What Are Freemium Apps?

Freemium – the combination of free and premium. This paradox is a common business model for several mobile applications. In today’s post, we discuss what it means, how it works, and why companies use this model.

Not A New Concept

The freemium model is where the base app or program is free, but advanced features are hidden behind a paywall. Some services are subscription-based, and others require a one-time payment. This model is popular among companies that create digital products. Microsoft Office or Adobe allowed users a 30 day trial of the program before requiring a purchase. With the rise of smartphones, the model exploded with application developers.

Everywhere You Look

One way to convince application users to purchase an app or a subscription is to monetize it with ads. It’s a win-win for the developer. However, if ads annoy you (like most people), you will have to pay for them to go away. Think of Spotify or Pandora as an example. Other examples include productivity apps and cloud storage apps.

Applications connect you’re your App Store or Play Store account, making purchasing within the app a breeze. The ease of tapping a button to purchase additional content has been a highlight on the news when parents discover their children ran up crazy credit card bills on in-game purchases. In addition, companies use microtransactions, giving users the ability to access custom or exclusive content.

Looking Ahead

The freemium model is here to stay for the near future. Firstly, this model is an extremely effective and sometimes sneaky way to generate money. It also allows the developers to reach a broader customer pool and decreases the chances of piracy of their software. Lastly, a benefit for the user is it will enable you to try software or app before making the plunge in purchasing it.

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Bing Wallpaper

Windows 10 displays incredible landscape photos from all over at the sign-in screen. These images are pulled directly from Microsoft’s Bing browser. Microsoft released a tool that will automatically select these images as your desktop wallpaper.

Bing’s Daily Photo App

To get started, download the official Bing Wallpaper application. Once downloaded, install it and let the program run. To finish the installation, you will be prompted to Set Bing as my homepage and Set Bing as my default search provider.  After it installs, it automatically selects an image and sets it as the desktop background.

The application runs in the background and starts whenever your computer starts. It downloads and sets a new wallpaper every day. If you don’t like a particular wallpaper, you can change it. Look for the icon in your taskbar. Click on it, and toggle the wallpapers through the popup window.

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Outlook’s Sweep Tool

Microsoft Outlook built a handy tool in its online interface that makes keeping your inbox tidy a breeze. Find out more about the Sweep tool below.

What is Sweep?

The Sweep tool is an alternative way to set rules for what happens to emails from specific senders. The Sweep function runs once every 24 hours and allows you to create rules for any folder in your email account, not just your inbox. To use this tool, open up Outlook Online and sign in to your email account.

How to use Sweep

Firstly, open up an email from your inbox or another folder. Once opened, look for the Sweep button in the message toolbar. There will be a broom icon next to it.

This tool is a moving tool. Once you select the Sweep button, a new window will appear. This will allow you to choose what you want to do with the messages from the sender. In addition, you can change where the messages go by clicking on the drop-down next to Move to.

Sweep Options

The first and section options are very powerful in a sense they can move large numbers of messages at any given time. If you start a new categorization system, this is a quick way to jump-start the sorting process. The first option will move any emails from the sender to your desired folder. The second option does this but also moves future emails from that sender to the folder.

The third option enables you only to keep the most recent emails from a given contact. This is a great option for event reminders or companies that email all the time. However, it is limited when it comes to a person’s contact because they could email you multiple times about different topics.  The last option allows emails to be in your inbox for a few days, then will move the emails after ten days.

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Twitter Blue

Twitter recently announced Twitter Blue, a subscription model that gives subscribers additional features to the popular social media platform. In today’s post, we discuss its feature so you can decide whether or not it’s worth the $3 per month subscription fee.

Additional Features With Twitter Blue

Undo Tweet

Nothing is more frustrating than sending a tweet only to notice a typo. Currently, the only way to fix it is for the user to delete and write out a new tweet. A customizable timer (up to 30 seconds) allows you to preview your tweet prior to it being sent with this new feature. Unfortunately, tweets can not be edited once posted; you will need to delete and repost in these situations.

Twitter Support

Subscribers of Twitter Blue get access to a dedicated support team. This means users will get problems resolved must faster than free users. However, this does not extend to harassment or abuse reports.

Bookmarks Folders

Twitter has a feature called Bookmarks that allows users to save tweets. For free users, this is on a giant collection that isn’t searchable. Twitter Blue adds folders to the Bookmarks section. The folders are color-coded, and when you save a tweet, you can select where it goes.

Reader Mode

Twitter Blue offers a Reader Mode which makes reading threads more manageable. Reader Mode removes the Twitter UI resulting in the thread appearing more like an article. Usernames, profile pictures, timestamps, retweet counts are removed. These removals help make the thread more readable.

Twitter Blue Pricing

Twitter Blue costs $3 per month. There is only one subscription option and no tiers to choose from like other subscription services. While it’s been launched in Australia and Canada, a timeline for availability in the US has not been announced at the time of this writing.

How To Sign Up For Twitter Blue

Signing up for Twitter Blue is easy. Open up the app from any device and tap the three-lined icon in the top left. In the side menu that appears, find and select the Twitter Blue option.

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What Is An Aspect Ratio?

When looking for a new computer monitor or searching for a movie on IMDB, you’ve probably come across the phrase “aspect ratio.” Aspect ratio is heavily used throughout the photography and video industry. But what does aspect ratio mean?

What Is Aspect Ratio?

Aspect ratio is a mathematical basis at its core. It is the ratio of the width and height of a four-sided shape. Like any ratio, the aspect ratio of a rectangle doesn’t relate to its physical dimensions. Instead, it describes how the width and length of an object to one another. For example, a perfect square must have equal width and height, so their aspect ratio would be 1:1. The aspect ratio gets displayed in whole or decimal numbers. For example, 3:2 or 1.5:1.

You can determine the height and width of an object by using the aspect ratio. For example, 16:9 refers to the width equaling 16 and the height equaling 9. The 16:9 aspect ratio is used for most television content, even though displays come in a variety of aspect ratios. For example, with movies, you’ll commonly see aspect ratios of 1.85:1 (widescreen) and 2.39:1.

Making Aspect Ratio Work For Device

If you want to fit an individual piece of content to a device, you can use an aspect ratio calculator. This can be helpful when trying to apply a wallpaper background to a phone or computer. Using this tool, you can make sure the wallpaper fits properly (correct resolution) and won’t stretch on the screen. (You can download most wallpapers in multiple resolutions).

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iOS 13 Details

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference took place on Monday. Apple unveiled a bunch of new hardware and software. One piece of information we have been waiting on are details on iOS 13. In this blog post, we wanted to cover all the significant changes that are coming to Apple’s mobile device lineup.

Compatibility

Apple is updating its hardware requirements for iOS 13. As a result, Apple is removing software compatibility for its older iPhones and iPads. Devices compatible with iOS 13 include iPod 7th Generation, iPhone SE, iPhone 6S series (6S and 6S+), iPhone 7 series (7 and 7+), iPhone 8 series (8 and 8+) and iPhone X series (X, XS, XR, XS Max). That means the iPhone 6 series and iPhone 5 series will not be able to be updated past iOS 12 or older.

The iPad is also getting a makeover. Apple is breaking away from using iOS on iPads like iPhones. Instead, they will be getting their own iPadOS. This will give the iPad more flexibility with features that would not work on an iPhone. Some of these features will be included with the iPad Air (3rd Generation), iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 & 5, iPad 5 & 6, and the iPad Pro series (9.7, 10,11.5, and 12.9).

New Features

Apple showcased several features at the conference, but usually, they save a few features for release. We should find out more information in September when Apple announces the new iPhone. Beneath are some of the highlights of iOS 13.

Dark Mode: A popular feature that turns a bright screen into a dark screen. Other brands have had this feature for some time, and it has been highly sought after by Apple users. Core apps like Photos, Music, Calendar, and others will have dark mode support.

Swipe Keyboard: In addition to Dark Mode, another feature that finally has arrived to the iPhone is a key that allows the user to trace out the spelling of a word instead of spelling it. This feature makes one hand texting easier.

Find My: Apple has combined Find My Friends and Find My Phone into one app. This can help locate your phone faster if you use it.

Privacy: Another new feature is called Sign in with Apple. It will allow you to sign into apps without having to add your email address. The goal of this feature is to prevent third-party apps from tracking you online. Most noteworthy, you can also have an email address that will auto-forward to your actual email, making it harder for third-party apps to track you.

Siri: Apple’s voice assistant will be getting a few upgrades. Apple is changing how Siri sounds to make her more natural sounding to our ears. AI software will help her speak with few non-human sounding modulations and fewer gaps.

Other Noteworthy Changes

  • Mail will be getting different fonts and a mute option
  • Notes will have a new view and the ability to share folders
  • Ability to add attachments to your calendar
  • Face ID will unlock your phone 30% faster
  • 38 new languages to the keyboard
  • Apps will open 2x faster
  • Downloads are 50% smaller, and updates are 60%

Furthermore, these are just a few of the new features iOS 13 has to offer Apple users. We will continue to follow the new features and update our post as they are announced.

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Are Macs Safer Than PCs?

Are Macs safer than PCs? Apple has long portrayed their devices safer since PCs only get viruses. They went so far to create a commercial insinuating that Macs didn’t get infections.

During 2012-2013, a study showed that an estimated one-third of all computers were infected with malware. If you isolated Macs, the number of infections was only 3%.

What Does ‘Safer’ Mean?

The reason that there are fewer threats designed to attack the Mac might surprise you. Worldwide three-quarters of all computers run some form of the Windows-based operating system. Computers running the Mac OSX only made up about 12% of the market.

As a result, cybercriminals are more likely to go after PCs because they make up a larger share of the market, and thus are more valuable. Macs will not get a PC virus because the virus or malware must be coded differently. However, this does not mean they are any more secure.

Does It Matter?

The claim that Macs are safer may sway some users into purchasing a Mac device. However, just because there are fewer threats out there for Mac, the user still needs to be vigilant. Cybercriminals are employing social engineering techniques to help steal information. At that point, the user becomes the weakest cog in the system, not the computer. It would be like turning off your alarm, unlocking your door, and welcoming a thief into your home.

By paying attention and not clicking unfamiliar links, the user can reduce the chances of being infected. Apple and Microsoft are continuing to develop built-in defenses in their operating systems.

Staying vigilant and installing a robust third-party anti-malware program is the best way for every user to keep their device safe. Contact your local Computer Warriors to consult with one of our technicians about our memberships plans that can help keep you safe!

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Xbox Smart Delivery

The new Microsoft Xbox Series X will include an awesome feature called Xbox Smart Delivery. In today’s post, we’ll break down what it is and why it’s important.

What Is Xbox Smart Delivery

Xbox Smart Delivery answers many gamer’s concerns: what happens to the games we purchased when a new generation of hardware comes out. With Smart Delivery, any game that supports it will be playable on all past and future models of the Xbox. It allows players to move between different consoles as often as they want seamlessly. All settings for the game will be optimized for the console currently in use.

Limitations

Unfortunately, not all games will support Smart Delivery. Microsoft recently confirmed that any Xbox Game Studios title would be compatible, including the new Halo Infinite. Microsoft said that developers would not need to make multiple versions of the game as they did with the backward capable games for the Xbox One that originated on the Xbox 360. However, third party developed games will need to opt into the program.

Compatible Games

Below is a list of compatible games announced (so far):

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chorus: Rise as One
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Destiny 2
  • DiRT 5
  • Halo Infinite
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

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Pet Trackers

Humans have their Fitbits, and soon Fido might have one too. GPS or WiFi electronic pet trackers can give all sorts of information about your pet. Like Fitbits and other wearables, they will provide their location, sleeping habits, activity levels, and additional vital health information. Today, we discuss some of the options available.

Cat Tailer

If you have a cat that is a master of sneaking out of the house with ninja-like speed, Cat Tailer will be a huge help. It is a Bluetooth tracking device with a 328-foot range with a line of sight. The range diminishes if vehicles, trees, or houses are between you. Don’t forget that this is Bluetooth, not GPS. It connects to your phone with an app. Check it out here.

Bartun Mini Pet Tracker

This tracker is designed for small pets. Even though its small, it’s waterproof, shockproof, and provides real-time tracking. The tracking is completed through GPS, LBS, AGPS networks, and GPS satellites. It locates and monitors by SMS and the Internet, and will display information up to 5 meters. The tracker has iOS, Android, and website support. In addition, it includes a SIM card and has national coverage for $4 per month or international coverage for $9 per month. Check out the Bartun Tracker here.

Whistle Go Explore

Whistle Go and the Whistle Explore pack several features into their device’s. They combine GPS tracking, fitness, and health monitoring into one device. Each will pinpoint your pet’s location and combines behavior monitoring. It allows the user to set fitness goals for your pets and will send weekly summary reports. The battery will last 20 days on a single charge. The Whistle devices also give the ability to set safe spaces and will notify you if they leave it. This device does require a subscription for more information, click here.

Link AKC Smart Collar

Link is a leather smart collar for dogs who weigh at least 10 pounds. It has a rechargeable battery and designed to curve around your dog’s neck. It has several features that relay the wellness, training, and safety of your dog. The collar will notify you if your dog wanders off. The app gives the ability to track your dog’s daily activity. It will provide recommendations based on age, breed, and gender. It has a built-in LED light that can be activated remotely. Check out the Link Collar here.

There are other options out there but these highly-rated options for your pets. If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!

IRS Scam

If you have received an email from the IRS lately, it is a scam. The IRS will NEVER send you any unsolicited emails or send you an email about your tax refund.

New Scam

Last month, officials warned taxpayers about a new scam that was contacting people via email and social media. Officials reported a spike of complaints about unsolicited emails from scammers claiming to be the IRS.

The reports stated that the subject lines of these emails included Automatic Income Tax Reminder and Electronic Tax Return Reminder. The emails contain a link that leads to a website that looks like the IRS’ website but is not.

If the user clicks to access files about their refund, malware will download to their device. As a result, the scammer can gain access to the device and other sensitive data. IRS officials continually work with state tax agencies to combat stolen identity refund fraud. However, people are still vulnerable to these types of email scams.

Lastly, IRS will not call users to demand immediate payment using a particular method like a credit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Their preferred method in contacting you is via the Post Office.

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