Technology

Enable Dark Menus in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite?

AskDaveTaylor - 10 hours 38 min ago

Though it sounds like something related to the Avengers or perhaps Batman, turns out that there is a new feature in Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” that’s called “dark menus” and it has nothing to do with evil powers from another planet, Darth Vader or even Loki doing something mischievous.

Unfortunately!

Instead, it’s a way to flip the color scheme of the top menu bar and the bottom Dock on your Mac system. And it does look pretty cool. I have it enabled on my Mac and I like how it lets me focus just a bit more on the window I’m working in by blending the menu in with the actual edge of my MacBook Pro.

To start, here’s the standard top menu color scheme:

Pretty standard stuff we’ve seen for years. Note that it’s slightly translucent too.

On the bottom of the screen, the Dock:

To enable dark menus go to “System Preferences…” > General and look at the very top of the window. I’ve chopped it up a bit to make the screen shot smaller, but the top looks like this:

See that option near the top? “Use dark menu bar and Dock”. Check it and things change instantly!

Now the top menu bar looks like this:

A huge change. The Dock change is a lot more subtle, however:

As I said, I really like it, especially since most of my desktop images tend to be dark and have a lot of black in them. And who knows, perhaps this is a small step towards Apple letting us change some of the basic color scheme of Mac OS X. Or… nahhhh, probably not.

Anyway, now you know how to enable it. Easy enough!

The post Enable Dark Menus in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Video Review: iHome iBN6 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 12:28

Most electronics are designed with the expectation that we’ll use them indoors and that we have a clean room to avoid dust, moisture, etc. Except we don’t. I know that we constantly have our wireless bluetooth speakers outdoors, and the outside world is anything but clean and pristine.

Enter the iHome Audio iBN6 waterproof bluetooth speaker. Very slick device with decent enough sound and a ruggedized, waterproof design that even includes a handy carabiner, making it easy to clip this to your daypack or backpack:

Check it out at iHome Audio: iBN6 waterproof bluetooth speaker. $99.00 at Amazon.com

The post Video Review: iHome iBN6 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

DISTRICT VOICES: Inside Panem with our finest citizens

GoogleBlog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:05
Meet District Voices, the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project—where we explore new ways for brands to connect with consumers through experiences that people love, remember and share. District Voices was created in partnership with Lionsgate to promote the upcoming release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. -Ed.

Greetings, Citizens of Panem!

The Capitol has joined forces with Google and YouTube to celebrate the proud achievements of our strong, lively districts. Premiering today on YouTube, a new miniseries called DISTRICT VOICES will take you behind the scenes to meet some of Panem’s most creative—and loyal—citizens.

At 4 p.m. EDT/ 1 p.m. PDT every day this week, one of your favorite Citizen creators from YouTube will give you a never-before-seen tour of their districts. First, the Threadbanger textile experts of District 8 will show how utility meets beauty in this season’s fashion—plus, you’ll get a look at a new way to wear your Capitol pride. Tomorrow, District 2's Shane Fazen will provide a riveting demonstration of how we keep our noble peacekeepers in tip-top shape. On Wednesday, Derek Muller from District 5—Panem’s center of power generation—will give you a peek at a revolutionary new way to generate electricity. Thursday The Grain District’s own Feast of Fiction will show you how to bake one of beloved victor Peeta Mellark’s most special treats. And finally, iJustine, District 6’s liaison to the Capitol, will give you an exclusive glimpse at the majestic and powerful peacekeeper vehicles in action.

Tune in at CAPITOL TV. And remember—Love your labor. Take pride in your task. Our future is in your hands.

Posted by Vikram Tank of The Capitol, devoted to excellence, progress & unity
Categories: Technology

Stop Spotlight in Mac OS X Yosemite Reporting my Searches to Apple?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 09:48

You’re really paying close attention to realize that yes, the type-ahead suggestions in Apple’s new reimplementation of Spotlight Search in the latest version of Mac OS X, 10.10 “Yosemite”, are based on Apple sending your query character-by-character to their servers. Not only that, it turns out that Spotlight also utilizes Microsoft Bing’s search-ahead service too.

Why is your data going to these servers when you’re just looking for an email or document on your computer? Because just like the powerful reimplementation of search in Windows 8, Spotlight search in Yosemite offers quite a bit more power than just the ability to find contacts, files and email messages. At a price.

I’ve been running Mac OS X 10.10 for months now and Spotlight’s one of my very favorite new features. In fact, it’s so good that it’s changed how I use the computer entirely and Cmd-space is a sequence I’m constantly typing to jump right to the Spotlight search box:

Not sure what you can do here? Try typing in a mathematical equation, the name of someone famous, the name of a current movie or even a key word or two describing a current event. Helpful!

But I can also understand your desire to retain your privacy rather than have Apple and Microsoft both analyzing each search you do, letter by letter, whether the intention is positive or otherwise.

To disable the external search hint feature, go to System Preferences off the Apple menu. Along the top row you’ll see the Spotlight icon:

Click on it and you’ll see a list of every category of information Spotlight is configured to search:

The first one to disable you can see on that very screen: Spotlight Suggestions. Uncheck that box if it’s checked.

Before we get to the second box, however, here’s how Apple describes the privacy aspect — obtained by clicking on the “About Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy” button on the lower right:

That’s their take.

Still want to disable this feature? No worries. Once you’ve unchecked “Spotlight Suggestions” scroll down and find “Bing Search” too:

That’s it. Close the window. Done.

The post Stop Spotlight in Mac OS X Yosemite Reporting my Searches to Apple? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Video Review: Goji Play exercise video game

AskDaveTaylor - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 12:23

Let’s be candid. Exercise can be boring, and that recommended 30min of cardio? Double boring. Which is why Blue Goji created the Goji Play video game system that integrates with whatever equipment you’re using and turns it into a video game device. The buzzword is “gamification”, but if you’re hitting the gym and turning off your brain or frustrated with how slowly the time passes, you’ll love the Goji Play…

Check it out: Goji Play, $99 from Blue Goji.

The post Video Review: Goji Play exercise video game appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

My YouTube video has no thumbnail! Fix?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 09:39

Every so often the oompa-loompas behind the scenes at YouTube seem to slip up. They don’t create a bad tasting candy bar like they would in Willy Wonka’s factory, but something else weird goes wrong instead. And every so often you upload a video to YouTube that plays just fine when you view it, but somehow as the system created the multiple resolution versions of your file, it didn’t additionally create the usual three thumbnails from various spots in the video sequence itself.

Bad oompa-loompas!

Unfortunately there’s no “regenerate thumbnails” option, so you’re going to be left to your own devices in this particular instance. It’s not too bad, though, if you know how to capture a section of your screen and save it as an image, because that’s what we’ll use as the replacement.

To start, here’s what one looks like:

The iBN6 review is encode the same was as other videos, uploaded the same way, it just… didn’t get a preview. Weird.

To fix it, create a suitable thumbnail image. I did this by playing the video and pausing it at a good point, then using Cmd-Shift-4 on my Mac system to click-drag to capture a subset of the screen. On a PC you’ll probably find it easier to capture and save the entire screen (with Print Screen) then use something like Microsoft Paint to crop it down.

Either way, have an image ready to go that’s approx the right dimensions — wider than it is tall — then go back to YouTube and look for the following buttons under your video clip:

Click on “Video Manager” and you’ll see a listing of all your videos, approximately like this:

See the “Edit” link just below my own iBN6 video? That’s what you want to click on.

Now you’ll see something just like this:

Three thumbnail options, zero that have any data. Those darn oompa-loompas!

Now that you’ve found the right spot, simply click on “Customized thumbnail…” below them and select the image you’ve saved from your screen capture program.

Instantly, it’s fixed:

Wasn’t too difficult once you figure out how to create the screen capture from the video itself, and where the upload button is hidden!

And now, I’m off to talk to Mr. Wonka…

The post My YouTube video has no thumbnail! Fix? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Through the Google lens: search trends October 10-16

GoogleBlog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 15:36
Diet secrets from Zach Galifianakis, and cord cutting from a cable company?! Here's a look at another topsy-turvy week in search.

A cast of characters
Search will always have its fair share of characters and this week was no different. First up, moviegoers learned who’s next in line for Hollywood’s superhero treatment when Ezra Miller, star of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, landed the title role in the 2018 film The Flash. And whispers are swirling in Tinseltown that Gal Gadot's already impressive resume—she’s set to play the world’s most famous Amazonian, Wonder Woman—will soon get another stellar addition, the lead female role in a remake of Ben-Hur.

But they weren’t the only celebrities to get the Internet buzzing. Comedian and fan favorite Zach Galifianakis caused a stir on the trends charts after he revealed a much thinner version of himself on the red carpet of the New York Film Festival. When a reporter asked Galifianakis if he had made any lifestyle changes to lose the weight, he responded with a straight face, “No, I'm just... I'm dying.” Clearly Galifianakis isn’t sharing his weight loss secrets.

Out with the old, in with the new
HBO has seen the light! This week the premium television network announced that they will launch a new stand-alone service for fans of its TV shows. Soon, homes without a cable subscription can sign up for HBO Go and get their fill of Game of Thrones and other HBO shows with just an Internet connection—leading people to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for cable providers.

Consumers also had a lot of new mobile devices to choose from this week, starting with our own line of Nexus gadgets like the Nexus 6 running the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. Meanwhile, Apple announced an updated version of the iPad.
The show’s just getting started
Is it awards show season already? It’s not—but that’s not stopping searchers from looking ahead. The Internet rejoiced when How I Met Your Mother and Gone Girl star Neil Patrick Harris said “Hosting the 2015 Academy Awards? Challenge accepted!” But with the Oscars red carpet still months away, searchers had their sights set on another celebrity bash: Paul Rudd's keg party… at his mom’s house… in the suburbs of Kansas City. What else are you supposed to do when mom’s out of town and the KC Royals just punched a ticket to the World Series after a nearly 30-year hiatus?

Tip of the week
‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice beers? Next time you’re in a new town and looking to grab a cold one just say “Ok Google, show me pubs near my hotel” and find your new favorite haunt.


Posted by, Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [tv a la carte] and [yo yo diets]
Categories: Technology

Android: Be together. Not the same.

GoogleBlog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:48
Good things happen when everybody’s invited. A few years ago, we had the thought that phones (and stuff that hadn’t even been invented yet like tablets and smart watches) would be way more interesting if everyone could build new things together. So we created Android as an open platform, and put it out there for everyone to imagine, invent, make, or buy whatever they wanted.

Since then, all kinds of people—from companies big and small to folks on Kickstarter, kids in schools, and crazy smart developers—have been innovating faster, together, more than we ever could alone. And the best part is that every time someone new joins in, things get more interesting, unexpected, and wonderful for all of us.

Getting everyone in on the party is the same spirit behind Android One—an effort recently launched in India (coming to other countries soon) to make great smartphones available to the billions of people around the world who aren’t yet online. It’s also why we’re excited about Lollipop, our newest software release, which is designed to meet the diverse needs of the billion-plus people who already use Android today.

Joining the party: Android 5.0 Lollipop
As previewed at Google I/O, Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android with over 5,000 new APIs for developers. Lollipop is designed to be flexible, to work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit. And just like Android has always been, it’s designed to be shared.

Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs. With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.

As you switch from one screen to another, the experience should feel the same. So Lollipop has a consistent design across devices—an approach we call Material Design. Now content responds to your touch, or even your voice, in more intuitive ways, and transitions between tasks are more fluid.

Lollipop also gives you more control over your device. You can now adjust your settings so that only certain people and notifications can get through, for example, when you’re out to dinner or in the middle of an important meeting. And when an important notification does come through, you can see it directly from the lockscreen.

And because we’re using our devices a lot more, there’s a new battery saver feature that extends the life of your device by up to 90 minutes—helpful if you’re far from a power outlet. We’ve enabled multiple user accounts and guest user mode for keeping your personal stuff private. And you can now secure your device with a PIN, password, pattern, or even by pairing your phone to a trusted device like your watch or car with Smart Lock. But this is just a small taste of Lollipop. Learn more on android.com.

Meet the Nexus family, now running Lollipop
Advances in computing are driven at the intersection of hardware and software. That's why we’ve always introduced Nexus devices alongside our platform releases. Rather than creating software in the abstract, we work with hardware partners to build Nexus devices to help push the boundaries of what's possible. Nexus devices also serve as a reference for the ecosystem as they develop on our newest release. And for Lollipop, we have a few new Nexus treats to share with you.
First, with Motorola, we developed the Nexus 6. This new phone has a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The large screen is complemented by dual front-facing stereo speakers that deliver high-fidelity sound, making it as great for movies and gaming as it is for doing work. It also comes with a Turbo Charger, so you can get up to six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.

Next, a new tablet built in partnership with HTC. Nexus 9, with brushed metal sides and 8.9-inch screen, is small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on. And since more and more people want to have the same simple experience they have on their tablets when they have to do real work, we designed a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop.

Finally, we’re releasing the first device running Android TV: Nexus Player, a collaboration with Asus, is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos. It's also a first-of-its-kind Android gaming device. With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you're on the road. Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready so you can cast your favorite entertainment from almost any Chromebook or Android or iOS phone or tablet to your TV.

Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17. Nexus 9 will be in stores starting November 3. Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October and in stores in November—with options for an unlocked version through Play store, or a monthly contract or installment plan through carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Specific carrier rollout timing will vary. Check out google.com/nexus for more details on availability.

Android 5.0 Lollipop, which comes on Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, will also be available on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

The party’s just getting started
With this latest release of Android Lollipop, we're excited to continue working with our developer community, hardware partners, and all of you. More ideas and more creators is what gets us all to better ideas faster. And since everyone's invited to the party, we hope you'll join in the fun by creating and sharing an Android character that captures a little bit of who you are—one of a kind. Enjoy!

Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
Categories: Technology

Move app icons onto my Android phone home screen?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 09:22

For someone coming from an iPhone or iOS environment, it’s a bit confusing to understand how on an Android phone there’s a compartmentalization of apps into either one of the multiple home screens, or apps that are “hidden” in the all-apps area. Interestingly, that’s exactly how Windows 8 — and Windows Phone — works too, which leads to all sorts of confusion when you add a new program from the app store and it vanishes without adding a “tile” or icon to the main screen or menu.

Where is it? Turns out that it’s in the all-apps area. Confusing!

And Android is exactly the same. You’ve probably already figured out the secret too, without realizing the implication: tap on the circle icon on the bottom of your main screen, the icon with the six tiny squares within, and you’re in the all apps area. But how do you move an icon from there onto the home screen?

Let’s have a look!

First off, here’s a typical home screen, this particular one from a Verykool SL5000 device:

See that icon in the middle of the bottom row? The circle with the six tiny squares?

That’s how you get to a set of screens that have every single app installed on the device. Tap on it.

Now you can swipe left/right to see all the apps on the device, in alphabetical order.

Find an app you want to add to the home screen, then tap and hold your finger on it. I’ll demonstrate by moving the “Gallery” app onto my own home screen.

Once I tap and hold, the screen changes to show the home screen and you simply drag the app icon onto it:

Notice that there’s more than one home “rectangle” shown. If you’d rather have it on the left or right home screen rather than the main one, just move the icon there instead.

As you move it, think about where you want it to go relative to other icons already there. Move it between two and they’ll shift to make space. As you get near to a valid “target” area, a subtle rectangle will appear too:

Done? Just lift your finger up!

And now, the app’s icon is on the Android phone’s home screen:

With a little bit of work, you can reorganize what’s on the home screen, move things to the left or right additional home screens, and even remove an app or two if you just don’t like them where they are.

Oh, and a handy tip: You can drag icons onto the very bottom too if you’d rather have easy access to different apps!

The post Move app icons onto my Android phone home screen? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Figure out what version of Android you’re running?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 09:59

More than most modern operating systems, the Android marketplace is extraordinarily fragmented, with lots of different versions floating around depending on device and lots of users slow to adopt. This means that it’s quite likely that your version of Android is going to be different from the version I have on my verykool SL5000 smartphone. And it means that if you have more than one Android device, odds are good that they’ll have different versions of Android too.

Making this even more confusing, the different major releases are named after candy and treats, so there’s Ice Cream Sandwich, Candy Bar, Jelly Bean and KitKat. Oh, and they’re supposed to be in alphabetical order by release too. But don’t worry, those code names don’t show up on your device info screen so when someone asks “are you still running Jelly Bean” it’s actually pretty hard to know how to answer!

Well, let’s just look at numbers. According to Android.com the latest release is Lollipop, aka Android 5.0. Meanwhile, you don’t have that yet unless you’re a developer. Soon. Eventually.

To find out what version you’ve got on your phone or tablet device, you’ll want to go to Settings off your home or apps screen. It’s the gear icon:

Once you get to Settings, you’ll need to swipe down to the very, very bottom.

The very last entry is “About phone”:

Tap on it, and you’ll get the info you seek:

As you can see, I’m running Android 4.4.2 KitKat on this particular device and I have kernel version 3.4.0. Whatever that means.

The post Figure out what version of Android you’re running? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

How do I change wallpaper on my Android phone?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:27

I’ve been testing out the Verykool SL5000 Android-based phone so your question arrives at an opportune time since the device is in my hands. Android over the years has become more and more like the iOS system with its configuration and settings options, however, so I’m a bit surprised you’re finding the switch a bit confusing. I admit, there are a number of nice default iPhone apps that are just missing in action on the Android, but with a little bit of poking around in the Google Play store (the Android equiv of the App Store) you should be able to find replacements for all of them.

One thing I will say is that with iOS 8 the iPhone has a huge advantage in terms of cool wallpapers you can choose from so your first step might be to download to the phone a few of your favorite photos or do an online search to find some that are suitable for the task. Not a huge issue, tho!

Let’s jump in. Here’s the home screen on the verykool SL5000, in all its Technicolor glory:

I’d like to meet this gal at some point, but that’s another story!

To get to settings, you can swipe left and right to see if you’ve moved the icon onto your home screens, or jsut tap on the circle with the six tiny squares in the middle of the bottom row to get to all your apps.

Now just swipe left or right to find “Settings”:

Can you see the gear icon in row two on my screen capture? Good! Tap on it.

Now you can also rotate your phone if you’re so inclined. I prefer a horizontal orientation personally, so I’ll do so for all subsequent screen captures…

Swipe down just a bit to find “Display”.

Tap on it.

Wallpaper. That’s what you want.

Tap on it.

A “Live” wallpaper is animated and moves, typically very slowly. These can be cool but they also take processor cycles, so if you want the best possible performance from your apps, stick with static wallpapers, or photos from your Gallery.

I’ll just go down the “Wallpapers” rabbit hole…

There’s that gal again!

The wallpapers are shown in small thumbnails, so you’ll want to swipe right-to-left across the filmstrip to see all the options.

I like the rainbow falling star image, as shown here:

That’s the one you want? Tap on “Set wallpaper” along the bottom and…

Done. Nice.

Here’s how it now looks on the home screen:

No rainbow girl. Actually, I might switch back.

The post How do I change wallpaper on my Android phone? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Code.org Program for K-5

UrlGreyHot.com - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 12:12

Code.org now has an elementary school program (Kindergarden - 5th grade), and Code Studio for the program looks like its modeled after the free MIT Scratch app, a visual tool that we used with our first son to introduce computer science fundamentals a few years ago. Good stuff.

Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

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