Category Archives: Technology

A Guide To Organizing Apps On Your iPad

Owning an iPad is for sure an exciting experience, but for those who are still new at using it, it could seem a little daunting to get things going. It might seem difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a piece of cake. The iPad is a very simple tool to use in terms of navigation and control and we’re confident that you you will be in control in no time! Here are a few tips and tricks, a tutorial of sorts to get you started with handling your iPad device like a pro. Let’s have a look at how to organize, navigate through apps, moving them, and creating separate folders for apps along with docking them.
 
Lesson 1
 
ipad-1 

The first lesson is how to move from one page of apps to the next. A few basic apps come installed when you first purchase your iPad, but once you start using the app store to download more apps, you will eventually have multiple screens full of apps. The first step is to not be intimidated by the number of icons on your screen. Moving them around is very simple (which we will get to), but to move between screens of apps, all you have to do is swipe to the right, or swipe to the left. Seriously, even a baby could do it.
 
Lesson 2
 
ipad-2 

The second lesson is how to move an app. It’s up to you if you wish to move your apps around the screen or to another screen entirely. All you have to do is touch the particular app, not lifting that finger up, and once the icons start to jiggle, you can move it around. Move all your app icons around until you feel satisfied, but if you wish to take an app icon to another screen, just hold that icon and move it to the very edge of the screen, either left or right until the new screen appears. Simply lift your finger up when your icon reaches the destination you want it to be. Once you are happy with placing your apps where you want them, simply click on the home button and you will come out of move state after which you will be able to use your iPad normally again. It’s as simple as picking an app up, moving it around with the tip of your finger, and dropping it where you like. The home button is also useful for activating Siri, just so you know.
 
Lesson 3
 
ipad-3 

The third lesson is going to show you how to create folders on your iPad. If you have too many apps and icons on your home screens, you are bound to get tired of swiping around all the time looking for the right app. There is a very simple solution to this and that is to create folders that will house your icons according to how you wish to group them together. To create a folder, all you need to do is hold on to any icon until you enter the move state (the icon will jiggle), then place them on top of the icons you wish to group together, this will create a folder automatically with both the apps in it. You can try this right now by moving the camera app. Once an icon becomes highlighted, you will be able to drop another icon onto it – creating a folder. The iPad is capable of naming folders itself, but if you are not satisfied you can always rename the folder by simply tapping on the folder name.
 
Lesson 4
 
ipad-4 

The fourth lesson will teach you how to dock an app. Docking an app means to place it in the lower part of the screen, the part which is visible on any screen without regard to what screen you are currently viewing. Typically this section holds four icons on a new iPad, but you can add up to six of your liking to this section. If you wish, you may also add folders here. In order to dock an icon, all you have to do is select the icon or folder you wish to move, then just drop it in to the bottom part of the screen in the docking area. Easy!
 

 

10 Apps That Are Great For Your Little Ones

The technological gadgets of today’s world and the applications provided by them have kept many people mesmerized. People of all ages, including children, are benefited in a very positive way. There are heaps of apps for learning that are available, but don’t go for all the apps tagged as ‘educational’. Quality and features are other elements that should be considered in an app before downloading it. Here are the top 10 apps that are considered the best learning apps for kids.
 
1. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame – Little Children, BIG Challenges with Sesame Street
 
10-apps-1-sesame 

This app is available for Android, iPad and iPhone, and it’s free. It incorporates strategies and tactics to solve different problems encountered by kids age 2-5 years old. As illustrated by the ‘Big challenges initiative’ of Sesame Street’s Children, the app teaches some basic planning, breathing, and other activities involving parents.
 
2. Beck and Bo
 
10-apps-2-beck 

The colorful items, objects, characters, and animals in this app are ready to teach children some vocabulary. After each learning session, kids will be able to get a benefit from an engaging album. This app is paid though and will cost you $2.99. All Android, iPad, and iPhone users can download it for their devices.
 
3. Learn with Homer
 
10-apps-3-homer 

Experts made this app to make learning easier and helpful for kids. This is the reason the app has been successful in receiving various awards and is counted among the top rated learning apps. Suitable for kids between the ages of 3-6 years, this app makes it easy for parents to teach their children step-by-step. Moreover, it’s available only for iPad users.
 
4. Disney Animated
 
10-apps-4-disney 

Costing $9.99, this app will take a good amount of room in your iPad. What’s better than your children learning about Disney’s animations? Yes, this app slots in some catchy and appealing effects that bring children in a setting where they learn about the special effects and animations of Disney. 5-year old kids will definitely love it!
 
5. Kodable and Kodable Pro
 
10-apps-5-kodable 

Bring your children closer to coding tactics! This app provides an amusing atmosphere to your kids, which makes it easier for children to learn programming. A burden? No! Because all the tools and items are of a beginner’s level so that your child learns coding in a fun way. Kodable Pro incorporates higher levels and worlds. This is free for iPad users only.
 
6. Ansel and Clair Apps
 
10-apps-6-ansel 

Science time! If your kid is a elementary school student, this app is going to bring your child closer to the world of science and social studies. These award-winning apps are amazing for learning about dinosaurs, Africa, ecology, history, and geography. Download if you have an iPhone or iPad. It costs $0.99 to $4.99.
 
7. Math Evolve
 
10-apps-7-math 

If you’re worried about your child having poor performance in mathematics, then this app is going to be your helper. Involve your child in this interacting, musical, and graphical app that incorporates games to bring your child up to par. You can even keep an eye on your child’s performance in the history section. Suitable for children aged between the ages of 6-12. Kindle Fire, iPad, Android, and iPhone users can download it for $1.99.
 
8. Motion Math Pizza
 
10-apps-8-pizza 

This app integrates a special learning environment for your kids, making them the owner of a pizza store where they will learn to handle economic strategies involved in selling and buying pizzas. They will even learn about the ingredients required for preparing a pizza with their prices and will learn how to handle that as well. This app is suitable for kids aged between 8-11 years and is downloadable for iPhone and iPad users for $3.99.
 
9. Pox: Save the People
 
10-apps-9-pox 

Available for free for iPad users only, this app is meant to help kids aged 11 or older to learn to maintain their health. The game is fun though it has some serious goals and plans. This app will make your child learn strategies involved in coping with a fatal disease.
 
10. Procreate
 
10-apps-10-procreate 

Though it costs $5.99 and is only available for iPad users, this app is helpful in teaching your child about beautiful artistic elements. Suitable for both adults and teenagers, it’s an instinctual art tool.
 
Now, these apps can be incredible learning sources for your kid. So, why wait? Download your favorite app and get your child learning in a fun and interactive way!
 

 

How LG Cancelled The Urbane 2nd Edition LTE

LG turned out to be one of the first organizations to completely get Google’s Android Wear smartwatch and came out with their own G Watch, and they have since released a larger number of watches than any other original equipment manufacturer (OEM). LG’s most recent endeavor was the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. This device was on the market for just six days before it was scrapped from the marketplace altogether.
 
A lot of products are discontinued by the developers at a certain point in the testing or development phase, and some don’t even see the light of day as they just get the announcement, not the release. But that was not the case with Urbane 2nd Edition LTE as it was released and was even sent out to be reviewed. The product was “complete”, but it looks like LG must have missed something BIG for them to pull the gadget completely from shelves.
 
urbane-1 

LG released a statement regarding this matter, which was very brief and unclear. It said that the LG management was aware of the fact that the product was in its reviewing phase, the engineers had encountered a hardware issue which affected the daily functionality of 2nd Edition LTE. And for that, the decision was made to cancel the product for the time being and whether the device will be obtainable in the coming time is not yet decided. LG tends to ensure that the products they release meet the standards and quality of the brand.
 

The nature of the issue is not yet clear, but the theory is that it is the LTE radio or antennas that are causing the hardware issue. The LG Watch Urbane was believed to be the first ever Android Wear device that had its own cellular connection – so it doesn’t have to rely on Bluetooth or WiFi like other devices do. The round AMOLED screen, which is larger and has a higher resolution as compared to previous Urbane, is another part that may be coming up short in LG’s testing. The internals of the device are pretty much the same as the last one, so that worked just fine.
 
This is humiliating for LG. However, Google is additionally being hung out to dry on this one. The second gen Watch Urbane was an essential gadget in the Android Wear environment. It was supposed to be the launch tool for Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which isn’t available on any Android smartwatches yet. Google has discussed Urbane in a few of its videos and blog posts.
 
The device was available to be purchased from AT&T stores, but it looks like none of the online retailers got their order before it got cancelled. The Google Store temporarily had a listing for Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, but it never went on sale. Even though LG released a statement that its future in stores will be decided later, it looks like the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE is already history. People who have already bought the device can get a full refund, unless you are a collector. Here’s hoping it won’t explode on your wrist!
 

Images via LG (LG Watch Urbane only)
 

 

Nvidia’s Shield Tablet Is Back, At A Reduced Price!

During the beginning of last year, Nvidia took back the Shield Tablet based on problems regarding its lithium-ion battery. The organization has returned the tablet marked down and given it an incredible price, reducing it to $199 from $299 for capacity of 16GB. The overall performance of the tablet included the construction quality, the elements, and the general exaction is far better than the Shield 1.0, which had a pestering touch-screen issue. That seemed to have been fixed in this model.
 
Here’s what one of the users of the Nvidia tablet had to say about it:
 
shield-1 

“Even though I own the Shield Tablet, I never got around reviewing it. In the previous model, the screen did not function well. Now, it works flawlessly in-program, yet it frequently experiences difficulty grabbing multi-touches in Castle Clash, one of the Android games I am kind of obsessed with. The game did not have any problems and ran flawlessly on numerous Android smart phones and devices, but not so much on the Shield. The issue eventually resolved itself whenever I tried a multi-touch zoom-out / zoom-in a few times but came back up as soon as I reached a different area in the game. While it did not stop the play, it really was irritating, and installing the game again, factory resets, or new OTA updates did not help either.
 
The new substitution of the shield that I received doesn’t have the issue mentioned above and I am hopeful that Nvidia discreetly resolved whatever was causing the issue. It now appears that there’re no less than two subtly diverse SKUs in the market. The version I got is pretty much the same externally but it is no surprise to know if the replacement lacks a stylus carport and a case.”
 
What Can You Get In $199
 
shield-2 

Google launched its Nexus 7 back in 2013, a tablet with amazing specs and the best overall features for just $199. But since then, a balance has been found by the market, and now there are plenty of varieties to choose from: Amazon’s Fire 10 and Fire 8 are not top of the notch, but it gets the work done for some. Also, organizations like Dell, Acer, and Asus provide these varieties of Intel-based products for the same price.
 

Compared to the Cortex-A15 CPUs (quad-core) by Shield which is a bit outdated, the Kepler-derived (192-core) graphic solution by Nvidia’s is much more efficient. Quality wise, it could be compared to the Air 2 iPad which means it could be placed at the top of the tablet market. It surely offers greater speed than solutions with Intel even though it’s the same price.
 
The screen has a resolution of 1920×1200 with 294 PPI. It also carries a microSD card slot if you’re looking for more storage options. The device supports micro-USB, mini-HDMI, and 802.11n Bluetooth. Nvidia has assured to update the device to Marshmallow as right now it holds a version of Android Lollipop. If you’re buying Nvidia for $199, you won’t be provided with a controller, the aforementioned stylus, power adapter, or a USB cable. Nvidia’s GameStream will be supported by the Shield. You will need to get a controller for that, and it will let you stream PC titles on the tablet.
 
It all comes down to this: if you’re in search for the best Android gaming tablet that provides flexible streaming, GeForce Now from Nvidia is the best choice for those who enjoy gaming and are looking for an Android tablet that falls in the $200 range and offers greater performance than Intel SoC and MediaTek.
 
Keep one thing in your mind though, if you are buying shield controller, it will not work with your computer on wireless mode or if your system contains an AMD GPU. Regardless of being a usual USB peripheral, your controller will not work unless your system has GeForce Experience running on it.
 

 

Let’s Compare The PlayStation 4 And Xbox One

After about two years ever since the debut of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, they both have correctly earned their titles as consoles for the current generation. With pretty good sales for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Sony has maintained a slight lead even after a cut of $50 for those Xbox devices that came without Kinect.
 

The play by both companies has been very smart to boost their sales, with various bundles available for purchasing according to your needs. So, in case you need to purchase one for yourself, let’s compare both consoles so you can easily decide which one to get, unless you just want to brag then just go get both.
 
Before starting to compare the components of each console, you have to realize this, with regards to their hardware, they are pretty much the same, unlike their predecessors. Bearing an x86 AMD APU processor, they basically are small PCs. Their performance otherwise, can easily be compared just like you might choose to compare any two personal computers with said processor or any ARM based tablet. So let’s compare these two consoles in a little more detail.
 
1. Processor
 
cpu 

The previous versions of both these consoles that were launched in 2013 had a semi-custom AMD APU that was a 28nm part being fabricated by TSMC, with an all mighty and powerful Radeon 7000-series GPU that was paired with an amazing Jaguar CPU that had a total of eight cores. However, with these versions, they are almost identical except for their clocking speeds that check in at 1.75 GHz for the Xbox and 1.6 GHz for the PS4. The Jaguar is definitely not something to be excited about. It was previously also used for the parts of AMD’s Kabini and Temash that were specifically designed for an older generation of laptops and tablets. Considering some equivalent comparisons, Jaguar based CPUs are similar to Intel’s Bay Trail Atom. The PS4 and Xbox One have an abundance of CPU power to offer with eight cores; unlike four that were featured in the Kabini-Temash setup. However, none of them actually come even close to what a PC can offer. Due to their large core count, they excel at multi tasking and are perfect for use in media center type settings or in your living room. The Xbox One might have a faster CPU, but it hardly makes any difference in terms of performance.
 
2. Graphics
 
graphics 

As discussed earlier on, both are very similar in terms of graphics as well. The only difference is that the GPU for the PS4 is larger than that of the Xbox One. The Xbox One comes bearing a GPU much like an entry-level Bonaire GPU featured in the Radeon HD 7790, and the PS4 features a midrange Pitcairn that you may find in the HD 7870. Talking about numbers, the Xbox One features a total of 12 units of compute with 768 shader processors and 18 of those compute units with 1152 shader processors for the PS4. Theoretically, this means that the PS4 offers more power than the Xbox which serves as a huge advantage for Sony. While playing games on the PS4, there will be much more power allotted to graphics for an overall better gaming experience and amazing real world comparison. Apart from the clock counts, pretty much both the GPUs are similar with a base having the architecture of GCN. They both support OpenGL 4.3, OpenCL 1.2, and Direct3D 11.2.
 
3. The bandwidth and RAM sub systems
 
ram 

After discussing the very similar GPU and CPU, both these consoles start to show some differences now. The major difference is the RAM. According to their size, they both offer 8 GB of RAM, but the technology is different: the Xbox has 2133MHz DDR3 RAM that is more similar to the PC and the PS4 features 5500MHz GDDR5 RAM. As you might have guessed, a huge advantage resides with the PS4 in terms of bandwidth, i.e. having 176GB/s as compared to the feeble 68.3GB/s of bandwidth for the Xbox One. Favoring Microsoft, the Xbox One has about 32 MB of extremely fast embeded SRAM that allows 204GB/sec of bandwidth in total. In order to ameliorate the major difference in the system, the ESRAM needs to be used as a cache properly.
 
4. Storage
 
ssd 

Featuring a hefty hard drive that offers 500 GB of storage space, both these consoles also feature Blu-ray optical drives along with an option for a 1 TB hard drive if you wish. Keep in mind that the 1 TB hard drive for Xbox One is a hybrid featuring a spinning disk and a solid state portion, the combination of both helps in providing better speeds for accessing data. However, when put to the test, there wasn’t any huge notable change in the working speed.
 
5. Gaming
 
gta5 

Comparing hardware specs might seem fun for any diehard PlayStation fan due to the fact that it can easily beat Xbox on paper. But, then again, we all know that it all comes down to how everything comes together to feature an immersive gaming experience, in which case, specifications mean very little. The majority of this actually depends on the usage of the hardware by the developers of the game. For example, with a larger GPU, but a memory subsystem that is way simpler, PS4 offers a much more smoother game which appears more attractive to the eye. And just to solidify this fact, various games have been tested that perform better on this Sony platform than compared to its counterpart by Microsoft. Metal Gear Solid 5 and Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate are just a couple of games that come to mind. However, both consoles offer stellar graphics and it means even more if you are from the older gaming generation, in which case you can just marvel at how far technology has actually come.
 
So, even with a huge difference in terms of upscaling and resolution, there isn’t a great visual difference at all in both consoles. Owing to the similar GPU architecture, lighting, and textures (such as smoke), various games will end up looking similar to each other. It might not even be noticeable if you play from a distance of 10 feet or more, but in spite of all this, PS4 is demanded by purists for a better output of 1080p and for a higher frame rate at times.
 
6. Gaming and online services
 
netflix 

The next difference is a drastic one, and both consoles have their very own definitive style and design. PS4 has an advantage here with the support of more games. Games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are suitable and intended for both platforms. But both also have some notable games on their sides such as Dragon Quest Heroes and Bloodborne for the PS4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider and Forza Horizon 2 for the Xbox One. It seems that the PS4 does better justice to indie games which gives it another huge advantage over Xbox.
 
All in all, it’s safe to say that both consoles are great for general entertainment purposes. But for media, it’s decided that the Xbox stands as the ideal replacement for a set-top box with its superb HDMI abilities. Unfortunately, many people don’t really bother about it and the PS4 has made a huge comeback by offering streaming services. Streaming services can be had for both from $50-$60.
 
Coming down to price and having the design of a better controller, it’s hard to beat the PlayStation 4 as the favorite. The consoles do not really differ, and how the companies fare is really decided by the game and the player at the end of the day.
 

 

Moto X Pure Edition Or Nexus 6P? It’s Your Choice

Motorola has a revamped Moto X and it has quite a few changes. It has an impressive set of features and a competitive price point. Just a few weeks after the Moto X, the Nexus 6P has appeared on the market boasting similar specifications and price. So what can a dedicated Android fan do? Let’s compare these two phones and see which one comes up the winner.
 

The Design
 
1-nexus 

Both are extremely well-designed. The fact that they do not look like the same boring old black slabs that we have grown used to is refreshing for sure. Motorola has made the Moto X look quite distinctive, but is still recognizable as belonging to the company lineup. It has prominent front-speakers and a curved back, and the phone fits comfortably in the hand considering its weight. The Moto X Pure is also dust-resistant and mildly water-resistant, and carries an IP52 rating.
 
The Nexus 6P on the other hand has an aluminum uni-body design and front-facing speakers. It has a premium and solid feel to it. The width is just 7.3mm all the way through. The Moto X tapers out to about 1cm in the middle. The Nexus 6P has a neat and thin profile, but is not very comfortable to hold because of the all-metal chassis and the chamfered edges.
 
The back of the Nexus 6P has a Gorilla Glass strip on the top, a camera sensor, and some antennas. It gives the 6P a unique look, though there is some difference of opinion in this regard. The only thing that you can customize is the color – it’s available in three body colors. The Motorola design, however, is all about customization. You can customize your Moto X using a wide variety of back panels, available in wood, plastic, and leather. You can even use tinted metal accents. Simply access the Moto Maker online tool and customize all the options and get a phone that matches your unique style. Both phones are attractive no doubt, but the Moto Maker sets apart Moto X.
 
Sadly, the Moto X is missing a fingerprint sensor, even though it has a dimple on the back, which is considered its trademark design feature. It is the exact spot where the 6P has its Nexus Imprint sensor. It works very well – tap the spot and the phone wakes up and unlocks. It is more convenient and faster compared to any phone currently available on the market. This is a small thing, but something important that is missing from the Moto X.
 

Internals and Display Technology
 
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Both the Moto X and Nexus 6P have 1440p 5.7 inch displays. Those are the only specs in common. Google worked with Huawei to get the latest AMOLED tech for the latest Nexus phone. As a result, the Nexus 6P has a 2560×1440 Super AMOLED panel sourced from Samsung. Samsung usually restricts their technology deals to manufacturers. This move was a bit unusual for them, but the end result was a screen with high brightness, great viewing angles, and brilliant colors.
 
Motorola bumped up their screen sizes from 5.2 inches and also moved from AMOLED to LCD display. The screen displays crisp and clear images, and the brightness levels are stunning, mainly due to the high resolution, which is 2560×1440. However, the Nexus 6P has better brightness and sharper colors. This shortcoming is only noticeable if you make a side by side comparison. Viewed on its own, the Moto X display is pretty good and the viewing angles are great. Overall, the Nexus 6P is a little better across the board.
 
When it comes to internals, the Nexus 6P packs in more raw power. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. This is a quad-core collection of high-performing Cortex-A57 processors and there is a collection of four capable Cortex-A53 cores. These chips have been used in other devices and a troublesome tendency to get warm has been observed. This leads to heavy thermal throttling, but the Nexus 6P doesn’t seem to have this issue. It remains fast and doesn’t get too warm. Motorola managed to avoid this issue by sticking to Snapdragon 808 chips. The 808 is a hexa-core chip and has four Cortex-A53 cores and two Cortex-A57. They are powerful and seem to get the job done, although detailed information on the graphical performance front is a little sparse.
 
The Moto X has 3GB of RAM, but the factory-supplied internal storage is just 16GB. It makes up for this lack by having microSD support. The Nexus 6P has the same RAM capacity, but storage starts from 32GB and models with up to 128GB are available. The negative thing is that it has no card slot and cannot support microSD.
 
During the last few years, the standard battery used in the large smartphones is 3,000mAh. This is the one you will find in the Note 5, Moto X Pure, LG G5, and more. But the Nexus 6P has a somewhat larger 3,450mAh battery. As expected, the battery life of the Nexus 6P is better than the Moto X. Though the major reason for that is attributed to software improvements in Android 6.0, which we will discuss in detail shortly.
 

The Cameras
 
3-nexus 

This year, Google really improved their Nexus phone’s cameras. The 6P comes with a 12.3MP sensor with 1.55µm pixels and an f/2.0 aperture. It takes great shots in low-light conditions, and the laser-assisted autofocus feature allows users to take full advantage of the astoundingly shallow depth of field. Motorola also stepped up the game this year and tacked on a 21MP image sensor to the Moto X. This phone performs a lot better in low lighting than past Motorola phones, although it is still not better or equal to the Nexus 6P’s performance.
 
Photos taken in good lighting conditions by both phones show very little difference. However, the only difference is that the Moto X shows more details. When the lighting is bad, then the Nexus 6P really shines; it produces brighter images without too much noise. Yet, the Moto X is not exactly bad. Compared to the past Motorola phones, it has come a long way in camera performance in poor lighting.
 
None of these devices have OIS (optical image stabilization), which is unfortunate because it has become the expected feature from much-touted flagship phones. Stabilization compensates for any accidental movement or shaking while taking photos and reduces blurriness. The Moto X and Nexus 6P both have EIS (electronic image stabilization). This feature basically crops out a few pixels on the edges of the frame, then uses it as a buffer to cancel out slight movements that occur during video or image capture. This works fine for still images, but video is not so great. It’s a little wobbly in the Nexus 6P, but Moto X is a little better.
 

Operating Systems and a Final Word
 
4-moto 

Most of the Android OEMs looked to slimming down their custom skins in recent years, because consumers have grown conscious of how better stock Android is becoming. Motorola completely overhauled their past customizations and basically started from scratch a few years ago. The Moto X team’s work was so good that many of the features in the first Moto X have shown up in stock Android. The Nexus 6P and Moto X offer a similar experience.
 
Moto X is running Android 5.1 and a 6.0 update is currently in testing phases. The User Interface looks similar to the Nexus. The design looks pleasingly cohesive and the colors are not excessively muted or extremely garish like some of the OEM skins. The custom features from Motorola are integrated seamlessly; the user gets Moto Assist, Moto Voice, Moto Actions, and Moto Display. All these can be accessed via the Moto hub app list.
 

A Moto X feature, Moto Display, is one of the coolest on any smartphone. Instead of using an LED for notification, the screen wakes up whenever a new notification is received. An icon is displayed that can be pressed to receive more information. A simple swipe can dismiss, open or unlock the phone. This ties into the Moto Actions and allows you to wake up the Moto Display by waving over the phone. This is accomplished thanks to the array or IR sensors placed on the face of the phone.
 
Since Motorola has not added much to the software, this has allowed stock Android to catch up with it a little. The Ambient Display is somewhat similar to Moto Display and the Moto Assist features are emulated by the Do Not Disturb feature. The main selling point of the Nexus build is that it always remains updated. The Nexus 6P ships with Android version 6.0 and will remain on the latest build for the next two years at least. The security updates will be available for an additional year.
 
Android 6.0 has added some important features, such as Google Now on Tap, a doze mode that has led to an improvement in standby battery life, and also supports native fingerprint reader. Android 5.1 had a few annoying quirks that the new version has fixed. The newer version runs wonderfully on the Nexus 6P. There is not much bloatware and Google has limited the number of apps that come pre-installed on the device. The few that are pre-installed and can be easily removed.
 
Luckily, both of these phones are unlocked and will work on all major carriers, even Verizon and Sprint. The phones can be purchased online from their respective company websites. You can visit the official Google Store and the Motorola website for the Moto X Pure. Financing options for the 6P are available only if you opt for Project Fi, but the Moto X has a payment plan available with all orders. As far as the price goes, the base models, the 16GB Moto X costs $399 and the 32GB Nexus 6P is $499. Extended storage models are more expensive, but for each tier, Moto X ends up being cheaper. The 32 GB Moto X is about $50 less than the 6P’s price.
 
Both these phones have some definite strong points, but all things considered, the Nexus 6P seems to be a better buy. The Nexus updates, fingerprint sensor, and the more capable camera make the slightly higher price worth paying. The Moto X does not have much things wrong with it either though. Some of you might still prefer this one for its lower price and customizable design.
 

 

Some Easy Ways To Clean Your Gadgets

It’s better to start off a new year with a resolution that you can keep rather than something that you can’t even begin to fulfill – like working out in a gym for 4 hours/day – can be hard for any individual. Therefore, maybe what you need is some quality time to clean your gadgets instead. We are well aware that cleaning your own gadgets can be a little boring, but they certainly need proper care to last longer.
 
We have gathered a few tips that you can easily perform at your home without breaking the bank. Oh, and before proceeding ahead, make sure all of your electronic devices are powered off.
 
Compressed Air Spray
 
cleaning-1-air 

We use keyboards on a daily basis, and the complex placement of the keys makes it hard for us to clean them properly; this is why dirt particles get settled into the cracks. A compressed air can is used for cleaning the places that are unreachable. It’s one of the best cleaners for PC towers, vents, and game consoles. Don’t forget to shake it before spraying on the keyboard.
 
A Microfiber Cloth
 
cleaning-2-cloth 

Do some research before taking your phone to bed; it’s probably not the best idea because cellphones are said to be dirtier than toilets. The idea of a cellphone being this dirty isn’t that surprising, because the constant contact with hands makes it full of bacteria. This isn’t the easiest task, but you can prevent your cellphone from getting that dirty by simply wiping it with a microfiber cloth dipped in lukewarm water. Microfiber clothes are helpful in cleaning all sorts of gadgets – you can clean your TV, set-top boxes, PC, tablets, and more.
 
Pro tip: Apply the water on your cloth and not on the gadget!
 
A Toothbrush
 
cleaning-3-toothbrush 

If you’re on a low budget, then don’t bother spending money on compressed air cans to clean your tech. You may still opt for a toothbrush as it will give you a similar result. You’d be required to manually brush off the dirt, and then wipe the excess with a cloth or a paper towel.
 
Magic Eraser
 
cleaning-4-eraser 

Tools like magic erasers are not only beneficial for cleaning toilets and kitchens, but for your gadgets as well. A magic eraser can clean the lid of your laptop or your laptop palm rest in a single go. The magic erasers are rough in texture and can create scratches, so the best way to use them is to rub them slowly. Make sure your magic eraser is soaked in water, and then squeeze it out so it has no water left. Start rubbing it on your device with slow and circular motions to get the best outcome.
 
Q-Tips, Toothpicks, And Pipe Cleaners
 
cleaning-5-qtip 

Toothbrushes, air sprays, and magic erasers are for large areas, but to clean small areas like holes, you’ll have to use something like a Q-tip or a toothpick; you can even use a pipe cleaner to get the dirt out. All 3 of these tools are helpful for cleaning USB or lighting ports. Sometimes things are so dirty that it gets tough for us to clean them properly; the only thing we should do is to add some isopropyl alcohol to the tips to clean any dirt that refuses to come out.
 
A Lint Roller
 
cleaning-6-roller 

Roll a lint roller all over a dirty speaker to clean it out. Speakers make muffled sounds when they’re dirty, so it’s better to clean them with this easy tip.
 

 

Microsoft’s Project Astoria Not Progressing As Planned

At the Build Conference last year, Microsoft made an announcement to make tools available that will be able to port apps from other platforms like Android or iOS. Now it seems the project dubbed Astoria, the Android tool, is not going be available for the time being, or at all.
 
It’s now being reported from Windows Central that Astoria is being postponed for an indefinite period of time or may have been closed down for good. Microsoft hasn’t made any statement regarding this news though one source said that the porting of the Android app is not going as intended. It also seems that Android subsystem was completely removed from the Windows 10 Build 10586.
 
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Why Was Astoria Important?
 
Everyone knows that the list of mobile apps in Windows 10 is on the same level with iOS and Android. And it is rumored that big-name developers have pulled support for the striving phone platform of Microsoft. Westminster for Web apps porting, Islandwood for iOS apps, Project Astoria for Android, and Centennial for Win32 apps were all trying to widen the Mobile app support for Windows 10.
 

There are a lot of theories at the present trying to determine the reason for the suspension of Project Astoria. Some of them are that the developers of the Windows app are not being happy about Astoria existing or there were some issues with the performance when the Android subsystem was being installed in Windows 10.
 
Windows Central got a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson saying that they are dedicated to present developers with a lot of options to take their apps to the Windows Platform, plus bridges will be accessible now for iOS, Web, and soon with Win32. Even though they’re not ready with the Astoria Bridge, there are other tools available which offer excellent options to developers.
 
astoria-2 

It has been seen before that emulation of an app is not as good of a solution when it comes to inflation of the app catalog for a particular platform. Except for OS X Rosetta Power PC apps, emulation usually results in versions of reduced quality as compared to that under the original OS. Also, it gives little incentive to developers in going for better-designed apps that are more UI efficient and also build on the usability of the platform’s optimal code. This happened when Blackberry introduced a small fraction of Android support, which could not compete, thereby failing completely.
 
astoria-3 

Research conducted by IDC in February 2015 showed that about 96.3% of the world market was found coalescing around iOS and Android. The shipment of Windows phones that had improved to some extent, the market share has now fallen below 3%. Even though the customers are loyal, the deficiency of healthy apps has made it very hard for Windows OS to gain its footing back.
 
At the end of the day, we are not even sure if it matters or not. In the Build Conference, when asked the readers if they cared that Android and iOS apps can be run in Windows 10 Mobile as well, the answer received from many people was “not really.” Simply said that what makes Windows Phones unique is the fact that it has an interesting UI. Having Android apps on it will make it common, and that’s not their goal here.
 

 

Dell Laptops Have A Problem – Is It Like Superfish?

The scandal of Lenovo’s Superfish security flaw was perhaps the worst one we have seen since Sony’s rootkit fiasco a decade ago. Numerous IdeaPad products were delivered with HTTPS certificates which was self-signed and could be utilized to bluff a secure connection using HTTPS authentication which guarantees security. In simpler words, laptops that had Superfish installed in them couldn’t confirm that the sites used for banking or e-commerce were actually what they were claiming to be or just a hoax. There was no straightforward approach to uninstall the software, and clients had to go through a lot of problems to re-secure their system. It looks like Dell has something similar going on with it, and while it is still under investigation, no concrete results have been found yet.
 
Joe Nord, who is a well-known programmer, says that a self-signed certificate is being shipped out by Dell called eDellRoot, which will expire in 2039 and is intended to be used for “All” purposes. Looking further into it, we discovered that the user acquires a private key with which the certificate corresponds.
 
https 

This is a severe malfunction on the part of the company because there must be two keys, i.e. a public key, and a private key if we want cryptography to work. To encrypt the messages sent to the server, the public key is used while the private key is used to decrypt those messages by the server. The whole idea of private-key cryptography counts on the private key to remain private. Because it’s not practical to get the private key from analytic public keys as they are accessible by everyone. Private keys remain anonymous.
 

To ship a system that already has a private key installed in it implies that the key could be extracted and be used to sign deceitful sites. The computers which have an eDellRoot certificate installed in it perceive that these sites are deceitful, as the key it relies on.
 
Why was the eDellRoot key was installed at all? In the case of Lenovo, it put user security at risk because its HTTPS model came with an adware that claimed to provide “visual search,” but was not. Afterwards, Lenovo said that the money they made through Superfish was not that much, but one cannot understand the point of breaking HTTPS security to earn a small amount of money.
 
As for now, an eDellRoot certificate does not seem to be linked to any particular tool or service. The main issue is that it doesn’t seem to be connected to any client complaints or malware problems like Superfish was. And another problem associated with it is that no one seems to know how many computers have been shipped with the installed certificate. Reports have surfaced that Inspiron 5000 models are affected. These were shipped after nine months of Superfish.
 
computer 

The OEM system’s world is very competitive, having slim margins and strategic positioning of products, but seems like Dell copied the wrong feature from Lenovo. We’re not yet sure how big the problem actually is, but research has shown that systems carrying the eDellRoot certificates will set up a connection with deceitful websites.
 
When asked about this issue, Dell stated that they have a top concern for privacy and security for their customers, and they have a strict policy to minimize the number of pre-loaded apps and they tend to assess all their applications for usability and security. Furthermore, they said that they have a team to assess and investigate this situation and will provide updates as quickly as possible.
 

 

21 Hidden Tips And Tricks In Windows 10

It’s been some time since the launch of Windows 10 and since then, quite a few people have switched to it. Here we’ll discuss some interesting tips and tricks which will ensure that you get the best out of your operating system in spite of whatever you might have heard about it previously. Windows 10 is the perfect combination of both Windows 7 and 8, fast and easy to configure and work with.
 
The modification and customization of any operating system is the exciting part. Learn how to implement power tips and tricks in order to enhance your user experience and kick it up a notch.
 
1. Task View and Virtual Desktops
 
win-10-1-virtual 

Finally, after Mac and Linux, Windows now has the ability to handle multiple virtual desktops. It is convenient for allowing you to set a series of various tasks. All you need to do is to press the Windows and tab key together. A new virtual desktop can also be added through dragging +New Desktop.
 
2. Configure Privacy Settings
 
While you are setting up your Windows 10 for the very first time, it is vital that you choose the Custom setting for the installation. This will enable you to modify the settings for privacy according to your own needs. However, if you have installed it already with the Express settings, it can be changed later on manually. Windows 10 is free for users of Windows 7 and 8, but is not available free all by itself. So don’t bother sharing your private information unless it is absolutely required.
 
3. Make the Desktop More Stylish
 
With this new version of Windows, you can easily customize the look of your desktop as you wish, and apply more details than ever before. All you need to do is go to personalization through settings and choose the color for your taskbar and start menu. Another handy feature is that you can just choose it to automatically select one of your desktop background colors and apply them. You are also allowed to change the translucent appearance of the start menu.
 
4. Print to PDF
 
win-10-4-pdf 

After much annoyance on this part, users are now able to directly print or save in the PDF format without the aid of any other tools authorized by third parties. This makes it convenient and simple to share or save documents that cannot be modified with ease.
 
5. Make Sure WiFi Sense Is Off
 
Everybody is free to have their own opinion about this, but most will agree that it doesn’t seem right to have access to a WiFi network unless one allows it. You can find out more about how to detect it and make it stop here.
 
6. Schedule Windows Updates
 
Don’t be pushed by Microsoft in to downloading patches whenever they are available. Instead, select the option to be notified about it beforehand. You can do this by going to the updates and recovery section from settings and then clicking on Windows update. You can select to turn it on or off for upcoming updates, and also choose to be notified before a scheduled restart.
 
7. Run It in a Virtual Machine
 
win-10-7-virtual-machine 

If your PC works just fine, but you still wish to upgrade it to Windows 10, then you may easily do it by upgrading your system with the use of a virtual machine. This is not the same as virtual desktops. It is more like having an operating system within your operating system and it should work just fine if your device can handle it. Here is how you can achieve to run in through a virtual machine.
 
8. Windows Explorer Home Tab and Quick Access
 
A new home tab has been introduced in this latest version of Windows, making life a whole lot easier. Windows Explorer has a handy new feature: it has a button on the top left of the window that lets you conveniently access folders that were used recently. It also has the ability to copy files in the blink of an eye. This will enable you to go on about your work happily and in a flow without wasting much time navigating through files and folders. This feature is automatically set. However, if you do not like it and wish to turn it off, then just change it by going to view, then options, click the one for open file explorer and then this PC.
 
9. Customize the Start Menu
 
After the disappointment of the Windows 8.1 interface and look for the Start Menu, this comes as a much needed improvement and a relief. This again, is the combination of the best features from both Windows 7 and 8. This Start Menu can be fully customized and you can resize the tiles if you wish to by simply right clicking them and choosing from the menu that pops up. It even allows you to unpin or uninstall them altogether. Now, that is convenience and customization at its best. It also has an option for pinning the Recycle Bin to the taskbar or as a tile in the Start Menu for the release versions.
 
10. Command Prompt Tweaks
 
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Various utilities from this latest version of Windows look just like they did in the Windows 7 version of this OS. However, you are fully entitled to customize these as per your needs. All you need to do is to go to Properties in the Command Prompt and enable what you must, as you desire. Some of these options include having a background that is translucent and the ability to resize and adjust the window.
 
11. Battery Saver
 
Windows 10 is a smart operating system. It knows how to cut back on battery usage if you are on a laptop and increase battery life by halting unnecessary background apps and threads that are of no use at all. To use this feature, simply follow this route: Start menu > Settings > System > Battery Saver, and just turn it on.
 
12. Background Scrolling
 
This feature gives you the power to just point your cursor to a window behind. That may be inactive, but you will still be able to scroll if you choose. For this handy feature, turn to Mouse and Touchpad through Devices under the Settings and enjoy.
 
13. Keyboard Shortcuts
 
 

Here are some sticky keys to enhance your user experience:

  • Win-Tab for the Task View
  • Win+Right+Up will move app to top right
  • Win+Ctrl+Left or right for the virtual desktop
  • Win+Ctrl+D to access a new virtual desktop
  • Win+Ctrl+C to enable Cortana listening
  • Win+S to have a daily look at weather, news, or sports
  • Win+Ctrl+F4 for closing a virtual desktop
  • Win+Up and Down to snap apps to top, bottom, or maximize them

 
14. OneDrive Integration
 
This feature makes storing files on the cloud just a little bit easier. Not only does it allow free storage, it also lets you access any data on your PC from a remote location, regardless of you having it on OneDrive or not.
 
15. Amp Up Cortana
 
This is for laptops with microphones attached. Cortana is much like Siri in the sense that it responds to your voice requests. All you need to do is address it as “Hey Cortana” and tell it what to do. It also has the ability to use Bing or Google as you like.
 
16. Use Maps Offline
 
win-10-16-maps 

To enable your device to use Microsoft Maps when you don’t have access to the Internet, just go to settings and click the option for download or update maps after which you can pick your country.
 
17. Xbox Streaming
 
This version is very nicely integrated with Xbox. With this, it makes it easy for users to log in and access games through their Xbox login ID. It is also ideal for streaming your games on Xbox to your PC locally. To use this great feature, you must allow it your Xbox device first through settings and allow game streaming. Then just sit back and enjoy.
 
18. Record Games andApp Videos
 
This comes with a Game DVR function which lets you make recordings with ease. Just press the Windows key along with G and click for the game box and you are done.
 
19. Find the Original Control Panel
 
win-10-19-panel 

Find more sense and ease of use with the new control panel layout and conveniently navigate through a wide array of options. It is hidden, but can be easily accessed with a simple hit on the start button to find. There will also be useful things such as Computer and Disk management along with the much familiar interface of Windows 7.
 
20. Tone Down Notifications
 
In the latest version of Windows, there are a whole lot of notifications, and let’s be honest, they can be a huge pain almost all the time. But, you do have an option of only being notified for the super important ones, and you decide which ones they are. To switch those pesky notifications off, go to Start, choose Settings, then System, and hit the Notifications & actions, and simply turn it off or back on whenever you feel the need.
 
21. Nix the Office Ads
 
If you wish to not see those annoying Office ads that keep showing up on your screen, just go to Get Office through the Start Menu and go for uninstall.
 

 

Windows 10 Uninstalls Software Without Permission

With the launch of Windows 10, it’s been clearly announced that Windows will be able to upgrade and install updates by default, without the actual permission of the user or any sort of notifications. When users raised their fears and concerns, all Microsoft was able to say was to trust them. However, some updates and upgrades can still be delayed in the Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise versions of the operating system. There are also several tools available online that can restrict updates for drivers and are the exception for this new rule in general.
 
This policy does not happen to be pleasing those running Windows at all. The Media Creation Tool installer was pulled back by Microsoft after a huge array of complaints rolled in. Recently, users have started complaining that in addition to some bugs and glitches, the operating system uninstalls software installed by users without acquiring their permission.
 
win-10-1 

These complaints, however, are not universal. The users complained that after rebooting their system, some programs they installed themselves had just disappeared. It’s not yet clear if version 1511 or any upgrades were responsible for this. For instance, after booting the PC, some programs were removed as they were not compatible with the OS and other programs preferred by Microsoft were automatically installed without the user’s consent. One of the many users shared a similar problem: reinstalling fixed that bug, but only temporarily. The greater question still remains as to why Microsoft would do such a thing, that is, in being able to remove software by itself.
 
Going back around a couple months, Windows 10 had been banned by various torrent sites and pirated sites which feared that it can be easily used for spying on users, snooping around their private data, and also disabling certain applications. It was all due to a clause in the licensing agreement that stated their right to automatically check the version of software being used and automatically update it, upgrade it, make changes to the configuration, including settings that will prevent the user from enjoying free or pirated and unauthorized applications and devices.
 

This case has been misidentified without a doubt. The main issue is the disabling of applications that do not cause any problems, but users are required by legal agreements to install. The problem in question is the action of Windows 10, of how it arbitrarily decides which applications to allow to run and which to not, and takes action without the consent of the user.
 
What is useful is to warn the user that some applications are causing instability to the system, but removing and disabling those without providing any prior warnings is just not acceptable. Removing and disabling programs unknowingly is even much worse than doing them on purpose.
 
The solution Microsoft has for this issue can very well make the problem worse. The graphic cards of AMD rely on CCC for proper functioning. Users might still be able to load some videos without these programs, but they will be stopped from using some advanced and other options for a better experience. If you remove one or two of some executables that are there for multiple products of the same family for increasing system performance, you will only end up breaking the suite of the product. The uninstaller functionality can be broken if CCC and such other programs are removed, not to mention how finicky drivers for video cards already are if they are not removed carefully and with proper care. That is the major reason for the preference of people for the use of third party uninstalling programs such as DDU.
 
win-10-2 

How this feature functions in the environments of corporations is still unclear. However, it’s safe to say that huge problems will be caused throughout by the automatic removal of important applications and software. Besides this, this may lead to restricting users from utilizing these applications and software to their fullest potential. The IT department is concerned here and will be left playing guessing games as to why few of the users have constant issues and others don’t.
 
There is not much hope to Microsoft being able to actually manage this mess and making it work due to the sheer variety of applications along with different software and hardware being used. Even some PCs, those that are up to 12 years old can run Windows 10, but it’s hard to say how smoothly. However, deciding which apps are safe to run and which are not, and then carrying out what the operating system thinks is right without the user’s consent is just not going to work at all.
 
The thing of most value here is choice – to run, install, upgrade or update whichever applications they like. This could have been seen by Microsoft as an extension of a natural kind for SmartScreen, but this here is too much.
 

 

Google May Unlock Your Android Device Without Your Permission

Recently, Cyrus Vance who happens to be a Manhattan district attorney, called to the federal government through a whitepaper urging them for passing laws that would mandate Apple, Google, and other vendors for smartphones that purposely build backdoors in the programming that could allow them access to your phones. After the release of iOS 8, Apple offers automatic encryption that fully protects your Apple device. There is a vast majority, about over 60%, who are running their devices on iOS 9 and less than about 18% who are still running iOS 7. Android is a completely different case, it has about 74% devices which are still using versions that provide Google easy and free access to the device and its contents.
 
There is no denial that this issue has more concerns when talking about Android devices. There are just about 26% Android phones operating on Lollipop which offers optional encryption, but the next version of Android, namely Marshmallow, has it mandatory to include data encryption technology. This in turn means that just about 0.3% of Android users are safe from being spied or snooped upon – potentially speaking of course. The users running Lollipop have an option of turning encryption on, but it might significantly hinder device performance, depending on the model and make of your smartphone.
 
android-1-phone 

However, the main question is that will Google or will it not assist in the unlocking of the device? And that is how a topical court case might be a possibility. Recently, Apple was asked to unlock an older version of an iOS 7 running iPhone by the federal government as a part of an undergoing investigation. The argument supporting the government is that according to the Writs Act, Apple is required to provide information for any device if it comes with a legal warrant and is henceforth allowable. A clause in this law says that writs are required to aid jurisdictions that are respective and also are agreeable with principles of law and usage. This law has been amended various times since it was written in 1789 and was last edited in 1911.
 

Apple on the other hand, says that providing information places them in a dubious situation even though it is technically possible, but risks include facing legal and moral issues. Apple wonders if the employees that provided information through iOS 7 or less, would they become witnesses to the case and be held liable in any way?
 
Apple also shares that it might be possible in a few cases to share some information with the government without compromising their position. The amount of cases could become a huge burden that the company will have to bear and it would be extremely time consuming. Apple also states that it is not in any way a branch or related to the law enforcement department, and also that if it participates in such activities, it will most probably get a bad name and bring down the reputation of its devices. Besides this, Google did not file with iOS, but the same set of arguments can be applied to it just as much. However, the chances and risks with Android are much higher than Apple as there is a vast majority of devices that are running older versions of the operating system.
 
android-2-security 

Google at the moment is not as loud and keen about this matter as Apple is, but it is obviously moving in the same direction towards having devices running their operating systems being encrypted from the time they are released from the makers. Considering the fact that Google has a greater risk and exposure as compared to its opponent is just one more example of how the current model of Android can be broken. What Google desperately needs right now is a method through which it pushed critical security updates in a way that is much more convenient and makes sure that most of the devices are installed and up to date with the latest technology. As of now, there are no guarantees for Apple winning the lawsuit, but if it loses to the federal government and is forced to provide information with warrants, then a full phone encryption is the only solution to this problem.
 
All this assumption is based on the US government not passing laws which limit the usage of encryption in regards to the Paris attacks. Some members of Congress have already been noticed urging the increase in federal sight over what goes on in social media. FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, repeats that the form of encryption used to prevent authorities from knowing about the attacks was PS4, the reports are now considered discredited.
 
The NSA admits that such information collection programs are a failure in stopping attacks. Asking Google and Apple to submit keys for encryption for investigations is just a means for keeping it safe, but if the government rules, there will be a hefty cost that is yet to be discovered.