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What Was Windows CE, and Why Did People Use It?

Microsoft released Windows CE in November 1996 as a new version of Windows. Designed to run pocket-sized computers, CE brought the user-friendly Windows 95 interface to mobile computing for the first time. Its architecture also formed the basis of Microsoft’s later mobile computing and smartphone products. Here’s why it was needed.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Benj Edwards

How to See Which iPhone Apps Can View Your Photos

On an iPhone, photos are a huge potential privacy leak. They include not only visual information but also metadata that might reveal your location or when the photo was taken, among other facts. Luckily, it’s easy to see which apps have access to your photos and even revoke access if necessary. Here’s how.

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How to Install Signal Desktop on Linux

Signal is the privacy-focused smartphone messaging app everyone seems to be using. You can also use Signal on a Windows PC, Mac—or Linux computer. It’s easy to install and register it to your Signal account.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dave McKay

How to Launch Google Assistant by Tapping the Back of Your iPhone

Even though iPhone has Siri, some iPhone owners prefer using Google Assistant for performing spoken-word tasks. With a feature called Back Tap available in iOS 14 and later on iPhone 8 and up, you can quickly launch “Hey Google” by tapping the back of your phone. Here’s how.

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The Big 6 Streaming Video Services—What Does Each One Offer?

Hand holding a TV remote while searching for shows on a streaming TV serviceSaid Marroun/

You’ve likely heard of “the big six” streaming service—Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Prime Video—but what does each one really offer? It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of paying for multiple services, so let’s take a closer look at each one so you can easily pick which ones work best for you.

What to Look for in a Streaming TV Service

Each service has its own strengths, but choosing one (or two) ultimately comes down to what type of content you like above anything else. There are a few other features worth taking a look at, however, just so you fully understand how to evaluate each service:

  • Content Selection: Like we said, a streaming service’s main asset is its library of shows, and each service’s is unique. So, for example, if you love Marvel movies and live sports, consider going with a Disney+ and Hulu bundle. We recommend taking a moment to think about the type of content you want to watch and exploring what each option offers before making your decision.
  • Pricing & Plans: Many of these services offer tiered plans with varying price points, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your budget. Basic plans generally cost about $5-$10 per month, while premium plans can run anywhere from $15-$65 per month. Most offer free trials, however, so if you’re not sure which service or plan you want, we recommend signing up for a few first. Keep in mind that pricier tiers usually offer more features as well, such as the removal of ads, the ability to download shows for offline viewing, and even higher-quality streams. Middle and premium tiers are often worth the upgrade if you care about that kind of stuff.
  • Multiple Profile Support: You like indie films, gramps likes the news, and your kids like sports. Any streaming TV service worth its salt knows this and allows users to create multiple user profiles. This way you can keep track of only the shows you care about, and your profile’s algorithm will only recommend content you’re interested in. Some services even offer restricted accounts for kids, with plenty of shows that are age-appropriate and zero access to stuff that isn’t.
  • Streaming Quality & Limits: Does your streaming platform allow for simultaneous streams so that everyone in your family can watch what they like? Does it support HD content, Dolby Vision and Atmos, or let you download shows? Well, it should. Some services restrict these types of things to their premium tiers, and some may not offer them at all. Be sure to double check before signing up if these features are must-haves for you.
  • Wide Platform Support: You’re not always going to be at home on your couch when using these apps, so it’s important that these services make it easy for you to watch their content on any device from anywhere. We favor services that work on every device from mobile devices down to gaming consoles.

Netflix: An Extensive Library and Great Originals

Netflix app open on laptop screensitthiphong/

Netflix (Plans start at $8.99 per month) is the classic streaming video service, with its solid selection of TV shows, movies, and unique original programming. It also offers all of the basic features one could want from such a service, such as multiple individual user profiles, content downloads, captions, parental controls, and more.

The service’s interface is gorgeous and bold, well-organized, and easy to use. You can save your favorite titles to “My List” for easy reference, and there are tons of categories for you to browse though. You can watch Netflix on smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and most streaming sticks.

The subscription-based streaming service is home to popular originals such as Stranger Things, The Witcher, Glow, Daredevil, The Queen’s Gambit, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and more. Netflix is known for churning out tons of original shows in addition to its vast library of older content, but it isn’t the service you should choose if you’re more interested in brand-new releases. That said, the frequent turnover of its content library goes a long way to keeping things fresh.

Netflix offers three plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The Basic plan starts at $8.99 per month and allows you to watch and download standard definition content only on a single screen. The Standard plan is $13.99 per month, unlocks HD viewing, and allows for downloads and simultaneous viewing on two devices. And the Premium plan will run you $17.99 per month, but it gives you the option for viewing UHD (4K) content, storing downloads on four devices, and watching content on four devices simultaneously.


Hulu: A Huge Library, a Live TV Option, and a Good Deal

Hulu service logo on smartphone in front of TVTop_CNX/

If you’re looking for tons of options, Hulu (Plans start at $5.99 per month) is the one to beat. The feature-rich service offers all kinds of plans, including bundles and an affordable option for students. Heck, it even has bundle options with Disney+ and ESPN+ for you to choose from. Hulu has a fantastic selection of movies and TV shows, both older and brand new, and is one of the better services out there offering a live TV option, making it a great option for cord cutters.

For Hulu’s nonlive TV plans, you’ll get access to many new episodes one day after they air, which is terrific for those who absolutely must stay up to date with TV shows such asThe Bachelor or Barkskins. Of course, Hulu also has a fun variety of original content, such as The Great, The Handmaid’s Tale, Little Fires Everywhere, and Marvel’s Runaways.

Hulu has three main plans available, all of which give you access to its full library on any device you want to watch it on. All plans support up to six user profiles and allow you to watch on two different screens simultaneously. Its basic Hulu plan runs $5.99 per month, has some ads, and doesn’t offer downloads or live TV. The Hulu (No Ads) plan is $11.99 per month, with no ads or live TV, but with enabled downloads for offline viewing. And if you do want live TV, you’ll need to cough up a bit more for the Hulu + Live TV plan, which is $64.99 per month. And despite this steep price point, it still has ads and doesn’t allow for downloads.

If you’re a student, don’t despair! Hulu has a discounted monthly plan for verified students that only costs $1.99 per month. It’s ad-supported, but you’ll have access to the full library and Hulu’s Watch Party feature.

Of course, Hulu also has outstanding bundle options, centered around those three primary plans. These plans include both Disney+ and ESPN+, so just choose whether you want the basic Hulu, Hulu (No Ads), or Hulu + Live TV bundle plan and go from there. Monthly pricing for these, runs $12.99, $18.99, and $71.99, respectively.


Disney+: Family-Friendly and Perfect for Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ Fans

Hand holding a remote control with the new Disney+ loading screen on TVIvan Marc/

You’ve probably already got a pretty solid idea of the type of stuff that’s on Disney+ (starts at $6.99 per month). But if not, here’s a recap. The vast majority of Disney’s cartoons and live animation programming along with impressive properties such as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Oh, and things such as Hamilton, The Simpsons, National Treasure, 10 Things I Hate About You, Home Alone, and Avatar, too.

With its robust library of easy-going movies and TV shows, Disney+ is a great pick in general and the best one for families. It’s got tons of content in 4K with HDR, and it allows you to set up multiple user profiles for everyone in the family. Plus, with the success of its live-action Mulan movie, Disney+ is likely going to be the home for new PPV flicks from its properties in the future, such as Marvel’s Black Widow.

As you’d expect, Disney+ is all Disney all the time. This means no options for live TV or sports unless you opt for one of the bundles with Hulu and ESPN+ for an additional cost (see the Hulu section above for more details). Disney+ is available on iOS and Android devices, gaming consoles, smart TVs, streaming sticks, and of course, online. And best of all, it supports as many as four simultaneous streams, so everyone can watch what they want.


HBO Max: All HBO Content Plus Studio Ghibli and New Movies

HBO Max service open on smartphone and Apple laptopDANIEL CONSTANTE/

Since its debut in May 2020, HBO Max ($14.99 per month) has been a hit. It’s the latest addition to the HBO family and the service for watching everything in HBO’s extensive catalog. It’s the place to go when you want to enjoy fan favorites such as Doctor Who, Friends, Adventure Time, and the wondrous Studio Ghibli library. It’s even got solid picks for the kiddos, such as Looney Tunes and Sesame Street.

Of course, landmark original programming is still a thing with HBO Max. You can find new titles—such as The Flight Attendant and Euphoria—alongside older favorites such as The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lovecraft Country, Westworld, Watchmen, Silicon Valley, Succession, Game of Thrones, and The Wire. In 2021, the service will also play host to all of Warner Bros.’ movies starting on the same day they’re released in theaters.

HBO Max’s app is gorgeous, easy to use, and ad-free. It allows you to create individual user profiles and control content accessibility through robust parental controls. And best of all, it just offers one single plan instead of locking content and functionality down unless you pay for a premium plan. HBO Max does cost a little more than basic plans elsewhere, but its extensive (and consistently excellent) catalog is flat-out worth it. HBO Max works on most streaming sticks, iOS and Android devices, gaming consoles, computers, and smart TVs.


Peacock: It’s Free, Plus It Has ‘The Office’

iPhone 11 Pro with Peacock video service app openDANIEL CONSTANTE/

Peacock (Free, with paid plans starting at $4.99 per month) has two main draws. It has a solid free plan, and it’s the new home of beloved TV show The Office. Of course, it’s home to tons of other great shows, such as 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Downton Abbey, Friday Night Lights, and Suits. The service also has plenty of originals including Saved by the Bell, Psych 2, Wilmore, A.P. Bio, The Amber Ruffin Show, and Departure. You can save your favorites to your watchlist or even bookmark movies to watch later.

All you need to get started with the service’s free plan is an email address and password. You don’t even need to enter a credit card. And with your ad-supported account, you can enjoy hundreds of TV shows and movies, along with 24/7 Peacock Channels, sports, daily news, and kids’ programming.

Peacock’s Premium plan is $4.99 per month and unlocks full seasons of shows, exclusive original shows, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo programming, and live sports such as Premier League. Peacock also offers a Premium Plus plan for $9.99 per month that gives you everything the Premium plan does without the ads and adds the ability to download certain shows for offline viewing.

The service has robust parental control options that are based on age and maturity levels—such as Little Kids, Older Kids, Family, Teen, and Adult—so you can ensure your little ones aren’t viewing anything they shouldn’t be. You can even lock down your settings with a PIN. Peacock works on a variety of iOS and Android devices, smart TVs, gaming consoles, streaming sticks, and most web browsers.


Prime Video: You’re Probably Already Paying for It

Smart TV with the Prime Video service app on itJuan Ci/

Prime Video (included with Amazon Prime for $12.99 per month) is a solid choice for anyone who already pays for Amazon’s feature-rich subscription service. The service has a creative curation of movies, TV shows, and original programming, including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Hanna, Tales from the Loop, Fleabag, and Jack Ryan.

Prime Video subscribers can also enjoy content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, and it’s a great resource for buying and renting movies and TV shows as well. Subscribers can also take advantage of the service’s many 4K titles, extensive movie collection, and easy-to-download content. It allows for three simultaneous streams.

You can enjoy the service’s catalog on virtually any device, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, streaming sticks and boxes, smart TVs, computers, and gaming consoles. And remember, to enjoy all of Prime Video’s features, you’ll need to sign up for Amazon Prime, which runs $119 per year. Its fast shipping and myriad other benefits make it worth the cost, however.


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How to See Which Apps Can Access Your Microphone and Camera on Android

There are many sensors on your smartphone, and two that present some privacy concerns are the camera and microphone. You don’t want apps to be accessing these without your knowledge. We’ll show you how to see which apps have access.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joe Fedewa

GPD WIN 3 gaming handheld PC mixes old design with new hardware

The success of the Nintendo Switch revived interest in portable gaming consoles and gave birth to some devices and smartphone accessories that tried to capitalize on that. Even before the age of the Switch, however, GPD was already trying its luck with dedicated Android gaming handhelds before stumbling upon a niche yet profitable portable PC gaming market. Its latest attempt … Continue reading

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The Article Was Written/Published By: JC Torres

New MacBook Pros to Reportedly Lose the Touch Bar

MacBook-Pros-Touch-Bar-Featured.jpg Are you wondering why you’re seeing “Touch Bar” trending all over? The answer is that it’s been widely reported that Apple is ditching the Touch Bar on upcoming MacBook Pros and that it’s also bringing back the MagSafe charger. How valid are these reports? The Return of MagSafe This isn’t the first we have heard of Mag Safe in recent months. It actually made its return with iPhone 12 models, snapping onto the back of the handsets as a charging method. It stood to reason that MagSafe wasn’t going to be isolated to the iPhones. … Read more14225398.gif

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Why You Don’t Need an Expensive Smartphone Anymore

The $500 Pixel 4a 5G.The $500 Pixel 4a 5G sets the benchmark for mid-range phones, but you can still go a lot cheaper. Google

As flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, Google, and OnePlus get more and more expensive, you might feel forced to keep up with the increased prices. But times have changed, and most phones under $500 offer the performance, battery life, and camera quality that used to be reserved for high-end handsets. In other words, you don’t need an expensive phone anymore.

“Downgrading” from a flagship to a mid-range or budget phone can be a little anxiety-inducing, especially if you’re a geek who loves cutting-edge features. But cheap phones can still feel like a solid upgrade thanks to improved camera tech, faster charging speeds, and other neat perks. Sure, you won’t get the groundbreaking features that come with $1,000 devices, but you may be surprised to see just how unimportant most of those exclusive features actually are.

Mid-Range Phones Rock

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight.The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight. Andrew Heinzman

In our recent buying guide What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone, the standout devices all lay within the $300 to $500 range. That’s where “flagship” performance meets killer camera tech, flashy OLED displays, and the occasional 5G modem. Some devices, like the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, even throw 30-watt Warp Charging charging into the mix—but what does the average mid-range phone look like?

Let’s take a look at the Pixel 4a 5G. Released at the tail-end of 2020, the 4a 5G sets the benchmark for today’s mid-range phones. It sports a large 6.2-inch OLED HDR display, an unbeatable dual-camera array, a headphone jack, NFC for contactless payments, and an impressively snappy 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G processor. What more do you need?

Other mid-range phones dance around the Pixel 4a 5G’s specs, usually swapping camera quality or processing power for a larger display, a two-day battery life, wireless charging, flexible quad-camera arrays, ultra-fast wired charging, a 90hz refresh rate, and other perks.

And while you might assume that $300 phones offer slower performance than the $500 Pixel 4a 5G, that isn’t necessarily the case. The 4a 5G’s price tag is mainly a consequence of its 5G capabilities, which aren’t all that useful today. Cheaper 4G LTE devices like the standard Pixel 4a, the BLU G90 Pro, and the iPhone SE (2020) offer comparable performance at a much lower price. In fact, the iPhone SE (2020) contains the second-fastest mobile phone processor of all time, Apple’s A13 Bionic chip (bested only by the iPhone 12’s A14 chip).

This isn’t to say that mid-range phones are perfect. Manufacturers often skip wireless charging and IPX water-resistance ratings in mid-range phones to cut costs. (The iPhone SE is a notable exception.) Mid-range phones also tend to use older, less durable Gorilla Glass than their flagship alternatives. The Pixel 4a 5G, for example, uses Gorilla Glass 3, while the more expensive Pixel 5 has a Gorilla Glass 6 panel. These shortcomings won’t impact the average user’s experience, but they may be a turn off if you’re upgrading from a flagship device.

Today’s Cheap Phones Offer Years of Usability

The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones.The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones. Michael Crider

One of the big selling points for flagship phones is that they last for a long time. Why buy a cheap phone every year when you can enjoy a flagship device for three or four years? In the not-so-distant past, I would agree with that argument. But today’s mid-range phones are here for the long haul thanks to their advanced performance and, depending on the manufacturer, guaranteed update cycles.

The big thing here is power and performance. So long as your phone has a decent processor (and most mid-range phones do), you shouldn’t have any trouble running your usual apps and games for the next few years. You’ll only run into problems with demanding applications, like 3D games, which grow more resource-hungry with every release.

But you don’t just want your phone to be usable, you also want it to keep up with new features and security patches. That’s why, if you plan to use a mid-range phone for more than 2 years, you may want to stick with Google, Samsung, or Apple. These companies guarantee 3 years of security updates and 2 years of OS updates (iPhones go a bit longer, with around 5 years of security and OS updates). While your phone doesn’t need the latest version of an OS to run your most-used apps, the regular OS updates can keep your phone feeling fresh, and extended security updates make you less vulnerable to hackers, bugs, and unsafe applications.

Budget phones in the $100 to $200 range still lack the lifespan of their mid-range and flagship counterparts, which is why I suggest a year-old mid-range device if you’re on a tight budget. It’s also worth pointing out that, while brands like OnePlus, LG, ASUS, Motorola, and Sony don’t commit to 3-year update cycles, their phones are usually more cost-effective than products from The Big Three, which may be a decent trade-off if you don’t care about OS updates or security patches.

Do You Really Need High-End Features?

The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro---a pretty expensive phone!The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro—a pretty expensive phone! Justin Duino

Mid-range phones offer great performance and years of usability, and they often support features that were exclusive to flagships just two or three years ago. But what about all the cool cutting-edge features that come with a $1,000 phone? Isn’t that stuff worth the extra money?

Yeah, some flagship features are absolutely worth the money, but they probably aren’t the cutting-edge features that you’re thinking of. Like I mentioned earlier, flagships usually have tougher glass than their mid-range cousins, along with IPX water-resistance ratings and wireless charging. These perks are accompanied by brighter display technology, premium “clickly” buttons, high-quality speakers, better night photography, extra RAM for multitasking, and glass backs (although some flagships are pivoting to plastic, which is fine).

These are modest features make your phone more reliable, durable, and usable. They aren’t flashy or superfluous, and they give you a real reason to spend the money on a flagship device (or a flagship that’s a year or two old, if you don’t mind the limited manufacturer support). Cutting-edge flagship features, on the other hand, are rarely worth spending your money on. Foldable display tech is in its infancy, MagSafe charging is cool but unnecessary, and LiDAR is … well, it has a lot of potential, but app developers need to get serious about it first.

The two most compelling cutting-edge features are 120hz displays and 5G support, although both technologies eat up battery life and aren’t nearly as useful as they may seem. It’s true, 5G is faster than 4G LTE and will revolutionize the internet, but 5G networks (and especially the ultra-fast mmWave5G networks) won’t be available to the average person for another couple years. And while a 120hz display might make the animations on your phone look buttery-smooth, 60hz and 90hz displays look fine as it is.

While expensive flagships still have a place in the world, the benefits of buying a high-end device are questionable. Mid-range phones kick ass at half the price of their flagship counterparts, and often offer years of usability and guaranteed OS updates. Plus, flagship features aren’t as groundbreaking as they used to be, and may never impact the average person’s experience.

Tip: Shopping for a new phone? Be sure to check out the companion piece to this article, What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone. It provides an overview of the best phones at each at each price point so you can buy a killer device without breaking your budget.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

How to See Which iPhone Apps Are Accessing Your Camera

Few iPhone privacy issues make people as nervous as whether an app is using your camera or not. Luckily, thanks to Apple’s Privacy settings, it’s easy to know which apps have access to your iPhone’s built-in camera. Here’s how to check—and how to revoke access if necessary.

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