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3 months ago

Best roaming plans for Canadians travelling to Europe

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Planning a trip to Europe? Here are your best options for roaming while taking in the sights, the sounds — or the Seine!

Whether you want to get in some skiing, go backpacking, or hit the winding — and sometimes high-velocity — roads, Europe is an amazing travel destination for Canadians. Roaming in countries like France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom can be expensive if you don't know which options to choose. Be smart with these great roaming services.

KnowRoaming

KnowRoaming has created a sticker that, using a special tool included in the box, adheres to the underside of a regular SIM card. Once the now-double SIM gets put back of your iPhone or Android Phone, the magic begins. With its free iOS or Android apps, KnowRoaming acts both as a director of information, determining which SIM card needs to be used depending on the phone's location, and as a full-service MVNO in nearly every country in Europe.

For $7.99 USD per day, KnowRoaming offers unlimited roaming data in a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Portugal, Netherlands and more.

Better, it can also automatically forward a Canadian number to its European equivalent, giving KnowRoaming customers the option of making and receiving calls as they would back home.

What to know: KnowRoaming is smart: it assigns a local number whenever it enters a new country, and its excellent iOS or Android apps track call, text and data usage. 3G-only (for now).

Unlocked iPhone or Android Phone needed

See at KnowRoaming

Roamer

Technically, Roamer is an Android app that intelligently forwards your home number to a European equivalent so you can make and receive calls as you would back in Canada. But a little-known side of the business is the Roamer SIM — a single card that connects to the best local carriers in 118 countries, including many in Europe.

While prices are slightly higher than they are on KnowRoaming, it is still significantly cheaper than many roaming plans purchased from a Canadian carrier. To wit, traveling to France offers the following:

  • 1 day / €5 / 50MB
  • 7 days / €15 / 300MB
  • 7 days / €25 / 1GB
  • 14 days / €50 / 1GB

The beauty of Roamer SIM is that the company delivers to Canadian (or U.S.) addresses, which means it can be configured prior to leaving. Simply put the SIM in your Android phone and enable it once on the ground in Europe.

What to know: Roamer assigns a local number for every country visited, and usage can be tracked with the free Android app. Phone calls and texts are extra, but still cheap. First 25MB of data is free.

Unlocked iPhone or Android Phone needed

See at Roamer

Buy a local SIM

This option may seem obvious, but it's also the most onerous. Many Western European countries such as Spain, Germany, Italy, and France have a number of core carriers, such as Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange, along with dozens of MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that resell access to those core networks.

Most of the core carriers and MVNOs offer prepaid access, and are some of the least expensive ways to get a local number and cheap data in a foreign country.

There are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing a local SIM card in a European country:

  • European networks use different wireless bands than Canadian and U.S. carriers. Most carriers in Western Europe use a combination of 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 Mhz, so make sure that you check your unlocked Android phone for compatibility.
  • Many prepaid SIM cards require activation through SMS or a web-based portal, and by default use the local language. Make sure when purchasing, you get the store clerk to activate the SIM, or ask how to change the default language to one of your choice.
  • Make sure that, should you need more data, you have a way to do so without requiring a European credit card. This is especially important if you plan on moving from a big city to more rural areas where topping up at a store is not possible.
  • If you're going to be moving between countries, ask when purchasing whether the carrier has European roaming options. Some carriers have deals with other networks that make it cheap, or free, to roam on partner networks in neighbouring or nearby countries.

What to know: Discover the best networks in the country you're visiting with this helpful European roaming Wiki.

Unlocked iPhone or Android phone needed

Use your own SIM card

In recent years, Canadian carriers have become more serious about European roaming. Spurred by Rogers' Roam Like Home, today all three major Canadian carriers offer cheap or discounted European roaming packages.

Rogers Roam Like Home

The OG roaming package, Rogers Roam Like Home charges customers $10 per day, up to a maximum of 10 days or $100 per billing cycle, to access their Share Everything plan in most European countries.

Say, for example, you have a Share Everything plan (all of which include unlimited calls and texts) with 2.5GB of monthly data. In any Roam Like Home-supported country, your smartphone will tap into that data allotment while roaming. There are no separate data buckets or fees. After 10 days of travel, that $10 daily fee is waived.

What to know: Overage fees still apply after 10 days of travel, so be careful about using too much data while abroad, and download the MyRogers app to stay on top of data usage. Enroll by texting travel to 222.

See at Rogers

Bell

Bell recently expanded its Roam Better service to include dozens of countries around the world, including many in Europe.

Similar to its U.S.-based roaming option, Roam Better allows travellers to spend a set amount per day — in this case, $10 — for unlimited calls and texts in that country, plus 100MB of data. Unlike Roam Like Home, Roam Better doesn't eat into a customer's existing domestic data bucket. On the other hand, it can get pricey, since 100MB is easy to chew through while loading maps and learning about the city.

What to know: After 100MB is used, Bell automatically sends a text message asking whether you want to opt-in to another 100MB of data for $10. Data expires at 11:59pm Eastern Time regardless of where you're roaming, so be careful; most European countries are between five and eight hours ahead of EST, which means the count will reset in the early hours of the morning. Enroll by texting ROAM to 7626.

See at Bell

Telus bundles

Telus hasn't extended its Easy Roam product to Europe just yet, so travellers to the continent are best to look elsewhere. Bundles include:

  • Europe Combo Pass $50: 50 minutes, 150 texts, 150MB
  • Europe Combo Pass $85: 75 minutes, 300 texts, 750MB
  • Europe Combo Pass $150: 200 minutes, unlimited texts, 1.5GB

All passes are valid for 30 days.

What to know: Because Telus doesn't offer a European equivalent of US Easy Roam, it's very important to either get a bundle before leaving, or turn off roaming completely. Pay-per-use rates for Europe are exorbitant, at $1.50 per call minute, $0.60 per text, and $5.00 per MB data.

See at Telus

Your turn!

Is your carrier not listed? Check with them to see if they have inexpensive daily, weekly, or monthly European travel bundles. Have roaming experiences or tips to share? Leave them in in the comments!

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3 months ago

How to reinstall the software on your Chromebook

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You can reinstall a fresh version of the operating system on your Chromebook with an easy-to-use tool and a USB stick or SD card.

If you see the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" error when you start up your Chromebook, you'll need to reinstall the operating system. This isn't normally an issue, but if you were fiddling with the partitioning or trying to install another operating system like Ubuntu, you might see it. It's fairly easy to fix as long as you have another computer running the Chrome browser (or another Chromebook) with internet access and a USB drive or SD card.

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3 months ago

How to report a bug on your Chromebook

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Let the Chrome team know about the bugs they need to look at — and do things the right way.

With Android app support slowly trickling into the Chrome Dev channel, there are plenty of folks who would normally use something more stable on their Chromebook running it. That means there are more of us to find bugs, and we all should report them. That's how we can help make Chrome better!

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3 months ago

How to make your Android look like a BlackBerry

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In recent weeks, I've shown you how to make your phone feel like a Nexus, a Windows Phone, even an iPhone. Next up was BlackBerry, but in all honesty, some things just can't be replaced and replicated. Don't get me wrong, there are a few tweaks that bring back a little of that old BlackBerry magic — and I'm gonna share them with you — but there's no magic icon pack or launcher that just pulls it together into a real complete BlackBerry theme.

That's a testament to BlackBerry's unique design — and its (sometimes painful) simplicity.

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3 months ago

How to customize your Chromebook launcher

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Make your Chromebook look the way you like it with these tips.

If you're using a Chromebook that has Google Play, you might be downloading a bunch of Android apps. If you don't yet have Google Play on your Chromebook, you're probably thinking of Android apps you want to install when it comes. With all those apps — and your Chrome apps — you'll probably want to tidy things up a bit. Here's how you can do it.

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3 months ago

How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK

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BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer's regional locking may scupper your attempts to view the Beeb's output when you're abroad. Here are a few handy workarounds.

BBC iPlayer has evolved into one of the best streaming services in the UK — free to use, with high-definition streaming and download support across multiple platforms. But if you're travelling outside the UK, you'll likely run into problems accessing iPlayer. That's because, being a UK-only service, access is blocked from outside the country.

Fortunately there are a few workarounds, all of which are relatively simple.

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3 months ago

How to use multi-window mode on Samsung Galaxy S7

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How to use multi-window mode on Samsung Galaxy S7

How do I use multi-window mode on Samsung Galaxy S7?

Although Android N will be bringing a split-screen functionality to all Android phones in the future, Samsung's Galaxy series of phones have been able to use multi-window mode for years now. This multi-tasking feature is extremely useful for people who are tired of moving back and forth between apps.

How to enable multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

Not all apps are capable of using multi-window mode, so only multi-window-compatible apps will appear when you activate multi-window mode.

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

The app that you are currently in will always have a blue outline around the edges, so you shouldn't lose track of where you are.

How to enable multi-window mode in from Recents menu on Galaxy S7

If you already have the app you want to use multi-window mode open, you can easily start a multi-window session from the Recents menu.

  1. Press the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Tap the multi-window mode button on the app you want. It looks like to rectangles stack on top of each other. This button will only appear on apps that support multi-window mode.
  3. Tap second app you want to use.

    Press the Recents key, tap the multi-window-button on the app you want, and then tap on the second app you want to use.

How to enable multi-window mode from an app on Galaxy S7.

If you are already in an app and want to start a multi-window session, you can do so with just a few taps provided the app you have open supports multi-window mode.

  1. Launch any app from your Home screen or app drawer.
  2. Press and hold the Recents key.
  3. Tap on the second app you want to open.

    Launch any app from your Home screen or app drawer, press and hold the Recents key, and then tap on the secodn app you want to open.

How to adjust the size of the multi-window mode windows on Galaxy S7

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

  4. Press and hold the white circle in the middle of the two app windows.
  5. Drag the white circle to the spot you want.
  6. Let go.

    Press and hole the white circle in the middle of the two apps, drag the white circle to desired position, and then let go.

How to invert the app windows' positions in multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

You can quickly invert the positions of both apps that are open in Multi-Window mode. Not only will they switch positions, but the windows will also switch sizes.

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

  4. Press the white circle in the middle of both apps
  5. Press the invert positions button. It's the furthest left button in the multi-window menu.

    Press the white circle in the middle of the two app windows, and then tap on the invert positions button.

How to drag and drop content in multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

Some apps — fair warning it's a limited list— will allow you to drag and drop content between them when you have them in multi-window mode. If you try it with two apps that aren't supported, your Galaxy S7 will let you know.

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Launch any app from your Home screen or app drawer, press and hold the Recents key, and then tap on the second app you want to open.

  4. Tap on the app window you want to drag and drop content from. The app you have selected will be surrounded by a blue border.
  5. Tap the the white circle in the middle of the two app windows.
  6. Tap on the drag and drop content button.

    Tap on the app window, tap the white circle, and then tap the drag and drop button.

From here you can now drag the content on the app window you have selected to the other app window.

How to minimize an app in multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

  4. Tap on the app window you want to minimize. The app you have selected will be surrounded by a blue border.
  5. Tap the the white circle in the middle of the two app windows.
  6. Tap on the minimize button. It's the two arrows facing pointing towards each other in a box.

    Tap on the app window you want to minimize. tap on the white circle, and then tap on the minimize button.

How to maximize an app in multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

  4. Tap on the app window you want to maximize. The app you have selected will be surrounded by a blue border.
  5. Tap the the white circle in the middle of the two app windows.
  6. Tap on the maximize button. It's the double-sided arrow in the box.

    Tap on the app window you want to maximize. tap on the white circle, and then tap on the maximize button.

How to close an app in multi-window mode on Galaxy S7

  1. Press and hold the Recents key. It's the button to the left of your Home button.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. Open the second app you want to use. Note: you can't open the same app twice.

    Press and hold the Recents key, open the first app you want to use, and then open a second app.

  4. Tap on the app window you want to maximize. The app you have selected will be surrounded by a blue border.
  5. Tap the the white circle in the middle of the two app windows.
  6. Tap on the close button. It looks like an X.

    Tap on the app window you want to maximize. tap on the white circle, and then tap on the close button.

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3 months ago

How to save money on roaming fees outside the UK

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Plane view

Using your phone abroad can be expensive — but with a little planning, it's easy to save a lot of money.

If you're unprepared, using your phone overseas can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of a trip abroad, in the form of an enormous roaming bill when you return home. Fortunately, international roaming is more affordable than ever. Depending on your network and circumstances, it's easy to keep costs to a minimum. And even if your phone is locked to a network with unfriendly roaming rates, you've still got plenty of options.

Let's dive in.

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3 months ago

How to use Google Docs or Sheets offline on Android

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How to use Google Docs or Sheets offline on Android

This is how you use Google Docs or Sheets offline on Android.

Google Docs and Sheets are fantastic office tools that come free for all Google users. You can access your files across platforms thanks to Google Drive, and you can edit your files offline on your Android device. Make all new files available offline, and make individual older files available offline. Here's how.

How to make all new Google files available offline on Android

  1. Launch the Docs or Sheets app from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button in the top left of your screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap the slider next to the Offline row so that it is blue (on). This will ensure new documents or sheets you create are available offline.

    Tap the menu button. Tap Settings. Tap the slider so it turns to blue (on).

How to make older Google files available offline on Android

  1. Launch the Docs or Sheets app from your home screen or app tray.
  2. Tap an older document you'd like to make available offline.
  3. Tap the menu button in the top right corner of the screen. It looks like three stacked dots.
  4. Tap the slider next to the Available offline row so that it is blue (on). This document is now available offline.

    Tap an older document. Tap the menu button. Tap the slider so that it turns blue (on).

Each older document must be given offline privileges — there is no all-encompassing offline switch for older documents.

How do you use Google Docs and Sheets?

Have you taken advantage of the ability to use Google Docs and Sheets offline? Let us know in the comments section below!

Android Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow

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3 months ago

How to add a second Google account to your Android

16
How to add a second Google account to your Android

How do I add a second Google account to my Android device? This is how.

Instead of trying to keep all of your Google accounts in order on multiple devices, why not have everything on one device? Android has made it easy to add accounts, sync accounts, and remove accounts — here's how.

How to add a second Google account to your Android device

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade.
  2. Swipe up in the Settings menu to scroll down.
  3. Tap Accounts.

    Tap the Settings button. Swipe up in the Settings menu. Tap Accounts.

  4. Tap Add Account.
  5. Tap Google.
  6. Type in your email address in the provided field. You can also create a new account to be added.

    Tap Add Account. Tap Google. Type in your email address.

  7. Tap Next.
  8. Type your password.
  9. Tap Next.

    Tap Next. Type your password. Tap Next.

  10. Enter the 2-Step Verification code if you have it enabled and tap Next.
  11. Tap Accept to agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
  12. Tap a billing information option.
  13. Tap Continue.

    Tap Accept. Tap a billing information option. Tap Continue.

How to remove a Google account from your Android device

  1. Swipe down from the top of the Home screen.
  2. Tap the Settings button. It looks like a gear.
  3. Swipe up in the Settings menu to scroll down.

    Swipe down. Tap the Settings button. Swipe up in the Settings menu.

  4. Tap Accounts.
  5. Tap Google.
  6. Tap the Google account you'd like to remove.

    Tap Accounts. Tap Google. Tap the Google account you'd like to remove.

  7. Tap the Menu button. It looks like three vertical dots.
  8. Tap Remove account.
  9. Tap Remove account to confirm the account removal.

    Tap the Menu button. Tap Remove account. Tap Remove account again to confirm.

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3 months ago

How to change Android app permissions on your Chromebook

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Guarding your privacy by setting Android app permissions on your Chromebook is easy. Here's what you need to know.

Google's been working on a system to permit or deny application permissions for a while, and with Marshmallow we saw it go live. With little of the problems and issues many expected, too. Since Android apps on your Chromebook run in their own Android container, you have the same control over permissions as you would on any Android phone or tablet. The only difference is how you get to them. It's easy — and something we'd like to find its way to Android on your phone, too.

Like any app installed on your Chromebook, you have a right click (or two finger tap on the trackpad) menu. To find all your apps, just click on the magnifying glass in the taskbar. The window that opens has icons for your recently used apps and a shortcut to the all apps page near the top. Click the all apps icon (or tap the screen) to get there. If you've installed plenty of Chrome or Android apps, you will probably have multiple pages, and you can swipe between them with the trackpad. Find the app you want to learn more about, and right click — remember that's a two finger tap on the trackpad — and you'll see a menu.

One of the items there is labeled App info. If you choose it, you'll see the standard app information screen from Android. One of the sections here is Permissions, and if you choose it the application permissions window opens. Here you can choose what the app is allowed to do by ticking the small toggle to the right of the window.

Remember that you might lose some functionality in the app if you don't allow it to do what it wants to do. A well-coded app can work around this, but the workaround might be asking you to enable the permission or just closing itself. Apps are installed on Marshmallow with all permissions denied by default, and if you never visit this setting the app will ask you when it needs to do something like access your storage or rifle through your contacts. And that's how it should be. My data is mine, and I'll decide with who and how it's shared, thank you very much.

Be sure to give this a look, and decide who gets your data and how, too.

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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3 months ago

How to install and uninstall Android apps on your Chromebook

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Android apps install on your Chromebook just like they do on your phone, and they can be uninstalled just like any other Chrome app.

It's time for a little tip using your Chromebook when it comes to adding and removing Android apps. While you install them the "normal" Android way, uninstalling them is a little different than you might be used to. Here's the skinny.

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3 months ago

How to load Google Play on your Chromebook

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Google Play is just a click away once you get the M53 update on your Chromebook.

If you're using a Chromebook that has support for Android apps in the dev channel, you won't magically get Google Play with the update. The good news is that it's easy to install and get everything up and running.

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3 months ago

How to switch your Chromebook to the developer channel

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Changing channels on your Chromebook is easy — you just have to know where the button is.

The M53 dev channel update for the ASUS Chromebook Flip has arrived, and with it, we can have our first look at Android app support for Chromebooks. Android apps for the Acer Chromebook r11 and 2015 Pixel are also expected in the coming weeks as well. Chances are if you have one of these models, you're also running on the stable channel. That means you will need to change channels if you want to give things a try. It's fairly simple to do, and all you need to know is where to look and which button to click.

Here's how it's done.

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3 months ago

What companies need to know when creating a BYOD work environment

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Increase workforce agility and mobility by going BYOD.

If you're considering implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in your workplace, there are a few things you should consider before diving in and giving employees' personal devices access to sensitive information. Do you have the right security in place? Are there any restrictions on device usage during work hours? Are you and your employees using the right apps?



We've got a few tips that could keep your safe and on the right track when setting up a BYOD environment in your workplace.

It's not as cost-effective as you think

Some employers may think that by creating a BYOD strategy, they'll save thousands on computers and other network devices that would otherwise be owned by the company.

This isn't really the case, since security measures and support for employee-owned devices will likely just replace those costs. Implementing a BYOD policy is about employee efficiency and mobility, and should not be considered a cost-saving measure, since the savings may be minimal or nonexistent. Let's just get that out of the way off the bat.

Create a framework

Before even mentioning BYOD to your employees, you need to set up a BYOD framework. The framework address issues like: who gets to use their devices while on the job and for what purposes; which types of devices may be used; and, how support for these devices will be carried out.

Your framework should also include your roll-out strategy. It should be careful and calculated, so as not to become vulnerable to security risks.

Prior to development, it's a good idea to perform a cost-benefit analysis, to make sure it's worth it to set up support for all the devices that will be added to your network.

You framework should include the input of your IT and HR staff, legal and financial advisors, and anyone else who should be involved in the decision-making process.



Get some policies going

The BYOD framework is a top-down view of how BYOD will be implemented. Your policies fill in the details. These will explicitly define what your employees may and may not do when using their personal devices for work.

This is where you can talk about any specific apps that have to be on employee devices and any apps that cannot be on employee devices, for security reasons.

This is also where you'll outline how IT will support employee devices. If devices are malfunctioning, will it be up to IT to fix them or, in the case of smartphones, the wireless carrier in question? These are questions that are to be addressed and their answers outlined.

Cover your endpoints

An endpoint security management system is pretty much a necessity at this point, if you're considering a BYOD environment. Endpoint protection is like anti-virus on steroids. It involves an integrated system of anti-malware, data input/output management, user management, and more.



This is where you can add log-in restrictions, block unsafe websites, monitor network traffic, and much more. Endpoint security is imperative if you want to protect your data and make your network safe for both you and your employees.

You may want an endpoint security system that involves MDM or Mobile Device Management software. This will allow you to control employee devices if they become lost or stolen. Any device employing the MDM software can be remotely accessed and erased.

An endpoint security management system should be factored into your cost-benefit analysis.

Choose safe apps

If you're requiring your employees to use specific apps on their own devices, then make sure the apps you're using are safe and do not contain harmful code. This could be damaging to both your network and your employees' devices, which could entail costly replacements for them and potential data loss or worse for you.

A good endpoint security management system can assume app control and prevent harmful apps from executing on your and employee devices.

Educate your employees

A lot of people know the risks of computer viruses and spyware, but believe that smartphones are all but invincible. This is absolutely not the case and employees should know the possible security risks associated with bringing their own devices to work.

They should be walked through your framework and policies and educated in the use of any MDM software you implement. They should also be made aware of any NAC (Network Access Control) tools are in place, like website blockers.

Test it!

Before rolling out a company-wide BYOD policy, test it in very small doses. Have your IT department monitor usage and strains on the network and have HR monitor its effect on employee relations, efficiency, and satisfaction.

Thoughts?

Is your workplace a BYOD environment? What is your experience?

Sound off in the comments below!

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