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12
Mar

Turn any old Android into your Android with the #myAndroid website from Google


Why it matters to you

Your phone should really adhere to your tastes, and the #myAndroid website wants to help achieve just that.

You may have bought the same phone as a few hundred thousand other people, but that doesn’t mean you’re anything like them. And now, Google wants to help you prove it. This weekend, the tech giant and phone maker launched a new tool that may help you turn any old Android into your Android. It’s all thanks to the #myAndroid website, which promises to help make your handset truly your own “from the way it looks to the way it works.”

To get started in the customization process, Android invites you to take the #myAndroid Taste Test, a series of questions designed to better understand you, your tastes, and your needs. Asking users to “tap first, think later,” Google hopes that you’ll answer these questions in rapid fire so as to be as honest as possible. You’ll be asked about your preferences when it comes to a multicolor or monochromatic palette, organic or geometric shapes, and even how you like your sandwiches sliced.

The ultimate goal is to help you decide how you might be able to customize your phone with new wallpapers, icon packs, and more.

More: How to search or reverse search images using Google on your iPhone or Android phone

The quiz, which is actually quite long, spanning between 10 and 15 questions, gets into the weeds when it comes to not only your design aesthetic, but also how you actually use your phone. Are you more of a gamer or a worker? Looking for more information or to look cooler? A new Android user or a veteran of the OS? Based on your answer, Google has something different for you.

Once you’ve finished the test, you’ll be presented with a series of suggestions for your icons, your launcher, your wallpaper, and even your keyboard. And if you’re not satisfied with the results, you’re welcome to take the test again and again and again until you’ve finally landed on the Android that truly feels like home.

12
Mar

From the Editor’s Desk: Welcome to the ‘tall phone’ era


andrew-editors-desk-2.jpg?itok=-luJt-di

The new form factor for phones is narrow and tall — and probably for the best.

Smartphones were in a bit of a holding pattern for the past couple of years with 16:9 aspect ratio displays, at either standard FHD or QHD resolution, as we all waited for the next “thing” in form factors. It looks like tiny bezels and extra-tall displays are it. With the LG G6 fully announced, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 thoroughly leaked, it’s a great indication that phones with 18:9 (or slightly taller even) displays are the new wave of the future.

htc-u-ultra-lg-g6.jpg?itok=IPyelBGX

Much like many laptops and tablets have steadily moved away from the constraints of 16:9 displays that were really a carryover from TVs that needed standardization on HD content, it just makes sense for phones to break these shackles to find a new aspect ratio. Yes we watch lots of traditional 16:9 media on our phones, but it’s nowhere near a majority of the time spent looking at these screens — so much time is spent holding phones vertically, in one hand, scrolling through feeds and pages within apps. A narrower, taller display just makes more sense for this type of interaction.

It may take a little while, just like the transition from 4:3 phone displays to 16:9, but in the end this new aspect ratio is actually a better overall design from a usability standpoint. Sure the LG G6 doesn’t have quite as much physical screen as an HTC U Ultra, but the upside is having a phone you can actually manage in one hand, reach across easily and enjoy more than a phone of the same width with less vertical screen real estate.

So I, for one, welcome our new tall screen overlords. May they increase our productivity and enjoyment of phones, albeit with a slight annoyance when flipping those phones landscape to watch a YouTube video.

Now, a few other thoughts rattling around this weekend:

  • After two weeks with the Huawei Watch 2, I’m really not impressed. It’s unfortunately not a proper successor to the original Huawei Watch. (Review landing tomorrow — keep an eye out.)
  • I have an HTC U Ultra in for review. Thing’s huge, the second screen doesn’t add much value, and it’s so expensive — but I love that design, and HTC just gets so many fundamentals right.
  • Also, I really like having a headphone jack. I use it every day. The U Ultra doesn’t have one. Please don’t continue this trend.
  • I’m excited to spend more time with the new Galaxy Tab S3, particularly to see if it can be a worthy replacement for my Pixel C — initially, I’m not convinced.
  • Love seeing more Bank of America ATMs with NFC readers, so you can tap to authenticate your debit card for transactions. I need this to be ubiquitous before I can leave the house without the card, though.
  • How about that Barcelona-Paris Champion’s League match this week? Holy moly, that was insane.
  • I feel it was a bit of foreshadowing that we were at Camp Nou to watch Barcelona destroy Sporting 6-1 just a week earlier …

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday — there’s another big week ahead!

-Andrew

12
Mar

The best dehumidifier


By Kevin Purdy

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After 40 hours of research and weeks of real-world testing in century-old stone basements, we think the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is the best dehumidifier for most people. It’s effective at drying air, it maintains an optimal level of humidity, and it’s easier to operate than any other model we tested.

Who needs a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are not a cure for a humid living space or damp basement; they are a convenient, affordable way to lessen the symptoms until you can take on the big, often expensive fix of the underlying issues.

Constant moisture is a problem in homes for many reasons: It encourages mold growth, damages wood parts, promotes insect infestation, and potentially causes difficulties for residents with allergies or moisture sensitivities. You can do many things to lessen moisture getting into your home, as detailed at Green Building Advisor.

A dehumidifier’s capability has a limit: This kind of machine isn’t useful if you experience regular basement flooding or need to dry out saturated walls and floors after a weather event. That job requires large blower-type fans, and potentially a commercial-grade portable dehumidifier.

How we picked and tested

Clockwise from top left: Keystone KSTAD50B, Honeywell DH70W, GE ADEL50LR, Frigidaire FFAD7033R1. Photo: Kevin Purdy

We focused on one type of home dehumidifier for this guide, the kind you’ll find in most retail stores: condensing. We avoided desiccant-based models, which draw air through a drum of the same stuff you find in packets in new shoes. Desiccant dehumidifiers work more slowly than condenser models, remove far less moisture per day, and are best used for spaces below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 percent relative humidity, a combination that’s rare in any home. We also ignored thermoelectric dehumidifiers, which remove only 25 ounces from the air per day under ideal conditions—not nearly enough to dehumidify a room.

Condenser units work much like air conditioners, using a compressor and coolant to chill metal fins, and a fan to draw humid air over those fins. The water that condenses on the fins either falls away through a hose or drops into a reservoir that you must manually empty. The appliances work inside the temperature and humidity ranges most homes need, being most efficient around 68 degrees and humidities near 65 percent. We wanted to find a model that could maintain a humidity level around 50 percent; we say more on how we arrived at that target in How to use and maintain a dehumidifier in our full guide.

We looked for dehumidifiers with a 50-pint or 70-pint capacity but leaned toward 70-pint models. “Capacity,” for a dehumidifier, describes how much moisture it can pull out of the air each day under optimal conditions. A 50-pint model is built to handle a 1,000-square-foot area, and a 70-pint version is designed to handle 1,400 square feet, but we generally recommend the larger model for most spaces, as they run more efficiently in most situations.

Browse condenser dehumidifiers, and you’ll find they look remarkably similar, and seem not to compete on how well they do the core job of removing moisture from the air. That’s because almost all of the dehumidifiers you can buy in the US are made by one of two manufacturers—Midea or Haier—and the internal mechanics are much the same. What differentiates the lines and models are their features, how loud they run, and how easy they are to maintain.

To differentiate these closely related devices, we combined their Consumer Reports ratings with customer reviews on Amazon and other store sites to create a short list of testing models. We ran each of them for at least a week, recorded their dehumidification performance, and measured their noise levels with a portable decibel meter in both their “passive” (fan running) and “active” (fan running and condenser powered up) modes. After that, we considered distinguishing features: the ease of emptying the reservoir or keeping a gravity-draining hose running, the controls and interface, the reservoir size, the energy use, the presence of easily understood alerts for a full reservoir or a dirty filter, the appearance, and the warranty.

We ensured any dehumidifier we recommend offered a “continuous drain” option. This is simply a connection for a garden hose, which bypasses the reservoir and carries collected water out to an existing floor drain or utility sink. It’s a completely passive, gravity-based system, and thus virtually fail-safe.

Our pick

Photo: Kevin Purdy

The Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is the best all-around package we found in a home dehumidifier. It brought a basement measuring 850 square feet (plus some crawlspace) from 70 percent humidity down to 45 percent humidity after one overnight session on its medium fan setting; on its low setting, it steadily held the air between 50 and 55 percent humidity. Experts consider this range to be ideal for indoor humidity, but all our picks share that ability.

The thing that set the Frigidaire apart was its interface, which was the easiest to understand and use among those of all the dehumidifiers we tried. It was the quietest machine we tested, too, with the most manageable reservoir, and it was easy to move around with its handle and wheels—welcome graces no other model in the test group offered. It’s also easier to find in stock, with more reliable customer support, than models from some of the lesser-known brands.

Runner-up: Effective, but with a weaker control panel

Photo: Kevin Purdy

The GE ADEL70LR is a close runner-up to the Frigidaire, with a few shortcomings on some details. The good news is that this model is just as effective at dehumidification. The bad news: It’s a little louder than the Frigidaire at its lowest fan speed (52 to 54 decibels), and slightly quieter on high fan speeds but with more coil noise and vibration. The reservoir bucket has a handle, but removing it and then aligning it during reinstallation requires a bit more work. You’ll find no cord holders, and it’s less apparent from a glance that the bucket is full (although you’ll probably notice that because the machine won’t be running).

A pump option

If you can’t continuously drain your dehumidifier to a lower-level drain with a hose, we recommend a dehumidifier with a built-in pump. GE’s APEL70LT is our pick in this case. Internally, it’s identical to its no-pump sibling, the ADEL70LR, our runner-up. The APEL70LT is a bit louder than the ADEL70LR itself while the pump is operating, but the mechanism comes on only intermittently (as the reservoir fills), and pumping is far more convenient than emptying the reservoir manually. Dehumidifier makers don’t specify exactly how far such units can pump water, but reviewers report no problems getting water up to sinks or out basement windows, where a gutter or drain field can carry it away from the house.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

12
Mar

Building your own chatbot is a lot easier than you’d expect


Three of the undisputed kings of technology — Microsoft, Facebook and Google — all bet big on bots in 2016. It’s too early to say whether or not that was a good move, but we can all agree that bots haven’t gathered mainstream adoption yet. If you’re a believer in the technology and want to start building your own bots before everyone is doing the same, the just-launched Dexter platform might be worth checking out. I’m no coder, but a quick demo had be building some very simple and pointless bots — but nonetheless, I was building within minutes.

The basic Dexter interface isn’t dissimilar to WordPress or any other blogging platform you might have tried. There’s a large main composing window with some toolbars up top and off to the sides. To get started, you type in an example of what the user says to the bot — to keep it simple, you can just start with “hello,” or a variety of salutations (hello, hi, sup). Then, you just decide what the bot will say in response — this case, I went with the Lionel Ritchie classic “is it me you’re looking for?”

There’s a window on the right that you can test the code in and make sure you’re getting the responses you wanted, and then it’s just a matter of hitting publish. For starters, Dexter lets you publish a bot to Slack, Facebook Messenger or SMS. That’s all it really takes to get a bot up and running.

Of course, the bot I wrote is basically useless, but at least it introduced me to some basic concepts. From there, I started experimenting a little more. I made a bot that responded to “Engadget is awesome” by saying “Thanks!” and dropping a link to our homepage. It also would drop an amusing “flipping the bird” image in response to any message that had the word “sucks” in it.

My ambitions grew from there — the notion of building something with actual utility popped into my head pretty quickly. The idea I had was a bot that would reply with the latest story published to Engadget when you asked it for the latest news. Unfortunately, the Dexter tool necessary for this wasn’t live just yet, but I was told you’d soon be able to point your bot at an RSS feed for something like this.

I had to content myself with making a bot that dropped a picture of a cute dog or cat depending on which you asked to see. Dropping images, links and other media in response to queries is exceedingly simple — it’s basically like using HTML code.

If you want to build anything more complicated than the silly bots I made, you’ll obviously need to invest a lot more time. But the thing I liked the most about Dexter was how easy it was to dive right in and also how quickly I started to imagine things to do beyond just the basic tutorials. The good news is if you want to start trying to make your own bot, it’s free for starters — if you start attracting an audience, it won’t be free forever. But the combo of free and easy was compelling enough to make me think about trying to build something a bit more complex than a bot that just drops a picture of a dog on demand.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2017.

12
Mar

Microsoft’s playable ads let you try apps without downloading


Did you think that Google’s Instant Apps, where you can run Android programs without installing them, would be useful on other platforms? You’re not alone. Microsoft has launched a preview version of Playable Ads, which let you try Windows 10 titles without downloading anything. Click a promo and it’ll stream the full app for 3 minutes, giving you a feel for how the software works without forcing you to quit what you were doing before. If you’re riveted enough to explore further, you just have to click a Windows Store link when you’re done.

The time limit will only be so useful when you won’t even finish the first level of most games, let alone find your way around a complex productivity app. However, Microsoft is betting that playable ads are still much better than judging a title based on tiny ad graphics. And importantly, your favorite developers won’t have to bend over backwards to implement this — they just have to enable a “try now” button, and Microsoft does the rest. This isn’t going to help much if you do most of your software shopping outside of the Windows Store (hi, Steam fans), but it might get you to check out programs that you would otherwise ignore.

Source: Microsoft

12
Mar

No Hollywood budget, no problem: here are the best free video editing apps


People like movies — no question about it — but not everyone likes to go through the painstaking task of filming and editing their own feature-length film. It’s often a difficult process, one that can be filled with time-consuming chores and tedious work, not to mention a costly budget. However, simple editing can be done on the cheap if you’re willing to ditch powerful, high-end software such as Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas Pro in favor of a more modest program. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be making Iñárritu-caliber films, but your home movies and YouTube uploads can take on a whole new shine with a few straightforward tools.

Related: Before you resort to MS Pain or piracy, try these free image-editing tools

Below are our picks for the best free, video-editing software available for Windows and MacOS. Now you can channel your inner Michael Kahn, Thelma Schoonmaker, or Arthur Schmidt on a nonexistent budget. Ready, set, EDIT.

iMovie — MacOS and iOS

iMovie

Apple’s iMovie has long been one of the most consumer-orientated video editors out there. It’s bundled with all new Macs, and touts some serious practicability for the everyday user. The latest version of the software allows you to import and edit 4K video clips from a variety of external devices, such as smartphones and GoPro cameras, and sports a clean interface that is attractive and easy to navigate. The ability to start editing on iPhone or iPad and finish on a Mac just renders it even more convenient.

Aside from video, images and audio can also be incorporated into your project by simply dragging your desired multimedia into the project area and arranging them in timeline-like fashion. The resulting video can always be previewed in real time, as well as any effects — themes, text, music, voice-overs, etc. — before exporting the file directly to YouTube, Facebook, or a wealth of other platforms. Other recent features include a basic audio editor, the option to make previews for apps you’ve developed, and the even ability to make your own movie trailers complete with transitions and end credits. It’s not a tour de force in terms of video editing, but it’s perfectly suitable for home videos and minor projects.

Windows Movie Maker — Windows

movie maker screen shot

Although Movie Maker is not officially supported in Windows 10, you can still download and use it to create videos. Like iMovie, it’s another easy-to-use video editor capable of creating fresh videos without the bells and whistles associated with more robust programs such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. The software lets users combine video, images, and audio using a drag-and-drop method similar to iMovie, and it features all the essential functions we now come to expect from any basic editing software. Adding themes and effects is a breeze, as is trimming video and one-step uploading to various sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Limited format support is a drawback, as is the jarring white background which makes its resemblance to Microsoft Word even more pronounced. A decent video converter or media player can typically solve the format issue within minutes, though. For the background color, you’re on your own. Additionally, the full-screen preview and high-definition webcam capture are also a plus. The audio-editing capabilities are pretty limited, but for simple videos, the software’s fade in and fade out capabilities should suffice. Windows Movie Maker certainly won’t floor you with its capabilities, but it does offer enough free incentives to keep the amateur video editor satisfied without the financial burden of the aforementioned, heavy-duty programs.

Lightworks — Windows, MacOS, and Linux

Lightworks Screen Shot

Most of the software programs in our roundup can’t boast Hollywood credentials like Lightworks can. EditShare’s non-linear editing system has been used to help produce everything from LA Confidential and Pulp Fiction to Hugo and The Wolf of Wall Street, offering a solid set of both free and premium tools that we simply can’t ignore. Notable features include professional-level color correction, GPU-accelerated real-time effects, video capture, and nearly all-encompassing format support. However, the free version is only capable of exporting MPEG-4 files with a resolution of up to 720p. Thankfully, Lightworks also offers traditional tools for importing, trimming, and seamlessly weaving audio and video together with a few effortless mouse clicks.

Other great inclusions are the program’s instant auto-save functionality, which works flawlessly in the background, and the ability to select Avid and Final Cut Pro keyboard layouts if you refuse to adopt Lightworks’ default design. Despite its brawny capabilities, it’s quick and on-point, and the full-screen interface is polished and well organized as well. Also, given the open-source nature of the software and steep learning curve associated with the freemium product, the program’s forums are more bustling than most. Lightworks is by far the most fully featured video editor on our list, however, it’s also the one that requires the user to be the most tech-savvy to truly tap into its powerful framework and flagship feature set.

Avidemux — Windows, MacOS, and Linux

avidemux screen shot

Avidemux is the Instagram of video editing software: quick, dirty, and impressively capable. The software is designed for quick trimming, filtering, encoding, and a slew of other basic features. The cross-platform software also remains open-source — with a resourceful wiki page to boot — and tasks can be automated using assorted projects, job queues, and custom scripting capabilities that push it beyond barebones functionality.

With light features also comes a light footprint, and Avidemux takes up little space compared to the other programs in our roundup. It also allows users to change extensions and select individual output formats when they’re finished editing a video, but the less-than-friendly interface makes it difficult to utilize the more intricate features and worthwhile tools. It may remain a bit buggy and prone to crashing, but the program’s defaults still work as intended, making Avidemux is a standout choice once you’ve learn your way around the software. Just remember to save your work.

VSDC Free Video Editor — Windows

VSDC free video editor screen shot

The lesser-known VSDC Free Video Editor comes bundled with a hodgepodge of video-editing features — not to mention an onslaught of adware — most of which is designed for quick editing and conversion. Also, while the software might be free, the technical support is not.

However, the editor still boasts a good deal of capabilities when it comes time to alter lighting, splice video, and apply filters and transitions in post production. Moreover, once you get used to the clunky interface, you can make good use of all of them. The software sports a minimalist design and a simple navigation ribbon that isn’t nearly as complex as it looks, and it handles many common formats, from AVI to MP4. It also combines audio and video effects with ease.

While the software does run slow when utilizing more power-intensive tools, the recent builds rarely crash and offer optimized save outputs for a variety of devices, including smartphones and gaming consoles. Like the aforementioned Lightworks, the non-linear editing system is able to produce stellar, professional-grade videos in the right hands, but users will have to get over the learning hurdle before they really start to see what VSDC Free Video Editor is capable of.

12
Mar

Clear out your inbox with the 10 best third-party email apps for iOS


Email is an essential method of communication in our everyday lives, one we use for work and play. But the interminable threads can go on forever, and your inbox can quickly become a cluttered mess. Thankfully, there are many email apps that are designed to help you better manage your inbox. Some apps filter emails based on conversations or popular contacts, while others filter content based attachment type. Below are some of our favorite email apps for iOS, so you can boost your email productivity right on your smartphone.

More: How to delete and retrieve deleted emails on any iPhone or iPad

Gmail

best ios email apps
If you use Google services, then the official Gmail app is a must-have. It supports multiple accounts, and it integrates perfectly with all Google services. You can manage calendar invites or invitations to edit a document directly within Google Docs. Speaking of Google Docs, when you attach files, they will seamlessly integrate with Google Drive, so you can share them via the cloud.

Download now from:

App Store

Outlook

best ios email apps
Microsoft Outlook is one of the best email clients for iOS. It offers several attractive features, one of them being Focused Inbox. The way this works is that Outlook will present only the most important emails to you, instead of showing you a big list of every email you get. The emails you see are emails from contacts that you interact with most frequently. Next to that, you will see a tab labeled Other. This is where the less important, bulk emails will be. You can also see your calendars, and you can add Gmail or iCloud accounts. This app is even compatible with the Apple Watch.

Download now from:

App Store

Inbox by Gmail

best ios email apps
Inbox is a different way of dealing with your email. One of the best parts about it is that it will bundle similar emails together so that you can deal with them all at once. The app also houses a very useful ‘pin’ feature, which allows you to easily pin important emails to the top of the app so that you can access them more easily later on. Inbox really tries to tackle the problem of messy inboxes. If you’re constantly having to deal with a large number of emails, this third-party app should definitely make your shortlist.

Download now from:

App Store

Newton Mail by CloudMagic

best ios email apps
Newton is a subscription-based service that costs $50 a year. It works with several other email services, including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, iCloud, Exchange, and all IMAP accounts. It also has many of the features we’ve come to expect in an email app, including Snooze, Read Receipts, Send Later, and Connected Apps. This is a great app that is also compatible with the Apple Watch.

Download now from:

App Store

Email — Organized by Alto

best ios email apps
This email app is built by AOL. You can manage your accounts from a unified inbox, and it supports Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, iCloud, Hotmail, AOL Mail, and even your corporate accounts. It also manages your email by organizing it into distinct categories, so that you can filter emails based on the attachment type, whether they’re starred or snoozed, and several other facets. You can even customize the touch gestures, which you can then use for archiving, deleting, and starring your messages. This app is compatible with iMessage for iOS.

Download now from:

App Store

VMware Boxer

best ios email apps
Boxer’s main attraction is its ability to deal with emails in bulk using your own custom gestures. This app works with several cloud apps, too, including Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and others. Much like Dropbox and Outlook, the design of the app is modern and clean, and this makes it very intuitive to work with. It’s an ideal solution if you need to manage emails in each of your accounts individually, or in a combined inbox.

Download now from:

App Store

Inky

best ios email apps
If you have an Exchange or IMAP account, then Inky offers end-to-end encryption for your emails. If you compose an email and the recipient doesn’t have Inky, then the person will receive a link where they can view the email only after they verify their identity. The idea is that only the intended recipient will be able to read the email, as the message will be decrypted on their device locally. Inky supports AES-256 encryption, and only you have access to your private keys. If you’re looking for a secure option for sending and receiving emails, give Inky a try.

Download now from:

App Store

Spark

best ios email apps
Here’s another app that wants to take all your emails and organize them by categories within a unified inbox. Spark gives you a lot of freedom by allowing you to set swipe gestures. The app works with cloud services, too, allowing you to attach files from Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive. It even works with apps such as Readability, Pocket, Evernote, and OneNote. Similar to a chat app, Spark allows you to quickly reply to someone with a “Like” or “Thanks.” Spark is also compatible with Apple Watch.

Download now from:

App Store

Triage

best ios email apps
Triage aims to tackle the complexity of email on your smartphone, helping you to clean up the clutter and quickly reply to messages. When you log into your inbox, your new messages appear as a stack of cards. You can deal with them with a few gestures — just swipe up to archive a message or down to keep it in your inbox. If you want to deal with a particular email quickly, you can also tap the message to reply. Triage supports Gmail, Yahoo, and iCloud Mail, and most email services that support IMAP.

Download now from:

App Store

Yahoo

best ios email apps
Yahoo’s official mail app isn’t just for Yahoo users, because you can add your Outlook, Gmail, AOL, and a slew of other accounts. One of the best things about Yahoo mail is that it gives you 1,000 GB of free storage, so that you can keep a lot of email in your inbox without having to delete it. This is great for folks who get a lot of emails with large attachments. It also connects with Google Drive and Dropbox, so that you can attach files directly from your cloud accounts.

Download now from:

App Store

12
Mar

Samsung just finalized its acquisition of Harman, marking its biggest deal ever


Why it matters to you

The arrest of vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong isn’t stopping Samsung from conducting business, as the company completes its acquisition of Harman.

The show must go on for Samsung. Even as its leader, Vice Chairman of the Samsung Board Lee Jae Yong is arrested on bribery and corruption charges, the South Korean giant is pressing ahead with its business. On Saturday, the company announced the completion of its Harman International Industries acquisition, its largest such deal ever. While Samsung has previously opted for smaller deals and created much of its technology in-house, its latest purchase marks a shift away from that strategy.

“Today is a historic moment for us. The close of this transaction opens the door to create substantial growth opportunities and deliver greater benefits for customers worldwide,” said Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics, in a statement. “We see transformative opportunities in the car — and a future which seamlessly connects lifestyle across automotive, home, mobile and work.”

Sohn also noted that Harman’s “iconic audio brands and capabilities paired with Samsung’s leading display technologies will deliver enhanced audio and video experiences to consumers and professional end markets.”

More: Everything you need to know about Samsung Pay

Harman quite the massive company, boasting some 30,000 employees spread out across a number of different brands including not only Harman Kardon, but also Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson. Harman will continue to conduct business as an independent subsidiary under the terms of the deal.

“We are excited to have completed the transaction, which provides compelling cash value to our stockholders, benefits our customers and provides new opportunities for our employees,” said Dinesh Paliwal, Harman President and CEO. “Samsung shares our commitment to our customers and our culture of speed, innovation and execution. Samsung provides Harman with the scale, platform and complementary technologies to accelerate growth and extend our global market leadership in automotive, smart audio and connected technologies.”

Paliwal will remain at the helm of Harman, as will his management team, and will also maintain his position on the company’s board. That said, Samsung will now become the parent company to Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities, and all its consumer and professional audio brands.

“Recognizing the importance of partnerships in an increasingly connected world, particularly in automotive, we are poised to leverage our combined teams and resources to produce even greater value for our customers,” Paliwal concluded, “Working closely with automakers and other technology companies, Samsung and HARMAN will define — and drive — the future of automotive.”

12
Mar

Follow this guide to learn how to delete, and recover, notes on your iPhone


Note-taking apps are crucial to our daily productivity. Thankfully, iOS houses the Notes app, a piece of software that’s designed to go toe-to-toe with Evernote, OneNote, and a host of other note-taking apps that have come to dominate the market.

More: The 9 best note-taking and productivity apps compared

There are many ways to delete and recover notes from directly within the Notes app, but keeping them synced in the cloud — whether using iCloud or Google’s proprietary services — is the best way to make sure you don’t lose any notes. This allows you to easily change devices without fear of losing your data, or get everything back after a complete data wipe. Below, we will guide you through the steps of deleting and recovering notes.

Deleting notes

Deleting all notes at once

Open the Notes app.

Select the folder and account that you want to go into.
Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
Tap Delete All in the bottom-right corner.

Deleting a single note at a time

Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
Select the individual note, or notes, that you want to delete.
Tap Delete in the bottom-right corner.

Deleting a note using the swipe gesture

While looking at your notes, swipe left on any one of them, and tap Delete.

Deleting a note from within

deleting notes iosTap the note the you want to delete to open it.
Tap the trash icon in the lower-left corner.

Deleting using 3D Touch

When you’re looking at your list of notes, press down on the note you want to delete to perform a peek.

Swipe up while in peek mode, and select Delete from the menu.

Recovering deleted notes

If you have deleted some notes, and you need to recover them, there are a few ways you can accomplish this.

Recovering deleted notes from Recently Deleted

Remember that the Notes app has a Recently Deleted folder. The keyword here being “recently,” as the Notes app will only keep these notes for 30 days. After 30 days have passed, it will permanently delete them.

Open the Notes app, and tap Recently Deleted from the account that you want to recover.
Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
Select the notes you want to recover.
Tap Move To in the lower-left corner.

Select the folder that you want to move the note to.

Bringing back your notes from iCloud

If you’re trying to recover all your notes after you’ve erased your iPhone or bought a new device, make sure that iCloud is turned on in Settings.

Go to Settings > iCloud.

Scroll down to Notes, and make sure it is turned on.

Bringing back your notes from other accounts

You may have created Notes using your Gmail account — or another account — meaning your Notes may be synced with that account, instead of your iCloud account. If this is the case, your notes will not appear in the Notes app until you set up all your accounts again. That said, here’s how to ensure that Notes is turned on in a Gmail account.

Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts.

Select the account, or if you only have iCloud set up, take the time to add your other email accounts.
Once you select or add an account, make sure Notes is turned on.

Using iTunes to restore notes from a backup

restore photos itunes

If you regularly back up your data with iTunes, then your notes and other data should be backed up to your computer. Thankfully, you can restore your media from a preexisting backup. Because you are restoring your entire iPhone from a backup, however, the notes that will appear on your iPhone are the notes that were on your iPhone on the day of the backup. Any notes you’ve saved since then may disappear, though you can always restore them using a backup from a previous day.

Open iTunes on your computer.
Plug in your iPhone, and in the Summary tab, choose Restore Backup.

We recommend using a cloud service to keep a complete backup of every note you take. See the previous steps if you want to ensure Notes is turned on for iCloud, and your other accounts.

Using a third-party app

If your notes have been permanently deleted from your Notes app, and you can’t recover them using iCloud or any other app, then your only other option would be to go with a third-party app. These apps are great when you need to recover your notes, contacts, texts, and other types of media. Some of them can even repair various iOS issues. Below are a few of our favorites.

iMobie Phone Rescue ($60+)

Phone Rescue will allow you to recover a number of media files, including your notes. What sets this program apart, however, is that it allows you to recover data from your iCloud account, in addition to your iTunes and device backups. The app also has a number of repair tools, which let you recover your device when it crashes or experiences errors.

Download now from:

iMobie

Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)

This recovery tool is compatible with the latest iOS devices, and you can install the program on both MacOS and Windows-based machines. The software will allow you to quickly recover notes, as well as photos, videos, and even data from other apps like WhatsApp.

Download now from:

Wondershare

Tenorshare Ultdata ($50+)

Like other recovery apps, this app will let you recover notes, messages, media, and other various types of data. It also allows you to recover your iPhone when it’s stuck in recovery mode, or when it fails to install the latest iOS update.

Download now from:

Tenorshare

12
Mar

Cooler than the other side of the pillow: Awesome alarm clocks


Over the past decade, many of us have gotten used to setting our alarm clocks on our smartphones rather than purchasing a dedicated device for our nightstands. However, in the interim, an array of cutting-edge clocks have hit the market to aid us with everything from falling asleep to promoting better sleep cycles.

More: 7 easy ways to track your sleep habits with technology

Light sleepers may require a little background noise throughout the evening, while deep sleepers need louder alarms to wake them in the morning. There are even alarm clocks that utilize lighting technology instead of traditional alarm functions, thus allowing for a steady, gradual sunrise in your bedroom. People are finicky about their sleeping habits, but, fortunately, there’s an alarm clock out there to match just about every lifestyle and budget. Here are nine of our favorites.

The Best: CubieTime Alarm Clock Charger

To truly earn its place on your nightstand, an alarm clock should be reliable and versatile, letting you customize your wake-up experience without letting you down. The CubieTime is actually more than just an alarm: It has two USB chargers and two outlets. That alone means you and your significant other might fight for who gets to put this clock next to their side of the bed. Thanks to its backup battery, you won’t have a Home Alone oversleeping situation when you need to get the airport and the power goes out. There’s a big snooze button for those mornings you need some extra zees.

Its display can be turned off or dimmed, so the large, easy-to-read numbers won’t blind you all night long. If you like to wake up to the radio or an alarm that gets louder over time, you won’t find those features here (though there is a version with a Bluetooth speaker but still no radio). Still, it does its job well, and there’s a reason this clock is found in lots of hotel rooms.

Price: $59

Buy one now from:

Amazon

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