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Amazon’s Fire HD Kids Edition tablet is available to pre-order in the UK from £119

Posted by wicked June - 3 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Fire_HD_Kids_Edition_Front_and_Back_Blue

Amazon launched its Fire HD Kids Edition tablet in the U.S. last year September, and now the global retailer has decided to finally launch the kid-friendly 6-inch tablet in the UK. Amazon has bundled a protective case, two-year ‘Worry-Free’ guarantee and 1 year’s subscription to its Fire for Kids Unlimited service with the tablet.

Amazon_Kindle_Fire Kids Edition

 

The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet is available to pre-order from Amazon themselves or the UK retailer, Argos, for £119 for the 8GB model. The 16GB version will set you back £139. Amazon has said orders will begin shipping from June 18th. So, what will you be getting for your £119/£139?

Specifications:

  • 6-Inch IPS display; 1280 x 720 resolution and 252ppi
  • Quad-core processor. 2 cores @ 1.5GHz and 2 cores @ 1.2GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB/16GB internal storage
  • WiFi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 3.5mm Audio jack
  • 2MP Rear-facing camera
  • VGA Front-facing camera
  • 8 Hour battery life

Being a tablet aimed at being used by kids, one would think that there’s going to be a few mishaps with the device, either being dropped or submerged in water, maybe even being sat or stood on. Luckily, the Fire HD Kids Edition tablet comes with a pre-installed protective case that looks like it can withstand a fair amount of abuse. And if that isn’t enough, the 2-year ‘Worry-Free‘ guarantee covers the tablet for any mishaps, all you have to do is return the tablet and Amazon will replace it for free.

Amazon has also included a 1-year subscription to its Fire for Kids Unlimited service, offering content for 3-10 year olds ranging from apps, books, videos and games. Yes, it even has educational games.

 

Source: Amazon

 

Full Press Release:

 

Fire HD Kids Edition—the kids tablet that has it all, including the first-ever 2-year worry-free guarantee—now available in the United Kingdom
Unprecedented 2-year worry-free guarantee—if anything happens, return it and we’ll replace it for free—no questions asked

A real tablet, not a toy—a quad core processor for powerful performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital Audio, and access to Amazon’s world-class content ecosystem

Don’t worry about the bill—comes with the content kids love at no additional charge—thousands of books, videos, educational apps, and games in Fire for Kids Unlimited

Luxembourg—3rd June, 2015—Amazon today announced Fire HD Kids Edition, its first tablet built from the ground up for kids (and their parents) is now available in the United Kingdom. Fire HD Kids Edition is built around three ideas:

Despite best intentions, kids break things—Fire HD Kids Edition has an unprecedented 2-year worry-free guarantee—if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it. No questions asked.
Parents don’t want to worry about the bill—Fire HD Kids Edition includes a year of Fire for Kids Unlimited so kids get unlimited access to thousands of books, videos, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost.
Kids want a real tablet, not a toy—the Kids Edition features a quad-core processor, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon’s world-class content ecosystem of over 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV shows, books and more.

Fire HD Kids Edition is £119 with 8GB of memory and £139 with 16GB of memory, and is available for pre-order today at www.amazon.co.uk/kids-edition-tablet.

“Fire HD Kids Edition offers the best of both worlds for parents and kids,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Amazon Devices EU. “With the 2-year, no-questions-asked, worry-free guarantee, and Fire for Kids parental controls, parents can rest assured that the device is well protected and that they’ll never be surprised by a bill, unwanted ads or social media posts. And, with a year of the Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription, kids can choose from thousands of books, videos, educational apps, and games – including many classics and favourites.”

Fire HD Kids Edition includes a year of Fire for Kids Unlimited, Amazon’s all-in-one subscription that brings together all the content that kids and parents love—books, videos, educational apps, and games. Fire for Kids Unlimited has the content kids want, including favourite characters like Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, Avengers, Mickey Mouse, Dora the Explorer, The Penguins of Madagascar, Shaun the Sheep, and many more.

Fire HD Kids Edition also comes with Fire for Kids, which offers innovative parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time. With Fire for Kids, parents select all of the content their kids can see, and parents can limit kids’ screen time by content type—for example, they may choose to limit videos and games, but make reading time unlimited. Fire for Kids blocks stores and in-app payments, so parents don’t have to worry about additional expenses, and blocks unwanted advertisements and access to social media.

Dave Miles, European Director of the Family Online Safety Institute, the leading not-for-profit for guiding parents on how to use technology in their families, said: “We are excited to see this product released in the UK and commend Amazon for its efforts in building something with parents’ needs and safety in mind. Amazon’s attention to parental controls and the screen time balance makes Fire for Kids an ideal service to help families while teaching their children to use technology responsibly.”

Fire HD Kids Edition is just £119 with 8GB of memory and £139 with 16GB of memory, and is available for pre-order today at www.amazon.co.uk/kids-edition-tablet. It will start shipping to customers on 18th June and will also be available for purchase from Argos and www.argos.co.uk.

 

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Project Ara director Paul Eremenko leaving ATAP team after two years

Posted by wicked June - 1 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

project-ara-theverge-2_1020 (1)

Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) is known today for the Project Ara modular phone among many other endeavors — but today the division isn’t making news for a particular product update, but because of staff changes.

Paul Eremenko, former director of Project Ara, is moving on to join Airbus Group in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s leading aerospace and defense companies. As is common practice with some positions within Google, the ATAP project director position has a limited contract of two years in order to ensure quality and risk taking. Thus, Eremenko will leave the team.

For a full list of people who will now take over at ATAP and Ara, hit the source link.

Source: ATAP+

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Lock screen widgets on Android Lollipop – Android customization

Posted by wicked May - 28 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Notifidgets Lock screen widget

Have you had greater success with your spelling after taking control of your auto-correct settings in last week’s Android customization post? I hope so. Now that you are in control of your Android keyboard, let’s take a look at controlling your Android lock screen, or at least utilizing it with widgets.

The idea of putting a widget on your lock screen is not new, it has been around since Android 4.2 natively, and prior using alternate apps. When it was introduced, it was available as a tool that any developer could create or modify their Homescreen widget to show on the lock screen. This was utilized by having the user swipe the default clock to the side and manually add widgets as desired.

Android 5.0 Lollipop changed things up a bit. Gone was the ability to select near any widget for your lock screen, instead swiping to the sides now triggers your phone application and your camera, on stock Android at least. In place, Android introduced a new and complex method and controls for displaying notifications on the lock screen.

Before we begin

Get it on Google Play ButtonI hope it goes without saying,you will need a device running at least Android 5.0 Lollipop to follow along today. We will use an Android 5.1 equipped Google Play edition phone ourselves. Although there are many apps, both free and paid, that can offer similar functionality to what we are about to look at, we will be using the paid app Notifidgets today. It has a 7 day trial, but will run you $0.99 via in-app purchase to continue.

Remember, other apps provide similar functionality, like the very similarly named NotifWidget that handles a few more options.

How to put widgets on your Android Lollipop lock screen

The premise is pretty simple here folks, you really cannot put widgets on the lock screen. Since Lollipop has been locked down to just include notifications on the lock screen, the solution has been to put your widgets into notifications.

Notifidgets is simple enough, it is a persistent notification that itself hosts your normal desktop widgets.

Notifidgets

Open up Notifidgets and tap the Material Design big green “+” button.

Choose your desired widget.

Special note here that you can select your other customization widgets, like Zooper Widget and Tasker. You recall we’ve talked about both at length before, so you can now put that power right on your lock screen, if you want it.

As you can see, you are able to put multiple widgets into Notifidgets, so go ahead and load up. Just remember that these will be on your lock screen, so anyone that picks up your phone will be able to see and interact with your widgets and the information that they present.

Make sure Notifidgets is turned on with the toggle at the top.

You are done.

Notifidgets lock screen

The next time your phone locks, you will be able to see your widgets inside of the Notifidgets notification on your lock screen.

If Notifidgets is not showing, make sure that the app has not been closed by a task manager or the like. Also, if you have locked down your lock screen security, be sure to allow all notifications for Notifidgets on your lock screen. If you need assistance managing lock screen security settings, we took a quick look at that a while back as well.

Finally, you will likely find that the Notifidgets notification on your lock screen is in the minimized state, use a two finger pull down action to expand it.

What’s next

Do you recall how I mentioned you are able to place widgets by Zooper Widget in Notifidgets? That was a tongue twister, just as the idea that a deep rooted Zooper Widget with Tasker controls can bring near any functionality and information to your lock screen. Be sure to check out some of our older Zooper Widget and Tasker articles to get an idea of what you might create for your device.

weather alerts best DashClock extensions

Please keep in mind that Notifidgets is not the only tool out there to take advantage of the new lock screen of Android Lollipop. NotifWidgets and Notifidgets are just the two we’ve been using.

Also, we did not talk at all about the many lock screen alternatives out there, applications that are specifically built to take over the secured entry to your Android device. Many of these apps, especially in the earlier days of Android, were the only way to get custom info on your lock screen. Sadly, many of them were quickly forgotten when Android 4.2 rolled out.

In the end, Google’s vision is to not have you use widgets on your lock screen, the idea and controls for having notifications show prominently is the new approach. We admit that this is a solid technique to make sure that the content you are seeing is new and relevant, but for those of us that like just a little bit more detail, we are happy that there are options out there.

Next week

I hope you liked the idea of Notifidgets, and the ability to place multiple widgets into a single notification on your lock screen. Next week on our Android customization series, we want to tackle this task in a different way with our trusty old what-can’t-it-do application, Tasker.

Do you spend time developing your lock screen, or would you rather just jump into Android and get on with things?

How to modify or disable auto-correct on your Android keyboard – Android customization

Posted by wicked May - 21 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off
Yeah, baby!

Yeah, baby!

I hope you had the chance to optimize your web experience by changing your Chrome flags through last week’s Android customization post. This week, we want to head back to a fairly beginner’s task, changing the settings, or completely disabling, auto-correct functionality on your Android devices.

Auto-correct, or auto-cucumber, or arto-monkey as it is sometimes referred to, is responsible for many humorous and disastrous exchanges between friends, loved ones and co-workers. Usually auto-correct works wonderfully, changing misspellings like ‘freind’ into ‘friend’, but other times, words like ‘things’ turn into ‘thongs’ and confusion or worse is the result.

courage cheese auto-correct

If you, more often than not, spell your words correctly, and find that your auto-correct settings do you more harm than good, this is the guide you are looking for. You know what, if that is not you, if you find that far too few of your words are adjusted, that spelling mistakes are still the norm in your text, we’ll cover some settings below for you as well.

Before we begin

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively beginner’s tutorial. We will thoroughly walk through all of the available text correction settings on your Android device, but these are the basic settings that you can find by diving into settings. No apps or magic here today.

That all said, please keep in mind that each keyboard may use its own settings and dictionaries for your auto-correction needs. I will be using a stock Android 5.1 Lollipop device running the latest Google Keyboard for today. Your alternative keyboards should have similar settings, but please consult their individual tools for specific instruction.

How to disable auto-correct

There are two main methods to enter the Google Keyboard settings, you may long press on the ‘,’ button, to the left of the space bar and select the gear that pops up, or head into Settings -> Language & input -> Google Keyboard.

Settings Google Keyboard Text correction

From here, simply tap on Text correction.

You will find a number of settings in the following list, we will look at a few of them shortly.

To disable Auto-correct, tap on Auto-correction and choose Off.

Go ahead and back out of your settings and enjoy your new found power over your words.

Google Keyboard Text correction modest

How to modify auto-correct settings

As I hope you noticed above, there are plenty of extra options available in your Google Keyboard settings. For example, you may choose to set your Auto-correction level to Very Aggressive, so that Google changes up nearly every word that you type. Or, you may keep it at modest, but add a ton of your own words to your Personal dictionary.

Again, enter into your Google Keyboard settings either by long pressing the “,” button on the keyboard itself, or heading into Settings -> Language & input -> Google Keyboard. Then hit Text correction to see your options.

Google Keyboard comma Settings

Under Personal dictionary, you may manually add new words for your keyboard to recognize, including any word that is not in a normal dictionary, like your unique pet names, or any of the many acronyms that you may like to use. LOL.

Add-on dictionaries will bring support for alternative languages, and emoji.

Block offensive words, I suppose I do not have to tell you what this will do. Live bravely and free, just one toggle button away.

From there, Show correction suggestions and Next-word suggestions control the visuals of how the auto-correction operates. Personalized suggestions and Suggest Contact names gives the keyboard permissions to delve into your Contacts list and other Google apps to learn how you like to write, what words you like to use.

That is all there is to the Google Keyboard, feel free to change the settings around, see what works best for you. You may be surprised to learn that the only reason you have been piecing together legible sentences is through the power of auto-correct – which is not a reflection on you as a writer, just that that tiny little keyboard on your Android phone or tablet may be far less accurate than you previously thought it was.

Google Keyboard Auto-correct

What’s next

Did you know that Android has a global spell checker besides what is found in your keyboards? That’s right, check out the basic Language & input settings on your device, the second option down is Google Spell Checker. You can turn it on or off, and choose whether or not to check against your Contacts list for names. Rest assured, no matter what keyboard you use, or what auto-correct setting you put in place, Google is still trying to make sure you spell things correctly.

Next week

I hope you found the ability to turn off, or modify the settings of your auto-correcting keyboard handy in this week’s Android customization piece. Next week we want to look at an app that takes a modified approach to tackling an old task, putting quality widget information on your lock screen.

Time to share your best, what is the craziest auto-correct mishap you’ve ever sent or received? Please keep it family friendly.

Customize your mobile web experience using Chrome flags – Android customization

Posted by wicked May - 14 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Chrome Flag Mount Hood

Have you been having fun tracking all of your movements through your Google Location history, as we walked through in last week’s Android customization post? We hope so. Now it is time to take to our web browser to make some subtle and significant tweaks, this week we will take an in-depth look at Chrome Flags.

We know that not all of you use Google’s Chrome web browser as your browser of choice for your Android device. However, Chrome is the default browser on many devices out there, so we thought we would take a minute to make sure you are getting the most out of it.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonTo follow along today, you will need a copy of the Chrome web browser installed on your device.We will stick with the basic Chrome browser, but you will find that most all the options are the same through the Chrome Beta and Chrome Dev releases as well. All three versions of the Chrome browser are free in the Google Play store.

What are Chrome Flags?

Starting at the beginning, I will explain Chrome Flags as a set of very advanced and experimental settings for your Chrome browser. Hidden away in this extensive list of options will be the ability to turn on and off hardware graphics acceleration, touchscreen support and more, all the way down to fine tune control on form auto-fill tools and even disabling the new Bookmark Manager on your PC, if you don’t care for it.

Chrome Flags Warning message

Warning: I will shorten what Google has at the top of the flags page – do not rely on these flags, they are experimental and can crash your browser. Luckily, on Android, if we screw up really bad and crash Chrome by messing with these flags, we simply Clear Data on the app and we are good to go again. Do be a little bit more careful if you are messing around with Chrome on your PC, there is a reset button, but it is not as bulletproof as on Android.

Now it is time to get you into these fun settings, please go ahead and open Chrome, head to the Omnibox (address bar), type in the following and hit enter:

Chrome://flags

If you haven’t noticed this already, Chrome has a few of these Easter eggs tucked into the browser. On your Android device, try out Chrome://version for a super detailed overview of your browser version. On your Android device or PC, try hitting chrome://chrome-urls to see the entire list of available browser pages.

Chrome URLs

What flags should I change?

Once you are in the full list of available Chrome flags, you may be a little overwhelmed at which you should turn on, or off. Truth is, if you do not have a specific problem to solve, or are not exactly adventurous with your device, you probably shouldn’t be here. That being said, here is a quick list of some of the more popular flags to change.

Chrome Flags URL

Quick Note: Each Flag has been assigned an HTML anchor to make it easier to navigate to, as such, all you need to do is add the reference to each in the address, so it looks like chrome://flags/#Flag-Name. I’ve added the anchor as a link for each Flag below, but they are not typically formed URLs, so you can’t just click on them, instead, right click and choose Copy link address, then paste that in a new tab, just remember they only work in Chrome.

  • FPS Counter – For the gamer in all of us, although a web page doesn’t exactly depend on a FPS count like a game might, it is still fun to see sometimes. #show-fps-counter
  • Show Autofill predictions – Disabled by default, this flag will insert predicted text into text boxes for you. Not just for password anymore. #show-autofill-type-predictions
  • Enable password generation – Sometimes choosing your own password is just too hard, let Chrome choose one for you. #enable-password-generation
  • Maximum tiles for interest area – We talked about this in the past, basically, this is a way to control your RAM usage for Chrome. Check out the story to find out what you need to do. #max-tiles-for-interest-area
  • Enable offline auto-reload mode – Turn this off to prevent tabs from automatically reloading if the previously failed to load. Perhaps you were offline at the time. Requires you to manually reload the pages. #enable-offline-auto-reload
  • Disable click delay – Did you know that Chrome waits almost half a second sometimes before acting on your button clicks? That’s right, it delays so that you can trigger a double click action. If you never double click in your browser, go ahead and turn this guy on to speed up the click action. #disable-click-delay
  • Disable the pull-to-refresh effect – Most people were excited to see pull-to-refresh in Chrome, if you were not, simply hit this to turn it off again. #disable-pull-to-refresh-effect
  • Enable Enhanced Bookmarks – Rather, disable this one to turn off Google’s new bookmark manager. I mean, you might like the new tool, but those of us that dislike it, dislike it with a passion. #enhanced-bookmarks-experiment
  • Password and account settings. Truth is, there are a few flags that deal with passwords, credential managers and related that might be fun to play with, however, as there is no guarantee that these flags will not expose all of your passwords to the internet, I will not recommend any of them. Please take precautions.

There are many more flags that may appeal to you, and you may decide to enable/disable them in different configurations on your Android device as compared to the setup on your PC. I totally encourage you to play with them to fine tune your user experience.

What’s next

You will have noticed that each flag in Chrome displays the available platforms for which it will operate. Most flags work almost everywhere, Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS and Android, others may only work on one platform.

There are many flags that are designed to assist developers, such as the flag that makes it so a popup banner shows each and every time a page loads. Annoying for the rest of us, but required for testing.

Chrome Flags relaunch

Finally, many of the chrome://flags will require a browser restart before they will take effect. When this is true, a simple restart button pops up at the bottom of the screen. Choose all of your flags, hit the reset button and off you go with your new settings.

Next week

I wish we had more time to talk about more flags in Chrome for our Android customization post this week, we hope we pointed you toward a few good ones at least. Next week, let’s look at a really easy one, for the beginners in the crowd, let’s find out how to disable auto-correct on your Android device.

What are your favorite Chrome flags to enable or disable?

How to manage your Google location history – Android customization

Posted by wicked May - 7 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

google now rename location (1)

How secure is your Google account? If you followed along last week on our Android customization series, you got to watch the process of setting up two-factor authentication for your Google account, using the Google Authenticator Android app.

Now that your account is secure, let’s look one of the many things that Google is collecting for you behind the scenes. Today we will look at managing your location history.

Before we begin

You will need to install… Just kidding. Your default Android device configuration is all that is required. Whether you know it or not, if you have not taken measures to prevent it, your device has been collecting location data from your travels. This is how Google Maps works, so to your favorite running app or some of those games you play, such as Ingress.

Managing your Google Location data

There are a few aspects to what you can see and do with your location data, but first and foremost, we need to understand what data is being collected, and how it is being used. This is not a complete list, and I will not dive into the individual uses for each app or website that you may use, I will just talk about the data that Google saves for you.

Keeping it simple, your Android device reports your GPS coordinates up to your Google Account at varying intervals throughout the day. It’s a good thing we took the time to secure that account! At full bore, like if you are using Google Maps for navigation, and you have Location settings turned to full, there will be a ping as frequently as every second.

Google Location history map moving

As you can see, at highway driving speeds, my Android device was collecting a GPS location about every 45 seconds on my trip to Google last year. What you also see here is how valuable your location data can be. Not only can I analyze my travels, but Google can as well, to learn that shortcut I took that saved me about 25 minutes, or estimate the travel times from Portland to Mountain View better than a best guess based on the speed limit and real time traffic info.

When you are not travelling, your location data is collected far less frequently, you can see the one or two pings per hour my devices collected during the night. Of course, with no cell connection out at my house, I rely on the WiFi, my Android device failed to recognize that I spent most of my day walking the trails and mowing some of the grass. Apparently, I never left that one spot of the house, which, granted, is where I had all my tablets and extra phones parked for the day, so it isn’t too far off.

Google Location history ping stationary

Enough about what is collected and how it works, let’s discuss actually managing it.

View, export and delete your location history

On your PC, simply head over to location history in your Google account. Follow this link for direct access to your location history.

Once the novelty of viewing your own maps is out of your system, you’ll notice in the bottom left corner two very important options for those that wish to keep their location a secret – Delete history from this day and Delete all history.

Google Location history delete points

I need not describe what each of the delete options will do for you, and there is no backup, so be sure that is what you want to do before you hit the button. If you only want to delete a few points from your day, expand the timestamps in the left menu, then click on a single timestamp and each point can be deleted from within the map.

Finally, whether you plan to delete your history or just want to bring your latest travels over to another mapping tool, Google provides an export tool, allowing you to pull your travels in KML format.

Control location history on your Android device

The benefits of your saved Google location history is hidden within the apps on your Android device. If you are a user of Google Now, you know exactly what I am talking about when you receive the suggested travel time locations and other location based cards.

When it comes to controlling your location history from your Android device, there is not a whole lot you can do from your machine. We’ve already walked through one major aspect of location history on your Android device, controlling your battery consumption by turning off location settings.

Google Location history settings Android

Repeating the previous tutorial in short form without the automation, head into device Settings -> Location and turn off the service from there.

The other major aspect of managing your location history on device is simply to delete your history. Hit the Location History link at the bottom of that same Location settings page on device, you can do more than just delete all of your location history for your account, you can also turn off tracking for your other connected Android devices.

What’s next

It is important that you spend some time evaluating the pros and cons of the location history in your Google account. You may decide that it is not worth the personalized Google Now cards and location aware services in trade for a company knowing where you are at all times, no matter how private and secure the data is kept.

Do keep in mind that the only truly untraceable modern smartphone is one that is turned off. I just don’t want you thinking that by turning off Google location history you have disappeared from the big digital map. Google’s services are just one of many location aware services running on your device, which includes your SIM card itself; you’ve seen the cop shows, they are pretty extreme, but there is some truth to their tracking abilities – and we understand the government may be relaxing rules on law enforcement requiring a warrant to look for you.

SIM Cards

Tin foil hats down now, there are a ton of fun and useful things you can do with your saved Google location history, I hope I proved that above showing you my drive from Portland to Google. Personally, I do a lot of highway travel, and there are a lot of alternative routes that I can take on my drives – I have saved a ton of time, fuel and headache by finding the fastest route to a destination, which isn’t always Google Maps’ suggested route, and I’ve found the best time of the day to make those drives.

Next week

I was so excited to get into managing your Google location history on this week’s Android customization post, but it turned a little conspiracy theorist. Next week, let’s lighten up by looking at 101 ways (give or take 100) to tweak your web experience on your Android device.

What is the best use you have for your saved Google Location history? Has it ever gotten you into, or out of trouble?

Samsung PRO Plus and EVO Plus memory cards to launch this month

Posted by wicked May - 6 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

new-samsung-memory-solutions

Samsung announced two new SD and microSD memory solutions, the PRO Plus and the EVO Plus. Both are set to launch some time this month.

The company’s PRO Plus memory solution is designed to handle high-res photos and 4k content from all of your usual devices–DSLRs, smartphones, tablets, and almost anything that can use a SD or microSD card. This particular card only comes in 32GB and 64GB models, but has excellent read and write speeds up to 95MB/s and 90MB/s, respectively.

As for the EVO Plus memory card, it is similar to the PRO Plus, but is lower spec’d. It is equipped to meet your day-to-day use–photos, video content, you name it. However, the read and write speeds are a lot slower at 80MB/s and 20MB/s, respectively. The EVO Plus cards are available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models; perfect for the traveler who doesn’t have access to a consistent Internet connection.

There was no word on pricing, but they will launch this month. Both seem like excellent solutions for expandable memory, especially the PRO Plus and its ability to efficiently store and transfer 4K content.

What do you think of Samsung’s new memory solutions? Let us know in the comments below!

source: Samsung Tomorrow

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Android customization – how to set up two-factor authentication on your Google account

Posted by wicked April - 30 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Google Authenticator Moto G Chromebook

Did you get the chance to follow along our Android customization series for the last few weeks? We covered the Android SDK developer tool ADB. While designed for, well, developers, it is actually a solid tool for file transfers, installing apps from your PC, taking screen recording and even for hunting down rogue battery killer apps on your device.

This week we shift gears, we would like to look at device security, or rather, securing your entire Google account using Google Authenticator.

Before we begin

You will need an Android device and your PC to follow along today. Make sure you know your Google account password and are prepared for your Google Account to log out of all of your devices, be they Android phones, other smartphones, computers, TVs and more.

I should be more specific, the Android device you need today should be your own personal device, and it should be secured itself with a PIN, pattern or passphrase.

get-it-on-google-playFinally, if you do not have it already, you will need a copy of Google Authenticator, which is free in the Google Play Store.

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator is more than just a fleeting application, this tool turns your Android device into the master key to your entire Google experience. The premise is simple enough, Google Authenticator uses what we call two-factor authentication. In this implementation, you will sign into your PC, for example, with your standard Google email and password, but before you can continue to access your account, you will need to enter an additional access number, as provided by Google Authenticator on your Android device.

Google Authenticator

Once again, the moment you activate Google Authenticator, your Google Account will log out, or lock up, absolutely everywhere you have it signed in. Your home or work computers, all of your smartphones and tablets and more. Make sure you know your password, and can trust that your Android device with Authenticator installed is reliable and can always be connected to the internet to get you your access codes.

Set up two-factor authentication on your Google Account

Part 1: Enable two-factor on your PC

Once you have Google Authenticator installed on your device, but before you fire up the app, sit at your PC and head over to your Google Account at https://myaccount.google.com/

Your Google Account Settings page is absolutely full of great security tools and measures that you should be familiar with, do at least take the Security Checkup at the top of the page, if you have not already.

Google Account Two Factor Settings page 1

Scroll down a little way, look for 2-step verification and click into it.

Google Account Two Factor Sign in 2

Click Start Setup.

Google Account Two Factor Setup steps

Enter a valid mobile phone number. This does not exactly have to be your phone that you are setting up Authenticator on, it will be used as a backup to Authenticator if anything goes wrong. Tap Send code and take this opportunity to time your provider, to see how long it takes them to process an SMS message. If your patience is stretched too thin, go ahead and use the Voice Call feature.

In step 2, you will enter the provided code.

In step 3, you are asked if you wish to use this computer as a Trusted computer. We are not talking about by-passing the two-factor authentication here. This will establish this computer as a backup to your phone and to the above provided phone number, if you lose them, you can use this PC to access your account.

Finally, in step 4, you will need to verify that you wish to go through with this setup. Trust me, you can very easily turn it all back off later, if you don’t like how it all works.

Part 2: Log into your Android device with the new credentials

As mentioned, you will now need to log back into all of your phones, computers and more that use your Google Account. You can tap Reconnect my apps to get on that, but I think it is easier to just head to the phone first.

Do not close your Google Account on your computer yet, but pick up your Android phone to continue.

Google Authenticator first login

Your Android device will be going a little crazy on you now. Your Google Account is unable to connect, but don’t worry, just tap on the error notification and follow the instructions.

For this first device, you will enter your Google Account password, which will fail, and then you’ll be asked to use a web login, just hit next to continue.

Enter your password again, then you’ll be directed to the two-factor verification page, in which you are going to need to enter a 6 digit numeric code. Google is going to send an SMS, or phone you with the code.

Enter the verification code.

Check off the box that asks if you want to trust this device in the future. If you do not turn on Don’t ask for codes again on this computer, you will need to go through all this again and again.

Finally, tap Verify.

Good news, your Google Account is configured and your Android device is Verified. Only one last step remains, to configure Google Authenticator so that you can setup all of your other devices.

Part 3: Install and configure Google Authenticator on your Android device

Head back to your computer. Head back into the Two-factor Authentication section, if it bumped you out.

You will see that your current Primary method of receiving codes is your phone number, just below that is the option to enable the mobile app instead. Tap Switch to app.

Google Account Two Factor Setup Authenticator

I presume you are on Android, but as you can see, a few other mobile operating systems are also supported. Choose Android and hit Continue.

Open the Google Authenticator app on your Android device.

Tap Begin setup to, well, begin set up.

If so equipped, use your Android device to scan the QR code on your computer screen. There is a link right there to help you if you cannot scan codes.

Google Authenticator first run

Once the QR code is scanned, it will provide a verification code, enter that into your computer and hit Verify and Save.

In the words of the app on your device, You’re all set!

What’s next

Are you still with me? That was a bit crazy, but now comes the hard part – I am sure I mentioned that you will now need to have your Android device with you everywhere you go and try to log into your account. Let the process begin.

Google Account Two Factor usage desktop

As you log into your devices, computers and more, take careful note of which ones you choose to trust implicitly by selecting the Do not ask for a code again on this computer option. Yes, you will still need to have your password to access the devices, so you are still covered there, you just won’t be asked for the second layer of security on those machines.

Using the Google Authenticator app is really easy, simply open it and use the provided access code. Check out the video below for what Google has to say on the subject. You can see that the code resets every 30 seconds or so, which is how the system keeps your gear secure. It is well beyond modern day consumer computing equipment to reasonably anticipate a successful brute force attack in this amount of time. I hope.

Google has a thorough set of resources available surrounding two-factor authentication, be sure to hit their support pages for more details on just what this whole security tool is and how to use it.

You can use the same Authenticator app on your device to work with several different Google Accounts at the same time, just go through the setup on your computer, then scan in the secondary QR code to proceed. That is not all, you can even use the Google Authenticator app on other accounts. For example, I use it for the two-factor authentication for our team communications portal over at Slack.

Finally, remember how I told you two factor authentication is simple to disable if you don’t like it? Just head into the settings on your PC, and hit the Turn off button on the far right hand side. Please do give it a chance before you give up on it. Convenience is always sacrificed for the sake of security, but we think it is worth the trouble in this case.

Google Account Two Factor disable

Next week

I hope you got through our Android customization post this week, setting up two-factor authentication for your Google Account is much easier than it looks on paper, and more than important enough to be worth the trouble. Now that your Google Account is doubly secured, let’s dive into it – we’ll take a look at managing your Google Location History next week.

Do you use the Google Authenticator app to provide two-factor authentication for your Google Account?

Lucid Sleep function allows your Chromebook to stay up-to-date even whilst sleeping

Posted by wicked April - 29 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Chromebook-Lucid-Sleep

If you are the proud owner of a new Chromebook Pixel, you’ll be glad to hear of a new, experimental feature called Lucid Sleep. Whilst it sounds like some sort of hush-hush project at Lockheed’s SkunkWorks facility, Lucid Sleep is actually a way of ensuring that your new Pixel Chromebook keeps up to date with push notifications while it is sleeping, much like your smartphone does.

To access the Lucid Sleep function, just go to your Settings menu, click Privacy settings and then choose to ‘Keep WiFi on during sleep’. This results in limited WiFi connectivity even while your device is sleeping, allowing it to synchronize with your other devices and cloud data. The end result is that your machine is ready to go even quicker than it usually would be when woken from slumber. At present, the Lucid Sleep function is only available on the new Chromebook Pixel, but hopefully the rest of the Chromebook range will get it soon.

 

Source: GooglePlus

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get real-time rain, snow and lightning alerts from the updated Weather Channel app

Posted by wicked April - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

The Weather Channel (1)

Choosing the perfect weather app to suit your specific needs is a subjective topic, some of us want or need up-to-the-minute updates while some are satisfied with a basic overview of the day’s forecast.  A weather app that can fulfil both these requirements is The Weather Channel app which has just received an update that brings a couple of new features.

The new features include:

  • Real-Time Rain and Snow: Users can set up alerts for exact, to-the-minute timing of when rain or snow will start based on their GPS location. The alert also provides an exact duration of how long the rain or snow will last, so users can plan for the next two hours.
  • Lightning Strike: The new lightning map layer provides real-time alerts for when lightning strikes near a user’s GPS location so they can stay out of the path of the storm.

The update is available via the Google Play Store. If you haven’t installed The Weather Channel app yet, just click the Play Store link below or scan the QR code with your device.

 

qr code
Google Play Store Get it Here

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