder depending on your system type.

For macOS, navigate to Macintosh HD > Users > [username] > Public.  For Windows, simply navigate to C:\Users\Public.

Perform Your Home Network Speed Test

After you’ve made it to your shared folder, you’ll want to adjust the packet size to set-up your test. The packet refers to the test file you’re sending off to the shared folder.

Totusoft recommends starting with a packet size of 1MB for a quick test. But you can always scale up the packet size in repeat tests.

In simpler terms, you’re essentially deciding between creating a short or prolonged test of your network’s transfer speeds. As you adjust the file size, the duration of the home network test will vary. It can last from a few seconds to hours depending on your packet size.

A screenshot of the home tab on LAN Speed Test Image Credit: Totusoft

For licensed users, you can also send off more than one packet. With the added packets, you have more incentive to vary the minimum and maximum values. The added option isn’t mandatory, but it can create a more realistic testing scenario.

Regardless, if any of this information seems too confusing, just think of writing as your upload speed and reading as your download speed over your home network. Totusoft also offers online help documents for the more nuanced details of the program.

The terminology can be jarring at first. Just remember it’s all about how to test your network speed at home.

Figure Out What Matters in Your Report

After the writing and reading progress with the packet finishes, LAN Speed Test provides you with a two-column breakdown of each.

A screenshot of the default results view for LAN Speed Test Image Credit: Totusoft

Depending on your needs, you can utilize different aspects of the test results. However, for the majority, you’re just going to want to focus on the final test result of Mbps and MBps.

Mbps stands for megabits-per-second and refers to your home network’s download and update speeds. Just don’t confuse Mbps with MBps which refers to megabytes per second. Megabytes would refer to the file size or the amount of data transferred.

Use Your Report Information

With those notes in mind, you must be wondering what exactly you can do with those numbers. Mbps provides your download and upload speeds for your network, so you can easily use this test to check if anything seems off with your speed.

If you’re running into issues with your speeds seeming oddly low, you should look into things that might be slowing down your home Wi-Fi network.

A screenshot of LAN Speed Test's results in chart form Image Credit: Totusoft

You can also use the MBps value to determine the amount of time it would take to transfer any file. For example, if I have an upload rate of 54.26MBps, it would take me 2.7644 seconds to write a 150MB file. You simply divide the size of the file you want to transfer by your upload rate.

Regardless, you can project the effectiveness of your setup after the home network speed test. If your rate falls below the promised speed rates, and it consistently underperforms then you might need to consider replacing your router. Sometimes a router simply can’t handle the increased traffic load, so an upgrade can bring new speed peaks.

Staying in touch with your network’s state can save a lot of hassle and headache if you can determine a cause when anything goes awry.

The Usefulness of an Internal Network Speed Test

Knowing the exact state of your network can help you plan out precisely what your home can handle.

Whether streaming video or transferring files between two computers, you need to be in touch with your numbers—especially if you don’t want there to be a loss in quality.

LAN Speed Test provides a free option that does the major math for you and gives you either a quick or in-depth view of your home network speed. But if you’re still running into network issues, consider looking into these diagnostic tricks and simple fixes for network problems.

Read the full article: How to Test Your Home Network Speed (And Decipher the Results)


7 Reasons Why You Should Replace Your ISP’s Router

When you sign up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), they usually send you a modem and a router. At first, it’s convenient that you don’t need to buy your own, but sticking with your ISP’s hardware does have its disadvantages.

So, why should you buy your own router, and what advantages do they bring?

1. Buying a Router Can Be Cheaper in the Long Run

When you sign up to an ISP’s service, they’ll often give you a router as part of the package. Sometimes this router comes as part of the package, and there’s not much you can do about it.

Sometimes, however, the ISP will ask you if you’d like to rent its approved router. This rental becomes an added cost on your monthly bill.

If you already have a router, you don’t need to rent out the ISP’s model. While the upfront cost of buying your own router is more, the long-term costs of an ISP router vs. your own router will save you money.

2. Your ISP’s Router May Have a Weak Wi-Fi Signal

Don’t get us wrong; some ISPs produce powerful routers with a Wi-Fi signal that covers the entire household. Some, however, have feeble Wi-Fi strengths or download speeds that make using the internet a chore.

Your best bet is to check the specs of the router that your ISP sent you, then compare it to the speed of your internet plan. If the router can’t move as much data, you’ll benefit from a better device.

You can also use Wi-Fi signal measuring tools to check how strong the signal is. If you’re getting a weak signal and moving the router around doesn’t fix it, you should try getting a more powerful router.

Some routers are also made to provide better Wi-Fi in difficult places. The Amplifi HD system, for example, uses high-density mesh points throughout your house to eliminate dead spots.

If you live in a house with lots of signal-stopping walls, something like this can provide a speed boost. Features like tri-band Wi-Fi can also keep speeds up when you’re using multiple devices.

3. Opt for Routers With Better Parental Controls

Storebought routers have great options for parental controls. While parental apps on a computer do work, parental controls on the router itself are more effective and harder to crack. While some ISP routers support parental controls, you’re not likely to get as many options as you are if you buy your own.

Netgear routers, for example, come with a free app that lets you adjust the control settings directly from your phone. You can also set up specific times where some sites are blocked, but others are allowed.

4. Storebought Routers Have Better Guest Network Tools

Most routers can create guest networks. With a click, you give Wi-Fi access to guests with a custom password, without giving away your private network’s one. This feature is useful for keeping people off of your network, where all your files and devices may be stored.

You can also turn the guest network off when it’s not in use, in case you’re worried about hackers. Guest networks don’t let users see what else is attached to the network, access other devices, and sometimes keep guests from even seeing each other.

Guest networks provide a lot of conveniences and added security, but not all ISP routers support them. As such, if you’re considering an ISP router vs. storebought routers, it’s best to go with the latter.

5. Storebought Routers Have Better Bandwidth Prioritization

Quality of service (QoS) lets you choose apps or devices that get priority bandwidth. You could use these settings to make sure that Netflix on your Roku gets priority for streaming, for example.

Some routers also give you more advanced capabilities related to QoS so you can customize how it treats different types of traffic. If you’re using several devices at the same time, you can ensure that your router is making the right decisions on data transmission.

You’ll probably need to do some research to find how to configure QoS best, but if you do it well, you can significantly improve the quality of your Wi-Fi.

6. Third-Party Firmware Works Better

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to your router’s firmware. However, if you want to get the best performance from your router, you can upgrade or even change the firmware. Installing DD-WRT, for example, can open up more options than your standard firmware.

Having freedom over your router’s settings allows you to fine-tune its performance. There are plenty of ways to improve the speed of your router, and having control of its firmware helps you get the best from your equipment.

You can’t choose a firmware on an ISP-provided router. Even upgrading your router to the latest firmware is hard when your ISP is slow with updates.

7. Storebought Routers Are More Secure and Stable

When you purchase a router directly from a manufacturer, they have control over the firmware and don’t have a specific affiliation toward a particular ISP. This means the company can keep your router secure via updates and should work on any ISP you choose.

This isn’t always true for an ISP’s router. For one, the ISP may not be the one producing the router in the first place; they may delegate that task to another company. If a flaw appears in your router’s security, the ISP has to get in touch with the router’s manufacturer to fix it.

Similarly, the router will be built to work with its ISP, but isn’t guaranteed to work well outside of its default settings. The Register reported on how Sky customers had their routers bricked after a firmware update. It only affected those that used a custom DNS server, which shows how users face problems if they stray off the ISP’s intended path.

Which Routers Are Better Than ISP Equipment?

We’ve made an excellent case for grabbing a new router instead of settling for what your ISP gives you. However, now the question remains: if your ISP’s router isn’t good enough, what is? There are plenty of routers out there, and not all of them are winners.

Before you hit the store to find something better, be sure to read our picks for the best modem/router combo for every budget.

Do I Have to Use the Router Provided by My ISP?

If you want to replace your ISP’s equipment, you may wonder if your ISP forces you to use their router. The answer is no, but sometimes sticking to your ISP’s router will make things easier. It’s up to you to weigh the benefits of buying a router with the ease of using the ISP’s tools.

These days, some ISPs will provide a modem/router combo when you sign up. All you need to do is plug in the router, and you’re set.

When replacing this kind of router, you also need a modem alongside it. Some ISP routers will allow their routers to be put in “modem mode,” so you can connect it to a router of your choice. Otherwise, you’ll need to get your own.

You can also opt for a modem/router combo of your own. Just be sure the router fits the requirements of your ISP, else it may not function as intended.

Getting the Best From Your Router

ISPs are keen to give you a router to set you up, but they’re not always your best option. Now you know the pros and cons of an ISP router vs. an aftermarket router and whether or not you should buy a router.

Don’t throw out your ISP’s router, though; there are ways to reuse an old router and give it a second life.

Read the full article: 7 Reasons Why You Should Replace Your ISP’s Router


4 Google Scripts That Make Google Sheets More Powerful


Google Sheets is part of the Google Suite and is by far one of the most powerful free tools at your disposal. It lets you track, analyze, or log just about anything you could imagine. What makes it even more powerful is using Google Scripts to enhance the capabilities of Google Sheets.

Coding in Google Sheets might sound a little intimidating. You may think at first that anything with the word “scripts” in it requires advanced programming knowledge. That actually isn’t the case.

Let’s take a look at some pretty cool Google Sheets scripts examples that can boost your productivity.

What Are Google Sheets Scripts?

Google Sheets Scripts are pieces of code you can write inside your Google Sheets that can power up your sheets. Google Sheets Scripts are written in JavaScript, and given that JavaScript is becoming more and more popular you may already be familiar with it.

Writing Google Scripts is very similar to writing VBA in Microsoft Excel to create programs. Scripts in your Google Sheets are powered by the Google Apps Script, which also works with other Google services. Here are four scripts that really demonstrate the power of Google Sheets scripting.

1. Create Your Own Custom Functions

One of the easiest ways of creating a Google Script can greatly enhance your Google Sheets experience is by creating custom functions. Google Sheets already offers a long list of functions. You can see the most common ones by clicking on the Menu > Functions icon.

Sheets Custom Function

Clicking on More functions shows you a long list of math, statistical, financial, text, engineering, and other functions. However, Google Scripts gives you the flexibility to create your very own personalized formulas.

For example, say you often import information from a digital thermostat at your job, but the thermostat is set for Celsius. You could create your own custom formula to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, so with one click, you could automatically convert all of those imported values.

To create your first custom function, you’ll need to open up the Script editor. To do this, click Tools > Script Editor.

Script Editor

You will see the project screen, where you can write your JavaScript code.

Script Editor

Here, replace what’s in this window with your own custom function. The function name is the same as the name that you’ll start typing into a cell in Google Sheets after the “=” symbol in order to invoke your formula. A function to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit would look something like this:

function CSTOFH (input) {
  return input * 1.8 + 32;

Paste the function above into the code window, and then select File > Save, name the project something like “CelsiusConverter” and click OK.

That’s all there is to it! Now, all you have to do to use your new function is type the “=” sign followed by your function, with the input number to convert:

Sheets Function

Press Enter to see the result.

Sheets Function Result

That’s all there is to it. You can quickly see how you can write just about any custom formula that you need to fit your Google Sheet.

2. Auto-Generate Charts

In other articles, we’ve shown you how to do things like log data from your home Wi-Fi cameras to a Google spreadsheet, or maybe you’re using Google Sheets with a team and other people are entering data for you.

Let’s say you’re working on a sheet with new data every month. You would like to automatically create a chart using the data in the spreadsheet. You can accomplish this by creating a function that will create a new chart for you, based on the data in the current spreadsheet you have open.

In this scenario, you’re a teacher and at the end of the year you have a spreadsheet for each student with the list of monthly exam scores:

Sheets Exam Scores

What you would like to do is run a single function on this sheet that would generate a chart in seconds. Here is what that script looks like:

function GradeChart()
{ var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet(); var sheet = spreadsheet.getSheets()[0]; var gradechart = sheet.newChart() .setChartType(Charts.ChartType.LINE) .addRange(sheet.getRange('A1:B11')) .setPosition(5, 5, 0, 0) .build(); sheet.insertChart(gradechart); }

Now, open each of your student’s spreadsheets and click on the Run icon in the menu in Google Scripts to auto-generate the chart.

Scripts Run Icon

Whenever you click on the run icon, it’ll run the script that you’ve created on the “active” spreadsheet (the one you have open in your current browser tab).

Sheets Generated Chart

For reports that you have to generate frequently, like weekly or monthly, this kind of auto-generated chart function can really save you a lot of time.

3. Create Custom Menus

What if you don’t want to have the script open to auto-generate that chart? What if you’d like the convenience of having that function right at your fingertips in the menu system, right inside of Google Sheets? Well, you can do that too.

In order to create a custom menu, you need to tell the spreadsheet to add your new menu item every time it opens. You do this by creating an onOpen() function in the Script editor window above the Gradechart function you just created:

function onOpen() {
  var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();
  var menuItems = [
    { name: 'Create Grade Chart...', functionName: 'GradeChart' }
  spreadsheet.addMenu('Charts', menuItems);

Save the script, and then reload your spreadsheet. You’ll discover that now your new Menu item shows up with the name you defined it as in your script. Click on the menu and you’ll see the menu item for your function.

Sheets Custom Function

Click on the menu item and it’ll run the function just like it did when you pressed the “run” icon from inside of the Google Scripts editor!

4. Send Automated Reports

The last script example we’re showing you is a script that will send email from inside of Google Sheets.

The way this may come in handy is if you are managing a large team of people and you have multiple emails to send on the same topic.

Maybe you’ve done a performance review with individual team members and logged your review comments for each person in a Google Spreadsheet.

Would it be nice to just run a single script and have those comments automatically emailed out to the 50 or 60 employees all at the same time without you having to manually create all of those individual emails? That’s the power of Google Scripting.

Similar to how you created the scripts above, you’ll create a script by going into the Script editor and creating a function called sendEmails(), like this:

function sendEmails() {
  var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSheet();
  var startRow = 2; // First row of data to process
  var numRows = 7; // Number of rows to process
  var dataRange = sheet.getRange(startRow, 1, numRows, 3)
  var data = dataRange.getValues();
  for (i in data) {
    var row = data[i];
    var emailAddress = row[1]; // Second column
    var message = row[2]; // Third column
    var subject = "My review notes";
    MailApp.sendEmail(emailAddress, subject, message);

So let’s say you have your spreadsheet organized as shown here.

Sheets Sample Data

The script above will work all the way through each row in the spreadsheet, and send out an email to the address in the second column with the message that you’ve typed into the third column.

The sendEmail function in Google Scripts is by far one of the most powerful functions in Google Scripts because it opens up a whole world of email automation that will save you time.

This script shows you the real power of Google Apps Scripting, combining Gmail with Google Sheets Scripts to automate a task. While you’ve seen scripts that work on Google Sheets, the best thing to take away is the power of scripting across the whole Google Suite.

Automation Is the Secret to Productivity Success

What all of these automation Google Scripts should show you is that with just a few simple lines of code, Google Scripts has the power to partially or fully automate Google Sheets.

These functions can be set up to run on a schedule, or you can run them manually whenever you want to trigger them. Google scripts can automate boring tasks like sending emails or sending invoices from Google Sheets. Looking for more? Check out these 3 Google Scripts to automate your documents.

Read the full article: 4 Google Scripts That Make Google Sheets More Powerful


Is Groupon Safe and Does It Really Save Money?


Of all local deal websites, Groupon remains the most popular. But you just have to wonder, is Groupon legit and will it always save you money?

There’s no doubt that many people have saved an impressive amount of money by using Groupon. However, there are also some real dangers involved if you aren’t experienced with the service. So, what is Groupon and how can you avoid scams or bad deals? These Groupon tips will help you make better buys on the marketplace.

What Is Groupon?

If you’ve never shopped on the Groupon website before and don’t know how it works, it becomes a lot harder to spot red flags associated with bad deals. Not only is Groupon a great website for online coupons and promotional codes, but it also helps you score discounts with local businesses and services.

You can buy Groupons for restaurants, hotels, automotive services, activities, products, personal services, home services, spas, and much more. When you buy a Groupon, you buy a specific product or service at a discounted price. While most of Groupon’s offers give you a great deal, you have to be careful about the Groupons you choose.

How to Spot Potential Fraud

You can’t trust every single deal you see on Groupon, but you shouldn’t let that scare you off from using Groupon altogether. Identifying these red flags can help you avoid a Groupon scam.

Low Number of Buyers

Groupon will display the number of buyers on a popular deal. When you go to the deal’s page, you’ll see small text that says something like “1,000+ bought” above the Buy button. The number of buyers displayed can range anywhere from 10 to 25,000 and beyond.

Smaller businesses might not have thousands of buyers, and that’s okay. If at least 10 people have bought a specific Groupon, you can have confidence that it’s a legitimate deal. If the deal doesn’t have any buyers listed, you’re taking a risk by purchasing it.

Amateur Website

Always visit the website of the business to make sure it’s a legit website. You’ll often see the site name listed in the “About” section of the deal page—otherwise, Google the company. If the site looks like it was thrown together in five minutes, don’t splurge on the deal.

Little Contact Information

When you scroll down the page of a Groupon deal, you’ll usually see the company’s contact information. This includes the business’ address, phone number, and hours. If you don’t see any contact details, then the deal likely isn’t trustworthy.

A Complicated Fine Print

Every Groupon has a “Fine Print” section towards the bottom of the page that you should make sure to read very carefully. Even if the business is legit, sometimes this section can reveal conditions about the deal that the title or description left out. Avoid these deceiving deals at all costs!

Bad Groupon Reviews

Each business on Groupon comes with a rating from one to five stars. You’ll also get to check out what customers say about the business under the “Customer Reviews” section on the deal’s page. A slew of negative reviews and a low star rating are signs that you shouldn’t trust that Groupon.

How to Identify a Bad Groupon Deal

Is Groupon reliable when it comes to its deals? The good news is that fraudulent listings on Groupon are very rare, and when the site learns about them, they are quick to shut them down. Beyond the few fraudulent listings, is a much more prevalent problem: some deals are structured in a way so that the deal isn’t really as good as you’d think.

Split Groupons

Groupon Restaurant Split Deal

You’ll sometimes come across restaurants that split deals into multiple Groupons. At first glance, these deals seem amazing. However, they’re more inconvenient than helpful.

This type of Groupon limits your ability to get the full 50% discount advertised in the Groupon. Instead, you can only spend $8 of the $24 Groupon at a time, on any given day.

This means if you take your family to the restaurant and spend $30, you can only use an $8 Groupon. In other words, you’re only getting the discount off a small portion of your purchase. To make matters worse, you have to go back and make two more purchases to use your remaining Groupons. The only way to make the best of a deal like this is to only purchase $8 worth of food at any given time.

The Hotel Room Bait-and-Switch

Groupon Hotel Deal Price Example

Hotels often advertise very steep discounts off of their rooms on the main Groupon ad. However, Groupon isn’t always the best way to find cheap hotel rooms.

When you click and review the hotel deal details, you’ll discover that the discount only applies if you’re traveling alone and only need one bed. You can still book a room with extra beds, but that cost will dramatically increase when you do.

Hotel Groupon Deal Calendar Prices

The Groupon deal usually only applies to the specific days of the week—Fridays and weekends still have sky-high prices. If you schedule the room for the weekend and book it through Groupon, say goodbye to those cheap prices that were advertised on the main Groupon listing!

Home and Personal Services Are Limited

Groupon Personal Services Fine Print

In the Home Services and Personal Services categories of Groupon, you really need to read the “Fine Print” section on each deal.

Unfortunately, the Home Services and Personal Service sections are some of the most tightly controlled discounts with many little details buried in the deal’s conditions. For example, some deals might require that you live in a specific area, and may exclude services you initially expected. To avoid any confusion, just read the “Fine Print” details with a very fine-tooth comb.

Skip Out on the Products

Groupon Product Example Price

You also need to use caution when shopping for products in the Goods section of Groupon. In this category, you can buy anything from electronics, clothes, kitchen tools, pet supplies, and even jewelry.

Before you make the purchase, you should compare prices with other sellers. In the photo above, you’ll see Groupon selling an Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub. Simply using a price comparison tool proves that Groupon doesn’t have the best deal—Amazon sells the same product for an even cheaper price.

Groupon Amazon Product Price Comparison

That said, you can still find some decent discounts on products. Just check with other online marketplaces to find the best price.

Use Groupon With Care

Groupon is one of the best resources to get awesome deals, but not every “deal” is amazing. When it comes down to determining your question, “Is Groupon safe?” the answer is most of the time.

There’s always the possibility that the business isn’t honest when listing deals, so do your due diligence before buying. You can also get a better deal elsewhere, so shop around. But if you do spot a killer deal on Groupon and the business looks legit, by all means, jump on it.

Groupon has its fair share of problems, but so do many other online marketplaces. In fact, you should keep an eye out for these eBay scams before placing your next bid.

Read the full article: Is Groupon Safe and Does It Really Save Money?


Recover Deleted Files and Manage NTFS Drives With This Mac Software Bundle

Most of the time, computers do a great job of keeping our data safe and organized. But just occasionally, files get lost or become inaccessible. The iBoysoft Data Recovery + NTFS for Mac Bundle helps you keep things running smoothly, with two great apps for file management. This dynamic duo includes a powerful data recovery app and a lightweight NTFS driver, meaning you can access Windows-formatted drives. You can pick up the bundle now for $19 at MakeUseOf Deals.

Recovery and Access

Some files are just too precious to lose. If you ever accidentally delete your family photos, or your tax records get corrupted, iBoysoft Data Recovery will save the day.

This well-reviewed app allows you to recover any file in three easy steps. You simply select the drive, run a scan, and choose what you want to recover. iBoysoft can recover photos, videos, documents, emails, music files, and even entire partitions.

In terms of drives, the software works with inaccessible/unreadable external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, and your Macintosh.

The other half of this drive is iBoysoft NTFS for Mac. This lightweight driver lets you read, write, delete, and move files that are stored on Windows-formatted drives.

Two Apps for $19

These apps are worth $99.90 in total, but you can grab the bundle now for $19 — that’s 80% off the MSRP.

Read the full article: Recover Deleted Files and Manage NTFS Drives With This Mac Software Bundle

December 11 2019


How to Set Up Google Alerts for News, Shopping, and Entertainment


When you want to find something on the web, you probably open your browser and perform a Google search. And while this is the most obvious way to search, you can take Google a step further using Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts, you can enter what you want to find and receive a regular email with all the results. So rather than search Google every morning for something new related to your interest, you can just check your inbox. This is handy for things like global or local news, sales or coupon codes, or updates on your favorite movies or TV shows.

If you’re new to Google Alerts, MakeUseOf is here to help. Here’s how to set up Google Alerts.

Set Up Google Alerts With Suggestions

The simplest way to get started with Google Alerts is by checking out the alert suggestions. Google gives you a nice selection of popular topics like companies, finance, music, sports, politics, and more.

So you can quickly set up alerts for things like bitcoin in the finance category, Pearl Jam in music, or Game of Thrones for the TV topic.

Google Alerts Suggestions

Head to the Google Alerts website and sign in with the Google account you want to use for the alert emails, if you have more than one.

Scroll down the page a bit and you’ll see Alert Suggestions. If you like one of these options, just click the plus sign to add it. Then when you scroll back to the top, you’ll see the My Alerts section with those you choose.

Set Up Google Alerts With Keywords

Now that you know how to set up a basic Google Alert, let’s look at a few Google Alert types that you can create yourself.

Just like searching on Google with keywords, you can set up alerts tailored to your interests. This lets you go further than those Alert Suggestions that Google provides. Plus, you can enter symbols and use search operators as you would on Google Search to narrow down your results.

For example, maybe you’d like to receive an email with articles on MakeUseOf that mention gifts so you can get a jumpstart on your holiday or birthday shopping.

You would enter gifts site:makeuseof.com in the search box. You’ll then see a preview of the types of results you would receive. If you are happy with it, click Create Alert. Or you can click Show Options and adjust the settings for the alert which we’ll describe later.

Google Alerts Gifts MUO

As another example, maybe you’re in the market for a new Chromebook and want it priced within a certain range. You could enter chromebook $200..$500 in the search box, adjust the settings if you like, and create the alert.

Google Alerts Chromebook Price Range

Do you need to find parts to fix your bicycle in New York on Craigslist? You can combine a few operators to narrow down your alert results and enter “New York” AND “bicycle parts” site:craigslist.org.

Google Alerts Bicycle Parts Craigslist

Do you want to find coupon codes for a department store like Kohl’s? Enter kohl’s “coupon code” in the search box.

Google Alerts Kohls Coupon Code

There are tons of possibilities for the types of Google Alerts you can set up and customize.

Google Alerts Settings and Options

When you create an alert, you can adjust the settings at that time by clicking the Show Options link or afterward by clicking the Edit button (pencil icon) next to the alert in the My Alerts section.

Individual Alert Settings

One option you have with Google Alerts is to customize the individual alerts you receive You can pick how often to get the alerts, the sources, a particular language, and a few other options.

Google Alerts Settings

Here’s a rundown of the settings you can adjust:

  • How Often: “As-It-Happens” is best for time-sensitive things (like flash deals) but “At Most Once A Week” is ideal for cases that are less urgent or if you don’t want to drown in emails.
  • Sources: Which content types do you want to consider? These correspond to Google’s own categories, including: News, Blogs, Web, Video, Books, Discussions, and Finance. You can select more than one if desired or just use the Automatic option for them all.
  • Language: Filters sources based on the language you select.
  • Region: Do you only want to consider sources in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K.? This is how you filter them.
  • How Many: Pick either “Only the Best Results” (stricter criteria for matching) or “All Results” (more liberal, pretty much everything Google finds).
  • Deliver To: Have the alerts sent either to your Gmail or to an RSS feed.

If you decide not to use the extra settings, Google Alerts will default to global results as they’re found and will send them straight to your email.

Regarding the Sources option, here’s a breakdown of each content type:

  • News: Only searches the latest articles on Google News.
  • Blogs: Only searches newly published blog posts.
  • Web: Searches all new pieces of content on the web.
  • Video: Only searches video descriptions on Google.
  • Books: Only searches new additions to Google Books.
  • Discussions: Only searches new online forum threads.
  • Finance: Only searches prices for stocks that match the query.
  • Automatic: Searches across all categories.

My Alerts

If you set up more than one alert, you can roll them into one email called a Digest. Click the Settings button (gear icon) in the My Alerts section.

You can then check the box for Digest and choose to receive the email at most once per day or per week.

Optionally, you can check the box for Delivery to select the time of day you want to receive the email.

Google Alerts Digest and Delivery

Delete an Alert

If you later change your mind about an alert you set up, you can remove it easily and stop receiving the emails.

Head back to the Google Alerts page and sign into your Google account. At the top in the My Alerts section, click the Delete button (trash can icon) next to the alert you want to remove.

Google Alerts Delete Alert

Never Miss a Thing With Google Alerts

If you find yourself searching Google every day or even a few times per week for the exact same thing, then Google Alerts can save you time and energy by delivering your interests right to your inbox.

And for those one-off times where you only need to search once, check out our tips for searching Google by date or how to search an image on Google.

Read the full article: How to Set Up Google Alerts for News, Shopping, and Entertainment

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