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2 months ago

How to change your wallpaper on an Android phone or tablet

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Changing your wallpaper is as easy as a tap.

Phones have in many ways becomes the nexus of our lives. They hold our most important information, let us access the internet, and store many of the photos we take during day to day life. So it's no surprise that customizing our phones in a variety of ways is so popular. One of the easiest ways to customize your phone, is by switching up the wallpaper and we've got the details on how to do it.

Google Now Launcher, Nova Launcher and Action Launcher

Most phones use this method to change your phone's wallpaper. That makes it simple to remember, and easy to do, when you upgrade your device.

  1. Tap and hold the home screen.
  2. Tap the wallpapers icon on the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Choose from from the default wallpapers, or from your photos.
  4. Tap Set as wallpaper on the upper left corner of your screen.

Samsung Phones

Changing the wallpaper on a Samsung phone is just a little bit different than the method detailed above. That's because Samsung actually gives you a few more options than most other phones.

  1. Tap and hold on the Home screen
  2. Tap the Wallpapers icon in the bottom left corner.
  3. Choose Home screen, Lock screen, or Home and Lock screen in the upper right corner.

  4. Tap a Samsung wallpaper or choose a photo from your gallery at the bottom of your screen.
  5. Tap set as wallpaper on the bottom of your screen.

Note: This method works with Samsung phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and above, but due to the variations in Samsung software from country to country and generation to generation, it may look slightly different on your phone.

Your turn!

What's you favorite wallpaper, and how often do you switch it around? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 months ago

Allo: Everything you need to know

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Everything you need to know to get started with Google's new messaging service.

Allo is finally available, and it offers a first look at what's possible with Google Assistant. Assistant is Google's AI chatbot that answers questions by drawing on the vast trove of information it has collected over the years. It suggests replies in conversations, offers recommendations on nearby points of interest, tells bad jokes, plays games with you, and so on. Unlike Google Now, interacting with Google Assistant feels more personal and conversational.

If you're just getting started with Google's latest messaging service, we've got you covered.

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2 months ago

These are the top Allo features you need to know

174

'Allo Allo.

Google's smart messaging app Allo is now available. The service competes with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, both of which boast a userbase of over a billion users. Google is looking to differentiate Allo with Google Assistant, a chatbot that provides answers to your queries by drawing on the search giant's machine learning smarts. AI is at the core of Google's strategy, and we'll see the assistant make its way into the Google Home and future products. And it's all kicking off with Allo.

These are the top Allo features you need to know. If you're just installing the app, be sure to check out our setup guide.

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2 months ago

How to download and share movies, music, and books on Google Play

11

Google Play is more than just an app store.

We know that Google Play is where you're downloading most, if not all, of your apps, but there's much more that they offer. There are millions of books and movies for you to escape into, and music for every taste and time. While it may still seem odd to some of us to buy movies on your phone, or to buy an album that doesn't come in a sleeve, there's plenty here to love and enjoy, and we're here to help you make the most of the entertainment side of Google Play.

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2 months ago

How to install and set up Allo

136

A chatbot that leverages Google's machine learning and AI skills. Welcome to the future!

Google's smart messaging service Allo is finally available. The app differentiates itself from the plethora of messaging clients by integrating Google Assistant, which calls upon the company's vast machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to provide contextual information as and when you need it. Here's how you can get started with Allo.

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2 months ago

How to get the most from your Chromebook touchpad

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It may only be one big button, but the multi-touch touchpad on your Chromebook can do just about anything you would ask of it.

Your Chromebook's touchpad is simple to set up and use, and a couple of handy features make it more than just a way to move the mouse pointer. With multi-touch gestures, you'll be able to navigate web pages and apps easier as well as see everything you're working on at a glance. And yes, you can move the mouse pointer, too.

The touchpad on current Chromebooks is a one piece unit missing the buttons you might be used to with other laptops. Instead, the touchpad itself is a button, and multi-touch — being able to register multiple actions at once — takes care of the rest. Because you might be used to having buttons for right and left clicking, we'll start with the basics. To begin, have a look at the settings page, and you'll find where you can adjust the pointer speed and a section for touchpad settings where you can enable tap to click, swapping your primary mouse button and using Australian scrolling.

  • Tap to click, is a setting that lets you tap your finger on the touchpad to do the same thing as a click would do on a regular button. If you want to use gestures you'll want to keep this enabled.
  • Swap your primary mouse button, does the same thing it would do with a mouse or a trackpad with actual buttons. It switches actions that need a left click into actions that need a right click, and vice versa.
  • Australian scrolling, is having the screen scroll the opposite direction your fingers are moving on the touchpad. Traditional scrolling moves your view up the page when you scroll up, and Australian scrolling moves your view down the page when you scroll up.

When you're done adjusting your settings, click OK to save them.

Next, we'll cover the basics of pointing, clicking and navigating. If you're used to using a mouse, these will take a bit of time to get used to. Alternatively, you can use a mouse with your Chromebook if you would rather. It's still worth learning how to use the touchpad for those times when your mouse batteries are dead and that drawer in the kitchen with a fresh or charged set seems miles away.

  • To move the pointer, move one finger across the trackpad in the direction you want the pointer to move.
  • To click on something, tap or press down on the lower half (the half closest to your body) of the touchpad with one finger.
  • To right click, tap or press down on any spot of the touchpad with two fingers.You can also right-click by pressing the Alt key then tapping or clicking with one finger.
  • To middle click, tap or press anywhere on the touchpad with three fingers.
  • To drag and drop, tap or press the thing you want to drag with one finger and move the pointer while holding down. Let go when your pointer is where you want to drop it. You can also press and hold with one finger then move the pointer with a second finger.

Gestures are that little extra which can make an experience better. Some apps may have their own gestures, but there are three common ones that work with everything you do on your Chromebook.

  • To scroll, drag two fingers on the touchpad.
  • Scrolling right and left, acts as forwards and back buttons. The faster you swipe the faster you will navigate. This setting is universal and works anywhere you can move horizontally.
  • Scrolling up and down, moves the window content up and down. See Australian scrolling above for an option.
  • To see all open windows. swipe up or down with three fingers on the touchpad. If you have Australian scrolling enabled, swipe up. Otherwise, swipe down.

Most of these are along the lines for features you find in any laptop with a good touchpad or trackpad, with or without buttons. They're not too revolutionary. They do make working with the touchpad on your Chromebook as easy as using a mouse!

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

How to restore your apps and settings to a new Android phone

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Got a new phone? Awesome! Here's how you can restore your apps and settings from your previous device.

Google has always synced calendar events, contacts, Drive documents, Gmail settings and other account-related information across devices, and since Android 5.0 Lollipop the company started offering the ability to restore apps to a new device. With Marshmallow, the feature was expanded to include app data as well as system settings, with all the information stored in the cloud.

If you're using the Google Now Launcher, your home screen background, icon and widget layout as well as folder structure is now saved to the cloud, allowing you to restore your settings to a new handset and retain your home screen layout.

Where does all this data get stored? Google is backing up the app data to Drive, allocating 25MB for each app. Data used by the backup system doesn't count toward your storage quota. Meanwhile, developers can choose to select what app data gets stored in the cloud.

Here's how you can restore your apps and settings when moving to a new Android phone.

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2 months ago

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android

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How to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android

How do I transfer my iPhone contacts to my Android phone?

You've made the brilliant decision to switch from iPhone to Android. Congratulations and welcome! Now you just need to get all of your contacts off your iPhone and onto your new Android phone and your Apple ties will be severed and you shall be reborn anew (or something like that).

Here's how!

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2 months ago

How to add events and reminders to Google Calendar for Android

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How do I add events and reminders to Google Calendar?

Google Calendar allows you to easily keep track of your busy schedule. With events and reminders, you can ensure that you never forget the important days, no matter how busy you get. We're here to show you how to do it all the right way.

How to add an event to Google Calendar

  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Tap the red plus icon in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap on the red event icon.

  4. Enter a title.
  5. Enter a location.
  6. Add people who are coming with you.

  7. Add a time and date for your event.
  8. Add a notification to remind you when the event is getting close to starting.
  9. Choose a color for the event in your calendar.

  10. Add notes to your event.
  11. Add attachments to your event.
  12. Save your event.

It's important to remember you don't need to enter notifications, change the color of your event, attach notes or have attachments in your event. These are just the options that Google has given you to make sure all the information that you need is included within your event.

How to add a reminder to Google Calendar

  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Tap the red plus icon on the bottom right of your screen.
  3. Tap the blue reminder icon.

  4. Enter what you need to be reminded of. Google will give you tons of options from making a call to making reservations for a trip.
  5. Enter when you need to be reminded.
  6. Enter whether this reminder needs to be repeated.
  7. Save your reminder.

You can make reminders for just about anything, and this includes upcoming events. By using the two together, you can make sure that you not only have a reminder of when an important event is coming up, but have easy access to it at a tap.

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2 months ago

10 essential Chromebook keyboard shortcuts you need to know

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Getting to know your Chromebook's keyboard can save time and make you more productive.

If you're one of those people who want to keep their hands on the keyboard when they're sitting in front of a computer — I know I am — then you need to check out the keyboard shortcuts built into your Chromebook.

There are over 100 different things you can do with the keys alone. You can access menus, start apps, switch between things, check your notifications and do just about anything you would ever need in the browser using a combination of the modifier keys (Control, Alt, and Shift) combined with other keys. Some of them you already know because they are universal across most things with a keyboard, like copying text with the Control + v key combo. Others you might not know — like switching languages with Control + Shift + spacebar. Even shortcuts you should never need to use, like Alt + Search for CAPS LOCK are there. Please be careful with caps lock.

Of course very few of us will memorize all the different things we can do through our Chromebook keyboard or which keys we need to press to do them. But I do have a few I use every day, and I think you'll benefit from knowing my top ten. Here they are, in no specific order.

  • See all the shortcuts with Control + Alt + / (see a full keyboard overlay with Control + Alt + ?)
  • Open the file manager with Alt + Shift + m
  • Launch an app from your shelf with Alt + 1 through 8
  • Open the browser menu with Alt + e
  • Snap open windows with Alt + [ (snap to the left side) and Alt + ] (snap to the right side)
  • Turn a word into a URL by typing it into the Ominbar then pressing Control + Enter
  • Move the cursor by the word instead of the letter in a text field with Control + right/left arrows (highlight each word as you move through them with Control + Shift + right/left arrow)
  • Open your notifications with Control + Alt + n
  • Switch tabs with Control + 1 through 8 (open the last tab on the right with Control + 9)
  • Reopen the last tab you closed with Control + Shift + T

Protip: If you use the same tab(s) day in and day out, drop it in the number one (furthest left) spot. I keep three tabs I always have open in positions one, two, and three. And none of them are Android Central because it stays at the very end at all times. With my pinky finger on the Control key, I can get to them without ever moving the cursor.

These are the ones I know by heart — my brain just can't hold any more of them in memory — my RAM is full. I know there are shortcuts for changing screen zoom (Control + and - because I just looked. Again.) but I can never remember them when I need them. Instead, I know Alt + e opens the menu where I can click the tiny button to do it. Thankfully, you can bookmark a page that has them all at Google's Chromebook Help center or just memorize the first one in my list.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets plenty of mileage from my keyboard. If you have any shortcuts you use every day, let us know in the comments!

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

Putting Linux on your Chromebook is easier than you think (and totally worth it!)

58

If you need to use those productivity programs that Chrome OS just doesn't offer, or you just want to try something new, Linux on your Chromebook has you covered.

You've may have seen chatter on the internet about installing Linux on your Chromebook. Plenty of longtime Chrome OS users are doing it, and it allows the use of programs like GIMP (a Photoshop replacement), or Darktable, (a Lightroom alternative) as well as plenty of programs for video and audio editing. It's a way to use your Chromebook for the few power-user features you might need. It's also completely free and easier than you think.

Let's walk through an easy setup that keeps Chrome OS and is able to run Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop and any applications you might need. You'll be able to run both operating systems at once with a shared Downloads folder, a shared clipboard and web links opening in the Chrome browser you're already familiar with. You can even run them side by side in a split window.

And yes, it really is as cool as it sounds.

Getting started

Before you try anything we're talking about here, you need to do two things: back up all your user files to Google Drive, and have a Chrome OS restore image ready just in case. We're going to be unlocking developer mode and starting with a clean and current Chrome OS install. There's no way around that. The first time you unlock developer mode your Chromebook is Powerwashed and everything is erased. And whenever you're doing something like this there is always a chance that you'll need to reinstall Chrome from scratch with the restore image. Don't worry, none of this is difficult.

Get everything you need ready before you start so you're not stuck looking for it if things go wrong.

You'll need to search Google to find the exact instructions to unlock developer mode for your Chromebook. On some models, you'll need to toggle an actual switch, and on others it is done through the standard recovery software. If you're using a Pixel, for example, you press and hold the Escape and Refresh keys, then hold the power button until the system shuts off and the keyboard backlight comes on to enter recovery mode. On some older Samsung Chromebooks, you'll need to find a switch next to the SD card slot and flip it, then reboot. Everything you need to know is a web search away.

The same goes for grabbing a restore image. You'll find full instructions on where to download one and how to write it to an SD card or thumb drive. Don't skip this step — especially if you don't have another computer to use. The process is simple and it's always nice to have everything you need to factory flash your Chromebook on hand.

Once you're unlocked and prepared in case you need to start from scratch, we can start copying some files.

Crouton

No, not the breadcrumb kind of Crouton, the chroot kind from David Schneider, a Google hardware engineer who loves Chromebooks. Crouton is a script that you can run to automatically fetch all the bits and pieces you need, create an environment for them, and get everything working without doing it by hand.

Using the same principle that Android and Google Play are using to run on Chrome, you can install a full Linux desktop that runs in its own space yet is able to share your Chromebook's hardware. This isn't the only way to install Linux on your Chromebook, and nobody is saying it's the best way. But it is easy simple to uninstall or modify down the road. To get started, grab your Chromebook and download Crouton.

If you're not going to play Steam games, you can run Chrome and Ubuntu at the same time in separate windows.

For the next step you need to make a choice — are you going to install Steam and play games? We'll cover that with another how-to, but know that installing the full Steam client and installing any games your Chromebook meets the minimum requirements for is a thing. We're going to be using a Chrome extension called Crouton Integration (also from David Schneider) that works with the window manager to run your Linux desktop in a window while Chrome OS is still active. This allows you to share things like the clipboard and Downloads folder, as well as use Chrome itself to open web links and pages.

The only concern is that there are performance trade-offs when you're running something that taxes the GPU. For a program like GIMP, it's fine. For Rocket League or CS: Go, it's really not. If you're not going to install Steam, grab the extension from the link above and install it. We'll split out instructions anytime they're different.

Once you have Crouton downloaded, and the Crouton Integration extension installed if you need it, we can install Linux with just a few commands.

The Chrosh shell

This is Chrome OS's command line interface, and what you'll need to run the installer. Open one with by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard. A new tab will open with a text interface. Switch to it, and enter the command shell to change from the Chrosh (Chrome Shell) shell to a proper bash (Bourne Again Shell — a command interpreter that's universal across Linux, BSD, and OS X) shell. The text will change to green and you're ready to run the install script.

  • If you are using the Crouton Integration extension, type the following and hit enter. Mind the spelling, spacing, and punctuation.

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xiwi,xfce

  • If you're not going to use Crouton Integration, use the following instead:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce

Now, we wait. Crouton is creating a chroot environment, fetching the right software packages and extracting them to the right place. You'll have to interact with the shell tab a couple of times, but it halts at the right spot and waits for your input so you don't have to try and read all the scrolling text. Depending on your internet connection, this will take anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes.

When it's finished downloading and unpacking, you're ready to fire things up.

Starting your new desktop

Using the same shell you used above, type sudo startxfce4 and press the enter key. A few lines of text will scroll by, then you're switched to a new GUI. What you're seeing is a full install of Ubuntu (12.04 LTS at the time of this writing) with the Xfce desktop environment running. You'll use the username and password you set up earlier, and you can install any application the runs on Ubuntu and built for your processor architecture.

If you choose to integrate Crouton into Chrome, you might need a couple tips to get started.

The first time you launch Ubuntu, it might open full screen and prompt you to use the F11 key to switch back to a windowed view. Your Chromebook has no F11 key so you'll need to use a little trick to exit. Right-click on the desktop and add an internet shortcut. It can point to any website or local file, so that's not important. It will use Crouton Integration to switch back to Chrome OS to parse whatever URL you entered and minimize the Ubuntu window. You can then switch between Chrome and Ubuntu using the tray icon for Crouton Integration and Ubuntu will stay inside a bordered window with standard minimize, maximize and window keys.

A quick trick in case it happens again after you shut down — open the extensions page in the settings and scroll to the very bottom. Click the link titled Keyboard shortcuts and create one for Crouton Integration. You can use that shortcut to move to and from full screen.

If you didn't use Crouton Integration, none of this applies. When you start an Ubuntu session, Chrome is suspended and when you log out you're returned.

If you lose your mouse pointer the first time you start Ubuntu, don't panic. On some hardware, this is expected. Just press and hold the power button until you're at the login screen, and use Tab and Enter to shut down. When you reboot things are fine and it won't happen again.

Make it your own

Using these instructions you'll have a very basic setup. You'll probably want to customize it a bit. You can go through the settings and try them all, but there are a few things you will probably want to install to get started — a bash utility and the Ubuntu Software Center. To get both up and running, right-click on the desktop and open a terminal session from the menu. Type the following commands one line at a time, hit enter and let them finish before moving on.

sudo apt-get update

This synchronizes the internal package database with the online servers. Ubuntu uses packages to install software, and will automatically install everything you need to run a program when you install the program itself. The command line version is apt, and we want to update the package lists before we fetch any new software.

sudo apt-get install bash-completion ttf-ubuntu-font-family software-center synaptic

This installs a utility that lets you enter the first letter or letters of a location in the terminal, and use the Tab key to fill in the rest, as well as the fonts you'll need for the software store (otherwise some entries will have squares in place of letters) and the store itself. During the installation of the True Type fonts, you'll need to accept a license. Use the arrow keys to scroll the window, then tab key to choose an option and the enter key to accept.

Ubuntu has its own app store to install programs with just a click of the mouse.

Once finished, you'll find the Ubuntu Software Center in your apps list. That's Ubuntu's version of an app store where you can download just about any program available. If you're using a Chromebook with an Intel processor, there's nothing to do except look through it and grab the things you'll need. If you're using an ARM Chromebook, some of the programs aren't going to run — check the description and reviews to see if someone has mentioned it. If something you want isn't working for ARM processors, hit Google to find one that does. There a really good chance someone has compiled it for ARM because they wanted to use it, too.

You'll be told when updates to your operating system are available and can install them with the click of a button. You'll probably see a notice that a new version of Ubuntu is available to download. Don't just click yes and try it! Ubuntu 12.04 LTS isn't the newest version, but it is the best-supported version for most Chromebooks. Any and all critical updates and patches are available for 12.04, so there is no urgent need to try it. Google around a bit and see how newer versions work with your particular model before you jump in.

One last thing

Because your Chromebook is in Developer Mode, you'll need to hit Ctrl + D at the boot screen every time you start it. You'll also get a scary warning about security. Know that doing any of this makes your Chromebook less secure. It's still more secure than most other laptops, but you are giving someone with physical access another way to try to get in.

When you log out of Ubuntu you go back to Chrome. the tab with your shell session is still open, and to go back just type sudo startxfce4 again. When you shut down, you'll need to reopen a shell session tab (Ctrl+Alt+T) again, and switch to bash with the shell command. You can then start Ubuntu with the sudo startxfce4 command. The tab with the shell running will need to stay open while you're in Ubuntu.

All that's left now is to try it and see why the people "dual-booting" on their Chromebooks love it so much!

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

Gmail: Boost your productivity with these tips and tricks

10

Master your inbox with these Gmail tips and tricks.

We covered the basics of Gmail for Android in an extensive guide, and now it's time to take a look at features that extend the functionality of the email client. Whether it's creating labels to categorize your email or using filters to automatically sort incoming mail, Gmail offers a variety of tools aimed at managing your inbox clutter.

If you haven't already, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. Two-factor authentication works by combining something you know (a password) with something you have (your phone), effectively doubling your account's security.

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2 months ago

What makes a phone battery explode?

96

We're all a little curious about why a battery might explode, so let's talk about it.

Exploding battery talk is something you can't escape right now, thanks to a problem with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It's good discussion to have: the more people talk about it, the less likely it is for a child to get hurt from a battery failure. As much as we hate to see a product we like experience safety issues, we hate seeing people get hurt far more.

But the Note 7 isn't the first phone to ever go through battery problems, and it won't be the last. There will always be isolated incidents of batteries failing as long as we use phones with lithium-ion cells, and the Note 7 isn't the first phone whose battery needed a widespread recall because something is wrong under the hood — as long-time Nokia fans know too well. It happens. It's never a good thing, but it's a thing. Let's talk about why it can happen.

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2 months ago

Who do I contact when I need help with my phone?

33

Finding out who to talk to and how to reach them can be tricky. We filled out all the forms and clicked all the buttons to find the phone numbers so you don't have to.

We get a lot of questions about Android and the phones that use it. People can (and should) Tweet us, or email us, or shout to us on Facebook and we will do our best to answer, even if we don't have time to get to all of them. One thing we see a lot of is that people are confused about exactly who they should talk to — and how to contact them — when they need some assistance with their Android.

That's understandable. There are countless combinations of different models from different companies sold through different channels and unlike an iPhone or a BlackBerry (or a Toyota or a Kenmore), there is no one company who takes care of them all. And that can be frustrating — when you need help the last thing you want to hear is someone saying that you need to talk to someone else. Especially after you've filled out web forms, signed up for an account or jumped through other hoops just to find the phone number you called. If you're not really sure about who you need to call or how to get in touch with them when problems arise, or you have a question about how things work, you can always come to us. But talking to the people who are there to help with the phone you have in your hands is always a great idea. Let's tally them up!

Your carrier

If you ever have a problem with the network "stuff" — data cutting in and out, calls dropping, poor signal or anything of the sort, the company you get your phone service from are the first people you should call or email. They would know about any network changes that could be affecting you, and if a problem crops up that affects a lot of their customers, they will be the ones to look into it.

Issues with your phone itself or questions about it can be a bit more complicated. Generally, if you bought your phone from your carrier's store or an authorized third party, the carrier is the company that will need to help you. Most times, a visit in-person is a quick way to resolve issues. If you would rather talk to support another way, here are the various contact details for the major U.S. companies.

AT&T

  • General customer service: 800 331 0500 (7 am to 10 p.m. your local time).
  • To ask about new service or service upgrades: 888 333 6651 (Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekends 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time).
  • To check the status of an order: 877 782 8870 (24-hour service).
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 1 916 843 4685 (24-hour service and this is a free call from your phone).
  • Support for folks with disabilities: 866 241 6568 (Voice), 866 241 6567 (TTY). These are both 24-hour numbers.
  • Support via Twitter: @attcares.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/ATT.

You can also chat with an AT&T representative using the AT&T Wireless support page.

Sprint

  • General customer service: 888 211 4727 (postpaid) 855 639 4644 (prepaid).
  • New service or equipment: 866 275 1411.
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 888 226 7212 (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands), 817 698 4199 (international number).
  • Support via Twitter: @sprintcare.

Para compatibilidad con el idioma español.

For online chat options visit the Sprint support pages.

T-Mobile

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your T-Mobile phone), 877 746 0909 (from another phone).
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 505 998 3793 (free from a T-Mobile phone).
  • TTY service for support issues: 877 296 1018 (3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time)
  • Support via Twitter: @tmobilehelp.
  • Support via Facebook: .facebook.com/TMobile.
  • Support via Google+: +T-Mobile

For online chat options visit the T-Mobile support pages.

US Cellular

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your US Cellular phone), 888 944 9400 (from another phone), 866 872 4249 (business customers). These numbers are available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central time.
  • Support via Twitter: @uscellularcares.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/USCellular.

To message a support agent online visit the US Cellular support pages.

Verizon

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your Verizon phone), 800 922 0204 (from another phone).
  • Support via Twitter: @vzwsupport.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/verizon.
  • Support via Google+: +Verizon.

Para compatibilidad con el idioma español

For support for folks with disabilities, see Verizon's accessibility services portal.

To chat with an online representative visit the Verizon support portal.

To ask about new service or service upgrades visit the Verizon online help portal.

Who made your phone?

If you're having a problem and didn't buy your phone from a carrier store or third-party store or reseller, you'll need to contact the company who made it for troubleshooting or any warranty issues. Seeing who made your phone is usually obvious, just flip it over and see who's name is on the back. If you're using a Google phone, you should talk to Google instead of the actual company who manufactured it. Talking to support in-person is not going to be an option most of the time, Samsung and their Samsung Experience stores being the exception, so here's how to get in touch if you're in the U.S.

Google

  • Google does things a little differently for Nexus support calls. Instead of having callers stay on hold, you use an online form to queue up and they will call you. Find that form here. Alternatively, you can call support yourself at 855 836 3987.
  • For order inquiries from the Google Store: 855 836 3987 (24-hour support).
  • For support for Google Play purchases: 855 836 3987 (24-hour support).
  • The Nexus Help Center.

HTC

  • All customer support inquiries: 866 449 8358.
  • HTC Store support: 888 216 4736.
  • Support via Twitter: @htcusa.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/htcusa/.
  • Support via Google+: +HTC
  • Support via online chat: HTC Support.

HTC also has an extensive support website with plenty of options and FAQs for all of their products and apps. You can visit it here.

Huawei

  • All customer support inquiries: 888 548 2934 (English and Spanish, Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekends 10 am to 6 p.m. Central time).
  • Support via Twitter: @huaweimobile.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/huaweimobile.
  • Support via Google+: +HuaweiMobile.

Huawei has a dedicated online support web site complete with a contact form. See it here.

LG

  • All customer support inquiries: 800 243 0000.
  • Make an appointment to talk with customer support here.
  • Support via online chat: LG Support.
  • Support via Twitter: @lgus.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/LGUSA.
  • Support via Google+: +LGUSA.

LG has an extensive online portal filled with support options for phones and their software. See it here.

Motorola

  • All customer support inquiries: 800 734 5870 (Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central time).
  • Use the online troubleshooter here.
  • Support via online chat: Direct link.
  • Support via Twitter: @Moto_USA.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/motorola.
  • Support via Google+: +Motorola.

See Motorola's online support web pages and community here.

Samsung

See Samsung's extensive online support portal with live chat and email options here. Help with an existing order requires a login.

As always, we're here and can try to help with any Android problems you might be having, or answer any questions you may have. Our contact information is below.

Another great way to find help for many common problems is through the forums. You'll find the specific forum for your device here or you can ask a general question without signing up here. You'll find plenty of people who know just about everything there is to know about Android and your phone and it's a wonderful resource.

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2 months ago

How to sign up for Reliance Jio and get free data

38

Reliance finally launched Jio earlier this month, making the 4G service available to everyone in India. Jio is offering fast data speeds and voice calls through VoLTE, but the main attraction is the Welcome Offer, through which everyone who signs up for the service gets free data until the end of 2016. Considering the SIM itself is being given away for free across retail stores across the country, you should absolutely get on the Jio bandwagon right away.

Here's how you can register for a Reliance Jio SIM and avail free data until the end of the year.

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