Android Pay is now Google Pay

Google has announced that Android Pay will now be integrated with Google Pay, which means the name of the app on your phone will also change. As you perform app updates in the next few days, expect Android Pay to disappear from your app drawer or home screen and be replaced with Google Pay.

Google Pay will bring better integration with other Google features, such as allowing payment on certain websites. The app is getting a makeover, bringing shopping info and gift card / rewards card management straight from the app. Read more at Google’s Blog.

Microsoft releases Photos Companion app for Android and iOS

Microsoft has released a new app called Photos Companion, which allows you to upload photos and videos from your Android or Apple device straight to your computer. This is done through your home’s wifi connection and therefore doesn’t use any cellular data.

This is a better method of transferring photos and videos from phone to computer for many people, because it does not upload anything to any cloud service. For people who value security and don’t want to pay monthly or yearly subscription fees for cloud storage, this is a perfect solution.

Google Photos is used by many, but it does not allow unlimited uploading of videos for free, and photos aren’t saved in full quality if you have a free account. For reasons such as this, Microsoft’s Photos Companion is the perfection solution for those of us who have been waiting for an app that allows easy transfer of both photos and videos to our computers, without a third party cloud provider getting in the way.

Note that this requires your computer and phone to be on the same wifi network. You can download the Photos Companion app from the Apple App Store and from Google Play.

So what is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain

To understand Cryptocurrency it is necessary to first understand Blockchain Technology.

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology built on cryptography which in essence is really hard math. This makes it possible for every single Bitcoin transaction to be permanently hardcoded into a universal ledger which is hosted on all computer supporting the block-chain around the world. Now don’t worry you don’t have to be a math genius to profit from Bitcoin and other cryptos. What this means though is that no one can hide what they’re doing with their money. And at the same time it provides a high degree of anonymity.

Today we have online exchanges and even smartphone apps that allow us to buy sell and trade dozens of crypto currencies. We also have devices called hardware wallets that allow us to move your cryptos. This way we can store them in perfect safety.

One can literally carry millions of dollars in pocket and use it anywhere in the world. Bitcoin and other crypto currencies have become accessible to pretty much anyone. Bitcoin is just a small part of the disruptive revolution to come.

Blockchain technology will have an impact far greater than the internet ever could.

Windows 7 lag when using dual monitors with different refresh rates

I have recently installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with Service Pack 1, coming from Vista (in which I had no problems). After the installation, the first thing I did was install the graphics card driver for my AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB card. I then noticed that when I drag windows around the desktop, scroll through windows, and especially drag windows from the secondary monitor to the primary, there was very noticeable lag. However, there was no lag in games – just the Windows desktop and its windows. This was a completely fresh install. I have dual monitors – the primary is a 19″ widescreen Acer X191W, and the secondary is a 15″ Sony LCD. I am using them in extended desktop mode.

What happened at first was Windows locked the primary monitor to 75Hz, and would not let me change it to 60Hz.  For some reason the first time I installed the video drivers, I think there was a conflict with the default Windows display drivers, causing my main monitor to be stuck at 75Hz. I had to uninstall and wipe the display driver to reinstall it, after which the option to set it to 60Hz appeared. I used ATIMAN Uninstaller to wipe the driver. After setting the display to 60Hz, the lag disappeared completely.

So it seemed there was a conflict somewhere with my specific hardware configuration that caused lag when two monitors were set to different refresh rates. However, then I tried to recreate the problem on a different system. This system has a Radeon HD 4870 and different dual displays. It had the same problem when one of the monitors was set to refresh at 60Hz and the other at 75Hz. And again, putting them both to 60Hz resolved the lag issue.

I could not find any information about this issue online. It can’t be the monitors as between the two systems there were four different monitors that had the same problem. It can’t be the hardware, because my computer has a 6870 and the other has a 4870. It can’t be interfering software, as this was a clean install of Windows. It has to be either the AMD driver, or an issue with Windows.

The point of this post is to let people know how to fix this issue, as well as ask if anyone else has experienced this, especially with a different graphics card. It took me two weeks to find the cause of this. I haven’t found anyone online with this issue. Both the video cards I tested should handle different refresh rates without a problem. Although I have fixed the issue, I still want to know what caused it.

How to make text on a laptop screen easier to read

If you have a small laptop screen or are using a netbook, the text on your screen is probably difficult to read. There is an easy way to make the text more visible, and it’s called ClearType. I have covered how to use ClearType text on Windows XP, so here is the updated version for Windows 7.

ClearType is very easy to use in Windows 7 because it comes built into the operating system. Just follow these steps to turn it on:

1. Open Control Panel by clicking Start > Control Panel

2. Click on Appearance and Personalization

3. Click on Adjust ClearType text

4. Check the box for Turn on ClearType, and then click Next as you follow the instructions to pick the best looking text for your screen

And that’s all there is to it. I recommend picking the darkest setting during the last step, especially if you are on a netbook.

10 Free Useful Android Apps

Wifi File Explorer

This app lets you browse files on your phone without plugging it in or removing the SD card. It works through wifi, letting you connect directly to your phone through your router. It’s as easy as opening the app, opening the web browser on your computer, and typing in the local IP address of your phone. There is an option to set a password, and your phone is only accessible when the app is open, so the security is good as well.

Amazon Appstore

It’s an app store from Amazon. There is an app of the day, which is always an app that costs money, but on that day, it’s free. So you get free apps that you would otherwise have to pay for. Not much more to say.

Advanced Ruler

Just as the name of the app suggests, this is a ruler for your phone. Ever need to measure something but didn’t have a ruler around? This app makes measuring small items as simple as putting them next to your phone’s screen. The ruler can be adjusted for any resolution so it should work with all phones.

ConvertPad

While not very polished in terms of visuals, this app is the best free converter I have seen. There are options for almost anything that you can possibly convert, and it lists multiple results at once so you don’t need to switch back and forth between units.

Andie Graph

This amazing app lets you have a graphing calculator right on your phone. It is an emulator, so you must get your own ROM, but that isn’t a problem. Now if I forget my actual TI calculator at home, I don’t have to worry because it is right on my phone. It’s really a perfect emulator and you’ll feel as if your phone is a real TI calculator.

TeslaLED

This little app lets you do many things with your phone’s built-in camera flash. There is the option of using it as a normal flashlight, as a strobe light, as a morse code beacon, as a timed light that turns off after a set amount of time, and as a hold-to-light flashlight. Plus it can use your screen to display hazard lights and police lights, which is just a cool bonus. It also comes with a widget so you can activate your LED without even opening the app. Very convenient.

SiMi Folder

This is the best folder organizer I have found. You can create many different types of folder widgets and customize them in many ways. It’s the best way to organize all your apps, rather than having them in one giant list where it’s hard to find anything. Just make some folders for a few different categories of apps and games, and suddenly your phone becomes much more useful because you can actually find the app you’re looking for.

Alarm Clock Xtreme

This is a very cool alarm clock. There are many features, such as having to solve a math problem to turn the alarm off, for those of us who tend to hit snooze while still being completely asleep. You can also customize the vibration and ringing, making it gradual, you can make a large snooze button, and so on. You can even set it so it turns off only when the GPS senses that you are moving. It also comes with a cool clock widget.

Embiggen

This simple and very polished app lets you enlarge text on your screen. You type a message, and it displays the words as big as possible. This can have many uses, such as communicating with people in cars without having to open your window, talking to someone next to you when you can’t actually speak, such as at a lecture or at school, and I’m sure people will find even better uses for this app. It might not seem useful, but it has potential to create funny situations, and might even come in useful sometimes for something important.

Parcels

If you buy a lot of stuff online, which you should because 99% of the time it’s way cheaper, then this app will keep track of all your shipments. You can customize which carriers show on the add list, and you can point your phone at a QR code so you don’t have to actually type in the tracking number. Very good way to stay organized and to know when to expect your packages.

Why you should defragment your hard drive

For those of you still using Windows XP or any earlier version of Windows, you need to manually defragment your hard drive. Windows Vista and later versions do it automatically, unless you disable the option to auto-defragment on a set schedule.

Defragmenting your hard drive will make a noticeable difference in your computer’s speed. Programs will open faster and the whole system will run quicker, as disk cache access will speed up after a defragment. What defragmenting does is reorganize fragments of files that spread out through the disk over time. Each time your computer accesses the hard drive, files get fragmented. Defragmenting your hard drive will also increase free space.

A program I highly recommend is Defraggler, made by the same company that makes CCleaner (another great program for speeding up your computer). To give you an example of what Defraggler or a similar defragmenting program can accomplish: my 320GB drive had 10GB of free space left before the defragment, and it was 23% fragmented. After running Defraggler and getting that figure down to 10% fragmented, I now have 55GB free space. So defragmenting my hard drive by only 13% gave me 45GB of free space, plus of course it made my computer faster.

All modern versions of Windows include a defragmenting program standard, and this includes Windows XP. To access the stock program, at least in Vista, open up Computer, right click on the hard drive, click properties. Click the Tools tab up top, and click Defragment Now. But again, I recommend Defraggler. It has more options and seems to get the job done better, and it’s also free.

So there you have it. Defrag your drives. Some people such as myself disable the auto-defrag option in Windows because it can start defragging when you don’t want it to. You should defragment your hard drive about once a month, depending on how you use your computer.