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How to Encrypt a Windows 8 PC Drive
March 12, 2014
Real-life events -- the disclosures from website WikiLeaks; Edward Snowden's leaks of classified government documents to media outlets; credit card hijacks by the server load; and even Facebook's stumbles over its privacy policy explanation to the masses -- have created a general sense of unease when it comes to privacy these days, even at the consumer level.
How to Slim Down a Bloated Android Device
January 22, 2014
It's a good idea to prune an Android device periodically, for a few reasons. A mishmash of apps, some aging, have all kinds of on-device routines running that can negatively affect performance. Worse, some are continually accessing the Internet and eating into your data cap -- unlimited wireless Internet on mobile devices is practically nonexistent these days.
How to Speed Up a Sluggish Android Smartphone
January 09, 2014
One of the disadvantages of retaining a phone after the expiration of a two-year contract -- as many of us do -- is that those older phones have accumulated a few years' worth of digital gunk. They're clogged up like an aging sewer on the wrong side of town. Just like on a PC, bits of app and OS code become discombobulated -- orphaned from the parent program.
How an Aging Sprint Device Can Reduce Your Android Phone Bill
January 08, 2014
In case you hadn't noticed while wandering the aisles of your local consumer electronics big-box retailer, there is an explosion of mobile virtual network operators hitting the marketplace. MVNOs are telcos that buy capacity from major operators like T-Mobile or AT&T, for example, and sell it on to you. Walmart and América Móvil's Straight Talk calling product is an example.
How to Keep Your Devices Juiced Up on the Road
December 19, 2013
You can almost date a hotel room's last remodel by the number and location of jacks. In the old days, you'd be lucky to find a usable power outlet -- one that wasn't taken up with lamps or TV. Plug-in phone jacks were nonexistent. We then went to bedside phone jacks and later to desktop phone jacks and on to Ethernet jacks for supposed broadband; eventually, we went over to WiFi, with no jacks.
How to Set Up Email on a New Android Phone
December 18, 2013
Setting up a brand-new phone can involve numerous aggravations, but if you don't rely on one of the majors like Yahoo and Gmail for email, one of the worst is surely the manual email server configuration. If you use a customized domain name, your Android device's email client is likely to need this extra step. This could become an even more prevalent problem with the January U.S. launch of the Moto G smartphone.
How to Use Twitter's New Crisis Alerts
December 12, 2013
Local government emergency managers have been trying for years to figure out ways to alert members of the public about crises and incidents, like natural disasters, that could affect them. Limited success has been achieved with auto-dialer implementation, which is dependent on phone lines' capacity. Twitter thinks it may have the best answer, though.
How to Encrypt Your Email
December 05, 2013
Some years ago, an antinuclear activist named Phil Zimmermann created a data encryption program for computers. He designed a key-generation and encryption-and-decryption system called "PGP," or Pretty Good Privacy, for the bulletin board systems that were the precursors to forums, email and the Web. This algorithmic scrambling of information has played an important part in the growth of the Internet.
How to Manage Your Android Device From Your PC
December 04, 2013
Despite the ever-increasing sizes of mobile-device screens -- many smartphones are now close to or even more than 5 inches -- it's still a pokey and fiddly affair to configure them -- or even look at them, for that matter. Stabbing around those minuscule on-screen keyboards can be a tedious affair. However, there are PC-based solutions out there.
Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
How to Make Windows 8 Look Like Win 7 on Your PC
November 21, 2013
Windows 8's blah reception from many computer users may have been due at least in part to a peculiar trait that we humans have, and that's our obsession with improvement. Improving our lot has been a fixation throughout virtually all of human history, so it shouldn't come as any great surprise that Microsoft couldn't help itself when it became time to update its OS.
How to Protect Your Android Device from Malware
November 20, 2013
If you're in the majority of Android users, your smartphone or tablet isn't protected from malware attacks. In fact, Jupiter Research reckons that a full 80 percent of smartphones are unprotected. Why is that a problem? The answer is that even if your smartphone hasn't been affected so far, it likely will be, and that's because of the vast sums of money motivating criminals.
How to Refresh a Twitter Feed Automatically
November 14, 2013
One of the great things about Twitter is the ability to keep abreast of what's happening. Whether it's local news, influential tweeters or buddies, you can quickly get a snapshot of what's going on that matters to you. I've written before about how to get breaking news on Twitter, but the approach I discussed there requires the user's intervention.
How to Use Social Media Dashboards
November 07, 2013
Social media are becoming an ever-increasing part of marketing. If you've been finding one-user, consumer-oriented clients for Twitter and Facebook cumbersome for your business, it may well be time to move over to a social media management tool like Hootsuite. These kinds of tools allow you to manage more than one social network; schedule posts like messages and tweets; and more.
How to Back Up Data on Your Android Smartphone
November 06, 2013
We all back up our PCs, right? Okay, well, we should back up our PCs, right? Well, smartphones and tablets have become so ubiquitous that we need to back them up now too. It's time. Important photos, videos, contacts and music are now strewn across small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-break, highly pilferable devices. Fail to back up this stuff at your peril.
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
October 31, 2013
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and local governments can all provide copious documentation on ways to prepare for weather and other disasters, but it's often geared towards perishable food and single-family homeowners in the 'burbs -- not information-hungry urban dwellers. Typically omitted are some very simple tricks that you can put into play now.
How to Get Online Away From Home or Work
October 25, 2013
Ever since the days of the fax machine and clamshell PC, I've delighted in the concept of working away from home or office. I have fond memories of lugging those clunkers in and out of motel rooms through bone-chilling blizzards and driving rain from the back of my car -- adding to the carry-load, certainly, but bringing freedom.
How to Tease the Best Photos Out of Your Android Phone
October 23, 2013
Recently I wrote about some of the best ways to take, keep and share photographs with an Android smartphone. We looked at some physical aspects, like how to hold the phone, and how to zoom. This week, we're looking at some of the tweaks you can make to squeeze out the best shots. First, build an arsenal of apps. For an investment of a few dollars, you can up your game.
How to Get Rid of Bloatware on Your Phone or PC
October 16, 2013
You know all those free programs that typically come on PCs and mobile devices whether you want them or not? Common examples include paid antivirus programs within the PC environment and phone company add-ons like music stores within Android. Often called "bloatware," they are usually manufacturer- or carrier-sanctioned stripped down come-ons designed to get you to buy a subscription or upgrade.
How to Dye the Back Cover of Your Phone or Tablet
October 10, 2013
Early upgrade plans are tips of the hat to phone-as-fashion-statement. Who wants a graying two-year-old phone? Such plans do come at a cost, however. What if you don't actually need a new phone and the innards and battery are still good? If you're not a hard-core phone geek, aren't they all just about the same?
How to Take, Keep and Share Great Android Smartphone Photos
October 09, 2013
It's not all photo apps and more apps when it comes to taking photographs with an Android smartphone -- there are some basics that you need to know, unique to smartphones, that have nothing to do with imaging apps. If you're finding that you're migrating from a dedicated digital camera and taking more photographs with your phone but are disappointed with the results, here are some pointers.
How to Avoid Excessive Phone Charges When Traveling in Europe
October 03, 2013
If you've been stung by roaming charges in the past when using a U.S. cellphone abroad and you've recently heard about new, supposedly fair roaming caps in Europe, beware: It's not what it seems. As of July 2013, European-carrier SIM card roaming rates are capped in Europe at 0.45 euros, or about $0.60, per megabyte for data and 0.24 euros, or about $0.32, for one minute of voice.

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