Best free sites for learning how to write code

Not so long ago, typing was for secretaries, journalists, and would-be authors. Now we're all tapping away at keyboards and screens from morning until night.

The number of people who spend their workday coding continues to soar. In the not-too-distant future, writing code may be as commonplace as typing and other forms of text-keying are today.

Learning how to code has never been easier. Whether you're a programming newbie or an old hand looking to learn a new skill or two, these four free services have you covered. (Note that all but W3Schools.com requires that you register … Read more

Getting started with Instagram Direct

Early on Thursday Instagram announced a new feature called Instagram Direct. The new feature allows users to privately share photos or videos with up to 15 people. Obviously this is a new direction for Instagram, as previously sharing a photo was an all-or-nothing act.

Before you can access Instagram Direct you'll need to download the update, version 5.0, from the Play Store or App Store.

All right, with that out of the way, let's begin.

Your inbox

You can access your Instagram Direct inbox by tapping on the mailbox icon in the top-right corner. This is where … Read more

Add a custom vacation responder in Gmail for Android

Google on Wednesday announced Gmail version 4.7 for Android users. The new version, which is currently rolling out, adds the ability to edit your out of office response, send any file type (including ZIP files!), and the ability to print e-mails on devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. The process is now superconvenient and extremely easy to complete.

In order to set up your out of office message, make sure you've downloaded the latest version of Gmail on your Android device. As Google has been doing recently, it's a staged roll out, so it might take some … Read more

Slo-Gram, a simple way to share slo-mo videos on Instagram

When Apple first announced the iPhone 5S and its new slow-motion camera feature, the thought of being able to upload sol-mo videos across social networks was exciting.

Then the phone launched, users started messing with the new camera features, and quickly realized that uploading a slo-mo video directly from the iPhone to Instagram (along with other social networks) wasn't possible. Or rather, it was possible, but you would have to use some workarounds to make it happen.

But a few weeks ago, a young developer who is still in high school, contacted me about the pending release of an … Read more

Get a full year of Web hosting for $10

Web sites come in all shapes and sizes, serving every purpose under the sun, but they all have one thing in common: They're hosted on a server somewhere.

Obviously anyone looking for a Web host has a zillion options -- some cheap, some pricey, some in between. How do you choose one? I look for a pricey provider that's offering an unbeatable deal.

Like this one: For a limited time, InMotion Hosting will give you one full year of Web hosting for just $10. Regular price: $119.88.

I'm no expert when it comes to Web stuff, … Read more

Best practices for creating a home inventory

With the holidays here and more gadgets, belongings, and random items on the way, it's a good time to think about how to create an inventory of all your belongings. Creating an inventory makes the process of replacing items through your insurance company easier, in case you should you ever fall victim to a natural disaster or a break-in.

After talking to an insurance agent and scouring insurance company Web sites for best practices, here are the best tips for creating an itemized list of the possessions in your home.

Be thorough The most important aspect of creating an … Read more

7 keyboard shortcuts for Google+ notifications

Keyboard shortcuts offer the fastest access to content on your Google+. They are generally more efficient because the shortcut starts you at the right spot for new posts instead of scrolling halfway through them. They are also a bit easier on your hands and wrist since you won't have to switch back and forth as often (especially useful for those with joint issues).

With keyboard shortcuts available for the Google+ stream, it only makes sense that there should be a set of them to work on notifications, too.

Without further delay, here are the shortcuts:

Up and down arrow … Read more

Get a refund if the price drops on an item you bought on Amazon

Have you ever purchased an item from Amazon only to notice a short while later that its priced has dropped? If so, then you might be interested in an unpublished policy that Reddit user poorsoi has uncovered.

She asked a simple question: Could she get a refund on a wine rack that dropped about $8 after she purchased it?

The answer? Sure, we'll refund you the price difference of an item, as long as the price drop occurred within seven days of the delivery date. I will now purchase dog food -- an item with a fluctuating price that … Read more

Save some cash with RetailMeNot's iOS app

There's no shortage of deals and special offers during the holiday season. But what about after the holidays? Of course deals are still out there, they're just a bit harder to find. Turn to RetailMeNot for help.

RetaiMeNot is not a new service by any means. We originally covered its Web service back in 2008, and the Android app in 2012.

With the iOS app, all bases are covered, and shoppers, no matter the platform, are ready to save- money year around.

You can sign into the app, or go it without an account and add stores to … Read more

How to download your Google Calendar appointments

Need to back up or export your Google Calendar appointments? You can now download them directly from Google.

As of Thursday, Google offers you the ability to save a zip file of your Google Calendar data, either all of your calendars or just select ones if you juggle multiple calendars. The process takes a few steps but is relatively straightforward.

Log into Gmail. Click on your account picture in the upper right corner, and select the link for Account. On the Accounts page, click on the link to Download your data and then click on the button to Create an … Read more