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June 01 2020


What Is an ARM Processor? Everything You Need to Know

When discussing smartphones, tablets, and even some laptops, you may have heard people mention ARM processors. This technology contributed to the rapid rise of portable computing in the early 2010s and still has a significant impact on our devices.

As we’ve become more familiar with ARM-based products, the processor tends to get less prominent billing now that it’s a commonly accepted standard. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still noteworthy.

The Challenges of Mobile Computing


All computers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones use a processor. The common term for your device’s processor is the CPU or Central Processing Unit. This is where most of the actual computing work is done. However, it isn’t a single processor, but many of them on a single component.

The CPU receives instructions, executes them, and delivers an output. As technology has progressed, manufacturers have moved towards multi-core processors.

Where the CPU is a collection of processors on a single chip, multi-core processors combine multiple CPUs on a single chip. This is one of the primary reasons computers are more powerful now than they were in the past. For more detail, take a look at our guide to how the CPU works.

Typically, desktop and laptop computers use Intel or AMD processors. These CPUs are designed to give an optimal desktop performance, where power is reliable, batteries are large, and there is often a dedicated graphics processor and cooling system. As such, they can handle complex calculations with many processors handling inputs at the same time.

However, mobile designs require different considerations. To remain portable, batteries need to be smaller, there isn’t space for a fan or cooling system, and the device needs to perform without delay or technical issues. Throughout the 2000s, this was a common challenge when creating portable computers.

The complex designs of desktop CPUs don’t translate well to mobile devices as the hardware requirements are vastly different. As a result, smartphones, as we know them today, weren’t a viable concept when using traditional computing architecture.

What Is an ARM Processor?

To overcome these challenges, manufacturers opted to replace desktop CPU architecture for something better suited to mobile computing. ARM processors are the ideal choice as they use a simplified, less power-hungry method of processing. This is represented in the ARM name, which stands for Advanced RISC Machine.

Expanding the initialism reveals another one, RISC, or reduced instruction set computing. Confusingly, RISC isn’t a technology itself. Instead, it is a design ideology. ARM processors are designed to be as efficient as possible, accepting only instructions that can be accomplished in a single memory cycle. The common process for CPUs is to fetch, decode, and execute instructions.

RISC units use 32-bit architecture, a standard largely phased out from desktop computing. This limits the amount of information that can be processed in the fetch-decode-execute function.

For example, Windows computers now commonly use 64-bit architecture. This makes more processing power available to the operating system, leading to a better experience. If you’re interested in how this affects your computer, take a look at the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

How Do ARM Processors Work?

It may sound as though RISC processors, and therefore ARM units, would be a step backward. RISC, for example, was originally developed in the 1980s but failed to make an impact on the market. However, ARM Holdings, the company behind ARM processors, developed a compressed instruction format.

Despite only processing a single instruction set in a single memory cycle, the instructions can be longer and more complex than traditional RISC devices. Although they are still limited compared to their desktop counterparts, we don’t expect our smartphones or tablets to reach those same levels of performance.

Initial RISC designs used a 32-bit architecture, but since 2011, ARM Holdings has included 64-bit support in their designs. This would have been unachievable with RISC alone, and is only possible due to the company’s instruction set architecture. The technical design of ARM processors also simplifies manufacturing and physical design.

The reduced complexity of RISC units means they require fewer transistors on a chip. Generally, more transistors mean increased power requirements and higher manufacturing, and therefore retail cost. For this reason, ARM processors are typically lower-cost than traditional desktop processors, too.

Uses for ARM Processors

ASUS C202sa Chromebook

As ARM processors combine high-performance RISC designs, lower manufacturing costs, and reduced power consumption, they are ideal for portable devices like smartphones, tablets, and even some laptops. However, discussing ARM processors as a collective can be a challenge.

ARM Holdings doesn’t produce any processors itself. Instead, the company composes the technology, develops the instruction standard, and then licenses these designs to other manufacturers. This is why there are so many variants of ARM processors and why each seems to perform differently.

Hardware manufacturers pay ARM Holdings for the core technology, but then adapt it to their needs, software requirements, and hardware designs. As a result, many products contain ARM processors. However, it’s hard to compare them against one another as you would with Intel processors.

Complicating matters further, software must be designed specifically for ARM hardware and is therefore not compatible or interoperable with other architectures. The operational differences between ARM and desktop processors is one of the major factors making your phone slower than your desktop.

That said, as they are efficient and low-cost, you can find ARM processors on some laptops. Notably, many Chromebooks use ARM processors. As Chromebooks run Chrome OS, a low-resource operating system based on the Chrome web browser, ARM products make an ideal choice.

The Future of Computing

It’s thanks to ARM Holdings’ process that our phones are light, portable, high-performance, and reasonably affordable. Without the innovations in RISC implementation, it’s not clear that mobile computing would have been feasible as we recognize it today.

Despite making their name with smartphones and tablets, ARM processors are also available in low-cost laptops like Chromebooks. If you aren’t familiar with Google’s desktop operating system, check out our Chromebook beginner’s guide.

Read the full article: What Is an ARM Processor? Everything You Need to Know


What Is Intel Turbo Boost? Here’s How It Works

The computer processor in your laptop or desktop has a standard clock speed. The CPU clock speed partially determines how quickly it performs. The CPU will periodically lower its clock speed to conserve power, especially on laptops.

But did you know your CPU can also periodically activate a Turbo Boost mode to deliver some extra processing oomph?

Intel Turbo Boost and AMD Turbo Core technology can dynamically scale up CPU speed, depending on the thermal headroom available. Boost capacity is sometimes worth almost an extra 1GHz in CPU power.

So, how does Intel Turbo Boost work? And is AMD Turbo Core different?

How Does Intel Turbo Boost Work?

Intel Turbo Boost monitors the usage of an Intel Core CPU to determine how close the processor is to its maximum thermal design power, or TDP. The processor TPD is the maximum amount of power the processor is supposed to use. If the Intel Turbo Boost Technology sees that the CPU is operating well within limits, the Turbo Boost can kick in.

Intel Turbo Boost is a dynamic feature available to Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Xeon CPUs. Not all Intel CPUs feature Turbo Boost, although it is a common feature for most CPUs manufactured since 2008.

There is no set-in-stone speed that the processor will reach in Turbo Boost mode. There is, however, a Maximum Turbo Frequency, which defines the absolute limit the CPU will reach. For example, the Intel Core i5-9600K has a Processor Base Frequency of 3.70GHz, and a Max Turbo Frequency of 4.60GHz. The Turbo Boost can provide up-to 0.9GHz additional processing power.

Furthermore, the CPU Turbo Boost doesn’t propel your processor from 3.70GHz to 4.60GHz in a single action. Turbo Boost operates in small increments.

The very early Intel Core CPUs, using the Nehalem and Westmere microarchitectures (such as the Intel Core i5-750 and the Core i7-950), operate with 133MHz frequency increments. Intel changed the frequency increment with the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, switching to 100MHz frequency increments. The 100MHz frequency increment features in every Intel microarchitecture since.

However, Intel still advertises these processors by their base clock speed. This is because Intel does not guarantee that a processor will ever hit its maximum Turbo Boost speed. I have yet to hear of an Intel processor that cannot hit its maximum Turbo Boost speed. But hitting the maximum Turbo Boost is dependent on workload—it won’t happen all of the time.

What Is Turbo Boost Max Technology?

Turbo Boost Max Technology (TBMT) 3.0 is an Intel CPU technology that boosts the performance of your CPUs fastest cores.

No two CPUs are the same. They have the same specs, look the same, and probably smell the same. But the CPU manufacturing process means that two CPUs have minute differences. These microscopic differences mean the CPU cores all have slightly different strengths.

TBMT harnesses those slight differences and provides an additional CPU frequency boost. The TBMT frequency boost is up to 200MHz higher than the regular Turbo Boost frequency.

TBMT doesn’t replace Turbo Boost. Rather, for certain Intel CPUs, it compliments it. In that, Turbo Boost Max Technology isn’t available to all Intel CPUs. At the time of writing, TBMT is only available to Intel Core i7 and Core i9 Extreme Edition CPUs—the top tier of Intel processors.

Why Turbo Boost Helps with High Performance

Turbo Boost is a core Intel CPU feature. The operation of Turbo Boost may feel unpredictable. However, it provides an excellent processing power boost, which is vital at all CPU levels.

In the days before Turbo Boost, the choice of purchasing a dual-core or quad-core processor was a compromise. Many dual-core processors came with a faster clock speed than quad-core processors simply because having more cores increases power consumption and heat generation.

Some programs, like games, favored dual-core processors, while other programs, like 3D rendering software, favored quad cores. If you used both types of applications, you had to make a choice about which was most important to you. You couldn’t receive maximum performance in both from a single processor.

The introduction of Turbo Boost did away with this compromise.

Modern Intel CPUs with Turbo Boost Technology all have different strengths and weaknesses, though for different reasons. You can use an Intel CPU with a 3D rendering application, high-performance game, video editing, and more, knowing that Turbo Boost will provide some extra processing power where possible.

You can see the difference Turbo Boost has on performance in the following video.

Does Turbo Boost Affect Laptop Battery Life?

With extra processing power comes extra power draw. On a desktop computer, the extra power demands of Intel Turbo Boost are not an issue. Whereas, if you’re using a laptop with a finite battery, Turbo Boost will affect your battery life.

However, quantifying the exact effect of CPU Turbo Boost on a laptop battery is difficult. This is primarily because there are so many CPU and battery combinations. There are, however, some handy studies that illustrate the issue. For example, check out Marco Arment’s Turbo Boost test with a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 2.4GHz Intel Core i9 CPU.

He found that after switching Turbo Boost off, the MacBook Pro used 62-percent less power and ran some 35°C cooler. Which, on the one hand, is brilliant for extending your laptop battery life. The flipside is that the MacBook Pro also took a 29-percent performance hit.

There are two options available for switching off Turbo Boost on your laptop. First, you should check for a specific Turbo Boost switch in the system BIOS. From here you can toggle Turbo Boost on or off, depending on the level of performance you require.

If that is not an option, you should consult our laptop undervolting guide, which uses ThrottleStop to restrict CPU power draw.

Do AMD CPUs Have Turbo Boost?

AMD CPUs do have a version of Turbo Boost, known as AMD Turbo Core. AMD Turbo Core, also known as AMD Core Performance Boost, dynamically adjusts the processor frequency depending on the headroom between the operating temperature and the processor TDP.

AMD Ryzen CPUs come with some pretty nifty CPU frequency boost technologies, too. For one, AMD Ryzen CPUs move in 25MHz frequency increments, as in comparison to Intel’s 100MHz. That means you can maintain a higher clock speed for a longer period. Other features work alongside those increments:

  • Precision Boost: Implements a frequency increase in “two-core boost” or “all-core boost” modes. The two-core boost mode provides a larger boost to two cores, whereas the all-core mode spreads the boost across all available cores.
  • Precision Boost 2: The second iteration enables all cores to operate at maximum frequency, up to the limits of frequency, power consumption, or temperature.
  • Precision Boost Overdrive: Although it carries the same name as the previous two entries, Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) is more akin to Intel’s Turbo Boost Max Technology. PBO alters the direct voltage of the CPU cores, allowing for performance gains outside the advertised frequency range under certain circumstances.
  • Extended Frequency Range 2: The Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR2) works with Precision Boost 2 to continually assess how far the CPU frequency can extend in relation to the system cooling capacity. The better the system cooling, the more boost the CPU can handle.

At one time, AMD’s Turbo Core was nowhere near as useful or advanced as Intel’s Turbo Boost. Now, AMD’s Turbo Core and Precision Boost technologies put AMD alongside Intel—if not ahead.

How to Enable Intel Turbo Boost

If you’ve read through this and wonder how you turn Intel Turbo Boost on, you don’t have to worry. Your computer will use Turbo Boost automatically. Some system BIOS will allow you to switch the Turbo Boost on or off, while others wont.

The likelihood is that you use Intel Turbo Boost all of the time without realizing—because that’s how it is meant to work.

As mentioned in the section regarding laptops and Intel Turbo Boost, there are some reasons why you might consider switching Turbo Boost off. But you should only do that if you absolutely must.

Intel Turbo Boost Will Boost Your CPU

Turbo Boost is a great feature. It was one of the reasons Intel CPUs were superior to AMD’s processors. Now that AMD CPUs feature the same technology with a few additions, that bonus is gone.

Still, Intel Turbo Boost provides an extra bit of processing power when you need it. The extra CPU frequency is perfect for gamers, video editors, developers, and anyone pushing their CPU to the limit. Even if you’re not pushing the CPU, you know that you have the processing headroom if you desire.

It appears the days of set-in-stone processor clock speeds are over. The future will be about changing a processor’s performance on the fly to meet the demands of the user.

Turbo Boost isn’t Intel’s only power-boosting technology. Intel’s Optane Memory comes with some incredible performance boosts!

Read the full article: What Is Intel Turbo Boost? Here’s How It Works

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6 Apps to Find What Facebook Knows About You (And How to Block It)


The Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg’s subsequent testimony has set off a million questions in the public’s mind about what data Facebook has on them. Here’s how to check what Facebook knows about you, despite your privacy settings.

These sites and apps will tell you what you should know about Facebook before you use the social network. If you only want to know whether your data was leaked, check Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica tool.

Let’s take a look at what Facebook knows about you and what you can do about it.

1. Sign Up For Facebook (Web): Plain English Revelation of Facebook’s Terms

Sign Up for Facebook explains Facebook's terms and conditions in simple terms

Before you signed up for a Facebook account, you agreed to certain terms and conditions. It was one of those long, legalese tabs that you didn’t pay attention to and just clicked “Continue” on. Well, that document gave Facebook a lot of power.

The average person finds it difficult to read and comprehend the terms of service. So developer Marten Bjork launched a simple page that puts all of Facebook’s privacy-hijacking terms in plain English. This is what you should know about Facebook before signing up and using it.

Each line explains what you need to be okay with if you want to use Facebook. Every point is backed up with links to Facebook’s policy page, terms of service, press releases, or third-party articles from reputed sources.

All put together, it’s a good explanation of all the hidden clauses that go into using Facebook. This would be ideal before you sign up for Facebook, but even if you already have, the information here might make you think twice about using the social network.

2. Off Facebook Activity (Web): What Other Apps and Sites Tell Facebook About You

Off Facebook Activity lets you view and control what facebook knows about you through third party websites and apps

It is no secret that Facebook is always tracking you, even when you aren’t using the website. Third-party trackers give it unprecedented access. Well, the social network itself launched a tool for you to check what Facebook knows about you through these apps and websites.

Go to Facebook > Settings > Your Facebook Information > Off Facebook Activity or follow the direct link above. Any app that you logged in to with your Facebook account will show up here.

In Access Your Information and Download Your Information, you can see and save all the data that these apps and websites are sending to Facebook. It goes back years and years, the scrolling might shock you.

If you’re uncomfortable with this much data being given to Facebook, go to Manage Future Off-Facebook Activity. This will let you log out of all these services in one click.

You can also enable or disable apps individually, which might be the smarter move if you use Facebook as your primary login on several favorite apps. Learn more about Off-Facebook Activity to find out all it can do.

3. Jumbo (Android, iOS): Simplest Way to Understand and Act on Facebook Privacy Settings

If the Facebook privacy settings are confusing for you, get Jumbo. This privacy-focused app has the simplest explanations for what Facebook knows about you, as well as several other popular online apps. You need to pay to unlock many of the other apps, but the Facebook scan and recommendations are free.

Once you log into Jumbo, it takes a few minutes to figure out what privacy settings you’ve got on Facebook. Then, in individual cards, you can check what Facebook knows about you. For example, Facebook stores all the searches you have done. In one tap, Jumbo can delete these without ever exiting the app.

Jumbo goes through your profile and recommends deleting some old posts, which you can backup in the app. It’ll show you how many advertisers are showing you ads based on your contact info, which again you can stop tracking in one tap.

Is Facebook tracking your activity on partner apps and websites? Do search engines link to your profile? Are friends able to see anything you post, or what others post on your timeline? With Jumbo, see what Facebook knows about you and take action.

Download: Jumbo for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Facebook Container (Firefox): Sandbox Your Identity

Mozilla's Facebook Container is a Firefox extension to create a sandbox in your browser, keeping Firefox from tracking other tabs

While we have covered both of these tools in detail before, it’s important to talk about them again in the current context. Facebook Container and Privacy Badger are both browser extensions that stop Facebook from tracking you across your web browsing session.

Facebook Container is made by Mozilla to stop tracking on Firefox, so there isn’t a Chrome version yet. The extension creates a “container” for your Facebook session, which means your Facebook login is separated from the rest of your Firefox browser.

It limits what Facebook knows about you, but it only limits a small part of their data collection.

Download: Facebook Container for Firefox (Free)

5. Privacy Badger (Chrome, Firefox): Stop Facebook Tracking

EFF's Privacy Badger extension stops Facebook from tracking you to know more about you

Privacy Badger is made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an independent privacy advocate. The extension shows all the trackers Facebook is running across your browsing session to gather data about you. It works intelligently in the background to thwart Facebook as much as possible so you don’t have to lift a finger after the initial setup. Plus it does a lot more than stop Facebook alone.

Download: Privacy Badger for Chrome | Firefox | Opera (Free)

6. Delete Facebook (Web): How to Finally Pull the Plug

If you're concerned about how much facebook knows about you, Delete Facebook blog shows how to remove it from your life forever

Given what Facebook knows about you, we wouldn’t be surprised if you want to delete your account. While there are still reasons to use Facebook, the #DeleteFacebook movement wants you to get rid of your account altogether. If you’re ready to pull the plug, here’s the site to know how.

Delete Facebook is an up-to-date guide on how to delete your Facebook account safely and securely. It provides answers to all your questions about the deletion process, along with step-by-step instructions on how to do it. There is also a video guide if you like a visual aid.

Why is this site needed, you ask? Because Facebook makes it ridiculously difficult to delete your account. It will try to play with words to get you to “deactivate” instead of deleting the account, so your data still stays online. Or it will take a login attempt as a sign that you want to cancel your deletion request. Heed Delete Facebook’s warnings and instructions and you will finally be able to get rid of it.

Even If You Don’t Have Facebook, Facebook Knows You

Here is the kicker. Even if you haven’t signed up for Facebook or have deleted your account, that doesn’t mean the social network is done with you. By using information from your friends and family, it has created a profile of you without any page to show it. The moment you sign up for an account, it will push all that data to you.

Frightening, isn’t it? Read more about these “shadow profiles” on Facebook.

Read the full article: 6 Apps to Find What Facebook Knows About You (And How to Block It)


The 10 Best Headphones for Sleeping and Relaxing


Have a snoring sleeping partner or trouble getting to sleep at night? Listening to music or guided meditation in bed not only drowns out noise, but it can also calm your anxious thoughts.

You probably know how uncomfortable it is to wear regular earbuds or bulky headphones to bed. That means you’ll need to invest in a pair of headphones designed to keep you comfortable when laying down.

The following headphones are perfect to wear while you sleep; you won’t even know that you’re wearing them!

1. Panasonic Slim Clip-On Earphones

Panasonic Slim Clip-On Earphones Panasonic Slim Clip-On Earphones Buy Now On Amazon $13.90

The Panasonic Slim Clip-On Earphones are a flattened version of traditional earbuds. They come with extremely thin housing that you’ll barely feel when you rest your head. Plus, these earphones hook over your ear, which keeps them from jabbing the inside of your ear.

That said, these earphones don’t have the best sound quality, but it’s still acceptable for nighttime listening.

2. MAXROCK Soft Silicone Sleeping Headphones

MAXROCK Soft Silicon Sleeping Headphones MAXROCK Soft Silicon Sleeping Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $11.99

If you prefer in-ear earbuds, you’ll want to check out the MAXROCK Soft Silicon Sleeping Headphones. These earbuds are made with super-soft silicone, so they won’t hurt your ears like typical earbuds. Better yet, the noise-isolating feature is enough to silence loud snoring.

When you want to change the track you’re listening to, simply press the button on the cord to skip, pause, or play the track.

3. TOPOINT Bluetooth Eye Mask Wireless Headphones

TOPOINT Bluetooth Eye Mask Wireless Headphones TOPOINT Bluetooth Eye Mask Wireless Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $23.99

The TOPOINT Bluetooth Eye Mask provides the most comfortable listening experience possible. It functions as a two-in-one sleeping mask—not only does it block out light, but it also lets you wirelessly listen to music.

Spend about two hours charging this device, and it’ll last over nine hours—this means it’ll stay powered on during the whole night. The long battery life also makes it perfect to wear on plane rides.

4. JVC Marshmallow Memory Foam Earbuds

JVC Memory Foam Earbuds JVC Memory Foam Earbuds Buy Now On Amazon $14.27

The JVC Marshmallow Memory Foam Earbuds are yet another pair of comfortable in-ear earbuds. The earpiece is made of soft memory foam that molds to the shape of your ear. Such a snug fit ensures they won’t fall out while you’re asleep.

The main downside to these earbuds is the plastic housing. This might make it uncomfortable to sleep on your side, so you might want to consider other options if you’re a side sleeper.

5. Hearprotek Sleep Earbuds

Hearprotek Sleep Earbuds Hearprotek Sleep Earbuds Buy Now On Amazon $18.99

Side sleepers can definitely benefit from the Hearprotek Sleep Earbuds. This pair of earbuds comes with a double-layered silicone tip that conforms to your ear. Not only does this promote noise-cancellation, but it also provides painless listening.

Hearprotek’s earbuds have a thin but durable cord that prevents any damage from tossing and turning. At about 50 inches long, the wire won’t have you feeling restricted at night. The cord has a built-in remote button and microphone too. So, you can easily pause, play, and skip tracks, as well as answer calls.

6. Perytong Wireless Sleep Headphones

Perytong Wireless Sleep Headphones Perytong Wireless Sleep Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $19.99

If you aren’t a fan of the eye mask/earphone combination, you might like the Perytong Wireless Sleep Headphones. You can opt to wear the headband over your eyes or around your head. The thin and removable speakers sit inside the headband, making it comfortable to wear in bed.

Simply connect this headband to your device via Bluetooth, and you’ll have 10 hours of battery life. This versatile headband isn’t only great for wearing at night, but it’s also perfect for listening to music during workouts.

7. LC-dolida Sleeping Mask Headphones

LC-dolida Sleeping Mask Headphones LC-dolida Sleeping Mask Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $23.99

The LC-dolida Sleeping Mask Headphones is another fantastic sleeping mask that comes equipped with a pair of built-in speakers. Unlike the other sleeping masks included on this list, the LC-dolida mask is designed to fit the contours of your face. It provides memory foam padding around your eyes and nose, and puts no pressure on your eyes.

The eye mask helps block out light and noise, not to mention that it has 10 long hours of battery life. This means you can sleep or relax longer, and listen to high-quality audio the entire time.

8. AcousticSheep SleepPhones

AcousticSheep SleepPhones AcousticSheep SleepPhones Buy Now On Amazon

Although the AcousticSheep Sleephones are a bit pricey, they’re worth it if you want a headband made specifically for your needs. You can choose from a small, medium, or large-sized band. Having the right size secures the band to your head, and keeps it from sliding off while you sleep. You can also choose between two fabrics: fleece or a lightweight moisture-wicking fabric.

Inside the headband, you’ll find two wafer-thin speakers that you can’t even feel on your ears. With a 30-foot Bluetooth range, you can listen to audio even when your phone is in the next room.

9. Elgin Ruckus Earplug Earbuds

Elgin Ruckus Earplug Earbuds Elgin Ruckus Earplug Earbuds Buy Now On Amazon $19.95

The Ruckus Earplug Earbuds might look like heavy-duty earplugs, but they’re actually suitable for sleeping. With a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels, these earbuds have powerful noise-canceling qualities. Given that, they’re an excellent choice if you’re looking to block out a lot of noise.

The sturdy cable design, soft silicone earbuds, and immersive sound quality make these headphones ideal for sleeping or even working.

10. CozyPhones Sleep Headphones

CozyPhones Sleep Headphones CozyPhones Sleep Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $17.49

For an affordable, lightweight headband with built-in speakers, try the CozyPhones Sleep Headphones. The breathable material and thin speakers keep you cool and comfortable while napping, sleeping, or relaxing.

Since this headband plugs right into your device’s headphone jack, you won’t ever have to worry about charging it. The cable stretches five feet long, giving you freedom while you sleep. Plus, the cord is braided for extra durability.

Sleeping Headphones Help You Fall Asleep Comfortably

It’s time to stop sleeping with a pair of painful plastic earbuds. Even if you love the headphones or earbuds that you wear on a daily basis, they’ll likely make your sleeping experience much worse.

Having a dedicated pair of headphones for sleeping can give you the best night’s rest—you can relax while listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts, without feeling any discomfort.

If you want to muffle the noise around you even more, you should consider pairing your sleeping headphones with a white noise machine. Try out one of these white noise machines for drowning out distractions, and you’ll find yourself falling asleep way faster.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Headphones for Sleeping and Relaxing

May 31 2020


Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Keeps You Powered Up, No Matter What

maxoak bluetti ac100
Our verdict of the Maxoak Bluetti AC100:
It doesn't have the power of its larger siblings, but the Maxoak Bluetti AC100 has more than enough to keep your most vital electronics running when you need them.
9 10

The world is an unpredictable place, so you never know when you might need a solid source of portable power. You may have a power outage in your area or you could have a downed wire from a storm. Maybe you’re just going on a camping trip but can’t do without a specific modern convenience.

We’ve previously looked at portable power supplies from Maxoak’s Bluetti line and were impressed with what they had to offer. That said, not everyone needs a big ultra-powerful pseudo-generator. When you just need to power a few household electronics, the Maxoak Bluetti AC100 will get the job done, and it’s just light enough to make it luggable.

Join us as we take a closer look at the Maxoak Bluetti AC100, and scroll down for an exclusive coupon code!


  • Inputs: AC adapter or solar panel (16V-40V 10A)
  • Outputs: 2x AC sockets, 4x 5V USB 2.1A ports, 1 x 45W PD USB-C, 1 x 12V 9A car port
  • Total capacity: 1000Wh
  • Maximum continuous power: 600W
  • Battery technology: Lithium-Ion
  • AC Charge time: 10 hours
  • Solar charge time: Variable (higher power panels mean shorter recharge times); panels not included
Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Buy Now On Amazon $899.99

Build & Design

DC ports on the AC100

The Maxoak Bluetti AC100 might be smaller than some others in the Bluetti line, but it isn’t exactly tiny, nor is it light. The size is slightly bigger than a car battery and weighs in at 34.4 pounds (15.6 kg).

While most of that weight comes from the internal lithium-ion battery, a significant portion of it comes from the build. This is a sturdy power source, with a handle for easy carrying. It feels like it could handle a drop from a few feet, but I wouldn’t want to find out the hard way.

The battery may be tough, but it does have its weak points. The biggest of these is that it isn’t waterproof. This isn’t a problem if you’re keeping the AC100 around for power outages, but it means you’ll need to be careful if you bring it on a camping trip.


Built-in light on Bluetti AC100

Functionality is simple: just press the power button on the front, then tap the AC or DC buttons on the front to enable power to the ports. You can use both at the same time, but the individual switches make it easy to route power only to where you need it. You’ll be using both switches often, because aside from the two AC sockets on one side, every other port provides DC power.

One extra bit of functionality comes from the built-in light. Turn on the battery, then tap the light button and you’ve got an extremely heavy, largely unwieldy light source. That said, this may be handy when it comes to plugging devices into the Bluetti AC100 during a power outage.

The built-in display is easy to read, both inside and outside. As with the Maxoak Bluetti 1500Wh, the five-segment battery indicator doesn’t give you a good idea of how much power is left. That said, this is the only poor aspect of the display. Being able to see exactly how much power is discharging at any given time is useful.

Charging the Battery

Charging the Bluetti AC100

The Maxoak Bluetti AC100 arrived mostly charged, so I had quite a lot of work to do before I could charge it to see how long it took. Given the capacity of the battery, this took longer than I’d initially planned.

There are two ways to charge the Bluetti AC100, one of which is standard AC power from a wall outlet. An AC adapter is included in the box, which makes this easy.

As this is such a large battery, you’ll need a while to charge it — roughly 10 to 11 hours, in fact. In my case, charging took around nine hours, but this is because I didn’t entirely run out the battery before plugging it in to charge over the course of a day.

Input for charging the AC100

The other option for charging the Bluetti AC100, and largely one of the more novel reasons for opting for this power source over others, is using a solar panel. You can use plenty of solar panels, as long as it provides a working voltage of between 16V and 40V at a max of 10A. A DC to MC4 charging cable is included in the box.

I had hoped to have a solar panel on hand to test this feature, but that was not to be the case. If you’re interested in charging via solar panel, see our review of the Maxoak Bluetti 1500Wh Backup Solar Generator, which has a 50% larger capacity than Bluetti AC100.

Solar power is great, but not exactly known for being predictable, as so much is reliant on the weather. How fast the AC100 charges depends partly on your solar panel and partly on how the weather is while you’re charging.

Powering Up Your Home

Dual AC outlets

You can power anything with the AC100, as long as it doesn’t draw more than 600 watts. This means that it easily powers TVs, computers, coffee grinders, and more. Maxoak even advertises using the Bluetti AC100 to power a car fridge or mini-fridge.

That said, the AC100 won’t power every home appliance. Microwaves, toaster ovens, kettles, or even a slow cooker, typically all draw more than 600 watts.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about accidentally plugging in something with too big of a draw. The AC100 has built-in protection against overcharge, overcurrent, overvoltage, and overheating.

I wasn’t it to provide much fo a challenge, but for initial testing, I plugged a Marshall guitar amplifier from the mid-1980s into the Bluetti AC100, which draws around 50-watt. As expected the AC100 had no problem powering the amp, but there was a strange noise in the background. I’m going to blame this on the amp being a solid-state amp that is around 35 years old rather than the Bluetti.

Just to make sure that the AC100 didn’t have any significant issues with noise, I next decided to power my home audio setup. This includes an Audio-Technica turntable, a hybrid tube integrated amplifier, cassette deck, and input switcher. The Bluetti AC100 easily powered everything, and I noticed no noise. Everything sounded exactly as it was plugged into the wall outlet.

How Long Does the Battery Last?

Reporting the current power load

Unlike laptop power banks, which Maxoak also makes, it can be hard to predict how long the battery will last unless you know how much power you’re drawing. Fortunately, the readouts on the built-in display make this part easy.

Once you know how much power you’re drawing, you can figure out how long the battery will last. This model has 1,000 Wh (watt-hours) of capacity, which simply means that drawing 1 watt continuously would get you roughly 1,000 hours of power. If you’re drawing a total of around 100 watts at a given time, you can expect roughly 10 hours.

This formula works, but you won’t always be working with neat units of 10 or 100. Still, the Maxoak Bluetti AC100 performed as expected, delivering power for roughly as long as I expected. It’s important to note that power usage will fluctuate in most cases, so you’ll want to keep your eye on usage for a while. If you want to be safe, just base your estimate on the highest number you see.

I tested the Bluetti AC100 with my home theater setup that included an LCD TV, 5.1-channel receiver, powered subwoofer, and Ultra HD Blu-ray player. All of this only displayed a load of around 100 watts, even during playback, so I could have expected around 10 hours of playtime. I didn’t feel like watching TV for 10 hours, but after finishing a roughly 2.5 hour movie, the AC100 had drained at the rate I had expected.

Should You Buy the Maxoak Bluetti AC100?

The Maxoak Bluetti AC100 is a great example of a product that clearly describes what it aims to do and then does just that. While it’s not as powerful as other products in the Bluetti line, it’s still powerful enough to keep a fair amount of electronics running. The occasional slightly gimmicky feature like the built-in light don’t do anything to take away from that.

The more important thing to consider when looking at the Bluetti AC100 is whether it does what you need. It’s handy how powerful this power bank is, but that doesn’t mean much if you’re aiming to power your toaster and this won’t handle it. While the AC100 will handle most things you throw at it, its portability does come with a slight tradeoff of sheer power.

Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Buy Now On Amazon $899.99

If you need just slightly more than what the Bluetti AC100 can provide, you might be interested in one of the more powerful models in the Bluetti line. On the other hand, if you’re looking to power your entire home or even a portion of it, no product like this will meet your demands. Instead, you’re probably in the market for a diesel-powered generator or Tesla Powerwall.

This level power and portability doesn’t come cheap, but you aren’t necessarily stuck paying the Bluetti’s $900 MSRP. Using the coupon code bluetti108, you can get a further $108 off the purchase price (and there’s an Amazon coupon for $50 on the sales page this can be combined with), which may be a large enough difference in price to make this a worthwhile investment.

Enter the Competition!

Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Battery Backup

Read the full article: Maxoak Bluetti AC100 Keeps You Powered Up, No Matter What

May 30 2020


Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Visual Studio Code

Laptop displaying text editor

Microsoft Visual Studio Code debuted only a few years ago, but it has quickly become one of the most popular text editors available. Its combination of a simple user interface with powerful IDE-like features makes it especially popular with programmers, but it’s just as useful for writers and anyone who manipulates text files.

Visual Studio Code supports nearly every programming language that exists. If support isn’t built-in, you can add it through the app’s extension browser. VS Code even has native features to support collaborative programming. Plus, it has plenty of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the app interface effortlessly.

And what’s more, you can discover the most useful VS Code keyboard shortcuts with this cheat sheet!

Because of the sheer number of users on Windows, that OS is the main focus of this cheat sheet. Don’t worry if you’re a Mac user though, as all of these keyboard shortcuts work on macOS as well. Simply use the Command key instead of the Ctrl key and the Option key instead of Alt. If any shortcuts vary more than that, we’ll mention both.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Visual Studio Code Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet.

The Visual Studio Code Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

On a Mac keyboard, replace Ctrl with Cmd and Alt with Option in the shortcuts.

ShortcutAction Basic Functionality Ctrl + Shift + POpen Command Palette Ctrl + ,Open app settings Ctrl + K, Ctrl + SDisplay keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Shift + XSwitch to Extensions pane Ctrl + NNew file Ctrl + Shift + NNew window ¹Ctrl + F4Close file Ctrl + Shift + WClose window ¹F11Toggle Full Screen mode Ctrl + BToggle sidebar visibility File Management Ctrl + OOpen file Ctrl + SSave file Ctrl + Shift + SSave as… Ctrl + K, SSave all files Ctrl + K, Ctrl + WClose all Ctrl + Shift + TReopen last closed Editing Commands Ctrl + CCopy selection or current line Ctrl + XCut selection or current line Ctrl + VPaste Ctrl + Shift + KDelete line HomeGo to beginning of line EndGo to end of line Ctrl + HomeGo to beginning of file Ctrl + EndGo to end of file Alt + Up / DownMove line up or down Ctrl + ]Indent line Ctrl + [Outdent line Ctrl + /Comment out line Shift + Alt + AComment out region Folding Ctrl + Shift + [Fold region Ctrl + Shift + ]Unfold region Ctrl + K, Ctrl + [Fold all subregions Ctrl + K, Ctrl + ]Unfold all subregions Ctrl + K, Ctrl + 0Fold all regions Ctrl + K, Ctrl + JUnfold all regions Editor Navigation Ctrl + PGo to file Ctrl + GGo to line Ctrl + TShow all symbols Ctrl + Shift + OGo to symbol F8Go to next error or warning Shift + F8Go to previous error or warning Ctrl + Shift + MShow Problems panel ¹Alt + LeftGo back ¹Alt + RightGo forward Find and Replace Ctrl + FOpen Find dialog Ctrl + HOpen Replace dialog Ctrl + Shift + HReplace in files ¹F3Find next ¹Shift + F3Find previous Alt + EnterSelect all matches for search term Ctrl + DAdd current selection to Find match Ctrl + K, Ctrl + DMove previous selection to next Find match Selection and Multiple Cursors Ctrl + LSelect current line Ctrl + Shift + LSelect all instances of current selection Ctrl + F2Select all matches of current word ¹Shift + Alt + Right ArrowExpand selection ¹Shift + Alt + Left ArrowShrink selection Alt + ClickInsert cursor Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow / Down ArrowInsert cursor above or below current line Ctrl + UUndo last cursor Shift + Alt + IInsert cursor at the end of each selected line Split Editor Management Ctrl + \Split editor Ctrl + 1 / 2 / 3Focus on editor pane 1, 2, or 3 Ctrl + K, Ctrl + Right Arrow / Left ArrowFocus on next / previous editor pane ¹Ctrl + Shift + PgUpMove editor left ¹Ctrl + Shift + PgDownMove editor right Integrated Terminal ¹Ctrl + `Show integrated terminal ¹Ctrl + Shift + `Create new terminal instance Ctrl + Up Arrow / Down ArrowScroll up / down Ctrl + Home / EndScroll to top / bottom macOS-Specific Shortcuts Cmd + WClose file Cmd + Ctrl + FToggle full screen Cmd + -Go back Cmd + Shift + -Go forward Cmd + GFind next Cmd + Shift + GFind previous Cmd + Control + Shift + Right ArrowExpand selection Cmd + Control + Shift + Left ArrowShrink selection Cmd + K, Cmd + Shift + LeftMove editor left Cmd + K, Cmd + Shift + RightMove editor right Control + `Show integrated terminal Control + Shift + `Create new terminal instance ¹The corresponding macOS shortcut is listed under the macOS-Specific Shortcuts section at the end of the cheat sheet. <!-- #tablepress-63-no-2 from cache -->

Looking for More Ways to Make the Most of VS Code?

The keyboard shortcuts here will have you well on your way to becoming a Visual Studio Code power user. That said, there are many more ways that you can make the software even better-suited to your workflow.

For example, you can add countless features to the editor with extensions. If you’re looking for a starting point, take a look at our list of extensions to help make programming in VS Code even easier.

Image Credit: UserName on Unsplash

Read the full article: Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Visual Studio Code


You Can Now Break YouTube Videos Into Chapters

YouTube creators can now add chapters to videos, making it easier for viewers to navigate them. This is especially useful with longer videos, with the content broken up into smaller chunks. Chapters are entirely optional, but should start appearing on more videos.

YouTube started experimenting with chapters in April, and thanks to positive feedback, is now rolling the feature out to all users. Chapters are optional, and won’t be applied by default, but if a YouTuber adds timestamps to a video, YouTube will do the rest.

How to Add Chapters to YouTube Videos

To add chapters to one of your YouTube videos, simply add timestamps to your description. The first timestamp needs to start at 0.00, a video needs to have at least three timestamps, and each timestamp needs to be at least 10 seconds apart.

YouTube will use your timestamps to break the video into chapters. Viewers will then see the chapters at the bottom of the video, with the timeline broken up with black lines in between each one. Making it easier to navigate to an exact point.

Chapters work on desktop, Android, and iOS. On desktop, you can hover over a chapter to see the title, and click the one you want. On mobile, you need to keep your finger on the screen and scroll across the timeline until you find the chapter you want to watch.

There are no limits on who can add chapters to their YouTube videos, so you’re likely to see them cropping up a lot from now on. However, it IS optional, and YouTubers can disable chapters by adjusting the first timestamp to something other than 0.00.

Making It Easier to Navigate YouTube Videos

Chapters have the capacity to help both YouTube creators and viewers. Creators can break videos up into smaller chunks, helping direct viewers to specific parts of their uploads. And viewers will be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

If you’re a budding YouTuber keen to start making videos, read our beginner’s guide to making YouTube videos. And if you’re a viewer keen to get more out of YouTube, be sure to check out our article explaining ways to make YouTube even better.

Image Credit: Ivan Radic/Flickr

Read the full article: You Can Now Break YouTube Videos Into Chapters


5 Ways to Watch YouTube Together With Friends for Videos, Music, and Workouts

Watching YouTube with friends

Circumstances stopping you from meeting up with others? Try some of these best apps to watch YouTube together with friends. All you need is a web browser to enjoy videos, music, and even workout with friends remotely.

These websites and apps sync YouTube videos and music for everyone to turn it into a group activity. While the clip is playing, you can video call with friends to see their reactions, or chat in text.

So queue up a music playlist together on YouTube, exercise with the best YouTube workout videos, or kick back and watch a movie together on YouTube.

1. Squad (Web, Android, iOS): Watch YouTube Videos in Sync With Friends

Squad is the best app to watch YouTube together with friends on desktop and mobile, with video calls and chat both

Squad is one of the best ways to watch YouTube videos with friends online. It enables both video calls and chat while you’re streaming the same video. And it works on phones as well as desktop browsers smoothly, making it one of the few YouTube sync watching apps to do that.

You don’t need to sign up to use Squad. Simply create a new room with a unique name, and send that link to your friends. Friends can open it in their browser, or in the Squad app on iOS and Android.

You can search YouTube within the app without leaving the screen, to add new videos as and when you want. The video call works flawlessly, and you can also chat in text at the same time.

Squad also works with TikTok videos and has a few movies in its catalog that you stream. The app was initially a screen sharing app for video calls and still has that option too, but it has come a long way since then.

Download: Squad for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Jukebox (Web): Listen to Music on YouTube With Friends in Sync

Jukebox.Today is the easiest app to create YouTube music playlists and listen in sync with friends

After trying many, many, many others like it, we believe Jukebox. Today is the best app to listen to music on YouTube in sync with others in real time. It’s easy, it’s free, it looks good, it works flawlessly, and you can use it for public rooms with strangers or private rooms with friends.

Create a new Jukebox room with a custom name to begin. You can make the room public or delist it so that only people with the link can join. Search for songs within the app and add them to the now playing list. Registered users can even save the playlist for later. There’s a Chat tab to talk with people in the room, though it’s text only.

The host of the room controls playback, with the play and next/previous track buttons. Other users can only choose to mute or unmute. But other users can add songs to the playlist. The host can also give moderation or admin rights to other users.

From the main page, you can browse active Jukebox public rooms to join any. You’ll see how many people are in it, and how many tracks are yet to play.

Jukebox is a perfect way to create a playlist of songs to listen to on YouTube and share it with friends. You can all listen to the songs together, and add tracks to it.

3. Co-Train Space (Web): Workout to YouTube Exercise Videos With Friends

Co-Train Space lets you exercise to YouTube videos live with up to 10 friends on webcam

Working out is more fun when you do it with your friends. That’s why group classes and programs like CrossFit are so popular. You already know that you can stay fit at home with free workout apps. Co-Train Space lets you do a home workout with a YouTube coach, and your friends can join in too.

You don’t even need to register to begin. Pick a workout from Co-Train Space’s categories like morning, beginner, full body, specific parts, and yoga. It’ll create a room, just send the link to invite your friends. As the host, you get to decide when to start the session, so that everyone can work out in sync. The main video plays on the left, while your video chat is in a small bar on the right.

The app uses open-source video calling network Jitsi for its backend, so your data is safe and it’s a stable video connection. While video chat is the preferred form of communication, you can also use the built-in chatroom to send text messages. Co-Train Space is simple, easy, and just works as advertised. You can’t ask for more.

4. Chrono Tube (Web): YouTube Playlist Chatroom With Anonymity

Chrono Tube is an anonymous chatroom to share and watch YouTube videos together

Let’s say you want to send an open invitation to join a chatroom where people share YouTube videos. Chrono Tube makes that happen, while still giving some anonymity. When you visit the website, you’ll first be taken to the #general chat. Don’t use that. Click the yellow “Create a room” button to start your own.

Every participant (including you, the host) is automatically assigned a random nickname. Search for a YouTube video in a separate tab, copy the link, and paste it in Chrono Tube with !q added before it. The app will immediately start playing the video in the chatroom for everyone to see. Any participant can keep adding more links to create a playlist.

Chrono Tube has a few fun scenarios you can use it in. For example, you could post that link on your social media, inviting your followers to add their favorite videos about a subject or music links from YouTube.

It’s a double-edged sword though. If the wrong person gets hold of the link, they can just as easily share objectionable videos in the chatroom. The smart move would be to use Chrono Tube for a limited time, and ensure you post the link in a way that people you want to connect with would use it.

5. YouTube Fiesta (Web): Simple YouTube Chatroom, One Video at a Time

YouTube Fiesta is the simplest way to share a video and watch it together with friends

If you don’t want the bells and whistles of video calling and YouTube search, share and watch videos with friends on YouTube Fiesta. Host a room, add your nickname and a YouTube video link, and share the room’s URL with friends.

YouTube Fiesta only has text chat with emojis to communicate with each other. Add a new YouTube link and hit the “Change” button to start a new video. You can choose if anyone can control playback or only the host. No playlists, no queues, and no headaches; YouTube fiesta’s simplicity is its greatest draw.

If you’re looking for more quick and easy options, try these other ways to watch Youtube together with friends.

It’s Not Just YouTube

The internet makes it easier than ever to share an experience in real-time with friends. YouTube is just one of the many apps you can enjoy together. There are many ways to listen to Spotify songs together with friends. And if you can’t go to the theater, so what? You can still watch Netflix with friends far away.

Read the full article: 5 Ways to Watch YouTube Together With Friends for Videos, Music, and Workouts

May 29 2020


The 15 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

There is evil in this world. The kind of evil that you can’t even imagine. To get a glimpse into these stark realities, watch the best true crime documentaries on Netflix. True crime is an addictive genre, and these are the best examples of the genre to binge-watch.

This list of true crime documentaries is available on Netflix USA and most other regions. And if something is not available in your area, you could always try one of the VPNs that work with Netflix in order to watch them.

1. Making a Murderer (2015)

  • How long is it? 20 episodes, one hour each.
  • In one line: Don’t always trust the cops.

This is Netflix’s biggest hit in the true crime documentaries genre. Making a Murderer tells the story of Steven Avery, and it gripped viewers across two seasons. Having been proved innocent for one crime, the same cops charge him with murder. Is he guilty or is he being framed? This eye-opening documentary is one of the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix.

2. Strong Island (2017)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 47 minutes.
  • In one line: A rare insider’s look at a family’s struggle to deal with injustice.

If you get the rare 100% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you’re definitely among the best true crime documentaries on Netflix. Strong Island is a filmmaker’s internal search for answers. It’s the story of a murdered brother, a killer that goes free, and a family that struggles with grief and injustice. This deeply personal film is like nothing you’ve seen before.

3. Wild Wild Country (2018)

  • How long is it? 6 episodes, 64-71 minutes each.
  • In one line: A religious cult takes over a country, plans mass poisoning and bomb blasts.

Controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Rajneesh Osho and his follower Ma Anand Sheela bought a large piece of land in Oregon. The idea was to set up a commune for their followers. But the local townspeople weren’t happy with how Osho, Sheela, and their followers conducted themselves. It quickly devolved and escalated into a violent battle.

This true crime documentary gets plenty of interview footage with Sheela from 2018, who makes no denials about what she did, making this a riveting watch.

4. The Keepers (2017)

  • How long is it? 7 episodes, 1 hour each.
  • In one line: Can you solve a murder mystery 50 years after it happened?.

What starts off as a murder investigation of a case from the 1960s turns into something far more sinister in The Keepers. This mini-series uncovers the corruption of officials and exploitation of children in a school in the US And it’s remarkable how as the investigators find more clues, the stories of witnesses start changing.

This one is a must-watch for fans of Twin Peaks.

5. Casting JonBenet (2017)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • In one line: Revisit an infamous murder mystery from the 1990s in a whole new way.

Another one for Twin Peaks fans, Casting JonBenet is a different kind of true crime documentary film. It’s about the unsolved death of six-year-old child beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996. Now, filmmakers try to cast people from the local community in a re-enactment of the murder mystery. And in the process, they uncover startling tales from all participants.

6. Amanda Knox (2016)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 32 minutes.
  • In one line: An international miscarriage of justice in the new media world.

Amanda Knox is a name you probably already know. In 2007, as an exchange student in Italy, Knox was jailed for murdering another student. It was an international media sensation, as she spent four years in prison. Eventually, she appealed her ruling and the Supreme Court of Italy freed her in 2015.

This documentary traces the whole saga and shows how the media and social networks affected this trial. It’s one of the best Netflix documentaries of 2016.

7. Evil Genius (2018)

  • How long is it? 4 episodes, around 50 minutes each.
  • In one line: One of the most bizarre crimes in US history has an even stranger backstory.

Pizza delivery man Brian Wells shot to fame as the “pizza bomber.” In 2003, Wells was in a live televised standoff with the police, where he had a bomb around his neck, which eventually went off. If that sounds bizarre, wait till you see the backstory about the people who forced him into that situation.

The tapes and interviews of purported mastermind Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong will send chills down your spine. In our opinion, after Making a Murderer, this is the best true crime documentary currently on Netflix.

8. The Confession Killer (2019)

  • How long is it? 6 episodes, around 45 minutes each.
  • In one line: Henry Lee Lucas confessed to over 100 murders, but did he really do it?

Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing over 100 people, and was convicted of killing 11 of them. It was a sensational case in the 1980s, earning him the notorious title of America’s most prolific murderer. But once this Netflix documentary shines a harsh light on the facts, things start to unravel.

Was Lucas not mentally sound? Did the police lead him to confess crimes he didn’t commit so that they could shut cases? The fallout of the investigation is as interesting as the case itself.

9. The Confession Tapes (2017)

  • How long is it? 7 episodes, 50 minutes each.
  • In one line: A signed confession doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

Once the suspect gives a full confession, that’s the end of the case, right? It has to be the truth, our brain says. Watch The Confession Tapes to see why this couldn’t be farther from it.

The seven-episode series is a shocking look at police tactics to make a suspect confess to something he or she didn’t do. These are cases where the confession was overturned, so the victims get to talk about how they were duped by the people meant to protect us.

10. Don’t F*** With Cats: Hunting an internet Killer (2019)

  • How long is it? 3 episodes, around one hour each.
  • In one line: Internet sleuths try to figure out the identity of a cat murderer before things escalate.

The internet loves cats. But one day, a grisly video went viral about a boy suffocating two cats to death. The killer was careful to leave no clues, but internet sleuths banded together to figure out who he was. It was only a matter of time before he escalated his crimes. And as they started getting closer, an even ghastlier video surfaced.

Don’t F*** With Cats isn’t earning points for its narration or editing, but it’s a must-watch true crime documentary for the internet age.

11. The Staircase (2018)

  • How long is it? 13 episodes, 45 minutes each.
  • In one line: A high-profile murder trial under the media glare, and often touted as one of the best true crime documentaries.

Several critics hail The Staircase as one of the best true crime documentaries of all time.

In 2001, Author Michael Peterson’s wife Kathleen fell down the stairs and died. But investigators were quick to point out that the injuries were not consistent, and suspected the husband of murder. And slowly it emerged that a friend of Peterson’s died 18 years ago at the bottom of a staircase with injuries to her head.

The media and the documentary closely follow Peterson’s trial over 18 years to make for a riveting binge watch. Originally a 10-part series, Netflix produced three new episodes on updates to the case, and you can now stream all 13 episodes.

12. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)

  • How long is it? 4 episodes, one hour each.
  • In one line: Extensive interviews with one of the most famous serial killers of all time.

After Ted Bundy’s imprisonment, journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth interviewed him extensively, with over 100 hours of conversation. Conversations With a Killer exposes these tapes, mixed with interviews of Bundy’s family and friends, law enforcement officers, and survivors of his attacks. It’s a unique look into the mind of one of the most famous serial killers of all time.

13. The Fear of 13 (2015)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 36 minutes.
  • In one line: The greatest “standup crime” act you’ll ever see.

Nick Yarris is a death row inmate who petitions the state for the only thing he can ask for: an execution. And to plead his case, he stars in this tell-all documentary.

Like the best stand-up comedians, Yarris has a gift of verbal storytelling that will give you goosebumps. He makes you live ever single moment with him. No recreations, no silly effects. It’s just a man talking into the camera. And it’s the greatest true crime story you’ll ever hear.

14. The Innocence Files (2020) and Exhibit A (2019)

  • How long is it? 8 episodes, around one hour each.
  • In one line: Attempts to set free those inmates who were wrongfully convicted

Both Exhibit A and The Innocence Files have a similar theme: wrongful convictions. Exhibit A focuses on how prosecutors can misinterpret and manipulate forensic evidence. The Innocence Files follows eight cases by The Innocent Project, which seeks to exonerate inmates who don’t deserve to be behind bars.

Neither series necessarily has a happy ending, so keep that in mind while you watch. It’s more about facing the realities of a harsh legal system. While separate, these are some of the best true crime documentaries to watch.

15. Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

  • How long is it? 90 minutes.
  • In one line: One of the strangest crimes where a girl is kidnapped by the same man twice, while the family knows about it…

It’s almost impossible to believe what’s happening on the screen while watching Abducted in Plain Sight. A teenage girl in suburban America goes missing. And it turns out that a neighbor and family friend abducted her, drugged her, and molested here.

However it then gets even stranger, with extramarital affairs involving the kidnapper, alien conspiracy theories, and a second kidnapping and abuse of the same girl by the same man. Abducted in Plain Sight is a shocking revelation of how criminals use grooming and manipulation.

Go Beyond Documentaries for More Crime Viewing

In case you missed it, there’s a must-watch Netflix show called American Vandal that parodies this new genre of true crime documentaries. Plus there are plenty of true crime shows that aren’t documentaries but faithful recreations. You should check out Wormwood, American Crime Story, and The Legend of Cocaine Island.

While true crime documentaries are currently in vogue on Netflix, don’t miss out on crime shows either. Many of them use true crime for inspiration. In fact, if you like them gritty, shows from the UK tend to be better than American series. Try the best British crime dramas on Netflix to get a taste of high quality television.

Image Credit: Syda_Productions/Depositphotos

Read the full article: The 15 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix


You Can Now Schedule Tweets to Post on Twitter


It’s now possible to schedule tweets without using a third-party app. While you have previously had to use TweetDeck to schedule tweets to post at a later date, you can now do so using Twitter.com. You can also now save drafts you’re not yet ready to send.

Twitter began testing the feature in November 2019, with a select number of users having the option to schedule tweets. However, the social networking site is now rolling out the feature to everyone. Unfortunately, it’s web-only, at least for the time being.

How to Schedule a Tweet to Post Later

To schedule a tweet to send at a later date:

  1. Go to Twitter.com and sign in to your account.
  2. Compose your tweet as you would normally.
  3. Click the Schedule button (which looks like a calendar).
  4. Pick the date and time you want to post your tweet.
  5. Click Confirm, and sit back and relax.

You can also save drafts of tweets. To do so:

  1. Go to Twitter.com and sign in to your account.
  2. Start composing your tweet as you would normally.
  3. Rather than clicking “Tweet” click the X in the top-left.
  4. In the window that pops up, click Save to save your draft.
  5. When you want to resume writing, click Unsent Tweets.

It should be noted that any drafts of tweets you save on the website will only be accessible via the web. So you can’t start composing a tweet on Twitter.com, save it as a draft, and then finish composing it on the Twitter app for Android or iOS. Unfortunately.

If You Still Aren’t Using Twitter…

The ability to schedule tweets for later is a useful new feature for longtime Twitter users. However, there are still millions of people who seem confused by Twitter and the way it works. Thankfully, for those people, we have an article explaining how to use Twitter.

Read the full article: You Can Now Schedule Tweets to Post on Twitter


Do You Really Need a Mac Pro? What You Need to Know


The Mac Pro is the highest-end computer that Apple sells. It’s an extremely powerful machine with an eye-watering price tag to match.

But what is the Mac Pro actually used for, and who needs a Mac Pro? Let’s look at what the machine offers and find out why Apple makes such a powerful desktop computer.

What Is the Mac Pro?

The Mac Pro is an Apple desktop computer designed for professional work. Don’t confuse its name with the similar MacBook Pro or iMac Pro, which are different machines. We’ll touch on those later.

Apple has released three generations of Mac Pro. The first model, which used a typical “tower” look, was introduced in 2006. It was succeeded by the cylindrical Mac Pro in 2013, which had several issues, including a lack of upgradability.

The most recent Mac Pro launched in December 2019 and returns to the standard “desktop tower” setup. This is the Mac Pro we’ll consider here, since the old models are too outdated to recommend nowadays.

Mac Pro Specs and Upgrade Options

Unlike the 2013 Mac Pro, Apple’s current revision allows for tons of customization (including on your own after purchase). When you head to Apple’s Mac Pro purchase page, you’ll see two configurations. One is the standard tower setup, which starts at $5,999. You can also purchase it for use in a rack starting at $6,499, which is mostly for business use.

If you stick with the cheapest possible Mac Pro ($5,999), it comes with the following specs:

Mac Pro Base Model

  • 3.5GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
  • 32GB (4x8GB) of DDR4 ECC memory
  • Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage

Each Mac Pro also comes with a Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, and a USB-C to Lightning cable. A monitor is not included.

You can upgrade the CPU, memory, graphics hardware, and storage if the base isn’t enough for your needs. There are too many upgrade options to list out here, but a few examples to give you an idea include:

Apple Mac Pro Upgrades

  • An additional $1,000 to upgrade to a 3.3GHz 12-core Intel Xeon W processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz.
  • $1,000 more to upgrade to 96GB (6x16GB) of memory.
  • An extra $1,600 for two Radeon Pro W5700X cards with 16GB of GDDR6 memory each.
  • An additional $800 for 2TB of SSD storage.
  • $2,000 more for an Apple Afterburner card, which helps with extremely demanding video editing.
  • $400 extra to replace the computer’s feet with wheels so you can easily move it.

Extra Mac Pro Accessories

Apple offers a few additional accessories before you check out. The Pro Display XDR is a 32-inch 6K screen that’s available in either standard glass or Apple’s “nano-texture” glass. The standard model costs $4,999, while the nano-texture glass is $5,999.

The monitor doesn’t include a stand, so you’ll have to pay another $999 for the Pro Stand. This allows you to adjust the monitor’s viewing angle however you like and easily detach the magnetic connection in order to change the orientation or remove the display. If you’d rather, you can instead buy a VESA Mount Adapter for $199.

Clearly, if you have money to spend, you can put a lot of power into the Mac Pro. Just for fun, if you upgraded everything in the Mac Pro to its absolute max, here’s the setup you’d have (along with the cost of fully upgrading each item):

  • 2.5GHz 28-core Intel Xeon W processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz ($7,000).
  • 1.5TB (12x128GB) of DDR4 ECC memory ($25,000).
  • Two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo with 2x32GB of HBM2 memory each ($10,800).
  • 8TB SSD storage ($2,600).
  • Apple Afterburner card ($2,000)
  • Frame wheels ($400)

This all comes to the staggering sum of $53,799. Adding the Pro Display XDR would cost another $4,999, or $5,999 for the nano-texture glass model. And this doesn’t include AppleCare+ or preinstalled software like Final Cut Pro X, which come at additional cost.

What Is the Use of a Mac Pro?

Of course, what the Mac Pro offers exceeds the needs of 99% of people. This might lead you to ask what the use of a Mac Pro is. Let’s take a look.

Top-of-the-Line Image and Video Editing

People who work with terabytes of ultra-high-definition video footage need a powerful computer to handle it all smoothly and prevent hangups. The Mac Pro’s powerful video cards, massive amounts of RAM, and speedy SSD storage are built for tasks like that.

While you might balk at the extreme price of the Pro Display XDR, having accurate color display is essential for graphic designers and other creative professionals. They need a clear representation of how their work will look outside the screen, which is where premium displays like this shine.

Heavy-Duty Graphical Performance

Demanding 3D apps, such as engineering design software, require a lot of video resources. Professional-grade software is a lot more difficult to run smoothly than consumer-level apps, which is why specialized industries need a powerful computer like the Mac Pro.

This means that computer-aided design, medical imaging, emulating multiple instances of an app at once, and similar tasks require much more power than a standard computer can provide.

Gaming and Game Development

While Macs aren’t primarily known as gaming machines, the Mac Pro has enough power to run most games compatible with macOS. Of course, you can always use BootCamp to install Windows on your Mac and get access to the wealth of games on that platform.

Game developers who prefer Macs could also use the Mac Pro’s power to work on their titles.

Mac Pro Alternatives

Frankly, if you’re wondering whether you need a Mac Pro, you almost certainly don’t. The machine is designed for a specific niche of professionals who need a powerhouse of a computer. Unless you are a professional in the fields of video editing, image editing, or 3D rendering, you very likely do not need a Mac Pro.

Knowing that, which Mac should you get instead? Let’s consider a few options based on your use case.

MacBook Options

Macbook Pro 15 inch

If you frequently work on the go, a MacBook is obviously the best choice.

For light work like web browsing and word processing, the MacBook Air is a great all-around machine. It starts at $999 and goes up to $2,249 if you max out everything.

Meanwhile, if you need portable power, take a look at the MacBook Pro. The 13-inch model starts at $1,299, while the 16-inch model begins at $2,399. Maxing out a 13-inch MacBook Pro results in a $3,599 price tag, or $6,099 for the 16-inch model.

The MacBook Pro can’t handle extreme editing tasks like the Mac Pro can. But if you want to do some light video editing or app development on the go, it’s definitely capable of those tasks.

Take a look at our MacBook model comparison for more info.

iMac Options

iMac Pro looking sleek

You have more options on the desktop Mac front. The most direct comparison to the Mac Pro is the iMac Pro, which starts at $5,000.

It’s still way overkill for most people, but includes more in the box. You get a 1TB SSD and a 27-inch 5K display, giving you four times the base storage of the Mac Pro and a monitor ready to go. If you want to upgrade, an iMac Pro maxes out at $14,299—we’ve compared the most powerful Mac models if you’re interested in specifics.

For more modest needs, consider a standard iMac. The 21.5-inch model starts at $1,099, while the 27-inch iMac is available from $1,799. Unfortunately, the base models of iMac don’t include a solid-state drive, so we highly recommend upgrading to an SSD if you choose this computer.

Finally, you could go for a Mac mini. This tiny computer has you connect your own peripherals, including a monitor. It starts at $799 and is great if you want the desktop Mac experience on a budget.

Check out our iMac vs. MacBook guide if you’re not sure which to pick.

Consider Building a Windows PC

If you’re interested in a Mac Pro, chances are that you’re not a fan of Windows. However, if your primary interest is having a powerful PC for heavy-duty work or gaming, you can get a lot for your money by building your own PC.

Check out our guide to picking the right PC building components for help with this. You can build a respectable computer for much less than a comparative Mac costs. Of course, this option sacrifices the macOS experience, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it for you.

The Mac Pro Is for Serious Professionals Only

We’ve seen that the Mac Pro certainly has uses, but it’s not made for the average consumer. Between the extreme hardware upgrades available and sky-high price tag, chances are that you won’t get enough value out of the Mac Pro to justify the cost.

Stick with one of Apple’s consumer-facing machines instead, and you’ll have enough for your needs. To help, we’ve shown how to build the perfect Mac for you on Apple’s website.

Read the full article: Do You Really Need a Mac Pro? What You Need to Know


The 10 Best Apps for Discovering Events Happening Around You


Festivals, concerts, sports, and other events happen everywhere, all the time. No matter which you prefer or even if you enjoy all of them, how do you know what’s going on and when? One of the best ways to find out is with your mobile device.

Whether you’re sitting on the couch looking for something to do or are already out and deciding where to go after dinner, these are the best free mobile apps to find events in your area.

1. Eventbrite

Eventbrite is one of the greatest event apps for finding local happenings of all kinds. Music festivals, craft shows, and even bar crawls are right at your fingertips.

Enable access to your location to see what’s happening around you, or search by city. The app then gives you dates, times, locations, maps, and similar events. You can also check ticket prices and order those that are available.

You can browse events by category or search for something specific. Plus, you can share happenings with your friends or save your favorites with a free account. Eventbrite has it all, but there are plenty of Eventbrite alternatives if you’d like something different.

Download: Eventbrite for Android | iOS (Free)

2. All Events in City

True to its name, you can also find events in your area with All Events in City. From sports and art to workshops and seminars, you can find just the right occasion for you.

Pop in your city to begin and then browse the events listed by category. You can tap to see all events within a category, like Entertainment or Upcoming. Then, narrow your results by subcategories such as Concerts or Comedy.

All Events in City gives you the dates, times, and locations as well as descriptions, maps, and ticket links. What’s great about this app is the ability to mark if you are attending, contact the organizer, add it to your calendar, and share it with friends—all from one spot.

Download: All Events in City for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Unation

Unation lets you discover events or search for them easily. Set up a free account and then browse by location. You can narrow down your options with filters for staff picks, recently added, interests, location, date, or creator.

So if you are looking only for fashion, family, or fitness events, you can tap to find those quickly. Then review the dates, times, locations, descriptions, and see who else is attending from the user group. You can mark if you plan to go, which makes getting together with friends who also use Unation easy.

If an event requires tickets, you can check prices and proceed with ordering right from the app. Unation is a good tool for planning outings with others.

Download: Unation for Android | iOS (Free)

4. 10times

For fairs, expos, trade shows, farmers’ markets, and other enjoyable events, 10times is a solid events app. It may not be as fancy as some others, but it gives you the details you need for nearby happenings.

Set up a free account, select your interests, and then see what events are taking place. The tabs let you review upcoming, nearby, or trending options. The app shows all details for dates, times, descriptions, and the organizer’s information.

You can set up reminders, invite others, and mark if you plan to attend. 10times offers a bit extra because you can also use it to find businesses in your area. This makes the app a useful all-purpose option.

Download: 10times for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Ticketmaster

Maybe the types of events you like are a bit bigger than local art shows or business workshops. For sporting, theater, and live music events, Ticketmaster is well-known. Find your events, purchase your tickets, and you’re on your way to a fun-filled day or evening.

You can look for events based on your location or enter a city name. Then browse by popular, nearby, this weekend, or upcoming events.

If you use Ticketmaster online, you can log into your account in the app. Get event details with dates, times, locations, accessibility, parking, and a map. Then check out seating for the venue, ticket prices, and make a purchase if you’re ready to go.

Download: Ticketmaster for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Meetup

Since its founding way back in 2002, Meetup has grown to become one of the most popular events apps available.

The brand inadvertently found itself in the middle of the 2019 WeWork storm, following the real estate company’s 2017 buyout. However, in March 2020 it changed hands again and its long-term future appears secure.

The app focuses on local in-person meetups and events. More than 225,000 meetup groups around the world use the app to list local events in 130 countries.

Download: Meetup for Android | iOS (Free)

7. LikeALocal

One of the hardest times to find something to do nearby is when you’re in a foreign country. And because time is typically limited when you’re abroad, you don’t want to waste time visiting museums, restaurants, and other attractions that aren’t up to scratch.

That’s where LikeALocal is useful. All the recommendations and events listed in the app are vetted by someone who lives in the area. It helps you to avoid tourist traps and gimmicks, letting you see the real face of the city you’re visiting instead.

The standout feature is the smart stream. It’s a real-time feed of open attractions and events happening nearby. You can download all the content for offline reading to save your data while you’re roaming.

Sadly, the app is only available on iOS.

Download: LikeALocal for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

8. Facebook

We’ve all heard the stories of Facebook events getting wildly out of control, with thousands of people turning up to birthday parties and the like. Those stories alone are a testament to Facebook’s ability to find events in your town.

Even if you’re not an active Facebook user, remember that hundreds of restaurants, businesses, and activity groups in your area do maintain an active profile. It’s even fairly common to see them offering discounts and promotions to people who reference a particular post. And with maps, attendee lists, and event management tools, Facebook is a surprisingly holistic event app.

Disclaimer: MakeUseOf does not condone crashing birthday parties unannounced!

Download: Facebook for Android | iOS (Free)

9. StubHub

If you like the idea of larger events and ticket purchasing all in one app, but want a Ticketmaster alternative, try StubHub. It lets you explore what’s going on by location or category like sports, theater, or music.

Similar to Ticketmaster, you can see all event details, check the seating map, view ticket prices, and make a purchase. If you sign in or sign up for a free account, you can use the price alert feature.

You may not find smaller events like festivals or parades, but if you would rather go big, the app is worth checking out.

Download: StubHub for Android | iOS (Free)

10. Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats is another app for finding local events with ticket purchasing. Select a city and state from the list, view suggested events nearby, and then buy tickets.

Like Ticketmaster and StubHub, the events you see in Vivid Seats are on a large scale. So for concerts, sports, and theater, it’s a nice option.

You can filter results you see by event type, category, dates, or date range. While Vivid Seats doesn’t have quite as many event details as the others, it’s still worth checking out.

A pair of features that stand out are Scan Your Music and Connect to Spotify, which provide help in finding events. If you want to see when one of your favorite artists will be in town, this is an awesome way to find out.

Download: Vivid Seats for Android | iOS (Free)

Get Ready, Get Set, Go Out!

Whether for business or pleasure, large or small, these mobile apps for events can help you find fun goings-on in your area.

For something a bit more focused, check out the best restaurant picker apps to help you decide where to eat. You can also find plenty to do online when you’re bored if going out isn’t in the cards for now.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Apps for Discovering Events Happening Around You


How to Set Up a PayPal Account and Receive Money From Anyone


Whether you’re shopping online or selling, you should have a PayPal account. It’s ideal for receiving money from friends and family, as well as from customers of your business or website.

Think receiving payment with PayPal is difficult to set up? Think again!

Let’s learn why you need a PayPal account and how to send and receive money online.

Why Should You Create a PayPal Account?

Over the years PayPal has solidified itself as the de facto payment system for anyone doing business online.

PayPal grew as it found a gap in the market between less advanced alternatives and greedy credit card processors. Much of this growth was fueled by eBay, which needed a cheap, convenient payment system. Sellers couldn’t afford credit card processing and buyers didn’t want to risk sharing their credit cards with strangers.

Sign up to PayPal to receive money on PayPal

PayPal offered a solution to both, a safe and secure means to send and receive money. It works online and offline, provides tools to businesses of all sizes and types, and even offers a pre-paid credit card.

These days, PayPal can be used to purchase goods almost anywhere—you can even use PayPal on Amazon.

If you don’t already have a PayPal account, you should. Head to www.paypal.com, click Sign Up, choose your account type, provide a name, email address. and password, and you’re done.

Note that two account types are available, Personal and Business. Below we’ll look at how to receive money on PayPal using a personal account, then move onto business accounts.

How to Set Up a Paypal Account for Receiving Payments

A personal account can subscribe to websites, buy on eBay and other online stores, and send and receive money. As you might know, you can use any type of PayPal account to receive money.

For example, there’s eBay. You might have sold the odd item on eBay, which doesn’t require a PayPal business account, and received the money.

However, you can also receive money from people beyond eBay. Friends and family might send you money, or you could have a link on your blog or website for donations.

For years, the most common way to receive payments on PayPal has been to simply request a payment from someone.

Receive PayPal Money on the Web

With a personal eBay account, you can request money by signing into your account and clicking Request money.

Receive money in PayPal

In the field, enter the email address of the person who you want to receive money from. Add the value of the request, perhaps a note, and if necessary, add another email address. Up to 20 addresses can be entered at a time.

Click Request Now to complete the process and wait for the funds to be sent to you.

Usually, this won’t be required if you’re using a system like eBay, where the request for payment is an automated part of the process, and where buyers usually just pay for the products immediately upon winning the auction.

These are the two most common ways to receive money from people, and these methods have been available in some form or another since PayPal was founded. However, these days, PayPal provides many more options for you to offer your customers and clients for sending you the money that you’re owed.

Receive Money With the PayPal App

With a PayPal mobile app on iPhone and Android, you can request payments in three ways.

  1. Enter the name, email address, or mobile number of the person you’re requesting money from. Enter the amount, add a message, review the amount, then click Request Now.
  2. You can Share your link using social networks and email. This creates a clickable link that the recipient (or anyone) can use to send you money via PayPal.
  3. Split a bill is ideal for paying the balance at a restaurant or grouping together for a gift. Just input the value of the bill, add the email addresses of the group, and request the money.

Mobile devices are increasingly important to PayPal thanks to the growing facility of mobile payments for every type of transaction.

7 Ways Business Can Receive Money on PayPal

As well as manually requesting money, PayPal offers several tools to help you receive money in other ways. These are available to business accounts and include subscription tools, buttons, and point-of-sale tools.

  1. Invoices
  2. PayPal Checkout
  3. Subscriptions
  4. Point-of-sale Terminal
  5. Virtual Terminal (telephone payments)
  6. QR Code
  7. PayPal buttons

Each of these options is explained below in further detail.

1. PayPal Invoices

For business purposes, you can create an invoice in PayPal to send to clients. This has three options: a standard one-off invoice, a recurring invoice, and an estimate.

PayPal Invoices have all the fields you need for customization, e.g. specifying invoice numbers, setting logos, adding addresses. The result is a polished professional invoicing system.

2. PayPal Checkout

Run a website with a few bits of merchandise? Have a full eCommerce catalog? Either way, PayPal Checkout is available, either by adding a few lines of code or adding complete integration.

If you want your customers to take you seriously and receive money for your goods over PayPal, use Checkout.

3. Receive Money With PayPal Subscriptions

Set up a subscription program to receive money on PayPal

Offer a product or service that has recurring payments? Perhaps it’s an online TV station or a membership website.

PayPal offers a useful feature for receiving timely, regular payments: PayPal Subscriptions. Simply select the subscription product, add details, select a pricing model, and a periodic fee.

4. A Portable PayPal PoS iZettle Terminal

Businesses that use PayPal and have signed up to its Commerce Platform can use iZettle. This is a PayPal-owned service that offers a portable reader and mobile app for handling card payments.

It’s ideal for pop-up shops, market stalls, craft fairs, and similar small businesses. If credit card processing overheads are likely to crush your profit, try iZettle.

5. Virtual Terminal Payments

PayPal will also let business accounts receive payments using a virtual terminal system. This enables the processing of debit or credit card payments over the phone. Virtual terminal payments use card-not-present authorization and must be applied for before you start using it.

6. Receive PayPal Money With a QR Code

QR codes are another great way to receive money. No one needs to handle cards, making it ideal for restricted contact or lockdown scenarios. PayPal QR codes are free for sellers to use until September 2020, when a fee will be added. Check your local PayPal for details, as different countries have slightly different fees.

7. Add PayPal Buttons to Your Site

Receive money on your website with PayPal buttons

Another great feature of PayPal is the ability to add payment buttons to your website. Several such buttons are available, with labels such as Buy Now, Add to Cart, Subscribe. The right button selection will ensure you receive money from customers to your PayPal account.

Simply select a button, grab the code, and add it to your website code.

PayPal: You’re Ready to Receive Money

With so many ways to receive money from PayPal, there’s no reason to bother with cash. Friends and family can request money via PayPal with ease in the app. You can receive money from eBay sales automatically, but if you’re building your enterprise, a PayPal business account opens more options.

Running into trouble using PayPal? Here are some common PayPal problems and how to fix them.

Read the full article: How to Set Up a PayPal Account and Receive Money From Anyone


Where to Find Puppies for Sale: 10 Ethical Sites for Puppy Adoption

So you’re on a mission to get a new best friend—a puppy. What an exciting time! But where do you go to find your next best friend?

Local shelters and rescues are the ideal places to start if you’re interested in adoption. And if you’d like a purebred pup, you have that option too. That’s where top pet websites like these come in handy. They can help you find the right puppy for you and your family. And, they make it easy to find a perky little pooch nearby.

1. Adopt-a-Pet.com

Adopt-A-Pet Main Page

Adopt-a-Pet.com is an excellent website, backed by well-known companies like Purina and Bayer. And the site is not just for dogs either. You can search for cats, rabbits, horses, birds, and other types of pets. You can also look for local shelters and rescue services.

The interface is clean and easy to use. Enter your location and optionally the age and breed you’re looking for. Hit Search and you’re on your way to finding Fido! You can browse through the search results, see photos, or narrow your search further. You’ll see details for the dogs that interest you like age, color, and weight, and can then follow the adoption process.

Adopt-a-Pet also offers a handy pet alert options where you can receive emails when new pets match your search criteria.

2. American Kennel Club (AKC)

AKC Marketplace

The AKC is an organization that has been around since the late 1800’s, so you know it’s reputable. Also, they play a major role in registered breeds. The marketplace page on their site is only a very small part of their focus, but if you’re interested in learning about an organization you know you can trust, it’s an option for you to consider.

You’ll only find dogs from breeders who are AKC-licensed or club members who have AKC-registered puppies. These aren’t going to be average breeders, and especially not people whose dog had an unplanned litter of pups.

In addition, you’re going to be paying a lot more for a dog who’s registered by the AKC. With them, you’re looking for a dog who can compete in shows and trials.

3. NextDayPets

NextDayPets Search Results Page

On NextDayPets, the interface provides a nice way to navigate through their website. Enter a breed into the search box and click the blue Find a puppy button.

You are then able to refine your results by gender, location, price range, and other factors. Each result displays the breed, age, and location. If you select a pup to learn more, you’ll see additional photos and full details about the dog including if they are microchipped and AKC-registered.

You can contact the seller or breeder directly through the NextDayPets website or hit the Reserve Me button to move forward through the adoption process.

4. Petfinder

Petfinder Main Page

Petfinder is another very well-known source for finding puppies, as well as many other pets. In fact, its search results are used by many other websites and it also allows breeders and rescue organizations to host their own website directly within Petfinder.

On the main page, enter your location and start your search for the type of puppy that you want. You can then narrow down your results by age, breed, size, gender, behavior, or other options.

Select a puppy that interests you for additional photos, a description, whether the dog is good with children, and other helpful details. If you want to contact the current owner or shelter, you can do so easily with the form on the website.


ASPCA Adoptions

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, otherwise known as the ASPCA, is another very reputable source for finding nearby animal shelters.

Click the Adopt button at the top and then check out pets available for adoption from dogs to cats to horses. You can also select the Local Shelters tab to find a shelter in your area or view dogs available at a local shelter. Enter your zip code, optionally a breed and gender, and mark options for sizes, ages, and behavior.

Selecting a pet will provide you with full details, their location, and the contact information.

6. RescueMe.Org

Rescue Me Main Page

Rescue Me! is an animal rehabilitation center that offers adoption services through their website. Click the View Animals for Adoption button at the top, pick the type of pet, and then browse through the adorable photos covering any breed imaginable.

You’ll then move onto choosing your location and will see results for the breed you select in your area. When you see a pooch you like, check out details about their compatibility, personality, health, and more.

What’s really awesome about Rescue Me! is they have a whole page of links for not only all of the Unities States but an impressive amount of countries in the world too.

7. The Shelter Pet Project

The Shelter Pet Project Main Page

The Shelter Pet Project is a public service ad campaign focused on encouraging potential pet owners to consider rescuing a pet from a shelter as their first option. They are backed by The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund.

To begin looking for your new best friend, just enter your postal code, select either the cat or dog, and click the Search button. The results are magnificent and are easy to scan through. If you want to narrow down your search, you can click the More Filters button and choose breed, gender, size, and age.

In addition, you can search for nearby shelters.

8. Petco Foundation

Petco Foundation Adoptions

Petco is a popular shop for buying pet supplies, whether in stores or online. The Petco Foundation focuses on animal welfare and making a difference. So you’ll definitely want to head to their website for finding your new pal.

To help you on your puppy search, you can enter your location and any information about the type of dog you’re looking for such as breed and size. The site also lets you find cats, reptiles, birds, and other types of pets.

When you receive your search results, you can browse through the photos and then pick a pet that interests you. You’ll see details about the dog like age, gender, color, and size along with their current location. You can then call or email if you’d like to move forward with the adoption process.

9. PetSmart Charities

PetSmart Charities Adoptions

Like Petco, PetSmart is a terrific place to purchase pet supplies. As another leader in animal welfare, PetSmart Charities have helped millions of needy pets across the country. And if you’ve ever visited a PetSmart near you, you may have joined in on their pet adoption events.

On their website, you can find adoptable dogs and cats near you. Enter your zip code and then browse all available dogs or narrow down your options by age, breed, size, or gender. Pick a pup and check out full details along with the pet’s story. Click to send an email if you’re interested in adopting the dog you find or get the contact information.

PetSmart Charities is a wonderful place to continue your search for the perfect pet.

10. PuppyFind.com

PuppyFind Main Page

PuppyFind.com is a popular place to go to find a dog. The interface and ease of navigation around the site is decent.

Upon visiting the website, you have the option to search by clicking the Find a Puppy tab or using the search panel on the left side. The Find a Puppy page alphabetizes the breeds and provides rankings on size, grooming, exercise requirements, watchdog ability, and how good they are with other dogs.

You might be wondering how PuppyFind works. Like many of the websites in this article, PuppyFind simply helps you narrow down your options by breed and location and provides the contact information for the breeder of the dog you’re looking for. However, it plays no role in any purchase.

They also offer tips for puppy buyers and provide a contact link if you come across a scam.

Caution: There have been some complaints in the past that PuppyFind.com has dogs from what are called puppy mills.

Beware of Puppy Mills

One of the biggest things you should be aware of is puppy mills. I’ve already mentioned it briefly above and if this Wikipedia link doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. They put profit and capital over the well-being of the animals. Unfortunately, some websites can’t catch every single one, so they rely on users to help. Many of the websites mentioned here provide more information about them, including the ASPCA, if you’re interested.

Finding Your Next Best Pal

Keep in mind that the ASPCA emphasizes that it’s best to see the puppy in person and to support your local shelters whenever possible. So hopefully one of these top pet websites can help you locate, contact, and visit with a dog that turns out to be the right fit for you and your family.

Once you’re connected with your new best friend, these free online dog training courses will come in handy, especially for young pups. And take a look at these GPS trackers for pets that run off.

Image Credit: Sergey Lavrentev/Shutterstock

Read the full article: Where to Find Puppies for Sale: 10 Ethical Sites for Puppy Adoption


Feeling Down? 10 Sites That’ll Help You Feel Better and Cheer Up

Everyone feels depressed sometimes. Even though it’s a wonderful thing, the internet has a lot to be blamed for. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can damage your mental health. That’s without mentioning depressing websites that only serve to make you feel even more downhearted.

Fortunately, there are plenty of websites to go to when you’re sad. Here are our recommendations for the most uplifting, inspiring, and funny places to browse when you’re feeling low—websites to cheer you up, no matter what else is going on in your life.

1. TED

informative videos Technology, Entertainment, Design

Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration. When you’re feeling unhappy, filling your head with new ideas is a superb solution. That’s where TED comes in.

Its name stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and that’s just what you get: a collection of talks on a huge range of subjects. TED immediately recommends topics like science, the environment, social change, personal growth, nature, and more.

There’s a subject here for everyone. Talk durations vary, but no matter what you tune into, you’re bound to have your mind blown. And if you don’t want to be lectured, check out their awesome animations section, or watch dancing and music recitals.

Create a TED account for customized recommendations. Alternatively, you can take note of playlists, editors’ picks, or trending topics.

2. Reddit

s/MildlyInteresting popular subreddit

Reddit curates content from across the web, meaning you get to experience the best and the worst of the internet. Quirky communities build-up, so while this is a type of social media, you don’t have to engage. It’s a different form to Instagram and its ilk, which can make you idealize other people’s lives.

Swap between searching for generic subreddits and niche subjects you specialize in or want to learn more about. They can help indulge your passions and learn from peers; take, for instance, these great photography subreddits.

If you’re looking for subreddits to cheer you up, we recommend r/aww (cute images and videos), r/AccidentalComedy (search with tongue firmly in cheek), or even r/Disney for a nostalgic mix of news, creativity, and merchandise. Some subreddits contain NSFW material so be careful.

3. A Soft Murmur

soothing relaxing soundscape noises sound effects rain storm wind waves

Calming noises can affect your mental health. Simply engaging with the sounds of nature can increase serotonin levels in your brain—which is why so many find listening to rainfall at bedtime eases them to sleep.

Former private practice psychotherapist, Emily Mendez says,

“Rain has a regular, predictable pattern. Our brain processes it as a calming, non-threatening noise.”

A Soft Murmur uses this same idea: washing away all distractions with a soothing soundscape. Choose between sounds like thunder, waves, a coffee shop, birdsong, and crickets to soothe you. You can mix these up by combining two or more sounds.

It’s also available as an app so you can take the service with you on the road.

4. Blah Therapy

vent and chat to strangers about your concerns depression anxiety

Maybe you’ve got something on your mind that’s worrying you. Perhaps you’re stressed about work, relationships, or other matters.

In such cases, the best thing you can do is to talk to someone. That doesn’t mean you have to spend on a therapist or chat to a family member (although these are good options too). Blah Therapy is a free and anonymous alternative.

You don’t need to sign up. You don’t need to pay. There’s a free messaging service that connects you with a stranger, who is there to either converse with or just listen.

However, there is a low-fee service that connects you with a trained therapist too, so if you really need professional help, it’s available without having to leave your home.

5. Cracked

America's Only Humor Site NSFW

Cracked is known for its rowdy and distinctly NSFW humor, but it’s also a useful educational site in its own right. Admittedly, you probably won’t use these facts in college dissertations, but these bits of trivia are handy when chatting to family and friends at the pub.

You’ll also learn a lot about the media—behind-the-scenes tidbits to recall when you’re watching a film, or how one tiny aspect makes or break a production.

Billed as “America’s Only Humor Site”, Cracked has plenty of articles, photo galleries, videos, and podcasts to make you laugh and shake your head at how bizarre society is.

6. Garfield Minus Garfield

webcomic Jon Davis Arbuckle funny existential crisis

Garfield, the lasagne-loving, Monday-hating cat, is a much-loved icon of American culture. You can check out the archive of Garfield stories online, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, we recommend Garfield Minus Garfield.

This webcomic is dedicated to reprinting strips by Jon Davis, without Garfield in them. Without the orange feline, you realize that Jon Arbuckle is experiencing a perpetual existential crisis.

They’ll often make you laugh, but you’ll just as frequently nod your head and say, “Same, Jon. Same.”

7. Explosm

This is one of the best webcomics you can’t miss, encouraging you to laugh and cry and reexamine the world. It also features a lot of NSFW jokes and innuendo.

You’ll likely have seen Cyanide and Happiness online—its mad blend of surrealism, controversial topics, and meta gags that has built a considerable fan following.

Its success has meant Explosm.net has grown to include short videos, podcasts, convention appearances, and news.

Plus there’s a comic generator that splices panels from disparate strips together. This sort of lunacy is sure to cheer up anyone who enjoys very adult humor.

8. Zen Habits

Zen Habits website

Zen Habits encourages mindfulness, a psychological process often associated with meditation. But it simply means living in the moment, fully engaging with what you’re doing by letting go of your anxieties.

You might have heard it in relation to coloring. (That can definitely help, so check out sites offering free coloring printables.)

This site exhorts the virtues of peacefulness. It comes at topics objectively, training readers to acknowledge why thinking in certain ways can be damaging and showing you methods for changing your outlook on life. It’s not for everyone but is great for anyone who wants to embrace simplicity.

9. 100,000 Stars

It can help to put your troubles in context. There’s nothing unusual about problems overwhelming you: it happens to everyone. Something small can swell in your mind and dwarf everything else.

100,000 Stars can help. It lets you explore the universe, so it helps you find your place within it and appreciate how lucky you are to be here.

You’re presented with an awesome starry vista, so you can scroll all across the nearby galaxies and focus on individual astronomical phenomenon. Use the bar to zoom out—from our own sun to the edge of the Milky War. Click on a point of light to find out its name and any information we have about it. It’s mind-blowing.

10. 1000 Awesome Things

feeling down? websites to cheer you up celebrating life and all the small things

1000 Awesome Things emerged from personal tragedy. Neil Pasricha began it in 2008 after his marriage broke down and a friend committed suicide. He decided to write a blog celebrating life, specifically one awesome thing every weekday for 1000 days.

The project ended in 2012. At that time, it was named the “Best Blog in the World” for two consecutive years by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

In 2020, Neil began again. Join him as he lists 1000 further things that bring joy to your existence. Sometimes, it’s big things. But more frequently, it’s finding light in the small things—and it’s the small things that matter most.

Looking for More Feel-Good Websites?

Why not bookmark this page and come back to it when you’re feeling down? Do you have any feel-good websites you turn to when you’re depressed or anxious? Share them in the comments below.

And there’s a final tip: don’t browse social networks when you’re depressed. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can give false impressions of other people’s lives. Remember the pros and cons of social media.

Read the full article: Feeling Down? 10 Sites That’ll Help You Feel Better and Cheer Up


How to Watch HBO for Free


If you’ve been feeling left out from your friends’ conversations about Game of Thrones or Westworld, you might be looking for ways to watch HBO. For years, HBO has been producing binge-worthy content that’s only accessible to paid subscribers and people who pay for TV packages.

While HBO doesn’t come free (at least by legitimate means), there are still several ways you can sign up (and even stack) free trials. Not to mention that you can still watch some HBO shows and movies online for free, and some services even offer a complimentary subscription to HBO.

Do you want to start watching HBO for free? Then read on to find out the many ways you can get a free trial to HBO, and other ways to get HBO free.

1. Sign Up for a Free Trial on HBO.com

HBO Free Trial HBO Website

HBO offers a seven-day free trial of HBO Now right on its website. That means one whole week of streaming free content to your phone, tablet, computer, or TV before you have to start paying $15/month.

If you don’t cancel your subscription at least 24 hours before your trial ends, HBO will charge you the price of the subscription. You should also keep in mind that the free trial is for new customers only, so you won’t get to start a trial twice.

Get: An HBO Now Free Trial on HBO.com

2. Get an HBO Free Trial on Hulu

Hulu HBO Free Trial

Already have Hulu? You’re in luck—Hulu offers a week-long HBO free trial for its subscribers.

Once you sign up for the trial, you can start watching HBO alongside all of your favorite shows on Hulu. When the trial ends, you’ll have to pay for the price of the Hulu subscription, as well as the $15/month HBO add-on.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on Hulu

3. Get an HBO Free Trial on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime HBO Free Trial

Like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video also offers an HBO add-on for current subscribers. You can start a seven-day free trial of HBO through Amazon Prime, giving you access to HBO’s library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries.

If you decide to keep your HBO subscription, you’ll have to pay $15/month in addition to your Amazon Prime subscription. It’s also worth mentioning that Prime Video already comes with a handful of HBO shows that don’t require the Amazon Prime HBO add-on. That said, make sure you’ve exhausted the existing HBO options before starting the free trial.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on Amazon Prime

4. Get an HBO Free Trial on The Roku Channel

HBO Free Trial Roku Channel

Although The Roku Channel has tons of movies and TV shows available for free, you’ll have to pay to stream any HBO content. The only way to access HBO for free on Roku is with a seven-day free trial.

Once the trial ends, you’re subject to a monthly fee of $15. The free trial through Roku is the way to go if you don’t want to pay extra for Hulu or Amazon Prime, and if you want access to a library of hundreds of free content.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on The Roku Channel

5. Take Advantage of Free HBO Max With AT&T

Watch HBO Max AT&T

HBO is bundling its newest streaming service, HBO Max, with any AT&T plan. With HBO Max’s library of popular HBO shows, Max Originals, and other WarnerMedia content, HBO Max is set to become one of the best TV streaming services out there.

If you already have any of these AT&T services (or plan to get one), you can stream HBO Max free of charge:

  • DirecTV Premier
  • DirecTV Lo Maximo
  • AT&T TV Now Max
  • U400 and U450 TV
  • AT&T Unlimited Elite wireless plan
  • AT&T Internet 1000

To access your complimentary HBO Max subscription, simply sign into HBO Max with your AT&T login information. Without an AT&T plan, you’ll have to pay $15/month for an HBO Max subscription.

Get: HBO Max

6. Watch Free Episodes on the HBO Website

Watch Free Episodes HBO Website

There are a ton of amazing shows to watch on HBO. If you’re not ready to make the commitment (or just want to see what HBO has to offer), you can watch free episodes and documentaries on the HBO website.

Although the site gives you access to several full-length documentaries, most of the free episodes are just pilots—you’ll have to get a free trial or a paid HBO subscription if you want to see more. That aside, it’s still a great way to get a feel for some of HBO’s best series, such as The Wire, Game of Thrones, and The Sopranos.

Watch: Free Episodes on HBO

7. Watch Clips from HBO Shows on YouTube

Watch HBO Clips Free on YouTube

Not comfortable getting an HBO free trial? Luckily, you can always watch clips and trailers of HBO shows and movies on YouTube. The short videos from shows like Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Big Little Lies can help you decide whether you want to pay for a full-fledged HBO subscription or not.

For the largest collection of clips and trailers, head to HBO’s own YouTube channel. Otherwise, searching for videos of an HBO show or movie you’re interested in will yield tons of results from third-party channels.

Watch: HBO Clips on YouTube

8. Check With Your Cable or Satellite Company

HBO Free Online With TV Package

If you haven’t ditched cable yet, you might be able to get HBO for free or at a discounted price. Several popular cable companies like Verizon FiOS, DirectTV, Comcast, and Cox include HBO in certain packages.

For example, with the DirecTV Choice package, you’ll get HBO included with the price for one year, and that’s in addition to an HBO Max subscription. Even if your cable or satellite plan doesn’t include HBO, it doesn’t hurt to call up your service provider to see if they’re offering any special HBO deals or free trials.

The Best Ways to Watch HBO Free Online

Once you run out of free HBO trials, you’ll have to pay the price of the subscription. The monthly price of HBO isn’t cheap, so taking advantage of any introductory free trials, free HBO videos online, and special offers for cable customers is a good idea before you commit.

Now that so many TV shows and movies are available online, it’s the perfect time to consider getting rid of costly cable and satellite TV. And these awesome live TV streaming services might just convince you to cut the cord.

Read the full article: How to Watch HBO for Free

May 28 2020


You Can Now Watch Together on Plex

Plex has launched Watch Together, a new feature which lets you watch movies and TV shows together with friends far away. So, whether you want to watch on-demand content or something from your own library, you can now do so with the people you care about.

An Alternative to Yet Another Quiz Night

The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns around the world to stop it spreading, have changed everything. Shops, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters have all closed their doors, leaving many of us at a loss for what to do for fun and relaxation.

Some people have turned to hosting quiz nights on Zoom or Houseparty. However, if that sounds too much like hard work for you, perhaps you would prefer to watch your favorite movie with friends. Which is where Plex’s new Watch Together feature comes in.

How to Watch Together With Friends on Plex

As announced in a post on the Plex Blog, Plex has launched Watch Together. As the name suggests, this lets you watch content on Plex with your family and friends. However, crucially in these troubled times, they don’t have to be in the same room as you.

Watch Together lets you watch content together with family and friends online. Whether it’s a free, on-demand movie or TV show, or content from your personal media library. And Plex will keep the content in sync for everyone, allowing you to sit back and relax.

To use Watch Together on Plex, just find the movie or TV show you want to watch, click the three-dot More menu, and select Watch Together. Then, just invite your friends and click Start. The content will play on everyone’s devices at the same time.

Everyone watching together can control playback, which means you need to be careful who you invite. Watch Together is supported on Android, iOS, tvOS, Fire TV, NVIDIA SHIELD, and Roku. Just update to the latest release to ensure compatibility.

Other Ways to Watch Together With Friends

Plex is keen to point out that this is currently only an experimental feature. So beware that there could be bugs and frustrations involved. Still, the company is actively seeking feedback, so why not give Watch Together a go and let Plex know what needs changing?

Plex isn’t the only platform to offer its users a way to watch content together with friends online. So, for those who are bored while stuck at home, here’s how to watch Netflix with friends far away and how to watch YouTube videos with people online.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch Together on Plex


How to Get Wi-Fi Without an Internet Service Provider: 5 Methods


Getting on the web is expensive. In the United States, the average cost of a home internet connection is $60 per month. Don’t fancy paying all that money? Don’t worry; even if you don’t have a regular ISP, there are still ways to go online.

Here’s how to get Wi-Fi without an Internet Service Provider.

1. Mobile Hotspot

The best way to make sure you have the internet on your laptop at all times is to use a mobile hotspot.

Of course, there is an upfront cost of doing so—you will need to buy a hotspot device and subscribe to a mobile internet plan. Quite a few companies offer mobile hotspots.

There are three mobile hotspot models we particularly recommend:

Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L

Despite being a couple of years old, the Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L is probably still the best 4G hotspot available right now. It uses Qualcomm’s X20 modem and supports 11 LTE bands. It provides both 2.4 and 5GHz mobile networks, supports guest connections, and allows you to connect up to 15 devices to the network at once.

The device is only available through Verizon. You can get the device for $99 if you sign up for a two-year mobile internet contract. It is $199 if you buy the device contract-free.

HTC 5G Hub

The HTC 5G Hub is the best 5G mobile hotspot on the market.

The device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU, a Snapdragon X50 5G modem, 4GB of RAM, support for Bluetooth and Ethernet connections, all-day battery life, and the ability to connect up to 20 devices at the same time. It runs Android.

On the downside, 5G is still not available everywhere. If you’re looking for a hotspot that will work when you’re off the beaten path, the HTC 5G Hub might not be for you.

Sprint MiFi 8000 Mobile Hotspot

The MiFi 8000 (only available on Sprint in the US), can provide internet speeds of up to 1Gbps while you’re on-the-go.

The device will run for 24 hours on a single charge, supports guest connections, and offers an onboard VPN for added security.

Under the hood, you’ll find 4GB of RAM and the in-house MiFi OS2 operating system.

Roaming Man U2 Global 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot

If you need a laptop internet while you’re traveling outside of the United States, you need a mobile hotspot and internet plan that both work internationally.

We like the Roaming Man U2 Global 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot. It works in more than 130 countries with prices of $8 to $10 per day.

Of course, at those prices, it is not a suitable domestic option. But if you’re on vacation and need to stay connected to home, it remains cheaper than using roaming internet on your smartphone.

2. Tether Your Smartphone or Tablet

If you don’t need regular mobile data and instead just need occasional access to the internet on your laptop, the fastest and easiest way to get online is often to tether your smartphone.

Tethering your smartphone or tablet does have two drawbacks.

  1. You’re entirely dependent on the signal of your mobile phone carrier. That’s fine if you’re in a city, but less reliable if you’re out in the country.
  2. Laptops typically use much more data than smartphones, meaning you could be in for a nasty surprise when your next phone bill lands in your mailbox.

If you have an Android device, you can enable tethering by heading to Settings > Network and internet > Hotspot and Tethering, then slide the toggle next to Wi-Fi Hotspot into the On position. iOS users need to go to Settings > Personal Hotspot and slide the toggle.

On both Android and iOS, you should set a new username and password to protect the security of your hotspot.

3. Find Public Wi-Fi

Depending on where you find yourself when you need to get internet without a provider, you might be able to jump on a nearby public Wi-Fi network. Libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, and transport hubs often have networks you can join.

You can find nearby free Wi-Fi using apps like Wi-Fi Master Key on Android, and Wi-Fi Finder on iOS.

Note: If you decide to join a public Wi-Fi network, make sure you take steps to ensure your security and privacy are both safe. If you would like to learn more, check out our article on how to spot fake public Wi-Fi run by hackers.

Download: Wi-Fi Master Key for Android (Free)

Download: Wi-Fi Finder for iOS (Free)

4. Wi-Fi USB Dongle

A Wi-Fi USB dongle, a.k.a., an “internet stick,” is a cheaper and more accessible version of a mobile hotspot. Instead of committing to an expensive long-term mobile internet plan, you can insert a standard 3G or 4G SIM card and use its data connection.

ZTE MF833V USB Dongle Adapter ZTE MF833V USB Dongle Adapter Buy Now On Amazon $59.99

Because internet sticks for laptops are lighter and smaller than mobile hotspots, they are better suited for people who need a web connection while traveling. On the downside, don’t expect signal strength, Wi-Fi speed, or range to be as good as when using a hotspot device.

To learn more, check out our piece on the best Wi-Fi USB adaptors.

5. Share Someone’s Internet

windows hotspot connection

There’s a chance that someone else in your party might have an internet connection on their machine. For example, perhaps they have login credentials for a nearby private network, and you do not.

In those cases, you can share the bandwidth with a Windows or macOS machine.

To share an internet connection from a Windows computer, go to Settings > Network and internet > Mobile Hotspot. Choose the connection you want to share and slide the toggle into the On position.

If you need to share an internet connection from a macOS device, go to Apple > System Preferences > Internet Sharing. Choose the connection you want to share in the Share your connection from the drop-down menu, then select how you want to share the internet from the list of options underneath.

Learn More About Using Wi-Fi

The best way to get Wi-Fi without an internet connection depends on where you are and how you want to use the connection.

People who do a lot of work on-the-go should consider a fully-fledged mobile hotspot. Occasional casual users might want to use tethering or buy an internet stick. In rural areas, you can get online through wireless internet.

If you would like more information about using Wi-Fi, check our articles on the different types of Wi-Fi security and how to fix slow Wi-Fi speeds.

Read the full article: How to Get Wi-Fi Without an Internet Service Provider: 5 Methods


The 5 Best Sites to Learn the Basics of Music Theory


Music makes the world go around, but do you actually know what it is? To really understand music, here are some of the best ways to learn music theory online for free.

If you love music but you never learned music theory, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. The more you understand the basics, the more you will appreciate your favorite songs and artists.

Do yourself a favor and use one of these great sites to learn a little bit more about what makes music what it is.

1. Ableton’s Interactive “Learning Music” Course

Ableton's Learning Music interactive online course is a free way for beginners to learn about music theory

If you know nothing about music theory, this is the place to start. Ableton, a maker of musical instruments and a community for artists, created this course specifically for beginners to learn music theory for free.

The course takes you step by step through the different stages of making music. It’ll teach you the differences between drums, bass, chords, and melodies, and teach you the basics of beats, notes, and scales.

The whole exercise is interactive, which is great since you are learning by doing. Once you finish with the course, you can go on to advanced topics like major and minor scales, triads, and so on.

Ableton’s course is noteworthy for how easy to understand it is, and how quickly you will learn the nuances of music theory. And all you need is a web browser, nothing more.

2. LightNote, the Most Gorgeous Site to Learn Music

Lightnote is a beautiful web app to learn the basics of music theory

Learning music is not just about what you read, it’s also about what you see. LightNote is the most beautiful site to learn the basics of music theory.

It’s a step-by-step tutorial to understand sound waves, harmony, scales, chords, and keys. The entire course is presented like an FAQ, answering the common questions that a beginner will have.

For example, while teaching harmony, it plays two pieces of music and asks why one sounds good while the other bad. And then it explains the answer, followed by a short test to see if you got it.

LightNote is not as in-depth as Ableton’s course is, but it is much easier for a newbie. There are eight free courses right now, with a few more that you need to pay for.

3. Michael New’s YouTube Lessons

Musician Michael New has an innovative style to give free music theory lessons on YouTube. New uses the combination of a MIDI keyboard and a whiteboard to great effect.

He plays notes on the keyboard, and writes what he is explaining on the whiteboard. As the lesson continues, the whiteboard has the information you’ll always need in that lesson, perfectly complementing the keyboard it sits above.

As far as visually learning music goes, there’s nothing better you will see on the internet.

You should probably start with the Music Theory Fundamentals playlist, but check out the rest of the channel too. There’s plenty of great stuff, especially the “How Rhythm Works” playlist.

4. The Basics of Reading Sheet Music

Learn how to read sheet music online with Kevin Meixner's free tutorial

Even some accomplished musicians can’t read sheet music. What are those weird looking things anyway? Kevin Meixner is here to teach you all about it in a single web page at ReadSheetMusic.info.

That’s right, Meixner’s tutorial is so effective and thorough that he doesn’t need to drone on for pages upon pages. Every lesson comes with an audio file to better understand what he is talking about. You’ll learn everything from note durations to time signatures, and how to read or write it.

Take your time with Meixner’s lessons, even though it’s only one page. And once you’re done, try out his friend Jason Silver’s add-on tutorial on the basics of counting rhythm with sheet music. After that, test your new music sheet reading skills at Notation Training.

5. Music Theory’s Lessons and Exercises

MusicTheory.net is one of the oldest and best websites to learn music theory online for free

One of the oldest and easiest music learning websites, MusicTheory.net has taught millions of people, from beginners to pros. Divided into three sections, it caters to everything you’ll need.

Lessons is all about learning music theory. It covers basics, rhythm and meter, scales and key signatures, intervals, chords, diatonic chords, chord progressions, and Neapolitan chords. It’s almost a textbook and one of the best ways to learn music theory.

Exercises make you identify notes, chords, intervals, and signatures. It also has an excellent “ear training” section to listen to a sound and figure out the note, interval, scale, or chord. Tools have calculators for all types of musical needs, like a matrix calculator or a tempo tapper.

Is Music Theory Necessary to Love Music?

Music is primal, and you don’t need to know music theory to love a song. However, you’ll find that learning music theory greatly improves how much you appreciated what you are listening to. You’ll gain a whole new understanding of why a song you liked is that awesome.

Apart from learning music theory, the internet is also happy to teach you how to play music. From no-instrument things like singing and beatboxing to strumming the guitar, check out these musical skills you can learn online for free, with or without instruments.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Sites to Learn the Basics of Music Theory


What Are Facebook Stickers? Everything You Need to Know


Facebook stickers are images that you can send to your friends and family. They make for a fun, easy way to express yourself.

You can use stickers in various places on Facebook, including in comments, on photos, and on Facebook Messenger.

In this article, we explain what Facebook stickers are and how you can use them to express yourself on Facebook.

What Are Facebook Stickers?

Facebook stickers

Facebook stickers are much like emojis in that they are visual ways to express how you’re feeling, or they depict a particular object or scene. Some stickers feature characters from movies or TV shows, while others are people or animals from different artists.

Facebook defines a sticker as, “Stickers are different than emoticons. They’re detailed illustrations of characters with personality. Sending stickers is a way to share how you’re feeling with your friends.”

Note: If you’re wondering what the differences are between emoticons and emojis, we’ve got you covered.

Technically speaking, a sticker is just an image. One of the ways they are different to emojis is that they are larger. Also, they can’t be placed inline alongside some text—sending a sticker counts as a single message.

The term “sticker” is perhaps a bit deceiving. These aren’t physical stickers, nor can you stick them wherever you want on Facebook. However, much like real stickers, they are usually bold and colorful.

Facebook has thousands of different stickers available. Below, we’ll show you how to use them and add more to your collection.

How to Use Facebook Stickers

There are multiple places on Facebook that you can use stickers.

When you open the sticker interface, it will open by default on the Search tab. You can use the Search stickers text field to look for specific stickers. Search either by the name of the sticker pack or the emotion represented by the sticker.

This section also contains themes (like Happy or Angry) that you can click to browse stickers relating to that, across all of your packs.

The clock icon is a tab containing all of your recently used stickers. This is handy if you have some favorite stickers that you like to use often.

The other icons represent the sticker packs. Click one of the icons to browse the stickers within that pack. If you have multiple packs, you will see an arrow icon that you can click to scroll.

The plus icon is how you access the Sticker Store, which we will detail further below.

When you find a sticker that you want, just click on it to select it.

How to Send a Sticker in Messages or Comments

To send a sticker while in chat or Messenger, or when replying to a post, click the sticker icon near the text field.

Once you have selected a sticker, it will send. You can’t add text on the same message, though you can of course send a follow-up message.

How to Add a Sticker to a Photo

Facebook add stickers to photo

When adding a photo to a post, you can customize it with stickers. You can only do this when sharing the post. To do so, click Photo/Video, then upload a photo. Next, hover over the photo and click the pencil icon. Then, on the left pane, click Stickers > Add Sticker.

You can place multiple stickers on your photo. Click and drag to move the sticker, then use the arrow icon to rotate and resize the sticker. When done, click Save.

How to Get More Facebook Stickers

Facebook Sticker Store

It’s simple to add more stickers to your collection. There are hundreds of different sticker packs available, which are just a collection of stickers under a common theme or brand (like Lunar New Year or The Avengers). Each pack usually contains around 20 stickers.

These sticker packs are available from the Sticker Store. Despite the name, and since being on the platform since 2013, Facebook has never directly charged money for sticker packs.

To access the Sticker Store, follow the steps above as if you were going to send a sticker. Instead of selecting a sticker, click the blue plus icon in the top right. This will open the Sticker Store. Alternatively, visit the Facebook Sticker Store directly.

Here you can browse all of the packs available for download. Click Preview to see all the stickers in the pack. Click Free to add the sticker pack to your collection. It can then be used immediately.

How to Remove Facebook Stickers

Facebook remove stickers

You can’t disable the Facebook stickers feature entirely. The only thing you can do is remove sticker packs that you have added to your collection. Note that this will remove every single sticker in that pack—you can’t remove an individual sticker.

To do so, navigate to the Sticker Store. Packs that you have downloaded will no longer have a Free button. Instead, there will be a Remove button in its place. Click this to immediately remove the sticker pack from your collection.

Join the Facebook Stickers Group

If you want to stay up-to-date with the world of Facebook stickers and find out when new packs are added to the platform, you should join the Facebook Stickers group.

This official group announces new packs and also provide a handy link for you to click to instantly add the new stickers to your collection.

Avoid Sticker Apps

Facebook sticker apps

You might come across apps on the Android and iOS stores that claim to expand your sticker selection on Facebook. While Facebook has partnered with external apps in the past to provide sticker packs, the company no longer does. The best way to acquire new stickers is just to use the Sticker Store on Facebook.

These apps are often riddled with annoying adverts and are simply a clunky way of adding images into your posts or messages, which you can do directly from the Facebook interface anyway. They aren’t official sticker packs and therefore aren’t worth downloading.

More Things to Do With Facebook Messenger

That’s everything you need to know about Facebook stickers, including what they are and how to use them. So why not go grab some sticker packs and use them to express yourself on Facebook.

Stickers are just one of the many things you can do with Facebook and Messenger. For more, check out our list of hidden Facebook Messenger tricks you should try.

Read the full article: What Are Facebook Stickers? Everything You Need to Know

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