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1 month ago

BlackBerry Motion specs

36

What's inside the BlackBerry Motion?

There's a new BlackBerry coming to town, the Motion, and while it's not quite as noteworthy as the return-of-the-keyboard KEYone, it's a nice mid-range handset with some interesting features.

With a 5.5-inch HD display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, 4000mAh battery and waterproofing, there's a lot to like here.

Here's the full spec sheet.

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1 month ago

Google Home Mini: Everything you need to know

12

You now have another, cheaper way to access Google Assistant.

Google has announced a smaller, cheaper Home speaker, the Google Home Mini. Here's what you need to know!

What is it?

It's a Google Home, but smaller! It's both voice- and touch-enabled, similar to the larger Google Home. And while the speaker isn't quite as powerful as Home, Google says that the rounded design allows for 360-degree sound that can fill a room. And the fabric surrounding the speaker makes it attractive and easy to integrate into any decor.

It also connects to any Chromecast Audio speaker if you need bigger, brighter sound.

Google announces Home Mini speaker for $49

How much will it cost?

$49 in the U.S., and $80 in Canada.

What colors will it be available in?

Coral, Chalk, and Charcoal.

When will be it available?

Pre-orders are now available, and it will ship October 19.

Where will it be available?

All the countries Google Home is currently available!

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • UK
  • Japan
  • U.S.

See at Google

Note: This post will be updated as we learn more about the Google Home Mini.

Google Hardware

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Chromecast Ultra:

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1 month ago

How to install and set up a VPN on the NVIDIA Shield TV

7

No more region restrictions! Installing a VPN on your Shield TV is easy.

There are plenty of reasons to use a VPN. Security and privacy come to mind, but when you're talking about a streaming device like the NVIDIA Shield TV, regional restrictions are right up there at the top, too. You don't turn into a pirate just because you're on vacation.

The issue is that setting up a VPN sounds intimidating. And it can be if you have to dig into the network settings and do it manually. Thanks to Google Play, you don't have to. All you need is a valid VPN subscription and a couple of apps installed on your Shield TV and you're halfway there.

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A dedicated VPN app

The first thing you need to do is see if your VPN company has an app in Google Play. There are a good many of them available, and even if you can't find one through your Shield's Play Store, sideloading is easy.

Once you get an app for a specific VPN installed, whether through the Play Store or from an SD card/USB Drive, open it and sign in with your credentials.

You're done. Pick a server and off you go!

What to do if your VPN doesn't have an Android TV app

OpenVPN

There are more VPN companies that don't have their own app than there are ones that do. A lot more. The good news is that almost every VPN company has a set of OpenVPN profiles and a certificate that you can use on any device. You'll find this information at your VPN company's website, and you'll need to download at least one server profile and the certificate.

The files are small so it's not a bad idea to download all the server profiles. They will all use the same certificate so you only need to download it once.

The Shield TV doesn't come with a web browser (that's so silly) and if you haven't sideloaded one, there's no need to for this because we're going to use a utility every Shield TV owner should have: WiFi File Explorer Pro. It's a 99-cent app that acts as an FTP server for your Shield TV so you can connect to it through any web browser and transfer files.

You'll find it in the Shield TV's Play Store so it's easy to install. There's also a free version, but it is limited to 50 uploads; you'll burn through those quickly once you see how easy it is and know you'll never have to reach into the back of your entertainment cabinet and plug in a thumb drive again.

Fire WiFi File Explorer up on your Shield (or use whatever method you like to transfer files) and create a folder on the device to put your server profile(s) and the certificate in. Copy those over, and close the app by pressing back on your Shield TV remote.

Next, head back into Google Play on your Shield and search for the OpenVPN for Android app. Search for VPN if you're using voice search because for some reason it turns OpenVPN into two words and can't find the app. If only Google was a search company ...

OpenVPN for Android is free (awesome) so go ahead and install it. When it's done installing — it will only take a few seconds as the app isn't very big — open the app. Don't get freaked out by the ugly interface with a bunch of stuff you might not understand. All we're going to do is "click" in a few places and use the files you transferred to automagically set everything up.

In the upper right corner of the app, you'll see four icons. The box with the arrow is the import button and it's the one we want. Click on it and in the file browser window that opens, find the VPN Server profile(s) you transferred over. Click on one of them. If you transferred more than one, you'll need to do this for all of them individually.

It will start the import process and end with an error. That's because it can't find the certificate, but there's nothing to worry about — we never told it where the certificate was. Click the button to let it finish importing and it will take you back to the main interface screen.

Now it's time to point it to the certificate, so click the pencil icon for the entry on the right side. A window where you can choose the certificate and enter your VPN credentials will open.

You'll see a button marked Select on the right side of the screen. Click it and browse to the certificate you transferred earlier and choose it. Now the authentication certificate and server profile(s) are both set up and all you need to do is enter your VPN username and password.

You can enter those here, or leave them blank to enter them each time you start a VPN connection. You can ignore the other settings unless your VPN company has instructions for you to change them. It probably doesn't.

Once you're done on this tab, switch over to the Server list tab at the top of the screen. Click the entry you just set up and it will automatically connect. You're now tunneling your traffic through your VPN server and your real IP address and location are hidden.

Besides getting around region locking, you'll be able to stay private if you do anything where you'd like some privacy. Another bonus is that beacons, trackers, and all the other tricks companies like Facebook use to monitor everything you do online become useless data. Remember that your ISP can see you're connected to a VPN, and the company running the VPN can monitor your connection, though.

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It's just another computer

We love the Shield TV. it's powerful for gaming and 4K HDR video, NVIDIA keeps it updated with all the latest stuff for Android as well as NVIDIA-specific apps and games, and it's hands-down the best set-top box you can buy because it's not shackled to iTunes and the App Store. But at its heart, it's really just a computer like any other computer.

That means using it through a VPN, or installing apps you got from somewhere other than the Play Store app or even importing your own certificates of trust are simple and work as expected. And that makes us love the Shield TV even more.

See at Amazon

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

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1 month ago

How to get the male Google Assistant voice on your phone and Google Home

10

The Google Assistant can now be changed to sound like a man, and this is how to do it.

It's been exactly one year since the Google Assistant debuted on the Pixel and Pixel XL last October, and while we're expecting big changes in both hardware and software from Google at its Pixel event, there's a new feature with the Assistant that you can mess around with right now.

The Google Assistant has used the voice of a female ever since its conception, but just before the big launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google is giving you the option to change the Assistant's voice to a male's. You can change the voice for both the Assistant on your phone and Google Home, and the process for doing so is fairly simple.

Changing Assistant voices on your phone

  1. Hold down on your home button to prompt the Google Assistant
  2. Tap the circular blue icon near the upper-right
  3. Touch the overflow icon in the top-right and go to Settings
  4. Go to Preferences -> Assistant voice

Changing Assistant voices on Google Home

  1. Open the Google Home app
  2. Go to More settings from the hamburger menu
  3. Preferences -> Assistant voice

Once you're at the Assistant voice section, Voice I is the female voice and Voice II is the male one. Tapping the blue speaker icon next to each one will play a preview for how it sounds, and touching anywhere else on either voice option will select it as your new default. The male voice doesn't change anything about how the Google Assistant works, but it is nice to have some added customization over how Google's AI sounds when interacting with it.

How to set up and customize Google Assistant

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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1 month ago

Selling your Android phone: Everything you need to know

7

How do I sell my Android phone or tablet for the most amount of money? With these tips and tricks, you'll get the best return!

So a new Android phone has caught your eye — maybe the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 — and you want to get on the boat as soon as possible. You'll need to sell your old phone in order to make up some of the money you're spending on that new device, but luckily there are a wealth of options available. We're going to get you through some of the best practices out there for preparing your Android phone or tablet for sending off, and some places for sale that would best suit your needs.

Remove SIM and SD cards

First up, you'll want to take out the SIM card and SD memory card from your phone. These are important pieces of hardware that you don't want to leave in your phone when you ship it off to your buyer. Your SIM card is what enables your phone to take calls at your number and is associated with your data plan. You'll need it for your new phone, anyway. Often you'll need a paperclip or similarly slim poking implement to open a SIM card tray, but sometimes it will be behind the rear casing of your phone by the battery. The exact method will vary by device.

Not every phone or tablet will have an SD memory card slot, but you'll often find them alongside your SIM card slot. Memory cards will often store your photos and music, though the device itself has its own storage too. Use either your phone's native file manager or a third party one (I like Astro to look in the folder where downloads, music, and photos may have been saved. From there, you should be able to copy them to your SD card before taking it out. You'll want to check to make sure all of your important files are saved, so be sure to back up your data as well.

Back up data

Assuming your data is associated with your Google account, your contacts, calendar, and e-mail will already be fully backed up in the cloud. That means as soon as you fire up your new phone, that important information will be there as soon as you log into your Google account. Many manufacturers will offer their own similar cloud backup utility that encompasses contacts and calendars. More storage-intensive content such as music and photos can be backed up wirelessly with Google Drive, or third parties like Flickr and Dropbox.

Your Google account, your contacts, calendar, and e-mail will already be fully backed up in the cloud.

If you'd rather not go through the cloud, your device manufacturer should have desktop software that would allow you to back up your data with a USB cable. Again, that process will vary by who made your phone or tablet.

More: Backing up your Android phone: the ultimate guide

Make sure you also sign up for Google Photos to back up your photos!

Unlock your phone

Strictly speaking, this part is optional though it certainly adds value. Unlocking your phone means SIM cards other than those of the original carrier can be used. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean the phone's antenna will necessarily play nice with the new network, but unlocking at least gives it a chance to try. In the U.S. this is only really of interest to T-Mobile and AT&T customers but is quite important to international sellers and buyers.

Everything you need to know about unlocking your phone

So where do you go to unlock your phone? Your current service provider may be willing to do it after some wrangling. You can go with an online service too, like CellUnlocker.net. Cost is usually in the ballpark of $15 to $25, depending on phone model. The unlock is accomplished by generating a code based on your IMEI number. Your IMEI number can be found under Settings and About device, or by entering *#06# in the phone dialer.

Unlocking your phone often adds value to your phone, since it can work on other carriers around the world.

Once you've received an unlock code from your service provider or third-party unlocker, put a different SIM card into your phone, and you'll be prompted to put in that code. Be careful, you only get so many tries before you're locked out entirely from your phone.


Factory reset

Once you're sure your data is safe and secure, you're ready to wipe it clean. The first thing you'll want to do is turn off Factory Reset Protection (FRP), which is an extra security measure in case your phone or tablet gets stolen and the thief simply does a factory reset on it. FRP can be disabled by removing your Google accounts from the phone or tablet. Jump into Settings and find Accounts. You'll see a list of various accounts you've set up on the device, but you want to tap on Google. Here, you'll see your Google account(s), where you can tap on them, and see more settings to remove them permanently.

In the Settings section for most phones, you'll find under Settings an option for Backup and Reset. If it's not immediately visible, the settings menu should have a search bar to help you. You'll want to double and triple check to make sure all of your important information has been recovered from the phone, because after this there's no going back.

Gather accessories

With your phone wiped clean, you'll want to get all of the miscellaneous odds and ends you have lying around. If you still have the original box, receipt, and warranty, those are all good to include. Original USB cable, wall charger, and headphones are nice bonuses. If you want to put the real icing on the cake and increase your chance of sales, include any relevant third-party accessories. The case, in particular, you won't have much use for after this anyway.

If you still have the original box, receipt, and warranty, those are all good to include. Cables and chargers are good, too!

Clean device and take pictures

Give your phone or tablet a good wipe down with a microfiber cloth, and get ready to take some pictures. Use a proper camera (i.e. not another phone) with a tripod, if you have one. Your top priority for taking pictures is good lighting. A lamp will cast a lot of shadows, but if you have a cool-toned halogen overhead light in the house somewhere, that should provide a nice even look.

Keep the background clean. Even if you're just putting the phone on a white piece of paper, that's fine. Get multiple angles, and if there are any particular scuffs or shows of wear, photograph them; being deceptive about the state of your phone will lead to poor feedback or outright refunds, depending on how you're going about selling.

Sell your device

With your phone wiped, cleaned, and the accessories all boxed up, you've got to figure out where to sell. Your venue of choice will often decide how much of a return you'll get.

Sell via carrier trade-in

Finding a buyer can be a hassle, but all major U.S. carriers will offer you credit for your old phone. A resurgence in many guaranteed upgrade plans actually requires you to hand your old phone back before being able to snag a new one. Though this is a pretty convenient solution, especially if you intend on sticking with your carrier for your next phone, the actual return on your phone will likely be less than other venues for sale.

Sell via Amazon trade-in

Amazon's trade-in service applies for just about every type of phone, tablet, and electronic product. Amazon will pay for shipping your device out to them, but you'll get paid with an Amazon gift card rather than proper cash, but that might not be an awful thing if you can find your next phone on Amazon (and you probably can). If you just want some cold, hard cash, or already have your next device ready to go, this route might not be for you.

Sell on Amazon

Sell via eBay

eBay is a massively popular way to sell your stuff. A rating system vets sellers, and you can pay in a number of secure ways. You'll need to deal with additional fees and the hassle of shipping, but a much wider audience will see your device for sale here than just about anywhere. There are a few things to keep in mind before jumping onto eBay.

  • Only ship to the confirmed PayPal address, if that's how you're getting paid. This ensures you keep PayPal Seller Protection.
  • Price competitively. It's easy to check other sales of the same item and see how much they've sold for. With a larger seller pool, it's easy for buyers to find cheaper options.
  • Be honest about the condition of your Android device. Shipping an item in the condition it wasn't described as can earn you a poor review, and potentially lead to the buyer getting their money back.
  • Use accurate keywords in the title and description. That means full market name, model number, carrier branding, memory denomination, and a mention of accessories included.
  • Mention shipping details in your description. Usually the faster the shipping the better, even if it bumps up the cost of the device, and insurance isn't a bad idea. Communicate regularly with your eventual buyer about the shipping status of the device.
  • Avoid low-feedback buyers. Odds are it's for a reason, and you can often drill down into their feedback profile to see any previous altercations a buyer has had on eBay.

Sell on eBay

Craigslist

Use Craigslist to sell your Android device locally, which cuts out the issue of shipping. Any potential buyer will want to check out the condition of your phone in person before handing over any money. Some sellers might not be comfortable meeting strangers and taking their money, but it's fairly common occurrence. So long as you follow some simple guidelines, everything should go fine.

  • It should go without saying, but don't post your home address in the public Craigslist ad.
  • Price competitively by monitoring how much similar devices are selling for. You'll have a hard time moving yours if potential buyers know they can get a better deal.
  • If interested buyers want to call on the phone, consider using Skype or a temporary phone number to maintain privacy.
  • Meet in a public place during the daytime. Most buyers are going to be perfectly normal and friendly, but better safe than sorry. Some local police departments have set up monitored Craigslist exchange spots. If this is idea, you can search for a save deal zone near you.
  • Shipping internationally or getting offers that are absurdly higher than your asking price are signs of a scam. Hold off for a legit offer.

Sell on Craigslist


Swappa

Swappa is a dedicated mobile device marketplace with established quality assurance. Buyers pay a $10 fee in the U.S., but what they're buying is inspected and vouched for by Swappa. They even do a check to make sure there isn't an outstanding balance on the device. The prices are decent, to boot.

Sell on Swappa

Gazelle

Gazelle is similar to Swappa, though they're ultimately trying to do the selling for you rather than pairing you up with a buyer. They'll buy your phone painlessly, though you won't get as good of a price as you might from other services.

Sell on Gazelle

Friends and family

People you already know may be in the market for a new device and be willing to pay up-front for one. Assuming you're on good terms with a buyer you already know, you can count on getting a good price, plus it's convenient being able to hand off the phone to someone you might already see regularly anyway. Of course, you also get the warm-and-fuzzy feeling of knowing your well-loved phone is going to a good home.

Android Central forums

We have a whole forum dedicated to wheeling and dealing in used devices. Check in with our community members that are interested in buying, and you may have a sale before you know it. You can also check out our general help forums if you've got questions about how to go about selling your Android device.

Visit the Android Central Marketplace

Visit the Android Central General Help forums

Update, October 2017: This post has been updated with all the latest information on how to sell your Android phone!

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1 month ago

How to use Live message on the Galaxy Note 8

10

You can add some flair and personality to your messages by using Live message on the Note 8.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a great phone that gives you more control over aspects of your experience using the S Pen. One of these great features is Live message, a widget that lets you animate messages using text, drawing, and backgrounds. We've got the details on how to use it right here!

How to create a new live message

Creating a new Live message is easy enough once you open up the widget. To find it you just need to remove the S Pen, and it will pop up as an option.

  1. Open Live message by removing the S Pen from your Note 8.
  2. Draw the message you want to send.
  3. Tap Done.

    Open Live message, Draw the message you want to send, Tap Done.

How to change the writing color in a Live message

Live messages are a fun way to add animation and color to the messages you send to friends and family. This includes, being able to change the color of the message you are sending in just a few moments.

  1. Open Live message by removing the S Pen.
  2. Tap the color icon in the left corner.
  3. Tap to choose a new color for your message.

    Open Live message, Tap the color in the left corner, and then tap to choose a new color for your writing.

How to change the line thickness

Being able to change the thickness of the lines when you draw your message gives you greater range for everything you send. Thankfully, changing the thickness of your lines can be done in just a moment or two.

  1. Open a Live message by removing the S Pen.
  2. Tap the thickness icon in the left corner.
  3. Use the slider to adjust the line thickness for your message.

    Open Live message, Tap the thickness in the upper right corner, Use the slide to adjust the line thickness.

How to change text effects

When you draw out a message, there are three different effects that you can take advantage of.

  1. Open a Live message by removing the S Pen.
  2. Tap the effects icon in the left corner.
  3. Tap to choose a new text effect.

    Open Live message, Tap the effects icon on the left, Tap to choose a new text effect.

How to view previous Live messages

  1. Open Live message by removing the S Pen.
  2. Tap Collection.
  3. Tap a previous Live message to open it.

    Open live message, Tap Collection, Tap a previous Live message to open it.

How to add a background

If you really want to take your messages to the next level, you can add a background. From here, you can still write on top, which means you can draw on photos and send them instead of just what you have drawn or written.

  1. Open Live message by removing the S Pen.
  2. Tap background.
  3. Tap to choose a image from your gallery for the background.

    Open Live message, Tap background, Tap to choose an image from your gallery for the background

Questions?

Have you been using Live Message on the Note 8? Do you prefer normal messages to being able to draw it out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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1 month ago

5 settings to change for better battery life on EMUI 5

4

Huawei's EMUI 5 is a powerful version of Android. Here's how to make it even better!

Huawei's EMUI 5 Android Skin adds a bit of personal flair and functionality to the company's line of devices while including some additional tools and features aimed directly at helping you get the most out of your device's battery.

The following tips should help you maximize the battery life of any Huawei device running EMUI 5.0, be it an Honor 6X, Mate 9, or MediaPad tablet.

Most of what we will cover below is found in the EMUI 5 Settings app under Battery, which makes sense, of course. If a setting is found outside of that section, we will point it out.

1. Auto-close apps when locked

Rogue apps running in the background will almost always be an area to check when it comes to battery drain. Huawei gives you the option to force close background apps each and every time you lock your EMUI 5 device.

Select the option titled Close apps after screen lock in the Battery settings to view a list of all installed apps on your device, as well as adjust whether you want the app to be closed automatically.

Slide the switch next to an app to the Off position to disable force close for that respective app.

Something that's easy to overlook in this section is the list of apps at the bottom that default to Off and will never force close when your device is locked. For example, Snapchat exempted itself from closing without any input whatsoever from me. And it's almost always one of the apps I find at the top of my battery usage chart.

2. Power Intensive Apps

EMUI 5.0 provides a list of apps that are using, well, a lot of power. When you open this section of Battery settings, a list of apps that are currently running in the background will fill in. Sometimes there will be only one, other times the list will go on and on.

You can kill any of the apps listed by checking the box to the right, then tap Close at the bottom of the screen.

Tap on the app name itself to adjust whether or not you want to be alerted when it's using too much power, as well as indicate if you want it to force close at screen lock.

3. Lower screen resolution

As with Samsung's Galaxy devices, lowering display resolution on a Huawei device can improve battery life. Huawei doesn't give you an option to pick the exact resolution you want to use, instead, you're given an option to allow the device to automatically lower screen resolution when it determines it can save battery by doing so.

I currently have the setting enabled and have yet to experience any drastic change in experience.

4. Optimize

Within the Battery settings there's an Optimize section. Select it and then let the scan complete. Once it's done, a series of suggestions will populate the screen. Suggestions range from detailing how many apps are running when the screen is off, to screen timeout changes, to disabling vibrate on touch to save more battery.

Don't take each and every suggestion here as gospel. If you prefer having vibrate on touch-enabled, it can't be using too much battery. On the other hand, a lot of apps running in the background even after your device is locked is sure to eat into your daily battery life.

Some suggestions are enabled with a single tap of a button, while others offer a shortcut to adjust the setting yourself.

5. Disable notifications on lock screen

Indeed, viewing a notification on the lock screen of your Huawei device without having to manually wake it is convenient. But each time the screen lights up, it's using a bit more of your battery, and throughout the day and bound to take a toll.

Open the Settings app > Notifications & status bar. Slide the switch next to Notifications turn on the screen to the Off position.

The obvious things, too

Not specific to Huawei, you should always check to ensure things like auto-brightness are turned on (or if you prefer turned off, your screen's brightness is turned way down), and disable features you aren't using. An app like IFTTT can be set up to toggle Wi-Fi on/off when you're away from home or work, for example.

Go into Settings > Apps and disable or delete any non-essential apps, such a crapware that may have carried over from a carrier device. (My Mate 9 is loaded with AT&T apps, even without a SIM in it.)

In other words, do all of the things we recommend for each and every device we cover.

Battery life is still one of the biggest challenges for smartphone makers' there's no harm in doing our part to squeeze out every last bit of performance.

Huawei Mate 9: 9 months later

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1 month ago

aptX vs. aptX HD: What's the difference?

35

In a world where a 3.5mm headphone jack is on the verge of extinction, aptX HD can make a difference.

Whenever you read anything about Bluetooth, you'll come across plenty of letters and numbers and other cryptic specs. One of the latest on these is aptX HD, which takes a previously cryptic specification and adds HD on the end. We all know HD means "High Definition", but what about the aptX part? And what makes aptX (which is also a high-definition specification) different from aptX HD?

Don't worry if you aren't quite sure of the answer because you're not alone. And we're about to go through the details so we can figure it out together.

What is aptX?

aptX is a Bluetooth audio codec that can transmit 16-bit/44.1kHz audio with a compression ratio of 4:1 at 352kpbs.

That's not very helpful, but it's what you would find if you dug up the specifications for aptX. What it means is that a device — your phone, your computer, your A/V receiver or just about anything else that can send Bluetooth audio — transmits audio with "CD-like" quality. It sounds better as long as the source of the audio is CD quality or higher.

The original aptX codec promised CD-like quality, and it mostly delivered on it.

Notice the claim of "CD-like" quality versus CD quality. It's stated this way because of compression. aptX, like every other Bluetooth audio codec, uses compression on the audio before sending, and the receiving device — your headphones or any other speaker — decompresses it while it's playing. Compressing the data and sending it is necessary because Bluetooth can't stream stereo audio fast enough to send raw data that would still sound good. The aptX codec also was designed to reduce latency, which is the amount of time that passes between sending the audio and hearing it.

If you're listening to music, latency doesn't matter. There could be a fairly big delay between your phone and your headphones and you wouldn't notice it. But if you were watching a video you most certainly would! We've all seen streams get a little funky and the words just don't sync with the actor's lips!

Latency is bad news when you're watching Netflix.

There's even an aptX LL (Low Latency) codec for cases where latency is super important. The aptX LL codec cuts latency down to 32 milliseconds which is fast enough that our brains can't detect it. You'll find aptX LL in things like gaming headsets where latency is more important than quality, though aptX LL can transmit 16-bit/44.1kHz, too.

When it's all said and done, aptX makes audio sound better than most other Bluetooth audio codecs. Since we all want our audio to sound good, aptX is a feature of almost every device that can send or receive audio over Bluetooth.

What is aptX HD?

AptX HD is a Bluetooth audio codec that can transmit 24-bit/48kHz audio with a "gentle" compression ratio of 4:1 at 576kpbs.

Again with the numbers, but this time we can make more use of them. For starters, higher quality audio can be sent using aptX HD without increasing the latency or pausing the data stream. 24-bit 48kHz files are true HD files that people with expensive wired headphones appreciate, where you hear very little background noise and can hear each individual thing making sounds clearly. Phones like the LG V series can send higher quality audio through the 3.5mm headphone jack, but these numbers have almost reached the point of diminishing return once you get to 24-bit 48kHz.

aptX HD ups the ante and can transmit a true hi-res audio stream.

The difference between a 24-bit 48kHz audio stream over a wired connection and one over Bluetooth is the compression. aptX HD has a better compression algorithm than standard aptX (note the "gentle" 4:1 compression) but any compression introduces fuzz and hiss. You've heard this at play even if you didn't know it — rock guitarists use compression taken to the extreme in order to make their guitar sound more "chunky" and "fuzzy" and it works. The compression used in the aptX HD codec was specially developed to not make things sound chunky and fuzzy, but it still injects some noise.

A bigger bandwidth pipe means less compression is required, and that means better sound quality.

The final difference is the most important. Apt X transmits audio at 352kpbs and aptX HD transmits at 576kbps. The kbps stands for kilobits per second, and this is the same way we measure our internet connection speed. One Mbps (megabit per second) is equal to 1,000 kilobits per second. We all know that more bits per second with your internet connection is better, and that's true with Bluetooth audio as well. The higher bandwidth means more data can be streamed which means it doesn't need as much compression, or as we see with aptX HD, a looser compression algorithm can be used.

Note that this measurement is in bits (lower-case b) and not bytes (upper-case B as in kBps) and is talking about the data transmission rate and not the file sizes that can be sent.

After we cut through all the numbers and tech talk, aptX HD can send higher quality audio than standard aptX, without introducing any extra latency. That means it sounds even better and approaches the quality you can get over a wire.

Where to find aptX HD

aptX HD isn't something that any equipment can deliver. It's something Qualcomm developed (as was the original aptX and all variants of it) and you need their hardware as well as their software. Their current high-end solution, the CSR8675 Bluetooth Audio SoC delivers aptX HD, Bluetooth 5, active noise cancellation over Bluetooth and Qualcomm TrueWireless stereo on a single chip. Like all hardware that supports aptX HD, it's 100% backward compatible with standard aptX, too.

LG first brought aptX HD to the smartphone world with the G5 and continues the trend with current models.

The first phone with aptX HD to be sold was the LG G5. LG has spearheaded the aptX HD movement and you'll also find the codec present in the LG V20, the LG G6, and the LG V30. Sony delivers aptX HD in the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 compact, OnePlus has the feature in the OnePlus 3, 3T and 5, and a handful of lesser-known (in the smartphone space at least) companies like Sharp and Luna also make aptX HD capable Android phones.

On the listening end, you'll find aptX HD headphones from Sony, Audio Technica, and LG as well as other lesser-known brands. The list of aptX HD products will likely keep growing as the codec delivers better sounding audio without any extra work needed from the companies who use it.

As far as the sound versus wired audio, that's something each of us will have to evaluate on our own.

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1 month ago

What is this white stuff on my icons and how do I get rid of it?

19
White as white can be.

'Why all the white space?' is a surprisingly apt complaint for Android Oreo.

What's the most noticable change when you jump from Android Nougat to Android Oreo? It's not the emoji, and it's not the not the snazzy new notifications. It's all the white space that invades your app drawer with Adaptive icons. Adaptive icons have a lot of potential to jazz up our app drawers while keeping things consistent and beautiful, but that's not happening until app developers update their icons to the new standards. That includes a lot of Google apps, which are currently legacy icons on white backgrounds, or just plain legacy icons.

Until that happens, though, we don't have to be stuck with a bunch of white on our app icons. This is Android, after all. When we don't like an app icon, we change it!

Now, there's a few ways to go about getting rid of this white space. Unfortunately, they all start the same way: switching to another launcher. Switching to a launcher that doesn't support Adaptive icons, does support icon packs, or features flexibility in deploying Adaptive icons gives us options to get rid of that white space.

Find a new home screen with our Best Launchers guide

Adapt your backgrounds

Nova Launcher uses the same method behind their color-matching notification badges to tint the background of legacy icons to better match their icons, and for some large square icons, Nova will simply enlarge the icon to fill the Adaptive icon mask entirely. This is a good method if you want the uniform shape that Adaptive icons provide while getting rid of the garish white. It is worth noting that this will not work for all apps, as a number of Google apps use Adaptive icons that are their traditional logo on a white background.

Icon stylesAdaptivePackAdaptivePack applied

Some launchers allow you to disable adaptive icon masks for the entire app drawer, or at least for unthemed icons. Action Launcher currently does this best, allowing you to keep adaptive icons that work properly while stripping your white backgrounds. They also have their own proprietary Adaptive icon pack just for their launcher that adds Adaptive icons for the most popular third-party apps. The pack, called AdaptivePack is still very young, but it's growing.

Ombre

Forgoing adaptive Icons completely, you can instead turn to what we used before Adaptive icons came about this year: icon packs. There are plenty of icon packs out there that will make all your icons the same shape, be it a circle, square, or even unique shapes like the docked icons in Ombre. Icon packs are compatible with more launchers than Adaptive icons right now and compatible with more versions of Android, too. Icon packs with good masks, good icon selection, and most importantly good taste are some of the easiest purchases I make on Android, and I come back to them time and time again.

Will Adaptive icons improve with time? Well, we can only hope. Until they do, however, there's nothing wrong with finding ways to get ugly white adaptive icon backgrounds out of our app drawers and our home screens.

Android Oreo

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1 month ago

How to fix Galaxy Note 8 battery life problems

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Galaxy Note 8 on wireless charger

Your phone doesn't have to die at dinnertime every day.

The Galaxy Note 8 is a big phone, but it doesn't exactly have a massive battery. In order to keep the phone relatively thin, light and manageable — as best as a 6.3-inch phone can be — the battery had to stay on the small side at 3300mAh. While it's enough capacity for most people on an average day, not everyone uses their phone the same way and sometimes you hit heavy days where you just need more longevity.

For those situations, we have some tips for getting the most out of your Galaxy Note 8's battery.

Use power saving mode

Galaxy Note 8 power saving mode

The simplest way to extend your battery life is to take advantage of Samsung's built-in power saving modes. There are two, of which you're most likely to use just one: the "medium" power saving mode. This mode does its best to balance extending your battery life with not influencing the experience of using the phone. It reduces your screen brightness, slightly slows down the processor, cuts off background network usage, and turns off the always-on display.

You can customize the medium power saving mode by going into Settings, Device maintenance, and then Battery. Tap on Mid and then tap Customize to change the parameters. For example there's a good chance you may want to actually keep background network usage on if you plan to use medium power saving mode for a long time.

The phone will prompt you to turn on power saving mode when your battery gets low, but you can also turn it on quickly with the "power saving" toggle in your notification shade quick settings

Look for power-hungry apps

It's rare, but sometimes a single app can drain a significant amount of battery.

Android Nougat is great about managing background processes and runaway apps, and Samsung has its own additional controls, but if you have a badly made app installed it can still drain your battery faster than you'd like. Unfortunately that means you still need to be diligent about checking battery usage — particularly if you're tipped off by a battery that isn't lasting as long as it should.

To check on apps that are using a large chunk of your battery, head into the phone's Settings, Device maintenance and then Battery to see a readout of which apps are using significant power. It isn't uncommon to see apps using 1-3% battery over the course of a day, but if you see one in the 5-10% range you should consider uninstalling it, or at least clearing its data and starting fresh with it in case something had gone wrong with its configuration.

Configure app auto-sync settings

Galaxy Note 8 Gallery sync settings

Some apps use up battery every single day but are actually useful or even critical to the operation of your phone. Some of the worst offenders can be apps that backup and sync with a cloud service in the background in order to keep the data current across your devices — and, in turn, they will by default always try to sync up in order to give you the best experience. But you don't have to keep the settings in their defaults if you prefer battery life over real-time syncing.

Samsung's own Gallery app automatically backs up photos when you're on Wi-Fi, and Google Photos has similar settings. Most podcast and music apps have auto-download functions for playlists. Take a look at the settings of these types of apps and see if you can configure them to not update as often — some even offer options to only download data while charging.

Uninstall unused apps

Building on that knowledge about bad apps, the simplest way to manage them is to cut down on the sheer number of apps you have installed in the first place! The average person probably has 100-something apps installed on their phone, but only actually uses a couple dozen on a regular basis. These "just in case" apps you have installed could be using up battery throughout the day — and even if one app may not be a huge leech, a handful of them all taking up a little battery can total a couple percentage points over the course of the day.

If you don't use an app for a few weeks, just get rid of it!

Jump into your app drawer and really look at the apps you have and how many you actually need. If you haven't touched an app in a few weeks, maybe uninstall it. You can always install an app again when you need it or if you usage needs change! It'll be saved in the Play Store as a part of your "library" of previously installed apps.

Turn off Google Play and Galaxy Apps auto-updating

The app stores aren't always conscious of your battery percentage.

Both Google Play and Galaxy Apps want to keep your apps up to date, and in general that's the right choice for the average person who doesn't want to think about manually updating. But unfortunately, neither one is very conscious about when they update — they'll start pulling down big apps the moment your phone is on Wi-Fi, no matter your battery percentage. You can, however, turn off automatic updates if you don't want the potential battery drain at an inopportune time.

First, open the Play Store, open the side menu, and tap Settings, then tap Auto-update apps and set to Do not auto-update apps. While you're there, you may want to turn on notifications for updates so you don't forget about them entirely! Now open up Galaxy Apps, tap the Menu button in the top-right corner, tap Settings, tap on Auto update apps and choose "Turn off". Again, consider turning on update notifications so you don't miss out on new versions of your apps.

Turn off unused radios

Galaxy Note 8 quick settings

This one's pretty simple: if you're not using a radio on your phone, turning it off saves battery. This mostly pertains to the big ones: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That's because even when you're not actively using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Note 8 is using both radios for all sorts of things. Not only is it regularly scanning for devices it could connect to, but it's also using that information to help locate your phone in the world as a part of the overall location services package on the phone.

They don't use tons of battery, but they use some — and if you're super worried about battery life, just tap their icons in the notification quick settings to turn them off when you know you won't be using them for a while. To go the extra mile, head into your phone's Settings, Connections, Location, and tap on Improve accuracy — here, you can choose to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning, which by default happen even when the radios are turned "off."

Last resort: A battery pack

Look, no matter what you do there's no way to make your phone last forever. Even if you tweak and configure your phone to save yourself an extra two hours of battery life, you can still get through that extra reserve quickly if you're pushing your phone hard. The "last resort" to keep your phone going without having to hug a wall outlet is to buy an external battery pack.

More: Great battery packs on Amazon

There are battery packs out there for every budget, capacity need and style. For the Note 8, look for one that's at least 4000mAh so you know it can give your phone a full charge. Also make sure you find one that supports Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0, so it can get the phone powered up quickly. You don't have to pay the higher prices for Samsung's own batteries, but they sure do look nice.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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1 month ago

How to set up and customize Google Assistant

79

How do you customize your experience with the Google Assistant?

While Google Assistant made its official debut with Allo, it wasn't until the release of the Pixel that we've seen more of what Google has in store for their personal AI assistant. Now, Google Assistant is ready to start rolling out to all Android phones running on Marshmallow or Nougat.

There's so many ways to use the Assistant throughout the day, from getting a daily briefing first thing in the morning to conveniently setting an alarm for the next day and nearly everything in between. To get the most out of Google Assistant, you'll want to know about all the settings and features, and we're here to help.

Update October 2017: Google Assistant has rolled out to Android phones running Marshmallow and later, headphones, Android Wear and Android TV devices

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1 month ago

Best ways to secure and unlock your Galaxy Note 8

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Any method that keeps your Note 8 locked is a good way, but some are better than others.

We've said it a million times (and we really mean it): your personal information, financial details, address book, photos and all the rest of the "stuff" on your phone should only be seen by people you want to see it. That means you should pay attention to the things apps you install want to do with all of it, but more importantly, it means you need to keep your phone locked when you're not using it.

70 million phones are lost each year. Yours could be one of them.

For starters, you need to have a screen lock set up to use mobile payments from both Samsung and Google. If you don't use your phone to pay for things, it's still worth making sure some random person can't rifle through everything if they find or steal your phone. A study for Lookout (by IDG Research) says that 1 out of 10 people are victims of phone theft, and Kensington has said that 70 million smartphones are lost each year, with only 7% recovered.

When someone finds or steals your phone, they'll shut it off, pull out the SIM card, then turn it on to see if it's locked. If so, they just try to wipe it and sell it. If not, it's time to look through your photos, read your texts and social DMs, then see what they can find in your email. Losing your phone sucks, no matter how it happens. Losing your phone, then having someone steal your identity on Facebook and charge stuff on your credit cards sucks way more. A simple lock screen is a must nowadays.

We've looked at all the ways you can lock your Galaxy Note 8, and sorted them from best to worst — but even the "worst" isn't bad, it's just not as good as the best! We factored in a few different things to build our list: security, convenience, and ease-of-use. And here it is!

Fingerprint sensor: Best

Yes, the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the Note 8 is terrible compared to the way things used to be. And being a bit taller than even the Galaxy S8+ doesn't help. But it's still the best way to keep your screen locked. It's easy to set up, accurate, and once you get used to reaching for it it's easy to use. Of all the ways you can lock your Note 8, the fingerprint sensor is still the best.

Pattern lock: Good, but slower

Did you know the Android pattern lock is more secure than a four-digit PIN? Crunch the numbers — there are more possible combinations in the pattern lock than there are in four digits, and that means someone is less likely to make the right guess before the phone shuts them out.

Pattern lock is secure and easy — exactly what we want to see in a screen locking method!

That aside, a pattern lock is easy to use and after a few days, you'll be able to do it without looking. The one drawback is that greasy fingers can leave a trail on the screen, so wipe it down every now and then. Especially after eating some greasy finger food.

A PIN or passphrase: An oldie but a goodie

This can be the most secure method to lock your phone. It can also be the least secure. It depends on you! Don't use a PIN like 0000 or your birthday digits. Use something that nobody will guess on the first few tries but you'll still remember it. Nobody can unlock your phone but you if you have a PIN or password to get in, but it's just not as convenient as the first two entries on our list.

Iris scanning: Secure and unreliable

The Iris scanning on your Samsung phone is secure. It can't be fooled unless someone goes to great lengths and has a high-resolution photo of your eyes looking directly into the camera.

If someone has that, you have bigger things to worry about. It's easy to set up (and kind of cool, we admit) but you also need to position your phone in the right spot and at the correct angle to get a good reading and unlock it. Some people find that easy, others not so much. You should give it a try because if you're someone who can get things lined up naturally and easily, this will be number one on your list.

Face recognition: Fast and loose

Samsung has improved the standard Android facial recognition software and it can scan your face faster and look at more areas at once.

Samsung improved Face Recognition but still tells you it isn't secure.

But this is easy to fool with a good photo of your face, and even Samsung doesn't claim face recognition is secure. It is convenient and easy to use though. Decide if you need a little extra security (only you know the answer to this) and if you do, don't rely on face recognition.

Everything you need to know about using facial recognition on your phone

Trusted Location/Device/Voice: Built-in goodness

This goes at the bottom of our list. It's easy to set up (you'll need a secondary Bluetooth device for Trusted Device unlocking) and easy to use. Really, you don't "use" it at all. Under certain conditions, your phone stays unlocked. Like when your phone is in a certain place, connected to a certain Bluetooth device, or hears you say the passphrase. When the person at Starbucks calls your name and you leave your phone on the counter, it's unlocked for anyone to pick up. Setting your phone on the coffee table at home in front of your snoopy roommate keeps it unlocked. Any system that allows your phone to be unlocked when you're not holding it and looking at it is not a secure system.

If you use any Trusted Unlocking method, make sure you have remote wipe and find my phone set up through both Samsung and Google.

How to track your missing Android phone

The important thing is that you use a secure lock screen.

As mentioned at the top of this article, even the worst method on our list is a lot better than nothing. We're picking nits here to choose the best way, but if one works well for you and you use it all the time, it's a good one. once you get used to having a secured lock screen, you'll not have any problems unlocking your phone when you need it. And when you don't need it, you'll know someone can't just pick it up and peek into your private life.

Your turn

What locking method do you use on your phone? If you're getting the Note 8 or already have one, what are you using, and why? Your feedback is important! It helps everyone make a better decision and nothing is better than helping each other.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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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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1 month ago

How to disable the Edge screen on Galaxy Note 8

28

If you don't want the hassle of the edge screen, turn it off!

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 gives you access to the Edge screen which can make it easier to access certain contacts and apps. However many people never take advantage of the Edge screen's capabilities. If it does of a better job of getting in your way than it does of making things easier, then you may want to disable it. We've got the details on how to do just that right here!

How to disable the Edge Screen

Disabling the Edge screen is just a matter of flipping a toggle from within the settings. This means that turning the Edge screen off, or back on, just only take a few moments.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Display.

    Open Settings, Tap Display.

  3. Scroll down and tap Edge screen.
  4. Tap the toggle next to Edge panels to turn off the edge screen.

    Scroll down and tap Edge screen, Tap the toggle next to Edge panels to turn off the Edge screen.

Questions?

Do you have questions about disabling the Edge screen on Note 8? Have you turned off the Edge screen on your Note 8, or do you prefer to utilize it? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Best Buy

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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1 month ago

I'm in love: A week with Substratum/Andromeda theming

37
Project Substratum

System themes are beautiful, but beautiful things that can come with a lot of baggage.

Want to have a dark system theme on your Android phone? Well, if that's not the default theme on your smartphone, you basically have two options: buy a phone that has a theme engine, like a Samsung Note 8, or root your phone and find a custom ROM that's theme-friendly. This is far from perfect, and Google has been working to change it for years, and this year, they've come so close we can taste it. Matter of fact, if you're on an Android Oreo phone, you can get a small taste of system theming with Substratum's newest rootless add-on: Andromeda.

I was apprehensive about what sounded like such an easy way to get the dark themes I've dreamed of for years, but after a week with Andromeda, I can say it: I'm in love!

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1 month ago

How to set up a VPN on a Chromebook

11

Setting up a VPN connection on your Chromebook isn't hard once you know where to look.

If you have an account with a VPN provider, you can use it on your Chromebook, too!

While most VPN companies have something you can download for Windows or Mac that's a one-click-install setup, on your Chromebook you'll need to enter the information manually. It's not difficult; you don't need to know any network jargon or define any extra parameters, and any VPN setup to work with OpenVPN is compatible.

Before you start, you should check to see if your VPN company has an app in the Chrome Web Store. There are a handful of VPN providers that do, and you install their apps like you would any other app or extension. But if your VPN company doesn't have a Chrome app, here's what you'll need to do.

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Importing certificates

If your VPN provider uses a CA Certificate for a connection you'll need to import it into your Chromebook.

  • Get the CA Certificate from your VPN company. A CA Certificate is a key that verifies your trust, and your Chromebook already has a number of them installed for web services. You'll need to import the one you were given from your VPN provider if you were given one. Store this file on your local storage so you can import it.
    • Open a new tab in the browser and put chrome://settings/certificates in the address bar, then press enter.
    • Click the Authorities tab at the top of the page.
    • Press the Import button and choose the file you downloaded.
    • A box will open asking what you trust this certificate to verify. If you're unsure, you can leave everything unchecked (recommended).
    • The certificate will import and install.
    • Use these same instructions to import a User certificate if you are provided one. Simply choose the User certificates tab instead of the Authorities tab.

Enter the VPN network settings

Next, you need to enter the account and server information you'll use to connect. You'll do this in the settings as well.

  • Click your account photo in the lower left of the screen, then click the gear icon to open the settings.
  • Near the top, in the Network section, click the Add connection button.
  • Click Add OpenVPN / L2TP.

You need to fill in the information about your connection in the box that opens. If your Chromebook came from your work or your school, you'll need to get this information from the person who administers your Chromebook. Otherwise, you'll find it at your VPN provider's website.

  • Server hostname: The name or IP address of the server you'll be connecting to.
  • Service name: The connection name that shows in the settings. You can name it anything you like.
  • Provider type:
    • Select L2TP/IPsec + Pre-shared key if you need to enter a second password once you log-on to your VPN.
    • Select L2TP/IPsec + User certificate if you have a separate user certificate as mentioned above.
    • Select OpenVPN if neither applies to your VPN connection.
  • Pre-shared key: Enter the secondary password you need to connect here. If you don't need to use a second password, leave this blank.
  • Server CA certificate: If you installed a CA Certificate as described above, choose it from the list. Otherwise, leave it at Default.
  • User certificate: If you installed a User Certificate as described above, choose it from the list. Otherwise, leave it blank.
  • Username: The username you use to log in to your VPN.
  • Password: Your VPN account password. Note this is not the same as the Pre-shared key.
  • OTP: If you were given a token or website address that generates a One Time Password, generate it and enter it here. Otherwise, leave it blank.
  • Group name: If you need to enter a Group name it goes here. Otherwise, leave it blank.
  • You can check the box to Save identity and password if you want to be able to connect with one click. If you prefer to enter your username and password each time, leave this unchecked. Your Pre-shared Key will be remembered either way.
  • To test your connection, click Connect.

You'll know you're connected when you see a key symbol beside your Wi-Fi icon. You'll also see the word Connected in green at the new connection in the settings window. If you connected without any problems, you can click the back arrow in the upper right to see other configuration options, like a setting to always use the VPN connection or delete (Forget) it, or edit it.

If you choose not to use the connection all of the time, you can connect by clicking the network icon (the Wi-Fi symbol) in the tray and choosing your new network.

Questions

I know that was a lot to take in at once, so I'll be hanging around in the comments below to answer any questions you may have.

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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