If all the grim coronavirus bulletins are taking a toll on your sanity, consider taking a break from news headlines on your Echo Show and Google Nest smart displays.
Find yourself suddenly needing to be more productive? Good news! Windows 10 comes loaded with all sorts of tools designed to help you Get Things Done, along with deeper tweaks that can optimize the operating system for productivity even more. Now for the bad news: All those excellent productivity – boosting Windows tools and tweaks aren’t immediately obvious, with many of the most useful settings buried deep inside a maze of options menus. We can help. Taking five or ten minutes to tinker with Windows 10 can supercharge your setup, regardless of whether you’re trying to keep at work while stuck at home or setting up something more permanent. Let’s dig in. To read this article in full, please click here
Forget USB keys or even DV Ds: Here are three free, easy ways to share files wirelessly within Windows: Cloud Clipboard, Nearby Sharing, and sharing One Drive links.
If you’re stuck at home and stressing out about the coronavirus crisis, these soothing Spotify playlists can help lower your blood pressure.
You can use Alexa on your Amazon Echo to make calls without a mobile number or landline? Here s how.
While Zoom publishes a straightforward document on how to use dual monitors with the Zoom desktop client, in our experience, the process can be more complex. Because some apps may not work the way you want them to on default, you’ll likely need to make a few further changes. We’ll describe below the issues we encountered and the workarounds we found. We have reached out to Zoom for comment, but have not heard back as of this posting. For starters, this is the default view you get from using Microsoft’s Power Point 365 on a dual – screen setup where you get duplicate screens. To read this article in full, please click here
Try these options when you want to mirror i Phone or i Pad content on a bigger screen.
We all know webcam zombies—people who may look normal walking down the street, but who, when they sit in front of a webcam for a videoconference, look ghastly. This issue is coming up more frequently as more people work from home or work remotely, and haven’t thought about how they look onscreen. The problem could be the lighting. It could be their sloppy clothing choices. It could be the junk piled in the background that you’d just as soon not see. In any case, they look like someone you’d rather avoid than engage in a web chat.I didn’t know I was one, until a colleague sent me a screenshot of how I looked online (see above). Yeah, pretty horrifying. I knew I couldn’t keep that look and also keep my clients. To read this article in full, please click here
Creating a custom, AI – driven background in the Zoom videoconferencing app is a great way to hide background clutter while working from home. But with a couple of extra steps, you can go crazy with custom video backgrounds and have some fun, too! Normally, a webcam shows just what it sees: you, your kitchen table, maybe an unkempt desk in the background. But Zoom, like Microsoft Teams, can use custom backgrounds that completely obscure all that background clutter. After enabling that background, the only thing the camera will see is your face, like this: Mark Hachman / IDG Zoom’s AI – generated backgrounds are pretty seamless with a good PC. To read this article in full, please click here
VPN (virtual private network) technology lets a computer using a public internet connection join a private network by way of a secure “tunnel” between that machine and the network. This protects the data from being seen or tampered with by bad actors. The two most common use cases are consumer VPN services that allow individuals to surf privately from home or a public setting, and business – oriented solutions that allow employees to securely connect to a corporate network remotely. Now that so many people are thrust into working from home due to the coronoavirus pandemic, we’ve confirmed that this procedure is up – to – date and working as described. You may want to check out our guide on working from home as well, with tech tips and general setup considerations from our extensive personal experience in home offices. To read this article in full, please click here
By now, a dual – monitor setup has become commonplace. Multitasking on a single screen is just way too confining. But why stop at two displays? I can speak from experience: Having multiple monitors (and I’m talking three, four, five, or even six) is just…awesome, and something you totally need in your life. Right now, my main PC has a triple – monitor setup: my main 27 – inch central monitor, with a 24 – inch monitor on either side. I use my extra monitors for a number of things, such as comparing spreadsheets side – by – side, writing articles while also doing research, keeping tabs on my social media feeds, and, of course, watching Netflix. To read this article in full, please click here
Sure, you can manually delete events from your Alexa and Google Assistant voice histories, but it’s easier to let Alexa and Assistant do it for you.
Even a generous 24 – inch monitor can feel cramped when you’ve got multiple windows open on your desktop (and who doesn’t?). It’s much worse if you’re confined to a laptop screen. Fortunately, it’s simple enough to add a second monitor to your PC setup and spread out. Any modern desktop or laptop PC has the graphics capability to run dual displays. All that’s required is a second monitor. You can get a very nice second screen for around $100, such as a HP’s 21.5 – inch, 1920x1080 Pavilon IPS monitor for $99 on Amazon or Acer’s 21.5 – inch, 1920x1080 G226HQL for $90 on Amazon. Both feature fairly thin bezels, an important feature if you want to minimize the interruption between your two screens. To read this article in full, please click here
You’re not the first person who’s wondered what it would be like to have a giant desktop monitor. Think of all the multi – tasking and immersive gaming you could manage if you had a 50 – or 60 – inch monitor instead of a standard 24 – inch monitor! But you’ve probably noticed that as monitors get bigger, they also tend to get prohibitively expensive. You’ve probably already got a big screen in your house, though—a TV. At the end of the day, isn’t an HDTV just a giant, living – room – oriented computer monitor? Not exactly. While you can use a TV as a computer monitor in most cases, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. In fact, it’s likely less attractive, convenient, and usable than you think (not to mention, probably not that cheap). There’s a reason dirt – cheap 32 – inch HDT Vs aren’t flying off the shelves to be used as budget – friendly jumbo screens. To read this article in full, please click here
Excel has over 475 formulas in its Functions Library, from simple mathematics to very complex statistical, logical, and engineering tasks such as IF statements (one of our perennial favorite stories); AND, OR, NOT functions; COUNT, AVERAGE, and MIN/MAX. The basic functions covered below are among the most popular formulas in Excel—the ones everyone should know. To help you learn, we’ve also provided a spreadsheet with all the formula examples we cover below. download Excel’s most popular formulas with examples This spreadsheet contains a tab for each of the formulas covered in this story, with example data. JD Sartain1. TODAY/NOW There are 24 Date and Time functions listed on the drop – down menu under Formulas› Date while the NOW function reveals the current month, day, year, and time of day. This is a handy function if you’re one of those individuals who always forgets to date your work. To read this article in full, please click here
Did you know you can name your Alexa timers? You can also set sleep timers, ask Alexa to set up reminders, and more.
If you’re suffering from software bugs or other problems with your graphics card, one of the first things to try is performing a clean installation of your drivers. That point was driven home for PC gamers this week when AMD, in a post announcing WHQL certification for its bug – squashing new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.2.2 driver, told gamers to factory reset the software if they encounter futher issues. To read this article in full, please click here
You can set your Echo and Google Home or Nest devices to give you audio cues when they start—and, more importantly, stop—listening for commands.
Word macros are one – click wonders that let you program complex procedures to launch at your bidding. Here are a few examples to get you started. One creates your company letterhead; the second one inserts pre – formatted tables; and the third one defines and designs custom book formats. NOTE: You’ll see some instructions with strings of keystrokes that are macro instructions for repositioning your cursor. Be sure to copy them exactly as written. Set up, define, and record macros Step 1: Set up the macroA. Select the View tab, then click Macros› Record Macro.B. In the Record Macro dialog box, enter a macro name and description. Follow these rules for the name: To read this article in full, please click here
Don t be befuddled by the alphabet soup of acronyms, spec charts, and feature lists you ll encounter when shopping for a new TV. This guide series explains it all in plain language.
Voice – activated assistants like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa have been around for a few years now, but they’re still kind of gimmicky—they’re not exactly J.A.R.V.I.S. – level A.I.s. But Google Home might be more useful than you realize, especially if you’re only using it to verbally start your Spotify playlists and occasionally settle a family argument when nobody has their phone handy. There are plenty of ways to use Google Home for entertainment, information, or as a tool for being productive and learning new skills. If you’re going to lace your home with Google devices, you might as well make them work for you. Note: Android users can configure third – party apps in the Google Home app, but iOS users will need to download the separate Google Assistant app. Most third – party apps no longer need to be ‘linked’ to work, though, so this might not be necessary depending on the app. To read this article in full, please click here
Why does Microsoft think you need the Windows 10 Your Phone app? Because it preserves the most important functions of a phone: access to your photos, messages, notifications, calls, and even your phone’s home screen—without the need to remove your phone from your pocket. That might sound ridiculous, but think again: Once you pull your phone from your pocket, you’re instantly lost in messages, email, Instagram—all of these distracting from your focus and flow while working on your PC. Theoretically, you could refuse to open Outlook on your PC and use your phone instead. But you don’t, right? Because the PC is much more convenient—and, in certain situations, playing with your phone is also quite rude. To read this article in full, please click here
No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters. At a minimum, you want to pick a PC case that’s the right size for your needs and has room for all your hardware and USB devices. But some PC cases offer much, much more. Spacious innards, lower temperatures, muffled sound, extensive water – cooling support, and fancy – schmancy tempered glass panels or RGB lighting are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a guide to buying a PC case that’s perfect for you. This is just the first step in your DIY journey; be sure to check out PC World’s guide to building a PC, too. To read this article in full, please click here
Want to chat with Alexa at night without waking everyone up? Give Alexa’s Whisper Mode a try.
Excel percentage formulas can get you through problems large and small every day—from determining sales tax (and tips) to calculating increases and decreases. We’ll walk through several examples below: turning fractions to percentages; backing sales tax out of totals; percentage of total; percentage increase or decrease; percentage of completion; and percent ranking (percentile). Turning fractions to percentages Percentages are a portion (or fraction) of 100. The math to determine a percentage is to divide the numerator (the number on top of the fraction) by the denominator (the number on the bottom of the fraction), then multiply the answer by 100. For example, the fraction 6/12 turns into a decimal like this: 6 divided by 12 (which equals 0.5) times 100 equals 50 percent. To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft Word, like all text – based programs, uses a numeric character code called ASCII ( American Standard Code for Information Interchange) for each alphabetic, numeric, and special character on your keyboard. This code is the reason we can use open text files in almost any software program, and the reason why some programs’ passwords are case – sensitive (e.g., the uppercase ‘A’ is ASCII number 65 and the lowercase ‘ a’ is ASCII code 97). You can insert any or all of these codes/characters (individually) with one easy combination keystroke: the Alt key+ the decimal code on the numeric keypad (note that the numbers across the top of your keyboard do not work)—or you can use the Symbols Library. To read this article in full, please click here
Did all the Hue lights in your house just become unresponsive? Wireless interference could be to blame, and moving your Hue Bridge might be the answer.
Ring has updated its app with new and improved privacy tools. Here’s how to make the most of them.
Excel macros are like mini – programs that perform repetitive tasks, saving you a lot of time and typing. For example, it takes Excel less than one – tenth of a second to calculate an entire, massive spreadsheet. It’s the manual operations that slow you down. That’s why you need macros to combine all of these chores into a single one – second transaction. Excel macros: Tips for getting started We’re going to show you how to write your first macro. Once you see how easy it is to automate tasks using macros, you’ll never go back. First, some tips on how to prepare your data for macros: Always begin your macro at the Home position (use the key combination Ctrl+ Home to get there quickly). Use the directional keys to navigate: Up, Down, Right, Left, End, Home, etc., and shortcut keys to expedite movement. Keep your macros small and focused on specific tasks. This is best for testing and editing (if needed). You can always combine these mini – macros into one BIG macro later once they’re perfected. Macros require “relative” cell addresses, which means you “point” to the cells rather than hardcode the actual (or “absolute”) cell address (such as A1, B19, C20, etc.) in the macro. Spreadsheets are dynamic, which means they constantly change, which means the cell addresses change. Fixed values and static information such as names, addresses, ID numbers, etc. are generally entered in advance and not really part of your macro. Because this data rarely changes (and if it does, it’s just to add or remove a new record), it’s almost impossible to include this function in a macro. Manage your data first: Add, edit, or delete records, then enter the updated values. Then you can execute your macro. Why starting with mini – macros is easier For this example, we have a store owner who has expanded her territory from a single store to a dozen in 12 different major cities. Now the CEO, she’s been managing her own books for years, which wasn’t an easy task for a single store, and now she has 12. She has to collect data from each store and merge it to monitor the health of her entire company. To read this article in full, please click here
In Microsoft Word, templates are pre – designed documents that you or someone else (such as Microsoft) creates to use as a pattern for a project. The template could be for a business card, brochure, resume, presentation...the list goes on. Regardless of the purpose, templates provide the design consistency that any organization (or individual) needs to look professional. ( You can also find templates for Excel, Power Point, and other applications, but in this article we’re focusing on Microsoft Word.) The template contains a specific layout, style, design and, sometimes, fields and text that are common to every use of that template. Some templates are so complete (such as business cards), you only have to change the individual’s name, phone number, and email address. Others, such as business reports or brochures, could require that everything is changed except the layout and design. To read this article in full, please click here
Google has added the ability to use your i Phone as a physical security key to authenticate your account. Here s how to set it up.