customize

7 Android launchers to refresh your home screen

Your home should be comfortable, and so should your home screen. With an Android launcher, you can replace your phone or tablet's boring factory settings with themes, widgets, and other customizable options to make your home screen more homey. Here are our top seven picks to help you renovate your Android experience.

Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher is one of the most direct ways of getting the original Android home-screen experience. First introduced with the Moto X phone, the Google Now Launcher preserves the visual experience of KitKat for those with custom-themed versions of Android, and it comes … Read more

Ultimate Custom Widget review

Ultimate Custom Widget (UCCW) lives up to its name, providing you with a powerful widget creator, as well as making it easy for you to use widgets created by other users, many of which are available for free online. Its huge array of customization options make it a fabulous app for geeks, but potentially overwhelming for average users, at least in the beginning.

Ultimate Custom Widget (UCCW) takes just a few seconds to install. You are then greeted by the widget creator, which lets you add elements such as clock, date, battery status, images, static text, location info, weather, Gmail … Read more

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 11 review

Ashampoo's all-new WinOptimizer 11 packs more tools for cleaning, optimizing, and protecting your Windows PC than its freeware competitors, including WinOptimizer Free. And it has a sophisticated yet easy-to-manage layout with support options that the free system utilities can't match. In addition to regularly scheduled system maintenance and tweaks, WinOptimizer 11 has a One-Click Optimizer, extras like anti-spy protection, and a host of modules. Recent upgrades include Live Tuner 2.0, Game Booster, and User Rights Management.

Pros

Does it all: WinOptimizer 11 has an impressive array of tools and features -- more than other software of its … Read more

Ulitmate Windows Customizer review

Ultimate Windows Customizer lets you make radical changes to your Windows interface in a matter of seconds. It lets you completely redesign everything from Windows' built-in programs and utilities to random things like your "Start" button. While you might need a few minutes to figure it out, the program unleashes all sorts of control and customization for your computer's appearance.

This program lets you change multiple elements of your Windows interface from the same tabbed menu. In addition to the layout changes you'd be able to make in Windows already, this app lets you change the … Read more

Comcast really, really doesn't care about you (allegedly)

Comcast has often managed to be the target of abuse and, on a good day, gallows humor.

It regularly features in the Consumerist's list of worst American companies. Indeed, just three years ago, Comcast encouraged its staff to vote so that it wouldn't be named Worst Company in America.

But, now that it is proposing a merger with Time Warner Cable, things will certainly get better. The new Timecast (or Corner) will be a joy to do business with.

Your cable box will be automatically renewed every six months and installed by a happy, well-dressed employee. The box … Read more

T-Mobile catching up to AT&T, Verizon in customer satisfaction

AT&T was the top ranked full service wireless carrier, according to J.D. Power's latest survey. MetroPCS was the top-ranked carrier for customer service among wireless providers concentrated on the no-contract market. The biggest customer satisfaction improvement, however, went to T-Mobile.

The biggest takeaway from the J.D. Power study, conducted from July to December 2013, is that there are more customer service calls and the problems are becoming more complicated. Seventeen percent of full-service wireless customers said their customer service issues were resolved in less than five minutes. Twenty percent said problems were resolved in 25 … Read more

Apple less fun to deal with than Microsoft, Samsung, study says

Some organizations inspire a feeling of dread.

"Oh, I have to deal with the DMV today. Where's my Xanax?"

Apple, though, has long held a reputation for making its customers feel like they're bathing in chocolate sauce. With a glass of champagne in their hands.

So it's curious that a new study by Forrester suggests that Cupertino is slipping a touch.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, this is the third year that Forrester has been measuring the satisfaction people feel (defined along parameters such as ease of interaction and enjoyability of interaction) when dealing … Read more

Amazon to ship things before you've even thought of buying them?

Whenever I think of the predominant sound emerging from Amazon, I decide it has to be a snigger.

First, the company intimated that it will soon be delivering your intellectual and household items by drone.

Now it's decided it's become so familiar with your predilections that it's going to ship the things you want to buy before you've even thought of buying them.

Somewhere in the Bay Area, executives at Google ululated with envy.

As TechCrunch reports, Amazon has filed a patent called "Method and System For Anticipatory Package Shipping."

The essence is this: Amazon believes it has a good idea which item of clothing, electronics or beauty product you will covet next. … Read more

Six things every new phone owner should do first

For smartphone nuts, few things top the excitement of powering up a brand new handset for the very first time and diving right in. By the nature of my work, I have a well-established routine for setting up a new phone when I review it. However, a phone that's going to stick around for awhile gets a little more forethought and effort.

Here are my guidelines for newbies and pros alike. I won't get into the nitty gritty, step-by-step details about the phone, or advise you to download apps (of course you will). Rather, I'll point out … Read more

Two ways to access Custom Google Maps on the Web

When Google starting offering a new version of Maps on the Web, many users thought it would deliver improvements on the current site. Unfortunately, many of the beloved features, like Custom Maps and multidestination directions, disappeared.

Back in July, the new interface became available to everyone who wanted to switch. But for those of us with custom maps, we weren't having any part of that new and featureless version! Fortunately, Google has been slowly rolling out some of the Classic Maps features you know and love, and now better access to Custom Maps is finally here.

Here … Read more