Firefox has a Test Pilot experiment that hardcore YouTube fans will want to grab right away. The new experiment is called Min Vid, and it allows users to watch YouTube videos in a “picture-in-picture” mode. That way you can continue to browse and get work done while still watching your video.
But that doesn’t even describe the half of it. Mozilla’s experimental feature places a web-based persistent video player on your desktop that is “always on top” no matter which app or program you’re using.
You can deal with email in Outlook, or fill out data on a spreadsheet, and that YouTube video will keep on going in an unobtrusive mini-player.
There's no denying that our smartphones have made our lives so much easier, putting our contacts and schedules, our driving directions, the whole internet, right at our fingertips. But if you're using an Android phone you might be leaving even more convenience on the table.
There are a bunch of super-smart settings in Nougat and Google Now that’ll make your Android device feel like it’s 10 steps ahead of you. Your Android phone can be proactively telling you how long it’ll take to get to work in the morning, and nudging you when your favorite team is about to take the field. Your device can keep itself unlocked whenever it’s on you, and those snapshots you just took can automatically be arranged into beautiful collages. Battery running low? Android can know to dial down background activity to keep your phone alive. And if you love the idea of asking Google questions without ever touching your phone, you can train your phone to do that, too.
Microsoft Outlook 2016 has this really handy feature for adding attachments. When you click Attach File it lists the most recent documents you worked on regardless of which program you used. It can be a screenshot you recently took, a basic text file you opened in Sublime Text, or a spreadsheet in Excel.
Believe it or not, File Explorer has a few handy image tools that can make your life easier. They’re nothing exciting—we’re not talking about hidden image-editing here. Nevertheless, these tools are helpful to know about in a pinch.
All three of these tools exist under the Manage tab when you open a folder in File Explorer that contains images. The Manage tab will not appear if you’re looking at a folder with just documents or other file types.
We’ve all heard stories about how much Facebook knows about us (or thinks it does) from following our activities on the internet, cataloging our likes, and getting us to share information on the social network. ProPublica even built a Chrome extension to help you find some of this information.
But if you want to know how Facebook perceives you, you don’t need a Chrome extension. All you have to do is visit your ad preferences on Facebook. This page is accessible from a mobile device, but it’s much easier to manage on a full-screen PC.
Beth wants to organize her emails in a main category of “bills” and then put emails in that category but also in sub-categories such as electricity, internet, etc. She uses Gmail, and luckily there is a simple solution. Gmail lets you create sublabels for any label, which effectively puts the emails in those sublabels in two categories, making them easy to find. Here’s how it works.
1. First you need to create an initial label. To do this just head to your Gmail and click the Settings button (symbolized by a cog icon) in the upper right corner. In the drop-down menu select Settings. In the Settings page that appears, click the Labels link in at the top of the page. Scroll down to the Labels section and select Create a new label.
Now, we’re back with six more ways to make the most of Mail for iPhone and iPad, including a couple of nifty tricks for iOS 10. For starters, we’ll show you how to tinker with the new mail filter, as well as how to tweak iOS 10’s threaded messages view. You’ll also learn how to customize the Mailboxes screen, pick your own message-swipe options, and more.
Customize your swipe options
You don’t have to settle for Flag, Mark as Read, and Trash as your only choices when swiping inbox messages to the left or right.
I prefer to shut down my PC at the end of the day. There I said it. I know that puts me into one of two camps in the world of PC users. So be it. The trouble is that I often forget to turn off my PC after work. Since I work at home I get distracted by dinner, the kids, a visitor...whatever.
A handy way to make sure your PC shuts down at a preferred time is to automate the process with a simple program. There are many apps that can do this, but two programs in particular make the job especially easy: RTG Ninja Shutdown and Simple Shutdown Timer.
Simpler and faster is always better in Excel. We start with some of my favorite shortcuts, then move on to using Excel for everyday situations such as finding random numbers for passwords, or random numbers within a range, or discovering how much your monthly payments will be for a car or home loan.
1. Shortcut: Select the entire spreadsheet
Everyone knows that Ctrl+A selects the entire spreadsheet, document, email, etc. In Excel; however, there’s an even faster way: Click the small green arrow in the square space between the row numbers and column letters.
Microsoft is making a really weird choice with Edge extensions right now. The company is testing new additions within the Windows Insider program before releasing the extensions to mainstream Windows users. That means new extensions are slow to come to the Windows Store. Hopefully, this is only a short-term strategy for Microsoft as it figures out how make extensions work in Edge.
Nevertheless, you can still install unreleased Edge extensions, as long as you can get them to open in the Store. Recently, I installed Tampermonkey and Turn off the Lights in Edge even though they’re not officially available in the Windows Store.
There’s a bug going around that’s affecting some Windows 10 Anniversary Update users (including me), making it impossible to install update KB3194496 from September. Microsoft says it’s working on a fix that will roll out soon. Until then, I’m stuck as Windows will try and download and install the update every time I want to reboot or shut down my laptop.
Good news, privacy enthusiasts: Facebook’s one-on-one encrypted messaging feature called Secret Conversations is now live for all Android and iOS users.
Secret Conversations allows Messenger users to send end-to-end encrypted messages to their Facebook friends. There are a few caveats, however. First, it only works on a single device. Facebook says it doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to distribute encryption keys across your phone, tablet, and PCs.
There’s nothing I hate more than autoplay audio and video when I land on a site. Yes, I know, “insert irony here,” but that’s why I’m certain you’ll love today’s tip about a new Chrome extension called Silent Site Sound Blocker (currently in public beta).
Chrome and Firefox took a great first step by adding sound icons to tabs playing audio or video, and then giving us the ability to mute them. However, that still takes some effort, and really using a computer is all about automating repetitive tasks. I mean, why bother searching for that sound icon on one of numerous tabs when a Chrome extension can mute it for you? That’s exactly what Silent Site Sound Blocker does.
One of the many strengths of the Google Play Store is that you can download apps and manage purchases right from your web browser.
When you go to download an app from Google Play on the web, clicking Install will reveal all your Android devices that can run that app. Unfortunately, by default the names can be rather wonky, like “SM-G930A” or other technical descriptions.
To give your phone or tablet a more human name, head to the Play Store and go to Settings. You’ll see a list similar to this.
Jeff wanted to know whether his SSD was “okay” or whether he should back it up, or if it’s somehow different from a hard drive.
SSDs are fundamentally different from hard drives, and they can, in fact, die in one of two ways. In this column I’ll explain this difference, how SSDs can die, and how you can check yours to make sure it still has plenty of life.
The main difference between hard drives and SSDs is this: The area of a hard drive that can hold data can can be rewritten as many times as is needed, and will always be usable as long as the drive is functioning (bad sectors aside). This is not the case with SSDs: Each cell that holds data can only be written to, or programmed, a finite number of times before it is effectively dead. That’s because every time a write operation needs to be performed, any data in the cell has to be erased before it’s used. This process of writing/erasing/rewriting essentially causes wear and tear on the cells and erosion of the insulator between cells. Eventually individual cells can no longer hold a charge.
One of Android’s strengths is that you can choose a default app for specific actions. You can enable any third-party browser, SMS app, phone, or home screen launcher to be the default app always used for those actions.
The process for changing this has been nicely re-packaged with Android Nougat. To find these controls, go to Settings > Apps.
Then, touch the cog at the top of the screen. You’ll see a section labeled Default within the Configure apps area.
Personalization is at the heart of Android. You’re not stuck with the same grid of app icons that came with your phone or tablet.
Changing up your home screen launcher is a relatively simple method to customize the appearance and performance of your phone, and there are many good choices. It allows you to change how app icons look, where you can put widgets, and the functions and features of your home screen.
Change your launcher
Head to Settings > App > Configure apps > app permissions. Truthfully it’s far faster to just launch the settings and search for “home.” Also, keep in mind the location for this setting may vary based on your device.
Allan H was having issues with videos autoplaying in his browser (imagine that!), and read the previous article on this topic written by my esteemed colleague. Unfortunately, the links provided for Chrome in the article are no longer working, so I decided to update his article and address a few other browsers too.
The backstory here is that most of today’s browsers ship with the capability to natively block Adobe Flash-based videos. Unfortunately, many websites are now using HTML5 to display ads, videos, and other types of content that will play regardless of your Flash settings. Often they’ll start automatically when the page loads.
Google’s services from Gmail to Drive are packed with all kinds of surprising features. Most of us know the basics, such as sending an email, formatting a word-processing document, and editing a few cells on a spreadsheet. But sometimes even the biggest Google services fan needs a little help.
Finding a website in your browsing history is easy if you know the title of the webpage or site. But if all you remember is the general topic, things get a little harder to find. There’s a new Chrome extension called Falcon that attempts to solve this problem.
Falcon describes itself as a “full text browsing history search.” What that means is Falcon indexes the text in the body of nearly every webpage you visit. Then when you need to find something, all you have to do is search for a keyword from any part of the webpage you’re looking for. If you only remember that the page mentions Alabama that’ll be enough.
I usually start this column with “so and so needed something done to their PC,” but if I were to include the names of all the people who have written me about how unhappy they are with their Windows 10 “upgrade” the file would be so large the server that hosts this page would need a new hard drive. I’ve been inundated with unhappy Windows 10 users for the past two months, and my heart goes out to these folks. A lot of them were upgraded unsuspectingly, and Microsoft deserves a ton of scorn for its malware-like Windows 10 upgrade tactics. That said, now that you have Windows 10 on your PC and you’re not happy, here’s what you can do about it.
Most of the home-screen widgets you’ll find for Android devices are little more than glorified shortcuts to your various apps—or, if you’re lucky, they’ll offer up recent (but often useless) headlines and updates.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find some truly awesome Android widgets that’ll actually help you get stuff done. For example, you can direct-dial a contact with a single home-screen tap, or see the latest messages in a text thread, then tap to reply. You can also quickly find your way to a preset destination, scan a document, and more.
Direct-dial or text a friend or loved one
One of Android’s best features is its ability to let you pin the contact card of a specific person to your home screen, but while a single tap will open the card, you’ll need to tap a bit more to actually place a call or start a text chat.
Wi-Fi is everywhere these days. So much so that Google is playing around with a cell phone service that relies mostly on Wi-Fi. Nevertheless, there are times when Wi-Fi is just not an option. If your life is anything like mine, that will be the moment when you absolutely must get your laptop online to make adjustments to a document, or reply to a lengthy email.
Sure, you could tough it out and do this work on your phone, but that small screen can be a big hassle for major work. That's why knowing how to turn your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot for your laptop is so useful.
Microsoft’s Anniversary Update for Windows 10 wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t a few annoyances added to great features like Cortana integration and an improved Action Center. One such annoyance is Windows Defender's unceasing penchant for telling you what a great job it’s doing.
Back in September my colleague Lincoln wrote a handy column on how to import bookmarks and favorites into Microsoft’s Edge browser. Now that Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is out in the wild, things have changed for the better (which hasn’t been the case with all aspects of the Anniversary Update, unfortunately). Here are the two ways you can do it.
The latest version of Android packs the usual raft of new features, but none are as flashy as its revamped multitasking abilities, especially the new side-by-side view that lets you use two apps at once.
Nougat also adds a couple of other essential new multitasking features: the ability to quickly switch between the current app and the last one you were using, as well as a one-tap method for closing all your multitasking windows at once. Let’s give the trio a try.
How to put a pair of apps side-by-side
Until the arrival of Nougat (which will slowly make its way to Nexus handsets and other Android devices following its late-August release), multitasking on an Android phone or tablet was an almost-but-not-quite affair.
The modern world has a messaging problem: There are just too darn many apps and almost no one can get away with using just one. In many ways, we’re right back where we were in the late ’90s and early aughts before apps like Adium and Digsby consolidated AOL, Google Talk, MSN, and Yahoo into one window.
Making matters worse this time around, many of today’s chat apps aren’t third-party friendly. Even if a chat platform doesn’t like third parties, many do have web apps, and that’s where a useful new Chrome app called All-in-One Messenger comes in.
This Chrome app brings all those different messaging services into one place on your desktop with a tab for each. It’s not like the days of old where all your messaging contacts were in one list regardless of platform, but it still works. Since this is a Chrome web app it can also be pinned to your taskbar or launched from the Start menu independent of the Chrome browser.
Last week I explained how Excel uses its own, unique system of serial numbers to calculate dates and times. That piece covered nine Date & Time functions: NETWORKDAYS(), DATEVALUE(), NOW(), DAY(), MONTH(), YEAR(), HOUR(), MINUTE(), SECOND(), plus the basic SUM function for adding and subtracting start dates and end dates.
This week I’ll explain how to use seven more Date & Time functions: DATE(), DAYS(), DAYS360(), TODAY(), TIME(), TIMEVALUE(), and WEEKDAY().
Go to cell A5. From Formulas > Function, select Date & Time. In the drop-down list, select DATE.