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August 21 2018

19:00

How to Chop Down a 20,000 Email Inbox to Zero in 30 Minutes

zero-inbox-quick

Between promotions, newsletters, notifications, and everything else that comes flying into your inbox every day, it’s very easy to accumulate too many emails. If you don’t have time to deal with it, you could find yourself sitting on an inbox with upwards of 20 to 30 thousand messages.

Somewhere in there, you’ve got important messages you don’t want to lose. But how do you empty out the clutter without tossing out the baby with the bathwater?

If you follow the process outlined in this article, you can get yourself down to inbox zero in at least 30 minutes. At the most, one hour. Want to give it a try? Open up your bloated inbox, and follow along.

The Bloated Gmail Inbox

Introducing, the inbox of a very busy person.

Bloated Gmail Inbox

That’s right. Almost 20,000 unread email messages. Those are only the unread ones. The total size of my email account before starting this process was pushing 35,000 messages.

So, the first thing to do is chop off the low hanging fruit.

Toss Out the Trash

It should go without saying that you need to take out the trash often, not only at home but in your Gmail inbox as well.

Click on your Trash in the left navigation bar, click the “select all” box at the top of the message list, and then click on the “All conversations” link listed before the first email.

Clear Gmail Trash

Then click on Delete Forever.

Next, go after Gmail spam. In the navigation field, click on the Spam link, and then click on “Delete all spam messages now”.

Delete Gmail Spam

Feels good, right? We haven’t really put a dent in the inbox yet, but it’s a great feeling to start cleaning your inbox after you’ve taken out the trash.

Now for the next level of low hanging fruit.

Social and Promotions

If you’re using Google’s default style Gmail inbox, then you’ll see Social and Promotion tabs at the top of your inbox.

Click on each of these and scroll down through the list looking for large volumes of duplicates.

Gmail's Social and Promotions tab

These are the culprits that are filling up your inbox every day.

When you find them, open the email and find the Unsubscribe link near the top or bottom of the email.

Only go through the first few pages of Social and Promotion posts looking for large groups of duplicates. Just wiping out your most recent newsletters will drastically reduce the amount of email filling your inbox every day.

Don’t spend too much time doing this, because there are bigger fish to fry right now. After you’re done with this article, you’ll want to go through  Sandy’s article on mastering Gmail inbox anxiety to prevent yourself from getting into this mess all over again.

Once you’ve unsubscribed from the most common emails, click on the Select All icon at the top again, and click on the “Select all conversations” link at the top.

Select conversations in Gmail

Click the trash icon to delete them all.

Repeat the same process on the Promotions tab. By the time you’re done deleting all of these, you’ve likely already chopped your inbox down by a few thousand.

And you’re only getting warmed up.

Backup and Delete Labeled Emails

Years ago, I used to be part of a team that conducted online investigations. Over the time I was there I accumulated a few thousand emails—all of them applied with a special Gmail label of the incoming, linked email address.

The address closed in 2015 but I never bothered deleting all of those emails.

You’ve likely created all sorts of labels years ago. Maybe you even automated the process with filters for incoming emails. All of those emails are just sitting there wasting space.

You can’t just delete labeled emails in bulk, because you labeled them for a reason. Maybe they contain years of research, or they’re a historical archive of some work you did that you just don’t want to lose.

Back Up Important Labeled Emails

Luckily, it’s very easy to back up all those emails in bulk using Google’s account export feature.

Google offers a Download Your Data page for every service in your Google account.

Gmail Download Your Data

Click on Manage Archives link, and then click on Create New Archive.

Gmail -- Create New Archive

Scroll down to your list of accounts and click Select None to deselect all accounts.

Then scroll down to your Gmail account, and click the switch to enable that service only.

Click the dropdown arrow, and click on Select labels.

Go down the list of labels you’ve created in your Gmail account, and select all of the ones you want to take a full backup of.

Under the list, you can select the compressed file format and the max archive size.

Finally, click the Create Archive button.

Google will email you that it’s started taking your archive. It could take a few hours or even a day, but eventually, you’ll receive a follow-up email when the archive is ready to download. The download link will be right in the email message.

Gmail Data Archive

Once you’ve downloaded and saved your email archive someplace safe, you’re ready to start wiping out labeled emails.

Delete Labeled Emails and Labels

Back in your Gmail inbox, click on each label so the emails display, and select All from the select list.

Remember to select all conversations like you did before.

Click the trash icon to delete all of those emails.

If you’re lucky, you’ll come across labels with thousands of emails you can clean out of your inbox now that you have a backup.

Once you’ve cleaned out all of the emails, don’t forget to delete all those old labels. Just click the dropdown on the right side of the label name and choose Remove label from the list.

At this point, you should have already chopped down the size of your inbox significantly. But let’s not hold back. We’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeves.

Delete Old Emails

If you have tens of thousands of emails, the odds are pretty good that even the emails that used to be important four or five years ago aren’t very important anymore.

Now’s the time to really dig deep and clean house. Let’s get rid of those very old emails.

To do this, just type “older_than:2y” in the Gmail search field. You can set any time limit you want by changing 2 to whatever number of years of email you’d like to keep.

Just remember that whatever volume of emails you “keep”, you’re going to have to sort through at the end to pull out the truly important ones. So make this timeframe as small as you’re comfortable with.

Select All emails, and select all conversations, then click the Trash icon just like you’ve been doing all along.

After that, your email inbox of tens of thousands should be getting down into at last the single thousands by this point.

At this point, it’s time to take a slightly more selective approach to clean up the remaining mess.

Clean, Sort, and Organize

First, consider that any email you haven’t actually opened beyond a couple of weeks ago, you’re probably never going to open.

You can quickly clean those up by searching for all unread emails older than ten days.

In the search field, just type “is:unread older_than:10d”.

Select and delete all of those listed emails.

Another approach to trim down the remaining list of emails even further is to search for typical spam or promotional subject lines. You can do this by typing searches like “subject: deal”, “subject: giveaway” or “subject: last chance”.

Every search should turn up well over 100 emails at a time. Just keep wiping them out.

Finish Off Your Inbox

At this point, your mountain of tens of thousands of emails should be pared down to a much more manageable size. You’ve now concentrated your inbox to mostly email messages that are important to you and that you may want to keep.

Next, start scrolling through the remaining emails. When you spot important emails you want to keep, just drag them over to the labels you’ve created for them (or create new labels if they don’t exist yet).

This sounds like a chore, but visually scanning a page of emails at a time should only turn up a few you actually want to keep. Then you can select all emails on that page and delete them all. This will wipe out 50 or so emails at a time.

Remember, whenever you notice a repeat sender turning up, open the email and click the dropdown arrow next to the reply button. From this list click “Filter messages like this”.

Filter Messages

Then select all and delete the list of matching emails that show up.

By labeling, filtering, and deleting big blocks of emails, you’ll have that list of just over 1,000 emails down to that miraculous inbox zero in no time.

It’s a tremendous feeling seeing that “empty” note in the inbox, especially when you’ve gone years without seeing it!

Don’t Let the Beast Grow

Now that you’ve taken the time to finally get that giant beast of an inbox under control again, it’s important to keep it from growing too big again. The best way to do that is to study all of the features Gmail has available to keep things organized and streamlined.

You can learn about those features in our Power User Guide to Gmail, and never face having to go through this process again.

Image Credit: Nomadsoul1/Depositphotos

Read the full article: How to Chop Down a 20,000 Email Inbox to Zero in 30 Minutes

18:00

How to Start Using Color Correction in Adobe Premiere Pro

color-correction-premiere

Color correction can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your videos. From home-made style videos which may be very yellow to professional-looking productions, getting started with color correction in Adobe Premiere Pro couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Color Correction vs. Color Grading

Before making any edits, it’s important to clarify the difference between Color Correction and Color Grading.

Color correction is the process of “balancing” an image. This involves increasing or decreasing the exposure, contrast, and shadows, to reproduce what your eye expects to see, and what the scene actually looked like. While there can be some artistic choices made at this stage, it’s about reproducing the scene as it looked in real life, and producing a nice image.

Premiere Pro color wheels

Color grading is usually performed after color correction. This involves changing the colors to something different. Films like The Matrix have a green tint, and many Hollywood blockbusters use a teal and orange grade. Color grading is as much about artistic choices as technical accuracy.

This tutorial will focus on the basics of color correction, although some of these tips will also apply to color grading.

Using the Lumetri Color Tool

The Lumetri Color tool is one of the most common ways to color correct footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. While there are other methods, along with different tools available in other video-editing packages, the basic concepts are the same regardless of your choice of tool.

Open the Lumetri Color panel by going to Window > Lumetri Color. Alternatively, you can go to Window > Workspaces > Color, to open the Color Workspace, which contains various different tools for analyzing and adjusting colors in video.

Premiere Pro Lumetri Color menu entry

On your timeline, select the clip you want to start color correcting. The Lumetri Color tool will change from grayed out to colored, indicating that it’s ready to use.

Premiere Pro Lumetri Color tabs

The Lumetri Color tool contains six tabs, each one containing tools for a specific color correction task. These are:

  1. Basic Correction: Tools for balancing the image, and correcting under or over-exposure, white balance, contrast, and saturation.
  2. Creative: Tools for working with LUTs, film grain effects, and color tint.
  3. Curves: Tools for adjusting hue, saturation, and contrast for specific colors or the whole image.
  4. Color Wheels & Match: Individual tools for adjusting shadows, midtones, and highlights.
  5. HSL Secondary: Tools for working with hue, saturation, and luminance.
  6. Vignette: Tools for adding a vignette.

These tabs may seem overwhelming, but it’s not as difficult as it looks. By clicking each tab, you can expand to see the tools and information for each section. The small checkbox to the right of the tab name will enable or disable that particular adjustment. This is a quick way to see a before and after view of some of your changes.

We’ve covered Color Wheels & Match in our guide to using the color match tool. In addition to that, our guide to making your own LUTs covers some aspects of the Creative tab. As color correction is different from color grading, these tips will focus on the Basic Correction tab.

Basic Correction in Adobe Premiere Pro

Here’s the footage we’ll be working with. It’s a close-up shot of somebody playing the guitar at a live music event:

Person playing guitar, before color correction

Let’s dig into the tools found in the Basic Correction tab.

Premiere Pro Lumetri Color Basic Correction tools

Handy Tip: when making any adjustments using the Lumetri Color panel, double-click a slider to reset it to its default value.

The first tool is Input LUT. We’ve discussed LUTs previously, and they are essentially the same as Instagram filters. You won’t need to use any LUTs when learning the basics—they can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.

Moving on to White Balance. Here you can adjust the temperature and tint of the white balance. You can “cool things down” by adding more blue to the image (temperature slider to the left). You can “warm things up” by moving the temperature slider to the right (which in turn adds more orange).

By using the WB Selector, you can choose a point in your video which should be white, and Premiere Pro will attempt to guess the correct white balance settings. This isn’t perfect, but it can be a good starting point.

Here’s the example image after correcting the white balance. It’s not finished yet, but it already looks a lot better:

Premiere Pro corrected white balance

If you’d like to learn more about white balance, take a moment to read our guide to white balance.

Underneath white balance is the Tone section. This contains controls for contrast, exposure, highlights, shadows, and more. At the bottom right of these controls is a button labeled Auto. By pressing this button, Premiere Pro will attempt to color correct your footage for you. It doesn’t always do a great job, but it can be a good starting point.

Here’s our example image after pressing the auto button:

Premiere Pro auto button corrected color

While this image has improved in some areas, the auto button has raised some new issues. Here’s what the Lumetri sliders look like now:

Premiere Pro Lumetri tone sliders

Premiere Pro has boosted the Exposure and Whites sliders, while making minor reductions to all the other sliders.

With each slider, moving to the right will increase the effect of that particular area, and moving to the right will decrease the effect. Here’s what they all do:

  1. Exposure: Brightens or darkens the whole image.
  2. Contrast: Add or remove contrast.
  3. Highlights: Brighten or darken only the highlights.
  4. Shadows: Brighten or darken only the shadows.
  5. Whites: Increase or decrease the intensity of any white pixels.
  6. Blacks: Increse or decrease the intensity of any black pixels.
  7. HDR Specular: Not available unless working with high dynamic range (HDR) footage.

By reducing the white level, and increasing the contrast, the image looks much better:

Premiere Pro color corrected image

While each video is different, the best way to learn is by experimenting. Press the auto button, move the sliders to their maximum and minimum levels and take note of what happens. By increasing or decreasing the level of the shadows, for example, it’s possible to brighten or darken your video.

The final control under the Tone section is Saturation. Saturation alters the intensity of the colors in an image. By moving this all the way to the left, the image will become black and white. All the way to the right, and it will become saturated. Colors will look unrealistic and fake.

Like many adjustments, small changes can make a big difference. There’s no need to make big extreme changes. The colors in the example shot are quite bright and vivid, so a slight reduction of saturation by 10 percent is enough to improve the shot:

Premiere Pro image with reduced saturation

Kick Your Premiere Pro Skills Up a Notch

The before and after images of the example color correction shot show what a big difference color correction can make. Often, it’s only when looking at both versions of an image side-by-side you see how bad the image was before you applied color correction.

While there are many other tools available in the Lumetri Color panel, mastering the basics will give you an excellent foundation to build upon. If you’re finding that Premiere Pro is slowing you down, take a look at these Premiere Pro speedy workflow tips.

Read the full article: How to Start Using Color Correction in Adobe Premiere Pro

17:00

How to Transfer Data From Your Old PS4 to a New PS4

transfer-data-ps4

Whether you’re upgrading from your standard PlayStation 4 to a PS4 Pro (perhaps in order to make the most of your new 4K television) or just switching to another standard PS4, you’ll want to transfer your data from your old console to your new console.

This means you’ll need to copy your saves, user accounts, capture gallery, and application data over to your new PlayStation 4. Thankfully, this is a straightforward process that doesn’t require any proprietary cables and doesn’t take long, even if you have hundreds of gigabytes to move.

Here’s the process for transferring data from your old PS4 to your new PS4.

What You’ll Need

Transferring data from one console to another, regardless of what hardware you have, only requires the use of Ethernet cables. If you’re using a wireless router then you’ll only need a single cable. If you’re using a wired connection then you’ll need to connect both consoles via Ethernet.

Cat6 Crossover Cable

Any Ethernet cable should do. For this walkthrough I used a Cat6 “crossover” cable I’ve been using to network two Xbox 360s together, but regular Cat5e or Cat5 cables should work just as well.

Both consoles will also require internet access for the transfer to begin. There’s no way to transfer data from one PS4 to another in “offline” mode. The consoles will not transfer any data over the internet, it’s purely used to activate the new console as your primary PS4 with Sony’s servers.

Wired or Wireless?

Since the transfer relies on the Ethernet cable rather than your wireless network, there’s no difference in transfer speed whether you go the wireless route or not. You’ll just need to make sure of two things:

  • The wireless access point is within range of both consoles, or
  • The wired router you’re using has access to the internet.

Since most of us have wireless networks for web browsing purposes, the easiest method is the wireless route. You’ll only need a single Ethernet cable in this instance.

How to Transfer Data From PS4 to PS4

Step 1: Set Up Your New PS4 Console

Unpack your new PlayStation 4 and set it up as normal. If you only have one display, you’ll need to connect it to the new console for the duration of the setup process.

Power on your new PS4 and follow the prompts to start using it as normal, including connecting to your local wireless network (if you’re using one). If you’re going the wired route, your console should automatically connect to the internet.

PS4 Data Transfer in System Menu

The data transfer is initialized on the new console (i.e. the console you’re transferring data to). When you finally see the PS4 dashboard, head to Settings > System > Transfer data from another PS4.

Step 2: Sign Into PSN

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll be prompted to sign in to PSN on your new console. You’ll then be asked to confirm whether or not you want your new console to be your primary PS4.

Remember: You can only have one primary PS4 at a time. All of the content tied to your account (game purchases, themes, free PlayStation Plus games) will become unavailable to other users once you deactivate a console as your primary device.

Step 3: Prepare Your Old PS4 Console

Turn your old PS4 on when prompted to do so, then hit Next. You don’t need to connect a display unless you really want to. Once your new console detects the old one, you’ll be prompted to press the power button on the old console for one second until you here a “beep” sound.

Hold PS4 Power

At this point, connect both consoles together using your Ethernet cable. If you’re using a wired network already, you won’t need to do anything. Follow the on-screen instructions and wait for the old PS4 to reboot. If you have a display connected to the old console, you’ll see a message on-screen about a pending transfer.

Step 4: Configure the Transfer

Now you’ll be prompted to select what you want to transfer from your old console to the new one. You can choose application (games etc.) data, game saves, your capture gallery, themes, and settings. You’ll see how much space will be left on your new console once the transfer completes.

You should also see an estimate for how long the transfer will take. My console estimated it would take 79 minutes to transfer around 450GB of data.

You’ll finally be asked whether or not you want to activate this new console as a primary console for any other user accounts. If you select no, these user accounts will continue using your old console as their primary PS4.

Step 5: Start the Transfer and Wait

Finally hit Start Transfer and wait for both machines to restart. Once the reboot is complete, you’ll see a progress bar on-screen notifying you of how the transfer is going.

PS4 Data Transfer in Progress

Don’t panic if your console initially reports a hideously long transfer time. Mine reported a wait of 18 hours initially, but the whole process was complete in around an 80 minutes as originally estimated. I’ve seen other users report waits of nine hours for around 500GB of data.

I don’t know whether the use of a high speed Cat6 cable helped, but if in doubt use the best cable you’ve got to hand.

What About External Hard Drives?

You can simply unplug your external drive from your old PS4 and plug it into your new one. It will function just as it did before. Unfortunately it’s not possible to connect two hard drives and transfer data between them. The PS4 uses an encrypted file system that makes it impossible to do this on a PC or Mac either.

The best way to transfer data between two USB drives is to copy your capture gallery to an external USB device using the Settings > Storage menu, then reinstall or re-download application data.

You can also try using the internal storage as an intermediary (again via the Storage menu), but since most of us connect external drives when our internal storage fills up, this is likely not an option for most users.

How to Transfer PS4 Screenshots and Videos

Transferring videos and screenshots from your PS4 is a lot easier, and only requires a regular USB pen drive. Make sure the drive uses no proprietary encryption methods (which often requires the use of additional software) and format it to FAT32 or exFAT.

Other filesystems (including NTFS and macOS Journaled) won’t work, despite reporting that the transfer has completed.

Copy to USB Storage Device

Now head to System > Storage > Capture Gallery and find the screenshots and videos you want to transfer. Hit the Options button and choose Copy to USB Storage Device.

Select Screenshots and Videos

Mark as many items as you like (or have room for) then choose Copy. If you have multiple drives connected (or a partitioned USB drive), you’ll be asked to choose between them.

Copy to USB Storage Device

The PS4 will then notify you of the folder hierarchy used to transfer the content. When you’re ready hit Copy and wait for the transfer to complete. When you’re done there’s no need to “safely eject” the drive, just pull it out.

Note: You can’t transfer saves or application data using this method.

How to Transfer PS4 Save Data

Upload/Download Save Data to PlayStation Plus

When you transfer data from one PS4 to another, all the save data will be copied across so there’s no need to manually transfer anything. If you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber (what are the differences between PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Now, and PlayStation Vue?), your save data will be backed up in the cloud.

All you need to do to get access to your save data on another console (even if it isn’t your primary) is sign in to PSN. You can manually force your console to upload or download save data by hovering over a game, pressing the Options button and choosing Upload/Download

And that’s it. Your data transfer is complete.

Getting Started With Your PS4 Pro

If you have upgraded to a PS4 Pro, almost all PS4 games can make better use of the hardware using Boost Mode, which you can activate under Settings > System > Boost Mode.

PS4 Pro Boost Mode

Many games include PS4 Pro optimized modes, whether that’s texture upgrades and upscaled resolutions for 4K displays, or improved anti-aliasing and higher framerates for 1080p content. If you encounter problems and instability, you’d best turn this off (this mostly affects older games).

No Man's Sky on PS4 Pro

With that in mind, check out our list of games that look better on a PS4 Pro. And remember, most new titles are optimized for the PlayStation 4 Pro, and first party titles (like Uncharted and God of War) get the royal treatment in this regard.

Read the full article: How to Transfer Data From Your Old PS4 to a New PS4

16:00

6 Ways to Track Your Monthly Expenses (And Stick to Your Budget)

track-monhtly-expenses

There’s a lot to consider when you decide to choose an expense manager. Do you want to manually track your expenses or do you want to connect your bank account to an online account? Do you prefer to keep the info entirely offline? Are you looking for an app that takes all that data and turns it into a visual chart? No matter what your needs, there’s a system out there for you.

1. Track Recurring Payments: Clarity Money

Clarity Money takes a very simple approach to tracking expenses.

When you first connect your bank account to the app, your dashboard will instantly be full of useful information. You can view a list of your transactions and view your spending trends in the current and previous month or week, broken down by category.

One of Clarity Money’s best features is the ability to see how much you’ve spent this year on specific subscription services, restaurants, and more. (This appears to be informed by the services or shops/restaurants you frequently spend on):

When you first sign up for Clarity Money, you’ll need to spend some time re-categorizing your expenses, and marking recurring expenses as such. This will allow you to get far more out of the app.

And as you use Clarity Money, the app will identify recurring subscriptions and payments you may want to cancel.

Download: Clarity Money for Android (Free) | iOS (Free)

2. Recurring Payment Calendar: Dollar Bird

Dollar Bird differentiates itself from other services listed here by relying on an online calendar interface for tracking your expenses. It’s also one of the options where you have to manually enter your transactions. As you add transactions, you can categorize them and add recurring payments.

You’ll begin by entering your balance, and then you can add expenses, accompanied by a label. Dollar Bird will use this label to auto-categorize expenses, but you should review categories to make sure the app got them right. You can also create custom categories.

Dollar Bird is pretty barebones. But the calendar view is useful for gaining a sense of understanding of balance at any given time. In addition to the calendar view, you can also see your spending trends over any given period of time.

Other similarly simple apps include Fudget (which lists your transactions rather than presenting them on a calendar),

3. Track Online Shopping: Paypal, Amazon

If much of your online shopping happens on Amazon, you can easily find out how much you’re spending on the shopping website for any given period. Just go to your Amazon Order History Reports page and fill in the details for the date range you’re interested in.

For the report type, select Items if you want specific details on each item you’ve purchased. If you’re only interested in an overview, you could select Orders & Shipments to see the data broken down by orders. (This means you won’t see what specific items were included in each order.)

Once the Excel spreadsheet is ready, you can download it to your computer. You’ll find a lot of unnecessary information you can delete. Just keep order date, title, category, and item total. (The total includes tax and other charges so you get a sense of exactly how much you spent on any given time.)

Amazon Expense Tracksheet

You can scroll down to the end of the spreadsheet and under item total, use Excel’s Auto Sum feature to quickly calculate how much you spent on Amazon in that time period.

Keeping the category listed will also allow you to filter your spreadsheet and see how much you’re spending on any given category of items. On the Data tab click the Filter button to toggle the feature on. (You may have to fix or add some categories first.)

If you tend to make most of your online payments using Paypal, you can track your online expenses and subscriptions by going to the Activity tab and clicking Statements. Select Custom Statements, and under Transaction Type, select Completed Transactions and enter the time period you’re interested in, and Paypal will generate a CSV file of your expenses.

Where else do you do your online shopping? Think about where you spend most of your money online and see if they offer a way to track your order history.

4. Keep It in the Bank: Online Bank Account

Most major banks offer online budgeting tools, so if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of connecting your banking accounts to a third party, you probably have access to expense tracking tools from your bank.

My bank allows me to view expenditures from my checking account, savings account, and credit card. I can choose which accounts to view in my overview as a pie chart broken down by category. And of course, I can see my expenses listed as individual transactions.

Many online banking tools will automatically categorize expenses, but it’s not always 100 percent accurate, but reviewing and fixing them should resolve future miscategorizations.

If you have multiple accounts across different banks, chances are you can add all accounts to the online banking tool that offers the best features and use that as a central tool for tracking your expenses.

Learn more about why online banking is so useful as well as some of the risks involved with online banking.

5. Offline Tracking: Spreadsheet

If you’re completely against the idea of using online tools for your expenses, you could use a spreadsheet instead. Excel has a template for every occasion and expense tracking and budgeting are no exception.

Alternatively, you can also look for Google Sheet Templates and save the file to your computer. Google Templates include a monthly and annual budget tracker with space for you to track your expenses in a pretty detailed fashion.

The spreadsheets are prepopulated with formulas that will take the daily information you input:

And create an overview to give you a better grasp on your spending:

Smartsheet also has a variety of spreadsheet budget templates that you can open in Google Sheets. If you want to log expenses, you can modify the Expense Budget Report template or if you want to include a budget planner in your spreadsheet, you can opt for the Simple Budget Template.

For a completely personalized budget and expense tracker, you could just create an expense tracker from scratch using Excel.

6. Track and Budget: Mint or YNAB

There are plenty of budget planning apps but two, in particular, are consistently recommended: Mint and YNAB. These popular budgeting apps connect directly to your bank account, automatically tracking your spending habits.

While not free, YNAB is a popular budgeting tool that is geared towards helping you create a budget and showing you how to save money. Compared to Mint, YNAB is described as a budgeting system rather than just a budget app.

They differ in a few very specific ways:

  • Mint is free, while YNAB is $6.99/month after a 34-day free trial.
  • When you first connect your bank accounts, past transactions will not be included in YNAB, whereas Mint will pull in the past 90 days worth of transactions. This means you won’t be able to dive right into YNAB’s spending tracker.
  • Mint also offers a search functionality that is useful when looking back on your expenses.

Both platforms make it easy to review your spending habits.

With Mint, you can see a list of your expenses under the Transactions tab and see an overall view of your spending habits under the Trends tab.

Mint Spending Trends

YNAB’s Spending Reports also show how you spend on each category, your spending trends, and more:

YNAB Spending Trends

If your main concern is expense tracking, Mint is likely to best serve your purposes. If you really need a robust budget tool with a comprehensive dashboard, YNAB might be more your speed.

YNAB and Mint are undoubtedly popular. But, other online budgeting tools like Personal Capital and Mvelopes with expense tracking baked in are also worth considering.

If you’re looking for even more options, there’s no shortage of apps geared toward easy expense tracking. You can even think outside the box. Trello that aren’t meant for tracking expenses, but can serve your purpose if you hate managing finances.

Read the full article: 6 Ways to Track Your Monthly Expenses (And Stick to Your Budget)

15:00

How to Get Verified on Instagram

get-instagram-verified

If you’ve ever noticed the blue check mark next to an Instagram profile and were jealous that you don’t have one, you’re not alone. That mark signifies prestigious accounts that are deserving of a special status. But how can you yourself get verified on Instagram?

In this article, we’ll walk you through what verification is, dole out some advice to help you get verified on Instagram, and explore some of the roadblocks to doing so…

What Is Instagram Verification?

Similar to Twitter verification, Instagram uses a blue check mark icon to signify a Verified account. You’ll see these appear next to account names on their pages, as well as in search results.

Tom-Cruise-Verified-Instagram

This verified check means that Instagram has confirmed the identity of the account, so you can be sure it’s not a fake. Phony or fan accounts often pop up for public figures, and verification helps make sure you don’t fall for a social media fake.

It’s important to note that verification is not an endorsement. Instagram does not use the check mark to say that it approves of the account or thinks you should follow it; only that the people with blue check marks are who they say they are.

Instagram says that it doesn’t actively monitor verified accounts, but may revoke that status if the account starts breaking the rules.

How to Get Verified on Instagram

So now that you know what verification is, how do you get it for yourself?

Unfortunately, getting verified on Instagram is not easy. Unlike Twitter, which has a page (currently unavailable) where you can request account verification, Instagram decides who to verify on its own accord. Also in contrast to Twitter, Instagram doesn’t provide a list of industries that it typically verifies in.

The Instagram verification help page says this:

“Accounts representing well-known figures and brands are verified because they have a high likelihood of being impersonated.”

It also clarifies that “only some public figures, celebrities and brands” get verified. Because of this, in all likelihood you aren’t going to have your account verified unless you build a significant following on Instagram.

Even accounts with tens of thousands of followers are still unverified if they don’t represent a public figure. Conversely, the Kraft Dressing account is verified despite having under 200 followers.

Serve up our Zesty Cobb #Salad at lunch to liven up your day!

A post shared by @ kraftdressing on Jan 22, 2018 at 12:25pm PST

That said, if you think your account has potential to be verified, here are some tips for improving your chances.

Build Up Your Online Profile Elsewhere

If your profile is for a recognizable person or brand, it should be easy to find online outside of Instagram.

Google your name and see what comes up. If you don’t have an active Twitter profile, website, or other ways to communicate with your fanbase, get those things set up. You could also create a successful YouTube channel packed wih videos that gain some traffic.

Make sure you link to these other pages in your Instagram profile to build trust about your identity.

Don’t Get Famous From Instagram

This is similar to the above point and sounds a little strange, but consider Instagram’s intentions with verification. It wants to make sure that accounts likely to be impersonated are verified so people know who the real one is.

Thus, if you’ve built your online fame through Instagram, it’s unlikely that other accounts will come up when you search for your name. But if you’re a respected brand previously known from other sites and services, Instagram may see your profile as worth verifying so people are sure it’s you.

It’s difficult to place yourself in a position where you’re at risk of being impersonated, but try to do so if possible. For instance, if your brand recommends products, a fake account may pop up to spam unsuspecting people with junky links.

Keep Your Account Active

Instagram isn’t going to verify inactive accounts. With this in mind make sure you use the service often—not just posting your own photos, but responding to comments, liking other pictures, and taking advantage of hashtags.

You should make sure you stand out on Instagram, too.

Don’t Engage in Shady Behavior

This should go without saying, but don’t do anything against the rules in your quest for Instagram verification. Don’t pay for fake followers through illegitimate services or engage in “follow for follow” schemes. Focus on gaining Instagram followers in honest ways.

Go Through an Agency

Instagram says that you can’t request or purchase a verified badge. So short of becoming famous, your only real option is to work with a digital agency to submit a verification request. This can expedite the process, but you’ll probably still get denied unless you’re a notable public figure.

You may also find people that claim to know someone at Instagram who can get you verified for a fee. However, taking someone up on such an offer is risky, as there’s zero guarantee that it’s legitimate and you’ll be out a lot of money if it turns out to be fake.

Is a Verified Instagram Account Worth Having?

As you can tell from the above, getting verified on Instagram can be a lot of work. Unless you’re so famous Instagram will verify you just for being you. It will take time and effort to build yourself up to the status required. And even if you want to take a “shortcut” using an agency, there’s no guarantee that your money will get you anywhere if you aren’t already popular.

For the average Instagram user, verification isn’t worth it anyway. If you don’t suffer from copycat accounts and don’t make a living off your online presence, verification for bragging rights is absolutely pointless. Brands who want to use social media to grow their reach have more reason to pursue verification, but it’s still a tough road.

So, our advice is to build an online presence big enough to justify getting verified. But unless and until that happens, don’t worry about your lack of a blue tick.

If you’re curious after all this verification talk, check out the most followed accounts on Instagram (which are all verified).

Read the full article: How to Get Verified on Instagram

14:00

The Best Apple Watch Apps for Weather, Chats, Anime, and More

apple-watch-apps

Unlike the iPhone, the Apple Watch isn’t exactly known as a place for apps. Apple rightfully continues to focus on improving the strengths of the device, including health and fitness tracking.

But while not every iOS app makes sense for the Apple Watch, there are a number of great choices that focus on providing a quick glance of information.

Here are of some of the best Apple Watch apps in a number of different categories.

Best Apple Watch Weather App: Carrot Weather

Carrot Weather App for Apple Watch

Carrot Weather isn’t your usual weather app. Along with up-to-date information about what’s happening outside, the main draw of this awesome app is the hysterical Carrot AI that brings a big dose of personality to the weather. And that fun transfers over to the Apple Watch.

The best feature on the wearable device is the ability to customize the app’s screen to display the information most important to you.

Two different subscription options bring even more features to the watch. These include background updates, precipitation notifications, complication customization, and even an animated radar image. The app is completely optimized to work with the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, so you can check the weather even away from your iPhone.

Download: Carrot Weather ($5, subscription available)

Best Apple Watch Chat App: WatchChat for WhatsApp

WatchChat for WhatsApp Apple Watch

While there’s no official WhatApp app for the Apple Watch, a number of third-party options will give you access to the chat service on the small screen. The best available is WatchChat for WhatsApp.

On the Watch, you can easily view all your chats, including group chats. The app also lets you start a new chat directly from the watch. You can reply to friends and family using a keyboard, quick replies, dictation, and Scribble. It’s also possible to listen to voice messages and view pictures sent through WhatsApp.

If you’re a WhatsApp fan, make sure you’ve checked out the best new WhatsApp features.

Download: WatchChat for WhatsApp ($3)

Best Apple Watch Twitter App: Chirp for Twitter

Chirp for Twitter Apple Watch

If you can’t get enough of Twitter, there’s no need to pull out your iPhone to catch up on all the latest tweets. Designed specifically for the Apple Watch, Chirp for Twitter is a full-featured client even on the small screen.

With the free version, you can get a taste of the overall experience. An in-app purchase will unlock Chirp Pro. This enables the ability to post your own tweets, browse your timeline, and more. You can even customize the look of the app by enabling or disabling certain features.

Download: Chirp for Twitter (Free, premium version available)

Best Apple Watch Fitness App: Workouts++

Workouts++ Apple Watch Workout App

If you’re looking for a different take on Apple’s built-in Workout app for the Watch, you can’t beat Workouts++.

The best feature of the app is the ability to completely customize the fitness data shown on the watch screen during a workout. Along with real-time graphs that show performance, the app can also provide haptic alerts to help keep you on target.

During a workout, you can also listen to podcasts. Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE users can stream shows, while others will need to transfer the podcast over beforehand.

Download: Workouts++ (Free)

Best Apple Watch Sleep App: AutoSleep Tracker

AutoSleep Apple Watch

Getting enough quality sleep is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. AutoSleep Tracker for Watch is a no-fuss way to track the metric during the night. If you wear your Watch to bed, tracking will automatically begin when you call it a night.

In the morning, you’ll receive a notification with an analysis that tracks time asleep, time awake, restlessness, and heart rate. You’ll also see an overall sleep score.

All this sleep data is also available to view in the comprehensive Apple Health app.

Download: AutoSleep Tracker for Watch ($3)

Best Apple Watch Calculator App: Calcbot 2

Calcbot 2 Apple Watch Calculator App

Calculators are another quick way to use the small screen of the Apple Watch effectively. With Calcbot 2, you can do more than just simple arithmetic. The app offers conversion calculators for common units, like miles to kilometers and pounds to kilograms.

And when you eating out at a restaurant, the app also features the ability to calculate a tip and split the bill equally.

Download: Calcbot 2 (Free, premium version available)

Best Apple Watch Anime App: Next Anime Episode

Next Anime Episode Apple Watch Anime App

Many anime fans want to know when the next episode of their favorite series will be available. As you could probably guess by the name, Next Anime Episode will let you know when new anime episodes are available in Japan. You should be able to view it soon after on one of the many anime video services available.

The Apple Watch app will show you information about the series you’ve chosen. There are also a number of different complications to choose from.

Download: Next Anime Episode (Free, premium version available)

Best Apple Watch Relaxation App: Headspace

Headspace Apple Watch

Headspace is a great way to deal with any stressful situation. The full iPhone and iPad app is one of the best relaxation apps available, and offers a variety of different features. But the Apple Watch app can also step in during a quick moment when you need to calm down.

There are two different choices on the Watch. The first, an SOS session, is three minutes long and provides audio to help you relax and handle the stressful situation. The other option is a touch-based session that forces you to focus on placing a finger on the watch’s screen with a particular level of force. This should help clear your mind.

Download: Headspace (Free, subscription available)

Best Apple Watch Calendar App: Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 Apple Watch Calendar App

Fantastical 2 offers a top-notch calendar and reminder app in one great package. And on the Apple Watch, the app lets you interact with both of those important options in a number of different ways. You can quickly view calendar events on the Watch app, and even use the complication to view it on a number of different Apple Watch faces.

Using Scribble or voice dictation, it’s also easy to create a calendar event or reminder that will also sync to the iPhone version.

Download: Fantastical 2 ($5)

Kick Your Apple Watch Up to the Next Level

As you can see, there are all kinds of great apps on the Apple Watch perfect for providing a quick glance at the information important to you.

And once you’re done exploring the different apps you can use, check out these lesser-known Apple Watch features you’re missing out on.

Read the full article: The Best Apple Watch Apps for Weather, Chats, Anime, and More

13:00

7 IMDb Features You May Have Overlooked

imdb-features

What do you use IMDb for?

Checking ratings for movies and TV shows. Grabbing synopses and runtime details before deciding to watch something. Browsing cast lists because you recognize a face but don’t quite remember from where.

But there’s so much more you can do with IMDb, like getting IMDb ratings right inside Netflix. You may be surprised how useful these other IMDb features can be in the right circumstances.

1. Content Advisory Guide

IMDb Content Advisory Guide

Nearly all mainstream movies receive a Motion Picture Rating by the MPAA (G, PG, PG-13, R, etc.) and nearly all TV shows receive some kind of age rating certification (differs by country).

These are okay for getting a general idea of how mature a certain title might be, but they never quite tell the whole story. Deadpool, Wedding Crashers, and The Passion of the Christ are all rated R. What does that rating really convey? Not much.

But visit any movie or TV show’s IMDb page, scroll down to the Storyline section, and look for the Parents Guide section. Click the View content advisory for a deeper dive into what it contains: Sex and nudity? Violence and gore? Alcohol, drugs, and smoking? Or is it just an intense and frightening film?

It’s way more useful for knowing what to expect before you watch!

2. In Theaters and Coming Soon

IMDb Coming Soon

The Movies in Theaters page on IMDb is divided into two sections: In Theaters for movies that have recently released or are releasing this week, and Coming Soon for movies that are releasing later this month.

Checking in once a month or so is a great way to stay on top of what’s out there. You’ll rarely miss an interesting film if you keep this page bookmarked. Each film in the list also has a Watch Trailer link.

If you just want to see the titles for all films with known release dates, you might prefer the Release Calendar page. If you’re only interested in the trailers, you might prefer the Trailers page.

3. Watchlist

IMDb Watchlist

Note: This feature requires creating a free IMDb account.

IMDb’s Watchlist feature allows you to track upcoming movies that you want to watch. It’s private by default, but you can make it public and share it with friends. Or you can export it in CSV format if you prefer spreadsheets.

To add a movie to your IMDb Watchlist, click the plus-button next to the movie’s title. Yeah, you probably overlooked that, didn’t you? It took me a long time to realize that that was for the Watchlist!

4. Top Lists and User Lists

IMDb Top Lists and User Lists

IMDb has several dynamic Top Lists that you can use to find new movies and TV shows to watch: Top Rated Movies, Most Popular Movies, Top Rated TV Shows, Most Popular TV Shows, and IMDb Picks.

But the Top Lists don’t change very often, so when you’ve gone through all of them, you may want to start following the Top Box Office, Latest Oscar Winners, and Most Popular by Genre lists instead. One other notable list is Recent DVD/Blu-ray Releases.

Note that regular IMDb users can create their own lists, which can be shared with others. Unfortunately, there’s no central page where you can browse user lists. The closest thing is a page for lists by IMDb Editors.

5. Trivia, Goofs, and Quotes

IMDb Trivia, Goofs, and Quotes

Do you love watching behind-the-scenes cuts, director commentaries, and blooper rolls? Then you’ll love what IMDb has to offer with its Trivia, Goofs, and Quotes.

On any movie or TV show page, scroll down to the Did You Know? section and click the relevant See more links for Trivia, Goofs, or Quotes. Trivia involves neat facts surrounding production, Goofs show mistakes in the actual movie or TV show, and Quotes are self-explanatory.

While each of these pages is divided into Spoilers and Non-Spoilers, you may want to wait until you’ve watched through the entire movie or TV show before going down the rabbit hole anyway. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

6. News

IMDb News

IMDb is the best way to stay on top of news—not just for movie and TV show developments, but for other kinds of related industry news. See Top News, Movie News, TV News, Celebrity News, and Indie News.

Here’s why these news pages are so useful: they aggregate news from many different sources, including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Rolling Stone, The Wrap, Indiewire, Deadline, Collider, and more. It’s all in one place and curated for your convenience.

7. IMDb Pro

If you want to break into the film or television industries—whether as an actor, writer, crew member, or producer—then you should think about upgrading your IMDb account to an IMDbPro account.

As an IMDbPro, you’ll gain access to all kinds of “insider” information, such as contact information for agents, actors, producers, and other industry workers. You’ll also unlock extra information on the actual IMDb site, such as pages for movies and TV shows that are still in pre-production or development.

You’ll also be able to post photos and resumes to help you find work in the industry, and as an actor, IMDbPro includes a casting service to help you find roles.

IMDb Pro costs $19.99/mo (a discounted $149.99/year rate is available, which comes out to $12.49/mo). Get started with a 30-day free trial.

More Tips for Movie and TV Show Fans

If you’ve come this far and you’re realizing that you don’t like IMDb, you may want to check out this lesser-known alternative to IMDb. Unlike IMDb, TMDb is powered entirely by its community of users.

And as a movie buff, there are several mobile apps you’ll want to keep on hand to streamline your movie-finding and movie-watching experience. Learn more in our roundup of mobile apps for movie fans.

And don’t forget to check out the best free movie streaming sites!

Read the full article: 7 IMDb Features You May Have Overlooked

10:30

How to Create a Custom Keyboard Layout on Windows

Windows users have a few different options when it comes to creating customized keyboard layouts.

You could use the ever-popular Portable Keyboard Layout software. It’s open source and lets you keep different keyboard layouts on a USB stick so you can easily use them on any machine. Of course, Windows also offers a native way to jump between different keyboard layouts.

You can also try using keyboard remapping software. There are lots of free options available, but one of the most overlooked apps is the official Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.

How to Create a Custom Keyboard Layout on Windows

Before we start, a word of warning: the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator app is nearly a decade old. It still works perfectly and runs on Windows 10, but occasionally you might encounter a bug.

Firstly, you need to download and install the app from the Microsoft Download Center. When it’s installed, follow the instructions below to create your own keyboard layout:

  1. Open the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator app.
  2. Head to File > Load Existing Keyboard.
  3. Pick the layout you want to customize. You should make sure you pick the layout that matches your current keyboard setup, for example, QWERTY (U.S.).
  4. Go to File > Save Source File As so you have a backup before you start making changes.
  5. Set your new keyboard’s parameters in Project > Properties. You can pick a language and give the keyboard a name and description.
  6. Click on a key and follow the on-screen prompt to remap it to a character of your choosing.

If you want to add hotkeys for accented letters or other obscure characters that you frequently use, the easiest way is to program them to Ctrl + Alt + [Number]. You cannot overwrite existing shortcuts like Ctrl + S (Save) or Ctrl + A (Select All).

Check out our article about useful Windows shortcuts if you’d like to learn more.

Image Credit: Ai825/Depositphotos

Read the full article: How to Create a Custom Keyboard Layout on Windows

09:30

3 Free Black-and-White Adobe Lightroom Presets for Your Photos

Presets are the smart photographer’s backdoor for retouching hundreds of photos with a single click. Adobe Lightroom CC (and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC) has its own default set of presets, including several for pleasing black and white photography.

But you can extend your collection with free presets made by other photographers too. Use one of these free black-and-white presets for Adobe Lightroom to create a fantastic black-and-white photo from any color photo.

1. Samuel Zeller

Samuel Zeller Presets

Swiss photographer and a Fujifilm ambassador Samuel Zeller created this 12 preset pack specifically for Fujifilm cameras. But it works for any other camera brand and photo that you bring into Adobe Lightroom. The 12-pack includes two black and white presets.

  • BW Soft: Gives a hazy soft look to portraits.
  • BW Noir: Gives a very punchy black and white look to well-contrasted images.

The presets are free though you can pay what you want if you like them.

2. Silver Lining

Silver Lining Preset

This Lightroom preset is just what it sounds like. Run the preset on a color photo and you get a cool monochrome finish with a subtle bleached out look. The preset can save you the manual labor of split-toning a photo for a similar effect.

You have to subscribe to Nicole S. Young’s newsletter. Then you can access her free downloads section where this preset is available for free download along with several others.

3. HDR Landscape Presets

HDR Landscape Preset

HDR and landscape photos go well together. But if the light isn’t on your side then you can turn color landscape photos into beautiful black and white ones. Loaded Landscape is a site for the outdoor photographers and they have a bunch of presets you can choose from. This  HDR black and white preset can add some dynamic contrast to your landscape photos.

Adobe Lightroom presets are not only shortcuts. They also help you give your images a consistent look. If you prefer your own editing workflow, you can easily create your own custom preset out of it and offer it to others for free.

Image Credit: pe3check/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 3 Free Black-and-White Adobe Lightroom Presets for Your Photos

08:30

What Is eBay’s Second Chance Offer?

eBay provides sellers with quite a few tools when it comes to dealing with buyers who don’t pay for the items they bid on.

One of these tools—the Second Chance Offer—makes it possible to sell the item to someone else if the original buyer doesn’t pay.

What Is eBay’s Second Chance Offer?

A second chance offer allows eBay sellers to sell an item to someone who bid on it, but didn’t win it. The offer can be made within 60 days of the auction ending. With the Second Chance Offer, the buyer pays the amount they originally bid on the item.

Second Chance Offers are only available for auction items.

When Can Second Chance Offers Be Used?

The second chance offer can be used in three situations:

  1. The winning bidder didn’t pay and attempts to secure the payment or resolve the issue failed.
  2. The seller’s reserve price wasn’t met.
  3. The seller has more than one of the item available for sale.

How Do You Make a Second Chance Offer?

First, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to cancel the original transaction before you can make the Second Chance Offer. This should not be done unless you’ve exhausted all options of trying to get the buyer to pay for the item.

  1. Go to My eBay > Sold.
  2. Find the item in question and click More Actions > Cancel this Order.
  3. Enter the reason for the cancellation.

To make a second chance offer, you’ll need to login to eBay in a browser. The app does not currently include this feature:

  1. Go to My eBay Selling Activity or Seller Hub.
  2. Click More actions > Second Chance Offer.
  3. Select the number of items you have to sell, the expiration date/time for the offer (one, three, five, or, seven days), and the users to whom you are extending the second chance offer.
  4. Click Continue.

eBay will send those bidders an email, and they have the choice to accept the offer. If the bidder doesn’t respond within the duration you allotted, the offer will expire. Some sellers also recommend sending a follow-up email explaining why the item is available as a Second Chance Offer.

If the buyer does accept the offer, you will pay the same eBay final value fee as you would on any other sale.

As eBay continues to revamp and update its features, it’s getting easier and easier to sell products through the site, including listing eBay items in a flash using the official app.

Image Credit: mc_stockphoto/Depositphotos

Read the full article: What Is eBay’s Second Chance Offer?

07:30

Create Videos and Animations Online Using Renderforest

Whether you’re looking to create a beautiful intro for your YouTube channel, an explanatory animation, or give a presentation, a video can be an excellent way to illustrate your points.

But creating impactful videos isn’t easy. Aside from video editing skills, you usually need powerful hardware and expensive software to craft a video. But not anymore.

Renderforest is here to provide you with a way to create broadcast quality videos in no time at all. Let’s take a look at what the service offers and how you can use it to make amazing videos.

Meet Renderforest

Head to the Renderforest homepage and you’ll see some basics about the service. Right below the main banner, you can check out templates it offers, including YouTube intros, professional slideshows, and music visualizations.

If you’re interested in one of those, click the Create button underneath to view templates in that style. Else, click Create a video to get started.

Have a look at the Trending templates if you want to see what’s hot with other users. You can also use the tabs along the top to filter by categories like Intros, Promotional, Slideshow, Presentations, Music Visualizations and more.

Once you’ve selected a template, you’ll see a brief description of its use case and other information. Below this, you can check out videos others have made with the template.

You’ll need to create an account on Renderforest to make a video with the template, but the process is painless.

Creating a Video in Renderforest

Click Create now on a template to start editing. You can choose Add a scene to grab something from the video library, or Load a Preset to use a ready-made story.

After proceeding with either option, you’ll see the editor. It uses a standard interface, with the timeline at the bottom, options on the left, and preview on the right. In the example we used, we were prompted to enter text and add images at various points.

If you want to add additional scenes to your video, you can use the Plus button at the bottom and import a new animation or stock footage available from Renderforest.

Once you’re done, jump to the Style tab. This lets you choose between several animation styles to give your video the right feel. Similarly, the Color tab allows you to choose a color palette, or custom colors, for the perfect look.

Move onto the Music tab to add stock music, your own uploaded music, or even a voice-over to the video. Finally, check it all out on the Preview tab.

Renderforest Pricing and Plans

You can use Renderforest to export as many videos in 360p as you like for free. The free plan limits you to three minute videos with watermarks, but it’s a good way to see if the service is right for you. This also includes one-click uploading to YouTube and Facebook when the video is done.

If you need HD video downloads, take a look at Renderforest’s subscription plans. The most popular is the Pro plan for $29/month, which allows you to export 30 720p videos per month. Each can be up to 15 minutes, and you get much more storage space. It also gets rid of the watermark

You can also pay per export if you only need a video from time to time, and these start at $9.99 each.

Beautiful Videos Made Easy With Renderforest

We’ve taken a quick tour of Renderforest. It offers anyone who wants to make high-quality videos without a ton of work a powerful editor and easy tools.

If you need to create videos for your business, YouTube channel, or similar, you should definitely give it a look.

Image Credit: jesadaphorn/Depositphotos

Read the full article: Create Videos and Animations Online Using Renderforest

05:30

Get Lifetime Online Security for $39.99 with GOOSE VPN

Browsing the web always feels like a relatively safe pastime. But under the surface, there are many sharks — from spying social networks to malicious hackers. GOOSE VPN offers foolproof protection against these threats, on all your devices. In addition, this service protects your privacy with a strict no-logging policy. Right now, you can pick up a lifetime subscription for just $39.99 at MakeUseOf Deals.

Watertight Protection

When your credit card details and personal data are under threat, it’s nice to know you have some protection. GOOSE VPN is a highly-rated service that should help you stay secure.

GOOSE routes your data through private servers to disguise your IP address and location. Without this information, it’s very difficult for anyone to track you across the web. In addition, your data is protected by strong AES-256 encryption. This means you can connect to public Wi-Fi without fearing for your digital safety.

Just as importantly, GOOSE VPN keeps no record of your online activity. Even if the Feds come knocking, there will be nothing to see.

This VPN is available on all major desktop and mobile platforms, along with your Kodi streaming box. One subscription covers unlimited devices, with 24/7 support and no bandwidth throttling. With 114 servers to choose from, you can also unlock awesome content from around the world.

Lifetime Protection for $39.99

Worth $899.95, lifetime service with GOOSE VPN is now just $39.99 for a limited time. Order now to get your permanent security upgrade.

Read the full article: Get Lifetime Online Security for $39.99 with GOOSE VPN

04:30

5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas

mind-mapping-ideas

Mind mapping is the practice of organizing ideas during a brainstorming session. It connects all those haphazard thoughts that pop into your head and helps you make sense of them. A pen and paper are often useful, but you can also go digital with apps and sites.

We have previously looked at some of the best mind-mapping tools and how to use them, but as with any popular productivity technique, there are new apps popping up all the time. These new tools cover a range of topics, including apps made for the small mobile screen, beginner mind maps, and even templates.

MindMapNinja (Web)

Tree-based mind-mapping for beginners

MindMapNinja for mind mapping beginners

If this is your first time with a mind map, I’d suggest starting with MindMapNinja. It’s a free, simple tool that gives you an organized approach to mind-mapping. You don’t even need to register to get started.

Unlike many of the other mind mappers, MindMapNinja doesn’t give you a blank canvas to jot your thoughts down. Instead, it makes you start at a central node, and add more nodes to that. You create a tree-like mind map, expanding thoughts from the central idea, rather than putting all the thoughts into the central idea.

MindMapNinja is a nice way to get started with the mind mapping process. If you have the habit of doing a “mind dump”, this isn’t the app for you. MindMapNinja is more helpful for those who need a platform to build off.

Text2MindMap (Web)

Turn lists into mind maps

Note-taking apps save your thoughts for later. But that leads to a text list, which isn’t always the best way to visualize data for a brainstorming session. Text2MindMap turns such text lists into mind maps automatically.

I used to love a site called Text2MindMap.com, but that’s dead now. This is a replacement that I actually like more. It works just as you might expect, turning text lists into mind maps where each point is a node, and indented lines are sub-nodes. Dragging nodes or sub-nodes will change their position on screen. Changing their text position will change the hierarchy.

Text2MindMap is great for those who usually jot their thoughts in a notepad, but occasionally want to brainstorm with those thoughts.

WriteMapper (Windows, macOS, iOS)

The writer’s mind-mapping tool

I usually avoid paid apps and programs, but WriteMapper was good enough to make an exception. It is an invaluable tool for those who write for a living, whether you’re an author, a scriptwriter, a journalist, or a copywriter.

The app makes you break down your writing task into individual points, each as its own node. Keep generating that nested list as you think of more things. When you’re done, you can rearrange those nodes with simple drag-and-drop. Finally, you can export the entire mind-map as a formatted document in Word, Markdown, HTML, or Rich Text. It’s brilliant to get organized and then start writing.

WriteMapper is a paid software, but play with the free trial version first. You might find it’s actually worth paying for. WriteMapper costs $39.95 for one computer, up to $109.95 for five computers.

Download: WriteMapper for Windows | macOS | iOS ($39.95)

Maps of Mind (Web)

Classic mind mapping on a blank space

Here’s how mind-mapping works offline. You take a blank sheet of paper, a pen, and you start writing ideas anywhere on the paper. Then you circle each one individually and connect them as you see fit. Maps of Mind is the classic example of how this would be done digitally.

You create “infoboxes”, which are similar to nodes. But these infoboxes are more powerful. You can create one infobox with multiple text fields, to-do lists, and even comments. Comments are important since Maps of Mind lets you add collaborators, so you can brainstorm with others. It feels a bit like using Trello for brainstorming, where you can move the boxes around.

Maps of Mind also lets you share the map publicly (or download it) so anyone can see what you’ve done. Here’s a good Maps of Mind example for you to know what you can do with this tool

Mindly (Android, iOS)

A mind mapping app made for phone screens

If you’ve ever used a mind-mapping app on a smartphone, you know this problem. The app only lets you zoom in and out of the whole map. When you zoom out, the nodes are too tiny for any inspiration to strike. It defeats the purpose of mind mapping, if you ask me. Mindly solves that issue for phones.

The Mindly app doesn’t zoom in and out. Instead, it opens each node’s elements when you tap on that node. You never see the sub-nodes beforehand, you only know they exist. I found it a far better way for brainstorming on the go than any of the other mind-mapping apps.

Mindly also has a paid desktop app for macOS, but I wouldn’t bother with it. You are better off downloading one of the best free macOS mind mapping apps instead.

Download: Mindly for Android | iOS (Free)

Build Maps in Other Tools

These apps are great for those who brainstorm regularly. But if your creative thinking needs are few and far between, you don’t need one of these apps. Chances are, you already have some tools you can use for mind mapping.

In fact, Microsoft Office should be enough. We have excellent guides on how to build a mind map in Microsoft Word, or in PowerPoint. And you can download free MS Word templates for mind mapping too.

Read the full article: 5 Mind Mapping Sites and Apps to Brainstorm New Ideas

August 20 2018

20:00

How Does a Router Work? A Simple Explanation

Routers are an important piece of technology that most of us have in our homes, but many of us don’t really understand them. In fact, most people don’t even realize what a router technically is and how it’s different from a modem.

Luckily, we are here to demystify the basic functions of a router so that you can get a better understanding of your network devices.

What Does a Router Do?

To put it simply, a router connects devices within a network by forwarding data packets between them. This data can be sent between devices, or from devices to the internet. The router does this by assigning a local IP address to each of the devices on the network. This ensures that the data packets end up in the right place, rather than getting lost within the network.

Imagine this data as a courier package—it needs a delivery address so that it ends up at the right recipient. Your local computer network is like a suburban road—just knowing this location within the world at large (i.e. the World Wide Web) isn’t enough.

The package could easily end up at the wrong house with limited information. Thus, the router makes sure that each location (device) has a unique number so that the package goes the right address.

If you need to return the data to the sender, or send out your own package, your router does this job too. While it handles each packet individually, it does this so quickly that it feels instantaneous—even when multiple devices send out data at once.

How Is a Router Different Than a Modem?

Since modern modems often come equipped with a built-in router, the distinction between the two types of hardware is often blurred. But those who remember the early days of the internet know that they have distinct functions.

You need your modem to connect to the internet via your ISP, while you need a router to connect multiple devices in a network—including your modem. Therefore, the router allows your modem and multiple devices to transfer data from one location to another. The modem is the conduit that sends data to and from the internet.

router-connect-modem-internet

You need a modem due to the different types of signals used by computers compared to the internet at large. Computers and mobile devices use a digital signal, while the internet works on an analog signal.

The modem converts these signals to the correct format. This is where the device gets its name from: a modem is a modulator and demodulator. You will often receive a modem from your ISP when signing up for an internet package.

This signal conversion is the dedicated function of the modem. Actually coordinating these signals is the router’s job.

What Is a Router Used For? When Do You Need One?

Once upon a time, in a single-PC household, you only needed a modem to connect to the internet. Technically, if you only want to connect one device, you can still use only a modem. Though for security reasons and future flexibility, it’s best to use a router even with only one device on your network.

But now that homes usually have more than one device, a router is essential. Think back to the example of a road name versus your house’s number. If there was only one home on the road, you wouldn’t need the house number since it’s the only location. But when there are multiple houses on a road, you need a local address.

You need a router not only when you want to connect multiple devices to the internet, but also if you want to connect multiple devices to each other. Without the internet, you can still create a local network of computers and other devices. This enables you to transfer and share files with specific devices within a network, including printers, scanners, and game consoles.

Local devices on home network

Without the router, the data wouldn’t end up at the right device. A command to print a document is useless if it ends up on your smartphone or a Google Home speaker—it needs to go to your printer.

Speaking of Google Home, routers are even more essential when it comes to connecting your smart home. Since a smart home is also a local network of devices, without a router they can’t talk to each other. Depending on the device, you might still need an internet connection if services are cloud-hosted. But ultimately, the router coordinates these data packages.

A local network can exist without the internet or a modem, but it cannot exist without a router.

Differences Between a Wired and Wireless Router

The difference between a wireless and wired router is what type of connections each device allows. A wired router only has LAN cable ports, while a wireless router (also known as a Wi-Fi router) includes antennae and a wireless adapter that allows devices to connect without a cable.

Most routers and modems nowadays include both LAN ports and antennae. There are a few points you should keep in mind before you select which Wi-Fi router to buy to make sure that you select the right one for your situation.

Finding Out More About Your Internet Devices

Now you know what a router does and the role it plays in connecting your devices to the internet. If you’re still looking for more information to sort through the jargon, we have a more guides to check out.

For example, what is the difference between a router, a hub, and a switch? Turns out you don’t need to spend cash on each device to connect your home network to the web.

Read the full article: How Does a Router Work? A Simple Explanation

19:00

The 9 Best Apps and Sites for Facebook Cover Photos and Profile Pictures

Since it is the biggest social network in the world, Facebook has become your point of introduction to people on the internet.

No matter what you chose for your photo privacy settings on Facebook, the profile picture and cover are visible to everyone. These need to represent who you are and/or what you’re all about.

Not everyone is a designer though, so how do regular folks like you and me make a great impression? Well, a few sites and apps can help with that.

1. LaMem: Computer Analysis of Your Profile Picture

Lamem test facebook profile photo

When we showed you how to make a great profile picture, one of our tips was to survey people’s opinions with PhotoFeeler. Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided they didn’t need people to judge photos, and so they built a program that uses advanced algorithms to tell you how memorable your photo is.

LaMem (or Large Scale Image Memorability) asks you to upload your image, takes a few minutes to compute it, and spits out a score. Click the little question mark next to the score to understand what percentage of people who see the photo will remember it two minutes later.

The percentage part doesn’t scale well, so just go with the overall score and try to get it as high as possible using some of the tips we’ve shared in the article linked above.

Website: LaMem

2. FaceTune: The Best Selfie and Profile Picture Editor

The easiest way to make a Facebook picture is to shoot a selfie. But if you didn’t edit it before uploading, you’re making a big mistake. To look your best on Facebook, use FaceTune, the best profile picture editor around.

With a couple of taps, you can perform common beauty fixes like skin smoothening, teeth whitening, red eye removal, and more. There’s an interesting feature where FaceTune lets you reshape the jawline or face, in case you want to look a little different.

Apart from the beauty effects, FaceTune has all the regular photo editing effects you would look for in an app, like blurring the background, adding filters and frames, and so on.

Do note that for some reason, it’s called FaceTune 2 on iOS and just FaceTune on Android, but it’s the same app for both platforms. Use it and you’ll know it’s one of the best apps for taking better selfies.

Download: FaceTune for Android (Free)
Download: FaceTune2 for iOS (Free)

3. Profile Overlays: Add a Filter to Your Profile Pic

Add layer or filter to Facebook profile photo

Facebook’s temporary profile pictures let you show your support for a certain cause or send a message about some event. Instead of changing your profile picture outright, this only changes it for a short period of time.

One of the side effects of this has been a rise in the number of “filters” or “overlays” for profile pictures, like the rainbow filter to show your support for gay rights.

While Facebook has some of these filters available in the app itself, there’s a large number it doesn’t have. If you’re looking for a specific overlay, like one to support your favorite soccer team or to show your patriotism, then check out Profile Overlays. The trending overlays will tell you what the world is applying to their profiles right now, while you can search to find almost anything else. You can even request custom overlays!

In case you didn’t find what you were looking for, there’s another site you can check out. Rainbow Filter has its own collection of overlays, and also supports Twitter. The catalog is much smaller, but it has topics that Profile Overlays doesn’t support.

Website: Profile Overlays

4. First Covers: Large Repository of Awesome Covers

download facebook cover photos for free at first covers

Even if you know the perfect dimensions for cover photos, it’s difficult to know what you should put there. Your profile picture is probably your face, so the cover photo is where your creativity can come into play.

First Covers lets you browse through hundreds of free Facebook cover photos that you can download and apply to your own profile. Covers are sorted by categories like actors, cartoons, flags, memes, movies, and many more.

If you like an image and want it as your cover photo, First Covers even provides a handy “Add this to your profile” button on every image. Click it, log in to Facebook, and make it your cover. Yup, it’s that easy.

Website: First Covers

5. Trendy Covers: Facebook Cover Generator

create custom covers for facebook with trendy covers

Like First Covers, Trendy Covers also has a large repository of free covers you can download and add to your profile. But it has the easiest custom cover generator among all such sites.

You can upload an image of your own, or grab one from one of the best free stock photo sites. Add any text you want. Trendy Covers lets you customize every aspect of how the text and image looks, from font colors to image dimensions. You can even set how opaque or translucent you want the elements to appear.

After you finish getting it just the way you want it to look, you can upload your new cover photo to Facebook directly from Trendy Covers, or download it to your hard drive. For a little inspiration, check out these awesome Facebook covers.

Website: Trendy Covers

6. Canva: Create Custom Covers With No Design Skills

Create facebook cover photo with canva templates

For more control over your custom Facebook cover, and a few more templates for inspiration, head over to Canva, the free online graphic design app. If you want to make a custom cover photo that wows your friends, nothing beats the options Canva can offer you.

A bunch of premade layouts will get you started, especially if you aren’t good at figuring out which fonts to use or where to place text. Canva also has a whole bunch of gorgeous stock photos you can use, or upload one of your own. Next, head to the “elements” section, where you can pick from different things to add, like a neat little chart, cool frames, or lovely icons.

Add a filter if you want, edit the text, and do whatever you feel like. Once you’re done, download the free custom cover photo to your hard drive, and then upload it to Facebook.

If Trendy Covers and Canva don’t float your boat, try these other great apps to create Facebook cover photos.

Website: Canva

7-8. Holly and Slide.ly: Free Facebook Cover Videos

download free cover videos for facebook pages

If you control a Facebook Page, you can add videos to the Cover. Now that sites are offering free and copyright-free videos to download, it makes sense to jazz up the cover of your Facebook Pages with one.

Holly and Slide.ly are two separate sites that have curated videos from Pexels, one of the best stock video resources. Click a video to download it, and then go to your Facebook Page to add it as a cover video.

The videos are selected for their production quality as well as how they are shot. After all, the Facebook cover’s dimensions are different from the standard 16:9 widescreen way of shooting videos. But the curated libraries of Holly and Slide.ly ensure videos will look good even on Facebook.

Website: Holly
Website: Slide.ly

9. Biteable: Templates to Create Professional Ads for Covers

create professional facebook cover videos

If you’re looking to promote a business on Facebook, you can use these video covers to really grab readers’ attentions. And you don’t need professional video making or editing skills. What Canva does for photos, Biteable does for videos.

To start, choose from the site’s library of video templates. You can change the text for any scene in a video, add or delete background music, and add or remove scenes. Biteable is remarkably easy to use, requiring no prior video editing skills from you.

The finished product is free if you want a Biteable watermark on it. But if you’re running a business, it’s a better idea to pay to download it for that professional look. Biteable costs $29/month.

Website: Biteable

Stand Out With Your Facebook Avatar

Using these sites and apps, you can have a more striking Facebook profile page than ever before. Choose a good profile picture, and remember, you can actually change your cover photo regularly.

But here’s the thing. every profile picture you see on your Facebook timeline is someone’s face. How do you stand out in this crowd? Well, you could turn yourself into a cool cartoon avatar, which will definitely bag you a second look.

Image Credit: TarasMalyarevich/Depositphotos

Read the full article: The 9 Best Apps and Sites for Facebook Cover Photos and Profile Pictures

18:00

Slow Raspberry Pi? 11 Tips for Better Speed and Performance

get-best-performance-raspi3

Finding your Raspberry Pi isn’t quite reaching its limits? You’re not alone. The Raspberry Pi is more powerful than ever, but it can still be tricky to set up right if you want good performance.

It doesn’t matter how you’re using your Raspberry Pi: if it isn’t configured to run at its most optimum, you’re going to have a bad experience.

So, take a look at our best tips to find out what you can do to squeeze the most out of your Raspberry Pi. Get ready for some awesome performance!

1. Connect a Reliable Power Supply

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

One thing you need to make sure with any Raspberry Pi setup is that you’re using a reliable power supply. The Raspberry Pi 3 (which is the best solution for desktop use) requires a micro-USB power connector. Ideally this should be connected to a power supply adapter with a 2.5A capacity.

While it may seem more convenient to connect the Pi directly to a USB port on your power bar, or to use your smartphone charger, these deliver unreliable results.

Consider this: You’re using the Pi for desktop work, internet, email, office tasks. Some programming. You don’t want the computer to suddenly freeze or shut down because you’re asking too much of it. Avoid this by ensuring the power supply is up to specification, and reliable. You’ll find a 5V 2.5A power supply is more than powerful enough.

CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Power Supply / Adapter (UL Listed) CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Power Supply / Adapter (UL Listed) Buy Now At Amazon $9.99

2. Employ a Lightweight Operating System

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

Once your power requirements are sorted out, you’ll need to install a distro that uses as few resources as possible. Pushing performance on your Raspberry Pi means keeping things to a minimum, and several Linux operating systems (distributions or distros) have been developed with this purpose in mind.

Even Raspbian is available in a lightweight “lite” flavor, but you might also consider DietPi or even the non-Linux RISC OS for a truly low-footprint experience.

The aim here is simple. With an operating system that takes up less space and demands few resources, you can dedicate what’s left to your current project. It could make the difference between success, and failure.

3. Ditch the Bloatware

Raspberry Pi 3B+

Running out of space on your Raspberry Pi? You can reclaim almost a full gigabyte of storage on your microSD card by removing some of the preinstalled software. You know those tools you never use?

For instance, while the Raspberry Pi 3 and later is suitable for use as a desktop, you might not need that functionality. So the presence of LibreOffice may seem utterly pointless. Ready to save 250MB?

Open a terminal window and enter:

sudo apt purge libreoffice*
sudo apt clean
sudo apt autoremove

It isn’t just LibreOffice that takes up space on your Pi. Wolfram takes up around 830MB. You can remove that with the same command, substituting libreoffice* with wolfram-engine.

Furthermore, you could ditch minecraft-pi, and even sonic-pi, to make more space on your microSD card. The same is true of any software you don’t need.

Of course, if you find yourself mass purging software, it might be a better idea to simply use one of the lightweight distros highlighted above.

4. Disable JavaScript

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

If you require access to a web browser on your Raspberry Pi, you might already be using Chromium, Vivaldi, or one of the more lightweight options. You should already know that it is sensible to restrict the number of open tabs, but improved performance can be enjoyed simply by disabling JavaScript.

While a number of websites will not appear as they usually do (or they’ll be less functional), browsing will be far quicker.

Disabling JavaScript differs from browser to browser. In Chromium, for example, use Menu > Settings > Advanced > Privacy and security > Content settings > JavaScript and switch Allowed to Blocked.

If you regularly visit a site that will only run correctly with JavaScript enabled, use the Block and Allow fields to add exceptions.

5. Overclock (But Keep It Cool)

Overclocking your Raspberry Pi is an obvious solution to poor performance. It comes in particularly useful when using your Pi as a media center with Kodi, or playing retro video games. While older games don’t need accelerated performance, those from consoles from the 1990s and early 2000s do.

If you want to overclock your Raspberry Pi, the tools to do so are provided in most distros. For instance, in Raspbian, you can open the Raspberry Pi Configuration on the PIXEL desktop, or use raspi-config in the command line. See our full Raspberry Pi guide to find out more on this.

Overclocking the Raspberry Pi

Here, use the arrow keys to select Overclock, then choose the increased setting you wish to use. For the best results, step up to the next level, save, then restart your Pi and the app(s) you’re hoping to gain improved performance from.

If you’re overclocking your Raspberry Pi, you should consider some cooling solutions. Everything from heat sinks to liquid cooling is available for this little computer. These can do a remarkable job of keeping the temperature of your Pi’s SoC low, but note that overclocking will reduce the lifespan of the little computer, regardless.

All models can be overclocked, but the best boost is likely to be found in a Raspberry Pi 3. Our full guide to overclocking the Raspberry Pi will gave you all the steps you need. Be sure to treat overclocking with care, and not expect too much from the Pi.

Overheating can be a problem, as can pushing the computer beyond its physical capabilities.

6. Use a High Performance microSD Card

Another option is to consider the quality of your microSD card. Whether you’re using a Raspberry Pi Zero or a Raspberry Pi 3B+, the speed of the microSD card matters. In short, it can vastly improve the performance of your Raspberry Pi.

It’s simply a case of recognizing which microSD cards to steer clear of.

To start off, anything from an unrecognized manufacturer should be avoided. These are often relabeled reject cards, or poorly made, and will only bring frustration. Stick to Samsung, SanDisk, and Kingston for good quality cards.

Make sure you’re using the right type of card for the Raspberry Pi. Many Pis ship with microSD cards when bought as bundles. These are typically Samsung microSDHC cards with the class 10 rating. This indicates the minimum write speed, guaranteed to be at least 10MB per second or higher.

7. Don’t Abuse Your SD Card

After the power supply, the Raspberry Pi’s SD card is probably the weakest part of the setup. When the original Pi was launched with a standard SD card, it was particularly prone to failure. Later models of the Raspberry Pi rely on microSD cards, but again, there is a problem.

First of all, you need to ensure that you’re using good quality cards. $5 cards off eBay are not suitable. You should be using high quality cards for the best results, preferable microSDHC type cards. These have superior error correction, and are much faster than cheaper cards.

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

Looking after your microSD card is vital. One of the ways in which cards are misused is when it comes to switching off the Raspberry Pi. In short: do not unplug the Pi without first shutting down.

If the operating system is running when you disconnect the power, you risk corrupting the operating system, and even shorting a sector on your microSD card. The way around this is to always use the safe shutdown option in your chosen operating system. You’ll find a desktop button for this, but you can also use this command:

sudo shutdown -h now

This is one of the key commands every Raspberry Pi user should know. You can also time the shutdown:

sudo shutdown -h 12:01

This will shut your Raspberry Pi down safely at one minute past 12.

If you’re concerned about data on your Raspberry Pi, and want to maintain a level of continuity between projects, it’s a good idea to back up. See our guide to cloning your Raspberry Pi’s microSD card for more information.

8. Run From USB/HDD

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

You probably know that the Raspberry Pi boots from the microSD card. But did you know that it can be reconfigured, and the OS boot from a USB device? If you have a spare USB flash memory stick, or hard disk drive, this may prove useful.

It will certainly speed up booting, and make performance more reliable, while expanding the storage capacity of the Pi. This will only work on a Raspberry Pi 3. If you have this version of the board, you should certainly try this out.

In short, it means you can change the Raspberry Pi’s boot mode in Raspbian, then format the new storage and copy the key files from the microSD card. The card will still be required for the initial boot sequence, but everything else is then run from the USB device.

See our full guide on how to boot your Pi from USB, and improve your Raspberry Pi’s performance considerably!

9. Add External Storage

If you have a suitable external drive, perhaps consider adding it as extra storage for your Raspberry Pi files. USB hard disk drives, solid state drives, and standard USB flash sticks can all be used as additional storage for the Pi.

Our guide to increasing the storage space on a Raspberry Pi expands on this topic in some detail. If you prefer to use a USB flash device for additional Raspberry Pi storage, however, you’ll need to know how to mount the device before using it.

10. Use ZRAM as Super Fast Storage

Finally, there’s a secret in the Raspberry Pi’s hardware that you can use to create some ultra fast storage on your device. While the data stored here won’t be accessible when you reboot, this shouldn’t matter. After all, vital data should always be stored on a removable device, or in the cloud!

ZRAM uses the Raspberry Pi’s built in hardware for swap data, rather than relying on the microSD card. While microSD cards can be fast, ZRAM is typically faster. As the entire volume of RAM on your Pi is rarely in use, it makes sense to utilize this resource.

This video and script from NovaSpiritTech explains how to use ZRAM to improve performance on your Raspberry Pi:

If you simply want to get to grips with the code, you can download it from GitHub.

sudo wget -O /usr/bin/zram.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/novaspirit/rpi_zram/master/zram.sh

Once you’ve done that, make the file executable, then edit the rc.local file to run the downloaded script when you boot the Pi:

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/zram.sh
sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Here, find the exit 0 line, and in the line above, add

/usr/bin/zram.sh &

Then hit Ctrl + X to save and exit.

When you reboot your Pi, you’ll be using efficient ZRAM swapping rather than relying on spare (and slower) microSD card space.

11. Take It Easy, Don’t Push Your Pi

tips for improving raspberry pi performance

Consider what it is you’re using your Raspberry Pi for. Is it really suitable for that little computer? Isn’t it time you stopped using a Raspberry Pi for everything?

After all, it’s just a credit card sized computer. It does a lot for the size, and puts many of the PCs you were using 20 years ago to shame. But that doesn’t mean that you should employ a Raspberry Pi for every single project.

Other devices are available. Some projects may work better with a full PC, or laptop. Others might be improved by switching to a smartphone or tablet. Or another single board computer (SBC) entirely.

So, even with overclocking, a superior power supply and top-end microSD card, make sure your Raspberry Pi is the right device for the project. That’s arguably the best way to get top performance out of it.

Getting the Most Out of Your Raspberry Pi

By working your way through these tips and tricks, you’ll soon have a much faster Raspberry Pi. While intended for desktop use, many of these tips can be transferred to other uses. In summary:

  1. Use a reliable power supply
  2. Install a lightweight operating system
  3. Uninstall bloatware
  4. Disable JavaScript
  5. Try overclocking!
  6. Employ a high performance SD card
  7. Take care of your SD card
  8. Run the OS from a USB stick or HDD
  9. Use external storage
  10. Switch to ZRAM for data swap
  11. Don’t do too much at once

With all these changes, your Raspberry Pi will feel like a totally different computer! But still not fast enough? Maybe it’s time to consider one of these Raspberry Pi alternatives?

Read the full article: Slow Raspberry Pi? 11 Tips for Better Speed and Performance

17:00

How to Trace Emails Back to Their Source IP Address

The first thing you do when you hear that email notification is check the sender, right? It is the quickest way to figure out who the email is from, as well as the likely content.

But did you know each email comes with a lot more information than what appears in most email clients? There’s a host of information about the sender included in the email header—information you can use to trace the email back to the source.

Here’s how to trace that email back to where it came from, and why you might want to.

Why Trace an Email Address?

Before learning how to trace an email address, let’s consider why you would do it in the first place.

In this day and age, malicious emails are all too frequent. Scams, spam, malware, and phishing emails are a common inbox sight. If you trace an email back to its source, you have a slight chance of discovering who (or where!) the email comes from.

In other cases, you can trace the origin of an email to block a persistent source of spam or abusive content, permanently removing it from your inbox; server administrators trace emails for the same reason.

How to Trace an Email Address

You can trace an email address to its sender by looking at the full email header. The email header contains routing information and email metadata—information you don’t normally care about. But that information is vital to tracing the source of the email.

Most email clients don’t display the full email header as standard because it is full of technical data and somewhat useless to an untrained eye. However, most email clients do offer a way of checking out the full email header. You just need to know where to look, as well as what you’re looking at.

  • Gmail Full Email Header: Open your Gmail account, then open the email you want to trace. Select the drop-down menu in the top-right corner, then Show original from the menu.
  • Outlook Full Email Header: Double-click the email you want to trace, the head to File > Properties. The information appears in the internet headers
  • Apple Mail Full Email Header: Open the email you wish to trace, then head to View > Message > Raw Source.

Of course, there are countless email clients. A quick internet search will reveal how to find your full email header in your client of choice. Once you have the full email header open, you’ll understand what I meant by “full of technical data.”

Understanding the Data in a Full Email Header

It looks like a lot of information but consider the following: you read in chronologically from bottom to top (i.e., oldest information at the bottom), and that each new server the email travels through adds Received to the header. Check out this sample email header taken from my MakeUseOf Gmail account:

gmail full email header

Gmail Email Header Lines

There’s a lot of information. Let’s break it down. First, understand what each line means (reading from bottom to top).

  • Reply-To: The email address you send your response too.
  • From: Displays the message sender; very easy to forge.
  • Content type: Tells your browser or email client how to interpret the content of the email. Most common character sets are UTF-8 (seen in the example) and ISO-8859-1.
  • MIME-Version: Declares the email format standard in use. The MIME-Version is typically “1.0.”
  • Subject: The subject of the email contents.
  • To: The intended recipients of the email; may show other addresses.
  • DKIM-Signature: DomainKeys Identified Mail authenticates the domain the email was sent from and should protect against email spoofing and sender fraud.
  • Received: The “Received” line lists each server that the email travels through before hitting your inbox. You read “Received” lines from bottom to top; the bottom-most line is the originator.
  • Authentication-Results: Contains a record of the authentication checks carried out; can contain more than one authentication method.
  • Received-SPF: The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) forms part of the email authentication process that stops sender address forgery.
  • Return-Path: The location where non-send or bounce messages end up.
  • ARC-Authentication-Results: The Authenticated Receive Chain is another authentication standard; ARC verifies the identities of the email intermediaries and servers that forward your message to its final destination.
  • ARC-Message-Signature: The signature takes a snapshot of the message header information for validation; similar to DKIM.
  • ARC-Seal: “Seals” the ARC authentication results and the message signature, verifying their contents; similar to DKIM.
  • X-Received: Differs to “Received” in that it is considered non-standard; that is to say, it might not be a permanent address, such as a mail transfer agent or Gmail SMTP server. (See below.)
  • X-Google-Smtp-Source: Shows the email transferring using a Gmail SMTP server.
  • Delivered-To: The final recipient of the email in this header.

Finding the Original Sender of an Email

To trace the IP address of the original email sender, head to the first Received in the full email header. Alongside the first Received line is the IP address of the server that sent the email. Sometimes, this appears as X-Originating-IP or Original-IP.

Find the IP address, then head to MX Toolbox. Enter the IP address in the box, change the search type to Reverse Lookup using the drop-down menu, then hit Enter. The search results will display a variety of information relating to the sending server.

mx toolbox reverse lookup

Unless the originating IP address is one of the millions of private IP addresses. Then you will meet the following message:

mx toolbox ip search

IP ranges 10.0.0.0-10.255.255.255, 172.16.00-172.31.255.255, 192.168.0.0-192.168.255.255, and 224.0.0.0-239.255.255.255 are private. IP address lookups for those ranges will not return any results.

3 Useful Header Analyzers and IP Tracers

Of course, there are some handy tools out there that automate this process for you. It is handy to learn about full email headers and their contents, but sometimes you need quick information.

Check out the following header analyzers:

The results don’t always match up though. In the below example, I know that the sender is nowhere near the alleged location stated as Ashburn, Virginia:

ip tracer email header analysis

Can You Really Find Someone’s Address?

There are instances where tracing an IP address through the email header is useful. A particularly irritating spammer perhaps, or the source of regular phishing emails. Certain emails will only come from certain locations; your PayPal emails won’t originate in China, for instance.

However, as it is trivially easy to spoof email headers, take all the results you find with a pinch of salt.

Read the full article: How to Trace Emails Back to Their Source IP Address

16:30

Netflix Tests Playing Ads Between Episodes

Netflix is testing a new feature which inserts video promos between episodes of the show you’re currently watching. Unsurprisingly, the users who have been involved in the testing have expressed their outrage at what they see as the introduction of adverts.

Unlike some streaming services, such as The Roku Channel, which offers free movies with ads, Netflix charges cold, hard cash. Which means users don’t want to see commercials interrupting their binge-watching marathons. Netflix didn’t get the memo.

Video Promos for Netflix Originals

According to TechCrunch, Netflix is currently testing whether it’s a good idea to show users ads for its own shows in between episodes. Testers report that after an episode ends, a video for a Netflix Original will start playing, with the onus on the user to skip it.

While these video promos are skippable, they’re still an unnecessary intrusion on a binge-watching session. And seeing as the capacity to binge on shows without any interruptions is one of the main reasons to subscribe to Netflix, this hasn’t gone down too well.

Netflix issued a statement saying, “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster. It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at anytime if they are not interested.”

Netflix said it conducts “hundreds of tests every year so we can better understand what helps members more easily find something great to watch.” And the company believes video promos help people “find something they would enjoy watching even faster.”

Spending Money on Original Programming

Netflix’s intentions may be pure, and the company is merely trying to help its users find new shows to watch. But we doubt it. Netflix is spending a lot of money producing its original programming, and to justify that it needs people to watch those shows.

After the complaints on social media, plus the articles (such as this one) that followed, we suspect this test will come to an abrupt end. However, the streaming service is bound to keep pushing the boundaries to get more users watching more Netflix Originals.

Read the full article: Netflix Tests Playing Ads Between Episodes

16:00

The 20 Best Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime

amazon-prime-video-best

One of the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership is that you get access to its large catalog of free streaming movies. So what should you watch first?

A good place to start is to sort Amazon Prime Video’s movies by their rating on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). It helps that IMDb is a part of Amazon, and it is a decent way to get a trusted list of movies to watch.

In this article, we found some of the best-rated movies on Amazon Prime Video.

1. The Usual Suspects

  • IMDb: 8.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Often referenced as the greatest plot twist in cinemas, The Usual Suspects is a classic thriller. The police interrogate a low-level gang member, who slowly spills the beans on a massive crime operation. Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey puts in a masterful performance, while director Bryan Singer is on top of his game. Watch this one even if you’ve seen it already. The twist only gets better when you know what’s coming.

2. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

  • IMDb: 8.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

The Indiana Jones franchise brings together two stalwarts of Hollywood, director Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford. As the original tomb raider, Indy goes on wild adventures hunting for treasure, rescuing damsels in distress, meeting sidekicks, and kicking the butt of evil-doers. The best of the series is the first film, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but you can watch all the sequels on Amazon Prime too:

3. The Big Sick

  • IMDb: 7.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon turned their real-life story into one of the best recent slice-of-life comedies. Just after they broke up for the first time, Emily got a serious illness, and Kumail had to be a pillar of support for her parents, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. This is perhaps the best film from Amazon Studios so far.

4. The Kid

Charlie Chaplin is more renowned for his slapstick comedy, but he gets special recognition among filmmakers as a master of the art. In The Kid, Chaplin plays his classic character, The Tramp, who comes across an abandoned boy and takes him in. It’s a movie with more soul than you’d expect if you view Chaplin as just a comic actor. If this film leaves you wanting more, you can watch Chaplin films on YouTube for free, since they are now in the public domain.

5. Mulholland Drive

  • IMDb: 8.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

When it was released in 2001, Mulholland Drive was critically acclaimed, but few realized it would end up becoming one of the pivotal films of Hollywood. It’s a simple plot of a woman who suffers from amnesia after an accident, and wants to find out who she really is. She teams up with an aspiring actress, and they set off piecing her life back together. Director David Lynch has a knack for bringing out Americana in movies like few others can.

6. Raging Bull

  • IMDb: 8.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

When director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro join forces, you are almost guaranteed a masterpiece. Raging Bull is the story of real-life boxer Jake LaMotta, played by De Niro, and an incredible look at the violence in the lives of boxers, both inside and outside the ring. Admittedly, LaMotta was an extreme case that made for great drama, but you don’t have to look too far among boxers to find similar stories.

7. Manchester By The Sea

  • IMDb: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Lee, an ill-tempered loner, is faced with the sudden death of his brother, and is named the guardian of his nephew. This is a mess of complications for Lee, who has lost three children to a house fire years ago. Casey Affleck’s performance got panned by the critics when the movie was released, but he eventually earned himself the Academy Award for Best Actor.

8. Gone With The Wind

  • IMDb: 8.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara. Based on the classic novel, director Victor Fleming takes you through a torrid affair in the American south during the Civil War. Multiple critics and filmmakers call it the best love story they’ve ever seen on screen. Frankly my dear, you should give a damn.

9. There Will Be Blood

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Perhaps the best actor in Hollywood today, Daniel Day Lewis provides a once-in-a-lifetime performance as Daniel Plainview, an oil prospector around the Depression era. Director Paul Thomas Anderson adds even more depth to the movie with his expert use of sound, which is taught in film-making schools today. Watch it for the best acting performance you’ll see in a long time.

10. Paper Moon

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Another film set during the Great Depression, Paper Moon is the tale of a con man who has to deliver an ex-lover’s child to her aunt. But there is a chance that the child may actually be his. Real-life father-daughter duo Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal take you along on their journey as they swindle their way across America.

11. Memories Of Murder

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

For some time now, Korean cinema has been making movies that seem a few steps ahead of what the rest of the world has. Movies like Oldboy and Infernal Affairs have gotten remade by Hollywood. If you want a taste of Korean cinema, start with Memories of Murder, where three detectives try to find the culprit behind multiple girls showing up raped and murdered. If you aren’t particular about Amazon Prime, then there are some excellent foreign language films on Netflix as well.

12. The Handmaiden

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Amazon Studios believes in Korean cinema too, backing director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, In The Mood For Love, Lady Vengeance) for his new film. And he delivered in spades with The Handmaiden. Set in the 1930s, when Japan occupied Korea, it’s the tale of a long con that goes awry when feelings get involved. Saying any more would spoil things.

13. Last Flag Flying

  • IMDb: 6.9
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne star in Richard Linklater’s buddy film from Amazon Studios. The three served together years ago in the Vietnam War, and now Carell asks them to come along for support while going to retrieve the body of his son who was killed in the Iraq War. What follows is classic Linklater material, with a film that is all about the conversations between people.

14. A Christmas Carol

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

There are plenty of different versions of Charles Dickens’ classic story, and this is one of the best. This 1951 film tells the classic tale of a miser who gets visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Add it to your watch list, and when you’re feeling festive, stream it over and over.

15. Into The Wild

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

Christopher McCandless graduated from college, sold all his possessions, and set off on a cross-country trip to go to Alaska and live in the wilderness. Director Sean Penn retraces McCandless’s journey through the natural beauty of America, while Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder provides a soundtrack for the ages. If you’re inspired by it, you can even retrace McCandless’s steps as one of these famous film routes.

16. Jaws

  • IMDb: 8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Spielberg is one of the biggest directorw in Hollywood for a reason. His filmography reads like a list of must-watch items. Jaws is a classic about three men hunting a great white shark that is attacking people near a beach. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on perhaps the greatest monster movie of all time. If you’ve seen it already, then you know you should watch it again anyway.

17. High Noon

  • IMDb: 8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

What’s a “best movies” list without a classic western? And it doesn’t get more classic than Gary Cooper as Marshall Will Kane, setting up a duel with an outlaw and his gang at high noon in an old town. High Noon served as the inspiration for countless westerns, and Cooper is the quintessential example of the current stereotype of the swashbuckling sheriff. The only person to top him is John Wayne (and there are plenty of John Wayne westerns to watch online).

18. Star Trek

  • IMDb: 8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

You can spend ages debating the merits of Star Trek vs. Star Wars, or you can just watch the latest Trek movie franchise right now. The reboot is fantastic and re-imagines several things about Star Trek, so you don’t need to know everything about Star Trek beforehand. Jump in to the Enterprise with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, and stream what so many have streamed before.

19. The Graduate

  • IMDb: 8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Few movies encapsulate the non-hippie, non-political side of 1960s America like The Graduate. It mixes comedy, coming of age, and drama without appearing corny. A lot of the scenes might look cliched if you watch them for the first time now, but let the great critic Roger Ebert explain it: “Is ‘The Graduate’ a bad movie? Not at all. It is a good topical movie whose time has passed, leaving it stranded in an earlier age. I give it three stars out of delight for the material it contains; to watch it today is like opening a time capsule.”

20. Chi-raq

  • IMDb: 5.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

An Amazon Originals movie, director Spike Lee’s Chi-raq isn’t for everyone. It shines an unrelenting spotlight on gun violence in the black community in Chicago, with a dark sense of humor laced throughout. It’s an adaptation of Lysistrata, a classic Greek play in which women withhold sex from their partners till they end the violence.

Amazon Has Much More to Watch

While these movies will get you started, there are plenty of other good movies that didn’t make quite the list. To see what’s available on Amazon Prime, use this Movies Included With Prime shortcut, or read our full guide to finding movies available to stream online.

Of course, Amazon Prime Video isn’t all about movies. You should also check out some of the best TV shows to watch on Amazon Prime!

Image Credit: Syda_Productions/Depositphotos

Read the full article: The 20 Best Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime

15:00

15 Must-Have iMessage Sticker Packs for Fun Conversations

imessage-stickers

Stickers are downright fun, and way better than using plain old emoji. With the iMessage App Store, Apple has elevated the art of stickers. Now you can send animated stickers, and even place stickers on top of a message like you’d do in real life.

The App Store has a staggering collection of sticker packs. You’ll find everything from cartoons to memes, and of course, cats. Here are 15 packs you should definitely download. Check our guide to installing stickers if you’re new to them.

1. Made With Love

Made with Love iMessage Sticker Pack

Made With Love is a huge collaboration project between artists, designers, and illustrators. You’ll find more than 50 stickers, all about love, from one artist each. On the surface, it looks like 50 different versions of the heart. But as you look closely, you’ll discover subtle details that convey emotions you perhaps can’t find the right words for.

Download: Made With Love (Free)

2. Cookie Monster Stickers

Cookie Monster iMessage Sticker Pack

Who doesn’t like the Cookie Monster? He’s adorable and loves cookies just like most of us. You can easily place Cookie’s googly eyes on anything in your conversation. Peel that cookie-loving goofball and place him on photos, inside bubbles, or even over other stickers. This free pack gives you 20+ stickers, with more (including 15 animated stickers) available from an in-app purchase.

Download: Cookie Monster Stickers (Free, premium version available)

3. Kleptocats

Kleptocats iMessage Sticker Packs

This free sticker pack is a-meow-zing. You’ll find no shortage of cat stickers on offer, but this particular one has the snuggles, naps, hunger, and other feline cuteness combined in various colors and expressions. Let your inner cat person out with these adorable stickers.

Download: Kleptocats (Free)

4. Moonpig

Moonpig iMessage Sticker Pack

Messaging gets interesting with this sticker pack, as it allows you to personalize the stickers using the company’s own characters. It has an amazing make-it-yourself feature with goofy handwritten fonts along with funny one-liners.

Download: Moonpig (Free)

5. Toca Life Paper Bag Cat

Toca Cat Sticker Pack

If you’re tired of being a diva, the Paper Bag Cat is your spirit animal. It’s the perfect combination of expressing your grumpiness while you fly around on a slice of pizza. The cat has an interesting story as well, making it easy to relate to these fun stickers.

Download: Toca Life Paper Bag Cat (Free)

6. Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff Girls iMessage Sticker Pack

Place Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles on your bubbles with this pack. Fight the Mojo Jojos in your life by sending them these stickers. It’s easy get the power of nostalgia as well as the Powerpuff Girls to fight the crime of boring messages. Make your conversations, cool, cute, and more importantly—sassy!

Download: Powerpuff Girls (Free)

7. TMNT Stickers

TMNT iMessage Sticker Pack

Here’s another one for the cartoon lovers. Your messages are about to get sliced and diced with Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo.

The official Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are here to rescue your conversations with their ninja skills. Go ahead, defend yourself with these four heroes against the harsh words of your friends. Cowabunga!

Download: TMNT Stickers (Free)

8. Solid Solids

Solid Solids iMessage Sticker Packs

These adorable solids are perfect for geeks. The sticker pack takes solid shapes and adds a whole lot of personality them. Its shapes are animated, with cute colors.

Some of them are just downright eatable, while the angry cone is intimidating. Get sweet and geeky with these beautiful stickers.

Download: Solid Solids ($1)

9. Buzz Bees

Buzz Bees iMessage Sticker Pack

These wonderfully simplistic stickers are an overload of adorable. The app comes with a huge catalog of stickers showing the bees with every expression you can imagine. Noticing the cute tiny details on the stickers will instantly make your day (and the person you’re sending them to).

Download: Buzz Bees (Free)

10. Memes—Rage Comic Stickers

Meme Faces iMessage Sticker Pack

Reacting in memes is the mark of a true friendship. But saving and collecting your own memes for every possible reply is a lot of work. With more than 100 popular memes and faces to choose from, this iMessage app helps you level up your meme game in no time.

Download: Memes—Rage Comic Stickers ($1)

11. Truly Furry

Truly Furry iMessage Sticker Pack

Got a friend who’s both adorable and furry? Your iMessage thread is about to get a lot more vibrant. Truly Furry gives you adorable and colorful fuzzy monsters to brighten up your messages.

They are funny faces with goofy reactions to help your inner furry-self communicate. The sticker pack is beautifully designed and comes with an array of vibrant pop colors.

Download: Truly Furry (Free)

12. Rejoinders

Rejoinders iMessage Sticker Pack

These stickers are filled with sarcasm, from gaping maws to menacing smirks. Rejoinders is an Old Masters pack featuring several centuries’ worth of art history. It includes around 50 faces to express your mood swings and emotions over messages. Send them to your friends and enemies alike.

Download: Rejoinders ($1)

13. WWF Origami

WWF Origami iMessage Stickers Pack

Share the love for animals and origami through these neatly designed stickers by the World Wildlife Fund. This pack is inspired by the WWF Together app and has many animals showcased in origami structures.

Download: WWF Origami (Free)

14. Asthetixx

Aesthetixx iMessage Sticker Pack

This pack adds a range of beards, caps, and other funky elements to flair up the photos you send to your friends. They are useful to mask the identities of certain people, especially since you can put pink mustaches on pictures.

Download: Asthetixx (Free)

15. Yippies!

Yippies iMessage Sticker pack

Spread the happiness in everything you discuss with these stickers. If you find texting too basic, use the cute language of Yipee and attain inner happiness. You’ll be one step closer to inner peace.

Download: Yippies! (Free)

iMessage Apps Are Versatile

Granted, iMessage stickers are amazing. But did you know that iMessage apps can do a lot more? You can use third-party iMessage apps to share music, translate text, and even share files from cloud storage services like Dropbox.

Read the full article: 15 Must-Have iMessage Sticker Packs for Fun Conversations

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