Headlines

1 year ago

Ask AC: Do I have to have a Wifi-enabled TV to use Chromecast?

22

Nope. Just an HDMI port and a nearby power plug.

Have a Chromecast question? Ask it in our forums!

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

Ask the AC staff: How do we use the cloud?

33

The Cloud is like a comfortable chair — it gets better the more you use it

The Cloud (with the capital C intended) means different things to different people. When we talk about it around these parts, we generally mean the servers and application machines that companies like Google or Amazon have on the Internet, and the services attached to them that we all use every day.

We're big proponents of the Cloud here, and a big reason for it is that we're Android users. Google is, above all other things, a cloud platform and services company. Search, Gmail, Google Drive and their application platform is the driving force behind all their products even if it's not the major source of their income. They have to provide services worth using, so we will use them and see their advertisements. Android ties into these services and Google's Cloud Platform in a big way, and by making their services available to folks on other platforms, Google is covering as many bases as they can. 

But Google, and all Cloud service companies, need users in numbers to be successful. Their offerings need to be compelling enough to get us to give up our information to use them and make them better, and as always a good look at the services and features the people around you use every day is always enlightening. We've each taken a turn to explain how we use the Cloud — using Google's Drive document editor, a collaborative cloud service itself — and we invite you to use the comments to share how you use it as well. Hit the break and have a read.

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

The Chromecast is for sharing and isn't secure by design

49

Aslowe writes in the Android Central forums,

Is anyone aware if there are any plans to add security to this? Either by Google or maybe a developer working something? I am using some of these for information monitor purposes at a restaurant I do IT work for. One of the employees "accidentally" started broadcasting YouTube videos to the TV overriding the computer feed. Even something as simple as requiring a pin before transmitting would be perfect.

My only other idea would be to put the Chromecast and computer on a different subnet to reduce the likelihood of accidental broadcast.

Anyone, let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Of course we can't be sure of Google's plans (nobody ever is), but we think the Chromecast was designed for this sort of behavior. Anyone on the same network has access to cast right to the TV using it, and in Google's eyes this makes it social and fun. Because of this, it's inherently insecure.

Now, in all fairness, the Chromecast is posed as a pure consumer entertainment device. We're not surprised that Google has not built-in checks to lock it down. That doesn't mean third party developers won't find a way to make that happen (have you seen what those guys can do?), but for now I think we had better get used to the idea that anyone you put on the same network as the Chromecast is going to be able to send stuff to the television.

The only suggestion we could have would be to secure the network it's on, and be very prudent about who and why you give out the credentials. Or just don't put a Chromecast in a space where it could become an issue.

Discuss this, and all things Chromecast in the Chromecast forums!

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

How to change the keyboard click volume on the Nexus 7 (2013)

24

Loud Nexus 7 on-screen keyboard clicking grinding your gears? You're just one setting change away from a quieter typing experience.

One of the areas in which the new Nexus 7 improves upon the original is its audio -- the new model is equipped with loud, rear-facing stereo speakers. Compared to the first Nexus 7, they're capable of generating a great deal of volume -- and that's great when you're watching a movie or listening to music, but less so when you're typing.

The Nexus 7 also lacks a vibration motor, so the built-in Google Keyboard defaults to audio feedback when you press a key. And when you combine this with those two loud speakers, it can make for a rather noisy typing experience.

Fortunately there is a setting to control the click volume, it's just hidden away a little. So here's how to make things a little quieter --

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

How to use Chromecast on incognito tabs

22

From time to time you might find yourself wanting to use Chromecast on a tab that you might not otherwise want to show up in your browser history. (Yes, as a warning to parents and a reminder to perverts, Chromecast can beam anything from a browser to the big screen. Anything.)

But in Incognito Mode, extensions are turned off by default. Flipping the switch is easy, and you can do it for individual extensions.

Just type chrome://extensions and you'll be taken to the Extensions page. From there, scroll down until you find "Google Cast," and then click the "Allow in incognito" checkbox. Now it'll work in Incognito mode, and you'll be able to Cast all those ... things .. that you might not want prying eyes to see.

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

Ask AC: Do you leave your Chromecast plugged in all the time?

107

It's a burning question that's heating up our Chromecast forums: Do you leave your Chromecast plugged in all day?

(We'll pause as the groans subside for that pun.)

But, really, do you leave your Chromecast plugged in all day? Here's how I do things.

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

Getting the most out of Google Now voice actions

98

'Remind me to use Google Now more often'

Google Now gets more and more powerful every day, which is aided by the fact that much of the processing it does is handed off to a Google data center over the Internet. Aside from the inherent issues when you don't have connectivity, this gives Google Now a ton of capability in terms of voice recognition, and lets Google add new capabilities without pushing app updates.

We've all played around with the standard voice actions in Google Now — making calls, sending text messages and performing searches — back when it was just "Google Search", but there are so many more things that it can do for you. While there are dozens of different voice actions available, we've compiled a list of several that can truly be incorporated into your daily life.

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

Ask AC: How do I cancel my Google Play Music All Access subscription?

29

If Google Play Music All Access isn't for you, cancelling it is easy

We spend a lot of time talking about how much we're enjoying the Google Play Music All Access subscription service, but it's also important to know how to cancel it if you've given it a try and decided it's not for you. We don't judge, there are several good reasons to not want or need access to Google's music catalog, and that monthly fee adds up if it's not something you want.

Luckily, cancelling is pretty easy. 

Grab your Android, and fire up the Google Play store app. Head to the store page for Google Play Music, either by searching for it or by finding it in the My Apps list. On the page for the app, near the top, you'll see the cancel button. Tap it and follow the directions. When you're finished, you'll not be billed the next time your installment date rolls around and your subscription will end.

It's worth noting that if you cancel and want to come back, you'll lose any introductory price promotion you may have now for joining the program early. You also won't be able to try 30 days for free more than once, so if that's your goal you'll need to devise another plan. Google wasn't born yesterday.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

How to use Android 4.3's 'Restricted Profile' feature

22

The ability to add a second user profile was added to tablets in Android 4.2, and it's gained even more granular functionality in Android 4.3 with the addition of "restricted profiles." In a nutshell, this lets you choose which applications that restricted user can use.

It's not quite a full-functioned kids mode, and there still are a couple things to watch out for. But for basic account compartmentalization, it works pretty well.

Let's dive into it and show how to use the new "restricted profile" feature in Android 4.3.

Read more and comment

 
1 year ago

From the mail bag: Activating device administrator for an app

9

Apps that can alter the default security policy can be powerful and handy, but you need to know why they are doing it before you say OK.

Carolyn writes,

I purchased the Unlock with WiFi app that Jerry recommended a few weeks ago. I haven't fully installed it to use yet because it asked to "activate device administrator". I wanted to be sure that was OK? What risks does it create to allow this type of access to my phone?

Thanks!

What an excellent question! Security on any smartphone is pretty darn important, and the simple fact is that most of the time when it gets compromised, it's because of something we did. I don't mean something crazy like installing cracked apps from a website you had to use Google Translate to read, though that's always a good way to compromise everything. I'm talking about changing device settings or just not using some functions because we don't fully understand them. The Device Administration API is a great example.

Originally baked into Android with version 2.2, the Device Admin API allows you to alter the remote or local security policy of your Android. We'll use my Unlock with Wifi app as a walkthrough of what that means after the break.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

More information about the Device Admin API

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages