Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS) is available starting July 29, 2015. The update brings with an improved user interface, virtual assistant Cortana, and a new web browser called Edge. The new OS is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users and is available as a 3GB download. In this video we’ll show you how to get it.
Chrome is getting Enhanced Safe Browsing features to protect you online
Includes file download warnings and more
Google has announced it’s working on bringing “Enhanced Safe Browsing” features to Chrome. The browser will be able to protect you from downloading malicious files or extensions, extending a helping hand to your systems’ in-built security protocols.
Starting with Chrome 91, it’ll offer additional protection when users install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store. A prompt will inform users if an extension they are about to install is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.
If a download is deemed risky but not certainly unsafe, Enhanced Safe Browsing users will issue a warning. It’ll also give you an option to send the file to Google for further analysis and detection.
Google shared some more tips:
1. Turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing protection in Chrome. Enhanced Safe Browsing users are successfully phished 35% less than other users. We recently announced additional protections for Enhanced Safe Browsing users, like warnings before you install untrustworthy Chrome extensions and more thorough scanning to protect you from potential Malware.2. Enroll in two-step verification (2SV). This is another way for your account to confirm it is really you logging in. Using your mobile device to sign in gives you a safer and more secure authentication experience than passwords alone.3. Enroll in Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP). APP safeguards users with high visibility and sensitive information, who are at risk of targeted online attacks. New protections are automatically added to defend against today’s wide range of threats.4. Take the Google Security Checkup. This gives you personalized and actionable security recommendations that help you strengthen the security of your Google Account, and it only takes two minutes to complete.
Safer, more secure
It involves users sharing real-time data to Google Safe Browsing so that Chrome can provide proactive security. The browser currently cross-checks the address you’re visiting against its database of known threats. But the database is updated every 30 minutes, and many scammers have managed to bypass the firewall. You’ll still be able to ignore the warning and open the file, but it’ll be at your own risk.
Additional measures are active if you’re signed in to Chrome with Gmail, Drive, and other Google services working with Chrome to provide a “holistic view of threats” on the web and attacks against your Google Account. The existing ‘Safe Browsing’ tool can warn you if passwords are exposed in a data breach. Firefox, too offers a similar service called Firefox Monitor.
Windows and macOS have come a long way in the last decade, and with work increasingly depending on the cloud, remote access via the browser is consistently rising against native apps. Securing Chrome also helps tackle security issues on Chrome OS itself.
Moving away from Google Photos? Here are some alternatives
From Google One to the self-hosted Nextcloud
Are you a Google Photos user? If yes, then you may have heard of a big change that Google is going to implement starting June 1. Unlimited storage for photos stored in high quality is going away, and free users will soon be limited to 15GB of storage after the date.
However, there’s no need to panic just yet. A lot of alternatives do exist as a backup for your precious photos. Still, you may be wondering why Google is actually doing this.
After years of gracefully offering unlimited storage, you may have come to use and associate the service as a dumping ground for all your photos and videos. Transferring these to alternative services can indeed be time-consuming, not to mention, it may also cost a lot.
2020: The end of unlimited storage
For those following the news, however, the end of unlimited storage for Google Photos isn’t exactly new to them. Last 2020, Google announced sweeping changes on its storage policy that affected its popular services such as Gmail, Google Drive, and of course, Google Photos.
As for Google Photos, the change in storage policy meant the end of free, unlimited storage for photos uploaded in high quality. High quality here doesn’t mean that the photos and videos uploaded kept their original resolution, though, as Google actually compresses them with this option.
Google didn’t mention any reason for ending its unlimited storage. It could be likely that the company wants more people to try its Google One storage plans. It may also have to do with the growing number of users. Either way, offering unlimited storage seems unsustainable for the company in the long run.
Yes, there are alternatives
It could be really hard to switch to alternatives especially after years of getting acquainted with Google Photos. If, however, you find it hard to get over the features that it offers, then why not consider paying for more storage space? Google One’s storage plans start at US$ 2 a month for 100GB of space, which is not bad.
The storage plans max out at 2TB for US$ 10 per month, which could be more than enough for everyone. There are no unlimited storage options, but most of the storage plans will likely satisfy the bulk of die-hard Google Photos users.
It is worth noting that you can still actually enjoy unlimited storage — if and only if you own existing Pixel smartphones. Emphasis on the “existing” since that means all the Pixel smartphones released prior to 2021.
If paying for cloud storage is an issue for you, just remember that Google offers a generous 15GB of free storage across services such as Gmail and Google Drive. It is also worth noting that any photos and videos you uploaded before the dreaded June 1 date won’t be deleted even if they exceed your storage quota.
iCloud for the Apple converts
Outside of Google’s own products though, there are competent alternatives that could satisfy Google Photos users. Those who switched to an iPhone can easily find a one-on-one alternative in the form of iCloud. Sure, there are no options for unlimited storage here, but the price tiers closely match those of Google’s.
Pricing starts at US$ 0.99 for 50GB of storage and goes all the way to 2 TB for US$ 9.99 per month. Just remember that device backups and other files are also counted towards the storage.
Luckily, users can fine-tune their iCloud settings so that only choose what files (and photos) will count towards their storage quota. Users who don’t want to pay a dime can also opt for a free plan, but this one only comes with a measly 5GB of storage.
Microsoft OneDrive: a multi-platform solution
If you are a user of Microsoft Office, then you may already be aware of OneDrive. Microsoft’s own cloud storage solution is a competent alternative that works across many platforms.
However, it is best used along with a subscription to Microsoft 365. It may not be cheap at US$ 6.99 per month, but the personal plan nets you a massive 1TB of storage along with a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office.
That alone could be a definitive reason for trying out OneDrive. It is also a good choice for most professionals who would rather pay for a single bundle rather than shelling out money for different products.
You may also try out OneDrive’s free plan before paying for a plan. Just take note that the storage maxes out at 5GB for the free plan.
Dropbox, the long-time cloud storage stalwart
Dropbox is one of the most established cloud storage providers out there. It also offers one of the most generous storage spaces out there, maxing out at 2TB for US$ 11.99 per month. A big plus here is the option for camera uploads, which backs up all your photos and videos to the cloud.
Users who opted to pay can also take advantage of Dropbox Paper, which is a collaborative document editing service useful for work environments. Those sharing their storage space with family members can even upgrade for up to six users sharing up to 2TB of space.
Like the other two mentioned above, Dropbox also offers a free plan with 2GB of storage. This is much limited than the other two,
Photographers still have a Flickr to rely on
Flickr used to be one of the most popular image hosting services back in the day. It still is a favorite among some photographers out there thanks in part to its pricing tiers.
There is only one premium plan, but that includes unlimited storage and various perks including a free two-month to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
Monthly plan starts at US$ 7.99 per month, which is not bad. Unfortunately, though, storage is limited to photos only.
The Nextcloud Equation
Tech-savvy users can try a radical solution to storing their photos and videos with Nextcloud. Nextcloud allows you to create your own cloud storage solution for your files — photos and videos included.
Since it is self-hosted, the only limit to the storage space is the hardware you choose. The setup is not for the faint-hearted though, and users are also responsible for maintaining their self-hosted cloud storage.
However, building your own self-hosted cloud storage is a feat worth celebrating with various advantages too. Privacy and control of data are the biggest advantages since your data stays within your own cloud storage.
Getting out of Google Photos
If you’ve already decided to get out of Google Photos, then you’ll take some steps to export your photos and videos. It’s an easy affair that begins by heading to your settings. Scroll down and you’ll see the option to export your data. Select that, and you’ll see the option to back up an archive of your data.
Google will then take you to a dedicated page for exporting your data. Just follow along with the process, bearing in mind that you can choose to export your data to other services through the “Delivery method” option.
When you are done, you can click the “Create export” button to end the whole process. Take note that the whole export process may take hours or even days.
Sure, the death of Google Photos’ free and unlimited storage is lamentable. It is worth remembering the old adage though: “there is no such thing as free lunch”. Perhaps, that could just be the painful reality of life. Luckily though, users have lots of alternatives to choose from for their precious mementos.
How To: Low-light photography, videography on an iPhone
Take out your lightsabers and record Star Wars-themed content!
Gone are the days where our smartphones struggle from shooting when there’s a lack of proper lighting. Nowadays, most smartphones — flagships specifically — can record amazing videos and stunning photos in low-light conditions.
For instance, FightSaber Singapore, a premier Lucasfilm-recognised lightsaber performance organization recorded a Star-Wars themed video using only the iPhone 12 Pro Max. FightSaber Singapore used lightsabers from SaberMach, Singapore’s first and only professional combat saber company, to highlight NeoPixel blades that astonishingly lit up the room.
Nonetheless, taking gorgeous stills and videos in low-light situations is now possible using just your smartphone. Fret not, you don’t need to be a pro; you just need to follow simple tricks.
Tips and tricks
First, make sure to turn on High-Efficiency Image File Format before you start shooting. Next, adjust HDR (high dynamic range) on your camera settings which will help you capture vibrant stills in high-contrast situations. If you plan on capturing light streaks, set your settings to 4K with 24 FPS. For smooth movements, adjust it to 4K with 60 FPS.
When you start shooting, lock the exposure and maintain auto-focus. Tap the spot on your screen that you want to adjust. On iPhone, you can also press and hold on the screen until you see AE/AF lock to keep the focus and exposure in the same spot.
Moreover, you can create a quick whip zoom effect while recording by tapping on the individual lenses. No need for post-production!
On a non-technical tip, don’t forget about varying your camera angles. Low-angle shots tend to add drama while high-angle shots provide an overview of the scene.
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