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How to Backup your computer online for free

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Monday
Jul302018

How to make Windows 10 look like Windows XP

Windows XP was one of the most loved versions of Windows ever. It was stable, and everything was perfect. Users who are on Windows 10 miss that about Windows XP almost as much as they miss Windows 7. Windows 10 has improved in terms of stability and if you miss XP a lot, you can make Windows 10 look like Windows XP with an app.

Resources

To make Windows 10 look like Windows XP you need to download the following;

Windows 10 To Windows XP

Install the NeoClassic UI app and run it. Enable the ‘Show all settings’ option.

Start Menu

Go to Start Menu Style tab. Select the “Classic Two Column” option.

Click the ‘Select Skin’ option under it. On the next screen, open the dropdown and select the “Windows XP Luna” skin.

Monday
Jul302018

How to Find Your IP Address

Networks, and the internet, don't identify computers (of any size, even your smartphone) by the name you give them. Computers prefer numbers, and the numbers they use as identifiers are called IP addresses.

The "IP" stands for "internet protocol," which is part of Transmission Control Protocol/internet Protocol (TPC/IP). It's all called IP for short, and TCP/IP is the language used for communication by most networks.

When it comes to your computer(s), there are actually several IP addresses involved. One is how the computer talks to the internet at large, which is the IP address of your router. That IP address is generally assigned to the router by your internet service provider (ISP); the router in turn handles all the traffic from your computer out to the internet. So even though a website only sees a request come in from the IP address on the router, the router knows how to route the information to/from the computer. (That's why it's called a router.)

Computers on the internal networks, be it Wi-Fi or Ethernet, at home or in the office, have their own IP addresses assigned to them (usually by the router). That way, all the nodes on the internal network can also communicate. The protocol used by the router to assign IP addresses is called Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP).

If you have an IP address assigned, it's typically considered a "dynamic IP" because it could be temporary; the router might give the node in question a different IP address at a later time (same with the IP address your ISP gives your router). However, you can set up "static IP addresses" on computers so they never change—this can be important for some kinds of network communications, especially if it's important to be able to find that same node over and over. You could also get a static IP for your router—which is handy if you run a web server, for example, but expect your ISP to charge extra.

IP addresses are typically in the same format as a 32-bit number, shown as four decimal numbers each with a range of 0 to 255, separated by dots—each set of three numbers is called an octet. This is called IP version 4 (or IPv4). With it, you could—in theory—have 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255 out there. But this limited the world to a possible 4+ billion IP addresses, which isn't enough.

So now, there's IPv6, which is 128-bit, and went from four to 16 octets. That's a lot more than 4 billion—it's a 34 with 37 zeros after it (or 2 to the 128th power). Technically, 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,455. That's a lot of IP addresses.

That's all good to know, but how do you find the numbers for your IP address?

Find Your Internet/Public IP Address

There may come a time when you need to know the IP address of your router, as assigned by your ISP. This can be particularly handy for things like VoIP calls or remote control software.

What you'll also find is that there's lots of information about you attached to that IP address, specifically your ISP's name and your general location (called a GeoIP). That's because ISPs dole out a range of IP addresses. Figuring out your provider and general location based on IP address is as simple as consulting a public list.

The simplest way to check your router's public IP address is to search "what is my IP?" on Google.

IP Lookup - Google

But with Google, that's all you see. There are plenty of sites out there that will show you the exact same thing. They see it simply because by visiting the site, your router has made a request, and thus shown the IP address. Sites like WhatIsMyIP.com, IPLocation, and WhatIsMyIPAddress.com all go farther, showing off the names of your ISP, your city (if you don't know where you are), and sometimes even maps.

But the GeoIP info is far from foolproof. Generally, you're going to get an approximation of location—where the provider is, not the actual computer. In visiting all three of those sites, I was told I was in Ithaca, New York, and Syracuse, New York. One gave a latitude/longitude that put me in North Carolina (which could be where my ISP has a data center, for all I know). Be sure to log out of your VPN service, too. Getting a real address for the public IP address usually requires a search warrant taken to the ISP.

Find Your Internal IP Address

Every device that connects to your internal network, be it at home or the office, has an IP address (your PC, your smartphone, your smart TV, your network printer, etc.) It doesn't matter if it's using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. They've all got an IP address if they're talking to the internet, or each other, through your router.

In the most basic network, your router is going to have an IP address like 192.168.0.1, and that will be called the "gateway." You'll see it pop up a lot as you look for the IP addresses of other devices. That typically means your router will use DHCP to assign addresses to devices, where only the last octet changes. So 192.168.0.101, or 192.168.0.102, for example. It depends on the range defined by your router.

This is pretty much the same on all internal networks, because they're hidden behind the router, which routes all that communication in and out to the proper places. If you have a big internal network, another number called a subnet will help divide your network into groups. The subnet mask used by most home networks is 255.255.255.0.

So how do you find it? In Windows, it's easy but requires the command prompt. Just search for "cmd" (without the quotes) using Windows search. In the resulting pop-up box, type "ipconfig" (no quote marks).

Command Line - IPconfig lookup

What is revealed is more than just the IP address: you'll see the IPv4 Address, the subnet mask, plus the Default Gateway (that's your router). Look above that row of data in the middle, and it shows the type of connection: "Ethernet adapter Ethernet." If I was using Wi-Fi, it would have information under "Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi."

iPhone IP AddressOn the Mac, it's a little less esoteric. Go to the System Preferences, select Network, and it should be right there. Click the connection type on the left to see the IPs for each type. You may need to click the TCP/IP tab at the top. Or you can go full geek and open the Terminal and type "ipconfig" just like on Windows.

On an iPhone, go into Settings > Wi-Fi, and click the "i" in a circle next to the network you're on. The IP address, subnet, and router (gateway) will all be there under the DHCP tab.

However, if you need the IP address of other devices on your network, you should go into the router. How you access your router depends on the brand and the software it runs. In general, you should be able to type the router's gateway IP address into a web browser on the same network to access it. From there, you need to navigate to something like "attached devices" (that's what I get on my Netgear Nighthawk, pictured below). From there you get a full list of all the devices currently (or recently) attached to the network—and that list includes the IP address assigned to each device.

IP Address in router

Friday
Jul132018

How To Increase Or Decrease Desktop Icon Spacing On Windows 10

Desktop icons on Windows 10 can be resized. You can make them smaller, or bigger. You can also align them properly in a grid layout. If you don’t like the grid, you can move them anywhere you like by disabling snap to grid. This is all great but when you resize desktop icons, the grid doesn’t change. If your icons are too big, there will be very little space between them. If your icons are really small, they’re will be enough space between them to add another entire row of icons. The grid doesn’t change much with the icon size, you can increase or decrease desktop icon spacing to make it more suitable for the icons.

To change desktop icon spacing, you need to edit the Windows registry. This is my desktop with fairly large icons. You can see there’s very little space between the individual icons.

Desktop Icon Spacing

Open the run box with the Win + R keyboard shortcut. In the run box, type regedit to open the Windows Registry.

Go to the following location in the Windows Registry.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

With the grid, you need to change the difference between the rows of the grid, and the columns. That means there are two values you have to edit. Each value manages a different aspect of the grid. The IconSpacing value will change spacing between columns, and IconVerticalSpacing will change spaces between rows.

By default, the value for both is set to -1128 but it may be different depending on your screen’s resolution.

You can change it to anything between -480 and -2780. -480 is the least amount of space you can have between icon rows and columns, and -2780 is the maximum amount of space you can have between them. You will have to experiment with the numbers to see which looks best. After each change you have to restart your system for the new value to be applied.

The following is what you get when you have large desktop icons, and spacing set to -1500.

You don’t have to set the same value for both registry values. You might want more space between rows than you want between columns so it’s fine if the values don’t match each other. You will need to remember, or write down, the default value of both registry values if you ever want to reset the grid to its default size.

Changing these values will not break anything; you can still align icons to the grid though it’s worth mentioning that with more space between the grid lines, you might end up with more space between the Taskbar and the bottom row of icons than you’re normally used to.


Friday
Jul132018

How to Set Up Wi-Fi Calling on iOS

Need to make an important phone call in a cellular dead zone? Wi-Fi Calling helps you make or receive phone calls on your Apple devices when your phone says 'no service.'  Click here for the full PC Magazine article.

Friday
Jul132018

Microsoft: Facial-Recognition Tech Needs to Be Regulated

Microsoft is calling on the US government to regulate facial-recognition systems amid growing concerns the technology will one day be abused.

It's not every day a tech company calls for regulation, particularly Microsoft. But on Friday, company president Brad Smith said the potential dangers of facial-recognition technology are too serious for the tech industry and elected officials to ignore.

"We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial-recognition technology," he wrote in a lengthy blog post.

Last month, Microsoft itself faced criticism for purportedly supplying facial-recognition systems to US border authorities. A number of company employees protested the work, and called on Microsoft to cancel the contract. On Friday, Smith said the contract with border authorities merely pertained to supporting office software such as email, calendar and messaging. But he acknowledged the potential dark side of facial recognition technologies, especially as they become more available to governments.

"Imagine a government tracking everywhere you walked over the past month without your permission or knowledge," he wrote. Imagine a database of everyone who attended a political rally that constitutes the very essence of free speech."

Microsoft Facial API

Microsoft is taking steps to police its own approach to facial-recognition systems. In the coming months, it plans on releasing a set of principles governing the technology's development. However, it simply isn't enough to hope all technology vendors do the same, Smith said.

He indicated that some buyers are intent on using facial-recognition systems for questionable purposes. Microsoft itself has turned down customer requests where it was found "human rights risks" were at stake, Smith said, without elaborating.

That's why the government needs to step up and develop a common regulatory framework, he added. "It may seem unusual for a company to ask for government regulation of its products," Smith wrote. However, he pointed to the auto, air safety, and pharmaceutical industries, as examples, where "thoughtful" government regulation shaped the products involved for the better.

"There will always be debates about the details, and the details matter greatly. But a world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a critic of Amazon's facial-recognition systems, said it supported Microsoft's call for regulation. "Microsoft is absolutely right that face recognition use by law enforcement must be fully analyzed and debated," ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani said in a statement.

"Congress should take immediate action to put the brakes on this technology with a moratorium on its use, given that it has not been fully debated and its use has never been explicitly authorized," she added.

According to Microsoft's Smith, the US must decide a key question: "What role do we want this type of technology to play in everyday society." He recommends that Congress take the first step of forming a bipartisan and expert commission to investigate the technology's potential impact on society, and then suggest legislative action.

 

Friday
Jul132018

In No Rush to Upgrade Your Smartphone? You're Not Alone 

The average US smartphone upgrade cycle, as of the second half of 2017, was 32 months, up from 25 months a year prior, NPD Group says. The 5G rollout could help speed that up, though.

 

US consumers are now holding onto their smartphones for more than 2.5 years, on average, before upgrading, according to new research from The NPD Group.

The average US smartphone upgrade cycle, as of the second half of 2017, was 32 months, the market research firm wrote in its latest Mobile Connectivity report. That's up from 25 months a year prior.

It's also not uncommon these days for people to hold onto their smartphones for more than three years, the firm noted. In the second half of 2017, 22 percent of US smartphone users said they wait more than 36 months to upgrade, up from 18 percent who said the same a year earlier.

prepaid upgrades

Prepaid users are quickest to upgrade. In the latter half of last year, 21 percent of prepaid smartphone users reported upgrading their devices within a year of purchasing them. Just 10 percent of postpaid customers said the same.

"The continuous improvement of device build quality and components, coupled with higher price tags, has motivated consumers to hold on to their smartphones for longer periods than in the past," Brad Akyuz, director and industry analyst at NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement.

Carriers' stricter upgrade policies of late have also impacted the upgrade cycle. "Many carriers require that customers fully pay off their devices before trade-in, which has slowed down upgrade cycles for postpaid customers," Akyuz said.

However, the launch of 5G networks offering benefits like faster speeds and lower latency will likely spur many to upgrade quicker than they do today.

"With the debut of 5G networks in the coming years, OEMs and mobile operators will have the opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of 5G services and convince them to upgrade to devices boasting a 5G chipset," Akyuz said. "This 4G to 5G migration will ultimately result in the acceleration of the device upgrade cycle."