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5 months ago

The best apps for dog owners


Apps can bring you and your dog closer than ever.

Technology is amazing. And while there is no substitute for spending quality time with your pupper, the right app can help you do more in that time — or, if you're away, find someone else to do it for you. If you've got a dog, these apps may make your life easier and your time with that fluffy friend even better.

Walk for a Dog

You're probably aware of the overcrowding issues in animal shelters and pet rescue organizations. With hundreds of animals looking for forever homes, these facilities are often run on shoestring budgets and rely on donations and fundraisers to keep their doors open. While donating might be feasible for some people, you can actually hep out these organizations by doing something as simple as walking your dog, with the Walk for a Dog app.

This app will let you choose from one of more than 6000 facilities, and each time that you open the app and take your pooch for a walk, it will donate money to the charity you've chosen. The app operate similar to Charity Miles, and donates a certain amount of money per distance walked. It's a great way to help out local shelters, and spend some time with your furry best friend in the process.

Download Walk with a Dog (free)


While you might want to spend as much time with your pet as possible, there are always things that eventually get in the way. From work to a weekend conference trip, there are times when you just can't bring that fluffy ball of love with you. While there are plenty of great kennels and doggie day care facilities across the U.S and Canada, you might be hoping to find a dog sitter that can provide a more personal experience for your pooch.

That's where DogVacay comes in. This app connects you to hundreds of pet sitters in your city that will watch your dog for a few hours, or let them stay overnight for a few days. You can have them watch your dog at your own home, or theirs, and you won't find any kennels with cramped quarters. They even offer dog walking services, or dog taxi services if your schedule makes vet visits difficult. For anyone looking to make sure their dog is well taken care of even when you're out of town, DogVacay has you covered.

Download DogVacay (free)


Integration between wearable technology and your phone isn't new, but did you know that there's a way to track your dog using something like a Fitbit? Whistle offers you wearable tech that attaches to your dog's collar, that will send you notifications if your dog wanders away from the safe zone.

Whistle requires you to pick up the Whistle GPS collar, which is available for $49.99 on their website. After you've got the collar you'll be able to get live GPS tracking of your dog, along with email and text alerts. If you enter any of your pet's medications into the app, you'll also get notifications about when to give them to your pup. For anyone with a dog who has a tendency to wander, or who you want to keep an eye on Whistle is a great way to do it.

Download Whistle (free)


Dogs are primarily pack animals, which means that they really do enjoy playing with other dogs. However finding a good playmate for your dog, or finding people nearby with dogs of their own, can be a pesky process. That's where DoggyDatez comes in.

It allows you to set an area of 200 metres and will notify you when other users of the app are around. You can also search for other users by dog breed or name. It's a great way to find new friends for both you and your dog, all without having to spend hours by yourself in the dog park.

Download DoggyDatez (free)

Pet First Aid

Everyone does their best to make sure that Man's Best Friend is properly taken care of. There's vet appointments and medications, sure, but every once in a while your dog will eat something it shouldn't. While knowing what is dangerous to a human is pretty easy to suss out, doing the same with your dog can be an issue. That's where Pet First Aid comes in.

The app comes with plenty of options to make sure that even in an emergency your pet is getting the best possible care. You can input your vet's phone number for those serious emergencies, but the other features can help you out before things get to that point. This includes checking your dog's health, the best way to deal with small issues, and even lets you program vet appointments into the app. For anyone who wants to make sure that their dog is always getting the best care, Pet First Aid has you covered.

Download Pet First Aid (free)

Your turn

For many people, their dogs are a member of the family. The apps we've found here will help to make sure your dog never gets lost, what to do in case of an emergency, find a competent dog sitter and plenty more. Each one has their own strategy on how to make your dogs life as awesome as possible. Did we miss an awesome app? Have you used any of these before? Be sure to drop us a line in the comments and tell us all about it!

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5 months ago

Nova Launcher 5.0 brings Pixel-y goodness to all, new gesture options


Happy Birthday, Nova Launcher!

Nova Launcher, one of the best third-party launchers and possibly the best thing to ever happen to Android, turned 5 years old this week. Huzzah! As with most anniversaries this one comes with gifts, in the form a big 5.0 update that rolls out many beta features to the rest of us and bring a few useful tools for those us who are just discovering (or rediscovering) this awesome launcher.

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5 months ago

OnePlus 3T software update now arriving, and no it isn't Nougat


As we all wait for Nougat, there's a quick update to Marshmallow with welcomed fixes.

The OnePlus 3T's latest software update isn't a substantial one — coming in at just 24MB — but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. The update is beginning an "incremental" roll-out starting today, and should be available to all OnePlus 3T owners shortly.

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5 months ago

Amazon Prime Video expands to over 200 countries


You'll be able to stream The Grand Tour in over 200 countries.

Amazon is expanding its Prime Video service to over 200 countries, bringing serious competition to Netflix. The latter launched globally earlier this year, rolling out to 130 countries around the world. Amazon is now following suit by making its original content — including the likes of The Grand Tour, Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, and others — available for streaming to an international audience.

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5 months ago

What is RCS and why is it important to Android?


We all want a better way to do messaging and calls on our Androids, and RCS is the best way to make it happen.

Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T have all jumped on the RCS bandwagon in one way or another. Sprint has gone all-in with Google behind them and you have probably seen people talking about RCS recently. Both are very cool things — Sprint and Google using new standards that make text messaging better than ever and people being interested and talking about it.

But like all things, it helps when you have a basic understanding of what people are talking about. There's plenty of information about RCS out there on the internet, but let's try to sort it all out in one place and talk about what RCS is and why it matters to everyone.

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5 months ago

Amazon Prime Video is now available in India with tons of regional content


Prime Video is the best streaming deal right now in India.

Amazon's streaming video service Prime Video is now available in India. The service offers a healthy mix content — including recent Bollywood movies along with Amazon's original content like Transparent, The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, and more.

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5 months ago

The best part of taking a trip is Google Photos


Keep your vacation memories backed up and properly archived with the features built into Google Photos.

Vacations. They never happen soon enough and, for some of us, they're a luxury if they happen at all. That's why it's so important to not only relish every minute of free time but to also ensure that any memories you may have captured are properly archived and stored away for the next trip down nostalgia lane.

Google Photos is particularly helpful at making this happen. I recently took off on my first vacation since the new Photos features have made headway, including shared albums, high-resolution uploads, and the ability to create and edit movies. (Yes. It's been that long since I've taken some quality time off.) I took over 300 hundred photos with my Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 Edge, and Gear 360 while traipsing around New Zealand. Here's how Google Photos did all the hard work managing those memories.

Easy backup on the go

Admittedly, I may have committed a folly by purchasing the 32GB Really Blue Pixel XL, but Google Photos had me covered on my journey through Kiwi Land. Anytime I nearly hit my gigabyte limit, I'd find a Wi-Fi spot and get to uploading and offloading. It's exceptionally easy to do with Google Photos, too.

In the hamburger menu bar, simply tap the option to free up space and remove any photos and videos that have already been backed up to the cloud. Each shot taken with the Pixel XL took up about 4MB, so I hit my limit pretty fast. But whenever I cleared off those photos that were already backed up to the cloud, I recovered about 10GB of disk space.

You can also back up photos from other apps. I backed up all of my Instagram Stories and Snapchat snaps, as well as the folder containing content downloaded from the Gear 360. You can set up automatic downloads on any other mobile devices you might have in tow, too, so that everything is stored and ready to archive once you get home.

One note of caution, however: If you're concerned about redundant backups — for instance, you use Dropbox's camera upload feature for posterity — make sure that those photos are backed up before you free up disk space. I forgot to check and, as a result, a majority of my vacation photos were only backed up to Google Photos. That should suffice, but I like to have doubles in case disaster should strike. (Of course, you can download the photos again once they're uploaded, but unless you have a Pixel they may not have been sent to the cloud at their full resolution.)

Fully-functional photo albums

I love to snap every dynamic moment of my time away, but I hate the dread that settles in when I'm back and I realize that I have to individually tag and upload every single photo before I can share it. Thankfully, Google Photos did all that for me before I even got home.

Google compiled every relevant photo and video I had shot in New Zealand into its own, ready-to-share library. The album includes location stamps for each batch of photos, like the restaurants we ate at, the hikes we took, and the scenery we drove by. It started documenting those locales from the minute I touched down in Auckland and ended the day I flew back home to San Francisco. It even accounts for photos that I uploaded with other devices and paired those with relevant locales.

One thing to note, however: If you don't back up your photos during your vacation time, they won't be archived in this manner after the fact. I only backed up half of what I shot with the S7 Edge. Everything else had to be manually added to the album folder after Google had populated it with what was available. It's not a major deal, but it's something you'll want to keep in mind if you'd like to take advantage of Google's automated features.

A helpful Assistant

Who doesn't love a good home movie? The Photos Assistant offered up several videos of my trip based on the metadata of each file. I would have never thought to put together some of the clips that Photos compiled, but for the most part, it was right on the money.

Even better: You can add a bit of your own flair to the presentation by editing the video on your smartphone. In the Photos app, you can change the background music, tack on a filter, and edit the order of content. You can even add on any images and videos that Google may have missed. When you're finished, you can give the video a title and export it to YouTube for all to see. Just make sure that if you're not using the clips from the included music library that you're not uploading anything that's copyrighted — especially if you plan to show off your video publicly.

Google Photos can compile quick collages, too. If you'd rather not deal with choosing your own snapshots for an Instagram-friendly mock-up, Google will take a batch of photos you've shot in rapid succession and compile them for you. Of all the simple things that Google's Photos Assistant can do, this one is my absolute favorite. It's especially fun to include any outtakes.

How do you use Google Photos?

Have you used Google Photos on a trip? Did you like what it offered? Tell us!

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5 months ago

My Disney Experience is a whole new experience in new update


There is one thing you absolutely, positively must have at Walt Disney World.

It's not a Dole Whip. It's not a ride. It's not those trademark Mickey Mouse ears. It's an app. Walt Disney World has tied everything about your vacation to one lovely app: park tickets, dinner reservations, PhotoPass, hotel reservations and much of the resort's maps and information. If you're coming to the Most Magical Place on Earth, My Disney Experience is your lifeline.

And it's a whole new app in its newest update.

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5 months ago

Google's Trusted Contacts is a simple way for families to have some peace of mind


Getting your child their first phone is maybe as exciting for the parent as it is the kid. It's also scary as hell, yeah, but part of the idea of putting a computer in their pocket is so that you can keep in touch with them as they start branching out into the world — especially if things go wrong. (And they will at some point, right?)

Now emergency contact apps are nothing new. Various manufacturers have had them baked into their phones for some time now. (See Motorola Alert for one, and Samsung's SOS service for another. Google — which makes this little operating system called Android — has oddly been missing from that equation. Until now, with the release of Trusted Contacts.

Here's how it works.

Fire up the Trusted Contacts app and you'll get a short walkthrough of what to expect. And the app is easy enough to use that you probably won't need too much more instruction than that. First you'll select some contacts you want to use as your "Trusted Contacts." Add them, and they'll be sent an email that lets them know you think so much of them you want to put your wellbeing in their hands. (Presumably you've already done this anyway, but whatever.) They have to approve your request before anyone gets notified of anything.

Once that's done they'll show up in your list of Trusted Contacts. (Do note that at launch Trusted Contacts only works on Android, though iOS support is coming. But that won't keep you from adding someone who uses an iPhone — and they'll still receive notifications by email.) You can pin your contacts so that they're always present in your notification area, if you really want to keep track of things.

From there you have two basic options — share your location with your contacts, or request (nay, demand!) the location of your contacts.

Sharing your location

You've got a couple options for sharing your location with your contacts. You can do in the normal, non-emergency way, which allows you to select who will get to see where you are. Or you can send out an emergency blast (after a 10-second "are you sure?!?!" period) to every single person in your Trusted Contacts. They'll be notified on their phone, as well as by email. Simple enough.

Requesting a location

You also can ask your contacts to share their location with you. Basically as a "Where are you, are you OK?" sort of thing. They'll get a big, bright pop-up stating that you want to know where they are. If they approve, they'll be sharing their location for 24 hours, or until they manually stop sharing. If they don't respond back within 5 minutes their phone will automatically share its location for the next 24 hours.

There are limitations here, of course. It's possible for your phone to be somewhere other than where you are. Phone batteries die. This isn't the be-all, end-all of keeping folks safe, for sure. And it's really meant as more of a safety thing than a snooping thing. It doesn't hide the fact that someone can see where you are at all.

And you also have to have installed the Trusted Contacts app in the first place. For my money I'd love to see it baked in to Google's default suite of apps, unless it's going to conflict with a manufacturer's version. Because this is a basic safety service that really should be employed by anyone with a phone.

Need more Modern Dad? Hit us up on the your social network of choice!

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5 months ago

Best delivery apps for Android


What's the best way to track a package on Android? Check out these package tracking apps!

The holidays are upon us and I don't know about you, but to hell with the mall. Give me a mouse and an Amazon account and I'll get the job done in 20 minutes with free shipping.

If you're shopping online from a bunch of different sites, it can be difficult to keep track of every purchase. Download a killer parcel tracking app and get your ducks in a row before a fat guy comes down your chimney.


Deliveries is likely one of the first names you'll hear when you want to find a great package tracking app. It supports over 40 shippers and couriers, as well as postal services in 21 countries.

You can sync your packages across your devices, and in most cases track packages using Google Maps, so you can see exactly where your stuff is at all times. You can even get notifications when shipping statuses are updated.

Download: Deliveries (Free, IAPs)


ParcelTrack is another wonderful tracking services that brings all of your incumbent deliveries into one place where you can monitor each one's status on the go.

You'll be provided with push notifications for shipping updates, and the very handy ParcelTrack Inbox simply extracts tracking numbers from the shipping emails you send its way, so you never need to tediously enter long tracking numbers.

Download: ParcelTrack (Free, IAPs)


AfterShip is a completely free service that helps you track your shipments with over 360 couriers and does it all ad-free.

The developer recently added a data sync feature so you can keep track of your parcels across your devices, and when you copy and paste in tracking numbers, AfterShip automatically detects the courier to save you the hassle.

Download: AfterShip (Free)


17TRACK is a great app to use if you like to often order from China or countries where shipping to North America is sometimes dicey at best. It supports over 170 postal carriers, as well as many, many of the world's largest couriers, like DHL, UPS, FedEx, and a ton more.

You get a custom widget for your home screen, alerts for status changes, syncing across devices, and you can add multiple tracking numbers at once, while the app auto-detects carriers and tracks your packages accordingly.

Download: 17TRACK (Free)

TrackChecker Mobile

TrackChecker Mobile might just be the most versatile package tracking app around and is great if you like to order parcels from those hard-to-reach places. It tracks packages being carried by over 550 couriers and postal services in 200 countries.

Customization is a big part of TrackChecker Mobiule's charm; you can choose how frequently you want to receive notifications, and you can even export and imports tracking information to and from your PC.

Download: TrackChecker Mobile (Free, IAPs)

Package Tracker Pro

Package Tracker Pro has been around for a long time, so it's no wonder that it's everyone's favorite paid tracking app. It offers you features by the boatload, in the form of customization options, sorting options, the ability to archive tracking numbers, route maps, and a whole lot more.

The other great benefit of buying Package Tracker Pro is the support you get from the developer. You can email or contact Minstech Software via its website with any questions or suggestions you might have.

Download: Package Tracker Pro ($1.99)

How do you keep track?

Do you use an awesome package tracking app not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 months ago

YouTube starts highlighting local content in India


Get ready to see more content in regional languages on YouTube.

In a bid to localise further, YouTube will start showing more local content to users in India. The service will automatically determine your preferred language based on your watch history, user interface language, and location. Once it does so, it will start highlighting recommendations in that language on your home page as well as the trending page.

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5 months ago

Touch Circle is an awesome twist on the boring live wallpaper


Live wallpapers have languished in recent years.

It's a shame, too, because there is so much potential for beautiful and useful wallpapers rather than a boring static image. Google's Wallpapers app utilizes a live wallpaper… but only to change out static images every day. Well, there are some developers who are looking to bring back the live wallpaper, and if they all start off as well as Touch Circle, this themer hopes to be swimming in them by summer.

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5 months ago

Chrome for Android now lets you download videos and web pages for offline viewing


You can now take entire web pages offline.

Google has announced that it is rolling out an update to Chrome for Android (55.0.2883.84) that gives you the ability to download videos, music, and entire web pages for offline viewing. You'll also be able to view and share your downloads without leaving Chrome.

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5 months ago

Google Duo updated with better camera rotation, major video quality improvements


Duo now works better on slow connections.

Google's video-calling app Duo has been updated to version 5.0, bringing seamless camera rotation and "major video quality improvements." Duo technical lead Justin Uberti tweeted that the app will now work better over slower connections, a common problem in emerging markets.

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5 months ago

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes gets Android-exclusive content ahead of Rogue One premiere


This is the Android content you're looking for...

Another year, another Star Wars movie for fans to get hyped over. In celebration of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiering at theatres across North America country on December 16, Android gamers can enjoy exclusive content in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, the massively popular collectable card game RPG set in the Star Wars universe.

Starting today, and exclusive to Android, you can grab the new Rogue One Heroes Pack for free. The pack includes K-2SO, the new Droid that will be featured in the Rogue One movie. Once unlocked, you're able to keep him forever and upgrade him to seven stars. Expect more Rogue One-based content included in the Heroes Pack.

This Rogue One content is only available for a limited time, so don't be a scruffy nerfherder — log in and grab your exclusive Heroes Pack before December 16 so you don't miss out.

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