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Welcome to the Pittsburgh Tech Guy!  Your local source for good, dependable technical support and information!  Keep up with the latest Tech news here!

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Wednesday
Feb062019

How to unsend messages on Facebook Messenger

Facebook announced it would add a feature to its Messenger apps that would allow users to unsend a message. There was no real ETA on when the feature would roll out but the feature has now rolled out to all users, worldwide. You can unsend messages on Facebook Messenger within a certain time period. Unsending a message allows you to remove a message from both your and your recipient’s side however, it does leave a trace.

This feature is available on the Facebook Messenger apps for both iOS and Android. Make sure you update the app to the latest version that’s available.

Open Facebook Messenger and send a message. Tap and hold on it until you see the reaction bar. At the same time, you will see a bar appear at the bottom with options to copy, forward, and remove or delete the message. Tap the Delete or Remove option (whichever one you get).

A menu will open listing two options; Remove for everyone, and Remove for you. To unsend the message, you need to tap Remove for everyone. This will remove the message from both your side and from your recipient’s side.

The message being unsent isn’t going to leave without a mark. Your recipient will know that a message was removed from the conversation. The feature, like those similar to it on other messaging apps, has limitations. For example, you will find that you cannot go back and unsend older messages. There is a limit to how old a message can be for it to be unsent. If a message is too old, you cannot unsend it.

It also goes without saying that just because you can unsend a message doesn’t mean that your recipient will not have read/seen it before you get the chance to remove it. They may take a screenshot of it as well before it’s removed so remember that unsending isn’t a fix for bigger messaging problems.

WhatsApp has a similar unsend feature which allows you to unsend messages that are no older than 7 minutes. There’s no word on how old is too old for a message to be unsent on Facebook Messenger but you can take a hint from WhatsApp and expect similar time limits.

It’s interesting to note that the feature was initially something that was used internally at Facebook to protect its executives’ communication from leaking. It was only when this information became public that Facebook announced it would roll out the feature to other users as well.

Wednesday
Feb062019

Google+ shutting down for good on April 2, 2019

Google has confirmed that its social networking site Google Plus (Google+) would be shutting down on April 2.

Google also stated that it would shut down the social networking site due to 'other challenges' it faced in maintaining and continuing the service. It will allow users to download all their photos and videos before the shut down date. From April 2, the company would start deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts.

The company clarified that photos and videos uploaded on Google Photos would not be deleted from the service. Google account-linked like Gmail and YouTube too would continue to work and only the Google Plus account would be purged.

Google further said that users wouldn't be allowed to upload or create new content pages from as early as February 4. Users who have been using their Google Plus account to log into other sites or apps won't be able to do so in the coming days as it would be replaced with the Google sign-in button. Comments made on other sites using Google Plus ID too would be removed by March 7.

G Suite users who still use Google Plus account would have their accounts remain active and only need to contact their G Suite Administrator. 

Although Google did not mention the challenges directly in its latest blog post, the company had previously announced that there was a breach in the platform’s security system that led to a leak of over 5,00,000 Google Plus accounts. Google claimed to have fixed the issue only to find out there was another bug that caused the data of over 52.5 million users to get exposed. The company then announced that it would be shutting down the platform in April.

Tuesday
Feb052019

Download Video from YouTube Premium

Downloading videos from YouTube is a cottage industry all its own. Vendors inundate PCMag all the time hoping to get a mention in our YouTube video download tutorial. Even if they're not explicitly breaking YouTube's terms of service, such options may prevent people from making money on YouTube (aka, their livelihood).

YouTube Premium - DownloadTo be on the up and up and still get YouTube video downloads, subscribe for $11.99 per month to YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red), which axes commercials, provides access to YouTube Originals (shows by professionals), YouTube Music, and allows for video downloads. You can try it free for an entire month, all via the YouTube app. (Buyer beware: the cost is $15.99 a month if you set up Premium via the app on iOS—that's Google charging you extra, passing the Apple tax on to customers.)

Once you've subscribed, the app will show a Premium logo. Click the Save icon () on a video on your iOS or Android phone or tablet and select your video quality: Medium (360p video) or High (720p)—some offer a Low (144p) option. Grab a whole playlist if you desire. The icon turns blue after the download is complete. Access them from the Library tab, under Downloads.

Naturally, YouTube Premium restricts playback to a device signed into the same account. Downloads disappear after 30 days. After the free trial, you'll only see the download button when you subscribe. Once you are down to only 5 percent or less storage on a device, you can't download videos with YouTube Premium until you clear some space.

Downloads work for all YouTube Originals. None of those shows are exactly household names, but that may be because you're not under 18. It's also likely to change as new shows from big names like Jordan Peele make their debut.

As for the rest of the videos on YouTube, whether you can download is at the discretion of the uploader/owner. But with 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, you can probably find something to download and watch.

Tuesday
Feb052019

Download Video from Amazon Prime Video

Select movies and videos streaming on Amazon's Prime Video—available via Amazon Prime for $119 a year or separately for $12.99 per month—can be downloaded to a phone or tablet running iOS, Android, or Amazon's Fire OS. Note that you have to be the paying member to download; it doesn't work for Amazon Household members.

You'll see a download button () on eligible videos in the Prime Video app on either iOS or Android. For an eligible TV show, you can download the whole season, or click next to an individual episode.

Amazon Video downloads

When a download is complete, a Downloads button will appear in the app on iOS. Tap that to access all your downloaded videos. On Android, tap the hamburger menu () to find them.

If storage is an issue, on iOS go to Settings () > Streaming & Downloading > Download Quality and select Good, Better, or Best, which are described by how much space an hour of video uses up (Best is 1 hour using 0.9GB of data and storage on iOS or 0.46GB on Android).

On Android, go to > Settings > Stream & Download > Download Quality. Android users get a Data Saver setting for really small, low-res versions. If you want to change it with each download, set it to "Always Ask" and you'll get a pop-up with each click of the . Set it to only download on Wi-Fi to spare your carrier or your phone data charges.

Amazon Prime Video - download options

As far as availability, there are limits, but you'll find most Prime Originals and anything Amazon distributed easy to grab. Add-ons from premium channels like Showtime and Starz do not allow downloads (sorry, American Gods fans).

Of course, Amazon is more than willing to rent or sell you individual movies and shows that are not streaming on Prime. Apple iOS users will have to buy or rent on Amazon.com via a browser and then return to the app to watch (that way, Amazon does not have to give Apple a cut of the purchase price). Note that Amazon usually displays the HD version, which can be more expensive and take up more space than SD. Click "More Purchase Options" for SD. Tap Library () on iOS to find purchases. On Android, use > Video Library.

Tuesday
Feb052019

Download Video from Netflix

You can't download the entire Netflix catalog to view offline, but you can have your fill of Netflix Originals. To find something, tap the Downloads icon () on the bottom of your screen > Find Something/More to Download.

If you already have something in mind, go to a movie or show listing and look for under the description. If it's a TV show, scroll down and look for the next to the individual episode(s) you want. Tap it and your selection will download to your device; when you want to want to watch later, again hit the Downloads () button on the main screen.

Netflix Downloading

On Android devices, the interface is similar but lacks a dedicated Downloads icon. You'll find My Downloads under the hamburger menu (). This is where you can start playback, but also selectively delete downloads. Click the pencil icon () at top, select individual movies or TV episodes, and trash them.

If storage is a concern, set Netflix on Android to Standard Video quality, which downloads faster and uses less space. Tap the hamburger menu () > App Settings > Download Video Quality > Standard.

Netflix for Android - App Settings

In App Settings, also set the Netflix app to only download over Wi-Fi, activate "Smart Downloads" so the app grabs the next episode when you finish one, check internal storage to see how much space you have left and how much is currently used by Netflix videos, delete all downloads at once, and best of all, set the Download Location: if you have external storage options like an SD card, you can tell Netflix to send downloads there. Playback is limited to the device that downloaded it; the app essentially puts DRM on the file, locking it to the device where that app that downloaded it resides. Thus, you can't swap cards with friends or even your own devices (like a PC).

Tuesday
Feb052019

Are Your Passwords Secure? Google's Password Checkup Knows

Google is attempting to make Chrome users more secure with the release of a new extension that automatically checks to see if the passwords you are using are safe. It's called Password Checkup and it launched today.

It doesn't matter how strong a password is, if the account your are protecting suffers a data breach it could end up in the hands of hackers. Keeping track of which data breaches affect you is difficult, and it's why password managers started getting popular and offering to automatically update passwords for you on a regular basis. A good example of that is LastPass.

Now Google is making Chrome users more secure if they take the time to install a new, free extension called Password Checkup. Once installed, it will check every time you sign in to an account using a username and password. If the password used appears on any data breach lists the user will receive an alert urging them to reset the password. If the same password is used for other accounts then an alert will be sent for those, too.

Google is making it very clear that using Password Checkup does not share any identifying information about users, their accounts, passwords, or devices. The only information shared is anonymous and regarding the number of lookups that return an unsafe set of credentials. In other words, there's no real downside to installing the extension and helping protect your online accounts.