Thursday, August 27, 2015

Driving Habits That Will Save Fuel

10 Quick Changes to Your Driving Habits That Will Save Fuel

Wasting fuel is bad in many ways. It wastes your personal money, and it’s bad for the environment, as we only have so much fuel to go around. Obviously, driving a fuel-efficient car is one way to save fuel, but that’s not practical for everyone. Newer, more fuel-efficient cars are expensive, and it’s not reasonable to expect everyone to change vehicles.
So what can you do if getting a new car just isn’t an option? There are actually some simple adjustments you can make to the the way in which you drive that will save fuel, and thus save money! Check them out below.
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Android Apps for Going Back to School

7 Android Apps You Need for Going Back to School

Parents rejoice! The summer holidays are coming to an end. If you’re a working parent, that means you’re going to save a ton of money in babysitter and daycare fees. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, it means you can forget about dragging yourself around kids’ science museums and public swimming pools for another year.
Regardless of how happy you might be to see your kid(s) go back to school, you still want to make sure that they’re going to start the new school year on the right foot.
Here are seven Android apps that kids need on their devices this year.


At its core, Studious is a calendar that tracks class and homework schedules on your phone — but its capabilities extend far beyond being just another Android calendar app.

For example, it will automatically silence your phone during class hours, remind you when upcoming assignments and tests are due, provide you with a full-featured to-do list manager, and enable you to save notes to particular classes in an Evernote-esque fashion.
The best thing is that this app is appropriate for kids of all ages — whether you’re just starting out at high school or in your senior year at college.

GPA Calculator

Grade Point Averages (GPAs) are a curious quirk of the United States’ education system.
Research has consistently shown that GPAs are one of the best indicators of future employment success, and that since 2001, American companies have increasingly been making hiring decisions based on a candidate’s GPA. It’s an approach that differs greatly from the typical European model.

Given your GPA can be so influential on your future, it’s vital that you understand it, and you’re aware of if you need to improve it. Unfortunately, given the balance between scores and credits, it can sometimes be difficult to work out with a simple calculator.
The GPA calculator app lets you select your credit hours, add the grade received in a specific course, and even perform calculations for numerous semesters and quarters — all of which is combined to give you a snapshot of your current standing.

Dictionary – Merriam-Webster

Parents — remember when you were a kid? If you either couldn’t spell a word or didn’t know the meaning of a word, you’d be told to look it up in the dictionary. In my opinion this was always flawed — how could I find a word that I couldn’t spell?

That’s not a problem for today’s kids, thanks to apps like the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In addition to the usual text look-up options, it also includes voice search for those longer or tough-to-spell words.
The app has all the standard fare you’d expect from a dictionary app, including a thesaurus, synonyms, antonyms, example sentences, and a Word of the Day.
Best of all, the app works even when there is no Internet connection available.
Note: European users should look to the Oxford Dictionary instead. Several of the features are the same, but it provides British English spellings.

Books Summaries

Nobody actually reads the required texts in English class, right? We certainly didn’t when I was in school, and with the Internet now providing easy-to-digest book summaries to anyone willing to look, I can’t imagine the situation is improving.
Perhaps the situation would improve if they stopped ramming Shakespeare down kids’ throats — but I digress.

The Book Summaries app will provide you with 32 of the most popular literature class books, including Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Iliad, and Macbeth. According to the developer, more titles will be included in upcoming releases.
The best part of the app is that all the summaries are available without an Internet connection. That means that if your school bus takes you through the middle of nowhere, you can still do your pre-test cramming.

Formulas Lite

We’ve looked at some of the best math apps in past articles, but what sets this formulas app apart is that it all covers Physics and Chemistry as well as standard math.

It includes a scientific calculator, guidance for common math, physics, and chemistry formulas, a unit convertor, and even support for the periodic table and the various calculations surrounding it. As a nice bonus feature, it also comes packed with interesting facts about the formulas you’re using.
The only downside is that it’s ad-supported. Despite its name, there is no “pro” version.

Google Classroom

Before we delve into the details of Google Classroom, it’s important to be aware that it’s only available to students whose teacher has a “Google Apps for Education” account.
Nonetheless, as more schools start to embrace Chromebooks, there’s a good chance your teacher will have an account. If they do, you’re golden.

The app can support almost any aspect of classroom life. For example, teachers can share notes with the whole class, it lets you submit assignments through it, teachers can use it to grade tests and supply feedback, and it enables you to easily share resources with fellow students.

EasyBib: Citation Generator

As nice as it would be to be able to copy and paste your homework straight off Wikipedia, unfortunately, your teacher is almost certainly going to notice.
It’s a really bad habit to get into. Pull that stunt in high school, and you’ll probably get detention, do it in college, and you could get kicked off your course for plagiarism.

The solution is the EasyBib Citation Generator app. It’ll automatically create citations for your bibliography by simply scanning the bar code on the back of the book you need to reference.
Additional features include the ability to keep your own library of frequently-cited books and to switch between more than 7,000 citation styles with one button.

What Did We Miss?

Are you a student who is about to go back to school? Which apps to you rely on the most? Perhaps you’re a parent who’s loading up their kid’s device with everything they need — which are your must-haves?
We’d love to hear from you. You can leave us your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credits:school by Kolopach via Shutterstock  Source:

Legally Download Windows Files for Free

How to Legally Download Windows Installation Files for Free

“Try formatting your hard drive and reinstalling Windows.” It’s a phrase any Microsoft Windows user has heard at least once in their life. But if you actually want to do that, you need a Windows installation disc or USB. Instead of relying on torrents or untrustworthy sources, let’s find out how to download Windows installation media officially from Microsoft.
This guide will help you download Microsoft-certified files to install Windows 7 onwards, but you might still need some other software or tools along the way. This guide doesn’t show how to actually create an installer out of those files. For that, we have a detailed guide, which you might need to refer to often once you have the official files:

A Few Basics Before You Start

  • Each version has a different key. So if you have a Windows 8 key, that won’t work with a Windows 8.1 installer. You need to download the right version based on your key.
  • Installation media can usually be of two types: a USB drive or a DVD.
  • If you are making a bootable pen drive, you will need a 4GB version or larger. We suggest not having anything else on that pen drive, keep it as a dedicated installer.
  • As far as possible, download the basic version of any version of Windows. Add-ons can be downloaded later.
  • All of these solutions are for existing users who own a legal copy of Windows. If you run a pirated version of the OS, this won’t help you.

Windows 7

Unlike Windows 8 onwards, there is no “Reset” option in Windows 7. So if you are facing one of the common Windows 7 problems and want to reinstall the operating system, you will need installation media.
Now, there are two ways you could have got your Windows 7:
  1. You purchased a Windows 7 box in retail or bought a key from a Microsoft-authorized online store.
  2. You bought a PC which came preloaded with official Windows 7.
Depending on your situation, you have different options.

If You Purchased a Windows 7 Box or Key…

Those in category one, good news! Microsoft has made it possible for you to download a Windows 7 ISO from their official site.
Go to Microsoft Software Recovery, enter your 25-character product key, select your preferred language, and click Verify Product Key. Once the key is verified, you will be able to download the ISO file. You can also choose to have an email link for your ISO emailed to you, which is the smarter option so that you don’t have to go through this process again.
Once you have the ISO, use Guy’s guide above to create a bootable USB or DVD and install Windows.
You could even try borrowing a Windows disc from a friend, saving you the trouble of downloading and creating that bootable media.

If You Purchased a Windows 7 Laptop or PC…

Saw this message? Unfortunately, the above method doesn’t work if Windows 7 came installed on that Dell or Lenovo laptop you bought. Microsoft Software Recovery does not support OEM copies (What Are OEM Products?) and that means you need to rely on the company that made the laptop.
Hopefully, your original box came with a Windows Installation Disc. And hopefully, you kept that box intact. Because apart from that installation disc from your manufacturer, your key won’t work on anything else.
While there is no way to download Windows, you can contact your manufacturer and ask them to mail you the installation disc. Some, like Dell, do it for free, while others charge you for basic shipping.
If you need to do this, remember the most important thing: ask for the version of Windows that came installed originally! If you turn your laptop over, you’ll see a Windows sticker somewhere with the product key. On the same sticker, you will see the version of Windows it works on. Make sure you ask only for that version, regardless of whether you have upgraded your Windows to a new version since then.

Windows 8 or Windows 8.1

Thankfully, the OEM nightmare isn’t a problem with Windows 8 and 8.1. With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced the option to restore, refresh or reset your PC. That is the easier choice in most cases, but if you want to create a fresh installation after formatting your drive, then Windows 8 can be downloaded for free.
Important: Your Windows 8 product key does not work on Windows 8.1, and vice versa. So you need to download the version of Windows that the product key is valid for.
On an existing Windows PC:
Go to Microsoft’s download page for Windows 8/8.1. Click and download Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 setup.
Run the setup file on a Windows PC (not necessarily the one you want to upgrade). Go through the steps, add your product key when prompted for on Windows 8. Windows 8.1 does not have a prompt during this process, but will ask you for the key during the installation process. The setup recognizes which version the key is for and will start downloading that version of Windows. In the Windows 8.1 tool, you can choose whether you want a 32-bit or 64-bit installer, or both—choose both.
Once the download is done, you will be prompted to Install NowInstall By Creating Media, or Install Later From Your Desktop.
Choose Install By Creating Media. Choose USB Flash Drive to create a bootable pen drive, or ISO to create a bootable DVD. Insert your pen drive or DVD and select that. Go through the steps and finish.
This bootable pen drive or DVD can now be used to do a clean install of Windows, provided you are already running Windows on the PC. However, if it’s a new hard drive or you weren’t previously running Windows, this pen drive or DVD can’t be used.

Windows 10

Finally, we come to the new kid on the block. There are some good reasons to upgrade to Windows 10 and we have gone over how you can get Windows 10 while keeping your settings and apps. But if all you want is a Windows 10 ISO or a bootable pen drive, here’s what you need to do:
Important: Several users have reported issues after upgrading to Windows 10. The safest way to ensure you get a legal, activated version of Windows 10 that still allows you to downgrade later on, is to upgrade from an ISO file or installation media from within your old Windows version.
On an existing Windows PC:
Go to Microsoft’s download page for Windows 10 ISO and download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Run the tool on a Windows PC (not necessarily the one you want to upgrade) and go through the steps, it’s pretty straightforward.
Choose whether you want a 32-bit or 64-bit installer, or both—choose both. Once the download is done, you will be prompted to Upgrade this PC now or Create installation media for another PC. Choose the second one. Choose USB Flash Drive to create a bootable pen drive, or ISO to create a bootable DVD. Insert your pen drive or DVD, make a respective selection, and go through the subsequent steps as instructed.
And there you have it, Windows 10 on a pen drive or DVD. Remember, you will need to purchase a Windows 10 product key to use this on a new computer. If you want the free upgrade, make sure you are first running an activated Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If all of this is a little confusing, we have a quick guide: Can you upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft Could Make this Easier!

Researching the various hoops you have to jump through to get Windows that you have already paid for, I can’t help but laugh at Microsoft. I am flabbergasted that there isn’t a simple, single program or web app where I can input my product key, get options for the different versions of Windows I am eligible for, and download the one I want. It is infinitely easier to install Ubuntu on a computer, or any other version of Linux—and that’s completely free!
Do you think Microsoft needs to make it simpler to download and install Windows for its legal, paying customers?
Image credits: Microsoft, / Flickr  Source:

How to Close Your Speech With Power

How to Close Your Speech With Power

Long-Distance Relationship And Technology

How Can Technology Help A Long-Distance Relationship Succeed?

Dating someone over a great distance is hard. In fact, some even call it downright impossible. But if you really love someone, it is possible to make a relationship work even if you can’t be in the same physical space with your significant other.
Thankfully, technology has made long-distance relationships much easier. Whether it’s spending time with each other or getting intimate, the Internet and other forms of technology have made it easier to feel like you are with the one you love.
Check out the infographic below for some apps and tools that you and your significant other can to help make your long-distance relationship work better than you ever imagined!
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