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Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the Insider Preview builds

 

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) started to roll out, the company began working on upcoming feature updates to Windows 10. As it did with version 1903, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.

After years of using “Redstone” in its code names, Microsoft switched to a new format with the May 2019 Update. The new code names use a YYH1/YYH2 format, with the YY standing for the last two numbers of the year and H1 or H2 referring to the first or second half of the year. So Windows 10 version 1903, which was released in May 2019, was code-named “19H1” (for first half of 2019) rather than “Redstone 6.” The next feature update, due in the fall of this year, is code-named “19H2,” and the feature update that’s coming in the spring of 2020 is code-named 20H1.

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Slack rolls out new Salesforce integrations, launches Workflow Builder

 

Slack has added new integrations with Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service apps, part of its ongoing push to bolster connections with other “best of breed” cloud apps.

The integrations are aimed at enabling better information-sharing between Salesforce and the team collaboration app, which now has 12 million daily active users. Slack now lets users search and preview Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud records such as accounts and opportunities in app by using a slash command to pull up details.

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7 Apple presentation secrets enterprise workers need

 

Apple’s competitors hate the company’s slick marketing, but enterprise workers should try to follow the path of distilled simplicity to help get their own messages across.

Seize the day

You have 90 seconds to capture your audience’s attention.

Practice your presentation, thank people who helped make it happen and try to be authentic and genuine. People always react better to authentic people. To the extent that authenticity has itself become an art form.

Don’t waste (other people’s) time

How often do you find a presentation slide shows so much information you don’t take any of it in? Apple doesn’t do this.

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Learn Scrum and Six Sigma and prepare for your PMP exam with this $29 bundle

 

Whether you’re interested in managing a team or you just want to better communicate your goals with your colleagues, project management skills will come in handy. Many people learn how to manage a team on the job, and while hands-on experience is invaluable, learning a structured approach to project management will make your team much more effective. If you want to learn the skills necessary to keep your team running at peak efficiency, this $29 bundle is for you.

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Asana adds workflow automation, voice transcription

 

Work management vendor Asana has introduced new automation capabilities for its software, including a rules builder that lets users automate repeatable steps. 

Asana, founded by Facebook co-creator Dustin Moskovitz and software engineer Justin Rosenstein, is a collaborative work management app that lets users track and manage tasks on an individual, team or organization-wide basis. It has around 70,000 paying customers. 

The company has been building out a range of features in recent months, including the addition of Asana’s Workload tool this past summer and Proofing in April. The latter lets users give feedback on images.

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Windows 7 Pro gets nag patch KB 4524752 with a couple of eerily familiar registry keys

 

 

IDG Contributor Network: Is it time to rethink Windows?

 

[Disclosure: Many of the firms mentioned are clients of the author.]

It’s easy to forget that Windows was initially a shell for DOS before it went through a massive change in 1995 (after Apple made GUIs the next big thing). Microsoft dominated the market that resulted, of course. But this was a market defined by desktop hardware, where servers sat in the background and the idea of a terminal was mostly verboten. {Before the rise of the PC we had terminals tied largely to IBM mainframes that were far easier to maintain, arguably more secure because they couldn’t run viruses, and far more appliance-like.)

As we move to a cloud-driven present where offerings like Azure define the space, shouldn’t we clean-slate a new client much as we did with DOS, Windows and iOS? Doesn’t it make sense to strive for a result optimized for the cloud world of tomorrow rather than the PC world of yesterday?

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Chrome OS: Tips, tools, and other Chromebook intelligence

 

Google's Chrome OS platform sure has come a long way.

From the early days, when Chrome OS was little more than an experimental "browser in a box," to today — with the platform powering first-class hardware and supporting a diverse range of productivity applications — Google's once-crazy-seeming project has turned into one of the world's most intriguing and rapidly expanding technological forces.

I've been covering Chrome OS closely since the start. I lived with the first Chromebook prototype, the Cr-48, and have used Chromebooks as part of my own personal computing setup in varying capacities ever since. I write about the field not only as someone who's studied it professionally from day 1 but also as someone who has used it personally that entire time, up through today.

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Microsoft starts nagging Windows 7 Pro users about end of support

 

Microsoft will soon begin nagging users running Windows 7 Professional to remind them that the operating system is soon to be shelved.

"We are now extending the notifications ... to Windows 7 Pro[fessional] devices to ensure our customers are aware of the end of support for Windows 7 and can take action to remain productive and secure," says an Oct. 15 update to a company blog post first published in March.

The original post confirmed that Microsoft would push notifications to Windows 7 systems in the months ahead - reprising a move it made in 2014 prior to Windows XP's retirement - but at the time, the company said nothing about limiting the on-screen alerts to Windows 7 Home Premium.

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Flashback Friday: Give them a headache and they might be generous

 

It’s the mid-1980s, and this pilot fish is working on a project to convert his company’s payroll system from one proprietary mainframe to a newer model.

“After converting the system, we did parallel runs for the same week between old and new hardware,” says fish.

And lo and behold, the newer hardware comes up with a total payroll that’s 8 cents less than the run on the old hardware. An intense effort over a long weekend is required to uncover the problem. What fish’s team finds in the end is that the 8-cent difference is spread among three hourly employees— the only people who received pay raises that week.

Digging into the calculation of the hourly rate, fish and his team discover that it’s calculated in COBOL to nine decimal places, and then rounded to three decimal places in an unusual way: The last six decimal places are split off, and if the value is greater than zero, the third decimal place is rounded up by one.

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A revealing iPhone 11 headache

 

Sometimes, a mobile glitch is indicative of a much more pervasive issue. Such is the case with my recent iPhone 11 iTunes headache.

I'll drill down into the details of the iTunes situation in a moment — along with a fix that Apple tech support swore didn’t exist — but the bigger problem here is the Apple experience. I've long been a fan of Apple's products, because the company's technology execution and GUI intuitiveness are exemplary. I'm not a fan of the experience delivered when upgrading — when I'm doing exactly what Apple wants to me to do. What should be a simple process is anything but.

Not that this is a novel observation. My friend Jason Perlow wrote about his bad Apple Store experience last month. Having read that piece, I figured I would avoid the friction points he flagged by setting up the carrier situation beforehand and by avoiding the in-store Wi-Fi. Alas, Apple had more surprises waiting for me.

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How the Pixel 4 epitomizes Google's hardware gamble

 

Allow me to play Mr. Obvious for a moment: The Pixel 4 is a phone. That much is plainly apparent — right?

Hang on, though, because there's a twist: This week's Google event, at which the Pixel 4 was officially launched, wasn't really about phones. It wasn't about laptops, either. At its core, it wasn't about any hardware, in fact, despite being a "hardware event" in every outward sense.

Sure, the physical products may have taken center stage, but those gadgets are ultimately all just vessels for what Google's really trying to sell us. This week's event was actually all about the Google ecosystem — and, more specifically, the Google Assistant that serves as the nucleus of almost everything Google introduced.

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You can insure your place for as low as $5 per month with Lemonade

 

Anyone unfortunate enough to fall victim to a burglary or natural disaster understands just how frustrating it feels to deal with insurance companies. We spend thousands of dollars each year to ensure our property will be reimbursed in case of an emergency, so why does it take so long to receive reimbursement when we need it most? 

If you’ve had a poor experience waiting weeks or months for your reimbursement, or if you want to rest assured that your claims will be paid out quickly in case of a future emergency, Lemonade has you covered with rates as low as $5 per month for renter’s insurance and $25 per month for homeowner’s insurance. 

To read this article in full, please click here

 

Why 5G means new business models and user benefits

 

5G wireless technology will enable business opportunities that will bring new services and better performance that extend beyond the smartphone.

 

This month’s Win10 1903 patch throws 'unexpected error; quitting' and doesn’t play well with an Intel video driver

 

If you installed this month’s first Win10 version 1903 cumulative update, KB 4517389, you may be in for a couple of surprises.

Mark Busby on AskWoody reported a strange bug shortly after the patch was released:

After installing KB4517389 on these Windows systems, when opening 16-bit applications an error message is displayed “unexpected error; quitting.” …  After removing the update the application works fine once more.

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Apple’s iOS 13 adoption data hints at iPhone 11 sales

 

Apple tells us that four weeks since launch, iOS 13 is now in use by over half of all the devices sold in the last four years; that data may also hint at the strength of its iPhone sales.

Apple’s latest data shows rapid iOS adoption

Since iOS 13’s release on Sept. 19, Apple’s latest data shows the following:

All devices introduced in the last four years

  • 55% of all devices introduced in the last four years use iOS 13.
  • 38% of all devices introduced in the last four years use iOS 12.
  • 7% of all devices introduced in the last four years use an earlier version of iOS.

All devices used

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Google Forms cheat sheet

 

Do you need to make a quiz, survey, registration form, order form or other web page that gathers feedback from co-workers, customers, or others? If so, you can design and deploy it right from your web browser with Google Forms. It’s integrated with Google Drive to store your forms in the cloud.

Using the quiz format

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(Insider Story)

 

Throwback Thursday: Hardware isn’t his thing

 

Senior programmer says his printouts are striped, and replacing the toner cartridge didn’t help, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

Junior tech is dispatched to help, sees the striped printouts, and is fairly confident that it’s a problem with the toner cartridge.

And when she opens the printer, she finds that the cartridge has a long plastic ribbon hanging off the side. Problem solved, she figures, and she begins to pull the plastic strip off. But the programmer tells her, “Stop! That’s supposed to be there.”

The tech, feeling especially junior, returns to the IT area and explains all to a senior tech, who tells her she’s right. “In fact, there are instructions molded into the plastic cartridge telling how to remove that strip.”

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Windows 10 update (and retirement) calendar: Mark these dates

 

Microsoft is releasing new versions of Windows 10 on a set schedule – and just as regularly retiring older versions from support. Here are all the dates you need to know about through Windows 7's retirement in 2020 and beyond.

 

Can Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency survive the exodus?

 

After the withdrawal of seven of the 29 founding members of the Libra Association, the governing council for Facebook's planned global cryptocurrency, the project's fate  looks increasingly uncertain.

PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, Mercado Pago and Brooking Holdings have backed away from participation on the Libra Association; their hands were forced when  all members met Monday in Switzerland for formalize their commitment to the project.

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Train to be an in-demand DevOps pro for just $39

 

Tech companies are always looking for more ways to increase efficiency, and today, DevOps is the way they're doing it. For the uninitiated, DevOps is a series of practices that brings software development teams together with IT operations professionals so they may create products that are both reliable and efficient. If you want to work in software development, then knowing DevOps could make all the difference.

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Why we need Apple’s HomeKit-enabled routers

 

How secure are the connected smart devices you keep in your home and at work? How much protection have you put in place, and have you even taken a minute to change your default router password?

Computer says no

The truth is many smart home device users (and those running connected devices in smart offices, enterprises, manufacturing and beyond) may not yet have taken stock of their security.

This is a particular problem when it comes to older smart devices, many of which are still in use even though a large number of them shipped with weak or non-replaceable factory default passcodes.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

The second round of October patches arrives — with a few twists and a new nag

 

On the face of it, yesterday’s dump of “optional, non-security” patches for Win10 was thoroughly boring: 

As usual, there was no second cumulative update for Win10 1903/Server 1903. If history’s any indication, that patch will likely arrive during “D Week” or “E Week” — or some other random time, later this month or early next month.

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BrandPost: The Enterprise’s Guide to IT-as-a-Service

 

It shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing IT consumption conundrum: a full-blown, high-capacity data-center solution including services you don’t need, or piecemeal solutions for each capacity need from storage to databases.

Cloud has alleviated many pressures on the data center, offering scalability, availability, and storage capacity, as well as cost savings. Yet some workloads and applications are better suited on premises, whether for security, compliance, or performance reasons.

At the same time, having to manage both cloud and on-premises environments can create new IT headaches. That’s why some companies are considering a new model to better address consumption and capacity challenges: IT-as-a-service (ITaaS).

To read this article in full, please click here

 

Making sense of Google's Pixelbook strategy

 

When I first heard about Google's Pixelbook Go laptop, I honestly didn't know what to make of it.

I mean, really, can you blame me? By most meaningful measures, the Pixelbook Go is a less premium and versatile version of Google's existing, now-two-years-old Pixelbook model. It trades its predecessor's sleek and sophisticated vibe for a more mundane and less attention-grabbing appearance. (Seriously, I own the original Pixelbook, and no exaggeration: It gets noticed and commented on all the time — a mixed-bag side effect for an introvert like me.) And in most of its variations, the Go ditches the high-res, pixel-packed screen once closely connected with the Pixel brand name (see what they did there?) and instead uses a run-of-the-mill 1080p panel.

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Nest Mini unboxing

 

Nest is now the overarching brand for all Google smart home products, so the company's second-generation small smart speaker is called the Nest Mini. We're in the process of reviewing it, but here's a quick look and a guide to setting it up.

 

How to play music on all (or some) of your Amazon Alexa speakers at once

 

Want to hear tunes booming throughout your house? If you have Amazon Echo devices in multiple rooms, just ask Alexa, although you’ll need to tweak some settings first.

 

Excel: Top 10 tips for beginners

 

Microsoft Excel is an incredibly capable and complex spreadsheet program. If you're just getting your feet wet, these tips will help you get started on making a spreadsheet and writing a formula. Once you learn the vocabulary, the rest gets easier.

Open Excel and choose a blank workbook

01 open a new blank excel worksheet JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Open a new blank Excel workbook

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How to collaborate on Microsoft Office files in G Suite

 

One of the hallmarks of collaborating in G Suite is the ability to edit Docs, Sheets, and Slide files simultaneously with other collaborators and see the changes in real time. Now you can do the same with Microsoft Office files without having to convert them to the corresponding G Suite format. Here’s how to get started.

Sharing Office files

The first step to collaborating in G Suite is sharing a file with your collaborators. That starts with adding the file to Google Drive. Go to drive.google.com and log in if necessary. On the top left, click New > File upload. Select the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file you want to add and click Open to upload it.

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How to install a smart switch

 

Let us show you the easiest way to install a smart switch.

 

How to save money and scan your photos digitally using your phone and Google PhotoScan

 

Scanning photos into digital copies isn’t just for old photo albums. These days, you’ll often have to decide whether to buy an expensive digital version of school photos, not to mention weddings. But why spend extra money when you have a photo scanner in your pocket?

Google PhotoScan is an app both for Android and iOS, and works by using your phone’s camera to take several photos of a print photograph, using intelligence to stitch them together and mark the edges of the photograph. The photo stitching also works to eliminate glare from your phone’s flash, though a well-lit photo using natural light delivers the best results.

To be fair, a native digital image will present the clearest, sharpest results. And if you have a dedicated scanner, or a multifunction printer with a scanner attached to it, that option should definitely be explored. But scanners cost money, as do the rights to digital images—the local photography service charged me $17! Instead, explore what your phone’s own camera can do before ponying up for that Instagram post.

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Android 10: Getting started with the best new features

 

When you first start using Android 10, it won’t look all that different from version 9. In fact, the biggest change you’re going to encounter is that it doesn’t have a tasty dessert moniker attached to it. But even without any radical new features, Android “Don’t Call It Q” charts a whole new path for the OS, with new ways to navigate, customize, and secure your phone. So if you can’t find anything new, you’re just looking in the wrong places. Here are all the best new features in Android 10 and how to start using them.

Dark theme

Possibly the most highly anticipated new feature in Android 10 is a simple one: dark mode. Called Dark theme, it flips many of the elements in stock Google apps from blinding white to black or dark gray. However, it’s a little scattered, with some apps turning automatically, while others have their own internal switches. Here’s how it breaks down:

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Windows Sandbox: How to use Microsoft's simple virtual Windows PC to secure your digital life

 

Microsoft may be positioning its easy-peasy Windows Sandbox within the Windows 10 May 2019 Update as a safe zone for testing untrusted applications, but it’s much more than that. Windows Sandbox, and sandboxing PC apps in general, give you a solution for trying a “utility” that may be malware, or a website that you’re not sure about. You could leave those potentially dangerous elements alone, but with Sandbox, you can be a little more adventurous. 

Windows Sandbox creates a secure “Windows within Windows” virtual machine environment entirely from scratch, and walls it off from your “real” PC. You can open a browser and surf securely, download apps, even visit websites that you probably shouldn’t. Sandbox also includes a unique convenience: you can copy files in and out of the virtual PC, bringing them out of quarantine if you’re absolutely sure they’re safe.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

How to buy the perfect PC case

 

No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters.

At a minimum, you want to pick a PC case that’s the right size for your needs and has room for all your hardware and USB devices. But some PC cases offer much, much more. Spacious innards, lower temperatures, muffled sound, extensive water-cooling support, and fancy-schmancy tempered glass panels or RGB lighting are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a guide to buying a PC case that’s perfect for you. This is just the first step in your DIY journey; be sure to check out PCWorld’s guide to building a PC, too.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

How to keep Amazon, Apple, and Google from listening to your Alexa, Siri, and Assistant recordings

 

Amazon Echo and Google Home users can shut the door on “human review” of their voice recordings. Also: how to wipe your Siri history off of Apple's servers.

 

You just bought a new Amazon Echo device? Do these 6 things first

 

Get the scoop on how to train Alexa to recognize your voice, prevent unauthorized purchases from Amazon, tell it where you live and work, and more.

 

How to use Paint 3D's Magic Select tool to edit out photobombers from your photos

 

Yes, you can “magically” remove people and objects out of photos using Adobe’s expensive Photoshop application. But did you know that a simple version of the same tool is hidden within Windows 10, for free? Let’s introduce you to Paint 3D’s Magic Select tool, and teach you how to use it.

I’m a fan of simple, free tools that don’t require any installation or setup, and Magic Select is one of my favorites. You would think Magic Select would be found with Windows 10’s Photos app, or even Paint, but no—Microsoft hoped that one day we’d all be editing 3D objects, not 2D photos, and reserved Magic Select for the Paint 3D app within Windows 10. Fortunately, it’s as easy to edit a 2D photo within Paint 3D as Paint, though you’ll have to ignore the vast majority of the user interface to do so. 

To read this article in full, please click here

 

How to create a PowerPoint presentation for a kiosk or trade show booth

 

Can I format or compile my PowerPoint presentations to run automatically in a show booth or kiosk and, if so, how? Yes, you can and the how is much easier than you’d imagine.

First, create your slideshow as you would any other presentation. Add your graphics, text, animations, and transitions (between slides). If you have animations that play over multiple slides, then the timing must also be set before you compile the presentation for a kiosk.

Also consider the audio. Do you want music, verbal narration, or both? Most professional presentations use both (but necessarily simultaneously); however, some do play music softly in the background while the narrator speaks over the music. Either way, this is another area where timing is essential. Obviously, you want the narrator’s voice to follow the text on the slide. It is OK if the narrator’s speech is more detailed than the slide headers and bullet points, but it’s not OK if the narrator is talking about the Team while the Financials slide is viewed.

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5 Windows display tricks to help you focus

 

When you’re trying to focus on a specific task, the right display settings can make a big difference. Dimming or disabling secondary monitors, cutting down on harsh screen lighting, or even eliminating color altogether can help draw your eyes to the job at hand and reduce eyestrain.

With the right tools, Windows can make managing these display settings practically effortless. Here are five screen manipulation tools and tricks to help you concentrate:

Automatic dark mode

With the May 2019 update for Windows 10, Microsoft added a “light” mode to complement its existing dark theme, rendering the taskbar, Start menu, and certain app menus in a bright shade of gray. Unfortunately, Microsoft provides no way to switch automatically between light and dark modes, so your display vibes might be too mellow by day and too harsh at night.

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How to make voice and video calls using Alexa and your Amazon Echo

 

You can use Alexa on your Amazon Echo to make calls without a mobile number or landline? Here's how.

 

How to play music you own on an Amazon Echo

 

Play your own MP3 collection on an Amazon Echo or other Alexa devices using Plex or My Media.

 

How to protect yourself from online scams including ransomware and more

 

Protecting yourself from online scams is a fact of life now. According to the FBI’s 2018 Internet Crime Report, Internet scams from 2014 through 2018 cost consumers $7.45 billion. Scams include online shopping/non-delivery of products ordered, identity theft, credit card fraud, and denial of service/DDoS attacks. Other threats include various flavors of ransomware, malware, scareware, and viruses, along with a few dozen other categories of crime.

I got hit with ransomware—twice—and learned a lot from the remedies I tried, as well as the experiences of friends who were hit. Read on to see what I did, and be sure to check PCWorld’s thorough guide to removing malware and our follow-on story about how to rescue your Windows PC from ransomware for more information. We wrap up with a checklist that will help you fend off online scams of all kinds. 

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Google Keep Notes: 10 tips and tricks to become a master

 

Google Keep Notes might be the most underrated of Google’s services. It’s more than just a place to jot down your thoughts—it’s also the missing link to bring Docs, Calendar, Photos, and the rest of Google’s services together. Here are 10 tips and tricks to unlock the full potential of Google Keep Notes:

Take a voice memo

While most people use Google Keep Notes to type quick notes to themselves, you can actually get your thoughts down even quicker by using your voice. In the bottom menu on the main screen, you can tap the microphone icon to speak your note to Google Keep. It’ll both record and transcribe everything you say, so even if Google’s dictation engine misses a word, you’ll still have a record of it.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

How to add music to your Google Slides presentation

 

Music is a great way to liven up your Google Sheets presentations and keep your audience engaged. Unlike Microsoft PowerPoint, however, Google Sheets doesn’t include support for audio files. But with the following workarounds, you can add a soundtrack to any slide. (Updated July 10, 2019, with a new workaround via YouTube.)

Add a link to an online music file

The easiest way to add music to your Google Slides presentation is to link to a track from an online music service like Spotify, Soundcloud, or Grooveshark.

1. Open a Google Slides presentation in your web browser and go the slide to which you want to add music.

2. Select Insert > Text box from the menu, or click the text box button in the toolbar. Click anywhere on the slide to automatically create a text box.

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How to back up your Google Photos library now that Google Drive auto-sync has shut down

 

Ever since Google Photos and its unlimited high-quality cloud storage arrived, Google has included a handy backup method with your Google Drive. As long as you had the Google Drive toggle flipped in the Google Photos settings (and enough space in your Drive), everything added to Google Photos synced back to Google Drive, so you could create a personal library of photos in their original quality.

As of July 10, that's changing. Google says that Drive sync was causing confusion with users, so Photos will no longer include an option to sync with Google Drive. You'll still be able to back up your photos in original quality if you choose, but you'll no longer see new photos appear on your Drive. Similarly, anything you add to the Photos folders in Google Drive will no longer automatically appear in Google Photos.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

How to automatically delete the web activity and location history data in your Google account

 

Google is finally taking your privacy seriously. Earlier this year, it rolled out a simpler and more transparent way to access your Location History and Web & App Activity, and delete part or all of it, but it’s effective only if you remember to do it. Now Google is making it easier to do that, too.

Google is rolling out a new account feature that lets you set an expiration date for your data. The options aren't as granular as we'd like, but you can set a kill date of three or 18 months, so even if you forget to clear it out, a record of the places you visit online and in real life won’t stay around forever. It’s still rolling out to devices, so if you don’t see it on your phone, you can find it on the web. Here’s how to set it up:

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How to get free books for your Amazon Kindle

 

When you own an Amazon Kindle, the cost of supporting a voracious reading habit can get very steep, very quickly. A quick glance at Amazon’s list of the Best Books of the Month shows that a decent read can set you back between $13 and $15 for a Kindle edition book. Sure, Amazon offers deals on great ebooks, but waiting for a deal could take forever. Many titles can be had for two bucks or less, but it takes work to find the gems among the dross. 

What you need are some solid options for finding free, absorbing content to devour on your Kindle. We’re more than happy to point you in the right direction. (And if you need a new e-reader, find one among our reviews of the best Kindles.) Updated July 2, 2019 with additional resources. 

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6 ways to find the perfect TV show or movie on Netflix

 

Picking just the right Netflix video for a given night isn’t the chillaxing experience it could be. Find out how to take a deep dive into Netflix’s collection of movies and TV episodes, slicing and dicing its categories to pinpoint the perfect video.

 

How to avoid Internet fraud, scams, phishing and other cybercrime

 

Internet fraud takes many forms, from retail websites that don’t deliver, to emails phishing for credit card or bank information, to tech support scams that take over your desktop, and everything in between. They share a common goal, however: extracting money or personal data from an unsuspecting user.

If you come upon something that seems sketchy, here’s how to check it out before you put your money down.

Three signs that a website is legitimate

Hopefully most websites you encounter are legitimate. There are two quick ways to tell, plus one that requires just a little more legwork. 

1. URLs beginning with “https” means the website is a secured site. That means it’s encrypted using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates that protect private data traveling between a data server and a web browser.

To read this article in full, please click here

 

Who owns that shady website? These tools provide the details

 

Have you ever visited a website and wondered where that site and its owners are located? Shopping sites are particularly of interest, because most people want to know who the seller is and where the seller is located. Casual online browsers may also find themselves on sites that dump malware onto unsuspecting PCs, plant malicious pop-up ads, or phish for private information. Others may stumble upon sites that push conspiracy theories, hate rhetoric, or violence, which they may want to avoid or expose.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a service that revealed this information? Well, there is, and here’s how to use it.

Using WHOIS to sniff out shady sites

Many sites and organizations provide identifying site information for free. The most notable is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a private non-profit corporation that allocates space for IP addresses and manages domain names (among other things). The service is called WHOIS, and it provides a long list of biographical information for every website in the world. 

To read this article in full, please click here

 

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