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5 months ago

Staying safe with Google Wallet

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Google Wallet can be as secure as a physical card at your favorite retailers - or even more secure, considering tokenization makes cards stolen in recent hacks such as the Target and Home Depot breaches useless. But how do you keep someone else from stealing your phone to pay for stuff? How do you keep the other side of your digital wallet secure? Well, it's quite simple, and coming right up.

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5 months ago

How to upgrade the RAM in your HP Chromebox

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HP Chromebox RAM upgrade

You just need a screwdriver, a new stick of RAM and 20 minutes to upgrade your HP Chromebox

Chromeboxes are a great inexpensive way to get another computer in the house, and with how often they go on sale you could get one for less than $150. Unfortunately if you go with the HP Chromebox you're getting a desktop machine with just 2GB of RAM, and depending on what your plans are for it that's not going to be enough.

Now this little micro-sized desktop isn't made to be upgraded per se, but thankfully at least the RAM slot is easily accessible. If you've picked up an HP Chromebox and want to make the move from 2GB to 4GB of RAM, we have the guide for you. Read along and see our step-by-step instructions for the upgrade process.

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5 months ago

Best Tasker plugins

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Tasker is a mighty powerful app in its own right, but I'll confess, one of its best features is the plugins that help it do even more than it could on its own. (The best feature is — and always will be — the wonderful support community that gathers around this app.) Plugins come in many sizes and shapes, but a few stand head and shoulders above the rest.

We've covered some of these before, and others will be making their first appearance. Without further ado, let's get automating!

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5 months ago

My Android is slow: 5 things you can do to speed your phone back up

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Lots of stuff going on

Make your Android fast again — it *is* possible

We've all been there. You have a fancy, new, highly complex Android-powered computational device that can do everything from checking your email to surfing the web to controlling your microwave so your popcorn doesn't burn. It's shiny, and screaming fast while doing all the things we wanted it to do. Everything is roses all around.

Android Central BasicsFast forward a year down the road, and besides the shiny wearing off, things aren't as zippy as they used to be. Apps take longer to open and run. Transitions between screens take longer to redraw than we would like. The speed demon that your device once was is starting to get a little frustrating to use. Your Android is slow.

Don't fret. This happens to every computer, even the Android one you carry in your pocket. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to alleviate your pain and get back to Speed Racer mode again. None are difficult, and we're going to take a look at the five best things you can do to "fix" a slow Android.

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5 months ago

Get a new Samsung phone? Here are six things to turn off

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New Samsung phones are great, except for the parts that aren't

When it comes to the sheer number of features offered, Samsung's TouchWiz is pretty much unmatched. If you can imagine it, chances are it's a feature on the latest Samsung phones like the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy Alpha. Many of these features are useful, but there's some stuff enabled out of the box that you might want to selectively turn off.

Read on to see which six features we find ourselves killing off when we start using a new Samsung phone.

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5 months ago

Top Combo Crew tips and tricks for smashing high scores

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Combo Crew is a beat 'em up game designed specifically for mobile play. The name of the game is all about building the largest combo you can during each level. The bigger your combo, the greater your score, plus you'll unlock great rewards. Choosing from a variety of characters (including guests from Street Fighter and Another World) and then setting out to pound the hordes of enemies is a fierce good time. Combo Crew costs 99 cents in the Google Play Store and has in-app purchases.

Unlike most beat 'em ups, Combo Crew isn't just about knocking out enemies and clearing the level. You'll need to keep that combo up and complete various missions in order to unlock everything the game has to offer. Our all-new tips and tricks guide will help you hit the ground running in this classic game of fisticuffs.

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5 months ago

Here's everything you can command your new Moto X to do by voice

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Moto Voice on Moto X

What's easier than telling your new Moto X to tell you all the things you can command it to do with your voice? Why, getting one of us to tell you first.

Moto Voice is the new-and-improved voice integration that does a lot of what you get with Google Now, but with a few Moto X-specific features as well. When you first set up Moto Voice it'll recommend you take a spin through this list. But if you're still trying to figure out if the Moto X is right for you (and we highly recommend taking a read through our full Moto X review first), here's a preview:

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5 months ago

How to make a video highlight reel on the new Moto X

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Moto X video highlights

The Moto X can turn your pictures and video into a little something special

Video highlights aren't exactly new to smartphones — HTC has made a big deal out of them, and Samsung has dabbled in the past as well. And now Motorola has added the feature to the new Moto X, and with it you can take your still photos and videos and have them automatically compiled into a cool little montage, completely with soundtrack, that you can share with your friends.

Here's how it works.

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5 months ago

How to clear your Google Play Store search and apps history

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For whatever reason, from time to time you're probably going to want to clear out your search and/or your apps history from the Google Play Store. It doesn't take long for you to create a pretty sizeable list and it can quickly get out of control. Fortunately, like so many other things, Google makes it incredibly simple to clear things out.

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5 months ago

How to add every NFL team schedule to your Google Calendar

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NFL Schedule on Google Calendar

We know the NFL season has already started, but it's not too late to start following along. If you want to casually keep up with the NFL and at least know what teams are playing every week, it's easy to add the schedule of your favorite team to Google Calendar. Or if you're a diehard fan, you can add and follow every single team in the league — we won't judge. It's a simple process either way, and we're going to show you how to do it.

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5 months ago

All about your phone's developer options

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Android developer options

There's more there than USB debugging

Hidden in the settings on your phone, (really, they are hidden by default) are settings used for debugging and application development. While plenty of us have dove in there to switch to the ART runtime or to enable USB debugging, there's a long list of options. While most of us will never use them, it's always nice to know what's going on under the hood of your phone.

Let's take a look at them, and see if we can't decipher some of these settings so that all of us have a better understading of what happens when you tap them. Come on, you've tapped them ...

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5 months ago

How to pair YouTube on a mobile device to a TV without Chromecast

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YouTube pairing hero image

Google enables couch potatoes everywhere to keep doing their thing

YouTubeI can be one lazy bag of bones sometimes. My roommates and I are in our apartment living room, and one of us gets the urge to listen to Joe Walsh singing "Life's Been Good" (hey, we may be college kids, but we do like the classics). My roommate's PlayStation 3 is already on, so I fire up my phone and beam the song to YouTube on the console. I don't even have to ask my roommate, who's sitting on the other couch, to hand me any controls or type anything in.

With the YouTube app, you can basically do what you can do with Google's inexpensive Chromecast. You can send videos right to your TV or other Internet-connected device, and the video will play. Unfortunately, I don't have a Chromecast at the moment, although I would like one. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat.

Luckily, it's not too hard to get YouTube set up to do its thing.

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5 months ago

What is an APN, and how do I change it?

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APN settings

Having the right mobile network settings makes a difference

Two or three years ago, any smartphone fan in the U.S. would have called you crazy if you were to predict how the telecom networks have changed. Verizon and Sprint have phones that can run on AT&T or T-Mobile, cheap pre-paid plans give you as much or more than any of the big four for less money, and people are starting to move away from the multi-year carrier contract model. Our pals in Europe can laugh at us, but these are all new ideas on this side of the pond.

Because we're swapping SIM cards (and networks) more than ever, we're exposed to the APN settings on our phones. And a lot of us have some questions.

We have answers.

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5 months ago

Your public Google+ images might now show in Google Maps

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Google+ images now in Google Maps

You absolutely still have control over your own stuff, but now's a good time to check what you've been sharing

Google recently started making some photos that you've posted publicly to Google+ visible in Google Maps as well, as evidenced by the notification we all got in Google+. That's not in and of itself a bad thing, nor is it an invasion of privacy. In order for an image to appear automatically in Google Maps, it has to meet four criteria as set by Google and enacted by you:

  • A photo must be public
  • A photo must have a location associated with it
  • A photo must be in a public album on your Google+, with the "Show location" setting checked
  • A photo must adhere to Google's content policies

So Google Maps is only getting pics that you shared publicly in the first place, with location attached. Not evil, even if it does raise eyebrows for at least a few seconds.

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5 months ago

How to change how Wifi networks are sorted on the LG G3

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WiFi Sorting

A few taps in the settings can make it much easier to see available Wifi networks

ACU WiFiWith Wifi being all around us, it can sometimes be tough to sort through the dozens of available networks out there in order to find the right one. Some people resort to odd names for their networks, or just go ahead and add them manually. Thankfully on at least a few different phones you have the option in your settings to choose how to sort available networks when you're scanning through them.

It's a quick toggle to hit, but it can make switching between networks all that much easier if you're in an area dense with networks. Let us show you how to do it.

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