TECH NOW: How your kids can surf safely with a tablet

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Web search gone wrong. It’s happened to the best of us. You type in an innocent string of words, and some random porn pops up faster than you can scream “NSFW!” Of course, that’s right about the time the boss walks by. Oy vey. Find “safe search” and turn it on. Stat.

Opening a window to everything on the Internet today can be frightening even for some adults. And stumbling across inappropriate content remains one of the biggest concerns when we throw a tablet into the mix of our kids’ daily digital lives. Add to that issues of child safety and protection, online bullying, unguarded app spending … suddenly we’re wishing we could just go back to simpler times. As we wrap up our Kids and Tablet series, here are the simple steps every parent can take — no matter how tech-unsavvy you might feel — to help keep kids safe on slates.


There are hundreds of thousands of apps, and many aren’t meant for young eyes. Excessively violent games and adult-only “hookup” apps lurk around every virtual store shelf, and there’s an excellent chance that you don’t want your kids viewing any of it.

Apple’s iPad requires a password before it dings your credit card for an app-buy. This is your safety valve, so you always know what’s being added to your family’s tablet. Not all such gadgets offer the same default protection, but if your tablet doesn’t automatically require a PIN or you want a more specific level of protection, it’s easy to set up.

On Android: Open Google Play — Android’s app marketplace — and click on the Settings tab in the top right. Scroll down to find the “Use PIN for purchases” option and enable it to require all app downloads to require a security code. Alternatively, you can use the “Content filtering” option in this same menu to restrict only certain types of apps from being downloaded.

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Energy Bar Keeps Your More Aware A Your Battery In A Unique Way

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Battery power. No feature is more critical to Smartphone, tablet, and computer users than having a reliable battery. But, let’s face it. Sometimes there just isn’t much more you can do other than the basic few things to help keep your battery in good shape. Those things are, typically, lower the display brightness, turn down the sound, turn off haptic touch feedback, keep WiFi and Bluetooth settings turned off so that you don’t consume a lot of power. However, there are times where the battery won’t hold a charge no matter what you do and that just means you will have to keep a better eye on it.

Energy Bar for Android, a unique battery monitoring app does this exact thing, but it does it differently because of how it executes the way of letting you know the charge status of your battery. For example, you want to know how much power is left in your battery but you can’t because the stock battery monitor just shows a battery icon that drains without a percentage bar and that battery only adjusts after a large amount of battery power has been lost. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a solution that gives you a better picture of how much power you have remaining to your precious battery?

Battery icons look at lot alike nowadays, so it pays to be an app that makes the battery bar monitoring a little different. Energy Bar for Android comes in with a fresh take on showing battery power remaining. This app places a thin line or bar at the top of your screen that you can see from inside any app you’re in. It can be changed in the settings to show what colors it will show as the battery level drops when in use or rises when charging.

This is a feature that was available only after rooting with custom ROMs, but now is available to those who don’t wish to risk rooting their devices. You can adjust settings like thickness, behavior and where the bar is originating from. You can choose multiple colors, but if you do, you can set the colors to change at 20 percent increments. A great feature when you want just your colors to give you a quick idea of battery power.

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Why Does My Android Phone or Tablet Not Turn On?

Your Android phone or tablet has very few buttons. The only way you can turn it on is by pressing the power button — and that isn’t working. Don’t panic! Android devices may sometimes refuse to power on or wake from sleep when you press the power button, but your phone or tablet probably isn’t broken. There are some easy ways to make your device boot again.

Long-Press the Power Button or Remove the Battery

It’s possible for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices to become seemingly stuck in power-off mode. In such a state, the power button won’t work at all — that’s because the device is basically frozen. Historically, the solution has been to remove the device’s battery, wait a few seconds, then reinsert the battery and press the power button again. This removes all power to the device and is known as a “power cycle.” If your device has a removable battery, try this — it may fix your problem.

Of course, your device probably don’t have a removable battery. Luckily, there’s a way to effectively perform a power cycle anyway. Just hold down the device’s power button for ten seconds. If this doesn’t work, you may want to press the power button  for a bit longer. Ten seconds should be suitable for most devices, but some people have reported needing to hold the power button down for 30 or more seconds.

Your Android device should now boot properly. If not, read on.

remove battery when device wont boot - Why Does My Android Phone or Tablet Not Turn On?

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10 Android icon packs you need to download now

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So you’ve gotten into customizing your phone or tablet a bit and now you want to tweak a bit more. One of the easiest ways to change your existing look is to install a new launcher. Once you do that, it’s a breeze to swap icons packs in and out. Prefer a minimal look with single colors across the board? Done. Wanna get in on the whole flat and square look that seems to be all the rage? Here ya go! Prefer for a nice, rounded icon design? Whatever you want, buddy…

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Google announces Android Device Manager to help users find their lost devices

Google has now announced the Android Device Manager, a new website that will help users find their lost phone or tablet. Accompanying the website will be an installable app that is set to roll out later this month. The company has made this service available for all devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above. While details about the Device Manager are still minimal, Google has said that some of the features expected include the ability to make your phone ring at maximum volume so you can find it, even if it may have been silenced.

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Dropbox latest update introduces screenshot sharing

dropbox share screenshots - Dropbox latest update introduces screenshot sharingIf you are using Dropbox on your phone or tablet as an application, you probably know that it can be configured to save screenshots that you take on the device automatically to the cloud. The screenshots that you take this way are all added to the camera uploads folder on your Dropbox storage from where they are synced to all devices that you use.

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How to send SMS or MMS text messages from your PC or tablet using your Android phone number

android sms 01 - How to send SMS or MMS text messages from your PC or tablet using your Android phone numberOur little Android devices can do almost as much as some PCs, but it’s easy to forget that your smartphone is still a phone at heart. And with all the instant messaging services available for you to communicate, sometimes text messaging gets put in the backseat to the more robust features of something like Google Talk. Being able to keep up a conversation across multiple devices is incredibly handy, and it’s often much easier to type on a full computer keyboard as opposed to a smaller smartphone keyboard.

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Can’t install Android App Update from your phone or tablet? Try to install it directly from the web

Screenshot 2013 05 20 13 11 52 650x406 - Can't install Android App Update from your phone or tablet? Try to install it directly from the webHow many times has a new Android app update been issued for a major app, yet you find yourself without the ability to update on your phone or tablet? Should you know of an app update in the wild, you can almost always install it directly from the web version of Google Play even if your device isn’t showing that you have an update available. As soon as you see the Play store listing of the app change over to today’s date, meaning it was recently updated, you can tap “Install” followed by a selection of the device you wish to install the update on, before sitting back as it updates over-the-air.

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