How To Use Vine

Twitter's new snap-and-share video service, Vine, has forced users to break the first rule of iFilm making: never shoot vertical videos.

Of course, Vine's videos appear as a square, so you could argue it doesn't really matter. But after years of comment shaming and PSAs to break novice video shooters of this deplorable habit, will Vine reverse all the progress made?

What’s hogging all your backup space? (reader mail)

How to manage your iCloud Backup storage iCloud tip: Whats hogging all your backup space? (reader mail)Sarah writes: I keep getting a message that says I don’t have enough available storage to back up my iPhone 4S. I have the free 5 GB account and only 1.5 GB available.
I am truly not a geek who saves everything. Any suggestions as to where I might look what is consuming GB?
Hi Sarah! You’d be surprised how easy it is to bust over your free 5 GB iCloud storage limit, even when you’re not backing up reams of documents, podcasts, or other app data on your iPhone (or iPad).
What’s the culprit? Well, I have my suspicions.
First, though, let me show you how to check exactly what’s hogging all the storage space in your iCloud account.
iCloud Backup options 300x290 iCloud tip: Whats hogging all your backup space? (reader mail)
You can check how much iCloud space your various apps are using, or even turn off iCloud Backup for a given app by flipping the “On/Off” switch.
Here’s what you do…
  • Tap Settings, iCloud, then scroll down the page and tap the Storage and Backup button.
  • Next, under the Storage heading, tap Manage Storage, then tap the entry for your iPhone (“Sarah’s iPhone,” for example) in the Backups section.
  • The next screen should detail everything you need to know about your latest iCloud backup, including when it was performed, the total amount of space it’s using, and how much iCloud storage each of your individual apps is taking—or hogging, as the case may be. The list of apps should start with your Camera Roll, then proceed according to iCloud storage size.
So, what’s most likely to be hogging all your iCloud backup space? My guess: snapshots and videos.
Unless you regularly (and manually) delete images from your iPhone’s Camera Roll, the photos and videos you take will gradually pile up until they’re taking up several gigabytes of storage space—both on your iPhone itself and in your iCloud backup.
Videos, in particular, can take up a gargantuan amount of storage space.
(Note: Keep in mind that your Photo Stream images don’t count against your 5 GB of free iCloud storage.)
Another likely suspect: podcasts, which (on my iPhone, anyway) can hog several hundred megabytes of storage—or even more, if you’re a video podcast fan.
Buying more iCloud storage space 234x300 iCloud tip: Whats hogging all your backup space? (reader mail)
Running out of iCloud Backup space? One option: buy more storage.
Running out of iCloud Backup space? One option: buy more storage.
Once you’ve ID’d your iCloud backup hogs, you’ve got a few options for reclaiming (or getting more) storage space:
  • Buy more iCloud storage: The first 5 GB of iCloud storage is free; after that, you’ll have to pony up. You can get a total of 10 GB of iCloud storage for $20 a year, 20 GB of storage for $40 a year, or 50 GB for $100/year. To buy more storage straight from your iPhone, tap Settings, iCloud, Storage & Backup, then tap the Change Storage Plan button.
  • Trim data from your apps: So, did you discover that your Camera Roll has ballooned to a few gigabytes in size? You can always start deleting photos and videos manually, or you could sync your iPhone images with iPhoto or your Windows PC and then delete everything off your camera roll at once (Settings, General, Usage, Photos & Camera, then swipe the Camera Roll entry and tap the red Delete button). Or, got too many podcasts? Try deleting old episodes from your Podcasts app.
  • Deactivate iCloud Backup for specific apps: You can always exclude a particular app from iCloud Backup if you don’t feel the need to keep a secure copy of its data. Go back to the screen that details how much space each app is using in iCloud, then flip the switch for any app you wish (including Camera Roll) from “On” to “Off.” Don’t forget, though, that if you switch off iCloud Backup for a given app, its data may be lost forever if something bad happens to your iPhone.
Hope that helps, Sarah. Still have questions? Let me know!


Is iCloud still refusing to back up your iPhone even after you’ve trimmed your Camera Roll and/or app data?
Try this: delete your latest (and massive, most likely) iCloud Backup file to clear enough space in your iCloud account.
Go back to the screen with all your iCloud Backup details, scroll down to the bottom, then tap the Delete Backup button.
Now, return to the first Storage & Backup screen, scroll down, and tap the Back Up Now button.

What’s hogging all your backup space? (reader mail)

Tips and Tricks to Master the Keyboard

Living on the digital edge where typing is almost an everyday necessity, learning the ways of proper keyboard usage are crucial. Not only are you able to be more productive and get things done quicker with a keyboard, typing faster can enable you to keep up with your brain; that little voice in your head that has great ideas might only last for a few seconds before it’s forgotten.
Keyboard Typing Tips
(Image Source: Fotolia)
In this article, we’ll give you 5 tips to get you started typing faster and proper. Some of the tips are quite obvious ones, but we’ll provide you with a few apps to help you practice and learn faster.

1. Get Rid Of Bad Habits

Getting rid of your bad typing habits is probably the hardest thing to do. You’ve probably been using the same typing method since you started using a keyboard, right down to where you place your palms. If you’re an FPS (First Person Shooter) gamer you’re probably used to placing your left hand on the WASD keys, and may have stronger fingers on your left hand than your right (speaking from experience here).
2 Finger Typing
(Image Source: Fotolia)
Others may type only with two fingers, hovering over ten (or more) keys each, always having to keep their eyes on the keyboard to get the right keys. Although you might be typing fast with only half of the needed fingers, you have to put down your foot (or your hands) and break that habit immediately.

2. Use All 10 Fingers

The next step is to relearn the correct finger placement on the keyboard. If you take a closer look at your keyboard, you’ll notice raised bumps on each of the F key and J key. This is to help you find the correct finger placement without having to look at the keyboard.
Ideally, your index fingers should rest on the F and J keys and the other fingers will fall into place naturally.
In the picture below, you’ll notice color-coded areas showing the keys covered by each finger. You’ll notice that the middle fingers and ring fingers are used for only a few keys on the keyboard, while your index fingers cover the middle section of the keyboard. Navigational, punctuation and function keys are controlled mostly by the little finger.
Keyboard Finger Placement
(Image Source: Keybr)
If this confuses you, head over to websites like the TypingClub or Typing Web where they take you through each step to familiarize yourself with the keyboard. Some of their exercises only involve 2 fingers and as you go through their program, you’ll slowly master the way of faster and proper keyboard typing.

3. Learn To Touch Type

Next up: Touch typing. It’s when you type without having to look at the keyboard. In fact, for seasoned typists, looking at the keyboard actually slows them down.
To get there takes practice, and we’re not talking about hours here. It could be weeks before you condition your fingers to take control of the keys ‘they’ are responsible for. Even if it slows you down, do not revert to how you used to type.
Now, try typing sentences without looking at the keyboard, and try to remember the position of each letter. If you have to sneak a peek at the keyboard, you can, but give the same word or sentence another run, this time without looking at the keyboard. It takes a while but if you are determined, it gets easier every day.
Eventually, you will know where each key is and from then on, it’s just a matter of picking up in terms of speed.

4. Navigate With Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

It’s no surprise why Windows and Mac OS have many keyboard shortcuts. Since both your hands are already on the keyboard, why spend time using a mouse to navigate? You don’t have to remember every shortcut, just the more common ones.
Common shortcuts below are mostly used in word processing programs:
Shortcuts Descriptions
Ctrl + C Copy
Ctrl + X Cut
Ctrl + V Paste
Ctrl + Z Undo
Ctrl + S Save
Ctrl + F Search for word
Ctrl + A Highlight everything
Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Hightlight next letter
Ctrl + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Highlight next word
Ctrl + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Navigate text cursor to next word without highlight
Home Go to beginning of line
End Go to end of line
Page up Scroll up
Page Down Scroll down
You can also use shortcut keys while browsing the web. Here are some shortcuts you could use to navigate in web browsers.
Shortcuts Descriptions
Ctrl + Tab Switch to next tab
Ctrl + Shift + Tab Switch to previous tab
Ctrl + T Open new tab
Ctrl + W Close current tab
Ctrl + Shift + T Open previously closed tab
Ctrl + R refresh current webpage
Ctrl + N Open new web browser window
Backspace Go back one page
Shift + Backspace Go forward one page
Finally, here are some common keyboard shortcuts for more general (Windows) navigation.
Shortcuts Descriptions
Alt + Tab Switch to next opened window
Alt + Shift + Tab Switch to previous opened window
Alt + F4 Close current window
Using these shortcut keys will require the little finger a lot as many of the modifier keys like Ctrl, Alt and Shift are closest to your little finger.

5. Practice With Apps

Practicing typing on a keyboard need not be stressful (although it may feel like it at times). You can practice with a lot of typing games. Here are a few websites where you can learn how to conquer the keyboard and have fun at the same time.


TypeRacer is a simple and fun game where each player is represented by a car. You’ll be given a passage of text from a book or lyrics to a song, you then type it out to move your car in a ‘race’ with other players. Whoever finishes typing the passage first wins.

Typing Maniac

Typing Maniac is a Facebook game that will get you addicted as you can compete with friends to see who can earn the most points. As words appear on your screen, type them out to make them go away before too many land on the ground and cause you to lose the game! Earn points and get a better score if you achieve each level without missing or misspelling a word.
Typing Maniac

Keybr generates readable random words where some words are spelt incorrectly to help you remember common letter combinations better rather than typing random letters. It’ll give you statistics to tell you which area of the keyboard you are weaker in. It also offers words in different languages as well as different keyboard layouts.

Touch Typing Study

The exercises in this site get you comfortable with the finger placement by repeatedly asking you to type those letters with the correct finger. It is also offered in different languages.
Typing Study

Learn Typing

Learn typing is a basic looking website that has a ton of explanation good for beginners learning to touch type. Once you’ve gone through the basics, there are also more advanced exercises which you can do.
Learn Typing

Tips and Tricks to Master the Keyboard

Apps To Track Lost / Stolen Android Devices

If your Android device is missing or stolen, stay calm and take a breather. We’ve got 5 great anti-theft apps that can help you get your smartphone back or at least keep your sensitive data safe from identity theft.
Some of these apps have features that can help you track down your missing phone by triggering it to ring off the hook, send its GPS location to your email or when worse comes to worst, allow you to wipe your data from the missing smartphone remotely. Not enough? Snap a photo of the perpetrator or record their audio with your phone’s microphone. Yes, these apps can do that and more.
But remember that only some of them can be installed after the phone is lost. The rest of them are preventive measures, meaning you should already have them before something bad happens to your device. With that out of the way, let’s go get your phone back.

Here are 5 of the most popular Android apps to track down a lost or stolen Android device.

Where’s My Droid

[Free] Where’s My Droid is a pure Find my Phone app to help you locate your phone. When your smartphone goes missing, sending a code via text will make the phone ring (even when set in silent mode) while another text code sends you the GPS coordinates of the phone.
Wheres My Droid
Alternatively, you can remotely control your phone by connecting it to the Commander option, a web-based interface. Where’s My Droid also offers a Pro version which lets you take pictures with the camera (you might be able to take a snapshot of the perpetrator), remote lock the phone rendering it impenetrable or remote wipe the app to save your data from misuse.

Plan B

[Free] If you had not install any tracking app before your Android device was stolen or misplaced, Plan B will be a lifesaver. Plan B is an Android app from Lookout Labs which locates your smartphone using cell towers and GPS, then sends the location of your smartphone to your Gmail Inbox.
Plan B
In some smartphones, Plan B can enable the GPS on the phone then update you with its location every 10 minutes. For phones with no such support, you can text ‘location’ from another phone, and details of the missing phone’s location will be sent to your email. In the absence of a data connection, the software will send its location via SMS instead.

Android Lost Free

[Free] This app is not only perfect for finding your lost phone, it will also torment the thief (something which we’re sure they fully deserve). You can activate (via SMS or the Web) the alarm to ring with a flashing screen, enable and disable the GPS, data and Wi-Fi connection, remote wipe the SD card, and get their latest call list.
Android Lost Free
Although it’s a free app, the app lets you take pictures from the smartphone camera (front and rear) and make your phone speak using text-to-speech. Once the SIM card is changed, you will be informed via email. This app can be used even after you have lost your smartphone due to its remote install feature and is hidden from the launcher to prevent uninstallation.

SeekDroid Lite

[Free to download; Pro: $2.99/mth] This has all the regulars, remote lock and wipe, SMS activation, ring alert even in silent mode, hide from view mode, and GPS-enabling feature. You can also retrieve the most recent call logs – and it works even without a SIM card plugged in.
The Pro account (monthly subscription) lets you track the movements of the stolen smartphone with a history map so you know where your device is heading. You can also get protection for multiple devices, and receive notification for when it leaves a pre-selected fenced-in area (good for keeping watch on your little ones).


[Free] Here’s a simple anti-theft device which lets you locate your phone via GPS, track changes made to the SIM card and view the pictures that have been taken by the smartphone all through the Web. Here’s some news coverage on how the app actually helped a user get his stolen phone (and the car it was in) back.

More Anti-theft Apps

Didn’t like any of the above? Here are a few more anti-theft apps, some with the added protection against viruses that you might pick up while surfing the Web.


[Free; Pro: 2.99 euros] Cerberus has all the works, remote alarm trigger, tracking via GPS, remote wipe of the SD card as well as the internal storage, remote lock of the phone, plus alerts of a SIM change. You can also record audio from the microphone. The free version lasts for a week, while the Pro version lets you use it for up to 5 devices under the same account.

Prey Anti-Theft

[Free] To use Prey Anti-Theft you have to get it installed before the phone goes missing. To find your lost phone, you can activate Prey via SMS with the words "GO PREY" in all caps then log into the Control Panel via the Web to mark the device as ‘Missing’. You can then receive notices of where your phone is. The app is hidden and can only be uninstalled with a password.

Find My Phone

[$0.99] Find My Phone is a simple app that lets you track down your phone via GPS. Just text "findme" to start tracking and "ringaloud" to make it start ringing. You can text from a friend’s phone or from free online SMS services.
Find My Phone

Lookout Security & Antivirus

[Free; Premium: $2.99/month] You can find your lost phone on Google Maps, sound a loud alarm (even from silent mode) and lock your phone remotely with this app. In the event that your phone has run out of battery, it will notify you of its last known location. Also has an automated backup and restore function which can be accessed from the website.
Lookout Security & Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus & Security

[Free to download; $30 a year to keep] Here’s the award-winning software that will keep your smartphone safe from the inside out. It comes as a 7-day free trial but to keep it on your phone, it’s a $30/year subscription. For that sum, you get the regular anti-theft protection, antivirus protection, plus data backup and restore functions.
McAfee Antivirus & Security

Kaspersky Mobile Security

[$4.95] This one has plenty of anti-theft protection, with remote block, remote wipe and device-tracking capabilities via GPS, Wi-Fi and Google Maps even if your SIM card has been replaced. Unwanted or unknown calls and text messages can also be blocked, and it lets you hide certain information from friends and family who borrow your phone for use.
Kaspersky Mobile Security

Norton Mobile Security Lite

[Free; Pro $29.99] This software can give you total protection for all your devices. Lost devices can be located on a map, and the Pro version gives you a scream alarm to help you find your missing device. A nifty trick it has is that the phone is automatically locked once the SIM card is removed. It also backs up your data whch can be easily restored.
Norton Security & Antivirus

AVG AntiVirus

[Free] Besides protecting your devices from virus attacks, it also can locate your lost or stolen phone via Google Maps and lock your device to protect your privacy via a text message. If your phone or tablet is stolen or missing, you can also set a lock screen message to help the locator find you and make your device ring even when it’s on silent mode.
AVG AntiVirus FREE

Avast! Mobile Security

[Free] The anti-theft feature for this antivirus is actually a hidden component which can be remotely controlled via SMS commands sent from another phone or through the Web. You can log into Web controls to perform mobile tracking and/or give your phone commands.
Avast! Mobile Security 

Getting Around (and About) the New Windows 8 UI

Windows has released the new Windows 8 OS with a new interface that is marking Microsoft’s shifting focus from clicks to touch. The new Windows 8 is much faster than previous versions but after decades of seeing only your folders on the desktop, are you ready to embrace the new tile-filled UI, that is the Metro Start screen? We figure you might need help customizing the new UI for personal comfort.
Windows 8
In this quick-tip, we’ll get you started with some of the changes made to Windows 8 then show you basic configurations you can do to customize your Metro Start page.

Breaking the Ice with Windows 8

Some of the differences you will notice on Windows 8 are that many apps can only run when you are logged on with your Windows Live ID, and that Internet Explorer can be run in two different modes. The ‘Settings page’ also has gotten a new interface – I think we’ll start with this one.

1. Windows Metro Start Page

When you are on any page, or running any app, you can simply hover your mouse over the right side of the screen, to reach your Charms menu, that bar that seems to be playing hide-and-seek with you. You can find your shortcuts to the ‘Start’ page, ‘Devices’, ‘Setting’, ‘Share’ and ‘Search’ there. Alternatively, Windows key+ C will also open the charms menu.
Windows 8 Charm
If you hover your mouse to the left side of your screen, a preview bar will show you the apps you have running at the moment, as well as the Start page.
windows 8 leftmenu

2. Log in with Windows Live ID

To get access to most apps on Windows 8, you will need to log in to your Windows using your Live ID. If you haven’t done so, you will get this error when you try to open an app.
App Access
To register your Live ID, hover your mouse to the right of the screen to reach your charms menu, and then click ‘Settings’.
Charm Setting
Then click on the ‘More PC Settings’ bar at the bottom.
More PC Settings
On the settings page, go to the ‘Users’ tab on the left and click on ‘Add a user’.
Add User
A new page will appear. Simply enter your Live ID and click ‘Next’ to complete the process.
Live ID
When you have added your Live ID, simply log out from your Windows and log in again with the new user ID
Login Live ID
With Live ID access, you can now use all apps available on your Windows 8. Also, you will be able to utilize SkyDrive and download more apps from the Windows App Store.

Customizing Metro Start Screen

Your Metro Start page is now the main page on Windows 8, and you have the ability to customize the look and feel of the page to your preference.

1. Personalize Metro Start Screen

To change the look of your Metro Start page, hover over the Charms menu on the right and go to the Settings page. Once you’re in, go to ‘Personalize’.
Lock Screen
On this page, you can change your Lock screen, or click on the top menu to change the look of your Start screen.
Start Screen
You can also go to ‘Account picture’ to upload or change your account picture or avatar.
Account Picture

2. Tile Grouping

All tiles that are available on your Start screen can be grouped according to its class or category. For example, you may want to group your tiles under categories like ‘Social’, ‘Utilities’, ‘Internet’ and ‘Games’. To start grouping tiles, simply hold your mouse down on any tile and drag it to another position or group.
Swap Tile Possition
You can also create a new group by dragging the tile to an empty space; a new group will be created automatically.
New Tile Group
To customize the look, you can also change the size of each tile, to have it appear as a rectangle or square. Simply right click on the tile, and select ‘Larger’ to turn the square to a rectangle.
larger tile

3. Naming the Tile group

Each group of tiles can be renamed so it will be easier to remember. To start naming, point your mouse at the bottom right hand corner of the screen and click on the small magnifier icon. Your Metro Start page will be scaled down.
Tile Magnifier
Now right click on any group of tile you want to label, and you will see an option appear at the bottom of the screen. Click on ‘Name group’ and enter any name you prefer for the group of tiles.
Tile Naming

4. adding and removing apps to Metro Start screen

To remove any tile from your Start screen, simply right click on the tile and click on ‘Unpin from Start’.
To add a new tile (app shortcut) to the start screen, hover your mouse to the Charm menu and click on Search.
Now you are in a page where all apps are listed. Right click on any app to see the options and click on ‘Pin to Start’ to add the shortcut as a tile on your Start screen.
Pin to Start

Visiting the Windows (App) Store

With Windows 8, it’s easier now to make your Windows fun. From the Start page, click on the Store tile to start purchasing new apps or download free ones.
Windows Store
Once you are in the Storefront, scroll left and right to look for any app you like, then choose to purchase or download for free.
Store Front


With some basic changes, you can already customize your Metro Start screen to follow your preference. Although not much options are offered, soon enough when the product is launched, I’m pretty sure there will be more tips and tricks to better customization.
Getting Around (and About) the New Windows 8 UI