Shop more safely on Cyber Monday

Shop more safely on Cyber Monday

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is America's biggest shopping day, but Cyber Monday is catching up. Why camp outside a store for limited-quantity "door buster" deals when you can get goods online, snug on your couch with a cup of cocoa? However, you don't want to avoid the mall circus only to get your personal or financial info trampled by an insecure site. Here's how to shop more safely online.

Alternative payment methods

One of the best ways to protect... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Security , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , Guides , Internet security , shopping

Microsoft launches Office Insider

Microsoft launches Office Insider

During the run-up to the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced an Insider program where millions of people could download the operating system for free, in exchange for beta testing it. That program still exists, though you now need an activated copy of Windows first, either purchased at retail or pre-installed on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Microsoft has decided to extend this framework to its Office productivity suite, though it's not as open or early-access as its... Read More »

Topics: Office Suites , Windows Software

Tags: beta , Microsoft , productivity , Office

Windows 10 gets its first major update

Windows 10 gets its first major update

One of the open secrets of software development is that version 1.0 doesn't necessarily reflect the complete vision of its creators. You might need several further updates, and a thing as complex as Windows 10 definitely will. Microsoft announced that Windows 10 is getting its first big revision, though the company didn't call it 10.1 or Service Pack 1. There's no branding on this one at all. Under the hood, it's Version 1511 (OS Build 10586.3). Build 10586 has been... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software

Tags: Windows 10 , update , operating system

Apple updates iWorks suite

Apple updates iWorks suite

Apple has had a busy fall, shipping El Capitan, iOS 9, an oversized iPad, new iPhones, and even a new iMac.

Somewhere in the flurry, Apple also found time to update its iWork suite of productivity apps. There's now support for El Capitan, the ability to open iWork '08 and some '06 documents, plus other improvements.

Most of the changes affect all three apps: Keynote, Numbers, and Pages can now handle Split View, which lets you... Read More »

Topics: Productivity Software , Mac Software

5 apps for better Gmail

5 apps for better Gmail

Gmail (iOS, Android) may be a go-to email app on mobile, but I often go begrudgingly. For starters, my Gmail inbox is cluttered with myriad communication threads that are difficult to wade through, especially if they're drawn out with quotations and signatures and have multiple addressees. Sometimes I can't even tell where to respond. Gmail also lacks important features on mobile, such as quick access to contacts, one-swipe message deletion, and an easy unsubscribe or blocking solution. But... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: Gmail

​Google Maps go offline

​Google Maps go offline

Google is rolling out an update to Maps that will let you use a map offline and still receive turn-by-turn directions.

The new edition -- available this week for Android and soon for iOS, Google says -- will let you search for and then capture an area to download. Then when you are navigating through the area and lose your connection, you can still get driving instructions and search for destinations on the map. Once you pick up your connection again,... Read More »

Topics: Maps , Android Software , Android

The truth about iPhone optimizers

The truth about iPhone optimizers

If your iPhone runs slowly, is short on space, or regularly runs down its battery, you might search the App Store for "iPhone cleaner" or "iPhone booster" or something similar and find myriad apps that claim to eliminate junk files, retrieve memory, and improve battery life. But do they work as promised? I tested an assortment of iPhone optimization apps rated highly by users and was surprised to find them largely useless. Read on to learn what these apps do... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: iPhone , iPhone apps

Windows Insider builds are downloadable again

Windows Insider builds are downloadable again

In the lead-up to Windows 10's release this summer, enterprising techies could download free preview builds of the operating system through Microsoft's Insider program. A new Windows OS for free was a pretty tempting carrot. However, Microsoft understandably shut off this spigot once Windows 10 was released, since it didn't want everyone to keep grabbing the test builds. Now that the dust has settled, Microsoft has turned the spigot back on, with one important change: the device you're installing the... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software

Tags: Windows 10 , beta , operating system

Guided by voices: Siri vs. Google Now vs. Cortana

Guided by voices: Siri vs. Google Now vs. Cortana

Talking digital assistants have long been featured in fiction, from HAL to Samantha, but they've only been available in real life since Apple introduced Siri four years ago. Google Now followed for Android, then Microsoft's Cortana in Windows Phone and, as of this year, Windows 10. (Curiously, Mac OS X does not yet support Siri, but if you install Windows 10 via a virtual machine such as Parallels, Cortana will work on Mac.)

Digital assistants are increasingly integrated... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: iPhone , Android , Windows

Instagram privacy and security

Instagram privacy and security

Using Instagram is easy: snap a photo, add a filter and a comment, tap Share. But Instagram, like every social media app, can expose you in ways you never intended. Follow these five tips to stay safe on Instagram.

Know what info Instagram collects

You know that Instagram has your username, password, and email address, but the app also collects your first and last name, picture, and phone number so that other users can find you. If you would like to... Read More »

Topics: Security , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , Guides , Instagram