23 November 2013

Google Wallet Now Offering All Its US Users A Free Debit Card For Offline Purchases



google-wallet

Google Wallet has been around for a couple of years now, and has done not so badly, considering that their main rival is Paypal. In an effort to get more people using Wallet, Google is now offering their US users a free debit card which can be used for offline purchases at anywhere that accepts Mastercard or debit cards, as well as withdrawing cash from your Wallet account at ATMs and banks – but only inside the US. To get a card, you will obviously need to verify your identity with Google, so that they are sure they are issuing...


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Auslogics Browser Care: Windows Browser Settings For Dummies



Auslogics-Browser-Care-Browser-Settings-For-Dummies

For those who aren’t too comfortable with technology, changing the homepage or the search engine of the browser can be a difficult job, let alone fiddling around with settings like default browsers, tools, add-ons and browsing data. It’s the reason Microsoft was ordered to give users the option to change their default search from Bing to anything else they want as a part of setting up Internet Explorer. A few months ago, I had a terrible time explaining to my Luddite relative, who had just switched from an old version of Firefox to Chrome, that the Omnibox is the one-stop...


Read the full article: Auslogics Browser Care: Windows Browser Settings For Dummies



5 Rules To Finding Cheap Airline Flight Tickets



tickets-money

Sick and tired of paying a fortune for air travel? The easiest solution would be to skip the plane and take a road trip instead, but many of us don’t have the time or energy to do that. Plus, with gas prices on the rise, the road trip might end up costing more than air fare. And that’s assuming you aren’t traveling across an ocean in the first place. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can make use of in order to maximize your savings when purchasing airline tickets — in fact, you might even be able...


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22 November 2013

Mail.Ru Launches My.Com In US With myMail, myChat and myGames



mailru-my-services

Russian internet giant Mail.Ru has launched its services in the US under the My.com brand, with a suite of mobile-based app offerings—myMail for email, myChat for instant messaging and myGames for mobile gaming. In the near future, it will also launch the myCamera app. myMail is an email client for Android and iOS that combines multiple email accounts. Users can customize and enable real-time push notifications even if email providers don’t support them. myMail also uses a custom “traffic congestion technology” for faster and more secure emails. You can find out more information and download at mymail.my.com. myChat is a...


Read the full article: Mail.Ru Launches My.Com In US With myMail, myChat and myGames



Office Remote Helps You Control Microsoft Office Docs On Your PC with A Windows Phone



Presentation

Microsoft Research has just developed a nice little app that turns your Windows Phone into a remote device for controlling MS Office documents on your PC. The use of the remote app with the Windows phone as a carrier has many practical uses when working with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. With the phone in your hand, you can control the presentation by going back and forth between slides; or bring up supporting Word document; or illustrate a point on a spreadsheet. The Office Remote has been spawned from the minds of the Microsoft Research team and the Microsoft Office engineering...


Read the full article: Office Remote Helps You Control Microsoft Office Docs On Your PC with A Windows Phone



4 Ways to Speed Up Your Linux PC



speed_linux_intro

Is your Linux setup not as speedy as you’d like? Here’s how to speed it up. Many computer users who try Linux do so because they’ve been told that the operating system is a lot more customizable and uses less system resources. However, despite installing Linux on a computer and reaping from those benefits, you might still feel like your system could still use an extra boost to truly get a speed-up – even if you’re using a high-end machine. Here are four ways which you can quickly and easily speed up your system to get the best performance possible...


Read the full article: 4 Ways to Speed Up Your Linux PC



Hangouts Extension For Chrome Brings Conversations To Your Desktop



hangouts-cover

Use Hangouts outside the browser. An overlooked Chrome extension from Google lets you chat without opening Gmail or Google+. Back in May, Google announced it was launching a new messaging service: Google Hangouts. This was a way for the company to combine its redundant messaging services: the ever-popular Google Talk, the little used Google+ Messenger, popular videoconferencing service Google Hangouts and (eventually) phone enhancement service Google Voice. There are mobile apps, of course, but no platform-specific desktop version – most users doubtless think of the service as part of Gmail. But a perhaps overlooked feature is the Hangouts extension for...


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Phones On Planes, Sockpuppeting, Female Geeks, Lulu Larks [Tech News Digest]




Today in Tech News Digest, planes may soon be full of people using their cellphones, Wikipedia tries to stop sockpuppeting, Samsung is told to pay up, female geeks are on the rise, Microsoft is rumored to be interested in buying Winamp, Opera 18 is released, Microsoft turns to eBay to sell its hardware, and a potentially sexist app is talked up by the New York Times. U.S. Considers Cellphone Use On Planes The United States is considering allowing people to make and receive cellphone calls on flights. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be...


Read the full article: Phones On Planes, Sockpuppeting, Female Geeks, Lulu Larks [Tech News Digest]



How To Set Animated Wallpaper or Video As Start Screen Background In Windows 8.1 [Video]



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Animated desktop background concept was probably first introduced with Windows Vista operating system. DreamScene, one of the extras released for the Ultimate edition of Vista, let users set a video file as desktop background. Even though Microsoft dropped this excellent feature from Windows 7, there are plenty of tools out there to enable DreamScene feature […]

Chrome's Predictors Page



Chrome has a lot of fascinating features you'll probably never use. Tony Hirst spotted one: open a new tab, type chrome://predictors in the omnibox and press Enter. This page shows some cool stats about the characters you've typed in the omnibox and the URLs you've selected.



For example, if you usually type "y", Chrome autocompletes the URL to youtube.com and you press Enter, you'll find this association in the table. There are also 3 values: hit count (how often you type those characters), miss count (how often you pick a different suggestion) and confidence score = hit_count/(hit_count+miss_count). Check "Filter zero confidences" to remove entries with a 0 confidence score. Green entries have a 1 confidence score, which means that the text is always associated with the URL.






You can find all the internal Chrome pages by going to chrome://chrome-urls/. For example, chrome://view-http-cache/ shows a list of all the URLs requested by the browser, chrome://components/ shows a list of components like Pepper Flash and Portable Native Client, which can be independently updated, chrome://flags/ shows a list of experimental features you can enable, while chrome://net-internals/ is a very advanced network logging and diagnostic tool.



{ Screenshot licensed as Creative Commons Attribution by Tony Hirst. }

Pegman's Return and the Full-Screen Google Maps



I posted about Pegman's return to Google Maps two weeks ago, but I only got the update today. Sometimes it takes a few weeks until Google rolls out new features, sometimes it takes months (Gmail's pay button is an example).



While Pegman's return is a good news, the most striking thing about the latest Google Maps update is that the black bar has disappeared and the new navigation is placed on top of the map. The settings and help buttons have been moved to the bottom of the page.



Here are some screenshots from the "Welcome back, Pegman!" tour:






























{ Thanks, Emanuele Bartolomucci. }

GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor



gimp-walkthrough

Many people enjoy GIMP as one of their favorite open source tools, and with good reason: it’s among some of the most developed ones out there. We’ve covered all sorts of things about GIMP here at MakeUseOf, but we never really gave a rundown of what it can do. Is it just an over-hyped version of Paint, or can you do some serious image manipulation with it? Editing Tools GIMP has many of the tools you’d expect to have, including some slightly more advanced ones such as: color select burn dodge color alterations (hue-saturation, colorize, brightness and contrast, etc.) layers...


Read the full article: GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor



GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor



gimp-walkthrough

Many people enjoy GIMP as one of their favorite open source tools, and with good reason: it’s among some of the most developed ones out there. We’ve covered all sorts of things about GIMP here at MakeUseOf, but we never really gave a rundown of what it can do. Is it just an over-hyped version of Paint, or can you do some serious image manipulation with it? Editing Tools GIMP has many of the tools you’d expect to have, including some slightly more advanced ones such as: color select burn dodge color alterations (hue-saturation, colorize, brightness and contrast, etc.) layers...


Read the full article: GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor



Dolphin, Chrome, Firefox Browsers For Android Get Updates



chrome-dolphin-firefox

It seems that developers of internet browsers on Android have been busy as the major browsers have all released new updates. Dolphin Dolphin, the fast and elegant browser, has had the most significant update. For starters, the browser now comes with a master password, giving you one more layer of security. Dolphin 10.1.2 now features Night Mode, which can be activated from the swipe menu on the right. This darkens your whole screen for a battery-friendly and more eye-popping experience. There’s a new option to also customize Dolphin with new skins. Under the hood, Dolphin’s got a bunch of new...


Read the full article: Dolphin, Chrome, Firefox Browsers For Android Get Updates



15 Productive Things To Do Online When You Have 15 Minutes To Kill



time-clock

We cannot capture time. I think we can snatch it for…a small amount of time. It’s human nature to focus on large blocks of time, and ignore the value of the minutes and seconds that pass by unnoticed. We put a value to the time spent on a large project. We store the fortnight of a great vacation in our memories. But we don’t remember the time spent stuck in a traffic jam or that spent on catching up on gossip at the water cooler. Can we use some of those “lost” minutes and seconds and put some value in...


Read the full article: 15 Productive Things To Do Online When You Have 15 Minutes To Kill



21 November 2013

Enjoy The iOS 7 Look On Any Device!



ios-android

Have you installed iOS 7 on your Android yet? No? Well, that’s probably for the best, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get your chance to enjoy the iOS 7 look without an iPhone. iOS 7 brought many new features to the table, which you might be curious about even if you’re not an Apple user. Alternatively, you may just like the looks of it, but don’t want to give yourself over to the Apple side. No worries, we’ve got you covered. If you like dressing up your tech, you can now dress up Android, Chrome and even Windows in...


Read the full article: Enjoy The iOS 7 Look On Any Device!



Enjoy The iOS 7 Look On Any Device!



ios-android

Have you installed iOS 7 on your Android yet? No? Well, that’s probably for the best, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get your chance to enjoy the iOS 7 look without an iPhone. iOS 7 brought many new features to the table, which you might be curious about even if you’re not an Apple user. Alternatively, you may just like the looks of it, but don’t want to give yourself over to the Apple side. No worries, we’ve got you covered. If you like dressing up your tech, you can now dress up Android, Chrome and even Windows in...


Read the full article: Enjoy The iOS 7 Look On Any Device!



Microsoft Store Opens On eBay For Online Shoppers In The U.S.



microsoft-ebay

Microsoft expanded its retail footprint with the opening of an official store on eBay (U.S). Microsoft has its own online shopping portal with the Microsoft Store. The Microsoft Store on eBay is positioned as a complementary offering especially as the busy holiday shopping season draws near. Microsoft’s lineup of products like Surface and Xbox, as well as various Microsoft accessories will be available here. Microsoft would obviously benefit from another point-of-presence that could make it more convenient for eBay shopping loyalists. The screenshot (below) from the store’s homepage also advertises the benefits of the eBay experience. Customers can also avail...


Read the full article: Microsoft Store Opens On eBay For Online Shoppers In The U.S.



5 Great Gift-Buying Websites You Haven’t Heard Of Yet



online-gifts

For some of us, the stress of holiday shopping is already hitting us in full force. The gift-giving season is a wonderful, joyous time for the most part, but it can be a daunting task trying to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Add to that the inconvenience of actually making the purchases in time? More stress. So why not do all of your shopping online this year? If you’re new to shopping online, have no fear: our online shopping guide will get you started with all you need to know. But if the usual online shops aren’t...


Read the full article: 5 Great Gift-Buying Websites You Haven’t Heard Of Yet



Secure Your Browsing Activity With Private Internet Access VPN [Giveaway]



private-internet-access-feat

Are you concerned about your privacy online? Many people are and have taken to encrypting their internet traffic with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). For the uninitiated, a VPN allows you to tunnel your Internet traffic through another computer. The computer, acting as an intermediary, ensures that any data you send out cannot be identified to you based upon your IP address. More often than not, VPNs employ encryption; ensuring that nobody on your local network can intercept your traffic. VPN usage has historically been linked with the enterprise, offering companies a way for remote workers to access an internal...


Read the full article: Secure Your Browsing Activity With Private Internet Access VPN [Giveaway]



Xbox One Reviews, Winamp Loses, Google Newsstand, Scroogled Merchandise [Tech News Digest]




Today in Tech News Digest, the Xbox One is reviewed ahead of release, Winamp gets condemned to death, Instagram arrives on Windows Phone, Google releases its own Apple-inspired Newsstand, a clever scam to mine Bitcoin is uncovered, and Microsoft starts selling anti-Google merchandise as part of its ongoing Scroogled campaign. Xbox One Reviews Roundup Playstation 4 or Xbox One? #HardestLifeDecisions — Joe Ramos (@LaxusDreyahr) November 21, 2013 The battle of the next-gen consoles has now begun in earnest, with the PlayStation 4 having been released last Friday (Nov. 15) and the Xbox One being released this Friday (Nov. 22). Having...


Read the full article: Xbox One Reviews, Winamp Loses, Google Newsstand, Scroogled Merchandise [Tech News Digest]



Windows 8.1 Start Screen Customizer



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The Start screen, first introduced with Windows 8 has been enhanced with Windows 8.1 update. The Start menu replacement now supports more tile sizes, lets you uninstall multiple apps at once, and also allows you set desktop background picture as Start screen background image. By now, everyone who cares would know that Windows 8 didn’t […]

YouTube Easter Egg for Doge Meme



"Doge is a slang term for 'dog' that is primarily associated with pictures of Shiba Inus (nicknamed 'Shibe') and internal monologue captions on Tumblr. These photos may be photoshopped to change the dog's face or captioned with interior monologues in Comic Sans font," informs KnowYourMeme.



YouTube has an Easter Egg that changes the search results page for [doge meme]: colorful text, Comic Sans, much wow, so hip, help plz.









{ via Phandroid, thanks Sushubh }

How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step



junked dell desktop

I recently found a discarded desktop computer, a Dell Inspiron model, lingering by the dumpster. Anything left next to dumpsters signifies that the former owner wants you to take it. Whoever abandoned the computer wants to do someone a favor. Unfortunately, computer donators don’t really know what they’re actually giving away: Privacy, passwords, security and potentially a great deal of money. After giving the discarded computer a quick teardown, I put it through a variety of security tests and found glaring problems – problems our readership may learn from. Stealing someone’s identity doesn’t take a lot of intelligence or even...


Read the full article: How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step



How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step



junked dell desktop

I recently found a discarded desktop computer, a Dell Inspiron model, lingering by the dumpster. Anything left next to dumpsters signifies that the former owner wants you to take it. Whoever abandoned the computer wants to do someone a favor. Unfortunately, computer donators don’t really know what they’re actually giving away: Privacy, passwords, security and potentially a great deal of money. After giving the discarded computer a quick teardown, I put it through a variety of security tests and found glaring problems – problems our readership may learn from. Stealing someone’s identity doesn’t take a lot of intelligence or even...


Read the full article: How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step



YouTube's Follow Back in Google+



Emanuele Bartolomucci spotted a new YouTube feature: when you're watching a video from a channel associated with a page that follows you in Google+, you get this message: "X added you on Google+. Follow back for exclusive updates!"






I wasn't able to trigger this feature, so it's probably an experiment. It's also a sign that YouTube will integrate more with Google+.



{ Thanks, Emanuele. }

New Interface for Google+ Notifications



Google+ notifications have a new interface: there's a "previously read" section, just like in the Google+ app for Android, and there are some new transitions that mimic scrolling down.



The previously read notifications are no longer displayed below the Jingles icon, so you need to click "previously read" to see them. The notifications box is less cluttered and you can still read all your notifications.









{ Thanks, Mukil. }

What Do You Hate About YouTube’s Comments Section? [We Ask You]




Google recently made huge changes to the way the YouTube comments section works. Powered by Google+, and therefore requiring every commenter to have a Google+ account, the new YouTube comments section looks and feels different than it used to do so. There were some major bugs present at the beginning that Google has now fixed, but the changes to the ordering of comments and the need to create a G+ profile before commenting aren’t going anywhere. And, it has to be said, the spammers and trolls still seem to be leaking through, somehow. So let’s get to the bottom of...


Read the full article: What Do You Hate About YouTube’s Comments Section? [We Ask You]



Google Wallet Card



Google Wallet users in the US can now get a physical card from Google. It's free, but you need to verify your identity, which means you'll have to provide more information to Google: the last four digits of Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and more.



"The Google Wallet Card is a physical prepaid debit card that allows you to access your Wallet Balance in the real world, at ATMs, banks, and wherever MasterCard® Debit is accepted. If you're in the US, and you have already verified your identity, you can request a Wallet Card from the desktop site at wallet.google.com, or from the mobile app. Once you receive and activate it, you'll be able to pay with the Wallet Card at online and physical stores that accept MasterCard® Debit, and make cash withdrawals at ATMs or banks."






Android Police reports that "Google says the card should be delivered to interested parties in 10-12 days". It's US-only, there are no fees to order or activate the card and the issuer of the card is The Bancorp Bank, which provides private label banking services.



Google provides a use case for the debit card: "Your roommate finally paid you back for dinner through Google Wallet, and you want to use that money right away to pay for groceries this week. Now, you can use the new Google Wallet Card to spend the money instantly, either by purchasing in stores or by withdrawing cash at ATMs, without having to wait for money to transfer from your Google Wallet Balance to your bank account."



Other advantages: free notifications on your mobile phone and no monthly/annual fees to use the card (there are some fees, though).



An important limitation: "you cannot use the Google Wallet Card outside the US right now".





Be An Energy Star: 20+ Reddit Tips That Help To Slash Your Utility Bill



energy-tips-reddit

Is your utility bill killing you? Costs for gas, oil, water, and other natural resources rise steadily. In great parts of Europe, Australia, and Japan the worst price driver is electricity. Who would have thought that Reddit is a source of wisdom that can help you counter-balance these developments. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s not so surprising. Reddit is a haven for geeks, nerds, and intellectuals, interested in all sorts of niche topics, including energy efficiency and saving money. Moreover, Reddit is a community where everyone can contribute, regardless of education, status, or rank. And most importantly, contributions are evaluated...


Read the full article: Be An Energy Star: 20+ Reddit Tips That Help To Slash Your Utility Bill



20 November 2013

Surf Safety: 5 Ways To Keep YouTube Safe And Fun For Kids



kid-friendly-youtube

YouTube is dirty. Not intentionally, of course, and there are plenty of dirtier websites out there, but at the end of the day YouTube is not as clean as you might think it is. There’s much more to it than fluffy cats, homemade bloopers, and comedy sketches — like unwarranted mature content that can pop up from time to time. Fortunately, if you don’t want your kids to be exposed to such things, there are some precautions you can take to keep YouTube as clean as possible. Will these tips and tricks be foolproof? Not exactly. When it comes to...


Read the full article: Surf Safety: 5 Ways To Keep YouTube Safe And Fun For Kids



Galaxy Gear, PS4 Profit, NokSoft, Selfie Satisfaction [Tech News Digest]




Today in Tech News Digest, there is confusion over just how successful the Samsung Galaxy Gear is, the PlayStation 4 is revealed to be a profit-maker for Sony, Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone division is greenlit, Snapchat eases past Facebook, Twitter explains itself, 3D Builder for Windows 8.1 is released, and ‘Selfie’ is named word of the year. Galaxy Gear Sales Confusion Samsung claims Galaxy Gear sales have hit 800,000, but Business Korea claims the true figure is actually closer to 50,000. Samsung told Reuters, “It’s the most sold wearable watch available in the market place… and we plan to...


Read the full article: Galaxy Gear, PS4 Profit, NokSoft, Selfie Satisfaction [Tech News Digest]



How To Disable or Stop Desktop Background (Wallpaper) Syncing In Windows 8.1



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Unlike Windows 7 and previous versions of Windows operating system, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 let you sync your personal settings and preferences across your Windows 8/8.1 PCs. In order to enable the feature and sync your settings, you need to sign in with a Microsoft account, though. The problem with this handy feature is […]

Top 6 Apps To Track Your Lost Android Phone



An Android phone is a treasured technology that helps you to store all your important information, personal or business! All of the smartphones are being used in a very intelligent way, and mostly as a personal device, that stores and manages all your personal data, including the business transactions. Therefore when it comes to managing these devices, you should take extra care while protecting these to avoid loss of critical information. Android phone can be protected with the help of location finder apps, anti-theft apps, that help you to find out the location of your lost/stolen android phone. We have listed top 6 apps that can help you track your lost android phone.



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19 November 2013

3 Insanely Rare And Valuable Atari 2600 Games You Wish You Owned



atari-2600

More often than not, when gamers get nostalgic for the games of yesteryear, Nintendo consoles are the ones that come to mind. There are some ridiculously valuable games out there for NES, and on the Sega side, the Genesis/Mega Drive has its fare share of sought after games as well. If you really want to spend some big money (or make some big money if you are lucky enough to own any of them), the Atari 2600 is actually a gold mine. Sure, Stadium Events and the NES World Championships are worth some big money on NES, but Atari has...


Read the full article: 3 Insanely Rare And Valuable Atari 2600 Games You Wish You Owned



7 Stellar Visualizations That Help Us Fathom The Mysteries Of Space



space

“Cool” is a much abused word. Cool sometimes is an understatement. When it comes to appreciating the power of visualizations, the former is true, and the latter is just as apt. Visualizations have one basic purpose – they help us fathom the unfathomable. When it comes to understanding the mysteries of outer space, visualizations help to give its vastness some scale we can understand easily. Data visualization is a well-practiced art (and science) now. Informational visualization is about communication and the newer web technologies are just the right vehicle for it. When we have to talk about space and how...


Read the full article: 7 Stellar Visualizations That Help Us Fathom The Mysteries Of Space