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Thursday
Aug172017

How to change your email address without losing your friends

Think of all the places where your old email address resides, outside of your immediate control, waiting to give people plenty of false information. There are other people’s address books, old messages in people’s inboxes, websites that use your address as your logon name, and your business cards.

Changing your email address can be quite a chore.

1. Keep the old address for a little while

The first thing you need to do is check with your old mail provider and find out how long you can keep the old address and at what price. It’s probably worth the money to keep it for at least a few months.

2. Tell your contacts, but bcc: please

Then you need to tell everyone about the change. Using your new address, send an email to everyone in your address book—friends, relatives, and business associates. Address the message to yourself (again, with the new address), and BCC everyone else.

The BCC part is important. Providing everyone with everyone else’s email address is going to get people angry—especially if some people Reply to All.

3. Auto-forward and auto-respond

Set up your mail client to receive messages from both accounts. Check the client’s features to see if there’s a way to send an automated response in reply to any message coming from the old address—and only the old address. The message, of course, should remind them to use the new address.

You might also want to set up your client to separate messages by the Send To address. That way, you can really see who’s still using the old address.

For instance, if you use Gmail, you can create a filter that can move the message to a label (Gmail for folder) or put a star next to the message:

  1. Click the tool icon near the top-right corner of the webpage and select Settings.
  2. Click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
  3. Go to the bottom of the page and click Create a new filter.
  4. In the resulting dialog box, enter your old address in the To field.
  5. Click Create filter with this search in the lower-right corner.
  6. Check one of the options. I suggest Star it or Apply the label and create a new label.
  7. Click Create filter.

gmail filter 700 Lincoln Spector

Set Gmail to redirect messages sent to the old address to another location.

4. Update your site logins and subscriptions

Meanwhile, go through all of the websites you log onto via your email address, and change your account information to reflect your new address. 

Do the same with mailing lists. If you subscribe to a blog, a newsletter, or just a group of friends, make the change so you won’t fall off the list.

5. The lazy way out

You can avoid a lot of these hassles if you decide to keep the old address indefinitely—especially if the old address is cheap or, better yet, free. You can phase it out at your own pace, or make it the repository for all your junk email.

6. Other ways to make email addresses easier to manage

On the other hand, you may want to lose the old address precisely because of all the garbage that fills its inbox. If that’s the case, you need to protect the new address as well as junk the old one. Sign up for a service that provides disposable email addresses that forward messages to your real one. If you’re worried about giving someone your address, give them a disposable one. I use Blur, a free Firefox and Chrome extension. Other options include spamex and mailshell.

Finally, consider buying your own domain name, and using an email address from there. No one can take away your email address if you own the domain. Domain hosting prices can vary widely, so shop carefully. 

Speaking of expenses, remember to reprint your business cards, too.

Thursday
Aug172017

iOS 11 will make it impossible for cops to force you to unlock your phone

The rollout of iOS 11 is fast approaching, and with the beta version of the new update already in the hands of many testers we were bound to discover things that Apple had kept secret. One of those things happens to be an absolutely incredible privacy feature that lets you automatically disable Touch ID in just a few seconds, securing your device and preventing anyone (including law enforcement) from forcing you to access your iPhone by using your fingerprint.

The new feature is activated by pressing the lock button five times in a row. When you do this, the phone enters an emergency mode that brings up a second screen with the SOS button that, if toggled, alerts your emergency contacts to your location. What it also does, regardless of whether you tap the SOS button, is lock down your device and disable Touch ID until you verify your identity with your passcode.

With plenty of controversy surrounding the rights of citizens and the legal implications of police forcing individuals to unlock their phones with their fingerprints — or even using a person’s prints against their will — it’s an extremely powerful feature. Apple hasn’t spent any time talking about the new privacy tool, but with iOS 11 expected to hit iOS devices sometime in September, it’ll be available to millions and millions of people in just a few weeks.

Apple has proven to be extremely bold when it comes to user privacy, refusing to unlock iPhones of suspected criminals due to the precedent it could set for the future. An easy way to disable Touch ID definitely fits with that theme, and it’ll be interesting to see how (or if) law enforcement agencies react.

Thursday
Aug172017

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC

Is your Windows 10 hard drive showing signs that it's close to empty? You barely have enough room for your current applications and files, let alone new ones. Sure, hard drives are cheap, so you can always clone your existing one. But let's say you want to first try to get more mileage out of your current drive. There are a few ways you can do this. Let's give it a shot.

Windows 10 Bug ArtThe first and most obvious task is to delete files you no longer use. Granted, this chore will likely take awhile since you may bump into hundreds or thousands of files you no longer need. To do this, open File Explorer, jump to the folders that contain your documents and other personal files, sort your files by modified date with the oldest ones appearing first, and then simply scrap the old and unneeded ones.

 

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC

Here's another method to put the kibosh on unneeded files in Windows 10. Click on the Start button and then select Settings > System > Storage. Click on your main hard drive at the top of the window. Windows 10 calclulates the types of files on your drive and how much space they take up. Click on a particular file type such as Documents, Pictures, or Music.

 

02-free-disk-space-windows10

Then click on the button to view those specific types of files.

 

03-free-disk-space-windows10

Browse through the list to see which ones you can delete.

Next, you may want to uninstall applications you no longer use. This includes Windows apps as well as full-blown desktop programs. Click the Start button and select Settings > System > Apps & features. Sort your applications by size, and see if you can rid yourself of some of the heavy hitters. If you're not sure about a particular program, it's best to keep it alive.

 

04-free-disk-space-windows10

Did you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1? Then here's another trick. As part of the upgrade, Windows left behind a copy of the older version, which you no longer need as long as you plan to stick with Windows 10. Fire up File Explorer and open your C drive. Look for a folder called Windows.old and delete it. If you can't find it, don't worry—Windows deletes the folder automatically a month after you upgrade.

 

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC

Here's one we usually forget—empty your Recycle Bin. By default, any file you delete remains on your hard drive via the Recycle Bin so you can recover it if necessary. But at some point, the bin will get big, so you'll want to prune it. You can double-click on the Recycle Bin to view and delete any individual files you no longer need, or you can right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and click on the Empty Recyle Bin command to purge all the files within.

 

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC

Do you use Microsoft OneDrive to sync your documents and other files in the cloud? By default, your OneDrive files are saved on your PC and your OneDrive storage site. But you can tweak the settings so the files are stored only online and not on your hard drive. Here's how: Right-click the OneDrive icon in the Windows system tray. Select Settings > Choose folders. Uncheck the checkboxes for the folders you don't want to save on your PC and then select OK.

 

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC

Finally, here's an oldie but a goodie to catch anything still left to delete. The Windows Disk Cleanup tool can get rid of a whole mess of files in one shot. Click on the Start button and scroll down the Apps list, open the Windows Administrative Tools folder, and then select Disk Cleanup. The Disk Cleanup tool displays a series of file categories and determines how much space you can free up per category. Click on each category to view a description. In some cases, you can also view the files in that category. Click on the checkmarks next to the categories you feel comfortable deleting and then click the OK button.

 

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Windows 10 PC
Thursday
Aug172017

How to Do a Reverse Image Search From Your Phone

Image Search is the ability to search on a term and find images related to what you typed. Most search engines offer it, and it's great. But what if you have an image and want to know its origin? Or find similar photos? That's called a reverse image search.

Google's reverse image search is a breeze on a desktop computer. Go to images.google.com, click the camera icon (), and either paste in the URL for an image you've seen online, upload an image from your hard drive, or drag an image from another window.

Google Images Desktop


Reverse Image Search on Mobile

But what about when you're on a mobile device and want to do a reverse-image lookup? There are options.

With Google

Google built a reverse-image search function into phones and tablets, albeit on a very limited basis.

Mobile Chrome - no camera iconFirst, you cannot do a traditional reverse-image search with the standard Google app or via images.google.com on mobile browsers like Safari or Chrome. The camera icon won't show up in the search bar (pictured), so there is no way to upload an image for a reverse search on mobile.

But the Chrome browser app for iOS and Android does support a reverse-image search workaround. When you have the image you want to search, hold your finger on it until a pop-up menu appears; pick "Search Google For This Image" at the bottom. Note: This will NOT work in the Google app or other browsers (not even in Safari).

Search Google for Image

If for some reason this doesn't work, you can also select Open Image. Then copy the URL, go back to images.google.com, and paste in the URL—but that's adding extra steps.

With either method, the results of a reverse-image search then appear, with lots of options to narrow your query, such as finding animated GIFs, clip-art equivalents, or looking by the color scheme used in the original image.

With Bing

That other big search engine, Bing from Microsoft, also does reverse image searches. There is a camera icon next to the search box at the top of www.bing.com/images. When you click it on the desktop, it asks for an image URL, or for you to upload a picture, just like Google does on the desktop.

When you click it on any mobile browser, it will tell you to "Snap or upload a pic to search for similar images," alongside a warning that Microsoft may use your pics to improve its services.

Bing Permission

This is where things differ from Google—because Bing supports reverse image search of your personal images directly. When you tap that camera icon, you get the option to take a photo, upload from your camera roll, or upload from a third-party service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Pick one and it uploads and shows results.

Bing Mobile Image Search

Oddly, on Safari for iOS, this doesn't work in landscape mode. Or, if you search in portrait and then turn it to landscape to look at your results, they disappear. Just a bug to be aware of as you reverse search.

Sadly, the Bing app (iOS and Android), even on its Image tab, doesn't facilitate any kind of reverse image search whatsoever.


Reverse Search YOUR Images on Mobile

If you have images on your mobile device that you want to reverse search—say, you want to identify a plant or a breed of dog you took a snapshot of on your phone—what do you do?

The obvious workaround is upload the image to the internet in some way, find the image while using Chrome on your smartphone, and perform the steps above to reverse search. But that's a lot of hassle.

Instead, go to CTRLQ.org. It will also come up on top of a Google search for "reverse image search," thankfully, possibly because it uses Google for search results.

CNTLQ on mobile

Click Upload Image and you'll get the choice to not only upload pics in your Photo Library, but also to take a new picture, or upload from iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or any other service you have running that stores images on your smartphone.

iOS upload menu

Once uploaded, you need to click Show Matches (or upload another image).

CNTLQ show matches

Finally, you'll have results from Google to match, as best it can, the image you uploaded from your iPhone or Android-based smartphone of choice.

upload results


Apps for Reverse Image Search

If you prefer apps over the browser, go direct to a reverse image search tool that you can keep on your smartphone at all times.

Veracity
(Free for iOS)
Grabbing images from the Photo Library or storage options is a breeze, or cut and paste from the clipboard. Veracity says it will find the source image on the web even if it's been changed. Remove ads from the interface with a $2.99 in-app purchase.

Search by Image
(Free for Android)
You can manipulate an image all you want before uploading via this app to get results from Google, Tineye, and Yandex (the latter two being more third-party search services, rated among the best for reverse image search with Google and Bing).

Reversee
(Free for iOS)
This app sends your pics directly into the Google Images database to search for similar images, but upgrade to the pro version for $3.99 and get results from Bing and Yandex as well.

Search by Image Extension
($0.99 for iOS)
Search By Image ExtensionThis one isn't an app you go into, but rather an app that adds an extension to other apps. It will put one of those extension buttons inside Photos and Facebook and other apps, so along with Copy or Send to iCloud, you'll have an option to Search Image. Results appear in your mobile browser, and come from Google, Tineye, and Yandex.

Wednesday
Jul262017

Google wants to help you stay safe. The company on Tuesday unveiled a new feature called SOS Alerts for Search and Maps that will provide information on emergency situations.

When you search for information on a crisis, you may now see an SOS Alert that includes emergency phone numbers, news, translations of useful phrases or donation opportunities. Depending on how close you are physically to the crisis, you may get a mobile notification directing you to this information. Google Maps on mobile will also show SOS Alerts, marking the location of emergency situations and providing real-time updates like road closures.

search-alert-1100px Google

"We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they're designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed," Google's Yossi Matias wrote in a blog post.

On a help page about the alerts, Google said it will provide updates from local, national and international authorities "during a natural or human-caused crisis." However, the company cautioned that you may not see an alert for every major crisis, but said it plans to make them more broadly available over time.

If you want to get notified of SOS Alerts on your phone, you'll need to have the latest version of the Google app installed and make sure your location is turned on.

Wednesday
Jul262017

Adobe Flash has been given the death sentence

The Flash Player has been there for you all along, inside your browser, making it possible for you to play online games, stream radio station music and watch YouTube videos. But after a two-decade run, Adobe is killing it off.

Countless nails have been hammered in Flash's coffin in recent years, most notably by Apple's Steve Jobs and also by Adobe itself. Now, though, there's a date for the funeral: Dec. 31, 2020.

Flash has been a website workhorse -- online gaming site Kongregate has more than 100,000 Flash games -- but don't fret over the demise of the pioneering software. It's more appropriate to rejoice, since the software today is a security risk and major source of browser crashes.

"I am glad Adobe is ending Flash's life. It has honestly made the web a worse place for more than a decade," said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin.

Indeed, Adobe's move is momentous enough that the biggest names in web tech -- Apple, Google, Facebook, Mozilla and Microsoft -- coordinated announcements to tell us what's going on and to reassure us all that it's going to be fine.

What's it mean for me?

For the time being, you'll have to jump through some hoops to play Crush the Castle. In the coming months, depending on what browser you use and how it's configured, the Flash phase-out could be anything between no biggie and a serious problem. Some games will stop working. Schools and businesses that rely on Flash-based instruction modules will have to move into the future. Some websites, especially old ones that are no longer updated, might stop working.

Today's workarounds all will break on mainstream browsers by the end of 2020. Here's a rundown of what you can expect:

  • Chrome: Google's browser began asking us for permission to run Flash on some websites last year, and it'll do so more often and later disable Flash by default. "We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020," Google said.
  • Firefox: Mozilla's browser will start asking you in August which sites you want to enable Flash on, it'll disable Flash altogether by default in 2019, and there will be lingering support through the end of 2020 only in Firefox's less frequently updated Extended Support Release.
  • Edge: The newest version of Microsoft's browser uses a click-to-run option that asks if you want to run Flash on a website, a policy that will continue through mid-2018. The company's older Internet Explorer browser won't give you any grief. In mid-2018, Edge will be more aggressive about requiring you to authorize Flash. In 2019, Microsoft will disable Flash by default, and by the end of 2020, Microsoft will disable it completely in both browsers.
  • Safari: Last year, Apple's Safari started blocking Flash from running. If you really want it, you can re-enable it on websites that offer to download Flash, an action Safari notices and that will give you an offer to run Flash for the site.

Browsers have begun telling websites they can't load Flash content. This is one such error message. In Chrome, you can click to run the Flash game, but Google will disable it totally by 2020. 

Facebook, which hosts lots of Flash-based games, urged programmers to get with the program so ordinary folks don't have to suffer through any of these problems. "While games built in Flash will run on Facebook until the end of 2020, we strongly advise developers to follow the timelines set by browsers," Facebook said in a blog post.

Countdown to 2020

In three and a half years, Adobe will stop developing and distributing Flash, said Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe's Creative Cloud Ecosystem. Browser makers have been pushing hard to eject Flash, but Adobe couldn't move any faster because web standards weren't mature enough and Flash developers in education, gaming, streaming video and other industries need time to retool and rewrite their software, Balakrishnan said.

"We feel the standards have arrived, and now is the right time to announce our intention to pull the plug," Balakrishnan said.

Flash exploded into popularity shortly after Microsoft's Internet Explorer won the early browser wars of the 1990s. IE was the default browser in the world's most widely used operating system, but Microsoft left the software mostly dormant. Filling the void was Flash creator Macromedia, acquired by Adobe in 2006.

Flash brought animation technology that was good for games, interactivity that let people build features like photo galleries, the ability to use webcams for video chat and multimedia features that wiped out an earlier confusing array of options. People installed Flash in their browsers, programmers didn't need to worry about differences between IE, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and other browsers, and lots of advanced web features just worked.

"Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era," Balakrishnan said.