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.
Google Play’s new Family Library makes it pretty easy to share all the apps, games, and other content you’ve bought with other family members.
But sometimes there might be an app that you would rather not be available to everyone in the group. Or, you may find some apps aren’t opted in automatically. Here's how to remedy those situations.
In the Play Store, you’ll notice that apps that are eligible for family purchase have a toggle on their description page. If there’s an app in your family library that you don’t want there, then just flip the switch.
If you ask me, the new official Reddit app for Android phones and iPhones makes for a better Reddit browsing experience than the full Reddit website, particularly once you know what you’re doing.
For starters, you can “pin” your favorite subreddits to the top of your list, as well as quickly jump from one “parent” comment to the next. There’s also a night mode for late-night Reddit reading, as well as a way to toggle between jumbo and compact media previews. Last but not least, there’s a shortcut for viewing a subreddit’s sidebar.
Note: For now, the Android version of Reddit seems to be lagging behind its iOS counterpart in terms of features; hopefully, Reddit for Android will catch up sooner rather than later.
Travis wanted Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant for Windows 10, out of his PC once and for all. He’s probably not alone, so I figured I’d detail exactly how to perform a Cortana-ectomy.
This procedure was done on the latest build of Windows 10, which is 1607 (the Anniversary Update). Once complete you’ll have a regular search bar like in previous versions of Windows. Big kudos to this forum, where I unearthed these tips.
Sometimes it’s stunning how handy Google makes it to use its software—it really, really is. If you have a smartphone you can now remotely install Google Chrome extensions to your desktop PC. This is similar to the way you can remotely install Android apps to your phone from your PC (just in reverse).
Even better, this method works on any smartphone. I tested it on an Android phone, a Windows 10 Mobile phone, and an iPhone. In each case, it worked exactly the same way.
Let’s say you receive a link to an extension in the Chrome Web Store on your phone by reading a news article or blog post, an email, instant message, Facebook...whatever.
If you need to calculate dates in your spreadsheets, Excel uses its own unique system, which it calls Serial Numbers. Every date (month, day, year) and time (hour, minute, and second) has an equivalent Serial Number dating back to January 1, 1900 at 00:00:00 (hours, minutes, seconds). Not to be confused with Julian dates, which mainframes and many programming languages use, Excel serial numbers are unique to Microsoft products.
Open Excel and enter the numbers 1 through 5 in cells A3 through A7. Highlight the range, then from the Home tab’s Number group, select Short Date from the drop-down list. Notice that your numbers 1 through 5 have changed to the following dates: 1/1/1900 through 1/5/1900.
Yes, I get the reason for safeguarding our accounts—especially our precious Google accounts—with lengthy “strong” passwords that are safe from all but the most determined of hackers.
Still, I resent the five or six extra taps it takes to open my password manager whenever I’m prompted to unlock my Google account yet again. Can’t there be an easier way of proving that I am, in fact, me?
Turns out there is. A relatively new Google feature lets you ditch your Google password (well, for the most part, anyway) and sign in to your account with a few taps on your Android phone or iPhone. Here’s how it works and how to set it up.
A nasty new form of ransomware is wreaking havoc on computers. Hackers that encrypt your files and demand money from you in the form of bitcoin is bad enough, but a few versions also overwrite your Windows PC’s master boot record (MBR).
The master boot record is a key part of your PC’s startup system. It contains information about the computer’s disk partitions and helps load the operating system. Without a properly functioning MBR, your PC simply won’t work.
Ransomware that overwrites the MBR isn’t all that new, with examples of it dating back to at least 2012. More recently, the Petya variant of ransomware has been causing MBR problems. Then in August, a pesky bit of malware popped up on FossHub that overwrote the MBR, which caused headaches for affected users. And the master boot record can sometimes be damaged via less hostile actions, as well.
There’s a new feature expected to roll out with Firefox 49 later this month that will take help ease ink costs for anyone who likes to print out webpages. The browser is getting a new way to simplify page printing. Currently, if you want to simplify printing you have to first use Firefox’s reading view and then print. The new method removes that first step.
If you're using the current version of Firefox beta, which is a test build of Firefox 49, you can already enable the feature. First, type about:config in your browser’s address bar.
One of the most prominent tweaks that will make a big difference in how you use Android involves multitasking. It’s smarter, better designed, and should move you more quickly from one app to another.
Of course that means there are a few things to learn. With a couple of tweaks to your muscle memory, however, you’ll be able to zip ever more quickly from one thing to the next.
The most helpful feature you’ll come across is the ability to quickly switch from one app to another. To do this, double tap on the overview (multitasking) button. You’ll then immediately jump from your current app to the last one you were using.
A new feature called Doze debuted in Marshmallow, with a promise of putting to rest all of those pesky battery drain issues that have long plagued Android.
Doze fixed many problems, but clearly there was still some work to be done. Behind the scenes Doze is more aggressive about preserving your battery life by putting your phone in a low-power state even when you’re on the move instead of solely when it’s sitting on your desk. It’ll take some time and testing to confirm how well this pans out. If you want to learn more about which apps are getting the treatment, here’s what you need to do.
When Microsoft created Windows 10 it borrowed a few features from the world of smartphones. One of the more obvious ones is Battery Saver. Just as your phone has a low-battery mode, the battery life on Windows 10 laptops and tablets can be extended by turning off things like automatic email and calendar sync, live tile updates, and background processes for some apps. Battery Saver also lowers your display’s screen brightness, though you can undo that setting.
With Battery Saver enabled, you can keep checking Facebook, writing email, or finishing your dissertation for a few more minutes before your PC has to shut down.
When your phone gets a major update like Android Nougat, you may not think of the Settings as the first thing to run off and check.
But don’t underestimate the value in some of the changes to this essential control panel. Android’s Settings menu has undergone a few tweaks that make it much easier to navigate and find what you need.
Launching the settings is a similar process to Marshmallow. Swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen and touch the gear icon at the top right. Alternatively, you can swipe once and then touch the arrow, then the gear.
Majid was unable to copy a movie from his PC to his newly acquired 32GB USB key, and wondered why. He sent me a screenshot that clearly indicated the problem, as it read “The file is too large for the destination file system.” I replicated the issue quite easily by trying to move a 10GB file to a Fat32 disk, as Fat32 can’t handle any file larger than 4GB.
The notification system is one of the strongest points of Android. You have a lot of control, and you’re getting even more with Android 7.0. Google has also done some cleanup to make all of those alerts look more refined and add in some color in the right places to make it easier to quickly see the most important information.
The same, but different
In general, notifications work much the same as they do in Marshmallow. They’ll pop up on the top of the screen when they arrive, and can be pushed away with a swipe.
From the lock screen, you’ll notice the subtle aesthetic differences, but just as before you can swipe the away or tug down slightly to launch the Quick Reply. To type, you’ll need to unlock the device with the fingerprint reader, PIN, passcode, or pattern.
Barry asked how to remove the login from his new Windows 10 laptop.
Recently Answer Line discussed getting rid of the Windows 10 password by tinkering with Windows’ power settings. Those tips to remove the password prompts certainly work as long as you’re not on a laptop, but I’m going to show you how to remove the password entirely so you’ll never need to enter it.
Of course, this unsafe maneuver comes with all the typical disclaimers such as this isn’t secure and it will allow anyone to access your PC, so you’ve been warned. This is just for people whose PCs live at home, in an environment with little to zero strangers passing by, and no need for it to be under lock and key all the time. Also these instructions were carried out on my personal system, which runs Windows 10 Home.
The camera is probably one of the apps you use the most on your smartphone. Google Camera, built primarily for Nexus devices, has been getting a regular boost in new features to make it more powerful.
Even better, Google Camera is unbundled from the OS itself, so updates come from the Play Store. There are some general guidelines with how the app works and what features it offers that are worth getting to know.
Inside the camera
You don’t even need to touch the camera icon to launch the app. A quick launch action is enabled by default, which allows you to fire up the camera by double pressing the power button.
At long last, Android has native support for split-screen mode.
It’s a feature that’s long long been enjoyed by those who use high-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Google’s implementation in Nougat stands on Samsung’s shoulders, offering an easy-to-use and flexible mode for doing two things at once.
Our examples come from a Nexus device, so you’ll just need to pay attention if your navigation buttons are on your device’s bezel.
To launch split-screen mode, you need to have one app open. Then, touch and hold the Intents button. You may know it as the “recent apps” button. Notice that it changes to a different icon to indicate you’re in split screen mode.
Quick actions are a new and very helpful addition that Microsoft added to the operating system in Windows 10. This feature lets you quickly adjust various options such as airplane mode, location settings, screen brightness, and battery saver.
Quick-actions tiles sit inside the Action Center at the very bottom of the panel, and at first glance their arrangement may not seem that customizable. But it is, and Microsoft made that customization even easier with the Anniversary Update.
Quick actions’ display modes
There are two ways to display quick actions in the Action Center. You can either view all of them in a block or click Collapse just above the grid so that only the top four are showing.