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Target Is Opening Mini Apple Stores Inside Some Locations

A concept illustration of Target's new mini Apple Store.Target

Forget the mall, Target is opening mini Apple Stores inside its retail locations. These dedicated kiosks are twice the size of Target’s current “Apple section” and are run by staff with special training from Apple. Target plans to open mini Apple Stores at 17 locations before the end of February, with more to come throughout 2021.

Large retail outlets like Target have enjoyed a steady stream of business during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as people grow more comfortable going to malls and other casual shopping spaces, it’s possible that big-box retailers could lose some sales. By replicating the Apple Store experience at a kiosk, Target could keep some of its customers away from the mall and generate more big-ticket sales.

Here are the 17 stores that will open Apple kiosks in February:

  • Monticello, MN
  • San Jose, CA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Allen, TX
  • Hurst, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • Irving, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Clearwater, FL
  • Miami, FL
  • North Wales, PA
  • Newark, DE
  • Woburn, MA
  • Nashua, NH
  • Latham, NY

Target plans to open more mini Apple Stores throughout 2021, but the company hasn’t clarified how many of its locations will actually have an Apple kiosk. It’s possible that some Target stores will skip the Apple kiosk due to its size constraints or staff requirements.

Along with the new in-store experience, Target has redesigned its online Apple storefront with organized, easy-to-read icons. The online storefront also emphasizes the “benefits of getting Apple devices at Target,” like easy returns, free two-day shipping, curbside delivery, and 5% savings with a Target RedCard.

Interestingly, Apple still won’t sell Macs in-store or online. It will instead focus on smaller items like the iPhone, AirPods, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch. These items take up less space and (presumably) have higher profit margins than Macs. Plus, they require very little troubleshooting, so Target can spend less time training its Apple kiosk employees.

Source: Target via 9to5Mac

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Lenovo’s Latest Laptops Turn Themselves On When You Come Near

A Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga, T14s, and X13 side by side.Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPads are well-known and well-regarded work machines, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with fancy features. In its latest series of updates to the ThinkPad lineup, Lenovo added human detection and a fingerprint reader in the power button to its popular T14s, X13, X13 Yoga laptops.

Sometimes boring is a good thing, especially when you’re looking for a laptop that does all the things and lasts as long as you need it. That’s where Lenovo ThinkPads come in. While the X1 Extreme model deserves its name, the other ThinkPads are more likely to earn a place in your work life or even daily driver life.

So it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the latest updates to the ThinkPad line. Lenovo bumped specs across the board to embrace the latest processors, both Intel and AMD, better monitors, and Wi-Fi 6. That last spec makes the laptops future-proof; as your Wi-Fi gets faster, the Lenovo laptops will keep up.

But the T14s, X13, X13 Yoga updates land the most interesting new features. They’ll retain the same basic look as the previous models, though the X13 and X13 Yoga will move to 16:10 aspect ratios. Along the way, they pick up human presence detection. As you approach the laptop, it will wake itself up to make getting to work that much faster.

They also come with a fingerprint reader that doubles as a power button, a pretty handy feature for anyone who prefers fingerprints to face unlock (especially in mask-wearing times). And if you need the oomph, the T-series laptops have an optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics card add-on.

Intel-powered ThinkPad T14s will be available in March starting at $1,499, while AMD-powered T14s will arrive in May at $1,279. The Intel-powered X13 Yoga arrives in April for $1,379, while the AMD version of the X13 will come out in May for $1,139.

Source: Lenovo

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Josh Hendrickson

What Are Raspberry Pis Really for?

A photo of the Raspberry Pi 4.Fiacre Muller/Raspberry Pi Foundation

Raspberry Pi computers are a go-to solution for home theaters, NAS devices, and other personal projects . But the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s latest products and partnerships have left DIY-ers scratching their heads. Why would the Pi Foundation release a pre-assembled computer kit, or partner with Microsoft to bring new software to Raspbian OS? The answer is simple—Raspberry Pi exists to help kids and adults learn about computing. It isn’t just a tool for hobbyists and geeks.

Raspberry Pi Is Primarily an Education Tool

At its core, the Raspberry Pi is an educational tool manufactured by the Raspberry Pi Foundation—a charity. It’s the spiritual successor to devices like the BBC Micro, which empowered public school teachers to introduce students to computing and programming at a time when very few families owned a home computer.

Computers are a lot more common now than they were in the ’80s, but modern devices, operating systems, and software present few opportunities to tinker with computer hardware or learn about computing and programming. Today’s laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones are rarely user-serviceable, with GUI-driven operating systems and company-owned closed-source software. It doesn’t help that schools have a limited budget, so cracking open, modifying, and potentially breaking expensive desktop computers is a big no-no.

But the Raspberry Pi is different. It’s small, cheap, and features common components like USB and Ethernet. It runs Linux and comes with the Pi Foundation’s Raspbian OS, which is preloaded with coding tools and requires use of the terminal for some basic functionality. Most importantly, the Raspberry Pi has a set of GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins, which make practical coding projects with LEDs, cameras, robots, and other accessories intuitive, hands-on, and exciting for kids.

Schools can purchase Raspberry Pis for computer science courses or after school programs, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation makes a point of donating Pi computers and learning resources to schools for free . That is, after all, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission. But Pi computers aren’t just an at-school learning tool, kids and adults also participate in community-lead Raspberry Jam events to share computing knowledge and show off cool projects. Like the popular Kano and Piper computer kits, Raspberry Pis also provide learning opportunities at home (with a little help from an adult).

Hobbyists Help Fund the Pi Foundation

A photo of the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontoller with a USB cable.Alasdiar Allan/Raspberry Pi Foundation

Some of the Raspberry Pi foundation’s recent endeavors, like the preassembled Pi 400 computer and a collaboration to bring Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code to Raspbian, have led some enthusiasts to question where the charity’s priorities lie. The Pi 400 computer doesn’t appeal to popular home theater or robotics projects, and while Visual Studio Code is both intuitive and open-source, Pi enthusiasts worry that the big bad Microsoft corporation will “track” Pi users who update their software.

That’s due to the fac that after a recent repo addition, running the sudo apt update command automatically pings developers, including Microsoft,  to ask for the latest software packages, which companies could theoretically use for targeted advertising. But those fears are unfounded, all the check does is look for updates to current packages, like Visual Code. “Check for updates” isn’t the same as advertising.

When Pi enthusiasts complain about these endeavors, they’re missing the plot. The Raspberry Pi is, above all else, a tool that makes computing and programming more accessible to everyone. Sometimes that means making decisions that empower or attract young people, not adult hobbyists.

Of course, enthusiasts are essential to the Pi Foundation’s goals. Sales of the Raspberry Pi drive the charity’s educational endeavors, and people who post their Pi projects on YouTube or Instructables inspire young people to learn about computing outside and inside the classroom.

It isn’t unreasonable for hobbyists to ask for new features or products, but it’s also important to acknowledge that Pi Foundation is an education-oriented charity. Something that may seem like a misstep to a Pi enthusiast could change a kid’s life for the better, and demanding that the Pi Foundation only move in one direction goes against its mission to make computing accessible for everyone.

The Future of Pi: An Affordable Computer for Everyone

Remote learning and telecommuting are more important now than ever before, yet there’s an astonishing lack of cheap computers on the market. Finding a reliable Windows computer for under $300 is nearly impossible, and even the humble Chromebook costs at least $100.

Since its inception, the Raspberry Pi has been a very simple device, perfect for educational exercises and small projects, but not all that useful for web browsing and other common, practical applications. In a pinch, the Raspberry Pi could stand in for a laptop or desktop computer, but you’d be hard pressed to call it a reliable desktop replacement.

But that’s changed in the last few years. Chromium became the default Raspbian web browser in 2016, solving web-compatibility issues that plagued the old Epiphany browser. The Raspberry Pi 4, released in 2019, was (arguably) the first Pi computer to offer a reliable browsing experience, and the Pi Foundation explicitly advertised it as a 4K-ready, desktop-capable computer.

The recent Pi 400 computer takes things a step further. Like Like Atari or Commodore computers from the 80s, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a full computer system tucked inside a keyboard. It’s preassembled and comes with Raspbain preinstalled, so you can just plug it into a TV or monitor and start browsing the internet. In a way, the Pi 400 is the Pi Foundation’s first truly accessible computer, as it’s incredibly cost effective ($100 for the bundle, or $70 if you don’t need the cables), easy to set up, and powerful enough for web browsing, streaming, rudimentary photo editing, and other everyday tasks.

Because the Pi Foundation’s goal is to teach people about computers and programming, it only makes sense to make the Pi as accessible and useful as possible. The Raspberry Pi could become a true all-purpose computer in the near future, with a sub-$100 price tag that will appeal to everyone, not just hobbyists and teachers.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

LG’s Gram Laptops Weigh Less than The Money You’ll Spend on It Today

Three LG gram laptops set against a white background.LG

If you’re in the market for a Windows 10 laptop, take note: LG’s latest gram revamp is up for sale in the U.S. now. The latest models weigh less than three pounds but still pack some power. You’ll get Intel’s latest EVO certified 11th GEN processors, fingerprint sensors, and up to 16 GB’s of Ram. Not bad for a starting price of $999.

LG has  three options currently, the $999 gram 14, the $1,299 gram 16, and the $1,799 gram 17. Two convertible options, the gram 14 2-in-1 and the gram 16 2-in-1 will arrive in mid-march. As the names suggests, you’ll get either a 14-inch, 16-inch, or 17-inch screen.

The 17-inch model only comes in black, while the other two offer silver and white variants (in addition to black). Spending more gets you more than a big screen, though. The $999 gram 14 packs an i3 Processors, you’ll have to upgrade if you want a speeder i5. The other two models come with an i7 without the need to spend more. Regardless of the model you choose, you’ll get a speedy 256 GB SSD and a roomy 16:10 display.

You can pick up an LG gram from the company’s website right now.

A 14-inch Display

LG gram 14

At just 2.2 pounds, you can’t ask for a lighter laptop that still has a decent sides SSD and a moderately powerful processor.

A 16-inch Display

LG gram 16

Step up to a 16-inch display, and just over two and half pounds. You still get an i7, 16 GBs of RAM and a 256 GB processor.

A 17-inch Display

LG gram 17

A 17-inch display and still under three pounds? Practically unheard of without skimping on the specs. But this one doesn’t, thanks to an i7 processor, 16 GBs of RAM, and a 256 SSD.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Josh Hendrickson

Which Budget Phone Has the Best Camera?

Pixel 4a blue and blackGoogle Store

If you’re looking for a phone with a great camera, you’ll quickly realize most of today’s options are pushing four figures. That’s way too expensive. But surprisingly, the best budget phone typically delivers a pretty similar experience.

Low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality, and spending less than $500 on a phone can still yield impressive photos that rival the best of the best, as long as you choose the right one. So, below we’ve recommended the best budget phones with great cameras. Obviously, everyone has a different budget or brand preference, so here are a few of your options.

Why It’s So Hard to Find a Good Camera in a Cheap Phone?

There are several reasons why it’s almost impossible to find a decent camera in a cheap phone. Consumers expect, or even demand, more than ever these days, making it difficult for any brand to deliver a great all-around camera phone for those on a budget. Brands have to pick their battle on parts, and as we know, those parts are expensive and start to add up. So, they compromise on things like the camera.

Often, manufacturers put the biggest and best screen they can into a cheap phone to lure buyers. Or, they’ll pack three cameras on the back, so it looks convincing, but then you get home and realize it’s awful. Even worse, some phones try to sound like a flagship device for $300, packing in everything but the kitchen sink, and no single aspect of the device is very good. Instead, it just “has it all.”

Honestly, that’s where Google’s Pixel line excels. Google focused on an excellent camera, smooth software, and a good screen, then cut out all the gimmicks or extras most people rarely use. It nails all the essentials. Apple did something similar with the iPhone SE. As a result, they both top our list.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a phoneGoogle

The Google Pixel 4a is an incredible value and offers the best smartphone camera in any budget setup, period. See, the key here is Google put the same excellent camera sensor as its flagship phone into the budget Pixel 4a, powered by excellent computational photography software that makes it one of the best on the market, so you get Google’s excellent night and portrait modes, for example. Our own Michael Crider gave it an editors’ choice award and says it’s “Google’s best phone yet, at any price.”

As a refresher, you’ll get a 5.8-inch hole-punch display, 128GB of storage for all your photos and video, 6GB of RAM, stock Android, great battery life, and one of the best cameras on a smartphone. And though it doesn’t have multiple rear cameras like, say, the Galaxy A51 or the original Pixel 4, it’s still the same great main camera as Google’s more expensive phone. As a result, taking great photos is consistently fun, easy, and hassle-free.

The Pixel 4a seriously raises the bar for how good a budget phone’s camera can be.

Pixel 4a 5G modelJustin Duino

Alternatively, we wanted to mention Google’s slightly more expensive Pixel 4a 5G. Odd name aside, it’s the same amazing phone as the Pixel 4a, only bigger, slightly better, adds 5G connectivity, and it packs dual cameras on the back. Yes, you’ll get a bigger 6.2-inch screen and a secondary ultra-wide camera to enjoy, but it does cost a little extra. When we reviewed it, we decided it’s the best camera phone for those with a slightly higher budget and who want more from their phone.

Best Budget iPhone Camera: iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE 2020Apple

This list wouldn’t be complete without the iPhone SE, mainly because it’s the best cheap iPhone camera. You could pay over a grand for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or save most of that and get Apple’s 2020 budget phone.

The iPhone SE is a powerful new phone in a familiar old design. It looks like the iPhone 8, yet underneath the small 4.7-inch screen are upgrades like Apple’s A13 bionic processor, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, TouchID, and the same rear camera as the iPhone 11. It’s a mish-mash of devices, but the result is a phone that takes amazing photos without breaking the bank. If you don’t want an Android or Galaxy phone, the iPhone SE (2020) is the best camera phone that’s affordable.

Best for iOS

New Apple iPhone SE (64GB, White) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription

If you’re on a budget but want a great camera phone, get the iPhone SE at $349.

Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy A51

Galaxy A51 and its camerasSamsung

In closing, we wanted to offer a runner-up for Samsung fans or those invested in the brand and Galaxy ecosystem. The Samsung Galaxy A51 is one of those phones that looks amazing on paper. You have a huge, gorgeous 6.5-inch screen, 128GB of storage, a big 4,000 mAh battery, and four cameras on the back.

Yes. it’s kind of what we mentioned above, where the manufacturer packed in a ton of cameras and a huge screen to lure you in. Then again, this is Samsung, who makes some pretty great phones. All things aside, the Galaxy A51 is a solid option for buyers. You can shoot in 4K video, and the phone is surprisingly versatile in terms of taking photos day in and day out. Thanks to a good range of standard, ultra-wide, and macro lenses on the back, it’s capable of getting good photos with ease.

When you’re trying to get a great budget camera phone the options are somewhat limited. At the end of the day, though, everyone has different wants, needs, preferences, and budgets.

Hands-down the Google Pixel 4a is the best phone and camera for the price, but anything on this list will make you happy.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Cory Gunther

Update Your New Chromecast to Fix Its Stupid Reboot Bug

Chromecast with Google TV's USB-C portJustin Duino

While the Chromecast with Google TV is famous for its simple, intuitive interface, a confusing boot error that asks you to manually reset the device is pushing some users to their wit’s end. Thankfully, a new Google TV firmware update promises to solve the boot error. Google says that the update should hit your device before the end of the week.

Chromecast with Google TV runs on the Android operating system. When the Android OS doesn’t boot correctly due to a bug, a power issue, or corrupt system files, it loads the Android Recovery Screen and asks you to reset or format your device. Unfortunately, this Recovery Screen is popping up when people turn on their Chromecast and during video playback.

While the Android Recovery Screen is annoying enough on a phone or tablet, it can be a nightmare on the Chromecast with Google TV, as you have to reach behind your TV and press the Chromecast’s button to manually reset the device. The Chromecast remote does not work in Recovery Mode.

It’s been 10 years and this is still what you get when your Android phone or, in this case, Chromecast built on Android TV, doesn’t boot properly. How is the average TV watcher supposed to troubleshoot this?

— Daniel Bader (@journeydan) December 29, 2020

Now, Google is pushing a firmware update that clarifies the Android Recovery Screen’s cryptic language and should “reduce the occurrence of users seeing the Android Recovery Screen” on Chromecast with Google TV. Along with Recovery Mode and bootup improvements, Google says that the firmware release improves 4K streaming and Dolby Atmos support.

The new firmware update is rolling out now and should hit your Chromecast in the next few days. If a notification for the update doesn’t appear on the top of your Google TV homepage, you can try to force the update from the Google Home app on your smartphone. Open Google Home, select your Chromecast with Google TV, and press “reset”—the update should happen as the device reboots.

Source: Google via Android Police

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

The Best Screen Recording and Broadcasting Software

Screenshots of Streamlabs and AMD Radeon Relive in a collageStreamlabs, AMD

Whether it’s to post to YouTube, stream on Twitch, or just send to a friend through email, being able to record video of your computer screen always comes in handy. And there several choices for screen recording software out there that try to appeal to different use cases, so let’s take a look at the best of the best.

What to Look Out for

There are a few things we want to cover before jumping into the programs themselves.

  • Pricing: This list contains a mix of free and paid programs. That doesn’t necessarily mean the free programs are worse, however, as all the programs on this list cater to different niches. We’ll be sure to specifically mention how much each program costs, and any differences there may be between free and paid-for versions of the same tool.
  • Features: There are loads of different features video recording software can include that appeal to different use cases. If you want to make short tutorials with your recorded clips, then a simple editor where you can add text and merge short videos will be a killer feature for you. But if you’re looking to live stream or save highlights from your games, then you’ll need tools to accommodate those—such as options for customizing stream overlays.
  • Performance: For gameplay recording and livestreaming in particular, performance is a major concern—it’s no easy task for a computer to run both of these processes at the same time. So whether the program is dedicated to simple clip saving or broadcasting your screen to sites like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, we’ve made sure the options here won’t destroy your PC’s performance.

Free and Versatile: OBS (Windows/Mac)

Screenshot of OBS dashboardOBS Studio

OBS is an open-source program with a focus on putting the power in your hands. While the UI is a bit difficult to learn, it allows you to edit just about anything you can think of. OBS is most commonly used for streaming, and you can customize your stream overlay to your heart’s content with the software’s tools. It’s also simple to create multiple “scenes” you can quickly switch between while you’re live (for example, switching between your desktop’s screen and your camera view).

But OBS is still great for recording your screen as well—you have plenty of options for configuring your screen recording and it’s a relatively light toll on your computer. And because OBS is open source, you can install loads of different plugins to further customize the software. If you’re willing to commit to learning it, OBS is by far the most powerful tool on this list—and it’s even free.

Free and Versatile


An open-source tool with plenty of options for customizing your streams and recordings.

Best for New Streamers: Streamlabs (Windows)

Screenshot of Streamlabs dashboardStreamlabs

If you’re brand new to the streaming game, Streamlabs is likely to be more attractive to you—quite literally. The overall design of the software is refined and easier to learn compared to something like OBS. Streamlabs’ goal is to make setting up your stream as simple as possible, and as such has a ton of presets available for stream overlays, on-screen alerts for donations and chat, and end screens. While it’s still an advanced tool, especially when you get into the nitty-gritty of personalizing everything, Streamlabs will help make sure your streaming career starts smoothly, though you can also use it for general screen recording as well.

Streamlabs is free to download, but Streamlabs Prime offers premium themes, installable apps to add new features, and help with getting sponsors for your stream for $149 a year or $19 a month.

Best for New Streamers


A refined broadcasting tool with plenty of options to make your streaming career run smoothly.

Record Then Edit: FlashBack Express (Windows)

Example of a presentation made in Flashback ExpressFlashBack

FlashBack Express makes it simple to turn your screen recordings into short videos. You can record the entire screen or just a part of it, then drop everything into the built-in video editing tool. The editor keeps things simple so it’s easy to learn, but you can still stitch clips together, add text, commentary, music, and simple shapes like arrows. FlashBack Express is an excellent tool for creating video tutorials or presentations, and you can even upload videos directly to YouTube from the program itself.

FlashBack Express offers a free version, but if you want some of the more advanced editing tools such as video and sound effects, you’ll need FlashBack Pro, which is a one-time cost of $49.

Record Then Edit

FlashBack Express

A screen capture tool with a video editor built-in.

Share It!: ShareX (Windows)

Screenshot of ShareX's settings menuShareX Team

If your only goal for capturing clips or screenshots is to share them with others, then ShareX is the program for you. ShareX prides itself on making it easy to upload and send videos over social media sites or through simple links—you can even create GIFs using your video clips. ShareX is a great lightweight tool to have installed and makes sending those short clips to your friends as easy as possible.

And the best part? ShareX is open source, and as such, entirely free to use.

Share it!


A great, lightweight capture tool that allows you to easily share videos and GIFs.

Free for Mac: QuickTime

Screenshot of the editor in Apple QuickTImeApple

While most of the options covered in this list have been exclusive to Windows, QuickTime is exclusive to Mac devices—which makes sense considering it was developed by Apple. This free software allows you to quickly record sections of your screen and then take those clips into the editor to trim, rearrange, and rotate. QuickTime can even connect to your iPad and iPhone as well, so you can transfer clips from those devices to your computer to create one unified video in the editor.

Free for Mac


A free capture tool for Mac devices which also includes a simple video editor.

Plenty of Tools: Snagit (Windows/Mac)

Snagit's home pageTechSmith

Snagit aims to be the end all be all of screenshotting software—but it has a lot of great screen recording tools as well. You can capture a single screen, region, or scrolling window, and when everything is done you can add text, edit the video clips, and audio all within the software. There are loads of great visual templates so your videos will look good without spending hours on them, and you can easily convert videos to GIFs. Snagit also has a simple tool for sharing your finished video to a ton of different sites and services including email, YouTube, and Slack.

There’s a 15-day free trial of Snagit available, but after that, you’ll need to pay a one-time price of $49.99 to use the software. It’s also compatible with TechSmith Capture—an iOS app that allows you to record your iPhone’s screen and send the footage directly to Snagit on your computer.

Plenty of Tools


A premium screen capture program with loads of in-depth features.

Built-in: Nvidia Shadowplay and AMD Radeon Relive

Screenshot of AMD Radeon Relive live stream settingsAMD

These last options will already be on your PC if you have a dedicated AMD Radeon or Nvidia GeForce graphics card. While these tools are different in some ways, they have the same basic selling point as built-in capturing/broadcasting tools included with your GPU. Both of these programs allow you to capture your screen and audio, broadcast that video and audio, and even save clips of a configurable amount of time at the push of a button.

In the world of broadcasting tools, both of these are very simple, but sometimes, simple is exactly what you want. If you want a program where you can just press “Go Live” to stream without worrying about it, then these are both excellent. And when it comes to recording gameplay, both of these do a fantastic job without significantly impacting performance.

Team Green

Nvidia ShadowPlay

Nvidia’s solution to screen capture and livestreaming.

Team Red

AMD Radeon Relive

A great recording tool from AMD for Radeon graphics cards.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

Google is Working On Offline Voice-to-Text for Chromebooks

Chromebook Duet with microphone iconLenovo

Chromebooks often appeal to first-time computer buyers, or those who find Windows or MacOS too intimidating. A recent update to the Chrome OS code indicates that they might get even more friendly. The Chrome Story blog spotted two flags in a canary (alpha) build that indicate that system-wide voice dictation is coming, even when the device is offline.

The flags are listed as “Experimental accessibility dictation extension” and “Experimental accessibility dictation offline.” There’s also a bug tracking entry that mentions offline speech recognition. Exactly when the feature will be ready for end users, even in the preview canary builds, isn’t available at this time.

While Google Docs can do voice dictation, it requires an active data connection, and even that capability isn’t extended to other text entry points on an OS level. Dictation outside of Google Docs currently requires third-party extensions. This is in stark contrast to Google’s mobile OS Android, which has had deep voice integration for years, and can transcribe “okay, Google” commands even without a data connection. Connecting via mobile or Wi-Fi expands the accuracy and capability.

Obviously having a vocal text entry option would be a huge advantage for anyone who’s physically limited in terms of traditional keyboard text entry. But I think it might also be huge for anyone who’s just not comfortable or speedy enough with regular typing—especially now that Chromebooks are becoming commonplace in educational applications.

Source: Chrome Story via LaptopMag

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

T-Mobile’s Latest ‘Free’ Phone Deal A Scam?

OK. It’s ‘technically’ still a free phone when you Trade-In your old phone. You still get an $800 total credit on an $800 phone. But the way they credit your account will make your bill go UP each month!

So from the initial offer, it seems straightforward. You sign up for 24 monthly payments on an $800 phone. They give you 24 monthly credits equal to the payment. So, the payment each month is $33.34 and you get a credit for $33.34, so the net cost would be $Zero. You’d think, right?

Not so fast. That would make sense, so of course, that’s not how they do it.

First Your Trade-In Must Qualify – Mine phone DID, so I THOUGHT I was all set.

Assuming your phone qualifies (mine is an S10+ so it qualified for the full $800 credit), the ‘catch’ comes down in the last item #3.

So this is where T-Mo gets tricky. Lets say your phone is worth $200.

You have to sign a contract for 24 months at $33.34. $800 total.
When they receive your trade-in, they initiate 24 monthly credits to your account.
To calculate the monthly credit, they subtract the $200 value of your old phone from the $800 price =$600.
Then they divide $600 by 24 months to get your monthly credit of $25
They also give your a ONE-TIME credit for $200 applied directly to your account.
Your bill is now $8/ month higher because you are being charged $33 and getting a credit for $25 ($33-25=8) for the next 24 months.
The $200 credit they apply doesn’t reduce the amount you owe or the monthly payment amount, it’s just a one-time credit applied to your account in general, and…and this is important, not against the equipment contract.

So: In my case, my bill is currently $140 so it will go up to $148 for 24 months
They apply a $200 credit, so the first month T-Mobile OWES ME $52 ($200-148=52) and I pay NOTHING. I still have $52 credit.
The next month, I pay $96. $148 less the $52 credit. ($148-52=96)
After that, the next 22 months I’m stuck paying $8 more, $148 each month.

While all this is confusing and likely very BAD for T-Mobile’s business, the way they EXPLAIN it is even worse. It took me over 7 hours between text messages and voice calls with supervisors to HOPEFULLY get them to understand and HOPEFULLY get my account setup to be a $33 charge and a $33 credit each month. They PROMISED it was all set. They also processed a credit for $1600 to my account, so I really had no idea what would REALLY happen when I signed the contract. I signed it anyway in total frustration.

So I guess I’ll find out eventually how this turns out. Fingers crossed. 🤞

How to Avoid up the Nose Webcam View

Logitech C920 Webcam mounted on a monitor against blue and green backdropLogitech

So you’re all set to join your video meeting, but you’ve finally realized—your camera angle isn’t very flattering, is it? Like most people, you probably just placed your camera on your desk without much thought, but the camera angle that produces isn’t the most pleasant to look at. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to fix the dreaded up the nose camera angle.

Fixing the Angle

When it comes to solving this issue, the best fix is also the easiest: Raise the camera. The camera itself, ideally, should be a bit above eye level for a nice angle. If you’re using a tablet or phone, the simplest way to fix your issue is to just hold the device higher. But if you’re using a laptop, or just don’t want to hold your device up for the whole meeting, there are still some things you can do to improve things.

Raise Your Device


There are a few ways to easily raise your camera, but if you want to avoid purchasing any extra equipment then simply stacking some books, using a cardboard box, or using a taller surface than you currently are should do the trick.

Besides that, monitor stands are designed to raise devices, are usually adjustable, and they have the added bonus of improving the ergonomics of your desk setup. Arms and mounts also work excellently for raising your device, but they require a slightly more involved setup, usually needing to be clamped onto a surface. For phones and tablets, there are plenty of choices that enable you to position the device however you want—this can also make watching the video call a more comfortable experience for you as well. Lamicall makes some excellent arms for phones and tablets which are highly adjustable and should support most models.

When it comes to laptops, you need to make sure the mount you’re purchasing is outfitted for the respective size and weight of your laptop. Either of those being off will be disastrous, and might leave you with more than just a camera angle that needs to be fixed. WALI manufactures a simple, but sturdy laptop arm able to supports laptops under 22 pounds.

Adjust Your Webcam

Logitech C920x webcamLogitech

If you’re on a desktop PC, you’re likely already using a dedicated webcam, which grants a lot more freedom in the camera’s placement. Placing the webcam on top of your monitor usually works—especially if you have your monitor on a stand, but you can easily set it up on a stand or tripod for added height (these will be webcam specific). Just be careful, if you’re also depending on the webcam for your microphone you don’t want it too far away for the sake of clear audio.

If you need to pick up a good camera, we recommend the popular Logitech C920. Unfortunately, there’s no way to connect a webcam to a phone or tablet, so you’ll need to go with one of the previously mentioned ideas instead.

Software Solutions

This is another suggestion for laptop and desktop users—see if your webcam came with any software to edit it. If you drastically change where your webcam is located and how it’s angled, chances are some stuff may now be in the camera’s view you don’t want to be broadcasted.

Many webcams have software you can download to adjust their cropping and framing. While this won’t single-handedly fix a camera angle issue, it can help to make sure that what you want in frame is the only stuff in frame.

It can take a lot to look your best on a video call, but at the end of the day, the effort will be worth it. This year, video calls have been the main means of communication for a lot of us, so making sure it’s a good experience for yourself and the people you’re speaking to is important. And with just one of the suggestions we’ve listed here, your camera angle woes should be solved.

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

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