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Thursday, September 10, 2015

T-Mobile just hugely undercut Apple's new iPhone upgrade plan By Kevin Downey

We've been telling you all about Apple's new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones, including their improved design and ramped-up performance. We also told you about a really cool, new way to buy Apple iPhones. The best part? You can replace them with newer iPhones once a year.

It's called the iPhone Upgrade Program. Starting at $32 a month, you can essentially lease an iPhone like you lease a car. For that fee, you get an unlocked iPhone, so you can shop around for the best carrier deals.

That's a great option. You no longer have to get locked into a carrier contract, so you'll no longer be stuck with an old iPhone long after everyone else has the newer, shinier and better iPhone.

But, just one day after Apple announced its iPhone Upgrade Program, cellphone carrier T-Mobile has debuted its own lease-to-buy program. Monthly, it's less expensive, too.

With its T-Mobile JUMP! On Demand, the carrier is offering the iPhone 6s for $20 a month, for 18 months, and the iPhone 6s Plus for $24 a month, for 18 months. After the 18 months are up, you can pay a fee to keep your iPhone. For example, you pay $164 to keep your iPhone 6s, bringing the total cost for it to $524. That's a nice saving over the 6s' suggested $649 retail price. AT&T and other carriers are also offering discounts.

T-Mobile is taking its offer a step further, though. It's offering the Lifetime Coverage Guarantee to T-Mobile customers who buy the 6s or 6s Plus. If you're unhappy with T-Mobile's coverage the first month, it'll give you your money back. Anytime after that, it'll unlock your iPhone so you can shop around for other carriers.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Netflix is losing some HUGE movies. Guess where they're going By Meredith Cunningham

As fall approaches, it's time to get serious about your Netflix addiction. There are lots of great movies and TV shows to choose from in September, just in time to catch up before new episodes start on cable in the fall ... "Walking Dead," I'm looking at you.

Sadly, at the end of every month it's time to say goodbye to some Netflix favorites, too. But this month, we're saying goodbye to a lot more great movies than usual. You've got days left to watch "Total Recall," "The Expendables 3," "High Fidelity," School of Rock," "Patch Adams" and lots more great titles.
But that doesn't mean you still can't see those movies. A handful of the movies set to expire on Netflix ("Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," "Star Trek Into Darkness," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "World War Z") will be making their way to Hulu as part of a new deal with Epix entertainment network.

So what's coming and what's going? Keep going to see.

Here's what's coming:

September 1st
72 Dangerous Animals: Australia: Season 1
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl
Arthur: Season 17
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
Battle Creek: Season 1
Capital C
Da Jammies: Season 1
Divorce Corp.
First Blood
Giggle and Hoot’s Best Ever!
Heather McDonald: I Don’t Mean to Brag
Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version
The League: Season 6
Los Hombres TambiƩn Lloran: Season 1
Master of the Universe
Mississippi Damned
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Volume 1
Mouk: Season 1
Our Man in Tehran
The Monster Squad
Pandas: The Journey Home
Person of Interest: Seasons 1-3
Puffin Rock: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Rambo III: Ultimate Edition
Shake the Dust
Sleepy Hollow
Such Good People
Up in the Air
Zoo Clues: Season 1
September 2nd
Black or White
Miss Julie
September 3rd
Drumline: A New Beat
September 4th
Baby Daddy: Season 4
Bad Night
Madame Secretary: Season 1
Melissa and Joey: Season 4 (New Episodes)
September 7th
Space Dandy: Season 2
September 8th
6 Years
Love at First Sight
September 9th
Teen Beach Movie 2
September 10th
Fugitivos: Season 1
Longmire: Season 4 (Netflix Original)
September 11th
About Elly
God Bless the Child
Madame Bovary
September 12th
It Happened Here
Portlandia: Season 5
The Roughnecks
Why Did I Get Married?
September 13th
Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season 4 Part II
September 14th
Call the Midwife: Series 4
September 15th
The Bank Job
Closer to the Moon
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Kambu: Season 1
The Road Within
Rubble Kings
Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso: Season 1
Zoobabu: Season 1
September 16th
The Blacklist: Season 2
The Fosters: Season 3
Moonrise Kingdom
Reservation Road
September 17th
The Mysteries of Laura: Season 1
September 18th
Keith Richards: Under the Influence (Netflix Original)
September 21st
Gotham: Season 1
The Following: Season 3
September 22nd
Person of Interest: Season 4
SMOSH: The Movie
September 23rd
The Loft
September 24th
September 25th
Blue Bloods: Season 5
Hawaii Five-0: Season 5
Parenthood: Season 6
VeggieTales In the House: Season One (New Episodes)
September 26th
The Canyons
September 27th
The Walking Dead: Season 5
September 29th
Bones: Season 10
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Monster High: Boo York
R.L. Stines Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls
September 30th
Agatha Christies Poirot: Series 12
Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild
Midnight’s Children
Murdoch Mysteries: Seasons 4-7
Ned Rifle

Here's what's leaving

September 1
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London
Better Than Chocolate
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!
Electrick Children
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Ink Master
Jackie Brown
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Mortal Kombat: The Movie
Patch Adams
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
Rules of Engagement
Sarah's Choice
School of Rock
She's the One
Sleepless in Seattle
The IT Crowd: Seasons 1-4
The Lost Boys
Total Recall
September 2
Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This
September 4
Delta Farce
September 5
Marilyn in Manhattan
September 9
Kicking It
September 10
100 Below Zero
Becoming Chaz
Crash & Bernstein: Seasons 1-2
War Witch
September 13
High Fidelity
September 14
Corky Romano
September 15
Best of Teletubbies
Coach: Seasons 1-9
September 16
The Slap: Season 1
September 20
September 22
National Geographic: Inside Guantanamo
National Geographic: The Battle for Midway
September 26
Lethal Force
Ron White: A Little Unprofessional
September 28
Undeclared: The Complete Series
September 29
Comic Book Men (Season 2)
September 30
*Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Apocalypse Now
If I Stay
*Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
*Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
*Star Trek Into Darkness
The Expendables 3
The Good Guy
*The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Prince
The Skeleton Twins
*The Wolf of Wall Street
*Transformers: Age of Extinction
*World War Z
(Movies with an *asterisk indicate that movie will be available on Hulu, starting in October.)

3 iPad tricks you need to know By Cailyn Finkel

You use your iPad every day, but there are hidden features buried within your trusty tablet that only a few people know about and even fewer make good use of. These features turn novice users into iPad Masters.

Now you can join that group of iPad Masters with today's helpful Apple tip. You'll discover better ways to learn new words, speed up your gadget and discover helpful settings you didn't know existed. So go grab your iPad and let's get started on some of the most helpful iPad secrets available to owners.

1. Your handy-dandy dictionary

If you didn't already know, your iPad can help you expand your vocabulary. It does this by easily letting you find the definition of unfamiliar words on your screen. It's a tool that not many people know about, let alone take advantage of.

If you want to look up an unknown word, all you have to do is hold your finger on the word to highlight it. After a second or two of keeping your finger on the word, a horizontal menu will appear. Select "define" and watch as the exact dictionary entry is pulled to the forefront of your screen.
Not only can you look up the definition of a word, but you can also download your own dictionary depending on what language you use the most.

To add a different dictionary to your iPad, press and hold down on a given word and tap "define" when the option appears. While you're in the definition screen, click the "manage" option and choose from one of the 19 available dictionary versions by selecting the cloud icon to the right of the dictionary you wish to download.

If you're still unsure about the whole thing, follow the example below.
Now you'll be able to type, search and pick out the right words when using your iPad.

2. Give your iPad a zap

After hours and hours of use and daily wear and tear, any tablet is going to experience a little slowdown. But iPads are especially vulnerable to lagging and internal slowing after a few months of use. To combat this, there are a few culprits you need to keep your eye out for.

The first issue that could be jamming up your iPad's internal system is if it's not running on the latest software. Apps and programs within your iPad are updated regularly to keep up with the newest operating system, so if your iPad is running on older iOS versions, you may be the victim of a slow gadget.

To check to see if you're running the latest version of iOS, Apple's mobile operating system, you need to open your Settings page. From there go to General>>Software Update. If your iPad is up to date with the iOS software, it will tell you so, if not you will see an option to download and install the newest version.

Another easy fix to a slow iPad is to clear your Safari data. The Web surfing app stores login information, browsing history and other data to help websites load faster. Even though the pages load more quickly, the data stored in Safari drags down iPad's speed.

To rid yourself of this data, go to your iPad's Settings page>>Safari>>Clear History and Website Data. When you tap "Clear History and Website Data," all of your browser history, cookies and any additional browsing data will be permanently erased.

Now your iPad should run much faster and you'll be able to switch apps, open new Safari pages and play games without any lagging.

3. Keep your iPad safe from sneaking children

It always happens. Your sweet little grandchild snags your iPad and before you even realize it's missing, they're clicking on everything on the screen. This can be a costly mistake since there are in-app purchases and bright ads placed all around their favorite free apps like Minecraft and Angry Birds.

Fortunately, there's a way to make certain parts of the screen "off-limits" to those adorable (and often sticky) little fingers. It's called Guided Access, and it's not a new feature but very few people realize it's there, or one of the coolest things it can do.

Go to Settings>>General>>Accessibility and turn Guided Access. You'll need to set a passcode for this function before you get started so you can confirm the changes you've made to the Guided Access settings.
Next, open up an app you want to let the little one use, and then triple-press the home button. Doing so will bring up the Guided Access tool.

Now you can draw boxes around the areas you don't want the kids to access or tap. For example, you can box off the ad section, messaging section, or anything you think they might get into.

Once you've marked off everything you need to, tap "Start" and the Guided Access tools will disappear. Your child can use the app, but nothing else or those areas you blocked off.

You can also use this function to set time limits on iPad use. Once a time limit is reached, the iPad will turn off and it can only be turned back on with the Guided Access passcode you created earlier. This will prevent keep children from spending all day using the iPad, or it can be used as a nice reminder for you to take a break from electronics.

Whatever the reason you use it, Guided Access is a hidden gem in the depths of your iPad's settings.

Trade-In Site Gazelle Promises Top Dollar For Your Old iPhone by Lance Whitney, CNET

Gazelle says it will beat the trade-in deal offered by Apple or your carrier for your old iPhone. But you'll still want to shop around.


Gazelle, which offers cash back for trading in your used electronic devices, is offering a new, limited-time deal in which it's vowing top dollars for your existing iPhone.

Running from now through September 9, when Apple introduces its new iPhone lineup, Gazelle's latest promotion promises to beat the price or credit offered by Apple as well as all four top US carriers (ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint) if you trade in your iPhone. The carrier must be your current one, so you can't use the deal to switch to a different carrier.

Trade-in deals such as the one offered by Gazelle take advantage of the hot demand for smartphones, especially for consumers who always want the latest model. Carrier plans are getting more complex, with providers gravitating away from subsidizing your phone and instead charging you the full retail price. Trading in a a phone that you've paid for in full is one way to try to recapture as much of its retail value as possible.

Here's how it works: Gazelle will offer at least $1 more than your carrier or Apple for the trade-in value of your iPhone 5S, 6 or 6 Plus. To qualify for the offer, you have to submit proof of the trade-in deal offered by Apple or your carrier via an email to You'll also need to provide your iPhone model and a copy of the price from Apple or your carrier. And whereas the carriers sometimes offer trade-in value in the form of credit, Gazelle is promising cash in return in the form of a check, Amazon gift card or PayPal credit. The promotion covers all colors and capacities of the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

So is the deal worth taking? That depends on whether you want to check out other sources beyond Apple and your carrier. Gazelle specifically states that it won't try to beat the trade-in prices from third-party vendors such as, or This deal is valid only against trade-in prices from Apple, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. Those of you who'd rather sell your phone on Amazon or eBay or check out other trade-in sites could score more cash back for your old iPhone. But the Gazelle offer is worth considering, especially if you're in a hurry to sell your existing iPhone in order to buy one of the new ones that Apple will unveil next Wednesday.

So what kind of prices can you get for trading in your old iPhone? That depends on the model and the condition. The phone can have a cracked screen or other flaws but it must be capable of powering on. A phone is considered in good condition if it works but shows normal signs of use. And it's considered flawless if it seems like it's never been used.

Here are a few examples:
  • A 16GB Verizon or AT&T iPhone 5S in broken condition will score you $60, while the same model from Sprint or T-Mobile will net you $35. 
  • A 64GB Verizon iPhone 6 in good condition will get you $401, while the same model from the other three carriers will pay you anywhere from $311 to $362. 
  • And at the top of the range, a 128GB Verizon iPhone 6 Plus in flawless shape will score you $481, while the same phone from the other carriers will go for anywhere from $371 to $388. 

Why does Gazelle pay more for Verizon iPhones? All existing iPhones are compatible with Verizon's CDMA networks and the GSM networks used by other carriers so the phones can work on both types of networks. The difference is that Verizon iPhones come with GSM unlocked, according to a Gazelle spokesman, so they can be used on any GSM network with the right SIM card installed.

Gazelle is also touting the trade-in deal as less confusing than those cooked up by the carriers.

Trade-in deals from carriers may force certain conditions on you like activating a new account or applying credits toward your bill. And the situation is trickier now that carriers are cutting back on subsidized plans in favor of plans that stick you with the full price of the phone in exchange for upgrading to a new one at anytime. Such upgrade plans may require you to return your old phone without receiving any cash back for it.

Gazelle said that it recently polled more than 500 US smartphone owners and found that 42 percent were angry about losing carrier subsidies when buying new iPhones, which retail for at least $650, an amount that has to be paid either all at once or in monthly installments.

"Consumers are frustrated by confusing carrier offers that often require a lengthy commitment or other terms and conditions," Gazelle chief marketing officer Sarah Welch said in a press release. "Unlike the carriers, Gazelle prides itself on offering a simple customer experience with no strings attached." Gazelle suggest that consumers do their homework when looking at trade-in offers. And that's always the best advice. If you're in the market to sell or trade in your iPhone, check Gazelle's offer. Check the offers from Apple and your carrier. And unless you're in a rush, check other sites where you can trade in your phone or sell it yourself. But don't wait too long. Historically, the trade-in value of an existing iPhone starts to drop once a new model is announced.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How to AirDrop photos and videos between Macs and iOS devices by Lesa Sinder

The Photos apps for OS X and iOS make it super simple to share photos and videos, even without an Internet connection.
Nothing feels more futuristic and Star Trek than using AirDrop to instantly beam pictures and videos to others while you’re out and about. There’s no file size limit, no setup, no software to install, and no password to memorize. And since AirDrop uses Bluetooth, you don’t even need an Internet connection or a Wi-Fi network to make it work, though you can use a Wi-Fi network if you want. That means you can use AirDrop to fling files to and fro in places that you normally can’t—airplanes, cruise ships, and camping trips, to mention a few. In this column, you’ll learn how to use AirDrop inside Apple’s Photos app, plus get some ideas for using AirDrop in other apps.

AirDrop system requirements

To AirDrop pictures and videos between iOS devices, you need an iPhone 5 (or newer), an iPad (fourth generation or newer), an iPad mini, or an iPod touch (fifth generation or newer), running at least iOS 7. To AirDrop files between an iOS device and a Mac (or vice versa), your Mac has to be made in 2012 (or later) and it must be running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later.

To AirDrop files between two Macs, they both need OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later. Technically speaking, if you want to transfer files between two Macs using an AirDrop window in the Finder, instead of the Photos app, you don’t need the latest and greatest hardware or OS—both Macs simply need OS X 10.7 Lion or later.

Setting up your devices for AirDrop

To get the AirDrop party started between iOS devices running iOS 8 (or later), launch the Control Center by swiping upward from the bottom edge of the display. (In iOS 7, use the Settings app instead.)
Tap the AirDrop icon to the left of the AirPlay icon (if you don’t see it, your iOS or the device itself is too old). In the resulting menu, pick who you want to share files with: Contacts Only or Everyone. Tap Contacts Only and just the people in your Contacts app can see your device via AirDrop. Tap Everyone and anyone using AirDrop within about 30 feet of you can see your device. If you’re trying to share images with someone who isn’t in your Contacts app, it’s quicker to set AirDrop to Everyone than it is to add them to your Contacts app.
airdrop 1
Tap the AirDrop icon circled here (left) and the next menu lets you pick who to share files with (center). Tap Contacts Only or Everyone and the AirDrop icon turns white. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also automatically enabled if they weren’t already.
To use AirDrop between an iOS device and a Mac, or between two Macs, make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on. Your Mac doesn’t need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network—Wi-Fi simply needs to be turned on.

Using Photos for iOS

To AirDrop pictures and videos between iOS devices, fire up Photos for iOS. Find the images in your Camera Roll or in an album, and then tap the Select button at the upper-right. Tap the thumbnails you want to send, and Photos marks them with a checkmark. To deselect an item, tap the thumbnail again. 

If you want to send all (or most) of the images in a single moment, you can select them all at once and save some time. First tap the Photos button at the bottom of your screen to enter Photos view, which splits your images into “moments” based on time and location. Then tap the Select button at the upper-right corner of the screen, which makes a smaller Select button to the right of each moment’s name and location. Tap that to select every image at once, and then tap any you’d like to deselect, or tap Deselect to deselect the whole moment.
airdrop 2
In Photos view, tap Select in the upper-right corner (left). Then tap Select next to a moment (right). Now you’re ready to tap Share (right).
Once you’ve selected some thumbnails, tap the Share icon at the lower-left corner. You’ll see several options for sharing, with the icons of nearby AirDrop users at the top. Simply tap the person you want to send the file(s) to. On the recipient’s iOS device, a message appears asking them to decline or accept the transfer—tapping Accept adds the files to their Photos library. If, however, you send the file to another device registered with the same iCloud account, Apple assumes you own both devices and the files are transferred without the need for approval.
airdrop 3
AirDrop-enabled devices show up as icons at the top of share screen (left). If your recipient is on an iOS device, they can choose to Accept or Decline the files (right).
If the recipient is on a Mac, they need to open an AirDrop window in the Finder (choose Go > AirDrop, press Shift-Command-R, or just look for AirDrop in your Finder window’s sidebar), or else you won’t see their AirDrop icon. In the AirDrop window on the receiving Mac, a message appears that lets them decline, save, or save and open the files. The resulting files land in the Mac’s Downloads folder.

Using Photos for Mac

The process for using AirDrop in Photos for Mac is just as easy. Simply select some thumbnails by Shift- or Command-clicking them and then click the Share icon in Photos’ toolbar (or the Share icon that appears when you point your cursor to a moment in Photos view). In the resulting menu, click AirDrop. 

A message appears in the middle of the Photos window that contains tiny thumbnails of the image(s) you selected along with the icons of nearby AirDrop-enabled devices. If you don’t see the icon of your intended recipient, try opening an AirDrop window yourself to jumpstart the process.
airdrop 4
After selecting some images, click the Share icon circled here (top) and you see the AirDrop icons of those nearby (bottom).
While there are other options for using Photos to share pictures and videos—say, shared albums and Family Sharing, AirDrop is a quick and instant way to get it done without Internet access.

Other uses for AirDrop

AirDrop is available anywhere you see a Share icon—in iOS apps, some OS X apps, and in your Mac’s Finder. You can use it to share websites in Safari, attachments in Mail (Control-click the attachment and choose Share from the shortcut menu that appears), or any file in your Mac’s Finder (open an AirDrop window and then drop the file onto your recipient’s icon). You can also AirDrop a location from the Maps app, a contact from the Contacts app, an open document in Preview or other Apple apps, and so on. Until next time, may the creative force be with you all!

How to Find Windows 10's Secret Search Feature by David Pogue

In Windows 10, there’s a whole new Search feature. It works great — once you know the secret.
First, click in the Search box, type in what you’re looking for, and see the top 10 most likely results arranged by category — like Apps, Settings, Documents, Store, or Web. (Just don’t hit Enter, or Windows will automatically launch a Bing search.)

OK, that’s great. But what if you don’t find the thing you’re looking for?

Click the category heading, which will lead you to a new dialog box, where you can see everything in that category. (But with a couple of obvious exceptions: If you click Web, it will launch a Bing search; click Store, and it will launch the Windows Store.) From there, you will very likely find what you’re looking for.

I bet you’re glad I helped you Find that one! 

Windows 10 Is Now Installed on 75 Million PCs After Just Four Weeks by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft released Windows 10 four weeks ago today, and now the company is providing a fresh update on its upgrade figures. 14 million machines had been upgraded to Windows 10 within 24 hours of the operating system release last month, and that figure has now risen to more than 75 million in just four weeks. Microsoft has been rolling out Windows 10 in waves, as a free upgrade for Windows 8 and Windows 7 users. While it’s difficult to compare exact figures between Windows 10 and Windows 8, Microsoft “sold” 40 million licenses of Windows 8 a month after its debut. It took Microsoft six months to get to 100 million licenses of Windows 8, and it’s clear the free aspect of Windows 10 is obviously driving higher adoption rates.

An encouraging start for Windows 10

Microsoft’s Windows marketing chief Yusuf Mehdi revealed the figure today, alongside some more interesting statistics about Windows 10. More than 90,000 unique PCs or tablet models have been upgraded to Windows 10 in 192 countries. That’s nearly every country on the planet. Xbox One owners have streamed nearly 122 years of gameplay to Windows 10 PCs. More importantly, Mehdi revealed that the Windows Store for Windows 10 has seen six times more downloads per device than Windows 8. That’s an encouraging start to Microsoft’s universal apps goal.

While Microsoft has been rolling out Windows 10 in waves, there are ways to avoid the wait. There’s even methods to clean install Windows 10 if you want to remove the cruft of your previous version of Windows and wipe out the upgrade. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, you can read our review here to get a closer look at Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

5 urgent questions about Windows 10 answered By Kim Komando

It's about a month since Windows 10 launched and the early reviews are mostly positive. On my site,, I've had readers report everything from smooth sailing to minor annoyances to serious problems that made them go back to Windows 7 or 8.1. With major new software, that's to be expected.

I've also been getting a flood of questions from Windows 10 users try to get the hang of the new system, and from non-users trying to decide if they should upgrade. You probably have similar questions, so I'm going to answer some of the most pressing ones here.

1. Does Windows 10 really share my Wi-Fi automatically?
Windows 10 has a feature called Wi-Fi Sense that makes it easier for friends and family to get on your encrypted Wi-Fi networks. They don't have to type a password; Microsoft will log them in automatically.

There's a lot of confusion around this feature that makes it sound scarier than it is. To start, it doesn't actually give anyone your Wi-Fi password. Plus, you have a lot of control over how it works, and you can even disable it completely.

For example, someone only gets logged in automatically if they're a contact of yours in Outlook,, Skype or Facebook. If you remove someone from your contacts, they can't connect.
You can also choose which of the above services to pull contacts from. Simply go to Network & Internet>>Wi-Fi>>Manage Wi-Fi Settings (only available on computers that support Wi-Fi). Uncheck the services you don't want to allow under "For networks I select, share them with my contacts."

You might have noticed it says "for networks I select." The first time you connect to a Wi-Fi network, Microsoft will ask if you want to share it. Simply say no and Wi-Fi Sense won't log anyone in to that network. You can also disable these later in your network settings.

Of course, there is more to know about Wi-Fi Sense. Learn more about this controversial feature, how it works and how to disable it permanently.

2. How can I tell if there are potential compatibility problems BEFORE I install Windows 10?
Some people are (correctly) worried about upgrading to Windows 10 and then finding out that a critical program or piece of hardware doesn't work. Fortunately, you can get the scoop on potential problems before you hit the Upgrade button.

Find the Get Windows 10 app icon in the notification tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen (it's the white Windows logo). Right-click on it and select "Check your upgrade status."

Then in the screen that appears, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. From the menu that drops down, click "Check your PC."

The app will bring up an overall "yea" or "nay" on installing Windows 10, and then list some items on the computer that might not be fully compatible. There might be things it misses, but it should give you a general idea of whether or not an upgrade is going to be smooth for you.

Did you request an upgrade and haven't gotten it yet? Here's why Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 upgrades in stages.

3. Are there any critical features in older versions of Windows that Windows 10 doesn't have?
It depends on your definition of "critical," but yes, Windows 10 has dropped some features that some people rely on. The one most people seem to be upset about is Windows Media Center (don't confuse this with Windows Media Player, which is still installed).

Media Center is a Windows program that lets you watch and record TV using third-party TV tuner cards in your computer. It's also a nice way to manage and interact with your videos, music and other media.
You can replace this with a free program like Kodi, but test it out before you upgrade to make sure it does everything you want. Some of my readers have tried it and say they prefer Media Center.

There are six more features Windows 10 dropped. Find out what they are, if there are alternatives you can use.

4. Is it true I can't refuse updates?
With Windows 10, Microsoft decided that all security and program updates would install automatically the day they're released. This makes sense for security, since millions of Windows users worldwide don't install updates and leave their computers open to attack.

Unfortunately, it also means that you can't avoid problematic updates, as some Windows 10 users found out recently. Microsoft released a cumulative update that put some machines into an endless reboot, and there was no way to tell Windows to ignore the update. Microsoft is probably going to keep tweaking the system to minimize situations like that in the future, but it's still a bit of control you no longer have.

If you're using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there is an option to defer updates for a little while. If you're running Windows 10 Home, however, you're out of luck.

Also, the way Windows 10 gets updates has changed. By default, it is downloading update files from other users, and other users get to download update files from your computer. Learn why Microsoft is doing this and the setting you can change to stop it.

That isn't the only privacy concern that comes with Windows 10. Here are three more you need to know about, from ad tracking to learning everything about your life it can.

5. If I upgrade and don't like Windows 10, can I undo it?
For 30 days after you upgrade, you can go back to the version of Windows you upgraded from.
Go to Start>>Settings and choose the Update & Security icon. Then go to the Recovery section and under "Go back to Windows 8.1" or "Go back to Windows 7," click "Get Started."

Windows will ask why you're going back, give you some warnings and then do its thing. It's relatively simple, although the process will take a while.

Unfortunately, it isn't a completely foolproof feature. Find out what might not get put back correctly and what it takes to fix it.

The best surge protector in the world is less than $20 on Amazon By Maren Estrada

It’s easy to forget just how important surge protectors are. It’s not just about adding more outlets to a room, it’s about protecting your gear from power surges. As anyone who has fallen victim to a power surge knows all too well, it can be very costly if your expensive TVs, computers and other pricey gear is plugged in when a surge hits. Be prepared and get yourself the best and most convenient surge protector in the business with Belkin’s 12-Outlet model. It sports a list price of $49.99 but on Amazon it’s 61% off at just $19.50. A 4.5-star rating from more than 3,900 customer reviews can’t be wrong.

Belkin 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector with 8 ft. Cord, $19.50 with free Prime shipping

The hidden editing power of Photos for OS X by Jeff Carlson

Photos for OS X is designed to appeal to a broad audience, with simple editing tools that let anyone improve their photographs. But is that it? Even though it’s a 1.0 product (replacing iPhoto and Aperture), a lot of editing power is actually hidden beneath that user-friendly surface.
Photos Light controls
Click the arrow (left) to expose the Light controls (right).
For example, when you edit a photo and click the Adjust button, you’re presented with sliders for improving light and color. Dragging a slider makes the image brighter or darker (Light), or more or less saturated (Color); you can also click the Auto button that appears when the mouse pointer moves over the tool. Clicking the down-facing arrow icon, however, exposes individual controls.

That’s just the beginning.

Jump into editing

To access the editing view, normally you click the Edit button when viewing an image, but there’s a better way: simply press the Return key. This shortcut also works in the Moments view when a photo is selected.
Shortcuts also go directly to specific tools, even if you’re not yet in the editing view. Press C to open the Crop tool, F for filters, A for the Adjust tool, R for the Retouch tool, and E for the Red-eye tool. While you’re editing, press the arrow keys to switch to the previous or next photo without leaving the editing view.

To compare your edits to the original version of the photo, press the M key for a quick before-and-after.

Choose which version to edit

If you shoot with your camera set to Raw+JPEG format (which records both a raw image and a high-resolution JPEG version), Photos treats the two separate images as one. However, the application defaults to editing the JPEG instead of the richer raw version.

To switch, open the photo in the editing view and choose Image > Use RAW as Original. (The option is disabled unless you’re in the editing view.)

Add more adjustments

The Light, Color, and Black & White adjustments in the Adjust tool are just the most common adjustments. Several more are available by clicking the Add menu (see image below). I find having the Histogram visible to be helpful, for example. If you use some controls regularly, such as White Balance, choose Save As Default at the bottom of the Add menu; those adjustments will appear every time you edit a photo.
Photos add adjustments
Edit the photo using several adjustments that aren’t immediately visible.

Extend edit ranges

A funny thing happened one day when I accidentally pressed the Option key while editing a photo: The tick marks on several of the adjustment controls moved.

Many of the controls use a scale that ranges from –1.00 to +1.00, with the image’s original value sitting in the middle at zero. The Exposure control, for example, darkens the image significantly at –1.00, but doesn’t turn it black. When you hold Option, that range changes to between –2.00 and +2.00, letting you darken the photo even more (or go the other direction and brighten a dark photo).

This feature is also useful when you’re looking for more pop or an extreme treatment for a drab photo. In the images below, I’ve taken a photo of dried leaves and pushed the contrast to its initial maximum value of 1.00. With the Option key held, however, I can push that higher and get a more dramatic effect.

Photos contrast control
Photos contrast control
Photos contrast control
Adjusting the Contrast control beyond the obvious range. Original (top), contrast set to +1.00 (middle), contrast set to +1.70 (bottom).

Multiple levels of Levels

The Histogram is good for identifying the color and tonal values in a photo, but it’s there just for reference.

The Levels adjustment, however, lets you manipulate those values in some sophisticated ways. Choose Levels from the Add menu to view it.
Photos histogram
The histogram in the Levels adjustment shows RGB and Luminance values.
Looking at a histogram, the left side represents dark values (with black at the far left) and the right side represents light values (with white at the far right). The colored areas within indicate the distribution of red, green, and blue (RGB) pixels within the scene. If you want to isolate and edit any of those channels, click the options menu that appears when you move your mouse cursor over the controls. You can also choose Luminance to view only the brightness values.

The teardrop-shaped handles at the bottom of the Levels histogram control (from left to right) the black point, midtones, and the white point. To brighten an image, for example, drag the white point to the left—the values to the right of the white point get pushed to their full luminance, increasing the overall brightness of the photo (see below).
Photos Levels
Photos Levels
Drag the white point to make the photo brighter.
Similarly, dragging the black point makes the image darker, and dragging the midtones lightens or darkens the values that fall between the light and dark extremes; the smaller handles that flank the midtones control affect shadows (left) and highlights (right). Sometimes, for instance, it may be better to adjust the midtones to brighten an image to avoid clipping, which is when pixels are pushed all the way to pure white or black.

There’s more to the Levels adjustment, however. The handles at the top of the Levels adjustment allow you to fine-tune the edits made with the bottom handles. In the image below, I’ve reduced the white point setting (by moving it to the right) so the lightest areas aren’t blown out, and then also dragged the top-center control to brighten the midtones. The result is a brighter, more saturated sky, but also detail in light areas such as the pyramid-topped building in the center of the skyline. You can also hold Option and drag a top handle to also move its connected bottom handle in unison, maintaining the relationship between the two.
Photos Levels fine-tuning
Use the top controls for fine-tuning.

Copy and paste adjustments

After you’ve edited a photo to your liking, you probably have similar shots taken at the same time that would benefit from those adjustments. Rather than try to replicate everything by hand, it’s much easier to copy the work you did on the first one and paste it onto another.

While you’re still in the editing view, choose Image > Copy Adjustments (or press Command-Shift-C). Next, switch to the unedited photo and choose Image > Paste Adjustments (or press Command-Shift-V).

All the changes you made to the first apply to the second.

Looking ahead

These advanced or hidden editing features exist in the current 1.0.1 version of Photos for OS X, and there’s more to come. An update arriving with the upcoming OS X El Capitan will support editing extensions: third-party developers can create modules that will enable you to edit your images within Photos for OS X using the developer’s tools. This capability already exists on iOS—you can use the editing tools of Pixelmator or Camera Plus, to name just two examples, without leaving the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.

For now, though, Photos for OS X turns out to be a much more capable photo editor than it first appears, which is a good place to start moving forward.

Free stuff that comes with your cellphone contract By Kevin Downey

At, we're always helping you save some money. Sometimes we save you money by suggesting tech purchases that you don't need to make or telling you when it's cheaper to buy online.

We also like to tell you about free stuff that tech companies are giving away, especially when almost no one else knows about  them. Today, we're talking about getting freebies from your cellphone company.

When you think about how your cell provider locks you into two-year contracts for a couple of hundred dollars a month, who doesn't want some free stuff in return? If you look deep into the contract you signed, or read your company's data plan offerings, you'll start finding free stuff you might not be taking advantage of.
We're talking about good stuff, too, such as streaming NFL, Major League Baseball and NBA games. There are perks like free international calls and texting, plus free texting while you're on a plane.

A lot of cellphone companies offer free streaming TV and free storage in the cloud. But only if you know where to look for it. We've done the work for you, so keep reading to see the best freebies for each of the major carriers!

1. AT&T

Every AT&T subscriber gets free stuff, but the juiciest freebies come with its Mobile Share Value Plans. That's a pretty broad mix-and-match plan starting around $40 a month for a bare bones 3GB deal for one phone, up to $260 a month for a 10GB family package with four smartphones.

If you're a Mobile Share customer, you get free stuff like a monthly rollover deal where the data you don't use rolls over for one more month. You also get free international texting.

But the biggest freebie, if having extra storage is something you find enticing, is 50GB of storage on AT&T's cloud. What that means is simple: You can securely save loads and loads of photos, videos, music and files online.

There's more. For all AT&T cellphone customers, there's an especially cool feature if you find it annoying to ask your barista for the coffee shop Wi-Fi password. At Starbucks and retailers like The Home Depot, AT&T customers just walk in and are automatically connected to their Wi-Fi. No password, no hassle.

Bonus: AT&T and DirecTV recently merged. This new mega company is offering a pretty great deal to save you cash. For a limited time, for $200 a month, AT&T customers can get DirecTV, a 10GB data package with unlimited talk and text on four phones. Many customers will save $120 a year or more over separate phone and TV bills. Plus, for customers who switch to AT&T, the new company is offering $500 toward the purchase of new phones.

2. Sprint

Sprint offers freebies to subscribers of its All-In package, which is a standard deal. Starting at about $80 a month for each smartphone, like Apple's iPhone 6 (16GB), All-In customers get sports packages and free streaming TV.

All Sprint data customers get free Sprint TV. Using the app, you can stream TV networks like Fox News and TV shows such as "American Dad" and "Access Hollywood."

NASCAR Mobile is also free with any Sprint data plan, which gives you up-close NASCAR action. So up close, in fact, that you'll hear live radio coverage of races, and you'll hear and see drivers inside their cars during races.

For sports fans, Sprint's unlimited data plans like All-In offer more free stuff. Namely, NBA Game Time packages that give you free radio coverage of every NBA game. It shows you stats from the game and you can watch highlights from the games while the players are still on the court.

Bonus: Sprint will pay off your current cellphone contract, if you switch to it. Contact Sprint for specific details.

3. T-Mobile

If you do any traveling to Canada or Mexico, or if you have friends or family in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, T-Mobile has an enticing offer: Free calls, texts and data throughout North America. Plus, your data plan follows you into those countries, so you can use it just like you're home.

Continent-wide plans are rare, so this freebie starting with T-Mobile's $50 a month 1GB plan is intriguing. But it's not T-Mobile's only free stuff.

Other freebies include free in-flight texting on Gogo-enabled phones, and a few non-Gogo phones. That way you can keep tabs on what's going on at home 35,000 feet below.

T-Mobile's Data Stash deal includes free data rollover for one month out. This freebie has a small catch, which is that it's free for 4G LTE customers, which adds $10 a month to your bill.

Also with 4G LTE, however, you get an MLB At Bat subscription is free. That includes watching MLB.TV's game of the day and highlights from other games.

Still, free music may be T-Mobile's most enticing perk. Without eating any of your data plan, T-Mobile lets you stream free music from Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody and other music services.

Plus, if you have T-Mobile's Unlimited LTE Plan, which starts at $80 a month for the first phone, T-Mobile throws in a great freebie: Rhapsody's commercial-free online radio app UnRadio.

4. Verizon

Verizon offers more free stuff than NFL football games. But if you're an NFL fan, with the season just about to get underway, Verizon's free stuff starts and ends with the NFL.

It includes live highlights from NFL games on Thursday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday nights. Plus, it includes 24/7 access to watch NFL Network shows and games.

Verizon's free stuff also includes the IndyCar app, which airs live radio broadcasts of IndyCar races. Plus, you can hear and see what's going on in the car, and you can listen to the pit crews.

To really enjoy these perks, Verizon plans starting at $60 a month work best. But lower cost deals are available, too.
Bonus: Verizon recently ditched its two-year contracts in favor of charging you more to buy phones. You can ultimately save money if you hold onto your phones after they're paid off.

How to check your data plan usage on your iPhone by Nick Mediati

Limited data plans suck, but getting dinged because you went over your cap sucks even more. Here's how to keep tabs on your data plan so you can avoid getting penalized.

If you, like many of us, have a limited cellular data plan, monitoring your data usage is essential. Between iOS’s built-in tools and apps from carriers, though, you have several options for monitoring your data usage.

Check through your carrier

Checking your data usage through your carrier is perhaps the easiest and most precise way to go. The four major U.S. carriers each offer an iOS app for their subscribers, and each of those apps lets you see your data usage for your current pay period. You can find apps for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the App Store.

The built-in way

If you’d rather not download and install another app, you can use some built-in tools to track your usage. Open the Settings app, then tap Cellular; here you’ll be able to view how much data you’ve used in the current period, how much data each app has used, and how much talk time you’ve used.
reset usage stats ios
You’ll need to reset your usage statistics regularly. If not, well, this happens.
But there is one catch: You’ll need to manually reset the stats each month to get a more accurate picture of your data use. Otherwise, your iPhone will keep track of your data usage from the point you first activated it. 
To reset the stats, scroll to the bottom of the Cellular settings screen, then tap Reset Statistics. Confirm that you want to reset the stats, and iOS will zero out your stats.

You’ll want to reset this screen once per month, to correspond to your cell plan billing cycle. To remind yourself, you’ll want to add a recurring event to your calendar.

Open the Calendar app, then tap the “+” button. Go ahead and give the calendar entry a title—something like “Reset data usage stats” works—and set the event to repeat each month on the first day of your billing cycle. You’ll want to set an alarm, too, so you get a notification when it’s time to reset your usage stats. Once you’re set, tap Add. Now you’ll be all set to keep on track and avoid going over your data cap.

5 computer security secrets you need to know By Kevin Downey

You may have recently heard conflicting reports about ID fraud, and whether you should be concerned about it or not. You should. The threat of cyberattacks and ID theft is very real. Keep these two thoughts in mind: the White House and 12.7 million.

Remember, just this year, the White House revealed that it was a victim of cybercrime. Russians, it's believed, hacked the White House and accessed President Obama's private calendar. Hackers also stole Social Security numbers from millions of federal employees.

The 12.7 million? That's how many Americans were victims of ID fraud in 2014. Those victims had $16 billion stolen from them in just one year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

That's quite serious, and we know you know it. At, we get questions from you every day about keeping yourself safe online, understandably.

So, we thought it was time to boil down some of the best advice you can follow to stay safe. Do these five steps and you'll greatly improve your chances of not becoming the next victim of ID theft or cybercrime.

1. Password manager

If there were only one way for you to protect yourself from cybercrimes and ID theft, we'd tell you, "Change your passwords. Often." That's something almost every cybersecurity expert agrees on.

Many cybercrimes affect people with easy-to-remember passwords. We've told you before that a lot of people use similar passwords, like "password" or "123456." Cybercriminals won't even break a sweat trying to figure those out.

What you need is an incredibly long and complex password, say 10 to 20 characters long. It's best to use a complicated mixture of numbers, symbols, uppercase letters and lowercase letters. Plus, be sure to have a different password for all your programs.

Whew! Too much? OK, breathe easy.

There's an easy way to create and store complicated passwords. They're called password managers, like KeePass or Dashlane.

These are often free, or low-cost, tools that securely save all your passwords, and help you create new ones. All you have to do is remember one really strong master password. Use a lot of letters, numbers and symbols for that master password.

2. Software updates

You know those little boxes that pop up on your computer screen saying something like, "An update is ready to install?" Don't think of them as being annoying.

It's really important that you update your software programs. A lot of times, those pop-up boxes are for fixes to serious security vulnerabilities.

Every major computer company, like Microsoft and Adobe, regularly issues software updates and patches. Some updates are automatic, like on Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system. But many updates and patches need your OK before they're installed.

If you're worried that you've missed important software updates, and who hasn't, don't worry. There are apps to check for software that needs to be updated.

For example, download the free SUMo app. It'll show you when software updates are available, and it'll let you know which updates you still need to install.

3. Two-step verification

Protecting yourself online starts with your password, of course. But even super-complex passwords like the ones described above aren't foolproof.

To get closer to foolproof, you'll want to make it tougher for crybercriminals to steal your ID. One great way to do that is with a two-step verification. You've probably come across these before, although you may not realize what they're called.

When you're banking online, have you ever gotten a message from the bank saying, essentially, that your password isn't enough to get in? It prompts you for another code that you get as a text message or phone call. Once you type in that additional code, it'll let you in.

That's a two-step verification, or two-step authentication, and all the major companies use it for online transactions, or even social media sites like Facebook. At worst, it's a minor inconvenience.

At best, it's keeping the hackers away. Even if they have your password, it's highly unlikely they'll also have your phone.

Setting up two-step verification on sites like Facebook and Google is pretty easy. On Facebook, for instance, click the little upside down triangle to the right of Find Friends. Choose Settings, then click on the Security badge on the left. Click on Login Approvals, then put a check in the box that says, Require a security code. Click Get Started and follow the simple instructions.

For more details on creating two-step verification for Apple, Google and Microsoft, click here.

4. Use HTTPS instead of HTTP

Want to be secure on the Internet? Don't want the government invading your privacy, or hackers stealing your ID?

Of course, you don't. There's an easy way to block much of that from happening, and it involves adding the letter "S" to the letters "HTTP." You sometimes see those before "www" on websites; even if you don't, they're there.

HTTPS means that your connection to that site is encrypted so no one can see what you're sending or receiving. Many sites now use HTTPS by default, but not every site does. You can force them to with the browser plug-in HTTPS Everywhere.

5. Security software

These days, hackers are loading every device you've got with malware and viruses. It doesn't matter if you have a PC or a Mac, an iPhone or an Android phone. You've either been hacked, or will be. Hackers will try to install malicious software onto your device, to get access to your ID, your personal conversations and even the webcam on your computer.

But there's good news. Despite what seems like never-ending threats, there are powerful security programs to protect yourself. You can find ones that are free and ones that are paid. The main difference is the paid ones have more features, although nearly all of them are going to offer good basic protection.

Windows 10 upgrades continue at a torrid pace by Ed Bott

More than two weeks after the worldwide launch of Windows 10, Microsoft is keeping quiet about how many upgrades it's delivered. But third-party data suggests that the upgrade pace isn't slowing. The next major milestone? 100 million installs.

The day after Microsoft launched Windows 10 worldwide, the company announced that the new OS was running on more than 14 million machines. Since then, executives in the Windows division have been quiet about disclosing follow-up numbers for Windows installations.

But a check of third-party data sources suggests that the upgrade pace is not slowing down.
StatCounter, for example, reported that worldwide web traffic from devices running Windows 10 was roughly 0.3 percent of the total in the week leading up to the July 29 launch.

Two weeks after the launch, for the week ending August 16, the share of traffic from Windows 10 devices had soared to nearly 20 times that level, or 5.4 percent.
Data from StatCounter
It's no coincidence that other Windows versions were down an identical amount, with the share of traffic from Windows 7 machines dropping 1.4 percent and the Windows 8.1 share declining even more precipitously. If the StatCounter numbers are even close to reflecting real-world usage, then roughly one out of every six Windows 8.1 machines has already upgraded to Windows 10.

Internal traffic numbers at ZDNet suggest even more dramatic momentum for Windows 10 among our audience, which is more technically sophisticated than the general population.

In the full week that ended a few days before the worldwide launch, about 1.8 percent of unique visitors to ZDNet were running Windows 10. Two weeks after the launch, 12.6 percent of all unique visitors to this site (roughly one out of every eight, including mobile devices) were using Windows 10.
ZDNet unique visitors (internal data)
[Note: The ZDNet traffic numbers include both PCs and mobile devices, unlike StatCounter's figures, which are for desktop operating systems only.]
ZDNet readers are apparently more eager than the general populace to trade in their old Windows for the new one. Visits from devices running Windows 7 dropped sharply, but the exodus from Windows 8.1 was even more profound.

At Neowin, the usually reliable Brad Sams reported this morning that the total number of Windows 10 installations is over 53 million, according to anonymous Microsoft sources. And that pace will probably continue for a while. I'm still hearing from Windows 7 users who reserved their copy of Windows 10 but haven't yet received the upgrade notice, which suggests Microsoft is still throttling the upgrade servers.
For those who are scratching their heads trying to do the math, keep in mind that the initial 14 million figure included 2-3 million machines upgraded to the final build by Windows Insiders between July 15 and July 29. In addition, Microsoft trickled the initial Windows 10 download packages out over the course of several days before the July 29 launch.

Microsoft's reticence to disclose installation totals beyond those initial figures might be strategic, with the goal of saving the next announcement for a very big number, like 100 million installations. At the current pace, that magic number could well be reached before the end of this calendar quarter on September 30.
It's not a billion yet, but it's a pretty good start.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

iPad Class Powerpoint

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Eyeing a Galaxy S6? Samsung May Be About to Drop the Price by Andy Boxall, Digital Trends

If you’ve been looking at the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 with envious eyes, it may be worth your while not giving into temptation just yet, because Samsung says it intends to drop the price on its two flagship Android phones in the near future.

The news comes from Samsung itself, and was part of a statement released alongside its latest earnings report, in which it shows an improvement over projections, but admits they didn’t come from sales of its smartphones. “Despite the launch of the Galaxy S6,” it reads, “improvements to earnings was quite marginal due to low smartphone shipments and an increase in marketing expenses.”

This doesn’t mean it’s not selling any, but it would like to sell more. The key sentence for bargain hunters is found when Samsung says it wants to maintain the “sales momentum for its high-end products,” by adjusting the price of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. It doesn’t state how much this adjustment will be, or really whether it’ll be an increase of a decrease, but we can’t imagine it’ll be putting the price up even more.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 phones are among the most expensive currently on sale, and in the wake of Motorola and OnePlus’s announcement of equally powerful phones that cost $200 less than an S6, an “adjustment” in price seems appropriate.

It’s timely for another reason. On August 13, Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, neither of which will be cheap. The statement alludes to the arrival of the new phones, stating it’ll “flexibly adjust the price of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and launch a new model with a larger screen.”

The cost cuts may translate into better deals with networks on the S6, and a drop in the unconnected, SIM-free model’s price too.

Customizing the Windows 10 Start Menu by David Pogue

You may love the new “tiles” half of the Start menu in Windows 10, or you may hate it. But it actually doesn’t matter how you feel about it; you can expand it, shrink it, customize it, or get rid of it altogether.

Here’s the complete list of things you can do to the right side of the Start menu — and the left side.
Customizing the Windows 10 Start Menu

Right Side

Expand it: Drag the top or right edge, using the mouse or trackpad. It snaps bigger or smaller. (It doesn’t work with a finger on a touchscreen.)

Make it fill the entire screen: Right-click anywhere on the desktop. From the shortcut menu, choose Personalize. On the Settings screen, click Start, then turn on “Use Start full screen.”

In this mode, the left column of the Start menu is hidden. The live tiles area fills your entire desktop (which is handy for touchscreens).

Move a tile: With the Start menu open, drag a tile to a new spot.

Resize a tile: Right-click the tile. From the shortcut menu, choose Resize. You always have a choice of Small and Medium; some apps offer Wide or Large options, too.
Add new tiles: Right-click any folder, disk, or app. From the shortcut menu, choose “Pin to Start.”
(Or open the “All apps” list, and right-click an app’s name there.)

Its tile now appears at the bottom of the right side of your Start menu.

Make a tile stop blinking: If you’d rather silence the animation of a “live tile,” right-click it. From the shortcut menu, choose “Turn live tile off.”

Remove a tile: Open the Start menu. Right-click the tile you want to eliminate. From the shortcut menu, choose “Unpin from Start.” (You’re not actually discarding that item — you’re just getting its tile off the Start menu.)

Eliminate all tiles: Right-click each tile; choose “Unpin from Start.” Repeat until you’ve eliminated all the tiles. Now only the left-hand column remains, just as it was in Windows 7.

Change the color: Right-click anywhere on the desktop. From the shortcut menu, choose Personalize. In Settings, click Colors. You can change both the tile colors (“Accent color”) and the background of the Start menu and taskbar (“Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center”).

Left Side

Add new items: You can’t.

Remove items: You can remove listings in the “Most used” section — handy if you’re embarrassed about something that shows up there. To do that, right-click its name. From the shortcut menu, choose “Remove from this list.”